Ibn al-Hussain

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  • Birthday 12/24/1988

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  1. Also see: This paper focuses on the structure of Surat Yusuf (Q. 12), arguing that the surah demonstrates the most prominent features of ring composition, then noting how its structure informs the larger argument of the surah concerning prophetology. The first half of Joseph’s story of betrayal, exile, slavery, temptation, and imprisonment is mirrored inversely in the second half by his freedom, exoneration, elevation in society, and reunion, forming a perfect chiasm. Scholarship has noted this chiastic structure and building on the work of Michel Cuypers, I argue that the ring structure of Q. 12 is in fact more intricate and detailed than scholarship has considered thus far. Specifically, I demonstrate that Q. 12 is composed of not merely of one ring but that there are in fact four distinct rings—a ring addressing the Prophet (which frames the surah), followed by Joseph’s dream, then Jacob’s narrative, and at the center is a retelling of Joseph’s experience in Egypt. After detailing the surah’s intricate ring composition, using the surah’s ring structure, I argue that each ring argues a set of qurʾānic teachings, namely, the Qurʾan’s monotheistic message and the reality of revelation (Joseph’s ring), trust in God’s plan along with patience through trials (Jacob’s ring), and the truth of revelation (the dream ring). All of this is framed in the ring addressed to the Prophet, putting him in line with Jacob and, more directly, Joseph as a continuity of prophetic missions, shaping the Qurʾān’s unique prophetology. https://iqsaweb.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/andrew-rippin-best-paper-prize-winner-2017/ Title of the paper: Ring Composition, Virtues, and Qurʾanic Prophetology in sūrat Yūsuf (Q 12) If anyone can get access to this paper, please share. Wasalam
  2. I hope you don't overwhelm yourself with too many subjects at a time. I don't know if there is such a thing as "introductory Tafseer". There are brief tafseer works on various surahs or even the whole Qur'an (but usually they are multiple volumes), and there are introduction "to" tafseer works (in Farsi) which talk about different methods and methodologies etc. If you know Farsi then for tafseer methodological works you might want to look into Ali Akbar Babaei's works. A list of his books can be seen here (scroll down): http://rihu.ac.ir/author/30/حجت-الاسلام-و-المسلمين-علي-اكبر-بابايي If I were you, I'd also get my hands on the following CDs - this is not only a much cheaper option, but you will have hundreds of books at your disposal: Jami' al-Tafasir Jami' al-Ahadith Hadith Ahl ol Bayt (CD of Dar ol-Hadith works) Adabiyyat Arabi Hikmat Islami (Philosophy works) Kalam (Theology works) Shi'a Rijal (not to be confused with Dirayah al-Noor) Jami' al-Fiqh Usul al-Fiqh Noor al-Sirah (history books) These are the ones I have and a few more which might not be too relevant for you at this stage. You can check out their catalogue of CDs here: http://www.noorsoft.org/en/productList?field_sell_tid=1909 Wasalam
  3. Jami' al-Muqaddamat is not easy to go through yourself, you will either need a teacher or listen to online Durus of teachers covering the books within it. On what topic are you looking for Farsi books? There are many good introducotry logic and philosophy works in Farsi. Also there is a really really decent introductory 6-part work published at Ayatullah Mibsah's institution in Farsi, under the name of Tarh-e Wilayat. These 6 books are on Epistemology (even covers Hermeneutics at the end of it), Philosophy of God, Philosophy of Prophethood, Philosophy of Ethics, Philosophy of Rights, and Philosophy of Politics. They are not lengthy books, and the idea is to build a complete structure of thought for a person from the basic foundations of epistemology and going all the way to politics (every book literally builds on the previous book). See if you can get these works (they are not expensive either and not too big as to increase luggage weight). I have translated parts of the epistemology book, but it is far from complete though. Wasalam
  4. Yes there are plenty of introductory books both in Arabic and Farsi. Ayt. Baqir Irwani has an introductory work on it which is also available online. Wasalam
  5. All the books I mentioned are Arabic works. Wasalam
