The forgotten minority: Shias of Saudi Arabia

The newest episode of attacks against Shia Muslims (Al-Qudaih Attack)

Taking a life based on someone’s belief and religion is not acceptable under any circumstance and any condition, as God has presented the notion of killing a soul as killing the entire humanity. However, due to unfortunate events and political interests in some parts of the world, we have been accustomed to hear about the killing and slaughtering of people for their beliefs and religion. Nevertheless, occurrence of such events in places, where security is known to be high and very effective is very rare and somehow unacceptable.
The attack on a Shia mosque in the town of Al-Qudaih in the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, is another episode of a systematic attack and genocide against Shia Muslims in general and the Shias of Saudi Arabia more specifically. The Shia Muslims in this country have been one of the most oppressed minorities on the face of the planet, where they are stripped from their simplest rights and privileges.
The government of Saudi Arabia must fulfill its responsibilities and promises to its citizens and provide them with the freedom they require to practice their rituals and feel safe at the same time. Shia Muslims are known to be among the most tolerant groups in the communities they reside in, as they feel obligated to co-exist with all the groups and show the best picture for their religion.
Shia Wisdom condemns the Al-Qudaih Attack that took the lives of 22 people, including 2 children and injured more than 90 others. Meanwhile, we ask for an immediate measures and steps to protect and safeguard the mosques of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, since this incident is the second one in less than a year. Our prayers and thoughts are for the families of the victims and we ask Allah to grant them patience and fast relief as soon as possible, and may the ones responsible for this hideous crime be brought to justice.

Shia Wisdom
May24, 2015

The Visit of the youth of holy city of Karbala to the Armenian orthodox cathedral in Baghdad.

By Mohammed Alsafi

Vision organization for Culture and Development sponsored by Masarat organization for cultural and media development organized a field trip for a group of the youth of Karbala as a part the harmony week between religions to the Armenian orthodox cathedral in Baghdad, where Mr. Sarkis Malkilian the secretary of the Armenian Youth Association welcomed us.

Mr. Sarkis welcomed the delegation with a warm heart and gave the youth an introduction about the history of Armenians in Iraq, especially after the genocide of Armenians in 1915, and the challenges and difficulties which they faced and still facing by the community in Iraq, a century after the genocide.

And Mr. Saad Salloum The head of Masarat organization added telling the importance of communication between youth and religious components in Iraq as bridges between communities, and gave a summary of the impacts of the genocide at the international level and the importance of preparing to revive its centennial.

And Mr. Mohammed Maash the head of the youth delegation thanked Mr. Sarkis for his warm reception, and Masarat organizations to organize the visit, and they agreed to communicate in a common activity to receive the Armenian youth in the holy city of Karbala to introduce them to the city’s landmarks and heritage and the holy places in it.

Planning the Future; An induction in the thoughts of Imam Seyed Mohammad Al-Shirazi

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

 

Absolutely, no one is able to tell the future, and this is fact known to all humans. However, people have tried to come up with methods to predict the future or establish a set of rules and realities to prefect their predictions. Therefore, by implementing these sets of rules and plans, a human is able to tell the unseen in an indirect way, and proportionately be in control of his/her future. Ever since the beginning of twentieth century scholars like Gilfillan and others have called for implementation and study of science of Future, and eliminating history based on a measurable continuous duration.

To summarize the science of Future, it can be described as: the ability to predict based on inducting and dissecting the present political, social and economic realities using case studies and contemporary singular and plural phenomenon to extradite the general standards and norms that will rule the future generations and societies. However, the specific studies and researches about the science of future can be categorized as follows:

  • Systematical supervision of future, specifically out of current bearings of societies.
  • A science that monitors changes and alterations in a specific event of phenomenon, which ultimately would result in ability to predict outcomes in the future, or present preferences and possibilities.
  • A set of studies and researches that aim to outline the directions of events, and the possible changes that might affect the these directions or the guidelines.
  • Systematic scientific diligence that aims to present a set of conditional predictions, which include presenting the major monuments and possible outcomes in a society for a future that, at least is twenty years ahead. In addition, possible variable and intrusions into a society can be predicted and possible resolutions and outcomes can be labeled and presented.

Therefore, the main purpose to study the future would be:

  • Exploring the possible future: this notion would enable us to present approximate future outcomes.
  • Establishing a desired future: this notion would mean a long ranging plan would be necessary for the benefit of all members of society, since they would be the ones affected by the possible future.

Based on the nature of future studies and researches, they are identified by using four elements:

  • Studies that concentrate on scientific methods for identifying future hidden outcomes.
  • They are broader than general science, as they include artistic and philosophical efforts siding with scientific resolutions and methods.
  • These studies are beneficial in determining the necessities of possible challenges in the future.
  • The studies present the necessary information for the decision-makers and planning minds of a state, which makes the studies and researches of future very necessary for any nation.

The importance of these studies, which is evident in all aspects of life can be identified in seven levels:

  • Conducting an action plan to induct possible future outcomes, and predicting possible future ideologies and adoption of methodologies.
  • Comprehension of possible choices and resolution for the purpose of making an informed decision if necessary.
  • Reduction of possible future conflicts and calamities to enable nations and individuals to prepare accordingly.
  • Conducting studies and researches about the future and possible outcomes, is a necessary step in designing strategic plans.
  • Containment of possible collective threats that might endangers large numbers of people or even nations, such as droughts, climate change, nuclear incidents and natural disasters.
  • Rationalization of decision-making bodies by presenting different methods and tools so they are able to comprehend the need or the threat and make an informed decision based on that knowledge.
  • Increase in number of democratic participations for the purpose of planning for the future, which will make the decision more conclusive and comprehensive.

