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Ibn al-Hussain

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About Ibn al-Hussain

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  • Birthday 12/24/1988

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  1. Using Philosophy in Religion

    Sticking to the logical order of our argument is important in these topics. As of the stage we are in right now, your quotations of traditions is utterly pointless and should mean nothing - because remember, before I end up choosing Islam as a religion out of the hundreds of religions out there, and then end up choosing Shi'ism from a pool of dozens of sects, and then end up choosing this specific interpretation you are giving me for this single tradition, I actually have nothing but my sole intellect, sensory knowledge, experimentation, and knowledge by presence to work with. I need to know there is a God, and I need to be able to tell my self that this God actually would send Prophets, to begin with. In other words, I need to know something about God, if you expect me or anyone else to even think about arriving at the stage you are presenting your argument from. If I were to follow your interpretation of this tradition right from the get-go and as an outsider to the religion, and not discuss or contemplate over God سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى - the way you have understood it, and there are a few other similar ones that say do not contemplate over God either - then there is no hope in comprehending anything about God and that will be the end of my endeavour. There is no way I could even prove things like whether God needs to send a Prophet or not, since according to the common Shi'i understanding of God, this argument depends on establishing certain attributes of God - and God's attributes are not separate from His existence, they are one and the same. In other words, I have to be able to comprehend something about him if I am to get anywhere. On the contrary, if I arrive at the same tradition after concluding that God has certain qualities and attributes, I have no choice but to reject this tradition or interpret in a way that will make sense of it - perhaps it will require exhaustive contextualization so we can see under what circumstances this tradition was uttered, or perhaps we can pin-point a specific aspect of God it is referring to after we put together all traditions and verses on the subject together; but all of this is secondary. This is why I said that it is important to approach this topic as an outsider, not from an insider who has taken God's existence and some other attributes for granted. If you want to approach it as an outsider then there is no reason to quote traditions right now. If you want to discuss it as an insider, then you also need to explain these traditions to me which say the best of worships is to contemplate regarding Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and to recognize Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى through Himself: عِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَبِي نَصْرٍ عَنْ بَعْضِ رِجَالِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ: أَفْضَلُ الْعِبَادَةِ إِدْمَانُ التَّفَكُّرِ فِي اللَّهِ وَ فِي قُدْرَتِهِ قَالَ السَّيَّارِيُّ وَ سَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ لَيْسَ الْعِبَادَةُ كَثْرَةَ الصِّيَامِ وَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنَّمَا الْعِبَادَةُ التَّفَكُّرُ فِي اللَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى‏ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ عَمَّنْ ذَكَرَهُ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ حُمْرَانَ عَنِ الْفَضْلِ بْنِ السَّكَنِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ قَالَ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ع اعْرِفُوا اللَّهَ بِاللَّهِ وَ الرَّسُولَ بِالرِّسَالَةِ وَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ بِالْأَمْرِ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ الْعَدْلِ وَ الْإِحْسَان‏ There are other traditions that can also be cited (for example you will need to explain all the Shi'i theologians "talking about God" and debating over him while the Imams would encourage them and help them out as well), but I think I have made my point through demonstrating an apparent contradiction in these traditions. They will essentially end up saying God is Existence - they are one and the same. Let us take it one step at a time though. We need to first agree whether we are willing to discard - to the best of our abilities - any baggage we may have brought with us through our extremely tunnel-visioned interpretation and understanding of religion where all these crucial premises are just being taken for granted. Wasalam
  2. Using Philosophy in Religion

