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In the Name of God بسم الله

ibnkevin

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Everything posted by ibnkevin

  1. I think a more precise word than "fear" is needed for this conversation. I used to be terrified that I might get something wrong and that my mistakes would be the reason I might be isolated from my loved ones for eternity. That wasn't healthy but it's what many people think of when they think of "fear of God." Why should I be terrified of someone who made me out of love so that I could know Him? These days, I understand it as being aware of God. It's not that God's a bogeyman, but everything I do carries a consequence. And in my best moments, I remember that how I treat others is how I'm treating other people who were made with as much love as I was. I also try to be realistic about myself- my limitations and my faults- and ask Allah for the strength and wisdom to be a better person.
  2. As someone who has disruptive thoughts like these, I can only encourage Askari to follow the advice of IamHussaini. I can tell you that a mixture of mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication has helped me immensely, and to see these as what they are- just disruptive thoughts. And that's just works for me. What works for you might be totally different. My point is that you do have options and no matter what they are, they can be integrated into a life faithful to Allah and His messenger.
  3. I like to gather many different perspectives and I found this one to be of interest. It's by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, who is orthodox but gives a particularly unorthodox perspective. The title of the lecture is "God is not moral and the Torah is not righteous." I didn't agree with a lot that he said, but I think his curiosity and fearlessness in the face of being labelled a heretic are admirable. https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9hNrd5FTToufkNjMXA3Y0NrU2dPd3I0bUFucHNPWGRINTk4cVA0LWdTUDE1YWdUeFR2STg&usp=sharing
  4. Don't know if anyone is interested in this still, but the atheist polemicists seem to ignore that Jeremy England is actually a devout Orthodox Jew.
  5. What might not be a good idea for someone who is already a Muslim and is in the process of selecting a spouse speaks to a different reality than a person who is already married and has built a family with that person. Not to be dramatic, but I've got nearly a decade of affection and trust built up with my wife, and with her Allah delivered me to this point. Why should I despair of His mercy now?
  6. Dear Christianlady, The Hadith I referenced appears in Tirmidhi, and in Nawawi's Forty Hadith. http://40hadithnawawi.com/index.php/the-hadiths/hadith-19 I hope this helps. I am from a mixed Jewish/Catholic background, so I've spent a lot of time examining the gospels through the eyes of the Torah and the larger rabbinic tradition, if you'd ever like to talk. Jesse
  7. I will look into Ayatullah Jannati. Just so you know, I wasn't planning on throwing my hands up in despair. Coming to Shia Islam has been a gradual process based upon a conversion of heart and careful consideration of the evidence. I can't believe that Allah would lead me here only to lose hope. I just can't turn my back on a partner who has loved me and been supportive, either. And so, a disturbing thought worth thinking about. Thank you for your caring concern. Really. I appreciate you guys a lot.
  8. This is certainly interesting. Coming from someone in this situation, I can say that I assumed that fiqh would be as it is in much of current Sunni practice, permissible but not recommended. Obviously, I'll have to do a lot of reading and correspondence, but I don't know if I could ever act on a ruling like this. My wife is a great support to me and a loving partner, and a fantastic mother to my three children. It would be disruptive to their lives and hurtful to someone who has only tried to do right by me. And it would serve only to defame Islam in the eyes of my friends and family. I can only agree with counseling hikmah if you're talking to others in interfaith marriages, because this is a disruptive thought to say the least.
  9. I think that those who engage in polygamy need to be really aware of the feelings of their partner. Even if a choice is halal, it doesn't necessarily make it the best choice for that relationship. It just makes it an option. I can conceive of possibilities that would justify a woman having a partner other than her husband if that was a legal possibility. I had a friend who had shingles and due to nerve damage, sexual intercourse was a source of extreme pain as a result. His wife, who he loved a lot, was neglected as a result. They both became extremely depressed and tried to stay together for their children and because they cared for each other deeply. He loved her enough to divorce her, but now he'll be alone because nothing will ever make sex enjoyable again. Unless he finds someone asexual to be with. He would kid about letting his wife have a boyfriend... But she just wouldn't do it. I have no desire to have a second wife, nor would I be comfortable with my wife having someone else. Even if it was a halal option. I like the intimacy of monogamy, even if our desires don't always match, even if we aren't always happy with each other, this would be the halal choice for me and anyone I would be with.
