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

    By Ali

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

    After over 300 years of slavery, 99 years of segregation, and 52 years of tumultuous race relations, the race issue still dominates public discourse in America. While most of the world has normalized relations with the descendants of former slaves, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in America was unique in its shear brutality. African Americans were stripped of their names, languages, cultures, and religions, and were deprived of a knowledge of self that other peoples had. "Black" became synonymous with cruelty, ugliness, and bleakness, while Social Darwinist whites put themselves in a position of natural superiority.

    African Americans fought long and hard to gain the same civil rights and liberties as ordinary Americans. Since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 however, the race issue has remained salient, with spikes in relevance every so often. In general, black people still suffer indiscriminately from police brutality, high rates of incarceration, the breakdown of the family, and lower access to education, health care, and high-paying jobs. Some of these issues stem out of policies that overlook African American issues, while others are more social. Several movements were established to redress these serious issues, such as the NAACP, Urban League, the Rainbow PUSH coalition, as well as the Nation of Islam and other religious organizations. In recent years, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become the leading activist group on the streets and on social media, bringing awareness to issues in the African American community and seeking to redress them through progressive policies.

    Hamza Yusuf recently suggested that Muslims should not join BLM, in fear that more identity politics would exacerbate race relations in America. The Shaykh went on to naively use trigger phrases like "black on black violence", "more whites are shot by police", and "police are not all racist", which had him labelled as a racist by legions of hipster Muslims on Twitter. As many have pointed out, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf comes from a pretty privileged background - he grew up in a wealthy neighbourhood, his relatives were wealthy, his parents were well-educated, and he went to private schools (see here). His family marched with the civil rights movement and against the Vietnam War, and explored different world religions, but like a lot of 60-70s hippies, the Shaykh is probably still a bit more out of touch with the working class than the average person. Still though, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has actually lived in with bedouins in Africa, and he has spoken about poverty, inequality, and the civil rights movement on multiple occasions. His resume, as a Shaykh that balances the best of Western education with traditional Sunni scholarship, is far more impressive than that of most Western Muslim speakers.

    On one hand, Hamza Yusuf could have worded himself better to address the very real race problem in the United States. Yes, there are anti-discriminatory laws in place, but clearly a lot more needs to be done to redress the race issue - body cameras on cops, judicial reform, and affirmative action in police departments in minority communities are a good step. But the onslaught against Shaykh Hamza has a few people scratching their heads - first off, why don't we get the same outrage when a Muslim speaker says something insensitive about Shiites, or when a speaker gleans over racist or sexist injustices in the Muslim world? More pertinently though, is what Shaykh Hamza said wrong? Hamza Yusuf is a Sufi, which attracts a lot of liberal ears to listen to him, but he is a traditionalist and a conservative at his core, and so every now and then he will say something that will get this type of reaction (this time being the climax).

    Hamza Yusuf's argument is, if BLM is just an angry rebuke to the system, with few clear policy goals, then it has the potential of making problems worse - more violence against police officers (more police have died in 2016 than in the last 5 years, some during BLM protests), and worse race relations in coming months and years. BLM is more than just the issue of police brutality - it is a living, breathing organization with its own motives and goals. For the purpose of this article, it is important for our minds to mentally separate BLM and police brutality for a moment. BLM in essence is a cadre of identity politics, which highlights one's race or gender as an essential quality in a person (rather than an accidental quality), and very much sees everything through the lens of racism. Hamza Yusuf said that this only helps create the type of "whitelash" we saw with the election of Trump, which will only make things worse for minorities and not better. Hamza Yusuf once said, ethics should be rooted in verbs and adverbs, not nouns and pronouns. I agree with this, and while racism and white privilege is real, we should talk about the *issues* that plague society and not just about identity.

