Geography & Social perspective

How religion is viewed according to geographic regionalism

By: Hussein Al-Rumaiti

Humans tend to generalize about how a specific ideology is viewed by the followers of that ideology, neglecting many aspects that influence the formation of individual and collective perspective on matters. Perspective formation of any individual is affiliated with economic status (pleasure VS necessity), political affiliation, education, social class, interaction and many other aspects that shape the daily life of a human being. However, one of the most influential aspects that develop the perspective of an individual about an ideology and more specifically on religion is geographic regionalism, which simply translates to where someone actually lives.

It would be safe to say that Christianity and view of Jesus is drastically different from someone, who lives in New York than someone who lives in Latin America, even though both these individuals might be catholic or protestant. The same notion applies to a Jewish person, who resides in North Toronto compare to another one who lives in Jerusalem. Although one might argue that political realities vary from one region to another, and the comparison might be unjust on many levels, but the fact that both individuals carry a common belief entitles us to develop such an analogy.

In addition, on a diminutive scale the same comparison exists between the followers of one faith in one specific region or even a country, as for instance, the view upon Islam to a Muslim might be entirely different between a Muslim, who resides in Austin Texas and a Muslim who resides in Dearborn Michigan. The existence of such phenomenon is derived from various aspects, as the priorities, necessities, interaction, education and the demographic of each region are outlined by the nature and the regionalism of that specific geographic destination.

Applying the same analogy for Muslims around the world also, should enable an observer in distinguishing between the various ways and perspectives the religion of Islam is viewed and practiced. Therefore, it should not be a matter of complicated science to determine that a Muslim residing in the west, who has been accustomed to western liberalism and secularist nature of life, influences his/her perspective of Islam and how Islam is portrayed. In addition, a Muslim who resides in Saudi Arabia’s closed society, whether he/she supports the political authority or not, is influenced by that society, when it comes to portraying his/her belief and expression of opinion. Nonetheless, these regionalist implications influence the practice of Islam, as anyone can witness the Islam practiced in Turkey is entirely different than the Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. Although it should be noted that, the aim of this argument is not about the obligatory practices and rituals of Muslims, like the daily prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, as this comparison addresses the social and even the legislative aspects of Muslims countries.

Therefore, in a place like Bangladesh that is known to be among the world poorest nations, the Muslim majority of this country have elected more female heads of state than many Muslim and western countries. Nonetheless, in Saudi Arabia the country that is considered the heart of Islamic nation, women are stripped from many of their most simple rights and entitlements. Although, the regionalism perspective of Islam in Saudi Arabia is absolutely absurd and unacceptable by rationality and Islam itself, yet the status of women in this country is derived from its historic and regional fundamentalist perspective on Islam.

A similar analogy can be made for countries that have a Christian majority in Africa, where in Eritrea and Ethiopia the rates of female gentile mutilation are very high and worrying. However, these types of practices are fully rejected and even outlawed in other parts of the world, where Christians are the majority of population. Therefore, it would be safe to say that regional and geographic aspects, which consist of social norms, principles, values and even tribal practices are very influential in developing the perspective on religion.

Letter to Prophet Mohammad

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

O’ messenger of God, peace be upon you and your holy household. Please accept this letter from a Muslim and a follower of your religion, who has tons of grievances and grumbles about the status of your nation at the current time. Your follower want to tell you, what is your nation has become and how Muslims have repaid your years of mercy, preaching, and enlightenment with ignorance, violence and distorting your name. Your follower wants to tell you that you religion and nation is currently viewed and known as source of violence and instability, when the almighty lord states that you were sent upon this world as a mercy. Although, I truly believe you are fully aware of your nation’s conditions and its failures, but I am writing this letter to you as a fluttering mean, since the ears are sealed and the eyes are shut and apprehension is blocked.

O’ messenger of God, the moment you left this world, some of your companions attacked the house of your successor Ali Ibn Abi Talib and assaulted your daughter, Lady Fatima Al-Zahra and your religion was confiscated by a clan, which doesn’t fear the almighty.  Your holy Household were persecuted and slaughtered in the most vicious ways possible and their followers were labeled as rejecters. What did they reject? They rejected the treason against Islam and its prophet. They rejected the rule of tyrants and they rejected the violence and corruption, which was taking place in the name of your religion and you personally. Your successor Ali, was struck and assassinated during prayer in the mosque of Kufa, and your grandsons were poisoned and slaughtered and the women of your household, were taken as foreign captives to the (Caliph of Muslims) in Damascus.

O’ messenger of God, the rights, liberties and entitlement granted by Islam, which you preached during the 23 years of your prophecy, were stripped and taken away from Muslims. The respect, which granted to any human being was not longer, and humans were treated based on their allegiance to the Caliph and tyrants. The prisons were filled with innocents, the graveyards were filled with innocent souls, allies and roads of Muslim cities turned red from the blood spilled. The tyrants claimed, they were your successors and narrations distorting your merciful years were fabricated. They claim, you revealed to us the religion of slaughter and violence. They claim, you revealed to us the religion of beheading and you smiled every time an enemy was decapitated. They claim, you married a six years old child, and they claim, and claim and claim.

Yet, I read when you entered Mecca and a man shouted: Today is the day of revenge and slaughter, you replied: “No, say today is the day of mercy”. You entered Mecca without spilling a drop of blood and cutting a branch of a tree and demolishing a single brick of a building. You introduced to the world a covenant for co-existence and tolerance, when this world was governed by tyrants and savages, and you protected the rights of others and assured their right to exist and express.

O’ messenger of God, when it comes to intellect and knowledge, your nation has fallen behind and Muslims have become in need of everyone in all aspects of life, and yet no one needs them in any aspect of life. The current leaders of your nation and what are known as Muslim countries, are occupied with wealth accumulation, favoritism and corruption, which has forced Muslims to leave their lands and migrate elsewhere. O’ messenger of God, when other Muslims shut their doors in the face of oppressed Muslims, other have opened their doors and arms and welcomed them into their lands. The soul and life of a Muslim is worthless and your followers are being slaughtered by individuals claiming to be your followers as well.

