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In the Name of God بسم الله

Abu Nur

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  1. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Last Chance for a blog entry, Call upon me, I will answer you   
    Alone, in the dark, a young girl is weeping,
    Not knowing what her heart has always been seeking,
    So, now, to her Lord, she is finally speaking,
    Revealing the secrets she thought she'd been keeping.
     
     
    Her Lord listens to her with indescribable love,
    He watches her raise her weak hands, above.
     
     
    "My Lord, I beg you to enter my heart,
    To you, all my sorrows, I wish to impart,
    This emptiness, I can bear it no more,
    I feel I am drowning and you are my shore."
     
     
    She buries her wet face in the palms of her hands,
    For she knows that He, alone, understands,
    But she wonders if she is worthy of His mercy, so great,
    She wonders if forgiveness and love are her fate.
     
     
    "My Lord, I have neglected my soul,
    I never gave heed to my purpose or goal,
    And now, I need You to set my soul right,
    I have no-one but You in the midst of this night."
     
     
    Tears flow from her eyes like a thunderous river,
    As she awaits the reply from this Generous Giver,
    But He waits and He watches as she continues to cry,
    So she calls desperately into the night sky,
     
     
    "My Lord, You are everything I need,
    Of any happiness, You are the seed,
    I yearn for You to make my heart whole,
    To take Your place, this world previously stole."
     
     
    With nothing more to give, the girl gets to her feet,
    As longing for her Lord fills her every heartbeat.
    She raises her hands, one final time,
    Her soul weighed down by her forgetful crime.
     
     
    "My Lord, You are my only, last hope,
    Without you, I know, I won't be able to cope,
    To feel Your presence, my soul, I can sell,
    All I want is that in my heart, You dwell.
     
     
    My Lord, I want You to open my soul's eyes,
    And to put an end to my grievous cries,
    You said that Your friends feel no sorrow, nor pain,
    So befriend me, God, let this night not pass in vain."
     
     
    As she tires from this begging, her eyes slowly close,
    And she feels that her yearning, now surely, He knows,
    Her Lord looks lovingly at the slumbering youth,
    And knows that her words carried nothing but truth.
     
     
    So He enters her soul and whispers some words,
    Sweeter than the chirping of awakening birds,
     
     
    "...Call upon me; I will answer you," (40: 60)
    And more than this, what else could be true?
  2. Sad
    Abu Nur reacted to starlight for a blog entry, The Suffering and Martyrdom of Fatima Zahra(as) - Key points to remember   
    Salam everyone, 
    One of the most tragic incidences in the history of Islam has been the the martyrdom of the the Lady of light, Our Prophet Muhammad(saw)' daughter, Fatima Zahra(عليه السلام). To date the exact location of her grave is not known. What is even sadder is that most Shias of Ahlebayt(عليه السلام) are not clear about the facts and timeline of events surrounding her tragic death. Ambiguities have been created,some people choose to adopt a defensive attitude when naming people involved in the incident, others shy away from talking about it because of creating discord with people of other sects. However, I believe it is very important that we are very clear about what happened after the death of RasulAllah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and in the event of a discussion we are able to state the facts objectively, and this is the sole purpose of this post. It is not to curse the caliphs, or offend the Sunnis, so I will request that if anyone replies here he also refrains from doing so. 
    Most of what I have written below comes from Sheikh Abbas Qummi's book "House of Sorrows" . I will try to provide references wherever possible in the post, but since I want to keep it short and concise I would ask you to refer to the book if anyone wishes to read more. The book is available online on al-Islam.org. 
    1. DEATH OF THE HOLY Prophet
    The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) departed from this world on 28 safar 11 A.H.  For three days Imam Ali(عليه السلام) postponed his burial. Why? Because he wanted to give all the Muslims an opportunity to join his funeral. Sadly, most of the Ansar and Muhajireen were busy choosing the successor of Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and didn't show up. Seeing this, Imam Ali(عليه السلام) went ahead with the funeral and burial of RasulAllah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) 
    2. SAQEEFAH
    In Arabic, the word Saqeefah literally means a 'tent'.So,while the Bani Hashim were busy with funeral arrangements of RasulAllah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and had withdrawn from social activities because they were mourning the Ansaar gathered in the tent of the tribe of Bani Sa'idah and started choosing a leader for the Arabs. Upon hearing this Umar told Abu Bakr to quickly rush to the place. After some squabble between Ansaar and Muhajireen Abu Bakr was chosen as a successor for Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
    The first three people to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr were: Bashir b.Sa'ad, Umar b.Khattab and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah. 
    3. DID EVERYONE PLEAD ALLEGIANCE TO Abu Bakr? WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T? 
    Of course, one of the persons to not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr was our Imam Ali(عليه السلام) but there were people amongst Arabs who refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. Let's just look at two examples.
    1. MALIK b.NUWAYRAH: Malik b Nuwayarh was a devout companion of the Holy Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Upon his refusal to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr told Khalid b. Waleed to prepare an army against him and attack him under the pretext that he had turned apostate and was refusing to pay Zakat and taxes to the Caliph. What Khalid b. Waleed did was attack him during the night in his house, like a coward. They killed him, later raped his wife and they didn't stop there. They cut off Malik's head and cooked it with camel meat and the food from the vessel containing Malik's head was consumed by Khalid b. Waleed's army. 
    2. SA'AD b. UBADAH: Saad b.Ubadah was from the Ansaar of Medina and a contender with Abu Bakr for caliphate.However, he lost when the clan of al-Khizraj did not side with him. Umar tried to force him to pledge allegiance. However,he refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr and to Umar after him and instead lived a life of seclusion. When Umar took over the reins he ordered Khalid b. Waleed to kill Sa'ad. He shot arrows at him which killed him and they later spread a rumour that he was killed by jinns(narrated by Historian al-baladhuri)
    So now we have some idea what was happening to people who refused allegiance. 
    4.CONFISCATION OF Fadak
    Fadak was confiscated and one of the reasons behind confiscating Fadak was to hurt Imam Ali(عليه السلام) economically because Abu Bakr and Umar feared that Imam Ali(عليه السلام) might rise against them so they took away Fadak. 
    5. WHY DIDN'T Imam Ali (عليه السلام) OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF Abu Bakr?
    After Saqeefa took place three hundred and sixty people pledged allegiance at the hand of Imam Ali(عليه السلام) to defend him until his death. Imam(عليه السلام) told them go home and gather in a particular street the next day with shaved heads.Out of of these three hundred and sixty people how many turned up the next day? Only FIVE!     Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Hudhayfah, Ammar and Salman.
    Imam Ali(عليه السلام) saw a flock of sheep, about thirty in number gathered in a pen and looking at them he said, "By Allah! If I had along with me men who were true supporters of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and His Prophet, equaling the number of these sheep, I would certainly have deposed Abu Bakr, from his authority."
    6. FORCING Imam Ali(عليه السلام) TO GIVE ALLEGIANCE & THREATENING TO BURN THEIR HOUSE
    After seeing fickleness of the people Imam Ali (عليه السلام)settled into his house. Abu Bakr sent men to get Imam Ali(عليه السلام) to come out. He turned them down.They went again,this time Lady Fatima(عليه السلام) refused to open the door and sent them away. Next, three men gathered firewood outside the home of Hazrat Ali(عليه السلام) and Bibi Fatima(عليه السلام). Who were these three men 1. Qunfudh  2.Khalid b.Waleed  3.Mughaira b.Shu'bah.
    Umar came to the door and asked Fatima(عليه السلام) to open it, which she refused once again.They started lighting up the firewood on Umar's instructions. Hazrat Fatima(عليه السلام)cried out and tried to remind them of her position which they ignored and, pushed the door open behind which Hazrat Fatima(عليه السلام),who was pregnant at that time was standin, and she was crushed between the wall and door. Umar entered the house and struck Fatima(عليه السلام) on the arm with his whip which left a bruise there. She sustained injuries which led her to miscarrying the baby Mohsin; and went into an illness from which she did not recover. 
    7.IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE THAT Umar ASSAULTED Fatima(عليه السلام)?
    If we look at Umer's life we see that he had an explosive temper a history of abuse against women. The famous incident narrated by our Sunni brothers about his conversion to Islam, where Umar struck his own sister and wounded her. Before going to his Sister's house he was on his way to kill Prophet of Allah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)
    8. Islamic POSITION ON ENTERING SOMEONE'S HOUSE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION
    O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded.And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do. - Qur'an Surah Nur: 27-28
    9. WHY DID Fatima(عليه السلام) ANSWER THE DOOR AND NOT Imam Ali(عليه السلام)?
    This is one of the points frequently brought up, why didn't Imam Ali answer the door? The answer is, there is nothing wrong per se to a wife answering the door. there are numerous narrations where one of Prophet(saw)'s wives answered the door while the Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was himself in the house.
    10.WHY DIDN'T Imam Ali DEFEND Fatima(عليه السلام)?
    After Umar had struck Fatima(عليه السلام) Imam Ali(عليه السلام) came out and caught hold of the collar of ‘Umar and threw him down to the ground. He was determined to kill him but suddenly recalled the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and called out, ‘O son of Sahhak! I swear by Allah Who exalted Muhammad to the rank of prophethood that if the command of Allah would not have been decreed and the promise (to bear patiently) not have been given to me by the Prophet of Allah, you would have realized how difficult it is to enter my house!’
    11. HAZRAT Fatima(عليه السلام) PASSED AWAY AT LEAST A MONTH AFTER HER SERMON ON Fadak
    https://www.al-Islam.org/house-sorrows-life-sayyidah-fatimah-al-Zahra-and-her-grief-shaykh-Abbas-qummi/chapter-3-state
    http://www.askthesheikh.com/can-you-provide-reliable-shiasunni-sources-on-martyrdom-of-lady-Fatima-al-Zahra-a-s/
  3. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, Dialogue with Believers   
    Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IqraOnlineBlog/
    Original post: https://www.iqraonline.net/dialogue-with-believers/
    An epidemic harming our communities is the general inability, hesitance & fear of engaging in dialogue with one another. In fact, in recent years, it appears there has been a significant increase in our communities engaging and initiating inter-faith dialogue, yet we do not see this phenomenon within our own communities. This is while we need such initiatives perhaps even much more so than inter-faith. We lack the ethics and etiquette of engaging in dialogue with other believers and this naturally weakens, distances and breaks up our communities on various fronts. This is of utmost concern particularly for the diaspora that is already in a vulnerable position – and things do not seem to be getting any better. Dialogue is not simply “speaking” – speaking is not the issue, in fact, many of us speak and have a lot to say, and our pulpits are occupied all year long with trained scholars, untrained lecturers and academics speaking.
    A dialogue will generally have these three elements:
    1) Two or more people
    2) A subject of dispute or a subject that needs clarification
    3) An expectation that the result of dialogue will either be in favour of you and/or the other party, or not (depending on the conclusion).
    When dialogue does not take place, the results we observe are usually the belittlement of others, insults, accusations and rumours, swearing, and in fact, a lack of dialogue can even lead to physical confrontations, wars and bloodshed. These are of course all horrible consequences, particularly when the victims are no other than our selves. These consequences show that the subject of dispute was not resolved or there was no capacity to engage in a dialogue to begin with.
    Why do we not engage in dialogue amongst ourselves? Are those who we disagree with amongst the believers so off the mark that we need to maintain a position against them like we should do with those who are genuine enemies of our belief? This is most often not the case at all and only in extremely exceptional circumstances do we have to encounter such groups of people – at which point it would be difficult to even classify them as believers. In the Treatise of Rights, Imam Sajjad (a) says that people of your creed enjoy the following rights over you:
    The right of the people of your creed is harbouring safety for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward their wrong-doer, treating them with friendliness, seeking their well-being, thanking their good-doer, and keeping harm away from them. You should love for them what you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. Their old men stand in the place of your father, their youths in the place of your brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their young ones in the place of your children.
    Neglecting dialogue over matters of contention, more often than not, results in the trampling of some or all of these rights. So what prevents us from engaging in dialogue? Perhaps one or more of the following preliminaries required for dialogue do not exist:
    1. The need to recognize other believers as noble creations of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Verse [17:70] says Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the children of Adam nobility and honour. In some of our communities, we see believers giving a lot of respect to Sayyids and this is not for any reason except for the fact that they are connected to the Prophet (p) through a chain of many generations. However, it behooves us to realize that we (and creation as a whole) are connected to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) directly (or as per certain schools of philosophy, we are the very connection itself). Looking at another believer through the lens of dishonour and painting them as ignoble will not lead us anywhere and signifies a much greater spiritual problem.
    2. Acknowledging that humans are different from certain aspects – gender, ethnicities, tribes, physical and spiritual capacities, affinities, tastes etc. We have two types of Sunnah (pl. Sunan) – the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Sunnah of Allah. The Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are divided into two: there are some Sunan that only become applicable when humans bring them upon themselves through their free-will; for example, the increased bestowal of guidance once we have wilfully chosen to come into Islam -
    [47:17] As for those who are [rightly] guided, He enhances their guidance.
    [19:76] Allah enhances in guidance those who are [rightly] guided.
    There are some Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that are absolute, not conditioned to the free-will of man. One of these Sunan is His creating us different. These differences are one of the necessary conditions for trial and tribulation to have any meaning in this world.
    [5:48] …and had Allah wished He would have made you one community, but [His purposes required] that He should test you in respect to what He has given you…
    [6:165] It is He who has made you successors on the Earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.
    As such, it is normal that even within the same worldview, there will be times people reach different conclusions and do things differently. Acknowledging this opens the door to considering certain points of contention worthy of engagement. On the contrary, allowing these contentions to break us apart may very well be a sign that the believers are failing in their trials.
    3. The lack of desire to engage in Ṣulḥ - to reach a conciliation and compromise. Ṣulḥ is often discussed in the context of resolving personal disputes and ironing out details of settlements, or as a treaty for halting warfare. But the general principles of Ṣulḥ can also be used to resolve larger community disputes – as was common in the Muslim world in the past and continues to be the case in many rural places. However, this generic understanding of Ṣulḥ only works if parties involved have a desire to discuss their disputes in a sincere manner (the details and mechanisms of Ṣulḥ have been discussed in detail in their appropriate places). One should not see the mere existence of differences as necessarily going against the command of holding on to the rope of Allah [3:103] - these two are reconcilable on many occasions as the scholars have mentioned. The absence of Ṣulḥ breaks and fragments the communities of the believers.
    4. Reality is too vast and not all of it is in our hands. At any given point we have only understood certain aspects of it and that as well to a certain degree, not absolute reality –
    [17:85] and you have not been given of the knowledge except a little.
    We need to acknowledge that there are other perspectives and there is genuine room for these perspectives to be justified within an Islamic framework. The vastness of reality should alone be enough to humble and soften us to engage in dialogue with another party amongst the believers. The delusion of having uncovered all of the truth regarding a certain matter and behaving as if no one else could possibly say anything that would add anything to our knowledge is a deterrent and barrier for dialogue.
  4. Completely Agree
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, Riya - A Journey Towards the Self   
    Originally posted here: https://www.iqraonline.net/riya-a-journey-towards-the-self-ikhlas-a-journey-towards-Allah/
    When you do an act that falls under the domain of worship (‘ibādah), you can either perform this action for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), you can do it for someone or something other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), or you can do it for both Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and another entity together. The latter two are called riyā’ (showing-off and ostentation) and Islam clearly condemns this. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says:
    أَنَا خَيْرُ شَرِيكٍ؛ مَنْ أَشْرَكَ مَعِيَ غَيْرِي فِي عَمَلٍ عَمِلَهُ لَمْ أَقْبَلْهُ إِلا مَا كَانَ لِي خَالِصاً
    I am the best of partners. Whoever associates others with Me in a deed that he has done, I will not accept it except that which is done for Me sincerely.
    Hence, riyā’ is to seek a position and status amongst people through an act of worship. All of us want praise and a reputation in the eyes of others, yet we have to fight and oppose this tendency and make our actions as sincere as possible for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). In a tradition attributed to the Prophet (p), it says:
    Verily, the first people to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who was martyred. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I fought in your cause until I was martyred. Allah will say: You have lied, for you fought only that it would be said you were brave, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
    Another man studied knowledge, taught others, and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I learned knowledge, taught others, and I recited the Qur'an for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you studied only that it would be said you are a scholar and you recited the Qur'an only that it would be said you are a reciter, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
    Another man was given an abundance of blessings from Allah and every kind of wealth. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I did not leave any good cause beloved to you but that I spent on it for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you spent only that it would be said you are generous, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.
    As for riyā’ in non-worship acts, such as someone showing off their calligraphy or sports skills, or some other talent they possess, scholars have mentioned some intricate details that are worthy of note, but to put it roughly, riyā’ in those acts is not always condemned, in fact at times it is praised and necessary. The problematic riyā’ is applicable when an act should be done for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) alone, but instead people become the Qibla and Ka’ba for one’s act. Often times, people in influential positions – whether on a large communal level, or even within their own smaller social circles – fall prey to riyā’ as all their efforts are in trying to acquire the satisfaction of people or both people and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), as opposed to only Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
    Stages of Riyā’
    First Stage: The first, most obvious and apparent stage of riyā’ is to practically perform an act for the sake of people – this is the only reason why one performs this act. In fact, if there are no people to look at him, or hear him, they will not do the act. There is absolutely no intention to reach proximity to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in this act.
    Second Stage: This is when the first intended audience for the act are people, but at the same time, there is an intention to perform the act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) as well. Both people and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are placed on the same horizontal plane. The individual will not perform the act if people do not see him, but at the time same he also expects Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to accept his actions.
    In both the aforementioned stages, one’s act of worship is legally invalidated and incorrect.
    Third Stage: At this point the riyā’ becomes more hidden in relation to the previous two stages – though it is still defined as a manifested and conspicuous riyā’. The person intends to do an act of worship for both others and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and this relationship is equal – both have to be there for one to perform the act. If Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is there, but people are not there, he will say, “Why should I bother doing it?” On the contrary if people are there, but Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is not there, he will say, “Why should I burden myself with worship?” Legally speaking, even in this scenario the worship is invalidated.
    Fourth Stage: This is when riyā’ is defined as hidden and inconspicuous (khafī). The intention is primarily for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but people should be there as well. If people are not present, he will perform the act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but that excitement and delight that would have existed if people were to see him is not present. This is a sign. When people are not present, they are lazy and not very motivated to do the act, but in front of people the worship is more vibrant, longer and so on.
    قال أمير المؤمنين: ثلاث علامات للمرائي: ينشط  إذا رأى الناس، ويكسل إذا كان وحده، ويحب أن يحمد في جميع أموره
    Imam ‘Alī (a) has said: There are three signs of a show-off, he is energetic when he see’s people, lazy when he is alone, and loves to be praised in all of his deeds.
    In essence, though his purpose is to pray for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but what is really important for him is his own excitement and happiness.
    Legally speaking, there is no verdict here, perhaps very few jurists have said this also invalidates the action. Nevertheless, it does weaken the worship and there is a discussion on whether it is accepted or not in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
    Fifth Stage: During the act of worship, the intention is that it is only being performed for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and the person is conscious of this. However, after the act is complete, the person brings it up at a later time – even if it happens to be decades later – so that people get to know about it. Satan’s whispers to not let him off even after the worship is complete and follow him for a much longer time. There are different ways to convey this as well – for example, someone who prayed Ṣalāt al-Layl, but later wants people to know about it, says, “can you please pass me some water, my throat is really dry today as the recitation of my Ṣalāt al-Layl took really long.”
    It is here where ḥabṭ (fall of a deed) takes place. The act of worship was done correctly, the angels carry the act to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), but later it is declined and falls back. ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī and perhaps other scholars believe that when ḥabṭ occurs, it indicates there was definitely a problem when the action was first done, but it was extremely hidden. This stage is difficult to identify, because sometimes you may want to encourage others around you to worship, but Satan is cunning enough to set up traps for us.
    أبي جعفر عليه السلام أنه قال: الابقاء على العمل أشد من العمل قال: وما الابقاء على العمل، قال: يصل الرجل بصلة وينفق نفقة لله وحده لا شريك له، فتكتب له سرا ثم يذكرها فتمحى فتكتب له علانية ثم يذكرها فتمحى وتكتب له رياء
    Imam Bāqir (a): Preserving a deed is more difficult than performing the deed itself. A man said: “What does preserving a deed mean?” He (a) said: “It is when a man maintains good relations with relatives or spends something just for the sake of Allah – who has no partners. This will be recorded for him as a good deed performed secretly. He then mentions it to people, and the deed is erased and recorded as a good deed performed publicly. Then he mentions it to people again and it is erased and is recorded as an instance of riyā’.”
    Sixth Stage: This is when a person does an act for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and does not mention it himself afterwards either. However, someone else may bring it up and once it is brought up, they feel a sense of happiness and content.
    If they are happy because of what they see as Allah’s grace in having hidden their deficiencies and having exposed their goodness, using this as an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), then they have not only protected their deed, but rather they have further elevated it. This is very difficult to do since it requires for a person be able to see the Act of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
    Satan whispers in many ways causing us to show off. When one learns that showing off and ostentation in one’s act of worship causes deficiencies, Satan further uses that as an opportunity to make you think that you might as well abandon the act altogether. Instead of committing to fighting against the whispers of Satan, one ends up abandoning the act completely.
    The solution to all of this is developing sincerity (ikhlāṣ), which is nothing but a journey towards Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and it sits in contradiction to riyā’, which is a journey towards the self and Satan. In order to develop ikhlāṣ, one needs to see Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) as Ever-Living (Al-Ḥayy). There is no room for taking into consideration anyone other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in one’s act of worship. All other lives are nothing but mere subordinates of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
    هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۗ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
    [40:65] He is the Ever-Living; there is no deity except Him, so call upon Him, being sincere to Him in religion. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
  5. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, Fasad and Expectations for the Ūlū Baqīyatin   
    Originally posted here: https://www.iqraonline.net/fasad-and-expectations-for-the-ulu-baqiyatin/
    1400 years ago the Umayyads seized complete power of the Muslim world, ruling for 90 years and came to be recognized as one of the most damaging dynasties to take control of the Muslim world. The Umayyads were able to alter and enforce an interpretation of Islam on the newly developing Islamic nation that dictated the fundamentality of tribalism, the superiority of Arabs, harshness, warfare and geographical expansions. In these 90-years, the Umayyads did not have much to do with Islam, rather they primarily saw it as a means to further strengthen their political power. Hence, we do not even see any significant depth in Islamic scholarship being produced during this period, in fact, on the contrary, some traditions indicate that some groups of Muslims were even unaware of rules concerning the Ḥalāl and Ḥarām during parts of Umayyad rule. The remnants of this enforced interpretation can be seen predominantly in certain theological discussions, the ḥadīth, Qurānic exegesis and jurisprudence, as it deeply embedded itself into the minds of the early Muslim community. Even some later Shī’ī traditions where the Imams (a) respond to individual questions can only be understood when one understands certain trends and ideas inherited by the community from the previous Umayyad dynasty.
    According to the Umayyad painting of Islam, any movement seeking reform, change and improvement was deemed sectarian and a cause of a split in the Muslim nation – a threat to their power – even if it happened to be one of their own, like the caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz. Hence, 1380 years ago, Imam Ḥusayn (a) was also seen as a troublemaker. Imam Ḥusayn (a) rightly deemed the Umayyad caliphate – still in its infancy – as a source of corruption (fasād) on Earth and described them as those who obey Shayṭān instead of obeying the Most Gracious. The Imam (a) took a stand against their corruption which continues to be remembered till today:
    So, he (a) called to You (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) flawlessly, gave advices, and sacrificed his soul for You to save Your servants from ignorance and perplexity of straying off. Yet, those whom were seduced by this worldly life, who sold their share (of reward) with the lowliest and meanest, retailed their Hereafter with the cheapest price, acted haughtily, perished because of following their desires, brought to themselves Your wrath and the wrath of Your Prophet. ~ Ziyārah of Arba’īn
    However, the stand of Imam Ḥusayn (a) was not against any petty corruption. At times you have corruption on the micro-level, perhaps between two individuals in a business transaction, or between a couple where one spouse is oppressive to the other. Fighting against this corruption would not have required him (a) to do what he did and say what he (a) did. He (a) could have given allegiance and remained in Medina to fight against such corruption. Other times you have a macro-level and systematic corruption – a type of corruption that is built into the very systems ruling over you. It can even be argued that the former types of corruption ultimately originate in some aspects of the latter.
    The Qurān contains examples of both types of corruption. For example:
    وَلَا تَنقُصُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ ۚ إِنِّي أَرَاكُم بِخَيْرٍ وَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ مُّحِيطٍ
    [11:84] Do not diminish the measure or the balance. Indeed I see that you are faring well, but I fear for you the punishment of an all-embracing day.
    This verse is referring to corruption that occurs in matters of transactions and business, asking individuals to not cheat one another – such a person would be a fāsid. In order to understand corruption on the macro-level, we should see who the Qurān describes as a mufsid. A few examples:
    ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا ۖ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
    [7:103] Then after them We sent Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his elite, but they wronged them. So observe how was the fate of the agents of corruption!
    The verse asks us to go and investigate the fate of the mufsidīn – the very agents of corruption, those who caused corruption on a macro-level. A fāsid causes corruption on a micro-level which impacts him or herself and perhaps a few around them, but a mufsid impacts society at large. The Qurān repeatedly emphasizes the mufsid aspect of Pharaoh instead of his kufr.
    إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
    [28:4] Indeed Pharaoh exalted himself over the land, reducing its people to factions, abasing one group of them, slaughtering their sons and sparing their women. Indeed He was one of the agents of corruption.
    This verse further implies that it was the power and authority Pharaoh held which allowed him to cause the corruption that he did.
    وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ
    [2:204] Among the people is he whose talk about worldly life impresses you, and he holds Allah witness to what is in his heart, though he is the staunchest of enemies.
    [2:205] And if he were to wield authority, he would try to cause corruption in the land, and to ruin the crop and the stock, and Allah does not like corruption.
    These two verses are describing an individual as the staunchest or fiercest of enemies. The staunchest of enemies is someone whose speech and words will impress you, but when they gain power and take over, they cause corruption and destruction over the lands – this is not a micro-level corruption by any means.
    It was this type of corruption that the Imam (a) was primarily trying to expose and fight against. Furthermore, not everyone can necessarily fight against this corruption and neither is it expected from everyone and this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Qurān considers this an expectation for the Ūlū Baqīyatin:
    فَلَوْلَا كَانَ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ أُولُو بَقِيَّةٍ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْفَسَادِ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّمَّنْ أَنجَيْنَا مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَاتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَا أُتْرِفُوا فِيهِ وَكَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ 
    [11:116] Why were there not among the generations before you a remnant [of the wise] who might forbid corruption in the Earth, except a few. Those who were wrongdoers pursued that in which they had been granted affluence, and they were a guilty lot.
    وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ
    [11:117] Your Lord would never destroy the townships unjustly while their inhabitants were bringing about reform.
    As per some works of tafsīr, the Ūlū Baqīyatin have been described as the intellectuals and scholars – in the general sense of the word – of society. They are expected to expose, forbid and fight against this level of corruption. Micro-level corruption can be forbidden by even the laity and in fact they are expected to do so given the right conditions, but macro-level corruption requires more and cannot necessarily be expected from them. It requires knowledge – specialist knowledge of who one is up against, knowledge of the system and how it works – and secondly, it requires purity and righteousness. As the verse implies, only a few special people come forth to forbid this extent of corruption, while the rest themselves are guilty of sins and corruption.
  6. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Pyramids, aliens & God   
    There is a populist theory that the pyramids must have had an alien inspiration. This is because of the range of innovations that they represent and knowledge across multiple disciplines and their orientation towards certain constellations.
    My problem with this theory is the bent pyramid at Dahshur. It's bent, because they got the maths wrong. Weird that aliens who managed to get to this planet but then got their measurements for a stone structure wrong. Seems pretty clear to me that the pyramids we see represent the refinement and development of Egyptian technology, rather than discrete alien intervention.
    In contrast, this planet is stuffed full of interesting resources in quantities just right for exploitation at the time that they'd be needed and human development would have reached a stage to take advantage. That's a far more likely candidate as evidence of extra-terrestrial involvement in the seeding of this planet with the correct quantities of resources at the time of its creation. Given the nature and extent of such material, it's likely to have been something more advanced than aliens doing the seeding.
    I was reminded of this by the current horseshoe crab shortage affecting north America. It seems as if they have been over-exploited because their blood contains a substance used to test medical products for the presence of bacteria.
  7. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to ShiaMan14 for a blog entry, Umrah from the US Guide   
    Salaam,
    I had the privilege and honor of going to Umrah a few weeks ago. Having completed my hajj in 2010, it was time to pay Hijaz another visit to pay my respects to the Prophet (saw) and his progeny in Madinah and visit the House of Allah in Makkah.
    Hopefully the pointers below will help anyone planning on going for Umrah.
    First, if you haven't been to Saudi before, it is best to go with a registered group. It will make things easier for you because other than following instructions, there shouldn't be much to worry about..Also, if you don't speak arabic or urdu/hindi/bengali, then it would be better to go with a registered group because language can be an issue in some places.
     Anyway, I decided to go with my family instead of a group. The primary hurdle in going to Saudi is getting a visa. These are things to remember:
    We had to apply to a local consulate but individual travelers cannot apply on their own. The visa application has to be submitted through an authorized travel agency. Even though the Umrah visa is free, these agencies charge between $175 - $200 per person for visa. Also, note that you can only apply within 30 days of going for umrah. You need to buy non-refundable return tickets before applying. The other mandatory requirement is to get a meningitis vaccination. CVS, Walgreens or RediClinic can do this without a prescription. Without insurance, it will cost between $150-$200. Get the vaccination record from the Pharmacy and submit it with your application. Common sense would dictate that you buy your tickets once visa approval is obtained but not in this case. Visa application usually takes about 1 week to process...might take longer during busy times. Next decision is where to fly in/out from. If you decide to go to Makkah first, you will have to fly into Jeddah. Since Jeddah is inside the meeqat***, you will have to wear your ihram from the point of origin. So we chose to fly into Madinah first.
    I would recommend either Turkish Airlines or Emirates. We flew Emirates from the US. We had a 5 hour layover in Dubai so we went out of the airport and had a nice dinner. US Citizens do not need a visa for Dubai (UAE).Came back to the airport around 11p for our 105a flight to Medinah.
    Day One:
    We arrived in Madinah around 345a, got out of the airport by 445a. Since we were not part of a group, I made arrangements transportation arrangements with or hotel. It took about 30 minutes to get to our hotel right next to Masjid Al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Holy Prophet).
    We stayed at Hotel Pullman Zamzam Madinah. Fantastic 5* hotel with great rooms and awesome breakfast. The only downside to the hotel is that it is on the opposite end of the Ladies entrance to the mosque so it took the ladies about 15 minutes to walk to the mosque. The hotel did provide a shuttle service for women at regular intervals.
    After checking-in, we took a quick shower and made our way to the Mosque just in time for Fajr - individual, not jama'ah.


