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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

This is an interesting document on theology:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/75311059/A-Short-Discourse-on-the-Unlimited-One

dealing with three issues:

  1. God and His Attributes;
  2. God and Time;
  3. God and Omnipresence.

NOTE: It is written by an amateur and NOT a Shia scholar so NOT everything in the book may be sanctioned by Shias and believed by them. Also, even though the result he tries to bring may be in line with the Shiite beliefs but his methodology and his way of reasoning - how he reaches this result - may NOT be agreed to by Shias.

May Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, bless us all, our families and our loved ones. May He guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins, The Oft Forgiving forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì.

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Salaam Aleikum and Jazakallah Khair for sharing this knowledge,

I read the first part and i also agree with him (And i will read the other parts too in time, InshaAllah). I must say that only a good and intellectual believer writes like that well.

Just want to add here that there is two things: God Attributes (Sifat) and God Qualities (Nu'ut).

1. There are Attributes which apply to Allah (SWT) and His Creations, but their nature is different. We only have a limited parts of these attributes and limited understanding of God Attributes (Actually no one can describe Him by the basis of the attributes of creation, ONLY He can describe Himself. There is Dua's where Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said: " O Allah! Make Yourself known to me... Also we have a saying from Imam: "Only He has recognised Allah who recognises Him by means of Allah (Himself)"), while Allah (SWT) does not have any limits. Also attribute like merciful which we can found in our self is actually manifest of God Mercy throught us:

For Example: Merciful = Goodness, And All Goodness comes from Allah (SWT) (Quran 4:79), not from us.

2. Whereas the Qualities of Allah are Qualities of ESSENCE: and they do not befit anyone but Allah سبحانه وتعالى. One Qualities is He is All-Knowing as there is no ignorance in Him.

And He is also Light by Essence, Ever-Living by Essence, All-Knowing by Essence and Needless by Essence.

Edited by Zufa

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Waalykumsalam wa RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATOH Brother Zufa.

Endless, did you read it all? If so, you are quite fast! :)

Brother Zufa, I understand that some of the Arrtibutes of His, like Mercy as you have mentioned, are also possessed by us - in limited quantities of course - but when you mention the Nu'ut and say:

"Whereas the Qualities of Allah are Qualities of ESSENCE: and they do not befit anyone but Allah سبحانه وتعالى. One Qualities is He is All-Knowing as there is no ignorance in Him.

"And He is also Light by Essence, Ever-Living by Essence, All-Knowing by Essence and Needless by Essence. "

I don't understand how, say All Knowing is not an attribute we do not also possess in limited quantities. Of course, we are NOT All Knowing and don't know everything but the fact that I know something means I also have this of knowledge in general.

Perhaps, I can be more clear one The Attribute of Needless. How is this a quality "of ESSENCE: and they do not befit anyone but Allah سبحانه وتعالى" since, after all, a human is also needless of other humans for somethings like a University Professor is needless of a primary child to teach him something. If you may argue that although the Professor is needless of a primary child for knowledge he does need Allah (SWT) for his knowledge but then so does a man need Allah (SWT) for Mercy since, like you have said, "Merciful = Goodness, And All Goodness comes from Allah (SWT) (Quran 4:79), not from us." So then, should Mercy also not be a Nu'ut or should Needlessness not be a Sifat since they are both the same to me? Can you please explain the difference between the two a bit more? Sorry for giving you the trouble.

May Allah (SWT) us all, our families and loved ones, may He guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all ours sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Edited by Khadim uz Zahra

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I don't understand how, say All Knowing is not an attribute we do not also possess in limited quantities. Of course, we are NOT All Knowing and don't know everything but the fact that I know something means I also have this of knowledge in general.

Salaam Aleikum Brother Khadim and May Allah (SWT) bless and guide us in every moment to right path and help us also to not forgive His remembrance.

Let's take the example of All-Knowing. The limited quantities we posses from the Knowledge of Allah (JJ) are actually the Manifestation of Knowledge of Allah. Before even when we were nothing, Allah knew all the actions and thinking we possessed, but then they were manifested in reality or when the creation came in to existence.

When we speak about Essence of Allah, we differentiate Allah from Creations (Because nothing that He has created is like Him). When We say Allah is All-Seeing by Quality of Essence, we means that He sees without visual organs and He sees by Himself and when there were nothing to see, He was by His Essence All-Seeing. His seeing does not depends on eyes of creations!

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) was replying to following satement "They claim that He is All-Seeing as they see", and al-Sadiq replied: "Exalted is Allah! Verily, Allah cannot be understood by means of human qualities."

Perhaps, I can be more clear one The Attribute of Needless. How is this a quality "of ESSENCE: and they do not befit anyone but Allah سبحانه وتعالى"

Creations are always in need of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. And Allah is "Absolute" needless, this what we mean by they do not befit anyone but Allah.

Let say that i do not need to eat this food, to receive such a needless, first it must be allowed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى. So actually we are in need of Allah permission in every moments.

Edited by Zufa

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

Waalykumsalam wa RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATOH Brother Zufa.

Salaam Aleikum Brother Khadim and May Allah (SWT) bless and guide us in every moment to right path and help us also to not forgive His remembrance.

Let's take the example of All-Knowing. The limited quantities we posses from the Knowledge of Allah (JJ) are actually the Manifestation of Knowledge of Allah. Before even when we were nothing, Allah knew all the actions and thinking we possessed, but then they were manifested in reality or when the creation came in to existence.