O’ messenger of God, some of the scholars in your nation have brought more calamities and affliction upon Muslims than the people, who you battled during life. They preach violence, they preach intolerance, they preach ignorance and they have led many of your followers astray and to their doom’s day. These scholars legitimize terrorizing innocent people, and they legitimize violence and they legitimize taking the soul of a human, which God has stated: the dignity of a human’s soul is greater than the Ka’aba. Yet, when soldiers of darkness and terror carry their crimes, they shout the name of Allah and your holy name, and they claim, their actions portray your will and faith.

O’ messenger of God, the Islam that is presented today to the world is far from your Islam, yet it is still introduced as Islam of Mohammad. Therefore, I pledge that every breath of my life will go toward presenting the true Islam of Mohammad, and the righteous principles and values, which you revealed upon this universe. Knowledge and intellect will be my weapon, my belief, which is derived from your essence and principles, will be my strategy and peace, tranquility and prosperity will be my goals. It is said that a person reflects the actions and values of his/her love and affections. Therefore, I state that you are my love, as love and passion was defined by you and I will always reflect the principles you preached and presented to this world. You were sent as mercy to mankind and therefore, I shall be the reflection of that mercy within my world and surrounding.

The Refugee Crisis: Facts VS Presumptions

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The recent attacks in Paris and even in Beirut have raised many questions about the possible outcomes that welcoming the refugees might have in western societies. Although the concerns have existed prior to the recent attacks, but the issue has been a hot topic in the headlines and there are many oppositions to any notion of welcoming and accepting those refugees. The argument presented for opposing these refugees is based on several issues, which can be described as following:

  • The possibility of having terrorist sleeping-cells among those massive numbers of refugees is very high, as one of the terrorists in the Paris attack had a Syrian Passport on him.
  • The amount violence and trauma these refugees have been exposed to, makes them rational candidates for radicalization and ultimately vengeance while on western lands.
  • The time-line to accept these refugees, which has been set by the United Nation and some of the western nations, poses many dangers to the security and stability of them, as conducting a thorough background security check on these refugees requires sometime. Therefore, according to the time-line, which has been accepted by some of the western nations would not be sufficient to conduct an effective background check on those refugees.

In addition, some extreme voices have raised the notion of only accepting the refugees that can assure their Christianity and not accepting any Muslims. Although, many of these extreme and radical calls are exclusive to Europe, certain groups and individuals in the United States have raised similar voices as well.

Therefore, it would be beneficial to examine the legitimacy of the concerns raised against accepting and welcoming refugees into Europe and North America. This examination would aid in shaping a better comprehension about this complicated issue, as some of the concerns raised are legitimate and rational. In addition, there are many hidden or forgotten facts, when it comes to the refugee crisis, which make the ability to have a decision on this topic hazy and rather difficult.

Refugees VS Terrorists

No one denies the fact that the percentage of possible terrorists among the current refugee crisis is a very tiny portion, which will not exceed 0.0001% at best. Therefore, majority of these refugees are desperate and victims of a bloody conflict that has left them displaced and forced to leave their homes and cities to secure their lives and loved ones. In addition, claiming a refugee status is only one of the ways that someone can get to a specific country and reside there, as majority of the current refugees in Western Europe have arrived there illegally. Therefore, the chances of having terrorists among those refugee already exists and poses a great danger to Europe, which means the fear of terrorists among those refugees is no longer rational, when a country wants to accept few thousands refugees through the legal channels and immigration procedures.

These refugees can be screened and selected through numerous filtration methods, which can assure only qualified individuals are selected and accepted for refugee status. In addition, there are thousands of orphans and widows among those refugees that require immediate attention and consideration for refugee status, and those groups can be prioritized for screening.

Nonetheless, the routes for arriving to a certain country are not only through refugee status, as mentioned earlier, and terrorist groups are definitely able to fabricate documents and files for any individual to be accepted as a student, an investor or even a tourist into any country. In addition, the same illegal ways are still available for others, as there are thousands of people in the United States, who have crossed into the US illegally and conduct their affairs like any other resident in the US. Therefore, the same methods can be utilized by terrorist groups and radical individuals can find a way intro any country, if they decide to pursue such a method.

Nevertheless, most of the recent terrorist attacks in the west were carried out by home-grown elements and individuals, who were citizens of those countries and some of them were even born and raised in the west. Therefore, the quantity of radical elements in the west diminishes or decreases the fears of having terrorists among refugees.

Psychological status of Refugees

The concern of the psychological status of the refugees and exposure to tremendous amount of violence and trauma is taken out of context and used unethically for political and partisan intentions.  Obviously, the current refugees have been exposed to a great amount of violence and trauma and obviously they have witnessed many horrific scenes that no ordinary human should ever witness. This exposure and this great amount of violence is the primary reason, which has forced those people to flee their country and homes and seek safety in a society that differs from, what they have lived in for years.

In addition, majority of the current immigrants and refugees in the west (Europe, United States and Canada) were victims of violence, terrorism or authoritarian regimes. Some of the immigrants and refugees, who are now citizens of many western countries are still suffering from their past experiences, and many of them struggle to forget the great amount of oppression or violence they had to experience. Therefore, why wasn’t this notion an issue when accepting those refugees? The immigrants and refugees from the Balkan war, the refugees from the first Gulf war, the refugees from Congo, the refugees from South Sudan, the refugees from Europe post WWII. These are all victims of violence and oppression, who still suffer from trauma and exposure to scenes of genocides and massacres. Therefore, this issue should not even be raised, as the ethical responsibility is on our burdens to help those refuges pass through these experiences and return to their normal life and routines.