    I don't mind getting into this discussion as long as some parameters are defined. The discussion on this should not be by "appealing to authority", and if you do appeal to authority you do it only to put forth the arguments and evidence of a scholar - OR - you bring your own personal arguments and evidence based on what you have understood. This way the discussion will be concentrated on the argument itself, and not on who is making the argument. For example, I don't care if numerous scholars have a problem with Wahdat al-Wujud or if Shaykh Hurr al-Amili or Ayatullah Ishaq Fayyaz consider Ibn Arabi a heretic or Ayatullah Hasanzadeh considers him a Shi'a, or if Aristotle wrote about Logic, or if Hisham bin al-Hakam wrote a refutation on Aristotle or anything of that sort. What matters to me is the reasoning for why one believes such a thing. Naturally, this requires one to take a step back and strip the views of these highly respected scholars from holding any sanctity, and consider them open to invalidity. Another point I want to mention is that in order to engage in this discussion, one needs to look at it as a complete outsider. Consider yourself a non-Muslim, a person who has nothing at his or her disposal except tools of knowledge that all humans share (intellect, sensory knowledge, experimentation, knowledge by presence). Try to discard as much baggage as you can with regards to what you think you have understood from religious texts about God or anything else. In other words, if you want this discussion to go anywhere, don't enter it dogmatically and don't take any premise for granted (except self-evident axioms). If any non-axiomatic premise is being taken for granted, then that needs to be made clear, so that participants know that this is a premise being taken for granted simply because both sides agree to it (thus, it will not require a separate discussion of its own). For example, a self-evident axiom may be: I exist, but the axiom: a reality external to me also exists may not be self-evident, but given both participants agree to it, we can take it for granted for the purpose of the discussion. All this is much easier said than done, even if we may tell ourselves otherwise.The discussion concerning intellect vs. revelation or transmitted knowledge ('aql vs. naql) is a challenging one that has not been completely settled even until today. Thus it is important to clarify what we mean by all terms we use as to diminish possible misunderstanding and confusion. --- To start off, I will make my own position clear: When I use the word intellect ('aql), on the onset, I am referring to the mere ability to conceptualize and put together concepts in order to formulate and assent to propositions and syllogisms. The intellect itself can perceive certain realities, while other realities it itself knows it cannot perceive them on its own. The latter are things that are more often than not, particularities. For example, there is no way to say that a man named Muhammad (p) was a Prophet in Arabia through purely rational reasoning. You will have to resort to transmitted knowledge (history, narrations, affirming the miracle of the Qur'an yourself etc.) alongside your intellect to conclude that a man named Muhammad (p) was actually a Prophet. That being said, the intellect is one of the most important criteria I possess to judge the truth or invalidity of any given proposition. As my back-up to establishing this claim, I can also refer to numerous traditions in Shi'i hadith works that reiterate the same thing. For me, if revelation and the traditions hold any value, they hold value if we have: 1) certainty that they were actually uttered the way we have them at our disposal today, and 2) certainty with regards to their intended meanings. We don't have both of these for more than 90% of the traditions or verses (I believe #1 even applies to some of the verses of the Qur'an due to Qira'at differences) - thus they are called prima-facie or apparent meanings. So, when it comes to the Qur'an and Hadith you are more often than not, dealing with speculative knowledge and very little certain knowledge. So to put it in simple terms, the premises I hold to be true are: 1) The intellect is the most valuable tool we have for 2 reasons: a) it can be used to judge the validity and invalidity of many propositions, especially universal propositions, and b) one can formulate arguments by it to convince others of their beliefs, and thus engage in dialogue or debate (something that cannot be done through knowledge by presence, or spiritual visions - unless both of those are also turned into propositions by the intellect and turned into syllogisms). If you were to begin from scratch, this will be the tool that will get you to God (alongside knowledge by presence), and beyond that it will get you to Islam while swifting through transmitted knowledge. 2) The intellect realizes the authority of revelation and the words of an infallible, specially in particularities and theological matters that cannot be perceived by the intellect 3) We have two challenges at our disposal: a) majority of the traditions are speculative from the perspective of us determining whether they were uttered in those exact words, and b) majority of the verses and traditions are speculative from the perspective of us determining their exact intended meaning - so they they are considered prima-facie or apparent meanings, leaving them open to many possible interpretations The above 3 are my basic premises and presumptions - if anyone disagrees or has a question, feel free to ask and I will try to respond. Given the above 3 premises, if one can prove Asalat al-Wujud and subsequently Wahdat al-Wujud on purely rational grounds, they will have no choice but to accept it, even if their speculative understanding of the Qur'anic verses or traditions tells them it cannot be true - because certainty triumphs speculation. Questioning the intellect in those scenarios is problematic, because the intellect was the very tool by which they arrived at religion to begin with. To question the certain-findings of your own intellect because of a speculative report or a speculative understanding of a verse and a tradition should necessarily dent your trust in your own intellect, and it should even lead to you questioning your whole religion. This works out to be exactly like the notion of infallibility that the majority of Shi'i scholars accept. They arrive at the conclusion (primarily through the intellect first) that the Prophet was infallible and therefore all traditions that we have on Sahw al-Nabi are rejected by them completely. Anyone who has done research on this knows that the traditions on Sahw al-Nabi are not just 1 or 2, but well over 10, and not to mention they also exist in Sunni works. Yet, because these scholars claim to have proven with certainty that the Prophet was infallible, they have no choice, but to either 1) reject these traditions altogether, or 2) find an explanation for them (in the case of Sahw al-Nabi, they say the narrations were uttered in Taqiyyah). In the case of Asalat or Wahdat al-Wujud, Shi'i scholars do the exact same thing, and inshallah when we get to it, I can quote numerous traditions or verses that these scholars quote to show what they arrived at with their intellect is also present in transmitted knowledge. If there are any traditions that seem to go against Wahdat or Asalat al-Wujud, they will be forced to either reject them, or explain them away in a way in which they can be reconciled with the certain findings of their intellect. So to conclude: The Qur'an and Ahl ul-Bayt can't be flawed, but our understanding of what they meant and what we have at our disposal (with all the issues that these traditions came down to us) can be flawed, highly subjective, and deficient. Our intellectual conclusions are flawed when there is a fallacy in our argument (and I mean fallacy in a very general sense which also includes absence, limitation, and subjectivity of our knowledge with respect to somethings), otherwise, no, I don't believe the intellect can be flawed. Based on these outlines, we can move on to the actual discussion of Asalat al-Wujud if the members are interested. Wasalam
  3. Why do so many admire Ibn Arabi

    If anyone ِis interested in learning the arguments of Wahdat al-Wujud (which has various interpretations to begin with), they have no choice but to start from the very basic question of Asalat al-Wujud (fundamentality or primacy of existence). If you accept this premise, you are most likely going to end up agreeing with Wahdat al-Wujud (even if you differ in some details of it or in the way you present your opinion regarding it), but if you reject it, then I'm not sure how you could accept Wahdat al-Wujud (unless you mean something completely else by it). The rational arguments for Asalat al-Wujud are not weak by any sense of the word, and post-Sadra this has now become the mainstream understanding amongst Shi'i philosophers, and many non-Muslims agree with it too (although once again, their understanding may slightly different and thus results in different practical implications. A decent paper to read is this: Sadra and Existentialism). If a sound argument is brought for you, your intellect will have no choice but to accept it, unless you begin questioning your own intellect, in which case you have no basis to even be a Muslim or believe in a God. Instead of wasting time over Ibn 'Arabi and getting into highly polemical discussions about what someone meant or didn't mean (something this very specific topic on this forum has seen for a well over a decade), time will be better spent discussing these premises and that way members can actually learn a new thing or two as well. Wasalam
  4. Jinn and turning the lights on

    What you were told sounds funny and untrue, but if you have to, then just get some night lights you can plug into the electric sockets.
  5. Sayed Kamal and gender identity

