Setting standards to facilitate final decisions – part 1

(Who to believe when everyone claims to be right?)

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
Whether deciding about a political candidate, a theory or even personal and private matters, the process of making the final decision is hard and sometimes painful on many aspects. All sides claim to be on the right side, support the right cause, committed to the right approach and finally their statements and actions are RIGHT. Well, according to freedom of speech and personal liberties making such claims is absolutely fine, legal and socially acceptable according to many contemporary social and political behaviors. However, the issue of being morally, politically and socially acceptable is not as important as being able to make a decision that is right based on all principles and standards.
Watching a campaign commercial on TV or an election debate, hearing about an ideology or a theory is similar to a battle, where each side is trying to persuade as many followers to assert its prevalence. Therefore, the necessity to develop a set of standards and principles would prevent from thinking that everyone is right or all sides are equally correct, since correctness and righteousness is proportionate. Unfortunately, the hermeneutical perception of individuals about right and wrong has transformed into personal presumptions and comprehensions of life experiences instead of cognitive, academic, logical and sane sets of rules, principle and standards.
Danger of standards plurality
The deliberate trends to keep all powers only affiliated with human mind might seem a noble cause, yet it can be dangerous if the following notions are taken into consideration.
The ability to create resources and primary records for investigation is not in human’s hand, therefore, the methodology to investigate and dissect the resources and records must be presented and delivered by the creator. The methodology for investigation and dissection will be apprehensible by human minds, since the primary process of finding the resources requires intellect and cognition on many levels. Therefore, a primary non-human made sets of principles and standards for dissection and investigation are necessary to prevent wrong judgements and un-academic presumptions. In addition, the presence of such existing sets of principles and standards would mean the ultimate role of intellect and free mind will be put into test, which is making decision based on correct findings and perfect trails of investigation. Otherwise, if none is offered to humanity, the notion of accepting consequences and punishment is ethically unacceptable and unworthy.
The absence of clear sets of principles and standards to identify and outline right from wrong and correctness from corruption and evil can be due to several factors. The primary factor is human mind itself, since its capabilities are still limited regardless of its advancement and superb analytical powers. The idea of creating standards out of nullity is beyond the comprehension of human intellect and capability, since analyzing the correctness, effectuality and performance level of those sets must have be subjected to a methodology of investigation. Nevertheless, this process is an everlasting circle with no clear result with an assured notion of wasting time and effort.
Basing the development of standards and principles on life experiences, primitive human findings, manmade resources and even semi-cognitive presumptions will not surpass the reality of being ANALYSIS. The best capability of human intellect, is ability to comprehend and analyze information to develop a final decision, which makes intellect in needs of primary information and resources that can’t be man-made.
Human experience and understanding of his/her surrounding is bound to observation and direct interaction. Observation is inadequate since humans are unable to apprehend the past and future, and each observation holds a certain past and an unknown future. In addition, the surrounding facts of each observation are not always evident and clear, as many facts are possible to be hidden unless revealed through narration or future discovery. Therefore, any standard or principle based on observation is bound and limited to momentary findings by observation. In addition, the problem that lays within direct interaction is due to human’s tendency and behavior, which is bound to be either reactionary or pre-emptive. Although both of these behaviors can be based on analytical investigation or cognition, yet the result and consequence is temporal and provisional. Direct interaction and its findings are effected by past experiences, presumptions and the transitory encounter, which can vary from pleasant to violent or acceptable to irreceivable. Therefore, why should any sets of principles and standards created by such emotions and experiences be binding and used as a methodology to judge and determine good to evil?
To be continued

