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A blog for all dear friends. 

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Reza

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?

 

Reza

For Those Facing Bullies...

Salaam:

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

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

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

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

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

Reza

For Those Seeking Truth...

We all seek truth. But what is truth? Truth is what is real. So in other words, we are seeking what is real. As the verse below from Surah al-Isra states:

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وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing). (17:81)

This makes a prolific point. Only truth is real and will remain standing. Falsehood, illusion, and delusion are not real, and are destined to vanish. This is the opposite of truth. It's in our intrinsic nature to seek the everlasting, because the very soul of humankind is eternal. Therefore, the human being desires truth over untruth. To recognize the truth, to know the truth, to live the truth, to feel the truth. So the next logical question is, what is real, and therefore what is the truth?

Truth is both here and there, close and far, seen and unseen. Truth is an abundant resource, ready to be filled by the containers of our souls anytime. Many people in despair, plagued by the grip of falsehoods, illusions, and anxieties, feel the truth is unreachable and inaccessible. This itself is an untruth. And untruths are bound to vanish!

The truth is like a pure bright light, its origin from a single source. When this light strikes the prism of this worldly life, it refracts and reflects into a range of wavelengths and colors. This explains the diversity of interpretations we see. Yes, these crazy color beams will bounce and bend all over in this big blue ball, but ultimately, they will all return to the original bright essence, provided that purity has stayed and no contaminates of falsehood or diversion have temporarily halted the trajectory. Only temporary!

Sorry if this too dense. All I'm saying is, the truth is real. What's real is all around you. Therefore the truth is within your grasp. In the room you're in. In that nice beautiful book in your room. In the fields, mountains, skies, and seas outside. In the beating of your heart and the impulses of neurons. It's all there. Put everything together like a jigsaw puzzle. Build! No matter what flavor or color you are, as long as one aims for purification, one will be acquainted better with reality and truth, in its raw essence. You'll get there, don't worry!

 

Reza

For Those Struggling...

I know many such threads exist, but everything in life needs a reminder, especially in this saturated Information Age. 

For all those struggling, with whatever it is, big or small, revealed or concealed, internal or external, whatever the story, understand that Allah (swt) is in control, and to him lies the ultimate resolution, the ultimate arbitration, and the ultimate peace.

This dunya is a chaotic and complex place. Everyone suffers afflictions, often due to the misguided actions and misplaced nafs of humanity, of which you're included. The interconnected web of decision and circumstance that led to your present predicament cannot be untangled by your mere human hands. Indeed it's a blessing you're not given that burden. Just as it's a blessing for you to realize it will be untangled. 

These misguided actions lead to oppression, which is defined as a transgression of rights. People can either oppress others or oppress themselves. This oppression damages the peace and equilibrium of this delicate world, which leads to pain, suffering, and fitnah, which only accumulates and diffuses out. 

Oppression does not come from Allah (swt), as oppression is only the result of a deficiency of light, of which Allah (swt) is ever illuminating. It is solely through our free will and our inability and disinterest to hit the light switch ourselves. Darkness as an entity does not exist, but is merely the absence of light, which is readily available to all who sincerely seek it. 

We weren't created to suffer, but suffering is the inevitable result of our actions in this transient world. Know that the life of this dunya lasts for only a blink of an eye, and that the grip of no earthly force can place its foothold on you forever. You were created to be free, both in this life and the next. Everything will be sorted out, every atom will get its fair share, and mercy and justice will reign supreme.

Peace be upon you all, brothers and sisters. Although we are spread throughout the world and we don't know each other, we share a spiritual bond beyond greater than the oceans that separate us. 

Reza

A very important point for self-reflection. Has our youthful generation become overly conscious of ourselves, to a narcissistic degree of over self-importance? Is our demands for the ideal aesthetic, a customized and polished version of the individual, an obsession with ourselves as the ultimate adaptive social creature, leading us towards excess fragility and anxiety? Why this fixation and compulsion with making ourselves the perfect product?

Why this excessive idealism towards manufactured goals, and this unhealthy self-shaming when we can't achieve it? In this modern age, it feels like the gap between potential and reality is getting narrower. What was once unobtainable seems to be possible, as development and mass culture trickles down into even depraved hands. In relatively egalitarian Western societies, the individual is led to believe they are the master of their own narrative, as self-declared protagonists in a self-directed story, with an endless assortment of tools, facades, symbolisms, lifestyles, expression mediums, representations, and smokescreens available. The competitiveness to get the image "just right" is enormous, and the pressures that we put on each other and ourselves is crazy.

