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By Haji 2003 in Stories for SakinaIt's taken me nearly 15 years to get to 10,000 posts, so I thought I'd post something special.
I remember the cold. I think it was the first time in my life that keeping warm was a struggle. Shafts of cold air channelled in through a train not designed to keep it out. Arriving at Amritsar station, there was some relief. I remember the shouts of ‘garam chai’ (hot tea) rising above the cacophony of engines, whistles, and general yells. This trip was the first time that I was allowed to drink tea. At home in London, tea was an adult’s drink, and there simply had been no occasion or need to drink it. Here at Amritsar station, in Indian Punjab, during the middle of the night, I was allowed to drink the strong, sugary hot tea and eat the hard-boiled eggs that the hawkers were selling. It was only many years later that I appreciated the business nous of selling hard-boiled eggs. Pre-packaged and ready to eat, what could be easier for a hawker to sell?
Some years later standing in the cold in the school playground would help me appreciate all the more as I read of Ivan Denisovich’s battles against hunger and cold in Solzhenitsyn’s account of life in a Soviet gulag. And many years later still this way of experiencing the novel would prompt me to encourage my daughter to read Denisovich’s account while she was fasting for Ramadan.
Standing on the platform with my snacks, amongst the flow of passengers and porters, I took in the destination signs on the different trains, heading off to distant parts of a sub-continent. Perhaps my diminutive 10-year-old perspective added to the perceived size of the place; I would not be surprised. The porters wore a uniform, after a fashion. For each one of them, the acquisition of a customer provided a sense of purpose and superiority of status which would be underlined by rearranging their head-covering to better protect themselves from the luggage that would soon be loaded on top. On this trip, I was just a spectator to the rituals of engaging porters. When old enough to be a participant, I’d find it a difficult balance between exploiting and being exploited.
At last, it was time to get back in the train and cover myself as best I could with an assortment of clothes, waiting for the morning to bring some respite. Some mornings were awesome, the rising rays of sunshine spread across green fields, punctuated by trees and seemingly in rhythm with the regular beat of the wheels on the track. At some point, I’d have to go to the toilet, which was a balancing act of the toothbrush, toothpaste and some attempt at washing and keeping my distance from the ubiquitous hole in the floor.
At first, I had distanced myself from the perceived filth of the train and had tried to keep myself to as small an area as possible. But as the hours passed my comfort zone expanded until I was even comfortable lying full stretch on the wooden slats of the third-class benches. As the miles passed the squalor, even that of the toilet, was no longer alien but something to which I had become habituated. Though I still haven’t managed to achieve the level of equanimity displayed by a fellow airline passenger who went into the toilet barefoot. As someone else commented on this practice, the liquid on the floor isn’t water.
Safety was and still is a distant concept when it comes to Indian railways, best observed by the person at risk. In both my childhood travel and in recent times safety seems to lie, for example, in keeping your distance from the open door of the railway carriage. As a 30-year-old on a train from Chennai to Hyderabad and no parent to hold me back, I was able to lean out to take videos and photos to rekindle childhood memories of fleeting Indian railway stations. The observation stimulated the same sense of passing through and catching the moment in local lives. What I was not able to recapture in a photo was the rising dawn that I had observed in my childhood journey.
On that childhood trip, I had brought a couple of books with me, which I still remember. There was ‘Tarka the Otter’ and Joy Adamson’s ‘Home Free’. I can’t remember which one was more boring, but Tarka does stand out as being particularly good for being interrupted by the least remarkable scenery outside. The same can’t be said for the novel I discovered at our destination in Lucknow. Our host had a copy of ‘War of the Worlds’ the title itself was captivating and the story engrossing. I remember sitting in various locations of the house working my way through the invasion.
A few years before this train trip, aged six, I had seen a book titled ‘War and Peace’ sitting on another relative’s bookshelf in London and that also seemed to suggest excitement within. I wasn’t there long enough to pick it up, but a few years after the Indian trip, when I was about 14 I made a point about buying the novel but the enthusiasm stimulated by the title was very, very quickly dimmed by the story within. I decided to grind down the story by reading a page a day. It took a couple of years, but I managed to finish it.
‘War of the Worlds’ was the starting point, since then I’ve come to associate books with the places where I read them: Sterling Seagrave’s, ‘Dragon Lady’ accompanied me on a trip to Singapore and provided the incentive to visit China.
Aged 17, I was transiting between two Paris metro stations, on a trip to Aix-en-Provence when a kindly gentleman took pity on me and helped me with my overweight suitcase containing Lipsey’s tome ‘Positive Economics’. Amongst other books, this would be entirely superfluous to my needs at the French language summer course I was about to attend. Even in adulthood, I have never quite managed to balance taking on travels work-related things that I would use as opposed to those I might regret not having brought with me. Laptops and cloud storage have meant that that personal deficiency no longer has to be addressed.
This had been a unique trip in some different ways. My mother was a widow, and we did not have a great deal of money. I hadn’t been abroad between the ages of 5 and 10. But travelling third class on Indian railways and staying with relatives wherever we went meant that this trip was fairly affordable. So, it was not unreasonable that my mother was not too impressed with what took place when we arrived at the border crossing between India and Pakistan sometime earlier.
