The Official Website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

The Official Website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

صفحه کاربران ویژه - خروج
ورود کاربران ورود کاربران

LoginToSite

CAPTCHA:

Username:

Password:

LoginComment LoginComment2 LoginComment3 .
Sort by
 
A Review of the Concept of Love From the Viewpoint of G. A. Makarem Shirazi

Contents

The Nature of Love from the Viewpoint of G. A. Makarem Shirazi

The Notion of Love

Man’s Original Nature, the Origin of Love

Why is the Heart the Symbol of Love?

Understanding the Notion of Love through the Concept of Intersubjectivity

Self-centered Love versus God-centered Love

Conclusion: Married Family, the Essence of Love

 

The Nature of Love from the Viewpoint of G. A. Makarem Shirazi


There are several different, and in some cases contradictory, views about the nature of love, put forward by various writers and thinkers.[1]

Referring to the miraculous effects and outcomes of love, some have maintained that life without love is void of meaning. Due to the great implications that they believe love has for human life, these writers have viewed love in the form of the element that actually led to the creation of  the universe by God.[2]

On the other hand, there are other some writers and philosophers who have leveled the most trenchant criticisms against love, calling it a despicable disease that must be prevented.[3]

These contradictory views on a concept which is the common theme of much of the human literature, daily conversations, and social interactions shows how much tricky the concept of love is.[4] Given this discrepancy, it seems necessary to properly address the concept of love and affection in order to clarify its nature.[5]

 

The Notion of Love


Love is defined as a powerful attraction toward something. According to some Arab lexicologists, the Arabic equivalents of Love in Arabic (عشق) was originally used to refer to a tree which was initially green and flourishing, however, soon it became withered and dried out. This definition, they believe, is very much like the process of love, which the lover goes through, because the lover too becomes thin and ill because of not being able to be at the side of his loved one.[6]

Love, in the sense it is used today, is defined as an intense feeling of affection between two human beings.[7] It is a powerful drive which sets human life in motion and which, in its most perfect form, makes mankind work hard in order to achieve perfection.[8] In this latter sense, love is one of the greatest realizations of man’s spiritual self and a most magnificent masterpiece of creation.[9]

Human soul is the source of two very strong powers invested within mankind, reason and love. These two powers have a significant role in the development and well-being of mankind.[10]

Although the power of reason might seem enough for man to differentiate good from evil and the way to rectitude from the way to perdition,[11] it is a power which serves only as a lamp which lights up the way ahead but is unable to drive man forward. It is only through the blessed union of reason and love which man will be able to lead a life based on his original nature; a life for which he has been created in the first place.[12]

The renowned psychologist Carl Gustave Jung stated the following in this regard: “Reason is like the headlights of a car; it sheds light on the way. But love is the engine that drives man forward.”[13]

The famous French philosopher, Auguste Comte has also made the following remarks with regard to this issue:

“There are two powerful senses in man, i.e. affection or love, and reason. It is by means of the two powers of love and reason that man is able to live his life. Reason gives man awareness and love drives him forward to take action.”[14]

 

Man’s Original Nature, the Origin of Love


What is meant by man’s “original nature” or “Fiṭrah”? It is man’s intuitive understanding of things for which he does not need any rational reasoning.[15]

For instance, watching a beautiful scene in the nature or a beautiful and sweet-smelling flower creates a powerful attraction in man, a natural human inclination which is called aesthetic sense and the love for beauty.[16] This is a sublime inherent feeling within man for which he does not require any rational reasoning to believe that it exists, as he finds it within his soul intuitively.[17]

The powerful feeling which drives one toward his loved one is also one of the inherent and natural inclinations of man, and one of the most powerful drives which is within all human beings.[18]

It is a blessing which Allah (swt) has bestowed equally on all human beings in the form of a natural inclination within their original nature.[19]

Another natural inclination which Allah has endowed man with is a powerful natural inclination toward social life and marriage with the purpose of creating the necessary conditions for man to achieve the most sublime of goals.[20]

It should be noted that the faith in Allah and moral virtues are the sphere in which love can grow and flourish. In order for man to achieve ultimate prosperity, he needs to utilize the sacred feeling of love toward self-purification and spiritual elevation. However, this is impossible unless the man and the woman are united in marriage based on mutual love.[21] [22]

The mutual love of the husband and wife is a natural and inherent human inclination which is not easily forgotten or withered through the changes in conditions, the passing of time, or the hard times of life.[23]

 

Why is the Heart the Symbol of Love?


One of the common intuitive senses of all humans is that when they have feelings such as love, fondness, grudge, and envy, they feel they come from or affect their heart. In other words, the first physical realizations of these spiritual issues begin to affect the heart.[24]This is why when one experiences strong emotions such as love, one feels something strange is happening to his heart: his heart begins beating faster and, at times, the heart feels as if it is about to explode with emotions! All of these strange feelings in the heart are because these psychological and spiritual issues directly affect the heart.[25]

It should be noted that the first stage of affection is inclination which can be considered as the connection of the feeling of affection and love with the heart. As one moves through the stages of affection and one’s inclination changes into liking and ultimately into intense love, the heart begins to burn in the flames of love. Yet, one takes pleasure in that burning feeling in the heart because love has now permeated the entire heart and the lover has reached a state which is called absolute restlessness.[26] [27]

Therefore, anything that happens within the psychological and spiritual arenas of man first affects the heart in the physical arena of his being. The relationship between the psychological and spiritual issues and the heart can be likened to that of a spring of water and the earth. The stream that finally emerges from the earth in the form of a spring originates from deep levels of the earth; similarly, human emotions have their roots in the heart.[28]

This is why when one loves someone, one says that they are in our heart, that there is love for them in our heart, or that one’s heart belongs to them. This is also why the heart has always been a symbol of love in human societies.[29]

 

 

Understanding the Notion of Love through the Concept of Intersubjectivity


Undoubtedly, the worst course of action for a person who wants to find a place in the minds and hearts of others is for him to try to force them to accept realities based on his own self-centered mind. Instead, they should try to present facts and realities in an absolute or even intersubjective way.[30] 

This is because the thoughts and ideas of any given person are the product of his self-centered mind which he cherishes and loves. This love for one’s self-centered mind is a part of one’s love for one’s self, a feeling which is considered one of the most deeply-rooted human instincts.[31]

Now, if one seeks the truth not personal success, and if one seeks the essence of “thought” why should one insist on understanding and interpreting everything based on his own self-centered humanistic mind?[32]

One can claim to be a true lover when one set aside the love for the self in order to be able to make sacrifices for his loved one.[33] In fact, true love is realized when one forgets everything and everyone, even his own self, other than his loved one. A true lover would also forget his own selfish interests and is ready to make any kind of sacrifice for his loved one.[34]

At this stage of love, the lover sees nothing and cares for nothing but his loved one and his noble purpose of doing everything for the one that he loves. When viewed from a social perspective, a true lover would do everything for his loved one within the framework of their married family.

When it comes to a loving family, all of the rules which govern the usual social interactions, especially those of financial nature, are set aside. This is because although people are after personal gains through trade and business, hence when giving out something they expect to earn something in return, within the framework of a family all of these rules are just absurd.

Within a family which has been created based on true love, everyone is ready to make sacrifices for his family members and so the self-centered mind, profiteering, and selfish interests have no place in such a family.[35]

The realization of such an atmosphere within the family is the result of an intersubjective mind, which truly cares about others, the lover make all sorts of self-sacrifice in order to make his beloved happy. This is because a true lover finds serving his loved one, albeit within the limits set by the Revealed Law and the sound mind, gives him the greatest levels of spiritual satisfaction and brings about peace and tranquility in his life.[36]

Yet, the most beautiful type of love is a mutual love which is based on the intersubjective mind of both lovers.[37] That is to say, unlike other usual human undertakings, when it comes to their heartfelt emotions and feelings, true lovers would not act based on their self-centered mind or personal pleasures, but based on satisfying their loved one. This is why a true lover happily faces all kinds of problems and hardship for his family and is ready to do anything to make his/her wife/husband happy.[38]

 

Self-centered Love versus God-centered Love


Today, various wrongdoings and crimes are committed under the pretext of “love”, a problem which is considered a product of the humanistic epistemology. This sort of epistemology promotes the motto of “I think, therefore I am” and originates from the views of the western philosophers such as Descartes.[39]

This sort of intellectual basis will lead to self-centered love which is, in effect, based on human lower instincts and has no goal but to satisfy man’s unruly and insatiable lower desires.[40]

It is noteworthy that, this sort of self- and instincts-oriented love has its roots in utilitarianism, a school of thought in the philosophy of ethics, which emerged in the early 19th century.[41] Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, has described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action.[42]

This has brought the majority of the western intellectuals to take prosperity equal to material and sexual pleasure-seeking, defining a prosperous person as the one who can derive more pleasure from life. One example of such intellectuals are Sigmund Freud and the proponents of his school of thought.[43]

After it was put forward, hedonism which was basically a school of thought which promoted an extreme indulgence in sexual pleasure-seeking, was accepted by a great deal of western philosophers and intellectuals. Today, most of the western people have accepted excessive indulgence in sexual pleasures at the cost of the distortion of the true notion of love and the destruction of the institution of marriage.

This is because in hedonism, the purpose is defined as deriving more pleasure from life and it gives no credence to moral virtues and spiritual values. This, however, is a dangerous approach to life which has caused the collapse of morality in many societies, leading the youth to an abyss of sins and destruction.[44]

The version of love which is put forward by the modernist school is now like a big beautiful pot which, if overturned, not a single d r o p of pure human emotions and true love would drip from it. In this kind of love there is no trace of mutual affection and caring and in most cases the loved one will be ultimately left alone with a world of sorrow, regret, and grief, as she will feel she has been deceived.[45]

The fact of the matter is that true love only is realized through marriage because only through marriage the two lovers can prove that they are true to one another. Moreover, it is through marriage that excessive indulgence of sexual pleasures, various sorts of corruption, and sexual perversion can be prevented.[46]

In contrast to the modernist version of love, God-centered love will, on the one hand, allow for the human emotions and instincts to grow in a reasonable way and, on the other hand, allows man to develop in other arenas and thrive toward perfection.[47]

The true purpose of love is the facilitation of man’s development toward perfection; this is why a lover would bear all sorts of problems and hardship patiently in order to achieve his goal, i.e. to have his loved one by his side. This kind of human behavior is in line with his original nature and conscience which always drive him toward perfection.[48]

God is the Perfect Existence and, since man is by nature after perfection, he intrinsically has the love of God. This natural human inclination toward perfection is also reflected in man’s earthly loves; the earthly love may be thought of as a prerequisite for the real purpose of love, i.e. the love of The most Perfect Being.

It is due to man’s natural inclination toward perfection that a lover would see all the characteristics of his loved one as beautiful and would disregard her/his shortcomings. It is through such a sacred feeling that both the husband and wife would make self-sacrifices in life, out of their love for each other, in order to help one another develop in both worldly and spiritual aspects of life.[49]

It is through such a bond based on affection and sacrifice that the married couple will ultimately find the real love, i.e. the love of their Creator, Allah who is the One Perfect and eternal Being, the ultimate goodness, and the One who created all that is good.[50]  

 

Conclusion: Married Family, the Essence of Love


Unfortunately, the world of today has been turned into a place which is inhabited mostly by insensitive people. Today the family emotions between parents and children and between siblings has been weakened to a large extent.[51]

This challenge has emerged while the family must be the source of human feelings and emotions[52] and a place where the very essence of love should be sought. This is because true love would be realized through attending to every aspect of life within the family; clearly, showing love only in words without showing it in practice would be an empty word.[53]

Therefore, true love and a real human family would not be attainable unless all family members express affection and love for one another and show it in practice as well. If this important factor is neglected or is not given enough attention, human society will face countless problems, not the least of which is the spread of anxiety among its members.[54]

Given the importance of familial love, single people would never come to be complete morally and psychologically. This is because many moral virtues such as loyalty, forgiveness, gallantry, mutual affection, love, self-sacrifice, and gratitude are best realized through living in a married family. Naturally, anyone who is not part of such an important social institute will not be able to properly cultivate these virtues within oneself.[55] 

In order to find true love, the life of a married couple needs to be founded on God-centered love, rather than the kind of love which is based on lower desires. It is this kind of love which will take root and remain steady in the face of adversities. The product of such pure mutual love, when realized in the form of a married family, would be a safe haven for mankind in which they happily live and prosper.[56]

 

www.makarem.ir

1 Visits: 2019/4/6 Published on:
The Role of Women in Building a Dynamic Society From the Viewpoint of G. A. Makarem Shirazi

Contents

Introduction

Woman as Man’s Partner in Facilitating Social Development

The Woman and Excellence in Social Skills

Woman, the Vanguard of Culture Making

Conclusion: the Substitution of Civilization for Culture, the Initiative of Modernism for the Elimination of true Feminine Identity and Culture

 

Introduction

 

Human society is much like human body; it is made up of different members with different abilities and talents. Just as human body cannot live with merely the brain and the heart and without muscles and bones, or vice versa, the human society cannot continue to exist without members with great intellectual abilities or without members with great physical abilities.[1]

Given this fact, it is clear that both men and women have significant roles to play in developing and sustaining human societies, despite their physical and psychological differences. This is because Allah (swt) has given different members of the community different physical and mental powers in order to join and complete one another in order to further develop their societies.[2]

Therefore, developments in societies are not merely the result of the efforts of man; women also have always made enormous contributions to the development of human societies.[3] These past contributions are living proof that women can make significant contributions to the establishment of a fair social system which is free of problems which societies face today.[4]

Despite their great contributions to the human society throughout history, women’s role in the society has been, rather unkindly, largely neglected. Therefore, it seems necessary to conduct a thorough study of the significant role of women in building and sustaining a dynamic society.[5]

 

Woman as Man’s Partner in Facilitating Social Development

 

Within the framework of this world, the man and woman are like the two halves of a single body, both being equal with respect to human blessings and faculties such as willpower and soul. These blessings help women along with men to progress toward perfection.[6]

According to the religious teachings, Allah (swt) created Eve, Adam’s wife, as a human like him and not from another species of being.[7] This was done in order to make them both sexually attractive to the other and so the family bond would be established between them.[8]

The powerful sexual and emotional attraction of men and women to one another causes them to enter in to marriage, forming the smallest unit and the building block of the society, the family.[9] In a traditional family, the woman is man’s closest partner and she helps form half of man’s personality.[10]

Marriage is a mutual contract between the man and woman and it is meant to join the two couples in a union where each of the couples will complete the other.[11] Due to their very special relationship, the man and woman will turn in to their partner’s complementing half, much like the two eyes, the two ears, and the two arms in human body which can only function the best when both of them work together.

However, as long as the man and the woman are not married, this bond is not present between them and they operate only at their half capacity. In this sense, the bond of marriage is virtually incomparable to any other human contracts, as it is the most deep rooted and powerful bond between two human beings.[12]

Yet, in order to better understand the significance of the institution of marriage, one needs to study the philosophy behind it. Marriage is not meant merely as a guarantee for the survival of human race; it is a means for the creation of a safe haven for mankind where they can be nurtured, educated, and find self-awareness.[13]

It should be noted that the blessings of the marriage bond between the man and the woman are not restricted only to the ones seen within the family; marriage has great implications for the society, one of which is the ensuring of the psychological heath of the society as a whole.[14]  

Neglecting the complementing effect of marriage on both the man and woman will have numerous adverse social consequences; it can disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the society and the social order.[15]

The social deviations which are now present in human societies mostly result from the kind of extreme views which have always existed about the woman.[16] On the one hand, at some points in history, women were degraded to a subhuman level and were treated as though they are deficient in their humanity.[17]

These extremist views regarding women have given rise to such social problems as matriarchy, the undermining of the institution of marriage, an increase in violence against women, and sexual harassment of women.[18]

On the other hand, during the postmodern era, the feminist movements began depicting the woman as the superior sex, which led to such social disorders as matriarchy, the undermining of the role of the man in the family and destroying the foundations of the society.[19]   

Feminism is also at the root of the current devaluation of the institution of marriage in many communities as well as the abandonment of the familial role of women as wife and mother. These problems have, in turn, led to other secondary social disorders including the permanent celibacy of many people in various countries, a serious decline in family emotions, the pervasion of extramarital sexual relations, illicit relations of boys and girls, and homosexuality.

Additionally, the prevalence of sexual aspects of the woman in all of her social undertakings as well as the growth of the sex industry are other adverse consequences of feminism for the society.[20]  

This is all while the legislation of a law which would fairly delineate the best course for the man and the woman’s social life requires a careful consideration of their natural and innate needs. Such a law would be based on a constructive interaction between a man and a woman within the framework of traditional family.

Any law which is drafted without taking this important point in to account would be an injustice done to both the man and the woman. This is because such a law would lead the woman away from the route to her true development and would deprive the man of his natural and legitimate rights.[21]

 


The Woman and Excellence in Social Skills   

 

It should be kept in mind that no matter how much technology advances or what developments transform human societies, human beings will always remain “social” beings. This means that the laws which are put in place in order to ensure that the human societies will always remain dynamic and thriving will never change.[22]

There are some certain laws pertaining to the nature of human being which regulate and govern man’s social development and they are constant and unchanging.

Such general laws indicate, among other things, that man is a social being created for a collective life.[23] They further indicate that man is in need of marriage-based family as they cannot have a normal social life without first being a part of its building block, the family. Therefore, the desire to be part of the “lesser society”, i.e. the family, and the “greater society” is a natural and inborn drive of mankind which will forever be a part of their nature.[24]

As it was discussed above, the greater society is made up of smaller constituents called the family; this means that in order to reform the greater society, one only needs to reform its building blocks, a responsibility which rests with the women.[25]

In order to carry out this responsibility, the women need to properly teach their children the necessary social skills which form the basis for much of their later moral training.

Furthermore, the general atmosphere of the family can have a significant effect on the development of moral and human virtues in the children, or the decline of morality in them, leading to the spread of either moral virtues or moral corruption in the society. Therefore, the foundation of ethics is first laid in the family.[26]  

The reason behind importance attached to the proper family upbringing of the children is that children are very easily affected by their environment and the kind of upbringing they are given in young age is likely to become a permanent part of their personality.[27]   

One of the factors which makes the family so important is that it is the first environment that the children are exposed to. It is also the place where the children are taught the first, most important lessons of their lives, lessons which will most probably lay the foundation of their adult personality.[28]

Meanwhile, woman as the mother of the children and the person who has actually brought them to this world has a vital role in the upbringing and training of the children.[29] It should be noted that, just as the woman has been endowed with the necessary physical characteristics for bearing, nursing, and taking care of the children, she has also been equipped with much more sophisticated emotions in order to take care of her responsibilities toward her children in the best way.[30]

This is, in fact, what has turned the mother in to a symbol of self-sacrifice and love. She is an angel who loves her children unconditionally and takes great satisfaction in so doing, and who would be tortured if prevented from helping her children or caring for them.[31]  

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the mother to bring up her children and cultivate in them a spirit of piety, morality, and human virtues in order to turn them in to capable individuals who can further develop the society.[32] It is therefore the mothers who have the ability to form the greater society based on human and moral virtues.[33]

This was a view of the significance and the role of the woman based on her innate and natural inclinations and drives. Feminist movements, nevertheless, strive to force the women to engage in social undertakings in an excessive way at the cost of discarding their family roles as mothers and wives. In order to do so, they have aggressively pursued to promote the idea of the equality of men and women.[34]

One of the reason behind this destructive pursuit is that the feminist are negligent of the pivotal role of the woman in the creation of a safe and thriving society.[35] They believe that, in order for the woman to be considered an effective member of the society, she needs to go to work outside the house, like the man, and leave her children to be brought up in daycare centers or at home by babysitters.

However, they neglect the fact that this way the children, who are the future generation, will be brought up without receiving their mother’s caring love, something which is vital for their intellectual and emotional development and growth.[36]  

Furthermore, the feminists also neglect the fact that by encouraging the women to work like men outside the house, they cause an irreparable damage to their feminine identity something which will be a source of suffering for both the women and their children. Children who are brought up without their mother’s love or with mothers who were stripped of their feminine identity will naturally grow up in to insensitive and soulless adults who will be more of a threat than help to their society.[37]

Therefore, in order to build a society where the people enjoy human virtues the children must be given a proper upbringing by their mothers in order to turn in to responsible and virtuous adults.[38]

 


Woman, the Vanguard of the Process of Culture Making

 

Culture, at the personal level, is defined as the words and deeds of the people which are a reflection of their thoughts and knowledge.[39] The social concept of culture, however, is defined as the beliefs, religion, moral principles, customs, history, and the social and political viewpoints of the people in any given community.

The culture of a society is, more than anything else, a product of the set of beliefs held by that society, because as long as a society does not have a strong set of beliefs to base its culture on, it will not be able to form or reform ideologies and behaviors.[40]

Furthermore, any human being who is freed from the shackles of materialism and is not affected by any factors outside his original nature will wholeheartedly believe in the existence of God. Man’s reliance on his deepest understanding, i.e. that God does exist, is the first step toward culture making.[41]   

One of the innate inclinations within women, who make up half of the society, is that of Hijab; part of the original nature of women makes them like to have a cover when appearing in the society. They also admit that modest clothing and Hijab does not make them isolated in the society, but gives them a chance to grow culturally and intellectually. This is a fact which has been substantiated over and over in various arenas and historical eras.[42]

During various eras in history, women were able to take on active roles in their societies, gaining recognition for their character qualities, knowledge, and wisdom.[43] Although these women observed proper Hijab, they were by no means isolated; on the contrary, they were active members of the society who made enormous contributions to it.

It should be noted that it is the underlying culture of human being which determines the code of dressing; as the most basic and fundamental rule, human culture dictates that the private parts be covered. Therefore, the Freudian concept of nakedness is in sharp contrast with the most fundamental principles of human culture.[44]   

Women have been pioneers in innovation and development; it was the women who developed agriculture as well as the human culture; they also tamed various animals to facilitate farming. Therefore, women can be considered the pioneers who changed human lifestyle from nomadic to sedentism.[45]

History of mankind shows that, unlike men who were fond of hunting and preferred a nomadic lifestyle, women felt sedentism better served their families’ interests. This was why they invented farming and showed that they could do much more than men in many respects.[46]

Furthermore, the fact that all throughout history men would work outside the house[47] and the housework would usually be done by women suggests, more than anything else, the fact that there is an inherent inclination in women to be in charge of their house and their children.[48]

This natural feminine interest in being in charge of the housework and the upbringing of the children is a guarantee for the protection of the order and integrity of the family, as the most fundamental social institution. Women have always attended to their families and children in the best way and, when necessity has arisen, they have also played important roles in jobs outside the house.[49]

Today, however, modernism has forced women to handle jobs in the society which are inconsistent with their feminine identity. Today, women are working in jobs which must naturally be done by men, something which is in contrast with the innate nature of both men and women.[50]

One of the international conventions which, despite its beautiful name, aims at the destruction of the feminine identity of women and the destruction of the institution of marriage is the UN “Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women”. This convention calls for gender equality in an absolute form, something which will eventually eliminate the traditional family and replace it with the free sexual relations between men and women.

The American psychologist Toni Grant[51] has depicted the new conditions of women, created by this convention, as follows: “Under the new conditions, women are married to their job instead of a man whom they used to call their husband.[52] [53]

 

Conclusion: the Substitution of Civilization for Culture, the Initiative of Modernism for the Elimination of Feminine Identity and Culture

 

Women have always been the greatest proponents of Hijab and the promoters of true human culture. However, the promoters of instrumental rationality in materialistic communities have never tolerated Hijab and have tried to reject it on the grounds that it is inconsistent with social activities, particularly in the contemporary era. They have then went on to replace the family-oriented human culture with a civilization created based on nakedness and hedonism.[54]

Relying on so called radical rationalism which is a product of civilizations and a means of satisfying personal desires, modernism has rejected the institution of marriage and the traditional family and has spread hedonism based on the motto “why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?”[55]

The promoters of nakedness and hedonism believe that there is no reason to accept the heavy responsibilities of marriage and family merely because of needing a woman to satisfy their sexual and emotional needs. They believe that they can easily satisfy their needs with not one but a lot of women without taking on the responsibilities of marriage![56]

As a result of these destructive views, the natural form of human social life, which should be family-oriented, has been ruined, transforming in to an irresponsible lifestyle where the natural human bonds, both social and cultural, have been severed.[57]

It is most unfortunate that the concept of nakedness which has been widely promoted and facilitated in the west has only led to the pervasion of illicit relations, degrading the woman, who was herself the creator of human culture by introducing the Hijab initiative, to the level of a worthless “sex object”.[58]   

This was how the woman lost her former dignity and she was no longer regarded as a valuable person worthy enough to fight for and win her love. This was because she was now very easily accessible in every way and so she was no longer considered a valuable love to fight for by men.[59]

Moreover, there was no very little trace of the pure and deep love that used to blossom between men and women, culminating in a very strong bond between them, i.e. marriage.[60]

Official statistics indicate that the more nakedness is promoted and spread in the world, the more marriages fall apart, ending in divorce. This is because with the commodification of the woman as sex objects, which is the result of legalizing nakedness, the institution of marriage and the cultural role of the woman in the family have been undermined.[61]

It should be noted that the freedom of nakedness was promoted in order to eliminate the true feminine identity, consolidate humanism, and create a dominant masculine civilization. Obviously, this is the exact opposite of what the women expected! The inclination of women toward Hijab, marriage, traditional family, and the culture which is based on these concepts are an inseparable part of their nature.[62]

The humanistic civilization of the west was constructed based on the natural inclination of the woman toward marriage and traditional family. This was done by preventing opposing ideas from being put forward, stripping the traditional social culture from its true meaning and function, changing social values, and drawing attention away from important social issues to insignificant issues.

These attempts ultimately confused the woman’s sense of values and she was no longer able to recognize what was rightfully hers and what was considered an honor for her. Therefore, she accepted and embraced a role in the society which was either totally worthless in nature or was way below in worth than what she had given up.[63]

This was how modernism successfully lured the women in to a constant race with one another for showing off their naked bodies to see which of them is more sexually attractive to men.[64] So how can a woman actualize her great potentials in a society where only her sexual aspects are truly valued?![65]

Today, the modern western civilization has gained full dominance over women by marginalizing their natural feminine qualities and emotions and is now using them as tools.

This, as discussed earlier, was done primarily by spreading the freedom of nakedness which then allowed the sexual aspects of women to heavily overshadow their true spiritual, intellectual, and emotional potentials. Finally, the western civilization was able to completely distort the social identity of the woman[66], seriously endangering marital life and the dynamic nature of social life.[67]

 

Researched and edited by: the news editorial of the website of G. A. Makarem Shirazi’s office.


www.makarem.ir

2 Visits: 2019/4/2 Published on:
G. A. Makarem Shiraz’s View Regarding Social Justice

Social Justice and the Challenges facing it from the Viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

 

Contents

Introduction

The Meaning of “Social Justice”

Social Justice Sacrificed on the Altar of Darwinism

A Mirage called Liberal Freedoms and its Effects on the Elimination of Justice

Western Development Model and its Adverse Consequences on Social Justice

The Abandonment of Social Justice, the Result of the Denial of Private Ownership by Socialism

Conclusion: Capitalism, the Greatest Hindrance to the Establishment of Justice

 

Introduction

 

Justice as one of the important values of human societies is adored and pursued by all human beings.[1] Justice, in all its forms, has been of such significance that all the divinely-sent religions all throughout human history have emphasized and promoted it both on personal and social levels.[2]

Yet, in order to be able to achieve true social justice mankind needs to surmount certain barriers and overcome certain challenges. This is because any deviation from the boundaries of justice will result in more injustice, leading man to fall in to excessive pleasure-seeking at the cost of doing harm to other people.[3]  

Moreover, in order to make sure that justice is served, the society must entrust its leadership only with someone who considers other people’s rights to be as important as his own rights. He must be firmly committed to ethics and must not allow his personal feelings affect his judgment for or against others.

This formidable task can be undertaken only by a person who has a great share of faith in Allah and human virtues, and a great love for humanity. Only a person like this would have enough strength to withstand powerful selfish urges such as profiteering and egotism which can confuse his fair judgment. It is individuals like this who are worthy of the titles “the perfect human beings” and “the best of the people”.[4]    

Obviously, very few worthy people, mostly divinely-sent prophets and their righteous successors, have enjoyed such sublime characteristic and were thus able to spread justice in the world. Most of the other rulers and sovereigns all throughout history have been either unwilling or unable to promote justice in the society which they ruled.

This is, however, not to say that the prophets and other righteous rulers have had no problems in spreading justice; they all faced numerous problems and obstacles while trying to pave the way for justice to be served.[5]

These challenges and obstacles were mostly created by corrupt individuals or world powers who felt the promotion of justice was against their selfish interests; even today, the corrupt world powers only talk about their “interests” when announcing their decision to do or not to do something.[6]

Since most of the conflicts and wars and much of the oppression, aggression, and bloodshed in the world stem from disregarding justice, it seems necessary to study the obstacles to the establishment of justice. Furthermore, we will also look in to the challenges facing the establishment of social justice in the human world; it is believed that these challenges constitute one of the major problems of the human society in the world of today.[7]


The Meaning of “Social Justice”

Justice is defined as the state where everything is placed and utilized in its designated and true place:

[8]“وضع الشى‏ء فى‏ موضعه”

In the human sense of the word, justice means to respect everyone’s rights and to give what is rightfully theirs.[9] Given these basic definitions of justice, social justice can be defined as a state where everyone in the society is grated all that is rightfully theirs while, at the same time, social order is maintained. That is to say, social justice is established when the rights of all the members of a given society is respected and everyone gets a fair share of the blessings of that society.[10]

This is because all human beings are entitled to equal shares of the blessings of a community and it is impermissible to unfairly discriminate against any members of the community merely due to their ethnicity, race, or culture.[11]

The significance of the rules of justice within the framework of the teachings of Islam is to the extent where all Muslims are ordered to abide by them in their private and public relations, in international treaties and deals and even in their contracts with the non-Muslims.[12]

Social justice is a blessing which the entire human world must enjoy, as it is the key factor in helping all human beings to be able to have a prosperous life which, in turn, paves the way for them to take the path to human perfection.[13]

It should be noted that all the people must be given the opportunity to use the natural blessings of this world in social, economic, and political aspects of their lives. Therefore, under equal conditions, all human beings must be granted equal access to all of the public benefits and facilities.[14]   


As regards the economic blessings of the society, for instance, all the members of any given society must be granted equal opportunities to use the economic potentials of the society to make a living. This means that the rules of justice must be observed in all of the economic undertakings and relations and no one’s economic rights must be violated in the society.[15]

This, however, should not be taken to mean that those members of the society who are able to get a greater share of the economic blessings of the society due to being more hardworking, more intelligent, or more skilled than others should be stripped of their wealth. It only means that no one must be allowed to achieve more wealth through special privileges and at the cost of the deprivation of other members of the society from an equal share of the economic blessings.[16]  


Social Justice Sacrificed on the Altar of Social Darwinism

 

It should be noted that although development is embedded in the essence of human life and, hence, the laws concerning social development must be taken seriously in all times and eras,[17] yet, the establishment of social justice is a key point in the realization of this dream.[18]

The establishment of social justice will eliminate class discrimination and will thus create a favorable atmosphere in the society for all the people to develop and actualize their potentials. This way, all the people of the society will enjoy a reasonable level of welfare and comfort; this is the realistic view of social justice promoted by the divinely-sent religions.[19]

Let us now consider what will happen to a society where social justice is not valued. A society where justice and ethics are discarded will soon turn in to a veritable battlefield for the people to fight over material gains and selfish financial interests.[20] Such a society will gradually reduce the people’s way of life to that of the animals[21]; this way of life, which we call “Social Darwinism”, is a sort of dog eat dog way of life for human beings, as the application of the principle of “the survival of the fittest” to the human society.[22]

In such a society, it will be impossible to facilitate the people’s intellectual, moral, and social development because the people are constantly preoccupied with their constant fight for survival.[23]

According to the Darwinian principle of “the survival of the fittest”, applied to the human society, all the bloodshed in the first and second World Wars and the constant aggression of the world powers against other nations are quiet natural events and necessary for the process of social evolution![24]

Such an approach has degraded man to a level way below that of the animals; wild predators do not attack other animals unless they are hungry and they do not take more than they really need to sustain themselves. However, based on this principle, the corrupt world powers have constantly violated other nations’ rights, attacked and slaughtered them, and robbed them of their natural resources merely in order to further advance their own selfish interests and to satisfy their insatiable hunger for more power and more wealth.[25]     

Belief in Darwinism and its social application have been used as a pretext by the imperialist powers to justify their heinous crimes against humanity and their political, social, and economic oppression of the entire world[26].

Naturally, then, the victory in this egoistic fight belongs to the individuals who are more powerful than others, equipped with deadlier weapons, and ready to use much harsher and more inhumane measures in order to secure their victory.[27] This means that the powerful individuals and nations will survive and live happily while the share of the less powerful classes and nations will be ruin and extinction.[28]   

One of the modern systems which has been clearly constructed based on the social aspect of the Darwinian principle, “survival of the fittest”, is the economic system of the west, i.e. capitalism.[29]

With regard to this issue Hobbs has made the following remarks: “Nothing can incentivize man to take action except personal interests. This is because man’s instrumental rationality is, in the end, subordinate to his interests; in fact, the only task of man’s instrumental rationality is to search for and find ways to further his interests.[30] [31]

The western proponents of the theory of social evolutionism have always used it as a weapon to silence all the voices that call for justice and, when necessary, they were always prepared to use military force, based on the principle of the “survival of the fittest”, against the less fortunate people and the seekers of justice.

All of these efforts have been made in order to ensure the further economic development of huge corporates and cartels, with a total disregard for that of the masses.[32] Social Darwinism, in the sense that is being promoted by warmongers today, is the main reason behind the weakening of the human society and the destruction of the collective power and grandeur of human beings.[33]

Today, mankind is at a crossroads: we must either embrace social justice and moral values or Social Darwinism and its principle of the “survival of the fittest”. If mankind chooses the first approach, the world will be run based on the principle of “collaboration for survival” based on ethics and with the purpose of establishing social justice.

However, if the second approach is chosen by mankind the world will be left at the mercy of warmongers who will then do their best to destroy man’s social life as we know it, based on the principle of the survival of the fittest.[34]

If we choose the first course of action, it will lead to the creation of a world where everyone feels he owes an obligation to his society to share some of his means with the less fortunate and to give without expecting anything in return.[35]


A Mirage called Liberal Freedoms and its Effects on the Elimination of Justice

 

The modern man is chasing mirages in many respects of his life; one of these mirages which man chases today is what is promoted as “freedom” in the west at the cost of the elimination of social justice and the establishment of moral anarchy within the human society.[36]

A quick glance at the current conditions of the western world clearly indicates that what the people are being fed in the west is just a mirage of freedom not real freedom.[37] This is because the west promotes an unbounded and unrestrained sort of freedom which is obviously against the basic meaning of justice.[38]

On the social level, western liberal democracy promotes total freedom in financial competitions among the people and, on the personal level, it calls for a complete and unlimited freedom of all sorts of sexual pleasure-seeking by the people.[39]

Needless to say that liberal freedom has “human lower desires” as its basis and has downgraded human being to the level of an animal with only physical and sexual needs.[40]

Furthermore, the proponents of liberal freedom view moral values either as personal issues which people must attend to individually, or as spiritual issues which is a totally otherworldly issue and irrelevant to man’s life in this world. This is while all the moral values and virtues have direct effects on the physical and spiritual aspects of man’s social life in this world.[41]

Additionally, the kind of freedom which is not held in check by moral values and teachings will let man’s enormous capabilities and potentials be wasted and will turn security and freedom in to a tool in the hands of pleasure-seekers and perverts.

Under such conditions, human life will become void of true meaning as he does not find any sublime purpose to whatever he does. On the other hand, moral values together with freedom can channel all of man’s enormous powers and inclinations, including his lower desires, toward guiding him to the path to eternal felicity.[42]

Today, the unrestrained form of freedom that is promoted in the west has turned in to the principal reason behind sexual promiscuity and the root of all the contradictions and shortcomings within the western communities. This is because justice is a completely neglected issue[43] in the west and the people have been sidetracked from ethics, moral values, and moral teachings.[44]

One of the adverse consequences of the liberal concept of freedom has been the crisis of marriage and the decline of the institution of marriage within the western communities. In these communities, as the number of marriage declines the age of beginning extramarital sexual relations has also sharply declined, something which has led to serious social crises in the west.[45]   

Furthermore, the use of women as mere means for sexual gratification in the western societies has caused the sex industry to emerge as a sophisticated and modern kind of slavery. It should be noted that, not only does sexual freedom threaten the institution of marriage and the security of families, it is the root of many crimes which have devastated the western societies. Moreover, it is a source of constant tension which can lead to various psychological disorders; it is also the main factor in the destruction of traditional families and the degradation of the woman to a veritable “sex toy”.[46]

Another problem created by liberal concept of freedom was the expectation created in women to take up jobs that were formerly occupied by men; this issue also created many social problems and also problems within the families, the most serious of which was the children losing their emotional support as their mother was at work when they needed her.[47]

The western governments have gone so far in spreading their own twisted impression of freedom, which is in sharp contrast with true justice, as to legalize homosexual relations, abortion, and other similar sins in their countries. The representatives of the people in these countries who run their government have taken on the role of the dispensers of liberal freedom not the dispensers of justice and the protectors of the people’s interests.[48]

Liberal freedom is, therefore, considered a deviant way of life as it seriously threatens the institution of marriage and family which is the most fundamental element of the society and a key factor in the establishment of social justice.

Liberal freedom eliminates the most elemental factor of man’s social life, i.e. justice, from the society and promotes supremacism and the oppressive domination of others under the name of “freedom” among the people.[49]


Western Development Model and its Adverse Consequences on Social Justice    

 

Development is not merely the increase in production and revenue; it is also success in the eradication of poverty and deprivation, and the improvement of public welfare through creating equal job opportunities for all the people and the fair distribution of wealth in the society. Naturally, the establishment of justice is a key factor in the promotion of sustainable development in human societies.[50]    

It should be noted that some believe that the end justifies the means and that injustice is justifiable if it leads to a better future for the people; this view is totally wrong because injustice cannot be justified on any grounds.[51]

However, the officials who are responsible for the implementation of the western model of development have theorized injustice in order to further their selfish interests and promise the establishment of justice for the indefinite future.[52]

Within the framework of the western model of development, businesses seek to maximize their revenues and the people try to maximize desirability [i.e. satisfaction at consuming the purchased products]. These two factors cause the economy to grow and flourish.[53] [54]

Therefore, the proponents of the western model of development believe that, in order for the society to develop and grow, some people will inevitably be sacrificed in order for the economic policies to yield the desirable results. They believe that for development to take place, some people may be crushed under its wheels to facilitate it and that trying to establish justice in the society where the rights and interests of all members are observed and protected will impede development in its capitalistic sense.[55]

The philosophers and theoreticians of the new imperialistic western economy justify various other misdeeds on the grounds that they can facilitate development and growth. For instance, not only do not they consider usury impermissible, they consider it some sort of boost for the economy!

They believe that, considering the recent economic developments of the world, dealing in usury is quite permissible because the banks can give out loans to the people and earn some interest on their loans and this can significantly improve the financial conditions of the manufacturers and producers.[56]

These people, however, neglect the fact that development without justice, culture, morality, and spirituality will be detrimental to the society. This is because sacrificing the human culture and virtues on the altar of economic development[57] paves the way for social and moral anarchism in the human society.[58]

It might be argued that although the liberal model of development requires justice to be put aside for some time, in the long run the economic growth and prosperity that is achieved through it will eradicate poverty and deprivation. However, the evidence from the western development in the world of today proves this claim as baseless; it is now a known fact that liberal development has never been meant to eradicate poverty rather to make the rich richer by taking away more from the less fortunate people.[59]

The western experts have also confessed that the liberal model of development results only in the masses being sacrificed for advancing the interests of the well-off. For instance, Adelman & Morris have made the following remarks, citing official statistics as evidence: “Economic development results not only in a modest decline in the relative income of the entire society, but also in a decline in the average absolute income of the poor.”[60] [61]

One of the pieces of evidence in this regard comes from the constant efforts of the great economic powers made toward the automation of all of their industries. They state that through the automation of their industries they would have less need to workforce and they would not have to pay considerable amounts of their revenue as salary to their workers.

This is another piece of evidence indicating that the industrial development of the world has never been meant as a means of establishing justice, even in the long run. It has always been meant as a way of furthering the selfish interests of the wealthy, not a solution to the poverty and deprivation of the masses.[62]

This is why in western concept of development, the emphasis is constantly placed on quantitative economic parameters such as annual income and GDP, which must gradually go up every year. This model of development, however, neglects the fact that true development and advancement must include intellectual and social development as well.[63]

True development is, therefore, a multidimensional process which is far more extensive in scope than the western model of development, as it includes a complete transformation of the social structures in addition to the improvement of production and revenue.[64] [65]

As regards its purposes, development must aim at the qualitative transformation of the society in addition to increasing the amount of products and services which generate income. This means that true development aims at the transformation of the social structure, fair distribution of wealth and income, eradication of poverty, creating jobs, promotion of public welfare, cultural growth, improvement of security, establishment of justice, and the spread of spirituality.[66] [67]

One way out of the problems caused by the western model of development is the establishment of a kind of justice which has all the people as its focus not the welfare of a few rich and powerful ones. This kind of justice is not a hindrance to development but an effective factor which can ensure a sustainable development.

This is because the establishment of justice will encourage public participation and will decrease the costs of inequality and the oppression caused by egoism within the community.[68]


The Abandonment of Social Justice, the Result of the Denial of Private Ownership by Socialism

 

Socialism as the rival theory of capitalism does no better to the social justice. Socialism, as a political and economic theory, rejects private ownership in general and also the private ownership of production means. The governments which first adopted it began nationalizing production[69] based on the motto “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”[70]. The assumption was that based on this view, the government would be given a greater role in ensuring the establishment of justice in the society.[71] [72]

The emergence of socialist governments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was, in effect, a reaction to the development and expansion of capitalism in the west. Socialism completely rejected the concept of private ownership and put the government in charge of major financial undertakings.[73] Socialist governments are, therefore, in control of all resources necessary for production and are the veritable owners of everything in their countries![74]

Clearly, then, a single-party socialist government would be a dangerous system where the entire political, economic, and social powers are irrationally concentrated in one place and in the hands of very few individuals. In other words, there is no guarantee that all of the public properties are not utilized toward the selfish ambitions of the socialist leaders and against the interests of the public.[75]

For instance, Stalin used to hold full sway over the economy of the Soviet Union during his reign over it; he would use huge amounts of public money toward achieving his personal ambitions, suppressing his rivals, and widespread publicity about himself in the mass media.[76]

What occurred in the Soviet Union was, in effect, a socialist system which combined political power with social, economic, and military power, and finally resulted in some sort of brutal state-controlled capitalism.[77]

During the peak of their power, socialist governments would strip their nations of their right to private ownership through military force, social pressure, and also by using the mass media to brainwash them. This, however, led to the retrogression of their societies in every aspect, as the rejection of private ownership is, in fact, rejecting the very basic human nature.[78]

Therefore, since the logical connection between “the amount of work” and “the amount of income” was lost, the economic movement of the society, which should have become more dynamic every day, began to decline. This was because the people were discouraged from investing all of their intellectual and physical powers in their work, as they saw no personal benefit in that, and this had very adverse consequences for the economy.[79]

The rejection of private ownership disincentivized the people in both economic and social arenas, eradicating ingenuity and innovation from the society, and finally leading the socialist communities to a deadlock.[80]


Conclusion: Capitalism, the Greatest Hindrance to the Establishment of Justice

 

One of the great problems which still plagues human societies despite all the industrial and technological advancements is that of class discrimination. This means that human societies are divided in to two sections: on the one hand there is extreme poverty and on the other there is huge amounts of amassed wealth.

Therefore, there are some people in all the societies who are unable to keep count of their huge wealth and there are some others who live in a state of sheer destitution; this is a serious challenge which arises from capitalism.[81]

In western economy, the ultimate goal of production is the generation of maximum profit with minimum costs. Therefore, all members of the western societies are after “more profit with less work” without being bound by any moral or spiritual bounds.

This is why almost “anything” that can yield profit is being produced in the west even if it undermines the moral and human virtues and spreads various sorts of corruption in the society.[82]

In the meantime, capitalism has parted ways with the society as a whole by choosing to serve the interests of a small group of wealthy individuals over public interests, widening the gap between the few wealthy people and the rest of the society.[83]

This cruel system strives for exclusive production, exclusive representatives, and exclusive consumer markets under a new concept called globalization.[84] Simply put, globalization involves the joining of huge corporates and the creation of even greater multi-national corporates[85]in order to increase their “capital” and generate even more profit.

The fact that there is no control over these corporates in capitalist systems causes their owners to become richer every day and the ordinary people to become poorer, thus aggravating the problem of class discrimination in the society.[86]

Considering these problems, the best course of action for all of the nations of the world, seeking true freedom and independence, would be to make comprehensive plans to eliminate class discrimination. Obviously, the materialistic nature of the western economic system would not accept such a thing; western capitalists are already move in the opposite direction, justifying their economic misdeeds by legalizing them.[87]

It should be noted that a healthy economy which is created to serve the interests of all the people is not so “free” as to allow some few rich people to do whatever they want toward “maximizing profits with less work”. Similarly, it would not legalize indecency by recognizing sex and porn industries as legitimate taxpayers; it would also not be so strict as to place all of the resources for production at the disposal of the government, making the whole nation slaves to the state.[88]  

A healthy economy, therefore, takes a moderate route: it recognizes different sorts of ownership, i.e. private, public, and group ownership which are based on the different natural needs and demands of the people.

The creation of such a system will be a great step taken toward the realization of social justice within all human societies.[89]


Researched and edited by: the news editorial of the website of G. A. Makarem Shirazi’s office.


www.Makarem.ir

5 Visits: 2019/3/23 Published on:
Slavery from the Perspective of Islam Explained by Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Table of Contents

Slavery from the Perspective of Islam

Who is a Slave?

The History of Slavery

The Fall of Slavery

Islam and Slavery

Islam’s Strategy for the Gradual Eradication of Slavery

The Introduction of Social Reforms Aimed at the Eradication of Slavery

Islam and the Emancipation of Slaves

Conclusion: Islam and the Repudiation of Slavery for the Protection of Human Dignity

 

Slavery from the Perspective of Islam

 

Slavery has been one of the most unfair practices in human history, something that any good conscience would reject. This is because all human beings are born free and none of them is entitled to enslave others. Although slavery in its most brutal form is no longer practiced, it still lives on in other forms in our time period[1].     

The question to be addressed here is: what is the stance of Islam on slavery? Does a religion, which claims to aim for the emancipation of mankind, have any strategies for the emancipation of slaves and for the eradication of slavery?[2]

These questions have need to be answered particularly in our time period when the materialistic schools of thought have leveled wild accusations against Islam in this regard. These schools are now using such issues as a means of turning the people’s minds and hearts against Islam.[3]  

 

Who is a Slave?


A slave is a person who is owned completely by another human being and is bought and sold like any other commodity. The owner of a slave is free to use him/her in any way that he deems fit.[4]

Although slavery has taken different forms during various eras, “exploitation of human beings by human beings” has always been its characteristic and this is what is referred to as the essence of slavery.[5]

If exploitation of man by man is taken as the essence of slavery, then clearly slavery has been practiced in various forms in human societies although it is not referred to as slavery in many of these forms[6].

 

The History of Slavery


The genesis of slavery dates back to the genesis of human society; therefore, no matter how deep one plunges in to the history of man, one finds some form of slavery in every era. This is because slavery has been the result of the imbalance of power in human societies married up with man’s desire to exploit others.[7]

Some historians believe that slavery came in to being when the first battles between human tribes took place, as the first slaves were the ones taken captive in wars.[8] This however, could not be a correct view of the genesis of slavery. Slavery, as it was discussed above, stems from man’s greed for supremacy which brings him to enslave the less powerful humans. Therefore, it has existed in some form even before human tribe first went in to battle with one another because the greed for supremacy and dominance has always existed in mankind.

There are historical accounts which indicate that, in many eras, the poor debtors would sell themselves to their rich creditors in order to settle their debts and because they were pressured to pay their debts back. This has been a customary practice particularly in Rome. Such historical evidence are, in effect, a rebuttal of the view which considers slavery to have come in to existence with the emergence of tribal warfare.[9]

 

The Fall of Slavery


Until the mid-19th century, slavery was a customary practice in many areas of the world and it was not even frowned upon in many other areas. However, after 1850s, various anti-slavery movements sprang up in various corners of the world.[10]

These movements were largely the result of the brutal and inhumane treatment of the slaves by the slaveholders which, on the one hand, sparked slave revolts and, on the other, the strong reaction of the intellectuals and free-spirited men to such mistreatment of human beings. It was due to these reactions and revolts that traditional form of slavery was eliminated in the late 19th century.[11]

These movements first arouse in Europe, particularly in England quickly spreading to its various colonies around the world where slaveholding was finally declared illegal in 1840.[12]

25 years later in 1865 slaveholding was made illegal in the US too, something which sparked the bloody American civil war between the north Union and the south Confederate states. This was because the southern states of the US depended heavily on their black slaves for farming but the northern states had no need for slaves and sought to outlaw slavery.

Finally, after four years of civil war, sometimes referred to secessionist wars, the north Union overcame the southerners and slavery was declared illegal in the US. Finally, in the late 19th century all states were forced to ban slavery and slaveholding.

 However, this is something that they cannot take any pride in, as they banned slaveholding only because they were forced by the public opinion to do so not because they were against it.[13] Furthermore, they found new ways for enslavement of human beings afterwards.

It should be noted that the emergence of machines which largely substituted slaves in various fields also played a significant role in the eradication of slavery[14]. Not long after the traditional form of slavery was eliminated, a new, more pervasive form of slavery emerged in the form of globalization[15].[16]

 

Islam and Slavery


It should be kept in mind that slavery and slaveholding was a customary practice of numerous human societies, centuries before the advent of Islam. Therefore, not only Islam was not the initiator of slaveholding, it emerged in a time when slavery was a pervasive practice all around the world. As it was discussed above, slavery continued to live on in various forms in most human societies, centuries after the advent of Islam.[17]

At the time of the advent of Islam, slaves lived in terrible conditions in the Arabian Peninsula; this, however, was not an unexpected thing from a society where free women and girls were not entitled even to their own lives, some of whom were even buried alive upon birth[18].

Islam, however, was completely against slavery based on the principles of the freedom of human beings, freedom of belief, and the right of all human beings to security[19]. However, since such a deep-rooted culture could not be rooted out abruptly, Islam devised certain strategies[20] to extensively and slowly fight slavery[21] until it was totally eliminated.[22]

 

Islam’s Strategy for the Gradual Eradication of Slavery


What is largely neglected here is that, when fighting a deep-rooted problem like slavery, any sudden and rash action can have rather unfavorable results. This is very much like a patient with a high-stage cancer; any rash action against it could aggravate the disease and put the patient’s life in more danger. In situations like these, all actions toward the elimination of the problem need to be carefully planned and calculated and e x e c u t ed over a reasonable period of time[23].   

