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In the Name of God بسم الله

AbdAllah

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  1. I can't say guarantee its accuracy, but if you use Google chrome this extension is pretty good: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/prayer-times/ndmbeogingkjkmmkoomnigifmpajmbkc. You can give it your precise GPS coordinates and you can set it to use one of the Shi'a calculation methods. It should be the same as using a phone app with one of those methods.
  2. Good question! This website compares the different calculation method. The two Shi'a ones are Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran (Tehran) and Shia Ithna Ashari, Leva Research Institute, Qum. I'm not sure why there are differences in the calculation methods, and I don't know why dhuhr (and 'asr) times are not included on that website. However, it is important to use a Shi'a method simply because our prayer times are definitely different based on our fiqh (i.e. we don't pray maghrib at sunset). It's also a good idea to allow for a few minutes for error. Better yet, you can use a more traditional approach to figuring out when it's time to pray!
  3. (salam) There is Azan Alarm Clock which you can set to use a Shi'a calculation method. It also has a variety of Shi'a adhan audios (in addition to Sunni ones). I'm guessing it was made by a Shi'a developer. They same developer has this app for finding the Qibla. There is also a free version of that app. Another app that I highly recommend is iSupplicate. There is also an Android version of the app. Shia Mobile also has a number of good apps. The iDuas Ramdhan app should be useful as the month of Ramadan is coming up. It has the du'a for every day of the month as well as a number of other du'as for the month and Laylatul Qadr. All of these du'a apps could have some errors, for example sometimes the text might be out of order, some harakas might be wrong, or the translation might be out of order, so take them with a grain of salt. However, for the most part from my experience they are good. Insha'Allah the developers can improve them over time. For books and jurisprudence, there are these iShia apps. I haven't used them all, but they seem interesting. For Ayatullah Sistani's rulings, there is iSistani which is quite well-made. There are many more that hopefully others can point out, but this should be a good list to get you started with. :)
  4. (salam) Until recently I had always heard that if you travel to a certain location and stay there for ten or more days then both your prayers are complete and fasting is obligatory during the month of Ramadan. However, I recently heard that two different individuals told someone that you only fast for every complete period of ten days that you are at that location. For example, if I stay somewhere for 12 days, I only fast for the first ten days, and if I stay for 29 days, I only fast for the first 20 days. At least one of these individuals said that you do this even though your prayers are complete, but various books of jurisprudence mention that whether or not it is obligatory to fast while traveling corresponds exactly to whether or not your prayers are complete, so that seems to be clearly wrong. Furthermore, since the books of jurisprudence seem to indicate that if you travel to a certain location for ten days or more then your prayers are complete, although they could be more clear on the case of staying somewhere for more than ten days. In any case, if there was such a ruling as described above, it seems like the books should definitely mention it, because it's not at all intuitive. Has anyone heard of this ruling before? Are there any marjas that have such a ruling, or is it a misconception that some people have? (wasalam)
  5. I should mention that this book is well-known and is generally accepted by people in Iran and probably elsewhere (as far as I can tell from anecdotal evidence). Unfortunately, in general, we often accept what we hear without questioning it. I don't know what the scholars in Qum and Najaf think of this book (if they've seen it), since they are very scrupulous with analyzing the authenticity of ahadith, but the average person will probably just accept the book, and as such the information in the book could have become "common knowledge" by now. We should really propagate that this book should not be read and trusted upon.
  6. Yes, it is the same book. Oh interestingly enough, some of the names (on pg. 17 of the book you sent) are literally lost in translation, such as Wilfred Madelung. But instead, the author of the "Persian translation," Zabih Ullah Mansuri is added at the end of the list. The number of names in the Farsi book is 25, whereas in the English translation it is 22. I don't know why the translator would do that. Given that, I also don't know how accurate the rest of the English translation is. This keeps getting fishier...
