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Did the Sahaba become Kafir?

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Islamic Salvation

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هلك الناس أجمعون قلت: من في الشرق و من في الغرب؟ قال: فقال: إنها فتحت على الضلال

All the people were destroyed. I said: whomever was in the east and the west? he said: it (the whole earth) was opened up to misguidance

هلكوا إلا ثلاثة ثم لحق أبو ساسان و عمار و شتيرة و أبو عمرة فصاروا سبعة

All were destroyed except three - then they were joined by Abu Sasan, Ammar, Shatira and Abu Amra, so they became seven [Ja`far al-Sadiq]

 

Did the Sahaba Apostatize?

There are narrations which indicate that all the companions were destroyed except three, these were then joined by four others, so they became seven who were saved. However, most of the scholars have understood this Halak [destruction] to be that of Dhalal [misguidance] i.e. perished in Salvific terms, not Kufr [disbelief] - which is the opposite of Islam.

 

Who are the three?

They are the pillars of the Madhhab. They are explicitly named in some of the narrations below:

أبي بصير قال: قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: ارتد الناس إلا ثلاثة: أبو ذر، و سلمان، و المقداد؟ قال: فقال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: فأين أبو ساسان، و أبو عمرة الأنصاري؟

[al-Kashshi] Abi Basir said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام: all the people turned back except for three - Abu Dhar, Salman and Miqdad? Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: so where is Abu Sasan and Abu Amra al-Ansari?!

أبي بكر الحضرمى قال: قال أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ارتد الناس إلاثلاثة نفر سلمان وأبو ذر والمقداد. قال: قلت: فعمّار؟ قال عليه السلام: قد كان جاض جيضة ثم رجع ... ثم أناب الناس بعد فكان أول من أناب أبو ساسان الانصاري وأبوعمرة وشتيرة وكانوا سبعة فلم يكن يعرف حق أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام إلاّ هؤلاء السبعة

[al-Kashshi] Abi Bakr al-Hadhrami said: Abu Ja`far عليه السلام said: the people turned back except three individuals - Salman, Abu Dhar and Miqdad, I said: what about Ammar? He عليه السلام said: he wobbled a bit then he returned [to the truth] … then the people repented after that, so the first ones to return [to the truth] were Abu Sasan al-Ansari, Abu Amra, Shatira, and they became seven, none recognized the right of the commander of the faithful عليه السلام except these seven.

  • 'then the people repented after that, so the first ones ...' This shows that it was not just these seven, rather, these were the foremost of them.

علي بن أبي طالب عليهم السلام قال: خلقت الارض لبسبعة بهم ترزقون وبهم تنصرون وبهم تمطرون منهم سلمان الفارسي والمقداد وأبو ذر وعّمار وحذيفة رحمة اللّه عليهم. وكان علي عليه السلام يقول: وأنا إمامهم وهم الذين صلوا على فاطمة صلوات الله عليها

[al-Ikhtisas] Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام said: the earth was created for seven, because of them you are given sustenance, and because of them you are assisted, and because of them is rain made to fall on you, among them are Salman al-Farsi and al-Miqdad and Abu Dhar and Ammar and Hudhayfa - may Allah have mercy on them. Ali عليه السلام used to say: and I am their Imam, and they are the ones who prayed [Salat al-Mayyit] upon Fatima صلوات الله عليها            

 

The Three had a higher status than the Four

حمران قال: قلت لأبي جعفر عليه السلام: ما أقلنا لو اجتمعنا على شاة ما أفنيناها قال: فقال: ألا أخبرك بأعجب من ذلك قال: فقلت: بلى قال: المهاجرون و الأنصار ذهبوا إلا (و أشار بيده) ثلاثة

[al-Kashshi] Humran said: I said to Abi Ja’far عليه السلام - how few we (the Shias) are! if we gather to eat a sheep we will not be able to finish it, he (Humran) said: so he عليه السلام said: should I not inform you of something even more bewildering? he (Humran) said: I said: yes (do so), he said: the Muhajirun and the Ansar all diverted (i.e. went astray) except for - and he gestured with his hand - three.

In al-Kulayni’s variant the narration continues:

قال حمران: فقلت: جعلت فداك ما حال عمار؟ قال: رحم الله عمارا أبا اليقظان بايع وقتل شهيدا، فقلت في نفسي: ما شئ أفضل من الشهادة فنظر إلي فقال: لعلك ترى أنه مثل الثلاثة أيهات أيهات

Humran said: may I be made your ransom - what is the status of Ammar? He said: may Allah have mercy on Ammar Aba al-Yaqdhan, he pledged allegiance and died a martyr, I said in my heart: what thing is better than martyrdom, so he [the Imam] looked at me and said: perhaps you think that he [Ammar] is like the three [in status], how far! how far! [from truth that opinion is]. 

 

Does this mean all others became apostates?

The crux is the meaning of Ridda (ردّة) in these narrations. Whether it is to be understood in a linguistic sense or the technical sense of apostasy. If the latter is taken then it means all the Sahaba became Kafir [out of Islam] for not sticking to Ali.

Irtidad in the linguistic sense refers to ‘turning back from something’. It has been used with this meaning in a number of verses such as:

فَلَمَّا أَن جَاء الْبَشِيرُ أَلْقَاهُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فَارْتَدَّ بَصِيرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

(i) So when the caravan herald [fore-runner] came he threw it on his face so he returned to seeing, he said: did I not say to you that I know from Allah what ye do not (12:96)

قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ

(ii) The one who had knowledge of a part of the Book said: I will bring it to you before your glance returns back to you [i.e. you blink and open your eyes again] (27:40)

مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لاَ يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاء

(iii) Racing ahead, their heads bowed down, their glances not returning back to them [i.e. unblinking] and their hearts void (14:43)

Whenever Irtidad from the Diin - ‘turning back’ from the Diin i.e. apostasy in the technical sense is meant, the Qur`an qualifies it by explicitly mentioning Diin.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ

(i) O you who believe, whoever turns back from his Diin from among you then Allah will bring about a people whom He loves and they love Him (5:54)

وَمَن يَرْتَدِدْ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَيَمُتْ وَهُوَ كَافِرٌ فَأُوْلَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ

(ii) And whoever among you turns back on his Diin and dies whilst being a Kafir then those are they whose deeds have been nullified in the world and the hereafter (2:217)

It is clear that the narrations about the Irtidad of the Sahaba are not qualified by Diin. To understand that meaning from it would require further proof.

 

The Chosen Interpretation

The Irtidad in the narrations should be understood [in light of other narrations] as people turning away, after the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله, from what they had made incumbent on themselves in his صلى الله عليه وآله lifetime, when they gave the Bay`a to Ali b. Abi Talib as the leader of the believers i.e. Irtidad from Wilaya not apostasy from Islam. 

Instead, they decided to give the Bay`a to someone else because of expediency and other reasons. This was a betrayal of epic proportions that opened up the door of misguidance and innovation in the Diin, however, they had not exited the apparent Islam, nor were all on the same level of liability for this.

This interpretation is aided by the following texts:

أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: كان الناس أهل ردة بعد النبي صلى الله عليه وآله إلا ثلاثة. فقلت: ومن الثلاثة؟ فقال: المقداد بن الأسود، وأبو ذر الغفاري، وسلمان الفارسي، رحمة الله وبركاته عليهم، ثم عرَف أناسٌ بعدَ يسير. وقال: هؤلاء الذين دارت عليهم الرحا وأبوا أن يبايعوا، حتى جاؤوا بأمير المؤمنين مكرَهاً فبايع، وذلك قوله تعالى: وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ

(i) [al-Kafi] Abi Ja`far عليه السلام said: the people were the people of Ridda after the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله except three. I said: who are the three? He said: al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad, Abu Dhar al-Ghiffari and Salman al-Farsi, may Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon them, then the people came to know after a while [the truth], these [three] are those around whom the banner revolved and they refused to give Bay`a [to Abu Bakr], until when they brought the commander of the faithful عليه السلام by coercion and he gave the pledge of allegiance, and that is His words the Elevated - “Muhammad is not but a messenger, messengers have come and gone before him, if he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heels, and whoever turns back on his heels then he will not harm Allah a thing and Allah will recompense those who are grateful” (3:144).

  • The narration indicates that the uniqueness of the three was that they did not give the Bay`a to the usurper because of knowing the true status of Ali, it was only when Ali was forced to give the Bay`a, and he did [for the Masliha which Allah willed], that the three also agreed to do it.
  • The meaning of 'then the people came to know after a while ...' is that some people recognized their fault, and acknowledged that the commander of the faithful was the most rightful person to assume leadership.

