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In the Name of God بسم الله

Say: I AM

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  1. I can't seem to edit my post to include some more on why I chose what words I did, so here is another. Also I forgot to add that I don't know Arabic, though I have read every translation of Fatihah I could find. Praise God, Lord solely overall : For the sake of rhythm I shortened the more traditional 'praise be to (unto) God' into 'Praise God'. I felt that it didn't affect the meaning of the original Arabic, though like I said, I don't Arabic and used translations. And this is the same for the second half, as I thought 'solely overall' expressed a better sense of God being Lord in every dimension than 'of the worlds'. Mercy Primordial, Compassion Primeval : The idea here is that no mercy comes apart from God, therefore God isn't really 'merciful' but Mercy itself and at the point of origin of all things. The same is with the idea of compassion, except that compassion requires suffering and comes 'second' if you will. Mercy is the fact that all things exist when they easily might not have. Compassion I see in terms of a relation between things. The Jury on Judgment Day : Again for the sake of rhythm, I chose to replace King/Master/Lord, the decider of one's fate, with 'jury'. I felt the concept was the same. It is You that we worship, and to You alone we pray. : Only the second part differs from any translation I have read. I chose to end it in 'we pray' to rhyme with 'Judgment Day'. In my opinion the contrast between worship and prayer leads the reader to assume that one is established and one is spontaneous. See us to the straight path, : This I am unsure of. In the way someone could say, "I'll see you to the door", we hope God will see us to being guided aright. Do you get that same understanding? The path of those who You favored, : I think the Arabic is present tense but this is past. Though I would argue that it first takes the act of receiving blessing in order to witness that blessing. Those not woeful nor wayward. : Someone who is woeful compared to favored by God I think conveys that their actions consistently lead them to be woeful, and it is at those actions that God is angered. What are your thoughts? I am being overly liberal with the wording, or are the ideas themselves consistent with one another?
  2. I am hoping someone could give me their thoughts and suggestions on my translation of Suratul Hamd (fatihah). I wanted to have an english translation I could recite to a melody, like in arabic, but I couldn't find one, so I am working on making my own. For God, His Grace and Goodness: Praise God, Lord solely overall, Mercy Primordial, Compassion Primeval, The Jury on Judgment Day. It is You that we worship, and to You alone we pray. See us to the straight path, The path of those who You have favored, Those not woeful nor wayward.
  3. In my humble opinion it's erroneous to say this is a 'revealed history.' Just like with Islam, that you have to start with the Qur'an and not jurisprudence made centuries later, so too you have to start with yourself when considering life. Ask yourself, does any man experience what I cannot? If I accept that someone has experienced something beyond normal human experience then I merely take his/her word for it, and thus it is not definite. It remains my opinion. It is my opinion that the Holy Prophet did not experience anything out of the ordinary because otherwise humankind would have made record of it. It is therefore probable the Qur'an is entirely a parable when not speaking directly. Every prophet is Muhammad and every successor Ali. If Muhammad would have come right out and said what he was doing he would have been killed, like Jesus. However, he said what he said as stories and parables for the people to easily understand, and the point of them was the meaning behind them. He came as a Mercy to mankind and his mission was to continue that Mercy until the end of time. I guess the real question is, what does a revealed history do for you other than give you an idea to believe in? Be careful because ideas can quickly turn into golden calves—shirk.
  4. Thanks. So was he black? When I google-translated "al-Thumali" it translated as "residual." I don't speak arabic so I'm wondering if his name says anything about where he came from. And it is interesting you mention him serving Musa al-Kadhim since I have also read he had served Isma'il al-Mubarak. I guess I'm trying to find out what is authentic and what is not, not that I'm taking any position :rolleyes:
  5. YAM SA What can anyone tell me about the life story of Abu Hamza al-Thumali? I read he was a mawla (freed slave) from Kufa. Was he was african, if so where from exactly? I know he served Zayn al-Abideen and Muhammad al-Baqir, but what happened to him after that? Could you please provide references too. Thanks.
  6. Salam Humbly and with utmost respect: I think you are totally right and I hold the same interpretation. I believe this narrative is a parable describing our relationship with our living Imam, and Satan's actions are what constitutes disbelieving. Even though the Imam is like a parent, defending and nurturing his flock, Satan cannot bring himself to humility and surrender his will. This parable puts into context a tradition I once read, "Around every believer there are ten satans." You might also want to check out the parable of Saul (Talut). It is somewhere in the latter half of the second chapter. Thank you for your post.