  6. In Islamic studies jargon, there is a difference between the term Fiqh and Ahkam. Fiqh is any class or work where besides the ruling, there is some level of istidlal done as well (i.e. evidence for why this ruling is there). In terms of istidlali works on Fiqh, we have different types. Some have very little istidlal, some have a bit more, and some works have extensive istidlal. From those works that have very little istidlal, Sharh al-Lum'ah is of that genre and therefore is a lot more exhaustive in terms of the amount of rulings it brings. Ayt. Baqir Irwani's introductory al-Fiqh al-Istidlali workhas more detailed istidlal, but fewer rulings are covered in it (he has another work as well which is two volumes, with even fewer rulings, but a lot more extensive in its deduction). Extensive and exhaustive works are also too many, the most famous ones that cover all sections of Fiqh are works such as al-Jawahir, Riyadh al-Masa'il etc. Other extensive istidlali works could also be written by scholars on more specific topics rather than complete books covering all sections of Fiqh, such as works focusing just on Taharah, Salat, Sawm, Bulugh, or some very particular matter such as Wilayah of father over daughter, or sighting the moon, Taqiyyah etc. Shara'i al-Islam is not a "Fiqh" work per say, since there is no istidlal in it. It would be classified as an Ahkam work, where only rulings are mentioned (i.e. it doesn't answer the question "why?"). For Ahkam classes, books that are generally covered are - as you mentioned - Shara'i al-Islam, but other works like Tabsirah al-Muta'allimin, Minhaj al-Saliheen, Tahreer of Imam Khomeini, or other Ahkam works that have been compiled specifically for teaching purposes. By this understanding and definition, works like Tawdhee al-Masa'il are "Ahkam" works, not "Fiqh" works. Wasalam
  7. There are standard books per say, because different schools may choose different books based on their own discretion. For Arabic grammar just get the two-volume set of Jami' al-Muqaddamat (it has various Sarf and Nahw texts in it) - otherwise you can just get Hidayah al-Nahw for Nahw and for Sarf I'm not sure what introductory books there are in Arabic (we do Sarf Sadeh which is half-Farsi, half-Arabic). For Logic, you can get Mantiq al-Muzaffar, but there are a lot of better texts out there now (in Farsi primarily - I don't know if you can read Farsi?). For Usul: Either Usul al-Muzaffar or Halaqa Ula of Shaheed Sadr (volume 1 which is an introduction). For Fiqh: Most schools will do all of Sharh al-Lum'ah of Shaheed Thani (it is a couple of volumes), but you can probably opt for the three-volume Fiqh al-Istidlali of Baqir Irwani. For Philosophy: Probably better to get Philosophical Instructions of Ayt. Misbah Yazdi (it has been translated into Arabic). Wasalam
  8. Anything that is considered a "beard" in the local custom ('urf), is sufficient. In other words, you have to figure out for yourself whether a 1mm trimmed "beard" on your face which looks almost shaven, still considered a beard or not. When people look at that face, will they say "he has a beard"? Sayyid Sistani [source]: إذا عدّت لحية عرفاً فلا يجوز حلقها علي الأحوط If it is considered a beard in 'urf, then it is not allowed to shave it based on obligatory precaution (this is a response to someone who is asking if it is allowed to shave the hair on the face, if it is really thin, so that it can grow back thicker). Wasalam
  9. Most jurists today say it is Haram for a man to shave his beard, based on obligatory precaution. The reason for why the jurists say obligatory precaution is because the evidence for it being prohibited to shave is not very convincing in our books, yet it is safer to err on the precautionary side of things (due to some degree of precedence that exists for keeping a beard). Nevertheless, even if your jurist says it is Haram based on obligatory precaution, you are still obliged to follow the ruling, unless who you consider to be the next most knowledgeable jurist allows for you to shave the beard, in which case you can switch to him. On a grand scheme of things though, the importance of the female covering cannot be compared to that of a man's beard. The former - which is something external to the human body, yet part and parcel of a Muslim woman in the public sphere - has the ability to cause a lot of positive social impact, which really cannot be said about the beard (which is facial hair that most men around the world, whether they are Muslims or not, grow and keep). At the same time, I don't want to down-play the beard either because there are other reasons (besides the Shar'i necessity of it) for why keeping a beard is beneficial. Certain health benefits exist, and a beard is also symbolic in many parts of the world for religiosity, wisdom, strength etc. and it is good for a person to associate themselves with such positive perceptions as it reinforces one's own commitment to those values. Of course these perceptions can really easily change from one place to another as well, such as amongst some people in the West who might perceive a person with a beard (especially if they are