Home Archive Lectures Imam Ali (a.s.): The Teacher of Generations

Imam Ali (a.s.): The Teacher of Generations

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rajab, 10th 1430 H. - July, 3rd 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon 

The Prophet raised Ali (a.s.)

These days, we celebrate the birth anniversary of Imam Ali (a.s.), who was born on the 15th of this month (Rajab) in Al-Ka'aba. Ali is the only child ever that Allah has chosen to be born in the House of Allah as a gesture to honor him and underline his great status. Al-Alusi – a Sunni religious scholar – says: "The fact that Ali – May Allah bless his countenance – was born in the House of Allah is well-known all over the world, and this is mentioned in the Sunni and Shiite books." Abd Al-Baqi Al-Omari says: "You are Ali who was raised high and above         and you were born in the heart of Mecca and the House."

Ali (a.s.) lived in the House of Allah, which is not similar to the houses of people. It is a place where man delivers his prayers and supplications, and where his soul ascends to Allah. Since he began to be aware of things, Ali (a.s.) was the man who loved Allah, and Allah loved him back. The Prophet (p.) said in Khaybar Battle: "Tomorrow, I will give the banner to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and whom Allah and His Messenger love." Ali (a.s.) used to plead to his God in his prayers and while he was in the state of submission to Him, and say: "How would You torture me and Your love is in my heart." We read in Kumail's supplication: "My God, though I may patiently bear Thy punishments, how can I calmly accept being kept away from Thee? I reckon that though I may patiently endure scorching fire of Thy hell, yet how can I resign myself to the denial of Thy pity and clemency? How can I remain in the fire while I have hopes of Thy forgiveness?" If my abode is in fire, then I will be separated from You; the thing which I cannot stand, for my heart, mind, feelings, and life are with You. My God, I have always realized that You are the One and only God.

Ali (a.s.)'s virtues

It is reported that after Ali (a.s.) martyred, Dharaar Bin Dhamarah, one of the companions of Imam Ali (a.s.), came to Muawiyah and the latter said to him: "Describe Ali to me." Dharaar answered: "Spare me that." But Muawiyah insisted: "No, do describe him." So, he said: "By Allah, he was far-sighted and very strong. He spoke with a truthful finality – his word was always the final one – he ruled justly – he ruled in accordance with justice that gives the right to everyone who has a right – and knowledge gushed forth from him, as did wisdom. He felt an aversion to the world and its pleasures – he was not concerned with this world or attracted to it; his hopes and inspirations were attached to the hereafter with Allah – and felt a likeness for the holiness of the night – at night, when tranquility prevails, the state through which he called upon his God and worships Him – he would cry profusely – when he used to cry, the tears were all over his face – long durations would he spend in contemplation – he was always occupied with contemplation, his thoughts were open to the entire universe, life and responsibilities, because they were open to the knowledge about Allah and man's responsibilities towards Him – he would turn his palms upward and question his own conscious – he would converse with his soul to study it and punish it in every detail and situation; he was not like the other people who did not have time for theirselves because they were too busy with other people – he showed a liking to coarse garments and lower quality food. He was one of us – he did not act like he was the Caliph and they were his followers – when we would go to him, he would initiate [the greetings of peace]; when we asked him a question, he would answer us; and when we would invite him [to our homes], he would come to us. Yet, in spite of his closeness to us, we would not speak [freely] to him because of the dignity and honor that he exuded – his aura and the characteristics of his personality imposed themselves on them – if he smiled, he revealed the likes of straight and regular peals [his teeth]. He honored religious people and loved the poor. The strong person could not hope to gain favors from him through falsehood – he would not let the strong gain favors in falsehood – and the weak never lost hope of his justice – if the weak approached him, he would retrieve their rights – I swear, by Allah, that on certain occasions, I saw him holding his beard and crying the way a very sad person cries, and I would hear him saying: "O world, are you offering yourself to me? Do you desire me? Never! Never! Deceive someone other than me. I have divorced you for the third time, so that you cannot return to me. O world, your life is short… and your danger is great. Alas – if Ali (a.s.), the Commander of the Faithful, himself agonizes, then what is left for us to say? –

for the paucity of sustenance, the great distance of the journey, and the loneliness of the road!"

