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In the Name of God بسم الله


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sirat-al-nur last won the day on October 5 2021

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  1. Salaam dear brother, Although your first post was in January, I hope you still do visit here every once in awhile. Along with the other members, my heart and prayers are with you and you haven't left my heart and mind since I read your post. My only advice to you would be, the very words and feelings you have expressed on here, express them in private with the Imam of our time (ajtfs) speak to him as you spoke on here, whenever you're in pain, in every moment, whatever comes to mind. Communicate with him, he hears what you say and knows of your pain, make it a norm to communicate with him all that comes to mind freely and wholeheartedly. You are not alone so long as he is here. Even if your state has gotten you to the stage of not expecting anything miraculous, or a significant change or doubt even, there is no harm in even communicating that to him as well. On our part, our prayers are always with you. Please update us on here every once in a while, our hearts ache for you and we genuinely wish you the best and wish for your peace and recovery insha'Allah by the rights of Muhammad and his Holy Household.
  2. I just found an interview in which he stated: محمود کریمی خوانده و نسخه ای که علی فانی خوانده، علاوه بر طول شعر، یک اختلاف دیگر هم هست. شروع شعر در این دو نسخه با هم متفاوت است. آقای فانی خودشان آن قسمت اول «به طاها، به یاسین به معراج احمد» را اضافه کرده اند و شعر هم البته به همین نام مشهور شده. When asked why Karimi's recitation and Ali Fanis begin differently, he said: Aghai Fani added the "be Taha be Yasin be mi'raj Ahmad" himself, and the poem became famous from that sentence. (as in it took its name from that sentence) _ با شما هماهنگ کرده بودند؟ نه. کلا در مورد خواندن این شعر با من صحبتی نکردند. البته همین که لایه هایی از جامعه با این نسخه موسیقیایی از شعر من ارتباط برقرار کرده اند و بخشی از جوان ها با آن به امام زمان(عج) متوسل شده اند،برای من کافی است. He was then asked, did they coordinate with you? He said: No, nether of them spoke to me about reciting the poem. Although the fact that different groups in society became attached to this musical version of the poem and many youth [used it as] a means of tawsul with the Imam of our time (ajtfs), is enough for me. Earlier in the interview, he said he had spent 2-3 months writing it and he sent it to Karimi immediately after finishing it, which happened to be the 15th of Sha'ban and Karimi recited it that very night.
  3. That's correct, it was recited by Karimi and Ali fani, but it was written by Roshanvaran himself, although he never recited it, as far as I know. (the original question was who wrote it and what else did they write) I'd also be curious to see if he ever recited it himself but haven't found anything in that regard if anything does come up please share it. This is an interview with him regarding be Taha be Yasin and his poetry in general. (for those fluent in farsi) https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1393/03/23/397361/ماجرای-سرودن-شعر-معروف-به-طه-به-یاسین
  4. If you google his name you'll find his other works.
  5. Salaam, It was written by مجتبی روشن‌روان
  6. Salaam dear brother, I never denied husband having rights over their wives. Nor the verses that deal them. All I said is it is a fact that different fuqaha' have views that say that these narrations do belittle women and go against the Qu'ran. If you disagree with them, that's fine, to each his own. I only mentioned it so that those who haven't come to terms or are genuinely curious and are interested in doing some research on the topic can know that such views do exist and are being taught and debated in the scholarly realm and the hawzeh. There is nothing wrong with you personally agreeing or disagreeing is what I'm trying to say. I said I don't have an opinion on the matter, I don't have the "absolute truth" in my pocket to make brave claims like you or others that this is absolutely right or this is absolutely wrong this is what Islam says and this is what Islam doesn't say. This does contradict the Qu'ran and this doesn't. Nor do I have certainty in the fact that these hadiths are genuinely the words of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) or the Imams ((عليه السلام)). I simply am not willing to attribute specific narrations to God (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) or the Ma'sumeen ((عليه السلام)) and be held accountable on the day of judgement, as it is a major sin to attribute falsehood to God or the Ma'sumeen, it may be true and it may be false I'll leave it to the ulamaa' and do ihtiyat in these matters unless I can see scholarly evidence to prove otherwise. I am also not willing to issue fatwa's on right and wrong based on my own opinion, or force the opinion of my Marjaa on others and present it as the "truth".
