Advice of Imam Al-Sajjad (a) to Speakers

When you examine the life of Imam Zayn Al-Abidin, As-Sajjad, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh, many of us would be able to recall the famous sermon delivered in the courtyard of Yazid. This sermon that serves as an indicator and indeed stands out as a unique sermon in the history of Islam. Today you are asked a question, who was the first man who gave Majlis al-Husayn? Who is the first individual who gave a lecture or a sermon or a khutba the way you and I are accustomed to? In other words, to begin with the praise of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala to speak about an Islamic subject and to end it with masa'ib of Aba Abd-ilah. The first human being to do so was Imam Zayn Al-Abidin.

Therefore, we seek him as our role model when we sit there on the mimbar and to deliver these lectures and these sermons. Because he would initiate this process and this action, which is indeed pleasing to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala which is to remind people about the ultimate sacrifice in the movement of Sayyid ash-Shu'ada, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh. Therefore, the sermon of Imam Zayn Al-Abidin stands out for that particular matter to start up with. That, indeed, it was the first lecture that was structured in such a way.

Imam would give us you and I, a practical demonstration of what a lecture or a sermon should serve to do. Imam says, I am going to deliver a lecture, a lecture that would have two ultimate purposes, first of all, pleasing Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, and secondly, it would be beneficial for the masses, beneficial for the people. This is a clear indication, for those who sit on the mimbar and for those who stand on any particular podium in order to deliver lectures that are considered Islamic in nature.

Are they fulfilling these two qualities or characteristics or not? Are they following what Imam Zayn Al-Abidin said that I want to please Allah and I want the message to benefit? Is that in their mind or do they have other objectives? Because if they have other objectives, they are not following the path of the Ahlul Bayt in terms of delivering what the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salam, want from those who have been given this honour and prestige, to speak to the masses, and to disseminate, to spread the knowledge.

Sometimes we get carried away. Sometimes we utilise the mimbar for our own personal objectives. Sometimes we do not study the crowd and their needs, and their wants, and the needs of the community and the society. Sometimes we get carried away. I recall that one of the Ulama', one of the khutaba' said that he heard there was a khateeb who went to a village somewhere. When he went to that village, he was giving a lecture during the ten days of the commemoration of the tragedy of Ashura.

On one of the nights, his entire lecture was based upon oxygen and hydrogen and how they come together to make the water molecule. And he wanted to come to the end in order to give some kind of an analogy or an abdication or some kind of link. And he finished, this particular khateeb, when he came down, somebody came to him and said, Mawlana, I'm confused. Can you tell me, oxygen and hydrogen, which one follows Imam Husayn and which one follows Yazid again?

This was the mentality of the people. There is no problem in talking about science and linking scientific discoveries, but ultimately the purpose should be to illuminate the heart, to inspire people, to motivate the masses, to follow the path of Aali Muhammad, which is the path of Islam, the purified Islam, the not distorted Islam, and to make them stronger human beings within that particular ideology.

The ideology of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salam, and therefore Imam Zayn Al-Abidin set a precedent for lecturers, a precedence for muballigheen, those who serve the Ahlul Bayt through this particular medium.