When we speak about Essence of Allah, we differentiate Allah from Creations (Because nothing that He has created is like Him). When We say Allah is All-Seeing by Quality of Essence, we means that He sees without visual organs and He sees by Himself and when there were nothing to see, He was by His Essence All-Seeing. His seeing does not depends on eyes of creations!

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) was replying to following satement "They claim that He is All-Seeing as they see", and al-Sadiq replied: "Exalted is Allah! Verily, Allah cannot be understood by means of human qualities."

Creations are always in need of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. And Allah is "Absolute" needless, this what we mean by they do not befit anyone but Allah.

Let say that i do not need to eat this food, to receive such a needless, first it must be allowed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى. So actually we are in need of Allah permission in every moments.

Thank you very much brother for your beautiful dua. :) May Allah (SWT) bless you as well as your family and loved ones any guide you all to The Straight Path and keep His Remembrance always in your heart.

I understand what you are writing but then I don't understand how any of these are Nu'ut since a Nu'ut is something exclusively owned by God while Sifat on the other hand may also be possessed by humans, in limited quantities of course. So then in all your explanations, the Attributes mentioned can be possessed by humans so then none of them can be regarded as Nu'ut. I am still confused about the differences between the two. :(

Do you have maybe a book or something that you can suggest on this matter?

May Allah (SWT) us all, our families and loved ones, may He guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all ours sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

His argument for the Attributes was scholastic and accurate - though not hugely penetrating. A very good and relatively accurate introduction to the concept of Tawheed. However, it would not convince the ardent atheist. I felt that Tawheedi concepts were employed to prove other Tawheedi concepts, which means that the proof was not rigorous. For example, he relied too heavily on the unproven idea that God is Perfect (whatever that means). But it was a decent presentation of Tawheed and some argumentation.

His argument for the externality from Time was OK. I think that there were stop logical steps missing - the same logical steps missing from point no. 1. But other than that, decent.

I did not like the argument from Omnipresence. He seemed to think it was obvious that God exist everywhere as opposed to being All-seeing and All-hearing - but what does that mean? What does omnipresence mean? Does it mean that God is everywhere? Does God have a where? Or many wheres? Or all wheres?

I believe this lack of analysis of concepts was the greatest deficiency - unless it was intended as an introduction and gentle polemic.

The examples were also quite pedestrian, but the author admits this from the start.

-------

The pros:

1. Decent presentation of Tawheedi doctrines

2. Basic but accurate scholastic argumentation - especially for the Attributes

The cons:

1. Lack of rigour and tough analysis of concepts and arguments (I felt they took it too easy on themselves - resembled a walk in the park, instead of facing up to the tough challenges)

Edit: just to point out - none of his points were strictly speaking wrong as far as I understand.

(wasalam)

Edited by Jebreil

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

The pros:

1. Decent presentation of Tawheedi doctrines

2. Basic but accurate scholastic argumentation - especially for the Attributes

Can you link or recommendore detailed information on the subject of Tawheed by our scholars. Would be very interested to read.

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

People who are interested to read Tawheed doctrines, read book called Kitab Al-Tawhiid by Sheik Saduuq, i recommended it to everyone.

Do you not mean Kitab Al-tawhid by Al Kulayni as part of his Kitab al kafi?

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Salams

I skimmed through the pages; it is an overall great effort. However, since the argument relies on certain prequisites, it is bound to benefit believers of the One and Only Perfect God. Anyhow, I like the approach and it is nice to see folks, who are not necessarily known as scholars, making such an effort. The author clarifies his agenda from the beginning, sticks to the point and doesn't stray away throughtout the discussion.....

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I skim the first few pages but read the last few. The article is nice to read. He/she summarizes some of the key points.

I like the comparison he/she made about separation of God's attributes in Hindusim vs. Islamic belief.

Edited by Gypsy

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

Waalykumsalam wa RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATOH Brother Jebreil.

Waalykumsalam wa RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATOH Brother INSHAALLAH

Salams

I skimmed through the pages; it is an overall great effort. However, since the argument relies on certain prequisites, it is bound to benefit believers of the One and Only Perfect God. Anyhow, I like the approach and it is nice to see folks, who are not necessarily known as scholars, making such an effort. The author clarifies his agenda from the beginning, sticks to the point and doesn't stray away throughtout the discussion.....

Salams

I skimmed through the pages; it is an overall great effort. However, since the argument relies on certain prequisites, it is bound to benefit believers of the One and Only Perfect God. Anyhow, I like the approach and it is nice to see folks, who are not necessarily known as scholars, making such an effort. The author clarifies his agenda from the beginning, sticks to the point and doesn't stray away throughtout the discussion.....

(bismillah)

(salam)

His argument for the Attributes was scholastic and accurate - though not hugely penetrating. A very good and relatively accurate introduction to the concept of Tawheed. However, it would not convince the ardent atheist. I felt that Tawheedi concepts were employed to prove other Tawheedi concepts, which means that the proof was not rigorous. For example, he relied too heavily on the unproven idea that God is Perfect (whatever that means). But it was a decent presentation of Tawheed and some argumentation.

His argument for the externality from Time was OK. I think that there were stop logical steps missing - the same logical steps missing from point no. 1. But other than that, decent.

I did not like the argument from Omnipresence. He seemed to think it was obvious that God exist everywhere as opposed to being All-seeing and All-hearing - but what does that mean? What does omnipresence mean? Does it mean that God is everywhere? Does God have a where? Or many wheres? Or all wheres?

