In the Name of God بسم الله
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By Meedy in Never thought I would see days like theseTake:
Everyday , Every second, Every situations, Every difficulties, Every achievements
Take all these a test and trials where your patient is tested, your faith is tested, your ability to control your desires and emotions are tested, family relations is tested etc.....
Focus on passing these tests with patient, faith in God, doing religious obligations, praying to God, always seeking help from God, seeking forgiveness and thanking him in every situations we are in.
Remember God has something better waiting for you in the after world so try and somehow put a smile on your face every now and then...
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
The theory that the pyramids were built or had their construction guided by extraterrestrials is challenged by the existence of mistakes in the construction of some of them.
But I think the Egyptians were privy to Divine Guidance, which in itself is interesting because the evidence of a Pharoah moving from polytheism to monotheism supports Qur'anic teaching as I understand it.
The bent pyramid at Dahshur
There is a populist theory that the pyramids must have had an alien inspiration. This is because of the range of innovations that they represent and knowledge across multiple disciplines and their orientation towards certain constellations.
My problem with this theory is the bent pyramid at Dahshur. It's bent, because they got the maths wrong (see the picture I took a few years ago below). It's weird that aliens who managed to get to this planet but then got their measurements for a stone structure wrong. Seems pretty clear to me that the pyramids we see represent the refinement and development of Egyptian technology, rather than discrete alien intervention. Also supporting my contention is a landscape literally littered with smaller pyramids, these people were learning, developing and increasing the scale of their creations as they grew more confident.
If not aliens then who?
My understanding of the Qur'anic references to Pharaoh is that they provide an example of a powerful leader, with immense resources, who was nevertheless brought down by divine intervention. The Pharaohs were representatives of a culture with a level of scientific, organisational, military and communications capability unknown at that time and for a long time yet to come.
Indeed the very existence of mistakes in their work and subsequent improvements demonstrates that they had the capability to learn. Nevertheless the fact that the Pharoah of the time of Moses was brought down by believers in Allah who were weaker in numbers and military strength, is a sign to subsequent rulers around the world about how weak their position can be.
And importantly the Qur'an tells us that the evidence of such civilisations is there for us to observe in order for us to better understand the message that is being conveyed to us:
A final thought
Were the ancient Egyptians privy to Divine guidance? I think there is evidence in the Qur'an that they may have been. Here are some references to Allah communicating with other cultures.
And indeed there is material in the historical record that at least one Pharoah (Akhenaten) tried to promulgate a faith that had similarities to monotheism. The initiative did not last very long and in the reign of the next Pharoah (Tutankhamun) the Egyptians reverted to polytheism. I use the phrase similarities to monotheism because although he removed references to the pantheon of deities that the Egyptians previously worshipped, his new religion nevertheless involved worship of the sun.
The following extract is from a book published within the last few years that addresses head on the issue of monotheism and Akhenaten's rule.
Hoffmeier, J.K., 2015. Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism. Oxford University Press.
Perhaps Akhenaten was amongst the many Prophets that we believe have been sent by God at different times and places to different cultures? I am speculating here, but perhaps the message was corrupted? Still, I would like to believe that the archaeological evidence of Akhenaten's rule supports the idea that Allah's message was not restricted to just the children of Abraham.
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
Since the inception of Islam, there had been various sects competing for prominence; many had died out, and the two major ones were Twelver Shia and the Sunni fiqh.
Then suddenly, from the start of the 19th century to the end of that century, we have the emergence of Ahmadiyya, the renewal of Ismailism and the creation of a new faith entirely, Baha ism. Go back a hundred years, and we can add Wahhabism to this list. I identify a common thread amongst all these new religions in this post.
