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In the Name of God بسم الله


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About InfiniteAscension

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  1. السلام عليكم According to the Aristotelian tradition, the human soul is the principle of life for the human body, without which it would be just a material entity that is lifeless, like a rock. The fact that this material entity possesses certain faculties and capacities, namely that of self-nourishment, locomotion and intellection means that it possesses something beyond just the material makeup. Aristotle actually designated a vegetative soul for all plants, which grants it the ability for self-nourishment and growth, an animal soul for animals which alongside self-nourishment and growth, grants them the ability to have sensory perception and locomotion. These souls are what grant life to plants and animals. The soul is not to be understand here as some sort of ghostly creature or like a cartesian entity that exists in a material entity, but rather these souls are the formal parts of the material entity. In a human however, the soul is also capable of one more capacity, and that is the capacity to be rational and to think etc. This grants it a unique distinction compared to the former aforementioned souls in that the ability to think is not something material, because the act of thinking cannot be material. This means that unlike the former souls, the human soul cannot be accounted for in material terms, for there is a faculty that acts wholly immaterially. This also means that the human soul can survive the death of the material body. This is a rough summary to the understanding of the soul Islamic Philosophers have, following on from the Aristotelian tradition. The second question that is raised is the relationship between the soul and the body. The typical answer is that it is an extremely close relationship, not like a dualism whereby we cannot understand why a soul and a body would randomly join each other, but rather that the soul and the body form one substance together. Because of that reason, the body has a direct impact on the soul, and even provides it the sensory experiences which are later abstracted and used in a rational process. The soul however, can survive the death of the body, because it is not strictly material as mentioned before. There are of course discussions on these details, but this is a rough outline of the philosophical approach towards the soul in Islamic philosophy.
  2. 'You should learn every-thing, as well the unshaken heart of well-rounded truth, as the opinions of mortals, which comprise no genuine conviction..' Fragments of Parmenides
  3. المتنبي وهو يرثي صاحبه إِنّي لَأَعلَمُ وَاللَبيبُ خَبيرُ" "أَنَّ الحَياةَ وَإِن حَرَصتَ غُرورُ وَرَأَيتُ كُلًّا ما يُعَلِّلُ نَفسَهُ" "بِتَعِلَّةٍ وَإِلى الفَناءِ يَصيرُ أَمُجاوِرَ الديماسِ رَهنَ قَرارَةٍ" "فيها الضِياءُ بِوَجهِهِ وَالنورُ ما كُنتُ أَحسَبُ قَبلَ دَفنِكَ في الثَرى" "أَنَّ الكَواكِبَ في التُرابِ تَغورُ ما كُنتُ آمُلُ قَبلَ نَعشِكَ أَن أَرى" "رَضوى عَلى أَيدي الرِجالِ تَسيرُ خَرَجوا بِهِ وَلِكُلِّ باكٍ خَلفَهُ" "صَعَقاتُ موسى يَومَ دُكَّ الطورُ وَالشَمسُ في كَبِدِ السَماءِ مَريضَةٌ" "وَالأَرضُ واجِفَةٌ تَكادُ تَمورُ وَحَفيفُ أَجنِحَةِ المَلائِكِ حَولَهُ" "وَعُيونُ أَهلِ اللاذِقِيَّةِ صورُ حَتّى أَتَوا جَدَثًا كَأَنَّ ضَريحَهُ" "في قَلبِ كُلِّ مُوَحِّدٍ مَحفورُ بِمُزَوَّدٍ كَفَنَ البِلى مِن مُلكِهِ" "مُغفٍ وَإِثمِدُ عَينِهِ الكافورُ فيهِ الفَصاحَةُ وَالسَماحَةُ وَالتُقى" "وَالبَأسُ أَجمَعُ وَالحِجى وَالخَيرُ كَفَلَ الثَناءُ لَهُ بِرَدِّ حَياتِهِ" "لَمّا انطَوى فَكَأَنَّهُ مَنشورُ وَكَأَنَّما عيسى ابنُ مَريَمَ ذِكرُهُ" "وَكَأَنَّ عازَرَ شَخصُهُ المَقبورُ
  4. Nail on head.. Feser articulates what many of us struggle to articulate. He remains one of my favourite modern day thinkers for his ability to elucidate and defend traditional ideas with expert clarity and precision.
