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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. In the case of physical therapy, the practice of medicine, or providing relief, many things that would otherwise be non-permissible are allowed. Just like you would accept a male doctor examining a woman for breast cancer, or even delivering a baby, there should be absolutely no problem with such physical contact or exposure. I remember hearing a quote from Imam Khomeini that the best indicator as to whether something is permissible is your conscience (الضمير). You know whether your intentions are pure, selfless, and positive, or whether they are malicious. If there are impure intentions, even touching the hands of your Mahram can be unacceptable.
  2. This quote does an amazing job at identifying the type of person, debater, and thinker that AlKhidr is (with all due respect). In one sentence, he demonstrates to his readers the type of arrogance that such 'thinkers' possess. He begins his debate with his own conclusion, stating it as a fact, thereby self-proclaiming to be an authority on the subject, and implying that he has either considered all of the relevant research, analyses, and debates - amounting to centuries worth of writings - and that he possesses the necessary intellect to dissect, process, and evaluate the data, as well as the unbiased clarity-of-mind to make a well-grounded judgement on the matter, or that his methodology of analysis is the single correct approach, thereby evading the need to even consider all of the work that has already been put into researching this topic over the decades. Of course, arrogance is hardly perceived as a negative character trait by a 'takfiri' (and please see my explanation below for what I'm referring to when I use the word 'takfiri' - certainly not a particular sect in Islam or any other creed). There are an array of ways that we can respond to such individuals: We can respectfully invite them to a debate founded on common grounds - whatever those common grounds are. The problem is that individuals who lack humility and regard for the sanctity of others' beliefs (regardless of how foreign and absurd those beliefs may seem on the surface) are typically (not necessarily always - احتياطاً) individuals who lack the depth of thought and the insight necessary to engage in a meaningful and potentially fruitful debate. This is precisely what Shiaman14 demonstrated for us. In other words, you probably won't get very far, but at least you'll have demonstrated your willingness to open up your beliefs for scrutiny and possess the confidence that you can defend your point of view logically. It's never our goal to convince them that they're wrong, but to show that our point of view (which we do not impose on anyone) is NOT based on perversions or ill-intentions (as AlKhidr claims in the first paragraph of his piece). Thank you Shiaman14 for that! We can ignore them, but many times this approach is counter-productive as it can be falsely interpreted as the inability to discredit their flawed reasoning. We can join them and be equally as arrogant, hateful, and offensive, thereby polluting the beauty of Ahlul-Bayt's approach to dialogue. This is obviously one of the worse things we can do. We can take a step back and identify the underlying flaws in not only their argument itself, but in their outlook on life and their worldview as a whole. Doing this (in my humble opinion) allows us to more cleverly identify when such individuals are worth responding to (directly) and when it is more beneficial to let their self-evident ignorance, hatred, and destructive way of thinking reveal itself, thus automatically discrediting the argument they're trying to make. Ultimately, it is our job to uphold the values that make us who we believe to be: humble, respectful, tolerant, and in pursuit of a healthy way of life (as individuals and as a community), acknowledging that we may be looking at things the wrong way in many cases, but to the best of our ability, our approach is grounded in reason and is based on a world-view that we think is consistent with the religion. This is for members of our own communities to see, and for those from the outside to witness. AlKhidr and others like him are actually perfect candidates for us to use in order to demonstrate to the world what we're really up against. The type of hatred, ignorance, lack of insight, arrogance, and short-sighted conduct that is prevalent in our part of the world. We should always welcome them in these forums, as they serve a VERY beneficial cause for us... Takfiri: an individual (or group) that is so comfortable stepping outside the bounds of humility, self-criticism, and self-correction, that he/she feels justified in not only questioning the beliefs and practices of others (which is already sort of an inappropriate behavior), but passing judgement on them, accusing their motives, attacking them, and in some cases justifying harming them, before even considering their perspective.
  3. In essence, I agree with you. We should not be quick to take these types of articles/stories as truth, and should always question the accuracy/source. I disagree, however, with your assessment that this is 'unlikely-sounding' (for the reasons I've outlined above). Could this possibly be a fabrication? Yes. Could it be an attempt to defame the Wahhabis? Yes. And both of those are things that we don't condone. But, what makes this a concerning matter is HOW fatwas are issued by these Wahhabi sheikhs, without undergoing any scholarly scrutiny and a sort of "peer-review" process. They're set up in a way that their fatwas aren't subject to the criticism of other Sunni scholars, they're issued behind closed-doors, and they are typically created for a short term tactical purpose (and they consistently display a preference of short-term tactic over long term ideological impact).
