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Giving life to the Earth after its death

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beardedbaker

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

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

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

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

 

beardedbaker

I'm starting this series of posts to clarify my position on a few issues, whilst trying to answer some questions @Ibn al-Hussain posed in this thread, God-willing.

I want to eventually prove this claim: that the rise of Akhbarism, and consequently what I term the 'Lite Akhbaris', has been the cause of death of the Shi'i intellectual, and the death of the Shi'i jurist-theologian in the Quranic sense (not in the conventional sense).

I will compare the methodologies used by the classic scholars to deduce rulings covering all religious topics (not just 'lesser' fiqh, as it was commonly known then), to the now commonly applied sanad/chain method, institutionalised by S. Al-Khoei (rA). I want to show that this latter methodology has allowed Akhbarism to re-establish itself in the shape of 'Lite Akhbaris', operating under the guise of Usoolism.

Lastly, I will try to provide a solution on bringing out the living from the dead.

beardedbaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

beardedbaker

'We're all different'

'We should celebrate our diversity'

'Multiculturalism is alive and well'

Liberal identity politics has become part of the subconscious. More so in America than in Europe, I think. But the UK is quickly catching up. Ethnicity and multiculturalism have their own university departments. 

Nobody dares talk about the common values that unite us. Liberal identity politics doesn't believe in common values. 

Therefore, Identity politics is a cancer,and must be countered. 

The only way to achieve this is to emphasise common human values and drop the tribal mentalities that dominate society. 

Shia Muslims in particular, have the power and knowledge (theoretically), to drive this forward,and become a relevant player in the socio-political world. 

At the moment, they are an irrelevance in the western discourse. And that's putting it lightly. 

More on this in Christmas. Happy holidays. 

beardedbaker

Something I need to write about: the Asuwada principle (purpose of creation) 

It Can be summarised into these 3 fundamental axioms:

1. The unit of social life is the individual's life, being, existence or character 

2. Although each human being is metaphysically a unique emanation of a Divine Being, each individual's life as a corporeal self, needs the fellowship of other corporeal selves to feel and be whole and complete

3. The corporeal individual,  essentially,  cannot continue-in-being without community 

This is Nigerian social theory. 

There is so much correlation to Islamic gnosticism it's unreal. 

Tbc

beardedbaker

Some thoughts on political identities of Muslims living in the West...write-up will follow.

Is there a political identity that's relevant to British/American Muslims?
 
Can we shape our own internal political identity, addressing local needs and issues, whilst standing firm on our principles (proactive approach)?
 
Do we have a political identity shaped by external influences, i.e. wilayatul faqih, Najaf school, etc (passive approach)?
 
Are we forced to accept an identity shaped by internal marginalisation and discrimination (reactive approach)?
 
Do we have to settle for a political identity, or can we contribute to society through proposing a socio-political paradigm with a goal to establish social justice?
 
What is the relationship between ideology and identity?
 
Does religious identity surpass ethnic identity in terms of importance? What is the empirical evidence for that (if any)?

beardedbaker

I will be attending a talk this weekend which will address the Muslim's role (if any) in politics. I'm assuming the talk will limit itself to British politics, but what I've written below applies to (secular) Muslim majority countries as well.

There are three aspects to answering this question:

  1. Religiously, we need to asses the role of one's world view viz his/her interaction with society
  2. The intellectual foundations of political activity of Muslims living in the West/East
  3. What I call the 'Clash of the Paradigms', which deals with the religious movements' failure to provide practical solutions to society's needs.

I will touch on the first aspect in this post, the rest will follow after I've attended the event.

The Religious Aspect
Society plays a direct role in the spiritual development of a believer, since there are a number of existential perfections¹ that are unattainable unless one cooperates and interacts with others. An individuals' worldview is key to correct behaviour that will ensure those spiritual stations are achieved.

For the materialists, however, technological development and pursuing worldly pleasures is the only perfection, and his behaviour will reflect that accordingly. A religious person with a superficial faith in God, will have his eyes set on pleasures in the afterlife. He is motivated to adhere to religious laws, because he knows it's his key to enter paradise and avoid hell-fire².

