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Ibn Maymun

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  1. Jews working?

    Hi, friend. I'm Jewish and I work. I'm a teacher. My wife is a nurse. We have friends who are a chemical engineer, an attorney, a sign language teacher, a retail manager, a secretary, a plumber, soldiers and airmen. And that's off the top of my head. We definitely work.
  2. Marriage to Ahlul-Kitab

    Zavon, Great point. Why would someone want to break a family? Honestly, I'm not arguing for one thing or another. I'm a Jewish man, married to a Jewish woman. We have three kids. If I were to convert (for example), I'd love this ruling because I love my wife and my kids and our family. But I have a scholar who claims that permanent marriage isn't allowed between a Muslim man and a Jewish or Christian woman, BUT if a person is a convert in a pre-existing marriage to a Jewish or a Christian woman, then that marriage is in order. It presents a very interesting question of "why?" and an opportunity to explore what goes into the making of a Jafari legal ruling - what sources are appealed to, what principles are applied, how situational can a ruling be? I'm just using this as an opportunity to expand my understanding. I hope that makes sense.
  3. Marriage to Ahlul-Kitab

    Hassan, Thank you for your response. In the hypothetical, the marriage would be before the conversion. So, in the case that of a marja who does not allow for permanent marriage between a muslim man and Ahlul-Kitab, it's not on the basis of absolute legality, but rather on the basis of caution? Is there ever concern that one might make the halal into the haram for the sake of caution? Thanks.
  4. Marriage to Ahlul-Kitab

    Hi friends, I asked a scholar working for Ayatullah Sistani the following question via email: If a Jewish man converts to Islam and is married to a Jewish woman, would the marriage stand? I received the very straightforward answer that because the wife is Jewish, the marriage would be in order. It is a great and very humane response, but I asked the question because based upon what I've read Ayatullah Sistani doesn't allow permanent marriage between Muslim men and Ahlul-Kitab. Moreover, that seems to be the rule, rather than the exception. Any ideas on why this can be allowed as a leniency for converts and not as a general choice? Would it extend to a once non-practicing Muslim man married to a Christian woman who later returns to the practice of his faith? Any help understanding the legal reasoning which goes into this would be appreciated.
  5. Mahdi and the Torah

    Dear Qa'im, I'm unfamiliar with the Secrets of Simeon bar Yochai. Do you have a link that you could send me? I was only able to find the article by John C. Reeves about it (which was illuminating on its own). Are you claiming the role of Mashiach Ben David for Mahdi or simply showing parallel beliefs? I thought that Muslims believed that Jesus fulfilled the role of Davidic messiah. If not, what does it mean when the Qur'an refers to Jesus as al-Masih? Did Muhammad or Ali claim to be the scion or heir of the house of David? Thanks for all of your help.
  6. Mahdi and the Torah

    Hi friends. Thank you, Qa'im for your thorough response. To expand upon your discussion about our Messianic tradition, there are actually four anointed figures who participate in ushering the end of days. These are referred to as "the Four Craftsmen" - the Messiah ben David, Elijah the Prophet, The Righteous Priest and the Messiah ben Ephraim (or Yosef). Our apocalyptic literature is open to interpretation, but it's very clear what Messiah ben David and Messiah ben Ephraim will do. Messiah Ben Ephraim is the predecessor and in our literature is given another name - "Anointed for War". He reunites Judah with Ephraim, he gathers the exiles home, he brings Israel to full repentance, he ushers the faithful through a time of tragedy and war and opens the way for the coming of Messiah ben David. Messiah Ben David together with Ben Ephraim will usher in the days of peace when people will no longer fight wars and the world will be ruled on the basis of Torah. I see some definite parallels with what I've read of Islamic eschatology so far. Not perfect lining up of details, but like I said, our literature is fairly open to interpretation. If I assume that the claims of Islamic tradition are true (which I'm more than willing to do in order to think this through), there's a reasonable argument to be made that Imam Mahdi fulfills our prophecies about Messiah ben Ephraim. Hence my interest.
  7. Mahdi and the Torah