The plan of Islam for the total emancipation of slaves was a gradual one; simply put, the plan was to free the slaves gradually so that they could be accepted in the community as free members and, on the other hand, eliminate ways in which more slaves could be acquired. Moreover, Islam had plans to eliminate the concept and culture of slavery from the society as well.[24]

The approach of Islam to the issue of slavery shows that, Islam considers all human beings equally free; it recognized the issue of slaves merely because they existed in that time period and also in order to move ahead with its plan for the eradication of slavery.

As it was discussed above, it was not possible for Islam to outlaw slaveholding abruptly. One reason was that sometimes slaves made up nearly half of the societies of that time.

Therefore, freeing a group of people with no jobs, money, or even skills to make a living would be like handing down a death sentence on them all. Clearly, then, an abrupt emancipation of all the slaves would have created great social turmoil and would have led to the death of most of the slaves.

The plan of Islam, however, was a reasonable twofold one: on the one hand it gradually restricted the acquisition of slaves so that no more new slaves were taken in to captivity and, on the other, it devised plans for a gradual freeing of slaves.[25]

In this manner, not only slaveholding was abolished, even the concept and culture of slaveholding was eliminated with minimum damage to the society and to the slaves themselves; this is yet another aspect of the genius plan of Islam for the effective eradication of slavery.[26]

 

The Introduction of Social Reforms Aimed at the Eradication of Slavery


In times when humanity was lost in darkness, Islam initiated a substantial social reform which aimed not only at the elimination of slavery, but at the improvement of all aspects of human life[27].  

Initially, Islam taught the people that the slaves were also members of the societies in which they lived; therefore the saves were no longer considered as mere belongings but as human beings who belonged to the society.

In order to further institute this social reform, Islam extended all religious teachings and responsibilities so that they included slaves and the free people equally. It also abolished all the privileges and merits of the people except the ones that anyone could earn by cultivating piety and other human virtues in themselves[28]. Finally, Islam gave the slaves the right to file lawsuits like free people[29].

This, however, was not the only actions taken by Islam in the first phase of its strategy toward the eradication of slavery. The slaveholders were made, under the rule of Islam, to treat their slaves kindly and this went to the point where the slaveholders were encouraged to give a share of their properties to their slaves.[30]

For instance, the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) instructed the Muslims as follows:

“A person who has a brother of his working for him [as his slave] must give him from the food that he himself eats and from what he himself wears and he must not charge him with tasks which are beyond his ability.[31]

Similarly, another tradition indicates that Imam Ali (‘a) said the following to his servant, Qanbar: “I feel ashamed before Allah to wear better clothes than what I give you to wear, because I heard the Prophet say: “Clothe them with the same clothes that you yourselves wear and feed them with the food that you yourselves eat[32]””

According to yet, another related tradition, Imam Ṣādiq (‘a) stated the following: “My father was always caring about the slaves; whenever he assigned them a task and he understood that it was too hard for them, he would immediately go to help them.[33]

Moreover, Islam gradually blocked the various ways in which slaves were acquired in those times. For instance, taking a debtor or a thief as slaves [in return for their debts or as punishment for theft] was made illegal under Islamic laws. Additionally, Islam strictly prohibited poor people from selling off their children as slaves and also powerful people from captivating and selling free people as slaves.[34] 

 

Islam and the Emancipation of Slaves


The abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves has been one of the major goals of Islam, something which was achieved gradually and over time.[35] The stance of Islam regarding slavery has been always clear: there should be no slavery. However this, as it was discussed above, had to be achieved gradually to prepare both the society and the slaves for it.[36]

In order to initiate the process of the emancipation of slaves, Islam first taught the Muslims that it was a great good deed to free slaves; it also taught them that great otherworldly rewards were in store for anyone who frees a slave.[37]

The Prophet (ṣ), for instance, emphasized the importance of freeing slaves on different occasions. According to an Islamic tradition, the Prophet (ṣ) is quoted as saying: “Anyone who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every single limb of that person from Hellfire for every limb of that freed slave.[38]

Such traditions, which were a part of the overall anti-slavery strategy of Islam, aimed at encouraging the people to free their slaves[39]; according to, yet, another tradition, the Prophet (ṣ) is narrated to have said the following:

شَرُّ النَّاسِ مَنْ باعَ النَّاس

 “There is no one worse than the person who sells slaves.[40]

In addition to their verbal fight against slavery, the Islamic leaders also fought it in practice too. For instance, one of the many honorable acts of Imam Ali (‘a) was that he freed nearly one thousand slaves during his lifetime with the money he made through farming.[41] Another example in this regard is the freeing of slaves by Imam Ḥassan (‘a); according to historical accounts, once the Imam (‘a) freed one of his slave girls merely because she gave the Imam a single flower as a gift.[42]  

In addition to these teachings, Islam also has laws which are put in place with the intention of facilitating the freeing of slaves. For instance, the money earned through Zakāt, which is a sort of Islamic tax, must be used for eight legislated purposes; one of which is the freeing of slaves[43].

In other words, nearly 14 centuries ago, Islam set a fixed budget from the Muslim’s treasury for the emancipation of slaves so as to ensure that one day all slaves are finally freed.[44]

Moreover, there are certain Islamic rituals and prescribed punishments for certain misdeeds which require the Muslims to free slaves. For instance, if a Muslim makes a vow, takes an oath, or promises to do something and then fails to keep them, they must free some slaves as compensation[45].

Moreover, if a Muslim breaks his fast intentionally during the month of Ramadan, they must pay some compensation in addition to fasting again. One of the ways of paying the compensation in this case is the freeing of a slave. The same rule also applies to the case of compensation for murder.[46]

These Islamic laws were also another part of the general anti-slavery strategy of Islam. A quick glance at the history, particularly the early years of Islam, reveals that the Prophet (ṣ) used any opportunity to fight slavery and to free slaves; this, however, was no less than what is expected of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), as he had been sent on the mission of freeing the whole of mankind in every way.[47]

Another provision in the Islamic law for the emancipation of slaves concerned the cases where the slaveholders did not agree to free their slaves because they had paid money for them. In this case, Islamic law taught them different ways in which the slave could make a contract with his owner based on which to buy his freedom by working for him or for someone else.[48]

All of these rules and teachings indicate that the Divine Legislator of the Islamic Law was extremely eager to eliminate slavery and see all human beings free.[49]

Therefore, hundreds of years before the Proclamation of Emancipation was issued in the US, Islam had formulated and e x e c u t ed a comprehensive strategy aimed at the gradual emancipation of all slaves and the eventual elimination of slavery.[50]

 

Conclusion: Islam and the Repudiation of Slavery for the Protection of Human Dignity


As it was discussed above, the abolition of slavery required a transition period in which both the slaves and the human societies got used to a world without slaves. It should be noted that, though Islam considered such a transition period necessary, it took effective measures in order to lessen the pain of the slaves and to enhance their quality of life in this period.[51]

Before the advent of Islam, slaves were considered no more than domestic animals; however, Islam eradicated such degrading beliefs regarding slaves and raised their social status to that of workers who had to be respected. After some time, some of the slaves were regarded as their owners’ right hand and advisor.[52]

Islam prohibited torturing and killing slaves and elevated their social status so that they were considered human beings like free people. It should be noted that such a dramatic change in the conditions of the slaves was the result of the words and deeds of the Islamic leaders.

There are several historical accounts regarding the humane and kind behavior of the Islamic leaders toward slaves, by which they set a good example to their followers.

One such accounts indicates that Imam Ali (‘a) would always take Ghanbar, his servant, with him when he wanted to shop for clothes, and he always bought two garments; he would then ask Qanbar to choose the one he liked the most and then the Imam himself would take the other one. Moreover, he would always ask Qanbar to take the better garment.[53] 

Furthermore, according to the laws of Islam a slave could take up important positions such as prayer-leader, judge, and army commander. Clearly, then, a slave who is treated like that and who can take up the most important positions in the society is no longer a slave![54]

According to other historical accounts, when food was prepared for Imam Riḍā (‘a), he refused to begin eating until all the maids and servants came to eat with him.[55] Finally, the Islamic traditions indicate that the Prophet freed one of his slaves and appointed him as his speaker.[56]

It is noteworthy that all the above-mentioned pieces of evidence are from the aforementioned transition period; obviously, even in the transition period, the conditions of the slaves under the rule of Islam was much better than the conditions of the simple workers in today’s advanced countries.

This special attention paid by Islam to the elimination of slavery shows the religion’s great respect for human beings and the importance it places on protecting human dignity.[57] 

 

Researched and edited by the news editorial of the website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s office

www.makarem.ir

2 Visits: 2019/3/14 Published on:
Expressing Solidarity with the Palestinian People From the Viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

 Table of Contents

Introduction

Israel, the Birthplace of State Terrorism

Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a Responsibility which Originates from Human Innate Nature

The Legal Nature of Solidarity and the Universality of the Palestinian Cause

Human Beings are Members of a Whole, in Creation of one Essence and Soul

Supporting the Palestinian People as a Part of the Global Pursuit of Justice

Calling for a Worldwide Boycott of Israeli Goods

Conclusion: the Necessity of the Religious Leaders of the Word to Convene to Condemn the Recognition of Jerusalem Al Quds as the Capital of Israel

 

Introduction

 

We live in an era when the Zionist regime of Israel, backed by the US government, slaughters the Palestinian people on a daily basis without any fear of punishment [1]. Israel, as it is known today, is an illegitimate regime which has occupied the country of Palestine with the support of world powers[2].

With the US government’s unconditional support, Israel commits heinous crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestine on a regular basis, crimes so horrific and dreadful that the mind cannot comprehend and the heart cannot bear.[3]

Needless to say that, under such conditions, international solidarity with the Palestinian people is absolutely necessary; it is a human obligation which we all owe one another[4]. Without adhering to such moral principles, mankind can neither have an honorable life nor an honorable death.[5] 

Therefore, whatever is done toward building trust and solidarity among all the people of the world will lend strength to them all and will cause the human world to progress toward prosperity. On the other hand, if human beings forget their obligations toward one another, it will be to the detriment of the whole world[6].

 

Israel, the Birthplace of State Terrorism

 

Perhaps the most widely-used phrase in the world of today is “fighting terrorism”; it is a worthy goal which is grossly misused by the corrupt world powers. Today, the world powers commit all sorts of crimes under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

By distorting the realities and justifying their crimes, the corrupt world powers try to further their interests. Under such circumstances, the people’s awareness must be raised and they must be awakened to the truth regarding the reality of what the corrupt world powers are doing.

When public awareness is raised, the oppressive powers can no longer deceive the public using beautiful words[7]. The importance of raising public awareness is better appreciated when one considers the US and Israeli propaganda against Islam in order to depict it in the minds of the people all around the world as a religion which promotes violence and harshness.

This is done in order to invent the necessary pretext for themselves as well as the others who feel their interests threatened by the merciful teachings of Islam pressure the Muslims in their countries and depict them as murderers! This is while Islam is a religion of peace, kindness, and compassion[8].

Unfortunately, lying and the distortion of realities has always been used as a weapon by the oppressive powers to attain their goals. However, they are being employed on an unprecedented scale in our time period.

Today, those who fight for the freedom of their nation and country are labeled by the modern colonialists as terrorists; this is clearly done in order to hinder their efforts and prevent them from liberating their countries from colonial rule.

The duplicity of the world powers is better understood when realizing that they do not consider Israel, which is the greatest state sponsoring terrorism, a terrorist state but they call the Palestinian people who fight against the occupation of their country terrorists![9]

By creating waves after waves of propaganda, the US and Israel further their illegitimate interests in the world by committing all sorts of unspeakable crimes with a total lack of regard for international laws and the UN security council resolutions.

They have even very directly stated that they are prepared to do whatever needs to be done in order to protect their interests even if it is against the UN resolutions.[10] For instance, former US president George W. Bush directly told the world “either you are with us or with the terrorists”! In other words, it is the US interests that determines who is a terrorist and who is not!

These remarks are made while the US and Israel are themselves the greatest sponsors of terrorism, war, and violence in the world. In fact, it is these two states which constitute an axis of evil in the world[11].

 

Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a Responsibility which Originates from Human Innate Nature


The repudiation of injustice, observing other people’s rights, and the promotion of justice are values and virtues inherent in mankind’s innate nature.[12] This is why any human being considers it a natural response to defend himself against the invasion of enemies; it is a feeling and a response which is completely consistent with the innate human nature[13].

Therefore, the pursuit of justice is a universal pursuit, because all the people of the world, regardless of their differences, value justice. This is a natural human drive which urges us all to seek and promote justice all around the world.[14]

The same human drive which makes us fight injustice and promote justice at home dictates that we fight injustice abroad. Today, we are duty-bound to fight the gross injustice which is being committed against the Palestinian people.[15]

This is not only a natural human response, it is also in accordance with the teachings of all the true religions of the world. By examining all true religions, one realizes that they all have teachings regarding fighting injustice and the liberation of the oppressed.

Therefore, this justice-seeking spirit is not peculiar to the Muslims. There are various pieces of evidence which show that this has been a characteristic of all nations and all true religions in the west and the east of the world.[16]

There is not a single religion which considers injustice permissible or allows its followers to remain coldly indifferent to the sufferings of the oppressed. On the contrary all religions instruct us to rush to the aid of the oppressed and save them.[17]

This is why we believe that it is incumbent upon the people of the world to come come to the aid of the oppressed people of Palestine and to put an end to the heinous atrocities and the crimes against humanity which are being committed by Israel. We must all keep in mind that we will all be held accountable by Allah for what is happening to the Palestinian people if we fail to carry out our duty regarding them.[18]

The fact of the matter is that the people of the world have been awakened and this has led to the isolation of the US-Israel alliance; they cannot draw support from other nations as they once could, something which is even clearly visible in the weak position of the US in the UN Security Council[19].

This is because the truth about the atrocities of Israel has now come out, and the people of the world cannot remain silent about the pain inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli regime.[20]

The solidarity of the people of the world with the Palestinian people, which stems from their common innate nature, is the key to the liberation of Palestine and its restoration to its rightful owners.[21] 

 

The Legal Nature of Solidarity and the Universality of the Palestinian Cause


A society, from a sociological, legal, and humanitarian perspective, is not the mere physical gathering of human being together at a certain time; in addition to this physical realization, a society has a spirit too. The spirit of a society is the intellectual, moral, and spiritual bonds among its members which causes their convergence, cooperation, and solidarity with one another toward achieving common goals and common welfare.[22]

Obviously, then, the members of a society who are given to stinginess and who want everything for their personal pleasure-seeking have taken for granted the spirit of the society. Such people are extremely vulnerable to oppression because every member of such a society is alone in the face of difficulties.

Conversely, in a society where an atmosphere of solidarity, munificence, and chivalry is established, no one will be left alone in times of adversity; in such a society, when a person faces difficulties, there are always others ready to help him and so no one will be overwhelmed with problems[23].

 Clearly, then, if human beings come together in a society without fostering a sense of solidarity with one another and without having strong moral and spiritual bonds, they will be unable to advance their common interests.

Basically, in the absence of these characteristics a society will not exist.[24] Clearly, then, if two individuals come together based on mutual respect for one another’s rights they form a society. However, if millions of people gather together without having regard for one another’s rights and without caring for one another, they will not form a society[25]

Today, Israel slaughter the Palestinian Muslims every now and then with the green light of the US while few people raise objections in this regard. What is worse is that even some other western countries fully support the atrocities of Israel against the Palestinian people by trying to keep the people of the world unaware of the truth about the crimes of Israel.[26]

Under such circumstances, the free-spirited people of the world need to come together and change their dispersed protests in to huge and unified protests in order to pressure the corrupt world powers to stop Israel’s genocide in Palestine[27].  

We need to discard nationalism, which involves valuing only one’s own countrymen, and come together under the principles of humanity. Regardless of where they live, all the people of the world need to consider the whole world as their own country and all the people of the world as their fellow countrymen.

This way, when a group of people is persecuted in a corner of the world there are always other people to defend and save them from persecution, and this way, all the people of the world will do whatever they can to support the Palestinian cause.[28]

 

Human Beings are Members of a Whole, in Creation of one Essence and Soul


All human societies are based on a large number of laws, all intended to protect each human’s life and welfare. This is because nothing is as important as a human life and nothing can compensate for the loss of an innocent life.[29]

Considering the fact that any given human society is made up of different members who are related to one another with various human bonds, the loss of a single member can have a devastating effect on the whole society.

To reflect the importance of this issue the holy Quran has stated the following:

[30]“مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَاً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّما قَتَلَ الناَّسَ جِمِيعاً وَ مَنْ احيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً”

  “Whoever slays a soul without it having committed homicide or having done mischief on the earth, it is as if he has slain all humans entirely; and whoever saves a human life, it is as if he has given life to all humans.”[31]

If all the people of the world come together as a society based on this important Islamic principle, they will consider each other one another’s brothers and sisters, regardless of their race, language, and place of living.[32]

Today, the atrocities of the Israeli regime, backed by the US government, against the Palestinian people[33] must draw widespread condemnation from all corners of the world. All the free-spirited people around the world must stand up and express solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine because they are, based on the above-mentioned Islamic principle[34], a single family. And this must realize in the form of actions and mutual commitment not only in mere words.[35] 

This fact has also been reflected in the Islamic traditions; an example is the following tradition by the Prophet (ṣ):

“The believers are like the limbs of a single body; so when one of the limbs is in pain the other limbs will be disturbed as well[36]

Inspired by the above-mentioned Prophetic tradition, the renowned Iranian poet, Sa‘dī, has composed the following poem:

بنىآدم اعضاى يكديگرند                         كه در آفرينش ز يك گوهرند

چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار              دگر عضوها را نماند قرار

“Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul,

If one member is afflicted with pain,

Other members uneasy will remain.”

 

Thus, all human beings regardless of their race, color, and country of birth must join hands to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and to fight the Zionist regime. This will be a convergence based on common spiritual grounds [of the monotheistic religions] and humanistic grounds [defending the oppressed][37].

 

Supporting the Palestinian People as a Part of the Global Pursuit of Justice    


Justice is an indispensable prerequisite for the formation of a prosperous human society. Just as the entire universe is sustained by means of justice, human societies also can only be sustained with justice.[38] It is through the promotion of justice that human societies can have peace and security.[39]

It should be noted that the promotion of justice and fighting injustice can secure the welfare of one’s own society, but at the same time it will also benefit other human societies.[40] This means that, by promoting justice human beings will bring about peace in all societies.

Therefore, when promoting justice, one should not discriminate between friend and foe; all human beings deserve justice and, without it, no human society will ever achieve its ultimate goal, which is spiritual development.[41]

In this sense, solidarity with the Palestinian people will benefit those who express it as well, because it will awaken their justice-seeking nature[42] and revive the spirit of piety in the whole of mankind.[43]

It is worth noting that, a group of people who gather together need to have a common cause to unite them under one banner. That is to say, they must have a common language, metaphorically speaking, to keep them united no matter where they live.[44]

Today, many strategists have put forward the idea of globalization and the global village. They believe that, in order for the people of the world to finally live in peace and welfare, the entire world needs to turn in to a single country where the people’s lifestyle and beliefs are all the same.

We, however, believe that there is no need for the entire world to turn in to a single nation; there are certain world-class issues, such as the Palestinian Cause, which can unite all the people of the world and mobilize them against injustice. It can turn in to the common cause of the people of the world, by which they can be recognized as the members of a single whole, a body to fight injustice and to spread justice all over the world.[45]

 

Calling for a Worldwide Boycott of Israeli Goods


Religious teachings and human conscience dictate that all activities that might lend support to the enemy’s further atrocities should be stopped. Therefore, all free-spirited people of the world should join hands and boycott all the products whose revenues are used by the enemies toward further strengthening their economic and cultural hegemony[46].

In our time period, it is incumbent upon us all to boycott all the products whose revenues are used by Israel or their Zionist allies in the various corners of the world. This is clearly because purchasing such products leads to the strengthening of the enemy and the spread of oppression and injustice around the world.[47]

We must all take extra care not to buy any products that might be linked to Israeli producers; this is because sometimes Israeli-made products are sold under the name of another country in order to evade the boycott.[48]

 

Conclusion: the Necessity of the Religious Leaders of the Word to Convene to Condemn the Recognition of Jerusalem Al Quds as the Capital of Israel


It should be noted that what has been discussed above is not anti-Semitism at all; it is a call to stop the atrocities committed by the Zionists who are just a small fraction of the Jewish people[49].

However, this small fraction has managed to occupy Palestine and has driven its indigenous people out of their lands; it has been slaughtering the Palestinian people for over 70 years. However, this occupying regime is not satisfied with what it has already occupied; it has put forward its expansionist plans in the form of the map of their promised land “From the Nile to the Euphrates”. 

In other words, the Zionists seek to occupy half of the Muslim countries, from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, to Iraq and Jordan. This is while there are many sites in these countries which are sacred to the Muslims. The Al Aqsa Mosque[50], the place where the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) ascended to his Spiritual Night Journey, Al Khalil, the birthplace of Ibrahim (‘a), Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ (‘a), and Gaza, where Hāshim ibn ‘Abdemanāf one of Prophet Mohammad’s ancestors is buried.

Recently, however, they have announced the most outrageous thing: they have decided to declare Jerusalem Al Quds as the capital of Israel.[51] This is one of the most sacred places of the world for the Muslims; it is a city which has been referred to several times in the Quran as a “sacred” and “blessed” land:

ادْخُلُوا الْارْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِى كَتَبَ اللهُ لَكُمْ

 “Enter the Holy Land which Allah has ordained for you”[52]

إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْاقْصَا الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ

“…to Masjid Al Aqsa, whose vicinity We have blessed”[53]

Jerusalem Al Quds is a city where, according to history, many great prophets and religions were born. It has always been a place for monotheism and the promotion of the teachings of the divinely-sent prophets. This is why it has always been called the “holy land”.[54]

Now, considering the atrocities that are committed against the indigenous people of Palestine, it is incumbent upon all to condemn the most recent injustice that is being done to these people by the Israelis; they intend to completely evict the Palestinian population from their homes in Jerusalem Al Quds and declare it the capital of the Jewish state of Israel.[55]

This clearly shows the urgency of the matter and the need for quick action against the imminent mass displacement of large numbers of people from their homes in the occupied Palestine.

All religious leaders, including the Pope, need to join hands and condemn this heinous crime of the Israeli regime and its supporters against the Palestinian people. It is incumbent for all these leaders to have meetings in order to come up with plans to take swift actions against the further occupation of the Palestinian lands and homes[56].

Such a meeting can be organized in the form of an international congress for the solidarity of the followers of all the monotheistic religions with the Palestinian people. The aim of such meetings will be to exchange ideas and thoughts in order to find effective ways to unite the people of the world in the fight against the oppressive US and Israeli policies in Palestine.[57]

 

Researched and edited by the news editorial of the website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s office.

 

www.makarem.ir

4 Visits: 2019/3/14 Published on:
 Revisiting the Role and Significance of Man in Family  From the Viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Introduction

Manhood: an Identity which is the Product of Natural Human Inclinations

Seeking to Earn the Love of Woman, the Manifestation of Man’s Nature

Man’s Strategic Role in the Institution of Marriage

Man as the Manager of the Family

Masculine Jealousy, the Protector of the Integrity of the Family

Conclusion: The Decline of Noble Masculine Inclinations, the Reason behind the Collapse of the Institution of Family and the Helplessness of Women

 

Introduction

 

The purpose of the creation of mankind in this world has been to give them a chance to prepare themselves for an eternal life in the hereafter, a life which constitutes the ultimate goal of human creation.[1]

The creation of the world has been an initial stage of creation which would culminate in the creation of mankind. Therefore the creation of mankind and his spiritual development toward perfection has been the ultimate goal of the creation.[2]

This, however, would not have been realized except by offering mankind, both men and women, freewill[3]; this unique ability would then enable them to choose, if they wished, to use material means toward both material and spiritual growth and attain a blissful eternal life in the end.[4]

The Creator of the world has created the man and women to complete one another and facilitate one another’s development[5]. However, development, whether material or spiritual, is only possible within the framework of family.[6] This is because the sole system which can bring about social recognition through the convergence of man and woman is the family system[7].

Accordingly, the studying the significance of man is impossible without  studying woman, since the Creator has created man and women with equal means with which they may be able to achieve material and spiritual goals.

It is noteworthy, that the gender, physical, and physiologic difference between man and woman and the differences in social responsibilities that they ensue do not mean that one is superior to another in material and spiritual development[8].

 

Manhood: an Identity which is the Product of Natural Human Inclinations

 

Obviously, the fairest law for any being is the one which conforms to the nature with which they have been created.[9]

Therefore, a fair law which can secure the political, social, and familial flourish of man must be based on the natural inclinations inherent within him and must conform to the original nature with which he has been created.[10]

Thus, the introduction of a law which takes for granted so many existential differences between man and woman and does not account for their different natural identities and inclinations and which views man based on the natural inclinations of woman will be an injustice to both men and women. This is clearly because such a law will sidetrack man away from the path to development and deprives woman from her natural and fundamental rights.[11]  

For instance, man and woman enjoy different physical and physiological differences which, in turn, cause different levels of physical and mental strength and stamina[12]. Given man’s relatively greater physical strength and mental stamina, the heavier social responsibilities are assigned to man[13]. Woman, on the other hand, who enjoys a more emotional character, is given the responsibilities which match her character[14].

Considering these drastic differences between man and woman, is it possible to act against their nature based on the laws which stem solely from human reason and promote gender equality?

As it was discussed above, there are substantial differences between man and woman; therefore, any attempt toward creating a law regarding them must maintain equilibrium between the created law and the natural inclinations of man and woman. Obviously, equilibrium can be established not through gender equality but through recognizing gender differences and planning based on them.

Logic also dictates that justice and not equality be the basis of decisions and actions[15].

 

Seeking to Earn the Love of Woman, the Manifestation of Man’s Nature       

 

Allah has created man to pursue love and to strive earn the love of his beloved; the woman, on the other hand, He has created to be loved. Understanding this inherent difference between the nature of man and woman is the key to understanding them correctly and regulating laws which are in compliance with their nature.[16] 

There is a famous tradition from the Prophet (ṣ) which is clear proof regarding this issue[17]. According to this tradition, the Prophet (ṣ) has been quoted as saying:

حُبّبَ‏ إلَىَ‏ مِنَ الدُّنْيا ثَلاثٌ: النّساءُ وَالطّيبُ وَجُعِلَتْ قُرَّةُ عَيْني فِي الصَّلاةِ

“There are three things which I love in the world: perfume, women, and Ṣalāt in which I find comfort.”[18]

There are other, similar Islamic traditions which indicate that loving women is a sign of being faithful and that it is a character quality which the divinely-sent prophets enjoyed. The following tradition by the Prophet (ṣ) is one example:

كُلَّما ازْدادَ الْعَبْدُ إيماناً إزْدادَ حُبّاً لِلنّساءِ

“The more the faith in Allah is strengthened in the hearts of the servants, the greater their love will be for women.[19][20]    

 

Based on another tradition, Imam Ṣādiq (ʿa) is quoted as saying:

مِنْ أخْلاقِ الْأنْبِياءِ حُبُّ النّساء

“One of the character qualities of the divinely-sent prophets was their love for women.[21][22]
Moreover, in many Muslim and non-Muslim communities, it is a custom for men to seek the hand of women for marriage, not the other way around. This also confirms that the identity of the man is that of seeking love.[23]

Despite this natural inclination of man toward love, there are some who promote monasticism which requires a lifetime of celibacy. The proponents of monasticism believe in a purely spiritual life and they take the marriage bond and love between a man and a woman as a wicked hindrance to spirituality.

As a result of this deviation from human nature, great sex-related scandals have been caused in monasteries, involving the monks and nuns. Sometimes these scandals were so large in scale that they created a veritable crisis; in one such cases, Pope Innocent III described one of the monasteries as a “brothel”[24]![25]   

According to sociological findings on monasticism and those who practice it, seclusion has a negative effect on the monks and nuns and is a source of depression, despair, and illusion. These findings also indicate that seclusion can ultimately result in very severe psychological disorders in such people[26].[27]

Additionally, monasticism and celibacy are in sharp contrast with the man and woman’s nature and have destructive effects on their mental and emotional health. Celibacy, in particular, can cause psychological disorders and lead to homosexual inclinations which threaten the institution of marriage.[28]

The inauspicious issue of monasticism and social isolation, which is in effect the abandonment of one’s social obligations[29], runs counter to the existential laws of nature. It is a deviation from human nature[30] which has never been permissible in any undistorted religion[31].

Like all other true religions, Islam has firmly rejected monasticism, something that is well-reflected in the following tradition by the Prophet of Islam (ṣ):

لَا رُهْبَانِيَّةَ فِى الإسْلَامِ

“Monasticism is not permissible in Islam”

This outright rejection of social isolation in Islam is because the religion places great importance on human’s social life which is initially realized through the institution of marriage.[32]

 

Man’s Strategic Role in the Institution of Marriage

 

Mankind has different kinds of needs which can be classified into several distinct categories. One of such categories is the “social needs” of mankind which includes man’s need of relating to other people and living within a community.

It should be noted that this is not a need created by the outside world, but a need inherent within human nature.[33]

The attempts toward satisfying such “social” needs of men and women as well as the attempts toward the regulation of social relations leads to the creation of the institution of marriage. This institution, which is created for the man to assume his special role within the framework of mankind’s social obligations, is in line with the overall aim of religion which is guiding mankind toward the proper development[34].

It should be kept in mind that, the moral values and the social practices such as marriage, which stem from human nature and instincts, are obviously the same across communities. This is because regardless of their place of birth, all human beings are born with the same original nature, natural inclinations, and instincts. It is this same nature which defines one as human being and it never undergoes any change by the passing of time[35].

Based on this natural inclination of human beings, all men and women feel a natural drive toward the institution of marriage without which living a normal life is almost impossible for them.[36]

Moreover, unlike other creatures which have social lives, man’s social life is deeply rooted in his need for development, not merely his instinct. Therefore, the love of a man for a woman is, not only a natural inclination, but is also a means of securing the long term development of both the man and woman through marriage.[37]

Needless to say that the greater human communities consist of smaller building blocks, i.e. the families created through marriage. Naturally, the strength of the greater human communities is a product of the strength of its building blocks.[38]

The institution of marriage, when based on correct values and standards, can, on the one hand, play a significant role in regulating human relations and solving person and family problems and, on the other, have a constructive role in resolving social problems.[39]

Meanwhile, the role of man in the institution of marriage and family is a pivotal one. In fact, it is the man who, by expressing his love to the woman and seeking her hand, begins the process of the creation of a family[40]. Obviously then, the reason behind the use of the term “Nikāḥ” [meaning lexically sexual intercourse of married couples] in Islamic jurisprudence for making reference to “marriage” is to indicate its deep connection with basic human inclination.[41]

This is a sort of intercourse which is far from licentiousness; it is authorized based on certain principles and a deep commitment between the couples in order to guarantee their mental and emotional union besides their sexual union.[42]

 

Needless to say that the purpose of marriage is not the mere sexual gratification; the greater purpose served by this bond is the creation of an emotional union which can provide an emotionally secure environment for child upbringing and the personal development of the couple.

These benefits and blessings cannot be gained except through the promotion of marriage, a contract which makes a man and a woman belong exclusively to one another, and through the prohibition of the illicit and extramarital relations.[43]

This being said, it must be kept in mind that repressing a natural drive and failing to satisfy it through lawful ways can entail adverse physical and psychological consequences.[44] 

This is why many people, who do not get married in young age, suffer from various psychological problems such as anxiety, ill-temperedness, inability to concentrate, excessive indifference, hopelessness, and excessive pessimism. Of course marriage can heal the severest of emotional and psychological ailments; therefore, whenever a person gets married, he will find healing and comfort in its soothing atmosphere.[45]

The Quran has also referred to the great psychological and emotional benefits of marriage on several occasions, one of which is as follows:

وَمِنْ ءَايَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا

“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own kind that you may find comfort in their company[46][47]

 

By accepting the commitment of marriage, a man is transformed from an unprincipled individual who is free to make just any decision at any moment for his future, into a manager responsible for the well-being of the most basic unit of the society, the family.

This commitment, therefore, prevents him from making rash decisions which would jeopardize the well-being of his family. It also ensures the family’s sexual health by keeping the man faithful to his wife. [48] 

 

Man as the Manager of the Family

 

Considering the substantial physical and psychological difference between the man and the woman, the man has been placed in charge of managing the family, and the woman has been appointed his right hand.[49]

It should be noted that the Divine Wisdom dictates that responsibilities be assigned based on the abilities that individuals have. Therefore, the fact that man has been charged with the management of family indicates that this heavy task is in accordance with his greater physical and psychological stamina in facing different challenges.[50]

This issue has been referred to by the Quran in the following verse:

الرِّجالُ قَوَّامُونَ‏ عَلَى النِّساءِ

“Men are the overseer and guardians of women”[51]

 This does not mean that men are forcibly and undeservingly put in charge of the family and that they are free to wrong women! This means that family, like any other organization, needs a single manager to direct it and to solve the problems which it faces. Therefore, considering certain privileges which man has within the framework of social relations, he has been left in charge of the management of the family.

However, just like any other privilege, this one also comes with obligations and responsibilities. For instance, men are held responsible for paying the expenses of the family, something that women have no responsibility for.[52] 

Clearly then, since man alone is held responsible for providing for the family and seeing to its well-being, he has also been given the power to make the necessary decisions toward that end.

Therefore,  the term “قوّامون” (meaning “overseer” or “guardian”) means that the man is always one step ahead of his family to guard and protect them against any incoming danger or problem. Obviously, then, it does not mean that he is the owner of the woman, as some have mistakenly taken this word to mean.[53] 

As regards the woman, she is superior to the man emotionally and she has the physical privilege of bearing the next generation of mankind. Therefore, she has been encharged with the upbringing of her children since she has the necessary means toward that end.[54]

Considering the fact that in women the emotions are more powerful and in men reason has the upper hand, the union of these two makes a perfect balance for ensuring the development, well-being, and survival of the family.[55]

Given the facts discussed above, the view of some who insist on promoting gender equality is refuted as being inconsistent with the reality of the nature of men and women.

Even in the communities where gender equality is promoted strongly, the majority of the key positions in governments and organizations are still being offered only to men.[56]

Considering their enormous physical and psychological differences, how is it possible to say that the man and woman must be treated equally in every respect?![57] Is it not true that justice must be upheld in the society? And is justice anything but giving everyone the duty which they are created for and which is based on their inherent qualities and capabilities?[58]

It is because of the promotion of justice that Islam has given the man precedence over the woman in certain matters which require great physical and psychological stamina and has made the woman his advisor in these matters.[59] Similarly, it has given the woman responsibilities which are in accordance with her capabilities, and which are by no means less important than those given to the man.[60]

 

Masculine Jealousy, the Protector of the Integrity of the Family

 

Unfortunately, moral values are compromised in the world of today, particularly in the west where extramarital relations are no longer denounced.

The masculine jealousy, which is the guarantor of the integrity of the family is not only being forgotten, it is now considered as a sort of blind hatred. This is truly a great disaster because without this positive sort of jealousy, which is in fact a protector of the family, it is impossible to effectively protect the family’s values and honor.[61]    

What is meant by “jealousy” in Islamic teachings is the natural feeling of the man toward protecting his honor and virtues and preventing others from trespassing against his rights and invading his privacy.[62] In our common law, however, the meaning of masculine jealousy refers to the man’s protective feelings toward the female members of his family.[63]

In this sense, masculine jealousy is a great moral virtue; it is the vigorous defense of the female members of one’s family against any disrespect. And what is a greater virtue than protecting one’s family honor to death against anyone who intends to disrespect one’s wife or daughters?[64]    

In this sense of the word, jealousy is completely consistent with logics. Moreover, a person who is jealous and protective toward the female members of his own family will understand perfectly how others feel about their families. Therefore, such a person will never do anything to disrespect or harass another person’s wife or daughters.[65] 

Therefore, jealousy can also be a deterrent against indecent relations, because all men understand that trying to have illicit relations with other women or, even worse, harassing them can jeopardize their own female relatives. This is because when sexual harassment, assault, or illicit relations become rampant, this will naturally put all families at risk.[66]

Therefore, the more the male members of the community understand and cherish this sort of jealousy, the more modest the entire community will be and the more secure its female members will feel[67].

 

This fact also is reflected in the Islamic traditions. According to one such tradition, Imam Ali (ʿa) has been quoted as saying:

مَا زَنَى غَيُورٌ قَطُّ

“A man with masculine jealousy never commits adultery[68][69]

This is because masculine jealousy and modesty are intertwined: the more protective men are toward their female family members the more modest the society will be. On the other hand, the more modest a person is, the more protective he will be toward his female family members.[70]

Therefore, Masculine jealousy provides some sort of protection for family honor; it is also a defense against the sexual promiscuity which, in turn, secures the long-term interests of the family.

On the contrary, when this sacred masculine virtue is undermined, not only the family, but the society will face insecurity and promiscuity.[71]

 

Conclusion: The Decline of Noble Masculine Inclinations, the Reason behind the Collapse of the Institution of Family and the Helplessness of Women     

 

It should be noted that the proper relationship between men and women is defined based on their inherent potentials and their current capabilities. In this sense, the man and the woman complete each other, a fact which, as it was discussed above, is referred to in the Quran as well:

وَ مِنْ‏ آياتِهِ‏ أَنْ‏ خَلَقَ‏ لَكُمْ‏ مِنْ‏ أَنْفُسِكُمْ‏ أَزْواجاً لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْها وَ جَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَ رَحْمَةً

“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own kind that you may find comfort in their company; and He established (a relationship based on) affection and compassion between you”[72]

In other word, the man and the woman, when united in marriage, can eliminate one another’s shortcomings and take comfort in one another’s company.[73]

This issue has also been addressed in the Islamic traditions as well. An example is the following tradition by Imam Ali (ʿa)[74]:

...وَجِهَادُ الْمَرْأَةِ حُسْنُ‏ التَّبَعُّلِ

“… and women can also engage in Jihad in the way of Allah by performing their conjugal duties to their husbands well”[75]

 

Therefore, trying to undermine the masculine identity in the society under the pretext of feminism will, not only lead to the destruction of the institution of marriage, it will create a deep conflict between the two genders. This conflict will in turn lead to an increased rate of divorce, domestic violence, single parent families, and emotional divorce in families.

Moreover, since the family is the building block of human society, such problems within the family can then extend to the society, creating social problems such as a decreased marriage rate, the spread of homosexuality, and sexual promiscuity.[76]

In the end, undermining the masculine identity will hurt women more than men, as social problems always affect the more vulnerable members, the female members.

This is, in fact, the key issue which is neglected by feminist movements. They promote gender equality and they neglect the fact that the rights and responsibilities of human beings must suit their physical and psychological potentials and capabilities. When these capabilities are neglected, any law which is created for the regulation of human affairs will be sheer injustice.[77]

 

Researched and edited by the news editorial of the website of the office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi:

www.makarem.ir

 

2 Visits: 2019/3/6 Published on:
A Survey of the Moral Teachings of Jesus Christ [peace be upon him] In the View of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Jesus Christ (peace and blessings upon him) the Messenger of Compassion and Moral Values

The more Noble the more Humble

Patience in the Face of Adversities, Tough but Fruitful

The Mundane World is merely a Pass not a Permanent Home

A Sickness which Even Jesus Christ was Unable to Heal

Conclusion: acting based on the Knowledge that one Possesses is the Key to One’s Success

 

 

Introduction

 

Moral teachings have existed since the creation of man[1]. According to history, Adam, as the first prophet of Allah, gave lessons in moral values and ethics to his children, lessons which he himself had been taught by Allah when he lived in Heaven.[2]

Other prophets also made giving moral lessons to mankind their business as they knew that the only way of ensuring man’s eternal felicity was to teach them how to lead a life based on moral values.

As regards Jesus Christ (‘a), most of his teachings concern ethics and moral values. He valued ethics and moral teachings so much that he came to be known by his followers and adherents as the Great Moral Teacher.[3]

 

Jesus Christ (peace and blessings upon him) the Messenger of Compassion and Moral Values

 

One of the purposes behind sending divine Messengers has been the teaching of moral values.[4] This is because the ultimate goal of all the prophets has been the moral training of mankind in a way that they would observe moral values in all arenas of their lives.[5]

Jesus Christ as a great divinely-sent prophet was given the mission of spreading moral values among the people and instruct them in piety and human virtues.[6] This is something which is confirmed by the holy Quran as well:

و لما جاء عيسى بالبينات قال قد جئتكم بالحكمة و لأبين لكم بعض الذي تختلفون فيه [7]

“And when Jesus brought [the Children of Israel] clear proofs, he said: “I have brought you wisdom and have come to clarify for you some of that concerning which you differ.”[8]

As it is clear from this Quranic verse, Jesus Christ publicly announced that his mission was to “bring the people wisdom”. Wisdom, in its original sense, means prevent all detrimental factors in order to ensure the well-being of something. Therefore, when it is used for human life, wisdom means preventing man from doing things which are detrimental to his faith and spiritual life through moral training and self-purification.[9]

Moreover, it is a known fact that, the best path that man can take is the one which leads to the satisfaction of Allah, a path which can lead man to attain nearness to his Lord. However, this is impossible without trying to cultivate in oneself the moral values which are, in effect, a reflection of Allah’s Divine Attributes.

By realizing that Allah is the possessor of a Supreme Wisdom, man will be drawn to knowledge and wisdom which will, in turn, lead him to cultivate supreme moral values in himself, just as Jesus Christ did.[10]

Undoubtedly, it was the great character and moral conduct of Jesus Christ that drew the people to him and created an atmosphere of fraternity among the people. There are numerous stories about Jesus’ compassion and kindness toward the people; these stories are, in fact, lessons in ethics and moral values for us all.[11]

 

The more Noble the more Humble

 

Humility is a virtue which can affect both educational and cultural aspects of human life. When a humble person does not know something, he would easily ask others to learn, something which is a key to one’s educational development.

On the contrary, an arrogant and self-important person never asks questions as he believes that this way he would reveal his weaknesses; such people neglect the fact that arrogance and self-importance constitute a major impediments to learning.[12]

It is due to arrogance that many people are unable to perceive the truth in various aspects of their lives. On the other hand, humble people are quite popular in the society, since everyone can easily connect to humble individuals.

But the benefits of humility are not restricted to social life only; a humble person can have a much better connection with Allah because humility is the key to the acceptance of man’s prayers and it is the essence of worship.[13]

Furthermore, as it was discussed above, humility and arrogance can have marked effects on educational achievement; a humble person is constantly learning without being ashamed to ask questions where he does not possess the necessary knowledge. On the other hand, as a person acquires more knowledge, he becomes more humble because the issues of “knowledge” and “humility” are intertwined; this fact is also reflected in the famous saying “the more noble the more humble”.

The relationship between knowledge and humility can be likened to the branches of a tree; usually the branches which are more fruitful are nearest to the ground and those with fewer fruits stand higher in the air.

Conversely, arrogance and self-importance prevent one from acquiring the necessary knowledge which is necessary for man’s spiritual and personal development.[14]

With regard to this issue, Jesus Christ has been quoted as saying:

“It is through humility, not arrogance, that human knowledge grows, just like large farms which are built on soft soils of leveled lands not on high, rocky mountains![15][16]

According to yet, another narration, Jesus Christ taught his disciples the following:

“Knowledge is not a heavenly thing for you to await its descension, nor is it to be extracted from the abyssal depths of the earth; knowledge is deep in your hearts, nature, and essence. In order to obtain it, you need to cultivate the moral values and virtues of angels and righteous people.[17][18]     

 

Patience in the Face of Adversities, Tough but Fruitful

 

Patience is the key to the attainment of moral virtues and also to all sorts of worldly and spiritual attainment.[19] This is why patience itself is considered among the highly important moral and human virtues, a virtue that all great prophets and leaders possessed.[20]

It is noteworthy that no other moral virtue has been so greatly emphasized in the teachings of the divinely-sent religions, something that shows the tremendous importance of patience. It has such a key role in human life that it can even be considered the essence of all human virtues and the means for achieving felicity and prosperity.[21]

Needless to say that, like any other virtue, learning to have patience in one’s life requires practice and gaining experience in the face of different problems and in difficult situations.[22]

One of the factors that can help one understand the importance of patience and to learn to cultivate this great human virtue in himself is that no great success, whether worldly or spiritual, can be achieved without patience. This is because overcoming obstacles in life requires patience and hard work, something that people with little patience will never be able to do.

Therefore, by keeping in mind that no one with little patience will be able to achieve success in this life, one will be able to show more patience when encountering problems.[23]Like any other great success, living in Paradise requires hard work and patience in the face of the problems of this world.[24]

Moreover, most of the moral virtues cannot be possessed except by disciplining one’s soul in order to cultivate such virtues in oneself. Therefore, given the fact that patience in the face of adversities is the essence of all human virtues and the key to success, one needs to cultivate it in oneself at all costs.[25]

The importance of showing patience has also been emphasized by Jesus Christ (‘a); he taught his followers the following:

“You will not achieve what you like unless through patience in the face of what you dislike.[26][27]

 

The Mundane World is merely a Pass not a Permanent Home

 

From the viewpoint of all divinely-sent religions, including Islam, this world is a transient one created for human beings to work hard and do good deeds in order to prepare themselves for their eternal life in the Hereafter. This is why Allah tests all human beings with different sorts of tests; these include ordering them to worship Him and obey His legislated law, refrain from following their carnal desires, and show patience in the face of tribulations which are inherent in the life of this world.

The reason behind these tests is that, by obeying their Lord and bearing the problems of this world patiently, human beings will elevate themselves spiritually and purify themselves in order to be ready for a blessed and felicitous eternal life in the Hereafter[28].

However, the glitter of this world and its short-lived pleasures usually deceive mankind from understanding the deeper function of them, i.e. that they are created merely as a means of trial and that they soon come to an end with the end of man’s worldly life.[29]

Thus, the capricious people find this transient and small world extremely attractive and become so fund of it that they will totally disregard the felicitous and never-ending life of the Hereafter which will be full of God-given bounties.[30]

It must be kept in mind that this world is just a means not the end; therefore, our task in this world is to use it in order to achieve a much greater goal. On the contrary taking this world as the end is a grave mistake which can cost mankind a prosperous eternal life in the Hereafter.

This fact has also been reflected in the teachings of Jesus Christ; in one of his teachings to his Disciples, Jesus Christ likened this world to a bridge which the people only cross, and which no sane man would build a house on:[31]

“The world is a bridge for you merely to cross; you are not to stop on it and try to build your life on it or be enthralled by its glitters.[32][33]

These remarks by Jesus Christ indicate that this world is not the place where man is supposed to build his life; rather, it is like a bridge that man must cross in order to arrive at his final destination.[34]

These remarks also show that the glitters of this world are enough for man to deceive himself or deceive others. Yet, the only people who will be deceived by this world are the ones who take this world as their ultimate goal and all they want is to enjoy its pleasures.

However, if the blessings of this world are used as a means for fostering great human values and achieving eternal felicity in the Hereafter, this world will turn in to a means through which one will secure a felicitous eternal life. In such a case, this world will be a veritable bridge leading man to a greater goal.[35]

Naturally, the people who fail to have a correct understanding of this world will take it as the ultimate goal of mankind instead of a road to a greater destination[36]. Therefore, such individuals will take this world as their only home and will fail to prepare themselves for their real home in the afterlife by striving to cultivate moral virtues in themselves[37].

 

A Sickness which Even Jesus Christ was Unable to Heal

 

Vanity and self-importance, as two of the negative character qualities of human beings, are indicative of ignorance and lack of knowledge. One thing which we all need to keep in mind is that man, with all his potentials and capabilities, is a weak being. He is so weak that a mosquito bite can cause him to get a fatal disease and die; he can also very easily die suffocating on food or drink.[38] 

Similarly, a powerful person with an important government position might be fired the next day and a person with a lot of wealth might go bankrupt overnight. So, how can a creature this weak be excessively proud of himself?!

What leads such a weak being to vanity and self-importance except ignorance and the lack of knowledge? Yet, perhaps the worst thing about an ignorant person who lacks enough knowledge is that such an individual is prone to all kinds of worldly and spiritual deviations[39].

This is because man’s lack of proper knowledge about himself leads him to think he is a mighty being, whereas if he comes to know himself better, he will realize he is nothing compared to the greatness of his Lord.[40]

It is through such understanding that man will realize that, no matter how hard he works and what great deeds he does, he will still have done very little compared with the huge bounties given to him by Allah. Only then will he realize the enormity of the responsibility he has toward his Lord and will, hence, be protected against such negative character qualities as vanity and self-importance[41].

Clearly, then, only an ignorant and stupid person will fall in to arrogance and self-importance.[42]

According to an interesting narrative, Jesus Christ once said:

“I have healed many sick people with incurable sicknesses; I have even brought the dead back to life by Allah’s leave. Yet, I have been unable to cure stupidity!”

His Disciples then asked him what the signs of stupidity were; he replied: “Vanity and self-importance are the distinguishing signs of stupidity; vanity causes man to think that he alone possesses all the valuable virtues and self-importance causes him to think that he is always right and that others have no right to have a say in anything.” Then Jesus Christ went on: “This is a kind of stupidity which cannot be cured.[43]

 

Conclusion: acting based on the Knowledge that one Possesses is the Key to One’s Success

 

According to the teachings of all monotheistic religions, “knowledge” together with acting based on it, and “conviction” together with “moral virtues” are the necessary means through which man can attain nearness to his Lord.[44]

None of these factors, when separated from the other, can help man develop toward perfection. For instance, knowledge with inaction or action without knowledge will entail catastrophic results.[45]

Based on a famous narrative, Jesus Christ once said: “I once saw a rock on which was written: “flip me” so I flipped it and I saw the following written on its back: “A person who does not act based on what he knows will be helpless in trying to gain the knowledge of what he does not know; therefore, what he knows will be totally useless.[46][47]

Obviously, then, knowledge which is not acted upon is destructive; according to Islamic traditions, a knowledgeable person who never put his knowledge in to practice for some worthy purpose will be so foul-smelling in Hell that the other inmates of hell cannot stand being near him.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon all human beings to strive for self-purification and to be an example for others not merely in words but in practice, just as the divine prophets and leaders were.[48]

 

Researched and edited by the news editorial of the website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s office.

 

www.makarem.ir

 

3 Visits: 2019/3/5 Published on:
A Critique of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  From the Perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

 Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The Historical Course of the Drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Necessity to Critique the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Denying the Creator of the Universe through Existentialism

The Dominance of the Liberal Notion of Freedom

Failure to Create a Balance between Rights and Responsibilities

Conclusion: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a Tool in the Hands of Imperialists

 

 

Introduction

 

In the world of today, beautiful words like “human rights” are used rather frequently and extensively[1]. Yet, these words are spoken most passionately by the corrupt superpowers, leading even some of the intellectuals to really believe that these powers follow the path of righteousness!

