His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rajab 1, 1445 /January 12, 2024. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries, and hundreds of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is a summary of the sermons.
The First Sermon
Rajab the month of repentance and forgiveness
Allah, the Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book:
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred (Hurom). That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous. Allah, the Most Exalted, speaks the truth.
The Sacred Months
Today is the first day of the month of Rajab, one of the four sacred months chosen by Allah among the months of the year, along with Dhul-Qi’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram. It is mentioned in the Hadith: “Verily, Allah has chosen of (the different kinds of) His creation. He chose from the angels messengers, and from the people messengers. He chose the remembrance from speech, and He chose mosques from the earth. He also chose Ramadan and the sacred months from the months, and He chose Friday from the days, and He chose Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Decree) from the nights. So, glorify that which Allah has glorified.
Allah intended these four months to be months of peace, tranquility, and security, where fighting is prohibited, and conflicts and struggles are frozen, whether at the level of states, communities, or individuals. Initiating combat or conflict during these months is not permissible, except in self-defense, to protect honor, or in defense of the religion.
This emphasizes Allah’s desire for peace in the world by designating one-third of the year as months of peace. Allah also calls for peace in the other months, saying: O you who have believed, enter into peace completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
These months are times when good, but also bad deeds, are multiplied. Allah wanted them to be months for spiritual and faith-based replenishment, as witnessed in this blessed month. It is a time for spiritual, faith-based, and educational programs based on the teachings of Muhammad, calling to fasting, supplication, and various specific prayers for this month…
The Month of Seeking Forgiveness
One of the prominent aspects of this month is seeking forgiveness. The Prophet(p.) said: “Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness for my Ummah, so increase in it your seeking of forgiveness… It is named Al-Asabb because mercy is poured out abundantly on my Ummah in it, so increase your saying: ‘I seek forgiveness from Allah, and I ask Him for repentance.'”
In this blessed month, we are invited to take advantage of the opportunity to hold ourselves accountable, reflecting on our actions in the past days. Then, we turn to our Lord, hoping and praying that He forgives our sins and overlooks our shortcomings in fulfilling the responsibilities imposed upon us, whether towards Him, ourselves, our families, relatives, neighbors, community, nation…
Seeking forgiveness, Dear loved ones, is one of the most important blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His servants out of His love for them. Allah, in His infinite power, could have chosen not to grant His servants this opportunity, leaving them to face His punishment after committing sins or falling short in fulfilling their obligations. However, He, out of His mercy, did not want His servants to be tainted with sins and transgressions, nor did He want to close the door for them to return to Him and repent for their mistakes.
He opened a wide door for them to reach Him and made the path easy for them. It is sufficient for them to seek forgiveness from Allah, and they will find Him forgiving and merciful, as Allah mentioned ‘And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’) He also said: ‘Will they not repent to Allah and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. And in another verse: ‘Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins.’ Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.’
In a Divine Hadith, it is stated: ‘O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you seek forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you and I do not mind.’
The noble Hadiths have illustrated the significant impact of seeking forgiveness on individuals. Seeking forgiveness leads, firstly, to the erasure of sins and the removal of all their traces. It is mentioned in a Hadith: ‘Whoever repents, Allah turns to him in forgiveness, and his limbs are ordered to conceal what he has done, and the earth is ordered to conceal what he has done, and the protectors who record his deeds forget. It also leads to the restoration of the relationship with the Lord and its strengthening, preventing the individual from falling into the pitfalls that sins may lead to.
Secondly, seeking forgiveness becomes a means for an increase in sustenance and its expansion, a protection from afflictions in this world, and a removal of worries and sorrows, providing a path to security in life. Allah has indicated this in the Quran: ‘And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. And do not turn away, being criminals.’
The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), emphasized this, saying: ‘Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, has made seeking forgiveness a means for the continuity of sustenance, the mercy of creation. He said: ‘Seek forgiveness from your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.’ May Allah have mercy on an individual who welcomes his repentance and abandons his mistake.’
Thirdly, seeking forgiveness serves as a gateway to security. As mentioned in a Hadith: ‘Repel the doors of calamities with seeking forgiveness.’ Another Hadith states: ‘If one’s worries increase, then he should engage in seeking forgiveness.’
Imam Ali (a.s.) also pointed to this after the passing of the Messenger of Allah (p.) when he said: ‘There were two securities on Earth from the punishment of Allah, and one of them has been lifted. So, hold fast to the one that remains: the security in seeking forgiveness. Allah, the Exalted, said: ‘And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.’
Seeking forgiveness is the best supplication and the best act of worship. It is mentioned in a Hadith: ‘The best supplication is seeking forgiveness,’ and in another: ‘The best act of worship is seeking forgiveness.’
As for the method of seeking forgiveness from sins and shortcomings, it requires not only verbal acknowledgment but also goes beyond that to eliminate the effects of sin and correct the course. This is what Allah indicated when He said: ‘And indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver to whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.’
