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The incident of Harith b. Malik (radiyallahu anhu)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم The following is an incident of a pious companion of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ who passes away as a matyr. His words and his contribution should not be forgotten and what follows is a particularly poignant and powerful incident between him and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى وعلي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه جميعا ، عن ابن محبوب ، عن أبي محمد الوابشي وإبراهيم بن مهزم ، عن إسحاق بن عمار
قال سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه‌السلام يقول إن رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله صلى بالناس الصبح فنظر إلى شاب في المسجد وهو يخفق ويهوي برأسه مصفرا لونه قد نحف جسمه وغارت عيناه في رأسه فقال له رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله كيف أصبحت يا فلان قال أصبحت يا رسول الله موقنا فعجب رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله من قوله وقال إن لكل يقين حقيقة فما حقيقة يقينك فقال إن يقيني يا رسول الله هو الذي أحزنني وأسهر ليلي وأظمأ
هواجري فعزفت نفسي عن الدنيا وما فيها حتى كأني أنظر إلى عرش ربي وقد نصب للحساب وحشر الخلائق لذلك وأنا فيهم وكأني أنظر إلى أهل الجنة يتنعمون في الجنة ويتعارفون وعلى الأرائك متكئون وكأني أنظر إلى أهل النار وهم فيها معذبون مصطرخون وكأني الآن أسمع زفير النار يدور في مسامعي فقال رسول
الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله لأصحابه هذا عبد نور الله قلبه بالإيمان ثم قال له الزم ما أنت عليه فقال الشاب ادع الله لي يا رسول الله أن أرزق الشهادة معك فدعا له رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله فلم يلبث أن خرج في بعض غزوات النبي صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله فاستشهد بعد تسعة نفر وكان هو العاشر. Grading: Muwathaq, and narrated from multiple chains. “In the narration of al-Qasim from his father from abu Basir it is said that Harithah was martyred in the army of Ja’far ibn abu Talib after the martyrdom of nine people.”  And also from this chain: Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Muhammad ibn Sinan from ‘Abd Allah ibn Muskan from abu Basir from abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, who has said the following…
 

Hisham b. al-Hakam: Defender of the Madhhab (Pt 1)

