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Panzerwaffe

Pre-Islamic Mysticism And Myth Of "puritin Islam"

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Salam to All

 

I wanted to ask this to both sunni and twelve shia friends

There are certain elements of pre-Islamic mysticism that have influenced the islam in various regions of the world, why are they so frowned upon by the "puritins" ? I m not taking about downright vulgur and corrupt pre-Islamic practices but every culture europenan, near east, indian, Persian,monotheistic Christian, jewish has a heritage of asceticism and if these local practices are adopted by the muslims of that particular group then what is the harm in it ? Afterall  the hanifs and the stories of Jinns ( which were part of the arabian religious folklore) had a pre-islamic regions yet were not completely condemned by islam and rather many of those practices became incorporated in it by the death of the Prophet

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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Asceticism? You want the mulla to suffer, don't you. No cheese burgers, no SUVs, no expensive jedi robes? What will he do with all that khums money then?! Bro there are no sahih / mutawatir / hasan hadiths for asceticism or other things, therefore, they are all wrong.~ And, oh, no quranic verses either, or well, no, just no, go away... Sufi! YOU ARE A SUFI....?  O MY GOD! No, its not that the holy prophet and imams led ascetic lives. They had horses and sheep, they used to eat food, they were rich. O enemy of tasty foods and all the happiness in life! :D

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Asceticism? You want the mulla to suffer, don't you. No cheese burgers, no SUVs, no expensive jedi robes? What will he do with all that khums money then?! Bro there are no sahih / mutawatir / hasan hadiths for asceticism or other things, therefore, they are all wrong.~ And, oh, no quranic verses either, or well, no, just no, go away... Sufi! YOU ARE A SUFI....?  O MY GOD! No, its not that the holy prophet and imams led ascetic lives. They had horses and sheep, they used to eat food, they were rich. O enemy of tasty foods and all the happiness in life! :D

 

(bismillah)

 

(salam)

 

They were RICH??? :mellow:

 

Amina

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Well, that is what I've always got as the answer to the asceticism question, that "No, they were rich people. Imam Hassan used to give tens of thousands of golden dinar to poor men", and on and on and on.

 

But obviously you didn't get the sarcasm in my post.

Edited by Darth Vader

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Salam to All

 

I wanted to ask this to both sunni and twelve shia friends

There are certain elements of pre-Islamic mysticism that have influenced the islam in various regions of the world, why are they so frowned upon by the "puritins" ? I m not taking about downright vulgur and corrupt pre-Islamic practices but every culture europenan, near east, indian, Persian,monotheistic Christian, jewish has a heritage of asceticism and if these local practices are adopted by the muslims of that particular group then what is the harm in it ? Afterall  the hanifs and the stories of Jinns ( which were part of the arabian religious folklore) had a pre-islamic regions yet were not completely condemned by islam and rather many of those practices became incorporated in it by the death of the Prophet

(salam)

first of all we must keep in mind Islam it self has a certain kind of Asceticism in general, at least the Book of Nahjul Balagha contains a huge numbers of sayings which encourage believers toward the certain Asceticism prescribed by Imam Ali that varies from those christian and Jewish ones . as we see in Qur'an that Allah shows disapproval upon asceticism which has no rout religiously.

But as for monasticism, they innovated it We had not prescribed it for them only seeking Allah's pleasure. Yet they did not observe it with due observance. 57:27

so we do have a noble heritage regarding the Asceticism,

but what you asked " to be frowned by ...." it is due to some reasons:

1-  there were some extremists at the age of Imams who did not apply it truly and Imams (as)  were condemning their actions and now we see some even scholars rebuke it absolutly referring to these ahadith regardless the context that Imams have said these narration.

2- we must accept that the majority of people are not able to tolerate general asceticism without ascetic schedules let alone the technical one. so emphasizing in the technical one for the majority may cause them feel fed up and sick with Islam it self. but this true concept has resulted in carelessness upon asceticism in our worldly life completely!

والسلام علیکم

Edited by mahdi servant.01

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Salam to All

 

I wanted to ask this to both sunni and twelve shia friends

There are certain elements of pre-Islamic mysticism that have influenced the islam in various regions of the world, why are they so frowned upon by the "puritins" ? I m not taking about downright vulgur and corrupt pre-Islamic practices but every culture europenan, near east, indian, Persian,monotheistic Christian, jewish has a heritage of asceticism and if these local practices are adopted by the muslims of that particular group then what is the harm in it ? Afterall  the hanifs and the stories of Jinns ( which were part of the arabian religious folklore) had a pre-islamic regions yet were not completely condemned by islam and rather many of those practices became incorporated in it by the death of the Prophet

 

For starters, I think it's important for us to understand what is a direct influence of another religion AND what is simply a commonality. Naturally, if Islam comes from the same divine source as the prophecy of Zoroaster, Moses and Jesus, than obviously commonalities of theology and cosmology as well as religious practice are going to be present. Only those who have a purely materialistic approach to history are likely to write off almost anything Islam has in common with other faiths that contradicts their pre-conceived notions of Islam being a primitive faith developed solely for sword-loving desert nomads such as how many, even among the Persian diaspora, attempt to characterize the wisdom of the Sufis as being of pre-Islamic Persian origin and not in anyway linked to the Muhammadan message. We must ignore this foolishness.

 

Secondly, we must understand that the "puritins" you mentioned oppose anything that is not "Sunna," no matter if it doesn't contradict the Sunna in its principles. One must understand that simply because it is not related explicitly by the Prophet (as) or mentioned as part of his habits does not make that practice or belief an un-Islamic one. The "puritans," do not understand this differentiation and on top of that mix Islam with a kind of ultra-hard rationalism that mirrors the materialist point of view and so oppose anything they see as too superstitious or being too complex theologically that isn't completely bareboned.

 

I'd talk about this more, but I have to go to school, so I'll probably be checking this thread later.

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I understand the concept that things that are not sunna are bidah even if they are supposedly good but even this principal is not universally applied within muslims

 

it seems like the "founding fathers" of both shia and sunni had many individuals renewoned for their asceticism like Abu Dharr , Tamim Dari, Saeed b Jubair, Amir b ABdul Qays , Uwais qurni etc but despite their occasional mention, but both factions of muslims seem to have forgotten the humane  moral &  spiritual aspect of the islam,as this almost seems to be at a collision course with the agenda of organized celergy and ruling classes.