When we got off the train for the immigration check, there was a French lady in front of us, and she and my mother started speaking. Quite proudly my mother presented me as someone who could speak French. The unexpectedness and ambition of the challenge meant that I was completely dumbstruck. For a good few hours to follow, I’d hear my mother’s lament about how much she had paid for a French Linguaphone course for me, which was well beyond our means. I had assured her that this would be a great aid to my linguistic efforts, the advertisement promised as much, and I had waited with great anticipation for its arrival. Finally, one day there was a brown rectangular package waiting for me outside our house. But for a 10-year-old to master the use of the different texts and develop some semblance of a study plan was quite an ambition and one for which my abilities and self-discipline fell seriously short.
There must have been a subconscious notion that the pursuit of academic endeavours would give access to budgets otherwise unavailable. A few years later I’d decide that photography O’level would offer a greater chance of scholastic success. Once more I was lured in by a mixture of an economy with the truth by the people promoting the offering and my imaginative willingness to fill in the blanks. First, there was a need to buy an SLR camera, and as time passed it became obvious that the necessary skills to process photos could not be acquired in the few minutes, I’d have to be in front of the enlarger at school every week. An investment in a darkroom became a necessity. This time self-discipline wasn’t needed to drive study. I had discovered a subject for which I had a passion. I’d end up spending many happy hours in the darkroom, well past midnight channelling Diane Arbus and Cartier Bresson. By the time a school trip to the Soviet Union took place, I was reasonably competent and still have some of the photos of that visit.
Looking back, both the camera and the Soviet trip itself seemed like a judicious investment in an unrepeatable experience, a few years later the USSR would cease to exist. This lesson in political upheaval was to prove particularly useful before a trip with my wife and kids to Syria. My brother had borrowed my video camera and forgotten to return it, and the realisation only came in the departure lounge at Heathrow. Buying a video camera specifically for one trip seemed like an extravagance, but soon afterward the civil war broke out. I have clips of my daughter walking amongst a temple to the Phoenician God Melquart, I wonder whether ISIS have left it standing?
For the India trip, in contrast, there was no camera at all. As I had left London, I had been given a compact camera, which refused to show any sign of working for the duration of the trip and which it had not been possible to repair either. So, I have no tangible images of the entire trip. Whether that has forced me to try harder to remember over the years or whether I have become better at embellishing the details, I don’t know. I do know that on one review I have left on Tripadvisor, I have commented that the prohibition on taking cameras into a particular museum means that visitors are more likely to pay attention to the exhibits in their own right rather than as fodder for an Instagram feed.
From Lucknow, we went to my mother’s ancestral home in Fatehpur. We drove through the potholed roads of Uttar Pradesh, slowed even further by overladen agricultural traffic. We arrived in the evening, and all I could sense was that we entered a courtyard and then another. This was quite different to any home I had visited previously. Morning brought a much better sense of the place. The hallmark of the building was its twin towers, installed a couple of hundred years previously, with permission from the rulers of Awadh, since they were considered a mark of royalty and my maternal ancestor’s position as a tutor to the princely household earned him the favour to use them. These rose above the building and the surrounding town. Beneath them was the building’s mosque entered through several large wooden doors, several steps then led to a large courtyard at the other end of which was a narrow staircase leading to some apartments on the first floor. The men of the family had offices cum bedrooms on the ground floor of the courtyard, and their families slept in apartments on the first floor. Any tangible evidence of conjugal relations, such as a couples’ double bed was considered impolite. There were also apartments on the ground floor. To the right of the towers was the entrance to the building and beyond that the disused stables, a further courtyard and then the exit to the main street of the town.
In Fatehpur, there were no books, or indeed television, but there was exploring the building, listening to stories, fishing and staring at a night sky whose lights I had never previously seen in such profusion. Frustratingly, the shot guns could only be seen and not touched, in fact, I wasn’t allowed to use the air gun. Even the fishing wasn’t with actual rods, but the sensation of the lightness of a short stick with a bait at the end being replaced with the sensation of something tugging at the end of a line remains vivid.
Exploring the old building would be an experience for someone who had lived in a terraced house all his life. Playing cricket in its central square meant that we had room for both wickets and the ability to run between them, while back in London the garden lawn barely stretched a couple of metres and in our London suburb kids just didn’t play on the street. And then there was the dungeon. Like quite a bit of what we were to experience the name or prior description didn’t quite live up to schoolboy expectations. The Urdu word they all used was ‘mahal’ as in Taj Mahal, but you could hardly describe it as a palace. The dungeon itself was no more threatening than a basement room.
The family mahal stood in contrast to the Taj that we had visited on a side-trip while staying in Delhi with an uncle. The sense of serenity reflected off the colour and curves remains in my mind. The sound track no longer remains, perhaps the size of the place drowned out the chattering throngs. The image is now distilled from the range of different perspectives: the head-on view as captured by those photographers who pictured Princess Diana in the foreground, to my standing under the columns staring up and being up close to the marble.
While the Taj was glorious enough to represent the nation and thus rose above its religious and ethnic antecedents, this was not the case with the family mahal. The condition of this modest building perfectly reflected the state of the community it housed: elegant decrepitude with only a memory of former glories. While the building’s statelier past was visible from the remnants of the structure, so the stories passed by each generation reminded subsequent ones of the lifestyle they had been denied because of opportunities missed and talents wasted.
Such was the problem they were facing that even acts of renovation seemed like destruction, where older styles of building work and decoration were replaced with more functional and cheaper modern ones. My youthful displeasure at the erasure of history would later be tempered by a more mature realisation of the practicalities of habitat when I had the chimney breasts and fireplaces of my Victorian house removed to create more space.