  7. (bismillah) Asalamu ʿAlaikum When we watch such a video or read the excerpts you posted, we must wonder what the sources for this information are. Clearly no sources are given. All of our knowledge about the knowledge of the Imams (as) comes from the ahadith, so we should be skeptical when we see long stories and incidents, especially when they have no citation. When I first came across the book The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher, I was very interested. It was sitting on my shelf for a while, and I wanted to read it, but one day I became skeptical about its contents, so I did some research. I'm not quite convinced the book is a fabrication. Here's why. The book (in Persian) claims to be "a translation from a French thesis published by The Research Committee of Strasbourg, France." Interestingly enough it lists a bunch of names of people who were supposedly part of the committee. That must make it authentic, right? First of all, I couldn't find many of the names online, which is a bit suspicious, but I guess they could just not be well known. There are a few well-known figures mentioned, several of whom are still alive. For example: Henry Corbin, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Wilfred Madelung, Musa Sadr, and Claude Cohen (who's a Nobel Laureate in Physics). Isn't it strange that none of these individuals have publicly claimed to have participated in this study. If the results were really remarkable, wouldn't they be putting it out there? Shouldn't Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who is a Muslim and a researcher on the relationship between Islam and science be talking about this research he supposedly participated in that proves the immense scientific knowledge of the Imam (as)? I did find a paper that perhaps could have served as an inspiration for "The Research Committee of Strasbourg, France": L'Élaboration de l'Islam: Colloque de Strasbourg. http://books.google.com/books/about/L_%C3%89laboration_de_l_Islam.html?id=3iRT_lmzdLgC Looking at a review of the work (which is linked to on that site), it seems like none of the research was about Imam Jaʿfar as-Sadiq (as), although there is some research on Shiʿism in there. Last, but not least, here is an article that talks about a Persian professor claiming the work is a fabricated work of the author of the Persian "translation": http://www.ical.ir/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=9594 I think in there he mentions that the supposed original French thesis is nowhere to be found. Perhaps the best way to prove the work is fabricated is to ask Nasr or Madelung if they did participate in such a committee. I'm not claiming Imam Jaʿfar as-Sadiq (as) did not have divinely inspired scientific knowledge. I'm simply claiming this work seems to be made-up and it should not be relied upon, even if something in there is based on truth.
  8. (bismillah) (salam) On the topic of language, I agree English programs are necessary. Centers that adhere to a particular culture/ethnicity/language can alienate a lot of the youth. Sure some youth are raised learning their mother tongue and are raised in their parents cultures, but even most of those youths are more comfortable with English (in the US). Personally I enjoy a lot of Farsi lectures, but I know many youths do not, and even I'm more comfortable with English. More importantly, there are plenty of youth (such as converts, children of converts, youth from minority Islamic backgrounds, youth from mixed backgrounds etc.) who do not speak any of the non-English languages of most majalis. We should really be catering to that audience in the US. I'm not saying we can't have centers that cater to particular ethnicities etc., but the priority of a community should be to have a good multi-cultural, English language, youth-catering center. That center could still have Saturday or Sunday schools that teach the kids Arabic, Farsi, Urdu etc. That's what my center had, and I think it works out pretty well. Going back to the original topic, I really agree with a lot of the sentiments expressed in this thread, and I'm glad others have noticed similar problems (although I'm sad that those problems exist in other communities as well). The community I was raised in has had a youth group for many years, but it has fluctuated over the years. Maybe up until a year or two ago, many of the programs were led by a resident `alim, and as such, there were generally good, religious topics for the youth. One problem at that point in time was that many youths under the target audience of 15+ would come, and they would be immature and make it difficult to discuss topics pertinent to the youth seriously. Over time, however, the youth in our community have become more independent to the extent that more often than not, we have a guest speaker without a religious background (e.g. a lawyer, an activist of some sort, and even sometimes non-Muslims speaking about an interesting societal topic). The individual speeches themselves were largely okay, but all in all, I've been sensing a decline in the religious, socio-religious, and spiritual content of the youth sessions. Also, since the sessions are pretty much run by the youth, it has gotten the sort of a "fun place to hangout with friends" feel. Socialization is rampant, gender barriers are removed, and things are probably talked about in an Islamic center that shouldn't be. Some people say this is a better alternative to clubbing etc. That is true, but that's no excuse to turn a masjid into a milder version of club. The masjid should present and foster the halal alternatives to these problems, not less haram ones. Therefore, I think in general it is risky to leave everything in the hands of the youth. While autonomy