A speech made in the Capuchin Church on ۱۸/۲/۱۹۷۵ and published in the book entitled “Islam, a deep-rooted doctrine” in ۱۹۷۹
We praise and thank you God, the God of Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the God of the weak and of all his creatures.
Praise be to God who reassures the frightened, delivers the righteous, elevates the seemingly weak, humbles the arrogant, eradicate kings and appoints successors.
Praise be to God who puts an end to the totalitarians, eradicate the unjust, keeps up with fugitives, and exclaims the cause of those who cry out to Him.
We praise you God for giving us success through your guardianship, for gathering us via your guidance and for uniting our hearts with your love and mercy.
Here we are gathered in your presence in a house amongst others, which is said that it belongs to you and at times of fasting set for you.
Our hearts are fervent for you. Our minds derive their light and guidance from you. Considering that you have called us to be co-workers in the service of your people and to meet together on words of consideration for the happiness of your creation. Towards your door we proceeded, and at your altar we prayed. We met for the sake of man for whom religions were found. At that time, these religions were one and heralding each others’ messages and authenticating one another. Through religions, God walked out nations from darkness to light after He bailed them out of deep and tearing conflicts and taught them to take the path of peace.
Religions were uniform and in the service of one objective, which is to preach God and to serve mankind and the objectives are two sides to one truth.
Later on, when religions started serving their interests too, they fell into discord. Subsequently, this self-interest grew until they were about to forget their objective. Conflicts grew bigger and man’s crisis and pains got harder and larger.
Religions were united and yearning towards one objective: Waging of war against the gods and tyrants of the world, and to stand by the weak and the oppressed. The former and the latter are two sides to the truth. When religions prevailed and with them the seemingly weak, they found out that the religious groups have changed their skin and ran ahead of them to reap the benefits, and that they have started to rule them in the name of religions while upholding their sword. As a result, the growing ordeal of the ill-treated occurred and the tribulations of religions and their discords amongst themselves emerged. For no discord exists except in the interests of the exploiters.
Religions were one because the principle, God, is one; with the purpose that man is one; and the destiny that the world is one. When we forgot the aim and turned our back to serving man, God alienated and distanced himself from us and as such we became parties with numerous routines. Then our daringness took over and as such we disagreed, divided the one universe and served our personal interests. We worshipped many gods and not the only God. We crushed man and tore him apart.
Now we are back to the right path. We are turned to the tortured man to escape God’s chastisement. We are joined to serve the seemingly weak, the crushed and the torn apart in order to meet up together in all things, and in order to congregate in God and as such religions will be one.
For each we have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But what He may try you by that which he hath given you. So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return.
(The Table Spread: 48) according to the Holy CORAN.
At this hour, in the church, during days of fasting, in the middle of a religious sermon and upon the invitation of committed officials, I find myself at the middle of the road with you. I found myself preaching and being sermonized, addressing and listening. I talk with my tongue and listen with my heart. History is our witness, chronicles and times gone by listens to us and we listen to it. History attests that Lebanon is the country of convention, the realm of man, the homeland of the oppressed and the refuge of the frightened. In such milieus and esteemed horizon, we can hear the original divine calls because we are now nearer to the source.
Here is the Master, peace be upon him, in his furious love exclaims: “No…! The love of God cannot meet with man’s hatred”. His voice resounds in the conscious of masses, as another voice is raised up, the voice of the Prophet of Mercy “He who locks his doors sated while his neighbor is hungry doesn’t believe in God and in the Last Day”.
The two voices interact through the epochs and here we have the Pope echoing them namely on the occasion of fasting: “Both Christ and the poor are one person”. In his well- known message “evolution of people”, he is enraged in favor of man’s dignity. The Pope reiterates the words of Christ in the temple: “Tremendous was the temptation to resort to violence to keep away what disgraces man’s dignity”. And he says: “The lowest of humanity are the unjust regimes, which are a product of abuse of possession, authority and the sucking of laborers’ rights, and from the injustice of treaties.”
Is this clear voice at variance with the Prophetic tradition, which is steadfast on the objective: “I, God, am with the broken- hearted, I was with the sick when I paid him a visit, I was with the poor when I extended to him a sure hand and with the needy when I sought to satisfy his need”.
As for the method, He considered that any attempt to establish the truth and any effort to buttress the oppressed is a “Jihad” for God, a prayer on His Alter, as He guarantees victory.
