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In the Name of God بسم الله
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Who Are Alevi And What Are Their Belief ?
In a sense, the thing is many Alevi don't identify as "Shi'a". From what I can tell in my studies, in the Ottoman period, you had this idea of the "Alevi" path which was synonymous pretty much with the path of a Sufi. But many of the Alevi beliefs come from the same Sufi and Shi'a sources that inform much of Shi'a spirituality.
I think I mentioned this, but the Janissaries followed "Alevism" through the Bektashi Order, and the Janissaries were loyal to the Sunni Ottomans. Then you had the Bektashi and Qizilbash tribes who supported the Shi'a Safavids who were more decidedly Shi'a themselves but also followed "Alevism". Many of the Alevi in Turkey are members of the Bektashi Order or come from the Qizilbash tribes who lived in that area and never migrated to Safavid Iran. So the extent to which the Alevi identify personally with the Sunnis or Shi'a or as a separate branch of Islam or as a current that includes both Shi'a and Sunni leaning groups of people is up for discussion and is what has made it hard for Alevis and scholars of Turkish Alevis. Most Alevis seem to identify themselves as separate from both Sunni and Shi'a while a significant minority identifies themselves with the Iranian and Iraqi Shi'a. Another group sees Alevism more as a philosophy that acts as a bridge between Sunni and Shi'a through a common Ali-centric spirituality. And there are a minority of Alevis who don't even see Alevism as part of Islam (which personally doesn't make sense to me since Alevi literally means "follower of Ali" and the Alevi "trinity" is Allah-Muhammad-Ali).
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Who Are Alevi And What Are Their Belief ?
Some of the Bektashi Order supported the Safavids or at least preferred to seek the protection of the Safavid Shahs. During the Ottoman-Safavid era, the Alevi-Bektashi split into two branches: A Sunni branch which courted the Ottoman Sultans and were associated with the Janissaries and a Shi'a branch or group of branches who supported the Safavids. More Sunnified Alevis just call themselves Alevis and in the Ottoman period the phrase "the Alevi path" was pretty much used as a synonym for Sufism since Ali (as) is seen in nearly all traditional schools of Sufism as the door to Muhammad's esoteric mysteries. So really, during the Ottoman period, the term "Alevi" was a very loose term. Those Alevis whom the Ottoman Empire saw as suspicious were those they considered "Qizilbash" and thus associated with the Safavids.
While this is true, I think this is a position that developed over time and probably doesn't reflect Hajj Bektashi Veli's as much as people might think. The traditional accounts of Hajj Bektash Veli's life as told in his Vilayatname which has been preserved by the Bektashi monasteries in fact mentions his traveling to Mecca and visiting Mt. Arafat. Supposedly Hajj Bektash had the ability to teleport anywhere instantaneously, to turn into a dove or even appear in two places at once and on at least one occasion or more he visited Mecca or appeared to pilgrims there. The lack of Alevi concern for Mecca has a lot to do with the fact that pilgrimage has never been an option for many of them and also because the teachings of Hajj Bektash emphasize the inner pilgrimage, but this does not imply a lack of reverence for Mecca as a holy place among Bektashi or Alevi, as there are still members of these communities who do make these physical pilgrimages, as it is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and contains many holy places. Likewise, Bektashi and Alevi sometimes make pilgrimage to the shrines in Karbala and Najaf and tekkes/monasteries have existed in these places and I believe there may still be one Bektashi tekke in Karbala today.
Yes and no. At least among Bektashi Order, the performance of namaz/salat according to Ja'fari law is practiced. Much of the lack of focus on traditional prayer comes from the secularization of Alevi communities in many parts of Turkey and Anatolia as well as separation between communities with different degrees of legal practice. There are also some modern Alevis who don't consider themselves to be Muslim. Among Bektashi and certain Qizilbash, both the sema and namaz are done, but namaz is more often seen as a private affair anyway whereas the sema is a more community affair. So it's unlikely you will ever see Alevis perform public prayer at a Cem house or a mosque, though some Alevis attend local mosques as a show of solidarity with non-Alevi Muslims.
This is also wrong. Most Alevi regard the Qur'an as their sacred book. The tales of past Alevi holy men and dervishes and the poems of famous Alevis only form a secondary more fluid canon. The Alevi and Bektashi Order also believe the Qur'an has an outer and inner meaning and tend to place greater emphasis on an inner and more philosophical understanding of the Qur'an. From the official website of the Bektashi:
The Bektashi revere the Qur’an, and the blessed words of the Prophet Muhammad. No rule of the order may deviate from the Sacred Book and Hadith al-Sharif. The veneration for the Prophet further extends to all members of his family, the Ahl al-Bayt. Expressions of love for his family occur in many Qur’anic verses: “Say (O Muhammad): ‘I do not ask for any reward except love of my family.’” (Sura 42:23) When the companions asked the Messenger of Allah who his family was, he replied: “They are Fatima, ‘Ali, Hasan and Husayn.”
And also “Allah’s wish is but to remove uncleanness from you, O people pf the House, and to cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.” (Sura 33:33)
It is true that there are some Alevi who don't revere the Qur'an (such as those who think Alevism is a different religion from Islam) and there are those who are more secular and see Alevism as a cultural thing and thus do not study the Qur'an very much, only attending Cem for the Sema, but traditionally Alevism has always revered the Qur'an as their sacred book and this is upheld by many if not most of the major Alevi religious authorities within and outside the Bektashi Order today.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in The Poetry Of Shah Ismail I
Brief Biography: Ismail Safavi the First, known more formally as Abu l-Muzaffar bin Haydar as-Safavi, was born in Ardabil in Northwestern Iran on July 17, 1487. As an heir to the leadership of the Safaviyyah Sufi Order established by Shaykh Safi ad-Din Ardabili (1252-1334 CE), Ismail found himself as the official head of the order of his ancestors at the tender age of 7 years old. His family over the course of several years had earned the ire of the Aq-Qoyunlu, a prominent Turkish tribal federation in Anatolia. When Ismail was just barely a year old, his father Haydar Safavi was killed by the Shirvanshah king Furruk Yassar in battle. In 1494, the Aq-Qoyunlu would take the city of Ardabil, the ancestral home of the Safavi family, killing his brother, Ali Mirza, who had taken control of the Safavi Sufi Order upon Haydar's death, forcing young Ismail to seek refuge in Gilan among the Shi'ite leaders there, who along with the high ranking members of the Safaviyyah, provided Ismail with his education and training. At the age of 12, Ismail would come out of hiding and with the aid of the Turkmen devotees of the Safaviyyah, known collectively as the "Qizilbash" for the distinctive red head gear would conquer Azerbaijan from the Shirvanshah, avenging his father's death. In July 1501, he crowned himself Shah of Azerbaijan and by 1502 would also take the title of Shah of Iran, leading many more conquests until the whole of his territory included modern day Iran, parts of Iraq and Anatolia, as well as portions of present day Afghanistan. However, in spite of his successes, Shah Ismail eventually stretched his empire as far as he could and after suffering a critical defeat against the Ottomans at the Battle of Chaldiran on August 23, 1514, retreated from direct management of the Safavid state as well as leading his military campaigns, gradually succumbing to his alcoholism and eventually dying on May 23, 1524 at the young age of 36, possibly as a result of his heavy consumption. Upon his death, he was buried in his birthplace of Ardabil and succeeded by a dynasty which would last little over 200 years, reaching its high point under the reign of his successor Shah Abbas I (1571-1629 CE). Perhaps Shah Ismail and the Safavid dynasty's most everlasting achievement was the establishment of the first unified Iranian empire since the Arab conquest and the establishment of Twelver Shi'ism as the state religion of that empire.
Being well versed in Shi'ite doctrine and the Sufism of his forefathers of the Safaviyyah, Ismail developed a talent for mystical poetry which he composed in both Persian and Azeri Turkish (although little remains of the former) under the pen-name "Khatai" or "sinner." Shortly after his death, many poems attributed to the first Twelver Shah of Iran were collected into several divans. Although a complete translated publishing of Khatai's work based on all the available manuscripts preserved since the Safavid era has yet to surface, some have undertaken the effort to translate some of the most essential of these poems for the purpose of gaining a window into the thoughts and personality of the man who converted Persia.
Ismail I is an odd historical figure if not simply because in spite of the fact that his legacy is still felt in almost every corner of the Middle East and Central Asia today, he is simultaneously reviled, criticized and ignored by many, sometimes even by those who owe the most to him. Even Shi'ite intellectuals of the revolutionary variety in modern times such as Ali Shariati or, more recently, Hamid Algar have shared thoughts either on Ismail himself or the Safavid dynasty he established that are less than full of praise. Others see him as significant only for his conversion of Persia and little more than just another tyrant after that. However, strangely enough, Ismail's person and his poetry are fondly remembered by many Alevi/Alawites as well as the post-Islamic religion, the Ahl-i Haqq. One look at Ismail's poems certainly reveals a extreme sense of his self-importance, heavily influenced by Sufi ideas and Shi'ite messianism in which Ismail sees himself as the emissary of a new epoch and an embodiment of the spirit of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, Muhammad (pbuh) and Ali (as) from the realm of Pre-Eternity that to those perhaps not well versed or open to the ecstatic sayings of more famous figures such as Mansur al-Hallaj (as) would appear to border on incarnationism. On top of that, Ismail's purported behavior as a warrior can be described as frightening. In 1510, when Ismail's forces moved against Uzbek/Moghol ruler Muhammad Shaybani, it has been said that Ismail had Shaybani's body dismembered and hung in various parts of his empire and his skull coated in gold and bejeweled, which the young Shah Ismail kept as a drinking goblet which he would use during social gatherings. On top of this, during the initial phases of Safavid rule under Ismail, Sunnis and rival Sufi orders who refused to convert to Shi'ism are said to have had many of their places of worship destroyed and were forced to choose conversion, exile or death (though it's important to bear in mind some of the harsher accusations against Ismail which accuse him of excessive cruelty and religious blasphemy are mostly found in Ottoman records). During the initial phases of the Safavid revolution, as itinerant dervishes spread the word of Twelver Shi'ism and the excellence of the new Shah throughout the empire, Qizilbash warriors would parade through towns and villages shouting curses on the first three caliphs and anyone who didn't respond positively and join in the practice was suspect. It is also said that early Safavid society organized the public burning of effigies of the first three caliphs: Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman. Some details on this period can be somewhat sketchy, but it is clear that Ismail made a serious impact when he arrived so suddenly on the political scene.
