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In the Name of God بسم الله

enigma313

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    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Basic Unit of Society   
    The root ethic in Islam is maintaining a healthy heart. I'm not referring to the pulsating organ in your left chest, but rather I'm referring to the qalb. The heart is the metaphysical mind and conscience that the Quran ties to our thoughts and feelings. It is the locus of our faith, the home of our innermost secrets, the intuitive criterion for good and evil, and the organ through which our Creator is known. In the hadith literature, the heart is connected to all of the senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, and smelling; and the information that these senses receive are directed to the heart. The heart then identifies and interprets this information. The heart is the Imam of the body that answers the questions of the body and clarifies its doubts. ( قلت أ فلك قلب قال نعم قال قلت فما تصنع به قال أميز به كلما ورد على هذه الجوارح قال قلت أ فليس في هذه الجوارح غنى عن القلب قال لا قلت وكيف ذلك وهي صحيحة قال يا بني إن الجوارح إذا شكت في شيء شمته أو رأته أو ذاقته ردته إلى القلب فليقر به اليقين ويبطل الشك قال قلت فإنما أقام الله عز وجل القلب لشك الجوارح قال نعم قال قلت ولا بد من القلب وإلا لم يستيقن الجوارح قال نعم قال قلت يا أبا مروان إن الله لم يترك جوارحك حتى جعل لها إماما يصحح لها الصحيح وينفي ما شكت فيه ويترك هذا الخلق كلهم في حيرتهم وشكهم واختلافهم لا يقيم لهم إماما يردون إليه شكهم وحيرتهم ويقيم لك إماما لجوارحك يرد إليك شكك وحيرتك )
    The root verb (قلب) means to turn, to flip, and to change. A healthy heart is soft: it fluidly changes from state to state, depending on its surroundings. If it perceives oppression, it expresses hatred for the oppressor and sympathy for the oppressed. If it perceives God's signs, it basks in wonder and amazement. If it perceives love, it loves. It is constantly reflecting and "turning", hence the root word. An unhealthy heart is a hard heart: it is numb, heavy, heedless, stagnant, and does not react to its surroundings. It is desensitized to good and evil, and it does not recognize God's signs. Its hardness impedes its ability to flux, which is what a heart is made to do.
    The goal of Islamic ethics is to remain soft-hearted by practicing humility, by crying over injustice, to curb our arrogance and heedlessness, to be selfless, and to return to our natural order. Yes, having a soft-heart can be painful, but those who turn their heart into a hard shell become bitter, distant, selfish, and absent-minded. Rather than genuinely turning their pain into a lesson, they mentally run away from their problems by locking their heart and letting nothing in. But only through heartfelt contemplation can true progress take place, both within yourself and within your society.
    For some, the family is the basic unit of society. Family is seen as the building block of civilization, and the most basic natural association for the physical and emotional fulfillment of a people. For others, the individual is the basic unit of society, because individuals enjoy their own agency, even if they work towards a common end.
    The basic unit of society in Islam, however, appears to be the heart. Being in a family is an ideal state, but it is not the reality for many people, nor is it wajib, nor does a family have complete agency. But similarly, to say that the individual is the basis is to assume that society is an amalgamation of separate, competing, selfish, and divergent people. The reality is that people are very connected - by blood, by tribe, by religion, by party, and by common interest. The heart in Islam does not deny the agency of the individual, but it is much more than individualism. It connects a person to his surroundings, and a cultivated heart is connected to that universal intellect (العقل الكلي) that is mindful of God and His divine authority.
    And so the goal of a society should not just be productivity, because a productivity that ignores goodness is destructive. Rather, the goal of a society should be to maintain its humanity. A hard heart is vain, greedy, and heedless, while a soft heart is selfless, compassionate, and seeking constant betterment. If the basic unit is cultivated, our societal and political affairs will change overnight (13:11). Everything else in society - our families, our workplaces, our entertainment, our religion, and our social lives - should all be geared towards maintaining and improving the basic unit of our society.

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    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Hoor al-`Ayn are not White Chicks   
    There is a common misconception among modern Muslim men that they will be rewarded with white women in Paradise. This attitude has even caused some to justify their preference of light-skin women and Western women through Islamic texts that describe beautiful women in this world and the Hereafter. They put white skin on a pedestal, which both sidelines women with darker complexions, and objectifies women with lighter skin. I would like to investigate the claim that the heavenly maidens of Paradise are essentially "white girls".
    Heaven is unlike anything
    In the hadith literature, Paradise is described as what the eye has not seen, what the ear has not heard, and what the heart has not imagined. ( مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَ لَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَ لَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ ). You will be an entirely new creation in Paradise, which will cause those who suffered most in this world to completely forget their suffering. Therefore the descriptions of the pleasures of Paradise are, at most, symbols of things that we cannot exactly know.
    The meaning of abyad
    The word that modern Arabs use to refer to the colour "white" ( أبيض ) has certainly been used to describe the women of Paradise. In one narration, the Prophet (s) says that the women of Paradise will be every shade of "white" ( ان في الجنة نهرا حافتاه الابكار من كل بيضاء ). In another narration, Imam ar-Rida recites a poem in which he describes beautiful "white" women ( أَرَى الِبيضَ الْحِسَانَ يَجِدْنَ عَنِّي ). Other narrations associate this "whiteness" with pleasure ( سعادة الرجل أن يكشف الثوب عن امرأة بيضاء ).
    But what does all of this mean? Abyad comes from the root word bayada ( بيض ), which means "to lay eggs". An egg is a bayda ( بيضة ), and eggs can be white or brown, depending on the colour of the feathers of the chicken. In Arabic, there is no special word for either type of egg, both are given the name bayda, which is related to the word for "white".
    Several Arabic dictionaries have interpreted abyad to mean pure, fair, and without blemish; rather than strictly "white". Here are a few references:
    In Lisan al-`Arab:
    إذا قالت العرب فلان أبيض، وفلانة بيضاء، فالمعنى نقاء العرض من الدنس والعيوب لا يريدون به بياض اللون، ولكنهم يريدون المدح بالكرم، ونقاء العرض من العيوب وإذا قالوا: فلان أبيض الوجه، وفلانة بيضاء الوجه، أرادوا نقاء اللون من الكلف والسواد الشائن
    “When the Arabs say that a man is white or a woman is white, they mean that he has an appearance that is pure and clear from defects. They don’t mean that he has a white complexion, but they mean that someone has an appearance that is pure from defects. When they say that a man or woman has a white face, they mean that their colour is pure from blemish and darkness.
    ”العرب لا تقول : رجل أبيض من بياض اللون إنما الأبيض عندهم الطاهر النقي من العيوب”
    The Arab does not say that a man is white in terms of the colour white. Rather, the "white" for them is he who is pure from any defects.
    Abu Tayyib al-Lughawi says in Kitab al-Idad al-`Arab:
    ” و انما الأبيض من الناس البعيد من الدنس، النقي من العيب“
    The whitest of people are those who are far from impurity, and are purified from defects.
    Ibn Atheer says in an-Nahaya fii Ghareeb al-Hadith:
    الغر : جمع الأغر ، من الغرة : بياض الوجه ، يريد بياض وجوههم بنور الوضوء يوم القيامة
    The innocent (al-ghurr); its plural is al-aghur, from al-ghurra: a white face, meaning, a face whitened by light and illumination on the Day of Resurrection.
    al-Dhahabi says in Siyar A`laam an-Nubala':
    “إن العرب إذا قالت: فلان أبيض ، فإنهم يريدون الحنطي اللون بحلية سوداء”
    When Arabs say a person is white, they mean tawny in colour with black hair.
    ---
    So according to these dictionaries, "whiteness" in a person is either: (1) purity in their reputation, (2) purity in their appearance with no blemishes or defects (scars, birth marks, discolouration, wrinkles, moles, bumps), (3) tawny or wheat-coloured skin, (4) light and illumination, (5) a strong contrast between their face and hair colours.
    The meaning of hoor al-`ayn
    The Quran describes the houri (hoor al-`ayn) as a heavenly beauty that has been gifted exclusively to a good, believing person. The Quran does not provide much more detail than that. The hoor al-`ayn can be translated as "one with contrasting eyes", and it is often tied to the related word hawra', which refers to a person who has a strong contrast between her dark pupil and white sclera (white part of the eye). If this is the meaning of hooriya, then her "whiteness" may have more to do with her eyes than her skin. The word hawar can also mean "to bleach", but also "to tan". The same word is used in the Quran to refer to the apostles of Jesus, who were "purified" from evil ( فَسُمِّيَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ حَوَارِيِّينَ لانَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُخْلَصِينَ فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَمُخْلِصِينَ لِغَيْرِهِمْ مِنْ أَوْسَاخِ الذُّنُوبِ ). The word therefore may also be an indication to the maiden's spiritual purity and not just her physical beauty.
    The word hoor also means to change, alter, remodel, and modify, so perhaps one feature of this heavenly beauty is constant rejuvenation and transformation.
    Another related word means to converse and discuss - it is possible that there is more to the houri than her looks!
    I have heard that there may be a relationship between hooriya and hayara, which means "to be confused, bewildered, perplexed, baffled, embarrassed", because the believer will be perplexed by the startling beauty of the hoor al-`ayn.
    Remember that we cannot imagine Paradise, so the skintone of the heavenly beauty would also be beyond comprehension.
    The word for "pale" in Arabic is actually yellow
    When Arabs describe a pale complexion, such as a pale face of an ill person, they use the word musfar (مصفر), which means "yellowed", rather than saying he has been whitened.
    The Prophet's colour
    Many hadiths describe the Prophet Muhammad (s) as being abyad, but these could be descriptions of the fairness of his skin or the purity of his character. Other hadiths say that the Prophet was reddish. To reconcile both sets of narrations, one can say that he had a tawny or wheatish complexion, which was light in Arabia but unlike the pale western Europeans. While modern Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and Germanic peoples have a monopoly on "whiteness" today, most people in the Middle East would have never met such people by the 7th century.
    White faces on the Day of Resurrection
    The Quran describes the believers' faces on the Day of Resurrection as "white" (3:106), but this will be due to their illumination. Some hadiths describe that the body parts washed in wudu will glow in the Hereafter, which includes the face, and other hadiths say that the wudu washes sins away from a person. Similarly, other narrations discuss the illumination of the faces of those who stay up to pray at night. These are not references to pigment.
    "Whiteness" will be due to light, and the colour of light, which was found in the Sun, Moon, and fire, ranges from orange to light yellow.
    Lady Fatima was a human houri
    Several narrations describe Lady Fatima (as) as a human houri. Her houri nature in Paradise was a dazzling light ( نورا ساطعا ) - first she was beneath the Throne, and then she resided within a fruit in Paradise - both in the form of a beautiful lady of light.
    Paradise is much more than this world
    In conclusion, there is much more to look forward to in the next world than conquering a colonial inferiority complex. Muslims have a very complicated relationship with white folks - from lust, to hatred, to jealousy, to emulation - and our relationships with other races are no where near as complex. The first step to overcome something is to realize and understand it. Allah gave us all of our hues so that we may learn about one another, and understand that the Creator of spectrums is beyond all spectrums Himself. If the hoor al-`ayn is simply a pretty white girl, then she would not be a sufficient reward for the believers, since there are plenty of them in this dunya. Paradise is more than a brothel, open bar, and buffet. It's a chance to gain true proximity to Allah, through His Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and to gain gnosis. The journey into timelessness starts in this world, and it culminates in the Hereafter.
  3. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Jesus' Wool Garment   
    A Muslim account of Jesus Christ's ascension from Tafsir al-`Ayashi:
    Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (a) said, "Jesus the son of Mary ascended whilst wearing a rabbinical garment made of wool spun from the yarn of Mary, the weaving of Mary, and the sewing of Mary. When he came to the heaven, it was called, 'O Jesus! Remove the frills of this world from yourself.'" (رفع عيسى بن مريم عليه بمدرعة (4) صوف من غزل مريم، ومن نسج مريم ومن خياطة مريم فلما انتهى إلى السماء نودى يا عيسى ألق عنك زينة الدنيا.)
    This reference is actually very interesting. This expression, "rabbinical garment", has a very specific connotation in Jewish mysticism. There is a concrete term in Kabbalah, חלוקא דרבנן, precisely "rabbinical garment", which refers to the ethereal body of saints, somewhat similar to the body of people we see in the dream, visible and tangible yet not material in our crude sense. It is linked to Shechinah. Removing the garment may indicate ascension to higher levels beyond. When angels appeared in human form to Abraham, there were also wearing some type of "rabbinical garment". It works as a bridge between physical and spiritual.
    Of course, Jesus in Muslim hadith literature is linked to themes of asceticism, and in this narration, Jesus is being asked to shed his attachment to this sentimental article of clothing before gaining proximity to God. Removing this rabbinical garment may be a symbol for Jesus' exit from the imaginal realm (which is between the fully material and the fully immaterial) and entry into the divine presence.

