Sayyed Fadlullah: Islamic parties should derive their popularity from their own agenda, and not from opposing the counter project.
Asked in his weekly
seminar the following question:
What is this Islamic position regarding political parties?
The Religious Authority,
Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said
Political parties represent one of the political and
ideological essential instruments in this age, being one of the bases of
building the modern state. In principle, we do not feel that there is a
problem in the legitimacy of participating in parties and trade unions,
since parties represent a movement to organizing man's actions, and
achieving his aims of elevating the nation's level and guiding it
ideologically, politically and economically. It also aims at unifying the
nation’s efforts to serve its general interests.
Islam has emphasized all these issues, especially that
of running the affairs of the nation in a way that establishes law and
order, maintains stability and preserves the social and economic security
of the nation. The legitimacy of any political party in Islam depends on
its conforming in its principles, stands and decisions with the Islamic
Shariah and its teachings that aim at protecting man and establishing
justice in the society. And we have found as a result of monitoring the
experiment of the of the parties’ political experiment in the Arab and
Islamic worlds that they have made a lot of mistakes which distorted
The most important mistake or illness these parties
suffered from is the personality cult which made the head of the party
summarize all of the party in his person by his appropriating of
political decision making. And this led to the emergence of the
phenomenon of opportunists who try to draw closer to the leader at the
expense of the honest members who would be besieged and distanced, for
various reasons including their standing against his dictatorship in
running the party.
The party system was born in a democratic atmosphere
to exemplify the multiplicity and diversity of the society. It also
served to promote freedom that would enable it of presenting the best
model of building the state.
But what happened in the Islamic and Arab worlds was
that most of their parties practiced just the opposite. They adopted
internal dictatorship, thus running their parties in a closed and iron
fist manner that prevents any internal reform, at a time they were
presenting themselves as the viable alternative for reform in the nation.
There is no doubt that the phenomenon of the
personality cult and internal dictatorship that was prominent in most
Arab and Muslim parties Led these parties to fall in the sphere of
violence, with each party member resorting, once he reaches power, to
accuse his old comrades of treason, and then liquidate them whether
morally or physically, turning party multilateralism into a perpetual
struggle for power.
Another negative point was partisan fanaticism, which
made each party member defend his party even at the expense of principles
Thus, parties became gods that were worshipped instead
of worshipping Allah, the most Exalted, alone. This state of affairs
prevented the Islamic parties from internal development and renewal,
which could have given them a much needed vitality and pumped new blood
into them, leading to a state of freeze in both the nation and the state.
Thus our parties should strive to break this circle of
political calcification, by allowing the youth to participate in the
party's decision making process, for we have noticed that most parties in
the Arab and Islamic worlds suffer from a fatal old age phenomenon. What
is most dangerous is that the parties that are still living in a climate
of vitality derive it form their reactions to the counter – project and
not from the viability of its own project.
We want the Arab and Muslim parties to mobilize the
nation by the strength of their own programs, turning into shadow
governments, and not to build their strength by opposing the oppression
and totalitarianism of the regimes. This requires an intellectual,
cultural and political effort that generates a viability in the party's
body , mobilizes the nation on their own agenda, values and aspirations.
We want the movement of building parties in the Arab world and especially
in Lebanon to start from the actual need for building and present the
appropriate plans for building the human and the society, and not base
its agenda on personal concerns and narrow-interests, which will lead to
the birth of similar parties which do not differ much in their agendas
and aims, although there might be either leftist or rightist.
We have always emphasized the need to educate the
voter in order to play his part in the process of change… saving him from
the beast of ignorance or the multiple pressures, including that of
And we would like to emphasize the same thing
regarding the issue of political parties. This is because the problem
lies in that the leaderships have given themselves the right to know
everything and take decisions in everything, leaving no role for the
This attitude made the leaderships adopt a policy of
keeping the base in the dark, which in turn led to a lethal indifference
by this base. Thus we have lost the actual chances of change, at a time
the partisan and sectarian culture is flourishing. The culture of
political instincts has become dominant, while the culture of criticism
and solidarity has dwindled. We, in Lebanon, have once again entered in
the Lebanese unknown that leads to more dangerous unknown of the region,
and even the unknown of the game of nations in our country.