Certainly for those in the Shi'ite community who find themselves more taken in by the ideals of Republicanism and/or Khomeini's doctrine of wilayat al-faqih or seek a more ecumenical relationship with Sunni Muslims, or even are turned off by anything associated with irfan or Sufism, Ismail's apparent radicalism is unsettling, and may present a kind of obstacle. Even today, the legacy of Ismail's conquests and policies sours the relations between Sunni and Shia Muslims as Sunni puritans and radicals invoke the memory of the Safavids in their verbal or even physical attacks on the Shi'ites to the point that "Safavid" has become a pejorative term used against Shi'ite Muslims. Among some Shi'ites, there almost appears a desire to forget Ismail, to think of him as inconsequential himself, but it is my opinion that we cannot just sweep Ismail under the rug because regardless of how we have come into Shi'ism, all of us live with his legacy every day. While we may wish to question Ismail's behavior or his more esoteric beliefs, it was his actions which ultimately allowed for the establishing of a fertile ground for Twelver Shi'ism to grow and develop beyond that of a marginal religious denomination into the majorly influential faith it is today and certainly many of our proud Iranian or Azeri brothers and sisters would be singing a different nationalist tune today, a more Sunnite one, were it not for the young Shah. I think also we have to address a very important matter which concerns Ismail as a historical figure but which also is part of the matter of our own religious self-identity, regardless of our own personal ethnic origins. We can't just act as though if Ismail Safavi hadn't come along and assisted in the conversion of these regions, they would have been converted all the same anyway as though Ismail being one of the chief vanguards of this process was merely an arbitrary part of the cosmic plan. Being religious individuals, and Shi'ites, we understand that this is not how the world works and that in fact all things happen one way or another according to Allah's will and permission as time progresses towards the end Allah has decreed. To reduce Ismail, whether one loves or despises him, to irrelevance in the course of the divine plan is simply dodge important questions. Regardless of whether we find Ismail a wholly agreeable historical figure, or even a good person, the fact remains that of all the individuals Allah could have utilized in his ultimate plan, it was Ismail and so I think a critical examination of Ismail's personality through his poetic writings can perhaps reveal what it was about him which Allah saw most fit for his purposes and in this process, we may possibly see what it is about ourselves, as Muslims and Shi'ites Allah finds most pleasing. Simply put, if we are to believe that Ismail's victories were ordained by God, that the conversion of Persia is Allah's will and was more pleasing to God than displeasing and that ultimately, in spite of whatever flaws of character we may perceive in Ismail, that he himself did more good in the name of God than he did bad as far as our fait is concerned, what does that tell us about the kinds of roles Allah has set in store for the rest of us Shia in the present day who live in the shadow and memory of this young Turk? Also, how do we, either consciously or unconsciously, continue to reflect the qualities of the first Safavid Shah? Not too long ago, I wrote a report for one of my classes dealing specifically with some of the similarities I felt existed between the Ayatollah Khomeini and his Safavid predecessor. Both were controversial figures, simultaneously venerated and despised in their own times. Both, as has been revealed, composed mystical poetry embedded with controversial gnostic ideas and themes drawn from the well of Sufi literature. Both were paradoxes of generosity and what critics might call cruel or aggressive behavior and rhetoric, thus making them rather controversial. And both helped to start and eventually take a dominant charge of critical moments of revolutionary social and political change which, for better or for worse, have altered the course of geo-politics in the Islamic world. Even though Khomeini was known to believe monarchies were unIslamic, there's no doubt in my mind that, upon close examination, he himself reflects many traits that almost feel as though they were spiritually passed down to him from Shah Ismail.
Below I have gathered selections of Ismail's poetry as translated by V.Minorsky in his "The Poetry of Shah Ismail I," in the tenth volume of the Bulletin of the School of African Studies, University of London. All selections are translated from the earliest manuscripts of Shah Ismail aka "Khatai's" Divan in Azeri Turkish. Some of these are said to be written as Ismail himself was leading his forces against the Aq-Qoyunlu and the Ottomans, while in his late teens and early twenties. Terms such as "ghazi" are generally used to refer to those who join Ismail on his jihad, typically the Qizilbash to whom some of the poems are obviously addressed. While "Shah" is generally used to refer specifically to Ali (as) and the Imams. There are also references to the Safavi family's supposed lineage from Ali. Ismail could even be said to purposely conflate his father, Haydar Safavi, and Ali ibn Abi Talib who was also referred to by the same title when he speaks of avenging the "blood of Haydar" or refers to himself as Haydar's son, believing both "Haydar's" to equally be his sires in both a physical and spiritual sense. The third Mathnavi which I've posted makes many references to characters of the Shahnameh and is believed to have been written soon after Ismail's defeat at the Battle of Chaldiran, which account for the pleading nature of the poem in its prayers to God. Ismail employs many Turkish and Tajik/Persian literary themes in addition to tacit references to Greek ideas or figures (Ismail's mother, Martha, was in fact the child of a union between the daughter of the Greek emperor of Trebizond and the sultan of the Aq-Qoyunlu, Uzun Hasan, given to Ismail's father in marriage when Uzun protected the Safavids from his fellow tribesmen). Ismail himself was a mixed breed of Turk, Persian, Greek and possibly Arab descent.
I have also posted, for good measure, a letter exchange between Shah Ismail I and Ottoman Sultan Selim I shortly before the ill-fated Battle of Chaldiran.
--SAMPLES OF ISMAIL'S POETRY FROM THE EARLIEST MSS--
That Sultan of generosity is the Master of Reason; he is Sanctity and the light of the eyes.
Should the ghazis put on their swords and arms, fear of danger will invade the soul of hypocrites
Let Yazid's host be one hundred thousand, before it all the giaours and Marvans will be scattered
The moon-faced Shah can be recognized by the taj on his head and the precious belt around his waist
The one who does not find the way to the Mystery of Sanctity is a blind man and an ignorant fool.
When the ghazis enter the arena, the "outsiders' will be utterly under their feet.
Know for certain: Ali is the Sea of Truth (haqiqat), he is the eternal life of honour.
The day the ghazis (preceded by the red pennons and banners don their red tak, will be the day of warning.
Moawiya's host on seeing one ghazi will grow worse than that sheep at which a wolf clutches
The akhis who recognize the Pir are true pearls; those whose word is but one art true men.
In the path of the Shah, Khatai sacrifices his soul, to say nothing of the kingdom, property, gold, and silver.
My name is Shah Ismail. I am God's mystery. I am the leader of all these ghazis.
My mother is Fatima, my father is Ali; and eke I am the Pir of the Twelve Imams.
I have recovered my father's bloof from Yazid, Be sure that I am of Haydarian essence.
I am the lving Khider and Jesus, son of Mary. I am the Alexander of my contemporaries.
Look you, Yazid, polytheist and the adept of the Accursed one, I am free from the Ka'ba of hypocrites.
In me is Prophethood and the mysery of Holiness. I follow the path of Muhammad Mustafa.
I have conquered the world at the point of my sword. I am the Qanbar of Murtada Ali.
My sire is Safi, my father Haydar. Truly I am the Ja'far of the audacious
I am a Husaynid and have curses for Yazid. I am Khatai, a servant of the Shah's.
O, fighters in the path of God, say: "Allah, Allah! I am the faith of the Shah (Ali).
Come to meet (me), prostrate yourselves. I am the faith of the Shah.
In flying I am a parakeet, I am the leader of a mighty army, a companion of Sufis.
Wherever you sow me, I will grow; whenever you call me, I will come up. I shall catch the Sufis by the hand.
I was on the gibbet with Mansur; with Abraham in the fire, and with Moses on Sinai
Come from the eve, celebrate the New Year, join the King.
With discernment come to know the King. O ghazis, prostrate yourselves.
I wear a red crown, my charger is grey, I (lead a) mighty army. I have the virutes of the Prophet Joseph (i.e. am beautiful).
I am Khatai, my charger is sorrel; my words are sweeter than sugar, I have the essence of Murtada Ali. I am the faith of the Shah.
Know for certain that Khatai is of divine nature, that he is related to Muhammad Mustafa
He is issued from Safi, he is the scion of Junayd and Haydar, he is related to Ali Murtada.
For the love of Hasan he has entered the arena, for he is related to Husayn of Kerbela.
[He posseses the qualities of the other Imams.]
He is like a beggar at the gate of Mahdi, Master of the Time.
My name is Vali Shah Ismail; my surname is Khatai
Do not think, o moon-face one, that my sould remains to me after thou has gone.
My sould has gone after you and (only) the impotent body remains to me.
Since thou hast quitted my side, o peace of my heart, only (dream) of my joining you keeps watch over my heart.
Although the flower garden of thy beatuy has gone from my eyes, in my heart grows the stately poplar of thy sunny forms.
Let that Peri-like idol be hidden from my looks, the moon in the sky is for me a symbol of (her) face.
From the moment this sick-hearted Khatai became separated from thee, the musk of thy fragrant tresses has remained with me as a perfume-spreader.
There is a commandment in God's book: know for certain that it decrees blood for blood.
May my head be a sacrifice on the path of the Guide of Truth: there many hundred like me (ready to) destroy their lives.
(O Khatai) thou hast a hand: (how) thoroughly has though defeated Yazid; mayst thou be ruler of the world as long as the world exists.
The blood of Shah Haydar is still (unavenged); Yazid still awaits a crushing defeat.
Truly in the path of love sincerity is wanted.
Go away, thou accursed denier, there is a doubt in thee!
I call thee denier: thou dost not see that the Companions of Truth (Ahl-i Haqq) possess evidence clearer than the Sun.