Muslim) to be a barbarian, and uncivilized. From a Shi'i fiqh position, the ruling on the beard only began being mentioned near the end of the 7th century Hijri (unlike Sunni fiqh, where you see it being mentioned as early as 1st-2nd century Hijri) You won't find anything about the beard (keeping it or shaving it) in the works of earlier scholars like Shaykh Saduq, Shaykh Mufid, Shaykh Tusi, Sayyid Murtadha, all the way down till Ibn Idris al-Hilli, 'Allamah Hilli, Ibn Zuhra, Ibn Barraj etc. The first scholar to mention anything about a beard seems to be Yahya bin Sa'eed al-Hilli (d. 690 Hijri) in his work al-Jami' lil-Sharai' and whether his statement indicates impressibility of shaving or not is hard to tell. Later scholars had many differences of opinions on the matter, many even arguing that it is merely Makruh. Wasalam
  10. Married woman sai Mut'ah nahi ker saktay. Ja'iz nahi hai.
  11. Some may find this book interesting. Hisham ibn al-Kalbi's (d. 204 Hijri) work titled Kitab al-Asnam (Book of Idols), in which he discusses the gods of the pre-Islamic Arabs. The book has been translated into English and is available here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/140049780/65374754-The-Book-of-Idols-Kitab-Al-Asnam-by-Hisham-Al-Kalbi-pdf Not giving the Fiqhi perspective here, but what you will notice in the book above is that all the idols were eventually destroyed. Many of them were being worshiped even after the advent of Islam, and either once a tribe became Muslim they would destroy the idols themselves (there would have been no need to keep them, and centuries of idol-worship would have symbolically been attached to them and there would have been legitimate concerns for someone returning back to idol-worship), or they were destroyed once the Muslims took over a certain location or after winning a battle. You will also read in the book how Imam Ali (s) played a role in destroying some of these idols. What is evident is that there doesn't seem to have been any hesitation in destroying these idols, especially since the Prophet commanded this to be done. He (s) seemed very adamant on removing all traces of these idols, which represented perhaps the worst form of polytheism at the time. I think we can't compare that situation to the statues we may see around us today - but there is definitely a greater message in what the Prophet commanded to do for all of us even today. Furthermore, these Prophetic orders seem to be based in his political authority, not that it gives a free-license for all Muslims to go around destroying people's properties or public land-marks (whether they are being worshiped or not). Today under an Islamic state, it would be the job of the government to determine how they would deal with these statues (of course there is the whole discussion on whether statues are even allowed to be built or not, which once again seems that one can offer some interesting interpretations of that law when we give it some historical context). ------ Also slightly relevant, just came across this new article that discusses the earliest history of image-smashing in Islamic history. The First Iconoclasm in Islam: A New History of the Edict of Yazīd II (AH 104/AD 723) Abstract: This article offers a revised history of the iconoclastic edict of the Umayyad caliph Yazīd II, which was promulgated in 104/723. This edict is often interpreted as a precursor of Byzantine iconoclasm and as a forerunner of the Islamic doctrine of images. Yet this focus on later developments has obscured the law’s original purpose and meaning. This essay attempts to examine the issue anew by analyzing the written and archaeological evidence for the edict. In addition to presenting new sources and a revised dating, it situates Yazīd’s actions in the context of early dhimmī legislation; apocalyptic anxieties at the Umayyad court; concerns about social mixing between Muslims and Christians; the caliph’s sphere of activity in Transjordan; the emergence of a prohibition on images in Islamic thought; and the practice of Muslim prayer in churches. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/islam.2017.94.issue-1/islam-2017-0002/islam-2017-0002.xml?format=INT Wasalam