  10. Salaam, Thank you for the clarification. I see a "Book of Islamic tenets" and "Practical Jurisprudence" (which I'm assuming are a statement on fundamentals of belief and his risalah, respectively) on the English version of his site. However, when I click on it, it opens up something in Arabic. This may be an issue with formatting for mobile so I'll try it on my computer later. I don't see a place to order his books, either, and I like having hard copies of certain important texts. Are you aware of a place to order them from? And jazakallah Khair for your family's help. This community is amazing. Jesse
  11. Dear tendersoul, I listened to those talks during my AM commute. They are amazing, particularly the comments on zikrullah. Your mentor has a way of making a deep notion clear and accessible. That's a precious gift. If you wouldn't mind sharing more of those recordings, I'd really appreciate it. Umm Muhammad mentioned that your teacher has composed a risalah and that there's an English version, I believe. Is there any way I could get a hold of that so that perhaps I could start there? Does your mentor take on new students (guiding their study)? And would he consider doing so at a distance via Skype and correspondence? If not, at the very least, I'd love to hear what he has to say about relationships. as-Salaamu alaykum, Umm Muhammad, A few quick questions, just to make sure that I'm looking at the right books. For the Pooya tafsir: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0940368846/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445376907&sr=8-2π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=pooya+tafsir For Mutahhari's Usul wa Fiqh: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1502538695/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445377226&sr=8-2π=SY200_QL40&keywords=jurisprudence+mutahhari&dpPl=1&dpID=61ZGZkO9tmL&ref=plSrch For Shirazi's Mantiq: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1484082354/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1445376726&sr=8-1π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=summary+of+logic+shira as-Salaamu alaykum, Umm Muhammad, A few quick questions, just to make sure that I'm looking at the right books. For the Pooya tafsir: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0940368846/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445376907&sr=8-2π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=pooya+tafsir For Mutahhari's Usul wa Fiqh: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1502538695/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445377226&sr=8-2π=SY200_QL40&keywords=jurisprudence+mutahhari&dpPl=1&dpID=61ZGZkO9tmL&ref=plSrch For Shirazi's Mantiq: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1484082354/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1445376726&sr=8-1π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=summary+of+logic+shira as-Salaamu alaykum, Umm Muhammad, A few quick questions, just to make sure that I'm looking at the right books. For the Pooya tafsir: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0940368846/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445376907&sr=8-2π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=pooya+tafsir For Mutahhari's Usul wa Fiqh: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1502538695/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445377226&sr=8-2π=SY200_QL40&keywords=jurisprudence+mutahhari&dpPl=1&dpID=61ZGZkO9tmL&ref=plSrch For Shirazi's Mantiq: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1484082354/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1445376726&sr=8-1π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=summary+of+logic+shira as-Salaamu alaykum, Umm Muhammad, A few quick questions, just to make sure that I'm looking at the right books. For the Pooya tafsir: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0940368846/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445376907&sr=8-2π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=pooya+tafsir For Mutahhari's Usul wa Fiqh: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1502538695/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1445377226&sr=8-2π=SY200_QL40&keywords=jurisprudence+mutahhari&dpPl=1&dpID=61ZGZkO9tmL&ref=plSrch For Shirazi's Mantiq: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1484082354/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1445376726&sr=8-1π=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=summary+of+logic+shira
  12. as-Salaamu alaykum, Abu Muhammad, I appreciate your recommendation of Imam Berry. His education seems impeccable and it sounds like he has a first hand grasp of the realities of living in the U.S. He hasn't published a risalah (at least I couldn't find one on his site), but the rulings that were there made sense. I may ask him a few of my more pressing questions, too. I'll definitely avail myself of any help you might have to offer or any recommendations you might have. I live in the southwestern U.S. (Tucson, AZ) and Shia communities seem to be scarce out here. With a wife and three kids, moving away from our families (particularly grandparents) is unfair right now. But that said, I'm hungry for knowledge and I'm willing to put the time I have into it. I feel like I have to for my kids and for my own growth. I figured that my learning would have to be unconventional, but knowledge is knowledge- I don't have to do a formal hawza, I just need to learn. Thank you so much, Jesse
  13. as-Salaamu alaykum, Umm Muhammad, My thanks and jazakallahi khair for your insight. Of the maraji you listed, are there any who have discussed life in the west in depth? As my wife hasn't converted, and I don't know that she will, I'm particularly interested in discussions of relationship dynamics and parenting in interfaith marriages - particularly navigating holidays and cultural events. My wife is supportive of my conversion - more than I would have expected- and I want to be supportive of her, too. I'm also politically active, and I'd be interested in food for thought on involvement in a western political system. You also basically laid out a progression of study for me (amazing) but are there any sources that are helpful for assessment of my own understanding? Tests? Reflection questions? I can read books and take notes, but then I only have my own voice and not a teacher to provide context or to challenge my understanding. Is there software or a self study format that you'd recommend for learning Arabic? Are there ulema that are willing to work with students at a distance and field questions to help put readings in context? Are these books available on-line? Thank you again, Jesse
  14. Thanks hameedah. I am Jewish by upbringing and a convert. Thank you for pointing out my negligence of my profile.
  15. Salaam Shiahislamicdawamission, I'd be interested in your advice on my own study. I am a recent convert to the Shi'ism, and don't have the resources of a nearby community. I could use any advice that you might have.
