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A collection of unorganized and unrelated little things mostly from Shia books and lectures

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Salam everyone, 

One of the most tragic incidences in the history of Islam has been the the martyrdom of the the Lady of light, Our Prophet Muhammad(saw)' daughter, Fatima Zahra(as). To date the exact location of her grave is not known. What is even sadder is that most Shias of Ahlebayt(as) are not clear about the facts and timeline of events surrounding her tragic death. Ambiguities have been created,some people choose to adopt a defensive attitude when naming people involved in the incident, others shy away from talking about it because of creating discord with people of other sects. However, I believe it is very important that we are very clear about what happened after the death of RasulAllah(saw) and in the event of a discussion we are able to state the facts objectively, and this is the sole purpose of this post. It is not to curse the caliphs, or offend the Sunnis, so I will request that if anyone replies here he also refrains from doing so. 

Most of what I have written below comes from Sheiky Abbas Qummi's book "House of Sorrows" . I will try to provide references wherever possible in the post, but since I want to keep it short and concise I would ask you to refer to the book if anyone wishes to read more. The book is available online on al-islam.org. 

1. DEATH OF THE HOLY PROPHET 

The Holy Prophet (saw) departed from this world on 28 safar 11 A.H.  For three days Imam Ali(as) postponed his burial. Why? Because he wanted to give all the Muslims an opportunity to join his funeral. Sadly, most of the Ansar and Muhajireen were busy choosing the successor of Prophet(saw) and didn't show up. Seeing this, Imam Ali(as) went ahead with the funeral and burial of RasulAllah(saw) 

2. SAQEEFAH

In Arabic, the word Saqeefah literally means a 'tent'.So,while the Bani Hashim were busy with funeral arrangements of RasulAllah(saw) and had withdrawn from social activities because they were mourning the Ansaar gathered in the tent of the tribe of Bani Sa'idah and started choosing a leader for the Arabs. Upon hearing this Umar told Abu Bakr to quickly rush to the place. After some squabble between Ansaar and Muhajireen Abu bakr was chosen as a successor for Prophet(saw).

The first three people to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr were: Bashir b.Sa'ad, Umar b.Khattab and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah. 

3. DID EVERYONE PLEAD ALLEGIANCE TO ABU BAKR? WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T? 

Of course, one of the persons to not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr was our Imam Ali(as) but there were people amongst Arabs who refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. Let's just look at two examples.

1. MALIK b.NUWAYRAH: Malik b Nuwayarh was a devout companion of the Holy Prophet(saw). Upon his refusal to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr told Khalid b. Waleed to prepare an army against him and attack him under the pretext that he had turned apostate and was refusing to pay Zakat and taxes to the Caliph. What Khalid b. Waleed did was attack him during the night in his house, like a coward. They killed him, later raped his wife and they didn't stop there. They cut off Malik's head and cooked it with camel meat and the food from the vessel containing Malik's head was consumed by Khalid b. Waleed's army. 

2. SA'AD b. UBADAH: Saad b.Ubadah was from the Ansaar of Medina and a contender with Abu Bakr for caliphate.However, he lost when the clan of al-Khizraj did not side with him. Umar tried to force him to pledge allegiance. However,he refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr and to Umar after him and instead lived a life of seclusion. When Umar took over the reins he ordered Khalid b. Waleed to kill Sa'ad. He shot arrows at him which killed him and they later spread a rumour that he was killed by jinns(narrated by Historian al-baladhuri)

So now we have some idea what was happening to people who refused allegiance. 

4.CONFISCATION OF FADAK

Fadak was confiscated and one of the reasons behind confiscating Fadak was to hurt Imam Ali(as) economically because Abu Bakr and Umar feared that Imam Ali(as) might rise against them so they took away Fadak. 

5. WHY DIDN'T IMAM ALI OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF ABU BAKR?

After Saqeefa took place three hundred and sixty people pledged allegiance at the hand of Imam Ali(as) to defend him until his death. Imam(as) told them go home and gather in a particular street the next day with shaved heads.Out of of these three hundred and sixty people how many turned up the next day? Only FIVE!     Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Hudhayfah, Ammar and Salman.

