By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan RimlawiAllah says in His Glorious Book It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error;-and Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).
On the 27th of Rajab, we meet two great Islamic occasions, the start of the Prophet mission and the anniversary of the Night Journey.
God sent His Messenger with the Message, and wanted him to convey it. O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; O Prophet! Surely,We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, And as one who invites to Allah's (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.
“And it is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it)”.
On such occasions, we go back to the Prophet's biography, who was prepared by God for forty years to be equipped by all the spiritual, knowledge and moral virtues, to perfect his mind and open his heart, and ensure that he would lead an infallible life, being the best and strongest in obeying Allah and the closest to Him.
Before the Message, the Prophet was illiterate, who had never read or written: And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted. That is what the Prophet (p.) was unique in. He was the most knowledgeable without being able to read or write. God has taught and inspired him and gave him a mind that opened up on the facts of the universe and the secrets of the unknown. His illiteracy was not a deficiency.
It was a virtue, because it did not convey ignorance but a universal knowledge in all fields. Allah, The Most Exalted, wanted to send an illiterate prophet who will fill the earth with knowledge, thus proving that he is a prophet.
Where else could he have got his knowledge from? In this respect, Imam Ali (a.s.) tells us that Allah, The Most Exalted, has assigned an angel to the Prophet to teach him on a daily basis, then He sent him the Quran, to open up his mind and to solve all the problems he and the Muslims had faced.
The Messenger then called for the belief in God in a society of idolaters but he was not violent or hush with his people. He used to tolerate them and conduct a dialogue with them with what is best. But they grew even more arrogant and hostile. Not able to discuss the truths he come with, they resorted to violence, persecuting his family and companions and boycotting them. Then Allah, The Most Exalted, saved him, the night he immigrated, by letting Ali (a.s.) stay in his bed, to make the unbelievers think that he was still in Makkah and ensure that he reaches Medina safely.
Thus Ali (a.s.), as the Quran stated (And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants) sold himself to God, since he only thought about God in everything he did or said.
In Medina, the Prophet (p.) started organizing the society; he built the mosque that he wanted the Muslims to meet in, leaving behind their fanaticisms, and partisanships.
He held a treaty between the Muhjireen , the Ansar and the Jews who used to live in the city.
Thus he instituted the first Islamic state and provided it with the principles and legislations it needed to live a harmonious and integrated life.
The unbelievers tried who undermine his movement, forcing him to go to several successive wars. But Allah gave him the upper hand, and his call expanded. And a new force appeared in the Arabian Peninsula; the force of Islam. After the opening of Makkah Allah revealed: When there comes the help of Allah and the victory: And thou dost see the people enter Allah's Religion in crowds: “Celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy)”.
The Messenger (p.) conveyed his message, teaching the Muslims what to take and what to leave. He then stood to deliver a speech at the farewell pilgrimage and said: "O People! lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and Take These Words to Those Who Could Not Be Present Here Today.
O People! just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds.
Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.
Then he ended his march on the Day Ghadir. The day was hot and the Messenger (p.) commanded that they should make a pulpit platform out of packsaddles;many were standing under the shelter of thorn trees. And when the crowd had gathered, he walked up to the platform and called Ali (a.s.) to stand at his right. After a prayer of thanks he spoke to the people, informing them that he had been forewarned of his death, and saying: ‘I shall soon depart to Allah to be concealed from you, and bidding farewell to this world. I am leaving amongst you, the book of Allah and my Itrat. And if you follow this you will never go astray; these both would never be separated until they meet me at the fountain of Kauser.
He then called out "Am I not more precious to you then your own life? They said, "Yes". Then it was that he took Ali’s hand and raised them so high that he showed the white of his armpits, and said. "Whoever has me as his Maula has Ali (S.A) as his Maula. O’ Allah love those who love Ali (a.s.) and be an enemy to his enemies. Help those who assist him and frustrate those who oppose him."
As Muhammad (p.) departed to meet his God, and although Ali's wilayat was not realized, the Imam held his responsibility in protecting Islam even when he was not a caliph. He gave those who preceded him advice and sound opinion. He preserved the Muslims’ unity seeing that the enemies of Islam both the internal (hypocrites) and the foreign (Persians and Romans) were planning to eliminate Islam…
Islam thus began its long march, encountering several problems which it was able to overcome. Therefore we, in this stage, and on these occasions, that of the birth of Islam, have to feel that Islam is the responsibility of each and every one of us, a responsibility that Allah, has entrusted us with Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many were the messenger that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.
We have to be dedicated in our hearts and minds to uphold this responsibility towards the message of Islam, and be the callers to Allah in the entire world. It is the responsibility of every scholar, intellectual or anyone who knows a legislative ruling to convey it to the people: Those who deliver the messages of Allah and fear Him, and do not fear anyone but Allah; and Allah is sufficient to take account. We are responsible to spread the Islam to the world because Allah wanted us to do so: He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness
We are all responsible, whether in our countries, aboard or among our families and friends to convey the message of Islam. Allah said to His Messenger: Enjoin prayer on thy people, and be constant therein. And O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded
It is our responsibility to increase the strength of Islam by our strength, and to maintain a firm and strong willpower to break that of the arrogant and the unjust. The Messenger says: "Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock".
No one can be neutral, since the scholars and the intellectuals are not the only ones who are responsible; surely every one of us is responsible according to his abilities: On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear.
The religious scholars cannot just sit aside, and isolate themselves from the ongoing struggle.
The Messenger says: If heresy appears in my nations, the Alim? (Religious Scholar) should show his Islam (knowledge). If he does not than may Allah curse him". He also said: "Allah did not order the ignorant to learn except after he asked the learned to teach.
The Anniversary's inspiration:
In this anniversary, we remember Allah's honoring of His Messenger (p.) through the night journey: Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. It was said that Allah has made him meet all prophets and lead them in prayers. It was also said that He took the Prophet (p.) to Heaven to be introduced to its kingdom.
Thus, dear beloved, when we remember the Messenger in these occasions, and remember all what the Muslims have gone through we have to consider ourselves, the supporters and companions of the Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Taurat and their description in the Injeel .
These are the inspirations of this anniversary. It is not merely a celebration, but rather a responsibility that we have to uphold. To move Islam a step forward, especially that the Muslims of the world have become about a billion and half.
We have to make every cultural economic, military and political effort to lead the world, since this is what Allah wants “And say: Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers”.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.