    Based on my extremely limited induction, an average Shi'a youth in the West (though this is definitely not limited to the West) is going through a lot of epistemic challenges in their life. Living in an area and in an era where perceptions of morality seem to have changed, dealing with laws that often times seem irrelevant, dealing with laws that often times seem unethical, encountering theological and philosophical challenges whose responses may not fit well within a Western epistemic framework that has naturally been shoved down their minds, and trying to reconcile all these feelings and perceptions with a version of religion that was taught to them by parents who immigrated from the East, and was constantly spread from the pulpits by scholars who also came from the East. Couple this with the geographical distance from the center of scholarship, and lack of access to scholars, many of them who are perhaps addressing these issues - all of this becomes a recipe for an epistemological crisis. We can count the highly qualified Shi'i scholars - those who are really experts in their given field - in the West on two hands. The rest of the vast majority of scholars are followers themselves, but with a bit more grasp on the subject matter than laymen. This is not always their fault - maybe many of them did initially come to the seminary to reach that level; but it was the fault of the system that doesn't seem to have any intentions of producing legitimate scholars out of foreign students nor does it have a suitable syllabus for Western students. So you have at many times mediocre scholars at best, trying to address some very complicated issues, but in reality have not truly understood the challenge or the response themselves. One of the greatest challenge that Islamic scholarship is still dealing with is modernity. For a thousand years, the derivation of Islamic law was based on the premise that we had empires and civilizations. Where religion was a sign of your citizenship, not your ethnicity. The average age for a border in the Islamic world is the 19th-20th century - see this really interesting infographic (https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/7ne62v/the_date_of_origin_for_almost_every_international/) This is around the same time when so-called reformist voices (as we understand them today) within the Islamic world also started speaking up. With the demise of dynasties and the caliphate - where religion had relevancy over ethnicity and nationality, and a lot of laws were derived based on this presumption - now you were dealing with the concept of a modern nation state. A state where religion was secondary, and ethnicity or culture were fundamental. When once it made sense for 'Allamah Majlisi to come and say that non-Muslims should not be allowed to leave their homes on rainy and snowy days in Safavid Iran since they will make everything and every Muslim they come into contact with najis, because the dhimmis were rightfully treated as secondary citizens (perhaps in modern terms, one can say they had a green-card, but without all the benefits of a citizen) - stops making sense since your religion doesn't dictate whether you are a citizen or not any longer (even in Iran). When once apostasy from religion made complete sense as treason, stops making sense in the modern world since religion isn't relevant - allegiance and treason with respect to the state became relevant. When once wars were fought between religions, many subsequent laws made sense, but as wars slowly stopped being fought between religions, and rather between states & nationalities, a lot of subsequent laws went out the window. Please note I am of course talking in general terms, otherwise you will find instances where what I have written above is not absolutely true (post or pre-20th century). In any case, the challenge at this point was, what do we do? There is an intense debate amongst scholars on what to do here - sometimes one side labeling the other as sell-outs, while one labels the other as backward minded. You have two camps of scholars here: those who maintain that traditional laws and traditional interpretations should continue to be implemented the way they had been for a hundreds of years, and then you have those who argue that the subject-matter of many of these laws has changed in our day to day reality and thus some of these laws have truly become irrelevant. Not because the law itself had an issue, but rather the conditions under which it was implemented no longer exist. What I have seen is that those who maintain the first position end up with contradictions in some of their laws, and this is inevitable - because you really cannot deny that the world we are dealing with has changed. The second camp is often accused for justifying and being complicit in their support for the incorrect premises of modernity and secularism, by passing verdicts that makes living comfortable and adjustable in modern societies. Of course, the second side also ends up slipping into territory without realizing the full implications of it (for example, as you have mentioned in your original post, is Sayyid Kamal not aware of the agenda of extremist feminists and the implications of some of their ideas? Maybe he truly isn't, since he has not lived in such a society. Perhaps if he lived in a Scandinavian country he would be witness to the detrimental effects of some of these ideas). Nevertheless, the latter category can argue that their laws are not necessarily because they theoretically accept secularism or consider the premises of modernity to be ideal, and rather, the two are not necessarily mutually inclusive. In other words, one can give a verdict in accordance to the current context of the world, while still maintaining that the current situation of the world is not ideal. As I mentioned above, there is an immense debate on this topic, and both sides have strong arguments that cannot be taken for granted. Also, with respect to the second group, I am not including those scholars who are confirmed sell-outs, but rather legitimate scholars who have posed arguments that are worth looking into. For example, as far as I am concerned, Sayyid Kamal falls into the second group (there are many others though). Let me give you another example. Why is it that we take a three-fold division to religious propositions for granted (theology, jurisprudence, and ethics)? What I mean by this is, what is the difference between jurisprudence (fiqh) and ethics (akhlaq)? Don't both ethics and jurisprudence tell us to "do" or "not do" something - in which case shouldn't it all fall under one of the categories (you can call it fiqh or akhlaq, doesn't matter)? Why is it that we have things that are permissible legally speaking, but are so detested ethically by societies and individuals that they are essentially treated as haram? Is our fiqh unethical? Do we find God, Prophet or the Imams emphasizing this difference in the religious texts - in the Qur'an or Hadith? Isn't the end goal of both fiqhi and akhlaqi propositions the same? Do we not have narrations saying, if one doesn't possess a certain ethical trait, or manifests a certain immoral trait, they will be destroyed or be punished in the hereafter. How is this different than the reports that talk about being punished if one does a haram act? Why can't this division - that is so ingrained in the minds of Muslim - be questioned and looked into? Some research has shown that this division was a natural consequence of the development of Sunni jurisprudence during the Umayyad and 'Abbasid dynasty - where ethical propositions and jurisprudential propositions became distanced for one reason or another. Given how much of our structure for Usuli and Fiqhi discussions was adopted from the Ahl al-Sunnah, it appears this division was one of those things we naturally adopted and continued to stick with it for hundreds of years. Today many scholars (many of them are also from that first camp I defined above) are realizing that this division was a big blunder. Once again, the discussion on this is extremely detailed and complicated - I am simply citing it here so that brothers and sisters are not so quick to attack scholars from different camps, and realize the strength of some of the arguments made by scholars who they may not agree with. Strength does not mean the argument is without flaw, but rather it possess enough merit for one to seriously consider it and look into it further. As for your actual inquiry, regarding how to follow different opinions held by credible scholars - this is something some of the Western students in the seminary do often discuss a lot. What do we present to the people back home? People are at different levels of understanding, and it is difficult to give a unified response to all of them. For example, someone like @silasun who is actually pondering over this matter (because many may not even be bothered by this question), they need to look more into religious epistemology and the philosophy and epistemic value of taqlid in human life. There are books written on this subject, but unfortunately nothing in English that I know of. Becoming acquainted with something like this puts a lot of things and a lot of beliefs a person has into perspectives. Most importantly, it helps become less dogmatic. A friend of mine is shortly starting a blog that will be very related to the inquiry @silasun has - InshAllah I will share the link here once he posts up some entries. Wasalam
  6. Sayed Kamal and gender identity

