How Would Man Invest His Senses and Energies Positively?

Quotes from the thoughts of The Leading Authority, AlShirazi

Translated by: Ali Maash

God The Almighty has granted Mankind with great and many merits, most importantly amongst which are understanding, feeling and perception, moreover God has bestowed upon him various energies, intelligence along with visible and latent potentials. All these merits and energies favored Man over other creatures and enabled him to be the master on them with those granted merits given by The Almighty. In return, God The Almighty demands human beings to employ these energies positively in a way that brings benefit to one’s self and to the others and to build life properly so that these works would form a correct preliminary step towards the afterlife.

When Man is granted with all these merits and gifts in understanding, feeling and perception along with the physical potentials, now on the one hand, he has to invest them properly. On the other hand, is to make use of these potentials that must necessarily be invested Man’s energies appropriately and reasonably as he would spend that for the sake of God The Glorious. Bearing in mind that God has given Man these merits and grants with different levels; namely, a preference does exist among people in the obtainment of these potentials, yet Man should exert an acceptable amount of his energies and potentials in the right direction.

The Grand Authority AlShirazi (may Allah sustain his existence) says in one of his lectures: “God The Almighty has granted Man a sense of understanding, feeling and perception in particular amount as Allah states in his book: (And Allah has preferred some of you above others in wealth and properties)”. More importantly, wisdom lies in this preference for the important part is how much effort Man exerts in the path of goodness that harmonizes with what Man possesses of wealth, potentials and energies noting that the word (sustenance) that is mentioned in the holy verse above means what Man obtains of understanding and knowledge.

In confirming the above, the Grand authority AlSirzazi said in the same lecture: “it is reported in Prophetic quote that (sustenance) as mentioned in the holy verse means knowledge, that one could be smarter, more capable of memorization or more perceptive than another. Now, what is important here is how much everyone or every human expends this intelligence and perception for God’s sake?”.

The required amount in doing goodness

In defining the do-for-God’s sake process, the concerned scholars say that this code of conduct simply means all that what Man does for his own sake and for the sake of Mankind in order to preserve the continuity of current life, which makes from us the proper commencing step towards Man’s transition to the afterlife with an outcome of success. When we shed light on the meaning of doing for God’s sake, we come to a conclusion that signifies that The Almighty is merciful to his servants and his creatures; thus it is made an obligation for everyone to act in the sake of goodness on equal levels, provided that these levels are balanced with the amount of energies that God has given Man, hence the more a Man of understanding, perception and feeling can be, the more he should give. That is to say the man of understanding should not be equal to that of less understanding. Upon that, namely Man should participate in developing life and making it better in a way that corresponds with how qualified and capable he is. In this case, the divine reward will include both (the top and the less knowledgeable ones) for what they have produced of their qualifications, merits and potentials as they were required.

The Leading Authority AlShirazi proceeds saying: “two persons might work together for the sake of the family of the prophet’s house (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all), as we find out that perhaps the first person works five hours a day, while the other one could work ten hours. In this regard, the divine reward is the same for both of them or even more for the first person. For, the first one might have spent all his energies or worked for five hours being afflicted with financial, social or other problems, while the other works for ten hours without spending all his energies or he might not be troubled with anything”.

Therefore, Man is basically obligated to participate in developing life through investing his senses, perception, understanding and his intelligence in a proper way that accomplishes one’s benefits and the others’. More significantly, a thing done for God’s sake will inevitably serve in the interest of doing goodness. And the latter will definitely contribute in improving life conditions, and will make it more convenient more compatible to Mankind. The better the human life and the more preservative of man’s dignity, value and entity is, the more willing towards doing goodness and the more willing towards doing for God’s sake man will be. Accordingly, it is crystal clear that in the societies where injustice, corruption and transgressions are rampant, in these societies there can be seen a lack of willingness towards rectifying and improving life. In this context, God the Almighty, religious clerks and the grand authorities call us to the important reality of investing our potentials to develop life so that we can eradicate injustice which can make man more susceptible towards deviating from what is right.