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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I understand the concept that things that are not sunna are bidah even if they are supposedly good but even this principal is not universally applied within muslims

 

This matter of "bidah" is understood differently by Sufis and Shi'ites than it is within Sunnism, at least the present manifestation of what constitutes mainstream Sunnism within the Islamic world today. In Shi'ism in particular, revelation itself does not really end with Muhammad (pbuh), rather it continues through the Imams, including the Lord of Age, the Savior of Mankind, His grace Muhammad al-Mahdi (pbuh). And so there's already a tradition within Shi'ism to take sayings that come from divine sources outside the spectrum of the Qu'ran and Prophetic hadith as having just as much authority. If the Imams say something that was not mentioned, at least not explicitly, by the Prophet (pbuh) himself or in the Qu'ran, it is taken as truth because the Imams receive their wisdom and knowledge from God just as Muhammad (as) himself did. Like the Prophet, they speak not of what they will, but of what Allah himself wills and act by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ruh al-Quds). Likewise, their own examples are worth imitating as are those of their righteous companions and family members.

 

Within Sufism, whether in its uniquely Shi'ite or Sunni manifestation, the chosen saints (awliya; pirs) also receive mystical insight and therefore relate a mystical path (tariqah) by which one recreates these experiences. There is also a spirit of experimentation among such mystics to unlock new methods of achieving direct access to the divine under the guidance of a recognized master or teacher of the mystical path. Because the saints and masters of a particular tariqah are blessed by God and have achieved some form of union with God, they therefore possess some of the same authority the Prophet himself had. This authority then sanctions the religious practices unique to those accomplished saints' example as a legitimate means of spiritual discipline which are then passed down through the silsila or spiritual lineage of the order. However, neither in Sunni-Sufism or Shi'ite forms of Sufism is this seen as something over and against the Prophetic Sunna, but rather it is something complimentary to it that receives its legitimacy by embodying the same principles from which the Prophetic Sunna  is generated.  And this is why the vast majority of  traditional Sufi orders emphasize the role of the Shari'ah (whatever the order in question understands this to entail) which itself lays the foundation of the Tariqah and helps gives those other complimentary practices of the Tariqah their efficacy. On an opposite end, these other complimentary rituals passed down through the Tariqah may also serve as a means by which those who have failed to meet the higher standards demanded by the Shari'ah can seek the intercession of God's elect in spite of their shortcomings. Sunnis who also uphold various Sufi principles in their religious way of life might practice the regular requirements of the Shari'ah according to the school of law (madhab) which they follow, but may also make pilgrimage to the holy shrines of saints associated with local Sufi traditions in order that these saints will intercede on their behalf on the Day of Judgement or in everyday life (such as when someone has a toothache or something). These kinds of ideas  and values are also present among the Shi'ite Sufi Orders but are also present more generally in the Shi'ite tradition as a whole. Shi'ite tradition more generally upholds the role Ahlul Bayt plays in interceding on the behalf of those who may not be the most practicing Muslim, but who nonetheless weep when they hear the story of Hussain's martyrdom or reciting a certain supplication on the anniversary of one of the Imam's births or deaths, for instance, which will give them a certain credit with God for some of the prayers missed or other sins. These practices mentioned are not part of the Prophet's Sunna per se, but are in line with the fundamental principles of the Islamic message which are love for God and his Ahlul Bayt and they do not set themselves against the observance of Shari'ite Law but are meant as a mercy from God towards his creation, particularly in this case the repentant believers.

 

Also, one last thing to mention is that just because it is part of the Prophet's Sunna or habit does not necessarily mean it is incumbent on the average believer.

 

So you have at least three dimensions the Prophetic Sunna of Muhammad (pbuh) can be broken down into:

 

1. The Universal Aspect-- that aspect which is mandatory on all believers to imitate

2. The Recommended Aspect-- That aspect which is not mandatory to imitate, but nonetheless beneficial to the believer if he or she chooses to do it.

3. The Exclusive Aspect-- That aspect which it is not befit for anyone but the Prophet or those whom the Prophet has explicitly mentioned along with himself to perform.

 

Then, on the other side, in addition to this, you have the habit or Sunna of God's other elect such as the Imams, the true saints in addition to the Imams and the other prophets before Muhammad (pbuh) which also may be incumbent or recommended for believers to imitate in addition to their observance of the requirements and/or recommendations of the main bulk of the Shari'ah and these individuals also possess authority to interpret the will of God from the same source where Muhammad (as) received his authority to do so. Also, in Shi'ism, qualified mujtahids, those who have the authority to practice ijtihad or independent reasoning, may possess a limited authority themselves to interpret and derive rulings from the wealth of Islamic religious sources and sacred tradition and in the process sanction new forms of religious expression which are not found in the Sunna of the Prophet, but nonetheless do not set themselves against the legal injunctions of the Shari'ah as it is understood by these religious scholars with regards to moral behavior, ethics and basic piety nor are they seen as contradicting the basic principles that governed the Prophet's behavior and thus generated his particular Sunna upon which the Shari'ah is chiefly though not exclusively based.

 

 

So, in Shi'ism and Sufism, it could be said with accuracy that practices which are not Sunna but which are perceived to respect the prohibitions of Shari'ah law and are seen to be in line with the spiritual principles which guided the Prophet Sunna are often permitted if they have been approved by qualified mujtahids or a true saint, though they aren't necessarily considered wajib, that is mandatory, but simply beneficial to varying degrees for the believer to do. Zanjeer is one more extreme example, but other lighter examples would be the pilgrimage to Karaba, Ashura processions, recitation of supplications found in the Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, the recitation of the tasbih, other various forms of tawassul etc.

 

As I said, the so-called puritans who more aggressively oppose these things are usually under the influence of ultra-rationalism or even modernism. Many of them may see the practices mentioned in the last paragraph as "backwards" or "superstitious" or "irrational," and so are embarrassed by them, especially when they try to convince the secular and so-called intelligent West of Islam's "reasonable" nature.

 

Hope that cleared up a few things. I've lost a lot of sleep lately, so I'm not sure I put it in the right words.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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^ ^ ^

 

sry to double post, but I thought I'd mention that my use of the word "revelation" up above should be taken in a more general sense, not in regards to the act of God bestowing a specific book in the style of the Qu'ran, of which there will be no other after the Muhammadan revelation, but in the sense of divine inspiration/insight in general. Sorry if that bit was confusing.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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Panzerwaffe you have raised good points and I would like to add another to the list.

 

Why is it that while there are some 2200+ commands and concepts in the holy Quran, our clergy has selected and chosen only a handful of usool al-din and furoo'? I know the traditional answer that its because some commands are oft repeated and so they are prioritized, but then if we look at the ahaadeeth then we are similarly given a great many instructions and even conflicting ways of weighing the commands. For example, if we read Imam Ali's last will to his sons, among many things he stresses mutual caring and unity between brothers so much that then he says:

 

".....never let there be any disputes and disunity among you, my sons. Your making sure of this is better than salah and saum." 

