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Posted Abu Hadi on 14 December 2012 - 05:35 AM
I finally finished my book. The topic is the Quranic view of Jesus, Prophet Isa(p.b.u.h).
I thought about selling it on Amazon, etc, but I think it is better to dedicate the effort in service of Imam Al Hujjat Al Qaim(may Allah(s.w.a) hasten his return). InShahAllah, you will learn something from it.
It is a good book, especially for reverts to Islam from Christianity to use to discuss issues with their family.
I think I covered most issues between Muslims and Christians regarding Prophet Issa(a.s)
If anyone has comments they can post them here. Also I would like to thank certain members of SC (you know who you are ) for kind words and encouragement. Salam
Also, most of the Arabic to English translations were mine, or mine with help from my father in law. I hope they are more clear than the typical Arabic to English translations you see.
Posted hameedeh on 18 January 2012 - 08:11 AM
Alhamdulillah, we were at the same university and had two classes together, so we would talk to each other before and after our classes. I was a Christian and found out he was a Muslim. He explained that Muslims don't date, but if they want they can get married temporarily. He said later they can marry permanently OR break their temporary marriage IF they can't get along. He never tried to hold hands, hug or kiss me, so I knew he was a complete gentleman. His piety was impressive, and this made me more interested in him and his beliefs. I felt that I could trust him and he would never harm me.
He shared a house off campus with three other guys, and I lived in the woman's dorm with another girl. He and I used to go for a walk and just talk, to get away from our roommates. We set the time of our mut'ah marriage as four years. We thought this would be long enough for both of us to earn our bachelor degree. Four years made me feel secure that he was not just using me for a few days or a few weeks. I'm sure that if he had wanted a shorter time, less than one year, I would have been reluctant to marry him by mut'ah. We both agreed on the four years time limit and everything was good. On the weekends we began looking for an apartment. After six months of mut'ah marriage, we found a place near the campus and started living together.
Our life became really pleasant. I no longer had to say goodbye in the evening and watch him walk away. We walked to the university in the morning and came back to the apartment for lunch. We went to the university in the afternoon and came back later. We had homework to do, of course. We had chores to get done, but it wasn't difficult because we helped each other. We cooked dinner together and saved half of it to eat for lunch the next day. After dinner we would sit and talk about anything we wanted, but usually it was about Islam.
Sometimes we would discuss the Bible and the Qur'an. He was always patient to answer questions that I had about Islam. He translated some of the writings of Dr. Ali Shariati for me. I particularly liked his translation of the Four Prisons of Man, because it was not like anything I had read before. Later on, we bought his Hajj book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading that in English. One day I was ready to say my shahada and after I repeated the words, he took me to the sink and taught me how to take ablution. Then he taught me how to pray. Elahy shukr!
To make a long story short, we were married permanently and now we have three sweet kids, mashAllah. If my experience sounds like a fairy tale, I can only say that Alhamdulillah, it was, because my husband was a momin. Ok, that is all. Don't ask me any personal questions! I've said too much already. I want to remain anonymous at ShiaChat! I just wanted to explain to those who don't believe in mut'ah that it is halal and is a blessing for couples.
Posted Alizee Sukeyna on 09 August 2012 - 05:01 PM
Posted Abu Hadi on 28 February 2013 - 09:03 AM
My First Youtube video. Let me know what you think.
Posted Aabiss_Shakari on 14 January 2012 - 05:52 PM
On 13th of January, 2012 i am blessed with a son. May Allah include him in His worshipers. May Allah enlighten his heart with His Noor, Emaan, and Maarafat e Muhammad (sawaw) and Aal e Muhammad (a.s) particularly Imam e Zaman a.s. May Allah include him in the army of Imam e Zaman a.s.
Posted Noura_Shi'a on 14 September 2012 - 09:32 AM
As many of u may know, i have past that is different from how i am right now. I have been a member here june this year, and many of my posts confronts that im a convert to Shia islam.
As im writing this text, it makes me remember high school where i wrote english essays, and my english may be a bit... uhh... bad! And my story on how i converted may not be full of actions.
I beg the apologize of every reader.
I were born in a sunni muslim family. In my younger days i were learing alot about Islam, which were the basics every parent learn their child. I knew i were a muslim,
i knew about Allah and our Prophet, and the 5 pillars. I live in a European country, and in primary school i had a some education about Islam (it were just a summary about the basics that i were teached by my parents). So i werent actually focusing much on that subject and i were good to take the word on my classes to teach a bit more about Islam to my classmates and teachers.
I actually remember one day when i were 10-12 years old, that my father were watching the Turkish news (as we r originally from Turkey), and one of the cases were probably about Ashura (i dont remember that well).
I were wondering about the whole case and started to ask my father about what was happening. He started to tell me a bit about the split in Islam, that we had sunni, shia and many more. Then he continued to tell me about Shia islam (look, i didnt learn about different sects in Islam before i were about 10 years!).
When i asked him about which i belonged to, he answered sunni. And i felt from that day, that i had a mission to learn more (which 10 years old kid would think about it, but trust me, i did!).
Later on, i started on high school where the religion subject were a bit more detailed. When the topic came to Islam, we where again presented to the basics, but also about the different sects. I could read about sunni and shia, and the most confusing part were that i were more convinced about the belief of Shia.
But i were kind of ignorant and didnt mind it, because «our elders may have knew much better on why we have chosen sunni islam».
In the end of high school, i got contact with a Iraqi girl that were Shia muslim, and the topic came to Shia islam. She were telling be alot of info about them and absolutely adored the way i were just listening and not making discussions about how wrong she was.
She gave me books, linked to videos etc. just to help me learn more. I did want to learn, but unfortunally i were focusing too much on school that i «didnt have time for it».
So for 2 years ago i met my best friend, who were also a Shia muslim. We could talk for 2-3 hours a day about Shia islam and i were more and more attacted to it (and know i werent busy with all other less important things, as i were older).
I started to agree more on her points and started to read the books my Iraqi friend gave me. I were also good on doing research on the internet (i were actually using SC that times, but werent a member).
One year ago, while i started to forget about my interest about Shia islam, i had a dream that i were in the middle of a big crowd. I remember really well that i screamed «Ya Allah, Ya Muhammed, Ya Ali», and i were hearing the crowd saying the same. I were confused when i woke up, and i didnt tell anyone immediatly.
My life didnt go that well either on that time. Somethings didnt just work out, and i were having a hard time. I wanted to seek more comfort on my religion and i knew alot about Shia islam and were agreeing about it. My dream, my feelings about it etc. were going through my mind.
I converted, and believe me, since that day my life have been so much more better. I have felt more connections with Allah. I cant even describe how my life and the way i looked on life, were changed (some ppl here may think that im exaggerating, but this is what i felt!).
If i have said something wrong or offended ppl, please forgive me. May Allah be with u all.
Posted AlwaysChangingHisUserName on 30 May 2012 - 08:00 PM
As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu my dear brothers and sisters in Islam,
The last time I tried posting my story, I got to the end of my second paragraph when my browser crashed, so Insh'Allah I will be able to finish it this time, and post it.
A couple of people throughout this site have asked me about my journey to Islam, and eventually Shi'ism, and so I have decided to make one long post explaining everything, so that next time someone asks, I can just link them to this instead of trying to explain quickly. This post will have four main sections Insh'Allah: About myself, my religious history, how I came to (Sunni) Islam, and how I changed to Shia Islam. It's a bit of a strange story, with a lot of bumps in the road, and a lot that I am not proud of, but here goes nothing . . .