That all the others apart from the three were paralyzed by fear is shown in the narration below:

أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: جاء المهاجرون والأنصار وغيرهم بعد ذلك إلى علي عليه السلام فقالوا له: أنت والله أمير المؤمنين وأنت والله أحق الناس وأولاهم بالنبي عليه السلام هلم يدك نبايعك فوالله لنموتن قدامك! فقال علي عليه السلام: ان كنتم صادقين فاغدوا غدا علي محلقين فحلق علي عليه السلام وحلق سلمان وحلق مقداد وحلق أبو ذر ولم يحلق غيرهم؛ ثم انصرفوا فجاؤوا مرة أخرى بعد ذلك، فقالوا له أنت والله أمير المؤمنين وأنت أحق الناس وأولاهم بالنبي عليه السلام عليه السلام هلم يدك نبايعك فحلفوا فقال: إن كنتم صادقين فاغدوا علي محلقين فما حلق إلا هؤلاء الثلاثة قلت: فما كان فيهم عمار؟ فقال: لا؛ قلت: فعمار من أهل الردة؟ فقال: إنّ عمارا قد قاتل مع علي عليه السلام بعد ذلك

(ii) [al-Kashshi] Abi Ja`far عليه السلام said: the Muhajirun and Ansar and others came after that [the coup at Saqifa] to Ali عليه السلام and said to him: you are by Allah the commander of the faithful, and you are by Allah the most rightful person and closest to the prophet, put forth your hand so that we can pledge allegiance to you, for by Allah we are going to die in front of you [in your defense], Ali said: if you are truthful then come to me tomorrow having shaved your head [which would visually identify the ‘rebels’ to the authorities], so Ali shaved, so did Salman, Miqdad and Abu Dhar, and no one else did, then they came a second time after the first and said: you are by Allah the most rightful person and closest to the prophet, put forth your hand so that we can pledge allegiance to you, and they swore an oath, he said: come to me tomorrow having shaved your head if you are truthful, so no one shaved except three. I said: Ammar was not among them? He said: No, I said: Ammar is from the people of Ridda? He said: Ammar fought together with Ali after that.

  • This reaffirms that the uniqueness of the three is related to them not giving in and remaining with Ali to the end as far as his right is concerned. Note also how Ammar is not included among the Ahl al-Ridda, even in a historical sense, because of his later support for Ali.

In fact, one of the reasons behind Ali accepting to give Bay`a after his show of dissent was so that the masses do not renounce the faith totally. Recall that the Islamic polity was still unstable and there were a lot of Arab tribes whose allegiance had been personally to the prophet and not the Diin per se, the Jahiliyya was not far from their psyche.

أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: إن الناس لما صنعوا ما صنعوا إذ بايعوا أبا بكر لم يمنع أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام من أن يدعو إلى نفسه إلا نظرا للناس و تخوفا عليهم أن يرتدوا عن الاسلام فيعبدوا الاوثان ولا يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وكان الاحب إليه أن يقرهم على ما صنعوا من أن يرتدوا عن جميع الاسلام وإنما هلك الذين ركبوا ما ركبوا فأما من لم يصنع ذلك ودخل فيما دخل فيه الناس على غير علم ولا عداوة لامير المؤمنين عليه السلام فإن ذلك لا يكفره ولا يخرجه من الاسلام ولذلك كتم علي عليه السلام أمره وبايع مكرها حيث لم يجد أعوانا

(iii) [al-Kafi] Abu Ja'farعليه السلام  said: When the people did what they did - when they gave allegiance to Abu Bakr, nothing prevented the commander of the faithful عليه السلام from calling to himself (i.e. gather support to rival them publicly) except his fear for the people - that they would apostate from Islam, and begin worshiping the idols anew, and reject witnessing that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger; and it was more beloved to him to acquiesce to what they had done rather than them apostatizing from the whole of Islam. Verily, those who clambered upon this (opposing Ali for rulership) have been destroyed. As for the one who did not contribute anything to that (opposing Ali for rulership) and entered into what the people entered into without knowledge (about his status) nor enmity towards him then this act of his does not make him a disbeliever, and it does not remove him from Islam, and this is why Ali kept quiet about his matter (status), and gave allegiance while displeased, when he could not find any supporters.

  • The narration makes it clear that had the Imam fought for his leadership i.e. a civil war it would cause irreparable damage, this is because of the tenuous position that Islam had, even the outward Islam (the Islam of the Shahadatyn) would have been wiped out. There were a lot of external and internal enemies waiting for this infighting to make sure that the whole foundation of Islam crumbles.

 

Conclusion

The Umma became, for the most part, misguided after their prophet. This is something that had also happened to the communities of past prophets. But this misguidance should not be understood to have taken all of them out of Islam as a whole, rather, by ignoring a central commandment of the prophet they have done a great sin which struck a blow to the pristine Islam.

Furthermore, the protagonists differ relative to their role in the fiasco. Some were quite unaware of the whole thing and lacked full knowledge of the Haqq of Ali and his Ma`rifa, this could be because they were blind to the order of the prophet (total ignorance); had some doubts; did not have the ability to influence the outcome because of some constraints [swept away by the wave of events]; or because they showed cowardice and faltered in coming to Ali’s aid. Others later acknowledged their mistake and made up for it in the following years. All these in their different categories can be said to be the majority. Their fate in the next world of “realities” is left to Allah

On the other hand, there were those who administered the whole thing. They had full knowledge of what the prophet had ordered them and what the divine commandment required them to do. They also knew the position of Ali. Despite this, they fought against this explicitly. These are those who should be treated as apparent Muslims in the daily life in this world [according to most scholars]. This is, after all, how Ali himself treated them, praying in their mosques, visiting them in sickness, helping them out when they faced challenges, eating with them etc. part of which is Taqiyya and safeguarding the greater principles of Islam, but they are undoubtedly people of the fire in the next world.

Note that this interpretation is dependent on the position of differentiating between the Dharuriyat of the Diin and that of the Madhhab and considering the Shahdatayn alone to be enough in making someone a Muslim [unless taken out for some other reason]. Whilst this is a popular position among scholars today, it has had its detractors among the scholars of the past, one of them being someone like Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani, who considered the rejectors of the Wilaya as Kafirs with the fullest implication this has [even in this world].  

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1 hour ago, E.L King said:

So basically it was kufr which opposes iman and not kufr which opposes Islam? 

One way of putting it is that Iman is Naqis [deficient]. The other is that one is Kafir in Akhera. Both have been used by scholars who adopt this position. We are to treat them as Muslims on the apparent in our dealings with them.  

Other scholars did not see this nuance, someone like Yusuf al-Bahrani says:

إنك قد عرفت أن المخالف كافر لاحظ له في الاسلام بوجه من الوجوه 

You have known that the Mukhalif is a Kafir, he has nothing to do with Islam [he has no portion in Islam], in any way whatsoever.

See his: Shihab al-Thaqib fi Ma`na al-Nasib

This is an extreme position that we reject for many reasons.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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Brother are there any ahaadith specifying the position of Malik ibn al-Nuwayrah? He died (according to my understanding, I may be mistaken) for not only refusing to give the zakaat, but for his loyalty to Imam Ali (as). Is his status like the three, or the seven, or below that?

It seems odd to me that he would not be considered among the elite considering he gave blood; during the very early period where confusion was widespread among the people he had baseerah. 

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Umme Salma was steadfast on her Imaan. And as such these traditions talk about men folk and not women. Bani Hashim are also not included in these narratives. Read these narratives with special reference to Last Wish/Will of Prophet saww where he asked Hazrat Ali as to fight for his rights of caliphate if ansaar support him.

Ref. Sulaym bin Qais Hilali

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What about the following:

1. Bilal [ra]

2. Jabir ibn Abdillah al Ansari [ra]

3. Ibn Abbas [ra]

We even find in narrations Az Zubayr was one of the ones to stand by Ali a.s, but then later diverge.

4.Ubay ibn K'ab [ra]

5. Abdullah ibn Masu'd [ra] [i know this is a little bit of a khilaf issue]

6. Umar ibn abi salama [ra]

7. What of Abu Dujana [ra] , a man who even when death faced him stood by the Prophet [saw] ?

This is what the Prophet called out: "I am Muhammed and i am the Messenger of Allah, i am not killed, and i have not died" [words of the prophet from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith]

When the Prophet looked to Abu Dujanah [who was among the few who stayed with the Prophet he said: "O Abu Dujanah,you can also go; you have my permission to suspend your pledge of allegiance" [words of the prophet from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith same as above]

Now, have a look at the faith and Eman of Abu Dujanah [Radiyallahu Anhu! These words might make you shed a tear, and if not, evoke some reaction in your heart:]

"He[Abu Dujanah] turned around and sat before the Holy Prophet [saw] wept, and said: "No by Allah!", he raised his head to the sky and said: "No by Allah, i will not suspend my pledge of allegiance with you. I have pledged allegiance with you, then to whom can i return? Must i return to my wife who will die or the children who will also die or to the house that will be destroyed, or the asset that will vanish and the time of death that is approaching?' He kept fighting until his wounds made him to feel heavy when he and Ali were shielding him [The Holy Prophet.] [ from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith same as above]

 

If i understood this correctly, seven are the foremost, three are above the later four, but there are many others too?

Could it be possible that many feared not giving Bayah? After all, violence was used against those who rejected Abu Bakr. Perhaps some were bewildered and did not know what to do and gave Bayah out of taqqiyah but in their hearts wished they could give it to Ali a.s but know it was just not practical ?

Edited by QuranandAhlulbayt

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9 hours ago, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

What about the following:

Jabir ibn Abdillah al Ansari [ra]

 

[1/135] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي نجران، عن عاصم بن حميد، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: حدثني جابر عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ولم يكذب جابر ...
 