    After every salah every day, the Saudis open Jana'at Al-Baqi for an hour or so. Much to my surprise, the Saudis were fairly relaxed in letting people get in, recite dua/ziarat albeit quietly and even take pictures.
    Imam Hasan (as), Imam Sajjad (as), Imam Al-Baqar and Imam Al-Sadiq are buried here.


    If I am not mistaken, I think Hz Umm-al-baneen is buried where I have drawn the red circle:

    Went back to our hotel around 7am. We ate breakfast and finally went to bed after a 24 hours journey.
    We woke up around 3pm and went to the Prophet's mosque for zuhrain. We prayed some other prayers so got back to the hotel around 430p. We rested a bit more and then made our way back to the mosque for maghribain around 7p. Once again, we stayed there for around 2 hours and then had dinner and then back to the hotel.
    We are recommended to pray full zuhr/asr/isha in Medinah.
    Day Two:
    After taking an early night, we headed to the Prophet's mosque around 2am where we prayed salat-e-layl and other prayers. Returned to our hotel just after fajr. Our schedule for the rest of the day was the same as the previous day. However, there are other ziarats in Madinah one can visit:
    Masjid al-Shams Masjid al-Zul Qibltayn Masjid al-Quba The Saba Saba Masjids Masjid al-Fatah Masjid Salman al-Farsi Masjid al-Ali A.S. Masjid al-Bidi Fatimah Zehra A.S. Ohud – Hazrat Hamza A.S. Day Three:
    I stayed in the Prophet's mosque from 130am - fajr. I had the honor to pray salat-e-layl in Riyad-al-Jannah (Piece of heaven) - it is adjacent to the Prophet's grave. After salah, I went to Jana'at-al-Baqi for Ziarah al-wida (Farewell ziarah).
    We rested for a couple of hours, had breakfast and then made preparations to head to Makkah for Umrah.
    The main thing required is to perform a ghusl with the niyyah (intention) Niyyat: “I am doing Ghusl for the following for wearing Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah Sunnat Qurbatan Ilallah”. You cannot use scented soap when doing this Ghusl.
    The next step is to wear the ihram. Ihram for men - consists of two pieces of white cloth and for ladies their usual daily wear is their Ihram, but it is highly recommended that it be white as it is the sign of purity.
    Please not that even though one is wearing the ihram, the niyyah for Ihram is done later.
    We bought our ihram in Medinah for about $20 (60-75 Saudi Rial).
    We checked out of our hotel to make our way to masjid-e-Shajarah. I made transportation arrangements while in Medinah. It cost just under $200 for a personal mini-van.
    We stopped at Ohud for 15-20 minutes for a quick ziarah of Hz Hamzah's grave.

    Then we made our way to masjid-e-Shajarah. This is a designated point of wearing ihram per sharia. There are 6 other places as well in different parts of Saudi.


    If you are already wearing ihram, you can take off the top portion and put it on again and make the niyyah (intention):
    “I am wearing Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Illallah”. Immediately after making the niyya, recite the talbiya (calling) in arabic:
    Labbaik, Allahumma Labbaik, 
    Labbaik La Sharika Laka Labbaik,
    Innal Hamda WanNe’amata Laka Walmuka 
    La Sharika Laka Labbaik
    This is to be recited as many times as possible until you reach the vicinity of Makkah.
    After wearing the ihram and reciting talbiya, proceed to the inside of the Mosque and recite 2 rakat salat with the niyyah, "Offering 2 rakat salah for wearing ihram qurbatanillah".
    Once you adorn the ihram and make the niyyah, there are about 25 things that become haraam upon a person.
    Once we completed our prayers, we made our way towards Makkah, reciting talbiya as much as we could.
    One thing to note is that in Shia fiqh, men ar enot allowed to travel under shade during the day while in ihram.so it is advisable to plan your journey such that you arrive in Masjid-e-Shajarah around maghrib. If traveling during hte day, then there is a kafarah (penalty) of 1 sheep.
    We made a couple of stops on our way to Makkah which was about a 5 hour drive (430km or 250m)
    Day Three - Arrival in Makkah:
    We arrived in Makkah around 5pm. Since we had already prayed zuharain en route, we decided to rest a bit in our hotel. We woke up, did ghusl made our way to the Holy Kaaba around 730p. One has to be in wudu (or ghusl) for tawaf.
    We prayed maghrib and isha and then started our umrah. These are the steps for umrah:
    1) Perform tawaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba 7 times. The niyyah (intention) is:
    I am going round this Ka’aba seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah.
    Since the masjid has several floors, it is important to remember that we can do tawaf on any floor as long as your height is below the top of the kaaba.
    2) Upon completion of tawag, recite 2 rakat salat-e-tawaf behind the Maqam-e-Ibrahim (place of Ibrahim) - recited just like fajr
    I am offering two Rakaat Salaat for Tawaaf of Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
    3) Perform Sa'ae (wudu not necessary). This is where you walk from Safa'a to Marwa 7 times (about 3.5km in total). Niyyah (intention) is:
    I walk between Safaa and Marwah, seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
    Going from Safa'a --> marwa = 1
    Marwa --> Safa'a = 2
    Safa'a --> marwa = 3
    Marwa --> Safa'a = 4
    Safa'a --> marwa = 5
    Marwa --> Safa'a = 6
    Safa'a --> marwa = 7
    So you start at Safa'a and end at Marwa.
    4) Once Sa'ae is over, the next step is taqseer (cuting part of mails of hair). Niyyah is:
    I am performing Taqseer so as to be relieved of Ihram for Umra al-Mufradah QurbatanIlallah
    It is best to do the 4 steps without too much of a break in between them. At this point, you can take a break and even take of your ihram.
    5) Whether you take a break or not, the next step is to perform tawaf-e-Nisa. Everyone has to do this - young/old, man/woman, married/unmarried, etc.). Niyyah is:
    I am doing Tawaaf-un-Nissa by going round this Ka’aba seven times for Umra al-Mufradah Qurbatan Ilallah
    6) Last step is to perform salat tawaf-e-Nisa. Niyyah is:
    I am offering two Rakaat Salaat for Tawaaf-un-Nissa for Umra al-Mufradah QurbatanIlallah
     

    The entire umrah took about 2 - 2.5 hours to complete.
    This is the completion of the umrah. 
    After completing our umrah, we went back to our hotel, had dinner and went to sleep.
    Day Four:
    We went to the Kaaba about 2 hours before fajr to perform Sunnah tawaf (each tawaf is 7 rounds). After each tawaf, reciting salat-e-tawaf is obligatory. You can make the intention of perfomr tawaf for others alive or deceased. This day was spent between our hotel and performing salah+tawaf throughout the day. There are other ziarah to be performed in makkah:
    Ka’aba Hajr al-Ismail Hajr-ul-Aswad Makaam al-Ibrahim Zam Zam Hills of Safa and Marwa Janatul-Mualla     Janab al-Khadijatul Kubra     Janab al-Abu Talib     Janab al-Abdul Mutalib     Hazrat Abdullah     Hazrat Amina Bint al-Wahab Masjid al-Jinn Cave of Thawr Cave of Hira Jabal al-Rahmah Muzdhalifa or Ma’shar Munna Masjid al-Kheef - In Munna We were able to perform the green ones above. We also had the opportunity to pray salat in the hateem which is not always open. We were able to touch the kaaba several times including rukn-e-Yemeni (corner from where Hz Fatima bint Assad went inside the kaaba to deliver Hz Ali (as).

    Pic in hateem under the kaaba

    Cloth of the kaaba - it is actually pieces of cloth sewn together instead of a very large piece of cloth.
    Day Five:
    We performed our final prayers and then checked out of our hotel to go to Jeddah airport. We flew from Jeddah --> Dubai and stayed there overnight, then flew back to the US.
    Summary:
    I was pleasantly surprised that the Saudis were pretty lenient this time.People were free to pray and take pictures as they wanted...for the most part. I would recommend taking salah, dua and ziarah information on your phones rather than books.
    I will also try to upload the guidebook I used for most of the trip.
    Please let me know if you have any questions. I tried to cover the most important aspects of umrah.
    Your Personal Guide to Hajj Umrah Ziyarat .pdf
     
  8. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Four Elements   
    The idea that the world is composed of four or five elements (fire, water, earth, wind, and aether) was almost universal in the ancient world. The science and mythology of many ancient civilizations, from Greece to Japan, operated on this understanding.

    While Islam is not really married to the idea of four elements (it is not supported in an explicit way in the Quran or hadiths), it is interesting to note that Islamic metaphysics and cosmology use this system.

    This is especially the case in the spiritual world. The jinn are made from a smokeless Fire, the humans are made from Earth (Teen), and the soul (ruH) comes from the word for Wind (reeH). The Throne of Allah was settled upon Water (11:7), until that water was separated into the heavens and earth. The angels are from light (Noor, a word related to Nar).

    Allah does not raise a prophet except that he speaks the language of his people. He may have used these literary devices to explain a realm that is ultimately beyond our understanding (ghayb). The Quran is a book that needs to be intelligible to people, especially when speaking on the unseen and unknown.

    While the universe is simply not made up of H2O, the image of Water as a fluid, clear, shapeless structure is befitting to understanding the world. In physics, the concept of fields (gravitational, spatial) operate largely on fluid mechanics. “Water” is a chaotic substance that was then categorized, compartmentalized and distinguished into the world we know today.

    Similarly, a simple sample of the water (saliva) in your body can create an entire profile of who you are: your DNA, and therefore, your family lineage, your appearance, your susceptibility to diseases, and even parts of your personality.