is good, often times the youth don't know everything that's best for them, they do not have the experience to address issues that an 'alim would be able to address, and even the most responsible/pious youth might give in to the "pressures" around them. I know the youth that run the youth group are well-intentioned, but it's difficult to know what's best. In thinking how to address some of these issues, I recently compiled a list of topics that I think are pertinent to the youth, and should be discussed in such youth groups. I've given a link to the doc below. Please let me know if there are other topics you think are important. I think the emphasis should largely be on the social topics listed first, since that's what are youth are struggling with most. One thing that others I've talked to have brought up is that not all youths are on the same level, and some don't want topics that are "more advanced" or "more niche" that say, many people on Shiachat would be interested in. Many youths just want to hang out with friends and maybe listen to an uplifting lecture. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gysM5qQnADLS4NcA4zHGiSDzxsebToCrsL_aN1hbyxc/edit# Was-salaam
  9. Asalamu Alaikum, I don't know about those 12 rakats, but I know at least in Twelver Shiʿa Islam, there are 51 nawafil (recommended) rakats to pray each day. You can read about them here: http://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2206/ and when to pray them here: http://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2207/. I believe the most recommended is the 11 units of Tahajjud. Another one that is highly recommended is the Ghufayla Prayers after salaat al-maghrib. It's a two rakat prayer, but it has special recitations in it: http://www.duas.org/gufaylah_new.htm. It's really beautiful. But of course, all of these are recommended. Do whatever you can whenever you can. Don't force yourself to do something reluctantly just because it is recommended. But at the same time, if you can establish a habit of performing any of these prayers, that's wonderful.
  10. Well there might not be much of a difference in terms of the two hadiths per se, except that the hadith with هذا might indicate that the Prophet (pbuh)wanted to make clear that he was referring to Imam Ali (as). (Of course, this is according to our limited understanding; the hadiths could be quite different given the 'ilm of the Ma'soumeen (as)). However, assuming only one of those hadiths was actually said on the Day of Ghadeer, then it makes a difference in that one is right and one is wrong. But the thing I'm more interested in is what this has to say about the authenticity of Duʿa Nudba and Duʿa ʿAdeela.
  11. (bismillah) (salam) I have heard of two versions of the Hadith of Ghadeer, and I was wondering if one is more authentic than the other. The versions are: من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه Man kuntu mawlah fa ʿAliyun mowlah من كنت مولاه فهذا علي مولاه Man kuntu mawlah fa hadha ʿAliyun mowlah I'm guessing only one of those was actually said on the Day of Ghadeer, but it might be possible that both were said at different times. What makes this more interesting is that Duʿa Nudba and Duʿa ʿAdeela appear to refer to different versions of the hadith. In Duʿa Nudba, من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه Man kuntu mawlah fa ʿAliyun mowlah is explicitly mentioned. Whereas, in Duʿa ʿAdeela, this is mentioned: و بوصيه الذى نصبه يوم الغديرو اشار بقوله هذا علي اليهWa bi waṣiyihil-ladhi naṣabahu yowm al-ghadeerWa ashara bi qowlih: "Hadha ʿAliyun" ilayh And to his sucessor whom he appointed on the Day of GhadeerAnd referred by his saying of "This Ali" to him (or some variant of that). To me this seems to indicate that the Prophet said the second version of the hadith on the Day of Ghadeer, in a very poetic and powerful way. Does the acceptance of one version of the hadith, cast doubt on the authenticity of one of these Du'as. I've seen discussions on the authenticity of Du'a Nudba. I'm not sure if I've seen much about Du'a ʿAdeela. In any case, if for example the second version of the hadith is correct, it could be that the هذا was simply left out of Du'a Nudba, the same way it was left out of several versions of the hadith. However, if the second version is inauthentic, then at least that section from Du'a ʿAdeela seems to be compromised. Any thoughts? (Any comments on the authenticity of Du'a ʿAdeela and how it was transmitted would also be appreciated.) Wasalaam
  12. I posted this in the General Discussions, but this might be a more appropriate place. This isn't my blog...it's your blog, in that it needs to be written by the community. Let's see if we can get it started with the help of some of you bloggers! Tell me what you think. http://spiritualladder.blogspot.com/
  13. (bismillah) (salam) I am trying to start a community blog that will Insha'Allah be of interest. The details are in the blog itself, but the idea behind the blog is for different people to contribute posts, where each post is in a way, a continuation of the previous one. If there is a demand for the blog, it will continue to be written; otherwise, it won't. So visit the blog, and if you are willing to contribute please e-mail spiritualladder@gmail.com. If you think it can be improved, or you just think it is a bad idea, please tell me. For more information visit the blog! http://spiritualladder.blogspot.com/ Thanks! (wasalam)
  14. (salam) At least according to Ayatullah Sistani, I don't think you need to do ghusl before Dhuhr if you get junub after Fajr, based on the following ruling: 1641. If a person observing fast becomes Mohtalim during day time, it is not obligatory on him to do Ghusl at once. Do other mujtahids differ on this point?