Four religions in a couple of hundred years ... and three Knights
That's an unusually fertile period of spiritual spontaneity by any measure. Or is the explanation for such flowering of faith more mundane and perhaps guided by vested foreign interests or even stimulated by them? Because what marked that period, from the ones that preceded it was the growing recognition by countries from outside the middle eastern region that it was an important geographical location in itself and also for its proximity to the wealth of India. That latter point is important because there is little disagreement that British foreign policy towards the middle east paid due cognisance to the views and interests of the Government of India - of course, that is a pre-independence Government, so wholly controlled by Britain.
Abdul Wahhab developed what is commonly referred to as an austere interpretation of Islam, one that denounces the rituals and beliefs that he felt had accreted over the centuries. There is a rich vein of (conspiracy) theories, easily found on the internet, that in his travel to Iraq in the early 18th century, he could have come across British agents (specifically a 'Mr Hempher'). Certainly, the British East India Company had been well established at that time, and a British consulate had been established in Iraq in 1802. Less widely commented on is the fact that the famous Danish/German explorer Carsten Niebuhr travelled to Arabia in 1761.
But leaving conspiracy theories aside, it's possible to develop an argument about foreign involvement based on far less controversial ideas. Britain may not have been a midwife to Wahhabism, but I think people of all geo-political persuasions would agree that Britain was a helpful nanny.
The person with whom the British did have extensive dealings was Ibn Saud, who had entered into a pact with Abdul Wahhab in 1744. British sources said he persistently approached Britain for support and was generally rebuffed. Saud was a political leader who continued to promote the Wahhabi philosophy after the death of its founder. Saud was no cleric. But he was shrewd enough to mould the ideology as the basis for providing a motivation for conquest and a glue that would hold his fighters together. British records show that he took responsibility for hiring and firing clerics based on his political agenda.
My source for this and some other information about Wahhabism that is presented here is a PhD dissertation submitted to King's College London in 2002 by Hassan Syed Abedin, titled "Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the great game in Arabia, 1896-1946".
Ibn Saud (who would in due course be given the British title 'Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire') was ultimately successful in his goal of receiving support from Britain in 1914 when Britain needed to have someone distracting the Ottomans so that they could devote fewer resources to World War I taking place in Europe.
Prior to that, it's argued that Ibn Saud had spent considerable efforts in achieving a status similar to the one held by Mubarak Al Sabah, the emir of Kuwait. This ideal status would have meant that Sauds and their territories would have been subjects of the Ottoman empire, but who would be given the protection of the British.
This version of events does not look very good for Ibn Saud, presenting him as someone who is willing to do business with non-Muslims in order to undermine a Muslim ruler, and he'd serve a useful role in helping Britain with the following objective:
Crewe private telegram to Hardinge, Viceroy of India, November 12,1914, cited in Busch Britain, India and the Arabs: 1914-1921, p. 62.
Further, east we find the rise of the modern-day Nizari Ismailis, whose Aga Khan in the mid-19th century created a new role for himself in providing services to the British Empire (Aga Khan I would receive an annual British pension of £20,000 per year). Mihir Bose (a noted writer on the subject) says that the Aga Khan had to plead his case for some time before the British took him seriously since they wanted to be sure that they were backing a local ally who'd present them with better value than the alternatives. His grandson Aga Khan III would be bestowed the title of 'Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India'. Their esoteric faith was totally at odds with the one promulgated by Wahhab, but regardless of that difference served a useful purpose.
Regardless of the support he gave, the British were aware of the hypocrisy of his religious position:
Sir Charles Napier to Governor-General of India, Earl of Ellenborough, 1843
The period around the 1840s is interesting for the following reason, as the following letter makes clear:
Purohit, T. (2012) The Aga Khan Case (religion and identity in colonial India). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
The writer of the letter is Major Henry Rawlinson, the military officer who worked for the commission in Persia from 1834 to 1838 and subsequently served as a political agent in Qandahar. So the British were interested in there being dislocation in Iran at around this time because of a perceived threat to their interests in Afghanistan.
This makes the genesis and development of the third religion covered here all the more interesting.