I believe this lack of analysis of concepts was the greatest deficiency - unless it was intended as an introduction and gentle polemic.

The examples were also quite pedestrian, but the author admits this from the start.

-------

The pros:

1. Decent presentation of Tawheedi doctrines

2. Basic but accurate scholastic argumentation - especially for the Attributes

The cons:

1. Lack of rigour and tough analysis of concepts and arguments (I felt they took it too easy on themselves - resembled a walk in the park, instead of facing up to the tough challenges)

Edit: just to point out - none of his points were strictly speaking wrong as far as I understand.

(wasalam)

Both of you brothers, thank you for posting! :) You have both pointed towards it being less rigorous and much more based on assumptions and pre-requisites - something I had thought of myself as in it was lacking depth. I think brother Jibreil mentioned something about failing to meet the tough challenges. Of course you have mentioned what they are but if you are able, can you be a bit more specific. This is also for others, who may find any deficiency or problem in it.

Also, supposing you were the writer, how would you organise the article/essay.

Brother Jibreil, I specifically liked your rigorous study and criticism of the Equation of the brother in another thread. So, I would like you, and anyone else, to provide any criticisms as well.

I skim the first few pages but read the last few. The article is nice to read. He/she summarizes some of the key points.

I like the comparison he/she made about separation of God's attributes in Hindusim vs. Islamic belief.

Thank you for posting. :)

May Allah (SWT) us all, our families and loved ones, may He guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all ours sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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In The Name of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

This is an interesting document on theology:

http://www.scribd.co...e-Unlimited-One

dealing with three issues:

  1. God and His Attributes;
  2. God and Time;
  3. God and Omnipresence.

NOTE: It is written by an amateur and NOT a Shia scholar so NOT everything in the book may be sanctioned by Shias and believed by them. Also, even though the result he tries to bring may be in line with the Shiite beliefs but his methodology and his way of reasoning - how he reaches this result - may NOT be agreed to by Shias.

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى, bless us all, our families and our loved ones. May He guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins, The Oft Forgiving forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Hey Salaam,

Inshallah you are doing well.

I admire the fact the author is seriously thinking about these issues. As for my constructive criticism I would like to suggest that the author does not need to make this issue a "Shia" one. He would would agree I am sure that what he is talking about is a doctrine that is universal and therefore not confined to any particular sect.

One should not criticize Hindus if he does not know enough about Hinduism--If the author talks to a Hindu Metaphysician he would probably retract all those statements he made about them.

The author needs to explain how Attributes which are differentiated can be unified in God's undifferentiated Essence.

I recommend the author to read further into this topic in order to expand and broaden his knowledge about God's Oneness and how This Oneness related to the creation.

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Jebreil

I liked what you said:

"I did not like the argument from Omnipresence. He seemed to think it was obvious that God exist everywhere as opposed to being All-seeing and All-hearing - but what does that mean? What does omnipresence mean? Does it mean that God is everywhere? Does God have a where? Or many wheres? Or all wheres?"

The misunderstandings arise when use terms that simply don't apply to The Creator. There is nothing relative to our world, what we believe to be reality but is maya ,that is relative to The Creator. There is no “where” because that would mean there is an elsewhere and all is The Creator. Our attributes are related to and qualified by us and if you believe as I do that The Creator is beyond our comprehension how could we begin to apply attributes that we apply to each other to The Creator. There is no other to compare, who would dare compare The Creator to one of us, The Creator with to say it is this or that or like this or that. No, what we can say is that "The Creator is".

I am not one to use a lot of words when only a few will do, maybe it’s my attention span I don’t know but I try to make things clear and short. I could have used a paragraph to explain why God is not like us but I think we all accept that.

Now I will sit back and wait for some to tell me how human qualities can be applied to The Creator who is not human but the Spiritual Being.

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Waalykumsalam wa RAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKATOH Brother Ethereal.

Thank you for posting! :D

Well, from what I know, the author would have been right in making this a Shia issue in the sense that some of the beliefs he put froward - like, if I am not wrong, the belief in the Oneness of the Divine Essence and His Attributes - are not agreed upon by all Muslims. So, if it is not even agreed upon my all Muslims, I don't think it can be called a universal doctrine but, then again, I don't know much so, perhaps, you are right. But, yes, I would agree that he should have been a little less vocal about it and should not have made it a Shia issue, for moral reasons.

I am most interested in two sentences of yours:

One should not criticize Hindus if he does not know enough about Hinduism--If the author talks to a Hindu Metaphysician he would probably retract all those statements he made about them.

Well, I do know that they try to explain it somehow that all these Gods, are in fact, one or I have also seen some who reject all notions of idols, etc...and believe in one God only but those are quite a minority from what I know. Satyaban, perhaps, you could explain what the Hindu Meta physicians believe.

The author needs to explain how Attributes which are differentiated can be unified in God's undifferentiated Essence.

Brother Ethereal, please explain what you mean by this?

Thank you everyone for posting! :D And Satyaban, thank you to you as well for your last post! :D

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, may He guide us all with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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Guest Jebreil

(bismillah)

(salam)

To Satyaban

Now I will sit back and wait for some to tell me how human qualities can be applied to The Creator who is not human but the Spiritual Being.

You will be sitting back and waiting for a very long time.

