Malik Ibn Al-Ashtar (Apostles of Ali – 1)

An example of loyalty, leadership and humility

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Great leaders are evaluated based on their successes and gains in the field of politics of warship. The amount of territory and revenue they subordinate under their authority is usually the basis for labeling them as successful or unsuccessful. In addition, crimes and hostilities taken places under their reign are over-looked and sidelined as marginal and obvious losses or casualties of governance. Justice and allocation of resources is re-defined by their comprehension and priorities, which ends up being catastrophic for ordinary citizens. Yet, history comes and presents an unprecedented example of governance in its best and most complete form, in an era when civilizations knew nothing about civility, justice and equality.

Continue reading Malik Ibn Al-Ashtar (Apostles of Ali – 1)

Abu Talib: The Guardian of Prophet Mohammad

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Within the first ten days of Month of Ramadhan, Shia Muslims around the globe commemorate the death of Prophet Mohammad’s uncle and guardian, who is also the father of Imam Ali. The personality of Abu Talib is among the most oppressed in the early Islamic era, as his high status in Mecca among the Quraysh tribe was jeopardized for his defence on behalf of Prophet Mohammad. Defending his nephew and announcing his submission to the religion of Islam led to him being exiled alongside Prophet Mohammad and other Muslims in the Valley of Abu Talib, on the outskirts of Mecca. Continue reading Abu Talib: The Guardian of Prophet Mohammad

When order prevails result is: …

 

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The title of this article can be presented as a statement or a question and since the answer is unconditionally assented and acknowledged, it would be meaningless to discuss any possible ambiguity of such statement. Abiding by order, rules and guidelines is not only an essence of showing class, it is a path to success and being able to accomplish based on outlined and set goals and progress. The holy Quran grants great importance to order and discipline, where the 4th verse of chapter 61 presents the perfect metaphor for orderly conduct and order. “as though they are a single structure joined firmly”. The holy Prophet of Islam emphasizes on the notion of order in all affairs and actions, where it seems without order the emergence of effectual results are doubtful.

The primary foundation of Islam as a religion and a path of life is solely based on orderly fashion conduct of deeds, decisions and action that includes every aspect of a Muslim’s daily affairs, whether personal, religious or interactional. Among the most repetitive advices by elders and teachers to youth, is the importance of organization and allocating time and efforts accordingly to have successful results. We all remember the famous quote, which has probably been said by majority of teachers around the world (Don’t leave your studying and projects till the last moment). The core of this statement is linked to organization and having order as a way of life, which will reflect on personality, characteristics and someone’s view before the public as well.

Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) has placed order and its importance in second place after being pious, which in addition shows that among the primary signs of being a pious person, being organized and adherent to order is given. Therefore, majority of Islamic scholars have determined that Islamic jurisprudence prohibits breaking the laws and orders of a society, such as speed limits and traffic rules. Failure to adhere with these rules, would destabilize the order and safety of a society and those two aspects are the primary essences of an innovating and smart society.

The notion of order in supplication is also among the important in Islam, where moderation and wise time allocation for supplication and prayer is necessary. Imam Al-Sadiq states in a narration that over-doing supplication would lead to reluctance from prayer and supplication, which means this spiritual and religious aspect of a Muslim’s life must abide by rules and orders of life. The five prayers/day are the obligatory prayers and anything else such as random supplications can be done during other daily tasks, as only repeating certain phrases and words are sufficient to be considered as supplication. In addition, unlike other religions granting total time and self to religion and its institutions has been disavowed by Islam, and the importance of forming family and working to provide for this family is considered among the best deeds and supplications to Allah.

Fortunately, Islam has presented the perfect means of organizing and adhering to orders and feasible rules in society, whereas as mentioned earlier the entire length of an individual can be covered by Islamic order and organization codes. Islam presents advice and solutions in maintaining order for:

  • Social interactional order
  • Personal life affairs, such as personal hygiene
  • Time management
  • Fulfilling covenants and contracts
  • Management of supplication and prayer order
  • Expenditure order and management
  • Military order and organization

There are numerous other aspect, where the lives of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household would present hundreds of examples and models for ordinary humans, where order becomes the essence of any action and decision in their lives.

Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) – part 1

 

Misconceptions & fabrications

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The two personalities in history with the most fabrications, alterations and misconceptions

against them are the Holy Prophet of Islam Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and his rightful successor Ali Ibn Abi

Talib (P.B.U.H). As discussed in previous articles the notion of fabricating misconceptions and wrong

information about the Prophet is rationally understood, as any tyrant that uses the name and slogan of

Islam must do the following:

 Distort the image of Prophet Mohammad.

 Fabricate brutal and barbaric actions and decisions carried by the Prophet to legitimize crimes.

 Fabricate supressing and crushing freedom of expression must be linked to the Prophet’s

tradition, by fabricating narrations and stories about him doing the same thing.

Therefore, witnessing the barbarism and brutality of today’s self-proclaimed Islamic states and

terrorist organizations is linked to the distorted image of Prophet Mohammad, portrayed by tyrants of

Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. However, distorting the image of Imam Ali was another method for

altering the image and reputation of Prophet Mohammad as well, since history states that Ali was

raised, nurtured and taught solely by Prophet Mohammad. Ultimately, distorting the image of Ali Ibn Abi

Talib would translates to failure for Prophet Mohammad as a care-taker, teacher and a father in-law.

In addition, to targeting the Prophet of Islam by taking aim at Imam Ali, tyrants and their aides have

been able to accomplish many goals that vary from politically motivated to ideologically, socially,

religiously and even military. Therefore, the hazy vision surrounding the personality of Imam Ali would

never be worthy of assuming the post of Caliphate, or title of most knowledgeable man after the

prophet and other attributes granted to Ali by the prophet himself. The hostility toward Ali Ibn Abi Talib,

his household and followers is undeniable, where slaughtering, displacement and persecution was the

usual end of them. Therefore, it would be beneficial to examine some of the most known and

widespread misconceptions about Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) that are completely false and their

falsehood can be proven by an overwhelming consensus in Islamic tradition.

The birth of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H)

According to unanimity of scholars, the birth of Imam Ali happened on the 13th day of Rajab

(Lunar Calendar) on the year 601 AD. However, the miraculous fact about the birth of Imam Ali

according to historians is the events surrounding the birth time, which includes the Ka’ba in the holy city

of Mecca. Upon the time of Ali’s birth, once his mother (Fatima Bint Assad) began to have contractions,

she approached the house of God (the Ka’ba) and ask for the aid of almighty. Witnesses’ testimonies

indicate, the wall burst open and Fatima entered the house of God, then the wall came back together

and anyone attempting to open the door failed to do so. Three days later, Fatima Bint Assad came out of

the Ka’ba from the same split in the wall after it happened again, while carrying a child and that child

was name Ali by his father Abi Talib.

Although during the Umayyad era, many of Ali’s attributes and well characters were denied,

challenged and distorted, yet the consensus among Islamic scholars about the birth of Imam Ali inside

the house of God is undeniable. Here are some of the most respected and known Sunni sources that

affirm the news of Ali’s birth inside the Ka’ba.

 Al-Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihain by: Al-Hakim Al-Nisaburi

 Kefayat Al-Athar by: Al-Kanji Al-Shafi’ie

 Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir by: Mohammad Al-Alusi

 Moruj Al-Thahab by: Al-Masoodi

 Tathkerat Khawas Al-Umma by: Sibt Ibn Al-Jozi

 Al-Manaqib by: Mohammad Saleh Al-Tirmidhi

Note: all of these famous Sunni scholars have affirmed the authenticity of any tradition that states

Ali Ibn Abi Talib was born in the Ka’ba. There are tens of others sources, yet the mentioned sources in

this article shall be sufficient.