Challenging the traditions

Mainstream Islam & legacy of violence against minorities

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
Majority of observers, researchers, activists and writers have accused the Saudi regime sponsored Wahhabi sect for the contemporary phenomenon of terrorism and use of violent methods. Although, the Saudi family and their Wahhabi branch is responsible for some the most horrific crimes against humanity and free will, yet the root of these actions and ideologies was only capitalized and implemented by Wahhabism. The ideological implementations of Ibn Taymiya and other scholars within this sect are derived from earlier and traditional texts, where minorities like Sufis, Shias, Jews, Mutazilies and others were subjected to ideological and physical elimination.
Throughout previous articles the foundation of a violent trails of actions, statements and decisions was identified in the early post-Prophet Mohammad era, where certain companions carried out terrorizing acts. In addition, other decisions by the first three Caliphs and later on by the Umayyad and Abbasids became the preliminary bases for any ideological theorizing and legitimizing use of violence and force. Therefore, the early stage of Islamic history and the horrific crimes against minorities, the holy household of Prophet Mohammad and Islam itself, were only actions or organized efforts by individuals and groups to gain influence and control. However, the actions of this mentioned era was used by later scholars as mean of general ruling and fatwa extraditing tools and methods.
Early stages of theorizing violence
The early stages of legitimizing use of violence was primarily for political purposes according to many historical findings, since most scholars of those eras were linked and affiliated with political dynasties of the time. For instance the most direct and clear indication of violence legitimization is witnessed during the Seljuk dynasty and its famous Vazir Nizam Al-Mulk, who is the founder of Nizamiya School in Baghdad.
This man is considered a very wise, just, trustworthy and eloquent individual, who counseled the Seljuk king and ultimately wrote a book exhorting kings about the methods of governance and leadership. The book is named ‘Siyasat Nameh’ and has several chapters categorizing the priorities, responsibilities and governance methods for any ruler or king, which urges some historian to think that Siyasat Nameh was a book for the elites only. Regardless, the author of this book launched and initiated a systematic and planned elimination of Shia Muslims inside Iraq and other places, by alerting the king about the danger of leaving Shias alone. Nizam Al-Mulk suggests that Shia Muslims are an element of instability and chaos, and prevailing stability and headache-less rule is achieved by eliminating those rouge elements, alongside other minorities like the Esoteric sects.
The trails of Nizam Al-Mulk and his influence is transferred to individuals effected by him and his political rationale. The use of religious rationalization for political gain is later capitalized and implemented by scholars like Abu Hamed Al-Ghazali, who is considered among the greatest scholars of Sunni Islam. The affiliation of this scholar with the political entity of that time, forced him to develop a religious fundamental for eliminating oppositions and any group of minorities that were considered dangerous. Therefore, sources indicate that Al-Ghazali legitimized and set the foundation for physical elimination and total abandonment of entire groups and sects, in the name of guarding the Islamic Empire and nation.
Unfortunately, the theological rationales of such individuals was used to wage war against dynasties and groups, under the pretense of being an infidel, esoteric, Shia, non-believer, apostate or blasphemers. Saladin Al-Ayoubi used the work of Nizam Al-Mulk and Al-Ghazali and their likes to legitimize his crimes against the Shias of Egypt and other minorities under his rule. Therefore, although radical scholars like Ibn Taymiya were always condemned and challenged by other Sunni scholars, yet the traditional sources and texts of this school is filled with legitimization of hate, violence and use of force against other groups. It might be right to argue that Wahhabism and its famous scholar Ibn Taymiya and Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab have placed the entire world as their nemesis, due to difference in ideology, yet what is considered mainstream Islam is filled with similar claims as well.
Fortunately, the recent years have presented several individuals with a tendency to come in Public and denounce the content of these traditional sources, which are considered as sacred and worthy of being taught. Several Arab and Muslims channels have aired debates and panels with scholars from numerous schools of thought challenging one another upon the substance of those books and their hateful ideology. Although the trend of such challenges is slow and require more time and additional cleansed resources, and alongside the challenge a healthy and complete alternative is require as well. Once contemporary free-minds and Muslim scholars start to question and challenge the content so these books, they must begin to seek answers and alternatives, as they will have to reassess the entire foundation of what is considered mainstream Islam.

Terror in Belgium

The continuous trail of a bloody ideology

Shia Wisdom
The heart of European Union was struck this morning by two explosions that consumed many innocent lives and left others injured. The previous attacks throughout this continent have always left the impression that the end is not near, and terror will steal security and prosperity from this part of the world and innocents again. Well, here we are in the second day of spring and 2016, yet the world and specifically the western powers would not outline and blame the source of this bloodshed and tyranny, which is called terrorism.
The explosions of Belgium would reveal some facts about the carriers of these horrendous actions, and the ones responsible shall suffer for their crimes against humanity, yet Belgium and other European powers must start to acknowledge the following:
Drying the ideological root of terrorism is more crucial than fighting the actual terrorists in Iraq, Syria and other places.
Identifying the ideological root of terrorism has been conducted and outlined by various global institutions and foundations, which place the institution of Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia in the frontline of terror sponsorship.
Engagement with domestic Muslim youths and addressing their concerns and afflictions to prevent any intrusion using their inability to advance and create opportunity. The notion of Home Grown Terrorism has been the center of many conversations in the west, which creates a necessity about the importance of observing the needs and grievances of minorities in general and Muslims specifically.
Forcing the Muslims leaders to be engaged with Muslims youths and radical elements more frequently is very important. The primary reason, radical individuals are able to persuade and recruit younger generations, is the absence of wise, elder and more knowledgeable scholars and Muslim leaders. The presence of these leaders would enable the Muslims youth to make a better choice using the information provided by those scholars and leaders, which will show them about the bogus claims of radical groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Shia wisdom would like to take this opportunity to send condolences to the families of victims, and may the almighty grant them patience and tranquility. In addition, Shia wisdom and staff condemn these horrific acts in the name of Islam and stand in solidarity with the Belgian people and its officials.
Shia Wisdom