[1/135] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ibn Abi Najran from A`sim b. Humayd from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Ja`far عليه السلام who said: Jabir [b. Abdallah] narrated to me from the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله - and Jabir did not lie - …

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-narrators/jabir-b-abdallah-al-ansari-and-jabir-b-yazid-al-jufi

These are some of the narrations about Jabir in our books.

https://sites.google.com/site/rijalalkashi/vol1/jabir-b-abdallah-al-ansari

I will post more about the others as their entries come up in Mu`jam or al-Kashshi.

9 hours ago, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

If i understood this correctly, seven are the foremost, three are above the later four, but there are many others too?

Correct.

9 hours ago, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

Could it be possible that many feared not giving Bayah? After all, violence was used against those who rejected Abu Bakr. Perhaps some were bewildered and did not know what to do and gave Bayah out of taqqiyah but in their hearts wished they could give it to Ali a.s but know it was just not practical ?

Furthermore, the protagonists differ relative to their role in the fiasco. Some were quite unaware of the whole thing and lacked full knowledge of the Haqq of Ali and his Ma`rifa, this could be because they were blind to the order of the prophet (total ignorance); had some doubts; did not have the ability to influence the outcome because of some constraints [swept away by the wave of events]; or because they showed cowardice and faltered in coming to Ali’s aid. Others later acknowledged their mistake and made up for it in the following years. All these in their different categories can be said to be the majority. Their fate in the next world of “realities” is left to Allah.

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On 4/19/2017 at 0:38 AM, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

5. Abdullah ibn Masu'd [ra] [i know this is a little bit of a khilaf issue]

Indeed.

[78] و سئل عن ابن مسعود و حذيفة فقال: لم يكن حذيفة مثل ابن مسعود لأن حذيفة كان ركنا و ابن مسعود خلط و والى القوم و مال معهم و قال بهم
 
[78] And he [Ibn Fadhal] was asked about Ibn Mas`ud and Hudhayfa - so he said: Hudhayfa was not like [of the same status as] Ibn Mas`ud because Hudhayfa was a pillar [of support to Ali and rejecting the Khulafa] while Ibn Mas`ud became confused and accepted the group’s authority and inclined with them and professed them [as superior].  
 
On 4/19/2017 at 0:38 AM, QuranandAhlulbayt said:

If i understood this correctly, seven are the foremost, three are above the later four, but there are many others too?

 
و قال أيضا: إن من السابقين الذين رجعوا إلى أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام: أبو الهيثم بن التيهان و أبو أيوب و خزيمة بن ثابت و جابر بن عبد الله و زيد بن أرقم و أبو سعيد الخدري و سهل بن حنيف و البراء بن مالك و عثمان بن حنيف و عبادة بن الصامت ثم ممن دونهم قيس بن سعد بن عبادة و عدي بن حاتم و عمرو بن الحمق و عمران بن الحصين و بريدة الأسلمي و بشر كثير
 
He [al-Fadhl] also said: from among the fore-runners who returned back to the commander of the faithful عليه السلام were: Abu al-Haytham b. Tahiyyan, Abu Ayyub (al-Ansari), Khuzayma b. Thabit, Jabir b. Abdallah, Zayd b. Arqam, Abu Said al-Khudri, Sahl b. Hunayf, al-Bara` b. Malik, Uthman b. Hunayf and Ubada b. al-Samit - then those who were lesser than them - Qays b. Sa'd b. Ubada, Adi b. Hatim, Amr b. al-Hamiq, Imran b. al-Hussayn, Burayda al-Aslami and a large number of men besides.
 

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12 hours ago, Shaykh Patience101 said:

@Islamic Salvation

Hate to keep pestering you brother, but what about Abu Ayyub al-Ansari? If I recall correctly, he initially refused to give bayah to Abu Bakr, but there is the issue of him fighting under a Muslim army commanded by Yazid at Constantinople.

I noticed the section under his name on https://sites.google.com/site/rijalalkashi/vol1/abu-ayyub-al-ansari is empty.

This is how al-Fadhl explains the point you raise. 

[77] و سئل الفضل بن شاذان عن أبي أيوب خالد بن زيد الأنصاري و قتاله مع معاوية المشركين فقال: كان ذلك منه قلة فقه و غفلة، ظن أنه أنما يعمل عملا لنفسه يقوى به الإسلام و يوهي به الشرك و ليس عليه من معاوية شي‏ء كان معه أو لم يكن
 
[77] al-Fadhl b. Shadhan was asked about Abi Ayyub Khalid b. Zayd al-Ansari and his fighting together with Mua`wiya against the polytheists - he said: that was a lapse of understanding from him and an oversight, he thought that he was performing an act for its own sake, by which he would strengthen Islam and efface polytheism, and that he would suffer no consequences by way of Mua`wiya - whether he was there [present with him] or not [since it had nothing to do with him].
 

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On 19/04/2017 at 7:54 PM, Shaykh Patience101 said:

@Islamic Salvation

Hate to keep pestering you brother, but what about Abu Ayyub al-Ansari? If I recall correctly, he initially refused to give bayah to Abu Bakr, but there is the issue of him fighting under a Muslim army commanded by Yazid at Constantinople.

I noticed the section under his name on https://sites.google.com/site/rijalalkashi/vol1/abu-ayyub-al-ansari is empty.

Salam brother, that's interesting, do we have sources that narrate he refused to give bayah to Abu Bakr. Thanks 

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On 4/19/2017 at 3:44 AM, Islamic Salvation said:
 
[79] Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Ibrahim said: narrated to me Ali b. Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qummi saying: narrated to me Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Isa from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Bilal was a righteous slave while Suhayb was an evil slave - crying over Umar (i.e. after the latter was assassinated).
 
 

ختص: كان بلال مؤذن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، فلما قبض رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لزم بيته ولم يؤذن لاحد من الخلفاء وقال فيه أبوعبدالله جعفر بن محمد عليه السلام: رحم الله بلالا فإنه كان يحبنا أهل البيت، ولعن الله صهيبا فإنه كان يعادينا

al-Ikhtisas: Bilal was the Mua`dhin of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله, so when the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله died, he [Bilal] remained in his house, and he did not give the Adhan for any one of the Khulafa, Abu Abdillah Ja`far b. Muhammad عليه السلام said about him: may Allah have mercy on Bilal, for he used to love us the Ahl al-Bayt, may Allah curse Suhayb for he used to have enmity with us.

يه: عن أبي بصير عن أحدهما عليهما السلام أنه قال : إن بلالا كان عبدا صالحا، فقال: لا اؤذن لاحد بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، فترك يومئذ حي على خير العمل

al-Faqih: From Abi Basir from one of them عليهما السلام that he said: Bilal was a righteous slave, he said: I will not give the Adhan for anyone after the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله so 'Hayya ala Khayril Amal' was abandoned from that day.

يب: محمد بن علي بن محبوب، عن معاوية بن حكيم، عن سليمان بن جعفر، عن أبيه قال : دخل رجل من أهل الشام على أبي عبدالله عليه السلام فقال له: إن أول من سبق إلى الجنة بلال، قال: ولم؟ قال : لانه أول من أذن

Tahdhib al-Ahkam: Muhammad b. Ali b. Mahbub from Mu`awiya b. Hukaym from Sulayman b. Ja`far from his father who said: a man from the people of Sham entered to meet Abi Abdillah عليه السلام so he said to him: the first one to proceed to Janna will be Bilal, he said: why is that? he said: because he was the first to give the Adhan.

NOTE: al-Majlisi says that it could be the Imam who says this about Bilal, as is more likely, but there is an option that it is the Shami who said this, and the Imam responded - 'why do you say that?' [as a form of objecting to it] and the Shami answered, and the Imam remained silent because of Taqiyya. 

Also, Bilal being the first to proceed to Janna is not absolute, but could be relative to other Mu`adhins, or his class of the Sahaba who are not Ahl al-Bayt.

Salaam,

Here's a bit of other side perspective:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith Vol.2, Hadith. 375,
Narrated by Abdullah bin Ubaidullah bin Abi Mulaika
One of the daughters of 'Uthman died at Mecca. We went to attend her funeral
procession. Ibn 'Umar and Ibn Abbas were also present. I sat in between them (or
said, I sat beside one of them. Then a man came and sat beside me.) 'Abdullah
bin 'Umar said to 'Amr bin 'Uthman, "Will you not prohibit crying as Allah's
Apostle has said, 'The dead person is tortured by the crying of his relatives?"
Ibn Abbas said, "Umar used to say so." Then he added narrating, "I accompanied
Umar on a journey from Mecca till we reached Al-Baida. There he saw some
travelers in the shade of a Samura (A kind of forest tree). He said (to me), 'Go
and see who those travelers are.' So I went and saw that one of them was Suhaib.
I told this to 'Umar who then asked me to call him. So I went back to Suhaib and
said to him, 'Depart and follow the chief of the faithful believers.' Later,
when 'Umar was stabbed, Suhaib came in weeping and saying, 'O my brother, O my
friend!' (on this 'Umar said to him, 'O Suhaib! Are you weeping for me while the
Prophet said, "The dead person is punished by some of the weeping of his
relatives?" ' Ibn Abbas added, "When 'Umar died I told all this to 'Aisha and
she said, 'May Allah be merciful to Umar. By Allah, Allah's Apostle did not say
that a believer is punished by the weeping of his relatives. But he said, Allah
increases the punishment of a non-believer because of the weeping of his
relatives." 'Aisha further added, "The Quran is sufficient for you (to clear up
this point) as Allah has stated: 'No burdened soul will bear another's burden.'
" (35.18). Ibn Abbas then said, "Only Allah makes one laugh or cry." Ibn Umar
did not say anything after that.