    I've listened to hours and hours of his talks on various different topics. He is definitely one of my favourite scholars to listen to, amongst many others, especially due to newer perspectives some of his discussions open up. At times, you may have to be well versed in the technical aspect of the topic at hand to be really able to see where he is coming from (perhaps that is why a non-student may not be able to appreciate or digest some of his discussions). For example, he doesn't believe in the principle of laws are subordinate to objective benefits and harms - at least in the way the orthodoxy accepts it. This is such a crucial principle that gets mentioned in the discussion of how God legislates law, and can completely alter the way you understand and derive law as a jurist. Unfortunately, it is hardly given due diligence in Usul al-Fiqh (due to various factors, including historical and political), and only recently has been given some detailed attention to (like by Ayatullah Alidoost, and some other researchers within the seminaries). Just developing a different understanding on this principle, can lead to different rulings. I don't suppose someone who hasn't studied Shi'i legal theory to understand this principle or even its implications. All they may see is a conclusion of a jurist, and since it is unorthodox, they may feel uncomfortable about it - even if the theory behind its deductive procedure is strong. Of course everyone is open to critique and may have problems in their overall methodology. including Sayyid Kamal. I don't think any scholar has a completely perfect system, and even if they do, implementing it all consistently is close to impossible. Many of our scholars even ended up going against their own premises at times without realizing - such is the nature of a fallible human. For example, there are dozens upon dozen places where some of our great jurists ended up doing Qiyas, without even realizing they were doing it. Later scholars have come and critiqued them for it, but sometimes those very same later scholars end up doing Qiyas in certain rulings themselves, without realizing. This is while no Shi'i scholar actually accepts this invalid form of Qiyas (even those who believe in the binding force of speculation - i.e. those who are proponents of the view of insidad). Nevertheless, in order to actually critique him, one would have to explain why they find any of his beliefs to be wrong and problematic, in accordance to a reliable methodology. Simply listing things out that one feels is wrong, because they are unorthodox, isn't enough if one wants to engage in a disussion. Demonstrating why those beliefs are wrong is what is necessary. As for his very vocal personality, it seems like that is just him. Probably a difficult trait to change at this point in his life, particularly since a lot of grievances he has about "the system" are very well known by pretty much every seminarian. It probably bothers him that no one - especially those in charge and can be influential - is doing much about it. @silasun inshallah if you can post the clips you have issues with, maybe we can try to understand the reasoning behind his conclusion. Wasalam
  7. If he is an active community member, he may enjoy being in Toronto, but depends where he is in Toronto as well. The city is pretty large and the centers are spread out all around the city, some of them have a distance of at least an hour just between them (for example the center I grew up at is in the East End of Toronto, but there are some very active centers on the complete West End of Toronto too). Also what is his own ethnicity? He may feel comfortable and engaged in some centers over others. If he is Pakistani or Indian or African, he may prefer being in Toronto over Montreal or Ottawa. If he is Arab, then Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa wouldn't really make too much of a difference. Wasalam
  8. Shia thought on Female Circumcision

    Another piece of information that may benefit some readers is that the meaning of Ijma' has multiple usages amongst jurists. For example, if you look at the works of Sayyid Murtadha, he literally uses "ijma" as the first point of evidence for many of his rulings, and then decides to brings Qur'an and Hadith (if even that). Why did he do this? Most will say because he didn't accept the binding force of a solitary report, so he had no choice but to resort to Ijma'. But what did he mean by ijma'? Did he literally mean every single Shi'a jurist? What about the likes of Ibn Junayd and Ibn Abi Aqil (the very first two formal Shi'a jurists) who differed on every other ruling? Did he include them in this claim of Ijma'? If not, then why didn't he - were they not Shi'i jurists? What if he meant Shuhrah (popularity of a Fatwa) instead? Is that even binding? What about when Yusuf al-Bahrani or some post-classical scholar cites an Ijma'? A lot of jurists use Yusuf al-Bahrani's claim on Ijma' (from his al-Hada'iq) to say that we have an ijma' on a certain ruling - but did he mean the same thing as Sayyid Murtadha? So ijma' it self is not a straight-forward concept. Establishing that something is probative and binding is a pretty big claim to make and is not easy to do so either (whether it is a solitary report of a trustworthy individual, or a specific type of consensus, or popularity of a fatwa, or anything else that results in speculation - dhann), because it puts a legislative responsibility upon you to act (or not act) on something, and if you do not do so, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى has the right to punish you on the day of judgment. Wasalam
  9. Shia thought on Female Circumcision