(wasalam)

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Well, from what I know, the author would have been right in making this a Shia issue in the sense that some of the beliefs he put froward - like, if I am not wrong, the belief in the Oneness of the Divine Essence and His Attributes - are not agreed upon by all Muslims. So, if it is not even agreed upon my all Muslims, I don't think it can be called a universal doctrine but, then again, I don't know much so, perhaps, you are right. But, yes, I would agree that he should have been a little less vocal about it and should not have made it a Shia issue, for moral reasons.

The idea of the Oneness of God and His attributes are found everywhere. even in Christianity. See for example what St. Anselm says about this.

Well, I do know that they try to explain it somehow that all these Gods, are in fact, one or I have also seen some who reject all notions of idols, etc...and believe in one God only but those are quite a minority from what I know. Satyaban, perhaps, you could explain what the Hindu Meta physicians believe.

Rumi gives a story of three people who fight over the same thing. One person says he wants e'nab, Another person says he wants angur. And another says he wants grapes. Each of them don't realize that they are talking about the same thing but in different expressions. Similarly the different orthodox theologies we see are just different expressions of the same Truth. The Truth does not belong to Shiasm, nor does it belong to Sunnism.

The different names of God are written on paper. and these names are revered greatly. In fact we invoke each name according to what we need. If we need provision from God, we invoke his name (Ar-Raaziq). That is what His names are for. If we need guidance we use His name (Al-Hadi). etc. The only difference I see between Hindus and Muslims is that the names of God for Hindus are not written down but made into images and forms. In other words the expressions are different. If you talk to the average Muslim about the essence of God in relation to His names he will just tell you that the Essence of God is unfathomable but the attributes of God are fathomable. The average Hindu will do the same thing. He will say Brahma is unfathomable, but we can only comprehend its manifestations.

Brother Ethereal, please explain what you mean by this?

One would like to know how the many attributes can be reconciled with the One Essence. How does one resolve the "apparant" problem.

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does that mean we pray to manifestations?

We certainly do not pray to the Essence. What else do we pray to? We pray to that which God tells us to pray to. And so He designated certain names for us to use and invoke and seek. He never said to call upon the Essence, but, rather, to call upon the names---all of them. The designated names are different manifestations of the Essence. To be a polytheist is to pray to that which God did not designate as proper objects of worship. :)

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sadiqwaljee

I almost answered yes but I don't think so. God's manifestations are what we are aware of but don't we pray. meditate on, and worship the being we believe is behind them. My case is a little different because we believe God is the manifestation and the cause but I wouldn't dwell on that too long lest you tie your brain in a knot.

So if this is not what you are praying to what are you praying to?

Kadhim uz Zahra

“Well, I do know that they try to explain it somehow that all these Gods, are in fact, one or I have also seen some who reject all notions of idols, etc...and believe in one God only but those are quite a minority from what I know. Satyaban, perhaps, you could explain what the Hindu Meta physicians believe.”

You say Hindus “try” to explain about God’s and God. I am curious you use the word try, are their efforts unsuccessful to you, do you understand it or are greater efforts needed? I am not a scholar or pandit and have only a couple buckets of knowledge, if you have heard that expression too many times please forgive me.

Let’s talk about what you call “idols”

What is the Nature of Image Worship?

We worship God Siva and the Gods who by their infinite powers spiritually hover over and indwell the image, or murti, which we revere as their temporary body. We commune with them through the ritual act of puja. Aum.

Bhashya

The stone or metal Deity images are not mere symbols of the Gods; they are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world. We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel. As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. The Vedas exclaim, "Come down to us, Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love." Aum Namah Sivaya.

This was written by my satguru and is in the book titled “Dancing With Siva.”

Puja is a worship time, for instance every morning after I have cleaned up I approach my little area, light some incense, I ask Ganesha to remove the obstacles and meditate and pray for the sorrowful and the suffering.

As you read “What is the Nature of Image Worship? Do it carefully and note the phrase “a temporary physical-plane body or channel”. We can see God in what we wish and God can reveal himself as he wishes so the stone, wood or metal is not God or an idol.

This is easy to grasp if you believe everything is the essence of God as I do, that God is present in all that is and what is not..

I hope this helps you out. Although it is hard to tell sometimes my presence here is to promote greater understanding of our magnificent religions.

Peace

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We certainly do not pray to the Essence. What else do we pray to? We pray to that which God tells us to pray to. And so He designated certain names for us to use and invoke and seek. He never said to call upon the Essence, but, rather, to call upon the names---all of them. The designated names are different manifestations of the Essence. To be a polytheist is to pray to that which God did not designate as proper objects of worship. :)

If we don't pray to the Essence, then is that not shirk? After all, we may nit understand the Essence but we could still pray to it. It is like we don't understand the Essence but, yet, we believe in it so, I don't think it is a prerequisite that for us to pray to the Essence, we must understand it first. Would you agree? If not, then why? If yes, then why do you still think that we don't pray to the Essence? What is, according to you, the barrier which stops us from praying to the Essence.

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You say Hindus “try” to explain about God’s and God. I am curious you use the word try, are their efforts unsuccessful to you, do you understand it or are greater efforts needed? I am not a scholar or pandit and have only a couple buckets of knowledge, if you have heard that expression too many times please forgive me.

I am sorry for the use of the word try. Perhaps, my religious biases over took me. I apologise for using try. I have never really looked into Hinduism very much so I am not really one to comment on it so I apologise for using language which may seem degrading to the explanations provided by Hindus (Sanatana Dharma followers).

What is the Nature of Image Worship?

