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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?
Love and suffering is a match made in heaven. Love is breathlessly heart-wrenching, as it snares the mind of the lover and controls his actions. Any loving relationship will be filled with trial and tribulation, selfless sacrifice, selfish protectiveness, and frequent heartbreak. We both live and die for even a moment of true love. It is thus no coincidence that suffering is a component of many Arabic words for love. `Ishq (عشق), which is a fervent type of love, was originally a vine that winds itself around a tree, squeezing it until it withered. Shaghaf (شغف), which was the passion that Zulaykha had for Yusuf (12:3), was a form of heart disease. Muhjata qalb (مهجة قلب), an expression used to describe a lover, is actually the blood of the heart. Huyum (الهيوم), meaning passion, is a type of insanity. The Persian poem of Layla and Majnun comes to mind.
Most of the Quran is relative-comparative. Its stories usually lack names, dates, places, and chronologies, and are instead filled with archetypal symbols that can be flexibly applied to other situations. It tries to tell the stories in a timeless and universal manner.
The Husayni tragedy in Shii literature is similar. It is mourned by other prophets long before the event, it is mourned by nature (blood rain, blood earth, owls), it is mourned over by millions of angels, and it will be vindicated in the eschatological narrative. Karbala is described in Kamil al-Ziyarat as a piece of heaven on Earth, and as the conduit between heaven and earth (majma` as-samawati wal ard). Its soil is described as a cure, and it is given to the sick, and it is used for prostrations. In Shiism, the visitation of Husayn by one who correctly recognizes his status is considered a Hajj (or seven Hajj, or thousands of Hajj, or more), because the principle of Hajj is total submission and sacrifice, commemorating the sacrifice of Abraham; and Husayn cut his Hajj short to fulfill its end by going to Karbala and willingly giving himself to God. It is said that every grief in Islam is disliked, except for grief over Husayn, and so people forego their personal tragedies to mourn for the primordial epic tragedy. They wear black, abstain from makeup and dye, abstain from laughing, abstain from weddings and festive activities, sometimes for forty days.
The love of Husayn is not just lip-service. It is the intense gallantry that a mother has over her child, the undying loyalty that a person has for their spouse, the forsaken mourning of a widow, and the adoration of a boy for his father. It is a blond closer than family and thicker than blood. His tragedy is the quintessential love story, with Abu Fadl al-`Abbas, Qasim b. al-Hasan, `Ali al-Akbar, `Ali al-Asghar, Habib b. Muthahir, and many other gems bravely followed their beloved into the engulfing abyss.
Interestingly, there is no record of a relationship between the Imams and the historians of the tragedy, but there is much record of a relationship between the Imams and the poets. The Imams would invite poets to speak on the tragedy, make many supplications for them, add to their poetry, and gift them very generously. This to me says that the aim of the Shii is to find a meaningful and meta-historical route to Husayn, as the horrors of that day were unfathomable, and directed only at those who deserved it the least.
Love and suffering are often paired in Islamic literature. There isn't really a concept of "happily ever after" in this world, it is rather seen as a prison of the believer, an abode of trials (dar al-bala'), a fleeting world (dar al-fana'), where the lovers of Ali will suffer the most, so that they may be refined and purified like gold in a furnace. The tradition says that those who suffer the most are the prophets and their successors, then those similar to them, and so on. The constant trial strengthens the faith of a true believer, who learns to lean on God alone.
The timelessness of Islam's symbols emphasizes the finality of its message and the universality of its principles. Our religion uses relatable similitudes that resonate with our very core, making Islam not a seventh century Arabian phenomenon, but an expression of the nature in which we were created.
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المسلم أخو المسلم لا يظلمه ولا يخذله، إن كان عندك معروف، فعد به على أخيك
وإلا فلا تزده هلاكا إلى هلاكه
The Muslim is a brother of a Muslim, he is not unfair with him nor does he cheat him,
If you want to make him a good turn then hand it over to your brother, and if not then do not contribute to his financial destruction [The Messenger of God]
The Real Wolves of Wall-Street Pt. II
« ويبايع المضطر – وقد نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عن بيع المضطر »
<< deals are conducted with the one in distress, while the messenger of Allah prohibited transaction with the one in distress >>
Al-Tusi narrates from al-Sadiq a similar narration:
يأتي على الناس زمان عضوض يعضّ كلّ امرئ على ما في يديه ، و ينسى الفضل ، و قد قال تعالى و لا تنسوا الفضل بينكم ثمّ ينبري في ذلك الزمان أقوام يبايعون المضطرين اولئك هم شرار الناس
There will come upon people a severe age wherein every man will cling to what is in his hand, and forget giving, while Allah the Exalted said: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves” (2:237), then will arise in that age groups who will conduct business deals with the distressed and they are the worst of the people.
