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In the Name of God بسم الله
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By starlight in Combat With The SelfImam Jafar al-Sadiq(عليه السلام) said: 'Allah revealed to Dawud(as): " When one of my servants resorts to me and not to anyone of My creation, I know that from his inner intention, such that even if the skies and the Earth and their inhabitants were to conspire against him, I will make an outlet for him in spite of them. And when one of My servants resorts to one of my creatures, I know that too from his intention, such that I cut off the means of subsistence of the skies from him, and I will make the Earth disintegrate from under him, and do not care in which valley he perishes."' al-Kafi,v.2, p.52,no.1.
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq(عليه السلام) said: ' Whoever from among the servants of Allah devotes himself towards that which Allah loves, Allah too devotes Himself to that which he loves. And whoever resorts entirely to Allah, Allah protects him, and whoever turns towards Allah, Allah accepts him and protects him, such that whether the sky was falling upon the Earth, or a calamity was to befall all the inhabitants of the Earth, he would in the Party of Allah, secure from all calamities. Indeed,does not Allah say: "Surely those who guard against evil are in a secure place?"' (Qur'an 44:51) al-Kafi,v.2,p.53,no.4
By Ali in ShiaChat.com Blog[This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama! I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]
Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days!
Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 yearold me was still trying to make sense of it all.
In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial-up modem was. Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) - I digress.
Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in endless debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia. (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups. This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”. The “Hashtag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today).
For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client. It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as a member of their chat room. Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.). Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years. I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people. Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course, the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15-year-old.
In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia. As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggybacked on one of our member’s servers and domain name.
The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam. As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style. Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way.
A thought occurred to me. Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use? The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today. The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at any time from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users. I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just set up was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com.
[More to follow, Part 2..]
So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?
By starlight in Combat With The SelfImam Jafar al-Sadiq(عليه السلام) said:' Allah Almighty has said:'The one whose prayer(salat) is the most readily accepted is the one who abases himself to My Greatness, holds himself back from his desires for My sake, passes his day in My remembrance, does not behave haughtily over My creatures, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, has mercy on the afflicted, and gives refuge to the traveller who is away from his home, as all this makes his light shine forth, and like the sun I create a light for him in the darkness and a clemency for him in the times of ignorance, I protect him with my Might and My angels guard him, for all that I have in my possession is like the Gardens of Perpetuity whose fruits are always within reach, and remain eternally fresh*.''" - Al Mahasin, p.15, no.44.
* Refers to Qur'an verse 69:23: 'The fruits of which are near at hand' and corresponds with the humility of the believer.
By starlight in Combat With The SelfOne of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq(as)'s companions, 'Abdullah b.Sanan once asked him: 'Are the angels better or humans better?' to which he(عليه السلام) replied: ' Amir al Muminin, Ali b. abi talib said:"Allah endowed angels with intellect without desire, animals with desire without intellect and man with both of them. So he whose intellect manages to conquer his desire is better than angels, and he whose desires overcome his intellect is worse than animals.'" Illal al Sharai, p.4, no.1
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq(عليه السلام) narrated on the authority of his infallible forefathers that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: 'Blessings upon the one who abandons his desires for the sake of a promised place that he has not even seen.' Thawab al-Amal, p.211,no.1
Imam Amir al- Muminin(عليه السلام)said:' How many a fleeting desire that lasts but an hour brings about an enduring sorrow.' Nahjul Balagha,v.3, p.193, no,171
Imam Amir al- Muminin(عليه السلام)said: " How many an indulgent meal prevents several meals.' Al-Mahasin, p.15, no.44
By Haji 2003 in Stories for SakinaI had a thoughtful afternoon in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens some years ago and was inspired to write this.
One day, many hundreds of years ago, there was a storm in the Mediterranean Sea. And it was no different to all the other storms that happened before or after, but this storm must have been a special storm because it sank a special ship.
The ship itself was no different from the many other ships that have sailed before or after this event, but this one was special because it carried a special cargo. And the cargo itself was no different to what has sunk in the Mediterranean either before or after, except that there was just one piece in that cargo that is, so far, unique.
It’s unique because the person who put it together thought a lot about what they were doing. Obviously, lots of people think about what they make, but these must have been special thoughts because no one else has yet come across anything so clever that was made so far back in ancient history. And the thoughts were special because unlike many pretty things that you can only look at, this little item can be used for a specific objective and that is what really makes it special. It can be used to tell the positions of the stars and predict eclipses and it does this because it has lots of moving parts that all move very precisely indeed and that is why it can be called a ‘mechanism’.
And why was this little item on the sea? Because someone far away wanted to buy it. The people who made it had become famous in other countries for their creations because they were clever and beautiful. But over time the creators had become poor and the people in other countries had become rich. And what the poor people had left were their thoughts and ideas but perhaps they were not so happy when other peoples' appreciation of those ideas meant that they wanted souvenirs and these were often the physical representation of those ideas and the more such souvenirs that were taken away the fewer there were left.
Eventually, these rich people (the Romans, inspired by the Greeks) would become known for their own beautiful and clever works and when they became poor their children too would see things their forefathers had made taken away by rich people in other countries.
And so it came to be that this little mechanism, was being transported over the sea because someone else could afford to buy it. Perhaps they knew how to use it, or perhaps they didn’t. The storm meant that it never reached its destination. It was a loss for the person who sold it, it was a loss for the person who bought it and it was obviously a loss for the sailors who carried it.
And so, it remained a loss for many hundreds of years, except when it was found in the sea and people started to work out what it was and how it worked. And the cleverer people became the more they realized how clever the mechanism was. So what had been a loss for so many years became a discovery and then an important discovery and will remain so, for many more years.
And because by this time people had invented all sorts of different mechanisms, they needed to give it a name and they called it the Antikythera mechanism because that’s the island near where it was lost. And this time instead of rich foreign people taking it away, they paid for it to be seen near where it was found. But they wanted their name linked to it because they wanted everyone to see that they were clever and that they knew what was beautiful.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaThe photo-journalist Cartier-Bresson coined this phrase, with a book of the same name, whose English title was 'the decisive moment'. Capturing such moments can be fun and rewarding.
I've been trying to encourage Maryam to see photographic picture taking as being an opportunistic exercise where good shots can be unexpected, unplanned and based purely on the recognition that there might be something there.
We were in Regents Park yesterday and she was taking pictures of Abbas cycling on the Broadwalk. I noticed this group and told her to switch her attention. She came up with this. There were, better compositions but they were out of focus etc. Still, as I told her the trick is to practice these situations enough so that when a money shot does happen you know exactly what to do.
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