    I am not quite sure of the nature of this discussion? Are we trying to judge the arguments of the fuqaha or just trying to understand what contemporary jurists say on this topic and what is our responsibility vis-à-vis their verdicts? If we want to get into a discussion of evaluating their arguments comprehensively, both those who say it is mustahabb and those that deny it has any legislative istihbab, in either case, I don't believe most members on this forum have any capacity to enter such a discussion and the purpose of my post was to simply point out that there is a difference of opinion on the very question of whether it was a legislative or non-legislative istihbab from many centuries ago (meaning, the question upon its legislative istihbab is not a 20-21st century question). I do believe I can defend the view that this was not a legislative istihbab, but I don't believe I can have that conversation here with the members. I do not mean this in an arrogant way, but there are too many presumptions that need to be ironed out before we can even get into a discussion of evaluating arguments of the fuqaha and many, many things that an average Shi'a takes for granted need to get discussed before we enter into a discussion of a deductive nature. Different fuqaha have different makatib and mabani, and enter these discussions with these presumptions (whether theological, usuli, fiqhi etc.). For example, there is a reason why someone like al-Qumi or Sahib al-Jawahir will stick to giving the ruling of Istihbab, but someone like Shaykh Makarem will not. Some of these presumptions are, who says we have to presume tashr'i (legislation) from every command and prohibition of the Prophet/Imam? Who says every command and prohibition was a ta'sisi law (something established by the Prophet), as opposed to imdha'i (something merely approved)? Who says that the implementation of every command and prohibition has to completely be in the hands of an infallible? And a dozen other similar questions, including those of Qa'idah Tasamuh, and their opinions on Ijma', and Khabar Wahid, how they resolve contradictions, and so on and so forth. Once you figure those questions out, then you come to the discussion of, how do we determine if a command or prohibition at hand is of a legislative type or not? How do we know if something was ta'sisi or imdha'i? How do we know if something was meant to be left completely in the hands of 'urf and 'uqala as opposed to an infallible? In any case, these are lengthy discussions which really can't be carried out on these forums at this point in time. For example, not only is there no ijma' on the istihbab (in the legislative sense) of this practice, I don't think people understand how an ijma' is even established or what are its different divisions and what type of ijma' is relevant for the Shi'as and which one isn't. Unfortunately, we are taught from a young age that the sources of law are 4 (Qur'an, Hadith, 'Aql, Ijma') when in reality, Ijma' is not an independent source of law for us (no Shi'i jurist has ever believed it to be so). Ijma' is only binding when there are no sources present for you, and that it uncovers for you the opinion of an Imam himself. This first of all restricts the notion of ijma' to very early scholars (generally 3rd-5th century), and only to cases regarding which we have no Qur'an or Hadith for, both of which are non-existent on the topic at hand. Secondly, the principle of the Ummah not agreeing upon an error is a nonsense principle (rationally it has no basis, and the textual proof for it is problematic and only the Sunnis have resorted to it, not the Shi'as). Fuqaha were never operating in a vacuum, especially Shi'a fuqaha. Unfortunately, not much material exists in English with respect to development of Shi'a legal and jurisprudential principles and how and why they changed over time. There are some decent works in Farsi and Arabic - you will need to look up Adwar al-Fiqh for these sort of disussions. In any case, the classical understanding by its mere nature of not being binding upon us is enough of a reason for us to question it (which is the whole point of ijtihad). There was greater consensus on the legislative prohibition of chess, yet it just took one or two jurists (in the middle of the 20th century) to change the tide completely, simply based on a difference of opinion on a a single Usuli principle. Wasalam
  10. Shia thought on Female Circumcision

