Speech by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein – October 27, 2014
In this excerpt, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah denounces the atrocities of the Islamic State as a gross distortion of the principles of Islam, and as a danger to Islam and Muslims themselves because of the image that they convey.
Full original video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKcCPd_XDOk
What we are currently experiencing in the Islamic world, and in our region in particular, in the light of the developments that have occurred in recent years, and the rise, expansion and takeover by the movement that we designate as “takfiri”, of extensive territories in some Arab and Islamic countries, as well as these appalling, barbaric and outrageous practices that we see and hear of day and night, all this requires us to take a courageous stand, and also to clearly define the nature of the dangers represented by the takeover by the takfiri movement of this or that Arab or Muslim country, or even several countries.
O my brothers and sisters! With all honesty – and my words will be simple and clear, as the evidence will be – and as is my habit, I will refrain from any use of a scholarly or complex terminology.
Frankly, yes, we can say today that these threats which menace Islam are comparable to those in the year 60-61 of Hijra [martyrdom of Imam Hussein at the time Islam was under threat of extinction].
First, of the threat this current poses to Islam – as a religion, Message, values, principles. How is this so? Let me present the proof that there is a real danger.
First, in the discourse of this current, they claim to be representing Islam, they claim to be representing the Qur’an, and as predicted by some prophecies about our time, these individuals know the Qur’an by heart. They learn the Qu’ran and cite it as proof, they recite its verses in their public discourse. And even in battle, when they invade, slaughter, kill, or perform any one of their atrocities, which they convey by television or the Internet, they invoke God in their statements, “God Almighty said, etc.”
Of course they have miscomprehended the Qur’anic verses, and base themselves on false pretences. They make serious errors in understanding the Qur’an and in its interpretation – but that’s a separate exegetical study that has no place in such a speech.
But what we must remember is that for each of their actions, they invoke the authority of the Qur’anic verses, or of hadiths which are forged and falsely attributed to the Prophet – God’s peace and blessings upon him and his family. They say: “The Prophet – God’s peace and blessings upon him and his family – said such and such a thing.” That is to say, they do not justify their crimes by assigning them to the thinker, the scholar, or the Sheikh, to the Professor or movement of which they are followers, the path they follow through their actions. But they seek to attribute these crimes directly to the Book of Allah Almighty and His Prophet – peace and blessings upon him and his family.
Of course, this is a very dangerous thing. What do they want to achieve with this?
It is a case of rooting in people’s minds, incident after incident, day after day, year after year, that this is what Islam is. They want to spread the idea) that this is Islam, not that it would be a deviant or misplaced sect, that has nothing to do with Islam, No! And that is why we are beginning to hear in some areas of the West, and even in our region, people who claim that this is not due to the fact that there are different schools of Islam, diversity, differing interpretations, various schools of thought, no, they claim that this is Islam, and that’s it! “This is your religion, this is your Qur’an, this is your Prophet!” And of course, this is something dangerous, very dangerous indeed.
Well, with time, this will root in minds, this infamous and false understanding of Islam, the Book of Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings be upon him and his family.
I can state with certainty that what is taking place today is the greatest distortion of Islam in History. In all honesty, I declare this.
First, because the nature of the events taking place today has few examples in history, provided it has a precedent – and we can actually find examples here and there. And especially for this second reason, which is that we are now at a time where there are communications, media that transmit video, images, sounds, commentary, in each house, in every ear over the entire world.
In the past, hundreds of years ago, atrocities have been perpetrated, but they have not been made public with images and sound, with precision and detail. They weren’t revealed until much later after the act.
But today, everything happens online, live on air. Today, throats are slit live on air. Mass massacres are committed, online. And the various crimes are available in image and sound, and you know that this is much more prominent in the minds, hearts and feelings, far more than oral or written diffusion.
This is why what is happening today is the greatest threat that Islam has had to face regarding the denigration of its values, its teachings, its thought and reputation.
