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hasanhh

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  1. Partially Agree
    hasanhh reacted to ShiaOfMahdi for a blog entry, My thought on Biden's first day as President.   
    It's been a while since I last posted a blog but I would like to share my thoughts on Joe Biden's first day as president.
    Words cannot describe how great it is to see Donald Trump leave. Donald Trump was one of the worst presidents in American history. He caused nothing but trouble to America. He is the one who resulted in Qassim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (both men who were responsible for removing terrorism) getting killed which happened early last year. His policies on the Covid-19 disaster were horrible. Joe Biden addressed the Covid-19 matters very nicely on Day 1 and getting rid of the issues Trump caused since he became president. He is going to make America recover from the issues that Trump caused in the last 4 years.
    Edit: I've changed my stance on Biden. He is not that much better than Trump after all. He has caused more trouble than Trump has in the Middle East, in Syria with his strikes. He only has better Covid-19 policies and he is only stopping Trump's racist policies and his border wall for Mexicans.
  2. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Abdul-Hadi for a blog entry, Why do I chase Islam? (first entry corrected)   
    Why do I chase Islam?
    This isn't a rhetorical question, I really would like to understand the pathology of my continual fascination with a religion, worldview, and life path that I have no familial, ethnic, or historical connection to. I simply do not understand what it is about Islam that intrigues me so, and furthermore, I do not understand exactly why I cannot leave it alone. So the point of making this blog was essentially to let out my feelings in a way where others don't feel like the "owe" me a response. Let me dive a little bit into my own history.

    I am a third generation Ukrainian American. I was born and baptized into the Catholic church (Eastern Rite, Ukrainian specifically). I can remember plenty of Sunday mornings of going to church with my entire family (Yes, dad was still around at that point) & at a young age, it didn't mean much to me in that I didn't understand exactly why we had to get up early, get dressed in business casual clothing and drive about a half hour out to another county, wherein we would go sit in a little old white building for an hour or so-- standing up, sitting down, repeating words in a call and response style, kneeling down, standing up again & the older kids and adults would file out into a line and the old grandpa of a man who led this activity would one by one, use a golden spoon to place a little bit of bread into their mouths before they took a sip of something called "wine" out of the most expensive looking cup I had ever seen (ornate with gold and silver)-- then we would just turn around and go home, and life would continue as normal.

    When I turned seven years old, that's when things began to change for me. I had gone to Sunday School and become familiar with the elementary stories of the Garden, Noah, and the star of our specific show, a man named Jesus, but I hadn't seen what my part in all of this was, as I was quite literally along for the ride. Then I was told that I would be training to be able to participate in the ritual of bread and wine, what those in the know called "communion". I had to go into a little booth with a screen and tell the kindly old grandpa (whom we called "Father") about all of the bad things I had done, they called them "sins", and I had to say that I was sorry for them which, when I heard myself saying things like "I was mean to my baby sister/I disobeyed my father/I said rude words/etc" I legitimately felt for the first time that I wasn't a very good person & then I was assigned a few prayers to say not as punishment, but to show Jesus that I really was sorry for doing these bad things. This was called "reconciliation" and it had to take place before I could participate in communion. You were supposed to do this as often as you needed to, but ideally once a week. However, this being the early 1990s, nobody really did aside from the few older people in our rural corner of post-industrial upstate New York.

    After I made communion for the first time, with all of the pomp and circumstance involved in any Eastern Catholic milestone, I began to feel more and more of a connection to what was happening on Sunday mornings. I still didn't understand the words that were being spoken by the priest very well, or why they never changed from week to week, but I felt a very deep connection to the physicality of the church itself. I was enamored by the darkness of the interior: the dark wood paneling, the deep red carpet, the large wooden pews, the absolutely gorgeous stained glass windows, the scent of frankincense and candle wax, the opulence of the sacramental implements of our small rural congregation in all of their splendor... something about the aesthetic of the place made me feel safe despite this being a public place where I had to behave myself and “act my age” (to quote my parents). I didn't feel threatened or exposed here, I felt a sense of immense comfort as the rays of sun poured through the multi colored stained glass windows. It was like stepping out of the time and space that I occupied in Harpursville, NY and being swaddled in some sort of otherworldly space.

    Bringing it back to where I am now: In light of this, why do I chase Islam? What is it about the religion of my parents that isn't “enough” for me, particularly when the research that I have done thus far has shown to me that the path of Islam is so much more demanding than any branch of Christianity that I have dabbled in since I left the confines of the church to go out and live the typical suburban small town American teenage life with all of its vices, distractions, and ennui? Furthermore, with all of the time I have spent making peace with my conception of Jesus-as-personal-lord-and-savior, all of the wrestling with the Old and New Testaments, all of the going out and coming back again when a new church would inevitably be missing that “something special”...

    ...Why am I so curious about, fascinated by, and attracted to Islam, to impress a girl? (there isn't one who would be impressed, and you can't even meet women or date as a Muslim. I don't have parents to arrange a marriage for me, so choosing a Muslim life would invariably be a lonely and celibate one).

    ...is it to shock my parents? (My father hasn't talked to me in years and denies me and my sister as his children now that he's gotten his marriage to my mother annulled by that same religion that I took so much comfort in throughout my life whereas my mother is a rather live and let live person, but seems to look at Islam and the Qur'an with a nervous apprehension)

    ...Am I trying to be a non-conformist and stick my finger in the eye of American society? (Not at all, America is no longer a “Christian nation” and likely never truly was when you look into what happened across America's short history thus far & Islam is certainly not a religion for people who do not wish to conform to social norms)

    ...Am I seeking approval from others? (Absolutely not, I don;t know enough people to do something like that and even if I was super well known and liked in this area, there would be no pressure to convert to Islam at all as most people are quite irreligious & have not even a cursory understanding of Islam)

    ...Is this an attempt to be “unique” and build an identity? (I am already too “unique” for my own good and this has had a detrimental effect on finding work, making friends, meeting a wife, even finding a church where I fit in. Besides, I already have a concept of identity when it comes to asserting oneself as a unique individual with dignity).


    None of these potential excuses feel remotely legitimate at all. At this point in time I don't even have an answer aside from “Every time I try to write-off Islam, I can't walk away but for a few months” and in addition to that, my periods of putting Islam into the back of my mind usually end up stressful and riddled with tragic news & painful life transitions. I wouldn't even be able to be a “good Muslim” due to my autism spectrum related fascination with music, my inability to speak, write, read, or comprehend another language without translating its meaning back into English in my own head (I did this a lot when Ukrainian was being spoken at church), my distaste for being around other men + their painfully desperate attempts to not look remotely sensitive or warm & my tendency to have female friends who I am closer to.

    At the end of the day, I wouldn't even know where to start if I chose to dive head-first into Islam and make a commitment to radically reorganizing my life, forgetting everything about who I thought I was & what I knew, to become someone completely different... all the while dealing with a mental illness that makes even the most ridiculous conspiracy theories seem like objective reality.