ورفعه الصادق عليه السلام في الشيوخ وهو غلام. وقال: هذا ناصرنا بقلبه ولسانه ويده al-Sadiq عليه السلام elevated him to be at par with the elders while he was still a youth. He said: This is our defender by his heart, tongue and hand [Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashub]   Hisham b. al-Hakam: The Defender of the Madhhab (Pt. 1)   Biographical Details هشام بن الحكم أصله كوفي، ومولده ومنشؤه بواسط، وقد رأيت داره بواسط، وتجارته ببغداد في الكرخ، وداره عند قصر وضاح في الطريق الذي يأخذ في بركة بني زرزر حيث تباع الطرايف والخلنج al-Fadhl b. Shadhan (d. 260) the great Imami scholar says about him: Hisham b. al-Hakam had his origins in Kufa (his family), but was born and raised in Wasit. I have seen his house in Wasit. His business was in Baghdad in the Karkh (district). His house (when he later relocated to Baghdad) was in Qasr Wadhah in the road which is taken to reach the pond of Bani Zurzur where is sold oddities and wooden utensils.         بياع الكرابيس al-Saduq identifies his profession as a seller of canvas (a strong and coarse cloth). أبو محمد مولى كندة، وكان ينزل بني شيبان بالكوفة، إنتقل إلى بغداد al-Najashi gives his Kunya as Abu Muhammad and declares him to be a client of the Kinda (an Arabian tribe with a lot of Christians in the Jahiliyya). He is said to have resided with the Bani Shayban (the patrons of the famous Shi’i family of the Bani A’yan) when in Kufa, before relocating permanently to Baghdad.  تحول من بغداد إلى الكوفة] [مات سنة تسع وسبعين ومائة بالكوفة في أيام الرشيد] [كان لاستتاره قصة مشهورة في المناظرات] ] He had to flee Baghdad for Kufa, because of an intrigue against him, where he died in concealment in the year 179 during the Khilafa of al-Rashid.   His Personality and Interests Hisham was a close companion of the two Imams al-Sadiq and al-Kadhim. He can be considered the most prominent mutakallim [theologian] of the entire first three centuries of Shi’ite Islam. al-Najashi says about him:  وكان ثقة في الروايات He was Thiqa [trustworthy] in narrations al-Tusi says: وكانت له مباحثات كثيرة مع المخالفين في الأصول وغيرها ... وكان ممن فتق الكلام في الإمامة وهذب المذهب بالنظر وكان حاذقا بصناعة الكلام حاضر الجواب وسئل يوما عن معاوية ابن أبي سفيان أشهد بدرا قال: نعم من ذلك الجانب ... He held many debates with the opponents concerning the essentials of belief and other subjects … He was one of the first to make use of theological arguments for Imama and defend the Madhhab through reason. He was skillful in the techniques of theological disputation, possessing a quick wit and a ready answer. He was asked one time whether Muawiya b. Abi Sufyan witnessed the battle of Badr so he said: ‘Yea - on the other side [of the Kuffar]’ … Hisham’s interest in theology can be gleamed from some of the titles of his authored works which include: a book on Tawhid (كتاب التوحيد), a book on the differences between people concerning Imama (كتاب اختلاف الناس في الإمامة), a book on predestination and free-will (كتاب في الجبر والقدر), a refutation of the Zanadiqa (كتاب الرد على الزنادقة), a refutation of the Dualists (كتاب الرد على أصحاب الاثنين), a refutation of the Mu’tazila (كتاب الرد على المعتزلة), a refutation of Aristotle (كتاب الرد على أرسطاطاليس) etc. Hisham occupies a special place in proto-Sunni heresiographical works where he is presented as the quintessential bogeyman. This is because he was the first to expose Imami positions to a wider audience and gained notoriety as an unmatched polemicist. His role as the systemizer of central Shi’i ideas such as Isma (infallibility) of the ‘Aimma must have contributed to this depiction of him. Despite his predominant interest in rational theology, this did not stop him from being a prolific narrator of mostly Fiqhi [legal] narrations from the two Imams. He is an example of a hybrid-scholar i.e. the few companions who could bridge between the wholly rationalistic and the wholly traditionalistic trends among the early Shia. There are 167 narrations in whose chain he appears in our corpus as it stands today.   His special position with al-Sadiq Hisham is said to have been influenced initially by the ideas of Jahm b. Safwan (d. 128). His ‘conversion’ to Shi’ism was borne out of an encounter with the master described below:   It is narrated from Umar b. Yazid [who recounted] that - His nephew Hisham used to subscribe to the Jahmi Madhhab as far as religion was concerned and was devilishly adept at it. He asked me one day to arrange it so that he could enter in and meet Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. I requested permission [from the Imam] to allow Hisham to come meet him which he [Imam] approved. I stood to depart and took a few steps but began thinking about his [Hisham’s] viciousness and maliciousness [when arguing] so I returned back to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and informed him of these traits of his. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to me: O Umar - do you fear for me? I became ashamed of what I had said and recognized that I had overstepped my limits [tripped up]. I departed in a state of shame until I came to Hisham and informed him that permission had been granted but requested him to delay going to meet him [i.e. because of my embarrasment to meet the Imam so soon], but Hisham could not wait and hurried to see him. He knocked and entered and I went with him. When we were seated in his presence Abu Abdillah عليه السلام asked him a question which Hisham hesitated over and could not answer. Hisham asked him [the Imam] to give him time [to come up with the answer] which Abu Abdillah عليه السلام agreed to. Hisham went away and sought to find the answer for several days to no avail. He retuned to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام at which point Abu Abdillah عليه السلام solved it for him. He [the Imam] proceeded to ask him other questions which invalidated his [Hisham’s] beliefs and creed. This caused Hisham to leave in sadness and confusion. He [Hisham] said: I remained for days with my confusion unresolved. Umar b. Yazid said: Hisham asked me to seek permission for him to enter and meet Abi Abdillah عليه السلام for the third time. I went to see Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: He should wait for me in such and such place - which he named - in Hira so as we can meet tomorrrow if Allah wills. Umar says: I proceeded to Hisham and informed him of his [the Imam’s] words and instruction. He [Hisham] was very pleased and delighted by that and preceded him [the Imam] in reaching the location that he [the Imam] had mentioned. Then I saw Hisham after that and asked him what had happened between them. He informed me that he was the first to reach the location that Aba Abdillah عليه السلام had appointed for him, as he was waiting he saw Abi Abdillah عليه السلام approaching on a mule of his. Hisham says: When I got a glance of him and he came near me I was overcome by awe at his visage, so much so that I could not find the words to speak and my tongue was motionless. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام stopped before me for a moment waiting for me to speak, but this just added to my amazement and astonishment. When he saw this he struck his mule and continued on until he entered one of the roads in Hira. I was sure that what had happened to me and my awe of him was not but from Allah Mighty and Majestic because of his [the Imam’s] great position and station in the eyes of the Majestic Lord. Umar said: Hisham attached himself to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and abandoned his former Madhhab and converted to the true religion. Then he ascended to a position beyond that of all the companions of Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and all praise belongs to Allah. al-Sadiq recognised the potential of Hisham as an able student almost instantly. He seems to have treated him preferentially to other disciples and favoured him beyond others. The Imam taught him the secrets of Tawhid and supplicated for him. It is this close nurturing of Hisham which allowed him to climb the ladder of ascent to the pinnacle of his field. Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – al-Nadhr b. Suwayd – Hisham b. al-Hakam - that he asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the Names of Allah and their derivation [etymology] saying: What is Allah derived from? so he [the Imam] said to me: O Hisham, Allah is derived from … have you understood O Hisham? an understanding through which you can repel and defeat our enemies and those who betake another apart from Allah Mighty and Majestic [alone]. I said: Yes. He said: May Allah benefit you by it and make you firm O Hisham. Hisham said: By Allah no one has defeated me on the subject of Tawhid to this day when I stand in the position I do.    That Hisham reached the pinnacle is clear in the incident of the famous debate with the Syrian. It is the young Hisham who speaks last and best despite the presence of all the other major students much older than him garnering the praise of the Imam in the process. Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Qulawayh – Muhammad b. Ya’qub al-Kulayni – Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – a number of his men – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: I was at Abi Abdillah’sعليه السلام when a man from the people of Syria came and said: I am a man who is proficient in theology, jurisprudence and the inheritance laws. I have come to debate your companions … He [the Imam] said to me: Go out the door and look for any of the experts and bring him in. He [Yunus] said: I brought in Humran b. A’yan who was good at debating, al-Ahwal who was also good, Hisham b. Salim who was good too, and I brought in Qays al-Ma’sir who was the best of them in my estimation. He [Qays] had learnt to debate at the hands of Ali b. al-Husayn عليهما السلام.   When the gathering settled down – this was in pavillion which had been pitched on a mountain near the sanctuary (Ka’ba) where Abu Abdillah عليه السلام used to spend a few days before the Hajj – Abu Abdillah عليه السلام peered outside the pavillion and saw a camel ambling. He [the Imam] said: It is Hisham by the Lord of the Ka’ba! He [Yunus] said: We thought that ‘Hisham’ was a reference to a man from the descendants of Aqil greatly beloved to him, but it turned out to be Hisham b. al-Hakam whose beard had just sprouted for the first time, and there was no one among us who was not older than him. He [Yunus] said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام made room for him … then he said: O Humran debate the man, Humran debated him and defeated him. He [the Imam] said: O Taqi debate the man, al-Ahwal debated him and won. Then he [the Imam] said: O Hisham b. Salim debate him, but they ended in a draw. Then Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to Qays al-Ma’sir: debate him, so he debated him and Abu Abdillah عليه السلام began laughing at their talk because of what befell the Syrian [of defeat].  Then he [the Imam] said to the Syrian: debate this young man - that is Hisham b. al-Hakam …. Yunus said: I thought that he [the Imam] would - by Allah - say to Hisham words similar to what he had said to the others [i.e. the Imam had found fault in all their argumentations] but instead he said: O Hisham, you never fall flat [settle on the ground], everytime it seems that you are about to come to ground [i.e. be defeated] you just bend your legs [to able to leap] and off you fly away again. The likes of you should debate the people. Therefore be wary of slipping and you will find that succor is around the corner if Allah wills. al-Sadiq took great pride in Hisham’s achievements, and on at least one occasion asked Hisham to recount the details of a particularly momentous debate to the other disciples. Hisham had developed a decisive argument for the need for an Imam at all times in his debate with Amr b. Ubayd the Mu’tazili using an analogy of the centrality of the ‘heart’ relative to the other body functions to describe the centrality of the Imam to relative to the Umma. al-Ayyashi – Ali b. Muhammad b. Yazid al-Fayruzani al-Qummi – Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Yahya – Abi Ishaq – Muhammad b. Hammad – al-Hasan b. Ibrahim – Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: There were with Abi Abdillah عليه السلام a large number of his companions. Among them were Humran b. A’yan, The Believer of Taq (al-Ahwal), Hisham b. Salim, al-Tayyar and others among them Hisham b. al-Hakam who was just a young man. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: O Hisham, he [Hisham] said: at your service O the son of the Messenger of Allah! He [the Imam] said: Will you not inform me how you dealt with Amr b. Ubayd and your questions to him? Hisham said: I revere you and am thus self-conscious in front of you! My tongue does not speak in your presence. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: If I order you to do something then do it … Abu Abdillah laughed with delight [after Hisham recounted his debate] and then said: Who taught you this O Hisham? He said: O the sone of the Messenger of Allah the words were made to flow through me tongue! He [the Imam] said: I swear by Allah that this is written in the scrolls of Ibrahim and Musa!   His special position with al-Kadhim Hisham enjoyed an especially close relation with al-Kadhim عليه السلام al-Tusi says: كان من خواص سيدنا مولانا موسى بن جعفر عليه السلام He was one of the intimates of our master Musa b. Ja’far عليه السلام This can be seen in the examples below: Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – al-Hasan b. Ali b. Yaqtin who said: Whenever Abu al-Hasan [al-Kadhim] عليه‌ السلام wanted some neccessities for himself, or something of a personal nature, he would write to my father Ali: ‘purchase for me this and that or acquire for me such and such, and the one to undertake that should be Hisham b. al-Hakam’. But if it had to do with his [the Imam’s] more general responsibilities he would just write: ‘purchase for me this and that’ and not mention Hisham unless it was personal. It is also said that his [the Imam’s] favour towards him [Hisham] and his [Hisham’s] status in his [the Imam’s] estimation reached such a level that he [the Imam] sent him [Hisham] fifteen thousand gold coins and said to him: ‘do business with them and keep the profits thereof returning to us only the capital’. Hisham did as instructed. May Allah bless Abi al-Hasan.     Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the sons of Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Zuhl – Asad b. Abi al-Ala who said: Abu al-Hasan the First عليه‌ السلام wrote to those who had come up from his Shia in one of the years during the pilgrimage season [to make the Hajj] about fulfilling a certain need of his, no one took it up [responded positively] except Hisham b. al-Hakam. He [Asad] said: He [the Imam] later wrote to him - that is Hisham b. al-Hakam - ‘may Allah make your reward paradise’.
 