Hi there! My name is Michael I was born and raised (for the most part) in the city of Everett, Washington, USA. I spent my childhood in Marysville by I've lived back here in Everett for the past 6 (almost 7) years. My parents are divorced, and have been since I was a baby. I cannot remember a time when they weren't fighting. Now a days my father lives across the country, in Nebraska and I haven't seen him in 6 years. I am much closer with my paternal grandma (my last remaining grandparent) who lives in Oklahoma. I visited her this last Winter while on break from school, and I really enjoyed my time there. I like my mum a heck of a lot more than I like my dad (for various reasons), but I often feel that I am not good enough for her. Most of my friends say the opposite is true, and that she is a terrible mum, but that can't possible be true; she's my mum <3 I guess I have always been a "spiritual" person, obsessing over religion and whatnot my whole life, so I guess that my conversion to Islam isn't all that surprising.
My religious history
I was always raised in a Christian household, but the denomination has changed several times. I was baptized as an infant in the Episcopal Church (Anglican), but I don't think I've ever been to an Episcopal service apart from the one time I went with my father. While I was a young child, my mom had a job at some other church (United Church of Christ -- or something like that, I can't remember really), and so every Sunday we would go and she would supervise the nursery. I remember a bit of this, as I was allowed to play in there. After a while, my mom quietly switched us to Pentecostal (First Assembly of God) due to the church she worked at beginning to bless gay marriage (or commitment ceremonies, something like that), which she did not approve of. Most of my memories of the Pentecostal church are negative ones. I went with the children to Sunday school, which always bore me. I had no interest in hanging with the other children and singing songs and learning Bible lessons. I was perfectly happy with my mum as my sole friend. I had a very bad experience at this church, which I am not comfortable posting in public, but it turned me away completely. I doubt I will ever be the same, because of this experience. Soon after, we moved to the city I live in now and went to a megachurch for a short while. I actually liked this church because for the youth services, at least, it was more of a nightclub than a church. We spent maybe 5 minutes having a gospel lesson and then the rest of the time was listening to loud music, playing xbox and pool, and other stuff that teenagers like to do. I was only like 10-11, but I liked it even then. At the age of 11, a couple Mormon missionaries came by our apartment, and we became Mormons. It was the Mormon church that had the greatest hold on us, as my mum has had terrible finances since we moved the first time, and they help her out by paying rent and whatnot. It was at the age of 14 that I began to look into Islam. I will detail that part of my life in the next section, but I do want to add a little more to this one. Between that time and now, I have drifted in and out of Iman, and I have investigated nearly every possible religion out there. I investigated other forms of Christianity, Sikhism, Baha'i Faith, Hinduism, and I even dabbled in Witchcraft. The reason I switched around so much was probably due to two things. First, my mother has always been a drifter, so I probably inherited that from her. I also never felt truly right in any of these religions, so I moved onto the next one rather quickly. While I was 15 years old, I attended a Biblical Prophecy seminar with my mother put on by the Seventh-day Adventist church. After a while of going to the SDA church and having lessons and whatnot, my mum became a member but I did not. I like how they try to get to the true message of Christianity, instead of having some dumb agenda, but I still don't think it's true. Anyway, onto the interesting stuff . . . .
How I came to (Sunni) Islam
Between the ages of 13 and 14, I was an active member of a Harry Potter fan site (it was a web forum) where you could talk with other members and whatnot. I became pretty good friends with several people, and one of these was a Muslim. I was honestly only vaguely aware of her religion, and it really didn't matter that much to me, as I was a faithful Mormon, but this would later prove key. I had a bit of a falling out with her after I made up lies in order to receive attention (a bad habit of mine) and she discovered. Nowadays I only regularly talk to one friend I made on there, and I keep somewhat in contact with about 4-5. As a Freshman in High School, the family finances became a bit tight and we had to lose the internet. So as an alternative, everyday after school I would take the city bus to the local shopping mall, and sit in the coffee shop that was inside Borders book store and use their wifi (I had a laptop I would take). I think the reason I was able to open up to Islam at this point was because I was becoming less and less interested in mine, Mormonism. Anyway, I eventually found her profile on Facebook (the girl I mentioned earlier). I wasn't particularly looking or anything, but she popped up as a mutual friend or something. I remembered that she was Muslim, so I decided to investigate. I picked out a book at that bookstore called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam" (or something similar) and started reading. I never actually bought the book lol, I just read it in the store. I was impressed with a lot of the beliefs, and decided to start researching Islam online. I joined an Islamic web forum, which although didn't help me much then, it proved an invaluable tool later on. I also found the local mosque and contacted the guy in charge. After a while, I decided to go to the mosque and become a Muslim. I was absolutely not ready for it. I knew next to nothing about Islam (at least compared to what I know now . . .lol), but I went anyway. It was on Eidul Adha 1430 (November 27, 2009) and we prayed Maghrib in jamaat. The Imam gave me a ride home, and taught me how to say As-Salaamu Alaykum. Eventually, I decided I wanted a Qur'an (LOL I didn't even have one yet) so I asked the Imam where I could buy a copy. He told me that I could get one for free at the mosque. He described what it looked like, and said I could just take it next time I was around. The story behind this, is absolutely by the will of Allah. My mother and I needed to move pretty soon by then, so we were going to go looking at apartments. She told me to meet her at the office of one of the apartments we were going to look at. That apartment, was right across the street from the mosque. I took my backpack with me, and while on my way to the apartment, I quickly sneaked into the mosque, took the Qur'an, put it in my backpack, and went over to the apartments before she could get there and see me. Alhamdulilllah!! We eventually moved into that apartment, and I started going to the mosque slightly more, but I didn't really have high iman. It was at this point where I dabbled in witchcraft the most . . . It was a really low point in my life. That's really it, to be honest . . . I have never been a good Muslim. I don't think I've ever read all five prayers in a single day. I haven't been to a masjid since last Eidul Fitr. I am a really terrible Muslim, and a hypocrite.
My change to Shia Islam
There are basically three main things that helped me understand Islamic history properly, which then led me to Shi'ism. The first is a book entitled After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton. As the title suggests, it is a book that discusses the history of how the split happened, and why it happened. I saw how the Caliphs came into power, and how that was never Muhammad's intention. I won't go too deep into it, but I highly recommend it for ANYONE. It's a great book. The second thing that led me to Shia Islam was a girl in my English class. I found out that she was Shia after she asked me my religion. I asked her some basic questions like "Why do you guys beat yourselves?" and "Why do you worship stones?". She was always patient and answered my questions in the best way possible. The third, was this website itself. I had so many questions, in fact I still do. But the truth, is for sure the truth, and Insh'Allah I will find the answers to my questions soon.
As for the present, I guess I consider myself Shia. I have never been to a Shia mosque, and I don't have any Shia friends. Ever since my reversion to Islam, I have been a really bad Muslim, and I feel so bad about it. Please make Du'a that I will be guided.
Well, that's my story. There is a lot I wanted to remove from it, but I wanted to be totally honest. I hope you all do not think less of me . . .
Posted hameedeh on 02 May 2012 - 01:28 AM
People want to discuss and learn. Here is a list of books, in no particular order, that might be useful.
