Arrogance and greed in life

السيد علي فضل الله

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi Ath-Thani 19, 1442 H. /December 4, 2020. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is the edited text of the sermons:

The first Sermon

Allah says in His Glorious Book: Tell them these parables, so that they might think over their behavior to Our revelations. One of these parables that Allah stated in His Book is the story of a man whom Allah favored with two gardens. These gardens were planted with various kinds of trees and vegetables and bordered with palm trees, and they were made even more beautiful by the river that ran between them. They provided their owner the wealth that made him one of the richest men in the country.  He became so conceited that he said to his companion while he was conversing with him, “I am greater than you in wealth and mightier in [numbers of] men.  His arrogance also drove him to forget his Lord and imagine that all he had was of his own produce and even deny the Day of judgment, forgetting the fact that says:everyone upon the earth will perish. And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor. And say as he entered his gardens: “I do not think that this will perish – ever. And I do not think the Hour will occur. He believed that even if this occurred his wealth and honor would guarantee him a better place in Heaven:  And even if I should be brought back to my Lord, I will surely find better than this as a return.” After all he heard, his companion did not wish for his friend to remain misguided, and he said to him: Have you disbelieved in He who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop and then proportioned you [as] a man?  The One Who were it not for Him, you would not have enjoyed all this. He then added that he might be less fortunate thanhim, but this is not what he is looking for in this world. “I trust my Lord, Who, if He wished would have given me gardens better than yours and more children and wealthNevertheless, when He gives it is for the interest of His servant and when He denies, it is also for the interest of His servant. If He has not granted me what He has given you in this world, He would give me what is better in the Hereafter. That is why, as a friend who loves you, I would like you to mend fences with God and fear Him for He is capable of everything. That is why, when you enter your garden, say, ‘What Allah willed [has occurred]; there is no power except in Allah”, for had not been for His will, you would not have owned anything.” But the wealthy man did not follow the advice of his companion and remained as arrogant and misguided as ever. Then one day, when he went in the morning to check his gardens, he found them ruined and    his fruits were encompassed [by ruin], so he began to turn his hands about [in dismay] over what he had spent on it, while it had collapsed upon its trellises, and said, “Oh, I wish I had not associated with my Lord anyone.” What his friend has warned him from has taken place, and Allah Who is All-Omnipotent and able to do everything has decided to deprive him of his gardens. He was very remorseful. But it was too late, since his repentance came after he had already failed the test. He should have known this fact all along:    And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor could he defend himself. There the authority is [completely] for Allah, the Truth. He is best in reward and best in outcome.

Dear loved ones:

This story, like all those of the Quran, is meant to trach us lessons that would help us in our life in this world and in the Hereafter.

The first lesson: To be content by what Allah what decreed to give for each servant. The believer is the one that is satisfied by what Allah has given, for he is confident that there is wisdom behind this and that it is for his own good.

The second lesson: Man should not see the good in the money and children he enjoys. It is as the Hadith says:   There is no good nor blessing in increasing the number of one’s children or the amount of one’s wealth. Rather, there is good in increasing one’s knowledge, endurance and sobriety and not to show off your prayers to people. And also the Holy Ayat: Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better …

The third lesson:One ought not be deceived by the pleasures and the bounties of this worldly life, for they do not last. they are as Allah described:   it is like the vegetation of the earth which flourished luxuriantly when it mingled with the water that We sent down from the sky, but after that the same vegetation turned into stubble which the winds blew about. Allah alone has the power over all things.

The last lesson: One should not tend to be conceited when he possesses wealth, honorable position or knowledge. He should consider this a responsibility. Arrogance is the root cause of all problems, and its consequences extend also to the Hereafter. Let us not repeat the mistake of the wealthy man in this parable. Instead, let us be thankful and grateful for what Allah has bestowed on us, and be confident that He knows what is best for our interests.

