Ibn al-Hussain

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  1. I think what you mean is a Mujtahid (juris) who has a working knowledge of Fiqh and understands the process of deriving certain rulings and is able to do so himself in a limited capacity. If you want to become a Marja' who is followed by people as a source of emulation then you are looking at around the next 3-4 decades studying constantly. I will list out a few important subjects and texts that one generally needs to cover to work themselves to becoming a Mujtahid (partial jurist who is able to do Ijtihad in some chapters or matters in Fiqh, or a complete Mujtahid which is a very long journey). The absolute first thing is to learn Arabic and its grammar. This includes subjects such as: Sarf, Nahw, Balaghah, and 'Ilm ul-Lughat. For 'Ilm ul-Lughat books that you should have covered to a decent extent are works like Kitab al-'Ayn, Lisan al-'Arab, al-Nihaya, Majma' al-Bahrayn, and Misbah al-Muneer. After Arabic, the main areas you need to work on are: Usul al-Fiqh (Halaqat of Sh. Sadr, Usul of Ayt. Muzaffar and eventually books like Kifayah) Fiqh (books like Sharh al-Lum'ah, Sharai al-Islam, and eventually books like Makasib and Jawahir) 'Ilm al-Rijal (many books available) 'Ilm ul-Dirayah 'Ulum al-Qur'an (many books available) 'Ulum al-Hadith (as well as having gone through all the ahadith relevant to each chapter in Fiqh) al-Madhahib al-Fiqhiyyah (books like al-Khilaf of Shaykh Tusi and Kitab al-Mughni of Ibn Qudamah) al-Qawaid al-Fiqhiyyah (books like al-'Unaween of Ayt. Naraqi or al-Qawaid al-Fiqhiyyah of Ayt. Bajnurdi) Familiarity with astronomy and math (for example al-Riyadhiyat lil-Faqih of Ayt. Yaqubi) This is a general outline. In this day and age learning Farsi helps a lot as well, since many of the Behas al-Kharij take place in Persian and they are transcribed in Persian as well. Also there are many books written in Farsi that you will have access to as well. Different scholars have listed out a few other requirements to become a jurist, but almost all of them mention one of the conditions and that is Tawfeeq from Allah [swt]. This is not something everyone can just read a few books about and attain. It's a disposition that is acquired with a lot of effort, sacrifice and the Grace of Allah [swt]. Wasalam
  2. Dr. Pakatchi mentions this verse in his talk near the end just to argue that this verse cannot even be the subject of typical historical discussion as it is outside its scope. Meaning, these six-days or periods of time are not historical time and the reference to days and periods in this verse are not as we know them to be and what we are typically concerned with in the subject of history (i.e. 24 hour days).
  3. What books on ethics & mysticism should one read? The Muawinat-e Tahzeeb-e Hawzeh-haye Ilmiyyeh (http://tahzib.ismc.ir/) has compiled a list of books on Akhlaq and Irfan which have been written by various Shi'i scholars. This list - which has been published for students, scholars and the general public - is presented below. I have also placed the link for those books which have been translated into English and are available online. —---— Book on Akhlaq: 1) Mi'raj al-Sa'adah, by Mullah Ahmad Naraqi 2) Khudshinasi brayai Khudsazi, by Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi [https://www.al-islam.org/self-recognition-self-improvement-muhammad-taqi-misbah-yazdi] 3) Akhlaq dar Qur'an (3 volumes), by Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi 4) Tahzeeb-e Nafs, by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini 5) Books of Ustad Muhammad Shuja'ee 6) Books of Shaheed Ayatullah Dastghayb Shirazi. Some of his book: https://www.al-islam.org/istiadha-seeking-allah-s-protection-from-satan-ayatullah-dastaghaib-shirazi https://www.al-islam.org/greater-sins-volume-1-ayatullah-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-ethics-ayatullah-dastaghaib-shirazi https://www.al-islam.org/qalbe-saleem-immaculate-conscience-ayatullah-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi https://www.al-islam.org/moral-values-of-quran-tafsir-hujurat-ayatullah-dastaghaib —---— Books on the lives of scholars, or books that have chapters dedicated to it: 1) Sar-guzasht-haye veejeh az zindagi Imam Khomeini 2) Suluk-e Ma'nawi, biography of Ayatullah Baha' ul-Deni 3) Faryadgar-e Tawheed, biography of Ayatullah Behjat 4) Fazeelat-haye Faramush Shudeh, biography of Marhum Turbati 5) Khudsazi ya Tazkiyyeh