The Official Website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

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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.

 

1090 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!
 

 

1054 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

 

958 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)
 

 

672 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.

 

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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.

554 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.

 

159 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.

626 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.

646 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.  

 

558 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.
 

    

 

512 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:
SOME TEACHINGS FROM THE LIFE OF IMAM AL-HASAN (ʿA) BY GRAND AYA-TOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The sad days of the month of Ṣafar bring to us the reminder of the painful events which took place in the past, such as the passing of the Holy Prophet (ṣ), the events of Karbalā, the martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa). At the same time, these days are an opportunity for us to propagate our religion and so we must make good use of these days and not let them pass us by.  Thus, we will attempt to use this article to shed greater light on the life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), so that we can use these important lessons as an example to implement in our own day to day lives.


There is no doubt that Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) possessed so many positive and noble characteristics that he was truly befitting of his name ‘Ḥasan’. We hope that we can also follow in his footsteps and become more like him as well.  Let us use this article as a means of describing and explaining the key teachings which can be found in the life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) by utilizing the knowledge and valuable viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.


Being a True Servant of Allah (swt) according to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa)


Without any doubt, worship, with its various particularities, is one of the key elements in the life of the Second Shia Imam (ʿa).  This significant element is seen so clearly in the spiritual life of the Imam (ʿa) that it has been narrated that the state of the Imam (ʿa) would be completely transformed from the time when he would begin to perform his minor ablutions for prayer until the time that his prayer would finish.  


Similarly, it has been narrated that when Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) would arrive at the mosque for his prayers, he would stand shivering and he would be reciting the following words[1]: Allah O’ Lord! Your guest has arrived before you. O’ doer of good! The evildoer has come before you…So forgive the flagrant sins that I have committed for the sake of the beautiy of your Grace, O’ All-Gracious![2]


Similarly, when the Imam (ʿa) would busy himself in worship, his body would shake out of the fear of Allah and he would worship with all of his heart, supplicating and speaking to his Lord…
It has been narrated that Junādah ibn Abī Sufyān, who was one of the loyal companions of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), went to see the Imam (ʿa) during the last hours of his blessed life.  Even though the Imam (ʿa) was on his deathbed due to the effects of the poison, he began to advise Junādah. Amongst the things which he told him, there is a line which is particularly profound.


He said[3]: “Oh Junādah, if you wish to be strong without having a clan or tribe (to back you) and if you wish to have grandeur and greatness without having the throne and crown of a king, then leave the dark shadows of sin and disobedience to Allah and move towards the shade of Allah’s obedience”.[4] The Imam (ʿa) is telling Junādah to move forward in the obedience of Allah until he gains greatness and grandeur. This is because honor, greatness, and power belong to Allah (swt) alone and he is the one who will give it to whomever he wills.[5]


The Aesthetic Aspect of Worship as Reflected in the Life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa)


According to psychologists, the faculty which recognizes beauty is one of the four spiritual faculties which human beings possess. The other three are the faculties of goodness, knowledge, and religion. These four faculties are what comprise the primary psyche of the human being.  These psychologists are of the opinion that the beauty which arises from various arts such as poetry, literature, handicrafts, and other things has its roots in this human faculty of beauty. In light of this, it is not possible for an authentic code of law to stifle this faculty in human beings.


This is why the utilization of beauty in nature, clothing, perfumery and other such things is not only considered to be permissible in Islam, but they are rather highly encouraged.  When we look at this issue and then look in to the details of the life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), we find that he lived his life in light of many of these things. For example, whenever the Imam (ʿa) would go towards prayer, he would wear the best clothes which he had.


One time, the Imam (ʿa) was asked why he would wear his best clothes when standing up in prayer. He answered with the following words[6]: “Allah is beautiful and he loves beauty; for this reason, I wear beautiful clothes when I am going to supplicate to my Lord. (In addition,) he has also commanded that we embellish ourselves when going to the mosques”.[8] These valuable words of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) indicate that if such things were to be impermissible or unlawful, then Allah (swt) would have never created them. He has created all of the beauties of this world and this is a potent proof that the creator loves these things.[9]


Forbearance and Patience: Moral Teachings in the Life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa)


Among the key character qualities of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) are those of patience and forbearance. It is evident that these two characteristics, much like other human characteristics, possess certain roots. One of the most important roots of these two characteristics can be found in the self-control and domination which one has over their lower desires. This type of self-control gives rise to patience and forbearance which in turn allow an individual to maintain their composure during times of difficulty and to not become excessively angry or depressed. If someone does not possess the necessary patience and forbearance, they will become angry very easily.


According to history books, once someone asked Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) the meaning of forbearance. The Imam (ʿa) responded with the following words:[10] “Forbearance is the stifling of wrath and control over oneself in a way where a reaction is not shown”.   In another well-known tradition, it has been narrated that one day a man from Syria saw Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) as he was walking in the streets of Medina. When he saw the Imam (ʿa), he began to insult and slander him. The man continued to insult the Imam (ʿa) but the Imam (ʿa) did not say anything to him.


When the man had finished with his insults, the Imam (ʿa) faced him, greeted him with the Islamic greeting of the Salām, and smiled at him. He then said to the man: “O’ respected man! I imagine that you are a stranger here…  If you are hungry, we will feed you and if you lack proper clothing, then we will cloth you. Whatever you need, I will give to you. And if you accept our invitation and come to our house as our guest, then we will host you until the time that you wish to leave. We live in a large house and possess many means (meaning that taking care of you is not a problem for us).


When the man from Syria heard these words, he began to cry (and his attitude changed completely). He said to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa): I testify that you are the vicegerent of Allah on this earth; Allah knows best in what lineage to place the prophethood [and the Imamate]… The man then become the Imam (ʿa)’s guest until the time that he departed from Medina and he ended up becoming one of the steadfast followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).  This story shows us how the Imam (ʿa) transformed an individual who hated him in to one of his steadfast followers through the power of his forbearance. Truly this was one of the exemplary characteristics of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa).


History shows us that Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) stood against all of the various difficulties and problems which he faced in his life. These included things such as the disloyalty of those who claimed to follow him, the influence of the hypocrites who had infiltrated his army, as well as the mercilessness of the Umayyads. All of these things worked hand in hand until the Imam (ʿa) was forced in to signing a treaty with Muʿāwīyah.  After all of this, the Imam (ʿa) was then sub-jected to criticism from both friend and foe for having signed the treaty. In spite of all of these issues, he continued to show an exemplary level of patience and forbearance.


It is worthy of mention that we, the Shias, must prove ourselves to be such based on our actions. We must increase our levels of patience and forbearance. Unfortunately, we see that in the society around us, there are some people who fight one another over the least issues; they end up causing huge problems as a result of their actions.  This is while if they adopted an attitude of patience and forbearance like that of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), the world would become a veritable paradise for everyone.


Generosity and Charity


It must be acknowledged that the true meaning of charity needs to be learned from the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). This is particularly true when it comes to the character of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) with the various incidents recorded in history.  One example which has been narrated is an incident when a poor man came to the Imam (ʿa) and told him that he had nothing else left but his dignity and he wanted to sell his dignity to the Imam (ʿa) in lieu of his charity. When the Imam (ʿa) heard this, he gave twelve thousand Dirhams to the man so that he could leave with his dignity and honor intact.


The Imam (ʿa) was known for being so generous that at times in his life, he would share all of his wealth with the needy. People knew that if they went to the Imam (ʿa) and asked him for something, they would not leave his house without having received something.  When we look at these incidents in the life of the Imam (ʿa), it becomes clear to us that we must follow the example of our Imam (ʿa) in our day to day lives.[11]  It is not enough to claim to love someone or to claim to follow someone; this love must come with the necessary actions. Therefore, we must strive to fulfill the needs of those who are needy amongst our family members, as well as others who are in need.


The Coming to Fruition of the Ashura Movement as a Result of the Peace Treaty Signed by Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa)


When the Imam (ʿa) saw that the war which he faced would only result in bloodshed, whereby the enemy had already used bribes to purchase the various tribal leaders, as well as some of his army commanders, he realized that this was a war which would not yield any positive results. Things had even reached the point where some of the army leaders had written a letter to Muʿāwīyah telling him that they were ready to take Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) and turn him completely over to him. Things were in such a way where there was no other solution but to formulate a peace treaty with Muʿāwīyah.  When we examine the details of history, we find that the same people who had been disloyal to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) were disloyal to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) as well. They even went so far as to threaten to kill the Imam (ʿa).


The Late ʿAllāmah Majlisī has narrated the reasons behind the peace treaty as stated by the Imam (ʿa) himself. He has narrated the following[12]: “My treaty with Muʿāwīyah was only done to prevent the blood of the Muslims from being spilled”.   When we examine the historical record, even after the passing of so many years, we find these to be very sound reasons. Yet in spite of this, Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) was forced to suffer from the criticisms of many people who failed to understand the reality of the situation. It is interesting to note that even some of those who had played a key role in forcing the Imam (ʿa) to sign the treaty began to criticize him.


In spite of all this, the Imam (ʿa) continued to do his work with an exemplary level of patience and forbearance. He passed these painful years and his treaty ended up creating the grounds for the movement of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), as well as the many revolts which sprung up after his martyrdom. In reality, it was the actions of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) that finally led to the fall of the Umayyad government.


Another important issue which has been mentioned in history is the international situation which the Muslims faced during that time period which also forced the Imam (ʿa)’s hand in signing the peace treaty with Muʿāwīyah. This issue related to the Eastern Roman Empire which was looking in great detail at the internal situation of the Muslim world. They had been preparing themselves for a long time for an opportunity to strike at the Muslims and they felt that the coming situation would be a very ideal one for them.


If Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) went to war against Muʿāwīyah and the two sides became engaged in an internal conflict, this would leave the door completely open for an attack by the Roman Empire. This would have resulted in the complete destruction of the newly formed Muslim nation and all of the hard work of the past years would have been wasted. Due to these circumstances and the Imam (ʿa)’s foresight, the Imam (ʿa) ended up deciding to sign a peace treaty with Muʿāwīyah so that the Romans would not gain an opportunity to attack and the religion of Islam could continue to grow.


The Rejection of Secular Governance as Reflected in the Political Life of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa)


The life of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) shows us clearly that they did not consider religion to be separate from politics. In some supplications they would even refer to certain terms which were in reference to the deep connection that exists between religion and politics.[14]   Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) is narrated to have mentioned how the establishment of an Islamic government is a divinely ordained duty which is placed on the shoulders of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).[15,16] During one point in history, Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) took hold of the government as the caliph of the Muslims but it was not long when the oppressors deviated things and took away the Imam (ʿa)’s position from him. The enemies continued to jockey for power and they did not allow any of the other Imams (ʿa) to take the reins of power either.[17]


The Imam (ʿa)’s Anti Spy Network and his Fight against the Infilteration Plots of the Enemy


It is interesting to note that during the time of the Prophet of Islam (ʿa) and the Imams (a), there existed an intelligence network. This intelligence network functioned both to uncover the plots of the enemies, as well as to neutralize the spies which had been sent in by the various enemy forces. It would also act to look in to the actions of government officials and to ensure that they were performing their duties well. Another function of these intelligence networks was to see what the hypocrites were up to and to unveil their various plots.


These important organizations played a key part in the management of the early Muslim government and it is an important element which can be found in the lives of the Imams (ʿa). When Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) had been martyred and the people pledged allegiance to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), Muʿāwīyah ended up sending two spies to gather further information on the situation at hand. One of these spies went to Basrah, while the other went to Kufah. These were two key cities and Muʿāwīyah wished to gather a greater deal of information on them. The spies were encharged to write out detailed reports and send them to Muʿāwīyah back in Syria.


Another duty which these two spies had was that they were supposed to utilize the hypocrites towards destabilizing the rule of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) as much as possible. In spite of these ef-forts, the counterintelligence network of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) was successful in uncovering these two individuals and the spy which had been sent to Kufah was captured and executed. The second individual in Basrah was also captured and punished for his actions. After this had taken place, Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) wrote a letter to Muʿāwīyah telling him that he knew that Muʿāwīyah was sending spies to Kufah and Basrah in order to foment dissent and sedition and that it seems that he wished to go to war. The Imam (ʿa) then told him that if he wished to go to war, he too was ready to fight.  


The Martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) Due to his Unswerving Fight against Oppression


It is evident that Muʿāwīyah knew that he could not achieve his goals of solidifying his power and the power of the Umayyads while Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) stood fully in his way. Such a clause had even been mentioned in the peace treaty between the two that Muʿāwīyah would not s e l e c t anyone as a caliph after his death and instead leave the decision in regards to the next caliph to the Muslims.[18] Due to this reason, Muʿāwīyah decided to push things in a different direction. Instead of allowing the caliphate to pass on to Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) (who was much younger than himself and would have been the next caliph), he instead decided to kill Imam al-Hasan (ʿa). In order to keep himself safe from any backlash which would have naturally resulted from this crime, he had the Imam (ʿa) poisoned in a secret way, so that this terrible crime could not be traced back to him.[19]


According to a group of Shia and Sunni historians, Muʿāwīyah sent a message to the wife of Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa), who was the daughter of Ashʿath ibn Qays , and he told her that if she agreed to poison Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī, he would wed her to his son Yazīd. In order to show Jaʿdah bint Ashʿath (the wife of Imam al-Ḥasan) that he was a trustworthy individual and that his offer was legitimate, he sent her a sum of one hundred thousand Dirhams. When Jaʿdah saw this, she accepted the offer and ended up poisoning Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa). It is not surprising that Muʿāwīyah later reneged on his offer and told her that he would never wed her to his son Yazīd when she had willingly poisoned her own husband![20,21] The well-known historian Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī has written in this regard: Muʿāwīyah wished to take the pledge of allegiance from the people for his son Yazīd. In spite of this, Imam al-Ḥasan stood in his way and he would not allow this to take place. Due to this reason, he had the Imam poisoned.  


A Final Word


In conclusion, it must be said that when Imam al-Ḥasan (ʿa) was martyred and this news reached Muʿāwīyah, he expressed great happiness and he and his officials even prostrated in their happiness. News of the martyrdom of the Imam (ʿa) also reached Ibn ʿAbbās, who happened to also be in Syria. Ibn ʿAbbās went to see Muʿāwīyah and when he arrived at the court, Muʿāwīyah said to him: “Oh Ibn ʿAbbās, I have heard that Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī has passed away”. Ibn ʿAbbās said to him[22]: “We belong to Allah and to Him we are ever returning”.  He then repeated this verse several times (in expressing his grief and sorrow).


Ibn ʿAbbās then said: I heard that when news of this was given to you, you expressed happiness. I swear by Allah that this expression of happiness will not close the way of the grave to you and the ending of his life will not extend your lifespan. If we are afflicted with the sorrow of the passing of Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī today, we were afflicted with the sorrow of one who was better than he before (meaning the sorrow which they experienced with the passing of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ))”. Ibn ʿAbbās then cried out loud and he began to weep bitterly in a way where everyone who was there was affected by it.


When we look in to the exemplary characteristics of the Imam (ʿa) and all that he has to offer us, we feel the tragedy of his martyrdom even more deeply. We hope that we can follow in his footsteps and implement his teachings in our day to day lives. In addition, it is an obligation up-on the society as a whole to attempt to implement these teachings as well.

 

673 Visits: 2016/11/3 Published on:
THE SEMIOLOGY OF GIVING CHARITY  (INFĀQ) IN THE LIFE OF IMAM AL-HASAN (ʿA) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

On the blessed birthday of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa), it is worthy of us to delve into one of the im-portant aspects of his life, namely that which is related to his well known characteristic of generosity and largess. We will explore this issue through the ideas presented by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in regards to the specifics of what constitutes generosity and Infāq as seen in the life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa).


The Semiology of Infāq as Seen in the Life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa)


In the ideas of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, spending money in the cause of Allah is one of the greatest acts of worship. There are some people who do not utilize the blessings which Allah has given them and they also refrain from allowing others to use these blessings as well. Such people are misers who, practically speaking, do not consider Allah as the giver of sustenance.  From this perspective, those who are miserly and are not ready to help the needy with the blessings given to them by Allah have firstly wronged themselves, losing out on the great blessings and rewards which come from giving to others. They have also wronged the poor and needy with their actions as well. When we examine the life of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), it is clear that we have to learn the true reality of infāq from them.


It is a positive thing to express affection and love towards the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) but it is in reality not enough by itself.  It is necessary that in addition to this love, one must take inspiration from their actions and attempt to live as they practically lived. One such example is how the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) would give to those who were in need and this  is particularly conspicuous in the life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: ‘Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) would help the poor and needy to such a degree that his house had become a veritable refuge for them. Whenever a poor person would enter Kufah, they would know where to go and they would visit the house of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) in meeting their various needs.’