Imam ALi(as) saw a flock of sheep, about thirty in number gathered in a pen and looking at them he said, "By Allah! If I had along with me men who were true supporters of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and His Prophet, equaling the number of these sheep, I would certainly have deposed Abu Bakr, from his authority."

6. FORCING IMAM ALI(AS) TO GIVE ALLEGIANCE & THREATENING TO BURN THEIR HOUSE

After seeing fickleness of the people Imam Ali (as)settled into his house. Abu Bakr sent men to get Imam Ali(as) to come out. He turned them down.They went again,this time Lady Fatima(as) refused to open the door and sent them away. Next, three men gathered firewood outside the home of Hazrat Ali(as) and Bibi Fatima(as). Who were these three men 1. Qunfudh  2.Khalid b.Waleed  3.Mughaira b.Shu'bah.

Umar came to the door and asked Fatima(as) to open it, which she refused once again.They started lighting up the firewood on Umar's instructions. Hazrat Fatima(as)cried out and tried to remind them of her position which they ignored and, pushed the door open behind which Hazrat Fatima(as),who was pregnant at that time was standin, and she was crushed between the wall and door. Umar entered the house and struck Fatima(as) on the arm with his whip which left a bruise there. She sustained injuries which led her to miscarrying the baby Mohsin; and went into an illness from which she did not recover. 

7.IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE THAT UMAR ASSAULTED FATIMA(AS)?

If we look at Umer's life we see that he had an explosive temper a history of abuse against women. The famous incident narrated by our sunni brothers about his conversion to islam, where Umar struck his own sister and wounded her. Before going to his Sister's house he was on his way to kill Prophet of Allah(saw)

8. ISLAMIC POSITION ON ENTERING SOMEONE'S HOUSE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION

O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded.And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do. - Quran Surah Nur: 27-28

9. WHY DID FATIMA(AS) ANSWER THE DOOR AND NOT IMAM ALI(AS)?

This is one of the points frequently brought up, why didn't Imam Ali answer the door? The answer is, there is nothing wrong per se to a wife answering the door. there are numerous narrations where one of Prophet(saw)'s wives answered the door while the Prophet(saw) was himself in the house.

10.WHY DIDN'T IMAM ALI DEFEND FATIMA(AS)?

After Umar had struck Fatima(as) Imam Ali(as) came out and caught hold of the collar of ‘Umar and threw him down to the ground. He was determined to kill him but suddenly recalled the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and called out, ‘O son of Sahhak! I swear by Allah Who exalted Muhammad to the rank of prophethood that if the command of Allah would not have been decreed and the promise (to bear patiently) not have been given to me by the Prophet of Allah, you would have realized how difficult it is to enter my house!’

11. HAZRAT FATIMA(AS) PASSED AWAY AT LEAST A MONTH AFTER HER SERMON ON FADAK

 

https://www.al-islam.org/house-sorrows-life-sayyidah-fatimah-al-zahra-and-her-grief-shaykh-abbas-qummi/chapter-3-state

http://www.askthesheikh.com/can-you-provide-reliable-shiasunni-sources-on-martyrdom-of-lady-fatima-al-zahra-a-s/

starlight

Salam everyone, 

Recently, I had the privilege to attend a workshop on the above topic and I took some notes.The actual workshop was much more thorough and extensive and full of valuable information. I am posting just a few points here which in my opinion are the most commonly made errors and other things we tend to overlook as falliable humans, with the intention that we can all InshaAllah improve our Taharrat and Salat. (These are as per rulings of Ayatullah Sistani(may Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى prolong his life) May Allah shower his bounties upon the brother who conducted such a useful workshop.

Do not stand [for prayer] within it - ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves. -Quran 9:108

GHUSL

1. While doing ghusl people generally wash the body first and then continue with the Niyyah of ghusl. If they are doing this then what needs to be done is, make a demarcation between regular washing and ghusl. So one washes himself/herself as in a regular shower -->  steps out of the shower ---> makes Niyyah for ghusl --> steps back in. 

OR

regular washing --> turn tap/shower off --> do ghusl niyyah --> turn tap on.

2. Head should always be washed first(ghusl e tartibi) It's mustahab to wash the right side first. The rest of the body can be washed in any direction, even from feet up.