Treading this path in the state of impurity, how canst thou deny the word: there is some blood unavenged.
Go, o zephyr, it is hight time (for you) to represent to the Shah in what state I am.
Rise and march, o Khatai, make a journey; for (thy) paternal home is in the twon of Ardabil.
From Pre-Eternity the Shah is our Sultan, our pir and murshid, our soul.
Having pronounced the name of the Shah we have walked along this path. We are Husayni, to-day is our period.
We are slaves of the Imam, in all sincerity. Our token is to be martyrs and ghazis.
Our path is narrow, narrower than anything. This time our fundamental rule is to give our heads away.
I am Khatai. From Pre-Eternity I am the Myster of Haydar.
He who does not recognize him as Truth (Haqq) is a stranger to us.
In the arena of love, he who risks his head and life, sports wantonly with his eyes, eye-lashes, and eye-brows before the Beloved.
On the path of the King of Men there are many people, but praise to the head which opposes a thousand heads!
Let him be an intimate friend of the Shah, who is ready topart with his head and life.
Do not think that a common farrash would (be allowed) to flirt in the presence of the Beloved.
On the day of battle many give up their heads and lives; but should someone self-willed (bashinda) stay behind, the qulbash (corporal?) will make him play!
O Khatai, do not grieve if all have become your enemies. A challenger always flings bricks and stones from afar.
Should my beauty sit with corssed legs, gorans will be roused in the world; should he rise and sit down, the ordeal of the end of the world will burst out.
Let all the people of Shirvan rush to Tabris, the Persian ('Ajam) kingdom will but ask: when is the Last Day to come?
As he arrives, the streets and homes of the will cease to exists, however many Turcomans may turn out from Baghdad.
if (my Beauty) comes out of the palace, the tomb (sin) will engulf the stock of the world and a Guide to the tariqat, old and young (at the same time), will suddenly appear.
Since in Pre-Eternity Khatai had contemplated the certainty of this issue, the signs of Noah have appeared in him and the Flood is to burst out.
Thy numerous arrows have pierced my breast, which is burning with fire.
They came in multitudes, they arrows, they did not pour water (summadi) where water was needed.
You would think that fledelings are flying with scream. Every moment, as thy arrows leave the bow, they make me groan.
On the square of my breast they have formed an army in fighting array. Thou art my king over the land (yurt) where they arrows are arayed in review.
I am dying of that pain, and the groans of my suffering have annihilated my hear; they flying arrows have no even left my soul in my body.
Now wonder you make a lattice of Khatai's breast, for thy arrows pierce armour, coats of mail, and shields of steel.
It is I who have come now for this epoch (var. "to this world").
I have set myself in motion and have entered a soul (manifested myself in a soul).
I am intoxicated with love for the Shah and dazzled by him. As a lover I have come to (my) family (home).
By God, I was sorely longing for the Shah! Thanks to God, I have now come to the sanctuary.
I shall uproot Yazid and the heretics, a-buring I have come to the source of light.
By the Shah's comman I had come in Pre-Eternity. Do not be troubled, for now I have come again.
From Pre-Eternity I am in love with the "Twelve Shahs" (Imams) but now I have come to this shop (i.e. this mundane world).
(Like) Solomon's ring and the staff of Moses I have come to the world, as Noah (during) the Flood.
Muhammad's miracles, the Shah's (sword) Dhul-Fiqar are signs in my have. Here I have come.
I shall exterminate outsiders from the world. I am Khatai, I have come to serve as a proof (of Truth).
Lo, my truly Beloved is now Sultan in the world. If my friend accept my soul, to-day it is his sacrifice.
O man, if thou hast brains, give not thy heart to the world; he who does so, shows his ignorance on the path.
Those who do not recognize Ali as Truth (Haqq) are absolute unbelievers. They have no creed, no faith and are not Muslims.
If you capture one heart, for you it will amount to a hundred.
If you destroy one heart, one hundred Mekkas will lie in ruins.
O Khatai, life is a boon (to profit by): know thyself. To-morrow we shall die, but to-day life is still a guest in your body.
To-day I have come to the world as a Master. Know truly that I am Haydar's son.
I am Faridun, Khosrau, Jamshid, and Zohak. I am Zal's son (Rustam) and Alexander.
The mystery of Anal-Haqq ('I am the Truth') is hidden in this my heart. I am the Absolute Truth and what I say is Truth.
I belong to the religion of the "Adherents of the Vali (i.e. Ali)" and on the Shah's path I am a guide to every one who says: "I am a Muslim."
My sign is the "Crown of Happiness". I am the signet-ring on Solomon's finger.
Muhammad is made of light, 'Ali of Mystery. I am a pearl in the sea of Absolute Reality
I am Khatai, the Shah's slave full of shortcomings. At thy gate I am the smallest and the last (servant.
I am God's eye; come now, o blind man gone astray, to behold Truth.
I am that Absolute Doer of whome they speak. Sun and Moon are in my power.
My being is God's House, know it for certain. Prostration before me is incumbent on thee, in the morn and even.
Know for certain that with the People of Recognition (ahl-i iqrar) Heaven and Earth are all Truth. Do not stray!
The garden of Sanctity has produced a (or one) fruit. How can it be plucked by a short-handed one?
If you wish to join Truth to Truth, (here is) God who has reached the stage of Mim (maqam-i mim).
The one of pure connections considers his own person. Suddenly, Khatai has come by a treasure.
A flower has blossomed on the tree, and is now come to be a companion to the Shah.
In Pre-Eternity it was the Mystery of the Shah, and now it has come to be a companion of his Mystery.
No one can become a Qizil-bash, until his heart (yuragi instead of yuzumi) is a-burning and his breast a-bleading like a ruby.
In the time of the mystery of kuntu kanzan he was the Light of Muhammad, and now he has manifested himself to the world crowned with a red crown.
His name is Ismail, he is homoousian (one) with the Prince of the Faithful (Ali); on seeing him the outsider would prefer to turn to stone.
Mathnavi No. 3
In the name of God, Living and Bountiful, for His is might and His nature is old.
It is He who exalts the "Nine Heavens" and purifies the face of the earth
He produces the storm like unto Simoom; by the wind of the Day of Resurrection, he softens stones to wax.
He makes some superior to others, some is suspense and some lowly;
Some like Solomon, some like ants, some vilified and some strong.
He makes some superior to the whole world, and some a refuge to men.
He makes some lords of the world, and while He treats some as flowers, he creates others as thorns.
He makes some (sit on) the throne and (wear) a crown; he makes others needy of half-a-farthing.
He makes some awful like Rustam, and others less than a small hair (muchak?);
Some endowed with courage (lit. liver), others without courage and carrion-like.
To some He gives swords and good horses, while He checkmates others on their carpet.
He creates some (as if) to stand (lit. fall) as Alexander's wall, and some as if to flee like deserters (or "like swift stallions")
God is the Creator of all, He is cognizant of everybody's affairs.
Has He not created five fingers to a narrow hand so that each of them should know its way?
Were all the world equal, how would the affairs of the world be successful?
Surely there is a difference between slave-girls and a man; Heaven and Earth are no equal.
A man must know his perfection and do what work he can do.
A mouse must know his perfection and do what work he can do.
A mouse in the desert say: "I am wicked," but when it is confronted (with an enemy) it loses its way.
Do not believe such pretensions before you have scanned them, do not lean on the wall of of an unmanly person.
God (Haqq) is the Helper in this world; in bad days he shares the sorrow of his slaves.
A brave bef (bag-igit) will conquer all lands: all Asia Minor (Rum), China, Khorasan, and Syria.
Is he a man, he who marches with an army against a (single) man? Is an army (necessary) to crush an enemy?
In a fight, lads (aran) would crush one single man, but in an army the beg becomes the leader of mean (ar-sarvari).
I am he who will fight a crocodile, and wage war with the tiger and the panther.
I am such that should I meet Afrasiyab, I will smite his head with my mace and stun him.
I am he who will march without fear against the foe; do not be afraid that on looking (at him) I shall show hesitancy.
I shall smash the fortess of Khaybar with my fist; shall I ever fear cannon and guns?
I shall conquer Asia Minor and Syria, and then think of the Franks.
Should Afrasiyab be my foe, I shall take it for a dishonour to come to blows with him.
Should something happen to you in a fight, turn not your back, run not with shouts towards your companion.
A pity! Would that there were a suitable occasion, that (the foe) should see a man better than himself!
A pity! Would that Isfandiyar existed now, that I might spare neither his throne, nor his kingdom, nor his country.
A pity! Would that Afrasiyab were there, that I might answer (his challenge) with my sword.
A pity! Would that Give lived nowadays, that I might to him like a male div.
A pity! Would that Zal were alive now, that he might see what a struggle is like.
A pity! Would that the hero Sohrab were now in existence! He would not be striking with his sword in his hand.
A pity that (on the battlefield) I am tied to females, that I encounter but effeminates and cowards.
A pity, that there is no longer a price for a man, for a hero breaking through the enemy line, for a male lion.
Neither Rustam nor Bijan are my opponents, a female wanted to command me.
I wish there were a great fight that I might encounter the foe face to face.
They would know that a Man has born of a moth; every one would that a Man has been born of a mother; every one would hear news of his talents (ardam).
"A hero eats his bread in a manly way." This was said by the best of the braves.
How can one eat bread without labor; every piece of bread is in a dragon's mouth.
Go and annihilate the dragon, snatch that bread from his mouth.
O God, sharpen my sword that it should smite the foe seeking my life.
Exalt my sire through my hand, let my sire run at the envious. Let not the foe spit into my facem but rather at my dead body.
Let thrity thousand men be my enemies, and each one of them be Rustam-like.
When I make up my mind to take the field, let them come and let me fight them alone.
Let met smit them all with the sword so that they should their designs and their attack.
Are the braves annoyed by death? Shall I keep (this) bag of ungnawed bones?
Nobody says to the one devoid of energy: "This is a Man"; better is death for a liar lacking ardour.
