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Lectures >2004 Speeches > 23/04/2004

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Religious Authority, Ayatullah Al Ozma Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, 23 April 2004. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

Reconciliation between believers: A Course set by the Prophet and the Imams

The First Sermon

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Differences are a source of richness:

Allah says in His Glorious Book: “They ask you about the windfalls. Say: The windfalls are for Allah and the Messenger. So be careful of (your duty to) Allah and set aright matters of your difference, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are believers”. (8:1)

The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you. (49:10) There is no good in most of their secret counsels except (in his) who enjoins charity or goodness or reconciliation between people; and whoever does this seeking Allah's pleasure, We will give him a mighty reward. (04:114)

In these Holy Ayahs the Glorious Quran stresses on the need of reconciliation between people.

As a result of different environments and conflicting interests, whether political, religious national or even ethnic people are bound to see things differently. Allah, the most Exalted, has created people in a way in which these elements vary: “And if your Lord had pleased, He would certainly have made people a single nation, and they shall continue to differ” (11:118), but these differences need not be a problem or an element of weakness. It could well be a source of richness …Since it could promote dialogue that could well lead to a better understanding of the issues or the ways to solve problems.

Call for counsel

That is why we seen that the Holy Quran has made counsel the basis of political and cultural life in the Islamic society: “and their rule is to take counsel among themselves” (42:38).Counsel in this respect means that people who have accumulated knowledge and experience should offer their views and skills and discuss them in public to reach the ideas that is nearest to what is right.

Certain traditions say: Who counsels others shares their minds with them.

But when you do not open up on the people’s minds, you become more ignorant… since when you think alone your thinking tends to be influenced by your own specific concerns and the way you were brought up to think which might be limited or inherited.

Allah, the most Exalted, thus, has wanted all leaders in various capacities to consult with those who follow them. He gave us the example of His Messenger (p.) who was told to take “counsel with them”. Although being inspired by God and of an infallible mind that is open always on truth, he does not need to counsel with anyone. Yet he was setting an example to all leaders who would follow him.

It is as if He was saying that the Prophet who Allah has chosen to be the bearer of His revelation, and wanted him to take man from darkness into light counsels others, how would you not follow his example?

Difference is an axiom in life

When we study the life of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Imams (a.s.) who followed him we find that they used to ask people to counsel them. That is why we believe that people should not stick to one opinion. This state of mind in which man follows the opinions of his fathers, grandfathers, parties, families…etc is a state of stagnation; we came to suffer from such a state because we do not respect the opinions of others…

To be different is one of the laws that Allah, the most Exalted, has embodied in life. Yet there is a difference between a mentality of backwardness and that of awareness. To be backward is to turn any difference into a state of hostility. Who said that we can not have diverging views while respecting one another? Why should we curse and insult whom we differ with?

Such an attitude reflects an abnormal selfishness, as well as a state of unrealistic arrogance.

There is nobody in this world who could claim that he possesses absolute truth. Truth is what your environment, including how the school or the Hawza, has trained you to accept. It is a product of your cultural environment, which means that you have to accept the other. This does not mean that you have to give up your own views.

It means that you have to resort to dialogue. That is what the Quran emphasized on when it says: 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 (16:125). God does not want us to consider our differences as a basis of fighting. He wants it to be a basis for mutual understanding to reach the common good.

Reconciliation among believers

That is why we have to reconcile between believers and between all people when it comes to the public interest, especially if we live in a society of multiple political and religious identities. Moreover, Allah, the most Exalted, has promised to reward us with His greatest reward if we try to reconcile among those who differ.

We have seen the consequences of internal fighting even in the same sect, they tend to destroy the temple on the heads of all parties concerned and have a destructive effect on the religion they adhere to.

That is why the prophets and the Imams have many traditions that call for reconciliation. It has even been included in Imam Ali’s last will to his sons and to all concerned. He says: “You have to reconcile between believers…For I heard your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, the most Exalted, saying: It is better than praying and fasting”.

Yet, there are those whom when you call for reconciliation, they will tell you that they have tried to reconcile among some people in dispute and the result was that they got in trouble which made them swear that they will never engage in such an act again. What does Allah, the most Exalted, say to those people. He says: “And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing”. (2:224). Do not say that you have sworn not to do so. Your oath is worthless. The value of any oath stems from the goal it is intended for. If the aims are for the good than the oath is valid. If not then the way to ask forgiveness for not abiding by it is in fact not by not abiding by it.

