Home Archive Lectures Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.): The Pioneer of Islamic Cultural Upheaval

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.): The Pioneer of Islamic Cultural Upheaval

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, 3rd 1430 H. - June, 26th 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

The Imam of knowledge and dialogue

Allah says in his Glorious Book: "Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying". (33:33).

Imam Muhammad Bin Ali Al-Baqir (a.s.) is one of the Imams of this House. This Imam, who was born in the first of this month, the month of Rajab, had instituted a broad school of Islamic culture and sciences that covered all the fields of doctrine, theology, jurisprudence, Quranic interpretations, morals… etc, that was able to produce to the nation cultural and intellectual leaders and scholars.

It was this school that produced his son, Ja'afar As-Sadiq (a.s.), who filled the Muslim world with science, wisdom and philosophy, and who was the Imam of dialogue who did not mind to conduct a dialogue with anyone, regardless of his beliefs or deviations, since he represented the line of Islam which the Prophet (p.) came up with to lead the people out of the darkness of evil and ignorance, into the light of knowledge.

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) used to teach his students and companions to ask him. When he used to explain to them any Islamic idea in any field of Islam, he used to encourage them to ask him about the source of this idea: what it was based on and how the Quran discussed this idea. By doing this, he used to teach them two important attitudes:

First: That they have to ask about everything they do not know. Therefore, religious scholars ought not to be annoyed by any question people might ask about Islam, the Islamic law or any issue of life that Allah has guided the people on how to deal with. They should reply to every question and discuss all kinds of issues.

Secondly: He wanted his students and companions and all people to read and understand the Quran, so that it would be their guide and instructor in all their lives and at all times.

Testimonies of contemporary scholars

When we study the opinions of the Imam's contemporary scholars, we find that they used regard him very highly for his knowledge and piety. Ibn Sa'ad says in his book, "Tabakat": Imam Al-Baqir "was a pious scholar who enjoyed the trust of all Muslims", including those who did not believe in his Imamate.

He was also quoted by Abu Hanifa and other Imams of Muslim sects and scholars. Atta', one of the Tabi'een notable scholars, talked about the admiration, glorification, and humbleness the scholars felt towards the Imam [Al-Baqir], peace be upon him. He said: "I have never seen the scholars feeling inferior in front of another person. (However, I have seen them feeling inferior) before Abi Ja'afar (Al-Baqir), for they behaved humbly and modestly before him, they knew his status and knowledge, and learned from him. Although Al-Hakam Bin 'Uyayna was a great and old scholar, when I saw him with Al-Baqir, he was like the boy before the teacher; he was like a helpless bird." Muhieddine Annawawi says: "Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Al-Hussein, the Hashemite Qurashite, is known as Al-Baqir [the ripper] for he ripped open knowledge and inferred judgment. He is a venerable man of the second Muslim generation. He is a knowledgeable Imam unanimously agreed upon to be a man of dignity. He is adjudged as one of the religious authorities (fuqaha') and the Imams of Al-Madinah".

The guiding role of the Imams

Thus, we see that the Imams (a.s.) were admired and appreciated by all Muslims. They believed that the Imams have attained the highest level of knowledge and they used to go back to them and seek their guidance and knowledge. When we study the literature of Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.), we will find out that there is not any religious question whether in theology, doctrine, jurisprudence, hadith, Quranic interpretation… etc that he did not discuss. He used to sit with the people who came to visit him and leave no one without guiding, for the Imam believed that the knowledge he possessed was a trust Allah has entrusted him with.

Thus, the people used to ask him and he used to answer them, and if they did not, he would elaborate on a certain subject, even if they had no specific questions, for Allah has held all religious scholars responsible for educating people. When people come to them, they have to educate them on what draws them closer to Allah. It has been reported that Allah did not ask the ignorant to learn, except after He asked the scholars to teach, especially when innovations and heresies spread among the people. Therefore, the religious scholars ought to teach the Muslims and ensure that they are well-versed in Islamic culture, for Allah wanted the Muslims to learn their religion, as well as all fields of knowledge: "Are those who know and those who do not know alike? (39:09).

