Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.

General Guidelines for Lecturers in the Sacred Month of Muharram 1444 AH

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
[And whoever honors the rituals of Allah, it is from the piety of the hearts]

Peace be upon Hussain, upon Ali son of Hussain, upon the sons of Hussain, and upon the companions of Hussain.

As the sacred month of Muharram approaches, and in accordance with the usual approach of the Imam Ali (as) Foundation in offering guidance, advice, and precautions to the dear lecturers of the Hussaini pulpit, we seek to fulfill the role of the pulpit in the best image possible and to display the extent of the respected seminary and religious authority's concern in treating the intellectual, social, and behavioral issues with a wise and religious approach for the good of the believing community and to strengthen its relationship with the revolution of Imam Hussain (as). Therefore, and for this purpose, we present these crucial points to help the lecturers of the pulpits (may Allah give them strength).
There are several very crucial areas of trial for the believers in these times, and the pulpit is the only channel with which the general public communicates and through which these matters can be addressed by explaining the religious and moral positions regarding them.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of the Holy Quran, displaying the bright history of the Ahl al-Bayt (s), and narrating the events of the great tragedy that befell the descendants of the Messenger (s) in Karbala, there are other points that should be discussed, including:

Family: In most communities, family is being challenged with different forms of destruction and instability. As a result of the extreme media coverage of women's rights in a way that does not comply with Islamic law, many women have engaged in disputes with their husbands over their legal rights, even if they are not religiously legitimate, especially since the law promotes it. Furthermore, some men who act cruelly to their wives and insist on their personal comfort at the expense of their wives' comfort, and deal with their wives with humiliation, create disharmony and insistence on separation. In many communities, a small difference in taste or career leads to divorce, and emotional divorce has become a common phenomenon. All this has made the pulpit in this period more responsible than ever in addressing the rights of the spouses in accordance with the noble Islamic law and explaining that married life is not a strict career life, but rather a partnership and cooperation, based on mercy, sympathy, and accepting one another with their mistakes so that we continue to produce righteous generations. It must become clear that there is no complete life and happiness in any marital relationship, but nonetheless, preserving the psychological, academic, and religious future of the children calls for a stable and calm familial life.

Education: It is no secret to everyone that the promising new generations are being brainwashed and filled with a culture contrary to Islamic thought, either through school, as in some countries where education focuses on explaining the sexual relationship in full detail to children from an early age and explaining that practicing it in all different ways is a legitimate right for both males and females, and defending the state of anomaly and highlighting that it is a normal human condition, and even encouraging children not to pay attention to the culture of their parents and to rebel against the family’s views in this field, or through social media and openness to films produced by companies that support anomalies and deviation, or through communication with internet friends whom they only know by letters and numbers through which they spread their intellectual and behavioral poisons that destroy all moral and religious standards. This requires a clear response by the pulpit to display the characteristics of fruitful religious education and alerting parents to the dangers challenging the future of their children and the need to devote themselves to them and dedicate time for sitting and talking with them and establishing an intimate relationship between the mother and her daughter and between the father and his son. It has been narrated from the Messenger (s), "Play with your son for seven [years], discipline him for seven [years], and befriend them for seven [years]." Truly, the only way to convince children of the correct concepts is through repeated calm and logical discussions.

The dignity of the Muslim girl: Removing the hijab and displaying the Muslim girl's charms, adornment and beauty has become a common phenomenon in many communities under the cover of personal freedom and under the excuse of the absence of explicit evidence from the Quran obligating the hijab, or on the pretext that the hijab imposes heavy restrictions on the working girl who aspires to a respected, professional future. Thus, the pulpit is responsible for serving a vital role by establishing that the most important thing for a girl is not to show her beauty in public, but rather is preserve her dignity, modesty, and personality, rather than being a commodity for every mentally disturbed person harmed by his immoral whims, and to emphasize that the hijab is a symbol of Islamic identity, especially in the west, and that it is a manifestation of pride and strength of character. [In fact, all glory belongs to Allah and to His Messenger, and to the believers]. They should discuss the verses and narrations from the Prophet (s) and his virtuous family (as) that speak of the importance of the hijab.