We worship God Siva and the Gods who by their infinite powers spiritually hover over and indwell the image, or murti, which we revere as their temporary body. We commune with them through the ritual act of puja. Aum.

Bhashya

The stone or metal Deity images are not mere symbols of the Gods; they are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world. We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel. As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. The Vedas exclaim, "Come down to us, Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Well, I have some questions about this.

1. The excerpt states that " We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel." The problem I have with this is that if He is Omnipresent and All-Hearing, which is the Muslim belief about God - I don't know about the view of Sanatana Dharma on this, so I will be assuming this is also a belief held in Sanatana Dharma. If I am wrong, please ocrrect me - then why is it that "without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity"? After all, an All-Hearing God does not need to be near us to listen to us or inside something to listen to us.

2. The excerpt liken idols as their (gods') "temporary body" or as “a temporary physical-plane body or channel”. I find that this is contradictory to your belief that

3.

As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. The Vedas exclaim, "Come down to us, Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love." Aum Namah Sivaya.

I am interested in this part and, especially, the underlined part in red. If we are to say that when you have an idol, God can sense "the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone", is this, again, not contradictory to the belief that everything is God's Essence? After all, if everything is His Essence, then surely, if someone touches His Essence, would He not feel it? If everything is His Essence, then even if something is not an idol, would He still not feel it? So, then, what is the need for an idol, if He can feel the touch on any thing.

This was just the minor point. My major question is regarding the part where it says, " adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings". Well, Muslims believe that God is Omnipresent - which I am nearly sure is also a belief held by Hindus. So, then, why should we only know that He is actually present and conscious when in front of the idol? Even without it, He is present everywhere and, therefore, present and conscious even without the idol. So, this, to me, does not prove to be a valid reason for using idols. Also about the part on Him being "aware of out thoughts and feelings", if you do believe He is All-Hearing, then why does he only become aware of our thoughts and actions when we are in front of the idol and why not without it? If you believe that this only when we are in front of the idol, it would lead to many problems and I am sure you could guess them. I am not going into the details of what I think these problems may be because I am still not sure about whether you do believe in this or no.

If He is aware of our thoughts and feelings without the idol, then why is there a need for an idol?

INSHALLAH (God Willing), I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt anyone! :D My intention in writing these questions I had was not to offend anyone and so, if I have, I am extremely sorry and ask you to forgive me! :D

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

You say Hindus “try” to explain about God’s and God. I am curious you use the word try, are their efforts unsuccessful to you, do you understand it or are greater efforts needed? I am not a scholar or pandit and have only a couple buckets of knowledge, if you have heard that expression too many times please forgive me.

I am sorry for the use of the word try. Perhaps, my religious biases over took me. I apologise for using try. I have never really looked into Hinduism very much so I am not really one to comment on it so I apologise for using language which may seem degrading to the explanations provided by Hindus (Sanatana Dharma followers).

What is the Nature of Image Worship?

We worship God Siva and the Gods who by their infinite powers spiritually hover over and indwell the image, or murti, which we revere as their temporary body. We commune with them through the ritual act of puja. Aum.

Bhashya

The stone or metal Deity images are not mere symbols of the Gods; they are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world. We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel. As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. The Vedas exclaim, "Come down to us, Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love." Aum Namah Sivaya.

Well, I have some questions about this.

1. The excerpt states that " We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use a telephone as a means of communication with another person who is perhaps thousands of miles away. Without the telephone, we could not converse across such distances; and without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity. His vibration and presence can be felt in the image, and He can use the image as a temporary physical-plane body or channel." The problem I have with this is that if He is Omnipresent and All-Hearing, which is the Muslim belief about God - I don't know about the view of Sanatana Dharma on this, so I will be assuming this is also a belief held in Sanatana Dharma. If I am wrong, please ocrrect me - then why is it that "without the sanctified murti in the temple or shrine we cannot easily commune with the Deity"? After all, an All-Hearing God does not need to be near us to listen to us or inside something to listen to us.

2. The excerpt liken idols as their (gods') "temporary body" or as “a temporary physical-plane body or channel”. I find that this is contradictory to your belief that

3.

As we progress in our worship, we begin to adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings and even sensing the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone. The Vedas exclaim, "Come down to us, Rudra, who art in the high mountains. Come and let the light of thy face, free from fear and evil, shine upon us. Come to us with thy love." Aum Namah Sivaya.

I am interested in this part and, especially, the underlined part in red. If we are to say that when you have an idol, God can sense "the pujari's gentle touch on the metal or stone", is this, again, not contradictory to the belief that everything is God's Essence? After all, if everything is His Essence, then surely, if someone touches His Essence, would He not feel it? If everything is His Essence, then even if something is not an idol, would He still not feel it? So, then, what is the need for an idol, if He can feel the touch on any thing.

This was just the minor point. My major question is regarding the part where it says, " adore the image as the Deity's physical body, for we know that He is actually present and conscious in it during puja, aware of our thoughts and feelings". Well, Muslims believe that God is Omnipresent - which I am nearly sure is also a belief held by Hindus. So, then, why should we only know that He is actually present and conscious when in front of the idol? Even without it, He is present everywhere and, therefore, present and conscious even without the idol. So, this, to me, does not prove to be a valid reason for using idols. Also about the part on Him being "aware of out thoughts and feelings", if you do believe He is All-Hearing, then why does he only become aware of our thoughts and actions when we are in front of the idol and why not without it? If you believe that this only when we are in front of the idol, it would lead to many problems and I am sure you could guess them. I am not going into the details of what I think these problems may be because I am still not sure about whether you do believe in this or no.