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    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Trees are People   
    Trees play a prominent role in many religious texts. With their roots in the ground and their branches stretching toward the sky, trees are linked to the heavens and the Earth, the spiritual and the material, and the vertical and the horizontal. They are like an axis or a pole that stands between both worlds. Its greenery is a symbol of life, its shade is a symbol of comfort, and its fruits are a symbol of fertility. As deciduous trees shed their leaves in some seasons, they are resurrected in others, demonstrating God's power to bring life to the dead.
    Ancient people drew parallels between trees and people. A tree's fruit became a symbol of one's offspring, deeds, or knowledge, and a diagram detailing your family "roots" is a "family tree". There are many Islamic examples where this same parallel is made:
    The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "A hypocrite is like the trunk of a palm tree. When its owner intends to use it in construction, it does not fit in the place he wants it to fit. He then tries to fit it elsewhere, but it still does not fit. So in the end, he throws it in the fire." ( قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآلهمثل المنافق مثل جذع النخل أراد صاحبه أن ينتفع به في بعض بنائه فلم يستقم له في الموضع الذي أراد فحوله في موضع آخر فلم يستقم له فكان آخر ذلك أن أحرقه بالنار )
    The trunk in this example is the hypocrite. The carpenter sees that it is a trunk, and potentially useful, but it does not meet his requirements. Similarly, Allah tests and tries the hypocrite, but when He sees no good and no use in him, He punishes the hypocrite with hellfire.
    The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "The believers are like sprouting plants that are swirled back and forth by the winds, as the believers are also turned and bent by pain and illness. The hypocrites are like iron rods that are not affected by anything, until they meet death and are shattered by it." ( قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله مثل المؤمن كمثل خامة الزرع تكفئها الرياح كذا وكذا وكذلك المؤمن تكفئه
    الأوجاع والأمراض ومثل المنافق كمثل الإرزبة المستقيمة التي لا يصيبها شيء حتى يأتيه الموت فيقصفه قصفا )
    Just as the trees and plants are abused by strong gusts of wind, the believer is tried with his desires (hawa, هوى, which also means "wind"). The hypocrite however is not swirled by the wind because he lives in complete heedlessness (ghafla), and is stiffened by his wickedness, until Allah destroys him.
    “And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, "Peace!" Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.” (14:24-26)
    Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] was asked about the verse, "as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into the sky." (14:24) He said, "The Messenger of Allah (s) is its root, Amir al-Mu'mineen is its branches, the Imams from their progeny are its twigs, the knowledge of the Imams are its fruits, and their believing Shi`a are its leaves. By Allah, when a believer gives birth, a leaf sprouts on it; and when a believers dies, a leaf falls from it." ( سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن قول الله: " كشجرة طيبة أصلها ثابت وفرعها في السماء " قال: فقال: رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله أصلها، وأمير المؤمنين عليه السلام فرعها، والائمة من ذريتهما أغصانها وعلم الائمة ثمرتها وشيعتهم المؤمنون ورقها، هل فيها فضل؟ قال: قلت: لا والله، قال: والله إن المؤمن ليولد فتورق ورقة فيها وإن المؤمن ليموت فتسقط ورقة منها. )
    This is an interesting exegesis, and it is crucial to understanding the Quran's analogy. Allah says that a good word is like a good tree. As we know, Jesus (as) was called a "word" (3:45), and in Shi`i exegesis, a word is a person, because Allah summons a person into existence by simply saying a word ("be!", kun faya koon). Allah then compares a goodly word to a goodly tree (shajaratin tayyiba), and this tree may indeed be the Blessed Tree ("shajarat tuba") described elsewhere in the Quran and hadith literature, as the previous verse is describing Paradise, and tuba and tayyiba come from the same root word. The Blessed Tree is one of the best rewards in Paradise, it is said to be in the house of `Ali b. Abi Talib ( دخلت الجنة رأيت في الجنة شجرة طوبى أصلها في دار علي عليه السلام ). After all, a Paradise (jannah) in Arabic is a garden with trees. Either way, the hadith above says that this tree is the Prophet, his Ahl al-Bayt, and their followers. Another hadith compares the Ahl al-Bayt to the trees of Paradise:
    Allah said to Moses regarding the Prophet (s), "You are from his Nation if you recognize His status and the status of his Ahl al-Bayt. His example and the example of his Ahl al-Bayt in the creation are like that of the trees in the Gardens of Paradise - their leaves do not shed, and their flavours do not change." ( يا موسى أنت من امته إذا عرفت منزلته ومنزلة أهل بيته ، إن مثله ومثل أهل بيته فيمن خلقت كمثل الفردوس في الجنان لا ينتشر ( 3 ) ورقها ولا يتغير طعمها )
    The trees in this example are evergreen tree with perpetually fresh fruit, because life in Paradise is everlasting, and taking from the Ahl al-Bayt's knowledge will result in eternal bliss.
    Just as there is a Blessed Tree in Paradise, there is a cursed tree in Hellfire.
    “Is Paradise a better accommodation, or the Tree of Zaqqum? Verily, we have made it a torment for the wrongdoers. Verily, it is a tree issuing from the bottom of Hell. Its emerging fruit is as if it was the heads of devils. And verily, they will eat from it and fill their bellies with it. Then verily, they will have after it a mixture of scalding water. Then verily, their return will be to Hell.” (37:62-68)
    An Umayyad man named Sa`d b. `Abd al-Malik used to visit Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a). The Imam used to call him "Sa`d the Good". Sa`d entered upon Imam al-Baqir [a], and Sa`d began weeping profusely. The Imam asked, "Why do you weep, Sa`d?" Sa`d said, "How can I not weep when I come from the lineage of the cursed tree of the Qur’an?" So Imam al-Baqir [a] said to him, "You are not from them. You are an Umayyad, but from us, the Ahl al-Bayt. Have you not heard the saying of Allah, speaking of Abraham? 'Whosoever follows me is from me.' (14:36)" ( دخل سعد بن عبد الملك وكان أبو جعفر عليه السلام يسميه سعد الخير وهو من ولد عبد العزيز بن مروان على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فبينا ينشج كما تنشج النساء (3) قال:
    فقال له أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ما يبكيك يا سعد؟ قال وكيف لا أبكي وأنا من الشجرة الملعونة في القرآن، فقال له: لست منهم أنت أموي منا أهل البيت أما سمعت قول الله عز وجل يحكي عن إبراهيم: " فمن تبعني فإنه مني )
    This Tree of Zaqqum has fruits that look like the heads of devils. Perhaps this is because the devils, both human and jinn, are the offspring (fruit) of evil. In this hadith, the oppressors from the Umayyads are described as the flesh-and-blood Tree of Zaqqum. They are the family that is juxtaposed to the Ahl al-Bayt in heaven.
    The Messenger of Allah (s) would kiss Lady Fatima [a] frequently; and he said, "When I was taken up to heaven, I entered Paradise, and Gabriel brought me close to the Blessed Tree (Tuba). He gave me a fruit from it and I ate it. Then, Allah turned it into water in my loins. So when I descended to the Earth and went to Khadija, she became pregnant with Fatima. Whenever I long for Paradise, I kiss her, and I never kiss her without finding the fragrance of the Blessed Tree upon her, for she is [both] a human and a dark-eyed heavenly maiden." ( وعنه قال: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يكثر تقبيل فاطمة عليها السلام، فأنكرت ذلك عايشة، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: يا عايشة اني لما اسرى بي إلى السماء دخلت الجنة فأدناني جبرئيل من شجرة طوبى، وناولني من ثمارها فأكلته، فحول الله ذلك ماء في ظهري فلما هبطت إلى الأرض واقعت خديجة فحملت بفاطمة، وكلما اشتقت إلى الجنة قبلتها وما قبلتها قط الا وجدت رائحة شجرة طوبى فهي حوراء انسية )
    If the Blessed Tree is truly the Ahl al-Bayt, then it would make sense that Lady Fatima would also come from that tree.
    Imam `Ali [a] said, "The tree whose trunk is soft has thick branches." (وقال عليه السلام : مَنْ لاَنَ عُودُهُ كَثُفَتْ أَغْصَانُهُ.)
    The person who is haughty and ill-tempered can never succeed in making his surroundings pleasant. His acquaintances will feel wretched and sick of him. But if a person is good-tempered and sweet-tongued people will like to get close to him and befriend him. At the time of need they will prove to be his helpers and supporters whereby he can make his life a success.
    Imam `Ali (a) said, "Prayer sheds sins like the shedding of leaves off trees" (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 109)
    Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) said, "When a believer meets the believer and shakes hands, Allah looks to them, and sins fall from their faces like leaves fall from trees." ( إن المؤمن ليلقى المؤمن فيصافحه، فلا يزال الله ينظر إليهما والذنوب تتحات عن وجوههما كما يتحات الورق من الشجر )
    A man asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) about the verse, "They made for him (Solomon) what he willed: synagogues and statues, basins like wells ..." (34:13) The Imam replied, "These were not statues of men or women, but rather, they were statues of trees and their like." ( قلت لأبي جعفر (عليه السلام): "يعملون له ما يشاء - من محاريب و تماثيل و جفان كالجواب" قال: ما هي تماثيل الرجال و النساء و لكنها تماثيل الشجر و شبهه )
    Statues are normally ornaments that are shaped like people. In this exegesis, the statues of Solomon were in the form of trees instead, as though trees can take the place of people.
    Allah said to Jesus [a], "O Jesus! How numerous are the humans, yet how few in number are the patient. The trees are many, but the good ones are few, so do not be deceived by the beauty of the tree until you have tasted its fruit." (يا عيسى ما أكثر البشر وأقل عدد من صبر، الاشجار كثيرة وطيبها قليل، فلا يغرنك حسن شجرة حتى تذوق ثمرها.)
    This direct comparison between trees and people is one that can also be found in the New Testament, where Jesus allegedly says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20) The fruits in this example are the actions of individuals, which are a better indicator to a person's inner nature than his appearance.
    Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) said, regarding His saying: “So man should look to his food” (80:24). "[He should look] to his knowledge which he takes and whom he takes it from." ( عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام في قوله تعالى " فلينظر الانسان إلى طعامه " قال: إلى علمه الذي يأخذه عمن يأخذه )
    This is very pertinent. Just as a person may consume the fruit of a tree, people are also consumers of knowledge. This hadith is a warning to the believers to take their knowledge from the correct source. Taking knowledge from the immaculate luminaries (a) will give them everlasting life in Paradise.
    Jesus [a] said, "Wisdom is established with humility, not with arrogance, just as plants grow in plain, soft ground but not on hard ground and rocks." ( قال عيسى عليه السلام: بالتواضع تعمر الحكمة لا بالتكبر، وكذلك في السهل ينبت الزرع لا في الجبل )
    Just as a tree can only grow on soft soil, the believer can only truly develop if humility is his foundation.
    Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, "The one you seek and have hopes for will verily rise from Mecca. And he will not rise from Mecca until he sees what he loves, even if it happens that parts of a tree eats [its other] parts." (ابن عقدة، عن حميد بن زياد، عن الحسن بن محمد الحضرمي عن جعفر بن محمد(ع)، وعن يونس بن يعقوب، عن سالم المكي، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة أن الذي تطلبون وترجون إنما يخرج من مكة وما يخرج من مكة حتى يرى الذي يحب ولو صار أن يأكل الاعضاء أعضاء الشجرة . )
    This narration is describing the rise of the Mahdi, who would come during a great schism between the ruling family of the Middle East. Perhaps this tree eating itself is a description of the infighting between the rulers of that time, which would indeed be pleasing to the Mahdi.
    There are many other examples that can be applied, from the story of Adam, to the mi`raj, to other stories involving trees in the Quran. Something to keep in mind is that the Ahl al-Bayt do not speak aimlessly - their examples are full of wisdom, and their examples are full of meaning. If one devotes himself or herself to more than a cursory reading of the scriptures, one will better understand the meaning of these symbols and find intricate connections between these examples.
    May Allah give us the Blessed Tree in Paradise in the Hereafter.