Again, there is an ongoing confirmation on the importance nay the inevitability that Man must operate within his ability in a way that goes hand-in-hand with his sensational, perceptive and practical abilities of doing goodness. All together for the sake of improving his own life and the life of the social surrounding that shares with him his life with its minute details. Especially in his creation, Man has been given various and important merits associated with understanding, perception, sense and so on. Therefore, Man must exert extreme effort in this field, as the Grand Authority AlShirazi says in his same lecture: “every Man is given by God the Almighty an amount of energy and ability such as speaking, eyesight, writing, presence, money and so on, how much he would expend for the sake of God the Almighty?”.

“So for this let the competitors compete”

When doing goodness becomes competitive to others, it would become proudest and an open accessible way to develop life, provided that a human self-motive does exist, so he would evaluate and recognize the sentimental and the emotional merits he owns, and then how to employ these abilities in serving himself, others and life in general. The field of competition in doing goodness is widely open to everyone with no exception especially the precepts cited in the Holy Qurani verses signify that.

In this regard, the Grand Authority AlShirazi confirms saying: “every Man must know how much God the Almighty has bestowed understanding, feeling and perception upon him, how much energies God has granted him, and how much Man would expend out of that for the sake of God the Almighty, as the Holy Quran says: (So for this let the competitors compete)”.

Thus, Man is obligated to invest all his energies, granted by the Almighty, properly. For this potentials might be used in the wrong direction, if Man misunderstood it and miss appreciate it, which means serving evil. Understanding, intelligence, sensation and feeling could be tools of deviation from what is right, therefore Man should be aware of committing mistakes and should attain a high level of doing goodness, since all of us are obligated to endeavor and to invest our potentials. Yet, it varies from one to another according to what goodness they give, whether they are acts, sayings or deeds. The best among them will be the Man who invests most of his energies for the sake of God the Almighty.

We read this in the Grand Authority AlShirazi same speech which is directed to Muslims: “every one of you must seek a high level of doing goodness for the sake of God the Almighty. Yet, you might find it difficult; nay it is definitely difficult but possible”. ”you must exert your maximum energies for the sake of God the Almighty” the Grand Authority adds.

Shia Wisdom Condemns the Copenhagen Terror Attack

Once again the hands of barbarism and brutality have inflicted sorrow and grieve upon the

intellectual and free minds of the world, in an attempt to break the moral strength and determination of

the free world. Shi’a Wisdom strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Copenhagen, Denmark, which

took the life of an innocent man and wounded two others.

The right to criticize and question is Godly given, and has been guaranteed in all religions and

holy scriptures. The biography of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household suggests that, during their

time, they tolerated notions of opposition and criticism and dealt with it in a very benevolent and

compassionate manner. It is narrated during the Caliphate of Imam Ali, Islam witnessed the first

opposition protest, and Imam Ali accepted their demands and did not use coercive means to marginalize

his oppositions.

Therefore, Shia Wisdom invites the International community and all intellectual bodies to

dissect the truthful legacies of Prophet Mohammad and Islam as a religion from the holy house of

Prophet Mohammad and witness the mercy, tolerance, freedom and logic Islam has to offer to

humanity.

Our prayers go to the victims of this terrorist act and their families, and we shall all pray for the

day, when peace, tranquility, prosperity and freedom prevails and darkness and tyranny diminishes.

Wars…Fake Benefits and Huge Losses!

Visions of Imam AlShirazi thoughts
Mohammed Alhusaini Alshiraz

 

 

 

 

Translated by: Ali Maash (Contributor)

War is defined as “a mutual armed conflict between two countries or more of inconsistent entities that targets reshaping geopolitics to obtain expected and self determined results. Russian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz says in his book concerning war: “continuing operations of political relationships but they stand on different methods”. War is considered as an interaction of two or more opposite forces which have “desires conflict”; this term is used as non- military conflict such as social- class war. Other types of wars are on the spot such as civil war and proxy war.

There are also wars propagandists, wars supporters and theorists who are trying to set up their rules, some of them would go further than that and claim war has great benefits for humanity! Apparently, this claim would be small for a reasonable person as we seen the well documented devastations that wars have left in mankind history. Therefore, it neither meets with man instinct nor his natural tendencies toward living in peace, stability and methods that constantly keeps him ahead.