The fact of the matter, however, is that all of these beautiful words are used by the politicians merely as a cover for the crimes that they need to commit to achieve their ambitions.[2]   

Some might consider such a view a skeptic one, based on conspiracy theories. But in order to ascertain the veracity of this view, one only needs to take a closer look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A close examination of this declaration reveals several internal contradictions within and between some of its so-called human rights articles.[3]

 

The Historical Course of the Drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

The World War I and II, which resembled some sort of periodic insanity in the human world, had some awakening effects along with their widely devastating ones.[4]

Following the devastations of WWI, an international organization called the “League of Nations” aimed at maintaining world peace. However, it soon crumbled as WWII was sparked soon after and it was unable to accomplish its primary mission.[5]

Though the League of Nations was a failed attempt toward maintaining world peace, it provided the basis for the establishment of a relatively more successful international organization, i.e. the United Nations, after WWII. At its third session on 10 December 1948, the UN general assembly adopted an interesting document called the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”[6].       

 

The Necessity to Critique the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

Today, we live in a world where human rights are being violated and abused on a daily basis. This is while human rights were clearly depicted in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and are supposedly being enforced by the UN.

In fact, the Universal Declaration of Human rights has yielded reverse results, because it has been turned in to a tool in the hands of the corrupt superpowers to suppress and subdue other nations.[7] 

One of the reasons why the Universal Declaration of Human rights had been easily manipulated and abused by the superpowers toward advancing their selfish interests is that it has been drafted by a body of secular intellectuals[8]. Therefore, without consulting the divinely-sent religions it has put forth several articles which, although seem to aim at promoting human rights, have fundamental flaws.[9] 

 

It might not be easy for many to impartially yet critically review this declaration to get a clear picture of its flaws. But it is easy for everyone to understand the impartiality of this declaration when it comes to its specific view on the concepts of God, religion, and human being. Furthermore, this declaration presents a rather vague view of the concept of freedom and it is heavily influenced by the western theories of humanism which are not accepted by many nations.  

These problems which are inherent in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights further indicate the necessity to review it critically and improve it in ways that are acceptable by all nations and beliefs.[10]

It is noteworthy that some have tried to justify the problems in this declaration and other similar western intellectual products by referring to the conditions of the advanced western countries as the proof that these products actually work. They then try to pretend that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the result of the efforts made by these advanced countries in order to protect the dignity and rights of all human beings.[11]

However, no matter how optimistic one may be, one cannot miss the spirit of western humanism, egoism, aggression, imperialism, and cruel expansionism behind this hypocritical façade.[12]    

This is, in effect, one of the most serious dangers posed by the western civilization to the entire human world; western powers commits all sorts of inhuman crimes and atrocities under cover of these fair-seeming declarations and articles, making simple-minded people believe that they are actually helping other human beings![13]

Some might not easily accept that there are serious flaws in this western-concocted declaration, partly because no detailed review of it has ever been conducted[14]. Therefore, in the subsequent sections, we will present an in-depth review of this declaration in order to see whether the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is actually trying to protect human rights or not.[15] 

 

Denying the Creator of the Universe through Existentialism

 

Let us begin our discussion in this section by looking at the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

As it is clear, the first article of UDHR indicates that all human beings are born free, but it does not mention whether they have a creator and, if they do, what are their responsibilities toward Him.

When considered together with the other articles of this declaration, it becomes clear that the UDHR has been drafted with the total disregard of God; in other words, based on this declaration, the belief in God does not have any effect on human freedom or at least on the boundaries of his freedom.[16]

Indeed, when the existence of God is denied, doubted, or disregarded, human life will be restricted to this mundane life and his life in the hereafter will be denied and rejected. However, how would a person who has no fear of being held accountable before God fear accountability to their fellow human beings in this mundane life?[17]

Moreover, when human life is depicted merely as this mundane life which will one day end without any ultimate goal, what motives would drive human beings toward supreme human virtues and values and living based on them?

Under such conditions where no ultimate goal is considered for human life, the only thing which will be valued is “individual interests” which must be promoted at all costs. This is what Jean Paul Sartre has also confirmed:

“… under such conditions, human freedom will turn in to the only basis for values, dismissing all other justifications and values which humans might choose to believe in as unnecessary and useless.[18][19]

The renowned Shi’a cleric Shahīd Ṣadr has also referred to this flaw as follows:

“The European person has eyes only for earthly things [i.e. worldly pleasures], not for heavenly ones [i.e. for spiritual values and obedience to God].[20][21]

Today, in the Space Age, what grieves mankind the most is nihilism which is the result of denying God and the ultimate goal of human life which is defined based on monotheism. The emergence of the new philosophical schools such as existentialism is, in effect, a reaction to this pain and grief of mankind.[22]

The impartial intellectuals who visit the west confirm that, though the western people enjoy high living standards due to their economic and industrial development, they suffer from absurdity and nihilism. This is because they can find no meaning to life and so they feel that they are leading an aimless life which will soon end with death.[23]

Perhaps the reason why the western individual is constantly searching for new forms of pleasure and entertainment is this same sense of absurdity in life.[24] Now, in order to get a clear picture of this pain of mankind, let us take a closer look at some of the basic concepts of existentialism, one of the philosophical school that has emerged as a result of this pain.

One of the famous concepts in existentialism is the following:[25]

“Among all beings, only man understands of the concept of “existing” and is aware of his own existence. Moreover, just as the concept of “existence” is completely clear to man, the concept of “inexistence” is also clear and present in his mind alongside existence.

This means that we, as human beings, understand the inexistence of ourselves or other beings just as we understand the existence of ourselves and other beings.[26]

This concept indicates that, man is not only aware of his own existence, he is also perfectly aware of the possibility of his inexistence. As a result of his awareness of the notions of existence and inexistence, man constantly experiences some sort of anxiety and depression, and it is at this point that man falls prey to absurdity and nihilism. Jean Paul Sartre has made the following remarks with regard to the reason behind this feeling:

“Why have we come in to existence? What is the reason of our “being”? These are the questions for which we have no answer.[27]

A concept of human rights which is based on the concepts of “anthropocentrism”, “individuality”, and “self-possession” will naturally authorize the elimination of any obstacle to one’s freedom in general and freedom of choice in particular. This is clearly because man and nothing else is the focal point of this concept.[28]

These epistemic and philosophical challenges have emerged while in reality God is the owner of all that exists[29]. There are several Islamic teachings which corroborate this fact; one of the pieces of evidence in this regard is the Quranic verse “للَّهِ مَا فِى السَّماوَاتِ وَمَا فِى الْأَرْضِ”[30] [To Allah belongs whatever there is in the heavens and whatever there is in the earth]. This verse clearly indicates that God is the true owner of all beings and things in the entire universe and that man’s ownership of his own self and other things is merely delegated to him by God.[31]

Furthermore, there are various rational arguments which indicate that God is the only being who is necessarily existent by Himself and all other existing beings and things are in need of Him to exist; these arguments also lend support to the above-mentioned view.[32]

When one realizes that there is an All-wise God who has created all things, one clearly realizes that whatever He does has a reason and that He never does anything aimlessly.[33] This entails that man, who is a part of the created world, has been created with a specific purpose, just like the entire world and all that there is in it. Man begins his journey from the lowest level of existence and carries on toward the loftiest spiritual levels, on a path which leads him to attain nearness to God.[34]

To put it in a nutshell, religious belief involves the following:

The entire universe has originated from a source of boundless knowledge; it is like a huge volume of book which has been written based on some unbounded knowledge. Therefore, every single page, sentence, and even word of this book contains unimaginably great realities which need to be discovered, studied, and learned.[35]

Therefore, if one believes that this world has no knowledgeable Creator and that it has evolved as a result of non-intelligent mechanisms, i.e. through chance, luck, and natural factors, why then would one strive to uncover the secrets of the world?[36]

 

The Dominance of the Liberal Notion of Freedom

 

Today, mankind is chasing various mirages; one of the things which man vigorously pursues but finds that it is a mere mirage once he actually achieves it is what is promoted in the west as “freedom”.[37]

Like a thirsty person chasing every mirage in a dry desert in the hopes of finding water, the western individual is drawn toward the western notion of freedom, but when he actually finds it, he realizes that there is no true freedom in the west.[38] The notions of the right and the wrong are out of the question in the kind of freedom which is promoted in the west.[39]

But how could this epistemic crisis stem from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Let us take a quick look at the article 29 of this declaration before going on with this discussion:

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

It can be clearly understood from the second paragraph of this article that the only factor which can limit a person’s freedom and rights is where they might violate those of the other members of the community. This is because based on the principle of “self-possession”, a person’s life belongs to himself alone, not to God, the community, or the government, and he is, hence, entitled to do whatever he likes with it[40].[41]

Obviously, this article of the UDHR paved the way for the west to misuse the notion of freedom and to abandon the philosophy and wisdom behind the freedom of mankind.[42] This allowed the west to promote a version of human freedom which merely authorized the people to indulge freely in pleasure-seeking on the condition that they would not infringe other people’s rights![43]

The western intellectuals believe that whatever happens in the society and whatever the people want must be permitted, as long as it is not against the law, or an infringement of other people’s rights. They believe that it is up to the people themselves to decide whether what they want or do is bad or good.

Clearly, then, in such societies there is no place for moral teaching and guidance as a means of preventing perversion. This is because when the people want something it becomes permissible and allowable though it might be to their own detriment.[44]   

The message that the article 29 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights communicates is one is authorized to do whatever they like as long as what they do is not in violation of other people’s rights or privacy. Needless to say that by such standards, unrestrained sexual relations, prostitution, free trade at all costs, and licentiousness will be perfectly normal things[45].

This amoral system has affected the world to the extent where some countries have invested on sex tourism and prostitution as their main source of income.[46]

Freedom, in its western sense, is now so widely promoted and defended that a writer is authorized to write whatever he likes, even if it is considered blasphemous or obscene. By these standards, newspaper columnists and other writers are allowed to insult what millions of people hold as holy and if anyone tries to object, it will be considered a violation of the freedom of thinking, speech, and writing![47]    

These are all the consequences of the specific notion of human rights which is put forward by the UDHR which gives man total freedom in every aspects of his life.[48]

Ironically, the individuals who were responsible for drafting this declaration apparently gave precedence to the social life when it comes to “rights” but depicted human “responsibilities” on a personal level.

This is while one of the requirements for a prosperous society is that all its members must abide by their social responsibilities, in addition to their personal duties. In order for the people to be truly socially responsible, they must be free to develop morally and spiritually while being protected against all sorts of moral corruption. It is through this kind of freedom that the true human potentials are actualized.[49]   

Without doubt, such an approach has trampled the factors which strengthen human will which is a key factor in ensuring human success on both personal and social levels. For a long time, they have promoted the kind of freedom whose only result is the moral collapse of the society.

It must be kept in mind that, although mankind is granted freedom, he has social responsibilities which he must fulfill; therefore, his freedom is defined within the framework of his responsibilities and is limited by them.[50]   

 

Failure to Create a Balance between Rights and Responsibilities

 

Another serious shortcoming of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that it fails to create a proper balance between rights and responsibilities[51].[52] The UDHR has recognized a long list of rights for man but has, rather ill-advisedly, limited his responsibilities[53].  

This shortcoming stems from the fact that the UDHR takes the human being as the axial being in the world, not God. The reason behind this has been to give human beings more individual rights and to put aside the Divine ordainment.[54]

This is a clearly incorrect approach because this world is, by nature, a world of conflicting interests. Therefore, even in a true utopia where high levels of faith, piety, morality, and human virtues are the common characteristics of the people, differences in judgments and misunderstandings due to lack of proper knowledge will still be inevitable. That is to say, conflicts over personal rights of human beings are inevitable, unless their social and personal rights and responsibilities are divinely legislated and enforced.[55]   

In spite of this, we see today that humanism and individualism are governing the legal systems of secular societies, leading the legislation of the laws in human world toward induction and sensuality[56].

Based on this same approach, the rational yet non-material principles in the fields of ethics and law were dismissed as baseless, and these two fields have been developed solely based on sensible, physical, and empirical criteria. This has, in turn, led to the rejection of the pivotal role of the divinely-legislated social responsibilities of mankind[57].[58]

For instance, according to August Comte, public conscience must be the basis of the rules of law, and it should not be dismissed as baseless. He argues that, this is because it is possible to derive the principles which form the backbone of law through analyzing social events. These principles, he concludes, must then be considered binding as they are derived from the common practices of a wide range of human communities[59].[60]

This human-oriented view which permeates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is in sharp contrast with religions teachings which indicate that mankind’s freedom and freewill come with responsibilities. For instance, though man is granted personal freedom and freewill, he is responsible toward the society in which he lives. He also has certain duties regarding the protection and promotion of the divinely established social values.[61]

Therefore, the rightful legislator is God who has created man and is aware of all his physical and spiritual aspects as well as all the secrets of other beings. He is also aware of all the past and present events and their effects on the events of the present time.[62] 

Moreover, God is free of all sorts of mistakes, fears no one, has no shortcomings, and has no personal interests in the laws that He legislates; He has legislated all the laws only for the well-being of mankind. This makes God the best legislator for the legislation of the laws needed for the human world.

 Further, since it is proven that God alone is the worthiest of legislating laws for mankind, recognizing laws other than His are considered a sort of polytheism and straying away from the right way[63].

Thus, Islam has only recognized the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, the consensus of juristic opinion, and the rational faculty as sources from which the Revealed Law can be derived. This is because only these sources can reflect God’s will in legislating laws which show the boundaries of man’s rights and responsibilities.[64]

 

Conclusion: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a Tool in the Hands of Imperialists

 

A quick glance at the world of today shows that public awareness is raised regarding the true intentions behind beautiful words like the articles of the UDHR.[65]

Today, only simple-minded people still believe that the time of imperialism and colonialism is passed and that no one can enslave other nations any more.[66]

The existence of humanistic documents such as the UDHR are indicative of the far-reaching vision of the imperial powers who always planned for future challenges way before they actually arose. These powers knew that they would not be able to physically enslave nations and needed to dominate them in other, more subtle ways. Therefore, they transformed their hard power in to soft power and began dominating other nations through such internationally recognized documents.[67]

A proof as to the fact that the imperial powers are still dominating and enslaving other nations is that these powers are still brutally destroying any nation that stands up to them. They commit the same kinds of crimes against humanity that they used to a few centuries ago in much larger scales today though; they have only found new ways to justify them by referring to the documents that they themselves have drafted and forced upon other nations![68]

This new sort of imperialism is what sociologists refer to as “soft imperialism”, a much more effective tool in the hands of imperial powers to dominate and enslave other nations.[69]

 

5 Visits: 2019/3/4 Published on:
Hijab as a Rational Religious Practice From the Perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

Table of Contents


Introduction

The Lexical Meaning of Hijab

The Notion of Rationality

Hijab within the Framework of Man’s Original Nature

Hijab, a Product of Social Rationality

Hijab and Modesty as the Key Elements in Social Development

Strengthening the Institution of Marriage, the Most Important Social Function of Hijab

Conclusion: Hijab as the Protector of Female Dignity and Identity

 

Introduction

 

Indeed the essence of all divinely-sent religions is the same, making them all a single religion in nature. Yet, due to the development of human societies and the rise of new needs, the divinely-sent religions were also u p d a t ed until the last and the most comprehensive religion was sent down to mankind through the Seal of the prophets, Prophet Mohammad (ṣ)[1].

The philosophy behind the legislation of the Revealed Law is to ensure the well-being and ultimate prosperity of mankind by keeping them away from moral corruption[2]. The Revealed Law is also in complete agreement with the judgments of the rational mind and the intellectuals’ way of life.[3]

Therefore, although the Revealed Law has a divine origin, it is easily understandable and verifiable by human reason.[4] In other words, the divinely-sent laws are completely in line with the rational judgments of human reason and they never contrast them.[5]

Meanwhile, in order to further satisfy human reason, we need to explain the philosophy behind the revelation of the Revealed Law. This is because once human reason accepts that the Revealed Law is a necessity, he will from then on view it as a set of regulations necessary to regulate human life[6].  

One of the regulations in the Revealed Law is the one concerning Hijab. This is one of the indispensable parts of the Islamic Law[7] which has its roots in human emotions, reason, and intellect; it is also closely related to the realities of human life[8]. Therefore, if people consider the philosophy behind the legislation of Hijab and its numerous benefits, they will come to realize that it is to their own benefit.[9] 

Despite the undeniable benefits of Hijab for humans on both personal and social levels, some have tried to dismiss it as unnecessary falsely basing their arguments on rationalism.[10] On the other hand there are some who try to make unauthorized innovations in the issue of Hijab, adding regulations to it which do not exist in the Islamic Law. The quarrel between those who try to reject Hijab and those who try to make negative innovations in it has left the public confused as to what exactly is the truth about Hijab.[11]

This calls for a thorough explanation of the genuine Islamic law regarding Hijab and its firm rational basis.[12] This will hopefully make the motives to abide by it more powerful by elucidating the various personal and social benefits of the issue of Hijab.[13]

 

The Lexical Meaning of Hijab

 

The Arabic term “Hijab” is literally used to refer to something that veils something form something else. Therefore, it is a sort of covering which covers something in order to protect it from something.[14] Within the framework of Islamic Law, however, the term Hijab refers to the obligatory clothing that women need to wear in order to cover themselves from all non-Maḥram men.[15]

 

The Notion of Rationality

 

Human soul is a truly wondrous entity; part of human soul is his “intellect” and “reason” which are responsible for reasoning and thinking. Another part of human soul is the part which is “intuition” which is responsible for the kind of perceptions which are not based on reasoning or rational analyses.[16]  

This means that much of what makes up the human personality, consciousness, and self[17] is what he arrives at through rational thinking or intuitive understanding.[18] It is through these important inner powers[19] that man is able to understand the difference between good and bad and to find out the right course of action in every situation.[20]

Rationality is, in effect, a combination of intellectual reasoning with proofs inherent within one’s original nature.[21] It is a means for a deep understanding, a sort of apparatus inherent within all humans and an important source of inspiration and knowledge. It is the product of an unbreakable bond between “intuition” and “sound mind” which are all part of human soul.[22] 

Therefore, rationality is backed by the intellectual and intuitive powers of man. Moreover, since rationality is a means by which people seek knowledge, prosperity, and cognition,[23] it can also be considered the basis for self-awareness within the universal realm of consciousness.[24]

 

Hijab within the Framework of Man’s Original Nature


Islam is a divinely-sent religion which is in full compliance with man’s original nature; this is why it has been able to adequately identify and address all of the real needs of mankind.[25]

Accordingly, the laws of Islam are also based on fixed principles which are fully consistent with mankind’s original nature[26]; therefore, all of the rules in the Revealed Law have roots in man’s original nature.[27]   

Hijab, as an indispensable part of the Islamic law, is also in full agreement with man’s reason, original nature, and even instincts.[28] It is a need and a drive inherent within man’s soul and nature which cannot be denied; one of the proofs as to this claim comes from the story of Adam and Eve.[29]

According to this story, which is referred to in the Quran too, when Adam and Eve were cast out of Paradise, they lost their covers and were left naked, so they immediately and rather instinctively began covering their private parts with leaves of trees. This is a clear indication that Hijab has roots in mankind’s original nature.

The holy Quran has narrated this story as follows:

فَلَمّا ذاقَا الشّجَرَهَ بَدَتْ لَهُما سَوْآتُهُما وَ طَفِقا يَخْصِفانِ عَلَيْهِما مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ[30] 

“And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts were uncovered to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of Paradise to use as a cover over their bodies.”[31]

The fact that Adam and Eve were ashamed of being naked and immediately began covering themselves although there was no one else present there indicates that the need for Hijab is a feeling inherent within man’s nature. It also shows that the issue of Hijab is not something which has been legislated by Islam or any other religion; it is a practice which goes back to the time of Adam and Eve.[32]

History shows that humans always tried to cover themselves in some way[33], a tradition which has undergone little change throughout history and across various nations and communities in the world.[34]

Furthermore, the historical evidence which is found in history references, historical monuments and ins c r i p tions indicates that Hijab has been a customary practice of women in almost all of the nations of the world with different cultures and religions. These historical proofs also indicate that, though there were some ups and downs in the practice of Hijab throughout history, mostly due to the policies of the rulers, it has, nonetheless, never been wiped out entirely.[35]

Historical accounts suggest that the women’s covering has been more complete in certain nations, including in the ancient Persia, Greece, and some Indian peoples. Yet, regardless of how perfectly they covered themselves, historical accounts indicate that most of the ancient nations abided by it. Historical proofs also indicate that there were very few primitive communities in which women would appear publicly without proper covering or without any covering at all.[36]

This shows that the passing of time, the policies of rulers and other factors were unable to eliminate or distort this inherent human drive.[37] This is not to rule out environmental factors as totally ineffective; the environment, culture, specific ways of child up-bringing, and the propaganda against Hijab were able to temporarily attenuate or eliminate this feeling in certain communities.

However, as soon as the conditions have changed and the above-mentioned factors were eliminate, the original nature of the people has regained control of things and restored the original and natural lifestyle of mankind.[38] 

Therefore, deviation from man’s original nature is always transient and temporary; this is something which is evident today even in the western countries where the idea of the total freedom of mankind is promoted and where Hijab in its correct form is rejected. Even in such countries some basic form of Hijab is obligatory and is even enforced by the law.[39]

This inherent set of guidelines which man is invested with are so important and decisive in ensuring the well-being of mankind that they are incomparable to any other blessings given to mankind.[40]

 

Hijab, a Product of Social Rationality


It is natural and rational for human beings to be drawn to social life, because it is through a prosperous society that individuals can develop, overcome the challenges of life, and actualize their potentials.[41]

However, social life is not without problems and challenges; therefore, every sound mind would admit that, in order to overcome social challenges and problems, every society requires an advanced law and legal system. It is through such a system that social rationality is enhanced and the social and moral values are upheld. Such a law and legal system is also necessary for protecting the society against anarchism.[42]  

Hijab is one of the laws which is enforced for the purpose of safeguarding the values of the society by preventing moral corruptions from spreading in human societies.[43] Hijab is a part of a major plan of Islam for developing human societies in to safe and secure environments for all the people. Islam believes that in order to reform a society and turn it in to a safe environment for all of its members, the sexual needs of the people need to be properly and lawfully satisfied.[44]

Christians, however, has made Hijab peculiar for the monks and nuns because it has made marriage prohibited for them; it is a negative innovation created based on the claim that Jesus Christ never got married. Yet, it should be noted that Jesus Christ’s life on earth was rather short. According to history, he lived for thirty years among the people, and he dedicated all his adult life to the promotion of Christianity, traveling from town to town to guide the people. This shows that he merely did not have the opportunity and the time for marriage.[45]

This negative innovation by Christians is rejected by all divinely-sent religions on the grounds that family life is the basis of a prosperous society and society is a must for the spiritual and material development of mankind. Therefore, all other religions have emphasized the institution of marriage and have encouraged their followers to get married.[46]

Therefore, practicing a distorted version of Hijab within the framework of monasticism is, in effect, a rejection of social rationality, as it is a means of isolation and seclusion from the society. In this sense, Hijab is used not as a protecting mechanism within the society but as a way of secluding oneself from the society and disregarding one’s social responsibilities. The result of such negative innovations will be widespread corruption similar to what has plagued monasteries and churches today.[47]

On the other hand there are some who flatly reject Hijab as they only view man as a being with merely physical and psychological characteristics and needs, but without any spiritual aspects. For instance, the western psychologist, Sigmund Freud, who placed great importance on the physical and psychological aspects of human beings, rejected Hijab as an obstacle to the satisfaction of sexual desires on which he placed inordinately tremendous importance[48].

According to Freud, the elimination of Hijab would pave the way for human instincts to be satisfied and this was what the west actually did. Today, corruption has ravaged the west due to the inordinate emphasis placed on the satisfaction of unrestrained sexual desires and it is a problem which cannot be covered up.[49]

It should be noted that the law of Hijab and monasticism are two completely different things. The laws of Hijab are not put in place in order to suppress the natural desires of mankind. They are put in place to prevent the unrestrained sexual relations and corruption and to channel human instincts in ways that his desires are satisfied lawfully[50] and within the boundaries of marriage.[51]

 

Hijab and Modesty as the Key Elements in Social Development


The materialistic schools of thought claims that the most fundamental flaw in the law of Hijab is that it causes half of the society, namely women, to be excluded from social practices. This, they claim, will keep them away from proper intellectual and cultural development.[52]

Furthermore, these schools state that since in the present time the industry and economy of the world is thriving, there is a greater need for active workforce; however, Hijab is an obstacle to the employment of women in industries, turning half of the society in to inactive consumers and an encumbrance on the society.[53]  

In response to these false claims it should be said that, just as wearing proper clothes for work is not a hindrance for men or women, maintaining proper Hijab is also not an obstacle to women’s work. Moreover, Hijab does not restrict women’s freedom just as wearing clothes is not considered a restriction of the people’s freedom in any society.[54]

Today, Muslim women take part in all social events and work in most of the jobs that men do while maintaining their proper Hijab.[55] This further refutes the claim that Hijab prevents women from taking up social roles.

In fact, Hijab not only does not prevent women from assuming their social responsibilities, it paves the way for their effective presence in the society by creating a safe environment for both men and women. This way, all the members of the society, regardless of their gender, can assume their responsibilities and work to improve the society in all aspects.[56]

As it was discussed above, the proponents of sexual freedom claim that Hijab is an unnecessary hindrance to the social activities of the machine era.[57] Yet, they have neglected the fact that Hijab is just a kind of clothing for women and, like the proper clothing worn by men, it does not hinder their social and economic undertakings.

In fact, history indicates that in the distant past, women were the pioneers in agriculture and taming the cattle to be used by humans. It should be noted that in the past women wore proper clothing while working, very much like the Hijab which is promoted by Islam. This shows that women in the past worked and took part in social undertakings while preserving their feminine identity through Hijab.[58]

One thing that should not be forgotten here is the important role of women as mothers who are responsible for the upbringing of the next generation of men and women who will be responsible for protecting and developing the society. Therefore, the social responsibilities of women must not overshadow their important responsibilities to their families, and in particular, to their children.[59]

 

Strengthening the Institution of Marriage, the Most Important Social Function of Hijab


Statistics indicate that, with the spread of sexual freedom and the rejection of Hijab, the rate of divorce has increased dramatically and more families are falling apart every day. This is because by rejecting the Hijab, women were gradually turned in to “sexual commodities” in the free market world, something which is clearly devastating to the institution of marriage as it renders it meaningless.[60]

So it all comes down to two fundamental questions: should women enter a never-ending competition with one another over the erotic potentials of their bodies, turning themselves in to veritable sex toys for the gratification of men’s lust in the society? Or should they restrict their sexual practices within the bounds of marriage, and appear in the society as human beings who are valued for their work, art, and skill, not for their sex?[61]

It should be kept in mind that human is a social being and is, hence, in need of getting married and having a family since family is the building block of the society. Therefore, it is impossible for human beings to lead a natural and normal life without being part of a family.[62]

The institution of marriage is a response to the social needs of mankind and a way of ensuring their persona and social well-being; it is an irrevocable rule and an unchangeable reality as it is deeply rooted in human nature.[63]

Islam believes that Hijab is a protecting shield for the institution of marriage; it strengthens the family through strengthening sexual imagination of the couples and prevents marriage and sexual desires from being robbed of their attractiveness and function.[64]

Moreover, Hijab is an effective means with which the boundaries the family are established[65] in order to prevent intruders from overstepping them.[66] This way, the positive male jealousy and female modesty will be activated, leading both the wife and the husband to protect the boundaries of their marital life, preventing others from overstepping them.[67]

Obviously, then, a lack of proper Hijab will not only cause insecurity for families, it will create constant sexual tensions within the society, leading to various psychological disorders and undermining the institution of marriage.[68]

Therefore, Islam as a religion whose laws are in full agreement with the rational mind has restricted all forms of sexual gratification, including visual and audial as well as touching and having intercourse to the boundaries of marriage. It has then prohibited all extramarital sexual relations as grave sins which could endanger the safety of the society. It has then legislated the law of Hijab in order to ensure that all sorts of sexual activities are confined within the boundaries of marriage and only between husbands and wives and that the society is protected against perversion.[69]   

 

Conclusion: Hijab as the Protector of Female Dignity and Identity 


In the end, it should be noted that women have had very bitter experiences throughout history;[70] they have been deceived by the beautiful motto of gender equality whose only outcome has been turning women in to objects for the sexual gratification of men.[71]

Encouraging women to appear half-naked or without proper Hijab in the society is, in effect, a way of humiliating them, as it communicates the message that they have no other worth except their sexual functions.[72]

Theories such as gender equality and feminism have degraded the woman and feminine identity; the proponents of these views have encouraged women to appear without proper covering in the society and to wear make-up in order to be more sexually attractive to men.[73]

This way, the women would waste all their sexual attractiveness in different unlawful sexual relations, turning themselves in to veritable sexual commodities and toys, losing their worth as a capable and competent human being in the society.[74]

How can a woman, who has is constantly preoccupied with how sexually attractive she appears to men, have any chance for elevating herself spiritually, scientifically, and morally?[75]

Obviously, issues such as gender equality and feminism are in contradiction with female dignity and identity, because they fail to account for the various physical, emotional, and intellectual differences between women and men. It should be kept in mind that the differences between men and women are by no means an indication of the superiority of one over the other. Men and women are both competent and capable members of the society who, based on their different physical, emotional, and intellectual differences need to assume different social responsibilities.[76]

Islam has always avoided going to extremes in its laws; it has legislated the law of Hijab merely in order to protect the female dignity and identity in the society[77]and to prevent women from turning in to objects of sexual gratification for men. This way, women could be viewed as human beings, regardless of their sex, and they could take on their social responsibilities, helping to establish social rationality in the society.[78]

 

Researched and edited by: the news editorial of the website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s office.

www.makarem.ir

5 Visits: 2019/3/3 Published on:
NECESSITIES AND OBLIGATIONS IN RELATION TO THE CYBERSPACE ACCORDING TO THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHARAZI

In the past few days, a new version of the website of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī’s office has been unveiled. The practical guidelines mentioned by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the internet have shown the importance which he places in regards to this relatively new technology and the key role which the internet can play in spreading the pure teachings of Shia Islam. Let us now delve in to the viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to certain necessities and obligations which we all have in relation to the internet. This is particularly important for those who are leaders in this nation, particularly those who are in charge of regulating the internet. The most important of these practical obligations are as follows:


The Unbreakable Link between Cultural Elements and Economic and Political Issues


There is no doubt that spreading the teachings of Shia Islam through the internet is one of the most important cultural issues of our time. We must recognize the importance of this issue and we must furthermore recognize that cultural issues have a direct link to economic and political issues within a given society as well. Similarly, if cultural elements are defective, then the economic and political situation of a given nation will also suffer from numerous problems. In light of this important issue, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated: ‘We believe that cultural issues influence political and economic issues, while political and economic issues also influence cultural issues in turn.’


In light of this understanding and the current cultural situation in our nation, we must recognize that our cultural environment is quite unsuitable at the current time. Among the means which have influenced the cultural climate are satellite dishes and the internet; these two things have proven to be a veritable poison for our youth.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also spoken about various cultural problems such as late marriages, an increase in the divorce rate, a lack of modesty, etc… The rise of these issues makes the matter of confronting the dangers posed by the internet even more important.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: ‘We have an Islamic government at hand and we believe that if morality disappears or becomes corrupted, then this will bring about numerous problems for our society. So we must ask ourselves why the divorce rate has increased so much? Why are less and less people getting married, and that at later ages? Why have husbands become suspicious in regards to their wives and wives have become suspicious in regards to their husbands? Among the important causes of these problems are the internet and satellite dishes! ’


Grabd Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued and said: ‘The lack of modesty and  the spread of licentousness, have shaken the foundations of the family. When we advise people in regards to such things we tell them that we are feeling for you and this is why we are advising you; this is something which is for your own good. We must carefully observe the various cultural issues and begin to advise the people who are around us or those whom we can influence in a positive manner. Sometimes, doing so may have a cost, but we will pay these costs. When we examine the internet and various satellite channels, it is clear that the enemies, as well as the licentious individuals are constantly busy in polluting them and making them a means of corruption. These corrupt individuals make use of various sites, satellite channels, and even mobile phones in poisoning the minds of the public. Therefore, we must also take more vigorous actions, enter the field whole heartedly, and neutralize these evil initiatives.’


The Necessity of Proper Utilization of  the Internet--- A Necessary Strategy in Fighting the ‘Soft War


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the internet is one of the most important tools in the modern era and it is neither possible, nor even advisable, to stop people from uti-lizing it. We must do whatever is possible to reclaim this technology and advance it even further. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then mentioned that the internet possesses the potential of being destructive or of being constructive. He has then added, saying: ‘Even though the initial developers of the internet outside of our country wish to utilize it to undermine our religious beliefs, we must make use of this technology, which can both be a source of guidance or misguidance for our families, in the correct and proper way.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further added: The enemies wish to use these new technologies to corrupt the entire world. Since there is nothing which has more influence upon the new generation than the internet, it is therefore necessary to combat the evils through the powerful culture of Islam and use the cultural teachings of this great faith in confronting the initiatives of the enemy.


The Necessity of Unity between the Technological and Cultural Leaders of the Nation and the Supreme Council of Cyberspace


One of the obvious and undeniable strategies which can be employed in this issue is the cooperation and unity of all the various government institutions with the Supreme Councile of Cyberspace. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized that: ‘It is necessary that the leaders of the various government institutions place any plans they have in relation to the use of the internet at the disposal of the  Supreme Councile of Cyberspace, which is the legal authority in such matters, and they should implement them only after the elimination of the negative aspects of such plans.’


The Necessity of Creating a Nationwide Domestic Internet


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī believes that the creation of a domestic internet will help to confront the negative cultural aspects being spread by the enemies on the internet of today. He has stated that: ‘The reality is that a domestic internet can help to resolve many of the issues we are facing. It is necessary that our leaders sit down with the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and (resolve this issue), for if they do not, we will face many problems in the future.’


The Necessity of Spreading Information on the Internet


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī believes that an important issue relates to the spread of information through the internet (particularly by various government institutions) and it is his opinion that such a thing will prove beneficial to the media services of the Muslims and Shias. He has stated that: ‘The spreading of information will attract ever more attention and it will bring us closer to our goals in regards the promotion of the Islamic teachings.’


Refraining from Inactivity in the Cyberspace--- a Fundamental Principle in Benefitting from the Internet


It is evident that our inactivity in the face of the media activities of the Arrogant Superpowers has caused various problems and dangers which are in turn negatively manifested in the greater culture around us. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized the necessity of abstaining from such inactive approaches and he has stated: ‘After the Islamic victory and the awakening, and the issues which were initiated in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, the activities of the enemies of Islam entered a wholly new phase. This phase involves the internet and today, everyone can witness the fight by various world leaders against the religion of Islam. The reason behind this is that today, the last enemy of these individuals is true Islam.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then further explained the duties of the scholars in this regard and he has stated: ‘The duties of the Muslim scholars are heavier than ever for the attacks by the current enemies are much braoder in scope. Due to this reason we shouldn’t fall in to a state of inaction and say that the enemies are too many and there is no way to combat their mass media platforms. Instead, we must say that the power of Islamic culture has prepared the way for progress and advancement and so we must move forward with proper planning and transform the dangers of the internet in to opportunities.’


The Necessity of Utilizing Modern Day Technology in regards to the Internet


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the following in regards to utilizing modern day technology in regards to the internet: ‘We are not opposed to technology. Not only are we not opposed to it but we consider it a necessary means for achieveing our goals.’  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then stated: ‘We have a tradition that states that if knowledge is located on the Pleiades, a group amongst the Iranians will bring it down. During the time when the Islamic world was undergoing its golden age, the Europeans were undergoing their Dark Ages.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then delved in to the importance of pursuing Islamic morality and abiding by the red lines of the Islamic government and the religion itself in relation to Western technology. He has stated: ‘We defend technology wholeheartedly and no one should imagine that we are opposed to it. At the same time, Western technology in its current form is much like muddy water which is unsuitable for drinking. Water is of course a means of life but when it is polluted, it must first be filtered.


The Western world doesn’t believe in religious or moral principles when it comes to technology but we do and we believe in a certain red line in regards to it. We believe that such technology must be first purified and refined.’  In a world where technology reigns supreme, it is necessary for us to use the best forms of it in the promotion of the truth. It is necessary that we utilize this technology for the promotion of morality and spirituality.


Placing More Importance on Translation and the Learnign of Foreign Languages --- An Important Strategy in Promoting the Teachings of Shia Islam on the Internet


There is no question that the ablitiy to speak foreign languages and translated religious text in to such languages is an essential capability that the Islamic missionaries need to possess. Such foregin language skills are particularly important in light of the emergence of the new types of media which are appearing on the internet. Accordingly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has referenced a tradition from Imam Ṣādiq (ʿa) in regards to the necessity of increasing the foreign language skills  of the Islamic missionaries and seminary students.


The Ayatollah has spoken in regards to the need for more translation works through which the teachings of Islam can be better propagated. In a tradition from Imam Ṣādiq (ʿa), it has been narrated that a time will come when knowledge will spread from Qom to the various corners of the world. In light of the times that we live in and the technology which exists, it must be stated that the words of Imam Ṣādiq (ʿa) are a clear reason behind the need for translating the Islamic teachings in to various foreign languages, as well as engaging in learning these various languages ourselves.


The Jurisprudential Principal of Al Maysūr[1] --- A Practical Guide for a Constant and Effective Online Presence


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved in to the broader necessity of utilizing modern day technologies and he has also touched upon the jurisprudential concept of Maysūr and how it plays a role in this regard. He has stated: ‘In this field, we must work based on the jurisprudential concept of Maysūr. This means that we should do what we are capable of and we shouldn’t totally discard our duties based on the excuse that we are not able to carry out our duties in this regard completely ; we must never cut short our presence in this field.’
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then stated: ‘This principle also rules in morally based issues and up to whatever point possible, we must prepare the grounds for enj o i ning the good and forbidding the evil. Just like we have made use of the presence of scholars in various fields (including on the internet), we must use this field even more until we can expand the presence of religious individuals and institutions for an even greater level of consultation and the answering of questions. ’


Propagating the Teachings of Shia Islam is one of the Most Important Undertakings on the Internet


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has considered the propagation of Shia teachings through the medium of the internet as a source of great blessings and he considers this propagation as a key guideline for success. He has stated: ‘You should know that in spite of all of the destructive activities of the enemies of Islam, the efforts which are made in promoting the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) through the internet and mass media can have a great effect overall.’


Transforming Threats in to Opportunities on the Cyberspace through the Utilization of the Potential Offered by the Islamic Seminary and the Universities


Some of the individual and independent initiatives which arise from the propagators of Shia Islam can be very effective in and of themselves. However, making use of the enormous capabilities of the Islamic seminary and the university system can have an exponentially greater effect, particularly in regards to the digital and virtual fields. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: ‘A group of researchers and experts in the Seminary (as well as outside of the seminary) must look in to the methods of confronting the Western media onslaught which is taking place through the cyberspace and other forms of mass media.


This is particularly important in regards to the threats which are seen on the internet, as well as the anti Islamic propaganda which are being spread by the media of the enemies. Such propaganda is witnessed on a 24/7 basis all across the Islamic world.’  The Ayatollah has also stated that: ‘The cyberspace must be pulled towards education and training so that the people may be properly guided. Towards such an end, it is necessary to consult with the Islamic seminarians (and other experts in this field) and seek their active guidance.’


The Necessity of Managing the Internet for the Better Guidance of the Youth and the Strengthening of the Family Unit


There is no doubt that if the youth spend their time on the internet without having the necessary prerequisite Islamic knowledge, they will become afflicted with various serious moral and socially based problems. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has presented the necessary guidelines for guiding the youth in their use of various media and the internet; he has particularly focused on social media platforms. In this regard, he has mentioned the necessity of proper management for these new communication technologies for the better guidance of the youth and the strengthening of the family unit. He stated in this regard that: ‘Since the youth possess pure hearts, it is the duty of the leaders to draw a correct and beautiful picture on these hearts and so we must utilize these technologies, which can guide people or misguide them, in a correct manner. It must be recognized that these technologies cannot be stopped from entering the homes and so these technologies must be guided in the proper direction so that they bring about the proper growth and development in the next generation.’


Religious Creativity is one of the Greatest Needs in regards to the Internet


Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further delved in to the necessity of being more active (in relation to the religious propagators) on the internet and he has stated: ‘Sufficing with a limited number of religious initiatives and activities will cause a veritable retreat; rather, we must move forward.’ The Ayatollah has further added: ‘Every day and every year, we must make sure that our religious activities on the internet are combined with creativity and innovation.’

 

A Final Word


In the end, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī stated that righteousness and success in the human society is conditionally based upon the efforts of the leaders in utilizing the new tech-nology which has come about and the efforts of the Muslims who strive to do cultural work in the field of cyberspace and who see their work as something which they are paying forward for their afterlife. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that: ‘The disseminators of corruption are quite active in our world of today and so the disseminators of righteousness and truth must stand up against them in opposition and they must make use of all of the new technologies which they have at hand.’


In addition,  since the aim of the propagators of the Islamic teachings guide the people and prevent them from being misguided by intellectual and ideological deviations on the internet, these types of initiatives must be seen asgood deeds which are to be rewarded on the Day of Judgment.

 

1174 Visits: 2017/1/5 Published on:
THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE SAUDI FAMILY IN MANAGING THE TWO HOLY SHRINES ACCORDING TO GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The tragedy of what took place at Mina, with thousands of dead pilgrims and more than 460 of them being from our nation (Iran), has shown the depths of the incompetence and lack of management of the Wahhabi led Saudi regime. It has furthermore shown us how necessary it is to change the management which is in charge of the Two Holy Shrines. Without any doubt, the tragedy of Mina must be looked at as the massacre of Muslims during the Ḥajj pilgrimage since what led to this issue was the lack of management and incompetence of the Saudi regime. The first incident that took the life of a number of pilgrims was the falling of the crane and it was soon after followed by the stampede  at Mina which caused the death of thousands of Hajj pilgrims from various Muslim countries.


It must be acknowledged that the tragedy of Mina took place at a time when many Muslim authorities around the world, including Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, were already speaking out about the necessity of changing the leadership in charge of the Ḥajj pilgrimage, as well as the need to create a better set of plans for the fulfillment of certain pilgrimage rites, such as the ‘stoning of the Jamarāt’. Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has continuously emphasized the incompetence and unworthiness of the Saudi family in managing the Two Holy Shrines; some of the more important excerpts of the Ayatollah’s words are presented below.


The Unfairly Prejudiced Conduct of the Saudis in the Management of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage--- an Adverse Outcome of the Wahhabis’ Control over the Two Holy Shrines


The tragedy of Mina has clearly shown that the Saudi response to it (and their very attitude towards the Ḥajj pilgrimage overall) waspolitically-motivated and very prejudiced in nature. The attitude of the Saudi officials and their treatment of the injured Iranians in the city of Mecca after what happened in Mina have made manifest the hostile nature of the Suadi policies against the pilgrims of various countries, particularly those who are Iranian or Shia. These are pilgrims who have gathered for the Ḥajj rites in the House of Allah and this is no small matter.


In light of this issue, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has condemned the politically based Wahhabi and Saudi response and he has stated: ‘Neither the Wahhabis, nor any other group, has the right to impose their ideas or interpretation of faith on others. I will again emphasize that they only have a duty towards organizing the outer aspects of the Ḥajj pilgrimage, as well as providing proper security and creating conveniences for the usage of the pilgrims. They do not have the right to make this holy city a propaganda center for themselves. It is interesting to note that the Saudi King calls himself the ‘Servant of the Two Holy Shrines’ and not as the ‘Ruler of the Two Holy Shrines’. Therefore, why do the Wahhabi and Salafi scholars see themselves as the ‘Rulers of the Two Holy Shrines’ while they consider obedience to their leader as something which is religiously obligatory.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has similarly emphasized that it is necessary for the Saudi leaders to treat the Iranian pilgrims in a good and positive manner and he has stated: ‘The issues related to the Ḥajj pilgrimage should not have anything to do with our politics or the politics of Saudi Arabia. The Ḥajj pilgrimage runs on its own course and it is clear that any kind of positive action from the Ḥajj department of Saudi Arabia will have beneficial political consequences as well.’  On the other hand, the  obvious misconduct of the Saudi regime in relation to the Iranian pilgrims has proven the incompetence and lack of managerial skills of the Saudi regime (which is in reality an abject servant of America). Let us now delve in to some pieces of evidence in regards to the incompetence of the Saudi government in relation to their management of the Ḥajj pilgrimage according to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.


The Collapse of the Crane in the Holy Mosque--- A Clear Indication of the Incompetence of the Saudi Government in Managing the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


 The repeated statements of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the incompetence and unworthiness of the Saudi regime in managing the Two Holy Shrines is a valuable guideline in regards to this issue. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has definitively spoken in regards to the inability (which appears to increase every single day) of the Saudi government in managing the Ḥajj pilgrimage and after the collapse of the crane in the Holy Mosque (which led to the deaths of many pilgrims, including eleven Iranian pilgrims), the Ayatollah has openly stated that this event shows that the Saudi regime is not capable of managing the Two Holy Shrines. He has also criticized the lack of planning of the Saudis and has stated: ‘ Which rational mind would place a crane above the Kaaba during a time when millions of people have come to visit the Holy House whereby a storm can knock it down and kill or wound 290 people?’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also criticized the Saudi government for their construction works in the Two Holy Shrines which are unsuitable during the time of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and he has mentioned that these types of construction works are further evidence of the incompetence of the Saudi leadership in managing the Ḥajj pilgrimage. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that: ‘You have endangered the lives of many people by placing not just one crane, but multiple numbers of them in a place where millions of people are visiting, and you have done this without abiding by the necessary safety standards. You should have at least moved these cranes during this one month (for the Ḥajj) and you could have then moved them back in to place after the Ḥajj was finished. What sort of management is this? What sort of rationale is this? The Holy Mosque is a place of safety and security and none of these pilgrims shouldhave been killed and injured because of a lack of planning and management!’
This tragedy was soon followed by the tragedy of Mina, which was something also caused by the lack of experience and negligence of the Saudi government. The Saudis lacked the necessary experience and so various main roads and side roads were closed down, leading to the deaths of many innocents. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has therefore condemned the lack of management of the Saudi government during the Ḥajj pilgrimage and he has emphasized the necessity of involving others (such as various Muslim scholars from all around the Islamic world) in the management of the Hajj pilgrimage. The Ayatollah has stated: ‘What sort of wisdom is this that you have? It is necessary that you consult with the notables and the scholars of Islam from various parts of the Islamic world. These large towers must be demolished so that the awe-inspiring aura of the Holy Mosque is not overshadowed by them.’


The Changing of the Management of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage and the Two Holy Shrines through Active Diplomacy


It should be noted that even though the direct role and responsibility of the Saudi government is apparent in the deaths of the Ḥajj pilgrims from various Islamic countries, still, it is evident that the words of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī must be placed in great im-portance by those who are in charge of managing the Ḥajj pilgrimage. This is particularly true after the revolutionary statement of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the inability of the Saudi government in managing the Two Holy Shrines after the collapse of the crane in the Holy Shrine.  


It would be a good idea if the respected leaders of the Ḥajj and Pilgrimage Organization (of Iran) would do more diplomatically (in cooperation with other nations) towards increasing pres-sure on the managerial organizations of the Saudi government in charge of the Ḥajj pilgrimage in order that they resolve the various issues which led to the two tragedies of this year. The reality is that nothing effective or suitable has been done thus far in rectifying the errors which led to these tragedies. If the government officials and those in charge of the Ḥajj affairs would utilize diplomacy in regards to the pilgrimage and make it conditional on the initiation of certain reforms, thereby abiding by the recommendations made by Grand Ayatollah Khamenei and other religious authorities (particularly Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī), then the Saudi government would feel sufficiently pressured to enact these reforms and this would lessen the chances of such occurrences in the future. Unfortunately, the recommendations of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī were not implemented by those in charge of these affairs. In addition, the emphasis placed by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī on the inability of the Saudi government in managing the Ḥajj pilgrimage during the crane collapse in the Holy Mosque was not followed up by the authorities either.


Dishonorable Behavior at the Jeddah Airport- another Result of the Incompetence of the Saudi Government in Managing the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


The sorrowful tragedy which took place at the Jeddah Airport is one of the clear signs of the incompetence of the Saudi government in relation to the management of the Ḥajj pilgrimage. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has furthermore stated in this regard: ‘Our question to those in charge of the Ḥajj pilgrimage is whether the recommended (Mustaḥab) pilgrimage is one which we must attend at any cost? I don’t want to bring forward the issue of banning the Ḥajj (the recommended ones) but must we go at any price and at the cost of being disgraced?’


Indeed, the lack of safety and security at the Holy Shrines in Mecca and Medina in the past few months has clearly shown us the incompetency of the Wahhabi led government in managing the Two Holy Shrines. From this perspective, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has outlined certain harms and he has emphasized the necessity of establishing security and safety in these holy places. He has addressed the responsible parties in Saudi Arabia, stating: ‘I am telling those responsible in Saudi Arabia that you have built some massive construction works in Mecca and Medina but what is most important is the issue of safety and security. This is particularly true of the safety of the hajjis as regards sexual harassment. If safety does not exist at the Jeddah airport, then how can safety exist in the streets and alleyways of Mecca and Medi-na?’


The demands of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the conditions of the Ḥajj pilgrimage show the necessity of protecting the honor of the Islamic system in all arenas of life, particularly that of the Ḥajj pilgrimage. In light of this issue, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has officially stated the necessity to ban the recommendable ʿUmrah  pilgrimage . He has stated: ‘If the security of the international airport is not established, what will the people of the world say about us. We have told our own parties responsible for such issues that they shouldn’t pass by such things easily and they must sit down and think for how long must we attend these rec-ommendable pilgrimages? We must not accept any and all insults for the fulfillment of such recommendable actions.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also stated that: ‘The Late Imam (Khomayni) brought about honor and dignity for the nation through the Islamic revolution… In any case, the incident which took place at the Jeddah Airport is not an incident which we can overlook easily. We are hopeful that all of our initiatives will be developed in a way to protect our honor and dignity. Whenever we see that such is not the case, we will leave them aside!’  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has repeatedly emphasized that the Saudi government is not competent enough to manage the Two Holy Shrines and he has mentioned that it is necessary that we look at the Ḥajj pilgrimages overall in a new light. The incompetence of the Saudis was made even more manifest at the Ḥajj pilgrimage of this year with the collapse of the crane in the Holy Mosque and the stampede disaster at Mina, whereby thousands of pilgrims from various countries were killed, with many Iranians amongst them.