During these testimonies, we go back to our humanity to search for the forces that crush, the forces that divide. Man, a divine giving, the being that is created according to the image of his Creator and his attributes, God’s creation on earth, this man, who is the object of existence, the beginning of society and the engine for history. This man is equal and worth his collective energies and not what philosophy and physics in this age agreed on, which is the possibility of transformation of matter all matter into energy, but rather what religions confirm as well as scientific investigation “that man will obtain what he seeks to have” and that proceedings are eternal. Man, apart from his flaring energies in different horizons, has no value. Therefore, the more we protect man’s capacities and we develop it, the more we honor and eternize him.
If faith, in its heavenly dimension, gives man infinite feelings and endless ambitions; If faith, in its divine dimension, maintains permanent hope for man, and when all the reasons drops, and anxiety is lifted off, and when man coordinates with his kind on one hand, and with all other creatures on the other hand; and if faith, in such a dimension, confer on man excellence and beauty, then, faith, in the other dimension, seeks to protect and maintain the human being and imposes this protection and asserts that there is no faith without the commitment of serving mankind.
Man’s capacities as a whole and the faculties of each man should be preserved and developed. For this purpose that the principle of continuance was in progress since the first messages and all the way till this letter that says: “For it to be a genuine elevation, the growth should be complete that is to say each and all men should elevate themselves to perfection”. Therefore, as an example we find that theft was forbidden. However, nowadays it takes the form of investment and monopoly under the pretext of industrial progress or by way of artificial needs that are imposed on man through production means whenever he feels a false desire that drives him to consume more. In fact, the needs of today are not derived from man’s innate needs but have been artificially made by the mass media that serve the interests of production methods…
As such, we witness a profound evolution in different forces that wards off the capacities of man, destroying or dividing it. These forces remain stable at its core despite the disparity and the profusion in development.
For instance, religion fought against lying, hypocrisy, vanity and arrogance. When we come to realize the foundation, we understand the extent of the impact of those characteristics on the capabilities of the individuals and the group.
Lying, for example, falsifies both the truth and the potentials that are set for tradeoffs between human beings. By switching over those capacities, man grows by the means of giving as he receives in return potential substitutes. These capabilities are falsified through lying, and as such they become unknown and distorted, and consequently exchanges are deformed and capacities are deactivated.
As for vanity and pride, both immobilize man since the arrogant and the prideful person feels that he has reached the phase of contentment and as such he discontinues taking or receiving and therefore stops the integration and togetherness process. On the other side, people halts taking from him as well as the process of integration through him. So there is no more taking and no more giving; it is the death of capacities, man’s capacities. As well, the generic attributes to lying are the basis for arrogance.
Freedom for example, is the appropriate environment for the development of man’s potentials and the emergence of his talents when opportunities are made available. This freedom has always been subjected to assault and violated by variety of alleged reasons. Consequently, battles were waged with bitter conflicts occurred for freedom.
The absence of freedom has caused the individual to succumb to the measure of freedom that the usurper allows. The individual is dwarfed, thus dwarfing the group. When man refuses this downsizing he endeavors and us with him – according with our faith - to put a limit to this dividing and overwhelming force, for our innate human defends, as we do so too, the potentials and dignity, no matter the downsizing formula and its expression across time…
Numerous are the forms for stealing freedom and destroying potentials: From tyranny to colonialism, from feudalism to intellectual terrorism, from tutorship claims over people to accusing them of deficiency in understanding, from neocolonialism to imposing standpoints on both individuals and people, from economic, cultural or intellectual pressure, and from planned neglect to keeping away opportunities and depriving people of them, some of the people and regions, dragging some to ignorance, and even denying good health and the opportunity for mobility and development.
Money, this supreme idol, which Jesus Christ considers as an obstacle to entering the Kingdom of Heaven an obstruction larger than the size of a camel when attempting to get it to pass through the needle hole. This money is a source of sedition. When money grows at the expense of other individual and collective needs, it becomes an end and a repressing and dividing force, since it can impose its deep influences on people’s lives, where the sizeable devour the petite.
As well as all humanitarian needs that are growing at the expense of others needs, which we label as lusts. In fact, each need is a motivator and a driving force; as a matter of fact it is fuel that activates man in life. But when this need grows at the expense of other needs, it turns out to be a disaster.
That is why the greatest responsibility is to well manage possessions and money, prestige, power and other human capabilities.
The truth is that the dimensions of faith that allows connectivity between God and man in an ever existing presence, though it is the basis of modern civilization, has been subject to imbalance.
