Home Friday Lectures The Knowledge and openness of Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.)

The Knowledge and openness of Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.)

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi'I 16,1441H/ November 15, 2019. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is an edited text of the sermons:

The First  sermon

In The Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book:{Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification},AllahThe Most Exalted, speaks the Truth.

On the seventeenth of the month of Rabi'I, we marked the birth anniversary of the sixth Imam, Jaafar bin Muhammad As-Sadiq (a.s.). Like all other Imams, As-Sadiqwas known by his piety,humbleness,and sublimemorals, giving in charity and loving people.

The Imam of Knowledge and openness

What distinguished this Imam was the huge number of stories that cited him in both religious and unreligious domains.Sheikh Al-Mufied says that his sayings and teachings in various sciences were spread in a way bigger than that of any other Imam. Moreover, in all his teachings and sayings he was expressing what the Messenger (p.) came up with and not a personal view or judgment. That is why he used to say:“My Hadith is that of my father whose Hadith is that of his father then his father; Imam Ali (a.s.) .The Hadith of Ali is that of the Messenger and the Hadith of the Messenger is that of Allah, The Most Exalted”.

The Imam taught a huge number of scholars of various Islamicsects. One of the companions of Imam Al-Rida(a.s.), Al-Hassan bin Ali al- Washa says: I entered the mosque and saw 900 Sheiks each saying: Jaafar bin Muhammad As-Sadiq told me. This distinction was not due to certain potentials that he alone possessed. Rather it was the political circumstances in his age that allowed himto show his vast knowledge, for his age was that of the struggle between the Umayyad and the Abbasids that they were preoccupied with.

The other salient trait that distinguished the Imam was his openness on the other Islamic sects. Perhaps the following story best demonstrates this trait:Caliph Abu Jafar Al- Mansouronce said to Abu Hanifa al-Numan: People have become so infatuated with Imam Jaafar As- Sadiq (a.s. ) and placed him far too highly in their esteem. Therefore, I want you to prepare some very difficult questions which you will put to him in my presence and in front of other scholars." Much as he loved Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (a.s.) and respected his scholarly achievement, Abu Hanifa al-Numan had no choice but to comply with the Caliph's request. Therefore, he prepared 40 such questions and waited for a call from the Caliph, which soon arrived. He went to him to find Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (a.s.) sitting with him as well as many other people. As he looked at Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (a.s.), he was in awe of him much more than of the Caliph. Al-Mansour asked Abu Hanifa al-Numan to put his questions to Imam Jaafar and he did, one by one. He answered all questions in detail. Needless to say, these were questions on issues subject to much controversy among scholars. Imam Jaafar As- Sadiq (a.s.) said in his answer to each question, as reported by Abu Hanifa al-Numan: "You, i.e. the scholars of Iraq, say so and so, but the scholars of Medinasay such and such, while our own view is the following.. None of the 40 questions represented any difficulty for him." Commenting,Abu Hanifasaid: the most knowledgeable man is the one who knows best the differences in people’s opinion.

He thus acknowledged that the Imam was distinguished with his vast knowledge and unprecedented openness on those who differ with him, expressing their view in an objective and respectful way, as if they were expressing these views themselves.

He also commanded his companions to do the same. He told one of his students,Muslim bin Maaz: “I heard that you sit in the mosque and give Fatwas”.The Imamasked himhow he did that.The man answered that if he does not know the school that the enquirer follows he would give him the opinions of all schools including that of Ahl el-Beit.The Imam was happy then and said that this is what he himself does.

Knowing the other

This openness is what we need and whatcreates rapprochement between Muslims and eliminates the illusions and the fears that occurs as the result of notknowing one another, and that enables those who fish in troubled waters todeepen the differences between sects and groups.

It has become clear that one of the most significant elements of creating tensions among the followers of the different Islamic sects is ignorance or misunderstanding that is the result of the absence of mutual openness, which has even become dominant among religious scholars. Each party harbors a negative impression and a hostile stand towards the other, as aresult of hearing inaccurate stories or falseor hearing a speaker who might wrongly convey the views of his sect.unfortunatly, he would notfurther investigate, as if he is not responsible of the harm his stance would create on the unity and coherence of the nation.