Some scholars have tried to interpret مضطر which I have rendered as ‘distressed’ to be مكره that is ‘compelled’ [to buy or sell]. They claim that it is this latter (compelling someone to buy or sell something) which is forbidden because all transactions must be entered in with full consent. They point out that even if someone is in distress it is still his decision to engage in the transaction.
But I consider this to be a limited definition restricting the range of the narration’s applicability, rather, I would say that the مضطر in the context of the society which these narrations describe and the stinginess they attribute to the wealthy - should be taken to mean those whom economical forces (completely out of their hands) exploit and make desperate enough to do anything including allowing the sharks to come out and take advantage of them.
Distress sale is particularly associated with not being able to cover mortgage payments and foreclosures. There are some who are always on the lookout for such deals. In fact they openly brag about finding such deals:
“The main reason to buy a distressed property is the price. In most cases, a foreclosure or short sale will be priced below market value, the valuation of the asset is artificial because it was not sold under open and competitive market conditions. From the buyer's perspective, however, property that is sold in a distressed sale can present an opportunity to purchase the asset at a substantial discount to market prices”.
Another example which is relevant to our modern age and would fall under the spirit of this Hadith is Big Pharma. Many of these global corporations hike up the prices of important and life-saving drugs to developing countries which cannot afford them. We have psychopathic CEO’s who claim to care only about the balance sheet and answerable only to the shareholders with no shred of mercy in their hearts, while the sick have no option but to pay up.
This interpretation is backed up by narrations such as the one found below:
إسماعيل بن عبد الله القرشي قال: أتى إلى أبي عبد الله عليه السلام رجل فقال له: يا ابن رسول الله رأيت في منامي كأني خارج من مدينة الكوفة في موضع أعرفه وكان شبحا من خشب أو رجلا منحوتا من خشب على فرس من خشب يلوح بسيفه وأنا أشاهده، فزعا مرعوبا فقال له عليه السلام: أنت رجل تريد اغتيال رجل في معيشته، فاتق الله الذي خلقك ثم يميتك فقال الرجل: أشهد أنك قد أوتيت علما واستنبطه من معدنه اخبرك يا ابن رسول الله عما فسرت لي إن رجلا من جيراني جاءني وعرض علي ضيعته فهممت أن أملكها بوكس كثير لما عرفت أنه ليس لها طالب غيري فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: وصاحبك يتولانا ويبرأ عدونا ؟ فقال: نعم يا ابن رسول الله رجل جيد البصيرة مستحكم الدين وأنا تائب إلى الله عز وجل وإليك مما هممت به ونويته فأخبرني يا ابن رسول الله لو كان ناصبا حل لي اغتياله فقال: أد الأمانة لمن ائتمنك وأراد منك النصيحة ولو إلى قاتل الحسين عليه السلام
Ismail b. Abdallah al-Qarashi who said: a man came to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said: O the son of the messenger of Allah I saw in a dream as though I am outside the town of Kufa in a place which I know, and there was something like an apparition made of wood or a man carved out of wood on a wooden horse brandishing his sword while I look on in fright and terror, so he عليه السلام said to him: you are a someone who wants to cheat a man out of his livelihood so be fearful of Allah who created you and will make you to die, so the man said: I bear witness that you have been given knowledge and have derived it from its real source (treasure-mine), I will inform you O the son of the messenger of Allah the background to that which you have interpreted for me, a man from among my neighbors came to me and offered me his walled-up land so I wished to own it at a very low price since I knew that there isn’t anyone else who wants to buy it, so Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to him: is your fellow someone who follows us and disassociates from our enemies? He said: yes - O the son of the messenger of Allah, he has good insight and follows the religion, and I repent to Allah Mighty and Majestic and to you from what I wanted and had intended to do, but inform me O the son of the messenger of Allah - if he was a Nasibi [a hater of the Ahl al-Bayt] could I have cheated him in this way? He said: return back the trust to whomsoever has placed his confidence in you and expects good-counsel from you - even if he be killer of al-Husayn!