  5. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Friends of the Mahdi   
    A man said to Imam as-Sadiq [a], "May I be your sacrifice! By Allah, I love you and love whoever loves you. O my master; how numerous your Shi`a are!"

    The Imam replied, “Would you please mention them?”

    The man said, “They are too many.”

    The Imam replied, “Could you count them?”

    The man said, “They are too many to count.”

    Imam as-Sadiq [a] said, “If the number [of true Shi`a] reaches a little more than three hundred, then what you desire (i.e. divine government) will happen. Our Shi`a are those whose voices do not pass beyond their ears, nor does their zeal go beyond their body, nor do they praise us openly, nor do they quarrel with anyone because of us, nor do they sit with anyone who criticizes us, nor do they talk to anyone who abuses us, nor do they love anyone who hates us, nor do they hate anyone who loves us."

    The man said, “Then how do we deal with these different groups, who pretend that they are Shi`a?”

    The Imam replied, “They will be tried, purified and distinguished. Years come that will perish them, a sword that will kill them and disagreement that will scatter them. Our real Shia are those, who do not growl like a dog, do not covet like a crow, and do not ask people for alms even if they die of hunger.”

    The man asked, “May I be your sacrifice! Where can I find such a kind of people?”

    The Imam replied, “You can find them in the far sides of the world. They are those, whose lives are so simple, whose abodes move from place to another, who, if they are seen they, will not be known, if they are absent, they will not be missed, if they become ill, they will not be visited, if they propose to a woman, they will not be married, and if they die, their funerals will not be attended. It is they, who divide their wealth among them, who visit each others' graves, and who never disagree even if their countries are different.” 
    حدثنا أبو سليمان أحمد بن هوذة الباهلي، قال: حدثنا أبو إسحاق إبراهيم بن إسحاق النهاوندي سنة ثلاث وسبعين ومائتين ((5))، قال: حدثنا عبد الله بن حماد الأنصاري سنة تسع وعشرين ومائتين، عن رجل، عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام) أنه دخل عليه بعض أصحابه، فقال له:
    " جعلت فداك، إني والله أحبك وأحب من يحبك، يا سيدي ما أكثر شيعتكم.
    فقال له: أذكرهم.
    فقال: كثير.
    فقال: تحصيهم؟
    فقال: هم أكثر من ذلك.
    فقال أبو عبد الله (عليه السلام): أما لو كملت العدة الموصوفة ثلاثمائة وبضعة عشر كان الذي تريدون، ولكن شيعتنا من لا يعدو صوته سمعه، ولا شحناؤه بدنه، ولا يمدح بنا معلنا، ولا يخاصم بنا قاليا ((1))، ولا يجالس لنا عائبا، ولا يحدث لنا ثالبا، ولا يحب لنا مبغضا، ولا يبغض لنا محبا.
    فقلت: فكيف أصنع بهذه الشيعة المختلفة الذين يقولون إنهم يتشيعون؟
    فقال: فيهم التمييز، وفيهم التمحيص، وفيهم التبديل، يأتي عليهم سنون تفنيهم، وسيف يقتلهم، واختلاف يبددهم.
    إنما شيعتنا من لا يهر هرير الكلب، ولا يطمع طمع الغراب، ولا يسأل الناس بكفه وإن مات جوعا.
    قلت: جعلت فداك، فأين أطلب هؤلاء الموصوفين بهذه الصفة؟
    فقال: اطلبهم في أطراف الأرض أولئك الخفيض عيشهم، المنتقلة دارهم، الذين إن شهدوا لم يعرفوا، وإن غابوا لم يفتقدوا، وإن مرضوا لم يعادوا، وإن خطبوا لم يزوجوا، وإن ماتوا لم يشهدوا، أولئك الذين في أموالهم يتواسون، وفي قبورهم يتزاورون، ولا تختلف أهواؤهم وإن اختلفت بهم البلدان "
     
    There is a reason why Shaykh an-Nu`mani put this hadith near the beginning of his Kitab al-Ghayba. The narration is rich in eschatological content. At the beginning, a distinction is made between those who simply love Ahl al-Bayt (most of us), and the true Shi`a of Ahl al-Bayt. Lovers may be loyal students and devotees, but their faith is not at the level of full yaqeen. The Imam then says that if 300+ of such people were to come up, then this affair (the rise of the Mahdi) would occur. There are similar narrations to this, where Imam as-Sadiq says that if he even had 17 true Shi`a, or 6, he would go out and seek the Caliphate. The true Shi`a are not simply those who pray and fast, but rather they have a special relationship with the Imam. So special, that he is their rolemodel, and they begin to take on his characteristics.
    So the Imam describes these people: they are in taqiyya, they avoid those who hate the Imams, they will survive all the fitnas and fires of the End times which will only refine their faith, they are rejected and despised by society, they live simply, and they support one and love one another even if their ethnic backgrounds are different. Sound familiar? This is how the Imams were, especially the Qa'im, as well as their truest Shi`a: they hid the divine secrets from the ignorant persecutors, they were the masters of tawalla and tabarra', they held their faith close during the tests, and it often cost them their lives. But they didn't care about the tribe, nationality, or race of their true friends. These are some of the highest spiritual prescriptions in Islam, and they are the keys to making the five pillars great. The Prophet said that each of these people would have the reward of 50 companions due to the patience they must endure (سيأتي قوم من بعدكم الرجل الواحد منهم له أجر خمسين منكم.). He described the believer at the End Times to be like a man holding two burning pieces of coal ( يأتي على الناس زمان الصابر منهم على دينه كالقابض على الجمر ). Imam ar-Rida compared them to gold, who are refined in the furnace of affliction (يفتنون كما يفتن الذهب، ثم قال: يخلصون كما يخلص الذهب.) also see Isaiah 48:10.
    The true Shi`a of Husayn (as), whom we honour and bless alongside Husayn, were not those who remained in the Hijaz to do Hajj, or those in Kufa who were keeping up their prayers. They were those who lived his life and died his death. Likewise, this narration from Kitab al-Ghayba is about the true believers who will live the life of the Hidden Imam. They are patiently waiting, dissimulating, their hearts hurt for the sin around them, they are hunted, and unrecognized. They themselves are hidden in a way, because they are avoiding the fitna, and their righteousness garners the marginalization of the people at large. Even someone as prominent as Sayyid Sistani lives a simple, distant, devoted life, and despite his prominence, will never be "popular" in the way celebrities are. Likewise, the best people you've met are probably those who do not advertise their humility and their deeds, and actually do their best to conceal it. However, these people are not alone. They are the supporters of one another, they visit one another, they marry one another, they know and recognize one another. These people share an intimate relationship with their Imam, one that will always be far beyond that of an ordinary worshiper and lover.
     
    Imam `Ali [a] said, "You will be fraught with a dark, gloomy, blinding schism – none will be delivered from it except the numa."
    He was then asked, "O Abu’l Hasan, and what is the numa?"
    The Imam replied, "The one whose self is not recognizable to the people."
    عنه، عن أبي حاتم (3)، عن محمد بن يزيد الآدمي (4) - بغدادي عابد - قال: حدثنا يحيى بن سليم الطائفي (5)، عن متيل بن عباد (6) قال: سمعت أبا الطفيل يقول: سمعت علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام يقول: أظلتكم فتنة (مظلمة) (7) عمياء منكشفة (8) لا ينجو منها إلا النومة. قيل: يا أبا الحسن وما النومة ؟. قال: الذي لا يعرف الناس ما في نفسه (9).

