Friday Lecture > The responsibility of the word
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The responsibility of the word

Date: 17/10/2018 A.D | 8 Saffar 1440 H

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons, at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque,, Safar 3, 1440 H. October 12, 2018.  Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is an edited  text of the first (religious ) sermon:


In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful

Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book:O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.

The gift of the tongue

One of the most importantgraces that Allah, The Most Exalted, bestowed on man, and one we should be thankful for,is the ability to express ourselves through speaking or writing.

To know the importance of this gift, it is enough to imagine what we would be like without it, or watch those who cannot speak or write andreflect on the difficulties they have to endure.

The ability to express ourselves or to speak plays a fundamental role in our lives, for through it one expresses his feelings, grievances, ideas and views… It is the means by which we communicate with others that would otherwise have been difficult.

But the value of this gift and the way we thank God for it lies in benefiting from it to spreadlove and good among people and enjoin good and forbid evil and stand with the right and justice as well all what benefits the individuals and the society.

The effect of the word

In case it is not invested for the good, this gift will turn into a vice and a problem to both its holder and the people who receive it, once it turns into a tool to spread strife and hate or create tensions and spread corruption and deviation and frustrate those who support the causes of justice and freedom.

These repercussions were aggravated with the development of the media, which eliminated all theplace and time barriers before words.The effects of words in this age no longer reachonly those,the one who said them wishes, but extends to those whom he did not expect or want.  In this respect, Imam Ali (a.s.) says:“words are under your control as long as you do not utter them yet, but when you utter them you will be under their control.”  The Prophet(p.) also talked about the consequences of the words, saying :“Verily, one of you speaks a word pleasing to Allah without realizing what he has achieved, so Allah decrees his satisfaction with him until the day he meets Him. And one of you speaks a word displeasing to Allah without realizing what he has committed, so Allah decrees his displeasure with him until the day he meets Him...”That is why when Imam Ali (a.s.) was asked ': What is the best thing that Allah has created?' He (a.s) said, 'Speech.'He was then asked, 'What is the worst thing that Allah has created?' He said, 'Speech.' Then he said, 'With speech faces are whitened [illuminated], and with speech faces are blackened.

When TheProphet(p.) was asked if we are blamed for what we speak, he said: “Truly, it is the people's harvest of their tongues which throws them on their faces - or said their noses - down into the Hell-fire”.

  A strict  supervision

That is why Allah, The Most Exalted, wants us to watch over our tongues very carefully. Man should be responsible of the words he says, and when we learn that Allah, The Most Exalted, hears all the words we say and that they will be recorded by the two angels who record our deeds we would become more careful of what we say, for Allah is the witness Who will hold us accountable for our speech:“Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record]”.On a Day when their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.

That is why when Imam Ali (a.s.) saw a man talking freely without taking the results of his talking into consideration, he said to him:“O you! You are dictating to the Keeping Angels a record that will be taken by your Lord. You therefore should say only that which concerns you and should leave that which does not concern you”.

He also said :“This tongue is the key to all good and evil, so a believer must seal his tongue like he seals his gold and silver”.

If one is aware of this observation, and believers are, he should be very careful of what he says, and does not say anything before he thinks thoroughly about it.  This attribute has been considered a distinguishing trait between the believers and others. That is why the Hadith says: “Indeed, the believer's tongue is behind his heart, and the heart of the hypocrite is behind his tongue”.

The believer does not utter any word before he thinks about it. In this respect, some of the Companions used to put pebbles in their mouths, to ensure that they would not say anything before they think about it and that it will not cause any problem for them in this life and that they will be able to defend itin the Hereafter.

Some also used to write what they wanted to say to review it or ask others to do, to make sure that it was truthful and does not have negative effects.

 A road map

The heavenly religions have drawn a road map to what man should say: It forbade calumny, slander, backbiting, defamation and offending people’s honor … as well as nicknaming and ridiculing and vain talk … and considered them major sins that lead man to hellfire. They did not only hold man responsible for what he says, but also of any harm to the individual ,the community, the nation and the causes they might cause . Allah, The Most Exalted, says:“indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register”.And we always remember the Hadith that says that in the Hereafter the man would be brought a bottle of blood and told :this is your share of the blood of a certain man. Then when he says that he did not kill or wound anybody, he will be told: but a word had come out from you which you said without thinking about the consequences that led to the killing or to strife.

The effect of good words

Moreover, Islam in its legislation did not only forbid  prohibited speech , it also called for calling to spread good , love, feeling of responsibility  … The Quran says: “No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people”.  It also says :“And tell My servants to say that which is best”. And by what is best it is meant the word that does not provoke others and leaves a good effect even when you differ in opinion:“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins”.