3. Tattoes; If the ink is on the skin and forms a barrier to the water reaching the skin, it should be removed. If the ink is under the skin, nothing needs to be done.

4. Wajib ghusl often compensates for Wudhu, but if one passes wind during or after ghusl then for the purpose of praying namaz, either the person does a separate wudhu afterwards or starts ghusl again ( step out --> do niyyah --> step in shower again)  

5.Body parts often missed in ghusl - under the chin, neck, armpits, under the feet. 

WUDDHU
 1. One wuddhu for all salats is sufficient even if one did specific niyyah for one salat. So you can do wuddhu in the afternoon with niyyah for Zuhr for example, and pray asar, maghrib and isha with the same wuddhu ( as long as nothing happens which invalidates the wuddhu) things which invalidate wuddhu:  https://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2159/

2. Wuddhu consists of:

- two washes (face & arms)

- two wipes (head & feet)

Washing face

While washing the face start from the forehead, go from the hairline to the chin vertically.One has to wash from top to bottom. Horizontally, the span of one spread hand (from thumb to little finger should be covered) 

one wash is good, second wash is good, third wash makes wuddhu BAATIL. 

False eyelashes need to to removed.  

Washing Arms 

Start a little above the elbows just to be on the safe side. Go right upto the fingertips. (People sometimes tend to miss washing the hands or fingertips since they might already be wet, but they must be covered while washing the arms) 

As for face one wash is good, second is good, but third wash makes wuddhu BAATIL. Once you have poured the water from the elbow to the finger tips you can wipe/rub with your hand all you want to make the water reach the between the fingers or all round the arms, but if you pour water again and again it will count as second and third washes and makes wuddhu invalid.

INGLOT or other nail polishes which claim to be water permeable, it's better to remove them. 

Wiping head and feet

The breadth of wiping both the head and feet is three joined fingers

The areas to be wiped should be dry

While wiping the head ,the moisture doesn't have to reach the skin. Wiping can be done on the hair too UNLESS a.there is some oil based gel etc or some other barrier or b.hair are long that they fall on the face then one should part the hair and do the wiping on the scalp. Recommended is that the head should be wiped from back to front. 

While wiping the feet and head, it's the hand that should be moving on the head and feet. The head should be stationary and feet shouldn't be moving(so ideally no wobbling while trying to wipe one foot then another) nothing wrong if they move a little but repeating again, its the hand that should be moved over the head. So if one place his palm over the head for wiping and moves his head instead of his hand , his wuddhu is BAATIL. 

The moisture for wiping should come from the wudhu itself, means no wetting of hands again after washing arms, for wiping. If the weather is hot and one's hands become dry quickly after washing one can obtain moisture from his beard for wiping.

The sequence of Wuddhu must be followed; washing of face --> washing of right arm --> washing of left arm --> wiping of head --> wiping of feet 

The wuddhu must be uninterrupted.Maintain continuity in Wuddhu, means you cannot wash your face, watch 5 minutes of football and then start washing your right arm. lolz

SALAT

While saying takbiratul ehram, body must be stationary.

Raising of hands while saying takbir is mustahab, not wajib.

A person should pronounce Takbiratul ehram clearly and with the correct pronunciation. For eg say Allahu Akbar and not Allah wakbar

In Wajib namaz,If one chooses to recite Surah Quraish after Fatiha then Surah Fil has to recited with Surah Quraish. Similarly, Surah Nashra  and Surah Dhuha have to recited together.

The is no islamic basis of turning the rings towards palm in Qunoot

Tashahhud: Ashhadu alla illaha illal lah, wahdahu la shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Mohamman abduhu wa rasuluh

While saying tasleem either one says all three, or one can say just the last one(bare minimum). But he can't say just the first one (Assalmu Alaika Ayyuhan Nabiyu wa Rahmatul Lahi wa Barakatuh) or just the second one( Assalamu Alaina wa Ala Ibadil Lahis Saliheen) or just the first and second so either its all three or just the last one (Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatul Lahi wa Barakatuh)

SOME GENERAL ADVICE:

1. It is very important that a person learns correct recitation and pronunciation of the surahs in Salat. there aren't many, so we should invest some time listening to the recitation on you tube etc in an attempt to master the recitation.