In roughly the same period, the mid-nineteenth century, we also see the rise of the Bahai faith in Iran. Mirza Ali Mohammad was born in 1820 and was executed in 1850. A focus of his attention was economic inequality in Iran. There were clear political implications, as noted by the middle eastern commentator Juan Cole:
The socio-economic aspect of Bab's teachings are also explained here:
Mansoor Moaddel (1986) The Shi'i Ulama and the State in Iran. Theory and Society, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Jul., 1986), pp. 519-556. This extract: p526.
This socio-religio-poliitcal impact of a new faith did not go unnoticed by the colonial powers of the time and gained ground as a result of their support as a means of destabilising the Qajar dynasty. Like Ibn Saud, Abdul Baha, eldest son of the Baha'u'llah, would also be awarded the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, ostensibly for his work in alleviating famine.
Shahvar, S. (2018) ‘Oppression of Religious Minority Groups in Times of Great Upheaval in Late Qajar Iran: The 1892 Persecution of Jews and Baha’is of Jewish Origin in Hamadan Based on Two Newly Discovered Letters’, The Jewish quarterly review. University of Pennsylvania Press, 108(2), pp. 225–251.
Going further east, we find the third innovation in the Muslim religion towards the end of the 19th century and one that would lead to charges of being the creation of a new religion entirely. The Ahmadis would destabilise Muslims in the Indian sub-continent. Their support for the British in India is expressed in their texts:
There is a reason for this approach; unlike the established religions of the Indian sub-continent, the leader of this new religion needed legitimacy. By acquiescing to the needs of the invaders, he sought to achieve that. For the established religions doing the same would have been challenging because they would have lost the legitimacy of their many existing followers; the new religion with far fewer followers had much less to lose in this respect but potentially a great deal more to gain.
I am not saying that the British went into the middle east with the prior notion of introducing new faiths. However, it is reasonable to say that in an environment where there were new powers in the region, for someone starting a new faith, the potential for a symbiotic relationship with these new arrivals was obvious.
For the invaders, these new religions provided a ready-made supportive constituency with which to challenge the established order, whether it be the Ottomans, the Qajars or the established religious order in India.
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 ShiaMan14 in Random Thoughts of ShiaMan14Salaam,
I had the privilege and honor of going to Umrah a few weeks ago. Having completed my hajj in 2010, it was time to pay Hijaz another visit to pay my respects to the Prophet (saw) and his progeny in Madinah and visit the House of Allah in Makkah.
Hopefully the pointers below will help anyone planning on going for Umrah.
First, if you haven't been to Saudi before, it is best to go with a registered group. It will make things easier for you because other than following instructions, there shouldn't be much to worry about..Also, if you don't speak arabic or urdu/hindi/bengali, then it would be better to go with a registered group because language can be an issue in some places.
Anyway, I decided to go with my family instead of a group. The primary hurdle in going to Saudi is getting a visa. These are things to remember:
We had to apply to a local consulate but individual travelers cannot apply on their own. The visa application has to be submitted through an authorized travel agency. Even though the Umrah visa is free, these agencies charge between $175 - $200 per person for visa. Also, note that you can only apply within 30 days of going for umrah. You need to buy non-refundable return tickets before applying. The other mandatory requirement is to get a meningitis vaccination. CVS, Walgreens or RediClinic can do this without a prescription. Without insurance, it will cost between $150-$200. Get the vaccination record from the Pharmacy and submit it with your application. Common sense would dictate that you buy your tickets once visa approval is obtained but not in this case. Visa application usually takes about 1 week to process...might take longer during busy times. Next decision is where to fly in/out from. If you decide to go to Makkah first, you will have to fly into Jeddah. Since Jeddah is inside the meeqat***, you will have to wear your ihram from the point of origin. So we chose to fly into Madinah first.
I would recommend either Turkish Airlines or Emirates. We flew Emirates from the US. We had a 5 hour layover in Dubai so we went out of the airport and had a nice dinner. US Citizens do not need a visa for Dubai (UAE).Came back to the airport around 11p for our 105a flight to Medinah.