for Fatima(s) daughter of the Prophet

.... .... غمگین, گل یاس اشکت چو الماس قلب رئوفت سرشار از احساس   بانوی خسته دلت شکسته زیر خاک سرد بخواب آهسته   مسافر شب برو تا بهشت نیست جای تو این دنیای زشت   عزم سفر کرد رفت تا افلاک خداحافظ ای دنیای ناپاک   اگرچه هستی آرام و خاموش هرگز نگردد یادت فراموش

shadow_of_light

shadow_of_light

 

Life

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.

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

 

Money, markets and minorities

The problem with money and markets is that they strip exchanges between people of all social and cultural content. In market-based exchanges, you can buy/sell with complete strangers. This has its benefits and particularly for social/cultural/ethnic/ religious minorities within a society the market provides an almost anonymous means of interacting with the majority. In fact, the story can even become worse for the majority because the denser social links/networks between members of a minority may mean that they can exploit higher levels of trust between each other and thereby compete more effectively in the market-place. Over time, of course, this economic disadvantage may lead to significant differences between the wealth of the majority and minority communities. Historically there are lots of examples of this all around the world. The end is never a happy one - with the majority usually seeking to address the prpblem via physical force. The challenge for societies is for them to offer minorities certain rights but at the same time put in place restrictions on the extent of their participation in the economic life of a society so that they cannot dominate the majority. In an Islamic society where distinctions between groups are not based on race, but rather of belief, this means that there has to be what seems like discrimination against non-Muslims, but which, is in fact, a sensible means of avoiding longer-term conflct between the majority and minority.

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

 

Animal intelligence

Every day there is news of some new aspect of animal intelligence that has been discovered. Whether it is elephants, orcas or lobsters we are finding out about how these creatures manifest different aspects of what we consider intelligence to be. Of course, the irony is that whatever intelligence we observe was always there, what has changed is the development of tests on our part in order to measure it. Some of these tests are very simple and elegant, but what they highlight is the evolution in man's ability to identify phenomena and then develop measures to assess it.

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

 

The religion of 'liberal democracy'

The critics of Islam hold up liberal democracy as a non-religious system of human collaboration that adheres to various ethical and moral tenets, where religion falls down. Chief amongst these is the equality of all people in being able to express their views. This is said to contrast with religious leadership which usually contains elderly men. The point about rationality and its link with scientificness is that it allows for the dumping of theories that no longer account for the observations we make of the natural world. In an editorial today the Financial Times identifies a problem the Brexit vote in the UK, which to my mind can be applied to democratic institutions more broadly. The FT observes that British parliamentarians are sliding down the slope of leaving the EU, knowing full well that this is economic and political disaster and the only reason they are doing this is the 'mystical status' (the FT's own words) of the referendum whose result started this bandwagon. And this is is because for some democrats referendums have an almost holy status. After all they are the purest expression of the will of the people. Of course, they have weaknesses and they can be manipulated, but the rationality of those limitations is overlooked in favour of what referendums represent. For me this just emphasises how religious belief is immanent in the human condition. Whether it is the beliefs of the Easter Islanders who continued to build their moai despite the environmental degradation that behaviour and ultimate destruction of their society that this caused or whether it is the national suicide being committed by the UK at the altar of democratic sacrifice. It all amounts to religious belief, no matter how many Greek philosophers you use to justify it.

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

 

Mufadhal b. Umar: Sinner or Saint?