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On 4/19/2017 at 3:44 AM, Islamic Salvation said:

[79] Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Ibrahim said: narrated to me Ali b. Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qummi saying: narrated to me Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Isa from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Bilal was a righteous slave while Suhayb was an evil slave - crying over Umar (i.e. after the latter was assassinated).

Is this reference to Suhayb bin Sinan/ aka Suhayb Ar Rumi RA?  Or a different Suhayb?

I'd be surprised, considering Suhayb Ar Rumi/bin Sinan was close companions of Bilal ibn Rabah RA and Salman e Farsi RA.  As non-Arab Sahaba, they frequently spent much of their time together.

Also, from tafsir, a Quran verse was reveled upon Suhayb's arrival to Medina after being held back by the Qu'raish... he had to give up all of his wealth that he acquired after arriving as a runaway slave of the Byzantine Empire to escape Mecca to Medina after the Hijrah.

"Thereupon, the glorious verse was revealed: ‘And of mankind is he who sell himself, seeking the pleasure of Allah And Allah is full of kindness to (His) slaves’ (Quran 2:201). "

In fact, he's also fought in every battle alongside the Prophet SAW, and never ran from any nor left his side.

Also, Suhayb lived out the rest of his life till old age, spreading for Da'wah until he died (In response to the OP's post). 

These were taken from WikiShia:

He and Imam Ali were the last of Immigrants who joined the Prophet (s) in the first half of Rabi' I.

Some have related the revelation of verse 207 of the sura al-Baqara to him. However, it is famous that it has been revealed about the role of Imam Ali  at Laylat al-Mabit.

Suhayb participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and other battles of the Prophet (s). About him, the noble Prophet (s) said, "the leaders are four people; I am the leader of Arabs, Suhayb is the leader of Romans, Salman is the leader of Persians and Bilal is the leader of Habesha."

Edited by wmehar2

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1 hour ago, wmehar2 said:

Also, Suhayb lived out the rest of his life till old age, spreading for Da'wah until he died (In response to the OP's post). 

To Elaborate further,

Suhayb spent any and all his wealth to the poor and community, even after the Prophet SAW died, and continued to spend his stipends for the needy and did not partake in corrupt Ummayyad wealth schemes.

This reeks of guilt by association, in a false accusation of a legitimate believing Sahaba  of being evil, all because he was cried over Umar's death and lead prayers after his death temporarily.  That's unfortunately not an academic/scholarly line of thought at all, and most importantly  it's not an Islamic line of logic.

Suhayb in his character was a Greek-Speaking Arab who was kidnapped from a wealthy family and brought up as a slave in Byzantine society, unlike Salman he had no knowledge of the Bible,, Hebrew and other Aristocratic attributes... instead Suhyab only learned directly from the Prophet's SAW Sermons.  His Arabic was harsh/heavy and himself had a difficult time re-learning it.

Contextually, Suhayb was a close companion but never could be in an inner circle of influence that was Umar, Uthman, and the rest of the "higher social ranked" Sahaba.  Instead he chose to act simply and directly in what he perceived was the direct way to please Allah SWT, e.g.(Hadith where he gave food after being questioned by 'Umar why he starved himself, that the Prophet SAW told him the best of people were those who gave food and charity). 

He was innocent to a fault, and perhaps ignorant.  Assuming Shia rhetoric of 'Umar and Abu Bakr is true of their plot to Usurp the Khilafah,  Suhayb was ignorantly in no place to understand with his lacking Arabic speech and distance from that social status (since he was a slave and not Quraish), the ramifications that 'Umar could have been an evil man and he was crying over an evil guy.

He seemed to be a goof ball as well, and is cited for making the Prophet SAW laugh on many occasions, and would never do it at any one else's expense.

Shame on the people who ascribe lies and false sayings to the Imams, AS on them all.

I've read deeply into the sources in al Kafi, and Yasser Habibs hate rhetoric and I find not a single ounce of legitimate nor logical premises of which to condemn/accuse Suhayb by direct actions, words, or speech.

Nearly all sources, even Shia indicate Suhayb as a righteous companion and follower of the Prophet SAW.

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Sometimes the question is asked - who is greater Salman, Miqdad or Abu Dhar?

The narration below goes some way in attempting to answer, though it is not free of some weakness in the chain. It should also be noted that it is limited to how they reacted in response to the order of Ali in the face of the usurping of his right and does not speak of their overall merit.

Furthermore, they did not in fact sin in the conventional sense of the word, what two of them did might be called lapses which arose because of the righteous anger against the injustice done to Ali.

Despite this, what was required in the face of this unimaginable betrayal was to submit totally to the unknown wisdom behind divine providence.

[24] علي بن الحكم، عن سيف بن عميرة عن أبي بكر الحضرمي قال: قال أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ارتد الناس إلا ثلاثة نفر سلمان و أبو ذر و المقداد قال: قلت: فعمار؟ قال: قد كان جاض جيضة ثم رجع، ثم قال: إن أردت الذي لم يشك و لم يدخله شي‏ء فالمقداد، فأما سلمان فإنه عرض في قلبه عارض أن عند أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام اسم الله الأعظم لو تكلم به لأخذتهم الأرض و هو هكذا فلبب و وجئت عنقه حتى تركت كالسلقة فمر به أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام فقال له: يا أبا عبد الله هذا من ذاك بايع فبايع و أما أبو ذر فأمره أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام بالسكوت و لم يكن يأخذه في الله لومة لائم فأبى إلا أن يتكلم فمر به عثمان فأمر به، ثم أناب الناس بعد فكان أول من أناب أبو ساسان الأنصاري و أبو عمرة و شتيرة و كانوا سبعة، فلم يكن يعرف حق أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام إلا هؤلاء السبعة

[24] Ali b. al-Hakam from Sayf b. Umayra from Abi Bakr al-Hadhrami who said: Abu Ja`far عليه السلام said: the people turned back except three individuals - Salman, Abu Dhar and Miqdad, I said: what about Ammar? He عليه السلام said: he wobbled a bit then he returned [to the truth], if you want the one who did not waver and nothing of doubt entered him then it was al-Miqdad, as for Salman then it came to his heart a thought that the commander of the faithful عليه السلام knew the greatest name of God which if he were to intone - the earth would swallow them up, and it is indeed so [it is true], because of this he was pulled by the scruff of his neck and it was stricken until it left a swollen lump [cyst], the commander of the faithful عليه السلام passed by him and said: O Aba Abdillah this [i.e. suffering] is because of that [the thought you had] - so give the pledge of allegiance, as for Abu Dhar then the commander of the faithful عليه السلام had ordered him to remain silent, but he was not one to be affected by the blame of the blamer in regards his duty to Allah, he did not desist until he talked, so Uthman b. Affan passed by him and ordered that he be disposed of [and he was banished], then the people repented after that, so the first ones to return [to the truth] were Abu Sasan al-Ansari, Abu Amra, Shatira, and they became seven, none recognized the right of the commander of the faithful عليه السلام except these seven. 

NOTES:

al-Miqdad obeyed the order of accepting Ali's decision to give the Bay`a unquestioningly, Salman harboured the thought that Ali should use the Greatest Name of God to overpower his enemies once and for all [without being patient about the divine decree], while Abu Dhar was too scrupulous about the truth to remain quiet and had to publicly condemn the usurpers.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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Quote

 [al-Kafi] Abu Ja'farعليه السلام  said: When the people did what they did - when they gave allegiance to Abu Bakr, nothing prevented the commander of the faithful عليه السلام from calling to himself (i.e. gather support to rival them publicly) except his fear for the people - that they would apostate from Islam, and begin worshiping the idols anew, and reject witnessing that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger; and it was more beloved to him to acquiesce to what they had done rather than them apostatizing from the whole of Islam. Verily, those who clambered upon this (opposing Ali for rulership) have been destroyed. As for the one who did not contribute anything to that (opposing Ali for rulership) and entered into what the people entered into without knowledge (about his status) nor enmity towards him then this act of his does not make him a disbeliever, and it does not remove him from Islam, and this is why Ali kept quiet about his matter (status), and gave allegiance while displeased, when he could not find any supporters.

Al-Salamu Alaykum brother @Islamic Salvation. I have a question, this explains why Imam Ali (AS) chose not to rise, but how does that fit in with Imam Al-Husayn's (AS) revolution against Yazid Al-Khabeeth (LA)? Does this mean the people were already murtadeen when Yazid (LA) became the [false] Khalifa?