The title: Commander of the Faithful

Among the most famous titles allocated to Imam Ali (P.B.U.H), one title is very special and

outstanding more than others, yet it was the first one taken from him and used by every tyrant that

ruled the Islamic Empire. The title is ‘Commander of the Faithful’. This title holds a great deal of

importance, as it grants the bearer a religious legitimacy alongside his political authority. Although there

are numerous narrations that indicate this title was solely granted to Imam Ali by the holy Prophet, yet

as mentioned all Caliphs and self-proclaimed commanders of the Islamic Empire used this title and

called themselves: Commander of the faithful. The legitimacy of this title for Imam Ali has been

confirmed by several Shi’i and Sunni sources, where either by direct testimony this fact is stated, or by

giving a clear indication the prophet identifies Ali as Commander of the Faithful.

 Kitab Al-Kafi by: Al-Kulayni (Shi’i source)

 Al-Amali by: Sheikh Al-Sadooq (Shi’i source)

 Al-Mustarshid by: Al-Tabari (Sunni source)

 Helyat Al-Awlia’a by: Al-Hafidh Al-Isfahani (Sunni source)

 Tarikh Ibn Asaker by: Ibn Asaker (Sunni source)

 Al-Mujam Al-Sagheer by: Al-Tabarani (Sunni source)

There are tens of other sources that affirm this notion and allocation of the title to Ali Ibn Abi Talib

by the Holy Prophet.

To be continued.

Resolution Methods for Privation & Adversity

Part 14: The economic factors for generating, sustaining and developing wealth to fight poverty (10) (Stimulating wealth flow)
(Based on the thoughts & theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murtadha Al-Shirazai)
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
The flow of wealth and funds will result in active and healthy economy, where citizens have access to funds for consumption, transactions are facilitated and inflation is contained and reduced. However, accumulation of wealth and funds, will freeze and prevent them from a healthy flow in the markets, which will also prevent the creation and flow of new wealth and fund generation methods. Therefore, the Islamic system has discouraged accumulation of wealth and the 34th verse of Quran’s 9th chapter indicates: “and those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah, give them tidings of a painful punishment”. (Note: the phrase way of Allah would not necessary hold a religious aspect, as other verses of the Holy Quran and traditions of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household, indicate that any action, deed, statement and effort which would benefit the people is considered an action in the way of Allah.)
The prohibition of accumulation in this verse is not bound to gold and silver, but since those two items are the most notable and known examples their names are mentioned. Presently, states around the world have maintained a continuous policy of wealth accumulation under the name of (RESERVE) or (Emergency fund). Unfortunately, billions or hundreds of billions in dollars and precious metals are stashed in reserves and funds, where the entire management process of these funds are granted to administrational bureaucrats.
Nevertheless, the methodology of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) shows that funds received from taxation or other sources were granted to the masses immediately, as Imam Ali never left any funds in the state treasury at the end of the day. This methodology and policy of Imam Ali would assure that all the funds and wealth of a nation is directed to the masses, including the lower class. Therefore, poverty and privation is minimized vastly, flow of wealth leads to stronger economy and this trend would ultimately benefit the state and its citizens on all levels and aspects. In general, once the consumption ability of the masses is increased, the investment opportunities are available in a broader range, infrastructures, cultivation, manufacturing and mining are sought to be excellent opportunities for wealth growth. Nonetheless, this strong and healthy economy would translate into an ability to pay more taxes, which will also end up in the hands of people in different shapes, services and plans.
Therefore, pouring the reserve funds into the hands of the masses would create and enormous direct and indirect ability to diminish poverty and privation, which would lead to a stronger state and public. This method would also increase the gross domestic production, which is the real reserve fund and power that could support and sustain any currency regardless of the size of an economy.
According to some historians and researchers, the necessity of stimulating flow of wealth and funds was among the primary reasons behind the Prophet Mohammad’s decision to change the goods exchange methods to currency and monetary system. The system considered gold and silver as standard for exchange, comparison and equivalency, where the worth of the currency was set. Therefore, for instance 1 Dinar was equivalent 4.6 g of gold and other measurement.
The shift to this system enabled the consumers to explore various options for trade transactions, as transportation and other related aspects to any trader deal were facilitated. Therefore, exchanging a good for another was not the method to conduct a transaction, which also prevented some goods being kept aside until expire, because the goods exchange method made them unpopular.