Upon hearing this description, Muawiyah wept until his beard was drenched with tears, and he could not but wipe them with his cuffs; and the same can be said about those who were present. Muawiyah then said: "May Allah have mercy on the father of Al-Hasan (a.s.)." And then: "O Dharaar, describe your sadness at having lost him." He said: "My sadness is like the sadness of a woman who cannot control her tears or allay her grief after her child, while in her lap, has been slaughtered." Dharaar then stood up and left.

Moreover, Ahmad Bin Hanbal, the Imam of the Hanbalis, said: "No narrations that talked about the virtues of the companions were better than those that talked about the virtues of Ali Bin Abi Talib." Other people said: "what can I say about a man whose followers hid his virtues out of fear, and whose enemies hid them out of envy; however, his virtues filled the entire world.

This is Ali (a.s.) whom Allah has elevated, because he offered everything to Allah and left nothing for himself, as came in the following verse that was revealed to describe Ali (a.s.) when he slept in the bed of Allah's Messenger (p.): "And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah: And Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees." (02:207). Ali (a.s.) devoted himself to Allah, and dedicated his mind, heart, feelings, and life to Him; therefore Ali (a.s.) was with the Right, for Allah was the right itself, and wherever Ali (a.s.) went, the Right went with him.

Ali was raised in the Messenger's house

Ali (a.s.) is known to have been raised in the Messenger (p.)'s house, because Abi Talib had many children but little money, so some of his brothers came and took some of his children, while the Prophet (p.) came and took Ali who was,  according to some narrations, two years old. Ali (a.s.) was raised in the Prophet (p.)'s lap; he was raised to share the same morals with the Prophet and he was guided by his (p.) guidance, and followed his lead and considered him (p.) to be his role model, and he accompanied him throughout his life. Ali (a.s.) talks about that and says: "You know how close I was to the Messenger… He put me in his lap and hugged me – like a mother who holds her child in her lap – and made me sleep in his bed, touch his body, and smell his beautiful scent. He used to chew the food and give it to me to eat. He never found me tell any lie – when I talk, I only talk truthfully – or do a wrong deed, Allah has commissioned one of His greatest angels to Muhammad (p.) to teach him, night and day, both: supreme morals and knowledge – Allah raised the Prophet (p.) and educated him – I was always with him, following him as a baby camel follows his mother – thus, Allah used to teach the Prophet (p.) and Ali (a.s.) would follow his (p.) lead and consider him to be his role model –

teaching me a new moral everyday, and order me to follow his lead. He used to go each year to the cave of Hira, where I could be the only one to see him. In those days, not one house had in it three people who met on Islam, except that of the Messenger (p.), which embraced the Messenger of Allah, Khadija, and me, where I could see the light of the revelation and smell the scent of prophethood."

The virtue of not worshipping idols

One of his (a.s.) virtues is that he was one of the first to embrace Islam and that he never prostrated to an idol. That is why, when the Sunni Muslims talk about the Imam, they say: May Allah bless his countenance, which is a very honorable description, since it refers to the fact that Allah has blessed his countenance by making him not prostrating to any idol. Ibn Abi Al-Hadid says: what can I say about a man who is ahead of all people in embracing guidance, who believed in Allah and worshipped Him, at a time all people on earth worshipped stones…He was not preceded by anybody, except the one who preceded all to every good, Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (p.).

Sleeping in the Prophet's bed

Among his virtues, too, is his readiness to sacrifice himself for the cause of Islam, like when he slept in the Prophet's bed on the night of Hijra, although that he knew that he could be killed. Actually, this is what the Prophet (p.) told him. But he asked the Prophet: "But will not you be saved"? When the Prophet said yes, he answered: "Then go in guidance. I do not care if death comes to me or I go to death". He also was directed by the Prophet(p.) to return all trusts and debts, and to make arrangements for the departure of Fatimas (his own dear daughter, Fatimah, and Fatimah, the daughter of Asad, and Fatimah, the daughter of Zubayr). The Prophet chose Ali for such an errand because he was sure of his competence and courage, and the Imam actually executed what he was ordered with unmatched bravery and competence. His position and his virtues were further demonstrated when the Prophet (p.) told him in the course of fraternizing between the Muhajireen (immigrants) and the Ansar (supporters): "You are my brother in this world and in the other world". You are the one who represents brotherhood in its fullest and deepest meaning.