    Writing this blog wasn't a request for assistance from the forum members of ShiaChat. It's more an attempt to organize and catalog my thoughts, and figure out exactly what's taking place inside of my head that's got me so fascinated and intrigued with this specific religion that by all intents and purposes, asks its adherents to live as the polar opposite of the identity I have already crafted for myself since the tender age of sixteen.

    Inshallah, I will discover the source.
  3. Partially Agree
    hasanhh reacted to 3wliya_maryam for a blog entry, sensitivity   
    The correlation between OCD and being sensitive may apply only to some people. There is no clear evidence that highly sensitive individuals are prone to the disorder, although one of the symptoms indicate sensitivity to be a major factor. For instance, one may begin to obsess over hygiene as they fear being contaminated or infected with bacteria at home, so they start washing their hands repeatedly or attempting to maintain the cleanliness of the house. They are sensitive to any foreign substance present within their surrounding environment.
    In Islam, we must sustain purity before prayer. That means performing ablution or a full body ritual purification that is called 'ghusl'. Nevertheless, one may start developing doubts as to whether they are truly purified. Women may have doubts about discharge whilst men may begin to worry about excreting semen. Perhaps their clothes were impure, or that they passed gas during prayer. It could lead to repeatedly showering, performing ablution or using the bathroom more frequently. For the individual it is undoubtedly stressful and can lead to physical health problems, such as dry skin and hair as well as acne.
    The flashback memories of my past childhood always affects me till this day. I was born as a sensitive and naive child. Sensitivity is that one trait people often despise, even the carriers of it. I was faced with difficulties for self acceptance, because not only did I loathe my self for my overreacting personality, I was a victim of fat shaming. I wanted to feel happy, free of worries by claiming my desires. But unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian world; not everything we wish for can be granted, unless we choose to put the effort. I definitely take it to heart if someone still fat shamed me, even if it was merely a 'joke'. It evokes all my memories of self loathe, where I was rather too young to be feeling insecure followed by wasted effort from dieting and physical activity. We dislike being called sensitive despite us being fully aware. We refuse to admit our behaviours because we choose to not be defined by it. We feel weak, with no self control towards our impulses. When these emotions begin to overwhelm us, our mental health deteriorates. We feel violated if one makes a remark, which leads us being defensive.
    One must also understand that sensitive people can vary. Some are just easily emotional and have deep empathy, whereas others I previously mentioned have the tendency to take everything so personal. Normally these individuals have insecurities followed by low self esteem and hence their weakness is criticism. They are not skilled to ignore varying perceptions because they choose to listen to them and not their own conscious mind. It is the fear of judgement that they may receive.
    You may be wondering about its relevance to scrupulosity, but in some form it plays a role. Again, it is not necessarily the cause of the disorder and this is only an elucidation of my own personal experience. I investigated within myself and realised that one of the triggers towards OCD was my highly sensitive personality. Followed by the altering chemical changes, my overreactions led to repetitive self harm out of guilt and loathe. My personality may have been a stepping stone towards the disorder; the smallest of things I felt was a grave sin and through time it only had gotten worse.
    Do not let others define you, a very important lesson that I wish I had grasped years ago. People like to manipulate and make you feel bad, even though you may be the victim. That does not mean you should play its role, rather you should only believe in what your heart feels right. Sometimes we know that our very own mind controls us too and causes us to react or act in ways we regret later, but do not let the past define you. Every now and then I feel hurt from my own levels of faith, because when you have that love and dedication to the Lord, the judgements you receive will become meaningless.
     
     
  4. Thanks
    hasanhh reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Hanification   
    The signs on the Paris metro are now also in Chinese, as are some train announcements. Since the French have a mixed reputation for speaking English I guess it means they have to try a bit harder when it comes to wooing the Chinese.
    And there are plenty of them.
    But this is the honeymoon period. This is when the Chinese are awe-struck by French style and glamour. It's hard to imagine that Imperial Russia was similarly besotted by France
    At the moment France exports its culture (which it has always been happy to do) and in returned is handsomely financially rewarded. It's a great deal.
    But the French experience in Africa shows that what may be a good deal in the short-term may have longer term consequences. In the African context it has been immigration into France, that's not very welcome. After all if you tout yourself as the font of civilisation it's not a surprise when the people you tried so hard to convince, agree and then decide to pay a visit.
    Or in the case of the ancient Romans it was the looting of Greek treasures that they admired (and the Greeks had not even promoted their culture to the Romans) And the British did it to both Roman and Greek treasures.
    In the Chinese context it may not necessarily be immigration into France and it won't be the looting of treasures, but perhaps at some point a Chinese billionaire may decide to buy French brands and admiring young Chinese may decide to work in these organisations and bring their own Han Chinese cultural interpretations to the story.
    I'm not sure the French will be too happy. Like many other cultures theirs is one embedded in ethnicity.
    The template is already there. Singapore has its own homegrown luxury brands, that seem English, but they're not. Singapore is small, but there are hundreds of millions of Han Chinese.

  5. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Whichever option you choose - you lose   
    [updated in May 2023 to include the Nvidia example and refine the argument overall].
     
    Summary
    When you are in a weak position, all the choices you have are bad ones. Your opponent who dominates you due to more and/or better resources will ultimately prevail. It has historically been easy to 'blame' the Palestinians and other indigenous groups for their loss of territory.
    But we are fortunate enough to live through a period where erstwhile powerful nations are being made to suffer the same indignities that others have been through, albeit their loss is not in the domain of geographic territory, rather it's technological leadership.
    What this experience should teach everyone is that losers don't necessarily end up losing because they are feckless or stupid, rather the cards may just be stacked against them.
    Introduction
    I've always thought that since British Mandate the Palestinians have been in a no-win position. This has been due to their lack of military power and economic and political resources. If they accepted the offers the international community and the Israelis gave them, there would have been an incentive for the Israelis to take more land (if the Pals don't mind yielding some land, they might not mind yielding more), and if the Pals had resisted, that would also have given the Israelis a pretext to take more land (for defensive purposes), the latter has proven to be the case.
    In short, whatever the Pals decided did not matter; the Israelis' dominant position ensured that they could respond in a manner that was advantageous to them. The same applies to Native American Indians in the 18th and 19th centuries; whether their response to European settlers was to fight or make treaties, the outcome would always be the same, their lands would be taken. In both cases, there was such an asymmetry between the Europeans and indigenous peoples that there was nothing the colonised could do that would change the outcome.
    In the examples that follow, I look at some contemporary examples that illustrate a different dynamic. In these instances, non-Western powers have presented the West with situations where regardless of the actions the West takes, the outcome for the West will not be one that it considers satisfactory.
    Huawei - China
    The following piece in the Financial Times (FT) neatly summarises how I feel about the situation between the U.S. government and Huawei. In the 21st century, it is beginning to look as if the Chinese have the best cards. For example, Huawei makes good and cost-effective telecoms infrastructure.
    Western countries may have security concerns, but if they ban Huawei, they could end up with a poorer solution. Other countries that have no such qualms could benefit from the cost advantages that Huawei equipment offers. But if Western countries accept Huawei, they risk entrenching the advantages that the Chinese have, as well as the claimed security risks.
    Sanctions have been a preferred Western method of taking action against countries that have fallen out of favour. But this tool only works where you have something the other person wants and can't get anywhere else; when the situation is reversed - you can end up damaging yourself.
    https://www.ft.com/content/8fc63610-88fe-11e9-b861-54ee436f9768
     