The great Shia Muslim scholar the deceased Sayed Mohammed Alhusaini Alshirazi, may Allah (swt) be pleased with him, discussed in his valuable book titled (Jurisprudence: sociology 2nd volume) for some of the claims that propagandists and supporters of wars are propagandizing through which they try to prove some of the benefits of wars! As we read in scholar’s AlShirazi’s book that has been mentioned previously that those propagandists believe that wars call for; “unifying nations“; since both parties would be acquainted to each other after the war and finally unite after each one of them discovers the pure intentions of the other. Moreover, those propagandists also believe that war instigates intellectual thoughts to progress: whereas the ideas of the two conflicting parties cross-fertilize that eventually leads intellectualism to progress. Mind is similar to body, so when two persons mate this eventually leads to a new generation which pushes man forward.

Nevertheless, the propagandist and supporters of war remain unsatisfied; they further claim that war helps in developing industry as they come up with several examples to prove their allegations, though we don’t know what kind of mentality that could depict war as a stimulus for industry or any other field to progress! As written in Imam AlShirazi’s book that the propagandists find war to be contributing in: (industry progress; on the one hand, War is where competent individuals can develop their potentials as long as each one them seeks to improve himself, Therefore, over-thinking leads to discoveries and inventions in peace more than its damage in war.

Renovating cities and castles

War supporters go further than that as they express very strange opinions; they say war helps in decreasing the number of people as soldiers die in wars, and because of the decrease in population, people can have better chance for luxurious life. We can read about such ideas propagandized by propagandists and supporters of war in Imam AlShirazi’s book since they believe that war helps decreasing the number of people to improve the life standards of the survivors as it raises their luxury.

Perhaps we do not need any additional proofs to prove the oddness of these allegations and how far they are from reason and from man’s instinct at the same time. Undoubtedly, those war propagandists are financially and psychologically empowered by war mongers; there are certain individuals, figures, co-operations, mafias and perhaps countries who cannot reach their goals and targets through peace since they neither respect this form of life nor favor it in a way that is similar to the political class which tends to tensed up situations as we notice that in parties or individuals known as “The Falcons”. This group of people provokes conflicts and disturbances everywhere to spread wars because this helps them to come closer to their political and economical goals despite the enormous causalities and financial losses.

The strangest part in what war supporters claim is that war causes an industrial progress for the conflicted countries and for the entire world! How skillfully these ideas are made up! And how inferior man’s thoughts and intention can be! Instead of admitting the horrible aftermath of the wars, the propagandists of war detestably keep insisting that war helps man in the industrial progress.

We also read in the same book of ayat. AlShirazi that the supporters of war claim that war leads to renovate cities, castles and so on, to rebuild them after they were ruined by war, and to renew furniture and house properties as well.

No Gains from Wars

Imam AlShirazi falsifies all those allegations said by propagandists, mongers and politicians of wars beside the ones who cling to it and the one benefit from it, he says: “nations are unified only by common culture, not by killing or unjustly dominating each other, or having peace and truce between them. (The healthy atmospheres help science and scientists to develop industry, encourage building laboratories and it excite scientists with money, competition and so on, as far as the give the same results of war but with no damages or causalities), he adds.

Destroying cities and wasting money in burned weapons and destroyed properties as an instrument for developing man and his welfare. Imam AlShirazi confirms that by saying: “Improving man’s condition lies not into wasting money in destruction and desolation. It has been reported that countries spend a billion dollar on arming per day, what a huge amount of money spent on destruction instead of being spent on Man’s welfare!”

These huge billions wasted on wars cannot help man to develop, especially the wide classes of poor people; money spent on wars for buying weapons and for making bargains worth of billions on the pretext of defending countries and homelands that does not pay off positively for the good of peoples and poor classes. But on the contrary, it goes to the credit of companies and rich people in the world; many or most of those belongs to the political ruling class of countries and nations. Therefore, it is impossible that money spent on wars that would meet the benefits the other non-ruling wide classes. And what might be the strangest part is the claim of propagandists of war that it “renovates cities and furniture”. Actually, we do not know how wars would do that despite its flames burn up everything?