  12. There isn't much I can say on a public forum about my feelings towards these things, otherwise it will become a legit Khutbah Shiqshiqiyyah... but yeah, they really shouldn't be handing these things out like candy. I think part of the reason some were hesitant to expose all his antics was also because it would expose a lot of flaws and carelessness in the system here and attitudes of the people working here, which can easily create a lot of distrust in the Shi'i public back home. However, I think people just need to accept the reality that things don't always run smoothly in this part of the world. It is better to accept this reality so that one can be cautious as well as to who they take their religious teachings from, than to lie to oneself and pretend everything is good. Although if you notice, he hasn't gotten anything credible from Qom. The Certificate of Al Mahdi College is a useless piece of paper that shows you learned some Farsi (I haven't even bothered to get mine because I ain't wasting my time going through their bureaucratic system just to get a useless piece of paper lol) and the ID Card of AlulBayt International University is basically just a student ID card you get from most educational institutions around the world. Once again, something so useless here that I haven't even bothered to get mine from my school even after 4 years. Your student ID can actually do something for you back home. For example back in Canada, I would need it to write my exams, or even enter into the exam-hall, you would need it to be able to print things from the library, and many other things. However, over here your student card is pretty useless - it may just come in handy in non-school environments, such as showing ID to the police, or I remember once I was in Isfahan during Ramadhan and entered into a restaurant and in order to prove I was a traveler (so I could eat), the waiter asked for ID. Also of course Tawhidi never finished his degree in this school. I know students who spent close to a decade here and returned back without ever needing a student ID card . Also don't be fooled by fancy terms like "International University", the school is just one of dozens of schools operated under Jami'ah al-Mustafa. This is how it looks like from the outside. Also regarding the Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi letter congratulating him on getting a turban, note the date on it as 2011, even though he was still in Farsi school in the beginning of 2011. Wasalam
  13. We have some narrations and so do the Sunnis - I guess there isn't a point in posting them since some readers are very hasty (in reaching conclusions) or reactionary with some of these narrations. In any case, you have to predicate and understand the narrations that say don't teach women how to write (kitabah), within a purely socio-historical context. If you take it to be a prohibition which is meant to transcend through time, you will have to deal with tons and tons of contradictory narrations & reports which not only indicate that learning and educating oneself is not restricted to men, but also the many reports that show many women were just as literate as men in reading and writing (we know that at the very least some wives of the Prophet could read and write, such as Hafsa who was taught how to write by a lady named Shifa, certain ladies related to the Imams were literate etc.). Writing during those days - which was not something easy to learn, was not normal, common and apparent as it is today - required one to dedicate a lot time and effort (anyone who has even briefly looked into the history of Qur'anic codices, or the history of scribes who would make copies of books, can tell you how complicated and time consuming it was). It was not something feasible for an average woman to engage in at the time. In fact, it may have even been a burden on women had their been pressure on them to learn how to write and take on jobs that required writing, while still managing their household duties. Thus, if learning how to write was more beneficial for women in general in that society at that time, it would have been something encouraged, like it is today in our time. It is also possible to understand the prohibition as a means of encouraging woman to take part in other activities that were more beneficial for her and in line with her capacity (during that time), not that it was a prohibition on writing as if writing in it and of it self had something in its essence due to which it was prohibited on women. Both possibilities are plausible, since for the second possibility we have other narrations that say teach women how to sew or what-have-you, which shows encouragement for them to learn activities that were in-line with their household activities. As for the OP - I think your husband may be acting sarcastic or joking around with you like many husbands do. If he is genuinely serious about his opinion, then you need to show him the many many examples in history of Muslim women who were literate, many coming from scholarly families, so that it becomes clear to him that his opinion is flawed and contradicts general Islamic teachings.. Wasalam
