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Work: A Human and Religious Responsibility

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Jumada El-Awal, 6th 1430 H. - May, 1st 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

Workers' Day: A tribute to the faithful worker

Today, the entire world celebrates the Labor Day, emphasizing the role of the worker in building and developing life, whether in the service of man, civilization or the universe in its regular movement. In this regard, it is obvious that the worker, like any other human being, holds a responsibility. He might shoulder this responsibility faithfully, since he considers his work a task entrusted to him by God and by people. But there are also those who are not faithful and might cheat in their work, and even ruin it.

Thus, we would like to honor the worker who has a mind and a conscience that tell him to be honest in his work; in return for the money he has been paid. But if people talk exclusively about work and production in this world, work actually includes the field of politics as well. Among those who work in this field, some are faithful to their nations, but others betray them. There also those who work in the civil service. Some of those are faithful and serve all people, but others exploit their work for their own personal benefit.

There are also those who are in authority who feel that their leadership positions are a chance to serve people, but others try to benefit from their positions, even if that leads the nation to fall.

Even in the religious domain, some might use religion as a commodity to gain money and prestige, while others consider their religious work a message. Last but not least, there is work for the Hereafter in which man ought to worship Allah and obey Him. This is what the Holy Quran indicates in the following verse. "O man! surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him." (84:6), since all believers should shoulder their responsibility towards what Allah has ordered them to do and what He has prevented them from doing.

Traditions by the Prophet (p.) and the Imams (a.s.) on work

On this occasion, we will try to go through some of the sayings of the Messenger (p.) and the Imams of Ahl El-Beit (a.s), concerning work in all its kinds and responsibilities. The Messenger (p.) says to Ibn Mas'oud: If you do something, you have to utilize knowledge and the intellect – whenever you do something, you should be armed with the proper scientific knowledge that enables you to do it. There are those who forge a certificate or a degree to work as civil servants or teachers, but they are actually ignorant of the nature of their work. And there are those who work without using their mind, which makes one ignorant about the points of weakness and strength – but never do something without proper management and knowledge for Allah, the Most Exalted, says: "And be not like unto her who unravelleth the thread, after she hath made it strong, to thin filaments".(16:92).

The Messenger (p.) also says: "Allah, the Most Exalted, would like any of you, if he does something to perfect it". When you are charged with doing anything, whether in construction, agriculture or industry, you ought to deliver it without any defect or imperfection. He also said: Allah, the Most Exalted, wants the worker once he does a work, to perfect it. Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "When Ibrahim, the son of Allah's Messenger, died, the Prophet (p.) saw a defect in his grave and corrected it with his own hands and said: If anyone of you does any work he should perfect it".

The punishment of wronging a worker

Another point is that some employers might delay paying the worker his wage, while the latter has certain urgent needs to sustain his family and even pay some of his debts. Nevertheless, the employer might delay the payment hoping to gain some interest. Some employers might even pay less than the wage agreed upon. On this point, the Messenger (p.) says: "Whoever wrongs an employer in his wage – deny him the wage or does not give the wage in full – Allah will fail his work – if the employer fasts and prays, but he wrongs his workers, Allah will not accept his work and it will be as if he has not prayed or fasted – He will not smell the scent of Heaven that is found at a distance of 500 years. He also said that Allah, the Most Exalted, forgives every sin, except that of a man who usurps the wage of a worker or the dowry of a woman.

Furthermore, it is not sufficient to give the worker his full wage without any deduction. You also ought to hasten to pay it. The Messenger (p.) says: "Give the worker his wage before his sweat dries. And tell him how much it is while he is working." Imam Al-Rida (a.s.) asked some of those who work for him, when he saw that they hired a working hand: "Have you told him how much his wage is?" When they said "no", he scolded them, because when one tells the worker how much his wage is, and gives him a raise, even if it were a small one, the worker would consider it an act of charity.

Work: A roadway to Heaven or to Hell

We have to consider that one who does his work in a faithful way, considering that he is doing something that he is entrusted with, would be doing something that Allah and His Messenger love, and that Allah will give him an additional reward to be added to his wage. On the other hand, we say to the workers that there are two kinds of work: one which man will be rewarded on and one which he will be held accountable for. Those who support the wrongdoers in their work will be punished. And those who work for the cause of building life and society in what pleasures Allah, will be rewarded. That is why we said that the citizens of all countries, whose lands have been occupied, should not collaborate with the occupier, but they should serve the interests of the people and the country.

