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Haji 2003

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  1. Thanks
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Hameedeh for a blog entry, Answering the W.I.M wimmin   
    In a previous blog post I identified threads that I considered problematic, since they had the (un)intended effect of causing friction with the Shiachat community.
    I think that friction emanates from people on both sides of the debate taking an emotional approach to the issues. While I cannot legislate for those people who deliberately want to diminish the faith, those people who want to take a pro-Islamic constructive approach could consider the following suggestions.
    In order to address such posts you do not need to question elements of the story, if you do it just draws attention away from the OP to you (which is a possible intended purpose of such posts). So take the narrative at face value. You are welcome to make factual observations and no moderator can take down your post if you do this. If the OP's thread makes reference to unIslamic behaviour, you can point this out (but stay factual, remember a possible goal of such threads is to present Islam as unsympathetic). You are also welcome to make observations of errors in the OPs understanding of Islamic concepts and those of their oppressors. Your task here is to move criticisms away from Islamic teachings and institutions and onto individuals and their misunderstandings If there are practical and legal solutions to the problem point these out. Often the OP will have ignored these in order to elicit an emotional response and it is worth focusing on these practical solutions. You can thereby present yourself as being helpful and constructive, while at the same time undermining the OPs (possible) agenda .
  2. Completely Agree
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Hameedeh for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  3. Like
    Haji 2003 reacted to ShiaMan14 for a blog entry, The Spy Who Conned Them   
    I have been meaning to post this theory/analysis for a while now but hadn't to-date for fear of creating an unnecessary controversy. Something that all of us need to ask ourselves and someone did ask me is the question, "What happened to the Ummah that within 50 years of the Prophet's demise, his grandson was brutally murdered?"
    Background:
     
    (From the TV Serial about the life of Caliph Umar)
    During the early days of Islam, the Kuffar of Mecca regularly gathered inside the Kaaba to discuss the issue of the Prophet (saw) and Islam and how to rid Arabia of them.  The gathering included a Who's Who of the Kuffar including personalities such as Abu Sufiyan, Mughayrah, Umar bin Al-Khattab and others. Umar was one of the shrewdest members of this Shura Council as his advice was regularly heeded by others.
    All these personalities actively participated in the persecution of the Muslims as they were staunchly against the new faith. Specifically, Umar's animosity was such that he did not hesitate from beating his slave girl (Labina) until he would tire and then promise her he would continue upon regaining his strength. (Shilbi Nomani - Al-Farooq)
    The Shura discussed several options including bribing the Prophet, threatening him, negotiating with him, etc. One option that was hinted was sending a spy amongst the Muslims to keep track of their plans.
     
    The Conversion:
     
    Umar was enraged when he first heard the words of the Quran. One day (around the 6th year of Islam), Umar decided he had had enough of Islam and was going to end the 'fitna' once and for all by killing Muhammad (saw). A normally careful and shrewd individual who was not known for his bravery somehow decided to brandish his sword in public and was walking over furiously to kill the Prophet (saw) when he stumbled upon Numain bin Abdullah who inquired about his matter. The ever careful Umar told Numain openly that he intended to kill Muhammad but Numain told him to get his own house in order since Umar's sister and her husband had also accepted Islam.
    So Umar went to his sister's house and eavesdropped on them reading some verses of the Quran. He entered their house, accused them of converting to Islam and beat them until they bled. Umar's sister (Fatima) told Umar that no matter what he did to them, they would not leave Islam. BAM!!!
    These words had such an effect on Umar that he asked his sister to recite some words from the Quran. She did so and he immediately decided to accept Islam by declaring his belief in the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad.
    He went over to Arqam's house with sword in his hand and was received by the Prophet and his friends with caution. He told them he had accepted Islam and the Prophet and those around him rejoiced.
    Conversion to Hijrah:
     
    Fairly uneventful in terms of Umar. He was not informed about the migration plans of the Prophet.
    Migration to the Demise of the Prophet:
    Badr:
    First of many battles between the kuffar if Mecca and the Muslims of Medina. 
    There are some accounts that tell us the Meccans were informed of a Muslim army gearing up and so they gathered to go after them.
    Someone may have alerted them about the army gearing up.
    Uhud:
    The Kuffar and Muslims armies met again a year later at Uhud.
    After initial skirmishes, Ali, Hamza and Abu Dujana rushed into the middle of the enemies ranks and overwhelmed them. Some Muslims started plundering the spoils of war before total victory was gained and the archers proceeded to join in. This gave Khalid Bin Walid an opportunity to attack the Muslims from behind. This created a mayhem in which even the Prophet was injured. At this time, someone raised cry that the Prophet was dead and everyone should retreat or run. There were 3 groups of people. “I) A group ran away to Medina without looking back. II) Some continued to fight thinking it was useless to survive without the Prophet. III) A third group laid down their weapons and shield since there was no point in fighting any longer. Umar belonged to this group.” – Shibli Nomani – Al Farooq.
    Balazuri in book Ansab Al-Ashraf states, “Omar was one of those who fled from the battle-field of Ohod but God pardoned him.”
    Towards the conclusion of the battle, a group of Muslims had surrounded the Prophet which included Umar. Khalid bin Walid and Abu Sufyan approached the group and ask, “Is Muhammad in the midst of this group?” The Prophet told everyone to stay quite. Then Abu Sufyan asked if Abu Bakr and Umar were there but received no reply so he concluded aloud, “They must have been killed”. Umar could keep quiet no longer and shouted out by thereby disobeying the Prophet, “We are all alive of enemy of God!” – Shibli Nomani – Al Farooq.
    Why did Abu Sufiyan ask about Abu Bakr and Umar?
     