  14. Bro, I can walk in tomorrow into any Marjas office and wear a turban (you purchase and bring your own). A certain scholar putting a turban on your head says absolutely nothing about your credibility in the Hawzah. The system is a trust system based on the assumption that a student is humble, thus it is expected that if you are wearing the turban you have a good reason to be doing so. In some other schools or Hawzahs you may be encouraged to wear the turban right when you begin your studies, which once again says nothing about how much you have studied or how reliable of a person you are. The turban alongside the clerical robe has been abused too much by various goons, particularly some students coming from the West in the last two decades. The general Shi'a population in the West attaches a lot of value to the dress, and therefore some students may use that to their advantage to build a reputation for themselves back home even though they barely scratched the surface of anything in their studies. There are dozens upon dozens of stories that students and teachers can tell you about Tawhidi, but I am not sure why this hasn't been done. In the beginning some were worried about whether it would tantamount to backbiting or not, but in any case, there is no doubt left any more that exposing him and all his antics while he was in Iran is not only not haram, but rather required. It should have been done long time ago, but typically things take their sweet time when you are in Iran. Wasalam
  15. This guy was a fraud and poor student since day one in the Hawzah (and thus was kicked out), and he continues to be a fraud until today. My mere 1-2 hour exchange with him back in 2010 December in Qom resulted in nothing but me learning a bunch of Persian swear words and seeing a world-class flirt in action. ------- Welcome to the Weird World of Australia's 'Fake Sheikh', Mohammad Tawhidi by Chloe Patton http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/04/11/4651763.htm Mohammad Tawhidi waves regally from the back of a black car marked "VIP" as it makes its way through a city street lined with hundreds of screaming, flag-waving young South Koreans uniformly clad in white. With his gold-trimmed white robes and pointed turban, the man who calls himself both an Imam and Sheikh cuts an elegant figure as a minder guides him out of the car, past more jubilant Koreans and television cameras, and into the surreal surrounds of an Olympic stadium filled to capacity, where tens of thousands of seated spectators holding coloured cards form a gargantuan human LCD screen. Here he is ushered to pose for photographs with other similarly well turned-out men of faith, all of whom have been flown in from religious communities across the globe to take part in the World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) summit. But the cheer squads are not really here for Tawhidi, and this is not really a peace conference. These ecstatic young Koreans are members of an allegedly dangerous religious cult taking part in a highly regimented North Korean-style stadium extravaganza to pay tribute to their controversial leader, Lee Man Hee. Welcome to the thoroughly weird world of Mohammad Tawhidi, the man the mainstream Muslim community has dubbed Australia's "fake sheikh." Anointed as a religious leader by the tabloid media, this Shia extremist is using its newspapers and television programs to wage a sectarian war against Australia's majority Sunni community. And their audiences can't get enough. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has called for Tawhidi to be "elevated to celebrity status" to counter the influence of Waleed Aly, who she accuses of "having a stake in a Muslim Brotherhood-type of organisation." A skim through the headlines of the past fortnight indicates she needn't have bothered: Tawhidi has already made it. The enemy of my enemy ... Tawhidi first came to public attention through a series of claims about Muslims conspiring to establish a taxpayer Caliphate "right here, under our noses," where streets would be re-named after terrorist murderers. He demanded that the Australian government ban the construction of mosques and community centres and establish a body dedicated solely to investigating Muslims. Regaling Andrew Bolt with the horrors awaiting non-Muslim Australians under this Caliphate, Tawhidi claimed that tax evaders will be beheaded: "they put his head in a pot, they eat it, then they rape his wife that same night." Bolt was visibly delighted when Tawhidi declared that Sahih al-Bukhari, the most sacred Sunni text after the Qur'an, must be banned. The formula was clearly a winner: Tawhidi returned to Bolt's program the following week, this time lending support to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's crusade to see all Islamic schools forcibly closed. If the unusualness of a Muslim cleric aligning himself with Bolt and Hirsi Ali should provoke a close inspection of Tawhidi's credentials as a religious