When we review the history of this civilization, we feel that man – between one period and the other - is growing in one focus at the expenses of other tendencies. Because politics, management, market and construction were not built on faith, they grew in disproportions and as such turned into colonialism, wars, and search for new markets and periods of militarized peace. And man’s whole life swayed between one cold war and another hot war, between one period of healing and one of armed peace.
The love of self is man’s fuel in his quest for perfection and the achiever of his ambitions. But when self adornment in man grows, the problem starts.
Rows, racial discrimination and disdain of others, and bitter conflict within societies’ cells, from family to the international community, all this conflict is uneven in spheres. And although the axis of sectors is one, the gap varies.
This conflict that has been considered as an integral part of structure is a result of the shift from self love towards adoration of the self. The same is true when we look at egoism inside a group. The group has been formed to serve man, as man is the civil person who is collective in nature. He exists in two dimensions, the personal and the collective. Humanity, herein, is extended and the problem appears in different frames. From individual egoism to family self-centeredness that made man suffer from its vices, to the dominance of tribalism that had, at a certain time, an order of things that had marks as well as results, to the sect that turned, by means of her egoism, the sky into earth and emptied both religion and sect, and put an end to its rise, compassion and tolerance … This sectarianism that traded with spiritual values had taken from it disparate prices. And finally we reach the egoist patriotism.
Patriotism, although the most noble of feelings, when transformed into national racism patriotism it almost makes the person feels that he worships his country and not God. Therefore, he allows himself to build the glory of his country on the ruins of other countries, to craft his civilization by tearing down other civilizations, and to raise the standard of his own people by means of impoverishing other nations, all the way to reach a Nazi patriotism that has burned the world numerous times before.
These extended egoisms were constructive feelings that evolved and transformed into corrosiveness and destruction. The love of one’s self, obedience to the family, tribal love and country and national belonging are all beneficent tendencies in the life of a human being, on the condition that these remain within the right limits…And now we are ready to shed light on the chosen title of this lecture.
The human being, with his needs and capacities in a society that welcomes him, should live in harmony with his society. Each time one of his needs grows at the expense of another, it becomes chronically problematic. Each time the person or the needs of the group grows at the expense of the greater congregation, they become unremittingly challenging. And each times the group or its needs grow at the expenses of other groups and needs, this becomes evil and turn into a misfortune.
Lebanon our country, the country whose citizen is considered as his single asset; this man who wrote the glory of Lebanon by personal effort, emigration, mental faculties and personal initiative, this man is the one that should be safeguarded in this country.
If this country has further wealth than its human resources, it will be nothing short of its humanitarian stance. Therefore, our efforts in Lebanon, in places of worship, in universities and institutions are moving towards safeguarding and maintaining our citizen, the whole of man in all of its regions.
If we want to preserve Lebanon, and if we want to translate our national feeling into practice, and if we want to apply our religious intuition through the principles that were presented, we should preserve the man of Lebanon, the whole of Lebanon’s men and capacities and not be selective.
In this Lebanon, when we look at deprivation we discover that this denial is the result of malpractice and all are liable.
Violence, as we have heard, and for the sake of man, as much as it is needed, and on the condition that it does not deviate from its humanitarian rights, is allowed within the context of words.
The regions where we live in and where our citizens lives in are as important as each person in Lebanon. These areas are an entrustment unto our care and the care of our officials. The South and other regions are entrustments that should be preserved by the command of God and the country. This is why we should assume responsibility at once and to exercise application in a free and correct manners. For wrong thinking tantamount to double treasons and wrong investment is equivalent to twofold treachery; the treason of direct corruption and the treason of missing the opportunity for others in the context of wasting public money and rights.
Lebanon is the country of man and of humanity. Lebanon’s realities are made known by his people through comparative living with the enemy. We find that the social nature of this enemy is racial and military that employs suppressive and disperse measures in all of its expressions. Daringly, this enemy also falsifies history and stamps the Holy City with a Jewish stance and marring historical ruins.
Thus, our country should be safeguarded, not only for God and for his man but also for all of humanity. And we should shed light on Lebanon’s true and unified picture we should contrast it with the other image.
Here we are face to face with a lifetime opportunity. It is a new chapter that we have started and Lebanon has started tonight with this unprecedented phenomenon in history.
Dear believers, as far as man is concerned, man as a whole, let us meet up, the man of Beirut, of the South, of Akar, the man in the suburbs of Beirut, at Karantina and Hey El Selum.
This man can still seize the available opportunity. He is neither isolated nor classified. Let us preserve the man of Lebanon in order to preserve this country, an entrustment unto us of History and of God.
God’s Peace, Mercy and Blessing rest on you..