By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimlawi
Allah says in His Glorious Book: “the number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) ordained by Him the day He created the Heaven and the earth; of them four are sacred” (9:36). He also says: “And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, you members of the family, and to make you pure and spotless.”(33:33).
In this month that Allah has prohibited fighting in, we have to acquire the spirit of peace by removing the hatred of other believers from our hearts, and by changing enmity into friendship and boycotting into meeting. Allah wants the Muslims to be a unified nation that has one stand, especially when they are faced by grave challenges.
This month also carries a lot of memories of the Members of the House (a.s.). In the beginning of it the Imams, Muhammad Al-Baqir and Ali Al-Hadi (a.s.), were born, and on its third day Imam Al-Hadi (a.s.) died. We have to follow the course of our Imams, being the Imams that carried the message of Islam, fought for the cause of Allah and endured a lot of sufferings in due course. If they did not have the chance to lead the nation politically alongside their religious leadership, they practiced their Imamate by advising the nation, facing all the problems its members lived, and responding to all the ideological challenges they faced.
Each Imam had a certain role in accordance with the time he lived in and the scope of circumstances that allowed him to practice his cultural leadership.
But we have a vast tradition that they have left us, and we benefit from each occasion to learn some of them to light our way and to earn Allah‘s satisfaction.
One of the issues we are going to discuss today, based on the teachings of our Imams, is the issue of comparing between performing a desired (not obligatory) act of worship and helping the poor and the deprived, or even trying to reconcile between two friends or groups that entered into a feud which is better to perform a desired act of worship, which requires paying some money like performing pilgrimage or giving the money to a poor family and helping its starving members not to lose their face.
In the first case, we heard Imam Ali (a.s.) say in his last will to his children: Imams Hassan and Hussein (a.s.), and to all who are informed of it, “heard your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah say: “Reconciling is better than fasting or praying” that is of course the desired acts and not the ordained ones which means that if you have to choose between praying the night prayer, for example, or staying up to reconcile between two people, then it is more rewarding to reconcile.
As for the second question, Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) says that providing for a Muslim family is better than to perform 70 pilgrimages.
This tradition highlights the importance of the social issue in Islam. It is the Muslim’s duty to confront the deprivation of other Muslims. It is clear that the belief many of us has that performing a desired pilgrimage, is more important that supporting a poor family is baseless. It is more rewarding to support fellow Muslims. We have to recognize the importance of social consolidation.
Moreover, Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) talks about certain aspects of how to deal with people, condemning all those who have a bad temper that they might curse at will, and even those who might press and ask for what they want over and over again.
He says: “Tell the people what you like most to hear from them. Allah hates those who curse and those who press for their errands, and loves the prudent and the chaste”.
Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) also explains to us how important is to be honest and trustworthy. He says: “Be pious in obeying Allah and in saying the truth and in giving back what you were entrusted with: whether by a good person or a bad one, even if it were Ali’s assassinator”.
Imam Al-Hadi (a.s.) quotes the Messenger’s (p.) distinction between being a Muslim and a believer, for Muhammad (p.) considered that belief has to be in the heart and has to be credited by the action, while it is sufficient to accept Islam verbally.
That is why the Prophet (p.) used to accept all those who pronounced the two testimonies even if it were out of fear.
Imam Al-Hadi (a.s.) also says: “Who obeys the Creator does not care about people’s anger”. Allah is everything to such people for no man is worth anything compared to his creator. And this is what the Messenger (p.) said when the people of Taif (a city near Mecca) were throwing stones at him and cursing him to drive him out of the city: “[God] If You are not angry with me, then I care for nothing”.
Imam Al-Hadi (a.s.) goes on to stay: “And whoever angers the Creator, let him rest assure that he will gain the anger of the created”, for they will despise him knowing that he sold his religion.
The Imam then explains the difference between this world and the Hereafter: “people in this world are judged by the money they have, while they will be judged in the Hereafter by their actions”. He reminds us that we are all going to die and that nothing will do us any good except our good deeds: “O you who believe fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow. Fear Allah: For Allah is well acquainted with (all) that you do. And be not like those who forget Allah, and He made them forget themselves! Such are the rebellious transgressors! Not equal are the companions of the Fire and the companions of the Garden: They are the companions of the Garden that will achieve felicity.” (19:59)
Let us pray that Allah will help us against ourselves, with what He helps the pious against themselves. He is the most Merciful.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.