We arrived in Madinah around 345a, got out of the airport by 445a. Since we were not part of a group, I made arrangements transportation arrangements with or hotel. It took about 30 minutes to get to our hotel right next to Masjid Al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Holy Prophet).
We stayed at Hotel Pullman Zamzam Madinah. Fantastic 5* hotel with great rooms and awesome breakfast. The only downside to the hotel is that it is on the opposite end of the Ladies entrance to the mosque so it took the ladies about 15 minutes to walk to the mosque. The hotel did provide a shuttle service for women at regular intervals.
After checking-in, we took a quick shower and made our way to the Mosque just in time for Fajr - individual, not jama'ah.
After every salah every day, the Saudis open Jana'at Al-Baqi for an hour or so. Much to my surprise, the Saudis were fairly relaxed in letting people get in, recite dua/ziarat albeit quietly and even take pictures.
Imam Hasan (as), Imam Sajjad (as), Imam Al-Baqar and Imam Al-Sadiq are buried here.
If I am not mistaken, I think Hz Umm-al-baneen is buried where I have drawn the red circle:
Went back to our hotel around 7am. We ate breakfast and finally went to bed after a 24 hours journey.
We woke up around 3pm and went to the Prophet's mosque for zuhrain. We prayed some other prayers so got back to the hotel around 430p. We rested a bit more and then made our way back to the mosque for maghribain around 7p. Once again, we stayed there for around 2 hours and then had dinner and then back to the hotel.
We are recommended to pray full zuhr/asr/isha in Medinah.
After taking an early night, we headed to the Prophet's mosque around 2am where we prayed salat-e-layl and other prayers. Returned to our hotel just after fajr. Our schedule for the rest of the day was the same as the previous day. However, there are other ziarats in Madinah one can visit:
Masjid al-Shams Masjid al-Zul Qibltayn Masjid al-Quba The Saba Saba Masjids Masjid al-Fatah Masjid Salman al-Farsi Masjid al-Ali A.S. Masjid al-Bidi Fatimah Zehra A.S. Ohud – Hazrat Hamza A.S. Day Three:
I stayed in the Prophet's mosque from 130am - fajr. I had the honor to pray salat-e-layl in Riyad-al-Jannah (Piece of heaven) - it is adjacent to the Prophet's grave. After salah, I went to Jana'at-al-Baqi for Ziarah al-wida (Farewell ziarah).
We rested for a couple of hours, had breakfast and then made preparations to head to Makkah for Umrah.
The main thing required is to perform a ghusl with the niyyah (intention) Niyyat: “I am doing Ghusl for the following for wearing Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah Sunnat Qurbatan Ilallah”. You cannot use scented soap when doing this Ghusl.
The next step is to wear the ihram. Ihram for men - consists of two pieces of white cloth and for ladies their usual daily wear is their Ihram, but it is highly recommended that it be white as it is the sign of purity.
Please not that even though one is wearing the ihram, the niyyah for Ihram is done later.
We bought our ihram in Medinah for about $20 (60-75 Saudi Rial).
We checked out of our hotel to make our way to masjid-e-Shajarah. I made transportation arrangements while in Medinah. It cost just under $200 for a personal mini-van.
We stopped at Ohud for 15-20 minutes for a quick ziarah of Hz Hamzah's grave.
Then we made our way to masjid-e-Shajarah. This is a designated point of wearing ihram per sharia. There are 6 other places as well in different parts of Saudi.
If you are already wearing ihram, you can take off the top portion and put it on again and make the niyyah (intention):
“I am wearing Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Illallah”. Immediately after making the niyya, recite the talbiya (calling) in arabic:
Labbaik, Allahumma Labbaik,
Labbaik La Sharika Laka Labbaik,
Innal Hamda WanNe’amata Laka Walmuka
La Sharika Laka Labbaik
This is to be recited as many times as possible until you reach the vicinity of Makkah.
