In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful. Lessons from Imam Ali bin al-Hussein(a.s.)

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Shaa’ban 6, 1445 /February 16, 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

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

“Indeed, Allah desires to repel impurity from you, O people of the household, and purify you with thorough purification.” , the Most Exalted, speaks the truth



On the fifth day of this blessed month, Shaa’ban, we commemorate the birth of one of the Imams from the Ahl al-Bayt, those whom Allah has chosen to purify from impurities. Prophet Muhammad (p.) indicated their significance, emphasizing adherence to them for guidance. He said: “I am leaving among you two precious things (thaqalayn) and if you adhere to both of them, you will never go astray after me: the Book of Allah and my Progeny, my Ahl al-Bayt.” He is Imam Ali ibn al-Hussein (a.s.).


Imam Ali ibn al-Hussein was known by various titles, one of which was “Sahib al-Jarrab” (the Carrier of the Sack). This title refers to the sack he carried on his back, containing food that he would distribute to the poor without revealing his identity. Only after his death did the needy realize who had been anonymously providing for them.


He was also known as the “Liberator of the Slaves” because he would purchase slaves and maids, freeing them after ensuring their education, care, and guidance, enabling them to lead dignified lives.


The fundamental title associated with him is “Zein al-Abidien” and “Sayyed as-Sajideen” due to his devotion and continuous prayers. He spent most of his days in fasting and his nights in prayer. He was also known for his supplications, which overflowed with love, reverence, gratitude, and praise for Allah. He reached the extent of saying: “O Allah, even if You were to shackle me with chains (tighten my bonds), and if You were to withhold Your generosity from me among all witnesses, and if You were to expose my flaws to the eyes of Your servants, and if You were to decree my path to the fire… I would never lose hope in You, nor divert my plea for forgiveness from You. Your love has never left my heart, and I never forget Your hands over me and Your protection in this worldly abode.”


Imam Ali ibn al-Hussein assumed the responsibility of Imamate after the martyrdom of his father, Imam Hussein, in Karbala. Despite his presence during the tragic events, he was prevented from participating in fighting due to illness. He then played a vital role alongside his aunt, Zeinab, in preserving the goals for which Imam Hussein sacrificed his life.


Throughout his life,  the Imam dedicated himself to educating the community, combating doctrinal and legislative deviations. He expressed this through his teachings to students who sought his guidance, and through his supplications that evolved into a comprehensive educational, social, and political message, such as the Sahifa Sajjadiya…


His contributions remain significant in the Islamic environment, enlightening minds, purifying hearts, and influencing lives with a clear and profound faith.


On this blessed occasion, let us reflect on some aspects of the life of the great Imam Zein al-Abidien  and draw lessons and insights for our own lives.


The First Incident: One day, the companion Al-Zuhri observed Imam Zein al-Abidien carrying a sack of flour on his back on a cold, rainy night. Astonished, Al-Zuhri asked, “O son of the Messenger of Allah, what is this?” The Imam replied, “I intend to travel and have prepared provisions to carry to a specific location.” Al-Zuhri suggested that his servant  or he himself could carry it instead… but the Imam refused, stating, “I do not want to lift myself from what will save me on my journey and make my arrival favorable.”


Days later, Al-Zuhri saw the Imam again and inquired about the impact of the journey he had mentioned. The Imam replied, “Yes, it was not as you thought; rather, it is death, and I am preparing for it. The true preparation for death is avoiding Haram  and generously contributing to goodness.”


Through this incident, the Imam highlighted that life is a continuous journey, and each day brings us closer to our ultimate destination – standing before Allah. He urged us to prepare for this journey by avoiding forbidden acts and contributing to goodness for the benefit of others…


The Second Incident: Imam Zein al-Abidien demonstrated exceptional kindness and respect towards his mother. Despite being fully devoted to her, he would not eat from a table she sat at. When questioned about this, he explained, “I dislike that my hand should precede hers to what her eyes have seen. I would then have neglected her rights.”


This demonstrates the Imam’s meticulous care for his mother’s feelings and needs, ensuring that no act of neglect or disrespect would occur, thus avoiding the severe warnings against disobedience to parents in Islamic teachings.


The Third Incident: The Imam hosted a feast and declared that anyone who came asking for help should be fed. Abu Hamza al-Thumali reported praying with Imam Zein al-Abidien in Medina and witnessing him invite people for a meal. When Abu Hamza questioned the indiscriminate generosity stating that not all who would come are in need, the Imam replied, “I fear that some of those who ask us have a genuine need and we would not feed him…”


The Last Incident:  he was once asked, “How have you been today? the Imam replied, “I live today under the demand of eight issues: God, the most High, demands from me to fulfill my obligations toward Him, the Holy Prophet demands me to follow his Sunnah, the family demands from me their sustenance, the soul demands to have its desires met, Satan demands to follow him, the two guarding angels demand me to be good in  my deeds, the angel of death demands my spirit, and the grave demands my body, so I live under these demanding conditions.”


 Dear loved ones; this is some of what has been mentioned about the biography of Imam Zein al-Abidien and his noble stances. These incidents indicate that his happiness was derived from bringing joy to his mother’s heart, assisting the needy, and fulfilling the needs of any individual, regardless of their status.

In conclusion, let us emulate the virtues of Imam Zein al-Abidin, expressing our loyalty to him by embodying the values he lived and struggled for. May we be guided by his teachings and walk on his path faithfully.