    Hi friends. While reading up on the topic of Imam Mahdi, I came across the following narration: Jabir Ibn Yazid al-Jo'fi from Imam Muhammad Baqr: "...The reason why Hazrat Mahdi (as) is known as Hazrat Mahdi (as) is this; he will be directed toward a secret matter, will extract the Torah and other Divine books from a cave in Antioch and will judge among the Jews with the Torah and among the Christians with the Gospel." (Al-Mahdiy al-Mawud) It leaves me with a few questions. 1.) I came across this narration on a non-Shia website, but it seems to be from a Shia source. Is this narration considered reliable? 2.) Is the belief that the Mahdi will restore the true form of previous scriptures generally held within the Shia IthnaAsheri community? 3.) What happens after the true form of these scriptures is restored? The same website had a narration that some Jews and Christians become Muslim, presumably observing the Shariah of Muhammad. What about the rest? Does a restoration of the true form of Jewish law occur (based upon "will judge among the Jews with the Torah")? If so, does this render Judaism a purified sort of Jewish Islam? 4.) Any theories on how a pure version of the Torah might have come to a cave in Antioch? I have some thoughts about the gospel, but the Torah has me stumped. Thanks so much for your thoughts and knowledge.
  8. The Torah: Revealed or Inspired?

    Actually reflecting on it further, I'm not sure that your original question is an either/or. The Torah (that we have today) is a mixture of revelation and inspiration. Something definitely happened at Sinai - God initiated a relationship with the children of Israel, disclosing some deeper sense of His reality to Moses than could simply be grasped with the senses and providing guidance to Israel. The notion that nothing of that is preserved in the Torah we have today seems farfetched. That said, the Torah is not as it was given to Moses. Ezra and the Great Assembly redacted and arranged the sources that they already had on hand. God brought clarity to their minds to preserve the essential meaning, if not the exact text delivered to Moses "by the finger of God".
  9. The Torah: Revealed or Inspired?

    Mansur, Sure. I think the clearest example of this is Exodus 33:11 where the Torah claims that God spoke to Moses "face to face" (literally "faces to faces"). Exodus 31:18 makes the claim that the Ten Commandments were written "by the finger of God". The Torah is riddled with the phrase "And the Lord said to Moses..." followed by a a commandment or a teaching. Their relationship has a level of intimacy unmatched by all of our later prophets, part of that being a direct self-disclosure by God about Who He is and what He wants out of Israel. That's pretty much what revelation is... And if you want an example of contradiction cobbled together, start with Exodus 33:10 and read through to verse 20.
  10. The Torah: Revealed or Inspired?

    Fascinating post. I personally subscribe to the "maculate Torah" theory - namely the idea that a Revelation occurred at Mt. Sinai to Moses and the children of Israel, but that over time, that Revelation was corrupted. To my mind, the most likely scenario for this is that whatever was from Moses was lost to us, either in the time of the wicked kings and queens or after the fall of the first Temple. As the Israelites returned to the land under Persian rule and began rebuilding the Temple, a scribe (most likely Ezra) or group of scribes began to edit together the sources that they had on hand as an attempt to faithfully reconstruct the text. I'm willing to take the leap that it's Ezra for a few reasons. A.) Ezra is the author attributed to Chronicles. In Chronicles, there's a story of how the scroll of the Law was rediscovered in the Temple (seemingly out of nowhere with the entire Israelite population completely ignorant of its existence) and brought to King Josiah. King Josiah has the whole people listen as the scroll of the Law is read to them, then they recommit to the covenant. In spite of this, God still destroys Jerusalem and scatters Israel due to their years of ignorance of His covenant. Ezra is in the position of providing unity and a spiritual vision to his people. It's a little too convenient that he does exactly what Josiah did - namely listen to the book of the law, which has authority, not just because it's attributed to God, but because if the Israelites don't follow Ezra, God will destroy them, too. It's also just flat out odd that the Revelation given to Moses would simply be sitting in a scroll in the Temple with everyone unaware of its existence. If people knew about Moses and the Exodus and the founding of their nation and their entire reason for having a Temple in the first place, then part of that story is that God spoke to Moses and gave the people a covenant. Wouldn't someone ask,"Oh wait, where's that Covenant?" Instead, this story seems to simply provide credibility to Ezra's redacted Torah or proto-Torah and course of action. B.) There are definite hints of this in rabbinic tradition. "Moses received the Torah at Sinai and conveyed it to Joshua, Joshua gave it to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, the Prophets to the Men of the Great Assembly". The Great Assembly was the group that began building what we know as Judaism today after the fall of the First Temple. The Great Assembly is the group which codifies the Tanakh - giving the Torah its form, deciding which Prophetic writings were genuinely inspired, determining which historical writings gave necessary context to tell the full story of the Jewish people and their covenant with God. Oh yeah, and they were convened by Ezra, who acts as a nexus figure. By tradition, Ezra isn't just a scribe, he's also Malachi (literally "My Messenger" - just as easily a title or pseudonym) - the last of the Jewish prophets. He's literally the hand off point in the chain of Torah transmission, the one who delivers Torah to Judaism on behalf of Moses. Rabbinic tradition says that had Moses not existed, Ezra would've been worthy to receive the Torah. Anyway, it's just conjecture, but it's reasonable conjecture, and is in response to the simple fact that the Torah is riddled with contradiction and seems clearly to be cobbled together from different sources. And I say that as a faithful, observant Jew. And Allah knows best, right?
  11. Hey Yaaqov, Achi, I might be a little dense here, but is there a translation along with it? My Ivrit is pretty decent, but translation helps a little when I come across an unfamiliar word.
  12. Grace of Christ or Burden of the Law