    More importantly, why did Umar blatantly defy the orders of the Prophet (saw)?
     
    Khandaq:
    A trench was dug around Medina in a defensive battle against the Kuffar of Mecca and Jews from several tribes. The Kuffar army put Medina under siege for about 3 weeks. Then Amr bin Abd Wudd thrusted through the trench somehow. Perhaps someone had not dug a certain portion of the trench wide enough. He threatened the Muslims who praised Amr out of fear rather than fight. Ali leapt to fight Amr and beat him.
    The tribe of Banu Qurayza had made a peace treaty with the Muslims but broke it under pressure from the Kuffar Army. News of the Qurayzah's supposed renunciation of the pact with Muhammad leaked out, and Umar promptly informed Muhammad.
    How did Umar know the pact was broken?
     
    Fear and anguish gripped Medina. So tense was the situation that, for the first time, the canonical daily prayers were neglected by the Muslim community. Only at night, when the attacks stopped due to darkness, could they resume their regular worship.
    The Quran addresses this as follows:
    [Shakir 33:10] When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, and you began to think diverse thoughts of Allah.
     
    [Shakir 33:11] There the believers were tried and they were shaken with severe shaking.
     
    [Shakir 33:12] And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His Messenger did not promise us (victory) but only to deceive.
     
    …..
     
    [Shakir 33:19] Being niggardly with respect to you; but when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes rolling like one swooning because of death; but when the fear is gone they smite you with sharp tongues, being niggardly of the good things. These have not believed, therefore Allah has made their doing naught; and this is easy to Allah.
     
    [Shakir 33:20] They think the allies are not gone, and if the allies should come (again) they would fain be in the deserts with the desert Arabs asking for news about you, and if they were among you they would not fight save a little.
     
    Who are the hypocrites in such a small group of Muslims?
     
    Who used sharp tongues against the Prophet (happened elsewhere as well)?
     
    Who have not believed?
     
    Who was constantly created discord amongst the Muslims?
     
    Hudaibiya:
    The Prophet intended to go to Mecca for pilgrimage 6AH. He went without arms but Umar convinced him that they may need arms so the Prophet agreed. The Prophet was informed that the Quraysh were not going to let the Muslims into Mecca so the Prophet wanted to send Umar to negotiate. Umar declined and ‘volunteered’ Uthman instead.
    It took Uthman a few days longer than expected so the Prophet took an oath of allegiance from his companions that they would fight rather than flee. Umar was not part of the initial oath of allegiance. He was apparently already gearing up for the battle and was informed by his son of the Bait-al-Rizwan.
    Why would someone not known for military prowess be so eager for a fight?
     
    The Quraysh insisted upon their refusal to allow the Muslims to enter this year and the Treaty of Hudaibiya was negotiated.
    Out of all the Muslims, it was the primary voice of Umar who was vehemently against the treaty and insisted on fighting in order to perform the pilgrimage. Such was his anger that he had this conversation with the Prophet (saw) – Shilbi Nomani – Al Farooq:
    Umar: “O Prophet of God! Are you not the Messenger of God?”
    Prophet: “Certainly, I am.”
    Umar: “Are not our enemies idolatrous polytheists?”
    Prophet: “Undoubtedly they are”
    Umar: “Why then should we disgrace our religion?”
    Prophet: “I am the Messenger of God and I do not act in contravention of His Commandments”
    Could there be a bigger crime committed than accusing the Prophet of disgracing our religion?
     
    Is the tone of Umar very similar to the people Allah address in Surah Azhab 33:11-20? Isn’t Umar smiting the Prophet with his sharp tongue?
     
    Is it possible that when Allah revealed Surah Fath, verse 48.6 was intended for the people who disagreed vehemently with the truce?
     
    Umar was shrew man so why would he insist on going to war with the Quraysh in Mecca with only 1,400 barely armed men? Did he intended to lead Muslims into a slaughter? Was the annoyance to the Treaty a result of the failure of his plans?
     
    Khaibar:
    Fairly uneventful other than Umar tried unsuccessfully to win the Fort.
    Victory of Mecca:
    Uneventful for the most part other than the issue surrounding Abu Sufiyan. Apparently Umar wanted to behead Abu Sufiyan before he could get a word in but Abbas saved Abu Sufiyan from such fate…as the story goes. One way or another, Umar was involved in Abu Sufiyan’s forgiveness.
    Hunain:
    In similar fashion to Uhud, the Muslims gained the advantage initially, then lost it due to plundering, left he Prophet and eventually re-organized to win. It is reported that only a few soldiers stayed behind and fought, including Ali bin Abu Talib, the standard bearer, Abbas bin Abd Al-Muttalib, AbdAllah bin Abbas (Abu Fadl Al-Abbas), Usamah, and Abi Sufyan bin Hirith.
    Divorcing of Wives:
    Due to some wives, including Umar’s daughter Hafsa, sharing the secrets of the Prophet, he separated from them for 30 days. People even thought they had been divorced.
     
