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The Concept of Consultation in Islam

Date: 01/01/2010 A.D 15/01/1431 H

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons on behalf of His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Muharram, 15th 1431 H. - January, 1st 2010. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer

The First Sermon

Conducting affairs through mutual consultation

Allah, the Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book: "Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance." (42:38). "It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)." (03:159).

In these two Ayahs, Allah wants to emphasize to all Muslims that consultation is an Islamic conduct that should be practiced in all the affairs of the Muslim community. These affairs should be decided upon through consultation, which opens for the community a wide horizon to assess the benefit and the evil of every decision, since every member of the community will provide his view, based on his cultural and intellectual background.

Consultation (Shura) vs. despotism

Thus, adopting Shura ensures that the Muslim community will not be inflicted by despotism, since each member of this community will practice Shura as the practical methodology to reach the truth in all what ensures his own wellbeing, as well as that of those around him. Furthermore, the ruler, too, would not be autocratic. He would go back to consult the wise, the experienced, and the trustworthy, and listen to their opinions; thus, widening his own vision and reducing the chance to make a mistake to the minimum. Then, it is the ruler who will decide, since Allah says: "Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)." (03:159).

Based on this conception of consultation, we believe that the role of the opposition in Islam should be to provide Shura. It should provide the ruler with advice on the basis of being loyal to the Islamic society, meaning that it should not aim at ruining or weakening the Muslim community, but rather, it should adopt the methodology of advice, reform, and cooperation to ensure the wellbeing of the society and the Islamic nation.

Traditions on Shura:

There are several traditions, whether by the Prophet or the Members of the House, that talk about the necessity of consultation. For example: the Messenger (p.) said that those who consult others will be guided.

Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "The Messenger sent me to Yemen and told me: O Ali, He who asks the opinion of others will not fail and he who consults others will not be remorseful," since it will lead him to truth.

He (a.s.) also says: "He who acts despotically on his own opinion will perish, and he who consults men becomes a partner of their wisdom", suggesting that Shura ensures the safety of the Muslim society at both, the public level and the leadership.

Imam Ali (a.s.) also says that the best to consult are the ones who had several experiments, since they would be rich in experience, and thus, able to provide the advice that enriches the minds and prevents people from doing wrong.

On this basis, we find that the Messenger of Allah (p.) considers the provision of advice as a responsibility that one should shoulder, by providing an honest advice without any lying or cheating. He says that he would disavow those who cheat Muslims.

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) also says: "Whoever is consulted by his brother and does not give him pure advice Allah will deprive him of his opinion."

The Second Sermon

The Arab siege on Palestine

The nation enters the New Year from Palestine, overburdened with pains and wounds, as the enemy goes forth with assassinating unarmed civilians in Nablus, and on the edges of Gaza strip, without hearing any condemning voice from any capital in the world and the so-called decision-making states.

As the enemy declared embarking on building seven hundred new housing units in the West Bank, a certain Arab state welcomed the enemy's Prime Minister where it was said that he has advanced stands and new desires to enter once again into negotiations with the Palestinians, at a time doors are blocked before the humanitarian aid convoys sent to Gaza from overseas, placing Arab obstacles, barriers, and sticks in the wheels to prevent its progress. Moreover, the work continues on setting up the steel wall under the pretext of preserving the national security of the Arab country that has embraced the nation's issues and its project of unity and revival!

It is really shameful that at a time the enemy is maneuvering to win extra time and alter the facts on the ground and stalling so as not to fulfill its promises by conducting useless and delusional negotiations, the Arab political and media doors open before it, while the Palestinians' humane and health situation worsens, especially in Gaza, as a result of the siege imposed on it and against which the Arab and Islamic stands ought to rebel in order to lift it.

American tutelage

Not far from that, the CIA continues to exercise its tutelage on many Arab and Islamic regimes, under the pretext of training their armed forces against the so-called fighting terrorism at times, and pressuring some of them to continue their war on certain parties at others, opening the countries on strife, chaos, and blood-shedding violence. This is evident in Pakistan in which some spiteful and manipulated groups have embarked on shedding more blood by savagely targeting the processions of Shiite Muslims in Ashura; thus, further serving the interests of the nation's enemies and the Zionist project whose leaders have exerted every effort to create big cracks in the Islamic reality, and to incite sectarianism that serves their spiteful schemes and blood-shedding projects.

International poverty crisis

At another level, we notice a frightful escalation in violence and fighting, parallel to the alarming increase in the numbers of poor and homeless people that the international or Islamic and Arab organizations do not care for. These huge and rapidly growing numbers in Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan actually represent a stigma marked on the forehead of the Arab and Islamic reality that is penetrated by the Israeli companies and messed up with by the Zionist intelligence agencies, and whose rulers grow more indulgent with the occupier and further succumb to the terms of the arrogant oppressors.

Lebanon: Dialogue comes first

On the Lebanese scene, we would like those who call for cooperation and dialogue to raise their voices silencing those that aim at destabilizing the internal reality by going back to the long debates that the ministerial statement should have ended for good.

Actually, the problem lies in the fact that a certain party neglects the enemy's threats, the last of which was the threat of the enemy's minister of war who declared that there is a possibility to wage a war on Lebanon during this year. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the officials to drive this party to make the country's interests outweigh the interests of those who set traps for Lebanon and the Lebanese by inciting sectarian and racial strife and the like, which eventually would serve the interest of the enemy and arrogant projects that aim at ripping the Arab and Islamic reality apart.

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