SINCERITY OF INTENTIONS

By: Zeinab Alsheraa
During ethical dilemmas the issue of whether something is morally principled can be determined by the ends justifying the means or the idea that “it is the thought that counts.” In all cases, the purpose and intentions are always taken to consideration. Then comes the issue of whether the intention is justifiable or sincere. Without a sincere intention, all actions then become invalid, especially towards God, since it is the pillar of worship and the prerequisite of an action to be accepted.
Types of Intentions
There are three types of intentions that engulf the basic motives of people. They are the underlying reasoning behind any action—for nothing is done simply just because.
1- For Self
This is the merchant of intentions, when actions are calculated specifically to see what outcome would provide the most benefits to oneselves. This is the idea that ‘if I help this person today, then tomorrow they may help me when I am in need.’ People will perform a task if they are bargained a benefit from it. This may be a direct benefit, such as a favor owed, or indirect such as self image. Someone may act in accordance to what will give off a desired appearance towards oneself. For example, a person may help in a nursery to give off an image that they are gentle and loving. Their overall purpose is their self image and pride, despite their actions.
2- For Others
These intentions are to please others. This is where people crave the approval and attention from others, desiring likes on their Facebook posts. This builds upon the idea of seeking validation from others and attempting to please society by “fitting into” its social constructs.
3- For God
This contains the truest form of sincerity. The intention for God can be broken down into a summary by Imam Ali, “a group of people worship God out of desire for reward; this is the worship of traders. Another group worships God out of fear; this is the worship of slaves. Yet another group worships God out of gratitude; this is the worship of free men.”
How to be Sincere
Doing good actions
The more right one does, the closer they will be to God. When one is closer to God then they will be more sincere and will be led to a more sincere path, for a line in the Quran reads “As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways” (29:69).
Attaining knowledge
One must first be educated and informed about their actions. They must need to know what their actions will result of so one can be guided by the true faith. Knowing right and wrong and the outcomes of certain decisions, one would be compelled to have a more integral action.
Having honesty
This is where one must admit if an action they have performed is not as it appears to be. If one assumes that another has done a righteous action when they really have not, they must answer truthfully, to leave room for sincerity with their honesty.
Being aware
The clearest way to have sincerity is to be aware of what can affect your sincerity. Three things have the most prominent way of affecting one’s intention:
1- When you known when others are watching
Knowing that someone else is observing you can turn your purpose towards pleasing/impressing that person instead of God. The best way to avoid this is to simply perform certain actions away from the public view.
2- When you want to gain something out of it
This again is being a bargainer, only doing an action in order to attain a result. One should prioritize and not guarantee themselves anything but the pleasure of God from any deed carried out.
3- Self Satisfaction from the action
This is one to be wary of since it is about pride. One might have done something and believed it to be for the sake of Allah but then afterward they feel prideful of their action and carry enigma that they are better than others. This foils any intention a person may have had if their intention in the beginning does not match their motive at the end. The best way to avoid this is to remain humble and not expect any outcome or credit.
Sincerity is a result of certainty. The lack of sincerity and the suffering ostentation relate to the wavering faith of a person. There is a distinction between the awareness of faith and the certainty of it and the latter completes the circle of a believer’s faith by validating their intentions.