The second sermon

O worshippers of Allah, I advise you and myself with the advice of Imam Zein al-Abidien who said in one of his supplications :. He said: “O Allah, I apologize to You for failing to support the oppressed who was wronged in my presence, and for not expressing gratitude when goodness was extended to me. I seek forgiveness for failing to forgive those who sought my pardon, for not prioritizing the needs of the needy, and for not responding to those with rightful claims. I apologize for not fulfilling the rights of the believers and not being generous to those entitled to my generosity, and for not concealing the faults of a fellow believer when they became apparent to me. Send blessings upon Muhammad and his family, and make my regret for the errors I have made …”


Imam Zein al-Abidin (a.s.) wanted to convey that seeking forgiveness and repentance from Allah is not limited to sins and transgressions but extends to shortcomings in fulfilling obligations towards others. Apology is not only for committing sins but also includes failing to support the oppressed, not expressing gratitude for kindness shown to us, not responding positively to those who apologize to us, not assisting the needy, and not acknowledging the rights of others.  Let us shoulder these responsibilities to be near to God and more capable of facing challenges.

The beginning is from Gaza, where eyes should remain turned towards what is happening there and what might happen to it, after it became clear that all confrontations happening on other fronts, whether in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, or what might happen in other locations, come as a reflection of what is happening there. It has become the gate of war and the gate of peace.


The Zionist enemy continues its aggressive practices against it, as indicated by the numbers of martyrs, wounded, and the destruction targeting all aspects of life there, and the imposed siege on its people that prevents the arrival of food, medicine, water, and all means of life, without this enemy showing, until now, any readiness to stop its insane war at the point it reached. Rather, we see it seeking to expand it to Rafah, without caring about the number of victims who might fall behind that or responding to the calls or initiatives that call it to stop this bloodshed and deal positively with the negotiations it was called to.


It has become clear that what encourages the enemy to commit its aggression is the continued international support, and if there is talk about pressures exerted on this entity like what we heard from the American administration or many Western countries, they remain a way of throwing ashes in the eyes, and they are not to prevent it from going too far in its aggression but remain within the framework of wishes that any aggression that happens may not lead to committing human massacres at the level that embarrasses these countries in front of their peoples and stirs the sensitivity of world opinion, and increases the escalation of the peoples’ anger, and raises the level of its condemnation before the International Court of Justice.


At this time, Arab and Islamic countries are still silent about what is happening, and they do not play the role required from them to stand with this Arab and Muslim people and support it with all means of support and prevent the Zionist enemy from achieving its goals, which will not be exempt from their repercussions and dangers. This entity was found to be the hand that strikes any force in the region that thinks about living its freedom and dignity or seeks to create a balance with it.


At the same time, we renew our call to Arab and Islamic peoples and all free people of the world to raise their voices high and activate their role in supporting the Palestinian people with all means of support and not leaving room for the Zionist enemy to isolate it and repeat the scenes of the first Nakba that we do not want it to be repeated in this era and before our eyes…


The main bet remains on the Palestinian people, who prove every day that they are rooted in their land and that they deserve life, and they are still making sacrifices and showing their vigor at the points of confrontation with this entity, despite their modest capabilities, and present the most beautiful images of heroism and self-sacrifice, which confuses this enemy and inflicts more losses on it and makes it unable to stand firm in any location it reaches.


And we return to Lebanon, whose resistance, despite all the sacrifices made, insists on standing with the Palestinian people, believing in the injustice of this people and feeling a sense of responsibility for the necessity of its victory and standing with it and preventing its isolation, from a human and religious standpoint, and with a national dimension for its feeling of the danger of the victory of this entity in its battle with the Palestinian people on the future of Lebanon.


At this time, the Zionist enemy continues its attacks on Lebanese villages and cities, which no longer stop at the limits of military targets, similar to what the resistance does, but rather it expands on that by targeting civilians in their homes, which we witnessed in the moving bloodbaths that did not spare even children and women as happened in Sowane and Nabatieh, which shows the enemy’s barbarity and weakness at the same time, after it was unable to force the resistance to abandon its choice and principles in supporting Gaza and strengthening its homeland’s immunity.


We also, salute all these Lebanese sacrifices that are presented, and we are confident that the enemy will not weaken the will of this people and its resistance in supporting the Palestinian people, but rather we see them increase this people’s determination and will to continue on this difficult path, and it has become more aware that this language is what this enemy understands, but always with the wisdom that we have known in this resistance with all its factions, which will continue to take into account the interests of this country and its circumstances.


At the same time, we call on the Lebanese to unite to face the enemy’s threats… And we say here to them: if there is a disagreement about supporting the Palestinian people or the way it happens, there should not be any disagreement on what preserves the country’s integrity and strength in facing the enemy’s challenges and threats.

On the level of internal crises, we reiterate the emphasis on a serious treatment of them and not neglecting them under the pretext of the challenges facing the country. Rather, we should be more keen to address them so that we are stronger in facing these challenges, whether in terms of addressing the difficult living conditions or filling the vacuum on the presidential level.


It remains for us to emphasize that the state must assume its responsibilities towards those who have been displaced from their land and whose numbers are multiplying due to the expansion of the aggression. They are in dire need of hands that reach out and alleviate their suffering, with all our appreciation for the efforts of the bodies, institutions, and parties that work to alleviate their suffering and extend a helping hand to them…



Finally, we would like to stop specifically at what is happening in terms of killings and thefts in the Lebanese regions, the last of which was what happened in Haret Hreik, to demand that the security forces and all the concerned and active forces bear their responsibility to watch over the security of our people…