    Unfortunately my ShiaChat reply box hasn't been working since a while on my Chrome browser, and I don't really use any other browser, thus I am not able to reply to these threads. Right now I am using Internet Explorer . For a Shi'a jurist, the mere opinions and understanding of previous Fuqaha are not binding whatsoever (since their ijtihad is not binding on another jurist). This is an established principle in Shi'a Usul al-Fiqh. Even if it was not, epistemically you cannot prove the probative force of past opinions and understandings - so there is no reason for a 20th-21st century jurist to be abnormally attached to past opinions and what they understood from the available texts (especially when you take into consideration certain presumptions - theological, philosophical, Usuli, Fiqhi etc. - different jurists entered these discussions with). The most many jurists will do with past opinions is decide to give a verdict out of precaution, or give a verdict if there is a very specific type of consensus amongst 3rd-4th century jurists (the consensus on female circumcision being mustahabb in a legislative sense - if it exists - yes it is disputed - would not be of that type, since the source of their verdicts exist - and such a consensus is not binding). There are too many examples for this; for example Nikah Mu'atat (the permissibility of marriage taking place without the verbal pronouncement of a formula) is something that many major jurists (I am talking on the level of Imam Khomeini and his likes) have concluded that there is no evidence against it. Though in their verdicts for the public - which is what the public is required to follow - they have not expressed these opinions out of precaution and have given verdicts against this. Very few have openly given a verdict permitting this (like Ayatullah Sadeqi Tehrani), but they were within their full right to do so. One of the major "fall-back principle" that needs to be determined by a jurist when deducing a verdict where we have textual evidence, is whether when in a state of doubt, do we presume a command or prohibition to be that of a legislative nature (such as obligation of prayers and khumus, or the prohibition of certain types of marriages performed in the Age of Ignorance etc.) which the Prophet came and established, or is it a mere approval of a customary practice (like the mere practice of selling and buying), or a mixture of both (for example, marriage as an institution was an approval by the Prophet, but legislative changes were made to it like the limits on how many wives you can have, or the fact that it was also given a legislative istihbab). In any case, there is enough room to argue that there may not be a legislative istihbab on the topic of female circumcision. As I mentioned earlier to @Qa'im, it is arguable that it is a recommendation of a non-legislative type and completely dependant upon customary practices linked to a very clear purpose. You can see this discussion happening even in the words of past jurists, especially when discussing the narrations that say it is not from the sunnah (i.e. what does this mean). The confusion was apparent, that is why some later jurists began mentioning the term shar'an after mentioning the ruling of istihbab for female circumcision. For example, Sayyid Ali Ha'iri in his Riyadh al-Masa'il (vol. 12, pg. 136) brings different reasons to say why this is istihbab shar'an (a legislative type), but also makes a remark saying some of the narrations apparently imply that it is not mustahabb in the technical sense (i.e. legislative sense) - even though he disagrees with that interpretation: و هو و إن احتمل نفي الوجوب، إلّا أنّ بعضها ظاهر في نفي السنّة بالمعنى المصطلح In any case, there was a difference of opinion on whether this is a legislative practice or not amongst past scholars. Majlisi - the father - explains his opinion in his commentary on al-Faqih of Shaykh Saduq (vol. 8, pg. 616), what it means for female circumcision to be a makrumah: و مكرمة في النساء أي حسنة مستحبة قبل البلوغ و بعده، و ليس بواجب، و ليس استحبابه أيضا كاستحباب ختان الصبي فيما كان مستحبا It is noble deed for women - meaning: Is it a good desirable practice before bulugh and after it, and it is not obligatory. Furthermore, its istihbab (desirability) is also not like the recommendation of circumcision in a boy which is mustahabb (i.e. of a legislative type). Mirza Qumi enters into a long and interesting discussion on this topic in his جامع الشتات, volume 4, pg. 614. Even though he agrees that it has istihbab (shar'an) - you will have to read his full argument to see how he concludes that, but even he admits that some of the reports are explicit in implying it does not have any istihbab: و امّا السؤال عن خفض الجوارى فلا خلاف فى استحبابه، و عدم ظهور الخلاف يكفى للمسامحة فى السنن. و ان كان الاخبار ليست بصريحة فى الاستحباب، بل فى بعضها نفى كونه من السنة Ali Akbar Ghaffari, but he was actually quoting the words of 'Allamah Majlisi from his Mirat al-'Uqul: قوله عليه السلام:" و ليس على النساء" أي لا يجب عليهن، و ليس سنة مؤكدة فيهن، فلا ينافي استحبابه كما ذكره الأصحاب 'Allamah Majlisi also says in his commentary on Tahdhib al-Ahkam of Sh. Tusi (vol. 12, pg. 428): قوله عليه السلام: مكرمة أي: موجب لكرامتها و محبوبيتها عند زوجها، و هذا أمر مرغوب، و لعل المعنى أنها ليست من السنن بل من التطوعات. و يحتمل أن تكون من الآداب و الأوامر الإرشادية للمصالح الدنيوية، و الأول أظهر His usage of the phrase أظهر is crucial, because it shows that both these meanings are apparent for him (the second one being that this was just hukm irshadi, and not a legislative recommendation), but he believes that the first prima-facie is more apparent than the other. Yusuf al-Bahrani, one of the last major Akhbari scholars, writes: قال بعض مشايخنا: مكرمة أي موجبة لحسنها و كرامتها عند زوجها، و المعنى ليست من السنن بل من التطوعات. أقول: و يؤيده ما يأتي إن شاء الله تعالى في حديث أم حبيب Even more interesting is this discussion by Shahid Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr in his Ma Wara' al-Fiqh, volume 6, pg. 222 onwards. It has a lot of technical terminology and I don't know how much the brothers and sisters who even know Arabic will understand, but maybe give it a shot: ختان المرأة:للمرأة ختانها كما أن للرجل ختانه. غير أن ختان المرأة مستحب و ختان‌ الرجل واجب. كما أن ختان الرجل ملتزم به بين المسلمين، و لكن ختان المرأة متروك غالبا أو تماما. و يسمى ختانها خفضا أو خفض الجواري.و قد دلت الروايات على جواز تركه فعن غياث بن إبراهيم عن جعفر بن محمد عن أبيه عليهما السلام قال: قال علي عليه السلام: لا بأس بأن لا تختتن المرأة. و أما الرجل فلا بد منه. كما أن مقتضى أصالة البراءة هو عدم الوجوب كما أن ترك سيرة المتشرعة له دال على ذلك أيضا. و أن من المطمئن به أنها سيرة معاصرة للمعصومين سلام اللّه عليهم. و لكن السؤال فقهيا عن استحبابه فهل هو حقا مستحب أو ليس بمستحب أصلا، و إنما أقرّه الإسلام باعتبار عدم المصلحة في النهي عنه حتى يذوب اجتماعيا و يتركه الناس تدريجيا. فإقرار الإسلام له دال على جوازه لا محالة، و أما دلالته على استحبابه، فمحل إشكال.بل إن ترك السيرة له جيلا بعد جيل، قرينة على ذلك. مع التزام المتشرعة بالكثير من المستحبات، فلما ذا لم يلتزموا به. الأمر الذي ينتج فقهيا أن استحبابه لا يكون مشمولا لأدلة التسامح في أدلة السنن. لأن ذلك متوقف على وروده عنهم عليهم السلام، و يمكن أن يقال بعد كل ذلك: إن ختان النساء لم يرد عنهم عليهم السلام. فلا يكون موضوعا لتلك الأدلة. بل دلت بعض الأخبار على نفي كونه من السنّة و هو واضح في نفي استحبابه. إذ يراد بالسنّة الوجوب و الاستحباب فنفيه نفي لهما معا.ففي صحيح ابن سنان: ختان الغلام من السنّة و خفض الجواري ليس من السنّة. و في خبر السكوني عن أبي عبد اللّه عليه السلام: خفض النساء مكرمة ليست من السنّة. و ليست شيئا واجبا. و في بعضها: السنّة في الختان على الرجال و ليس على النساء و أما ما يدعى من قيام الإجماع على الاستحباب، فلم يثبت، و إن ثبت فهو مدركي ليس بحجة، يعني أنه معتمد على الإخبار، فلا يكون أكثر حجية منها. و قد عرفنا حال الاستدلال بالاخبار. و إذا لم يكن ختان الأنثى مستحبا كان ظلما لها لا محالة. إلّا أنه ليس بحرام على أي حال.و على تقدير الرغبة بالختان ينبغي التقليل من اللحم المقطوع إلى أكبر حد ممكن، حتى لو أمكن قطع مليمتر واحد أو أقل لكان أفضل. ففي الخبر المشهور و هو صحيح ابن مسلم عن أبي عبد اللّه عليه السلام قال: لما هاجرن النساء إلى رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و آله هاجرت فيهن امرأة يقال لها أم حبيب. و كانت خافضة تخفض الجواري. فلما رآها رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و آله قال لها: يا أم حبيب العمل الذي كان في يدك هو في يدك اليوم؟ قالت: نعم، يا رسول اللّه إلّا أن يكون حراما تنهاني عنه. فقال: لا بل حلال فادني حتى أعلمك.قال: فدنت منه. فقال: يا أم حبيب. إذا أنت فعلت فلا تنهكي أي لا تستأصلي و أشمّي. فإنه أشرق للوجه و أحظى للزوج.أقول: أما كونه أحظى للزوج فلأنه أكثر محافظة على الشهوة الجنسية. و أما كونه أشرق للوجه فإنه مع كثرة القطع، ستحمل المرأة المسكينة هم نفسها و ما وقع عليها من الصعوبة فلا يشرق وجهها بطبيعة الحال.هذا و قد ظهر من كل ذلك: أن المرأة إذا لم تكن قد خفضت في حال صغرها، فلا يجوز لها أن تفعل ذلك بعد كبرها. لأنها إما أن تختن نفسها أو يختنها غيرها. أما الأول فهو مستلزم للضرر على الأغلب. و أما الثاني فهو مستلزم لكشف العورة الحرام حتى لو كان إمام المرأة فضلا عن الرجل الأجنبي. و أرى أن ما تحدثنا به عن الختان كافيا جدا فلا ينبغي الاستمرار في الحديث عنه I would love to translate these discussions, but do not have the time for it. There is also an excellent discussion on this where Ayatullah Shubayri Zanjani critiques Sahib al-Jawahir (who believed the word sunnah in the narrations mean obligation - so his view was that it is obligatory to circumcise men, but not women, however it is mustahabb shar'an to circumcise women). The discussion can be found in volume 25 (pg. 7885) of Ayatullah Zanjani's Kitab al-Nikah (which are transcriptions of his Dars al-Kharij that he gave over a period of 19-20 years). I will copy paste two paragraphs from it, and the Persian readers can read the rest here: http://www.noorlib.ir/View/fa/Book/BookView/Image/1652 نقد كلام صاحب جواهر ‌فرمايشات مرحوم صاحب جواهر محل مناقشه است اولًا: چنانچه خود صاحب جواهر در جاهاى ديگر گفته و ما هم قبلًا در توضيح عبارت خلاف و مبسوط متذكر شديم، اصطلاح سنت در قديم و در روايات با سنتى كه مصطلح فعلى است تفاوت دارد. در اصطلاح فعلى سنت در مقابل واجب است ولى در كلمات قدما و روايات، سنت مقسم براى واجب و غير واجب است و ثانياً: به حسب معمول درباره سنت دو اطلاق بيشتر نداريم يا سنت به معناى استحباب است و يا به معناى طريقه جاريه است و گمان نمى‌كنم حتى در يك مورد هم معناى خصوص وجوب از آن اراده شده باشد Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi in his Kitab al-Nikah (volume 6, from page 79 to 81) also enters a discussion on this and concludes that this is not a legislative istihbab (he really critiques and questions this being a legislative type of desirability). I will just copy paste the beginning sentence of the discussion, and for those who can read Persian, can read the rest here: http://lib.eshia.ir/27598/6/79 بقى هنا شى‌ء: مرحوم امام ختان المرأة را در تحرير الوسيله بحث نكرده‌اند اگر چه بحث مفصّلى در مقام ختان رجل دارند و ما به تناسب روايت «إذا التقى الختانان» به بحث ختان مرئه اشاره مى‌كنيم، خصوصا كه اين مسأله مورد سؤال است كه در اسلام چه حكمى دارد؟ اسم ديگر ختان مرئه «خفض الجوارى» (جمع جاريه به معناى دختر) است Also apologies, but I have not really read all the previous posts in this discussion and I was not following this thread - therefore I did not address the issue of how and what is meant by female circumcision (what part is to be cut and what not), even though some scholars did get into that discussion as well (like Mirza Qumi). Also I would have loved to translate all the material in English, but I simply do not have the time for it at the moment. The main point I wanted to get across was that there is discussion amongst Shi'a jurists on whether this act is even a legislative recommendation or not to begin with. I have also hyperlinked the names of some of the scholars to WikiShia for those who may not be familiar with them. Wassalam
  11. #14 Computer Poll

