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Lectures >2004 Speeches > 16/01/2004

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Grand Ayatollah H.E. Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah delivered the two Friday prayer     sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Zu elkoada  23 1424 h,January  16 2004,  (Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu'a prayer)


When you engage in a debate, abide by the Islamic conditions of good dialogue.

The First Sermon

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Allah says in His Glorious Book: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way.”

“And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One, and to Him do we submit”

In these two verses, as well as in several other ones, God says to all people who want to convey a message, especially a religious one, to be wise. Wisdom means, in this context, to act according to the given circumstances: When you talk to someone you have to study his mentality; his points of weakness and his points of strength, as well as his environment, and take all this into consideration when you talk to him, for if you want to open up the mind of the other to what you say, you ought to know the way that makes your ideas reach his mind…

I have often repeated that as we need engineers for houses, bridges, roads… etc, we also need another kind of engineering, a cultural engineering to the minds of the people… We need the words that talk to the feelings and emotions of the heart. When you reach the heart, it opens the way to the mind. This mean that love is the way that makes a lot of people believe in the callers’ message. That is why love is the pillar that all messages have focused on. When Jesus Christ (p) wanted to describe God to the people in a way that summarizes their relation with him, he said: God is love. He loved His creations, and gave them this universe and bestowed on them His Blessing, Mercy and Forgiveness. Similarly, we find the Messenger saying: “None of you will believe, unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself, and hates for him what he hates for himself.

You cannot convince people by violence and harshness but you can save them by love and good words and this is what Allah told His Messenger: { It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee} (3:159).

Conditions of a productive dialogue

You might differ with others by adhering to a different religion or a different political or social line… But such a difference should not turn into a source of enmity. You should study the matter and try to understand that his thoughts are a product of his religious, social or political background while yours are a product of a different one. Therefore, there is no reason to be violent with the other if his views happen to be different. Rather, you should invite him to engage in a dialogue in which each could present his case and one of you will convince the other, or at least each of you will understand how the other thinks. Thus, dialogue is the means of mutual understanding.

Therefore, you should disclose what you believe in and ask others to do the same, for each person is afraid of what the other hides. Imam Ali says: “If you are frank and candid with one another you would not be killing each other”.

Thus, the dialogue we are encourage by Islam to engage in leads to transparency in our views. And the way to win the heart of the other is good words that enter his mind on the way to his heart.

This is what we should do with the People of the Book, who believe in Allah’s, the most Exalted, oneness although they have different expressions of this unity. Thus, when we want to have a dialogue with Jews or Christians, we have to choose the best words and the most suitable circumstances. Allah says:{And dispute not with the people of the Book, except in the best way, unless it be with those of them who do wrong but say, We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we submit (in Islam)}. (29:46)

This is how we should act if we want to convince others by our point of view, whether in religion or in politic or in any social issue. This is also what we should adopt in our homes, where it is evident that both the husband and the wife have more often than not lived in different environments.

But this does not mean that the husband should impose his views, traditions and feelings on his wife. This is a right Allah did not given even for the Prophet…{If it had been thy Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!}(10:99). Allah alone can change the peoples’ beliefs, yet he did not force them to accept Faith {And if your Lord had pleased He would certainly have made people a single nation, and they shall continue to differ} (11:118). Thus Allah does not want either the husband or the wife to cancel the other.

He ordered them to choose a suitable partner. And if they couldn’t, He asked them to try to resort to dialogue in an atmosphere of love and wisdom. Neither of them can force his views on the other or on their children, for that matter.

Education on dialogue

There is an important point that ought to be stressed on, in this aspect. It is about those who engage in a dialogue in issues they are not quite familiar with, leading some people to think that what they hear is the truth. Allah says: {Ah! Ye are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? Allah who knows and ye who know not! (3:66). You do not possess the religious or intellectual culture to discuss the reasons that made a certain religion authority issue, a certain judgment or a certain historical idea. The ideas that you might use would be participating in brainwashing the young generation with partisan and sectarian ideas and leading them to engage in dialogue about issues they are not qualified to discuss.

You have the right to engage in any dialogue, but you ought to be prepared for it. If you do not, the discussion will turn into a fight full of slander and accusations.