After wearing the ihram and reciting talbiya, proceed to the inside of the Mosque and recite 2 rakat salat with the niyyah, "Offering 2 rakat salah for wearing ihram qurbatanillah".
Once you adorn the ihram and make the niyyah, there are about 25 things that become haraam upon a person.
Once we completed our prayers, we made our way towards Makkah, reciting talbiya as much as we could.
One thing to note is that in Shia fiqh, men ar enot allowed to travel under shade during the day while in ihram.so it is advisable to plan your journey such that you arrive in Masjid-e-Shajarah around maghrib. If traveling during hte day, then there is a kafarah (penalty) of 1 sheep.
We made a couple of stops on our way to Makkah which was about a 5 hour drive (430km or 250m)
Day Three - Arrival in Makkah:
We arrived in Makkah around 5pm. Since we had already prayed zuharain en route, we decided to rest a bit in our hotel. We woke up, did ghusl made our way to the Holy Kaaba around 730p. One has to be in wudu (or ghusl) for tawaf.
We prayed maghrib and isha and then started our umrah. These are the steps for umrah:
1) Perform tawaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba 7 times. The niyyah (intention) is:
I am going round this Ka’aba seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah.
Since the masjid has several floors, it is important to remember that we can do tawaf on any floor as long as your height is below the top of the kaaba.
2) Upon completion of tawag, recite 2 rakat salat-e-tawaf behind the Maqam-e-Ibrahim (place of Ibrahim) - recited just like fajr
I am offering two Rakaat Salaat for Tawaaf of Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
3) Perform Sa'ae (wudu not necessary). This is where you walk from Safa'a to Marwa 7 times (about 3.5km in total). Niyyah (intention) is:
I walk between Safaa and Marwah, seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
Going from Safa'a --> marwa = 1
Marwa --> Safa'a = 2
Safa'a --> marwa = 3
Marwa --> Safa'a = 4
Safa'a --> marwa = 5
Marwa --> Safa'a = 6
Safa'a --> marwa = 7
So you start at Safa'a and end at Marwa.
4) Once Sa'ae is over, the next step is taqseer (cuting part of mails of hair). Niyyah is:
I am performing Taqseer so as to be relieved of Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah QurbatanIlallah
It is best to do the 4 steps without too much of a break in between them. At this point, you can take a break and even take of your ihram.
5) Whether you take a break or not, the next step is to perform tawaf-e-Nisa. Everyone has to do this - young/old, man/woman, married/unmarried, etc.). Niyyah is:
I am doing Tawaaf-un-Nissa by going round this Ka’aba seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
6) Last step is to perform salat tawaf-e-Nisa. Niyyah is:
I am offering two Rakaat Salaat for Tawaaf-un-Nissa for Umra al-Mufradah QurbatanIlallah
The entire umrah took about 2 - 2.5 hours to complete.
This is the completion of the umrah.
After completing our umrah, we went back to our hotel, had dinner and went to sleep.
We went to the Kaaba about 2 hours before fajr to perform Sunnah tawaf (each tawaf is 7 rounds). After each tawaf, reciting salat-e-tawaf is obligatory. You can make the intention of perfomr tawaf for others alive or deceased. This day was spent between our hotel and performing salah+tawaf throughout the day. There are other ziarah to be performed in makkah:
Ka’aba Hajr al-Ismail Hajr-ul-Aswad Makaam al-Ibrahim Zam Zam Hills of Safa and Marwa Janatul-Mualla Janab al-Khadijatul Kubra Janab al-Abu Talib Janab al-Abdul Mutalib Hazrat Abdullah Hazrat Amina Bint al-Wahab Masjid al-Jinn Cave of Thawr Cave of Hira Jabal al-Rahmah Muzdhalifa or Ma’shar Munna Masjid al-Kheef - In Munna We were able to perform the green ones above. We also had the opportunity to pray salat in the hateem which is not always open. We were able to touch the kaaba several times including rukn-e-Yemeni (corner from where Hz Fatima bint Assad went inside the kaaba to deliver Hz Ali (as).