    Tabuk:
    No battle was fought but an important incident took place. Twelve hypocrites, out of whom eight were from amongst Quraysh and the remaining four were the inhabitants of Madina, decided to scare the camel of the Prophet from the top of a defile situated on the route between Madina and Syria and to make him fall into the valley.
    When he turned back his head he saw in the moonlit night that some mounted persons were pursuing him. To ensure that they might not be identified they had covered their faces and were conversing in very low voices. The Prophet became angry and challenged them and ordered Huzayfah to turn away their camels with his stick.
    The call of the Prophet frightened them very much and they realized that he had become aware of their plot. They therefore, immediately went back the way they had come and joined other soldiers.
    Huzayfah says: "I identified them from the marks of their camels and said to the Prophet: "I can tell you who they are so that you may punish them". But the Prophet instructed me in a kind voice not to divulge their secret, because it was possible that they might repent. He also added: "If I punish them the non-Muslims would say that now that Muhammad has achieved power, he has made a victim of his own companions".( Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. III, pp. 1042 - 1043; Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 247 and Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 162.)
    Were these the same hypocrites who had been with the Prophet from Uhud onwards?
     
    Final Pilgrimage:
    The final pilgrimage of the Prophet ended at Ghadeer where he announced Ali (as) as his successor.
    Death of the Prophet:
    Upon his return from the final pilgrimage, the Prophet fell ill. He named Usama bin Zayad as the head of an army unit and ordered virtually all his companions save the Bani Hashim to join Usama outside Medina. However, very few reported for duty thereby ignoring the Prophet’s command.
    The illness of the Prophet lasted from 10 – 13 days. Three days before his death (Thursday), the Prophet asked some companions for pen and paper and said that he would write directions for his people which would save them from falling into error. Umar told everyone around that the Prophet was speaking in agony of pain and that the Quran was sufficient. This created a discord among those present. The word used “Hajir” occurs in tradition which signifies hysteria (Shilbi Nomani – Al Farooq).
    If the insults at Hudaibiya were not enough, now we have someone accusing the Prophet of hysteria.
     

    To his credit, Shilbi Numani does try to present excuses for the behavior exhibited by Umar albeit weak excuses.
    Once the Prophet removed these companions from his midst, there is no proof that they were repentant or returned to the Prophet to apologize. In fact, it would be fair to state that the Prophet died angry with Umar and those that supported him.

    While I will agree with Shilbi that Umar was not upset at the Prophet’s demise but deem it politic to fake anger/sadness, I disagree with him that this was done for the prevention from hypocrites. More than likely and as evident, this was done to buy time to get his hands on the caliphate as we will soon discover.
    It is evident from the incidences at Uhud, Khandaq, Hudaibiya, Hunain and during the last days of the Prophet that Umar was very critical of the Prophet (saw) publicly. When the Quran talks about hypocrites and those who smite the Prophet, is Umar included in that list?
     
    After the Demise of the Prophet:
     
    Saqifah:
     
    We determined that Umar was not filled with sorrow at the demise of the Prophet but simply politicked to buy time. Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah came to Umar and informed him of the gathering of the Ansar at Bani Sa'ida's saqifah to elect a leader. Umar grabbed Abu Bakr and went there with Abu Ubaidah to intervene. Several Sunni sources state that they went their simply to stop the Ansar from selecting their own leader rather than to be elected.
    Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah both deemed Umar suitable for the caliphate but there was great disagreement between the Ansar and them over this issue. Then all of a sudden, Umar just pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr followed by Abu Ubaidah. The Ansar were divided into 2 camps and rather than let the other camp win, they too swore allegiance to Abu Bakr.
    Throughout all the narrations about Saqifah, there is not a single mention of the Prophet or his demise or the need for his burial. Is this the action of a lover of Prophet (saw)?
     
    Bani Hashim:
     
    Imam Ali (as) and the rest of Bani Hashim held out paying allegiance to Abu Bakr. Umar with his cohorts put tremendous pressure on them to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr including standing at the door of Fatima’s house and either threatened or actually set fire to the door causing severe injuries to Fatima (as).
    Fadak:
     
    As part of the punishment for Bani Hashim, the land of Fadak was confiscated from their possession. Hz Fatima (as) and her family laid claim to it in the court of Abu Bakr but it was denied. At times when Abu wanted to return Fadak, Umar convinced him not to do so.
    Caliphate of Abu Bakr:
     
    Almost all decisions during the caliphate of Abu Bakr were taken by Umar. Abu Bakr was nothing more than a token or puppet Caliph with the strings firmly in control of Umar.
    During the last days of Abu Bakr’s life, he decided to make Umar the next caliph by putting it in writing.
    Why did Umar not raise the issue of Abu Bakr speaking/writing under hysteria?
     
    Caliphate of Umar:
    Coming back full circle, we started the conversation discussing the Shura of the Kuffar that used to take place in the Kaaba in which Umar and Abu Sufiyan were active participants. They had a great deal of mutual respect for each other. From Umar’s conversion until the Conquest of Mecca, Abu Sufiyan and Umar were sworn enemies based on Umar’s refusal to go into Mecca during Hudaibiya.  Between the Conquest of Mecca and the demise of the Prophet, the primary people left from the Shura days were Abu Sufiyan and Umar.
    Something happened between the Victory of Mecca (630AD) and 634AD to where first Yazid bin Abu Sufiyan was chosen, by Abu Bakr, to be one of the generals in the army to invade Roman-Syria and then subsequently chosen to be the governor of Syria by Umar.
    Umar had a policy of rotating governors every 2-3 years. However, he did not implement this policy for Syria. He let Yazid bin Abu Sufiyan rule until his death and then immediately turned over the governorship of Syria to Muawiya bin Abu Sufiyan. Yazid and then Muawiya were given full control of Syria, its riches and armies for them to use as they saw fit. There are traditions that state that Abu Sufiyan was upset the news of his son, Yazid’s, death but then rejoiced when he found out Muawiya was given the governorship of Syria. He is even alleged to have said that the reigns of the Caliphate belong to Bani Ummaya now.
    Umar’s last course of action was to setup a biased shura in which no one but Uthman could have been chosen as the Caliph and thereby fulfilling Abu Sufiyan’s dream of the Ummayad dynasty.
    Conclusion:
     
    Umar’s conversion story is somewhat dubious.
    Umar’s time with the Prophet is full of doubts and disrespect. There are no accounts of any sahaba being as rude and obnoxious towards the Prophet as Umar.
    Umar politicked at the demise of the Prophet showing showing no sorrow whatsoever.
    Umar oppressed the family of the Prophet (saw)
    Umar rekindled old friendships and showed favoritism towards them.
    Umar is the primary reason behind the rise of the Bani Ummayya.
    So was Umar a spy sent by the Kuffar of Mecca to tell them of the Prophet’s (saw) plans and to sow doubts and confusion amongst the Muslims?
     