    Haven't owned and used a personal desktop since approximately 2005. Have always been using a laptop since then. Wasalam
  12. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    The issue here is that he isn't discussing the specifics of this superiority. Superiority in what, from what perspective? He does mention an alibi from narrations that say a daughter brings more blessings when she is born - and perhaps from that perspective she is superior to a male - but in his talk he also throws in the phrase ولكن بشرطها وشروطها (with its appropriate conditions), which essentially keeps him free from the attribution of having claimed absolute superiority of women over men (in all and every aspect). So even if he were to qualify this same position with conditions, he can justify himself by saying this was clear and obvious or that I hadn't claimed absolute superiority to begin with. If you look at the first two or so lectures you will see how he actually begins his talk building an argument for men being superior to women through the Qur'an, but he leaves it at that. This is because he is in a stage of his discussion where he is throwing out a lot of different plausible interpretations, but he himself has said he will dwell into them in more depth over the course of these lessons. Wasalam
  13. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    One thing to note about any Bahth Kharij is that you cannot come to a conclusions regarding a scholar's opinions until a certain topic is actually complete (and definitely not by looking or reading any one lesson from a middle of a series). The natural course of a Bahth Kharij is to open all plausible interpretations, present those arguments, and critique them where possible. I've encountered this way too many times during my readings of transcriptions of Bahth Kharij, where it appears that a scholar is arguing for a certain opinion, and even makes strong arguments for it, but 20-odd lessons later arrives at a conclusion which is the complete opposite. This is not to say that Sayyid Haydari isn't challenging the mainstream notion (about men being superior), but I don't think it is fair to say that his final conclusion is that women are superior to men. He has to clarify a lot of things which he hasn't - how he explains the verse which says men are a degree higher, how he addresses the issue of superiority vis-a-vis taqwa (which he begins discussing in lesson 13), if he does believe women are superior is this ontological or something else, etc.? What he claims to be "his understanding" is the grammatical point where he takes both of the last 2 statements in the verse as a parenthetical statement, rather than the words of Maryam's (s) mother. You can read the Arabic transcription of the lesson here: http://alhaydari.com/ar/2017/10/61362/ Given that this series is going to be happening for a long time (as he alludes to in the first few lessons), it is way too early to see what Sayyid al-Haydari's final opinions are on the subject. Another thing to keep in mind is that his lessons are very different because of the foundations he builds his arguments on - these are foundations which are not mainstream to begin with, such as his views on the whole Qur'an vs. Hadith discussion, and most importantly views he has in epistemology (a lot of views he has on the latter topic are views I agree with). Wasalam
  14. Women are superior to men- Sayyed Kamal AlHaidery

