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The Real Wolves of Wall-Street


Islamic Salvation

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يا جابر كم من عبد إن غاب لم يفقدوه و إن شهد لم يعرفوه  

            في أطمار لو أقسم على الله لأبره قسمه                    

O Jabir - how a many a man there is - if he is absent they do not ask about him, and if he is present they do not recognize him,

In ragged clothes, but if he swears an oath upon Allah - then Allah surely fulfills his oath for him. [Ja’far al-Sadiq]

 

The Real Wolves of Wall-Street

A better metaphor for a certain type of ambitious, cut-throat, high level banker than wolf [or other members of the extended canine family for that matter] is not easy to find. This is because they share the same aggression combined with a very low regard for the financial health of the many innocent whose wealth they play around with.

A narration from the commander of the faithful, which in some variants is attributed to the prophet (via Ali), predicts just such persons in a future age, going on to describe their practices with an accuracy that only prophetic insight can bring.

The narration is found in Uyun Akhbar al-Rida of al-Saduq (and other sources), and is represented below:

ن: بالاسانيد الثلاثة، عن الرضا، عن آبائه، عن الحسين بن علي عليهم السلام قال: خطبنا أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام فقال: سيأتي على الناس زمان عضوض يعض المؤمن على ما في يده ولم يؤمر بذلك، قال الله تعالى: وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ وسيأتي زمان يقدم فيه الاشرار وينسئ فيه الاخيار، ويبايع المضطر – وقد نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله عن بيع المضطر وعن بيع الغرر – فاتقوا الله يا أيها الناس واصلحوا ذات بينكم، واحفظوني في أهلي

Uyun: Via the three chains from al-Ridha from his forefathers from al-Husayn b. Ali عليهم السلام  who said: the commander of the faithfulعليه السلام  addressed us and said: there will come upon people an extremely severe age, the believer will cling on tightly to that which is in his hand while he was not ordered to do that - Allah the Exalted says: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves, verily Allah is aware of what you do” (2:237), and there will come a time wherein evil men will be given precedence and the righteous will be forgotten, deals are conducted with the one in distress, while the messenger of Allah prohibited transaction with the one in distress, and [also prohibited] the deceptive sale, so fear Allah O people and mend the ties between you, and safeguard me through [honoring] my descendants.

Ref: Muhammad Asif al-Muhsini, Mu'jam al-Ahadith al-Mu'tabara, Bab al-Sakha wa al-Bukhl, Kitab al-Akhlaq (Qum: Dar Nashr Adyan; 1st edition, 1434 H), Vol. 3, Pg. 172, No.6.

 

Commentary

« يأتي على الناس زمان عضوض »

<<There will come upon people an extremely severe age>>

زمان عضوض  is a key phrase which I have rendered as ‘an extremely severe age’, but it has its subtleties which need to be fleshed out.

عض  originally means

العَضُّ الشدُّ بالأَسنان على الشيء

‘to bite onto/take hold of something using teeth’

عَضُوضٌ  is derived fromعض  and primarily used as a descriptive adjective for an animal, and one animal in particular, it is said:كلب عَضُوضٌ  a dog that bites habitually.

This was extended analogically to derive other meanings (but is still intimately associated with its original meaning):

 

[I] When applied to rule or dominion it has the special significance of tyranny, as though the subjects thereof are being bitten by a dog.

It has been used with this meaning in the famous narration of the prophet in Sunni sources:

إن الله عز وجل بدأ هذا الأمر نبوة ورحمة ، وكائناً خلافة ورحمة، وكائناً ملكاً عضوضاً

Allah Mighty and Majestic began this affair with prophethood and mercy, and then will be succession and mercy, and then will be aملكاً عضوضاً  (tyrannical kingdom). This is how various annotators defined ملكاً عضوضاً:

شديد الظلم على الناس، يعضهم كالكلب

Excessive in tyranny on the people, tearing into them like a dog.

قال  ابن الأثير في النهاية: يصيب الرعية فيه عسْفٌ وظُلْم، كأنَّهم  يُعَضُّون فيه عَضًّا

Ibn Athir says in al-Nihaya: The civilians will be inflicted in it with oppression and tyranny, as if they are being bitten in it with bites.

وهو نص على عدم شرعية حكم معاوية وأنه حكم جائر يعض المسلمين كالكلب

And this is a clear proof-text proving the illegitimacy of the rule of Muawiya, and that he was an unjust ruler who will bite the Muslims like a dog.

Very early evidence for this usage is also found in a letter of Talha to the people of Misr (inciting them against Uthman) in al-Imama wa al-Siyasa of pseudo-Ibn Qutayba

وكانت الخلافة بعد نبيّنا خلافة نبوّة ورحمة، وهي اليوم ملك عضوض، مَن غلب على شي ء أكَلَه

The Khilafa after our prophet was a Khilafa of prophethood and mercy, but it is today a tyrannical kingdom, whoever over-powers something eats it up.