    You be the judge.
     
  4. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from rkazmi33 for a blog entry, Answering the W.I.M wimmin   
    In a previous blog post I identified threads that I considered problematic, since they had the (un)intended effect of causing friction with the Shiachat community.
    I think that friction emanates from people on both sides of the debate taking an emotional approach to the issues. While I cannot legislate for those people who deliberately want to diminish the faith, those people who want to take a pro-Islamic constructive approach could consider the following suggestions.
    In order to address such posts you do not need to question elements of the story, if you do it just draws attention away from the OP to you (which is a possible intended purpose of such posts). So take the narrative at face value. You are welcome to make factual observations and no moderator can take down your post if you do this. If the OP's thread makes reference to unIslamic behaviour, you can point this out (but stay factual, remember a possible goal of such threads is to present Islam as unsympathetic). You are also welcome to make observations of errors in the OPs understanding of Islamic concepts and those of their oppressors. Your task here is to move criticisms away from Islamic teachings and institutions and onto individuals and their misunderstandings If there are practical and legal solutions to the problem point these out. Often the OP will have ignored these in order to elicit an emotional response and it is worth focusing on these practical solutions. You can thereby present yourself as being helpful and constructive, while at the same time undermining the OPs (possible) agenda .
  5. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from starlight for a blog entry, Answering the W.I.M wimmin   
    In a previous blog post I identified threads that I considered problematic, since they had the (un)intended effect of causing friction with the Shiachat community.
    I think that friction emanates from people on both sides of the debate taking an emotional approach to the issues. While I cannot legislate for those people who deliberately want to diminish the faith, those people who want to take a pro-Islamic constructive approach could consider the following suggestions.
    In order to address such posts you do not need to question elements of the story, if you do it just draws attention away from the OP to you (which is a possible intended purpose of such posts). So take the narrative at face value. You are welcome to make factual observations and no moderator can take down your post if you do this. If the OP's thread makes reference to unIslamic behaviour, you can point this out (but stay factual, remember a possible goal of such threads is to present Islam as unsympathetic). You are also welcome to make observations of errors in the OPs understanding of Islamic concepts and those of their oppressors. Your task here is to move criticisms away from Islamic teachings and institutions and onto individuals and their misunderstandings If there are practical and legal solutions to the problem point these out. Often the OP will have ignored these in order to elicit an emotional response and it is worth focusing on these practical solutions. You can thereby present yourself as being helpful and constructive, while at the same time undermining the OPs (possible) agenda .
  6. Completely Agree
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from habib e najjaar for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  7. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Irfani313 for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  8. Completely Agree
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from learn for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  9. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from shia farm girl for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  10. Thanks
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from ireallywannaknow for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  11. Thanks
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Ashvazdanghe for a blog entry, W.I.M. wimmin   
    W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".
    We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.
    The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.
    Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 
    Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.
    And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 
    The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:
    The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted). The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example.  The question then is what motivates such posters?
    In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.
    You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 
    I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.
  12. Thanks
    Haji 2003 reacted to starlight for a blog entry, Common Errors in Ghusl, Wuddhu and Salat   
    Salam everyone, 
    Recently, I had the privilege to attend a workshop on the above topic and I took some notes.The actual workshop was much more thorough and extensive and full of valuable information. I am posting just a few points here which in my opinion are the most commonly made errors and other things we tend to overlook as falliable humans, with the intention that we can all InshaAllah improve our Taharrat and Salat. (These are as per rulings of Ayatullah Sistani(may Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى prolong his life) May Allah shower his bounties upon the brother who conducted such a useful workshop.
    Do not stand [for prayer] within it - ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves. -Quran 9:108
    GHUSL
    1. While doing ghusl people generally wash the body first and then continue with the Niyyah of ghusl. If they are doing this then what needs to be done is, make a demarcation between regular washing and ghusl. So one washes himself/herself as in a regular shower -->  steps out of the shower ---> makes Niyyah for ghusl --> steps back in. 
    OR
    regular washing --> turn tap/shower off --> do ghusl niyyah --> turn tap on.
    2. Head should always be washed first(ghusl e tartibi) It's mustahab to wash the right side first. The rest of the body can be washed in any direction, even from feet up.
    3. Tattoes; If the ink is on the skin and forms a barrier to the water reaching the skin, it should be removed. If the ink is under the skin, nothing needs to be done.
    4. Wajib ghusl often compensates for Wudhu, but if one passes wind during or after ghusl then for the purpose of praying namaz, either the person does a separate wudhu afterwards or starts ghusl again ( step out --> do niyyah --> step in shower again)  
    5.Body parts often missed in ghusl - under the chin, neck, armpits, under the feet. 
    WUDDHU
     1. One wuddhu for all salats is sufficient even if one did specific niyyah for one salat. So you can do wuddhu in the afternoon with niyyah for Zuhr for example, and pray asar, maghrib and isha with the same wuddhu ( as long as nothing happens which invalidates the wuddhu) things which invalidate wuddhu:  https://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2159/