  15. Peace be upon you dear brother, Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen for guiding you to the right path! As for your question of different schools, I think you may have meant different schools within the Shi'a school of thought. There are different sects within the Shi'a school of thought. You have probably been introduced to the Ithna'Ashari, Twelver, or Jaf'ari school of thought, which believes in the twelve Imams (as) . Most Shi'a follow this school of thought, so it is often used interchangeably with Shi'a, but there are other schools of thought such as the Ismai'lis, who believe Isma'il succeeded Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (as) instead of Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) whom the Twelvers believe succeeded the Imam. Even within these branches or sects, there are many sub-branches, and it gets very complicated. Many of these sects have very different practices from other Muslims, or would even not be considered by Muslims by most. If you want more information about the various sects of Islam I recommend Shi'ite Islam by Allamah Tabatabaei. It is a great introduction to Shi'a Islam in general, and may cover a lot of things of interest to you. Another book I recommend is Inquiries About Shi'a Islam by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini. It covers a lot of the misconceptions about Shi'a Islam. I haven't actually fully read these books, but I still know they are great books :) . A good site for buying books on Shi'a Islam (such as Shi'ite Islam) is http://www.shiabookshop.com/. The books aren't the highest quality, but they are very cheap, except for the shipping costs, but I think it's worth it if you buy a lot of books. A lot of books are also available online, so you can always check before buying. Within the Twelver sect, there are also certain sub-sects. The most prominent of these are the Usuli and the Akhbari. You can read more about them on wikipedia, but the vast majority of Twelvers are Usuli, and the major difference is that Usuli Shi'a have mujtahids (or marjas), or scholars that give rulings (fatwa) that we follow in the absence of the Twelfth Imam (as) . So probably the closest thing to schools of thought that the Sunni have (e.g. Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hanbali, Maliki) are the mujtahids that most Shi'a follow. It doesn't really matter who you follow, but Usuli Shi'a believe you must follow a mujtahid in the absence of the Imam (as) to know how to do certain things. The different mujtahids don't differ greatly, so it doesn't make a great difference in practice who you follow, but you should follow the one you find most knowledgeable. For example they differ in some controversial things that apply to daily life such as whether or not you need a beard, whether smoking is allowed, what kind of music you can listen to, whether or not you can eat gelatin etc., and often things more specific to acts of worship, for example what invalidates a fast, or specific details about prayers. There are many mujtahids, but only a few that are widely followed. The most followed marja is Ayatullah Sistani. His website can give you a good idea of specific rulings of mujtahids. The Works section has a lot of works that can be of great interest to answer a lot of your questions about specifics pertaining to prayers, wudhu etc., and most of it does not differ among the various mujtahids, but it might just be easier to ask specific questions on Shiachat :). If you want more information about various mujtahids or the different schools of thought, please ask. I'm sure others can you give you a lot more information than I can. I hope this was helpful. I know it's a lot of information, and there are a lot of details, and it's good to take things slowly, but as you start learning how to pray and other aspects of Shi'a Islam you will undoubtedly encounter many questions, and having access to such information will be very useful Insha'Allah. May Allah (SWT) bless you and make your reversion process as easy as possible Insha'Allah.
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