    Brother have you watched all of the videos of the series? I have all of them transcribed into English (except lecture 11 - which wasn't that great and parts of lecture 10 since it was a lot of repetition) and of course these are being conducted daily in Qom, and he has barely gotten into the meat of his discussion. Although I haven't published the transcriptions on my blog yet due to certain reasons. In any case, Sayyid Kamal hasn't made any real arguments for women being superior or inferior to men, rather so far he is only trying to present an alternative interpretation where he says the complete opposite of men being superior to women can also be argued if need be. One thing that should be understood regarding Sayyid Kamal in order to give a lot of his talks some context, is that he is someone who thinks out loud a lot. These are discussions that pretty much do not happen in the seminaries, and he is right to being these conversations and throw these ideas out (whether they are his own original ideas or not) so at the very least they can be studied and/or critiqued. During my time here, it has become clear to me that much of the seminary - students and scholars - is clueless about the modern world and is heedless in a bubble of its own, so it does make me respect Sayyid Kamal a bit more than others - although it is obvious he does not have complete information (for example in one of the videos he praised women studies programs in the West). There is one Western Shaykh who is a student of his (don't want to mention his name) and a few other Western students who also know him much better than I do, and I have spoken to the latter to at least get this information across to the Sayyid (that for example, there is a lot of dirty feminist politics behind women studies programs etc). I am also trying to set up a meeting with him through his office to discuss some of these things with him. Unfortunately he also gets a lot of heat and censorship for it (his talks were shut down for a decent amount of time, and just restarted again in his office). Nevertheless, I believe he has made some very interesting points worth contemplating over even in this series alone. Wasalam
  15. Qisas and external proof

    See question 60 and 61: http://www.sistani.com/english/book/45/1963/ You will only find these issues in Questions and Answers done by a marja' (if even there), because an average follower won't be asking such a question unless they are a judge in a court or a lawyer defending someone - where the question would become redundant under an Islamic government since rules regarding what can or cannot be used as evidence would already have beenn ironed out. The best way to figure these things out is if you ask a question yourself, or by looking at research papers written within Iran by institutes that conduct such studies, or papers written by lawyers and medical experts who also do work in Islamic Fiqh. There are numerous papers published on this subject. For example, this paper http://jfil.srbiau.ac.ir/article_9263_7cba860dde0b696f05b66c0c429a7e59.pdf discusses how and why DNA testing should be considered legally permissible in order to prove the parentage of someone. These papers are of course, typically technical (with both medical and Islamic legal jargon). As a personal anecdote I can tell you that 2 years ago while I was sitting in a gathering with Ayatullah Sayyid Shubeyri Zanjani, a group of scholars from Isfahan had come to visit him. They were presenting him a paper where they had done some research work on DNA and genetic testing by which they could determine if a person is a Sayyid or not. They asked if this procedure is allowed to be used to claim someone is a Sayayid or not (which would subsequently have legal consequences such as Khumus or Fitrah etc.). The Sayyid said he is obviously unaware of the details of such a procedure (as he has nothing to do with the medical aspect of it), but that if it follows generally accepted scientific procedures and methodologies, and results in - what people would consider - knowledge, rather than speculation, it is fine. Wasalam