In 1952 A.D., following the death of the late Sayyed Mohsin Al-Ameen (ra), Sayyed Fadlullah paid his first visit to Lebanon and specifically to Beirut. He participated in the ceremony marking the anniversary of the passing of forty days on the death of Sayyed Al-Ameen. The 16-year old young man recited an elegiac poem: “A Tear on Mohsin Al-Ameen”, lamenting the demise of the great religious leader, Al-Ameen. That elegiac poem had such a significant impact according to the Lebanese newspapers at the time that it aroused people's feelings and revealed Sayyed Fadlullah's talent and creativity in versing poetry.
During his first visit that lasted for several months, Sayyed Fadlullah met many personalities and thinkers of different fields of knowledge including literature and politics. He also held many meetings and discussions with some Arab secularists such as the communists, nationalists, Marxists, and Baathists on the role of Islam in the modern society.
What made His Eminence stand out was his great enthusiasm and ability in the art of polemics and convincing, which revealed that he possessed wide knowledge and openness on the ideology of the other, whoever that other was. His attitude of accepting the other brought him into direct contact with the Marxist thought and the dialectical materialism in particular. He also had wide knowledge of the views of other thinkers, such as Jean Jack Rousseau, Frantz Fanon, and Paulo Freire.
After that, His Eminence made consecutive visits to Lebanon. He once visited Lebanon with his father, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Abdul-Ra’ouf Fadlullah on July 15, 1955 A.D. He stayed for 18 months, in the course of which he visited many places and participated in many intellectual discussions, as well as many political dialogues.
Those consecutive visits enabled him to make a kind of survey to the complexities of the Lebanese society, and accordingly establish a political view about the Lebanese politics and developments. During that time, the Lebanese situation was subjected to the competition between Britain and France, on the one hand, and Britain, France and the United States on the other, with the latter attempting to establish a foothold in Lebanon.
It must be noted that the Egyptian revolution in 1952 A.D. was at the center of his attention. He supported enthusiastically the political lines that the revolution adopted and he composed a poem of three pages entitled: "From here we start it", in which he saluted the decision of nationalizing the Suez Canal. Amidst those political developments and changes, His Eminence started forming a new organized line of the political Islamic path; the dynamic Islam that is able to encounter the challenges of the major political changes.
The years from 1958 to 1966 A.D. witnessed great political and intellectual developments, starting from the establishment of Ad-Da’wa Islamic party until the time the Sayyed left Iraq. Those years were marked with political unrest including revolutions and military coups d’état, in addition to ideological and intellectual struggles and the appearance of secular trends.
Following was the revolution of 1958 A.D. in Iraq. His Eminence, who was twenty two years old, was so influenced by that revolution that he composed a poem in which he reflected the lively picture of the national feeling and the general feelings of the people. The poem was published by the official Iraqi newspaper “The Republic”. This period was characterized with the prevalence of the national spirit and the crystallization of the national awareness.
What made His Eminence stand out was his great enthusiasm and ability in the art of polemics and convincing, which revealed that he possessed wide knowledge and openness on the ideology of the other, whoever that other was
In that period, His Eminence stood out as a young Islamic writer and an effective participant in forming the Islamic religious discourse in the beginning and the middle of the sixties. In 1960 A.D., Sayyed Fadlullah, who was 25 years old, wrote an important book of 133 pages entitled "The methodology of the call in the Quran." In this book, His Eminence revealed the misunderstandings and misconceptions in the interpretations of some thinkers to the Holy Quran and the falseness of some claims that link between Jihad (holy struggle) and the "natural" inclination towards violence, and between the call to Allah and coercion… His Eminence was the forerunner in his attempts to show the relation between religion and the state; the very basic theme in Islamic thought.
Meanwhile, the newspaper "Al-Adwaa Al-Islamiyyah" came to light. It was considered the most influential Shiite newspaper at the time, in which he played an essential role alongside the Martyr, Sayyed As-Sadr.