  5. (salam) To suggest that the dispute between Lady Fatimah and Abu Bakr was one where both sides were defending their version of the truth, with both being correct acccording to their view is highly inaccurate. We cannot approach history with preconceived beliefs and thus interpret any historical incidence in light of such beliefs. So we cannot assume that they must be both be true - given a preconceived notion that both are highly righteous characters - and therefore any dispute between them must be well-intentioned. This is quite a dogmatic position and does not really fit into a highly complex historical picture after the Prophet, which saw the disputes arise at an alarming rate which suggests desires, whims, hypocrisy and other spiritual deficiencies all played a role in such conflicts, as is natural in human history. We have several issues with the reasoning that Abu Bakr provided regarding the taking of the land of Fadak from Lady Fatimah. The first issue: This narration which he claims to have heard from the Prophet (s) is only narrated by him. How can it be possible that something quite important and significant such as this can only be heard by one companion and no body else. This is notwithstanding the fact that the Quran and other narrations from the sunnah indicate the exact opposite of what Abu Bakr had claimed to have heard. In light of this, such reasoning does seem quite hollow with deeper reasons for refusing to return the land a more likely option. The second issue: How is it possible that Lady Fatimah and Imam Ali were not aware of this?! Surely as they are some of the closest people to the Prophet, and the land is directly related to them, the issue of ownership after this would have been clarified to them. Is it possible they were ignorant of such an important ruling!? Or is it possible they were aware of such a ruling and decided to be greedy and still seek ownership of what rightfully belonged to muslims?! The third issue: If it was the case that both were well-intentioned, this does not explain the reason why Lady Fatimah refuses to speak to them until she passes away. Where are the traits of forgiveness and mercy to those who do wrong, never mind those who intend to do good but may be mistaken!? The fourth issue: Why is it, that as per authentic narrations, the first two caliphs intended to attack the house of Lady Fatimah, if the inhabitants did not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr and give him ba'yah. These are all indicators that the dispute over Fadak was symbolic of a far greater dispute, one that was to split to the muslim ummah for centuries to come. It was not merely over a piece of land, but over the legitimacy of he who claimed successor-ship of the Prophet. How is it possible that Lady Fatimah disputes with the legitimate successor of the Prophet (s) when he has provided his ruling over such an issue?! Is it not the trait of true believer to submit to such truth!? The fifth issue: It is obvious to anyone who has read the story of Fadak throughout the Islamic Period that later Caliphs, in the Ummayad dynasty and Abbasid Dynasty endeavoured to return the land of Fadak to descendants of Lady Fatimah, only for others to later retake it. This clearly shows that the ruling powers did not view this land as belonging to the muslims, but rather a private ownership that belonged to the holy family and should have been never been taken from them. We cannot interpret history so naively just to to save people we hold dearly. Rather we must look at a holistic picture of events and grant them the most logical and reasonable explanations in light of a number of indicators, far from our emotion and desires. And God knows best.
  6. A few pictures taken from a recent trip to Barcelona. Inside the Sagrada Familia, a famous church built by Antoni Gaudi. It is incredibly beautiful and one feels completely at peace there.