    2. Wuddhu consists of:
    - two washes (face & arms)
    - two wipes (head & feet)
    Washing face
    While washing the face start from the forehead, go from the hairline to the chin vertically.One has to wash from top to bottom. Horizontally, the span of one spread hand (from thumb to little finger should be covered) 
    one wash is good, second wash is good, third wash makes wuddhu BAATIL. 
    False eyelashes need to to removed.  
    Washing Arms 
    Start a little above the elbows just to be on the safe side. Go right upto the fingertips. (People sometimes tend to miss washing the hands or fingertips since they might already be wet, but they must be covered while washing the arms) 
    As for face one wash is good, second is good, but third wash makes wuddhu BAATIL. Once you have poured the water from the elbow to the finger tips you can wipe/rub with your hand all you want to make the water reach the between the fingers or all round the arms, but if you pour water again and again it will count as second and third washes and makes wuddhu invalid.
    INGLOT or other nail polishes which claim to be water permeable, it's better to remove them. 
    Wiping head and feet
    The breadth of wiping both the head and feet is three joined fingers
    The areas to be wiped should be dry
    While wiping the head ,the moisture doesn't have to reach the skin. Wiping can be done on the hair too UNLESS a.there is some oil based gel etc or some other barrier or b.hair are long that they fall on the face then one should part the hair and do the wiping on the scalp. Recommended is that the head should be wiped from back to front. 
    While wiping the feet and head, it's the hand that should be moving on the head and feet. The head should be stationary and feet shouldn't be moving(so ideally no wobbling while trying to wipe one foot then another) nothing wrong if they move a little but repeating again, its the hand that should be moved over the head. So if one place his palm over the head for wiping and moves his head instead of his hand , his wuddhu is BAATIL. 
    The moisture for wiping should come from the wudhu itself, means no wetting of hands again after washing arms, for wiping. If the weather is hot and one's hands become dry quickly after washing one can obtain moisture from his beard for wiping.
    The sequence of Wuddhu must be followed; washing of face --> washing of right arm --> washing of left arm --> wiping of head --> wiping of feet 
    The wuddhu must be uninterrupted.Maintain continuity in Wuddhu, means you cannot wash your face, watch 5 minutes of football and then start washing your right arm. lolz
    SALAT
    While saying takbiratul ehram, body must be stationary.
    Raising of hands while saying takbir is mustahab, not wajib.
    A person should pronounce Takbiratul ehram clearly and with the correct pronunciation. For eg say Allahu Akbar and not Allah wakbar
    In Wajib namaz,If one chooses to recite Surah Quraish after Fatiha then Surah Fil has to recited with Surah Quraish. Similarly, Surah Nashra  and Surah Dhuha have to recited together.
    The is no islamic basis of turning the rings towards palm in Qunoot
    Tashahhud: Ashhadu alla illaha illal lah, wahdahu la shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Mohamman abduhu wa rasuluh
    While saying tasleem either one says all three, or one can say just the last one(bare minimum). But he can't say just the first one (Assalmu Alaika Ayyuhan Nabiyu wa Rahmatul Lahi wa Barakatuh) or just the second one( Assalamu Alaina wa Ala Ibadil Lahis Saliheen) or just the first and second so either its all three or just the last one (Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatul Lahi wa Barakatuh)
    SOME GENERAL ADVICE:
    1. It is very important that a person learns correct recitation and pronunciation of the surahs in Salat. there aren't many, so we should invest some time listening to the recitation on you tube etc in an attempt to master the recitation.
    2. There are several duas that can be recited in while performing wudhu. They are available on duas.org.  http://www.duas.org/wadhu.htm   What one can do is, print them out, put them in a plastic cover and put them on the wall besides his place of wuddhu.
    3. Something that I have implemented in my life over the past few couple of years. Whenever you go to the bathroom or restroom,or before going to bed make it a habit to do wuddhu. Takes only a minute or so, but the sawab and benefits you get is enormous. for eg.He who renews his ablution without [the need to do so to purify] an impurity, Allah renews his repentance without him [needing to] asking for forgiveness.’ Imam al-Sadiq (AS) [Wasael al-Shi`aah , v. 1, p. 264, no.7
  13. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Reza for a blog entry, God Hypothesis IV   
    https://www.ft.com/content/d67ffecc-02dc-11e9-9d01-cd4d49afbbe3
    This is overdue in my opinion.
    The idealistic, almost naive notion that human exploration of space will be driven by purely scientific motivations cannot last. If as theists we believe that God has created the heavens for us to explore and done so in a manner that makes this possible on a stage by stage basis. The proximity of extra-terrestrial bodies has been fortuitously placed so that we can reach each one with the technology and resources at our disposal and as the latter develop so we are able to proceed to the next body (as I've previously argued).
    So also His creation will acknowledge human frailties and the fact that we have only ever progressed when there have been a variety of motivations driving us. Inquisitiveness,  the search for information and other noble motivations have only ever gotten us so far. At some point along the line of all human endeavour, selfish economic reasons have been important and space exploration will be no different. At the moment that selfish motivation manifests itself in the moon being a possible source for Helium-3, which could be a fuel source. That hope may or may not turn out to bear fruit. Another selfish motivation is the fact that for some nations space exploration could be the source of military advantage.
    But that does not matter. Human history is replete with examples of our being motivated by one ambition only to have it turn out to be a mistake, but the endeavour being rewarded by the discovery of something else. Columbus thought he had reached the East, by sailing west, but all his mistake achieved was the discovery of the Americas.
    As a result, I think the theist can predict that there will be very significant first-order economic benefits from space exploration (rather than just the mainly second-order spin-offs that we have gained from so far).
    There will be minerals that we can exploit, which will likely help address new and existing challenges but by the same measure, there will be a variety of new ethical and moral issues that will emerge and will need to be addressed. And not least, a component of the latter will be an appropriate legal framework.
    And the fact that theists can benefit from the base and selfish motivations of others, perhaps indeed their immoral actions is not in itself a problem. IMHO. Nobody forced the territory grabbers to behave in that way.
     