It is mentioned in a Hadith that the one seeking forgiveness and persists in committing the sin is like the one mocking his Lord. Another Hadith states: Whoever seeks forgiveness with his tongue while his heart is not repentant, he has ridiculed himself’
Seizing the opportunity of this blessed month:
Therefore, Dear loved ones, we are invited to seize the moments of this blessed month when Allah showers His mercy upon His servants. We should review ourselves before Allah for our past deeds, individually and collectively, acknowledging our mistakes and shortcomings. After that, we pledge to Allah not to return to our previous state of wrongdoing or negligence. We commit to correcting our path, making our future better than our past. Let us not miss this opportunity and hasten to make the most of it. This is what Allah calls us to when He says: ‘And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.‘
May our prayers on this day, with the beginning of this month, be in accordance with what the Prophet used to supplicate: O Allah, let this month come upon us with security, faith, safety, Islam, magnificence, protection from diseases,assistance in performing prayers, fasting, standing in prayer, reciting the Quran, remembrance, and seeking forgiveness until it passes away while You have forgiven us, pardoned us, and had mercy upon us, O Most Merciful of the merciful.’
The second sermon
I advise you and myself ,O worshippers of Allah,
with what Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) advised. This Imam, whose birth we commemorate, once said to one of his companions, Khaythama ibn Abdul-Rahman Al-Ja’fi: ‘O Khaythama, convey my greetings to whomever you see among our followers and advise them to be conscious of Allah. Instruct them to support their wealthy ones with the poor, tell their strong ones to support the weak and the rich to help the poor, attend the funeral of their dead ones, and meet in their homes. For meeting one another is a life for our cause… O Khaythama, inform our followers that we cannot benefit them with Allah, the Most Exalted, except through actions, and they will not achieve our guardianship except through piety. The most regretful people on the Day of Judgment are those who describe justice and then act contrary to it.’
Dear loved ones, we are in great need of these advice that call us to mutual support, cooperation, and strengthening one another, and to be vigilant, just, and committed in our actions, behaviors, and stances. And thus, we remain faithful to this imam through actions, not just words, aiming to be more responsible and just, and more capable of facing challenges.
The Enemy’s aggression persists:
The aggression of the Zionist enemy continues, in Gaza, where they persist in committing massacres against civilians. This is extended to the West Bank, with a notable focus on targeting journalists and their families, aiming to obscure the public’s view of the crimes committed by this entity.
We must acknowledge the resilience of those who persist in their media duties despite the hardships and the risks to their lives and the lives of their families.
Meanwhile the enemy persists in its aggressive practices despite its announcement of transitioning to the third phase, which suggests not harming civilians, restricting its actions to military operations, and allowing humanitarian aid to enter the sector. This indicates the insincerity of its declaration, and what was stated by it was nothing more than a smokescreen, an attempt to alleviate the pressures exerted on it, even from its supporters. This comes after the shocking scenes of massacres it commits worldwide. Voices around the world are rising, calling for an end to the bloodshed, expressed through stances, statements, protests, and marches that traverse the streets of the world. This even led to South Africa daring to file a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice, accusing this entity of genocide through field facts, documents, images, and statements from the security, military, and political leaders of this security enemy.
At the same time, the Palestinian people continue to resist the military apparatus of the enemy, displaying remarkable endurance, heroism, courage, and sacrifice, even to the point of martyrdom, to prevent the enemy from achieving its goals and making them costly.
We once again salute the heroism, steadfastness, and sacrifices of this people, which have become exemplary for all nations aspiring for freedom, proving that it is worthy of life. We also salute all the countries and entities that stood with this people and supported them in all forms of military, political, financial, and legal support or rejected the policy of displacement advocated by the enemy.”
The Enemy’s conspiracies against Gaza:
It is regrettable to witness secret and public consultations aiming to plan a political process that will determine the situation after the military operation in Gaza. This plan seeks to ensure the security of the Zionist entity and impose guardianship over the Palestinian people without considering their rights and their right to determine their own destiny freely.
Sinful aggression against Yemen:
Turning to Yemen, we condemn the sinful aggression it faces, contrary to the recent United Nations Security Council resolution, which did not authorize the use of force. This aggression is due to Yemen’s support for the Palestinian people, its rejection of the genocidal war on Gaza, and its refusal to abide by the imposed blockade. Yemen has confirmed that it will only target ships heading to the Zionist entity.
We trust that the Yemeni people, known for their resilience and determination, will not stand idle in the face of this aggression.
Lebanon: Caution is needed:
In Lebanon, the resistance continues to make sacrifices in support of the Palestinian people. The resistance remains committed to its stance, believing that the enemy’s victory in Gaza would encourage further aggression against Lebanon. The enemy persists in violating the rules of engagement, targeting safe villages, homes, and health and humanitarian institutions.
While appreciating all the sacrifices made by the Lebanese resistance, we urge the people of Lebanon to be vigilant about the threats posed by the enemy and its provocations. Although the enemy may fear engaging in an adventure with Lebanon due to its capabilities, caution is always required given the unpredictable nature of this enemy.
At the same time, we value the unified Lebanese stance conveyed to international envoys, asserting that the only way to stop the situation on Lebanon’s borders with Palestine is to halt the enemy’s aggression against the Palestinian people.