Persian New Year

The 20th of March on each year marks the start of New Persian year, which is called the “Nowrooz Holiday”. The term ‘Nowrooz’ is a combination of two Persian words, the first one being ‘Now’, which means new and the second one is ‘Rooz’, which means day and when combine these two together the phrase NEW DAY is reached. According to Shia traditions, Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) was approached about this holiday and he was told: Persians celebrate this occasion where they embrace the beginning of spring, they clean their residence, buy new clothing, visit their relatives, help the needy and many other virtues. It is narrated that Imam Ali replied: all of our days are Nowrooz if we carry out these deeds. The reply of Imam Ali is obviously understood as praising the holiday and what it represents for its people, since the beginning of a new year is celebrated by those virtuous deeds and actions that bring nothing but joy and happiness to the souls.
The preparation for Nowrooz celebration includes having 7 things that start with the letter (S) in the Persian language and recitation of a small prayer upon entering the New Year. This holiday is mainly celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Uzbekistan and many other countries that share the Persian linage or the Persian language.
Although Nowrooz is an ancient Persian holiday, yet after the conquest of Persia and arrival of Islam in Iran, unlike many other traditions this holiday was not vanished nor opposed by Muslims, and as mentioned before, Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) praised the holiday and wished all days of the year to be Nowrooz. The contribution of Persians to the Islamic society at the same time has been astonishing in many fields, where even until this day many accomplishments are credited to Persian scholars, who enriched the Islamic tradition. In addition, it shall not be forgotten that among the most respected companions of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) is a Persian man named Salman Al-Farisi, who the Prophet renamed as Salman Al-Mohammadi.
The start of Nowrooz celebrations marks the start of spring, which ends the cold chapter of winter and calls for warming the hearts and replacing hatred and grudges with love. Therefore, let’s hope that one day humanity can also celebrate its Nowrooz, where equality, justice and peace prevails and tyranny and injustice is vanished.

History adds another Black page

Genocide in Taza (Iraq)
Shia Wisdom

There are numerous dates and events in history’s calendar that will make any human wonder about the viciousness, ruthlessness and barbarism of certain individuals and groups. Unfortunately, these dates mark what the contemporary world considers as (GENOCIDES). The Darfur genocides, the holocaust genocides, the Congo genocides, the Northern Iraqi city (Halabcha) genocide and many others that are a shameful chapter in humanity’s history.
Recently the world was alerted about a new genocide, which took place in Iraq to add to the daily atrocities this country has suffered from for a long time. A small town near Iraq northern city of Kirkuk name ‘Taza’ was subjected to chemical attacks by ISIS, where reports have indicated thousands including women and children are among the dead. The majority of this town’s residents were Shia Muslims, who are considered as infidels and non-believers by ISIS and other Wahhabi groups. In addition, other minorities like the Yazidis and Christians of this town have been reported to be among the victims of this horrific genocide. Earlier, the US state department considered the crime a ‘genocide’ and a crime against humanity, where the secretary called for international legal institutions to investigate the details and trails of this horrendous act.
As mentioned in previous articles and statements by Shia Wisdom, the notion of terrorism will never be beaten by only launching airstrike campaigns and sending possible ground troops. The ideological pool of hatred and fundamentalism these groups are feeding from must be dried and prevented. In addition, all states, groups and individuals who have supported these terrorist groups by any mean (Financial, recruitment, ideology, cyber support and etc.) must be held accountable and persecuted to the full extent of law.
Shia Wisdom and staff send their prayers for the victims and their families, hoping the almighty lord will grant patience and serenity to them and may he bless the souls of all those who have fallen.