  16. as-Salaamu alaykum, I was wondering if anyone here is either from Arizona or knows someone who lives out here. I'm from Tucson and I'd love to be part of a larger community, even if it's just a few people who got together every once in a while.
  17. Salaam, Thanks for bringing this topic up. The issue of the soul, especially as it relates to personality changes due to sickness or physical damage of the brain, is something that is relevant to many. There are so many people whose personalities are profoundly impacted by mental illness, the effects of stroke, cancer, etc., or some form of dementia. If an understanding of the soul is even going to be relevant these days, it needs to address how we can say that there is something enduring and accountable under the mask of shifting personality. And in this regard, I can't offer a definition of my own. What I can do, though, is speak from my experience. I believe in a soul largely because of my own experiences with mental illness. I have issues with anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. At times, these issues have disrupted my relationship with my wife and my parents, my studies, and my performance at work. I have been completely unreasonable, distracted, self-absorbed - all of those destructive things that I wouldn't have defined myself as when I was younger. I just couldn't help myself. The pen, I hope, was lifted for me in those moments. But if I couldn't help myself, doesn't that make the argument that there is no soul? Case closed, game over. Except that what pulled me out of it wasn't just medication. My medication helps. Medication turns down the volume on my irrational thoughts. But I had to go and get the medication. I had to seek out the therapy. Ultimately what pulled me out of where I was and continues to pull me out of my sickness is love. You see, alongside of everything strange that I think and do, I have an intense awareness that I love my wife and my family and God, and that I am loved very much even though I might be doing something weird right then. There is a distance between the me that looks at my circumstances, that loves my family and others and wants intensely to do good, and my anxiety and irrationality. That distance goes from being terribly small to so wide that it's almost as if I'm watching my illness. And what determines that distance is how grounded I am in my relationships. The times when I've been the most sick are the times that I've allowed myself to be the most isolated. What drove in a wedge for sanity was seeing the pain of those who loved me and hurting because of it and wanting to be better so that I could give them the love that they deserved. It's ultimately something that I can only speak of as being transformed by love. But all along there was an enduring me. It wasn't always reflected by what others saw of me, but it was there and all along, it's abided in my love of others and their love for me. Please take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. I can't speak to the experience of those with brain damage due to illness or injury, nor can I explain the total robbing of personality caused by dementia. At the same time, I've seen people in those circumstances exhibit a momentary total lucidity and when that happens, their love shines through profoundly.
  18. Peace with you, sister, You've asked a really great question and it touches upon a notion that really illustrates just how diverse opinions can be in the Muslim community (Qadar, which you addressed). I believe what you're looking for is the concept of al-Lauh al-Mahfouz- the Preserved Tablet. In it is contained all of God's foreknowledge about the details of our lives, and according to a Sunni Hadith,"The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried." Only God has complete knowledge of Creation and its fate, much as is claimed in the gospel of Matthew: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (24:36) Fortunately, Allah measures out that knowledge to us through revelation, and through the lessons of history and scientific investigation. One could reasonably argue that all of Creation is a continual process of God's self-disclosure. In that process of the disclosure of God's knowledge, Laylat ul-Qadr plays a role most similar to Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur. Some traditions say that this isn't just the night that the revelation to the Prophet began, but that it was on Laylat ul-Qadr that the Qur'an was translated from the Preserved Tablet to Heaven in its totality so that Gabriel might deliver it bit by bit. According to tradition, Allah also measures out our health and wealth, etc., on Laylat ul-Qadr. In this sense, Laylat ul-Qadr is much like Rosh Hashanah, where it's said that the three records of the righteous, the wicked and the lukewarm are gathered. The righteous are immediately put in the book of life for the following year. The wicked are blotted out of the book of life. The lukewarm (most of us) are given the chance to turn it around during the season of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Who is to say who is righteous and wicked and lukewarm? God for certain, but don't we already sort ourselves? The righteous person still sees their own sins and seeks God in prayerful repentance. The lukewarm person might be moved to seek God's mercy... Or they might stay home and eat a pizza and watch baseball playoffs on Yom Kippur. The wicked are convinced it's all hogwash anyway. And similar to Judaism's ten days of repentance, Islam teaches that while our fate is already known to God, our prayers and good deeds and the self-transformation especially set in motion during Ramadan can impact what God decrees for us for the year. In that spirit, we're told to seek Laylat ul-Qadr as a special night of repentance - like Yom Kippur, its power magnifies all good acts and draws us closer to the loving mercy of God. And Allah knows best.