If He is aware of our thoughts and feelings without the idol, then why is there a need for an idol?

INSHALLAH (God Willing), I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt anyone! :D My intention in writing these questions I had was not to offend anyone and so, if I have, I am extremely sorry and ask you to forgive me! :D

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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If we don't pray to the Essence, then is that not shirk? After all, we may nit understand the Essence but we could still pray to it. It is like we don't understand the Essence but, yet, we believe in it so, I don't think it is a prerequisite that for us to pray to the Essence, we must understand it first. Would you agree? If not, then why? If yes, then why do you still think that we don't pray to the Essence? What is, according to you, the barrier which stops us from praying to the Essence.

The Essence is God in Himself. Meaning that it is God inasmuch as he does not relate to the creation. As matter of fact with respect to God's Essence the creation does not exist. This is why the Essence is unfathomable. And this is why it is impossible to pray to the Essence. With respect to the Essence there is no duality at all (even that between created and Creator, worshiper and Worshiped, servant and Lord). Duality = Shirk.

Duality only exists only inasmuch as God relates with the creation. We call this the Divinity of God, Muhammadan Reality, Logos, That-through-which creation-was-created. There are many names for this. But the important thing is that relationships only exist here. This is where we envisage God with all his Attributes and qualities. This gives rise therefore to all the things (bestowed with attributes and qualities) we see in creation.

:D

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We certainly do not pray to the Essence. What else do we pray to? We pray to that which God tells us to pray to. And so He designated certain names for us to use and invoke and seek. He never said to call upon the Essence, but, rather, to call upon the names---all of them. The designated names are different manifestations of the Essence. To be a polytheist is to pray to that which God did not designate as proper objects of worship. :)

How do you interpret this in light of the explaination provided by Imam

Banu Hashim said to him, O Abu-l-Hasan! Ascend the pulpit and display for us a sigh whereby we may worship God."

So he ascended the pulpit and sat for a long time, his head bowed in silence. Then he trembled a great trembling and stood up straight, praised and lauded God, and asked His blessing for His prophet and his household. Then he said, " The first element in the worship of God is knowledge of Him, the root (asl) of knowledge of Him is to profess His Unity (tawhid), and the correct way (nizam) to profess the Unity of God is to negate attributes from Him For the powers of reason testify that every attribute and everything possessing an attribute (mawsuf ) is created. Everything possessing an attribute testifies that it has a Creator which is neither attribute nor possesses an attribute. Every attribute and everything possessing an attribute testify to connection (iqtiran, between the attribute and that to which it is attributed). Connection testifies to temporality (hadath). And temporality testifies that it accepts not the Beginningless, which accepts not the temporal."

So it is not God whose Essence is known through comparison. It is not His Unity that is professed by someone who attempts to fathom Him. It is not His reality (haqiqah) that is attained by someone who strikes a similitude for Him. It is not He who is confirmed (tasdiq) by him who professes an end for Him. It is not He to whom repairs he who points to Him. It is not He who is meant by him who compares Him (to something). It is not to Him that he who divides Him into parts humbles himself. And it is not He who is desired by him who conceives of Him in his imagination."

"Everything that can be known in itself (bi-nafsihi) is fashioned (masnu). All that stands apart from Him is an effect (malul). God is inferred from what He fashions (sun'), the knowledge of Him is made fast by the powers of reason, and the argument (hujjah) for Him is established by (man's) primordial nature (al-fitrah)."

"God's creating of the creatures is a veil between Him and them. His separation (mubayanah) from them is that He is disengaged from their localization (ayniyyah). That He is their origin(ibtida') is proof for them that He has no origin, for none that has an origin can originate others. That He has created them possessing means (of accomplishing things) is proof that He has no means (adah), for means are witness to the poverty of those who use them."

"So His names are an expression (tabir), His acts (afal) are (a way) to make (Him) understood (tafhim), and His Essence is Reality (haqiqah). His inmost center (kunh) separates (tafriq) Him from creation, and His otherness (ghuyur) limits (tahdid) what is other than He. Therefore ignorant of God is he who asks for Him to be described! Transgressing against Him is he who seeks to encompass Him! Mistaken is he who imagines to have fathomed Him!"

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How do you interpret this in light of the explaination provided by Imam

Banu Hashim said to him, O Abu-l-Hasan! Ascend the pulpit and display for us a sigh whereby we may worship God."

So he ascended the pulpit and sat for a long time, his head bowed in silence. Then he trembled a great trembling and stood up straight, praised and lauded God, and asked His blessing for His prophet and his household. Then he said, " The first element in the worship of God is knowledge of Him, the root (asl) of knowledge of Him is to profess His Unity (tawhid), and the correct way (nizam) to profess the Unity of God is to negate attributes from Him For the powers of reason testify that every attribute and everything possessing an attribute (mawsuf ) is created. Everything possessing an attribute testifies that it has a Creator which is neither attribute nor possesses an attribute. Every attribute and everything possessing an attribute testify to connection (iqtiran, between the attribute and that to which it is attributed). Connection testifies to temporality (hadath). And temporality testifies that it accepts not the Beginningless, which accepts not the temporal."

So it is not God whose Essence is known through comparison. It is not His Unity that is professed by someone who attempts to fathom Him. It is not His reality (haqiqah) that is attained by someone who strikes a similitude for Him. It is not He who is confirmed (tasdiq) by him who professes an end for Him. It is not He to whom repairs he who points to Him. It is not He who is meant by him who compares Him (to something). It is not to Him that he who divides Him into parts humbles himself. And it is not He who is desired by him who conceives of Him in his imagination."