Occasionally the person who had hosted us in Lucknow would visit. He was a local politician and would arrive in a stately Ambassador car or even more excitingly a ‘jeep’. Not an eponymous one of course, but I still remember the fact that it had gun racks. Both that vehicle and the Ambassador were made in India. This was India before trade liberalisation. Not as familiar a place as the Pakistan we had travelled through to get here. Pakistan had the welcome familiarity of brands that I had grown up with; the ketchup was Heinz and the coke a recognisably friendly white swoosh on a red background. Billboard and television advertising was reassuring. Here unfamiliar names came across as peculiar. Why would a cola be called ‘Thums Up?’.
Such has been the irony of globalisation that a few weeks ago eating at Dishoom restaurant in London’s East End I saw the Thums Up logo once more. A symbol of rejecting western capitalism had itself become a brand, with a consumerist meaning, evoking a carbonated essence of India.
Like all children of Asian immigrants on visits to their parents’ country of origin, I was also overwhelmed with the extensivity and density of familial connections. There were first cousins, second cousins, and quite a lot more complicated combinations, for which there are no words in English. Added to this, a matriarchal aunt could also be a cousin. My wife came up with a novel way of explaining one such relationship to me. “If that aunt were Mary Queen of Scots, your mum would be Elizabeth I”. Indeed, an artefact of such complex and inter-related ties was the obvious existence of rivalries, jealousies, and squabbles spanning generations. In England, my younger brother and I had been protected from this aspect of extended family life. The protection came at a price: we didn’t know how to deal with it at all. At the age of 10 this did not matter, but on future visits, it would become more significant and certainly by the time my brother and I reached marriageable age. For the time being, it was just nice that as I wandered from apartment to apartment in the mahal, everyone I met was a relative and I was too young to understand any political dimension of that relationship. It would also be in subsequent visits to the mahal, when I was older, that I’d appreciate the tensions with the communities who lived outside the mahal.
On my daily walks, I’d see hand powered sewing machines and food being prepared more laboriously than anything I had seen at home. The dirt floor did not afford the comfort of sitting cross legged and sitting on my haunches was not something my leg muscles were prepared for. Unlike the urban homes, I had come across in the sub-continent, the toilet here was a platform raised above the multi-coloured offerings beneath. So large was the place that any smells remained distant from any other rooms.
The cold had not left us in Fatehpur. At night, they would light braziers which were wonderful for bringing around family members, sitting together on the Indian style wooden beds, sharing each other’s warmth, stories and gossip.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerFollow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IqraOnlineBlog
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The 11th Imam (a) was able to remain in contact with the general Shī’ī community over a large geographical area through the Wakālah system. The Wakālah system comprised of a large number of agents and representatives who would serve as the point of contact between the Imam and their respective communities. The foundations of this specific system can be traced back to the time of Imam Ṣādiq (a) and its exponential growth can evidently be seen from the time of Imam Kāẓim (a) onwards. After Imam Naqī (a), control of this complex network was transferred over to Imam ‘Askarī (a).
There were a number of reasons why this network was developed. Firstly, to tackle the physical distance between the Imams (a) and their followers. Secondly, in cases where the Imams were imprisoned or under house arrest and were permitted to have very little contact with outsiders, it was more convenient to remain in contact with specifically chosen individuals rather than a large number of people – often for the safety of both the followers and the Imams. For example, since 11th Imam was under surveillance by the government, he would have to visit the officials once or twice a week to announce his presence and report on his activities, but some of his followers would try to use this opportunity to stand on both sides of pathway so they could meet him (a). Imam ‘Askarī (a) instead asks these followers to not talk to him or even point towards him as it would cause problems.
It has been reported from ‘Alī bin Ja’far al-Ḥalabī who said: We gathered at the military compound to observe Abī Muḥammad (a) on the day of his visit. However, his (a) letter reached (us) with the warning: No one should say their greetings to me, no one should point towards me with their hand, and no one should signal (towards me), because your lives are not safe.
Another reason a number of scholars have mentioned is that the Wakālah system foreshadowed what the Shī’ī community would have to deal with in the near future and allowed them to prepare for a smoother transition into the period of occultation of the 12th Imam. In other words, by the time of the occultation, much of the Shī’ī community was very much used to not having direct contact with an Imam, or rather, having contact with them through chosen representatives.
Some of the tasks these agents would perform were the collection and delivery of letters, gifts, khums, zakāt, different types of endowments, and at times even addressing communal issues in their cities. By mid-third century hijrī, the network extended over four large areas: The Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran and Transoxiana – though some reports indicate there were a couple of agents even in some cities in Africa.
Much of the communication between the Imam (a) and the communities was occurring through letters. One of the famous agents, Aḥmad b. Isḥāq had to ask Imam ‘Askarī (a) for a sample of his (a) handwriting so that he would be able to recognize it from any possible attempts of forgery by government officials. Aḥmad says:
“Once I went to see Abū Muḥammad (a) and asked him (a) to write for me few lines so that whenever I see his (a) handwriting I can recognize it. The Imam (a) said, ‘Yes,’ and then said, ‘O Aḥmad the writing with a fine pen and with thick pen will look different to you. Do not have doubts.” He (a) then asked for a pen and inkpot and began writing.
