By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: ManalSamhatGod says in His Glorious Book: “Most of their requests are worthless except those that encourage giving to the poor or a great good or reconciliation between men.” (04:114)
“The believers are brothers. Make peace between your brothers” (49:10)
“Fear God! Keep the peace among you.” (08:01)
“Whoever helps a good cause becomes a partner therein.” (04:85)
Thus, there are many verses that talk about reconciliation between people because any division within a family will lead to its breaking up, and any division in the society will make it unbalanced.
For a society to be balanced, its social classes should complement each other with each giving his experience, opinions and efforts so that they will all cooperate over public issues that affect the very existence of the society. In contrast, a fragmented society is one whose individuals do not enjoy peace and security and whose energies are wasted and directed against one another, which leads to a general weakness and social decline. God has warned us against this by saying:“Obey God and His Messenger; don’t quarrel otherwise you will lose heart and your strength.” (08: 46)
I do not believe that there is anything wrong with people having different social, political and religious backgrounds, for God did not make all humans one nation, but this does not mean that we should fight and destroy each other. We should rather discuss what we differ upon. Why should everyone say that they are right and the others are wrong? You are only human beings, whether you are scholars, individuals or even a religious group, and your ideas originate from your forefathers, your environment, your schools and what you have read or heard. But all this is limited. Your fathers might have been wrong. God has told us about those who used to say:“We found our fathers following a certain religion and we will certainly follow in their footsteps,” (43: 23) and God answered them:“Even if their fathers were devoid of knowledge and guidance”. (05:104)
“What! Even if I brought you better guidance than that which you found your fathers following.” (43:24)
I have my own point of view and you have yours, but neither of us is infallible, so let’s sit down and talk, especially that God says:“Refer your differences to God and the Prophet”. (45: 09)
The problem we have in our community is that each of us considers that he is right and the others are wrong, and as we become preoccupied with the disagreements between us, we forget about the enemy.
Thus, the issue of reconciliation is a vital issue for the well-being of the community, whether within the same family, religious group or society. And since we all say that there is no God but God and that Mohammad is His messenger, it is our duty to reconcile amongst ourselves. Reconciliation does not mean that one party should completely yield in; but rather, that we should know where we agree and how to put our differences into perspective. Let’s learn how to comfort one another and not tire each other out. Our problem is unfortunately that the parents, the Sheikhs and the teachers teach us how to tire each other out, and we are torn apart at all levels. On the Islamic level, we have the Sunnis and the Shiites, and on the national level, we have the Christians and the Muslims. And amongst the Shiites we have added the differences between political parties and divisions between those who emulate different religious authorities. What has religion to do with all that?
We have already stated the verses in the Holy Quran that talk about the importance of reconciliation. In his turn, the Messenger (p.) said when talking to a man called AbouAyoub:“Shall I tell you about a good deed that God and His Messenger love: Reconcile among those who differ.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) said:“One of the things that brings happiness is to seek to reconcile people.”
To those who take an oath not to reconcile among those who differ, God says: “And don’t make God’s name an excuse in your oaths against doing good, acting in a good manner or making peace between people.” (02:224)
When we confront the social fragmentation in our Islamic reality, we have to make every effort to study peoples’ differences and learn what they agree on so as to use what they agree on to solve what they differ over, for the differences, especially when they turn into a kind of partisanship, could result in spoiling our religion, our politics and our society, as well as causing us to lose our strength. Therefore, we should all seek to be closer to God by preparing groups of people who have knowledge and experience and who are well informed about religion to help people enter into dialogue on what they differ over so that love will spread amongst us. Let love be the means that one could convince the others with, for love builds our society, our homeland and our nation while hatred and malice build nothing. Love those with whom you differ to guide them to the right path and love those with whom you agree to meet with them on the basis of obeying God. For those who lived in hatred died, their hatred turned into ashes when they themselves turned into ashes and they left the hatred to those who came after them. But those who lived in love returned to God and were rewarded by His heavens.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon by His Eminence, the late SayyedFadlullah (ra).