 

[II] When applied to a time-period or an age it has the special significance of severe, as though the age is biting those living through it because of various difficulties that it contains.

It has been used with this meaning in the poem below:

إليك أشكو زمناً عَضوضاً         مَن يَنْجُ منه ينقلب حَرِيضا

To you I complain زمناً عَضوضاً  (a severe age)     whoever is saved from it returns back sickened

A commentator says about this زمناً عَضوضاً:

أي كلب يقال: كلب الدهر على أهله إذا ألحّ عليهم واشتدّ

Meaning hard. It is said: the time has become hard on the people if it constantly presses on them and becomes extreme.

زمان يعضّ الناس ككلب كلب

Al-Tustari: an age which bites the people like a rabid dog.

I say: We can see thatعضوض  connotes both unjust rule and an extremely severe [austere] period to come in the future. What is the most common way in which the modern economic system is described? A rapacious and increasingly ravenous dog eat dog world with great wealth owned by a few and austerity for the rest. And all this is alluded to in the narration!

زمان الضيق و الشدّة على أهله من جهة ضيق المعاش و كثرة القوانين و الحدود الموضوعة من الظلمة و الجبّارين على الضّعفاء و المساكين و غير ذلك

Mir Habib Allah al-Khoei: This age is characterized by poverty and troubles on its people, this is due to the constriction in their living, and the numerous man-made laws and rules which are enacted by unjust and tyrannic rulers over the weak and poor.

I say: Global poverty (inequality) is the main scourge of the modern economic system.

 

  « يعض المؤمن على ما في يده »

<<the believer will cling on tightly to that which is in his hand>> 

There is surely a mistake in this clause since it is not something we expect a believer to do, sure enough, when we look at the Nahj al-Balagha variant of this same tradition it says:

« يعض الموسر على ما في يديه »

<<the well-off will cling on tightly to that which is in his hands>>

فلا يدع أن يخرج منه خير إلى غيره

Al-Tustari: so he will not allow any of his wealth to go to anyone else.

عض الرجل على ماله اذا جمعه لنفسه فلا ينفقه و لا يعطى شيئا منه

Al-Rawandi: a man clings on to his wealth if he amasses it only for himself and does not give anything of it to anyone.

و عض فلان على ما في يده أي بخل و أمسك

Ibn Abi al-Hadid: someone clings to what is in his hands, that is: becomes stingy and withholds.

I say: Greed is the main driver of this.

 

« و لم يؤمر بذلك »

<<while he was not ordered to do that>>

بل بضدّه قال اللّه سبحانه: وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ

Al-Tustari: rather he was ordered to do its opposite, Allah Glorified is He says: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves” (2:237).

The language used is not of command but encouragement, this shows that what is spoken of here is generosity in giving not the obligatory dues like Zakat.

 و لا تنسوا الفضل بينكم و قال تعالى نسوا اللّه فنسيهم أي تركوا أمر اللّه و طاعته فترك اثابتهم، و اصل النسيان الترك

al-Rawandi says: “and do not forget liberality between yourselves” in another verse He said: “they forgot Allah so He in turn made them to forget themselves” (9:67), that is, they abandoned the orders of Allah and obedience to Him so he abandoned giving them. And the essence of forgetting is abandoning.

 

Examples of Liberality in the Hadith

و عن الصادق عليه السّلام : من يضمن أربعة بأربعة أبيات في الجنّة؟ أنفق و لا تخف فقرا، وأنصف الناس من نفسك، و أفش السلام في العالم، و اترك المراء و إن كنت محقّا

[al-Khisal]: al-Sadiqعليه السّلام  said: who will guarantee for me these four in exchange of four houses in paradise? Give and do not fear poverty, be just to the people even against your own self-interest, spread peace in the world and abandon arguing even if you are in the right.

و عن الرضا عليه السّلام قال لمولى له: هل أنفقت اليوم شيئا؟ فقال لا فقال فمن أين يخلف اللّه علينا أنفق و لو درهما واحدا

[al-Kafi]: From al-Ridhaعليه السّلام  who said to a Mawla of his: have you spent anything on charity today? he said: no, he said: how is Allah going to compensate us (in what we spend - if it is not in charity)? Give in charity even if it be a single silver coin.

 

Three Main Signs of that Age

  « يقدّم فيه الأشرار، و ينسى ء فيه الأخيار »

1. << the evil men will be given precedence and the righteous will be forgotten >>

Let no one be in doubt about the moral decadence of a tax-evading global elite, a handful of whom own the wealth of almost half the earth’s population, or that of politicians who acquire positions of power deceitfully, in fact the lower they debase themselves the higher they rise, while the righteous are shunned, mocked and demeaned, or as is more likely, considered irrelevant, a pathetic remnant of a bygone era where virtue still counted. Relativism and Nihilism are after all what characterize this age.

