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Ghulu: The Case of Mughira the Sorcerer

Islamic Salvation

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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.



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Salam brother 

Thank you for sharing this, very interesting to read!

Just one question regarding this statement:

 

"The first person I heard abusing Aba Bakr and Umar was al-Mughira b. Sa’id"

Weren't the Imams a.s speaking bad about the two themselves before Mughira l.a? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Straight Path said:

Just one question regarding this statement:

"The first person I heard abusing Aba Bakr and Umar was al-Mughira b. Sa’id"

Weren't the Imams a.s speaking bad about the two themselves before Mughira l.a? 

W. Salam.

Indeed they were.

However, these words are spoken by a proto-Sunni Hadith narrator called al-Amash. This indicates that the `Aimma and their true followers were not doing Lan openly and that Mughira betrayed Taqiyya.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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This is an extract of the teachings of Mughira to his followers the Mughiriyya [Taken from Abu Tammam’s Bab al-Shaytan of the Kitab al-Shajara, translated by Wilferd Madelung and Paul E. Walker]:

 

The tenth sect is the Mughiriyya related to al-Mughira b. Sa’id al-Ijli [sic. al-Bajali]. They make up one group of the anthropomorphists. The object of their worship according to them, is a [divine] man the light on whose head forms a crown and he wears garments. His loincloth is the Qur’an that was revealed to Muhammad, the messenger of God, may God bless him and his family; His robes are the Gospels that were revealed to Jesus, on whom be peace; His shirt is the Torah that was revealed to Moses, on whom be peace; and His pants are the Pslams that were revealed to David, on whom be peace. He possesses limbs and a physical constitution like that of a man and has a belly from which flows wisdom.

They claim that the letters of the alphabet agree with the number of His limbs and that each letter in it resembles one of His limbs. The alif  is the position of His foot because of its curvature. The rest of the members they describe in accord with the description of these letters. They insist that al-Mughira said to his followers once when speaking of the letter ha’: if you were to see its place on Him, you would see something awesome. He was hinting at some genitalia of His and that he had seen Him [in a heavenly ascent].

The Mughiriyya claim that these letters are all a part of one name which is the greatest name of God. In addition they insist that al-Mughira was a prophet and he knew that name. With it he used to revive the dead and perform other marvels. They report that once al-Mughira passed through a cemetery with some of his followers and there in that cemetery he revived the dead and fed them fruits in mid-winter. Moreover, he displayed to them a flash of light that ran from the crown of his head to his feet; he toyed thus with his followers and bewitched their eyes with tricks of magic.

They also report that al-Mughira spoke about the beginning of creation. He said that God, the glorious and most high, was once alone and nothing was with Him. When He wished to create things, He spoke His own name. His word flew and landed over His head above the crown. Al-Mughira said that this was His statement, “Glorify the name of your Lord most high” (87:1). Then with His finger He wrote on His palm the deeds of humans that are acts of disobedience and obedience and He became angry at the acts of disobedience. His sweat overflowed and two oceans gathered from His sweat, one brackish and dark, the other pure luminous. Then looking into the ocean, He 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. Next, from these two oceans, He created creation in its entirety: from the dark brackish water, He created the shadow of the unbelievers, from the pure luminous water, He created the shadow of the believers.

The first among them that God created was Muhammad, may God bless him and his family, in accord with the statement of God, the glorious and the mighty, “Say: if the Most merciful had a son, I would be the first of the worshippers” (43:81). Next he sent Muhammad to the people altogether while they were yet shadows and He commanded him to have them bear witness on their own account of their recognition of the lordship of God, the apostleship of Muhammad, and the guardianship of Ali, on whom be peace, and that he recited His words, “When your Lord took from the tribe of Adam …” (7:172).

Then He proposed to the heavens and the earth that they should prevent Ali b. Abi Talib from assuming the caliphate and the imamate, but they refused. Next He proposed it to the mountains but they refused also. Then He proposed it to the people, whereupon Umar went to Abu Bakr – both were at that moment still shadows -  and he ordered him to take upon himself the task of preventing Ali by them both betraying him. Thereafter Abu Bakr did exactly that. All this is in God’s statement, “We did indeed offer the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they refused to undertake it being afraid of it. But man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish” (33:72) Then Umar said to Abu Bakr, “I will support you against Ali, on whom be peace, so that you can pass the caliphate to me after yourself”. That is in God’s statement, “Like Satan when he said to man, ‘disbelieve’ and when he renounced belief, he said, ‘I am free of you’” (59:16). Here the Satan is Umar and the man is Abu Bakr.

