Home Archive Interviews In an interview conducted by a German Journalist with Sayyed Fadlullah

In an interview conducted by a German Journalist with Sayyed Fadlullah:
The Pluralism of Authority is a Pluralism Based on Intellectual, Cultural and Jurisprudential Aspects

Q: I would like to know if any change has occurred in your stand since the eighties till now, regarding the following three issues: the religious authority, the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah? 

A: With respect to the religious authority, after the eighties, I was nominated as an authority for issuing Fatwas on the level of the Shiite Muslim world in general. Besides, many Shiites in the entire world adopt my fatwas and are open on my ideas concerning some intellectual issues of the present age. 

Regarding Hezbollah, it is known that the generation that represents Hezbollah, is a generation that has been brought up on my thoughts before the eighties, whether in Lebanon or in Iraq, as it is the case with respect to Hezb Addaa’wah Al-Islamia as well as other parties in Iraq. That is because I was born in Iraq and I lived there for many years, and thus many Iraqi Muslims benefited from my books and thoughts. The Lebanese Muslim youths have also benefited from my knowledge before Hezbollah was founded. And when Hezbollah was founded I was not a part of it and I used to tell them: "I am not a part of you because I do not engage in party politics. But, when you ask my opinion on some positions, I support them if I agree with them, otherwise I do not support them". 

Then, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran achieved victory and the Islamic Republic was founded, some normal differences occurred between me and Hezbollah, especially concerning Wilayatul Faqih and the religious authority, but on the basis of several common principles. And after I announced that I became a religious authority, the difference widened because Hezbollah preferred the authority of Sayyed Ali Khamenaei, but recently, our relationship returned to be a close and good one. 

Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran , of course I support it but I do not agree with it on all issues, whether on the level of some opinions or on the level of the internal reality, whereas I support its position against the American policies. With respect to founding an Islamic republic in Lebanon, I do not think that there is any possibility for its foundation, because of several reasons. Firstly, Lebanon is a country that comprises different sects. Secondly, the entire international and Arab reality does not agree on having an Islamic republic in Lebanon. Besides, Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites, do not agree hundred percent on the idea of founding an Islamic republic. Therefore, this issue is not realistic, and when we talk about the Islamic Republic, we talk about it from a cultural aspect and not from a realistic and political one. 

Q: I read some of your books and I noticed that there are some contradictions in your opinion regarding the Shiite religious authority. Thus, sometimes you support the pluralism of the religious authorities and sometimes you oppose it? 

A: We mean by pluralism, the intellectual, cultural and jurisprudential one and not the pluralism of positions. Speaking about the religious authority in my book, I have stated that I prefer the Shiite authority to be like an institution similar o the authority of the Vatican in which there is a higher person elected by the Mujtahids for example, and there are many committees that study for him all issues. In this way, the religious authority ceases to be just one person surrounded only by his children and relatives. 

Q: But you have stated in your book that this pluralism has many positive aspects since it makes the nation unconfined to one opinion and one line?

A: This is another point, because having many religious authorities, means that the person is free to choose this authority or that, since the authorities differ in the cultural and intellectual aspects. In this way, the person is no more confined to one opinion, because when an authority issues a Fatwas, he is influenced by Jurisprudence, culture and maybe even by politics. Therefore, pluralism gives way for a kind of democracy because it gives the follower a chance to choose the authority that is closer to his mind, as well as to the reality and to the present time, but we call for coordination in this respect on the basis of the institutional authority. 

Q: In the nineties, you issued a statement in which you have commented on the religious scholars in Qom and an-Najaf because they do not take into consideration all issues of their ages, which are related to knowledge and culture. Do you still have the same stand towards them? 

A: I still have the same point of view because I consider that the religious scholar must acquire the Islamic culture and knowledge, understand his age and adhere to it in his way for calling to Allah and educating people on Islam.

Q: Do you consider that there is a progress in this respect? 

A: There are some good examples in Qom.