    There are some things that are beyond literal and metaphorical. The dichotomy of literal and metaphorical is sometimes not just inaccurate, but harmful to our readings of scripture.
  9. Completely Agree
    Abu Nur reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, What We Should Learn From the Nation of Islam   
    When Elijah Muhammad went to court and the judge asked him about his aim and purpose, he said he was going to make Black America Islamic. The judge said that making black people Muslims was like putting pants on an elephant. Elijah Muhammad said, "I got one pant-leg on already."[1]
     
    In 2012, my student society invited the late grandson of Malcolm X, Malcolm El Shabazz, to speak at our university. I had some knowledge of his grandfather’s history, having watched Spike Lee’s legendary 1992 biopic, but I did not have a thorough understanding of the history of Islam in America. His appearance at the University of Toronto drew in a large audience.
    We spoke briefly before his speech about the cold Toronto weather and his seminary studies in Syria, and I bought him two coffees – a double-double and an iced cappuccino. It was probably too cold for the iced cap, but it was a signature Canadian beverage at Tim Hortons that we felt he may enjoy. After the speech, Malcolm expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome, and even called me “a sincere brother”.[1]
    Although Malcolm El Shabazz had the tenacity of his grandfather, he was a troubled young man. After a life of run-ins with the police, Malcolm was killed in 2013 at a night club in Mexico under peculiar circumstances.[2] At the time I had just finished reading The End of American Lynching by Ashraf Rushdy, which details the history of racial oppression in America. The loss of this new friend prompted me to devote some time to studying the Civil Rights Movement – a story of persecution, loss, and eventual healing and rejuvenation.
    I was skipping university readings to flip through books, papers, and videos that pertained to contemporary black history. I found the topic to not only be socially relevant, but spiritually uplifting and inspiring. The story of suffering ex-slaves fighting fearlessly for their inalienable rights spoke to me. The Nation of Islam taught that the black man was robbed of his name, language, culture, country, God, and religion. Their spirit and valour could only remind me of the Israelite bondage in Egypt, or the Arabian Age of Ignorance. Nations are born out of trial and tribulation. Eventually, people pull together in tough times for a greater good, and they can find success even when all they have on their side is a kernel of truth.
    There are some obvious and irreconcilable differences between traditional Islamic theology and the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Sunni and Shia Muslims feel queasy at the suggestion that God’s attributes were manifest in Master Fard Muhammad, that all whites are devils, and that Elijah Muhammad was the messenger of God. These issues aside, there is much to learn from the Nation of Islam’s example. They were arguably the most successful and the most socially-relevant Western Islamic movement in history.
    Social Relevance
    By the 1970s, the Nation of Islam had nearly two million members, almost all of whom were converts from a Christian background. The fact that many victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade were Muslim[3] perpetuated the idea that Islam was the proper religion of the African American. Malcolm X was able to present the Nation of Islam’s enigmatic teachings to the public in a way that highlighted the need for separation, independence, and sovereignty for black people. Within a few short years, Malcolm X’s wit, charm, and hard work brought hundreds of thousands of people to the organization. The organization was still growing exponentially even after the controversy surrounding Malcolm’s assassination.
    In 1974, the Nation of Islam owned enough assets to create a budding, self-sufficient community: over one hundred and fifty mosques, over forty schools, a newspaper plant, farms, a bank, apartment complexes, restaurants, grocery stores, clothing stores, a national trucking system, and an aviation department.[4] Whether or not territorial independence was viable, the Nation of Islam created an independent subculture and economic unit. This frightened the U.S government. The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover actively tried to sabotage the movement and “prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ who could unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.”[5] In 1996, then-Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi offered to give the group one billion dollars, until the donation was blocked by the Clinton administration.[6] Still, the unmatched coordination of the Nation of Islam attracted the brief support of the D.C. Department of Public and Assisted Housing.[7]
    In 1995, the Nation of Islam held the historic Million Man March rally in Washington DC, which brought leading African American figures together to demand justice and reproach, including Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright.
    Diet
    The group’s unique diet was one of the primary means by which Master Fard Muhammad and the Nation of Islam were able to hook-in African American converts. The diet not only cut down food expenditures during the Great Depression, but it purported to have improved the general health of adherents.[8]
    Master Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad developed a strict diet that makes a traditional Muslim diet look easy. Not only did the Nation of Islam fast and abstain from pork and alcohol, but they only ate one meal per day. This was done to prepare adherents for the possible severity that national independence or apocalypse may cause.[9] To improve their general health, Black Muslims mostly ate vegetables, fish, whole-wheat bread, and chicken; and they would avoid all non-halal and non-kosher meats.[10] Even beef and potatoes were to be avoided for being too coarse and too starchy respectively.[11]
    Realism
    Every member of the Nation of Islam is put into one of two institutions: males became part of the Fruit of Islam (FOI), and females became part of the Muslim Girls’ Training (MGT) program. The FOI is a paramilitary force with its own hierarchy that is trained to protect and provide provision for the Nation of Islam. They wear distinct blue uniforms and provide security for social and religious functions. The MGT educates women on home economics, housekeeping duties and self-defence.
    There is a strong sense of responsibility in the sect that reportedly commands respect and better job opportunities for black people.[12] Indeed, devotees to the movement were encouraged to be clean, well-spoken, obedient, fearless, and abstinent from intoxicants and other vices – all traits that employers would give preference to, especially during tough economic times.
    The emphasis on self-knowledge and self-emancipation, which was probably borrowed from Marcus Garvey, gave an urgent sense that black people should not wait for America to do for them what they can do for themselves. They would commonly ask, why rely on your ex-slave masters when you could pool in your own resources to build a future for your people?
    The Nation of Islam was undoubtedly a realist organization that did not buy into Martin Luther King’s “dream” of an integrated America. After all, they believed that Caucasians were flesh-and-blood devils that Allah would soon destroy, and so whites were to be seen as rivalling competitors rather than potential allies.
    Furthermore, unlike Black Lives Matter, the Nation of Islam puts a special emphasis on uplifting African American males from drug and alcohol abuse, gang violence, and hook-up culture. The perceived downfall of black men due to social ills was the primary motivation for the Million Man March.
     
    What could traditional Muslims learn from this example?
    The Nation of Islam proved that Muslims could be brazen and unapologetic; and not have to rely on co-opting forces in the political system to thrive in the West. Despite governmental censures on the organization and its leaders, the Nation of Islam produced Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Warith Deen Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan, who collectively introduced millions of people to the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad. The subculture the sect created heavily influenced the worlds of sports, music, and intermittent dieting in America.
    The Nation of Islam sought to give a religious hue to the issue of civil rights. As people of faith, we don’t see all suffering as simply a result of natural or systemic causes. Rather, some suffering has a divine function that includes trial, refinement, and chastisement. The Million Man March’s major themes included “Affirmation and Responsibility” and “Atonement and Reconciliation”, which emphasized that a return to traditional values and religious duties would bring about Allah’s succor and uplift legitimate grievances. Malcolm X’s example in particular shows that daʿwa cannot exist in a vacuum; but rather it has to be complimented with a socially-relevant message.
    The reformative power of our religion is something that many traditional Muslims are forgetting. The Nation of Islam targeted addicts, sex-workers, inmates, and broken families, and turned them into productive and upright citizens. They knew that their teachings, which are heavily influenced by the Quran, could “resurrect” their people. On the other hand, immigrant communities often neglect and ostracize Muslim individuals for their marital status, education, poverty and past crimes or sins. One must remember that the Prophet Muhammad never walked away from his people, despite the debauchery that they took part in jahiliyya.
    Muslims in North America and Europe should not only be passport-carrying doctors and engineers, but a self-sufficient international community with its own sense of purpose, loyal only to our own values and worldview. The Umma is the true shining city on the hill, and that light could foist the second pant-leg on.
    [1] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200408858081439&set=pb.1155493821.-2207520000.1535101328.&type=3&theater
    [2] Mitchell, John L., and Jack Chang. “Searching for Mecca.” Vice, Vice, 13 Dec. 2013, www.vice.com/en_ca/article/dpwpz7/searching-for-mecca-0000178-v20n12.
    [3] Austin, Allan. African Muslims in Antebellum America, A Sourcebook. New York: Garland Press, 1984.
    [4] Saviour's Day 1974. YouTube, YouTube, 17 Feb. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh8VnhCjzbQ.
    [5] Farley, Jonathan David. “Preventing the Rise of a 'Messiah'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Apr. 2008, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/apr/04/preventingtheriseofamessi
    [6] Dorothy Gaiter, “Nation of Islam Tries to Accept gift of $1 Billion from Libya, The Wall Street Journal, 26 August 1996, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB841007141275125500
    [7] “D.C. HIRES NATION OF ISLAM GUARDS FOR SE COMPLEX.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 May 1995, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1995/05/04/dc-hires-nation-of-islam-guards-for-se-complex/04352e30-6ad8-48fc-8de5-57a1283b7647/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f2b7a21a48a5.
    [8] Beynon, “American Journal of Sociology.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 43, no. 6, 1938, pp. 895, 906.
    [9] Sahib, H. (2018). Contributions in Black Studies, Vol 13 No. 1, pp. 89
    [10] Ibid
    [11] https://books.google.ca/books?id=9oVPoV8OyJYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=how+to+eat+to+live&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR_876hePdAhVHrFMKHVsbCigQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=beef&f=false page 4 and 11
    [12] Sahib, H. (2018). Contributions in Black Studies, Vol 13 No. 1, pp. 87
     
    [1] “The Final Call.” Willie Lynch Letter: The Making of a Slave, www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/Death_Stands_at_the_Door_-Pt_II_973.shtml. http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/Death_Stands_at_the_Door_-Pt_II_973.shtml
  10. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to starlight for a blog entry, The Rights of Wife, Mother, Father and Child   
    Imam Ali Zayn al-abidin (as) said:
    The right of your wife is that you know Allah has made her a comfort and a companion to you, and know that she is a bounty of Allah upon you, so you should honour her and treat her with kindness. Although her right towards you is more incumbent, you must treat her with compassion, as she is your prisoner, whom you clothe and feed, and if she is ignorant you should pardon her.
    The right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one carries anyone, and gave you from the fruit of her heart, which no one gives to anybody else, and protected you with all her organs. She did not care if she went hungry as long as you ate,if she was thirsty as long as your thirst was quenched, if she was naked as long as you were clothed, and if she was in the sun as long as you were shaded. She gave up sleep for your sake, and protected you from heat and cold, all so that you might belong to her. You will never be able to show her gratitude, except with the help and success granted by Allah.
    The right of your father is that you know that he is your root, without whom you would not be.Whenever you see something in yourself that pleases you, know that your father is the root of its bounty upon you, so praise Allah and thank Him in that measure, and there is no strength save Allah. 
    The right of your child is that you should know that he is from you, and will be ascribed to you, through both his good and his his evil in the immediate affairs of this world. You are responsible for that with which you have been entrusted, in bringing him up to have good conduct and guiding him towards his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. Therefore, act towards him, as one who knows that he will be rewarded for treating him well and punished for treating him badly.   - al -Faqih,v.2,p.376, no.1626.
     
     
     
