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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. Qa'im
    Latest Entry

    devolution__steve_greenberg.jpeg

    This is part three in my series on postmodernism. For part two, click here, and you will also find the link to part one there.

    Many Muslims begin doubting their religion after surveying the evidence for evolution. Prior to Darwinian evolution, the Muslim civilization was usually not keen on hindering scientific progress, and in fact did what it could to propel it. With modern evolutionary biology however, there appears (at least on the surface) to be a clash between science and scripture. What are the forces at play here? What variables must we consider when dealing with this problem?

    The common stem from which these doubts sprout is an epistemology grounded in naturalism. The scientific method obviously has a place in truth-seeking: it draws its conclusions from sensory observation, and gives us indubitable truths about the universe in which we live. I would never abandon the scientific method as a tool in the quest to understand reality, but it is a tool after all. Science is always at the drawing board, revising old research, devising new methods, and challenging old conclusions. The basis of science is reason, which is why an experiment begins with a hypothesis (an educated guess of what we logically expect to take place) and a null hypothesis (what we expect will not take place). This presupposes cause and effect, and the law of noncontradiction; the idea that our universe operates in an orderly way, and that events do not happen at random. In the same way that logic is the foundation of science, it is also the foundation of our kalaami arguments for the existence of God.

    The scientific method as a tool will not be able to answer every question on ethics, anthropology, cosmology, purpose, metaphysics, consciousness/life/being, and epistemology - and although these areas are more uncertain and immaterial than the hard sciences, they are ultimately what we live for. So when I see New Atheists dismiss philosophy, or religion, I find it to be quite naive, because philosophy is the incorporeal foundation of science, and religion is the incorporeal foundation of society; with science being a tool with its own scope. New Atheism merely grew out of the carcass of occidental Christianity, and its logical conclusion is postmodernism, which is nihilistic, hedonistic, confused, and suicidal.

    So with that in mind, when science, which is sensory observation with inconclusive fluidity, becomes the criterion by which convention is confirmed or denied, there will naturally be clashes. Sometimes, those clashes exist only in the mind, because they are a clash between an interpretation of convention and a perceived reality. Other times, the clash can be based on flawed or incomplete scientific research. I'm not someone who denies evolution, as I think the position of denial becomes more discredited every year. But there are gigantic discoveries that occur periodically, discoveries that challenge previously-held beliefs in evolution and clash with existing hypotheses, discoveries that may have their own flaws that are exposed in the next discovery. This is partly why I find it difficult to answer questions on evolution - it is like the big bang: some are quick to find references to the big bang in the Quran and hadith, but if the big bang theory were ever superseded by science (and alternative hypotheses do exist), then that would throw those interpretations out as well. What I've realized after my third university degree is that these educational institutions have their own faith-based biases, assumptions, and ideologies, which guide their research - this is far more pronounced in the social sciences of course, but isn't limited to them.

    Ultimately, we won't achieve 100% scientific certainty in either the present evolutionary conclusions nor in the Adamic story. This then poses a question: is there any conventional value to the Adamic story? Whether or not it physically took place (and I believe that it did, in some way or another), it is an origin story that resonated with billions of people worldwide for thousands of years, with profound psychological truths and practical sociological lessons. Of course, the Islamic version is a bit more in line with naturalistic thinking - with the nasnaas, the thousands of Adams, the earthly setting of the story, the earthly origins of mankind, no mention of timeline/genealogy, and no "original sin" - but one has to go deeper into the story. The Quran avoids historicizing events, and so it lacks many dates, names, and places, and instead, encourages us to reflect on the lessons taught in each story. On one side, the story talks about humanity's vicegerency of God on Earth, humanity's ability to comprehend the aql (Logos), and humanity's eloquent mastery of language; on the other side, it talks about humanity's naivety, humanity's base desires, and humanity's sorrow after its fall. The story highlights the dualistic nature of man: that we are both celestial in one sense and earthly in another sense; spiritual and physical, supernatural and natural, "human" and animal. It is a story about the great natural telos of man, followed by his tragic fall, followed by his humble ascent. On another level, it talks of humanity's common, meek, and worldly origin, so as to avoid tribalism, racism, and chauvinism.

    According to the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, Adam lived in this very same world that you and I share. His "garden" was the state of his faith; he was living in the higher consciousness of the mind and the heart. Eventually, he "fell" into the lower, base desires of man (the stomach and genitals/nakedness), which made him shameful and regretful, because God created man for spiritual ascension and not decline. That regret brought him back to God in a corrective effort. This same story is reflected in mankind both on a microcosmic and macrocosmic level. We all have our own individual falls, where we immaturely decline into heedlessness. But on a civilizational level, we continue to fall vertically, from holistic celestial worldviews to our base desires. Philosophically, we have fallen from religious philosophy (philosophy of the spiritual hierarchy), to rational philosophy, to naturalist philosophy, to contemporary relativism (philosophy of the base human self). The problem with the evolutionary worldview is that it views mankind simply as bonafide tool-making animals. Evolution replaced the perennial notion of man’s fall with a theory of material progress. It gives us the guise of progress. But the reality is that we are falling from the divine to the mundane. The Christian world went from the leadership of prophets, to apostles, to false apostles, to pseudo divine kings, to secular materialist rulers, to the current White House spectacle. They went from traditional Christianity, to Protestantism, to capitalism and socialism, to modern base identities (vegetarians / what one eats, gays / who one has sex with, race / what colour we are born as). Islam went through a similar fall, from prophethood, to imamate and false caliphate, to colonialism, to militant secular states, to chaos. While this time is certainly noted for the rise of its science and technology, I see mankind falling into dogmatism, nihilism, social decadence, frivolity, vanity, impatience, and depression. Jahiliyya was a Fall to the bottom, where from which the Prophet stood his people back up. The hadiths describe the degeneracy of the End Times, but the night is darkest just before the dawn, and as soon as even the dimmest of light appears on the horizon, the very nature of people will pull them towards it - the Mahdi.

