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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imamology

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Spread by the Sword?


Qa'im

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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 target for xenophobes, warmongers, and nationalists. The Muslim world is the needed bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, private security companies, and isolationist politicians to thrive. Rather than trying to understand the complex imperial and economic variables that cause violence in the Muslim world, it is both simpler and more cunning to resort to generalized arguments about Islam. This view, however, overlooks the many scientific and philosophical contributions Muslims have made to Western civilization. More importantly, it distorts the reality of the Muslim civilization’s mostly-tolerant history. The centuries-old narrative that Islam was “spread by the sword” is still popular today, and it causes Muslims living in the West to be looked at as a suspicious Trojan horse waiting to Islamize the world. It is therefore necessary for us to deconstruct this worldview. This paper will briefly explore the rise and expansion of Islam, and demonstrate that tolerance and plurality were founding principles of Islamic ethics.

            Since the early days of the Prophet Muhammad’s ministry, Islam’s relationship with non-Muslim communities has been notable. Shortly after the Muslim migration to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in 622 CE, the Prophet drafted the Constitution of Medina. This charter put an end to tribal infighting in Medina, created a new judicial system, guaranteed the mutual protection of Muslims and non-Muslims, and established a new “Community of Believers (mu’mineen)”. (Gil, 2004, pp. 21) This community would include the Jewish tribes of Medina, while still recognizing their distinct identity and laws. Although Bernard Lewis claims that the Constitution of Medina was a unilateral proclamation by Muhammad, (Lewis, 1993, pp. 22) Muslim sources generally referred to it as a pact between the Muslims and the Jews following the two pledges at `Aqaba. Furthermore, Wellhausen, a German orientalist, regarded this charter to be a multilateral agreement negotiated between all of the involved groups. (Gil, 2004, pp. 22)

            The Prophet Muhammad also ratified writs of protection to other communities. The Ashtiname of Muhammad, which was written by `Ali b. Abi Talib upon the commission of Muhammad, granted privileges to the Christian monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. (Ratliff, 2012, pp. 63) The document guarantees that Christians are not to be overtaxed, plundered, disturbed, or coerced into marriages. (Morrow, 2013) These covenants demonstrate that the Prophet pursued a peaceful and tolerant coexistence with other communities, and made his followers accountable to ethical principles of justice.            

The Prophet Muhammad very plainly stressed the equality of all people, regardless of tribe, colour, class, or ethnicity. While rights differed among subgroups of society, the Islamic civilization held no concept of the natural subordination of individuals or groups. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127) Conversion to Islam only required a simple declaration of faith, while becoming a member of the ancient Greek polity was only possible for Greek male property owners. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127)  The egalitarianism of the Quranic message was attractive to many who sought social refuge from the caste system and other forms of subordination. (Eaton, 1992, pp. 117)

The Caliphate’s medieval conquests, which occurred after the Prophet Muhammad, are the main source of agitation among those suspicious of Muslims. It should be noted that `Ali b. Abi Talib, who is considered the rightful successor to Muhammad by Shia Muslims, refrained from taking part in these conquests, despite being renowned as a great warrior. There should be no doubt that there were incidents that occurred during early expansion that are not in line with the teachings of the Prophet, especially during the ridda wars and the Battle of `Ulays. The Shia Imams consistently held the Caliphate accountable during mistrials and in moments of nepotism; and they struggled to establish social and economic justice in the Muslim world. But, the frame that the Islamic conquests were wholly or mostly negative is a Eurocentric view that does not account for other pieces of the puzzle.

            Many ancient texts document extensive Judeo-Christian support for the Muslim conquests of Byzantium and Persia. Jews in the Levant had expected a redeemer who would deliver them from the Roman occupiers. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3-6) The Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 134 CE, outlawed Jews from living within ten miles of Jerusalem, disbanded the Jewish high court, taxed the Jews heavily, and persecuted them for siding with the Persians. This torment ignited a messianic fervour among medieval Jews, leading to a widespread anticipation of a saviour. One of the earliest non-Muslim references to the rise of Islam is the Doctrina Jacobi, a Greek Christian anti-Jewish polemical text written in 634 CE, just two years after the passing of Prophet Muhammad. The text describes “overjoyed” Jews celebrating the Muslim arrival in Byzantium. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3) Moreover, The Secrets of Simon ben Yohai, a Jewish apocalyptic text written between the seventh and eighth centuries CE, tells of the emergence of an Ishmaelite “prophet according to God’s will” who would save the Jewish people from their oppressors. (Crone, 1977, pp. 4-5)

The Islamic conquest of the Levant would restore Jewish access to Jerusalem and establish a polity that would include Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. The Pact of Umar II, a writ of protection extended by `Umar b. `Abd al-`Aziz in the seventh century, promised safety and the right to worship to Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in exchange for the payment of the poll tax (jizya). (Berger, 2006, pp. 88) While some orientalists have criticized the Pact’s prohibition on riding horses, Muslim clothing and building high structures, these stipulations may have been placed to prevent insurrections against Muslim garrisons, rather than to humiliate or subordinate non-Muslims.