One of these agents was ‘Uthmān b. Sa’īd al-‘Amrī who grew up in the house of Imam Jawād (a) from the age of 11, then became a wakīl for Imam Naqī (a) and ‘Askarī (a). His significance was such that he also became the first nā’ib of the 12th Imam (a). ‘Uthmān b. Sa’īd eventually began residing in Baghdad, disguising himself as an oil seller. If the Shī’a had to deliver that which was obligatory upon them to Imam ‘Askarī (a), they would send it to ‘Uthmān who would put their money or any other items in containers of clarified butter due to dissimulation and fear and carry it to Imam ‘Askarī (a) in Sāmarra.
Another important agent was Aḥmad b. Isḥāq b. Sa’d al-Ash’arī, mentioned earlier. He was a wakīl of Imam Naqī (a) and ‘Askarī (a) in Qom and during the occultation he moved from Qom to Baghdad and became a close assistant of the aforementioned ‘Uthmān b. Sa’īd. Aḥmad’s significance was such that he was also the senior-most scholar in Qom during his time, whose narrations can be found in Shī’ī works of ḥadīth. He trained numerous students and had written a number of works. After Imam ‘Askarī (a), Aḥmad was one of the individuals who demonstrated that the brother of the 11th Imam, Ja’far – who at the time was claiming to be the Imam himself – could not have been the Imam and God’s authority on Earth.
There is no denying that there was definitely a degree of confusion in the Shī’ī communities after the 11th Imam, but nevertheless, a lot of this confusion was contained and dealt with by these very agents and representatives who had garnered the trust of their communities over the decades. This is true not just in the case of the 12th Imam but as well as when confusion arose amongst some communities after the demise of any one of the previous Imams (a). In a meeting Imam ‘Askarī (a) has with Aḥmad b. Isḥāq after the Imamate had transferred to him from the 10th Imam, he (a) asks him about the people of Qom and whether their confusion regarding who the next Imam was had been dispelled. Aḥmad (a) who was also a wakīl for the 10th Imam in the city of Qom before that, responds to the 11th Imam saying, “O my master, when your letter was received, there was not a man or a woman from amongst us, and neither a young child who had reached a level of understanding, except that they confessed to the truth (of the fact that you are indeed the Imam).”
Likewise, when the 12th Imam is born, Imam ‘Askarī (a) sends Aḥmad b. Isḥāq a letter in Qom informing him of the birth of his son. Aḥmad says that a letter was sent in the same handwriting of Imam ‘Askarī (a) in which all of his previous correspondences and letters would be sent, and it said we have been blessed with a child who will remain hidden from people and that the Imam (a) is only informing the closest of his followers.
Later when Aḥmad visits the 11th Imam (a), the Imam tells him that if Aḥmad was not seen as a noble individual in front of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and the Imams, he (a) would not have informed him about the birth of his son – who will fill the Earth with justice and equity.
The birth of the Mahdī (a) was kept closely guarded and hence many Muslims at the time never came to believe Imam ‘Askari (a) had a son. Few trustworthy individuals – especially from amongst the network of agents – who over the decades had not only gained the trust of the 11th Imam but as well as the trust of their own communities, had been told about the birth and some fortunate enough even had the opportunity to see the 12th Imam. While naturally there was confusion and perplexity in certain segments of the Shī’ī community, this confusion was addressed and dealt with by these agents and as well as Shī’ī scholars over the years. In essence, the Wakālah system and the individual agents themselves paved the path for a smoother transition into the occultation.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerExcerpt from: https://www.iqraonline.net/surat-al-inshirah-an-introductory-exegesis-of-the-meanings-and-messages-contained-within
There is a question raised in the Quranic sciences, and the answer to it is a starting point that will distinguish the exegetical methodology that a scholar chooses. This question is whether the Qur'an is only a book of information or also a book of moral training and guidance?
To clarify the first part of the question, let’s give an example. Suppose you visited a jurist to ask them for a ruling on a jurisprudential matter that concerns you. A jurist, in so far as he is a jurist, doesn’t have a responsibility beyond answering you with a yes or no based on his expert opinion on the matter. The jurist will not usually involve himself in the development of the person and his moral training in order that the person stays away from what is impermissible. Similarly, a mathematician who presents mathematical theories will explain his ideas so that others understand it but is not concerned with anything more than that.
As for the second part of the question, let’s also give an example. Suppose you visited a psychiatrist and complained to them of a problem you are suffering from. The psychiatrist will not just suffice themselves with writing a prescription to help cure you. Rather, they will sit you down and have a discussion with you that seeks not to give you information per se, but in order that the very discussion itself acts as a positive help for your situation and improves your psychological state.
After these two examples, let us present the question once again: Does the Qur'an play the same role as a jurist, philosopher, physicist or chemist in presenting ideas purely without thinking about a mechanism of ingraining them ideologically within the person’s mind thereby acting as a channel for knowledge that doesn’t have a responsibility beyond delivering information to the other person? Or is the Qur'an – in addition to being a channel for knowledge – a book of moral and spiritual training that seeks to convince its listeners of the ideas it presents, and furthermore seeks through various means to develop a person and deepen their ideas, removing unclarity from them, and thus through itself acting as a cause for human reform and to emphasize ideas that they may have previously known?
Undoubtedly, the second option is the correct one. If the Qur'an was merely a book of information, what was the need to bring it down in such disparate stages? It would have been possible for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to give it all at once to His Prophet (p) and the Prophet can subsequently explain this divine information, whilst comparing all its verses, without the need to bring it down in divided stages.