Akhlaq e-A'imma, Morals & Manners of the Holy Imams AS. http://www.al-islam.org/akhlaq-aimma/
Ethics and Spiritual Growth. http://www.al-islam.org/ethics/
Jami' al-Sa'adat (The Collector of Felicities). http://www.al-islam....hid/felicities/
Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education. http://www.al-islam....qorbani-lahiji/
Moral Values of Qur'an, a Commentary on Surah Hujurat. http://www.al-islam....tafsir-hujurat/
Greater Sins the Complete Book. http://www.al-islam...._sins_complete/
Code of ethics for Muslim men and women. http://www.al-islam....-men-and-women/
Qalbe-Saleem, Immaculate Conscience. http://www.al-islam.org/qalbe-saleem/
Adabus Salat, The Disciplines of the Prayer. http://www.al-islam.org/adab/
Self Building, An Islamic guide for Spiritual Migration towards God. http://www.al-islam.org/selfbuilding/
Spiritual Discourses. http://www.al-islam.org/discourses/
al Siraj: The Lantern on the Path To Allah Almighty. http://www.al-islam.org/al-siraj/
The Elixir of Love. http://www.al-islam.org/elixiroflove/
Awsaf al Ashraf, The Attributes of the Noble. http://www.al-islam....l-tawhid/awsaf/
Concentration in Prayer. http://www.al-islam....tion_in_prayer/
Last Will & Testament. http://www.al-islam....rt/wasiyatnama/
Diseases of the Soul. http://www.al-islam..../diseases_soul/
Anecdotes of the Ahlul Bayt. http://www.al-islam....tes-ahlul-bayt/
The Greatest Jihad: Combat with the Self. http://www.al-islam....id/jihadeakbar/
Struggle against the Self (jihad al-nafs). http://www.al-islam....files/jihad.pdf
Du’a (Supplication). http://www.al-islam....hasan-hamdouhi/
Sexual Ethics in Islam and in the Western World. http://www.al-islam.org/sexualethics/
Principles Of Marriage & Family Ethics. http://www.al-islam....riageandfamily/
Rafed.net Ethics articles. http://en.rafed.net/...d=78&Itemid=843
Posted baradar_jackson on 14 May 2012 - 11:13 PM
Here is someone who basically has a mental rolledex of everything that goes on on Shiachat, who never once has broken the rules of the site herself, whose posts contribute to the website, who gets along with everyone and is akhlaqi with everyone, ...
So what are you waiting for, loozers?
Posted -Enlightened on 11 January 2013 - 12:05 PM
I noticed that the akhlaq of some of our shia members in this forum aren't good. Some of them act very rude and immature. We have the mods that are doing a great job, Alhamdulilah .. but its also the job of the members to behave well.
It is our duty to represent the Shia Faith with the best of manners. There are 10,000 different guest who visit this site every day and we have to show them the best of Akhlaq.
When I used to troll on the sunni forums, everyone was so much respectful to each other . Everyone was there to learn and not to fight, to enter an ethical discussion , not a debate.
Some ethical rules :
- -Begin your post with Salam Alaikom
- -When the member is asking for advice, please help him and wish nothing but the best
- -Dont be rude to other members by cracking lame jokes just to show-off that you're cool
- -You're not infallible , so accept the fact that you may be wrong sometimes..dont turn the topic into a fight by trying to prove yourself right
- -Show the best of manners in front of the non-Muslims. Always help them, wish them "peace".
- -Write neatly. Just like you try to represent yourself in a job interview to have a good reputation, here you are carrying the flag of Isam on the internet (the most powerful tool for information nowadays) ,so write neatly , check your spelling and your punctuations.
- -Try to smile (dont overuse the emoticon though)
- -More to come
here's another one that just popped my mind :
- When you are banned , just accept the fact that you're banned. dont come back under another username to ask for reasons . Dont rebel.. it is not the end of the world if you are banned. If you really wanted to access shiachat for knowledge, then use your banned week opportunity to read books, listen to lectures..
Posted titumir on 04 February 2012 - 11:31 AM
I would like to present some good news to you. As you know, I reverted in Ramadan 2011, and since then haven't talked much about it to my relatives. I did speak to my classmates, but TBH they don't care much about Islam, and weren't interested to know about the Ahlulbayt.
However, this time two of my cousins came to my city (they live in a different city). I was apprehensive about telling them about my decision, since they are extremely religious, and come from a religious family, and think of themselves as Wahhabis (ie, they are against graves, etc.)
However, I pioneered a new way of telling them about Shiaism. In short, I first interrogated them abut Imam Ali , and his descendants. When they are unable to tell, then I showed them the hadith of Thaqalayn. They had known all their lives, "Quran and Sunnah", but I showed them that it was actually "Quran and Ahlulbayt". I also showed them the 733 sources of Ghadeer Khumm from the al-islam/ghadir website. By this time they were properly spooked out, and then, for the final blow, I showed them the video of Syed Hadi Modarresi refuting the Saudi Grand Mufti, in which the Grand Mufti praises Yazid live on TV. That was what finally kicked them off their own Wahhabi beliefs.
Then I showed them the Quran verses of fasting till night, wiping the feet, and paying Khums. At this point, they were all despairing, and openly admiting that they were one of the 72 wrong sects. Then I dropped the bombshell, that Shia follow the Ahlulbayt, fast till night, wipe their feet and pay Khums. Then, luckily, they openly admitted that Shia were right, and took the decision to become Shia.
I'll show you the video of the Saudi Grand Mufti praising Yazeed. Keep in mind that this bright spark has been responsible for 2 converts upto now in just my own family, and who knows how many worldwide.
So, in short, after myself converting two of my very religious, university student/graduate cousins have reverted to Shiaism too.
Posted Propaganda_of_the_Deed on 14 March 2012 - 05:43 PM
Now gather ‘round
And I’ll run it down
Ok, most of you know that I'm not Shi'ite, by technicality and default, I am a Sunni (although I personally identify with the term "Muslim", as I believe this is the correct and legitimate name for followers of the Prophet s.a.w - and not the previous two).
I have been a Sunni all my life, (with what you can call a brief flirtation with Salafism in my more rebellious and confused teen years), for the most part of my years, I've been very much closed-minded to Shia Islam, both intentionally and unintentionally through ignorance and the fact that I just accepted the propaganda and misconceptions that we are fed.
As you know, the average Sunni doesn't know jack [Edited Out] about Shia Islam, and has hardly ever had contact with an actual Shi'ite in real life. I was pretty much like this- give or take with a basic understanding of what they believe, mixed in with some of the usual cliche criticisms we throw at them.
I guess it all changed when I got to know a Shi'ite girl some years back for the first time, knowingly at least. Of course the discussion of sectarian differences came into play and from such heated discussions, or arguments if you will, I began to see an alternative narrative to what I was used to - especially in regards to the key events surrounding the Prophet's death. The whole rift with Abu Bakr and Fatima, the divisions amongst the Sahabah in who they supported, the incident at Fatima's house, her death and secret burial, the battle of the Camel, etc.. and the whole Ghadir Khom event prior to all this too.
It was both very intriguing, yet at the same time frustrating, that I couldn't really find a satisfactory Sunni refutation for many of these points - and I was under the assumption because we were the right sect, that our evidences would be so manifest - yet little did I realise, that even within our own sources, especially Bukhari, there was much evidence for what Shi'ites believed had happened. It seemed to be painting these saintly images of key Sunni figures, in perhaps ways that didn't always match up with other hadiths. There was certainly something dodgey going on, especially at the time of the Prophet's death. I didn't admit it of course, but deep down I knew I didn't have anything against what she had thrown my way.