 

So that there is the different way to prioritize Islamic commands when we look at the method of the clergy. Moreover the usool and furoo we have before us are not a selection and compilation made or specified by the ahl al-bayt as far as I am aware. It is only natural that when the members and columns of a religion are anchored and bolted in the wrong places of mullah's choice, we'll get a totally different religion which is built around mullah's choice. With all due respect to everyone. That is my humble view and query after simply adding two and two together.

 

The results of such misadventures are clear. We have fatwas allowing and forbidding things for which in the old times, heads would roll in extreme cases, or in the very least people would have been rebuked, given correctional advice and warned, for things like, e.g., "breast implants", eating filth of the sea or so many other things that are allowed today in the name of worldly things like politics. Thats called bulldozing concepts and animosity towards God. Another example of which is the forbiddance of giving zakaat / charity to people of corrupt faith by Imam Raza.

 

So when the different teachings of the clergy and the ahl al-bayt are often at an impasse then what hadith should a servant of God remind himself of. Of adherence to the ahl al-bayt or of the nobility of the scholarly.

 

Actually I have many more interesting observations to share, specifically about asceticism which I typed earlier but were lost to a glitch so I will post them again later.

Edited by Darth Vader

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THANKS Darth Vader and Saintly_Jinn23 for your responses ( add to this the sinister sounding panzerwaffe I guess we do form an axis of evil hellbent on promoting our corrupt Godless commi agenda of depriving the mullahs of the finer things in life)

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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(bismillah)

 

(salam)

 

The idea that Sufi pirs and saints have even "some" of the authority of Prophets  (pbuh) and Imams  (as) is preposterous and blasphemous. We regard Prophets  (pbuh)  and Imams  (as) as infallible (though there is a strong distinction between them when it comes to receiving knowledge from Allah te'ala), and their spiritual station and authority CANNOT be reached by someone else, no matter how saintly he is or what kind of "union with God" they have supposedly reached. Not to mention that the idea of "union with God", as it is commonly used in Sufism, is almost always based on the principle of Wahdatul Wujud, which is explicitly rejected by all Shi'i religious instances. 

 

And we Shia are forbidden to spell out the first name of our awaited Imam, may Allah te'ala hasten his reappearance and make us his sincere followers.

 

We should all tread carefully while discussing these issues.

 

(wasalam)

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Strongly Disagree !!!

 

If you're Shi'a, then technically you don't disagree since the same principle by which the saints of a Sufi tariqa receive both spiritual and temporal authority is the same principle by which the Imams possess theirs. From top to bottom, the authority would thus be considered:

 

1. Muhammad

2. The Imams

3. The Awliya

4. Qualified Ulama

 

Even if we take the Sufi Orders and their respective saints out of the equation, this hierarchy still pretty much remains within Shi'ism in general as Muhammad (pbuh) and the Imams are immaculate but you also have Shi'ite figures like Salman (as) and Bilal (as) who were initiated by Ahlul Bayt and possessed a leadership of their own within the community on Ahlul Bayt's behalf. They also possessed authority to interpret the message because nothing they could derive from the teachings of Islam could or would contradict what Ahlul Bayt already knew or approved of in addition to what they taught them directly. And so Salman and Bilal would fall under a certain category of Awliya, below the Imams in station but sharing in that same grace (barakah) from which the Ahlul Bayt receive their own wisdom and authority and in some traditions they are held as honorary members of Ahlul Bayt. Awliya though, in contrast to Ahul Bayt, are not necessarily born immaculate but may come from the ranks of sinners or unbelievers who undergo an intense spiritual experience that causes them to renounce the tyranny of the material world and seek purification on the path to which they succeed.

 

One good example of the relationship between the Awliya and Ahul Bayt as understood in the Shi'ite branches of Sufism would probably be the Bektashi once again, who follow in the way of the saint Haji Bektash Veli and whom they believe came in both the physical and spiritual line of Imam Ali (as). So although Haji Bektash is not an Imam like that of the Twelve Masum, his authority among the Bektashi is interpreted as an extension of the will of the Imams according to his station. It was many of these same principles, really, that aided in the establishment of Shi'i states like Safavid dynasty and even, to an extent, the current Iranian republic.

 

The idea that Sufi pirs and saints have even "some" of the authority of Prophets preposterous and blasphemous.

 

It's not at all really, since within the Shi'ite context, this authority comes from the Imams themselves. It's not really any different than the authority given by the Imam to the average mujtahid, except in the case of the awliya, they are those who have achieved a higher state of being which gives them more authority than others. And I as I pointed out, the principle by which Sufis have recourse to the saints of their tariqah, whether they're Sunni or Shi'ite, is the same principle by which all Shia have recourse to the words and life of Shi'ite figures such as Lady Zaynab (as), Salman al-Farsi (as) and Bilal (as).

 

There is also a trend among Sufis of particularly Shi'ite persuasion to associate the figure of al-Khidr, who in Sufi literature anoints the awliya, either directly or indirectly with the Hidden Imam (pbuh).

 

Not to mention that the idea of "union with God", as it is commonly used in Sufism, is almost always based on the principle of Wahdatul Wujud, which is explicitly rejected by all Shi'i religious instances. 

 

 

Another misconception. Plenty of mainstream mari'fah speak on the concept of Wahdatul Wujud rather positively as one of the stages on the irfani/mystical path. They don't understand it the same way as SOME Sufi Orders have understood it and even Sufi Orders disagree on the finer points of the doctrine, but a disagreement on the definition of Wahdatul Wujud does not mean the concept is completely rejected by all Shi'ite ma'rifah anymore than a difference among ayatollahs on the understanding of the definition and implementation of Wilayatul Faqih from that of Ayatollah Khomeini's understanding means that they the reject the concept of Wilayatul Faqih.