To be continued …

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I am one of those successful trader on walls street but I neither see myself as wolf or tiger, I am just a businessman who understands market cycles. :NH: 

it is clear from your post that you have no understanding of market and how it really works. please do more real research about the real business on walls street and then try to write something on this subject.

Edited by Highflyer
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5 hours ago, Highflyer said:

I am one of those successful trader on walls street but I neither see myself as wolf or tiger, I am just a businessman who understands market cycles. :NH: 

it is clear from your post that you have no understanding of market and how it really works. please do more real research about the real business on walls street and then try to write something on this subject.

The aim is not to paint all Wall-Street traders with one brush. I have been careful in my word-selection to limit discussion to certain types of people and dealings [whether they are within Wall-St. or beyond]. Maybe the title has confused you. It is mostly a pun based on the movie with the same name. However, it is undoubted that an age which will be dog eat dog in its aggressiveness and ferocity is alluded to in the Ahadith.

In any case, if you had read the whole piece you would have seen that it is a commentary on what was said by the Prophet about the signs of the aforementioned age. They include:

1. << the well-off will cling on tightly to that which is in his hands >> i.e. stinginess and greed.

2. << deals are conducted with the one in distress, while the messenger of Allah prohibited the sale of the one in distress >>

3.  << the messenger of Allah prohibited the deceptive sale >>

If you do not recognize these three traits as features of the modern economic system then you can choose to benefit us with your knowledge and elaborate on it. 

Edited by Islamic Salvation
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      Remember God has something better waiting for you in the after world so try and somehow put a smile on your face every now and then...
         5 comments
      قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: رحم الله زرارة بن أعين لو لا زرارة و نظراؤه لاندرست أحاديث أبي عليه السلام
      Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: May Allah have mercy on Zurara b. A`yan, if it was not for Zurara and his peers the narrations of my father عليه السلام would have perished
      سمعت أبا عبد اللّه عليه السلام يقول: لعن اللّه زرارة!
      I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: may Allah curse Zurara!
       
      Did the Imam Curse Zurara?
      Zurara is such an important narrator in the Madhhab. No one has narrated more narrations than him. There are more than two thousand surviving Hadiths attributed to him in our books. No surprise then to find that we have a lot of reports of praise from the `Aimma confirming his esteemed status. A bit more difficult to explain away is the not insignificant number of narrations that portray him in a negative light. These have been latched onto by polemicists who believe that they can damage the Madhhab by weakening this man who transmitted such a lot of knowledge from the `Aimma that he became a cornerstone of our Fiqh. How do we defend him? There is a reliable text preserved by al-Kashshi in his book which I believe is useful in explaining this phenomenon preserving as it does a candid assessment by the Imam of the real situation.
      The words of the Imam are indented and a relevant commentary is provided directly below each section. The  text can be accessed in its entirety here https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-narrators/zurara-b-ayan [See No. 17/172]
       
      Abdallah b. Zurara said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to me: convey my salutations of peace to your father and say to him …
      The letter that the Imam dictates to this son of Zurara is done in confidence and with the expectation that no one else will come to know of its contents. It seems to have been prompted by Zurara’s grief, conveyed directly to the Imam, for censuring him to fellow companions and others, such that word reached back to him. Zurara seeks to clarify what the Imam’s true opinion of him is.
       
      I only defame you as a way of defending you, for the masses and the enemy hasten to whomever we draw near and praise his station so as to cause harm to the one we love and bring close. They accuse such a one because of our love for him and his closeness and intimacy with us, and they consider causing him harm and even killing him as justified. On the other hand, they praise every one whom we fault even if his affair is not praiseworthy. Thus, I fault you because you have become notorious as a result of your association with us and your inclination towards us, which have caused you to become blamable in the eyes of the people and your works to be looked upon unfavourably, all this because of your love for us and your inclination towards us. So I wished to fault you so that they can praise your religious stand as a result of my denigrating and diminishing you, and this becomes a way of warding off their evil from you. 
      This narration is important because it is the lens through which all the negative narrations about Zurara should be seen. The Imam explains his rationale for publicly cursing Zurara i.e. the Imam is defending his companion through Taqiyya.  As he notes, the enemy wishes to bring down everyone they draw near, a fate which he does not wish for Zurara. Zurara was particularly at risk because of how many narrations he had from them and how closely he was associated to them.
       
      Allah Majestic and Mighty says: “as for the boat then it belonged to the poor working at sea so I wished to damage it because there was a king after them who seizes every good boat by force” (18:79) … No by Allah! he did not damage it except that it be saved from the king and is not ruined in his hands. It was a ‘good’ boat which had no question of being defective Allah be praised, so comprehend the parable, may Allah have mercy on you!
      The Imam likens his act of criticizing Zurara to Khidhr damaging the fisherman’s boat, both seem ostensibly cruel on the surface but they are ultimately done to secure the very person they seem to hurting.
       