Pic in hateem under the kaaba
Cloth of the kaaba - it is actually pieces of cloth sewn together instead of a very large piece of cloth.
We performed our final prayers and then checked out of our hotel to go to Jeddah airport. We flew from Jeddah --> Dubai and stayed there overnight, then flew back to the US.
I was pleasantly surprised that the Saudis were pretty lenient this time.People were free to pray and take pictures as they wanted...for the most part. I would recommend taking salah, dua and ziarah information on your phones rather than books.
I will also try to upload the guidebook I used for most of the trip.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I tried to cover the most important aspects of umrah.
Your Personal Guide to Hajj Umrah Ziyarat .pdf
By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heavenهر کجای این جهان آشوب و جنگ
آه مظلومان زند بر قلب چنگ
آن که بنیان ستم باشد از او
مرگ بر او, ننگ بر او, نفرین بر او
شیعه یعنی لا فتی الا علی
پیروی از حق و بیعت با ولی
از نوای نخل و شیونهای چاه
سرخ رنگ میگردد فلک هر بامگاه
ترک کن این قوم بی فرهنگ را
این سرای ننگ پر نیرنگ را
یاد کن محراب خونین رنگ را
بوسه ی سرخ سروش مرگ را
پیکر بی سر, گلوی پاره را
شام تلخ مردم آواره را
اشک لیلا, ناله ی شبگیر را
دست و پای در غل و زنجیر را
شیعه یعنی انتظار و صبر و درد
خالقان عشق, مردان نبرد
کربلا, عاشوریان بی قرار
شیعه یعنی شور رفتن سوی یار
ای تو هارون رهنمای راه راست
سامری آمد بگو موسی کجاست
سامری بدعت به دین انداختست
گر نباشی کار مردم ساختست
تا به ظهر آمدن در التهاب
در تب و تاب ظهور آفتاب
چون به فردا آید آن شاه وزین
جهل را راند از روی زمین
میکشد آن که ضعیفان را بکشت
ابلیس را, آنکه بر حق کرد پشت
آنکه بشکست حرمت ناموس را
واپسین فرزند دقیانوس را
پرده برمیدارد از رازی گران
فاش میگردد حقیقت بر جهان
شهسوارا! اهل عالم خستهاند
خسته اما دل به دنیا بستهاند
گر بیایی میشود عالم بهشت
میگریزد از جهان ابلیس زشت
جز کلام حق نیاید بر زبان
در مساجد، در کلیسا، در کِنِشت
ای تو همپیمان با ابلیس لعین
سایهی شیطان بر روی زمین
ای به رنگ خون, انگشتان تو
استخوان مردمان بر خوان تو
کرده پر از خون, هوس, جام تو را
شوم میبینم فرجام تو را
از چه لذت میبری؟ از سرکشی؟
از خیانت, ظلم, نامردی, حق کشی؟
بر ضعیفان و یتیمان تاختن؟
پرچم حق را به زیر انداختن؟
رایت ظلم و ستم افراشتن؟
کیسه ها از مال خلق انباشتن؟
کاخ خود را روی کوخی ساختن؟
یا که از روی هوس, دل باختن؟
ای خداوند جهان بیکران
ای فراتر از مکان و از زمان
ای خداوند رحیم و رحمدوست
ای که افسار جهان در دست اوست
بارالها طاقت دنیا کم است
روزگارش مملو از درد و غم است
پرده افکن از رخ خورشید شرق
تا بیاندازد به دلها نور و برق
زود گردان ای خدا دیدار را
برشکن فرهنگ استکبار را
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaSummary
This post and the replies to it explore the notion of measurement in the Qur'an and the range of meanings that it conveys, from the mundane to the more esoteric and divine. These posts then focus on the association between measurement and precision in the Qur'an and how intertwined the two concepts are. Given that improvements in precision are associated with technological development - it is hypothesised that the latter could be considered a 'good' thing.