Ali (a.s.) the champion of war and peace

Ali (a.s.) was the champion of Islam who took part in the wars of Muslims, killing in Bader half of those killed in the camp of the unbelievers, and taking part in killing the other half. He was also the champion of the battles of Uhud and Al-Ahzab, when the unbelievers attacked Al-Madina to put an end to Islam. Moreover, Amr Bin Abd Wid challenged the Muslims to fight him and the Prophet (p.) said: "Who would fight Amr, and I would guarantee that Allah would put him in heaven?" He repeated it three times, but no one answered the call except Ali (a.s.). The Messenger (p.) then gave him the permission and raised his hands and said: "O my Lord leave me not alone; and Thou art the best of inheritors".(21:89). Then he added: "Islam in its entirety has risen to fight unbelief in its entirety". The entire Islam was embodied at the moment in Ali and his victory was a victory of Islam, just as the defeat of Amr was a defeat of unbelief.

Ali (a.s.) killed Amr, and he was given a medal by the Messenger (p.) who does not talk out of his whims but out of revelation. He said: "The strike of Ali on the day of Al-Khandak is equal to the worship of both jinn and humans." He was also the champion of the battle of Khaibar, whom Allah opened the castle by his (a.s.) hands. The Prophet (p.) had sent other leaders before him, but they came back feeling too afraid. Only Ali (a.s.) was able to pluck the door of Khaibar, and he was the one who said: "By Allah I did not pluck the door of Khaibar by any physical force, but rather by a Divine one."He was the champion of Islam in all the Prophet's battles, and he stayed with him day and night. The Prophet used to tell him about all the revelations that were revealed to him. It was for this reason that the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (a.s.), frequently said: "Ask me before you lose me... Ask me about the Book of Allah, for by Allah, there is no verse about which I do not know whether it was sent down at night or during the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or in a mountain".

The Messenger used to make sure that the people knew Ali's position in all its aspects. He used to say: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate", and: "Whoever I am his master, then Ali is his master". And also: Ali is with the Quran and the Quran is with Ali, they will not separate until they come to me in Heaven". He also said: "Whoever wants to see Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his piety, Ibrahim in his prudence, Musa in his solemnity, Issa in his devotion, then he should look at Ali Bin Abi Talib. And when he wedded him to his daughter, he told him: "Allah has wedded you to her in heaven, before I wedded you to her on earth, and had it not been for Ali, there would have been no match for Fatima."

Ali's Jihad

Ali (a.s.) has dedicated himself to Allah and Islam. That is why he sacrificed everything and was able to tolerate everything for the cause of Islam. None of the companions was equal to him. And that is what Al-Khalil bin Ahmad Al-Frahidi said when he was asked: "why do you prefer Ali (a.s.)? He said: "He needs nobody and everybody needs him, proving that he is the Imam of everybody". He used to stand in submission and explain to God the reasons that made him accept to become a caliph, and say: "O God… you know that I did not seek to engage in any struggle for power or money or such national benefits men might be tempted to acquire, but to defend God's religion and seek justice and reform in God's land, so that the wronged and the backtrodden will feel safe and your laws will be observed… I was the first to be called for Islam and the first to respond to the call. No one has preformed prayers before me except God's Messenger."He used to talk with the Muslims who were suffering from the strife in their societies, saying to them: "Be in strife like the baby camel that can neither be ridden nor milked." He also used to say: "I will keep the peace as long as the affairs of Muslims are secure and the only injustice befalls on me", because my cause is not personal but Islamic.

