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Lectures >2001 Speeches > 23/03/2001

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Ayatullah Al Ozma H.E. M. H. Fadlullah delivered two khotbas (at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque) Thul Hijja 28, 1421h /March 23, 2001 (Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer).


Be good to your parents whether dead or alive because 
Islam is the religion of mercy and not ingratitude


The First Sermon

In the Name of God, The Compassionate the Merciful

God (SWT) says in His glorious book:

“Your Lord has decreed that you should not adore anyone but Him. He has recommended kindness towards your mother and father. If one of them or both of them have grown old near you don’t even say ‘ouf’ to them and don’t shout at them but speak to them respectfully. Lower the wing of humility to them mercifully and say:

‘Lord be merciful towards them as they were towards me when I was a child’.” (S17,v23-24)

He also says:

“We have recommended to man whose mother carried him when she was extremely weak and he was weaned after two years. Be grateful to Me and your parents. You will return to Me. If both try to force you to associate anything with me that you no nothing about do not obey them. Behave well and be kind towards them in this world. Follow the path of those who return to me.” (S31,v14-15)

“We have recommended that man be kind towards his father and mother. His mother gave birth to him painfully. There are thirty months from his conception to his weaning. (S46,v15)

A few days ago we all celebrated Mother’s Day. Although the Qur’an does not distinguish between the father and mother it does say that the mother suffers more:

“His mother carried him when she was extremely weak” (S31,v14)

“His mother gave birth to him painfully” (S46,v15)

Nevertheless the idea is the same. Islam wants to emphasise the humanitarian side of man by being grateful to both God (SWT) and his parents for the graces they have given him. The greatest gift to man is his very existence because when he finds himself on this earth he is prepared to attain the highest standards in this world and in the hereafter by making use of what God (SWT) has given him: mind, spirit, will, senses and body as well as heaven and earth that were created to serve him.

If man does all that he will be doing what God (SWT) has expected him to do and he will earn God (SWT)’s satisfaction in the hereafter. In this context, the importance of parents is that although God (SWT) created man, they are the direct means of bringing man into existence. The mother has to suffer during pregnancy with all the changes that her body goes through. Then she faces pain and danger during the delivery and feeds us with her milk. She then provides us with love, food and security. The father’s role is demonstrated by the efforts he makes to provide his family with an income to meet their needs.

To thank your parents is to thank God (SWT)

Thus parents sacrifice a lot for their children. They do their best to ensure that they have better and more fruitful lives. They are happy with all their sufferings and fatigue, they watch their child growing, they feel joy in their pain, they sacrifice but they feel good about it.

If we imagine how much parents give we can understand that no matter how much we try we can never repay them for all that they have done.

The Prophet (SAWS) was once asked by someone who had taken care of his parents and had done all he could to help them if he has repaid them, as they ought to be repaid. And the Prophet (SAWS) replied:

“No you haven’t because they have served you and fought for you expecting you to live while you are doing that expecting them to die”

That is why God (SWT) has said that thanking your parents is thanking God (SWT) because if man cannot feel gratitude towards his parents for all they have done he cannot feel gratitude towards God (SWT) either. God (SWT) is the one who has prepared them for this role and He is the one who made the secret of life in the joining the sperm to the ovule.

Be good to parents

The Prophet (SAWS) and the Imams have often mentioned this subject. The Imam Ja’afar As Sadeq explains the verse:

“He has recommended kindness towards your mother and father”

by saying that

“being kind to your parents means keeping them company and giving them what they want before they need to ask you for it, even if they are rich ”.

In other words you should anticipate what they want before they have to ask for it. And when they become old:

“don’t even say ‘ouf’ to them and don’t shout at them but speak to them respectfully”

and (according to the Imam Ja’afar As Sadeq (AS)) even if they hit you. This is because a child will always remain a child in the eyes of his parents even when he is fifty.

A father or a mother might hit their son even though it is not religiously allowed. That’s why the Imam adds:

“when they hit you tell them: ‘May God (SWT) forgive you!’ For this is a good thing to say.”

“Lower the wing of humility to them”

“means that you never look at them other than with a l compassionate look and don’t raise your voice nor you hands over theirs’. Don’t walk in front of them”

unless there a need.

Imam Ja’afar As Sadeq also said:

“A man should be good to his parents whether they are alive or dead by praying for them, distributing charity, fasting and doing pilgrimages on their behalf then God (SWT) will do for him what he did for them and God (SWT) will give him a great reward for his prayers”

Imam Ali Al Reda was asked by someone if he should invoke God (SWT) for his parents’ sake of they did not follow the right path and the Imam answered:

“Yes you should, you should give charity on their behalf and if they are alive you should treat them well for the prophet has said: ‘God (SWT) has sent me with mercy not ingratitude.’”

Imam Mohammad (SAWS) Al Baqr said:

“There are three things that God (SWT) does not permit: not giving back what you are entrusted with whether to a good or a bad person, not honouring your commitment and not being good to parents whether they are good or not.”

The Prophet (SAWS) advised a man, who came to him and asked to whom he should be good, to be good to his “mother”. He repeated this reply after being asked the same thing three times and then after the fourth time he said “your father”.