  7. Salaam, Taking into account the last two posts. It is important to point out that there are other views belonging to fuqaha' who dismiss these hadiths completely for several reasons, among them that they contradict the Qu'ran. (not reffering to Sayyed Kamal al-Haydari here.) So there is space for discussion on the matter, one can't absolutely say that it is a right or isn't, that goes back to your Marja' and his ijtihad. One also cannot deny that it is a prevalent view, that matters such as leaving the house and sexual obligation are among the rights of the husband. I have seen views that allow women to leave without her husbands permission and also those that say that both sexual obligations and leaving the house go both ways, meaning the wife has a right to sexual pleasure and to request it with consequences if denied and to forbid the husband from leaving the house. Anyways, it isn't a matter I'm not particularly interested in discussing rather I'm just pointing it out for anyone who is curious to see what scholarly positions exist on the subjects and do further research. I don't have a personal opinion on the matter.
  8. Salaam Sister, Thank you for your clarification and taking the time to express your views, I’m glad and thankful we can have a civil discourse and discussion on the matter, as I genuinely am interested in understanding your take/perspective. As for your 1st point: To be honest, it is difficult to prove for me, I picked up the Qu’ran and attempted to read it from your perspective and found it addressing men/women and not men in specific with the exception of verses relating to matters of judiciary and marriage. As for your 2nd point: In reference to 2:15-16. In 2:15, God here is speaking about a specific religious ruling regarding married women, not women in general, who commit fornication, there is no need to address women about a matter that is A: a judicial matter and B: the victim is the husband. Why men are addressed is obvious because this is a judicial matter and judicial matters are the responsibility of men and secondly, they are the victim of their wives fornication and God here is outlining what should be done when they have been wronged in such a grievous way by their wives. In 2:16, God here is not speaking to men directly, but rather both the husband and wife, and generally outlining the religious ruling to the judicial authorities. So it’s not in line with what you’re saying about God addressing men about women. As for your 3rd point: Yes, we do believe the Qu’ran in it’s entirety is preserved, not even close to, but completely preserved this is a matter of ijma’ of the Muslim Ummah. As for the divisions, those relate to the interpretations of religion, and the validity of hadith is tested based upon the principle that the Qu’ran is the unaltered truth and as such cross referencing the hadiths with the Qu’ran can filter out that which is true from that which is false. As for Muslim scholars not being in agreement with God because of their differing views, and the many different Madhhabs, Sufi Orders, Schools of Aqidah, Sects and social constructions: This is assuming that in order to have the correct view of God, everyone must have a single view and a single method and a single approach i.e the correct approach concerning all spectrums of religious matters and assuming this is what God wants. I would argue that, that isn’t completely true as all madhhabs and schools of aqida and sufi orders claim that there are Usul in Aqaid, principles of faith that one must agree on, as for the rest, be it tariqas in Irfan and sufism, or jurisprudential matters in fiqh etc. there is space for agreement and disagreement and the challenging of thoughts and ideas and development of new thoughts, philosophies, theories and approaches and with the exception of extremists in different schools, the general understanding and ruling is that all are Muslim. Unlike Christianity for example, where the differences are in the principles of faith themselves that caused the division of Christians into different sects. That’s why it’s a very common mistake to make the comparison between Sunni’s and Shiah with Catholics and Protestants etc. There are verses in the Qu’ran that go against this argument in which plurality of thoughts/approaches are recognized and God himself says that he could have unified people but that that division was left by the Divine. Religions went astray not in that they had differing views amongst their scholars but in that they tampered with the principles of the religion itself. Differences existed not just between scholars but between prophet’s themselves and their messages and even their rulings, but what they did not differ on were the principles of faith, or their tawhid. As for your 4th point: Regarding verse 34 of Sura an-nisa, this is against modern “emancipation” of women in terms of their marital rights and that is correct, Islam does not share the modern interpretation of women’s marital rights, and instead reveals its own explanation of these rights based on Divine wisdom and understanding and the physical and metaphysical differences between men and women. Which is a firm belief that I uphold and see no issue with. Not because I am a man, but because I believe my Creator is Just and Wise and as the Creator understands creation more than they understand themselves. I don’t want to discuss this though because its obvious we have completely opposite positions on this I’d rather just listen and understand your take on things. As for your final point: That’s great to know! As for you feeling that God ought to be fair. I believe by observing the world and the universe and the precision involved in its creation and the laws of physics or mathematics for example, and the accuracy involved and more importantly the balance in the world so much so that one can make cars and planes and ships and measure distance, speed etc. based on this balanced scale. As such God (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) created everything in balance, including you, in fact you are endowed with much more in so much as you have intellect and consciousness and the ability to not only recognize but also comprehend this balance so the debate should not be, in my humble opinion, with God himself so much as it should be with ourselves trying to understand if our positions on certain matters are correct, and if they are, then why do they not align with religious understandings? Perhaps there is a way of reaching an understanding in which they both align without negating the text nor accusing it of corruption. I think the wiser stance would be to withhold accusation, and continuing of research to reach a better understanding based on principle, and that principle being the Quran being the infallible word of God. - Anyways, it’s certainly refreshing to be able to have a conversation like this although I don’t know if we’ll ever agree, I’m glad I am able to read your words and better understand your perspective and take on things. Sending prayers and peace your way, and prayers of guidance for me and you and all sincere believers in pursuit of Truth, by the rights of Muhammad and his Holy Household.