Background screening and security checks

Without doubt this concern is the only legitimate issue that can hold its ground in any discussion or deliberation, when it comes to the refugee crisis. The United State has agreed to accept 10,000 refugees into its borders and Canada has agreed to accept 25,000 refugees, and countries like Germany and Sweden, which have already let thousands of refugees through their borders, have pledged to accept and legalize thousands. Therefore, the issue of security and background check on refugees in Europe is sort of meaningless, as Europe is already overwhelmed by refugees, and the streets of Berlin, Frankfort, Stockholm and other major cities are filled with refugees.

This concern is majorly a North American issue, which can be considered as legitimate and rational as mentioned earlier, since the time-line suggested by the United Nation and pledged by the US and Canada to accept those numbers is irrational. For instance, the Canadian government led by the newly elected Liberal Party, has pledged to accept 25,000 refugees within a time-line that doesn’t exceed 60 days. The Obama administration also has pledged to accept the 10,000 refugees based on an expedited sets of procedures, which has raised many concerns and criticism in the US. Therefore, to be rational and logical, the time-line set for accepting those refugees, put a great amount of pressure of immigration offices and officers, as they are required to process a tremendous amount of procedures, within an unorthodox required time window. Background and security checks require patience and a great deal of thoroughness, as the information needed to make a decision for each application is processed through many global security agencies. These information need to be verified and coordinated in a professional manner, which assures the safety of the citizens and a hassle-free journey for the refugees to their final destination. Incomplete procedures can ultimately cause distress and discomfort for the refugees once they arrive to the United States or Canada, which can also lead to social and psychological unrest for the refugees that can delay the process of integrating to the new society.

Therefore, providing and forming dependable camps for the refugees in Europe, through a coordinated and a shared international effort will ensure the refugees are temporarily contained and a reasonable time-line is available for the western countries (USA & Canada) to conduct the necessary screening procedures. In addition, the numbers of refugees to be accepted by Canada and the United States are not as big as the numbers that have been pledged by European countries, which means the wait times would not be as lengthy as many might think. Therefore, these nations have abided by their pledges and a reasonable solution has been reached and outlined for future cases.

Nevertheless, the refugee crisis will continue and remain as one of the most complicated symptoms of the conflict in the Middle East, and as long as the conflict in Syria is not solved the flow of refugees will continue. Therefore, the international community is obligated to end this conflict and bring stability to this region before the situation get to a point that cannot even be contained.

Paris Attacks – An Act of Raw Terrorism

Official Statement by Shia Wisdom

Last week, November 13th unfolded an unforgettable tragedy in the otherwise peaceful city of Paris, France. As people enjoyed a social evening, cries of terror ensued from several locations across the city following deadly attacks of violence. Shootings and bomb blasts displaced all other noise and northern Paris experienced the first set of explosions just outside Stade de France stadium where a crowd of people including President Francois Hollande had gathered to watch an international football match. A suicide bomber when stopped by a routine security check at the stadium entrance detonated the explosives, killing himself and a passer-by.

A second bomber detonated explosives outside a different stadium not soon after and an identical third bomber carried out an explosion yet at another location not far from the second stadium. Meanwhile, the center of the town experienced other attacks surrounding nightlight hot spots. Witnesses at a bar, Le Carillon at 18 rue Alibert reported that their initial reaction to the sound of gunfire had seemed to be firecrackers going off before it dawned on them that they were facing semi-automatic rifles. South of rue Alibert, diners at restaurants had undergone another attack.

This chain of shootings continued south of the first restaurant in 11th district before another restaurant on Boulevard Voltaire underwent a bomb explosion by a suicide bomber. The night’s deadliest attack was seen on Boulevard Voltaire at a concert venue inside a 1,500-seat Bataclan hall. Three gunmen with Kalashnikovs walked in wearing suicide-belts. After firing at the crowd, one was taken down by an elite police officer with his suicide belt detonating in the process and the other two detonating their explosives themselves.

Numbers report 129 deaths from these calamitous incidents across Paris with 100 in critical condition and hundreds more wounded. Witnesses at the Bataclan clan incident reported to have heard one of the gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” in Arabic as he opened gunfire.

Witnesses observed similar behavior of suicide bombers in southern Beirut, Lebanon where 43 people also died in a twin bomb blasting incident just a day before the attacks in Paris. This conduct is typical of radical Islamists that are part of well-known terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the infamous Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that has boldly admitted to responsibility for the abhorrent acts of terrorism in both France and Lebanon.

While ISIL may have captured media highlights since last year with their ‘jihad’ motto, it has been an extension of Al-Qaeda since 1999 where it first emerged as “Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad” and constituted jihadist extremist militants that belonged from the Wahabbi or Salafi sect – an extreme version of the Sunni sect. According to the religion of Islam, these extremists are a deviation from the true teachings of Muhammad and defy the tradition of peace that is embedded in 14 centuries of Islamic scholarship.  An Islamic scholar, Dr. John Andrew Morrow in an interview with Truth Jihad Radio said that, “A lot of so-called jihad (such as ISIL’s) is not rooted in Islam.”

A French journalist, Didier Francois who had been this terrorist organization’s hostage this past year reportedly said in an interview with CNN that, “The terrorist group cares little about the Muslims religion or Quran,” and that the group never discussed anything found on the Islamic holy book with him during his captivity.

The Republique Square in the city of Paris is now in a state of mourning as candles are being lit in remembrance of the terror that shook France and the World caused by ISIL’s barbaric motives.

Sources:

http://time.com/4113157/paris-attack-bataclan-firefight-video/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34818994

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/16/middleeast/lebanon-adel-termos-beirut-hero/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/13/lebanon-families-mourn-victims-beirut-bombings

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/06/18/isis-or-isil-the-debate-over-what-to-call-iraqs-terror-group/

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/06/17/367304/is-isil-really-sunni-not-at-all/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/isis-hostage-says-terror-group-doesnt-care-about-islam-didnt-even-have-a-quran-133596/

 

Islam condemns Terrorism

By: M.K

Terrorism in any form is a despicable action and whoever indulges in it is undoubtedly defying human values universally. A terrorist is neither defined by color nor religion but rather a sordid mindset that only seeks one objective: disservice whomever follows a different way of living than his own. And these differences may constitute political or doctrinal views and economic or social status. Radicalism, extremism, philistinism and psychical disturbance are in essence, some common elements contorting a terrorist’s ideology. Following this theme, let us look at recent world events that have unfortunately disseminated grief worldwide. On November 12, two suicide bombers massacred at least 43 people with more than 200 wounded in the Shi’ite dominated southern region of Beirut, Lebanon. And not soon after, the night of November 13 brought upon a similar tragedy in the beauteous city of Paris, France. With 129 people murdered, another 352 were left injured.

