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In the Name of God بسم الله
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By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaNote: I'll be updating the initial entry with additional points over time, as discussions elsewhere on Shiachat help me to flesh out the original arguments.
The popularity of 'do your own research'
This is a phrase that we are increasingly hearing. It sounds good, since it refers to going out and gathering information in order to make informed decisions. It's part of the consumer capitalist culture we have been brought up with which holds that capitalists should be able to sell whatever they want and people should be free to make their own (informed) choices.
Do your own research and wider capitalist /liberal democratic ideology
Of course reality does not work that way and capitalists know this and hence their preference for a laissez faire economic model that emphasises low levels of regulation.
Ordinary people are notoriously bad at gathering information, analysing it and then making use of it. This is why people continue to smoke after the link with cancer has been proven and why the cigarette industry is happy to go along with whatever restrictions are placed on it (except for outright bans). This is why firms that sell fatty and sugary foods are happy to place information on their packaging (more complicated the better) rather than have taxes imposed or even outright bans.
Capitalists encourage people to 'do their own research' because they know that most of the time people will get it wrong. Capitalist models of behaviour change are ones that say to people you are ultimately free to choose based on the informed choices that they choose to make. Those of us who live in the West have been sold this model since the Second World War and the ideological battle with countries that choose to have a higher level of government diktat and to this end capitalists have been aided by liberal democrats.
In reality that worldview works where there is no external threat to a society. When such a threat arises, as in a plague, the governments have to exercise high levels of control. However we'll now return to the main argument about behaviour at the level of the individual.
What happens when people do their own research
So when anti-vaxxers for example tell others to do their own 'research', they are either being naive or deliberately taking advantage of others. Because what do you research? What papers do you read and do you trust what they have to say?
People tend to read what is understandable to them and for most people that will be the polemic in a blog rather than scientific papers.
Reading the latter requires a certain minimum education and indeed patience and time, that most people do not have. So they end up reading material published by conspiracy theorists which is easy to read, but which glosses over technical issues and may just even be wrong. The following quotation is from a scientist who says that his work has been misused by conspiracy theorists and he explains why:
So why do people fall for the 'do your own research' baloney?
Because it makes them feel powerful. Following a comment below I feel I should clarify what I mean by 'powerful', since it's possible to misconstrue what I mean. My usage of the term is closer to what social psychologists may refer to as 'behavioural control'. The latter term is used to reflect situations such as for example being able to cook with healthier ingredients because someone has taught you how to do so.
The conspiracy theorists however subvert what is good and noble into something wholly unethical. They encourage people to believe that they have behavioural control by making simple what is complex, by misinforming, using anecdotes where statistics would be more relevant and so on. And the reason for doing this is to make their message easier to understand, more interesting to watch and more likely to elicit an emotional reaction.
Nevertheless having processed such YouTube videos people feel that they have done their 'research' and that they can now make an informed choice. The choice making seems more 'rational' and in a cultural and educational environment where we have been brought up to celebrate rationality this seems like a good thing, in and of itself.
So in comparison to following government edicts to wear face masks, the 'own research' crowd watch some videos and consciously choose not to do so on the basis of information that they have gathered. They are therefore exercising behavioural control over their lives in a manner that they could not previously. And when challenged they can cite 'evidence' that supports their position - further enhancing their behavioural control.
The issue is of course, that wearing a mask costs very little in terms of money and behaviour change. There are many benefits to others in addition to any to the wearer. But the anti-maskers are told that wearing a mask is some kind of subjugation to government control. Choosing not to wear a mask because someone tells you that you'll breathe more CO2 as a result, sounds like an informed decision that gives you control over your own life.
God, nihilism and the human condition
This new section was inspired by the following post:
At one extreme then, the individual can feel that there is so much in the way of different perspectives, error on all sides etc. that we simply cannot identify what is the right course of healthy behaviour and what is not. In my opinion that reflects a worldview which questions God's benevolence.
