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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?
Western fixation on freedom has a long, crystallizing history. In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in England, which ended the unilateral authority of the King. The King was imposing heavy taxes on the barons, who were wealthy aristocratic men, to fight a failed war. The barons rebelled against the King, and demanded that a committee of barons be established. The King would need to consult this committee before introducing new taxes. Certain legal rights were also introduced to the barons. This was the first big step towards freedom.
Fast forward to the 1500s; a new continent was "discovered" (i.e. Europeans found out about it). A major motivation for men to risk the high seas and migrate to an entirely New World was to avoid taxation and government overreach. They were able to seize vast, fertile properties without much nuisance. Freedom.
Around the same time, the Protestant Reformation was taking place, and most North-Western Europeans were using it as an opportunity to break away from church tithes and indulgences. Freedom.
Fast forward to the 1700s. The American Colonies rebel against the British because of "taxation without representation." Freedom.
Then in the 1800s. The Confederates rebel against the Union to prevent the North from intervening in their textile industry. The Union abolishes slavery. Freedom.
Here, we see a crystallization of yeomanry in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture, which peaks in the American South. They have a strong distrust in government, public programs, and taxation. There is a strong "what's mine is mine" culture, where clichés like "the only things you can't avoid is death and taxes" thrive. "Conservative" to them mostly means "smaller government, lower taxes". In short, they believe that the freer they are, the happier they will be. Debates in American politics, from abortion to gay marriage to taxes, are all based on conceptions of freedom. It is also the theme of so many Hollywood films.
Feminism is rooted in the same freedom-seeking individualist liberalist mindset. Whatever gets in the way of women's liberation - even if it is God Himself - must be cast aside.
Freedom in Islamic literature would be "huriyya", which is really just a legal technicality - you are either a slave, or you are "free". Otherwise, our books do not take much stock in the concept. We do have treatises on "huquq", which is often translated as "rights", but a more accurate translation is "responsibilities towards". For example, the haq of a woman is the responsibilities of an Islamic society towards that woman. It is an onus.
Responsibility and duty often fly in direct contradiction to freedom. Yes, we have free will, but Islam legislates things that we *should* and *ought* to do, and there are consequences to not fulfilling those responsibilities.
Does freedom lead to happiness? It is actually our responsibilities that often make us happy. There is no growth in a care-free life with no schedule, no family, no commitments, and no work. These things tie us down, but they also build us up, fulfill us, and make us better people. No pain, no gain. Likewise, despite the fact that women's rights have increased over the past few decades, women's happiness has decreased according to many studies. Individualism teaches us that self-sufficiency is the key to happiness, when in actuality, success is sometimes found in submission.
Islam literally means Submission, because it is the recognition that we are all imperfect servants. We do not choose which family we are born into, nor our race, nor our health, nor our age, nor our genes, and often, not even our social conditions. None of us are truly free, and the most free of us is not necessarily the happiest. Rather, true, heartfelt contentment is in knowing God. We are born to look for Perfection; we seek it in our looks, our grades, our power, our status, our spouse, our children; but we all - sooner or later - realize that Perfection lies only in Him alone. Trust in Him gives you that true contentment, the ability to let go of the wheel, fear nothing but Him and accept all that He allots for you. Contentment.
If you are a believer, then your worldview should reflect your belief. We cannot import a cultural ideology that convolutes our belief. In many respects, jahiliyya represented what many of us today consider to be "freedom". But the Prophet Muhammad (s) came with accountability, and that turned the entire world around.
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Gham E Hussain is when you wake up in the morning thinking, how the AhlulBayt (A.S) must have slept in Karbala.
Gham E Hussain is when you think that how they must have done their Wuzu to pray Salatul Fajr without water.
Gham E Hussain is when you sit for breakfast you get tears in your eyes thinking how did the AhlulBayt (A.S.) survive the entire 3 days without food.
Gham E Hussain is when you dress up for work and you are wearing your ornaments and you remember how they were snatched from Sakina (A.S.) how she must have cried in pain.
Gham E Hussain is when you wear your hijab and you get tears thinking how did Bibi Zainab (A.S.) go to Shaam without it.
Gham E Hussain is when you drop your child to school and think, how did Banu (A.S.) sleep that night without her children.