 

 

THANKS Darth Vader and Saintly_Jinn23 for your responses ( add to this the sinister sounding panzerwaffe I guess we do form an axis of evil hellbent on promoting our corrupt Godless commi agenda of depriving the mullahs of the finer things in life)

 

I'm not against the mullahs, but I believe that the mullahs responsibility is to help create intellectual independence in the Shi'ite population, not co-dependence on them as individuals. A true mullah is not pleased with his work until he has made everyone in the community equal in knowledge and understanding to himself and with the development of new things like the printing press, internet and all these other modern forms of communication, there's really no excuse why Muslims aren't more educated. I personally blame the demands of modern urban life. The laity is so concerned with worldly matters that they spend little time studying religion and are content with just being able to look up what this or that mujtahid has ruled concerning eating lobster or something and leaving it at that. And that just won't do, especially if the end goal we seek is the liberation of the Shi'ite world. Part of this is due to the secularization of the sciences where mathematics, chemistry and biology are studies independent of the religion and spirituality. In the classical Islamic era, the study of chemistry and mathematics was generally speaking intrinsically tied to religion and spirituality. Many famous alchemists responsible for laying the foundation of what we call modern science were also by and large, skilled jurists, theologians and students of mysticism, most notably Jabir ibn Hayyan who was a student of Imam Jafar (as). The study of the sciences and the pursuit of a greater understanding of the sciences was also tied to the science of the spiritual world or the human heart/soul, for which things like chemistry & mathematics served as symbols. With the secularization of the sciences, the replacement of a material world that is embedded with the presence of the sacred deep within itself, if I may be permitted to borrow some words from Dr. Hossein Nasr, with a worldview of a universe that is purely mechanical and conforms to the Cartesian separation of the spiritual and material worlds, now the sciences of the material world and the sciences of religion have been separated and so instead of one lending itself to the other, what you now have are people who can't study science and religion in the same class and those with an interest in both must commence a juggling of the religious and secular dimensions of life with regards to their education. Because for the average person this is too much, there arguably has been in the modern era an even greater investment in the role of the clergy and an even greater gap in knowledge between the clerical class and the laity as the laity in question is now made up of an industrial working class that probably works far more hours in a day than any peasant or shepherd living in 9th-16th century Egypt or Iran, have far more to do with their earnings once that work is done besides going to the local masjid to listen to a local preacher which was one of the few forms of entertainment people in the old days had, and also now that the intellectual class has been so split into secular and religious dimensions with little to bridge them together. We have also become less social in many ways, in spite of the development of all these new means of communication, and this lack of social interaction has affected even how clergy interact with the local population. The combination of many of the other things already mentioned such as a busier working class, secularization of education and greater modern distractions has created a clerical order that is much more removed from the daily lives of the people it services and who service much larger congregations individually than existed in many other area in different time periods. In the classical Islamic period, there was probably a different group or type of clergy for each class of people. Rural peasants, nomads, the urban lower class, the merchants and the urban elite all had their own preachers and clergy from among their own ranks and this often added to the tensions between these groups as for example certain Sufi Orders and beliefs became associated with either nomads or the lower class in contrast to the more literal and externalist stance of the majority of nobility or as one Sufi Order became associated with the nobility and another became associated with the merchants. Or even how for another example noble women may have worn the niqab whenever they left the home, but maybe the nomads and village women at best just wore something to cover their head and never covered their face. Even women, especially those who lived in the world of the harems or who were courtesans and the like, often had their own religious authorities to whom they clung to, such was often the case in India where there were often very profound differences of belief or religious practice between certain circles of Shi'ite women and the Shi'ite men. We have lost much of this as a result of the conditions of the modern world have simultaneously narrowed, centralized and consolidated clerical power exponentially in order to meet the needs of modern Islamic society on the one hand and have lead to intense doubt in Islam among those frustrated with the current structure of the clerical establishments on the other due to either the real abuse of power by the clerics or the hubris that has set itself in the hearts of the secularly educated, which is where you get this new generation of so-called Islamic modernists who cater to liberal sentiments and who are probably much more followers of Kant, Jefferson or Voltaire than Muhammad or Ali.

While current programs for the religious education of the general population do exist in countries like Iran, which have indeed assisted in the increase in knowledge of basic skills needed for general education like literacy, there is still more that needs to be done and these general programs of religious education need to go beyond just teaching the origins of Islam, recitation of the Qu'ran and basic science of hadith and Shari'ah law (this has always existed in islamic society, if not on a literary level, then at least on the oral level), but I think what Shi'ite society needs is the resurrection of three things:

 

1. The basic values of Zuhd or asceticism as well as common ownership that permeate throughout the Qu'ran and teachings of the Imams. Note though that by "common ownership," I'm not referring to the Marxist understanding, which is purely material, but to the concept of ownership of all things belonging to God, which in turn makes all believers trustees of God's property, which I believe completely contradicts the historical understandings of private ownership that later gave birth to Western capitalism and then Marxism.

 

2. The resurrection of Islamic science and philosophy. That is the rebuilding of the bridge that once existed between science and religion in the Islamic world where the science of the material things and the science of the heart were linked and inseparable and where pursuit of the physical sciences was always marked with a concern and respect for the natural order and man's submission to God's will regarding the natural order of things, rather than man's domination and right to exploitation of the natural world upon which modern science and industry is almost solely based. In the classical Islamic period, and this is also true for many other civilizations such as Chinese or Christian civilization, metallurgy was a very circumscribed activity in which, generally speaking, only those who were deemed worthy could participate in the creation of metals. Why? Because metals make the deadliest of weapons, metals don't bio-degrade as fast, metals are something out of the ordinary natural order by their nature and so one must have a very good reason for the disruption of the natural course of created things as embodied so greatly in the creation of metals and only one whose heart is pure enough to handle the casting of iron or bronze can thus engage in this activity without losing his soul or causing the corruption of society or the ecosystem in general. And so the best and most trustworthy metallurgist, theoretically, could not be anyone who did not have anyone but God in mind. When we look at the modern industrial world, which is built on the unrestricted and free creation of metals in the name of progress and technology, we see the untold destruction this has caused in the modern era not just in wars fought with large metal guns, tanks, and planes that repeatedly fire bombs and bullets of largely metal based ammunition, but also in the destruction of the environment caused by modern methods of production which are largely based around the creation of metals either in the tools of production, in product or both. There are more endangered species and there has been more destruction of plant and wildlife now in the cause of metallic means of production for both domestic and military ends than there has ever been previously in the history of humankind. Such ecological destruction on this scale would have been unheard of in an age in which was perceived bound to the will of God/Heaven and science was approached bearing in mind that man has a duty to uphold the basic harmony between the 4 (or more) elements. True, wars and the like still happened, but ancient and medieval man took quick note of the effect that metals had on shaping the nature of warfare and so values regarding metallurgy and other sciences which could potentially destroy man & nature if man forgot his duties to God were developed. Modern science was developed by men who rebelled against these values, seeing them as hindering progress and encouraging backwardness and superstition.