The Qur'an, however, plays an important role in building and reforming the Islamic society. One is mistaken if he expects answers akin to the jurists and scientists or considers it similar to a book that presents scientific theories in a dry mechanical style. The Qur'an, in addition to being a book with information, is a book of moral guidance and spiritual refinement, through its style, mode of presentation and its artistic way. The Qur'an aims through its eloquence, the arrangement of its words, its musical effect and its psychological impact to affect its listeners and to enter deeply inside their hearts, not merely to present them with some information. It is thus akin to an ethical scholar who seeks not to merely place information in the mind of his students, but rather act as a moral guide and exemplar for the information he has given them. If we restricted the role of an ethical scholar to just giving ethical information, the value of such scholars would be diminished.
Based on this premise, we can address another question: Why does the Qurān repeat itself?
[94:5-6] For indeed, after hardship will be ease. Indeed, after hardship will be ease.
In Sūrah al-Inshirāḥ, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) twice repeats the point: there will be ease after hardship. There are many other places where the Quranic verses are repeated, either congruently in their words, or with very minor differences conveying the exact meaning. What is the reason behind the Qur'an containing multiple verses saying the same thing? Exegetes have been divided in their understanding of the secret behind this repetition:
a) A group of exegetes held the view that there is no repetition of meaning between any two verses, even though the same terms are used. For example, some advocates of this view argue that the basmalah at the start of Sūrah al-Baqara will indicate a different meaning to the basmalah at the start of any other surah. This is because each basmalah is part of a distinct composition that is exclusive to each chapter.
This view is based on the premise that repetition is useless and futile. They went as far as to say that such futility is impossible for a wise being such as God. If the meaning was completed in the first text, what need would the second text be trying to fulfil? This is what caused some contemporary exegetes to refuse the idea of repetition for the purposes of emphasis like in these verses and other verses in the Qur'an. As such, “indeed, with hardship comes ease” in the sixth verse must give a different meaning to the fifth verse “for indeed, with hardship comes ease”. This way, the Qur'an is placed – according to them – in its lofty position and we do not attribute pointless repetition to God.
b) In contrast to the first view, the second group of exegetes considered it unnecessary to go to these difficult lengths. Rather, repetition for emphasis amongst Arabs is something acceptable. As such, in the case of Sūrah al-Inshirāḥ for example, the second verse wished to emphasize the principle that ease accompanies hardship. A person who faces a hardship must not be overwhelmed by despondency and anxiety, because the Lord will place ease to accompany this hardship.
This group of exegetes reject there being any issue with the Qur'an repeating itself, whether its stories or other concepts if this repetition represents a way to emphasize the moral training present in the Qur'an and if it increases the importance of these concepts in the mind and soul of the listener. This is akin to you repeating a concept dozens of times in front of your children. Your purpose is not merely that they know the concept; this is achieved with you mentioning it once, but that the concept is emphasized in their minds and so that they consider it a priority. This way, they can act accordingly. This is one of the main differences between books of information and books of moral training, especially those which use various rhetorical means and tools of influence like the Qur'an.
Perhaps for this and other reasons, many narrations state that when a believer reads the Qur'an, he makes himself sad through it and he lives a state of fear, hope and is impacted spiritually and emotionally. This is because the Qur'an is not merely a book of information that has no ability to ability to impact through its content and style. It’s a book of knowledge that uses all the means of influence that purposeful and upright media would use.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerFollow on FB: https://www.facebook.com/IqraOnlineBlog/
Many Muslim theologians in their discussions on the Problem of Evil have argued that existence in the material realm and the systems that govern it are the best possible systems (al-niẓām al-aḥsan) that could have been created and that they enjoy excessive good (ziyādah al-khayr) as opposed to excessive evil. Thereafter, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) based on His infinite Love and Beneficence certainly [55:3] created man [95:4] in the best of forms, so that He [18:7] may test them to see which of them is best in conduct.
Our lives are a journey where we are meant to improve day by day, working towards nurturing our best possible selves. In order to do so, we must refrain from anything that distances us away from that which is better for us and we ought to remain subservient to the Lordship of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), subscribing to the path He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has ordained for us – [3:19] Indeed, with Allah religion is submission (Islam). One of the prerequisites for self-improvement is to be able to manage our time and to have discipline. One of the greatest tragedies afflicting us in our lives is the loss of time, particularly when caused by lack of discipline and a failure to organize ourselves. This issue afflicts not just the young, but as well as the elders – males and females.
Imam ‘Alī (a) in one of his letters advises his children to fear Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and to keep their affairs in a naẓm. When the beads of a rosary are tied together with a string, this act is called naẓm – you give the beads an order, as you count the beads you expect there to be one bead after another, you know how many there are in total, and you know how many times you are meant to recite any given dhikr. Naẓm is the opposite of being disorderly and all over the place.
The journey towards nurturing our best possible selves requires us to contemplate over our day to day affairs, make changes to our lifestyle, repent and learn from our past sins and mistakes, increase the amount of good we do, decrease our bad behaviour towards others, and so on. This can only be done effectively when we have discipline in our lives and are able to manage our time appropriately. In the limited lifespan we have, failure to make any improvement on a daily basis is nothing but a loss. Imam Ṣādiq (a) has said, one whose two days are equal has been deceived, one who does not see any improvement in themselves during the course of the day is at loss, and one who is at loss then death is better for them than life.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerOriginal post: https://www.iqraonline.net/disobedience-of-Allah-(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)-is-foolishness/
إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
[4:17] [Acceptance of] repentance upon Allah is only for those who commit evil out of ignorance, then repent promptly. It is such whose repentance Allah will accept, and Allah is all-knowing, all-wise.