            The Muslim treatment of non-Muslims was similarly commended by Near Eastern Christians. John bar Penkaye, an East Syriac Nestorian writer of the late seventh century, praised the Muslim overthrow of the Sassanid dynasty. In his Summary of World History, he writes, “We should not think of the advent [of the children of Hagar] as something ordinary, but as due to divine working. Before calling them, [God] had prepared them beforehand to hold Christians in honour, thus they also had a special commandment from God concerning our monastic station, that they should hold it in honour … God put victory in their hands.” (Pearse) This early Christian account documents the just conduct of Muslim rulers, likening it to divine intervention. Furthermore, after the Byzantines had seized control of Egypt and put the Coptic Patriarch Benjamin I of Alexandria into exile, the Muslim conquerors restored Benjamin I’s authority and brought order to the affairs of the Coptic Church.

Many cultures were drawn to Islam’s magnetic social appeal. Indonesia, which is the country with the highest population of Muslims, encountered Arab merchants in the thirteenth century. Along with the arrival of Muslim commercialism, Islamic stories and symbols were introduced to the population through traditional wayang puppet shows. (Hamish, 2011, pp. 46-51) In the Indian subcontinent, Islam provided social mobility to lower castes, giving people equal rights and freeing them from total subservience to the Brahmans. The transformative power of Sufism was also attractive to many Hindus who sought ascetic, mystical brotherhoods. (Lapidus, 1988, pp. 363) Sufi and Shia saints continue to be revered by Hindu and Sikh poets in India.

Although the Muslim empires had a tumultuous relationship with European Christians over the centuries, sizable Christian and Jewish communities with ancient origins continued to thrive in the Muslim world. Moorish and Ottoman confrontations with Christendom have propelled the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword. The fact is, however, that the conversion of the Near East to Islam occurred very gradually. By 800 CE, only 18% of Iraq’s population was Muslim. (Brown, 2016) Furthermore, Egypt, Spain, and the Levant did not attain a Muslim majority until the eleventh century. (Brown 2016) This means that the Muslims were a minority in the heartlands of their own civilization for hundreds of years. While poll taxes and other social pressures certainly promoted conversion to Islam, ancient churches, synagogues, temples, and other relics were maintained. Judeo-Christian populations even had rights to printing presses and European books in the Ottoman Empire – a privilege rarely granted to Muslims. (Brown, 2016) 14% of the Middle East remained Christian by 1910, with significant populations in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. (Brown, 2016)

On the other hand, Christendom had a relatively poor record with minorities. Although Iberia was mostly Muslim in the fifteenth century, all Muslims were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1526. (Brown, 2016) In 1609, 3-4% of Spain’s population consisted of Christian descendants of Muslims, who were also expelled under King Philip the Third. Anti-Jewish pogroms were also common in pre and post-Enlightenment European history. While there are many ancient Christian communities in the Muslim world, there are practically no ancient Muslim communities in the Christian world, despite Islam’s long history in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Eastern Europe.

            In recent decades, the Muslim world’s relationship with its non-Muslim minority communities has suffered. Colonialism, neo-imperialism, military dictatorships, and poor economies have sometimes caused the alienation and scapegoating of ethnic and religious minorities in the Muslim world. In June 2014, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which rose out of the destabilization of Iraq and Syria, routed Christians out of Mosul. This genocide marked the end of over a thousand years of continuous Muslim-Christian coexistence in the region. While ISIL’s actions are a black mark on modern Islamic history, ISIL’s main military and ideological opponents are other Muslims in the region and around the world. This paper demonstrates that normative Islam seeks unity under common ethical principles. It is vital for Muslims to revive an equitable, pluralistic and tolerant worldview, not just because diversity is strength, but because it is the ethos of our civilization.           

 

Bibliography

Berger, Julia Phillips., and Sue Parker. Gerson. Teaching Jewish History. Springfield, NJ: A.R.E. Pub., 2006. Print.

Pearse, John Bar Penkaye, Summary of World History (Rish Melle) (2010). N.p., n.d. Web. 9 July 2016.

Crone, Patricia, and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1977. Print.

Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4L23Z_agh1qeV_odQfV6Vg. "Dr. Jonathan AC Brown - The Message of Peace Spread by the Sword - UMaine IAW 2016." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 9 July 2016.

Eaton, Richard Maxwell. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: U of California, 1993. Print.

Gil, Moshe, and David Strassler. Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Print.

Harnish, David D., and Anne K. Rasmussen. Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print

Lewis, Bernard. The Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.

