Friday Sermon: Fadlallah is good with internet, wants Israelis to stop killing Palestinians
January 16, 2008 § Leave a comment
Fadlallah started his website in 1997 and most of the content is translated into four languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, and French. In comparison to the rest of the mari’iyya, his site contains the most information and is the easiest to access. Grand Ayatullah Ali al-Sistani who is based in Najaf, Iraq is the most widely followed marja’ among the Shi’a, but I would be comfortable saying that Fadlallah is not too far behind. I believe that Fadlallah’s efforts to widen his reach through his website reflect his influence in a more “educated” population, and most likely increases his influence in Shi’i communities abroad in places like the United States.
The site has an extensive archive of transcriptions and audio recordings of his Friday sermons. For my purposes, I’ll be using the English translation to get a general overview of content, but I will use the Arabic transcriptions and audio to understand detail and nuance. Fadlallah’s speeches are divided into two parts: religious and political. I will briefly look at both.
Since it is the second day of Muharram, Fadlallah pays special attention to Imam Husayn and his legacy. He stresses that one must seek to know Husayn as a whole instead of focusing solely on his role in Karbala. He notes a saying of the Prophet Mohammad: Husayn is from me; and I am from Husayn. Husayn minee wa ana min Husayn — حسين منّي وأنا من حسين
The second part of his khutbat al-jumu’a addresses political issues. Bush’s trip to the Middle East has been a failure and he did not deliver on his promises to bring the Palestinians closer to statehood, nor did he make progress on the issue of the illegal settlements. Furthermore, Bush attempted to portray the problem as one of the Resistance (al-muqawama) launching rockets, as opposed to the actual problem, which is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. Another goal of Bush’s trip was to intimidate Iran.
In Lebanon, there is still no president, yet the central problem is that the Lebanese youth have lost hope that they have the opportunity to live a life of dignity. Fadlallah believes that religious authorities are being corrupted and taking political positions. He does not believe that the Arab League solution will lead to an end in the Lebanese presidential crisis. He believes the same problems will arise as a result of continuing disagreements.