      … this is a revelation from Allah [including the word] ‘good’ …
      The Qira’a of the Ahlulbayt includes the word صالحة in the verse which is not there in our existing copies. This can be seen as an interpretive addition which happens to be quite straightforward and does not go against conventional understanding. This is also how Ibn Mas`ud and Ubay b. Ka`b read the verse [See Tafsir al-Tabari].
       
      You are by Allah! the most beloved of people to me and the most beloved of the companions of my father in my estimation both in life and after death. Indeed you are the best boat in that tumultuous and stormy sea, and there is a tyrannical and usurping king after you, keeping watch for the crossing of every good boat returning from the sea of guidance so that he can take it for himself and seize it and its owners, so may the mercy of Allah be upon you in life and His mercy and pleasure be upon you after death.
      This is the true status of Zurara in the eyes of the Imam. It becomes very clear that Zurara is the principal companion of al-Baqir and al-Sadiq and the closest to them. This tallies with the Madhhab’s conception of his status where he is seen as the greatest of their companions barring Muhammad b. Muslim which is arguable.
       
      Let not your heart constrict in grief if Abu Basir comes to you with the opposite of that which you were instructed by my father and by me, for by Allah! we did not instruct you and him except with an instruction that is fitting to act upon both for us and for you, and for each [instruction, even if seemingly contradictory] we have diverse expressions and interpretations which all agree with the truth. And if we were allowed [to explain] you would come to know that the truth is in that which we have instructed you.
      The Imam acknowledges a second problem which Zurara seems to have raised which is the Ikhtilaf [differences] of instructions which are attributed to them. The Imam accepts that these may indeed go back to them but notes that they have a reason for every instruction they give even if the companions cannot fully comprehend the reasons behind them. However, the Imam is very clear that despite the seeming diverse answers there is a way to reconcile them and all agree with the truth. 
       
      The one who has divided you is your shepherd who has been given authority by Allah over His creation. He [the shepherd] is more aware of what is in the interest of his flock and what can corrupt it. If he wishes he divides between them to safe-guard them, then he unites them once more so that it is secure from destruction and the fear posed by its enemy, in such a time as Allah permits, bringing it thereby safety from His place of safety and relief from Him. Upon you is to submit and to refer back to us and to await our affair and your affair and our relief and your relief. 
      The significance of these words of the Imam cannot be overstated. It reveals that the `Aimma would purposely teach different things to different Ashab aiming to purposely divide them. Elsewhere it is explained that they saw Madhhabic uniformity among their followers especially in rituals as being a distinctive marker that would make them a target. What the companions have to understand is that answering differently to different people is the prerogative of the Imam. No one can question this practice. What the companions have to do is submit fully to whatever they receive from the `Aimma and know that it has an explanation behind it for which the time is not ripe. All will be finally revealed when the time comes.
       
      However [if you do not submit wholly then], if our Riser were to rise and our Speaker speak and he recommences teaching you the Qur’an, the Laws of religion, the rulings and inheritance shares the way Allah revealed them to Muhammad the ‘people of insight’ among you will repudiate it on that day a bitter repudiation, then you will not remain steadfast upon the religion of Allah and his path except under the threat of the sword over your necks!
      If the companions cannot submit now, when they have lived through a chain of living Imams, then it augurs badly for the reaction of the self-appointed ‘people of insight’ who will be the first to line up against the One al-Sadiq calls ‘our Riser’ and alternatively ‘our Speaker’. When he comes back after a long period of occultation and recommences teaching them the religion as it is supposed to be the opposition to him from the Shia themselves be deafening! Those scholars who have cherished their dusty books will still cling to them even though the Imam who is the living embodiment of the Sharia is himself telling them otherwise.
       
      The people after the prophet of Allah were left to embark by Allah the same example as those who came before you, so they changed, altered, distorted, and added to the religion of Allah and reduced from it, consequently there is not a thing which the people are upon today [following] except that it is distorted when compared to that which was revealed from Allah. Respond then my Allah have mercy on you away from what you are calling for to what you are being called to, until comes the one who will renew the religion anew.
      Why did it have to come to this? This is the unfortunate consequence of the Umma betraying the will of the prophet. It has become utterly divided. Not having the correct leaders has meant that the authentic message of Muhammad has been irredeemably altered. There is not a single act of worship or belief that has been left un-corrupted because every middling scholar can peddle his interpretation. The temporal rulers are also more than happy to take advantage of the confusion and extend patronage to scholars whose interpretations were power friendly. The Imams themselves cannot openly propagate the actual version without repercussions.
       
      To be continued ...
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