Morrow, John A. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Ratliff, Brandie, and Helen C. Evans. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th-9th Century. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. Print.

ʻInāyat, Ḥamīd. Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: U of Texas, 1982. Print.

21 Comments


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  • Advanced Member

First of all there is proof that Imam Ali helped with those expanisions, namely the conquest of Persia. Shaykh Al-Korani has talked about this.

Secondly, in our Fiqh there is something called offensive Jihad. Whether that is the exclusive right of the infallible Imam or another person can call it is a different issue, the point is not every war in Islam is defensive. Some are expansionist and offensive. 

Sayyed Subah Shubbar nails it:

 

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  • Advanced Member

@E.L King can you tell me why Imam Ali a.s. Got involved in those offensive wars? It's very common for Shia scholars and speakers that I've heard to say that Imam Ali a.s. didn't participate in these wars, and was only a judge, or took care of administrative side of things. Thanks.

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  • Advanced Member
8 hours ago, YAli said:

@E.L King can you tell me why Imam Ali a.s. Got involved in those offensive wars? It's very common for Shia scholars and speakers that I've heard to say that Imam Ali a.s. didn't participate in these wars, and was only a judge, or took care of administrative side of things. Thanks.

He wasn't actually fighting, Shaykh Al-Korani makes the case that however he was organising the Muslims' Army

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  • Veteran Member
On 3/8/2017 at 3:32 PM, E.L King said:

He wasn't actually fighting, Shaykh Al-Korani makes the case that however he was organising the Muslims' Army

If war on offensive is not justified by Allah SWT, why Imam Ali a.s. involve in organising 'the Muslim Army' ?

If war on offensive is justified by Allah SWT, why Imam Ali a.s. only involve in organising 'the Muslim Army' ?

If what Imam Ali a.s. was doing ( organising 'the Muslim Army') is justified/not justified by Allah SWT, :

a. what is the proof of Allah SWT's justification

b. is Imam Ali a.s.'s power of faith to Allah SWT is lower/higher than the power of the will of the Muslim Army ?

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  • Advanced Member

@E.L King

@myouvial has a point, even organising the army would mean Imam Ali a.s. is involved in this 'unjust' war. It's still involvement, whether on the front-lines, or the "back office" to use today's business world language. 

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  • Site Administrators

Whilst it's 'possible' that Islam is the fastest growing religion (though there is no empirical evidence of it; Indian Hindus are converting to Christianity in droves to escape the cast system), Atheism/Agnosticism, if they were considered a 'religion', would most likely account for a larger shift in individual beliefs.

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  • Veteran Member

"Many cultures were drawn to Islam’s magnetic social appeal. Indonesia, which is the country with the highest population of Muslims, encountered Arab merchants in the thirteenth century. Along with the arrival of Muslim commercialism, Islamic stories and symbols were introduced to the population through traditional wayang puppet shows. (Hamish, 2011, pp. 46-51) In the Indian subcontinent, Islam provided social mobility to lower castes, giving people equal rights and freeing them from total subservience to the Brahmans. The transformative power of Sufism was also attractive to many Hindus who sought ascetic, mystical brotherhoods. (Lapidus, 1988, pp. 363) Sufi and Shia saints continue to be revered by Hindu and Sikh poets in India."

====

I do not have authentic reference, everything i know i keep in my mind.

I read from internet :

Mu'awiyah or his rezime send the mercenary to Sriwijaya Kingdom in South of Sumatera and they refer the Kingdom as the country of elephant (as there are a lot elephant at that era.)

Many tomb with the Islamic name (or may even Ahlul Bayt a.s.'s name such as Fatimah etc).

A lot of culture and the clue of Ahlul Bayt a.s. such as one of the son of Imam Ja'far Shadiq a.s. moved to Indonesia/Nusantara area.

So the introduction of Islam to Indonesia is far before 13th century. And the introduction is through culture adaptation (amal ma'ruf nahi munkar) not by sword. Eventhough there is Wahhabi movement in the beginning of 19 century in West/North Sumatera, but i guess i see how Allah SWT has His own Will/Destiny, and i hope the movement is getting loose foundation by the teaching of Ahlul Bayt a.s.

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On 3/6/2017 at 0:41 AM, E.L King said:

Secondly, in our Fiqh there is something called offensive Jihad. Whether that is the exclusive right of the infallible Imam or another person can call it is a different issue, the point is not every war in Islam is defensive. Some are expansionist and offensive. 

Sayyed Subah Shubbar nails it:

 

But when offensive jihad could happen exactly ?

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  • Veteran Member
On 3/14/2017 at 6:17 AM, baqar said:

So, i just read this/your news today.

It seems Australia is worried about the existence of Saudi Arabia (at least from the opinion of the author).

"In the face of the Saudis' relentless, pernicious proselytising, what has Australia done? Cut its aid funding for Indonesian schools and more than halved the number of scholarships it offers to Indonesians to study in Australia."