  7. Salam Ya 'Ali Humbly and with utmost respect: Why not look to the Qur'an? “It is God Who placed the sea at your service, that ships may run therein by His command, and that you may seek of His bounty – perhaps you will render thanks. And He placed at your service what is in the heavens and the earth – all of it from Him. In this are signs for a people who reflect. [45:13]” “Have they not observed the sky above them and how We erected it and decked it out, how free of cracks it is? And the earth, how We spread it out and placed in it towering mountains, and caused it to sprout forth of every lovely species? An eye-opener is this, and a remembrance to every servant turning to God in repentance. [50:8]” “From the sky We sent down blessed water, wherewith We caused gardens to flower and grains for the harvest, soaring palm trees bearing serried clusters – sustenance to mankind. [50:11]” “And the sky We built in strength, and surely We can do so. The earth We spread out – blessed are They Who levelled it! From every species We created a pair, that you may ponder and reflect. [51:49]” “He it is Who made water descend from the sky, of which some is for you to drink and some for trees from which you eat. With it He causes vegetation to sprout for your benefit: olives, palms and vines, and all types of fruit. In this is a sign for a people who reflect. [16:11]” “Your God is One God. [16:22]” Don't you see God is you and me, along with everything around us? Not that any one thing is God but it is God altogether. When using language we brake all of it down into specific things that we label, and none of these is God of course. How do you think golden calves are made? “Have you considered him who takes his own caprice as his god? [45:23]” “To God belongs the East and the West. Wherever you turn, there is the face of God.” “All things shall pass away, except His face.” “Know that there is no god but God. [47:19]” So the next time you feel the wind against you, feel God breathe. The next time you feel the sun against you, feel God love. And the next time you meet people, meet God's Faces; So will you then have mercy and compassion?
  8. I guess it depends on what you make of the Koran. Most people will give you a textbook answer to your question because it's what conformity and their culture demands of them. However take this, it's an answer not given for sake of conformity nor culture, and it's that the law is arbitrary—it doesn't matter, not really. I mean this respectfully because it's very real, being free of doubt. The Koran tells us to examine our surroundings when making judgments and not solely rely on our personal affirmations. That being said, it seems perfectly clearly the notion of the Koran as being dictated, in whatever sense, to the Holy Prophet is erroneous because it is doubtful; the Koran states that it's a book without doubt. I can make sure of this notion's doubtfulness by performing an experiment by trying to replicate the revelation process, that is to either receive revelation myself or witness it. After which I'll find that neither can be done and that books are only formulated in the minds of men, but some would argue the Koran is an exception. However, it remains clear that those who would argue cannot replicate revelation either in order to demonstrate that it actually happens. Therefore it seems rather obvious the Koran was formulated within the mind of the Holy Prophet, albeit still from God, because it's a view entirely supported by reason and is without doubt. So getting back to the question of whether the law can be changed. I think people convolute the meaning of the law because, from what I can tell, human beings crave rigidity and are superficial. I think the most practical way of thinking about law is socioeconomically. The purpose behind implementing a law is to correct an unfortunate pattern that is detrimental to our welfare. Each Koranic law is not universal and timeless but rather an approach to solve a problem with culturally acceptable methods, methods that are likely to alleviate instead of exacerbate the problem. Naturally as circumstances change and as culture changes it's the function of the Imam to alter what particular methods are used, adopting ones that might have become more effective or more comfortable for the masses to consume. This is how the law began and how it continues to be. It's a statement about the Holy Prophet's intention, as a genuinely good guy who really cares. It reaffirms the below verse. “To you has come a messenger, from among your number, Aggrieved by the hardship you suffer,Concerned for you,Tender and compassionate towards the believers.” [9:129]
  9. Do you like the old time religion?Do you like having a system of beliefs and values that never change? Doesn't a boy grow into an old man and yet remain the same man? What is religion if it doesn't change with us? The only thing constant in religion is the Imam of the time. And for that reason the religion grows, it burgeons. The Imam of the time is the catalyst within religion, a necessity to fulfill the covenant between believer and imam. “To you has come a messenger, from among your number, Aggrieved by the hardship you suffer, Concerned for you, Tender and compassionate towards the believers.” This relationship is made into a covenant which the Ismaili imams follow in context with the above verse. “O believers, obey God and obey the Prophet and those set in authority over you.” “O believers, do not betray God and His Messenger, nor betray your undertakings knowingly.” “Those who pay you homage are in fact paying homage to God – the hand of God rests above their own.” Every Imam is Ali, and every Ali is the Mahdi. Do not forget the essence of religion: “O Messenger, convey what has been revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, you will not have passed on His message.” “All things have We tallied in a Manifest Record (imamin mubeen).” In a theatrical way I'll say to the point of resurrection, what does resurrection matter when heaven is with the Imam? Don't you see the angels in great delight nor hear their symphonies? God is greater, I am in heaven!