Proper Jurisprudential Management at the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


It is evident that refraining from creating a packed crowd and confused conditions is one of the guidelines which the scholars of Islam, particularly Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, have emphasized. These scholars have given jurisprudential rulings which are in line with the circumstances of our time and the circumstances of the specific place in question in the best manner possible. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in regards to this issue that: ‘It goes without saying that the potential of jurisprudence to meet the new needs that arise in various times and places  never runs counter to the essential and foundational rulings of the Quran or the prophetic Sunnah. The reality is that the secondary rulings of the religion change based on the time and place and this all goes under the overall guiding principles of the primary Islamic guidelines. The actual foundational essence of the religion remains the same whatever the change in the secondary rulings.’


The occurrence of numerous and continuous problems at the ‘Stoning of theJamarāt’ ritual has only shown us how incompetent the Saudi government really is in regards to the management of the Ḥajj pilgrimage. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved in to this issue and he has said: ‘Unfortunately, the ritual of sacrificing an animal at the Ḥajj pilgrimage is being done in an unsuitable fashion during our time period. The scholars of Islam must intellectually exert themselves in regards to this issue, since the problems which take place at the ‘Stoning of the Jamarāt’ ritual or the overcrowding of the rituals sites during the general pilgrimage itself may compel the fully qualified scholar to come to new conclusions in regards to various jurisprudential rulings.’


The ‘Stoning of the Jamarāt’ is considered to be one of the important rituals of the Ḥajj pil-grimage. The contemporary scholars have recognized that the ‘Jamarāt’ are the three columns which people stone during certain days of the Ḥajj pilgrimage.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has addressed the related issues in regards to these rituals and he has stated: ‘One of the major problems of the pilgrims is related to the ritual of ‘Stoning the  the Jamarāt’. This problem escalates on the day of the ʿĪd Al Aḍḥā, when everyone goes to stone  at the ‘Jamarah ʿAqabah’. During many of the past years, a number of people have been killed and a number injured. In many other cases, people’s heads and eyes have been injured as well.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained that these problems can be resolved through intellectual and jurisprudential means: ‘The fact of the matter is that these columns are a sign for the place of the Jamarah and the Jamarāt is in reality the place where the stones fall and the place where the stones must be thrown.  The Jamarah is nothing but the place where the stones gather and the people shouldn’t trouble themselves in striking the columns themselves. They should be certain that the columns are simply a sign for that specific place (and not the target).’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then further explained this ruling by stating: ‘The issue which has brought about this new ruling and allowed the jurisprudent to look at this issue in a new way relates to the large crowds which form around the Jamarāt and which cause a great number of injuries and deaths. These large crowds caused us to look at the Islamic texts in a new light and to research the actual meaning of the term Jamarah. We realized that the word Jamarah does not refer to the columns which exist but rather they refer to the place where the stones gather after being thrown.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further stated: ‘In any case, the problems caused by the the overcrowding of the rituals sites have given rise to many questions. These questions have in turn led to more research by the jurisprudents and the end result has been a more precise series of answers and a new perspective from which the issue is understood. In addition, it must be explained that these rulings are not based on the difficulties involved in the Ḥajj pilgrimages of today but rather, they are based on an expanded understanding of the jurisprudence in regards to such issues.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then delved in to the duty of the Muslim scholars in regards to intellectual cooperation towards the resolution of various unknowns and disputed issues in regards to the Ḥajj pilgrimage, particularly the ritual of ‘Stoning the Jamarāt’. He has stated: ‘It is necessary that all of the Islamic researchers look deeply in to this issue. Whenever the scholars of the Shia and Sunni schools are able to further research this issue and come to an agreement, then one of the great problems of the Ḥajj pilgrimage, which is caused by the overcrowding of the ritual sites and which results in the deaths and injuries of many people, will God willing, be resolved. In addition, the rituals will also, God willing, be in concordance with the actions of the Prophet of Allah (ṣ) and the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). And Allah is the most knowledgeable.’


Through such new understandings, the Muslim scholars can announce their correct jurisprudential rulings and they can help to improve the management and organization related to the Ḥajj pilgrimage. The incompetence of the Saudi government, which has led to many tragedies and deaths throughout the years, has similarly made this issue ever more urgent. In addition to the lack of proper leadership and management of the Saudi government, the Islamic community also suffers from their hostile politics, which have led to the rise of the Takfīrī threat.


A Final Word- The Tragedy of Mina and the Necessity of Forming a Representative Group for the Management of the Two Holy Shrines


In conclusion, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī discussed the issue of the proper management of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and the necessity of hosting the pilgrims in a worthy and befitting manner, and he has mentioned that this is one of the most important actionsto be taken. In addition, he has spoken about the incompetence and inability of the Saudi government which has led to many tragedies over the years, particularly during this year’s Ḥajj pilgrimage. He has mentioned that this incompetence necessitates a change in the future management of the Ḥajj pilgrimage of the Two Holy Shrines.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard that: ‘When we look at the letter sent by Imam ʿAlī (ʿa)  to Qaththama ibn ʿAbbās (the governor of Mecca), we see that he said: ‘…establish the Ḥajj in the best manner possible for the people’. If the Ḥajj pilgrimage is organized in the proper way with suitable management, then both the pilgrims and all other Muslims will benefit from this spiritual event. This is because the pilgrimage in reality strengthens the foundations of Islam and thus it will entail benefits for all Muslims in turn.’


When people ask questions about the management of the Saudi government in regards to the Two Holy Shrines, the Saudis certainly don’t have any answers to give. From this perspective, it is necessary that the Muslim scholar think deeply on this issue and they must protest against this type of behavior from the Saudis, telling them that the path that they are taking is not the correct one.  Without any doubt, the Saudi regime does not have the ability to manage the Two Holy Shrines but they seem to believe that it is their personal property and they act with it in whatever way they wish.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also spoken about the necessity of forming a group of Muslim scholars and government leaders for the management of the Two Holy Shrines. He has stated: ‘The great tragedy which took place at Mina has created an obligation for the Muslim scholars,on the one hand,and the politicians, on the other, to sit down with one another and think of a solution for the proper management of the Two Holy Shrines.’


Those who are currently in charge of managing the Ḥajj pilgrimage have essentially proven that they are incapable of fulfilling their duties. The possibility of this tragedy repeating itself in the future has transformed this act of worship in to a frightening thing and it has severely damaged the sanctity of the Ḥajj pilgrimage overall.  Now that the general outlook amongst Muslims throughout the world is ready, it is necessary that we sit down and think of a solution to this issue. A group must be organized which is well experienced in management and leadership in order to manage the Two Holy Shrines. There is no issue if the Saudis are also part of this group. There is no doubt that if people fall short of their duties in this regard, then the tragedies of the past will become the tragedies of the future and this is a responsibility which lies upon everyone’s shoulders!
 

 

1058 Visits: 2017/1/5 Published on:
A REFLECTION ON THE PHENOMENON OF TAKFIR IN THE MUSLIM UMMAH FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

We live in times when the bigoted and extremist Wahhabis consider all Muslims around the globe, except for the followers of their own ideology, as disbelievers and polytheists.[1] This inauspicious phenomenon, which has its roots in the Wahhabis’ ignorance, misinterpretations, and poor knowledge concerning concepts such as monotheism, polytheism, intercession, worship, etc., has caused widespread bloodshed in the Muslim Ummah[2].


Among the most prominent characteristics of the phenomenon of Takfir are, indeed, an intellectual stagnation and violence in words and deeds.[3] This is the reason why the proponents of the Takfiri ideology constantly evade rational and logical discussions. Furthermore, the Takfiris have inflicted so much violence on the world that all of the people of the world hate them. They have also depicted such a violent image of Islam with their atrocities that it takes years and years of hard work to cleanse it from the minds of the people around the world[4].
 
 
The Nature of the Concept of Takfir


First of all, Takfir (ruling someone as a disbeliever) is a religious ruling whose criterion is only set by Allah and His Messenger[5]. Therefore, since the authority to rule someone as a disbeliever rests solely with Allah and His Messenger[6] we are not authorized to excommunicate anyone unless after we find some definitive proof about their disbelief in the Quran or the tradition of the Prophet.


This means that mere conjecture or suspicion are never considered to be enough evidence to allow us to rule someone as a disbeliever, because very severe consequences follow the act of excommunicating someone.[7] This was why the great Prophet of Islam (s) prohibited all Muslims from calling someone a disbeliever unless they are truly and completely proven to be disbelievers[8].
 
The Necessity of Scientific Confrontation with the Sedition of Takfir  


The key question that must be answered with regard to the unrestrained practice of Takfir, which has created such a chaos even in the Muslim world, is where its roots lie[9]. What does the sedition of Takfir originate from, what are the factors that help it spread quickly, and what are the strategies to fight and completely exterminate this deviant school of Takfir?


Indeed, each of the parts of this question requires to be discussed in detail, yet one thing is certain in this regard: the mere political and military campaigns are not going to be able to effectively eradicate this sedition, even if those who initiate them truly and honestly seek to eliminate this problem.[10]
 
The Absence of a Proper Knowledge of the Quranic Teachings among the Proponents of Takfirism


In order to better understand the nature of the ominous phenomenon of Takfir, one has to note that the main cause of the atrocities that the proponents of this school commit is their deviant ideology.[11] One of the worst and most dangerous realizations of the sedition of Takfir and extremism can be found in the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group.[12]


Yet, the primary reason which gave rise to these dangerous trends was the poor and awfully incomplete knowledge of their founders about the Quran and the Tradition. These people have some wrong ideas and misinterpretations about certain Quranic concepts, including monotheism, intercession, imploration (tawasul), and negative innovation in religion. It is due to these misinterpretations that they have promoted the evil ideology of Takfir in the Muslim world[13].
 
The Great Deviation of the Takfiris in Their Interpretations of the Concepts of Faith and Polytheism


Among the most pivotal issues in the sedition of Takfir are the interpretations presented with regard to the issues of faith and disbelief. The proponents of the Takfiri ideology have made a mistake in their understanding of the essence of what constitutes disbelief in Islam. This misinterpretation has brought them to consider anyone who opposes them as a disbeliever, and they have gone to such an extreme as to call all Muslims on the earth, except a few of their fellow Takfiris, disbelievers![14]


They refer to certain verses of the Quran as evidence to rule all Muslims as disbelievers. They maintain that anyone who seeks intercession with Imam Ali (a) or the Messenger of Allah (s) is a polytheist, hence, their blood, honor and possession are forfeit.     


Moreover, the proponents of the Takfir ideology do not believe that there is any difference between the pre-Islamic pagans and most of the Muslims today! Not only that, but they believe that the Muslims today (whom they call disbelievers) are worse than the pre-Islamic pagans. They make such evil claims while the meaning of polytheism and unshakeable faith in Allah has been clearly presented in the Quran.[15]


In order to disprove the stance of the Takfiris, one can simply refer to the miracles that Allah the Almighty has ascribed to Jesus Christ (a) in the Quran. These miracles, according to the Quran, included returning the sight of a congenitally blind person, bringing a dead person back to life, making statues of birds out of clay and then blowing in them and changing them into real birds, and talking about the unseen all done with Allah’s permission. Now, are all these instances considered to be acts of polytheism and was Jesus Christ a polytheist?!![16]
Another issue which is considered by the Takfiris to be an instance of polytheism is the act of seeking blessing with the tomb of the Messenger of Allah (s). However, they neglect the fact that there are numerous traditions, as well as the rulings of prominent scholars, indicating that kissing the hand of the Prophet for blessing had been permissible.


There are also other traditions indicating that people would drink water in the bowl of the Prophet for blessing, seek blessing with the Prophet’s house, pulpit, and tomb, and that all this had been considered to be permissible. There are also valid pieces of evidence as reflected in the most well-known Sunnite sources indicating that the people were even authorized to seek blessing with the tomb and the properties of the past prophets and righteous servants of Allah. All this evidence leaves no room for doubt regarding the validity of the act of seeking blessing with the Prophet’s tomb and shrine[17].
 
Takfiris and a Selective Interpretation of the Quran


The approach adopted by the deviant theory of Takfir is that of accepting some verses in the Quran and rejecting some others. Due to this s e l e c tive faith of theirs in the Quran, they have inflicted a great deal of damage on the Muslim world and have created most of the problems that the Muslim world is entangled with today.[18]   


Unfortunately, the proponents of the ideology of Takfir have only s e l e c ted as evidence, those parts of the Quran which are in line with their ideology and have discarded the whole lot of verses which are in sharp contrast with their beliefs. This is while it is unacceptable to believe in some verses of the Quran and disbelieve in others, and it is obligatory on Muslims to believe in all verses of the Quran and act in accordance with them.[19]
 
Extreme Overconfidence in the Interpretation of the Quran, an Awful Mistake of the Takfiris


Indeed, the extreme overconfidence and bigotry of the Takfiris in their interpretation of the Quran is one of the obvious instances of their deviation from genuine Islam. In other words, the Takfiris believe that the only correct interpretations and impressions of the Quran and the tradition are those put forth by them and that the concepts of polytheism, faith, imploration, and negative innovation in religion must be understood by all Muslims in the same way as they understand them.


They further state that all Muslims must adopt their views regarding these Quranic concepts and those who refuse to do so must be killed. Therefore, they consider all those who reject their beliefs, including the past Sunni scholars, as disbelievers.[20]


Thus, unfortunately we have to conclude that they have understood little, if nothing, of the Quran and the tradition. The reason is that they have not attempted to study the Islamic sciences with great Muslim scholars, and their lack of proper knowledge regarding the tenets of Islam has brought them to make such terrible mistakes in the interpretation of the Quranic verses.


This means that they did not have access to the whole Islamic sciences while they formed their ideology of Takfir. In short, the ideology of Takfir is in direct contrast with the explicit text of the Quran as well as sound human reason.[21]


Final Remarks


In the end, it must be noted that, contrary to the invalid ideology of Takfir, Islam orders that the properties, lives and honor of all Muslims must be respected and protected. Thus, no one is ever allowed to violate the sanctity of other Muslims.


Among the last things that the great Prophet (s) emphasized to the people in his last Hajj pilgrimage was the following: “It is an obligatory duty upon you all to respect each other’s blood, properties, and honor, just as you respect the sanctity of a holy day like the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid Al Aḍḥā), that of the prohibited months, and that of the holy city of Mecca”[22]
Thus, all Muslims must unite chanting the slogan of “NO TO TAKFIR, NO TO TERRORISM”. They should also resist firmly against the plots of the Takfiri groups so as to be able to put an end to the current crisis in the Muslim world.[23]


I reiterate that the roots of the ideology of Takfir must first be exterminated scientifically[24]. However, we also tell the soldiers who fight the Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. that they should also carry on their assault on these terrorists as we also fight them scientifically. This way, we will be able to eliminate them with each other’s help.[25]


Furthermore, the prominent Muslim scholars must work together to disprove the invalid ideology of Takfir through logical arguments and to prevent the youth from being attracted to this dangerous school[26]. One of the positive actions which was taken towards raising the awareness of Muslims regarding the threats of the Takfiris in today’s world was the holding of the “World Congress on Extremism and Takfiri Trends in Today’s World: the Responsibility of the Muslim Scholars”. It is hoped that this congress can raise public awareness regarding the sinister sedition of Takfir and that it can provide us with effective strategies for fighting the Takfiris and eradicating them from the Muslim world[27].
 
Prepared by the Office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi
 

 

881 Visits: 2017/1/5 Published on:
A REFLECTION ON THE REALITY OF THE NIGHT OF DESTINY FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI


Gaining benefit from the blessed month of Ramaḍān and attempting to understand the true reality of the spirituality which this month can foster is one of the most important necessitates in self-purification and spiritual training, both on the personal, as well as social levels. It is one of the key points in attaining piety and the spiritual atmosphere of the ‘Nights of Destiny’ in particular holds great importance in the life of human beings. In order to understand this issue in greater depth, let us take further inspiration from the valuable thoughts and ideas of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī. Let us see the different foundational facets related to the Nights of Destiny, as well as the various practical ways in which we can strengthen our spirit of servitude during these most valuable nights:


The Night of Destiny and its Connection with Imam ʿAlī (ʿa)


There is no doubt that the Night of Destiny is interwoven with the name and remembrance of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) since it was during these nights when he was martyred. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this connection between the Night of Destiny and Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) in the following manner: ‘One of the particularities of this night is that it is interconnected with Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). It is as if Allah wished to open the doors of his mercy on this night and allow the people to have the intercession of a pure soul such as Imam ʿAlī (ʿa).’


The Night of Destiny is a night which is worth the equivalent of a thousand months. Since this night is interwoven with the name of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), we can implore him to intercede with Allah on our behalf on this night and pray for the resolution of the problems which the Muslim world is currently facing.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī considers the Night of Destiny to be such a night where one should both feel a sense of happiness and a sense of sadness. They should feel happy in regards to the coming of a most spiritual night which possesses many valuable virtues and blessings.


This is a night which is the equivalent of one thousand normal months and so any acts of worship performed on this night hold the weight of one thousand months of that same worship. We must realize the true value of this night and make use of this great opportunity. At the same time, we will also feel sad in light of the martyrdom of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). Perhaps these two events have taken place near one another because Allah has wished that the people  implore to this great Islamic figure to pray for them so that they will be granted nearness to Allah.


The Realities of the Night of Destiny and the Specific Importance of the Twenty Third Night


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved in to the importance of the twenty third night of the month of Ramaḍān and he has explained: The Infallible Imams (ʿa) have not specified the exact night which is the Night of Destiny; they have left the exact date slightly ambiguous, only mentioning that it is one night amongst three specific nights (It is either the 19th, the 21st, or the 23rd). The reason behind this slight ambiguity is so that the believers engage in acts of worship throughout all three nights, gaining a special state of spirituality which is notpossible otherwise.


While this is the case, the scholars have researched the traditions in regards to the Night of Destiny and they have determined that the 21st or 23rd nights have a higher possibility of being the Night of Destiny.[1] In addition, numerous traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) seem to emphasize the 23rd night as being the Night of Destiny. This is while the traditions transmitted in the Sunnite references emphasize the 27th night as being this special night.  In light of the Shia traditions which emphasize the 23rd night, we must take advantage of this great opportunity and utilize it in the way it was meant to be utilized. Allah has created certain times and places which are special in the potential which they have towards spiritual growth; the Nights of Destiny are amongst these special times and we must seek proximity towards our Lord and stand firm against our carnal desires.


Repentance is one of the Most Important Necessities of the Night of Destiny


It is evident that gaining access to the spiritual realities of the Night of Destiny is conditional upon the performance of various acts of worship which are particular to this night. Therefore, we must strive hard in performing these special acts of worship in order to strengthen ourselves and gain proximity towards our Lord. We must commit to our spiritual training and self-purufucation so that we can realize a state of true piety. According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, repentance is one of the key opportunities during the Night of Destiny towards returning from a state of sin and seeking the divine mercy of Allah.


From this perspective, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that: The Night of Destiny is more important than one thousand ordinary months. Among the recommendable acts of worship which we should perform on these nights, is the recitation of Surah ʿAnkabūt and Surah Rūm. The reason behind this recommendation is that these two chapters mention many issues related to monotheism and seeking repentance from Allah. If we end up implementing the contents of these two chapters in our day to day lives, then it will suffice us for the rest of our lives.


Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the importance and position of the Night of Destiny in receiving forgiveness for the sins which we have committed. The Ayatollah has mentioned: We must make use of the opportunity given to us on the Night of Destiny and repent from both our lesser and greater sins.  By examining the general body of traditions, one realizes that there are many traditions which emphasize the necessity of fearing for our lesser sins, let alone our greater sins. The reason behind this emphasis is that the lesser sins can sometimes remain unnoticed or people feel that they are not very important. When these lesser sins are ignored, people begin to commit more of them and they begin to accumulate and weigh upon the human soul.


When the lesser sins are considered as being nothing, it is clear how they can accumulate and at some point, the individual is seen as not caring about what Allah has prohibited. Due to this reason, the best act which one can perform on the Night of Destiny is to repent and turn away from one’s sins.  The Night of Destiny is one of the best nights for being forgiven by Allah. Therefore, when one stays awake on these nights and engages in acts of worship, they must ask Allah for forgiveness for both their greater sins, as well as their lesser sins.


It has also been mentioned that, on the Night of Destiny, the destiny of human beings is determined for the coming year. This is based upon the actions which the people have performed and their worthiness in relation to how they have acted.  Accordingly, it is necessary that people remain awake of this night, repent from their sins, and engage in spiritual  training. They must turn towards Allah and they must change themselves for the better so that they can be worthier for his mercy and grace.  


The truly lucky ones are those who find themselves worthy of achieving a higher rank on such a night and who have the divine grace of worshipping Allah and supplicating him. Blessed are those who spend this night weeping and seeking forgiveness from Allah. These are the ones who make themselves worthy of Allah’s mercy and grace, and they are able to achieve a very lofty rank as a result.


The Connection of the Night of Destiny with the Quran


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained a certain key point in regards to the connection which exists between the Night of Destiny and the Quran. He has stated: It has been clearly explained in Surah Qadrthat the Quran was revealed on the Night of Destiny. When we contemplate these few verses, we realize that the point which the Quran is bringing across is a very deep and powerful one. It is certainly not by coincidence that the night where the destiny of men is decided for the coming year is the same night when the Quran was revealed upon the pure heart of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).


Isn’t this really telling us that our very destiny is made in accordance with the contents of the Quran? This is indicative of the fact that our spiritual lives, as well as our material lives are interconnected with how well we follow the teachings found in this divine book. This is a connection which cannot be separated. Our victory over our enemies, our honor, our freedom, our independence, the development of our cities and everything else in our lives is interconnected with this issue. Our success is found in how well we implement the teachings of the Quran.  It has been heavily emphasized in our religious traditions that people should not sleep on this night. A person who is asleep is being neglectful in regards to his duties and this sleep shows that he doesn’t hold this night in much importance. There is no question that such a person will have a sorrowful destiny.  


 The Night of Destiny is a Night of Divine Favor to the Muslim Community


From the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, we must consider the Night of Destiny as a great blessing which Allah has given to the Muslim community. In reality, the Night of Destiny is a night filled with light, mercy, goodness, blessings, health, and felicity; it is an opportunity which is incomparable to anything else!  This is an issue which is further explained in the Quranic commentary of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī as well. The apparent meaning of the verses in Surah Qadr show us that the Night of Destiny is not something particular to the time of the revelation of the Quran or the time of the Prophet (ṣ) alone; it is rather something which will continue to take place until the end of this world.


As far as the Arabic grammar is concerned,the way the Night of Destiny has been discussed in Surah Qadr indicates that this is an event which will continue to happen until the end of time. The fourth verse of Surah Qadr uses the Muḍāriʿ tense (future tense),  which connotates an event which repeats and continues to take place. Similarly, thegrammatical properties of the last verse also show that this event will continue to take place until the end of the world.[2] In addition to all this, we have many traditions (some which can even be considered as widely transmitted traditions) that also confirm this view.


One question which some people may ask in this regard is whether this was something which existed in previous nations or whether it is something that is particular only to the Muslim community. The Islamic traditions in this regards clearly indicate that the blessings of the Night of Destiny are a divine favor to the Muslim community alone and they were never bestowed upon any of the past nations. In a tradition narrated from the Prophet (ṣ), it has been mentioned that[3]: ‘Allah bestowed the Night of Destiny on my nation and none of the past nations were given this blessing.’[4,5]


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further explained this divine blessing in the following way: When Prophet Abraham (ʿa) was thrown in to the fire by Nimrod, the angels came and greeted him, and the fire turned in to a garden. In light of this reality, can it not be said that the fire of hell will become cold and peaceful through the greetings of the angels upon the believers on the Night of Destiny?  This is a sign of the greatness of the people of Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ) that the angels descended upon Prophet Abraham (ṣ) during past times, but today, they descend  to greet the Muslim believers.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the importance of praying for the resolution of the problems of the Muslim world on this great night and he has stated: When faced with difficulties, it is necessary that we pray to Allah and seek his help.In fact, supplications are an essential key to the resolution of our problems. This is particularly true during specific times and places which have been mentioned as being special, such as the holy month of Ramaḍān.
Other examples of these holy places and times are the Kaaba and the Night of Destiny. We must pray during these special times and in these special places for the resolution of our per-sonal problems, as well as our social ones. We must pray for our domestic problems (within our homeland), as well as for the entirety of the Muslim community worldwide. This is a great opportunity which should not be missed.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also mentioned that in addition to all this, the Night of Destiny is a night which is filled with health. It is a night which is filled with goodness and divine grace. From the very beginning of this night to the very end, it is a source of great blessings. The special mercy of Allah is sent down on this night and the angels and the Spirit descend . It is a night where one’s destiny in the coming year is shaped based on the one’s worthiness and the worship of this night is considered to be better than a thousand months.


A Final Word


We must be aware that sometimes, a single moment is enough to change our destiny for the better or for the worse. This single moment can have such a profound effect on us that the very path which we are taking will alter and shift forever. The Night of Destiny can have this effect on us and, by taking control of our carnal desires we can open the door to Allah’s vast mercy and change our destiny for the better.   

 

971 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
POSSIBLE STRATEGIES OF THE MUSLIM WORLD AGAINST THE CRIMES AND ATROCITIES OF THE SAUDI REGIME FROM HIS EMINENCE’S POINT OF VIEW

Recently, not a day goes by without the mass media broadcasting the disturbing news of the killing of innocent people in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Tens and sometimes even hundreds of people fall victim to the unstrained violence of the Takfiri terrorists on a daily basis.


Meanwhile, the horrible news of the execution of Ayatollah Al Nimr along with a number of other innocent individuals has left the Muslim world in shock. This brutal crime was particularly shocking because it was committed under the title of the Kharijites and Takfir. If there were still some people who doubted the fact that the creators of the sedition of Takfir in the world are, indeed, the Saudis, this clear example leaves no one with any doubt in this regard[1]. We strongly condemn this terrible crime and we remind the Saudis that such a crime will not go unpunished[2].


The Saudis and the Wahhabis have a long and a dark history filled with such horrendous crimes and atrocities, and this is something that even some Wahhabi historians have admitted in their books. At times, however, their violence has even inflicted their own people, and they have committed terrible acts of terror in Saudi Arabia as well[3]. One of such terrible atrocities is the execution of Shaykh Al Nimr which, the Saudis committed in line with the crimes committed by the ISIS terrorists[4].


Considering the situation explained above, there seems to be a greater need today to know the perspective of the great Shia religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Makārem Shirazī, regarding the best strategies that the Muslim world can employ against the violence and the crimes of the Saudi regime. The following are some of the most important strategies put forth by his eminence in this regard:
 
The Elimination of the Saudi Sectarianism through the Unity of the Muslim Ummah  


Indeed the US and Israel are seeking to further the division between Muslim schools, and in particular between Shia and Sunni Muslims. This is why they are extremely happy with the recent events in the Muslim world[5]. Meanwhile, the Saudi regime has also formed an alliance with the US and Israel to fan the flames of sectarian divisiveness amongst the Muslim schools. Thus, on the one hand the US and the other powers order the Saudis to create more division amongst Muslims and, on the other, the Saudi officials urge their Wahhabi Muftis to promote division and sectarianism in the Muslim world. This is why Saudi Arabia is considered to be the champion in creating division and discord among Muslims[6].


Yet, despite these evil plots of the Saudi regime, there are a lot of Shia Muslims all around the world, including the region of al Sharqiyyah in Saudi Arabia, who live peacefully with the followers of other Muslim schools and have good relations with them[7]. Indeed, if the followers of all Muslim schools are awakened and vigilant, they can work together to foil this evil plot of division[8].
 
Fighting Takfir a Responsibility upon the Muslim Ummah against the Saudi Conspiracies      


It should be noted that leveling false and unfair accusations at Shia Muslims and accusing them of disbelief is a great service to the enemies of Islam, particularly the US and Israel. This is due to the fact that such actions will entail results which are desirable for the enemies of Islam, who seek nothing but to provoke sectarian conflicts amongst Muslims so as to freely plunder their wealth[9]. One of the instances of such actions is the Saudi Muftis’ race with one another in ruling the Yemeni people as unbelievers![10]  


Unfortunately, the Saudi board of Muftis, which is an official organization in Hijaz, continues issuing fatwas against the Shia school and keeps calling Shia Muslims unbelievers[11].
Such fatwas are one of the reasons why not a day goes by without the mass media broadcasting the disturbing news of the killing of innocent people in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Tens and sometimes even hundreds of people fall victim to the unstrained violence of the Takfiri terrorists on a daily basis[12]. It is because of this inauspicious offspring of Wahhabism that, unfortunately, the name of Islam has been associated with violence in the minds of many people in the world. The Takfiri terrorists have also provided the enemies of Islam with their desirable excuse to depict Muslims as a “group of murderers” in many countries[13].


This is all while Islam has ordered everyone to respect the properties, lives and the honor of all Muslims and has strictly prohibited the violation of the sanctity of Muslims. This issue was of such great importance that the great Prophet of Islam (s) explained it to everyone present in his speech on his last Hajj pilgrimage, and said that it is a law for all Muslims. The Prophet said: “it is strictly prohibited for you [Muslims] to kill each other or take each other’s properties, for a Muslim’s life and properties must be respected just as this day (the‘Eīd al Aḍḥa), this month (a Ḥarām month), and this place (the holy city of Mecca) must be respected”. Then [to emphasize the importance of this issue even more] the Prophet (s) continued: “O’ Lord! You be my witness! [that I told them what you ordered me to]”. The validity of this tradition has been unanimously confirmed by all traditionalists[14].    


Therefore, all Muslims of the world must unite and put an end to the ideology of Takfir. They must get together to repel the enemies who have targeted Islam, the Quran and even Allah the Almighty, and they must present the pure teachings of Islam, free of any kind of Shīrk, extremism, exaggeration or distortion, to all the people of the world[15].
 
 
 
The Need for All Muslims to Rise up against the Saudis’ Insatiable Hunger for Power and Domination


First of all, the Saudis must know that their many crimes, in particular their atrocious act of executing Shaykh Al Nimr, can never be forgotten, and that they will, no doubt, suffer the adverse consequences of their ill-advised actions. The sings of these consequences as clearly visible in the reaction of the people of the world to this crime, where not only Shia and Sunni Muslims but all free-spirited people in the world condemned this heinous crime[16].


Moreover, the abundance of the atrocities that the Saudi regime has committed against the innocent people of Yemen can be called with no other name but madness and hunger for power and domination. In this unfair and barbaric assault on the Yemeni people, a number of other Arab states have also assisted the Saudis, all in the name of Islam, and have together brought tremendous destruction upon another Arab, Muslim country. Of course all these atrocities are committed with the support of the US and Israel[17].


Worse than all, perhaps, is the shameless silence of the international community regarding these crimes, as if they are all dead and so unable to see such horrendous crimes being committed by the Saudis! This is all while if anyone so much as states a word against Israel every country will raise their voice to condemn them. However, there is now a country being destroyed completely but not a word is spoken by anyone, let alone condemnation or objection. There are only very few countries that felt obligated to react to the atrocities committed by the Saudis against their fellow human beings[18].


But the Saudis must know that the Muslim world will finally take its vengeance on them and will punish them for the multitude of their crimes[19].
 
Enlightenment, the Fundamental Step towards Exposing the Crimes of the Saudi Government


I humbly respect all Muslim scholars and ask them all to unite against this small group of Wahhabis who seek only to support the terrible policies of the atrocious Saudi regime. These people consider everyone but themselves pagans and so they consider killing them and plundering their possessions as permissible. By uniting against them, we can show the world that these people and the terrible things that they do are not the real examples of what Islam is about. Indeed such an ideology has no place in today’s world and it is approaching its last days[20].


In order to understand their error, the Saudi officials and their puppet Muftis have to answer the question as to why the Wahhabi Muftis refrain from having scientific discussions with other Muslim scholars in Al Azhar, Damascus, Qom, and Najaf[21]?


Why do they still enter scientific discussions, just like some of their predecessors, by calling their opponents “you ignorant pagan!” and by first ruling their life and properties to be forfeit and then beginning the discussion with them?[22]


Why do they resist having friendly discussions the way the Quran has ordered in the verse “فبشر عباد* الذين يستمعون القول فيتبعون أحسنه”[23] with others?[24] Indeed, if they had agreed to have such discussions, so many innocent Muslims would not have been killed and their properties would not have been plundered.[25]
 
Conclusion


There is no doubt that the Saudi regime has failed to pursue his evil policies and plots in the region. Thus, the Saudis must know that by committing more crimes such as the massacre of the innocent people of Yemen and the execution of Shaykh Al Nimr they cannot save themselves. We believe that these atrocities are being committed by the Saudis because of their failure in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and in order to take vengeance on the Muslims of these countries. However, the Saudis must await a much greater defeat in these three countries.[26]  
The bloodthirsty Saudi regime should also know that the barbaric act of the execution of Shaykh Al Nimr will incur such a heavy cost that they could not even Imagine. They will, then, see for themselves the wrath of Allah (swt) being sent down on them and it will crush them along with all other murderers who have assist them[27].
 
Researched and edited by the deputy News editor of the website of the office of Grand Ayatollah Makārem Shirazī

 

962 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
GUIDELINES AND STRATEGIES FOR CONFRONTING THE TAKFIRI TRENDS FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

In the current era, the atrocious ways of the various Takfiri groups and factions pose the greatest threat to the entire humanity, regardless of their religion and nationality[1]. These Takfiri terrorists, who are the most atrocious criminals in the entire human history, are the inauspicious fruits of the wicked Wahhabi ideology[2].


These Takfiri groups have, without a doubt, created an atmosphere of insecurity all around the globe, mostly because of their complete lack of regard for all and every law. These Takfiri criminals are neither bound by the codes of ethics nor by any human sentiments, hence, they show mercy to no one, whether old, young, man, woman, or child[3].


Due to their inhumane and barbaric conduct, some people have analogized the Takfiris to the Kharijites, who were an extremist and wicked group in the early years of Islam. However, the Kharijites were nothing compared to these Takfiris, for they never committed such horrendous atrocities as inflicting widespread massacre and destruction on the Muslim world, selling the non-Muslim women in bazaars as slaves, creating such a shameful innovation in religion as the Jihād of Nikāh (authorizing the illicit relationship of women with Takfiri militants), and demolishing mosques and holy shrines[4].


Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the Kharijites today (i.e. the Takfiris) are far more dangerous than the Kharijites of the early Islamic era[5].


Yet, the most fundamental question still remains: For how long should we witness the Muslims’ blood being spilled and the dignity and honor of their women being violated?[6]   
If we want to put an end to these atrocities, we need to do all in our power to come up with new strategies and tactics to effectively fight and eradicate the sedition of Takfir[7].
 
Scientific confrontation, the Most Important Means to Be Utilized by the Muslim Scholars in Fighting Takfirism


It is essential that we increase our intellectual and cultural confrontation with the ideology of Takfir and Salafism based one which all Takfiri and Salafi groups operate[8]. Above all, we should seek to eradicate the roots of extreme Takfirism that is practiced by the ISIL, terrorists[9]. Therefore, we have to first recognize the fundamental principles and the origins of these Takfiri ideologies and annul them with sound evidence and through logical arguments[10].


It is worth noting that mere military campaigns are unable to effectively eradicate the ideology of Takfir, as if it is suppressed in one area it will emerge in another[11].


Therefore, in order to prevent the youth from being attracted to and recruited by these groups, it is necessary to do some serious cultural and ideological work in all countries to eliminate the idea of Takfirism from them.[12]


To this end, all Muslim scholars must work together and to extirpate the deviant ideology of Takfir.[13] Furthermore, the scholars of all Islamic schools must unanimously voice their denunciation of the practice of excommunication and Takfir and to wipe this blot off the garment of Islam[14].


One of the effective strategies towards the scientific confrontation with the Takfiri trends can be the dissemination of the scientific and cultural works of the “International Congress on the Takfiri Threats”, which have been published in various different languages. To this end, the ambassadors of various Muslim countries in Tehran can invite the intellectuals, scholars and cultural officials of their countries to utilize these valuable scientific works as resources in their countries[15].


Another strategy in this regard is to use the books, in which the Takfiri trends have been criticized, as textbooks in schools and universities. These books can be taught as course books to the teenagers and youth in order to enlighten them about the evils of the deviant ideology of Takfir[16].
 
The Establishment of Satellite TVs, an Essential Strategy in the Struggle against Takfiri Trends


It should not be forgotten that confrontation with the issue of Takfir is only effective when it is backed by scientific works and proper media coverage[17]. Therefore, in order to completely purge the world of Takfiri trends it is essential that the mass media of the Muslim world play a more active role in the debilitation of these evil groups[18].


This is particularly important due to the fact that the enemies of Islam introduce the Takfiris to the whole world as representatives of what Islam is all about. An example of such a practice is that they deliberately call the Daesh terrorists the “Islamic State” in their media, while it is neither a state nor is it Islamic.[19]


Therefore, in order to find a way out of this complicated and critical problem of the Muslim world, we propose to establish various satellite TVs in different languages whose aim will be to provide a full coverage of the scientific and cultural works produced against the evil and dangerous phenomenon of Takfir. We will also help in the establishment of such TV channels and we also ask all Muslim countries to contribute to this idea as much as possible. This is the only way that we can effectively expose the true nature of the deceptive and intriguing ideas of the Takfiris[20].


 
A Worldwide Uprising the Key Element in Defeating Takfiri Trends


To clarify this stance it has to be said that the Takfiris are not merely the enemies of the Shia Muslims, who are the followers of the school of the Ahl-al-Bait (a); rather, they have fought and will fight all Muslim schools which do not abide by their own specific ideology, as they believe that the followers of all such schools must be killed. The Takfiris believe that anyone who refuses to follow the Wahhabi school is a disbeliever in Allah and that all Muslims must fight and kill them.


This is how the Takfiris declared war on the entire world and created an atmosphere of insecurity all around the globe[21]. Their threat is so serious that not even Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Takfirism, is now safe from them[22]. Thus, the entire world has to unite and take the necessary actions to eradicate this great problem, for if it continues to spread as it does today, it will inflict all countries, even those which are not inflicted by it today.[23]
Moreover, it is worth noting that had it not been for the financial, logistical, and military support given to these Takfiri terrorists by some Western countries and their so-called allies in the region, the terrorist groups like ISIS would have gone extinct a long time ago and they would not have had the chance to cause such a widespread bloodshed in the region[24].


However, we warn the Western countries that if they continue to support Takfiri terrorists as they do today, they must prepare themselves to be plagued by them in their homelands, for the Takfiris know no borders for their crimes.


Thus, we ask all political leaders in the world to put under pressure and sanction the countries which provide the Takfiri groups with financial and political support and back them in their media[25]. Today, all of the people of the world are unanimously voicing their denunciation of the ideology of Takfir[26] and everyone knows that the Takfiris are not, in fact, Muslims. They have all realized that Islam is a religion of unity and peace and that the atrocities committed by the Takfiris have nothing to do with Islam. Today, everyone knows that the kind of violence spread by the Takfiris has nothing to do with Islam and that only one who knows nothing of Islam can commit such heinous crimes.[27]


Now, just as the Islamic Republic of Iran is doing all in its power to save the entire humanity from the threats of Takfiri trends, other countries must also j o i n forces to fight Takfiri trends and ideology.[28]
 
 
The Explication of True Islam, as the Best Strategy to Confront Takfiri Version of Islam


Islam has had an immense influence on the hearts and souls of the people of the world, and its great potential to influence them even more is, indeed, undeniable[29]. Yet, the extremist and Takfiri trends and ideologies seek to demonstrate a distorted image of Islam with the crimes and atrocities that they commit in the name of Islam.[30]            


Nowadays, the Salafi Takfiris, who have delivered a mortal blow to Islam with their barbaric acts of murder and destruction, are undoubtedly the most critical problem of the Muslim world. These evil groups seek to depict Islam, which is the religion of affection and compassion, as a religion of violence, bloodshed, atrocity, and brutality.[31] This has, in turn, provided the enemies of Islam with the proper excuse to further promote Islamophobia in the world[32].


Therefore, it is a duty upon us to enlighten all Muslims and non-Muslims in regards to the pure teachings of Islam and to put a stop at the crimes and atrocities of the Takfiris at the same time.[33] To this end, we need to show the world that those who commit such heinous crimes and atrocities in the name of Islam are, in fact, not Muslims at all.[34]


We must present a correct and genuine image of Islam, as the religion of compassion and affection, to the people of the world so as to cleanse from their minds the image in which Islam has been equated with murder and violence. This is a goal towards which Shia and Sunni Muslims must work hand in hand[35]. We all need to do this to defend the image of the great Prophet of Islam (s), who had nothing but compassion and affection towards all the people of the world, but is today being depicted as a horrible symbol for the human world by the Takfiris.[36]


Therefore, we need to show the whole world that the Islam which was brought by the Prophet of Islam (s) is in complete and direct contrast with what the misguided Takfiris believe and do, and that they are in fact not related at all.[37]


 
The Unity of the Muslim Ummah, a Crucial Factor in the War on Takfiri Terrorists


Indeed, the greatest peril that threatens the unity of the Muslim Ummah is the sedition of the Takfiri terrorists. These terrorist groups issue rulings, in which they call various groups of Muslims disbelievers, without the existence of any legal and religious evidence that can prove such allegations. However, they still call other Muslims disbelievers and consider their blood to be forfeit, and then based on such unfounded rulings, they spill the blood of hundreds of innocent people.[38]


Meanwhile, the best way to eradicate the sedition of Takfir and excommunication is for all Muslim scholars to unite and work hand in hand to prevent such invalid and deviant ideologies from further spreading in the world.[39] We must keep this fact in mind that any kind of division among Muslim scholars will be used as an excuse for the enemies to slander Islam.[40]  Furthermore, Muslims scholars must refrain from fanning the flames of religious conflicts, for at times like this, all Muslims need to be united with each other.[41]
 
Exposing the Inseparable Connection between Wahhabism and Takfiri Trends


Perhaps one of the most effective ways of fighting the Takfiri trends is to expose the relationship between the Takfiris and the Wahhabis. There is no doubt that the Takfiri trends are the ominous offspring of the Wahhabi school of thought. Hence, if we properly show this fact to the people of the world it will constitute a major blow at this deviant cult as well as the Salafi and Takfiri groups.


This is due to the fact that every phenomenon is assessed based on its results and the result of the Wahhabi school is the abundance of the unprecedented crimes and atrocities committed by the Takfiri terrorists.[42] Today it is crystal clear for all Muslims and non-Muslims that the birthplace of ISIS is Saudi Arabia and that the Takfiri groups and trends are all the offspring of Wahhabi school.[43]


We also advise the Wahhabi scholars, particularly the Saudi ones, to eliminate the teachings which consider Muslims as disbelievers, from your textbooks and avoid excommunicating them. We further advise them, to cleanse their libraries of all of the books which promote this deviant ideology, for the bravest people are those who accept their mistakes and discard their invalid beliefs.[44]
 
Final Word


In conclusion, it must be noted that we have voiced our concern regarding the Takfiri trends for years now[45] and we alone have led the campaign against Takfiri trends. We have done all this in order to save the Muslim world from the evils of Takfiris, as well as the whole world for that matter[46]. Not a week goes by that I do not condemn the crimes and atrocities of the Takfiri terrorists in my speeches.[47] However, even if the sedition of the Takfiris is eradicated today, it will take tens of years to reconstruct the places that they have destroyed and mend the damages that they have caused with the atrocities that they have so far committed in the Muslim world[48].


Therefore, in the end I pray to Allah the Almighty to bestow astuteness on politicians, strength on the brave soldiers who fight Takfiris, and the opportunity to work hand in hand with one another to eradicate the sedition of Takfir form the world to the Muslim scholars, so that together create a safe and secure world.[49]
 
Prepared by the Office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

 

790 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
WAYS OUT OF THE TERRORISM CRISIS FROM HIS EMINENCE’S POINT OF VIEW

The issue of terrorism is considered to be a great challenge in the present era. Terrorists are threatening all humanity without any reason and today we see that they even attack ordinary civilians as well.


In addition to the threats that terrorists pose to global security, it can be claimed that the current terrorism crisis has created additional problems and challenges for Muslims. This is due to the fact that, enemies of Islam, who have always looked for an excuse to annihilate Islam, which they assume as an obstacle on their way to their purposes, have now found the best way of doing so through Islamophobia and the issue of terrorism. This is while, unfortunately, a small extremist and dogmatic group of people, including the Wahhabis and Takfiri groups, who know nothing of Islam at all, provide the enemies with proper excuse to add fuel to the flames of Islamophobia.


Thus, in order to come up with the best ways out of the terrorism crisis, it is necessary to make use of the insightful views of great religious authorities including those of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi regarding the ways of dealing with violence and extremism which is spread by the Takfiri terrorists. What follows is an overview of his eminence’s views on how to eradicate terrorism.


The necessity of exposing the duplicity of the West regarding the “war on terror”     


In today’s world, terms such as “fighting terrorism” originally used to refer to a noble cause, are exploited by tyrants and unjust rulers and heads of states, who pursue their own sinister agenda through them hence, those among them who are more adept in the distortion of facts and mischievous plots will be more successful in achieving their sinister goals. Such a situation has created a heavy responsibility for true Muslim scholars and the pious religious authorities to enlighten the people and raise public awareness regarding the severity of the situation they live in. This way, the tyrants and their puppets, the terrorist groups, will not be able to exploit noble terms and noble causes as a cover under which to pursue their own evil plots and secure the foundations of their authoritarian regimes.


Moreover, it is now a known fact that the enemies of Islam, headed by the US and Israel, are seeking to fuel the flames of religious and sectarian war among Muslims by secretly supporting such terrorist groups and their atrocities. What is most astonishing is that the true supporters of terrorism constantly lie about their own agenda and accuse other countries of supporting terrorism. An example is the US president who has on several occasions called Iran the greatest supporter of terrorism! Such heinous lies are being told while it is a known fact that Iran has been a victim of terrorism for many decades and is most serious in fighting it.
Indeed, such lying has made the Western states lose their credibility even with their friends and allies. It is now a known fact that some of these Western states are responsible for creating terrorist and Takfiri groups such as the ISIL, and also for supporting them. Terrorist groups such as ISIL are, as reliable sources of information indicate, not very high in number, yet they are being fully supported and were it not for such support, it would not be so difficult to eradicate them.


Perhaps the most interesting, yet unbelievable, issue in this regard is that the founders and the creators of these terrorist groups are now condemning their atrocities and crimes, which is to say that they are, in fact, condemning themselves. For instance, the United States sends agents to train these terrorists in Syria and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and some other states in the region provide them with financial support and armament. Similarly, Israel fully supports these terrorists and Turkey buys the oil that they steal from fields in Syria and Iraq, hence, it provides them with a good financial support. Now if such support was not given to them, the ISIL and other similar Takfiri terrorist group would not be able to live on.


Therefore, considering their duplicity regarding the “fight on terror” and their exploitation of terrorism wherever it serves their interests, the Europeans are no longer to be trusted in matters related to fighting terrorism, as they do whatever they like without any regard for other people and their interests.


One of the means with which this key challenge of today’s world can be overcome is the mass media. Thus, the mass media must be employed and their networks must be strengthened. We can see that, though at the time being Iran is the most serious country in fighting terrorism in the world, the imperialist powers are making every effort through their propaganda in their mass media to depict Iran as a country which supports terrorism.


Therefore, if Muslim people are able to establish powerful media with vast coverage and network, they will be able to enlighten the public opinion of the international community, hence to expose the untrue nature of the propaganda by the enemies of Islam.

 

The necessity of opposing the blatant “good terrorist/bad terrorist” strategy          


Indeed, by dividing the issue of terrorism in to two poles, calling those terrorists who serve their interests “good terrorists” and anyone else who opposes their interests “bad terrorists”, the criminal heads of the US government are pursuing their agenda everywhere in the world, bringing destruction and ruin for the people of the world. They even go as far as totally disregarding the resolutions of the Security Council and those of the general assembly of the UN, stating, rather flagrantly, that they would do whatever they deem fit to support their interests in the world even if they are in violation of UN resolutions! They further shamelessly state that it is their interests which determine who is a terrorist and who is not, and so based on this arrogant conduct, they have called those countries, which oppose their policies “axis of evil” and others that support them their allies!


For instance, the resistance movement of Hezbollah in Lebanon is labeled as a terrorist group because of defending the sovereignty of their country against the occupation of Israel. However, the blood thirsty terrorists in Syria who are guilty of such war crimes as massacring huge numbers of civilians, including women and children, bombing and destroying hospitals, mosques and academic centers, and laying waste to the people’s homes in Syria are not only not considered to be terrorists, but they are to receive more support and arms!


It is through their preposterous justifications that the Americans have supported terrorist groups like MKO and allows them to even travel and live in America with ease. Thus, it should be realized that the Americans seek their own interests in anything, and they have never been much serious in fighting terrorism and issues such as human rights are only political means in their hands with which to pursue their agenda. Therefore, they might even grant political asylum to the famous heads of the terrorists in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan if they believe this serves their interests.


However, in spite of all the Western and Zionist propaganda, the truth will be uncovered and history will judge them all, and states like the US and its regional allies such as the Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, that have supported the terrorists will, no doubt, be condemned.

 

Resistance: the key to conquering and exterminating terrorism


Indeed the US and other Western governments seek to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government through supporting terrorism in Syria. They need to do that so as to carry on with their plan of disintegrating Syria and weakening the resistance against Israel. Therefore, instead of entering the war themselves, as they used to do, they have conspired to provoke the Muslim people to fight each other, then imported terrorists to Syria to fight their war, so that the attention of Muslims is diverted away from the atrocities Israel is committing in Palestine towards themselves.


Thus, the best way of fighting this hostile strategy that the Western powers pursue is the one adopted by Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah, i.e. the strategy of resistance.


Rejection of Takfir, the only way of repelling terrorism    


Unfortunately, the heinous and evil phenomenon of Takfir (excommunication) is the inauspicious product of the Wahhabi and Salafi interpretation of Islam, which has planted the seeds of violence in the minds of many people in the world and has provided the enemies of Islam with the excuse to promote Islamophobia in the world and depict Muslim people in many countries as a number of savage killers! Surely the adverse propaganda of the Americans and the Zionists has been quite helpful in this regard! However, this is all while the true Islam is, and has ever been, a religion of peace, justice and love.


Therefore, the Takfiri terrorists, who have plagued the world of humanity, are merely savage terrorists no matter what their nationality or religion is. This is a danger that we have been warning the world about for years. Thus, the ISIL terrorist group should be considered as the legitimate child of extremist Wahabism, and so first their underlying Takfiri school of thought must be scientifically eradicated before the group itself is dealt with.


The Saudis, who claim to publish the highest number of Qurans in the world, must be asked that how much of the contents and the teachings of the Quran they truly practice; they must tell the world how they justify the contradiction between their acts of supporting the terrorists, who have spilled the blood of countless innocent Muslims, and the teachings of the Quran which strictly ban the killing of innocent people.  


