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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imamology

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About this blog

Anything and everything related to Islam's intellectual and literary tradition.

Entries in this blog

The Four Elements

The idea that the world is composed of four or five elements (fire, water, earth, wind, and aether) was almost universal in the ancient world. The science and mythology of many ancient civilizations, from Greece to Japan, operated on this understanding. While Islam is not really married to the idea of four elements (it is not supported in an explicit way in the Quran or hadiths), it is interesting to note that Islamic metaphysics and cosmology use this system. This is especially the case i

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Respect Words

We often mumble, curse, use slang words, and say anything that comes to mind, but Allah and His Messenger continuously gave words their needed reverence. The Quran starts with the command to read (iqra'). Allah could have revealed the teachings of Islam directly to our minds, but instead, He chose to present these teachings in the form of speech and written word. Allah brought about the creation with the word "be!" When Allah created Adam, He taught him all of the names (2:31), and Adam t

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What We Should Learn From the Nation of Islam

When Elijah Muhammad went to court and the judge asked him about his aim and purpose, he said he was going to make Black America Islamic. The judge said that making black people Muslims was like putting pants on an elephant. Elijah Muhammad said, "I got one pant-leg on already."[1]   In 2012, my student society invited the late grandson of Malcolm X, Malcolm El Shabazz, to speak at our university. I had some knowledge of his grandfather’s history, having watched Spike Lee’s legendary 1

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Problems and Solutions in Da`wa

While we start any da`wa project, it is important to understand our environment. A da`i should not just comprehend this religion, but should have a grounded understanding of the history of Western civilization (its Greco-Roman and barbarian roots, Christendom, the Enlightenment, Westphalia, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, WW1 and WW2, nationalist and communist movements), pop culture, language, the liberal arts, the history of Muslim-Western exchange, and the J

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The Cosmology of Salat

In the beginning, Allahu Akbar - God's Essence is too great to be described (الله أكبر من أن يوصف) ( الله الواحد الاحد الذي ليس كمثله شيء ، لا يقاس بشيء ، ّ و لا يلمس بالاخماس ، و لا يدرك بالحواس).   Then, the Fatiha: The Light of Muhammad (s), the Ahl al-Bayt (as), the righteous, and the angelic realm is created, supplicating His holy praises and praying to Him. They all bow in subservience to Him.   Then, the first Sujud: We are created from earth after none

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The Divine Will

The first creation of Allah is His will (mashi’a). The mashi’a is a created light that operates on the realm of the creation and interacts with the rest of creation. Since the mashi’a is subject to change and affect, it is separate from His Unified and Unknowable Essence. علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة. Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah created the will (mashi’a) by its sel

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Freedom!

Freedom! Western fixation on freedom has a long, crystallizing history. In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in England, which ended the unilateral authority of the King. The King was imposing heavy taxes on the barons, who were wealthy aristocratic men, to fight a failed war. The barons rebelled against the King, and demanded that a committee of barons be established. The King would need to consult this committee before introducing new taxes. Certain legal rights were also introduced to the b

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Individualism

If Islam is measured with liberal democratic criteria, it will not be fully consistent. Western colonial powers reached a point of hegemony in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through hard power (direct intervention) and soft power (media influence), they imposed their standard of morality onto the rest of the world. This moral framework is not Christianity, it is Western Individualism. Secularism, humanism, and feminism are all just logical conclusions of Individualism. They are branches from

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Do all religions teach the same thing?

"All religions deep down teach the same thing" - A typical modern day Muslim intellectual ("muthaqqaf"). No, they don't, unless we redefine and selectively choose what a religion is, and here you run into the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. This train of thought is an easy option for lazy thinkers who have never found good enough reasons to justify following the tradition they do. The Quran can be cut apart to appear to support this claim, but the Quran also makes exclusivist claims to authori

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Identity Politics

Activists today talk much of identity politics. Identity politics, also called identitarian politics, refers to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. You may have heard people "identify as a gay person", or "identify as a black nationalist", or "identify as a vegetarian", or identify themselves with a certain race, nationality, creed, economic class, or ideology. They are then expected to behave and dress according to the mo

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Halloween is for the Dead

Halloween was a Celtic and Gaelic festival which would mark the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the winter. The "darker" half of the year has begun, the frigid season of death. The pagan Celts believed that the dead spirits visited them on this day, and so they gave them an offering of food as an appeasement, so that they may not incur their curse during this season. In the past few centuries, people began dressing up as these dead spirits to pay homage to them. And s

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Devolution

This is part three in my series on postmodernism. For part two, click here, and you will also find the link to part one there. Many Muslims begin doubting their religion after surveying the evidence for evolution. Prior to Darwinian evolution, the Muslim civilization was usually not keen on hindering scientific progress, and in fact did what it could to propel it. With modern evolutionary biology however, there appears (at least on the surface) to be a clash between science and scripture. W

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Mecca or the Mechanical

Why have we turned Mecca into the Mechanical? Mecca is the central pinnacle of human assembly, yet its architecture has been modeled after the capitals of individualism: New York, London, Toronto, and Las Vegas. Its Ottoman heritage is being destroyed, its mountains are being removed, its mosques are being leveled, and all of it is being replaced with gray skyscrapers, McDonalds, Starbucks, cranes, and boxy buildings. Over the centuries, our civilization has developed an archit