Well, farewell human. Whatever wil be, it will be. Probably, slaughtering may happen in Indonesia again ?

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  • Veteran Member

The basic of Indonesian politic is "bebas aktif" (maybe translated into 'free active') into achieving world peace as the "penjajahan" (or 'occupation') is against human right.

However, the application of "bebas aktif" can overlimit into tolerancy to what ever other countries do in abusing human right. This dangerous politic may achieve the upper limit into deadly (to the country itself) poisonous thinking.  

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  • Veteran Member
On 3/10/2017 at 5:43 PM, Ya Aba 3abdillah said:

Whilst it's 'possible' that Islam is the fastest growing religion (though there is no empirical evidence of it; Indian Hindus are converting to Christianity in droves to escape the cast system), Atheism/Agnosticism, if they were considered a 'religion', would most likely account for a larger shift in individual beliefs.

Brother this is not accurate. Islam is the fastest growing religion by birth for which there is an abundance of evidence because virtually every country keeps records of its birth rates and a rough estimate of its religious demographics which are mostly accurate. This is something for which the empirical evidence is overwhelming. Just look at the rise in population in Muslim majority countries over the last 50 years, it's unbelievable. Islam is definitely growing, alhamdulillah.

The problem for the next generations will be defending it from the religion of secular humanism, which has in fact gripped the minds of Muslims to varying degrees and turned their mental conception of the world into one of kufr. The problem is that the ulema of the 60's recognized the kufr of communism because it declared open atheism, and they militantly opposed it. Although they recognize the philosophical problems of "the West" generally, there really has not been this militant and overt opposition to SECULAR HUMANISM which IS the religion of the modern world. The failure to name the phenomenon is, I think, in part why there has been such a lax response to what is easily a far bigger than anything else facing the ummah today. And it is coming in through soft power (cinema, news, etc.)

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On 08/03/2017 at 3:32 AM, E.L King said:

He wasn't actually fighting, Shaykh Al-Korani makes the case that however he was organising the Muslims' Army

Brother @Qa'im, could you shed some light on this? I'm confused now. If Imam Ali was involved in organising the Muslims' army, this is basically like him being a part of an offensive war. 

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      The Quran says in Chapter 5 (Al-Ma'idah), Verse 3:
       
      الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإسْلامَ دِينًا
      This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
       
       
      2.      The Quran tells us that it has given the answers to every question we may ask. The Quran says in Chapter 14 (Ibrahim), verse 34:
       
      واتاكم من كل ماسألتموه 
      And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him
       
      -        Is governing not an issue that we may ask about?
      -        Shouldn’t we find it in the Quran? And in a very clear way.
      -        So that as Allah says in the Quran says in Chapter 8 (Al-Anfaal), verse 42:
       
      وَلَٰكِن لِّيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَىٰ مَنْ حَيَّ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ ۗ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
      But [it was] so that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined - that those who perished [through disbelief] would perish upon evidence and those who lived [in faith] would live upon evidence; and indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
       
       
      3.      Allah sent the Prophet and Quran to manifest justice. The Quran says in Chapter 14 (Al-hadid), verse 25:
       
      لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ
      We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.
       
      Also, in Chapter 3 (Aal-Imran), verse 18:
       
      شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُوْلُواْ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
      Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge - [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
       
      Also, in Chapter (Al-aaida), verse 44:
       
      وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ 
      And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.
       
      4.      Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given us hands, legs, tongs, eyes etc. He told us how to use them in the right way and get rewarded, and refrain from using them in evil ways.
       
      5.      Likewise, Allah also has given us the brain/mind and thinking power to differentiate between right and wrong. Furthermore, He told us to use the mind in the proper way to get to the truth of things. There are tens of verses in the Holly Quran in this regard. If we do not use our mind in the right way, and make mistakes or sins, we will be questioned about them by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). This is a very serious matter that most people do not pay attention to. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sent the Prophets and holy books so that people obey his orders. Allah does not play games.
      It is also noted that when people are prejudiced towards some opinion (or persons) and are not fully objective in their treatment of any subject, in particular that of religion, the mind will be clouded and will not be able to arrive at the truth. The prejudice acts like a wall or barrier preventing the mind from reaching the truth. In most cases people are unaware of this barrier.
       
      Questions
      We now ask some questions and try to find answers to them in the light of the Quran and the above verses. Let us see what the questions below entail (while people are oblivious of it).
      Q1.
      From point 3 above, Allah sent the holy books so that justice is served and preserved. This justice is Allah’s justice, not a human interpretation of justice. Worshiping Allah the right way (the way He wants, not the way we want) is the ultimate justice. Other things stem from this, since obeying all Allah’s Commands is part of this justice. Justice is paramount. Everything is related to justice and hinges on it.
       