In my opinion the theist would always believe that God provides us with the critical faculties that enable us to follow the right course of action. The human condition in my view is one where we have to endeavour to find what that right course of action is - and it takes cognitive effort and it requires us not to give in to emotion or laziness.
And just as the above increasingly become more challenging in a more technologically advanced world, so the tools that we have available to help us increase in their sophistication and effectiveness.
Technology allows us to keep a record of who said what and when. In the case of covid-19 we know who downplayed the seriousness of the virus from the start (likely because of their need to protect their economic interests) and we also know who recommended an abundance of caution because they knew that in the long-run a healthy population will be better off economically. Those people who took the virus seriously encourage mask wearing, social distancing and vaccinating.
That information can be used to follow individuals on social media, who have the medical expertise and benevolence to support your interests. Once you follow a reliable expert you can:
See who else they follow And you can then also follow the health experts they follow
By Haji 2003 in ContemporaniaIn Shiachat threads many years ago the argument was presented that the sums spent e.g. on the Imam Raza ((عليه السلام).) shrine could be better spent on various social services for Iranians. My counter argument at the time was that visiting the shrines was and is for many ordinary Iranians their only escape from the mundane aspects of everyday life.
In addition spending such sums on the social space meant that it could be consumed by all, rather than the few.
The British journalist and commentator George Monbiot has expressed this idea in a more general manner in order to defend sustainable consumption:
By Ayuoobi in The Muslim TheistThe following is an article written by an educated uncle in the community. He requested I post it on here for others to benefit.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Away from tales and stories reported by narrators (humans) where we find contradictions and confusion, we will first talk to our minds in the light of the Quran. Many people that I have talked to were unaware that certain beliefs actually entail unacceptable consequences that sometimes lead to blasphemy (kufr) without them realizing it. We take lessons from the Quran. The best lesson is that of Iblis (Satan).
· What did Iblis (Satan) do to deserve Allah’s stern wrath and to be called Kafir by the Quran?
· Did he deny the existence of Allah?
· Did he refuse to worship Allah?
· No, none of the above.
· He only refused to fall prostrate to Adam? But it actually was the refusal of Allah’s command. He preferred his opinion to Allah’s command. He wanted to worship Allah the way he wants, not the way Allah wants.
The Quran says in Chapter 7 (Al-A’raaf), Verse 12:
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ
[Allah] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?" [Satan] said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay."
· We are free in this world to chose to obey Allah’s commands or disobey them.
· Those who knowingly refuse the commands of Allah, particularly the major commands that constitute the pillars of faith, and die with it, are likely to be treated in a similar manner.
· It is very serious. The consequence is rather dire.
The Quran says in Chapter 33 (Al-Ahzaab), Verse 36:
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا .
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
The Quran says in Chapter 10 (Yunus), Verse 44:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ ٱلنَّاسَ شَيْـًٔا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
Indeed, Allah does not wrong the people at all, but it is the people who are wronging themselves.
Things We All Agree Upon
To have a proper understanding of what happened after the death of the Prophet, and the truth about the Sahabah, we need to keep in mind few points. We all agree about these points. Hence, we will reference them when necessary and when required.
1. Islam is a complete religion. No additions are allowed under any pretext or justification. We only require the right interpretation of the Qur’an, which was given by the Prophet himself who explained everything. The question remains is: in the midst of contradictions and confusion, who actually carries this right interpretation of the Qur’an?
The Quran says in Chapter 5 (Al-Ma'idah), Verse 3:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإسْلامَ دِينًا
This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
2. The Quran tells us that it has given the answers to every question we may ask. The Quran says in Chapter 14 (Ibrahim), verse 34:
واتاكم من كل ماسألتموه
And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him
- Is governing not an issue that we may ask about?
- Shouldn’t we find it in the Quran? And in a very clear way.
- So that as Allah says in the Quran says in Chapter 8 (Al-Anfaal), verse 42:
وَلَٰكِن لِّيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَىٰ مَنْ حَيَّ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ ۗ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
But [it was] so that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined - that those who perished [through disbelief] would perish upon evidence and those who lived [in faith] would live upon evidence; and indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
3. Allah sent the Prophet and Quran to manifest justice. The Quran says in Chapter 14 (Al-hadid), verse 25:
لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ
We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.
