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In the Name of God بسم الله

Does Sheikh Arif get away with misinformation?

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Over the years I have heard a few of his lectures, and on a number of occasions they have left me asking myself if he is fabricating things. He is the head of a hawzah in the UK and one of the more famous Western Shia scholars. I don't remember listening to any of his lectures in more recent years, except one which someone asked me to listen to because it had impressed them. I heard it a few months ago and again it left me wondering if he is making things up and misleading people - in particular what he attributes to the infallibles. So I decided to quickly search for a few things that I remember from it, and post them here for the opinions of the members.

20:50: The Prophet {s} said Socrates and Plato were prophets. I don't think any ahadith like that exists. Am I wrong?

34:27 The Prophet {s} said "This law of mine, interpret and reinterpret it as and how you want". Here he is obviously not quoting something, but it is misleading for the audience (and they wont know that it's not close to a hadith). Attributing a teaching to the Messenger {s} again, 36:40: "I don't mind how you evolve and how you interpret the system that I am giving to you".

He said in the same lecture that Islam is a minimalist religion. No reasonable person informed about Islam would say that. Islam is not minimalist at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOrF8ilDYKw

Is the last two examples that I gave, he is not supporting his assertions with any evidence. He is merely telling people what the Prophet {s} taught and doing it in a misleading way. The audience is not capable of understanding that the Prophet {s} did not say those things. Even many of the more liberal scholars tend to attempt a justification for their liberalism by making use of more philosophical arguments (e.g. the Prophet {s} was a man of his time or that he was not infallible etc), or they may do ijtihad to change rules, rather than attributing misleading sayings to him {s}.

Does anyone else think that Sheikh Arif gets away with saying things on the pulpit that he shouldn’t? The man has many ‘educated’ students and produces clerics for the community. Why don’t they see the flaws in his preaching?

 

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Guest silasun

I have recently been studying and thinking about his viewpoints and it has influenced my views about Shariah to an extent (although I have changed very little from my views of a few months back).

I would also like to hear others' opinions on him.

Is he a sincere servant of the truth?

He certainly isn't a traditional scholar - I have heard him say that the Prophet was a true pluralist, a true liberal at Love Muhammed. I find such comments very concerning - surely there are better ways of describing e.g. the constitution of Medina? I would expect that from such a well studies individual.

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2 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

x

While not being constrained by orthodoxy has helped him reject things like tatbir, extreme-elements in shia islam, among other things, i feel he has gone too far in one direction. There is a lot of dhann[speculation]  and misinformation that is coming out.

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He's a clear deviant, but many people like what he has to say because it sounds 'intelligent', when in fact if you strip away all the flowery rhetoric it's completely vacuous. The followers of most religions are moving in a liberal direction, and it's no surprise that there are also Muslims who want to follow. After all, it makes it easier to fit in with the rest of society.

This guy is far more dangerous for the average Shia to listen to than any Salafi.

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1 hour ago, E.L King said:

He believes in this "progressive Fiqh" thing.

The problem with him is not just that he believes in fiqh which should be "progressive" but it is how he seeks to derive those "progressive" changes. He does not try to determine the principles behind Islamic law and then try to derive laws that fulfil those principles today. Instead he believes that there are a few aims that God wishes for human growth (e.g. freedom & independence) and we should create laws that fulfil those aims. His method allows for people to create and dispose of laws just because they believe those aims will be fulfilled in doing so. This is very far away from believing that God sent laws for the sake of guidance. Humans are very fallible and will make major mistakes if they try to create their own religious laws without following divine guidance.

For me the bigger problem with him is his apparent dishonesty in attributing teachings to the Ahlulbayt {a} that do not exist.

However he does say some very inspirational things and I do think that it is worth listening to him just to hear those other things.

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1 hour ago, Muhammed Ali said:

However he does say some very inspirational things and I do think that it is worth listening to him just to hear those other things.

Although I'm usually all in favour of listening to people of different views, given the chance of him misguiding someone, I wouldn't recommend him. There are things that he says that I do agree with, but his whole approach is dishonest and dangerous. It's very disappointing that so far nobody has publicly exposed him and refuted his nonsensical approach to religion.