Nafs, by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini [https://www.al-islam.org/self-building-ayatullah-ibrahim-amini] 6) Khudsazi, by Shaheed Bahonar 7) Khudsazi, by Ayatullah Muhammad Yazdi 8) Jihad ba Nafs (3 volumes), by Ayatullah Husain Mazahiri 9) Nuqteh-haye Aghaz dar Akhlaq Amali, by Ayatullah Mahdavi Kani —---— Books written from the perspective of Irfan: 1) Adab ul-Salat by Imam Khomeini [https://www.al-islam.org/adab-as-salat-disciplines-of-prayer-second-revised-edition-imam-khomeini] 2) 40 Hadith, by Imam Khomeini [https://www.al-islam.org/forty-hadith-an-exposition-second-edition-imam-khomeini] 3) al-Muraqabat, by Mirza Jawad Maliki Tabrizi [Some sections translated here: https://www.al-islam.org/articles/amal-last-jumuah-and-last-three-days-month-shaban-ayatullah-al-mirza-jawad-al-tabrizi & https://www.al-islam.org/articles/greatness-15th-month-shaban-ayatullah-mirza-jawad-tabrizi & http://www.iqraonline.net/wishing-to-be-present-in-karbala-sincerely/] 4) Asrar al-Salat, by Mirza Jawad Maliki Tabrizi 5) Resalah Lubb al-Lubab, by Allamah Tehrani [https://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/vol13-no4/lubb-al-lubab-short-treatise-wayfaring-s-m-husayn-husayni] 6) Resalah Sayr o Suluk, by Ayatullah Bahr ul-Ulum [https://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/vol14-n2-3/risaleh-ye-sayr-wa-suluk-treatise-wayfaring-bahr-al-ulum] 7) Sayr o Suluk, by Lady Nusrat Amin 8) Asrar-e Ibadat, by Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli 9) Irfan-e Islami, by Shaheed Mutahhari [https://www.al-islam.org/light-within-me-mutahhari-tabatabai-khomeini/] 10) Nameh-ha wa Barnameh-ha, by Ayatullah Hasan-zadeh Amuli 11) Dar Aasman-e Ma'rifat, by Ayatullah Hasan-zadeh Amuli For notes, news, translations & transcripts from the Hawzah, join my blog Iqra Online's Telegram channel: https://t.me/IqraOnline Wasalam
  4. Original Post: Time Concepts in the Qur’an – a Historical Perspective This is based on my understanding of a recorded lecture posted online a few days ago, of Dr. Ahmad Pakatchi speaking at The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Quranic Studies in Tehran. I hope any written material by him or other researchers will become accessible on this subject, especially given that Dr. Pakatchi is one of Iran's qualified and well known professors. --- Time plays an important and often times a complicated role in various different fields, and history is definitely not an exception to this rule. One specific discussion pertaining to time and its role in history is with regards to a division of time from two different perspectives. The first division is that of Relative and Absolute - a division that also exists in archaeology and geology, and the second is into Comparative and Structural. Absolute time is a numerical measurement that is calculated based on an origin, and by which we can date various events and instances. For example, making the Hijrah of the Prophet (s) or the birth of 'Isa (s) the initial point of our time, we can subsequently give time-stamps to events in history mentioning their date, month or year of occurrence. On the other hand, Relative time does not provide any specific date or timestamp, as it is a comparison of two events with one another, and only tells us about their relative order. Saying that the revolt of Mukhtar took place after the event of Karbala is an example of Relative time. Based on the second type of division, Comparative time is when we look into a historical event or an event that is considered historical, in relation to other historical events from the perspective of time. For example, when we say that a certain event took place 60 years after such and such event, this is a case of Comparative time. Here we are not looking at our incident on its own, rather in relation to other events. Structural time on the other hand, is when we look into a historical instance in it and of itself as a singular structure, without comparing it with any other events. For example, saying that so and so person lived for 70 years is a case of Structural time. We are referring to a time (i.e. the person’s age) whose origin and end is the person himself. These divisions can subsequently be combined with one another to produce four separate concepts of time. Each of these concepts will be explained with an example: 1) Absolute-Comparative: For example, if we say that the event of 'Ashura took place in 61st Hijri, we are applying the concept of time to the day of 'Ashura by comparing it with a specific origin (i.e. the migration of the Prophet) while at also mentioning the date of its exact occurrence within a historical timeline. 