He also says explaining the significance of enjoining good and forbidding evil: "All deeds of charity, in addition to the struggle for the cause of Allah, are like a blow in a wave when it comes to enjoining good and forbidding evil." He added that enjoining good and forbidding evil, do not shorten one's life nor lessen his wealth, "even better than that is a word of truth before an unjust ruler." He also said: "Avoid that Allah sees when you disobey Him and misses you when you should obey him. You will be a loser. If you are strong, be strong in obeying God and if you are weak, then be weak in disobeying Him." Asked about what the good is, he said: "It is not that you have a lot of money and children, but to have a lot of knowledge and a big sense of tolerance and prudence. It is to boast by your worshipping of Allah. If you do well, you would thank Allah. And if you do wrong, you would ask for His forgiveness. The good in this world is limited to two sorts of people: Those who have sinned and repented and those who hasten to do good."

Ali (a.s.): the teacher of generations

Ali is still among us. His lessons, thoughts, and closeness to Allah is still in us. That is why we cannot but love Ali, who is above love. And we cannot but bow before his infallibility. He is the one who is infallible in himself, his thought and all his life. His entire life was for the sake of Allah, whether in thought or in struggle or in obedience.

It is very painful and saddening for me that several people, Sheikhs and non-Sheikhs, claim that I believe that Ali (a.s.) is not infallible. Is there any rational man who respects his thought and understands Ali (a.s.) who could say that Ali(a.s.) is not infallible?! I have repeatedly said that if there were something more superior to infallibility, then it would be attributed to Ali. But they have permitted themselves to lie and to change what I had said.

I hope that Allah will guide them to the straight path. And I say that I have been tried, just like Imam Ali, with those who lie and change what has been said to suit their interests. But I say what the Prophet (p.) said to Allah: "If you are not angry with me, then I do not care".

The Second Sermon

Naturalizing the Palestinians

In occupied Palestine, the enemy continues its organized usurpation of the Palestinian land by its savage colonial expansion on the rest of this land in the West Bank, clarifying what the enemy's long term goals are. Actually the enemy is aiming at dividing the West Bank into two by a colonial strip that puts an end to the Palestinian state even before its birth, at a time when the enemy's Prime Minister is listening to further applauds by the Europeans and Americans, after he had spoken of what he called a Palestinian state. Moreover, it has become clear that the enemy is actually seeking to end the Palestinian cause on the ground and in reality.

At the same time, the visits of the American envoys to the region continue, aiming at setting the ground for the Arab countries to naturalize the Palestinians outside Palestine, as well as paving the way for the negotiations that might start after the Israeli scheme to end the state is executed. Eventually, according to the American-Israeli plot, the matter would turn into a reconciliation and normalization between the Arabs and their enemy, after taking the Palestinian people out of the picture and officially consecrating their displacement.

In the meantime, we are listening to what is coming out of the dialogue between Fatah and Hamas movements and to decisive Arab instructions saying that the Palestinians ought to seriously end their dialogue in the following few days. Moreover, we have noticed that the Arab agenda set for the inter-Palestinian dialogue is almost identical to the western agenda that wants the Palestinian to unite formally, in order to finally conclude the big settlement, in which the Arabs, as well as several Islamic countries, cry out saying: "if the people of the cause themselves have signed, what else is left for us other than signing?!

Warning the Palestinians

We warn the Palestinians in general, and namely the resistance and Intifada factions, that what is being plotted for them is much more dangerous than what took place in "Oslo" and in the previous agreements between the Arabs and the enemy. Therefore, they have to deal with the Arab and international situation with high caution and a continuous political follow-up as well as a strategic steadfastness on all the Jihadi and political fronts… At a time we confirm the necessity for the internal Palestinian unity, we emphasize that this unity ought to move in the line of preserving the flare of the resistance and the Palestinian cause without any concession. Moreover, the Arab and Islamic peoples ought to side with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian militant factions and support them with all potentials and capabilities, so that their liberation efforts would not go in vain being a victim of the Arab squandering and international excess, as well as defeatism at the level of the Islamic positions concerned with the cause and responsible for letting go of Jerusalem and its surroundings.