    Nvidia
    Jensen Huang of the American chipmaker Nvidia makes a similar claim in May 2023:
    https://www.ft.com/content/ffbb39a8-2eb5-4239-a70e-2e73b9d15f3e
     
    SWIFT - Russia
    This example arose during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022. The West wanted to sanction Russia by imposing economic sanctions, including barring Russian entities from access to Western financial systems. But this was not straightforward:
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/feb/24/what-is-swift-international-payments-network-russia-sanction
     
    Sic transit gloria mundi (so passes worldly glory)
    Some of what we see today has the hallmarks of British attempts to stop Indian technological development by banning the Indians from making their own steam engines, at the start of the 20th century. The British may have delayed Indian development by some decades, but that's all they were able to do. Whether the British took no action to stop Indian technological development or whether they proactively tried to hinder it, ultimately, they would lose. 
    There are now far too many Indians with increasing levels of capability to stop the juggernaut.
     
    The status quo
    In mid-2022, following a visit to Taiwan by Senator Pelosi, the FT noted this about the Chinese response to the visit:
    https://www.ft.com/content/5462a57a-bd13-4313-b26b-9645b48a70ee 
    In my opinion, it was Pelosi who altered the status quo; this was the most high-ranking visit in 25 years. Based on the theme of this blog post, given the dominant position of the Chinese, the American position should be to maintain the status quo. As soon as they seek to alter it, the Chinese have an excuse to try and establish a new status quo that is more favourable to them.
     
    Conclusion
    In the context of China, I think the U.S. government feels a threat to its economic/technological dominance. Although this may be dressed up as wanting to preserve fair competition. And U.S. sanctions are its attempt to fight back. But whether the U.S. decides to fight or not, I think in the longer term, that dominance will have to be compromised. Huawei and the Chinese are now too far along the technological path of development, and they are far further ahead than the India of the early 20th century. 
    The U.S. is now in a similar technological position versus the Chinese that the Palestinians have been versus the Israelis. In the U.S./China context is issues centre around technology and in the Palestinian/Israeli context it's to do with economics and political power.
    Whatever option the US chooses, it will ultimately 'lose'. Loss in this context is not necessarily wholly ceding technological leadership to the Chinese, but it may well involve acknowledging their superiority in certain areas. Other countries like Russia also may be able to work their way around sanctions, for example, so Western attempts to control their behaviour will have limited success.
     
     
  6. Sad
    hasanhh reacted to Miss Wonderful for a blog entry, Why it seems like the "bad" Girl gets the Guy   
    Note: "bad girl"  is usually associated with negative description- but in all honesty I oppose this view. What media has labeled "bad girls" are in my opinion are simply women who've have gone through many obstacles in life and experienced many hardships to know how the world really operates. 

     We   begin seeing the world in rose colored glasses.  At a young age we were  taught  about everything beautiful and innocent  in this world. we read books on the Prophet Pbuh&hf and in  our hearts we desired  to find someone is a leader and  as religious, masculine, and brave as how he was.  We  always desired to be the perfect wife, who will fit in her role as God desired her to be. 

    So it was easy to be impressed by anyone who spoke about religion. It was captivated and different, and  anyone who knew so much, and prayed, fasted, was  someone great. Of course he would have to balance religion with the times we lived in. But let me tell you.....there are men and women  out there who may fast, preach, pray, but  in reality they are average homo sapiens. Meaning that even though they have so much knowledge about Islam, and understand the values, they still choose to run on automatic. They are too lazy to truly make a habit of being a better person. And most people are like this. They give charity, give impressive lectures to students in the mosque, but its really on the surface. Behind the scenes they operate homo sapien level, their main objective is to eat, drink, sleep, etc. And they think they are doing good for the world- and they are doing nice things- but try to being in a marriage  with them and its huge fail.

    Try  being behaving the way  Fatima (AS) was like with Imam Ali (AS) and these types of  people will take you for GRANTED. It doesn't matter how beautiful you are, or how religious, or how amazing, how generous, how passionate,  or how pure  or how  hardworking you are. These people are parasites. They will try to take from you what they can. Whether its them thriving on the feeling of power that you give them, because all you  are doing is just following the kindness of the Prophet Pbuh &HF. Being selfless like how Khadija (as) was like for the Prophet (pbuh) will get you stomped on. And you are left wandering if you should take on the characteristics of celebrities instead of holy figures.

    Well the truth is...you can't  really live like how the Prophet Pbuh&hf and his family were. You cannot be selfless and humble for any man in 2017. In the year 2017, a man will appreciate you more if he has to spend lots of money on you during courting. Don't believe a word about  him respecting the independent women. He will take her for granted if she exhibits the "I am so independent behavior". if she does not allow him to be the sole bread winner, then he will play down his masculine role as the provider. Meaning he will take advantage of the situation and won't do as much. The Prophet pbuh +hf was different than the normal human being, it's why Khadija (as) married him in a heart beat. There was respect and sensitivity.

    Also  these days men LOVE  makeup, the fake eyelashes, the whole  shabang. Yes you might be stunning with no makeup, but in reality vamping the looks is now IN.  I don't care how many times men say they like a girl to be natural.....they will cater more to you if you have the makeup. And honestly save the makeup for someone  who is worth it.  Because quality make up costs a lot. But  even advanced   beauty is not enough for men these days. My friend told me that even tho her husband posted their  newlywed photos on facebook, she caught him trying to flirt with other girls.
    Yes! We live in these times now. So don't just depend on playing up your beauty, because even after your honeymoon, your man might still be contacting other girls. You really have to make your worth permanent by allowing him to keep chasing you and working hard to try and win you over. Because most men are on automatic and just follow primitive instincts. They are not disciplined and naturally not as developed as how holy figures were. Thats why Allah sent Prophets in the first place -to teach ppl. And man is ever so forgetful.

    Honestly, its not different from the times of the Prophet pbuh+hf. He had to teach men how to behave like legit human beings. Men were buryin their daughters, and not giving their wives their rights. Well its the same deal now. We are back to those ages. Ppl may not be  burying their daughters but ppl having different expectations then the ones that the Prophet pbuhf+ and his family taught. And women are not excused from this as well. But all I am saying is that we have to be more realistic  and not get carried away from reading hadiths and religious stories. For example, I am increasingly finding that a woman who  is given spending money, and spends it on things for herself is more respected by men, then the one  who says no its best to give this money to charity.  Doing something noble these days wont be credited to good nature anyway. Being selfish is credited to a woman of worth.  Being Selfless is not.  Does that mean completely be selfish? NO. It means learning to accept financial gifts from your husband or spouse and not let pride get into the way because you maybe bring home your own income. You must also set aside money for charity, but anything he gives you-ACCEPT as your own. It gives him feeling of pride and accomplishment.  And then you can do whatever you want with it-such saving a  portion of it to charity. If you deny the financial gift -even if u have good intentions -it will be a blow to his ego- and it will become a habit for him not to spend on you. Average men don't understand the concept of nobility and being selfless. They are not holy figures to appreciate this. The minute you deny a financial  gift because you feel selfless and want to give it to ppl in needs, or feel  shy  accepting it or think it will make him happy that u dont want to burden him-it wont. He will just find another girl to spend on. 

