In two previous articles, “The Story of Hezbollah 1/3” and “The Story of Hezbollah 2/3“, I dealt with the rise of Hezbollah, its founders, its deep-rooted relations with Iran and its plans to establish a Shiite state in Lebanon. In the previous article, I finished discussion of 2006 Lebanon War which ended up with the failure of Zionists to destroy Hezbollah’s forces and to assassinate its leaders. This produced a state of overwhelming joy in the Islamic street and caused Muslims to be fascinated taking into account that Muslims did not witness a real victory over Jews in a military struggle since 1973 A.D., i.e. for more than thirty years. Hezbollah as well as its leader won widespread praise. This was so exaggerated that some people expected Hassan Nasrallah to be the spiritual leader of the whole Ummah, heedless of his Twelver (Ithna ‘Ashriyyah) background which obliges him to be permanently, whether publicly or secretly, hostile to Sunnis.
Hezbollah’s coup against the government
Hoping to make use of the great event of July War in the best manner, Hezbollah immediately decided to stage a coup against the government in which it is a co-founder.
On December 30, 2006, it staged a big sit-in around the headquarters of the government pitching more than 600 tent to lengthen the term of the sit-in. The sit-in demanded the deposition of Fuad Saniora, the head of the cabinet. Although the Lebanese constitution provides that the successor of Saniora be also a Sunni, this demand of Hezbollah was designated for no more than showing off its ability to change the situation as it likes and to declare that the successor has to listen and obey the commands of the would-be leadership of Lebanon represented in Hassan Nasrallah. However, the government did not yield to Nasarallah’s commands, which caused the sit-in to last for 18 consecutive months. The situation worsened by Hezbollah launching a criminal military operation. On May 9, 2008, Hezbollah’s armed forces laid a siege on western Beirut completely where Sunnis live threatening to invade or not to lift the siege unless the government is deposed.
It is no more conjectures! It was an actual fact. Militant militias moved to control the axes of Beirut. This draws our attention to the facts disclosed by Walid Jumblatt six days before the siege on May 3, 2008. He declared in a press conference that he could find correspondences between Elias Murr, the Lebanese Defense Minister, and the Lebanese army intelligence to the effect of discovering monitoring cameras fixed by Hezbollah in the surroundings of the airport. Jumblatt added that while armament is banned in Lebanon, weapons are heaped by Iran on Hezbollah.
Jumblatt further expected that after only a short period Hezbollah will be the sole armed entity whose armament will be even much better than that of the Lebanese army.
Doha Agreement and the slip of Nasrallah
The siege laid on western Beirut lasted for 13 days until an agreement was held in Doha to end the war and the sit-in.
However, the Quadruple coalition consisting of the Sunni Future Movement, the Shiite Hezbollah, the Shiite AMAL Movement and the Democratic Gathering Bloc was also dissolved. With this in mind, everyone came to the conclusion that continuance of such alliance is unfeasible and that there has to be inevitably a conflict of interests between Sunnis and Shiites. Therefore, both parties began to exchange accusations and a binary competition. On the one hand, the Future Movement or March 14 Alliance came to realistically perceive the possibility of Shia laying control over the whole Lebanon. On the other hand, Hezbollah accused the Future Movement of loyalty to the USA in an attempt to decrease its credibility in the eyes of the Lebanese people and nationalist currents. Reciprocal accusations continued with even a higher tone of escalation with the passage of time and as June 2009 parliamentary elections approached. In this concern, March 14 Alliance ran elections led by Saad Al-Hariri against Hezbolah led by Hassan Nasrallah. Each party began to propagate its advantages and capabilities and, at the same time, vilify the other party. Meanwhile, Hassan Nasrallah made a great a slip that would have never been made by such a veteran politician unless Allah had wanted to reveal the truth.
He declared in the speech he delivered just before elections on May 29, 2009 – see the official website of Hezbollah for the text of the speech – that he will import weapons from Lebanon and Syria in case he wins elections. He was speaking in a so Shiite-colored tone that he stated, “According to my knowledge, the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially His Eminence leader Imam Khamenei (may Allah bless his life), will not scrimp on providing Lebanon with any thing.” Apparently, he tells the Lebanese people frankly that only Shiites can provide them with funds necessary for their security and dignity. Thus said, he applied the carrot and stick approach trying to draw attention to the power and relations of Hezbollah. The Lebanese people got the message, however, in contrary to Hassan Nasrallah’s expectations. The Lebanese became aware of the Shiite peril and realized that Hezbollah’s assuming power means more armament to Hezbollah not to Lebanon and that the establishment of a Shiite state loyal to Iran and Syria is more likely. The Lebanese people felt worried about this trend, a feeling that reflected on polls and motivated them to vote for March 14 Alliance.
