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Imam Ali: The Everlasting Role Model

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, Ramadan, 22nd 1430 H. - September, 11th 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

 

The beginning of the Month of Shawwal

Before I begin the Friday Sermons, I would like to explain some points regarding the issue of Eid Al-Fitr:

All our studies of the accurate astronomical calculations, which could not be mistaken according to experience and the people of knowledge, have confirmed that the beginning of the month of Ramadan was on Friday. Other religious authorities had other views, which we respect. As for the Eid, we have announced yesterday that the Eid is on Sunday, September the 20th, since Saturday is the day that completes the month of Ramadan. And I believe that a lot of Muslim astronomers, who are already talking about the crescent, ensure that Sunday is the first of the month of Shawwal, since it is impossible to see the crescent in any place in the world, and it may even be difficult to see it on Saturday evening in Iraq, the Gulf, and Iran. That is why many religious authorities will consider that the Eid is on Monday. But we are positive, based on juristic evidence, that Sunday is the day of the Eid, and therefore it is prohibited to fast on that day. We ask Allah to return it on the Arabs and Muslims with His blessings, good, and victory. This is what I liked to explain to you, as I owe it to God.

The virtue of knowledge

Allah, the Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book: "Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful." (39:09), and: "O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge."(20:114). Thus, when Allah talks about the unbelievers, He describes them as those who have no knowledge. "And those who have no knowledge say: Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us?" (02:118). He emphasizes that the problem of the idolaters before Islam was a problem of lack of knowledge. Thus, had they known, they would have believed.

Islam that came through Allah's revelation and the Sunnah of His Prophet embarked on changing the entire world from the state of ignorance to the state of knowledge, and considered knowledge as the greatest virtue that everyone should possess. It is knowledge (science) that enables us to know Allah, His Messenger, and the Message. It is also what enables us, through the mind, to plan for our life and to distinguish between good and evil, or wrong and right. Allah has stressed on the role of the mind and wanted human beings to develop their minds "Only those possessed of understanding will mind." (13:119), and describes some of the deviators as: "They have hearts with which they do not understand." (07:179). They follow the ignorant and their ignorant views.

The difference between Islam and Jahiliya (times of ignorance before Islam) is that Islam wanted to take people out of this state of ignorance into the scientific mentality. That is why He said: "Is it then the judgment of (the times of) ignorance that they desire? And who is better than Allah to judge for a people who are sure?" (05:50). And we have a saying that both Shiites and Sunnis narrate: "When Allah created the mind, He told it, come and it came; then He told it, go and it went. Then the Almighty said: by My glory and magnificence, I have not created a creation better than you. It is you whom I order and I forbid; it is by you that I reward and I punish."

That is why we say that Allah sent the Prophet as a Messenger when he was forty years old. He sent him after his mind was mature and developed, and after He had given him the knowledge that enabled him to open up on the people's minds, so that they would benefit from it in their life and actions.

In order to expand Islam in the entire world, as well as running the affairs of Muslims, we believe that the minds of those in charge of them should be the best minds, and they should be so knowledgeable that they would guide the people to what improves their affairs and develops their awareness, since the role of the Prophet and the Imam who would succeed him is to make the Islamic reality a civilized one based on creative and profound science and knowledge.

Ali: The heir of the Messenger

That is why the Messenger (p.), as commanded by Allah, chose Ali (a.s.) to be his successor. Ali (a.s.) was the most knowledgeable among the companions. There was no match for him, let alone someone who could have been better, for he has been taught all what Allah has revealed to the Messenger (p.). The Imam (a.s.) says: The Messenger of Allah has taught me one thousand chapters of knowledge – he lived all his life with the Messenger both as a child and as a youth. He did not leave him whether at day time or at night. The Messenger (p.) conveyed to him (a.s.) all what Allah has revealed and inspired to him (p.), as well as all the legislations He wanted the people to abide by. And Ali was able to grasp all this, for he was not merely a narrator, but he used to listen to the Hadith and expand its horizons – from each chapter a thousand chapters are opened to me. Ali was the most knowledgeable among the companions and we cite along with some Sunni sources the Hadith of the Messenger (p.) that says: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate".

Therefore, if we want to understand the Messenger (p.) and his heritage in its purity, we should go back to Imam Ali (a.s.), for the Messenger (p.) says: "Ali is with the Right and the right is with Ali; and it turns with him wherever he turns".  Thus, there could be no falsehood between Ali and the Right, and those who commit falsehood or follow leaders of falsehood and claim to follow Ali are not truthful, since the nearer to falsehood they are, the further they get from Ali.