The morals and worship

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) considered the moral aspect to be an integral part of worship. He said: "The best of worship is the chastity of the belly and the genitals – those who do not eat or drink what is prohibited, and those who do not commit adultery or homosexuality are actually performing some of the best acts of worship – And there is nothing that Allah loves more than being asked – Allah wants His servants, if they need something or have fallen in a tragedy, to ask Him. He loves those who pray for Him and He has told them to ask for His help: "And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you". (40:60) – And there is nothing that changes what is going to happen, except supplication – Allah would not let something that is going to affect His servants, according to the natural laws happen, for He would answer the supplication of the servant who asks for His help – and charity would be the form of good to be rewarded the most quickly, while aggression is the form of evil to be punished the most quickly. It is one of the biggest flows; to see the flows of others that one does not see in himself, to order the people to do things he does not do, and to ask people to stop doing things he cannot stop doing." You cannot ask people to be honest and trustworthy, if you are neither pious nor honest or trustworthy.

Al-Asmai' reports that he heard the Imam say to his son: "My son! Do not be lazy – in doing good and in raising your level in this world and in the hereafter. Be always active in pursuing the great goals you are committed to –and do not get bored – from reading, learning and working – for they are the key to all evil: If you are lazy then you will not strive hard enough for the right – since laziness drives you to slackness – and if you are bored you will not be patient enough to attain the right."

Who are the Shiites?

Describing the traits of the Shiites, the Imam is reported to have said: "Ali's Shiites are those who help, love and visit one another, those who if they get angry, do not become unjust – they stay well-balanced and do not wrong the one whom they are angry with – and those who when pleased, would not overspend – they should be the well-balanced people who give every one his right – and those who would be a blessing to their neighbors and peaceful to those whom they deal with".

Ubaidallah Bin Al-Walid recalls that the Imam (a.s.) asked them once: "Does any of you put his hand in the other's pocket and take whatever he wants?" When we said "no", he said: "Then you are not our brothers as you claim". He (a.s.) also said: "Perfection is attaining a thorough knowledge of religion" – to attain a general Islamic culture and be a Muslim who lives Islam in his mind and heart and all his life and relations – being patient and enduring tragedies – Allah has given those who are patient the glade tidings of His peace and Mercy – and running their living affairs – managing their affairs in a way that they organize their needs so as not to need others. In his interpretation of the verse: "And you shall speak to men good words." (2:83), he said: "Tell others the best of what you like them to say to you."

Our Imams have taught us the authentic Islam and wanted us to be the vanguard that opens up on Islam and lives its values and calls the entire world to embrace Islam, which if they read from the Quran, the Prophetic Sunnah and the heritage of Ahl El-Beit, they would appreciate and embrace it. Therefore, we have to be concerned and interested with the wonderful civilized heritage the Members of the House have left us.

Peace be upon Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.), the day he was born, the day he passed away to his Lord, and the day he will be brought back to life.    

The Second Sermon

The deceiving peace

Some Arab officials have stated openly that the current phase is the most appropriate time to achieve what they call "peace" with the enemy's entity, having realized that they have reached a state of defeatism that made their regimes regard the enemy's extremist rightist government as a lifeline. In the meantime, the enemy's Prime Minister was very careful when he described the features of Palestinian "State" he is going to present to the Arab regimes, as a token of gratitude for their submissiveness and surrender. This state has already been described by a Zionist writer as merely an "industrial zone".