  4. Hardly surprising at all. I think any sane person recognizes that Wahhabism is a global terrorist thug ideology that exploits the gross ignorance of the isolated arab, north african, and asian populations. Young "men" (for lack of a better word) are recruited to carry out military operations that serve the interests of a few warlords. These interests include weapons sales, oil sales, pressuring other groups and governments for political gains, among other things. To this end, you must anticipate that they are willing to issue any fatwa whatsoever, with absolutely no regard to whether or not it has a justifiable basis, ideologically. When the goal is materialistic, and there is no moral principle to restrain them, no fear of any accountability, no concern of a popular backfire (since the general Sunni population of the world refuses to accept that there is an organized Saudi effort behind these groups), and no conscience to make them feel guilty for what they've done (that's if it isn't their true aspiration to completely destroy the Islamic society from the inside out); then you should expect the absolute worst from them. From a terrorist Wahhabi "cleric's" perspective: if they need to rape girls, or hump each other, or hump goats, to carry out the military orders we give them, and they want a fatwa so they don't feel guilty about it, let them have their damn fatwa. Period
  5. What determines how these murderers are dealt with is the answer to the question: "what benefits the country and the society we're trying to build for the future?" Of course, I'm a Lebanese American, not Iraqi, but even from an observer's perspective, I'm referring to the Iraq that we aspire to see. Each approach has its pros and its cons. Slaughtering them, as they've done to the innocent, accomplishes the following: 1- It reinforces the sectarian tensions. (con) 2- It displays an Iraqi leadership and army whose decisions are governed by the (primitive) ideas of revenge and retribution. (con) 3- It can and will be used against the national leadership and will be seen as war-crimes. (con) 4- It will fail to inflict "fear" (as jaguar_knight suggested) and will actually backfire as a lousy attempt to play your opponent's game (spreading merciless brutality). (con) 5- It will not discourage any of the other fighters from committing those crimes, as they clearly lack the empathic ability to relate to the pain of a person in suffering. (zero sum) 6- It will make some portion of the enraged general population feel as though these criminals got what they deserved (this is honestly the only pro I can think of, and it's strategically meaningless in my opinion) Treating them in accordance with national and international laws actually reverses all of the things mentioned above. This means that the only strategically insignificant "con" is that there will remain some whose desire for revenge will not be satisfied. To me, defusing sectarian tension, amd having a strategy oriented leadership who behaves in accordance with humane laws and refuses to further spread the type of barbaric cruelty these murderers are known for, FAR outweighs the few unsatisfied calls for vengeance. "When sectarianism controls emotions, there will be no room for a rational Shi'ite nor a rational Sunni" -Sayyed Hassan
  6. Although your numbers may be correct, the problem is that in order to create a union, you must give incentive to the minorities not to want to break off. In other words, knowing that the Kurds would very much like to be completely independent, the one thing that would keep them as part of the Iraqi national government (if not brute force) is to offer them political gains that would make breaking off less desirable. You might think this is a bad idea, but arithmetic does not govern how things are weighed on a strategic level. Instead, you must realize that there is a non-linear relationship between what your goal is (to unite various groups) and what you're willing to pay for it (political gains). For example. if you're familiar with the American electoral college, then you know that each state has a certain number of electoral votes (some have 3, some have 10 - California has 55). When the presidential election results are counted in that state, all of that state's electoral votes go to the president who won in that state (regardless of the percentage). Interestingly, the population does not determine how many electoral votes each state gets. While the population of the state may be one variable, the state's economic strength is one factor, and more so is how much the federal government is willing to give in order for that state not to want to break away. Each of California's 55 electoral votes represents 410,000 voters. Each of Wyoming's 3 electoral votes represents about 130,000 voters, but carries the same weight. In other words, voters of California are being ripped off, because their vote is worth 1/3 that of someone from Wyoming. The reason this is necessary is because without this added benefit to the smaller communities (like the agricultural states - such as Wyoming), those smaller states would fear that they'd never have a say in political matters, because the bullies from the BIG states would always win the elections. This incentive is necessary to preserve the interests of the minority groups. Analogously, you have to give any minority group in Iraq (especially one with a defined political identity) more than what it's worth in simple algebra terms. That's how politics work; that's how you unite a diverse population under an overarching national banner. No one lacks the ability to perform the 1/3 division you've demonstrated, however, matters become MUCH more complex when you introduce the weights of each of the parties based on variables like wealth, military power, foreign influence, the natural resources in the regions they occupy, etc... Haram, let's not underestimate the intelligence of the Iraqi leadership. They really are dealing with a very complex issue, and there are a LOT of obstacles for them to overcome. It would be easy to suggest resorting to the military option, and forcing everyone to accept the "Iraqi National Program"; but this is not how you establish a sustainable state (if we're to concern ourselves with the country's future). Just my 2 cents...