True perfection, however, lies in attaining nearness to God. This worldview encourages the believer to search out and attain behaviours that will bring him nearness, and avoid everything that might create a barrier and veil between him and his Lord. Therefore, correct religious knowledge is essential to correct behaviour, in turn ensuring correct faith. As a person progresses in this path, he will realise that higher levels of perfection will require bigger sacrifices and harder struggles. Only those with strong resolve, patience and a true yearning for that closeness to God will ensure he evolves spiritually³.

The articles of faith ('aqeedah) are essential to shaping a person's world view and behaviours. A person who believes in the separation of religion and political activity, will not be motivated to pursue the establishment of social justice in this world. He has his eyes set on the afterlife, and will focus on the personal religious duties (to the minutest details) to ensure he avoids hell-fire. He will tell himself that it's the religious establishment's responsibility to sort out all his problems. Unfortunately, he would have most likely  inherited this worldview from said religious establishment (his parents would ensure this reactionary vision is ingrained in his mind).

In order for us to contribute to society and interact at the socio-political levels, we will have to correct this superficial view of our faith, and move towards a deeper understanding of its concepts. The one-dimensional understanding of Islamic doctrines, where the emphasis is on juristic laws and personal religious duties (which have become rituals in most cases), is limiting us as individuals as well as communities in the diaspora. Ideologically, western concepts have taken over and dominated our thinking, where Islamic doctrines have failed to fill that gap, that yearning for a deeper understanding of the world. And once a person's worldview is confused with neo-liberal concepts, it becomes an uphill struggle to 1) change that worldview, and 2) for that person to live by an Islamic understanding of the world. 

Even in Muslim majority countries, you will find this to be the dominant trend. Individual Muslims performing their obligatory religious duties, yet refrain from social contributions and cooperation, not due to any physical hindrances or lack of talents, but because their worldview is focused on 'material' gains in the afterlife!

In short, if we are serious about a revival of the stagnant state we are in, and are keen to contribute positively at the socio-political level (in the UK or elsewhere), we need to correct our worldview first, move away from legends, falls concepts and outright fabrications, and truly believe that with sincerity we can change the world ('O ye who believe! If ye help Allah, He will help you and will make your foothold firm' -47:7). 

Once we, as a collective, appreciate that this isn't utopian fantasy talk, that our purpose is to evolve in the 'arc of ascent' towards perfection, we'll start to realise that this is only achievable if we characterise ourselves with the divine Names. Once this mindset is widely accepted, and becomes part of the collective subconscious, the idea of social justice will manifest itself naturally and organically, as each individual will have become a physical manifestation of the divine Name 'The Just'.


¹ I have spoken about this in detail in my other blog here. 

² '..., and a group worshipped God out of desire for paradise, and that is the worship of tradesmen;...' - part of a narration by Imam Ali (as) in Nahjul Balaghah, Vol4, pg53 (Arabic edition) 

³ Some people are willing to dedicate some of their time, usually at a personal level, however refrain from spending their money when the need arises. That is because his docility is limited, which in turn is due to the low goal he has set himself. 

beardedbaker

A Note on Identity

People used to look to identity as a unifying force around a particular political project, or social endeavour, in order to protect the interest of a group. However, some view identity to be the biggest hindrance to progress (anywhere), and the most negative heritage that would lead a people to conflicts with no end or solution in sight. In fact, it is a drain of resources (human and natural), and it has taken us Arabs/Muslims (in the Middle East) in the opposite direction to the movement of history.

I'm in the process of proposing a new Political Theory, the basis of which will be an effort to unite around a common future goal, best suited for the progress of our (Middle Eastern) society (or any society struggling for justice), to enable us to compete amongst the most advanced nations of the world.