In anycase, I chose to stick with what I believed, as it just was my comfort zone, and I buried what I had come to know in the far depths of my mind. I had since cut off contact with that person for whatever reason, but as it happened, I don't even know why, these questions resurfaced and I began to revisit a lot of the issues we used to speak about, in my own time - yet this time, I began to look at things objectively and without the biased lens I had been looking through previously. It was also only then, did I remember that person confidently telling me that she was certain I'll be Shi'ite one day - I remembered laughing at such an idea, as at the time, it was literally 100% an uncertaintiy and unthinkable. Still, I tried to brush these thoughts away.
However, the more I looked into things, the deeper I got, and it got to a stage where I knew I was lying to myself by believing in the narrative I was most familiar with - I guess a person truly knows something is right or the truth, if they try to fight against it - and I did try for a few more years to suppress this different perspective I had begun to see. I began to frequent this site as an observer primarily, although much of what I know was still from those initial conversations I had, and other research, external to this site.
I think when I really began to form a more solid opinion or stance was when I looked at the incident of Karbala and the matrydom of Imam Hussain in detail - I had always just known the surface details and never felt any real emotion (I just didn't get why Shias got so emotional over this), but I realised, any objective and neutral person could see who was on the side of good and who was on the side of tyranny and injustice - for too long we as Sunnis are too scared to take a side if a conflict involved two "Companions", likewise with the Battle of the Camel.
In anycase, when I read more of the dreadful treatment of the female and children survivors of that incident, I really started asking myself - if the Shias claim they support the Prophet and his family... just who the hell have we been supporting all this time?
It's been a gradual process of unravelling and basically turning a lot of what I believed upside down, as well as changing the ways in which I had previously looked in adoration at some Companions.
What I can say is this much:
- Although the Prophet s.a.w didn't explicitly say who his "Khaleefah" would be, I do believe that Ali ra was the rightful sucessor, and that his claim was usurped, and that there is far greater evidence pointing to his claim than anything of the sort in light of Abu Bakr's claim.
- The Ahlul Bayt, were indeed wronged and oppressed, especially by people who claimed to love the Prophet s.a.w - there is no denying this.
- For the most part, it is the Shias who have also been oppressed by the Sunnis, and it continues to this day.
This being said, although I believe in the rightful claim of Ali r.a, I still have these inherent reservations when it comes to fully embracing the whole Imamat concept and Infallibility, and of the Hidden Imam.
I understand the Quranic verse of purification, but I still don't know if this is explicitly saying that the specifically defined Ahlul Bait are Infallible. I've been one who only viewed the Prophet s.a.w as Infallible - although I do understand that only his true sucessors could be Infallible like him, with an esoteric understanding of the Quran.
I guess, being from a Sunni background, I find it difficult to embrace this deep idealism, as Sunnis are more familiar with a sort of realism, that suggests, the Khulafah, although not neccessarily pious or infallible, are the right people for the job, and the most qualified in practical terms.
It is from this perspective, I acknowledge that Abu Bakr - minus his grave wrongdoings, as a Caliph, had to fight against many internal initial threats to the early Islamic community, such as the false prophets who began to emerge, and those who refused to pay zakat, etc.... and importantly, in terms of the religion of Islam - it's military expansionism, which would be followed on by suceeding caliphs.
In hindsight, how could we know how things would have turned out, if a younger Ali became first Caliph? Would he have ordered the military expansion that the previous Caliphs did, if in the same position? Beause we know his time of Caliph, unfortunately was mostly preoccupied with internal fitnah first from Aisha and then from Muawiyah. How would sucessive Imams carried out their role of leaders of the Ummah - were the Imams supposed to be Caliphs simultaneously?
I guess, like many Sunnis I still have this worldly justification for ourselves, in our military success and expanionism, and sheer numbers (and more ethnic diversity in comparison)- I know numbers do not equate to being on the truth, but it sure is comforting when you know you're a majority. I wouldn't expect anyone to understand that, well maybe ex-Sunnis, and I'm sure many Shias have at some point or another reflected on the larger number of Sunnis and had some anxiety or doubts at some point in time. I do however, find it interesting, being a minority on this forum, it makes a change being a minority for once.
Speaking of, it would be most interesting to see how Sunnis who became Shias managed with these issues, I'm sure being formerly sincere Sunnis, they had to reconcile some of these same points - in addition to praying in a slightly different way...... how did it feel praying differently to what you believed was the correct way? I'd also find that seemingly difficult to get used to.
I haven't really told anyone I know personally about these growing inclinations I have, apart from one relative, and perhaps hinted it to a few people, but no real concrete steps as yet. I am still hoping to learn more as I continue my research.
Sunni Islam is not enough alone that is for sure, there are a lot of holes it seems - though many simply are in blissful ignorance - I wish I could find a sort of solution or closure to this, maybe it is possible to still be Sunni whilst accepting that Ali should have been Caliph?... I'm not sure I'd formally declare myself as Shi'ite, as I still have issues seeing myself as Sunni still. Ideally I'd like to have the truth, and I do hope I find that equilibrium, because right now, I'm in a somewhat state of limbo.
Well that was good to get out of my system. It would be most interesting to hear from former Sunnis but any thoughts or opinions are welcome.
Posted Ali Musaaa :) on 31 August 2011 - 04:16 PM
Guys, it is rather lengthy but please read if you are interested
My name is Ali. I am 17 years old and I live in NSW Australia. The main reason why I began to search for a religion is because I wanted to find the path to God. I needed a way to change my self because I was not happy with who I was. I felt sometimes that I am just terrible to people and I felt really bad for all the conflict and fighting that occurs in my family and sometimes friends. I spoke with a few friends about this and they said if anything, people are bad to you not the other way around. But I wasn't so sure. After finding Islam, I knew that it was my way out. To start living a proper life and to be an example to the people around so that one day inshAllah they might accept Islam to.
So here's my story
I was baptized as a catholic, but never learnt the religion. My parents were Spanish and Portuguese so they had strong ties to the catholic religion but they were not very religious at all. I never went to church, except for weddings, baptisms ect.. So I never had a proper education on the religion. Just as I was writing this I remembered an event that happened last year that is related to my story but to be honest, I can't remember if it was after I had researched Islam or before... But I think it was before.
In my scripture class there was this old man and this young man, both teaching Christianity to the kids in my class. I was in the room and I kept shooting questions at him because of what he said. He was saying how he knows how is going to Heaven because he accepts Jesus as his boss and saviour. I was disagreeing with him on other things he said and afterwards I felt really stupid because he is properly right and pretty much the same religion I was in and I wanted to learn more about it and become a Christian but for some odd reason I was arguing with the teacher.
When I first uncounted Islam it was through independent research online... I looked at all sorts of weird things... And eventually found the religion of Islam. I looked at it and it seemed to me like the last thing I would be interested in. And when I looked into Islam even more... I was horrified at it. People (mainly christians) said that Muslims worshipped a mood god called "Allah" and that an Arab man called Muhammad was a pedophile. May God forgive me. This scared me about islam. But that still didn't stop me doing further research. Eventually I found the Quran and saw all the amazing things inside it... I was in disbelief... But then every time I found something that made me closer to Islam there was something that drew me away from it. All through my childhood I would pray to god and ask him to help me... Even though I wasn't practicing a religion. Every night I would pray and when I didn't I would feel bad for not. After seeing the teachings of Islam I saw things that were weird or strange and out of ignorance one day I just said: "I'm going to become a Christian because Islam it too strange and different".
