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Lectures >2002 Speeches > 22/11/2002

The lessons of Badr: Preparing well could ensure victory

A lecture by His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimlawi

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Grand Ayatullah H.E. Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Ramadan 17, 1423 H. - November 22, 2002, several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

There are two Islamic occasions we celebrate this week:

The Battle of Badr: A turning point

The first occasion is the battle of Badr, which is the first battle between the believers and unbelievers that occurred after the persecution of the unbelievers had forced the Muslims to migrate to Medina. At that time, the people in the Arabian Peninsula were waiting to see which party is the stronger one, for many have refrained from joining Islam preferring to ally with the major power; that of the tribe of Quraish to serve their interests. That is why the battle of Badr was very important, because it made people review their thoughts about the strength of Islam.

If we judge by the force on the ground, we will find that the unbelievers were stronger. Their number was bigger and their logistics and weaponry were more advanced. Some of the believers themselves were afraid of the strength of Quraish, but there were some believers who told the Messenger (p.) that they will never tell him what Moussa’s people told their Prophet: “Go and fight, you and your god, we are staying here”… and that they will say instead: “We will go with you and we are ready to fight even in the sea if you tell us to do so”. But when the battle ended with the victory of the Muslims with many of the unbelievers’ leaders killed, Islam became a force to reckon with and one that counterbalances the force of unbelief.  

The role of faith

When we study this Battle, in which the Muslims experienced the feeling of weakness, as well as the feeling of strength, and which ended in their victory as a result of Allah’s support, we could draw the following lesson: If the nation believes in God, the Most Exalted, which ultimately gives it confidence in itself and in its points of strength, and then it prepares well based on a careful study and planning, then the physical strength should not always defeat the strength of belief, for belief could multiply the strength of the believers.

The Battle of Badr teaches us that the nation should not be intimidated by the physical strength of the enemy. We have witnessed several times in our ancient and recent history how a small force armed with belief, resolve and careful planning have defeated a much larger force when it enjoyed Allah’s support: “How often, by Allah’s will has a small force vanquished a big one” (2:249).

The life of Al-Hassan

The second occasion we celebrate is the birth anniversary of Imam Al-Hassan Bin Ali Bin Abi Talib (a.s.), who resembled the Prophet the most and was the first child to Ali and Fatima (a.s.). The Prophet (p.) felt that he and his brother Al-Hussein (a.s.) were his sons. He used to love them both and tell the nation about their future and their position. Did he not say: “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the Masters of the Youth of Heaven” and that they are Imams whether they decided to go to war or to hold peace? Ibn Hanbal quotes Al-Bara’ Bin Azib that he heard the Prophet (p.) say, while he was putting Al-Hassan (a.s.) on his lap: “O God I love him… O God love him”. Moreover, the narrators say that he resembled his grandfather the Messenger (p.) both in his looks and manners.

The life of Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.) could be divided into many landmark stages: The first was his childhood and early youth, which he lived with the Prophet (p.), who used to hug him and talk to him. He also lived with his mother, the infallible lady Fatima Az-Zahraa (a.s.) and his father Imam Ali (a.s.), whom he used to accompany in everything he does, including going to war. Later on, Imam Ali (a.s.) used to count on him in performing the hard tasks of ending the rebellions against his caliphate.

The Caliph

Then, there is the stage when he became a caliph following the death of his father (a.s.), but the army that his father left was divided and some of them chose to side with Mu’awiyah (the first Umayyad caliph). That is why the Imam saw that his army was not qualified to fight the war against the usurpers, and he decided that it was in the best interest of Muslims to hold peace. But he did not accept the legitimacy of Mu’awiyah’s rule; he only agreed to make peace when he saw that the result of the war would not serve their interests.

On the ethical level, the Imam (a.s.) was a man of the highest virtues. It is said that he twice gave half of his money in charity, and that he performed pilgrimage on foot 25 times. He used to be very modest. He passed once near some needy people eating bread and they invited him to share their lunch with them. The Imam accepted thankfully, and then he gave them a generous sum of money. He was also a role model in forgiving those who hurt him. A man from Damascus started to curse the Imam (a.s.) who was with his wife and children. The Imam looked at him kindly and mercifully, and then invited him to his house. The men then left saying: “God knows well whom He entrusts His message with”.

Urging the need to confer with others 

On this occasion, we are going to live with some of his teachings, for they are the teachings of the Prophet (p.). The Imam (a.s.) used to say for example: “Whenever people confer with one another, they will be guided to the right path”. The Imam (a.s.) was calling for discussing the issues between the believers, for each of them can view the matter from a different angle, and when they confer, all possible angles would be seen, and the decision taken would be wiser and well-informed. He also called for prudence, telling his son not to befriend others unless he knows everything about them and he is sure that they are pious and just, for friends could have bad effects if they are bad, and good effects if they are good.