Edited by E.L King

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I just recently observed the enemy of Ahlulbait (as) quoted one of these hadiths and made people think that Shias believe that most of the sahaba became kafir. Of course these kind of people never read the rest of the hadiths nor they try to understand the full meaning of the hadith, rather they just want to show that in the Shi'a authentic hadiths we find these kind of beliefs to make us look like kafirs.

Edited by Dhulfikar

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On 30/04/2017 at 4:46 AM, Islamic Salvation said:

al-Miqdad obeyed the order of accepting Ali's decision to give the Bay`a unquestioningly, Salman harboured the thought that Ali should use the Greatest Name of God to overpower his enemies once and for all [without being patient about the divine decree], while Abu Dhar was too scrupulous about the truth to remain quiet and had to publicly condemn the usurpers.

Brother, what is the source of this hadith?

I doubt the negative connotations for Salman because Salman is the ONLY companion about whom the Prophet said that he is from my Ahlul Bayt. 

As for what the hadith says about Abu Zar Ghaffari, I do not see anything negative in it.   

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On 4/18/2017 at 4:38 PM, guest051217 said:

What about the following:

1. Bilal [ra]

2. Jabir ibn Abdillah al Ansari [ra]

3. Ibn Abbas [ra]

We even find in narrations Az Zubayr was one of the ones to stand by Ali a.s, but then later diverge.

4.Ubay ibn K'ab [ra]

5. Abdullah ibn Masu'd [ra] [i know this is a little bit of a khilaf issue]

6. Umar ibn abi salama [ra]

7. What of Abu Dujana [ra] , a man who even when death faced him stood by the Prophet [saw] ?

This is what the Prophet called out: "I am Muhammed and i am the Messenger of Allah, i am not killed, and i have not died" [words of the prophet from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith]

When the Prophet looked to Abu Dujanah [who was among the few who stayed with the Prophet he said: "O Abu Dujanah,you can also go; you have my permission to suspend your pledge of allegiance" [words of the prophet from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith same as above]

Now, have a look at the faith and Eman of Abu Dujanah [Radiyallahu Anhu! These words might make you shed a tear, and if not, evoke some reaction in your heart:]

"He[Abu Dujanah] turned around and sat before the Holy Prophet [saw] wept, and said: "No by Allah!", he raised his head to the sky and said: "No by Allah, i will not suspend my pledge of allegiance with you. I have pledged allegiance with you, then to whom can i return? Must i return to my wife who will die or the children who will also die or to the house that will be destroyed, or the asset that will vanish and the time of death that is approaching?' He kept fighting until his wounds made him to feel heavy when he and Ali were shielding him [The Holy Prophet.] [ from Al Kafi Volume 8] [Reliable hadith same as above]

 

If i understood this correctly, seven are the foremost, three are above the later four, but there are many others too?

Could it be possible that many feared not giving Bayah? After all, violence was used against those who rejected Abu Bakr. Perhaps some were bewildered and did not know what to do and gave Bayah out of taqqiyah but in their hearts wished they could give it to Ali a.s but know it was just not practical ?

Umar b abi salma is mentioned fondly in nah jul balagah and kitab sulaym b qays he attened jamal and later goverened Bahrain for Ali

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On 4/20/2017 at 2:33 AM, Islamic Salvation said:

This is how al-Fadhl explains the point you raise. 

[77] و سئل الفضل بن شاذان عن أبي أيوب خالد بن زيد الأنصاري و قتاله مع معاوية المشركين فقال: كان ذلك منه قلة فقه و غفلة، ظن أنه أنما يعمل عملا لنفسه يقوى به الإسلام و يوهي به الشرك و ليس عليه من معاوية شي‏ء كان معه أو لم يكن
 
[77] al-Fadhl b. Shadhan was asked about Abi Ayyub Khalid b. Zayd al-Ansari and his fighting together with Mua`wiya against the polytheists - he said: that was a lapse of understanding from him and an oversight, he thought that he was performing an act for its own sake, by which he would strengthen Islam and efface polytheism, and that he would suffer no consequences by way of Mua`wiya - whether he was there [present with him] or not [since it had nothing to do with him].
 

Also abu ayyub was governer of medina and general at nahrawan for Ali when he was able to convince a lot of khawarij to return back to Ali

He also was a vocal critic of uthman as well

If abu ayyub was traitor to Alid cause he would have collaborated with bishr b abi artat when he raided medina but abu ayyub left and joined Ali in kufa

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On 4/19/2017 at 0:38 AM, guest051217 said:

What of Abu Dujana [ra] , a man who even when death faced him stood by the Prophet [saw] ?

[1/-] Ilal al-Sharai: Ahmad b. Ziyad b. Ja`far al-Hamdani from Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hashim from his father from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr al-Bazanti and Muhammad b. Abi Umayr from Aban b. Uthman from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said:

All the companions of the messenger of Allah ran away on the day of Uhud - no one was left among them except Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام and Abu Dujana Simak b. Kharasha. The prophet صلى الله عليه وآله said to him: O Aba Dujana - don’t you see your people? he said: I do, he said: join up with them, he said: this is not what I gave my pledge of allegiance to Allah and His messenger for! he said: you are released [from your pledge], he said: by Allah the Quraysh will never get the opportunity to say that I abandoned you and ran away until I taste what you taste! Then the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله prayed for a good recompense for him.

Whenever a group used to attack the messenger of Allah - Ali عليه السلام would face them and repel them until he had killed a large number of them and injured others. He continued this way until his sword broke so he came to the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله and said: O messenger of Allah – a man can only fight with his weapon but my sword has broken! So he (the prophet) gave him his sword Dhu al-Fiqar and he (Ali) kept on defending the prophet using it until marks [wound traces] were inflicted on him and he became unrecognizable [because of a multitude of injuries]. Jibril descended and said: O Muhammad this is an incomparable support from Ali to you! so the prophet said: he is from me and I am from him, Jibril said: and I am from you both, and they heard a voice from heaven saying: there is no sword but Dhu al-Fiqar and the there is no young champion except Ali.

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-narrators/simak-b-kharasha

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14 minutes ago, Islamic Salvation said:

there is no sword but Dhu al-Fiqar and the there is no young champion except Ali

I have always heard it said that this phrase is not from our saheeh ahadith. Perhaps I've been incorrectly informed.

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      A hoax?
      I was inspired to think about this. by yet another post on ShiaChat asking about the numbers of deaths caused by Covid-19 compared to the numbers dying annually from other causes e.g. malaria or car accidents. The motivation behind the observation was that maybe the fuss around Covid-19 was a hoax perpetrated by those who want to benefit themselves at our expense.
      Driving people to science ...
      A 'positive' outcome from this crisis is that people are trying to engage with the science and statistics behind the virus, even though they may not be doing so perfectly. But at least it demonstrates a desire to understand the world rather than spend time in idle frivolity. And perhaps as a result of better understanding acquired by such means we may be better able to cope with the next, more virulent virus. At the same time there are clearly attempts by some to mislead to further their own agenda.
      Epistemology for the masses
      But I also believe that God allows for information and knowledge to take a number of different forms and if we cannot understand one, there is always something else that may take us in the right direction.
      A measure that's easy to understand
      There are many different measures of how deadly or not the virus is and based on that information what the imperative should be on us to take any action. Some of these are very technical and difficult for the layperson to understand. Indeed we read a number of arguments questioning the threat that CV19 poses and these include the following: 
      CV19 being no more deadly than flu  more people die in road traffic accidents questions about the integrity of the mortality data because it may not be able to distinguish between whether someone died of CV19 or with it so on.  They may sound plausible to the unwary and suggest that perhaps no lifestyle changes are necessary.
      However I think that it is instructive that we have quantitative information about deadliness that is very easy indeed to understand, and it can not be easily manipulated or changed for propaganda purposes. It is the data on excess deaths.
      In all developed countries and many developing ones we know how many people die each year. We just look at the number for this year and you can see the impact of CV19. Of course if there is more than one pandemic happening then it's not so good, but at the moment we only have one.
      https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19-excess-deaths-across-countries?gclsrc=aw.ds&gclid=CjwKCAjwtqj2BRBYEiwAqfzur2tUrpRWyXzItjBIDYv-RFBwlzlIBVnQk1155kR7aHJPymSI5DGvcRoCKvkQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
      I think the importance of this measure for theists is an important one. Ultimately God creates everything. A just God who created CV19, would also offer us reliable and valid tools to measure its impact.

      https://www.ft.com/content/f6a11fcd-0445-4643-9d3c-24d5fc0611da
      Salvation for those who can't add up
      In addition to quantitative data that is easy to understand, we also have the benefit of qualitative data.
      The video coverage and audio/text narratives provided by doctors and nurses in many different countries about their daily experiences should be evidence enough to show that this is not some existing cause of death like malaria. Clearly health professionals in many different countries are overwhelmed in a manner that the common flu does not cause. 
      Did China lie? But does it matter?
      A common refrain from President Trump in late April 2020 has been that the Americans were caught off-guard because the Chinese lied about the nature and extent of the virus. In some ways each of us has been in the same position as the American government. To what extent has the information that has been provided to us been accurate and a reflection of the real situation?
      I don't think it matters.
      Because it has been easy enough to observe, almost in real time, what the impact has been on peoples' behaviour. People can lie about their opinions and their analysis of reality but they tend to behave in a manner that reflects their true understanding of a situation.
      There were enough videos coming out of China about the hospitals being built, the roads being disinfected, the guards at the ground level of apartment blocks restricting who could enter or leave, to tell anyone regardless of cognitive ability that this was a serious virus. This was not flu.
      So we did not need to rely on what the Chinese said, all we needed to do was observe what they did.
      So you did not need to know the R value of the virus, you did not need to know the difference between different types of mortality rates and so on. All you needed to know were the extreme measures those on the front line were taking because they were terrified and act appropriately.
      Conclusion
      CV19 forces us to drop misconceptions, ideologies, beliefs and every other artifice that we have created.
      It forces us to try and understand nature with the cognitive and analytical skills that we have.
      It provides evidence for those who Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the greatest quantitive skills for measuring and understanding what is going on and which will likely be essential for policy making at a global and national level, but at the same time there is enough quantitative evidence that is easy to understand and even qualitative data that no individual need feel unqualified in terms of making the decisions that will help preserve their lives.
       
