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By Islamic Salvation in A Marginalia to Mu'jamوكان يخرج إلى المقبرة فيتكلم فيرى أمثال الجراد على القبور
Mughira used to go to the graveyard and intone something. Insects like locusts would then be seen crawling over the graves
أول من سمعته يتنقص أبا بكر وعمر المغيرة المصلوب
The first person I heard abusing Aba Bakr and Umar was al-Mughira the Crucified
al-Mughira b. Sai’d al-Bajali was a blind Mawla (non-Arab origin) of Khalid al-Qasri, the governor of Iraq under the Umayyads. He claimed to be a follower of Imam al-Baqir عليه السلام but perverted the Imam’s teachings while cultivating a personal following around himself in Kufa.
قال الصادق: ... المغيرة بن سعيد لعنه الله دس في كتب أصحاب أبي أحاديث لم يحدث بها أبي ...
Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “…al-Mughira b. Said - may Allah curse him - has interpolated into the books of the companions of my father (i.e. al-Baqir عليه السلام) narrations which were not narrated by my father …”
قال الصادق: ... فكلما كان في كتب أصحاب أبي من الغلو فذاك ما دسه المغيرة بن سعيد في كتبهم
Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “… so whatever is in the books of the companions of my father - of Ghulu - then that is what was interpolated by al-Mughira b. Sa’id in their books”
After the death of al-Baqir, Mughira shifted his allegiance to Muhammad b. Abdallah b. al-Hasan al-Nafs al-Zakiyya who claimed to be the Mahdi. The going into hiding of this “Mahdi” due to fear of the Abbasids was the cue for Mughira to claim that there would be no Alid Imam after him. Mughira now claimed that authority had devolved to him and would remain so until the return.
With this new-found authority, Mughira began teaching a highly esoteric doctrine influenced by an allegorical interpretation of the Qur’an and remnants of Gnostic thought in the sectarian milieu of Iraq.
One explanation for Mughira’s success is his ability as a magician dabbling in the occult. The sinister powers imputed to Mughira indicate the sort of charismatic hold he appears to have had over his followers.
قال الصادق: لعن الله المغيرة ابن سعيد، ولعن يهودية كان يختلف إليها يتعلم منها السحر والشعبذة والمخاريق ...
Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “May Allah curse al-Mughira b. Said, and may Allah curse the Jewess, he (al-Mughira) used to go to her (the Jewess) regularly and learn from her sorcery, magical illusions and wondrous tricks …”
The end for al-Mughira b. Sa’id came when he joined forces with another Ghali named Bayan b. Sam’an and rose in revolt in 119 AH against the aforementioned Khalid.
The rebellion was quickly put down and the two leaders as well as some of their followers were executed.
قال الرضا: كان المغيرة بن سعيد يكذب على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فأذاقه الله حر الحديد
Imam al-Ridha عليه السلام said: “al-Mughira b. Sa’id used to attribute lies to Abi Ja’far عليه السلام so Allah made him taste the heat of the iron”
Mughira was Mawla (freed-man) who spoke ungrammatical Arabic. This has led to speculation that his beliefs were influenced by prior religious traditions in the communities of late antique and early Islamic Mesopotamia. We know, for example, of the presence of Marcionites, Manicheans, Mandeans, and various gnosticized pagans in seventh and eighth-century Iraq.
The task of specifying the exact tradition from which he emerged is made all the more difficult when one notes that Mughira, both as sorcerer and as Gnostic, was working in a line of Aramaic syncretists who followed a ‘free borrowing of formula’ for their wonder-working and propaganda. At the same time, caution must be exercised because most of the information about Mughira comes from heresiographers who came centuries later and had their own polemical axes to grind.
In spite of this, the following are some distinctive teachings linked to Mughira and tentative identifications that scholars have drawn for their origins:
Mughira promulgated a notorious creation drama. He had a Man of Light (anthropomorphic God) create both light waters and dark waters and then create mankind out of these waters before proceeding to write their future acts of belief and unbelief on his palm with his finger. This cosmogony has parallels with what the Baptizing sectarians of Iraq have their Mandean demiurge doing.
