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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. I found an issue in Nahj al-Balagha's sermon 185 (or some editions 184), which is one of the most popular and eloquent and beautiful sermons in Nahj al-Balagha, in which it says that ants have ears in their heads, but this is scientifically false, but the Imam might have used the word "ear" simply to refer to the antennae. But why would he describe them as "ears" though? Why not simply "two columns" etc.? Maybe the Imam was just being poetic and graphic, or maybe there is some scientific truth in this that is yet to be discovered?
  2. Seriously, when I ask why didn't Allah just create us in Paradise and give us all the pleasures since the beginning, people respond by saying that our purpose for existence is so God can test us and so we can do actions that make us deserving of Paradise. But then what about the houris? The existence of those houris is a matter of fundamental importance and philosophical interest, because the fact that billions of curvaceous women live in Paradise their whole lives is a fact that has important implications for revolutionizing the way many people view the meaning of life.
  3. How come the hoor al ayn, or houris, get to be born and live in eternal pleasure in Paradise? How come we have to go through life and all, and then we finally get Paradise as a reward for our actions, but the houris are all just sitting there from the beginning, waiting to have infinite sexual pleasure with their upcoming husbands? They literally feel no pain at all, ever, and if anything they only feel pleasure.
  4. Allah gave them a lot of knowledge, including access to treasures of gold and dinars and how to speak to animals etc. So why didn't the Imams use these blessings to revolutionize the world or cure cancer? And if these powers were simply given to them to increase their followers' faith in their infallibility and special status, then why didn't they gather herds of millions of animals into fields and command them to stand on their hind legs etc. to show everybody once and for all that they are the true Imams? I mean, if you're given special powers and knowledge, you're supposed to use it to help Allah's creation. And if you're not supposed to use supernatural means and such powers, then first - why did Allah even give you such useless powers, and second - why did you use these powers in front of your companions such that the companions were able to narrate these supernatural events? Aren't you supposed to hide your powers, or is it ok to show people your special powers? If it's ok to show people, then why didn't the Imams do the whole million-herd-march thing I proposed above?
  5. Salam, Mut'ah marriages (Islamic "pleasure" marriages) are wajib (obligatory) for most Shia Muslim youth who attend undergraduate college in the West. This is because most Muslim youth in such situations will be sexually frustrated unless they relieve themselves in three ways: masturbation, permanent marriage, or mut'ah. The first way is haram, the second way is highly impractical and unfeasible for most such youth in their freshman/sophomore/junior years of college (of course it shouldn't be this way, but unfortunately this is the way things often are and we should now see what a youth should do if permanent marriage in these years is indeed not possible for him - while we should also try to change the way society is, but that takes time, so what should youth do right now?), and therefore the third way is the only way a youth must take nowadays. Considering that most Muslim youth have normal youthful human libidos, most of them cannot survive years of time without sexual release. It would be seriously delusional to think otherwise. Most normal, healthy, normal-libido-possessing youth cannot go for years without neither masturbation nor sex. Heck, I don't think even an adult can go that long. Of course there will be the rare and exceptional cases where a youth either has no libido or possesses extreme self-control (which may be superhuman or even unhealthy), but for the most part, youth generally cannot go for years with absolutely no form of sexual release. And that is why for most youth, mut'ah will not only be mustahab - it will be wajib. If I found a Shia Muslim youth who was in his junior year of college, and he wasn't permanently married, and he hadn't ever done mut'ah in his life either, I think I can be reasonable in my assumption that this guy has been masturbating (committing haram). Of course, Islamically, I shouldn't assume negative things about a fellow Muslim brother, but from a secular/realistic/statistic perspective, such an assumption would not be irrational. It's time that more Shia college boys are encouraged to get girlfriends in college by doing mut'ah. Whoever encourages another Shia Muslim brother to get a girlfriend using mut'ah will have done a very good deed by preventing him from committing haram (masturbation). P.S. I follow Ayatollah Khamenei, and according to him it is obligatory precaution to seek the father's permission when doing mut'ah. But my next-in-line scholar is Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, and according to him, such permission isn't necessary. So mut'ah is very feasible for me and others who follow these two scholars. There are plenty of Christian and Jewish females in college whom us youth could take as partners.
  6. So you're saying God was free to choose whether to show us mercy or to not show us mercy. But if that's the case, then that means being "merciful" is not an essential attribute of God (as He could be either merciful or not merciful), and that is contradictory to the Shia Islamic belief that God has no non-essential attributes.