    Also the truth is  there are times you may bypass the person who really is genuinely good hearted. They might not be as  religious ( meaning they dont know much hadith and details but they do pray or read quran)-and that could be a turn off to you. But they are faithful they want the best for you. They ACTUALLY WEAR THEIR HEART  on their sleeve. They might be not as good looking, but they show how good they are with ACTIONS. They will treat you respect, cater to you, and are inspired from you to better themselves in religion. They might be dorks, and  they come across as lame, but they prove to you that they are someone you can rely on. And even if you get into an argument with them, they will try to make things right  quickly. They will be happy to support you and not hesitate to give you what you need financially  and not make you feel like a burden. And sometimes because they are so straightforward  you might think they are creeps but in reality they are just not word savvy as the other men. they dont know how to play word games and mind games. They just speak with all the innocence. It's a complex world we live in.

    Does that mean it will be impossible to find a  religious man that knows the lectures and details and follows everything to a t- and who eally tries to better himself than average men? No, but it will most likely be hard.

    And the so called "bad girl"  can tell the difference from such  men from observing the mannerism., and thats why she is quick to get the good guy. While the inexperienced girl ends up with a jerk, because she is wowed by the personality of the so called scholar.

    Anyway...always remember  NO MAN CAN MATCH UP TO A HOLY FIGURE. AVERAGE MEN AND HOLY FIGURES ARE ON ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SPIRITUAL AND MENTAL PLATFORM .WE ARE AT DIFFERENT TIMES, let a man  PROVE IT TO YOU BY HIS ACTIONS. THE IMPORTANCE OF ALLOWING A MAN TO SPEND ON YOU FINANCIALLY and LETTING HIM CHASE YOU. BEING MORE FASHIONABLE/USE OF MAKEUP WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF ISLAM. KNOWING THAT YOU CANNOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR PASSION AND BEAUTY FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE . DON'T BE SELFLESS, BUT KEEP A BALANCE OF HEALTHY SELFISHNESS, AND KEEP IN MIND YOUR ISLAMIC DUTIES...
     