I've often considered making a thread about him, but that would force me to have to listen to more of his lectures, which I find painful to do. Maybe it would be worth it though.

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1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

 given the chance of him misguiding someone,

Does that not depend on the person listening? Someone with good reasoning skills and even an acceptable understanding of Islam should not be misguided. Unfortunately we have seen that most people don't have either of those two attributes. If we ask people not to listen to him, then should they listen to anyone else if they are incapable of proper reasoning? Then they will be listening to the one telling them not to listen? What we (most of the world's population) need is an education in critical thinking.

Quote

It's very disappointing that so far nobody has publicly exposed him

It seems that in the Shia community you can get away with making big mistakes in lectures as long you do not do things such as: Belittle the ahlulbayt {a} (or some scholars), praise some of the bad companions and perhaps in some circles make a mistake in fiqh.  The biggest mistakes are usually made in understanding Allah.

For me this thread isn't mainly about Sheikh Arif, just like the Tawhidi thread isn't just about Tawhidi; this thread is intended to encourage people to be more critical of what they hear and to maybe do something about it.

Edited by Muhammed Ali
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4 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

Does that not depend on the person listening? Someone with good reasoning skills and even an acceptable understanding of Islam should not be misguided. Unfortunately we have seen that most people don't have either of those two attributes. If we ask people not to listen to him, then should they listen to anyone else if they are incapable of proper reasoning? Then they will be listening to the one telling them not to listen? What we (most of the world's population) need is an education in critical thinking.

It seems that in the Shia community you can get away with making big mistakes in lectures as long you do not do things such as: Belittle the ahlulbayt {a} (or some scholars), praise some of the bad companions and perhaps in some circles make a mistake in fiqh.  The biggest mistakes are usually made in understanding Allah.

For me this thread isn't mainly about Sheikh Arif, just like the Tawhidi thread isn't just about Tawhidi; this thread is intended to encourage people to be more critical of what they hear and to maybe do something about it.

It's surprising then that he gets away with it. I have personally heard him refer to "Hazrat Abu Bakr". 

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Assalamu alaykum,

I haven't noticed anything too out of the ordinary from his talks, though admittedly I've only listened to around six or seven of them. I have learned quite a bit from them though, especially those centred around God (e.g. the problem of evil) and ethics (e.g. bioethics). I also find his involvement in Shia-Sunni discourse commendable (e.g. Infallibility, Succession, Justice of the Companions). Of course, all this doesn't mean much if he's simultaneously - and even worse, intentionally (?) -  spreading misinformation.

 

12 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

Although I'm usually all in favour of listening to people of different views, given the chance of him misguiding someone, I wouldn't recommend him. There are things that he says that I do agree with, but his whole approach is dishonest and dangerous. It's very disappointing that so far nobody has publicly exposed him and refuted his nonsensical approach to religion.

Could you explain more on this, brother? What exactly is his approach to religion?

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13 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

Does that not depend on the person listening? Someone with good reasoning skills and even an acceptable understanding of Islam should not be misguided. Unfortunately we have seen that most people don't have either of those two attributes. If we ask people not to listen to him, then should they listen to anyone else if they are incapable of proper reasoning? Then they will be listening to the one telling them not to listen? What we (most of the world's population) need is an education in critical thinking.

It seems that in the Shia community you can get away with making big mistakes in lectures as long you do not do things such as: Belittle the ahlulbayt {a} (or some scholars), praise some of the bad companions and perhaps in some circles make a mistake in fiqh.  The biggest mistakes are usually made in understanding Allah.

For me this thread isn't mainly about Sheikh Arif, just like the Tawhidi thread isn't just about Tawhidi; this thread is intended to encourage people to be more critical of what they hear and to maybe do something about it.

Sometimes, it is not merely about reasoning, but about trusting someone to be truthful, honest, and take some form of care in what they attribute to Muhammed wa ale Muhammed [asws], as well as having a clear methodology and basis in our madhab. When we go to majalis, we cant know on the spot as we hear if a hadith is reliable, if it is twisted, if it is made up or misquoted, or if the analysis, tafseer view truly reflect reliable routes and sources, or are mere theory/speculation on the part of the speaker without some form of grounding in scholarly work and tradition.