A previous blog post, that I had written by myself) on this subject disappeared after it was posted. So here is another attempt, but this time I have resorted to posting a conversation with GPT4, pursuing lines of thought that had motivated the previous post. So usual caveats apply i.e. the references it gives etc. do need to be checked for accuracy.
Please give some examples of the usage of the word 'measure' as used in English translations of the Qur'an.
Sure, I can provide some examples from well-known English translations of the Qur'an that feature the concept of 'measure'. However, please remember that translations can vary based on the translator's understanding and interpretation. Here are a few examples:
In the context of divine creation: In Surah Al-Furqan (25:2), the concept of 'measure' is used to describe the precision and orderliness of God's creation: "He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion and has created each thing and determined it with [precise] determination." In the context of sustenance and livelihood: In Surah Al-Isra (17:30), it is said that God provides for whom He wills in measured amounts: "Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing." In the context of time and life: In Surah Al-Insan (76:3), the term 'measure' is used to refer to the predetermined life span of every individual: "Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing." In the context of moral and ethical standards: In Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3), those who give less than due when they measure or weigh for people are condemned: "Woe to those who give less [than due], Who, when they take a measure from people, take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss." These are just a few examples to illustrate how the concept of 'measure' is used in the Qur'an. It's a multi-faceted term with different implications depending on the context.
Please expand on the references to the notion of measurement when applied to moral and ethical standards.
The Qur'an, as the central religious text of Islam, contains numerous references to moral and ethical standards. These standards are often articulated in terms of measures, weights, balances, scales, or equivalents, metaphors that imply fairness, justice, and equity.
Here are some instances where the notion of measurement is applied to moral and ethical standards:
Fair dealings and honesty in transactions: In Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3), it is emphasized that people should be fair and honest in their transactions. The word 'measure' is used metaphorically to represent the moral standard for economic transactions. Those who cheat or give less than due when they measure or weigh for others are condemned. The recompense of deeds: The metaphor of scales or balance is often used in the context of judgment in the Hereafter. In Surah Al-Qari'ah (101:6-9), it is mentioned that on the Day of Judgement, people's deeds will be weighed, and those whose scale of good deeds is heavy will be successful, while those whose scale is light will have lost their souls. Here, 'measure' is used to metaphorically represent the weight of a person's good and bad deeds. Justice: Justice is a key value in Islamic ethics. The Qur'an urges believers to uphold justice, even against themselves or their kin. In Surah An-Nisa (4:135), it states, "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives." Here, the notion of 'measure' is inherent in the concept of justice, implying fairness and impartiality. Equitable treatment and reciprocity: In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:279), the Qur'an provides guidance about dealing with debts and emphasizes the importance of writing down the amount borrowed to ensure fairness and prevent disputes. This is a metaphorical use of 'measure', representing clear and fair dealings in social and economic transactions. These examples demonstrate how the Qur'an uses the concept of 'measure' to prescribe moral and ethical standards for individuals and societies. The consistent theme is a call for fairness, justice, and honesty in all dealings.
Please expand on the issue of measurement where the references are to do with fair dealings and honesty in transactions.
In the Qur'an, the concept of fair dealings and honesty, especially in business transactions, is heavily emphasized. The term 'measure' is often used as a metaphor to reinforce this principle. Here are some key examples:
Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Defrauding; 83:1-3): "Woe to those who give less [than due], who when they take a measure from people, take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss." These verses clearly condemn dishonest business practices, specifically those involving shortchanging or defrauding others in measurements or weights. Surah Al-An'am (The Cattle; 6:152): "And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result." This verse underscores the importance of giving full measure and maintaining a balanced weight, both literally in commerce and metaphorically in all dealings. Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey; 17:35): "And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result." This verse is a near-repetition of the one in Surah Al-An'am, further emphasizing the importance of honest measurements and dealings. Surah Hud (11:84-85): "And O my people, give full measure and weight in justice and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." These verses were spoken by the prophet Shu'aib, admonishing his people to act justly in their business transactions and warning them against spreading corruption. These verses underscore the Qur'anic emphasis on integrity, honesty, and fairness in business transactions. From a broader perspective, these principles can be seen as fundamental to the Islamic concept of 'Adl (justice) and Ihsan (doing what is good and right). This includes upholding trust (Amanah), being truthful (Sidq), and avoiding deceit and corruption. Such principles are seen as crucial for maintaining social harmony and economic justice in society.