Dear loved ones:

Our reality, which is overwhelmed by tensionsand fanaticism is in a dire need for the wise and carefully studied words that address the hearts and reach the minds surpassing all kinds of fanaticism .

Let us remember His saying: “Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded

And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability”.

second sermon:

In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful

  Worshippers of Allah: I advise you and I advise myself to listen  what Imam Zein Al-Abidien (a.s.) said regarding the  commitment to the rights of the tongue:

It  is  the  right  of  the  tongue  that  you  should  consider  it  too respectable   to   utter   obscene   language;   and   you   should accustom   it   to   good   (speech),   and   discipline   it   with   good manners,  and  keep  it  silent  except  in  time  of  necessity  and  for spiritual  and  material  benefit,  and  keep  it  away  from  useless talk  which  may  cause  much  harm  with  little  benefit;  and  you should be kind to people and say good things about them”.

The tongue that we use to express our needs and thoughts  has a right on us and we have a responsibility towards it : Its right is to make it abstain from any harm and only speak what is  right and good, so that we will not become the reason of its misery  In the Hereafter . The Hadith says: “God will assign a certain punishment for the tongue which is more severe than the torture for any other part of the body. And when the tongue asks why it will be told: Because a word came out from you that reached the four corners of the earth and led to bloodshed, plundering of money… certain words might create fire in the heart and a tyrant’s words cause strife and various kinds of disasters.”

Let us watch over what we say and make sure that our tongues say only what is good. When we do that we will not hurt it and it will not hurt us and we will become more capable of facing challenges.

 Lebanon: the threat of collapse

We begin by Lebanon, where the Lebanese are being confused between the good news that the government is going to be formed soon as a result of internal and external factors, that are followed by bad news that indicate that the government is not to be formed in the coming few days, for all parties have held to their positions and they are not ready to offer mutual concessions and that the external interferences have not yet reached the level of producing solutions.

In the meantime, the country’s social and economic crisis is aggravating and the talk about a critical economic deterioration as well as increasing external pressures imposed by regional developments and “Israeli” threats that ought to be taken seriously is growing.

Faced by this situation, we renew our call to the political parties to shoulder their ethical and national responsibility to get the country out of the dark tunnel by hurrying up in forming a government which should start working immediately; a government that can lift the burdens off this country.

It is both painful and regretful that the differences that hinder the formation of the government are not associated with critical issues that have to do with the fate of the country. Rather, it is because the political parties are taking the matter lightly andmaking the fate of the country dependent on one more ministeror portfolio to this or that partywhich in the current circumstances  is virtually a national crime.

It is about time that political parties should shoulder their responsibilities towards the people who trusted them and they should know that this confidence could be lost. However the change the citizens seek will not occur as long as the politicians feel that they can control the people who will not object when they should but only when they are told to.

That is why we view positively any move to face this intractable situation.Thus, we laud The General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, The Economic Bodies and the Free Professions Syndicate raising their voice and call on them to take effective steps that are not subjected to any instantaneousness considerations.

The generators and the State’s incompetence

As for the electricity generator meters, and while we were somewhat optimistic regarding the organization of the relationship with the owners, we do not want, in view of the conditionsthat were made and the confusion the state experienced in laying down the solution that protects the people from the illegitimate and unjustified exploitation, the Government to back down and appear as unable to relief the suffering of the people  that is the result of the greed of a few individuals who refuse to cut even a small portion  of their huge illegal profits.

The Idlib agreement

In Syria, we hope that the Idlib agreement whose first steps are  being implementedwould act asthe preludefor a final military-security agreementin the country which awaits more complicated problems regarding politicalaccord , the  rebuilding of the state , reconstruction and social  cohesion .

We want everyone in Syria to review what has happened and what is going on, and put the confrontation with the Zionist enemy at the top of their priorities especially that its prime minister says that they will continue their raids. The Syrians should stop their war of attrition and internal strife that they have paid a dear price for.

The invincible Palestine

 As for the last heroic operation by a Palestinian youth in Nablus , a slam on the face of the occupation that continues its  inhuman killings, arrest and siege, it proves that the Palestinians will not   be subdued despite all its attempts to create a Jewish national state or making Jerusalem its capital are futile. 

The significance of this operation lies in that it says to the enemy that the new Palestinian generation which it thought it domesticated is the one who is continuing the struggle, declaring that the Palestinian people will never yield or surrender.

As we laud  this high spirit of struggle, we emphasize that the Arabs and Muslims should shoulder their responsibility towards the Palestinians and their cause, for every failure for the enemy inside Palestineincreases the immunity of the Arab and Muslim countries and vice versa.

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