اكتب وبث علمك في إخوانك، فإن مت فأورث كتبك بنيك Write down and spread your knowledge among your brothers. And if you are about to die then will your books to your children [What the Imam al-Sadiq is supposed to have said to al-Mufadhal]   فلما انصرفت إلى الكوفة أقبلت علي الشيعة فمزقوني كل ممزق، يأكلون لحمي ويشتمون عرضي، حتى أن بعضهم استقبلني فوثب في وجهي، وبعضهم قعد لي في سكك الكوفة يريد ضربي، ورموني بكل بهتان When I reached Kufa and met the Shia, they tore me to shreds, eating my flesh and disparaging my honour, such that one of them faced me and punched me in the face, and one of them lay in ambush for me in the markets of Kufa wishing to beat me up, and they made false accusations against me [Mufadhal in his Last Will and Testimony]   ما يقولون في المفضل بن عمر؟ قلت: يقولون فيه: هيئة يهوديا أو نصرانيا What do they say about al-Mufadhal b. Umar? They say: He has the appearance and manner of a Jew or a Christian [The General Populace of Kufa was not impressed by Mufadhal]   Who was He? Abu Abdallah Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju’fi (d. before 179), a money-changer by profession, was a Kufan companion of the two Imams, al-Sadiq and al-Kadhim. He was charged with performing certain tasks for them. al-Tusi sees no problem in him. He includes him among the praiseworthy ‘intimate ones’ and ‘managers of the Imam’s affairs’ citing the following report as evidence: علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني سلمة بن الخطاب، عن علي بن حسان، عن موسى بن بكير قال: كنت في خدمة أبي الحسن عليه السلام ولم أكن أرى شيئا يصل إلى إلا من ناحية المفضل بن عمر، ولربما رأيت الرجل يجئ بالشئ فلا يقبله منه ويقول: أوصله إلى المفضل Ali b. Muhammad – Salama b. al-Khattab – Ali b. Hassan – Musa b. Bukayr: I was in the service of Abi al-Hasan  عليه السلام. Nothing [of the monetary dues] used to reach him [from any other route] except through Mufadhal b. Umar. I would sometimes see a man bringing something to the Imam directly and he [the Imam] would refuse to accept it and say: take it to Mufadhal.    That he was an important figure who exerted considerable influence on the Shi’ite community is undeniable. This can be glimpsed from the number of narrations under his name and the books attributed to him.    A Controversial Narrator However, there is a controversy about his status. A controversy which probably began in his own lifetime. Some saw him as the bearer of the ‘secrets’ of the Imams who was understandably misunderstood by the laymen who could not bear them, while others saw him as a crypto-syncretist who distorted the teachings of the Imam. There exists both praise and censure of him attributed to the Imams. Most of the narrations which extol him are narrated by the Ghulat who glorify him as one of their pillars. The books ascribed to him include partially surviving esoteric manuals like Kitab al-Sirat (‘The Book of the Way’) and Kitab al-Haft wa al-Azilla (‘The Book of the Seven and the Phantoms’) among others. These are treasured by contemporary Nusayri-Alawis but would be considered heretical in the Twelver Madhhab. It is unclear whether this attribution is historical or merely based on the communal memory of his significance for their teachings. Modern academic research sees these books as consisting of many layers, with unidentified authors adding material to the oldest core. al-Ayyashi encountered some of this suspect literature as he retells below:  وأمّا أبو يعقوب إسحاق بن محمد البصري، فإنّه كان غالياً، وسرت إليه إلى بغداد لاكتب عنه وسألته كتاباً أنسخه، فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث المفضّل بن عمر في التفويض ، فلم أرغب فيه فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث مشيخته من الثقات As for Abu Ya’qub Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri then he was a Ghali. I went to him in Baghdad to write from him. I asked him a book to copy so he took out for me a collection of narrations from Mufadhal b. Umar regarding Tafwidh [that the ‘Aimma are independent beings who run the world after its initial creation] but I did not express any interest in that, then he produced narrations relayed by the trustworthy ones among his teachers … Traditionalist scholars like al-Najashi and Ibn al-Ghadhairi had a negative assessment of him for this very reason. They went through the works ascribed to him and found them to be unpalatable. Ibn al-Ghadhairi is scathing when he says: خطابي، وقد زيد عليه شئ كثير، وحمل الغلاة في حديثه حملا عظيما ‘A Khattabi. A lot of fabricated material has been attributed to him. The Ghulat have launched a full-scale attack on his narrations (i.e. they have invaded his original corpus infiltrating it with their own ideas)’ al-Najashi warns: وقد ذكرت له مصنفات لا يعول عليها، وإنما ذكرنا للشرط الذي قدمناه ‘A number of books are listed as authored by him but they are not to be depended upon. I only include their names because of the condition which we have mentioned before [i.e. to list the titles of all Shi’i authors]’ Even if he is not responsible for what circulates under his name, the fact that the Ghulat considered him one of their own should be reason enough for caution. Anonymous writers are  known to have penned material using his name seeking to enhance the authority of their works. It is an arduous task to sift the historical from the forged.   A Khattabi? What can be asserted without doubt is that the historical Mufadhal was at one point in time connected to Abu al-Khattab and the Khatabiyya [there is even a splinter-sect of the Khatabiyya which was named after Mufadhal i.e. the Mufadhaliyya]. They are accused of deifying al-Sadiq in some way and of believing in continuation of prophecy. We have some narrations which indicate Mufadhal’s links with such beliefs:    حدثني الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، قال حدثني محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب و الحسن بن موسى، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن عبد الله بن مسكان قال: دخل حجر بن زائدة و عامر بن جذاعة الأزدي على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقالا: جعلنا فداك، إن المفضل بن عمر يقول إنكم تقدرون أرزاق العباد ... al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi – Sa’d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf al-Qummi – Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and al-Hasan b. Musa from Safwan b. Yahya from Abdallah b. Muskan who said: Hujr b. Zaida and A’mir b. Judha’a al-Azdi entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: May we be made your ransom, Mufadhal b. Umar says that you are the ones who allot the Rizq of the slaves … علي بن محمد، عن صالح بن أبي حماد، عن محمد بن أورمة، عن ابن سنان، عن المفضل بن عمر قال: كنت أنا والقاسم شريكي ونجم بن حطيم وصالح بن سهل بالمدينة فتناظرنا في الربوبية، قال: فقال بعضنا لبعض: ما تصنعون بهذا نحن بالقرب منه وليس منا في تقية قوموا بنا إليه، قال: فقمنا فوالله ما بلغنا الباب إلا وقد خرج علينا بلا حذاء ولا رداء قد قام كل شعرة من رأسه منه وهو يقول: لا لا يا مفضل ويا قاسم ويا نجم، لا لا بل عباد مكرمون لا يسبقونه بالقول وهم بأمره يعملون Ali b. Muhammad – Salih b. Abi Hammad – Muhammad b. Awrama – Ibn Sinan – al-Mufadhal b. Umar who said:  I, al-Qasim al-Shariki, Najm b. Hutaym and Salih b. Sahl were in Madina when we disputed each other over the divinity [of the ‘Aimma]. He [Mufadhal] said: We said to each other - why are we speculating on this when we are nearby to him [the Imam] and he is not in Taqiyya with us [does not answer us in dissimulation], let’s go meet him. He [Mufadhal] said: We headed towards him - by Allah we had not reached the door before he came out bare-footed, without a cloak and all the hair on his head stood on end [in apprehension] saying: No - O Mufadhal, Qasim and Najm, No! “rather mere honored slaves, never preceding Him (Allah) in word, and they always follow His orders” (21:26-27) حدثني حمدويه وإبراهيم ابنا نصير، قالا: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، عن علي ابن الحكم، عن المفضل بن عمر أنه كان يبشر أبا الخطاب وفلان أنكما لمن المرسلين Hamduwayh b. Nusayr and Ibrahim b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam: That he [Mufadhal b. Umar] used to give glad tidings to Aba al-Khattab and one other saying: ‘verily you are messengers’ قال الكشى: وذكرت الطيارة الغالية في بعض كتبها عن المفضل: أنه قال لقد قتل مع أبي اسماعيل يعني أبا الخطاب سبعون نبيا ... وأن المفضل قال: أدخلنا على أبي عبد الله عليه‌ السلام ونحن اثنى عشر رجلا، قال: فجعل أبو عبد الله عليه‌ السلام يسلم على رجل رجل منا ويسمي كل رجل منا باسم نبي، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا نوح، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا ابراهيم، وكان آخر من سلم عليه وقال: السلام عليك يا يونس، ثم قال: لا تخاير بين الانبياء al-Kashshi said: The Tayyara Ghulat say in one of their books that al-Mufadhal said: Seventy prophets were killed with Aba al-Khattab … Mufadhal is also supposed to have said: Twelve of us entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه‌ السلام. He [the Imam] began greeting each one of us individually and calling each one of us by the name of a prophet, saying to one of us ‘peace be upon you O Noah’ to another ‘peace be upon you O Ibrahim’, he greeted the last one of us saying: ‘peace be upon you O Yunus’. Then he [the Imam] said: do not distinguish between the prophets!    Mufadhal, The Khattabiyya and Ismail The Khatabbiya seem to have taken Ismail the son of al-Sadiq as their figure-head and pinned their hopes on him as the next Imam. It is hard to discern from the meager sources available whether Ismail’s participation in this was of his own volition or not. رجال الكشي: حمدويه بن نصير، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن الحكم وحماد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل بن جابر قال: قال أبو عبد الله: ايت المفضل قل له: يا كافر يا مشرك ما تريد إلى ابني تريد أن تقتله Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Ya’qub b. Yazid – Ibn Abi Umayr – Hisham b. al-Hakam and Hammad b. Uthman –  Ismail b. Jabir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: Go to Mufadhal and say to him - O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you want for my son Ismail? Do you want to kill him!? The narration above has the Imam using very harsh language with Mufadhal in the context of the latter’s ‘grooming’ of Ismail which al-Sadiq felt was dangerous.  On the other hand, there also exists a countervailing narration as below:
الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن علي بن الحكم، عن يونس بن يعقوب قال: أمرني أبو عبد الله عليه السلام أن آتي المفضل واعزيه باسماعيل وقال: اقرأ المفضل السلام وقل له: إنا قد اصبنا بإسماعيل فصبرنا، فاصبر كما صبرنا، إنا أردنا أمرا وأراد الله عزوجل أمرا، فسلمنا لامر الله عزوجل Muhammad b. Yahya – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام ordered me to go to Mufadhal and condole him for [the death of] Ismail. He [the Imam] said: Convey my greetings of peace to Mufadhal and say to him: We have been tried through Ismail and have remained patient, so be patient the way we have been patient. We wanted something but Allah Mighty and Majestic wanted something else so we have submitted to the command of Allah Mighty and Majestic.    This one is much more warm. The Imam condoles Mufadhal on the occasion of Ismail’s death - the two must have been especially close - and commends him to be patient in emulation of the Imam’s own patience.    How can we explain this difference in tone?   A Rapprochement? It seems that one way to reconcile between them is to posit that Mufadhal had a period of estrangement from the Imam - because of his involvement with the Khattabis and their intentions for Ismail, however, he later repented from this and broke away with Abu al-Khattab, consequently the relation with the Imam improved. Evidence for this can be found in the narration below: جبرئيل بن أحمد قال: حدّثني محمّد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: سمعت أبا عبداللّه عليه السلام يقول للمفضّل بن عمر الجعفي: يا كافر يا مشرك ما لك ولابني، يعني إسماعيل بن جعفر، وكان منقطعا إليه، يقول فيه مع الخطابية، ثم رجع بعد Jibrail b. Ahmad – Muhammad b. Isa – Yunus – Hammad b. Uthman who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying to al-Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju’fi: O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you have to do with my son - meaning Ismail b. Ja’far? - and he [Mufadhal] was loyal to him [Ismail], believing about him [that he is the Imam and much more] together with the Khatabiyya, then he returned afterwards. That Mufadhal returned back to the truth after deviation can be proved also by the fact that he was not among those followers of Abu al-Khattab who died with their leader when they were attacked by the men of Isa b. Musa [the Abbasid governor of Kufa] after barricading themselves in the central mosque as part of an aborted revolt. Another piece of evidence for this view is that Mufadhal seems to have a more cordial relation with al-Kadhim after the death of al-Sadiq [indeed there are no censures against him quoted from this Imam, which would tally with his reform in his later years].  محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني عبد الله بن خلف، قال: حدثنا علي بن حسان الواسطي، قال: حدثني موسى بن بكير قال: سمعت أبا الحسن يقول لما أتاه موت المفضل بن عمر، قال: رحمه الله، كان الوالد بعد الوالد، أما انه قد استراح Muhammad b. Masud – Abdallah b. Khalaf – Ali b. Hassan al-Wasiti – Musa b. Bukayr who said: I heard Aba al-Hasan saying when he was informed of the death of al-Mufadhal b. Umar - May Allah have mercy on him, he was a father after the father [al-Sadiq i.e. a second father to him]. Verily he is now resting in peace.   Summary  The case of al-Mufadhal is a complicated one. More needs to be done to collect all the relevant evidence and formulate a coherent position, if at all possible. This is obviously not the place for an in-depth study. Such research should also consider the provenance of famous books attributed to him like Tawhid al-Mufadhal, al-Ihlilaja etc. Having said all this, caution must be exercised as regards narrations attributed to him, specifically if the contents have to do with Imamology.
 

