|The Sayyed's Health and the Model|
Author: Nader Al-Matrouk
Almost a month ago, His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, was admitted to the hospital and received the appropriate treatment due to an urgent health condition. Consequently, several websites rushed to publish breaking news stating that the Sayyed has passed away, as if there lurks someone who cannot wait until he actually passes away! However, it must be noted that most of these websites did not belong to the black list of the notorious parties of Takfir and deviation – which are feeding, nowadays, on Jihad and fighting for the sake of Allah, as if they have just came across the concept of Jihad. Moreover, the news on the death of His Eminence was not circulated by those who exert every effort to prove that he [the Sayyed] has deviated and swerved from "the rightful sect". Actually, the rumor was launched by the ones who belong to certain liberal trends that cannot flourish except in ideological "sectarian" liberalism.
Many liberals and callers of enlightenment and rationalism are at ease with Fadlullah's thought and rhetoric; except those engaged in narrow projects and suffocating and suffocated slogans. These liberals are annoyed and alarmed by the intellect of the Sayyed, as well as the Sayyed himself, for they consider that his sayings and deeds expose them and unveil their thick masks under which they conceal their presumed neutrality, subjectivity, and independence of the opinion and thinking. Sadly, the ones who will not express any sorrow for the death of Sayyed Fadlullah – May God forbid – are not few, and the best proof on that is the increase in the "size" of the sectarian parasites, the prevalence of the phenomenon of inherited beliefs that are not supposed to be criticized and reviewed, and the expansion in the relations that are based on mutual interests between the religious and liberal forces on the one hand, and the dominant regimes and authorities in the Arab and Islamic world, on the other hand.
Actually, it is tragic that there is no Arab religious figure, belonging to the same school of thought and intellectual and jurisprudential orientation of the Sayyed, who has reached His Eminence's level of religious authority (Marja'iyyah). There are many enlightened and reformist religious scholars in Iran; however, after the demise of Sayyed Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr in 1980, and Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddine in 2002, Fadlullah might have become the one and only religious authority in the Arab world that symbolizes the Shiite reformist school with such transparency, boldness, and universality. There are several Arab scholars who belong to such a school in Lebanon, Iraq, the Arab Gulf and Morocco… however, the Shiite norm stipulates that the scholar should attain the highest degrees of knowledge – Jurisprudential Ijtihad,,, then becoming a Marja' that people emulate – in order to acquire such moral and social influence, and such symbolic significance that is linked to the line of the infallible Imam. But we should not despair, for things have never been better for the reformists throughout their history.
Reformists usually encounter two obstacles; the first is caused by the naive followers and the second by the smart enemies, yet Sayyed Fadlullah faced a third one; the obstacle of the promoting students, that he is not entirely responsible of, although he shoulders some of its repercussions. The reformist thought is always in need for a criticizing mentality, and a creative ability to confront what is old with what is new and come out with innovative patterns, references, and mechanisms. However, all that would lose its glamour once the student starts to receive his mentor's innovations and reforms with the mentality of promotion. Promotion is neither support, nor endorsement, nor acceptance, for it actually consecrates the mentality of alienation, rigidity of the thought, and indulgence in publicity rather than thorough examining and reconstruction. Promotion gradually drags the person to the state where he becomes a prisoner of slogans and personality cult, to the extent that it would become very difficult for him to move forward to another phase; a step which he would eventually forsake. Promotion does not go with reform, rather, it is against it, and all the reformists, whose thoughts and deeds were promoted, were not served right, let alone that this could be the worst oppression that might inflict them, be they dead or alive.