Mughira explained the creation of the sun, moon, heavens and stars in this way: “Then looking into the ocean, He (the Man of Light) saw His shadow, so He went forth to seize it. He plucked out its two eyes and created out of them two suns and He blotted out some light from the moon. Then, out of the physical forms of His shadow, He created the heavens and the stars …”
Friedlaender has recognized that the image of Mughira’s Man of Light looking down into the dark waters to create is an echo of such Mandean imagery as: “When Life ... had thus spoken, Abatur rose and opened the gate. He looked into the Dark Water and at the same hour was formed his image in the Dark Water”.
Mughira shares with the Mandeans the mythic idea of the substantiality of an image, reflection, or shadow as representing a real part of the original entity from which it became detached.
Mughira had an obsessive concern with the ritual purity of water and preventing its defilement. This echoes the centrality of ‘living’ or ‘flowing’ waters in Mandean rituals, hence the necessity of living near rivers, as opposed to ‘stagnant’ or ‘turbid’ water which was seen as insufficient.
عن الأعمش قال: جاءني المغيرة ... ثم قال: طوبى لمن يروى من ماء الفرات. فقلت: ولنا شراب غيره؟ قال: إنه يلقى فيه المحايض والجيف. قلت: من أين تشرب؟ قال: من بئر
al-A’mash reports: Mughira came to me … and said: Blessings be on the one who drinks water of the Euphrates. I said to him: Do we have anything else to drink from? He said: Not if menstrual blood and corpses are thrown into it. I said: Where do you drink from. He said: From a well.
كان يقول بتحريم ماء الفرات وكل نهر أو عين أو بئر وقعت فيه نجاسة
Ibn Athir claims that Mughira used to forbid water from the Euphrates or any river or spring or well into which Najasa (pollution) had fallen.
عن أبي هلال: سألت الصادق عليه السلام: أينقض الرعاف والقيء ونتف الإبط الوضوء؟ فقال: وما تصنع بهذا؟ هذا قول المغيرة بن سعيد، لعن الله المغيرة ...
Abu Hallal asked Imam al-Sadiq: Do nosebleed, vomit, and armpit hair nullify ritual purity? Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام replied: Why are you meddling in such matters? This is the doctrine of Mughira b. Sa’id. May God curse al-Mughira …
Particularly noteworthy is Mughira’s preoccupation with menstrual blood, which is not surprising in light of what we are told in Sefer Ha-Razim, that, the ‘impurity’ of the menstruating woman nullifies the success of the Jewish magician.
زرارة قال: قال - يعني أبا عبد الله عليه السلام: إن أهل الكوفة قد نزل فيهم كذاب، أما المغيرة فإنه يكذب على أبي عليه السلام قال: حدثني أن نساء آل محمد إذا حضن قضين الصلاة وكذب والله، عليه لعنة الله، ما كان من ذلك شيء ولا حدثه ...
Zurara quotes Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام saying: A liar has descended amidst the people of Kufa. As for Mughira then he lies about my father and says: ‘he (al-Baqir) narrated to me that the womenfolk of the family of Muhammad do make up the prayer (Qadha) after their menstruation cycle’ but he has lied by Allah! May Allah curse him. No such thing happens and nor did he (al-Baqir) inform him of this …
In this instance, we see Mughira overriding the ancient taboo by the superior purity of the house of Muhammad, an example of the old ways which he transformed in his new version of Islam.
There is some evidence that al-Mughira b. Sai’d was called by the title al-Abtar.
المغيرة بن سعيد لقبه الأبتر
This might be of significance.