Although Saad Al-Hariri is not as politically influential as the late Rafik Al-Hariri, the Lebanese people behaved in proportion with their realization of the awkward situation. To those who argue that election result was affected by the US pressure, we say that the election process was fair whose transparency was contested by no one. Actually, March 14 Alliance won the elections with a difference of 14 seats, which is relatively a big number as to Lebanese elections, which means that the vision got so clear.
Our attitude toward Hezbollah
After citing the aforementioned lengthy story, I would like to have a discussion with dear readers giving some comments that might answer many confusing questions that cross Muslims minds while considering events. Readers might agree or disagree with me. However, I tell everyone that we have to put our emotions aside while citing our comments. In fact, we have to issue reasoned judgments. Moreover, we have to take into consideration roots and origins, refer to old and modern history, make a connection between events, know what is on the backstage and perceive the objectives, backgrounds and beliefs of each party if we are to make a sound analysis. By doing so, we can change many views we used to think to be true, attack what we used to defend or defend what we used to attack.
First: It is very likely and perhaps potentially soon that a Shiite state in Lebanon be established. Actually, Hezbollah possesses capacities not only as simple as of a party or a sect but also of a state.
Moreover, Iran and Syria strongly support the establishment of a Shiite state that is to be loyal to them. The desired state includes southern Lebanon in addition to Al-Biqa region to the north-east of Lebanon and might extend to include the Sunni region of northern Beirut. Moreover, such a state is to dominate western and southern Beirut. As for Christian-dominated regions, they are an object of difference of opinion. However, we do not exclude the possibility that Hezbollah accepts the existence of two Shiite and Christian states on the Lebanese lands. One thousand years ago, Ismailis (members of a Shiite branch of Islam) made a proposition to Crusaders on attacking Levant to the effect of dividing Sunni lands among them, Crusaders taking over Syria and Lebanon and Shiites taking over Palestine and Jordan. The proposition was rejected by crusaders who wanted to dominate Levant unshared.
Anyway, it is not easy for Sunnis to accept the existence of a Shiite state in Lebanon. Please, refer to the story of Sunnis in Iran and in Iraq and to the attitude adopted by the AMAL Movement and later by Hezbollah toward Sunnis in Lebanon. Refer also to the story of the Buwayhid, Hamdanid, Ubaidi (falsely called Fatimid) and Safavid states. Kindly, refer to such stages of history to know that the establishment of a powerful Shiite state means dominance over Sunnis in the first place. Actually, it is a matter of creed as supported by factual evidence.
A conflict of interests
Second: Hezbollah’s war against Jews was urged by a conflict of interests rather than defense of creed. To clarify, Jews invaded southern Lebanon in 1982, the region designed to be the awaited for Shiite state. Therefore, it was inevitable for them to resist in order to survive. Thus, it was an ordinary war like any other war in the world. War was not waged in order that the Word of Allah becomes the uppermost, for Shiites hold distorted and false beliefs about the Word of Allah claiming their Imams to be infallible and of a higher esteem than prophets. I wonder what good can be done by those who believe as such!
Suppose that Shiites centralize in northern Lebanon and Sunnis centralize in the south. If such was the case, do you think that Shiites would defend the Sunni-inhabited region? I certainly say it is impossible. I further think that if such is the case they would perhaps coordinate with Jews to divide the Lebanese lands among them at peace. Believe me, these are not unsubstantiated suppositions. Actually, Shia have lived in Lebanon for tens of years and, nevertheless, did not move a hairbreadth to fight against Jews in Palestine although they recognize in their literature the Jewish occupation of Palestine.
During the 1948 War, great scholar Dr. Mustafa Al-Siba’i (may Allah show mercy to him), the Muslim Brotherhood general supervisor in Syria, tried to reconcile Sunnis and Shiites and to urge Shiites to participate with Sunnis in liberating Palestine. To the disappointment of Dr. Mustafa Al-Siba’i, they refused and hesitated.