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    enigma313 reacted to Abu Hadi for a blog entry, Going Astray, Part 1   
    بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ1:1
    يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ 
    "Oh Mankind, what has distracted you from your Lord, The Generous"
    Holy Quran 82:6
     
    Noone starts out life with the intention of being a criminal. I have never met a little boy who told me 'I want to grow up to be a drug dealer'. I have never met a little girl who told me 'I want to grow up to be a prostitute'. Noone starts out life with the intention of being an anti social person, or someone with no religion or connection to Allah(s.w.a). It is something that begins as a small things and progresses in stages. 
    Evil is described most often in the Quran as a 'disease in the hearts'. This is not talking about the physical heart, but the 'qalb' or spiritual heart. The physical heart pumps blood to every cell in our body, and with the blood, the oxygen, food, and nutrients our cells need in order to keep on living. The spiritual heart also provides our spirit with the food it needs in order for our spirit, our nafs to sustain itself. When there is a disease in this spiritual heart, it is no longer able to provide us with what we need in order to sustain our spirit, and our spirit undergoes a slow and agonizing death before the death of the body. This is why, many times in our life, we come across individuals who are nothing but a hollow shell, simply living to fulfill their lower, animal desires with no 'spark' in their eyes. How did they get like that ? Were they born that way ? Obviously not. We should take a lesson from this. 
    While it is true that life in this world provides many opportunities for us to grow spiritually and for us to strengthen our connection with Allah(s.w.a), this life is also a minefield. It is full of flowers and springs that hide underneath them or besides them a deadly trap. If we step on that mine or fall into that trap, it could destroy or sabotage all the good deeds we have done and all the effort we have put into our journey toward our Creator(s.w.a). None of us are immune from this, since we all live in the world and are subject to it's rules and conditions. 
    If you look at Islam compared to other religions, it is a complete religion. While there are other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and others which have very beautiful and wonderful spiritual teachings, homilies, sound advice, and wisdom, these religions are not complete (in their modern forms) because they lack the basic ingredients needed to preserve the spiritual gains that they make thru worship and other righteous acts. These religions, when they are practiced, are like a house in which there is piles of gold, but the doors are left unlocked so that thieves could go in at night and take whatever they want. So the followers of these religions think that they are rich because of all the gold that they have, but when they go and inspect their house (usually after their death) they find there is nothing left inside to benefit them. 
    Once upon a time…a man heard the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) say that for each time a person recites Subhan’Allah, Allah plants for him a tree in paradise. The man stood up and said if this were the case, then there must be many trees for us in paradise. Upon which the Prophet replied, “Yes, but you must be careful that you do not set fire from here and burn them all down.” (Iddat ad-Dai).
    So Islam, in contrast for other religions, has a way for us to preserve our spiritual gains and rewards. That is the Shariat. The laws which were made incumbent upon us by Allah(s.w.a). The halal, wajib, and the haram. This is also called the Taslim (where the word Islam comes from) or obedience to Allah(s.w.a) by doing what He(s.w.a) loves us to do and refraining from what He(s.w.a) hates us to do. This is the shield that blocks the arrows, and the armour that protects us from the landmines, and the light which helps us to see where the traps are laid for us. 
    اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ 
    Convey whatever of The Book has been revealed unto thee,  and be constant in prayer: for, behold, prayer restrains [man] from indecency and from all that runs counter to reason; and remembrance of God is indeed the greatest [good]. And God knows all that you do.
    Holy Quran 29:45 
    Notice in the above ayat of the Quran the word 'Salat'. The word Salat has a specific meaning in Islam. It is the prayer that is prescribed for us, as muslims, i.e. The Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha, and the Friday Prayer (Salat Jumaat). The wajib prayers, i.e. the ones that muslims pray, keeps off from the person indecency and loathsome deeds. Prayers has a general meaning in Islam, 'du'a' and a specific meaning 'Salat'.
    But at the same time only following part of the wajib, haram, and halal and not the other parts will not protect us. We must fulfill ALL our duties to Allah(s.w.a), those that are required of us, in order to preserve our nafs against the spiritual diseases and traps. InShahAllah, in the next entries, I will go into more detail about this subject. 
     