Imam AlShirazi wonders in the same book of his about renovating cities as he says: “why do we renovate cities and furniture with destructions? Is not it better to renovate it with the money spent on destruction and extravagance? It is a reasonable wondering that invites to an immediate stop of wasting the money of people and the underdog nations. Perhaps the current situation of Iraq, Syria and some other close countries, confirms the presence of wars supporters and even wars makers, where the fiercest civil and organized wars take place in our territories. Yet, it is an industry with clear outlines and obvious goals, since this sectarian war are made by the masters of disturbance to absorb countries’ resources and to take over nations’ fortune through disturbance and deceptive wars which is true only in consuming nations’ fortunes on the pretext of assuring stability”. Therefore, Imam AlShirazi disproved all these allegations two decades before they took place.

Martin Luther King Was Inspired by Ghandi and Ghandi Was Inspired By….

The ‘Immortal Hussein’

By Ali Reza

Martin Luther King Jr. is a well known and  respected civil right leader best known for his “I have a dream speech and his achievements in genuine progress toward racial equality in America. In fact he really needs no further introduction among those scholars who truly value and respect human rights and  equality and justice for all humans.

Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a successful civil right leader who was inspired by many great people among them was the Indian civil right leader Mahatma Gandhi.  Although he never met Mr. Ghandi he was greatly  influenced by his teachings and methods of nonviolence.

Dr. King was introduced to Gandhi’s teachings when he attended at Crozer Theological Seminary School.  He also traveled to India where he called his trip to be a transformation, as if “the spear of frustration” had been transformed “into a shaft of light“. When he arrived in india on Feb. 10, 1959 and he declared: “To other countries, I may go as a tourist but to India I come as a pilgrim.

His Praise of Mahatma Ghandi
Dr. King had praised Mr. Ghandi on many occasions regarding him as his teacher on human rights and nonviolence. He has been quoted to have said “Jesus Showed the idea, but Gandhi gave us the method. Ghandi unpacked the life of Jesus more than anybody in history”.  Dr. King also said that Mr. Ghandi was an excellent teacher of humanity: “If Humanity is to progress, Ghandi is inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace & harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.”

It is clear that life of Jesus (a) was also a great inspiration for Dr. King because of his Christian faith but as he himself claimed, it was Mahatma Ghandi show really showed the methods of achieving true victory.

Who Inspired Ghandi?
Every great leader has a great teacher and a  role model. In case of Mr. Ghandi it was Hussein (a). Mr. Ghandi had many great teachers, it was Hussein (a) that showed him the way where he could win battles against strong opponents.  In fact, Mr. Ghandi  himself said that Imam Hussein (a) was his great teacher in achieving victory ‘while being oppressed‘:

“I learnt from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed”. Referring to great victory of Karbala when Imam Hussein (a) and his few companions and relatives were killed by the misguided Muslim army ruling the majority of Muslims. That ultimate sacrifice ended up as a great victory for true Islam as it kept it alive. A true Islam that stands for fairness, pluralism, human rights, equality and equity. As rare as this form of Islam may be today, it is still alive. In today’s world where the Islamic world is misguided by evil forces from within, the lovers and followers of Hussein (a) are still around 1400 years after, spreading his message which is message of true Islam; a message of peace, equality, and justice.

My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain….If India wants to be a successful country, it must follow in the footsteps of Imam Hussain.”   – Ghandi

 

Human Rights Role in Establishing Social Justice

By: Jameel Oudah (From Adam’s center for defending rights and freedoms)
Translated by: Ali Maash

The general committee of the United Nations has submitted the international declaration of human rights which consists of thirty articles on December the 10th in 1948.  The articles of this declaration have put a firm foundation for forming international agreements which could help to firmly establish the human rights on civil and political levels or on the economic, social and cultural levels.

Now, the question is: what is the relationship between human rights and the foundation of the concept of social justice? And how can these rights contribute to achieving the values of equality and justice among human beings.

