. E., Sayyed Jaafar Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque,Safar 17 144H/October 26, 2018. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is the edited text of the first (religious) sermon:
In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.
Faced by the difficult economic conditions the world is passing through since the last world economic crisis in 2008 and the latest wars what is our religious duty towardsthis issue?
Poverty is a prevailing state throughouthistory; we find itsometimes in some neighborhoodsinthe most advanced countries, where globalization has created in the same country, neighborhoodsliving in extreme wealth and modernism,surrounded by extremely poor ones.
But in countrieswhere the state is absent and corruption is wide spread and whose wealth is in the hands of a very small group and whose people get a tiny part of it as bribes at the time of elections, we ought to think about solutions that are based on social solidarity, so that the people can solve this problem by their own hands.
Here are some of the solutions to alleviate poverty that we suggest:
Firstly: social solidarity
In every extended family there are rich or well to do individuals who ought to attend to the basic needs of its poor people based on the link of kinship, since one should not eat while his brother is hungry, or teach his children while his relatives cannot afford to send their children to school.
An individual might not be able to do this, but if the family’s rich membersinstitute a fund to which each contributes by as much as he is able to, it might cover all the needs of the poor of the said family if not more.
Man usually thinks about the size of the problem with respect to his own conditions and not in a collective solidatory way, while Allah,the most exalted,says:“But those of [blood] relationship are more entitled in the decree of Allah”.It is true that this Ayah was revealed in the context of inheritance, but it indicates a general principle that covers all aspects.
If we take a residential building as a starting point; is it not possible that the dwellers of such building can take small initiatives to alleviate the conditions of the poor whom they might meet every day in the morning or in the evening. Instead of throwing away a lot of food it could be collected and sent to the poor in the building or the neighborhood in a simple and decent way. It is narrated that a man said to Imam Al-Rida (a.s.) that the Imam’s attendants were eating some fruit one day and they were throwing away a good portion of it uneaten. The Imam called them and saidto them: ‘Praise be to God! If you have eaten to your fill, there are many who have not; so you should feed it to them instead(of throwing them)’. Imam Ali(a.s.)said in his will :‘Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance’.
Thirdly: curbing greed
In the absence of the state, people tend to exploit one another .Inwars and in the prevalence of corruption many poor people become rich. These newly rich people usually forget their sufferings and become misers. Some might even wrong the poor far more than the corrupt officials. If we take electricity [electricity Generators in Lebanon] as an example,seeking not to condemn, but to think objectively: what is the real cost of electricity including maintenance, depreciation and emergencies; add to this a reasonable percentage of profit how much would that be? Is it the fee the generators’ owners impose on their fellow citizens? I do not have any experience in this field, but all people are talking aboutgreed and speedy wealth of the owners of the generators based on what they get from others whom electricity consumes a third or even a half of their monthly earnings.
The community needs mercy.
The newrich shouldthink of what might happen to their children if they turn poor. What does the Prophetsay (p.) in thisrespect:Be kind to the orphans of others, so that your own orphans will equally receive kindness. If you donot spreadmercy as a way to treat others your children will not findthose who will be merciful to them.
How doesAllah portray the problem of Qarun whom we disavow and curse and might do the same thing he did?
Indeed, Qarun was from the people of Moses, but he tyrannized them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him, "Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant.
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters."
He said, "I was only given it because of knowledge I have." Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of generations those who were greater than him in power and greater in accumulation [of wealth]? But the criminals, about their sins, will not be asked.
So he came out before his people in his adornment. Those who desired the worldly life said, "Oh, would that we had like what was given to Qarun. Indeed, he is one of great fortune.
But those who had been given knowledge said, "Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for he who believes and does righteousness. And none are granted it except the patient.
And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves.
And those who had wished for his position the previous day began to say, Oh, how Allah extends provision to whom He wills of His servants and restricts it! If not that Allah had conferred favor on us, He would have caused it to swallow us. Oh, how the disbelievers do not succeed!’[28:76-82]
We end by some words the Commander of the FaithfulImam Ali(a.s.) said in his time that look much the same as our days:
‘Cast your glance over people wherever you like, you will see either a poor man suffering from poverty, or a rich man ignoring Allah despite His bounty over him, or a miser increasing his wealth by trampling on Allah's obligations, or an unruly person closing his ears to all counsel. Where are your good people; where are your virtuous people? Where are your high spirited men and generous men? Where are those of you who avoid deceit in their business and remain pure in their behavior? Have they not all departed from this ignoble, transitory and troublesome world? Have you not been left among people who are just like rubbish and so low that lips avoid mention of them and do not move even to condemn their low position.