How can you justify the act of supporting some blood thirsty and atrocious terrorists who are alien to Islam and humanity and who are attacking people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and other Muslim countries and spill the blood of innocent people at will?


These terrorists are a group of savage, murderous criminals who have broken every single rule of Islam and, indeed, this terrorism crisis has, by no means, been originated from Shiite and Sunnite convictions; rather, the Takfiri terrorism is the ominous fruit of the extremist Wahhabi school of thought.


Thus, the origins of all the atrocities and crimes committed by Takfiri terrorists can be found in Wahhabism. I remember that once someone brought me the textbooks that are taught in the high schools of Saudi Arabia and I saw that in those books it was explicitly taught to the students that those who visit the tombs of the dead are pagans, hence, it is permissible to kill them and take away all their properties and that this can be done to anyone who visits the tombs of the dead, whether Shiites or Sunnites, because Sunnite Muslims also visit the tombs of the dead. Thus, the Saudi regime must answer the contradiction in their actions, as they condemn the Takfiri terrorists while their high school textbooks are filled with Takfiri teachings!
Therefore, we advise them to close down their evil seminary schools where they teach such evil Takfiri teachings and spread Takfir and terror all over the world.


Indeed, the ISIL and the Al-Nusrah terrorists, who are slaughtering innocent Muslims everywhere, are the evil fruits of the evil Wahhabi school of thought.

 

The indispensable role of Muslim scholars in fighting terrorism


Needless to say, that the existence of ISIL terrorists serves the interests of the US and other western powers and, quite naturally, they will not exterminate something that serves their interests. However, Muslim scholars can help exterminate these terrorists by refuting the intellectual foundations and basic teachings of Takfirism which will make it extremely difficult for the Takfiri terrorist groups to carry on their recruitment of new members.


Thus, this calls for an organized attempt on the part of all Muslim scholars to systematically criticize and disprove the weak foundations of the convictions of the Takfiri terrorists, which is to say, to criticize and refute the evil teachings of Wahhabism. This way, it can be proven that these beliefs and teachings have nothing to do, whatsoever, with Islam and the Quran.


How much longer do Muslim scholars intend to remain silent and just watch that these atrocious terrorists are introduced to the world as the representatives of Islam, and Islam is depicted as “the religion of violence”? How much longer do they want to remain silent and just watch, as Islam and Muslims are defamed and the true teachings and culture of Islam, which is the religion of affection and kindness, are concealed? The time has come for a council of great Muslim religious authorities to be established so that they can find a solution to this problem.
If there are still people who are naive enough to assume that the target of the Takfiri terrorism is only Shiite Muslims, they should think again, since the truth of the atrocities committed by these terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere has clearly proven that they indiscriminately kill everyone, whether Shiite or Sunnite. Thus, we should be worried, as these terrorist groups and those who support them are planning to commit so much crime in the name of Islam that one day all the people of the world recognize Islam as synonymous with terror.


Obviously, had it not been for the wise decisions of the Shiite religious authorities and the staunch and sincere support given by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the people of Iraq and Syria, who knows what would have happened to these two countries? It was the fatwas of the Shiite religious authorities and the support given by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the people of these two countries that stopped the Takfiri terrorists from advancing and destroying these two countries city by city. Moreover, the Sunnite scholars and religious authorities have also renounced all these terrorists and have clearly declared them not to be Muslims at all. However, it is the Wahhabi scholars who have disgraced and dishonored themselves by their contradictory statements and assertions about the Takfiri terrorism. Thus, they are advised to think wisely and protect their honor and dignity by publicly repudiating extremism and Takfirism.


Indeed, history will condemn all the terrorists who bring death and destruction on the innocent people of Syria, as it will condemn scholars like Qaradawi who have turned a blind eye on the reality.


Then, there is the contradiction in the words and deeds of Wahhabi scholars who, on the one hand, hold conferences in which they repudiated Takfirism, so as to renounce ISIL terrorists and deny any link with them, and on the other, they issue fatwas in which they authorize the slaughter of innocent Muslims in Yemen and they go so far as to allow the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia issue a fatwa and excommunicate the people of Yemen and call them unbelievers! It is rather strange that these individuals, who call themselves religious authorities, neglect the roots of this terrorism crisis and merely condemn what is but the superficial surface of the problem. Those who add fuel to the flames of Takfirism and terrorism must know that it is a fire that will not be confined in one place and will one day devour its creators as well.


Unity of the Muslim Ummah, an essential factor in fighting terrorism


The unity of the Muslim people is an essential factor in fighting terrorism. Islam is strictly against terrorism and so based on the teachings of Islam terrorist attacks are to be condemned wherever they are carried out. Indeed, the inauspicious phenomenon of terrorism is totally against the teachings of Islam and neither has Islam ever taken sides with these Takfiri terrorists, nor have these terrorists ever had any regard at all for the laws and the teachings of Islam.


Therefore, Islam condemns terror of any kind and against all the people. The fact that various conferences have been held to repudiate Takfirism and terrorism in the holy city of Qom in Iran and in various other Muslim countries including Egypt and Syria clearly shows that ISIL have nothing to do with Islam. Thus, the Muslim Ummah must be awakened and they must be united, for it is through such unity that we will be able to exterminate the Takfiris and terrorists. However, despite all these efforts, there are still some Muslim states that fully support the terrorists.

 

The cessation of the West’s support for violence and terrorism the essential factor in exterminating terrorism               


Unfortunately, it is because some of the Muslim and Arab states, along with the so-called western proponents of Human Rights including the US and Israel, provide terrorist groups with aid and support that we are witnessing so many atrocities and horrific crimes being committed in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and many other countries.


It is now a known fact that the ISIL terrorist group is being practically supported by money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and by arms they receive from Israel, the US and other western powers delivered to them through Turkey, which also provides ISIL and other terrorist groups with anything else that they need!


Thus, those so-called proponents of Human Rights must be held accountable now for their support for terrorism. They must be told that they need not form an alliance to fight ISIL, and that the only thing they need to do is to stop giving ISIL terrorists support and leave us alone in fighting and exterminating them. There is no doubt that, if these terrorist groups do not receive support, they will not last even for a month and they can be eradicated easily afterwards.


We hope that the westerners and other states in the region that provide these terrorists with support and equipment, would come back to their senses and stop their support for terrorism, because so long as they air-d r o p arms and supplies for these terrorists, these terrorists cannot be effectively exterminated.

 

The necessity of a pervasive condemnation of terrorism by the whole international community  


When terrorism becomes a common means for some countries to secure their interests with and when they support it in their media by calling it “good-terrorism” other states will also be tempted to do the same. There are radicals everywhere, hence, once they realize that they can utilize terrorism as a means with which to support their interests, no one will be safe from terrorism anywhere in the world. However, if the whole world practically opposes terrorism, no one will ever think of using terrorism for their own cause. Therefore, in order to restore security to their countries, all the people of the world must fight terrorism.


For instance, French officials must know that the dark history of France during their colonialism and the atrocities that they committed in Muslim countries has not been forgotten. They have a lot of interests in the Muslim countries and so they constantly lie and pretend to be concerned about “their security” and that they care about “fighting terrorism”. However, despite of all these beautiful political gestures, they constantly support terrorism and insecurity in other countries. Now we see that those who have created terrorist groups are now being inflicted by the terrorism crisis in their homeland.

Final remarks


It must be noted that we, Muslims, strictly believe that the supporters of terrorists will pay the price for betraying the Muslim Ummah and for supporting the killing of countless innocent people and trying to undermine the Islamic resistance, by being engulfed by the flames of terrorism that they themselves created and spread. Moreover, we believe that the savage terrorists and those who support them will one day be accountable for their evil deeds and will be punished for their many crimes.


Thus, we say but one thing to those who support terrorism, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, and Israel: “shame on you for supporting terrorists who commit such inhumane, horrendous and heinous crimes every day which cannot be justified by any excuse at all”. We would also like to remind states like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, that they must expect the ISIL to turn their backs on them one day. They are silent now because they need their support.
It must also be kept in mind that the flames of the fire of terrorism cannot be confined in the Muslim countries only, because now that the world has been changed in to a global village, insecurity in one region easily spreads to other regions as well. A sign of this was the Paris attacks which left the whole Europe in a state of panic, and which can also spread to other parts of Europe as well.


Thus, those who have created and nurtured terrorism and violence should know that the beast they have created is now coming back to attack its creators and the problem of Takfiri terrorism will inflict all those who have supported it.

 

Researched, compiled and edited by the deputy of News editorial;
The website of the office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (www.Makarem.ir)
 

 

674 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
EXAMINING THE FUNCTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL QUDS DAY RALLIES FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF AYATOLLAH MAKARIM SHIRAZI

 

The rise of the Muslim nation during the last Friday of the holy month of Ramaḍān is a potent symbol of their support for the Palestinian cause. These massive rallies, which take place all across the world, are a protest against the crimes of the Israeli regime. There is no question that this massive protest movement has significant effects all across the world. Let us look into some of these effects through the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī:


The Historical Background of Naming the Last Friday of the Month of Ramaḍān as the ‘Day of Quds


Before delving into anything else, we should first take a look at the history behind the name of this massive protest movement. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has said the following in regards to the history of this issue: ‘All praise is due to Allah that after the Islamic Revolution, the name of Islam spread all throughout the Middle East, as well as throughout the entire world. Imam Khumaynī, the late leader of the Islamic Revolution, named the last Friday of the blessed month of Ramaḍān as the Day of Quds. This was an opportunity for the Muslims to gather together and remind the enemy that we are still thinking of Quds and we have not forgotten about it.


Whenever the Muslims collectively feel this sense of power and unity which comes from these protests, we will be able to take back our lost heritage, and God willing, we will do so. During the meantime, this protest movement will be a reminder to us, as well as our enemies. We pray that we will witness the coming of a ‘New Dawn’ soon enough and that we will domi-nate over our enemies and the enemies of all of mankind.[1]


Truly, if we were to die out of sorrow for what has been done to Islam  and to the Muslims, we would not deserve to be blamed for it. There is a part of a sermon by Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) which has been narrated in the Nahj al-Balāghah , where he states: If a Muslim man were to die out of grief and sorrow from hearing about this (that the wealth of the Muslims was being plundered), he would not be blamed for it. In my view, his dying would be a worthy matter.’ The Imam (ʿa) then continued: ‘Your enemies shoot arrows toward you, but you, due to your differences and conflicts, make your chests the targets of these arrows [i.e. you do not act to defend your county]. They take your wealth as plunder but you take nothing from them. They fight against you but you do not fight against them. They rebel and sin against Allah but you are unconcerned by it.  


These are truly beautiful words from Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). When we examine these words, it is as if he is speaking about us, 1300 or 1400 some years after his death. Some of the Muslims have lost so much of their sense of manliness, honor, and courage that they are definitely the referents of some of the Imam’s (ʿa) later words in this same sermon.  In any case, the  Interna-tional Day of Quds is an important and destiny changing initiative in Islamic history. We must take hold of it and consider it as one of the most important legacies of Imam Khumaynī.


The Necessity of Holding Rallies on the International Day of Quds


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further explained the necessity of participating in these Quds day rallies. He has stated that: ‘Enhancing the importance of the Day of Quds is an im-portant issue in and of itself. The more this issue is enhanced from an international perspective, the more influence and effect it will have. Due to this reason, we must hold this day as a day of massive protest against the oppressive Zionist regime. This must be a movement amongst Mus-lims, as well as free-spirited non Muslims.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also censured some of the people who look at this issue from a negative light. He has stated that: ‘You should not say that these protests are a simple matter and they are without effect. The reality is that when countries such as Israel and its supporters see these protests, they quiver with fear.’  God willing, all you, both men and women, young and old, will be able to participate in these protests as part of your religious duties.


You should know that actions such as these will be included in your scroll of deeds as something very positive and indeed, illustrious. Such actions will definitely be recorded and they will become a means of honor and greatness for Islam and for the Muslims.  The Day of Quds is in reality a day of victory for the Muslim world. It is a symbol for the Palestinian cause, and we hope that God willing, the day of victory for Palestine is not far off for us.  


The Day of Quds: A Symbol of Unity for the Muslim Community


There is no doubt that the protests which take place during the Day of Quds and the issue of Palestine must be seen as a key to the formation of greater unity amongst the Muslim community worldwide. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has viewed this key precept of unity as one of the most significant aspects  of this protest movement. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard that: ‘If the various separate Muslim nations abide by this essential precept, and they take hold of one another’s hands, acting in unity, then the unfortu-nate issue of Palestine will never be repeated again and the innocent Muslims will not be slaughtered in full view of the world’s eyes.’


Without any doubt, the Day of Quds will bring about a greater sense of unity amongstthe Muslim nation. All of the Muslims know that the Day of Quds is a means of unity between the Muslims and on this day, all the people shout ‘Death to Israel’ and they shout that ‘Quds belongs to us’. Quds was the first Qibla (focal point of prayer) for the Muslims and we should never forget this important reality.  We should never forget that one of the most important effects of this massive protest movement is that it brings about greater unity amongst the Muslims all around the world. Through this day, all of the various nations and peoples come to understand the reality that Quds must be liberated.


Therefore, all of the Muslims, irregardless of group or sect, must participate in this protest and they must voice their protest against the oppression which is taking place in Palestine.  The Muslim community must make use of this opportunity and they must unite and work together. Even if some of the Muslim governments fall short of their duties, the Muslim nation as a whole must rise up. Through this rising up, we hope that the heinous crimes of the Zionist regime and its allies will be recognized by the people of the entire world and they will see the true reality of this illegal state.


Combatting the Oppressive Superpowers, the Prerequisite for the Realization of the Complete Obliteration of Israel


The protest which take place on the Day of Quds play a powerful role in fighting against the oppressive superpowers and the illegal state of Israel; this is something which cannot be denied. From this angle, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved into this issue and he has explained the various facets of how these protests help to fight against the oppression of the superpowers and how they shake the foundations of these regimes. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard: ‘The protests which take place on the Day of Quds have shaken the foundations of the Zionist regime. The protests held in Iran and the rest of the Muslimworld on this day are a means through which the foundations of this malign regime are shaken and through which it can be destroyed.’


The fact of the matter is that this is a movement by the people which has caused this enemy to shake.  The state of Israel has become isolated throughout the world today and the senti-ments of the people have turned against it. God willing, the participation of the people in this movement during the Quds Day will be a prerequisite for the complete obliteration of Israel.  The reality of these protests has caused Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī to consider it as a day of sorrow for the Israelis, as well as their supporters. From the perspective of the Ayatollah, participating in these protests is the easiest and cheapest, yet most effective way of combatting Israel and its expansive policies.


Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has considered the Quds Day protests as a means of forcing the oppressive powers to retreat. The Ayatollah has stated: ‘The Day of Quds must be considered as a day of protest. All of the people must stand united against the usurpers and occupiers.  The Day of Quds is not only related to the Muslims, but it is related to everyone who cares about the fate of Palestine and who considers Israel to be an occupying and oppressive power. Participating in this day of protest holds many important consequences for the Muslim world. In reality, any day of protest which is performed with strength and resolve will cause the oppressive superpowers to retreat.’


All of the various strategies which are being utilized today take root from the protest movement of the Day of Quds and this will ultimately resulte in the shaking of the foundations of the oppressive regimes; Quds will be freed from the criminal hands of the Zionist regime. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue further by stating: The rallies of the Day of Quds are a practical and effective tool; everyone should participate in them, for they will undermine the foundations of the enemy.  Similarly, the Muslims must magnify the Day of Quds and prepare themselves to take back the usurped Muslim lands and the first Qibla of the Muslim world from Israel.


The Quds Day Protests as a Divine Obligation


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that one of the important elements in regards to the Quds Day rallies (which are held on the last Friday of the month of Ramaḍān) is as follows: ‘Participating in the Qud’s Day protests is a divine duty and this action will be recorded in one’s scroll of good deeds.’  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has furthermore stated: ‘I invite everyone to participate in the Quds Day rallies and I believe that it is one of the deeds which can bring one closer to Allah during the blessed month of Ramaḍān. Everyone is able to gain from the blessings which can come about from such actions.’


It is necessary that everyone participates in the Quds Day protests and it is one of the good deeds which are sent forth for the Day of Judgment.  In a meeting with the members of the Intifada and Quds group, Grad Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzīhas considered these protests to be an obligatory part of religious law. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard that: ‘Sometimes, some women tell me that their husbands do not give them permission to participate in the Qud’s Day protest and they ask me what they should do? I tell them that today, with the conditions which exist, participation in the Qud’s Day protests  is religiously obligatory and that  their husbands cannot prevent  them from participating in the rallies. This is due to the fact that this action constitutes an effective fight against Israel!’


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, participating in the rallies of the Day of Quds is indeed a good deed through which one can gain further proximity towards their Lord. The Ayatollah has stated that: ‘This act (being present at the Quds Day protests) is counted as a good deed in one’s scroll of deeds.’  He has also stated that: ‘All of the people are invited to participate in the protests of the Day of Quds and it is my belief that this issue is one of the things which can bring one closer in proximity with Allah during the blessed month of Ramaḍān. The door is open for everyone to gain these blessings by participating.’


The protests of the Day of Quds are, in effect,a full realization of the commandment of forbidding that which is evil. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has highlighted the great importance of this issue and he has stated: ‘The protests of the Day of Quds are the biggest manifestation of forbidding that which is evil. If this protest movement is not held, then the usurpation of Palestine by the Israelis will soon be forgotten.’  The first Qiblah (direction of prayer) for the Muslims was in Palestine and it was there that the Prophet (ṣ) traveled to during his Miʿrāj (the Prophet’s night journey to the heaven). For many years, the Muslims would pray in the direction of Quds and so it is necessary that this Qiblah of the Muslims be taken back and protected.  Therefore, it is necessary that during the last Friday of the blessed month of Ramaḍān, when the hearts of the Muslims have been softened and purified by a month of fasting, they join together in unity and protest against the Israeli occupation.  There is no doubt that, by participating in  Quds Day protests (particularly while in a state of fasting), you will have performed a great act of worship.


Strengthening the Resistance Front and Repressing the Expansionist Policies of Israel


One of the practical effects of the International Quds Day protests is the strengthening of the anti Israeli resistance front. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further explained this issue by stating: ‘Before the victory of the Islamic revolution and the creation of the Day of Quds, the resistance fronts in Palestine were composed primarily of leftists. After a period of time, this front failed and various ethnocentric movements took over. Neither of these groups was able to achieve victory against Israel. During this time period, the actions of Israel against the Islamic world were quite destructive in nature, one example of which is the Six Day War of Israel against a number of Arab nations.


After a while, the resistance fronts became more religious in nature and they became organized on the principles of religion, rather than socialism or ethnicity. During this time, we saw how the  balance of power began to change against Israel and in favor of the resistance front, including the Palestinian resistance. Obviously, had this dramatic change in orientation not happened within the reistance front the Lebanese Resistance would have never been able to stand against the well equipped Israeli Army.’  Thus, if these protests are canceled, the Israelis (who are expansionist by their very nature), will continue to expand their territories and take more pieces of the Muslim world.  Due to this reason, it is easy to understand that if the Palestinian Resistance had not turned towards Islam, today the Lebanese Resistance would not have been able to stand against the Israelis and deal them a decisive blow.


The Day of Quds as a Symbol of How the Muslim Community Supports the Oppressed


Participating in the Quds Day protests brings about many positive consequences. One of these positive consequences involves an enhanced level of support and care towards the oppressed people of this world, particularly the Muslims. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated the following in this: ‘The Muslim nations must consider the issue of Palestine to be their duty and responsibility.The Muslim people must unanimously voice their objection against the expansionist oppressors of the Palestinian people and, at the same time, voice their support for the innocent people of Palestine.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also stated that: ‘We believe that all of the Muslim nations, in whatever way possible, should help the oppressed Palestinians. They must cut the field short for Israel, which has not stopped short in the commission of its numerous oppressive actions and crimes, thus ridding the world of this evil regime. If the Muslims fail in this regard and remain quiet, then there is no doubt that they will fail to fulfill a heavy responsibility given to them by Allah. This is a type of confrontation which any logical mind can accept...  To adopt this type of a stance is a sign of mercy and affection towards those who are oppressed. ’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has considered the salvation of Palestine to be possible with the support and aid of the Muslim community altogether. He has stated in this regard: ‘The issue of Palestine is a very serious issue… The conditions which we see within the international arena and amongst the Muslim nations have changed greatly from past times… It is for this reason that we must prepare to take a more serious stance and engage in various initiatives in this regard. At the same time, since individual and independent actions are not very effective, particularly during our time period, we must engage in a collective action based on a well thought out plan of action. This can be done through the presence of various representatives from across the Muslim world. Following this period of planning, various actions can begin to be taken in support of the Palestinian cause.’


The Day of Quds: The Revival of the Palestinian Cause, and the Restoration of the Honor and Dignity of Islam


One of the essential aspects of the protests which take place during the International Day of Quds is the incomparable role that it plays in strengthening the cause of the oppressed Palestinians and in restoring the honor and dignity of the Muslim nation worldwide. This is an essential aspect of the protests which has been spoken about and emphasized by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in his various lectures. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard: ‘The sound of the Quran still resonates loudly and it calls us to defend ourselves with pure sincerity; the result of this will be victory and honor for the Muslim world. We can still hear the call of our master, Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), when he said: “Be the enemy of the oppressor and the helper of the oppressed.”’


‘Therefore, the Palestinian revolution must be strengthened. This must be a revolution which is a continuation of the fight of Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Ayūbī and ʿĪzz al-Dīn Qassām. The fact that the Palestinians continue to fight despite their heavy losses is a sign that the Islamic spirit has not died within them. This is a sign that they do not see themselves as dishonored and disgraced. This is in contrast to the leaders and kings of some of the Arab nations, who have accepted their disgrace wholeheartedly. These leaders may appear to be alive and they act like the living, but the reality is that they are dead and nothing remains of them.’


Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained another aspect in relation to the importance of the Day of Quds: ‘With the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the creation of the International Day of Quds, and the turn towards Islam of the resistance movements, it can be said that the Zionist regime is positioned in a much weaker stance. Likewise, the Palestinians are continuing their fight against those who oppress them.’  Therefore, the first purpose of the Day of Quds is that just as people are forgetting about the Palestinian cause, the Day of Quds arrives and it brings the issue back into focus. This is particularly important, because the enemy seeks to pass the Palestinian cause inot oblivion. Thus, they rely upon the passing of time in order to slowly take these important issues out of focus and thus dominate through such means.


In this way, the Day of Quds is transformed into an important day of history in Islam; it is a day which has become a thorn in the side of the Israeli regime.  The Day of Quds has caused the Muslims to remember the issue of the ‘first Qiblah of Islam’ which has been occupied for more than sixty years now. On this day, the issue is remembered once again and brought back into focus; without the Day of Quds, it is not improbable that we would have forgotten this im-portant issue through the passing of so much time. Every new generation is now able to remember that ‘Quds is Ours’ and we must take back this land from the claws of the Israeli  re-gime.


All of the Muslims, including the Arabs, the Iranians, the Turks, without any exceptions, know that Quds is the first Qiblah of the Muslim world and it is an important piece of our history. Everyone considers this to be a part of the Muslim world and so, on the Day of Quds, everyone shouts out that Israel must be obliterated and the land must be given back to its rightful owners.


The Role of the Day of Quds in Exposing the Lies of Israel and its Allies in regards to the Issue of Human Rights


Another function served by the International Day of Quds is that it is a media victory against the disgraceful behavior and claims of Israel and its allies. The Western world is always busy speaking about human rights but it is clear for everyone that these claims are nothing more than hypocritical lies. These lies are easily exposed on the basis of the reality which we see on the ground in Israel, as well as in the countries which are allied with it. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard that: ‘When we look at the Western world of today, with its deafening and continuously repeating calls for human rights, we see that none of these countries actually believe in their own claims in the field of war. In the war between Israel and Palestine, these issues of human rights are not abided by at all.


Not only are these issues not abided by, but these merciless and cold hearted criminals busy themselves in demolishing the homes of the Palestinians, bombing hospitals while the sick are still in them, and setting ablaze their agricultural fields. They cut down age old trees and they show no mercy to anyone, neither the young, nor the old.  They kill men, women, and children without a second thought. In spite of these horrendous and heart rending crimes, they continue to speak about human rights and the irony is that they condemn nations such as Iran for being severe and lacking in human rights!’


If the so-called supporters of human rights were honest in their claims, then the world would indeed be very differenttoday. The fact of the matter is thatthese nationscare only about their own interests, and they commit the most heinous of crimes in pursuit of these self interests. It is interesting to note that if an Israeli spy is convicted of his crimes in some part of the world, the Western media will rise up and raise their voices in objection, convicting that country in absentia of not abiding by human rights. Yet, if thousands of Palestinians are killed in the worst of ways, not a single word will be heard from these same media outlets nor will they protest the issue in light of human rights. These same powers will in fact come to the aid of the Israelis so that they can commit even more crimes and they can kill even more innocent people!
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then further spoken in regards to the ever increasing disgrace of Israel and its Western allies and how this is one of the most important outcomes of the protest movement of the Day of Quds. It will not be long that Palestine will return into the fold of the Muslim community as an independent nation.  The Day of Quds is a day of rising up for the entire Muslim world and it is an opportunity to further disgrace the usurping Zionist regime. Today, Israel’s name is dishonored amongst the people of this world and the nation is more isolated than ever; the citizens of the world have truly turned against it and its many crimes.


A Final Word


Today, the enemy is in a state of decline and moving towards collapse. Therefore, we must increase pressure of them in whatever way possible.  The Western supporters of Israel, such as America, France, and England are caught up in their own economic and domestic crises and they are not able to help Israel like in times past.  How foolish are those who are aiding Israel in the matter of Syria and Iraq… These Muslim nations do not know that the war being imposed on Syria and Iraq is a prerequisite for pressure being applied on themselves in the future.


Some of the leaders of these so called Islamic countries who are behaving in this fashion are in reality digging their own graves.  In light of this issue, the Muslim nations and in fact, all of the free-spirited people of the world, must not listen to those who seek to prevent the Day of Qud’s protests from taking place; they must participate in these marches and protests, for they are highly effective in enhancing the pressure which Israel and its allies are feeling.  The Day of Quds is a day of defeat for Israel; without any doubt, Quds is a part of the Muslim world and it must be returned to its rightful owners as soon as possible.  All of the people, who are able to, must attend these protests on the Day of Quds. The Muslim nations, through their participation in these simple protests, will be able to announce their aversion and disgust at the Zionist Regime, and this is something which the entire world will be able to see and understand.

 

545 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
A LOOK INTO THE EXISTENTIAL PHILOSOPHY OF ‘ID AL-ADHA” FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI


The ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā (also known as ʿĪd of Qurbān) is an important opportunity towards gaining further proximity to Allah. This is a day when human beings remember their status of servitude towards Allah (swt) and they remember how important it is to obey his commands. Moreover, while carrying out Allah’s command in regards to the sacrifice in Minā, we should remember that this sacrifice must be accompanied by a sacrifice in regards to our carnal desires as well. In reality, the sacrifice of our carnal desires is the key issue in this matter. Indeed, gaining a deeper understanding of the various facets and aspects of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā has been greatly emphasized in the Islamic teachings, because without such understanding one cannot make proper use of this blessed day.


In order to understand this day properly, let us delve into the explanations of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the various aspects of this day. One of the key ways of looking at this day is as a type of war against one’s carnal desires; it is a type of realization of the ‘Greater Jiḥād’, which means fighting one’s evil-prompting self.  Many of the Quranic commentators have considered the Yawm al-Ḥajj al-Akbar (The Day of the Greater Ḥajj) to mean the day of the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. This day is considered as one of the most important days of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and we have many traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) (as well as traditions in the Sunni sourcebooks) which confirm this meaning.  In light of this understanding, let us now turn to the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in order to better understand the various aspects of this issue:


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: The Realization of the Greatness of the Islamic Faith in the Great Gather-ing of the Ḥajj


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the importance of the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā (particularly in the context of the Ḥajj pilgrimage) in the following words: ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā possesses certain particularities which cause it to be one of the most important days of worship in the Islamic faith.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained the significance of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā as a symbol of the greatness of Islam and as a symbol of the Ḥajj pilgrimage, and he has said: We Muslims spend our time fasting during the month of Ramaḍān and we repent of the sins which we have committed. At the conclusion of the month, we are given the grace and blessing of celebrating the day of ʿĪd.


Similarly, when the Ḥajj pilgrims have concluded their rites, they also celebrate their ʿĪd as well. However, the blessings of the Ḥajj pilgrimage are not restricted to the pilgrims who perform it; rather the Ḥajj itself adds to the greatness and honor for the entire Muslim world.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has considered this day of ʿĪd to be a day when Allah (swt) has invited the pilgrims as guests to his table, which is filled with many blessings and honors. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard: ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is a day when the people are chosen to be the guests of Allah (swt); the pilgrims have visited the house of Allah and thus they have become his guests and the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is a day of celebration for them.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that those who are not in Mecca during that time still benefit from ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā and they should hold celebrations and be extra cheerful on this day.  The reason behind this is that the blessings of Allah (swt) on this day spread beyond the pilgrims who are in Mecca and they ends up encompassing all of the Muslims.


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: A Symbol of the Great Self Sacrifice of the Champion of Monotheism


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the essential nature of the sacrifice which is performed on the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā in Minā. He has stated the following in this regard: One of the rites of the Ḥajj pilgrimage on the tenth day of Dhī al-Ḥijjah is that of sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah in Minā. This is considered to be an obligatory action within Islam. Yet, by examining the reasons behind the doing of this rite, we realize that one of the purposes of this rite is to commemorate the self-sacrifice of Prophet Abraham (ʿa), one of the champions of monotheism.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained the actions of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) and he has said: The story behind this event is that Allah (swt) wished to perfect the spiritual state of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) and he furthermore wished to show his high rank and position. Towards this end, He ordered him to sacrifice his own son in the land of Minā, in the way of Allah. In reality, this sacrifice was simply a test and it was to prove the worthiness of Abraham (ʿa). When Prophet Abraham (ʿa) obeyed Allah’s command and was prepared to sacrifice his son, he passed the test and thus he was asked to sacrifice a lamb instead.


In light of this, the pilgrims at the Ḥajj reenact this grand sacrifice in Minā in order to commemorate the lofty faith and sincerity of Abraham (ʿa) and also to remember how far he was willing to go in Allah’s obedience. This remembrance brings the hearts back to life and it teaches us to also be willing to sacrifice in the way of Allah (swt) and to be willing to make every effort in his cause. It is said that a man of Allah is the one who is ready to sacrifice all he has in the cuase of Allah, just as Prophet Abraham was prepared to do so. Thus this sacrifice on the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is simply a grand reminder of this momentous event in history.


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: A Feast of Obedience


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is a clear symbol of obedience to Allah (swt) and following his commands. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard that: On the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, which is the second most important ʿĪd of the Muslim world, the pilgrims first perform the rites of the Ḥajj and when they are finished, they celebrate the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā and the rest of the Muslim world celebrate it alongside them. This day is considered to be a day of ʿĪd, which is in reality a day of celebrating one’s obedience to Allah (swt).


Reflection on the Significance of the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā in the Field of Quranic Exegesis: The Verse which Swears by the Rising of the Dawn


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that the Quranic verse which states: ‘By the dawn’  is in reality a reference to the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. He has made the following remarks in this regard: The term Fajr (dawn) in this verse is a reference made to the dawn of the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. The reason behind this is that there is a lot of commotion on that day and the massive crowds gather together at the Mashʿar al-Ḥarām, awaiting the coming of the dawn. Everyone is absorbed in a state of supplication and prayer, and they are focused on Allah (swt).


After the coming of the dawn, the people stay in Mashʿar for a short period of time and then they move waves after waves towards Minā. The pilgrims finally stone the Satan in Minā and they then perform the sacrifice; after this is complete, they then shave their heads (Taqṣīr). This verse of the Quran is in reality a reference to the coming of the dawn of the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, which is a very special kind of dawn, unlike the other normal days of the year.[1]


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: Total Submission to the Commands of Allah (swt)


In order for us to truly understand the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, we must first look into the teachings of the Quran and the traditions, and then it is necessary for us to delve into the story of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) and the sacrifice of his son, Ismāʾīl (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further explained this issue in the following words: Prophet Abraham (ʿa) had passed many of the tests which Allah had placed in his way; this time too, he was forced to gather his spiritual resources, and strive towards passing this new test which he was being given.


He had been asked to sacrifice a son for whom he had been waiting for a very long time. His son had now reached the age of youth and Abraham (ʿa) was being asked to sacrifice him with his own hands…  It is interesting to see that since Abraham (ʿa) considered his son of thirteen years as being an independent and free soul, he wished to allow him to also participate in this divine test and feel what it feels like to be obedient to one’s Lord, no matter what is being asked of you.


Furthermore, Ismā‘īl (ʿa) also wished to further strengthen his father’s will and resolve in the test which he was facing. He didn’t tell his father “sacrifice me!”; he instead told him: “obey your Lord and do what He has ordered you to do”. He also told his father that he would submit before the command of Allah (swt), irregardless of what was being asked from him. When he spoke to his father, he used the words of ‘O’ father’  which signifies that what they were doing did not mean that they had forgotten the love and affection between a father and his son; yet, at the same time, their behavior shows that such emotions should never get in the way of what Allah (swt) has commanded, for Allah’s command predominates over everything else.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued his explanation of how Prophet Abraham (ʿa) and Prophet Ismāʾīl (ʿa) attained victory in their battle, and he has stated: It is noteworthy that Prophet Abraham (ʿa) had an exceedingly refined level of behavior and cour-tesy towards his Lord. He never believed that he could solely rely upon his own faith and willpower in the fulfillment of his mission; rather, he relied on Allah (swt) as the source of all power and as a God whose will dominated over the will of everything else. In this way, both father and son passed the first stage of their great examination!


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: A Chance to Free Oneself from the Strictures of the Carnal Desires


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the details of Prophet Abraham’s (ʿa) sacrifice in the following words: A most sensitive moment had arrived and it was time to carry out the divine command. Prophet Abraham (ʿa) saw that his son had also submitted before this command and he embraced his son for one last time and kissed him. At this moment, both of them began to cry.  The Quran has recounted this moment as follows: ‘So when they had both surrendered [to Allah’s will], and he had laid him down on his forehead…’ [2]


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the meaning of this verse in the following words: Some have said that the meaning of ‘…and he had laid him down on his forehead’ was that Abraham (ʿa) placed the forehead of his son down according to his son’s suggestion, so that his father would not be wrongly influenced by emotion in seeing his son’s face and fail to obey Allah’s command. In any case, Abraham (ʿa) placed his son’s head on the ground, and he took out his knife and began to cut… However, the knife failed to even scratch his son’s throat…[3]
Rather astonished that the sharp knife had not done its job well, Abraham (ʿa) once again tried to cut but once again, the knife had no effect. This was, in fact, because Abraham (ʿa) was commanding the knife to cut, but Allah (swt) had commanded the knife not to cut and the knife was being obedient to its Lord’s commands.  Yet, what happened next has been briefly narrated in the Quran has mentioned as follows: ‘We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous!’[4] Allah (swt) gave them the blessing of being victorious in their examination and he also saved Prophet Ismāʾīl from being sacrificed. These were two individuals who had submitted themselves fully to Allah (swt) and they were willing to do anything for His sake, even at the cost of their lives. The Quran has then continued and mentioned: ‘This was indeed a manifest test.’’


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: A Gathering of Reward for the Sincere and Faithful Servants


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further explained the essential philosophy of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā by referencing various traditions. He has mentioned in this regard that: It has been mentioned in some traditions that when this sacrifice was taking place (the sacrifice of Ismāʾīl (ʿa) by Abraham (ʿa), the Angel Gabriel cried out with amazement: Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. And Abraham (ʿa)’s son cried out: There is not deity but Allah, Allah is the greatest! At this moment, Abraham (ʿa) also said: Allah is the greatest; all praise is due to Allah.  These are similar to the calls of glorification which we recite on the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā.


The Great Sacrifice: The Reward for the Victory of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) in his Divine Examination


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the essential formation of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā and the establishment of this Abrahamic tradition. He has said in this regard: In order that the actions of Abraham (ʿa) would not remain unfinished and that he could perform his sacrifice, Allah (swt) sent a large ram to him so that it could be sacrificed in place of his son. This act was then established as a tradition for all the people during the Ḥajj pilgrimage in the land of Minā. The Quran has made the following remarks in this regard: ‘Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice,’  


So not only did Allah (swt) praise Abraham (ʿa) for his victory and obedience on that day, but He made that act something which would be remembered and commemorated each and every year by large crowds of pilgrims. The Quran has mentioned in this regard: ‘and left for him a good name in posterity.’  This means that the act of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) continues to be remembered up until today and it will continue to be remembered long into the far future.
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued this discussion and said: At this first stage, Allah (swt) confirmed Prophet Abraham’s (ʿa) victory in the course of his great examina-tion and he confirmed that he had passed his test.[5] This in itself was a great reward, for passing such a great examination is itself a great blessing and grace from Allah (swt). This was in reality the greatest reward which Allah gave to Abraham (ʿa). The next issue involved was that of the ‘great sacrifice’ and the perpetual commemoration of the name and actions of Prophet Abraham (ʿa)  and this was a type of second reward which was given to Prophet Abraham (ʿa).


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā: A Day of Helping the Poor and Poverty Stricken


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then referred to one of the important issues related to the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, which is the distribution of the meat of all of the animals which are slaughtered. These are naturally distributed to the poor of the Muslim world. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard: We must now see what Islam has said in regards to the meat of these animals and if the Muslims have a duty in this regard. When we refer to the Quran, we see that in Surah al-Ḥajj, the following instructions have been given to those who sacrifice animals in Minā on the day of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. The verse states the following: ‘…and feed the destitute and the needy.’[6]  Another verse in this same chapter states: ‘And when they have fallen on their flanks, eat from them, and feed the self-contained needy and the mendicant. ‘[7]


The Correct Use of the Remaining Meat: A Completion of the Spiritual Benefits of the ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained how the aforementioned meat should be utilized and the role that this plays in the completion of the spiritual benefits of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. He has made the following remarks in this regard: In our religious texts, it has been instructed that the Ḥajj pilgrims need to divide the meat into three portions. One portion should be used by themselves, the other portion should go to the pious believers, while the third portion should go to the poor. These explicit instructions show us that in addition to the spiritual benefits of this act of sacrifice, there are also material benefits for the entire society. This meat must never be wasted and there must be proper planning and organization to insure that it is used in the correct manner.


ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā and the Duties of the Islamic Governments


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized the necessity of having the proper management for all of the meat which results from the yearly sacrifices. He has mentioned in this regard: At this time, the duty of the pilgrims and the Muslim governments is to process and utilize this meat in the correct manner. This is an Islamic duty which is in line with the other goals of the faith. We must work towards building the proper cold storage units and prevent any of the meat from going to waste. This meat should be used in the way the Holy Quran has instructed and this is a goal which we can gradually work towards.


During past times, the numbers of the Ḥajj pilgrims were much smaller and the meat which resulted from these sacrifices was used properly in that same day. Today, the numbers of the pilgrims have increased due to the ease of travel. Therefore, we must utilize modern technology to prevent the waste of this meat… This is a duty which is incumbent on the Islamic governments and on the Muslims as individuals, and they must work hard to ensure that no waste takes place in this regard.


A Final Word


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then concluded his discussion of the great event of ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā and the role of Prophet Abraham (ʿa) in its establishment as follows: One of the signs of the greatness of this day is that every year, the numbers of pilgrims grow and become larger and larger. Today, more than two million pilgrims commemorate the great sacrifice of Prophet Abraham (ʿa)…  In the Holy Quran, Allah has mentioned that: ‘Peace be upon Abraham.’[8] He has also stated that: ‘This is how we reward the doers of good.’[9]


In light of this, we must say that ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is a reminder of this key lesson from Prophet Abraham (ʿa), who became an example for all of humanity…  His actions on that day many centuries ago became a divine tradition implemented into the rites of the Ḥajj pilgrimage. This is a divine tradition which will continue to be remembered and practiced in the future. We should know that Abraham (ʿa) is the forebearer of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) and he is in reality the father of the Islamic nation.

571 Visits: 2017/1/4 Published on:
Islamic Jurisprudence Glossary

Islamic Jurisprudence Glossary

 

A   B   C   D   F   G   H     K    M   N   Q     S     U   W   Z


A

Adā: (الأداء) A prayer which is performed in its specified time period.


Ādil: (العادل) A just individual; this is Islamically defined as one who has an inner fear of God which prevents him from committing the major sins and from persisting upon the minor sins.

‘Ahd: (العهد) Covenant; A compact which an individual makes before Allah (swt) with regard to performing a good action or abstaining from a bad action. This is done through the recitation of a specific formula.

Aḥkām: (الأحكام) Laws; Rules; Islamic Laws

Ahl al-kitāb: (أهل الکتاب) People of the Book; A non-Muslim who follows one of the book holding prophets (a). This includes groups such as the Jews and the Christians.

A‘lam:  (الأعلم) The most learned person in deducing the rulings from the religious sources.
 

Al-fajr al-kādhib: (الفجر الکاذب) False dawn; a moment during the end of the night where a white light appears (on the eastern horizon). This white light is vertical in nature. During this moment, even though the night has ended, it is still not time for the Morning Prayer. This is why it is called the false dawn.

Al-fajr al-ṣādiq: (الفجر الصادق) True dawn [as opposed to false dawn (al-fajr al-kādhib)] is the glow that appears and spreads in the east of the sky a few minutes after the false dawn. It marks the beginning of the time for offering the Morning Prayer. As the light of the true dawn becomes more powerful, the stars begin to wane in the morning sky. The time for offering the Morning Prayer will be up with the first glow of sunlight appearing on the eastern horizon.

Al-wājib al-kifāyī: (الواجب الكفائي) Collective duty; this is an obligatory action which is due upon everyone but when one individual performs it, the duty is removed from the rest of the people.

‘Āmil: (العامل) Executor; one who acts based upon a Juʿālah type agreement.

Ārīyah: (العارية) Lending; giving one’s property to another so that they can use it temporarily without having to make any payments in return.

Āyāt Prayer: (صلاة الآيات) Signs prayer; a particular two rak‘at prayer which is obligatory to perform during times of earthquake, and lunar and solar eclipse.

Āyatulkursī: (آية الکرسي) The Throne Verse; the 255th verse of Surah al-Baqarah

 


B

Bā’in Divorce: (الطلاق البائن) Irrevocable divorce; this is a type of divorce where a man cannot return to married life (Rujū‘) with his wife.

Baytulmāl: (بيت مال المسلمين) A type of public wealth.

Bid‘ah: (البدعة) Innovation in religion; making something a part of the religion which is actually not a part of the religion.

Branches of religion (furu‘ al-dīn): (فروع الدين) The practical aspects of the religious law are called the branches of religion.

 


C


Compromise: (الصلح) A two sided compromise; this is where an individual gives a certain amount of money or certain rights to another for the purpose of compromise.

Conditional Sale: (بيع الشرط) A conditional sale is a type of sale where an item is sold whereby the seller has the right to cancel the transaction.

Congregational Prayer: (صلاة الجماعة) An obligatory prayer performed by two people or more in congregation. In a congregational prayer, one person leads the prayer, while the rest follow.
Consequential Ṭahārah:  In lexicon, this term pertains to following someone or something. In jurisprudence, it refers to the purification of an impure object at the same time as the purification of another impure object. For example, this can refer to a dish which has initially held grapes for the making of vinegar; this dish is initially impure due to the creation of wine, but it then becomes pure when the grapes turn into vinegar.

 


D


Dhikr: (الذكر) Prescribed religious formulae; these include all religious formulae which have been prescribed in religious law to be recited within one’s prayers, as well as during other times.

 

Dhimmī: (الذمي) Non-Muslim citizen; non-Muslims from the people of the Scripture, such as the Jews and Christians, who are living under the protection of a Muslim government through means of a treaty.

 

Dirham: (الدرهم) A Dirham is a type of silver based money which was used during the early Islamic period until the beginning of the fourteenth century AH. It was a prevalent type of currency amongst the Muslims and it had a weight of approximately 2.4192 grams of silver. Its size was about the size of a finger joint.

 

Discerning child: (الطفل المميّز) A child who has attained the age of discretion; A child who can discern between good and bad actions.

 

Dīyah: (الدية) The money prescribed in the Islamic Law and is paid in order to compensate the death or injury of a person.

 

 

F

 

Faeces-Eating Animal: (الحيوان الجلّال) An animal which eats human faeces.

 

Fatwā: (الفتوي) Religious decree; An expert opinion of a qualified jurist concerning Islamic Law.

 

Farsakh: (الفرسخ) League (Parasang); an itinerant distance of about 5.5 kilometers which is mentioned in some rulings on the laws pertaining to traveling and Friday Prayer.

 

Fiqh: (الفقه) Islamic Jurisprudence; the do’s and don’ts of religion.

 

Fundamentals of religion (usūl al-dīn): (اُصول الدين) The fundamentals of religion (contrary to the branches of religion) are a group of basic beliefs which Islam is composed of. It is not possible to be a Muslim without believing in them and the rejection of any one of them causes a state of disbelief and incurs divine punishment.

 


G

General Deputy: (النائب العام) This refers to a religious authority or an individual who is chosen to represent them.

 

Ghaṣb: (الغصب) Usurpation; utilizing another’s wealth without their permission or consent.
Ghufaylah Prayer: (صلاة الغفيلة) A specific two-rak‘at prayer which is performed in between the Maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers.

 

Ghusālah: ( الغسالة) Remainder washing; this refers to the water which after washing things such as clothes comes out of them either by squeezing them or by itself.

 


H


Ḥā’iḍ: (الحائض) A woman who is menstruating

 

Ḥajj: (الحج) Visiting the House of Allah (swt) and performing specific rituals during a specific time of year.

 

Ḥanūṭ: (الحنوط) Applying Camphor; Rubbing camphor on the various body parts of a dead individual. The camphor is specifically applied to the forehead, the palms of the hands, the knees, and the tip of the two big toes.

 

Ḥarbī kāfirs: (الکافر الحربي) Non-Muslims who are at war with Muslims.

 

Ḥawālah: (الحوالة) Transferring the debt; where the debtor refers the creditor to a third party for the resolution of their loaned amount.

 

Ḥayḍ: (الحيض) Menstruation.
Ḥijāb: Canonical Islamic dress code of modesty; a specific dress code.

 


I


Ibādāt: (العبادات) Acts of devotional worship; the ultimate form of humility before Allah (swt) through worshipping Him.

 

Ibn al-sabīl: (ابن السبيل) This is a traveller who no longer has the money for continuing their journey or money for their basic expenses.

 

‘Iddah: (العدة) Waiting period; a period of time where a woman (due to divorce or the death of her husband, or the end of the period of her temporary marriage) must wait before she can remarry.

 

Iddah of a Widow: (عدة الوفاة) Widow waiting period; a waiting period pertaining to a woman whose husband has passed away [during which she cannot remarry]. Its period is four months and ten days long.

 

Ifḍā: (الإفضاء) Perineal tear (the laceration of the perineum); perineal tear is a spontaneous laceration of the skin and other soft tissue structures which, in women, separate the vagina from the anus or the urinary and menstrual tract. In general, the tear is in a way that sexual intercourse is not possible.

 

Iḥtilām: (الاحتلام) Nocturnal emission (Wet dream); the emission of semen during the state of sleep.

 

Iḥtīyāṭ: (الاحتياط) Precaution; taking the necessary precautions in order to ensure that one has, indeed, fulfilled one’s potential duties.

 

Al-iḥtīyāṭ al-wājib: (الاحتياط الواجب) Obligatory precaution; this is a type of precaution which the follower can act upon or they can refer to the ruling of another qualified jurist who is equal in knowledge to the qualified jurist that they follow or at least the next in knowledge.

 

Al-iḥtīyāṭ al-mustaḥab: (الاحتياط المستحب) Recommended precaution; this refers to a type of precaution where the follower can act upon the ruling or they can leave it aside.

 

Imam of prayer: (امام الجماعة) Prayer leader; an individual who is followed by others in the congregational prayer

 

Individual prayer: (صلاة الفرادي) A prayer which an individual offers by themselves.

 

Inqilāb: (الإنقلاب) transformation; If liquor becomes vinegar by itself, or by mixing it with something, it becomes ritually pure, and it is called Inqilab (transformation).

 

Intiqāl: (الإنتقال) Substantial Transfer; a change of location; changing the position of a Najis thing in a way that it is no longer the original substance, like transfer of human blood into the body of a mosquito.

 

Irtimāsī Ghusl: (الغسل الارتماسي) Major Ablution (Ghusl) by immersion; immersing one’s entire body into water for the purpose of the Ghusl.

 

Irtimāsī Wuḍū: (الوضوء الإرتماسي) Minor ablution by immersion; immersing one’s face and

hands in water for the purpose of the minor ablution (wuḍū).

 

Istibrā: (الإستبراء) This term pertains to avoiding various types of uncleanliness. It is used in three cases:
1) Istibra from urine (cleaning the urethra from urine)
2) Istibra from semen (cleaning the urethra from semen to ensure that no semen is left in the urethra by urinating after the discharge of semen)
3) Istibra for feces-eating animal from eating feces. (To prevent a feces-eating animal from eating feces until it returns to its natural food).
Islamic sacraments: (الشعائر, Sha‘ā’ir) Sacred Islamic traditions; practical manifestations of Islam such as the mourning ceremonies for the Ahl al-Bayt (a), or congregational prayers, etc. which serve as means to promote Islam.

 

Istiḥāḍah: (الإستحاضة) This refers to all female bleeding other than ḥayḍ, nifās, and regular wounds and boils in the female uterus.

 

Istiḥālah: (الإستحالة) Transubstantiation; to totally change in a way where it becomes of another essential nature. For instance, a piece of najis wood burns and changes into ashes or a dog’s body is transformed into salt as a result of falling into a salt marsh.

 

Istiṭā‘ah: (الإستطاعة) Capability to perform Hajj; the ability of performing the Hajj pilgrimage from the physical, economic, and travel based perspectives.

 


J


Jabīrah: (الجبيرة) Bandage; a piece of fabric/plaster with which a broken bone or a wound is bandaged.

 

Jā‘il: (الجاعل) Rewarder; One who formulates a Ju'ālah type agreement.

 

Janābah: (الجنابة) Major ritual impurity; this is a state of major ritual impurity which comes about from the ejaculation or through sexual intercourse (even without ejaculation). A person in this state can return to the state of ritual purity through performing the major ritual ablution (Ghusl).

 

Jārī water: (الماء الجاري) Flowing Water; running water; a type of water which constantly flows from the earth, such as the water of a spring or a Qanat. This also applies to rivers which originate from mountains, as well as city tap water which is connected to a main water source. The one condition which must apply is that the water source must be greater than one Kurr in size.