    In this sense, conventional truths, which is the sifted and sieved amalgamation of human thought and experience, has a meta-historical archetypal nature that is often more authentic than sensory truths. It would be foolish to disregard either one, because one deals with how, and the other deals with why. With a purely evolutionary worldview, man is a toolmaking animal, and our progress as a species is measured in the linear paradigm of scientific and technological advancement. But this says little about our quality of life, purpose of life, why we live, how we should live, where we come from, what it means to be human, the power of thought and conscious experience, and whether we really are "better" or more developed than our ancestors. It gives the illusion of upward ascent, but I see a downward regress during what should be humanity's most enlightened time, and that regress comes from our killing of our father - tradition, convention, religion, and ritual.

    The Fall gives meaning to human anxiety, depression, and alienation; and a promise of an ascent through effort, hope, promise, responsibility, and a return to being, vicegerency, sainthood.

    "And from the evil of darkness when it overspreads" (113:3)

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  2. Admittedly it was my own little idea/theory that fencing was a great sport for Muslim ladies. Being fully covered and all. And when it was a (paid) option in Maryam's new school I suggested she try it. She did and claimed to be interested in it, to the extent that after the first year's lessons we enrolled her for lessons in the second year of the school as well.

    Then one day we needed to pick her up early from the school and found out that she was not in the fencing class. She was sitting in the library, apparently where she had been for a few weeks during fencing lessons.

    For some reason, she was not liking fencing and didn't have the heart to tell us.

    We told her the range of reasons why this behaviour was not acceptable.

    Fast forward to a few weeks later and we're discussing what novels she could be reading. She opts for Dosteovsky's, 'Crime and Punishment'. Remembering the fencing issue and that perhaps she had chosen it to please me, I freely tell her I found it extremely boring when I was her age (in fact I never picked it up again!).

    But she works her way through it, seems to have a reasonable understanding of the plot and then moves onto. Wait for it. It's a good one.

    War & Peace.

    I think Anna Karenin is far more readable, but the plot obviously not so wholesome.

    Talking to her about it, seems that she's up with the personal relationships and less so with the military side of things, but I guess that is to be expected. At a deeper level I am not so sure about the literary benefit of reading these works in translation.

    At the time she chose these I had been gunning for George Eliot as summer time reading.

     

  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. Salam, Ya Ali (as) Madad, Lanat upon the enemies of the Ahlulbayt (as)

    Aliun Wali Allah Wajib

    BAR MUQASSIRREEN LANAT

    "How do you see the state of mankind in the 21st century? How do you feel it impacts you as an individual?"

    INTRODUCTION

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory where human beings main motivations are arranged in a pyramid structure, as below:

    maslows-pyramid.gif

     

    If we start from the bottom, a humans main motivation is base survival - what will one eat, drink, and so on. once this is established, their next motivation changes to safety - how will they maintain their living standards, how will they ensure stability and routine. once this second level has been reached, they then seek life partners. who will they find? who will they produce children with? the penultimate level, once all these have been achieved, is the self esteem layer. this is where one has the luxury to choose how they identify themselves as an individual. the final stage, the pinnacle of this, is "self actualisation". this is when is at the most comfortable stage of their life, where they have the luxury to be able to find how to define their time. 

    While this theory has its flaws, and there are some things which I do not agree with, I feel that it is a "good enough" way to look at the state of mankind in the 21st Century. I have long held the theory that the Earth is a living organism. If we remember our GCSE Biology, for something to be classed as "Alive" it must adhere to the MRS GREN principles of life:

    ec611b89afb22593448aee2173539f77.jpg

    The Earth certainly moves, as it rotates around its axis, around the sun, and around the centre of our galaxy. it releases energy in millions of ways using oxygen, it is sensitive to stimuli such as climate change, it grew as it formed from dust, and continues to grow on a tiny scale as more space debris is attracted to it. I would argue that it reproduces in the sense that it is always in a state of change and refreshment and cycle, through the seasons, the shifting plates, the recycling of materials. it excretes carbon dioxide from its green organisms and other waste from other places and finally it consumes energy in the sense that it takes all its nutrition from the sun. 

    I thought to myself - for the purpose of this article and competition, would it be possible to apply Maslow's heirarchy to the planet, as if it were a human being?

    MAIN BODY

    how would we define the "physiological needs" of the planet? certainly the most fundamental would be it relies on the heat, light and gravity of the sun for its basic existence. secondly its ozone and atmosphere, and thirdly its water. since these things are in order, we can safely assume that the "physiological" needs of the planet are met, so we can proceed to the next level. 

    in terms of safety and security, such as homes, employment, property and social stability, I feel that this is not in any way universal. we have areas of extreme wealth (western europe, north america), areas of extreme poverty (multiple conflict zones) and the rest sort of in between. my initial understanding is therefore that if we were to apply Maslows heirarchy to planet earth, it would stall at this level. 

    for the interests of completeness, however, I will now proceed up the pyramid, to argue my case. 

    in terms of love and understanding, I doubt that I will even see this or my children. there are simply too many divides between people. within our own shia we are fractured and segregated. within each segment we bicker amongst each other. we cannot say that there is global love and belonging, or even majority love and belonging across the whole being

    "self esteem" is something which I have long argued is no different to love and understanding. however as this step is a common view held by psychologists, I will leave my arguments for another time. I believe that the "self esteem" stage is something which can only be done under the leadership of a Masum Imam (as). this is the step where all people are united in brotherhood, friendship, family and social security as well as a desirable level of comfort. I see this as the "after the battles have been won" stage. i believe that this stage is not here yet across the earth

    the final stage, the pinnacle, is the stage  I believe reserved only for the true shia on earth. the Likes of Salman, Miqdad, Abu Dharr (peace be upon them all). this is where one is so completely dedicated to muwaddat of the Ahlulbayt (as), and living within the framework and system of a truly islamic sharia, that life is exactly how Allah intended. 

    HOW DO I FEEL THIS IMPACTS ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

    I am a cell within the greater body. what happens on the large scale happens to me on this small scale, similar to if I become an old man, my cells too will reflect my age. If I am with cancer aodhobillah, my cells will show it. as such, the Earth is still not raised above the lower levels of the heirarchy. I feel that I too cannot reach the higher levels unless humanity as a whole raises itself too. I feel that the impact of this, is that at the moment I am "surviving" when Allah and the Masumeen (as) want me to "thrive". the earth around me is in chaos, so I feel that I need to stop being passive, like a red blood cell, just circulating through the vessels and routes and pathways that others have defined for me, but to become like a white blood cell, independent, crucial to my community. to be defined as existing to protect the whole organism, if the earth can raise its "immunity" through myself, and those like myself, then maybe InshaAllah we can raise the planet to the next level, which might bring us one step closer to the way we were meant to live on this planet.