Repentance (al-tawbah) is expected from us when we sin and transgress. However, the scenario in which repentance for sin is expected is when we sin while knowing that a certain act is against Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) legislation and commands, yet we engage in it. On the other hand, if a person commits an act without knowledge, it is not technically classified as a sin and therefore one is not expected to repent. This is all the while verse [4:17] cited above says that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) only accepts the repentance of those who commit a sin out of ignorance (jahālah), instead of knowledge (‘ilm).
The word jahl in Arabic is homonymous between two meanings: one meaning “absence of knowledge” which is the opposite of ‘ilm, and the other meaning can be loosely translated as foolishness or mindlessness, which is the opposite of ‘aql. For example, Shaykh Kulaynī in his Uṣūl al-Kāfī has a book titled Kitāb al-‘Aql wa al-Jahl, where jahl is used in the opposite of ‘aql – not ‘ilm – hence translated by some as the Book of the Intellect and Foolishness, rather than the book of knowledge and ignorance. The verse in question also uses the word jahalah as the opposite of ‘aql and not as the opposite of ‘ilm. In other words, the verse is saying repentance is for a situation where a person commits an act which the sound intellect does not permit one to do or is against one’s rational intuitions, yet due to the overpowering of one’s desires and lust they engaged in it. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) accepts the repentance of those who commit evil when their sinning is a result of their foolishness, carelessness and mindlessness – while they know it is a sin. This would be in opposition to those who transgress the boundaries laid down by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) while knowing it is a sin, but yet they engage in it due to hypocrisy or disbelief.
Mullā Ṣadrā in his commentary on Uṣul al-Kāfī says that the word jahālah in the verse is either grammatically indicating a state of being – meaning they commit evil deeds while they are mindless, or it is an accusative of specification (tamyīz) – meaning they commit evil deeds which originate from foolishness and mindlessness, because committing a sin itself is foolishness and a feigning of ignorance. Hence some scholars have said, anyone who disobeys Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is jāhil (foolish).
As for the subsequent verse [4:18] But [acceptance of] repentance is not for those who go on committing misdeeds … these are people who have exceeded in their sins and are accustomed to it. Therefore Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) rejects the repentance of both those amongst the immoral ones who postpone their repentance till the time of their death and those who die upon disbelief. As such, what is meant by [4:17] those who commit evil (al-sū’) are the sinners from amongst the Muslims whose repentance is accepted and [4:18] those who go on committing misdeeds (al-sayyiāt) are the hypocrites whose repentance is not accepted.
Furthermore, [4:17] says that the acceptance of repentance is “upon Allah” – the phrase generally indicating a type of obligation. Is the acceptance of repentance rooted in Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Justice, or His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Kindness? If He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) decides not to accept someone’s repentance, does that mean He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has been unjust? The scholarly opinion on the matter is that His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) acceptance of our repentance is rooted in His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Kindness, not His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Justice. After Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) granted us capacity, knowledge, innumerable blessings, sent forth Prophets (p) and made all the necessary preliminaries available to us, He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) established His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) argument and evidence upon us – leaving us with no excuse. If despite this a person commits a sin and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) does not accept their repentance, then this is not inherently and initially unjust – it is against his Kindness.
Though it can be argued it is also against His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Justice from one perspective, and that is because Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) out of His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Kindness promised to accept our repentance, then not fulfilling this promise would be an act of injustice. In other words, not accepting one’s repentance is not directly against Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Justice, rather His acceptance is a fulfillment of His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) promise, which if unfulfilled is an act of injustice. The Qurānic verse acceptance of repentance “upon Allah” is also indicative of the fact that it is something He made necessary for Himself – not that His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) initial Justice necessitated it.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerOriginally posted here: https://www.iqraonline.net/riya-a-journey-towards-the-self-ikhlas-a-journey-towards-Allah/
When you do an act that falls under the domain of worship (‘ibādah), you can either perform this action for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), you can do it for someone or something other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), or you can do it for both Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and another entity together. The latter two are called riyā’ (showing-off and ostentation) and Islam clearly condemns this. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says:
أَنَا خَيْرُ شَرِيكٍ؛ مَنْ أَشْرَكَ مَعِيَ غَيْرِي فِي عَمَلٍ عَمِلَهُ لَمْ أَقْبَلْهُ إِلا مَا كَانَ لِي خَالِصاً
I am the best of partners. Whoever associates others with Me in a deed that he has done, I will not accept it except that which is done for Me sincerely.
Hence, riyā’ is to seek a position and status amongst people through an act of worship. All of us want praise and a reputation in the eyes of others, yet we have to fight and oppose this tendency and make our actions as sincere as possible for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). In a tradition attributed to the Prophet (p), it says:
Verily, the first people to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who was martyred. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I fought in your cause until I was martyred. Allah will say: You have lied, for you fought only that it would be said you were brave, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
Another man studied knowledge, taught others, and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I learned knowledge, taught others, and I recited the Qur'an for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you studied only that it would be said you are a scholar and you recited the Qur'an only that it would be said you are a reciter, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
Another man was given an abundance of blessings from Allah and every kind of wealth. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I did not leave any good cause beloved to you but that I spent on it for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you spent only that it would be said you are generous, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
As for riyā’ in non-worship acts, such as someone showing off their calligraphy or sports skills, or some other talent they possess, scholars have mentioned some intricate details that are worthy of note, but to put it roughly, riyā’ in those acts is not always condemned, in fact at times it is praised and necessary. The problematic riyā’ is applicable when an act should be done for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) alone, but instead people become the Qibla and Ka’ba for one’s act. Often times, people in influential positions – whether on a large communal level, or even within their own smaller social circles – fall prey to riyā’ as all their efforts are in trying to acquire the satisfaction of people or both people and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), as opposed to only Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Stages of Riyā’
First Stage: The first, most obvious and apparent stage of riyā’ is to practically perform an act for the sake of people – this is the only reason why one performs this act. In fact, if there are no people to look at him, or hear him, they will not do the act. There is absolutely no intention to reach proximity to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in this act.
