Integration and Being Part of the Western Society

Shia Muslims in the West

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The issue of integrating the Muslim communities within the societies in the west has been a hot topic for a long period of time, especially every time there is an event, which involves Muslims. Whether a terrorist attack or a case of domestic violence or even a social media statement, it could trigger the debate about integration and if Muslims are able to be part of western societies. Addressing this issue would require a set of preliminary refutation arguments and a set of affirmation arguments, which will clarify the notion of integrating Muslims within the societies they live in.

This article would assert the fact that Muslims and specially Shias have been active members of society in the west, and the issue to integration is an illusion, which has been created by the media. Nevertheless, the real issue that makes this notion still an issue for deliberation is acceptance rather than integration. In addition, the political conflicts of the Islamic world have overshadowed much of the impressions and conceptions about Muslims in the west, which makes it very hard for majority of westerners to find an alternate view about Muslims rather than the one shown by the media.

What does it mean to live in a western society?

Prior to addressing the issue of integration and whether Muslims have been able to adapt to the life style in the west, we must clarify the definition of a western life style, and what it means to be a western citizen. As a person who lived in couple of totalitarian states, I must admit that the picture drawn for me about the west included nothing but negative aspects and attributes. Social meltdowns, absolute sexuality without any consideration for morals and ethics, and mainly the west was portrayed as a place where a human loses his/her faith. However, after coming to North America and witnessing the life style of this continent, I realized numerous facts and realities, which made me think about the real meaning of the phrase “western life style” and whether it really exists.

A western society and specifically North American societies embody to major aspects, which are often viewed as one, whereas they are completely separate and independent of each other.

  • Western System
  • Western way of life

The notion of a western system is what distinguishes a western country from rest of the world. The laws and legislations that govern a western state are the real defining aspect of a western society, rather than the life style that is adopted by the majority. Therefore, the lifestyle that has been affected by the western system is being portrayed as what the west is really about. For instance, instead of stating the west has laws and rules, which protect the rights of humans, we tend to say, western citizens respect the rights of others and prioritize human rights. Even thought, the second statement is often accurate, but it is an illustrative statement and not a definitive one. Therefore, we tend to generalize our interpretation of a western society based on the way the citizens of the west do things, and not the way the west has systematized its societies.

Therefore, to describe what it means to live in a western society, it would be accurate to state the following:

  • No one is above reproach when it comes to the law and constitution.
  • Laws and regulations of the state are enforced, with zero tolerance.
  • Everyone is considered equal according to the constitution.
  • Violating the laws and regulations has its retributions and sanctions.
  • Protecting and valuing the life of humans is the main priority of the state.
  • Political definitions like sovereignty, national security and national unity are considered sacred, and any attempt to bluster and threaten these aspects is considered a major crime.

Therefore, I would define a western society by these definitions and not the way western citizens live and adopt values, which means any person regardless of faith, ethnicity, race and background, who chooses to abide by these definitions has adapted him/herself by the western values, and he/she is an active and member of a western society. The unnoticed fact is that western societies consist many minorities and majorities, which identify themselves by labels that are separate from their national identity. The national identity is a unifying aspect, which enables all citizens to declare themselves as Americans or Canadians or any other nationality. Beyond the national identity, each group is able to identify itself in the way it desires, which can be African-American, Latino-American, Arab-Canadian, Italian-Canadian or any other way they desire to be identified. However, by adopting such identities and labels, it means that person practices the values and the traditions associated by his/her identity, which might be viewed as strange, uncommon, conservative, radical and etc.

Conclusively, by defining the meaning of living in a western society, Muslims who abide by the laws and legislations of their western countries have integrated themselves fully within their societies, but have chosen to identify themselves as Muslims, which includes practicing specific sets of values and norms, just like any other group residing in the west.

Muslims in the West

The rogue elements are a reality, which exists in any group regardless of background and faith. Therefore, putting forward the concept of integration is equivalent to wrong generalization against any specific group. Muslims have been in the west for a long period of time, and they have attributed in many ways to the societies they have lived in. Muslims in Europe and North America have been able to assert their place as effective members of the society by abiding by the laws and rules of the western states, and they have integrated themselves through education, professions, cultural exchange, matrimonial relations, social interaction and many other means.  There are many Muslim legislatures and politicians active in the west that are equally concerned about the safety and interest of their societies like any other citizen. There are numerous wealthy Muslim businessmen and women that are part of the economic wheel of their societies, and have employed hundreds if not thousands of individuals. Therefore, I can proudly state that not only we have integrated into our societies, we have been part of the evolvement and the advancement of our societies in the west.