 

3. The third thing that needs to be resurrected or perhaps re-emphasized more now is the desire for a better universal Islamic education that goes beyond just the five pillars and an exoteric or zahiri understanding of the religion. Arguably, although religious education has helped create a broader literary class, Islamic belief has become much more watered down with the rise of fundamentalism as well as modernism. Fundamentalists seek the destruction of all the esoteric sciences and folk tradition that they feel have corrupted the Islamic message from its basic, supposedly "rational" simplicity. Modernists may or not oppose religion altogether, but have adopted the modern Western secular view of society as being divided into two separate spheres of influence and in many cases also oppose those things which they see as an example of superstitious or "primitive" belief, but which are vital parts of the Islamic message. And so the reform of Islamic education needs to not only be the rediscovery of Islamic science I mentioned above, but also the extension clerical studies to the general population so that Shi'ite communities can become more self sufficient and the social, economic and knowledge gap between clergy and laity does not grow too wide since more and more of the population is receiving at least basic clerical training and so the clergy are a class within all classes, rather than a class of their own far removed from the daily lives of the people. In addition, the translation of mystical or irfani ideas into an idiom the common people can understand and the greater training of the common people in the basics of the esoteric religious sciences is an imperative. It could be argued that continued urbanization and the destruction of the rural and nomadic classes of the Islamic world has lent to a destruction of the esoteric study of religion. Historically, rural populations, especially in the Shi'ite world, were often associated with mystical and Sufi ideas more than the urban elites, with some noteworthy exceptions. At best the nomads and small city folk represented one mystical tradition and the urban elites represented another. At worst, one represented a more exoteric and one represented a more esoteric. The destruction of rural life and the migration of rural populations into cities has lent to the destruction of mystical and esoteric Islamic traditions which were preserved in the more rural and small town environments. The tighter and smaller communities built where more people were related than perhaps unrelated, the lack of the kinds of responsibility demanded by urban life, particularly modern urban life and the seclusion from major centers of political power made it easier for esoteric traditions, namely the Shi'ite brands of mysticism to thrive and survive independently of the major cities and all their potentially corrupting influences.

 

These rural populations since being forced to migrate to these cities has resulted in a loss of those same senses of family and communal life, which are difficult to maintain in more populated urban centers, and which lent to the preservation of certain religious traditions. When this is combined either with a sense of secularism like that we we see in places like Syria, Lebanon or Turkey or with a high demand for productivity in order to meet the challenges of the modern West, such as in Iran, the preservation of the esoteric dimensions of religion becomes harder. We see this most notably in the Alevis of Turkey  and the Alawites of Syria, two populations which until the modern era were largely concentrated in small towns and rural villages, since this was the best way to avoid persecution under Sunni rule for so many years, but which have since the modern era started to move more into the urban environments where much of laity has become so secularized that many don't even know what their religion really believes anymore and treat it merely as a ethnic or cultural marker. Iran is more complicated but it could also be argued that urbanization coupled with the increasing demand for productivity to match the West or other Islamic countries has led to a decline of many Iranian folk traditions associated with the more mystical dimensions of Shi'ism and Islam. Even art is a touchy issue because the perception among some in Iran is that art is merely a past time and so, even if it is considered halal, it's not as encouraged by the state as say becoming a doctor or engineer or scientist or even a productive factory worker or something like that.

 

This notion of art being merely a "past time" rather than as a means of constructing a symbol or hierophany, that is a vision or portal to another (higher) world, is itself a product of this loss of the  mystical dimension which greatly emphasized the symbolic nature of the material dimension both in its natural and constructed forms. And yet we see how art, whether it is post-revolutionary Iran or the modern West or communist China or (former) Soviet Russia, still plays a role in shaping and influencing the minds of people towards particular goals through the creation of revolutionary propaganda or various forms of entertainment which enshrine certain values and eulogize certain historical figures, things which can be categorized as art even by those who opposed to what they see as mere frivolity when it comes to art. But why is it that classical Islamic civilizations, including the Shi'ite ones, seem much more artistic than their successors today? Why is there such a decline in not only artistic expression but also artistic variety in many of the areas which were known for some of the world's greatest examples of art only five or maybe even two centuries ago? I think the cause is two-fold: on the one end it's a loss of that residual presence of the spiritual and esoteric dimensions of the Islamic tradition in society and the increased demands of productivity and "progress" of modern civilization which have taken man's attention away from cultivating his understanding and love for those dimensions and away from the so-called "past-times" for which he had far more time to spare which expressed those dimensions most outwardly. Even the most radical and conservative interpretations of the Islamic message which we could say formed the foundation for the rise of modern fundamentalism were still embedded with much of the same values associated with the esoteric or batini movements. And so from this we see that a broadening of the accessibility of clerical studies coupled with a reform of Islamic education in general to include not only the basic fundamental aspects of religion and Shari'ite law, but also a restoration of historic Islamic science, philosophy and art coupled with a general emphasis on the vital role of gnosis and the esoteric sciences of religion will bring about a restoration of the glory of Shi'ite Islamic civilization in general and continue the tradition of the glorious nature of that civilization, a civilization that is at the same time practical and spiritual, productive and artistic, functional yet aesthetic, hierarchical yet equitable by its restoration of the symbolic nature of the cosmos and man's role within that cosmos. This is not to idealize the mistakes of the past, especially with regards to government, but to focus on the greater good of that past and continue the intellectual traditions that gave rise to that good. I think instead of Islam changing for the times, I think the times should change for Islam, but although many would agree, they still trapped in many of the mental, political and socio-economic prisons modern society has created to prevent such a thing and are often even unwittingly influenced more by modernist conceptions of religion, progress and science rather than historical Islamic ones.

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Guess who brought and spread Islam in the subcontinent. Thats right, the "pirs", "auliya" and "qalanders" like Seyyed Ali Hajveri, Ghulam Fariduddin, Shah Shams Tabriz, Waris Shah, Muhammad Bakhsh, Seyyed Ajmeri, Seyyed Moinuddin Chishti, Lal Shahbaz Qalander, and literally hundreds more. They spread it by the pristine condition of their faiths and the strength of their characters. Shahbaz Qalander was a direct and most loyal servant of Imam Ali (as) who visited him on occasions. He had made a house for him and place of worship among other things, being in pure love with him. His real name was Uthman, and he was given the miracle to fly and by that he was known as Shahbaz (eagle). His shrine is a vast area in Sehven, Sindh and both Sunni and Shia and even non-Muslims, from all provinces go there for visit each year. Seyyed Ali Hajveri's is in Lahore. There is also a shrine in Lahore of Lady Ruqayya bint Ali, the daughter of the Imam. Hajveri was such a muhibb that whenever he would go to visit the shrine of the lady he would go on all fours, showing his humility. This was before he was granted sainthood. He would then stay at the shrine and clean the floors with his beard. Then he would spend days reading Quran and in worship of God whil there. Hajveri's shrine is also co-occupied all the time by both Sunni and Shia and even non-Muslims, and his mosque is full day and night where people pray and do dhikr. HE also wrote an excellent book, far better than any books on Islamic practice by the scholars I've read. In that book Hajveri writes of our Imams. Of Imam Sajjad, Imam Raza, Imam Hussain and others. (He doesn't mention any Sunni Imams or sectarianism in the book though). That book is all about asceticism.