The centerpiece of Mughira’s revelation was the figure of the creator. Here, reconstructed from several reports, is one description:
“He is a man of light, with a crown of light on his head, He has the body and limbs of a man. His body has an inside, within which is a heart, whence wisdom flows. His limbs have the shape of the letters of the alphabet [abjad]. The mim represents the head; the sin the teeth; the sad and dad the two eyes; the ‘ain and ghain the two ears; as for the ha’, he said: You will see in it a Great Power, and he implied that it was in the place of the genitalia and that he had seen it [on a heavenly ascent]; the alif was in the place of the foot …”
Mughira’s description of his ‘Object of Worship’ with its famous depiction of a Man of Light with the letters of the alphabet corresponding to his members - employs a Gnostic technical term ‘Great Power’ associated with the divine figure.
It happens that the coincidence of the name ‘Abatur’ and the term ‘Great Power’ is attested to in an eighth-century account by one Bar Khonai while describing the doctrines of the Mandeans: “They said that before the heaven and the earth were - there were great powers resting on the waters. They had a son whom they would call Abitour”.
The coincidence of name, doctrine, place, and date would all support a possible connection with Mughira.
The Imams shared something of the divine attributes in Mughira’s theology. Ghulat used the term Tafwidh to cast Muhammad and/or ‘Ali as demiurges, who were ‘entrusted’ with over-seeing some crucial activities after the initial creation was begun by God. ‘Ali was especially favored for this demiurgic role. Some evidence for this can be found in statements made by Mughira which assign to Ali the ability to give life to the dead (independent of Allah).
قال: قلت: دعنى من هذا كان علي يقدر أن يحيي ميتا؟ قال: أي والذي فلق الحبة لقد كان قادرا أن يحيى ما بينى وبينك إلى آدم
al-A’mash reports that he asked Mughira: Was Ali able to give life to the dead? Mughira said: By the one who split the seed - he (Ali) was able to resurrect all those between me and you up to Adam (all mankind).
لو شاء أحيا عادا وثمود. قلت: من أين علمت ذلك؟ قال: أتيت بعض أهل البيت فسقاني شربة من ماء فما بقي شيء إلا وقد علمته
In another variant Mughira is supposed to have said: If he (Ali) wishes he gives life to Ad and Thamud. When al-A’mash asks him about how he came to know that - he said: I went to one of the Ahl al-Bayt who gave me water to drink - which made me know everything.
This is why the Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said when speaking about Mughira:
لعن الله من قال فينا مالا نقوله في أنفسنا، ولعن الله من أزالنا عن العبودية لله الذي خلقنا وإليه مآبنا ومعادنا وبيده نواصينا...قال الصادق: ...
May Allah curse the one who says about us what we do not claim for ourselves. May Allah curse the the one who excludes us from being servants to Allah who created us, to whom will be our return and in whose hand is our foreheads [we are totally submissive to him].
Wasserstrom, Steve. “The Moving Finger Writes: Mughīra B. Saʿīd's Islamic Gnosis and the Myths of Its Rejection.” History of Religions, vol. 25, no. 1, 1985, pp. 1–29.
By Qa'im in Imamology
Western fixation on freedom has a long, crystallizing history. In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in England, which ended the unilateral authority of the King. The King was imposing heavy taxes on the barons, who were wealthy aristocratic men, to fight a failed war. The barons rebelled against the King, and demanded that a committee of barons be established. The King would need to consult this committee before introducing new taxes. Certain legal rights were also introduced to the barons. This was the first big step towards freedom.
Fast forward to the 1500s; a new continent was "discovered" (i.e. Europeans found out about it). A major motivation for men to risk the high seas and migrate to an entirely New World was to avoid taxation and government overreach. They were able to seize vast, fertile properties without much nuisance. Freedom.
Around the same time, the Protestant Reformation was taking place, and most North-Western Europeans were using it as an opportunity to break away from church tithes and indulgences. Freedom.
Fast forward to the 1700s. The American Colonies rebel against the British because of "taxation without representation." Freedom.
Then in the 1800s. The Confederates rebel against the Union to prevent the North from intervening in their textile industry. The Union abolishes slavery. Freedom.