Shia Islam: Beliefs & Principles

What it means to be a Shia Muslim

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The misconceptions about the beliefs and ideologies of Shia Islam has been influenced by numerous factors such as, political, social and sectarian aspects. Every time the term Shia appears on TV or an article, observers tend to think of Iran and its Islamic government, Iraq and its Shia majority, Lebanon and its notorious Hezbollah group and Saudi Arabia with its oppressed Shia minority. However, all of these perceptions are factual and real, but what’s being ignored by majority of observers and readers is the reality of Shia Islam and its principles and beliefs. Therefore, it would be beneficial to distinguish the difference between this Islamic sect and other ones, since one side of the sectarian conflict on the Middle East are the Shia Muslims.

Fundamentals of Religion

In order for a person to identify him/herself as a Shia Muslim, he/she must believe in the following five fundamentals. A Shia Muslim is not allowed to follow a scholar in these matters, and he/she has to have full knowledge about them through dissection and research.

1. Monotheism: the belief that there is only one God. This concept are very obvious and definite according to its name and nature. Although all Islamic sects believe in this fundamental as a necessary part of Islam, the details and attributes of God, defined within the different sects make the difference. According the one of the sermons by Imam Ali (P.B.U.H), who is the first Imam of Shia Islam, he defines the concept of monotheism in the following form: “The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.

Thus whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognizes His like, and whoever recognizes His like regards Him two; and whoever regards Him as two recognizes parts for Him; and whoever recognizes parts for Him mistook Him; and whoever mistook Him pointed at Him; and whoever pointed at Him admitted limitations for Him; and whoever admitted limitations for Him numbered Him. Whoever said: ‘In what is He?’, held that He is contained; and whoever said: ‘On what is He?’, held He is not on something else.

He is a being, but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation. He acts but without connotation of movements and instruments. He sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His creation. He is only one, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence”.

2.Prophet Hood. This fundamental mandates all Shia Muslims to believe in the existence of all previous prophets and messengers, beginning with Adam and finishing by the seal of the prophets, Prophet Mohammad. The issue of prophecy in Shia Islam is considered one of the necessities of creation and it is linked to the notion of free will and evil. Therefore, since there is evil (Satan) and since God has given humans the power of will, there has to be messengers sent by God to show the right path, which God has intended for the humans. To reaffirm this notion the Quran says: “we are not punishers, unless we sent among them a messenger”. Therefore, the issue of prophecy is linked to the justice of Allah and his mercy upon humans.

3.Imamate. To believe there are twelve Imams (successors) after Prophet Mohammad. This is one of the major principles that differentiates a Shia Muslim with others. The majority of Shia Muslims are considered Twelvers, which means, they believe in the succession of Imam Ali after the death of Prophet Mohammad, and followed by his son Imam Hassan, and later his other son Imam Hussein, followed by nine Imams from the progeny of Imam Hussein until the last Imam, who is in occultation currently. Unlike, Sunni Muslims, the Shias believe that, the first three caliphates after the Prophets were extorters and tyrants, and they acclaimed a position, which was rightfully for Imam Ali. The continuance of Imamate after prophecy is also linked to the justice and mercy of God, since people needed the presence of an infallible model among them to implement the laws and orders of God, in the way he wanted them.

4.Justice. This concept is related back to God, and is considered the main attribute of God after absolute knowledge, ability and existence. God does not create evil, and evil is formed due to the desires of humans, and therefore, God’s justice and mercy has mandated the existence of prophets and Imams for the sake of humans. In addition, all events, misfortunes, calamities, good things are due to God’s justice, and even though some matters might seem unjust and undesirable, God’s knowledge and justice is for the benefit of humans.

5.The after world. All Muslims including the Shias must believe in judgement day and the after world. Eventually, this day would come, and all humans would be resurrected once again and gathered for judgement. On judgement day, God will determine the final punishment and reward of all humans according to their deeds and conducts.

Shia Islam VS other sects:

Here are some of the major concepts and beliefs that distinguish a Shia Muslim from a non-Shia.

      • Infallibility: Shia doctrine believes in the infallibility of all prophets and Imams and considers the issue of infallibility as a necessity for the attributes of a prophet or an Imam. Disbelieving this notion is considered a major sin and flaw within a Shia Muslims belief.
      • Following a Scholar (Taqleed): this doctrine is exclusively for Shia Muslims, and it mandates all Shia Muslims to follow a scholar of religion in the absence of an infallible Imam. At the present time, majority of Shia Muslims are followers of different scholars and Ayatollahs. As mentioned prior, the concept of Taqleed is not permitted in fundamentals of religion, and it is only allowed within supplicatory and transactionary deeds, such as prayers, fasting, Haj, Jihad, marriage and etc.
      • Imam Al-Mahdi and the concept of occultation: the doctrine of occultation and the existence of Imam Al-Mahdi although he was born more than one thousand years ago is a mandatory belief within Shia Islam. Although, majority of other sects believe in the idea of Imam Al-Mahdi and his return, they don’t yet believe that he was born.

There are other doctrines and principles within Shia Islam, which makes this sect, the most tolerant and accepting among other Islamic sects and groups.  However, Shia Muslims are famous for their exquisite ability to reason and present intellect to affirm and prove their ideology and beliefs. However, due to the actions of some Shia governments and groups, and the actions of some Shia Muslims, this sect has been presented as a destabilizer factor in the Middle East.  

Islam Does Not Need a Reformer – Part1

By: Dr. Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The term reformation if often used when an ideology or a set of conducts and norms are preventing advancement and progress within a specific group that share the same values and sets of beliefs. However, this term might be one of the most incorrect provisions, when it comes to the issue religion and relation of politics with religion. The approach, which this term tends to define religion is relative and bounds the content of the holy texts to be defined by social necessities and political tendencies that are in constant state of evolvement and change. Therefore, reformation is sought to be the proper mean of modification and rearrangement, to make religion an adaptable notion, which is compatible with mandates of each era, but according to the desires and necessities of mankind.

Simplifying secularism as a philosophy will only be defined under the title of (separation of Church & State). However, the fact that is not being included in this definition is the contradiction of secularism’s own methodology, when it comes to separating church and state. Presuming that Church’s teaching were the reason behind the calamities of Europe in medieval era will only put secularism under further thorough dissection, to determine whether it has the been the legitimize methodology to govern an entity. Nonetheless, by claiming that head of the church authority were misusing the teachings of the holy book, would bring forward the question: why is there a necessity to separate the church and state? Wasn’t there a possibility to develop a system to assure misuses are prevented?  Therefore, the feasibility and credibility of secularism would be under question, according to the second notion.

The question that is being raised today by different scholars and observers of Islam, is the possibility of reform within Islam. Adopting an ethnocentric view of Islam will rationalize such a question, and would make such an inquiry very relevant about many religions and beliefs that the western world might differs with. Nevertheless, addressing this question is not a matter of choosing between black and white, and as a matter fact is not an issue of picking and choosing. It is a matter of comprehension and recognition rather than reform and rearrangement.

By quoting the tern reform, an individual would refer to the notion of presenting a new alternative for an existing ideology, which might be very different in nature with the primary notion being subjected to reformation. Therefore, prior to answering the question of necessity of reform within Islam, the following inquiries should be made:

  • Is reform needed and required?
  • Is reform allowed? If yes, under what conditions, and which criteria?
  • Is there any existing alternative, before bringing forward the notion of reform?
  • Why is there an emphasis on reform within Islam, and by who?

Is Reform Needed and Required?

To address this question, a list of current and past problems within the Muslim World shall be presented, to understand the rationale behind reformation request. Muslims believe in the infallibility of their prophet according to the Quran, “Your companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. It is no less than inspiration (revelation) sent down to him. He was taught by one mighty in power”. In addition, Shi’a Muslims believe in the infallibility of their Imams and leaders, which were chosen by God to lead the Ummah after the prophet.

This notion puts an observer in a position that mandates him/her to dissect the history of Islam, before proposing reform. The observer must investigate the historical evidence of Islam, and see which one of those infallible leaders were able to rule and apply the orders of Allah, if they were chosen by Allah? In addition, if any one of them had the opportunity to lead, did he finish the task he was assigned?

The only infallible individuals of Islam that were able to form an Islamic State were the Prophet Mohammad and his rightful successor Imam Ali (P.B.U.T). A thorough review of these two states, will show an extensive amount of precision and efficiency, when it comes to administration and governance. During the Era of Prophet Mohammad, he administrated some of the world most sophisticated treaties and policies in an environment lived by savages, loots and absolute patriarchy. He presented laws and rights, which were not even known to mankind during that time, and his political conduct attracted people from all over the region toward him. Prophet Mohammad brought down the final and complete version of the Abrahamic religions, and perfected it through his 23 years of prophecy by applying it in the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, any just and sane observer would agree that foundation of Islam was not the problem, since Mohammad was able to build an outstanding state, where everyone is equal in Arabia.

The era of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, which lasted less than five years, is quoted to be the best era mankind has ever experienced. He has been announced as the most just and wise ruler of history. He founded many of the modern day sociological systems like, welfare, Water Distribution System, housing programs and although his empire included more than forty modern countries, history books narrate, there was not a single beggar during the ear of Imam Ali.

Rest of the infallible Imams could not lead the Islamic nation, since the Muslim empire was ruled by tyrants and dictators, which did not even hesitate to kill the Imams if necessary. Therefore, they chose the path of enlightening the masses through schools and adopting pupils to create a social network that provides for numerous needs, including (religious, social, materialistic, and theological). Theses Imams taught some of the world most renowned scholars in numerous sciences, which are recognized by the whole world, including the west. Geber the famous polymath, chemist, astronomer was one of the pupils of Imam Al-Sadiq, the sixth Imam of Shi’a Islam. Hisham Ibn Al-Hakam and many other pupils and students of pupils are the founding fathers of modern world sciences like Algebra, Algorithm and theology. Imam Al-Sadiq was a young man when he refuted the theory that sun, moon, and planets rotate around the sun, and presented the notion of 12 constellations, which lasts for 30 days and so on.

Other Imams of Shi’a Islam were the most knowledgeable of their time, and were able to solve some the most sophisticated problems of their time, to an extent, where the tyrants of their times used to turn to them for resolution when they faced dead ends.  Therefore, Islam does not need reform. Islam has the solution to all of mankind’s conflicts and problems. However, it was the masses fault when they decided not to support the rightful successors of the prophet. The battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura is a clear indication of good and evil facing each other. Therefore, by witnessing the brutality of today’s terrorist groups, an observer must differentiate between the path, which was created by the Umayyad and Abbasids that has presented nothing but terror and horror to the world. On the other side, stands the real representatives of Islam, which were sidelined and marginalized. Islam has had the best alternative to present to this world, and therefore the notion of reform is irrational. However, I will admit the Muslim nation is in desperate need of revival and resurrection.  TO BE CONTINUED…

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Sources:  Holy Quran. Chapter 53. Verses: 2, 3, 4, 5.

 

Major Events of 2014 in the Islamic World and Aspirations and Expectations of 2015

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The year 2014 was an eventful year from all aspects, as it included political, religious, social, economic and historic events, which engraved 2014 in bold inside the record books and history texts. However, the Middle East and the Islamic world had a major share, when it comes to quantity and quality of these events that have affected the globe somehow. As discussed in previous articles the Middle East is the home of some of the few absolute monarchies left in the world, and it is the home to the source of many sectarian, political and social conflicts and in some cases turmoil. The historic nature of this region give it a substantial importance, and the current complex nature of global politics put the Middle East in the front row of considerations and interests for the year ahead (2015). Therefore, reviewing the events of this year in this region would clear some of the ambiguity that might arise in regard of 2015.

2014 in Review:

 

  • January: the beginning of this month in 2014 attracted the focus of the Muslim world to Iraq and specifically to the city of Fallujah. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took control of Fallujah and Ramadi in the western Iraqi province of Al-Anbar. This event was in the after math of a long haul protests by the Sunni minority in Iraq against the government of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki. The Sunni minority in this country claimed they were suffering from marginalization and sectarian policies under Al-Maliki’s era. The protests camps became the focus of many radical groups and numerous confrontations between the rebels and Iraqi Army led to more tension between the two, and ultimately the crisis became labeled as a sectarian conflict in Iraq.
  • February: this month brought the attention of global powers to Syria, and its ongoing civil-sectarian conflict. The UN led the second round of negotiations between the Syrian government on one side and the Syrian opposition forces and the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the other side. Although this round of negotiations ended with no notable results, but it showed the lack of commitment on both sides to end the conflict for the benefit on the country, and the innocent lives in Syria.
  • March: this month of 2014 drew the global attention to Syria and Egypt. The Syrian army was able to recapture the city of Yabroud from Syrian opposition rebels, with the help of Hezbollah. The involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict re-shaped the conflict in Syria and gave it a sectarian aspect as well. Since Hezbollah is a Shi’a militia and funded by Iran, and the majority of Syrian opposition rebels are Sunni Muslim, the Arabic Media sought a great opportunity to declare this conflict as sectarian. Egypt however, was the home to one of the most controversial judicial verdicts ever. In a trial for members of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Syria, the Judge sentenced 529 people to death penalty. The verdict was condemned by many around the globe, but the real fear was due to retaliation and re-action of the Islamic groups in Egypt. The ousting of former Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi was still viewed as a military codetta, therefore, such verdicts were viewed as arbitrary and unnecessary.
  • May: General Abdul-Fattah Al-Sissi wins the presidential elections and becomes the fifth president of Egypt after ousting King Faruq. Although the voter turnout was low, considering the situations surrounding the Egyptian politics, but the results placed Egypt on the moderate scale once again, after a radical conduct was very evident by President Morsi.
  • June: The month of June was the month that re-shaped the policies of many Middle Eastern States and caused the formation of a major global campaign against one of the most vicious terrorist groups the world has ever known. One the 11th day of June 2014, the world realized Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul was under the control of ISIS, and the official formation of Islamic state was announced, and a man named Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was placed as the Caliphate and leader of this state. Under the fear of advancement and mobilization toward Baghdad and rest of Iraq, the highest religious authority of Shi’a Muslims in Iraq, Ayatollah Sistani issued a (fatwa) ruling for Jihad against ISIS, and millions of volunteers were recruited for this purpose. In addition, the Middle Eastern states realized the immanency of the threat and a global coalition led by the United States was formed.
  • July:  The month of July was divided between Iraq and Palestine. The Islamic State announced the addition of new territories under their control. This month witnessed the transfer of power from Al-Maliki to Haidar Al-Abadi as well. Although Al-Maliki was declared the winner in the elections by populist vote, and his parliamentary block had the largest among others, but his third term as prime-minster was rejected by majority of the political powers (Sunni & Shi’a), including the religious authority in Najaf. Finally after deliberations and what was viewed as a twisted political tactic the Shi’a majority in the parliament replaced Al-Maliki with Haidar Al-Abadi, who was head of Maliki’s parliamentary block. Murdering of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers escalated the tension in Gaza, and resulted in bombardment of Gaza for several days. Finally Egypt mediates a cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel and the conflict ends.
  • August: After the displacement of thousands of Christians and non-Muslims in Mosul and massacres in that city, the United States initiated limited air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. Other Humanitarian air missions were conducted to deliver food and water and necessities to the displaced people of that region. ISIS execute the first western citizen hostage (James Foley) in a video footage.
  • September: month of September was started by flow of massive numbers of refugees to Turkey, after fleeing the terror of ISIS and their vicious crimes. In addition, ISIS killed the second western hostage. However, the major event that took place during the month of September in the Middle East, was in Yemen. The Houthis took advantage of instability in Yemen, and entered the capital city of Sana and seized the city and the major governmental buildings. Ultimately a deal was reached between the Houthis and the Yemeni government, but this event showed the fragile nature of Yemeni security forces and army, and the level of organization some groups have in the Middle East to seize a capital city within hours.
  • November: this month marked the beginning of Ashura mourning for the Shi’a Muslims, which is a commemoration of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom in Karbala along with his seventy two companions.
  • December: this month marked the anniversary of (Arba’aeen) procession in Iraq, where millions of Shi’a Muslims walk hundreds of kilometers toward the holy city of Karbala, to commemorate the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in Karbala. Taliban attacks a military school in Pishawar (Pakistan) and kill 145 people, including 100 children.

These events, which took place in the Middle East showed the complexity of Middle Eastern politics, and the battle over gaining ground and influence in this region by regional and global powers.  The events in Syria, Yemen and Iraq have forced the Saudi government to plunge the price of oil in global markets, to put economic pressure on Iran, for the purpose of minimizing their influence in battle grounds and conflict zones. Nonetheless, Iran is eager to sign a nuclear deal with the western powers to bring a much needed relief to its economy, and regain its domestic credibility. In addition, a nuclear deal will ultimately result in ending the sanctions and embargos, which will lead to immediate expansion of Iranian financial situation.

2015 will be a year, which there are system changes in some Middle Eastern states, and these realities would effectuate the willingness of the regional powers to re-consider their priorities according to them.

 

Ayatullah Sayed Sadiq Shirazi Welcomes His Guests and Pilgrims of Hussein (a)

End of month of Safar each year marks the martyrdom of prophet Muhammad (SAWS). All religious and cultural leaders involved with protecting the heritage of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and Imam Hussein (a) visit the grand Shia scholar Ayatullah Sayed Sadiq Shirazi at his house in Qom, attending his speeches and lectures.

Just like previous years, the house of Ayatullah Sayed Sadiq Shirazi was also the host of a large group of mourners of Hussein (a) and prophet Muhammad (SAWS) as well as religious leaders, scholars, and pilgrims of Imam Hussein (a). This year the number of pilgrims exceeded 22 million according to some reports.

At the start of these ceremonies, after recitations of holy Quran, Ayatullah Sadiq Shirazi praised the mourners of Imam Hussein (a) and Pilgrims of Hussein (a), and considered them the protectors of Hussein(a) memory and revealers of the truth of divine. He further praised and thanked all those who were involved, from organizing and broadcasting the Arbaeen events to those who attended the Arbaeen pilgrimage and made prayers for them.

Ayatullah Sadiq Shirazi asked all that all true believers should unite in order to organize a strong martyrdom anniversary for best creation of God, prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

Importance of Making Pilgrimage of Imam Hussein (a) Possible for Everyone

In regards to costs of pilgrimage of Imam Hussein (a) for Arbaeen, that is visiting his shrine and his companions each year at Arbaeen,  and as well as other other holy cities, he asked that he officials and those in charge in the media and transportation to reduce costs of pilgrimage and remove any obstacle and hardship that would prevent a Muslim and lover of Imam Hussein (a)  from visiting the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (a) and his righteous companions. Ayatullah Shirazi focused on importance of making Karbala the most important and accessible holy city on earth because the city is the holies place on earth and so is its soil. He reminded that how it was the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a) that protected Islam.

Hosting the pilgrims of Imam Hussein (a), he used them as an example reminding everyone that they need to make all the efforts they can make in order to visit the grave of Imam Hussein (a) in their life time even if it is selling their house. He also invited the wealthy individuals to assist the poor and unfortunate in order to make this important journey possible for them.

He emphasized that it was a duty of each lover and follower of Hussein (a) to make it affordable and easy for fellow Muslims to visit Imam Hussein (a) and his companions. He warned that Shias should get ahead of this trends in compare to other countries and other religions who are making it easy, giving massive discounts, so the pilgrims can attend their holy sites. He further demanded the authorities that the trip costs should significantly be reduced (like airplane tickets, bus tickets, etc) so they can become affordable and perhaps even free because the same thing is done by many non-Muslim countries for non-Muslims pilgrims.

 Imam Hussein Died for Islam

In addition to this strong message, Ayatullah Shirazi emphasizes that the sacrifice and martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a) was solely for Islam. That Imam did not fight for his desire of worldly gains or power but to save the religion of his grandfather prophet Muhammad (SAWS) that was at hand of destruction.

He mentioned that the problem of Muslim world today is not following the correct Islam, which is Islam of Ahlulbayt and that Imam Mahdi (a) , Imam of our time is very upset about this because Muslims are far from teachings and traditions of prophet and Ahlulbayt.

He emphasized on teachings and traditions of prophet Muhammad (SAWS) that how he invited all to Islam with patience, fairness, good manners, charity and forgiveness. He pointed out that Muslims today are far from those traditions and it was the responsibility of Shias to set good example.

He pointed out those certain regimes and governments that use name of Islam commit injustice are far from islam. He didn’t mention any particular regime but he pointed out those countries and regimes that take political prisoners, torture and kill them in name of Islam, or sponsor terror, are far from Islam. In fact he compared those regimes and governments to those of Muawiyah and Marwarn, both of whom were oppressors and tyrants and are accursed.

On the contrary, the government of prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and his rightful successor Imam Ali (a) were governments of peace, equality, equity, fairness and forgiveness. There were no inequality, no poverty, no political prisoners or tortures or terrorism so that is the ideal type of government that Muslims needs to spread around the world but firs they need to implement within their own society so they can lead by example.

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.