    CONCLUSION

    I know there are pockets of good, and individuals on a whole are generally decent, I know that we are living in a time of rapid scientific discovery and advancement and social improvement. the analogy I could use, to describe how I see the world is that of a human body which is suffering from some great disease. its immunity has been compromised, and it is not far off death. sure, there are individual examples of beauty within it, but these become meaningless if it is dying. it is still not too late to save it. I see that my part is to do as much good as I can, with the time and skills that I have. and blindly hope that others will do the same. then, InshaAllah, the total will become worth more than the sum of its parts.

    Thank you for your consideration.  

     

     

     

     

     

  5. ذهبت ولم تلبس منها بشيء

    The prophet when the body of Uthman passed by: “You have gone without involving yourself in any of it (the Dunya)”  
     

    A Monastic Life?

    Uthman loved to worship Allah, this reached such an extent that he decided to lead a monastic lifestyle and disengage himself from all the fleeting things of this world including conjugal relations. The prophet intervened to explain to him why that would be against the Sunna.

    - Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: The wife of Uthman b. Madh`un came to the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله and said: O messenger of Allah, Uthman b. Madh`un fasts in the day time and spends the whole night standing in worship, so the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله came out whilst angry and carrying his slippers [in his hands] until he reached Uthman and found him praying. When Uthman saw that it was the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله he cut-off his prayer. He [the prophet] said to him: O Uthman, Allah the Exalted did not send me with monasticism rather he sent me with a simple and lenient Hanifiyya. I fast and pray but also interact with my wives, so whoever loves my character should follow my Sunna, and marriage is part of my Sunna.

    - Sa`ib b. Abi al-Waqqas said: When the affair of Uthman b. Madh`un - who was one of those who abandoned women - occurred, the messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وآله  sent for him and said: O Uthman, I have not been ordered to lead a monastic life, do you seek something else apart from my Sunna? He said: No, O messenger of Allah. He [the prophet] said: part of my Sunna is to pray and then sleep, I sometimes fast and at other times eat, I marry and divorce, so whoever seeks something apart from my Sunna then he is not from me. O Uthman, your wife has a right over you, and your own body has a right over you. Sa`d said: by Allah, there was a group of Muslim men who were ready and willing to castrate themselves and become celibate if the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله had allowed Uthman to continue in what he had done.

    - Uthman b. Madh`un said: O messenger of Allah - I desire to to become celibate, the prophet said: wait Uthman, the celibacy of my Umma is fasting and prayers. Uthman said: I desire to lead a wandering life [like some monks], the prophet said: wait Uthman, the wandering life of my Umma is to remain in the Masjid and wait for the next Salat after the last one finishes. Uthman said: I desire not to eat meat [to become a vegetarian], the prophet said: wait Uthman, for I myself do eat meat and enjoy it, if I could have it every day I would, and if I were to ask Allah for that He would give it to me. Uthman said: O prophet of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you - I desire not to use perfume ever, the prophet said: wait Uthman, for I do use perfume and I like fragrance, and it is my Sunna and the Sunna of the prophets before me.

     

    The Prophet’s Grief

    Uthman participated in the battle of Badr in the year 2 AH and went on to die soon after, becoming the first Muhajir to die in Madina and the first to be buried in Baqi. The prophet grieved at his death.

    - Aisha said: I saw the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم kissing the dead of body of Uthman b. Madh`un until I saw his tears flowing.

    - Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه kissed Uthman b. Madh`un after his death.

     

    How do you Know?

    There is an interesting exchange which happened between the prophet and a woman after Uthman's death.

    - Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله heard a woman saying after the death of Uthman b. Madh`un: glad tidings of paradise to you O Abu al-Sa`ib [i.e. Uthman]! so the prophet said to her: and how do you know [that he is in paradise]? it is enough for you to say: he used to love Allah Mighty and Majestic and His prophet … 

    The prophet rebuked the woman to teach us to avoid complacency and a false sense of security.

     

    A Gravestone

    The prophet did not leave the grave of Uthman without marking it so that he can recognize its location and come visit him.

    - Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died, the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله kissed him, and when he had buried him he sprinkled water on top of the soil of the grave and stretched out a piece of cloth over the grave. He [Uthman] was the first person over whose grave the prophet stretched out a cloth. The prophet went on to level the soil of the grave, then he called for a stone, it was said: O messenger of Allah - what will you do with it? he said: I will mark his grave by it so that I can bury my relations near him, then he placed the stone near the head of the grave.

    - al-Muttalib said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died, his body was taken out in a procession and was buried. Then the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله ordered a man to bring him a stone, but the man was not able to carry it, so the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله stood himself, went towards it and rolled up his sleeves - [al-Mutallib said: the one who reported this to me about the messenger of Allah said: it is as though I can still see the whitness of his forearms when he rolled up his sleeves] - then he carried it and placed it at the head and said: I mark with it the grave of my brother so that I can bury next to it those who die of my family.

    What a great status Uthman must have had for the prophet to want to bury his family members next to him. Note also that the prophet called him ‘his brother’, some have explained this by noting that Uthman was the foster-brother of the prophet because they both suckled from the same woman. It is also possible that he used this as a term of endearment with an eye to his elevated kinship in Islam.

     

    Righteous Predecessor

    The prophet did indeed go ahead with his wish to bury his relations near the grave of Uthman. First when his daughter Ruqayya died and then when Ibrahim his son passed away. He also uses the enigmatic term سلف الصالح which has been rendered here as righteous predecessor but which can also mean righteous ancestor. Perhaps it the latter which is meant keeping in mind that if Uthman was the foster-brother of the prophet then his children would be related to him in some manner.

    - One of the two [al-Baqir or al-Sadiq] عليه السلام said: when Ruqayya the daughter of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه  وآلهdied, the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: meet up with our righteous predecessors Uthman b. Madh`un and his fellows

    - Ibn Abbas said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died a woman said: congratulations to you O Ibn Madh`un for you have entered paradise! So the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله looked at her angrily and said: what made you know? for by Allah I am the messenger of Allah but do no know what is going to be done with me, she said: O messenger of Allah he was your warrior and companion. This conversation weighed heavy on the minds of the companions of the messenger of Allah because of what he had said about Uthman while he [Uthman] was the best of them. It went on like this until when Ruqayya the daughter of the messenger of Allah died and he [the prophet] said: meet up with our goodly predecessor Uthman b. Madh`un [i.e. this is when they knew that Uthman must have had a good destination].