You're right, there is far less scrutiny of what goes on or is said on our lectures.

Exhibit A: Brother Tawhidi  - founded his own Hawzahs by the way.

It seems these days, anyone can make a hawzah.

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  • 4 years later...
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Posted (edited)

For some reason my sheikh at Jumma in the USA went off on unqualified scholars and specifically mentioned a guy from UK who attacked dua nutbah and iftatah, turns out it was Arif Bata. Then I found Sayed Mahdi Moderresi made a whole series recently against Arif Bata and his stances. The series is very harsh against Arif Bata.

Edited by pakistanyar
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Guest Psychological Warfare

Maybe whoever he is does not know the reality of things  in essence, he maybe just a scientist(without  perception)  like most these days and also suffering from the academic conditioning- the need to explain simple things in a phd thesis format. Which may just backfire, as he thinks he is explaining in detail, but in essence he is opening doors he could not comprehend. 

Truths are universal and simple, there are not the intellectual property of scientists or philosophers. 

I just googled the name and adazari video came up- fact that Europeans lost their Faith- in an attempt to Appeal to the Masses. Look at the west, Appeal to the masses so they will understand / message will resonate - this experiment(by Christians)  has been done and results are known to anyone with some commonsense and intellect. Christians kept chasing the trend and changing to be revelant - in the end just became a social thing, and n Easter people do egg hunt ....lost the message  - know its just social/commercial/intellectual talk/thesis/research thing....

some can't understand, if you dance with the devil, it does not change it changes you. 

But he may be just looking thru a prism or have silo mentality and can't grasp it in essence. 

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9 hours ago, pakistanyar said:

For some reason my sheikh at Jumma in the USA went off on unqualified scholars and specifically mentioned a guy from UK who attacked dua nutbah and iftatah, turns out it was Arif Bata. Then I found Sayed Mahdi Moderresi made a whole series recently against Arif Bata and his stances. The series is very harsh against Arif Bata.

I would trust Shaykh Arif over Moderresi. Simply because Shaykh Arif doesn’t have any vested interests in any sect. He brings individuals from all walks of life and persuasions to AMI and his other platforms. Whereas I don’t see that from Moderresi.

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30 minutes ago, 786:) said:

I would trust Shaykh Arif over Moderresi. Simply because Shaykh Arif doesn’t have any vested interests in any sect. He brings individuals from all walks of life and persuasions to AMI and his other platforms. Whereas I don’t see that from Moderresi.

Moderresi is pure Shiaism, Arif is Mulla Sadr, Emanul Kant, Abraham Maslow, Ibn Arabi , new age spirituality mixed with Shiaism. I'll take pure Shiaism any day.

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2 minutes ago, pakistanyar said:

Moderresi is pure Shiaism, Arif is Mulla Sadr, Emanul Kant, Abraham Maslow, Ibn Arabi , new age spirituality mixed with Shiaism. I'll take pure Shiaism any day.

Which pure Shiism? Pre Safavid or Post Safavid?

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10 hours ago, pakistanyar said:

For some reason my sheikh at Jumma in the USA went off on unqualified scholars and specifically mentioned a guy from UK who attacked dua nutbah and iftatah, turns out it was Arif Bata.

The core issue here is not dua al iftitah or dua al nudbah. Most senior scholars already know and have stated, when asked, that various famous supplications cannot be reliably traced back to an imam (عليه السلام).

The actual issue is what brother @Muhammed Ali initially mentioned, which is a lack of clarity on the criteria of establishing fiqh and aqaid. 

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Guest Psychological Warfare

Before we question the Authenticity and Reliability, of any Tradition/Ziyarat/Supplication based on few scholars. We should mention that even in Fiqh( Jurisprudence) These Learned Scholars /Jurists/Marja-e-Taqlid may have different opinions based on which Criteria a Jurist is utilizing. Some are scientists ( Only utilize Empirical Evidence, which in the case of minority can't be a stand alone criteria ), Some utilize various means/methods /consider other important variables (The Concepts in the book of Allah(عزّ وجلّ), Other Traditions, and the Concepts in other Tradition, Ziyarats and Supplications, and some have been given other abilities to ascertain the Truth of the matter, in addition to verify Only Empirical method. 