Fatima bint Muhammad… The role model of women

By: Moujtaba Alkhalidi

    First and foremost, Fatima bint Muhammad is the embodiment of Surah 24 Verse 31 which states ~
      ” And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, brothers, parents etc…, And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed”.
      If you want to know the true meaning of the hijab in the Quran, look at Fatima bint Muhammad, because of the fact she is the walking Quran. Pure characteristics implemented in her, preserving her chastity, lowering her gaze, covering her adornments. Furthermore, she isn’t just the role model for women in Islam, but for all of humanity. She teaches women to speak against injustice, being humble to your spouse, altruism, and truly fearing Allah.
      Moreover, Prophet Muhammad said: ”The best women in the entire world are four: Maryam, Asiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah, and Fatima daughter of Muhammad.” The reason being is because of the fact Fatima bint Muhammad is the true interpretation of Islam, she teaches humanity through her actions and the definition of true love.
      On the same token, if every female individual followed Fatima bint Muhammad as she is suppose to be followed, there would be no oppression for women, equality would be applied to all females, and empowerment would be taken in place.
      In addition, if everyone implemented Fatima bint Muhammad in their lives, men would not be looking at women as an object of desire, they would be respecting them as a human being.Also, Fatima bint Muhammad was not only the best female individual to walk on earth, but the best mother. She raised her children like no mother has ever raised her children before. Imam Hassan and Imam Hussein were role models for all Shia men and women, she raised them in a way where their actions spoke louder than their words. They sacrificed everything for Islam, went through trails and tribulations to protect the message of their mother. Shia men all around the world look up to these Imams and thousands die towards the way of Allah for Islam just by simply following the teachings of her children and how she raised their attitudes to be towards the religion of Islam. Modern day women should act upon her actions so that they can have there children have her children’s actions.
      If every Muslim women followed Fatima bint Muhammad then many problematic issues would be resolved with ease. She teaches women how to be a perfect wife, mother, and daughter. The fact that Fatima bint Muhammad embodies the Quran, following her as a role model would be no difference than the Quran because both are corresponding.
      More importantly, Fatima delivers rationality, philosophically, and intellectually. If you follow Fatima bint Muhammad, doing some actions that may be makrooh (hated) wouldn’t be put in consideration because of the fact you’ve reached a high state of belief that this situation is considered pointless and rather low to think about.
      Above all, Fatima’s philosophy, and way of life is phenomenal, if Muslim women applied this to their lives all their issues would be resolved. Considering this, Fatima would control her anger, love her enemies, and put herself before others. Now a days, Muslim individuals are too overwhelmed with jealousy, envy and greed. If one lady witnessed her friend wearing a certain type of jewelry, they would run to their spouse and start asking for the same or better type of jewelry, this may in many times cause a bad relationship in the family, a husband may not have enough money to afford that jewelry for his wife and it may cause him to go burrow money and this puts the husband in a bad situation.
      Even more, rationality is a fundamental to women. Thinking objectively rather than subjectively is vital and essential for women to act upon, rather than being effected by their personal feelings. All in all, Fatima bint Muhammad is the best individual to ever walk on the face of this earth. Simply following her is equivalent to following the Quran. She is the embodiment of the Quran, and implementing her in your lives puts your life at ease. She covers every aspect of life, to logic, mindset, emotions, intellect, philosophy, so on and so forth. Following Fatima bint Muhammad is obeying Allah’s commands. World problems will be solved and women will be empowered.

Is the Islamic State Islamic?

