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Muzzammil

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About Muzzammil

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    Ahlul Bayt

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  1. Islam and Buddhism

    I have studied Buddhism in its original languages and using primary references. Buddhism is part of what it considers to be the Dharma [The true way] and sees itself has a new light upon preestablished religious dialogue in India. The original teachings of Buddha do not exist with absolute certainty in their integrity; as the Pali Canon was conceived well after the second Sangha and has its remnants in mostly Pali and Chinese. Thereafter, you have the Mahayana, which does see some process of deification and salvation through the assistance of a myriad of Boddhisattvas which finally leads into the more popular Tantra-marga that goes back into primitive Tantric practices and furnishes them in the light of sophisticated Mahayanaesque theory. Buddhism features an emphasis on the 4 cardinal objects of human beings as elucidated across all Indian philosophical systems: Dharma, Kama, Artha, Moksha [The right way, actualization of desires, attainment of meaning and liberation]. Lofty aims lead to lofty ideas. Zen is a subsidiary of Mahayana and most of the sutras within the Zen schools that I am familar with, come from the school of Yogacara. The basis of Yogacara is absolutely incompatible with Islam due to how cognition, perception, non existence of self and soul are propounded upon. It also talks about penetration of limits which in Islamic theology, Allah SWT set for a reason and therefore contradicts the rulings of the Quran when it comes to approaching the cognitive aspects of reality. Ultimately, if the original Theravadin corpus was as great as people say it is, then the populace of the Buddhists in this world would not deviate from it as they would not have a necessity to do so. But this is far from the truth. The practice of Buddhism and the theological background of it are also substantially different these days. The Boddhisattva of Compassion was originally understood as the Bodhisattva of Emptiness devoid of the Skandhas; but is now seen as an entity that can give good fortune and prosperity which takes a big leap away from the Prajnaparamita texts. Western Buddhism as I call it, is a pseudo mishmash of Zen and Tantricism; which can have destructive consequences only because one opens the pandora's box of their mind in a manner that may be bereft of benefit unless one has a proper instructor. The eligibility of such an instructor is a catch 22. If a person knew how to approach the Dharma, why would they need an instructor? IF they dont then how can they discern the validity of their mentor's teachings? This loop around is the major crux and the cardinal problem within the Buddhist practices. Let us even ignore the precepts of vows as even that has variations depending on the tradition one is studying. This is why legends of the ancient Buddhist masters talk about close to a life long journey to find a master or becoming self accomplished themselves in the process. For instance the Buddha Shakhyamuni, had two teachers whom he considered to have been to severe and incomplete in their understanding of their reality before he came to his own realization. When Mahayana and Theravada come into agreement and unity - e.g. by the basis of the Prajnaparamita text (I refer to the Short and Medium versions) this notion of Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhisvaha is nowhere to be seen in actual practice. If you want to do comparative religion, go for it. But it is an exercise in futility and ignorance if not approached objectively and with some indepth understanding of both systems. Why would I put my deen aside for a deeper view of another faith when I am wholly satisfied with what I have and there are still waters untouched within Islam? If you're unsatisfied with Islam then you have to apprehend and address this as an issue, preferably address it within the context of Islam and then look elsewhere. The similar sentiment is extended to Buddhists. Knowledge of each other's faith is great and fine but comparative religious study is bound to open doors to a storm. It took me a decade to come and accept Islam after having studied and practised the tenants of 3 different faiths. I didnt need to know much about Islam because I found what I needed in dhikr and Salah, the rest is history. Buddhist philosophy is very complicated, incredibly intricate because it lays out a comprehensive list of terminologies and classifications in the early stages of any major Mahayana Sutra then it goes into very deep inter-relativities of these. Such as when the Surangama talks about the karma faculties, their dhatus etc. Midway and towards the end, many of the Sutras (with the exception of the Amitabha school) tend to fall apart in their logic. This is evident in the Surangama itself and also texts like the larger Prajnaparamita. The logical breakdown is intentional as these systems prescribe the requirement of a master to pass down the sutra as living knowledge. So there will always be gaps, oversights and intentional contradictions to test the student and their erudition of the text. My conclusion is that both systems are way too complex to do a thorough review of both in one lifetime. Since we have the one life as ourselves (consistent with both ideologies) why not stick to one and grow within it.
  2. Asalamualaykum Brothers and Sisters, I may (Inshallah) have the opportunity to meet Ayatullah Sistani next month. Nothing has been confirmed but I think its best to be ready and prepared for such a privilege if it arises. I am not sure about the method by which one approaches this, but my hopes are that he would accede to a photograph with me since I am not sure if I will have the the opportunity to meet him again. Whats to go in asking? Any comments on the likelihood that he'll say yes?
  3. Do Catholics Worship Mary?