The Meaning of Infāq in the Quran


The Quran has made the duty of the Prophet (ṣ) very clear in regards to the needy and poverty stricken in the verse “وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ”. This duty involves helping to meet the needs of the poor and treating them with the proper respect and affection. It is as if Allah has told us: Do not drive the poor away from you, nor speak to them in a harsh tone, nor yell at them, or treat them with severity.  The 263rd verse of Surah Baqarah has instructed us on the proper way to treat the poor: ‘An honorable word with pardon is better than a charity followed by affront. Allah is all-sufficient, most forbearing.’[1] This shows us that if a person is not able to help someone, for whatever reason, then they must respond to the needy individual with kindness. If we are not able to help others in a financial way, we don’t have the right to shame them and demean their character.


An Example of Infāq in the Life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa)


The Infallibles (ʿa) were very careful to abide by the principles of generosity and giving all throughout their lives. As an example, we can refer to one well known story from the life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) and his response to a poor person. One day, a poor person came and he knocked on the door of Imam Al Ḥasan’s (ʿa) house. He called out to the Imam (ʿa): Oh grandson of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), I have nothing left which I can sell and earn some money in exchange. The way I look and my condition give testimony to the truth of my words. At the same time, I have a little bit of dignity left which I have preserved (for the right customer). Now that I have found you as a suitable customer, I am giving it to you![2]


When Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) heard this, he called out to his employee who was in charge of the expenditure of the house and he asked him how much money they had left. The man replied: We have twelve thousand Dirhams left. The Imam (ʿa) told him: Give them to this poor man. He then called to the man and apologized, saying: We did not give you your full right, but we gave you whatever we had. The Imam (ʿa) then recited some words of poetry in response to what the man had said in regards to selling the last shreds of his dignity.


These lines of poetry essentially said: Take this little bit of money and it is as if you have not sold anything and we have not bought anything [3] (meaning I will not look at you so that your honor and dignity are preserved.[4] This behavior by the Imam (ʿa) is the very pinnacle of manners in regards to giving charity to others. It shows us the best way in which we can help others, without demeaning them or hurting their feelings. When someone is faced with a poor person, it is possible that they will be unable to help them but at the very least, they will speak to them with kindness and affection, and apologize for not being able to help them. Fur-thermore, if one does help the poor person one should be very careful not to ruin their good deed[5] by making the person feel demeaned or disgraced.[6]


Lessons in Generosity in the Life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to explain the very concept of generosity as  reflected in the life of Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard: Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) was well known as the ‘generous one of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa)’. When someone asked the Imam (ʿa) who was defined as a generous person, the Imam (ʿa) gave them the following guidelines:
1.    The first sign of a truly generous person is that he gives before being asked for help.  When a generous person sees the signs of need in another person, they don’t allow things to reach the point where the poor person asks them for their help. Such a person will reach out to help before anything is asked of them. This is an important indicator of generosity, even though it is still a very good act to help someone after they have asked one for help. Since Allah, His angels, and his prophets (ʿa) are all generous, it is worthy of us to be generous as wellso as to be worthy of the grace and generosity of Allah in turn.


2.    The second sign is one which has two potential meanings when examined in the original Arabic. The first potential meaning refers to one who gives food wherever it is most needed.[7]  This doesn’t entail someone inviting only the rich to eat at their table since this is a blameworthy deed according to Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) who protested against the act of his governor ʿUthmān ibn Ḥanīf. According to this potential meaning, we must strive to feed the poor and needy and this is one of the characteristics of the generous ones.  The second potential meaning of this characteristic is the opposite of what has become customary in our own era. Today, whenever people wish to invite others to a meal, they invite them to a restaurant outside of their home in order to free themselves from the difficulties of preparing food and hosting their guests. Contrary to this common practice of our modern society, Imam Hassan (a) has instructed us to prepare our own food and host our guests in our own homes. According to the teachings of the Imam (a), we should not take our guests to places outside of the home. So in reality, the generous one is he who hosts his guests within his own home and this brings about blessings and it pushes away calamities and illnesses from the home of the host.  Naturally, these are two ex-amples of generosity but we must keep in mind that there are many other signs which help us to understand what this state of generosity truly entails.[8]


The Smalest Acts of Kindness Met with the Greatest RewardsOne can find many instances in the lives of the Imams where they rewarded small acts of kindness with the greatest of responses. An example of this can be found in the story of a journey where Imam Al Ḥasan, Imam Ḥusayn, and ʿAbdullah ibn Jaʿfar were separated from their caravan and as time passed, they became very thirsty walking in the desert. From afar, they suddenly saw the tent of a Bedouin. When they reached the tent, an old lady came out, and she proceeded to give them water and she prepared a lamb which she had so that they could have something to eat. As they were about to leave, they told the old woman that if you ever come to Medina, come see us so that perhaps we can pay you back for some of the kindness which you have showed us.


It so happened that, after a while, an extreme drought took place in the deserts around Medina and all of the Bedouins were forced to come into the city. There, they would ask the people for help. One day, Imam Al Ḥasan (ʿa) was walking in the city of Medina when his eye fell upon that same old woman who was now going around asking people for help. The Imam (ʿa) went up to the old woman and he asked her if she remembered him, his brother, and his cousin when they were in the desert and she had helped them with full generosity? The old woman didn’t remember anything but the Imam (ʿa) said to her: If you don’t remember, I do!


The Imam (ʿa) then proceeded to give her a great sum of money and many sheep. He then sent her to his brother, Imam Ḥusayn (ʿa), who proceeded to give her even more wealth. She was then sent to ʿAbdullah ibn Jaʿfar, who also gave her a great sum of money. The old woman was given so much by the Imams (a) and their cousin that she become one of the wealthiest of people in that city.   


A Final Word


It is a very worthy action to show respect to the great figures of our religion and to seek intercession with the Infallibles (ʿa) but it is not enough by itself. What is necessary is that,in addition to respecting them and the seeking their intercession, one needs to practically adhere to their tradition. An example of such practical adherence to the Infallibles is the helping of those who are needy amongst our family members, our relatives, and the extended community amongst whom we live. Those who are financially capable, must help those who are ill and in need of money for their medical treatment, the youth who are not able to get married because of financial problems, those who have become bankrupted and owe others money, or those students who cannot continue their studies due to a lack of financial resources.


These are but a few examples and there are many other examples to be found in the society around us. If we are able to help those in need, then we can be hopeful that Allah will also help us on our day of need,when nothing will have any worth except for the righteous actions which we have sent ahead for ourselves. On that day, such actions will count for much and it will be much of what we have to depend upon.

 

681 Visits: 2016/10/31 Published on:
A Reflection on the Influential Teachings of Imam al-Hadi (ʿa) from the Viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

On the blessed anniversary of the birth of Imam ʿAlī al-Naqī (ʿa), the tenth of the Shia Imams, we find it more necessary than ever to research the teachings of this great leader. It is necessary to mention that Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) lived in a time period which was beset with various types of pressure and an utter lack of freedom.  Due to this atmosphere, the Imam (ʿa) did not have as much of an opportunity to teach the people and spread the true message of Islam. In spite of this unsuitable atmosphere, he still had many students who were trained under his guidance and he would constantly answer the religious questions of the people. He would also narrate traditions and deal with various jurisprudential issues which would arise. All of these things showed the people how deeply his knowledge ran and how much he had to offer to the Muslim community.[1]


Some of the prominent students of the Imam (ʿa) included Ayyūb ibn Nūḥ, ʿUthmān ibn Saʿīd al-Ahwāzī, and ʿAbd al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī (who is buried in Rey, which is nowadays included in the city of Tehran, Iran). Some of these students authored very valuable religious or jurisprudential works.  In light of this reality, we wish to delve in to the key teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa), particularly those which we can directly apply in to our own lives. Let us look at what Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has said in regards to this issue.


A Reflection on the Essential Nature of this World from the Viewpoint of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa)

 

The World as a Place of Business for the Hereafter
One of the teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) relates to the concept of the role which the world plays in the felicity (or lack thereof) of human beings, as well as its role in the attainment of human perfection. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained a tradition narrated from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) in regards to how human beings should deal with the material world: ‘Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) has been quoted as saying: “this world is a marketplace in which some  people profit, while others lose.[2,3]


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained that this tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) shows that we shouldn’t look at this world as a final destination; it is rather a tool and a means of gaining various valuable things (such as pious deeds and knowledge of Allah) for the next world, which is the final destination.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has continued this explanation and he has emphasized the necessity of making full use of this world as a marketplace for the hereafter. He has said: This world is not our true home, nor is a place where we can live forever. It is rather a grand marketplace where human beings need to ‘purchase’ their felicity in the eternal otherworldly life, using various valuable bounties given to them, including every moment of every hour of their lives, as well as their physical and intellectual powers.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then stated: Those who work hard and strive in this grand marketplace, and who are aware of the reality of what this world is, will always be in a state of struggle and they will not rest easy until they have attained a more valuable thing, i.e. an eternal life of felicity in the hereafter, in exchange for these valuable possessions. This is the complete opposite to the path of corruption and waste where people give up their valuable time and energy for things which only bring them loss. In the end, these types of people leave this world with nothing to show for their efforts.


The World and the Difference between the Materialist Worldview of the West and the Monotheistic Ideology of Islam


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has continued his  discussion of this tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) by delving in to the differences between the West and the Islamic world when it comes to the concept of this material world. The Western world looks at death as the end of everything; it is for this reason that morality is something subjective and without any definitive meaning. On the other hand, the religion of Islam looks at this world as a place of opportunity to prepare for the next world.  


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has made the following remarks in this regard: The world is a place of difficulties and examinations, while the hereafter is the everlasting abode. If we consider the world to be a marketplace for the hereafter, where one attains various types of knowledge and performs various good deeds, then it is natural that we will work harder and with a more refined purpose. If it were not so, and we were to live with the beliefs of the materialists, then the world would become a very dull and worthless place indeed.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has distinguished the differences between the materialistic and the monotheistic worldviews. He has said: In order to live a pure life, it is necessary that we exert ourselves and it is not possible to reach our goals without this exertion and effort.


Allah Theocentrism as the Only Way of Preventing Loss in this World


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has continued his explanation of the various facets of the tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) and he has detailed how Surah al-‘Aṣr in the Quran is a warning call for all human beings. He has mentioned in this regard that: One of the notables has mentioned that he learned the meaning of this Surah (al-‘Aṣr) from an ice seller. In olden times people would bring blocks of ice and sell pieces of them to their customers (since there were no refrigerators at that time). This ice seller was standing by his block of ice and yelling: ‘Have mercy on the one whose investment is melting’. When the other man heard this statement of the ice seller, he thought to himself that this is the meaning of Surah al-‘Aṣr which states: ‘Verily man is in loss’.  This means that as time passes on and one’s life is cut short, if one does not attain any good deeds, then verily such an individual is in a state of loss. 

 
From this perspective, there is only one way to prevent this type of loss and that can be found in the following verse of Surah al-‘Aṣr which states: ‘Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and enj o i n one another to [follow] the truth, and enj o i n one another to patience.’    In other words, the one thing which can prevent this loss from taking place is by ‘spending’ one’s time gaining things which are even more valuable than what is being lost. This is the only way one can prevent this loss from taking place and in reality, what one gains in this transaction is infinitely more valuable than the time lost gaining it.


Without any doubt, every breath we take is a breath which brings us closer to death. Every heartbeat draws us closer to death. In light of this reality, we must take steps to ensure that we are gaining something which can make up for this loss.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has, then, described the various groups of people which exist in this world and how they live their lives:
1.    There is one group which gives up their valuable time in gaining wealth. They either gain a large amount of wealth or they gain a little; in either case, they spend their lives chasing after material things which they can only enjoy for a relatively short period of time.


2.    Another group exchange their time on this earth for reaching social rank and position.


3.    Another group pursues various means of pleasure seeking and they give up their time in lieu of worldly pleasure


4.    Naturally, all of these groups are giving up their valuable lives in lieu of things which do not even come close to what they are losing. The only ones who are winning are those who seek the pleasure of Allah and seek greater proximity to Him.


It is not by accident that one of the names of the Day of Judgment is the ‘Yawm al-Taghābun’ which means ‘The Day of Loss’ because it is a day when many people will learn that they attained very little in return for the valuable life that they squandered on earth.  There is another verse in the Quran which states: ‘Indeed Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs …’  . This verse indicates that the true buyer of the invaluable possessions of man (the most valuable of which is his life) is Allah (swt). Moreover, based on, yet, another verse Allah the Almighty is also ready to buy from man even the smallest of his possessions, in return for which, to grant him a life in Paradise: “Then shall anyone who has done an atome’s weigth of good, see it” When someone decides to sell something at this ‘marketplace’, they don’t simply receive an equal exchange; they end up receiving ten times as much or even seven hundred times as much as what they have given.[4,5]   Even though everything that human beings have belongs to Allah and it was given to them by Him, He is still so generous that he purchases these insignificant deeds and gives the individual many times over what he had initially offered![6]


Rationality: A Key Precept in Attaining Felicity in this World, As Well As in the Next


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, in light of the aforementioned tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa), has mentioned that rationality is one of the key elements in minimizing our losses in this world and exchanging our time for provisions for the next world. He has stated: Thinking about the end of our lives and the necessity of gaining provisions for the next world is the way of the rational people. If one uses their intellect and adopts a rational way of life, then it will prevent many an act of oppression and sin from ever taking place.  


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī further explained: In a world which is filled with various events and incidents, if one does not forget the hereafter, they will always be careful of how they are acting. The criminals and oppressors are those who do not think about the hereafter; if they did, they would not ever approach such actions.  From this perspective, it must be said that the world is a place of examinations and difficulties, while the hereafter is a place of eternal life. If we consider the world to be a type of marketplace for the hereafter, then we will naturally work harder and with more specific purpose towards our goals.  


Self-knowledge: An Essential Element in Self-purification and Moral Training


Self -knowledge in regards to one’s capabilities and worth in the journey towards Allah is one of the key teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue in greater detail and he has said: ‘Self-knowledge is one of the essential foundations of training oneself towards greater growth and perfection. A lack of knowledge in regards to oneself will cause one to be a stranger to all things and it is a cause of becoming distanced from Allah. In a tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa), we read that: You are not safe from the evil of a person who does not regard themselves with any value.’[7,8]


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has thus considered knowledge of oneself as an essential element in reaching lofty spiritual ranks. He has stated in this regard that: We can clearly understand from this tradition of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) that one of the essential foundations of developing moral virtues and reaching spiritual perfection is attaining knowledge of one’s self. Until an individual has passed this difficult stage of development, they cannot reach any of the higher spiritual positions. It is for this reason that the great scholars of ethics and morality have emphasized that a person who wishes to tread the path of spiritual perfection must first gain knowledge of themselves and they should never be negligent towards this reality.


In reality, one of the important elements which prevents corruption and evil is the existence of self-esteem and self worth in an individual. People who have such characteristics and feel that they have value will safeguard themselves from sins and other negative actions in order to preserve that value from being destroyed. Those who don’t have this sense of self worth, or self-esteem, will not care what effect the various sins will have on them. A person who feels they have no value has, in effect, nothing to lose and it is for this reason that Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) has told us to be wary of such people.


Self-edification: An Essential Foundation for the Realization of the Greater Struggle


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the tradition of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) in relation to the concept of the greater Jihād as a key element of the religion. He has stated in this regard: We know that fighting against our carnal desires, which are the primary root of various sins, has been named as the greater Jihād in Islam. This is a Jihād which is considered to be more difficult and more important than fighting the enemies of Islam.


The reason behind this is that until one has tamed his carnal desires, there can be no real victory over one’s external enemies. Therefore, defeating this internal enemy is the true key to victory, both in regards to oneself, as well as in regards to one’s external enemies. When we examine how various people were defeated in battle, we find that they were almost always defeated due to their own internal weaknesses, and not due to the strength of their enemies.  This kind of greater Jihād is even more valuable in places which are filled with corruption and sin.


The Incomparable Value of Self Worth: The Crystallization and Manifestation of Man’s True Essence


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the various facets of the above-mentioned tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) in regards to the necessity of character and self value. The Ayatollah has stated in this regard: One of the important issues within the divine religions and in regards to human societies is the value system. For example, when we look at the material world and the spiritual world, we find that everything has a specific value. Some things are less in value, while some other things are more.


It is natural that if an individual determines that something is lesser in value, they will be more apt to give that up. If they consider something to be more valuable, then they will safeguard it more closely. If we take the example of a valuable gem, we also find that sometimes people do not recognize the true value of things. For example, this gem in the hands of a child is a simple toy which is of little value to them, and they would not be too upset if they lost it.


The character of human beings is the same way and if they consider themselves to be valuable, they will not do anything to tarnish or destroy that value. The Quran has stated that after Allah, there is nothing as valuable in this world as the human being. The reason behind this is that everything in this world has been created for the human being: ‘I have created all the things for you, while I have created you for myself’.[9]   In fact, the loftiest beings created byAllah, i.e. the angels, prostrated themselves before Adam (ʿa): ‘So all the angels prostrated before Adam’.  This shows us how valuable human beings are in the hierarchy of Allah’s creation.