Allah, the most Exalted, wants us to interact as humans. As Great as He is, He entered in a dialogue with Adam, Satan and the angels. The Prophet (p.) too had a dialogue with the unbelievers…

That is why we have always said: In the beginning, there was dialogue… Dialogue spreads peace at home, in the society and in the world. We, as Muslims, need to debate with the secularists and the Westerners for this is the way to win their minds… But we ought to know that one of the conditions of dialogue is to be ready if we are convinced to adhere to what one is convinced about, and we should also know the subject we are talking about. Allah says: {Such as dispute about the signs of Allah without any authority that hath reached them, very hateful (is such conduct) in the sight of Allah and of the believers. Thus doth Allah seal up every heart-of arrogant and obstinate transgressors}. (40:35)

We suffer from many problems in all religious, social and political fields. We ought to learn how to find a solution for these problems which we create for ourselves... We are already besieged and tired. Why do we look for additional problems? Why don’t we join hands to relief our society from these problems by means of dialogue. “And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One, and to Him do we submit” 

The Second Sermon

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Palestinians: A source of hope

The Palestinians are still providing us with a living example on how to holdfast and sacrifice... Even the Palestinian mother is ready to leave her children and become a martyr, for she has become the mother of all Palestinians... Moreover, the Palestinian national unity has overcome any differences of view and contained them to form a unity of diversity that seeks to reach the best means to achieve their goals.

The Zionists, on the other hand, are worried by this incredible steadfastness and the Palestinian rapid increase in population... They have even talked about a plan to defeat the Jews by means of delivering more children…

The Palestinians are able to withstand all what is happening to them and still look optimistically towards the future. Even their kids still fight by throwing stones at the occupier… This Palestinian generation is in fact the generation of freedom, sacrifice and martyrdom despite all the collective punishments that the Zionist Army inflicts on them.

Moreover, the Zionist atrocities enjoy the support of the American Administration which has even backed the racist wall that Israel is trying to hurry up and finish before it backfires at her. It views it as if it was a political trap that the Palestinians have put for the Zionists which has led to a state of confusion that Israel lives before the court at The Hague studies the case.

The Palestinian relentless struggle and sacrifice suggest for the whole nation and for all the back trodden on earth that they should not surrender to the dictates of the arrogant and occupying forces. They should study all the means that would allow them to confront both in politics and security. For no right is lost as long as there are those who claim it.

Iraq: Unity behind the demand for elections

The Iraqi question still imposes itself on the region and the world, through the ongoing debate about the best means by which Iraqis could determine their fate, establish their government and protect their natural resources from the hands of the international giant companies, especially the American ones, that aim at robbing them, and turn Iraq into a consuming country for the products of others.

We would like to emphasize to our people in Iraq the need to stand behind the demand for elections, knowing that it is not so difficult to carry out if the intentions are really sincere… We also call to uphold national and Islamic unity, which alone could thwart the ploys of those who incite sectarian and racial strife and stop them from achieving their goals... we call on Iraqis to build the new Iraq in which every citizen has equal rights and duties, and in which everybody takes part in building the country being a responsibility they all share. They would benefit from the tragedies, of the past and look up to the future where there is a place for every responsible force person under the sun.

Iran: Dialogue in the best manner.

On another level, we are following what is going on Iran in which various parties accuse one another with severe accusations that are stained by partisan stands whether rightfully or wrongly... While the Americans are increasing their pressures on Iran, and some European states are making false accusations against the Islamic Republic…

As we would like to emphasize the freedom of the Iranian people to determine their future in the line of Islam, which they should present in a glorious manner that attracts others... And as we wish for this experiment to be successful in facing all cultural, economic, political spheres, we ask the entire Iranian people, the officials in all institutions included, to uphold its unity by resorting to dialogue in the best manner and by saying the best words and doing only what is best… All parties should learn how to manage a political difference without inflicting any harm on the major issues, for the enemy wants to make the temple fall on the heads of all of them.

As for the ongoing debate about the veil, we would like to welcome the Pope’s rejection of the French decision, as well as the other countries that might follow suit. He has maintained that these countries threaten the religious freedom of their citizens. He also added that secularism is but the “state’s respect of all faiths, and the guarantee of the freedom of expression”, whether religious, intellectual or otherwise.

We would like the religious authorities that tried to justify the French banning of the veil to study this objective papal view.

Lebanon: Protecting institutions

In Lebanon, social and educational issues are still acting as a heavy burden on the shoulders of all Lebanese… in the midst of a political decay in the government and in the state as a whole, which the poor are paying the price for at every level.. This makes the people pose the following question:

Does the government have a plan or even an idea on how to pay the foreign debt that has reached about 40 billion Dollars...

Is there any effective party that could hold the government accountable and how? This is the only way to stop corruption and robbery, and present those who are committing such acts to the judiciary which the people wish to see completely independent with no authority above it except that of justice.

The constitutional institutions should act as being institutionalized in playing its role within its jurisdiction, in the service of the Lebanese, without being afraid of any other official or unofficial source of power.