Speaking at a mourning ceremony to mark the yearly religious occasion of Ashura, Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah touched on the Islamic conception of worship and obedience to God, and the implications of this conception on the world of political decision-making and action within contemporary Shia Islam.
The following transcript helps to reveal the intersection of the religious, the spiritual, and the socio-political for Nasrallah and many Shia political movements today.
The Hezbollah leader’s comments were made at a time when Lebanon faces one of the worst political and economic crises in the history of the Mediterranean country.
Source: Al-Manar Tv
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Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General:
True worship of Allah means complete obedience to Almighty Allah. ‘Uboodiyah (worship) is not (simply) defined by the number of prayers and fasts one carries out, even while keeping in mind that Salat (prayers) and Sawm (fasting) are part of worship.
‘Uboodiyah in its true essence means obedience to Almighty Allah, in all aspects – whether small or great – and refraining from disobeying Allah Almighty, no matter how small or big (that matter is). This is the school of the Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt, peace and blessings be upon them.
And this is the message of Karabala for us. It is the message of worship of Allah, and obedience to Allah Almighty. And even if this obedience to Allah Almighty entails that we reach a point in which we are besieged, become hungry, and thirsty, and are forced to fight, and be killed, and our women are taken captive. This is the true (deeper) message (of Karabla), before talking about politics and the political circumstances and goals (of that time), in 61 A.H. This is the meaning of al-Husayn’s movement, peace be upon him.
For this reason, in all of al-Husayn’s speeches and statements he would say ‘God wills (this)’ (shaa’a Allah), but not in the sense of (having no choice but to accept) an unchangeable fate. ‘God wills’ in the sense that ‘this is God’s judgment’, ‘this is what God has chosen for me’, ‘this is what God is pleased with for me, and I am pleased with what God is pleased with, and I act in accordance with what God Almighty is pleased with’.
When we obey Almighty Allah, indeed we act in the interest of our own selves, (in the interest of) our own aakhirah (life in hereafter), for (the sake of) our own dunya (worldly life), (in the interest of) of the dunya and aakhirah of the people (at large). Allah is needless of our obedience, and our disobedience does not harm him (in any way). Hence, the motive (that we must have) always, is carrying out our takleef (responsibility before God). To discover our takleef, and to carry it out.
Here I move on to a detailed discussion of this matter. To discover one’s takleef, is a very important issue, O’ brothers and sisters. Meaning that, when I am before a particular incident or development or issue, what is my takleef? What is my Islamic responsibility? What must I say, such that through my words I would be in obedience of Almighty Allah? How must I act, such that via my actions I would be in obedience of Allah Almighty? Discovering one’s takleef is a great and highly important matter.
In some of the meetings with his eminence, the leader, Imam (Sayyed Ali) Khamenei, may his life be prolonged, he use to say to us: ‘always supplicate and ask Allah Almighty with tawassul (intercession) and extreme humbleness and utter humility, to reveal to you your takleef (responsibility)’. One of the greatest blessings (of God) upon man, is that He reveals to him and guides him towards his takleef, and that He supports and aids him in discovering his (own) takleef. Why? Because aakhirah (is at stake)! Before we talk about dunya and the worldly ramifications (of knowing or not knowing one’s takleef).
We must humbly and consistently ask Allah Almighty to 1) (guide) us towards discovering our takleef, and 2) to carry out this takleef. Because sometimes we may discover our takleef but realize that it is difficult (to carry out). Difficult. Painful. Costly. So we refrain from (trying to carry it out). Discovering (one’s) takleef requires Divine attention (i.e. Grace and support), and carrying out the takleef and remaining patient in its implementation requires Divine attention. We must attain this Divine attention through supplication with humility and persistent turning to God Almighty.
In our own lives, (discovering our) takleef (religious responsibility) in many cases is clear and easy. For instance, (in relation to) the rules (ahkaam) of Salat, Taharah, Sawm, Zakat, Khums, Hajj, Umrah, trade, buying, selling, marriage, divorce etc. Mashallah (impressively), in the jurisprudential (fiqhi) books of all Muslims of all the various sects, you will find many editions and volumes on even the smallest of matters. This includes all the various sects and their various jurisprudential opinions (ijtihad) etc. Thus, depending on one’s sect, man is able to find out his takleef when it comes to many aspects and details of life.
However, the difficulty lies where? In the (new) issues that arise in the life of man. Here, we are not talking about the taharah (Islamic cleanliness) of this water or the najasah (Islamic uncleanliness) of this product, or the permissibility of selling (this thing or that). Rather, (the difficulty lies) with regards to new issues and developments in our lives relating to politics, security, military, society, economy, and culture. What do we do?
(These matters) affect us, our families, our children, our grandchildren, the people around us, and the generations to come. The stance that we take regarding this or that great and serious matter, will not only decide the fate of ourselves only, but rather, the fate of generations to come. Here, man must search for his takleef so that he may know it. And this has its particular mechanisms – and you know about (these mechanisms) – I will suffice myself with this much (on this issue for now) and (conclude) with this: this is where asking about one’s takleef becomes of (utmost) importance. That is, not just (solely focusing on questions like) the taharah of this water or the permissibility of selling this product, which are questions of a personal nature. These are personal issues. As for broader issues, or as Imam (Mahdi) says in a narration, ‘as for the hawaadith al-waaqi’ah (new events/developments that occur)’. The events and developments that arise in the life of man, (events) that affect the fate of all people.
(For instance), whether we fight, or don’t fight. Whether we resist, or don’t resist. For example, if there wasn’t a resistance in Lebanon in 1982, then Israel would still be occupying Lebanon in 2021, setting up settlements in Lebanon, controlling political decision-making in Lebanon, arresting the young men and women of Lebanon and forcing them into its prisons, as it done with thousands of Palestinian prisoners etc etc etc. Therefore, what the (Lebanese) generation of 1982, 1983, and 1984 carried out didn’t just affect them, but rather all the generations that will follow.
When the Ameer (i.e. Imam Ali) speaks about the one who enjoys foresight, he mentions that from among his qualities is (his tendency to carry out) deep thinking, analysis, contemplation, and that he avoids hastiness. For this reason, this is our responsibility today.