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St. 12 part 4
By the high sky where there are glorious huge palaces; By the promised day when the creatures will meet the Creator; By night traveller, that shiny star whose glaring light cleaves the dark. By all of these that there is a protector, assigned by God, for every soul.
قسم به آسمان بلندی که دارای کاخهای عظیم و با شکوه است.
قسم به روز موعود، به روز دیدار که وعده گاه خلایق است.
قسم به مسافر شب، به آن ستاره درخشانی که نور خیره کننده اش تاریکیها را میشکافد قسم به همه اینان که هر شخصی را از طرف خداوند مراقب و نگهبانی است
Finally, the promised day came. Hoopoe again came and sat behind the window. This time, it held a leaf of ziziphus in its beak.
After some hours, I noticed it and opened the window. Hoopoe entered and sat on the table. I patted it and said: What a beautiful bird! Then I went to bring food and water for it. But hoopoe didnt eat or drink anything. I touched the statue and it started singing. I thought hoopoe would like the song but it didnt.
Instead, it put the leaf on the table and looked at me expecting me to remember something. I said: Maybe you need some leaves! There are many trees is my garden. You can use their leaves as much as you wish Hoopoe's eyes filled with tears for it realized that I didnt remember it and ziziphus tree. For a few moments, it remained silent. Then it flew toward the window and left the house. I stood by the window and watched hoopoe flying in the sky. Hoopoe flew high and high. I said: I wish I could fly like it. Suddenly I remembered that once I had 2 wings which I lost after my fall on the earth; I remembered the seventh heaven, the angels, God, banishment from paradise and my rendezvous. There was not much time... I left that mansion quickly.
But when I reached there, it was late. The sun had already set. I had lost the best opportunity in my life. I sat under ziziphus tree and cried. Hoopoe came. I patted it and said: You, kind bird, you tried your best. Alas! I remembered too late! Gabriel appeared and said:.... .... ... .....
Whether you are close to the sun or far from it, its light and warmth dont change. But the closer you are to the sun, the more you benefit from its warmth... God is source of mercy and compassion; How much you benefit from his mercy depends on how close you are to him. The path which Satan and his friends follow, leads to the darkness. The more they proceed, the darker the path will get. And finally they reach total darkness. They will go astray so much that even if they want to return, it will be very difficult for them. You are free to choose your path. A path leads to light, to magnificence and grandeur. And a path leads to disgrace, aberrance and regret. You can choose: ascending to A'laa Eleein or descending to Asfal al-Saffelin!*
Gabriel was about to leave. But before he did, he turned his face to me and said: Angels told me that they missed Human a lot. They are still awaiting you. What about you, Human? Do you still remember them?! ... .... ...
The stars were shining in the dark sky. And it meant that there was still hope. Because the stars are torches of the angels who had been waiting in the heavens for many centuries to welcome those who travelling to paradise.   * A'laa Eleein: the uppermost place in the heavens اعلی علیین Asfal al-Safelin: the lowermost place in the hell اسفل السافلین    