The conflicts in the Middle East, especially the one initiated by what became known as the 'Arab Spring', are conflicts that pit one identity against the other, with policies purposely absent, so that foreign policies take advantage of the situation and are forced upon us. As a result, instead of different factions debating political theories and social projects, we have a never-ending struggle of religious and ideological identities. These religions and ideologies, have been emptied of their socio-political essences and revolutionary progressive ideas, so it should come as no surprise that their opinions matter very little to the rest of the world (if they ever show opinions on things that matter!).

Throughout religious history, we have examples of socio-political struggle between progressive revolutionaries and the establishment. When Jesus (as) came to revolt against the status-quo of his time, he didn't do so by attaching himself to an existing identity. The Christian identity was established once people started following the teachings of Jesus Christ (as). The same applied to the early Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula, who became Muslim not to be part of an existing identity, but to destroy the status-quo. The Islamic movement came as a social project to 'islamize'  the people, and not for it to be carried as an identity. The current conflicts in the region (and many other parts of the world) revolve around identities, with total absence of their original Islamic oChristian essence, i.e. a lack of understanding of the deep and rich meanings that sit at the root of these labels. As a result, they lack understanding of what these ideologies offer in terms of socio-political change.

The majority of people in our region have inherited an identity, it is but a few who are truly religious.

What I hope to achieve with this new Political Theory is to return to 'Traditional Humanism', which is no different to the True Islam (in the general prophetic evolutionary sense), to propose a fresh and enlightening socio-political project that would benefit everyone. Any reformist project must look back at history, revolt against any negative inheritance that has been accumulated over the years, and learn from the experiences of our ancestors. We are not responsible for our ancestor's deeds, but we can build on them and work towards more perfect policies and social behaviours, setting an examples to the rest of the world. This cannot be achieved whilst hiding behind an inherited identity. Those who hide behind religious identities, have forgotten or misunderstood the true meaning and message of their faith, and instead are behaving more like infighting tribes.

Religious and sectarian infighting is the beginning of the end of religion (as was the case in the European wars of religion in the 16th century, that lead to the enlightenment and Europe's eventual secularism).

This project is a revolt against inherited religions, because all that remains today are inherited religious identities, filled with fanaticism, and devoid of any sacred, social, political, or economical essence and intelligence.