  7. Breaking News: http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=927804&cid=21&fromval=1&frid=21&seccatid=20&s1=1 السيد مقتدى الصدر: التنظيمات الإرهابية انهت استعداداتها لدخول بغداد http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/08/08/Iraq-s-Sadr-claims-jihadists-planning-Baghdad-push-.html Iraq’s Sadr claims jihadists planning Baghdad push
  8. Thanks D3v1L for the quote. Great words by Erich Fromm. I think this quote explains very eloquently what led to the formation of the ISIS phenomenon (as a social rather than individual issue). I've always believed that this type of extremist, violent, ruthless, and destructive mentality is the result of a group exploiting all of its apparent alternatives (in order to achieve some goal), to no avail. There is a major problem in the Sunni world's ability to elect (or produce) a religious leadership that is independent, strong, charismatic, and is able to unite the diverse schools of thought that compose the Islamic world. The Shiite world is almost equally diverse, but there exists a sort of consensus on how this diversity is handled. Some blame this reality on the Wahhabi leadership in KSA; others hatefully blame Iran, but the reality is that if Shia were to play an aiding role in promoting such a leadership (even if this leadership had the courage and independence to oppose Shiites on religious and political matters), it would be identified as an Iranian puppet (or more yet, a traitor). Alternatively, standing idly on the sidelines and watching the Wahhabi ideology manipulate and hinder this process is even worse. They've successfully alienated the Azhar as well as most Sunni religious authorities in Syria and elsewhere, especially those who question of the "Iranian enemy" concept. Because of this, the Wahhabi movement (and I strongly believe this) has created a relatively widespread Sunni worldview that is comprised of 3 main problems: 1- Despair: Read what ISIS supporters have to write and post about how they view this 'Islamic State'. It's as if they believe that there are no horizons for improving the state of the Islamic world in the presence of the American and Iranian superpowers (and their subsequent allies everywhere). They cannot figure out how to position themselves with respect to this ongoing 'battle of the giants'. They fear that they don't possess the necessary components to intellectually build a sustainable state of being (or will be prevented from doing so). The sense of desperation is a necessary motivator to initiate action. 2- Distrust: They show distrust in their own scholars, as well as in their allies, neighbors, and everyone that isn't one of them. It's a type of ideological schizophrenia that prevents them from ever making a 'friend' with an outsider. Instead, they lash out and alienate everyone else in the world, in an attempt to convince themselves that they would be content without ever having an ally, as long as everyone around them feared them. (Of course the accusation against Hezbollah that they went Syria to "oppress Ahlul-Sunna" is intended to reinforce this problem). 3- Disconnection: and I mean disconnection from reality. They display the belief that with brute force, they can establish a sustainable presence, and be forgiven for the crimes they commit. There's a disconnection from reality in their belief that Iran and the West conspires to suppress and oppress them. Another delusion is that they actually believe that they are 'God's men". Although this delusion is characteristic of most religious fanatics, it is necessary to not allow proponents not to stop and question whether what they're doing will even solve their problems. (نفذ ثم اعترض) Combine these 3 inflicted psychological problems (Depression, Schizophrenia, and being Delusional) and you have the makings of a society that displays Pleasure in destruction. Everything else that follows is a direct consequence of these illnesses. What we're seeing in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon (with regards to the ISIS phenomenon) is as much a military problem as it is a social/psychological problem. So we have to tread carefully when confronting it, as any miscalculated moves can reinforce these problems.