2. There are several duas that can be recited in while performing wudhu. They are available on duas.org.  http://www.duas.org/wadhu.htm   What one can do is, print them out, put them in a plastic cover and put them on the wall besides his place of wuddhu.

3. Something that I have implemented in my life over the past few couple of years. Whenever you go to the bathroom or restroom,or before going to bed make it a habit to do wuddhu. Takes only a minute or so, but the sawab and benefits you get is enormous. for eg.He who renews his ablution without [the need to do so to purify] an impurity, Allah renews his repentance without him [needing to] asking for forgiveness.’ Imam al-Sadiq (AS) [Wasael al-Shi`aah , v. 1, p. 264, no.7

starlight

                                Image result for achieving goals

Salam everyone, 

There are little gems spread all over Nahjul Balagha for improving our emotional intelligence and achieving success in life. Here is one from the short sayings at the end:

Success is the result of foresight and resolution, foresight depends upon deep thinking and planning and the most important factor of planning is to keep your secrets to yourself- Imam Ali(as).

Professor Peter Gollwitzer is a professor of psychology at NYU. His research covers areas like social psychology, neuropsychology and cognition and is mainly focused on how goals and plans affect cognition and behavior. Gollwitzer and his colleagues conducted a study that was published in 2009. They suggested that when people announce an intention to commit to a goal in public, that announcement may actually backfire. 

Gollwitzer and his colleagues provided evidence for this point. In one study, they had students interested in becoming Psychologists list two activities that they would perform in the next week to help them achieve that goal. Half of the people handed what they wrote to the experimenter who read it over and acknowledged reading what they had written. The other half were told that the exercise of writing down their intentions was given to them in error, and that nobody would be looking at it. The following week, all of the participants were contacted again and were asked to remember the goals they had written down the previous week and then to write down how much time they had spent on those activities. The people whose goals were read by the experimenter actually spent less time pursuing those activities than the people whose goals were not read. A number of follow-up studies were presented as well that ruled out other explanations for this finding.

These research results suggest that wanting to have a particular identity is an important motivator in carrying out the activities one needs to perform to succeed. When those activities are the only marker that you and others have that you have taken on a particular identity, then your motivation to work hard will be strong. When there are other ways to communicate your identity to others, your motivation to work hard will not be as strong. So when you are just starting out on the road toward a big undertaking, it is probably best to let your actions express your intentions louder than your words.(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/200905/if-you-want-succeed-don-t-tell-anyone)

The belief that we are more successful with our goals if we announce them and create accountability has also been proved wrong by research. Research says that telling people what you want to achieve creates a premature sense of completeness and is actually counterproductive.

https://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf

starlight

The weather was heavenly yesterday. After months of scorching heat filled days followed by weeks of hot,humid weather which makes one feel like a chicken being cooked inside a pressure cooker,yesterday was surprisingly pleasant, with clouds looming low over the horizon and a slow breeze blowing. To make things even more perfect the last class for the day was canceled giving us teachers an extra hour and a half before we rushed over to our respective homes or hospitals. 

My professor offered to take us all out for coffee and dessert. We bundled into two cars joking how teachers loved canceled classes more than students. We drove for an hour outside the city to get to this cafe situated in the middle of somewhere(the place was really neat and didn't look like middle of nowhere so it must be somewhere :P )

Getting carried away by the picturesque surroundings,relaxed ambiance, my bubbly co-workers chatting away without a care in the world and the general buzz of Imran Khan winning the elections in the atmosphere ( yes,that was the last nail in the coffin, his win. For the next five years everything that goes wrong, blame it on Imran Khan!!) I ordered a chocolate lava cake also called molten lava cake or simply chocolate molten cake. I am not a foodie by nature and over the years I have learned to like food even less, but this is one of the few things I LOVVVEEEE! so much so that one time I made a post on my social media about missing this chocolate filled delight! (go ahead, judge me lol)

While enjoying the plateful of yummy goodness I commented to my friends that even though this was something I loved and thoroughly enjoyed I was eating it after more than three years. Sitting there, devouring spoonful after spoonful of the gooey, rich filling I couldn't remember or more accurately did not care to remember what was the reason behind avoiding it for three years. Satiated, our stomachs full of good food,moods elated by the good company and guilt free after seeing our professor giving good tips to the parking valet and the person working at the gas station, we drove back home two hours later. 