  9. Let me begin with what I agree with you on. That these are questions we have to reflect upon, meaning what is interpretation and what is truth. If I've understood you correctly. As for what I disagree with, is your statement that it is a "fact" that texts are written in a patriarchal language? That's a huge claim, can you provide evidence for that claim please, because its not obvious. Why would God not condemn certain structures like patriarchy when he condemns that which is greater than patriarchy? Why would God shy away from such a thing wouldn't it negate the purpose of the book, to be a means of ascertaining truth and recognizing falsehood? I don't understand why you would assume that, if you can explain it a bit more that would be appreciated. Didn't God through the Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Imams ((عليه السلام)) break the age old backwards traditions of the Arabs at that time? The claim that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is not equal to his religion, and that his religion is corrupted is also a big claim that requires evidence, it sounds more like an agnostic approach/understanding of God to be fair. God reveals himself through his religion, his different attributes etc. are explained through the religious text. If we agree that the Qu'ran is an infallible, correct text from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) then we can use it as means of understanding Him, when things seem "unfair" why would you automatically assume the issue is with God, why would you jump to that conclusion? Why instead wouldn't you question your own understanding of that perspective instead of settling with God seems to be a misogynist? Or your own understanding of the verses themselves when there's obviously other verses that challenge that presumption? Why wouldn't you refer to the scholars, as ordered to by God in order to understand the said verses? If Misogyny is bad, why would God endorse it and not condemn it if the purpose of religion is to guide one to truth and perfection? That makes it imperfect and if it is imperfect doesn't that mean that it no longer can be used as a means of reaching perfection since it itself contains falsehood? You see where this is going? That is why the Prophet (sawa) set guidelines in order to protect and preserve religion and its understanding in Ghadir Khum, in which he called upon the Muslims to hold steadfast to the Qu'ran and the Ahlulbayt ((عليه السلام)) so that we don't fall into such problems by using are limited minds and understandings to try to impose our own fallible understandings falsely upon religion and God and thus corrupting them, and instead the Holy Prophet (sawa) referred us to the Imams ((عليه السلام)) who are the safe keepers and guardians of the truth so that we can rely on them and not ourselves to understand God and our religion. Religion is a way of reaching truth, so why wouldn't you choose discovering/understanding what it means to be man or woman through the means of religion which is divinely inspired, instead of relying on understandings of gender by contemporary feminists? Not saying you should completely ignore the literature, but if it's truth you seek then the Creator (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is Truth and the source of Truth and is also Just and Wise and Absolute, why would you rely on limited fallible understandings and ignore the source of Truth in your pursuit of understanding? Are feminists infallible in their conceptions of gender roles? Are they also not susceptible to corruption? How do you attain certainty that their claims/understanding of gender roles are so correct that you can impose that "correct" understanding on your readings of religious texts and conclude the possibility of misogyny from God and the "fact" that Gods text is patriarchal in nature?
  10. Salaam, When you make a claim like "All religions are sexist." then you've already answered your question with regards to God being a misogynist, astaghfurullah. I think you have to revisit the tafsirs of the verses you deem misogynistic by our current scholars and I think you'll find it's quite the opposite. If you are fluent in Farsi or Arabic I would recommend Ayatollah Jawadi Amoli's tafsir. Mysognistic means to have hatred and prejudice towards women, do you really think God hates women? I'm always dumbfounded by these claims, but I'm also open to learning why and how you could come to such a conclusion. For the Qu'ran, a good command of the Arabic language can also shed light on verses regarding men and women. As for the hadiths and their fabrication, if they go against the text of the Qu'ran then they are deemed false, and one can assume fabrication as one of the possibilities for their existence among other reasons/possibilities. Keep in mind, it's important that we have them as they help us understand the mindset of people at that time and the attempts made at distorting certain truths. On a side note, equality between men and woman is not absolute. Men and woman are inherently different in creation and as such their functions and roles are different. when speaking of equality and fighting sexism, it's not about equating thier roles/rights completely per se so much as it is about fighting the denigration and belittling of women, as women and limiting women to their reproductive functions, and tipping the scales in favor of men because of women being deemed, incomplete in nature, lacking and/or of very little value and stripping them of rights that are God given. Woman are equal to men in terms of their humanity, dignity and honor as equal human beings and their ability to attain spiritual perfection and their ability to become mujtahidas. That doesn't mean every right belonging to men belongs to woman as well, nor that every right of a woman belongs to the man. Each have their role by virtue of their difference, physically and metaphysically. Also I might add that not all our narrations are narrated by men, men did take narrations from women, you can also see that the main seminary in Qom is built around the shrine of a woman, Lady Fatimah al-Masumah ((عليه السلام)) and our scholars time and again say that they owe everything they learned to her, seek her for intercession and help. Take for example Mulla Sadra walking from the village of Kahak to her shrine in order to find an answer. Or even in her lifetime, the narrations regarding the followers of Imam al-Kadhim ((عليه السلام)) asking her about religious issues/verdicts and her answering them. Or certain mystics that claims that she would come to them and give them spiritual guidance/directions in terms of dhikr. I believe the seerah, the life of our Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Imams ((عليه السلام)) and our scholars ((رضي الله عنه)) show quite the opposite in terms of their treatment and recognition of women.
