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Role of Advice in building the Muslim society

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Religious Authority H.E. Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque,23rd May 2008 A.D., 18 Jamadi'I 1429 H., several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

Islamic ethics emphasizes that every Muslim should strive to raise the level of all Muslims dedicating all what he possess, including his mind, his experience and his emotions to ensure that fellow Muslims enjoy a feeling of tranquillity and satisfaction.

The Prophetic tradition says: "None of you will believe unless he will love for his brother what he loves for himself and hate for him what he hates for himself". Thus he would identify with others, meaning that Islam has rejected selfishness, when man thinks only about himself and does not open up on his community and his nation.

This ethical basis of the Islamic personality is based on two attitudes a positive one we are supposed to adhere to (advice), and negative one we are supposed to reject (cheating).

Allah has sent all His Prophets to advise people to unify God and fill their life with obeying Him, establishing justice on earth and fighting oppression.

Advice is the Methodology of the Prophets

This fact has been repeated by many prophets. One of them told his people: "I deliver to you the Messages of My Lord, and I offer you good advice, and I know from Allah what you do not know".I offer you through the knowledge that Allah has given me what raises your level.

Another Prophet tells his people: I deliver the message of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser to you. I am faithful on all what opens your minds on truth your heart on good and love, and your lives on righteousness and justice. Another Prophet told his people who denied Allah's Message and threatened the Messenger, invoking the wrath of Allah Of no profit will be my counsel to you, much as I desire to give you (good) counsel, if it be that Allah willeth to leave you astray: He is your Lord! and to Him will ye return!"

Allah does not do that in a direct manner, but He gives the servant ample time, then he who does not open up on Him, will be denied His Mercy.

The Prophet and the Imams have talked a lot about the significance of advice. Prophet Muhammad (p.) says: Who does not care about the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim. Some might think about the good of themselves without caring about the bad conditions of Muslims, who might fall in a state of war or internal strife, but they would not take part in defending or in reconciling the Muslims. Inter fighting parties. The real Muslim should feel an organic association between all Muslims that drives him to react to all developments and challenges that face Muslims.

He adds: "And who does not advice Allah, His Messenger (p.) – by following him – His book –by implementing it- his Imam (who represents the legitimate leadership) and Muslims –all Muslims, and in all their social political and economic affairs – is not one of them.” He who does not give advice to the Muslims in all these issues is not a member of the nation and is not a good element in the community.

Religion is Advice

The Prophet summarized the religion with one word: advice. He said to his companions: "Religion is advice", meaning that it could be summarized in the advice the pious Muslim holds in his mind, thought and actions in life, asked to whom the Messenger said: "to Allah, His Book, His Messenger (p.), the Imams of Muslims (a.s.). And to the Muslims".

Advising the Imams would be through obeying them, because they are the ones in charge of the affairs of the nation. Advising the nation is by guiding it to what achieves its welfare and unity and lifts any oppression. Those who do not provide all these advice are not Muslims. He also said: Those who attain the highest position by Allah on the Day of judgement are those who advice people on earth the most." He did not say Muslims but all people, and especially the downtrodden whether Muslims or not, whom the Muslim should advice to raise their level and strengthen their position.

He also said: who guarantees that he does five things I guarantee Heaven for him: To advise Allah, His Messenger, His Book, His Religion – by preserving the religion in ourselves families and countries, making sure that they are Muslims, since Allah wanted His Messenger and all who follow the path of the call to call for Islam, and the Muslims in general. When the believer thinks about Muslims, he has to advise them and seek in all his actions and sayings to achieve their good unity and strength. He should also reject any relation with those who are trying to create problems for Islam and Muslims.

Imam Al-Sadiq says: "A believer's right on his brother believer, is to advise him in his presence and absence." He also said: You have to advice Allah through His creations, for your are not going to meet Him with any deed that is better than this.

Imam Al-Baqir says: follow who makes you cry, if he is advising you, and do not follow who makes you laugh if he is cheating you".

There is also the advice you give when a brother asks you about his business or any other thing in his public or private life. If you do not give him an honest advice and try to use the advice to promote your own interests then there are negative consequences for your cheating. Imam As-Sadiq says that if a brother asks another of his opinion and he was not honest about it Allah will deprive him of his opinion. Then there is the honesty in doing something your brother has asked you to do, like buying or selling something for him. The Messenger considers cheating in this respect equivalent to betraying Allah and His Messenger.

There is also the advice you give to yourself. Imam Ali says: The best advice to oneself is obeying Allah, and the most cheating advice to oneself is disobeying Him. He also says the biggest betrayal is that of the nation (by being a spy to its enemies), while the biggest cheat is that of the Imams.

The negative consequences of cheating

Cheating is of many kinds: in business dealing, in political and personal affairs… and in war and peace: The Messenger emphasizes the detesting of this behaviour when he says: One who cheats a Muslim or misappropriates his property is not one of us. He added that he will be put on the Day of Judgement with the Jews because of all nations they are the ones who cheat Muslims the most. He also said that the Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. Whoever sells a brother Muslim something that has a defect in it, he should tell him about it.