  19. John, I think that the most important witness that you can do is just be yourself. If your wife sees Islam as transformational in your life, if you share what makes you excited, if you include her in Eids and holidays (or even host them together), she's bound to learn by experience. Context is great, and if she's an avid reader who wants to really understand what keeps Muslims engaged by their faith, I think that "Vision of Islam", written by Drs. William Chittick and Sachiko Murata is an amazing introduction. http://www.amazon.com/Vision-Visions-Reality-Sachiko-Murata/dp/1557785163 But I think you have to let go of expectations. Allah unfolds faith in our heart in His way, in His own time, and in a way that's meaningful to us. She might never become Muslim, just as my wife might never convert. And yet I found my faith with her and trust that Allah guided me to her for his reasons.
  20. Abu Hadi, I definitely did refuse. There's no need to rehash the past. Obviously I sorted through my questions, otherwise, I wouldn't have been there. I could see if he asked if I had any remaining reservations. In any case, thank you for the concern. :)
  21. As-Salaamu alaykum, You both are so nice. Laayla, like most people, I think I just want community. I have a great family, a wonderful and understanding wife, but I'd like to be around others who could help me increase my knowledge. I'm going to check out local masajid and see what the community's like. As for my knowledge, right now I'm reading my Qur'an along with the first volume of al-Kafi. Many of these Hadith I haven't come across, so I'm definitely interested. From there, my first focus is probably learning the nuances of Salah according to Jafari fiqh. Slow and steady, basics first. If you have any recommendations in this regard, I'd definitely appreciate it. And Sami, I might try for that cook position - I'm pretty good. If not, though, someone always has to clean the bathrooms. :). Thank you.
  22. I've read that a number of ulema would have people who leave Islam retake their shahada. I can see the value of it, but in this case, it seems to come with a number of preconditions, including letting someone sort through my past sins and mistaken views (as he wants me to make a list of what problems I had with Islam that led me to stop practicing). In any case, turns out that there's a Shia masjid in Phoenix, about an hour and a half from my house, and a fairly traditional ahlus-sunnah masjid near my home. I may check out both. The halal butcher shop was a great lead.
  23. From the perspective of Jewish law, there are two sorts of converts to the worship of God - there is the ger tzedek and ger toshav. The ger tzedek was circumcised and formally joined the family of Israel, along with taking upon themselves the yoke of the commandments. The ger toshav was someone who lived among the community of Israel, worshipped their God and observed some of their holidays, but never formally joined the family. The ger toshav had certain moral obligations, but few real ritual observances. As the Jewish Christian community rapidly began taking on non-Jewish members, there was a real issue with how these converts were to be treated. Some elders (such as James, the head of the community in Jerusalem) thought Torah observance was a central part of Jesus' teaching. Some elders (like Paul) believed that ritual observance was obsolete because salvation was accomplished in Jesus' death and resurrection. Making converts into Jews and commanding that they observe the law wasn't just futile to Paul, but was tantamount to denying what they considered an essential truth. The council commanded basic observance for the gentile community: 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. Acts 15:23-29 You would do well to avoid these things is hardly commanding anything, but it boils down to be monotheists, don't be sexually immoral, and don't be cruel to the animals you eat (a central concern of kosher law). Jesus did say: 17"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.… (Matthew 5:17-19) But it's since the Torah doesn't claim to be a law for the whole world, it's not inconsistent to say that non-Jews aren't obliged to observe the Torah. So it made a lot of sense to consider the gentile converts to Christianity as ger toshav. Now the issue of Jewish Christians seems to be much murkier. Paul clearly didn't consider himself to be under the law and that became the definitive view. How he would have squared that with the Torah or the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the gospels... that I don't know. And God knows best.
  24. I kind of thought it was odd, but it seemed like he was taken aback by the notion that someone would ever go through a period where they wanted nothing to do with religion. I told him that honestly, I was young and had gone through a period of significant questioning, but that I felt stronger having gone through that. He seemed to assume that the only way it was possible for someone to leave religion was due to a lack of knowledge. I feel that it was largely due to a lack of perspective and wisdom, not lack of information, and that comes with experience and God's blessings. The masjid is a sunni masjid, and the Imam is al-Azhar trained. I would love to find a Shia masjid, but I live in Tucson, AZ, and just having a masjid at all is nice.
  25. I spoke with the imam at my local masjid today. He wants to have me do a study of Islamic basics with him before taking shahada again. I guess there's always something to learn.
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