At Shia Wisdom, we condemn this raw act of barbarous terrorism that has undoubtedly taken innocent lives and mercilessly razed the hope of families that have lost their loved ones. Our condolences go out to all in Lebanon and France for their loss and our hearts are with all who suffered in cold blood. These tragedies are in no way solitary and affect us all globally. Therefore, we sincerely pray for survivors and families of lost ones, and souls that are no longer with us. Additionally, we offer our prayers to all in the affected regions to remain strong in this difficult time. We would also like to take this opportunity to shed some light on the causation behind these deplorable events.

As may already be the case of news headlines, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has admitted responsibility for the vile actions this past week. Despite using the term ‘Islamic’ within their title, ISIL in simple words is a terrorist organization with ancient roots that deviated from the true Islamic teachings and formed its own credo of carnage and annihilation since the times of Umayyad regime (644-656 CE). Terrorism, murdering, disservicing and oppressing innocent is against the religion of Islam that has been practiced by the Holy Prophet (s) and his Ahlul-bayt. Evidence of this can be found in the Quran that says, “And do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully” and that, “Whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind” [HQ: 6,151; 5,53].

Sources:

http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/islamic-forbids-terrorism.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sayed-mahdi-almodarresi/arbaeen-pilgrimage_b_6203756.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/isil-claims-suicide-bombings-southern-beirut-151112193802793.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995541/Paris-terror-attacks-isil-suspects-arrests-victims-live.html

 

Humanity without Borders

United We Stand In The Face Of Terror

Official Statement by Shia Wisdom

Beirut, Baghdad, Afghanistan and Paris are in mourning and sorrow following the deadly attacks on innocent people, which took the lives of many in these countries. These ruthless attacks and barbaric crimes had one thing in common, which assured us terrorism knows and recognizes no borders and boundaries. Terrorism doesn’t distinguish between religions, ethnicities and races. Therefore, it is time for humanity to prevail and announce that it has no borders either and doesn’t distinguish between faiths, ethnicities and races either. The forces of terror and barbarism have united against humanity to spread fear and hatred, which mandates the humanity to unite and give a clear statement: Humanity, peace, tranquility, co-existence and hope will prevail and terror will parish, as this world will always place its differences aside, when it comes to violence.

Once again terrorism has struck its dagger in the back of humanity and left the world in a state of shock. However, the past few days must be a reminder for the entire humanity that sources of violence and terrorism are known and still operate in full scale. The sponsors of terrorism and radicalism are still considered as legitimate political entities, with global acknowledgement.

Whether, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra Front, ISIS or any other terrorist group around the world, who are carrying these vicious acts of terrorism, it must be acknowledged that as long as the ideological and financial sources are operative, these actions will continue. Therefore, now it has become the responsibility of entire humanity to condemn the Wahhabi school and its state-sponsors, which have only brought sorrow, pain and instability for this world. States like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other terrorist sponsoring regimes must be held responsible for their actions and sponsorship of radicalism and terrorism.

It is time for humanity to demand their governments to boycott these regimes and mandate immediate and fundamental change and reforms. Humanity and global governments must acknowledge that as long as these states are ideologically and financially supporting and sponsoring these terrorist groups, the fight against terror is meaningless and endless. How many more innocent lives must be taken, how many more children and women must be violated, how many more victims are needed to take action?

The fight against tyranny, oppression and terrorism can not only be won through military battle, as these groups have derived their philosophy and approach from an ideology, which seeks to eliminate anything and anyone, who is different. Therefore, prior to militarily marching against these groups, we must begin the ideological battle against them, and show them that logic, intellect and justice is only compatible with peace and acceptance of others. Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) states in a beautiful narration: “the ultimate ignorance lays in hostility toward people”.

In addition, it is important for western societies, western scholars and governments to employ all means for distinguishing the difference between the Islam and the cult of Wahhabism, as this ideology relates to Islam in no way and manners. However, Muslims are faced with an increasing necessity that mandates introducing the true essence of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household’s principles. Muslims are responsible for introducing humanity to true meaning of peace, acceptance, justice and co-existence under the teachings and principles of Mohammad and Ali. Prophet of Islam rejected violence and physical elimination, as he states in a narration: “if the entire humanity and residents of the skies are partners in spilling an innocent life, God will take them all to hell”. Therefore, if Muslims are truly determined to end Islamophobia and hatred toward them, they must start with themselves and eliminate the slightest indication that their religion legitimizes terror and violence.

Finally, Shia Wisdom and its staff send their thoughts and prayers to the families of those, who have fallen in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, and may we all live to see the day that peace and tranquility prevails in this world and no innocent live is even taken.

SHIA WISDOM.

Orphan of Damascus

Ruqaya Bint Al-Hussein (Daughter of Imam Al-Hussein: Ruqaya)

By: Hussein Al-Hussein

Every single minute of the story of Ashura and Karbala is filled with sorrow and afflictions, which will bring the coldest hearts to tears and make anyone wonder about the types of creatures Imam Al-Hussein faced during that battle. Prior to the final battle of Imam Al-Hussein against the army of Yazid, he even called upon the army and said: “if you hold no faith, at least be freemen in your life”. However, neither the fact that Imam Al-Hussein is the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, stopped them from committing one of history’s most horrendous crimes, and neither the fact that after Imam Al-Hussein, there were only women and children left in the camp of the Imam.