  10. Salaam Basmala With utmost respect, love and compassion I say to you, my brother, Judging by your avatar, because of the beard cut in traditional Muslim fashion and the traditional hat, you believe in traditional Islam. But traditional does not mean authentic because tradition is merely what is popularly handed down, and that's no measure of correctness. Correctness is demonstrated through evidence and reason. Perhaps your avatar is not a photo of yourself, but why you've chosen to use it and why you've submitted an unsubstantiated, unproductive post leads me to assume you like rigidity. That you like the old time religion and think it's right to impose it on others, but there is no compulsion in religion. If your intention by posting is to acquire knowledge, by all means do so, but if you're intention is to incite contention then you're unwelcome; there is no contention between brothers. So, if you find time to explain yourself then I'd love to hear it, otherwise silence is your greatest virtue. Ya Ali Madad
  11. I think you may be right, as it seems probably possible, but that means nothing with regards to the qualities of the Imam. It doesn't matter if the Imam of the time descends from the Holy Prophet, what matters is that he believes he descends from him. “Or were you witnesses when death came to Jacob?” In no way can Aga Khan prove his lineage. What the Imam of the time can prove however is that he acts in accordance with Islamic principles. “Abraham said: ‘And also my descendants?’ God said: ‘Evildoers shall not enjoy My covenant.” In my opinion, the mind of the Imam is the true treasure of mankind. The Holy Prophet did something not yet done and that was to give birth to and nurturing a beneficial conscience. From the time of birth the Aga Khan was told about his circumstance in life, who he was, and how he might someday come to be. This no doubt shaped his psyche. It was these factors and ones like them which formed a unique reality. Who else is revered as Imam in our time? It is because of the attitudes of his people that the Aga Khan knows who he is.
  12. Humbly and with utmost respect, Religion is religion and the concept of posthumorous resurrection does not change what religion is, and that is Tawhid, or nondualism. Everything is one, undivided. Think about it, if everything was one then statements like "Wherever you turn there is the Face of Allah..." and "He is closer to you than your jugular..." would mean just that. Language is a barrier which captures and shapes our reality. For example, in English it is popularly said, "I came into this world..." when "I came out of this world" would be more appropriate, as in "God it was Who caused you to sprout from the earth...." Language traps us into breaking things down for examination so that we can talk about it, and by doing so we lose the perspective that everything is truly nondual. The concept of posthumous resurrection taken from a literal reading of the Qur'an seems to only further the illusion of an ego, the image we have of ourselves, because we end up identifying ourselves as somehow apart from everything else. In that way a person then makes themself equal to Allah--shirk. There is no equal. The idea of embodiment after death makes me think that one is trying to hold on to life, that their efforts are merely out of selfishness. The Qur'anic resurrection can only mean resurrection of the mind, the way we think, because the mind takes in and forms our reality. And by coming back again to when we were babies, to when we knew not ourselves nor language to break things up will we be resurrected. In my opinion the Qur'an is itself the Day of Judgment and its verdict is dependant upon realization of Tawhid. If a person adheres to a physical religion they will expect a physical afterlife, and they'll wait for death to find out if they guessed right. There is no certainty beyond fake certainty that physical resurrection exists. But if a person adheres to a spiritual resurrection they will expect a spiritual afterlife, if any at all, and they'll find salvation in this life and the next.
  13. Humbly and with utmost respect, It seems you are talking about legend. Thanks for responding.
  14. Basmala Salam Love8, don't you see? You have been greatly blessed by God and His mercy. The angels are sounding their trumpets and congratulating you over this, and there is much excitement in heaven. You are indeed on the straight path and continuing down it would be wise. You see, God has blessed you by showing you what sadness is. By His mercy you've been granted witness of it and when you become happy again (because you will) you'll have contrast between the two. And through this insight you'll understand what mercy truly is, and what suffering truly means. In this you will see the face of your creator; what a splendid sight! So when come to again and feel happy be thankful for your blessing and show the people what mercy means. Hang on there, you can PM me if you want. I'm always glad to help. You'll be in my prayers and I hope you feel better soon, inshallah. YCM
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