Also, in Chapter 3 (Aal-Imran), verse 18:
شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُوْلُواْ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge - [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Also, in Chapter (Al-aaida), verse 44:
وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.
4. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given us hands, legs, tongs, eyes etc. He told us how to use them in the right way and get rewarded, and refrain from using them in evil ways.
5. Likewise, Allah also has given us the brain/mind and thinking power to differentiate between right and wrong. Furthermore, He told us to use the mind in the proper way to get to the truth of things. There are tens of verses in the Holly Quran in this regard. If we do not use our mind in the right way, and make mistakes or sins, we will be questioned about them by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). This is a very serious matter that most people do not pay attention to. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sent the Prophets and holy books so that people obey his orders. Allah does not play games.
It is also noted that when people are prejudiced towards some opinion (or persons) and are not fully objective in their treatment of any subject, in particular that of religion, the mind will be clouded and will not be able to arrive at the truth. The prejudice acts like a wall or barrier preventing the mind from reaching the truth. In most cases people are unaware of this barrier.
We now ask some questions and try to find answers to them in the light of the Quran and the above verses. Let us see what the questions below entail (while people are oblivious of it).
From point 3 above, Allah sent the holy books so that justice is served and preserved. This justice is Allah’s justice, not a human interpretation of justice. Worshiping Allah the right way (the way He wants, not the way we want) is the ultimate justice. Other things stem from this, since obeying all Allah’s Commands is part of this justice. Justice is paramount. Everything is related to justice and hinges on it.
Is governing part of this justice? Absolutely. Governing in a just Islamic way is what Allah ordered us to do. He sent all his Prophets, including our Prophet, for the sole purpose of justice.
Did the Prophet leave a will, or did he not?
To say he did not, implies that he disobeyed the Quran and Allah. It also implies that he ordered people to make their wills yet he did not. This further implies that the Prophet was a hypocrite and disobedient to Allah, which no Muslim can accept, or even dares to entertain.
Hence, he must have left his will.
The Prophet had two wills to make:
· One as a Muslim leaving his will to his family. We will not indulge in this here now because it is not our current discussion.
· The other is his will as the head of the Islamic state (or Islamic community) and this will is for the well being of Muslims. This will must have been obvious to all Muslims. It is the Command of Allah. The Prophet must have told the Muslims abundantly and in a very obvious way how to govern themselves after his death to maintain justice and to protect Islam and themselves. This is so important for Islam (the last and complete religion) to continue to the end of time. Also, it must have been a direct order from Allah, whose revelation included everything people need, and should be found obvious in the Quran if Islam is a complete religion. So, what is this will? And where is it?
· Furthermore, one may contemplate the question: Didn’t any of the Muslims ask the Prophet how they are to govern themselves after him? What about the Sahabah who are held at such a high status? Didn’t any of them ask the question?
· Questions we as Muslims may ask:
- Did the Prophet appoint a person as his successor? If so, who is he?
- If not, did he appoint a counsel to select the ruler? If so, who are they?
- Did he set up an Islam method of how to elect the ruler?
- If he had left choosing the ruler to the Muslims (and the Sahabah) to decide, did he tell them how to do it?
- Did he tell them the proper Islamic system of election? Or did he leave them to be confused about such a paramount issue?
- Why would he leave them without clarifying to them what to do?
- Is this expected of a wise person, let alone the last Prophet of Allah?
- If there is Islamic system of election, where can we find it?
- Are there any hadiths on this issue, since it is so important, and the Muslims were divided because of it?
- Since governing is paramount in Islam for justice to prevail (as we mentioned above) why can’t we find proper and abundant fiqh derived directly from the Quran and hadiths about it?
- If none of the above, then it would appear that Islam is not a complete religion as the Quran, and the Muslims claim.