    The women cried [when Ruqayya died] so Umar began hitting them with a whip, the prophet said to Umar: let them cry! but beware of the screeching of the Shaytan. Then the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: whatever issues from the heart [grief] and the eyes [tears] then it is from Allah and it is a form of mercy, whetever issues from the hand [like beating oneself] and the tongue [like words of despair] then it is from Shaytan.

    The messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله stood at the edge of the grave while Fatima was at his side crying, so the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله began to wipe away the tears of her eyes with the side of his clothes in sympathy for her.

    - Aba Abdillah عليه السلام said: … when Ibrahim the son of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله died the eyes of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله overflowed with tears and he said: the eyes tear-up and the heart grieves but we do not say that which may anger our Lord, we sure are saddened because of you O Ibrahim. Then the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله saw a disparity in his grave so he levelled it out with his hand and said: when one of you does any work then he should do it well, then he said: meet up with you righteous ancestor Uthman b. Madh`un …

     

    Ali Remembers a Brother

    Recall that the prophet is said to have said “I will mark with it the grave of my brother …” referring to Uthman as his brother. He also buried both his blood relations Ruqayya and Ibrahim near this brother of his and said at the time “meet up with our righteous Salaf …” where Salaf can mean ancestor.

    A pattern emerges when we note that Ali, who is himself well-known as being the brother of the prophet, also referred to Uthman as a brother.

    - Abu al-Faraj said: Uthman b. Ali about whom it is narrated from Ali that he said: I name him with the name of my brother Uthman b. Madh`un.

    This Uthman b. Ali went on to sacrifice his life to defend Aba Abdillah al-Husayn عليه السلام in Karbala.

    It comes as no surprise then that one of the candidates for the anonymous ‘brother’ Ali speaks of in his famous words has been taken refer to Uthman b. Madh`un.

    - Ali عليه السلام said: In the past I had one I considered a brother in the way of Allah, he became prestigious in my eyes because of how lowly he considered the world to be in his eyes, the needs of the stomach did not have sway over him, he did not long for what he did not get; if he got a thing he would not ask for more; most of his time was spent in silence, but if he spoke he silenced the other speakers and quenched the thirst of questioners, he was weak and considered weak, but at the time of seriousness he was like the lion of the forest or the serpent of the valley, he would not put forth an argument unless it was decisive.

    He would not reproach anyone in an excusable matter unless he had heard the excuse, he would not speak of any ailment except after its disappearance, he would do what he says, and would not say what he would not do, even if he could be excelled in speaking, he could not be excelled in silence; he was more eager to listen than to speak, if two things confronted him he would see which was more akin to the longing of the heart and would then oppose it [do the other].

    Betake yourself to these and implement them and try to compete with each other in them. even if you cannot do it fully then know that acquiring a part is better than giving up the whole.

     

    What Could Have Been

    It is not a stretch to say that had Uthman been alive at the time of the sedition after the death of the messenger of Allah - when the Umma betrayed his testament for the Ahl al-Bayt - he would have sided with Ali in the events to come.

    One circumstantial evidence for this is that when the prophet paired together one Muhajir with an Ansar in the so-called Ukhuwwa, he paired Uthman b. Madh`un with Abu al-Haytham Malik b. Tahiyyan. We know that this pairing was not random, but a bond which the prophet made using his special insight. He would gather two men who were closest to each other and had an affinity even in their spiritual states.

    Abu al-Haytham went on die fighting on the side of Ali at Siffin.

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

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

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

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

     

  7. 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?

     

  8. 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)

  9. بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

    اللهم صل علی محمد واله و عجل فرجهم والعن اعدائهم

    السلام علیک و رحمه الله

    Now, as you may already know, I am leaving the country for 10 days, meaning my next entry about Saint Paul and deviations in early Christianity will have to be delayed. However, I wanted to make a post about tabarra because it's an issue that is very controversial in our community. We have staunch opposers and staunch defenders. I think I made 3-4 threads on this topic, which I will find and post at the bottom of the page Inshallah. I will provide various proofs through hadith, the Quran and scholarly verdicts. I guess this is somewhat more of an opinion piece, however I have done a lot of unbiased research on this, and am quite sure there is enough proof to establish tabarra as an Islamic concept, and highly recommended. Before I start, let me say that I don't want a war in the comment section. It's really not helpful for this website. If you disagree with me, point out the exact parts which you feel are incorrect and we can discuss :)

    Terminologies

    تبرأ-Tabarra: It is from the Arabic root برء. According to the Al Maany English to Arabic dictionary, it can mean to deny, reject, disown, be absolved of and to disown. A commonly used definition is disassociation, which also works given the context. Actually, that is the definition given in the Al Maany Arabic Terms Dictionary. The word is actually used in the Quran (9:1) to describe the Prophet (saw)'s disassociation from some of the Muslims who declared an alliance with the unbelievers of Mecca. The word is also used by Allamah Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi (Haqqul Yaqeen, Volume 2, Page 591) to describe the wicked men and women we should (according to the english translation) disassociate ourselves from. However, in theory we could also use the word reject, because we do reject what our Sunni brethren believe about them. I feel the correct definition for this word in the context of this discussion is rejection. Disassociaton or absolving ourselves from them does not make sense, because simply calling ourselves Shia disassociates ourselves from them and absolves us from any affiliation with those oppressors. So in the context of this discussion and its usage in the Shia books and the Shia sect, we will use reject as the correct meaning of tabarra.

    لعنة-Lanat: This word is used many times in the Quran and in our Duas, like Ziyarat Ashura for example. In the Al Maany dictionary, the word lanat is translated as curse, however some english speaking scholars like Dr. Ammar Nakshawani, for example, state that a better way to describe lanat is as a Dua to remove mercy from someone. I have also heard many fear the word curse may become mixed up with the arabic word seb, which means to insult, which I will get to. The root word of lanat actually is لعن, and if you look up the definition of لعن in an arabic dictionary, the exact english translation will be to anathematize. If you google the meaning, it will show up as to curse, or to condemn. From this perspective I think we can view the meaning of lanat as two things.