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         3
      Whether Covid-19 is a naturally occurring virus or whether as some claim (unconvincingly, so far) it is a bioweapon, in my opinion its spread is the result of free will [15]. If it is naturally occurring, then it was human actions that led to its migration from animals to humans. We know that some viruses can do this and we have had previous experience with ones (e.g. SARS) that have created far less havoc [1]. By the same measure this one could be seen to be a dry run for worse epidemics to come, that too is eminently predictable [2,17].
      Warnings
      A theist could argue that the 2003 SARS outbreak was a warning. SARS showed us that the consumption of certain animals and/or their close proximity to humans can be dangerous. The death toll was relatively low but the message was clear. The fact that people still pursued lifestyles that could lead to such transmission is an expression of their free will. They are exercising their right to pursue cultural practices (eating haram wild animals) while ignoring science [3]. Similarly this is not the last virus that we will face, no doubt there will be another one along at some point which will be deadlier and more difficult to contain. If the lessons from this one are not learnt then the number of dead with the next one will be even higher. That is not the result of God being unjust, it is the result of various human injustices, the socio-economic dimension of the current outbreak has been observed I.e. the poor are much more likely to die than people who are better off [4], but such observations are rare because that would challenge the existing order.
      Taking informed personal control
      But just as people can blame people in other nations and cultures for their own demise, so we are now facing the tests for our own understanding of risk and willingness to change established behaviours. Two weeks prior to my writing this the Western press was full of stories about how religious Iranians were responsible for helping spread the virus [5]. Those gloating articles [6] have now been replaced by those which are lamenting the behaviour of people in the West and the slow behaviour of western governments.
      How the virus transmits, what counts as risky behaviour and what does not is all information that is available and has been for some time now. Some people may choose not to observe nature, they may choose to ignore science and they may choose to live lives as they have always done but they cannot escape reality. And that goes for people who are visiting shrines when they should not as much as those who go to restaurants or evangelical churches [19].
      Inequality and viral transmission
      There are those who are unable to comply with the scientific advice because of the constraints of their employment, those who get paid by the hour and nothing if they don't work are in a very invidious position. If they carry on working who is to blame? In that situation I think the rest of us carry some responsibility for having elected political leaders who have created economic systems that allow such practices to exist. But luckily and perhaps something that may offer us some redemption in some countries at least even the most economically liberal people are recognising the need to be more communitarian with for example, people who are renting being able to stay in their apartments even if they do not pay their rent [7]. Singapore stands out as a country with an exemplary record in containing Covid-19, but their Achilles heel? The relatively poor care they take of Indian migrant workers and it's been the accommodation such people are offered that has been a more recent cause for concern [16]. The solution has been to 'improve' housing conditions and people recognise that having dozens of workers sharing the same toilets or men living 12 to a room is ideal for viral transmission, the inequality will need to be addressed in order to reduce the transmission of the disease and thereby protect those who are better off.
      Incidentally the Singapore example is also worth remembering for all those occasions where people woe the fact that their country is not more like Singapore (I know Pakistanis like doing this). Singapore is one of those countries that enjoys a very favourable international press, and if you are a tourist it is indeed paradise. But it stays that way because of a large underbelly of South Indian manual workers and Malaysians commuting from Johor. There are also other countries (a number ex-British colonies), with similar labour models and all will have problems when you have a disease that spreads more easily where people are being treated unequally.
      The Singaporean situation stands in contrast to the Indian state of Kerala whose Covid-19 figures are exemplary, why? Because socialist governments have clamped down on inequality [20]. They may not have the best medical facilities in the world, but good socio-economics have helped them to cope better than richer and better equipped countries. There is a similar story in Vietnam, a country that has learnt not to put economic gain at the very top of the national agenda was able to take strong pre-emptive action and has suffered only a few hundred deaths, despite having a long border with China [21], almost counter-intuitively such emphasis on health may allow such regions to resume economic activity more quickly than those places which were to put it bluntly 'greedy'.
      There is another way to look at this. The information was always out there, regardless of claims with hindsight that the Chinese hid the scale of the situation. Some countries (poor ones) acted on it and some (amongst the richest) did not. Possible reasons for the difference? Wealth itself blinkered the vision of decision-makers. A rich country simply has too much to lose if it locks down, despite the fact that it can afford to do so if it wanted to. It's analogous in my opinion to the reason why often it is small companies that innovate and larger ones don't. The latter have too much invested in the status quo.
      Economic solutions for medical problems
      Those of us who believe in a forgiving and generous God understand that viruses and other diseases are part of the ecosystem in which we live. How we deal with them is, to a large degree, up to us. And to that end it is interesting to note how various commentators are recognising that economic systems that are built on the adoration of the individualistic entrepreneur can be ill-fitted to dealing with such situations, which invariably require self-sacrifice for the social good and where problems are exacerbated when people act selfishly. There are now Twitter campaigns singling out pharmacies that have over-charged for medicines. There are loud complaints about billionaires whose businesses are being baled out with taxpayers' money [8]. Societies that have maintained at least some ability to self-reflect will recognise that although this is a virus the solutions are not going to be wholly medical, they will have to have an economic and social dimension and the latter will involve following precepts embodied in religious texts. Comparisons have been drawn with WWII about how such calamities make societies more social [9].
      Whatever the defences people make of the United States healthcare system the fact remains that in order to deal with this virus at least, the system cannot cope with existing payment practices [10]. While the uninsured can go untreated for various other illnesses, they can't be left to their own devices when the result of non-treatment will be an even worse epidemic. Viruses reinforce religious precepts of charity, seeking knowledge and looking after others.
      Beliefs, behaviours and survival
      Viruses are not kind to those people who believe in blind faith [11] or who feel they can carry on partying [12]. Viruses are not kind to those people who believe in quack cures [13]. Viruses don't care about economic, political, social or religious ideology. Viruses present us with a reality and it is up to us whether we accept it, accommodate it into our worldview and live or challenge it and die. Those people protesting at the Michigan capital about 'liberty' may be making a political point [22], but the virus does not care about liberty and it is certainly not intimidated by the fact that they are carrying AR15 rifles.
      This virus, at least from what we know has a clear basis for prevention - social distance, and better still self-isolation [14]. Respecting its transmission is in my opinion respecting nature and the laws of God. The ability to perceive the reality of the situation is essential and something whose importance we've previously discussed [18]. Given the Islamic imperative on preserving life both one's own and that of others - following these rules becomes a must. To that extent we are empowered and God has given us hope and His mercy. This is no apocalypse waiting to happen, it always could be averted, there have been enough warnings over the past several months to encourage those who are willing to listen and prepare.
      Hope for people
      As a result of the outbreak science is attempting to catch-up and there will likely be a solution. There always is. Again theists and Muslims in particular have their beliefs to give hope in this specific regard. Hope manifests itself at two levels, there is what society can do as it manages and comes out of lockdown and there is what we can do as individuals. At a societal level questions are beginning to be asked about whether lifestyles that we had taken for granted are necessary, do people have to travel long distances to work, when teleworking is possible? Now that people are no longer taking flights were they essential in the first place or should some airlines be allowed to go bust? Of course this is going to cause tremendous upheaval, unemployment and social costs but for those of us who believe in man made climate change, this is a heaven sent opportunity to make the radical changes that would otherwise have been economically unthinkable and perhaps avoid much larger social and economic devastation if we had continued with the same business models as before.
      Hope for the individual
      In the meantime we are locked down to varying degrees depending on where we are in the world. Some of us may be locked down, but saving time commuting as we work from home others may have no other choice but to stay at home and wait it out.
      The lockdown as I see it is an opportunity. Our daily lives can be an impediment to religious study with more material concerns taking precedence. Lockdown can be seen as a heaven sent opportunity to refocus, while at the same time having the impetus of seeing at first hand the proximity of death.
      This is the time when we can
      Re-open the books that may have not be read for some time. Remember the prayers for which people may ordinarily feel they do not have the time Revisit al-Islam.org and access the resources they have available Sign-up to online Islamic courses For all the occasions where people are led astray by having haram easy to access, its misperceived benefits available in abundance, death seemingly improbable, unlikely and far away and the ability to choose the right path made more difficult by these impediments - the virus and its social and behavioural implications is a reset that loads the dice in the favour of those who are inclined towards the right path. Death is nearer, it is entirely possible and we have the time and the resources to prepare for it. Over the course of human existence, this is a luxury that few people have had.
      [1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sars/
      [2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/emerging-viruses
      [3] https://www.healthline.com/health/zoonosis#list-of-diseases
      [4] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/09/media/emily-maitlis-bbc-coronavirus-scli-intl-gbr/index.html
      [5] https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-Iran-became-a-new-epicenter-of-the-coronavirus-outbreak
      [6] https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/24/how-Iran-botched-coronavirus-pandemic-response/
      [7] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
      [8] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/31/bailouts-coronavirus-state-aid
      [9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/11/coronavirus-who-will-be-winners-and-losers-in-new-world-order
      [10] https://www.ft.com/content/00017d02-5f39-11ea-b0ab-339c2307bcd4
      [11] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-51706021
      [12] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/cheltenham-festival-defends-decision-coronavirus-a4406906.html
      [13] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/Iran-coronavirus-methanol-drink-cure-deaths-fake-a9429956.html
      [14] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30190-0/fulltext
      [15] https://www.al-Islam.org/God-and-his-attributes-Sayyid-mujtaba-musavi-lari/lesson-19-free-will
      [16] https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/3-pronged-strategy-in-place-to-stop-virus-spread-in-dorms
      [17] https://www.ft.com/content/6e9b4fe7-b26e-45b9-acbd-2b24d182e914
      [18] https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235033293-quran-social-science-natural-science/
      [19] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bible-belt-us-coronavirus-pandemic-pastors-church-a9481226.html
      [20] https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/04/13/999313/kerala-fight-covid-19-india-coronavirus/
      [21] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52628283
      [22] https://www.npr.org/2020/05/14/855918852/heavily-armed-protesters-gather-again-at-michigans-capitol-denouncing-home-order?t=1589550976807
    • By Haji 2003 in Stories for Sakina
         0
      This story is about a tea party, but actually it isn't about the party.
      It isn't about the party that Anna Pavlovna holds, the one that many people know about but about whose subsequent events they remain unfamiliar. In fact if I wanted to I could try really hard and remind myself of the time I attended, but as I said that's not really the purpose of this story.
      You see Sakina many people arrive at Anna Pavlovna's party with high hopes and expectations. They have a self-image of their literary prowess and they want to be able to tell everyone else that not only did they attend but that they experienced everything else that happened afterwards as well.
      I was a bit like that to be honest. The first time I went I was about your age. I'd heard a lot about Anna Pavlovna's world and I wanted to be able to casually mention to friends and associates that I'd been. And so I would try so very very hard to get to know the attendees and to be honest it was impossible. I made many attempts and never got further than the entrance to the party itself.
      So I tried a different tack.
      I'd try less hard.
      Instead of trying to get as far into this world as I could and meet as many people as I could, as quickly as I could, I would take the opposite approach.
      I would only spend so much time at the party and I would stop, no matter how engaging the characters and no matter how interesting the stories that they had to tell.
      And the next day I would come back to where I had left off and the people and the stories would still be there and slowly but surely I'd have the impetus to find out a little more about them and the following day a little bit more and so on.
      In fact their lives became a little soap opera for me that went on for over a year and that's how I finished War & Peace.
    • By GD41586 in Chasing Islam
         6
      [In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful]