     
  7. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Islam and Feminism   
    Lady Khadija, Lady Fatima, and Lady Zaynab are exemplary models of Islamic femininity. Their virtue, intelligence, patience, and strength is celebrated in Muslim civilization, alongside other reputable women. These women stood up to the sociopolitical injustices of their time, making their permanent mark in history. Without these paragons, the religion of Islam falls apart. Throughout the Quran, God explicitly addresses both men and women, because they are both necessary in the establishment of good societies and families. The Prophet elevated the status of women, from being buried alive beneath the Earth, to having Paradise beneath their feet.
    But today, we live in a time where it is almost easier to say that you are a cannibal than to say that you are not a feminist. People look at you as though you are in favour of rapists, sexual assault, inequity, and bad behaviour to women. The truth is that we live in a very individualistic society, where competing individuals are pitted against each other in all aspects of life. There are constant clashes between economic classes, races, religions, sects, and now, even genders. As individuals, we stand largely on our own, with little communal or neighbourly support. Instead of viewing society in a familial, tribal, or communal lens, we view society as a collection of selves in constant competition for jobs, grades, wealth, reputation, and territory. As Muslims, it is true that we have individual responsibilities, but we are also commanded to be selfless - not greedy, stingy, territorial, or combative - and genuinely look for the collective interests of our communities.
    Faith in God, Trust in God
    A Muslim is one who has become convinced, through reason and intuition, that there is no god except the One Creator, Sustainer, and Nurturer of the cosmos. We then accept the prophethood of the final Messenger (s) due to his inimitable character and revelation. After we have established the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet as our ethical foundation, we are to follow the moral guidelines and principles that they espouse. It is our belief as Muslims that Muhammad (s) was the last prophet and messenger, and that the system that he brought would be one that would be in our best interests in every era and every place. Our God, in His boundless compassion and mercy, wants us to live out the most fulfilled, natural, and productive life, so that we may achieve the best of this world and the next. Islam recognizes that men and women are different, but equal, and so different instructions and obligations have been given to each gender for our own best interest. God has also warned us of what happens to communities that transgress these natural balances - dogmatism, nihilism, and eventually destruction.
    Feminism vs Women's Rights
    Feminism is much like the Marxist dialectic, except the proletarian class is replaced with women, and the bourgeoisie is replaced with men. Feminists advocate for women's rights, but its underlying theory is that men have collectively oppressed women by monopolizing all forms of power: political, economic, cultural religious, physical, and sexual. Its goal, therefore, is to destroy the patriarchy - which it says has been built to keep women down - and redistribute the power. Historically, feminism addressed some serious issues: suffrage (women's right to vote), economic independence, and generalizations against women. There is no doubt that some aspects of pre-modern society and developing countries have been very oppressive towards women in particular, including violence and economic oppression.
    There is, however, such a thing as being an advocate for women's rights without being a feminist. All of the prophets uplifted and defended the rights of females, but they were also proponents of a patriarchal system. Islam advocated for the right of women to own property, take leading roles in commerce, choose their husbands, and take part in politics. Societies still addressed domestic violence, and chivalry instated the respect of women, the removal of their burdens, and holding them in protection and honour. Women were even exempted from religious and economic responsibilities to make their lives easier. In reality, a good man wants the best for his mother, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. Similarly, a good woman wants the best for her father, her husband, her brother and her son. These "patriarchal" civilizations consisted mostly of women who would reinforce these values in their sons and daughters. It's inconceivable that a worldwide system would collectively dupe and oppress all women for thousands of years.
    But the underlying premise of feminism is that the two genders are at war with one another, and the only way to stop that is to destroy the patriarchal power structure. This simplistic worldview sees all aspects of patriarchy - including Abrahamic religions - to be oppressive and designed to put women down. It generalizes all men, it ignores any good that came out of traditional communities, and it puts the world on a dangerous course. The gender war basically pits the two genders against one another, perpetuates misconceptions about men ("mansplaining", "manspreading", "toxic masculinity", unhinged objectification) while ignoring men's issues (graduation, suicide, poverty, drug addiction, gang violence, work-related injuries, conflict, imprisonment, unfair divorce settlements and custody cases). The movement presupposes that men are privileged just by being men, and then ignores the many ways that men suffer.
    Feminism is Changing
    This is not an argument for weak women, there is no women in my mind stronger than Fatima, Zaynab, Umm al-Baneen, Sakeena, Ruqayya, Khadija, Asiya, and Maryam. They all displayed strength in their life and were often killed or imprisoned for their strength. I do not believe that all women must be submissive, gentle, meek, or put up with male abuse. Pre-modern societies had their misogyny: preventing women from owning property (how is that any different from Fadak?), forcing women into marriages, having women pay dowries, and having women put up with brutally violent husbands - all of this is haram and reprehensible.
    However, supporting third-wave feminist ideology is different from supporting women's rights. As Muslims, we should be against an ideology that preaches Free Love, which is promoted by some of feminism's pioneers ( such as Mary Nichols), and promoted by popular modern feminists like Gloria Steinem. We should be against the idea that marriage and the patriarchy are a plot to keep women down, which is the position of Wollstonecraft. We should be against a feminism that shames stay-at-home mothers as uneducated and brainwashed. We should be against the simplistic idea that males are privileged just for being male, which leads to policies and customs that ignore the issues of our young men and boys. We should be against a raunchy feminism that would like to normalize female sexuality (the Vag.ina Monologues, #freethenipple campaign, slu.twalk, Femen) and legalize prostitution (Margo St. James, Norma Jean Almodovar, Kamala Kempadoo, Laura Maria Agustin, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Leigh, Carol Queen, Audacia Ray). We should be against a feminism that enshrines discredited narrative over fact (the wage gap, rape culture) and silenced those that disagree with it. We should be against an ideology that promotes the legalization of late-term abortion. We should be against queer-focused, anti-nuclear family feminists that have sway over the LGBT and Black Lives Matter movements. We should be against a feminism that denies any biological, anatomical or psychological basis for gender, and promotes gender-fluidity, non-binary and nongendered identities, genderless bathrooms, and cross-dressing. We should be against any ideology that promotes censorship on campus or among academics; including the idea of a safe-space. We should be against an ideology that attacks the hijab and separates harassment from clothing (a clear contradiction of 33:59 in the Quran). As someone who works with young people, I can say that all of these ideas are very influential among millennials, including young Muslims.
    Freedom to Work, or Freedom from Work?
    While feminist ideology has often run against capitalism and the free market, there is a strong aposteriori link between feminism and capitalism. It's an unintended unholy alliance: just as feminism encourages emancipation through economic independence, the free market will always want more consumers, more workers, more students paying tuition, longer hours of operation, more bank accounts (more revenue from interest), and more people relying on outside food. Most feminists today realize that there will not be a proletarian utopia, at least not any time soon, and so co-opting the current system is good enough for now. Many policies are being proposed and implemented to give women an edge in the business world. Today, women have a 2-1 advantage getting a STEM job (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) at an American college (Cornell 2015 study). A lot of this is because of the oft-repeated statistic that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The problem with this statistic however is that it does not take into account career choices, degrees, hours in the work place, men being more likely to ask for raises, and female CEOs less likely to give themselves a higher salary. When you account for these factors, the gender pay gap is only about 4 cents, and there is no way to verify if those 4 cents are because of gender discrimination or other reasons. Wages are different from earnings.
    Although feminist tropes can be good for upper-middle class white women, who want to escape the boredom of being a housewife or mother to work in bookstores, offices, and schools; it can be extremely detrimental to working-class women, who are now forced to work as maids and babysitters while raising their own children at the same time. Many women must support their children and their parents, often without the support of a man, whilst working overtime. All households in the future will definitely require two full-time incomes just to make ends meet. The problem, however, is that women no longer have the freedom not to work. They are basically forced to work to upkeep a home, because their husband's salary is now likely worth significantly less than it used to be. They will no longer have the option to stay home and raise their kids: nursing them, teaching them, and safeguarding them. Now, they must rely on babysitters, the television, the internet, coaches, and out-of-touch retired relatives. Leaving children unattended also gives predators and abusers more chances to get to these children. In general, naturally, a mother has the best interest for her children. When she is removed from the picture, many children grow up unloved, abused, suffering from mental health issues, behind in school and filled with the media's filth.
    I can understand the reasons for female economic independence, but it comes with several costs: delaying marriage, raising one's chance of fornication and casual relationships, and having less family time during marriage. Especially today, economic independence is taking much longer to achieve, because more people are attaining university degrees. As Muslims, we must brainstorm as a community and find a more Islamic middle ground and moderate path.
    Islam is not against working women whatsoever. Lady Khadija was a rich businesswoman, and the Prophet was her employee. A woman can do whatever she wants with her own money, while a man is obligated to spend his money on his family. In our fiqh, a wife can even demand to be paid by her husband for any housework or childrearing that she does. Many women in the history of Islam were known for their knowledge in the Islamic sciences and their personal virtues. But this all happened in "patriarchal societies".
    Children
    You cannot rely on the education system to teach your children ethics or practical life skills. On the contrary, you may even have to reverse some of the negative affects that public schooling can have a child. How much energy can realistically you give to them when you are working and under stress, on top of other responsibilities? There must be a middle way: take the first few years off, then work part-time (or go to school) until they hit adolescence. In our religion, a woman can also demand a wage for household responsibilities, demand a dower of her choice, and demand a maid for cleaning or nursing. These tools need to be revitalized for the modern age, even if it means that men work longer hours and families live within humble means.
    As a child, I was able to do extra reading and math, French, Arabic, Islamic classes, Quran, sports, and eat only home-cooked meals, all because my mother took those years off. Most of all, she gave me the love, attention, and energy I needed as a child, without relying much on babysitters. She was able to become a teacher, memorize the Quran, volunteer at my school, exercise, have a social life, and have time for my father. Any lifestyle we choose will require some sacrifices, it's about what you prioritize. As a highschool teacher, I learned a lot about the parent-child relationship and how it affects their school and social life.
    Feminism plays right into the hands of misogynists
    In feminist circles, marriage is constantly attacked as a patriarchal institution designed to oppress women. Stay-at-home mothers are mocked and seen as weak and brainwashed. This is completely irreconcilable with Islam, which promotes marriage and motherhood as means to reaching God and a balanced, fulfilled life. Instead, free love is pushed for both genders, and a strong effort is being made to take all shame away from all forms of sexual deviation. Advising our sisters is now considered "sl.ut-shaming". But free love is incredibly oppressive towards women. Men can now have as many sexual partners as they want, without their parents' permission or knowledge, without being responsible for children, for food and shelter, or for other marital responsibilities. If sex is freely available, then men can do this indefinitely, without getting married, and they will become more adept at this with age, which is usually coupled with economic stability and maturity.
    Furthermore, with feminists pushing to legalize "sex work" (prostitution), they believe that they are trying to free sex workers from the patriarchal law enforcement. But does this really help women? Paving the way towards legalizing prostitution means that cheating will be accessible to more men. More men will just rely on the sex industry, and less men will need to commit to a woman through marriage. With free love and immodest clothing and behaviour, women open themselves to the objectification of players, without those men paying any consequences. God created women to be the most sentient and empathetic of beings, and there is no doubt that being used, abused, and heartbroken repeatedly inflicts permanent scars. With more men checking out of marriage than ever before, and a 50% divorce rate in some parts of the world, it is not a mystery that older ladies with many past partners - and even children - will not be able to find the most desirable spouses. Islam recognizes the power of sexuality, which can either build or destroy communities. A woman is most fulfilled with a strong, stable man by her side - this is conventional wisdom in every culture - and so Islam recommends early marriage. But instead, feminism encourages women to get a full education and climb the corporate ladder, only to find that there is a lack of suitable male partners that can stimulate their intellect. With drug abuse, suicide, war, homelessness, and other crises that affect men in particular, there is always a natural imbalance in society. God hates bachelorhood and divorce, because they destroy the family, which is the basic unit of society. Men potentially lose most of their assets in a divorce, and often lose custody of their children, which causes more men to just keep a girlfriend.
    Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it is the oldest oppression. Sex in Islam is enshrined in the protection of women, while free love victimizes women in many different ways. it is true that 1980s Second Wave Feminists were against prostitution and pornography, because they objectified women. But feminism today is changing, and its campaigns play right into the hands of perverted men.
    Feminism is Anti-Scientific
    Feminism ignores tons of conventional wisdom, science, psychology, and evolutionary biology. One of the faults of feminism is that it assumes that all feminine and masculine traits are socially constructed. Meaning, any characteristic of a gender is a product of culture and society, rather than nature. This flies in the face of everything we know about gender through biology, psychology, chemistry, and anthropology. The reality is that we are hardwired with certain traits, which allowed the human race to survive and thrive for thousands of years. Human nature does not change overnight due to an ideology. Political correctness and gender politics is silencing the academic process ("trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are the most unacademic and unintellectual concepts in modern universities). The reality is that male and female brains are different. Men and women excel in different subjects and they tend to [refer different careers. Male domination of the STEM fields or physical labour is seen as a sexist social construct by feminists, rather than just respecting the different skills men and women have. Males and females compliment one another; they are not supposed to be exact copies of one another. In today's sanitized politically-correct culture, we can no longer highlight these differences without being silenced or shamed.
    The question we are brainstorming is: is gender a social construction and a function, or is it biologically/neurologically/chemically/anatomically/psychologically rooted? Most reasonable people would say that it is both. Even the LGBT movement, which argues that people can be born with a male or female brain, would therefore agree that there is such a thing as a male or female brain, or a male and female anatomical appearance ("lipstick feminism"). So we must ask ourselves, do these differences have social consequences? Are we attracted to the same things in the other gender? Is motherhood and fatherhood exactly the same - and if they are different, what are the consequences or growing up without a mother or a father in a divorced or gay household? Why have almost all cultures used the exact same division of labour for generations? My view is, in answering these questions, we will conclude that men and women should have the same rights, but that their behaviour and affect in society will generally differ. And this is a good thing - it brings balance to the system. Men and women need one another to live a fulfilled life.
    Not to mention the current LGBTQ trend (i.e. gender politics), which are a spin-off of identity politics. I can now identify as a 6'10" grade 1 lesbian Chinese female fox without being challenged in most academic or work settings. We can debate the roles or stereotypes of men or women, but if we are silenced from questioning basic identifiable realities, then what does that say about our ability to answer the real questions?
    Addressing Women's Issues
    I firmly believe that the issues of domestic violence, forced marriages, and unfair treatment of women needs to be openly addressed in our community. Domestic violence is a symptom of a diseased heart. It destroys families, and it cannot be taboo in our communities to openly challenge its reality. The caveat, however, is that we must address these issues in a way that does not give credence to movements that are set on destroying our civilization as well. As Muslims, we should rise above the domestic power dynamic and learn how to be compassionate, merciful, and loving. God created marriage as a sign so that we may know Him. But we can reproach these serious issues without compromising our futures.
    ---
    Extended readings:
    Allah's Hijab: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/blogs/entry/65-allahs-hijab/
    Feminism and Islamic Epistemology: http://almadinainstitute.org/blog/feminism-recalibrating-faith-according-to-an-islamic-epistemic/
    Feminist outrage: http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/17/the-hypocrisy-of-feminist-outrage/
    The Gender Pay-Gap Myth: http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-the-gender-pay-gap-is-just-a-myth-2011-3?op=1
    The Decline of "Marriageable" Men: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/308654/
    Women who have more sexual partners have unhappier marriages down the road: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/21/more-sexual-partners-unhappy-marriage_n_5698440.html
    Violence against men: http://www.sciencevsfeminism.com/the-myth-of-oppression/violence-by-women/a-historical-review/
    Same-Sex Science: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/02/same-sex-science
    Same-Sex Attraction: http://muslimmatters.org/2016/08/22/from-a-same-sex-attracted-muslim-between-denial-of-reality-and-distortion-of-religion/
    Marriage will never be a Feminist Choice: http://www.xojane.com/issues/unpopular-opinion-marriage-will-never-be-a-feminist-choice
    Is feminism destroying the institution of marriage? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11824814/Is-feminism-destroying-the-institution-of-marriage.html
    Egyptian women number 1 beaters of husbands: UN study http://tribune.com.pk/story/1158555/egyptian-women-number-one-beating-husbands-shows-un-study/
    More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence
    Ashura march for LGBT victims: http://i.imgur.com/otAHWTD.jpg
    MSA Gay Pride Month: http://i.imgur.com/eACrFns.jpg
    University of Toronto professor attacked for refusing to use "genderless pronouns": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4R0bWC41g4
    Why as Muslims we cannot support Noor Taghouri: https://themuslimvibe.com/muslim-current-affairs-news/why-as-muslims-we-cant-support-noor-tagouris-decision-to-feature-in-playboy
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  8. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Reza for a blog entry, For Those Facing Bullies...   
    Salaam:
    If you've ever suffered from bullying, you know how traumatic it can be. The stress, the anxiety, the intimidation throughout the painful encounter. Not to mention the anticipation for the next one. Never a moment to take off the chain of fear, unless you are lucky to preoccupy yourself or have supportive friends. 
    I've been fortunate to not experience severe bullying myself, although I've had occasional small incidents here and there. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen for everyone. At times, the presence of bullies are unavoidable, and you have little control over the matter. If someone bullies you primarily because of your name, your faith, your background, your physical appearance, your family, or something so intrinsic to you, then there is little you could have done to prevent their allure to you. So don't be hung up about it. The fault is 100% theirs, and nothing to do with you whatsoever. Unless you believe your very existence puts you at fault. But you are a proud and self-assured person, and such thoughts do not cross you! 
    On the flip side, bullies can be attracted to you by things you can control. In this instance, you can take better steps to prevent their attraction to you. Don't involve yourself in compromising situations. Be knowledgeable. Learn self sufficiency. Keep your faith and dignity. Focus on your outside work and do not expose your personal vulnerabilities carelessly. Find means of support and others to "back you up". Don't give them material to poke fun at you at. Don't make yourself stick out in embarrassing or unnecessary ways. Mosquitoes need blood to feed. Don't make it easy for them. 
    If you are knee deep in a long standing bullying relationship, your willingness or unwillingness to be a victim is completely within your control. Letting it affect you is within your control. The cycle of bullying requires both parties to maintain the cycle. The bully targets the victim, the victim enables the bully further through their weakness, and the cycle continues. You have control to slow or halt this cycle, and the bully can't do anything about it!
    If anyone can relate to this, I hope this has been helpful for you. Stay tuned, I will write another blog post specifically about cyberbullying and internet psychology. 
  9. Like
    enigma313 reacted to repenter-gone4awhile for a blog entry, Week 2 - Supersets from hell   
    So week 1 finished. Eating all this food was quite the joy. And also painful at times. I will continue to eat as i have, with some variations, changing steak with chicken, fish with shrimp etc. For week 2 i will switch up the workouts a little.

    Results from Week 1:
    Body info:
    Weight: 91kg
    Lifts Max:
    Bench: 127kg Deadlift: 185kg Squat: still 150kg Increased strength all over, specially back and shoulders seem to be a lot stronger. I will try to focus more on legs this week by killing them with supersets and partials.