Do not associate me with cowards, who, in the eyes of a Man, are less than females.
Lengthen my sword that I reach the enemy and scatter before me his array and his right flank.
Even for an Isfandiyar I shall make the field too narrow; no lion or panther will stand my blows.
O Lord, show me Thy friendliness and, though the foe be a Rustam, I will smash him.
O God, accept my prayer for my need, my supplication at Thy gate, and my appeal to Thee,
Through the merits of my Prophet who is the Miracle of Speech, and of Ali, who is the Perfect Imam.
They did not turn away their faces, but on this path made sacrifice of their beings.
Pray, let me work havoc in (the) ranks (of the foe), for only by the sword can the foe be abashed.
THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN SELIM I and ISMAIL I:
--SULTAN SELIM'S LETTER--
LETTER FROM SELIM TO ISMAIL, 1514:
“It is from Solomon: ‘In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Do not exalt yourselves above me, but come to me in all submission.’” (Qur’an 27: 30-31)
God’s blessings upon the best of his creatures, Muhammad, his family, and his companions all.
“And now We have revealed this Scripture truly blessed. Observe it and keep from evil, so that you may find mercy. (Qur’an 6: 156)
This missive, which is stamped with the seal of victory and which—like inspiration descending from the heavens—is witness to the verse “We do not punish a nation until We have sent forth a messenger to forewarn them.” (Qur’an 17: 15) has been graciously issued by our most glorious majesty—we who are the Caliph of God Most High in this world, far and wide; the proof of the verse “that which profits men remains on the earth” (Qur’an 13: 17) the Solomon of Splendor, the Alexander of eminence; haloed in victory, Faridun triumphant; slayer of the wicked and the infidel, guardian of the noble and the pious; the warrior in the Path, the defender of the Faith; the champion, the conqueror; the lion, son and grandson of the lion; standard-bearer of justice and righteousness, Sultan Selim Shah son of Sultan Bâyezid, son of Sultan Mehmet Khan —and is addressed to the ruler of the kingdom of the Persians, the possessor of the land of tyranny and perversion, the captain of the vicious, the chief of the malicious, the usurping Darius of the time, the malevolent Zahhak of the age, the peer of Cain, Prince Isma‘il.
As the Pen of Destiny has drawn up the rescript “You bestow sovereignty on whom You will” (Qur’an 3: 26) in our sublime name and has signed it with the verse “The blessings God bestows on men none can withhold” (Qur’an 35: 2), it is manifest in the Court of Glory and the Presence of Deity that we, the instrument of Divine Will, shall hold in force upon the earth both the commandments and prohibitions of Divine Law as well as the provisions of royal proclamations. “Such is the grace of God: He bestows it on whom He will.” (Qur’an 57: 21).
It has been heard repeatedly that you have subjected the upright community of Muhammad (Prayers and salutations upon its founder!) to your devious will, that you have undermined the firm foundation of the Faith, that you have unfurled the banner of oppression in the cause of aggression, that you no longer uphold the commandments and prohibitions of the Divine Law, that you have incited your abominable Shi‘i faction to unsanctified sexual union and to the shedding of innocent blood, that—like they “Who listen to falsehood and practice what is unlawful” (Qur’an 5: 42)—you have given ear to idle deceitful words and have partaken of that which is forbidden:
He has laid waste to mosques, as it is said,
Constructing idol temples in their stead,
that you have rent the noble fabric of Islam with the hand of tyranny, and that you have called the Glorious Qur’an the myths of the Ancients. The rumor of these abominations has caused your name to become like that of Harith deceived by Satan.
Indeed, as both the legal rulings of distinguished religious scholars who base their opinion on reason and tradition alike and the consensus of the Sunni community agree that the ancient obligation of extirpation, extermination, and expulsion of evil innovation must be the aim of our exalted aspiration, for “Religious zeal is a victory for the Faith of God the Beneficent:” then, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (Peace upon him!) “Whosoever introduces evil innovation into our order must be expelled” and “Whosoever does anything against our order must be expelled,” action has become necessary and exigent. Thus, when the Divine Decree of Eternal Destiny commended the eradication of the infamously wicked infidels into our capable hands, we set out for their lands like ineluctable fate itself to enforce the order “Do no leave a single unbeliever on the earth.” Qur’an 71: 26) If God Almighty wills, the lightning of our conquering sword shall uproot the untamed bramble grown to great heights in the path of the refulgent Divine Law and shall cast them down upon the dust of abjectness to be trampled under the hooves of our legions, for “They abase the mightiest of its inhabitants and these will do the same” (Qur’an 27: 34); the thunder of our avenging mace shall dash out the muddled brains of the enemies of the Faith as rations for the lionhearted ghazis. “The wrongdoers will realize what a reversal they shall have.” (Qur’an 26: 227)
When I draw my keen-edged weapon from its sheath,
Then shall I raise up doomsday on the earth;
Then shall I roast the hearts of lion-hearted men,
And toast the morning with a goblet of their blood.
My crow-fletched shaft will fix the eagle in his flight;
And my bare blade will shake the orb of day.
Ask of the sun about the dazzle of my rein;
Inquire of Mars about the brilliance of my arms.
Although you wear a Sufi crown , I bear a trenchant sword,
And he who holds the sword will soon possess the crown.
O Mighty Fortune, pray grant this my single wish:
Please let me take both crown and power from the foe.
But “Religion is Counsel.” Therefore, should you turn the face of submission toward our angelic threshold—the refuge of the noble, the qibla of felicity, and the Ka‘ba of certainty —and lift the hand of oppression from the heads of your subjects bowed by oppression and sedition, take up a course of repentance and become like one blameless, return to the sublime straight path of the Sunna of Muhammad (Prayers and salutations upon him and God’s satisfaction upon his immaculate family and his rightly-guided companions all!)—for “My companions are like the stars: whomever you choose to follow, you will be guided aright.” —and consider your lands and their people a part of the well-protected Ottoman state, then shall you be granted our royal favor and our imperial condescension.
He whose face touches the dust of my threshold in submission
Will be enveloped in the shadow of my favor and my justice.
How great the happiness of him who complies with this!
On the other hand, if your evil and seditious habits have become ingrained in your nature, then that which has become essential can never again be accidental.
Of what avail are sermons to the black-hearted?
Then, with the support and assistance of God, I will crown the head of every gallows tree with the head of a crown-wearing Sufi and clear that faction from the face of the earth—“God’s followers are sure to triumph” (Qur’an 5: 56); I will break the oppressors’ grip with the power of the miraculous white hand of Moses, for “The Hand of God is above their hands.” (Qur’an 48: 10) Let them remove the cotton of negligence from the ears of their intelligence and, with their shrouds on their shoulders, prepare themselves for “That which you are threatened with is sure to come.” Qur’an 6: 134) The triumphant troops “As firm as a mighty edifice” (Qur’an 61: 4) crying out like fate evoked “When their hour is come, not for one moment shall they hold it back, nor can they go before it” (Qur’an 7: 34) and maneuvering in accordance with “Put them to death wherever you find them” (Qur’an 4: 89), will wreak ruin upon you and drive you from that land. “Such being the will of God before and after, and on that day the believers will rejoice in God’s help.” (Qur’an 30: 4) “Thus were the evil-doers annihilated. Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe.” (Qur’an 6: 45)
--SHAH ISMAIL'S RESPONSE--
LETTER FROM ISMAIL TO SELIM, 1514:
May his godly majesty, the refuge of Islam, the might of the kingdom, he upon whom God looks with favor, the champion of the sultanate and of the state, the hero of the faith and of the earth, Sultan Selim Shah (God grant him immortal state and eternal happiness!) accept this affectionate greeting and this friendly letter, considering it a token of our good will.
Now to begin: Your honored letters have arrived one after another, for “No sooner has a thing doubled than it has tripled.” Their contents, although indicative of hostility, are stated with boldness and vigor. The latter gives us much enjoyment and pleasure, but we are ignorant of the reason for the former. In the time of your late blessed father (May God enlighten his proof!) when our royal troops passed through the lands of Rum to chastise the impudence of ‘Ala’ al-Dawla Dhu’l-Qadr, concord and friendship was shown on both sides. Moreover, when your majesty was governor at Trebizond there existed perfect mutual understanding. Thus, now, the cause of your resentment and displeasure yet remains unknown. If political necessity has compelled you on this course, then may your problems be soon resolved.
Dispute may fire words to such a heat
That ancient houses be consumed in flames.
The intention of our inaction in this regard is twofold:
(1) Most of the inhabitants of the land of Rum are followers of our forefathers (May God the All-Forgiving King have mercy upon them!).
(2) We have always loved the ghazi-titled Ottoman house and we do not wish the outbreak of sedition and turmoil once again as in the time of Timur.
Why should we then take umbrage at these provocations? We shall not.
The mutual hostility of kings is verily an ancient rite.
Should one embrace the bride of worldly rule too close,
His lips will kiss those of the radiant sword.
Nevertheless, there is no cause for improper words: indeed, those vain, heretical imputations are the mere fabrications of the opium-clouded minds of certain secretaries and scribes. We therefore think that our delayed reply was not completely without cause for we have now dispatched our honored personal companion and servant Shah Quli Aqa (May he be sustained!) with a golden casket stamped with the royal seal and filled with a special concoction for their use should they deem it necessary. May he soon arrive, so that with assistance from Above, the mysteries concealed behind the veil of fate might be disclosed. Keeping in view that regrets are of no avail in the end, one should always exercise free judgment and not be bound solely by the words of others.
At this writing we were engaged upon the hunt near Isfahan. We now prepare provisions and our troops for the coming campaign and in all friendship we say, “Do what you will.”
Bitter experience has taught that in this world of trial
He who falls upon the house of ‘Ali always falls.
Kindly give our ambassador leave to travel unmolested for “No soul shall bear another’s burden.” (Qur’an 6: 164; 53: 38) When war becomes inevitable, hesitation and delay must be set aside, and one must think on that which is to come. Farewell.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from AmirioTheMuzzy in What Is The Ruling For Apostasy?
