Friday Sermon: Don’t call a woman a whore unless you have proof

February 1, 2008 § Leave a comment

(Photo of Fadlallah in shades from

January 25, 2008

Fadlallah starts his sermon with a discussion of women and their rights in Islam. He discusses the “four witnesses” clause in the Quran — that if a woman is accused of adultery, then four witnesses must be produced who witnessed the actual sex act in order to issue a punishment. Fadlallah uses this to say that it is impermissible to go around accusing women of adultery and that if someone wants to make accusations, then they better have some damn good proof. Fadlallah alludes that is essentially impossible to prove that a woman is adulterous. He also uses this time to denounce “honor crimes.”

The English translation of his sermon says:

Similarly, a brother or a husband might accuse his sister or wife with adultery and kill her in what is known as crimes of honor. These people, as we have mentioned several times, are criminals and they should be sentenced to death, like any other murderers.

The Prophet is said to have been told by someone: If I find my wife with someone in bed, should I kill her. They Messenger (p.) asked him. Where are the four witnesses? Meaning that, the legal punishment should not be resorted to unless there are four witnesses.

In the second half of Fadlallah’s sermon, where he addresses political issues, he focuses on the crisis in Gaza — criticizing the Israeli occupation, the Western countries that support it, and the Arab countries who sit by and watch silently. He said:

Due to all these circumstances, the question is still: Is there an Arab world that hold its responsibilities towards the Arab situation? Or do these rulers continue to run after the American cowboy, who visits their countries to conclude arms deals that do not give the Arabs any strength but rather support the American economy and the American arms industry?


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.

Friday, January 11, 2008

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 Husaynحسين 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.

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