2) Relative-Comparative: For example, if we say that the event of 'Ashura took place after the death of Imam Hasan (s), we are looking into one event while comparing it with another, and then giving it its own relative order. There is a comparison here, and also an indication of what happened first, but there is no numerical measurement which gives us a timestamp for either of the events. 3) Absolute-Structural: For example, if we say that the duration of Imam Husayn's (s) Imamate was eleven years, we are applying a structural understanding of time as far as we are only concerned about Imam Husayn (s) on his own, yet also giving an exact numerical value to the duration of his Imamate. 4) Relative-Structural: For example, if we say that Hurr bin Yazid al-Riyahi was the commander of Ibn Ziyad's army before coming to the Imam's side. In this case, we are looking at the life of Hurr as an individual, and giving a relative order to some of his actions based on what he did before and after the event of Karbala. We are not occupying ourselves with the details of any other historical events, rather our concern is the life of Hurr himself. Relative-Comparative time is perhaps the most often used concept of time in the Qur'an. It is primarily this specific combination that is used to cite examples of historic recurrence in philosophy of history. Absolute-Comparative cases do not seem to exist in the Qur’an, and coincidently, it is this concept of time that implies that an event has taken place and will not recur. This does not seem to be because the culture and society of the time wasn't aware of such a mode of conveying history – especially given that you can find examples of this in previous books - rather there is Divine Wisdom behind its absence. Within the Qur'an, Relative-Comparative cases are often those which make use of words that signify concepts of before and after, such as ba’d (بعد), qabl (قبل), ula (اولي), ukhra (اخرى). In some verses this meaning is also signified through the verb khalafa (خلف), meaning to succeed, and waritha (ورث), meaning to inherit. See for example when the Qur’an in 53:51-52 speaks about the destruction of Thamud, and before them the people of Noah (wa qawma Nuhin min qabl), or when it refers to the appointment of a king for the Israelites after Moses (2:246-247). In both these cases, we have no information about when these events took place on a measurable timeline, but we do know which event occurred first and which occurred second. Some Relative-Comparative cases of time in the Qur’an follow a specific style and pattern, where it mentions two events, but does not give us any information about the event between those two. See for example, in 40:5 The people of Noah denied before them and the [heathen] factions [who came] after them. In this verse, we know about the situation of those who denied Prophet Muhammad (s), and the verse tells us that previously the same had occurred with Noah (s). However, based on this verse alone, we are not told any real information about those groups that came between these two events and those historic events are kept vague. This style, along with signifying recurrence and emphasis, seems to also allude to and emphasize the concept of lengthiness and span of time. We also find examples of Relative-Comparative usage of time in the Qur’an. These cases are mostly recorded in a narratological manner. Surah al-Kahf is a great example of this, or the story of Dhu al-Qarnayn, or the story of Moses (s) and Khidhr and of course the story of Yusuf (s). In Surah al-Saaffat, we have short stories or rather verses that recall incidents from the lives of various Prophets (s) such that we understand that each Prophet is essentially a continuation of the story of the previous Prophet. Absolute-Structural cases also exist in the Qur’an. For example, in 29:20 the Qur’an mentions that Noah’s life was a thousand-less-fifty years until the flood overtook his people. Over here Noah (s) and his life alone is the subject of discussion, but the verse also gives us a numeric value which makes it absolute since his age is being measured from the time of his birth. This verse however, is not Absolute-Comparative because we do not know when Noah lived precisely and neither do we know when the flood took place in absolute terms.