Here, we see a crystallization of yeomanry in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture, which peaks in the American South. They have a strong distrust in government, public programs, and taxation. There is a strong "what's mine is mine" culture, where clichés like "the only things you can't avoid is death and taxes" thrive. "Conservative" to them mostly means "smaller government, lower taxes". In short, they believe that the freer they are, the happier they will be. Debates in American politics, from abortion to gay marriage to taxes, are all based on conceptions of freedom. It is also the theme of so many Hollywood films.
Feminism is rooted in the same freedom-seeking individualist liberalist mindset. Whatever gets in the way of women's liberation - even if it is God Himself - must be cast aside.
Freedom in Islamic literature would be "huriyya", which is really just a legal technicality - you are either a slave, or you are "free". Otherwise, our books do not take much stock in the concept. We do have treatises on "huquq", which is often translated as "rights", but a more accurate translation is "responsibilities towards". For example, the haq of a woman is the responsibilities of an Islamic society towards that woman. It is an onus.
Responsibility and duty often fly in direct contradiction to freedom. Yes, we have free will, but Islam legislates things that we *should* and *ought* to do, and there are consequences to not fulfilling those responsibilities.
Does freedom lead to happiness? It is actually our responsibilities that often make us happy. There is no growth in a care-free life with no schedule, no family, no commitments, and no work. These things tie us down, but they also build us up, fulfill us, and make us better people. No pain, no gain. Likewise, despite the fact that women's rights have increased over the past few decades, women's happiness has decreased according to many studies. Individualism teaches us that self-sufficiency is the key to happiness, when in actuality, success is sometimes found in submission.
Islam literally means Submission, because it is the recognition that we are all imperfect servants. We do not choose which family we are born into, nor our race, nor our health, nor our age, nor our genes, and often, not even our social conditions. None of us are truly free, and the most free of us is not necessarily the happiest. Rather, true, heartfelt contentment is in knowing God. We are born to look for Perfection; we seek it in our looks, our grades, our power, our status, our spouse, our children; but we all - sooner or later - realize that Perfection lies only in Him alone. Trust in Him gives you that true contentment, the ability to let go of the wheel, fear nothing but Him and accept all that He allots for you. Contentment.
If you are a believer, then your worldview should reflect your belief. We cannot import a cultural ideology that convolutes our belief. In many respects, jahiliyya represented what many of us today consider to be "freedom". But the Prophet Muhammad (s) came with accountability, and that turned the entire world around.
By Qa'im in Imamology
If Islam is measured with liberal democratic criteria, it will not be fully consistent.
Western colonial powers reached a point of hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through hard power (direct intervention) and soft power (media influence), they imposed their standard of morality onto the rest of the world. This moral framework is not Christianity, it is Western Individualism.
Secularism, humanism, and feminism are all just logical conclusions of Individualism. They are branches from the same tree. But to what extent can we say that Individualism is the objective truth? Did the original philosophers of this ideology even intend for it to be the objective truth? Go through Hobbes or John Stuart Mill, they don't claim that Individualism is an objective universal truth, but rather that they are experiments of freedom that are most practical. So measuring Islam by this would be like measuring an object with a stretchy ruler - you'll never get a precise measurement.
Just a few years ago, gay marriage was illegal in America, and now there is all this noise about homophobia and transphobia. Just a few years ago, marijuana was taboo, but it is now gradually being legalized. Some bite-the-bullet secularists are even questioning whether incest should be illegal, because certain forms of incest are not "directly harmful". Of course Islam will not be compatible with a measurement that is constantly fluid, changing, and in flux. Liberalism does not even attempt to falsify itself, rather it is focused on falsifying others. It salvages aspects of Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity that is consistent with individualism, and it discards everything else.
The liberal thesis prioritizes the human being above everything else. The Islamic thesis prioritizes Allah.
