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Ibn Al-Ja'abi

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Ibn Al-Ja'abi last won the day on February 3 2019

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  1. (Bismillah) Salams On the topic of Tawassul and its practice among early Muslims (aside from what we find attested in Shii sources), I thought this was an interesting new piece of archeology. It was discovered an published on social media by the amateur epigraphist, Muhammad Abdullah al-Harbi (search in Arabic), in the outskirts of Medina. It's apparently by one Abu Rafi' Abdullah b. Salim b. 'Isa b. Akhi Malik al-Najjari al-Ansari according to the epigraphist, I have no idea how he reached this conclusion. I originally thought it could reasonably be the first century because of the similarity to the pre-Islamic Abd-Shams b. al-Mughira inscription (which is written by someone with a Mushrik name and containing the pagan basmala بسمك اللهم with Allumma written practically the same in both inscriptions), I am leaning toward a more second-century date though because of the shape of some alifs seeming more kufic, hence being slightly later. It's been a while since I've done paleography, though, I'll need to ask other people (unless someone can find any tarjama for this Abdullah b. Salim b. Isa). "I do tawassul to Allah by His Face, His Self, and His Name, and by Muhammad, our Prophet, that He give me the good of this world and the hereafter and that he turns away their evil from me."
  2. Salams, I am by no means someone who has looked deeply into al-3ulum al-ghara'ib (occult sciences), nor am I very interested in them, nor do I think usually they're worth any time or effort if I were to be completely honest. However, during my final years of university, I helped with an academic project which was cataloging and translating manuscripts for a research project that dealt with magic squares (al-awfaq), medical magic, and other things from the Al-Bounian tradition which Shams al-Ma'arif is from (itself an Islamicized hermetic tradition). All I found in the stuff I worked on was khurafat (superstitions and nonsense), fabricated ahadith, and misguided 3urafa thinking that these waste-of-time riyadiyat and a3maal are beneficial to anyone. That being said, works like these remain popular among people interested in al-3ulum al-ghara'ib, including among Shii 3urafa. Perhaps they might say I am not among ahl al-3ilm for this science, and they are right. All the same, I can't take it seriously nor do I see this represented in the spirituality and teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (عليه السلام), though I would love to be corrected on this. If you are interested in seeing some of these topics of Islamic occultism discussed by a Shii academic with some traditional background as well, I recommend checking out Sayyid Nizamuddin Ahmad who has a YouTube channel dedicated to his interests (with good advice about learning languages as well, an activity I think is infinitely more useful). Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/@SaiyadNizamuddinAhmad I honestly think most people are better off reading a book like Kitab al-Kafi or Mir'at al-Kamal and implementing the teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (عليه السلام) from these sources in their everyday lives.
  3. I think conflict is not as helpful as the historiographical methodologies of reading these two traditions, one with a relatively set historiography that crystallized over two centuries, the other chronicling very recent events. For example, this Syriac account about Imam Ali's (عليه السلام) martyrdom states he was assassinated in Hirah. How is that possible when we know he died in Kufah? This account is, I believe, late seventh century and hence a few decades after the martyrdom. However, the same critical scholarship we believe will destroy our faith is useful in showing how this isn't a problem. Historical-critical scholarship aims at asking certain questions of its sources, our primary one is who wrote it and what was his relationship to the Umawis? Being a work composed in Sham in all probability, it is likely to hold a much more positive view of Mu'awiya because we know that Syriac historiography was influenced by Umawi propaganda. Another thing historical-critical does is that it tries to compound the facts we know about society then with our analysis in order to assist us. We know that prior to Islam the major Arab regional city in southern Iraq was Hirah, the seat of the Lakhmid capital which became abandoned slowly after Islam, while Kufah was a garrison city recently built to administer Islamic rule after the conquest and populated by immigrant tribes and warriors who took part in the conquests, hence in the seventh century it would have been less important to a Syriac writer than the near by city of Hirah. This is not unlike how in the middle ages the important city in the area was not Tehran, which was a little village, but Rayy, now swallowed up by Tehran. Or how an when talking to an outsider one might not say they are from Streamwood, Illinois, but from Chicago, Illinois. This is just an example about how the situation isn't as dire as stated in terms of the conflict of these sources. We very much need to determine how to read our Arabic and non Arabic sources to yield the best possible history.