  7. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Ibn Al-Ja'abi for a blog entry, A History of the Arabic Language: Introduction   
    The saying usually goes “like father like son”. However, in the case of Abraham and Ishmael it should be “like son like father”. In the Qur’an, their names are written as ʾIsmāʿīl (إسماعيل) and ʾIbrāhīm (إبراهيم). It seems rather banal to those of us used to reading these names, it is an etymological peculiarity. In the original Hebrew, these names are Yišmaʿel (יִשְׁמָעֵאל‎), meaning “God Heard”, and ʾAbrāhām (אַבְרָהָם), meaning “Father of Nations”. While Yišmaʿel is Arabicized typically from Hebrew, ʾAbrāhām is not. The initial alef is pronounced with a kasrah in the Arabic rather than a fatḥah like in the Hebrew. More notably, the final alef becomes a yāʾ in the Arabic. This has even confused Muslim philologists who have listed such variants of the name as ʾAbrahām, ʾAbrāhum, and ʾAbraham. The philologist and orientalist, Arthur Jeffrey, in his “The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an”, records several theories as to why this might be the case concluding that the best possibility is that ʾIbrāhīm was put onto the same pattern as ʾIsmāʿīl’s name when being Arabicized – something the Qur’an has done with other names.  
    Though it seems semantical, it is relevant to understanding the style of the Qur’an. This topic and others like it have to do with the history of Arabic, which, like the history of any language, is important in providing context to linguistic phenomena, and consequently better cementing our understanding of the Qur’anic text. While great efforts are made by Muslims to have mastery over Arabic grammar, there seems to be a gap in our collective understanding of this topic.
    Arabic is now a global language spoken by 290 million native speakers found from Morocco to Khuzestan and Central Asia, and it is used as a liturgical language by over a billion people. In the 9th-century BC, though, it was an obscure Semitic language spoken by an equally obscure ethnic group of nomadic herders and mercenaries from the South Syrian desert.
    As such, I intend on writing a series of brief blog posts, which will give an overview of the history of the Arabic language. In due course, we shall also examine interesting features of and notable oddities in the language, such as the one I mentioned at the beginning of my introduction. These posts will not necessarily be chronological so that the task of writing is easier. 
    Since a language exists only due to people being there to speak it, I will also be writing general points about the history of the Arab people. This will not be comprehensive, rather, it will simply complement our primary discussion on the Arabic language. I hope that by reading this series you will grow to love the subject as much as I do, and by its completion, have deepened your knowledge of the Arabic language and the Qur’an.
  8. Like
    hasanhh got a reaction from Mansur Bakhtiari for a blog entry, From Wanderlust to Wanderangst   
    WhiIe in the USA, Monday 29May17 is Memorial Day, in Europe, Sunday 28 May 2017 is a Memorable Day; the day German Chancellor Angela Merkel pronounced a new vision for Europe:
    Europe First and an implied "Make Europe Great Again".  An equivalent to the Trump "America First" and "Make America Great Again"
    While announced in a speech before a CDU [Christian Democrat Union] gathering in a tent, this is no circus from Bavaria. The European Union must now act primarily in its own interest without the UK because of Brexit and without the USA, Merkel proclaimed.  A new future that must be willing to accept Russia and -l think- by extension China's "Belt and Road".  http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article153130904.html entitled "Merkel: Europe must stay united in the face of ally uncertainty"; and, http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-europe-can-no-longer-rely-on-us-and-britian/a-39018097  The video will show the animosity, angst and acceptance associated with this new Europe First vision.
    For an article with anti-Trump subtext, Chicago Tribune, 28May17, "Following Trump's trip, Merkel says Europe can't rely on U.S. anymore"; http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics Search title for article.
    CNN 2353hrs 28May17 posted a video of Merkel's speech.
    For a good quick background read, see:  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/trump-nato-germany/528429/ 
    To flesh-out the probable results of this Europe First vision in relation to the pipeline politics and objectives of our time, we can envision a Europe-Belt-and-Road (excluding the Ukraine and maybe also Turkey) and will include a Khoramshar-Karbala-with-or-without Kurds demarcation  line for the North, Central and East of Asia. This will be opposited by Eastern Mediterranean -Arabian axis in Southwest Asia. Countries positioned to make real money out of this are Poland and Belarus. The Baltic ports will also prosper.
    So, another die is cast.
    Looks like the World will return to a bipolar structure. The multipolar World as envisioned in the 1990s hasn't worked out.
  9. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Qa'im for a blog entry, Grading Hadiths: An Introduction   
    Biographical evaluation (`ilm ad-diraya, `ilm ar-rijal) exists both in Sunni and Shi`i branches, and it refers to the strengthening and weakening of individual narrators & transmitters, and chains of transmission (isnad, or plural: asaneed). The purpose of the system is to grade hadith reports based on the trustworthiness of its transmitters. To summarize the Sunni system, all companions of the Prophet (pbuh) - ie all of those who have been in his presence at some point in his life - are considered trustworthy (thiqa). These companions then narrated their traditions to their pupils, family members, and associates. They would then pass it down until they reached a compiler of hadiths, usually in oral form, but sometimes written.
    The Sunni system excels in its biographical documentation because it covers a vast amount of individuals, giving relevant data about many people. But the system does have its flaws:
    1) We don't consider all companions to be trustworthy; and we particularly distrust those who have directly oppressed the Prophet's family.
    2) The culture of memorizing, transmitting, and documenting hadiths did not receive widespread popularity until the 2nd century AH. Therefore, the careful preservation of these hadiths are in question. Sunni isnads tend to be long, transmitted orally over centuries.
    3) Strengthening (tawtheeq) is based mainly on scholarly opinion, with much disagreement.
    Shi`i hadiths take a different approach. The vast majority of Shi`i hadiths come from one of the twelve Imams. The Shi`a hold the belief of a golden chain, which is the chain from one of the Imams that goes through his forefathers back to the Prophet (pbuh). Through the hadith of thaqalayn, the Prophet established that the Qur'an and Ahl al-Bayt are what the Muslims must hold onto, and that the two are one in essence. The Ahl al-Bayt are (at least primarily) the 12 Imams + Fatima (as). In many hadiths, the Prophet aligned himself with `Ali and Fatima, saying the truth is with them, that whoever angers them angers the Prophet, that opposing them is hypocrisy and disbelief, etc. The tying of truth with `Ali, the Mahdi, etc. gives them high authoritative value. The Imams have said in many hadiths that all they say and do comes from the Prophet. Many times, they quoted the Prophet directly, and they have said that all quotations of the Prophet come from their golden chain to him. Likewise, as infallible guides, all that they say and do is from the Qur'an and Sunna, and therefore their words are taken as proof (hujja) for all religious matters.
    This means that the relation of hadiths in Shiism took place over a 300+ year period rather than just a 23 year period. Surely, the religion was completed and perfected by the end of the holy Prophet's lifetime. That same religion was relayed by the Imams. As hadith narration became popular in the second century AH, thousands of students studied under the 5th and 6th Imams. Together, al-Baqir and as-Sadiq narrated tens of thousands of hadiths on all topics - `aqeeda, fiqh, tafsir, history, eschatology, and more. The Imams gave their students the explicit instruction to write their words down, memorize their hadiths, and spread the knowledge to the people. Hence, the hadith collection process began in their lifetimes. The earliest available Shi`i notebook (usl) dates back to the time of the 4th Imam. By the occultation of the 12th Imam, over 300 of such usool existed. Unlike Sunni tradition, the hadiths were mostly not transmitted orally between the Prophet and a third century compiler. Rather, the hadiths came mainly from the Imams, and most of them were copied down during the time of the Imams. In some books, the chains of narrators are considerably shorter than in Sunni books. The time between the narration of the hadith and its compilation is also much smaller.