    1. Asking Allah to send lanat upon a person or group of people. For example, allahumma al'anhuma wa ansarahuma (from Dua Saname Quraish), is asking Allah to send lanat upon this person. You are asking Allah to increase his punishment on these individuals, and for him to remove his mercy from them. The correct translation I feel for this article, as I have already shown the distinction between seb and lanat, is curse. We ask Allah to curse them with his punishment and withdrawal of his mercy
    2. Lanat as a form of Tabarra. When the names of certain la'inin (cursed individuals), you will hear the speaker say lanat ullahi ealayh (Upon him be the curse of Allah). While this is a dua against them, it also symbolizes a disassociation and rejection of the cursed individual, which is exactly the definition of tabarra. I think this also corresponds to the second meaning of anathematization, which is to condemn. While I feel the definition of tabarra is rejection, I will refer to lanat done in the way mentioned as condemnation, as in reality that is what we are doing. Openly condemning the enemies of Ahlulbayt (as)

    These are the two most important definitions you should be familiar with. Basic knowledge of Islamic history during the era of the Umarayn (3 "caliphs"), because I will be talking about rejecting, condemning and cursing those figures (without breaching SC rules nor using provocative language)

    Lanat in the Noble Quran

    Surah Hijr Ayat 35:

    And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense.

    As you guessed, the exact arabic word for curse in this Ayat is al'anat. A similar Ayat is found in Surah Suad Verse 28. Surah Qasas Verse 42, Surah Maidah Verse 13 and many many more include the word curse, and an article on this subject can be found here. So we know, among the many people Allah cursed, are the liars, the unbelievers, Shaitan (la) and the people of Aad. 

    Also, the first verse of Surah Taubah I would also like to mention. [This is a declaration of] disassociation, from Allah and His Messenger, to those with whom you had made a treaty among the polytheists. Now, the sense of tabarra is a little different in this Ayat. Obviously there were a group of Muslims (deviants) who made treaties with the polytheists (which we can actually consider innovation in Islam, since it was in the name of Allah and his Rasool), This Ayat says they have NOTHING to do with them. They are in NO way associated with them, and reject them completely! When we consider the bid'ah, the crimes agains the family of Hazrat Muhammad (saw), we should want NOTHING to do with the Umarayn and their associates. The ahadith which I wish to mention elaborate more on this. Before I elaborate further, to legitimize my previous point, I wish to quote page 519 of the english translation of Allameh Majlisi (ra)'s work Haqqul Yaqeen, translated by Sayed Akhtar Rizvi

    In the same way are the indictments of Muawiyah, Talha, Zubair, Ayesha, Hafasa, Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas Caliphs and all wicked persons, heretics etc. which may also be referred to in Biharul Anwar and books of other reliable authors. 

    The Sunni hadith reports do not have any record of the Prophet (saw) cursing the Umarayn, and that may not have happened in his lifetime. However, their record of Fatimah al Zahra cursing the Umarayn, who wronged and oppressed her, along with usurping her property.

    Al Imamah wa Al Siyasa by Ibn Qutaybah, Page 14

     

    Ibn Qutaybah, in al-Imamah wal Siyasah, narrates that 'Umar said to Abu Bakr: 'Let's go to Fatimah, for we have made her angry.' So they went together and asked her permission, but she denied it to them. They asked Ali to talk to her, and he did. When they entered and sat, she turned her face to the wall. They greeted her, but she did not answer. Abu Bakr said: 'O you the Messenger of Allah's beloved! I swear by Allah that the kinship of the Messenger of Allah is more beloved to me than my kinship, and you are surely more beloved to me than my daughter 'Ayshah, and I wished the day your father died that I died and did not stay after him... Do you see me, when knowing you and your virtues and honour, denying you your right and inheritance from the Messenger of Allah Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå? Except that I heard your father the Messenger of Allah Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå saying: We, the folk of prophets, do not leave bequests - what we leave is for alms'.

    Fatimah (as) did not comment on the inheritance issue, since she has previously dealt with that in detail in her sermon, but she wanted to establish the proof on the two of them regarding the harm, injustice and wrong-doing to which she was subjected. Hence she said: 'Can I see you if I narrate a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (sawa); you know it, will you do according to it?' They replied: 'Yes'; she said: 'I ask you by Allah, haven't you heard the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (sawa): the satisfaction of Fatimah is my satisfaction and the discontent of Fatimah is my discontent?' They said: 'Yes, we heard it from the Messenger of Allah (sawa)'. She said: 'Therefore, I take Allah and his angels as witnesses that you have made me discontented and have not satisfied me, and when I meet the Prophet I shall complain about you to him!'. Abu Bakr said: 'I take refuge in Allah from his discontent and your discontent O Fatimah!'; but she said: 'I swear by Allah that I shall invoke Allah against you in every prayer I do!

    So Fatimah (sa) would invoke Allah against Abu Bakr in all her prayers. Imploring Allah against someone. That's the definition of lanat given by scholars like Ammar Nakshawani, asking Allah to remove mercy from a specific person. So Fatimah (as) cursed Abu Bakr and Umar. The explanation given by Sunni scholars isn't that well thought over. For example, Ibn Kathir said that the anger of Fatimah (sa) is just like the anger of any other son of Adam (quoted by Shiapen). That goes contrary to the widely known hadith whoever angers Fatimah has angered me, and whoever angers me has angered Allah. And it's also widely reported in books like Bukhari and Muslim that Fatimah (sa) died angry with Abu Bakr and Umar, most likely for their usurping of the land of Fadak, and them being her killers. 

    A great article on cursing in Sunni books is found here and a good website dedicated to exposing the reality of Umar ibn Khattab is here

     

    PART TWO

    Now, I want this part to focus on the philosophy behind Tabarra, the meaning of it. Why do we say "Oh Allah Curse so and so." What benefit does this bring? If any? Let me start with a hadith from our 6th Imam (as)\

    "What is religion except love and hate?" (Kitab al Kafi Volume 2 Page 125)

    Love and hate. This hadith speaks for itself. People always talk about Tawalla (love) for the Ahlulbayt, but ignore hatred towards their enemies. Don't get me wrong, tawalla is very important, but we have to accept ALL aspects of Islam! How can you accept one Usool ud Deen and ignore another! A famous hadith, again from our 6th Imam:

    "The halal of Muhammad is an everlasting halal until the Day of Judgement, and the haram of Muhammad is an everlasting Haram until the Day of Judgement."