 

All these saints and "pirs" were ascetic. They lead simple lives. They would beg if they had to. They would give alms of gold bars when they wanted to. They had miracles of all sorts including resurrection of dead bodies from oldest graves. One of them married the famous Mughal king Akbar's daughter. Akbar's fake religion "Deen -e- Ilahi" was refuted down and dissolved after munazra with that saint.

 

These events and its history is not only in books but on the tongues of every resident of the subcontinent. The poetry and kalaam and books written by these people are great and after hundreds of years they are still fresh and live on people's tongues and hearts and not just books.

 

These people are not "Sufi" despite whatever someone may claim today. They did not believe in "Wahdat ul Wujood". They instead believed in continuous action that yields pleasure of God and constant remembrance and purity of intention. They preached about and adhered to the Shia ahl al-bayt. They were all strictly ascetic and lived like examples of Qarni and Ghifari. They said their source of power was Imam Ali.

 

That said, if miracles can be done without the blessing of some special higher power, then how come no Sunni, Shia or Sufi mullah can do one today? I see a million Sunni mulla gather in Raiwind every three months and in the end they pray to God for so many things that it takes 3 hours for the last prayer to finish. They will cry and all but not a single one of their prayers comes true. Same goes for the so-called modern day "Sufi" (chishti, qadri, whateveris) and even mainstream 12'er Shias. We've got no miraculous prayers or any such blessings.


And that is all because our definitions and standards have changed. Our direction has changed. We're gluttonous, deceitful, greedy, lying, extravagant, cruel people. We have problems with even the smallest decisions of God. O wai homosex is forbidden in Izlam?lolx?? Astaghfirullah. Take a look at other threads and you'll know what I'm speaking of. 

Edited by Darth Vader

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Darth Vader,

                    Thanks for mentioning all those great Awlia® but sorry brother there are some extreme views and concepts in knowledge but anyway im from the same clan too the clan of BANU HASHIM(ra) and respect my blood.

 

                       

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(bismillah)

(salam)

 

some questions my brothers, simple for that is the way Allah(swt) wanted life to be

 

1. Is it compulsory to follow Muhammad (pbuh)  and Ali Muhammad (as)

2. Is it compulsory to follow these saints/awliya, may Allah(swt) have his rahmah on them if they were on the right path.

3. Will you be able to practice your religion faithfully(safeguarding oneself with full awareness of divine laws) without resorting to the Mujtahids.

 

These should answer some of the basic questions in this thread of the 3 outcasts- :D

 

(wasalam)

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1. Is it compulsory to follow Muhammad  (pbuh)  and Ali Muhammad  (as)

 

Yes, but I think one problem with Islam in the modern world today is that it has put so much emphasis on the external practices of Muhammad (pbuh) rather than the principles embodied in the Sunna and as a result it has constrained the natural adaptability of the Islamic religion to modern cultural and social circumstances which Islam as a world religion has greatly embodied throughout much of its history. This is much more a problem for Sunnism, which has been significantly affected by modern reformist movements such as that which began with Abdul Wahab, but Shi'ism has not been left unaffected even though it exemplifies this balance between the internal and the external most profoundly.

 

It is necessary that the example of the Prophet and Ali maintain their central role as the greatest exemplars of the Islamic path, but it's important to understand that it is the spiritual principles embodied by their physical behavior in this world, which lays the foundation of the Sharia, that are most important, not so much the physical actions themselves, which would have no efficacy if it weren't for the transformation of the soul brought about by the knowledge they impart. Even among those who emphasize the spiritual or inner meaning of the external dimensions of the Sharia often tend to think that transformation emerges after the adoption of external practices when in fact the transforms starts internally first and then in turn produces the external dimensions naturally. If we look at the example of the Prophet, he didn't receive his revelations upon the adoption of the five prayers which are incumbent upon all believing Muslims and his mission did not start with his coming into a position of political power in Medina. But rather these came about after his transformation in the Cave of Hira that manifested itself in the first revelations of Jibril. This is something many Muslims today, including those of our tradition forget. They want to start with the salaat and bypass the sujourn to Hira, which even for God's most infallible Prophet, the most perfect and sublime of creation, did not do. They want to start at the Revolution that took place in Medina instead of the opening up of the heart to the touch of Jibril. 

 

2. Is it compulsory to follow these saints/awliya, may Allah(swt) have his rahmah on them if they were on the right path.

 

It depends on what you mean here. If by that you mean it is compulsory to consult the examples and words of the saints of God to shed light on the meaning and purpose of Qu'ran, the Sharia and the prophetic traditions, then most certainly. Just as it is compulsory for us to consult a learned and esteemed doctor in regards to matters of medicine, the awliya are the doctors of the heart who have received their doctorate from a divine source. It is necessary for the believer to seek out the awliya, whether dead or still living, in order to develop a rich spiritual life, because, like the Imams, they are the anchors of Allah which keep the boat from drifting off into uncharted and dangerous waters. Much like how one must consult trained mujtahids from among the ranks of fallible men, the awliya are ulama par excellence.

 

However, if by this you mean it is compulsory to follow their physical example on the same level as the Prophetic Sunna, then not quite. The examples of the awliya are beneficial and their intercession and wisdom a vital component in the salvation of the believers, but their particular physical habits are not necessarily wajib in the same sense that it is wajib to avoid the consumption of swine for instance. But rather their specific religious and mystical practices compliment these and help to bring out a greater efficacy to them by helping to transform the heart of the believer or open up the doors of mystical knowledge of one's self and the Supreme Reality. But such practices are not meant to go over and against the Sharia anymore than the Ashura processions, which are a ritual habit of Shi'ite, but do not have precedence in the physical example of the Sunna of the Prophet (pbuh). Not every woman must abstain from marriage like Rabia al-Adawiyya (as), but to ignore the doctrine of Divine Love which came from her mouth would be a most grievous error and of course a woman who dedicated herself to such a life of spiritual poverty in the vein of Rabia or Maryaam is not necessarily trampling on the Sharia unless she comes out and says all women must abstain from marriage. One of the most incredibly aspects of the awliya is how the embody the concept of "oneness in multiplicity" that lies at the heart of the Islamic message, in that saints like Rabia al-Adawiyya, Mansur al-Hallaj, Owais al-Qarni, Haji Bektash Veli, etc. all embody a different individual mystical paths of realization but all manifest the same truth. This is why throughout the history of the Sufi Orders associated with the various saints, you have had many Sufis who were students and masters of different Sufi Orders associated with different individual saints, having been initiated into the mystical discipline of a number of saints and their spiritual successors.