HOW THE WORLD WILL ACHIEVE JUSTICE

by: Zeinab Alsheraa

The problems ranging in today’s society stem off the issues of injustice. The world has deviated from Hitler’s Nazi regime to the Ku Klux Klan and other forms of racism. Sexism has come and not left the premises along with prejudice. In the case after 9/11, Muslims still feel the effects of 9/11’s misinterpretations of the whole religion of Islam. Out of fear and to give a false sense of security, people began to generalize and label ‘Muslims’ as terrorists in order to purge their fears onto anything for a feeling of comfort knowing who the ‘bad guy’ is. Is it fair to the 1.6 billion peaceful Muslims to have a group of attackers speak for the faith of Islam at large? These acts of prejudice, racism, and bigotry in general ostracize individuals and in turn demote equity. But God does not leave his servants astray in an environment that hinders fairness. The prophets were first sent to lead the people and now it is the imams that can enlighten the people to the path of due process.

What is Justice?

Intrinsically, it is the ultimate set of virtues encompassing all morals that ultimately lead to peace. Islam has encouraged and exalted it through abundant verses from the Quran.“Allah commands (people) to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. (16:90)” There are two prominent forms of justice in this life: justice towards God and justice towards society.

1- Justice towards God:

This is the utmost revered concept and title of credibility of justice. It is not possible to achieve justice to Him because Allah does not require anything and is self-sufficient. But this form stands for believing in the Lord and conveying sincerity and love towards Him. This is where the acts of constant worship and rigid obedience come into place, along with the persisting efforts to stray away from any displeasures towards Him.

The injustice of this is self-wronging; the negligence and disobedience to God. The result is humility and disappointment.

2- Justice towards society:

This form can be achieved through the practice of adhering to individuals’ rights, abstaining from mistreating them, have sympathy to those in fragile conditions (such as poverty, weak health,etc.), and treating them with dignity and courtesy. Amir Al-Mu’mineen stated “you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself.”

The injustice of this occurs when the rights of individuals are neglected, their dignities disrespected, and interests disregarded. This behavior leads to social corruption. The lowest point of social corruption is harming a weak individual that has no means of defending oneself except to supplicate to God.

 

Promotion of Justice in this Dunya

The Prophet had stated before his departure of the dunya that he has left behind two things for the Ummah to follow: the holy book and his family. In order today to have equity one must differentiate before right and wrong and what better way to do so then to follow the Ahlul-bayt? They may have been faced with different situations then we may face today but the beauty of Islam is that its teachings transcend all limits. It is a religion for all places, people, and time. Despite any changes that may take place, the principles from Ahlul-bayt are applicable and prevail to any situation. Sometimes a simple issue may be complicated by technicalities and opinions but in remembering the principles of Ahlul-Bayt, the right choice becomes lucid. In order to put things into perspective in any situation, one only needs to ask “Would Imam Ali or Lady Fatima be seen doing this?”

The True Justice

Despite some efforts, some individuals may still find themselves troubled with certain predicaments. This may falter the faith in fairness in the world, but one must remember that true justice isn’t by people, but by the Creator, Allah. We are here to be tested and Allah is the examiner. It is his prerogative to choose which way a person will be tested. The justness of Allah is that he does not burden a person with at test beyond his or her abilities. Allah had not given us wings and therefore does not test us based on flying. We cannot claim that because He had not given us wings that we are wronged. It is not up to us to decide how we will be tested. In the same sense, Allah does not ask a servant to perform wudhu (ablution) that has no hands, because it is beyond their ability. This is the unique belief to Shia Muslims that God is always just—as His name states; Al-Adl or The Just. It is only to Him do we turn to for justice, not to any other creation by Him.