From an Islamic perspective, its in our nature to strive towards perfection, to become an ideal believer and human being, in the image of God's principles. It's natural to feel shame, guilt, and self-consciousness for our shortcomings and misdeeds, and a desire to conceal them (see discussions on veils in Islam). But the key difference is that Islam defines perfection as our base, God-created humanity, and not through the lens of trendy, built up illusions and enhancements, created by mankind as obfuscations. We were created perfect, and we must simply protect and uphold what's already in our natures. Our faces were born perfect, our speech was born perfect, our spirits were born perfect. No lifehacks, PR campaigns, plastic surgeries, role playing, focus grouping, or image building is necessary.

Peace will be felt when we submit to the real creator of our blueprint, of who we really are, rather than painfully burdening ourselves by usurping that role, and manufacturing a quintessential "perfect human", only narrowly useful in this very relative and disposable age. Which is why I believe that narcissism, perfectionism, and the increased self-importance of people is a sign of weakening faith, psychological stress, and social decay, because it questions and replaces the true created perfection of humankind with an artificial and contrived fantasy, often to serve self-interest, commercial needs, or both. 

In short, to Allah, we are perfect and normal as we already are. Leave the creation and shaping of man to him, we must simply live it as he has revealed. Do not put more pressure on yourself than necessary. There is no value in pushing and punishing yourself for failing to meet contrived standards of beauty, behavior, or accomplishment set by the media or whomever else. Love God unconditionally, love yourself as you are, and be yourself. Do not adhere to rigid orthodoxies or values that come from indifferent and corruptible sources. Do not set personal standards for yourself that are based on fantasy or an illusion. Don't let yourself believe you are deficient because you don't have the right trinkets or crack the perfect tooth smile at the camera. Any smile, with sincerity and goodwill, will be important and valued by those who matter. Believe in yourself.

 

A brief excerpt from an academic paper on this issue of perfectionism among the millennial generation:

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Perfectionism & Millennials: How to Treat Perfectionism in Therapy

Posted on November 14, 2013 By Michael Brustein 0 comments

Millennials are often described as entitled with unrealistic expectations regarding their career. They have been referred to as lazy, hyper image-conscious, narcissistic and depressed about a life of mediocrity.  Are the labels and negative stereotypes given to Millennials perpetuated by envious baby boomers? Possibly.  Nonetheless there is some research coinciding with the typical Millennial labels that are thought-provoking.  For example, the majority of middle school girls polled in 2007 would rather be an assistant to a celebrity than a senator or a CEO.  According to a study conducted in 2009 by the Institute of National Health, college students had a 58% increase in narcissism in comparison students assessed in 1982 (Time, 5/20/2013).

I have seen a substantial portion of Millennial patients in my private practice.  My observation about Millennials is that some have narcissism, but they equally appear to be perfectionistic. Perfectionism is when individuals have excessive and rigid goals regarding either self-accomplishments or excessive social expectations of themselves or others.

Having high expectations is not necessarily maladaptive, but the self-punishment and fear of not meeting your own or other’s expectations can be.  Feeling like life is not worth living due to a failed interview or relationship can be an experience a perfectionist may encounter.  Perfectionism can lead to many disorders such as eating disorders, OCD, depression and social anxiety.  Several studies indicate that maladaptive perfectionism is associated with narcissism. A Millennial with caretakers who provide conditional love and have perfectionist tendencies can be prone to narcissism.

In spite of the amount of perfectionism I’ve seen with Millennials, very few articles and research have focused on exploring the connection between Millennials and perfectionism. In general there are few resources on how to treat perfectionists in the therapy situation and that is one reason why I wrote my book on treating perfectionism.

Some of the challenges I experience working with perfectionists is their reluctance to show weakness and desire to portray a positive image.  This can cause perfectionists to conceal their concerns.  Wanting to be the perfect patient, they may praise the therapist and avoid their true feelings.  In other circumstances, a perfectionist’s extreme personal standards may parallel his or her expectations of a therapist.  The therapist is destined to fall short and not be good enough. In therapy with them it is often fascinating to explore how the dynamics they experience with me often parallel intimate relationships and career issues.  This is a topic that I explore in more depth in my book.