     
  11. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to starlight for a blog entry, Introduction   
    Combat with the Self' or 'Jihad al-Nafs' is a volume from the great hadith collection 'Wasail al-Shiah' by Shaikh Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hurr al-Amili. It contains advice from our infallibles about fighting our greatest enemy, our nafs.
    I had been wanting to read this book for some time but much to my surprise there wasn't an e-book available. I searched the bookstores and of the only two that stocked it out of more than a dozen I searched, none would ship to the country where I live. It wasn't until very recently that my dearest friend coming from abroad bought it for me along with a bunch of other books(Thank you again if you ever happen to read this!!) I decided to share this book here because of the unavailability of the book and because of the prime importance of the issue in the life of a Muslim.The fact that narrations about combating the self have been compiled into a separate volume in the book of Jihad should tell us about the importance of the greatest Jihad, the battle against one's own self. The following anecdote further highlights the momentousness of struggle against the self.
    Once, some hawza students from Lebanon requested Ayatullah Behjat for spiritual and (moral) advice. He replied: “One of the most beneficial actions in these matters is to sit with your fellow students every day and study one hadith from the chapter jihad al-nafs of the book Wasail al-Shi’a of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili. Of course, the hadith must be discussed properly, pondered over carefully and then transformed into action. This will be a spiritual tonic that within one year, will transform an individual in a way that he will himself see the change.”
    @Abu Nur Brother started a thread with the hadiths sometime back but couldn't complete it due to other commitments. I will try my best to share the whole book inshallah in a year(at least a hadith per day)with the intention that hopefully some of us will read it together, ponder over the hadiths and with the help of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى make some positive changes in ourselves.
    Thank you.
  12. Completely Agree
    Abu Nur reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Cosmology of Salat   
    In the beginning, Allahu Akbar - God's Essence is too great to be described (الله أكبر من أن يوصف) ( الله الواحد الاحد الذي ليس كمثله شيء ، لا يقاس بشيء ، ّ و لا يلمس بالاخماس ، و لا يدرك بالحواس).   Then, the Fatiha: The Light of Muhammad (s), the Ahl al-Bayt (as), the righteous, and the angelic realm is created, supplicating His holy praises and praying to Him. They all bow in subservience to Him.   Then, the first Sujud: We are created from earth after nonexistence. (أللهم إنك منها خلقتنى يعني من الارض ّ)   Then, we sit: We rise to live, and our life is marred by mistakes, shortcomings, and sins. We repent and beg God for His forgiveness. (و رفع رأسك و منها أخرجتنا)   Then, the second Sujud: We die and return back to the earth for a prescribed time. (السجدة الثانية وإليها تعيدنا)   Then, we sit: We praise Allah for bringing us to life after having died. We take our shahada, because it is the foremost matter that we will be questioned about. (و رفع رأسك من ّ الثانية و منها تخرجنا تارة اخرى)   Then we bless Muhammad and his Family, and greet the Messenger, for it is their intercession that we will seek on that Day. Then, we greet the righteous servants of Allah, who will be raised with him.   Then, tasleem: the greeting of Paradise (tahiyat al-jannah).   Salat is the ascension of the believer.
  13. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, ‘Allāmah’s Treatment of the Qirā’āt   
    Original source: http://www.iqraonline.net/allamah-tabatabai-treatment-different-readings-quran/
    One of the most extensive and important discussions within Qurānic studies is regarding its variant readings (qirā’āt). The readings are generally discussed within commentaries themselves and even within historical discussions regarding the collection and transmission of the Qurān. Utilizing a 25-page research paper titled Rawish Shināsi Ruyikard ‘Allāmeh Ṭabāṭabā’ī Dar Ikhtilāf Qirā’āt by Muḥamad Khāmehgar of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, we will look at how ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī treats these different readings in his seminal work Tafsīr al-Mīzān.
    ‘Allāmah discusses or points out differences in readings in around 160 places. These remarks include the following:
    Differences in vowels and diacritics on words: 72 times Differences in the type of letters or their quantity: 42 times Differences in the formation of a word, or in its root-word, or in it being singular or plural, or in it being in passive or active voice, or which paradigm from thulāthī mazīd the word is from: 36 times Differences in one or more words being extra: 4 times Differences in a word present in a place of another word: 6 times Differences in a word missing: 0 times Differences in words being moved around: 0 times Differences in a sentence being added or removed: 0 times In the first 3 cases, there is no discrepency between the text of the codex and its recitation. However, in the fourth case when there is an extra word in one of the recitations, ‘Allāmah either rejects it – like in the case of (8:1) يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنفَالِ which has also been recited as يَسْأَلُونَكَ الْأَنفَال, or he considers it to be an exegesis done in the middle of the verse like in the case of:
    (20:15) إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا لِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا تَسْعَىٰ It has been reported that Ibn ‘Abbās and Imām al-Ṣādiq (a) recited the verse as follows: أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا عن نفسي. ‘Allāmah considers this addition to be a commentary.
    In the fifth case where a word is present in place of another word, ‘Allāmah considers five of those instances to be commentaries. One of those instances is a recitation attributed to Ibn ‘Umar, which ‘Allāmah considers to be made up by Ibn ‘Umar himself. The verse is:
    (65:1) يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ where Ibn ‘Umar replaced the preposition li on ‘iddatihinna and replaced it with a fi qabl:
    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ في قبل عِدَّتِهِنَّ.
    The Reading of Ḥafṣ from ‘Āṣim
    Some Qurān experts – such as Āyatullah Hādi Ma’rifat (d. 2007) – believe that the only reading that has a sound chain of transmission and all the Muslims have considered it reliable is the reading of Ḥafṣ. Ḥafṣ learned the reading from his teacher ‘Āṣim who learned it from Abū ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī (d. 74 AH) who took it from Imām ‘Alī (a). They say that this reading is not based on the personal ijtihād of Ḥafṣ rather it was passed down to him through a transmission which is directly connected to Imām ‘Alī (a) and ultimately the Prophet (p).
    How strong the argument of the aforementioned scholars is can be investigated in a different article altogether, but what is important to note here is that ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabāī considered the reading of Ḥafṣ like the rest of the readings. He did not believe this reading to have any preference over the other recitations and considers it to be ijtihādī like the rest of them. He simply deems the reading of Ḥafṣ to be the popular reading[1] but did not believe that going against it implies going against the recitation of the Prophet (p) or the Imām (a).
    Although, we cannot deny that the primary reading employed by ‘Allāmah in his al-Mīzān is that of Ḥafṣ’, he has not preferred this reading over the rest of them in every case. We will look at some of these cases where ‘Allāmah preferred the reading of Ḥafṣ over other recitations and what he based his preference on, as well as cases where he preferred another reading over that of Ḥafṣ’ and what he based his preference on.
    Preference of Ḥafṣ Over Other Readings
    In some cases, ‘Allāmah prefers Ḥafṣ over other recitations, not due to the popularity or probative force of the reading, but due to other specified reasons.
    1) In (2:222) وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ, ‘Allamah prefers the pronunciation Yaṭhurna يَطْهُرْنَ – which happens to be the popular reading – over Yaṭṭahurna يَطَّهُرْنَ which was how the people of Kūfa recited it, except Ḥafṣ. The reason for this preference is a number of traditions that imply that the recitation is Yaṭhurna, instead of Yaṭṭahurna.[2]
    2) In (2:260) فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ, the word fa-ṣurhunna has been recited in two ways. The famous recitation of it is fa-ṣurhunna فَصُرْهُنَّ, whereas Abū Ja’far, Ḥamzah, Khalaf and Ruways who narrates from Ya’qūb have all recited this word as fa-ṣirhunna.[3] ‘Allāmah says since this word, when pronounced with a ḍammah, means to cut or chop, it has become muta’addī with the preposition ilaafter it to also take into consideration the meaning of calling something towards oneself.[4]
    3) In (10:21) إِنَّ رُسُلَنَا يَكْتُبُونَ مَا تَمْكُرُونَ, the word tamkurūn تَمْكُرُونَ has been recited as yamkurūnيَمْكُرُونَ by some reciters like Zayd who took from Ya’qūb and Sahl.[5] ‘Allāmah prefers the popular recitation citing the concept of grammatical shift (iltifāt) in the Qurān and says that the popular recitation is more eloquent with respect to the meaning intended.[6]
    Preference of Other Readings Over Ḥafṣ
    ‘Allāmah’s approach to the different readings of the Qurān and preferring one reading over the other is based on the siyāq (loosely translated as context) of the verses, alibis from the aḥādīth literature, grammatical rules and as well as other factors. That being the case, in some instances we find ‘Allāmah preferring the reading of a reciter other than that of Ḥafṣ’. What is interesting to note is that in no instance does ‘Allāmah say that the meaning signified in the reading of Ḥafṣ is necessarily wrong or incorrect, rather he simply believes that the other recitation is better and more harmonious. As a matter of fact, in one case he even says that both recitations are perfectly correct.[7]
    At times we find that ‘Allāmah prefers the readings of one of the 7 famous reciters over Ḥafṣ while other times we find him to prefer the readings of one of the non-famous reciters over Ḥafṣ.
    The 7-famous reciters are:
    ‘Abdullah b. ‘Āmir al-Dimashqī (d. 118 AH) ‘Abdullah b. Kathīr al-Makkī (d. 120 AH) Āṣim b. Bahdalah (d.127 AH) – whose main transmitter was Ḥafṣ Abū ‘Amr b. ‘Alā (d. 154 AH) Ḥamzah al-Kūfī (d.156 AH) Nāfi’ al-Madanī (d. 169 AH) al-Kisāī (d. 189 AH) Some cases where ‘Allāmah prefers one of these reciters over Āsim’s are as follows:
    1) Āṣim and Kisāī have recited the word mālik مَالِك in (1:4) مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ with an alif, whereas the rest of the reciters have recited it without an alif – as malik مَلِك. ‘Allāmah prefers the recitation of malikover mālik because it has been added on to a concept of time – yawm al-dīn.[8]
    2) In (8:59) وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَبَقُوا ۚ إِنَّهُمْ لَا يُعْجِزُونَ the verb la yaḥsabanna لا يَحْسَبَنَّ has been recited with a yā in third-person, but Ibn Kathīr, Abū ‘Amr, Nāfi’ and Kisāī have read it with a tā which would make it a second-person verb. ‘Allāmah prefers the second-person reading not only because it is more popular, but also due to the context of the verses after this one, as they are addressing the Prophet (p).[9]
    3) Regarding (48:9) لِّتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا, ‘Allāmah says that the popular recitation of this verse pronounces all the verbs in second-person with a tā, but Ibn Kathīr and Abū ‘Amr have recited it in third-person with a yā. He says that the reading of the latter two is more appropriate since it is in line with the context of the verse.[10]
    In some cases, we find ‘Allāmah preferring the reading of one of the non-famous reciters over that of Ḥafṣ’. For example, in (26:13) وَيَضِيقُ صَدْرِي وَلَا يَنطَلِقُ لِسَانِي all the 7 famous reciters read the words yaḍīqu يَضِيقُ and yanṭaliqu يَنْطَلِقُ in the state of raf’ with a ḍamma, however Ya’qūb b. Isḥāq recites these two verbs in the state of naṣb with a fatḥa (يَضِيقَ and يَنْطَلِقَ). ‘Allāmah prefers the recitation of Ya’qūb because it is more in line with the meaning intended.[11]
    Not Preferring any Reading Over Another
    In a majority of cases ‘Allāmah does not prefer one reading over another. Instead, he reiterates that both recitals are correct and justifiable. This also implies that ‘Allāmah does not restrict himself to the recitation of Ḥafṣ in his commentary simply because it happens to be a popular reading or go out of his way to invalidate other recitations simply because they aren’t popular. In fact, it shows that ‘Allāmah considered other recitations to be just as valid and strong as the recitation of Ḥafṣ.
    As an example, in (2:37) فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ  Ibn Kathīr recites Ādam in a state of naṣb and Kalimāt in a state of raf’, while Ibn ‘Āmir recites it the opposite way. ‘Allāmah cites both recitations and does not prefer one over another and says that the meaning will remain the same in either case.[12]
    In (2:126) قَالَ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَأُمَتِّعُهُ قَلِيلًا, the word umatti’uhu which is on the paradigm of taf’īl, has also been recited as umti’uhu on the paradigm of if’āl. Since both tamtī’ and imtā’ have the same meaning, he refrains from preferring one over the other.[13]
    In (26:36) قَالُوا أَرْجِهْ وَأَخَاهُ, the word arjih أرْجِهْ has been recited as 1) arji’hu أرْجِئهُ with a hamzahbetween the jīm and the pronoun hā and with a ḍammah on the hā, 2) the people of Medīna and Kisāī and Khalaf recited it as arjihi أرْجِهِ without a hamzah and with a kasra on the hā, and 3) Āṣim and Ḥamzah recited it as arjih أرْجِهْ without a hamzah, but with a sukūn on the hā.
    After mentioning all the different recitations for this word, ‘Allāmah says that the first two recitations are more eloquent than the third recitation which happens to be the popular one, although all three recitations have the same meaning.[14]
    In other situations, we find ‘Allāmah not commenting on the different readings at all. Perhaps this was done simply to point the reader to the fact that there exists another recitation that is equally strong and justifiable as Ḥafṣ’. Or perhaps he may have felt that the recitation of Ḥafṣ in a particular verse was not as strong, but did not find enough reason to prefer any of the other recitations over it either. For example, in (2:283) وَلَمْ تَجِدُوا كَاتِبًا فَرِهَانٌ مَّقْبُوضَةٌ he says that the word rihān in this verse has also been pronounced as ruhun which is the plural for rahn. Both words have the same meaning and ‘Allāmah refrains from commenting on them any further.[15]
    In some cases, even though ‘Allāmah has not preferred any recitation over another, he has made use of the difference in reading to expand on the meaning of the verse. Regarding verse (2:219) يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ he writes that the word kabīr (great) has also been recited as kathīr (a lot). When explaining the harms of alcohol and gambling he says that their harms are both great and a lot.[16]
    When it comes to the numerous reports in which a recitation has been attributed to one of the Imāms (a), ‘Allāmah takes the same approach as he does with the other readings. If these traditions and the readings do not meet the criteria for acceptance, they are not to be taken. He writes that the Shī’a do not consider rare readings to be probative, even if they are attributed to the Imāms.[17] When it comes to traditions that attribute a certain way of reading to the Imāms (a), he divides these set of traditions into two, narrations that are specifically a reading of a verse, and narrations that are exegetical.
    Narrations that are specifically a reading of a verse are traditions that are in line with the text of the Qurānic codex and rules of grammar. The readings of the text themselves are then either in accordance with one of the famous readings or against them. Traditions in which these readings are not the same as any of the famous readings are either those in which either the vowel placement is different or the letters of a word is different or something similar to that extent. In these cases, ‘Allāmah treats these readings like the rest of the famous recitations and puts them to the same standard of scrutiny before preferring one over another.
    As an example, in (13:31) أَفَلَمْ يَيْأَسِ, the famous recitation is a fa lam yay’as, but it has been reported that Imām ‘Alī (a), Ibn ‘Abbās, ‘Alī b. al-Ḥusayn (a), Zayd b. ‘Alī, Ja’far b. Muḥammad (a), Ibn Abī Malīkah and Abū Yazīd al-Madanī all recited it as a fa lam yatabayyan. However, ‘Allāmah says that the famous and accepted recitation is a fa lam yay’as.[18]
    In a subsequent post, we will look at the role of these different readings and how ‘Allāmah used them to either defend his own interpretation or at times allow multiple meanings for a given verse.
    Footnotes
    [1] Al-Mīzān, vol. 7, pg. 271
    [2] Ibid, vol. 2, pg. 322
    [3] Ṭabrasī, Majma’ al-Bayān, vol. 2, pg. 642
    [4] Al-Mīzān, vol. 2, pg. 375
    [5] Ṭabrasī, vol. 5, pg. 151
    [6] Al-Mīzān, vol. 10, pg. 49
    [7] Ibid, vol. 1, pg. 204
    [8] Ibid, vol. 1, pg. 33 and 142
    [9] Ibid, vol. 9, pg. 150
    [10] Ibid, vol. 18, pg. 408
    [11] Ibid, vol. 15, pg. 360
    [12] Ibid, vol. 1, pg. 204
    [13] Ibid, vol. 1, pg. 426
    [14] Ibid, vol. 15, pg. 382
    [15] Ibid, vol. 2, pg. 668
    [16] Ibid, vol. 2, pg. 289
    [17] Ibid, vol. 4, pg. 476
    [18] Ibid, vol. 11, pg. 505
  14. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, Miraculousness of the Qurān (Part 3)   
    Miraculousness of the Qurān – A Historical Overview (Part 3)
    Original source: http://www.iqraonline.net/miraculousness-of-the-quran-a-historical-overview-part-3/
    Semantic – Philological
    Most Muslim scholars agree that the Qurān was not revealed in the Arabic language without any wisdom.[1]
    [26:193-195] This is indeed [a Book] sent down by the Lord of all the worlds, brought down by the Trustworthy Spirit upon your heart (so that you may be one of the warners), in a clear Arabic language.
    [16:103] We certainly know that they say, ‘It is only a human that instructs him.’ The language of him to whom they refer is non-Arabic, while this is a clear Arabic language.
    These verses seem to show that the Qurān was revealed in Arabic for the mere fact that it is a clear language whose vocabulary is able to convey very precise meanings. From 2nd century hijrī Muslim scholars began exerting all their efforts in trying to understand the language of the Qurān, the words employed in it, the grammatical principles and foundations upon which the chapters were formed and so on. A semantic and philological approach to the Qurān thus looks at the style of the Qurān from the perspective of its vocabulary and the way these words are organized and used in their compound form, in order to attest to its miraculous nature.
    An exhaustive list of scholars who took on this approach would be too long for this post, but we will go through the opinions of a few proponents anyways. One of the earliest works written expounding on this approach is Majāz al-Qurān by Abū ‘Ubaydah Ma’mar b. al-Muthanna (d. 210 AH / 825 CE). One of his motives for writing the book was because someone questioned him regarding the verse:
    [37:65] Its spathes are as if they were devils’ heads
    The questioner insisted that the figurative use in this verse was not something the Arabs were familiar with. In response, Abū ‘Ubaydah cites a line of poetry from Imru’ al-Qays to show that the Qurānic style was in fact in line with what was considered correct and known in the Arabic language. In his work he cites numerous examples of metaphors used in the Qurān and in the general Arabic language – poetry or otherwise – to show that there is little difference between their usage. The book served almost like a textbook for both Arabs and non-Arabs to facilitate their understanding of the Qurān.[2]
    Ibn Qutaybah (d. 276 AH / 889 CE) was a 3rd century hijrī scholar who in his work Tawīl Mushkil al-Qurān goes on to explain the usage of various words and metaphors in the Qurān. As a philologist, what made the Qurān stand out for him was its composition. In his work, he dedicates a decent portion to discussing the difficult verses of the Qurān, something Abū ‘Ubaydah often referred to as metaphors. Ibn Qutaybah defines these metaphors and figurative verses to be the ways and methods of speech and the modes of handling it. He compares the language of the Qurān with a speech given by an Arab preacher, who delivers a talk in a variety of ways, depending on the place, occasion and audience. The metaphors in the Qurān, however, are superior to those of any human speaker, since the Quran not only has more methods of speech, but it also often uses them all simultaneously.[3]These methods range from metaphors, inversions, ellipsis, abbreviations, repetitions, pleonasms, metonyms, allusions, idioms and so on.[4] This would essentially render the Quranic text untranslatable according to Ibn Qutaybah, because the non-Arabs lack the variety of methods that the Arabic language has at its disposal.
    He doesn’t just stop there, but even discusses cases where the Qurān addresses a single person with a plural pronoun, or multiple people with singular pronouns, uses a constrained and restricted word to mean something general or uses a general word to mean something constrained and restricted. He argues all of these usages exist in the Arabic language and the Arabs were known to speak in this manner.[5]
    Abū Sulaymān Ḥamd b. Ibrahīm al-Khaṭṭābī al-Bustī[6] (d. 388 AH / 998 CE) in his Bayān I’jāz al-Qurān is another scholar who was of the view that the key to understanding the miracle of the Qurān was to recognize its coherence, as well as its linguistic & phonetic order system.[7] He argues that the Qurān is a miracle because it uses clear words in the most beautiful of manners, in order to convey the most precise meanings. If a word in a verse were to be replaced with another word that would generally be considered a synonym by laymen, the coherence of the whole verse would be ruined or at the very least its eloquence will be diminished.
    Artistic Imagery
    The root cause of this approach can be found in criticism against taking a strictly philological approach to explaining what the Qurānic miracle is. Furthermore, relatively recent discussions in literary criticism raised in the West also pushed some Muslim scholars to look at the Qurān through perspectives that were often not considered in the past. As discussions in linguistics and the general arts developed, a lot of the explanations given by those who were proponents of the philological approach were not convincing enough for all linguists. One of the criticisms laid against the previous approach was its high dependency on the apparent form of the Qurān, while not addressing its immense use of artistic imagery and its psychological effects on the listener.
    Amongst classical scholars, very few scholars approached the Qurān through this perspective, and even those who did allude to it in some parts of their works were not necessarily trying to establish the miraculous nature of the Qurān to it. For example al-Rummānī (d. 384 AH / 994 CE) in his al-Nukat fi I’jāz al-Qurān, Abū Hilāl al-‘Askarī (d. 395 AH / 1005 CE) in his al-Ṣanā’atayn, and Ibn Abī al-Aṣba’ (d. 654 AH / 1256 CE) in his Badī’ al-Qurān and Taḥrīr al-Taḥbīr were some scholars who alluded to this aspect of the Qurān in certain areas of their works.
    One of the prominent scholars who brought this approach to light was Sayyid Quṭb al-Dīn (d. 1966 CE), in two of his works, namely al-Taṣwīr al-Fann fi al-Qurān and Mashāhid al-Qiyāmah fi al-Qurān. In these works, Quṭb tried to bring out the aesthetics, imagination, and as well as the elegance of the Qurān’s storytelling, with its deep psychological dimensions.[8] Dr. Ṣubḥi al-Ṣāliḥ (d. 1986 CE) in his Mabāḥith fī ‘Ulūm al-Qurān also expounds on this dimension and considers it an independent factor in determining the miraculousness of the book.
    The famous professor ‘Āisha ‘Abd al-Raḥmān (d. 1998) – who wrote under the pen name Bint al-Shāṭi – in her al-I’jāz al-Bayānī lil-Qurān, Bakrī Shaykh Amīn in his al-Ta’bīr al-Fannī fi al-Qurān, Ḥanafī Muḥammad Sharaf in his I’jāz al-Qurān al-Bayānī bayn al-Naẓariyyah wa al-Taṭbīq, ‘Umar al-Salāmī in his al-I’jāz al-Fannī, Muḥammad ‘Abdullah Darrāz in his al-Naba al-‘Aẓīm and Fāḍil al-Sāmarāī in his al-Ta’bīr al-Qurānī all write regarding this dimension of the Qurān that expand on its imagery and symbolism.
    All aforementioned proponents of this approach believe that the miracle of the Qurān is in its artistic imagery and that is what astonished the Arabs of the time and left them speechless. Some of these individuals and their works will be dealt with in more detail in future posts. In the next post, we will look into the rational-intellectual approach and an approach that considers the miracle of the Qurān to be in its elucidation.
    [1] A small number of contemporary Muslim scholars, who also often happen to be reformists, will argue that the Qurān is in Arabic simply because it was revealed in Arabia. Otherwise, there is nothing special about the language itself – they claim – and as a matter of fact if the verses were to be revealed in, let’s say Greece in the Greek language, it may even have been more precise.
    [2] Abu Ubaidah’s “Majaz Al-Qur’an” as the Beginning of a New Trend in the Practice of Tafsir, by Mamedova K.
    [3] Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qu’ran, by Issa J Boullata, pg. 278
    [4] Ibid
    [5] Tawīl Mushkil al-Qurān, by Ibn Qutaybah, pg. 20-21
    [6] The present-day name for al-Bust is Lashkargah – a city in Southern Afghanistan
    [7] This is a reference to a principle known as al-naẓm – it will be explained further in future posts
    [8] Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual, by James Toth, pg. 45
  15. Completely Agree
    Abu Nur reacted to Ibn al-Hussain for a blog entry, Miraculousness of the Qurān (Part 1)   
    I have been uploading posts on my own personal blog (IqraOnline.net) regarding the miraculousness of the Qurān (I'jāz al-Qurān). These are posts where I have tried to avoid technical jargon as much as possible and the posts are also not super lengthy either. I am writing these for a very general audience - especially those who have absolutely no information regarding the subject - to get introduced to the matter. I have decided to put up these posts on the ShiaChat Blog as well since it may attract readers that are not following my blog already. Feel free to share feedback and comments, although I cannot promise responses to all or any of the comments due to other priorities.
    ------------------
    Miraculousness of the Qurān – A Historical Overview (Part 1)
    What follows is the first of a series of posts going over the discussion on the miraculousness of the Qurān. I will try to keep the posts as simple and non-technical as possible so that non-seminarians can benefit as well. This of course also means I will have to leave out a lot of details. The information is being taken from a few different works, but the overall outline is being taken from the work Sayr Tarikhi I’jāz-e Qurān by Sayyid Ḥusayn Sayyidi.
    That the Qurān is a miracle, is a belief not disputed by the Muslims. The belief remains a central pillar for them and denying such a belief could possibly render the book irrelevant. What remained contested, however, was the nature of its miracle. What aspect of the Qurān was miraculous? What was understanding its miracle dependant on? Was the miracle in the way words were employed or in the meanings they implied? It was these questions that forced Islamic scholarship to discuss these various aspects of the Holy Book and provide explanations.
    Before looking at the miraculous aspect of the Qurān as explained by Muslim scholars over the centuries, what needs to be known is that no book revealed on a previous Messenger has been deemed a miracle. This is all the while different Prophets (p) were given miracles, yet these miracles remained of an empirical nature. Even though numerous empirical miracles have also been attributed to the Messenger of Islam (p), it appears that the Qurān – if it is to be considered an everlasting miracle – is not merely an empirical miracle, rather there is an aspect to it which demands intellectualization. As human intellectual capacity grows and their knowledge with regards to their selves and their surroundings increases, the Qurān is still meant to remain a miracle. As such, while most miracles of the Prophets (p) ceased to exist after a certain period of time, or with the demise of a Prophet (p) himself, the miracle of the last Messenger (p) is considered to be everlasting and accessible by all those who come after him (p).
    Another major difference between the Qurān and other miracles, as pointed out by Ibn Khaldūn in his al-Muqaddimah, is that unlike other Prophetic miracles, the Qurān is revelation itself. This is all the while other miracles demonstrated by previous Prophets (p) or even Prophet Muḥammad (p) himself were not divine revelation. Though these and other qualities are what makes the Qurān stand out, the question regarding what constitutes its miraculous aspect remains to be explained.
    The opinions of Muslim scholars with respects to the Qurān and its miraculous dimension can be divided into two very general categories. Firstly, those who believed that the miracle of the Qurān is not in its text, but rather it is something external to it. Secondly, those who believe that the miracle is contained within the text of the Qurān itself.
    The first opinion upholds the view that what makes the Qurān miraculous is not its literary style and nor its text, rather the great poets and eloquent individuals of the time were literally rendered incapable to produce anything like it. This incapacitation was bestowed upon them through Divine interference and it was this external aspect that makes the Qurān a miracle. This view is famously known as al-ṣarfah and we will get into it more in subsequent posts.
    The second opinion – which constitutes the opinion of the majority – is that the miracle of the Qurān is contained within the text itself. Some of the scholars in this camp argue against the view of al-ṣarfah saying such a view would mean that the Qurānic text is not any different than the books revealed upon previous Prophets (p).
    However, what do the scholars in this second camp understand the miracle of the Qurān to be? We can narrow down their opinions into four general notions:
    1) Its eloquence
    2) It being clear and understandable
    3) Its organization and style
    4) Its reports regarding the unseen and absence of contradictions
    The Challenge
    A second aspect of any miracle is its accompanying challenge. Āyatullah Jawādī Āmulī explains how the Qurān puts forth this challenge to mankind:
    If this book is not the word of God, then it is the word of a human. If it is a word of a human, then since you are also a human, bring forth something like it. If you are able to bring something like it, it will prove that the book is the word of a human. If you are unable to bring something like it, it will prove that it is not the word of a human – and it being a miracle will be shown, subsequently proving the claim of Prophethood and the message.[1]
    The Qurān puts forth its challenge in a number of verses. We will list them below:
    [17:88] Say, ‘Should all humans and jinn rally to bring the like of this Qur’ān, they will not bring the like of it, even if they assisted one another.’
    [10:38] Do they say, ‘He has fabricated it?’ Say, ‘Then bring a sūrah like it, and invoke whomever you can, besides Allah, should you be truthful.’
    [11:13] Do they say, ‘He has fabricated it?’ Say, ‘Then bring ten sūrahs like it, fabricated, and invoke whomever you can, besides Allah, should you be truthful.’
    [52:33-34] Do they say, ‘He has improvised it [himself]?’ Rather they have no faith! Let them bring a discourse like it, if they are truthful.
    [2:23-24] And if you are in doubt concerning what We have sent down to Our servant, then bring a sūrah like it, and invoke your helpers besides Allah, should you be truthful. And if you do not—and you will not—then beware the Fire whose fuel will be humans and stones, prepared for the faithless.
    There are a number of points that can be extracted from these verses.
    1) The earliest chapter in which a challenge is put forth is Sūrah al-Isrā, a Makkī chapter revealed during the final years of the Prophet (p) in Makkah. The last chapter in which we find a challenge is Sūrah al-Baqarah, which was revealed soon after the Prophet’s (p) migration. This shows that the challenges revealed in the Qurān were during the time period when the polytheists had increased their pressure on the Prophet (p) up until his migration to Medīnah.
    2) All the verses are addressing the polytheists and in context of establishing the truth of the Prophet’s (p) message.
    3) What they are being challenged on is different, at times being asked to bring something like the Qurān itself, or 10 chapters like it, or even just 1 chapter.
    It thus appears that the challenge put forth to the Arab polytheists of the time is to bring something like the Qurān, in terms of its prose, literary style and eloquence. In the next post, we will look at six different approaches scholars have taken to identify the ways by which the miracle of the Qurān can be identified and experienced.
    [1] Tafsīr Mawḍū’ī Qurān, vol. 1, pg. 138 – by Ayatullah Jawādī Āmulī
    Source: http://www.iqraonline.net/miraculousness-of-the-quran-a-historical-overview-part-1/
  16. Like
    Abu Nur got a reaction from ZahiK for a blog entry, Allahu Akbar   
    Imam Ali (as) asked, "If you knew the meaning of the words of the call to prayer, you would laugh little and weep much. The statement "Allah is the Greatest" has many meanings.   When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" it refers to His Eternity, His Sempiternity, His Infinity, His Knowledge, His Power, His Omnipotence, His Forbearance, His Munificence, His Generosity, His Bounty, and His Pride. When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" he proclaims that the Creation and the Command belong to Allah. He proclaims that creation came about as a result of His Will. He proclaims that He is the First of the First and He has always existed, and that He is the Last of the Last as He will always exist. He proclaims that He is the Manifest, who cannot be perceived, and that He is the Hidden, who is not subject to limitations of any sort. He proclaims that He is the Ever-Lasting, and that everything but Him will perish.   The second meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that He is All-Knowing, the All-Informed, who knows everything that has occurred and everything that will occur, even before it occurs.   The third meaning of  "Allahu Akbar" is that He is All-Powerful over everything. His power extends over everything. He is powerful due to His Power, and the Potent One over His Creation. He is Powerful in Essence, His Power embraces all things. When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.   The fourth  "Allahu Akbar" refers to His Forbearance and Generosity. He forbears as if He were unaware of the sins, pardons as if He did not see the sin, and covers with mercy as if He had not been disobeyd. He does not hasten punishment out of His Generosity, Forgiveness, and Forbearance.   Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is that He is Generous, Ample-Giving, and the Most Munificent. The other meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is to negate His Shape, and that Allah is Greater than any of His Attributes. Verily, those who describe Allah describe him on the basis of their own ability and not according to His Might and Majesty. Exalted is Allah, the Elevated, the Great, from what the attributes perceive as His Attributes.    Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that Allah is the Most High and Exalted. He is Self-Sufficient from His Servants. He is not in the need of the deeds of His Creation. [When in the end of Adhaan when muezzin recite final two Allahu Akbar, Imam Ali says...]   As for his statement "Allah is the Greatest" [Allahu Akbar] it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is greater than anyone can possibly conceive. It refers to His Kindness towards His Servants through answering their prayers; His Kindness towards His Servants who obey Him, and who obey His Legal Guardians; His Kindness towards His Servants who servers Him, who preoccupies himself with Him and His Remembrance, who loves Him, and who befriend Him; His Kindness towards His Servants who finds tranquility in Him, who trusts Him, who fears Him, who puts his hope in Him, who yearns for Him, who accepts His Commands and Decrees, and who is pleased with Him.   The second time that [Allahu Akbar] is said it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is so great that it cannot possibly be conceived. It refers to His Kindness towards His Friends, His Punishment of His Enemies, the extent of His Pardoning, His Forgiveness, and His Bounty towards those who answer His Call, and the Call of His Messenger. It also refers to the extent of His Punishment and His Humiliation of those who deny Him and who reject Him." from Kitab al-Tawheed.
  17. Like
    Abu Nur got a reaction from Hameedeh for a blog entry, Allahu Akbar   
    Imam Ali (as) asked, "If you knew the meaning of the words of the call to prayer, you would laugh little and weep much. The statement "Allah is the Greatest" has many meanings.   When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" it refers to His Eternity, His Sempiternity, His Infinity, His Knowledge, His Power, His Omnipotence, His Forbearance, His Munificence, His Generosity, His Bounty, and His Pride. When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" he proclaims that the Creation and the Command belong to Allah. He proclaims that creation came about as a result of His Will. He proclaims that He is the First of the First and He has always existed, and that He is the Last of the Last as He will always exist. He proclaims that He is the Manifest, who cannot be perceived, and that He is the Hidden, who is not subject to limitations of any sort. He proclaims that He is the Ever-Lasting, and that everything but Him will perish.   The second meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that He is All-Knowing, the All-Informed, who knows everything that has occurred and everything that will occur, even before it occurs.   The third meaning of  "Allahu Akbar" is that He is All-Powerful over everything. His power extends over everything. He is powerful due to His Power, and the Potent One over His Creation. He is Powerful in Essence, His Power embraces all things. When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.   The fourth  "Allahu Akbar" refers to His Forbearance and Generosity. He forbears as if He were unaware of the sins, pardons as if He did not see the sin, and covers with mercy as if He had not been disobeyd. He does not hasten punishment out of His Generosity, Forgiveness, and Forbearance.   Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is that He is Generous, Ample-Giving, and the Most Munificent. The other meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is to negate His Shape, and that Allah is Greater than any of His Attributes. Verily, those who describe Allah describe him on the basis of their own ability and not according to His Might and Majesty. Exalted is Allah, the Elevated, the Great, from what the attributes perceive as His Attributes.    Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that Allah is the Most High and Exalted. He is Self-Sufficient from His Servants. He is not in the need of the deeds of His Creation. [When in the end of Adhaan when muezzin recite final two Allahu Akbar, Imam Ali says...]   As for his statement "Allah is the Greatest" [Allahu Akbar] it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is greater than anyone can possibly conceive. It refers to His Kindness towards His Servants through answering their prayers; His Kindness towards His Servants who obey Him, and who obey His Legal Guardians; His Kindness towards His Servants who servers Him, who preoccupies himself with Him and His Remembrance, who loves Him, and who befriend Him; His Kindness towards His Servants who finds tranquility in Him, who trusts Him, who fears Him, who puts his hope in Him, who yearns for Him, who accepts His Commands and Decrees, and who is pleased with Him.   The second time that [Allahu Akbar] is said it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is so great that it cannot possibly be conceived. It refers to His Kindness towards His Friends, His Punishment of His Enemies, the extent of His Pardoning, His Forgiveness, and His Bounty towards those who answer His Call, and the Call of His Messenger. It also refers to the extent of His Punishment and His Humiliation of those who deny Him and who reject Him." from Kitab al-Tawheed.
  18. Completely Agree
    Abu Nur got a reaction from Ashvazdanghe for a blog entry, Allahu Akbar   
    Imam Ali (as) asked, "If you knew the meaning of the words of the call to prayer, you would laugh little and weep much. The statement "Allah is the Greatest" has many meanings.   When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" it refers to His Eternity, His Sempiternity, His Infinity, His Knowledge, His Power, His Omnipotence, His Forbearance, His Munificence, His Generosity, His Bounty, and His Pride. When the muezzin says "Allahu Akbar" he proclaims that the Creation and the Command belong to Allah. He proclaims that creation came about as a result of His Will. He proclaims that He is the First of the First and He has always existed, and that He is the Last of the Last as He will always exist. He proclaims that He is the Manifest, who cannot be perceived, and that He is the Hidden, who is not subject to limitations of any sort. He proclaims that He is the Ever-Lasting, and that everything but Him will perish.   The second meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that He is All-Knowing, the All-Informed, who knows everything that has occurred and everything that will occur, even before it occurs.   The third meaning of  "Allahu Akbar" is that He is All-Powerful over everything. His power extends over everything. He is powerful due to His Power, and the Potent One over His Creation. He is Powerful in Essence, His Power embraces all things. When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.   The fourth  "Allahu Akbar" refers to His Forbearance and Generosity. He forbears as if He were unaware of the sins, pardons as if He did not see the sin, and covers with mercy as if He had not been disobeyd. He does not hasten punishment out of His Generosity, Forgiveness, and Forbearance.   Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is that He is Generous, Ample-Giving, and the Most Munificent. The other meaning of "Allahu Akbar" is to negate His Shape, and that Allah is Greater than any of His Attributes. Verily, those who describe Allah describe him on the basis of their own ability and not according to His Might and Majesty. Exalted is Allah, the Elevated, the Great, from what the attributes perceive as His Attributes.    Another meaning of "Allahu Akbar" refers to the fact that Allah is the Most High and Exalted. He is Self-Sufficient from His Servants. He is not in the need of the deeds of His Creation. [When in the end of Adhaan when muezzin recite final two Allahu Akbar, Imam Ali says...]   As for his statement "Allah is the Greatest" [Allahu Akbar] it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is greater than anyone can possibly conceive. It refers to His Kindness towards His Servants through answering their prayers; His Kindness towards His Servants who obey Him, and who obey His Legal Guardians; His Kindness towards His Servants who servers Him, who preoccupies himself with Him and His Remembrance, who loves Him, and who befriend Him; His Kindness towards His Servants who finds tranquility in Him, who trusts Him, who fears Him, who puts his hope in Him, who yearns for Him, who accepts His Commands and Decrees, and who is pleased with Him.   The second time that [Allahu Akbar] is said it means: Allah's Kindness towards His Creation is so great that it cannot possibly be conceived. It refers to His Kindness towards His Friends, His Punishment of His Enemies, the extent of His Pardoning, His Forgiveness, and His Bounty towards those who answer His Call, and the Call of His Messenger. It also refers to the extent of His Punishment and His Humiliation of those who deny Him and who reject Him." from Kitab al-Tawheed.
  19. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, God = A Body Unlike Other Bodies?   
    كان من غلمان أبي شاكر الزنديق، وهو جسمي ردي
    He was a student of Abi Shakir the Zindiq and a wretched corporealist
    - Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi (d. 301) was not a fan of Hisham
     