There is a great difference between motherhood and fatherhood as the mother has a great deal more suffering and pain to bear than the father and this is why the Prophet (SAWS) said “your mother” three times and “your father” only one:

A man came to the Prophet (SAWS) and told him :

“I’m an energetic young man and I’d like to fight for the cause of God (SWT) but my mother hates this”

The prophet told him:

“Go and stay with your mother because keeping her company for one night is better than a year fighting for the cause of God (SWT)”

But this is in the cases where the Jihad is not a dire necessity for the Nation.

A man came to the Imam Ja’afar As Sadeq (AS) and said:

“I was a Christian, I became a Muslim and went on Pilgrimage. My father and mother are still Christians and my Mother is blind. Shall I live with them and eat from their pots.”

The Imam asked him:

“do they eat pork?

And the man said:

“No and they don’t even touch it”

The Imam said:

“In this case it is alright and you should treat your mother well and when she dies don’t let anyone else take care of her. Don’t tell anyone that you have seen me until you meet me in Mina”

The man said:

“I went back began to feed my mother and serve her”

The mother said:

“Why didn’t you do that before when you were Christian?”

The man said:

“One of the descendants of our Prophet (SAWS) has ordered me to do this”

The mother said:

“This man is a Prophet”

The son explained to her:

“There will be no prophets after Mohammad (SAWS) but that it is just one of his sons”

The woman said:

“My son your religion is the best religion. Tell me about it”

“She then prayed the noon, afternoon, evening and night prayers became sick and died. The next day it was the Muslims who buried her and I put her in the grave”

We learn a lot of things from this story. The first is man has to be good to his parents even if they are not Muslims. Secondly the best way to call others to Islam is by adopting Islamic ethics. The more honest and truthful you are the better and the more pious you are and the more pious you are the more you attract others to your religion. These are the morals of Islam and this is the heritage of Ahl Al Beit. If you want to follow the line of Mohammad (SAWS) and the infallible Imams you have to be ethical and humanitarian in all aspects of life.

The second Speech

In the Name of God, The Compassionate the Merciful

The Intefada and the enemy’s impasse

Six months into the Intefada the Palestinian struggle has entered a new phase with the Americans Israelis renewing their strategic entente that seeks to guarantee Israeli military superiority in the region, talk of easing the blockade on the Palestinians, verbal condemnation of the Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, pressures being exerted on the Arab regimes to take moderate decisions that are in favour of Sharon and inciting internal Arab differences especially regarding Iraq. Differences, which the Israelis and Americans hope, will distract attention away from the Palestinian issue at the coming Arab summit.

At the same time the Israelis are intensifying their economic pressure against the Palestinians and trying to intimidate them using the brutal iron fist of the butcher Sharon. The Palestinians should not give in to any kind of external pressure. On the contrary they should find a way to intensify their struggle, as it is the only way to attain their final goal of independence. They know that no external force could ever defeat a people who are fighting for a just cause no matter how much the enemy’s media attempts to portrait them as terrorists.

It is ironic for Sharon, the current world’s number one terrorist to talk about condemning terrorism. It is even more ironic for the Americans to condemn Palestinian violence without mentioning the Israeli violence: bombing and shelling of civilians, shooting of children, destruction of peoples’ homes, etc.

The Arabs and Muslims must express their support for the Intefada at the Arab summit to let them know that the nation does not accept any ending or weakening of the Intefada being a chance that we may never have again. It is also an opportunity for all Arabs and Muslims to struggle against the Zionist enemy. This is what Sharon had in mind when he asked the American president to take a position against Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Egypt.

Unity and resistance are the means to meet the challenge

We have been following the row Israel has been making about Lebanon using its own water and threatening to interfere militarily to stop it. I ask the Lebanese people and government to face this new threat with all possible means including force since it is an issue that has to do with Lebanon’s vital interests.

Moreover, the Lebanese who have achieved their historic victory against the Israeli enemy must conserve their national unity and enter into a calm and objective dialogue on the issues over which they differ. There is no place for any move that might suggest any sectarian division or revive the old mentality that leads to partition in Lebanon. Not only does this not achieve anything but it pushes Lebanese youth to emigrate in search of a more stable, secure and prosperous life.

Everyone should therefore play a part in resolving the economic crisis because it is not a question of success for this or that government but for the whole country. It is time for us to forget who scored or lost political points for these considerations are worthless if the whole country collapses.

Redrawing foreign policy

Lastly, faced with the tragedy of our people in Congo, I would like to focus on two points. First, the Lebanese government has to set out a new and realistic plan to enhance and promote relations with the African countries that have Lebanese immigrants in order to be able to take care of the immigrants and solve their problems. Moreover, the government should choose good ambassadors who feel responsible for all Lebanese living there and not just some of them. Our sons and brothers in Congo and in all Africa should strive to enhance their unity and discard all sectarian and partisan differences. They should also protect the security of the country they live in and refrain from interfering in any political or security issues especially as Africa is living through such an ever-changing political situation that no one really knows what the outcome will be. They should also watch out for the Israeli plans that aim at destabilizing the success of Lebanese enterprises abroad.