Second Stage: This is when the first intended audience for the act are people, but at the same time, there is an intention to perform the act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) as well. Both people and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are placed on the same horizontal plane. The individual will not perform the act if people do not see him, but at the time same he also expects Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to accept his actions.
In both the aforementioned stages, one’s act of worship is legally invalidated and incorrect.
Third Stage: At this point the riyā’ becomes more hidden in relation to the previous two stages – though it is still defined as a manifested and conspicuous riyā’. The person intends to do an act of worship for both others and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and this relationship is equal – both have to be there for one to perform the act. If Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is there, but people are not there, he will say, “Why should I bother doing it?” On the contrary if people are there, but Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is not there, he will say, “Why should I burden myself with worship?” Legally speaking, even in this scenario the worship is invalidated.
Fourth Stage: This is when riyā’ is defined as hidden and inconspicuous (khafī). The intention is primarily for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but people should be there as well. If people are not present, he will perform the act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but that excitement and delight that would have existed if people were to see him is not present. This is a sign. When people are not present, they are lazy and not very motivated to do the act, but in front of people the worship is more vibrant, longer and so on.
قال أمير المؤمنين: ثلاث علامات للمرائي: ينشط إذا رأى الناس، ويكسل إذا كان وحده، ويحب أن يحمد في جميع أموره
Imam ‘Alī (a) has said: There are three signs of a show-off, he is energetic when he see’s people, lazy when he is alone, and loves to be praised in all of his deeds.
In essence, though his purpose is to pray for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but what is really important for him is his own excitement and happiness.
Legally speaking, there is no verdict here, perhaps very few jurists have said this also invalidates the action. Nevertheless, it does weaken the worship and there is a discussion on whether it is accepted or not in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Fifth Stage: During the act of worship, the intention is that it is only being performed for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and the person is conscious of this. However, after the act is complete, the person brings it up at a later time – even if it happens to be decades later – so that people get to know about it. Satan’s whispers to not let him off even after the worship is complete and follow him for a much longer time. There are different ways to convey this as well – for example, someone who prayed Ṣalāt al-Layl, but later wants people to know about it, says, “can you please pass me some water, my throat is really dry today as the recitation of my Ṣalāt al-Layl took really long.”
It is here where ḥabṭ (fall of a deed) takes place. The act of worship was done correctly, the angels carry the act to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but later it is declined and falls back. ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī and perhaps other scholars believe that when ḥabṭ occurs, it indicates there was definitely a problem when the action was first done, but it was extremely hidden. This stage is difficult to identify, because sometimes you may want to encourage others around you to worship, but Satan is cunning enough to set up traps for us.
أبي جعفر عليه السلام أنه قال: الابقاء على العمل أشد من العمل قال: وما الابقاء على العمل، قال: يصل الرجل بصلة وينفق نفقة لله وحده لا شريك له، فتكتب له سرا ثم يذكرها فتمحى فتكتب له علانية ثم يذكرها فتمحى وتكتب له رياء
Imam Bāqir (a): Preserving a deed is more difficult than performing the deed itself. A man said: “What does preserving a deed mean?” He (a) said: “It is when a man maintains good relations with relatives or spends something just for the sake of Allah – who has no partners. This will be recorded for him as a good deed performed secretly. He then mentions it to people, and the deed is erased and recorded as a good deed performed publicly. Then he mentions it to people again and it is erased and is recorded as an instance of riyā’.”
Sixth Stage: This is when a person does an act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and does not mention it himself afterwards either. However, someone else may bring it up and once it is brought up, they feel a sense of happiness and content.
If they are happy because of what they see as Allah’s grace in having hidden their deficiencies and having exposed their goodness, using this as an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), then they have not only protected their deed, but rather they have further elevated it. This is very difficult to do since it requires for a person be able to see the Act of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Satan whispers in many ways causing us to show off. When one learns that showing off and ostentation in one’s act of worship causes deficiencies, Satan further uses that as an opportunity to make you think that you might as well abandon the act altogether. Instead of committing to fighting against the whispers of Satan, one ends up abandoning the act completely.
The solution to all of this is developing sincerity (ikhlāṣ), which is nothing but a journey towards Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and it sits in contradiction to riyā’, which is a journey towards the self and Satan. In order to develop ikhlāṣ, one needs to see Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) as Ever-Living (Al-Ḥayy). There is no room for taking into consideration anyone other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in one’s act of worship. All other lives are nothing but mere subordinates of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۗ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
[40:65] He is the Ever-Living; there is no deity except Him, so call upon Him, being sincere to Him in religion. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim BloggerOriginally posted here: https://www.iqraonline.net/fasad-and-expectations-for-the-ulu-baqiyatin/
1400 years ago the Umayyads seized complete power of the Muslim world, ruling for 90 years and came to be recognized as one of the most damaging dynasties to take control of the Muslim world. The Umayyads were able to alter and enforce an interpretation of Islam on the newly developing Islamic nation that dictated the fundamentality of tribalism, the superiority of Arabs, harshness, warfare and geographical expansions. In these 90-years, the Umayyads did not have much to do with Islam, rather they primarily saw it as a means to further strengthen their political power. Hence, we do not even see any significant depth in Islamic scholarship being produced during this period, in fact, on the contrary, some traditions indicate that some groups of Muslims were even unaware of rules concerning the Ḥalāl and Ḥarām during parts of Umayyad rule. The remnants of this enforced interpretation can be seen predominantly in certain theological discussions, the ḥadīth, Qurānic exegesis and jurisprudence, as it deeply embedded itself into the minds of the early Muslim community. Even some later Shī’ī traditions where the Imams (a) respond to individual questions can only be understood when one understands certain trends and ideas inherited by the community from the previous Umayyad dynasty.