"Everything that can be known in itself (bi-nafsihi) is fashioned (masnu). All that stands apart from Him is an effect (malul). God is inferred from what He fashions (sun'), the knowledge of Him is made fast by the powers of reason, and the argument (hujjah) for Him is established by (man's) primordial nature (al-fitrah)."

"God's creating of the creatures is a veil between Him and them. His separation (mubayanah) from them is that He is disengaged from their localization (ayniyyah). That He is their origin(ibtida') is proof for them that He has no origin, for none that has an origin can originate others. That He has created them possessing means (of accomplishing things) is proof that He has no means (adah), for means are witness to the poverty of those who use them."

"So His names are an expression (tabir), His acts (afal) are (a way) to make (Him) understood (tafhim), and His Essence is Reality (haqiqah). His inmost center (kunh) separates (tafriq) Him from creation, and His otherness (ghuyur) limits (tahdid) what is other than He. Therefore ignorant of God is he who asks for Him to be described! Transgressing against Him is he who seeks to encompass Him! Mistaken is he who imagines to have fathomed Him!"

I assume you want me to comment on the phrases in red. As for the first, the act of worshiping is to constantly negate attributes. But the Essence of God itself has no attributes to negate. In other words, true worship is to never make absolute and remain fixated on a single manifestation of God (otherwise that manifestation becomes a veil). Every moment God is manifesting Himself in a new way. And Knowledge of God has no limit. Even if you are the most perfect sage like Muhammad (S) you would still ask God to increase you in knowledge. "Rabbi Zidni Ilman". Why? Because every moment God is constantly renewing His manifestations. The Prophet was perfect because he constantly renewed his knowledge of manifestation by negating the older manifestations. He was (and is) present in the "Now".

The creation is a veil indeed. But what you need to understand is that God unveils Himself through veiling Himself; and that He veils Himself by unveiling Himself. He is like a very intense light. In order for it to be seen (unveiled) this light has to be diffused (veiled). And the same light is so intense in manifestation (it is unveiled) that this very manifestation is itself hidden (and veiled).

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I assume you want me to comment on the phrases in red. As for the first, the act of worshiping is to constantly negate attributes. But the Essence of God itself has no attributes to negate. In other words, true worship is to never make absolute and remain fixated on a single manifestation of God (otherwise that manifestation becomes a veil). Every moment God is manifesting Himself in a new way. And Knowledge of God has no limit. Even if you are the most perfect sage like Muhammad (S) you would still ask God to increase you in knowledge. "Rabbi Zidni Ilman". Why? Because every moment God is constantly renewing His manifestations. The Prophet was perfect because he constantly renewed his knowledge of manifestation by negating the older manifestations. He was (and is) present in the "Now".

The creation is a veil indeed. But what you need to understand is that God unveils Himself through veiling Himself; and that He veils Himself by unveiling Himself. He is like a very intense light. In order for it to be seen (unveiled) this light has to be diffused (veiled). And the same light is so intense in manifestation (it is unveiled) that this very manifestation is itself hidden (and veiled).

as per the below tradition one needs to know God by God since manifestations or names are other than God, so how does one knows God by God? can you explain as in light of below hadith

It has been related that Abu Abdallah said, "The name of God is other than God, and everything that can be called by the name of a 'thing' (shay') is created, except God. Therefore all that tongues express or is worked by hands is created. God is the goal of him who sets Him as his goal, but the determined goal (al-mughayya, i.e., in the mind of man) is other than the (real) goal. The goal possesses attributes (mawsuf), and all that possesses attributes has been fashioned (masnu). But the Fashioner (sani) of things does not possess the attributes of any stated limit (hadd musamma). He has not come into being that His Being (kaynunah) should be known through fashioning (sun) (carried out) by other than He. He does not terminate at a limit unless it be other than He. Whoso understands this principle (hukm) will never fall into error. It is the unadulterated profession of Unity (al-tawhid al-khalis), so believe in it, confirm it, and understand it well, with God's permission the Mighty and Majestic."

"Whoso maintains that he knows God by means of a veil (hijab) or a form (surah) or a likeness (mithal) is an associator (mushrik), for the veil, the likeness and the form are other than He. He is utterly and only One. So how should he who maintains that he knows Him by means of other than Him be professing Unity ? Surely He alone knows God who knows Him by means of God (billah). Therefore, whoso knows Him not by means of Him knows Him not. On the contrary, he only knows other than Him. There is nothing between the Creator and the created. God is the Creator of things, but not from something. He is named by His names, so He is other than His names, and His names are other than He. The described (al-mawsuf) is other than the describer (al-wasif)."