Among the many stories of Ashura, one story stands out and gets mentioned on numerous occasions, as it can relate to many social classes and the level of calamity is outrageous and unbelievable. This story is about a small girl, who did not even pass four years old named Ruqaya.

Ruqaya is believed to be the youngest daughter of Imam Al-Hussein, and among the youngest children, who witnessed the tragedy of Ashura. The pains and afflictions of Ruqaya started on the day of Ashura, right after the martyrdom of her father, as the army commander (Omar Ibn Sa’ad) shouted: ‘burn the tents of the tyrants’. In addition, when Imam Al-Hussein asked the army of Yazid, why are they fighting him and aiming for his life, they replied: “we are fighting you, due to our hatred toward your father”. Therefore, instead of showing the slightest amount of humanity and mercy toward the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, they burnt the tents and lashed the women and children, they robbed the women and children and finally they placed the head of Imam Al-Hussein on a spear before his entire family and took women and children to captivity.

The women and children of Imam Al-Hussein were taken as captives in the most demeaning way possible, as they tied them all in robes and metals, and the entire way toward Kufa and Damascus, they were lashed and humiliated and cussed it.

Ruqaya Bint Al-Hussein

The story of Ruqaya, who was a small child starts, on the day of Ashura after her father was martyred, as she started crying and asking for her father, and would not stop. According to narrations, her aunt (Lady Zainab) told Ruqaya that her father had gone on a journey and he will be absent for a while. The entire way toward Kufa and Damascus, this child was asking for her father and would always complain about the weight of the metals on her shoulders and small hands. She would tell her aunt (Lady Zainab) that if her father would ever return, she will tell him how she was lashed and humiliated and how she was tied and had to carry heavy metals.

Finally when the Caravan of the captives gets to Damascus, and they are entered upon Yazid, where history narrates some of the heartbreaking details about this encounter, the family of Imam Al-Hussein are placed in a site of ruins and wreckage. The place had no roof and wasn’t a place with privacy, as people were able to pass by and stare and gaze upon the family of Imam Al-Hussein, which was Yazid’s intention to humiliate the household of Prophet Mohammad.

Sources indicate that one the 5th night of month of Safar, Ruqaya awakens from her sleep and starts crying very loudly and tells her aunt: “where is my father, I just saw him in my dream and he wanted me to come to him. Aunt Zainab, please tell me where is my father”. The screams and outcry of this child put rest of the kids and women in tears, as everyone knew that Ruqaya would not stop, unless she sees her father. Apparently the site of ruins was close to the palace of Yazid and as the weeping of the women and children got high, he was bothered and disturbed.

Yazid summons the guards and enquire about the source of the noises and weeping, and the guards tell him: “one of Al-Hussein’s daughters has awakens and she is asking for her father”. Yazid tells the guards: “if that is the case, then take her father’s head to her, maybe she would stop crying.

The guards place the head of Imam Al-Hussein in a basin and cover it with a piece of cloth and take it to the family of Imam Al-Hussein. Once Ruqaya sees the basin, she thinks that the guards have brought food and water, where she tells her aunt: “Aunt, I am not hungry, I don’t want food, I want my father”. The guards place the basin before Ruqaya and leave. Ruqaya takes the cloth away and sees her father’s head, she hugs it and falls on it.

Imam Al-Sajjad narrates that, Ruqaya hugged the head and started talking to her father: “O’ Father, who did this to you, O’ Father, who beheaded you, O’ Father, who made me an orphan at such a young age, O’ Father, you should see my black shoulders and back from the lashes of these brutal people, O’ Father, you should have seen how they burnt our tents and brought us here in this site of wreckage”. Then, Imam Al-Sajjad says: “The child cried and wept while hugging the head, as finally she stopped and there was no sound from her anymore”. Imam Al-Sajjad then tells his aunt (Lady Zainab): “O’ aunt, take my sister Ruqaya and prepare her body for burial, as she has passed away”.

That was one of the most painful nights upon the family of Imam Al-Hussein, as they had to witness that heartbreaking situation. The body of Ruqaya was prepared on that night, and it was buried in Damascus, where it still remains.

Centuries have passed by, and the tyrant of Damascus Yazid has not mark and trace there, even though Damascus was the capital of the Umayyad dynasty. Nonetheless, once one passes through the narrow allies of the old city in Damascus, he/she would come to a corner, where a small white dome is witnessed, which symbolizes the shrine of Ruqaya, the orphan of Imam Al-Hussein in Damascus. This three or four years old child, who passed away while hugging her father’s head in a site of ruins, is visited by thousands each year, and every year on the 5th’s day of month of Safar, Shia Muslims mourn the memory of this child, and remember her pain and affliction.

Miraculous Mathematics

The Arba’aeen Ziyara and its miraculous mathematical & Physical aspects

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

History has witnessed numerous gatherings, where millions of people were gathered at a certain place and a certain time to celebrate, commemorate or present solidarity with a specific notion. The historic march toward Washington DC, and the famous (I have a dream) speech of Martin Luther King Jr, marked the presence of over 250,000 civil rights supporters. There are also tens of marches, parades, funerals, spiritual rituals, concerts and other gatherings, where the crowd has reached millions, but all of these gatherings are entirely different than one specific march and gathering in the world. A march and a gathering, where millions are fed, sheltered and treated like royalties, and to make this more interesting the host of this gathering is country, which is not considered politically stable.

The name of this country is IRAQ, and the name of this occasion, where millions march to and gather in one place is Al-Arba’aeen. The term Al-Arba’aeen is an Arabic term, which means ‘the fortieth’, and this term marks the 40 days after the martyrdom of Imam Al-Hussein during the battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura. In addition, during this day, the household of Imam Al-Hussein, who were taken as captives to Damascus before the Umayyad Caliph (Yazid Ibn Muawiya), returned to Karbala on their way back to Medina. According to historic sources and narrations by Shia Imams, the family of Imam Al-Hussein stayed in Karbala for three days, and mourned their lost ones, and finally aimed for Medina. However, on that specific day one of the most famous companions of Prophet Mohammad named Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari also visited Karbala and mourned the Imam alongside his family. The march of this man toward Karbala with the family of Imam Al-Hussein turned to be symbolic ritual, which aims to announce that followers of Imam Al-Hussein, will renew their allegiance every year with their master, and his commemoration will never lessens. Therefore, from that day and on, each year before the 40th, which is the 20th day of Month of Safar in Islamic lunar calendar, Shia Muslims march on their feet toward Karbala, and arrive there on Al-Arba’aeen to renew their oath with Imam Al-Hussein.