- Is this acceptable?
- Why is this subject so unclear and engulfed by so much confusion, while the Prophet told us everything else, even how to wash when we go to the toilet?
- Is this confusion deliberate?
- Who is behind it? And who benefited from it?
· What about Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)? Did He leave this important issue without clarification to the Muslims (who are humans and can make mistakes) without telling them what to do, and how to do it?
· If so, then if there is injustice due to the wrong choice of ruler, we should blame Allah for not showing us the way.
- Is this acceptable?
- Isn’t it kufr to believe that?
· If this is not acceptable, and we believe it is not, then we should categorically claim that the solution is available somewhere. And in a very clear way.
Every Conceivable Probability
Every conceivable probability, reasoning and justification are acceptable, no matter how illogical they are, except the one probability that the Prophet named a person to be after him. This probability is never logical, never included, and never accepted. As if the Prophet had no right, or did not know how, to select a good Sahabi to succeed him.
The Sunnah of the Prophet
The Sunna of the Prophet is everything he said, did or gave tacit approval to.
For those who believe that the Prophet left choosing the ruler to the Muslims (and the Sahabah) to decide, then it is a sunnah, and should be followed and abided by. Also, this sunnah must be Allah’s order and command, because the Prophet applies the Quran to the letter. It should not be disobeyed.
· Why did Abu Bakr not abide by this Sunnah when he appointed Omar to rule after him? Is this not disobeying the sunnah?
· Is this a new phenomenon that was not part of the Islam of the Prophet (i.e. a bid’ah) that Abu Bakr invented?
· Is disobeying the sunnah, not disobeying Allah?
· Also, when Omar accepted to be appointed, is this not disobeying the sunnah, and the command of Allah?
· Omar, in turn, appointed a group of 6 people to choose the successor after him:
- Is this not disobeying the sunnah and the command of Allah?
- Where did this number 6 come from?
- Is this number 6 available in the Quran or sunnah?
- How were these 6 people selected out of the rest of the Sahabah?
- From an Islamic point of view, what are the virtues and abilities of these 6 people to be eligible as rulers?
- Is there anything about that in the fiqh books?
- Were there no other Muslims worthy of including in this group?
- Where is this information available?
· The Imam Ali was the leader of the Muslim army during the time of the Prophet. Is this not a sunnah?
· Why is it that the first three Kalifas did not abide by it?
· Where is the military role of Imam Ali during their reign?
For those who say that Abu Bakr appointed Omar because the situation required it. We may ask:
· Abu Bakr’s actions major decisions should all be Islamic. Is appointing a ruler after his death Islamic?
· Is it in the Quran?
· Is it a Sunnah?
· Did the Prophet give Abu Bakr this right?
· When the Prophet died, was the Muslim situation so good that they did not need the Prophet to appoint a successor for him? Or at least an advice for them as to what to do?
· What about the fact that the Ansar and Muhajireen (who assembled in Saqifat Bani Sa’ida and were discussing who should be the ruler for three days) drew their swards and almost killed each other due to the fact that the arguments and disagreements between them were so high, while the Prophet’s body was still not buried?
· Did this situation not warrant the Prophet to advise them about it?
· Did the Prophet know this would happen?
· Did Allah not tell the Prophet that this would happen, and what to do to evert it?
· Was is it proper for the Sahabah to meet for three days to argue about this issue (meeting and arguing for three days means there was a big disagreement between them), leaving the Prophet body not buried?
· Imagine the Sahabah meeting for the first whole day. During this day they would go home to eat then come back to the meeting (perhaps more than once). They go to the toilet. They pray etc. They go home to sleep, then come back to the meeting. They did this for three days, and the body of the Prophet is left without them attending to it (except Imam Ali, the Prophet’s family, and a few notable Sahabah who did not attend the meetings).
· Was this proper of the powerful Sahabah to do?
· Is this a show of respect to the Prophet, who is the beloved of Allah, the Creator of all things?