    So, you can not reject an aspect of Islam, as, just like halal and haram, it is everlasting until the day of judgement. We can hide our belief in a certain aspect if needed (I will talk about Taqiyya in my next part Inshallah) but if we reject it, without coercion, then that is obviously wrong. If the Imam says love AND hate are both aspects of Islam, we should consider them aspects of Islam, and respect them. Now, to start really talking about it's philosophy, I want to elaborate on the first ahadith I mentioned by using the words of scholars. I'm quoting from Philosophy of Islamic Laws by Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi and Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani.

     

    Here the topics of discussion are the last two; Tawalla (to love) and Tabarra (to express aloofness). That is we love some and hate some. We should love the friends of Allah, those who desire truth, righteous people and supporters of truth and justice and we should hate the evildoers, oppressors, lovers of enjoyment and enemies of Allah, His Prophet and humanity.

    Why shouldn't we love all of them? Why shouldn't we behave nicely with all of them? Can we forgo the method of living with amity in the present age? However, those who are in favor of having friendly relations with all must be asked:

    In the world which has oppressors and oppressed, the unjust and the victims of injustice, the tyrants and the weak, the equitable and the usurpers, the pure and the dirty; shall we love all of them? Shall we remain pleased with all of them? Shall we help all of them? Can any human logic permit us to do so? Can the living conscience permit this mixing up?

     

    Now, on the last paragraph. I want to point to a Quranic verse you are probably familiar with, And do not mix up the truth with falsehood.  Let me point, from the same chapter of that book, to the last two paragraphs in that chapter

     

    If instead of acting upon the two principles everyone agrees with every school of thought, every condition is accepted and human society does not get close to useful things and does not keep away from harmful things, the humanity will soon be destroyed.

    That is the reason that the Holy Prophet (S) has said: “The strongest support of faith is to love for Allah and to express hatred for the sake of Allah.”

     

    Harmful things. I think we can include, among many harmful things which harm the religion, to be bidah, innovations in the religion. This can drive us down the wrong path. It is wrong to consider figures like, lets say Abu Hurairah, whom we know was a liar, or Sayf ibn Umar, the inventor of "Abdullah ibn Saba," as good, or even to be neutral on these figures. The world, and especially the Ummah, needs to be exposed to the lies of these people. We should make it clear that the Shia reject these figures. Whether it be in books, or whether we openly and publicly say lanat ullahi ealayh after their names (with exceptions of course, which I will elaborate on later), the world should know the reality of these men and women.

    But why curse, as in say lanat against them. The easy answer is that the Imams did it. Read Ziyarat Ashura. Allahum al'an awwal adh dhalimi. Who is the first of the oppressors. Along with the innumerable hadith, many of which I mentioned, and I plan to mention more. But that response isn't good enough. Why though? WHY did the Imams curse them? Tell me, when do you curse someone? It is when they have done wrongs to you, when you hate a person, you curse them. Clearly, if our Imams would curse these individuals, then we should hate them as well. If someone wronged a family member, would you have a neutral stance on this individual. The Prophet (saw) is higher than your family. Even in Sunni books there is the famous hadith Fatimah is a part of me. So id Fatimah (sa) was harmed by a certain individual, he has harmed the Prophet. Furthermore, the famous hadith Whoever has angered Fatimah has angered me, and whoever angers me has angered Allah. There is an obvious connection between these hadith and the one quoted by Ayatollah's Makarem Shirazi and Sobhani, 

    “The strongest support of faith is to love for Allah and to express hatred for the sake of Allah.”

     Express hatred. Cursing (lanat) is a way to express hatred. On top of that, it is a practice of the Ahlulbayt (as), and can be found in the Quran. So why has it been rejected?  One of the main arguments is that it harms Shia/Sunni unity. It can cause bloodshed, so we should practice Taqiyya in this regard. I will touch on that in Part Three Inshallah.

    PART 3

    Ok, so this chapter will be revolving around arguments made in this debate. I want to start with a verse from the Quran

    Quran 33:21

    Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a great example.

    What does that mean? If we are in a situation similar to where the Ma'sumeen AS were, we should do what they did, because they're the best example for us. How is this related to Tabarra? This is somewhat obvious when you look at another aspect of the philosophy behind Tabarra. Think of how the Muslims destroyed the idols of Quraysh. This was symbolic, so people would know the truth about them, that they would know these are no Gods, but manmade tools of corruption. The same could be said about the later "Sanamay Quraish," who corrupted the religion of Islam. We can actually verify how punished they are through a narration mentioned in this lecture quoted from al Khisal Page 399, which mentions the seven most cursed people in hell. These were the heads of corruption from past religions. The narration is pretty long so I'd recommend anyone who wants to know more to watch the lecture, but these individuals continue to corrupt our religion even today! Think of the situation we are in. So much violence happening in the name of Islam, from Al Qaeda, IS and their kinds. I think a good parable, especially considering much of this violence is towards Shia, is after the Battle of Jamal. If you want, in the first debate I mentioned, go to 24:00, so you can verify this hadith. Its from the book of Sulaim ibn Qais RA, who wrote in his book.

    After the Battle of Jamal, he (Imam Ali AS) ended the Taqiyya, and the peoples faces were filled with shock.

    This is like the Quranic command, And do not mix the truth with falsehood. We can't use narrations for taqiyya as daleel when it could contradict a Quranic command. All famous scholars, including recent scholars like Ayatollah al Khoei RA, say that you should end the taqiyya when you must expose the truth. And all famous scholars have ended the taqiyya at some point! Shaykh al Mufid RA wrote books exposing Abu Bakr and Umar, so did Allamah Majlisi RA. If you want to verify the words of Allameh Majlisi, you can read his book Haqqul Yaqeen (the certain truth) in english, and it will say on page 591, as I actually mentioned earlier:

    In the same way are the indictments of Muawiyah, Talha, Zubair, Ayesha, Hafasa, Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas Caliphs and all wicked persons, heretics etc. which may also be referred to in Biharul Anwar and books of other reliable authors. 