Then whoso maintains that he has faith in that which he does not know has gone astray from knowledge (marifah). A created thing (makhluq) perceives nothing unless by means of God: the knowledge of God is perceived only by means of God. But God is empty of His creatures and His creatures are empty of Him. When He desires a thing, it is as He desires, by His command (amr) and without speech (nutq). His servants have no refuge from that which He decrees (ma qada), and they have no argument against that which is His pleasure. They have no power to act or to deal with that which is brought about in their bodies, created (by God), except by means of their Lord. So whoso maintains that he is able to perform an act which God, the Mighty and Majestic, does not desire, has maintained that his will (iradah) prevails over the Will of God. 'Blessed be God' the Lord of all beings!" (VII 54)

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as per the below tradition one needs to know God by God since manifestations or names are other than God, so how does one knows God by God? can you explain as in light of below hadith

It has been related that Abu Abdallah said, "The name of God is other than God, and everything that can be called by the name of a 'thing' (shay') is created, except God. Therefore all that tongues express or is worked by hands is created. God is the goal of him who sets Him as his goal, but the determined goal (al-mughayya, i.e., in the mind of man) is other than the (real) goal. The goal possesses attributes (mawsuf), and all that possesses attributes has been fashioned (masnu). But the Fashioner (sani) of things does not possess the attributes of any stated limit (hadd musamma). He has not come into being that His Being (kaynunah) should be known through fashioning (sun) (carried out) by other than He. He does not terminate at a limit unless it be other than He. Whoso understands this principle (hukm) will never fall into error. It is the unadulterated profession of Unity (al-tawhid al-khalis), so believe in it, confirm it, and understand it well, with God's permission the Mighty and Majestic."

"Whoso maintains that he knows God by means of a veil (hijab) or a form (surah) or a likeness (mithal) is an associator (mushrik), for the veil, the likeness and the form are other than He. He is utterly and only One. So how should he who maintains that he knows Him by means of other than Him be professing Unity ? Surely He alone knows God who knows Him by means of God (billah). Therefore, whoso knows Him not by means of Him knows Him not. On the contrary, he only knows other than Him. There is nothing between the Creator and the created. God is the Creator of things, but not from something. He is named by His names, so He is other than His names, and His names are other than He. The described (al-mawsuf) is other than the describer (al-wasif)."

Then whoso maintains that he has faith in that which he does not know has gone astray from knowledge (marifah). A created thing (makhluq) perceives nothing unless by means of God: the knowledge of God is perceived only by means of God. But God is empty of His creatures and His creatures are empty of Him. When He desires a thing, it is as He desires, by His command (amr) and without speech (nutq). His servants have no refuge from that which He decrees (ma qada), and they have no argument against that which is His pleasure. They have no power to act or to deal with that which is brought about in their bodies, created (by God), except by means of their Lord. So whoso maintains that he is able to perform an act which God, the Mighty and Majestic, does not desire, has maintained that his will (iradah) prevails over the Will of God. 'Blessed be God' the Lord of all beings!" (VII 54)

The Arifun bi'Llah (i.e. Knower through or by God) does not know God inasmuch as the veil qua veil is concerned. Rather they know God inasmuch as the veil is an unveiling of God. Inasmuch as the veil qua veil is concerned they do NOT know God. Now this unveiling of God is not the property of anything but God Himself. It is not the property of even the veil. The veil is in fact something made known through God. This is because God Himself is unveiled or manifest to Himself--nothing makes God manifest, rather He makes everything manifest. The veil itself does not make God known. To truly realize the veil as what it is (i.e. as a veil over God) is to realize God's unveiling. And to realize God's unveiling is to realize the veil as what it is (i.e. as a veil over God). To realize God's unveiling is to realize God through God. There is a saying by Imam Ali (as) that goes: "that knowledge of God is in knowing that we do not know God"--or in other words, "the comprehension of God is only through His incomprhension". To understand and to acknowledge our incomprehsnion of God (to see the veil --i.e. the creation-- as a veil over God) is the only way we can comprehend God (it is the only way to realize the unveiling of God). This is because only God can comprehend Himself and makes other things comprehensible (only God is unveiled manifest to Himself and makes other things unveiled or manifest). Look at light. A very intense light, in order for it to be manifest has to be diffused. The one who knows the light after its diffusion does not know the light inasmuch as it is diffused. The one who knows the light knows the light inasmuch as the light is manifest and not diffused. And manifestation is not the property of anything but Light itself. Because Light is Manifest to itself and manifests everything else. But other things do not make light manifest.

Do you now understand why I said before that God is only known through a veil? Because comprehension of God is through His incomprehension.

Hope this makes sense now..

Edited by eThErEaL

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based on your above reply, and what you said earlier about praying to manifestation and shirk being that to pray to those to whom Allah has not asked us to pray.

The first element in the worship of God is knowledge of Him, the root (asl) of knowledge of Him is to profess His Unity (tawhid), and the correct way (nizam) to profess the Unity of God is to negate attributes from Him For the powers of reason testify that every attribute and everything possessing an attribute (mawsuf ) is created.

but the above highlight in red suggest that we need to pray to essence rather than the manifestation.

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based on your above reply, and what you said earlier about praying to manifestation and shirk being that to pray to those to whom Allah has not asked us to pray.

The first element in the worship of God is knowledge of Him, the root (asl) of knowledge of Him is to profess His Unity (tawhid), and the correct way (nizam) to profess the Unity of God is to negate attributes from Him For the powers of reason testify that every attribute and everything possessing an attribute (mawsuf ) is created.

but the above highlight in red suggest that we need to pray to essence rather than the manifestation.

God in His Essence is manifest to Himself. when we worship God we worship through a veil because we understand that only God is manifest to Himself. if this is what you mean by "worshiping the Essence" then obviously we all agree that we worship the Essence. but here worship implies no distinction between the worshiper and the worshipped (in other words, there exists no duality in worship of the Essence). The point I am making is that we can never know God in Himself, only God knows Himself. and if it is said that we know God, then we know God only through God (which implies no distinction between God as known, and knower as us--no duality)

Edited by eThErEaL

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