  4. Salams, I'm on the fence about this comment, personally. I agree with you about her Islamophobia, whether she (and her supporters) recognize it or not. She did come from that old, pre-Edward Said orientalism. Post-colonialism has become the norm in many university departments such that departments are moving away from the term orientalism, opting to use Near and Middle Eastern Studies instead. Modern scholars of Islamic studies have much more enlightened attitudes toward Muslims, even if they have very radically divergent positions on Islam from most Muslims. Javad Hashmi, who has garnered some infamy as of late among the Muslim community, interestingly put it that the biases and presumptions of scholars come out in the theories they have, and he sees how the negative views Patricia Crone had about Arabs are reflected (contrasted with Donner, also a revisionist, but with much more optimistic views about Muslims and Islam and hence this is reflected in his work). One must realize that while her work was very negatively received at that time, and for good reason (on the first page she repeats her teacher, Warnsborough's, now demonstrably false thesis that the Quran did not exist in the 1st century/7th century--about 5 years prior to the publication of this book, the discovery of the Sanaa palimpsest categorically disproved this, the studies would not begin to be published until the 80s and 90s though), she does seem to have had the last laugh. We are definitely in a period of Islamic historiography where the traditional historical and biographical sources are not taken at face value as telling us straightforward facts about the time they purport to-- and they have raised some serious problems that need addressing. Is there anything redeeming about this project? We can say this much, calling for a closer rereading of sources and asking ourselves to be more critical of certain narratives and the theological and sectarian motives behind their origins is what the Shia have been calling for when it comes to Sunni and general Islamic history. I have found that this scholarship has actually shown many of the faults that exist within the Sunni system (not without, intending to at least, take shots at all of Islam). There is also an aspect of making one's career in this that I mentioned to my former professor when we speak about revisionism in religious studies scholarship, though I think it would be too cynical and too unfair to always chalk up revisionism to careerism, even if we have some pretty obvious examples. I fear we Muslims have buried our heads in the sand too long about academia, thinking that we could malign it by calling it western or secular and that would achieve something. Now the revisionists are knocking at our gates in the form of Muslims promoting such theories (and once again, for honest intentions, I do believe that these people, as misguided as they may be, do seriously believe this is how you defend Islam from the issues modern scholarship is presenting, e.g., how can the Prophet (saaw) have been in 'aam al-fil if the only record of a northern war by Abraha was from 30 years before?). We need to fund and engage in serious scholarship of our own, as Jews and Christians have for centuries within western academia, and develop and expound on our own methodologies. Unfortunately not, and I think this might be the wrong attitude to take when seeing such scholarship. While we obviously need to put forth a defense of our religion, to think solely in these terms when we see anything we aren't used to can kill legitimate intellectual growth and leaves us and our scholarship seeming simply reactionary. Nevertheless, there are two problems here: 1. That western scholarship necessarily starts from a naturalist position to hedge its bets, meaning there is no belief in a God, at least one that actually intervenes with history. This is by default a different starting point than a Muslim. They also tend towards a greater deal of minimalism. However, despite that, we need to answer this question: are the sources trustworthy at all for telling us about the seventh century? And if so, which ones? 2. Traditional Muslims don't, on the whole, work in these difficult fields of early Islamic history, Quranic studies, or Hadith studies (with some exceptions, e.g. Jonathan Brown, who actually doesn't actually do work on the origins of Hadith and their reliability like Schacht, Motzki, and Juynboll, but how Muslims engaged with hadith/hadith works). As a side note, once again, not to be unfair to an individual but Tom Holland is not a scholar, he is an author but he does not do original scholarship and his works are not peer-reviewed. I would not class him as doing the same thing as actual scholars, let alone being on their level of scholarship. I've studied Syriac on and off