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  1. Assalam O Alaikum Wa Rehmatullah Wa Barakatuhu, This verse is the basis of the whole religious, cultural and political system of Islam and is the first and foremost article of the constitution of an Islamic State. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Rasool and those charged with authority among you. Should you have a dispute in anything, refer it to Allah and His Rasool, if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day. This course of action will be better and more suitable. [4:59] It lays down permanently the following fundamental principles: (1) In the Islamic system, Allah is the real Authority who must be obeyed. A Muslim is first of all the servant of Allah; all his other capacities come after this. Therefore, a Muslim as an individual and the Muslims as a community owe their first loyalty to Allah and they must subordinate all other loyalties to this. Allegiance and obedience to anyone else shall be acknowledged only if these are not opposed to the allegiance and obedience to Allah but are subordinate to it. All other allegiances that are opposed to this basic allegiance shall be broken asunder. The Holy Prophet has explained the same thing in a Tradition: "There is no obedience to any of His creatures in what involves disobedience to the Creator." (2) The second fundamental principle of the Islamic system is allegiance and obedience to the Holy Prophet. This obedience is not inherent in Prophethood but is only practical shape of obedience to Allah. A Messenger is to be obeyed because he is the authentic means through which we can receive Commandments and instructions from Allah. Hence, we can obey Allah only by obeying His Messenger, for no other way of obedience is genuine. As a corollary of this, the breach of allegiance to the Messenger shall be a rebellion against the Sovereign, Whom he represents. A Tradition explains the same thing thus: "Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah." The same thing has also been explicitly stated in v. 80 of this Surah. (3) After the first and the second allegiance, and subordinate to these, the Muslims owe allegiance to those invested with authority from among themselves. The Arabic word ulil-amr is very comprehensive, which comprises all those persons who are in any way at the helm of the affairs of the Muslims-religious scholars, thinkers, political leaders, administrators, judges of law courts, tribal chiefs and the like. In short, all those, who are in any way invested with authority from among the Muslims, are to be obeyed, and it is not right to disturb the peace of the community life of the Muslims by entering into conflict with them, provided that (a) they are from among the Muslims, and (b) they are obedient to Allah and His Messenger. These two conditions are a pre-requisite for obedience to them, and these have been explicitly laid down in the verse and have also been fully explained by the Holy Prophet. In support of this some Traditions are cited below: (a) "It is obligatory on a Muslim to listen to and obey orders of those invested with authority, whether he likes it or dislikes it, provided that it is not sinful. However, if he is ordered to do a sinful thing, he should neither listen to the rulers nor obey their orders." (Bukhari, Muslim). (b) "Obedience to anyone in a sinful thing is forbidden. Obedience is obligatory only in what is right." (Bukhari, Muslim). (c) The Holy Prophet said, "There will be rulers over you who will practice right things as well as wrong things: (In such a case) whoever protests against the wrong things, shall be absolved from the responsibility and whoever dislikes the wrong things, also shall escape (punishment). But whoever approves of and follows them, shall incur punishment." The Companions asked, "Should we not then fight against such rulers?" The Holy Prophet answered, "No, as long as they offer the Salat." (Muslim) That is, if they discard the Salat, it will be a clear proof of their disobedience to Allah and His Messenger. Then it will be right to rise against them (d) The Holy Prophet said, "Your worst rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you, whom you curse and who curse you." The Companions asked, "O Messenger of God, should we not rise against such rulers?" The Holy Prophet answered, "No, as long as they establish the Salat among you." (Muslim) In this Tradition, the condition about the Salat laid down in the preceding one, has been made more explicit. One might have inferred from (c) that if they offered the Salat in their individual capacities, no rising should be organized against them. But Tradition (d) explicitly lays down that the condition for obedience to those in authority is the establishment of the system of Salat by them in the Muslim Community. The rulers should not only themselves offer the Salat regularly, but they should also establish the Salat in the system of government run by them. This is the minimum condition that ' makes a government Islamic in principle. If a government lacks this, it will mean that such a government has discarded Islam, and the Muslims will be justified