    In Roman Catholicism if one asks a layperson "Do you pray to Mary" as I did - you get the answer of YES. Substitute the word for worship and you get the answer NO. Its a word game that refers to the subconscious connection a person has. Coming from Catholic schooling for over a decade (primary and high school) - I'd have to say that there is tremendous devotion to Mary with a refutation of her place as a central focus as an independent and omnipotent divinity. That is to say, people seek her favour in prayer due to the maternal attributes, the attributes of compassion, kindness, selflessness and love that is ascribed to her personage. These qualities alone cause many faithful to beseech her. Ultimately there will be those who also ascribe (by implication) omnipotence to her as well: Oh, most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven. Oh, Blessed Mother of the Son of God; Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh, Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in my necessity. (Mention your request here) There are none that can withstand your power. Oh, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (say three times). Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands. (say three times). Amen. Usually in these situations she is not seen as a deity thus worship is not utilized as the word of choice. But I think her personage is assumed to have a bit more gravitas than just intercession.
  4. ISLAM POSITIVE RELIGION

    1. To suggest something is positive implies benefit to the individual or society at large 2. Positivism is an ideology that is fundamentally reliant on human perception, evaluation and cognisance. Either as an individual or a community. The question implies that human beings have the capacity to make judgement on something which ultimately is born and communicated from a Divine agency. The question also implies that Islam can be compared other systems of human thought. By virtue of qualitative analysis of its practice, its doctrine and its theory, relative to others. In such a framework we have to first realise whether individuals concerned believe that Islam originates from Divine providence. If such is the case then the question is moot. If it isnt, then no answer provided from an individual who believes would be wholly satisfactory as both points of views would be diametrically opposed.
  5. I normally work on simplified and generalized principles of thought when it comes to religion and religious attitudes. For example, all my employees are non-Muslim, some are polytheistic and I generally approach the workplace with a highly secular attitude. When I pray, I do so in my office, in my break and only ask for privacy rather than advise people of what I am doing. The only thing Islamic in my place of business are the books that I keep for my own personal contemplation. Aside from my Mushaf everything else is in public space so should anyone want to take them home to read, they're welcome to. One day, one of the guys decided to pick a text up and start reading it. Honestly I dont know what he read, but he asked some confronting questions. I've never really had this attitude of believer or non-believer, Muslim and non-Muslim. Its always been, if you're Muslim then there is a different vernacular in how I would speak to you, if you are non Muslim, it is a perfectly secular situation with no religious thinking involved in that interaction (so long as nothing Haraam is undertaken). In the latter instance, I always refuse as a matter of preference and judgement. In such a milieu, I was asked if I had a negative judgement of Buddhists, Hindus and Catholics. My attitude was a simple one: "The Quran refers to a One God and any duality or association with the Oneness of God is considered an absolute heresy". But I do not apply such ideas on another person, particularly by my own volition, I refer to such passages for my own personal guidance. It does not imply that someone contravening these principles is lesser than myself. I was then asked by the same individual (who was not necessarily picking a fight or trying to be smart; I suppose he was just trying to get my position on these matters) "What if I come to work with a Buddha amulet". I said, you can if you wish to so long as it doesnt breach professional standards of attire. The conversation ended with science and modern world bs vs religion. I frankly told him the only person being oppressive, negative and overbearing was him not me. The situation left me a little baffled because the conversation was totally out of character (of this individual) and felt like a test of faith and judgement on my person. I am wondering what the brothers and sisters think of inhabiting a poly-religious environment, particularly if you are the person in charge.
  6. Abu Hanifa and the Permissibility of Alcohol