In his book (Jurisprudence of Future) Imam Al-Shirazi mentions a narration by the second Imam of Shi’a Muslims, Imam Al-Hassan, where he says: “do for your world (life) as you might live forever, and do for your after-life, as you might pass away tomorrow”.  Imam Al-Shirazi, argues this narration is a clear action plan for any human to prepare for his future, and give the preponderance to bigger goals than smaller goals. To identify these bigger goals mentioned by Imam Al-Shirazi, he quotes: “The broad necessities of future”, which ultimately mean outweighing the bigger goals against any other desires and smaller goals.

The call of Imam Al-Shirazi to consider for the future is for the purpose of adaption and preparation for the future. History and present-day are connected and in addition, future must be part of this equation. Past, Present and Future are the legs of a tripod that will carry humans through life accordingly.

To enable ourselves keeping up with future and continuous changes, Imam Al-shirazi suggest the following steps:

  • A strong and informed leadership is able to deliver any size of entity to safety, by making the right decisions for the benefit of majority.
  • Observing and monitoring possibilities.
  • Proper and comprehensive action plans.
  • Decisions made by the scientist and scholars of a nation based on the four elements mentioned above.

Imam Al-Shirazi views a knowledgeable human, who has the proper understanding of future and its possibilities is always able to make informed decisions, which makes him secured for the consequences of future calamities and threats, regardless of their nature. Whether political, financial, social or even environmental, such a human being is always a step ahead of everyone else. After all, life is about taking advantage of opportunities and chances that present themselves in life. However, it would be more beneficial for a human to create opportunities for himself, and hold the steering wheel of future in his/her hand.

Unfortunately. The ones that decide to ignore the future, live their present time without any consideration for future, will be the most endangered, and fragile ones if a threat presents itself. Therefore, due to lack of any preparation, they would not be able to adapt and in some cases survive the possible future changes.

Moral – Ethical Codes & Political Agendas

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

There is an ancient Arabic quote that says: “a right is taken not given”. Throughout history, we witness groups and nations raise to take their rightful rights from entities and individuals who have seized what belongs to them, whether it is freedom, land, dignity or revenge in some cases. Many scholars and thinkers have urges the masses to take lead in building their future and part of their progress to determine their path. However, these notions have been upgraded to include political philosophies and doctrines to legitimize means of political conduct, and as a result the moral aspect affiliated with any policy making conduct have been confiscated and abandoned. Whether dissecting the realist or liberal school, we witness what governs political conduct and the policies of states is self-interest and survival, and not necessarily the notion of right and wrong.

Philosophers define politics as a mean to create influence, therefore influence is defined as power, and power assures survival and self-determination. All political schools try to minimize the occurrence of conflict and implement ways to create an environment where mutual interests and needs are the common ground of governance, but at the same time they recognize in some cases conflict is inevitable. Therefore, they have assembled doctrines to manage conflict and confrontations and use of force if necessary. The Liberal school of thought suggests that conflict can be evaded through setting common grounds of interest and mutual alliances, and Realist school of thought suggest that conflict are inevitable and therefor, they have to be dealt with accordingly. I do not intend to dissect these schools of thought thoroughly and accumulate culpabilities, but the matter that I will point out in this article is the notion of moral absence in political conduct, and whether politics and morality are symmetrical of contradictory.

Reviewing most of the political doctrines in modern and past era will suggest the absence of moral and ethical codes is something that cannot be denied. The Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D) doctrine, the appeasement policy, Complex Economic Integration, Isolationism and many more political doctrines and philosophies have one thing in common, and that one notion is the importance of interest. The common goal of these doctrines is to deter any state from expansionist tendencies on the account of other sovereign states, and to minimize conflict as mentioned above. However, the one thing, which was not acknowledged in between these doctrines, is the notion of morality and its ability to govern inter-state relations and political conduct.

Both logic and reality suggest that conflict is inevitable due to the absence of morals and ethic codes, and apathy for others and lives of humans, therefore, whether following the realist school or the liberal school, considering enforcing and implementing moral codes and integrating them with political conduct was not a bad idea. Although, moral and ethical codes need actual activation and implementation in reality, setting these codes must be a common tendency among all states.

Historical Examples:

  • Battle of Badr. This battle took place in west Arabia in 624 CE, between the Muslims led by Prophet Mohammad and the Meccans led by the Quraysh clan. The victorious side in this battle were the Muslim, but what happened after the battle is very interesting and notable. The Muslims tied the captives with robes and were lining them in a degrading manner, when the Prophet saw that scene, he ordered the Muslims to open the robes and treat the captives with mercy. In addition, the Prophet asked any man from the captives who is able to read and write to teach ten Muslims, and he shall be set free. Although some observers might suggest this kind of morality was during a battle and the Islamic Empire was at its beginning stages, but the reality of the matter suggests that such a conduct gave a well reputation for the Muslims, especially when the prophet continued applying these moral codes on other battles and incidents.
  • Battle of Seffin. This battle took place on the banks of the Euphrates River in modern day Syria in 657 CE. The two sides in this battle were the army of Ali Ibn Abi Talib on one side and the army of Levant governor Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan on the other side. Resources from this battle narrate that when the Levant army seized control of the Euphrates River, they banned the army of Ali from accessing water, but when army of Ali regained control of the river again, they did not do the same thing to their enemy. Although, this kind of conduct might not be effective in persuading some states and rulers to play fair, but this notion will decrease the sense of grievance afterward. Especially in those environments, when moral conduct was viewed as sign of nobility and honor.
  • Battle of Karbala. Although this battle is one of the most hematic battles in the history of mankind, but its details and conducts are being told until this day, especially among Shi’a Muslims. The battle of Karbala tool place in desert of Nainawa, in modern day central Iraqi city of Karbala in 680 CE. The grandson of Prophet Mohammad Imam Hussein with his 72 companions were slaughtered and beheaded by the army of Yazin Ibn Muawiyah. Prior to the battle, one of the commanders in Yazid’s army named Hur ibn Yazid Al-Riyahi was ordered to prevent Imam Hussein to reach the city of Kufa, and keep him in Karbala until the main army arrives to that point. When the unit led by Hur Ibn Yazid met the Imam Hussein’s Caravan, they were out of water, and in desperate need of it, therefore, Imam Hussein ordered his companions to water Hur’s unit and even water their horses. This situation later on made Hur wonder about the rationale behind battling the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, and he ended up changing side, and joined the side of Imam Hussein, and he was the first martyr in his army.

History is full of these incidents and situations, and they all prove the effectiveness of moral codes and ethic in political conduct. The presence of moral conduct in politics will force states and political players to conduct their policies according to what is right and not according to their interest. Self-interest might not be a cost-efficient notion in many cases, but it will assure each human is given a chance to fulfil his/her destiny or path in this world. Imagine if doctrines like responsibility to protect was a binding notion among nations to protect any oppressed nation against their rouge governments, would of made states think twice about using force against their masses. States claim that security and stability is their ultimate goal, both domestically and globally, therefore, how are they able to fulfill this notion by securing their interests and implementing security and stability? The actual numbers of victims and oppressed masses all around the world suggest that states have not been able to fulfil their promises and as realists have suggested, conflicts are occurring and innocent lives are taken away.

 

Intimacy & Sex in Islamic Tradition

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

self-love

The stereotypes that have been spread about Islam are mostly due to the actions of Muslims and their conduct in their daily lives. Nevertheless the famous quote, which is heard in many cases when someone is asked to describe Islam (Islam is a way of life) is without doubt the one definition that has not been defined properly. The issue of intimacy and sexual relations is one of the issues that have been acceptable to be discussed in the public in the western world, and this notion have been dissected and researched thoroughly to an extent, where there are sex therapists, healers and gurus active in this specific field. However, the same subject have been transformed to a taboo, and a private matter to an extent where a man or a woman is not able to seek any help in this matter from anyone if he/she needs it. Nevertheless, Islamic traditions are full of narrations by the holy prophet and the infallible Imams about the topic of intimacy and sexual relations. The Islamic tradition have given the smallest details about the process of conducting such a relationship for a man and a woman. Unfortunately, the Muslim scholars have not been able to deliver these teachings and traditions to the masses to help them better their relationships with their spouses, and therefore, we witness the emergence of numerous social and psychological conflicts within the Islamic societies related to this specific topic.

The Islamic traditions have been so broad in covering all aspects of the sexual and intimate relationship where it gives a Muslim person the smallest details about how, where, when and what of the subject. The traditions cover the times when intimacy between a man and his spouse are recommended and when not recommended, and where are the proper places for this private matter to be practiced, and the limits, which leaves the Muslim person in no need of any help. Even these traditions suggest consultation and seeking help in medical, norms and behaviour aspects of this relationship. The Quran itself is full of verses governing and showing the entitlements and liabilities of both sides when it comes to this private matter, and from within these verses hundreds of jurisprudential rulings and matters have been extradited and presented to all Muslims. The main goal and point among these discussion, is that Islam views a permissible intimate relation only to be between a man and a women through a legit and proper matrimony. Therefore, it should be clear that all other relations that are outside the foundation of marriage and a man with a woman are considered Haram and not permissible.

Examples from Quran & Islamic Sunnah:

  • The Quran has presented numerous verses detailing the process of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman.
  • “And they ask you about menstruation. Say, It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.”[1]
  • “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth when or how you will, and send (good deeds, or ask Allah to bestow upon you pious offspring) before you for your own selves.”[2]
  • “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”[3]
  • Sunnah & Traditions within the Islamic literature as mentioned above have given a Muslim person details aspects about the ways and process of a healthy, secure, and pleasurable intimate relationship. In addition, the traditions of Prophet Mohammad and the infallible Imams have confirmed the importance of conducting such healthy relationship between spouses on regular bases, due to the importance of this notion and the necessity it holds within the biological aspect of a human life. However, Islam have called for privation of explicitly and total sexual freedom, due to the consequences it could have if not regulated accordingly.
  • Narration by the Prophet: “Marriage is from my tradition (Sunnah), and whomever abstain it, is not from my Ummah.”[4]
  • Narration by the Prophet: “Prepare for your wives, the same way you desire them to be prepared for you.”[5] In a clarification by the sixth Imam, Imam Al-Sadeq, he said: “This narration is in regard of personal hygiene”.[6]
  • Narration by the Prophet: “Best of the women are the ones, who take off their shield of modesty, while intimate with spouse.”[7]
  • Narration by Imam Ja’afar Al-Sadiq: “if one shall come to his spouse, let there be foreplay, since it is the best of matters.”[8]