So what is the root of this tree of Individualism? Funny enough, it actually may be the Christian concept of Imago Dei - that man was created in the image of God. It is this idea that makes the individual the centre of the universe, whose will is sanctified above everything else. Hence, you have the concept of human rights, which itself is a contradiction, because rights are bestowed onto people by a higher power, not arrogated by the same people onto themselves. Humanism itself is a quasi worship of the human being, because everything including God Himself is cast aside in the name of human rights, liberty, democracy, and freedom.
This is why I always say that secular humanism actually grew out of the carcass of Western Christianity. It uses Christian concepts of the soul and the divinity of personhood to build an entirely new moral framework that discards its root. It is a paradox.
The identity of man in Islam is that he is a created servant. This is the same identity as all biotic and abiotic elements around us. We are a part of the ayah that is the great ayah of the creation. All is fleeting and all will perish but the face of Allah (28:88), which is simultaneously everywhere that we turn (2:115). He is recognized everywhere and behind everything, for He is the Apparent (al-Thahir) and the Hidden (al-Batin). The cosmological Creator, the everlasting Sustainer, and the ontological Perfection that we are all after. The individual is powerless on his own, and is only empowered by the Powerful.
أعوذ بالله من كلمة أنا
I seek refuge in Allah from the word "me".
By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heavenهر کجای این جهان آشوب و جنگ
آه مظلومان زند بر قلب چنگ
آن که بنیان ستم باشد از او
مرگ بر او, ننگ بر او, نفرین بر او
*"شیعه یعنی لا فتی الا علی"
پیروی از حق و بیعت با ولی
از نوای نخل و شیونهای چاه
سرخ رنگ میگردد فلک هر بامگاه
ترک کن این قوم بی فرهنگ را
این سرای ننگ پر نیرنگ را
یاد کن محراب خونین رنگ را
بوسه ی سرخ سروش مرگ را
پیکر بی سر, گلوی پاره را
شام تلخ مردم آواره را
اشک لیلا, ناله ی شبگیر را
دست و پای در غل و زنجیر را
شیعه یعنی انتظار و صبر و درد
خالقان عشق, مردان نبرد
کربلا, عاشوریان بی قرار
شیعه یعنی شور رفتن سوی یار
ای تو هارون رهنمای راه راست
سامری آمد بگو موسی کجاست
سامری بدعت به دین انداختست
گر نباشی کار مردم ساختست
تا به ظهر آمدن در التهاب
در تب و تاب ظهور آفتاب
چون به فردا آید آن شاه وزین
جهل را راند از روی زمین
میکشد آن که ضعیفان را بکشت
ابلیس را, آنکه بر حق کرد پشت
آنکه بشکست حرمت ناموس را
واپسین فرزند دقیانوس را
پرده برمیدارد از رازی گران
فاش میگردد حقیقت بر جهان
شهسوارا! مردمان مستت شوند
همچو مومی نرم در دستت شوند
ای خیال شوم ابلیس لعین
نایب الشیطان بر روی زمین
ای به رنگ خون, انگشتان تو
استخوان مردمان بر خوان تو
کرده پر از خون, هوس, جام تو را
شوم میبینم فرجام تو را
از چه لذت میبری؟ از سرکشی؟
از خیانت, ظلم, نامردی, حق کشی؟
بر ضعیفان و یتیمان تاختن؟
پرچم حق را به زیر انداختن؟
رایت ظلم و ستم افراشتن؟
کیسه ها از مال خلق انباشتن؟
کاخ خود را روی کوخی ساختن؟
یا که از روی هوس, دل باختن؟
ای خداوند جهان بیکران
ای فراتر از مکان و از زمان
ای خداوند رحیم و رحمدوست
ای که افسار جهان در دست اوست
بارالها طاقت دنیا کم است
روزگارش مملو از درد و غم است
پرده افکن از رخ خورشید شرق
تا بیاندازد به دلها نور و برق
زود گردان ای خدا دیدار را
برشکن فرهنگ استکبار را
* مصرع عاریتی