The concept of patience is also underlined in Islam. Some believe that the essence of Shiite Islam boils down to patience, where the believers are all awaiting the reappearance of the Twelfth Shiite Imam.
Verses of the Holy Quran (Muslims Divine Book) underline peace and reconciliation as one of God’s greatest blessings, as the verse 103 of Al Imran Sura reads “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.”
The importance of reconciliation among people is of such considerable importance that Imam Ali (AS) says its value is equal to a year of prayers and fasting.
Moreover, patience and forgiveness is one of the prominent principles addressed in Iranian literature. One will encounter several cases in Iranian literature, in which the poet urges the readers to practice patience and tolerance. One instance is a couplet of Hafez poetry in which he advises to patience and says “Patience and success, both are old friends. Victory's moment arrives through patience.”
All this resulted in establishment of a social campaign named “#I Forgive” in the social media, urging people to show more patience and forgive more. Several figures soon joined the campaign. Veteran national sports figures such as Ali Parvin, Seyyed Mehdi Rahmati and Afshin Peyrovani, as well as cinema industry luminaries including Behzad Farahani, Jahangir Almasi, Ali Nassirian, Rambod Javan and Mahmoud Pakniyat joined the campaign.
It was only when the Judiciary’s Cultural Administration established the National Headquarters of Patience with the help of several other state bodies. The most prominent outcome of the headquarters was holding the first National Conference on Patience on 24th of Esfand (March 14th, 2017 at Tehran International Conference Center.
In his inaugurating speech, National Headquarters of Patience Secretary Omid Mohebbi underlined the prominence of promotion of culture and reduction of social problems, as stressed by the Supreme Leader of the Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei. He also appreciated the objectives of National Headquarters of Patience, including promulgation of the culture of patience and tolerance, and urging people to forgive.
In his address to the conference, Iranian Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i underlined the importance of pardon in resolving conflicts, and said that pardon exercised by the next of kin of the murdered has saved hundreds of lives so far this year (which started on March 21, 2016). He also noted that patience and pardon in executing retaliation as one of the principles in Islamic teachings, and that the complainant is urged to pardon the convict and thus, enjoy God’s blessings according to Holy Quran.
Iranian First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri also delivered a speech at the conference and said that our society needs to witness more patience, or its mental health will be damaged. He stressed on patience as one of the main factors which prevent loss of social assets, and urged officials to improve moral motivations among the nation.
In his speech, Iranian Judiciary’s Cultural Deputy and Head of the National Headquarters of Patience Hadi Sadeghi appreciated the efforts on promulgation of the culture of peace, patience and forgiveness and believed such concepts to be of high importance in Islam. He also said that applying such concepts in life will result in better social satisfaction and reduction of conflicts, and that the efforts of the National Headquarters of Patience are a public movement whose vacuum was obviously felt.
Addressing the conference, Iran Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said that forgiveness and patience are issues of considerable importance which can uproot any conflicts, and that the National Headquarters of Patience should try its utmost to promote love and attachment among people. He appreciated the initiative of establishing the National Headquarters of Patience, and said that verses of the Holy Qoran underline peace and reconciliation. He also said that promulgation of patience in the society needs to be materialized through culture building, and showing the true position of peace and patience people.
Further, Head of Iran’s Conflict Resolution Council Mohammad Mehdi Ahmadi addressed the conference and said that the intent behind creation of Conflict Resolution Councils is making peace between conflict parties. He pointed out that Conflict Resolution Councils process some 48 percent of the cases filed in legal courts and public prosecutors’ offices. Underlining the prominent role of Dispute Resolution Councils as well as the importance of promulgation of peace and reconciliation culture as crime preventive factors, he said that the councils were established some 14 years ago, and they have so far played a considerable role in resolving cases of murder and ethnic disputes.
The next official to address the event was Legal Deputy of the Judiciary Zabihollah Khodaeian who underlined the importance of promulgation of patience and forgiveness culture and said that the nature of punishment for some crimes is discretionary, and the punishment is remissible, and the mercy shown by the complainant can reduce the punishment to a considerable degree.
Iranian Judiciary’s Deputy for Social Affairs and Crime Prevention Mohammad Bagher Olfat said that when the culture of peace and reconciliation is institutionalized in the society, and everyone practices it, many crimes will be prevented. He added that peace and reconciliation is based on divine Sunna, and practicing it can prevent many crimes. Applying traditional methods such as reconciliation through mediating by the elderly can play a considerable role in institutionalizing the related culture, and has to be heeded by the officials, he added.
Moreover, tens of academics, experts and researchers of psychology, behaviorology, sociology and religion expressed their expert ideas in articles which were all published in a book that was introduced at the event.
Many attendants took part in the conference wearing their traditional or ethnic clothes, showcasing support of the concept of peace and patience by all ethnicities of the nation. Tens of the participants were those who had pardoned convicts of murder, and were introduced as symbols of patience to the audience.
In the end, those judges who showed a greater will to change custodial sentences to community ones, such as planting trees or collecting garbage in the nature, were honored.
According to the Information Technology department of the National Headquarters of Patience, the Hashtag of “I_Forgive” has been used more than 12 million times in the cyber space, a proof of the nation’s welcoming the initiative.