for the past few years and had an interest in the Nes7ono/Tash3itho (Dleh) Dalekhsandrus. I remember some years ago when I looked at it, while there are many similarities between these two texts and the general structure of the account presented there, there are also some pretty clear differences as well. Hence, I don't think one text took from the other but that, at most within the minimalist system they are working in, they come out of the same Alexander Romance tradition. Wallahu A'lam personally. Regarding the historicity of the Quranic stories (are these literal history or art being used for moral lessons?), your answer to this might affect how much you see this as a problem. This also isn't nearly as outside of the Muslim norm as you might think, I have seen Shia ulama express this sentiment (though I won't say their name because I don't know if they would like the public to know what they think). If you want a very in-depth argument for this based solely on a Quranic analysis (not even looking at these non-Islamic texts and archeology), there is Muhammad Ahmad Khalafallah's al-Fann al-Qasasi fi l-Quran al-Karim about this topic. Personally, I don't subscribe to this. I do think that many of these Quranic stories can be demonstrated to have some historical background to them even if not the way they are depicted in movies. The Exodus, for example, is not completely thrown out but some American schools still accept it even if German schools don't, look at biblical studies scholars like Gary Rendsburg. And I don't think any serious scholar will try to deny that Jesus exists. We also have pretty reasonable evidence for the existence of David and his dynasty. Once again, if you don't actively believe in God in your scholarship it offers some limitations about how easily you can prove the existence of a random shepherd 4000 years ago, like Nabi Ibrahim (عليه السلام), but these are the limitations of the tool. Other stories are quite perplexing. Dhul-Qarnayn is one and I can't pretend to have figured out the theological answer to this. I will recommend you check out this article on the topic: https://ponderingislam.com/2020/02/15/did-the-qurʾan-borrow-from-the-syriac-legend-of-alexander/ The author, Taha Somro, has done extensive work in Syriac literature and within a formal institutional setting. All the same, I think it's far from being the last word on the subject but I remember this being an interesting read that added some good nuance to the conversation. Also bear in mind that Taha addresses Kevin van Bladel's scholarship on the matter primarily, not Tesei's. Wallahu a'lam Wassalam
  5. First of all, whoever insinuated this was a homosexual act, wal-3iyadhu billah, has a filthy mind and it is unfortunate for them that's where their mind goes. Secondly, it's funny they'll use this hadith to insinuate the Imams were such, astaghfirullah, when the hadith doesn't say that, but they can't conclude what the hadith actually does say (that Imam al-Jawad was Imam al-Ridha's successor and a hujjatullah). I suppose that would be expecting too much from nawasib. But whoever said that has demonstrated himself to be truly ignorant of the Prophetic Sunnah that was practiced among Ahlul Bayt (عليه السلام). This is so widespread it was reported even by the Umayyad fabricator, Abu Hurayrah, cited in al-Bukhari's al-Adab al-Mufrad (and graded Hasan by al-Albani): جَعَلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَفْتَحُ فَاهُ فَيُدْخِلُ فَاهُ فِي فِيهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ‏:‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أُحِبُّهُ، فَأَحْبِبْهُ، وَأَحِبَّ مَنْ يُحِبُّهُ‏.‏ The Prophet (saaw) then opened his mouth and entered his mouth in his, then he said, "O' Allah, I love him so love him, and I love whoever loves him." (Having done, this to Imam al-Hasan (عليه السلام), and when he was older than a baby as well, evidently as Abu Hurayrah narrates this (and it is known he accepted Islam after Khaybar, hence how problematic it is how much he has narrated: أسلم أبو هريرة وعمران بن حصين عام خيبر -- Ibn 'Abd al-Barr). Beyond that, we know Ahlul Bayt (عليه السلام) did this after the Prophet (saaw). For example, the earliest surviving extant source on Karbala (I have translated this during Muharram and you can read it here--bear in mind it needs revision and commentary as I have better sources and editions now than I did when initially working on it), al-Fudhayl b. al-Zubayr's Tasmiyatu man qutila ma'a al-Husayn (عليه السلام), mentions this account for Hazrat Ali Asghar/Abdullah al-Radhi' (as): Evidently, it is not what they are insinuating it is on the one hand, and they should be ashamed of themselves that they think so lowly of the Prophet's Sunnah and of the Ahlul Bayt (alayhum al-salam ajma3in). What can one expect of nawasib, though?
