Muharram: embeding the lessons of Hijra and the values of the Ashoura revolution

In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Zul-Hijjah 3o, 1443H. –July 22, 2022. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and believers attended the Jumu’a prayer. Following is the edited text of the two sermons :

The first sermon

Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book: Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. is the correct religion Allah, The Most Exalted, speaks the truth .

Firstly: The month of Muharram is one of the months that God prohibited fighting starting a war in or continuing it, except in case of self-defense or an aggression against the country. It is not prohibited as some might think to conclude a marriage contract or to engage in any business deal or to build a house or to move to a new house …etc. Nevertheless , what should not happen is to party or engage in anything that violates the atmosphere of general sadness and mourning .

Secondly: The new Hijri represents an opportunity to review all what we have accomplished in the past year and remove all the obstacles that might stand in the way of performing our shouldering our responsibilities and duties in the coming year….Being a general Islamic principle that we ought to follow… It is narrated that the Messenger(p.) used to pray to Allah, The Most Exalted, saying:

O Allah, as for any act that I have done in this year

But You have warned me against doing it and You have been displeased with it,

I have forgotten it but You have not,

and You have called to repent after I have dared to challenge You,

O Allah, I am now praying You to forgive it to me; so, (please) forgive me.

As for any act that draws me near to You,

(please) accept it from me and never cut off my hope in You, O All-generous!

By this the Messenger(p.) wanted to change the image that has become deep rooted in our minds which says that the new year is an occasion to throw parties and banquets. Although Islam does not prohibit that as long as it conforms with the limits set by It, such practices do not go well with bidding farewell to a year that has passed from our life and become closer of meeting God ,or receiving a new year which we do not what it will bring to us . Thus we should plan for what we are going to do in this year so that it will bring us nearer to Allah and enable us to attain His satisfaction.

Thirdly : the Hijri year is associated with the Prophet’s immigration which initiated a new and important role in the history of Islam , having had a great impact on the success of the Message and the spread of Islam in Arabia and the whole world .

The Prophet’s immigration reveals many virtues: the first is the virtue of sacrifice for a sublime cause,

Following the example of the sacrifice that the Messenger (p.) and his companions made, when they left their families and all what they had in Mecca, which was the place they loved most. The immigration was not impelled by fear or seeking any worldly gains; rather it was for the cause of Allah.

Fourthly: Divine guiding and serenity that falls on those who trust Allah, The Most Exalted, and the feeling that He is always present with them: when the idolaters followed the Prophet, having known that he managed to leave Mecca. He hid with his companion, Abu Bakr in a cave. When the idolaters reached the opening of the cave Abu Bakr felt sad and afraid . The Messenger (p.) reassured him saying that he should not be sad because God is with them .God is always present and would never fail those who trust Him and serve His cause. Allah, The Most Exalted , describes this incident as follows: If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

Fifthly: Man should not stay in a country where his belief weakens or where he is pressurized to offer concessions regarding his faith or dignity. The Hijra defined the path the Muslims have to follow when they can no longer withstand the wronging in a certain country; They should not stay in a country in which they cannot confront tyranny and wronging. And if they do stay and do not immigrate to another land where they could practice their religion, they will be held accountable.

Finally : the new year is linked with Ashoura which came to accompany it every year. Moreover, Ashoura to us is not only an occasion to grief and express our love and loyalty to those who made all these sacrifices in Karbala. It is also an occasion to aspire the sublime goals of Imam Hussein and his readiness to sacrifice for them , which he expressed when he said: . “I did not rise up for the cause of wickedness, amusement, corruption or oppression, but I rose up to reform the nation of my grandfather. I want to promote virtue and prevent vice.”…

Ashoura is also a season to enhance the relation with God Who was present all through the battle of Karbala with the slogan that all they had to go through has been made easy as it was all “in the eyes of Allah, The Most Exalted”…