The rise of a terrorist group unjustifiably named the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been a disaster for the image of Islam. Here is a group of people who claim to be fundamentalist literalist Muslims who justify their medieval punishments with Islamic rhetoric. With the recent Paris bombing in November 2015, or the barbaric beheadings, in cold blood and on camera, of 5 western hostages between August and November 2014, the consequences are as expected…
The rise of Islamophobia in the West has drastically increased and crucial detail notes that it is not just ill informed or ignorant members of society who have aided this rise. As these terrorists are constantly being thrusted into the spotlight, a vast majority of people inevitably begin to view ISIS as “very Islamic” or “the true form of Islam”.
This, unfortunately, has brought much hate towards those who are not only targeted by islamophobic western media but also by those who deem themselves the true believers and decide that Shia Muslims should not be give the right to life. This terrorism existed since after the death of our holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), when the first act of beheading in the name of Islam was showcased in the battle of Karbala. Their thirst for power and worldly affairs was the only driving force and, because of it, millions have been inhumanely beheaded, shot, and murdered in the name of Islam.
A fundamental error of attribution, society’s excessive emphasis on religious motivation to explain the behavior of ISIS, has been the easiest route for most to take because it’s much easier to blame it on the most prominent common denominator, Islam, than studying the underlying characteristics that ISIS members have in common.
People have seemingly begun to deem ISIS to be a religious ideology rather than considering the relevant external factors that play a dominant role in forming this radical group.
Political Aspects
Analyzing the political aspects of the creation of the so-called ‘Islamic State’, one must acknowledge the long period of war, torture, occupation and sectarianism that flourished in the land of Iraq and the firing of the Iraqi army in 2003, which created perfect conditions for the rise of the hybridized terror group.
Dissolving the Iraqi army meant taking away the identity of Sunni Muslims who relied on the armed forces of Saddam Hussein as their symbolic support of identity. A political statement more than a religious one, Sunnis, the minority who had government control during Saddam Hussein’s regime, were suddenly replaced by the Shia-led government of Nouri Al-Maliki.
The Sunni insurgents went on to form Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, which then morphed into the Islamic State (IS) after its leader Abu Musab Zarqawi was killed in the summer of 2006. Over 100 Saddam Hussein-era officers run the so-called “jihadi” military groups. Now, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State caliphate, appointed his deputy in Iraq to be Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, a former senior special forces officer in Hussein’s army. Furthermore, Baghdadi’s number two in Syria is Abu Ali al-Anbari, a former major general under Saddam Hussein.
Therefore, to give themselves more legitimacy, they use religion as an identity; to identify themselves with the 120,000 innocent Iraqis who have been killed by US-led coalition forces and the sectarian civil war between Shias and Sunnis as justification to drive their terror against the West and Shias. This identity is a form of justification for their thirst for political power, distinguishing themselves with the abused victims and classifying their terror as justice.
Where Might Some Derive a Fraudulent Religious Connection?
Now one may ask why certain Western young men and women aspire to join the blood-drenched group. In a study done by MI5, the United Kingdom’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, it revealed: “Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practice their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could be regarded as religious novices”.
Indeed religious novices, such as Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, two young British Muslims who were convicted of terrorism charges after travelling to fight in Syria had bought copies of The Koran for Dummies from Amazon prior to their travel. Most of those who join ISIS are similar to these young men; their blinded, ignorant, and uneducated mistakes take the lives of millions every year. Whoever said ignorance is bliss was wrong, ignorance merely makes you a slave to those who can burden the weight of intelligence.
Analysts also noted that there was a high number of converts and a lofty tendency for “drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes”. Here we have vulnerable people; people who are frustrated with the world they live in, not necessarily motivated and obsessed with a messianic and apocalyptic view of the world. They are then introduced to charismatic persuasive figures who cherry pick texts out of context from Islamic literature that promises to enlist them in a greater cause and paradise.
MI5 has further investigated evidence that proves that a well-developed religious identity protects against violent radicalization. This created identity isn’t part and parcel with the Islamic identity and anyone who knows a fraction of Islamic truths can arrive to that conclusion reasonably.
The Stance of the 1.6 billion Peaceful Muslims
Dissecting the stance of Muslims on their view on ISIS is a pivotal aspect of this argument. Conceivably the most impressive achievement of ISIS is the way in which it united 1.6 billion, often divided, Muslims against it.
Whether one is Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi, conservative, or liberal, all leaders and scholars have unanimously condemned and denounced ISIS from the religion of Islam.
Considering the statements of famous Muslim groups around the world is an essential facet. The Organization of Islamic Co-operation, representing 57 countries around the world stated that ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam”; the most prestigious Sunni University, al-Azhar University in Cairo stated that ISIS is acting “under the guise of this holy religion… in an attempt to export their false Islam”; and even Saudi Arabia’s Grand salafist Mufti, Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah ash-Sheikh stated that ISIS is “the number one enemy of Islam”.
Many blame the violent extremism on the Salafism ideology, a extremely conservative branch of Islam, which owes much of it’s controversial teachings to 18th century preacher named Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahab, which is the source behind much of the sectarianism and misogyny in the Muslim world.
Although it is proven that most Salafis are not Jihadists and most adhere to sects that reject the Islamic State, the ideology itself remains the same even though they are ignorant to it. They may reject the actions of ISIS, but only because they are so heavily denounced for their beliefs. Their utopia would look exactly like what the ISIS is currently working to build; extermination of Shia, and other people who they conceive to be the ‘kafir’ or disbelievers.
The religious world, whether Muslim, Jewish or Christian, is packed with fringe and fundamentalist groups that claim the mantle of total authenticity. Therefore, people cannot interpret ISIS’ twisted and corrupted view of Islam to be the legitimate, authentic, or rational driving force of their terror.
To claim that ISIS is “Islamic” is inaccurate and insulting to the 1.6 billion non-violent adherents of Islam across the planet. In contrast to how the KKK and the Branch Davidians are not considered the image for Christianity, neither should ISIS be considered the image of Islam. Fundamentally, it is also dangerous because it provides ISIS leaders and their slaves with propaganda and a tool for recruiting, which is one they utterly crave.