      Q2.
      Is governing part of this justice? Absolutely. Governing in a just Islamic way is what Allah ordered us to do. He sent all his Prophets, including our Prophet, for the sole purpose of justice.
      Q3.
      Did the Prophet leave a will, or did he not?
      To say he did not, implies that he disobeyed the Quran and Allah. It also implies that he ordered people to make their wills yet he did not. This further implies that the Prophet was a hypocrite and disobedient to Allah, which no Muslim can accept, or even dares to entertain.
      Hence, he must have left his will.
      The Prophet had two wills to make:
       
      ·         One as a Muslim leaving his will to his family. We will not indulge in this here now because it is not our current discussion.
       
      ·         The other is his will as the head of the Islamic state (or Islamic community) and this will is for the well being of Muslims. This will must have been obvious to all Muslims. It is the Command of Allah. The Prophet must have told the Muslims abundantly and in a very obvious way how to govern themselves after his death to maintain justice and to protect Islam and themselves. This is so important for Islam (the last and complete religion) to continue to the end of time. Also, it must have been a direct order from Allah, whose revelation included everything people need, and should be found obvious in the Quran if Islam is a complete religion. So, what is this will? And where is it?
       
      ·         Furthermore, one may contemplate the question: Didn’t any of the Muslims ask the Prophet how they are to govern themselves after him? What about the Sahabah who are held at such a high status? Didn’t any of them ask the question?
       
      ·         Questions we as Muslims may ask:
      -        Did the Prophet appoint a person as his successor? If so, who is he?
      -        If not, did he appoint a counsel to select the ruler? If so, who are they?
      -        Did he set up an Islam method of how to elect the ruler?
      -        If he had left choosing the ruler to the Muslims (and the Sahabah) to decide, did he tell them how to do it?
      -        Did he tell them the proper Islamic system of election? Or did he leave them to be confused about such a paramount issue?
      -        Why would he leave them without clarifying to them what to do?
      -        Is this expected of a wise person, let alone the last Prophet of Allah?
      -        If there is Islamic system of election, where can we find it?
      -        Are there any hadiths on this issue, since it is so important, and the Muslims were divided because of it?
      -        Since governing is paramount in Islam for justice to prevail (as we mentioned above) why can’t we find proper and abundant fiqh derived directly from the Quran and hadiths about it?
      -        If none of the above, then it would appear that Islam is not a complete religion as the Quran, and the Muslims claim.
      -        Is this acceptable?
      -        Why is this subject so unclear and engulfed by so much confusion, while the Prophet told us everything else, even how to wash when we go to the toilet?
      -        Is this confusion deliberate?
      -        Why?
      -        Who is behind it? And who benefited from it?
       
      ·         What about Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)? Did He leave this important issue without clarification to the Muslims (who are humans and can make mistakes) without telling them what to do, and how to do it?
      ·         If so, then if there is injustice due to the wrong choice of ruler, we should blame Allah for not showing us the way.
      -        Is this acceptable?
      -        Isn’t it kufr to believe that?
      ·         If this is not acceptable, and we believe it is not, then we should categorically claim that the solution is available somewhere. And in a very clear way.
       
      Every Conceivable Probability
       
      Every conceivable probability, reasoning and justification are acceptable, no matter how illogical they are, except the one probability that the Prophet named a person to be after him. This probability is never logical, never included, and never accepted. As if the Prophet had no right, or did not know how, to select a good Sahabi to succeed him.
       
      The Sunnah of the Prophet
       
      The Sunna of the Prophet is everything he said, did or gave tacit approval to.
       
      For those who believe that the Prophet left choosing the ruler to the Muslims (and the Sahabah) to decide, then it is a sunnah, and should be followed and abided by. Also, this sunnah must be Allah’s order and command, because the Prophet applies the Quran to the letter. It should not be disobeyed.
       
      ·         Why did Abu Bakr not abide by this Sunnah when he appointed Omar to rule after him? Is this not disobeying the sunnah?
      ·         Is this a new phenomenon that was not part of the Islam of the Prophet (i.e. a bid’ah) that Abu Bakr invented?
      ·         Is disobeying the sunnah, not disobeying Allah?
      ·         Also, when Omar accepted to be appointed, is this not disobeying the sunnah, and the command of Allah?
      ·         Omar, in turn, appointed a group of 6 people to choose the successor after him:
      -        Is this not disobeying the sunnah and the command of Allah?
      -        Where did this number 6 come from?
      -        Is this number 6 available in the Quran or sunnah?
      -        How were these 6 people selected out of the rest of the Sahabah?
      -        From an Islamic point of view, what are the virtues and abilities of these 6 people to be eligible as rulers?
      -        Is there anything about that in the fiqh books?
      -        Were there no other Muslims worthy of including in this group?
      -        Where is this information available?
       