Many other narrations have been given in regulating a proper and healthy intimate relationship between two spouses, which shows the importance of foreplay, intimate flirting, sensual touching and full attention to the needs and the feelings of a woman during this intimate and private part of life. However, Islam have been so precise about its details, and considerate for its followers that it offers them regulations about where and when and how not couple with a spouse, since it might have undesired consequences. These recommended regulations have been proven scientifically in the modern world, which shows the thoroughness of the true Islamic culture presented by the holy Prophet and the infallible Imams. For example in a narration by Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, he says: “the Prophet has inhabited for an intimate relation to be conducted in the presence of an infant in a crib.”[9] In addition, there are other narrations that recommend an intimate relation between a couple not to be done in a public place, or where there is a possibility of being spotted, since this relationship is meant to be private and for the pleasure of the couple only. Even the Imams and the Prophet have prohibited an intimate relation between a man and his wife during the menstruation period, since it has negative effects on the biological and psychological nature of a female.

Conclusion:

As mentioned above the Islamic tradition has detailed the ways and the process of a healthy and pleasurable intimate relationship between spouses, and has given them all the necessary information they need to please each other in a permissible and acceptable manner. However, due to the wrong norms and social traditions that have been adopted by Muslim societies, this important information have been prevented from Muslims.  Unfortunately, the Muslim scholars have done very little when it comes to enlightening the Muslims about these details, and enabling them to conduct a healthy and pleasurable relationship with their spouses. I would not be exaggerating when I say that many men and women in the Middle Eastern countries, lack knowledge of a proper healthy and pleasurable intercourse and intimate relation on the night of their weddings. Therefore, as a consequence we witness cases where violence have been used, and we witness cases where the first encounter result in a lasting displeasure on both sides, and ultimately discomfort and dislike among a newly created family.

 

 

[1] The Holy Quran. Chapter 2 Al-Baqarah. Verse 222.

[2] The Holy Quran. Chapter 2 Al-Baqarah. Verse 223.

[3] The Holy Quran. Chapter 30 Al-Rum. Verse 21.

[4] Al-Majlisi. Bihar Al-Anwar. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 1993. V 55. P 155.

[5] Al-Tabarsi Al-Noori. Mostadrak Al-Wasael. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 2001. V 14. P 109. Number 16767.

[6] Al-Tabarsi Al-Noori. Mostadrak Al-Wasael. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 2001. V 14. P 109. Number 16767.

[7] Al-Tabarsi Al-Noori. Mostadrak Al-Wasael. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 2001. V 14. P 109. Number 16778.

[8] Al hur Alameli.  Wasael al shia. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 1994. V 20. P 119. Number 25187.

[9] Alnouri Altabrasi. Mostadrak Alwasael. Iran. Dar Al-A’alami. 1999. V 14. P 228. Number 16568

Ashura & Sacred Shi’s Rituals; Persistence & Opposition

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Shiite-Muslims-flagellate-014

Once again, in few days the Shi’a Muslims around the globe will start their mourning ceremonies for the anniversary of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The rituals and consolation accompanied with during the mourning gatherings during this time have been a subject for schism within the Shi’a community due to the nature of some of the rituals, which contain graphic scenery. However, the difference in opinion in all matters is a healthy way of expression and dissection mean, but the notion that raises many concerns regarding these rituals is the sever opposition and arbitrary policies of Middle Eastern states against these rituals and all individuals and groups who practice them.

The rituals affiliated with the mourning for Imam Hussein are known as Hussaini Rituals, and the duration of ten days, which the Shi’a Muslims mourn and commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein is known as Ashura days. The traditional schools within Shi’a sect are very persistence, when it comes to recommending practice of these rituals, and consider them as pleasantry actions, which lead Shi’a Muslims to a closer status to their creator. Nevertheless, the actions of some Middle Eastern States throughout history, and recently show the threat felt from practicing these rituals, which results in their absolute confrontation and opposition against these rituals. Specifically in Iran, the authorities have banned and outlawed different types of rituals under allegations of violent nature, distortion of Islam image, and prohibition of self-harming actions.   However, when dissecting the actual reasons behind banning such rituals in Iran, it shows that political tendencies for the purpose of containment, legitimacy and survival are behind such legislations, not to mention these laws abandon the notion of freedom of expression and religion in the Muslims world itself.

Ashura & Means of Liberating Free Minds:

As discussed in a previous article, the battle of Karbala defined and exemplified the two different natures of universe in its extreme version. The army of Imam Hussein along with his seventy-two companions defined the notion of Good, and the army of Umayyad dynasty defined evil and its followers. Therefore, by commemorating and mourning the legacy of Ashura and Imam Hussein, Shi’a Muslims are presenting a clear statement to all tyrants and oppressor that, they are not ready to accept any concession and they will stand up against all kinds of arbitrations, brutality and oppression.  Although the army of Imam Hussein was slaughtered, and his household were taken as captives, Imam Hussein was able to re-define the meaning of victory, through showing the impact of blood and its role in revival of nation. Imam Hussein showed that no matter how strong and brutal a tyrant might be, there is always the choice of dying standing, and not living while kneeling. Therefore, states have always feared the effect of Ashura, and it rituals on their masses and the awakening nature of them, and this notion has resulted in their massive opposition.

In Iran, the regime have tightened the robe on all organizations and scholars that are active in reviving the Hussaini rituals, and the arbitrary actions of the Iranian regime has resulted in some catastrophic cases, which will be added to the black and shameful file of the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime, have confiscated and demolished many places that were suspected of practicing the Hussaini Rituals, and they have imprisoned many scholars and activists, who are active in this field and sentenced them to long periods of imprisonments.