 

And none of the traditional Sufi Orders, not to speak of these new-age Sufis who cater to the sentiments of secularized Westerners, see these practices as against the Sharia anymore than the general Shi'i population sees an issue in the observance of the Sharia and the observance of the more emotional and ecstatic practices of Ashura commemorations. Indeed, the ritual observances demanded by the Sharia serve the purpose of creating the general spiritual consciousness and social order necessary for the realization of the mystical path as exemplified in the unique practices of  a particular Tariqa of a certain set of saints. And the words of the saints with regards to certain legal and ethical matters are binding on the individual Muslim in as much as he or she recognizes the source of their wisdom and knowledge to be from the divine grace (barakah) of Allah just as the words of the Imams are binding on those who've recognized their words as such as well. Although for those of us who would call ourselves Shi'ite but follow also the teachings of various awliya associated with the Sufis, whether we choose to call ourselves "Sufi" or not or believe we have any right to do so, we generally see the wisdom of these saints as flowing directly or indirectly from the Imam himself. And so putting aside debates on matters like jurisprudence which may arise here or the debates on who can be considered a true saint in the line of the Imams, there is not necessarily a contradiction between following the saints (awliya) and the Imams in regards to the fundamental principles of walayah. Although one can "follow" and revere a particular saint without formal initiation into a Sufi Order associated with that saint which discloses a secret ritual teaching associated with him or her. One does not need to initiate his or herself into the Bektashi Order to find wisdom and security in the sayings and life of Haji Bektash Veli or to seek his intercession, for instance.

 

I would like to give one more comment here with regards to this notion of one truth manifesting itself in a multiplicity of different ways. It should be apparent that since the 18th and 19th century, there has been a greater move, much greater than any other move before I would say, to homogenize not only Islamic identity but Islamic practice as well and this manifests itself in the emergence of a very externally focused form of Islamic religion. I don't need to mention the Wahabi movement again, but even in the Shi'ite world and the among the so-called "Islamic left," we have seen this tendency to regard the diversity of the Islamic world with regards to its spiritual and religious practice as a sign of the weakness and a source of factionalism which ultimately contributed to the weakening of the Islamic world, particularly with regards to its ability to face the threat of the modern West. Even the leftists felt that the many Sufi practices and mystical schools' with their intense focus on the inward and the sheer diversity of them had divided the Islamic world further and helped in stunting its ability to progress. And so, much like their fundamentalist counterparts, they sought to create or rediscover a pure and more simple faith that felt less convoluted and less hierarchical. For example, while Dr. Ali Shariati praises Hallaj's love for God and one can find traces of the influence of the Shi'ite and Sufi mystical tradition throughout his writings, he also criticizes him by saying that if everyone was like Hallaj, there'd be no progress, no civilization since everyone would be running around in fits of ecstatic utterances and spiritual drunkenness (cf. On the Sociology of Islam, trans. by Hamid Algar and published by Mizan Press) and naturally Sufism with its emphasis on hierarchical relationship between the initiate and the uninitiated, between the obedient dervishes and the master, this presented an issue for his ultimate vision of a classless society under the umbrella of Islam. Even Ayatollah Khomeini, although he was a scholar in the esoteric/irfani sciences, seemed much more intent on the creation of a more homogenous sense of Islamic identity and practice. That is a "pure and simple" Islam free of the convolution of centuries of cultural re-appropriations and spiritual developments that divided the Islamic world and made it weak. I believe that whether intentionally or unintentionally, in this process, many of the figures in this movement of homogenization, by trying to pass over many years of tradition, created a void that, for all their efforts to protect Islam from the injection of corrupt Western values, was filled by many Western ideas, since a large chunk of the continuity between classic and contemporary Islamic civilization, all those years in between the formative years, was broken. Not that I don't believe many of the figures in these revivalist movements didn't spark very important and necessary discussions when many other ulama in both the Sunni and Shi'ite world seemed to be plugging their ears and not paying attention to what was going on around them, but the combination of all these things has also created many problems in the spirit of the Islamic world, namely its Shi'ite part which I personally feel the lives and teachings of the awliya, while bearing in mind the very valid criticisms all the Khomeinis, the Shariatis and the Nassers had, can help us to fix this problem. At least that's my opinion.

 

 

 

3. Will you be able to practice your religion faithfully(safeguarding oneself with full awareness of divine laws) without resorting to the Mujtahids.

 

I am not against resorting to the mujtahids. I can't speak for others here, but I hope no one misunderstands me in this regard. What I'm against is mujtahids creating more dependence than independence and thus creating a generation of Muslims who are so braindead and have no understanding of their own philosophical, spiritual and intellectual traditions that they cannot participate in the discussions concerning the most important issues that the Islamic world is facing. And this has created a situation where the Shia community is full of people with little knowledge of their own history and culture, where the chief concern "is this halal for me to eat," and getting a big paying career as a doctor or something. And although there are more grand ayatollahs now then there were 60 or 70 years ago, there has been a significant brain drain in the Shi'ite world with regards to Islam's spiritual elements that still needs fixing, although I think that the Shi'ite world has suffered less significantly than the Sunni world, which I feel is testament to the greater strength of our tradition and so Shi'ism is in a delicate position where it can put into effect changes that will have profound effects on the Islamic world as a whole, but at the same time teeters on the edge of falling into the same sort of intellectual stagnation, idolization of modern Western science, materialism and spiritual death that has so effaced the Sunni population. I believe that not just the creation of greater access to clerical studies for the general Islamic population but also a rediscovery of Islamic education beyond just simple matters of fiqh but also the greater totality of it's intellectual and spiritual tradition, not just what may serve the interests of legitimizing the current political order of Iran or some other country, and making those things more available to the common believers is important in creating a richer, more diverse and more spiritually minded Shi'ite community as a whole. Sure, there have been more ayatollahs coming out of the hawza's with degrees to exercise ijitihad, but the extent of their responsibilities are merely to tell the general population how to perform proper ablution or what is proper hijab and the common believers just leave all the responsibilities of interpretation in their hands, paying no mind to their intellect as they try to get their other degrees in some other secular field since someone else thinks for them. The question of "Who am I? What is my purpose?" no longer enters their mind because the marja will study the books and tell them who they are and what their purpose is, they should instead just focus on raising a family of new workers for the state, saying their five prayers and pay no mind these complicated matters that don't serve any utilitarian purpose.