At this stage I was really confused, upset, and I didn't have clue what to do. I aslo kept this all to myself so no one else knew what I was doing. One night I remember I was in my room about to go to bed and I was in a really upset state. I was quite emotional and I remember asking God to help me. I said please make this decision for me because I didn't know what to do. I asked him if Christianity is the right religion and you are Jesus or his son or whatever... then make me a Christian but if Islam is the right religion than make me a Muslim. I was after a sign of some sort cause I didn't know what to do. But I was still leaning towards Islam but doubt was still in my mind. After this I was quite emotional and then just went to sleep.
Then things started to get really weird...
After this. The next few days all I could think about was Islam.. It consumed my mind. The Quran, Muhammad, Allah, the religion.. All of it.. I couldn't explain it. All I was interested in looking up on the Internet was Islam. When I did research I found out the truth.. About Islam, Muhammad and everything else... I had found the source of the religion and judged it on it's teachings and not on some of it's followers like some people do unfortunately. Islam just made so much sense. I am so glad I wasn't a practicing Christian because it would of been so much harder to let go of it and become a Muslim.. I see all the time on the net, Christians who are presented with Islam and the miracles of the Quran but can't accept Islam because of the doctrine they have followed their whole lives. Then because they cant explain it, they often attempt to insult islam and the Prophet.They don't want to accept that what they believe in is wrong, and I am so grateful that I had nothing to let go off.. I pretty much had nothing to lose but everything to gain.
Then on a website this man at the start if this year I think, I got in touch with a man named Najib. The website had a story about a man who embraced Islam and it was really beautiful. If you like I will post the link on here and you can see the story of the man and also my comments I made and I explained my situation there and I was overwhelmed with the support I got from Muslims.. People I didn't even know. It amazed me how well they treated each other. Anyway someone offered to help me and I got in contact with him and we have been speaking over MSN every weekend since the start of this year. He helped me so much and answered all of my questions for me. I owe him a lot for his help.
Not too long after that I started to think that I really want to become a Muslim and one night when I was staying a friends place. I told two of my friends something.. Can't really remember how exactly i said it, but they guessed straight away and said are you going to become a Muslim? I was like... How did you guess that? haha. I was shocked and didn't really give them a straight answer. I was like, idk maybe..
And they said that would respect me if I did but one said I would have to be prepared for people who would say stuff to me about my beliefs and religion. Then the other one said, as long as you don't treat woman badly I am happy with you and your decision. I told them that Muslim men well good ones..would never harm their wives.. As Muhammad said: "the best among you, are the ones who are kind to their wives" or something along those lines.
After I spoke to them I felt so much better but I still needed to tell my family. I just realized how much I have written now haha so I will trim it down from this point and get to the end.
From then on I would speak with Najib every weekend or try to haha. It was hard with the times but he was in Holland but we managed. Every time I spoke with him it made me feel like nothing else really mattered. Just learning about Islam cleared my head and took my worries away. I had read bits and pieces of the Quran online but I wanted to buy a Quran myself and read it.
So one day when we had an excursion for school I went and knew I had a chance to look at the book store. I waited til there was no one from my school in the bookshop (I was paranoid in someone seeing me buy a Quran) and went in and had a look. I must of went in and out a thousand times, not even joking. I looked at the religion section and found nothing on Islam and no Quran. I was upset but for some reason as I left I decided to look again. I was looking and looking and didn't find anything. I left the store again and I went back in later on to look at something else maybe check out a different book. But I found my self looking at the same section as before haha. But when I was looking I saw a shiny blue letters on the book and it said "The Qur'an"
I couldn't believe it. I was in there looking for so long and didn't see anything and when I thought it wasn't there it almost appeared. I picked it up and flicked through the pages. I hesitated and I'm thinking... Is this a good translation? Who the guy who wrote it ect... Should I really buy it??
So I went out side AGAIN :/ haha and sat on a bench and on my phone I googled the translation of the Quran. I figured it's the only Quran there so I might as well take this opportunity and buy it, so I went back and bought it. As I was putting it in my bag, one of my friends asked what book did I buy? And I said the best book in the world haha. And then he started to try and open my bag... And I was like freaking out. I didn't want him to see what I bought even though chances are he wouldn't if know what it was.. Or maybe he would but I didn't want to take that chance.
So for the next few months I read little bits of the Quran. I had to read it in secret because my family didn't know about this. During the holidays me and my brothers would go to out grandparents place some days and went I did I brought the Quran with me and went up stairs and read for hours when I should of been doing study and work for school but I didn't want to stop reading. I was determined to finish it. One day while up stairs I was reading the Quran and I know before you read it, its good to say... Sorry can't remember the exact words. But like ask God for protection against satan whilst reading the Quran but that time I must of forgot. So I was reading and then I hear this banging sound on the door to the room. It wasn't like a tap or anything and to be honest the first time it happened it scared the [Edited Out] out of me.. It was a big THUD and I was like... What the?
Then again.., Bang!
I'm thinking what is going on? So I got up and went and opened the door... I couldn't tell what was making the noise. So I shut the door and then continued reading the Quran. It happens again and I was like oh my goodness this is so annoying! So I got up again and looked out of the door... And nothing. Then I thought it might be really windy outside and the door near the window could be banging not mine.. So I looked and all the windows were closed.. And then I thought.. Hmm, this is weird.. So then I remembered that before reading the Quran I didn't ask God for protection from Satan and I was like...
Sitting in the room with the Quran thinking... YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING!! Then the banging got faster..
If he is banging on my door I'm screwed!
I actually thought Satan was banging on the door of my room,, hahaha
I couldn't explain where the noise was from...
And for some reason I had enough and went to open the door... I seriously don't know how I brought my self to do it cause I was convinced that someone or something was before the door banging...
So I opened it and nothings there...
I was so confused haha and angry. I was like what the hell is going on!?!?!
Then I went down stairs and saw that only one of my brothers were there. So I said where is Luis? And my brother Joel said I don't know. And then I thought... If this is him doing it I am going to kill him! Haha
So I go up stairs again and then I see my younger brother lying under my grandparents bed, hiding from me Hahaha he was the one banging the noise I told him I was freaking out cause i didn't know what it was and he was just laughing at me haha.
Afterwards I felt so stupid for thinking that Satan was behind my door banging..
That night I spoke with Najib and told him what had happened and he just couldn't stop laughing haha... I felt like such an idiot afterwards but I just couldn't explain what the banging was from.
But eventually I finished reading the Quran and a few weeks later I broke the news to my mum. I had decided that it was time and I just couldn't out it off any longer. In my room before I went and spoke with her. My hands were sweating and my tummy was felling so sick... I was sooooo nervous. I had never done anything like this before and it would be the biggest shock to my mum. So I told her that night and to say the least, she didn't take it well. She cried when I told her and I was so upset that I had brought her to tears. But I said I've made my decision a long time ago and that there isn't much you can do to change my mind. She thought all Muslims were terrorists and hated western life and all this other stuff. I explained everything to her and then gave her some PDF files to read about islam.
So now that I have told mum I can finally do it I told Najib what happened and he was zoo excited to hear that I can say shahadah. The next weekend it was a Saturday morning and it was really late online for him over there but he said he will stay up so I can say it in the morning. Eventually mum goes: "we are leaving in ten minutes" and I'm like :| NO WE NOT Hahah and I went and told her that I am going to say the shahadah online now and she said ok but be quick. S then I came back to the laptop and said the Shahadah online with Najib. My mum and brothers were already inside the car waiting for me and I'm like... Najib.. I got to go, like right now haha so I shut down the laptop and ran out side to get in the car before they left without me haha that was last week. After I said the shahadah, I felt really weird. I couldn't explain it but it just felt odd... I told Najib and he asked was it like weight being lifted off your shoulders? And I said yeah it kind of did.. But I think it was just in my head, but I wasn't sure haha
Next on my list to tell was dad. I knew he wouldn't take it well, don't think he likes Muslims to say the least. But last Friday I told him. He was in disbelief. He just laughed and said: bulls$@t Dylan, your not a Muslim. I was trying not to laugh at his response and said: but I'm yeah.. Dad I am..
