Friday Lecture > The duty of confronting deviation
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The duty of confronting deviation

Date: 09/11/2018 A.D 1 Rabi Al-Awal1440 H

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the ImamainAl-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi Al-Awal 1, 1440H/ November 9, 2018. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is an edited text of his sermons:

The firstsermon

In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful


Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book:“So why were there not among the generations before you those of enduring discrimination forbidding corruption on earth - except a few of those We saved from among them? But those who wronged pursued what luxury they were given therein, and they were criminals.And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers” [11:116-117]. Allah, the Most Exalted, speaks the truth.

We see in our reality several manifestationsof moral and religious deviations and the spread of corruption, injustice, and strife that could be produced by individuals, groups and states.

It is obvious that the responsibility of these deviations lies on the ones who do,promote,encourage, justify and gives legitimacy to them.

 The logic of neutrality

But there is another responsibility, that is mostly unnoticed and unconsidered, which lies on those who remainsilent;the so-called silent majority.They are those who see injustice,corruption,tyrannyand deviation or hear about them, but they do not take any stand from themand prefer to sit on the sidelines.Although they are capable of confronting or take part in reforming them,they believethat they are not responsible, since they did not participate in any wronging and remained neutral.  They simply do not wish to trouble their heads with the problems that unusually arise when facing such deviations. 

They might also be friends of the corrupt and the wrong doersand do not want to lose this friendship,or theymight have some mutual interest with them.They mightalso be afraid of their power and influence.  It could be also that they prefer to play it safe and care only about their business. 

Some people may feel that this stand is legitimate,based on Allah, the Most Exalted’ssaying:“God charges no soul save to its capacity”[2:186]. Or that they do not have the power to face deviation:“and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction”[2:195]. This logic has spread  to the extent that we hear all the time people  saying:it  is  not of my business… Orexpressing their impotence  and inability to change the reality by saying: what could talking do? Or: I have kids and I want to live for them, or even: Am I the only one (who should embark on change)?

The dangerousness of silence

When this logic spreads in the society and becomes one of its features,it becomes very dangerous on religion, values and dignified and honorable life … It will enhance thephenomena of deviation, corruption and wronging …Moreover, they willaggravate when you are acquiescent and do not voice your protest, for the callers for right and justice will lose a source of strength they could have benefited from in their struggle.

An Islamic warning

This represents a fundamental factor in weakening and falling societies.And this is what God pointed at in the Ayat we cited at thebeginning of our sermon:“And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers”.This Ayat   considered that the presence of reformers amongst its members is a condition for the survival of any society.

In the tradition :“The example of the person abiding by God's order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the upper deck passengers), so they said, 'Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) so that we do not trouble the upper deck passengers.' If the people in the upper part left the lower deck passengers to do what they had suggested; then all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they had prevented them, then both parties would be safe".Thus, the catastrophic results of remaining silent will not inflict those who caused them only, for it willinclude all people. Allah, the Most Exalted, pointed out to this inthe followingAyat:“And fear a trial, which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively”[8:25].

That is why the stance of religion was decisive in this matter.  It rejected this logic and considered that man ought to have a stance against any deviation, corruption and wronging….  Islam calls for an aware and active society that stands against the tyrant , the corrupt andthe deviator  to  force them to stop their deviation, corruption and wronging

It warned those who do not take a stance from the devotion that is going around them:“Cursed were those who disbelieved among the Children of Israel by the tongue of David and of Jesus, the son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed. They used not to prevent one another from wrongdoing that they did. How wretched was that which they were doing”[5:78-79].  Imam Baqir (a.s.) said:

The Almighty Allah revealed on Shuaib (a.s.):‘I shall destroy a hundred thousand people from your nation. Forty thousand of whom are sinners and sixty thousand righteous.’

O my Lord! The sinners are liable for punishment but why the righteous ones?’ asked Shuaib (a.s.). Allah replied: ‘Because they used to socialize with the sinners and in spite of My dislike they never disliked the sinners. They never restrained them from sins’.

The Messenger of Allah (p.) says: ‘Indeed Allah is furious with the weak believer who has no religion.’

Some inquired who that weak believer was? He (p.) replied,“The feeble one who sees evil but does not try to prevent it”.

Islam went as far asconsideringvoicing protest againstevil a duty. TheQuransays:“And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and these it is that shall be successful”[3:104]. It also consideredthat the nation will not be virtuous or become the best  ofnations unless they enjoin good  and  forbid  evil:“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong ...”[3:110].

Speech or silence

The Hadith touched on the fear that might prevent some people from facing deviation. The Messenger  (p.)advised the believers notto fear anybody when it  comes to telling the truth for Allah is the One Who  provides sustenance and ends the life of human beings.

