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In the Name of God بسم الله

Ibn Maymun

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  • Religion
    Muslim (Bani Israil)
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    Depends on the day.
  • Favorite Subjects
    Torah, Qur’an, Judaism, Devotional Poetry, Prophecy, Political Activism

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  1. I’ve studied the Jewish Bible in depth, as well as many of the major sources of Jewish tradition. I’ve read through the Gospels and most of the Epistles, as well, but don’t know them in depth.
  2. I like the Study Qur'an and the translation by Ali Quli Qara'I.
  3. @baqar A very fair and good point. However, your question wasn’t “is the Shia community perfect?”. Your question was “isn’t just wanting to grow closer to God enough”? I didn’t offer a detailed critique of their approach. I offered a response to your question and said that only some Sufis took the attitude that I described, while others were exemplary in their conduct. Saying that we should focus on ourselves is true, but it doesn’t actually address the central question of whether wanting to serve God is enough to turn an action into a bonafide way to serve God. Please also note that I’m not Shia. I’m not making any claims on behalf of your community about its internal state. I’m Jewish and this debate occurs within my community as well.
  4. Hi @baqar This is usually the question - if I’m intending to serve God and show Him that I love Him, what’s the harm? Doesn’t that make it okay? I could completely ignore my family. I could quit my job, run out on all of my social obligations, and go to a cabin somewhere and spend my days praying. I’d be abandoning young kids and my wife. Would that be okay if I did it to show God that I loved Him? What if Ibrahim went to sacrifice his son, and then heard the command to stop, but then sacrificed his son anyway because he just wanted to show God how much he loved him? Would that be okay? What if I knew that my wife wanted a certain book as a present, but I bought her a dress she was uninterested in because I thought she’d look beautiful in it? Would that gift be to give her what she desires or what I desire for her? God doesn’t just give us commandments so that we can be solely in a relationship with Him. He establishes us in a society, and tells us that how we treat each other is an obligation to him. He gives us boundaries, so that our worship promotes healthy relationships and reinforces His moral will for us. Not only that, but He communicates clearly what He wants from us and how to grow close to Him. How can we grow close to anyone only by selfishly doing what we feel like doing? I’m very sympathetic to the aspirations of the Sufis. Some are cling to the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet as a way to grow close to God, but too many invent too much and neglect what God has already asked them to do. And that’s what’s problematic.
  5. I find this passage particularly helpful in illuminating the understanding of Sufism from a Shia perspective, as well as the relationship between the two schools of thought. https://www.al-islam.org/light-within-me-mutahhari-tabatabai-khomeini/preface-allamah-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai
  6. @Mohamed1993 @Haji 2003 I’m not advancing those arguments. I’m describing a type of uneducated political activist that I’ve interacted with and whose opinion will shift with the political wind. I bring them up to see what kind of education is being done - because conviction is rooted in knowledge - and to get a sense of how deep that conviction runs.
  7. @Mohamed1993 I’m talking about Palestinian supporters who are unable to address the fact that over a million Jews were displaced from Arab countries, the argument that Jordan was the Palestinian state, who look dumbfounded when you talk to them about Amin al-Husseini’s collaboration with Hitler. There are people who claim to support Palestine but who have no comprehension of the Israeli counterargument. I know because at one point in my life I used to argue with such people and would watch them either crumble or revert to getting loud. As I said, this isn’t all or even most supporters - it’s a lot of them, though, and Israeli supporters are just as susceptible to mindlessly repeating propaganda. Such support is fickle and only effective as long as a cause is popular.
  8. Hi @salam23, Great question. Doubt is a normal part of the human experience. The problem with it comes when you get lazy or dishonest about your doubt, instead of getting to the root of your questions. If you have theological, legal, or ethical questions, then take those questions as a call to deepen your understanding of religious teachings. Too often we treat religious teachings as something imposed upon us, rather than try to understand their wisdom and truly make them our own. However, a person could be forgiven for doing just that. We live in a time where the hypocrisy of many religious institutions has been exposed, where some religious teachers have encouraged scientific illiteracy or bigotry, where evidence has seemed to throw revelation itself into doubt. It can be hard to separate religion from its institutions and talking heads, or to separate scripture from incorrect and superstitious interpretations of it. It can be hard to find teachers with integrity and a community that value principle over culture and convenience. But it's worth it.
  9. On the whole, people are lazy about forming their opinions, preferring to let opinion makers package the news for them in easy to consume portions that they can share on Facebook with only a message reading “So Much This“. However, I’ve noticed what you’ve noticed - the pro-Palestine echo chamber seems to be growing. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t many principled supporters of the Palestinian cause, but there are just as many who are fickle and repeat talking points with zero grasp of history. Others are so far down the apocalyptic rabbit hole that they’re never going to go against the Israeli government. Oddly (or perhaps not) I’ve found more shades of opinion among my American Jewish friends than any other group. Possibly because we get blamed a lot for Israel’s missteps while being told by Israelis that we should just shut up and support them. There are many kneejerk supporters of Israel, though. I just wonder, in the balance, is support for Palestine wide and solid enough among liberal America to make this possible?
  10. I just read this article: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/262154/trump-embassy-to-palestine-jerusalem?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tabletmag+(Tablet+Magazine) There does seem to be much wider support for the Palestinian cause in the USA than in previous decades. Do you think it cuts deep enough that a president would consider an embassy to Palestine, particularly in Jerusalem? Thoughts?
  11. Shalom @Christianlady I couldn’t agree with you more in this statement - no matter what, God’s will is done. But that said, God gives us a great deal of freedom to choose the wrong or the good, to gain wisdom or to act on ignorance. Biblical prophecy is only sometimes absolute - check out Jonah for an example of conditional prophecy - but I’d agree, this one seems to be coming true before our eyes. But will it unfold the way that people seem to imagine it will? I doubt it. This prophecy is particularly nuanced and the people who derive comfort from it may well be completely off-base.
  12. Hey, your opinion on Zechariah is your opinion on Zechariah. It might have been written by one author or four authors. I would still read and pay attention to this particular passage about the day when the nations bring war to Jerusalem. It seems to be shaping nutty American foreign policy. And yet, oddly, American and Israeli policy seem ignorant of what it's actually saying.
  13. The death of King Josiah is estimated to be in 609 BCE, well before the beginning of Zechariah’s prophetic career around 520 BCE during the reign of King Darius of Persia. During Zechariah’s mission, Jews were returning to the land of Israel but were not an independent kingdom. The mourning is likened to the mourning of Israel after the defeat and death of King Josiah. The prophecy refers to a time yet to be and works together with later chapters. This section of Zechariah is definitely one of the more interesting prophecies in the Bible. I’d encourage you to read it all if you haven’t already.
  14. I got married for mixed reasons. My wife was a very good friend of mine. I also really found her attractive and so I overlooked several places of incompatibility in our personalities. Honestly, if I had been older and a bit wiser, we probably wouldn’t have gotten married. That said, marrying my wife was the best thing that could have happened to me. Our disagreements provided the catalyst for personal development for both of us. Now we’ve been married for over a decade and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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