  14. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from notme for a blog entry, Gun control - why the US & Europe may both be right   
    The typical debate between Americans and Europeans runs along the following lines.
    Europeans criticise the easy availability of guns in America and Americans criticise Europeans for not enabling citizens to protect themselves.
    Europeans are talking from the perspective of living in societies where guns are not easily available and there is relatively little gun crime. There is a risk that if guns were more easily available, homicide levels would reach (the much higher) levels seen in the U.S. and then there's always that statistic about how many American suicides occur due to the availability of guns and also as a result of accidents and domestic violence.
    In contrast, the American mindset is conditioned, I believe from the fact that guns are already available and that the bad people already have them. If there were any form of control, it's less likely that the bad people would give them up. Removing guns from good people would simply remove any barrier or cost bad people may perceive to using guns.
    As with any freedom, good people believe that they won't be the ones to have accidents with guns at home and nor will they let the proximity of guns influence them if/when they are feeling depressed - even if the statistics are pointing in the other direction. Humans have a predilection to believe that if they have choices they will make good ones.
    Europeans also have to live with the idea that they can't enforce justice, no matter how unjust that may seem at the individual level, because you give up that right for the wider social good.
    If I moved from Europe to Texas, one of the first things I would do is to buy a gun and get lessons in how to use it. There is something primevally good about the, 'stand your ground' law that the state protects you should you wish to protect your property. But what may be just at the level of the individual shoot-out, makes society less secure.
    In summary, I think the gun control issue is one which shows how difficult it is to revert back to collective behaviour that is good for everyone, once you have adopted laws that pander to selfish motives. In addition gun control is also an example where national laws can encourage good people to behave badly.
  15. Thanks
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Ashvazdanghe for a blog entry, Gun control - why the US & Europe may both be right   
    The typical debate between Americans and Europeans runs along the following lines.
    Europeans criticise the easy availability of guns in America and Americans criticise Europeans for not enabling citizens to protect themselves.
    Europeans are talking from the perspective of living in societies where guns are not easily available and there is relatively little gun crime. There is a risk that if guns were more easily available, homicide levels would reach (the much higher) levels seen in the U.S. and then there's always that statistic about how many American suicides occur due to the availability of guns and also as a result of accidents and domestic violence.
    In contrast, the American mindset is conditioned, I believe from the fact that guns are already available and that the bad people already have them. If there were any form of control, it's less likely that the bad people would give them up. Removing guns from good people would simply remove any barrier or cost bad people may perceive to using guns.
    As with any freedom, good people believe that they won't be the ones to have accidents with guns at home and nor will they let the proximity of guns influence them if/when they are feeling depressed - even if the statistics are pointing in the other direction. Humans have a predilection to believe that if they have choices they will make good ones.
    Europeans also have to live with the idea that they can't enforce justice, no matter how unjust that may seem at the individual level, because you give up that right for the wider social good.
    If I moved from Europe to Texas, one of the first things I would do is to buy a gun and get lessons in how to use it. There is something primevally good about the, 'stand your ground' law that the state protects you should you wish to protect your property. But what may be just at the level of the individual shoot-out, makes society less secure.
    In summary, I think the gun control issue is one which shows how difficult it is to revert back to collective behaviour that is good for everyone, once you have adopted laws that pander to selfish motives. In addition gun control is also an example where national laws can encourage good people to behave badly.
  16. Thanks
    Haji 2003 reacted to starlight for a blog entry, "When Intentions Go Public" Gollwitzer Study and Nahjul Balagha   
    Salam everyone, 
    There are little gems spread all over Nahjul Balagha for improving our emotional intelligence and achieving success in life. Here is one from the short sayings at the end:
    Success is the result of foresight and resolution, foresight depends upon deep thinking and planning and the most important factor of planning is to keep your secrets to yourself- Imam Ali(as).
    Professor Peter Gollwitzer is a professor of psychology at NYU. His research covers areas like social psychology, neuropsychology and cognition and is mainly focused on how goals and plans affect cognition and behavior. Gollwitzer and his colleagues conducted a study that was published in 2009. They suggested that when people announce an intention to commit to a goal in public, that announcement may actually backfire. 
    Gollwitzer and his colleagues provided evidence for this point. In one study, they had students interested in becoming Psychologists list two activities that they would perform in the next week to help them achieve that goal. Half of the people handed what they wrote to the experimenter who read it over and acknowledged reading what they had written. The other half were told that the exercise of writing down their intentions was given to them in error, and that nobody would be looking at it. The following week, all of the participants were contacted again and were asked to remember the goals they had written down the previous week and then to write down how much time they had spent on those activities. The people whose goals were read by the experimenter actually spent less time pursuing those activities than the people whose goals were not read. A number of follow-up studies were presented as well that ruled out other explanations for this finding.