  9. To a limited extent, as I've mentioned. In the sense of a politico-economic system, the premises on which even the American National School was based were perhaps consistent with Islam. But once again, such a system that takes no consideration of moral accountability in matters of trade is bound to be un-Islamic. Not to mention the role of Central Bank in Hamiltonian economics as lender and interest collector (a concept which is also rejected in Islam). The fact that federal law places no cap on interest rates, and never has, is enough to argue that the system (even during the American School era) was never really Islamic. It has many things in common with the Islamic economic system, but is not compatible! I am not an economics scholar, but the reasons mentioned alone (supply-demand curve, controlling supply to maintain value, moral questions, interest rates...) are more than enough to argue that the two are not compatible... Thank you! Jon
  10. Salam, I really didn't want to reintroduce the discussion on whether Capitalism is Islamic or not (i.e. moral or not in the eyes of a Muslim). But I honestly think that several key points have been completely overlooked, at least not emphasized nearly as much as they should have been. As far as the claim that Capitalism is an economic system in which private enterprise and wealth accumulation are permissible, this is a very narrow definition. These are key elements in a capitalist society, and are emphasized when talking about modern-capitalism because the concept was developed at a time when these basic rights were not enjoyed by the general public, as they should have been. John Locke, Adam Smith and others who contributed to the system that governs western economics fought for basic human rights that all men/women are entitled to, i.e. freedom, private capital, right of ownership, right to accumulate wealth... These ideas were merely the motivation for what has come to be known as capitalism, but, yes, these rights did exist before these individuals wrote their treatises and published their books. They existed particularly in the Islamic world, as these rights are very well protected in the Qur'an. They were the bases for the aforementioned scholars' arguments because they had been taken from people. Similarly, a political or economic ideology founded on the idea of "the right to marry whom one wishes" in a society where this right is taken (such as in the culture of the Vaupés Indians) will have this and perhaps only this in common with Islam, as this right is also protected by the rulings of Islam. However, what comes thereafter must also be examined before one can say whether this new ideology is consistent with Islamic teachings or not. Back to Capitalism, the fundamental and motivating ideas on which the system was based are consistent with Islam, however, what comes after has yet to be examined. Islam is a comprehensive moral principle system from which rulings on trade and financial transactions can NOT be detached. Because of this, it is simply the case that unless an economic system (say Capitalism) addresses the moral responsibilities of each party involved in trade, to the extent of limiting the amount of profit generated, controlling the use of the profit, and examining the means by which profit is obtained, it is very likely NOT consistent with Islam. An example to support this is the fact that one of the fundamental theories in capitalism is that price is determined by supply and demand. Lower supply & higher demand => higher price. This is clearly inconsistent with Islamic rulings, and here's how: After the 2006 July war between Israel and The Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, over 12,000 residential units had been destroyed. People returned home to rubble, and were in immediate need of simple household appliances (ovens, laundry machines, electric generators, etc...) just to get by. Many vendors realized this increased demand, and the fact that supplies were limited and began raising prices. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (HA) addressed this in a speech saying that it was unacceptable and immoral (thus un-Islamic) to exploit people's misery/suffering/misfortune to increase profit. I clearly agree with his opinion, as would most Muslims because morals govern our positions more so than the desire for profit. Another example is the fact that every year, U.S. companies dump thousands of tons of wheat, coffee, and rice into the ocean to maintain value. While millions starve in Africa and India, Capitalism (the uncontrolled, unregulated pursuit of profit) promotes this type of activity in order to keep prices within desired ranges. Who could argue that this is consistent with Islam, as a religion, not merely a politico-economic system? Please brothers, do not make the mistake of separating the different aspects of Islam. Morality, charity and responsibility in matters of trade are no less significant than our other obligations. Not to mention the fact that another one of the fundamental ideas which governs the capitalist ideology is individuals freedom, which seems nice and pretty on the outside. But by the standards of this idea, I am free to walk down the street, approach a homeless person, look them straight in the eye, pull a stack of money out of my pocket, smile at them, put the money back in my pocket without offering a dollar, and walk away without saying a word. The legal system cannot hold against me the psychological and emotional damage that I have caused, because of the idea of individual freedom. Same goes for (as baradar_jackson mentioned) the presence of sexual content in movies, alcoholism and all of the other moral problems in these societies. The underlying rule is this: anywhere morality is not taken into consideration when establishing a political or economic system, the outcome is inevitably and undeniably un-Islamic! That is merely my opinion, and on that basis i think capitalism is essentially inconsistent with Islam. I'll close this topic now, and get back to the talk about Nationalism in my next posting... Thank you!