In addition to this, Allah has made all things subservient to man in the sense that Allah has allowed man to control and utilize these things in his own favor.[10]  So if we are to realize the true value of human beings, we will easily understand that the carnal desires are nothing at all and it would be a true pity if people pursued these things in lieu of their own growth and perfection. If we understand our true value, then we will not sell ourselves except for the loftiest of goals, which is the goal of the hereafter.[11] However, we should all be wary of those who have no self worth, because such individuals can even kill another person for a petty amount of money.


The Reality of Being Thankful for Our Blessings as Reflected in the Teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa)


Being thankful for one’s blessings is amongst the things which are sometimes passed over by people and forgotten. Referring to a tradition from Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) in relation to the importance of being thankful for what Allah has given, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī stated: Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) is narrated to have said: ‘The one who gives thanks for his blessings gains much more from having given thanks than than he does from having that blessing. This is because the blessings are a means of life in this world, while giving thanks is an investment for the hereafter.’[12]


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the reality of being thankful according to the teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) and he has said: Being thankful is not something which is only done through words. It is rather something which comes about from one’s deeds. When one utilizes a given blessing in the proper way, then this is a means of showing thankfulness for it. Being thankful for the blessings which Allah has given us brings about even greater blessings which make the initial blessing seem insignificant. A given blessing can be something very simple or something which is material, but being thankful for it transforms it in to an even greater blessing which is an investment for the hereafter.


Therefore, thankfulness can take place in the heart, through words, and through one’s deeds. If an individual is thankful for their blessings, they will be given something which is greater than that initial blessing. This is unfortunately something which is not often thought about. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that an unshakable faith in Allah, forbearance, and true knowledge come about from being thankful for one’s blessings. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further stated the following in this regard: It is essential for us to understand that if we are thankful for our blessings, then we are only helping ourselves, since Allah is needless of the thanks of his creation.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that this issue is proven through the life of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa). He has stated that: According to history texts, one of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa)’s companions was a man by the name of Abū Hāshim al-Jaʿfarī. Abū Hāshim al-Jaʿfarī has narrated that he was faced with a very difficult financial situation and so he went to see the Imam (ʿa), in order to complain to him of what was happening. He narrates: “before I could say anything, he said to me: Oh Abū Hāshim, which of the divine blessings do you wish to thank Allah for? Abū Hāshim replied: I became upset at this and I remained silent, not knowing what I should say.


The Imam (ʿa) then continued and said that Allah has given you faith and He has made it forbidden for the fire of Hell to burn your body due to it. Allah gave you a healthy body and he helped you in obeying Him. Allah has given you contentment so that you do not lose your value in front of the people.  Oh Abū Hāshim, I initiated this discussion because I thought that you wished to complain to me about the One who has given you all of these blessings. I have given the order that you be given one hundred Dinars; take it and resolve your problems with it.  This entire encounter caused Abū Hāshim al-Jaʿfarī to become happy and satisfied, without having complained about the difficulties of his life.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained how the lack of thankfulness has brought about various social problems and difficulties during our own era. For example, imagine that Allah gives a couple a child but this couple fail to raise that child properly due to negligence. In essence, this is an example of a lack of thankfulness because they have neglected to properly take care of what Allah has given them. In turn, this blessing will soon be transformed in to a plight and it will entail a thousand difficulties for both the parents, as well as the society in general. This will have effects not only in the material world of today, but it will also have effects in the hereafter as well.


Another example can be found in an individual who becomes ill with a sickness; this person practices patience in the face of their troubles and they are thankful to Allah for what He has given them. Such a person then becomes better over time until they are cured completely from their illness. Later on, they realize that if they had been healthy during that time period, they would have participated in something which would have destroyed them completely.


They then realize that this illness was actually a blessing in disguise.  Due to this reality, a pious believer must utilize the divine blessings which Allah has given to them properly. This is a type of practical thankfulness which is shown through one’s deeds. Contrary to this, the hypocrites may claim verbally that they are thankful but on a practical level, they are not being thankful at all.

 

A Final Word


Without any doubt, the words of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa) are a source of great wisdom and guidance both in this world, as well as in the next.  There is no doubt that it is obligatory upon us to respect all of the Imams (ʿa) and one way to implement this respect is by implementing their teachings in our day to day lives. The scholars and lecturers have an important role to play in this regard. Through utilizing the teachings of Imam al-Hādī (ʿa), who has unfortunately not been focused upon as is his due, we can better confront the enemies of Islam and strengthen the ideological foundations of our faith.

 

768 Visits: 2016/10/31 Published on:
THE TEACHINGS OF THE INTELLECTUAL SCHOOL OF THOUGHT OF IMAM AL-BAQIR (ʿA) FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

Today is the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Muḥammad al-Bāqir (ʿa); he was martyred on the seventh day of Dhī al-Ḥijjah in the year 114 AH according to various well known traditions.  The anniversary of this day gave us another reason to gain an even deeper understanding of the teachings of this great Imam (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī will guide us in this journey towards understanding various key facets of the teachings of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa).


Indeed by delving in to the details of the intellectual legacy of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa), and also in to the traditions narrated by him in regards to the value of contemplation, the necessity of education and gaining knowledge, as well as his other teachings, one clearly realizes just how necessary it is to look deeper in to the life and the scientific legacy of this Imam (ʿa). From this perspective, this article will delve in to the various intellectual aspects of the teachings of the Imam (ʿa) according to the research and perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.


A Reflection on the Meaning of the Title “Bāqir al-ʿUlūm


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to explain the meaning of Bāqir al-ʿUlūm, which is one of the titles of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa). He has stated: ‘He was called by the title Bāqir al-ʿUlūm due to his characteristic of his amazingly vast and detailed knowledge of various difficult concepts; in essence, he was the “splitter of knowledge”. He narrated many traditions in the various fields of Islamic knowledge, such as Quranic commentary, beliefs (ʿAqāʾid), jurisprudence, and morality. He is known to have narrated so many traditions that Muḥammad ibn Muslim alone narrated thirty thousand traditions from him.’


The Fruition of Islamic Knowledge: One of the Great Legacies of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has gone on to explain the value of the traditions which are narrated by the Infallible Imams (ʿa), particularly those narrated by Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa). He has stated in this regard that: ‘Unfortunately, many of the traditions which were narrated by the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) have never reached us. When we look in to the traditions which we do have in hand, it is clear that much effort was put in to their collection and safekeeping.’  Many of the traditions which have reached us today (they number in the tens of thousands) were narrated by the fifth and sixth Imams (ʿa), i.e. Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), as well as the eighth Imam (ʿa), i.e. Imam al-Ridhā (a).


The reason behind this is that these three Imams (ʿa) lived under circumstances where the pressure of their enemies (the rulers of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties) was less in severity than the other Imams (ʿa). For this reason, they were able to narrate a large number of traditions from the Prophet (ṣ), and these traditions cover many of the various fields of Islamic knowledge.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has noted this important legacy from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa) with the following words: ‘When we examine any book of jurisprudence, beliefs (ʿAqāʾid), the principles of jurisprudence, and ethics, we find that they are full of traditions narrated from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). These two Imams (ʿa) have left behind a massive intellectual and spiritual legacy and the implications of their teachings for the Islamic sciences are enormous.’


The Blossoming of Shia Jurisprudence is Indebted to the Intellectual Legacy of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that the blossoming of Shia jurisprudence is a result of the valuable teachings of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). He has stated in this regard: ‘ The reason why our jurisprudence doesn’t require Qiyās (the use of analogies in deriving rulings) is that we have access to many traditions narrated from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). We have benefited from this great intellectual legacy while others are bereft of it and they must take recourse to analogies and educated guesswork in reaching their jurisprudential rulings. Therefore, we must look for the elements of how Shia jurisprudence progressed and grew complete in the teachings of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). Whenever we open a Shia or Sunni book, we find that there are many narrations in them from these two Imams (ʿa). This is how these Imams (ʿa) solidified the foundations of jurisprudence in Islam for us.’


Scientific Debates: Key Teachings in the Legacy of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)


Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) would often utilize debates as an important methodology of conveying knowledge. He would use this methodology in spreading the teachings of Shia school to those who followed other religions and ideologies. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has pointed out a specific debate of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) which he considers to be one of his most important. This debate was held in Syria and it was between the Imam (ʿa) and one of the important Christian Bishops of that region. He has stated in this regard: ‘It has been narrated in history that during one of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)’s forced journeys’ to Syria (after being there for a period of time), he found an opportunity to awaken the people and help them to recognize the true teachings of Islam.’  


A Detailed Look in to Various Aspects of Imam al-Bāqir’s (ʿa)’s Debate with the Christian Arch Bishop from the Viewpoint of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained what took place in the debate in the following words: ‘ The story goes that since Hishām, the Umayyad tyrant, was out of excuses to further persecute Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) by forcing him to stay in Syria, he ended up consenting to the Imam (ʿa)’s return to Medina. When the Imam (ʿa), alongside his son, left the Caliph’s palace, he came face to face with a very large and varied crowd of people who were all sitting. The Imam (ʿa) asked them why they had gathered and they replied that there was a grand gathering of Christians which took place every year and they were awaiting the arrival of the Arch Bishop so that he could help resolve some of their questions.


 Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) went forward in to the gathering in a very quiet and unassuming way. News of this quickly reached Hishām’s ears and Hishām sent a number of his officials to the gathering so they keep an eye on what was taking place. It wasn’t very long until the Bishop came; he was a very old man who had seen the events of many years during his long life. He was greeted by his followers with great respect and he was seated at the very front of the gathering. The Arch Bishop took a long glance at the people who had gathered until finally, his glance fell upon Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa).


When he saw Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa), he was taken by his aura and so he said to the Imam (ʿa): Are you one of us Christians or are you a Muslim? The Imam (ʿa) said: I am a Muslim. The Arch Bishop then asked: Are you one of their scholars or are you one of their unlettered ones? The Imam (a) said: I am not unlettered. The Arch Bishop then said: Should I ask you or will you ask me? Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) said: If you wish, you can ask. The Arch Bishop asked him: What is the reason that you Muslims believe that the dwellers of paradise will eat and drink but they will not go to the bathroom? Are there any examples of this phenomenon in this world?


The Imam (ʿa) replied: Yes, a clear example of this in this world is that a fetus takes in nutrition in the womb but he does not go to the bathroom. The Arch Bishop replied in wonder: but you said you were not a scholar? The Imam (ʿa) said: I did not say this; I only said that I was not unlettered. The Arch Bishop then said: I have another question. The Imam (ʿa) replied: Please go ahead. The Arch Bishop asked: Based on what reason do you believe that the fruits and blessings of paradise never decrease, and however much they are consumed, still they remain and do not decrease? Can you show a clear example of this phenomenon in this world?


The Imam (ʿa) replied: Yes, the clear example of this is found in (the perceptible phenomena of) fire. If you light another flame (from an existing flame), and repeat this one hundred times, the first flame will remain as it was and nothing will have been decreased from it. The Arch Bishop then continued asking every difficult question that came to mind and all of them were answered clearly and completely. He was soon left desperate, looking extremely incompetent and weak, and he became severely discomfited and angry. He said: Oh people, have you brought a great scholar, whose knowledge and religious scholarship is higher than mine, in order to disgrace me and to show the Muslims that their leader is superior and more learned than ours? I swear by God that I will never speak to you again, and if I remain alive until next year, you will not see me in your midst! He said these words, rose out of his seat, and left the gathering.


The news of this event quickly spread throughout Damascus, along with an accompanying wave of joy and excitement. Hishām, instead of becoming happy at this victory, became even more fearful of the spiritual influence of the Imam (ʿa) than before. In attempting damage control, and as a supposed gift to the Imam (ʿa), Hishām sent him a message insisting that he leave Damascus that very same day. As a result of his wrath, Hishām attempted to use the age old weapon of slander, in order to diminish the Imam (ʿa)’s victory; therefore, he accused the Imam (ʿa) of becoming inclined towards Christianity!


He wrote a letter to some of his governors, (including the governor the city of Madian) saying the following: ‘Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī, the son of Abū Turāb, came to me alongside his son. When I sent them back to Medina, they went to see some priests, and became inclined towards Christianity. However, due to the family relationship that they have with me, I have overlooked their faults and did not punish them. When these two individuals arrive in your city, announce to the people that I denounce them (as well as their actions). The desperate efforts of Hishām in hiding the truth of the matter were all futile, and the people, instead of coming under the influence of Hishām, were shown the true reality of the Imamate. Thus, the trip that began with compulsion and threats, ended full of amazing results and the education of the masses to the reality of the Imamate.’


Religious Rationalism: One of the Most Important Characteristics of the Intellectual School of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)


The scientific prosperity of Shia school of thought is indeed a result of the logical and rational nature of its teachings as a whole and this is the most evident in the teachings of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa). Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has described the logical nature of the Shia school as one of its most important aspects. In order to better explain this issue, he has delved in to a tradition from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) who is narrated to have said:[1]
‘Oh Muyassir [2], should I introduce our Shias to you? Muyassir replies: May I be sacrificed for you, yes please. The Imam (ʿa) then said: They are the impenetrable fortresses whose hearts are secure and whose minds are weighty and collected.[3]  They do not spread rumors, nor do they disclose the secrets, and they are not bigoted, rough, or pretentious people either. They are the monks of night, staying up (in worship), while they are the lions of the day.’


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained this important tradition from Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and he has said: This short tradition describes the Shias with seven characteristics, each of which contains a wealth of wisdom and entails a world of responsibility for anyone who calls himself a “Shia”.


1.    Impenetrable Fortresses:

The Shias are like impenetrable fortresses in the face of their enemy’s propaganda and lies. Today, the situation of the world has changed for the worse and the youth are in more danger than ever. Some people may ask what ways exist in order to safeguard and strengthen our youth. The reality is that if we cannot eliminate all of the dangers which threaten us, then we must make ourselves stronger in order not to be easily defeated by them.


2, 3, 4. Their Hearts are Secure, they are Rational and Wise, and They Do Not Disclose the Secrets

 During the time of the Imams (ʿa), one of their complaints was that some of the Shias reveal their secrets. What is meant by “secrets” here is the powers and the spiritual rank and position of the Imams (ʿa), such as their knowledge of the unseen, their intercession on the Day of Judgment, their safeguarding of the knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ), their full knowledge of the deeds of the Shias, their miracles, as well as many other things. These were all things which the ordinary people were not able to understand, much less the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). In spite of this, some of the Shias who were simple minded would go and tell everyone about these things.  They would end up revealing everything and this would bring about conflict, animosity, and hatred amongst some segments of the people.


What is even worse is that during our own time period, a group has risen who are similar to the Ghulāt (i.e. the exaggerators) of past times. These extremists describe the Imams (ʿa) in ways which are incorrect and improper and they exaggerate their rank greatly. We must realize that these Ghulāt are very dangerous and we must be careful in regards to them. These Ghulāt have two primary problems: the first is that they destroy themselves through their words and actions. They believe that if they ascribe the divine attributes of Allah to the Imams (ʿa), or Lady Zaynab, or the martyrs of Karbalā, then this is the pinnacle of adherence to their Wilāyah.


The second issue (and in reality the bigger issue) is that we live in an age which can be considered as the age of Mass Media and socially based technology. If sometimes takes place this morning in one corner of the world, it only takes a few minutes or a few hours before it is spread to all corners of the globe. So when these extremists disclose their blasphemous words of exaggeration in regards to the Imams (ʿa), their words are spread all throughout the world in a matter of hours. This causes people to look negatively on Shias overall without realizing that this is a small fringe group which is not representing the Shias at all. Some people go as far as to call all Shias disbelievers based on the statements of these extremists, while in other cases, Shias are even killed due to this issue. These ignorant people should realize what they are doing to Shia school as a whole. At the same time, we must do our best not to allow them to gain a foothold as speakers or lecturers.


5. Love and Affection
The Shias are not rough or severe; they are full of love and affection towards others. In reality, the Shias have the spirit of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) and the rest of the Imams (ʿa), where they would show affection and mercy even to their enemies.


6 and 7. Staying Awake at Night in Worship and Being Courageous
The Shias are not pretentious and they don’t act for the sake of showing off. They have combined two characteristics which are not typically seen together. If someone sees them at night, he would think that they are ascetics and so they are weak and incapable when it comes to day to day affairs. Yet, in the day, they are couragouse like lions and they actively participate in their society. The true Shias are those who possess these characteristics, all of which are concordant with logic and the intellect. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then categorized the various types of Shias in to five distinct groups. These groups are as follows:

Geographical Shias: These include the people who are born in a Shia country and are counted as Shias from a statistical perspective.

 

Shias by Inheritance: These include the people whose parents are Shia and were raised in Shia families.

 

Shias in words: These are the people who verbally claim that they are Shia and the followers of Imam ʿAlī (a) but they do not perform any actions which confirm their words.