Building a national Iraq

Not far from Palestine, we are witnessing the American withdrawal from the Iraqi cities, as a result of the pressures exerted by the resistance and the insistence of the Iraqi people on not recognizing the occupation and not providing it with any opportunity to cement its hegemony and occupation. We say to the Iraqi people, with all its affiliations and parties, who proved that they are a people who long for freedom and liberation and reject any kind of occupation, that they should be well-aware of the current political plan and the coming hard and critical phase. Moreover, we are noticing that there is a kind of a link between the acceleration of the savage attacks targeting Iraqi civilians from Kirkuk in the north, to the capital, reaching the cities of the south, and the occupation's ambitions to stay in Iraq for a long time. Actually, several American officials explicitly declared the possibility of staying in Iraq for another ten years.

Therefore, I call on the Iraqi people and their noble resistance on the one hand, and the official Iraqi political authority on the other hand, to follow up the occupation in every single detail and not give it a space to make use of any political or security situation that the occupation itself might have created. I also call on the Iraqis, as well as the Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq, to work at all levels to protect and strengthen their unity that the occupation and the Takfiri parties have attempted to rip apart. Moreover, I call on them to start the real countdown to build the new sovereign national Iraq, through which all the calls for division and federalization collapse, launching the workshop of construction and political, economic, and social development at all levels.

Iran fails the enemy's schemes

On another level, the Islamic Republic of Iran surprised the world with its people's vitality and dynamism at the electoral and political levels and the freedom that was expressed in the streets, granting the Islamic regime a special and unique trait, not only in the region, but also at the international level. Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran managed, once again, to surprise the world with how fast it was able to contain the small problems caused by the freedom granted by this Islamic regime, permitting the legal objection on any odd electoral case, and giving the people the opportunity to express their objections in the streets, and later transparently declaring the results of the elections before the people.

All these are positive points scored by the Islamic regime that failed all the external attempts of penetration. Moreover, the Iranian leaders that represent the primary symbols of the Islamic movement, headed by the spiritual leader of the Revolution, Sayyed Al-Khamenei, and the Chairman of the State Expediency Council, Sheikh Rafsanjani, have adopted a decisive rhetoric that confirms the unity of the leadership on the line of the revolution. Every time this revolution steps out of a certain vital arena, it enters into another, not only at the field level, but also at the political, intellectual, and jurisprudential levels. The development in these levels is necessary to detect the points of weakness and turn them into points of strength, and detect the weakness that might hit certain lines of the regime and deal with it in a unifying spirit of dialogue, in which everyone participates to give the Islamic system more strength and efficiency; the thing which we want the entire Iranian people to take part in with awareness, unity, and openness.

The Lebanese government is made in "the outside"

In Lebanon, we notice that this country is greatly suffering from the savage indebtedness and worsening living crises, and is being hit by the high fuel prices especially the poor who are plenty in Lebanon, and is living in complete blackout amidst the heat of the summer. We also notice that Lebanon is being belittled by the acts of those who rejoice for the achievements of this leader or the other in a cheap method and do not even give a second thought to the assaults they commit against people's security, peace and lives, just like the celebratory gunfire in Beirut that followed Al-Dahyeh (the suburb) gunfire, which turned into killing bullets.

The odd thing about this Lebanon, the country of creativity and enlightenment as many like to call, or at least as we wish it would be, is that its affairs are always set in the Arab, regional, and international saloons, including the forming of the parliament and the government, and even at the level of nominating the ministers and several MPs. However, the Lebanese are still raising the slogans of freedom, independence, and sovereignty, while the feelings of devotion to the leaders still prevail over the feelings of respect to the country and its security, and the dignity of all its citizens. Moreover, after every human or civilization fall, everyone cries out glorifying the one and unified Lebanon that has turned into an idol worshipped only at the level of the political slogans, yet it remains a ball kicked around daily in the regional and international courts.

The people, who are still aware of this hypocritical political rhetoric that has turned into sectarian, confessional, and personal merchandise, are pleading everyone: Return to your senses, so that the people can restore their social security and peace that were violated over and over again and at every occasion. These people have offered you their votes in the elections and in every internal political episode, yet you have offered them nothing; no security or political, economic, and social stability; and even no plans to confront Israel. So, what is left for you to offer in the coming days, especially since the government formation has been drawn outside and all what is left for the Lebanese is to apply what has already been set out. Finally, we say: will you please show some political courtesy!                   

LEAVE A REPLY