      Some people may object to my embrace of Islam. "Oh, Islam is such a difficult and demanding religion" they will say "It's too difficult to be a Muslim, especially in the West". I wholeheartedly disagree.

      Islam is not difficult at all, unless you allow it to be. Submission to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is the natural state that humans were created for, so I have not found it terribly difficult at all thus far and even if it was, that doesn't mean that it's not worth pursuing (actually, challenges are good for us because they force us to persevere and grow in the process of overcoming). Religion and faith are not toys to be played with and put away on a shelf until the next time that you have a job interview, wind up in jail, or face an illness- Religion and faith are aspects of the human experience that should fundamentally change us as people, and always for the better.

      This is the difference between a fulfilling life and a life of constant desire for the cheap thrills of this world (which never satisfy), religion is the difference between heaven & hell; as Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sees all we do + his judgment of us will ultimately come down to how perfectly we submitted, how closely we followed his commands, and the weight of our sins of both commission & omission in this life (sins of omission would be neglecting salah, charity, or treatment of his creation, etc).

      I honestly never thought I was going to be able to embrace Islam. There are enough posts on SC where I sound apprehensive and lean in that direction. What I have noticed is that within the past week, I have thrown myself into developing my practice of Islam with a much greater sense of mindfulness than I ever did with my Christianity. I believe that this is because in Christianity, we expect God/Jesus/Holy Spirit to "work within us" and change us without having to put in much effort ourselves besides reading the bible and praying daily. If we expect someone else, even our concept of God, to do this work for us it will likely not be done. We have to put forth the effort to change ourselves and develop our religion and Insha'Allah, we will become better, more complete human beings. In just a week, I have gone from near-total ignorance of the Quran, inability to pray without reading off a sheet, and praying "when I remembered" to keeping salah, memorizing the process of offering my five daily prayers, and setting five alarms on my phone (complete with an adhan for added immersion). I've even been able to commit short surahs to memory (in Arabic nonetheless!) so that I can offer my prayers properly as they were modeled by the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). I never in my wildest dreams even two weeks ago, imagined that I would be capable of doing this, so I am both excited and at the same time, feeling a sense of serenity- that this really is "it" and that I have found the path that I belong on in order to develop as a person.

      Today, I received my misbaha (dhikr beads) and have begun to offer dhikr, starting with the tasbih of Fatima (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) this afternoon. I have also ordered a modest prayer rug. Now I find myself wondering what my next steps are to improve my practice of Islam; namely what other parts of my religion can I begin to practice and what parts of myself I can work on improving. Although I am just a "baby Muslim", I truly feel as if I am changing for the better and that perhaps I should give myself just a bit more credit than I do for how far I have personally come in such a short period of time.

      However, as easy as practicing Islam has been for me + as natural as it feels, I realize that my experience is just that- my experience. Brothers and sisters all across the planet, many in this nation of mine (America), may not have such an easy time adhering to their faith. For some (Uyghurs in China, Bosnians), the practice of Islam comes with the very real risk of persecution & death from the unjust & tyrannical, but nonetheless they keep the faith without probably ever making blog posts like this one. I believe that all of us, including the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) can learn something about fidelity, devotion, perseverance and not least of all courage, from these brave brothers and sisters in these countries that are much more hostile to Islam.

      How do you think I can improve my religious practice from here on out?

      How can you improve yours?
    • By Hameedeh in Think Positive
         17
      Two years ago I became a minimalist. I'm not talking about music, sculpture or painting, but minimalism in my life. I read about creating a minimalist home, but I did not buy the book:
      http://zenhabits.net/a-guide-to-creating-a-minimalist-home/
      So, I am thrifty and I buy very little. Whenever I am shopping and see a dozen things I want to own, I question myself. Do I have storage space for this? Is this really necessary? Will I really love it or is it just something that I never had before and always wanted to have one? Just wanting to possess something is not a good reason to buy it. Could I take a photo of it and just look at it, without spending my money? This must be a good reason to join Pinterest, to have all the things you want to look at, but never need to buy, store or move them. 
      As you have seen, my ShiaChat blog is minimalist by nature. I usually say very little, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I recognize great writing when I see it, but I am not a good writer. I hope to become a better writer some day, and in the meantime, I invite you to my tumblr. Please, if you can, start at the last page which shows my first post (a prayer for the safety of 12th Imam AJ) and then scroll your way up, and over to previous pages in chronological order, the way my brain was working. 
      http://hameedeh.tumblr.com/page/3
      ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
    • By GD41586 in Chasing Islam
         0
      There has been a lot of talk about confessing of sins in my life experience so far. I'm not going to do that here since we aren't supposed to, but allow me to give a little background on my specific situation in regard to confession. Coming from the Christian tradition, the idea of not confessing ones' sins sounds very alien & almost as some sort of a cop-out to not have to face up to the wrong you have done. Whether it is the Catholic form of confession to a priest (either face to face or hidden behind a curtain) or the protestant scene's insistence that we confess to as many members of our local church as possible-- We who were raised in Christianity had the idea of confession pounded into our heads like a post into dry, hard earth since at least the earliest we can remember. Our every moral failing, character flaw, and vice must be shared with the wider Christian community for the purposes of "accountability"-- the idea being that by talking about our sins, we will feel shame and not commit them anymore (Catholic) & that confessing these negative thoughts/behaviors can help other Christians to encourage us in our spiritual journey. Normally, this doesn't work out this way and you as the individual Christian become the object of gossip in your congregation... which we understand to be sinful in and of itself. The idea of "covering up" your sins is treated as if you were voluntarily refusing to use the toilet to eliminate waste from your body.