 

Superficial Shias: These are people who perform the superficial acts of a Shia but they have not reached the depths of the reality of being a Shia. These include the people who, for example, perform the rituals of mourning for the Imams (ʿa) or they ask them for intercession and other such actions. Yet what is the true mark of being a Shia? Is someone a true Shia if they participate in the rituals of Muḥarram or visit various holy sites? Our intention here isn’t to lessen the importance of these very important acts but to show that these people have only gone skin deep in understanding the reality of Shia school. However, when it comes to the characteristics of true Shias, i.e. the ones enumerated by Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa), many of the so-called Shias do not possess the characteristics of being ‘ascetics by night” or “lions by day”.

 

The Seekers of the Teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) - The True Shias:
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized that the most important mark of a true believer is that he pursues Islamic knowledge from the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). The Ayatollah has stated in this regard: The true Shias are those who are familiar with the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) and they seek out to cultivate in themselves the characteristics mentioned in the aforementioned tradition.

 

The blossoming of knowledge under the guidance of the teachings of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) was so logical and profound in nature that it affected many of the great Sunni scholars as well. Many of these great scholars became Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa)’s students and companions. For example, there was Abū Isḥāq, Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad ibn Abū Yaḥyā, etc….  These students were educated under these great Imams (ʿa) and they would narrate traditions from them. Those individuals who were not unduly influenced by prejudice and bias, including Shāfiʿī, Ibn Iṣbahānī, and some others would corroborate the truthfulness of these stu-dents such as Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad.[4]


A Final Word: A Word with The Students of the School of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa)


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized that the students of the religious seminary must continue in the path of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). He has stated in this regard: The foundation of the prophetic mission was that of knowledge and learning, for the Prophet (ṣ) came during a time of great darkness and ignorance. Allah delegated the Prophet (ṣ) to teach people the ‘Book and the wisdom’ and to purify the people’s souls. The Quran has stated in this regard: Allah created the heavens and the earth so that the people could gain knowledge from this world and realize the greatness of Allah.


In light of this, the students of the religious seminaries must thank Allah for the blessings which He has given to them in allowing them to pursue a path of knowledge. You are the soldiers of Imam al-Mahdī (ʿa) and the students of Imam al-Bāqir (ʿa) and Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa). We have to know that we are always sitting at the feet of these two great Imams (ʿa) and every day, our knowledge grows because of their efforts.  We are hopeful that Allah will continue to bless us with learning more and more from their teachings and that he will allow us to attain their intercession on the Day of Judgment.

 

859 Visits: 2016/10/29 Published on:
GUIDELINES TO THE TRUE REALIZATION OF HIJAB AND MODESTY IN THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

Introduction


The 21st of the Iranian month of Tīr is the anniversary of the suppression of the people’s revolt in the Gawharshad Mosque in Mashhad against the removal of the Hijab which took place in the year 1314 Shamsī (Iranian calendar). In honor of this event, this day has been named as the day of Hijab and modesty. Let us now delve into various aspects of the true realization of Hijab and modesty from the writings and lectures of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.


The first point which must be made is that Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī believes that the Hijab is an integral part of Islamic culture and no one has the right to force  Muslim women to leave aside this essential aspect of  their religion for any reason whatsoever. The religion of Islam has placed a great emphasis on the Hijab and there are numerous verses in the Quran in regards to this issue. It is impossible to deny the axial position of this issue and although some people may attempt to explain this issue away, they do so by imperiling the actual reality of the matter.


The tragedy of what Reza Khan did in the Gawharshad Mosque and the many martyrs’ leaves us with little doubt in regards to the status of the Hijab in our faith.  After discussing the initiatives of Reza Khan in regards to the Hijab, Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī then moves on to the government of Tajikistan, which has decided to follow in Reza Khan’s footsteps in banning the Hijab, and he advises the President in a friendly manner, saying: “We have experienced this issue during the time of Reza Khan; he was also opposed (to the Hijab) and he would tear the head covering from women’s heads. He even went as far as killing a number of people in the Gawharshad Mosque. In spite of this, the people did not submit and they rose up against Reza Khan and forced him to reallow women to wear the Hijab.”


The best solution is to leave the people alone so that they can perform their religious duties in regards to the Hijab. The essence of the Hijab isn’t something which can be denied or something which Muslims can be persuaded against.  The reason behind this is that the Quran has openly explained this issue and this is why Muslims are so staunch in regards to it. In fact, there are multiple verses in the Quran in regards to this issue and this is why nobody will bother to reject the validity of this religious practice. In addition, people all around the world recognize Islam through the wearing of the Hijab.  


Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then gone on to explain the various facets of Hijab and the various ways of truly manifesting it:


 The Significance of this Issue


Without any doubt, the Hijab is one of the definitive aspects and laws of Islam and there is a consensus among all of the jurisprudents regarding it. A lack of Hijab or a lack of a proper Hijab is considered to be against the sacred code of Islam. When it comes to religious cities or places of religious significance, it goes without saying that the Hijab should be pursued in an even more rigorous and complete fashion. The sin of wearing a bad Hijab or no Hijab at all in such places is considered to be even greater than in normal places. In addition, it must also be stated that wearing the Chador (a specific type of Hijab worn in Iran, Iraq, and other Muslim countries) is given preference in both religious cities and sites, as well as in other places.


The Hijab is such an integral part of Islam that all of the sects accept it. It is in reality an essential part of our faith meaning that anyone who socializes with Muslims will understand how firmly the Muslims  adhere to it.  Therefore, we must do our best to help spread the Hijab, as well as other manifestations of modesty in the society. If we fail to uphold and strengthen social values such as the Hijab, then this will lead to other problems in the fields of economics, politics, and national security as well.


Therefore, the Hijab is an Islamic duty and one of the essential defining characteristics of the religion which has been repeatedly emphasized in the verses of the Quran and the Islamic tradi-tions. It is something so entrenched in the Islamic community that both friend and foe will quickly recognize it. It is for this reason that the enemies of Islam are so sensitive in regards to it.  When we look at the issue of the Hijab, it is clear that a lack of it will shake the foundations of the family. Thus, the Hijab is actually a social responsibility and we must be careful to prevent the spread of bad Hijab or the lack of Hijab in our societies.  Whether we like it or not, a lack of Hijab will entail a series of very serious and negative consequences.


If we don’t protect the collective Hijab of the society, the Islamic system will be dealt a very serious blow. The enemies recognize this and those who are working against the system are utilizing every opportunity they have in order to weaken the institution of the Hijab in our country.  With this understanding, it is clear that the Hijab is an essential part of the Islamic practices for women and it is one which has been mentioned in the Quran and is explicitly evidenced in the life of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).


 Furthermore, all of the scholars of Islam and all of the various sects believe very strongly in it. In reality, the Hijab is a manifestation of the honor and dignity of the Muslim woman. It accords her with great respect and it is a means of purity for her and for the Islamic society. It prevents the rise of many forms of corruption.  From the perspective of Islam, the closer a woman moves towards modesty, the purer and more pious she becomes.   When we examine the Hijab in the context of our country, it is apparent that it has left its status as a secondary issue and has been transformed into a primary issue of faith. The reason behind this is that when Muslims living in foreign countries wish to manifest their faith, they observe the precepts of the Hijab.


Similarly, when the enemies wish to weaken the religion of Islam, they attack the Hijab and oppose it. Inside of Iran, those who are opposed to the Islamic revolution utilize various methods of weakening the Hijab in their attempts to weaken the Islamic system and destroy it. Such people state that if they can remove the Hijab from the heads of women, they will have succeeded in greatly weakening the Islamic system. Therefore, the state of Hijab must be greatly emphasized both inside of the universities, as well as outside of them.


Therefore, this important practice must be emphasized, for the Hijab is one of the important and obligatory aspects of the Islamic faith. This is particularly true during our own time period when everyone all throughout the world knows that this is something which all Muslims believe in. In essence, the Hijab is slowly becoming a slogan for the faith and it is for this reason that the enemies are so frightened of it.


Some  Reflections about the Lexical and Conceptual Aspects of the Hijab and Modesty


Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has made the following remarks in explaining the lexical meaning of modesty and Hijab: Rāghib (a lexicologist) has defined the term ‘modesty’ in his book “Mufradāt”  as follows: ‘Modesty is a state which prevents the domination of lust over the self’.   Put simply, it is a sense of control in the face of various lusts. It is important to note that what is meant by “lust” is not merely sexual lust; rather a more general meaning of the term is intended here which can include lust in relation to wealth, social status, eating, speaking, sexuality, as well as other things. Therefore, modesty is a state which controls  one’s lust in relation to all of the above-mentioned issues.


Therefore, modesty is a virtue and a state of moderation and balance of one’s lusts in the general sense. This relates to anything which attracts man and it can be (just as mentioned above) related to wealth, social status, eating, etc… If one’s lusts spiral out of control, then they become something known as greed. Similarly, if one’s lusts are not activated in a sufficient manner, then the person will be afflicted by laziness and stagnation. Modesty is the state of perfect balance where there is neither too much, nor too little.  


When we examine the lexical meaning of the Hijab, we find that it is defined as a curtain placed between two objects.  It is for this reason that the lining which is found between the intestines, the heart, and the lungs is called the Ḥijāb Hājiz (diaphragm).   Moreover, the term Hijab  has also been used in the Quran to mean a lining as well.  When it comes to the religious law, the Hijab is defined as a female covering which encompasses the entire body with the exception of the hands and the face.  Therefore, for a woman to wear a complete Hijab, it is sufficient to cover her body with the exception of the hands and face in any fashion she wishes. She isn’t required to wear a specific type of clothing although it is not allowed to wear tight clothing or clothing which attracts negative attention.


The Realization of True Hijab and Modesty- Barriers and Dangers


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, there are certain very serious barriers which can prevent the realization of the Hijab, as well as other manifestations of modesty in the Islamic society. The most important of these are as follows:
1.    A distortion of the freedom to criticize others in regards to their Hijab: Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the following in this regard: ‘Criticism must be constructive and not destructive in nature.  When someone criticizes something, that criticism must be conveyed in a friendly, positive, and constructive manner. It shouldn’t be done in an annoying fashion as a means of seeking revenge.


These are the same conditions present for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil which have been mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. It is a very positive thing if the boundaries of this issue are abided by. On the other hand, if we are to be silent due to certain excuses, such as the economic situations, sanctions, and other such  restrictions, then this is incorrect. Modesty and the Hijab are not limited to times of positive economic growth; they are essential during all time periods’.


2.    non-expert views and interpretations of the issues of Hijab and modesty: Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized that well trained experts should enter such fields: ‘The well-informed and knowledgeable experts, including religious scholars and university professors should have the opportunity to convey their critical opinions in regards to the issue of Hijab and modesty; this is something critical to proper reform and change.  Unfortunately, some believe that a state of bad Hijab does not have any societal effects but when we examine this issue carefully, it is apparent that a lack of Hijab or a lack of proper Hijab entails many negative consequences,as they both corrupt the individual in question, as well as the society in which they live’.


3.    The carelessness of certain individuals in confronting a lack of proper Hijab: According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the political viewpoint of some authorities in regards to the very religio-cultural phenomenon of the Hijab and their lack of planning in regards to it constitutes a major barrier to the non-realization of proper Hijab in the society. Thus, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has called upon these leaders  to create a proper plan in order to combat the lack of Hijab and modesty in society. His eminence also criticized those who prevent others from reforming the society towards a better state of Hijab.


4.    Liberalism (in the Iranian context) as a serious preventative factor in the realization of Hijab and modesty: From the perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the existence of liberal thinkers who suffer from a lack of perspective (being unduly influenced by the West) can be considered as one of the major preventative factors in the true realization of Hijab and modesty within our society. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated that: ‘There are rumors that those who are unduly influenced by the West and lack any other perspective are planning towards gradually lifting the Hijab. Thus, the authorities must strive with their utmost in fighting against a lack of proper Hijab in order that the influence of the Westernized liberals not be allowed to spread any further’.  He has then further added: ‘Some people propagate their idea that the Hijab cannot be spread by force. This is while the results of the programs of some religious institutions show that the Hijab can be strengthened through cultural efforts and educa-tion’.


Similarly, his critique of certain actions taken by some government officials in promoting Western values, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī stated: ‘The upholding of the Hijab is a duty, both from a religious perspective, as well as from a moral perspective. This is contrary to the statements of certain Westernized individuals who say that this issue should not be law and it should be left as an optional matter’.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has spoken out against this very dangerous idea which is promoted by certain  authorities.


Unfortunately, due to these statements, as well as the spread of news by certain news agencies and a lack of overall effort, we have seen a lack of proper Hijab transformed into a complete lack of Hijab in certain places in Iran. This is while the Hijab is something which can alter the destiny of an entire society. The Quran has mentioned in this regard: ‘…And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts…’  


Thus, pointing out the negative consequences of a lack of Hijab, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī noted: ‘The Hijab is something which can make or break the destiny of an entire nation. It is not simply a small religious duty; when the precept of Hijab is weakened, people will gradually go towards illegitimate relationships, while criminal acts, insecurity, and other negative issues will rise in number. When the Hijab is weakened the very foundations of the family are destroyed.


The Consequences of a Lack of Hijab and Modesty


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, a lack of proper Hijab and modesty will pull the Islamic society towards numerous pitfalls and dangers. These dangers are as follows:
1.    A lack of Hijab is the first step towards ever lessening levels of public clothing: Grabd Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated the following in this regard: The religious instructions for Hijab are among the most emphasized precepts of Islam. The Quran contains numerous verses in regards to this issue, including- the 31st and 60th verses of Surah Nūr and the 33rd, 53rd, and 59th verses of Surah Aḥzāb. All of these verses have heavily emphasized the issue of Hijab.


In some cases, these verses address the faithful women, while in other cases they address the wives of the Prophet (ṣ).  Moreover, in, yet some other verses the Quran has considered the case of elderly women an exception in regards to the Hijab, so that  the duty of everyone else would be clarified. These verses have used various terms and approaches in clarifying the importance of this Islamic duty. It is evident that the removal of the Hijab is the first step towards ever lessening levels of public clothing in the society. Complete sexual license and a sense of immorality also develop alongside it. The negative side effects of a lack of Hijab are so apparent in our world of today that they are not hidden from anybody.


2.    A lack of Hijab is in reality a competition in who can reveal the most of their body: Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has described the consequences of a lack of Hijab by saying: ‘A lack of Hijab causes a group of women to engage in an unending competition in revealing their bodies to lustful men to look on. In our own era, we find many unmar-ried youth due to certain economic and social issues  and thus a major portion of our society is found within this vulnerable social segment. It goes without saying that a lack of Hijab is one of the most dangerous things in light of this reality.


3.    A lack of Hijab is a source of spiritual and psychological illnesses:  In addition to destabilizing the family unit from a moral perspective and creating the foundations for increased levels of crimes, a lack of Hijab will also bring about increased levels of sexual stimulation. In time, this never ending onslaught of stimulation will bring about a series of psychological and spiritual ailments. These ailments will in turn further destabilize the family unit and lower the status of women in society.


4.    A lack of Hijab as a significant factor in divorce: If the Hijab is not abided by, it will bring about corruption for both individual and society; this corruption relates to both spiritual issues, as well as broader social issues. The removal of the Hijab is the fist spark for illegitimate relationships and when illegitimate relationships increase in number and become common, this will lead to a destabilization of the family unit. When we look at many of the divorces which take place, we see that they are commonly associated with issues related to the Hijab and modesty. In addition to these issues, there is the additional problem of children without parents to properly look after and raise them. This in turn will lead to various criminal problems which will manifest later on in time.   An examination of a number of criminal records from Englandreveals that children from broken homes form the broadest category of criminals. This is a heavy burden which the society must shoulder. From this perspective, it is clear that the Hijab is not simply a religious responsibility but rather, a social responsibility which  can ensure the continued health of any given community.


5.    Carelessness in the face of prohibited things: Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has  made the following remarks in this regard: If we wish to have a healthy and pure society, and make certain that the foundations of the family are not destroyed, then we must seriously focus on promoting the issue of Hijab, as well as  preventing religiously prohibited matters from being practiced.


6.    A lack of Hijab as the origin of countless forms of corruption: The root of many forms of corruption and crime can be traced back to the issue of a lack of Hijab. In the past eras, the Hijab was a secondary religious issue but with the circumstances which we are facing today, it has transformed into one of the primary issues of the religion. The reason behind this is that it is  considered as a powerful symbol of the Islamic faith all throughout the world. A lack of Hijab therefore has many negative consequences such as the destabilization of the family, the increase of sexual deviancy, the rise of children without parents, as well as many other types of sin which will affect both men and women all throughout the society.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has recognized a lack of primary Hijab as the primary source of many moral and social ills . He has emphasized the following, saying that: ‘The Hijab is an important duty which surpasses a normal religious duty; it is in reality a social obligation. Due to this reason, it is necessary that the families place a great importance on its true realization’.