--> Some of the people of Ilm in Ta’wil of Ru’ya (scholars learned in dream interpretation) claim that the Imam’s interpretation is wholly consistent with their methods. They interpret wooden things in dreams as having association to Nifaq (hypocrisy) because of the Aya from Surat al-Munafiqun “as though they were pieces of wood propped up” (63:4). The sword as an allegory for his evil intention. That this intention harbors some financial aspect can be inferred from the horse which symbolizes “the world” and “livelihood” because it is in of itself a steady source of income and the potential to earn.
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?"
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory where human beings main motivations are arranged in a pyramid structure, as below:
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:
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?
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.
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.
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Spent a nice late afternoon/ early evening at the National Museum in Riyadh. Entry costs 10 Riyals and is well worth the admission. The place is built for large crowds weekday mornings seem to be set aside for parties of school kids. While I was there I only saw one Saudi couple and a party of four Germans and their English speaking guide.
So a nice and peaceful experience.
All signage is in Arabic and good English.
The exhibition starts of with natural history (dinosaurs etc.), with plenty of quotations from the Quran. I walked through that pretty quickly because there did not seem to be anything that isn't done better everywhere else.
Then the interesting stuff about the Arabian peninsula starts. Lots of early vases and implements, together with photos of excavations of early settlements and also actual mock-ups. The east and Yemeni coasts of the peninsula seem to be almost littered with abandoned towns. Many seem to have served trade routes and there seem to have been times in the peninsula's history when the nomads had the upper hand and times when it paid to be settled.
The last exhibits on the ground floor deal with the Jahiliya period, before you take an escalator upstairs for the start of the Islamic period.
The early part of the Prophet's (saw) story is told on posters, together with blow-up maps and copies of real and facsimile Qurans. The narrative is what you'd expect with minimal references to the Ahlulbayt (a.s.).
The coverage then moves onto the Ummayad and Abbasid periods and after the Ottomans its the Saudi family history. There's a whole gallery about the latter and a mini-cinema that shows a film about how the modern state was founded. The showcases have lots of guns from the early 20th century.
Surprisingly there's next to nothing about the oil industry and its history in the Kingdom.
There's a tiny cafe (for takeaways) and the souvenir shop does not sell fridge magnets. So there was nothing to keep me and I walked out to the street to find a taxi with an Urdu speaking driver (easy peasy).
The image is of the bag that is used to hold to key to the house of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Madinah.
Doctors take an oath to their patients: "First, do no harm." Consider this statement: "Speak the truth, but not to punish." I am making it my goal to show kindness to others, and that includes what I say as well as what I do. Bismillah.
♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
I want to eventually prove this claim: that the rise of Akhbarism, and consequently what I term the 'Lite Akhbaris', has been the cause of death of the Shi'i intellectual, and the death of the Shi'i jurist-theologian in the Quranic sense (not in the conventional sense).
I will compare the methodologies used by the classic scholars to deduce rulings covering all religious topics (not just 'lesser' fiqh, as it was commonly known then), to the now commonly applied sanad/chain method, institutionalised by S. Al-Khoei (rA). I want to show that this latter methodology has allowed Akhbarism to re-establish itself in the shape of 'Lite Akhbaris', operating under the guise of Usoolism.
Lastly, I will try to provide a solution on bringing out the living from the dead.
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?
The most satisfying spouse is the God Fearing Man. He is the one you should look for and he most likely wont be online-he's too busy making a difference in the world.
You will never be bored with him. The way he is devoted to Allah SWT will fill you up with admiration and respect. His humor will be wholesome and sweet. His shyness and the way he lowers his gaze will make you fall madly in love with him. He will be truthful. He will be pleased to meet your mother and greet her in the most polite manner as if he were her own son. He might not be a 10, but how he takes care of his body, and the Noor given to him from Allah SWT will be enough to attract you for a life time making him an 11 in your book.
He will never put you down. His language will be pure and sweet. You will feel safe and beautiful with him, and he will inspire you to fulfill your Islamic duties as a wife to the best of your abilities
This is intended to be the first of many posts on the history of the development of Shi’i Imami theology.