I reached home around maghrib, somewhat tired, a little bit sleepy and very full.I prayed maghrib and Isha, gave dinner to the kids and slept. I slept. I slept through the night barely waking up in time for fajr. Last night,on a shab e juma(friday night) of all nights, I missed Salat ul Layl after .... well..after a very long time. Missed,as in a complete blindness towards night prayers,as in completely forgetting it's shab e juma the most auspicious night of the week, the night when we read Dua e Kumayl, the night before friday where Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى asks 'isn’t there any believing servant who calls upon Me until before dawn so that I will grant his worldly and spiritual request?' and I just slept.These thoughts engulfed me when I woke up in the morning. 

Silently cursing myself I got up offered fajr, qadha of namaz e shab and friday morning prayers and went to work where I spent a busy day. It wasn't until I was offering Isha namaz today that the thought came to me that the probable reason behind such a spiritually low thursday night was a full stomach and not just a full stomach, one that had been filled with indulgence and worldly pleasure.That made me reflect on our eating habits, the food we eat, the money we spend on the buying the finest ingredients or ordering delicacies in the restaurants, the time we waste on thinking and planning the lavish dinners, sometimes to show off, how we focus on taking twenty or so pictures of our food, so one can come out good enough to go on our social medias and give us that fleeting pleasure....all that food loses its taste for us, in seconds...in seconds once swallowed past the pharynx, converts into an acidic mixture as it goes to the stomach,the sight and smell of which repulses us if we ever happen to vomit it out and finally transforms into najis excrement in the intestines within a few hours.

This is the reality of food we spend a big part of our money and time on. Don't get me wrong, I am not criticising people for spending money and effort on providing healthier food for themselves and their families, neither am I trivializing the blessings of a meal that a wife or mother spent hours slaving on, out of the love for her husband and children, there is nothing more beautiful than this, nor am I discounting the barkaat and islamic recommendations of serving a good meal to friends and fellow momineens and humans in general. I am talking about the times when food takes over our lives, it makes us forget the purpose of our existence in this dunya, when we care only about filling our stomachs with the best we can get and as soon as we have stuffed ourselves full with one meal we start thinking about the next. 

Thinking all this made me remember why I had given up on one of my favourite desserts three years ago, why Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and our Ahlebayt(as) tell us to leave one third of our stomachs empty or filled with air. Our sole reason for existence is to worship Allah. Our bodies are the carriers of our soul in this dunya and whatever we feed our bodies will have detrimental or beneficial effects on the soul, depending on the type or quantity of food. Consuming haram food takes you away from Allah, gluttony leads to sluggishness and negligence in prayers,inclination towards dunya and its pleasures make you spiritually low. Being content with one type of food was how the righteous lived, eating less keeps the body light and healthy, keeping our food simple leaves us time and energy for more worthwhile endeavours. 

So, the next time the weather is lovely and my boss is feeling generous and the coworkers are high-spirited........ I am not going to let myself forget the purpose of my existence and ask for coffee with milk,no sugar, thank you! :d 

starlight

                      The Best Jihad

The condition of a society can easily be judged by the attitude of its members towards each other. If the members care enough for each other to exhort each other to act righteously, the society is healthy. When the attitude changes to that of “Why should I bother?” the society begins its funeral march. As the society shuts its eyes from the individual’s behavior, the bad elements gradually become bold. Then comes a time when they start glorifying their evil action.

For this purpose, high-sounding phrases are coined. Nakedness is called ‘natural condition’. Lie becomes ‘political talk’, brothels are labeled ‘night dubs’, gambling dens are named, ‘recreation centers, fornication becomes ‘indiscretion’, and hijacking and kidnapping political necessities.

War is waged to ‘stop the wars’, bombs are dropped on civilians to ‘save their lives’. Countries are attacked to ‘save their freedom’, hateful methods are used to ‘create a harmonious society”

It was to avoid this type of situation that “enjoining what is good and forbidding what is wrong” has been emphasized in Islam. It is the corner stone of Shariah which strengthens the whole structure of religion.

Excerpt from the book 'Inner Voice' by Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi

https://www.al-islam.org/inner-voice-sayyid-akhtar-rizvi

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