According to the Umayyad painting of Islam, any movement seeking reform, change and improvement was deemed sectarian and a cause of a split in the Muslim nation – a threat to their power – even if it happened to be one of their own, like the caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz. Hence, 1380 years ago, Imam Ḥusayn (a) was also seen as a troublemaker. Imam Ḥusayn (a) rightly deemed the Umayyad caliphate – still in its infancy – as a source of corruption (fasād) on Earth and described them as those who obey Shayṭān instead of obeying the Most Gracious. The Imam (a) took a stand against their corruption which continues to be remembered till today:
So, he (a) called to You (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) flawlessly, gave advices, and sacrificed his soul for You to save Your servants from ignorance and perplexity of straying off. Yet, those whom were seduced by this worldly life, who sold their share (of reward) with the lowliest and meanest, retailed their Hereafter with the cheapest price, acted haughtily, perished because of following their desires, brought to themselves Your wrath and the wrath of Your Prophet. ~ Ziyārah of Arba’īn
However, the stand of Imam Ḥusayn (a) was not against any petty corruption. At times you have corruption on the micro-level, perhaps between two individuals in a business transaction, or between a couple where one spouse is oppressive to the other. Fighting against this corruption would not have required him (a) to do what he did and say what he (a) did. He (a) could have given allegiance and remained in Medina to fight against such corruption. Other times you have a macro-level and systematic corruption – a type of corruption that is built into the very systems ruling over you. It can even be argued that the former types of corruption ultimately originate in some aspects of the latter.
The Qurān contains examples of both types of corruption. For example:
وَلَا تَنقُصُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ ۚ إِنِّي أَرَاكُم بِخَيْرٍ وَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ مُّحِيطٍ
[11:84] Do not diminish the measure or the balance. Indeed I see that you are faring well, but I fear for you the punishment of an all-embracing day.
This verse is referring to corruption that occurs in matters of transactions and business, asking individuals to not cheat one another – such a person would be a fāsid. In order to understand corruption on the macro-level, we should see who the Qurān describes as a mufsid. A few examples:
ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا ۖ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
[7:103] Then after them We sent Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his elite, but they wronged them. So observe how was the fate of the agents of corruption!
The verse asks us to go and investigate the fate of the mufsidīn – the very agents of corruption, those who caused corruption on a macro-level. A fāsid causes corruption on a micro-level which impacts him or herself and perhaps a few around them, but a mufsid impacts society at large. The Qurān repeatedly emphasizes the mufsid aspect of Pharaoh instead of his kufr.
إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
[28:4] Indeed Pharaoh exalted himself over the land, reducing its people to factions, abasing one group of them, slaughtering their sons and sparing their women. Indeed He was one of the agents of corruption.
This verse further implies that it was the power and authority Pharaoh held which allowed him to cause the corruption that he did.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ
[2:204] Among the people is he whose talk about worldly life impresses you, and he holds Allah witness to what is in his heart, though he is the staunchest of enemies.
[2:205] And if he were to wield authority, he would try to cause corruption in the land, and to ruin the crop and the stock, and Allah does not like corruption.
These two verses are describing an individual as the staunchest or fiercest of enemies. The staunchest of enemies is someone whose speech and words will impress you, but when they gain power and take over, they cause corruption and destruction over the lands – this is not a micro-level corruption by any means.
It was this type of corruption that the Imam (a) was primarily trying to expose and fight against. Furthermore, not everyone can necessarily fight against this corruption and neither is it expected from everyone and this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Qurān considers this an expectation for the Ūlū Baqīyatin:
فَلَوْلَا كَانَ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ أُولُو بَقِيَّةٍ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْفَسَادِ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّمَّنْ أَنجَيْنَا مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَاتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَا أُتْرِفُوا فِيهِ وَكَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ
[11:116] Why were there not among the generations before you a remnant [of the wise] who might forbid corruption in the Earth, except a few. Those who were wrongdoers pursued that in which they had been granted affluence, and they were a guilty lot.
وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ
[11:117] Your Lord would never destroy the townships unjustly while their inhabitants were bringing about reform.
As per some works of tafsīr, the Ūlū Baqīyatin have been described as the intellectuals and scholars – in the general sense of the word – of society. They are expected to expose, forbid and fight against this level of corruption. Micro-level corruption can be forbidden by even the laity and in fact they are expected to do so given the right conditions, but macro-level corruption requires more and cannot necessarily be expected from them. It requires knowledge – specialist knowledge of who one is up against, knowledge of the system and how it works – and secondly, it requires purity and righteousness. As the verse implies, only a few special people come forth to forbid this extent of corruption, while the rest themselves are guilty of sins and corruption.
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