In their view, the earth will disgorge the dead and they will return to this world. The Mahdi will appear at the end of time, they say, and Gabriel and Michael will aid him between the Ruqn and the Maqam. He will choose nineteen men and give each one of them a letter of the greatest name of God and by means of it they will defeat all armies and dominate the earth. 

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      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’.
    • By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heaven
         1
      ....
      ....
      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
    • By Sisterfatima1 in Fatima
         0
      My dear sweet daughter as time goes by I feel more and more we are being disconnected your birth was truly a blessing for me after a difficult time 
      you were my everything watching you grow up and having people around you caring for you and loving you when I can’t be there hurts me alot
      i wish I could be the one holding your hand and helping you during hard times 
      I would give anything to have one more day with you and just play with you like we used to play 
       
      I miss your laughter I miss holding you when you were sad I miss you singing to your brother 
      I’ve missed out on so much in your life I hate living with this 
      i wish daddy would let me know you more 
      if you ever read this one day my sweet girl know that mummy loves you and wants you no matter what anybody says I never abandoned you 
      I hope one day we can be reunited 
      I pray Allah will always keep you safe my precious baby 
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      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.
    • By Ali in ShiaChat.com Blog
         14
      [This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]
      Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days!
      Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 year old me was still trying to make sense of it all. 
      In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial up modem was.  Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) -  I digress.
      Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in armchair jihadi-like debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia.  (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups.  This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”.  The “Hash tag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today).
      For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client.  It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as member of their chat room.  Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.).  Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years.  I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people.  Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15 year old.
      In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia.  As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggy backed on one of our member’s servers and domain name.
      The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam.  As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style.  Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way.
      A thought occurred to me.  Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use?  The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today.  The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at anytime from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users.  I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just setup was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com.
      [More to follow, Part 2..]
      So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?
    • By Islamic Salvation in A Marginalia to Mu'jam
         13

       
      A small collection of 82 reliable narrations concerning Intellect and Knowledge translated into English with annotated footnotes. 
      Download PDF: https://www.scribd.com/document/361632457/Book-of-Intellect-and-Knowledge-Mu-jam-1-1
      This is an UNSECURED version to aid copy and paste.
       
      Preamble
      The first book of the first volume is the book of Intellect and Knowledge. Some short words on the Islamic conception of both is in order.
      Aql is the vehicle through which the initial queries about the reality of life and nature of the world is made. It is also an essential component towards the Ma’rifa [recognition] of Allah. Thus it becomes the preliminary ‘inner prophet’ which can lead to ‘outward’ guidance and consequently obedience of Allah. It has been attributed to al-Sadiq that he said when asked to define Aql:
      ما عبد به الرحمن واكتسب به الجنان
      That by which the Rahman [Most Merciful] is worshipped and by which the Gardens are acquired[1]
      Aql is what will be held accountable. The more perfect the Aql of the one doing the deed the more complete it becomes and vice versa. The messenger of Allah is supposed to have said:
      إذا رأيتم الرجل كثير الصلاة كثير الصيام فلا تباهوا به حتى تنظروا كيف عقله؟
      If you see a man who prays a lot and fasts a lot then do not be overly impressed with him until you observe how his Aql is[2]
      Knowledge and its pursuit has been given such importance in Islam that a Western Scholar like Rosenthal could speak of the ‘Empire of Reason’. Knowledge is of many types, but the one which has been obligated is acquiring the knowledge which will make one succeed in this world and hereafter i.e. knowledge of the creator and one’s obligations towards Him.
      It is not enough to gain knowledge in theoretical terms, in fact the very definition of knowledge is the one which is put into practise. This is best summed up in a narration attributed to the Commander of the Faithful:
      حسبك من العلم أن تخشى الله، وحسبك من الجهل أن تعجب بعلمك
      It is enough to be considered knowledge that you be in awe of Allah, and it is enough to be considered ignorance that you feel proud with that which you know[3]
        [1] al-Kafi: 1/11
      [2] al-Kafi: 1/26
      [3] Amali of al-Tusi: 1/62
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      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.
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