  7. Finished reading this a week ago: It is not often that I read novels anymore, and my infrequent foray in to the fictional world always leaves me questioning my limited fictional readings. In truth, a fictional piece can uncover many facets about reality like a philosophical or scientific work, and sometimes in even more subtler and accurate ways, for the author is not bound by the rigidity of terms and arguments, and can draw on the depths of human experience, from the beginning of civilization till today. I decided to read this book on a mere fancy, unaware of what the book was about, nor whom the author really was and his background. All I had known was that the book was considered an all time great and was heavily praised by many people. Orwell's 1984 is a startling insight into the dynamics, thought process and structure of a society whereby an elite power is in complete control. It may be argued quite strongly, that we today witness many of the elements described in the book, to varying degrees, and that for any power to reside permanently, it must exert the different ways described in the book. The book describes a man - Winston Smith - who lives in a society controlled by a few powerful elite who dictate absolutely everything that goes on: history is radically rewritten to suit their agenda, the food is rationed, the economy is manipulated and most incredibly the language is distorted and reduced so that the number of concepts that one can think of is limited. Winston Smith's job is to meticulously re write any pieces produced in the past which do not conform to the party's goals. History, thus has no objective reality but fluctuates according to interests. Worse still, party members are taught to exercise 'doublethink' where they consciously forget the real event and then forget the very act of forgetting! This is an incredible tactic employed by powers, whereby the lie is told so convincingly such that even those who are aware of it begin to forget its falsity. Perhaps the most fascinating element of this incredible work is the author's depiction of the 'proles' - i.e the working class - in that they are the protagonist's main hope but in reality they are too powerless to revolt. The party employs a wide variety of the methods to keep them perpetually distracted; they distribute music and pornographic material amongst other content to keep the lowest class in a lull where they are not even remotely aware of the injustices committed against them. This seemed like a chilling prophecy by Orwell, given how large these particular industries are in today's world and the power they exert. This book had many other gems like the role of war in maintaining the elite's power, the distribution of classes and wealth, the reason behind scarce resources, the power of the mind etc. To delve into these would render this review far too long than it already is. This book, being both entertaining and astute is a worthy read. I have very little idea yet what inspired such a work and the author's political and social background, but the power of this novel resonated within me and I feel compelled to read it again sometime in the future. I am also very excited to read his other works when possible.
  8. (salam) The question itself is fallacious. It is akin to asking how does existence exist or why is whiteness white. Fallacious though it may be, it still requires answering. Philosophers - contrary to some false conceptions - do NOT state that all things must have a cause. If we accept that premise, we must also accept that God has a cause, for we cannot grant exceptions to a universal. Rather, they say all contingent things must have a cause. By contingent, I mean things for which existence is not necessary, i.e there is nothing by virtue of their essence that dictates they must exist, much like you and me. And it is impossible for the real instrumental cause of this contingent to also be contingent (for a plurality of reasons that I won't mention here) and as such the only cause of their existence must be NECESSARY. A necessary being is one whom their very being is sufficient for them to exist, without requiring an external cause. They conclude that this necessary being is God. As such, God does not require anything outside of Himself to exist, His very essence means that He exists and cannot be non-existence. God thus, does not require a creator for He is not a contingent, and all contingent things require creation.
  9. (Salam) When the term dha'if is used, it does not mean false content (generally speaking), nor does it even necessarily mean that there is a liar in the chain. Secondly, it does not also mean that the hadith was definitely not narrated. It means that the wathaqa of narrators in the the khabar cannot be determined or that they are weakened. Based on this, the common opinion of the ulama' is that the hadith loses its hujjiya - i.e we are not compelled to believe or act upon it nor will be punished for not doing so and we will have a legitimate reason with God. This does not necessarily entail that the content is untrue - the very least it means we cannot ascertain that the infallible actually said this, so we do not have to act upon it. Your misunderstanding rests upon the false premise that weakness necessarily means a lie or false content. One needs to be very careful with technical terms as they are the key to every science and without which one does not truly understand the topics they delve in. This does not mean we have to throw the dha'if hadith away. There may be many instances where we can act upon it based on the determined principles in diraya and usool al fiqh, like amal al ashaab (the early ulama acting upon the narration) or other principles that need to be discussed elsewhere. But, there very basic principle is that a dha'if khabar - if we are looking at sanad alone here - is not hujja for us. We may have extraneous reasons to act upon it, but the foundation principle is that we are not compelled to do so. As for your point about a sahih hadith not necessarily being true, then this is correct. But once again, the term sahih here tells us that the chain of narrators have been authenticated, but this does not mean we cannot reject the khabar if it were obviously contradictory to the quran, other confirmed sunnah or for other reasons. You seem slightly shocked, but these are things discussed by the ulama' in books concerning the science of hadith.
  10. (salam) You should be more calm in your discussions, particularly when you do not have the requisite knowledge of the specified topic. In Ilm al-Diraya, a hadith that is mursal (disconnected) is considered to be dha'if because there is no way to know the authenticity of the missing persons. When it is said it is dha'if, it does not mean that the hadith was definitely not said by the the infallible; rather that we have no way of ascertaining its authenticity and therefore it is NOT hujja. Pick up any diraya book from the Shia or the Sunnis and look under the classifications for dha'if and you will see this mentioned. It is neither irrational nor is it jumping to quick conclusions.