Refuting the Allegations:

When it comes to dissecting the allegations of the Iranian government toward banning of the Hussaini Rituals, we find that logically, theologically and jurisprudentially, their claims hold no ground and these claims have been refuted by majority of Shi’a scholars and jurist.

  • Violence Nature of Rituals & Self-Harm: according to Shi’a jurisprudence, the permissibility of doing any action is a given right of all humans, unless otherwise stated in a clear narration or an action by the holy prophet or the infallible Imams. The notion of unpermitted self-harm is defined in the following three cases:
  • A harm that shall result in damage or loss of a body part, such as an arm, leg, finger and others.
  • A harm that shall result in damage or loss of body senses, such as vision, hearing, sense of touch or ability to smell and distinguish taste.
  • A harm that shall result in self-termination.

Therefore, according to the Shi’a jurisprudential rulings and laws, there is no reason to prohibit any action that might harm the body, and even result in blood shedding. Nonetheless, if the notion of violence and body harm should be considered to prohibit and permit actions for humans, there are numerous actions and sports, which are considered violent and result in substantial harm. Sports like boxing, Rugby, Car Racing, and even popular sports like soccer might result in body harm, and according to the claim of the Iranian regime, and other oppositions of the Hussaini Rituals, these sports shall be prohibited and banned as well. In addition, the issue of violence should not be used as a mean of deterrence in all matters and aspects, as the dispute to define violence still exist, and whose right is it to label the Hussaini Rituals as violent. Different nations and beliefs around the world mourn their figures and celebrate their holidays in drastic manners that might be viewed as violent or insane. However, these rituals have a goal and purpose behind them, and they hold a greater cause, linked to the event and the tragedy being commemorated.

  • Image of Islam: the third allegation of the Iranian regime and its supporters in opposing the Hussaini Rituals is the notion of degrading Islam, and the way it is viewed in the world. This argument is as weak as its supporter, due to the lack of credibility and legitimacy within the sides that oppose the Hussaini Rituals. Nonetheless, if the world might view Muslims and Islam in a degrading manner due to practice of these rituals, it is the fault and dereliction of Muslims themselves. Shi’a Muslims claim, these rituals have deep meaning and great purpose behind them, and defining them needs thorough dissection of the tragedy of Karbala and at the same time, they have failed to deliver these goals, purposes and definitions to the outside world. Just because the carrier of a purpose is corrupt, the purpose itself should not be neglected and abandoned. To say that Shi’a Muslims will not be able to deliver their ideology in an appealing manner to the world is a bogus claim, since the world is filled with successful Shi’a individuals in all fields. Therefore, they are definitely capable of delivering their customs and defining their rituals to the outside world.

In addition, why the acceptance of others should be considered as a justification and rebuttal mean for such rituals and actions. The followers of all religions and beliefs in the world, might view the customs and rituals of other religions and beliefs as strange, violent, unnecessary or unacceptable, so does that justify neglecting and demising their rituals for sake of pleasing other sects and groups?

Conclusion:

The Hussaini Rituals have been the most challenged rituals and practices throughout history. The Soviet Union banned its Shi’a citizens from practicing the Hussaini Rituals, the Turkish leader Ataturk, banned the Shi’a Muslims in Turkey from practicing the Hussaini Rituals, the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq banned and prosecuted anyone who practiced these rituals, and hundreds of other examples around the world. The entire notion of opposition against these rituals were originated from dictatorships, autocracies and totalitarian regimes, which feared the impact of Hussaini Rituals on their citizens. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the free world and the democratic states to protect  these rituals globally and allocate a day to glorify them, as a mean of liberating people from tyranny and oppression.

How to end sectarianism?…Criminalization VS Tolerance & Co-Existence

sy sectarianism banner

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Many political analysts tend to believe that the sectarian tension in the Middle East is and has been the core of all conflicts and complexities in this region, while neglecting some of the main contemporary issues such as the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, and existence of autocracies and totalitarian regimes in this region. Nevertheless, the historic conflicts in the Middle East seem to be unresolvable presently, and major political sacrifices have to made, which apparently are rare and unreachable now. However, the sectarian tensions in the Middle East are directly linked to the will of people to be escalated or downgraded, and this notion gives these tensions a chance to be resolved and minimized. There are several proposals put forward to minimize these tension, which are different in nature and conduct, and need thorough dissection to know where feasible or not. However, the main two proposals are the notions or criminalizing sectarianism, and implementation of tolerance and co-existence.

Ever since the invasion of Iraq, the phenomenon of religious Islamic channels have been widely spread, which includes both Shi’a Channels and Sunni Channels. These TV networks vary in ideology from very lenient to very radical and extreme, which put the Middles Eastern masses in a status of total exposure to new ideologies and views, which were not known before.  In addition, both sides claim they exist to save the followers of their sect from deceiving claims and opinions, and prevent them from going astray. Obviously, all individuals are entitled to express themselves freely, and believe in whatever they desire, but the notable notion among these claims is the allegations and accusations against these channels and entities, to enrage and fuel the sectarian tension. The question that rises among these notions is, are the TV networks and their conduct premeditated actions, or reactions to existing policies and political realities on the ground?

Disregarding the historic roots and foundation of the sects is not something to be disregarded, since these sects have been around for centuries, and will remain as far as there is life on this planet. However, we cannot deny that at some point in history these sects and groups lived side by side in peace, and were able to accept each other regardless of their beliefs. Therefore, just like any other conflict, the sectarian conflict was instigated for the purpose of political gains and influence expansion, which raises the question of ability to stir such a conflict, and the side that benefits from this tension and conflict.