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shadow_of_light

 

Ghulu: The Case of Mughira the Sorcerer

وكان يخرج إلى المقبرة فيتكلم فيرى أمثال الجراد على القبور Mughira used to  go to the graveyard and intone something. Insects like locusts would then be seen crawling over the graves أول من سمعته يتنقص أبا بكر وعمر المغيرة المصلوب The first person I heard abusing Aba Bakr and Umar was al-Mughira the Crucified   Life Sketch al-Mughira b. Sai’d al-Bajali was a blind Mawla (non-Arab origin) of Khalid al-Qasri, the governor of Iraq under the Umayyads. He claimed to be a follower of Imam al-Baqir عليه السلام but perverted the Imam’s teachings while cultivating a personal following around himself in Kufa. قال الصادق: ... المغيرة بن سعيد لعنه الله دس في كتب أصحاب أبي أحاديث لم يحدث بها أبي ... Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “…al-Mughira b. Said - may Allah curse him - has interpolated into the books of the companions of my father (i.e. al-Baqir عليه السلام) narrations which were not narrated by my father …” قال الصادق: ... فكلما كان في كتب أصحاب أبي من الغلو فذاك ما دسه المغيرة بن سعيد في كتبهم Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “… so whatever is in the books of the companions of my father - of Ghulu - then that is what was interpolated by al-Mughira b. Sa’id in their books” After the death of al-Baqir, Mughira shifted his allegiance to Muhammad b. Abdallah b. al-Hasan al-Nafs al-Zakiyya who claimed to be the Mahdi. The going into hiding of this “Mahdi” due to fear of the Abbasids was the cue for Mughira to claim that there would be no Alid Imam after him. Mughira now claimed that authority had devolved to him and would remain so until the return. With this new-found authority, Mughira began teaching a highly esoteric doctrine influenced by an allegorical interpretation of the Qur’an and remnants of Gnostic thought in the sectarian milieu of Iraq. One explanation for Mughira’s success is his ability as a magician dabbling in the occult. The sinister powers imputed to Mughira indicate the sort of charismatic hold he appears to have had over his followers. قال الصادق: لعن الله المغيرة ابن سعيد، ولعن يهودية كان يختلف إليها يتعلم منها السحر والشعبذة والمخاريق ...  Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: “May Allah curse al-Mughira b. Said, and may Allah curse the Jewess, he (al-Mughira) used to go to her (the Jewess) regularly and learn from her sorcery, magical illusions and wondrous tricks …” The end for al-Mughira b. Sa’id came when he joined forces with another Ghali named Bayan b. Sam’an and rose in revolt in 119 AH against the aforementioned Khalid. The rebellion was quickly put down and the two leaders as well as some of their followers were executed. قال الرضا: كان المغيرة بن سعيد يكذب على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فأذاقه الله حر الحديد Imam al-Ridha عليه السلام said: “al-Mughira b. Sa’id used to attribute lies to Abi Ja’far عليه السلام so Allah made him taste the heat of the iron”   Influences Mughira was Mawla (freed-man) who spoke ungrammatical Arabic. This has led to speculation that his beliefs were influenced by prior religious traditions in the communities of late antique and early Islamic Mesopotamia. We know, for example, of the presence of Marcionites, Manicheans, Mandeans, and various gnosticized pagans in seventh and eighth-century Iraq. The task of specifying the exact tradition from which he emerged is made all the more difficult when one notes that Mughira, both as sorcerer and as Gnostic, was working in a line of Aramaic syncretists who followed a ‘free borrowing of formula’ for their wonder-working and propaganda. At the same time, caution must be exercised because most of the information about Mughira comes from heresiographers who came centuries later and had their own polemical axes to grind.  In spite of this, the following are some distinctive teachings linked to Mughira and tentative identifications that scholars have drawn for their origins: I. Mughira promulgated a notorious creation drama. He had a Man of Light (anthropomorphic God) create both light waters and dark waters and then create mankind out of these waters before proceeding to write their future acts of belief and unbelief on his palm with his finger. This cosmogony has parallels with what the Baptizing sectarians of Iraq have their Mandean demiurge doing.