  11. (wasalam) Whilst it is undoubtedly vital not to neglect shi'ah sources, it is also very worthwhile to have your beliefs corroborated by sources in other schools of thought. The certainty one achieves in a particular topic when it has been mentioned in sources of different schools of thought is greater and this of course has many reasons that are discussed in usul al fiqh and ilm al diraya and in particular the works of al shaheed al sadr. As regards to the question whether the belief in the Imams results in some form of circular logic; namely we believe the in the Imams as a result of the hadiths, and we believe in those hadiths because of the Imams, then this only stands if indeed we believe in the hadiths that present the idea of 12 Imams from the Imams themselves. This, in my limited understanding, does not occur nor have scholars (in my limited readings) use such reasoning to prove the shi'ite creed on imamate and succession. It is only once we ascertain in some way that Imamate has been declared by the Prophet (s) can we then present the sayings of the Imams as proof for us. As for the issue of shias having mutawaatir ahadith on the occasion of Ghadeer, we can say two things: Firstly, the condition of the occurrence of tawatur does not necessitate it being present in a shi'i books specifically, or sunni books specifically. The standard definition for tawatur (ignoring the detailed discussions in this regard) is that a hadith is considered mutawaatir if it is narrated by a number such that it is impossible that they have all colluded on a lie and by virtue of such a condition, it grants us certainty that the hadith is true. This number is not stagnant; i.e in one hadith it may require a large number before we are sure there is no collusion on a lie, whilst in another hadith we may only require a smaller number. So if any narration is present regarding ghadeer in a shi'i book, it is added henceforth to the narrations narrated in sunni books, to strengthen the tawatur that has occurred. As such, narrations in this regard are not looked at in isolation as to whether it is a sunni narrating it or a shi'i narrating it. Rather the unity of the subject means that all narrations are gathered and we try to observe whether tawatur has been reached or not. Secondly, the issue of ghadeer khum has been narrated about in shia'h books too but as mentioned before, the importance is to the truth of a narration or in this case - its ability to help us ascertain tawatur - and not necessarily its presence in a particular school of thought's books. I do think StrugglingforLight raises a very important point. The Quran must give the overall view of such important beliefs and then it is for the Prophet (s) to show the manifestations of particular verses. The most famous example of such a case comes in ayat al-tathir, whereby the Prophet (s) gathers them under his cloak and says "These are my ahlul-bayt" which is a clear designation as to whom that part of the verse intends. This was also an extremely important act as it has been argued that the context of the verses clearly intend the wives of the Prophet (s) and from the actions of the Prophet we can know that they were clearly not intended.
  12. (salam) This book is extremely overpriced and I think only really useful if the Arabic is used alongside the text and there is a teacher for the book or for those who are extremely well versed in this field.
  13. (salam) Awesome work brother. This book has been taught by الشيخ عبد الله الدقاق in 51 lessons and the audio can be found online for anyone interested. Hope you continue the great work translating it.
  14. (salam) This is simply your understanding of the matter and not wholly reflective of the narrations. You would do well to see the series of durus kharij that I posted by Sayed Kamal al Haidary which systematically expound on what is the status of those who do not believe in wilayah. The narrations certainly do not say that their love is empty words so it is on your understanding that it is so, but not the Imams. Of course, everyone seems to purport their views as facts though I doubt the substance they base it on. Your argument is also quite amusing. It simply misses the point! It is on your conviction that they are being denied their rights. On a standard Sunni viewpoint, their rights are not being denied. Your evidence may lead you to a conclusion of the events, and theirs may lead them to another conclusion. It is stated that people with convictions are exempt from punishment, provided one does not doubt subsequently doubt his convictions and then does not seek further enlightenment. A plethora of notable scholars have mentioned this preceding point. It is not for you, in any case, to announce whether someone's love is worthless or not and to do so is highly arrogant. Present your arguments about Imamate and leave judging sincerity and worthiness of love and intention to God. Remember to not condemn or dismiss others if they arrive at a different conclusion. It is not as black and white as you purport it.
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