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In the Name of God بسم الله


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    Muslim - Shia

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  1. You will find that the vast majority of Muslims have no problem with academic discussion. You say: "If someone says Islam is not the truth about God, have they insulted Islam (in the eyes of Muslims)? If so, then it follows that anyone who says Christianity is not the truth about God has insulted Christianity (in the eyes of Christians)." In short, no this is not an insult - this is just a difference in opinion. Isn't it okay to have discussions about differences in religion? If Muslims say that the Bible is not the word of God or that Jesus is not the son of God, then this is not abuse. If you as a Christian say that the Quran is not the word of God, then likewise this is not abuse. You are free to question Islamic beliefs, as Muslims are free to question Christian beliefs. Additionally, you will find that no Muslim will ever disprespect Jesus or abuse him or his mother. I, as a Muslim, am offended when any Prophet of God (including Jesus or Moses, or Muhammad - peace be upon them all) is abused or made fun of - I dont think it's right to abuse, If a Christian says that the Quran is not the word of God, or that Muhammad (pbuhahf) is not the messenger of God, then likewise this is not offensive or disrespectful to a Muslim. We can discuss it. It's when the line is crossed, and Prophets or God are made fun of, abused or degraded, then this should be offensive to a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. In fact the widespread disrespect and abuse of Jesus comes mainly from Christian countries, not from Muslim countries. In the past when Jesus was parodied or disrespected, Christians were outraged. One name springs immediately to mind: Madonna - remember her videos? This has grown to such a level now, it has been accepted within western society that abusing or degrading Jesus can be openly done. It is so normal for Jesus to be parodied and degraded within Christian society, that you no longer find it offensive, and do nothing about it. You have been desensitised to it - and therefore think that someone abusing or degrading our Prophet is also something we should accept too. When in fact, you should be directing your attention to those who have brainwashed you to think that 'free speech' means that people should be free to abuse Jesus in your own society. You say it's "over a FREAKING CARTOON". Do you think a cartoon is nothing? Well, I'd like to see what you'd say if someone drew an offensive cartoon of your mother and posted it on the Internet and printed it in newspapers and magazines - would you still think it's just a freaking cartoon? It doesn't matter what form abuse comes in, abuse is abuse. In America, Lady Gaga dresses like a nun in rubber clothing, and places a crucafix to her groin area, and no one says anything or stops her. You would never find anyone in a muslim country performing this act towards Christianity. When she came to perform in Indonesia recently, muslim protests forced her to cancel her concert. If Christians did this, then we wouldn't have disturbed individuals going around spreading such filth and polluting the minds of the youth on a global level. Rather than finding fault with Muslims who do not degrade or abuse Jesus - why do you not find fault with the real perpetrators of abuse towards Jesus and Christianity within your own society? Muslims stand up for the dignity and moral character of our Prophet and yours. As a Christian, so should you. You are free to discuss any aspect of Islam with a Muslim, even to say you don't believe that Muhammad is a Prophet. Do not confuse discussion, with insult - they are not the same thing. You believe in ONE God, and we believe in ONE God. People of faith should allow their love of God to be something we unite over - the differences we can talk about in a sensible and civilised way without being offensive towards each other. This is how to live in peace.
  2. Does God experience anything? He is the Creator of the laws. He is not subject to any laws. If God can experience anything, wouldn't He be subject to it? He cannot be subject to anything. He is the Over-Whelming. Emotions are merely perceptions. Who gave us our ability to percieve? The qualities of perception themselves are created by God. If it wasn't for God creating and granting you the ability to perceive, then you wouldn't be able to experience things like fear either. And if you can percieve fear, love, sex etc. then don't you think that the Creater of the ability of your perception knows EXACTLY what and how you are feeling and experiencing? Human beings need to experience, in order to understand a thing, because our nature has been created to be subject to our feelings and emotions. God is not, and cannot be, subject to anything. He is the Ultimate, the Absolute, the One existent. He is the First and the Last.
  3. "If you supplicate to other than Allah سبحانه وتعالى, then that is shirk, regardless of whether or not you think the person you are supplicating to is independent of Him or not." Shirk is when something or someone is worshipped in place of Allah, or placed next to Allah. The concept of supplication or intercession is not classified as shirk.