II. Mughira explained the creation of the sun, moon, heavens and stars in this way: “Then looking into the ocean, He (the Man of Light) saw His shadow, so He went forth to seize it. He plucked out its two eyes and created out of them two suns and He blotted out some light from the moon. Then, out of the physical forms of His shadow, He created the heavens and the stars …” Friedlaender has recognized that the image of Mughira’s Man of Light looking down into the dark waters to create is an echo of such Mandean imagery as: “When Life ... had thus spoken, Abatur rose and opened the gate. He looked into the Dark Water and at the same hour was formed his image in the Dark Water”. Mughira shares with the Mandeans the mythic idea of the substantiality of an image, reflection, or shadow as representing a real part of the original entity from which it became detached.

III. Mughira had an obsessive concern with the ritual purity of water and preventing its defilement. This echoes the centrality of ‘living’ or ‘flowing’ waters in Mandean rituals, hence the necessity of living near rivers, as opposed to ‘stagnant’ or ‘turbid’ water which was seen as insufficient. عن الأعمش قال: جاءني المغيرة ... ثم قال: طوبى لمن يروى من ماء الفرات. فقلت: ولنا شراب غيره؟ قال: إنه يلقى فيه المحايض والجيف. قلت: من أين تشرب؟ قال: من بئر al-A’mash reports: Mughira came to me … and said: Blessings be on the one who drinks water of the Euphrates. I said to him: Do we have anything else to drink from? He said: Not if menstrual blood and corpses are thrown into it. I said: Where do you drink from. He said: From a well. كان يقول بتحريم ماء الفرات وكل نهر أو عين أو بئر وقعت فيه نجاسة Ibn Athir claims that Mughira used to forbid water from the Euphrates or any river or spring or well into which Najasa (pollution) had fallen. عن أبي هلال: سألت الصادق عليه السلام: أينقض الرعاف والقيء ونتف الإبط الوضوء؟ فقال: وما تصنع بهذا؟ هذا قول المغيرة بن سعيد، لعن الله المغيرة ... Abu Hallal asked Imam al-Sadiq: Do nosebleed, vomit, and armpit hair nullify ritual purity? Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام replied: Why are you meddling in such matters? This is the doctrine of Mughira b. Sa’id. May God curse al-Mughira … Particularly noteworthy is Mughira’s preoccupation with menstrual blood, which is not surprising in light of what we are told in Sefer Ha-Razim, that, the ‘impurity’ of the menstruating woman nullifies the success of the Jewish magician. زرارة قال: قال - يعني أبا عبد الله عليه السلام: إن أهل الكوفة قد نزل فيهم كذاب، أما المغيرة فإنه يكذب على أبي عليه السلام قال: حدثني أن نساء آل محمد إذا حضن قضين الصلاة وكذب والله، عليه لعنة الله، ما كان من ذلك شيء ولا حدثه ... Zurara quotes Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام saying: A liar has descended amidst the people of Kufa. As for Mughira then he lies about my father and says: ‘he (al-Baqir) narrated to me that the womenfolk of the family of Muhammad do make up the prayer (Qadha) after their menstruation cycle’ but he has lied by Allah! May Allah curse him. No such thing happens and nor did he (al-Baqir) inform him of this … In this instance, we see Mughira overriding the ancient taboo by the superior purity of the house of Muhammad, an example of the old ways which he transformed in his new version of Islam.

IV.  There is some evidence that al-Mughira b. Sai’d was called by the title al-Abtar. المغيرة بن سعيد لقبه الأبتر This might be of significance. The centerpiece of Mughira’s revelation was the figure of the creator. Here, reconstructed from several reports, is one description: “He is a man of light, with a crown of light on his head, He has the body and limbs of a man. His body has an inside, within which is a heart, whence wisdom flows. His limbs have the shape of the letters of the alphabet [abjad]. The mim represents the head; the sin the teeth; the sad and dad the two eyes; the ‘ain and ghain the two ears; as for the ha’, he said: You will see in it a Great Power, and he implied that it was in the place of the genitalia and that he had seen it [on a heavenly ascent]; the alif was in the place of the foot …” Mughira’s description of his ‘Object of Worship’ with its famous depiction of a Man of Light with the letters of the alphabet corresponding to his members - employs a Gnostic technical term ‘Great Power’ associated with the divine figure. It happens that the coincidence of the name ‘Abatur’ and the term ‘Great Power’ is attested to in an eighth-century account by one Bar Khonai while describing the doctrines of the Mandeans: “They said that before the heaven and the earth were - there were great powers resting on the waters. They had a son whom they would call Abitour”. The coincidence of name, doctrine, place, and date would all support a possible connection with Mughira.

V. The Imams shared something of the divine attributes in Mughira’s theology. Ghulat used the term Tafwidh to cast Muhammad and/or ‘Ali as demiurges, who were ‘entrusted’ with over-seeing some crucial activities after the initial creation was begun by God. ‘Ali was especially favored for this demiurgic role. Some evidence for this can be found in statements made by Mughira which assign to Ali the ability to give life to the dead (independent of Allah). قال: قلت: دعنى من هذا كان علي يقدر أن يحيي ميتا؟ قال: أي والذي فلق الحبة لقد كان قادرا أن يحيى ما بينى وبينك إلى آدم al-A’mash reports that he asked Mughira: Was Ali able to give life to the dead? Mughira said: By the one who split the seed - he (Ali) was able to resurrect all those between me and you up to Adam (all mankind).   لو شاء أحيا عادا وثمود. قلت: من أين علمت ذلك؟ قال: أتيت بعض أهل البيت فسقاني شربة من ماء فما بقي شيء إلا وقد علمته In another variant Mughira is supposed to have said: If he (Ali) wishes he gives life to Ad and Thamud. When  al-A’mash asks him about how he came to know that - he said: I went to one of the Ahl al-Bayt who gave me water to drink  - which made me know everything. This is why the Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said when speaking about Mughira: لعن الله من قال فينا مالا نقوله في أنفسنا، ولعن الله من أزالنا عن العبودية لله الذي خلقنا وإليه مآبنا ومعادنا وبيده نواصينا...قال الصادق: ...  May Allah curse the one who says about us what we do not claim for ourselves. May Allah curse the the one who excludes us from being servants to Allah who created us, to whom will be our return and in whose hand is our foreheads [we are totally submissive to him].   Reference Wasserstrom, Steve. “The Moving Finger Writes: Mughīra B. Saʿīd's Islamic Gnosis and the Myths of Its Rejection.” History of Religions, vol. 25, no. 1, 1985, pp. 1–29.
 