Therefore, the regimes' view of the so-called "peace process" is becoming clearer gradually, for Israel is carrying out, nowadays, the widest Judaization operation of Jerusalem, knowing that it had already started calling for bids to sell the properties of the Palestinian refugees in the 1948 Palestine…Moreover, the ongoing settlement activities are actually accelerating to entirely change and alter the image of Jerusalem and the West Bank…It must be noted that enemy's Minister of War flew from Egypt to Palestine to issue permissions for building 300 new colonial housing units. Despite that, the Arab regimes are looking forward for a peace that puts an end to the Palestinian cause and through which the enemy expands its colonization fist to the 1967 occupied lands, realizing its dream of the Jewish state, which "Hertzel" talked to the Jews about, saying: "if you want, it will not be just a legend."

We listen to the enemy's Minister of War talking, from one of the Arab capitals, about working to achieve "a comprehensive regional peace settlement that paves the way for talks with the Palestinians, as well as with Syria and Lebanon". We also listen to the Israeli media talking about ten points that settle the differences between Hamas Movement and the Palestinian Authority, and according to which the Palestinian elections would be conducted followed by the opening of the crossing points towards Gaza. Upon hearing all this, we have to realize that they are not concerned with enhancing the Palestinians' situation that hit rock bottom, but rather with investing their difficult situations and making them a part of the weary and exhausted Arab situation. This situation was evident in the statement of the Arab Foreign Ministers, in their last meeting, in which they confirmed that they are ready to do all what is necessary to support the American movement in the region. As a result, the Israeli-American settlement would emerge in its new form. The refugees would be dispersed all over the world and others would be naturalized in the Arab neighboring countries, and Israel would penetrate into the Islamic and Arab pivotal positions, and the collaborating world would applaud for the "historic accomplishment" that would realize the dreams of "Hertzel" and the expectations of Ben Gurion, and the Arabs would receive more medals and Nobel prizes to the detriment of the slain Palestinian people.

The American trap

We warn that all what is taking place in the backstage, as well as the shuttle movement of the American envoys in the region, aim at ending the Palestinian cause for good, deceiving the naïve people of the Arab and Islamic world, legitimizing the occupation and providing it with all kinds of facilities, all under the title of "peace"… Moreover, these aims include besieging the resistance factions, ending the liberation movements, and putting a disastrous end to the purest cause and the most obvious state of oppression whose tragedies were witnessed by the world for more than a century, i.e. since Hertzel declared in Basel, Switzerland: "the Zionist state was founded in Basel, and it will be established in exactly fifty years."

The Arab peoples and unity

We call on the Arab and Muslim peoples that were besieged with wars of strife and worn out by occupation and security chaos, and civil wars that extend from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, to Iraq…We call on them – although we realize how enormous are the pressures exerted on them – to take a decisive unifying stand and retrieve their internal solidarity by embracing their central cause – in which Palestine and Jerusalem constitute major elements – and strive to prevent, on all levels, the unjust arrogant world from dominating over the entire region, once it is granted the Arab and Islamic permission, to hand over the historic Palestine, the Arab and Islamic Palestine to the Jewish occupiers.

It brings about sorrow and sadness that the arrogant attack against the nation and Palestine has reached this horrifying level, at a time when the self-destruction machine in Somalia continues to further sink the country in a sea of blood, which might lead to a new stage of arrogant interventions in its internal affairs…At the same time, the spiteful Takfiri machine continues to run in Iraq, extending its crimes to a peaceful Turkmen village in the Kirkuk Province, by means of a truck loaded with explosives, resulting in the death and injury of 300 poor downtrodden people who lost their beloved children, women, elderly, and youth. Moreover, this operation represents a genocide whose brutality and atrocity are more like those of the genocide operations carried out by the Israeli enemy against the people in occupied Palestine and Gaza strip, and the Americans against the farmers and the downtrodden people in Afghanistan.

Sectarian spite in Iraq

Although this spite has been demonstrated in several locations in Iraq, especially in As-Sadr city, where the last explosion took the lives of tens of its citizens, the aim behind the crime in Kirkuk was to incite racial fanaticism, on the one hand, and sectarian fanaticism on the other hand. Moreover, the crime aimed at further weakening the Iraqi internal front for the benefit of the American occupiers who make use of such crimes to ensure a new fertile ground for them to keep their forces in the Iraqi cities.