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

Islamic prospective on Right to Bear Arms

 

Legitimacy & Containment

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The topic of bearing arms in its most contemporary use and understanding has triggered ingoing discussions, about limitations, entitlement, safety, containment and persecution. According to the second amendment of the United States constitutions, the right to own and bear arms has been granted to citizens for personal use and protection. Other countries around the world have different laws and regulations about this notion, which suits their own social structure and foundation. However, due to recent polls and numbers released by poll agencies, for instance the number of people killed by guns in the US from 2004 to 2013 is above 350,000. In addition, the same poll tells that terrorist activities have only killed about 400 people during the same time-line, which opens the discussion about the legitimacy of gun ownership and its accessibility. The position of Islam on this specific matter might be very surprising for many observers and even many Muslims, as this topic is not really relevant in this modern age. However, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic scholar have presented detailed answers about the notion of owning and bearing arms.

Islamic countries & Guns ownership laws

Islamic countries and more specifically Middle Eastern states are very sensitive, when it comes to this topic, as in some places owning a weapon can lead to death penalty and sever punishments. Majority of Muslim countries are led by authoritarian systems and dictatorships, which are afraid of any notion that might place their rule and legitimacy in danger. One of the main purposes of the 2nd amendment is for well-regulated militias that are able to secure the freedom and rights of the people and change the state, if the state ever turned against its own citizens. This type of talk and right in the Middle East is equivalent to suicide, as the regime are eager to control the arms and keep them only in the hands of the state. Therefore, a citizen might be able to write, protest and criticize the state, but he/she will never be able to confront the state coercively and set it on the right path once again.

However, such a strict rule by the state, has also addressed other necessities of owning arms, as personal use of arms is linked with personal protection and security. Nonetheless, the level of security and safety in most authoritarian regime is higher than many western and democratic nations around the world. For Instance, from the year 1998 to the year 2010, there were only 35 cases of homicide in Syria, which is an amazing record. Even some western diplomats, when asked about which countries are they most interested for serving in, they would answer authoritarian countries, which there is outstanding security, and many of them would not fear for their lives.

Islam’s position of owning and bearing arms:

The primary jurisprudential Islamic rule states, that everyone is entitled to own and bear arms preliminary. However, in a secondary ruling this law is subjected to modification and change, where it would become prohibited and illegitimate to own and bear arms, if it causes disorder and chaos in society.

In addition, observing the history of Islamic countries during the course of history, will reveal that owning and bearing arms was a norm and in many areas a social necessity. It would be safe to say that almost all male subjects of the state were carrying weapon with them, and these weapons varied from a small dagger to a sword a bow and arrows. The rates of crimes and homicide in Islamic countries was very low or close to zero as well, which might have been due to the heavy presence of arms and weapon at people’s disposal. However, the social conduct of a society is very crucial in stabilizing and containing such arms presence, since it can be a recipe for instability and disorder. In addition, there are numerous cases, where armed rebellions by the public took place to repeal oppression and tyranny of the governors, rulers and injustice. Therefore, it would be safe to say that the right to own and bear arms, has a positive record in Islamic history.

Contemporary laws & Right to bear arms:

Currently, this law has been criticized by many thinkers and politicians, due to the high numbers of victims that have lost their lives due to gun violence, especially in the United States. However, this dilemma is caused by the contradictions that exist within federal and state laws, as the constitution affirms this right and the states have placed many limitations on it, where there has been great amount of ambiguity. In addition, the deterrent methods for gun violence don’t match the level of the crimes happening, as many of those criminal are granted life sentences, where they spend their lives behind bars at maximus security. Therefore, this right should either be totally taken away or reshaped to enable all citizens take advantage and secure themselves against possible threats and dangers.

Rationality VS Emotions

 

Which one is applied in our lives?

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Sociology scholars argue that majority of labels that are given to ideologies, individuals and groups are derived from religious doctrines, as the notion of US and THEM is present in most religious scriptures. The social conducts of societies toward others is usually ethnocentric and based on principles and norms adopted by the majority that have common and mutual ground. Therefore, labels like Evil, Good, dangerous and others are assigned or given to anyone or any group that looks, thinks and talks different. In addition, these sociologists think that even though a society might be tolerant to others, the notion of acceptance is entirely different than tolerance and co-existence, which is why co-existence has become the essence of social fabric. Therefore, subconsciously individuals tend to label others as evil, dumb, criminals and terrorist, racist, abusive or any other negative label, which they would use for their enemies or nemesis.