    This controversy has caused me to think on multiple fronts. With regards to the Muslim community, it is clear that most Muslim youth identify with leftist politics, since it is multicultural and inclusive. Unfortunately, that comes with baggage: secularism, individualism, naturalism and religious skepticism, identity politics, LGBT rights, hookup culture and the normalization of sex, third wave feminism, body positivism, political correctness, and in general pro-revolutionary sentiments in almost every situation where even mild grievances exist. Balancing this with the Islamic tradition, which can be opposite on most of these issues, is particularly troublesome. The hipster Muslima with a rainbow scarf and a Guevara shirt marching at a Sl*tWalk is becoming increasingly more normal in Western Muslim communities.

    I also began thinking about how Black Lives Matter differs from earlier black organizations. There's no doubt that BLM is the cool kid on the block, whom every Muslim revolutionary wants to embrace (Jonathan AC Brown, Linda Sarsour, Suhaib Webb to name a few). However, are their goals the same as the black community, and are they consistent with Islam?

    In the 1990s, we saw another spike in relevance of the race issue, and this time, it was the Nation of Islam (NOI) under Louis Farrakhan that was the primary "race communicator" for black people in America. The NOI is a black nationalist American Muslim sect that differed from traditional Islamic views on theology and race. Irregardless of where the NOI may have deviated, the Nation of Islam organized a grassroots movement that brought black civil rights groups, religious groups, and activists together at the 1995 Million Man March. The Million Man March was a historic rally at Washington DC that brought leading African American figures together to demand justice and reproach, including Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani Ben Omar, and Minister Farrakhan.

    The Million Man March approached the issue of African American suffering in a very different way than BLM. First off, the March was only for black males, who were seen as the major agents of potential change in the Afro-American community. Over 72% of black children are born out of wedlock. Fatherlessness, which Hamza Yusuf mentions in his later apology lecture, is detrimental to any family, and leads to higher rates of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health problems. Considering the high rates of gang violence, incarceration, drug abuse, and unprotected sex among black males, any solution to the plight of African Americans must include black men. Secondly, the Million Man March sought to bring all religious organizations together to seek repentance and God's support. As people of faith, we don't see all suffering simply as a result of natural causes; rather some suffering can be a divine trial or chastisement, by which we must seek God's succor. The event's major themes were "Lessons from the Past", "Affirmation and Responsibility", and "Atonement and Reconciliation", and it was believed that the very real injustices that exist in America would only be solved through a return to traditional values. Thirdly, the Million Man March gave the means for thousands of black people to register as voters, making the black community a strong political bloc in the American electoral system. The event ended with a pledge to God that they would be good community members from that day forward.

    Black Lives Matter, on the other hand, has a very different vision for black America. It is, of course, absolutely secular, and blames the collective suffering of black people on white supremacy. Furthermore, not only does BLM sideline black fathers, but it ignores them completely on their website. BLM has a lot to say about the LGBT community and [presumably single] mothers, its guiding principles leaves straight black males out completely, despite the documented problems that fatherless homes can cause in the lives of youth. BLM even sees traditional "nuclear families" as somehow white supremacist, even though families in Africa are largely patriarchal and nuclear. Yusra Khogali, the leader of the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter (remember, Hamza Yusuf made his comments in Toronto), infamously tweeted about "killing men and whitefolks", and shared articles telling women to avoid conscientious black men. Khogali recently protested against Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, for refusing to use genderless pronouns like "xe" instead of "he" or "she". BLM also hijacked the Gay Pride Parade until their demands on the Pride organization were met, and hijacked a Bernie Sanders event in 2015. Millennial organizations like BLM are the reason why the alt-right exists, who also use the same frame of identity politics to identify as white nationalists to attack Muslims, blacks, women, and others. Contributing to the frame of identity politics can awaken the sleeping white-nationalist giant in Europe and North America, and awaken far right-wing voices that want to push all minorities away.