There are various reasons why being familiar with the history of Imami theology can be of benefit for not just a Shi’a, but as well as a student of Shi’i Islam. As its history begins with the era of the Imams (s), to know how they and their companions dealt with various theological issues, challenges, and what sort of responses would they provide to those questions acts as a window through which we can attempt to learn about the religion itself. The presence of the Imams pre-Ghaybah itself makes it an important time-period to study as companions would engage in theological discussions and debates, while often bouncing off ideas and opinions off the Imams
, who were of course seen as sources of guidance. While there were companions whose views and opinions were incorrect at times, and we find reports where the Imams (s) had to correct them or point their errors out, nevertheless we also find that many of the companions had views which were a direct result of the teachings of the Imams (s). Furthermore, without being familiar with the history of the development of Imami theology, particularly the era during the lifetime of the Imams (s), it is difficult to understand the numerous theological narrations that exist in the hadith corpus, as we would be reading them without any context.
The history of Imami theology shows that it went through various phases and encountered numerous challenges during the course of these phases. We see various factions of companions forming due to differing methodologies, approaches, and understanding of religious teachings. As such, we can identify a few distinct groups forming during the lifetime of the Imams (s) themselves, such as that of Hisham bin Hakam, Hisham bin Salim and Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar. Each of these figures influenced later individuals (for example: Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman, Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Yaqtin, and Muhammad bin Sinan respectively) and this transmission of methodology and inclinations was carried on until the next few centuries. On the other hand, we also see that various cities were the hub for these debates and discourses, in different time periods. In this series, we intend on covering some aspects of the history of some of these schools from the perspective of their geographic location.
In this introductory piece, we will very briefly glance over the most important cities where the Imamis were active (or at times inactive) in theological discourse during the course of time, and impacted subsequent generations (positively or negatively). These schools can be narrowed down to the following cities:
1) Medina: Generally speaking, historians will begin their discussions on the history of the development of Imami theology after the incident of Karbala with the Imamate of Imam Sajjad (s). After the incident of Karbala, two Shi’i theological schools of thought were prevalent in Medina, one that was centered upon Imam Sajjad (s) and one on the personality of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (son of Imam Ali). This time period has not been heavily studied unfortunately, even though recent efforts have been made by some scholars to research this time period.
2) Kufa: Without much delay, the hub of the Imami theological school moved to the city of Kufa. While it is true that the presence of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s) was in Medina, for various reasons, it was Kufa where Imami theological discourse was prevalent and took a distinct form and shape. This shift took place in the beginning of the 2nd century Hijri, and various Muslim sects, such as the Khawarij and Mu’tazalites, were participating in theological dialogue in this city. It was in the city of Kufa where the earliest foundations for a distinct Imami identity were laid and extremely important figures were taught and trained by the Imams (s) themselves. Many Kufans would travel back and forth between Kufa and Medina in order to access the Imams (s) directly and then bring their teachings to the city of Kufa.
3) Baghdad: After theological discourse in Kufa began diminishing, Baghdad slowly began to flourish. However, the Shi’as – who were generally located in the suburbs of Karkh – had no substantial influence, nor participation for at least a century between 180 to 280 Hijri. Due to various political restrictions imposed on the Shi’ias, many companions of the Imams (s) were unable to participate in any theological dialogue nor defend their beliefs. Thus, we see narrations indicating that an Imam may have prohibited certain companions from further engaging in theological debates – evidently a political and strategic move. Important figures such as Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman and others were imprisoned during this time for their activities. All in all, we find no significant progress nor theological discourse by the Imamis during this century. A few names that appear here and there are also of those whose identify and biography is relatively unknown.
It was only a century later when we see the Nawbakhtis (such as Abu Sahl and Abu Muhammad) lifting up the fallen reins and re-enter theological discourse. Interestingly, we have no record of whose students the Nawbakhtis were and neither do they point towards any teacher. Although it is known that they had access to a personal library, so it is possible that they heavily utilized the heritage that had been passed down to them. In any case, this new phase in Baghdad reaches its climax during the time of Shaykh Mufid and Sayyid Murtadha, and ends with the departure of Shaykh Tusi to Najaf.