  11. Salaam, I don't think you're being genuine in your "curiosity", you seem instead to be a troublemaker trying to instigate things all the time instead of having genuine discussions by copy pasting hadiths and you have a habit of not replying based on a quick survey of a series of topics you've opened previously. I don't usually reply to topics like these what so ever. But I feel the need to for the future so that one doesn't come on here and get the wrong idea you are trying to insinuate. Hadith literature is mixed with different reports, some more outlandish than others, some sexist, some racist, some wrong, and some true, some genuine, some outstanding. This is true for ALL SECTS. A hadith might be "sahih" according to the "grading of fulan and fulan" as you've mentioned before in previous topics but that means absolutely nothing to us if it goes against the Holy Qu'ran. Secondly, every mujtahid has his own standards in rijal why do you keep bringing up al-Majlisi ? We don't have Sahihs, the only Sahih book we have is the Holy Qu'ran. So there can be 1000 sahih hadiths that are sexist and go against the Qu'ran it doesn't take away anything from the Shia faith. Do us all a favour and be curious about your own "sexist" hadith literature.
  12. Salaam Sister, Although one genuinely feels pain at reading of others struggles, I’m so thankful that you took the initiative to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences with us and reached out. If anything, that shows a sincere quality within yourself in your pursuit of truth and inner peace. As such, I will attempt to address the topics you’ve mentioned in hope that they can help in some small way, wa ‘ala Allah al-Tawfiq. The 1st point: Regarding the Injustice and pain in the world and the Justice of God: I think this goes back to your understanding of God and the world, you recognize the existence of a higher power, that does not mean this higher power must be involved directly in the world with regards to the affairs of the creation. It is not unjust of God not be involved, rather God has given us relative freedom of will in order to strive to be good. Your very ability to recognize pain and suffering is God given. God gave you that ability not to just feel/recognize pain, but to also react to it. Imagine if you had a rotten tooth or a failing organ, if you did not feel pain, you would not recognize something is wrong and you would leave it until it affects your entire body and it would lead to your demise. Does this mean pain is a bad thing? Had that pain not been there would you have taken the initiative to change? This is on an individual level, on a social level you recognize evil and see/feel pain for the same reason, either/or to play a role in resisting that evil or to protect yourself and your loved ones from that evil. God did not create us just in order to believe and die and go to heaven, we have an active role as a human species endowed with intellect to participate collectively in the betterment of the world. This role is yours to take on. You might also be meaning, why did God create us with the ability to perform such evil and such injustice? This is a discussion of the metaphysical principles of creation, one that I won’t go into but you can read about it if you’re interested. Instead, I’ll suffice with it being the only logical/rational way of being. You cannot have darkness without light, and you cannot have “good” without “evil”, if you potentially can do “excess evil” than you also have the ability to do “excess good” and they’re two sides of the same coin, like your reality and your shadow, they are inseparable. The 2nd point: Secular societies view of religion per se isn’t that simple, strive to understand it. If you see the suffering that the West undertook under the rule of the Church you’ll understand why those sentiments are there and why anyone who seemingly, even if by their dress, seems to adhere to a faith-based way of life and advocates it, is deemed a threat and someone calling for a return to the horrendous suffering western societies went through. Most people’s first thoughts would go to the church’s prosecution of Galileo but that’s not what I am referring to per se, look instead at the Church’s view on sexuality for example. How repressive they were and how even married couples were told they should not enjoy intercourse with their spouses and instead “think of Big Ben” in order not to feel pleasure. Among many other things that is, not to prolong the answer. This is in no way justifying them belittling, abusing, and/or treating religious individuals as second-class citizens. Rather what I’m saying is trying to understand where they are coming from, historically, it is not baseless hate towards religion. You symbolize to them the very thing they fought to destroy and be rid of and that caused them suffering, even though that is so far from the truth in that you are a Muslim and hold beliefs contrary to the Church at that time and are not interested in enforcing anything on anyone. Religion as a whole is not appreciated nor are their adherents, especially in the intellectual circles. The media itself constantly reminds people of past oppressions, and so they are raised on that understanding, so you are deemed as a threat because your hijab clearly singles you out as an adherent to a faith and they make judgement on you based on your appearance alone because to them it’s a statement rather than a choice of modesty etc. In that case you have to work with what you have to be honest, it’s not an ideal position to be in, but it is a reality that you and many other sisters face every day. If I were in your shoes, one thing I would do is try to change this viewpoint not for my own sake but for the sake of my children and grandchildren by being successful and upholding your religious beliefs at the same time. Look at Muhammad Ali for example, he