  5. Lover of AhlulBait Sindbad05 ali_fatheroforphans ibn al-Hussain Wasalam
  6. Challenging! 01) (Batsman) Sachin Tendulkar (India) 02) (Batsman) Sanath Jayasuria (Sri Lanka) 03) (Batsman) Brian Lara (West Indies) - Captain 04) (Batsman) Rahul Dravid (India) 05) (Batsman) Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) 06) (Wicketkeeper) Adam Gilchrist (Australia) 07) (All-Rounder) Lance Klusener (South Africa) 08) (All-Rounder) Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 09) (Bowler) Dale Steyn (South Africa) 10) (Bowler) Glen McGrath (Australia) 11) (Bowler) Mutiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) Wasalam #5 was a difficult spot to fill. Could have put in Inzamam ul-Haq or Muhammad Yusuf, but decided to go with Chanderpaul - I think he was too under-rated, especially since at the time the West Indian team was in a decline.
  7. The word samad has been looked into by various Muslim and non-Muslim scholars and academics. Some Western references (merely for informational purposes, taken from end notes of Amir-Moezzi's work The Silent Qur'an & the Speaking Qur'an) are: Rosenthal, “Some Minor Problems,” pp. 72–83 Rubin, “Al-Samad and the High God,” pp. 197–217 Köbert, “Das Gottesepitheton as-samad in Sure 112,2,” pp. 204–5 Newby, “Surat al-Ikhlas” Paret, “Der Ausdruck Samad in Sure 112,2,” pp. 294–95 Schedl, “Probleme der Koranexegese. Nochmals samad in Sure 112,2,” pp. 1–14 Ambros, “Die Analyse von Sure 112,” pp. 217–47 Cuypers, “Une lecture rhétorique et intertextuelle de la sourate al-Ikhlas,” pp. 141–75 Wasalam
  8. Bismehe Ta3ala,

    Please give my salams to Sayyida Masouma and tell her to send me back soon!

    When you go visit Sheikh Bahjat's grave and Allama Tabatabi's grave, recite fatiha and for God to keep my 3aqil healthy and have wisdom.