As therapists, supervisors and parents of Millennial perfectionists I believe we should strive to recognize their creativity and intelligence and help them hold on to their high goals, but be less punitive if they fall short and instead, help them accept themselves.

http://www.springerpub.com/w/psychology/perfectionism-millennials-how-to-treat-perfectionism-in-therapy/

 
Reza

Yes, I hate social media. Especially the most common ones. For the record, I have a nearly empty Facebook profile I only use to follow a few group pages. I don't send friend invites, but I may accept some if I know that person well enough. I don't have a Twitter, Instagram, or any other major social media service.

Something just doesn't seem right. Social media is not comprised of people, but of profiles, which are at best theoretical reflections of people. And this makes a huge difference.

Profiles are infinitely more malleable than real people. They can be customized, refined, and manipulated in any way possible, with minimal energy or authenticity from the individual behind it.  When I talked about millennial perfectionism and the manufactured self previously, nothing more exemplifies this than the social media profile. Self building involves the creation of a perfect profile through one's idealized imagery. For some, the profile is more important than the person behind it! This is not limited to a small group of narcissists and megalomaniacs. Subconsciously, everyone hopes their virtual profile makes them appear popular, approachable, enlightening, captivating, or interesting. And virtual is the new real.

Social media usage relies on a feedback loop of approval seeking behavior. You want to be noticed. You want to be seen. You want to scream "Look at me!". You want to get likes. Then you want to be seen more, and get more likes. Nobody posts with the intention of being ignored. It's an exhausting and self-defeating process where your personal value is based and adjudicated on the affirmations of others. This can drive some crazy, especially the already insecure, who tend to flock the most to social media websites, and with the most intensity.

People use it to inflate their egos and self importance. To make them appear enlightened. That they care about a range of causes. That they are active. That they are making a difference. Social media is the natural habitat for wannabe activists, hacktivists, and keyboard social justice warriors. Others showcase a picture perfect happy life of smiling outgoing faces, cute pets, and serene backdrops. To show they are cosmopolitan, worldly, well traveled, well connected, with a diverse palate of experiences. A showcase of human hubris. These are not reflections of people, these are reflections of people's contrived versions of themselves, to various sickening degrees.

Of course, you may argue, "It's not the medium's fault, it's the people's fault". As if the design and intent is inherently pure, amoral, and a clean slate, but is unfortunately ruined by the inherent human factor. From an Islamic perspective, we have institutions (for example temporary and permanent marriage, or various other legal institutions) that we consider pure in structure and intent, but can be abused by the corrupted, wicked, and hypocritical. So does the same principle not apply? It doesn't.  It's different because my faith believes that these institutions were the design of a perfect creator, who best understands our natures. That perfect creator is also its perfect judge and arbiter. I am not willing to give the same benefit towards the creators of social media sites, and I'm not willing to give its design, structure, or theory the benefit of the doubt. Why should I?

What personally matters to me is real social intimacy. Having a few close real friends, not several superficial followers. And the old and outdated mediums work just fine. Talking one on one in person. Talking on the phone. Even emailing or texting. I put quality over quantity. To go into deep conversations, a true exchange of minds and souls. I don't want to be a content generator. I want real interactions with human beings, and not with profiles. That's the dream I have. I want to take nice photos, save them in a special private folder or photo album, and share it only with those close to me. Why should I show them to everyone else? What have they done to deserve seeing them?

I'm aware of social media's positives and its benefits, but despite that, I still say no thanks. You can survive in this century without it. Prove to me in 40 years that "Facebooking" will still exist as a verb. Time is fast and cruel, and flawed mediums will always bite the dust. True and genuine relationships with others will always last.

Reza

According to Zizek, we live in an era of "cultural capitalism".  We're not just terminal consumers of hollow products, rather we're consumers of the broader philosophies, ethos, lifestyles, and symbolisms attached to the products. Humanistic, cultural, or loftier ends are commonly invoked as an effect of the purchase. His example was Starbucks. You don't just buy a cup of coffee, but you buy into a "coffee ethics", where part of your money goes to help the coffee farmers and help starving children in poor countries. So one's "duty" to help the environment and humanity is included within a consumerist act, rather than being visibly separated from it. Perhaps this "redeems" people from being simple consumers only, and gives a feeling like they're doing something meaningful, albeit by holding a cup of coffee from a comfortable Starbucks armchair.

