Speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in the ceremony dedicated to the start of the restoration the mosque in the village Shykh of Baku on the day of birthday of the Holy Prophet of Islam Mohammed (s) - July 23, 1997

Highly distinguished Sheikhulislam!

Esteemed Muslims, sisters and brothers!

I congratulate you on the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet and wish peace and happiness to the whole Azerbaijani people and the world Muslims.

This day is very precious for us, for the Muslims, because it is the birthday of our Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam which is practiced by the Muslims for centuries. That is our great holiday. Quran, gifted to Mohammed, has been guiding the way of life of the world Muslims and ensured their special place in the world.

Today, gathering for this holiday, we must commemorate our history and be thankful to our history. Islam is a holy religion which has directed a big part of the mankind to follow the right path, justice, purity and high morals. Islam has great services in the mankind ensured the acquisition of high moral values and survived them by making them endure all the sufferings and hardships of the world.

We have gathered in a holy place today. To commemorate in this holy place the birthday of Mohammad is a sign of respect, esteem and recognition of our religion and of the monuments and moral values of Islam. We can be proud that we have such a religion with high moral values and which is Islam, the laws, advices and verses of Koran have guided the people the way of living, creating and struggling and defending their motherland.

That is why, today it is an historical even that the Muslims of Azerbaijan can practice Islam on their own way after long deprivations and hardships. At the same time, we commemorate two tragic events in our history today. The first is the assasination of Imam Musei-Kazem`s daughter Ms. Hokuma, the second is the explosion of the Bibiheybat Mosque 70 years ago, built in her memory.

You see, what kind of strange events happen in the history. It shows that the road of Islam, its leaders and defenders have not been easy. For centuries the Muslims gave numberless martyrs and sacrifices to safeguard our morals, religion and traditions. Nothing could stop us to pursue the road of Prophet Mohammed way. Indeed there were deprivations, sufferings and tragedies in different period of history. But now our religion is powerful and nothing, can defeat it.

If once a godless ruler assasinated Ms. Hokuma here, the people faithful to Islam turned this place into a temple. The Muslims came to this place for pilgrimage and received moral satisfaction and strength for building their life and showed their faithfulness to Islam here.

You see, sometimes even a tragedy gives birth to a great monument, to a temple.

Those who destroyed this mosque, this holy grave seventy years ago, committed crime. But we all know that though the mosque was destroyed, and the religion was forbidden, the people did not abandon their religion, morals and principles. There was not a mosque here then, but a temple, the holy site of Bibiheybat existed. People came here with various desires, some made a pilgrimage and gave alms for getting out from troubles which they fell in, and calmed down. They were soothed by Almighty Allah. Some visited here to get rid of a tragedy which happened to them. Some paid a visit for making their life happy, to receive blessings and to learn moral values here. Those who make a pilgrimage here, do it because of their faith. You see, the mosque which was destroyed 70 years ago, was not destroyed completely. It was the same last centuries, it is the same today and it will be the same in future, no power is capable to destroy the moral values of Islam. Temporary hardships, deprivations don`t last long.

So, that is why our gathering today, in this holy day, on the birth day of Prophet Mohammad is the best initiative deriving from these ideas. So, I am very pleased that we have gathered here. You and me as well, have come here with one idea and goal. We express our deep respect for our holy home and on the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.

In the recent years, our national values, national values of our people, the values of Islam have been a support, a source of inspiration in strengthening and protection of the state independence of Azerbaijan, in the liberation of our occupied territories and in other things.

As you know, the recent years were hard for Azerbaijan. Armenia committed an aggression against Azerbaijan, a part of our territory was occupied and over a million of our citizens became refugees and live in hard conditions. Other misfortunes came to Azerbaijan too. The bloody tragedy of January 1990, the terrible aggression of the Soviet empire against the Azerbaijani people, the martyrs were a deep wound in the heart of the Azerbaijani people.