in overthrowing it. This same thing has also been stated in another Tradition thus: "The Holy Prophet took a covenant from us regarding certain things. One of these was that we would not engage in a dispute with those invested with authority unless we saw in them clear signs of disbelief, which may provide us with a cogent reason to present before Allah." (Bukhari, Muslim) (4) The fourth thing that has been laid down as an absolute and permanent principle is that the Commandments of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger are the fundamentals of law and final authority in the Islamic system. Hence, if a dispute arises about any matter between the Muslims or between the rulers and the ruled, they should turn to the Qur'an and the Sunnah for a decision and they should all submit to the decision. Thus, the essential element in the Islamic system that distinguishes it from un-Islamic systems is to acknowledge the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger as the final authority and to turn to these and to submit to their decisions in all problems of life. Any system void of this is most surely an un lslamic system. Some people doubt the soundness of this principle. They say that it fails in practical life for the simple reason that there are many aspects of life (e.g., Local Self department. Railway department, Postal department, etc. etc.,) for which there are no rules and regulations at all in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. How then can they find the solution of the problems they meet with in such aspects of life as concern such departments? This doubt arises because they do not, understand the fundamental principles of Islam. Islam allows freedom of action in all those things about which the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger are silent. What distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim is that the latter claims absolute freedom but the former considers himself to be the servant of Allah and uses only that amount of freedom which Islam allows him. The non-Muslim judges all matters in accordance with the rules and regulations made by himself and does not believe that he stands in need of Divine Guidance. In contrast to him, the Muslim, first of all, turns to Allah and His Messenger for guidance about everything and abides by their decision. But if he does not find any commandment therein about a certain thing, only then he is free to act in a manner he considers to be right. The very fact that the Law is silent about a certain thing, is a proof that it allows freedom of action in that particular matter. In the first part of this verse, the Quran enunciates the four fundamental principles of the Islamic Constitution, and in the second part teaches the wisdom that underlies them. The Muslims have been enjoined to follow the four fundamental principles if they are true believers; otherwise their profession of Islam will become doubtful. Then they have been taught to build their system of life on these because therein also lies their well-being; for this alone can keep them on the right path in this world and lead them to a happy life in the Hereafter. Jazak Allah Khairan.
  2. Is it wrong to call ISIS an example of "Islamic Radicalism" ? if yes, why ? And if no, why ?
  3. There's a lot of talk in Muslim communities in general about democracy, its merits and even its supposed Islamic character. But when I look at the situation Muslims face and which the Shi'a face especially in these times, I wonder if perhaps the pursuit of democracy has not caused the Shi'a to break apart into competing factions who do not possess the unity and strength needed to combat terrorist organizations like the United States or to meet the power of the more absolutist regimes in the Arab/Persian Gulf whose activities threaten them. In Iran, the conservatives and liberals squabble among themselves. In Iraq, there are more political parties than one can count. And in some places like Pakistan, Shi'a feel somewhat helpless these days against the "democratic" forces of the countries they live in which tend to move towards a wedding of Islamic nationalism and Sunni domination. All the time I hear democracy this and democracy that among Shi'a laity and otherwise sensible and honorable ulama, and even what's left of the Iranian monarchists pay the obligatory homage to "democracy", which is more and more becoming an idol or just another pipe dream for the Middle East and North Africa. But what benefit has democracy really given any of the Muslims or the Shi'a? ISIS would have been stopped a lot sooner were it not for the divisions in the Islamic world, everybody agrees on that and divisions in the Islamic world are by no means new. But doesn't the introduction of "democracy" in both its secular and fundamentalist forms share some of the blame for intensifying these divisions? And haven't the Shi'a suffered the most due to internal party politics and Sunnis using "democracy" as a means to oppress them? And even for the Sunnis, I don't think democracy has made them stronger, it's just made them bigger tools of the Arab oil kings who hold far more money and power.
