Welcoming the month of Safar

السيد علي فضل الله
The first sermon

Allah, The Most Exalted, says in His Glorious Book: Say, “O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent. Allah, The Most Exalted, speaks the truth.

Today marks the beginning of the month of Safar. It is a month that is similar to the rest of the lunar months which Allah, The Most Exalted, said that they have existed since the beginning of the universe and before man did. 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.

But it is worth noting that many describe the month as one in which bad  luck is dominant .A month that its advent makes some people afraid of what might happen in it. Thus, they would not marry or buy a house or engage in any contract… in addition to the fear of illnesses and other disasters.

Such beliefs are not restricted to one nation or society. There are those who believe that certain numbers or seeing certain animals and birds are bad omens. Nevertheless, such beliefs become more dangerous when they are given a religious dimension. We read, for example, in one of the Dua books: Know that this month is known for its inauspicious character and there is nothing better than giving in charity and making supplications seeking Allah’s protection. Anyone desiring to remain secure from the afflictions of this month should recite daily ten times the following supplication:

O Possessor of great strength, O possessor of great might, O Almighty! All Your creation submits meekly before Your supremacy, so protect me from the evil of Your creatures!

But whoever is versed in the authentic Hadiths of the Prophet and the Imams and their connotations could ensure that this allegation is not true, whether with respect to the month of Safar or any other month for that matter. Allah did not put in any time anything that might affect man’s life and lead to despair or even to happiness.

Time, in Allah, The Most Exalted’s, view is merely a medium where things happen and it does not affect them. It is Allah, The Most Exalted, who plays this role and none other: : Say, “O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent. Allah, The Most Exalted, speaks the truth.

Furthermore, we find in some Hadiths the exact opposite: Imam As-Sadiq says:” Do not curse the mountains, the hours, the days and the nights….” For they are not responsible for what happens. The Messenger (p.) has confronted this phenomenon when he said whoever lets a bad omen stop him from doing something is guilty of Shirk (ascribing partners to Allah, The Most Exalted).

On the other hand, there are those who cited Holy Ayats to prove that there are jinx days ,such as the Ayats that describe the punishment of the people of Aad: So We sent upon them a screaming wind during days of misfortune to make them taste the punishment of disgrace in the worldly life; but the punishment of the Hereafter is more disgracing, and they will not be helped. Nevertheless, such an interpretation does not hold before any objective criticism. The Holy Quran did not talk about the days as elements that influence happenings, thus bringing distress or happiness, but only as medium in which things take place.

This is our answer to all that claim that Safar is a month of misfortune, being the month in which the Messenger and some of the Imams died. Despite being immensely sad events, it does not follow that it is a month of misfortune, for if we want to consider any day in which a prophet, an Imam, a cleric or a loved one died a day of bad omens all days would fall in this category.

Moreover, there were also happy events in the month of Safar, such as the birth of Imam Al-Kazim and the marriage of the Prophet and Lady Khadija. Therefore, there is no religious basis for saying that time or stars or planets… affect man’s life for they all move in accordance with the law Allah, The Most Exalted, has set to the universe.

Yet Islam was realistic in dealing with those who believe in bad omens .It called on them to rely on Allah, The Most Exalted, and ask for His help. It is narrated that the Messenger (p.)  used to ask his companions who felt pessimistic when they saw something they believed to be a bad omen  to say : O Allah! No one produces good deeds except You, no one

erases misdeeds except You, and there is no strength or power except in Allah, the Exalted, the All-Mighty.

Dear loved ones: let us enter the month of Safar just as we enter any other month or day   feeling optimistic and reciting the following Dua: make this the most fortunate day (month)we have known, the most excellent companion we have accompanied, and the best time in which we have lingered!

 Place us among the most satisfied of Your creatures whom night and day have passed by,

the most thankful of them

for the favors You have done,

the firmest of them in the laws You have set down in the Shari’a,

and the most unyielding of them toward the prohibited acts against which You have cautioned!

The second sermon

Worshippers of Allah, The Most Exalted: I advise you and myself, with what God advised us , when He described one of the scenes of the Day of Judgment :  And they will come out [for judgement] before Allah all together, and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, “Indeed, we were your followers, so can you avail us anything against the punishment of Allah ?” They will say, “If Allah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is all the same for us whether we show intolerance or are patient: there is for us no place of escape.

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah ] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment. Allah, The Most Exalted, is asking us to watch carefully this scene and learn its lessons so that we would know whom we should follow and accept his leadership. We should not follow the logic of Satan and the corrupt who will, in the end, lead us to find ourselves in a difficult position before Allah, The Most Exalted.  And when we call on them they will disavow us, denying any responsibility and refusing to help us. When we become aware of this, we would be able to be our own decision makers and certainly more capable of confronting challenges.

We begin by Lebanon whose citizens are still suffering from the living and economic crises, in addition to the external pressures. To demonstrate how grave their conditions are, it is enough to look at the rows of immigrants, whether those that have a chance to obtain a visa or those trying to flee by boat and become vulnerable to lose their lives in the depth of the sea.

In the meantime, the Lebanese were clinging to the glimpse of hope that the French imitative represented and which calls for the formation of a government that can start a radical reform process of the Lebanese administration and put an end to corruption and waste and find solutions to the intractable crises the Lebanese are suffering from.

They welcomed with optimism the news that the political parties have accepted the initiative and their readiness to help in making it succeed, although they were the ones that ought to have taken on themselves to reach a solution and commence reform in the first place.

But now they are afraid to lose this initiative seeing that spokes are being put in its wheels and the country is once again entering a state of marking time which is not in any party’s interest.

As we pointed out previously, we stand with any initiative that gets Lebanon out of the dark tunnel and restores the Lebanese trust in their country and state, and we always call for facilitating its success. But to achieve this goal, it should take into account the fears of all sects and the balances that still govern this country, for these balances protect the joint living and provide stability… But this does not mean that they should favor the interest of any particular sect, instead of being in the interest of all Lebanese.

We have already tried what seeking the support of the external powers or relying on one’s own strength or alliances leads to. Every time these balances were undermined, strives and wars broke out. They also provided an opportunity  for those who do not care about the future of the country and seek only to protect their share to intervene  even if that leads to  failing a solution whom everybody  agrees on and preserves the interests of all Lebanese.

We believe that getting the country out of its crises cannot be achieved, if this internal division persists in which some parties seek to fall the others. It can only be accomplished through the return to serious dialogue and constructive communication in which everybody listens to the others and appreciates his fears. Without this, no initiative can succeed and no external power no matter how strong it is can find solutions for this country.

On the security level, we would like to warn about, after the  talk about the sleeper cells have returned, the return of terrorism which the Lebanese have thought it was eradicated. In this respect, the latest  targeting of the Lebanese army calls  for more vigilance  and the enhancement of national unity  and the resolving of the economic crisis, after it has been proven that terrorism  lives on internal  feuds, collapsing economic condition and political vacuum.  Therefore, and despite all the complications that hinder the formation of the government, we once again call for reaching common factors that would ensure its formation especially that the country could not tolerate any additional stalling or delay.

As for the normalization with the Zionist enemy, we strongly condemn it, based on our religious and human values that give no   legitimacy for any occupation regardless of the passage of time. Moreover, the massacre of Sabra and Chatila whose anniversary passed a few days ago should remain in our minds to stay aware of the dangerousness of the Zionist enemy, the main cause of our sufferings and pains in Palestine and in the Arab and Muslim worlds.