Obviously, no sane mind can claim general masses in the Middle East have the tendency to rage such conflicts, since this notion contradicts the nature of prosperity agenda within human beings and nations, not to mention the inability of random people to regulate and govern such a regional scale conflict. Therefore, the only side left to be blamed for the sectarian tensions in the Middle East are the states themselves, which use different means including the bogey of sectarian conflict as a way to contain their masses and extradite legitimacy. Nevertheless, the tendency to minimize these tensions is evident, and different groups in the Middle East and outside the Middle East are eager to put an end to this tension, and save as much lives as possible. However, the opinion that is gaining ground and momentum in the Middle East is the idea of criminalizing sectarianism, and any action, statement and article that is considered sectarian in nature or leads to sectarian tensions.

The notion of criminalization is legally, morally, socially and technically not feasible and doable in any place on earth, even the places where they have legislated such laws have not been able to set a criterion and a definition for the criminalized action. In American for instance, the blasphemy law limits or prohibits irreverence toward holy figures, religions, customs and beliefs. However, in America, the freedom of expression gives the right individuals to express their views freely, without being prosecuted. The American media if full of programs, which includes direct insults and arbitrary criticism against religions and beliefs and all of these programs are satiated with the notion of freedom, and no standard has been set for them to abstain them from crossing the lines. Even personal actions are guaranteed by the notion of free will, which should be present under all circumstances, but in the case of Florida pastor who wanted to burn Qurans in the public, there was little to be done. Ultimately, in the city of Dearborn an old unused law brought forward a technicality and prevented the pastor from finishing his task, due to the possibility of chaos in public.

Criminalizing sectarianism in the Middle East though, will make the situation even worse, since the presence of religion is much stronger, and legislating such a law will result in a wide range of undesired consequences.

  • The study of theology mandates dissecting, reviewing, criticizing, praising, refutation, verification and many more notions, which can be viewed as insulting conduct toward a belief or a sect. Therefore, the notion of criminalization will abstract the academic nature of any scholarly done research about a specific faith.
  • Criminalization will be an excellent tool at the disposal of states to detain any citizen or groups under the claim of fueling sectarian tensions or causing instability, which adds another mean of containment for states.
  • The sensitivity of religious beliefs and customs in the Middle East will make the masses more agitated toward any kind of criticism toward their belief or customs, and this notion will result in taking advantage of this legislation by the rogue elements of all sides.
  • Criminalization will eliminate any chance of implementing the culture of tolerance and co-existence in the society. Since the criminalization law is an easy alternative, no one will accept sacrifice and concession for the sake of saving the social fabric of the society. Therefore, the result would be an unbearable society, with a tendency to collide at any time.

The Middle Eastern societies have the capability to co-exist and tolerate each other regardless of their beliefs, just like the times of their ancestors, which is not too far ago. Therefore, the concept of co-existence and tolerance will be the best solution to minimize tensions, which gives societies a chance to reach prosperity and stability. No one claims sectarian tensions are inevitable, and will never happen. A small family with five members can face difference in opinion, and in some cases disputes, but the ability to govern disputes and dismiss them in a professional manner is what makes the difference. The notion of co-existence mandates and forces societies to override tensions and possible conflicts for the sake of stability and minimizing losses, which is the nature of all human beings originally.

Culture of Ghadir

True Shia scholars use the day of Ghadir to talk about importance of that day and Ghadir culture. Below is a 3 part video from Grand Scholar Ayatullah Sadiqh Shirazi that he spoke on “Culture of Ghadir”. The video was uploaded in 2009 so the speech may have been form that or previous year. Nevertheless the message of this great scholar has not changed as it been consistent on culture of Ghadir and teachings of Ahlulbayt so we like to share it for your videos to watch. The video is in Farsi with subtitles in English but for your convenience we have also posted the English transcription of the subtitles below:


 

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious the most Merciful

(Allah) in Holy Quran has said:

And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord (6) It is these who hasten in every good work. And these how are foremost in them. (61)

Today the world needs the culture of Ghadir more than ever. No matter what we do in this respect it is still too little, It is still not enough to recompense the right of the Commander of the Faithful, ( Imam Ali – a) and it is no adequate to meet the efforts of the evil doers in the world today. In addition it might become instrumental in our regrets on the Day of Judgment that maybe I could have done more, I could have done better.

The believers are those who think in the long term, those who are aware of the next world. They have fear in the pits of their stomachs in that they think what if I haven’t completed my responsibilities, what if I haven’t done enough. (According to Quran they are…) It is these who hasten in every good deed, and these who are foremost in them Therefore these good people, these believers struggle for good deeds to overtake each other in this respect. Meaning that such people dispense so many efforts so as to be more successful to the second and vice verses (in terms of doing good deeds for satisfaction of God).

A man recently came to me who was a pious businessman, and mentioned another business man and started to praise him. Saying that he was a good man and a pious man. ..he went on to say that he had just recently died. The man continued saying; “I had a dream of my friend, I saw that he was very upset, I was expecting to see him happy and joyous, so I called onto him and asked him why are you in this state? “ He replied that when I came here I realized that when I was alive I could have made better use of my opportunities and could have made more sue of them, why didn’t I?!