    Not only does BLM stand for things that are totally irreconcilable with Islam, such as the LGBT issue, but it is devoid of the religiosity found in other black movements, the participation of straight black men, and it does not responsibly address issues within the black community. It is focused on "fighting the system", rather than clamping down on a hookup culture that is destined to plague another generation with fatherless households and STDs. Rather than solving the problems related black fathers, it ignores their issues and fails to address them. It is common to find feminist circles that paint black fathers as irresponsible misogynists that are part of the problem and not the solution - this attitude can only make things worse.

    At the very least, the Nation of Islam encouraged a self-help approach: they promoted strong family values, they started rehabilitation programs for those affected by drugs and alcohol, they deployed their Fruit of Islam unit to stop riots and gang violence, they established their own schools and curricula, and they rid their community of the social ills that affect other black communities. BLM on the other hand is a Soros-funded intersectional liberal organization with an agenda that does not jive with Abrahamic religion.

    When women, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, and homosexuals began popularizing identity politics, it was a natural consequence that right-wing whites would start doing the same. Some people honestly believe that unless you are black, then you aren't capable of commenting on anything to do with the black community. A white person commenting on black affairs, even to defend black people, is considered a racist by liberals because he is "whitesplaining". Franchesca Ramsey recently appeared in a video arguing that very point. The result of this thinking however is potentially devastating. It means that white people will no longer speak up against racism, because they don't want to appear racist or patronizing. It also means that educated people with legitimate views will be silenced simply due to their race. It also limits outsider perspectives, which are always necessary in a democracy, as every group should be critiqued and held accountable by outsiders. Strange enough, it's also kind of contradictory to multiculturalism - by saying only black people can speak about black issues, and women can only be feminists, and males are inherently privileged, you end up segregating society further. A white male like Hamza Yusuf speaking about race relations or women's issues does not contradict the ethics of our religion - I'm not saying he's right or wrong, I'm saying that he has the right to speak on these issues especially as a trained scholar.

    Let's keep in mind that the Muslim community in America in the 60s and 70s was largely an organic one (the biggest being Warith Deen Muhammad's movement), made up of working-class African Americans and white converts. The early Muslim immigrants to America even joined these communities and worked closely with them. But the big influx of bourgeois Muslim immigrants in the 80s and 90s, with their foreign funding (from Saudi and elsewhere), established their own separate communities, bought out the existing communities / swallowed them up, then ostracized the native population, until they almost fizzed out completely. Now, some of those same upper-middle class children of immigrants think they can be pro-black because of their liberal arts degree, a Malcolm quote and a BLM march, yet they themselves would never marry a black person, or volunteer with the homeless or at a prison, or mingle with working-class people in general. As someone who has decent connections within the African American Muslim community in the U.S, I can tell you that these second-generation Muslims really mean nothing to them, and often do more harm than good.

    Overall, I agree with Mehdi that Muslims need to be doing more outreach with other communities - that includes the black community. We should also address racism in our own communities, which is more outward than in the average white community. In Trump's America, we cannot afford to stand alone; we need to do more for our cities and our Muslim and non-Muslim communities. We can reach out to black churches, support black businesses, and join civil rights organizations. At the same time, we cannot fall into the trap of supporting causes that are antithetical to our tradition.

    2a3dfdbc06d8321f23e99f7fa1adb143.jpg

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  2. 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.  

     

     

     

     

     

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

    So a nice and peaceful experience.

    All signage is in Arabic and good English.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    IMG_1764b.jpg

  4. hameedeh
    Latest Entry

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

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

  5. What makes a Muslim youth leave his life in Marseille, London, New York or Kosovo behind and join a group like IS/Daesh? What does Daesh promise, socio-politically speaking, that the materialist liberal West can't offer? 

    It offers the same utopia that the zionist state PR firms advertise to jewish youth from Brooklyn, North London and Krakow.

    The attractiveness of being able to BE the 'ideal' Muslim, living in the 'ideal' islamic state, ruled by a descendant of the Prophet, is no different to the effective propaganda of ideal jewish life in occupied Palestine.