    These research results suggest that wanting to have a particular identity is an important motivator in carrying out the activities one needs to perform to succeed. When those activities are the only marker that you and others have that you have taken on a particular identity, then your motivation to work hard will be strong. When there are other ways to communicate your identity to others, your motivation to work hard will not be as strong. So when you are just starting out on the road toward a big undertaking, it is probably best to let your actions express your intentions louder than your words.(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/200905/if-you-want-succeed-don-t-tell-anyone)
    The belief that we are more successful with our goals if we announce them and create accountability has also been proved wrong by research. Research says that telling people what you want to achieve creates a premature sense of completeness and is actually counterproductive.
    https://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf
  17. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Abu Nur for a blog entry, Pyramids, aliens & God   
    There is a populist theory that the pyramids must have had an alien inspiration. This is because of the range of innovations that they represent and knowledge across multiple disciplines and their orientation towards certain constellations.
    My problem with this theory is the bent pyramid at Dahshur. It's bent, because they got the maths wrong. Weird that aliens who managed to get to this planet but then got their measurements for a stone structure wrong. Seems pretty clear to me that the pyramids we see represent the refinement and development of Egyptian technology, rather than discrete alien intervention.
    In contrast, this planet is stuffed full of interesting resources in quantities just right for exploitation at the time that they'd be needed and human development would have reached a stage to take advantage. That's a far more likely candidate as evidence of extra-terrestrial involvement in the seeding of this planet with the correct quantities of resources at the time of its creation. Given the nature and extent of such material, it's likely to have been something more advanced than aliens doing the seeding.
    I was reminded of this by the current horseshoe crab shortage affecting north America. It seems as if they have been over-exploited because their blood contains a substance used to test medical products for the presence of bacteria.
  18. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from shia farm girl for a blog entry, God Hypothesis II   
    This post was stimulated by the election of Donald Trump and his view that claims of climate change are exaggerated and his promise to the electorate that he'd resume coal mining.
    When uranium was first discovered people believed that the world's supplies would only last until the new century (2000), but since then new discoveries keep being made. Uranium will likely last a very long time and for more than long enough for us to develop alternative and safer and cleaner means of energy generation. In the meantime uranium has also been responsible for enabling is to learn a great deal about atomic physics, which we otherwise would not have done and which has perhaps been a stepping stone towards acquiring knowledge about energy production which would have been difficult to acquire without having the lessons provided by uranium-powered nuclear reactors.
    The central idea underlying the God hypothesis was that evidence of intelligent design lies in our having had the right proportions of fuels to last us while we developed the intellectual capability so as to be able to develop the next, more sophisticated source of power.
    Intelligent design also means that the system within which we live can take into account our weaknesses. So people who worry about climate change, fear that continued reliance on fossil fuels will likely mean that man-made temperature rises will lead to long-term habitat destruction.
    So this story could go either one of two ways. Either we take into account the warnings of those worried by man-made climate change and mend our ways, or we suffer the consequences.
    If the God hypothesis holds, however, no matter what we do we'll survive. The hypothesis holds that whoever put us here put in sufficient resources for us to stay around for a lot longer and go further than we have done.
    I think the outcomes are more subtle than that. The God hypothesis will also hold true if the people who deny climate change persist with their use of old technologies and in so doing hand over technological and economic leadership to those people who have the vision to change. I think this has been the story of humankind. One of the reasons why the West gained its supremacy over other countries and cultures was its earlier understanding of the power of hydrocarbons and the ways that they could be used to power a multitude of machines.
    Similarly, post-carbon fuel sources will require the development of a range of different technologies and the countries that are faster to adopt will gain leadership advantages.
    The God hypothesis also holds that due to God's mercy we are aware of the dangers of different types of fuel. The famous London smog and the measurable levels of particulates in many of today's cities are a testimony to people becoming aware of the dangers of hydro-carbons, irrespective of the climate change problem. These natural signals are there to be heeded and again, the countries and people who do so, will be the ones who will benefit the most.
    The case of the Easter Islanders is worth bearing in mind. They had developed a belief system which involved cutting down the trees on Easter Island to construct and move their Moai. Ultimately their beliefs meant that there were no trees left and the island was no longer habitable. Holding the wrong beliefs led to their destruction, but not of that of the wider planet. In a similar way, I think climate change deniers are harming no one else but themselves. True climate change operates at the level of the planet, but I think here are enough people willing to take heed so as to mitigate its worst effects, while at the same time undermining the legitimacy of the deniers.
    https://contemporaniablog.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/god-hypothesis-ii/
  19. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Ashvazdanghe for a blog entry, You know the tip about eating off a smaller plate to lose weight...?   
    Turns out the person who came up with that one and a number of others was not always telling the truth:
    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/9/19/17879102/brian-wansink-cornell-food-brand-lab-retractions-jama
     