Gham E Hussain is when you look at your husband and think, how did Sakina (A.S.) bear the separation from her husband just some minutes after her wedding.
Gham E Hussain doesn’t come only by sitting in majlis, it comes from within you, it comes from your heart.
Gham E Hussain happens everyday, I repeat, every single day.
Labbaik Ya Hussain (A.S.)
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Most of you must be aware of the recent $350 billion weapons deal between saudi and trump, out of which deals worth $110 billions will be with immediate effect.
As expected the military-industrial-complex(hereafter referred to as MIC)-owned most of the mainstream media is jubilant.
In the words of trump-
"Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs."
Disclaimer- Trump, like almost all US presidents is merely a puppet, with more strings than an actual puppet. So I dont consider him to be very relevant. But the statement shows what the MIC wants the people to focus on.
The whole exercise is nothing but a continuation of the US-Saudi policy of transferring the wealth from West Asia to the West in return for maintaining the saudi kingdom in its supposedly dominating position.
Hejaz- The residence of the faithful
Hejaz was supposed to be a place of refuge. It holds much more religious significance for the muslims than it has political significance for the MIC, the Saudis and their ilk.
It was, and still is, supposed to be a place where any muslim from across the world can come and start living. And settle, if they wish to do so. This CANNOT HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED.
Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and all the other religious places belong to the muslims and cannot be at the whims and fancies of some clan.
The natural wealth, too, in and around these areas are to belong to all the muslims. The rulers are supposed to be the custodians, not owners, as is currently the case. At the most, they can take what they need and not what they want.
The trillions of dollars that they have extracted and squandered is wealth belonging to all the muslims who were driven out of these holy lands, who wished to settle there, but cannot due to the restrictions in place and the poor and the needy and the other deserving muslims across the world, who need to be bailed out.
One can object that since Saudi Arabia is an "independent" country, they can run their affairs as they wish. They can spend and squander as they wish. They can purchase $10 trillions worth of weapons. They can completely stop immigrants. And they can throw out the shias and the non-compliant sunnis if they wish. They can dole out the crumbs to the Africans Muslims to fight their wars in Yemen and other places.
My point is, Hejaz was never supposed to be a normal, usual, like any other country. It is a place with utmost religious significance for the muslims and the People of the book. It should have been a place of refuge for the poor and those driven out. A place for those looking for spiritual emancipation. For the ones looking who wished to visit the various houses of the towering figures islam- the Ahlul bayt and the righteous Sahaba. The center which redistributed wealth from the rich muslims to the poor.
And not be the extractor of muslim wealth and squanderer of haq of the muslims. Not to help bolster one of the most evil and hardcore anti-islamic forces, the whole gamut of the MIC, including its dutiful media. Not to support of the unjust system of the petro-dollar hegemony. Not to bribe the poor and malnourished nations with money to fight their wars against other weak nations.
Conclusion- The transfer of the haq of poor, needy and the deserving muslims and the money which otherwise could have been used to develop islamic cities, give citizenship to the refugees and any other muslim for that matter, create more STEM graduates among the muslims and the others and so on, is being used for an utter devastating effect. It is totally unfortunate, I and, i am sure that all the informed and religious muslims, are completely opposed to this initiative and wish that circumstances occur which will kill this deal.
PS- The old timers will remember that in 2010, a weapons deal worth $60 billion was signed between the MIC spokesman Obama and the Saudis. It was a huge news back then and a great PR challenge for the MIC mouthpieces. So they focused on the 'iranian threat'. Now they have a buffoon as a president. They want to use it as an advantage. They want the people to think- He is a buffoon, so he does not know what he is doing, cant blame him, there is no one to blame and no need to do so. Focus on jobs, people (happy face).
The vegetarian industry holds that killing animals is bad. No doubt killing an animal means that it suffers a premature death. However nowadays, at least, it is because of the human need for meat that millions of animals have a life that they otherwise would not have had - because there would not have been an economic reason for them to be bred.
The issue then, is one of premature death vs. not having a life at all.
If people believe that animals are sentient and have some level of intelligence and should not be slaughtered as a result - surely those very arguments can be used to against denying those animals life as a vegetarian lifestyle would.
So the solution to the ethical/sustainability issues around meat eating is not to ban the practice altogether, rather it is to do with proper animal husbandry and a level of animal protein consumption that is lower than at present.