And he said... For a second I thought you were going to tell me you were gay. Hahaha
I had quite a laugh then. I said so aren't you glad I said I'm Muslim and not gay? And he said.. I don't know which is worse Hahah. For someone that hears bad news or takes it as bad news, dad always tries to turn it into a joke. I'm laughing and I'm trying to explain that I'm not kidding. He just didn't understand why.. So I showed him so information and explained things to him.
So because my parents are separated I had to tell them at different times. Mum now Alhamduliliah is so supportive and happy for me she really is happy that I have done this. I think likes the part of Muslims having to obey their parents But I've been really good to her since I've become a Muslim and hopefully one day she and dad will see the good and happiness in me and want that too. inshAllah
So yeah, that's my story. I apologize for writing so much but that is close enough to the whole thing whole thing and I felt like I needed to explain everything to someone at least once.
Currently now I'm still struggling but inshallah Allah will make for me a way out. What it came down to was the fact that the Quran was just too perfect to come from any other saw than God, and I can remember the day when I was reading about Islam outside looking on my iPod touch ( so no one could see what I am doing haha) and reading through the miracles of the Quran... It took my breath away and it was then that I decided that I have to be a Muslim.
I recommend to anyone who wants to read a beautiful reversion story, to go to:
It is here were I got into contact with Najib and if you read the comments below you will see what I have written about my situation at the time. I as so impressed about how caring Muslims can be and so many offered to help. Unfortunately we have people from our Ummah who are harming the Muslims with the bad actions and their wrongs are affecting us all. One Muslim does something wrong and we all have to suffer. It's not fair I know, but all the negativity about Islam in the media, may very well be the handiwork of Satan in an attempt to prevent people from finding the true path. As you can see... Satan is failing because I was able to join the Religion of God and see through the rubbish of the media and so are many others everyday. That is why Islam is the fasting growing religion and no one is able to put out the light of God:
"They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it."
If you have any comments or wish to ask me anything regarding my journey to Islam I would love to hear them
Posted ImAli on 10 May 2013 - 07:56 AM
The following are Questions and Answers between Husband (H) and A Psychologist:
P : What do you do for a living Mr. Bandy?
H : I work as an Accountant in a Bank.
P : Your Wife ?
H : She doesn't work. She's a Housewife only.
P : Who makes breakfast for your family in the morning?
H : My Wife, because she doesn't work.
P : At what time does your wife wake up for making breakfast?
H : She wakes up at around 5 am because she cleans the house first before making breakfast.
P : How do your kids go to school?
H : My wife takes them to school, because she doesn't work.
P : After taking your kids to school, what does she do?
H : She goes to the market, then goes back home for cooking and laundry. You know, she doesn't work.
P : In the evening, after you go back home from office, what do you do?
H : Take rest, because i'm tired due to all day works.
P : What does your wife do then?
H : She prepares meals, serving our kids, preparing meals for me and cleaning the dishes, cleaning the house then taking kids to bed.
From the story above, who do you think works more???
The daily routines of your wives commence from early morning to late at night. That is called 'DOESN'T WORK'??!!
Yes, Being Housewives do not need Certificate of Study, even High Position, but their ROLE/PART is very important!
Appreciate your wives. Because their sacrifices are uncountable. This should be a reminder and reflection for all of us to understand and appreciate each others roles.
All about a WOMAN ....
When she is quiet, millions of things are running in her mind.
When she stares at you, she is wondering why she loves you so much in spite of being taken for granted.
When she says I will stand by you, she will stand by you like a rock.
Never hurt her or take her wrong or for granted...
Posted repenter on 01 March 2013 - 06:01 AM
Dear brothers and sisters.
Lately I have noticed that Shiachat and it's members, including me have changed for the worse. Shiachat in itself is just a website, but it is also the biggest shia community. Granted that it is digital, but in todays day and age, it is equally reflective and mirrors what shias believe and how they behave than it does in physical life. Perhaps even more.
However, we are in a bad spot here. I am talking about the behavior and conduct of shiachat members, and their lack of understanding the effects of their words. Both how it affects other shias and how it looks in the eyes of our enemies. I am saying shiachat member, because I myself am a member and take equal part in this act.
1. Issue: We are constantly criticizing the Ulama. Now this in itself is ok, but everyone knows by now that it has gotten way out of hand. We all have different marjas, and we all have different opinions on their actions. But that does not give us the right to cause turmoil in public. Shiachat, is public, and the worst thing we can do is to show the enemies of AhlulBayt that we have such low opinions about each other.
It often turns into personal insults and really bad behavior in the name of criticizing. What this does is create hatred towards each other, and nothing.....NOTHING, pleases the wahabis more than this. I have witnessed now from a discussion that i had with a wahabi that we are in bad shape. He specifically pointed out shiachat, and i had nothing to defend our behavior with. It truly broke my spirit, hence me making this thread.
1. Solution: No matter how the Marjas behave and how much we disagree, we must remember we are in the same camp. Marjas are our generals and we are the soldiers. The generals might disagree, and some generals might misbehave. But that does not give us the right to disrupt the peace between ourselves. The only thing we have in this world is Allah, Ahlulbayt and our brothers and sisters in faith.
Let us now focus on creating threads that show the unity we have. Let us create threads that are intellectual and smart in purpose. Let us create posts and threads that promote Shia Islam, not tare it down. This is what discomforts the wahabis and whoever is against the Ahlulbayt. This is what causes their despair and strikes fear in their heart, our strong unity.
If we happen to create threads that show sings of getting out of hand, it is the responsibility of every shia to respond with respect and behavior that the Ahlulbayt has taught us. Speak gently, and if someone disagrees, then respond respectfully and with dignity. If someone does go out of hand, let's all join in and stop such behavior.
I am certain, that when Imam Mahdi looks upon our behavior as of late, and i am sure he does, he is extremely disappointed. There is nothing wrong with holding back and controlling what you want to say.
Let us respect each others marjas and ulama, no matter how much we disagree, and show the world that we stand united regardless. I know it might sound cheesy, but this is the way it should be. If you don't believe in the Marja of your fellow brother or sister, at least believe in the brother or sister themselves and love them mainly because they love AhlulBayt. This is the code of Ziyarat Ashura!
2. Issue: Nationalism! Even though we perhaps never mention the nationality that we have a problem with, the undertone is there. What is this nonsense? Since when did Allah or Ahlulbayt love anyone for their passport and place of birth? It is clear as day that we have issues with nationalities, and sometimes it comes off as a joke, but any sane person that understands linguistics and how it is used, will see that there is a nationalistic tension between members.
2. Solution: Again, it is the responsibility of shia members to stop this. Everyone must join in and firstly correct their on behavior, secondly be smart and noticing such things, and finally speak out in a proper manner about it.
3. Issue: The urge to answer. We can see that sometimes someone creates a thread about Yasser Habib, or Nasrullah, or Shirazis, Khamenei, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, etc etc. And we have this urge to show our disgust with the article or case that the thread starter is presenting.
3. Solution: Control your urge as much as you can. You don't have to answer negatively to it every time, there is no purpose to it other than starting a big mess.