didn’t look Muslim (nothing specific that identifies him other than his name, meaning like a hijab), but he claimed to be a representative of the Nation of Islam (similar to how hijab can be viewed as Islamic representation), which wasn’t even a proper faith and he was a follower of a false prophet that called White men devils and called for segregation etc. yet because he was heavyweight champion of the world and was successful and had great following, it didn’t stop him from being invited to Harvard and other universities, television programmes/shows, to speak his mind which at the time mainly consisted of his beliefs (which later changed). He was able to preach racism and segregation on many stages and behind many pulpits. Become successful in any field/profession of your choice, and people will look beyond the outward appearance and see that you have what they don’t and can appreciate you as an individual just like them, and that your religious beliefs didn’t stop you from being successful. The 3rd point: I think the subject of Misogyny in classical texts, has been addressed well by other members replies. I won’t add much more other than, we cannot erase history, these texts have to remain as they are so that future generations can study and identify the red flags in terms of hadith literature, and secondly no one makes the claim these texts are absolute truth or that they are all true. If that was the case, I’d be worried just as you are for my mother/sister/daughter. Fact of the matter is, it’s a historical phenomena and as others mentioned we know such things to be contrary to the actions of the Prophet (sawa) himself and the Imams ((عليه السلام)) and the Holy Qu’ran. The 4th point: Refer to the second part of the 2nd point. What I would add to that is, recognizing this phenomenon of abandoning the hijab, especially by people you love and respect and the doubts that would occur as a result is understandable. It’s not easy to see, and not easy to understand or to ignore. The idea isn’t being an adherent of Islam just because it’s Islam but because of the truth in Islam. Strengthen your foundations, and your understanding of religion, and be open to questioning, to question isn’t to abandon it, the angels themselves questioned God on the same matters you wrote about. Did they not say, when God announced he was creating a “representative” on earth, a human, that they will be corrupt and shed blood? This issue is addressed, and this question is made in the very beginning of the Qur’an so it’s not like we are encouraged to blindly believe and not question. These subjects have been and are being addressed it’s upon us to look and see what the scholars came up with and if they haven’t to insist, and push them to address them and not shy away from seeking the truth. The 5th point: With regards to mental health, you’re obviously doing the right thing, seeking professional help. I personally know how it feels and feel for you. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) ease your struggle and pain, help you through it by the rights of Muhammad and his Holy Household (sawa). The 6th point: Your struggle to find a spouse is so common these days, unfortunately. In terms of your dua not being answered, that’s not necessarily the case, it’s not about asking and getting, but getting what’s right and at the right time. Look sister, we don’t know our own good, let’s at least agree on that. I’ll speak for myself right now in saying my outlook has changed time and time again, I’ve made mistakes time and time again, I’ve made decisions that I thought were right but later came to regret them wishing I knew back then, what I know now. I don’t mean it on a daily basis but if I survey my life from the time, I became aware and mature, it’s what I come to, at the end of the day my experiences and my maturement are a result of decisions made with good intentions that had bad outcomes. It’s a human experience we all go through, it’s part of growing up. So, if we can agree on the fact that we at times don’t know our own good, then lets also agree that maybe there’s something we need to get out of the way first. Sometimes it’s the mindset, you might like what isn’t good for you. Many men and women learn through divorce what they actually want/like and more precisely what is good for them and what works. I’m sure you don’t want to go through that and learn that way so maybe there’s some learning that needs to be done, about yourself or others? I have very few friends and relatives who haven’t gotten divorced and remarried. It’s sad to say, but it is what it is. So, if anything be thankful your at least not with a partner that’s emotional/physically/mentally abusive or not fit for you. Do your part in ‘being out there’ in a sense, at weddings or centers, or gatherings where you can be seen and interact with the older sisters (if there is that kind of setting where you’re at) as much as possible, because if people don’t know you the potential spouse won’t just be suggested or spontaneously appear. If you have done that or are doing that, then work on yourself internally and focus on your mental health and understanding at the moment, and continue to do so until you meet your potential spouse. There is wisdom in what is given and what is withheld so try to submit to Gods will and try to understand and make sense of it. (not saying that its necessarily a problem on your end, but I know for me it definitely was and I learnt the hard way because I was stubborn.). I pray you find a spouse that loves and appreciates you and that you are compatible with and is good for you and is good to you by the rights of Muhammad and his Holy Household (sawa). Sorry for the extremely long response. It’s hard to believe, but I tried to keep it short. Forgive me if I made any assumptions about you, I tried to work with what I had. Sending prayers and peace your way.