What you are referring to is the preservation of the appearance of an Ummah, not the preservation of an Ummah.
By your same logic, it is perfectly just for the Christians (or any other religion) to kill people who have become Muslim. If that happens, don't cry "oppression," cause you'd be perfectly happy to do the same. Afterall, they can't let those apostates influencing other people to become apostate, so it's all good, right?
Why don't you just ignore them?
If your Ummah is educated enough properly in Islam and has a true love for it, they won't leave of their own will. If they leave because they aren't educated enough on a particular topic when an inquiry is positioned to them, so they leave the faith because they are confused and your Ummah cannot provide the answers they needed to maintain their faith, blame yourself and/or your so called "marja" for being unable to provide for them the answers they needed to keep their faith. If they leave for superficial reasons and not for sensible reasons, denying the obvious, if they are no immediate physical threat, I say leave them. As I said, if your Ummah is educated and passionate about Islam enough of their own free will, they won't be lead astray, so your execution does nothing beneficial. You'll still be short a believer, only now you can't very well convince him to return to the faith. You know, being dead and all. Your time is better spent countering the apostates' claims and so called "facts." Why kill people who aren't going to kill you?
I would honestly prefer them to openly announce it so I know who to avoid or who needs guidance. Also, it's better to let such diseased hearts leave than having them take up room in the mosques that are better spent on someone whose heart beats true piety. I'd rather have a mosque with only two believers who are actually there because they want to be and because they love Islam out of all the other choices they could have in the world than twenty, two hundred, or two hundred thousand fake believers who just perform the rituals with no love for God or belief in Islam. I want an actual Ummah, not just the appearance of one.
As for the apostates, I say again that if Islam is so right, the facts will speak for themselves. If the facts didn't speak for themselves,then we couldn't very well call Islam the "right religion," now could we? As facts that don't speak for themselves are not facts at all. And even if they leave for superficial reasons, your time is better spent trying to convince them to come back, even if it takes a century. The longer they are alive, the more chances you get to bring them back. If they are no physical threat, let them live in apostasy because they will just ruin themselves all the same anyway and there will be a day when they can no longer deny the truth regardless of whether you killed them or not.
True, but at least if they are alive, you can try to convince them of the truth. Before it's too late that is.
If anything your faith can become stronger by the allowing of the apostates to live on in disbelief as their challenges against your faith, if you are truly devoted and convinced, push you to become more knowledgeable not just for the sake of proving them wrong, but for the sake of constantly reassuring yourself you've made the right choice and they the wrong.
I say if people are unwilling to learn and want to stay stupid or care about prestige in the eyes of common men and material wealth than prestige in the eyes of God, let them leave instead of polluting the purity of the Ummah with their hypocrisy and lack of faith. But at least if they are alive, they may return to faith, perhaps even more wiser from their experiences as an apostate, thus able to use that new found knowledge and wisdom to aid those who may feel the same way when he or she had left.
If hypothetically, a young man of say 23 leaves the faith after being born and raised in a Muslim family, I do not feel I have any authority to say that he will not return to the faith 1 year or even 40 years from now. And if he may come back after 50 years, I say it's well worth the wait. And even if he never comes back, he'll die whether I kill him myself or not, so why not just leave him? The only logical reason for me to kill an apostate is if, in his apostasy, my life was in danger, but then you couldn't very well say I killed the apostate because he was an apostate, could you? As I would have left him alone to wallow in his apostasy until he died naturally had he not been a threat to me.
Even if he tried to convert me or others, if I or my fellow believers are strong enough in faith and knowledge, nothing he can say will convince us to leave, so what threat is there unless he seeks to compel us through violence? At most, I say exile if they just become troublesome without any threat of violence.
Punishing people for apostasy with death demonstrates a lack of faith on your part in my honest opinion.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
I would agree to some extent. However, to add and clarify, for your sake and for others, it must be taken into account that even the most adamant Sunni-Sufis have a very deep love for Ahlul Bayt. As do the other non-Ithna Ashari Shia. Now I am not in any way saying that their religion is not in error. However, this does not mean they are not right in their habits and religious beliefs in other areas. And one of these things is love for Ahlul Bayt. And it is the love they do have for Ahlul Bayt and that persisting in the truth they do reside in that allows them to delve into the mystic well.
Think of it like two children in a swimming pool. One child has on his arms the inflatable life preservers, the other doesn't. Even though the child without the life preservers is a skilled swimmer and can dive deeper and more freely into the pool than the other, this does not mean that he is best swimmer in the world simply because he can swim and not drown. This also does not mean that the child with the life preservers does not have fun in the water himself and sometimes, despite the air in the life preservers holding him back from going too far under water, he may even dive himself a certain distance under the water, albeit through a more strenuous effort due to the life preservers holding him back. As he becomes a better swimmer, he'll realize he doesn't need the life preservers and shed them off and swim more freely like the other child. Other children may also initially be better swimmers than other children that they never needed to wear the life preservers, or "floaties." In this analogy, the life preservers are the errors of the non-Shia and non-Ithna Ashari. Though useful in easing the graduation and education of those who don't know how to swim, they can also be hindrances once the person learns successfully how to swim and it is at point that it is pertinent to remove them if one hopes to experience the pleasure of swimming freely. The freely swimming child is the Ithna Ashari adherent, who has either shed the errors of the previous religion, no longer needing them to stay afloat, or never needed them in the first place. He traverses the pool, which is the well of knowledge and mystical insight, with a much more uninhibited skill and grace. However, even though he can dive deeper and stay afloat without the use of peripheral devices, this doesn't mean that he is a champion Olympic swimmer and he may even find that in some games and races, despite his being free of life preserving devices on his arms, the other child with may best them just as another free swimmer might best him. And simply because he can dive under the water to deeper and deeper ends of the pool, doesn't mean he always sees with clear vision everything there is to see under the water. Indeed, he may even find that despite being free of the floating devices that he is a very poor swimmer or is not very good at certain games played in the pool, hardly a step above the other child worth bragging about and in fact he might even benefit from the advice of the other child in some instances. The other child might also notice things about the pool area the other child didn't notice as he was distracted by traversing the deeper ends of the pool that he didn't see all there was to see in the shallower ends as he was ambitious to explore beyond them.
So when I meet a Christian or a Sunni, I keep these things in mind. I also understand, like I said, that each person has their own story to share, regardless of religion, and in these experiences there are mystical insights and knowledge that can only be learned from these individuals. I also bear in mind that these individuals may also have more knowledge than me in some criteria and, despite a difference of religion, it is in my best interest to learn from them what they have to teach on these subjects.
In Farid al-Din Attar's hagiography on the Sufi saint, Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Khafif al-Shiraz, a similar question to what you have asked is touched on, Attar mentions ibn Khafif relating this tale from his journeys:
"One year I was staying in Byzantium. One day I went out into the desert. They brought along a monk, wasted as a shadow,burned him, and smeared his ashes on the eyes of the blind. By the omnipotent power of God they recovered their sight. The sick also partook of his ashes and were healed. I marveled how this could be,seeing that they were following a false faith. That night I saw the Prophet in a dream.
'Messenger of God, what are you doing there?' I asked.
'I have come for your sake,' the Prophet replied.
'Messenger of God, what was this miracle?” I asked.
'It was the result of sincerity and self-discipline in error,' the Prophet answered. 'If it had been in truth, how then would it have been!' "
To add to this, one might say that because Jews, Christians, non-Ithna Ashari, and non-Shia Muslims still reside much in truth, despite also being at the same time in error in certain places, the persistence in what truth they do cling to also keeps them progressing further much in the same way that the aforementioned learning swimmer continues to practice and practice, making himself a better swimmer, so that, whether he realizes it or not, he may become skilled and knowledgeable enough that he no longer needs his life preservers. Simply because a man exercises his left arm only and not his right arm doesn't mean both arms remain weak. The left becomes stronger and the right one remains weak, but both don't remain weak. And if he begins to work out the other arm, it will catch up more to the left arm.
Basically, if I see a Christian holy man capable of relating great wisdom or even performing miraculous deeds, my first thought is not "Oh, he must be a charlatan and a fake," or "Perhaps my religion is wrong if such a man of a different faith can perform such feats," rather my first thought is, or at least it should be: "If he is this wise and miraculous by his love for Jesus Christ (pbuh) How much wiser he could be and how many greater miracles he could work if he only embraced the truth of Ahlul Bayt as well."
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Well I think the harmonizing of Sufism and Shi'ism lies in the Sufi saints essentially being emissaries of the 12 Imams, extensions of their influence as well as beckoners, either secretly or openly, to it. It does have parallels with Babism, but such an idea of being in psychic communication with the Imams is not unique to Babism, the Babis took it from the orthodox. I also think the nature of the Babis idea of a "representative" is way different.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Well with the Twelvers, the structure of the schools and the clerical hierarchies is relatively akin to the structure to Sufi tariqas, except that the madrasas of Twelver don't all delve into the realm of irfan. The Twelver tradition has always had a Sufi tradition, whether or not other Twelvers agree with such traditions (likewise, many Sunnis also dislike the Sunni-Sufi tradition while others embrace it and admire it) both in the form of brotherhoods of dervishes and in the irfani studies in proper proportion to its size. And whether or not one agrees with these practices, I don't think it hurts to acknowledge they are present (Like I said, the Safaviyya are an important part of Shia history, regardless of how one personally feels on the legacy they left)
I'm quite sure Shia-Sufis read Shia books, in fact I know for certain they do. What differentiates the Shia-Sufis from the Sunni-Sufis is they are actually trying to be "Shia of Ali," that is unlike the Sunni-Sufis who do feel obligated to follow Ahlul Bayt and try to, rather admirably, to do so, they are "rafidah"
I think you missed what I was saying. I was saying they shouldn't be condemned for being committed to following the ways of a master by Twelvers since Twelvers do just that: follow the ways of a respective master or masters they feel embody the meaning of what it means to be pious and wise. The Sufis just follow their respective marjas just as anyone else does.