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    • Beating oneself in grieve is from shaitan?
    • Another interesting blog entry. I learn so much from you, Sister. Alhamdulillah for all your help. 
    • Peace be upon you O Uthman, the namesake of Uthman the son of Amirul Mumineen [Ali].
    • Wa Alaykum Salam.  What you have quoted from Tafsir al-Safi goes back to Tafsir al-Askari [a Tafsir which claims to originate from the Eleventh Imam]. This is the translation: قال رجل للصادق عليه السلام فإذا كان هؤلاء العوام من اليهود لا يعرفون الكتاب الا بما يسمعونه من علمائهم لا سبيل لهم إلى غيره فكيف ذمّهم بتقليدهم و القبول من علمائهم و هل عوام اليهود الا كعوامنا يقلّدون علمائهم فان لم يجز لأولئك القبول من علمائهم لم يجز لهؤلاء القبول من علمائهم فقال عليه السلام بين عوامنا و علمائنا و بين عوام اليهود و علمائهم فرق من جهة و تسوية من جهة أما من حيث استووا فان اللَّه قد ذمّ عوامنا بتقليدهم علماءهم كما قد ذمّ عوامهم و أمّا من حيث افترقوا فلا، A man said to al-Sadiq عليه السلام: If the common people among the Jews did not have any other way to obtain knowledge of the Book except through what they heard from their scholars - then why did He blame them for their following of the scholars and acceptance from them? Further, is it not the case that the common people among the Jews are like our common people for they [our common people] too follow their scholars, so if it is not permitted for them [the Jews] to accept from their scholars then is it not also impermissible for these [our common people] to accept what their scholars say? He عليه السلام said: Between our common people and our scholars and the laity among the Jews and their scholars there is a difference in one aspect and similarity in another aspect. As far as the similar aspect is concerned then just as Allah censured our common people for the blind following of their scholars He did the same in censuring their common people, but as for the divergent aspect then No [he did not censure it].   قال بيّن لي ذلك يا بن رسول اللَّه قال إنّ عوام اليهود كانوا قد عرفوا علمائهم بالكذب الصريح و بأكل الحرام و الرّشا و بتغيير الأحكام عن واجبها بالشفاعات و العنايات و المصانعات و عرفوهم بالتعصب الشديد الذي يفارقون به أديانهم و إنهم إذا تعصبوا أزالوا حقوق من تعصبوا عليه و اعطوا ما لا يستحقه من تعصبوا له من اموال غيرهم و ظلموهم من أجلهم و عرفوهم يقارفون المحرّمات و اضطروا بمعارف قلوبهم إلى أن من فعل ما يفعلونه فهو فاسق لا يجوز ان يصدق على اللَّه و لا على الوسائط بين الخلق و بين اللَّه فلذلك ذمّهم لما قلّدوا من قد عرفوا و من قد علموا أنّه لا يجوز قبول خبره و لا تصديقه في حكايته و لا العمل بما يؤديه إليهم The Narrator said: Explain it for me O the son of the messenger of Allah. He عليه السلام said: the common people among the Jews knew that their scholars used to lie outright, eat the forbidden wealth, were corrupt, changed the laws from what they should be based on intercession, favours and bribes. They also knew that their scholars were excessively partisan, that they used to split up their religion because of this rivalry and used to trample the rights of those they were against and give those they are partial towards what they do not deserve of the wealth of others, they used to oppress them [the enemies of their allies] to please their biases. They knew them to perpetrate the forbidden. They [the common people] knew it in their hearts [had intrinsic knowledge] that the one who does what they used to do is a Fasiq, and it is not acceptable to consider them truthful in what they attribute to Allah or to the intermediaries between the creation and Allah. That is why He censured them when they followed those they knew for a fact it was forbidden to accept their reports or consider them truthful in what they say, or to act based on what they instruct.   وكذلك عوام امتنا إذا عرفوا من فقهائهم الفسق الظاهر ، والعصبية الشديدة والتكالب على حطام الدنيا وحرامها ، وإهلاك من يتعصبون عليه إن كان لاصلاح أمره مستحقا ، وبالترفق بالبر والاحسان على من تعصبوا له ، وإن كان للاذلال والاهانة مستحقا فمن قلّد من عوامنا مثل هؤلاء الفقهاء، فهم مثل اليهود الذين ذمّهم الله تعالى بالتقليد لفسقة فقهائهم Likewise, the laity of our community, if they recognize signs of clear-cut Fisq from their scholars, extreme partisanship, their turning towards amassing the wealth of this world and its prohibited items, destroying the affair of the one they are biased against even though extending assistance to him is what is appropriate,  showing compassion, good-will and charity to the one they are biased towards even thought humiliating and chastising them is the appropriate response - then the one among our common people who follows such Fuqaha are like the Jews and those who are censured by Allah the Elevated because of their following of corrupt scholars. فأما من كان من الفقهاء صائناً لنفسه، حافظاً لدينه، مخالفاً لهواه، مطيعاً لأمر مولاه، فللعوام أن يقلدوه. وذلك لا يكون إلاّ بعض فقهاء الشيعة، لا جميعهم فان من يركب من القبائح و الفواحش مراكب فسقة فقهاء العامّة فلا تقبلوا منهم عنا شيئاً و لا كرامة لهم. As for the one among the Fuqaha who protects his soul, preserves his religion, opposes his caprice [desires], and obeys the command of his Master then it is upon the laity to follow him. There are only some of the Fuqaha of the Shia who are like this, not all. As for those who perpetrate the despicable and abominable acts the way the `Amma [proto-Sunni] scholars do then do not not accept from them about us anything and they are not to be honoured.
    • The following link will take you to part 2 - http://www.shiachat.com/forum/blogs/entry/315-the-impact-of-cognitive-distortions/
    •   This is what I learned from you Hameedeh.
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