Undoubtedly, the right of equality is generally considered the most important human principle that nations and peoples yearn to abide to, and it also considered one of the fundamental intrinsic elements upon which the international declaration of the human rights has been built.

The right of equality is unanimously considered one of the oldest and the most important, adhesive and genuine to the human race; for it is the core of all rights. For that it is unfair for any human society to be built on gender, race or religious discrimination. According to (René Cassin) the godfather of human rights; this declaration is the beginning of a long route to deep-rooting the principles of equality and justice among the human beings.

Article (1) of the international declaration of human rights states the main principle of rights equality among all human beings. From the view point of social specialists, this principle is regarded the cornerstone in relation with the top important principle of justice which directs the attention to what is just or unfair egalitarian; which is based on biological factors beside psychological, social, cultural and spiritual needs along with the individual contribution in others luxury.

The equality in rights indicates that the idea of social justice is inseparable from the idea of human rights. Thus, social justice is an essential credit of man emerging from his own merit as an individual qualified to have a number of social, economical and political rights as it is confirmed in the international declaration of human rights and in a wide range of other covenants, conventions and international agreements such as the international covenant of social and economical rights along with the agreements that concerns child, woman and minority rights. The idea of social justice is attached to the concept of achieving humanitarian needs of human beings due to, the humanitarian of any man is incomplete and his dignity is not achieved, unless he is able to satisfy his humanitarian needs.

Determining the concept of social justice and the best mean to achieve it, is often subjected to a big controversy. The outline of the concept of social justice is in constant change because the idea itself is a result of a changeable system of values and culture. Although the huge variation in defining social justice, and the uncountable definition of it, a big number of academic researches and scientific books agree on availability of certain elements to achieve social justice such as: equality, anti-discrimination, equal opportunity, equal distribution of resources and duties, social security and providing public goods.

One of the common approaches in defining social justice is equal opportunity and the chances of equal life; which mean that you have an equal chance of having a good education and job just like anybody else as in having equal chances of enjoying a decent life. Everybody should be protected against life’s risks such as illness, accidents, residence loss and unemployment..etc.

On the occasion of the world day of social justice, the United Nations secretary-general said: “social justice is a primary principle of peaceful coexistence within the nations and between them as prosperity is accomplished under its shadow. Since we will work on achieving gender equality or reinforcing the rights of both original nations and immigrants, we can raise the principles of social justice to a higher position. When we remove the barriers nations face whether if they are age, race, ethnic descent, religion, culture or deficiency, then we would have accomplished a big part in uplifting social justice”.

This means that social justice includes satisfying man’s basic needs and sharing material resources on the basis of equality as it targets giving opportunities to everyone to obtain basic services in the field of health and education besides providing security to both deprived individuals and groups. Basing on the previous, social experts consider justice and social justice as main defense mechanism to every type of oppression and a foundation to the most equitable human resources development.

As a result we can say the case of social justice that human rights principles are trying to seek and achieve is:

  • The one that power and money are not involved in injustice, oppression, deprivation and exploitation, as poverty, marginalization and social isolation are vanished as well as unacceptable social differences among individuals, groups and states within the country.
  • The one that everyone enjoys even economical, social, political and environmental rights as well as enjoying equal freedom. And where the present generations overtake the rights of future generations; where a sense of fair, solidarity, a joint liability and social contribution is prevailed.
  • The one that each individual of the society has an equal chance to develop their abilities and to release their potential energies where those abilities and energies are well employed to serve in progressing and developing the society.
  • The one that society is not under economic misuse and is not depending on other societies whereas enjoys a clear independence and domestic control over political, economical and social decisions.

The United Nations secretary-general said on that same occasion on February the 20th 2014: “we have to do more in order to empower individuals in the sake of providing the opportunities of a decent work, to support people through providing social security, and to secure listening to the voices of poor and marginalized people. We have to work on continuing our efforts to achieve the millennium development goals and to write down a new development plan for the era after 2015 as we make social justice a foundation tool in achieving an equal and everlasting prosperity to everyone”.