Charity is valuable and better than nothing, but it's quite limiting. According to him (with reference to Oscar Wilde), the idea and goal should be to adjust society so that poverty itself is minimized to near impossibility. It's not enough to simply provide poor people with a few morsels to survive one more day, but keep the core of the exploitative system intact. If the situation that produced poverty in the first place is not addressed, then the stricken poor will continue to live miserable lives, no matter how much charity is thrown at them. A quote that I remember from Hélder Pessoa Câmara, a Brazilian Roman Catholic Archbishop:

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist"

The push today is to create "capitalism with a human face", one that makes it appear liberal, tolerant, and humanistic. In other words, a system that permits the unbridled profit, greed, and gross inequality of capitalism, but is "softened" for its victims by including compensatory measures like welfare and charity. An uncompromising "have your cake and eat it too" approach. To have the antidote included within the poison, so to speak.

From an Islamic perspective, this would be missing the point. Institutions that oppress people have to be significantly reformed structurally and ideologically, such that they accommodate everyone with justice, mercy, and fairness. But the individual souls that make it up must also be reformed. It is against the spirit of God consciousness to have a brazen capitalist spirit, because that would be over-indulgence of the heart into matters of dunya. Not that being rich is a bad thing. But seeing wealth as an end, rather than a means, is against the spirit of our divine inspired natures. Simply shaving off some money from the top of the money bag into the hands of a few poor families is not sufficient, and not reflective of one's real responsibility. These measures simply alleviate some guilt or show off one's phony humanism. What is needed is a reconstructing of the soul, of faith and human purpose, as well as real social consciousness by committed believers of divine guidance, who are committed to simple lives, opposed to excesses, and whose hearts beat for the rights of mankind. Marxists and leftists, stubbornly insistent on a materialist-only worldview of life, fail to grasp the importance of these lofty, divine values. They decry inequality, but adjudicate it on no sound moral basis of God-given rights, or provide any meaningful guidance for the soul of man himself.

Reform starts within the individual first, which will then impact our families, then our communities, then the world at large.

 

Reza

I'm currently reading the online book "Youth and Spouse Selection". It was written in the 90s, primarily targeted towards youth in Iran (but has some relevance to youth everywhere). One particular story shared was quite eye opening:
 

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Nasser was of the opinion that man must not marry till such time as he has his own personal house, car, and a lot of money. He would not lend ear even to recommendations and advice. He kept persistently following his belief and worked to procure a house, automobile and plenty of money.

Then he decided to marry, but unfortunately, it was late. He was thirty years old and his body, soul, and nerves had become ailing and lean as an effect of the severe pressure and strains of work, sexual deviation, loneliness, etc. His face was wrinkled and old and he had lost some of his hair. Briefly speaking, he was not the same Nasser that he was ten years before. All of his enthusiasm, vigour, cheerfulness, and purity of youth had gone, and depression and impatience had taken the place of those.

He started the search for a spouse. But no sound, perfect and cheerful girl was ready to marry him. One by one, he stepped down from the height of his standards and wishes about wife. He gave up all those ambitions and high aspirations, which he has with regard to a wife. Finally, following a lot of searching and headache, he discovered a spouse who was also like him.

Conventionally speaking, she was out of date. That girl too, on the pretexts of getting an education, learning skills and crafts and finding a spouse according to her own wrong standards and taste, had remained alone. The factors which had made Nasser unhealthy and emaciated had affected her also, resulting in spiritual and nervous ailments. She was also around thirty years.

This boy and girl, who can hardly be called boy and girl married unwillingly. The result is quiet clear. How could a couple which lack courage and spirit, lead a cheerful and creative life?

Right from the beginning, differences, frigidity and seeking excuses started taking shape. And now they have a hellish life! The battle of nerves, confrontations, and struggles creates a noisy scene. They have a number of children. Such poor children, on one hand, witness the lack of courage and vigour of their parents to train them and solve their problems, and on the other, they keep viewing the constant quarrel and confrontations of their parents. As a matter of fact, such children are pitiable.

Now the house, car and money can no more help to solve any problem. This is like a medicine after one's death!

 

 

Full text of book here:

http://www.al-islam.org/youth-and-spouse-selection-ali-akbar-mazaheri

 

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    • Thank you. It is in Persian. Translators are not reliable.
    • Ma sha Allah, i cannot read urdu, but i have converted it by translator.
    • 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.
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