Thus, everyone of us should know that there are two kinds of work: one that could elevate man and make him enter Heaven and one that could lead him to Hellfire. We congratulate the workers on their day and call on all authorities, at all levels, to grant the workers their legitimate rights.

The Second Sermon

Changing the Palestinian Map

In occupied Palestine, the Israeli bulldozers roar once again preparing to demolish tens of houses in the heart of Jerusalem at the time where the colonization in the West Bank is speeding up, which will eventually lead to – through the new decisions of annexing over thousands of hectares of the occupied territories – increase the population of the Jewish settlements by an additional 35 thousands. It will also lead to the division of the West Bank into two parts: a northern part and a southern one, thus, paving the way for a new division that will practically put an end to the project of the so-called viable Palestinian state…

As a result of the continuous demolishment operations in Jerusalem and besieging the city by settlements, as well as annexing more territories of the West Bank, the Palestinian authority, along with any prospect for establishing a Palestinian state, have practically fallen. In the meantime, the American Administration is sending more security trainers to teach the Palestinian Authority how to confront the Resistance on the security level… The European Union, too, no longer talks about the Jewish colonization expansion which is on its way to change the entire Palestinian map, and we hear nothing but shy words from France that indicate that the new colonization operations are disturbing. As for the so-called International Community, it did not say anything about the need to stop colonization; and it even stopped its previous calls for freezing the settlement operations. That is because no one dares to call on Israel to stop any of the projects it has embarked on, at the time that the Western parties call the Arabs and Muslims to abandon any project that is deemed as a threat to Israel even after tens of years ahead.

It is ironic that the enemy, which carried out, years ago, joint military maneuvers with Turkey and America that aimed at targeting the Iranian military experiment, is expressing, nowadays, its concern towards the last Turkish – Syrian maneuvers and considers them to be a disturbing development… especially after the conclusive Turkish stand that refused the Israeli aggression on Gaza. Unfortunately, none of the Arabs knew how to make use of this stand and did not even take any step to embrace Turkey to benefit from its strategic and influencing position in the region, just as they had done with Iran. It is remarkable that one of the Arab writers and analysts has said that these two states that represent the Savavide and Ottoman states, and that used to encounter big problems with the Arabs, are actually embracing the Arabs' causes and defending them, in contradiction with some of the Arabs' official positions.

UN's double standards

In another Arab scene, the charade of punishing the Mujahideen who smuggled arms into Gaza continues. However, a new player has joined the game and that is no other than the United Nations, whose Secretary General's Envoy to Supervise the Execution of Resolution 1559, Larson, flew to Cairo to bring up, once again, the issue of smuggling, considering it a "dangerous phenomenon" that jeopardizes the sovereignty of the Egyptian territories. 

We wonder if the role of the Untied Nations is to preserve the international peace and security or if it has become a means of creating problems between nations and political groups! Moreover, why is not it concerned about the sovereignty of the Syrian territories that are violated by the enemy's warplanes that bombed a certain facility in Dair Azzour, as well as the American warplanes that assassinated workers and farmers in Al-Bu Kamal. And why is not it concerned about the sovereignty of Sudan that was violated by the Israeli warplanes in the region of Port Sudan…. And why does not the UN take any move against the Israeli daily violations of the Lebanese airspace and its intelligence violation of the Lebanese front that undermined the Lebanese internal security? Are we to conclude that the UN, too, possesses an Israeli agenda?!

Faced by this strange situation that reaches the level of incitation and creating disturbances among the Arabs, especially through the movement of Larson, who is known for his loyalty to Israel and not the UN, we call on the International Organization to get out of the impasse it had put itself in and that made it become more of a tool that works under Israeli planning and guidance. Such a turn in the events could reach the level of a catastrophe that should be addressed before it explodes in the region, which is already burning and needs someone to put the fire off and not to feed it on new files that serve the occupiers and the tyrants.

The US Israeli policy is consistent

The US Secretary of State who toured the region last week, has reiterated, to the word, the positions and statements of the policies of the former Bush Administration. This was particularly clear in her declaration that her administration will not deal with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas and does not abide by the Quartet Committee conditions, including renouncing violence and recognizing Israel. She wants the Palestinians to lay down their arms and accept the occupiers' conditions, even without the enemy's acceptance of the two-state solution or its recognition of the Palestinian people or its yielding to the international resolutions that call for dismantling the settlements and the isolating wall. Actually, they want Israel to be above the International Law and UN resolutions, with no one daring to hold it responsible for all the terrorism and barbaric violence that was evident off late in its wars on Lebanon and Gaza.