Yes, I am a Shia Muslim. Here is Why I am in the West

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

As a Shi’a Muslim living in North America, I have to admit that I’ve been lucky for not encountering serious and dramatic prejudice behaviors. However, I had to handle few racist comments and conducts toward me or another fellow Muslim and usually I treated the other person with respect and a short conversation, or I was passive and decided not to reply back. Nevertheless, from time to time I read or watch headlines about racist encounters toward Muslims in different places. I do not intend to refute racism in this article, as anyone with a good conscience regardless of religion and belief acknowledges the obvious fact that racism is not a matter of insulting a person for race, ethnicity or religion, it is a disease, which destroys the social fabric of a whole nation. Therefore, I intend to clarify as a Shi’a Muslim that why I chose to live in the west, and why I left my home nation and migrated to a new society, which I do not have many shared values with.

I will divide the answer to these questions to two main categories, and simplify my answers in the best way possible.

  • Why did we leave our countries?
  • Why did we come or choose to come to the west?

Why Did I leave my home country?

The main factor that might make the transition of adapting to a life in the west a difficult matter is the nature of the previous life many immigrants had to experience in their countries. All humans come to this world without the ability to choose their parents, choose their name, choose their identity (ethnic & Nationality) and without the ability to decide where and when they are born. However, for an individual who originates from the west, these issues should not and would not be a dilemma or a problem, as many of his/her rights are guarded and protected through a well-established social and legal system. Nevertheless, in my case and in the case of many Muslims who originate from the Middle East and the Muslims world, these rights were guarded, and as a matter fact, they were not even established. A Muslim individual comes to this world facing dilemmas and calamities, which furbish his/her individuality and personality in a way that makes him adopt calamities and misfortunes as part of his/her daily life.

Living in the Middle East mean, I have to give up a large portion of my God given rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of transportation and transfer, freedom of religion and so many other freedom that I might not even know of. In addition, by living in the Middle East, I am bound and forced by set of rules and laws, which impose unimaginable notions and experiences upon me. As a Muslim living in the Middle East, I have to abide by the unethical laws of an autocracy or an authoritarian regime, which does not even recognize my right to exist, and vanishing a human for this regime is as simple as drinking a glass of water. I have to lower my standards and be satisfied by as little as possible, when my nation is among the wealthiest on the earth. I have to disregard and connive the fact that favoritism and corruption has its roots in every aspect of life. I have to acknowledge that in order to finish a transaction, I have to bribe a clerk or ultimately an entire department, when reality and system indicates it should cost zero. I have to lower my standards when it comes to healthcare and receiving medical attention. Although, the state provides public healthcare, but visiting a public healthcare facility would mean you are willing to expedite your death process, and the private sector alternative would mean outrageous expenditure. I have to lower my standards or in some cases forget higher education, as my level of intellect and sagacity has no credibility and gives me to priority for entrance to a prestigious higher level education institution.

As a Muslim living in the Middle East, I cannot criticize head of the state, as that can lead to my persecution and ultimately lengthy jail time or in some cases capital punishment. I cannot complain about the fragile state of my nation’s economy and high rates of inflation, since these are the policies of the state, and complaining is equivalent to criticism, and criticism has undesirable consequences. I cannot complain about high rates of unemployment and taxation, and obviously I cannot protest and against any decision made by the state.

The list can continue on, but the unbearable conditions that my likes and I had to go through cannot be comprehended until someone actually experiences them, which I don’t wish that for any human being. Many of us, including myself, had to witness our fathers being jailed and humiliated and physically and psychologically tortured for saying or even thinking of something that was viewed as criticism against the state. Many of us, including myself, had to witness a random police officer put his hands on our mothers and hit them and humiliate them for protesting a decision or trying to protect our fathers. Many of us, including myself, were forced to march into the streets to welcome the tyrants of our nations and glorify them and make them feel glorious and untouchable.

Therefore, does anyone blame a Muslims person for making a decision to leave or flee his home country? Does anyone expect Muslims including me to accept the humiliation and settle for this type of life? Does anyone expect anything else than fleeing from these nations, when alternatives are scarce? We left our nations to be able to live and accomplish what we should have accomplished in our nations. We left our nations to live up to our potentials and abilities. We left our nations to enjoy the God given rights, which were taken away from us. Therefore, I hope by knowing about our grievances and sufferings, a western citizen apprehends why I have chosen to leave what I called home once upon a time.

