Stands >2006 Stands >The Stand of  Safar 21 1427H /March 21, 2006 A.D.

Who should apologize ?

Sayyed Fadlullah: The bright form of apology is the one that emerges from the official’s feeling that he did not serve the nation and the country, as he should have. It is not the apology for betraying the nation or denouncing its causes. Such a mistake will make the official lose his legitimacy.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: what is the philosophy of apologizing and what are its principles in the view of Islam?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said: According to the religious conception, apologizing is of a great value in that it expresses the regret for a behavior, a statement or an action. It also means deciding not to recommit the fault or the sin. Thus, God had praised those repentant who became aware of their mistakes and renounce their sins and faults. He had also given them the chance to regain His love and pleasure.

Both apologizing and repentance represent one of the roads of God's mercy, which recognizes the nature of man and takes into consideration his circumstances which may often defeat him and lead him to commit faults. No matter how man's faults and sins and great, God's mercy and forgiveness are not closed in front of man. It is stated in some Hadiths that: even Satan hopes that he will obtain God's mercy.

Although what we have said is true in principle, when discussing the details, it is necessary to talk about the conditions and principles of apologizing. Apologizing is basically due to a specific fault committed by a person. This fault may be sometimes associated either with God's rights or with people's rights.

In the first case it could be easy, for God forgives His servants for not fulfilling their duties towards Him, if they repent. But when it comes to the rights of the people repentance is not enough. It should be accompanied by returning what was been taken from them, or apologizing if the harm was moral as in backbiting and the like.

In the light of this the first condition for apologizing to the others is to correct the mistakes, and undo whatever harm has been done. Then the wrongdoer should repent to God and promise that he will never go back to do the same mistake again. The apology and repentance should be serious and honest so that it would purify the heart and correct any deviation in the action, and not some sweet words that aim at playing with the feelings of others, whether for promoting certain interests or yielding to curtain pressures. The rational and wise man especially the politician should study his words and actions quite well before he says or does anything so as with to commit what might call for apology.

In this case, the fault a politician or an official commits will not be personal only but it will also undermine the nation's interests and reputation. That is why Islamic traditions say: beware of he who hurts and then apologizes. The believer does not commit a mistake and then apologizes while the hypocrite does both everyday. Therefore, apologizing always is not something one is commended for. It is as expression of a wrong improvised or arbitrary conduct that requires man to apologize.

Moreover, the conduct of those who apologize for the arrogant for something they had done because the circumstances changed in their favor could not be considered as an acceptable kind of apology. It is kind of deceit, hypocrisy and renouncement of human values and the causes of the nation. It could well be a kind of betrayal, which means that the nation should be wary of such people and not go along with them in their new stands that might be based as their momentary desires or personal enmities and the like.

We know that recognizing one's faults is a virtue, which might be a result of the awakening of one's conscience. But it is naïve to hasten to believe those who committed crimes and killed innocent people have repented before the realities on the ground and the experiments prove it. Furthermore, they have to apologize to the nation and pay the price of suppressing it. The nation should not be so naïve as to accept their formal apology that is not accompanied by a change in conduct. What guarantee do we have that they will not send the nation to the same tunnel yet again.

The bright form of apology is the one that emerges from the official’s feeling that he did not serve the nation and the country, as he should have. It is not the apology for betraying the nation or denouncing its causes. Such a mistake will make the official lose his legitimacy.

The natural feeling for any official should be that he ought to call himself into account for any failure in doing his duty towards the nation and its issues or towards the wronged and the downtrodden. The official should not be apologizing for a wronging he has done but from his inability to undo the wronging committed by others.

The apology to the arrogant might in most cases constitute a crime, since it gives the latter another chance to continue to wrong and suppress the nation. And we have seen how the American Administration exploits any defeatism in the nation that might take the form of an apology to besiege new parts of the nation's world.

It is the current American Administration and those who preceded it that ought to apologize to the Arabs for the crimes they have committed, whether by supporting Israel or by usurping the nation's wealth, including it lands, destroying its potentials and killing in cold blood hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

The Jews who usurped Palestine, and continue to aggravate the tragedy of the Palestinians should also apologize and return the rights of the Palestinians.

Instead, they are using their huge media abilities and their political relations to force others to believe in the myths they fabricate and accuse all those who do not succumb of being anti – Semite.

In Lebanon, those who committed a crime against the country, whether by the wars they waged to serve others or by robbing public money and wasting all the opportunities they had to reform the political and economic situations… those are the ones who should apologize to the Lebanese. They should start by presenting a list of the crimes and mistakes they made. Then they should promise not to commit such acts again. They should also return the money they stole and give the new generation a chance to play a role in building the country. The losers should not be let to take part yet again in building the country, for Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: "The most evil minister, is the one who is a minister for the evil people before being your minister".