    Changes for Week 2
    Mondays will now include legs as well which looks something like this:

    Superset 1: Squats + Leg Press > 4 sets of 8/8/6/6 reps
    Superset 2: Leg Extensions + Walking lunges > 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps
    Superset 3: Romanian deadlift + Leg curls > 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps
    Calves: Calf raises > 4 sets to failure

    Goal: Squat 155kg by the end of 3rd week

     
  10. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Reza for a blog entry, For Those Who Are Spenders...   
    According to Zizek, we live in an era of "cultural capitalism".  We're not just terminal consumers of hollow products, rather we're consumers of the broader philosophies, ethos, lifestyles, and symbolisms attached to the products. Humanistic, cultural, or loftier ends are commonly invoked as an effect of the purchase. His example was Starbucks. You don't just buy a cup of coffee, but you buy into a "coffee ethics", where part of your money goes to help the coffee farmers and help starving children in poor countries. So one's "duty" to help the environment and humanity is included within a consumerist act, rather than being visibly separated from it. Perhaps this "redeems" people from being simple consumers only, and gives a feeling like they're doing something meaningful, albeit by holding a cup of coffee from a comfortable Starbucks armchair.
    Charity is valuable and better than nothing, but it's quite limiting. According to him (with reference to Oscar Wilde), the idea and goal should be to adjust society so that poverty itself is minimized to near impossibility. It's not enough to simply provide poor people with a few morsels to survive one more day, but keep the core of the exploitative system intact. If the situation that produced poverty in the first place is not addressed, then the stricken poor will continue to live miserable lives, no matter how much charity is thrown at them. A quote that I remember from Hélder Pessoa Câmara, a Brazilian Roman Catholic Archbishop:
    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist"
    The push today is to create "capitalism with a human face", one that makes it appear liberal, tolerant, and humanistic. In other words, a system that permits the unbridled profit, greed, and gross inequality of capitalism, but is "softened" for its victims by including compensatory measures like welfare and charity. An uncompromising "have your cake and eat it too" approach. To have the antidote included within the poison, so to speak.
    From an Islamic perspective, this would be missing the point. Institutions that oppress people have to be significantly reformed structurally and ideologically, such that they accommodate everyone with justice, mercy, and fairness. But the individual souls that make it up must also be reformed. It is against the spirit of God consciousness to have a brazen capitalist spirit, because that would be over-indulgence of the heart into matters of dunya. Not that being rich is a bad thing. But seeing wealth as an end, rather than a means, is against the spirit of our divine inspired natures. Simply shaving off some money from the top of the money bag into the hands of a few poor families is not sufficient, and not reflective of one's real responsibility. These measures simply alleviate some guilt or show off one's phony humanism. What is needed is a reconstructing of the soul, of faith and human purpose, as well as real social consciousness by committed believers of divine guidance, who are committed to simple lives, opposed to excesses, and whose hearts beat for the rights of mankind. Marxists and leftists, stubbornly insistent on a materialist-only worldview of life, fail to grasp the importance of these lofty, divine values. They decry inequality, but adjudicate it on no sound moral basis of God-given rights, or provide any meaningful guidance for the soul of man himself.
    Reform starts within the individual first, which will then impact our families, then our communities, then the world at large.
     
  11. Like
    enigma313 reacted to repenter-gone4awhile for a blog entry, Week 1   
    General Info: 
    Body info:
    Height: 182cm Weight: 90kg
    Lifts max:
    Bench: 125kg max Deadlift: 180kg max Squat: 150kg max
    Nutrition structure:
    7 am Breakfast
    Protein shake > 60g protein, 10g BCAA, 14g of Glutamine, 110kcal Rice porridge(300g) > 10g protein, 36g carbs, 264kcal 4 egg omlette > 28g protein, 22g fat, 310kcal
    9 am Snack
    1 Banana > 27g carbs, 125kcal walnuts(150g) > 28g protein, 5g carbs, 102g fat, 1050kcal
    11 am Lunch
    Tuna in oil(100g) > 25g protein, 4g fat, 130kcal Protein shake > 60g protein, 10g BCAA, 14g of Glutamine, 110kcal Fullcorn bread(200g) > 36g protein, 42g carbs, 19g fat, 516kcal
    1 pm Snack
    1 Banana > 27g carbs, 125kcal walnuts(150g) > 28g protein, 5g carbs, 102g fat, 1050kcal
    4 pm pre workout
    1 large steak(250g) > 56g protein, 263kcal Rice wild(150g) > 12g protein, 109g carbs, 516kcal Broccoli(200) > 6.4g protein, 5g carbs, 60kcal
    Post workout
    Protein shake > 60g protein, 10g BCAA, 14g of Glutamine, 110kcal 1 Banana > 27g carbs, 125kcal walnuts(150g) > 28g protein, 5g carbs, 102g fat, 1050kcal
    6pm dinner
    1 large steak(250g) > 56g protein, 263kcal Rice wild(150g) > 12g protein, 109g carbs, 516kcal Broccoli(200) > 6.4g protein, 5g carbs, 60kcal 8 pm Snack
    1 Banana > 27g carbs, 125kcal walnuts(150g) > 28g protein, 5g carbs, 102g fat, 1050kcal 11 pm Night meal
    Rice porridge(300g) > 10g protein, 36g carbs, 264kcal 4 egg omlette > 28g protein, 22g fat, 310kcal Glutamine 5g, Creatine 10g, Multivitamines, 2 spoons of omega 3 and 6 oils  Total Values:
    Protein: 531.4g
    Carbs: 470g
    Fat: 400g
    Calories: 6500kcal

    Workout Routine:
    Morning before breakfast:
    250 crunches
    250 legraises

    Weightlifting around 5pm
    Day 1: Chest and Biceps Day 2: Shoulders and Traps Day 3: Upper back and Triceps Day 4: Rest Day 5: Lower back and legs Day 6: Triceps and Biceps Day 7: Repeat day 1 Structure:
    6 exercises on each body part mentioned, all in super sets. Meaning when you are done with exercise 1 you immediately do exercise 2. Except Bench-press, dead-lift and squats which are done in normal sets as they are core movements and needs fulls strength and focus. 
    Buildup for each exercise is split pyramid with 4 sets of 12/10/8/6 reps. The lower the rep the heaver the weight gets. 

    Example - Benchpress
    Set 1: 110kg 12 reps
    60 seconds break
    Set 2: 115kg 10 reps
    60 seconds break
    Set 3: 120kg 8 reps
    60 seconds break
    Set 4: 125kg 6 reps

    Example superset Biceps:
    Dumbell curls + Zbar curl
    Set 1: 6 reps DC 6 reps Zbar
    60 seconds break
    Set 2: 5 reps DC 5 reps Zbar
    60 seconds break
    Set 3: 4 reps DC 4 reps Zbar
    60 seconds break
    Set 4: 3 reps DC 3 reps Zbar