  7. All I'm saying is that there's a clear contradiction in the concept of God. And as human beings who should not believe anything contradictory or illogical, we should not believe in any contradictory beliefs, and thus should not believe in God. Your analogy to animals is false because that does not involve believing in any contradictions. Believing in God does. And also, if the rational understanding of God is not necessary for belief in Him (as you seem to imply), then why did Avicenna and Mulla Sadra go to great lengths to try to reason and demonstrate how God should be understood (e.g. pure, non-composite, Necessary Being, manifested in different degrees and intensities, etc.)? I'm sure they could've took the easy way out and just said "Hey guys, God exists, that's it. I know the concept of God seems very contradictory, but hey, there's nothing we can do about that because the details are probably too weird for our little minds to grasp, so stop being heretical and just sit there and believe like a good boy." I don't know about you, but I highly doubt that the infallible Imams would cop out like that if someone came and wanted to have a philosophical discussion with them. Considering that the Imams were highly intellectual people, I doubt that they would tell their followers to believe in any seemingly contradictory belief without clarifying it or demonstrating how that belief is not really contradictory. I like how you approached this. However, I don't think that it's an "assumption" to think we should only thank someone for doing us good if their nature allowed them to do otherwise. It's not an assumption; I take it as self-evident. I do not see why I should honestly thank a helpful person if that person was forced to help me (i.e. he didn't have any other option, he had to help me). As for your second statement, well, so you're saying that we should thank God because He could've made other beings instead and could've been equally merciful to them as He is to us. But then why did He pick us over them, if there was no rationally compelling reason to pick us over them (since either way would've been equal and one choice is not better than the other)?
  8. Salam, Imam Ali says in the first sermon of Nahj al-Balagha that God doesn't have any attributes. Imam Reza reiterates this in Sheikh Saduq's al-Tawhid. Shia Islamic scholars have interpreted this as meaning that all the traditional attributes of God (e.g. omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) are identical with God and are not distinct or "accidental properties" of God. But this creates the problem of mercy and freedom. If mercy is an essential property of God, and not an "accidental property," then that means God must be merciful (or else He wouldn't be God anymore). This seems to contradict with the Shia Islamic traditions which say that God "chose" mercy for Himself (i.e. He could have not been merciful, but He chose to be merciful). This also makes the whole concept of thanking God meaningless, because he had to be merciful to us all the time because reality couldn't have been otherwise (he's a Necessary Being, couldn't have not existed, and couldn't have not been merciful). Why thank God for being merciful to us when things simply could not have been otherwise? It was not possible for God to have not been merciful to us, so why should we thank him for being merciful to us? Unless there is a rational way to solve this problem, this problem demonstrates that the whole concept of a merciful, free, and "worthy of being grateful to" God is incoherent. And hence the Islamic concept of God is logically incoherent and should not be believed in.
  9. Hey, It might help if you remind yourself about the harms of masturbating and the benefits of not masturbating. Also check out the whole "nofap" movement on Reddit - it's very supportive. There are people there who haven't done it for years. I once went 4 years without doing it (after puberty of course). Here are some proven reasons why masturbation is bad for you, other than it being a sin (possibly why it's a sin): http://thereligionofreason.blogspot.com/2016/01/how-masturbation-can-be-bad-for-you.html?m=1
  10. "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." - Charles Darwin (1860) If God is benevolent, why did he deliberately create a natural system in which animals have no option but to cause other animals suffering? Why did he deliberately allow birth defected children to be born (both animal and human)? Why did he deliberately create all these viruses and bacteria that cause both human and animal suffering? And from a religious perspective, will the suffering of such animals be compensated? And regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, it is difficult to believe that they are sent to remind people or warn them of sins because many victims of these disasters are children and people who have lived relatively good lives. I would prefer that you guys don't cluster these questions into one question and rather answer each one specifically, unless you believe your clustered response is sufficient to address all these problems.