leader, either none is being undertaken or the spectacle of man dressed up as a cleric delivering epithets more at home at a white nationalist rally is proving simply too good to resist. The name of Tawhidi's organisation - the Islamic Association of South Australia - should be an immediate indication that something is not quite right: its resemblance to the real peak representative body for South Australian Muslims - the Islamic Society of South Australia - could be seen as a ploy to derive legitimacy through mistaken identity. Deliberate or not, the Rotary Club of Adelaide was certainly taken in by it, proclaiming him to be the South Australian Muslim community's "top man." Tawhidi is not recognised as an Imam or Sheikh by either the Australian National Imams Council or its South Australian equivalent, nor is he affiliated with any Australian mosque or prayer centre. The only religious instruction he offers is a self-described "university standard" Islamic Studies class delivered from a rented classroom at the University of South Australia. Course content posted online includes rambling refutations of the Big Bang and the theory of human evolution. A video he has shared on social media depicting a sparrow repeatedly fluttering against another sparrow gives a taste of his views on the latter. The caption reads: "Watch how this bird performs CPR on another bird, something we humans won't learn without an educational training course; so who taught that bird?" Tawhidi's sectarian project Unsurprisingly, Tawhidi's tales about Sunni Muslims' shadowy plot to instate Caliphate have been enthusiastically embraced by the far-Right, including Reclaim Australia. Perhaps less expected is the extent to which Tawhidi himself has courted such groups. In the lead-up to last year's federal election, he made offerings of roses to roadside anti-Muslim Liberty Alliance and One Nation posters, as if the face of Pauline Hanson belonged not to Australia's most recognisable anti-Islam campaigner, but a titian-haired deity. While it is certainly odd for a Muslim cleric dressed in full regalia to be making such an unmistakably religious gesture towards Islamophobes, the politics behind it are not completely unheard of. Evangelical Christian minister Danny Nalliah's Rise Up Australia party has a substantial non-Anglo membership, yet enthusiastically embraces Reclaim Australia's overtly racist rhetoric, including its denunciation of multiculturalism. Like Tawhidi, members of Nalliah's group are able imaginatively to erase themselves as targets of far-Right extremism because it serves as a means to address what is, for them, a theological grievance. Never mind that when a young Sri Lankan man is bashed on a train or a Muslim woman has her hijab yanked off, the offenders do not stop to check whether he is actually Christian or she is Shi'i. Tawhidi's theological grievance is of a sectarian variety rarely seen in Australia, and this is perhaps part of the reason it evades scrutiny. Visually referencing Iranian posters of Iranian Ayatollahs, one of the many self-aggrandising memes posted to Tawhidi's social media accounts depicts him in profile with the caption "Islam without Imam Ali (a.s) is simply Isis." In Tawhidi's black-and-white worldview, anything other than the Shia Twelver Islam that he follows is the terrorist ideology. Sunni Muslims "just want to live in the caves like they did 1400 years ago," he told 2UE's Ben Fordham. While Shia Muslims may share his understanding that Imam Ali is the true inheritor of Prophet Mohammed's legacy, the majority of Australia's Shia community does not conflate Sunni Islam with terrorism. Tawhidi's theological outlook places him firmly on its extremist fringes. Paradoxically, it is precisely the genuineness of Tawhidi's commitment to his sectarian project that fuels a public persona steeped in phoniness. And this has made him perfect fodder for even bigger phonies. Whether he was aware of it or not, when he headed to Korea for his 2016 "world peace tour," he was about to cross paths with one of the most successful merchants of religious fakery in the world. An "alliance into one religion"? Established in 1984, Lee Man Hee's Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle bears a strong resemblance to the better known Unification Church, popularly known as the "Moonies." For decades, both churches have been accused of brainwashing members and creating front organisations using deception to infiltrate other churches both in Korea and the West. The peace summit Tawhidi attended was hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWRL) and a string of peace-themed groups, all of them controlled by Lee's Shincheonji Church. Unbeknown to the overseas invitees, the event was known within Korea not as a peace conference, but