I am not ordering, i am merely asking in the name of Allah and everything that we hold dear, namely the AhlulBayt whom are dearer to us than our parents and our lives that we start changing. Pitch in and be constructive. Our main enemy is wahabis whom are killing Shias day in and day out, and they laugh and point their dirty fingers at us. This is the platform we can use to do our part in showing that no matter how much we disagree on certain issues, we won't let them have the pleasure of seeing it or taking joy from it.
I hope you take this into consideration.
Posted Shia_Debater on 11 June 2012 - 04:56 PM
Posted imaan=faith on 04 January 2012 - 05:21 AM
Today Mashhad was covered by a heavy snow!
so as I was at the holy shrine, took some pictures ...just share them with you:
Entrance gate of Inqilab courtyard
heading to Hedayat Courtyard
Hedayat courtyard - before heavy snow
Razavi university (Mirza Jafar yard) - inside the holy shrine
Posted Haydar Husayn on 20 January 2013 - 07:58 AM
Posted Al-e-Yasin on 12 January 2013 - 01:32 PM
I had the tawfeeq of going to Iraq for ziyarat during Arbaeen and had the chance to meet Ayatullah Sistani (ha) with my group on January 5, 2013. He gave a brief talk to us and advice especially for believers living in the west. Here are some of the points that I remember from his talk that I think everyone can benefit from:
- In the beginning he welcomed us all and prayed for us that our ziyarat be accepted. He then began by giving advice on the importance of purifying ones self. He said it is of utmost importance that we work hard towards purifying our nafs and that success in this life comes from that. He then quoted the verse: "Successful are the ones who purify themselves" (Qur'an 87:14).
- He then spoke about the importance of having good akhlaq. He said the whole purpose of prophethood and all the prophets was towards perfecting our manners and akhlaq with each other. He quoted the hadith of the Prophet (saw): "I have not been sent except to perfect the moral attributes". He said we should give great importance to how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters and should be the best in character with them.
- He tied this into the best way to spread the religion of Ahlulbayt in the west is through our character and morals. He quoted the hadith by Imam Sadiq : "Call people towards us with something other than your tongue". He said we should see everyone as being part of us and not being separate from us. We should treat each other the way we want to be treated. He then quoted the hadith by the Prophet (saw): "Want for your fellow brother/sister what you want for yourself. Hate for your fellow brother/sister what you hate for yourself".
- He spoke about the importance of seeking knowledge as it is the foundation and basis of our religion and that knowledge is not confined to only religious knowledge. But the worldly knowledges are also important if we can use them to benefit the Islamic Ummah and that we should excel in all fields of knowledge. Once we have this knowledge we should teach it to our fellow brothers and sisters. He emphasized about how we are all one and that we should see others children as our own. If their parents cannot teach their children something and we have that knowledge, we should teach their children as if they are our own.
- He then spoke about that there is a threat trying to grow within Shias that is trying to separate us from the Maraja. He said to be wary of it and that is trying to break us apart and separate us from Islam. He gave the example that when we get sick we don't write our own prescriptions but we go to a doctor and we follow the prescription that the doctor gives us because he is more knowledgable in medicine than us. He said the maraja are just like doctors of our soul and that it is because they have studied years all the knowledges such as Rijal, Hadith etc that they can tell us what is halal and haram based on the teachings of Ahlulbayt .
- He finally said that he prays especially for the believers in the West every morning after Fajr that we remain steadfast and successful in our religion.
Someone asked Ayatullah Sistani (ha) about his health, he replied:
- Being 82 years old, he has no complaints about his health Alhamdulillah he is doing very well right now. He said the only thing that bothers him is that he has not left his home in years to go outside due to the situation and that does take a bit of a toll on him. But besides that he is doing well.
Someone asked about why he doesn't start a Hawza in the west such as in London, he replied:
- He had spoken before to some people who run Shia institutions there but he said there we can only teach the basics and preliminaries. Students from the west who truly want to learn to be scholars should come to Najaf as all the resources and teachers are here and everything is established.
Alhamdulillah Ayatullah Sistani looked very well and good in health and spoke very nicely. If you want to read my whole experience of what it felt like meeting him, you can read it here at my new blog: http://wisdomful.blogspot.com/.
I also had chance to meet Grand Ayatullah Taqi al-Modarresi and Grand Ayatullah Bashir al-Najafi. I have a brief video of Ayatullah Modarresi which I'll upload and share soon and write about what they had to say some other time.
If anyone has any questions about my trip feel free to ask.
Posted Hannibal on 26 June 2012 - 08:02 PM
[I apologize if I didn’t really edit my English here, writing this piece took me quite a while so I’m too lazy now in polishing it up]
I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while, but I haven’t gathered up the time. However, as of recent, I’ve noticed that the problem I have in mind (Shīʿīsm’s growing social insignificance in people’s lives) has been getting worse as the days go by so I couldn’t help myself but to make this public and perhaps get some intelligent, critical feedback (and hope that perhaps my conclusions are wrong).
I presume that most of you who read and write on this forum live in the West given that most Muslims living outside the West are functionally illiterate when it comes to English (which is natural). Since most of you live in the West, most of you (I hope) have had some kind of experience with Shīʿī masjids (whether it is on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis).
I cannot speak for every masjid in the West, but for the many that I have attended, I have come to the realization that Shīʿīsm as a significant social and communal phenomenon is waning at an alarming speed.
I base this assessment on a number of observations.
First, as many of you may have noticed, there is a very low level of attendance at Shīʿa masjids proportional to their actual numbers in most localities. In places where Friday prayers are offered (which is a rare commodity), the numbers are quite insignificant even when we take into consideration the discrepancy between Shīʿī and Sunnī numbers. We are worse off even % wise.
More disturbing I find is the disproportionate number of older adults compared to younger generations (teens, people in their 20s, early 30s). At many institutions that I have been to (with the exception of some big centers with an overwhelming number of Shīʿas) I have only been able to point just a few youths, of which less than a handful seem to have any kind of significant passion for Islam. For someone who is unacquainted, sometimes they may feel that some of these centers are old folks homes.
I have repeated this over and over again at the centers that I have been to, if this phenomenon persists, most Shīʿī centers will close down in the West (I know of one already that was sold to Sunnīs). As a consequence, Shīʿas will only exist in pockets here and there (and most religious Shīʿas will exist as individuals and alone with at most some friends and family members who share their thoughts) where the rest will be assimilated into the hosting culture.
On a wider scale, this can also be observed on the international level. Now I may be wrong given that I have not directly experienced them myself, but I think my idea here can be offered as some food for thought. With the exception of Shīʿī Arabs in the Persian Gulf region, Shīʿīs as a group tend to be less observant and less religious compared to their Sunnī compatriots (examples I can think of are Pakistan, Afghanistan, some parts of Lebanon, and especially countries like Azerbaijan stand out).
Another example is that of the beard. Despite the insistence in our ḥadīth literature on the significance of the beard and keeping it long, the vast majority of Shīʿas that I have come across are either clean shaven, sport a goatee, mustache etc. Those who purport to be religious only keep an unkempt five o’clock shadow which makes them look like your local alcoholic who just woke up in the morning after having passed out in the park at night (looks really dirty and low class, both look even more similar given that they’ve lost their ties). This latter so-called “beard” seems to be a trend now with so called religious Islamists in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran (including most its government officials). What is funny of course is that many Christians and Atheists in my department have some good beards growing now (it’s turned into a trend). It makes you wonder, a Christian observing the Sharīʿa better than a Shīʿa Muslim?