      
  12. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Grading Hadiths: An Introduction   
    Biographical evaluation (`ilm ad-diraya, `ilm ar-rijal) exists both in Sunni and Shi`i branches, and it refers to the strengthening and weakening of individual narrators & transmitters, and chains of transmission (isnad, or plural: asaneed). The purpose of the system is to grade hadith reports based on the trustworthiness of its transmitters. To summarize the Sunni system, all companions of the Prophet (pbuh) - ie all of those who have been in his presence at some point in his life - are considered trustworthy (thiqa). These companions then narrated their traditions to their pupils, family members, and associates. They would then pass it down until they reached a compiler of hadiths, usually in oral form, but sometimes written.
    The Sunni system excels in its biographical documentation because it covers a vast amount of individuals, giving relevant data about many people. But the system does have its flaws:
    1) We don't consider all companions to be trustworthy; and we particularly distrust those who have directly oppressed the Prophet's family.
    2) The culture of memorizing, transmitting, and documenting hadiths did not receive widespread popularity until the 2nd century AH. Therefore, the careful preservation of these hadiths are in question. Sunni isnads tend to be long, transmitted orally over centuries.
    3) Strengthening (tawtheeq) is based mainly on scholarly opinion, with much disagreement.
    Shi`i hadiths take a different approach. The vast majority of Shi`i hadiths come from one of the twelve Imams. The Shi`a hold the belief of a golden chain, which is the chain from one of the Imams that goes through his forefathers back to the Prophet (pbuh). Through the hadith of thaqalayn, the Prophet established that the Qur'an and Ahl al-Bayt are what the Muslims must hold onto, and that the two are one in essence. The Ahl al-Bayt are (at least primarily) the 12 Imams + Fatima (as). In many hadiths, the Prophet aligned himself with `Ali and Fatima, saying the truth is with them, that whoever angers them angers the Prophet, that opposing them is hypocrisy and disbelief, etc. The tying of truth with `Ali, the Mahdi, etc. gives them high authoritative value. The Imams have said in many hadiths that all they say and do comes from the Prophet. Many times, they quoted the Prophet directly, and they have said that all quotations of the Prophet come from their golden chain to him. Likewise, as infallible guides, all that they say and do is from the Qur'an and Sunna, and therefore their words are taken as proof (hujja) for all religious matters.
    This means that the relation of hadiths in Shiism took place over a 300+ year period rather than just a 23 year period. Surely, the religion was completed and perfected by the end of the holy Prophet's lifetime. That same religion was relayed by the Imams. As hadith narration became popular in the second century AH, thousands of students studied under the 5th and 6th Imams. Together, al-Baqir and as-Sadiq narrated tens of thousands of hadiths on all topics - `aqeeda, fiqh, tafsir, history, eschatology, and more. The Imams gave their students the explicit instruction to write their words down, memorize their hadiths, and spread the knowledge to the people. Hence, the hadith collection process began in their lifetimes. The earliest available Shi`i notebook (usl) dates back to the time of the 4th Imam. By the occultation of the 12th Imam, over 300 of such usool existed. Unlike Sunni tradition, the hadiths were mostly not transmitted orally between the Prophet and a third century compiler. Rather, the hadiths came mainly from the Imams, and most of them were copied down during the time of the Imams. In some books, the chains of narrators are considerably shorter than in Sunni books. The time between the narration of the hadith and its compilation is also much smaller.
    As noted earlier, not all companions of the Prophet - or the Imams - are considered reliable. Their veracity and loyalty to Ahl al-Bayt must be proven. There are many ways that a hadith narrator is given tawtheeq:
    1. The Imams directly gave tawtheeq to some people.
    2. The Imams gave taraddi (expressing God's satisfaction) and tarahhum (asking God's mercy) to some people.
    3. Like in Sunni rijal, the scholars would give tawtheeq to people or weaken them, based on their biographical data, beliefs, actions, who they associate with, etc.
    4. The clients, messengers, and tax-collectors of the Imams were largely given tawtheeq.
    5. People can be given tawtheeq through other thiqa people.
    6. People can be given tawtheeq if they are relied upon by major trustworthy companions of the Imams (as`hab al-ijma`)
    And many other means.
    There are certain levels that a narrator can embody.
    1. A narrator can be considered thiqa. This means the narrator is trustworthy in what he narrates. Non-Shi`is can be considered thiqa, but this will be noted in the grading of the chain. A sahih chain is one where all the rijal are Imami Shi`a. A muwathaq chain is a chain that is all thiqa, but may include trustworthy Sunnis, Zaydis, Fat`his, Waqifis, etc.
    2. A narrator can be considered `aadil or faadil or mamdooh which means that he is a just and good person, but his explicit tawtheeq cannot be established. This makes a chain hasan in grading.
    3. A narrator can be considered dha`eef, which means he is weak. Either he is known for lying and bad character, or he is associated with the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (nawasib, or ghulat - Shi`i extremists), or both.
    4. A narrator can be considered majhool, which means we may know some biographical details about the person, but not enough to establish trustworthiness or lack thereof.
    There is a theory called as`hab al-ijma` that is used by a minority of scholars. The as`hab al-ijma` are a list of 18 companions of five of the Imams who are considered very trustworthy central figures of the sect. This method says: any hadith that is authentic up to one of these 18 can be accepted. Even if one of these 18 individuals narrate from someone without tawtheeq, the idea is that they would not relate a hadith unless it had value - as they were close, accepted, and tested supporters of the Imams. However, to be safe and cautious, many rijal scholars do not use this method.
    The hadiths parimarily came from the Imams during their time in Medina. Their Shi`i partisans were mainly Kufan visitors who would go to Medina, stay for a while, gather knowledge and bring it back to Kufa. As mentioned before, Kufa and Baghdad were an Islamic powerhouse during the second century AH, and most of what was written in the early period in both sects was in Iraq and Persia. That is where most Muslim scholars came from and most Islamic books were written. Thus, the tradition survives through this transmission. From Kufa, the hadiths also went to Qum when Ibrahim b. Hashim and others took their traditions there. There were thousands of Shi`as in Iraq during the time of the 6th Imam, and many hundreds of his companions were Kufan transmitters of hadiths.
    A hadith or concept that is narrated through multiple chains is mutawater (widely narrated). `Aqeeda must be established on mutawater traditions. Fiqh however can be established throug ahad (single-authority) traditions.
    There are some issues with rijal. We should recognize that it is still a man-made system and will have its faults. The main fault in Shi`i rijal is that there are too many majhool narrators, because the Ahl al-Bayt had thousands of students, and the status of many of them was not known to the scholars of rijal. Also, different scholars had different opinions on certain narrators. There are also some manuscript discrepancies in the works of some rijal scholars (most prominently, Ibn al-Ghada'iri's). Sometimes we don't have as many biographical details as we want. Rijal scholars largely lived after the people they had written about were dead. However, the system can weed out contradictions and strengthen established concepts. It is also an insurance that what we believe and practice was what the best of the Muslims believed and practiced.
    The gradings of narrators are usually extrapolated from the biographical information provided by major Shi`i classical scholars of rijal. These scholars include Najashi (~ d. 1058), whose gradings are usually preferred, Ibn al-Ghada'iri (11th century), Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 1067), and Kashhi (d. 951). It is recorded that Shaykh al-Kulayni, the compiler of al-Kafi, and Shaykh as-Saduq had their own books of rijal, but those book have not survived. Furthermore, some scholars have accepted all of the narrators who have been included in Tafsir al-Qummi and Kamil az-Ziyarat, under the belief that the authors of these works have only included reliable narrators. Later scholars who have contributed to the science include `Allamah al-Hilli (d. 14th century), `Allamah al-Majlisi (d. 17th century), Shaykh Bahbudi (d. 20th century), Sayyid Burujirdi (d. 20th century), al-Khoei (d. 20th century), Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari (d. 20th century) Shaykh Asif Muhsini, Shaykh ar-Radi, Shaykh as-Sanad, and many others.
    It should be noted that the authors of the Four Books - Kulayni, Saduq, and Tusi - took rijal seriously. They believed that their books were filtered enough to represent Twelver Shiism, even for lay use. Kulayni in particular viewed his work as sahih in content. Many attested to the works of these scholars and others. While some later scholars have weakened many narrations in the Four Books based on a strict adherence to classical rijal standards, this standard is seen by some scholars to be too stringent and unnecessary. Still, the study of rijal provides a wealth of information on our sources, and it remains a critical tool for scholars and seminarians.
    That is some [very] basic information on rijal in Shiism - inshaAllah it is helpful to some.
  13. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, A Guide to Sunni Trends   
    The Sunni Muslim world, as I see it, is divided up into the following social categories. Below are the major trends that run through this segment of the Umma.
    -
    Madhhabi Sunnis: Anyone belonging to the traditional Hanafi, Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools, including both conservative and nominal Muslims. Madhhabi Sunnis usually express their religion through devoted worship, spirituality, and traditional law-abidance. Many sub-movements fit in this category, including most Sufis, the mystical Barelvi movement, the Deobandi movement, and those who are simply culturally Muslim. Madhhabi Sunnis are usually suspicious of Salafi, Shia, and modernist ideas and traditions, but still advocate for Muslim unity; agreeing to disagree with competing trends. Some nominal Madhhabis are influenced by Salafi revivalism and conservatism. Sufis in particular are often politically quietist and pacifistic, and have a balanced but positive view of classical Islamic civilizations.
    Popular examples: Hamza Yusuf, Yahya Rhodus, Timothy Winters, Zaid Shakir, Umar Abd-Allah, Shabir Ally, Usama Canon, Suhaib Webb, Faraz Rabbani, Amjad Tarsin.
    Salafis: Those who try to pursue a literal interpretation of Sunni Islam based on its most established primary hadith sources. Salafis are suspicious of secondary sources, philosophy, mysticism, traditional Sunni schools, saint-reverence, forms of religious expressions that are not explicitly supported by "sahih" Sunni hadiths, and other sects and religions. Salafis usually express their religion through theological discourse, worship, strict adherence to early practices (including having a "Muslim appearance"), and clamping down on "innovations" in Islamic practice (i.e. anything in a hadith they consider "weak", or not found in their most literal interpretations). Salafis have three noticeable sub-movements: (1) the Wahabis, who follow the Najdi Saudi theologians; (2) apolitical non-Wahabi Salafis, who follow non-Najdi figures, are focused mostly on theology and law, and are critical of Saudi Arabia's royal family and state-sponsored scholars, and (3) Militant Salafis, who seek to revive the Caliphate, establish puritan Islamic states, resist Western imperialism, and punish deviant and nominal Muslims. Salafis are very critical of Sufis and Shias, and often push for the destruction of their relics.
    Popular examples: Bilal Philips, Abu Khadeejah, Yasir Qadhi, Abdur Raheem Green, Zakir Naik, Feiz Mohammed, Abu Musab Wajdi Akkari, Abu Isa Niamatullah.
    Liberal Reformists: This includes Quranists and other reformists, who have a modernist humanist worldview, and see many Islamic laws and practices as outdated or obsolete. Liberal Reformists are focused on social justice and ethical principles inspired by the Quran. They are skeptical of hadith literature, Islamic scholarship, mysticism, sectarianism, and some jurisprudence. Liberal Reformists are especially critical of traditional penalties (hudud), extremism, radicalization, and laws related to gender and sexuality. The Quran is viewed as a flexible, progressive document that mostly lacks the rigidity of Islamic laws.
    Popular examples: Mona Eltahawy, Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaz, Tarek Fatah, Amina Wadud, Asra Nomani, Michael Muhammad Knight, Khalid Abou El Fadl
    Muslim Brotherhood Types: They are often unaffiliated with the actual MB, but hold the same pragmatist and anti-imperialist sentiments. They are a middle-upper class educated movement that focuses on social conservatism, harmonizing modernism and traditionalism, international politics, and social justice. The MB types believe in family values, scientific/technological progress and development, and quasi-Marxist-Leninist domestic and international policies (big welfare governments and anti-Western imperialism). They are critical of Salafi puritanism, Sufi mysticism, and Shia Iran's encroachment of the Arab world. The MB types often admire the Turkish, Tunisian, and Malaysian Islamic models, which are pluralistic yet respect Islamic tradition. They are often nostalgic of Islamic civilization's golden age.
    Popular examples: Tariq Ramadan, Jamal Badawi, Dalia Mogahed, Anas al-Tikriti, Jonathan Brown
    -
    Most Sunni Muslims are not very conscious of these divisions. They usually don't identify themselves with one of these labels, and all 4 trends coexist in most Sunni nations and communities. The trends also have some overlaps, and there are people that are a blend of multiple trends. Sunni scholars are more aware of the red lines due to their epistemological significance. But many Sunnis are subject to the influence of Gulf petrodollars, and therefore will take on some Salafi cliches without noticing it (or just seeing it as becoming "more religious"). I call this "Casual Salafism" - speakers like Nouman Ali Khan, Yusuf Estes, Ismail Menk, or Omar Suleiman, who are more laid-back and popular with the youth, but still have a Salafi epistemology and Salafi influences in their material.
    Being conscious of these trends will allow us to better understand whom we can work with and whom we should best avoid.
  14. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Fatima the Mother, Fatima the Mystery   
    Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] said: "Surely, we have revealed it on the Night of Power." (97:1) The night is Fatima al-Zahra, and the Power is Allah. Whoever recognizes Fatima in her rightful manner will have comprehended the Night of Power. She was named Fatima because the Creation has been prevented (fatamu) from recognizing her [fully]." (Tafsir Furat al-Kufi)
    The Night of Power, which is described in chapter 97 of the Noble Qur'an, is a night that takes place on the 19th, 21st, or 23rd of the month of Ramadan. The first Night of Power took place when the Prophet Muhammad (s) received the first revelation of the Qur'an. On that night, the Qur'an was brought down to the lower heaven. Every year, on the Night of Power, the Holy Spirit and the angels descend to the Imam of the Age, and the reward for each deed is multiplied. It is the holiest night of the Islamic calendar.
    But a special relationship between Lady Fatima (as) and the Night of Power is illustrated in this tradition. How could a night in the month of Ramadan relate to her majesty, especially if she had not been born when the Messenger first received revelation?
    In our sources, Fatima is presented as the secret of Ahl al-Bayt. Fatima is clouded is mystery. Her hijab cloaks any hint of her identity, as she would wrap her scarf around her head, encompass herself in her shroud, walk silently on the ends of her dress, surround herself with her family members, and speak behind a curtain. Fatima only revealed herself to those who had a vested sincerity to her: the People of the Cloak knew her on an intimate level, and her closest companions were blessed to see her face - but she kept a distance from outsiders. Her death raised many questions, and even her funeral and grave site was kept a secret. Furthermore, Fatima is the recipient of the mysterious Mus`haf Fatima, the Tablet of the 12 Imams, and the Heavenly Baskets. Fatima was not just a practitioner of hijab, she was the very embodiment of the concept. She is called Layla in the hadith above, because the darkness of night is a cover for her true and magnificent reality. So, just as the Night of Power falls on a secret night, Fatima is a secret to be sought. Only the righteous will recognize her and this night.
    "The Night of Power is better than a thousand months" (97:3). In the esoteric language of our traditions, a day often represents a person or a group of people. Moreover, the word "thousand" (alf) was the largest number in the Arabic language, and it is a literary device for a very large number. This verse may be saying that Fatima (as) is better than a thousand months, meaning, the plethora of believers in the Islamic nation. Her rank is superior to [at the very least] everyone outside of the Ahl al-Kisa', and by her virtue, Allah caused the Imams to come out of her progeny.
    "Surely we sent it (the Qur'an) down in the Night of Power ... the angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter" (97:1, 4) While these verses illustrate the metaphysical descent of the Qur'an to the lower level, the verses have layers of other meanings. As we know, the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt are referred to as Speaking Qurans (qur'an natiq), because their role in Islam is to represent, interpret and apply the principles of the Qur'an in their lives. So, in a sense, Allah has sent the Qur'an down through Lady Fatima, as her descendants would be the Qur'an, united with the Book of Allah and never separating with it until the Hereafter (see hadith al-thaqalayn). Likewise, the angels and the Spirit descend to the Imam of the Age, whose origin (after Ali's Imamate) is the womb of Fatima.

    Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.
    Besides enigma, the other major theme associated with Fatima (as) in our literature is her motherhood. Indeed, motherhood is special in Islam: it is one of the objects of marriage, and the womb (rahm) is derived from Allah’s attribute of Mercy (ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem). A woman who dies in labour is considered a martyr, and good childrearing can bring a person to Paradise. A woman who becomes a mother takes on many biological and spiritual qualities of selflessness, clemency, and beauty. Our Prophet recommended for everyone to marry early and even have many children.
    Soon after Lady Fatima came of age, she married Imam `Ali (as), and fulfilled the cosmic union between two lights and two perfect Muslims. The marriage of Fatima (as) demonstrates that celibacy is not an Islamic trait, and that Muslims should instead pursue chastity in marriage. A celibate woman, who was seeking virtue in her celibacy, came to Imam Ja`far (as), and the Imam told her that if celibacy had any virtue, Fatima (as) would have more right to it (انصرفي فلو كان ذلك فضلا لكانت فاطمة ( عليها السلام ) أحق به منك انه ليس أحد يسبقها إلى الفضل). Yet, she chose to marry young and have children in her short life, and became the Mistress of the Women of the Worlds. Furthermore, since the Ahl al-Kisa’ had existed prior to the creation of the universe, the concept of family and relationship would be primordial, cosmic, and not just limited to animalistic nature. Islam has always elevated good families, and has rooted prophethood and Imamate in a system of familiar succession (Aal Ibrahim, Aal `Imran, Aal Muhammad). The four mistresses of the world – Asiya, Maryam, Khadija, and Fatima – all performed motherly roles in their lives.
    The word “Fatima” means “the Weaned One”. “Weaning” is a term used to refer to the remove a child’s dependency on its mother’s milk. In our literature, Fatima actually weans her Shi`a from Hellfire (إنّي سمّيتك فاطمة وفطمت بك من أحبّك وتولّاك وأحبَّ ذريّتك وتولّاهم من النار), and most of creation is weaned from recognizing her in her majesty (إنّما سمّيت فاطمة لأنّ الخلق فطموا عن معرفتها). Her very name is associated with nurturing.
    Fatima was called “the Mother of Her Father”, because despite her age, she comforted and supported the Prophet Muhammad (s) in all of his struggles, till the day of his passing. She was the very foundation of her father and his retreat.
    In one instance, when Lady Fatima was nursing her young son, the Prophet (s) told her, “O my daughter! You replace the bitterness of this world with the sweetness of the next.” (يا بنتاه تعجلي مرارة الدنيا بحلاوة الآخرة).
    Fatima’s love for her children and her followers would even transcend the fear of the Judgment. On a day where everyone will flee from their own children (80:34-36) and women will be abandoning their nursing children and miscarry their fetuses (22:2), Lady Fatima (as) will seek justice for the murder of her son Husayn (as) (ثم تنزل عن نجيبها فتأخذ قميص الحسين بن علي ع بيدها مضمخا بدمه و تقول يا رب هذا قميص ولدي و قد علمت ما صنع به). She will also identify those who loved her family on the Day of Judgment (لفاطمة عليهاالسلام وقفة على باب جهنم ، فإذا كان يوم القيامة كُتب بين عينَي كل رجل : مؤمنٌ أو كافر ، فيؤمر بمحبّ قد كثرت ذنوبه إلى النار ، فتقرأ فاطمة بين عينيه محبّا).
    Fatima’s current role in Paradise is to look after the children of her followers who passed away before reaching the age of maturity (ان اطفال شيعتنا من المؤمنين تربيهم فاطمة). The Imams of Ahl al-Bayt even rear their children upon the recitation of Fatima’s tasbeeh (إنّا نأمر صبياننا بتسبيح فاطمة (عليها السلام) كما نأمرهم بالصلاة).
    The Prophet (s) said to Imam `Ali (as), “You and I are the two fathers of this nation” (أنا وأنت أبوا هذه الأمة). The righteous wives of these two, particularly Khadija and Fatima, would thereby be our mothers. Their examples provide both strength and tranquility.
    May Allah grant us the intercession of Lady Fatima (as) on the Day of Resurrection.
  15. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, st. -1   
    In Bait-al Ma'mur, Azazil-later called Iblis-sitting on a white minbar and holding a tasbih in his hands, was preaching for a crowd of angels and other residents of empyrean. He was deeply happy and proud to see that he had such a special superior status and that the angels listened to him with great interest.
    After he finished his sermon, angels started asking him theological questions and he answered with full confidence. One of the angels asked:
    O God's beloved, we have worshipping God the Almighty for hundreds of years but we have not achieved a status as high as yours. Tell us, please, the secret behind your success in rising to this enormous  dignity and supereminence.
    Azazil, pleased to hear such a joyful acknowledgement but unaware of that what he thought and what he uttered would put him in a difficult imminent test, smiled and replied: "My friends! Listen to me carefully: I don't deserve the status I have been granted but let me reveal the secret behind my sucess to you.
    Of course, I am not going to boast but to offer help to those who desire to approach our Lord and make him pleased.
    Pure intentions! Friends! Pure intentions! Your problem is that you dont worship God purely for himself but you do it for the purpose of achieving a higher status. Such insincere worship is worthless and is never of any benefit to you.
    Another important point is to avoid being arrogant for it is a major obstacle to...".
    Azazil was preaching when suddenly he found some of the angels talking and not listening to him.
    He shouted :"What is up?! Why are you making so much noise?!"
    One of the angels said :"Sorry, sir! Our minds have been occupied with the recent news!"
    Azazil asked: "the recent news?!"
    The angel replied: "Yes. The news about a new unique creature which God the Almighty is going to create. It is said that no other creature will be equl to it and that God has special plans for this beloved creature-to-be".

    Azazil, surprised at what he had just heared, was lost in thought for a few moments and then said:
    "What a good wonderful news! Indeed, every decision our Lord takes, is wise and praiseworthy. Now, it is better to go and prepare yourselves for celebrating the birth of this welcome creature".
    As the angels were leaving, the purple beads of tasbih, one by one, slipped from his lap and the stairs and scattered on the ground; the tasbih that had been pressed and torn among the fingers of its angry owner who tried to show himself happy and satisfied.
     
     
    Footnotes:
    1. Bait-al Ma'mur( بیت المعمور) is a place in 4th or 7th heaven. It is a Ka'ba for angels.
    2. Tasbih( تسبیح) is a prayer beads.
    3. Minbar(منبر) is a pulpit.
    4. Azazil: عزازیل
  16. Like
    enigma313 reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Jesus and Husayn   
    A man asked Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] said, "May I be your sacrifice! Why were the descendants of al-Husayn preferred over the descendants of al-Hasan when they came from the same line?"
    So the Imam said: I will show you, so take it.
    Surely, Gabriel [a] came down to Muhammad (s) before al-Husayn had been born, and he said to him, "A boy will be born to you who will be killed by your Umma after you."
    So he (s) said, "O Gabriel, I do not need this."
    He addressed him three times, then he called for `Ali, and he said to him, "Surely, Gabriel [a] informs me from Allah that a boy will be born to you who will be killed by your Umma after you."
    So he [a] said, "I do not need this, O Messenger of Allah."
    So he addressed `Ali [a] three times. Then, he said, "The Imamate, the inheritance, and the treasury will come through his descendants."
    So he sent for Fatima [a], [saying,] "Allah brings you glad tidings of a boy who will be killed by my Umma after me."
    So Fatima said, "I do not need this, O father."
    So he (s) addressed her three times. Then, he sent to her, [saying,] "Certainly, surely, the Imamate, the inheritance, and the treasury will be in him."
    So she said, "I am pleased with Allah."
    So she conceived and became pregnant with al-Husayn. She was pregnant for six months, then gave birth to him - and no infant of six months ever lives except for al-Husayn b. `Ali and Jesus the son of Mary [a]. So Umm Salama took responsibility of him, and the Messenger of Allah would meet him every day and put his tongue in the lips of al-Husayn [a], and he would suckle it until he would recite [knowledge], and Allah would give him meat (laHm) from the meat of the Messenger of Allah (s). He would not suckle milk from Fatima [a] or from anyone else.
    So when Allah revealed this regarding it, 'and her bearing him and his utter dependence on her took thirty months, and so, when he attains to full maturity and reaches forty years, he prays: O my Sustainer! Inspire me so that I may forever be grateful for those blessings of Yours with which You have graced me and my parents, and that I may do what is right that will meet with Your goodly acceptance; and grant me righteousness in my offspring.' (46:15) were he to have said, 'rectify for me my offspring', then all of them would have been Imams - however, he specified it in this way.
    حدثنا احمد بن الحسن رحمه الله قال: حدثنا احمد بن يحيى قال: حدثنا
    بكر بن عبد الله بن حبيب قال: حدثنا تميم بن بهلول قال: حدثنا علي بن حسان الواسطي عن عبد الرحمان بن كثير الهاشمي قال: قلت لابي عبد الله " ع " جعلت فداك من اين جاء لولد الحسين الفضل على ولد الحسن وهما يجريان في شرع واحد فقال لا أريكم تأخذون به، ان جبرئيل " ع " نزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وما ولد الحسين بعد فقال له يولد لك غلام تقتله امتك من بعدك فقال يا جبرئيل لا حاجة لي فيه فخاطبه ثلاثا ثم دعا عليا فقال له ان جبرئيل " ع " يخبرني عن الله عز وجل انه يولد لك غلام تقتله أمتك من بعدك فقال لا حاجة لي فيه يارسول الله فخاطب عليا " ع " ثلاثا ثم قال انه يكون فيه وفي ولده الامامة والوراثة والخزانة، فارسل إلى فاطمة عليها السلام ان الله يبشرك بغلام تقتله أمتى من بعدي فقالت فاطمة ليس لي حاجة فيه يا أبة فخاطبها ثلاثا ثم أرسل إليها لابد أن يكون فيه الامامة والوراثة والخزانة فقالت له رضيت عن الله عز وجل فعلقت وحملت بالحسين فحملت ستة اشهر ثم وضعته ولم يعش مولود قط لستة أشهر غير الحسين بن علي وعيسى بن مريم عليهما السلام فكفلته أم سلمة وكان رسول الله يأتيه في كل يوم فيضع لسانه في فم الحسين " ع " فيمصه حتى يروى فانبت الله تعالى لحمه من لحم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ولم يرضع من فاطمة عليها السلام ولا من غيرها لبنا قط فلما انزل الله تبارك وتعالى فيه (وحمله وفصاله ثلاثون شهرا حتى إذا بلغ أشده وبلغ أربعين سنة قال رب أوزعني ان اشكر نعمتك التي انعمت علي وعلى والدي وان اعمل صالحا ترضاه واصلح لي في ذريتي) فلو قال أصلح لي ذريتي كانوا كلهم أئمة لكن خص هكذا.
    (`Ilal ash-Shara'i`)
     
    Some of you may remember my thread on the sacrifice of Husayn. I wanted to point out some of the parallels between Jesus and Husayn, which this hadith seems to delineate. Both were born miraculously with shortened pregnancies. Mary is called al-'adra, because she was a virgin, and Fatima was called al-Batool, which is a similar title indicating purity (she did not menstruate). Both mothers were the best of women of the world, known for their modesty and spoken to by angels. The angel Gabriel announced the birth of both Jesus and Husayn. When Husayn is born, he suckles meat and nor milk - which is a popular biblical expression which refers to the consumption of higher knowledge. Both were granted knowledge as children. Fast forward to the sacrifice - one hadith says that the divine government was initially promised for Husayn, making him a messiah figure, until bada' took place. When Husayn was beheaded, those who mourn and associate with him are absolved of their sins. The final Mahdi is a descendant of Fatima just as the Messiah is the descendant of Mary.
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