His editorial articles, which he wrote for "Al-Adwaa" newspaper, were collected in a separate book entitled "’Afaq Islamiyyah (Islamic Horizons) and others subjects". The articles dealt with different issues, such as confessionalism, the state of Islamic teachings, dissociation between the narrow Islamic awareness and the practical methods of the different Islamic groups.
His Eminence was destined to leave Iraq at the beginning of 1966. A.D. having completed all his advanced jurisprudential and religious studies and having seen closely the dangerous events and developments, which Iraq, in particular, and the Arab world, in general, were witnessing.
He arrived in Lebanon at the age of thirty in 1966 and settled in "An-Naba’a," Burj Hammoud, in response to an invitation from a religious person living in that area. The poor neighborhoods of An-Naba’a were not strange to His Eminence as he had frequently visited them before in the early fifties. In one of the T.V. interviews in 2004, Sayyed Fadlullah narrated how he used to wander about its poorest alleys and meet the deprived poor young men who were enrolled in different secular or leftist organizations.
In the early sixties, a group of immigrant businessmen established an association called "Fraternal Family - ‘Usrat At-Taakhi". Its purpose was to develop the religious and cultural awareness among the local marginalized young men. In view of the difficult life conditions which the society was plunged with at that time, His Eminence founded many social, educational, and religious organizations in and around An-Naba’a such as "The Islamic Shariah Institute", which he established in 1966 A.D. and it was similar to the religious teaching schools of An-Najaf. Among the graduates of that Islamic Institute was Sheikh Ragheb Harb and many other distinguished religious scholars in Lebanon. To enhance the process of progress, His Eminence encouraged a group of Muslim students in the Beirut Arab University to establish "The Lebanese Union for Muslim students," which started publishing "Al-Montalaq" newspaper bimonthly in 1977 A.D., and His Eminence used to write its main articles.
His Eminence arrived in Lebanon at the age of thirty in 1966 and settled in "An-Naba’a," Burj Hammoud. Once, he mentioned that he used to wander about the poorest alleys in An-Naba’a and meet the deprived poor young men who were enrolled in different secular or leftist organizations
His social, religious, and educational activities, as well as his projects of establishing organizations were not restricted to An-Naba’a Burj Hammoud. He worked on expanding the scope of his activities by establishing new mosques and halls for religious meetings that covered the eastern suburbs of Beirut. In addition to those activities, he set a regular schedule of activities in south Lebanon. He used to visit South Lebanon regularly once or twice a week, and he was able to hold many religious and social celebrations. His activities were not limited to spreading the Islamic values and promoting religious feelings; but rather, they were also concerned with the dire economic, social and political issues.
Sayyed Fadlullah had his own opinion regarding the establishment of the "Higher Islamic Shiite Council". He insisted that the Lebanese sectarian division, in addition to the internal and external political conflicts, must not lead to destabilizing the Islamic unity, as well as deepening the separation between the Shiite personality from that of the Sunni's and strengthening the confessional entities of the Lebanese society and what those entities produced. He noticed that those sectarian councils helped in strengthening the frontiers that divide the Lebanese sects whether on the Islamic level or the Christian level. And since the establishment of sectarian councils was not complete at that time, Sayyed Fadlullah suggested establishing one council for both the Sunnis and the Shiites so that it would lead to a kind of unity among the Muslims, and help at the same time in building a conscious Islamic personality…
He believed that the western scheme aimed at turning Lebanon into an arena in which the Palestinian Resistance, the Palestinian political reality, and the Lebanese National Movement would commit unprecedented mistakes that would lead to their ultimate fall
On the other hand, His Eminence lived the atmosphere of the civil war to its fullest details. He believed that the civil war was run by the international and Arab movement, which employed all its intelligence agencies in order to turn Lebanon into an arena in which the Palestinian Resistance, the Palestinian political reality, and the Lebanese National Movement would commit unprecedented mistakes that could lead to their ultimate fall.