Freedom!

Freedom!

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.  

Qa'im

Qa'im

 

Individualism

If Islam is measured with liberal democratic criteria, it will not be fully consistent.

Western colonial powers reached a point of hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through hard power (direct intervention) and soft power (media influence), they imposed their standard of morality onto the rest of the world. This moral framework is not Christianity, it is Western Individualism.

Secularism, humanism, and feminism are all just logical conclusions of Individualism. They are branches from the same tree. But to what extent can we say that Individualism is the objective truth? Did the original philosophers of this ideology even intend for it to be the objective truth? Go through Hobbes or John Stuart Mill, they don't claim that Individualism is an objective universal truth, but rather that they are experiments of freedom that are most practical. So measuring Islam by this would be like measuring an object with a stretchy ruler - you'll never get a precise measurement.

Just a few years ago, gay marriage was illegal in America, and now there is all this noise about homophobia and transphobia. Just a few years ago, marijuana was taboo, but it is now gradually being legalized. Some bite-the-bullet secularists are even questioning whether incest should be illegal, because certain forms of incest are not "directly harmful". Of course Islam will not be compatible with a measurement that is constantly fluid, changing, and in flux. Liberalism does not even attempt to falsify itself, rather it is focused on falsifying others. It salvages aspects of Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity that is consistent with individualism, and it discards everything else.

The liberal thesis prioritizes the human being above everything else. The Islamic thesis prioritizes Allah.

So what is the root of this tree of Individualism? Funny enough, it actually may be the Christian concept of Imago Dei - that man was created in the image of God. It is this idea that makes the individual the centre of the universe, whose will is sanctified above everything else. Hence, you have the concept of human rights, which itself is a contradiction, because rights are bestowed onto people by a higher power, not arrogated by the same people onto themselves. Humanism itself is a quasi worship of the human being, because everything including God Himself is cast aside in the name of human rights, liberty, democracy, and freedom.

This is why I always say that secular humanism actually grew out of the carcass of Western Christianity. It uses Christian concepts of the soul and the divinity of personhood to build an entirely new moral framework that discards its root. It is a paradox.

The identity of man in Islam is that he is a created servant. This is the same identity as all biotic and abiotic elements around us. We are a part of the ayah that is the great ayah of the creation. All is fleeting and all will perish but the face of Allah (28:88), which is simultaneously everywhere that we turn (2:115). He is recognized everywhere and behind everything, for He is the Apparent (al-Thahir) and the Hidden (al-Batin). The cosmological Creator, the everlasting Sustainer, and the ontological Perfection that we are all after. The individual is powerless on his own, and is only empowered by the Powerful.

أعوذ بالله من كلمة أنا
I seek refuge in Allah from the word "me".

Qa'im

Qa'im

 

seeking the sun

هر کجای این جهان آشوب و جنگ آه مظلومان زند بر قلب چنگ آن که بنیان ستم باشد از او مرگ بر او, ننگ بر او, نفرین بر او .... .... شیعه یعنی لا فتی الا علی پیروی از حق و بیعت با ولی از نوای نخل و شیونهای چاه سرخ رنگ میگردد فلک هر بامگاه ترک کن این قوم بی فرهنگ را این سرای ننگ پر نیرنگ را یاد کن محراب خونین رنگ را بوسه ی سرخ سروش مرگ را پیکر بی سر, گلوی پاره را شام تلخ مردم آواره را اشک لیلا, ناله ی شبگیر را دست و پای در غل و زنجیر را .... .... شیعه یعنی انتظار و صبر و درد خالقان عشق, مردان نبرد کربلا, عاشوریان بی قرار شیعه یعنی شور رفتن سوی یار ای تو هارون رهنمای راه راست سامری آمد بگو موسی کجاست سامری بدعت به دین انداختست گر نباشی کار مردم ساختست تا به ظهر آمدن در التهاب در تب و تاب ظهور آفتاب چون به فردا آید آن شاه وزین جهل را راند از روی زمین
میکشد آن که ضعیفان را بکشت ابلیس را, آنکه بر حق کرد پشت
آنکه بشکست حرمت ناموس را واپسین فرزند دقیانوس را
پرده برمیدارد از رازی گران فاش میگردد حقیقت بر جهان شهسوارا! مردمان مستت شوند همچو مومی نرم در دستت شوند ... ای خیال شوم ابلیس لعین نایب الشیطان بر روی زمین ای به رنگ خون, انگشتان تو استخوان مردمان بر خوان تو کرده پر از خون, هوس, جام تو را شوم میبینم فرجام تو را از چه لذت میبری؟ از سرکشی؟ از خیانت, ظلم, نامردی, حق کشی؟ بر ضعیفان و یتیمان تاختن؟ پرچم حق را به زیر انداختن؟ رایت ظلم و ستم افراشتن؟ کیسه ها از مال خلق انباشتن؟ کاخ خود را روی کوخی ساختن؟ یا که از روی هوس, دل باختن؟ ... ای خداوند جهان بیکران ای فراتر از مکان و از زمان
ای خداوند رحیم و رحمدوست ای که افسار جهان در دست اوست
بارالها طاقت دنیا کم است روزگارش مملو از درد و غم است
پرده افکن از رخ خورشید شرق تا بیاندازد به دلها نور و برق زود گردان ای خدا دیدار را برشکن فرهنگ استکبار را    

shadow_of_light

shadow_of_light

 

My dear son

I’m sorry today that your father wouldn’t let you talk to your sister  it broke my heart and I cried for you  I know you didn’t deserve it today and you are not strong enough to speak out  i will always be your voice and I will not stop fighting for your rights 

Sisterfatima1

Sisterfatima1

 

promise3

St.12.   Part3 عصایی و سنگی و فلاخنی و بتی شکسته و سبدی خالی که روان است بر روی آب خودش نیست تا بتوان او را دید ولی ردپایش که هست تا بتوان به دنبالش رفت. .... I had forgotten God, but He never did. During the time when I was in that mansion, God sent hoopoe there everyday to remind me of my rendezvouz. Hoopoe came, sat at the window and waited for me to pay attention to it. But I was so busy that I didnt see it. It pecked the window, but the song of the statue prevented me from hearing it. Whenever hoope returned hopelessly, God scolded it for not trying more. Hoopoe itself, to whom God taught my language as a reward, later narrated it to me.   Finally,...  

shadow_of_light

shadow_of_light

 

Juggling, Religion, Work, and Play

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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