Like anything, we can choose what fits our desires or whatever we want to propagate. Specially when people take their Religion as secondary, and want the quick and fast way to satisfy their obligations. World is moving towards, less Religion/Ritual and some scholars may cater to this trend and its easy to create doubts and this just serves the purpose of their congregation. 

 

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Guest Psychological Warfare
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Most senior scholars already know and have stated, when asked, that various famous supplications cannot be reliably traced back to an imam (عليه السلام).

Once "They" breach the outer defenses and are successful in creating doubts. In Imamat, Tradition, like it is happening in Sunnah and sheeps are led to the slaughter by adopting Only Qur'an. 

As I am certain of death, I am certain once ALL defenses have been breached- and Only Quranist mentality left. At this point, its is just a matter of slight push in atheism. They will create doubts in the Qur'an. Especially if you were to take the notion, two people had to Bring a verse and had to be verified. Verified by who - people who fought, usurped power form each other, ready to kill each other- 

They not be able to harm the Religion. The core will stay intact, just that I as a Lyman, am concerned about the collateral damage of this Psychological Warfare, many will be lost, few generation will perish in doubt. Truth is Protected, and will prevail. Core will always be intact. 

Imam Mahdi (aj) says,

"Surely, we do not neglect your condition nor are we forgetful of your remembrance. Had it not been so, then, terrible calamities would have struck you and your enemies would have destroyed you."2

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9 hours ago, Guest Psychological Warfare said:

Once "They" breach the outer defenses and are successful in creating doubts. In Imamat, Tradition, like it is happening in Sunnah and sheeps are led to the slaughter by adopting Only Qur'an. 

Our defences are the Qur'an and the Ahlulbayt which the prophet ((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) left behind for us as guidance. 

Insisting on holding onto unproven or weak traditions will not strengthen the madhab, and these are not defences. 

If you have faith in authentic teachings you won't need to cling onto inauthentic ones. 

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Guest Psychological Warfare
1 minute ago, Mahdavist said:

Our defences are the Qur'an and the Ahlulbayt which the prophet ((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) left behind for us as guidance. 

Insisting on holding onto unproven or weak traditions will not strengthen the madhab, and these are not defences. 

If you have faith in authentic teachings you won't need to cling onto inauthentic ones. 

 If you were to read the post again. Issue will become clear to you. 

As a LAYMAN, I  do have the ability to understand the issue. For example is this particular "Report" ( Attributed to the Imam(عليه السلام) ) Authentic? Two Jurists can have two different opinions. One might say Yes and the other might say Weak/unproven. Difference in Criteria. That is the Only point I was making. 

Jurists may have different opinion on an Fiqhi( Jurisprudence) Issue. We all know this to be the case.  Why? different Criteria/Method/.....

So, we need to be cautious in just claiming something which may cause doubts, in layman mind. 

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Posted (edited)

We shouldn't slander or backbite or abuse scholars, no matter what view. Views must be handled academically, confronting different views and having dialogue with other views is something every scholar should be having an interest in to reaffirm or to discover. However to abuse scholars is more than just a academic critique of a view.

We as shia should be insightful and if not then we can ask and refer to qualified experts on issues. We should not be sinful we should be rightious, also we must understand the unfolding method of dialogue and discovery that must be embedded in hawza students. 

 

 

Edited by Rohani
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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2021 at 6:01 AM, pakistanyar said:

For some reason my sheikh at Jumma in the USA went off on unqualified scholars and specifically mentioned a guy from UK who attacked dua nutbah and iftatah, turns out it was Arif Bata. Then I found Sayed Mahdi Moderresi made a whole series recently against Arif Bata and his stances. The series is very harsh against Arif Bata.

I don't think the person was Sheikh Arif. It was Ali Hur Kamoonpuri. You can see the videos on Youtube https://youtube.com/channel/UCkFeHyZrnqNXn799Kjj06tA

I found one of the videos where he was directly addressed but can't find it right now as i'm on my phone!

Edited by gajarkahalva
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