    A Body Unlike Other bodies
    Would not considering God to be a body be likening Him to his creatures (who happen to be bodies)? It is to avoid this that Hisham formulated his compromise as demonstrated in the report below:
    محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن علي بن العباس، عن الحسن ابن عبدالرحمن الحماني قال: قلت لابي الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام: إن هشام بن الحكم زعم أن الله جسم ليس كمثله شئ، عالم، سميع، بصير، قادر، متكلم، ناطق، والكلام والقدرة والعلم يجري مجرى واحد، ليس شئ منها مخلوقا فقال: قاتله الله أما علم أن الجسم محدود والكلام غير المتكلم معاذ الله وأبرء إلى الله من هذا القول، لا جسم ولا صورة ولا تحديد وكل شئ سواه مخلوق، إنما تكون الاشياء بإرادته ومشيئته من غير كلام ولا تردد في نفس ولا نطق بلسان
    Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – Ali b. al-Abbas – al-Hasan b. Abd al-Rahman al-Himmani who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan Musa b. Ja’far عليهما السلام: Hisham b. al-Hakam asserts that ‘Allah is a body - there is nothing like Him. All-Knowing, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Master of Speech, Speaker. Speech, power and knowledge are of the same type (essential attributes), nothing of them is created’. He (the Imam) said: Woe be upon him! Does he not know that a body is limited, and that speech is distinct from the Speaker. I seek refuge in Allah and disassociate to Allah from this doctrine. (He is) Not a body nor a human form. No delimitation (applies to Him). Everything apart from Him is created. The things are brought into existence by His intention and will, without speech, or deliberating in Himself, or intoning by tongue.          This indicates that while Hisham maintained that God was a body he tried to escape the error of Tashbih (likening God to His creatures) by defining God as a body incomparable to any thing else and therefore beyond imagination. While we should affirm that He is a body (because God is something) we cannot describe the body further. This makes it clear that all the lurid anthropomorphic descriptions attributed to him are false.
    In fact, he was a severe opponent of some of the traditionalist among the Shia and the school of Hisham b. Salim which relied on spurious narrations to ascribe Human form (shape) to God i.e. they understood ‘God creating humans in His image’ literally.  
    أبي، عن البزنطي، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: قال لي: يا أحمد ما الخلاف بينكم وبين أصحاب هشام بن الحكم في التوحيد؟ فقلت: جعلت فداك قلنا نحن بالصورة للحديث الذي روي أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله رأي ربه في صورة شاب! فقال هشام ابن الحكم بالنفي بالجسم. فقال: يا أحمد إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لما اسري به إلى السماء وبلغ عند سدرة المنتهى خرق له في الحجب مثل سم الابرة فرأى من نور العظمة ما شاء الله أن يرى، وأردتم أنتم التشبيه، دع هذا يا أحمد لا ينفتح عليك منه أمر عظيم
    My father – al-Bazanti – al-Ridha عليه السلام who said: O Ahmad, what is the difference between you and the followers of Hisham b. al-Hakam concerning Tawhid? I (Ahmad) said: May I be made your ransom - we hold the position of ‘the human form’ because of the report which is narrated from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله that he saw his Lord in the form of a youth! While Hisham b. al-Hakam denies that and upheld ‘the body’. He said: O Ahmad, when the Messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وآله  was made to ascend to the heaven and reached the ‘Furthest Lote tree’, the veils were rent for him the size of a needle’s eye, and he saw of the Light of sublimity what Allah wished him to see. But you seek by this Tashbih (ascribe an image to him). Leave this O Ahmad, lest something dreadful befall you on account of it.   Hisham’s views came to be summed up in the famous dicta:
    He is a body unlike other bodies (هو جسم لا كالأجسام)
     
    An Example of Hisham’s Argumentation
    None of Hisham’s written works, including his Kitab al-Tawhid (كتاب التوحيد), are available to us. This makes it difficult to speak of his thought as a whole. Instead, we have to rely on fragmentary evidence, such as the report below, to provide insight into his mode of argumentation.
    This is done with the caveat that generalizations must be avoided because the narrators might not be conveying the nuance of Hisham’s complex system accurately. Furthermore, Yunus b. Dhabayn is a particularly unreliable narrator (accused of Ghulu) and could very well be biased against Hisham.
    محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الحسين بن الحسن، عن بكر بن صالح، عن الحسن بن سعيد، عن عبدالله بن المغيرة، عن محمد بن زياد قال: سمعت يونس بن ظبيان يقول: دخلت على أبي عبدالله عليه السلام فقلت له: إن هشام بن الحكم يقول قولا عظيما إلا أني أختصر لك منه أحرفا فزعم أن الله جسم لان الاشياء شيئان: جسم وفعل الجسم فلا يجوز أن يكون الصانع بمعنى الفعل ويجوز أن يكون بمعنى الفاعل فقال أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: ويحه أما علم أن الجسم محدود متناه والصورة محدودة متناهية فإذا احتمل الحد احتمل الزيادة والنقصان وإذا احتمل الزيادة والنقصان كان مخلوقا قال: قلت: فما أقول؟ قال: لا جسم ولا صورة وهو مجسم الاجسام ومصور الصور، لم يتجزء ولم يتناه ولم يتزايد ولم يتناقص، لو كان كما يقولون لم يكن بين الخالق والمخلوق فرق ولا بين المنشئ والمنشأ لكن هو المنشئ فرق بين من جسمه وصوره وأنشأه، إذ كان لا يشبهه شئ ولا يشبه هو شيئا
    Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – al-Husayn b. al-Hasan – Bakr b. Salih – al-Husayn b. Sai’d – Abdallah b. al-Mughira – Muhammad b. Ziyad who said: I heard Yunus b. Dhubyan saying: I entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: Hisham b. al-Hakam holds a grave position. I will summarize it for you in a few words - He claims that ‘Allah is a body, because there can only be two things: ‘body’ and the ‘action of a body’. It is not possible for the Maker to be defined as an action, but it is permissible to define him as an actor’. Abu Abillah عليه السلام  said: Woe be upon him - does he not know that a corporeal body is limited and transient (comes to an end), and that a human form is limited and transient. When he allows the possibility of limits (bounds) then he has allowed the possibility of increase and decrease, and if he allows the possibility of increase and decrease then that one is a created. He (Yunus) said: What should I believe? He said: Not a corporeal body nor a human form. He is the embodier of bodies and the fashioner of forms. He has no constituent parts nor does He perish. He does not increase nor decrease. If He were as they say then there would not be any difference between the creator and the created, nor a difference between the originator and the originated. However he is the originator who differentiated between those whom he made into a body, and others to whom He gave form and those He originated, for nothing is like Him nor is He like anything.  To Recap: Hisham’s view was that God is ‘something’ and as such ‘an existent body’. As a body, God can be a carrier of ‘characteristics’, namely His attributes (Sifat) which, are neither He Himself nor are they not He Himself; therefore, they have no independent existence and according to their nature are action.
    Or put somewhat differently: there is nothing except bodies and their action (fiʿl). But action is also always caused (fiʿl); for this reason God cannot be action (fiʿl). Therefore, He is a body. One can also turn this the other way round; action, can only come forth from a body; therefore, God must be a body.
     
    The Influence of Abu Shakir al-Daysani
    The argument above is so close to what is attributed to Abu Shakir al-Daysani that a link between the two cannot be avoided. Consider the words of the latter reproduced below (from Qadi Abd al-Jabbar’s Mughni):
    وحكى عن أبي شاكر انه ... يثبت الحركة ويزعم أنها صفة للتحرك لا هي هو ولا غيره وأنكر ان تكون شيئا او تكون لا شيء وقال ان التغاير والقول بأنه شيء لا يقعان الا على الأجسام والحركة ليست بجسم
    He held that there is action (movement) and maintained that it is an attribute of acting (by the Actor) and is neither identical with the latter (the Actor) nor different from Him. He would neither concede that it is something nor that it is nothing. By way of explanation he said: Mutual difference and being designated as ‘something’ are only valid for bodies; action, however, is not a body. Note the same dichotomy between body and the action of a body, as well as the notion that only a body can be referred to as ‘thing’.
    It is not surprising then to encounter a report that makes their association explicit:
    علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني محمد بن أحمد، عن العباس بن معروف عن أبي محمد الحجال، عن بعض أصحابنا، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: ذكر الرضا عليه السلام العباسي، فقال: هو من غلمان أبي الحارث يعني يونس بن عبد الرحمن، وأبو الحارث من غلمان هشام، وهشام من غلمان أبي شاكر الديصاني، وأبو شاكر زنديق
    Ali b. Muhammad – Muhammad b. Ahmad – al-Abbas b. Ma’ruf – Abi Muhammad al-Hajjal – one of our companions – al-Ridha عليه السلام. al-Ridha عليه السلام mentioned al-Abbasi and said: He is one of the students of Abi al-Harith, that is Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman, and Abu al-Harith is one of the students of Hisham, and Hisham is one of the students of Abi Shakir al-Daysani, and Abu Shakir is a Zindiq. This example of shared language should not be taken to mean that Hisham was a blind-follower for he was a theologian in his own right. Hisham sought to re-frame the statements of the Imam into a coherent system while interacting with other thinkers of the time. Proof of this can be demonstrated by the fact that he authored the book Radd ‘alal-zanadiqa (كتاب الرد على الزنادقة) refuting Abu Shakir and his peers.
    In fact, the main influence of Abu Shakir on Hisham was confined to his theories on the natural world, what we might label ‘physics’. His theory of the interpenetration (mudakhala) of bodies corresponds, as is known, to the dualist belief in the mixture of light and darkness. Hisham’s support of this theory entailed the rejection of atomism in favour of infinite divisibility of matter and the thesis that bodies may pass from one place to another without moving through the intervening space (tafra).   
     
    Who was Abu Shakir?
    It is appropriate at this juncture to delve a bit more into this enigmatic person. Abu Shakir figures in many debates with Imam al-Sadiq in our literature. The historicity of these encounters cannot be confirmed. He is presented as a proto-Atheist who doubts the createdness of the world. The most popular question he is supposed to have asked the Imam was whether God could fit the whole world in an egg without enlarging the egg or making the world smaller.  
    Abu Shakir has been labelled a Zindiq. The exact connotation of this term is open to debate as it lacks a precise definition and has been used in different contexts over time. The word generally means apostate or freethinker but can also have a much more precise meaning of ‘Manichean’ (followers of Mani). The latter was a religious movement well-known for its Dualist cosmology as a model for explaining the world i.e. the idea of two principles which ‘mixed together’ and caused everything to emerge from them.
    In this case, the latter interpretation seems better supported in light of the fact that Abu Shakir has been referred to with the title ‘al-Daysani’. The Daysanites were distant followers of one called Bardesanes (Ibn Daysan) who died six years before Mani was born. Ibn al-Nadim says that Bardesanes ‘was called Daysan after the river near which he was born’. Bardesanes (d. 223) had indeed lived in Edessa as ‘the son’ of the Daysan which flowed through the city and occasionally overflowed its banks. His school lived on in Edessa into the late 7th or early 8th century.
    Bardesanes was a major influence on Mani and his followers became virtually indistinguishable within the larger Manichean tradition. All these streams subscribed to variations of the same dualist cosmology.
    Abu Shakir lived in a Kufa that was a boiling pot wherein diverse traditions mixed. It was a mileu without rigid boundaries between different sects and where borrowing was rampant. What were seen as heresies and persecuted by certain rulers were tolerated by others. Abu Shakir became infamous for his polemics and was finally crucified in the Khilafa of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi before the year 785.
     
    The Correct Position
    What was the Aimma’s position in this debate? The answer is very clear from the reports presented. They never spoke using Greek-influenced neo-platonic terminologies. They rejected the use of the term ‘body’ for God, pointing out the fact that any ‘body’ would by definition be finite and mortal - qualities which do not apply to God.
    What is not understood is how Hisham answered this charge. How was he able to reconcile between the truism that every body by definition has constraints (limits) with his conception of God? It is possible that he felt his statement ‘a body unlike all other bodies’ was inclusive of transcending the limits inherent in other bodies. But if that were case then what would be the the sense of holding God to still be a body. Does not the term lose significance? God must share one or some aspects with other bodies for the word to retain meaning. What aspect would that be?
    It is possible that his acceptance of the system of Abu Shakir and Jahm was so complete that he felt that the definition of any ‘thing’ (shayy) as ‘existent body’ (jism mawjud) was axiomatic. A starting point which must be accepted before any further theological speculation can continue. God had to be a thing because if He was not then he was nothing, from which follows ‘God was a body’ in his system. What kind of body? A body unlike any other body. But still a body in at least some sense. And that is the rub of the problem. 
     