Just as it is written in the hadith (tradition) that even the believers the good people will feel regret in that why didn’t I do more why didn’t I do better? One of the regrets of all of us is with respect to (not doing enough for) Ghadir, serving the cause of Ghadir, spreading (the message of) Ghadir.

The world should understand what Ghadir means. What was Ghadir and what were the outcomes of Ghadir? These injustices that have occurred and are occurring in the world today, these bases are due to being distant from the culture of Ghadir.

Once I said to some of my friends that my understanding from what I have heard and seen in the traditions and from history…is that if we consider all those who are amongst the lovers of Ahlulbayt (holy progeny of prophet Muhammad-SAWS), not calling them Shia, but those who don’t consider themselves the enemies of Ahlulbayt, and if we consider the tyrants among them, throughout history, whether they are leaders kings or anything else, and if we sup them up all up and sum up all of their injustices it would not equal the injustices committed by one of those who deviated by Ghadir.

Meaning those tyrants who called themselves Shia and didn’t believe in others and they used to commit injustices, if we collect them all together how much injustice did they commit? What kinds of injustices were they, it wouldn’t equal to one Hajjaj…all of these. It wouldn’t equal to one Thahhaak, it wouldn’t equal to one Sadda,, it wouldn’t equal to one Yazid, it wouldn’t equal to one Mu’awia, it wouldn’t equal to one MOtawakil! People who call themselves Shia but in realty they are not the followers of Ahlulbayt and they are tyrants, still their injustices are less compared to others that we have mentioned. The world of today with the readiness that it has with all the possibilities that it has…there were times were it wasn’t possible, it wasn’t possible to say, it wasn’t possible to write, it wasn’t possible to publicize, they would kill a person for (saying) one hadith, they would kill a person because of using the name of (Imam Ali) commander of faithful.

A man came to Hajjaj and said give me a price Hajjaj asked for what reason he replied because in all of my tribe there isn’t a single person with Ali. Hajjaj said this is a great achievement! The man continued to say in all of my tribe there isn’t a single woman with the name Fatima, and then Hajjaj gave him a prize! There was a time where it was like this! It is written that the pillars of Baghdad and other places but more in Baghdad perhaps, they would make these pillars into four walled enclosure and would place a Seyyed or Shia in it and then would pure Sand on him while he was still alive.

There were times in the past wehre one could not say anything! Our Master Sadiq (a), the proof of Allah, the infallible Imam, he was breaking his fast and a person asked him is it Eid today? Imam replied “no” then the man asked “why are you breaking your fast” meaning that because Mansour had claimed that day of Eid, if Imam were to fast on that day they wuld cut his head off. There were times where it was like this! Even a few decades ago. These injustices and nonsense have reduced quite a bit in the world today. Yes in some places these things occur to an extend like Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places. God willing these occurrences will also cease and they will!

This world, this 6 billion of population, most of them haven’t heard of Ghdair, they don’t know. Who has to inform them? We have to, and people likes us have to. i.e. the Islam that is in essence Islam and no just by name, the Islam that isn’t just a name, it’s the real Islam. It’s the reality of Quran, it’s the actuality of what Prophet of Allah (SAWS) did in actions, in words and in speech. If this reaches the world many of the people of this world will follow the Ahlulbayt. And when they start to follow the Ahlulbayt, this is a culture, this is a culture of justice, a culture of mercy, a culture of virtue. So whatever we do it is still too little, we must lesson our shortcomings. One must compare himself with those who gave blood in the path of commander of faithful (Imam Ali – a) in the path of this culture, in the path of Ghadir…people like Abuthar and lik him that were killed. Abuthar died of starvation in the path of commander of faithful Imam Ali (a). And the friends of Abuthar a portion of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS), people who for ten years for twenty years prayed with Abuthar behind the Prophet, they would sit and listen to sermons of the Prophet. They lived a life of each and luxury whilst Abuthar was striving for the culture of Ghadir and died of starvation in this course. A person does not die quickly from hunger; it is possible that or she might die in 48 hours from thirst, however one does not die quickly from hunger. He will suffer so much till he dies of hunger.

One must compare himself to people who gave their property and wealth in the way of Ahlulbayt. We must make use of our tongues make use of our pens, encourage others. Ibn Abi Omayath was a millionaire in his own time, it is written that when they arrested him they confiscated 500, 000 either dinar or Dirham from him. If it was Dinar it is equal to half a million sheep, if it was Dirham it would equal to 50,000 sheep. He was a millionaire, they imprisoned him and confiscated all of his wealth. They tortured him and when he came out of prison he said “by Allah I am in need of one dirham”. Ibn Abi Omayath who one part of our religion, our worship, our prayers and fasting, our Hajj and Khums and Zakaat reached us from the Ahlulbayt because of him. Ayashi has written that he (ibn Abi Omayth) inherited 300, 000 gold Dinars from his father, you can calculate it; each 300 Dinar is more than one kilogram in weight, this means more than 1000 kilograms of gold.

Sheikh Tusi has written that his man spent it all in the way of Ahlulbayt. He built a school, tens of Scholars graduated from his school or maybe hundreds. What has reached us from them is a lot, their books and the books of those who graduated afterwards from school of Ayashi, there are hundreds of Hadith books that came from their school. One must compare himself to these people. He can become a bit more successful, his regret can become a bit less. These things are compulsory on us when we have resources to do it. One must do what he can, one must encourage others.