The Guardianship of Islam
Guardianship goes beyond ruling. In fact, ruling is part of this guardianship, and the guardian must be the ruler, otherwise how can he have the required influence and authority to protect Islam and the Muslims?
· Who was the guardian of Islam?
· Naturally the Prophet himself was the guardian.
· Who made him the guardian?
· Allah did, since Allah is the ultimate guardian. Islam is Allah’s religion.
· Did Islam need a guardian after the Prophet?
· Who is the guardian after the Prophet death?
· Who appoints him? Shouldn’t it be God since it is His religion, and He is the one who knows the best person for the task?
Most Muslims at the time of the Prophet were new to Islam. Some entered into Islam only few years before the Prophet died. Most people did not know how to read or write, and needed someone to explain the Quran and the rules to them. Understanding the Quran and its explanation is not a simple matter that one can take lightly. Even at our present time, with the high education available, we still need someone specialised to explain the Quran properly. There has to be one person, or a group of Sahabah, who should have been able to do that.
But there is a problem:
What about if the Sahabah make a mistake? Is the correct interpretation lost forever? In other words; the real Islam is lost for ever.
For the person, or group of Sahabah, to be such that they don’t make a mistake,
· This person, or a group of Sahabah, must be chosen by the Prophet himself because he is the only one who knows the eligible person, or persons, for the task.
· But how does the Prophet know?
· He must be told by Allah. In other words, it is the command of Allah.
· Then, the guardian, or guardians, must be chosen by Allah who knows the eligible ones to guard his accepted religion.
· Hence, guardianship is Allah’s appointment. This point is of paramount importance that we need to pay attention to.
· It cannot be perceived that Allah leaves such an important issue to humans, who can make mistakes, to decide.
Some may say that a group of Sahabah will make sure that they tell each other and make sure that Islamic rules are preserved.
The question, then, becomes:
· How may Sahabah are required to make sure that Islam is preserved?
· Who choses these Sahabah?
· And who are these Sahabah?
· Some say if ten Sahabah (as a minimum) agree on a verse in the Quran, then it is right, and that how the Muslims put the Quran together during the time of the Khalifah Uthman.
· Why ten?
· Is this an infallible number?
· Who decided on the ten?
· Where did this magic number come from?
· Is it in the Quran? No.
· Is it the order of Allah? No.
· Did the Prophet say it? No.
· This also entails, for us Muslims, that the number ten should be acceptable for any other subject. Is this acceptable?
· If none of the above, then we discard the tales related to this number, particularly with regards to putting the Quran together during the time of the Khalifah Uthman.
· Furthermore, these people are telling us the number of people is more important than one actually knowledgeable person. Shouldn’t the level of expertise be more important than the number of people?
The Quran says in Chapter 62 (Al-Jumu’a), verse 11:
وَإِذَا رَأَوْا تِجَارَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا انفَضُّوا إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَائِمًا ۚ قُلْ مَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهْوِ وَمِنَ التِّجَارَةِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
But when they saw a transaction or a diversion, [O Muhammad], they rushed to it and left you standing. Say, "What is with Allah is better than diversion and than a transaction, and Allah is the best of providers."
Surat Al-Jumu’a was revealed to the Prophet on the sixth year of Hijrah. That is 5 years before the Prophet died. Even then, most Muslims (except few, and it is said 12 of them) used to leave him while he was delivering the Juma’a speech of the Juma’a prayer to go to worldly things, to the extent that necessitated Allah to dress them down.
People say all the Sahabah maintain justice and piousness. So, whoever you follow, you will be guided. This is in direct contradiction to the above verse.
This is also in direct contradiction to Chapter 63, in the Quran: المنافقون Al-Munaafiqoon (The Hypocrites). This chapter clearly says that there were hypocrites who were part of what we now call Sahabah (since Sahabah are defined as anyone who saw the profit even once).
The Quran says in Chapter 9 (At-Tawba), verse 101:
وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَعْرَابِ مُنَٰفِقُونَ ۖ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ ٱلْمَدِينَةِ ۖ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى ٱلنِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ ۖ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍۢ
And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment.