Why do I live in the West?

I do not intend to give an impression or a conception that the western world is a Utopia, where the states are governed by infallibles, and oppression is vanished and everyone lives happily ever after. As an individual who has lived here for fourteen years, I acknowledge the flaws of this world, and I seek improvements in many fields. However, I must admit the system here works and when it comes to order and law, no one is above reproach. Therefore, I chose to come here and live in the west, because I realized I can seek help in case I was oppressed, although I might not get the justice I desire. I decided to come here and live in the west, because I am able to be who I am, a devoted Muslims person. I am able to practice my rituals and express my thoughts and views. I am able to enjoy freedom, and recognize that I have what’s called OPPORTUNITY. Surely, my values and definitions of many aspects are different, but at least I know I am accepted for who I am, and I am not judged because of my ethnicity or my belief. I was given the chance to carry a western passport and travel the world with no hassle, and enjoy the freedom of travel. I was given the opportunity to study and receive higher education to be an effective member of my society.

I came to the west, because I knew humanity and not sympathy would be a factor in how people view me here. Therefore, I believe it was the right choice to come to this land and take advantage of what’s available and what’s presented to elevate myself, and live up to my potentials. However, I conclude by quoting Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, when he says: “best of the lands, is the land that carries you and provide for you“. Therefore, I have complied by what my Imam has suggested to me and chosen to live in a land that carries me and provides for me.

How Does Islam Views the Rights of a Prisoner

An induction in the views of Imam Mohammad Al-Shirazi
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

As discussed in previous articles, the authenticity of freedom in Islam is evident and presented in numerous sources and traditions of the Holy Prophet and his Holy household, and therefore, all humans are entitled to freedom and rights regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity etc…

The portion of the population that usually gets the least amount of attention when it comes to the topic of freedoms and rights are the prisoners. According to late Imam Al-Shirazi, Islam gives substantial rights to prisoner, with a purpose to develop the prisoner to a better and useful member of the society.

Authenticity of Freedom and Imprisonment:

According to the principle of freedom, any accused person is innocent until proven guilty, and therefore, he/she shall not be placed in jail, unless the necessity for carrying such action is evident, and greater dangers are prospected than freeing an accused person.  In a tradition about the conduct of the Holy Prophet about this matter, it is narrated: “the Prophet prisoned an accused person in a homicide for a period of six days, and if not evidence was brought forward, the accused was free”. In addition, Imam Ali P.B.U.H says in a narration: “I do not take upon an accusation, and I do not punish based on a supposition, and I fight only the ones who shows hostility toward me”. Nonetheless, there are numerous examples from the Sunnah about this type of conduct, which shows the extensive attention Islam has given toward the issue of imprisonment and prisoners, due to the effects of this notion on society.

Imam Al-Shirazi presents a set of disadvantages and harms for wrongful imprisonment on the society and the individual, which can leave everlasting impacts, with catastrophic consequences, such as:

  • Political Damages
  • Social Damages
  • Economic Damages
  • Cultural Damages
  • Health Damages

Torture & Islamic Resolution for this Phenomenon:

Regardless of rationale, purpose, extent and place, torture is not acceptable under any condition and circumstance. How can someone claim that he/she wants to save the dignity or humanity by conducting such hideous actions? A person or a system that uses such violent conducts (torture) will lack any sort of credibility in the eyes of the public, and even the information extracted by such violent methods are doubtful and unusable. In addition, if a system or a person thinks that his actions will remain confidential and classified, they are wrong. Eventually the truth will be revealed , and in addition, they shall not forget that according to Quran: “and tell: do your deeds, as Allah and his Messenger and the believers shall witness your deeds, and you shall return to the world of unseen and testimony, and you will briefed about your deeds”.

Therefore, what is evident and obvious, torture is not an Islamic phenomenon, and was never used or acceptable under the rule of the rightful rulers of Islam. The Islamic history is filled with examples of acceptable methods for extradition of information, which demise the notion of torture and shows absolutely no needs for such conduct.