    To be continued ... 
  20. Like
    Abu Nur got a reaction from Hameedeh for a blog entry, Then to Him belongs praise   
    Then to Him belongs praise,
    in place of His every favour upon us
    and upon all His servants, past and still remaining,
    to the number of all things His knowledge encompasses,
    and in place of each of His favours,
    their number doubling and redoubling always and forever,
    to the Day of Resurrection;
    a praise whose bound has no utmost end,
    whose number has no reckoning,
    whose limit cannot be reached,
    whose period cannot be cut off;
    a praise which will become
    a link to His obedience and pardon,
    a tie to His good pleasure,
    a means to His forgiveness,
    a path to His Garden,
    a protector against His vengeance,
    a security against His wrath,
    an aid to obeying Him,
    a barrier against disobeying Him,
    a help in fulfilling His right and His duties;
    a praise that will make us felicitous
    among His felicitous friends,
    and bring us into the ranks
    of those martyred by the swords of His enemies.
    He is a Friend, Praiseworthy!
    Al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya Supplication 1
  21. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Hisham b. al-Hakam - God is a body?   
    وأول من عرف في الإسلام أنه قال إن الله جسم هو هشام بن الحكم
    The First person in Islam known to have said ‘Allah is a Body’ is Hisham b. al-Hakam (Ibn Taymiyya)
    اليهود أكثرهم مشبّهة وكان بدء ظهور التّشبيه في الإسلام من الرّوافض مثل هشام بن الحكم
    The Jews are mostly anthropomorphists. The beginning of anthropomorphism in Islam is via the Rawafidh such as Hisham b. al-Hakam (Fakhr al-Diin al-Razi)
     
    Hisham Accused
    Proto-Sunni heresiographical sources describe Hisham as an anthropomorphist who ‘likened God to his creatures’. Unfortunately, it becomes clear with the least bit of study that most of what has been attributed to him is embellished and driven by an agenda.
    An example of this is a frequently circulated statement that Hisham supposedly said: 
    وحكي عن هشام بن الحكم أن أحسن الأقدار: أن يكون سبعة أشبار بشبر نفسه
    God is seven spans tall but according to His measures not ours.
    Indeed, there was so much spurious material attributed to him, and he was made to hold so many disparate opinions, that the only way his detractors could explain the phenomenon was to claim that he was very inconsistent:
    وذكر عن هشام انه قال في ربه في عام واحد خمسة أقاويل
    It is remarked that in one and the same year he advocated five different standpoints about His God.
    One of the earliest sources, the Kitab al-Maqalat of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (d. 324), has the following to say when discussing the so-called Hishamiyya (followers of Hisham b. al-Hakam):
    يزعمون أن معبودهم جسم وله نهاية وحد طويل عريض عميق طوله مثل عرضه وعرضه مثل عمقه لا يوفي بعضه على بعض ولم يعينوا طولاً غير الطويل وإنما قالوا: "طوله مثل عرضه" على المجاز دون التحقيق وزعموا أنه نور ساطع له قدر من الأقدار في مكان دون مكان كالسبيكة الصافية يتلألأ كاللؤلؤة المستديرة من جميع جوانبها ذو لون وطعم ورائحة ومجسة لونه هو طعمه وطعمه هو رائحته ورائحته هي مجسته وهو نفسه لون ولم يعينوا لوناً ولا طعماً هو غيره وزعموا أنه هو اللون وهو الطعم وأنه قد كان لا في مكان ثم حدث المكان بأن تحرك البارئ فحدث المكان بحركته فكان فيه وزعم أن المكان هو العرش
    They claim that the one they worship is a finite ‘body’ with limits, having length, breadth and depth of equal size … They claim that He is a radiant light, similar to a pure ingot shining like a round pearl from all sides … That He was originally not in space but then produced space through his own motion and thus came to be in it (space), and that this space is the ‘throne’ … 
    This is another example of a fabrication against Hisham because you would expect to find echoes of this in the early Imami sources if it were true. I could find only one report which can be said to corroborate the accusation. Furthermore, its chain is clearly unreliable with the primary narrator (Ali b. Abi Hamza) weakened by some as a liar.
    احمد بن إدريس، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن علي بن أبي حمزة قال: قلت لابي عبدالله عليه السلام: سمعت هشام بن الحكم يروي عنكم أن الله جسم، صمدي نوري، معرفته ضرورة، يمن بها على من يشاء من خلقه، فقال عليه السلام: سبحان من لا يعلم أحد كيف هو إلا هو، ليس كمثله شئ وهو السميع البصير، لا يحد ولا يحس ولا يجس ولا تدركه الابصار ولا الحواس ولا يحيط به شئ ولا جسم ولا صورة ولا تخطيط ولا تحديد
    Ahmad b. Idris – Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar – Safwan b. Yahya – Ali b. Abi Hamza who said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام: I heard Hisham b. al-Hakam narrating from you that ‘Allah is a solid body of light. (Acquiring) Knowledge of Him is necessary. He grants it (knowledge of Him) to the one He wishes from among his creatures’. He عليه السلام said: Glory be to the One whom no one knows how He is except Himself. There is nothing like Him and He is All-Hearing All-Seeing. He is not bounded. He is not sensed. He is not touched. Neither Vision nor senses can reach Him. Nothing encompasses Him. (He is) Not a body nor a form. Neither demarcation nor limitation (can apply to Him).  
    If this particular characterization of Hisham’s views on God can be put aside, it is much harder to do the same with a more widely attested doctrine attributed to him and for which he became infamous. 
     
    A Corporeal God?
    Hisham stands accused of holding God to be a corporeal body (Jism). All the narrations below are weak in one way or another (in terms of chain), but when taken collectively, paint the picture that this accusation cannot be easily dismissed like the others.
    علي بن محمد رفعه عن محمد بن الفرج الرخجي قال: كتبت إلى أبي الحسن عليه السلام أسأله عما قال هشام بن الحكم في الجسم وهشام بن سالم في الصورة فكتب: دع عنك حيرة الحيران واستعذ بالله من الشيطان، ليس القول ما قاله الهشامان
    Ali b. Muhammad raised it to Muhammad b. al-Faraj al-Rakhji who said: I wrote to Abi al-Hasan عليه السلام asking him about what Hisham b. al-Hakam said regarding ‘the body’ and what Hisham b. Salim said regarding ‘the human form’. He wrote: Leave the confusion of the confused, seek refuge in Allah from the Shaytan, the (true) position is not what was said by the two Hishams.
    محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عمن ذكره، عن علي بن العباس، عن أحمد بن محمد بن أبي نصر، عن محمد بن حكيم قال: وصفت لابي إبراهيم عليه السلام قول هشام بن سالم الجواليقي وحكيت له قول هشام بن الحكم إنه جسم فقال: إن الله تعالى لا يشبهه شئ، أي فحش أو خنى أعظم من قول من يصف خالق الاشياء بجسم أو صورة أو بخلقة أو بتحديد وأعضاء، تعالى الله عن ذلك علوا كبيرا
    Muhammad b. Abdallah – the one he mentioned – Ali b. al-Abbas – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr – Muhammad b. Hukaym who said: I described for Abi Ibrahim عليه السلام the position of Hisham b. Salim al-Jawaliqi and quoted for him the position of Hisham b. al-Hakam that He is a body. He said: Nothing can be compared to Allah the Elevated. What can be a greater obscenity than the statement of one describing the Creator of things as a body, or a form, or having constituents, or by limitations or parts. Elevated is Allah from all that a great transcendence.
    ابن المتوكل، عن علي، عن أبيه، عن الصقر بن دلف قال: سألت أبا الحسن علي بن محمد عليهما السلام عن التوحيد وقلت له: إني أقول بقول هشام بن الحكم، فغضب عليه السلام ثم قال: مالكم ولقول هشام؟ إنه ليس منا من زعم أن الله جسم، ونحن منه برآء في الدنيا والآخرة، يا ابن دلف إن الجسم محدث، والله محدثه و مجسمه
    Ibn al-Mutawakkil – Ali – his father – al-Saqr b. Dalaf who said: I asked Aba al-Hasan Ali b. Muhammad عليهما السلام about Tawhid and said to him: I subscribe to the belief of Hisham b. al-Hakam. He became angry and said: What do you have to do with the belief of Hisham? He is not from us the one who claims that Allah is a body. We disassociate from such a one in this world and the hereafter. O the son of Dalaf - a body is accidental and Allah is its cause and the one who forms it.   
    The common thread running through all these narrations is Hisham’s affirmation of the corporeality of God. In order to get a better understanding of Hisham’s actual position and motivations, one needs to piece together the disparate data and overcome the many layers of confusion in the sources. A beginning point has to be the context of Kalam in the second century.
     
    Theoretical Framework
    The view of God in Islam is formulated based on the foundation of the verse in the Qur’an which says:
    لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
    There is nothing like Him (2:11)
    A Kalam question that originated over the interpretation of this verse was whether God may be described as a shayʾ, meaning a ‘thing’ or ‘something’. The controversy arose when the early Murjiʾi, Jahm b. Safwan (d. 128) asserted that God was not a thing. This Jahm has been described by Western academics as “the first Muslim ‘theologian’ in the full and proper sense”. Documentation about him is scarce and not entirely reliable.
    Jahm lived and taught in North-Eastern Iran, and it may well be that he never left the territory of Khurasan. It is claimed that Jahm is the first or among the first who introduced the method of reasoning to derive opinions from propositions (ra’y) in Islam. He stood accused of drawing on pagan Greek philosophy which he borrowed from Hellenistic philosophers (al-falasifa), Christian heretics, and Jews.
    Jahm’s concept of God, in particular his distinction between God and ‘things’ (ashya’), has been described by scholars as neo-Platonic. This would indicate a link with Harran and the ideas of the Sabians who were living there.
    It should be remembered that Umar b. Yazid, the uncle of Hisham b. al-Hakam, claimed that Hisham followed the Madhhab of the Jahmiyya before his conversion to the truth at the hands of the Imam al-Sadiq.
    وقال الكشي: روي عن عمر بن يزيد: وكان ابن أخي هشام يذهب في الدين مذاهب الجهمية خبيثا فيهم
    Thus, it is natural that he would be influenced by Jahm’s system of thought.
    Most Muslim scholars understood the verse in the sense of ‘no thing at all is like him’ refusing any degree of ‘likeness to God’. They interpreted the Qurʾanic verse as meaning that God is a thing unlike all other (created) things.
    Jahm’s explanation was different. His emphasis lay on the conclusion that the term ‘thing’ does not refer to God. That is to say, to be a thing is to share the property ‘likeness’, e.g. to be dead like another dead thing and unlike a living thing. The property ‘likeness’ then is an inseparable accident concomitant with ‘thing’.
    God, according to the Jahmites, exists outside the realm of all things which share the property to be like and unlike other things, thus He cannot be referred to as ‘thing’ (He is a non-thing). The majority understood any denial of God being a shayʾ as implying His being nothing. Jahm b. Safwan, to be sure, did not mean to affirm that God was nothing. He recognised God as most real, the only reality, but the controversy persisted.
    This question was authoritatively settled by Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as far as the school of Ahl al-Bayt are concerned). 
    محمد بن يعقوب، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن عبد الرحمن ابن أبي نجران قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن التوحيد فقلت: أتوهم شيئا؟ فقال: نعم، غير معقول ولا محدود، فما وقع وهمك عليه من شئ فهو خلافه، لا يشبهه شئ ولا تدركه الاوهام، كيف تدركه الاوهام وهو خلاف ما يعقل، وخلاف ما يتصور في الاوهام؟! إنما يتوهم شئ غير معقول ولا محدود
    Muhammad b. Ya’qub – Ali b. Ibrahim – Muhammad b. Isa – Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Najran who said: I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام about Tawhid saying: do I think of him a thing? He said: Yes. (Something) neither cognisable nor delimited. Whatever your imagination falls upon is different than He, nothing resembles Him and imaginations cannot reach Him. How could imaginations reach Him when He is different from what can be cognised and different from what is represented in imagination? (He must) only be thought of as a thing that is neither cognisable nor delimited.
    Hisham submissivley followed the Imam in thinking of God as a ‘thing’ but this meant that he had to then abide by the implications of such a decision seeing as though his former master Jahm also taught that each thing exists when it exists as an existent body (jism mawjud). The incorporeal is non-existent (ma`dum, ma laysa bi-mawjudin). For something to exist it had to be a ‘body’.
     
    Tathbit not Ta’til or Tabtil
    محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني علي بن محمد القمي، قال: حدثني أحمد ابن محمد بن خالد البرقي، عن أبي عبد الله محمد بن موسى بن عيسى من أهل همدان، قال: حدثني أشكيب بن عبدك الكيساني، قال: حدثني عبد الملك بن هشام الحناط، قال: قلت لأبي الحسن الرضا عليه السلام: أسألك جعلني الله فداك؟ قال: سل يا جبلي عما ذا تسألني، فقلت: جعلت فداك، زعم هشام بن سالم أن الله عز وجل صورة وأن آدم خلق على مثل الرب، فنصف هذا ونصف هذا، وأوميت إلى جانبي وشعر رأسي، وزعم يونس مولى آل يقطين، وهشام بن الحكم أن الله شئ لا كالأشياء، وان الأشياء بائنة منه، وأنه بائن من الأشياء، وزعما أن إثبات الشئ أن يقال جسم فهو لا كالأجسام، شئ لا كالأشياء، ثابت موجود، غير مفقود ولا معدوم خارج من الحدين، حد الابطال وحد التشبيه، فبأي القولين أقول؟ قال: فقال عليه السلام: أراد هذا الاثبات، وهذا شبه ربه عالي بمخلوق، تعالى الله الذي ليس له شبه ولا مثل، ولا عدل ولا نظير، ولا هو بصفة المخلوقين، لا تقل بمثل ما قال هشام بن سالم، وقل بما قال مولى آل يقطين وصاحبه. قال: قلت: فنعطي الزكاة من خالف هشاما في التوحيد؟ فقال برأسه: لا
    Muhammad b. Masud – Ali b. Muhammad al-Qummi – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi – Abi Abdillah Muhammad b. Musa b. Isa from among the people Hamdan – Ishkib b. Abdak al-Kaysani – Abd al-Malik b. Hisham al-Hannat who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan al-Ridha عليه السلام: Can I ask you - may I be made your ransom? He said: Ask O Jabali - what do you want to ask me about? I said: May I be made your ransom - Hisham b. Salim claims that Allah Mighty and Majestic has a form and that Adam was created in the likeness of the Lord. Half human and half otherwise - and I pointed to my sides and the hair of my head.
    Yunus the client of the family of Yaqtin and Hisham b. al-Hakam claim that Allah is a thing unlike other things, and that the other things are distinct from Him and He is distinct from the things. And they claimed that to establish the existence of a thing is to consider it a body, but he is unlike any other body, a thing unlike any other thing. Self-subsisting, present. Not lost or non-existent. Free of the two extremes, the extreme of negation and the extreme of likening Him to his creation.
    Which of these two positions should I take?
    He عليه السلام said: This one (Hisham b. al-Hakam) desired Ithbat (to establish the existence of God) while the other one (Hisham b. Salim) likened His Lord the Elevated with creation.
    Elevated is Allah who has no like, analogue, equal or match. He is not in the attribute of the created ones. Do not subscribe to what was said by Hisham b. Salim rather subscribe to what was said by the Client of the family of Yaqtin and his fellow (Hisham b. al-Hakam).    
    I said: Do we give Zakat to the one who opposes Hisham (b. al-Hakam) in Tawhid? He said with his head: No. 
    In the same Kitab al-Maqalat, we encounter another view attributed to Hisham which seems much more credible than the previous quote and backs up my interpretation.
    The view of the anonymous ‘second group of the Rafidha’ below evidently belongs to the school of Hisham b. al-Hakam.
    والفرقة الثانية من الرافضة: ... إنما يذهبون في قولهم أنه جسم إلى أنه موجود ولا يثبتون البارئ ذا أجزاء مؤتلفة وأبعاض متلاصقة
    The second group from the Rafidha … when they refer to him as a body they wish to assert that he is Existent. They do not ascribe to the Creator parts which are combined or limbs adjoining one another.
    Thus, Hisham’s aim was Tathbit to affirm the Existence of God and to escape the charge of Ta’til (denying the attributes of God) and Tabtil (invalidating the existence of God). He accepted that God was a thing. This in his system meant that He was a body. But what kind of Body?
     
    To be continued ...
  22. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, The Divine Will   
    The first creation of Allah is His will (mashi’a). The mashi’a is a created light that operates on the realm of the creation and interacts with the rest of creation. Since the mashi’a is subject to change and affect, it is separate from His Unified and Unknowable Essence.
    علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة.
    Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah created the will (mashi’a) by its self. Then, He created the things by the will.”
    The mashi’a is one entity (ذات بسيطة) with four degrees (معلقات). These four degrees are His will (mashi’a), His desire (irada), His determining (qadr), and His actualization (qada).
    3يا يونس تعلم ما؛ المشيئة قلت لا قال هي الذکر الاول فتعلم ما الارادة قلت لا قال هي العزيمة على ما يشاء فتعلم ما القدر قلت لا قال هي الهندسة و وضع الحدود من البقاء و الفناء قال ثم قال و القضاء هو الابرام و اقامة العين
    Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “O Yunus! Do you know what the will (mashi’a) is?” Yunus said, “No.” Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “It is the first utterance (الذکر الاول). So do you know what the wish (الارادة) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is the invitation to what He wants. So do you know what determining (qadr) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is designing and organizing the parameters from beginning to end. And actualization (qada) is the confirmation and the establishment of the thing.”
    The mashi’a and the desire (irada) both denote the same object. However, when used together, they refer to different degrees within the mashi’a’s process. The first degree is the wish for a thing, the second degree is the assertion of that wish, the third degree is the organization of the parameters needed to bring about that wish, and the fourth degree is its execution. All of these levels are really one process, but in our understanding, it takes place in four stages.
    Mashi’a is a unity of action (fi`l) and reception (infi`al). While irada, qadr, and qada are masculine activities, the mashi’a is feminine in its receptivity to all of these active phases. This way, the mashi’a constitutes both self-acting and self-receiving. This reality is called the Great Depth (العمق الأكبر). Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i uses the term “the Kaf that Encircles Itself” (الكاف المستديرة على نفسها) to describe the duality of the mashi’a, because a circled letter Kaf resembles the yin-yang, and a yin-yang represents the complementary nature of contrary forces. The mashi’a is compared to Adam and Eve, the first promulgators of their species, through whose dimorphic reproduction all people came into existence.
    There are two types of divine actions (ja`l ilahi) in the Quran: formative action (جعل تكويني) and designative action (جعل تشريعي). Formative action refers to creating, establishing, and building. Allah says, “[He] who made (ja`ala) for you the earth as a bed and the sky as a ceiling” (2:22). Designative action refers to divine selection and legislation. Allah says, “Allah has made the Ka`ba, the Sacred House, an establishment for mankind.” (5:97) These two actions are further duplicated inversely in a dialectical process, which we will describe later.
    The mashi’a exists on the sempiternal plain (سرمد), which is a created level of infinity that is beyond the rest of creation. Allah, however, is Eternal (أزل), and therefore beyond sempiternity. In Allah’s Essence (ذات), there is no action; and He is beyond understanding. In the hierarchy of creation, the mashi’a is the first barrier (hijab), and there is nothing beyond it.
  23. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, The Madhhab of Hisham?   
    دعا له الصادق عليه السلام فقال: أقول لك ما قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم لحسان: لا تزال مؤيدا بروح القدس ما نصرتنا بلسانك
    I say to you what the Messenger of Allah said to Hassan b. Thabit: You will never stop being aided by the Holy Spirit so long as you keep defending us by your tongue [Imam al-Sadiq supplicates for Hisham b. al-Hakam]
     
    Hisham b. al-Hakam: Founder of a Theological School (Pt. 2)
     
    A Sect?
    A number of proto-Sunni heresiographical works list the so-called ‘Hishamiyya’ (followers of Hisham b. al-Hakam) when discussing splinter-sects within Imami Shi’ism.
    What do we make of this?
    Throughout the second century Hijri and as a direct consequence of the Arab conquests - large swathes of peoples from different cultures and civilizations became subsumed into the Islamic empire. This resulted into the introduction of foreign ideas - mainly Greek philosophical speculation - into the intellectual world of Islam.
    The scholarly response to this was split between those who propagated abstinence, considering any discussion of such subjects as a blameworthy innovation, and those who encouraged active engagement, with the realization that the questions raised needed to be answered. These latter were the practitioners of Kalam who wished to reconcile the new insights with revelationary knowledge.     
    It is well documented that the Imams forbade the majority of their companions from undertaking the abstract thinking involved in Kalam. This was a precaution against the clear danger of making errors in the most sensitive of topics such as the attributes of God. The default statement of the Imams for the laity among their followers was ‘Describe God as He describes Himself’ and leave it at that.
    However, we have evidence that the Imams did not totally frown upon such activity. Indeed they trained and encouraged a select few - whose abilities they trusted - to construct rational arguments and participate in the wider controversy with the aim of preserving the authentic positions of Islam.
    One prominent example is Hisham b. al-Hakam who proceeded to develop theological positions mainly for polemical reasons e.g. to systemize the doctrine of Imama into a consistent logical framework. The favourable relations that successive Imams had with him goes a long way to confirm their approval of such endeavours.
    It is in this context that Hisham attracted a following and is spoken of as a leader of a ‘Madhhab’. To characterize this as a ‘sect’ is a misconception, for even the most prominent companion could not but submit to the Imam and dare not contradict him.
    Indeed, Hisham was also a narrator of Hadith from the ‘Aimma and his output consists of typical jurisprudential responsa that would not stand out when compared to that of a traditionalist-narrator who shuns Kalam.  
    Much better then to speak of a school of thought led by Hisham having unique features (a distinctive mode of argumentation) and theological positions. The school was not set up to  contradict the Imams but rather flesh out their general principles.
     