Prophet Moses and the Israelites
The events of the Prophet Moses with the Israelites that the Quran tells us are eye opening examples.
The Israelites saw with their own eyes how Prophet Moses split the sea with his stick. They crossed the sea to safety while the water was high around them. No one told them the event as a story. It happened to them first hand. Only a few days later when Moses left them to converse with Allah, they gathered the gold from women. Every woman donated her gold to make a calf, and worship it.
The Quran goes on about other stories of the Israelites with Prophet Moses.
Most people think that this behavior is a characteristic of the Israelites. They forget that the Israelites are humans like everybody else, and that this behavior is a human behavior of those who are either not believers, or they are new to the belief and don’t fully understand it.
The Quran tells as many stories about the people of the Prophets.
Why do Muslims think that the new Muslims during the time of the Prophet Muhammed are any different while the Quran, and the Prophet himself told them that they will behave no different from the people before them.
The Quran says in Chapter 3 (AaL Imraan), verse 144:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَنْ يَنْقَلِبْ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَنْ يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So, if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.
By Abdul-Hadi in Chasing IslamI am alone at home for the week. Mom has gone to visit my aunt & uncle in New York state. I'm happy for her because she hasn't gone on a vacation since before COVID19 began it's rampage through America; so it's good that she's getting to visit them. She'll be visiting with my cousin Hannah as well. However, it's just me here with the cats (after all someone had to stay around to feed, water, scoop, and spend time with them). I have the house to myself for a week. Just me, completely alone and that got me thinking about my progress in Islam.
There is a masjid here in town. A Sunni masjid but a masjid nonetheless. I have gone there before when I was first investigating Islam, but not since I have decided to follow the Shia. I wanted to attend Jummah today, but the masjid is still closed because of COVID19. Unfortunately, even if the masjid was open, I can only think that I would be castigated by nitpicking brothers for how I pray, the way I perform the wudhu, and have to get into debates that I am not prepared for (and don't want to get into) as to why I "pray the wrong way" and how I am a heathen, so on and so forth. There is no Shia Islamic Center anywhere remotely close to my hometown. The closest one is 120 miles to the north of me and that's simply too far to drive for a Jummah service every week with the price of gas being what it is and me not even working at the time being (as well as not being able to leave the county without permission, but we won't get into that).
It makes me lonely as a revert. A revert who is the only Muslim in his family, let alone his household. I read through the Quran, sure but a lot of brothers and sisters have and many of them many more times that I already have. I have no background with the Hadith and don't know how to determine which are reliable, which I am allowed to use, and how to read them. I have no older brothers who can mentor me in Islam, as I feel like I am the only Shia in the area even if that is not true. What I liked about being a Christian, despite the glaring theological problems with Christianity, was the community and fellowship that was available to me at any of the hundreds of churches in the area. There were older Christians who could mentor me in the faith, Bible studies that were run that I could attend, service work in the community I could participate in... the communal aspect of religion is very important; but sadly I do not have any of those luxuries right now whether it's because of the town I live in or whether it's because I'm in the minority of an already minority religion in America. On one hand, I find myself wishing that Islam in America was like Christianity while on the other hand, for reasons I'll not get into here that I've already outlined in numerous threads, I thank Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that it is different entirely. Shia Islam, despite being the minority of a minority in America, has yet to become infected and corrupted the way that Christianity has and inshallah, it never will. Inshallah, Islam in America will truly grow in to the "fastest growing religion" and will bring about a revival of traditional values and morality that this country desperately needs.
But before that day comes, what is there that can be done?
The answer: cling closely to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), the example of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the Glorious Quran. Read it every day without ceasing, when you finish the final surah-- go back to the beginning and start over again. Make your five daily prayers wherein you spend time with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and for those five wonderful times throughout the day, spend time before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Recite the Tasbih. Renew your Wudhu always. Read Islamic literature and watch Khutbas, and offer dua that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) might bring you some upright brothers to fellowship and pray along with, who encourage you as you encourage them. Perfect your prayers (which can be quite the challenge for Westerners with no background in Islam or Arabic). Enjoin good and forbid evil. Do the little things for family and friends to let Allah's (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) light shine through you and make this world a better place.