The march of Al-Arba’aeen has been subjected to persecutions, punishments and sever reactions by the authorities throughout history, as majority of the dynasties that ruled the region were hostile to Shia Muslims. Therefore, Shia Muslims have sacrificed lives, wealth and time to keep this ritual alive and revived with the years, and never stopped no matter how brutal the tyrants became. However, in the recent years and especially after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, this ritual had a turning point, as the number of people marching toward the city of Karbala surged dramatically, to a point that in the past couple of years, Karbala has registered hosting the largest gatherings in the history of mankind. According to the numbers released by Iraqi officials and other global observers in 2014, the numbers of people in Karbala on the day of Al-Arba’aeen was between 25 and 27 million. Therefore, the mathematical and physical calculations of this event will be based in the number 25 million, which will still show astonishing facts about this event and its secrets.

Reality VS Math and Physics

Whether the visitors to Karbala are from Iraq or outside of Iraq, the march to Karbala is either initiated from Baghdad or from the southern city of Basra. Therefore, the first thing any visitor will notice during his/her way walking to Karbala is the tents and buildings called (Mawkeb), which provide service for their visitors of Imam Al-Hussein. These Mawkebs, which are not more than 50 meters away from each other the entire distance from Basra of Baghdad to Karbala will blow any mind, when it comes to hospitality and treatment of their visitors. However, let’s only consider the mathematic that is affiliated with the meals these stations provide for absolutely no charge.

  • Obviously each visitor needs three meals per day, therefore:

25,000,000 visitors x 3 meals / day = 75,000,000

  • The march to Karbala, takes anywhere between 10 to 20 days depending on the originating point, where a visitor starts his/her march. Therefore, by taking a number between the two, 15 days would be a rational choice, which means:

75,000,000 meals x 15 days = 1,125,000,000 meals

  • The cost of each meal varies, as the financial ability of these stations also varies depending on the people managing them. Therefore, one station might be able to prepare very fancy meals for the visitors and others might only be able to prepare humble meals, which doesn’t matter at all, as everyone tries to present the best he/she can offer. Therefore, considering the economic conditions and cost of living in Iraq, taking an average cost per meal would be used for exploring the cost of this enormous amount of meals. An expensive meal in Iraq can cost around $20, and a humble meal in Iraq can cost about $4, which will mandate using a cost of $11 / meal for this calculation. Therefore:

1,125,000,000 meals x $11 / meal = $12,375,000,000

  • The number above only includes the meals and excludes beverages and deserts, but for the sake of rounding off this number and staying away from exaggeration, we’ll assume the entire cost of water, beverages and deserts will be $625,000,000. Therefore, an estimating total cost for feeding the visitors not including miscellaneous costs, will be rounded to $13,000,000,000.
  • In addition, these numbers don’t include other services that are provided for visitors and marchers to Karbala, such as:
  • Mobile calling balance, as many stations offer to buy Mobile gift cards for the marchers, in case they want to contact their families at home. The average cost of each card is between $4 to $10, which is distributed for free to marchers and visitors of Imam Al-Hussein. Therefore, figuring a cost estimate for this service would be very difficult, since there are no clear statistics from Mobile service providers in Iraq. However, considering the number 25 million marchers, means even if 1/5 of these people use this service and take an average cost of $7 / gift card, the cost would be around:

5,000,000 marchers x $7 / gift card = $35,000,000

  • Other miscellaneous include things like blankets and pillows for these marchers, when they spend the night for rest at those stations along the road to Karbala. Therefore, assuming only 1/5 of the 25,000,000 would require new blankets and pillows, and assuming a brand new blanket in Iraq cost $2 and a brand new pillow costs $1, the total will be:

5,000,000 marchers x $2 / blanket = $10,000,000

5,000,000 marchers x $1 / pillow = $5,000,000

(REMINDER: THESE TYPES OF SERVICES ARE STILL PRESENTED AND OFFERED IN IRAQ, AND BY IRAQI PEOPLE, A COUNTRY THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY INSTABLE AND VIOLENT)

In addition, these services and estimates only include, what is offered and presented during the way to Karbala, and don’t include what is offered in Karbala itself, as the entire city of Karbala and its houses transfer to free shelters, hotels, restaurants and service providers for the visitors of Imam Al-Hussein. Many visitors, who have had the honor of marching to Karbala narrate that all the house doors of Karbala are wide open and a sign at the door says: WELCOME TO YOU, VISITOR OF IMAM AL-HUSSEIN.

Therefore, to conclude the mathematical aspect of this peaceful march and gathering, and based on the numbers and estimates provided it would mean that the total cost of servicing the visitors of Karbala is:

  • $13,000,000,000 (cost of meals & beverages) + $35,000,000 (cost of Mobile gift cards) + $15,000,000 (cost of blankets and pillows)  = $13,050,000,000 (NOTE: This cost is covered by the citizens of Iraq for the visitors of Imam Al-Hussein, as the government of Iraq is only responsible for security, surveillance and border administration)

The Physical aspect of this march and gathering becomes astonishing once this mass (25,000,000) gets to Karbala and gathers there, which can only be called a miracle considering the geographical and other facts of Karbala. The actual size of the entire city of Karbala is 2397 square kilometer, but the center of the city, where all the masses head for, is the place, where the Shrine of Imam Al-Hussein and his brother Al-Abbas Ibn Ali are located. Therefore, the size of that geographical zone inside Karbala would not exceed 100 square kilometers at best. This fact would raise the question that how is it possible to fit 25,000,000 inside a geographical zone that is not bigger than 100 square kilometers?