Due to the security situation and his inability to stay in An-Naba'a anymore, and after leaving Bint Jbeil as well, His Eminence moved to Ghobeiri in the southern suburb of Beirut in the summer of 1976 A.D. There, he resumed his activities with the same zeal and strength he demonstrated throughout his blessed life, especially from his position as the Imam of Imam Ar-Rida (a.s.) mosque which was the core for a general Islamic awakening. Then, when the Israeli invasion took place in 1982, His Eminence was in Iran to attend the celebration marking the victory of the Iranian revolution. He immediately held a meeting with a number of Sunni and Shiite religious scholars and issued a statement condemning the invasion. He cut his visit short and returned quickly to Lebanon.
However, he was surprised to find the entrances to the capital blocked. Meanwhile, His Eminence was kidnapped at a checkpoint held by the Lebanese Phalanges. However, he was immediately released due to an official and public pressure. At that time, His Eminence confronted the Israeli invasion through the leading role he played in guiding and supporting the Islamic Resistance which started at the borders of the southern suburb of Beirut. He strongly refused the treaty of May 17 and rebelliously opposed it in his religious lectures and political statements calling for a national and Islamic resistance…
His Eminence was the target of several failing assassination attempts, the most important of which was Bir Al-‘Abd blast in 1984 A.D., which was set by the American Central Intelligence Agency through its local agents
Due to his important position and great impact, His Eminence was the target of several failing assassination attempts, the most important of which was Bir Al-‘Abd blast in 1984 A.D., which was set by the American Central Intelligence Agency through its local agents. In short, His Eminence was always living in the circle of danger and threat to his own life.
Sayyed Fadlullah believed that the Islamic movement should be engaged in the democratic parliamentary course. He saw that the successful means of changing the society politically were not restricted to the revolution, but they were also related to a realistic change that could be established through the existing organizations in the political reality. Through these means, the Islamic belief would be rejuvenated and widely spread. They could also help in promoting the Islamic cause and guaranteeing its safety by the will of the majority of the believers.
His Eminence insisted that the issue of working within the democratic institutions does not necessarily mean recognizing the democratic regime intellectually, since this regime mainly contradicts with the Islamic thought. But it is in fact a process of accepting and coexisting with the reality side by side with the blessing of freedom that the Islamic movement might enjoy with the non-Islamic movements.
Last but not least, His Eminence believed that the issue of power represents an element of balance that the nation needs, in order to exist and succeed as well. Therefore, according to His Eminence: If we aim at assuming power while keeping the values we believe in, we have to keep on building the elements of power, so that when we want power within the context of an Islamic state, this state must combine both the lines of the Islamic values and the materialistic power that protects the state.
His Eminence was characterized with his precise and deep reading, in addition to his ability in analyzing the Lebanese, Arab, and international events and developments. He also moved, in action and in words, in the path of opening up to the other and called for love among all sects and confessions. He worked hard on freeing the political and sectarian affiliations from their narrow circle to the wide horizons of the homeland, based on the values of justice, love, and understanding in a country that is for everyone and whose main concern is the happiness and ascension of man, considering him a token of Divine blessings if he succeeds in his choices and directions…
His Eminence was characterized with his precise and deep reading, in addition to his ability in analyzing the Lebanese, Arab, and international developments. He also assumed the path of opening up to the other and called for love among all sects and confessions
His Eminence always focused on the concept of the universal Islam, which means that politics is not something irrelevant to Islam. However, he, at the same time, did not agree with some politicians who exploit religion in their cheap political games.
We cannot but bow before this great endlessly giving person who never stepped in the labyrinths and narrow lanes of politics to achieve earthly objectives. On the contrary, he regarded politics as a means and an art through which he made sure to serve man and his interests, wherever he was, and worked hard on developing life, horizons, and awareness of this human entity.