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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?
For a long time, I enjoyed one specific aspect of religion which I considered the biggest treasufe of those who are devout: faith. An inquestiomable faith that won't allow doubt and fear to strike and shake our lives. When accepted religion, I understood faith as some sort of inner space in which you can grab energy and strength when you most need it. Without it, one searches for strength in the wrong sources (either in needing people, either in needing drugs, etc.). Faith allows our mind to gain strength from it when we need it, without requiring any external help. Reminds me much of the "Reconfiguring Happy" blog entry that Haji posted recently (great one imo).
However, there is need for doubt. And that is one thing many atheists can't even think of when trying to understand why the truths of religion seem to be hidden. Because it is in doubt when we are alert, and it is in doubt where faith becomes a valuable characteristic in people. It is in doubt where those who mantain firmly in the straight path will reach their original goal and not deviate.
Indeed, faith is required to know and stay in the right path. But doubt is also required to stay alert and value faith in ourselves more than anything else. The doubt not precisely about religion, but about what is decreed, about our fate. The biggest mistakes I have sadly committed and for which I can't explain with words how much I repent came not because of lack of faith, but lack of doubt, because I wasn't alert. But we tend to be like this. When money, health and our people are with us, we stop caring, we go on some sort of stand-by mode, and our faith isn't actively playing an important role in our faith. Think of it as a muscle that if not used ends up getting smaller and smaller,unable to work correctly when required. The cruelest moments of my life, which affected me in those three aspects (poverty, fear from being seropositive, and the separation of my parents) stroke me in such a way I really expected nothing but the worst type of life for me. But staying in the right path when doubt appears, even when we lose our hope, even when we blame God for everything we have lived, even when our cries fade in vain, even when we forget the count of our tears... is a manifestation of self love to what we used to be one day, to what we originally are. I really miss everything, absolutely all the good things I had, but farewells are required, and it is better to say farewell through God rememberance than getting deceived by doubt, as that will only drive us to depression, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or whatever decadent choice we end up taking (which will only make it worse).
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.
During the Imamate of Imam Baqir (s) and Sadiq (s), there was a lot of encouragement from the Imams to their students and companions to begin recording down traditions. As this shift from oral to a written tradition became a culture amongst them, there was naturally a large output of written works over the next century. Kufa being the hub for Shi’i activity naturally possessed the most written works at the time.
As scholars from Qom would initially travel to Kufa to acquire traditions of the Imams from the various scholars and companions that resided there, the tables would eventually turn as Kufa’s scholarly circles began to diminish and its heritage began being transferred to Qom. Scholars who played a role in transferring this heritage to Qom include personalities such as Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari, Ibrahim bin Hashim and others. To analyze this phenomenon in a little more detail, bibliographical works are utilized to see how books were being moved around from one place to another.
Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi and his son Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Barqi are two other individuals who played a role in this transfer. Most of their teachers appear to be from Kufa, whereas their students appear to be from Qom. Both father and son also seem to have traveled to Kufa like Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and tooks narrations from there and then returned back to Qom to transmit them. Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi seems to be the earliest person to have brought over some of the Kufan hadith heritage to Qom. However, he does not seem to have very cautious in who he would take narrations from and was accused of even narrating from weak narrators. There are also hardly any traditions that he narrates from reliable scholars such as Hasan bin Mahbub or Ibn Abi ‘Umayr. This eventually even leads to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari (the next scholar) exiling Muhammad al-Barqi out of Qom.
Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa al-Ash’ari who was one of the greatest scholars of Qom during his time, played a great role in bringing over the Kufan heritage by traveling to Kufa himself. Some of the works that he was able to bring back to Qom with himself were the book of ‘Ala bin Zarin, Aban bin ‘Uthman al-Ahmar, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr al-Bazanti, Hasan bin Mahbub al-Kufi, Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal, Safwan bin Yahya al-Bajali, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Najran, ‘Ali bin Hadid al-Mada’ini, Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, and Muhammad bin Sinan Zahiri.
What is of interest here is that the books Ahmad was bringing with him were those that were famous, well-known and reliable works within Shi’i scholarly circles. This indicates that Ahmad was very cautious of the narrations he accepted and transmitted, and we see this translating into him exiling many narrators from Qom (like the aforementioned al-Barqi) who he found to be narrating from weak narrators.