Public relations: One of the problems that need to be highlighted is the issue of public relations between believers. Unfortunately, these relations have become purely material, and their standard has become material benefit which collapses to the slightest dispute in a common trade or short-term transaction, the role of charity and almsgiving has been diminished, and the volume of alms has declined under the pretext of economic instability in most countries. Mistrust has spread, and creating relationships with people of other faith has become preferred over strengthening relationships with the believing brothers. Furthermore, any small difference between believers in an intellectual, historical, or ritual issue which is not of the pillars of faith has become a pretext for argument and conflict, with some fighting others, defaming them, and even stripping them of the attribute of faith! This led to the disintegration of the believing community and the distortion of its image before the eyes of the general Islamic community. Therefore, it is recommended for lecturers of the Hussaini pulpit to discuss the importance of values and virtuous morals and to urge the believers to give, save the poor, sponsor the orphans, and fulfill the needs of the believers. It is also very important to stress the importance of the sanctity of the believer's blood, honor, and dignity and to display the principles that unite the followers of Ahl al-Bayt (as), while overlooking some secondary intellectual differences, and that what is required in this critical period is the cooperation of all in defending the true doctrine, defending the sanctity of the true religion, and protecting generations from intellectual and behavioral deviation. Allah Almighty said, [And hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and do not be divided].

The importance of religion: There are many pieces of research and writings that challenge the importance of religion and its usefulness in human life. This suspicion is often raised in the minds of Muslims through various non-religious sites that say that the West, when it abandoned religion, was able to build a lofty civilization, while Muslims in their countries lag behind because they cling to religion, meaning there is no benefit in dedication to any religion in building human life. Therefore, it is necessary for lecturers of the Hussaini pulpit to build a logical and intellectual argument demonstrating the importance of religion in human life and its necessity:
1. To ensure the afterlife.
2. To achieve stability and psychological tranquility, to get rid of the illnesses of anxiety and depression prevalent in Western countries, and to save society from the emergence of the phenomenon of suicide as a result of despair and frustration, with the existence of a great material civilization that was not able to save the Western person from the clutches of dangerous psychological illnesses that the religion put several treatments and ways to prevent.
3. To present evidence on the role of religion in building morals and human values that civilizations need in order to deepen the effective relationship between humans which leads to creativity, as well as material and spiritual brilliance.
4. To discuss Islamic history which is full of scientific and civilized prosperity, and the greatness of the services, inventions, and achievements provided by the Muslims to the scientific human journey, to which the West is still indebted.

Guardianship of the Virtuous Imams (as): There are some voices that attempt to diminish the importance of the doctrine of guardianship of the virtuous Imams (as) and this imposes on the honorable lecturers to urge parents to raise their children on this doctrine, and that it is more important than their concern for their living matters, and to urge them to emphasize on the doctrine of Imamate, and that it is the basis of the true religion. It was narrated in an authentic narration that "Islam is built on five things: prayer, almsgiving ... and guardianship, and it is their key and guide, and nothing was called for like guardianship," and the Prophet said, "Discipline your children on three qualities, loving your Prophet, loving his family, and reading the Quran."

Violence and Islam: Among the accusations that were attached to Islam and for which the Prophet (s) was insulted, is the accusation of violence, and there is still a focus on it on some social media sites and various media channels based on what happened in history when Islam was introduced in Spain, Turkey and others. This accusation was further strengthened with the emergence of Al Qaeda and ISIS, and the violence committed by them against other faiths- resulting in attacks against Muslins in a number of African and Western countries. Therefore it is the role of the preachers of the Hussaini pulpit (may Allah prolong their lives) especially in the West, to explain the Quranic verses related to jihad, peace, and reconciliation in a logical way and to defend the personality of the Great Messenger (s) by explaining the greatness of his morals in tolerance, mercy and pardon even for his fiercest enemies, while making a distinction between those groups that attribute themselves to the Islamic religion and practice ugly forms of violence, and the peacefulness of the pure Islamic religion using the various Quranic and narrational evidence.

[And say, “Do as you will, Allah will see your deeds, and so will His Messenger and the believers ..."]

Imam Ali Foundation - London
26 Thul-Hijja 1443