  13. Salaam brother, With regards to people's skepticism and hesitation which you refer to as baloney lol I think is more than just because of power, there is genuine skepticism when it comes to the whole medical field and industry, there is genuine mistrust, due to companies selling drugs, instances of hiking up prices, bad experiences with doctors. It's not like you would go to any dentist when your teeth start to hurt, dentistry and the teeth in general are very sensitive areas, so you would normally ask someone who had a good experience with a dentist who to go to. The same goes for doctors, as someone who isn't anti vax myself, I tried to make sense of others positions as well. When you look at the covid vaccine for example, and the x number of years it generally takes for a vaccine to be tested before being put into use, and the market for vaccines, almost the entire human population, and the money that will be made, and the race by countries to make the vaccine, highlighted by the name "Sputnik" which sounds like an intended pun against the U.S that hey we made it first. As well as the morality of turning human life into numbers, considering casualties of vaccine's as minor because there just a few thousand and that's normal makes individuals apprehensive. I think its too simple to say it's just because of power, and people "feel rational", it is a fact that human beings are rational beings, and that they do have control over their lives as individuals generally speaking. I don't think the hesitancy comes from a place of wanting to feel powerful or rational. People don't risk their lives for the sake of sounding rational, that would ludicrous. If they do In terms of people doing their own research, that in and of itself is not a bad thing, people should. Whether they do or don't or whether they do or don't properly is another matter. People tend to refer to conspiracy theories I would assume because the language is more direct and basic in compared to that of academics (naturally) and because the outlets conspiracy theorists use are mainly social outlets, like YouTube and Reddit etc. they have a larger audience, and they highlight the mistakes of one industry be it medical or other, to instill fear and skepticism in their viewers before offering their alternative. Academics on the other hand haven't done a good job of reaching out to people, even Fauci and the FDA have clear differences, and views keep changing, and there's a lot of diverse opinion among leaders. You might argue that, that really isn't the case among the scientific community well the answer would be the scientific community isn't represented in the media then, and the outlets that do reach the ordinary individual are those that highlight the differences and the ones that skeptics use. This is not taking into account the mini videos being sent on Whatsapp and Telegram etc. that I receive that are false and baseless most of the time. I don't think people are just mindless sheep, man is much more sophisticated and the means of deluding man are just as sophisticated and in turn, you don't have to agree with me, but I would advise you try to view things from a different angle. People who refuse vaccines for example are stating I am willing to put my life on the line potentially for the sake of my beliefs and such a position is not to be taken lightly or to be reduced to a desire to feel powerful or rational.