 

Ju‘ālah: (الجعالة) Payment of reward; a type of contract where an individual announces that whoever does a certain action for them will be given a specific reward. For example, whoever finds an individual’s lost book will be given a reward of 20 dollars.

 

Junub: (الجنب) This refers to one who has ejaculated or who has engaged in sexual intercourse (even without it resulting in ejaculation).

 


K


Kafālah: (الکفالة) Bail agreement; a guarantee or a bond.

 

Kaffāra (expiation): (الكفارة) actions which people perform in order to compensate for certain specific sins.

 

Kafīl: (الکفيل) Bailsman; a Guarantor of a bail.

 

Kathīr al-shak: (کثير الشک) One who doubts too much in ones acts of worship; an individual who falls into excessive doubt.

 

Khul‘ Divorce: (طلاق الخلع) Divorce at the wife’s instigation; a type of divorce where a woman does not wish to remain married to her husband and she forgoes her bridal gift (or relinquishes another amount of wealth to her husband) in exchange for divorce.

 

Khums: (الخمس) In lexicon, this term means one fifth. In religious jurisprudence, it refers to a twenty per cent tax on the excess of one’s yearly income. This must be given to a fully qualified religious jurist, i.e. a religious authority (the Marjaʿ Taqlīd).

 

Khums year:  (السنة الخمسية) A full year after one’s first earned wages. This date must then be used every year afterwards for paying the Khums.  

 

Kurr Water: (ماء الکرّ) A quantity of water which would fill a dish that is 3.5 hand spans in height, width, and depth according to obligatory precaution. This is approximately equal to a weight of 384 kilograms and it is also roughly equal to 384 litters of water. In addition, when it comes to calculating hand spans, the hand spans would be medium sized (not too small and not too large).

 


L


Legal guardian: (الولي) An individual who has the responsibility of making decisions in regards to a person or object.

 

Lease contract: (الإجارة) A contract where the benefits of a property or work is given to another in return for certain wages (and for a set time period).

 

Maḥjūr: Legally incompetent: (المحجور عليهم) A person who is not allowed to utilize their wealth [because of having been legally ruled as incompetent].

 


M


Madhy: (المذي) Pre-ejaculate; this is a type of discharge seen during foreplay.

 

Mā fī al-dhimmah: (ما في الذمة) One’s responsibility; that which is necessary for a responsible individual to perform.

 

Mahr: (المهر) Bridal gift; an amount of wealth which a woman comes to own as her nuptial gift. A man is obliged to give this amount to his wife.

 

Maḥram: (المحرم) Close relatives; this term refers to some relatives (both by blood, through marriage or through being breastfed by a woman) about whom there are less stringent requirements in relation to one’s dress and social interactions. Marriage with one’s Maḥrams is also considered to be impermissible. These individuals include the following persons: One’s sisters, mother, daughters, granddaughters, aunts (both maternal and paternal) the rabība (stepdaughter), the mother and grandmother of one’s wife, as well as one’s daughters and foster-sisters through being breastfed by the one’s mother.

 

The major sins: (الصغائر) Mortal sins; the cardinal sins are sins which have been mentioned explicitly in the Quran as bringing about divine punishment, or they have been explicitly forbidden in the Quran, or they have been mentioned by name (as a mortal sin) in the Islamic traditions. Additionally, persisting in the commission of the lesser sins is also considered to be a mortal sin. It should be noted that all other kinds of sins are considered to be lesser sins.

 

Makrūh: (المكروه) Disliked; any action which Islamic law considers it to be undesirable and abominable; its commission is not unlawful but it is recommended to not perform it.

 

Ma’mūm: (المأموم) Follower; An individual who follows a prayer leader during their congregational prayer.

 

Masā’il: Rulings; rules; issues.

 

Mature: (البالغ) A religiously mature individual; religious maturity consists of four different types. The first type pertains to religious worship and abiding by the laws of the lawful and the unlawful. This type of religious maturity is achieved when a man completes fifteen lunar years or when a woman completes nine lunar years. There are also other signs for having reached this age which are mentioned in this book rule No. 1909. An example of this can be found in the issue of fasting. When someone has reached the age of religious maturity, they are obligated to perform the obligatory fasts so long as they are able to do so. If they find themselves unable to complete all of them, they must do as many as they can and the rest should be compensated gradually before the month of Ramadan of the following year. If they find themselves unable to do this, they can feed a poor person for each day’s fast which they missed and there will be no need for making up the fast any longer. The criterion for being unable to fast is defined by the existence of great difficulty and danger to oneself. This ruling is based on the Quranic verse which states:
 « فَمَنْ کانَ مِنْکُمْ مَريضاً أَوْ عَلي سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيامٍ أُخَرَ »(2:184)
This is a principle in Islam which calls upon the Muslims never to harm themselves.
The second type of maturity pertains to maturity in relation to marriage. This means that the individual in question must have reached certain levels of physical growth which allow for marriage and sexual intercourse. If they are not physically matured and will be harmed by sexual intercourse, then it is not permissible for them to get married. With this said, there is no issue with simply reciting the marriage contract and leaving the other aspects of marriage for a later time (when maturity has been reached). This ruling is based on the above-mentioned Quranic verse regarding the necessity of keeping oneself away from extreme difficulties; it is also evidenced by the Quranic verse which states:
 « فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْداً »(6:4)
Although this verse is specifically about economic maturity, it can also be applied to the issue of marriage as well.
The third type of maturity pertains to economic maturity. An individual is said to have reached economic maturity when they can guard over their wealth and utilize it in a proper manner without being easily deceived and having their wealth taken from them. Economic maturity has various stages as well and when each of these stages is reached, the individual has permission to utilize their wealth to the degree to which they are able. For example, different levels of ability are required in making daily expenditures and real estate deals. The evidence for this ruling comes from the following Quranic verse which states:
«وَ ابْتَلُوا الْيتامي حَتّي إِذا بَلَغُوا النِّکاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْداً فَادْفَعُوا إِلَيهِمْ أَمْوالَهُمْ»
The fourth type of maturity pertains to the issue of ordained punishments and the law of retaliation. In spite of this, when it comes to paying money for damages done, neither knowledge is a condition, nor intent. Therefore, if someone is guilty of unintentional or quasi-intentional homicide, they must still pay the blood money ordained for manslaughter. However, when it comes to the ordained punishments and the law of retaliation, one cannot be punished if they lack the proper mental faculties or understanding. This ruling is based on the following Quranic verse:
 «فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْداً» (6:4)
This verse in reality pertains to the issue of intellectual maturity and not simple economics; therefore, it pertains to all types of maturity. Hence, responsibility cannot be imposed as long as the necessary levels of maturity have not been reached and if there is any doubt, then it should still not be imposed.

 

Maẓ;ālim: (المظالم) Injustices; this is the plural form of the word Ẓulm (injustice). The term Radd al-Maẓālim refers to making up for an act or acts of economic injustice when the original owner (who was oppressed) can no longer be reached. With permission from the religious authority or his representative, the individual then gives this amount of money to the poor on behalf of its original owner.

 

Menopause: (اليائسة) A woman who has reached a certain age where she no longer menstruates.

 

Mentally incompetent: (السفيه) An individual with a limited intellectual capacity. This specifically means that the individual does not have the ability to manage their own financial affairs and they would spend their wealth in useless things.

 

Miḥrāb: (المحراب) Prayer niche; a semicircular niche in the wall of the mosque facing the qiblah where the prayer leader stands.

 

Minor: (الصغير) Underage; An individual who has not reached the age of religious maturity and has lost their father.

 

Minor invalidator: (الحدث الأصغر) any action which invalidates wuḍū. [As opposed to Major invalidator which is any action which necessitates the major ritual ablution (Ghusl) for prayer.

 

Mithqāl: (المثقال) A unit of weight which is equal to 3.456 grams.

 

Mu’adhin: (المؤذّن) One who recites the call to prayer.

 

Mu‘āmilāt: (المعاملات) Transactions.

 

Mubāḥ: (المباح) Permissible; any action which is considered permissible in Islamic law.

 

Mubārāt Divorce: (طلاق المباراة) Divorce by reciprocal renunciation of right; a type of divorce where the husband and wife cannot reconcile with one another. The wife gives an amount of money to the husband in lieu of divorce.

 

Mubtadi’ah: (المبتدئة) Menarcheal woman; a woman who is menstruating for the first time.

 

Muḍāf Water: (الماء المضاف) Mixed water; this is a type of water which has been mixed with some other substance (such as sugar) in a way that it would no longer be considered water by the common understanding.

 

Muḍārabah: (المضاربة) A limited partnership which means that an individual or individuals invest their money and another individual or other individuals work with that capital and divide the proceeds in accordance with their agreement, and each will have his share of it.

 

Mudd: (المد) A measure unit which is approximately equal to 750 grams.

 

Muḍṭaribah: (المضطربة) A woman who has irregular menstruations.

 

Muḥtaḍar: (المحتضر) Dying person; A Muḥtaḍar by definition is a person on whom the signs of death are clearly visible.

 

Mujtahid: (المجتهد) A qualified religious jurist; the lexical meaning of this term is “to strive and struggle towards a certain goal. In jurisprudence, it is used to refer to someone who has reached a very high stage in deriving and interpreting jurisprudential law. This means that their intellectual knowledge is so great that they can derive rulings from the Quran and body of traditions (as well as through utilizing the intellect and scholarly consensus).

 

Musāqāt: (المساقاة) Sharecropping Contract on Fruit Trees; in lexicon, this term refers to watering. In religious jurisprudence, this is a contract between the owner of an orchard and the cultivator. The cultivator waters and takes care of the trees and then is entitled to a share of the end fruit yield.

 

Muṣī: (الموصي) Testator; an individual who makes or drafts a will.

 

Mustaḥab: (المستحب) Recommended; any action which is recommended in Islamic law but is not considered obligatory.

 

Mustaḥāḍah: (المستحاضة) A woman with menorrhagia; A woman who is in a state of Istiḥāḍah (i.e. with menorrhagia).

 

Mustaṭī‘: (المستطيع) Capable; in lexicon, this refers to capability. In religious jurisprudence, it refers to an individual who has the means and circumstances of performing the Ḥajj pilgrimage.

 

Muṭahhir/Muṭahhirāt: (المطهّرات) Purifying agent(s); the Lexical meaning of this term refers to anything which purifies something else. In jurisprudence however, it refers to agents and procedures which remove impurity and restore a state of ritual purity.

 

Mutawallī: (المتولّي) Custodian; an individual who takes on the responsibility of following up on a certain amount of money.

 

Muṭlaq Water: (الماء المطلق) Unmixed water; this is a type of water which is considered as water by the common understanding (though it may be mixed with something else). Due to this reason, juice is or water which is excessively mixed with salt or soil etc. in a way that it would no longer be considered water by the common understanding is not muṭlaq water.

 

Muwakkil: (الموکّل) Principal; the one who makes another a representative.

 

Muwālāt: (الموالاة) Maintenance of succession; consecutively and without more than usual pause.

 

Muzāra‘ah: (المزارعة) Farming partnership; this is a contract between the owner of a piece of land and the farmer. The owner agrees to a share of the end agricultural product (in return for renting out his land to the farmer).

 


N


Nadhr: (النذر) Vow; making it obligatory upon oneself to perform a good action or to abstain from a bad action.

 

Nafaqah: (النفقة) Maintenance; the basic expenses of a person’s life which are obligatory upon certain other individual(s) who are responsible in this regard.

 

Nafsā’: (النفساء) A woman who experiences the bleeding after childbirth.

 

Naḥr: (النحر) Sacrificing a camel; the method of Islamically slaughtering a camel.

 

Najāsah/Najis: (النجاسات) [ritual] Impurity; these are certain, limited things which human beings must abstain from because they are considered to be ritually impure.

 

Nāsīyah: (الناسية) A woman who has forgotten the time of her monthly period.

 

Nawāfil/Nāfilah: (نوافل النافلة / النوافل/نافلة) Supererogatory prayers; recommended prayers.

 

Nawāṣib: (الناصبي) Individual who slander or insult the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).

 

Nifās: (النفاس) Lochia; birth bleeding; this is bleeding which takes place after childbirth (and originates from the uterus).

 

Niṣāb: (النصاب) Taxable limit; a determined limit for various items where the giving of the Zakāt becomes obligatory.

 


Q

Qaḍā: (القضاء) Making up an action after its time has passed.

 

Qalīl Water: (الماء القليل) Less than Kurr Water; this is a quantity of water that is less than Kurr in amount and which does not come out of the earth (such as a spring).

 

Qarā’ah: (القراءة) Recitation; what is recited during the standing portion of the prayers. It consists of Surah al-Fātiḥa with the other surah recited after al-Fātiḥa, along with the ‘Four Praises’ (tasbīḥāt arbaʿah).

 

Qaṣr prayer: (صلاة القصر) Shortened prayer; the shortened prayers are originally four rak‘at prayers which are shortened to two rak‘at prayers during the course of a journey.

 

Qurbah: (القربة) Attaining nearness to Allah (swt); an action done purely for the sake of Allah and to win Allah’s favor.

 


R


Rajā’: (قصد الرجاء) Doing something in the hope of attaining nearness to Allah (swt); where an act is done with the hopes that it will potentially bring an individual closer to Allah (swt).

 

Rak‘at: (الرکعة) A unit of prayer which is composed of standing, genuflecting, and prostrating.

 

Ramaḍān: (شهر رمضان) The ninth lunar month where the Muslims fast.

 

Rashīdah: (الرشيدة) An intellectually mature girl; a girl who has reached an age of growth both in terms of age and intellectual development where she can determine the things which are to her benefit and harm and act upon them.

 

Ribā: (الربا) Usury; charging interest on a loan.

 

Riḍā‘ī: (الرضاعي) Girls or boys who have been breastfed by the same woman.

 

Right of rescission: (خيار الفسخ) The choice of invalidating a transaction.

 

Rij‘ī Divorce: (الطلاق الرجعي) Revocable divorce; this is a type of divorce where a man can return to his wife (they can restart their married life again) during her waiting period.

 

Rujū‘: (الرجوع) Revocation of divorce; in lexicon, this term means a return. In jurisprudence, it refers to an action performed by a man, who has divorced his wife based on the principles of revocable divorce, through which he can revoke the divorce during the waiting period of his wife, in which case he can return to a state of married life without needing to make another marriage contract.

 

Rukn: (الواجبات الركنية واجبات رکنية) Foundational element; in lexicon, this term means a foundation. It is the most essential part of every act of worship and it has certain rules.

 


S


Ṣā‘: (الصاع) A unit of measure of approximately three kilograms.

 

Ṣadaqa: (الصدقة) Alms; this is charity which an individual gives from his own wealth with the intention of gaining proximity to Allah (swt). It is sometimes obligatory from a religious perspective such as Zakāt. It can also be considered as recommended in certain times such as the giving of normal charity.

 

Sajdah al-sahw: (سجود السهو) Compensatory prostration; an act of prostration which a praying individual performs in lieu of certain mistakes which they accidentally performed.

 

Sajdah for Shukr: (سجدة الشکر) Prostration for thanking.

 

Ṣalāt al-iḥtīyāṭ: (صلاة الإحتياط) Precautionary prayer; a prayer which is performed without reciting the Quranic Surah, which is usually recited after surah al-Fātiha in prayers, in lieu of prayer rak‘ats where the individual had doubts whether they had performed them or not.

 

Ṣalāt al-mayyit: (صلاة الميّت) Burial prayer; a specific prayer which is performed for the dead before burial.

 

Sayyids: (السيّد) People who are descendants of “Hāshim”, the great grandfather of Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ). These include the descendants of ʿAbbās, Jaʿfar, Abū Ṭālib, Abū Lahab, Ḥārith, and ʿAbdullāh.

 

Sidr: (السدر) A powder taken from Ziziphus Spina-christi tree and if that is not available whatever is most similar in appearance to it from Ziziphus genus.

 

Shaf‘ Prayer: (نافلة الشفع) Lexically means even in number; This is a two-rak‘at recommended prayer which is performed after the eight rak‘ats of the supererogatory night prayers and before the Witr prayer.

 

Shahādatayn: (الشهادتين) The statement of faith; testifying to the oneness of Allah (swt) and the prophethood of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ).

 

Sharī‘a: (الشريعة) Sharia; the laws which Allah (swt) has determined for his servants.

 

Specific deputy (al-nāib al-khāṣ): (النائب الخاصّ) A representative who has been specifically chosen by the Infallible Imam (ʿa).

 

Specified obligatory fast: (صوم واجب معيّن) A day where fasting has become obligatory upon an individual due to a vow (or another similar reason).

 

Suḥūr: (السحور) A meal which is eaten before the morning adhān on days when one has decided to fast.

 


T


Ṭahārah/Ṭāhir: (الطهارة) [ritual] purity; in lexicon, this term refers to purity, while in jurisprudence, it is used to refer to a spiritual state which is brought about from performing the minor ablution (wuḍū), or the major ritual ablution (Ghusl), or dry ablution (Tayyamum).

 

Tajwīd: (التجويد) Correct recitation of the Quran; The art of reciting the Quran with proper pronunciation.

 

Takbīr: (التکبير) The recitation of the phrase, Allah is Greater (Allahū Akbar).

 

Takhyīrī wājib: (الواجب التخييري) Obligatory with choice; having a choice between two or more tasks, the fulfillment of at least one of which is considered as obligatory.

 

Takbīrat-ul-iḥrām: (تکبيرة الإحرام) Reciting the phrase, Allah is Greater (Allahū Akbar) with the intention of prayer.

 

Taqīyyah: (التقيّة) Dissimulation; expressing a belief or performing an action which is contrary to one’s actual beliefs due to necessity or an overriding reason.

 

Taqlīd: (التقليد) To Follow; following the rulings of a qualified religious jurist and acting upon them.

 

Tarakhuṣ: (حدّ الترخّص) The Limit of Tarakhus; certain distance from one’s city where the sounds of the city’s Call to Prayer can no longer be heard and the people of the city can no longer see the traveller.

 

Tartīb: (الترتيب) Sequence; doing acts of worship in proper sequence. With regard to prayers, this involves the maintaining of the proper sequence of actions in prayer.

 

Tartībī Ghusl: (الغسل الترتيبي) Sequential Ghusl; Washing the body with a particular order with the intention of performing the major ablution (Ghusl).

 

Tashyī‘: (التشييع) Accompanying a dead individual before their burial. This is considered to be one of the recommended actions in Islam.

 

Ṭawāf: (الطواف) Circumambulation; a circular movement around the Ka‘ba. This is one of the rituals related to the Ḥajj and ‘Umrah pilgrimage.

 

Ṭawāf al-nisā’: (طواف النساء) Circumambulation of women; the last circumambulation of Ḥajj and the independent (Mufradah) ʿUmrah. If one does not perform this circumambulation, sexual contact with their spouse becomes unlawful to them.

 

Tayammum: (التيمّم) Dry ablution; when one does not have access to water, tayammum can be performed instead of wuḍū or Ghusl. There are seven cases where one can perform tayammum.

 

Turbah: (التربة) what people prostrate upon during their prayers and it can be made of stones, the dirt from the area around the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (a), etc...

 

Turbah of Imam al-Ḥusayn (a): (تربة الإمام الحسين عليه السلام) This refers to the dirt found in Karbala within a limited area around the shrine of Imam Ḥusayn (a).

 


U


‘Umrah pilgrimage: (العمرة) Visiting the House of Allah (swt) and performing its related rituals. This type of pilgrimage is similar to the Ḥajj pilgrimage but with some differences. The Umrah pilgrimage is of two kinds: first is the Umrah al-Tamatu‘ which has to be performed before the Hajj al-Tamatu‘ and the second is the Mufradah Umrah which is performed as an independent pilgrimage or after the Qirān Hajj, or the Ifrād Hajj.

 

Unspecified obligatory fast: (صوم واجب غير معيّن) An obligatory fast where the individual has a long span of time to perform it.

 

‘Urf: (العرف) Common understanding/view; the general culture of the people.

 


W


Wady: (الودي) A type of discharge which is sometimes seen after urination.

 

Wadhy: (الوذي) A type of discharge which is sometimes seen after ejaculation.

 

Wadī‘ah: (الوديعة) Deposit; property given in trust (i.e. something one is entrusted with).

 

Waḥshat Prayer: (صلاة الوحشة) The prayer of fear; this is a two-unit prayer which is recited for the first night when someone has been buried. It possesses specific rules.

 

Wājib: (الواجب) Obligatory; this refers to any action which is considered to be obligatory in Islamic law.

 

Wakālah: (الوکالة) Agency; giving another individual the right to certain decisions on one’s behalf.

 

Wakīl: (الوکيل) Agent; a representative who is given the right to perform certain actions or make certain decisions on behalf of another.

 

Waqf: (الوقف) Endowment; waqf is of three types:
1) Private endowment (specific to an individual or individuals). This involves a type of property which cannot be transferred, nor can it be inherited. This includes endowing something for one’s own children
2) Genaral endowment (which intends groups). This type of endowment does not pertain to all of the people but it rather pertains to a specific subset of people. For example, an endowment can be created for the use of ‘religious students’ or an endowment can be made for ‘the ill’ who are currently being treated in a hospital.
3) The third type of endowment pertains to the separation of a property from specific ownership. This means that a property becomes ownerless and is then owned by the public in general. A mosque is typically of this type of endowment. There is also some controversy over whether such a property belongs to Allah (swt) or if it belongs to the Muslims in general or if it has no owner at all.

 

Waqt al-faḍīlah: (وقت الفضيلة) Meritorious time; a time period which possesses the most reward for the performance of an action (e.g. Meritorious time of the ẓ;uhr prayer).

 

Waṣī: (الوصي) Executer of a will; an individual who is responsible for practically implementing a will.

 

Waṣīyah: (الوصية) Will; in lexicon, this term means “advice”. In religious jurisprudence, it refers to the tasks and duties which an individual entrusts with another individual for the time after their death.

 

Waswās: (الوسواس) Obsessive-compulsive Disorder; a type of excess caution which results from a lack of awareness; one must not pay such concerns any mind. This can also be caused by a type of psychological illness which causes excess doubt and obsession in performing various acts of worship or other related things.

 

Waṭan: (الوطن) Homeland; A place where an individual chooses to live on a permanent basis.

 

Witr: (نافلة الوتر) Lexically, this term means something which is odd in number. In religious practice, this term refers to a one-rak‘at prayer which is a part of the supererogatory night prayers.

 

Wuḍū: (الوضوء) Minor ablution; this is a devotional act which is comprised of washing one’s face and arms, and wiping one’s head and feet with a wet hand. The specifics of this ritual washing have been mentioned in this book.

 


Z


Zakāt: (الزکاة) In lexicon, this term refers to purity from corruption. In religious jurisprudence, it refers to a specific amount of money which one pays from their wealth when it reaches a certain point (in regards to certain specific things).

 

Zakāt of fiṭrah: (زکاة الفطرة) Alms of the fast-breaking; the amount of three kilograms of normal foodstuff given as alms on the Eid al-Fiṭr.

 

262 Visits: 2017/1/1 Published on:
A REFLECTION ON THE REALITY OF MUBAHALAH FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The event of Mubahalah is considered to be one of the miracles of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) against the deviant beliefs and claims of the Christians of Najrān. This event was seen as a solid proof as to the truthfulness of the Prophet (ṣ) and for the religion of Islam against the claims of the other jnreligions. In light of this issue, it is critical that we look deeply in to the various points and facets related to this event. In order to gain this deeper understanding of Mubahalah, we will utilize the viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī and see what he has mentioned in this regard.


The Event of Mubahalah According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained what took place at Mubahalah in the following words: According to what has been mentioned in history, the Christians of Najrān sent a sixty-man delegate to meet with the Prophet (ṣ) and speak with him in Medina. One of the things which they asked the Prophet (ṣ) was what he was calling them to. The Prophet (ṣ) replied to them: (I am calling you to the belief that) there is only one God and that Jesus was a servant of God, who possessed a human state (meaning he was not divine).


The Christians of Najrān did not accept this and they replied that Jesus had been born without a father and that this is indicative of the fact that he was of a divine nature.[2] Various verses were revealed which responded to the Christians but they still refused to accept. When the Prophet (ṣ) saw that the Christians were not willing to accept logic and reason, he then invited them to a Mubahalah (i.e. a mutual cursing).  The Prophet (ṣ) explained to them what would take place at this event and they s e l e c ted a date for when it would be performed.


The Arch Bishop of the Christians, who was one of the highest ranking officials amongst them, said to his followers: Prepare yourselves for this Mubahalah and when the day comes, show up as promised. If you see the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) coming on that day with his close companions and notables, then perform the Mubahalah with him. But if you see him coming for the Mubahalah with his family, then refrain from performing it. The Christians asked him what the reason behind this was.


He replied: if he comes with his companions, it is clear that he is not truthful in regards to his prophethood and message, and you will dominate in this contest. But if you see him coming with his closest family members, then it will become clear that he has a connection with God and he has come to the field fully relying on Him.  In any case, the promised day came and the Christians saw the Prophet (ṣ) coming while he was holding the hands of two children; these were his two grandsons, al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). Alongside him were Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) and Fāṭimah (ʿa).


When the Arch Bishop saw this, he said: I see faces which, if they were to supplicate (to God), they would definitely be answered, and you would be destroyed.[3] He then told them to refrain from performing the Mubahalah and to tell the Muslims that they were willing to live as a peaceful minority alongside them and pay them the necessary taxes.  The Prophet (ṣ) accepted their request and he did not perform the Mubahalah. This story is a well-known story which has been recorded in all of the major history texts related to Islam.


What Does the Term Mubahalah Mean?


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the following in regards to the lexical meaning of the term Mubahalah: The term Mubahalah derives from the root word of Bahl which means letting something go. Even in Farsi, this word is used with this same meaning. In the religious context, Mubahalah refers to when two groups stand in opposition to one another in regards to a religious issue and each one asks Allah (swt) to curse the other (who are lying). Whoever’s curse takes effect is seen to be the victor and the one who is negatively affected is seen to be the lying party.


So whenever two parties disagree with one another and they cannot come to a rational conclusion, they can engage in the Mubahalah and curse one another, saying: If I am truthful and you are not, then may you be afflicted with divine punishment. The other will then repeat this same line, asking Allah (swt) to disgrace the liar and make clear who is being truthful. This is what the Prophet (ṣ) was going to do against the Christians of Najrān so that they would know who was being truthful and who was concealing the truth.  This is in essence what a Mubahalah consists of.  The connection between the lexical meaning of this word and its meaning in the religious context are fairly clear ; an individual who performs the Mubahalah makes a claim to the truth and then “lets the other side go”, leaving him to be judged by Allah (swt).[4]


The Importance of the Event of Mubahalah

The Truthfulness of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) in his Claim of Prophethood


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained that the essential nature of the event of Mubahalah corroborated the truth of the divine message of Islam. He has mentioned in this regard that: The first thing which appears in the well-known Quranic verse pertaining to the Mubahalah  is that this event was a clear sign of the truthfulness of the Prophet of Islam (ʿa) and the message which he had brought.


Clearly, if one is not absolutely certain of the truthfulness of their message, they would not bring their closest and dearest family members to such an arena. Such an individual would never invite another group to come to one place and ask Allah (swt) to disgrace the liars , while promising that the other group would without any doubt be subject to Allah’s wrath!  Certainly, entering in to such a contest would be very dangerous for; if one group’s curse is accepted and put in to effect, then the other group would suffer its severe consequences and be completely disgraced both personally, as well as in front of all of their followers. No rational individual would engage in such a thing without being completely certain of its results.


It is for this reason that we read the following in the Islamic traditions: When the time for the event of Mubahalah arrived, the Christians of Najrān asked the Prophet (ṣ) for some time in order to reflect and think. When they saw that the Prophet (ṣ) had come with individuals who were clearly of a high spiritual rank, and he had come without any pomp or ceremony, with only his closest and dearest family members, the Christians further realized the truthfulness of the Prophet (ṣ) and they asked to cancel the Mubahalah. The reason behind this was that they feared that if they did engage in it, they would be subjected to the wrath of Allah (swt) and be disgraced as the untruthful party. Due to this reason, they agreed to compromise and live as a minority alongside the Muslims.


A Quranic Reflection on the Event of Mubahalah


Allah (swt) has mentioned in the Quran that: ‘Should anyone argue with you concerning Him, after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’’[5]


Mubahalah: A Negation of the Divinity of Jesus (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained in his commentary on the 61st verse of Surah Āl ʿImrān how the event of Mubahalah has negated the Christians’ beliefs in the divinity of Christ (ʿa). He has mentioned in this regard that: The aforementioned verse, together with the verses that come before and after it, are indicative of the fact that the reason for this Mubahala had been a combination of the Christians’ deviant beliefs, including their belief in the divinity of Jesus, as well as their dogged rejection of logic and rational reasoning. Thus, the Prophet (ṣ) was forced to engage in this Mubahalah with the Christians of Najrān in order to expose the lying side and to defend the truthful one!


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then delved in to the commentary on the aforementioned verse and he has explained that the verse is basically telling the Prophet (ṣ) that if any of the Christians come to debate with you in regards to Jesus the son of Mary, and they do not accept your logic out of a sense of stubbornness, and they continue down this path, then there is another way for you to confront them, which is that of the Mubahalah.[6] This will clearly show who is rightly guided and who is lying. The next part of the verse then states: ‘…say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls…. [7] This clarifies who the Prophet (ṣ) should bring to such a gathering.


This shows us that when a Mubahalah takes place, there needs to be four groups present there. The first category involves the leaders of the two faiths, meaning the Prophet (ṣ) and the leader of the Christians. The second category involves their children; the third category involves their women, while the fourth category includes their ‘selves’. The last part of the verse then states: ‘…, then let us pray earnestly and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars’.[8] So after these groups have gathered for the Mubahalah, both sides will call for Allah’s curse on the liars; through these means, it will become clear who is being truthful and who is being a liar.


Who are: ‘our sons, our women, and our selves’?


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then referred to the words ‘our sons, our women, and our selves’ in this verse and has said: The term “our sons” in the aforementioned verse refers to Imam Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam Ḥusayn (ʿa). The word “women” (which is referenced in the plural tense) refers to Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ (ʿa), and the word our “selves” (which is also in the plural tense) is a reference made to ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (ʿa).  Although the last two words are grammatically plural, they are in reality referring to one individual each, namely Fāṭimah (ʿa) and ʿAlī (ʿa).


Moreover, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has continued: There is apparently no difference of opinion amongst the various scholars (meaning between the Shia and Sunni scholars) in regards to the term ‘our women’ being a sole reference to Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ (ʿa).  Similarly, there is also no difference of opinion in regards to ‘our sons’ being a reference to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) as well.  Therefore, the primary focus of our discussion here is on the meaning of the term ‘our selves’ and what it is in reference to.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that the term ‘our selves’ is a reference to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) and he has made the following remarks in this regard: The Late Qāḍī Nūrullah Shūshtarī, in his valuable book ’Iḥqāq al-Ḥaq, has mentioned- ‘The majority of the Quranic commentators (Sunni and Shia) have a consensus that the term ‘our selves’ is in reference to ʿAlī (ʿa).’[9,10] Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Marʿashī, has narrated this issue from more than sixty different Sunni references.  This means that this issue is so clear and widely known that, in addition to all of the Shia references, it has been mentioned in most of the Sunni references as well.


Therefore, this Quranic verse is stating that the term ‘our selves’, a reference to the self of the Prophet (ṣ), is in reference to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), while the term ‘our women’ is a reference to Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ (ʿa), and ‘our sons’ is a reference to her two children, Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). These four individuals, alongside the Prophet (ṣ), comprise five people who are seen as being very lofty and near to Allah (swt). These four individuals, who are the Prophet’s (s) nearest kin, are so spiritually perfect and near to Allah (swt) that their prayers will definitely be answered.


The Response of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī to the Claims of Ālūsī


After Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī’s explanation of the terms ‘our sons, our women, and our selves’, he has then gone on to critique Ālūsī’s idea that the term ‘our selves’ was in reality a reference to the Prophet (ṣ). He has mentioned in this regard: Ālūsī, in his book Rūḥ al-Maʿānī, has first acknowledged that there were no one present alongside the Prophet (ṣ) in the event of the Mubahalah other than ʿAlī (ʿa), Fāṭimah (ʿa), al-Ḥasan (ʿa), and al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). In spite of this acknowledgement, he has then mentioned that the term ‘our selves’ was a reference to the Prophet (ṣ) and ʿAlī (ʿa) was a part of the category of ‘our children’. He has mentioned his evidence in regards to this claim as being that sons-in-law are also called “sons” in the Arabic language!


Yet, the answer to this claim is quite clear; according to the Quranic verse, the Prophet (ṣ) has invited these three categories of people to accompany him in the Mubahalah. If the term ‘our selves’ was a reference to the Prophet (ṣ), then it wouldn’t make any sense, since he would be inviting himself to attend, while he had been the one who had established the Mubahalah to begin with. In light of the reality that the Quran is one of the most eloquent works in Arabic, the Quran would never utilize such an ineloquent type of wording and it would never order the Prophet (ṣ) to invite himself to the Mubahalah. Therefore, the meaning of the term ‘our selves’ is definitely not in reference to the Prophet (ṣ). Additionally, to the best of our knowledge there is no proof indicating that it is customary in the Arabic language and culture to call someone’s son-in-law their “son”;such a usage is quite alien and unusual in the Arabic language.


Attributing Untruthfulness to the Prophet (ṣ): Incuring Divine Curse and Punishment


Without any doubt, the event of Mubahalah shows us some of the key consequences of claiming that the prophetic message was a lie. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in this regard that: In the well-known verse of Mubahalah, the issue of attributing lies to the Prophet (ṣ) is touched upon and it has stated that the curse of Allah will be upon such people. In the last part of this verse, it has been mentioned that: ‘…and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’ This verse shows how mortal a sin lying is.


The Event of Mubahalah: The Proof of the Prophet (ṣ)’s Unshakable Faith in Allah (swt)


The unshakable faith of the Prophet (ṣ) is one of the realities which was evidenced at the event of Mubahalah. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue as follows: What took place at the Mubahalah was something which had not previously been witnessed by the Arabs and it was something new to them. It was essentially a way to prove the truthfulness of the prophetic message.  Mubahalah showed the masses how unswerving the faith of the Prophet (ṣ) was in his message.  If the Prophet (ṣ) was being supported by anyone other than Allah (swt), then he would have never dared to engage in such a thing. The fact that he did engage in the Mubahalah and that he brought his closest and dearest family members clearly shows that he was one hundred percent certain in regards to his message and his teachings.


When we study the life of the Prophet (ṣ), it is clear that he wasn’t someone who would act randomly or without direction; he was guided in everything that he did by Allah (swt). This event of Mubahalah further shows us how connected the Prophet (ṣ) was and how certain he was in regards to his message.  In reality, the event of Mubahalah proved the truthfulness of the Prophet (ṣ)’s message to all of the people since it showed them that he was ready to put everything on the line to disprove the claims made by Christians of Najrān.


Proving Imam Ali (a)’s Sucessorship (Wilāyah) in Light of the Event of Mubahalah


In order to demonstrate the importance of the issue of Imam Ali (a)’s Wilāyah, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has referred to the well-known verse of Mubahalah in the Quran. He has also made the following remarks in response to various doubters: It is evident that the verse of Mubahalah is one of the explicit and well established verses of the Quran and it clearly proves the successorship (Wilāyah) of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) and his children. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued: Some people may say that though this verse for sure serves as a sign of honor and great respect for the Imam (ʿa) and his family, but how does it prove his Wilāyah and leadership over the Muslims?  


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has responded to this question by stating: There is no doubt that the term ‘our selves’ is a reference to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). The fact that the Prophet (ṣ) considered Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) the same as his own self can be interpreted in two ways; the first is the literal meaning of this phrase, i.e. that the Prophet (ṣ) considered Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) as being the same person as himself which is clearly not a correct interpretation. The second interpretation, which involves the figurative meaning of this phrase, is that the Prophet (ṣ) considered him to be similar to him in terms of perfection, spirituality, piety, etc…. Clearly, the latter interpretation is the correct one among the two.


Considering this interpretation, it is clear that the Prophet (ṣ) considered Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) to be similar to himself in relation to his virtues and perfections, things such as his courage, his wisdom, his level of self-sacrifice, etc… The Prophet (ṣ) considered Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) to have his own rank in relation to these characteristics.  Therefore, If Allah (swt) is going to s e l e c t a successor after the passing of the Prophet (ṣ), or if the Muslim community is going to s e l e c t someone as a successor, then should not this individual be someone who is considered to be the most similar to the Prophet (ṣ) in characteristics and faith?


Should not an individual be s e l e c ted as the Prophet’s successor who is similar to the Prophet (ṣ) in relation to their virtues and spiritual state, particularly their piety and infallibility? Would it be logical if someone other than such an individual was s e l e c ted as the Prophet (ṣ)’s successor? Obviously, this would not make any logical sense. Due to this reason, the term ‘our selves’ in relation to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) is one of the important pieces of evidence in favor of the Wilāyah and successorship of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa).


The Event of Mubahalah as Evidence for the Rank and Station of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has referenced the 61st verse of Surah Āl ʿĪmrān as evidence in regards to the lofty rank and position of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). He has said in this regard: The verse of Mubahalah is a key piece of evidence in regards to the lofty rank and position of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) of the Prophet (ṣ). This verse directly references the positions of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), and Fāṭimah al-Zahrā (ʿa). There are three categories of individuals which have been mentioned in it.


These include: ‘our selves’, ‘our women’, and ‘our children’. The term ‘our sons’ is a clear reference to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), and there is no controversy or difference of opinion in regards to this issue. The term ‘our women’ is in reference to Fāṭimah (ʿa) and this is also agreed upon by all scholars, Shia and Sunni. The last term, which is ‘our selves’, is clearly not a reference to the Prophet (ṣ).  The reason behind this is that the verse states: ‘…say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls.’ When we look at this verse, it would not make sense if it were saying that the Prophet (ṣ) should call himself to come; the only possibility is that this individual must be someone other than the Prophet (ṣ).


The Acknowledgement of the Sunni Scholars that the Verse of Mubahalah was Revealed in regards to the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained that in addition to the authentic sources of the Shia school of thought, the vast majority of the Sunni sources have also acknowledged that the verse of Mubahalah was revealed in regards to the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: There are many traditions in the well-known Shia sourcebooks, as well as the Sunni references which explicitly acknowledge that the verse of Mubahalah was indeed revealed in regards to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), Fāṭimah (ʿa), Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).  


More than twenty of the most notable Sunni scholars have mentioned that the verse of Mubahalah was revealed in regards to these four individuals (Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), Fāṭimah (ʿa), Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa)). These scholars include: Imam al-Fakhr al-Rāzī in his well-known work of Quranic commentary (vol. 8, p. 85), al-Ṭabarī (Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 3, p. 407), al-Suyūṭī in his commentary of al-Durr al-Manthūr (vol. 2, p. 39), al-Wāḥidī in his Asbāb al-Nuzūl (p. 68), al-Bayḍāwī in his well-known work of Quranic commentary (vol. 2, p. 47), etc…


Similarly, the renowned  leader of the Ḥanbalī school, Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal in his Musnad (vol. 1, p. 185), Muslim in his al-Ṣaḥīḥ (vol. 7, p. 120), al-Ḥākim in his Mustadrak (vol. 3, p. 150), and Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī in his al-‘Iṣābah (vol. 2, p. 503), etc… have all acknowledged this issue.  For example, when we look at the text Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, in the section on the virtues of the companions in regards to the specific virtues of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (ʿa), we find a tradition narrated from Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqāṣ where Muʿāwīyah said to Saʿd ibn Waqqāṣ: Why do you not curse and slander Abū Turāb (Imam ʿAlī (ʿa))? Saʿd replied: I heard the Prophet (ṣ) say something for which I cannot slander ʿAlī (ʿa)!  One of the things which Saʿd said was that when the verse of Mubahalah was revealed, the Prophet (ṣ) called ʿAlī, Fāṭimah, al-Ḥasan, and al-Ḥusayn. When they came, he said to them: Oh Lord! These are my Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). Such evidence clearly indicates that the verse of Mubahalah was indeed revealed in regards to these four pure souls, alongside the Prophet (ṣ).[11]


Similarly, the following accounts can be found in yet another authentic Sunni reference: When the 61st verse of Surah Āl ʿImrān was revealed, the Prophet (ṣ) called ʿAlī, Fāṭimah, al-Ḥasan, and al-Ḥusayn. When they came, he said: Oh Lord! these are my Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) (my family members)… [12] These types of traditions are so many in number and so widely accepted that some of the Sunni scholars consider them to be widely transmitted traditions. This means that these traditions have been so widely related and accepted that they are considered as highly authentic.


A Final Word
Mubahalah as a Last Resort

 

The encounter of Islam with other religions was with great respect and friendship. The Quran, which is the holy book of the Muslim faith, has said to the believers: ‘Do not argue with the People of the Book except in a manner which is the best.’[13] The prophets (ʿa) would continuously keep inviting the people for as long as the slightest sliver of hope remained for their guidance and reformation. They would continuously seek forgiveness for the people. It is in line with this mercy that the Prophet of Islam (ʿa) never cursed the followers of other religions (meaning he never asked Allah to punish and destroy them for their stubborn refusal to accept the clear truth) .[14]


Even in the event of Mubahalah, things only reached the stage of cursing when all other options had been exhausted and even in that instance the Prophet (s) did not curse the Christians.  For example, when we look at the 35th verse all the way through the 60th verse of Surah Āl ʿImrān (which pertain to the event of the Mubahalah), we find that they first begin the discussion with the Christians of Najrān with various topics in regards to Prophet Jesus (ʿa). These verses discuss the birth of Jesus (ʿa), his lofty rank before Allah (swt), the character and virtues of his mother, his talk with the angels, the heavenly table, and other such issues. It was only after much discussion had taken place that Allah gave permission to the Prophet (ṣ) to engage in the Mubahalah against the Christians of Najrān. This only took place after all other possible avenues had been exhausted. Even in this situation, the Prophet (ṣ) ended up not engaging in the cursing and the Christians of Najrān decided to live alongside the Muslims and pay them their taxes.  

 

757 Visits: 2016/12/15 Published on:
KEY CHARACTERISTICS IN THE LIFE OF THE LADY MASUMAH FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The Lady Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah


Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah (a) is the daughter of Imam Musā ibn Jaʿfar (a) and she was born in the city of Medina on the first day of the Dhī al-Qaʿdah in the year 173 AH. Her birth had been foretold by Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). Today is the birthday anniversary of this blessed lady and so it is necessary that we look into the various aspects of her character. Towards this end, we will look into what Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has said in this regard. We will delve into the lofty position of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah according to the Imams (ʿa), as well as other aspects of her character and life:


The Intellectual Grandeur of the Lady Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah


Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah is  a source of virtues and goodness and she is respected all around the Shia world because of being related to three of the Infallible Imams (ʿa) in one form or another, including Imam Musā ibn Jaʿfar (ʿa), Imam ʿAlī ibn Musā (ʿa), and Imam Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī (ʿa). Although she is not one of the infallibles, there have been many traditions narrated in regards to her and therefore, it is necessary that we better understand her position and rank.
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the rank and position of this noble lady as follows: ‘the Lady Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah enjoyed a very high intellectual status. During the time of Imam al-Kāẓim (ʿa), a number of Shias entered the city of Medina and they went to visit the Imams (ʿa) in order to ask him a number of their questions. When they arrived there, they heard that the Imam (ʿa) was on a journey. They decided to give their questions to the family of the Imam (ʿa) so that when the Imam (ʿa) returned, he could answer their questions.


When their stay in Medina was nearing its end, they came back to the house of Imam al-Kāẓim (ʿa) in order to say goodbye to the household. When they arrived there, Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah gave them their response to the questions which they had asked. The Shias became very happy and they began to travel towards their homeland. Coincidentally, they came across Imam al-Kāẓim on their return journey and they told him what had happened. Imam al-Kāẓim (ʿa) took a look at the questions and the answers which had been given and all of the answers which Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah had given were correct. The Imam (ʿa) repeated three times: May her father be sacrificed for her… Thus, considering that Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah was very young during that time, it is clear that she was very advanced in knowledge and wisdom.’   


The Spiritual Rank of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah


Referring to the sacred spiritual rank of the Lady Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah (a), Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated the following:: “The lofty spiritual position of this lady is not only due to her familial relation to Imam Musā ibn Jaʿfar (ʿa) and Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa); it is also due to her level of piety and spirituality as well.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued and said: “There are many traditions in regards to the greatness of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah as well. The late Muḥaddith al-Qummī has narrated in this regard that: One of the notables of Qom by the name of Saʿd went to visit Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa); Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) said to him: O Saʿd, one of the tombs of our kin is located in your homeland. Saʿd replied: May I be sacrificed for you, are you referring to the tomb of Fāṭimah the daughter of Musā (a)? Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) said: Yes, whoever visits her while recognizing and understanding her status will have paradise as their reward.


The reality is that knowing the position and rights of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah entails that we know who she is descended from and what their rank and position is. When we realize who her father is and who she has descended from, we must come to the conclusion that they are ones who must be obeyed and we must implement this obedience on a practical level in our day to day lives. The end result of this obedience and daily plan will be paradise.[1]


The Lineage of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah and its Link with her Position


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also explained the link between the lineage of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah and its relationship with her lofty position. He has stated: When we look at the lineage of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah, we see that she is linked to nine of the Infallibles and this is something which shows the greatness of this lady.


The Reason behind the great significance of the Visitation of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah’s Shrine


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has placed great importance on the act of visiting the tomb of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah and he has mentioned the following in this regard: ‘It is enough in regards to the rank of this great lady that her visitation prayer contains many virtues attributed to her.’


The Reward of Visiting the Shrine of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the effects and blessings of visiting the shrine of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah by saying: The author of the book Kāmil al-Ziyārāt has narrated from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) that: ‘Whoever visits the tomb of my aunt (Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah) in Qom will be rewarded with a life in Paradise.’


A Visitation Worthy of Paradise


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has referred to a tradition from the Prophet (ṣ) in regards to Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah. He has mentioned: The Prophet (ṣ) has said that a piece of me will be buried in Qom and whoever visits this individual will have paradise become obligatory upon them. This reference of the Prophet (ṣ) to ‘a piece of me’ has been mentioned in only another tradition where it is in reference to Fāṭimah al-Zahrā, his daughter. Therefore, the term ‘a piece of me’ has only been used in reference to Fāṭimah al-Zahrā and Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah. In light of this tradition, there is no doubt that anyone who visits her in Qom will have paradise become obligatory for them.


The Spread of Shiaism is Indebted to the Coming of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah to Qom


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the effects of the coming of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah to Qom and how it relates to the promotion of the Shia school of thought. A glance at the history of the city of Qom reveals that Shia school of thought was first introduced to this city during the first century AH, following which this school began to gradually grow in this re-gion. Before long,  the city of Qom was formed into a completely Shia city which was a refuge and haven for the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) school. Since then, the city of Qom has been a safe haven for the descendants of the Prophet (s) as well as the true followers of the Prophet’s Ahl-al-Bayt (a), i.e. the Shias, and the people of Qom have welcomed them with all respect and with open arms. Thus, many of those who migrated to this city were descendants of the Prophet (ṣ) and those of the Infallible Imams (a), the most notable among them was the daughter of Imam al-Kāẓim (ʿa), Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah.


In the year 201 AH, Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah left the city of Medina and set out on a journey to Khurāsān with the intention of visiting her brother, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa). When she reached the city of Sāveh (in Iran), she fell ill and could not continue her journey. Since Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah knew about the city of Qom, she told her caretaker to take her there. At the same time, when the people of Qom had heard that she was coming to Sāveh, they had decided to invite her to visit them.


Towards this end, the sons and grandsons of Saʿd al-Ashʿarī went to see her and they brought her back to Qom with the utmost respect. Unfortunately, Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah passed away a short period after. In spite of this, her coming to Qom and her shrine, as well as the many other descendants of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) and the scholars and narrators of tradition from Kūfah and other regions who came to settle in this city caused the city to become a center of Shia knowledge and power.


The Establishment of the Religious Seminary in the City of Qom Next to the holy shrine of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the effects and blessings of the presence of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah in the establishment and strengthening of the religious seminary in Qom. He has stated that: ‘With the coming of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah, a new chapter was opened in the his-tory of the city of Qom. It was due to the presence of this lady, who was a descendant of the Prophet (s) and that of the Ahl-al-Bayt (a), that many great scholars migrated to the city, and the presence of so many great scholars in this city helped to bring about the establishment of the religious seminary.’  In reality, the coming of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah to Qom was what caused the religious seminary to be established there.


A Final Word


From the perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the creation of the ten days of Karāmah, starting from the birthday anniversary of Fāṭimah Maʿṣūmah and ending with the birthday anniversary of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), was a very beneficial creation.  The enemies of Iran and Shiaism must today know how much we love the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) and this is a love which will never diminish or end, God willing.  Without any doubt, the establishment of various cultural and artistic endeavors during this ten day celebration only serves to spread the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) amongst the people. Let these days of celebration serve as a blow to the Wahhabis and the other enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), and serve as a source of pride and honor for the Shias. We should consider this ten day celebration to be a very good initiative which will help to spread the light and message of Shia school all across the world.

 

793 Visits: 2016/12/15 Published on:
A PRACTICAL STRATEGY TOWARDS CONFRONTING THE ARROGANT SUPER-POWERS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The great anniversary of the 13th of Ābān is the day of the struggle against the arrogant superpowers and it brings to mind the great fervor of the revolutionary youth of this land against the oppression of the United States. It is interesting to note that the embassy of one of the most powerful industrialized countries of this world, which always clamors about the defense of human rights, has been found to be a nest of spies employed by the CIA.  These supposed polite and worldly diplomats were in reality not diplomats but rather agents of the aforementioned agency who worked towards undermining the Islamic Revolution in Iran.


When we examine the word ‘Istikbār’ (a state of arrogance also expressed by the behavior and beliefs of the superpowers) as found in the verses of the Quran, we find that it is described as one of the most reviled of human characteristics. It is a characteristic which is considered to be the potential root of a great many sins and it can even be the root source of disbelief in Allah. It is furthermore the root of many horrendous crimes and various forms of serious oppression.  In today’s world, the arrogant superpowers  are the main cause of corruption that reaches into every corner of the world, as well as the economic, social, and other types of inequalities which exist amongst us today.


Everyone is being burned in the ‘fires’ stoked by this issue but very few are thinking about a way of saving themselves and those around them from it.  It is therefore necessary that we think of various solutions towards confronting this very serious issue. Through the use of the valuable solutions proposed by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, we will now delve into the most important strategies in confronting the Global superpowers who are a manifestation of this all-encompassing state of arrogance.