    As noted earlier, not all companions of the Prophet - or the Imams - are considered reliable. Their veracity and loyalty to Ahl al-Bayt must be proven. There are many ways that a hadith narrator is given tawtheeq:
    1. The Imams directly gave tawtheeq to some people.
    2. The Imams gave taraddi (expressing God's satisfaction) and tarahhum (asking God's mercy) to some people.
    3. Like in Sunni rijal, the scholars would give tawtheeq to people or weaken them, based on their biographical data, beliefs, actions, who they associate with, etc.
    4. The clients, messengers, and tax-collectors of the Imams were largely given tawtheeq.
    5. People can be given tawtheeq through other thiqa people.
    6. People can be given tawtheeq if they are relied upon by major trustworthy companions of the Imams (as`hab al-ijma`)
    And many other means.
    There are certain levels that a narrator can embody.
    1. A narrator can be considered thiqa. This means the narrator is trustworthy in what he narrates. Non-Shi`is can be considered thiqa, but this will be noted in the grading of the chain. A sahih chain is one where all the rijal are Imami Shi`a. A muwathaq chain is a chain that is all thiqa, but may include trustworthy Sunnis, Zaydis, Fat`his, Waqifis, etc.
    2. A narrator can be considered `aadil or faadil or mamdooh which means that he is a just and good person, but his explicit tawtheeq cannot be established. This makes a chain hasan in grading.
    3. A narrator can be considered dha`eef, which means he is weak. Either he is known for lying and bad character, or he is associated with the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (nawasib, or ghulat - Shi`i extremists), or both.
    4. A narrator can be considered majhool, which means we may know some biographical details about the person, but not enough to establish trustworthiness or lack thereof.
    There is a theory called as`hab al-ijma` that is used by a minority of scholars. The as`hab al-ijma` are a list of 18 companions of five of the Imams who are considered very trustworthy central figures of the sect. This method says: any hadith that is authentic up to one of these 18 can be accepted. Even if one of these 18 individuals narrate from someone without tawtheeq, the idea is that they would not relate a hadith unless it had value - as they were close, accepted, and tested supporters of the Imams. However, to be safe and cautious, many rijal scholars do not use this method.
    The hadiths parimarily came from the Imams during their time in Medina. Their Shi`i partisans were mainly Kufan visitors who would go to Medina, stay for a while, gather knowledge and bring it back to Kufa. As mentioned before, Kufa and Baghdad were an Islamic powerhouse during the second century AH, and most of what was written in the early period in both sects was in Iraq and Persia. That is where most Muslim scholars came from and most Islamic books were written. Thus, the tradition survives through this transmission. From Kufa, the hadiths also went to Qum when Ibrahim b. Hashim and others took their traditions there. There were thousands of Shi`as in Iraq during the time of the 6th Imam, and many hundreds of his companions were Kufan transmitters of hadiths.
    A hadith or concept that is narrated through multiple chains is mutawater (widely narrated). `Aqeeda must be established on mutawater traditions. Fiqh however can be established throug ahad (single-authority) traditions.
    There are some issues with rijal. We should recognize that it is still a man-made system and will have its faults. The main fault in Shi`i rijal is that there are too many majhool narrators, because the Ahl al-Bayt had thousands of students, and the status of many of them was not known to the scholars of rijal. Also, different scholars had different opinions on certain narrators. There are also some manuscript discrepancies in the works of some rijal scholars (most prominently, Ibn al-Ghada'iri's). Sometimes we don't have as many biographical details as we want. Rijal scholars largely lived after the people they had written about were dead. However, the system can weed out contradictions and strengthen established concepts. It is also an insurance that what we believe and practice was what the best of the Muslims believed and practiced.
    The gradings of narrators are usually extrapolated from the biographical information provided by major Shi`i classical scholars of rijal. These scholars include Najashi (~ d. 1058), whose gradings are usually preferred, Ibn al-Ghada'iri (11th century), Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 1067), and Kashhi (d. 951). It is recorded that Shaykh al-Kulayni, the compiler of al-Kafi, and Shaykh as-Saduq had their own books of rijal, but those book have not survived. Furthermore, some scholars have accepted all of the narrators who have been included in Tafsir al-Qummi and Kamil az-Ziyarat, under the belief that the authors of these works have only included reliable narrators. Later scholars who have contributed to the science include `Allamah al-Hilli (d. 14th century), `Allamah al-Majlisi (d. 17th century), Shaykh Bahbudi (d. 20th century), Sayyid Burujirdi (d. 20th century), al-Khoei (d. 20th century), Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari (d. 20th century) Shaykh Asif Muhsini, Shaykh ar-Radi, Shaykh as-Sanad, and many others.
    It should be noted that the authors of the Four Books - Kulayni, Saduq, and Tusi - took rijal seriously. They believed that their books were filtered enough to represent Twelver Shiism, even for lay use. Kulayni in particular viewed his work as sahih in content. Many attested to the works of these scholars and others. While some later scholars have weakened many narrations in the Four Books based on a strict adherence to classical rijal standards, this standard is seen by some scholars to be too stringent and unnecessary. Still, the study of rijal provides a wealth of information on our sources, and it remains a critical tool for scholars and seminarians.
    That is some [very] basic information on rijal in Shiism - inshaAllah it is helpful to some.
  10. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Reza for a blog entry, Why the Name   
    A good question some of you might have is, why the name A Muslim Artist?  Well my dear friends, let me tell you the tale full of drama, suspense, romance, and adventure.  (Could we get banned for lying? Because if so, bye it was fun while it lasted)
       It was relatively not that long ago, a starving adolescent was bored and had nothing to do. Read Quran and try to become a better Muslim you might suggest.  "What is that?" the youth would ask.  At that time the youth was constantly improving and changing up his art style and changing the content he drew in general.  Before he would draw stories of a reptile doing martial arts in space, confusing stories of time travel, and the classic people posing while brooding.  But eventually the youth found Islamic art made by the Persians (and/or Mongols) and it inspired him.  
    Gone were the days of space reptiles!
     Now the youth would draw pictures of the Angels, Iblis deceiving Adam and Hawwa, Musa confronting Pharaoh, Muhammad's Night Journey, Ali defending what is right, and much more. The youth enjoyed this very much, he loved drawing his favorite tales about these great men.  And at that time, because of a lie from the youth's employer, the youth had a lot of free time. So because he was a lazy piece of trash (a statement the youth's older brother used very much), he would mostly sit inside and watch Youtube, that is when he made a shocking discovery! There were a Lut (get it?) of anti-Muslim videos on Youtube.  So because of this the youth decided to became a crusader (or a jihadist) of Islam, fighting ignorance online. (He failed miserably, because as mentioned earlier, he was indeed very lazy).
     But like all vigilantes, he needed a name. Something to inspire his allies, scare his enemies (who were a superstitious bunch).
    I got one! What about the Muslim Defender?
    It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it make it sound like the youth isn’t Muslim.
    This name has to reflect the youth, who happened to be Muslim….Hmmm… He’s a Muslim, and well he’s currently drawing an Islamic scene, how about… Islamic Drawer?
    Nah, that’s stupid.
    Really? Okay what about… Islamic Illustrator?
    Better, but still it could still use some work.
    The Youtube auto-play just was active, the now playing video was a Muslim singer singing a song about Islam.
    That be cool to do on the channel. But it would be out of place for an illustrator.
    Hold on a second, aren’t illustrators, writers, musicians, and etc are considered artists?
    Yeah, yeah! Why not the Muslim Artist?
    That could work, but it’s missing something, I just don’t know what.
    We could try The Muslim Artist?
    Yeah! Awesome ….. Wait, doesn’t that seem narcissistic?  The Muslim Artist?
    Yeah, I guess you’re right…
    A!
    What? A?
    A Muslim Artist! That way it’ll show were just one of many.
    A Muslim Artist it is then.
     