This is what Islam tells us to adopt in our community so that the believers can live in peace whether in our families or in our villages and towns or in the whole country especially in these difficult conditions of poverty. Therefore, do not add to your physical hunger and thirst a hunger and thirst for peace. Allah is peace, and He loves those who love peace.

Paradise too is the land of peace, and whoever lives hatred and enmity will not end up in the land of peace. Are not you told when you knock on the doors of Heaven “to enter it in peace”?

Let us train ourselves on the rules of living in paradise and make our lives full of peace… Peace of the mind, peace of the heart and peace of life… Let us live in peace and love and strive to accomplish them in this world of hatred and war.

The Second Sermon

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Withdrawal from Gaza

What is new in Bush’s Middle East project?

He is criticizing the international community for not thanking Sharon for his promise to withdraw from Gaza, being a victory for peace.

But Sharon has returned from Washington and started to kill more civilians… assassinate Dr. Rantissi and threaten the other Mujahiden leaders. He intends to force a blockade on Gaza depriving it of its air and sea spaces and threatening to return to the strip whenever he finds necessary. So, should we thank Sharon for such a scheme?

If Bush is talking about the Road Map which envisages an independent Palestinian state… why does not he ask Sharon to withdraw from the West Bank including Jerusalem and the settlements? Does the American President think that he can fool the international community?

Hamas: A liberation movement

The world’s condemnation of assassinating the political leaders of Hamas, indicates, if compared by the US welcome of these criminal acts, that America and Israel are politically isolated… We ask Bush to read the reports of his intelligence agencies or even the various network news to learn that the Palestinian people as well as the Arab and Muslims condemn Israeli atrocities. Hamas, and the other militant factions, have become the representatives of the Palestinian people as a whole, meaning that they are not terrorist organizations. They are liberation movements whose elimination means the elimination of the Palestinians. Is that what Bush wants Israel to do? Or is he making use of his military power to make fun of all people?

Israel: The biggest threat

Bush is also talking about Iran becoming a nuclear force, calling such development an “intolerable threat”. He asked the UN and the international community to face this threat.

All this is taking place at a time Fanuno, the Israeli nuclear expert is demanding that the world should interfere to stop the Israeli nuclear program in a state that has become, according to some reports, the third nuclear power in the world… It is ironic the Americans and some European states are saying that the Arabs “threaten the existence of Israel” or that they want to throw it to the sea” as the American war minister said.

It has become widely known that the Arab world, which offered Israel all kinds of concessions including diplomatic relations, does not constitute any danger on Israel.

On the contrary, Israel is the one threatening the Arab World. It even constitutes a threat to the World peace, according to a survey by the European Union.

Iran has announced that its nuclear programs are for peaceful uses. That is why Iran rectified the nonproliferation treaty… But America which lied about Iraq having WMDs to justify its war is now lying again about Iran which poses a grave threat on the Islamic Republic in Iran.

We condemn the explosions in Iraq

In Iraq, the people have become caught between two fires, that of occupation that kills civilians at random and that of criminal explosions that target civilians in their daily lives, as well as security police in their stations…

While we stress our condemnation of occupation, and call for freedom of Iraqis in running their own political and economic affairs, we also denounce all these criminal acts against civilians…

There is no Islamic justification for these acts regardless of what the ignorant and hateful factions who rush to accuse all other Muslims of unbelief might say. These acts are also not a part of the resistance. The resistance aims at representing the interests of the people and it can not go about killing them.

We denounce, based on our Islamic capacity, these explosions and assassinations. But we blame the occupation that is supposed to be responsible for the security of the Iraqis, and hold him responsible.

Moreover, we condemn the explosions in Saudi Arabia. For Islam does not approve any aggression on innocent people regardless of the reasons. Furthermore, these acts do not constitute a blow to Americans but a service, since they help those who try to distort the image of Islam.

Lebanon: Duty before God

The municipal and local elections, that the Lebanese are living its fever nowadays, are an issue that has to do with development and not a matter of partisan politics. People have to look for the honest, pious and efficient person and give him their vote.

They have to look for those who are committed to improve and develop their country and not those whose major concerns are political and sectarian interests.