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Believe Anything

This is part two of my blog on the cultural paradigm of the postmodern West. You can check out part one here. --- Islamic re-education starts with assessing the problems of postmodernism. Once we understand the problem, we can begin to derive real solutions from the revelation. Identity Politics is Neo-Tribalism French philosopher Michel Foucault (d. 1984) inspired a system that divided the world into two camps: "dominant" and "marginalized". The dominant narrative was the Eu

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The Matrix is a System

If I told you that missionaries were going to your child's school everyday, preaching their religion and teaching that Islam is backwards and evil, you would be deeply concerned, right? Well, libertine missionaries have already infiltrated the schools, the universities, the textbooks, the TV shows, the labour unions, and the HR departments. Their ideology teaches your kids everyday: 1. Naturalism: Everything that exists is material. All that is true must be observable to the five sense

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Spread by the Sword?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم                         Not only is Islam the second-largest religion in the world, but it is the world’s fastest growing religion. With globalization and the influx of Muslim immigration to the West, many people are reluctantly meeting Muslims for the first time. Fear of the unknown is common, but that fear is constantly perpetuated by images of violence in the Muslim world. As a visible minority with little political leverage, the Muslim community is an easy t

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Love and Suffering

Love and suffering is a match made in heaven. Love is breathlessly heart-wrenching, as it snares the mind of the lover and controls his actions. Any loving relationship will be filled with trial and tribulation, selfless sacrifice, selfish protectiveness, and frequent heartbreak. We both live and die for even a moment of true love. It is thus no coincidence that suffering is a component of many Arabic words for love. `Ishq (عشق), which is a fervent type of love, was originally a vine that winds

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The Basic Unit of Society

The root ethic in Islam is maintaining a healthy heart. I'm not referring to the pulsating organ in your left chest, but rather I'm referring to the qalb. The heart is the metaphysical mind and conscience that the Quran ties to our thoughts and feelings. It is the locus of our faith, the home of our innermost secrets, the intuitive criterion for good and evil, and the organ through which our Creator is known. In the hadith literature, the heart is connected to all of the senses: seeing, hearing,

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Propheta et Frater et Spiritus Sancti

By: Haziq Sheikh in dedication to Bar Salka The Ahl al-Bayt  عليهم السلامwere first silhouettes (ashbāḥ) of nūr in the realm of Um al-Kitāb without souls, but supported by a single spirit, the Rūḥ al-Qudus (The Holy Spirit).1 The Prophets and Awṣiyā’  عليهم جميعا سلام الله  are distinguished from the believers in that they are created with the Rūḥ al-Qudus in them, a bridge between their human, historic selves and their primordial created selves as that single light, Nūr Muḥammadī. 2 It is

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Hoor al-`Ayn are not White Chicks

There is a common misconception among modern Muslim men that they will be rewarded with white women in Paradise. This attitude has even caused some to justify their preference of light-skin women and Western women through Islamic texts that describe beautiful women in this world and the Hereafter. They put white skin on a pedestal, which both sidelines women with darker complexions, and objectifies women with lighter skin. I would like to investigate the claim that the heavenly maidens of Paradi

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Hamza Yusuf and Black Lives Matter

As a Muslim Canadian outsider, the U.S's race problem is blaring and obvious to me whenever I visit. Even in the more liberal states, whites and blacks live in separate neighbourhoods, and the black neighbouroods are poorer and not looked after by the city. Whites and blacks have very different jobs and roles in society. After over 300 years of slavery, 99 years of segregation, and 52 years of tumultuous race relations, the race issue still dominates public discourse in America. While most

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Jesus' Wool Garment

A Muslim account of Jesus Christ's ascension from Tafsir al-`Ayashi: Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (a) said, "Jesus the son of Mary ascended whilst wearing a rabbinical garment made of wool spun from the yarn of Mary, the weaving of Mary, and the sewing of Mary. When he came to the heaven, it was called, 'O Jesus! Remove the frills of this world from yourself.'" (رفع عيسى بن مريم عليه بمدرعة (4) صوف من غزل مريم، ومن نسج مريم ومن خياطة مريم فلما انتهى إلى السماء نودى يا عيسى ألق عنك زينة الدنيا.)

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Trees are People

Trees play a prominent role in many religious texts. With their roots in the ground and their branches stretching toward the sky, trees are linked to the heavens and the Earth, the spiritual and the material, and the vertical and the horizontal. They are like an axis or a pole that stands between both worlds. Its greenery is a symbol of life, its shade is a symbol of comfort, and its fruits are a symbol of fertility. As deciduous trees shed their leaves in some seasons, they are resurrected in o

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Friends of the Mahdi

A man said to Imam as-Sadiq [a], "May I be your sacrifice! By Allah, I love you and love whoever loves you. O my master; how numerous your Shi`a are!" The Imam replied, “Would you please mention them?” The man said, “They are too many.” The Imam replied, “Could you count them?” The man said, “They are too many to count.” Imam as-Sadiq [a] said, “If the number [of true Shi`a] reaches a little more than three hundred, then what you desire (i.e. divine government) will happen. Our Shi`

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The Sun Will Rise From Where It Set

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم A famous eschatological expression is that the Sun will rise from the West ( طلوع الشمس من المغرب من المحتوم ). In Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad (s) says, "When three things appear, a person's faith will not avail him if he had not believed before or did not earn goodness from his faith: (1) The rising of the Sun from its setting place, (2) The Dajjal, and (3) The Beast of the Earth." (ثلاث إذا خرجن لا ينفع نفسا إيمانها لم تكن آمنت من قبل أو كسبت في إيمانها خيرا: طلوع

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