|An excerpt of an interview conducted by "Okaz" newspaper with His Eminence, the late Sayyed Fadlullah, on the issue of slandering and cursing the companions and the mothers of believers|
The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra): We forbid cursing, slandering, and abusing the mothers of believers and deem such acts as contradicting with the genuine Islamic line
The opinions and Fatwas of His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), have always constituted a unifying Islamic stand which always confirmed that Muslims should be aware of the danger of inciting and fueling seditions and sectarian sensitivities that would only rip their reality apart and serve the schemes and projects of the nation's enemies. Therefore, His Eminence forbade cursing and slandering the mothers of believers and the companions, considering that such acts contradict with the course of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) which necessitates giving priority to the supreme Islamic interest over any personal or secondary interests.
Following is an excerpt of an interview conducted by the Saudi daily, "Okaz", with His Eminence on the issue of cursing and slandering the companions and mothers of believers, on Safar 28th, 1429 H., March 6th, 2008 A.D.
Q: What is your stand regarding the issue of cursing and slandering the companions, including Abu Bakr, Omar and Aisha?
A: Personally, I forbid the act of slandering and cursing any companion whom Allah had mentioned in the following Ayah: "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," (48:29), at a time we set aside the issue of the Imamate and Caliphate, for which we have other considerations. As for the issue of cursing, I have always deemed it forbidden for any Muslim, and I state in all the relevant religious inquiries I receive that it is forbidden to curse and slander any companion including the Caliphs. I reiterate the words of Imam Ali (a.s.) which he said while he was on his way to Siffin and heard some of the People of Iraq cursing and slandering the People of Sham, so he told them: "I dislike you starting to abuse them, but if you describe their deeds and recount their situations that would be a better mode of speaking and a more convincing way of arguing. Instead of abusing them you should say: 'O Allah! Save our blood and their blood, produce reconciliation between us and them, and lead them out of their misguidance so that he who is ignorant of the truth may know it, and he who inclines towards rebellion and revolt may turn away from it." Actually, this text is found in the book "Nahjul Balaghah" (The Peak of Eloquence).
In this aspect, I tend to adopt the way Imam Ali (a.s.) used to deal with the Caliphs, although Shiites believe that the caliphs are the ones who deprived the Imam of his right to the caliphate. In his letter to the People of Egypt, he (a.s.) said: "I suddenly noticed people surrounding Abu Bakr to swear him allegiance. I, therefore, withheld my hand till I saw that many people were reverting from Islam and trying to destroy the religion of Muhammad (p.). I, then, feared that if I did not protect Islam and its people and there occurred in it a breach or destruction, it would mean a greater blow to me than the loss of power over you, which was in any case to last for a few days of which everything would pass away as the mirage passes away or as the cloud scuds away. Therefore, in these happenings, I rose till wrong was destroyed and disappeared and religion attained peace and safety."
Thus, we deal with the issue of the caliphate in the same manner as Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib (a.s.) who was open up to the caliphs, supporting them and guiding them to where their interest lies. It is narrated that Imam Ja'afar As-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "It is easy to earn people satisfaction; just hold your tongues back against them." Moreover, we deem it forbidden to curse and slander the mothers of believers; on the contrary, they ought to be honored as a sign of honoring the Messenger of Allah (p.). On this occasion, I recall the following verse of a poem written by one of our scholars, Muhammad Baqir Hujjatul Islam, who died a hundred years ago, in which he says:
"O redhead (Aisha), [the act of] cursing you is forbidden, because for the sake of one person, a thousand persons are honored."
Therefore, we deem it forbidden to curse, slander and offend the mothers of believers, just as we deem it forbidden to curse and slander the companions, and we have issued a Fatwa on this ruling and it spread widely throughout the world.
Q: Is this stand you have taken based on your rejection to the concept of slandering and cursing, in general, or out of consideration to the feelings of Sunnis, or out of your belief and convincement that the companions enjoy a high status [that ought to be honored]?
A: Actually, my stand stems out from the genuine Islamic line that we believe in; which deems slandering and cursing any Muslim impermissible, especially if that Muslim was a companion [of the Prophet], considering that slandering and cursing is [an act of] derailment from the genuine Islamic line. I believe that conducting dialogue, in a direct manner, places those engaging in it in an intimate ambience that enables them to ease and reduce the differences amongst them at the psychological, mental and intellectual levels.
Q: When we discuss the issue of cursing and slandering the companions with the wise and rational Shiites, they say: this is the stand of the exaggerators in the Shiite sect and not that of the sect itself, but the problem actually lies in the fact that the companions are scorned in the works of prominent Shiite figures. What do you say about that?
A: It is natural to consider that the historic accumulations and personal psychological interactions have left a negative impact on the way the caliphs are regarded, as a result of the state of oppression inflicted upon the Members of the House (a.s.) that the Shiites believe in; thus, we believe that the issue have evolved due to the historic accumulations and personal interactions. At a time we meet some Shiites who justify cursing and slandering, we find some Sunni brothers who deem the Shiites as Kafirs (disbelievers). I have even heard some of them saying that the Jews and Christians are better than the Shiites, for they believe that the Jews and Christians are among the People of the Book, while the Shiites are atheists. Therefore, we note that there exist many accumulations that ought to be treated.
Therefore, I used to say that my call for an Islamic – Islamic dialogue is based on the need for correcting the mistakes and removing the complications existing in any sect, by means of dialogue. This is because dialogue directly places those engaging in it in an intimate ambience that enables them to bring them closer to one another at the psychological, mental and intellectual levels.