The second sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted, I advise you and myself to observe the occasion of the new Hijri year on the first day of the month of Muharram by doing what the Prophet called us to do on this day: Perform two Riqaats and then recite the following supplication: O Allah ! You are the Eternal Lord, and this is a new year, so I ask that You grant me protection from Shaitan, and control over this voluptuous self that incites towards evil, and being occupied in that which would bring me closer to You, O Most Kind! O Lord of Might and Majesty! O Supporter of the one who has no supporter, O Protector of the one who has no protector, O Guardian of the one who has no guardian, O Helper of the one who has no helper, O Assister of the one who has no assister, O Reinforcement of the one who has no reinforcement, O Granter of gracious gifts, O Source of great hope, O Esteem of the weak, O Rescuer of the drowning, O Savior of the devastated, O Benefactor, O Beautifier, O Granter of excellence, O Bestower; You are the One to whom prostrate the darkness of night and the light of day, the brightness of the moon and rays of the sun, the sound of (gushing) water and the rustling of the trees; O All¡h! You have no partner. O Allah! Make us the best of what they conjecture (about us) and forgive us that which they do not know (of our faults). All¡h is enough for me – there is no god but He; in Him do I trust and He is the Lord of the Exalted Throne. We believe in it – everything is from our Lord, and none takes admonition except those who possess intellect. Our Lord! Make not our hearts deviate and bestow Your mercy on us, indeed You are All-Munificent.

Let us practice these deeds to be blessed in the coming year with Allah, The Most Exalted,’s guidance and blessings so that we would be stronger in fighting the devil and the evil desires of the soul and be concerned to do what pleases God and draws us nearer to Him, so that we would be blessed with more awareness and ability to confront challenges.

We begin with the living condition crisis whose most salient demonstration of its severity is the long rows in front of the bakeries, without the government shouldering its responsibilities of intensifying the overseeing and punishment measures of all who are unrightfully benefiting from the subsided flour or by fighting smuggling and hording, and instituting a mechanism for the Syrian refugees obtaining this food.

We fear that the government will resort to the easy way of dealing with this crisis: to put yet again its hands in the pockets of the Lebanese through lifting the subsidy for this essential item which would lead to the rise in the price of the bread pack to more than 40 thousand Lebanese pounds …. without taking into consideration what would that lead to with respect to the ability of the Lebanese to secure their basic needs which is already very difficult and which will grow even more difficult with the ongoing rise of unemployment and the price of the dollar ….

Based on this, we renew our call to the political parties that run the country to join hands instead of exchanging accusations, for they are all responsible be they in the government or among the opposition…

In these circumstances, we cannot but welcome any initiative that decreases the Lebanese sufferings, such as Iran’s offer to provide fuel for free, at a time Lebanon does not have the luxury to accept or refuse. Those who expressed their fear of sanctions should deploy their relationships to get fuel from other sources.

We would also call on the government to take all the necessary measure to end the strike of the civil servants, as we believe that it is the right of those who work in the public sector to earn what enables them to satisfy their needs so as to be able to perform their duties efficiently…

It is regretful that all this is happening at a time the efforts to form a new government is frozen.

In this respect, we renew our call to speed up the forming of the government, to play its role in resolving the crises and to ensure that the country will not fall in a state of vacuum if a new president is not elected on time , which is regretfully what is expected so far.

On another level, we warn against the temperament rise in the sectarian rhetoric and the political tension in the aftermath of the detention of archbishop, Mousa el-Hajj , after it was considered to target a religious figure or even the entire sect , instead of keeping the issue in the judicial framework which would contain the issue and prevent any potential consequences… Past experiences have proven that resorting to sectarian escalation or political tension would not resolve any difference, since it would be met by counter escalations and tensions.

We reassert our call to the official religious authorities to base their rhetoric on the values they hold and act as a safety valve for the country and confront anyone who seeks to undermine the plurality that enriches the country…

As for the maritime border negotiations , and with the imminent return of the American envoy, we emphasize the significance of holding firm to the Lebanese rights in their wealth. The Lebanese should tell the American envoy and others that the enemy will not extract the gas while Lebanon continues to suffer from its crises. They should not be deceived by the empty promises or yield to the enemy’s pressures…