According to Population density experts, every 80 people live in each 1 square kilometer in Iraq, which means in the 100 square kilometers of Karbala’s center, there would typically be 8,000 people. Therefore, the number 25,000,000 is 3,125 times more than the usual population density of Iraq. In addition, the highest population density in the world belongs to Monaco, where every 37,000 people in 1 square kilometer, and by considering the number 25,000,000, the number is still 6.75 times more than density capability of Monaco, if Monaco was 100 square kilometers in size. DOES THE CITY ACTUALLY EXPANDS, OR DO THE STREETS OF KARBALA WIDEN DURING THE ARBA’AEEN SEASON?

In addition, another astonishing fact about Karbala lays in the absence of a world class sewer system, as the current available one is severely outdated and old, and has been built to suit the old population of Karbala, which did not exceed 250,000 at most. Therefore, by only considering the average urine volume of a normal person during one day, the following numbers can be astonishing as well.

  • According to scientific facts, an average person urinate about 2 liters of urine / day. Therefore:

25,000,000 x 2 L (urine) = 50,000,000 L of urine / one day

(ANY SANE PERSON, WHO KNOWS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CITY OF KARBALA WOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT THAT THE SEWER SYSTEM OF KARBALA IS NOT ABLE TO TAKE THIS AMOUNT EVEN IF THE SEWERS ARE DRY EMPTY.) In addition, this number doesn’t include the volume of waste water that passes through the sewer system of Karbala as well, and anyone, who has been to Karbala during the Arba’aeen will be able to certify that no sign of over flow or flood has ever been witnessed during the gathering. (NOTE: DURING MOST RAIN SEASONS, THE ENTIRE CITY OF KARBALA IS USUALLY FLOODED AND THE STREETS ARE FILLED WITH OVERFLOWN WATER, WHICH THE SEWER IS NOT ABLE TO PASS.

There are many other astonishing facts about this gathering, which will leave any observer speechless, but these facts alone are sufficient to drop the jaw and make the mind wonder about the miracle of Al-Arba’aeen and its secrets.

Arba’een – A detailed outlook

By: M.K.

Following up with our previous article on Arba’een, today we shall explore the topic in a little more depth in order to obtain a broader perspective on it’s purely religious roots. Let us first examine the pedigree of Arba’een in light of its raw Arabic meaning, theosophy as well as its historical narrative constituting Ahlul-bayt (a.s).

Arba’een, meaning “forty” in Arabic represents the forty days that are spent in mourning of a loved one in the Islamic tradition. In the Shi’ite sect in particular, these forty days mark the death anniversary of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s) and the 74 supporters that were martyred in the Battle of Karbala (680 CE). Theosophically, the number forty is mystic in nature. In the religion of Islam, if a believer engages in acts of worship for a constant period of forty days, it would enable him or her to acquire the inseparable attribute connecting to the mercy and blessing of Almighty Allah (SWT). The evidence of this can be found in the Holy Quran. When Prophet Musa (a.s) engaged in worship of Allah (SWT) for forty nights, he found the ability to hear Almighty Lord’s divine words, “And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust” (HQ, 2:51). In continuation with this theme, Prophet Muhammad (s) says, “Whoever dedicates himself to Allah (SWT) for forty days will find springs of wisdom sprout out of his heart and flow out of his tongue.”

The fortieth day or Arba’een sets forth an important turning point in the Karbala movement. Holding just as much significance as the day of Ashura, Arba’een solidly untangles the injustice, which the family of Prophet (s) was subjected to in a poignant manner. This is the day when the Ahlul-Bayt visited the body of the martyred 3rd Shi’ite Imam in addition to his loyal family members as well as followers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah (SWT) on the plains of Karbala. In light of historical data, this event of ‘Arba’een’ was thus carried out by Ahlul-bayt themselves in the year 61 A.H (or 62 A.H according to some historians). And the ride to Karbala culminated on 20th Safar after the family of Prophet (s) was put through atrocities in Yazid’s court and captivity.

In accordance with the widely accepted traditions, the Prophet’s family including Lady Zainab (a.s) and the 4th Shi’ite Imam, Zainal Abideen (a.s) in addition to women, and children remained in Yazid’s captivity for a year. Yazid was forced to release them from his captivity when Lady Zainab (a.s) expressed her wishes to her nephew, Imam Zainal Abideen (a.s) that she wanted to travel to Karbala to mourn her brother Hussain and all the Karbala martyrs. Other women in captivity had desired the same and thus, Imam Zainal Abideen (a.s) directed the caravan to deserted plains of Karbala. Here it is important to pay attention to the religious significance of Arba’een in the context of ‘Ziyarat,’ which shall be elaborated shortly. When the caravan reached Karbala, contrary to one’s expectations, the grave of Imam Hussain (a.s) was not found in desolation. Rather, a few people were already seen gathered at the martyred Imam’s sacred grave as the family of Prophet (s) approached.

This group of people included one of Prophet’s (s) companions, Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari as well as his assistant, Atiyya bin Saad. According to historians, al-Ansari (ra) and his assistant had moved out of the way to let the women of Ahlul-bayt express their grief in privacy at the sacred grave of Hussain (a.s). This expression of grief by the Ahlul-bayt is what originates the concept of Ziyarat. The word Ziyarah or Ziyarat in Arabic means “visit.” The family of Prophet (s) therefore performed the Ziyarat of Hussain (a.s) on the 20th of Safar that marked the forty days of Hussain’s (a.s) martyrdom. Accordingly, Arba’een is not just a ritual that sprouted on a platform of conformity. And performance of Ziyarat-e-Arba’een then becomes a compulsory act for every Shi’ite. Religious significance of this ziyarat in addition to its benefits has also been mentioned in hadith. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s) says that, “The heavens wept over Imam Hussain (a.s) for forty mornings, rising red and setting red.” Therefore, as the believers complete forty days of remembrance of their Master, Hussain (a.s), a new pledge of obedience and loyalty is re-asserted to the King of Martyrs.