    Can we speak of such a school?
    There are some pieces of evidence that allude to the existence of a ‘school of Hisham’
    (*) Hisham had a post-humous following:
    A companion asks the Imam al-Naqi a question about Tawhid while commenting ‘I follow the position of Hisham b. al-Hakam …’ الصقر بن دلف قال: سألت أبا الحسن علي بن محمد عليهما السلام عن التوحيد وقلت له: إني أقول بقول هشام بن الحكم ...
    Another companion asks the Imam al-Ridha whether he should pay Zakat to someone who differs with Hisham in the doctrine of Tawhid and receives a negative answer   فنعطي الزكاة من خالف هشاما في التوحيد؟ فقال برأسه: لا
    The Imam al-Ridha asks al-Bazanti what their differences are with the ‘followers’ of Hisham in Tawhid أبي، عن البزنطي، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: قال لي: يا أحمد ما الخلاف بينكم وبين أصحاب هشام بن الحكم في التوحيد ؟
     
    (*) Unusually, there are a number of individuals who are explicitly associated with Hisham in their biographical entries, which you would expect in a school with students loyal to the outlook of their master. Consider the examples provided below:
    علي بن منصور أبو الحسن: كوفي، سكن بغداد، متكلم من أصحاب هشام. له كتب منها كتاب التدبير في التوحيد والإمامة
    Abu al-Hasan Ali b. Mansur. Kufan. Resided in Baghdad. A practitioner of Kalam and a student of Hisham. He authored several books among them ‘the book of Deliberation on Tawhid’
    محمد بن الخليل المعروف بالسكاك: صاحب هشام ابن الحكم، وكان متكلما من أصحاب هشام، وخالفه في أشياء إلا في أصل الامامة، له كتب منها: كتاب المعرفة، وكتاب في الاستطاعة، وكتاب في الامامة، وكتاب الرد على من أبى وجوب الامامة بالنص
    Muhammad b. al-Khalil. Popularly known as al-Sakkak. He became a companion of Hisham b. al-Hakam. A practitioner of Kalam from the students of Hisham. He differed with him (his master) in a number of matters except on the doctrine of Imama. He authored several books among them: A book on Recognition, a book on Human Capacity (to act independently), a book on Imama, a book Refuting the one who denies the Necessity of Imama continuing via Designation (Nass).    
     
    (*) Another characteristic of a school is continuity i.e. having successive leaders taking the vacated seat of the former head of the school. This can be demonstrated in an auto-biographical note  by al-Fadhl b. Shadhan:
      جعفر بن معروف، قال: حدثني سهل بن بحر الفارسي، قال: سمعت الفضل بن شاذان آخر عهدي به يقول: أنا خلف لمن مضى ... ومضى هشام ابن الحكم رحمه الله، وكان يونس بن عبد الرحمان رحمه الله خلفه، كان يرد على المخالفين، ثم مضى يونس بن عبد الرحمان ولم يخلف خلفا غير السكاك، فرد على المخالفين حتى مضى رحمه الله، وأنا خلف لهم من بعدهم رحمهم الله
    Sahl b. Bahr al-Farisi says that he heard al-Fadhl b. Shadhan saying in his last encounter with him: I am the successor of those who have passed on … when Hisham b. al-Hakam – may Allah have mercy on him – passed on it was Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman – may Allah have mercy on him - who succeeded him [took his place] in refuting the opponents. Then Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman passed on and did not appoint a successor other than al-Sakkak (Muhammad b. Khalil) who refuted the opponents until he passed on may Allah have mercy on him. I am the successor who takes their place after them may Allah have mercy on them all. 
     
    Inter-Companion Rivalry
    Hisham b. al-Hakam’s specialization in this field was so complete and his expertise so masterful that we see the Imam ordering him to send him the argument he uses to answer the question of determinism versus free-will.
    حدثني ابراهيم الوراق السمرقندي، قال: حدثني علي بن محمد القمي، قال: حدثني عبد الله بن محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم قال: قال أبو الحسن عليه‌ السلام: قولوا لهشام يكتب إلي بما يرد به القدرية، قال: فكتب اليه يسأل القدرية أعصى الله من عصى لشي‌ء من الله، أو لشي‌ء كان من الناس، أو لشي‌ء لم يكن من الله ولا من الناس؟ قال: فلما دفع الكتاب اليه، قال لهم: ادفعوه الى الجرمي، فدفعوه اليه، فنظر فيه ثم قال: ما صنع شيئا، فقال أبو الحسن عليه‌ السلام: ما ترك شيئا. قال أبو أحمد: وأخبرني أنه كان الرسول بهذا الى الكاظم عليه‌ السلام
    Ibrahim al-Warraq al-Samarqandi – Ali b. Muhammad al-Qummi – Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Isa – Ibn Abi Umayr – Hisham b. Salim who said: Abu al-Hasan عليه‌ السلام said: Tell Hisham to write to me the argument he uses to rebut the Qadariyya (believers in absolute free-will). He (Hisham b. al-Hakam) wrote to him: ‘the Qadariyya are asked - the one who disobeys Allah does he disobey because of being compelled by Allah, or due to human factors, or due to a third cause apart from Allah or the people?’ He (Hisham b. Salim) says: when the letter was dispatched to him, he (the Imam) said: send it to al-Jurmi, so they took it to him. He (al-Jurmi) looked into it and said: ‘he has not done anything (i.e. it is a useless argument)!’ but Abu al-Hasan said:  ‘he did not leave out anything! (i.e. it is an unsurmountable argument). Abu Ahmad (Ibn Abi Umayr) said: He (Hisham b. Salim) informed me that he was the messenger carrying this letter to  al-Kadhim  عليه‌ السلام     
    The partial independence which the Imams gave to some of their able companions to make theological inquiries led to difference of opinion between them.
    Hisham b. al-Hakam is said to have authored books to refute the position of two other major Shi’i theologians. He has a refutation of Hisham al-Jawaliqi (كتاب الرد على هشام الجواليقي) and a refutation of Muhammad b. Ali b. al-Nu’man al-Ahwal Mu’min al-Taq (كتاب الرد على شيطان الطاق)
    This situation sometimes required the Imam having to intervene to express the correct opinion. An example is provided below:
    حدثني حمدويه، قال، حدثني محمد بن عيسى، عن جعفر بن عيسى عن علي بن يونس بن بهمن قال: قلت للرضا عليه‌ السلام: جعلت فداك ان أصحابنا قد اختلفوا! فقال: في أي شي‌ء اختلفوا فيه احك لي من ذلك شيئا؟ قال: فلم يحضرني الا ما قلت، جعلت فداك من ذلك ما اختلف فيه زرارة وهشام بن الحكم، فقال زرارة: ان الهواء ليس بشي‌ء وليس بمخلوق، وقال هشام: ان الهواء شي‌ء مخلوق، قال، فقال لي: قل في هذا بقول هشام، ولا تقل بقول زرارة
    Hamduwayh – Muhammad b. Isa – Ja’far b. Isa – Ali b. Yunus b. Bahman who said: I said to al-Ridha عليه‌ السلام: May I be made your ransom - our companions have differed! He said: in what thing have they differed, relate to me a thing from that (an example of that which they have differed in)? He (Ali) said: Nothing came to mind except that which I said (which is): May I be made your ransom, an example of that is what Zurara and Hisham b. al-Hakam had differed in. Zurara said ‘air is not a thing nor is it created’ while Hisham said ‘air is a created thing’. He (the Imam) said to me: affirm in this the position of Hisham and not the position of Zurara.
    Incidentally, this report indicates that the practitioners of Kalam were also influenced by the neo-Platonic primitive ‘scientific’ theories which were concerned with the natural world.
    Difference of opinion and the perennial competition to win favour from the Imam led some companion to even become rivals. It is in the context of theological disputation concerning the attributes of God that Hisham had a major falling out with Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj, himself a financial agent appointed by al-Kadhim over Iraq.
    علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني محمد بن موسى الهمداني، عن الحسن ابن موسى الخشاب، عن غيره، عن جعفر بن محمد بن حكيم الخثعمي قال: اجتمع هشام بن سالم، وهشام بن الحكم، وجميل بن دراج، وعبد الرحمن بن الحجاج، ومحمد بن حمران، وسعيد بن غزوان، ونحو من خمسة عشر رجلا من أصحابنا، فسألوا هشام بن الحكم أن يناظر هشام بن سالم فيما اختلفوا فيه من التوحيد وصفة الله عز وجل وغير ذلك لينظروا أيهما أقوى حجة. فرضي هشام بن سالم أن يتكلم عند محمد بن أبي عمير، ورضي هشام بن الحكم أن يتكلم عند محمد بن هشام، فتكالما وساق ما جرى بينهما. وقال، قال عبد الرحمن بن الحجاج لهشام بن الحكم: كفرت والله بالله العظيم وألحدت فيه، ويحك ما قدرت أن تشبه بكلام ربك الا العود يضرب به! قال جعفر ابن محمد بن حكيم، فكتب إلى أبي الحسن موسى عليه السلام يحكي له مخاطبتهم وكلامهم ويسأله أن يعلمه ما القول الذي ينبغي ندين الله به من صفه الجبار؟ فأجابه في عرض كتابه فهمت رحمك الله واعلم رحمك الله ان الله أجل وأعلى وأعظم من أن يبلغ كنه صفته فصفوه بما وصف به نفسه، وكفوا عما سوى ذلك
    Ali b. Muhammad – Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani – al-Hasan b. Musa al-Khashshab – Ja’far b. Muhammad Hukaym al-Khath’ami who said: Hisham b. Salim, Hisham b. al-Hakam, Jamil b. Darraj, Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj, Muhammad b. Humran, Sai’d b. Ghazwan and about fifteen men among our companions gathered together. They (those present) asked Hisham b. al-Hakam to debate with Hisham b. Salim about the differences they had regarding Tawhid, the attributes of Allah Mighty and Majestic and other matters, so that they could observe which one was stronger in argument. 
    Hisham b. Salim agreed to be represented by Muhammad b. Abi Umayr (his student) while Hisham b. al-Hakam agreed to be represented by Muhammad b. Hisham. They began disputing and he (Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Hukaym) recounted in depth what transpired between them (in the debate)
    He (Ja’far) said: Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj said to Hisham b. al-Hakam: You have disbelieved - by Allah - in Allah the Almighty and have fallen in heresy. Woe be upon you - how could you dare to compare the words of your Lord to a stick (created object) which is used to hit with!
    Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Hukaym said: He (Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj) wrote to Abi al-Hasan Musa عليه السلام recounting for him their speech and talk (in the debate) and asking him to teach him what the correct position as regards the attributes of the al-Jabbar (the Irresistable) through which Allah can be worshipped is?
    So he (the Imam) answered him (writing) at the bottom of his letter: I have understood may Allah have mercy on you. Know - may Allah have mercy on you - that Allah is more majestic and elevated and great than for his attributes to be fully comprehended. Therefore describe Him the way He has described Himself and abstain from going beyond that.
     
    Attitudes towards Him
    It is for all these reasons recounted above that Hisham became a particularly polarizing figure who attracted both scorn and devotion within the larger Shi’ite community. In fact, large sections of al-Kashshi’s book can be seen as a competing ground for the different factions fighting each other over how to represent his person and legacy.
    Those close to Hisham, who can be said to have belonged to his school, such as his premier student Yunus and the Ubaydi clan including Ali b. Yaqtin, Muhammad and Ja’far the two sons of Isa, narrated narrations which cast him in a positive light, as an apologia to the excommunication he continued to suffer at the hand of his Qummi traditionalist opponents.
    His traditionalist opponents saw him as overstepping the mark by formulating his own world-view instead of a total and rigid attachment to the letter of the narrations.
    On the one hand we have a narration such as the one below where Imam Jawad is quoted as praising Hisham to the skies for his efforts:
    محمد بن مسعود العياشى، قال: حدثني جعفر، قال: حدثني العمركي قال: حدثني الحسين بن أبي لبابة، عن داود أبي هشام الجعفري قال: قلت لأبي جعفر عليه‌ السلام: ما تقول في هشام بن الحكم؟ فقال: رحمه‌ الله ما كان أذبه عن هذه الناحية
    Muhammad b. Masud al-Ayyashi – Ja’far – al-Amrikai – al-Husayn b. Abi Lubaba – Dawud Abi Hashim al-Ja’fari who said: I said to Abi Ja’far عليه‌ السلام: What do you say about Hisham b. al-Hakam? He said: May Allah have mercy on him. How great was his defense of this quarter (the holy threshold)!    
    On the other hand we have questions about the validity of praying behind his ‘companions’ which in this context implies those who follow his theological positions.
    علي بن محمد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن أبي علي بن راشد، عن أبي جعفر الثاني عليه السلام قال، قلت: جعلت فداك قد اختلف أصحابنا، فأصلي خلف أصحاب هشام بن الحكم؟ قال: عليك بعلي بن حديد، قلت: فآخذ بقوله؟ قال: نعم فلقيت علي بن حديد فقلت له: نصلي خلف أصحاب هشام بن الحكم؟ قال: لا
    Ali b. Muhammad – Ahmad b. Muhammad – Abi Ali b. Rashid – Abi Ja’far the Second. He (Abi Ali) said: I said: May I be made your ransom, our companions have differed (about this), should I pray behind the companions of Hisham b. al-Hakam? He said: Upon you is Ali b. Hadid (ask this question to him). I said: Should I follow what he tells me? He said: Yes. I met Ali b. Hadid and said to him: should we pray behind the companions of Hisham b. al-Hakam? He said: No.
    Is there any truth to the criticims levelled at Hisham? Or can we explain away all the hostility towards him as being borne out of jealousy towards his ability as the report below indicates.
    حدثنا حمدويه وابراهيم ابنا نصير، قالا: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، قال: حدثني زحل عمر بن عبد العزيز بن أبي بشار، عن سليمان بن جعفر الجعفري قال: سألت أبا الحسن الرضا عليه‌ السلام عن هشام بن الحكم؟ قال: فقال لي: رحمه‌ الله كان عبدا ناصحا أوذي من قبل أصحابه حسدا منهم له
    Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the two sons of Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Zuhl Umar b. Abd al-Aziz b. Abi Bashshar – Sulayman b. Ja’far al-Ja’fari who said: I asked Aba al-Hasan al-Ridha عليه‌ السلام about Hisham b. al-Hakam, so he said to me: May Allah have mercy on him. He was a loyal servant who was persecuted by his fellows because of their jealousy of him.
  24. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Hisham b. al-Hakam: Defender of the Madhhab (Pt 1)   
    ورفعه الصادق عليه السلام في الشيوخ وهو غلام. وقال: هذا ناصرنا بقلبه ولسانه ويده
    al-Sadiq عليه السلام elevated him to be at par with the elders while he was still a youth. He said: This is our defender by his heart, tongue and hand [Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashub]
     
    Hisham b. al-Hakam: The Defender of the Madhhab (Pt. 1)
     
    Biographical Details
    هشام بن الحكم أصله كوفي، ومولده ومنشؤه بواسط، وقد رأيت داره بواسط، وتجارته ببغداد في الكرخ، وداره عند قصر وضاح في الطريق الذي يأخذ في بركة بني زرزر حيث تباع الطرايف والخلنج
    al-Fadhl b. Shadhan (d. 260) the great Imami scholar says about him: Hisham b. al-Hakam had his origins in Kufa (his family), but was born and raised in Wasit. I have seen his house in Wasit. His business was in Baghdad in the Karkh (district). His house (when he later relocated to Baghdad) was in Qasr Wadhah in the road which is taken to reach the pond of Bani Zurzur where is sold oddities and wooden utensils.        
    بياع الكرابيس
    al-Saduq identifies his profession as a seller of canvas (a strong and coarse cloth).
    أبو محمد مولى كندة، وكان ينزل بني شيبان بالكوفة، إنتقل إلى بغداد
    al-Najashi gives his Kunya as Abu Muhammad and declares him to be a client of the Kinda (an Arabian tribe with a lot of Christians in the Jahiliyya). He is said to have resided with the Bani Shayban (the patrons of the famous Shi’i family of the Bani A’yan) when in Kufa, before relocating permanently to Baghdad.
     تحول من بغداد إلى الكوفة] [مات سنة تسع وسبعين ومائة بالكوفة في أيام الرشيد] [كان لاستتاره قصة مشهورة في المناظرات] ]
    He had to flee Baghdad for Kufa, because of an intrigue against him, where he died in concealment in the year 179 during the Khilafa of al-Rashid.
     
    His Personality and Interests
    Hisham was a close companion of the two Imams al-Sadiq and al-Kadhim. He can be considered the most prominent mutakallim [theologian] of the entire first three centuries of Shi’ite Islam.
    al-Najashi says about him:
     وكان ثقة في الروايات
    He was Thiqa [trustworthy] in narrations
    al-Tusi says:
    وكانت له مباحثات كثيرة مع المخالفين في الأصول وغيرها ... وكان ممن فتق الكلام في الإمامة وهذب المذهب بالنظر وكان حاذقا بصناعة الكلام حاضر الجواب وسئل يوما عن معاوية ابن أبي سفيان أشهد بدرا قال: نعم من ذلك الجانب ...
    He held many debates with the opponents concerning the essentials of belief and other subjects … He was one of the first to make use of theological arguments for Imama and defend the Madhhab through reason. He was skillful in the techniques of theological disputation, possessing a quick wit and a ready answer. He was asked one time whether Muawiya b. Abi Sufyan witnessed the battle of Badr so he said: ‘Yea - on the other side [of the Kuffar]’ …
    Hisham’s interest in theology can be gleamed from some of the titles of his authored works which include: a book on Tawhid (كتاب التوحيد), a book on the differences between people concerning Imama (كتاب اختلاف الناس في الإمامة), a book on predestination and free-will (كتاب في الجبر والقدر), a refutation of the Zanadiqa (كتاب الرد على الزنادقة), a refutation of the Dualists (كتاب الرد على أصحاب الاثنين), a refutation of the Mu’tazila (كتاب الرد على المعتزلة), a refutation of Aristotle (كتاب الرد على أرسطاطاليس) etc.
    Hisham occupies a special place in proto-Sunni heresiographical works where he is presented as the quintessential bogeyman. This is because he was the first to expose Imami positions to a wider audience and gained notoriety as an unmatched polemicist. His role as the systemizer of central Shi’i ideas such as Isma (infallibility) of the ‘Aimma must have contributed to this depiction of him.
    Despite his predominant interest in rational theology, this did not stop him from being a prolific narrator of mostly Fiqhi [legal] narrations from the two Imams. He is an example of a hybrid-scholar i.e. the few companions who could bridge between the wholly rationalistic and the wholly traditionalistic trends among the early Shia. There are 167 narrations in whose chain he appears in our corpus as it stands today.
     