Well, if it is a legitimate mystical experience, one can't very well say it is from the "imagination" can they? ;)
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Whatever you believe Sufism to be and the opinion of Ahlul Bayt on it to be, it has not stopped there being Shia-Sufis. And it has not stopped the development of Sufism and Shi'ism next to eachother. Hell, the main reason Iran is Shia to this day is thanks to the Safaviyya, a Sufi order of Shi'ites complete with dervishes. And even the structure of Shi'ism is akin to a tariqat, even the Ismailis sometimes refer to themselves as tariqas. And there are certainly Twelver Sufi lodges of dervishes today in Iran and India and the Anatolian region
Funny, from my understanding, many Shia follow a marja with little to no question, seeing them as the figures to model their religious life after. What's the difference between that and the Sufis following the pathway of their masters? Because they don't follow the pathway you think is right they must not be interested in following Ahlul Bayt? That's kinda arrogant if you ask me and is playing with semantics in order to paint yourself as being the only one who is sincere in his or her faith. If you ask me, the Sufis following the way of their respective masters, both dead and alive, is pretty much the same as following a marja. Heck, it IS following a marja. :mellow:
Depends on what you mean by "imagination" the whole idea of irfan is centered around not limiting yourself solely to book learning, but learning through personal experiences as well. Sufism/Irfan centers around mystical experiences and deriving knowledge and wisdom from those experiences. The visions and revelations brought about through intense meditation, contemplation, and remembrance as well as just everyday life can yield knowledge and wisdom that brings about better clarity of the experiences related in book learning (since the books can only relate and describe a limited fraction of the experiences) or knowledge and wisdom one cannot find in book learning.
I can't comment on the truthfulness of Ibn Arabi's teachings or the commentary of Ignaz Goldziher, since I have not studied in depth either individual, but I just wanted to clarify why one might, kinda understandably so, say why a mystic is speaking from his "imagination and not literature," It's not that there's no value in book learning to the true mystic, just that one should seek to utilize the experience of reading of the divine to be actively experiencing the divine both within and beyond the spectrum of what is related in the books.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Isn't there more than one Nimatullahi order, cause the Nimatullahi in Hyderabad commemorate Muharram and consider themselves Shia muslims.
Sadly, Sufism in the USA is starting to lose its "Islamic flavor" in some circles so it doesn't surprise me that some so called "Sufis" are trying to "transcend" Islam. Whatever the hell that means. :dry:
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Well, the Alevi, which would include the Bektashi, don't believe in a "trinity" They actually oppose this categorization of the theological concept of "God-Muhammad-Ali" when Alevi say "By God-Muhammad-Ali," They are actually referring to them as three distinct beings, not one being in three persons like the Holy Trinity of the Catholic, various Protestants, and Orthodox, though they believe the Christians and interpreted these three layers of reality as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, Alevi worship God and God alone, they do not believe Ali or Muhammad are God-incarnate (i think that may be the Nusayri aka 'Alawites' who believe that, Alawi being the same word as 'Alevi' just in Arabic instead of Turkish, though those typically called 'Alawi' and 'Alevi' are distinct from one another). The non-Nusayri Alevi, believe that God, in his transcendence and ineffability created a light by which his transcendent presence would be known, this light was Muhammad (pbuh), and Ali (as) was created from the same light by whom pretty much everything else came to be. When the Alevi say "God-Muhammad-Ali," they are speaking of a succession of authority between three distinct beings (God first, Muhammad second, Ali third) and also they are emphasizing the "unity" or "oneness" between these three beings, not in terms of being or even essence, but rather in terms of will. Both Muhammad and Ali's will are so united that one can speak of their divine wills as one, as Ali never strays from the will of Muhammad, and Muhammad never from the will of God, when you speak of the will of "God-Muhammad-Ali" you are emphasizing how bent the will of Muhammad and Ali are and always have been in submission to God's will, that you can essentially speak of Muhammad and Ali's will as being the same as God's will.
As for the liquor thing, I don't know if all Alevi drink liquor, but the drinking of liquor among the Alevi is generally for ceremonial purposes mainly and most drinking without the supervision of a capable religious authority is either forbidden or at least very forewarned. In the Bektashi-Alevi order, most drinking is actually done as part liturgy, much like Holy Communion in Christian churches, in which a high ranking dervish supervises the exact amount of liquor ingested by each participant. The dervishes of the Bektashi are often themselves prominent brewers and are responsible as the providers of the alcoholic beverages to their communities for ceremonial and recreational purposes, with communities generally limiting themselves to just what the dervishes have provided. Laymen of the faith may not ever drink at all except on liturgical ceremonies in which they drink less than a cup's worth of wine or raqiya.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Of course I know that, but some Shia don't as you have said, but I would say the Sunni-Shia tend to have much more in common with the Shia than your average Sunni. I think what separates the Sunni-Sufi from the Shia-Sufi is not the veneration of the Imams. As I stated, all legitimately established and knowledgeabl Sunni-Sufis have deep respect for the Imams to the point where many believe in the 12th being the Mahdi. Also, one or more of the Imams typically, always from what I have seen, occupy the chain of succession for the orders from whom Sunnis learn or that are exclusively Sunni-Sufis.
I think what separates the Shia-Sufi is that his or her veneration of the Imams goes beyond a mere adoration of a holy teacher of mystical secrets and a mere guiding saint, but goes to the point where the Imams occupy such a high place in the hierarchy of saints that they themselves are those who consecrate the saints and (most of) the prophets and send them to us for guidance and the high council that manages the entire universe on the behalf of God. So the Shia-Sufis, such as the Alevi, have greater focus on these kind of ideas above everything else. And like, I said the general rejection of the three caliphs and Ayesha being of any real importance or spiritual authority whatsoever.
Also, honestly when you look at the structure of the Shi'ites, they're managed like Sufi tariqas already, regardless of the sect/school they adhere to and its stance on Sufism.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
True, I think all Sufis, whether they be Sunni or Shia, bear certain key facets of Shia doctrine regardless. However, I think the clear and obvious dividing factor, after much extra research I have put into looking into the lives of prominent Sufis of the Shia and Sunni schools, is obviously the opinion they have of Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman, and Ayesha. The most prominent Naqshbandi sects bear many similarities with the Shia, including a belief in the Hidden Imam (as) and a veneration of the Twelve, but yet still also hold veneration for Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ayesha so couldn't very well be called Shia.
As for Rumi, until somebody can present to me sufficient evidence that he was a Shia and that there exists a silsilah of Sufi masters or his descendants who were also Shia in taqiyyah, I believe he was a Sunni with heavy Shia tendencies, like all knowledgeable Sunni-Sufis. For example, i know for a fact that Rumi was known to have criticized the Sunnis for believing Abu Bakr was superior to Imam Ali (as) and praised Imam Hussain (as) yet he still was known to speak favorably of Abu Bakr and the other caliphs.
The one saint I am inclined, though at this moment am no longer 100% sure of like I was before, to believe was a Shia in taqiyya was perhaps Farid al-Din Attar. It seems that scholars are known to disagree on whether he was a Shia or a Sunni or when and if he was one or the other. This is perhaps due to many writings attributed to him that bear a heavy Sunnite tinge and others also attributed to him that are heavily Shi'ite influenced. Perhaps you can help me out here eThErEal so that I may not praise a figure as a saint of the Shia without any real knowledge. I have read an abridged version of the Memorial of the Saints, which I am thankful to have discovered as it opened up to me so many historical persons whom I may study the lives of.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Hmm, I actually have trouble considering Rumi to be a Shia ( though I was inclined to think so when we first started this discussion months ago). As I have read some words attributed to him in praise of Abu Bakr. Also the Mevlevi Lodge is explicitly Sunni, though they do have some Shia tendencies and are not hostile to the Shia. And the Mevlevi Dervishes are headed by descendants of Rumi himself. I'm not saying there's no wisdom to be found in the words of Rumi that can be of use to Shia, just that I would require some hard evidence that he was Shia in taqiyya, and not just a Sunni with Shia tendencies like many other Sunni-Sufis. Is there proof that he rejected the authority of the first three caliphs? I've never seen any myself, if there is, I'd be interested in seeing it.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from HakimPtsid in Shia-sufism
Interesting, though the writer is unfamiliar with certain terminologies, it's worth checking out other histories of the Qizilbash and they're leaving the Safavid Dynasty's banner.
Looking at the MTO Shahmagsoudi and the Nimatullahi websites, I don't see anything of them stating explcitly "Yeah, we are Shia, not Sunni." They bear the appearance of any other order. I don't doubt that they are Shia, it's just unless somebody told you they were, you wouldn't be able to tell by just looking at their websites. When I look at most orders within Sufism, none seem to say in their publications or websites that they are explicitly Shia or Sunni. This leads me to wonder if most Sufi orders generally see themselves as both. This would not surprise me in the least. Afterall, most Sufi orders' spiritual heritages claim Ali first after Prophet Muhammad and typically, some or all the other Twelve Imams may be present in the chain. In the essays I'm writing for my blog on "Shia-Sufism," I'm touching on how the Shia aspect would not necessarily call for the rejection of all "Sunni" doctrines or the rejection of the label of "Sunni" in reference to the Shia's beliefs or practices. Afterall, a "Shia-Sufi" would feel that he is following the Sunnah in its proper form as a Shia-Sufi, wouldn't he? So thus, wouldn't the label of "Sunni," in the literal sense of the word, be applicable to him or her? This would make sense, considering I see some orders called alternatively "Sunni" and "Shia" by people who aren't members of the tariqa, an opinion they seem to base solely on their own observations of the order(s) and self determined notions of what exactly constitutes Shiism and Sunnism.