The importance of Islamic values

He also stressed the importance of the Islamic values. He says: “Refrain from what Allah has prohibited, you will be a worshipper (worshipping is not fasting and praying, it is first of all obeying Allah). And be content with what Allah has given you, you will be rich. And be good to your neighbors, you will be a Muslim, and treat people with what you like to be treated with, you will be just…” The Imam (a.s.) also used to stress the necessity of thinking about the Hereafter, since this world is but temporary and the only pride is that of obeying Allah, the Most Exalted, while all disgrace is in disobeying Him.

These are the advice of Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.), which should be our guide to learn how to live in this life and how to be prepared for the Hereafter. 

The Second Sermon
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Intifada does not target civilians

The Palestinians continue their martyr operations, the last of which in Jerusalem, in the heart of the Israeli security areas, in spite of the condemnation  of the major powers, especially America and the United Nations, represented  by the Secretary General, who considered the operation an act of terror because it targets civilians .

But such condemnations do not take into consideration the fact that the whole of Palestine has turned into a battlefront, and that the enemy has besieged the Palestinian people and left them no alternative in the face of all these planes, tanks and other weapons that kill the innocent Palestinian civilians.

We have emphasized several times that the Intifada martyrs, are not targeting the civilians, but rather the Zionist security. They have told the Jews that if they want a balanced security they should withdraw from the occupied lands and engage in fruitful negotiations about the future… But the Zionists wanted them to surrender unconditionally…

This is also what America and the Quartet committee wants: Either the Palestinians accept their conditions or they will be accused of terrorism.

On the other hand, the Palestinians, who have broken the barrier of fear, are determined to carry on their struggle… They have resisted all the American pressures and paid no attention to the international condemnations that some were merely words of insult such as certain international comments on the heroic operation in Hebron , that targeted Israeli soldiers, but they chose to believe the Zionist media, that spread the vicious lie about targeting worshippers.

The problem with this international party lies in that it views the Palestinian liberation movement as a terrorist movement, while it sees in the Israeli massacres as a form of self-defense. Such logic could not be accepted by any civilized nation. It should be thrown in the garbage, and the march should continue.

On another level, there are two regional and international meetings that are about take place.

NATO, a tool in the hands of arrogance

The first is the NATO meeting, which of course was not established to protect the downtrodden. On the contrary, they have announced that “the new enemy is Islam”, since it represents the will of the peoples to protect their economies, politics, and sovereignty from the hegemony of the arrogant powers that seek to subject them and turn them into satellites, with no freedom or independence.

The NATO is actually lead by the US … We heard the American president calling the NATO countries to take part in the war against Iraq without any objection… Although this Alliance includes some smaller countries, it serves the interests of the major powers. What is actually happening is that the smaller counties send their troops to fight for the interests of others, just as what used to happen in the era of colonialism where African troops were fighting in the Arab world the war of the colonial powers. That is why we should always be aware of this Alliance and of what it is planning.

The second meeting is that of the Arab follow-up committee in Damascus which is going to hold its meeting under the slogan of “a joint action towards Palestine and Iraq ”… We hope that the Arab Foreign Ministers will rise to the occasion and take the necessary diplomatic steps to exert the pressure needed to relief the Palestinian people of the daily massacres the Zionist feel free to commit, especially that they have all the support they need from the United States…

The foreign ministers and the higher officials they represent should listen to the cries of windows and dislocated families who are asking: Where are the Arabs? They have to show, if even once only, that they still have the feeling of the Arab pride, for they are generally viewed as being afraid from the Americans to the extent that they have unleashed their security agencies to haunt all those who feel the need for freedom and independence.

Meanwhile, America is trying to destroy any force against Israel in the Arab world, and that is why it demanded that Syria should close the offices of Al-Jihad Al-Islami in Damascus …

In this occasion, we would like to express our appreciation for Syria ’s strong and sober refusal for this demand. We would like the other Arabs to follow this example of courageous and pioneer stands, to let America know that the Arab states do not take orders… but they have their own free and rightful stances.

Independence Day in Lebanon

In Lebanon , today is Independence Day, which Lebanon was able to achieve by political means… The Lebanese people were able, through their resistance that drove the army out of the country to strengthen their independence and give it a new blood, the blood of martyrdom for the cause of liberation and independence.

Having liberated most of the land and forced the enemy to withdraw unconditionally, the Lebanese people, went on to liberate their waters, and they are continuing  their march to liberate what is left of the Lebanese territories (Shiba’ farms) as well as their legitimate rights in the waters of the Wazani river… In this respect, the United Nations should rise to the level of responsibility that its role demands, and reach the just resolution that ensures Lebanon ’s rights in its waters in accordance with international law.

We highly appreciate this unified national stance of the government, the Resistance and the people that strengthens the will of independence as well as the will to confront the occupier. At the same time, the country is opening up on the Arab world in a process of coordination and integration based on the belief in the unity of fate and position.

Moreover, we should not listen to those who try to incite strife by playing on the sectarian grievances, for the country is living in one of the most severe economic crisis it has seen. We should resort to dialogue, a subjective and calm dialogue that represents the only means that enable us to reach the safe shore.