the 6th Shincheonji National Olympiad, a four yearly mega-party to celebrate Lee's birthday. A Korean media blackout on Shincheonji activities meant that for many invitees, the realisation that they had been co-opted into a cult leader's elaborate vanity project only dawned on them when they walked into the stadium. Martin Bergsma, the president of a Dutch youth NGO, said he found it difficult to extricate himself once the penny dropped; HWRL had paid 80% of his airfare and kept him under tight control when he got there, he said. Other participants shared Bergsma's experience of being pressured to sign a document declaring their submission to a single merged religion, effectively a pledge of allegiance to Lee. Speculating on the reason for the expensive and logistically complicated charade, Bergsma believes it generated "excellent propaganda material for the South Korean people, showing that Man Hee Lee has supporters from all over the world." The Church certainly made mileage out of the handful of attendees who did sign up to Lee's vision of a global religion - Tawhidi included. Shincheonji have quoted him as saying, "This WARP Summit is an event blessed by God because it is every religious person's wish to achieve peace through an alliance into one religion." If Tawhidi was perturbed by his name being attached to a pledge to do away with Islam, it did not show. While other attendees took to the internet to warn about the bogus event, Tawhidi instead made his involvement the centre of his public persona. Proclaiming himself "the Imam of peace," he plastered his social media accounts with images of himself posing with fellow attendees, often making the distinctive "L" shaped hand gesture associated with the cult. He also proudly showed off his "gold medal for world peace." There is no mention of who bestowed this honour upon him, but the medallion bears a striking resemblance to a cheap Korean good luck trinket. Believing a lie All of this would be amusing if not for the dogged determination of certain sections of the Australian media to further his cause without scrutiny. When Islamic television station One Path exposed Tawhidi as a fake, the evidence it presented was not only ignored, the very fact that it had investigated Tawhidi's claim to be a Muslim leader was twisted to suggest it was persecuting him as a Shi'i. Even a video of Tawhidi railing against Muslims who had mocked his peace-loving credentials on social media by circulating a photograph of a blood-drenched Tawhidi holding a dagger was presented as further evidence that Muslims were upset with him for exposing their Caliphate plans. (The image is likely to have been taken at a Shia tatbir ceremony, where participants self-flagellate with blades until they bleed in an annual mourning ritual.) His extraordinary accusation in the video that the Muslim community had offered him $3 million to buy his silence not only went unexamined, it was simply left out. The only fact-checking that appears to have been carried out to date concerns Tawhidi's most recent claim that he has been "escorted into hiding by the police." A police spokesperson told the Australian that "there have been no incidents relating to the removal of a person from a mosque or similar place." This did not take any of the wind out of the story's sails, however, and other media outlets quickly went on to state it as fact. And this is what is most disturbing about the whole Tawhidi phenomenon: in the pantomime that is media coverage of Islam and Muslims, it is far easier to be fake than real. The ridiculous spectre of 2% of the population seizing control and boiling heads in pots - disturbingly similar to Nazi propaganda about Jews cooking and eating babies - is easier to countenance than any real analysis of the dynamics shaping Islam in Australia. A giant exercise in bias confirmation, anything that does not fit the narrative is deemed to be "carrying water for the Islamists." The spaces where Muslims can even point this out - let alone put forward alternative views informed by genuine engagement with the community - are receding, washed away by a rising tide of paranoid nationalism. The result is a community that turns in on itself, working through its problems in the micro-public arenas of social media, student associations and community politics. While this will not result in anything like the establishment of an Australian Caliphate, it is hardly a recipe for social wellbeing. Chloe Patton is a Melbourne-based researcher and writer. Her doctoral research was an ethnographic study of young Australian Shi'i Muslims. She was formerly a research fellow at the International Centre for Muslim Understanding at UniSA and at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at the Aga Khan University, London.