In his book “Introduction to The Sunnah and Its Position in the Islamic Law”, Dr. Mustafa Al-Siba’i stated that it is unfeasible to reconcile Sunnis and Shia as the latter understand such reconciliation to mean Sunnis conversion to Shiism rather than trying to find a common ground. Furthermore, when the Six-Day War of 1967 broke out, Shiites adjacent to north Palestine did not move a muscle. Even worse, Musa Al-Sadr announced his famous slogan “Weapons are the ornament of men” in March 1973. Nevertheless, when the October War of 1973 broke out six months after this slogan was announced, no Shiite participated in fighting against Jews in Palestine. Besides, I think we all witnessed the late Gaza War in 2009 and can perceive to what extent Hezbollah’s rockets could have kept Zionists from the intense bombardment. Actually, they launched not even one rocket in order to distract the Zionist enemy and were only shouting; much ado about nothing. Hence, the Zionist enemy realizes that Hezbollah’s power is limited to its own lands and that Palestine is a coveted object for neither Hezbollah nor Iran at the present. Likewise, the USA knows that Iran’s negative propaganda against it is not realistic and is no more than a showy attempt to influence Muslim feelings. The fact that the Shiite agenda in Iraq is purely sponsored by the USA is the ultimate evidence. In addition, the USA does not oppose to the establishment of a great Shiite state comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The USA hopes that such a state might cause a balance of powers in the Islamic region and might automatically stand as a stumbling rock in the way of Sunni expansion represented in the Islamic awakening in most countries of the region, especially Egypt, KSA and Jordan. On the other hand, the USA seeks to politically, militarily or economically weaken these three countries.
Victory and sound belief
Third: Achieving victory does not necessarily indicate sound belief and being afflicted with distresses does not necessarily indicate sincerity. Actually, many victorious people along history were Mubtadi’s (innovating in religion). For example, Shiite Qarmatians assumed authority for about hundred years although they killed Hajjis and taken out the Black Stone from its place and caused mischief. To the same effect, Persians, Romans, Tatar, the English and Americans assumed power in spite of holding corrupted beliefs. Furthermore, many dictator and tyrant Muslim rulers had dominance over their peoples for tens of years although they are deviated from sound Islamic beliefs.
In other words, Muslims should not suppose that victory and assuming power necessarily denote sound creed. They should consider whether sayings and acts of persons are in accordance with Quran and Sunnah. In fact, many persons defied death boldly and showed heroic resistance and will be, nevertheless, admitted to Hellfire as they did not devote such acts for Allah’s sake. During the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), a man was thought by Muslims to be greatly rewarded for showing bravery while fighting against polytheists. However, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told them that the man is one of the inhabitants of Hellfire. Astonished by the Prophet’s statement, they went to the man who while suffering the agony of death told them that he was fighting with the purpose of only defending his people. Thus, he did not fight for Allah’s sake. Rather, he fought only for worldly interests and fought for a false cause. Thus said, I would like to stress the fact that I do not intend to fathom Hezbollah’s intentions that is known only by Allah. I only speak of their publicized creed and openly-committed Bid’ahs (innovations in religion). See the article “Shia’s Dominance” for more information about Shia’s victories and dominance. However, such victories were indicators more of deviation from the right path than defense of principles.
Attitude of Sunnis
Fourth: By stating that Hezbollah’s conflict with Jews is a conflict of interests, we do not mean that Sunnis should adopt no attitude. In this respect, I differ with many of my Da’wah (call to Allah) and knowledge teachers who view it is proper to adopt no attitude in this regard and remain neutral for both parties of conflict are erroneous. Actually, a Muslim has to play a positive role and can estimate both evils and benefits. We are speaking about a war between the Zionist entity, which already occupies Palestinian lands, and Hezbollah, which lives in a land partially occupied by Zionists. With this in mind, weakening Zionists is a goal in itself, bearing in mind that the Zionist aggression is unarguable. Accordingly, it is a priority to liberate the Lebanese lands. Thereafter, Muslims may manage their affairs in such a manner as may safeguard their rights against being taken over by Jews and Hezbollah.
I have already highly appreciated Lebanese Sunnis attitude in 1997 when they joined in huge numbers the Lebanese resistance brigades, which strived to expel Jews from Lebanon. Although the brigades were under Hezbollah’s leadership and although Hezbollah later denied their contribution and snubbed them, Sunnis had a clear vision. In this regard, the Prophet (peace be upon him) supported a polytheist man’s right to claim his money stolen by Abu Jahl. Doing so, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not hesitate on the pretext that the man will make use of his stolen money in worshipping such idols of theirs as Allat and Al-‘Uzza. The Prophet just supported the man and that is all. Thereafter, the Prophet (peace be upon him) called the man to Allah in another situation.
We, Muslims, never mix up things. Although we are aware of the peril of Hezbollah’s Shiite agenda in the region, we are also, at the same time, aware of the Zionist agenda in the same region.