  14. Hey brother, so glad to see you've taken the initiative to get in touch with believers in your pursuit of truth, It's really commendable that you've taken this step. I've gone through your posts and I want to just highlight a few things and give you my personal opinion and experience with such matters. The ultimate goal in my humble opinion is the pursuit of truth, whatever it may be, and what ever form/name it takes. I am not a revert, but I grew up reading the bible and studying Hinduism and Buddhism at a young age of about 15 years old, and then later began looking into Greek philosophical works, and then later into the works of mystics, saints, and gnostics of all religions in my pursuit of truth and trying to understand the nature of the world around me and it's reality, because I always felt there were many things regarding the human condition and the world that were not adding up, something was wrong, and I wanted to see how man, in the classical sense of the term, attempted to make sense of the world and the human condition, each from their own perspective. I did not grow up around Shia per se either, neither was I active at any mosque or center, occasionally I would go every now and then but I can't say I had a community or a certain set of individuals around me of the same belief. It was a mix of Christian, Athiest, Agnostic, Shia, and Sunni friends, although my first friend was a christian, if that means anything. I can maybe say I did have the choice to be more involved or have people of the same beliefs around me but I did not pursue it, it didn't seem that important me at the time and I was young to say the least. I'm glad though that I didn't it could have probably made me more bias and hindered me in my pursuit of truth and understanding. In my own home, I was encouraged and never told to put off or not read any material that was contradictory to our own beliefs, I had even read the works of the leading atheist thinkers, and I never really felt bad about it or was told off, not that my family were not religious, which they very much are to the core, but that pursuit of knowledge is something that us as Shia do not take issue with, nor do we shy away from discourse and different beliefs and opinions. That was the impression I had and still believe in as do many others, I have met a revert who became Shia for that very reason since they were told by the Sunni Imams they visited to stay away from the Shia as they do magic (more common and absurd a claim than you might imagine), and they are perverse, and they are sly and mix truth with falsehood, and they will drag you into a pit that you cannot get out of, whilst the Shia Imams at the mosques did not discourage them from visiting their Sunni counterparts. Not to say that all Sunni Imams would say this, that would be an injustice and a blatant lie and generalization on my part, as I spent my youth among Sunni Imams and praying congregational prayers with them, and studied under them as well, with no outright objection. It comes down to extremism and there is a fair share of that among all people of belief, religious or otherwise. As for the Qur'an being in Arabic, the Qu'ran is a sacred text specific to Islam, just as any other religion claims to have sacred scriptures, whilst it is true that you cannot take the translation as the exact words of God that is, in my opinion, very reasonable and logical, even if the Church claims the translation of the Bible can be accepted as "the word of God", can a logical individual really accept such a claim, among those who did not is Isaac Newton, and to me it is an obvious thing not to accept, translations can never be "the word of God" by virtue of the fact that God himself chose a semetic language for his revelations, and the languages that God chose, are extremely complex in terms of meaning, possibility and grammar. Languages that are incomparable to English, Latin, Anglo-Saxon in any way. So the church's claim is also unacceptable and they do not claim either that any layman can claim to derive exact meaning from the bible simply by analyzing the verses themselves, and the bibles sold themselves in the footnotes will many a time show you the root meaning of the word in the original language, and study of works on bible exegesis/studies, will show that they themselves often refer to the original language to make meaning of that which they study/read. So its not an issue specific to Islam, almost every Western muslim I would assume owns a translated copy of the Qu'ran and I don't believe that when they read it, they doubt that which they read and understand as not the word of God, they take meaning and have an initial understanding and realisation, and when wanting to delve deeper into the meaning they refer to works of scholars the expand on the meanings based on the scholars understanding of the Arabic language. As such, there shouldn't be an issue in you reading a translation of the Qu'ran and when wanting to derive deeper meaning, you can refer books of Exegesis, or Scholars, as even Arabs cannot derive meaning from the Qu'ran just as those who are fluent in Hebrew also refer to scholars of Hebrew to make sense of their scriptures. This is why God sent prophets and not books, tablets, and scriptures alone. And is also why the Qu'ran addressees this issue by saying it is incumbent upon each group of people, that logically cannot individually dedicate their lives to the study of religion and abandon their worldly affairs and responsibilities to send one individual from among them to study religion in order for them to return and explain it to them, and the scripture is the "religious text" so that is what needs to be explained. As for the Holy Prophet (sawa) being the 'seal' of prophets, this is a Quranic claim for one, if you accept the validity of the Qu'ran than naturally you accept its claims, secondly the claim of prophet-hood alone is not sufficient for it's acceptance, there are proofs that are required, such claims must be tested and this is also logical and reasonable. Several things come to mind: Previous Abrahamic faiths all make claim to the coming of another Prophet, Islam does not make that claim, and embraces and acknowledges the different scriptures and the different prophets, Abrahmic and otherwise, it is the most pluralistic religion in the sense that it does not just require to accept the prophet of it's message but rather makes claim that a Muslim must recognise and believe in every other prophet and their scriptures and accept them as one of his own in order to be considered a Muslim. In the prayers of the Shia Imams, we first send our blessings and prayers upon the previous Major prophets before we reach our own prophet when we want to address