Max Weber’s rationalization theory, which refers to replacing traditions, values, norms, emotions and personal motivations with calculated rationales, suggests that bureaucratic ideals responsible for presenting and developing rationales for decisions. However, other sociologists have suggested that the notion of bureaucratic ideals is also used in religions to rationalize a certain label for a certain individual, group or an ideology. Although Weber argues that due to increased rationalization inherent in social life, especially in western societies, individuals are trapped ‘Iron Cage’, scholars use the same notion for religious bureaucracies. Therefore, individuals that follow a certain ideology or religion become trapped in their own created Iron Cage, which makes them unable to accept others, but at the same time mandate them to co-exist.

Rationality VS Emotions

Although it is argued that rationality through bureaucratic ideals is used for social structures and tendencies adopted by individuals, the theory of ‘affectual action’ suggests that emotions are the driving force behind all rationalities. Emotions such as hate, love, fear, loyalty, insecurity, security, dependency, independence, anger, gratitude, hope, curiosity, panic, desire, aversion, pride and frustration are the rationales behind almost all actions and decisions taken individuals.

Therefore, the following wondering as raised, which questions the argument presented by sociologists: Religions are developed and delivered to direct the emotions of individuals, as desires and emotions of people vary in kinds and levels, which means that rationalization is not necessary the primary goal of religions. In addition, if rationality was the purpose of religion, the criteria and bases for good and evil would have been formed in accordance with populist tendencies rather than the current common comprehension of good and evil. Therefore, why would religions be responsible for the social labels used by societies toward groups and individuals or ideologies?

There is a famous quote by Imam Ali, where he states: “People are the enemy of what they don’t know (or comprehend)’. Therefore, the emotions triggered by ignorance can vary from one individual to another, based on geographical position, interaction, past experience and grievances. These emotions are satisfactory to form an unorthodox and unscientific view about an individual, a group or an ideology, which can become a social norm or emotion that is adopted by a large portion of the society.

Categorization

Racial profiling, ethnic profiling and any sort of labeling used for others is a type of categorization that is used socially by individuals to distinguish themselves from anyone who is different. However, categorization is present and evident in the best idealistic case of equality and just environment.

  • Ignorance VS Knowledge
  • Powerful VS Weak
  • Ugliness VS beauty
  • Disability VS Healthy

These are some of the categories that would still exist regardless whether social acceptance is present or not, which will still be a sort of profiling a certain group within a society. Therefore, why would it be any different, when a certain ideology or a religion presents its own set of categories like believers and non-believers? Why would it be different when a religion outlines the criteria, which identifies good and evil based on its own principles?

The notion of categorization and profiling has existed since the beginning of creation, or as some theologians suggest, categorization has been a divine methodology that is used in creation. The notion of hell and heaven, the notion mortals and angels, the notion of prophets and random people are all examples of categorization outlined and created by the almighty. However, these categorizations are emotion-free, as they are bound by the will of a divine entity that cannot have emotions. In addition, the categorizations created by mankind have been affiliated with emotions and struggles since ancient days. The notion of elites and peasants, the notion of devoted and infidels, the notion of social classes (Upper Class, Middle Class, Lowe Class, Bourgeoisie, and proletariat) and many other categorizations have been catastrophic in many cases. These categories are affiliated with progress and conduct methods that are full of emotions and motivations driven by desire and need.

Conclusion

Regardless of faith and believe, the principles of good and evil are outlined by a set of criteria and guidelines that are universal. Therefore, a believer and a non-believer both agree upon the atrocity and benefit of certain actions and deeds. In addition, unorthodox action or decision that profiles and labels others or confiscate their rights and will or supresses them, doesn’t need rationality, as no rationality can be presented for such notions. Therefore, religion bounds emotions with rationality, and not the other way around.