    Muslim youth living in the West no longer have to put up with islamophobic oppressive intrusive and humiliating governments. they can fly Syria or Iraq, look and behave they way they like,  and become the 'TRUE' representation of what it means to be Muslim. the added bonus is that Daesh is in a state of war with anybody who refuses to join this utopia, and the reward in the end are 72 pure virgins etc.. A simple life and death, without the headache of juggling multiple identities, switching one off and turning the other on depending on the situation. 

    Being a muslim youth does not mean anything to the liberal materialist westerner. he doesn't care about your religion or your God. he's got problems up to his nose, and instead wants someone to propose solutions AS A HUMAN BEING, or at least as a Brit, or American. Keep your faith at home and tell me how to resolve the rising homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse, crowded jails, broken families, abused children, millions on food stamps,....

    Multiple factors have reduced Muslims in the West to the insignificant entities they are. A major one, in my opinion, are the establishment scholars who push the individualistic, tribal behaviours and passive worldviews. Instead of a collective and united socio-political force, providing perfect examples on the ground on how to resolve issues i mentioned above, we have a pakistani mosque, an arab mosque, a turkish mosque, a wahabi mosque, an ahmadi mosque, a shirazi circus and no socio-political representation with power to influence discourse and policy.      

    Daesh on the other hand, has done just that. It has given YOU the Muslim youth yearning for social impact, and true representation, to live your socio-political utopia in the caliphate and reach your perfection. 

  6. Salaam:

    If you've ever suffered from bullying, you know how traumatic it can be. The stress, the anxiety, the intimidation throughout the painful encounter. Not to mention the anticipation for the next one. Never a moment to take off the chain of fear, unless you are lucky to preoccupy yourself or have supportive friends. 

    I've been fortunate to not experience severe bullying myself, although I've had occasional small incidents here and there. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen for everyone. At times, the presence of bullies are unavoidable, and you have little control over the matter. If someone bullies you primarily because of your name, your faith, your background, your physical appearance, your family, or something so intrinsic to you, then there is little you could have done to prevent their allure to you. So don't be hung up about it. The fault is 100% theirs, and nothing to do with you whatsoever. Unless you believe your very existence puts you at fault. But you are a proud and self-assured person, and such thoughts do not cross you! 

    On the flip side, bullies can be attracted to you by things you can control. In this instance, you can take better steps to prevent their attraction to you. Don't involve yourself in compromising situations. Be knowledgeable. Learn self sufficiency. Keep your faith and dignity. Focus on your outside work and do not expose your personal vulnerabilities carelessly. Find means of support and others to "back you up". Don't give them material to poke fun at you at. Don't make yourself stick out in embarrassing or unnecessary ways. Mosquitoes need blood to feed. Don't make it easy for them. 

    If you are knee deep in a long standing bullying relationship, your willingness or unwillingness to be a victim is completely within your control. Letting it affect you is within your control. The cycle of bullying requires both parties to maintain the cycle. The bully targets the victim, the victim enables the bully further through their weakness, and the cycle continues. You have control to slow or halt this cycle, and the bully can't do anything about it!

    If anyone can relate to this, I hope this has been helpful for you. Stay tuned, I will write another blog post specifically about cyberbullying and internet psychology. 

  7. 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

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    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.

  8. Shian e Ali
    Latest Entry

    :bismillah:

    :salam:

    Our body is but a vessel for our soul. Unfortunately, most people don't understand that. People have divided themselves based on how they look. They judge others based on that. Oh! He's black... He's white... Then, we have orange people too (Trump)

    You know how they say, "If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies. How very different our ideals of beauty would be."

    The way you care about where you live, what you wear, what you use, caring about your body is essential, no doubt about that. But getting carried away with it, is different. We may spend hours getting ready, to look good, before going somewhere but how often do we reflect upon our inner self? How do we treat others? "Ugh! I'm not going to meet him/her!" Just because you manage to beautify your body doesn't make you beautiful if your soul, your heart, your mind are still the same; are still corrupted. 