... "Verily we are Allah's and verily unto Him shall we return." (2:156)“Mischief has appeared..” (30:41)and there is no one to oppose and change it, nor anyone to dissuade from it or desist from it.
Do you, with these qualities, hope to secure abode in the purified neighborhood of Allah and to be regarded His staunch lovers? Alas! Allah cannot be deceived about His paradise and His will cannot be secured save by His obedience. May Allah curse those who advise good but they themselves avoid it, and those who desist others from evil but they themselves act upon it’.
Finally Imam Al-Baqir(a.s.)advises one of his followers (khaithama):‘tofear Allah, the Magnificent, tell them that their rich should sympathize with the poor, and the strong should sympathize with the weak. They should attend the funerals of their dead and visit one another, for their meeting keeps our cause alive’.
The second sermon:
In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.
The Criteria of international politics
While the region is still living a state of apprehension, following the dangerous incident that took place at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, whose political and informational repercussions are still unfolding….
Regardless of what had happened, we would like to emphasize that the way the countries deal with this issue should be governed by the norms of human rights and protecting democracy and freedom of expression and not the one that aims at political exploitation in which the judgment is actually an unannounced negotiation that seeks to consolidate positions, settling accounts or practicing political extortion, although there are weighing forces that approach the issue from a lawful point of view.
Although we condemn what happened and call for an unbiased accounting, we cannot but point out to the dual criteria that govern the international politics when dealing with such issues. This reminds us of the Arabic verse of poetry that says that killing one person in a wood is an unforgivable crime while killing an entire peaceful nation is something debatable. All this testifies for the corruption of the system of values in world politics.
In any case, we, as Muslims, have to learn a lesson from the way Western administrations deal with us, whether as nations and states or even rulers and individuals, whenever such incidents affect their relations or have to do with human rights that the American Administration claims to be concerned with.
This Administration handles this incident from the point of view of its commercial interests and that of the Zionist Entity. It does not even abstain from declaring out in the open that it wants to usurp our wealth, or at least to look at us indifferently, except as being a milking cow and a client for buying arms, provided that we do not use them except in our internal struggles.
Would the states of the region cooperate?
In these circumstances, we call for an Arab andMuslim review of the national policies of the previous stage .Our countries will not rise and stand on their feet as long as they continue to follow the policy of dependence to the super powers, and as long as each country tries to extend its influence at the expense of other neighboring countries; a policy that is inconsistent with our Islamic and liberation aspirations, especially after the bitter experiments have proved that no country can take hold of the region alone, whether by engaging in self-destruction conflicts, total annihilation, conspiring on one another or depleting our various resources , which benefits the international dominating powers.
We emphasize the necessity of mutual cooperation between the states of the region and exploiting our resources in protecting the interests of ourcountries, enhancing the Arab and Muslim presence in the region’s causes and relying on the Islamic symbolism to achieve cooperation and unity among us.
This demands the ending of war in the region starting by Syria and Yemen and restoring civil peace in many turbulent countries, especially in Bahrain, stabilizing Libya and protecting it from the ongoing plunder and ending the participation in the blockade against Iran, for no one can cancel any other no matter how long it takes.
The states of the region should adopt the policy of reconciliation, on the basis of giving every component its rights, for this policy protects them and prevents them from serving the interests of the international powers which only want us on the margin of their economy and politics on the basis of submission.
Certainly, going back to the policy of Arab and Muslim solidarity weighs more in Allah’s view if we really believe in the Hereafter, and is nearer to the values and implications of Arab nationalism if we go back to them.
It is high time to form the government
Finally, we hope that this difficulty in forming a government in Lebanon constitutes a chance to think about the way thecountry’s politics is run, after it has become a norm that forming a government takes a long time, which leaves an impression that the negotiations between the Lebanese political parties over their shares is more of a commercial one than one that has to do with the interests of the people. This kind of negotiations does not lead to the desired result, which we want all parties to seek, since most problems have been solved, and any new objection from any party should no longer hinder the formation of the government.
The Lebanese are waiting for the government to be formed to start dealing with the problems of the country, be they the general debt, securing electricity and water and fighting pollution, and securing all the means that protect the country from floods or cold and enable them to earn a decent living and provide a safe future for the generation to come and fortifying the country in the face of the enemy which continues its threats, the last of which was the building of artificial sand hills on the borders . This enemy remains the strategic threat to the region no matter how much normalization steps are taken or peace treaties are sought.