  11. ÓáÇã Interesting topic. I think the most convincing explanation I've read was that provided by RottenCoconut. It makes complete sense to me that rather than the moon actually splitting (which would have been a much more widely covered event), those who requested it be split, saw what they came to witness and were convinced. Now, my fiance is a PhD Student in Cognitive Psychology and I'm a Civil Engineer, so I admit that optical illusions, mind tricks and scientific explanations are going to be more convincing to me than others. Isn't it widely known that David Copperfeld made the Statue of Liberty vanish in front of a live audience. He obviously didn't, but everyone there would swear left and right that it disappeared. I'm not saying that miracles that the Prophets (Úáíåã ÇáÕáÇÉ æ ÇáÓáÇã) performed were deception, but it seems very illogical to me that God (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) would have to break the physical laws that He himself placed to govern the events in the universe, just to convince a few idiots of the truth, especially when the Qur'an itself says that the universe itself is self-evident of the presence if God, when it's perfectly possible to make the event seem extremely real by manipulating people's perception! If God needed to break the physical laws that govern the universe, then He has failed in his design of a creation which is in fact self-evident of His existence just the way it is! This is why I find it hard to believe that such events did in fact occur, when other very logical explanations exist, that maintain the perfection of God's creation of the physical laws. Just my opinion! Jon
  12. I think you've misused the word "justice" in place of "physical characteristic", or perhaps "advantage". If it is true that men have an advantage in physical strength, this is completely irrelevant of "justice". Justice is the concept of moral righteousness, accountability of one's actions, assumption of one's responsibilities, implementation of legal ruling, etc... and is completely irrelevant of the physical advantages that one may or may not have been gifted with. I'm not sure how one could make reference to the word "justice" and state that it is isolated from equality. That is the first fallacy leading to unjust ideologies, namely assuming that people are NOT equal, and thus basing ideas and concepts of justice on the idea of inequality. That is how people end up being held to different standards under the same law! When an Israeli court tries a Palestinian civilian for alleged crimes, isn't it safe to say that this Palestinian individual is most likely mistreated, misrepresented and held to a double standard as a result of the Israeli Court's view that "Arab Israelis" are not equal to "Israeli Jews"? It is from the idea of inequality that this unjust treatment of citizens stems. While men and women are not physically identical (which hopefully we're all old enough to agree on :), and while we know that the endocrine differences (higher testoserone levels in Men, and so on) are the cause of Men's stronger and more muscuar build, this has absolutely NO relevance to the two genders being equal. What is Haram for a man, is Haram for a woman and vice versa... Look up the political and/or philosophical meaning of the word "equal" and you will see that it has nothing to do with differences in physical characteristics... Men and women are equal, and any suggestion otherwise is a step down a slippery slope that leads to injustice and oppression on the basis if gender, which is no different in essence to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or even religious affiliation! Of all people, Shi'at Ahlul Bayt should be the most cautious not to make claims that lead to any type of oppression, since it has been the enemy we have been facing for over 1400 years.
  13. I think I share your position entirely. I feel like the mere fact that "gender-superiority" is still being discussed today is an indication that there still is a major problem in the understanding of equality, rights, freedom, responsibilities and roles. And I think the first step for women to be perceived as equal is for women to realize that they are equal. The thing with cultural awakening is that one society cannot eat from the fruits of another society's awakening, so until Muslim women begin to fight for the recognition that they are equal (which they are by all means), they cannot simply adapt the western style understanding of equality (which is itself hasty since it is based on false concepts of gender roles and responsibilities), as Muslim women did not themselves go through the necessary social and cultural development. While I was not a follower of Sayyed Fadlallah (ra), I am very fond of his positions on women's rights and the enhancement of their role in all areas of society.
  14. Salam, I'm not sure how this qualifies as "proof" by any standards of logic. While it may support the idea that "men are superior to women", it certainly does NOT prove it. In other words, this argument alone is NOT sufficient to conclude that men are in fact superior. Actually, the argument of historical oppression can easily be used to show that women are superior to men! Since men have oppressed women on the basis of their sexuality, men are guilty (historically) of a clear sin, and that is exploiting those who are in a position of less power. This exploitation is more proof that men are more likely (statistically speaking) of exploiting power. How can a more fallible creature be seen as superior to the one he oppresses and exploits? If Allah saw those more powerful and physically mighty as superior, then why aren't we all body building and on steroids trying to look like Arnold? By that standard, Israeli soldiers are superior to Palestinians in Gaza. To slightly modify what you said "If Palestinians were superior to Israelis in intellect or strength than they would have oppressed Israelis." "If Hussein (as) were Superior to Yazid in intellect or strength than He would have oppressed the army of Yazid". "If Iraqis were superior to Americans in intellect or strength than they would have oppressed Americans". "If Africans were superior to Europeans in intellect or strength than they would have oppressed Europeans"... Your argument (of historical oppression) is suggesting that Israelis are superior in "intellect or strength" to Palestinians, and so on, and the self-evident satire shows how invalid the logic of the argument is. This quote is (with all due respect) a bad attempt to prove that men are superior.
  15. Pardon me, but I;m not sure what you said was very clear. Could you please rephrase that? Do you mean to ask whether we are required to seek fiqh even though we are simply following someone who is already knowledgeable? I'm not sure if that is your question, but if it is: I think you should never be content with the amount of knowledge you possess, and it is a religious as well as a moral and humanitarian responsibility to continue to pursue knowledge, no matter how much it seems that that is unnecessary. Additionally, it's each of our responsibility to be able to critically analyse jurists rulings. I hope I've answered your point.
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