    His special position with al-Sadiq
    Hisham is said to have been influenced initially by the ideas of Jahm b. Safwan (d. 128). His ‘conversion’ to Shi’ism was borne out of an encounter with the master described below:   It is narrated from Umar b. Yazid [who recounted] that - His nephew Hisham used to subscribe to the Jahmi Madhhab as far as religion was concerned and was devilishly adept at it. He asked me one day to arrange it so that he could enter in and meet Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. I requested permission [from the Imam] to allow Hisham to come meet him which he [Imam] approved. I stood to depart and took a few steps but began thinking about his [Hisham’s] viciousness and maliciousness [when arguing] so I returned back to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and informed him of these traits of his. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to me: O Umar - do you fear for me? I became ashamed of what I had said and recognized that I had overstepped my limits [tripped up]. I departed in a state of shame until I came to Hisham and informed him that permission had been granted but requested him to delay going to meet him [i.e. because of my embarrasment to meet the Imam so soon], but Hisham could not wait and hurried to see him. He knocked and entered and I went with him.
    When we were seated in his presence Abu Abdillah عليه السلام asked him a question which Hisham hesitated over and could not answer. Hisham asked him [the Imam] to give him time [to come up with the answer] which Abu Abdillah عليه السلام agreed to. Hisham went away and sought to find the answer for several days to no avail. He retuned to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام at which point Abu Abdillah عليه السلام solved it for him. He [the Imam] proceeded to ask him other questions which invalidated his [Hisham’s] beliefs and creed. This caused Hisham to leave in sadness and confusion. He [Hisham] said: I remained for days with my confusion unresolved.
    Umar b. Yazid said: Hisham asked me to seek permission for him to enter and meet Abi Abdillah عليه السلام for the third time. I went to see Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: He should wait for me in such and such place - which he named - in Hira so as we can meet tomorrrow if Allah wills. Umar says: I proceeded to Hisham and informed him of his [the Imam’s] words and instruction. He [Hisham] was very pleased and delighted by that and preceded him [the Imam] in reaching the location that he [the Imam] had mentioned.
    Then I saw Hisham after that and asked him what had happened between them. He informed me that he was the first to reach the location that Aba Abdillah عليه السلام had appointed for him, as he was waiting he saw Abi Abdillah عليه السلام approaching on a mule of his. Hisham says: When I got a glance of him and he came near me I was overcome by awe at his visage, so much so that I could not find the words to speak and my tongue was motionless. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام stopped before me for a moment waiting for me to speak, but this just added to my amazement and astonishment. When he saw this he struck his mule and continued on until he entered one of the roads in Hira. I was sure that what had happened to me and my awe of him was not but from Allah Mighty and Majestic because of his [the Imam’s] great position and station in the eyes of the Majestic Lord.
    Umar said: Hisham attached himself to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and abandoned his former Madhhab and converted to the true religion. Then he ascended to a position beyond that of all the companions of Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and all praise belongs to Allah.
    al-Sadiq recognised the potential of Hisham as an able student almost instantly. He seems to have treated him preferentially to other disciples and favoured him beyond others. The Imam taught him the secrets of Tawhid and supplicated for him. It is this close nurturing of Hisham which allowed him to climb the ladder of ascent to the pinnacle of his field. Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – al-Nadhr b. Suwayd – Hisham b. al-Hakam - that he asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the Names of Allah and their derivation [etymology] saying: What is Allah derived from? so he [the Imam] said to me: O Hisham, Allah is derived from … have you understood O Hisham? an understanding through which you can repel and defeat our enemies and those who betake another apart from Allah Mighty and Majestic [alone].
    I said: Yes.
    He said: May Allah benefit you by it and make you firm O Hisham.
    Hisham said: By Allah no one has defeated me on the subject of Tawhid to this day when I stand in the position I do.   
    That Hisham reached the pinnacle is clear in the incident of the famous debate with the Syrian. It is the young Hisham who speaks last and best despite the presence of all the other major students much older than him garnering the praise of the Imam in the process. Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Qulawayh – Muhammad b. Ya’qub al-Kulayni – Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – a number of his men – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: I was at Abi Abdillah’sعليه السلام when a man from the people of Syria came and said: I am a man who is proficient in theology, jurisprudence and the inheritance laws. I have come to debate your companions … He [the Imam] said to me: Go out the door and look for any of the experts and bring him in. He [Yunus] said: I brought in Humran b. A’yan who was good at debating, al-Ahwal who was also good, Hisham b. Salim who was good too, and I brought in Qays al-Ma’sir who was the best of them in my estimation. He [Qays] had learnt to debate at the hands of Ali b. al-Husayn عليهما السلام.  
    When the gathering settled down – this was in pavillion which had been pitched on a mountain near the sanctuary (Ka’ba) where Abu Abdillah عليه السلام used to spend a few days before the Hajj – Abu Abdillah عليه السلام peered outside the pavillion and saw a camel ambling.
    He [the Imam] said: It is Hisham by the Lord of the Ka’ba! He [Yunus] said: We thought that ‘Hisham’ was a reference to a man from the descendants of Aqil greatly beloved to him, but it turned out to be Hisham b. al-Hakam whose beard had just sprouted for the first time, and there was no one among us who was not older than him.
    He [Yunus] said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام made room for him … then he said: O Humran debate the man, Humran debated him and defeated him. He [the Imam] said: O Taqi debate the man, al-Ahwal debated him and won. Then he [the Imam] said: O Hisham b. Salim debate him, but they ended in a draw. Then Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said to Qays al-Ma’sir: debate him, so he debated him and Abu Abdillah عليه السلام began laughing at their talk because of what befell the Syrian [of defeat]. 
    Then he [the Imam] said to the Syrian: debate this young man - that is Hisham b. al-Hakam ….
    Yunus said: I thought that he [the Imam] would - by Allah - say to Hisham words similar to what he had said to the others [i.e. the Imam had found fault in all their argumentations] but instead he said: O Hisham, you never fall flat [settle on the ground], everytime it seems that you are about to come to ground [i.e. be defeated] you just bend your legs [to able to leap] and off you fly away again. The likes of you should debate the people. Therefore be wary of slipping and you will find that succor is around the corner if Allah wills.
    al-Sadiq took great pride in Hisham’s achievements, and on at least one occasion asked Hisham to recount the details of a particularly momentous debate to the other disciples. Hisham had developed a decisive argument for the need for an Imam at all times in his debate with Amr b. Ubayd the Mu’tazili using an analogy of the centrality of the ‘heart’ relative to the other body functions to describe the centrality of the Imam to relative to the Umma. al-Ayyashi – Ali b. Muhammad b. Yazid al-Fayruzani al-Qummi – Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Yahya – Abi Ishaq – Muhammad b. Hammad – al-Hasan b. Ibrahim – Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: There were with Abi Abdillah عليه السلام a large number of his companions. Among them were Humran b. A’yan, The Believer of Taq (al-Ahwal), Hisham b. Salim, al-Tayyar and others among them Hisham b. al-Hakam who was just a young man. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: O Hisham, he [Hisham] said: at your service O the son of the Messenger of Allah! He [the Imam] said: Will you not inform me how you dealt with Amr b. Ubayd and your questions to him? Hisham said: I revere you and am thus self-conscious in front of you! My tongue does not speak in your presence. Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: If I order you to do something then do it … Abu Abdillah laughed with delight [after Hisham recounted his debate] and then said: Who taught you this O Hisham? He said: O the sone of the Messenger of Allah the words were made to flow through me tongue! He [the Imam] said: I swear by Allah that this is written in the scrolls of Ibrahim and Musa!
     
    His special position with al-Kadhim
    Hisham enjoyed an especially close relation with al-Kadhim عليه السلام
    al-Tusi says:
    كان من خواص سيدنا مولانا موسى بن جعفر عليه السلام
    He was one of the intimates of our master Musa b. Ja’far عليه السلام
    This can be seen in the examples below:
    Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – al-Hasan b. Ali b. Yaqtin who said: Whenever Abu al-Hasan [al-Kadhim] عليه‌ السلام wanted some neccessities for himself, or something of a personal nature, he would write to my father Ali: ‘purchase for me this and that or acquire for me such and such, and the one to undertake that should be Hisham b. al-Hakam’. But if it had to do with his [the Imam’s] more general responsibilities he would just write: ‘purchase for me this and that’ and not mention Hisham unless it was personal.
    It is also said that his [the Imam’s] favour towards him [Hisham] and his [Hisham’s] status in his [the Imam’s] estimation reached such a level that he [the Imam] sent him [Hisham] fifteen thousand gold coins and said to him: ‘do business with them and keep the profits thereof returning to us only the capital’. Hisham did as instructed. May Allah bless Abi al-Hasan.    
    Hamduwayh and Ibrahim the sons of Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Zuhl – Asad b. Abi al-Ala who said: Abu al-Hasan the First عليه‌ السلام wrote to those who had come up from his Shia in one of the years during the pilgrimage season [to make the Hajj] about fulfilling a certain need of his, no one took it up [responded positively] except Hisham b. al-Hakam. He [Asad] said: He [the Imam] later wrote to him - that is Hisham b. al-Hakam - ‘may Allah make your reward paradise’.
  25. Like
    Abu Nur reacted to Islamic Salvation for a blog entry, Mufadhal b. Umar: Sinner or Saint?   
    اكتب وبث علمك في إخوانك، فإن مت فأورث كتبك بنيك
    Write down and spread your knowledge among your brothers. And if you are about to die then will your books to your children [What the Imam al-Sadiq is supposed to have said to al-Mufadhal]
     
    فلما انصرفت إلى الكوفة أقبلت علي الشيعة فمزقوني كل ممزق، يأكلون لحمي ويشتمون عرضي، حتى أن بعضهم استقبلني فوثب في وجهي، وبعضهم قعد لي في سكك الكوفة يريد ضربي، ورموني بكل بهتان
    When I reached Kufa and met the Shia, they tore me to shreds, eating my flesh and disparaging my honour, such that one of them faced me and punched me in the face, and one of them lay in ambush for me in the markets of Kufa wishing to beat me up, and they made false accusations against me [Mufadhal in his Last Will and Testimony]
     
    ما يقولون في المفضل بن عمر؟ قلت: يقولون فيه: هيئة يهوديا أو نصرانيا
    What do they say about al-Mufadhal b. Umar? They say: He has the appearance and manner of a Jew or a Christian [The General Populace of Kufa was not impressed by Mufadhal]
     
    Who was He?
    Abu Abdallah Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju’fi (d. before 179), a money-changer by profession, was a Kufan companion of the two Imams, al-Sadiq and al-Kadhim. He was charged with performing certain tasks for them.
    al-Tusi sees no problem in him. He includes him among the praiseworthy ‘intimate ones’ and ‘managers of the Imam’s affairs’ citing the following report as evidence:
    علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني سلمة بن الخطاب، عن علي بن حسان، عن موسى بن بكير قال: كنت في خدمة أبي الحسن عليه السلام ولم أكن أرى شيئا يصل إلى إلا من ناحية المفضل بن عمر، ولربما رأيت الرجل يجئ بالشئ فلا يقبله منه ويقول: أوصله إلى المفضل
    Ali b. Muhammad – Salama b. al-Khattab – Ali b. Hassan – Musa b. Bukayr: I was in the service of Abi al-Hasan  عليه السلام. Nothing [of the monetary dues] used to reach him [from any other route] except through Mufadhal b. Umar. I would sometimes see a man bringing something to the Imam directly and he [the Imam] would refuse to accept it and say: take it to Mufadhal.   
    That he was an important figure who exerted considerable influence on the Shi’ite community is undeniable. This can be glimpsed from the number of narrations under his name and the books attributed to him. 
     
    A Controversial Narrator
    However, there is a controversy about his status. A controversy which probably began in his own lifetime. Some saw him as the bearer of the ‘secrets’ of the Imams who was understandably misunderstood by the laymen who could not bear them, while others saw him as a crypto-syncretist who distorted the teachings of the Imam.
    There exists both praise and censure of him attributed to the Imams. Most of the narrations which extol him are narrated by the Ghulat who glorify him as one of their pillars.
    The books ascribed to him include partially surviving esoteric manuals like Kitab al-Sirat (‘The Book of the Way’) and Kitab al-Haft wa al-Azilla (‘The Book of the Seven and the Phantoms’) among others. These are treasured by contemporary Nusayri-Alawis but would be considered heretical in the Twelver Madhhab. It is unclear whether this attribution is historical or merely based on the communal memory of his significance for their teachings. Modern academic research sees these books as consisting of many layers, with unidentified authors adding material to the oldest core.
    al-Ayyashi encountered some of this suspect literature as he retells below:
     وأمّا أبو يعقوب إسحاق بن محمد البصري، فإنّه كان غالياً، وسرت إليه إلى بغداد لاكتب عنه وسألته كتاباً أنسخه، فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث المفضّل بن عمر في التفويض ، فلم أرغب فيه فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث مشيخته من الثقات
    As for Abu Ya’qub Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Basri then he was a Ghali. I went to him in Baghdad to write from him. I asked him a book to copy so he took out for me a collection of narrations from Mufadhal b. Umar regarding Tafwidh [that the ‘Aimma are independent beings who run the world after its initial creation] but I did not express any interest in that, then he produced narrations relayed by the trustworthy ones among his teachers …
    Traditionalist scholars like al-Najashi and Ibn al-Ghadhairi had a negative assessment of him for this very reason. They went through the works ascribed to him and found them to be unpalatable.
    Ibn al-Ghadhairi is scathing when he says:
    خطابي، وقد زيد عليه شئ كثير، وحمل الغلاة في حديثه حملا عظيما
    ‘A Khattabi. A lot of fabricated material has been attributed to him. The Ghulat have launched a full-scale attack on his narrations (i.e. they have invaded his original corpus infiltrating it with their own ideas)’
    al-Najashi warns:
    وقد ذكرت له مصنفات لا يعول عليها، وإنما ذكرنا للشرط الذي قدمناه
    ‘A number of books are listed as authored by him but they are not to be depended upon. I only include their names because of the condition which we have mentioned before [i.e. to list the titles of all Shi’i authors]’
    Even if he is not responsible for what circulates under his name, the fact that the Ghulat considered him one of their own should be reason enough for caution. Anonymous writers are  known to have penned material using his name seeking to enhance the authority of their works. It is an arduous task to sift the historical from the forged.
     
    A Khattabi?
    What can be asserted without doubt is that the historical Mufadhal was at one point in time connected to Abu al-Khattab and the Khatabiyya [there is even a splinter-sect of the Khatabiyya which was named after Mufadhal i.e. the Mufadhaliyya]. They are accused of deifying al-Sadiq in some way and of believing in continuation of prophecy. We have some narrations which indicate Mufadhal’s links with such beliefs:   
    حدثني الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، قال حدثني محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب و الحسن بن موسى، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن عبد الله بن مسكان قال: دخل حجر بن زائدة و عامر بن جذاعة الأزدي على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقالا: جعلنا فداك، إن المفضل بن عمر يقول إنكم تقدرون أرزاق العباد ...
    al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi – Sa’d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf al-Qummi – Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and al-Hasan b. Musa from Safwan b. Yahya from Abdallah b. Muskan who said: Hujr b. Zaida and A’mir b. Judha’a al-Azdi entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: May we be made your ransom, Mufadhal b. Umar says that you are the ones who allot the Rizq of the slaves …
    علي بن محمد، عن صالح بن أبي حماد، عن محمد بن أورمة، عن ابن سنان، عن المفضل بن عمر قال: كنت أنا والقاسم شريكي ونجم بن حطيم وصالح بن سهل بالمدينة فتناظرنا في الربوبية، قال: فقال بعضنا لبعض: ما تصنعون بهذا نحن بالقرب منه وليس منا في تقية قوموا بنا إليه، قال: فقمنا فوالله ما بلغنا الباب إلا وقد خرج علينا بلا حذاء ولا رداء قد قام كل شعرة من رأسه منه وهو يقول: لا لا يا مفضل ويا قاسم ويا نجم، لا لا بل عباد مكرمون لا يسبقونه بالقول وهم بأمره يعملون
    Ali b. Muhammad – Salih b. Abi Hammad – Muhammad b. Awrama – Ibn Sinan – al-Mufadhal b. Umar who said:  I, al-Qasim al-Shariki, Najm b. Hutaym and Salih b. Sahl were in Madina when we disputed each other over the divinity [of the ‘Aimma]. He [Mufadhal] said: We said to each other - why are we speculating on this when we are nearby to him [the Imam] and he is not in Taqiyya with us [does not answer us in dissimulation], let’s go meet him. He [Mufadhal] said: We headed towards him - by Allah we had not reached the door before he came out bare-footed, without a cloak and all the hair on his head stood on end [in apprehension] saying: No - O Mufadhal, Qasim and Najm, No! “rather mere honored slaves, never preceding Him (Allah) in word, and they always follow His orders” (21:26-27)
    حدثني حمدويه وإبراهيم ابنا نصير، قالا: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، عن علي ابن الحكم، عن المفضل بن عمر أنه كان يبشر أبا الخطاب وفلان أنكما لمن المرسلين
    Hamduwayh b. Nusayr and Ibrahim b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam: That he [Mufadhal b. Umar] used to give glad tidings to Aba al-Khattab and one other saying: ‘verily you are messengers’
    قال الكشى: وذكرت الطيارة الغالية في بعض كتبها عن المفضل: أنه قال لقد قتل مع أبي اسماعيل يعني أبا الخطاب سبعون نبيا ... وأن المفضل قال: أدخلنا على أبي عبد الله عليه‌ السلام ونحن اثنى عشر رجلا، قال: فجعل أبو عبد الله عليه‌ السلام يسلم على رجل رجل منا ويسمي كل رجل منا باسم نبي، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا نوح، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا ابراهيم، وكان آخر من سلم عليه وقال: السلام عليك يا يونس، ثم قال: لا تخاير بين الانبياء
    al-Kashshi said: The Tayyara Ghulat say in one of their books that al-Mufadhal said: Seventy prophets were killed with Aba al-Khattab … Mufadhal is also supposed to have said: Twelve of us entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه‌ السلام. He [the Imam] began greeting each one of us individually and calling each one of us by the name of a prophet, saying to one of us ‘peace be upon you O Noah’ to another ‘peace be upon you O Ibrahim’, he greeted the last one of us saying: ‘peace be upon you O Yunus’. Then he [the Imam] said: do not distinguish between the prophets! 
     
    Mufadhal, The Khattabiyya and Ismail
    The Khatabbiya seem to have taken Ismail the son of al-Sadiq as their figure-head and pinned their hopes on him as the next Imam. It is hard to discern from the meager sources available whether Ismail’s participation in this was of his own volition or not.
    رجال الكشي: حمدويه بن نصير، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن الحكم وحماد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل بن جابر قال: قال أبو عبد الله: ايت المفضل قل له: يا كافر يا مشرك ما تريد إلى ابني تريد أن تقتله
    Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Ya’qub b. Yazid – Ibn Abi Umayr – Hisham b. al-Hakam and Hammad b. Uthman –  Ismail b. Jabir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: Go to Mufadhal and say to him - O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you want for my son Ismail? Do you want to kill him!?
    The narration above has the Imam using very harsh language with Mufadhal in the context of the latter’s ‘grooming’ of Ismail which al-Sadiq felt was dangerous. 
    On the other hand, there also exists a countervailing narration as below:

    الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن علي بن الحكم، عن يونس بن يعقوب قال: أمرني أبو عبد الله عليه السلام أن آتي المفضل واعزيه باسماعيل وقال: اقرأ المفضل السلام وقل له: إنا قد اصبنا بإسماعيل فصبرنا، فاصبر كما صبرنا، إنا أردنا أمرا وأراد الله عزوجل أمرا، فسلمنا لامر الله عزوجل
    Muhammad b. Yahya – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام ordered me to go to Mufadhal and condole him for [the death of] Ismail. He [the Imam] said: Convey my greetings of peace to Mufadhal and say to him: We have been tried through Ismail and have remained patient, so be patient the way we have been patient. We wanted something but Allah Mighty and Majestic wanted something else so we have submitted to the command of Allah Mighty and Majestic.   
    This one is much more warm. The Imam condoles Mufadhal on the occasion of Ismail’s death - the two must have been especially close - and commends him to be patient in emulation of the Imam’s own patience.   
    How can we explain this difference in tone?
     
    A Rapprochement?
    It seems that one way to reconcile between them is to posit that Mufadhal had a period of estrangement from the Imam - because of his involvement with the Khattabis and their intentions for Ismail, however, he later repented from this and broke away with Abu al-Khattab, consequently the relation with the Imam improved.
    Evidence for this can be found in the narration below:
    جبرئيل بن أحمد قال: حدّثني محمّد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: سمعت أبا عبداللّه عليه السلام يقول للمفضّل بن عمر الجعفي: يا كافر يا مشرك ما لك ولابني، يعني إسماعيل بن جعفر، وكان منقطعا إليه، يقول فيه مع الخطابية، ثم رجع بعد
    Jibrail b. Ahmad – Muhammad b. Isa – Yunus – Hammad b. Uthman who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying to al-Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju’fi: O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you have to do with my son - meaning Ismail b. Ja’far? - and he [Mufadhal] was loyal to him [Ismail], believing about him [that he is the Imam and much more] together with the Khatabiyya, then he returned afterwards.
    That Mufadhal returned back to the truth after deviation can be proved also by the fact that he was not among those followers of Abu al-Khattab who died with their leader when they were attacked by the men of Isa b. Musa [the Abbasid governor of Kufa] after barricading themselves in the central mosque as part of an aborted revolt.
    Another piece of evidence for this view is that Mufadhal seems to have a more cordial relation with al-Kadhim after the death of al-Sadiq [indeed there are no censures against him quoted from this Imam, which would tally with his reform in his later years]. 
    محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني عبد الله بن خلف، قال: حدثنا علي بن حسان الواسطي، قال: حدثني موسى بن بكير قال: سمعت أبا الحسن يقول لما أتاه موت المفضل بن عمر، قال: رحمه الله، كان الوالد بعد الوالد، أما انه قد استراح
    Muhammad b. Masud – Abdallah b. Khalaf – Ali b. Hassan al-Wasiti – Musa b. Bukayr who said: I heard Aba al-Hasan saying when he was informed of the death of al-Mufadhal b. Umar - May Allah have mercy on him, he was a father after the father [al-Sadiq i.e. a second father to him]. Verily he is now resting in peace.
     
    Summary 
    The case of al-Mufadhal is a complicated one. More needs to be done to collect all the relevant evidence and formulate a coherent position, if at all possible. This is obviously not the place for an in-depth study. Such research should also consider the provenance of famous books attributed to him like Tawhid al-Mufadhal, al-Ihlilaja etc. Having said all this, caution must be exercised as regards narrations attributed to him, specifically if the contents have to do with Imamology.
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