4) Qom: As the Kufan school was coming to its end, it was the city of Qom that slowly become its substitute. The Kufan heritage was transferred over to Qom by various different scholars. Although the Kufan school had both a theologian and traditionalist-theologian movement, in Qom it was primarily a traditionalist-theologian methodology that had importance. So while many of the scholars of Qom did have a methodology and a framework within which they would intellectualize, they were still distinct from someone who would be deemed a pure theologian.
5) Rey: A lot of Baghdad and Qom’s heritage was transferred to Rey with the immigration of some of the Imami scholars to the city. Thus it is seen as an important city where Imami theological discourse was prevalent for about one-and-half to two centuries.
6-7) Hilla and Jabal al-Amel: Much of Rey’s heritage was transferred over to Hilla, and the theological developments within Hilla were transmitted to Jabal al-Amel by Shahid Awwal and Shahid Thani. However, since there were no important works produced within the latter city on theology, Jabal al-Amel is essentially considered an extension of Hilla and not seen as a city where significant progress was made.
8) Najaf: One stream from Hilla’s theological school of thought moved to Najaf through the efforts of Fadhil Miqdad – a student of Shaheed Awwal. The former would accompany him till Damascus before the latter was martyred.
9/10) Fars & Isfahan: After Najaf, it was the school of Fars and Isfahan during the Safavid dynasty that took charge of being the hub of Imami theological discourse.
These 10 cities were without a doubt the most influential when it comes to discussing the history of the development of Imami theology. While the starting point of this historical timeline may be seen in Medina chronologically speaking, it was in the city of Kufa where a distinct Imami Shi’i theology was born. As much work has been done on the city of Kufa and Baghdad – some of it also available in English – we wish to begin our series of posts with the city of Qom, a city less discussed or often cast aside as insignificant. As the histories of some these schools are tightly connected (particularly that of Kufa, Qom and Baghdad’s), we will of course at times be forced to discuss certain aspects of the Kufan or Baghdad school in order to better understand certain aspects of Qom’s role and influence on Imami theology.
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Let's spread some light on how life is when you're an introvert. Now, I've seen many people claiming to be introverts when they read about us but just because you can relate to a few of the things doesn't make you one of us, you loser! Everyone's a bit introverted and a bit extroverted. If you're more introverted, you're an introvert and the same for an extrovert. If you're somewhere in between, you're an ambivert and that's no fun at all. Seriously, you're no fun.
For starters, introverts are pretty selective about who they talk to mostly. For the ones we do care about, we talk a lot, we're chatterboxes! But we're more on the listening side. When with someone new, we listen, we smile, we don't know what would be the right thing to say... Yups! But even after being with friends, it becomes exhausting. Extroverts are like leeches, always ready to feed on energy when it comes to socializing. Poor introverts only give energy when we socialize which makes it really exhausting after some time. So, we want to be left alone for some time so we can recharge. So, keep away!
See that bubble up there, extroverts? Try not to burst it, you monsters! We feel really safe inside of it. Yeah, you can't see it but you can get an idea of what you're being really annoying. Trust me! We're amazing once we let you in that bubble but try to keep it slow and let us learn if you're our type or not. We're sensitive, you know... Nah! We're not. At least all introverts aren't. We can be heartless too. *wink*
Calls... Oh! Please don't call... We can chat through Whatsapp or how about SMS? If you're an introvert, you'll get it.
Although we don't like to socialize much but getting ignored isn't that great either. We're pretty happy by ourselves too. Unlike extroverts, it's not that easy for an introvert to get bored. Especially when you have shiachat to waste time on... Or reading too. Yes, we do that too.
Like I said before, we're great listeners but an introvert with a great imagination will get lost in his own fantasy world the moment you start to get boring. Don't believe me? The next time you've been talking to an introvert for too long, when you finish, you'll see him/her smile only. You know why? Cuz s/he has no idea what you said. So, s/he just smiled. I do that a lot too. Extroverts do that too... So rude of them!
Well, I think that's all for now. I can't really come up with anything else for now. Update complete! Time for gaming!
Introvert, signing out!
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.
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After having many people telling me I should write my story and that it will be beneficial for my shia brothers and sisters, that it would be inspirational for their religious path, I decided to write it.
Humans from the very beginning of time fight for something to believe in, they struggle with reality as they try to make sense of their world. As I grew up I always felt there was an ultimate truth and knowledge hidden from us, I just didn’t know where and how to look or even What to look for. I used to lead a very very reckless sinful lifestyle, since I was trying to find my place in this world in my own ways so I decided to try everything and live with no boundaries. I always felt this deep Emptiness that was never filled, so I did what I had to do in order to discover what might fill this empty hole. I even experienced the power of love but it was all just temporary, everything in this world is temporary. I loved to try everything, I had neither moral standards nor basics to follow, I used to love life and was living it to its fullest. I felt independent like nothing and no one can stop me because I was free to do whatever I want but in reality I had all these invisible chains around me pulling me back deceiving me to think that I was liberated (that’s one of the tricks of the devil he makes you think you’re free but you’re his prisoner).
I felt the happiness instantly with the moment and later when I’d go home I would feel depressed and sad like I was missing something, I couldn’t sit alone I couldn’t stand home, my soul was always agitated and unsettled.
I studied Christianity before but it was all science fiction. Studying Christianity made me even more lost and drove me to doubt the existence of God, which was worse; I would die just to know what can fill this empty space I always had. I asked myself is that it? We came here to eat sleep party have fun work make a family and die...
One night when I hit rock bottom after I finished this self-discovery journey and I arrived nowhere, I started calling upon God (without even being sure that He existed and listening), I told him God if you were there if you existed please help me find my way, suddenly and out of nowhere there was a man whom I’ve met 4 years ago, he started coming up to my mind which was so weird because I had no interest what so ever to talk to him and see him(because he was a muslim and I didn’t like Islam just like any other brainwashed Christian middle eastern person) so I contacted him, turns out he was a committed Shia who triggered my path into Islam, and in the same time I met a Christian man who was living in France and he converted the same month as I did, this was God telling me that I’m not alone, this was God giving me a kind of motif, I mean what are the odds?
Whoever wants God, God will answer him, He will not leave him alone, but only few people really want God all they want is this world, they are blinded by it.
When I found Islam, my ultimate destiny, and when I found God it felt so ecstatic and intense, I felt this deep power and enlightenment, It was entirely uplifting, deeply emotional and pleasurable, I felt a deep joy that finally my existence made sense, that God gave me a purpose to live for to strive for and to fight for, to reach the highest level of existence. He chose me out of all these people who are lost, I had met more than 2,000 people and he just gave me this special gift, showed me the door to his secrets, Our(shias) status To God is special, this is why we should fight this world and fight ourselves and desires and never give up, to be worthy of this privilege that God gave us. When I personally realized this it was time for the hard work. When we understand the power laying behind us we would never have to fear anything ever again in our entire life.
I was so afraid to jump into this transition, my faith was weak and I had doubts at some moments. I had to give up my friends, my activities, habits, shut off my desires, change my morals, my rules, my lifestyle, my priorities, my social life, my behavior… I was shifting my core belief which is something very hard for a human to change. I was trapped and afraid at some point; I didn’t know how to do it. I was never home, I was never alone, I was lazy, I never respected my parents, I didn’t prioritize anything except my plans, I’d quite jobs because my work schedule didn’t match my entertaining plans...This is how much I was messed up and attached to the world.
I seeked happiness and the more you feel happiness the more you want it, it’s like a drug, so you indulge more in dunya activities until you are completely lost. Happiness wasn’t created to feel here, happiness is for the next world, we should never waste time here getting attached to this world because we will do eventually whatever we want in the afterlife. We are born to pass this test and to return to our original home where Prophet Adam was created. It took me time to realize this.
My friends were atheists, mushrikin, infidels, and almost all my activities were sinning, I quite them all and now I don’t befriend no one but the lovers of Ahlulbayt. It was very hard and I suffered deeply at some point, washing away your sins purifying yourself from them is EXTREMELY hard, it’s like you’re pulling forward and the devil is pulling you back all the time. But God didn’t let me feel I’m alone, he rewarded me, gave me a steady job where I can be fully committed in, gave me this feeling of security and self-satisfaction, gave me Many privileges that I didn’t possess before. This entire process made me someone else; I became very mentally strong and different. Islam isn’t for sissies; Islam needs strengths, stability, mental toughness, brave hearted individuals who take sacrifices for God, who are ready to face the evil and the challenges of this world.
