Hawzah News Agency (Tehran, Iran) – Here are some excerpts from Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks on how to tame the wild animal within:
There are irrepressible passions in all of us. These passions are like an animal that must be tamed, in which case, the same goes for human passions in order to bring about improvement. Passions are a number of human instincts, which can help one achieve the peaks of perfection -- if they are controlled and utilized appropriately. The only problem that arises is they are hard to control; however, passions must be controlled. The reason why oppression exist, in the world, is because some individuals or groups loosen their grip on passions; this is also true for corruption, insult, loss of human dignity, and poverty. That is the reason [loose passions] why a great portion of the world population is deprived of divine blessings. It is from the oppressor's passion that oppression arises. It is the arrogant people who disempower others: it is the greedy and ruthless people who cause poverty and hunger. All the corruption in the world, from the beginning of time and up till the present, has been caused by untamed human passions. Throughout history, the more man has tried to utilize his talents, the more intense his passions become: an oppressor who has an atomic bomb is different from the oppressor who only has a sword; therefore, passions have grown more and more dangerous for humanity.
Humans inherently suffer from these passions, and one day they have to control them. These passions can be controlled through remembrance of God, taking refuge in God, dependency on God, feeling humble before the glory of God, and realizing one's own flaws compared to the absolute beauty of Allah the Exalted. A pious man--that is, one who is careful and exercises self-restraint--would not cause iniquity, oppression, and corruption; remembrance of God is a factor that keeps pious people from such things. "Surely prayer keeps away indecency and evil" [The Holy Quran, 29: 45]; this does not mean that saying prayers limits people. Prayers just help us control our instincts. Some people believe this verse means that performance of prayers puts an end to corruption and unlawful acts: that's is not the case; it simply means that your inner voice grows strong when praying, and it constantly warns you against corruption and unlawful acts. These constant warnings are certainly effective, and they make the heart humble. That's why prayers have to be repeated during the day. We have been advised to fast once a year, and complete the hajj pilgrimage once in a lifetime; but, prayers have to be repeated several times a day; this reveals the importance of prayers.
If we perform prayers, we will feel mentally and socially secure. Prayers make our mind, body, and society secure: this is an inherent characteristic of prayer, which shows the effect that praying has on society. That is the reason why prayers have been stressed so much.
Nov 19, 2008