    What if a Sunni got his hands on this book and killed a Shia because of it? Well, he would be a martyr, to put it bluntly. Quranic commands need to be fulfilled, and doing otherwise is a sin in Islam. Even Sayed Khomeini wrote about Aisha, Hafsa and Muawiya a=in a similar way, though I will not mention that on here. What I'm trying to say is that Taqiyya has a time and place, but so does establishing the truth, and that's something we can't ignore. That's all I want to say, just hoping someone who's unsure on this topic like I was can find some proofs from an Islamic viewpoint that's easier than hours of lectures, debates and reading,

    Wasalam

     

  10. Note: "bad girl"  is usually associated with negative description- but in all honesty I oppose this view. What media has labeled "bad girls" are in my opinion are simply women who've have gone through many obstacles in life and experienced many hardships to know how the world really operates. 

     We   begin seeing the world in rose colored glasses.  At a young age we were  taught  about everything beautiful and innocent  in this world. we read books on the Prophet Pbuh&hf and in  our hearts we desired  to find someone is a leader and  as religious, masculine, and brave as how he was.  We  always desired to be the perfect wife, who will fit in her role as God desired her to be. 

    So it was easy to be impressed by anyone who spoke about religion. It was captivated and different, and  anyone who knew so much, and prayed, fasted, was  someone great. Of course he would have to balance religion with the times we lived in. But let me tell you.....there are men and women  out there who may fast, preach, pray, but  in reality they are average homo sapiens. Meaning that even though they have so much knowledge about Islam, and understand the values, they still choose to run on automatic. They are too lazy to truly make a habit of being a better person. And most people are like this. They give charity, give impressive lectures to students in the mosque, but its really on the surface. Behind the scenes they operate homo sapien level, their main objective is to eat, drink, sleep, etc. And they think they are doing good for the world- and they are doing nice things- but try to being in a marriage  with them and its huge fail.

    Try  being behaving the way  Fatima (AS) was like with Imam Ali (AS) and these types of  people will take you for GRANTED. It doesn't matter how beautiful you are, or how religious, or how amazing, how generous, how passionate,  or how pure  or how  hardworking you are. These people are parasites. They will try to take from you what they can. Whether its them thriving on the feeling of power that you give them, because all you  are doing is just following the kindness of the Prophet Pbuh &HF. Being selfless like how Khadija (as) was like for the Prophet (pbuh) will get you stomped on. And you are left wandering if you should take on the characteristics of celebrities instead of holy figures.

    Well the truth is...you can't  really live like how the Prophet Pbuh&hf and his family were. You cannot be selfless and humble for any man in 2017. In the year 2017, a man will appreciate you more if he has to spend lots of money on you during courting. Don't believe a word about  him respecting the independent women. He will take her for granted if she exhibits the "I am so independent behavior". if she does not allow him to be the sole bread winner, then he will play down his masculine role as the provider. Meaning he will take advantage of the situation and won't do as much. The Prophet pbuh +hf was different than the normal human being, it's why Khadija (as) married him in a heart beat. There was respect and sensitivity.

    Also  these days men LOVE  makeup, the fake eyelashes, the whole  shabang. Yes you might be stunning with no makeup, but in reality vamping the looks is now IN.  I don't care how many times men say they like a girl to be natural.....they will cater more to you if you have the makeup. And honestly save the makeup for someone  who is worth it.  Because quality make up costs a lot. But  even advanced   beauty is not enough for men these days. My friend told me that even tho her husband posted their  newlywed photos on facebook, she caught him trying to flirt with other girls.
    Yes! We live in these times now. So don't just depend on playing up your beauty, because even after your honeymoon, your man might still be contacting other girls. You really have to make your worth permanent by allowing him to keep chasing you and working hard to try and win you over. Because most men are on automatic and just follow primitive instincts. They are not disciplined and naturally not as developed as how holy figures were. Thats why Allah sent Prophets in the first place -to teach ppl. And man is ever so forgetful.

    Honestly, its not different from the times of the Prophet pbuh+hf. He had to teach men how to behave like legit human beings. Men were buryin their daughters, and not giving their wives their rights. Well its the same deal now. We are back to those ages. Ppl may not be  burying their daughters but ppl having different expectations then the ones that the Prophet pbuhf+ and his family taught. And women are not excused from this as well. But all I am saying is that we have to be more realistic  and not get carried away from reading hadiths and religious stories. For example, I am increasingly finding that a woman who  is given spending money, and spends it on things for herself is more respected by men, then the one  who says no its best to give this money to charity.  Doing something noble these days wont be credited to good nature anyway. Being selfish is credited to a woman of worth.  Being Selfless is not.  Does that mean completely be selfish? NO. It means learning to accept financial gifts from your husband or spouse and not let pride get into the way because you maybe bring home your own income. You must also set aside money for charity, but anything he gives you-ACCEPT as your own. It gives him feeling of pride and accomplishment.  And then you can do whatever you want with it-such saving a  portion of it to charity. If you deny the financial gift -even if u have good intentions -it will be a blow to his ego- and it will become a habit for him not to spend on you. Average men don't understand the concept of nobility and being selfless. They are not holy figures to appreciate this. The minute you deny a financial  gift because you feel selfless and want to give it to ppl in needs, or feel  shy  accepting it or think it will make him happy that u dont want to burden him-it wont. He will just find another girl to spend on. 

    Also the truth is  there are times you may bypass the person who really is genuinely good hearted. They might not be as  religious ( meaning they dont know much hadith and details but they do pray or read quran)-and that could be a turn off to you. But they are faithful they want the best for you. They ACTUALLY WEAR THEIR HEART  on their sleeve. They might be not as good looking, but they show how good they are with ACTIONS. They will treat you respect, cater to you, and are inspired from you to better themselves in religion. They might be dorks, and  they come across as lame, but they prove to you that they are someone you can rely on. And even if you get into an argument with them, they will try to make things right  quickly. They will be happy to support you and not hesitate to give you what you need financially  and not make you feel like a burden. And sometimes because they are so straightforward  you might think they are creeps but in reality they are just not word savvy as the other men. they dont know how to play word games and mind games. They just speak with all the innocence. It's a complex world we live in.

    Does that mean it will be impossible to find a  religious man that knows the lectures and details and follows everything to a t- and who eally tries to better himself than average men? No, but it will most likely be hard.

    And the so called "bad girl"  can tell the difference from such  men from observing the mannerism., and thats why she is quick to get the good guy. While the inexperienced girl ends up with a jerk, because she is wowed by the personality of the so called scholar.