Guidelines for the True Realization of Hijab and Modesty within the Islamic Society


From the perspective of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the most important guidelines for the realization of Hijab and modesty in the Islamic society of today are the following:
1.    Islamic teachings: the key factor in the realization of true Hijab and modesty:

From the perspective of Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, Islamic teachings are the most important element above all other things. The Ayatollah has mentioned in this regard: In one survey, people were asked what the primary problem of the nation (Iran) was. A number responded that narcotics and addiction were the primary issue, while another group responded that the main issue was satellite stations which were corruptive in nature. Another group cited a lack of Hijab, while yet another group mentioned the rising age of marriage. All of these answers are correct in their own right but it must be noted that the root of all of these things is a lack of Islamic awareness and knowledge. If Islamic teachings  permeate the society, then all of these issues will be resolved in short order.

 

2.    The role of the government and other institutions in the true realization of Hijab and modesty:

One of the most important elements in the fulfillment of modesty and the Hijab in the society relates to the role of the government and other organizations. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has enumerated several of the intrinsic duties of the government in the fulfillment of this important obligation: When considering the reality of the Hijab in the public sphere, one can first begin with the hospitals, government offices, and other centers in both a direct, as well as a non direct fashion. The universities, the schools, and other such institutions must take the issue of the Hijab seriously.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has said the following in regards to a lack of proper Hijab in the country: The national television must work in regards to this issue in a direct, as well as indirect fashion.  This is important because a lack of proper Hijab will bring about various moral and social problems in the society.  Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has again emphasized how the government must not only focus on resolving the economic issues of the nation, but they must also resolve the cultural issues through proper planning and management. He firther stated: The government must begin in regards to the Hijab with its own employees and workers until it spreads amongst the entire society.
Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has also said the following in regards to the issue of Hijab in relation to the educational institutions: The issue of the Hijab must be mentioned in a logical fashion in the school textbooks. Similarly, the dangers of a lack of Hijab and modesty must also be explained in a way that everyone understands the importance of this issue. We cannot bypass this issue so easily…  


Everyone expects an Islamic government like ours to be serious in regards to this issue and not simply pass it by. This is a very serious and key issue which relates to the very foundations of the family and the security of the Islamic nation as a whole.  All praise is due to Allah that the people have extended their efforts in this field. It is now time for the leaders and officials to similarly extend their efforts and complete what the people have started.

 

3.    A group effort is necessity for the improvement of modesty and the Hijab:

Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has  also criticized certain individual efforts in relation to modesty and the Hijab and he has emphasized this issue as more of a group effort. He has said: On the one hand, the government and other state organizations must feel duty bound to begin this reformation with their own workers first, and on the other, the parliament (the Majlis) must create an organized and practical plan towards combatting moral corruption. Individual ideas must be put aside in this regard and it is necessary that such a plan be enacted on a much wider, socially based scale. We hope that through such group efforts, these problems can be resolved and finally be put behind us.


According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, the use of a directive sent to all departments in the various government institutions, universities, and schools can help  further promote this issue and prevent the occurrence of a lack of Hijab. Publicly enjoining the good and forbidding the evil can be very effective in this regard as well.

 

4.    The police forces as the enforcement arm of the realization of modesty and Hijab:

Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has thanked the never ceasing efforts of the police forces in confronting a lack of proper Hijab and he has stated: ‘The police forces are to be supported in their fight against a lack of proper Hijab and their efforts are to be recognized and appreciated. These police officers first begin by giving a verbal warning and if they find that their warning was not sufficient and they are being faced with an unsuitable response, they then deal with the offending individual in a more definitive manner. Such offenders should not think that they will be encouraged in regards to their behavior’.

 

5.    The role of the scholars in the true realization of modesty and Hijab:

Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī considers the role of the scholars as a fundamental one in the fight against a lack of proper Hijab. He has stated: ‘All of the people are responsible in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil but the duty of the scholars is heavier than others. They must stand  up against what is unlawful for if such things as bad Hijab become normal and everyday behavior, it will be very difficult to fix them.’  Due to this reason, we must push to expand modesty, Hijab, and other such issues within the society and we must recognize that if we fail to do so, just like other socio-religious issues, they can result in economic, political, and security problems.


Towards this end, the lecturers can focus on this topic and expound upon the various Quranic verses and traditions which relate to modesty and the Hijab. Through strengthening the ideological foundations of the people and making them more familiar with the laws and precepts of Islam, issues such as modesty and the Hijab can be greatly bolstered. Moreover, the people can also be invited towards a greater unity against the enemies of the Islamic system.  The Marājiʿ, the scholars, and the Islamic seminaries all hold a heavy responsibility and they must fulfill their duties in this regard. What is the use if one spends their entire life within the Islamic seminary, without disseminating their knowledge to the outside world? It is necessary that the society is allowed to make use of the knowledge of the Islamic seminary and those who are within it.

 

6.    The realization of modesty and the Hijab requires cultural initiatives, not a negative attitude and compulsion:

Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has delved into the cultural issues which help fulfill the realization of modesty and Hijab within the society. He has explained that cultural work is a prerequisite upon which other things can be built. According to him, such cultural works are the best way to combat the lack of a proper Hijab and the other types of corruption  it can entail. He said: ‘We  do not support severity, chains and fetters; we rather propose proper planning and cultural initiatives  for the improvement of the Hijab. If there is proper planning and definitive action, and there is a lack of severity, then things will naturally improve and become better’.


We have to understand that using violence and severe actions against a lack of proper Hijab will not yield the necessary results. Cultural initiatives and verbal reminders are one of the best methods in regards to this issue. All praise is due to Allah that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, the parliament (Majlis), and other institutions are similarly working this issue from this specific angle.  We should never become negligent in regards to the cultural aspects of modesty and the Hijab, since the Hijab is in reality a symbol that represents Islam.  We must ask ourselves why the issues of the Hijab and greater modesty are on the wane. We must re-search and analyze the factors behind this issue and see what is preventing the full realization of this important precept.


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has further stated: The Hijab is a veritable culture in and of itself. We must expand this culture of Hijab throughout the society. During the past times, the Hijab wasn’t something which was focused upon very much by the West but today, it  is considered as a symbol which is the gateway to Islam. This is gone to the point where countries such as France cannot tolerate it any longer and they fear it greatly.  


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned the following in regards to the dangers posed by a lack of Hijab: If, God forbid, a day comes when they are successful in taking away the people’s Hijab, then in my opinion, half of our Islamic system will be in danger. It is necessary for us to focus and invest greatly in regards to this issue.

 

7.    Hijab as a guarantee of social security:

According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, observing the Islamic Hijab is a guarantee of greater social security within the broaders of an Islamic society.

 

8.    Observing the Hijab as a way of propagating Shia Islam:

According to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī, observing the Hijab and other general aspects of modesty by women is a great form of propagating Shia Islam. He has mentioned that: During my first trips to the Ḥajj pilgrimage, the women would observe their Hijabs in a very good fashion. During that time, the Sunni scholars in Arabia would tell their followers that they should observe the Hijab just like the Iranians. Right now though, the issue has reversed itself and the scholars instead tell their followers that they should be careful not to be negatively influenced by the Iranian women. The Ḥajj organizers and scholars must use the best methods in upholding the Hijab and other forms of general modesty in their respective caravans.


Conclusion


The enemies of the Islamic Revolution believe that  by preventing the Hijab, they will deliver a great blow to  the Islamic system. We, on the other hand, believe that if we can bolster the Hijab and prevent a lack of Hijab, then we have strengthened the system.  The Hijab is designed as a means of protecting the honor of women, preventing the rise of many forms of corruption in the society, as well as protecting the youth from various deviancies. Just like the wearing of clothing in general has nothing to do with the freedom of both men and women, similarly, the Hijab does not restrict the freedom of women either. In the Quran, Allah has explained that observing the Hijab and being modest in general cause the purification of the heart and they prevents the insinuations of Satan and one’s carnal desires from having effect.

 

1175 Visits: 2016/10/27 Published on:
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HAJJ PILGRIMAGE FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The Ḥajj pilgrimage is considered as a great act of worship in the Islamic religion and it is in fact one of the greatest symbols of our faith. It is also considered to be an act which can allow someone to gain proximity towards Allah. Just like other acts of worship, the Ḥajj pilgrimage also possesses many blessings and positive effects both on a personal and social level. If this pilgrimage is fulfilled according to all of its various conditions and its various blessings are utilized in the proper way, then it can become a yearly source of progress and change in the Islamic society.


From this perspective, it is necessary that we delve into the various key aspects of this great pilgrimage towards a better understanding through the viewpoints and lessons offered to us by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī. We can utilize this opportunity in understanding the various different facets of the Ḥajj pilgrimage to help us better understand the holistic message of this great act of worship.


A Reflection on the Essential Nature of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    The Ḥajj Pilgrimage as the Greatest Pillar of Islam:


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the essential nature of the Ḥajj pilgrimage as follows: From the Shia point of view, the Ḥajj pilgrimage is one of the most important pillars of the Islamic faith.  The Ḥajj is in reality a type of Jihād that relates to one’s body and one’s wealth; it is, in fact, a spiritual Jihād. It can also be said that Jihād is also a type of Ḥajj as well and these two possess a close relationship to one another.


2.    The Conditions for the Ḥajj to Become Obligatory


Similarly, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the conditions which make the pilgrimage obligatory upon the Muslims. He has said in this regard: If the general conditions of the pilgrimage, such as having reached the age of religious maturity (puberty) and having a sound mind, exist, as well as the more individual conditions, such as being financially capable of going on the Hajj pilgrimage, having a means of getting there, and being healthy enough to undertake the journey are there, then it becomes obligatory for every Muslim to undertake this journey once in their lives. It is necessary to mention that this pilgrimage becomes obligatory immediately when these conditions exist and one cannot put it off even for a single year.


3.    The Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a Symbol of Equality amongst the Servants of Allah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue by mentioning: The Ḥajj pilgrimage is a collective act of worship which is performed by the Muslims and it is first begun by wearing two pieces of very simple cloth. These two pieces of cloth are worn by all of the pilgrims and it is a sign of the equality of these individuals before Allah (swt), even if they enjoy different social positions or amounts of wealth in their day to day lives. The Ḥajj pilgrimage is a symbolic way for the representation of one of the greatest human hopes and aspirations: that one day all human beings reach an understanding where they discard all of the factors such as race, wealth, social position, or language which may mistakenly, be considered as sources of superiority over others. This will be a day when all human beings truly come to believe that all of them are equal before Allah (swt). The Ḥajj pilgrimage consists of acts of worship which cause people to understand that they are not different from one another and things such as race, wealth, or social position are of no real importance before their Lord.


4.    Understanding the Roots of the Abrahamic Ḥajj Pilgrimage


The Ḥajj pilgrimage is in fact a type of great immigration. It is the best opportunity for self-purification and fighting against one’s carnal desires.  The Ḥajj pilgrimage is an act of worship which is intertwined with the memories of the struggles of Abraham (ʿa), his son Ismāʾīl, and his wife Hājar. If we are negligent in regards to secrets of the Ḥajj, then we will fail to properly understand many of the acts which take place within it. Indeed, the key to properly understand the Ḥajj is to understand the philosophy and roots of many of its acts.


For example, when we arrive at the place of sacrifice in Minā, we remember the story of Abraham (ʿa) who was ready to sacrifice his own son in the way of Allah (swt). It was after this great sacrifice that sacrificing an animal at Minā became a tradition. When we go to the Jamarāt (the three columns where the pilgrims throw stones), we remember the struggle of Abraham (ʿa) against the whispers and insinuations of Satan who approached him three times. Satan desired to break Abraham (ʿa)’s will in obeying the orders of Allah (swt) in this place but each time the Satan approached him, Abraham (ʿa) would stone him and drive him away.


When we approach Ṣafā and Marwah, we see throngs of people running back and forth from one small mountain to the other seven times without ever gaining anything. Sometimes they run, while other times they walk. When we go back to the roots of this ritual, we remember that it is based on the actions of Hājar, who ran back and forth between those two mountains in that dry desert seeking some water for her suckling child, Ismāʿīl. Her struggles in this path eventually took her to the well of Zamzam which began to bubble under the feet of her infant child.


As the pilgrims are running back and forth, their imagination can take them back through time in order to see the struggles which were taking place for the sake of Allah (swt). When we understand this historical event, we come to understand that nothing of value in this world is gained easily and the path to Allah is one which possesses great struggle and effort. No one will reach a high state of spirituality without struggling hard for it.


It is in light of these lessons that we understand that the Ḥajj pilgrimage must be performed with full knowledge of the background of its various components and acts of worship. It is through such means that we can understand the deeper philosophy of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and indeed the philosophy behind all of the acts of worship in Islam. It is here too that the deeper moral and spiritual effects will come into play for the pilgrims; without these deeper realities, the Ḥajj can be nothing more than a series of ordinary physical actions.


5.    An Introduction to the Implications of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage for the Interpretation of the Quran


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that: Allah the Almighty has detailed the rules of the Ḥajj pilgrimage in the Quran (Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 197). These are as follows-

1.    The Quran has mentioned that the Ḥajj must be performed in certain specified months, meaning the months of Shawwāl, Dhī al-Qaʿdah, and Dhī al-Ḥijjah.


2.    The second point relates to those who have begun their Ḥajj by wearing the Iḥrām (the specific clothing of the pilgrims). The verse has stated that those who are performing the Ḥajj and have worn the Iḥrām should know that they must refrain from sexual inter-course, sin, or disputation during the course of the pilgrimage. This is due to the fact that, the environment of the Ḥajj pilgrimage must be kept free from sexual pleasure, as well as various sins or useless arguments. The pilgrimage is a place where the human soul must rise up, moving to higher spiritual realms. At the same time, the Ḥajj pilgrimage must turn into an environment for the promotion of brotherhood and unity amongst all the Muslims. Anything which goes against this spirit is disallowed.


3.    There are also various spiritual points related to the Ḥajj in relation to one’s sincerity and pure intentions. The Quran has stated that Allah (swt) knows the good actions which we perform. This is something which is important for us to know, for if Allah (swt) sees our actions, they will never be lost.  It has also been mentioned that we should ‘stock up’ on our otherwortly provisions and that the best of these provisions is piety. Those who possess sound intellects must fear Allah and practice piety. The Ḥajj pilgrimage is a very good opportunity for ‘stocking up’ on these spiritual provisions. We must be aware of this issue, for those who are aware have the potential of gaining an entire lifetime of spiritual provisions during the course of this pilgrimage.  It is evident that the existence of these various facets of the Ḥajj pilgrimage is something which is undeniable. A profound reflection on these various facets can help to gain further knowledge and understanding in relation to the inner reality of our acts of worship. This issue can also help us to better understand the various aspects of society, politics, culture, morality, and even economics.


Various Devotional Aspects in the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    Strengthening the Foundations of Piety and Sincerity


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the various devotional aspects of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and he has mentioned how its primary aspects relate to training and controlling the carnal desires, moral training, and strengthening the foundations of one’s level of piety. He has stated in this regard that: A quick glance at the moral and devotional aspects of the Ḥajj reveals that the most important philosophy of this pilgrimage relates to controlling the carnal desires, moral training, and strengthening one’s level of piety and sincerity.


There are well-known traditions which state that one who performs the Ḥajj pilgrimage with sincerity, proper attention, and abides by its various secrets and with the proper manners will be purified of his sins just like the day that he was first born.  In essence, the Ḥajj pilgrimage can potentially act as a means of purifying one’s body and soul, even if these sins were the results of an entire lifetime of error and deviation. This is one of the biggest benefits of the Ḥajj for the pilgrims who visit the House of Allah (swt) in Mecca.


2.    The Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a New Birth


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the Ḥajj pilgrimage as a type of new birth for the pious believers. He has stated in this regard that: Every step which the believers take is a step towards Allah (swt); they see their Lord present in every place. There is no doubt that the Ḥajj pilgrimage is a new birth for them! Those who comprehend the Ḥajj with their entire fiber of existence will feel its spiritual effects until the very end of their lives. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Ḥajj has been considered obligatory once in each person’s life.


This is particularly true when we consider that the Ḥajj pilgrimage is a remembrance of the actions of Prophet Abraham (ʿa), Prophet Ismāʿīl, and his mother Hājar. It is a remembrance of their struggles and self-sacrifice. The pilgrimage is also a remembrance of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) and the Infallible Imams (ʿa), as well as the struggles of the early Muslims. When we perform the Ḥajj in light of this reality, each of its rituals takes on a deeper meaning and the potential for a higher level of spirituality increases.


The various parts of the city of Mecca and each corner of the Holy Shrine hold the echoes of the Prophet’s (ṣ) footsteps; they hold the echoes of Imam ʿAlī’s (ʿa) footsteps. This is a place of living history for us. All of these elements come together and they prepare our souls for a spiritual revolution. People are reborn on this journey and their lives are completely changed for the better.


The Moral Implications of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    A Moral Revolution


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has mentioned that one the important aspects of the Ḥajj is the moral revolution which takes place for the pilgrims who go there. For instance, entering the state of Iḥrām completely takes away all vestiges of social rank, wealth, and status which a person may have enjoyed in their day to day lives. The colorful clothes which distinguish people from one another are shorn, and two pieces of cloth (two towels in fact) are worn. All jewelry is taken off and even the application of perfume is forbidden.