 

A Reflection on the Essence of the Concept of Istikbār


In describing the concept of Istikbār, we find that there are two potential meanings which it can hold. The first is that a human being strives and works hard to grow in a positive fashion and he prepares all the necessary conditions which will help him in this regard. This is a type of Istikbār which is praiseworthy. The second is that a person will attempt to portray himself as being great without being worthy of such a  grandeur. This second type of Istikbār is blameworthy and it is condemned in the Quran.


In one verse, the Quran has mentioned the following in regards to Satan: ‘He refused (to prostrate to Adam) and was arrogant’.[1] Thus, it is clear that while the term Mustakbar (arrogant) generally applies to all those who are arrogant, it is more specifically used in relation to those who showed arrogance towards the invitation of the prophets (ʿa) and refused to accept their divinely revealed message.

 

The Necessity of Confronting Arrogance


There is no doubt that the characteristic of arrogance bears many  deleterious consequences in relation to the one’s soul, as well as one’s personal beliefs and ideas.   Furthermore, a thorough examination of this issue reveals that it entails the same negative consequences at the social level as it does on the individual level. These negative consequences include such corruption as polytheism and disbelief, the creation of circumstances through which sins are more easily committed, the creation of disunity and hatred amongst the people, as well as various battles and conflicts which lead to great bloodshed, suffering, and mass destruction.


These are all consequences arising from this issue of arrogance. Typically, a number of selfish individuals end up taking control of the various nations and each one wishes to prove his superiority to the other. In time, this quest for superiority fueled by arrogance causes various conflicts between these rulers, where much innocent blood is spilt, and many homes are utterly destroyed as a result.


It is interesting to note that when it comes to the necessity of propagating resistance to these arrogant superpowers, we find that this issue is not something new which belongs to the modern era; it is rather something which has existed from the earliest point in the history of man. According to Islamic traditions, the first sin in the history of man was committed by Satan, and it was a sin which caused the worst types of corruption to appear in our world . The reason behind this sin was a sense of arrogance and superiority entertained by Satan and it was this arrogance which caused him to dispute with Allah and become a disbeliever.


It is interesting to note that as a result of this arrogance, Satan not only became a disbeliever but he also misled many others who came to share his views.  When we look at today’s world, we realize that this issue does not only affect the Muslim world ; it is rather something common to the entire human race. The arrogant elite of every society make use of this current to divide their respective societies and these divisions bring about many bloody and destructive wars fought by one group in a society against their fellow brothers. It is this current of arrogance which is the root of these various issues where one group is fooled into believing that they are somehow better or more superior to another.


Moreover, this same spirit of arrogance is reflected in issues such as the first and second World Wars , as well as the veto powers enjoyed by certain superpowers (and denied to others). It is this spirit of arrogance which has torn the very system of this world apart, leaving it in chaos and suffering.  There is a tradition which states that ‘There is submission to the truth, or there is its opposite which is Istikbār (arrogance)’.  In light of this, everyone must work hand in hand in an intelligent and discerning manner in order to neutralize the plots of the enemies and the arrogant superpowers.

 

Recognizing One’s Enemies is a Prerequisite to Combatting the Arrogant Superpowers


Obviously, in order to resist the arrogant superpowers, it is first necessary to recognize their plots. Until one has recognized them, it is naturally impossible to resist them effectively.  Unfortunately, it must be said that we have not collectively recognized our friends and foes, for we see some cases where some Muslims work hand in hand with countries such as America or Israel in order to destroy groups such as the Lebanese resistance groups. This is while the Shia resistance in Lebanon is one of the very symbols of resisting the hegemony of the super-powers!  


Similarly,  in the war which was imposed on Iran by Iraq, virtually all of the Muslim nations worked hand in hand against Iran, supplying Iraq with much money and weapons in order that it defeat Iran in the war. Yet, when we look at this strange situation, we realize that Iran had not occupied even a handful of the soil of these nations, nor had it killed even one person from them unjustly.  During recent years, we have also seen the situation in Syria where the global superpowers are doing their best in order to achieve their geo-political goals. They have gathered all of their resources towards this end and they are sending vast amounts of weapons, ammunition, and cash to various terrorist groups in Syria.


In the midst of all this, should Turkey also step in and help these superpowers in achieving their goals as well? We really didn’t expect Turkey to enlist so much of its own resources in enabling the superpowers in their quest for greater power in the Middle East.  There is no doubt that if we Muslims were able to differentiate between our friends and our foes, the situation would be quite different than what it is today.

 

True Islam: A Key Strategy in Resisting the Superpowers


It must be mentioned that our leader, ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (ʿa), was a man who defended Islam and who fought against every form of oppression. He has stated that: ‘I rose up for war while I had not even reached the age of twenty while today I am over sixty years of age.’    The fact of the matter is that merely crying tears for the oppressed Muslims or for the religion is not going to resolve anything. It is necessary to rise up in opposition to these various forms of oppression in order to defeat them.  When we examine the superpowers themselves, it is clear that they also view the religion of Islam as their primary enemy; this is made even more acute in their eyes due to the reason that Islam is neither reliant on the Eastern powers, nor on the Western powers--- it solely relies on its own power.


Confronting the Influence of the Superpowers- Fundamental Principles in Combatting Arrogant Powers


It must never be forgotten that some countries such as America or various countries in the European continent seek to increase their influence across the globe. Towards this end, they utilize what has become all too ordinary in the political landscape of pursuing their individual ‘personal interests’. Due to this overriding principle, the imperialists are constantly busy changing their outward appearances and how they show themselves to the world. Thus, an important point, which must never be forgotten, is how quickly these imperialists alter their outward appearances.


In some cases they appear as an entity which desires material and technological progress, while in other cases they appear as an entity which heralds the start of an era of open mindedness and free thinking. In other cases, they manifest themselves as a force for cultural change and the advancement of science. In yet other cases, they can even appear in the guise of ascetics who have eschewed the worldly life! During the current era, theimperialist powers have tended to show themselves as a force for democracy and freedom.


When we look throughout history, we see so many different manifestations: sometimes they show themselves as a force for building hospitals and providing people with free healthcare, or building libraries and increasing literacy, or the building of universities and the spread of knowledge, or the giving out of university grants, or the building of light or heavy industrial works, or the organization of worldwide conferences and exhibits, or through the guise of various international organizations and agencies. In any case, none of these things are actually important. What is important is that these superpowers must be recognized in whatever guise they have put on and through whichever manifestation they are currently presenting themselves. It is necessary to first recognize them and then reject them and their ultimate end goals.


For example, when we look at the  nuclear deal between Iran and the western powers, it is clear that America, and other western powers, feels that they can use this as a means of extending their influence within Iran and in implementing their various plans in the Islamic Republic. The reality is that the enemies have their hearts set on using these negotiations as a means of weakening the moral and ethical foundations of this nation. At the same time, it is also clear that they may not even stand by their own agreement; they may turn their backs on it in the futureTherefore, it is absolutely necessary that we remain constantly vigilant over the potential for these superpowers in gaining influence within the Islamic Republic by means of these negotiations.


The Necessity of Fostering Unity and One Mindedness in the Fight against the Arrogant Superpowers


Let us first begin by delving into the foundations of the divisive politics utilized by America (as well as other superpowers):
1.    The creation of disputes and conflicts amongst various groups of people. There is the famous saying in this regard: ‘Divide and Conquer’.
2.    Fostering ultranationalism. Every group of people is taught that they are distinct and they should only worry about themselves and their own interests. For example, Iranians are told that they shouldn’t worry about what is happening to the Afghans or to the Lebanese; they should only worry about themselves. The same thing is told to the Afghans and the Lebanese in turn.  This is all done in order to divide the various  Muslim nations and divorce them of their common history as Muslims.


Unfortunately, today the Muslim world suffers from great disunity and due to the plans of the superpowers they are busy tearing one another apart.  One of the first things that these arrogant superpowers do is that they create conflict between various peoples and ethnic groups in a nation. After this has been achieved, they enact their other evil plans which now have the potential of succeeding due to  such conflicts. All throughout history, these superpowers have attempted to implement this strategy of conflict and dissension in the Muslim nations and today, they wish to weaken the Muslims through robbing them of their economic and cultural wealth, while disrupting their political systems towards a final solution of dominating them completely. Due to this reason, there is no doubt that we must be unified in the face of such plans.


Rejecting a State of Dependency and Submissiveness- A Practical Strategy in Combatting the Arrogant Superpowers


Without a doubt, one of the defining characteristics of the arrogant superpowers is their policy of ever increasing levels and depths of dependency. This is true whether it relates to industrial and technological dependency, or whether it relates to farming, animal husbandry, politics, etc… Whenever we see a type of politics that is defined by dependency, we must be sure that the evil imperialists are present there, whether covertly or overtly, to extend such dependency to all aspects of a nation’s life. In the end, indeed the very lifestyle of the people in question will be one which is dependent.   


The Superpowers first begin by sending their technology to various nations. They then send the necessary technicians and experts in order to maintain this technology. Afterwards, they begin to export their very methods and culture of governance. Through such means, they gain complete control over the economy and culture of the nation in question and the nation is made utterly weak and impotent. If at some point the people wish to rise up or resist in various ways, it is very easy at that point for the superpowers to place a chokehold on the industries of the nation and bring the entire country to a complete standstill.  


During earlier periods, the superpowers gained control over various countries through colonization, while during later periods, they achieve the same goal by rendering various nationseconomiclly and culturally dependent, all done in order to undermine Islam.  Even today, many of the enemies of Islam have created a state of war within Muslim countries, occupied their lands, and taken control of their natural resources.  Any positive action from the Muslims today must be taken to secure their freedom and independence from the forces of domination.  The reality is that one of the objectives of Islam is  to secure the freedom of the weak and to rescue them from the domination of the oppressors and tyrants; it is a force which can end the era of domination and control.


For example, the best economic model for those nations who wish to live free and who wish to be independent from the influence and domineering of the superpowers is the well known slogan, ‘Neither East, Nor West’. This is a model which refrains from any type of dependency, whether it is on the Eastern superpowers, or on the Western superpowers. This is a model which will bring self sufficiency and advancement to those who follow it. In any case, it is a model which allows us to be ourselves and not to be strangers to ourselves.  Practically speaking, the best way to arrive at this goal is through following the economic model of Islam. Islamic economics contains all of the necessary anti-imperialistic characteristics, while being free from any inclination towards the economic systems of the East and West.


Combatting the Arrogant Superpowers  through a Complete Rejection of Aggression and War-Seeking


It is worth mentioning that the spirit of arrogant superpowers such as America necessitates that they target various helpless nations under the pretext of protecting their ‘national interests’; in time, the world has come to understand the reality of the nature of such powers.  It is inter-esting to note that whenever they attack a nation or encroach upon their rights, they use the pretext of spreading human rights, democracy, and freedom! In today’s world, those who bring about completely unnecessary wars tend to use the excuse of human rights and they use the Mass Media in order to prepare the minds of the people as to why a specific country must be attacked.


They then use the cover of such false reasons in order to attack a given nation and to occupy it.  Another common pretext used by the war mongers is the  promotion of democracy. For example, they attacked Iraq using the pretext of ousting the dictatorship of Saddam and establishing democracy. Clearly, this was only the outer appearances of such things and the true goal of the war mongers  was to dominate the enormous oil reserves in Iraq.  Another pretext used by the war mongers is the idea that a certain country ‘lacks freedom’. Using this pretext, they then occupy that land and attempt to force ‘freedom’ down their throats. The people of that nation are taken as complete hostages to the whims and fancies of these superpowers.


For example, when we examine the plots of the superpowers in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria, it is clear that they have left nothing but death and destruction in their wake. Every country which they enter is left in an utterly destroyed state. When we examine the state of Syria, we ask why don’t the superpowers leave this country alone so that it can decide its own fate? There is no question that the people of Syria should be deciding the fate of their nation and a resolution can only be found through their hands.  There is no doubt that much of the misfortune, bullying, encroachment of rights, and loss of human rights which is taking place in various nations is happening due to the policies of certain countries such as America. This Great Satan has set the entire world on fire and it has engaged in every type of criminal act in order to reach its illegitimate ‘national interests’.


Comittment to the Fulfillment of One’s Duty- an Essential Guideline in Combatting the Superpowers


It must be understood that in the materialistic world of today, psychological peace is something which is quite rarely found. Psychological illnesses continue to rise day by day and if things continue in this same way, we will see an era where the entire world is one giant hospital  filled with people with various psychological illnesses.  The reality behind this issue is that the belief in Allah is a force which resolves all issues; the remembrance of Allah is something which gives calm and peace to the human heart and soul. If we live upon the path of truth and we struggle and strive in the way of Allah, then His divine help will encompass us as well.


As an example, just look at America with all of its military power. In spite of their unrivaled military power, they still fear Iran. When we look at Israel with all of its formidable weapons, we find that they too fear Iran like nothing else. Is not this fear a type of divine help placed into the hearts of the enemies? This same type of divine help was also clearly witnessed in the 33 day war between the Lebanese Resistance and Israel.  We Iranians have witnessed this divine help during other instances as well; for example, during the time of the Islamic Revolution, as well as during the Iran-Iraq War which lasted for eight long years. The only thing which protected us and gave us victory against the global superpowers was this divine help which was brought about by the faith of our youth. This is why we always emphasize that the faith of the youth must be strengthened, for this is the best insurance policy for the continued success of the Islamic Revolution.


Combatting the Superpowers--- The Best Strategy in Confronting those Who are Fighting against Islam


In strengthening the logical basis of resisting the superpowers and their oppression, it must be said that these superpowers, such as America, their allies, and the illegitimate state of Israel are all at war against Islam. They have done everything in their power towards this end and this is their end goal.  Therefore, one must resist any disbeliever which is in a state of war against the Muslims.


Supporting the Oppressed- An Essential Aspect of Combatting the Superpowers


In explaining this concept of supporting the oppressed, let us refer to a verse of the Holy Quran (the 75th verse of Surah Nisāʾ) which states: ‘And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?’


In light of this verse of the Quran, it is not surprising if we see the Iranian nation openly proclaiming their support of other oppressed nations such as Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. This is something which is completely in line with the aforementioned verse of the Holy Quran. The reality is that the call of every oppressed person must be answered, whether they are in places such as America all the way to places in Africa, Asia, or Australia. These oppressed people must be aided to whatever extent possible and they must be saved from the bloody claws of the oppressors. If the oppressed are saved, it is hoped that the oppressors will learn their lesson and not repeat their evil acts anymore.


 Surprisingly enough, certain ‘Islamic’ countries  act contrary to the aforementioned verse of the Quran; they not only do not help the oppressed Muslims such as those in Palestine but they in fact establish good relations with their oppressors. The end result is that these so called ‘Muslim’ nations work hand in hand with the Zionists in oppressing the Palestinians, as well as many other similarly oppressed groups all around the world.


A Final Word


In conclusion, it must be emphatically stated that we have never submitted to the arrogant superpowers, nor will we ever do so.  The threats of America against Iran, such as the oft repeated statement of ‘all options are on the table’, are enough indication of the barbarity and animalistic nature of this enemy.  Through the blessings of the revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been transformed into a model of what is possible. Many nations, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen are now following suit and rejecting the threats and influences of the superpowers; these nations have decided that it is time to make a stand against America and Israel.


From this perspective, the participation of the people in the mass protests which take place against America heralds a force which will neutralize the plots of the arrogant superpowers. Today, the people are more aware than ever and so they shout ‘Death to America’ with even greater fervor.  We have hope that Allah will give a complete victory to the forces of Islam in all of the places they are at. We have hope that Allah will give them victory against the forces of disbelief, oppression, and neo colonialism.

631 Visits: 2016/12/15 Published on:
EXAMINING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SCHOOL OF IMAM AL-SADIQ  (A) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

On the martyrdom anniversary of the leader of the Shia school, Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), we find that delving into the various intellectual and scientific aspects of his legacy is more necessary than ever. Looking into the various aspects of his intellectual legacy will show us what the Imam (ʿa) did in removing the various questions and doubts which had come about in the society of that time. We will examine the life and legacy of Imam Al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) through the research and viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī. Let us begin by looking at a lecture given by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī on 21/8/214. That night was the night of the martyrdom of Imam Al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) and Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī delivered this partic-ular lecture at the shrine of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) in the city of Mashhad in Iran:


Why Does Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) have the Title of ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’?


When we look back into history, we see that Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) was given the title of ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’; some people may have questions about how and why this came about. Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) was the sixth of the Shia Imams and so the question is raised as to why he was given this title, while Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) was the first Imam (ʿa) (and even before him, the Prophet (s) was the founder of this religion)? When we examine history, we see that the Prophet (ṣ) said to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) as narrated in the traditions: ‘O ʿAlī, you and your followers (Shias) will be the saved ones on the Day of Judgment.’ This shows that the title of Shia was given to the followers of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) by the Prophet (ṣ) himself. It should be noted that this is a tradition which can be found both in Shia sourcebooks, as well as Sunni ones, so it is not something which can be denied.


At the same time, since Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) was not allowed to become the caliph, he didn’t have as much of an opportunity to spread the genuine teachings of Islam amongst the people. Similarly, when he rose to the seat of power and ruled over the Muslim world, his rule lasted for roughly five years and it was beset with a series of wars, alongside many other problems and difficulties. So the era of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) passed in this way and the era of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) came. The imamate of these two Imams also coincided with an atmosphere of severe repression from the Umayyad rulers and they were not allowed to spread the teachings of Islam in an open fashion.


The era of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) was characterized by an even more repressive atmospher where the Umayyads had given the order that the Shias were to be killed wherever they were found. As a result of this order, the Shias were killed in the cities, as well as in the deserts and far flung regions of the Muslim world. Due to this reason, the people were too frightened to say that they were Shias and the followers of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) or to approach Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) for seeking greater knowledge. Sadly enough, the repression had reached the point where if anyone was named ʿAlī at that time, he was forced to change his name (hiding his real one) lest the people find out. So it is clear that it was not possible for the Imams (ʿa) up until this point to spread their teachings that much.


Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) and the Importance of the Spread of Knowledge


During the beginning of the era of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa), the Umayyad dynasty was in decline and their government was beset by a series of internal problems and conflicts. This gave Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) relatively more freedom to teach his followers and so the light of knowledge and learning began to once again shine bright. Many people who had lived in ignorance and darkness found their way through this beacon lit by Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa). This trend continued and reached its peak during the era of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa).


Things eventually reached the point where four thousand individuals would attend the classes that Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) taught in theology, Islamic jurisprudence, ethics, Quranic commentary as well as many other Islamic sciences. The people in various cities such as Medina, Kufah, and Mecca all heard about the school of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) and his name became very well-known amongst the masses. A narrator has mentioned that he was sitting in the Mosque of the Prophet (s) one day when he saw nine hundred individuals gathered there and talking amongst themselves all of whom were narrating traditions from [Imam] al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). This shows how the Islamic teachings and knowledge was spread by the Imam (ʿa) and so it is for this reason that he is known as the ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’.


In a tradition narrated by Abū Zuhrah in the book al-Imām al-Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), it has been mentioned that when Manṣur al-Dawāniqī (one of the Abbasid caliphs) heard about the intellec-tual fame of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), he became very afraid. He was fearful that the people would gather around the Imam (ʿa) and the Abbasid dynasty would weaken and be in danger. He decided that he must diminish this intellectual fame through the use of other scholars.


Manṣur al-Dawāniqī decided to invite the most knowledgeable scholar he knew of during his era, which was Abū Ḥanīfah. He invited him and said to him: I have a very important plan for you; prepare forty important intellectual issues and I will invite Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) so you can discuss these issues with him in a gathering. If you are able to challenge him and prove that he is unable to answer your questions, we will make sure to spread your fame and propagate that no one is more knowledgeable than you are. When Abū Ḥanīfah (the founder of the Ḥanafī sect) heard this, he responded and said: I have not seen anyone more knowledgeable than Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad and so you have encharged me with a very heavy responsibility. Dominating over him, is no easy task, for I have seen his level of knowledge.


In any case, Manṣur al-Dawāniqī invited Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) and he seated him next to himself with honor and respect. He then said: Abū Ḥanīfah is one of the scholars of Iraq and he has some questions which he wishes to ask you. Abū Ḥanīfah came forward and he asked his forty questions one at a time. Abū Ḥanīfah himself has explained what took place in that gathering. He has mentioned: Manṣur al-Dawāniqī turned to me and said- O Abū Ḥanīfah, ask your questions.


I went ahead and asked my questions. Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) answered my questions and he would say: The answer to this question according to your opinion is this, and according to the people of Medina it is this, and according to us (the Shia school of thought), it is this… Sometimes, his opinion would be the same as the people of Medina and sometimes it would be different than everyone else’s. He continued to answer my questions until the forty questions had all been resolved in this fashion.


Then Abū Ḥanīfah has continued: ‘Do we not narrate [the tradition] that the most knowledgeable of the people is one who is aware of the opinions of the various groups?’ This is, in fact, an acknowledgement that Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) is the most knowledgeable of the people of that time period.    When Manṣur al-Dawāniqī saw that Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) had answered all of the questions completely and he found himself unable to defeat him, he began to develop a deep hatred of the Imam (ʿa). He decided that his only solution was to kill him, for he found his caliphate and rule under great threat.


Safeguarding the Shia School of Thought: A Key Principle in the Intellectual School of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa)


Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) also played a critical role in the preservation and protection of Islam and Shia school; this is another reason why he is called the ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’. The first aspect of this relates to the reality that during that time, Islam had spread rapidly amongst the various nations. All of the developed nations of that time were generally under the banner of Islam. Since the newly converted people of these nations possessed various different customs and beliefs, some deviant customs and beliefs of non-Muslim communities slowly began to take root in the Muslim community as a whole.


The beliefs of the Christians and the Zoroastrians, and the philosophy of the Greeks and Romans began to seep into the fabric of Islamic ideology. Even the materialists felt the environment comfortable enough for them to propound their own atheistic theories openly. Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) was faced with a deluge of such non-Muslim ideas and ideologies which were sometimes antithetical to the religion and so he busied himself in fighting against these deviant currents and correcting the various mistaken ideas which were floating around.


The second aspect of this relates to the enemies of Islam who saw a good opportunity to weaken the religion from the inside. They realized that they could not destroy the government or fight against the Muslims openly, so they were left with the one option of influencing the religion and altering it from within. They particularly focused on the Muslim youth, hoping to push them away from the religion with their propaganda.


The gravity of the situation in those times is completely clear in a story narrated by Mufaḍal ibn ʿUmar (one of the close companions of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). He has mentioned that he was in the Prophet’s Mosque one day when he saw Ibn Abī al-ʿIwajā (who was a materialist and an atheist) sitting next to the Prophet (ṣ)’s grave propagating his atheistic views. He was busy teaching the people that God did not exist and religion was a false construct. Mufaḍal has narrated that he went close to him and began to yell at him for what he was doing. Ibn Abī al-ʿIwajā in turn responded to him and said: It seems that you are one of the companions of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). You must know that your Imam never speaks to us in this way, nor does he become angry at us. He answers our questions and reasons with us in a way where we are left speechless and unable to answer him.


Mufaḍal ibn ʿUmar then narrates that when he heard this, he went to visit Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). “I said to the Imam (ʿa): O descendant of the Prophet (s)! The religion of Islam is in danger and people are busy denying Allah and preaching materialism right next to the grave of the Prophet (ṣ)”. Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) said to Mufaḍal: “Come see me tomorrow at sunrise so that I can tell you about the proofs of Allah”. Mufaḍal then says that he came at the appointed time and the Imam (ʿa) began to speak to him about the various proofs of Allah in relation to what can be seen in the heavens, the earth, the stars, the different animals, the seas, the mountains, the deserts, etc… The Imam (ʿa) began this discussion at sunrise and he continued until the noon prayer. The Imam (ʿa) then told him to come back the next morning at the same time; the same discussion was then continued and it went on until the noon prayer.


 Mufaḍal has said that the Imam’s discussion continued for four whole days… and those invaluable discussions are now with us in the form of  a book called ‘Tawhīd al-Mufaḍal”. This shows us how much the Imam (ʿa) was striving against the wave of foreign concepts that flood-ed the Muslim society of that time. This is another reason why Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) is known as the ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’.


The Jaʿfarī University: A Foundational Institution in Protecting the Shia School of Thought


Another important point is that we must gain more knowledge and awareness in regards to the actual depths of Imam Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (ʿa)’s knowledge and how far he took this war of ideas during his era. When we look at the students of the Imam (ʿa), we see that each one of them was a specialist in his own field. The Imam (ʿa) encouraged his students in developing these varying specialties so that each one could tackle an issue as a master in their own field.


There is a tradition which mentions that a man from Syria came to see the Imam (ʿa) and he said that he had a question in regards to the Quran; this was while some of the companions of the Imam (ʿa) were also present there. He asked the Imam (ʿa) to give him the answer to his question. The Imam (ʿa) said to one of his students named Ḥamrān: Give this man his answer in regards to the Quran. The Syrian man protested that he wanted the Imam (ʿa)’s answer and not his students. The Imam (ʿa) said: His answer is my answer; if you are able to, defeat him and you can consider me defeated as well. The Syrian man began to ask his questions and Ḥamrān answered each of them in a way where the man was left hopeless to prove his own point in the discussion.


The Imam (ʿa) asked the man: How did you find Ḥamrān? The man replied: He was well learned in regards to all Quranic sciences. The man then said that he had another question in regards to Arabic literature. The Imam (ʿa) turned to ʾAbān ibn Taghlib (one of his companions who specialized in this subject). The man asked his question from ʾAbān and he was satisfied with the answers. The Imam (ʿa) asked the Syrian man: Do you have any other questions? The man said that he did and he asked in regards to an issue of jurisprudence.


The Imam (ʿa) told him to refer to Zurārah, who was a master in that field. Zurārah similarly answered his questions until he was satisfied. The Syrian man then asked a question in regards to ʿAqāʾid (Islamic beliefs and ideology). The Imam (ʿa) referred him to a man named Muʾmin al-Ṭāq whose speciality was in this field and in Kalām (scholastic theology). Muʾmin al-Ṭāq similarly answered all of his questions. The man finally said: Your companions are experts in every field!


This shows us that the school of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) was a comprehensive school which delved into every aspect of religious thought. The comprehensive nature of the knowledge taught by Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) is fuly evident in the books which are published today in virtually every subject from Quranic commentary and Islamic ideology to jurisprudence and the principles of Jurisprudence, we find that the majority of the traditions are narrated from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). There are so many traditions related from these two Imams (ʿa), and in particular Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), that it comes as no surprise that he is known as the ‘Leader of the Shia School of Thought’.


Had it not been for the monumental role played by Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa), Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), and Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) in combatting the various doubts and un-Islamic concepts which threatened Islam, these doubts and deviant concepts would have seriously undermined the tenets of Islam and they would have irreparably damaged the religious community as well. These Imams (ʿa) knew that it was useless to take up arms against the Abbasids with the conditions that prevailed during that time. Instead of rising up in futile armed rebellion like Zayd ibn ʿAlī, Yaḥyā ibn Zayd, or others, these Imams (ʿa) engaged in an intellectual revolution which saved the religion.


Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, who is well known today all around the world (and who is known as the father of chemistry), was a Muslim scientist who was born in the second century AH and he was a disciple of the Shia Imams, and in particular, that of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa).  He is quoted to have taken a great deal of pride in the fact that he was one of the students of Imam al-Sādiq (ʿa). Similarly, Mālik ibn Anas (the founder of the Mālikī school of thought) has said in regards to Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa): I used to visit him frequently and I would not find him in other than three states: He was either praying, fasting, or reciting the Quran. He also said: No eyes, ears, or heart has ever come across anyone better than Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad (during this era) from the perspectives of knowledge, worship, and asceticism.  Abū Ḥanīfah has also mentioned in this regard: If it were not for those two years (studying under Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), Nuʿmān (his own name) would have perished.


A Final Word


There is no question that the teachings of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) hold great value for us today and there is much which we can learn from such lessons. We live in a time which has many similarities to the time of the Imam (ʿa). Today, Western mass media has busied itself in spreading various deviant notions and half-baked doubts all across the globe. They have particularly focused on the Muslim world, with the youth at the very tip of their attacks. They have been unable to destroy Islam through military action, sanctions, and other forms of outright warfare. Therefore, they have decided that they must engage in a war of ideas so that they can undermine the Muslim community from within. They have decided to influence the youth in particular, since they form the most impressionable members of society and they are the future of the Muslim community.


The era of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) shared these similarities as well. Thus, it is essential that we utilize the methodology of Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) and the scholars must become well versed in the various means of propagation which exist today. They must stand up in opposition to the spread of these half-baked questions and doubts and they must educate their followers to the true path of Islam. Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) was poisoned and killed in the end by the orders of Manṣūr al-Dawāniqī on the 25th of Shawwāl in the year 148 AH; he was sixty five years old at the time of his martyrdom. Till today we mourn the loss of this great leader and we hope that we can be successful in following his footsteps.

 

622 Visits: 2016/12/15 Published on:
GUIDELINES TOWARDS STRENGTHENING THE UNITY OF THE SCHOLARS FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

Introduction


Interaction between the scholars of the various Islamic schools is one of the important and undeniable necessities which will help promote unity amongst the Muslim community. When we look at the actual jurisprudential differences which exist amongst the various schools, it is apparent that these differences are only minor in nature; the jurisprudents agree in the vast majority of jurisprudential issues. Such general jurisprudential topics as prayers, fasting, Khums, Zakāt, Ḥajj, trade, and marriage, and their minor laws such as (in regards to prayers) the pillars of prayers, and its various other parts, as well as all of the religious laws which are explicitly explained in the Quran or which are based on successively transmitted traditions of the great Prphet of Islam (s) are all unanimously accepted principles across the Muslim world.


It is necessary that all of the Muslim scholars strengthen the ties of unity amongst themselves and benefit from what will come about as a result. The establishment of the international congress  on “Extremism and Takfīrī Trends in the Muslim Scholars’ View” during the last year, under the guidance of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, can be counted as one such important initiatives towards this end. This conference resulted in a greater strengthening of unity amongst the Muslims and helped facilitate a greater level of interaction among them.
One thing which has been in the news lately in regards to such initiatives is a letter by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī to Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ṭīb, the leader of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt. In this letter, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī invites Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ṭīb in order to form a series of joint intellectual sessions with the participation of the scholars of both the Shia and Sunni schools of thought.


In these sessions, the scholars would research and analyze the various issues which prevent greater Muslim unity, and they would also examine various solutions for resolving these issues and strengthening Muslim unity. This initiative from Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī is quite a valuable one and it shows the importance which he places on the issue of unity, particularly unity amongst the scholars of Islam. Let us now delve into the most important strategies for increasing unity amongst the Muslim scholars from the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī. This article will also deal with the importance of this issue and the role which the scholars can play in furthering unity amongst the Muslims.


Emphasizing  the Commonalities--- A Key Strategy in Fostering Unity amongst Muslim Scholars


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī believes that one of the greatest elements in fostering unity amongst the Muslim community is through the emphasis of the commonalities which are present amongst them. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated: The majority of the Muslim jurisprudents, in spite of their varying schools, share many commonalities in the most important aspects of their rulings. The Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah are two foundational  resources from which  the Islamic laws are derived by all of the scholars and the only differences are those which arise from interpretation or from the tools (such as the extent the intellect is used) which are utilized towards this end.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then mentioned the following in how the Muslims can use their commonalities to promote unity amongst their ranks: ‘Without any doubt, the differences which do exist amongst the Muslim schools are not so many that they would prevent the various groups from working together in regards to their common interests. The reason behind this is that the commonalities between the various sects are very great in number and they are faced with common enemies as well.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized the necessity of recognizing the evil goals of those who work to create conflict and divisions amongst the Muslim community. He has stated: ‘There are hands at work who wish to fan the flames of conflict, war, and bloodshed through magnifying the differences which exist amongst the various Islamic schools… The Muslims must not give the enemies any room for success in this regard and they need to utilize all the resources at hand in order to better propagate the true reality of the Islamic faith.’
Accordign to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī,personal intellectual and cultural interaction amongst the Islamic scholars are among the best ways of moving away from conflict and division. He stated in this regard: ‘If the scholars of the various Muslim schools convene in a friendly atmosphere, and far away from prejudice and stubbornness, they will be able to discuss various issues with one another and analyze the root causes of conflict amongst them. Here we are not claiming that all of the conflicts will be resolved but at least, their potential severity will be lessened’.


The Unity of the Muslim Scholars in Effectively Confronting the  Issue of Takfīr


From the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, a positive platform for interaction amongst the Muslim scholars will take form when they come together in opposing the crimes of the Takfīrīs. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that our first goal should be to stand united against the Takfīrīs ; in such circumstances, the Muslim scholars need to warn their respective followers, awakening them to the dangers posed to the entire Islamic word by the Takfīrīs. When such a unified response is shown, the Takfīrīs will in turn retreat.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained the current day situation of the Muslim community and the role of the Takfīrīs in the implementation of the evil goals of the su-perpowers. These groups have busied themselves with killing Muslims (particularly the Shias) and in creating great conflict and division (which will lead to an even greater partition of the Muslim world). The Ayatollah has stated in this regard: ‘Every day, the members of various Muslim schools, both Shia and Sunni, witness the bodies of their fellow Muslims who have been killed by people who claim the same faith. This is while the enemies of Islam in Europe and America (particularly in Israel) are overjoyed by such things and clap their hands in delight’.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has warned the great scholars of the various Muslim lands of the necessity of condemning and confronting the crimes of the Takfīrīs and he has mentioned: ‘During what time period did such killings take place? Are you aware of a time when such things were taking place, oh Scholars of Islam? Then why are you sitting silently and why do you not shout out in protest when so many of your fellow brothers are being killed? We all know that the hands of the enemies of Islam, such as the Zionists, the Western powers, and their allies are complicit in these acts!’


Confronting the Negative Innovtions in Religion a Crutial Factor in Bringing about Unity among the Muslim Scholars


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delineated a specific methodology towards the promotion of unity amongst the Muslims, as well as the Muslim scholars. He has also censured the silence of some Muslim scholars in the face of the  negative innovations made in religion by the Takfīrīs and he has reminded them of the historical necessity of fighting against these dangerous innovations: “Has it not been mentioned in the Islamic traditions that whenever negative innovations appear in religion, it is necessary for the scholars to manifest their knowledge; if they fail to do so, then they will be far from the mercy of Allah.”


What innovation in religion is worse than the authorization of mass killings which take place by suicide bombers all in the name of Islam? Is there anything worse and uglier than this in Islamic history? Which verse of the Quran or which traditions have allowed for an individual to attach explosives to themselves and blow themselves up, killing themselves, as well as others? Such people only send themselves to hell, while sending their victims to paradise as martyrs.’  Is not such an act a heinous innovation made in religion? The silence from certain scholars is not acceptable and they will have no excuse before Allah for it. It is necessary that we all stand up with resolution and fight against the barbarous crimes of the Takfīrīs. We must fulfill the terms of our religious beliefs in this regard and make our enemies hopeless of achieving their aims (through the acts of the Takfīrīs).


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also explained the duty of the Muslim scholars in revealing the evil nature of the Takfīrīs: ‘These Takfīrī groups have dealt blows to Muslims, the very religion of Islam itself, as well as to the entire human race. We have a duty to analyze the ideology and goals of this deviant group and to ultimately neutralize them. ’  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has similarly spoken about the necessity of speaking with the Muslim scholars of all sects as something critical towards refuting the teachings of these groups. He has stated the following in this regard: ‘It is not possible to destroy Wahhabism through military means; therefore, it is necessary for all of the Muslim scholars to gather alongside one another and analyze the methodology which such groups (Takfīrīs) use in attracting the youth.’


The Muslim scholars must work together and cut the ideological roots of these groups. All must voice their condemnation of the initiatives and activities of these groups and tell the world that the Takfiris have nothing to do with Islam or the Quran… The intellectual roots of this group must be destroyed by the scholars of Islam; the Muslim scholars have a heavy responsi-bility in this regard and they must not be silent, for the Prophet (ṣ) has said: ‘When negative innovations appear in religion, the scholar must manifest his knowledge or else he will be cursed by Allah’.  Therefore, the scholars must regularly meet with one another and hold discussions, for being away from one another brings about suspicion and mistrust, while being close to one another brings about love and affection.


The Unity of the Muslim Scholars, an Important Element in Reducing the Disunity of the Entire Muslim Ummah


It is worth mentioning that a lack of intellectual cooperation and contact amongst the Muslim scholars, as well as a lack of cultural interaction amongst the Shias and Sunnis, has caused the Muslim society to be confronted with a great number of problems. Disunity and division in the Muslim community is one adverse consequence of this issue. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that: ‘One of the reasons behind disunity and division is a lack of a proper relation-ship with one another. When we are not in contact and we don’t know one another, then we will naturally be unwilling to cooperate with one another in relation to various things.’


For example, certain elements spread the rumor amongst the Sunnis that the Shias do not accept the Holy Quran and that they have another version of it. Naturally, if these two groups were closer to one another and visited each other’s mosques and read one another’s books, then this issue would be resolved in short order.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also delved into the reasons behind the rise of divisions and disunity and he has mentioned the plots of the enemies of Islam, as well as certain allied nations who have ties to the Takfīrīs: ‘The enemies are another cause behind the disunity and division  of the Muslim Ummah. These enemies have been very busy and they have positioned the Wahhabis and the Sunnis against the Shias. In order to destroy these plans, there must be ever greater levels of contact between the Shias and the Sunnis so that the Sunni can hear our logic and not judge us unseen and unheard’.


The Rejection of the Claims as to the Existence of Distortions in the Quran, as a Powerful Means of Increasing Unity amongst the Muslim Scholars


Without a doubt, the blessings which come about from interaction between the Muslim scholars of different schools can be examined from different angles. One of the important blessings which comes about from this type of interaction involves the rejection of the claims as to the existence of distoritions in the teachings of Shia and Sunni Islam. In time, this specific issue can further the cause of unity between the Muslim scholars and the Muslim community in general.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has described the invaluable role which interactions between the Muslim scholars can have in the following statement: ‘The claims  concernign the existence of distoritions in the Islamic resources is an act of war against the most basic foundations of the Islamic faith. Unfortunately, some of the ignorant individuals seek to create conflict amongst the Muslims and they desire to negate any move towards greater Islamic unity. One of the more ancient claims of this group has always been that certain Muslim schools  hold the belief that the Quran has not remained protected against distortions. These individuals are ignorant of the fact that their own position is not strengthened through such spurious claims but rather, they are moving towards weakening the position of the Quran and opening up claims in regards to its historical authenticity.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then continued and said: ‘What is certain is that the great majority of scholars of both Shia and Sunni schools have rejected the existence of any distortions in the Quran and, thus, no one can ascribe such a belief to any of the Islamic schools. Those who actually believe that some distortions have been created in the Quran are a very miniscule group and when we examine the definitive evidence which exists in this regard, it is clear that their beliefs are baseless and without any foundation.’  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained that the Quran is in reality unalterable in nature and he has stated:
‘The reality is that the Quran could not have been altered or distorted, since from the very beginning of its revelation, it has been recited continuously during the prayers, as well as during other times. During every era, there were numerous memorizers and when we examine those who were encharged with writing it down at the time of revelation, we find that they were as many as forty individuals in number. In addition, all of the teachings of the Muslims are contained within it and so it is illogical to think that there was ever the possibility of it being altered.’


Laws against the Current of Takfīrīism under the Unified Hand of the Muslim Scholars


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned one of the strategies which can be successful in rooting out the Takfīrī ideology as being a unified effort by a group of representative Muslim scholars by creating a set of Islamic jurisprudential rulings against such groups. The Ayatollah has made the following remarks in this regard: ‘Expanding the reform movement and utilizing the viewpoints of the jurisprudents of all the Islamic schools in the creation of laws against the Takfīrī current is one of the most important strategies in the creation of unity amongst the Muslim scholars. This can be done through the use of the soundest viewpoints which are common amongst the scholars of all schools.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the ever increasing importance of implementing this strategy against the Takfīrī current: ‘The permanent secretariat of this congress has been established in one of the important cities of the Muslim world with the goal of fighting against the intellectual and cultural current of the Takfīrīs. This permanent secretariat is composed of scholars from various intellectual and cultural institutions which exist all throughout the Muslim world. The goal of this group is to develop solutions which can effectively neutralize the extremist views which exist through better consultation with one another.’


A Final Word


In conclusion, it must be said that the best strategies for the realization of unity amongst the Muslim Ummah according to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī are as follows:
1.    Moving away from political issues which are not agreed upon and focusing primarily on issues related to extremism from a jurisprudential viewpoint.
2.    Refraining from speaking about issues where there is a conflict of opinion. Instead, we must work hand in hand with one another and have an exchange of ideas in regards to the dangers of extremism.
3.    We must respect what is holy to all of the Muslim sects.

647 Visits: 2016/12/13 Published on:
KEY ELEMENTS AND TEACHINGS IN THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET (s) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

Today is the yearly date marking the passing of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) who was the seal and final messenger of all prophets and played a pivotal role in opening the hearts and minds of the people. These were hearts and minds which had been locked by the darkness of deviation and straying and it was the Prophet (ṣ) who helped open them to guidance and salvation.  Due to this reason, we must look deep in to the life of this noble messenger and reflect upon the various elements and lessons which it has to offer.


By looking at the history of Islam, particularly the history of what took place in the cities of Medina and Mecca, we will be able to look at the life of the Prophet (ṣ) and see how the Prophet (ṣ), alongside with his wife Khadījah and his cousin Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), were able to stand against the enemies of Islam. Let us take a spiritual journey back in to this era and see how the Prophet (ṣ), his wife, and Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) would offer their prayers purely for the sake of Allah (swt) while they were still living among the polytheists and the enemies of Islam. They offered their prayers under such circumstances while their hearts were sincerely filled with the contemplation of Allah (swt).


When we look back in to the history of Islam and how the religion spread so quickly during that time period, as well as during the periods which came after, it is truly a point of wonder as to how it was possible for the faith to have spread with such a rapid pace. This is particularly true when one considers the means of spreading information which were available during that time period.


There was no mass media then and information could only spread through word of mouth and personal contact. In spite of these limitations, the religion spread amongst millions of human beings and it became a force which absorbed entire civilizations and created its own unique civilization, changing human history forever.


In light of the reality that Allah (swt) chose the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ) as the seal of his prophets, and as an example for all of mankind[1]: ‘Surely there was a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah,’ , it becomes critical for us to look in to the essential elements and teachings which can be found in the life of the Prophet (ṣ). Let us delve in to these teachings through the valuable guidance and viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī…


Love and the Role it plays in the Guidance of Human Beings


Guidance as a concept has quite a vast scope and it includes the issue of monotheism, as well as the other articles of faith. It also is interwoven with all moral principles, as well as the issues of moral training and self-purification.  Thus, in addition to its explanation of the lofty rank and grandeur of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), the holy Quran has also referred to his great desire to guide people and save them from straying. This is one of his characteristics, which constitutes a model for us to emulate and follow.


A verse in the Quran states[2]: ‘There has come to you a Messenger of Allah from among yourselves, who is distressed by the losses you sustain, who is ardently desirous of your welfare and is tender and merciful to those that believe.’[3]  A quick glance at this verse of the Quran reveals that Allah (swt) has enumerated five characteristics for the Prophet of Islam (ṣ). These five characteristics include: ‘from among yourselves’, ‘who is distressed by your losses’, ‘who is ardently desirous for your welfare’, ‘tender’, and ‘merciful’. This verse is in reality explaining to us that the Prophet (ṣ) is completely aware of all of the problems and difficulties which we are facing and desires the best for us.


This verse has also utilized the word ‘Ḥarīṣ’ which has been translated as being ‘ardently desirous’. This word shows us the depths of his desire to guide mankind to the path of the truth. In reality, this verse is showing us that the Prophet (ṣ) is extremely kind and merciful towards the believers in his desire to guide them to the truth, yet at the same time, he is harsh towards the ruthless and hardhearted tyrants who seek to oppress other people.


 The Life of the Prophet (s): The Best Example of a Life based on Moral Principles


When we look at many of the problems which people face on an individual and social level, it is clear that many of them emanate from various moral and ethical weaknesses and deficiencies. Similarly, many of the problems caused by various heads of states are due to such individuals’ lack of adherence to moral principles. Sound ethics and morality are the base foundations of any healthy society. Similarly, morality is the best means of journeying towards Allah (swt).


Until the various moral issues of a society are resolved, none of the other problems which they face will be resolved. For this same reason, purifying one’s soul from the pull of the carnal desires, purifying one’s heart, and taking one’s level of morality and ethics to the highest levels constitute the primary purpose of the Divine Mission of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).


When we examine the life of the Prophet (ṣ) and look in to the secret behind his success, we find that it was primarily his lofty character qualities, his humility, and his kindness towards the people that attracted them towards him and his religion.  The Prophet (ṣ) lived his life in such a way and he was of such character that even in the pre Islamic era, he was well respected and trusted by the people of his society. This is something which was well recognized by the people of that era and no one disputed it later when he began to preach the new faith.


History tells us that when the Prophet (ṣ) decided to emigrate from Mecca to Medina, he en-charged Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) with the duty of returning all of the things which the people had given to him to safeguard.  It is interesting to note that these were the same people who had refused to believe in his message and many of them may have harbored great hate against him. It is also worthy to mention that the Prophet (ṣ) was extraordinarily humble. He would greet everyone he would see, he would just sit in a gathering without seeking to be in the spotlight, and he would perform his share of work during the course of journeys. He would also refrain from allowing others to shoulder all of the work and responsibilities.


When we look at the actions of the Prophet (ṣ) in times of war and peace, we are able to see his lofty levels of bravery, perseverance, and upright behavior. He was a man of great forgiveness and chivalry. This is particularly evident during his general pardon after the conquest of Mecca. Those who were granted pardon by the Prophet (s) were the same individuals who had hurt him and the Muslims so greatly. In spite of all the things the Meccans had done, he forgave them and gave history one of its finest lessons in forgiveness and the highest levels of ethics and upright behavior.


Another interesting point which should never be forgotten is that the Prophet (ṣ) clearly showed us that the ends do not justify the means. If we wish to reach a holy goal, then we must be sure that the means which we use to reach that goal are also correct and holy themselves. The Prophet (ṣ) would directly tell his companions[4]: ‘Enmity against any group should not prevent you from acting justly.’[5]


He would also command his followers in regards to the rules of engagement and he would tell them that they could not attack non-combatants, nor could they destroy agricultural fields or orchards. The Muslims were also prohibited from polluting or poisoning the drinking water of the enemy and they were also obligated to act with the utmost kindness towards their prisoners of war. These were just a few of the many commandments which the Prophet (ṣ) had mentioned in regards to the rules of war.


In reality, if it had not been for these lofty levels of behavior and ethics, then that backwards and unruly people would have never accepted Islam. Just as the Quranic verse has mentioned, the Arabs would have ‘dispersed from around him’[6] and continued to follow the customs of their forefathers if it had not been for the Prophet (s)’s kind behavior towards them. In light of this reality, we must strive to reengage with this level of Islamic behavior and ethics. Every Muslim must strive towards implementing this level of behavior in their day to day lives so that they too can become a reflection of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).[7]


Being Quran Centric: A Key Element in the Life of the Prophet (ṣ)


All of the Islamic scholars believe that the Quran is the greatest miracle of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ). It is furthermore an intellectual miracle which affects the thinking and spiritual life of the people; in light of this, it is a miracle which is eternal in nature.  In order for us to better understand this issue, we must first look at the society which the Quran was sent down to from an intellectual and cultural perspective. The Ḥijāz region has been considered as one of the least developed regions of the world of that time according to virtually all historians. The people who lived there were even considered to be a primitive or semi primitive class of people.


From an ideological perspective, these people were diehard idol worshippers who spent their time worshipping idols made of wood or stones which had been carved in to various shapes and forms. Monotheism was completely alien to them and their lives were completely overshadowed by the various aspects of idol worship. The pre Islamic Arabs also lived their lives according to the tribal societal structure and oftentimes, severe conflict would erupt amongst them in a way where wars would continue for many long years over a small issue.
It was in the midst of such a people that a prophet rose up who had never been formally educated in a school. This prophet brought them a book which was so filled with wisdom and knowledge that the scholars have not yet been able to fully expound the various facets it contains, even though fourteen long centuries have passed from its initial revelation. In fact, these scholars are still busy finding new facets of knowledge even to this day!


In light of the reality of the pre Islamic society of the Arabs, it is clear that their society was not one which could be reformed overnight. It was a reformation process which would take a lengthy period of time and which would be formulated gradually. Thus, the Quran was revealed gradually in order that it could be implemented properly, that its teachings would not be taken lightly, and that the society would gradually acquire the capacity to absorb and embrace its teachings.  It is important to note that the Quran was the base foundation of the Prophet (ṣ)’s teachings.  It formed the basis of the knowledge which he spread, including the laws and morals which he taught to his people.


As a holy text filled with great levels of wisdom and knowledge, the Quran was filled with such a power of attraction that its enemies called it a type of magic and sorcery. They would say: Do not go close to Muḥammad for his words will cause you to become bewitched and you will gravitate towards his religion! This indicates that the enemies of Islam during that time period understood the power of the Quran quite well and they saw it as a miraculous work. They saw how powerfully the people were attracted to it and influenced by its words and teachings.


In addition to this, the Quran was of such a nature that it would influence the lives of the people and the enemies could quite clearly see how it was changing the very society around them. In a short period of time, it was the Quran which gave rise to a vast civilization which brought about amazing intellectual and scientific achievements in its wake.  During our own time period, it is important that the various societal organizations spend more time in spreading the teachings of the Quran throughout the society. This is particularly true of the Broadcasting Organization of Iran. They also need to do more in formulating their programming in line with the teachings of the Quran.


Being Law Centric: An Outcome of the Establishment of an Islamic Government


It is worth mentioning that the goals which the divine prophets (ʿa) had and the laws which they were encharged with their implementing could not be implemented without the formation of an actual government. Without the formation of such a government, only a very limited number of their teachings could be spread about and implemented in their societies. The goals of the prophets (ʿa) pertained to many various things, including: teaching and training the people, upholding equity, bringing about social justice, freeing people from the various forms of captivity, aiding the oppressed against their oppressors, training people in the finer aspects of spirituality, as well as fostering higher levels of ethics and morals.


None of these goals can be widely implemented without the existence of an Islamic government.  Due to this reason, one of the first things which the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) did after his immigration to Medina was the formation of an Islamic government where the laws of the faith were codified.  In this way, all of the laws of Islam were given the opportunity to be implemented on a wider scale in the society and take root.  In addition, the good and righteous people of that society were given the opportunity to play an integral role in its functioning and this helped tremendously in strengthening the foundations of Islam.


A Rejection of Secular Islam: A Key Element in an Islamic Government


Without any doubt, it is not possible to implement social justice, or to give people freedom, or to save them from the carnal desires, or the oppression of the oppressors without the formation of an Islamic government.  In regards to this issue, we must ask ourselves whether a few sermons delivered in a mosque are sufficient for the implementation of justice and equity in a given society. Can social justice be fulfilled without a set of enforceable laws, as well as other lesser forms of persuasion? It is clear that the realization of societal justice will necessarily require a powerful government which can prevent the corrupt from having their way and which will guarantee the rights of the weaker members of society.


