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We have many Shia Ayatullahs who must have knowledge of the unseen. Some have dreams that tell the future, and some can even read minds. They must have knowledge beyond our understanding? I bet they could beat the Pope in a debate, so why? Why can't they use this knowledge to debate like the Imams did? Do they not have time? Are they too old? Is it not their place to debate, only the Imams'? Is it because Allah isn't letting them use that knowledge for some reason?

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Based on my opinion, I think it's because first, the language barrier plays a big role. Second, the most knowledgeable marjas are too old, they're in their 70s, 80s & 90s, and it wouldn't be convenient for them to engage in debates. Third, they are very busy with their lives. Fourth, they're busy gaining more knowledge and teaching their students.

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25 minutes ago, alimr313 said:

We have many Shia Ayatullahs who must have knowledge of the unseen. Some have dreams that tell the future, and some can even read minds. They must have knowledge beyond our understanding? I bet they could beat the Pope in a debate, so why? Why can't they use this knowledge to debate like the Imams did? Do they not have time? Are they too old? Is it not their place to debate, only the Imams'? Is it because Allah isn't letting them use that knowledge for some reason?

I think you have a very incorrect perception of Shi'i Ayatullahs. Not only do we not have any reason to believe they have knowledge of the unseen, or dreams that tell the future, or that they can read minds, we also have no reason to believe that they would be able to beat the Pope (though I don't know what his qualifications are to be honest) or anyone else in some sort of a debate. Majority of scholars that are now called Ayatullahs are essentially highly qualified jurists and scholars of law and have mastered a certain number of subjects that would be no avail if it came to debating let's say philosophy of ethics, philosophy of human rights, hermeneutics or simply other religions. Their expertise is in deriving law and issuing verdicts, not polemics in theology, morality/ethics, human rights, philosophy, Christianity, Judaism etc. This is not to say some of them may not be experts or familiar with some of those subjects - and a good portion of them are definitely familiar with these discussions, but rather it is to point out that every scholar has their own area of expertise and limitations. We actually have scholars who have dedicated their lives for those latter subjects and would be more than capable of perhaps debating (which requires a skill-set of its own) someone like the Pope or whoever, but we don't generally refer to them as Ayatullahs.

Wasalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain

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2 hours ago, alimr313 said:

 I bet they could beat the Pope in a debate, so why? 

Even if they could, there is no need to stir up things unnecessarily. Unless someone throws down the gauntlet, there is no need to engage in a debate.

However, it might make some sense to throw out a challenge to the atheist lobby, headed by people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris,

Because atheism is on the rise in the world. Apart from fully declared atheists, many people who claim to follow a religion actually follow nothing and could be seen as quasi-atheists.

I think the proportion of such people in the world may be much higher than we are willing to accept.

2 hours ago, Hassan- said:

Based on my opinion, I think it's because first, the language barrier plays a big role. 

Language is not a problem. We have excellent multilingual translators these days. And the technology exists to exploit their expertise to the fullest.  

Edited by baqar

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3 hours ago, alimr313 said:

 Why can't they use this knowledge to debate like the Imams did? Do they not have time? Are they too old? Is it not their place to debate, only the Imams'? Is it because Allah isn't letting them use that knowledge for some reason?

You ask interesting questions. My best guess is that an Ayatullah probably has a very full calendar which is scheduled far in advance, so his teaching, attending scheduled events, and taking care of his own family and his own research and learning will take precedence over a project such as a debate. 

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4 hours ago, alimr313 said:

We have many Shia Ayatullahs who must have knowledge of the unseen. Some have dreams that tell the future, and some can even read minds. They must have knowledge beyond our understanding? I bet they could beat the Pope in a debate, so why? Why can't they use this knowledge to debate like the Imams did? Do they not have time? Are they too old? Is it not their place to debate, only the Imams'? Is it because Allah isn't letting them use that knowledge for some reason?

They do debate.

makarim shirazi(ha) was going to debate wahabis but he didn't want to go to Saudi Arabia so he instead told them to go to Iraq or somewhere else but I believe they declined. He also added some other things like demanding respect to Shias from their wahabi school. And for them to stop supporting terrorists I believe although I don't fully remember. But that debate would have been awesome to see I'm sure he would have OWNED them and ripped to shredz.

some of our scholars write books against Christianity. 

In their Kharij classes they practically debate each other trying to refute each other's arguments on fiqh and possibly usool al fiqh.

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8 hours ago, hameedeh said:

You ask interesting questions. 

11 hours ago, Hassan- said:

They are busy with their lives 

The sunnat of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) seems to be to avoid futile debates. That, however, does not rule out debates completely.