The women, of course, do not fair better either in their observance of Sharʿī boundaries. Iraqis and Lebanese Shias have been good with hijab, but many of the Iranians, Afghans and Pakistanis have been quite bold by exposing so much of their hair, feet, legs, arms etc. inside the masjid (and in front of men) all of which would be greeted with absolute horror in the Sunnī masjids that I have been to.
Why do they do this? For one, it seems to be an extreme inferiority complex vis-à-vis Western culture. For one to be “civilized”, one needs to adopt a universalized and metahistoricized cultural category of the free white/Western autonomous agent who is currently at the “summit” of socio-evolutionary progress. The same Shīʿas, trying to cope with this existential crisis, will go ahead and deny themselves ties and thus pat themselves on the back on how anti-colonial they have become (somehow, dark marine pants and cheap 1970s blazers etc. with ugly 1970s haircuts are part of a traditional Islamic attire).
These are only an example from many observations I have made. You are welcome to suggest others.
Now, why is Shīʿīsm increasingly becoming socially irrelevant?
I have some preliminary thoughts. Let me mention some of the problems.
The most important of them all is that I feel that the programing in many Shīʿa centers have been designed in such a way so as to drive away both the regular attendees as well as potential converts. Here are some examples of what I believe is wrong with the programming.
1)I have been attending both Shīʿī and Sunnī centers for almost half of my life. One consistent problem that I have seen is that lectures given in Shīʿī masjids are largely irrelevant, boring and worst of all, they are intellectually brain draining.
This latter point is especially significant as most the youth in the West are now college educated.
The lectures all year round essentially consist of two topics, either it is the death of an Imām, or it is the birthday of an Imām. In both occasions, either it’s about crying over how Ahl al-Bayt were oppressed, or about how great the Imāms were because the Qur’ān says X about them (and then a Sunni tafsir book will be picked up to show how that verse relates to the Imāms), or how the Prophet (s) in some Sunni book said Y about Imām ʿAlī or Faṭima.
In other words, we have turned Shīʿīsm into a personality cult of Imāms with relative disregard to their teachings (which is what they died for, they didn’t die for the sole purpose of dying so that we could just cry or celebrate birthdays)
If there are some additional topics, it’s a 1 hour lecture about how tawassul is allowed or how the dead can hear, or how the Imam knows everything, or an hour and a half lecture about how Fatima is greater than Maryam (the former seriously happened), or how some Arab guy riding a camel called Fulan ibn Fulan (fulan in Arabic means such and such for those who are not familiar with the term) did this when he went to some city, and then the governor of that city called Fulan ibn Fulan got angry and called for the blood of one of his relatives and then the news reached the Abbasid caliph and he got excited etc. etc.
Now I am not discounting the significance of any of these subjects.
However, we do need to be concerned with relevance. My question here is that at least half of the youth (among boys, sisters can speak about the problems on their side) are addicted to some pretty bad things, including pornography, nasty video games, silly reality shows, drugs, weed, alcohol, technological gadgets etc. yet none of these are addressed. It is not like the information contained in our ḥadīth and scholarly books cannot deal with them, in fact they can deal with them perfectly. The knowledge of Ahl al-Bait is not taught. All that is lectured about are some fringe, irrelevant subjects. Barely any room is given to what the Imams taught about social corruption, tawheed, observing the Sharīʿa, controlling ones’ desires, influence of Shaytān etc and how they connect to current problems that are actually happening in our lives.
I feel that if an academic engagement can be taken with these questions in our lectures while framing the within the context of our own scriptural material, the lectures can be quite engaging and will bring in quite a lot of people. I have experienced this personally when I have given small talks myself (I’m not a lecturer). Unfortunately, the OLDER generation do not like this at all. I have personally been scolded and attacked by the older generation for not talking about “relevant topics” in my discussions (i.e. relevant for them is how Imam Husayn is the best man that ever walked this earth or how Imam Ali is the person addressed in such and such aya).
However, I think that a big part of the blame on why we do this is
a) our lecturers are terrified of talking about actual relevant problems, they are more comfortable with continuing on the tradition of irrelevance as it will bring the least amount of scorn from the community.
b ) it is an inferiority complex that Shias have vis-à-vis Sunnis. Why do Shias consistently want define themselves vis-à-vis Sunnis? I’m not saying shia-sunni questions should not be addressed (I try to contribute to this field whenever I can) but there is this overwhelming tendency to try to explain ourselves to ourselves in regards to our own existential legitimacy by consistently trying to characterize ourselves vis-à-vis Sunnis and what they believe. Yet while doing that, we go on a road of relative irrelevance where actual problems are ignored and we thus erode Shīʿī Islam further.
You can also see this existential anxiety on the political level. With Iranian politics for example (and I say this as a supporter of Wilayat al-Faqih), we have spent 35 years building up sanctions on the country (where people for example are constantly dying in plane crashes because they can’t import proper airplane parts) …for what reason? Just so that we can establish another hostile anti-Shīʿī Arab Sunni state so they can join Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia etc. in conniving against us and spitting at our faces? It seems that the more Iran tries to help, the more it is spat at. If the current Syrian crisis hasn’t woken you up to this problem, then there is no point in discussing this matter with you any further.
2) Aside the irrelevancy of the lectures, the organizations of the programs are horrid as well. Take for example how an hour or two is given for dua, 2 minutes for Qur’an, and then 30 minutes for prayer (and then a 1 hour lecture about how the Imāms are great). The prayer problem is a problem worth expanding upon here. Notice that we have quite a number of ḥadīths from the Prophet (s) who tells us to keep our group prayers short with short suras because there are sick and old people, people with children, people who have work etc. who can’t stay in a prayer state for too long. While we do keep the short suras, we make sure to add as many duas within and between our combined prayers. And when you think you are done, a few ziyaras are also tossed in. I’m NOT saying that these things are not important, but when I see that a regular prayer can take up to 25 minutes (I have calculated this to the dot in one of the masjids I went to) we effectively turn each prayer into a mini-tarawih all year round and then scold Sunnis for wasting people’s time during Ramadan for their long tarawih prayers. I myself get tired of Shia jamāʿa prayers (Sunni prayers on the other hand are very quick and to the point), let alone some 15 year old teenager with ADHD who is addicted to games or some lady worried about her chaotic tornado kid.
This environment is hostile for your regular Western raised Shīʿī Muslim, let alone any potential convert (how many people do you see converting to Islam in Shīʿī masjids on a yearly basis? Compare that what happens in a weekly basis in Sunni masjids). Why? We are occupied with irrelevant things, and not with addressing our social crisis and trying to expand it by doing dawah.
3)Most people in Shia masjids divide themselves into isolationist groups. This is where they can use the Masjid as a private social forum where they can show off their families, talk about business and politics (and then take a smoke outside and feel good about themselves). When a convert does come in, or a new Shia, he is consistently ignored. I have seen this countless times where when a new person comes into a center, he just sits alone and unsurprisingly, you never see that guy (or girl) ever come back again. Yet when you go to a Sunni place, I have consistently seen new comers approached by a number of people and taken into their groups. These people generally end up coming back and converting to Islam fully.
Remember that religion is a social thing, and community activity and zealousness needs to be strong if it is to survive and grow. People need to have an emotional need to come back and feel like they are part of something (you do this through youth activities, workshops etc.). Shīʿī communities consistently lack this in the West (even the Shīʿī camps aren’t very religious, it’s just a place where cliques of friends can go do their own thing and have fun in the woods).
I have already written way too much, so I will stop at it here and wait for responses.