Ali's position

Imam Ali talks about the position he has reached and his relationship with the Messenger. He says: "Those companions of Muhammad who were the custodians (of divine messages) know that I never disobeyed Allah or His Messenger (p.) at all, and by virtue of the courage with which Allah honored me, I supported him with my life on occasions when even the brave turned away and feet remained behind, instead of proceeding forward. When the Prophet died, his head was on my chest, and his (last) breath blew over my palms and I passed it over my face. I performed his (funeral) ablution, and the angels helped me. The house and the courtyard were full of them. One party of them was descending and the other was ascending. My ears continually caught their humming voice, as they invoked Allah's blessing on him, till we buried him in his grave. Thus, who can have greater rights to [succeed] him than I, during his life or after his death? Therefore depend on your intelligence and make your intentions pure in fighting your enemy, because I swear by Him, who is such that there is no god but He, that I am on the path of truth and that they (the enemy) are on the misleading path of wrong. You hear what I say; and I seek Allah's forgiveness for myself and for you."

The Imam's will of testimony

Imam Ali (a.s.) says to the people who possess some knowledge: "Whoever knows something should apply it, for knowledge calls on work to respond, or else knowledge would go away." He (a.s.) also tells us about his level of education: "I have hidden knowledge; if I disclose it, you would start trembling like ropes in deep wells." 

The Commander of the Faithful also teaches us how to deal with strife, for he (a.s.) says: "So now, praise and eulogy be to Allah. O' people, I have put out the eye of strife. No one except me advanced towards it when its gloom was swelling – i.e. its gloominess and waves representing its extension and comprehensiveness – and its rabidity was intense – rabidity is dog madness – Ask me before you miss me – which is what all scholars should do; that is, to respond to all the people's inquiries. We ought to learn from the Imam how to bear people's responsibilities on our shoulders to teach them and elevate their positions – because, by Allah, who has my life in His hands, if you ask me anything between now and the Day of Judgment or about the group who would guide a hundred people and also misguide a hundred people, I would tell you who is announcing its march – who is calling for it – who is driving it in the front and who is driving it at the rear, the stages where its riding animals would stop to rest and the final place of stay, and who among them would be killed and who would die a natural death. When I am dead and hard circumstances and distressing events befell you, many persons in the position of asking questions would remain silent with cast down eyes, while those in the position of replying would lose courage. This would be at a time when wars would descend upon you with all hardship and days would be so hard on you that you would feel them prolonged because of hardship, until Allah would give victory to those remaining virtuous among you."

Moreover, the Imam guides us to the Quran and how to deal with it; which is a will to all the people and the entire life: "Learn the Quran for it is most superb of discourses, and understand it thoroughly for it is the wellspring of the hearts. Seek the cure from its beacon for it is the remedy for the hearts. Recite it well for its narration adorns you with so much benefit. Certainly, a scholar who does not apply his knowledge – his conduct is different from his knowledge – is like the straying ignorant who finds no relief from his ignorance, but on the learned the plea of Allah is greater and the grief more incumbent, and he is more blameworthy before Allah – i.e more blameworthy on himself for he could not find any excuse to be accepted or rejected."

I will conclude with Imam Ali (a.s.)'s will of testimony to his sons, Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein (a.s.), and to whosoever "receives this message". After he (a.s.) was stabbed by Ibn Muljam, he said: "My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world even if it seduces you – do not be indulged in it even if is seduces you to do so – do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth – let your words be ones of right in all your calls, slogans, and causes – work for the next world – work to attain closer positions to Allah – Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed… I advise you, and all my children, my relatives and whosoever receives this message – we are among those who did receive his message – to be conscious of Allah and to run your affairs well – preserve the society's order, as well as its interests and causes in both, war and peace – and to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (p.), say: "reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting" – the recommended prayers and fasting – Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests amidst yours…Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet (p.) often recommended them to you; so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance. Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it. Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion. Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. If you should do that, you would abandon your dignity. Persist in Jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue. Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that, the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response – then he speaks to his closest people –O children of Abdul Muttaleb! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam was assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death – in Islam, there is no discrimination in punishment. Who is greater than Imam Ali (a.s.) after the Prophet, yet he orders his people not to kill the people or tribe of his assassin! –If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! – do not cut his hands and feet – I have heard the Prophet (p.) say: "Mutilate not even a rabid dog.""

Dear beloved ones, this is Imam Ali (a.s.) who loved Allah and His Messenger (p.) and was loved by Allah and His Messenger (p.). He dedicated himself to Allah, so we could not but love him with all our hearts and minds. He is infallible in his thought, work, and governance. To follow Imam Ali (a.s.) is to follow the Messenger of Allah (p.) and to follow Allah: "Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow." (05:55).

Peace be upon Imam Ali (a.s.) the day he was born, the day he was martyred, and the day he will be brought back to life.