Afterall, as Shia, we believe we are following the Sunnah properly. The only reason we do not often call ourselves Sunni, is because another group with greater numbers, who we see as not following the Sunnah, is present in the world and we don't want to be lumped up with them. However, if we had the chance, we would likely take the term "Sunni" or "follower of the Sunnah" for ourselves in some fashion. Perhaps many Sufi tariqa feel this way about both the terms "Shia" and "SunnI" and generally avoid these terms if not necessary so as to not be put in the same category as some other Shia or Sunni they don't agree with.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from shia farm girl in The Actual Relatonship Among The 4 Caliphs (ra)
tefi92, I must say that I do not hold the same opinion of the first three caliphs as some other Shia, however I resent your calling them "Hazrat" as this implies some kind of sainthood. To me, the first three caliphs were not that bad, however they were far from the saintly figures the Sunni traditions portray them as. The way I see it, they were just Abu Bakr, Omar, and Uthman. Nothing more, nothing less. Whereas some Shia portray them as murderous and ravenous kufr, I don't see them in this light.
BUT, I will never say, as long as I live, that they were equal in spiritual rank to Hazrat Ali (as). I will say that some actions are falsely attributed to them out of spite towards Sunnis, though. But with Ali (as), I feel he out of all the first four caliphs is the only one who bears any sort of unique spiritual purpose. The other three were just normal laymen of the faith like you and me, but Ali was created before Prophet Adam (pbuh), Ali is the Face of God, and it is only through Ali that any human being is able to identify and realize the presence of his Creator, the Almighty God. Before I was even born, before you were born, we were created in the presence of Ali. Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman were created in the presence of Ali. Sunnis don't believe or understand this, to them Ali is just a normal man, equal to the first three caliph. I'm Shia of Ali not because I think Ali deserved to be adorned in the palace of a king with grapes and concubines, like an earthly king, and because he didn't get that I'm angry. I'm Shia of Ali because everywhere I turn there is the Face of God and I strive to glorify God by adoring that Face of His and becoming a reflection myself of his Face, to become a mirror that displays the beauty that is Ali (pbuh). I do not do this nor can I do this nor does it make sense for me to do this with the other 3.
To me, those who are truly guilty of evil against Ali are Aisha, Muawiyah, and Yazeed for his crimes against Ali's son with Yazeed of course being the worse. I pray for mercy upon Aisha, resent Muawiyah, and curse Yazeed.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from A Muslim Artist in A Shi'a View On The Crusades?
classical shia sources spoke little on the 7th century conquests because Ahlul Bayt and their Shi'a had little involvement with those conflicts. But whether or not Jerusalem is part of dar al-Islam is not necessarily important as Jerusalem can still be controlled by non-Muslims and yet be dar al-Iman. That's why a uniquely Shi'a evaluation of the conflicts of the Crusades is useful, since it offers a different perspective. For the Shi'a of this time period, generally speaking, there was no special attachment to this idea of Muslim unity. If the Franks were willing to provide protection and haven to Shi'a from their Muslim enemies, the Shi'a, namely the Ithna Asharis wouldn't think twice about running to live under them. Like I said, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, after the dust settled from the First Crusade, were quite tolerant of their Muslim subjects in most cases. I wouldn't be too surprised if some of those living in Jerusalem at this time had links to Shi'a groups who were otherwise eyed with suspicion or enmity in the neighboring Seljuk Sultanates.
One thing that needs to be borne in mind by Shi'a who wish to study the Crusades is that the division of the world into either Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islam is largely a Sunni juristic invention. Shi'a in contrast understood the world as "hostile to Shi'a" and "not hostile to Shi'a," and the latter didn't necessarily include Sunni kingdoms and could, theoretically based on Shi'a narrations from the Imams, include Christian, Jewish or pagan rulers who were willing to provide safe haven and religious liberty for Shi'a from their most immediate enemies. For Medieval Shi'a, particularly Ithna Asharites, there wasn't always this sense of Islamic unity we strive for today. For many of them, Sunni rulers were often just as undesirable as Christian ones and Sunni rulers saw Shi'a of any sect as either a political threat or as a nuisance they reluctantly had to tolerate, lest they cause instability. It would be an error to think that Sunnis or Shi'a during this time necessarily identified with each other or must have held lofty ideas of "we're both Muslims and should unite against the kafir."
This I think is extremely important to remember. As far as we know, Saladin had no seriously bad reputation among the Ithna Asharites during his own lifetime. In fact, most of Saladin's harshest critics were in fact Sunni historians such as Ibn al-Athir and al-Maqrizi, while the Shi'a historian Ibn Abi Tayy, who lived in Aleppo and despised the Nizari Assassins, praised Saladin and he wasn't the only Shi'a of the time to do so while at the same time he expressed hatred for Saladin's master Nur ad-Din of the Zengid dynasty for his actions against the Shi'a population of Syria.
In contrast, however, the Shi'a scholar Abu Turab of Baghdad cursed Saladin for ending Fatimid rule in Egypt, calling him "fasad al-din" (destruction/destroyer of the faith)
For more on this, chapter 8 in the book Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity is devoted to different Sunni and Shi'a views of Saladin.
The Fatimids actually didn't express any serious ill will towards Twelver Shi'a and Twelvers often served as viziers or advisers to the Fatimid court and even Ibn Abi Tayy acknowledged the grandeur of the great library in Cairo before Saladin turned it into a hospital and destroyed or sold most of its literature. For those Twelvers who felt that in spite of Fatimids Ismaili affiliation that they benefited from the Fatimids or that the Fatimids had created a better environment for their faith to propagate itself and grow, Saladin's seizing of power and his attempts to wipe out the Fatimid bloodline were seen as heinous and an unjustified military coup. While for others like Ibn Abi Tayy, the Fatimids were usurpers just as the Abbasids, and Saladin an admirable warrior who only removed from power false claimants to the Imamate. Even in this thread, we can see that with Marbles defense of the Fatimids and Jahanigrams calling them heretics.
Just as there wasn't a strong widespread sense of pan-Islamic unity between Shi'a and Sunnis , there wasn't a widespread sense of pan-Shi'a unity between Ismailis, Zaydis and Ithna Asharis. Whether or not these groups felt any unity with one another largely depended on whether they saw regional or cultural kinship with one another or whether they saw collaboration as being in their best mutual interests. Twelvers might side with Zaydis over Ismailis or with Ismailis over Sunnis or Sunnis over Ismailis depending on the location and various other social and political factors, including the individual character of particular rulers regardless of confession.
One reason for the hatred towards Saladin among Shi'a now I think has to do with the resurrection of Saladin in the 20th century as a kind of pan-Islamic hero against Western colonialism which was helped by the Western view of him as a "noble pagan." Dante in his Inferno even puts Saladin in limbo with Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd as a virtuous unbeliever. But in the Islamic world, Saladin only really became a rallying point for Muslims in the 20th century with the rise of Pan-Arabism and Pan-Islamism. Saladin is now remembered by many Sunnis as a shining example of Islamic chivalry and power, a champion of Islamic unity and even a liberator of Egypt from Shi'a captivity. While Saladin was despised by both Sunni and Shi'a in his own time while at the same time praised by members of both parties, many Sunnis like to paint him as being not only a mujahideen against the Franks, but also part of a wider resistance of the Muslims against a Shi'a menace that was collaborating with the Crusaders (neglecting the fact that Sunnis weren't averse to working with Crusaders when it was to their own benefit during this time and that it was the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din's attempts to take over the Fatimid empire after having helped the Fatimid vizier Shawar reclaim his position that prompted Shawar himself to strike an alliance with the Crusaders against the Zengids). For this reason, and perhaps in the interest of Shia unity against Sunni polemics designed to denigrate the Shi'a as kafirs or kafir enablers, some Shi'a get more defensive about Saladin because the Sunnis like to mystify his character. Meanwhile, other Shi'a, out of distaste for the Ismailis or out of a desire for greater Islamic unity, might absorb some of the modern cult of Saladin as a way to fit in.
It's important to have a historical view of these matters and not allow our religious biases or modern conceptions of unity to color the facts. Exploring and discussing the Shi'ite experience of the Crusades, or I should say EXPERIENCES as each Shi'a sect and regional community within that sect probably experienced the Crusades differently, can help us to create a more nuanced and historical view of the Crusades that breaks down some of the Christian and Sunni myths as well as the classic "Clash of Civilizations" narrative that posits a united Christian world against and united Islamic front (both of which are false constructs)
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from Far in Sexual Desires Control
The key for me honestly is keeping the mind on God more than women. I regard my personal sexuality as having little to no importance. I keep these things in mind and meditate on them:
I am never truly alone with God in my life. So I never need to fear not having a partner in life. So there is no reason to rush into a sexual relationship with a woman in a desperate attempt to have a feeling a closeness because I can experience a greater sense of closeness with God. The key is to have a passion for God that supersedes all other passions I may feel or wish to feel.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from MohammadAli1993 in Name Of God
Please don't slander, the Christians got the name "Jehovah" or "Yehovah" from the Jews, it's just when the letter J came along, it was used instead "I" or "Y" because it was believed that best conveyed the pronunciation. Same thing with "Yahweh," both are just different pronunciations of the same set of consonants. They have in no way, whatsoever, in any shape, form, or mode, ever tried to create a new god or anything. The two names (Yehovah & Yahweh) are intended to be pronunciations of the name of the same God in the Bible and in the Quran. Whether you agree or disagree with those pronunciations, they are intended to refer to the same God referred to by the Tetragrammaton (which, by the way, many people believe neither Yahweh, Yahovah, or even any other name is the proper pronunciation since it is believed by them to be hidden and unpronounceable)
You sound a little like a Pan-Arabist the way you focus on "Allah." We Muslims ourselves have traditions that account for a hidden and secret divine name of awesome power. "Allah" and its Aramaic and Hebrew variants just means "God" in the sense of a title or "the god," in the sense of a designation, it's not a personal name like what is implied by the Tetragrammaton.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from A Muslim Artist in Joseph... The Prophet Or Husband Of Mary?
God, all the confusion in this thread...