 

This is what I oppose, is the transition of the mujtahid from a tutor who helps the person in the realization of their spiritual self, to merely someone who dispenses legal rulings over an internet website regarding diet, dress or bathing. Not that fiqh isn't an important matter, but I don't think that for all the new scholars of law which have emerged in last half-century in the Shi'ite world and for all the books that have been written for the new literate laity, that the Shi'ite community has really regained its spiritual culture and intellectual tradition, neither do I believe it has produced another scholastic tradition as rich as the one that emerged in Isfahan in the 16th century. And that is what we need, I truly believe.

 

I also believe,as I stated, that things like urbanization, population increase, the loss of traditional senses of family and self-worth, even in the Islamic world, which in spite of its boasting has not remained unaffected by this social breakdown, even in the most religious societies, have contributed to this decline in the spiritual elements. With the gradual destruction of the institution of the nomad and the small village and increased presence of large modern cities, many of the traditional values  and the kind of social organization which allowed for the preservation of the spiritual elements of life have also withered away and have disrupted a balance which existed to a much greater extent between urban and rural communities the earlier Islamic periods which lent to the relative prosperity of both. The greater centralization of clerical power into the class of the urban elite and the reduction of the mujtahid to merely a lawgiver as opposed to a spiritual guide who happens to dispense law are both partially a result of all this.

 

So what I advocate is not the getting rid of the mujtahids at all, nor a completely classless society, but the decrease of this centralization of clerical power into the urban upper and middle class and the return to its compartmentalization in which practically every social class, even the women of the harems, was able to produce its own religious leaders, coupling this with a resurrection of the intellectual and spiritual tradition of Shi'ism, particularly that which manifests itself in its traditional Sufi characteristics, and a greater accessibility to clerical studies, not just in fiqh, but in this spiritual and philosophical tradition as well to a number of the population so what you end up with are smaller communities of different class backgrounds centered around individual clerics, but who have the knowledge to participate more actively themselves in the intellectual discourse with the cleric in question. Islam has been described as a religion where every one of its members is his/her own priest and I believe quite strongly in preserving and building on that element, but not in the reductionism of the modernists or the sacrifice of the higher Islamic ideal of the great sage with a more mundane Islamic Marxist ideal. I do believe however that it is perhaps better, especially to avoid certain mistakes of the past, if the clerics are more active parts of their communities, working alongside the factory workers, the farmers, the shepherds in addition to writing their books on the great mysteries of the universe. What I also advocate is the restoration of "the village," and its tighter sense of the family and it's innocence with regards to the world of nature, commerce and religion and the transference of those values, as much as possible, to the urban environments.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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(bismillah)

 

(salam)

 

To get the pure and unfalsifiable informations about the issues discussed in this topic, especially the Sayr and suluk from a shi'i point of view, everyone interested should pay a visit to Islam.org and then to the book "The Light within me", and read the chapters written by a great gnostic and 'arif  the late Allameh Sayyid Muhammad Huseyn Tabatabai, that discusses the spiritual wayfaring of the soul to it's Creator.

 

 

(wasalam)

 

Amina 

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(bismillah)

(salam)

 

Bro SJ

 

Your answers are very Barelvish and dare I say not exactly Ithna Sheri. 

You see the non imamis had to invent something in the spiritual realm to not be exactly like the shias. It is because they short changed initially by seperating the spiritual realm from the worldly realm and hence  they try and compensate and usually compensation from the self leads to conjecture which is a falsehood.

My questions were there precisely to invite you to think and see the error in it. 

 

I like this argument my friend puts up to the non muslims that if they were to even send their 10 year old son to a bookstore to buy a class text book, even that little child would buy the latest edition, moreover the storekeeper would not keep the older editions for sale either.

 

To his non shia friend he says that the compulsory salah of you deen only has Muhammad (pbuh)  and Ali Muhammad (as) as a compulsory element and this really is the chain of succession, then why complicate.

 

Like wise the biggest and best irfan as far as i can understand is complete obedience to his will and this reminds me a hadith about aql,

 

1/1 (Al-Kulayni's disciples say): Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn Ya`qub (al-Kulayni, the compiler of al-Kafi informed us, saying: A group of our companions (i.e. al-Kulayni's teachers), among them Muhammad ibn Yahya al-`Altar1, narrated to us from Ahmad ibn Muhammad2 , he from al-Hasan ibn Mahbub3, from al 'Ata' ibn Razin4 , from Muhammad ibn Muslims5 from Abu Ja'far (al-'Imam al-Baqir) (A) that he said:
 
When God created the Intellect (al-`Aql), He examined it. Thereupon He said to it: `Come forward!' It came forward. Then He said: `Go back!' It went back. Thereupon He said: `By My power and majesty, I didn't create any creature dearer to me than thee! I will not make thee perfect except in one whom I love. Indeed, to thee are My orders and-prohibitions addressed. And for you are My rewards and retributions reserved.'
 

Recognition of the source is your ijtehad.

 

(wasalam) 

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Your answers are very Barelvish and dare I say not exactly Ithna Sheri. 

 

 

While I don't proclaim my views to be universal at the present moment among the Shia, they aren't exactly new. 

 

 

My questions were there precisely to invite you to think and see the error in it. 

 

And yet there is no such error.

 

 

 

To his non shia friend he says that the compulsory salah of you deen only has Muhammad (pbuh)  and Ali Muhammad (as) as a compulsory element and this really is the chain of succession, then why complicate.

 

You completely misunderstand. The true awliya are from AMONG the followers and chosen of the Imams and it is they who provide us with the lens to view the true spiritual nature of Muhammad (as) and Ali (as). Otherwise, the vision we have is only of a blurred reality where the exact shapes are unable to be properly distinguished. Without the continued presence of the awliya by the grace of the Imams, the entire world would fall into disarray. The examples of the awliya in their ritual practice are not something separate from the example of Muhammad and Ali at all, as you seem to think, but operate in perfect conjunction with it and are themselves ordained by the Imams in order to give the believer the lens needed to see the reality that is God, Muhammad  and Ali.

 

It is incumbent therefore for the believers to discover and study the awliya in all their various dimensions, for, like the prophets, they come in as many forms as matches the plural nature of this world. However, it IS useful to ground oneself primarily in the path of one or a limited number in particular, although this doesn't necessarily preclude non-acknowledgement of or relative participation in others beyond that, as they all, if true, confirm one another. The Sharia serves the purpose of providing the foundation in this regard as well as the measuring stick.

 

I personally do not believe that when the Imam (as) went into his occultation that he subsequently abandoned the world, leaving its fate solely in that of fallible men, who could alter it to suit their whims or own flawed understanding, but rather I believe that he still makes contact from time to time, either directly or indirectly, when the spiritual environment of the world need revitalizing so that it not be left completely in darkness before his return, may God hasten it. The awliya or saints after the Imams are hence his appointed ones, charged with this task of acting as pillars between heaven and earth.  

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