Fifth: Hassan Nasrallah is of a charismatic personality, in the sense that he has a personal quality enabling him to affect others and arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm.
Moreover, he is a first-class politician and an intelligent quick-witted person. I do not object to being charmed by his political and administrative skills. I am not also worried about admiring his talent in the art of public speaking or his ability to fathom political balances. In brief, I do not object if Muslims feel as such or even imitate him in certain aspects. However, it is objectionable to be charmed by him as an Islamic leader practicing Jihad as enjoined by Allah. A leader to be admired of as such has to be of a sound creed and performance of acts of worship, a devoted follower of the Prophet’s Sunnah and persistent enforcer of Allah’s commandments.
Hassan Nasrallah’s beliefs
Hassan Nasrallah embraces the Twelver (Ithna `Ashriyyah) thought, which means he holds all the beliefs of this sect.
To clarify, he believes that all Companions usurped Ali’s right to Caliphate and gave it to Abu Bakr, to ‘Umar and then to ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them all). He also believes that the Prophet (peace be upon him) assigned caliphate to their twelve Imams, whom he believes to be infallible, by name. Furthermore, he believes that the twelfth Imam is currently alive, is hidden by Allah (referred to as the Occultation) and will later emerge. Moreover, he believes that the concept of Taqiyyah (a dispensation allowing believers to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion) constitutes nine-tenths of religion. In addition, he believes that Sunnis show enmity to the Prophet’s Household, although Sunnis actually show more reverence, according to Allah’s Messenger’s way, to the Prophet’s Household than Shia do. Besides, he believes that great imams are rightful of one-fifth of a Shiite’s income. He further believes that Mut’ah (temporary marriage) is lawful. Accordingly, he views it permissible that a young man marries his girlfriend or any other girl for only one day or an hour to gratify sexual desire and then divorces her. He also believes in the theory of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist and it is thus prohibited for him to violate the commands of Ali Khamenei the Supreme Guide of the Iranian Revolution in any respect and so on.
It is beyond the scope of doubt that Hassan Nasarallah has a firm belief in the abovementioned dogmas. It is meaningless then to say we never heard him insulting Companions or defame mothers of the believers. To such naive people I say it is not a prerequisite that you hear him say so in order to be certain that he says so, for, in fact, saying so is a fundamental of the Twelver faith. For example, although you might not hear your Muslim neighbor say “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Alllah”, you are sure he, as a Muslim, believes in it. By the same token, a Twelver Shiite has to hold all the abovementioned beliefs; otherwise, he may be an adherent of another faith. Granted that Hassan Nasrallah reveres Companions, he would never be able to substantiate the authority of the Twelver sect’s fundamentals, including the Imamate of Ali bin Abu Talib, Al-Hassan, Al-Hussain and any other Imam of theirs.
Indeed, a personality that holds such false beliefs and Bid’ahs may never be fascinated by of or set as a perfect example of a Muslim leader. However, as I said before, we may benefit from certain aspects of his personality, like any other personality, not as Islamic but as human endowed with talents and capacities.
In a certain stage of Islamic history, crusaders occupied Levant and Palestine in the existence of a neighboring powerful Shiite state, the ‘Ubaidi state, that ruled Egypt at that time. Nevertheless, faithful Muslims of the time did not take as an example the leaders of such a corrupt state despite their high political, administrative and military standard. Rather, Muslims made their own examples and this is why Imad Al-Din Atabeg Zengi, Nur Ad-Din Mahmud and Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi (Saladin) came to light.
This is what should concern us much now. Viewing the Shiite agenda matures and succeeds in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, where then is the Sunni agenda that is to stand on equal footing with, and later exceed, the Shiite?!
I adjure one of our many rulers to adopt the great Sunni agenda that is based on the Qur’an and Sunnah and guided by the way followed by our righteous predecessors. It is an agenda whose priorities are defending Muslim rights everywhere, supporting oppressed Sunnis in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and powerfully and bravely confronting Zionist and imperial agendas in our Muslim countries.
However, if there is not even one ruler to undertake responsibility, let our peoples reexamine their approaches, stop for awhile for self-accountability and return out of fear and hope to their Lord. Actually, Allah deprives the Ummah of being led by a sincere leader only when it is neglectful. No doubt, “Your rulers will be as good or bad as you are” and Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom. So be with Allah in order that He be with you, support His Cause in order that He supports you and repent to Him so that He might accept you repentance, pardon you and guide you to His straight path.
I ask Allah to glorify Islam and Muslims.
Dr. Ragheb ElSergany