    M3 Salamah, FE AMIN ALLAH

  9. He isn't the only one - in fact his ruling sounds like the view of most jurists. Ayatullah Montazeri had a much more different view. He would say it is allowed when social norms require it (for example in a job interview). I personally know one scholar (in Qom) who holds the same opinion, and apparently there are others who have the opinion, but do not publicly mention it. I have read a bunch of papers on the subject as well (the best one being by Shaykh Haider Hobollah) and the opinion is definitely not baseless or without strong evidence. As muqallideen though, we have to fulfill our own responsibility to the best of our ability, which in this case is to follow our own marj'a. Wasalam
  10. This term I have been engaging in an independent (i.e. not part of curriculum) study session on Kitab al-Sawm (Book of Fasting) where we try to analyze the reasoning and arguments of the various rulings and verdicts the jurists give. I am almost done with the section on niyyah (intention) for fasting - thus the previous post. This post will be regarding one of the rulings that appears in most practical law books today and a few simple observations. This is by no means an attempt to show which ruling makes more sense or not - please follow the rulings of your own Marj'a (in case I end up presenting a stronger case for a view that is against what one's own marj'a says). The ruling is as follow: Ayatullah Sistani: 1579. If somebody is undecided in his niyyat whether to break or not an obligatory fixed fast, like that of Ramadhan, or decides to do so, immediately his fast becomes invalid even if he does not actually break it or is repentant of his intention. Ayatullah Khamenei: Q 754: During the month of Ramadan, A mukallaf decides to break his fast but he changes his mind before doing so. Is his fast valid? What about the fast other than that of Ramadan? A: During the month of Ramadan if he ceases intending to fast, i.e. he does not have intention to continue his fast, it invalidates his fast and intending again to proceed with the fast is to no avail. However, if he just decides to perform or take anything that would invalidate the fast, the validity of his fast is problematic and there is an obligatory caution to complete the fast and later perform its qaḍā’ as well. The same rule is applied to any fast which is obligatory for a specific day like that of nadhr. This topic is generally referred to as Niyyah of Qat' (قطع), and Niyyah of Qati' (قاطع). The former is an instance of a person merely deciding during the course of the day while fasting, that they will break their fast (either now or later), whereas the latter is someone who physically begins the process of breaking their fast (intentionally), but discontinues before the actual act (for example lifting a glass of water up to drink, but then puts it back down). The former is inclusive within the latter by nature. This is one of those rulings where jurists (both Sunni and Shi'a) have had a lot of dispute over. To begin with, there are three different opinions on the matter: Niyyah of Qat' or Qati' does not invalidate the fast (this seems to be the view of many of the older jurists) To name a few: Shaykh Tusi in his al-Mabsut and al-Khilaf, Muhaqqiq Hilli in al-Sharai' and al-Mu'tabar, and 'Allamah Hilli in his al-Muntaha Shaykh Ansari and his student Ayatullah Ridha Hamadani (d. 1322 Hijri) held the same view Some contemporary scholars like Ayatullah Mazaheri hold the same view and the now deceased Ayatullah Fazel Lankarani (d. 2007) Niyyah of Qat' or Qati' invalidate the fast This is the opinion of some of the earlier jurists like Sayyid Murtadha and Abu al-Salah al-Halabi Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi (d. 1919) in his al-'Urwah al-Wuthqa holds this view and many jurists of the 20th and 21st century hold this view, including Ayatullah Khoei, Ayatullah Sistani (as can be seen from the ruling above), Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani, Ayatullah Shubeyri Zanjani, Ayatullah Wahid Khorasani and Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal al-Haydari Niyyah of Qat' breaks the fast, but not the Niyyah of a Qati' This is the opinion of Shaykh Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi (d. 1850) in his al-Jawahir, as well as Imam Khomeini There are not too many adherents of this view There are different ways to argue for each position, and I do not plan on doing justice to any one of them, rather provide a very simple summary of how jurists discuss this. In fact, different jurists may approach the subject in completely different manners to begin with. One such jurists addresses the issue as follow: They ask, what is the reality of a fast? Is a fast one single constructed reality which begins at the time of Fajr and ends at the time of Maghrib, in which a person refrains from engaging in things like eating, drinking etc. with an intention? Meaning, not only does the intention give the fast its meaning, but rather it is a part and parcel of it. Thus, it has to be present there in every single instance of a person's fast - in order for them to be considered a person who is fasting. If this is the case, then by nature, breaking this intention even for a moment, whether one actually eats something or not, should technically break their fast. This is because the intention was part of what constituted the fast. In other words, once one does an intention - for example - such as: "I have decided to break my fast", or "I am lifting this glass of water to drink and subsequently break my fast with it", they are already in a state in which they are not considered a person who is fasting. In Usuli and Fiqhi jargon, this would be referred to as "Niyyah having Mawdhu'iyyah". The other possibility is when "Niyyah has Tareeqiyyah". Meaning intention isn't part of the reality of a fast, rather a fast is essentially the act of refraining from those limited things that have been mentioned in the sources that break the fast. Intention is only a means by which a fast is validated, but it isn't its reality. If we are to go with the first opinion, we will generally conclude that Niyyah of Qat' or Qati' will indeed break one's fast, however if we go with the second opinion we will say that the fast isn't broken. Those who say the fast is broken, at times will also bring this narration from Tadheeb ul-Ahkam of Shaykh Tusi: سَمَاعَةَ قَالَ: سَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ رَجُلٍ أَتَى أَهْلَهُ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ مُتَعَمِّداً فَقَالَ عَلَيْهِ عِتْقُ رَقَبَةٍ وَ إِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِيناً وَ صِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ وَ قَضَاءُ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَ أَنَّى لَهُ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ Sama'ah said: I asked about a man who engages in intercourse with his spouse (lit. approaches his ahl) in the month of Ramadhan intentionally. He (s) said: Upon him is the freeing of a slave, and the feeding of 60 poor, and the fast of 2 consecutive months, and the Qadha of that specific day, and anna lahu dhalika al-yawm (not sure how to precisely translate this into English. It is a phrase referring to the person having lost the opportunity to fasting on that day and is deprive of its rewards despite all the penalties and Qadha he has to do). This narration is generally used in the discussion of when on the day of doubt (if it is the 30th of Sha'ban or 1st of Ramadhan) a person wakes up without the intention to fast, and does an act that breaks a fast, but later in the day figures out it is the 1st of Ramadhan. His fast is definitely invalid, but does this person now also have to refrain from committing an act that breaks a fast generally, until Maghrib out of respect for the month of Ramadhan? How this narration is used for that discussion is outside the scope of this post, but nevertheless this narration is brought as an example of showing that what became necessary on this person was not just all 3 penalties, but also the Qadha. Some jurists say, the Qadha had become necessary simply by means of him having the intention to have intercourse since he had broken his fast, whereas the 3 penalties came upon him after he went ahead and actually performed the act. There is a lot of discussion on this narration itself, but will suffice with just this simple explanation. Those who say the fast is not broken (which seem to be fewer in number today), bring two main arguments: 1) Some apply the principle of continuity (Istishab). Meaning, we were certain that our fast is valid, and now after doing a Niyyah of Qat' or Qati', we are unsure whether our fast is broken or not. We apply the principle and assume that our fast is correct. There are numerous problems with applying this principle in this specific case, but it will over-complicate this post. 2) The more common argument is that we actually have numerous narrations that explicitly tell us and list for us the things that invalidate one's fast. Things like, eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, etc. Not in one narration or verse, do we find anything about such an intention being one of those cases that invalidate one's fast. Furthermore, in accordance to the second perspective that one can take on what is the reality of a fast, they can argue that we have an example of a Mustahabb fast. In a Mustahabb fast, we know that one can not have an intention the whole day, and as long as they have not done an act that breaks a fast generally, they can do an intention even a few minutes before Maghrib and that day will count as a Mustahabb fast for them. This - these jurists argue - shows that the Niyyah does not have "Mawdhu'iyyah", rather "Tareeqiyyah". Some other jurists argue that if the intention of Qat' or Qati' invalidates the fast, then we cannot say there are 7, or 8, or 9, or 12 etc. things (depending on the jurist) that invalidate a fast. Rather we should say only one thing breaks the fast, and that is the mere intention. Saying that eating, drinking etc. breaks the fast does not make sense since with the mere intention, there is no longer a fast existent which can be broken (i.e. it is already broken). They further argue that if the intention of Qat’ or Qati’ was such an important matter, we would have had some narrations on it listing it out as one of the things that invalidate a fast, or some questions and answers pertaining to it by the companions, but we see that our narrations are completely silent on the matter. So how do those who hold on to the opinion that it does not break the fast, deal with the notion of not having an intention in the middle of the day, albeit for a moment, yet the fast still being valid? They say, if the person changes their intention in the middle of the day and decide not to fast and persistently remain on this intention to such an extent that in the minds of the people - if they were to become aware of this person's intention - this person would be deemed someone who is not fasting, only then would their fast be considered invalid. Otherwise, it is the actual act (of eating, drinking etc.) that invalidates the fast. Having an intention of breaking one's fast, or physically lifting a glass up to drink water and then deciding otherwise, does not make one's original intent of fasting go away completely. It seems that in order to reach the conclusion that the fast is not invalidated, these jurists have taken a more 'Urfi (customary) approach to the matter, rather than a purely theoretical and abstract approach. This is also why they claim this issue is non-existent in our hadith works, because people do not generally consider someone who has one of the two aforementioned intentions and then goes back to his original intention to have broken their fast. PS - I didn't reference this post too much as the point of it was to present the arguments - who makes the argument is not too necessary. But in general, I can say the 3 main sources looked into were the Behas al-Kharij of Ayatullah Shubeyri Zanjani, Ayatullah Mazaheri, and Ayatullah Nuri Hamadani. Wasalam
  11. Most books on jurisprudence and practical law that deal with fasting, open up with a discussion on Niyyah (intention). Some books make the rules seem quite complicated and the deductive discussions present in many books or transcribed notes from the Behas al-Kharij of some of the jurists are even more complicated at times. This is all the while our classical scholars did not spend so much time on this subject at all. In fact most earlier jurists are relatively silent on the matter in their works of jurisprudence. For example, in rulings of Wudhu, we find no mention of anything to do with Niyyah in Shaykh al-Saduq’s al-Muqni’ and neither Shaykh al-Mufid in his al-Ishraf. Or in his al-Muqni'ah, Shaykh al-Mufid discusses the method of praying in detail, yet is completely silent on the matter of Niyyah. Elsewhere, some of these jurists would simply say that Niyyah is to seek closeness towards Allah and to have sincerity (Shaykh al-Mufid for example uses 98:5 to prove this). Complicated discussions on Niyyah seem to have slowly crept in during the end of the 6th century Hijri, and by 7th & 8th century with the appearance of Muhaqqiq Hilli and 'Allamah Hilli this discussion had become part of mainstream jurisprudential discussions. We began seeing discussions on whether Niyyah is something that one has to literally notify themselves of, and if this is to be done in the heart, or in the mind or by tongue; or whether it is a mere result of another entity that calls them to perform an action. Furthermore, does one have to specify in their intention whether they are performing an obligatory or recommended action - and if obligatory, is it Qadha or not? Or if there is a need to specify in the month of Ramadhan that one is indeed doing the obligatory fast of Ramadhan or not? Does Niyyah have to be continuous or is one Niyyah in the beginning of a worship enough? All these and other related discussions had become mainstream for centuries and can still be seen in the books of practical law. Interestingly enough, we have also seen a few scholars speaking out against this during the course of time. Some Shi'i scholars - like Muhaqqiq Sabzwari (d. 1090 Hijri) - even deemed these discussions as outright innovations (bid'ah). Over the last few weeks, having gone through the transcribed lessons of Ayatullah Shubeyri Zanjani, Ayatullah Mazahari and Ayatullah Nuri Hamadani's on this topic, it is clear that some contemporary scholars also look at these discussions unfavourably (yet seem to be forced to discuss it in their Behas al-Kharij due to the format their lessons follow). One figure who spoke out against this matter was Shaykh Baha'i (d. 1621 CE). In his Miftah al-Falah [http://en.wikishia.net/view/Miftah_al-falah_(book)] he writes (very quick, rough and slightly paraphrased translation): "And know that some of our later jurists have exaggerated and extended their discussion on the matter of Niyyah, while there is nothing in the narrations of the Imams (s) as such. Rather, what can be utilized based on what has been reported on behalf of them (s) on the topics of Wudhu, Salat and all other forms of worship, which their followers would act upon, is that the