      ·         The Imam Ali was the leader of the Muslim army during the time of the Prophet. Is this not a sunnah?
      ·         Why is it that the first three Kalifas did not abide by it?
      ·         Where is the military role of Imam Ali during their reign?
       
       
      Justification
      For those who say that Abu Bakr appointed Omar because the situation required it. We may ask:
       
      ·         Abu Bakr’s actions major decisions should all be Islamic. Is appointing a ruler after his death Islamic?
      ·         Is it in the Quran?
      ·         Is it a Sunnah?
      ·         Did the Prophet give Abu Bakr this right?
      ·         When the Prophet died, was the Muslim situation so good that they did not need the Prophet to appoint a successor for him? Or at least an advice for them as to what to do?
      ·         What about the fact that the Ansar and Muhajireen (who assembled in Saqifat Bani Sa’ida and were discussing who should be the ruler for three days) drew their swards and almost killed each other due to the fact that the arguments and disagreements between them were so high, while the Prophet’s body was still not buried?
      ·         Did this situation not warrant the Prophet to advise them about it?
      ·         Did the Prophet know this would happen?
      ·         Did Allah not tell the Prophet that this would happen, and what to do to evert it?
      ·         Was is it proper for the Sahabah to meet for three days to argue about this issue (meeting and arguing for three days means there was a big disagreement between them), leaving the Prophet body not buried?
      ·         Imagine the Sahabah meeting for the first whole day. During this day they would go home to eat then come back to the meeting (perhaps more than once). They go to the toilet. They pray etc. They go home to sleep, then come back to the meeting. They did this for three days, and the body of the Prophet is left without them attending to it (except Imam Ali, the Prophet’s family, and a few notable Sahabah who did not attend the meetings).
      ·         Was this proper of the powerful Sahabah to do?
      ·         Is this a show of respect to the Prophet, who is the beloved of Allah, the Creator of all things?
       
      The Guardianship of Islam
       
      Guardianship goes beyond ruling. In fact, ruling is part of this guardianship, and the guardian must be the ruler, otherwise how can he have the required influence and authority to protect Islam and the Muslims?
       
      ·         Who was the guardian of Islam?
      ·         Naturally the Prophet himself was the guardian.
      ·         Who made him the guardian?
      ·         Allah did, since Allah is the ultimate guardian. Islam is Allah’s religion.
      ·         Did Islam need a guardian after the Prophet?
      ·         Who is the guardian after the Prophet death?
      ·         Who appoints him? Shouldn’t it be God since it is His religion, and He is the one who knows the best person for the task?
       
      Most Muslims at the time of the Prophet were new to Islam. Some entered into Islam only few years before the Prophet died. Most people did not know how to read or write, and needed someone to explain the Quran and the rules to them. Understanding the Quran and its explanation is not a simple matter that one can take lightly. Even at our present time, with the high education available, we still need someone specialised to explain the Quran properly. There has to be one person, or a group of Sahabah, who should have been able to do that.
       
      But there is a problem:
       
      What about if the Sahabah make a mistake? Is the correct interpretation lost forever? In other words; the real Islam is lost for ever.
       
      For the person, or group of Sahabah, to be such that they don’t make a mistake,
       
      ·         This person, or a group of Sahabah, must be chosen by the Prophet himself because he is the only one who knows the eligible person, or persons, for the task.
      ·         But how does the Prophet know?
      ·         He must be told by Allah. In other words, it is the command of Allah.
      ·         Then, the guardian, or guardians, must be chosen by Allah who knows the eligible ones to guard his accepted religion.
      ·         Hence, guardianship is Allah’s appointment. This point is of paramount importance that we need to pay attention to.
      ·         It cannot be perceived that Allah leaves such an important issue to humans, who can make mistakes, to decide.
       
      Some may say that a group of Sahabah will make sure that they tell each other and make sure that Islamic rules are preserved.
       
      The question, then, becomes:
       
      ·         How may Sahabah are required to make sure that Islam is preserved?
      ·         Who choses these Sahabah?
      ·         And who are these Sahabah?
      ·         Some say if ten Sahabah (as a minimum) agree on a verse in the Quran, then it is right, and that how the Muslims put the Quran together during the time of the Khalifah Uthman.
      ·         Why ten?
      ·         Is this an infallible number?
      ·         Who decided on the ten?
      ·         Where did this magic number come from?
      ·         Is it in the Quran? No.
      ·         Is it the order of Allah? No.
      ·         Did the Prophet say it? No.
      ·         This also entails, for us Muslims, that the number ten should be acceptable for any other subject. Is this acceptable?
      ·         If none of the above, then we discard the tales related to this number, particularly with regards to putting the Quran together during the time of the Khalifah Uthman.
      ·         Furthermore, these people are telling us the number of people is more important than one actually knowledgeable person. Shouldn’t the level of expertise be more important than the number of people?
       