If the ordinary men are required not to make accusations without proof, thenthe religiousscholars have a greater responsibility to do so.  A quick glance at the Muslim reality is enough to discover the vast number of distortedideas thatare adopted even by religious scholars about the other sects. There are those, even in the age of communication, who still believe that the Shiites worship a piece of stone or prostrate to the Imams or say that the Quran has been deviated…There are also those  who say that the Sunnis ,in general, are hostile to Ahl Al-Beit. Ignoring Allah, The Most Exalted’s saying:{And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about those entire onewill be questioned}(17:36).

In these  circumstances , in which the sectarian tension is escalating and with some  exploiting this tension for political and security purposes, we are in a dire need to adopt  the methodology of the Imam, the methodology of openness which the Imam adopted in his school  in which members of various sects  enrolled  and learned about their sects  exactly as they were  with no deviation whatsoever…

The second sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted: I advise you and myself with what Allah, The Most Exalted, advised His Messenger(p.) and those with him:{Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward}(48:29).  

Thus, Muhammad(p.) and his followers are forceful against the disbelievers, when they try to enforce their logic or force them to quit their religion or disgrace them . But theyare merciful,  tolerant and forgiving among themselves. As for their relations with God, they have one goal in life: to attain His satisfaction and   no oneelse.

This would be reflected in their smiles.mercy and readiness to help others. We need to follow this example and take The Messenger(p.) as our role model to become stronger and more capable of facing challenges.

No more civil wars

We begin byLebanon, where the political parties have not yet succeeded in forming a government that is awaited by all Lebanese. They differ about its form and it is role, at a time the fear regarding emptying the popular demands from their content increases,while others fear that the demand concerning a government in which the political parties are not represented  is a response to foreign pressures that aim to exclude certain parties and might lead to drive the country to a state of chaos or vacuum .

This is accompanied by a deteriorating economic state and the beginning of security agitation, as a result of the incidents that took place in several parts of Lebanon including the ones that were reminiscent of the civil war.

All this is happening while the world is turning its back at Lebanon,with the exception ofcertain fact finding visits, or some warnings regarding the impact of what is going on the economy and asking the Lebanese to shoulder their responsibility. This implies that Lebanon is no longer an international priority or that they are waiting for some changes they are expecting to invest in achieving their own goals.

Faced by what is happening, we reassert our call to the political parties to fullyshoulder their responsibility. They are responsible to put an end to all this corruption by speeding up the formation of a government that would take part in ridding the country’s  political , social economic and security crises  and respondto the demands of those who took to the street tovoice their pains and sufferingsandtake into considerationthe fears of all parties.

It has become clear to the Lebanese that the country has no future if it continues to be run in this way and the legitimate demands of the people are not fulfilled. The current standoff  threatens the security and stability of the country.

All parties should be aware of how critical the situation is. They should shouldertheir responsibility in taking the country out of the tunnel it has been driven to and they should not manipulate thestreet’s movement to serve their own goals, for this will end up in a strife that leads to the fall of the temple on the heads of everybody, which is not in anybody’s interests. Moreover, it will enable the regional and international powers to intervene in pursuit of their own devastating interests.  The foreign powers are not a charitable organization. They havetheir own calculations and projects which will leadto the loss of the country’s freedom  for which many sacrifices were made, as wellas the demands and aims that drove the people to the street.

 No to road blocking

We also call on the uprising to preserve the goals and the aims that marked its beginning , which means  that it has to stay away from all of what undermines the people’s interests, especially road blocking that may be  proposed by certain political parties that wish to exploit the uprising to serve its own sectarian and subjective interests even if that destabilizes the country and undermines the morale of the Army and the security forces  that are the guarantee to  the safety of this country.

We reassert our call to limit the movement to the civilized ways and continue to shed the light on the positions and demonstrations of corruption, so that it willnot  turn to a problem or a means to destabilize the country and undermine its national unity .

The responsibility of speech

 We deeply regret the fall of a victim we had wished that it did not fall in this place. The incidents that accompanied it almost led to strife, were it not for the wisdom of the relevant leaders. Thisis why we call for taking into considerationthe consequences of road blocking, and ask, on the other hand, all thoseresponsible to be well aware of how critical the current stage isand take into consideration that there are those who are waiting for any word they can use to stir strife. That is why we tell them   to resort to less talk and more work. If they have talkletit be in accordance with Allah, The Most Exalted’s saying:{And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy} (2:186).