  4. My understanding is that if someone calls on Muhammad Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÂáå æÓáã, or Ali (a.s) or any of the Ahlul Bayt with the intention that they will personally help, independent from Allah then this would be considered wrong. However, my understanding of the Shia concept of Tawassul is that we do not call upon them with this notion. Rather we call upon them because they are the most loved to Allah, and Allah is more likely to help us if they pray to Him on our behalf. When I say Ya Ali, I know that Ali (a.s) is not independent of Allah. But if Hazrat Ali (a.s) beseeches Allah on my behalf, his prayer is more powerful than mine and Allah may decide to help because of Hazrat Ali's (a.s) prayer to him. For example, if you read Dua Kumail, or the Duas in Sahiffiya Sadjaddiya in fact any of the duas narrated by the Ahlul Bait, you will see how they supplicated to Allah. These dua's are truly beautiful, heart breaking, and all the more remarkable because they didn't rehearse these prayers, this is naturally how they spoke to Allah. I know that I could never ever come up with a dua like that to beseech Allah. So yes, I can ask Allah directly and maybe Allah will grant my supplication - but my supplication is deficient, my heart is not pure - I cannot plead and beg Allah in the same way as the Ahlul Bait (a.s) can. For example: Say I'm trying desperately to get into medical school. There are lots of people who have done the work neccessary, completed their studies and maybe even acheived higher grades than me. Everyone is asking for the admissions tutor to see their application. But if I become friends with the secretary, and ask him to specifically put my application in front of the admissions tutor for approval, then the secretary who is close to the admissions tutor will make an effort and put in a good word for me. Then it is up to the admissions tutor to decide whether he will accept my request or not. I'm not asking the secretary because I think he has any seperate power, but I'm asking the secretary because I know they can help put special attention on my application to the admissions tutor. The Medical school has its procedure - do your studies, achieve your grade, apply, and then wait for the response. Similarly, Islam has its procedure - believe in tawheed, perform your prayers, pay your charity, go on hajj and so on. Your argument that everyone should only do the procedure and leave it at that. But I know, that my tawheed is not as perfect as it could be, when I perform my prayers, they are not as good as they could be, my fast is not as perfect as I want it to be. In terms of a grade, maybe I'm only getting an E or a D or C instead of an A. The people who are successful are always the people who use the tools at their disposal - prayer, fasting , hajj etc are tools for me to become close to Allah. Likewise, tawassul is a tool for the same purpose. And since I know that Muhammad (sawaws) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) are the closest to Allah, then if I get to know them and love them, then maybe they can help put my application in front of Allah in the most beautiful way. When I go through the Ahlul Bait, It's like my prayer is giftwrapped before being presented to Allah. *** On a side note, to say that Muhammad or the Ahlul Bait cannot hear ones prayer because their bodies are physically dead is not acceptable to me. The Quran says that those killed in the way of Allah are not dead, they are alive and receive sustenence from their Lord. If anyone died or was killed in the way of Allah, then Muhammad (sawas) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) are the foremost of them. In the physical world our hearing is limited by distance. If a person is far away from you, your ears cannot hear him anymore. Prayer that comes from the heart is not physical speech - prayer that originates from the heart is spiritual in nature, and the spiritual world has a different set of laws which are different to the physics of sound waves, molecules or atoms. To prove the case in point, Iblis is only one, but he hears what everyone is saying and thinking - not only that, but he can even influence every human being at the same time. The angel of death similarly has the power to take the spirit of everyone even at the same time if that is what Allah wants. The point here is to clarify that in the spiritual world, the laws are different from our physical laws. Once a person leaves the physical, material world, they are no longer bound by the limits of time and space. *** I believe from my research and understanding, that Muhammad (sawas) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) are alive, and I believe that they can hear me - not because they are divine - but in the same way he has granted that same power to his Angels, he has granted it to Muhammad who is higher than the Angels. This is a Mercy from Allah. Furthermore, I believe that if I go through Muhammad (sawas) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) they will put my my call to Allah in the most beautiful way. And I believe that it is only Allah who will then decide whether or not to grant my request. *** Shirk is putting partners to Allah. Tawassul does not make anyone a partner to Allah. If you believe that Muhammad (sawas) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s) cannot hear you, or intercede for you, and you don't need them to pray for you because it is shirk, then that's your belief and you are entitled to it. Good luck my friend.
  5. (bismillah) (salam) Brother, thank you very much for your detailed response - it was very helpful. Yes, ideally I guess that I am looking for an academic analysis of the verse such as the one you mentioned by Allamah Tabataba'iee. Up until now I have been unable to find anything in English close to how a scholar would dissect the verse. I do understand regarding the concept of balagha in Quran, and the fact that a literal translation does not accurately convey the meaning. Although I know enough to be able to read the Quran in Arabic, I do not understand Arabic and that is why I was after a discourse in English, describing the meaning. I appreciate your offer of translating the Allamah's tafsir of this verse. I would love to read the tafsir, but please don't do it for my benefit alone - I know how time consuming translations can be! Kindest regards, JT
  6. (bismillah) (salam) Thank you - please can you let me know whether the implication is due to the arabic language used in this verse; the context of revelation; or because of hadith?
  7. Salam alaikum My apologies if this has been asked somewhere before, but please could someone point me in the right direction with regards to why Pickthal and Yusufali have not translated the mawadda verse as Shakir has done. Is the Arabic really that obscure that it's translated in three different ways: 'love for my near relatives" / "loving kindness among kinsfolk" / "love of those near of kin"? The word "my" is so important, but only Shakir includes it. Why have Pickthal and Yusufali not pointed out whose kin are to be loved as Shakir has done? I would appreciate any answers from simple to technical analysis of the arabic here or via outside links. This is the translation as given on al-islam.org: [shakir 42:23] That is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, (to) those who believe and do good deeds. Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful. [Pickthal 42:23] This it is which Allah announceth unto His bondmen who believe and do good works. Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I ask of you no fee therefor, save lovingkindness among kinsfolk. And whoso scoreth a good deed We add unto its good for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Responsive. [Yusufali 42:23] That is (the Bounty) whereof Allah gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin." And if any one earns any good, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (service). Thank you in advance!
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