    Focus on your bodies, your appearance but don't forget to freshen up your mind, your heart and your soul along the way. Looks have hardly any worth in the sight of Allah. Focus on your soul. Once you're dead, you're going to lose your body anyway. It's the soul that's the real you!

    Stop judging people. Learn to understand them on a deeper level. A vessel doesn't define what's in it. You never know which vessel, which oyster has the best pearl in it, unless you learn to recognize what's in it.

  9. :salam:

    As the school-term comes to an end, and there was some time that I could spare for my self, I've thought a lot about how my views on life, religion, man's relationship with God, and the world around me, have changed over the years. This is going to be a pretty random rant - but I guess that is what blogs are for :confused:.

    As of now, it has been 4 years since I moved to the seminary in Qom, and while there are many brothers and sisters here who spent many years on ShiaChat, many of them have either asked for their accounts to be deleted, with all of their posts, or have completely abandoned the forum all together or visit once in a while. I'm one of the handful of those who have not asked for my account to be deleted. All my posts from my early teenage years to now mid and late-20s are there. Personally, I never felt I had anything to hide - my posts are pretty much who I am. One can clearly see the early phase of an excited teenager learning a thing or two about the religion, with very deep-rooted presumptions about life, to a hyper kid getting accustomed to a some-what celebrity status, loved & hated by so many, to then entering university life and maturing up (some may disagree :blush:), and eventually entering into the work-force, married, moving to a different country, kids etc. While browsing through my earliest posts back in 2004, I was really able to just reflect on not just how much I have changed, but even how much influence (positive or negative) people on this forum have had on me. Of course this was not happening in a vacuum. I was interacting with all sorts of people - albeit behind a screen. There are so many real names, user-names, and names that I don't even remember - all of them - that I can recall, and in hindsight, see how each and everyone of them played a role in the development of my ideas, the stances and decisions I made in life, the open-mindedness I developed, or even the doubts I may have developed over various issues, and the questions that would remain unanswered for months and years.

    This is very obvious for me even while I study in the seminary. The questions I may ask, the extent of tolerance I may show, the critiques I may mention, the willingness to really question some of our "famous" theological or historical views - some of these things make other students and at times even teachers really uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I believe this is in part due to what transpired on this forum and I am happy for it. This forum was like a large community center. It wasn't a community center for a specific ethnicity, or a culture, or converts or a specific gender. This forum for a large part was a community for those who either didn't have access to a real community where they lived, or were not satisfied with the communities that they belonged to. I believe it represented quite accurately the state of the Shi'a (primarily in the West) for a large part. It collectively represented the views that persisted and continue to persist amongst the Shi'a. Unfortunately, it is this portion of the Shi'a populous that often gets unnoticed outside of virtual reality. The inability of those leading us (for the most part) to really dissect and decipher the state of an average Shi'a's mindset, has really been one of the major issues for our communities in the West. The ignorance towards the epistemological framework that an average Shi'a growing in the West acquires through the education system or simply by living there, the delusional presumption that somehow a sub-culture contained within the 4-walls of a building will be able to preserve itself and overcome a dominant culture outside, the satisfaction of merely entertaining the audience with shallow lectures & speeches - while not addressing important and crucial matters: the cure for all of this seems to be have been missing in the last few decades, primarily due to ignorance towards it.

    On a rare encounter I may have with a lost-long SCer, Its interesting to see how many stayed religious as they were, or were irreligious and become religious, or remained irreligious, or how so many are now going through a faith crisis as they have grown and began questioning and pondering over life's crucial mysteries. 