    From a Jewish point of view, no one other than Jews are obligated to the laws detailed in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy. Our covenant with God literally begins with the words,"I am the Lord your God Who brought you out of Egypt". He might be the Lord of the Universe, but these laws were between Him and the people that He brought out of Egypt. However, God did make a covenant with all of humanity, originally with Adam and renewed with Noah. The essential laws of that covenant are: 1.) Do not deny God. 2.) Do not blaspheme God. 3.) Do not murder. 4.) Do not engage in sexual immorality. 5.) Do not steal. 6.) Do not eat from a live animal. 7.) Establish a legal system to ensure a just and orderly society. Sounds a lot like Acts 15:28-29 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. It seems that James and Peter were aware of these laws. I would assume that the vast majority of Christians would consider these to be things that they do or strive to do. But according to a Torah understanding of the world, this is a non-Jew's obligation to God.
  13. Why the hate for Jews??

    Hi. I'm Jewish and this is my first post here. I figured that this topic was as good as any for getting my feet wet. I'm going to tell you a story that I think illustrates the matter of being "chosen people" pretty well. Our tradition says that as the children of Israel emerged from the sea, and as the waters closed around the armies of Pharoah, the Israelites were dumbstruck with wonder. Then we began to sing a song of praise (a "shira" - a song of unconditional praises). The choirs of angels began to sing in praise of God, as well, but God silenced them, saying,"My creations, the work of My Hand, is drowning in the sea, and you wish to sing a song?" God loved the Egyptians, but Israel had God's work to do. Andres is right. Our Torah and our Prophets speak of Israel as having a special bond with God, and as part of that, we have a mission that we, frankly, aren't living up to. God accomplishes a purpose in us - we've survived against all odds and despite our constant inability to live up to our covenant with Him. Our existence is a testimony that there is a God and that there is always hope for redemption and repentance. We bear witness in our history to God and His oneness and uniqueness and majesty. If we're chosen for anything, it's that. As far as why people hate us... Some Christians look at us as betraying the Messiah. Reading the gospel narratives, though, a small group of priests 2000 years ago manipulated the people and compelled the Roman procurator to execute Jesus. If you want to be mad at Caiphas, then cool, but... the vast majority of Jews in history didn't try to crucify Jesus. Like 99.9999% of us. Some people think that we dominate business, and banking, and medicine, and Hollywood. The thing is, for several hundred years, we were basically limited to selling other people's goods, moneylending, medicine, and storytelling. Not our fault if we got good at those things. Some people don't like that we didn't join their obviously true religions that supercede our claims to a covenant with God. Paul seemed genuinely shocked that Jews weren't following Jesus in far greater numbers, and it presents a bit of an issue that the Jewish messiah hasn't been followed by the vast majority of Jews. Islam has had less of this sort of issue, but Muhammad definitely seems to have been disappointed that Jews didn't welcome him as a prophet. Some people are mad about the state of Israel - either for its existence or for the behavior of the state of Israel since the Six Day War. Honestly, I have some pretty mixed feelings about Israel, particularly lately. I think many Jews do. And then some people just hate us for breathing. We can't do much about that.