    Hyperglycemia is a very specific term - those symptoms that are mentioned there would not be diagnosed as hyperglycemia but rather the increase serum glucose is a secondary issue to what is causing the problems (they're connected as you rightly mention, but horse before the cart). The common issue is Ketoacidosis but you can have nephritis etc etc... Having high blood sugar for a short period of time is not considered a big deal, unless you have some insulin or incretin metabolism issue - then you are more accurately considered diabetic or w/e. I am no doctor - all I am saying is that hyperglycemia is no big whoop in medical literature. Most of the literature you cited refer to it in context WITH diabetes. What I am saying is that in a non-diabetic person who has normal liver and kidney function - it isnt really a big issue. Hyperglycemia is only a big deal if it is chronic and in that instance it is less the sugar in the blood and more that it cannot enter the cells where it is needed which is the issue. I am not entirely sure what your hypothesis is in relation to high blood sugar and alcohol.
  7. Abu Hanifa and the Permissibility of Alcohol

    Approx 50C is used to activate yeast, in the fermentation process to yield wine or beer the temperature is increased to inactivate the yeast in order to afford the correct concentration of alcohol relative to sugar. This then subsequently can be distilled by further boiling in a closed system to extract the alcohol. This gives you spirit. From Sugar to Alcohol - its yeast. From Sugar/Alcohol to vinegar - its acetobacter or some similar bacterium. Google acetobacter for more info. Froth is a preamble to distillation and pertains to fermentation or the spoilage for any beverage during the course of the first and second stages of fermentation. In the first stage where the batch is still raw, froth doesnt mean much. After the yeast is inactivated, it may mean spoilage. I havent read the preceding stuff to what I was tagged to because I am lazy and this stuff doesnt interest me too much. The injunction I would like to make is that in essence you cannot avoid alcohol in dietary consumption. The reference to wine may have well been an allusion to substances consumed in recreation that can cause inebriation. It would also be important to note that the biochemical pathways which lead to intoxication has got nothing to do with the original alcohol but its metabolites which are some weird type of fatty acid. It is this metabolite that crosses the blood brain barrier whereby affecting the central nervous system. Alcohol on its own cannot cross the blood brain barrier. This boiling idea is pretty redundant - the entire process of distillation (to make the alcohol content in a substance higher) is achieved through boiling with a catchment for w/e evaporates from the raw ferment. You can potentially make the stuff stronger and if you boil it in an open system then you effectively cause the alcohols to evaporate. In both cases, it is suspect whether such measures done at home renders a substance halal. I personally think not and this is not a conservative answer. I think if a person is unable to determine the alcohol concentration in something that has potentially underwent fermentation, they risk going into the early stages of inebriation without even knowing it. That slight alteration in mood, relaxation etc etc. For this reason I maintain that several types of non-essential medications should be taken with caution by observant Muslims, additionally Astagfirullah.
  8. Abu Hanifa and the Permissibility of Alcohol

    [1] Does boiling wine turn it into vinegar? [2] Does boiling any fruit juice make it alcoholic or intoxicating? [3] Is it easy to tell the difference between hyperglycemia and intoxication without a breathalyzer? [4] Do they both cause impaired judgement and/ or slurred speech? To answer [1] and [2] we have to look at the boiling process with respect to whether it is done in a closed system (disallowing for evaporation) and an open system. In terms of a closed system, it is unlikely that a fermented substance may undergo chemical change unless the temperature is conducive to chemical degradation and there are other constituents within the mixture in equal proportions to exhaust it of any X-OH content. While alcohol (ethanol to methanol) has a lower boiling point than water (allowing it to escape an aqueous mixture and be liberated as vapour) we have to consider its chemical stability. With respect to a natural fermentation, it would be fairly chemically stable unless it is exposed to a catalyst. Such a reaction and the consequential product from the reaction may not necessarily lead to vinegar. The degradation of alcohol to vinegar can happen through microbial fermentation (further to the original) but in most cases these bacteria will compete with alcohol producing yeasts for the original sugars that are used for fermentation. For the aforementioned reasons, it is unlikely that thermal changes may lead to a substance yielding alcohol. Rather the thermal changes are to facilitate yeast activity. This is a biological process, not a chemical one. [3] It is easy to tell Hyperglycemia from intoxication without using a breathalyser. Most of the principle symptoms are different. [4] Really depends on the person's insulin resistance and liver function. Hyperglycemia is normally asymptomatic unless someone goes into a ketotic state. It is the subsequent physiological changes, secondary to the event of hyperglycemia that may cause psychological changes. This once again has less to do with the amount of sugar ingested and the original predisposition of a person with respect to their ability to metabolize sugar. Long story short - boiling doesnt make any alcohol into vinegar unless you add more crap into the rotten juice. Hyperglycemia has got nothing to do with being drunk.
  9. Best Biographies