  11. Well, genetics play a big role in who we are, how we think, and how we act. For example, I recently saw a scientific study that found that laziness is inherited genetically. A while ago I had also read a study that found creativeness (which is sometimes considered an aspect of intelligence) is also genetically related. So at the end of the day I'm happy I have some genetic lineage from geniuses like Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali ;)
  12. Salam, I've briefly searched Shiachat for reasonable and source-based responses to this, but haven't found any. Slavery is allowed in Islam, since Islam did not abolish it. Allamah Tabatabai writes in his tafsir Al-Mizan under verses 4:23-28: "Sexual intercourse with one's slave women is lawful without marriage." Imam Sajjad also mentions the rights of slaves in his Treatise of Rights. The Quran on numerous occasions uses the term "those whom your right hands possess", referring to slaves. So here are some of my questions: How does Islamic law define a slave? Are only prisoners of war allowed to be taken as slaves? What is an Islamically halal way of obtaining a slave? What is the rationale behind making prisoners of wars slaves? Is it to punish them? For how long will this punishment last? Will the slaves' children also be slaves? If yes, why (what wrong have these children done to be slaves)? And is it forbidden to have sex with a female slave or prisoner of war without her consent? Provide proof (sources that say it's forbidden). And can free women also have sex with their male slaves and/or prisoners of war? Please don't say it has no more relevance in the modern world. That's not the point. I want to learn about what Islam has to say on this matter. Non-Muslims often question the integrity and peaceful nature of Islam, and slavery is one of their objections. I want to be able to answer them reasonably. This is an intellectual pursuit, not a practical one (I'm not looking for slaves at the moment), and it's very important.
  13. The sayings of Imam Ali are very important. I examined the Arabic, and here's a more linguistically accurate translation. الْحِكْمَةِ فِي هذِهِ الْخَفَافِيشِ الَّتِي يَقْبِضُهَا الضِّيَاءُ الْبَاسِطُ لِكُلِّ شَيْء، وَيَبْسُطُهَا الظَّلاَمُ الْقَابِضُ لِكُلِّ حَيٍّ "... wisdom in these bats that are clutched by the brightness that spreads for every thing, and are spread by darkness that clutches every living thing." The problem's still there. And considering that Imam Ali had immense knowledge and wisdom, why didn't he mention anything about echolocation in his long sermon about bats? Echolocation is arguably the most wonderful and distinguishing feature about bats. The Imam should've mentioned something about 'bouncing sounds' or 'light sounds' that the bat makes to guide its movement.
  14. Imam Ali says in Nahj Al-Balagha sermon 154 that bats are the only nocturnal living thing. But we now know of numerous other species that are nocturnal, like badgers and aye-ayes. So either Imam Ali made a mistake, or Nahj Al-Balagha is inauthentic. Here is the quote from it: وَمِنْ لَطَائِفِ صَنْعَتِهِ، وَعَجَائِبِ خِلْقَتِهِ، مَا أَرَانَا مِنْ غَوَامِضِ الْحِكْمَةِ فِي هذِهِ الْخَفَافِيشِ الَّتِي يَقْبِضُهَا الضِّيَاءُ الْبَاسِطُ لِكُلِّ شَيْء، وَيَبْسُطُهَا الظَّلاَمُ الْقَابِضُ لِكُلِّ حَيٍّ، وَكَيْفَ عَشِيَتْ أَعْيُنُهَا عَنْ أَنْ تَسْتَمِدَّ مِنَ الشَّمْسِ الْمُضِيئَةِ نقُوراً تَهْتَدِي بِهِ فِي مَذَاهِبِهَا، وَتَتَّصِلُ بِعَلاَنِيَةِ بُرْهَانِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى مَعَارِفِهَا. "An example of His delicate production, wonderful creation and deep sagacity which He has shown us is found in these bats which keep hidden in the daylight although daylight reveals everything else, and are mobile in the night although the night shuts up every other living being; and how their eyes get dazzled and cannot make use of the light of the sun so as to be guided in their movements and so as to reach their known places through the direction provided by the sun."
  15. Salam everyone, I made a blog with the intention to "answer" the common criticisms of Islam by Islamophobes using evidence, rationality, and references. It has answers to the following questions so far: Does Islam promote violence towards peaceful non-Muslims?Are there verses in the Quran that allow violence towards peaceful non-Muslims?Was Islam spread by the sword?What's the Jizya?Does Islam say all non-Muslims will go to hell?What's the penalty for apostasy in Islam?Is Islam misogynistic?Does Islam promote domestic violence?Does Islam allow pedophilia? I provided evidence for my answers using evidence from Quran and hadiths. If you have any further evidences (hadiths/Quran/statistics/science) that may be helpful in answering such questions, or other common questions that should be addressed, please tell me! Any feedback would be much appreciated! I hope this blog is helpful to anyone defending Islam against common criticisms and accusations. Please feel free to use any content in it.
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