The important thing is to make your point and explain it, as far as practicable. And Islam has already made its point in regard to the divinity of Jesus.

Beyond that, it should be noted that the Prophet (pbuh) met Christians several times but never asked for or insisted on a debate.

There is a sacred manuscript in St Catherine's monastery in the Sinai peninsula purportedly signed by the Prophet, giving amnesty to the Christians of the monastery in particular and to all Christians in general. (Reference: National Geographic, March 2009).

There is no indication that he asked them (or other Christians) to engage in a futile discussion. He had already made his point. Beyond that, nothing else was required. 

As for the Christians of Najran, they had initiated the discussion. And in response, the Prophet gave them three verses of the Quran. When they did not accept, the Prophet invited them to a mubahela, not a debate. And as we all know, the Christians called off the mubahela.

Debates are not always the preferred option.

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Debates are very complicated affairs, since the terms of engagement have to be meticulously pre-arranged (which is a full debate in itself). They require a lot of planning, compromise, and preparation. What topics will be discussed? What will be the format? Where will it be held? Will most people understand or even have interest in the subjects discussed? 

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@Ibn al-Hussain You are right, I was thinking of people like Ayatullah Khamenai who is both an Ayatullah and an Arif. But there are some Ayatullahs that are not Arifs. I probably should've clarified and asked why don't Arifs debate. When I think Arifs, I think of Shaykh Rajab Ali Khayaat who was known to do a lot of "supernatural" things.

@baqar You make a good point, even if one of our scholars intellectually defeated the Pope fair and square, his many followers wouldn't stand for it and will probably start persecuting Shias. I would love for atheism to be quelled as well.

@hameedeh I tend to throw out theories that pop into my head for my own questions to show that I am not just tossing out questions for you guys to answer without thinking about it myself.

@Al Hadi I didn't know that about all that (besides that they write books refuting other faiths). Thanks for the information.

@baqar Again, you bring up good points. If Prophet Muhammad stopped to debate with every pagan or Christian or Jew, he would've probably never done anything else. Debates are time-consuming, he was a very busy man. I think the Imams only debated when they themselves were challenged, and I don't remember them ever challenging (though I could be wrong).   

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My understanding of the meaning of debate is to win yourself's point of view, your groups's point of view.

While we know that Imam Ali a.s. regard other human as brothers in humanity.

Therefore to have healthy, reason debate, the understanding of the meaning of debate is to win human's point of view and to defeat human self-destruction's point of view.

Or, if we can disregard the win-lost (no human shall be a looser in this world and the hereafter) i.e. debate, human can go to have discussion i.e. solving all human problems (common human enemy).

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My understanding of the meaning of debate is to win yourself's point of view, your groups's point of view.

While we know that Imam Ali a.s. regard other human as brothers in humanity.

Therefore to have healthy, reason debate, the understanding of the meaning of debate is to win human's point of view and to defeat human self-destruction's point of view.

Or, if we can disregard the win-lost (no human shall be a looser in this world and the hereafter) i.e. debate, human can go to have discussion i.e. solving all human problems (common human enemy).

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My understanding of the meaning of debate is to win yourself's point of view, your groups's point of view.

While we know that Imam Ali a.s. regard other human as brothers in humanity.

Therefore to have healthy, reason debate, the understanding of the meaning of debate is to win human's point of view and to defeat human self-destruction's point of view.

Or, if we can disregard the win-lost (no human shall be a looser in this world and the hereafter) i.e. debate, human can go to have discussion i.e. solving all human problems (common human enemy).

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On 27/03/2017 at 1:54 PM, myouvial said:

My understanding of the meaning of debate is to win yourself's point of view, your groups's point of view.

Brother, if I have understood the teachings of Islam correctly, it strongly discourages futile or long debates.

And clearly, a purposeful debate that is also short can only be conducted by the most knowledgeable men. 

Also, a specific debate should serve a defined purpose and be to the point. In other words, it should be over in a matter of minutes.

 

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3 minutes ago, baqar said:

Brother, if I have understood the teachings of Islam correctly, it strongly discourages futile or long debates.

And clearly, a purposeful debate that is also short can only be conducted by the most knowledgeable men. 

Also, a specific debate should serve a defined purpose and be to the point. In other words, it should be over in a matter of minutes.

 

You are right. Debate to win one's point of view eventhough it is against Allah's teaching to human is forbidden.

Debate to win Allah's point of view is wajib, For me, especially, i have to learn much more Allah's teaching/point of view through Nabi Muhammad SAW and his Ahlul Bayt a.s. as the explanator of Al Qur'an.

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