Now if a religion was comprised merely of prayers, fasting, and other simple acts of worship, then these simple practices could continue without the establishment of a religious government. When we look at Islam as a complete religion with all of its various social elements, it is clear that the complete implementation of this religion will require the establishment of a government. It was for this reason that when the Prophet (ṣ) immigrated to Medina and had freed himself from the interference of his enemies in Mecca, his first steps were taken in the establishment of an Islamic government in order that he could properly implement the goals of Islam.


Thus, the only government which can be completely accepted by the people is a divinely established government. These are the governments established by the Prophet (ṣ), the Imams (ʿa), as well as those who rule based on the principles established by the religion. Without any doubt, this world of ours will never see felicity and justice until it is established under the auspices of a divinely based government.  Therefore, those who push for the separation of religion from politics have neither understood the proper meaning of politics, nor have they understood the proper meaning of religion.


Fighting Ignorance and Encouraging the Acquisition of Knowledge


The history of human society during the time right before the rise of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), and particularly that pertaining to the pre Islamic Arabs, has clearly shown us the levels of ignorance and darkness which existed during that time.  When the conditions of a society deteriorate to such a low level and ignorance and corruption become so prevalent, then the role and responsibilities of the divine leaders became much more important. At the same time, the implementation of the goals of these men also becomes much harder. Similarly, when they succeed, their greatness manifests itself at a much greater level.


It is evident that the Prophet (ṣ) rose up as the leader of an intellectual and social revolution with the goal of saving humanity from all types of idolatry and superstition. He strove hard towards helping human beings become free from the tentacles of ignorance and injustice.  Even though the religion of Islam rose up in the midst of a society which was steeped in ignorance from every perspective, it gave the most importance to knowledge and learning. This is in reality one of the miracles of the Prophet (ṣ) since he grew up in that atmosphere of ignorance but ended up being the greatest defender and proponent of learning and knowledge.


When we examine the various Islamic traditions by the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), we find certain traditions stating that looking at the face of a scholar is considered to be an act of worship or that a gathering of knowledge is a garden from the gardens of paradise. Yet another tradition states that a scholar is a thousand times more superior to a simple worshipper of Allah. All of these traditions emphasize the importance of knowledge in Islam. It is also interesting to note in this regard that one of the first verses of the Quran which was revealed to the heart of the Prophet (ṣ) was one commanding him to read and study.


Yet, a key question here is how is it possible for some of the greatest manifestations of knowledge and learning to arise from an environment of complete and utter ignorance?  In order to become more familiar with various dimensions of the Prophet (s)’s character, one can refer to various Quranic verses. For instance, the Quran has described the Prophet (s) in Surah al-Jumuʿah (Friday) as a teacher and educator of morality and ethics. This was not a characteristic which would only benefit the Muslims, but rather, it was something which would benefit the entire humanity.


Similarly, the 157th verse of Surah al-Aʿrāf has described the Prophet (ṣ) as someone whose teachings are proof and evidence of his truthfulness. The verse has then gone on to mention how the Prophet (ṣ) removed the chains and strictures of ignorance, superstition, and the lack of security which existed at the time.  In addition, the first verse of Surah Ibrāhīm has also emphasized that the Prophet (ṣ) brought people out of darkness and guided them toward the light. This darkness which the verse has mentioned was comprised of the superstitions, ignorance, poverty, and other issues which existed at that time (and which may exist in various forms today).


Other verses in the Quran have also pointed out the fact that the Prophet (ṣ) was sent in order to show mankind the ‘straight path’ and to save them from the wrong pathways. This straight path is the path towards felicity and salvation, while the wrong pathways lead to hellfire and punishment. The Quran has also emphasized that the Prophet (ṣ) was sent in order to bring the dead to life. When we look at the pre Islamic Arabs and how they lived their lives, it is clear that while they may have appeared to be physically alive, they were in fact dead from a spiritual perspective. They were steeped in ignorance, superstition, and a complete lack of security whereas the Final Prophet (ṣ) saved them from this extreme level of misguidance and deviation.


The divinely sent prophets and messengers were in reality much like powerful beacons of light who cleaved asunder the darkness of ignorance and disbelief and who guided the people to the truth. In this same fashion, the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) played an integral role in breaking the chains and strictures of ignorance and superstition and he guided the people to the straight path. Due to this reason, we must look at the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) as one of the most brilliant lights of guidance sent by Allah (swt) to humanity.


A Final Word


When we look at the moral brilliance of the Prophet (ṣ) and how this attracted the people towards him, as well as his humility, affection, forgiveness, forbearance, and raw courage we find that it was these characteristics which pulled the hearts of the people towards him and his message of mercy and guidance. It was his extraordinary struggles in guiding and reforming the people which attracted so many of them towards him and his message.   


Yet, in spite of all this, some historians have unfortunately described the Prophet (ṣ) as completly miraculous and heavenly figure. This type of a des c r i p tion has caused some of the people to feel that no other human being can even come close to the spiritual qualities of someone like him since he was  such a mythical and extraordinary figure.  This is while the Prophet (ṣ) was sent as a human example for us of what is possible for all of the people of this world. His religion is in essence a practical way of life which is designed to build human beings. This is a religion which can be utilized by all of the people of this earth and everyone can benefit from it.


The Prophet (ṣ) was a complete model for all of the nations; it is a mistake to believe that he was only sent to a particular group of people.  Thus, the Prophet (ṣ) can be seen as the best of examples for us to follow in every stage of life. His behavior, his perseverance, his forbearance, wisdom, intelligence, sincerity, complete focus upon Allah (swt), and his endurance against the various difficulties which he encountered in life are all something which can be emulated and become an example to be followed by all the Muslims.  It is interesting to see that when the Prophet (ṣ) was faced with the most difficult of problems, he would not show the least amount of weakness; he would instead face these problems with the greatest of certainty, spiritual calm, and ease.


When we look at the Prophet (ṣ) from this perspective, it becomes clear that the problems which the Muslims face all around the world are a result of their departure from the way of life of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ). When we look at the problems which the Muslim world faces today, including the moral corruption which exists, the cultural issues, the wanton killings, and the destruction of the cities, we find that these are all caused by the far distance of the Muslims away from the teachings and life of the Prophet (ṣ).


From this perspective, the Muslims must strive hard to walk upon the path of the Prophet (ṣ) and to implement his teachings in their day to day lives.  This is truly the best of ways which we can choose to follow. Similarly, we must formulate our behavior and our actions with the pure behavior and actions of the Prophet (ṣ) so that we can find the best levels of guidance and salvation possible for ourselves.  

 

594 Visits: 2016/11/26 Published on:
A REFLECTION ON THE KEY TEACHINGS OF IMAM AL-RIDA (A) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

It is evident that the beliefs of every nation form an important part of their culture. Similarly, the decline of these beliefs will play an important and reciprocal role in the decline of the national culture and civilization.  Thus, in addition to their regular duties as the religious leaders of the Muslim Ummah, all of the Infallible Imams (a) were also encharged with the important responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the Islamic beliefs in their own time period and based on the specific conditions and circumstances that they lived in.


They defended these beliefs to the utmost and they were willing to make any kind of sacrifice in this way.  Imam al-Riḍā (a) played an integral role in guiding the intellectual progress of the Muslim Ummah and defending the Islamic beliefs against the encroachment of un-Islamic ideological currents. As the Muslim Ummah’s borders expanded, it came into contact with the ideas and beliefs of many various nations and religions.


These ideas began to infiltrate the Muslim society and since the Muslims had never encountered such ideas before, they did not know how to deal with them properly. The rest of the Imams (a) also played an integral role in this regard as well.  When we examine the ideas which were coming into the Muslim world and the defensive role which Imam al-Riḍā (a) played against them, it is clear that if it had not been for the Imam (a)’s intellectual, scientific, and cultural efforts, the fate of Islam as a pure and divinely inspired religion would have been in jeopardy.


In light of this reality, a look into the key religious teachings of Imam al-Riḍā (a) is something which would prove to be very valuable for us. We will delve into these teachings through the research and valuable viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.

 

A Look at the Shia Teachings of Imam al-Riḍā (a)


It is worth mentioning that in spite of all of the pressure which was exerted on the Imams of the Ahl-al-Bayt (a), this did not stop any one of them from continuing to spread the teachings of the religion.  Imam al-Riḍā (a) similarly followed in the steps of his forefathers and he used every opportunity during the end of the caliphate of Hārūn and during the caliphate of Maʾmūn to spread the pure teachings of Islam.  In addition to further establishing the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), Imam al-Riḍā (a) also engaged in various debates which helped to solidify the position of Islam against the other faiths and other schools of thought. He also played an integral role in purifying the body of traditions and helping to distinguish between the true and false narrations.


One of the famous scholars, Dhahabī, has written the following about Imam al-Riḍā (a): “He possessed a great rank and he was worthy of the caliphate. He also possessed a lofty rank in regards to knowledge, religion, and stature”.  Similarly, Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī has written the following about the Imam (a) in his work of history: “He would sit in the mosque of the Prophet (s) and give religious rulings for the people while he was still in his twenties”.  


The Defense of the Religion against the Encroachment of Unislamic Ideas and Beliefs through Intellectual Efforts


The life of Imam al-Riḍā (a) had many different facets; one of these important facets was his intellectual and religious teachings and his defense of various Islamic beliefs against the heavy encroachment of unislamic beliefs, as well as the incorrect beliefs of different schools of thought.  A look into this intellectual aspect, which derives from the Imam’s divine position of Wilāyah, will prove to be very useful to us in relation to our lives today. Learning about these things will help us greatly in resolving the various issues which we face today; this is particularly true when faced with the people of different religions and beliefs.


 Imam al-Riḍā (a) assumed the position of Imamate at a time when the Muslim Ummah had expanded its borders greatly and it was coming into contact with many different nations. Each of these nations had their own sets of beliefs and customs, alongside their own particular kinds of ideas. These foreign based ideas rapidly filtered into the Muslim Ummah and became mixed with the ideological beliefs of the Muslims.  


Various civilizations, schools of thought, and sects began to interact with the Muslim Ummah and these interactions brought about an exchange of ideas, some of which were highly incorrect and deviant. Doubts began to appear amongst the Muslims and it was at this time that the hypocrites began to exert their own influence in order to take advantage of the situation. Under such critical conditions, Imam al-Riḍā (a) rose up and began to defend the religion.


When Imam al-Riḍā (a) was forced to become the successor to the caliphate for Maʾmūn, he saw that the court officials of Maʾmūn would organize debates and discussions in order to undermine Islam. In spite of this, Imam al-Riḍā (a) would participate in these debates and show the true reality of Islam; it was during these debates and discussions that Islam was proven to everyone as a genuine and legitimate Divine religion.  


Similarly, Maʾmūn also desired that these debates between Imam al-Riḍā (a) and the great scholars of the era be held so that the attention of the people would be focused upon them and he himself would be free to pursue his own political agenda. These debates would serve as a type of cover which would conceal the defects of Maʾmūns own rule.  In any case, Imam al-Riḍā (a) engaged in these debates with the purpose of combatting the deviant ideas which had come about and he showed the people the true reality of Islam as it had been revealed to the Prophet of Islam (s).


Protecting the True Islam Which Was Taught by the Prophet (s)


When we examine the life history of the Imams (a), it is clear that they all stood up against the deviant ideas which would surface in various forms during their lifetimes. This is particularly evident during the life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa); he combatted all of the various deviant ideas, superstitions, and incorrect interpretations which rose up during his era and he helped the people to understand the true reality of the religion.  History shows us that there was no question which the Imam (ʿa) was asked which he was unable to answer. He would answer any and all questions in the best manner possible. By examining the debates which the Imam (ʿa) participated in, one clearly realizes that these exchanges were of a nature and of a quality which is not seen in the life of any other individual all throughout the history of Islam. In this respect, these debates are quite unique in history.


Indeed, the approach adopted by Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) in regards to the religious issues was based entirely on the teachings and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) as well as the Divine teachings of the Quran. This fact is perfectly evident in one of the debates of the Imam (a) where he was asked by someone what the reason was for the necessity of recognizing the divine prophets (ʿa) and for obeying their commands.  The Imam (ʿa) explained to the man that the reason why it was necessary for people to recognize the divine prophets (ʿa), and to obey them was that human beings are not always capable of gaining full access to the truth through their intellects and their senses.


From another angle, Allah is a being which cannot be perceived through the human senses and so there is no choice but for an infallible messenger to be sent by Allah as an intermediary between Allah and his servants. Such messengers can help people to understand the things which they must do and the things which they must abstain from. These messengers will help people to understand the things which are in their best interests and the things which will harm them.  


Much of the world of that time had heard about the message of Islam and many of the people had accepted its call. Even though modern forms of mass media did not exist during that time period, and the only means of disseminating Islam was in the hands of the enemy, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) utilized this same means to spread the message of true Islam and to help the people understand the differences between the truth and the falsehood.


Explaining the Concept of the Imamate throughout the Islamic Community


The position of the Imamate is one which is divinely selected and no one else can select someone for this position. One of the primary conditions for a person to be appointed as the Imam is that the individual must be infallible (one who does not commit any sins or make any mistakes). Infallibility is the kind of quality that no one but Allah (swt) is aware of its actual reality. Thus, believing in the Imams (ʿa) is obligatory much like believing in the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), who was the founder of the Islamic Shari’ah.  According to a tradition, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) has been quoted as saying the following to Maʾmūn[1] : “One of the beliefs of the Shia School is that Allah will never make the obedience of someone obligatory who will lead the people astray. When it comes to the position of the messengership, (Allah) will never select someone from amongst his servants whom he knows will disbelieve in him and abstain from his worship, and worship Satan instead”.  


With this said, it is worth noting that this does not mean that the Shias consider other Muslims who have different beliefs with regard to the issue of the “Imamate” to be disbelievers. The Shias consider all of the followers of various Islamic schools to be Muslims and brothers in faith with one another, even if they do not accept the imamate.  There is another tradition from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) which further explains the belief in the imamate.  In this tradition, the Imam (ʿa) is narrated to have said[2]: “The Imamate is the helm of the religion and the organizational element of the Muslims. It is the honor of the believers and the best thing for their worldly life.[3] The imamate is essential element of the thriving religion of Islam and its fruitful branch. Through the presence of the Imam (ʿa), things such as prayers, charity, fasting, and the Ḥajj are brought to perfection and completion. The money of the public treasury will increase in amount and the charity which is given to the poor will also increase. It is by means of the imamate that the Islamic punishments and the rules of the religion will be implemented and the borders of the Islamic world will be protected. The Imam (ʿa) will maintain the obligatory nature of what Allah has made obligatory and he will maintain the unlawful nature of what Allah has made unlawful, and he will maintain the limits which Allah has set. He will defend the religion of Allah and he will invite the people towards his Lord through means of knowledge, goodly wisdom, and clear logic”.


The Importance of Maintaining the Ease and Comfort of One’s Family


One of the important teachings of Islam is that pertaining to taking care of the needs of oneself and one’s family. According to a tradition narrated from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), if a man has the necessary financial ability, he must spend his wealth towards the betterment of his family members. The aforementioned tradition has narrated that[4]: It is obligatory upon the one who has the necessary financial ability to spend towards the betterment of his family members.[5]


In another tradition, the Imam (ʿa) has mentioned that[6]: “It is worthy that whenever an individual finds a blessing (i.e. he gains some wealth), he should utilize that wealth for the comfort of his family, lest his family should wish his death (due to the difficult conditions which they find themselves in)”.  It is interesting to note that in Islam, any kind of beneficial work is considered to be a type of Jihād for the sake of Allah.


The individual who engages in such actions is seen as a divine warrior struggling in the way of Allah. In some cases, such a person is seen as being superior to the warrior fighting on the battlefield against the enemies.  In a tradition narrated from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), it has been mentioned that[7]: “The one who struggles in order to meet the needs of his family and seeks the blessings of Allah is superior to the ones fighting in the way of Allah”[8]. It is evident that working to attain the things which bring about the ease and comfort of one’s family is something which Islam has encouraged. In the aforementioned traditions, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) has considered these things to be necessary for those who are affluent and have the means to do so.


A Consumption Based Economy: One of the Major Dangers


The one whose lack of work or whose lack of effort towards their work causes the economy of their society to weaken and become dependent upon others has been censured severely in Islam; such an individual is considered to be far from the mercy of Allah (swt).  A political reformation can only take place in a complete fashion when the element of religious awakening is fulfilled alongside that of an independent and strong economy.  The independence of the individual and the society as a whole from an economic perspective plays a very important role in the fulfillment of political and social independence.  Based on a tradition, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) has been quoted as saying[9]: “When an individual has saved the necessary wealth for the coming year, they become lighthearted and attain (a measure) of peace”.


In another tradition, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) is narrated to have said the following[10,11]: “The worst of the people from an economic perspective is the one who does not give to others from their wealth…”  This tradition indicates that a healthy economy is one where the social ties are strengthened as a result of it and where all of the people are taken care of. When we see an economy where only the interests of a select few are taken care of, then we are looking at an economy which is sick and cancerous. Just as Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) mentioned, the worst type of economic life is the one where others are not provided for.  In an Islamic society, the Muslim rulers must strive to create a healthy economy in order that the people can have a measure of peace and attain spiritual and moral perfection.


The Effects and Secrets of Servanthood According to Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa)


In a tradition narrated from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), the Imam explained the philosophy and secrets behind the performance of the prayers. The Imam (ʿa) mentioned the following in this regard: “The reason behind the commandment of the prayer is that it brings about acknowledgement and focus in regards to the lordship of Allah. It furthermore is an act of combat and resistance against idol worship and polytheism, and it is a type of standing before the presence of one’s Lord with the utmost levels of meekness and humility. Prayer is also an acknowledgement of one’s sins and a request for Allah’s forgiveness in regards to one’s past sins. Placing one’s forehead upon the ground each day is also a type of homage and reverence towards Allah”.


In this tradition, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) explains that the commandment towards the worship of Allah was given in order that the remembrance of Allah is not put aside and that the proper behavior and attitude towards one’s Lord is abided by. The worship of Allah also allows people to not forget what he has commanded to perform and what he has ordered his servants to abstain from, since the best interests of the servants lies in these things. If the people were left alone without worshipping their Lord, then they would soon become oblivious of Allah and their hearts would become hard.


Clearly then, the worship of Allah enlivens the hearts of the people and it gives awareness to their spirits. Through remembering Allah, the grounds for reformation, both internally, as well as externally, are made firm and established.  In this regard, ʿAllāmah Majlisī has narrated the following tradition from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa): “The quality of worship is not determined by the quantity of prayers or fasting; it is rather characterized by the degree to which one contemplates in regards to Allah”.  Through contemplation in regards to the world which we live in, with all of its various amazing aspects, the foundations of our knowledge and faith are made stronger, and so the acts of worship are also performed out of a greater level of sincerity and perfection. Surely, such worship is incomparable to any number of other acts of worship which lack these foundational elements.


In another tradition narrated from Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), he has explained the constructive effects of prayer as follows: “In addition to the fact that worship causes the continuous remembrance of Allah throughout the day and the night… it also causes man not to become arrogant in regards to the blessings which Allah has given to him, and to not become rebellious against Allah. The remembrance of Allah and standing before him also prevents the human being from the commission of sins and it prevents him from many types of corruption”.  In this way, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) has explained to us that the philosophy of the prayers relates to the acknowledgement of the lordship of Allah and the rejection of every type of idolatry and polytheism… [12]


Perseverance in the Path of Wilāyah


There is no doubt that when it comes to the issue of pledging oneself to the Wilāyah of the Imams (ʿa), we must first start with ourselves and our families, and we must recognize that be-ing a follower of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) is not something which is fulfilled by words alone.  In some of the traditions, we find that the meaning of the term[13] «ثُمَّ اسْتَقامُوا»  has been explained as referring to the issue of Wilāyah. When someone asked Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) in regards to the meaning of the term “perseverance”,  the Imam (ʿa) said[14]: “I swear by Allah that perseverance is what you yourselves possess”[15].  Of course, the term perseverance on the way of the straight path of religion possesses a very vast meaning and one of its various examples pertains to the issue of the Wilāyah of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).


Humility and Meekness in the Life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa)


One of the important teachings which we can learn from the life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) is that of humility and meekness. When we look at the life of this Imam (ʿa), we find that whenever the tablecloth was spread for food, he would not begin to eat until all of the servants and workers had sat down next to him to eat.  Similarly, whenever someone would mention the name of his father, Imam al-Kāẓim (ʿa), Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) would state: “No intellect was equal to his intellect, and yet he would sometimes consult with the… slaves. When some people there heard this, they asked Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) in surprise: “How is it that you consult with such people?!” The Imam (ʿa) replied[16]: “Perhaps Allah has placed the key to the resolution of one’s problems upon such a person’s tongue””.[17]


A Final Word


Each year, more than twenty million pilgrims from all around the world travel to Mashhad in order to visit the holy shrine of Imam al-Rīḍā (ʿa). This brings about a very ideal set of circumstances for spreading the teachings of Islam. The captivating personality and characteristics of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) play a powerful role in spreading these teachings and we must take this Imam (ʿa) as a great example for ourselves in our day to day lives. We should strive to transform the pilgrimage of this great Imam (ʿa) into a university for the teaching and dissemination of the Shia culture all around the world.  Similarly, the name of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) brings about blessings wherever it goes  and history is witness that the Imam (ʿa) utilized various languages in his lectures and debates. Due to this reason, we should also strive to learn the various languages of this world in emulation of our Imam (ʿa) and we should utilize these languages in spreading the message of Islam.


Today, we live in a time which shares many of the same conditions as the time of the Imam (ʿa). Many of the same doubts exist today which existed in the past and the same types of propaganda are also being utilized against Islam in the media networks of the enemy. Satellite stations and the internet are being utilized twenty four hours a day and seven days a week to spread such propaganda all throughout the Muslim and non-Muslim world. In light of this situation, the scholars, the religious seminaries, and the universities must stand up and resist the plans of the enemies of the religion. They must help spread the pure teachings of Islam using the best means possible to the people of this world.  Today, we live in a world which is more interconnected than ever and many unislamic ideas have entered into the minds of the people.  Due to this reason, we must create institutions, universities, and research centers in the name of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) towards confronting every sort of misguided ideas and deviations.
 

    

 

513 Visits: 2016/11/23 Published on:
A SURVEY INTO THE INTELLECTUAL LEGACY OF IMAM AL-RIDHA (ʿA) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Imam ʿAlī ibn Musā al-Riḍā (ʿa), the Eighth Imam from the pure lineage of the Holy Prophet (ṣ). He was born on the eleventh day of Dhīqaʿdah in the year 148 AH in the blessed city of Medina. When we look at the lives of the Infallible Imams (ʿa), we find that they lived in a variety of different circumstances and so their lives all have certain particularities and characteristics. These different particularities had roots in the different political and social circumstances of their time. This indicates the necessity of delving into these various aspects of the lives of the Infallible Imams (ʿa), because the resulting information can be a veritable encyclopedia in civilization building from the perspective of Is-lam.


In any case, since it is the blessed birth anniversary of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), we have an oppor-tunity to consider the viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to this issue. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to explain the most important aspects in the intellectual life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa), particularly during the third period in his life, meaning the period which pertained to his time in Iran as the successor of the caliph of that time…


Introduction


Without any doubt, the life of Imam ʿAlī ibn Musā al-Riḍā (ʿa) enjoys many various facets; one of the more important facets in his life relates to his cultural and intellectual defense of Islamic thought against the heavy attacks from the different sects and schools of thought which were directed against the basic principles and branches of Islam during that time period. A study of these intellectual teachings and viewpoints as explained by the Imam (ʿa) can be very valuable to us today in the particular environment and atmosphere which we live in. We can find very valuable and subtle guidance in these teachings, as well as in the methodology which the Imam (ʿa) used in confrontation with the ideas of these various sects and schools of thought.


Factors which Gave Rise to the Abbasid Caliphate


By the uprising of the Iranians and the Khurāsānīs under the leadership of Abū Muslim, the Umayyads were finally uprooted[1] and passed into oblivion.  The Abbasids rose in turn with the slogan of ‘Seeking the Satisfaction of the Family of Muḥammad’, which was a famous slogan of all popular and Islamic revolts which had ever been led against the Umayyad caliphate. They used this slogan to mobilize the people to their leadership and overthrow the Umayyads.   In spite of this noble slogan, the Abbasids quickly revealed their true, evil nature, soon as they had established their rule.


They began to act just as the Umayyads had acted, and in time, they even surpassed them in tyranny, brutality, and oppression.   The Muslims later quickly realized their true nature  and the seeds of new revolutions against this tyrannical group were planted. This was particularly true in Iran, where Abū Muslim had risen up once before against the Umayyads.


Ma’mūn, and his Enmity against the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) Concealed under the Slogan of Seeking Knowledge


In time, Ma’mūn became the caliph of the Abbasid dynasty. As a ruler, he possessed a very powerful grasp of politics and he combined these skills with ruthlessness and severity. In order to prevent any revolution from taking place, he quickly changed his capital city from Baghdad to Khurāsān; in this way, he wished to suppress any potential rebellions from up close and to deny these movements the possibility of growth.[2]


Furthermore, he also knew that the people were looking up to Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) as the potential leader of this revolutionary movement. Thus, in order to neutralize this danger, he forced the Imam (ʿa) to move to Khurāsān with the supposed intention of having him as his successor. The real reason behind this, however, was so he could keep a close watch over the Imam (ʿa), as well as fool the revolutionaries into thinking that a revolution was no longer necessary and they had already achieved their goals.[3]


When we examine the religion of Islam , it is clear that the religion highly encourages the pursuit of knowledge. In line with this pursuit of knowledge, the Muslims began to translate various texts which happened to be in other languages. Some of these texts were found in Greece, while others were originally Egyptian, Iranian, or even Roman in origin. These texts were taken from their original languages and translated into the common language of the Muslim empire, which was Arabic. These valuable texts accelerated the process of intellectual growth and scientific advancement which was taking place in the Muslim community.  


Yet, what was worrying in that era was the reality that some of the translators of these texts belonged to certain radical sects or even to other religions, such as Zoroastrians, Sabeans, Nestorians, Brahmins, etc... These translators were busy translating these texts from languages such as Greek, Farsi, Syriac, Hindi, and Latin into Arabic. Certainly, not all of these individuals had pure intentions in their works and a number of them attempted to ‘muddy the waters’, so to speak.


Their intentions in these translations were to insert various un-Islamic concepts into the Muslim community, so that their own ideologies could gain currency. Some of them may have even wished to spread corrupt ideologies amongst the Muslims in order to actually spread cor-ruption for its own sake. In any case, various un-Islamic ideas were also being translated and spread amidst the so-called scientific books of other nations. In time, these various ideas spread and began to gain a foothold amongst the Muslims, particularly among a group of artless and naïve youth.  


In this very environment, a serious of debates were hosted by Maʾmūn where Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) was invited to participate in, in order to answer some of these pressing intellectual and religious questions which had come about. Maʾmūn’s intention in holding these debates was multi-faceted but it included such things as: creating a name for himself as the spreader of knowledge, diverting the people’s attention from the various social and political issues , and attracting the attention of the scholars towards the caliph. In essence, these debates were orga-nized in order to strengthen the foundations of Maʿmūn’s government.


At the same time, the intellectual atmosphere of the time and the various questions which had risen in the people’s minds entailed a very heavy responsibility for Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa). The Imam (ʿa) understood the situation very well and he found it to be quite dangerous. In light of these issues, the Imam (ʿa) began a veritable intellectual revolution to neutralize these dangerous currents. Through this movement, he was able to preserve the pure Islamic teachings and save the Muslims from being misguided.  


The Establishment of Intellectual Gatherings with the Purpose of Undermining the Imamate


According to history, Maʾmūn forced Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) into becoming his successor for the caliphate as a means of further legitimizing and establishing his own power and position. This issue has its own story with many details… In any case, the Imam (ʿa) was forced to leave Medina and move to the city of Ṭūs in the Khurāsān region of Iran. Upon the Imam (ʿa)’s arrival in the city, Maʾmūn began organizing a series of debate, in which all of the great Muslim and non-Muslim scholars of the time were present.[4] Needless to say that the ostensible reason (as claimed by Maʾmūn) for holding this debate and discussion was to prove the worthiness of the Imam (ʿa) for the position of the successorship. However, there were other motives at play and these motives can be considered as the real motivation behind why Maʾmūn organized such events. These reasons are as follows:


1.    Degrading and Undermining the Imamate

Maʾmūn’s main goal was to degrade the position of the Imamate in the eyes of the people, and in particular the Iranians who had a very strong attachment to the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), and thus undermine it as an institution.

 

2.    Distorting the image of the Imamate: the promotion of a secular version of Islam:

As his second goal, Maʾmūn also wished to limit the authority of the Imam (ʿa) to purely intellectual issues so as to gradually exclude him from political issues. He wanted to have the people think that the Imam (ʿa) was very good with intellectual issues, but he was not a man of politics. In this way, he would practically separate politics from religion and thus secure his own power and authority.

 

3.    Covering up the Weaknesses of His Government:

As his third goal, Maʾmūn wished to pursue his political goals with an ease of mind and these debates served as a means of distracting the people’s attention, and giving him a cover under which he could further operate without anyone noticing the shortcomings of his government.


A Reflection on the Essence of the Scientific Debates of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa)


Although Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) engaged in many different debates and discussions throughout his life, there were seven of these which are of greater significance than the others. These are as follows:
1.    His debate with the Catholicos (Jāthlīq)
2.    His debate with the Exilarch (Raʾs al-Jālūt)
3.    His debate with Herbez the Great
4.    His debate with ʿImrān the Sabean[5]
These four debates took place in one gathering with Maʾmūn present. In addition, there were many other great scholars and notables also present there.
5.    His debate with Sulaymān Marwazī[6]  which took place in an independent gathering with Maʾmūn and some of his high ranking officials
6.    A debate with ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad Jahm.[7]
7.    A debate with the leaders of various religious groups in Basra

 

All of these debates were very profound in nature and even today, after the passing of some 1200 years, they are still illuminating and highly educational. This is true both in terms of their content, as well as the skills used in the debate itself.  Let us look at some of what was debated about in further detail:


A Debate with the Catholicos (One of the Great Christian Scholars of that Time)


When Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) entered the hall where Maʾmūn was sitting, Maʾmūn ordered Faḍl ibn Sahl (his special vizier)[9] to gather Herbez Akbar (the leader of the Zoroastrians)[10] , the Catholicos (a great Christian leader), the Exilarch (a great Jewish leader), Nesṭūs Rūmī (another great Christian leader), the religious heads of the Sabeans, as well as a number of other theologians so that they could discuss and debate certain issues with the Imam (ʿa). After these individuals had all gathered together, the Imam (ʿa) began to speak and he said: Oh Christians, if you wish, I can use your Bible (the Injīl) in order to reason with you…


It was at this time that the Catholicos asked: Tell us about the disciples of Jesus the son of Mary: how many were they and how many scholars related to the Bible were there? The Imam (ʿa) said to him: You have asked someone who is well aware and knows. He then said: The disciples were twelve in number and the most knowledgeable of them was Luke. In terms of the great Christian scholars, there were three: John (Yuḥnā Akbar) from the land of Bākh, another John from Circesium, and John of Dialam from Rajāz (who knew the name of the Prophet (ṣ), the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), and their nation). It was this last apostle who gave the glad tidings regarding the Prophet of Islam (s) to the people of Jesus (ʿa) and to the Israelites.


At this time, the Exilarch, the leaders of the Sabeans, Herbez Akbar, and Nesṭūs Rūmī  all confirmed the truth of what Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) had told them. In the end, the Catholicos said to the Imam (ʿa): We acknowledge what you have mentioned from the Bible (the Injīl).  The Imam (ʿa) then began to answer other questions and he explained to them how the first Bible had been lost and then how four individuals had attempted to rewrite it.


These four were: Luke, John, Matthew, and Mark. This is more or less the same book which the Christians have in hand today. The Imam (ʿa) also pointed out some contradictions which he had seen in the things which the Catholicos  had said.  Following his discussion with the Catholicos, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) also had debates over various different points with the the Exilarch, the leaders of the Sabeans, Herbez Akbar, and Nesṭūs Rūmī (particularly with ʿĪmrān the Sabean who was a semi-materialist), and he answered their questions using their own sourcebooks.


Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) Debates with ʿImrān the Sabean


The Imam (ʿa) also debated with ʿImrān the Sabean[8] and this debate is a particularly important one since it delves into issues pertaining to theology and theism, such as Allah’s Essence, and His Attributes, and it resolves the various questions which ʿImrān the Sabean had expressed in regards to these matters.  During this debate, the Imam (ʿa) explained the concepts of “creation from absolute nothingness”, Divine providence, and Divine Will, and that they were, in effect, a single reality with three different titles. He first began by explaining the concept of ‘creation from absolute nothingness’ in the world of existence and it is interesting to note that the Imam (ʿa) explained that the first divine act of ‘creation from absolute nothingness’ was the creation of the letters of the alphabet, out of which all of the words are composed from. The Imam (ʿa) explained that these individual letters have no meaning and it is only when they are combined that they take on any meaning.


ʿImrān the Sabean constantly asked the Imam (ʿa) for more explanations and the Imam (ʿa) continued to give him the answers he was seeking. At the end of their discussion, the Imam (ʿa) said: Oh ʿImrān, have you understood these issues well? ʿImrān responded: Yes, I have understood well and I furthermore testify that Allah is as you have described him, the one and only God … I also testify that Muḥammad is his servant and he has been sent to guide us to the Straight Path. He then turned towards the Qiblah, fell prostrate, and became a Muslim. All of those who were there were left deeply stunned and in surprise.


A Debate with the Followers of Various Schools of Thought in Basra


According to a detailed tradition which Quṭb al-Rāwandī has narrated in his book Al-Kharāʾij, when the flames of sedition flared in the city of Basra (in Iraq), the city became a base for the activities of various sects and schools of thought. In light of this issue, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) sought to neutralize the dangers posed by that sedition and so he traveled to the city of Basra and engaged in debates with the various sects and schools of thought which existed there. He ended up inviting all of them to a single place, and these included the Christian and Jewish scholars, as well as scholars from many other groups. He then began to show how the Bible (the Injīl) had given glad tidings of the coming of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) and how the various chapters of the Torah and Psalms had given the same glad tidings as well.


The Imam (ʿa) then addressed the Muslims who were present in that gathering and he said to them: Oh people, is not the one who speaks to a people according to their own divine books more just than any other individual? The Muslims all responded: Yes. The Imam (ʿa) then continued: Then know that the rightful Imam and the successor of Muḥammad (ṣ) can only be one, who continues to further his cause based on his teachings, and the rank of the Imamate only befits one who debates with all of the nations and all of the various religions based on their own books. He satisfies the Christians through their Bible (Injīl), the Jews through their Torah, and the Muslims through their Quran. He is one who fluently speaks all languages and who speaks to every people in their own tongue.


In addition to all this, he is the most pious and he is totally infallible and incorruptible. He is also one who is just, fair, wise, kind, forgiving, affectionate, truthful, sympathetic, righteous, trustworthy, and resourceful in managing affairs.  In this way, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) proved to the people of Basra the validity of the Imamate and he closed any doors to them in refusing to believe in this foundational precept of Islam.


A Final Word: Practical Lessons from the Life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa)

 

1.    In general, the debates of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) with members of other religions were primarily focused around the subject of monotheism. When he debated with the Exilarch (a great scholar of the Jews), he spoke in regards to the invalidity of the belief in the divinity of Jesus (ʿa) and how the Christian sourcebooks had foretold of the coming of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ). In his debate with the religious leader of the Zoroastrians, the Imam (ʿa) spoke in regards to the justice and oneness of Allah. In his debate with Sulaymān Marwazī (a scholar of scholastic theology), the Imam (ʿa) spoke about the concepts of Divine providence and Divine knowledge, as well as the all-seeing and all-hearing nature of Allah; he also spoke about the will and actions of Allah in this same debate, as well as proving monotheism and Divine Laws such as Badāʾ.[11]


2.    The debates of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) are not merely historical events which pertain to the past; they are rather a spring of knowledge which continues to be relevant up until today and it will continue to be so in the future.


3.    It should be noted that since in those times there were no mass media, as they exist today, Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) would utilize the debates organized by Maʿmūn as one of the most effective means of spreading the genuine teachings of Islam and defending the religion. This is due to the fact that due to the importance of such debates and meetings, the news regarding them would quickly spread all over the Muslim countries. In this way, not only did the Imam (ʿa) foil Maʿmūn’s plots, but he guarded the Muslim community of that time, which was in a critical condition due to the aforementioned reasons, against various kinds of deviation.    


4.    The methodology which the Imam (ʿa) used in dealing with the members of other religions and schools of thought is something which contains very valuable lessons for us. The first lesson which we have learned here is that we must be logical when dealing with other religions and schools of thought; this is the most important element in dealing with people who are different or who think differently than you do. In addition, we must understand that when there is a conflict between two parties, they must utilize logic in order to resolve it. Unfortunately today, we see that some groups are quick to take up weapons in fighting others, but the Muslims should abstain from fighting and it should be their last option in such situations. Dialog and logic can help to resolve even the most difficult of situations.


5.    The logic of Islam is so compelling that it is able to dominate over other religions and ideologies. For this reason, when we look at the history of Islam, we find that there was always room for others to speak about their ideologies and even atheists were allowed to state their beliefs publicly. There was always a freedom of speech which existed throughout Muslim history.


6.    The scholars of Islam must be aware of the various sects and schools of thought which exist during their time. They must furthermore be able to use logic and clear rationale in dealing with them, with the purpose of proving the superiority of the Islam to the ideologies which they believe in.


7.    These scholars should be well versed in various languages as well so that they can converse with the people of various nations without the use of translators. Sometimes, translators can make mistakes or they can miss certain key points when acting as a medium. In other cases, they can even have ill intentions and purposely mistranslate various key points. In any case, it is essential that the scholars of Islam are able to converse in various different languages.


8.    The Muslim scholars must make full use of mass media and other forms of technology in spreading the message of Islam and the Quran to all corners of the world.  

 

In conclusion, there are various books which will prove useful for those who desire more detailed information about the life of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa). One such book is called: ‘The Historical Debates of Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa) With the Followers of Other Sects and Religions’ which has been written by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.

 

659 Visits: 2016/11/12 Published on:
A REFLECTION ON THE TEACHINGS OF IMAM AL-JAWAD (ʿA) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

On the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa), we find the necessity of revisiting his various teachings in regards to ethics, religion, society, and politics to be greater than ever. Through utilizing the valuable explanations of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, we can gain a better understanding of the true Shia teachings. In spite of the importance of the teachings of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa), these teachings have been awfully neglected in the past and have not been given the attention which they deserve. In light of this negligence, it is more important than ever for the scholars and the historians to delve in to this topic. It is very important that we take the teachings of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) as a model for us to learn and implement. What follows is a review of some aspects of these teachings from the viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī:


Close Adherence to the Quran: A Key Factor in Maintaining the Power and Potency of the Muslim Community


Without any doubt, the precise implementation of the divine teachings of the Quran within the Islamic society and refusing to suffice with only the outer aspects of Islam can be great source of potency and power within the greater Muslim community. From this perspective, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained an interesting tradition narrated from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) so that we can better understand what effects a lack of attention and adherence to the Quran can have on the Muslim nation and how it will allow the enemies to dominate over them. Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) has been quoted as saying:  


‘Allah deprives a nation from the knowledge of the Quran only when they themselves desert the Quran. Similarly, any nation which was dominated by its enemies was dominated when they themselves accepted the authority of their enemies. What is meant by ‘deserting the Quran’ is that such people would memorize its letters, words, and phrases but they would distort its limits and precepts. They would narrate the Quran but they would not abide by it. The ignorant would prefer the memorization of the Quran in order to narrate it and the scholars would become sorrowful because the Quran was not being abided by.’[1]


The Distortion of the Imamate with the Pretext of the Outer Aspects of Islam


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated: ‘In light of this tradition, the reasons behind the backwardness of the Muslim community and it being subjugated is clearly evident. This tradition applies to the conditions and circumstances of our time very closely. We see today that in countries such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia, there is a lot of focus on the memorization of the words of the Quran; memorization is so highly prized that even small children are encouraged towards its memorization. This is while the precepts of this holy Book are not abided by. This state of affairs greatly saddens the true scholars and they are in a state of deep sorrow.


Things have gone to the point where they are not able to do much. This is something which took place after the concept of the Imamate was distorted after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ) and it has continued to the present time. When we examine the history after the demise of the Prophet (ṣ), we see clearly how the recitation of the Quran was encouraged, while its understanding and commentary was discouraged by those in power. We hope for a day when the Muslims will awaken to this issue and take steps to resolve it. We hope for a day when the people will take hold of the Quran and live by its principles in the way it was meant to be lived by. There is no doubt that the Quran constitutes a strong connection to Allah which, if practically abided by, can save us all.’[2,3,4]


The Blessing of Marriage: A Key Strategy in Combatting Various Kinds of Social Deviance


The prevalence of various kinds of social deviance has placed the ideal which we strive towards in our social lives at great risk. There are many problems which we are faced with in this regard. Through studying the various aspects of the life of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) in regards to this field, we can be better able to create policies which will help resolve these issues, particularly those related to marriage and the establishment of a family. In light of this issue, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has endeavored to further explain the various practical ways in confronting these socially based dangers. From a practical perspective, there are numerous ways of treating an excessive focus on one’s lusts. These ways are as follows:

1.    One of the best ways to save oneself from the whirlpool of lusts is to channel one’s sexual needs towards the proper way which is prescribed by the religion. If the sexual needs of an individual are satisfied in the proper way, then they will not pose the same level of danger which they did previously. In other words, these are needs which should not be suppressed; they should rather be channeled in the proper constructive direction. If this is not done, then it is possible that they will be transformed in to a dangerous current which destroys everything in its path, including the person themselves.  


It is for this same reason that Islam has permitted and indeed encouraged the utilization of healthy pastimes. The religion has also encouraged one to go after the inner desires in a moderate, healthy, and lawful manner. A well-known sermon from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) in regards to his wedding is very clear proof in relation to this matter. The Imam (ʿa) is narrated to have said the following in this sermon : ‘One of the blessings of Allah upon his servants is that he has made them needless of the unlawful through means of what is lawful.’[5,6] When one reflects upon these important teachings from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa), one can realize other important points in regards to the social dangers which we face in our societies. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that when one reflects upon this important teaching of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa), they will be able to better understand these other related issues and develop more effective strategies to decrease the threats posed by various kinds of social deviancy.


2.    Another way to prevent oneself from becoming engulfed in the carnal desires is through proper and detailed planning for one’s life. Whenever an individual has proper planning for every hour of the day and every day of the week (even if these plans are only in regards to engaging in various sports or other leisurely pastimes), they won’t have the tendency to become pulled in to various corrupt behaviors and activities.


3.    Removing the various precursor elements of corruption is a powerful means of preventing corruption from ever taking place. There is a well-known saying that says: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this applies fully in this case. For example, if one goes to a corrupt environment, the chances of them getting involved in that corruption is very high. The reason for this is obvious: when corruption is easily available, the temptation is also that much greater. Indeed, when we look at various countries which believe in unlimited freedom in regards to things which are obviously corrupt, we see that remaining untouched in such environments proves to be very difficult, even for those who wish to remain pure. This is particularly true for the youth, who are even more susceptible to such temptations.  


4.    Reviving the spiritual and human elements in the people of a society is another important method in preventing people from being attrackted towards corruption. The reason behind this is that when human beings develop self-value within themselves, they will realize how valuable they are and what their rank is in the eyes of Allah. In light of this issue, they will not sell themselves for so cheap in pursuit of various carnal lusts and desires.


The last point which must be mentioned is that when we are fighting against the various forms of moral corruption, we must look at this issue from a practical perspective. This means that the more an individual fights against their negative traits, the weaker these traits will become. These character traits may have been formed over a long period of time, but through this continuous form of combat against them, they will eventually weaken and fade away completely.


One method which can work in this regard is to do the opposite of what one’s lower desires demand. For example, if someone is miserly, they should practice giving a lot and they should repeat this often. This way, the flame of greed and miserliness will slowly diminish in them and eventually be extinguished completely. If those who worship their lusts combat these desires in such a way and stand against them, they will find that their lower desires will weaken in time and eventually, the spirit of chastity and modesty will take their place.


Practically Awaiting the Return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa): a Key Principle in Islamic Eschatology


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved in to the words of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) in regards to the issue of awaiting the return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) in practical ways, and he has men-tioned the precedence which practical actions take over awaiting the Imam (ʿa) in the heart or showing one’s eagerness in words: ‘Practically awaiting the Imam (ʿa) is a very important issue. It is easy to await him in one’s heart or to show how eager one is to visit the Imam (ʿa) in words, which is something everyone typically does. However, an individual who is truely awaiting the Imam (a) must both prepare himself, as well as others around him. Such an individual must prepare themselves in relation to their psychological state, their faith, their actions, and their ideology. They must also prepare others in regards to these issues as well.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to explain the theory of awaiting the return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) and the issue of eschatology as reflected in the teachings of Imam al-Jawād (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: ‘There is a tradition narrated from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) in relation to Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) through ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī which states[7]  - ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī has mentioned that once he went to visit Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) and he intended to ask the Imam (ʿa) whether Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) would be the one who would lead the last uprising [against the forces of darkness] in the end time or it would be another individual. Yet, before he began asking his question, the Imam (ʿa) answered him and said that it is Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) who will rise up. The Imam (ʿa) then continued and stated: “It is obligatory to await him during his occultation and to obey him when he is present. He is my great-grandson”


Awaiting the Return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) is one of the Most Virtuous Deeds Based on the Teachings of Shia School


Explaining the most important part of this significant tradition, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī stated the following with regard to the issue of awaiting the return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa): ‘Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) then continued (in the tradition above) and said: “I swear by Allah who commissioned the Prophet (ṣ) with prophethood and us with the Imamate- If there is only one day left in the existence of this world, then Allah will stretch out that day so that the Mahdī (ʿa) can come out of his occultation and fill the world with justice and equity just as it had been filled with tyranny and oppression before that. Allah will not allow this world to end without justice being realized”.


Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) then continued and said: “Allah will prepare the conditions for the return in one night. When Allah wills something, it is not necessary for him to create its prerequisites. This is just like how He paved the way for the arrival of Moses (ʿa) in one night. On that night, Moses (ʿa) went to bring back some fire and he was delegated as Prophet during that same hour and night.’[8]

Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that in light of this tradition from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa), it is clear that awaiting the return of the Imam (ʿa) is one of the best deeds which we can busy ourselves in. In reality, this is a duty which the Shias have and its importance cannot be overstated.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned in regards to this issue that: “The last line which Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) said to ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī was that ‘the best action of our Shias is awaiting the coming (of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa)).’  This awaiting consists of three components; it includes awaiting through one’s heart, words, and actions. The first stage of this is that one should be awaiting the return of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) in one’s heart and they should be restless due to his absence.” Some people may wonder what awaiting the return of the Imam (ʿa) in words may mean. Awaiting the Imam (ʿa) in words refers to praying for the return and supplicating Allah in this regard. Awaiting in terms of actions refers to having a physical and material level of preparation for the coming of the Imam (ʿa).


This action-based preparedness is very important since awaiting the Imam (ʿa) in one’s heart and through one’s words is something very easy and most of the people do it. What is difficult is to manifest this inner truth in to an external reality. A person who is in a state of ‘awaiting’ must prepare themselves fully and they must also prepare others as well. This includes being ready from a standpoint of one’s psychology, faith, actions, and ideology. Such an individual must also transfer these beliefs and this energy to others as well. This is why the most virtuous deeds of the Shias is a practical level of awaiting the return of the Imam (ʿa) through one’s actions.[9]


The Effects and Blessings of Fighting against One’s Carnal Desires


Developing piety and fighting against one’s carnal desires is one of the lessons which Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) taught and greatly emphasized. In light of this, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to further explain this key issue and he has stated: The Late ʿAllāmah Majlisī has narrated that - A man asked Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) to advise him. The Imam (ʿa) said: (If I do), will you accept it? The man said: Yes. So Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) said to him: Rely upon patience, be close to the poor, leave the lusts, and resist your carnal desires and know that you are not hidden from Allah’s view, so pay attention to how you must be.


Patience in regards to Obedience and Sin: A Key Principle in Combatting One’s Carnal Desires


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the effects and blessings of fighting against one’s carnal desires by stating: Indeed, the felicity of this world and the next can be found by following these few lines as narrated from Imam al-Jawād (ʿa). Being patient in regards to obedience means to be patient in regards to the difficulties which come about from being obedient to Allah. Further, being patient in regards to sin means being patient in regards to the problems which one may face from refraining from various sins, as well as not giving in when faced with the various difficulties of life. Life is always interspersed with various problems and it is not possible for one to live a life which is completely free from these various issues and problems.[10]


Developing Piety: A Key Factor in Attaining Felicity in this World and the Next


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then further explained: In another section of this tradition, Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) talks about poverty; by poverty, the Imam (ʿa) intends to refer to a simple life which is far from ostentation and luxury seeking. A simple life refers to all aspects of one’s life, from the vacations one takes to the manner in which one weds, all the way to one’s home and lifestyle. These should all be far away from ostentation and luxury seeking.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the role of developing piety in attaining felicity both in this world, as well as the next. He has stated that: Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) then went on to explain the issue of lusts and carnal desires, and how the human being must leave these things aside. The reason is that if one follows their lusts and carnal desires, they will become a tool of Satan and their life will turn in to a dark and ruined one. By contrast, opposing one’s carnal desires will deliver one from the fold of Satan’s army and it will allow them to attain felicity in this world, as well as the next. When we examine the Quran, we see that Surah al-Nāzīʿāt has explained that a felicitous life in paradise is attained by leaving aside one’s carnal desires and resisting them. The verse states:[11] ‘But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.’[12]


A Final Word


Although Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) was martyred at the young age of twenty five, he was still able to have a profound effect on his society and answer many of the questions which the people had.  He would answer these questions in a way where even the Sunni scholars have acknowledged his profound knowledge and matchless piety in their own sourcebooks. Imam al-Jawād (ʿa) was able to use the few years of his life in a way where even the rulers had no choice but to permit him to publicly teach the school of thought of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).  He would sometimes answer the various issues which the other scholars were stuck upon. In other cases, he would engage in debates, expounding on and resolving various jurisprudential problems.[13]


The great Sunni scholars have spoken about the intellectual and spiritual greatness of this Imam (ʿa). One such scholar is Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī, who has written: Maʿmūn s e l e c ted him to wed his daughter. Even though he was young, he was superior to all of the scholars in knowledge, awareness, and forbearance.  Sibṭ ibn Jawzī has stated: He was like his father in regards to knowledge, piety, asceticism, and generosity.    We Shias must in turn do more to spread the teachings of this Imam (ʿa) and study the way in which he lived.

 

705 Visits: 2016/11/8 Published on:
All Pages : 3