    Jazak Allah Khair friends, I am a heavy user of the Al-Islam site but was more or less looking for hard copy books to purchase, I am old school that way. That hilmi website is simply put, amazing - WOW at the free to access material on the biographies.
  10. Hi All, Was wondering what would be the best texts to read in regards to the life and times of the Prophet (saw) [In English] that is concordant with Shia traditions of transmission. Additionally, I'd like to open the discussion for an appropriate text also dealing with Imam Ali (As). I have found relevant texts for Fatima (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) but there seems to be contention with the forerunners of Islam and their respective biographies. Any insight would be greatly appreciated, Jazak Allah Khair
  11. Is Masturbation Really Haram??

    Regarding prostitution: But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess - then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful [24:33] Allah Swt may forgive those forced into it, not necessarily the individuals utilizing it. There are a few different theories here, the first that I wish to present is absolutely non Islamic and breaches the concept of Islamic morality but it is relevant. Dunyaa Understanding: At your age, it would be close to impossible to find any reasonable person that has control over their impulses. It is particularly true that this is the age where you identify, relate and adapt to your physical and more so your psychological desire for reproduction. The body and the mind are designed to cause you to become tensed, perturbed and ultimately you find your release with some type of sexual activity. In secular society the healthiest thing to do is to go out, socialise, get your heart broken a few times and make some gains in interacting with the opposite gender. I make no advice with respect to these issues, what I state here is the baseline norm for any society that is westernised and secular. My opinion: You exist, but your existence is a result of Allah swt. You are given the freedom of choice, compulsion and struggles every day and every hour. The choices you make right now, be they halaal or haraam draw you closer or away from Allah swt's grace. I remember not too long ago (16 years ago lol) I went through a similar issue. What saved me was fasting, praying, exercise and making sure I had a very specific diet. I noticed that if you reduce the amount of spices, onion, garlic - strong smelling aromatics or strong tasting products from your food. Making sure you're eating healthy, freshly prepared and simple food - it helps reduce the desire. The main reason for this is, you have a lot of subconscious thoughts that arise inside of you throughout the day. They tend to take a grip of your mind in 6-10 hour cycles depending on how much you day dream during the day. See a pretty girl, think nothing of it at the time but while you may not be focused on it consciously, there will be something running in the back of your mind associated with that image and that event. The dietary restrictions can be a lot more useful than fasting because you can do them for a prolonged period of time. Just dont think its Sunnah, because its not. The analogy I give here is that you can have a redbull or coffee and then basically try to sleep, the stimulatory effects will prevent you from doing this because the mind has all this pent up energy now and nothing to do with it. If you try to repress or suppress your urges by sheer force, then you will end up feeling tremendously guilty and defeated when you have those times where you lapse. The best method is to ask your mum to change your diet for about 2-3 weeks if doable and see how you manage with that. If she tells you no dice, then I dont have any further practical ideas. I personally am against early marriage, thats just my stance on the issue. AstagfiruAllah if I stated something out of line.
  12. what do you think of this comic?

    You might prefer this then:
  13. Free Islamic Certificate

    I am on the first video, looks promising. The only problem is, its fairly difficult to take the accent + choice of words seriously.
  14. Explain the 99 Names

    Reading this post, made it worthwhile to join this forum. Jazak Allah Khair
  15. I dont think Islandsandmirrors is being technical, I am a pharmacist (or at least that's what the name tag says) and when it comes to suicide it is highly uncommon to find a person going towards it that aren't either having a psychotic episode or have been severely depressed. Only exception outside of this would be euthanasia of the terminally ill or chronically suffering. You might wanna add to the debate issues pertaining to people with: MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Malignant cancers that have invaded multiple organs
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