At a time when we realize how much beneficial these crimes are for the occupier, we wonder why the Muslim religious scholars have not yet issued denouncement and condemnation statements, especially from the unifying positions that are concerned with the unity of the Muslims. What had happened represents the most hideous act of genocide and annihilation of children and civilians, of the kind that Islam had promised to avenge to, from the perpetrators.

Iran passes the test

On another level, Iran has come out of an internal test imposed by the tense electoral competition and the freedom of movement provided by the Islamic system with some internal instability. As a result, Iran turned, in some of the pictures that the western media, as well as a few of the Arab media, have captured from inside the Iranian streets and continuously broadcasted and circulated them, into an object that is subjected to analyses and debates and a "tragedy" on which the westerners shed their tears. They also express their concern on the ongoing developments and the popular and democratic experience in the Iranian street, although they actually support the most oppressing dictatorships in the region. Nevertheless, they did not even bother themselves to issue a single word of denouncement against the massacres perpetrated by the enemy in Gaza, or the big operation conducted by the Western media, via its major institutions and agencies, to cover up the Palestinian holocaust executed by Israeli hands in Gaza.

We want the Iranian people that learned from this experience how much the arrogant world is eager to destroy their revolution and fail their state… We want them to strive to reunite their popular and political parties, and embark on dressing the wounds by feeling the severity of the external attack against them. The Israeli President provided the best expression on how severe this attack is, for he said: "it is hard to know what will come to an end in Iran first; the enriched Uranium or the miserable regime. We hope that it is the regime that comes to an end."

As a response, the Iranian people should say: "what will come to an end is the evil, and what will continue to exist is the good and the truth. Israel is the evil represented by its most hideous images, while Iran is the good and the truth represented by its live and scientific experiments, as well as its stand against the arrogant and in support of the resistance and liberation factions. So, Iran will stay and, Allah willing, the enemy will cease to exist."

International division of Lebanon

 As for Lebanon which overlooks the region through its "miraculous" democracy as was evident in its latest elections which reinvigorated sectarian and partisan fanaticism, it is once again a victim of the game of regional and international division of shares, which are internally guised under national pretexts. Nevertheless, they are the product of regional and international influences, as well as that of the Arab moderate and opposition fronts. Thus, the Lebanese situation is rather exceptional in that it was a victim of the internal, Arab, Muslim and international differences, but it would again pay the price of the Arab and Muslim reconciliations or understandings that are supervised by the international powers that want Lebanon to form its parliament or cabinet in harmony with the general outline that is being drawn for the region by the international powers.

I would like to "congratulate" the Lebanese for their electoral experiment and for the debates whose level rises or calms down, as a result of regional and international advice. I would also like to "congratulate" them on all these understandings whose details are drawn outside but are declared in the country. We hope that the Arabs and Muslims may eventually help them in being relieved from the burden of 50 billion Dollars in debt, provided that the Arabs still have some money to pay having been struck by the international economic crisis and having spent lots of their money in arms deals that are not expected to be benefited from in liberating the land and the people.       

Prohibited shooting

Once again, we face the phenomenon of backwardness, which turned into a crime that kills people and disturbs their security and peace of mind, through the hysteria and craziness that shake the streets and break into the houses, when people start firing upon every occasion in which a certain official is elected or a certain political or sectarian leader speaks.

We have previously warned that this phenomenon of backwardness is not only legally Haram, but also represents a cold-blooded murder. This requires a swift action from the state and the officials, as well as everyone who is capable of preventing these people from going far in their crimes, killing people, intimidating children, and disturbing the civil and social peace, as well as the general order. In any way, we should not remain silent concerning this issue, nor should we accept that it is repeated or cover up its repercussions. Rather, we ought to punish the perpetrators of these crimes and do everything possible at the political, popular, and legal levels to make sure that they are not repeated in the future.  

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