    Anyway...always remember  NO MAN CAN MATCH UP TO A HOLY FIGURE. AVERAGE MEN AND HOLY FIGURES ARE ON ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SPIRITUAL AND MENTAL PLATFORM .WE ARE AT DIFFERENT TIMES, let a man  PROVE IT TO YOU BY HIS ACTIONS. THE IMPORTANCE OF ALLOWING A MAN TO SPEND ON YOU FINANCIALLY and LETTING HIM CHASE YOU. BEING MORE FASHIONABLE/USE OF MAKEUP WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF ISLAM. KNOWING THAT YOU CANNOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR PASSION AND BEAUTY FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE . DON'T BE SELFLESS, BUT KEEP A BALANCE OF HEALTHY SELFISHNESS, AND KEEP IN MIND YOUR ISLAMIC DUTIES...
     

  11. :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)

  12. Logical reasoning

    Intellectual arguments

    Rational recognitions

    Eternal reflections

    Purity of spirit

    Eternal soulfulness

  13. 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

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    Recent Entries

    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.

  14. :salam: Brothers and sisters.

    What words you use nowadays to define happiness in this life? Do you seek to achieve it? What do you do to achieve it?

    This concept have made people go astray just to obtain it, they have quit their religion and commitment and have fallen into this trap that the western culture always point at.

    This topic is a reminder for all of us, including me, to remember the very Purpose we came here for.

    Before I became a Shia i met many individuals who always wanted to hear about the truth and always wanted to acquire this ultimate feeling that we call happiness. Only they don't understand that they can't have it in this life.

    A friend of mine used to always talk about owning a house next to a lake, work in a job that she likes, that is true happiness she says, but yet this lifestyle is temporary. She doesn't think well okay after I've done all that what is next? What is the meaning behind it?

    Or another one that used to always tell me she wants to travel the whole world and camp in every mountain, forest, valley, beach, or any outdoor place she could ever find. Imagine you have the whole money in the world and you went on to do this endless trip you talk about and then after you almost discovered every country, every civilization, you'd probably feel that life has no purpose now and you'd decide to end it. Because simply there is nothing new for you to do anymore, everything is repetitive in this life and everything is temporary.

    I had friends who quit their jobs and went on a 6months trip to India living like homeless people. When they came back they claimed that this trip changed their life, but i just didn't see it, it wasn't genuine to me. Many people go to places now, pretend to do things or even feel like they Have to do certain activities just to show the world how cool and happy they are. But trust me behind their smile they are miserable.

    Happiness is overrated, it's just some other weapon that they use against us.

    It's normal that we slip sometimes but it's important to get back up, because True happiness comes from religion and from God, and the ultimate happiness is founded in the hereafter, not here.

  15.     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. 

     

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    :salam:

    Most of you must be aware of the recent $350 billion weapons deal between saudi and trump, out of which deals worth $110 billions will be with immediate effect.

    As expected the military-industrial-complex(hereafter referred to as MIC)-owned most of the mainstream media is jubilant. 

    In the words of trump-

    "Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs."

    Disclaimer- Trump, like almost all US presidents is merely a puppet, with more strings than an actual puppet. So I dont consider him to be very relevant. But the statement shows what the MIC wants the people to focus on.

    The whole exercise is nothing but a continuation of the US-Saudi policy of transferring the wealth from West Asia to the West in return for maintaining the saudi kingdom in its supposedly dominating position.

    Hejaz- The residence of the faithful

    Hejaz was supposed to be a place of refuge. It holds much more religious significance for the muslims than it has political significance for the MIC, the Saudis and their ilk.

    It was, and still is, supposed to be a place where any muslim from across the world can come and start living. And settle, if they wish to do so. This CANNOT HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED.

    Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and all the other religious places belong to the muslims and cannot be at the whims and fancies of some clan.

    The natural wealth, too, in and around these areas are to belong to all the muslims. The rulers are supposed to be the custodians, not owners, as is currently the case. At the most, they can take what they need and not what they want. 

    The trillions of dollars that they have extracted and squandered is wealth belonging to all the muslims who were driven out of these holy lands, who wished to settle there, but cannot due to the restrictions in place and the poor and the needy and the other deserving muslims across the world, who need to be bailed out.

    One can object that since Saudi Arabia is an "independent" country, they can run their affairs as they wish. They can spend and squander as they wish. They can purchase $10 trillions worth of weapons. They can completely stop immigrants. And they can throw out the shias and the non-compliant sunnis if they wish. They can dole out the crumbs to the Africans Muslims to fight their wars in Yemen and other places.

    My point is, Hejaz was never supposed to be a normal, usual, like any other country. It is a place with utmost religious significance for the muslims and the People of the book. It should have been a place of refuge for the poor and those driven out. A place for those looking for spiritual emancipation. For the ones looking who wished to visit the various houses of the towering figures islam- the Ahlul bayt and the righteous Sahaba. The center which redistributed wealth from the rich muslims to the poor. 

    And not be the extractor of muslim wealth and squanderer of haq of the muslims. Not to help bolster one of the most evil and hardcore anti-islamic forces, the whole gamut of the MIC, including its dutiful media. Not to support of the unjust system of the petro-dollar hegemony. Not to bribe the poor and malnourished nations with money to fight their wars against other weak nations. 

    Conclusion- The transfer of the haq of poor, needy and the deserving muslims and the money which otherwise could have been used to develop islamic cities, give citizenship to the refugees and any other muslim for that matter, create more STEM graduates among the muslims and the others and so on, is being used for an utter devastating effect. It is totally unfortunate, I and, i am sure that all the informed and religious muslims, are completely opposed to this initiative and wish that circumstances occur which will kill this deal.

    PS- The old timers will remember that in 2010, a weapons deal worth $60 billion was signed between the MIC spokesman Obama and the Saudis. It was a huge news back then and a great PR challenge for the MIC mouthpieces. So they focused on the 'iranian threat'. Now they have a buffoon as a president. They want to use it as an advantage. They want the people to think- He is a buffoon, so he does not know what he is doing, cant blame him, there is no one to blame and no need to do so. Focus on jobs, people (happy face).

  16. 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


     

  17. 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?"

     

  18. 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.

  19. Notepad

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    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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    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

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