Every element which distinguishes people from a worldly perspective is taken away and the individual is left with the sole goal of self-purification and spiritual development. The pilgrim is transported into a realm of light and spirituality. The people who were previously burdened with social rank and all of such trappings of life suddenly find themselves lightened and free. The Ḥajj takes away the clothing of arrogance and selfishness from the human being and it instead teaches them lessons in humility, sincerity, and meekness.


2.    Combatting the Evil-prompting Self


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has then explained the moral effects of the Ḥajj pilgrimage by stating: Certainly, the Ḥajj is designed as a means for people to further combat their evil-prompting self. If this pilgrimage entailed ease and comfort, then these effects would be lessened but the more difficulties that are endured on such a journey, the greater the spiritual effects. When we look at the city of Mecca, we find it to be a dry and barren place without anything physically beautiful to look at. It is unlikely that anyone would go there for rest or leisure. This is in reality one of the secrets behind the Ḥajj, for this environment actually enhances the spiritual effects of the journey.


The Political Implications of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    The Unity of the Muslim Ummah as a Key Implication of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


Strengthening the level of unity amongst the Muslims is without any doubt a matter of the utmost importance. Indeed the Ḥajj pilgrimage possesses this political potential of uniting the Muslim community worldwide; such unity will entail many great blessings. In light of this issue, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has considered unity to be one of the key elements in the Ḥajj pilgrimage. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has stated in this regard that: The spirit of worship involves focusing on Allah (swt) and the spirit of politics involves focusing on the servants of Allah (swt). These two elements are so intertwined in the Ḥajj pilgrimage that they cannot be separated from one another. The reality is that the Ḥajj is an effective means for the promotion of unity amongst the Muslims (and this is an essential political issue).


The Ḥajj is a means of combatting the national and ethnic prejudices which can arise amongst people. It is a means of combatting the idea that the only people who matter are those in one’s geographic location.  In various traditions, the Ḥajj has been considered as a type of great struggle for the weak and the feeble. It is a struggle that even the elderly can participate in and in turn, reflect the greatness of the Muslim nation. When one sees the successive lines of the people praying in Mecca, one realizes how powerful the Muslims truly are in their unity and oneness of purpose.  This is a scene which strikes terror into the hearts of the enemies of Islam.  
2.    The Yearly Gathering of the Ḥajj as the Greatest Gathering of the Muslim  Ummah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has likened the Ḥajj pilgrimage with a great gathering of various segments of the Muslim nation. He has explained the end results of such a massive gathering by stating: The creator of Islam, through the determination of various politically oriented rules and the invitation of the Muslims to attend a mass gathering in Mecca, has created a system which guarantees that the religion will remain forever. There is no doubt that this yearly gathering has effects which are greater than the typical gatherings of political parties around the world.


During the modern era, political parties have just begun to realize the importance of such mass gatherings, while the religion of Islam created this system fourteen centuries ago. The Islamic thinkers, who will naturally attend the Ḥajj pilgrimage, will be able to look into the latest developments and changes within the various parts of the Muslim world. They will have very precise information which is only available due to the blessings of this massive gathering which is like no other. They can utilize this detailed information in order to fix the various issues which the Muslims may be facing. This can play a very vital role in the progress of the Muslim nation and it can help in certain specific situations such as independence movements.


What gathering is more beneficial than one where the various segments of a group convene, and where the leaders are able to tap into this phenomenon and utilize it in better understanding what is happening all around the world.  The yearly Ḥajj pilgrimage also acts as a place of inspiration for many of the freedom movements around the Muslim world. In this capacity, the pilgrimage serves as a means for the oppressed to break free of the shackles of oppression and tyranny.


One can clearly see this facet of the Ḥajj reflected in the pages of history. The seed of many Islamic revolutions has been first planted at this yearly gathering and many unjust governments have been toppled from the maturation of this very seed. This pilgrimage can be seen as a major focal point for these various freedom movements.  The annual Ḥajj pilgrimage in reality strengthens the foundations of Islam and it gives the Muslims power and an enhanced ability in various intellectual, cultural, military, and political arenas.  


3.    The Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a Source of Honor for the Muslim Ummah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained how the Ḥajj pilgrimage serves as a source of great honor for the Muslim Ummah. He has stated in this regard that: The Ḥajj, if performed the way that Islam has called for… will bring about great honor for the Muslims and it will strengthen the foundations of the religion and bring about unity. It will serve as a source of great power against the machinations of the enemy. This divine and grand gathering, which takes place alongside the House of Allah each year, is the best opportunity for the Muslims to replenish their strength and strengthen the foundations of their brotherhood. It serves as a great opportunity to neutralize the plots of the enemies of Islam.


4.    The Ḥajj as a Key Element in Combatting the Oppressive Superpowers


After the blessing of unity and the realization of greater honor for the Muslim nation, the Ḥajj pilgrimage also has an implication for combatting the oppressive superpowers and their tyranny. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue by stating that: The Ḥajj is a means of breaking the censorship and media blackout covering up the crimes and true reality of the oppressive powers and their encroachment on the resources and destiny of the Muslim nations.  The Ḥajj is a means of spreading political news throughout the Muslim nation and so it serves as an effective means for breaking free of the chains of colonialism and slavery, and allowing the Muslims to gain their freedom.[1]


It is in light of this reality that Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) has explained the philosophy of the Ḥajj pilgrimage by stating that: ‘The Ḥajj strengthens the religion.’  A well-known non Muslim politician is also known to have said: Woe upon the Muslims if they fail to understand the meaning of the Ḥajj, and woe upon their enemies if the Muslims understand the meaning of the Ḥajj.  There is no doubt that a gathering of this size is something extraordinary in our world. It is unfortunate that the Muslims have not yet fully understood the power which lies within the Ḥajj pilgrimage; if they realized this power, they could serve the cause of Islam every year and strike the hardest of blows against the disbelievers.


The Economic Implications of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    The Ḥajj and the Necessity of a Combined Economy amongst the Muslims


The strengthening of the economic foundations of the Muslim Ummah is one of the key elements which can bring greater power and honor to them overall. From this perspective, the great gathering at the Ḥajj pilgrimage has a very important role to play in regards to the economic situation of the Muslims. One prerequisite to this issue is that the Muslim nations must first possess the necessary wisdom and understanding to enact various policies in this regard. Unfortunately, thus far, many Muslim nations have failed to understand the economic implications of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and they remain negligent towards this reality.


Examing this issue and its various subtle aspects, Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzīhas stated: Contrary to what some people may think, utilizing the gathering of the Ḥajj as a means to strengthen the economic foundations of the Muslim Ummah is not in contrast with the spirit of this act of worship. In fact, this is one of the things which has been mentioned as a philosophy behind the establishment of the Ḥajj pilgrimage.  Thus, there is no problem with the Muslims coming together at the Ḥajj and establishing various joint economic ventures; the benefit of such ventures will belong to the Muslims alone and their money will not go into the pockets of their enemies.


This has nothing to do with worldliness, as some may assume; in reality, it has everything to do with the essence of worshipping Allah (swt) and struggling against the enemies of the religion.[2]  As it was discussed above, the economic philosophy of the Ḥajj pilgrimage has been mentioned in the Islamic traditions and so the Ḥajj should serve as a platform for greater economic cooperation amongst the Muslims in resolving their various financial problems.


2.    The Great Gathering of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a Means of Strengthening the General Economic Situation of the Muslim Ummah


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has emphasized the necessity of holding economic meetings with various Islamic countries. He has mentioned how important it is to exchange ideas and he has stated: In the Islamic traditions, the economic philosophy of the Ḥajj has been mentioned as one of its goals. Some people may ask in this regard what the Ḥajj has to do with economic issues. Considering that the biggest problem of the Muslims today is their economic dependence on the enemies of Islam many solutions to this problem can be found through utilizing the Ḥajj in order to hold various gatherings where the economic minds can get together and brainstorm various ideas and solutions. Through such means, the Muslims can be freed from the economic domination of the foreigners. The importance of this issue is not hidden from anyone.


In this way, the journey of the Muslims from various parts of the world to the House of Allah and their participation in this grand gathering can pave the way for a general economic movement. The economic experts of the Muslim world can utilize this opportunity to sit down together either during the Ḥajj itself or before or after and devise various plans in order to create a powerful economic system which will make them needless of the enemies of Islam.  In reali-ty, the creation of a powerful joint economic system amongst the Muslims will serve as a power tool for strengthening the Muslim community against their enemies.


No nation can become fully independent without a healthy and powerful economy. There is also no doubt that this economic activity should take place under the banner of the Ḥajj pilgrimage and it should not overshadow the pilgrimage itself. Fortunately, the Muslims have sufficient time both before and after performing the Ḥajj where they can brainstorm the implementation of various economic goals.[3]


The most dangerous problem which the Muslims face today is their economic dependence upon the foreigners. What problem can it entail if the Muslims perform their Ḥajj rituals and then hold various economic conferences and seminars? This would not only be an act of worship but it would also save the Muslims from the deprivations of poverty and their dependence upon the enemies of Islam. The economic experts can gather together and create constructive plans which will help the Muslim world greatly. This cannot be considered as a worldly or materialistic activity; it is rather a necessary effort which will strengthen the Muslim world as a whole and save them from poverty. It should be considered as a great service per-formed for the sake of Islam and the Muslims.


The Social Implications of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage


1.    The Function of the Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a Negation of Secular Islam and an Emphasis Placed on the Pure and Genuine Islam


One of the great blessings of the Ḥajj pilgrimage is its role in strengthening the social fabric of the Muslim world. This great gathering plays a powerful role in cementing the Muslims of various nations to one another and it helps to foster a set of common values and goals. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained this issue further by stating: Islamic acts of worship such as the Ḥajj pilgrimage possess various secrets which help benefit the worshipper, as well as the worshipper’s society overall.


The Ḥajj is even more comprehensive than the other acts of worship in respect to its social components  and it shows the people that Islam is a social religion at heart. When we are faced with such a reality within the teachings of the religion, we come to the conclusion that the individual is a part of his society and he must integrate himself within it. In light of this reality, we know that it is wrong to think that worship at home is better than worship with the congregation. Some people wrongly assume that if they stay in their homes for prayer, they can concentrate better and that their prayer is superior to the congregational prayer.


The Islamic teachings (including such acts as the Ḥajj pilgrimage) show us that this is an incorrect manner of thought. It is even evident in the grammar used in the sentences of our prayers that they are meant to be performed with the congregation as a whole and not individually. For example, when we look at the verses of Surah al-fāṭihah, we find that one verse states: ‘You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help’. This verse uses the term we and it doesn’t say I. Another verse in the same chapter states: ‘Guide us to the straight path’.  Again, this verse uses the term ‘us’ and this shows us the social nature of our religion.


2.    The Ḥajj Pilgrimage as a Means of Reconciling the Hearts of the Muslims with one Another


Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has explained the valuable end results of the Ḥajj in relation to bringing together the various segments of the Muslim world and resolving any problems which they may have with one another. Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī has made the following remarks in this regard: Social issues are considered to be so important in Islam that anything which helps foster unity and reconciliation amongst the Muslims is considered to be a desirable thing. At the same time, whatever brings about conflict and disunity amongst the Muslims is something which is detested. Islam considers reconciling the Muslims and helping to resolve disputes amongst them as so important that it has been likened to fighting for the cause of Allah (swt) on the first line of the fighters.


In light of the teachings of Islam in regards to unity and the power of the congregation, it is clear that the religion considers that the congregation is foremost in importance. The individual is trained and educated within the heart of the congregation and this is why many of the acts of worship in Islam are congregational rather than individual in nature.


Similarly, the spirit of the Ḥajj pilgrimage is also social in nature and anything which might undermine this congregation is detested in our religion. This includes things such as spreading rumors, backbiting, slander, and cutting off relations; these are all considered to be great sins in Islam. At the same time, reconciling the believers, working with others, and meeting the needs of the people are considered to be some of the most beloved of actions in Islam.


A Final Word


In conclusion, it should be said that while we must focus on the outer aspects of worship, we must also focus on the spirit which drives these acts as well. The people who only focus on the outer aspects of worship and are negligent in regards to their spirit are in error. Such people will not only miss the secrets related to the spirit of worship, but they will also miss out on various aspects of the outer realities of worship as well. The outer reality of the Ḥajj includes things such as the Iḥrām, the ritual stay at ʿArafāt and Mashʿar, the rituals of Minā, the circumambulation, the Saʿi (ritual running), the Ḥalq (ritual head-shave), the Taqṣīr, and other such things.


Yet the spirit of the Ḥajj relates to how the pilgrim becomes a new individual when he has finished these rites; in reality, a total transformation has taken place. The reality of the Ḥajj is not that someone goes to the pilgrimage, performs a set of physical acts, and then buys souvenirs to take back to his family. The spirit of the Ḥajj creates a complete change in the spirit of human beings. The pilgrim sees the places which still hold the echoes of the Prophet’s (ṣ) footsteps.


The pilgrim sees the living history of Islam in the cities of Mecca and Medina. The pilgrim is transported into the very history of Islam and they see the realities of these holy places with the eyes of their heart. They see how the Prophet (ṣ) began his transformative revolution while he was only supported by his wife Lady Khadījah (a) and Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). The pilgrims sees how the enemies of the Prophet (ṣ) had all lined up in opposition to him and how the Prophet (ṣ) chose the pleasure of his Lord and stood up against the enmity of polytheists. These are all living realities which one can witness in these holy places.


In order for one to realize the true realities of the spirit of the Ḥajj, one must stay away from the allure of the worldly things, including the souvenirs which so often pull the pilgrims towards them and away from the spiritual aspects of the pilgrimage. One must be wary of the bazaars and marketplaces which may tempt the pilgrim. Unfortunately, we find that some pilgrims busy themselves in such mundane matters and they even end up purchasing things which can be found in our own market. It is not as if they are purchasing something which is rare and cannot be found back home. We must strive to fix this incorrect culture and not allow the Ḥajj pilgrimage to be overshadowed by such unimportant things.

 

914 Visits: 2016/10/27 Published on:
THE STRATEGIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE YEARLY ARBAEEN PROCESSIONS BY GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

From the past times all the way until today, the Shias have utilized every opportunity to visit Karbala on the day of Arbaʿīn in order to visit the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). They would gather around this blessed shrine with deep emotions and sincerity, while paying their respects to the Master of Martyrs. During the past several years in particular, millions of people commemorate in Karbala every year, the greatest martyr of all time.  


Indeed, the ceremonies held on Arbaʿīn are one of the noblest traditions of the religion of Islam. These ceremonies have deep roots within the religion itself and they were handed down to us from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) themselves. In spite of all the years which have passed since the great uprising of Karbala, perhaps it is still too soon for us to truly understand the profound reality of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa)’s sacrifice.


From this particular perspective, the Arbaʿīn processions are a commemoration of the great role of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) in reviving the religion of Islam and ensuring its permenance.  When we look at the supplication of Arbaʿīn, we find that it is a supplication which has only been narrated for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and nothing like it exists for anyone else. This shows us that the movement of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was something unique and like no other.


Without any doubt, the attraction which the Arbaʿīn ceremonies hold is so great that every year, many people congregate in Karbala to participate in them. During the past few years, these ceremonies have reached the point where they have turned into the largest congregational gatherings in human history thus far. It is interesting to note that people oftentimes walk to Karbala on foot, attempting to recreate some of the difficulties which their Imam (ʿa) underwent. They do all of these things in spite of the very real dangers which they face in Iraq due to the instability which the country is currently in.


The pilgrims leave these concerns behind and they gather from Najaf, as well as other points in Iraq, and walk towards Karbala some even walk barefoot, leaving aside their shoes. In Karbala, the environment soon becomes thick with various groups of people each mourning in their own way; we must work hard to preserve this valuable cultural and religious phenomenon.  Let us now make use of the valuable viewpoints of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī in order to better understand the strategic characteristics related to the yearly Arbaʿīn procession which takes place both in Karbala, as well as in virtually every city all around the world.