matter of Niyyah is easy. It is needless from being mentioned, present in the minds of all rational people when they carry out an act out of their own free-will. Due to this, our classical jurists (r) did not enter into discussions regarding it. It was only a group of later jurists who embarked on it and initiated a discussion on it, such that it now becomes the subject of doubt for whether it had been abandoned from various parts of one’s actions, brings about difficulty for most people, and leads them into Waswas. In fact, Niyyah is nothing in reality but a simple intent to carry out a specific action for a specific cause; and it is a part and parcel of that action which is intended. This intent can almost never be separated from a rational person at the time of every action, to the extent that some of our scholars have said that if Allah had made us responsible of carrying out a specific action without having its Niyyah, our responsibility would be towards that which we have no ability of performing. Thus, the notion of bringing into presence that which is intended, into the mind, such that it is differentiated from another, and the intent of carrying out an action to fulfill a command of Allah is at the height of simplicity. Take Zuhr prayers - an act we are responsible for performing at a specific time for example - which can be conceptualized with its specific characteristics by which it is differentiated from all other actions deemed worship and non-worship, and the intent of performing it to fulfill a command: there is no difficulty in any of this at all, like the working conscious of anyone will testify. If anyone finds this difficult, then they should ask Allah to correct their conscious, for He is omnipotent over all things."
  12. Humans in general make such differentiation and base their life decisions on what they deem to be valid or invalid, you are not unique in this. You should definitely have all answers pertaining to your correct methodology - that you seem to have figured out (or rather just adapted from someone you felt was making sense to you) and feel so confident about and are willing to label the whole Shi'a world and scholarship as tribal for it.
  13. It isn't the confidence, rather the over-confidence which is amusing, to the extent that you have to label others as tribal-mentality. I didn't mean ijtihad in Fiqh. I meant in terms of your methodology (meaning the premises you are using you have proven their reliability for yourself through your own Ijtihad). If you adopt and do taqleed of someone in their methodology as well (as you have just claimed) that will change the nature of discussion, as it can't be expected you can answer all questions, because you are not necessarily aware of all their premises. So it is good you pointed that out. Also at that point, it doesn't make you any different than other laymen who decide to do taqleed of other scholars in their methodology and who they feel are more sensible and knowledgeable and who the Hawzah give more value.
  14. I am more than familiar with the various methods, that is why I find your confidence amusing because it seems like you have not been exposed to the various critiques, issues and weakness with your own methodology. I'll refrain from commenting on the other remarks you made (which I find silly) and will wait to comment on your blog. When you speak like this, it implies that you are completely outside the fold of taqleed and are speaking from the perspective of your own personal Ijtihad. So therefore, please be willing to respond to some very blunt questions that may attack the base or premises of your so-called correct methodology. Wasalam
  15. As far as mere reading is concerned, reading ahadith is not any different than reading any other historical text, or even the Qur'an. People have access to it and can attempt to understand something from it through the original language or through translation. However, the more tools one acquires, the more knowledge one has, the more background one has, the more one goes in depth, their understanding is bound to change and their treatment of the text and subject will alter The ability to determine what is a reliable hadith or not is not simple or something you can pick up overnight. It requires tons of time, reading, research and reflecting. That's why being in the Hawzah can assist as you have more time at your disposal to do these things, whereas when you are not in the Hawzah there is not enough time for most people to dwell into these matters in such detail. If you can't read and understand classical Arabic then that should really be the first thing you have to get down (which once again, is not something you can do overnight). If you want to start reading ahadith, I think the first 2 volumes and as well as the 8th volume of al-Kafi are a good place to start (even the translations would do if you can't read Arabic). Just know that you shouldn't try to expect to make sense of everything the first time around, and don't jump to any hasty conclusions, and if you do then always keep the door to changing your views open. Wasalam