  6. Bismillah Salams, Remember also that Farsi has changed in pronunciation over the course of ~1200 years such that Eastern Farsi (and Indian Farsi when it was spoken before partition) on the whole preserved phonological features more. For example, "Deyr" as you wrote was how the word would have been pronounced in the earliest phases of New Persian (by Ferdowsi, for example). Over the last millennium the majhul vowels (long o and long e) were lost and merged with u and i (zor->zur, der->dir). Not to say that Eastern Farsi (Dari and Tajiki) hasn't undergone its own innovations. Some dialects are pretty unrecognizable, like Hazaragi (though for obvious reasons). iltimas-e-dua
  7. Ws, I think he meant whether he attended any specific church in his life.
  8. Salams, Which church did your late father belong to? I sent this to my Catholic friend and his advice, with no further information known than what you said, here was to search for "Christian organizations that help with funeral expenses". I'm very sorry for your loss, may your father see the joy of our Lord's reward and the relax eternally in the breadth of his mercy.
  9. I'm very sorry to hear about your father's passing. I never had the pleasure of interacting with him personally, though I've read his discussions since I was 13. He was one of the great influences on me to seriously learn academic biblical studies and classical languages to really appreciate the points he was making. Reading your obituary it is obvious he was a faithful, hard-working, generous man of integrity who touched many people. I'm profoundly sorry for your loss and I hope we continue to see you on the forums. Prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.
  10. Salams, InshaAllah he works through these thoughts, I hope you make him feel safe and let him know that many others before him have also had doubts and questions. It offers a wonderful opportunity for you to also work through your beliefs with them, if they are receptive to conversation. May I ask, why does he doubt the existence of our prophet?
  11. Salams, No, what you wrote is on the right track but didn't make sense. A few things to consider here as a hint: 1. Make sure you conjugate your verbs correctly, al dafani is entirely incorrect but other verbs are in the wrong mood. You are telling God to do something so you can't use the indicative mood, you need to use the imperative (fi3l amr), conjugate your verbs for the imperative mood. غطى (ghatta), for example, should be غطي (ghatti) if it's an imperative. 2. You don't say fi yawmi l-qiyamati in Arabic, you want to use the adverbial accusative instead yawma l-qiyamati (on the day of judgement). 3. Bayn al-Mu'minen al-Haqiqiyyin is not good Arabic style. It does make sense, but you will never find this in any Duas or authentic (meaning in terms of composition, not in the hadith sense) Arabic texts, you might also find maqaam more appropriate considering what we find in Duas normally. 4. Consider your spelling of "nur" and an idhafa needs a laam al-ta'rif on its last element.
  12. Salams I am making this post on behalf of a dear friend of mine, I do not have any more information on this topic than stated here but you can discuss this project further with him if you are interested. Is anyone from the London, Birmingham, or Manchester areas, or from other towns nearby in England who has good video editing or camera skills interested in working (pro bono, this project is made up of volunteers) to create English language content for YouTube focusing on the Palestinian cause and Muslim solidarity politics in general? If these topics are personally of great significance to you, you have the requisite skills, and are interested in creating and curating content on these important political issues, please send me a PM to discuss further. Best regards, Ibn Al-Ja'abi
  13. Hey, I read Biblical (and some Rabbinic and Epigraphic) Hebrew among other classical Semitic and on the whole am rather sceptical of takes like the one in the OP. Was just wondering what about the Hebrew indicates this to you, because this isn't the reading that scholars in the field of Biblical and Old Testament Studies see?
  14. Since I had read it when I was 7 until I was finished highschool at 17 -- this is after I'd been on this site for a couple of years as well, funny enough, so my oldest posts are from a time I didn't think about this again -- I really believed that a pair of twins, named Romulus and Remus, raised by a wolf (this part in particular is what I think was just way too dumb for a 17 year old not to think about twice) founded Rome. I only realized that's probably not the case when at 17 I thought about it again and said to myself "no, wait, that's ridiculous it never happened". I should say it obviously wasn't an active belief but it's just funny I never shook the notion off until that late.
  15. Salams, A friend and I were looking for a third to read through Zaydi primary texts with us. The types of texts which will be covered are theological, legal, historical, etc. This reading circle is not for polemical purposes but for understanding Zaydism through Zaydi texts, you should want to ask yourself why did some ancient Shias choose to associate themselves with the Zaydiyya, how their Imamate works, and the intellectual tradition of this school. You should be someone open-minded and willing to learn about this legal and theological school, and of course take notes and discuss. All those interested are kindly asked to state their interest so we can pick someone for this circle. Thank and and wassalam
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