       
      The Companions:
       
      The Quran says in Chapter 62 (Al-Jumu’a), verse 11:
       
      وَإِذَا رَأَوْا تِجَارَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا انفَضُّوا إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَائِمًا ۚ قُلْ مَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهْوِ وَمِنَ التِّجَارَةِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
      But when they saw a transaction or a diversion, [O Muhammad], they rushed to it and left you standing. Say, "What is with Allah is better than diversion and than a transaction, and Allah is the best of providers."
       
      Surat Al-Jumu’a was revealed to the Prophet on the sixth year of Hijrah. That is 5 years before the Prophet died. Even then, most Muslims (except few, and it is said 12 of them) used to leave him while he was delivering the Juma’a speech of the Juma’a prayer to go to worldly things, to the extent that necessitated Allah to dress them down.
       
      People say all the Sahabah maintain justice and piousness. So, whoever you follow, you will be guided. This is in direct contradiction to the above verse.
       
      This is also in direct contradiction to Chapter 63, in the Quran: المنافقون Al-Munaafiqoon (The Hypocrites). This chapter clearly says that there were hypocrites who were part of what we now call Sahabah (since Sahabah are defined as anyone who saw the profit even once).
       
      The Quran says in Chapter 9 (At-Tawba), verse 101:
       
      وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَعْرَابِ مُنَٰفِقُونَ ۖ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ ٱلْمَدِينَةِ ۖ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى ٱلنِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ ۖ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍۢ
      And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment.
       
      Prophet Moses and the Israelites
       
      The events of the Prophet Moses with the Israelites that the Quran tells us are eye opening examples.
       
      The Israelites saw with their own eyes how Prophet Moses split the sea with his stick. They crossed the sea to safety while the water was high around them. No one told them the event as a story. It happened to them first hand. Only a few days later when Moses left them to converse with Allah, they gathered the gold from women. Every woman donated her gold to make a calf, and worship it.
       
      The Quran goes on about other stories of the Israelites with Prophet Moses.
       
      Most people think that this behavior is a characteristic of the Israelites. They forget that the Israelites are humans like everybody else, and that this behavior is a human behavior of those who are either not believers, or they are new to the belief and don’t fully understand it.
       
      The Quran tells as many stories about the people of the Prophets.
       
      Why do Muslims think that the new Muslims during the time of the Prophet Muhammed are any different while the Quran, and the Prophet himself told them that they will behave no different from the people before them.
       
      The Quran says in Chapter 3 (AaL Imraan), verse 144:
       
      وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَنْ يَنْقَلِبْ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَنْ يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
      Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So, if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.
       
       
    • By Abdul-Hadi in Chasing Islam
         3
      I am alone at home for the week. Mom has gone to visit my aunt & uncle in New York state. I'm happy for her because she hasn't gone on a vacation since before COVID19 began it's rampage through America; so it's good that she's getting to visit them. She'll be visiting with my cousin Hannah as well. However, it's just me here with the cats (after all someone had to stay around to feed, water, scoop, and spend time with them). I have the house to myself for a week. Just me, completely alone and that got me thinking about my progress in Islam.

      There is a masjid here in town. A Sunni masjid but a masjid nonetheless. I have gone there before when I was first investigating Islam, but not since I have decided to follow the Shia. I wanted to attend Jummah today, but the masjid is still closed because of COVID19. Unfortunately, even if the masjid was open, I can only think that I would be castigated by nitpicking brothers for how I pray, the way I perform the wudhu, and have to get into debates that I am not prepared for (and don't want to get into) as to why I "pray the wrong way" and how I am a heathen, so on and so forth. There is no Shia Islamic Center anywhere remotely close to my hometown. The closest one is 120 miles to the north of me and that's simply too far to drive for a Jummah service every week with the price of gas being what it is and me not even working at the time being (as well as not being able to leave the county without permission, but we won't get into that).

      It makes me lonely as a revert. A revert who is the only Muslim in his family, let alone his household. I read through the Quran, sure but a lot of brothers and sisters have and many of them many more times that I already have. I have no background with the Hadith and don't know how to determine which are reliable, which I am allowed to use, and how to read them. I have no older brothers who can mentor me in Islam, as I feel like I am the only Shia in the area even if that is not true. What I liked about being a Christian, despite the glaring theological problems with Christianity, was the community and fellowship that was available to me at any of the hundreds of churches in the area. There were older Christians who could mentor me in the faith, Bible studies that were run that I could attend, service work in the community I could participate in... the communal aspect of religion is very important; but sadly I do not have any of those luxuries right now whether it's because of the town I live in or whether it's because I'm in the minority of an already minority religion in America. On one hand, I find myself wishing that Islam in America was like Christianity while on the other hand, for reasons I'll not get into here that I've already outlined in numerous threads, I thank Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that it is different entirely. Shia Islam, despite being the minority of a minority in America, has yet to become infected and corrupted the way that Christianity has and inshallah, it never will. Inshallah, Islam in America will truly grow in to the "fastest growing religion" and will bring about a revival of traditional values and morality that this country desperately needs.

