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Stands >2006 Stands >The Stand of  Zo Hujja 03 1426H /January 03, 2006 A.D.
 

Role of criticism in Islam

Sayyed Fadlullah: We are facing a new stage in which international pressures will escalate and the political and even security polarization will aggravate, thus affecting Lebanon that will once again play the role or an open front that is influenced by all the contradictions in the region instead of being a politically and culturally productive homeland that serves its citizens and environment, and takes into account its being a link between the East and the West

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: How does Islam view criticism?
 

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:

Islam was concerned in building the Islamic personality in a comprehensive way, emphasizing the necessity of seeking knowledge as one of its priorities. It urged the people to participate in everything that could enhance their living or build their society through their participation in the process of criticism that is the result of a natural interaction with the environment, and the basis of the individuals’ or ‘ feeling of responsibility towards the social, cultural or even political movement of their community.
That is why not only did the Prophet educate the people as the need to hold the ruler accountable, he also asked the people, although he was infallible, to question him, for he said to them that although “you cannot hold anything against me, for I only made lawful what the Quran made lawful and prohibited what the Quran did…" they should hold him accountable on the basis of the Quranic Holy constitution.
Yet, although we recognize the importance of promoting the culture of criticism, we differentiate between the objective criticism that is based on concrete facts and the negative one that is based on insults, emotions and accusations of treason. Such a criticism does not enable the other party to respond to the accusations in an objective rational and even legal way. And thus it intersects with the culture of intimidation that is practiced by the tyrant rulers.
It might be that our problem in the Arab and Muslim World lies in that most rulers as well as opposition blocs belong to these two kinds of culture: A ruler that appropriates the nation and prohibits any criticism, which could be a short road to jail…. And an opposition that does not allow an internal opposition to the leadership of the party or the bloc, although such an internal freedom might be of great help in confronting the ruler.
The nation, thus, has entered in a maze of appropriation either at the top or within the grassroots. Any exception has become rather limited and restricted to certain individuals that it became a formality or a political or media decoration.
We in Lebanon are living a political comedy with tension escalating to reach a climax, and no rational addressing of the problems in sight. It is as if the country is meant to remain unstable, since the US wants the region to enter into a waiting stage where nothing is decided since the fate of the American presence in the region is not decided, and since certain European parties have begun to benefit of this state of immobility to try to create trouble to other Western parties, or at least draw for themselves a line that. although remains within the general framework of the American project, tries to find other means of pressure to keep Lebanon unstable and vulnerable to pressure.
We are facing a new stage in which these international pressures will escalate and the political and even security polarization will aggravate thus affecting Lebanon that will once again play the role or an open front that is influenced by all the contradictions in the region instead of being a politically and culturally productive homeland that serves its citizens and environment and takes into account its being a link between the East and the West.