Husayn bin Sa’eed bin Hammad bin Sa’eed bin Mehran al-Ahwazi was another Kufan scholar who played a role in bringing over some works to Qom. Him and his brother Hasan first leave Kufa and travel to Ahwaz and then migrate to Qom. They bring with themselves the works of Rib’iyy bin ‘Abdillah al-Basri, Shu’ayb al-‘Aqr Qufiyy, Hamid bin Muthanna, Qasim bin Muhammad Jawhari al-Kufi, Qasim bin Sulayman al-Baghdadi, Qasim bin ‘Urwah al-Baghdadi, Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, Zur’ah bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami and more. Husayn also brings with himself thirty of his own written works to Qom and transmitted them to various students.
Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Ibrahim bin Musa al-Sayrafi – known as Abu Sumaynah, a Kufan narrator who was eventually exiled from Qom by Ahmad bin Muhammad as well, brought with him the book of Ishaq bin Yazid bin Ismail al-Ta’i, some books of Ismail bin Mehran bin Abi Nasr al-Sakuni, book of Hafs bin ‘Asim Salami, book of Sulaym bin Qays, book of Salam bin ‘Abdillah al-Hashimi, book of Haytham bin Waqid Jazari, book of Abu Badr al-Kufi and the book of Nasr bin Mazahim al-Kufi. He will be referred to again in a later post when we discuss the phenomenon of certain narrators being exiled from the city of Qom.
Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Jabbar al-Qumi – known as Ibn Abi al-Sahban, a companion of Imam Jawwad, Hadi, and ‘Askari. He was also one of those scholars who traveled to Kufa and brought back with him some of Kufa’s hadith heritage. His most important teachers in Kufa were Safwan bin Yahya, Muhammad bin Ismail Bazi’, and Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Fadhdhal. It doesn’t seem like he had any book of his own, and was merely recognized as someone who was able to transfer over some of the hadith works from Kufa to scholars in Qom. Most of his narrations in Qom are narrated by Ahmad bin Idris, ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Himyari, Muhmmad bin al-Hasan al-Saffar and Muhammad bin Yahya al-‘Attar.
Perhaps the most prolific scholar who is renowned for bringing much of Kufa’s hadith heritage to Qom is Ibrahim bin Hashim. He is remembered as the first scholar to bring Kufa’s hadith to Qom and to have spread it. Some of the works he brought with him were: the Asl of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Hamid, books of Ismail bin Abi Ziyad al-Sakuni, books of Hariz bin ‘Abdillah al-Sijistani, book of ‘Abdullah bin Sinan, books of Ibn Abi ‘Umayr, books of Muhammad bin Ismail bin Bazi’, Asl of Hisham bin Salim, some books of Mufadhdhal bin ‘Umar, book of Zayd Narasi, book of Sulaym Farra’, book of Yahya bin ‘Imran bin ‘Ali bin Abi Shu’ba al-Halabi just to name a few.
For at least the next 150 years, Qom would become the most important city when it came to Shi’i theological discourse. Eventually much of Qom’s hadith heritage does return back to Iraq, to the city of Baghdad when the likes of Shaykh Mufid begin gaining authority.
With regards to the topic of Kufa’s heritage moving over to Qom, Ibrahim bin Hashim is notably remembered by multiple scholars as being the first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom was him. However, when we look at the list above, we see that Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi, Husayn bin Sa’eed and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa were all scholars who had already brought with them a lot of traditions from Kufa much before Ibrahim bin Hashim. So why is it that the latter scholars gave this honour to Ibrahim rather than those who were prior to him? There could be a few possible reasons for this and a closer look at the other three scholars may help us in determining this.
One thing to note is that the attribution given to Ibrahim bin Hashim is that the works he brought to Qom were widely-spread, not that he merely transmitted them or passed them down to his students. That being said, when we consider al-Barqi, it is known that one of the reasons he was exiled from Qom by Ahmad al-Ash’ari was because he would narrate from unknown or weak people. This would have been enough of a reason for many of the scholars of Qom to act cautiously with regards to his narrations, leading to his narrations not having spread to such an extent where it would be deemed as spreading the Kufan heritage. Some have suggested that it is possible al-Barqi may have returned back to his own town on the outskirts of Qom called Barqah-Rud, and that would have been a plausible reason why his ahadith did not spread in Qom – however this seems far-fetched, simply because Qom seems to be the most sensible location for a scholar of hadith to have returned back to, and also when we see that Ahmad al-Ash’ari exiled him from Qom it indicates that he was in Qom to begin with.