    And the reason for his misdemeanour:
     
    And then there is the wider issue about how researchers are motivated and rewarded:
     
  20. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Hameedeh for a blog entry, Cruises   
  21. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Ashvazdanghe for a blog entry, Brain drainers & brain drainees II   
    This post follows on from the previous one which dealt with the global issue of developing countries losing their trained manpower to richer countries. There is an interesting news piece that I have just come across which shows how one developing country turned the problem to its advantage.
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/23/brazil-fears-it-cant-fill-abrupt-vacancies-after-cuban-doctors-withdraw
    Obviously the Cuban economic system has a variety of other deficiencies but I think this is a fair deal, the doctors are educated and trained in Cuba's free education system. Instead of having to leave the country for a better life elsewhere the doctors remain Cuban and earn better salaries than they would have done at home. As the article also points out this scheme allows Cuba to project 'soft-power'.
    After all, if your country is seen by a number of others as having provided the doctors that your own can't train, there must be something to be said for the donor country's education policies.
    Certainly, it avoids the situation facing other developing countries which are effectively subsidising the economic development of richer countries - who in turn brag about the superiority of their systems.
     
  22. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Heavenly_Silk for a blog entry, Black Friday   
    https://www.nbcnews.com/video/video-shows-black-friday-shoppers-fighting-at-local-walmart-1379023427507?v=raila&
    Black Friday reminds me of an interesting concept from behavioural economics - the distinction between acquisition utility and transaction utility. The former refers to the benefits we'd derive from the good itself and the latter refers to our perception of 'having gotten a good deal'. You know those goods collecting dust at home, because you hardly ever used them? Well they can represent purchases where the acquisition utility may have been poor, but we bought them anyway because they seemed cheap.
    Stores know that this is how our minds work and that is the reason why they have all those 40 inch, no brand television sets piled high, at 'massive discounts'. The televisions themselves are poor quality, anyone who reads Consumer Reports (U.S.), Which? magazine in the UK or any number of online reviews would know as much.
    What is attractive about these products is their 'transaction utility', you think you have had one over the store, when in fact the store has exploited you.
    Another way perhaps of looking at this is that where greed/the nafs wins over reason, you lose.
  23. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from IbnSina for a blog entry, National resilience during wartime   
    With the latest round of sanctions and the clear intention of some in the American administration not to engineer regime change, but to focus on regime collapse, so that Iran ends up like Libya I thought about how Iran could respond.
    My inspiration came from the iftari services in our mosques during Ramadan. I don't know Iran well enough to say whether or not something like this is already being done (perhaps @Ashvazdanghe  does?). But the serving of meals in mosques for the poor is likely to benefiit from economies of scale, it is likely to engender social cohesion, provide the government with the chance to communicate with the momineen and perhaps even act as an incentive for more people to visit mosques.
    The shrine of Imam Raza (a.s.) is an inspiring example of how social architecture can provide a sense of (free) wonder, inspiration and relaxation for so many people, again at negligible marginal cost. Perhaps the Iranian government should consider more such developments around the country.
    And once the people are there, the mosques can become the nexus for the provision of various activities and services that leverage the knowledge and skills of people who may otherwise consider themselves to be unemployed. These non-market exchanges would be outside the vagaries of the local currency but would rather be based on building the human capital of the individuals and the social capital of their communities. People who come for the free meals can volunteer their time to provide counselling, teaching, training and other services. You can achieve a great deal with very limited resources - my visits to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival earlier this year showed how amazing productions can be created with next to no resources.
    The enemy's logic is that deprivation from material resources will elicit public anger - but to some extent the lack of such materiality can be bypassed. Obviously the lack of goods such as medicine can't be addressed using the above approaches.
    At a time of constrained resources the IRI needs to prove itself to provide for the needs of the many in a manner that is efficient and effective and thereby use the opportunity provided by sanctions to win more support.
  24. Like
    Haji 2003 got a reaction from Zulfiqar1472 for a blog entry, National resilience during wartime   
    With the latest round of sanctions and the clear intention of some in the American administration not to engineer regime change, but to focus on regime collapse, so that Iran ends up like Libya I thought about how Iran could respond.
    My inspiration came from the iftari services in our mosques during Ramadan. I don't know Iran well enough to say whether or not something like this is already being done (perhaps @Ashvazdanghe  does?). But the serving of meals in mosques for the poor is likely to benefiit from economies of scale, it is likely to engender social cohesion, provide the government with the chance to communicate with the momineen and perhaps even act as an incentive for more people to visit mosques.
    The shrine of Imam Raza (a.s.) is an inspiring example of how social architecture can provide a sense of (free) wonder, inspiration and relaxation for so many people, again at negligible marginal cost. Perhaps the Iranian government should consider more such developments around the country.
    And once the people are there, the mosques can become the nexus for the provision of various activities and services that leverage the knowledge and skills of people who may otherwise consider themselves to be unemployed. These non-market exchanges would be outside the vagaries of the local currency but would rather be based on building the human capital of the individuals and the social capital of their communities. People who come for the free meals can volunteer their time to provide counselling, teaching, training and other services. You can achieve a great deal with very limited resources - my visits to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival earlier this year showed how amazing productions can be created with next to no resources.
    The enemy's logic is that deprivation from material resources will elicit public anger - but to some extent the lack of such materiality can be bypassed. Obviously the lack of goods such as medicine can't be addressed using the above approaches.
    At a time of constrained resources the IRI needs to prove itself to provide for the needs of the many in a manner that is efficient and effective and thereby use the opportunity provided by sanctions to win more support.
  25. Thanks
    Haji 2003 reacted to ShiaMan14 for a blog entry, (Top) 10 Interviewing Tips   
    Top 10 Interviewing Tips:
    01) Dress professionally - ironed clothes, polished shoes, combed hair, light or no scent
    02) Arrive around 10-15 minutes before the interview.
    03) Carry a briefcase or padfolio to the interview. Bring 3-5 copies of your resume to the interview and a pen.
    04) When you meet the interviewer, be sure to offer your hand for a handshake. The handshake should be firm and look the interviewer in the eye while shaking his/her hand.
    05) Memorize everything in your resume so when the interviewer asks about something on your resume, you answer assuredly
    06) Be succinct in your answers. Make answer relevant to the position you are seeking
    07) At the end of the interview, be sure to ask 2-4 questions.
    08) Ask about "Next Steps" once the interview is over.
    09) Send thank you email to the interviewer(s) the next day
    10) Follow up with interviewer the following week if you don't hear from them.
     
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