Besides, the external and internal enemies of Azerbaijan tried to hinder our independence, they do it now as well. But we overcame all of them and we will overcome further, we managed to do it we will do further. The independence of Azerbaijan, its national liberation, our being the master of our own fate, our national, moral and religious values, are events of historical importance. This is a great possibility, a great period in our long history. We must appreciate and safeguard our historical achievements.

But unfortunately, there are forces who are against us. There are forces among us, and abroad who don`t want Azerbaijan to live as an independent state. Because, Azerbaijan is located in a very important geographical and political position. Azerbaijan is a country of rich resources. The Azerbaijani people has a long glorious history. Azerbaijan has a rich culture and science created along centuries and occupies a specific place in the world. All these are as an arrow piercing the eyes of the enemies of Azerbaijan. The forces hostile to us in the past centuries, past years, have not yet abandoned their intentions.

That is why, protection and maintenance of freedom and state independence of Azerbaijan are a complex issue and hard task. Let none think that these are easy achievements. That is not easy. Therefore, I say again that there are forces hostile to us and they are not few. Unfortunately, there are forces among our people and nation who are ready to sacrifices the common interests of our people for their own personal interests. But be sure that we are able to overcome all the hardships now and then.

National unity and solidarity of the people, devotion to the goals of independence and freedom and support of the policy of Azerbaijan, its president, lay grounds for our achievements. From this point of view, the cooperation of the Muslims of Azerbaijan, the religious figures, holy places with Azerbaijan, propagation of our foreign and internal policy by them, are a great support in this hard period.

When I say the national unity I mean unity of all forces. I want to say that today, the forces which form the national unity and solidarity, make the majority in Azerbaijan. These forces which are against us, eager to commit provocations, terrorism and various hostile actions, commit crimes are few, very few. They are criminals and they are exposed day by day and rendered harmless. Namely the people`s hatred pushes them out of our society and isolates them.

Therefore, today, in this holy day, holy place, I assure all of you, all the people of Azerbaijan that we work day and night for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and we will continue our efforts. I am sure that our occupied territories will be released, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be ensured, our displaced compatriots will return to their lands, and the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan completely will be ensured. I assure and convince you that the independence of Azerbaijan, principles of national liberation will develop and strengthen day by day. Not any force eager to shake our state independence will be able to stand against us.

I am sure that from now on, we will move forward steadily and speedily building a complete democratic, civil and secular state, we shall be able to build a society able to provide all kinds of freedom for the people. The reforms undertaken in the economy of Azerbaijan already produces its yields and it will go on. These reforms, our wise steps in the sphere of economy will change the socio-economic situation in Azerbaijan in short time, welfare of the people will improve day by day. I am sure that Azerbaijan will occupy its worthy place in the world community day by day, and the prestige and influence of Azerbaijan will increase in the world as an independent, free, democratic and civil state. I am sure about it.

As the head of state, the most important factor for me is that our people, society have united, the feeling of national solidarity has increased and our people, nation and society support our policy.

At the same time, today, here we lay the foundation of a holy building in the place of the mosque destroyed as a result of the committed crime against our national customs and values. I was here in 1994, in the day of Sacrifice to show my respect and gratitude to this holy spot, and to give an impetus to works here. The works are under way now, and I am sure that they will go on. Esteemed Akhund said that they have difficulties, but they will overcome them themselves. That is very fine. But today, I declare as the president that I personally keep under control the construction and its completion within a short time. So, I ask the sheikh to speed up the work and tell me what kind of assistance I can render, for that I can realize together with you the statement which I made now, and we shall achieve the completion of the construction of the mosque and gather here again and participate in its opening ceremony with you.

I congratulate all of you again. I congratulate you on the occasion of the birthday of Prophet Mohammed I wish all of you, all the Muslims of Azerbaijan peace, welfare and happiness.

I wish Allah help you in your works!
Thank you.
"Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is eternal" (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, appeals, decrees) X volume, Azernashr, Baku-1998, p.417.