Belief should be coupled with righteous deeds

السيد علي محمد حسين فضل الله

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi Al-Awal 27, 1442 H. /November 13, 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, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book: Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah a protector or a helper. Allah, The Most Exalted speaks the truth.

It is narrated that this Ayat was revealed after some Jews, Christians and Muslims met and they began bragging about their religion. The Jews said they are the followers of Prophet Mousa and that they are God’s chosen people and that their Prophet will not let them enter hell and if this happens it will be only for a few days. The Christians said that Christ will not let his followers enter Hell and that he will take them with him to Paradise. The Muslims said we are the Followers of Muhammad and that they are the best nation ever raised for mankind whose Messenger will not let her enter Hell. Following this incident, the Ayat that we have recited was revealed containing several lessons we are  in need of.

The first lesson: It is not enough to belong to Islam, Christianity or any Heavenly message to guarantee that one is going to Paradise. Man will be punished if he sins and rewarded if he does good. Paradise is not attained by wishful thinking only without righteous deeds: And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed.

Therefore, belief should be coupled by righteous deeds, so that we would attain God’s rewards….That is what the Messenger(p.) pointed at in his last days when he said: There is nothing that would make Allah give you what is good or keep evil away from you except your deeds. O people do not claim otherwise nor wish. By He who sent me as a prophet in Truth, Were I to sin(although he was infallible), I would fall”. Imam Al-Baqir(a.s.) says to the followers of Ahl el-Beit:  Therefore be pious and know that no one has a special relationship with God. God loves those of you who are pious and obedient most. We have no power to save you from the fire! And God is not obliged under any circumstances to save you either. Whoever obeys God is one of our followers and whoever disobeys Him is one of our enemies. Being one of our followers cannot be attained other than thorough hard work and piety.” without ‘ita’ah’ (obedience and submission), nobody can attain proximity to Allah. We do not like them to claim to be our friends if they do not fulfill all the conditions. A sinful person is our enemy. Without good deeds and abstinence from sins, any claim of friendship to us is of no avail. ” That is why Imam Ali(a.s.) says to those who wish to enter Heaven by the minimum of good deeds: Do you, with these deeds  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.

That is why we find The Hadiths concentrate on good deeds as they are the fundamental means to enter Paradise. The Messenger (p.)says:  The most effective way my nation will enter Paradise is through fear of God and good manners.  The Hadith also says: ‘If Allah grants to a person one of three things, He will make paradise necessary for him. They are: To give charity in poverty, to have delightful appearance to all people and to exercise justice even against one’s own self.”

This is the criterion of belonging to Islam or any other religion…It is how much a person practices the ideals he says that he believes in.  We, usually, judge a person on the basis of the principles he says that he believes in without taking into consideration how much he practices his beliefs in their life and reality… This has led and continues to lead to the loss of the values that the Heavenly messages came to call for…The Messengers and Prophets did not come to maximize their followers, but rather to plant belief and righteous deeds in the souls of people.

 The Second lesson:  The Ayat we recited have pointed to the unity of goals the Heavenly Messages  call for. The Holy Quran says:  Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.  And :We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.  And this is what The Messenger(p.) pointed at when he said that he was sent to complete sublime manners.

We are in a dire need to build on these criteria, to judge anyone who claims to follow a Heavenly message, so as we would not consider a Muslim or Christian or any other follower of a Heavenly religion to be as such if he is corrupt or an oppressor or does not do good things to those around him.

Probably the most dangerous thing that religions face in our reality is their transformation to a figure without any content, or being exploited to reach high positions or personal gains, as we notice in the case of many figures that falsely claim to be religious.

The Second Sermon

  Worshippers of Allah:  I advise you and I advise myself with what the Messenger replied when asked about the best prayers to Allah:  Ask Him for well-being in this world and in the Hereafter, for well-being is the best blessings Allah can give man in this world and it is the means of deliverance in the Hereafter. It enables us to perform our duties and responsibilities and renders us more capable of facing challenges…

 We begin by Lebanon where the spread of the coronavirus has reached a very dangerous level that it can no longer be contained except with the total lockdown decision that was taken lately.

We stand with any decision that can contribute in protecting the citizens from this pandemic whose harm has reached the healthcare staff and first responders. That is why we call for abiding by all its measures, considering that a moral and religious duty, although we are aware of its affect on the production sectors and daily workers…

In this respect, we call on the government to shoulder its responsibility in helping the people to tolerate the effects of the lockdown. We also call on the NGOs and all institutions of social welfare to join hands in helping the poor classes to ensure that they abide by this decision.

In the meantime, the formation of the government did not make any progress, despite certain optimistic news that are leaked every now and then. The disagreement about who the ministers are and who appoints them, as well as who gets this portfolio and who gets that one is still acute without any party seemingly willing to offer any concessions that will facilitate the formation of the government.

 It is regretful to see foreign envoys come to this country to urge the political parties to end their differences and move quickly to form a government that would initiate the reform that is necessary to help Lebanon to begin to resolve its crises. They(The political leaders) are dealing with the country as if everything is alright and that they need no help and prefer to be overwhelmed with their private calculations and interests and endless struggles, without caring about what is happening to the country and its people.

That is why we call on them to stop tampering with the fate and future of this country and its citizens … It is about time that you review your calculations before the people would review your own status.

As for the US sanctions that were issued lately citing corruption, we say that although we stand with any decision that condemns a corrupt person, we do not feel, in view of their timing and circumstances, that this is what is meant by it. Had it been so, it would have presented clearly and transparently the evidences and the documents it is based on, so that the Lebanese would be convinced that it is not a political move that is driven by the interests of the country that issued it which seems to be the case until proven otherwise.  In any case, the government should deal with the issue of corruption, so that it would not leave any room for others, especially foreign powers, to intervene in its affairs.

As for the marking of the borders, we appreciate the persistence and consistency of the Lebanese delegation in not conceding the rights of Lebanon based on international law.  We salute this stance and call for a unified and firm Lebanese stand that does not give up any land or national wealth.