The Second Sermon

 

Palestine: Colonization activities increase

In occupied Palestine, the enemy continues to embark on constructing more settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank, at a time that witnesses the continuity of the official fuss on the American plot that the American President carries its titles in the speech he is supposed to deliver at the end of this month at the UN General Assembly.

Moreover, the colonization settlements are increasing, for the enemy has declared that it is working on building five hundred new settlements, at a time it appears that the problem according to the American Administration does not lie in the fact of constructing more settlements, but rather in disclosing the increasing numbers; a fact that might embarrass certain Arabs and further expose them before their people.

What is actually taking place is an accelerating annexation to what is left of the Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Gaza. This will make the coming nominal Palestinian state sink in a sea of colonies, ending the hope of returning the Palestinian cause to the forefront, especially that the on-the-ground circumstances, international developments, and Arab signatures would, by that time, have already ended it. Thus, an entire page of the nation's history would have been folded initiating internal wars in the axes that the enemy had formed and on the internal front lines that the arrogant states have implanted – supported by whoever did support them – in the nation's internal fabric.

The International Community supports the Israeli occupation

Unfortunately, at a time the International Community, headed by the United States of America, works on covering up the act of completely ending the Palestinian cause, just as the enemy's Foreign Minister has crossed out the term Palestinian cause from his dictionary, declaring that it had already ended…In addition, there is also the talk that certain Arab states have promised the Americans to accelerate their steps of normalizing their ties with the enemy as soon as the negotiations that might result in the formal declaration on the Palestinian state of temporary borders, and completely crossing out the right of return are resumed.

I warn that the satanic scheme set in several locations in the West, along with the enemy's cooperation, is based on creating a huge fire inside the nation that accompanies the continuous work for establishing a humiliating settlement or one whose flames start burning after blowing the whistle declaring the initiation of the liquidation process to the Palestinian cause to submerge the region under sectarian seditions and internal conflicts that are meant to support the normalization wall and protect it from collapsing, and lay the foundations for consecutive collapses in the general Islamic and Arab structures.

Getting ready for confrontation 

Based on my religious responsibility, I call on the Palestinian people before anyone else to get ready for a new confrontation phase because they have proved that they are the only ones who can keep the flare of the cause burning. I also call on the Arab and Islamic peoples to present all kinds of support to the Palestinians to re-launch the resistance movement that had undergone the most hideous types of besiegement and a huge international conspiracy inside occupied Palestine and Gaza, as well as outside them.

At a time when we notice that the nation's body was overburdened with wounds caused by the occupation, internal seditions, and sectarian and partisan conflicts, we observe American, Israeli, and international attempts to make use of all that to hit the nation at its weakest points in order to drive it to surrender to its enemy and accept its defeat before it, in spite of all the major successes and victories accomplished against the Zionist project.

The nation has deviated away from the actual struggle

The pains inflicting the nation, whether at the level of the useless internal fighting, as is the case in Yemen, and the internal struggles and conflicts in Somalia or the criminal explosives targeting the innocent people and civilians and not the occupation in Iraq, and the continuous outrageous aggressions by the occupation in Afghanistan and the disdain of the civilians' lives persecuted by the American warplanes that kill and annihilate entire families under the pretext of war on terrorism, in addition to the tribal and societal divisions taking place in Sudan… All these facts form a part of the set plan and aim at wasting the nation's potentials in internal wars and conflicts, so that the enemies would succeed in passing their project that witnessed previous setbacks in order to replenish it through the bloods spilled by the moving strife here and there.

We warn that the enemies are preparing themselves and setting the schemes for new sectarian seditions that aim at further separating and dividing what is already separated and divided, in an attempt to deprive the nation of its remaining elements of strength. As a response, those who care for the nation ought to move fast and prepare themselves against all what they are facing.

Lebanon: A hostage of the outside

In Lebanon, we believe that what is happening in the country is an echo to what is happening in the region. The international plan seeks to circumvent any provisional solutions, while waiting to see how the big file of the Palestinian problem will unfold. Consequently, we do not rule out the possibility that some international parties have interfered in the local crisis, and hindered any progress, so that we will mark time as the situation in certain international positions ripens.

Some international axes have rediscovered that Lebanon can still be used as a bargaining chip as a means to pressurize regional axes. Thus, the international game is revitalized and several parties have gone back to play the role of a mediator between this or that state and its people. Moreover, these officials are no longer concerned with the interests of the homeland, and they only think about regional and international officials whom they seek their help to provide additional strength for their internal political activities and views.

We call on all parties to return to have the country at heart and to be concerned with their people and their issues. We call on them to adopt the language of reason and not that of emotional reactions that could lead the country to catastrophes. It will not protect those who use it, but rather it will leave the country open to current and future threats.

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