    Reflecting back on what views I held and what views I hold now, nostalgia overtook me and I started browsing through old posts, old pictures, audio and video files that I still have saved from a decade ago (had a seriously good laugh over some audio files of @SO SOLID SHIA I still have with me). It is really weird how all of a sudden around 2012/2013 the forum just died. As if everyone switched off their plugs and disappeared. People definitely have to move on with their lives, no doubt about that. Of course there were some people who left much earlier, but this sudden silence is really absurd and that it wasn't replaced with a new batch of talented, and educated individuals is really hard to explain.

    Perhaps those members who are still lingering around from the early 2000s ( @Gypsy @DigitalUmmah @Darth Vader @Abbas. @Haji 2003 @Abu Hadi @Wise Muslim @Qa'im @notme) and are still in touch with those who have left, maybe they can work on a ShiaChat Reunion of some sort. Perhaps get in contact with old members and request them to make a moment's appearance and leave some remarks on what they are up to in life! What changes have taken place in your lives, in your views, in your lifestyle - if any? There were some members I had such a great time with, and it felt as if we would remain friends forever. It would be great to be able to reconnect with them.

    @Baatil Ka Kaatil  @Matami-Shah @Zain @Hasnain @Abdulhujjah @Peer @fyst @Syedmed @Nida_e_Zahra @hmMm @SpIzo @venusian @sana_abbas @fatimak @HR @asifnaqvi @Bollywood_Hero @phoenix @blessing @zanyrulez @wilayah @Hajar @Zuljenah @LaYdee_110 @fadak_166 @raat ki rani @Friend of All @queenjafri @Simba @Path2Felicity @3ashiqat-Al-Batoul @-Enlightened @karateka @A follower @hameedeh @lethaldefense @kaaju barfi @Friend of All @Ya Aba 3abdillah ...there are dozens of other members if I keep going.

  10. Logical reasoning

    Intellectual arguments

    Rational recognitions

    Eternal reflections

    Purity of spirit

    Eternal soulfulness

  11. :salam:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  12. 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


     

  13.     Image result for bismillah

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

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

    Holy Quran 57:20 

    Going Astray Part 3 - The Trap

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

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

    Imam Sadiq(a.s) says. 

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

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

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

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

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

    'Hub' in this context has to do with 

    1) The value and importance we assign to something

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

    Let me give an example. 

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

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

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

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

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

     

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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

  14. Salaam everyone.

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

     

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    Bismillah

    Assalaamu alaikum

    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. 

    Muslim Hijabi Coloring Book Page Download - Muslimah Lady With MugMuslim Hijabi Coloring Book Page Digital Download - Muslimah Lady and a Bottle Palm Tree

    Muslim Hijabi Coloring Book Page Digital Download - Muslimah Lady and Kitten

     

    Download here

  15. 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.

  16. Salaam Alaykum. 

    During the occultation of the twelve  Imam, Imam Mahdi (afs), what should be the roles of the Shiah and the lovers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) in preparations towards his reapperance?

    Do share your view please. 

    Thanks. 

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    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.

  17. Just gathering a number of posts here, that sparked a desire to delve deeper into the question of Mental Health among the Muslims, and how it is affected by their relationship with Allah.

    Thinking on it particularly tonight, as I slip back into a heavy feeling of non-motivation, and occasionally swing up from it, when I remember Allah, and muster the energy for Ibadah.

    I have responsibilities that require more of me than this partial-existence, yet there must be some reason for this emotional and spiritual obstacle.

    Am I falling short in some aspect? That it can cause me to focus on nothing else in life but Allah [to the point where seeking Rizq, keeping good relations, and fulfilling promises falls by the wayside]. Or is this a hidden blessing? A test to endure, and Insha'Allah, to overcome.

    Stuck between a deep desire to please Allah, and a feeling of complete incapability to take even small actions toward doing so. Left with a Whole Heart, which feels too Hollow.

    Ya Allah Adrikni
    His mercy and kindness is too great to have left a sincere seeker without a solution,
    Yet there seems to be no substance in the space where I expect it.
    So perhaps I am looking in the wrong place or in the wrong manner.
    Either way, this self and nafs must transform and develop.

     

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