Understanding the Essential Philosophy of the Pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn


It is worth mentioning that one of the important customs of the twentieth day of Ṣafar, (which is the day of Arbaʿīn) is the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn made to the holy shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).  Imam al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī (ʿa) has been quoted as calling this pilgrimage as one of the signs of true believers. We have even been given a special supplication for this day by Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa).  The late ʿAllāmah Majlisī has written the following in his Zād al-Maʿād with regard to the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn: “One of the reasons behind the great importance placed on visiting the Imam (a)’s tomb on this day might be the fact that Jābir, who was one of the great companions of the Prophet (s), established this custom. There may also be other aspects to this supplication which are yet hidden to us.[1]


 Yet, it seems quite unlikely that the reason behind the great emphasis placed on the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn by the Infallible Imams (a) be merely because Jābir ibn Abdullah al-Ansārī visited Karbala on the day of Arbaʿīn. This is particularly true considering the fact that we have been instructed by the Infallibles to make the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn only for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and we have not been instructed to make such a pilgrimage for any of the other infallibles.   The true reason behind the emphasis placed on the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn, however, can be found in the remarks of the great scholar Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī who said the following in this regard[2]: “On the twentieth day of Ṣafar, the pure head of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was returned to his body and buried. It is on this same day that the pilgrimage of Arbaʿīn must be made”.  Similarly, ʿAllāmah Majlisī has mentioned in his Zād al-Maʿād that: “The stronger opinion concerning the reason why visiting the shrine of the Imam (a) on this day has been so greatly emphasized is that it was on this day that Imam Zayn al-ʿAbidīn returned to Karbala along with the rest of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) on their return journey from Syria. They had brought back the heads of the martyrs and they buried them alongside with their bodies”.[3]


Therefore, this visitation became a tradition (Sunnah) after the head of the Imam (ʿa) was joined and buried with his body on the twentieth of the month of Ṣafar. Therefore, considering the fact that, unlike special days of the year such as Thursday nights, the Nights of Destiny (Lailat al-raghāib), the day of Arafah, and the Eids of Fitr and Adhḥā, the twentieth of the month of Ṣafar does not hold any distinctive privilege over other days it is clear that the significance of this day lies in a special event which happened in it. Obviously then, the twentieth day of Ṣafar is considered to be of great significance because it was the day that the head of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) (as well as the other martyrs) was returned to Karbala and buried there next to his body. This is in essence the philosophy behind the pilgrimage to Karbala on the twentieth of Ṣafar.


The Importance of the Arbaʿīn Processions according to Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī


Some people may wonder that since we have all these different modern day means of transportation, why would a large number of pilgrims make the decision to walk on foot towards the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) in Karbala on the day of Arbaʿīn?  The answer to this is that walking on foot on the day of Arbaʿīn towards the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) is an expression of the greatness of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). In addition, this action of walking during a pilgrimage has been recommended by the infallible Imams (a). It has particularly been emphasized during the pilgrimages to the shrines of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and Imam al-Riḍā (ʿa).  The Infallible Imams (ʿa) would themselves travel on foot from Medina to Mecca. Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) is recorded to have walked twenty five times in visiting the Holy Ka’bah.


An important point which is found in the life history of the Imams (ʿa) is that during these journeys which they would make on foot, they would also bring mounts with them so that if they were affected by weakness during the journey, they could make use of the mounts and continue their journey. This shows that the key element in taking along a mount during these journeys was to show that they were not walking because they lacked a horse or a camel to travel on; they walked on these journeys as an expression of honoring the place they were traveling towards. This includes places such as the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).  When people walk towards Karbala during Arbaʿīn processions, they are in essence expressing the greatness of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and his lofty rank before Allah (swt).


Similarly, when we wish to understand the other facets of the importance of walking during the pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), it can also be said that walking during such a journey has effects which a normal pilgrimage via bus or car does not have. A person who is walking towards their Imam (ʿa) will have a completely different spiritual and emotional state than someone who is traveling there using ordinary means. This is something which can only be understood by experiencing it and one who has not experienced it personally may have a hard time understanding it.


There is no doubt that visiting the shrine of the Imams (ʿa) entails many blessings and is of tremendous value. In a regular pilgrimage, one can spend two, three, or even four days visiting their Imam (ʿa). Such a journey will naturally take place faster and there will be less memories associated with such a trip. Yet an individual who walks towards the shrine of their Imam (ʿa) will experience so many unique things that they will have enough memories for an entire lifetime. Walking towards the shrine of one’s Imam (ʿa) is in reality a type of self-building.


Even beyond the discussions which take place during the daytimes of this journey, the pilgrims end up staying at various places along the way and they end up having many valuable discussions during the nights as well.  When I myself had the honor of studying in Najaf, the students, scholars, and religious authorities would all walk to Karbala on foot during various special days, both during Arbaʿīn, as well as other times. We would walk barefoot on these journeys and even if the thorns cut deeply into our feet, we did not mind the pain and continued on.


The Arbaʿīn Ceremonies Held in Commemoration of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) as an International Sign of the Greatness of the Shia School of Thought and its Teachings


It must be acknowledged that the revolt of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and the events of Karbala draw more attention as every year goes by. Karbala is something which never seems to grow old and it is something which is never forgotten. The yearly commemoration of Arbaʿīn takes place in a way where it grows in scope greatness without any type of advertisement.  It can even be said that the crowds which gather for this commemoration are larger in size than those which congregate for the Ḥajj pilgrimage. This shows the greatness of this path whereby the people move towards Allah (swt).


The number of people who gather in Karbala during Arbaʿīn is even greater in number than during Ashura. A great number of pilgrims move towards Karbala on foot and one can find a number of old men, women, and children amongst them. These people suffer the difficulties of the long journey for the sake of their love for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). It is, in fact, their love the holy family of the Prophet (ṣ) that brings them on this journey. As for these individuals who undertake such a difficult journey, there are numerous blessings and benefits which they receive as a result of their efforts.


Thus, the Arbaʿīn ceremonies held in commemoration of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) are in reality an event which is unique amongst events all throughout the world. The Arbaʿīn processions held for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) are something which Allah (swt) has given to the Shias in order that the greatness of the faith is shown to the entire world.  We should be thankful for this opportunity for Ashura is a means of standing up against the enemies and it is something which shows the greatness of the Shia school of thought all throughout the world.


The type of progress that we see in relation to Arbaʿīn shows us that there is something pushing this phenomenon forward without any advertisement or propagation. The reality is that Arbaʿīn has been transformed into a great investment which has no equal in this world and it is something which the Shias have in their hands. Therefore, we should not pass by this issue easily and we should realize its true value and utilize it properly.


The Greatness of the Arbaʿīn Procession under the Shadow of the Fear of Wahhabi Terrorism


It is evident that when the Takfīrī terrorists and their supporters from various Arab countries, as well as the West, ended up being defeated in Syria, they decided to make up for their loses in Iraq.  In spite of this, not much time passed when the Iraqi nation, composed of both Sunnis and Shias, stood up against these Takfīrī terrorists and began to fight them.  These Takfīrīs should know that there are millions upon millions of individuals from various other countries who come to Iraq during every Arbaʿīn, and if necessary, these people will join the Iraqi forces in fighting them.


The Muslim youth (both Sunni and Shia) must preserve their level of preparation and readiness so that if their help is requested by the Iraqi government, they can go and help fight against these terrorist groups.  In reality, the Shias are utilizing the great procession of Arbaʿīn as a show of force against the enemies, and they will end up defeating them.  Without any doubt, such a great movement puts a great deal of fear and terror into the hearts of the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) and those of the religion. Those who wish to do evil and destruction have understood as a result of this movement that they cannot remove the love of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) from the hearts of the people.


The Procession of Arbaʿīn and it’s Great Potential for Achieving the Cultural Goals of Islam


Without any doubt, we must utilize the great procession of Arbaʿīn with all of its various potentials. This means that in addition to the basic things which are done during this commemoration, we must also engage in various positive and effective cultural works.  We must work hard in improving everything, including the aspects which serve the pilgrim’s needs.  Since serving the pilgrims of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) is in reality a service to Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), we must work towards creating various cultural and educational waves of improvement. Unfortunately, there are some people who go on these pilgrimages, but they do not pray their daily prayers.  In light of this issue, we must fulfill the obligatory duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil during these journeys. We must do our part to spread the positive teachings of the religion amongst the participants who are walking towards Karbala. Placing posters in regards to the prayers or to the Ḥijāb (the Muslim head cover), as well as doing other things, will bring about many valuable cultural effects amongst the Arbaʿīn pilgrims of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).


Strengthening the Shia School of Thought through the Propagation of the Arbaʿīn Pro-cession


It is clear that the ceremonies of Arbaʿīn held in commemoration of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) are much like a treasure of which more and more is discovered every single year. We must know how valuable this treasure really is and we must tell the world about it as well. The whole world must know about this great gathering of Arbaʿīn and that it is a homage paid to the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) by those who truly love them. This yearly gathering is of vital importance as it will help further establish and strengthen the Shia school of thought.  The yearly processions of Arbaʿīn inject fresh blood into the Shia body worldwide and it is clear to the whole world that a gathering of such magnitude is something unique and without precedent.


Such unique characteristics of the Arbaʿīn processions held in honor of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) will attract the attention of the people of the world and so they constitute one of the best ways to propagate the Shia school of thought, as well as the religion of Islam overall. From this perspective, the Arbaʿīn procession should be viewed as one of the strategic means through which Islam can be propagated.


The Necessity of Organizing and Managing the Arbaʿīn Procession


Every year, over twenty million pilgrims participate in the Arbaʿīn processions in Iraq without any major issues or problems. However, the Saudi government has not been able to guarantee the safety and security of just two million Ḥajj pilgrims. There is no doubt that the enemies are busy plotting of a way to harm and disrupt the Arbaʿīn processions; these plots have only grown thicker after the tragedy which took place in Minā this past year. The enemies desire to undermine the Arbaʿīn procession or at least make it less attractive to the pilgrims. One of their goals is to mix various superstitions into the procession so that its greatness will be lessened and the security and organization of the Shias as a whole is placed under question.


Due to this reason, we must realize that the Arbaʿīn procession is a great treasure and it must be utilized in the correct manner. We must also reflect upon the various security issues per-taining to it. The pilgrims must clear the paths after they have performed their pilgrimage so that the roads become less crowded and pose less of a danger to the people. They must also be aware and vigilant to the destructive activities of the enemies and this is a very important issue.


Similarly, the pilgrims of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) must adopt an attitude of patience and forbearance so that they do not annoy others with their actions.  Those who are in charge of organizing this great event must also manage the Arbaʿīn procession properly and in the best manner. If they fail to do this, and certain issues come up with the coming and going of the pil-grims, then very serious problems will come about.  There is no doubt that serving in the cause of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) on the Arbaʿīn procession is a great honor regardless of their social sta-tus, scientific standing or power.


A Final Word


In conclusion, it must be said that when I (Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī) see the moving scenes (on television) of all the pilgrims walking (towards Karbala) with bare feet, accompanied with their small children or even infants, I wish that I also could be present with them.  How I wish that I could also participate in this path in spite of my advanced age.  When we look at the history of the Arbaʿīn procession, we see that it began with just two people during that first year but it has now grown to millions of pilgrims. This is a sign of the power and greatness of one who connects himself with Allah (swt). When such a person connects himself so closely to Allah (swt), the youth of various nations are willing to journey towards them in spite of the many dangers and difficulties which they face.  


This also shows that the Arbaʿīn procession will continue to grow in greatness in the years to come.  From this perspective, the documentaries which are made in regards to this procession should be collected so that they will serve as a record for the Shia school of thought throughout future history. Chronicling the realities of the Arbaʿīn procession is a truly important matter.  Therefore, it is better if all of the various facets of the greatness of this procession are recorded using all means available to us. If this is done, then the Arbaʿīn procession will be solidly recorded for the future generations.  


Using modern day methods and technology such as various cameras (both still cameras, as well as video cameras)… this can be performed in the best manner possible.  Also, we must be careful that certain people do not begin various religions innovations or incorrect actions which will take away from the greatness of the Arbaʿīn procession.  The Arbaʿīn procession and the pilgrimage of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) are exceedingly holy, blessed, and beneficial traditions. God willing, the effects and blessings of these actions will be an investment on the Day of Judgment for the pilgrims of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) on the day of Arbaʿīn.

 

1422 Visits: 2016/10/27 Published on:
THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF THE LADY ZAYNAB IN EXPLAINING THE REVOLUTION OF ASHURA ACCORDING TO GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The necessity of reflecting upon the essence of why the Karbala Movement has lasted for so long and will continue long into the future is amongst the things which have been focused upon by some of the brightest minds of the Muslim community throughout history. Yet, attracting so many elites to consider this event was due to the significant role played by the family of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) after the event of Ashura. When we look at the Lady Zaynab, we find that the same woman, who could not bear to hear word of the martyrdom of her brother, was able to pick up the bloody body of her brother on the day after Ashura and say: O’ Lord! accept this sacrifice from the family of your Prophet (ṣ)!


By looking into the messages and sermons of the Lady Zaynab in Kufah and Syria, and her methods in confronting the despotic government of Yazīd, we become better able to understand the secrets of how the message and revolution of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) has been able to spread and also endure for so long. We believe that it was the actions and words of Zaynab which allowed this movement to spread and become greater day by day in the eyes of the people. Let us look further into this issue with help from the valuable insights of Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī:


The Blossoming of the Mission of Zaynab and the Passing of the Caravan of Captives from the Battlefield of Karbala


One of the most difficult moments in the history of Karbala was the moment when the captives were being led away from the torn and bloody bodies of the martyrs.  It goes without saying that leaving Karbala in those circumstances, with the bodies of the martyrs lying unburied on the hot desert sands would have been heartbreaking for the survivors. This is particularly true in regards to the grandson of the Prophet, Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).


 It was a heart-rending scene as the bodies of the martyrs had been pummeled by the hooves of horses, and many could no longer be identified. This was a scene which would break the hardest of hearts. Yet in spite of all this, the calm and peace which existed in Zaynab made one remember the patience and perseverance of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). When we look at the words which Zaynab spoke, we find a great level of dignity, honor, and greatness which resounds in them. These words helped the survivors to overcome the difficulties of that time, as they were dragged away in chains from the bodies of their loved ones.


Naturally, the enemy was waiting for signs of the smallest amount of weakness or regret in the family of the Prophet (s). Zaynab knew this and she was resolved not to show the enemy anything like this. When she saw the bloody body of her brother, she turned towards the heavens and said:[1]  O’ Lord! Accept this sacrifice! [2] These words of hers were a great blow against the enemies and this was the beginning of their complete and utter disgrace.


The Sermons of the Lady Zaynab as a Key Element in Explaining the Ashura Revolution


It is evident that after the captives were taken to Kufah and Syria, and Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) and Zaynab gave their well-known lectures in those cities, the situation there shifted against the Umayyad government. Yazīd quickly realized that he had no choice but to publicly express sorrow at what had taken place; he saw that he needed to renounce what his officials had done in Karbala even though he himself had been the one who had ordered it. Yazīd had no choice in this matter but to allow the women survivors to hold mourning ceremonies for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and his companions in Syria.


Things quickly reached the point where even the women from the Umayyad family were participating in these ceremonies and the ceremonies would last many days (sometimes as long as three days).[3] The situation in Syria was completely transformed due to the speeches of Zaynab. The seeds of revolution against the Umayyads were planted in this same place. As a result of these sermons, the Umayyads were disgraced all throughout the Muslim world and the danger which they posed against the religion of Islam was neutralized through the blessings of the blood of the martyrs and the sermons of those who spread their message (such as Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) and Zaynab).


A Most Amazing Sermon in Kufah: The Blossoming of the Message of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and the Mission of the Lady Zaynab


One of the amazing elements in the story of Karbala is the fiery sermons of Zaynab. Ḥidhaym ibn Sharīk al-Asadī  has mentioned that: On that day, I looked at Zaynab, the daughter of ʿAlī (ʿa) while she delivered a sermon. I have never seen a woman speak more eloquently and beautifully than her. It was as if the words of Amīr al-Muʾminīn ʿAlī were coming out of her mouth.[4] When we examine the situation of Zaynab, we find a woman who had just seen her six brother, her two sons, and many of her other relatives slaughtered in the worst way possible. She had then been dragged in chains as a captive, treated in the worst way possible, and paraded in front of the people of various towns and cities. We would imagine that such a woman would not be able to engage even in normal speech, much less in eloquent oratory.


In this sermon delivered in the city of Kufah, Zaynab is narrated to have said the following: O’ Kufans! O’ you treacherous traitors, and disloyal ones! May your tears never cease to drop and may your wails never become silent…  there is nothing in you but boasting, enmity, lying, pride, and flattery…  The narrator then has mentioned that: I see Zaynab much like a lion roaring and much like a heavy storm railing; she is much like a flood censuring the disloyalty of the Kufans…  Zaynab again tells the Kufans: May the wrath of Allah envelop you and may you be in the punishment of Hell forever… may you be destroyed… may your efforts be for naught…


She then continues and says: You killed the son of the ‘Seal of Prophets’… the one who was the master of the youth of Paradise, your sanctuary and the sanctuary of your group (the Shias)…(Do you consider his killing to be something easy and simple)? Zaynab then attempted to kindle the first spark of revolution against the tyrannical Umayyads within the hearts of the people.  She mentioned the following: Do not let the reprieve that Allah has granted you make you arrogant, for he does not engage in hasty actions (and he punishes the oppressors in due time). He will not forget the revenge of the blood of the innocent; Indeed Allah is watchful of all… .  Through her words, Zaynab made the throne of the Umayyad government shake and the foundations for their destruction and the revolution against them were created by her.


