Challenging the traditions

Mainstream Islam & legacy of violence against minorities

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

Terror in Belgium

The continuous trail of a bloody ideology

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

History adds another Black page

Genocide in Taza (Iraq)
Shia Wisdom

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

Fatima bint Muhammad… The role model of women

By: Moujtaba Alkhalidi

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

Allah & Freedom of Speech

Tolerance of the almighty in the Holy Scripture

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Among the most intense discussions between philosophers, thinkers, politicians and even ordinary people is freedom of speech and its entitlements, limitations, benefits and drawbacks. Apparently, history has witnessed battles and wars being waged for the sake of this sacred right, which has been seized from many through the course of history. In addition, regardless of today’s technological advancements and various triumphs accomplished by some bright individuals, freedom of speech and tolerance is still debated and requested for many groups, who lack it. The United States, which is considered leader of the free world and other western nations are still suffering from racism, intolerance of certain ethnic, racial, sexist and religious groups. Therefore, if freedom of speech is such an important and crucial matter for the survival of humanity, then the best examples for implementing this notion must exist as well.

Dissecting the verses of the Quran will reveal the most tolerant and accepting existence in the universe is the almighty lord himself. However, it might be argued that conducting an analogy between the creator and the created might not be a suitable comparison, but considering the core nature and essence of the holy book will present the following notions:

  • The almighty narrated and presented narrations and stories for the sake of presenting a guideline for his subjects.
  • The verses and the examples given in the scripture are not taken out context, as the literal interpretation of the words and terms is used to derive conclusions.

The Quran holds astonishing examples of Allah’s tolerance toward opposition, challenge and questioning, as his reply toward many such cases can be discussed as a case of accepting freedom of speech. In addition, browsing through historical sources and narrations of different monarchies, dynasties, regimes and governments we’ll witness the history written by them always marginalize the oppositions and in some cases even eliminates their existence. Nevertheless, in the case of Allah the story is entirely different, as he narrated the details of many oppositions, challenges and questionings that were placed before him.

1st case of challenge & questioning

  • Creation of Adam & Eve: The story of Adam & Eve is among the many stories narrated by the Quran, which presents several details about the beginning of human race in this universe. The Quran narrates that once Allah created Adam, he told the angels: “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority”. The reply of the angels to this statement by Allah was: “will you place upon it (earth) one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare your praise and sanctify you”.

Knowing the role of the angels and the nature of their existence will raise the question of, why would they question the will of their lord, if angels were created to only abide and cohere to the orders of Allah. However, the fact that concerns us from this 30th verse of Quran’s 2nd chapter, lays in the tolerance of Allah toward the notion of questioning him, when he replies: “Indeed, I know that which you do not know”. Then Allah certifies his intent to the angels and proves to them, his absolute wisdom and will. The 31st verse of Quran’s 2nd chapter continues the story and states: “And He taught Adam the names, all of them. Then he showed to the angels and said: inform me of the name of these, if you are truthful”.

The discussion between Allah and his angels continues in the 32nd and 33rd verses of Quran’s 2nd chapter: “They said: exalted are You. We have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the knowing, the wise”. “He said (Allah), O’ Adam, inform them of their names. And when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the unseen aspects of heavens and the earths? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed”.

Supposedly, this conversation is between the master of this universe and the angels, which he has created to cohere to his orders and wills. Nonetheless, although Allah was questioned about his intention to place a successive authority on earth by those coherent creations, he replied in calmness and proved his intention with certification and clarity. Therefore, aside from any internal interpretation that might exist about these verses by Islamic scholars, the verses reveal that Allah was very tolerant toward his subjects and freedom of speech was clearly practiced in that encounter.

  • Satan challenges Allah: Once the previous encounter between Allah and his angels is sealed, he commands his angels to prostrate to Adam. The 34th verse of Quran’s 2nd chapter states: “And mention when we said to the angles, prostrate before Adam. So they prostrated, except for Iblees (Satan). He refused”. The exact narration of this encounter between Allah and Satan is stated in the verses 71 – 84 of Quran’s 38th chapter: “so when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of my created soul, then fall down to him in prostration”. “So the angels prostrated – all of them entirely”. “Except Ibleed (Satan), he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers”. “Allah said: O’ Ibleed, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with my hands? Were you arrogant then, or were you already among the haughty?” “He said: I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay”. “Allah said: then get out of paradise, for indeed, you are expelled”. “And indeed, upon you is my curse until the day of Recompense”. “He said: My Lord, then reprieve me until the day they are resurrected”. “Allah Said: so indeed, you are of those reprieved”. “Until the day of the time well-known”. “Iblees said: by your might, I will surely mislead them all”. “Except among them, Your chosen servants”. “Allah said: the truth is my oath, and the truth I say”.

Considering the literal translation of this conservation between Satan and Allah, Satan is challenging the authority of Allah and his command to cohere to a specific order. Note, Allah enquires about Satan’s action and demands explanation for his refusal to follow an order, which others abided by. In addition, Satan replies to Allah and makes an analogy about the material, which he was created from and from, which Adam was created from. Ultimately, Allah expels Satan from the place, where he had been elevated to many years ago and tells him that he is not to return there anymore. Then Satan makes a demand to be reprieved until the day of resurrection and he challenges Allah again and promises to allure and mislead humans. In return, Allah grants Satan, what he demanded and he is granted leave.

This conversation itself portrays a perfect example of tolerance and freedom of speech being practiced by the created before the creator, not to mention Satan being compensated for his years of worship, by being reprieved until the day of resurrection.

There are hundreds of examples and cases, where individuals and tyrants challenge Allah and disobey every single order of his, but yet they are granted remorse and time. However, some thinkers believe that the power of will and choice, which God has granted to humans is a form of tolerance and freedom of expression itself. Humans commit wrongdoings, misdeeds and sins and yet God is generous and tolerant to a point that he grants the mercy of repentance. Allah’s tolerance goes to an extent, where he will willing to erase the entire misdeeds of a subject if he/she repents and asks for forgiveness. Well, if this is not tolerance and freedom of expression, then what is?