  4. The office of his eminence Ayatullah Seyyed Kamal Al Haydari have started uploading Kharej fiqh lectures from 5 years ago on two previously unreleased topics, namely wilayat-ul-faqih (guardianship of the jurist), and al insaan al kaamil (the perfect human). Considering this topic is still fiercely debated, and still confuses a lot of people (muslim and non-muslim alike), I hope that posting the videos and associated english summaries will benefit all. (Note: this is not just a translation of the most important parts of the lecture(s), but I will contribute as well with my own comments, so if you've got questions or issues with what's written, please refer to the precise wording so I can differentiate between the two): He starts the discussion by posing the two main questions that are the basis of this topic: 1) whether guardianship of all religious matters is valid for the religious jurisprudent during the greater occultation of Imam Mahdi (ajf), and whether it is not 2) If he is granted such authority and responsibility (in effect, the same responsibility -not status- of the Prophet and Imam), what is the extent of this guardianship/custodianship He then asks: What are the known views on the permissibility of establishing an Islamic State during the greater occultation? Answer to that, is that there are 2 distinct opinions: a) that is it not permissible and forbidden b) that it is permissible - and within this group, there are 2 sub-groups - one that says it is obligatory to establish islamic rule, by all means necessary; and the other, that it is permissible, if the right conditions and circumstances are present The first group had used the following narrations as evidence: في (وسائل الشيعة, طبعة مؤسسة آل البيت, المجلد الخامس عشر, ص50, هناك بابٌ تحت عنوان: باب حكم الخروج بالسيف قبل قيام القائم×) مجموعة من الروايات, الروايات بعضها صحيحة السند, الآن لسنا بصدد بحثها. الرواية الأولى: >عن علي ابن الحسين× قال: والله لا يخرج أحدٌ منّا قبل خروجه (عليه أفضل الصلاة والسلام) إلاّ كان مثله كمثل فرخٍ طار من وكره قبل أن يستوي جناحاه فأخذه الصبيان فعبثوا به<. هذا تمثيل كل حكومة قبل قيامه (عليه أفضل الصلاة والسلام). رواية ثانية: >قال أبو عبد الله الصادق×: يا سدير إلزم بيتك وكن حلساً من أحلاسه واسكن ما سكن الليل والنهار فإذا بلغك أن السفياني قد خرج فارحل إلينا ولو على رجلك< إذن هذه المدّة لابد أن تكون حلسة بيوتكم. >قال: يا ابن رسول الله أين نجد العافية أو الراحلة؟ قال: تسعة في اعتزال الناس وواحدة في الصمت< أولاً: أصلاً لا تختلط معهم, وإذا اضطررت للاختلاط اسكت, هذه روايات موجودة في تراثنا الفقهي. روايةٌ أخرى: قال في خطبةٍ له أمير المؤمنين >ألزموا الأرض واصبروا على البلاء ولا تحركوا بأيديكم قال: >ألزموا الأرض واصبروا على البلاء ولا تحركوا بأيديكم وبسيوفكم في هوا ألسنتكم ولا تستعجلوا بما لم يعجل الله لكم, فإنه من مات منكم على فراشه وهو على معرفة حق ربه .. هذا أفضل…< إلى آخر ذلك. رواية أخرى: -ولعلها صحيحة السند- قال: >كل راية ترفع قبل رايته (عليه أفضل الصلاة والسلام) فصاحبها طاغوتٌ يعبد من دون الله عز وجل The jist of these narrations is that it is a bad idea, and not advisable, and one should remain at home and in seclusion and not speak up. The last narration states that any banner that is raised before the appearance of the Imam, is a banner of taghuut that is worshipped beside Allah (swt).. so quite harsh words. So the first group has a very easy and relaxed life, where they don't involve themselves in any socio-political activity to lay the groundworks of an islamic state, or even if an islamic state was established by pure coincidence, or on the back of tanks, they would not involve themselves (at least they claim not to....). As for the second group: sub-group 1 is of the view that the laying the groundworks for the right conditions of establishing an islamic state is obligatory on all muslims by any means necessary (even by the use of force), just as ablution is obligatory before prayer. This is the view of Mirza Jawadi Tabrizi. sub-group 2 is of the view that laying the groundworks for establishing the islamic state is obligatory subject to the right conditions to arise, as in the ruling with respect to hajj, which is only obligatory on those who are able to perform this religious duty. So what's our duty? The answer to this partially lies in the life of the Imams, to see how they reacted when faced with such a choice. Seyyed Kamal considers this topic more important than any personal religious duty, including salah, and I hope you too appreciate why. He then continues to pose the question on WHO should take charge of this hypothetical islamic state, assuming one is established by some means, and what is the extent of his authority/responsibility? He makes it a point to clarify that the Jurist / Faqih in question here, is not the commonly known scholar of fiqh that gives religious rulings on personal religious matters, but the wholistic jurist combining all necessary qualitiies of a leader of the islamic state, which includes bravery and awareness of all socia-political, economic and other current affairs of the era he's living in. CLearly these are not conditions to become a mujtahid of basic fiqh matters. On the extent of the jurist's authority there are 4 views: 1) One held by Seyyed Al Khoei (ra), where he claims that there is no evidence whatsoever that the jurist has any sort of authority over muslims, and that 'his guardianship should be limited to non-litigious matters (al-omour al-hesbiah)[1] including religious endowments (Waqf)[2] judicial matters[3] and the property for which no specific person is responsible.' (see wikipedia entry as reference to this sentence). If you require references, please let me know. 2) One held by Shaheed Al Sadr, where he suggests that his guardianship is limited to the 'void' left between the halal and haram matters (where he has No say in the matter), and the matters which are mustahab and makruh (where he does have a say in the matter, if the need arose). The other two views will be mentioned in the next lecture, Insha'Allah. Ws
  5. Truth slips out but is forcefully put back into the mouth. No noise please. Full here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29528482
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