The consequence of all this is, first, that non-Muslims drift away from Islam Today, in many countries of the world, there are people who do not follow any religion, and whether due to a lack of thought, of dogma, of spirituality, of spirits, etc., they learn about Islam and become converted.
There are idol worshippers in the world. There are various principles and dogmas. Many of them accept Islam and are friendly toward it everywhere. What is happening now? They propose a template, that they want to pass for Islam, and more, they want to pass it for the true Islam, the authentic Islam – because they place great emphasis on this terminology, “authentic”, “true”, “right”, etc.
And of course, anyone who sees these crimes says “So this is Islam? I do not want to hear about it.” He will not even be willing to discuss it, to approach it, to do research, to ask questions.
The second consequence is that all this distances non-Muslims from Muslims. For all this presents Muslims as a group of barbarians, criminals thirsty for blood, who can coexist with absolutely no one. And of course, this exposes Muslims as communities, groups and peoples all around the world, to the dangers of isolation, animosity and hostility.
The third consequence, which is also very dangerous, is that all this distances Muslims themselves from Islam.
There are many Muslims who know but little about Islam.
And when all media are telling them “This is what Islam is, here are the sheikhs of the Islam, the scholars of Islam, the jihadists of Islam, the throat-slitters of Islam”, many of these Muslims will say : “Enough. We have nothing to do with this religion, nothing to do with Islam.”
And that is why today we are seeing the beginnings of – I do not want to amplify this reality, but in more than one Arab country, up to the interior of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, in other places, there are the beginnings of atheism, we begin to talk about a wave of atheism.
Why [should we care about this]? Because things will come to the questioning of the Qur’an, the prophecy of Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him and his family –, [people will come to wonder] whether he is a Prophet of God or not, until finally questioning God and even His existence.
As goes the popular phrase, “They turn Muslims into disbelievers”, this it is. There are the beginnings in many places.
I am not talking about a major movement or phenomenon, but as a precaution, because there are data that suggest that, as a precaution, I say that there are here the beginnings, dangerous beginnings.
It reaches even the fervent believers rooted in Islam. There comes a time when, because of this emphasis, for months and years, for example: (terrorists) bomb? (They do this shouting) “Allahu Akbar!” They slaughter? (They do this shouting) “Allahu Akbar!”[God is the greatest] Whatever the act they commit, (they cry) “Allahu Akbar!”
And so, it comes to a time when on hearing “Allahu Akbar!” people will wonder “What’s the matter? A murder? A slaughter? Some kind of disaster among the peoples of the Arab and Muslim countries?”
Up until the denigration of all Islamic thought, morals, culture, symbols and Islamic traditions. The hijab (Islamic headscarf) and abaya (Islamic dress) become a shocking display, etc. The beard becomes a shocking display. The term “jihad” becomes an infamous term. The term “martyr” becomes an infamous term. Is not there a danger to Islam? What is Islam? It is these concepts, these teachings, these values, these customs, these traditions.
That’s the first point, regarding the threat to Islam.
When it comes to the threat against the general structure of the (Islamic) Nation, because in fact, they now threaten the entire structure of our Community:they tear the Community apart, they divide it, they make lawful the plunder of its blood, its property, its honour, its shrines, its mosques, its churches, which are another part of the Community, every historical relic, all that has to do with history, all the tombs, etc., all this has no place [nor respect].
The general scene they present is a scene of destruction, bloody fighting.
Consider all of the region: throughout the region, we see only bloody conflicts here, there, over there, etc.
But why? How did we get there?
At the point where people can no longer talk to each other, have dialogue, nor find a political solution, nor even find any way to get along. What is the cause of this?
Of course, there are various reasons, but one of the main causes is the establishment, in our region, of forces and movements who are not willing to dialogue or debate, who believe they have the absolute truth, and who consider anyone who is different from them in this negative, radical, uncompromising and hateful way, that I will come to discuss.
That’s how it is. Well, if we come, after this first part – let me conclude this first part by saying: yes, what is happening now in our region and the world is a threat to Islam as a religion, and a threat to the Community and the Islamic societies as entities.