As for Husayn bin Sa’eed, he had thirty of his own written works in Kufa which he brought with him to Qom. His main focus had been to spread these narrations which he had compiled himself, and not the rest of the heritage he had brought with him. Furthermore, Husayn bin Sa’eed did not live too long after coming to Qom, dying a short while after, which could mean that he simply didn’t have enough time to spread and transmit all the works he had brought with him to such an extent that would merit him the status of being the first one to widely-spread the heritage of Kufa in Qom.
When it comes to Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari – who was also the authority in Qom – it seems that there may been another reason he is not given this description. He not only had more of an opportunity to widely spread the heritage of Kufa that he had brought back with him to Qom, but he also had many of the same teachers as Ibrahim bin Hashim and both were living during the same era. The one factor that could have caused the scholars to still give Ibrahim bin Hashim the credit for spreading the heritage of Kufa in Qom the fact that Ibrahim was someone who was brought up and raised in Kufa, whereas Ahmad was originally a scholar of Qom. In other words, Ibrahim was the first Kufan scholar who have come to Qom and have the Kufan heritage widely-spread in the city.
Another side point that should be mentioned here is that Ibrahim bin Hashim is credited for carrying over the theological teachings of the school of the great theologian and companion Hisham bin Hakam from Kufa to Qom as well. Ibrahim bin Hashim is claimed to have been the student of Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman who himself was one of the strongest students of Hisham bin Hakam. Whether Ibrahim was indeed a student of Yunus or not is disputed as there is no narration which Ibrahim narrates directly from Yunus (as is the natural case in a student-teacher relationship), and every narration from Yunus appears to have an individual between them. Nevertheless, Ibrahim does seem to have been influenced by this school of thought, and likewise his son Ali bin Ibrahim who will be discussed in a later article as well.
This is important to know because figures such as Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Ash’ari and many later Qom scholars were staunchly against some of the theological ideas of Hisham bin Hakam, and had even written books against him and Yunus bin ‘Abdul Rahman. Despite this, they were still welcoming of Ibrahim bin Hashim and his narrations which indicates the level of trust and respect Ibrahim must have had in the city of Qom.
 One of the works I have heavily relied on for this blog post is the research paper: Sayr-e Intiqal-e Mirath-e Maktub-e Shi’eh dar Ayeneh-ye Fihrist-ha written by Ruhullah Shaheedi and Dr. Muhammad Ali Mahdawi-Raad.
 Al-Fihrist of Shaykh Tusi, pg. 52
 Refer to Najashi’s al-Rijal and Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist. About 19 more works can be found in Shaykh Tusi’s al-Fihrist and 3 more in Najashi’s al-Rijal.
 The famous line as recorded in Najashi’s al-Rijal is this: أصحابنا يقولون: أوّل من نشر حديث الكوفيين بقم, هو (Our scholars have said: The first person to spread the hadith of the Kufans in Qom, was him)
I shouldn't even have to put juggling religion in the title, because Religion should be the base of everything. Yet, I found myself struggling, when my work schedule became so hectic that I had no more balance in my life. Life just began with work and ended with sleep. I craved to be more spiritual and do more Islamical duties, but I was drained emotionally, physically, and mentally. So I fought for my rights to get at least a couple of days to recharge. Because without religion life becomes empty and boring. This world can zap all of your high spiritual energy and make you into a robot. Dealing with rude customers all day can make you numb to people and harden your heart. It can make the zest for life gone and make you cynical. Allah gives us religion as a blessing to keep us grounded, to give us heart, and to motivate us to do our best in this life so we can have it even better in the next.
If you feel yourself slipping away from the rope of God- start with tsbeh of God's name and do Salawt and Inshallah you will recharge. And the evil spirits will not bring you down nor can they dull your glow.