 But this does not meanthat one shouldface evil without a plan or throw [himself] with his [own] hands into destruction. On the contrary, he should take into consideration all the given circumstances including his own abilities.  The Hadith says: ‘Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart - and that is the weakest of faith

As for those who believethat silence is a virtue   and that it is better than speech, when imam Zein Al-Abidiein was asked which is better speech or silence ,he said: Imam As-Sajjad (as) answered: speech is better for ‘Allah did not send His Prophets and (their) trustees with silence, but sent them with speech. Paradise is not deserved through silence, nor is God’s guardianship merited through silence, nor is the Fire guarded against through silence. All this is possible only through speech...’

Of course, silence is better than speech when the other alternative is lying or committing sin and evil.

The need for protecting values

Dear loved ones: in this stage, wherecorruption and tyranny spread, we are in a dire need for the honest and courageous people who voice their protestand  face the  logic of the evil-doers  the deviated and the corrupt…  for we will suffer morewhen we do not find the religious scholar that says  the truth, or the parents who do not raise their children on the right, or the intellectual  who does not play his role in guidance and spreading awareness . And let no one think that in doing so he would be sacrificing his relations with the people.

The second sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted, I advise you and I advise myself tolearn from what happened in this day of the month of Rabi Al-Awal, the day the Messenger (p.) hid in GharThour with his companion,on his way from Mecca to Medina fleeing away from Quraish, which intended to kill him.

On that day,Quraish traced him to the opening of the cave. His companion became afraid and sad, but the Messenger (p.), according to theQuran, told him:“If you do not aid the Prophet - Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Mecca] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, "Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us." And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah - that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise”.Let us be guided on this day by the Messenger(p.) and be assured that Allah, The Most Exalted, will send down His tranquility and support us  with angels wedo not see, confident that He can change our bad situation into a good one and turn our weakness into strength…

We are in a dire need to learn this at a time we are faced with great challenges and threats, for it will increase our awareness, responsibility and ability to face these challenges.

 Speed up the forming of the government

We begin by Lebanon, where pessimism regarding the expectation that thegovernmentwill be formed soon withered, with increasing talk about a long crisis that we have to adapt to.This is the result of the absence of any solution to the last “knot” that is known as “the knot of the independent Sunnis” and their right to be represented in the government and its effects on the balances in the government.

In this respect, we laud  the concern of the relevant parties to keep this difference in its somewhat calm political sphere, away from confessional and sectarian incitation, and call on them to maintain this course to preserve the stability of the country and thwart the plots of those who like to fish in troubled waters.

At the same time, we call on the political leaders to shoulder their responsibility and make every effort to solve this problem, which could not be achieved by indifference or turning one’s back. And we still believe that it can be solved if all parties wish to reach a solution andoffer the necessary concessions instead of not advancing any step forward towards the other parties.

If some believe that the source of this crisis is external factors that led to internal complications, we do not share them this view.

One of the agreed uponpolitical axioms in this country is that its problems and differences are solved through compromise and by striking a balance between its sects and political stances, for Lebanon cannot be ruled by the hegemonyof one sect,or party over the others.

So let us stop these squabbles and speed up the solution, to protect this country that is facing a severe economic challenge, as well as security threats that areannounced by the enemy’s officials, or which the international and other envoys carry.

The state and the owners of generators

In the meantime, the Lebanese have endured more than everthe consequences of the electricity crisis , as a result of the stoppage, albeit limited,  of the generator owners  to provide their services.

This requires a solution,to avoidbeing repeated and hurt the citizens’ interests. The radical solution is by speeding up finding an end to the electricity crises, so that the Lebanese will no longer be under the pressure of those who exploit their needs and impose their conditions.

But in the meantime, the government has to continue to shoulder its responsibility to protect the citizens from the greed of the generators’ owners and look at the same time into their demands, as security solutions might lead to adverse results.

Arrogant sanctions on Iran

Iran  is  about to face  new  arrogant sanctions, that  America alone has imposed , under the  pretense that  it did not abide by the  NuclearAgreementwhile all other  states  assert   that it  did . We urge all influential states in the world,  especially  those that signed the nuclear agreement. and  that ensure  thatIran did not violate the  agreement, to have a stronger say andreject this escalation  hat entails  all  partiesand call  fall for  ending the siege that affects the living conditions of the Iranian  people.

Lastly, we endwith the life sentence that was issuedagainst Sheikh AliAs- Salman, the head of the BahrainiWifaq Movement. This judgment,which the Bahraini authorities know before anyone else that its justifications are not credible, since it targeted a person known for hismoderation and patriotism.

 We renew our call to the Bahraini authorities to cancel this judgment ad return to the  negotiations  withSheikh Salman and all  sectors of the Bahraini peaceful people whose demands does not exceed their minimum  rights so  as  to end the Bahraini  tragedy and return  peace to the country.

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