Sources:

http://www.ezsoftech.com/islamic/arbayeen.asp

 

The scattered household – part 2

The Holy Household of Prophet Mohammad

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Imam Al-Sadiq (P.B.U.H)

The sixth Imam of Shia Muslims and the longest living member of Prophet Mohammad’s holy household lived during an era, which was politically instable and ambiguous. That era marked the emergence of the Abbasid dynasty and collapse of the Umayyad dynasty, which gave a window of freedom to Imam Al-Sadiq. Therefore, he was able to gather hundreds of pupils and teach them numerous sciences and types of knowledge, to an extent where most of today’s modern essential sciences are derived from this man’s school and pupils.

However, the reign of enlightening and knowledge did not last long, as the Abbasids prevailed and crushed the Umayyad, and the amount of oppression against the holy household of Prophet Mohammad was multiplied. According to an Arab poet, he compares the Umayyad and Abbasids dynasty by saying: Swear to Allah, the oppression of Umayyad would not be one tenth of what the Abbasids did to the household of Prophet Mohammad.

This Imam, who lived and was martyred in Medina, suffered the most at the hands of Mansoor Al-Dawaniqi, who actually ordered the house of Imam Al-Sadiq to be attacked and burnt, while there were women and children inside. Finally he was poisoned in Medina by Al-Mansoor and buried beside his father and grandfather.

Imam Al-Kadhim (P.B.U.H)

Another member of Prophet Mohammad’s family who was humiliated, beaten, cussed, prisoned and finally poisoned, and even after his death, his body was thrown at a bridge in Baghdad. Imam Moosa Al-Kadhim, who became the seventh Imam of Shia Muslims, after his father Imam Al-Sadiq, spent over seventeen years in the prisons of Haroon Al-Abbasi. He was transferred from one prison to another, and each prison was another dilemma and affliction for this great man, even in one of the prisons, three hungry lions were entered to his cell, but once the lions came close to Imam Al-Kadhim, they would only lower their heads before him and bow at his feet.

Ultimately, Haroon Al-Abbasi decided to transfer Imam Al-Kadhim to a prison in Baghdad, which was administrated by a man hostile to the progeny of Prophet Mohammad, named Sindi Ibn Shahek. This man constantly beat the Al-Kadhim, humiliated him, cussed at thim, and placed him in a dungeon, where the Imam did not know day and night time. Finally, Haroon Al-Abbasi ordered Sindi to poison the Imam and after that his body was thrown on Al-Rasafa Bridge in Baghdad.

Imam Ali Al-Ridha

The eighth Imam of Shia Muslim and also known as the (Gharib), which means stranger in English, as he was exiled and martyred in a place far from him home town and away from his family members, while having no one from his family beside him. Imam Al-Ridha, who lived during the era of Abbasid civil war between Haroon’s sons (Al-Amin & Al-Ma’amoon), was later on forcibly exiled to Khorasan province in Iran, and forced to the crown-prince of the Caliph, although he was older than Al-Ma’amoon.

Although, Al-Ma’amoon had intended to use the appointment of Imam Al-Ridha as an approach to control his movements and activities, the results were opposite. The Abbasid family were angry with Al-Ma’amoon and the popularity of Al-Ridha was increasing constantly. Therefore, Al-Ma’amoon followed the footsteps of his father and poisoned Imam Al-Ridha and buried him beside the body of his father, Haroon Al-Abbasi in Khorasan Province, in what is known today as Mashhad. In addition, once the Imam Al-Ridha was martyred, the Abbasids started pursuing and punishing the family members of Imam Al-Ridha, as many of them were scattered through different regions and lands, where they lived in hidings and many others were killed and prisoned for years.

Imam Mohammad Al-Jawad (P.B.U.H)

Although, this Imam is considered to be one of the youngest Imams, when he assumed the position of Imamate, his legacy and biography is not different than his father and the previous Imams. Imam Al-Jawad was forced by Al-Ma’amoon to marry Um Al-Fadhl, who was the daughter of Al-Ma’amoon, and he was summoned to Baghdad at a later time, to under close supervision and he was placed under house arrest. Ultimately, Um Al-Fadhl’s brother, who was the next Caliph after Al-Ma’amoon, decided to get rid of the Al-Jawad. The Caliph, used the Imam’s wife (his sister) to poison him and he was left in the house for three days after his death. Imam Al-Jawad was buried in Baghdad beside his grandfather, Imam Al-Kadhim.

Imam Ali Al-Hadi (P.B.U.H)

Imam Al-Hadi lived during the time of one the Abbasid’s most cruel and barbaric caliph, named Al-Mutawakil. This man crushed numerous uprisings, which happened due to severe economic hardships, corruption and favoritism. Al-Mutawakil is known to be one of the most hostile individuals to the holy household of Prophet Mohammad, as tried to destroy the grave of Imam Al-Hussein in Karbala several times. Imam Al-Hadi was summoned by Al-Mutawakil to Samara, and he was placed under house arrest and close supervision, and his contact with the outside world was very limited and minimal.

Finally, Imam Al-Hadi was poisoned by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu’tazz, and he was buried in Samara, which was a military compound at the time.

Imam Hassan Al-Askari (P.B.U.H)

The eleventh Imam of Shia Muslims, and the father of Imam Al-Mahdi, who is still alive and in hiding (occultation) according to Shia doctrine. Imam Al-Askari, who spent almost his entire life in exile and house arrest, always criticized the corrupt policies of the caliph and extortion of the wealth by the Caliph and his surrounding circle. The contact with Imam Al-Askari was very minimal and limited to only certain individuals, who were among the close pupils and companions of him. Ultimately, Imam Al-Askari was martyred and poisoned by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu’tamid, and he was also buried in Samara beside his father, Imam Al-Hadi.