      But before that day comes, what is there that can be done?

      The answer: cling closely to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), the example of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the Glorious Quran. Read it every day without ceasing, when you finish the final surah-- go back to the beginning and start over again. Make your five daily prayers wherein you spend time with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and for those five wonderful times throughout the day, spend time before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Recite the Tasbih. Renew your Wudhu always. Read Islamic literature and watch Khutbas, and offer dua that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) might bring you some upright brothers to fellowship and pray along with, who encourage you as you encourage them. Perfect your prayers (which can be quite the challenge for Westerners with no background in Islam or Arabic). Enjoin good and forbid evil. Do the little things for family and friends to let Allah's (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) light shine through you and make this world a better place.

      Being alone in your deen can be rough, it can certainly test your resolve to stay on the right path. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) never tests you beyond what he knows that you can handle and like steel in a furnace, these tests are to refine you into something more beautiful. Alhamdulillah.
    • By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinking
         4
      The correlation between OCD and being sensitive may apply only to some people. There is no clear evidence that highly sensitive individuals are prone to the disorder, although one of the symptoms indicate sensitivity to be a major factor. For instance, one may begin to obsess over hygiene as they fear being contaminated or infected with bacteria at home, so they start washing their hands repeatedly or attempting to maintain the cleanliness of the house. They are sensitive to any foreign substance present within their surrounding environment.
      In Islam, we must sustain purity before prayer. That means performing ablution or a full body ritual purification that is called 'ghusl'. Nevertheless, one may start developing doubts as to whether they are truly purified. Women may have doubts about discharge whilst men may begin to worry about excreting semen. Perhaps their clothes were impure, or that they passed gas during prayer. It could lead to repeatedly showering, performing ablution or using the bathroom more frequently. For the individual it is undoubtedly stressful and can lead to physical health problems, such as dry skin and hair as well as acne.
      The flashback memories of my past childhood always affects me till this day. I was born as a sensitive and naive child. Sensitivity is that one trait people often despise, even the carriers of it. I was faced with difficulties for self acceptance, because not only did I loathe my self for my overreacting personality, I was a victim of fat shaming. I wanted to feel happy, free of worries by claiming my desires. But unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian world; not everything we wish for can be granted, unless we choose to put the effort. I definitely take it to heart if someone still fat shamed me, even if it was merely a 'joke'. It evokes all my memories of self loathe, where I was rather too young to be feeling insecure followed by wasted effort from dieting and physical activity. We dislike being called sensitive despite us being fully aware. We refuse to admit our behaviours because we choose to not be defined by it. We feel weak, with no self control towards our impulses. When these emotions begin to overwhelm us, our mental health deteriorates. We feel violated if one makes a remark, which leads us being defensive.
      One must also understand that sensitive people can vary. Some are just easily emotional and have deep empathy, whereas others I previously mentioned have the tendency to take everything so personal. Normally these individuals have insecurities followed by low self esteem and hence their weakness is criticism. They are not skilled to ignore varying perceptions because they choose to listen to them and not their own conscious mind. It is the fear of judgement that they may receive.
      You may be wondering about its relevance to scrupulosity, but in some form it plays a role. Again, it is not necessarily the cause of the disorder and this is only an elucidation of my own personal experience. I investigated within myself and realised that one of the triggers towards OCD was my highly sensitive personality. Followed by the altering chemical changes, my overreactions led to repetitive self harm out of guilt and loathe. My personality may have been a stepping stone towards the disorder; the smallest of things I felt was a grave sin and through time it only had gotten worse.
      Do not let others define you, a very important lesson that I wish I had grasped years ago. People like to manipulate and make you feel bad, even though you may be the victim. That does not mean you should play its role, rather you should only believe in what your heart feels right. Sometimes we know that our very own mind controls us too and causes us to react or act in ways we regret later, but do not let the past define you. Every now and then I feel hurt from my own levels of faith, because when you have that love and dedication to the Lord, the judgements you receive will become meaningless.
       
       
    • By Hameedeh in Think Positive
         21
      Marriage is not easy. You have to get to know each other. You are used to doing everything your own way. Now you need to compromise. Share with each other. Give and take. If you take more than you give, it won't be as sweet. Do not expect more from your spouse than your spouse will need from you. Life is good. It's better when you are together. If you both do your best. 
      ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
    • By Muntazir e Mahdi in Bayaan e Muntazir
         0
      My eyes tear up at this kalaam... O Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)... Please reveal Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) soon and make us amongst his supporters...
       
       
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