    So that is how the name was chosen.  Some might be wondering how true to the name the youth stayed active in.  Well after seeing much better Islamic art, the youth felt that calling his pictures “drawings” didn’t seem right, so now he just calls them doodles. He keeps the “doodles” private and only shows them to friends and family.  
     
    Now my humble friends, I must reveal something to you. Sit down, because it will come as a shock. The lazy youth with noble intentions, in reality, he and I are one and the same. Now some of you might be wondering why was this even “blogged?”  Well let me answer that question with another question, have you seen the name of this blog?  Now excuse me while I’m being banned for lying about what’s going to be in this tale.   
  11. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Hameedeh for a blog entry, Spread by the Sword?   
    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
               
                Not only is Islam the second-largest religion in the world, but it is the world’s fastest growing religion. With globalization and the influx of Muslim immigration to the West, many people are reluctantly meeting Muslims for the first time. Fear of the unknown is common, but that fear is constantly perpetuated by images of violence in the Muslim world. As a visible minority with little political leverage, the Muslim community is an easy target for xenophobes, warmongers, and nationalists. The Muslim world is the needed bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, private security companies, and isolationist politicians to thrive. Rather than trying to understand the complex imperial and economic variables that cause violence in the Muslim world, it is both simpler and more cunning to resort to generalized arguments about Islam. This view, however, overlooks the many scientific and philosophical contributions Muslims have made to Western civilization. More importantly, it distorts the reality of the Muslim civilization’s mostly-tolerant history. The centuries-old narrative that Islam was “spread by the sword” is still popular today, and it causes Muslims living in the West to be looked at as a suspicious Trojan horse waiting to Islamize the world. It is therefore necessary for us to deconstruct this worldview. This paper will briefly explore the rise and expansion of Islam, and demonstrate that tolerance and plurality were founding principles of Islamic ethics.
                Since the early days of the Prophet Muhammad’s ministry, Islam’s relationship with non-Muslim communities has been notable. Shortly after the Muslim migration to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in 622 CE, the Prophet drafted the Constitution of Medina. This charter put an end to tribal infighting in Medina, created a new judicial system, guaranteed the mutual protection of Muslims and non-Muslims, and established a new “Community of Believers (mu’mineen)”. (Gil, 2004, pp. 21) This community would include the Jewish tribes of Medina, while still recognizing their distinct identity and laws. Although Bernard Lewis claims that the Constitution of Medina was a unilateral proclamation by Muhammad, (Lewis, 1993, pp. 22) Muslim sources generally referred to it as a pact between the Muslims and the Jews following the two pledges at `Aqaba. Furthermore, Wellhausen, a German orientalist, regarded this charter to be a multilateral agreement negotiated between all of the involved groups. (Gil, 2004, pp. 22)
                The Prophet Muhammad also ratified writs of protection to other communities. The Ashtiname of Muhammad, which was written by `Ali b. Abi Talib upon the commission of Muhammad, granted privileges to the Christian monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. (Ratliff, 2012, pp. 63) The document guarantees that Christians are not to be overtaxed, plundered, disturbed, or coerced into marriages. (Morrow, 2013) These covenants demonstrate that the Prophet pursued a peaceful and tolerant coexistence with other communities, and made his followers accountable to ethical principles of justice.            
    The Prophet Muhammad very plainly stressed the equality of all people, regardless of tribe, colour, class, or ethnicity. While rights differed among subgroups of society, the Islamic civilization held no concept of the natural subordination of individuals or groups. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127) Conversion to Islam only required a simple declaration of faith, while becoming a member of the ancient Greek polity was only possible for Greek male property owners. (Hamid, 1982, pp. 127)  The egalitarianism of the Quranic message was attractive to many who sought social refuge from the caste system and other forms of subordination. (Eaton, 1992, pp. 117)
    The Caliphate’s medieval conquests, which occurred after the Prophet Muhammad, are the main source of agitation among those suspicious of Muslims. It should be noted that `Ali b. Abi Talib, who is considered the rightful successor to Muhammad by Shia Muslims, refrained from taking part in these conquests, despite being renowned as a great warrior. There should be no doubt that there were incidents that occurred during early expansion that are not in line with the teachings of the Prophet, especially during the ridda wars and the Battle of `Ulays. The Shia Imams consistently held the Caliphate accountable during mistrials and in moments of nepotism; and they struggled to establish social and economic justice in the Muslim world. But, the frame that the Islamic conquests were wholly or mostly negative is a Eurocentric view that does not account for other pieces of the puzzle.
                Many ancient texts document extensive Judeo-Christian support for the Muslim conquests of Byzantium and Persia. Jews in the Levant had expected a redeemer who would deliver them from the Roman occupiers. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3-6) The Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 134 CE, outlawed Jews from living within ten miles of Jerusalem, disbanded the Jewish high court, taxed the Jews heavily, and persecuted them for siding with the Persians. This torment ignited a messianic fervour among medieval Jews, leading to a widespread anticipation of a saviour. One of the earliest non-Muslim references to the rise of Islam is the Doctrina Jacobi, a Greek Christian anti-Jewish polemical text written in 634 CE, just two years after the passing of Prophet Muhammad. The text describes “overjoyed” Jews celebrating the Muslim arrival in Byzantium. (Crone, 1977, pp. 3) Moreover, The Secrets of Simon ben Yohai, a Jewish apocalyptic text written between the seventh and eighth centuries CE, tells of the emergence of an Ishmaelite “prophet according to God’s will” who would save the Jewish people from their oppressors. (Crone, 1977, pp. 4-5)
    The Islamic conquest of the Levant would restore Jewish access to Jerusalem and establish a polity that would include Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. The Pact of Umar II, a writ of protection extended by `Umar b. `Abd al-`Aziz in the seventh century, promised safety and the right to worship to Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in exchange for the payment of the poll tax (jizya). (Berger, 2006, pp. 88) While some orientalists have criticized the Pact’s prohibition on riding horses, Muslim clothing and building high structures, these stipulations may have been placed to prevent insurrections against Muslim garrisons, rather than to humiliate or subordinate non-Muslims.
                The Muslim treatment of non-Muslims was similarly commended by Near Eastern Christians. John bar Penkaye, an East Syriac Nestorian writer of the late seventh century, praised the Muslim overthrow of the Sassanid dynasty. In his Summary of World History, he writes, “We should not think of the advent [of the children of Hagar] as something ordinary, but as due to divine working. Before calling them, [God] had prepared them beforehand to hold Christians in honour, thus they also had a special commandment from God concerning our monastic station, that they should hold it in honour … God put victory in their hands.” (Pearse) This early Christian account documents the just conduct of Muslim rulers, likening it to divine intervention. Furthermore, after the Byzantines had seized control of Egypt and put the Coptic Patriarch Benjamin I of Alexandria into exile, the Muslim conquerors restored Benjamin I’s authority and brought order to the affairs of the Coptic Church.
    Many cultures were drawn to Islam’s magnetic social appeal. Indonesia, which is the country with the highest population of Muslims, encountered Arab merchants in the thirteenth century. Along with the arrival of Muslim commercialism, Islamic stories and symbols were introduced to the population through traditional wayang puppet shows. (Hamish, 2011, pp. 46-51) In the Indian subcontinent, Islam provided social mobility to lower castes, giving people equal rights and freeing them from total subservience to the Brahmans. The transformative power of Sufism was also attractive to many Hindus who sought ascetic, mystical brotherhoods. (Lapidus, 1988, pp. 363) Sufi and Shia saints continue to be revered by Hindu and Sikh poets in India.
    Although the Muslim empires had a tumultuous relationship with European Christians over the centuries, sizable Christian and Jewish communities with ancient origins continued to thrive in the Muslim world. Moorish and Ottoman confrontations with Christendom have propelled the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword. The fact is, however, that the conversion of the Near East to Islam occurred very gradually. By 800 CE, only 18% of Iraq’s population was Muslim. (Brown, 2016) Furthermore, Egypt, Spain, and the Levant did not attain a Muslim majority until the eleventh century. (Brown 2016) This means that the Muslims were a minority in the heartlands of their own civilization for hundreds of years. While poll taxes and other social pressures certainly promoted conversion to Islam, ancient churches, synagogues, temples, and other relics were maintained. Judeo-Christian populations even had rights to printing presses and European books in the Ottoman Empire – a privilege rarely granted to Muslims. (Brown, 2016) 14% of the Middle East remained Christian by 1910, with significant populations in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. (Brown, 2016)
    On the other hand, Christendom had a relatively poor record with minorities. Although Iberia was mostly Muslim in the fifteenth century, all Muslims were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1526. (Brown, 2016) In 1609, 3-4% of Spain’s population consisted of Christian descendants of Muslims, who were also expelled under King Philip the Third. Anti-Jewish pogroms were also common in pre and post-Enlightenment European history. While there are many ancient Christian communities in the Muslim world, there are practically no ancient Muslim communities in the Christian world, despite Islam’s long history in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Eastern Europe.
                In recent decades, the Muslim world’s relationship with its non-Muslim minority communities has suffered. Colonialism, neo-imperialism, military dictatorships, and poor economies have sometimes caused the alienation and scapegoating of ethnic and religious minorities in the Muslim world. In June 2014, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which rose out of the destabilization of Iraq and Syria, routed Christians out of Mosul. This genocide marked the end of over a thousand years of continuous Muslim-Christian coexistence in the region. While ISIL’s actions are a black mark on modern Islamic history, ISIL’s main military and ideological opponents are other Muslims in the region and around the world. This paper demonstrates that normative Islam seeks unity under common ethical principles. It is vital for Muslims to revive an equitable, pluralistic and tolerant worldview, not just because diversity is strength, but because it is the ethos of our civilization.           
     