The second sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted, I advise you and myself with what the Messenger (p.)said: On the Day of Judgment when a servant of God is being readied for accounting, for each day of his living in the world, twenty four treasure boxes (each one representing an hour) are brought in front of him. Then they open a treasure box which is full of light and joy, whereby seeing it the servant of God becomes so happy that if his happiness is distributed among all the dwellers of Hell, they will forget the pain and torture of Hell’s fire -this treasure box represent the hour when he was busy in God’s Worship.”

“After that another treasure box is opened which is frightening, dark and full of odor, whereby upon seeing it he becomes so frightened and sad that if his grief is distributed among the dwellers of Paradise, all of the blessings of Paradise will become unpleasant for them -this treasure box represents the hour when he was busy in sinning.”

“Then another treasure box is opened before him which is completely empty and neither contains deeds producing joy nor deeds producing sadness -this treasure box represents the period when he was either sleeping or was busy performing allowable religious acts (Mubah) (which may or may not have been performed).

But having seen this empty treasurer a servant of God feels sorry because he could have utilized this hour for doing righteous and good deeds. It is because of this reason that the Day of Judgment has been named by God-Almighty as the Day of Regret.

Life, dear loved ones is our only chance. Let us fill it with what pleases Allah, to fill our box with light and joy, and become more aware and responsible and able to face challenges.

We begin by Lebanon, where the government continues to be a hostage of the conditions and counter conditions of the political forces concerned. They have not decided yet to release it, despite all the international appeals to speed up its formation to deal with the deteriorating living and economic conditions that have already impoverished more than half of the Lebanese and will continue to do so if we stop subsidizing the basic commodities …  especially with the turbulent climate in the region and the talk about assassinations of certain officials and personalities that might happen in this country … The differences regarding the criteria, the number of ministers and who appoints them continue without any party venturing to offer concessions that are necessary to forming the government and that would alleviate the foreign pressures.

 In this respect, we renew our call to the political party, to abandon their narrow calculations and speed up the formation of a government which would address the people’s needs and restore the confidence of the world in this country. Stop tampering with this country that you have turned through your corruption into a beggar that lives on aid from others.

 You have distorted the image of the Lebanese who were an exemplar in vitality and  effectiveness in all fields.   

 Meanwhile, the International Conference on Assistance and Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People which underscored the concern of the international community for this country convened.  It also highlighted how fragile is the image of the Lebanese political class, especially after it failed to take the necessary steps to initiate reform and fight corruption, which made the international community channel the aid to the Lebanese people via the World Bank. As we appreciate any international aid, we reassert that although we need such a support, we are actually more in need for what helps the Lebanese to retrieve their money and stop corruption and waste… Lebanon is not poor; it was impoverished.

On another level, we appreciate the consensus on the need for a forensic audit and the decision the Parliament took in this respect. Nevertheless, the Lebanese were hoping that it would have been accompanied by the laws that are necessary to implement it. We are afraid that what happened is a burial of the audit, since no mechanisms were adopted that would make the Lebanese know where their deposits went, after it has become clear that the corrupt will not condemn themselves.  

 On another level, after stopping the negotiations concerning the marking of the maritime borders between the Zionist Entity and Lebanon, after Lebanon demanded to obtain its rightful share, we emphasize the significance of the Lebanese stance that held to its rights based on international law.

 We call for maintaining this stance, despite the pressures that might be exerted on a country that suffers from economic hardships as well as sanctions.

We believe that the internal unity is the basis that we should cling to protect our rights and we feel that Lebanon that prevailed in the war the Zionist Enemy launched against it, is capable of winning this battle.

 Lastly, we feel that the assassination of the Iranian scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is a crime that ought to be condemned by all those who respect science and scientists and want the Muslim and Arab worlds to be strong, since accepting such an aggression will open the doors for assassinating any scientist that might rise. The Zionist Enemy does not want our countries to possess any scientific brains that are the basis of their upheaval on all levels.