              While I do see some value in confessing sins, I do not now and have never seen much value in confessing them to more than your parish priest/congregational pastor & any parties who might have been directly wronged by your actions; and certainly see no benefit to confessing to the entire church. People have their own vices, failings, and flaws; thus they usually aren't in a great position to counsel others on modifying their behavior and perfecting their spiritual practice. Of course, this has been argued to me by many a well-meaning church lady as "Think of it that you aren't confessing for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others who have their own sins that they need to repent of, but feel too much fear of judgment to do so". As referenced above, this normally doesn't work out in that way. My general rule now is that if you absolutely must "come clean" about sins, that the better practice would be to confess this to your spiritual mentor/religious leader (ideally one you have a close relationship with).

             Initially, I had assumed that this Christian practice of reconciliation would also apply to Islam, so at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I will "confess" that I have done this prior to being clued-in as to why Islam doesn't have a reconciliation ritual practice. However, the logic was something that took me a little while to make sense of, as it has to do with "honor culture". "Honor culture" is something that we do not really have as American cultural Christians. Bearing that in mind and my continuing to work through the Christian dogma of original sin, I have to remind myself frequently on SC to NOT approach others as an "open book". Think of it in the same way as oversharing on social media: not everyone needs to (or even wants to) know about my sins & failures.
            This is not for my benefit, as I do not have a concept of "honor" aside from keeping my word to others (we are taught that the actions of others have no bearing on us as individuals). I have chosen to modify the Christian motivation of "responsibility to the church" that would encourage confession, to a view that does NOT encourage it for the sake of sparing others discomfort-- to not break a taboo that may make my brothers and sisters feel awkward or "put them on the spot" with a false, pharisaic piety that may make them feel lead to open up about shameful things from their own life, as well as not propagating the concept that "sin is OK provided you confess publicly". I am a guest here and I am no longer among my own culture, after all. To borrow a term from the Gospels, I don't want to place a "stumbling block" in the path of my brothers and sisters.

              It's much better to not speak of my sins to anyone aside from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) , as he is the ONLY one who can forgive our sins.

             I'll admit that having to completely relearn everything I was so certain of in regard to faith & spirituality can, like any training or exercising of mind or muscle, be uncomfortable at the outset. However, we take these journeys and diverge from the walk of our native culture and our parents because the peace that comes with finding truth wherever it objectively lies is greater than providing ourselves a momentary balm for our troubled souls that something that is not necessarily beneficial can bring (like using a substance when we are emotionally hurting).

             Insha'allah, this week and from here on, I will work extra hard to remain mindful and not overshare, offer forth Too Much Information, and thus protect both my honor and that of my brothers and sisters who have lived this deen from birth or at least prior to my pursuit of universal truth & perfect submission to my awesome and all-powerful creator.

       
    • By GD41586 in Chasing Islam
         0
      Have you ever been fascinated by something? I mean truly fascinated-- wherein you find yourself pondering, daydreaming, and even neglecting your hobbies to research the topic in question?

      I attended three separate high schools from 1421-1425 (2000-2004 CE), so one might think that Islam would have been very topical during this period. I'll be the first to admit that my high school didn't cover Islam at all. We had no units on Islam or Muslims in World History nor did we speak of Islam in any sort of current events units in social studies (my schools didn't even offer World Religions as an elective). Although we had Muslim students, the only information we ever received on Islam was from an Evangelical Christian Language Arts teacher that I will refer to as Mrs. B. Mrs. B did not take a very favorable view of Islam at all & would semi-regularly sneak in mean-spirited verbal barbs about the faith itself. These usually were ignored by everyone or written off as “Oh, there Mrs. B goes again!” while we pondered whether what her proclamations regarding her specific flavor of Christianity somehow violated the prohibition on public school employees promoting their religious views. We also knew nothing of Islam except what the American media (usually through right-wing pundits) was trying to pound into our heads. That is, until an incredibly well spoken and gifted classmate came along: Massomeh.

      Massomeh's came from a Muslim family and they had moved to the US from Tehran a few years prior to our sophomore year. She was a straight-A student who played on the girl's soccer team, never was so much as “shushed” by a teacher, and did her best to fit in socially while maintaining a level of integrity in her faith that not even the Southern Baptist students (who would act up outside of school), as vocal and virtue-signaling as they were, could hope to maintain during this period of American history, when the moral sentiments of previous generations began to “circle the drain”. Massey (how she preferred to be addressed by classmates) was the student that a lot of us wished we could be... until Mrs. B and a few other teachers began making their broad generalizations and giving false information about Islam, Iran, and Muslims in the wake of the attacks on New York City. As the idiom goes: “Sista don't play dat”, and we watched in awe as this peer of ours respectfully and concisely refuted, contradicted, and dismantled every claim that these faculty members made about Islam & Muslims (and occasionally Iran). She ended up becoming so popular with the students after these statements that she was voted as the head of our Student government (and also because her skill at persuading adults got us the few concessions in the cafeteria that we had wanted from the day the brand new high school opened its doors).
       
      Massey's mini-lectures on Islam had a major impact on me. I was already well into almost an obsessive interest in religions by that point, and it was refreshing to be able to hear one of my peers deliver expertise on something aside from school gossip, gangster rap, or football. I heard her elaborate on what Islam was, what Islam taught (remember that she was not an Islamic scholar), and subjects like the Hajj & what it entailed. When she inevitably gave a presentation on Islam during a current events segment of social studies, she had prepared a PowerPoint presentation complete with graphics; and that's where I saw a picture of a structure that would come to dominate my imagination and interest to this very day: a large black cube in the middle of the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

      The Kaaba. The “House of God”.

      After the presentation in which she explained to the puzzled students that this grand, black cube structure was built by the patriarch Abraham (the root from which monotheism was reestablished) & it was believed to be the first house of worship ever constructed; I began to search out whatever pictures and information about this fascinating structure that I could. Of course, I was (nominally) Christian, so it made no sense to me why I was so enamored with this ancient structure when my own (nominal) religion had sacred sites and holy places of its own. My family didn't understand, and my teachers were uneasy with this fascination for whatever reason (likely politically motivated, as this was during the first presidential term of George W. Bush). I didn't look into Islam as a religion at this time, all I knew was that there was something about this large, black granite cube that captured my attention. Whether it was the shape, the Masjid al-Haram that surrounded it, or the ritual of the Hajj itself has been forgotten to me over the years; but I began daydreaming about its significance and even put a photo of it as the wallpaper on my 1998 IBM Aptiva PC (which troubled my mom and got me in a bit of trouble, as I was clearly “only doing this to rebel & get attention”). I had even printed a picture of It and glued it to the inside of my creative writing binder. This made no sense to anyone, least of all me: After all, I was the video-gaming, Magic: the Gathering-playing, anti-authoritarian punk rocker teen who was bored in school & had no plans on going to university or college after I escaped what amounted to little more than a government funded indoctrination daycamp. Why was I so star struck by this sacred structure, particularly as I was going through a period of doubting the existence of God and a general belief that “all religions have gotten it wrong”?

      Fast forward to the present day (1441). As my life changes in so many ways, I am more fascinated than ever before with this amazing, beautiful geometric house of God. However, I still cannot give a good explanation of exactly what it is that piques my interest to the point where I dream of and draw pictures of this monument, I tear through the internet for any articles, scholarly or otherwise, that I can find (and access) that will reveal the history, purpose, and significance of the Kaaba to me. The argument will likely be made that this is another case of the “white man fetishizing a non-white culture”, but such a limited hand-wave of my interest in the Kaaba betrays a painfully ignorant view of Islam and Muslims that is almost ironic in its naivety, as Islam is a religion and a way of life (deen) for all people of earth, regardless of their native language, skin color, or national origin. After all, it was upon making the pilgrimage to this most sacred place that one of my heroes, Malcolm X, repented of his Black Supremacist views and left the Nation of Islam (which is “Islamic” in the way that White Supremacist hate groups in America claim they are “Christian”). Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad ((عليه السلام).) repudiated the idea of race in his farewell sermon:

      “O people, your Lord is One, and your father is one: all of you are from Adam, and Adam was from the ground. The noblest of you in Allah’s sight is the most godfearing: Arab has no merit over non-Arab other than godfearingness.” (from the report of Al-Jahiz (translated), forgive me if I have made an error)

      I wonder if the Kaaba and my obsessive interest in it was what drew me into pursuing Islam, or more appropriately (and truthfully), if this was the “introduction” to the Islamic way of life that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) used to begin to undo my ignorance in regard to the perfect path that he has ordained for ALL mankind through His final prophet & messenger Muhammad ((عليه السلام).), to draw me away from the imperfect, tainted “cultural Christianity” that I was born into & subsequently was my sole religious exposure until that fateful day in class. Since this period of my life began, I have moved closer and closer to Islam like a comet being drawn toward the sun. I do not know what the future holds for me, nor can I pretend to & doing so would be both absurd & presumptuous on my part; but what I DO know is that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has created me for both his pleasure and to fulfill a specific destiny, no matter how insignificant it may seem to me & the world I occupy.

      Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is THE BEST of planners & Inshallah, I will eventually be able to live a proper and functional Muslim life. It's just a matter of arriving at that point.
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