The equation is simple, as much as you give God as much as He gives you in return. After I was guided I tested myself, tried doing some things that I did in the past to see if this was a phase in my life, but I felt disgusted ashamed weak and I became afraid of death. Now if I touch a man by mistake or if I eat something from a table that has alcohol on it without paying attention I would think about it for 3 days feeling guilty because I disappointed God. I do not fear punishment as much I fear to fail God, because I love Him, that is the true worshiping. Each time I do something to get closer to God I feel my soul elevating I feel that I’m gaining spiritual power and my perspective towards the world changes… Everyone told me it's just a phase but as each day is passing I'm falling more in love with this religion and with Ahlulbayt. I still have hard time committing to my religion as my parents don't know(or kinda in denial), so i practice everything in secrecy.
To conclude I want to tell you, brothers and sisters something, this world is evil, you shouldn’t love it nor seek to have fun in it, you should hate it and never ever be dependent on something related to it, even though I know the truth behind my past life how it’s all evil empty and worthless, it still tempts me sometimes till this very day, the love of this world isn’t easy so don’t get yourself trapped because once you’re in it’s so difficult to get out. Don’t go to hell to enjoy life here; don’t sell your soul to the devil.
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:
- Weight: 91kg
- 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
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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One day I was in the store, and while my husband was taking his time picking a birthday card for someone, a nearby bookshelf piqued my interest. I glanced over it--mostly cheesy-looking teen romance novels. But there were also quite a lot of children's coloring books for sale. I thumbed through some of the coloring books. Disney princesses galore. And then the idea struck. Why don't I make a Muslim coloring book so that Muslim parents options aren't limited to scantily clad princesses and other non-Muslim characters when buying coloring books for their kids?
So I began.
InshaAllah my goal is to have a completed book by the end of next summer (20-25 pages). In the meantime I am selling individual page downloads as I complete them.
I've created this blog so that I can have feedback, advice, suggestions, etc. And of course, shameless self-promotion I haven't done any other promotion yet--I wanted to start here on Shiachat because it's more comfortable and I can get some advice. InshaAllah later when I have more pages, I can start branching off to more social media outlets.
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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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.
In the mornings, especially on weekends, we prefer to have a light breakfast. At such times, our favourite option is to buy idlis from the local idli-wale "uncle".
The idlis are of an average, and sometimes above-average, quality. Not too great, not bad either.
However, the more than the idlis, the more fulfilling task is to buy them. Why, do you ask? Why, it is because of the behaviour of the idli-wale 'uncle', of course.
There are a number of unwritten rules-
- The customer has to stand and wait for his eye contact.
- He will ask in the humblest manner possible- Aapko kya dun? (What would you like). This, he says to everyone, kids and adults alike.
- The customer is supposed to reciprocate the humility and say what he wishes to have. In my case, I say- 6 idli de dijiye.
- He will take the 6 idlis and put them in a plastic bag, slowly, but steadily. No customer is supposed to display their impatience. That is how it is supposed to be.
And then comes the best part.
Probably one of the most expensive among the ingredients is the copra chutney(Chutney made out of coconut cream). When he pours it into another small plastic bag, he will ask if we need more.
If the customer says that he wants more of it, uncle obliges, not grudgingly, but by asking, "is that enough for you?" (Itna chalega?). The customer, based on the Indian customs, is supposed to say "yes" and he/she does that.
Majority of the customers of the "uncle" are kids and young adults. They follow all the rules of buying idlis from the "uncle". But if someone does not, you will never ever see the "uncle" lose patience. I have never seen him shout, get angry or say anything negative.
Just a day ago, one of the workers (I think he must be a relative), got a dosa stuck on the frying pan. Not because of his fault, but probably due to some issue with the heat, I am not sure. I heard not a single word of reprimand, negativity or any indication of anger or loss. I offered to buy the 'broken' dosa(because the dosa was still edible and I knew that uncle would give it to me at a cheaper rate and I love dosas), but he refused stating that they will eat it and make another one for the waiting 'patient' customer. Uncle was more concerned about the customer's wait time, than he was of the loss of the dosa.
The "uncle" is quite old- over 60. One of his children, who helps him, I have seen him regularly perform wudhu, even when it is not namaz time.
It is no wonder then that I regularly ask my household, if they wish to have idlis for breakfast.
The behaviour of the uncle refreshes my faith in God SWT and in humanity. May God SWT shower his blessings on the "uncle" and his family and keep/put them onto the straight path.
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