    Bibliography
    Berger, Julia Phillips., and Sue Parker. Gerson. Teaching Jewish History. Springfield, NJ: A.R.E. Pub., 2006. Print.
    Pearse, John Bar Penkaye, Summary of World History (Rish Melle) (2010). N.p., n.d. Web. 9 July 2016.
    Crone, Patricia, and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1977. Print.
    Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4L23Z_agh1qeV_odQfV6Vg. "Dr. Jonathan AC Brown - The Message of Peace Spread by the Sword - UMaine IAW 2016." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 9 July 2016.
    Eaton, Richard Maxwell. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: U of California, 1993. Print.
    Gil, Moshe, and David Strassler. Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Print.
    Harnish, David D., and Anne K. Rasmussen. Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
    Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print
    Lewis, Bernard. The Arabs in History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.
    Morrow, John A. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
    Ratliff, Brandie, and Helen C. Evans. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th-9th Century. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. Print.
    ʻInāyat, Ḥamīd. Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: U of Texas, 1982. Print.
  12. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Mobile minorities   
    This news story caught my eye:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/30/uk-descendants-of-jewish-refugees-seek-german-citizenship-after-brexit-vote
    Like the Jews in this story many of the people on this forum are minorities who either settled in new countries themselves or their forefathers did. Being mobile confers advantages, we often have networks of friends and relatives in other countries, which can be great for business and flows of useful economically and socially useful information.
    Mobile minorities are therefore just one group of minorities. It's possible to identify other minority groups, but I'll stick with the mobile aspect for this post. I see mobile minorities as usually being racial groups who leave their countries of origin and move elsewhere for employment or business opportunities.
    The past several decades have been great for mobile minorities. London's Heathrow Terminal Three arrivals lounge is like an Indian town when flights from the middle east, India and Pakistan come in together. But similarly, I've seen above average groups of Caucasians at the arrivals hall in Singapore when the London flight has come. European expats working in the middle east and elsewhere have done extremely well.
    Globalisation has been the underpinning factor in both the above phenomena. If you are willing to make some compromises in terms of lifestyle and culture the world has been a great place to be. As opportunities change so the mobile minorities move towards the places where the pickings are richer. And as the planet's history shows us, opportunities will always change on a geographical basis. In the 1950s the Saudis were finding it difficult to attract people to live there. Those who did move, have done very well indeed.
    Nowadays, being mobile is much easier for people from western countries and within those countries it is more likely to be the better educated who can do this. Of course, it is only minorities who can be mobile, when majorities try and do the same restrictions get applied pretty quickly.
    But the world was not always like this and there have been periods when the position of the minority was very weak indeed. It does not take much for the majorities around them to see them as carpetbaggers with little or no loyalty to wherever they happen to be, people who will take the local resources before moving on.
    They can stand out due to their above average income and wealth. The solution in the past is for that wealth to be taken away, often forcibly, despite the contributions that they may have made to local society.
    https://contemporaniablog.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/mobile-minorities/#more-658
     
  13. Like
    hasanhh reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Delaying gratification   
    Summary
    Delayed gratification is associated with better long-term outcomes for individuals. Time spent in prayer and other religious rituals are means by which individuals delay the gratification of enjoying worldly experiences and they are an investment in the gratification of rewards to be gained in the afterlife. Moreover time spent in these activities changes what counts as gratification for participants.
    How delayed gratification works 
    One of the ideas that helps explain the economic outperformance of some social and ethnic groups is their ability to practice ‘delayed gratification’. The term accurately sums up the idea of ‘delaying the experience of happiness’.
    This seems counterintuitive, why delay what you could have right now? Surely there is some loss involved in putting off gratification, you may not be around to enjoy it and there could be other uncertainties as well.
    The notion of delayed gratification assumes that if we put off the experience of happiness when we do receive it, the experience will be greater and longer lasting than if we had sought to experience the happiness earlier on.
    Why is this the case? The most obvious example is the delayed gratification occasioned by spending time as a school pupil studying in order to get better grades while that time could have been spent playing or watching television. Later on it’s the same studious group who are at university living in relative penury, while their peers are earning and spending money.
    However, most studies show that although graduates start earning later than non-graduates, once they do so their lifetime earnings are much higher than non-graduates. And it’s not just income, there are a number of other measures such as health going in the same direction.
    The cookie experiment
    All this goes back to the experiments conducted by Walter Mischel in 1970, who offered kids a cookie which they could eat immediately or they could have two if they waited till he came back from an errand. The high delay kids, who waited for the second cookie, did better at school and achieved various other positive life outcomes that the low delay kids did not.
    I’d go on to argue that the process of delaying can change an individual. The kids who are willing to wait for the second cookie will likely prefer the low fat, low sugar offering compared to the tasty version.
    I think this is because when the high delay kids are provided with information about harms and benefits they're better able to make the right choices. As they come across more information these people change what they consider constitutes happiness. This second order effect is important, because it has a qualitative impact not only on lifestyles and employment opportunities of these individuals but also the thought processes of the children of the high delay kids. High delay can be taught and learned.
    So delaying gratification enables the acquisition of quantitatively more happiness, and qualitatively more sustainable happiness.
    Up to this point our discussion has been in terms of purely material gains or losses. You do not have to be a believer in any religion to understand the foregoing argument, there are ample studies involving experiments (often with marshmallows) to back up the idea.
    Religious applications
    The question then, is whether the same principles can be applied in a religious context?
    The theist argument would likely be that religious practice such as prayer, the acquisition of religious knowledge and spiritual experience are all activities that take place at the expense of acquiring immediate material happiness, will likely have a higher pay-off in any after-life.
    However, anyone can understand the cause and effect relationship between, for example, the higher pay-offs associated with education and delayed gratification, because there is ample proof for this. But no one has come back from any after life, so is it the case that all we have to go on is faith?
    I don’t think so.
    One of the ways by which people can improve their self-discipline to improve their ability to delay gratification is to undertake some other task that takes their mind away from whatever gratification they are seeking to delay.
    That’s what the religious activities do. They train us to exercise restraint. They are the wait for the second cookie. If we see prayer and duas etc. as taking time away from the joys of worldly activities, that’s because they are supposed to.
    I also think the second order effects that I talked about regarding the impact of education on gratification also have a parallel with religion.
    Time spent on worship and spiritual activities, I think changes what people consider appropriate sources of gratification. They actually change what we do in this life, we consider whether the ingredients of the cookie are halal or haram.
    The Muslims who avoid weed cookies don’t need to rely on faith to understand the benefits of delayed gratification, they can see it for themselves.
    Notes:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201207/the-power-delaying-gratification
    http://jamesclear.com/delayed-gratification
    http://ww2.prospects.ac.uk/cms/ShowPage/Home_page/Labour_market_information/Graduate_Market_Trends/Beyond_the_financial_benefits_of_a_degree__Autumn_05_/p!eXeLcmm
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/10246785/Graduate-premium-no-matter-what-you-study.html
     
     
     
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