Coming to Appreciate the Beauty of Ashura: The Blossoming of the Mission of Zaynab


A key element in the mission of Zaynab can be found in her recognition of the beauty of Ashura. When Ibn Ziyād looked at her with arrogance and asked her what she thought of ‘Allah’s actions’ in regards to her brother, Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), she gave him a beautiful response and said:[5] I saw nothing but beauty.  Truly, when we look at this level of bravery and dauntless courage, we are left in utter amazement at this daughter of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). Her words were delivered with so much power and eloquence that people said it was as if her father was speaking. Ibn Ziyād was left dumbfounded and unable to respond to her; his disgrace was also only just beginning.


The Most Hard-hitting Sermon in the History of Islam, Delivered in the Palace of Yazīd


Zaynab’s fiery speech in the palace of Yazīd can be considered as one of the most eloquent and hard-hitting of speeches in the history of Islam. It was as if the very spirit of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) was there speaking through her. Through her sermons, Zaynab showed that she had, indeed, inherited her father’s bravery and eloquence.  When we examine this speech, we can find seven primary issues which she spoke about. These are as follows:
1.    Zaynab first began by completely destroying Yazīd’s sense of arrogance and pride. In her eloquent sermon, she mentioned the following to Yazīd: Do not think that possessing this rule and this palace and this wealth is indicative of Allah’s favor? You are one of those whom Allah has left to themselves until their load of sins becomes heavy and it is then that he will strip them of everything and cast them into the Hellfire!
2.    Zaynab then explains the behavior of the Prophet (ṣ) and how he treated Yazīd’s forefathers in the conquest of Mecca. The Prophet (ṣ) ended up forgiving all of them [although they were guilty of terrible crimes]. She then compared this with Yazīd’s actions in killing the grandson of the Prophet (ṣ), cutting off his head and the heads of his companions, as well as the enslavement of his family members and parading them around the various cities.
3.    In the third segment of her sermon, Zaynab reminds Yazīd of his various statements where he expresses his disbelief in Allah (swt). She uses this as proof of his faithlessness and she reminds him that he will soon join his forefathers in the Hellfire.
4.    She then spoke about the lofty position of the martyrs, particularly those from the family of the Prophet (ṣ). She explained how it was an honor to have such people as her family members.
5.    She then spoke about divine justice and what was awaiting Yazīd for the various crimes he had committed. On the Day of Judgment, she said, Allah would judge against him, and the Prophet (ṣ) and his angels would be present there.
6.    She then humiliated Yazīd even further by saying: If the days have oppressed me and turned me into a captive woman brought before you, do not think I hold any value for you. I do not see you worthy enough to even speak to and if I am speaking to you, it is because I have no choice in this matter.
7.    In the last part of her sermon, she thanked Allah (swt) for his uncountable blessings upon the family of the Prophet (ṣ). She thanked Allah (swt) for having begun their lives with mercy and felicity and having ended it with martyrdom and honor!

 

Resistance as the Essence of Zaynab’s Mission Concerning the Uprising of Ashura


In establishing the valuable teachings of Zaynab, including those pertaining to resistance against the tyrannical government of Yazīd, it is enough for us to narrate the following words of Zaynab towards Yazīd: Oh Yazīd, do not think that I am standing before you as a captive; it is rather below me to speak to the likes of you or to (even) stand before you. In this way, Zaynab fulfilled her mission in keeping the message of Ashura and Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) alive.


A Final Word


In conclusion, we can refer to the words of Zaynab where she consoled the son of her brother, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa), saying to him: : In this land in the future, a flag will be raised over the tomb of your father, Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) which will never become old or faded. With the passing of time, it will not be damaged and no matter how much the leaders of disbelief strive towards effacing it, it will only grow in grandeur and greatness day by day.[6] The words of Zaynab in regards to the raising of the flag of Karbala have been fulfilled in our own era.  It is as if Zaynab has foretold of the circumstances of our own era. Today, we see large multitudes (several times larger than those attending the Ḥajj pilgrimage) going to visit Karbala.


These large crowds consist of followers of the Shia school of thought, as well as Sunnis, Christians, and the followers of other creeds. Both the manner in which these mourning ceremonies are held as well as the quantity of those attending them manifest the truthfulness of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) and the victory of the martyrs of Karbala.  In truth, Zaynab, the courageous daughter of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) foretold of this issue many centuries ago. She foretold of what would happen after Karbala and in spite of those dark and difficult moments, she could clearly see what would take place as a result of the sacrifice of the martyrs long into the future.  

 

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THE POLITICAL ROLE OF IMAM AL-SAJJAD (ʿA) IN REVIVING THE REVOLUTION OF ASHURA FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF GRAND AYATOLLAH MAKAREM SHIRAZI

The tragedies which befell the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) in Kufah and Syria can be considered to be more bitter and painful than what happened in Karbala.  In Karbala, Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) prepared his only son, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa), for the position of the imamate; through his sacrifice, the tree of Islam was saved and the imamate was transferred to the next in line. The last testament of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was given to his son, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa), and his sisters and daughters were told to obey his commands as their next Imam.  This is because the Imam (ʿa) would never forget his followers at even such a critical juncture; the message of what was happening to him would be conveyed to these followers through his only remaining son and the Shias would learn of what had taken place in Karbala.


Furthermore, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) was the inheritor of the knowledge and eloquence of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) and the inheritor of the courage and bravery of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa).  During his journey after Karbala, he delivered many fiery sermons in Kufah and Syria . Through these sermons, he was able to awaken the unaware people to the reality of what had happened and their failures as human beings. Through these sermons, they were given all the proof they needed to understand how they had failed to recognize good from evil.


In light of this issue, the political aspects of the speeches of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) in Kufah, Syria, and Medina all manifest the essential nature of this historical reality.  Let us now delve in to some of the most important aspects of the political role of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) in reviving the revolution of Ashura through the valuable viewpoints offered to us by Grand Ayatollah Makārim Shīrāzī.


Telling the People of What Took Place in Karbala as a Guarantee of Keeping its Memory Alive


The sermon of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) in Kufah and Damascus was one of the elements which shook the foundations of Yazīd’s rule and it awoke the people of those cities to the reality of what was happening around them. It showed the people the evil role which the Umayyads were playing in destroying the religion of Islam. In the end, the event of Karbala was saved from being soon forgotten and it turned in to a memory which was permanently etched in to the memories of the people.


For example, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) mentioned the following while he was in the city of Kufah: O’ people! Whoever has recognized me, knows who I am. As for those who do not know me, they should know that I am ʿAlī the son of Ḥusayn, the one who was beheaded for no reason while (he was thirsty) next to the Euphrates River. I am the son of the one whose sanctity was violated, whose wealth was plundered, and whose family was taken as captives.  I am the son of the one who was killed after much persecution and torture, and this is enough of an honor for us!  The Imam (ʿa) then concluded his speech with a poem, the contents of which are as follows: It is not surprising that Ḥusayn (ʿa) and his father, who was greater than him, were both killed [as they constantly sought an honorable death]. O’ Kufans, do not be happy at what happened to Ḥusayn… May I be sacrificed for the one who was killed next to the Euphrates (while thirsty). The punishment of the one who killed him will surely be the fire of Hell.[1]


Spreading Word of the Crimes of Yazīd in regards to the Martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa)


Exposing the corrupt government of Yazīd and his many criminal acts was one of the key elements in keeping the Ashura movement alive. When he was in his court, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) said to Yazīd: Woe upon you, O’ Yazīd! If you were only able to understand the gravity of the crimes you have committed against my father, brother, uncles, and relatives, then certainly you would flee to the mountains (in fright). You would sit upon ashes and you would cry out in sorrow for having cut off the head of Ḥusayn, the son of Fāṭimah and ʿAlī, and having hung it on the gate of the city. This was in spite of the fact that he was a trust given (to the Muslim community) by the Prophet (ṣ). (O’Yazīd), I give you tidings of disgrace and abjectness on the Day of Judgment when all the people are gathered together.[2]


Of course Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) knew that these words would not have any effect on the dark heart of Yazīd. That was a heart which was void of any faith, mercy, or belief in the Day of Judgment; his words would not have the least amount of effect. Yazīd was a man who was addicted to every type of sin, such as drinking and fornication; the killing of the innocent, even someone such as Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was of no issue to him. The goal of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) was to affect some of the notables of Syria who were present there and the Imam (ʿa) was in reality directing his words to them.


Similarly, Syria was the center of rule and due to this reason, whatever word spread in Syria, it would soon spread to the other parts of the Islamic world. In this way, the true reality of Yazīd and the Umayyads overall would be exposed and their lack of faith and human qualities would become known to all of the Muslims.  In essence, Allah (swt) wanted these people to disgrace themselves through their actions so that they would be disgraced not only in front of their peers, but also in front of the common people as well.


Embracing Martyrdom as a Custom and Characteristic of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa)


One interesting political aspect of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) can be understood in an exchange between Ibn Ziyād and the Imam (a). When some of the soldiers wished to kill the Imam (ʿa), Ibn Ziyād said in derision that they should leave him alone, since his illness was enough of a torment and pain for him.[3] When Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) heard this, he turned towards Ibn Ziyād and said to him:[4] Do you threaten me with death? Do you not know that being killed (in the way of Allah) is an ancient custom for us and that martyrdom (in the cause of Allah) is a source of honor and glory for us?


An Emphasis on Political Wisdom and Understanding: A Key Element in the Sermon of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) in Kufah


When we are examining the lack of political wisdom of the people of Kufah, we can look at a part of the words of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) when he stated: O’ people! I adjure you by Allah! Do you not admit that it was you who wrote letters to my father (and invited him to come to Kufah)? In spite of this, you acted dishonestly towards him. You swore your lives to him and you pledged allegiance to him but then you left him alone and you fought against him? May Allah destroy you for the bad provisions which you have sent ahead for yourselves [to the Hereafter] and for the bad decisions which you have made.  Will you dare to look the Prophet (ṣ) in the eye on the Day of Judgment when he says to you: You killed my family members and you violated my sanctity and respect; you are not from my Ummah.


When the Kufans heard this, they all began to cry out: O’ son of the Messenger of Allah, we will fight with whomever you fight and we will make peace with whomever you make peace… When the Imam (ʿa) heard this, he responded to them, saying: Never! O’ you treacherous traitors! (One can never trust your promises) since there is a veil between you and your desires (a veil of ignorance, negligence, and inability)… My request from you is that you neither support us, nor fight against us (meaning there is no hope in your goodness…at least do not do evil towards us).


When we reflect upon this important sermon of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa), we can easily under-stand that the Kufans were too disloyal and they lacked sufficient wisdom to fight fully against their enemies, the Umayyads. Due to this reason, the Imam (ʿa) rejected their request and he said to them: It is enough for me that you do not take steps against us since there is no hope in any good from you, O’ you disgraced ones!


The Explanation and Propagation of the Genuine Islam Necessitated the Rejection and Negation of the Distorted Version of Islam Promoted by the Umayyads


Another aspect of the political activities of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) in regards to keeping the Ashura movement alive can be found in his explanation of what true Islam actually is. When the Imam (ʿa) was in Syria, he mentioned the following to the people: The chosen one by Allah, the Prophet (ṣ) Muḥammad, is from us. The truthful one (Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) who confirmed all of the words of Allah and his Prophet (ṣ) and truthfully submitted to them) is from us…  The Imam (ʿa) then introduced himself and his link with the Prophet (ṣ) and Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) by saying:[5]  O’ people! I am the son of Mecca and Minā; I am the son of Zamzam and Safā; I am the son of Muḥammad al-Muṣṭafā and ʿAlī al-Murṭaḍā; I am the son of the one who unsheathed his sword so much in front of the rebellious ones until they said: There is no deity but Allah.


Thus, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) explained the true Islam brought by the Prophet (ṣ) to the people of Syria until they had no excuse in front of Allah (swt). These people (in Syria) had lived a lifetime under the leadership of the Ummayads and their false version of Islam. Their ‘Commander of the Faithful’ included people such as Muʿāwīyah and Yazīd. These were the same leaders who named themselves as the leaders of Islam, while condemning the family of the Prophet, such as Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), as being rebels against the religion.


Strengthening the Links between Religious Practices and the Revolt of Ashura


In both Kufah and Damascus, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) connected various religious practices with the revolt of Ashura and the goal of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa). Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) said the following to Yazīd in a confrontation that took place in Damascus:[6] Oh Yazīd, was Muḥammad (whom you claim to follow) my grandfather or yours? If you say that he is your grandfather, then you are lying and if you say that he is my grandfather, then why did you murder his grand children?  


In a tradition narrated from Imam al-Ṣādiq (ʿa), it has been mentioned that: After the martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa), Ibrāhīm ibn Ṭalḥah ibn ʿUbaydallah asked Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) a question. He asked: Oh ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn, who was victorious in the battle? Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) replied: If you wish to know who was victorious (Yazīd or Imam al-Ḥusayn), simply recite the two Calls to Prayer when the time of prayer has arrived!  


Fighting the Attempts of the Umayyads to Defame Imam Ali (a), as Another Political Pursuit in Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa)’s Revival of the Ashura Movement


It is worth mentioning that while in Syria, Imam al-Sajjād protected the teachings and movement of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) at Karbala by introducing the virtues and noble characteristics of Imam ʿAlī (ʿa). He did this so that the propaganda of the Umayyads against Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), which had been going on for many long years, would be neutralized and the people would realize the truth.  In a historical sermon in Damascus, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) mentioned the following: I am the son of he who fought under the Messenger of Allah (s) with two swords and two spears, and who emigrated twice[7] , gave his pledge to the Prophet (s) twice[8], fought bravely in the battles of Badr and Ḥunayn, and who did not reject faith in Allah even for a blink of an eye.  


…I am the son of the best individual of the Quraysh, who followed the Prophet (s) before anyone else and preceded everyone in his faith in Islam (he was the first to become Muslim). He was the adversary of the rebels, the destroyer of the polytheists, the divine arrow in annihilating the hypocrites, the source of the wisdom of the worshippers, the supporter of Allah’s religion, the leader appointed by Allah, the garden of divine wisdom, and the heart of divine knowledge… The same person… who fasted often, was pure from every type of sin, and was often praying and worshipping Allah.  He was the father of… Ḥasan and Ḥusayn. Indeed, he is my grandfather ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (ʿa).  


It goes without saying that this extraordinary sermon created a veritable storm in the palace of Yazīd and in Syria. The Umayyads felt that their grip on power was slackened and their long years of propaganda (forty years’ worth) against Imam ʿAlī (ʿa), was being unraveled.


The Confrontation Based Politics of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) and the Disgrace of Yazīd’s Despotic Regime


Imam al-Sajjād’s (ʿa) confrontation against the despotic regime of Yazīd can be seen as an example of how one can combat the oppressive superpowers. The social atmosphere of Damascus became so bad for Yazīd due to the words of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) that Yazīd eventually began to seat the Imam (ʿa) at his own table for food! This was the same Yazīd that had ordered the merciless killing of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) and the enslavement of his family members just a short while before.[9]


Obviously, these actions by Yazīd were not due to his regret or sorrow over what he had himself ordered. They were rather a type of political retreat due to the changing situation at hand. The people had become angry over what had happened after the enlightening sermons of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) and Zaynab, and it was in Yazīd’s best interest to slowly disassociate himself from what had taken place in Karbala. This fact is further corroborated by the later behavior of Yazid and the rest of the Umayyads towards the Ahl-al-Bayt (a) and their Shias, as they did their best, even after the event of Ashura, to persecute the Ahl-al-Bayt (a) and their Shias. This shows that Yazid’s sudden change of attitude towards Imam al-Sajjad (a) on that day was merely a political retreat to avoid a general riot caused by the enlightening sermons of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Lady Zaynab (a)..


The Political Implications of Imam al-Sajjād’s Mourning (a) for Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa)


One of the most powerful weapons of the Infallibles (ʿa) towards reviving the movement of Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was contained in their lamentation and mourning for the Imam (ʿa).  Throughout the era of his imamate, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) would continuously cry and mourn for his father, Imam al-Ḥusayn (ʿa); he cried to such an extent that he was given the title of: ‘the one who cries often’.[10] This shows us that the mourning of the Imam (ʿa) was a means of awakening the people and not allowing the Ashura movement to be forgotten.


A Final Word


When we look at the heavy atmosphere which came about after the tragedy of Karbala, the merciless despotism of the Umayyads, the captivity of the survivors, and the emotional, psychological, and physical wounds suffered by them, it would be thought that the survivors of Karbala would not have anything left in them in order to speak even in regards to normal topics.  In light of this, it is interesting to see Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) speaks with so much fire and energy at the various points of his journey, particularly in the cities of Kufah and Damascus.


Through his words, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) was able to change the opinions of the general masses in these two cities and turn them against the rule of Yazīd. An environment of safety was transformed in to one of danger and unrest for the Umayyads.  This all took place while Yazīd gloried in his victory and power. When Yazīd gathered all of the representatives of the various nations to his grand gathering, he was in reality inviting them all to see his own disgrace and downfall.

 

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