The Israeli America is still the same. It only added a new doze to the political rhetoric to restore international trust in it. It still aims at consecrating its imperial leadership of the world, even if it means destroying entire nations, undermining the system of human rights, and demolishing world peace. Thus, we want the Arabs and the Lebanese not to be deceived by the American promises, because what the new Secretary of State has brought is not different in its content than that Rice used to come up with when she talked about the new birth of the Middle East whose price was the destruction of Lebanon and Gaza, or when she talked about the viable Palestinian state, before she and her Administration and her project were defeated.

The national dialogue and the release of the officers

On the Lebanese scene, the last session of national dialogue ended, yet the participants did not reach any results concerning their deep-rooted disputes and the issue of the defense strategy that forces them to consider the realistic means to strengthen the National Army and the security institutions responsible for the internal security. This is because the difficult circumstances that the country is facing internally and externally require producing the power that is capable of protecting it from the outside, as well as from the inside.

However, the parties who took part in the dialogue tried their best to appear more like civilized figures that are open on each other and keen for pacification, even if their private talks differ from what they say in public. These public talks aim at political inciting that accuses the others of treason, and drive their followers, friends, and supporters to benefit from the tense political rhetoric to stir problems, participate in the assaults, and destabilize the civil security at different levels. All this causes the internal arena to shake, as soon as the whistle is blown declaring the start of these sport matches or their end, as if the political and fanatic whistle is what defines the course of any competition in Lebanon, even those that have a pure sport character.

We say to them: It is a nice thing that you showed up with your open attitudes to the meetings of internal dialogue, but it would be nicer if this was reflected at the level of the popular bases that are influenced by your tense rhetoric, and the words that incite fanaticism. What would be then the use of talking about pacification, and setting meetings for dialogue that fill the political emptiness intervals that mark time in Lebanon and the region?

On the occasion of releasing the four officers, we call the Lebanese to work to preserve their unity and the cohesion of their internal arena, and not to drift into any reactions initiated here and there. We also call the State and its institutions that are concerned with this issue to go thoroughly through the facts at all levels, since what has happened can not be considered part of the internal political debate, since what is at stake here is an essential pillar of the state and the entity, at a time the country cannot survive without reforming and mending it.

We want the Lebanese people of all sects and currents to be modest about their dreams concerning the international tribunals and international judiciary, because the Arab and Islamic experiences with these tribunals and with this judiciary body hoard bitterness because of the lack of credibility that appears at times and disappears at others, according to the pressures exercised… Therefore, the issue does not lie in putting our full confidence in the judiciary at times, and accusing it of being unable to be honest at others, but in sticking to our causes and protecting our country, because it is the consistency of the stands concerning the vital national issues that makes us stay on the path of the truth and keeps our causes away from being distorted or reduced.

We also want all the Lebanese to step out of the circle of political and non-political accusations, because they might be exploited to issue judgments that rely on accusations, which are not based on any evidence. In addition, we want all the parties to step out of these incitements that destabilize the country and do not serve justice in any sense.

The most expensive elections in history!   

As for the Lebanese elections, an American newspaper has noted that these are the most expensive in history, since some countries are spending hundreds of millions of Dollars to ensure the success of the political parties these countries support. But the question is: Are these millions going to solve the economic crisis of the citizens? In addition: we have noticed that some of the political settlements that aim to form electoral alliances are not based on political and legislative capabilities, but on how many votes can a candidate get. Yet, they talk about the democracy in Lebanon. And if you talk about consensual democracy, they will refute the idea claiming that it does not conform to the popular will that elected a majority and a minority… But if you demand, on this basis, a numerical democracy that yields to the popular referendum, they will be raged and claim that this offends the principle of coexistence, since some sects outnumber others.

Therefore, the Lebanese democracy is one of a kind: as it could incorporate what could not be incorporated of the foreign dictations, but it could not address the demands of its own people. It is meant to remain an unsolvable riddle and a barrier that could not be overcome, since the country is wanted to remain a trap for all those who seek freedom and dignity.