There are millions upon millions of young people in the world who have been separated from the Ahlulbayt. They can be guided, and it is much easier and faster today than it was before. This person who is supposed to be guided, why wait ten or twenty years to guide him, why not now?! While he is young. Why not when he is young so that he can serve more and guide others. Oh Mankind I am the Messenger of Allah Upon You all (Holy Prophet said) He is for all mankind, how much of mankind knows about Ghadir? How much of mankind follows the path of Ghadir? How much of mankind who have fallen short of finding the truth if guided will start to follow the path of Ghadir? How many are they, many, most of mankind.

More than 40 years ago I was visiting the Shrine of Lady Zaynab (sa) and the Lady Roghaye (sa) there was a library there, which was quite unique with respect to its inventory. I had visited it many times before; it was called “Maktabat-al Thahiriye”. At that time the deceases Allameh Amini had come there, the library was close to the Shrine of Lady Roghaye (sa) and Allameh Amini had gotten a room close by and he would visit the library collecting notes and information for his book “al Ghadir”. The librarian who was in charge said that I don’t know when this man, Allameh Amini sleeps or eats, 18 out of 24 hours he would be in the library. 18 hours he was in the library and 6 hours he spent in his room resting and eating. The librarian said that every time I would go to the library I would see Allameh amini either standing looking for a book or writing some things down from a book. From what I heard Allameh Amini was there for 4 month.

One must learn from these things, no matter what we do, still “their hearts are full of fear” lets not the fear be great “because they will return to their Lord”. We will return to our lord and he will account for everything. God is “Latif” meaning “exact” or “precise”. Allah has said in the Holy Quran; So he who has done an atom of good shall see it. And he has done an atom of evil shall see it. Not even an a minute part of it will be wasted. I and ou will be in regret with respect to each other with respect to our friends with respect to our teachers with respect to our students, will be in regret in that he was more successful or he serve more, he went through more trouble, he suffered more and they will reward him more.

A man once came to me, he is of those who strives a great deal in the way of Ghadir in the way of propagation and he way busy serving the cause. He came to me complaining that he had some problems with respect to his work in that some people had done things against him, said things against him and so he was feeling a bit feeble at weak. When he finished I asked him in the path that you have taken, in the path of propagation in the path of striving for Ghadir has anyone ever spit on you? He replied “No!”.

 

I told him look in Bihar (the hadith book), people used to spit on the Holy face of Prophet of Allah! I said look inside (book of) Bihar, they spat on the face of Imam Sadiq (a). The Prophet of Allah in striving to save mankind from doing injustice and receiving injustice, look at what he went through, what problems he had to endure. It is not like this any more. (at least not as bad) The culture of Ghadir is connected to the conscience of humanity; it has amenity with the conscience of mankind. If this reaches the people it will change them. The culture of Ghadir is the true Islam, the correct Islam, the Islam that Almighty Allah (SWT) has proclaimed.

In (book of) Kafi, it has been narrated from Imam Sadiq (a) that he said when Prophet (SAWS) announced three of the laws of Islam, that we have in our books of Islam law today, most of the Jews became Muslim on that way. They realized that it was a good religion, someone would accept Ghadir for its so und economic laws another for its sound politics and another for its healthy social laws, every point of it, it’s a culture of light! The Ahlulbayt they themselves are light, their words are light, their way is light, their actions are light, their thoughts are light, their path is path of light! The world needs this light more than before and this light can be delivered to the world more than before.

Before it was required that a person sit before 10 or 1000 people to give a talk. A person once told me a preacher from another religion once gave a speech and it was said that a huge number of people heard him live. It was a speech against Islam. The reason that his man gives a speech against Islam is because he doesn’t know about the culture of Ghadir. He does not know, not everyone is an obstinate person; he may be an extremist but only because he does not know. There were so many of these extremist in the history, if one looks in Montahal Ammal which is a summary of the history of the 14 infallibles, there were so many who were bigots. They would come and try and kill the Imam, sear and say profanity at the Imam, they were brainwashed. When it became clear for them they repented and became good people. Guiding people is much easier today and abstaining from it has much worst implications.

In the old days it was like one or two people would not get guided but today abstaining will prevent millions from being guided. People like us must put in some effort, encourage others and endure the problems even at the level of people spitting on us. So if someone spat on my face or your face as we were working in the way of Ahlulbayut, should we stop? She would say it’s enough, we have completed our responsibilities? One of the incorrect understandings that we have is that some say we must propagate Islam with honor and respect (for ourselves). Which Prophet propagated his message while worry about people disrespecting him? There was divine respect and honor however which prophet was given people’s respect? Was that last prophet given respect whilst propagating Islam?

Look in the book Safinatul Bihar, the house of the prophet in Mecca was such that he had a rock in the courtyard of his house…Some would stand behind it every time he would go home to protect himself form the stones that were being thrown at him. Some threw stones while the Prophet was in his house so that they would not be identified and others threw stones at the prophet when he was out of his house. Which Prophet? Which Imam? And afterwards he was in the valley of Abi Taleb like that if those conditions. And then in Madina while he Prophet was the leader and he had money and men, he was constantly engaged in battle that they enemies would create and the problems he had with the hypocrites (and traitors). Even in his own house they would cause trouble for the Prophet.

This is honor; The thing that the people of the world call dishonor is in fact honor.

If this is called dishonor, Imam Hossains’ holy body was placed under boots of Shimr. Is this honor or dishonor? This is honor, so if this is honor and not dishonor then we must bear it, we must endure our friends, our enemies, the problems. We must not waist our time in things that are of no use so that we can fulfill our responsibilities towards this culture and deliver the culture of Ghadir to the world.