God. Islam and the Qu'ran does not negate and invalidate any of the other prophets, nor their claims of the coming of another Prophet after them, but rather affirms it and makes the claim that Muhammad (sawa) is the one being referred to in the other scriptures and the claims of the previous prophets ((عليه السلام)). I wrote your points down and naturally more comes to mind as I write, in order not to mix things up and cause confusion, I will suffice with that I've written and make edits when needed at a later time. As for the stance of Islamic Scholars regarding Apostasy, why should that drive you away from religious belief? If you are sincere in your pursuit of truth than nothing should put you away from getting to the bottom of it. It is not a "condition" of being a Muslim that you should accept every single belief proposed by scholars of that religion. Yes there are certain pillar beliefs that one must uphold, such as the statements of the Shahada among other things, but with regards to religious rulings they are not written in stone, there is space for diversity and discussion in terms of validity and morality or such positions and in my humble opinion that's how it should be. There is no obligation on you to believe in such things in order to be a Muslim, you can become Muslim and then read, research and discuss. You say religious belief because there is a common understanding that religion historically was highlighted for its execution and persecution of those who denied it or challenged it, but if we want to be fair and just, this is not specific to religion, wars have been waged in past and recent history on the pretext that the opposing side rejects certain political beliefs, and thus the killing of those who follow the opposing belief is justified, and the execution or exile of such individuals is reasonable, Charlie Chaplin himself faced issues for holding different beliefs (I use Chaplin just as a common example, I'm sure if you look into what I've written you can yourself conclude which historical events I am referring to) there are certain armies (not militias) of COUNTRIES in the world placed on the terrorism list, allowing the U.S army to assassinate, kill, arrest, and persecute at will with no consequence based on the view of the governments they represent (armies per se are not ideological, unlike militias, they take the position of the government they represent). Does that put you off from politics? It is safe to say, these views exist everywhere and even in academia there have been scholars who have lost their positions, and their scholarly works are not published by their own universities (referring to Ivy League universities here) because of their views on Darwinism for example. We are facing Covid now and there have even been calls on news channels for the death of those who oppose vaccination. What I mean to say brother is that it shouldn't put you off so long as it's not a condition posed upon you by religion to believe in, historically when people converted to Islam, the Prophet (sawa) did not begin interrogating them and making sure they had a certain fixed belief in certain rulings and understandings and it was understood that there was always space for discussion and questioning, and the Prophet (sawa) and the Imams ((عليه السلام)) were ALWAYS questioned on everything including apostasy, which is why we have a plethora of hadith today, because Islam opened that door and set certain individuals one can refer to and discuss and debate with. Islam is not a purely faith based religion, belief without conviction and reason is condemned in the Qu'ran on multiple occasions. Faith without reason and intellect is not sufficient or acceptable, for those already Muslim and those learning about Islam alike, and if I may say so, for any sincere pursuer of the truth. As for community and communities accepting you, although I am somewhat secluded myself right now and don't have a community I ascribe to or that I can feel comfortable in, this is not due to them being Shia per se, it may be highlighted more in Shia circles, and Sunnis due to their pursuit of Dawah are more open in that regard, that has not a shred of relation to truth whatsoever, what is comfortable is not necessarily what is right, and any person, in any circle, religious or otherwise with a minority claim will always feel lonely in one sense or the other, let alone when we look at communities that come from certain ethnic backgrounds that are satisfied with their own circles of individuals that are like them in terms of ethnicity and/or race. Don't let that hold you back from being firm in your pursuit of truth. In the long run, I get how difficult it can be, and it always pains me to read these words written by you and others facing these struggles, and I thank God always for the fact that I grew up with multiple groups of individuals and that I don't have that disease as far as I know. It just comes down to human nature, these divides are more common than we'd like, the sunni world is much bigger than the Shia, Shia's are primarily known to be in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, India, Pakistan etc. and historically they always had the lower hand and were oppressed in their own countries even in some in which they represented a majority of the population, and so they stuck to each other, because until recently even though some Shia populated countries shared borders, the people themselves held strong feelings about the other side and interaction on any scale was minimal. It is a sad reality but trying to understand it somewhat eases the pain, but what eases it most with is the Qur'anic position of the level piety being what distinguishes man from one another, and the words of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Imams ((عليه السلام)) in that we are either brothers in faith or equals in humanity and that there is no difference between an Arab or a Persian, a Black man or White, or Red. Except in Piety. I wouldn't divorce myself from the general non Muslim community, if I lived in one, and I would strive to have healthy relations with all peoples, as piety is not specific to Muslims, neither are good manners, or behavior. I would give this book a read if you haven't already: https://www.al-islam.org/inquiries-about-islam-shaykh-muhammad-jawad-chirri I apologize if I missed anything out, or rambled on for too long or made any presumptions, I see you as my brother genuinely in the pursuit of truth and wish you all the best in your journey and look forward to hearing from you about your conclusions, realizations, questions on what I consider the only journey really worth taking. Keep going, and peace be upon you.
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