Being alone in your deen can be rough, it can certainly test your resolve to stay on the right path. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) never tests you beyond what he knows that you can handle and like steel in a furnace, these tests are to refine you into something more beautiful. Alhamdulillah.
By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinkingThe correlation between OCD and being sensitive may apply only to some people. There is no clear evidence that highly sensitive individuals are prone to the disorder, although one of the symptoms indicate sensitivity to be a major factor. For instance, one may begin to obsess over hygiene as they fear being contaminated or infected with bacteria at home, so they start washing their hands repeatedly or attempting to maintain the cleanliness of the house. They are sensitive to any foreign substance present within their surrounding environment.
In Islam, we must sustain purity before prayer. That means performing ablution or a full body ritual purification that is called 'ghusl'. Nevertheless, one may start developing doubts as to whether they are truly purified. Women may have doubts about discharge whilst men may begin to worry about excreting semen. Perhaps their clothes were impure, or that they passed gas during prayer. It could lead to repeatedly showering, performing ablution or using the bathroom more frequently. For the individual it is undoubtedly stressful and can lead to physical health problems, such as dry skin and hair as well as acne.
The flashback memories of my past childhood always affects me till this day. I was born as a sensitive and naive child. Sensitivity is that one trait people often despise, even the carriers of it. I was faced with difficulties for self acceptance, because not only did I loathe my self for my overreacting personality, I was a victim of fat shaming. I wanted to feel happy, free of worries by claiming my desires. But unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian world; not everything we wish for can be granted, unless we choose to put the effort. I definitely take it to heart if someone still fat shamed me, even if it was merely a 'joke'. It evokes all my memories of self loathe, where I was rather too young to be feeling insecure followed by wasted effort from dieting and physical activity. We dislike being called sensitive despite us being fully aware. We refuse to admit our behaviours because we choose to not be defined by it. We feel weak, with no self control towards our impulses. When these emotions begin to overwhelm us, our mental health deteriorates. We feel violated if one makes a remark, which leads us being defensive.
One must also understand that sensitive people can vary. Some are just easily emotional and have deep empathy, whereas others I previously mentioned have the tendency to take everything so personal. Normally these individuals have insecurities followed by low self esteem and hence their weakness is criticism. They are not skilled to ignore varying perceptions because they choose to listen to them and not their own conscious mind. It is the fear of judgement that they may receive.
You may be wondering about its relevance to scrupulosity, but in some form it plays a role. Again, it is not necessarily the cause of the disorder and this is only an elucidation of my own personal experience. I investigated within myself and realised that one of the triggers towards OCD was my highly sensitive personality. Followed by the altering chemical changes, my overreactions led to repetitive self harm out of guilt and loathe. My personality may have been a stepping stone towards the disorder; the smallest of things I felt was a grave sin and through time it only had gotten worse.
Do not let others define you, a very important lesson that I wish I had grasped years ago. People like to manipulate and make you feel bad, even though you may be the victim. That does not mean you should play its role, rather you should only believe in what your heart feels right. Sometimes we know that our very own mind controls us too and causes us to react or act in ways we regret later, but do not let the past define you. Every now and then I feel hurt from my own levels of faith, because when you have that love and dedication to the Lord, the judgements you receive will become meaningless.
By Hameedeh in Think PositiveMarriage is not easy. You have to get to know each other. You are used to doing everything your own way. Now you need to compromise. Share with each other. Give and take. If you take more than you give, it won't be as sweet. Do not expect more from your spouse than your spouse will need from you. Life is good. It's better when you are together. If you both do your best.
♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
By Muntazir e Mahdi in Bayaan e MuntazirMy eyes tear up at this kalaam... O Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)... Please reveal Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) soon and make us amongst his supporters...
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