You used the word metaphorically in your last answer. Can you please expand on the notion of how measurement refers in the Qur'an on a more metaphorical basis in the context of dealings?
In the Qur'an, the concept of measurement is often used metaphorically to convey deeper moral and ethical lessons. When applied to the context of dealings, especially in business transactions, the 'measure' becomes a symbol of integrity, fairness, and justice.
Symbol of integrity: When the Qur'an instructs to give full measure, it's not just about the literal physical measure in transactions, but also about being fully truthful and transparent in all aspects of life. For example, when you promise something, you should fulfill it completely, not partially or deceitfully. Indicator of fairness: The measure in the Qur'an often symbolizes fairness. When it instructs to give full measure, it's urging fairness not just in transactions, but in all interactions with others. This includes treating others with respect, not taking advantage of others, and giving everyone their due rights. Representation of justice: The Qur'anic emphasis on accurate measurement can be seen as a metaphor for justice. Just as you wouldn't want to be cheated out of a full measure in a transaction, you should not cheat others out of their rights. This concept extends to social justice, implying that everyone should get their fair share of society's resources and opportunities. A signifier of balance: The Qur'an often pairs the concept of measure with balance, especially in the context of dealings. This can be interpreted metaphorically as a call for balance in all aspects of life, including personal conduct, social relationships, and economic activities. This balance is crucial in maintaining harmony and preventing exploitation or excess. These metaphorical interpretations of 'measure' highlight the depth of Qur'anic teachings, where simple instructions carry profound moral and ethical implications. It's a reminder that the principles of integrity, fairness, justice, and balance should permeate every aspect of a person's life, from business transactions to personal relationships and societal interactions.
Can you give references to any commentators who have written about these metaphorical uses of measurement in the Qur'an, quotations from their works would be useful.
Islamic scholars and commentators have indeed explored the metaphorical aspects of the Qur'an's teachings on measurement, particularly in the context of ethics, justice, and societal dealings. While I don't have direct quotations available, I can provide an overview of these interpretations based on various well-known exegeses (Tafsir).
Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Kathir, a renowned medieval scholar, in his commentary on Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Defrauding; 83:1-3), explains the metaphor of measurement in terms of fairness and honesty in transactions, and extends this to mean fairness and honesty in all aspects of life. Tafsir Al-Jalalayn: The two Jalals, Jalaluddin Al-Mahalli and Jalaluddin As-Suyuti, in their Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, provide succinct interpretations of the Qur'an. Regarding verses about measurement, they stress the importance of justice and integrity, interpreting these metaphors in both a literal and ethical sense. Tafsir Al-Tabari: Al-Tabari, a prominent early Islamic scholar, interpreted the verses related to 'measure' as moral and ethical guidelines applicable to all aspects of life, not just business transactions. His interpretation also highlights the repercussions of dishonesty and deceit. Tafsir Al-Qurtubi: Al-Qurtubi, known for his emphasis on the practical and legal implications of the Qur'an, interpreted the verses about measurement and balance as guidelines for just dealings and the establishment of a fair society. For direct quotations and a more in-depth understanding, I would recommend consulting the mentioned Tafsirs or commentaries. They are widely available in various languages, including English.
Remember, interpretation of religious texts can be complex and subjective, and different scholars may have different interpretations of the same verses. For a nuanced understanding, it's important to consider the historical context, the entirety of the Qur'an, Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and scholarly interpretations.
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