Imam Al-Askari played his religious and educational role despite all suppression

السيد علي محمد حسين فضل الله

In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi Al-Awal 9, 1443 H. /October 15, 2021. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and believers attended the Jumua’ prayer. Following is the edited text of the sermons:

The first sermon

Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book:

And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us. Allah, the Most Exalted, speaks the truth.

 The blessed anniversary of the birth of one of those leaders (Imams) passed on the eighth of this  month, who were inspired of doing good deeds and they were worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted. The Messenger (p.) called on us to follow them so that we will not be misguided: I  leave you two weighty things, if you stick to both you will never go astray after me: the Book of Allah and my progeny. This Imam is Al-Hassan bin Ali (a.s.) Al-Askari called as such after the place he lived in (Askar) in Iraq .  The Imam suffered, during his term that lasted for six years from the restrictions and the siege his father suffered from before him  to  prevent him from being to touch with people and was jailed several times in this period. The Abbasids were afraid of the Imam for two reasons: the first was because of the traits of knowledge, sublime manners , modesty, generosity …etc the Imam was distinguished with.     

Two incidents clarify this point: the first:   the son of the wazir of   the Abbasid calif once asked his father   , ‘O father! Who was that man who came in the morning to meet you and you treated him with extreme honor? the father replied: ‘O son! If Caliphate is taken away from Abbassids then no one is more worthy of Caliphate among Bani Hashim than him. He is worthy of Caliphate because of his matchless excellence, chastity, honor, piety, abstinence, worship, excellent character and deeds..’

 Hearing this, my uneasiness and anger on my father increased. I had no option but to ask about him. I asked the military leaders, writers, judges, jurists and other people of Bani Hashim as well as of other tribes about him. Everybody said that he was an honored, supreme and a soft-speaking person and that they preferred his advice over the advice of the seniors of their house.  He is a respected personality because I have not found any of his friends or enemy talking anything about him except good and everyone praised Him.

 The second incident: The Abbasids went to Salih bin Wasif when Imam Hassan Al-Askari, peace be on him, was imprisoned. They told him: “Be hard on him. Don’t give him any ease.’ “What can I do with him?” Salih asked them. ‘I entrusted two of the most evil men I found (to guard the Imam). These two men became (men) of worship, prayer and fasting to an amazing extent.

The second reason: there was a wide spread news that Imam Al-Mahdi who  will fill the earth with justice is one of the sons of Imam Al-Askari. They feared that this Imam would end their tyrannical rule. That is why they used to follow any development in the imam’s house, searching it every now and then to make sure that the imam was not born .

Despite all these pressures, the Imam played his role in education and building the nation .And we are going to cite today some of his traditions in this respect:

The first is his interpretation of the single letters of the Quran after some have exaggerated their meaning to the extent they considered them certain symbols or indications for things to come. The Imam corrected this and explained the reality behind these letters: The tribe of Quraish and the Jews were denying the Quran, saying that it was clear magic; that Muhammad (p.) had fabricated it himself. That is why Almighty Allah, refuting them, said: Alif Laam Meem. This is the Book, meaning: O Muhammad! I have revealed this Book. It begins with single (Huroof Muqatta’ah), that is ALIF, LAAM, MEEM. It is in your language and is made up of the alphabet of your language. So, tell the deniers: If you are true in your claim, prepare a book like this taking help of all your companions. Then Almighty Allah made it clear that they have no power or ability of making such a book. So He said:

 Say: If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others.  

The second: some were throwing doubts in the minds of Muslims saying : You ask Allah, The Most Exalted, in  your prayer to guide you to the straight path . Aren’t you already following this path or do you still believe in falsehood?  The imam explained to those who asked him that it is a prayer for Allah, The Most Exalted, to keep them on the  straight path He led them to.

 The third was his answer to those who blamed Islam for not giving the woman an equal share to that of the man. The Imam said that this is because she does not have to pay for Jihad, spending on the family and Diyyah..

The fourth : His saying : who advises his brother secretly, does him good, and he, who advises him openly, does him wrong. Advice should be done in secret lest it would turn into defamation or slander …

The fifth: The Imam said that those who know the rights of fellow believers and fulfill them have the best esteem in the eyes of Allah, The Most Exalted, . According to the Imam these rights are: to esteem him highly in his eyes, to entertain love for him in his heart, to assist him financially from his own wealth, to love for him what he loves for himself, to prohibit [others] from backbiting him, to visit him in his sickness, to attend his funeral procession, and to not say anything but good about him after his death.

Dear loved ones: Our loyalty to this Imam is not expressed only by visiting him or attending majlish on his behalf. We should also couple this by adopting all the virtues he called on us to hold and  act by them.

Peace be on the Imam the day he was born, the day he departed and the day he will be brought back to life.

The Second Sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted, I advise you and myself , with the advice Imam Al-Askari gave to his companions and followers: “Let piety be your provision, patience be your garment, and buy hardship in the path of Allah. Be true in your speech, trustworthy in performing your deeds, prolong your sajdah (prostration), deal with others with best behavior, and treat your neighbor amicably. Perform your prayers even with those whom you think to be your opposition; attend their funeral ceremonies, visit their patients, and give them their rights. Verily I tell you that whosoever is honest and has good behavior in the eyes of others, he is the pious Shia whom I will be proud of. Therefore, fear Allah, be as adornment on behalf of us and be not as shame that defames our name. By this advice the Imam wanted to clarify the responsibility the followersof Ahl el-Beit should  shoulder so that they would be able to represent their Imams  and capable  of confronting challenges…

We begin by the innocent victims that fell yesterday in the streets… Those  who demonstrated to express their opinion , having believed that freedom of expression is secured and that arms should not be used to impose opinions  but only to defend country against the enemy.  They had no idea that there are in the country some who want to incite strife and who are ready to destroy the country to a achieve a partisan goal or even one for others. We believe that this is dangerous because it violated the most important issue  the Lebanese wish to preserve (civil peace)and the freedom of speech  the country is distinguished with. It brought back to their minds the image of the civil war they did not wish to be repeated. That is why we say to all Lebanese that what happened should not be seen as targeting a certain sect or a political party as it targeted all Lebanese as well as their security and stability.

As we offer our condolences to all the Lebanese and the families of the martyrs and wish the wounded a speedy recovery, we call on the government, to deal with the matter with the severity it deserves so that the truth of what happened would be revealed and to deal with an iron hand with those who are responsible of what happened and those who wish to destabilize the country regardless of their affiliations or sects. We also call for speeding up the dealing with the reasons that led to what had happened and that have to do with the performance of the investigating judge, suspecting that there might be domestic or foreign political motives.

In this respect, we appreciate the role of  political and religious leaders, as well as the security agencies that played a fundamental role  in enabling the Lebanese army to play its role. We also appreciate the response of our people who practiced utmost restraint to prevent  the escalation of the strife and preserve the civil peace.

Moreover, we are afraid that what happened could blow up the government from the inside. That is why we call on all parties to shoulder their national responsibilities and do whatever possible to enhance the government’s unity, for the country cannot endure such a vacuum especially in these difficult living circumstances.

In Iraq, we congratulate the Iraqi people on holding the elections which we hope that they would contribute in ridding corruption and terrorism and enable the country to restore its national role.