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Marriage is not easy. You have to get to know each other. You are used to doing everything your own way. Now you need to compromise. Share with each other. Give and take. If you take more than you give, it won't be as sweet. Do not expect more from your spouse than your spouse will need from you. Life is good. It's better when you are together. If you both do your best.
♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
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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.
A strong person will overcome an obstacle. A wise person will traverse the whole path. (Sometimes, letting go is a better option than to tackle the problem head on. As they say, care is better than the cure)
A small cottage, wherein laughter lives, is worth more than a palace full of tears. (It's not about how big the house is, it's about how happy the home is. Happiness never comes from having more but being among the ones that cherish you, love you and care about you. Time passes, you lose the things you were once so attached to but the memories remain and so do the people, in our hearts)
Always safeguard peace and quiet. When the time is right, the flowers will bloom. (Patience always brings about good tidings. If you're patient enough, you'll get the best. Learn to wait, because things happen when they're meant to be. Everything has a special time and a special place)
Even idiots have their own foolish form of happiness. (Happiness can be found anywhere. Doesn't matter who you are, if you're willing to look at the positive aspects of life, you'll find happiness in little things)
If you trip and fall, it doesn't necessarily means that you are going in the wrong direction. (Just because you find hurdles in your way, it doesn't mean that you aren't meant for that path. Difficulties always comes for those willing to seek greatness)
If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by. (If you be patient and endure the pain your enemies give you, there will come a time when you will be victorious. Patience is the key to one of the greatness things in the world and the hereafter. Never underestimate the power of patience and Dua'a)
Always look on the bright side of things. If you can't comprehend this, polish that which has dulled until it begins to shine. (Every dark cloud has a silver lining. You may seem hopeless at some point but try to look at the positive side of what has happened. If you can't, look at what the positives the trouble brought you. Remember: There's always balance in the world. When you lose something, you gain something. It may take time for you to see it but the great things always take time. Those things are reborn in a different form and are returned to you when you are ready)
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Salam alaikum. I had a little blog here before, but it perished in the crash. May it rest in peace. It's alright though. It gives me an opportunity to start over.
One thing that always has been a big motivator in my life is the thrill of learning new things and of solving problems. So I'm going to blog about what I'm currently learning, inshallah. I'll probably say a thing or two about knowledge and understanding in general, and I might even touch on how I believe knowledge of the universe might make some of us stronger Muslims.
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
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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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Structure of upcoming posts related to this topic:
What is meant by Akhbarism?
It's inception and continuation
Akhbarism and the onset of Salafism
(Intermission - Some general laws that govern human thought/ideologies)
Akhbarism and the decline of human thought
Akhbarism - ideas and behaviours
Usooli doctrines and the Akhbari reality
Akhbarism and Secterianism
The Quran and Akhbari contradictions
The Narrations and Akhbari contradictions
Akhbarism and the creation of (new) religious rites and rituals
Akhbarism, ‘israeli’ narrations and other fabrications
Akhbarism and the cause of decline of Shi'ism
The Quran confronts the Akhbaris
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Here are some thoughts and updates about how my coloring page is coming along.
- It had some momentum at first... I was averaging 1 finished coloring page a month. Now it's been like 5+ months and nothing... I just feel like I have little time and even littler inspiration these days. Deep down I am still passionate about the idea... but it doesn't manifest itself.
- I hired my niece a few months ago to help me produce more pages more quickly and offer a variety of styles. She is an artist herself, so the idea was that she can come up with sketches/ designs, send them to me, and then I turn them into a finished coloring page. She gets $5 per finished design and a % of every sale of that coloring page. She did do one for me so far, but she is very busy as well so I understand if she can't produce much. (Anyone else interested?)
- I actually am working on a design right now. I am excited about it, I think I will like how it comes out when finished. Probably because it is based off of one of my old (and favorite) paintings.
- I learned that I am absolutely terrible at promoting myself. I just don't like it. I even made an Instagram because I heard that it's good for this type of stuff, but I dislike posting. I'm very shy and hate attention. Hmm... how will that work with my entrepreneurial side?
- I've made 8 sales in all. Every time I get an email saying I made a sale, I get so happy! Even though I literally make pennies off of every sale lol. But that's fine, I don't do this for the monies.
I think that's all for now. Here are the 2 coloring pages that I have completed since my last blog.
Link to shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TzahArt
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