It is also said that the Messenger wanted to buy some food in the market that looks good. But Allah suggested to him to check the deep layers of the food. When he did he found some bad food and told the seller: "what you are collecting is a treason and cheating for Muslims, He also passed one day by a man who mixed good and bad food, and asked him why he did that, and the man said I wanted to sell all of them. But the Prophet told him: You ought to separate them. Our religion does not tolerate cheating. Who cheats Muslims is not one of them." It is God who sustains and if the believer wants Allah to sustain him, he should resort to lawful means.

Thus Muslim should raise to the ethical level that draws him closer to Allah and the people. He should advise Allah, His Messenger His religion, the Imams and the Muslim community. He who cheats Muslims is not one of them.    

The Second Sermon

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The Failure of the Deceit Policy

President Bush's visit to the region was a tragic surprise to his Arab allies.

The speech he gave in the Israeli Knesset has revealed the American siding with Israel in all the issues of the proposed settlement, especially those of Jerusalem and the refugees.

It also revealed the deceit of his continuous talk about the Palestinian state which was only meant to sedate the Palestinians.

If Bush has promised in Sharm Ash-Sheikh to change these negative impressions, he failed to present an American clear vision of the state he was talking about making. And even some of his allies wonder about what this state is and that are its borders… In addition, he did not express his explicit support of the Palestinian right, and found it sufficient to advise the so-called "Arab moderate countries" to institute political and democratic reforms, which made a moderate minister comment that he has "forgotten more than 4 million Palestinians living in a big jail".

The American Administration has failed in gaining the support of its allies in the Arab world, with some of them whispering their protest while others protesting out loud. The regimes are under the pressure of their peoples who have lost their confidence in them, as well as the impact of the Zionist massacres and incursions, invasions and inhumane starvation blockade of the Palestinians in Gaza which the Arab states are not doing anything, (ex: opening the crossings) to lessen its effects… It also worth noting that several journalists and politicians have criticized the warm welcome of the Presidents to Bush and his envoys whom he sends to market his policies against Iran under the pretence of confronting Iran’s peaceful nuclear project, which the US accuses of being military without any evidence, in an effort to use it as means of pressure to force Iran to offer concessions in the interest of the American strategy in the region.

We believe that such obvious support to Israel, as was expressed by Bush's speech in the Knesset, represent a warning to the Palestinians that they have to wait for sixty more years, that are much like the sixty years that passed with all their massacres, pressures and occupation consequences. The Jewish strategy does not want the Palestinians to have a viable and independent state but merely a margin of the Zionist entity that would provide cheap labour to serve the Israeli economy, so that it could flourish and turn into an exporting industrial state.

Palestine: A Jewish state

Israel is trying to benefit from the lost time to implement its strategy of Judaizing Jerusalem, build new settlements and expand the old ones. Meanwhile, it continues to arrange for futile meetings with the Palestinian Authority that did not move one step forward towards the so-called final solution.

It continues to impose impossible conditions that talk about ending the Resistance operations or putting an end by force to the Intifada through the pressures the PA, encouraged by the Americans, exerts on the Mujahideen...

They also benefit from the role of Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister who was responsible for the war on Iraq, that aids the Israelis in establish their fall control over Palestine, as Britain was instrumental in establishing it in the first place.

Bush's speech that supports Israel that has turned into an American state and probably the most important one, might be a political tool to ensure the support of the American Jews and their neo-conservative allies, since they have an effective role in electing the President and the Congress members. This is what the Arabs and Muslims who dream of change through the next President should know. The American political parties might differ in their internal politics or some foreign policies, but they would never differ in the support of Israel. That is why we should develop an independent and free policy that is based on our own strength, to ensure our advanced position in the world.

Lebanon: Liberation and internal settlement

In Lebanon, we used to say to the Lebanese that what hinders the reaching of a settlement is the absence of the will and the decision and not the lack of initiative or solutions, in addition to the lack of confidence among those who run the political process. But now as Allah has inspired the officials to agree on a settlement in which no one is defeated and no one is the winner which proves yet again that Lebanon is bound to reach consensual agreements. On this occasion, we would like to congratulate the Lebanese on this agreement that we hope it will develop into a permanent dialogue in which all the controversial issues are raised, since the confused and deprived Lebanese are tired of searching for a boat that will take them out of this international, regional and sectarian sea into the safe shore.

On this occasion we warn against the game of nations led by the US Administration whose arrogant policies are still planning to destabilize the region, while focusing on Lebanon as an arena from which it manages its conflicts with other countries, especially in view of the call President Bush made to the Jews to continue to build their state that was established on the ruins of Palestinian rights, and which involves the elimination of the Palestinians and destabilizing the entire region.

We also call on the Arab officials who have directed this settlement to be loyal to this experience. They should not succumb to the plans of the international plots that they are organically tied to, especially after we have read that the congress decided to try the OPEC countries for the rise of the oil prices although America is the only one responsible for this rise.

To the officials I say:

The eyes of hungry and deprived people are looking at you, so you have to assume your responsibility and put plans to get out of the sectarian and political mud we are plunging into.

A practical plan is needed to resolve the people's problems amid the current, unbearable high cost of living.

On the occasion of the Day of Liberation and the Resistance that was able to protect Lebanon and defeat Israel, I would like to stress the need to preserve and protect the Resistance, which proved that it is the major source of Lebanese strength, in addition to other factors, such as the internal unity. Any agreement should take into consideration the need to protect these two factors being of the basic pillars of building an independent and strong Lebanon.