OP obviously had Joseph the Carpenter confused with Joseph, son of Prophet Jacob (as). The Bible mentions two Josephs of significance: the prophet of the Book of Genesis and Jesus' step father in the New Testament. Joseph the Carpenter is not mentioned having been betrothed to Mary (as) in the Qu'ran, but they were said to have been related so he may have helped rear her in Zacharia's household.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from shia farm girl in Angels
Thanks for the references. However, I often ask for hadiths here on the forums but can't find any of them that are suggested or referenced. Perhaps it's because I live in the States and there are less websites in English that can give me information on collections and their authors. Some help there would be good.
The subject of Angels has interested me a lot because to be honest the notion that angels are incapable of sin in some ways offends me. I mean I can believe "The Devil" is a Jinn and not an angel but for some reason that he couldn't have been angel because angels can't sin kinda angers me at times(not that I'm angry at any of you guys). It's just that I have trouble believing that God created creatures that can't choose to worship him because I feel like it makes God proud and vain rather than loving and merciful. Like, if angels can't sin then what reason is there to admire them or even listen to them? Who is an angel to tell me not to disobey God? It doesn't understand my temptations and the only reason it talks so high of God is because it's too weak minded to comprehend anything else for itself. It's just a mindless puppet who really just recites what he's told to say without any need for him to understand the words. Basically, when it's suggested that angels are incapable of sinning I equate it with the idea that God enjoys worship without heart. And even though we are given the ability of having the choice between good and evil, if God denies that gift to another race of beings than our choice of doing good has no meaning and neither does our worship if God accepts the worship and good deeds of one with no heart.
This was one of the reasons I left my family's Christianity because I was tired of being taught that Jesus couldn't sin even if he wanted to and that I couldn't be free of sin no matter how much I believed or tried.
Edit: I'm not suggesting that it's weak minded to obey God, but I mean weak minded in that they're being commanded and don't ask "should I do this?" and thus don't comprehend or are even aware of what they are doing or saying thus do not truly appreciate their Lord.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from shia farm girl in Angels
Thanks for your reply, brother. I am aware of the usual story of Iblis as a Jinn who was raised to the status of the angels because of his worship, but when I read this tale I never see much hadith used to back it up. I'm not saying that it's wrong, I'm just saying that I personally have not seen anyone who believes that version of Iblis' story show me any reliable hadith or any hadith at all that elaborates on it anymore than I've seen hadiths, other than Imam Ali's sermon, that could suggest he was an angel. If you can provide some hadith transmissions for me to study that would be great. Also, perhaps you could help on that quote from the Koran, one Koran that I have says "one of the Jinn" I'm not an expert in Arabic being raised in the United States, but is the proper translation "of the Jinn" or "one of the Jinn?" I ask because when I looked up that verse in how you'd speak it in Arabic, I didn't see the word for "one" in it, but again I'm not an expert. I ask because I read some Muslims did believe Iblis was an angel and that he was of the Jinn in opinion not in being. Can the Arabic text of 18:50 be interpreted either way?
Also, I didn't mean to suggest that I personally believe angels didn't have free will, I do. It's just when I converted/reverted to Islam I didn't like the idea that Allah would want sincere worship so badly but yet create a class of beings who can't question or reason for themselves because how could such beings offer worship from their heart and this is what I felt I was being told by Sunnis. I didn't like it because I felt it made God kinda vain and made the angels seem more like mindless machines. I preferred to believe that angels could sin but very few did because they were not burdened with the same temptations as us such as sexuality or the allure of polytheism. But this has made me feel a bit like less of a Muslim because even when I look on the wikipedia page on Angels, when I get to Islam's view, it says that Islam(as a whole) teaches that angels are without free will yet I couldn't agree with this.
I don't really think it matters that much if Iblis was a Jinn or an Angel, because either way he is of the accursed. I just want to know: If Shias think that angels do have free will, in contrast to most Sunnis, is the existence of a sinful angel impossible or just extremely rare?? This isn't just so I can understand who Iblis is but also angels that have been more clearly confirmed for me such as Harut and Marut(the notes in one of my Korans mentions a tradition that Harut and Marut had actually sinned and asked to be punished)
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from shia farm girl in Philosophy And Wahdat Al-Wujud
Sure is taqsiri in this thread. :shifty:
But seriously please, brothers and sisters, before we even begin to discuss the subject of Wahdat al-Wujud, some facts must emphasized.The learned ulama are not completely unanimous in their opinions on this concept. That is to say, some believe in its principle while others, particularly the strongly exoteric leaning scholars, reject it. But even among those who believe in the notion of wahdat al-wujud, whether they be Shi'a or Sunni, they don't always agree on the finer points of the doctrine. Allamah Tabatabai's understanding may not match how this or that Sufi sheikh or other Shi'ite alim understands it in its particulars, for instance.
So, whether any of us are for it or against it, we must be clear what definition of wahdat al-wujud we are speaking of and according to whom. Then we can proceed to pick apart the particular definition we speak of in this case and whether or not it represents the train of thought of any legitimate historical school of thought. From there, we may examine any other historical and traditional interpretations of the concept which may exist and discuss those in further detail.
I say this because I feel, especially in the modern era, there are many pseudo-Sufis and mystics who peddle these doctrines like wahdat al-wujud but their understanding of it is not a traditional or historic Islamic point of view, and these so-called teachers sour the atmosphere for the true gnostics and Sufis by creating a caricature that stains their own image in the minds of other more exoterically minded scholars who might have otherwise been more open. Also, because of narrow understandings and just their own emotion getting the better of them, some polemicists against wahdat al-wujud or irfan in general have a deficient understanding of what they are arguing against and so to take their word for it when they say "this is what they teach and why it's wrong," can sometimes be a grave mistake.
If we are going to discuss wahdat al-wujud, we must be clear on the definitions of various terms we use to describe the concept, who is giving these definitions, whether or not their authority to speak on these topics comes from a legitimate source and represents an historical view of scholars on the subject, and whether or not there are other definitions which themselves come from other historic schools of thought on the same issue.
Saintly_Jinn23 got a reaction from Ali_Hussain in Amir-Moezzi Promoting Ghulat?
What opinion, if any, do users here have of Professor Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, writer of "The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism." Personally, I think he is a very knowledgeable person, but I also believe he spreads some ideas in his writings that are misleading, ideas that are presented under the veil of historical studies, but which seem to suggest more about his own views than those of the Shi'a.
Take for example, his article on the Khattabiya in Encyclopedia Iranica, in the end of the article we find:
Now, I don't find anything fundamentally wrong with the idea that the ghulat were familiar with some of the esoteric or batini teachings of the true Imami faith. Those of us who accept the basic ideas of irfan or gnosis I think would have no problem accepting an esoteric or mystical doctrine that was also taught by the ghulat sects if it could be accurately traced to the Imams through trustworthy narrators and was also the result of a rightly guided insight. Plus, it would make perfect sense for there to be continuity between the cosmological and theological ideas of the ghulat and the orthodox Imamis since they arise from the same general community. But the ghulat patriarchs are not rejected because they are necessarily outsiders who had no connection to the circle that followed the Imam or because none of their doctrines had anything to do with the Imam. Even worse, they were people who, like the devils steal a hearing from the angels in heaven, stole a hearing from the Imams and used it to mislead and abuse the followers of Ahlul Bayt. Were they simply outsiders, they would not have been so harshly condemned, but they weren't outsiders, they were traitors who use their positions in the community to achieve wealth, power or status at the expense of truth or who wanted to use their positions as members of the Imams' circle to promote their own ideas. Unfortunately, there have been those who were accused of being ghulat simply because there was some continuity in their ideas or because the Imams "cursed" them but only for the sake of appearances.
But in this article on the Khatabiyya, one gets the sense that Amir al-Moezzi is using such circumstances in the hadith to say that the jury is still out on figures like Abu'l Khattab.
In his book Divine Guide, Moezzi mentions a few things in the introduction entitled "Return to the Earliest Sources" in which he discusses the development of the Shi'i conception of aql or "intellect" on pages 13-15:
Later, in the same introduction on page 17, he goes on to say:
It seems like Moezzi is suggesting a few things
1. That the early Shi'ite "orthodoxy" was much closer to the mystical ghulat and that the ghulat were closer to what the Imams originally taught than the "rationalized" scholars after Sheikh Mufid's time.
2. The Imams and early Shi'a surrounding the Imam taught the Qur'an to be tampered with
3. The "rationalization" of the Imamite faith was done by scholars like Mufid and other Mutazilite influenced Shi'a as well as middling persons who embraced a rational and mystical approach to the religion. These views triumphed over the older and more "original" form of Imamism embodied by persons like al-Kulayni and even Abu'l Khattab, which was a purely mystical and occult movement built around the Imams as charismatic mystics, not as rational theologians. Those of the rationalist and "intermediary" position came from outside the inner circles of the Imams and were more "Sunnified" at least according to Moezzi it seems.
I would consider myself in what Moezzi might call the "intermediary school", and I think most Shi'a today would consider themselves such as well. That is, those who believe in a balance between the "rational" and the "mystical". This is itself a product of centuries of interaction between scholars of various persuasions and views, some more intensely rational, some more mystically oriented and others more middling, coming together and debating matters of law, authority and spirituality in various times and periods. For example, at the point in time Moezzi refers to, some scholars considered infallibility (isma) to be a ghulat belief, now it's the staple of the Imami faith. Some early Shi'a felt that kalam was forbidden, but now there are whole books of Shi'a "kalam" which also includes sections dealing with Irfan. Moezzi would have us believe that these are all the result of later developments, an intrusion of Mutazilism more specifically, when in reality they are the result of a long historical process of debate between the different elements of the Shi'a community which Moezzi is referring to. Plus, I think Moezzi misuses Kulayni's works of hadith since al-Kulayni never even intended himself for al-Kafi to be 100% authentic.
I think Moezzi is creating a false dichotomy between "rationalizers" and "occult traditionalists" in order to make it seem like a most of Shi'ism today is built on false premises. This seems like it's becoming a thing now, to act like all the ulema today are idiots or hiding the facts about what Shi'ism really is and the ghulat were people who were more "in the know" and representative of the true Shi'ism than today's ulema. I thought it was just Wahabi banter at first, but I guess there are even secular scholars who are trying to do this to us. :donno: