Setting standards to facilitate final decisions – part 1

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

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

Challenging the traditions

Mainstream Islam & legacy of violence against minorities

_83889595_83889594
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

_86820612_86820611
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

position-statement
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.
SHIA WISDOM

Fatima bint Muhammad… The role model of women

By: Moujtaba Alkhalidi

fatima3
    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.

Resolution Methods for Privation & Adversity Based on the thoughts & theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murtadha Al-Shirazi

Part 11: The economic factors for generating, sustaining and developing wealth to fight poverty (7) (Social Symbiosis)

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) have asserted the pillars of social symbiosis and solidarity, which have been introduced by Islam on various levels, and this notion is considered among the primary methods to fight poverty, and social instability. The holy Prophet of Islam states in a narration: “He doesn’t believe and follow me, he who sleeps full while his neighbor starves”.
Defining social symbiosis and solidarity according to Islamic principles can be summarized as following: Members of a society are collectively responsible for guarding and protecting the public and private interests, and prevent all damages and harms (materialistic & non-materialistic), where each individual feels that he/she has a social obligation toward society. This feeling will also include the obligation toward the needy and deprived ones, where members of a society will protect this group and prevent any harm that might occur to them. Islamic social solidarity and symbiosis is defined in the narration of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H): “The example of believers in their harmony, mercy and sympathy among each other and for each other is like a single body, as if a body part becomes ill, rest of the body will suffer and feel the pain as well”.
The late Grand Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Al-Shirazi mentions the following about this topic in his jurisprudence encyclopedia: “This topic is either ethical, where absolute belief and submission is the goal, or it is jurisprudential, where it is accompanied with necessity. For instance, during a starvation (famine) year an individual is permitted take what he/she needs as necessary and if repayment is not possible the public treasury is his/her guarantor”.
The 2nd verse of Quran’s 5th chapter states: “and cooperate in righteousness and piety”, and an example for righteousness has been presented by the Quran as well, where the 14th, 15th and 16th verses of Quran’s 90th chapter state: “or feeding on a day of severe hunger. An orphan of near relationship. Or a needy person in misery”.
Islamic law has legislated the financial obligation of a husband toward his spouse’s expenditures and needs, and the financial obligation of a father toward his children as far as they are unable to provide for themselves. In addition, Islamic law has even legislated the financial obligation of a son toward his parents, as far as they are not able to provide for themselves, and all of these legislations are different methods to contain poverty on all sides and levels, since parents, spouses and children form majority of a society.

The Refugee Crisis: Facts VS Presumptions

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The recent attacks in Paris and even in Beirut have raised many questions about the possible outcomes that welcoming the refugees might have in western societies. Although the concerns have existed prior to the recent attacks, but the issue has been a hot topic in the headlines and there are many oppositions to any notion of welcoming and accepting those refugees. The argument presented for opposing these refugees is based on several issues, which can be described as following:

  • The possibility of having terrorist sleeping-cells among those massive numbers of refugees is very high, as one of the terrorists in the Paris attack had a Syrian Passport on him.
  • The amount violence and trauma these refugees have been exposed to, makes them rational candidates for radicalization and ultimately vengeance while on western lands.
  • The time-line to accept these refugees, which has been set by the United Nation and some of the western nations, poses many dangers to the security and stability of them, as conducting a thorough background security check on these refugees requires sometime. Therefore, according to the time-line, which has been accepted by some of the western nations would not be sufficient to conduct an effective background check on those refugees.

In addition, some extreme voices have raised the notion of only accepting the refugees that can assure their Christianity and not accepting any Muslims. Although, many of these extreme and radical calls are exclusive to Europe, certain groups and individuals in the United States have raised similar voices as well.

Therefore, it would be beneficial to examine the legitimacy of the concerns raised against accepting and welcoming refugees into Europe and North America. This examination would aid in shaping a better comprehension about this complicated issue, as some of the concerns raised are legitimate and rational. In addition, there are many hidden or forgotten facts, when it comes to the refugee crisis, which make the ability to have a decision on this topic hazy and rather difficult.

Refugees VS Terrorists

No one denies the fact that the percentage of possible terrorists among the current refugee crisis is a very tiny portion, which will not exceed 0.0001% at best. Therefore, majority of these refugees are desperate and victims of a bloody conflict that has left them displaced and forced to leave their homes and cities to secure their lives and loved ones. In addition, claiming a refugee status is only one of the ways that someone can get to a specific country and reside there, as majority of the current refugees in Western Europe have arrived there illegally. Therefore, the chances of having terrorists among those refugee already exists and poses a great danger to Europe, which means the fear of terrorists among those refugees is no longer rational, when a country wants to accept few thousands refugees through the legal channels and immigration procedures.

These refugees can be screened and selected through numerous filtration methods, which can assure only qualified individuals are selected and accepted for refugee status. In addition, there are thousands of orphans and widows among those refugees that require immediate attention and consideration for refugee status, and those groups can be prioritized for screening.

Nonetheless, the routes for arriving to a certain country are not only through refugee status, as mentioned earlier, and terrorist groups are definitely able to fabricate documents and files for any individual to be accepted as a student, an investor or even a tourist into any country. In addition, the same illegal ways are still available for others, as there are thousands of people in the United States, who have crossed into the US illegally and conduct their affairs like any other resident in the US. Therefore, the same methods can be utilized by terrorist groups and radical individuals can find a way intro any country, if they decide to pursue such a method.

Nevertheless, most of the recent terrorist attacks in the west were carried out by home-grown elements and individuals, who were citizens of those countries and some of them were even born and raised in the west. Therefore, the quantity of radical elements in the west diminishes or decreases the fears of having terrorists among refugees.

Psychological status of Refugees

The concern of the psychological status of the refugees and exposure to tremendous amount of violence and trauma is taken out of context and used unethically for political and partisan intentions.  Obviously, the current refugees have been exposed to a great amount of violence and trauma and obviously they have witnessed many horrific scenes that no ordinary human should ever witness. This exposure and this great amount of violence is the primary reason, which has forced those people to flee their country and homes and seek safety in a society that differs from, what they have lived in for years.

In addition, majority of the current immigrants and refugees in the west (Europe, United States and Canada) were victims of violence, terrorism or authoritarian regimes. Some of the immigrants and refugees, who are now citizens of many western countries are still suffering from their past experiences, and many of them struggle to forget the great amount of oppression or violence they had to experience. Therefore, why wasn’t this notion an issue when accepting those refugees? The immigrants and refugees from the Balkan war, the refugees from the first Gulf war, the refugees from Congo, the refugees from South Sudan, the refugees from Europe post WWII. These are all victims of violence and oppression, who still suffer from trauma and exposure to scenes of genocides and massacres. Therefore, this issue should not even be raised, as the ethical responsibility is on our burdens to help those refuges pass through these experiences and return to their normal life and routines.

Background screening and security checks

Without doubt this concern is the only legitimate issue that can hold its ground in any discussion or deliberation, when it comes to the refugee crisis. The United State has agreed to accept 10,000 refugees into its borders and Canada has agreed to accept 25,000 refugees, and countries like Germany and Sweden, which have already let thousands of refugees through their borders, have pledged to accept and legalize thousands. Therefore, the issue of security and background check on refugees in Europe is sort of meaningless, as Europe is already overwhelmed by refugees, and the streets of Berlin, Frankfort, Stockholm and other major cities are filled with refugees.

This concern is majorly a North American issue, which can be considered as legitimate and rational as mentioned earlier, since the time-line suggested by the United Nation and pledged by the US and Canada to accept those numbers is irrational. For instance, the Canadian government led by the newly elected Liberal Party, has pledged to accept 25,000 refugees within a time-line that doesn’t exceed 60 days. The Obama administration also has pledged to accept the 10,000 refugees based on an expedited sets of procedures, which has raised many concerns and criticism in the US. Therefore, to be rational and logical, the time-line set for accepting those refugees, put a great amount of pressure of immigration offices and officers, as they are required to process a tremendous amount of procedures, within an unorthodox required time window. Background and security checks require patience and a great deal of thoroughness, as the information needed to make a decision for each application is processed through many global security agencies. These information need to be verified and coordinated in a professional manner, which assures the safety of the citizens and a hassle-free journey for the refugees to their final destination. Incomplete procedures can ultimately cause distress and discomfort for the refugees once they arrive to the United States or Canada, which can also lead to social and psychological unrest for the refugees that can delay the process of integrating to the new society.

Therefore, providing and forming dependable camps for the refugees in Europe, through a coordinated and a shared international effort will ensure the refugees are temporarily contained and a reasonable time-line is available for the western countries (USA & Canada) to conduct the necessary screening procedures. In addition, the numbers of refugees to be accepted by Canada and the United States are not as big as the numbers that have been pledged by European countries, which means the wait times would not be as lengthy as many might think. Therefore, these nations have abided by their pledges and a reasonable solution has been reached and outlined for future cases.

Nevertheless, the refugee crisis will continue and remain as one of the most complicated symptoms of the conflict in the Middle East, and as long as the conflict in Syria is not solved the flow of refugees will continue. Therefore, the international community is obligated to end this conflict and bring stability to this region before the situation get to a point that cannot even be contained.

Lessons from the Tragedy of Karbala

By: M.K

The tragedy of Karbala left the Islamic World with valuable lessons to reflect upon. The battle in Karbala took place in 60 Hijri when Imam Hussain (a.s) and his followers sacrificed everything they possessed dear for the sole sake of God. The opposing party, namely the Umayyads with the tyrant ruler, Yazid shed innocent blood on the land of Altaf (Karbala) for fulfillment of selfish motives that neither obeyed nor followed any religious teachings of the Apostle of God. Therefore, there can be many lessons that can be learned from the eloquent portrayal of dignity, sovereignty, patience and love for God that was displayed by the sacrifices of Ahlul-bayt (a.s) and his followers on the battlefield.

The first lesson involves importance that is given to Amr Bil Maroof (Enjoining Good) and Nahi Anil Munkar (Forbidding Evil). We are taught not to waiver from what is right and not panic during discharge of obligations. A believer must be firmly ready to face the consequences of his actions on the Day of Judgment as well as in the Hereafter. This also means that a believer must know and discharge only those duties that are within his capacity to carry out as that is what he will be accountable for. The results must be left to God.

  • Karbala sheds light on the importance of learning Fiqh (Islamic practical laws). And this is observed from a scene with Lady Zainab (a.s). Lady Zainab (a.s) asked the Imam of the time (a.s) for edict even as the tents had been set on fire.
  • We learn that importance has also been laid on spouse selection and religious upbringing of children. Two events can be described here. Firstly, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) chose Lady Ummul Banin as his wife and the pious marital union resulted in a progeny like Hazrat Abbas (a.s) [brother of Imam Hussain (a.s)]. Secondly, Imam Hussain (a.s) addressed the Ummayad troops; It was the fault of their forefathers that impacted the Ummayad troops’ upbringing and made them fight against the nephew of Allah’s Apostle. Furthermore, adding to the point about spouse selection, husband-wife relations have also been stressed. The Imam (a.s) was heard saying that he did not like a house that was devoid of Rabab and Sakina. Therefore, the wife is to be a ‘peace’ source for the husband.
  • It is important to learn ilm (knowledge). This is so that our lives can be led as per our Creator’s will. Ziyarat Arbaeen eloquently describes Imam’s (a.s) sacrifice, “I give witness that the entire purpose of the total sacrifice was saving people from ignorance.”
  • The event teaches believers the importance of Ikhlas. This means that the believer must do all of his duties for the sake of Allah only without Riya (showing off) involved. Therefore, the Aqaed (belief) in the Hereafter should be strong and this is when one can truly sacrifice material pleasures for achieving permanent benefits of the Hereafter.
  • Having control over emotions has also been stressed. The event teaches us that we should control our emotions when acting for God’s sake. This is not to say that human beings must be prevented from expressing their emotions but rather, a believer must do so without comprising on the actions that are required for God’s sake.
  • For women, observation of Hijab (head covering) is undoubtedly another important lesson taught by the events in Karbala. The pious ladies from the family of Ahlul-bayt (a.s) were always witnessed covered from the eyes of non-mahrem until the Ummayd’s dhulm (cruelty/oppression) pulled away their Hijab on the 10th of Muharram.
  • Lastly, Karbala teaches us to submit to the will of Allah at all times and in all states. For instance, Imam Hussain (a.s) was seen offering sajda (prostration) of shukr (thanks) in all times of difficulty.

Sources:

http://www.duas.org/Moharram/lesson_from_kerbala__1.htm

http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=3846

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.

Google Raised $11 Million For Refugees, Migrants In Just 3 Days

Credit: Raad Adayleh/AP
Syrian refugee students welcome as German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel visits the classroom during his visit at the Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, north of Amman, Jordan.
 
Google launched a massive fundraising appeal last week for refugees and migrants, and the entire world stepped up to the challenge. The search engine pledged to match donations until the collective effort raised $11 million. It reached the goal in just two-and-a-half days.

Rita Masoud, a refugee who left Afghanistan and later became a product marketing manager at Google, launched the initiative on September 15. She wrote an open letter on the company blog, in which she requested donations for migrants and refugees and explained the donation matching process.  Google directed the money to four nonprofits: Doctors Without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The company solicited donations through a banner on its homepage that read: “Help refugees and migrants in urgent need. Google will match your donation.”

Google is in good company with others who have launched initiatives to help refugees. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated the corporation will donate $2 for every $1 an employee gives. And last week, TripAdvisor promised to match its community’s donations up to $375,000.

Although Google has stopped matching donations, it encourages individuals to contribute directly to the nonprofit recipients, saying, “The crisis isn’t over.”