  • Method of Psychological examination: during the era of one of pious and righteous judges in the city of Isfahan, a case of homicide was brought to him. After deliberations and examinations, he was not able to find the killer, and therefore, he turned to a psychiatrist to resolve the matter. The psychiatrist examined the body thoroughly and after a while, he requested all the butchers to be brought before him. They were all told to face the wall, and after few minutes, the psychiatrist told everyone: you are all free to leave, except you, the killer, where are you going? Out of all the butchers in the room, one of them turned his back and looked at the judge and the psychiatrist, and he was taken to custody. After questioning and deliberations, the man admitted to his crimes and he was found guilty of first-degree murder. According to the testimony of that psychiatrist, he noticed that the killer wiped the knife he used to kill the victim on the body of the victim, and this is a known habit for butchers. Since the killer knows himself, he will unintentionally reveal himself, as Imam Ali says: “No one intends something without being revealed upon the platform of his face or the slips of his tongue”.

There are numerous cases, which show the different methods for extraditing information, without using any mean of coercive force and torture against a human. 

Rights of a Prisoner in Islam:

Imam Al-Shirazi categorizes the rights of a prisoner as follow:

  • Freedom of Conducting Business: a prisoner shall have the freedom to conduct different kinds of business transactions, and means of financial gains such as, buying and selling, renting, leasing, cultivating, sponsorship in possible cases and other types of transactions. This right can be administrated through telephones or an agent.
  • Matrimonial Freedom: a prisoner shall have the freedom to get married or request a divorce. In addition, the prisoner shall have the right to be a witness for a marriage or a divorce if he/she desires to.
  • Testimonial Freedom: a prisoner shall have the freedom to give testimonies in different cases if necessary or if he desires to.
  • Freedom of Expression: a prisoner shall have the right to write, learn, study, read and even give lectures if he/she desire to. They shall be able to express their views freely, and means of expression shall be made available for them.
  • Freedom of Choosing a Profession: a prisoner shall be able to choose a profession, and hav access to means for learning that profession.
  • Freedom of Sports: a prisoner shall have access to a safe and healthy environment for conduction sports and practices.
  • Personal Hobbies: a prisoner shall have the right to practice his/her personal hobbies. However, proper considerations for rights of others and environments shall be acknowledged.
  • Visitation and Meeting Family: a prisoner shall have the right to see his/her family at any time, and if he/she requests private time with spouse, it shall be given to them.
  • Right to Attorney: all Prisoners shall have the right to access an attorney in law to represent them in the court of law.
  • Religious Rituals: all prisoners shall have the right to practice their religious rituals freely.
  • Holidays & Personal ceremonies: all prisoners shall have the right to celebrate their holidays, whether statuary or religious. In case of a family member death, the prisoner shall be able to leave the prison, attend the ceremonial events, and return to prison.
  • Choosing place of Imprisonment: all prisoners shall have the right to choose where they want to be imprisoned. (Which Province, Which City, Which Prison). Capacity and availability conditions shall be taken to consideration.

Therefore, by dissecting the mentioned rights that Islam has given a prisoner, we shall conclude that the notion of imprisonment is not total isolation of individuals from the society. The intention of imprisonment is correctional and disciplinary. However, the notion of putting someone within a secure location and limiting his access to the outside world is a punishment in its nature, and therefore, he/she has already been distinguished as a troubled member of the society.

Responsibilities of Prison Management:

Imam Al-Shirazi presents a set of responsibilities for the prison management, which he views as essential in development of prisoner.

  • Segregation: segregating between prisoners upon their request is essential, to prevent all kinds of tension and trouble. Segregating the more dangerous prisoners from the others would be very important.
  • Health Care & Personal Hygiene: the management is responsible for creating proper amenities for prisoners to keep up their personal hygiene. Clean bathrooms and washrooms shall be made available for prisoner with the availability of cold and hot water all year long. All prisoners shall have access to medical attention, and physicians shall be present at site at all times for necessary treatment.
  • Proper Diet & Nutrition: the management shall give the prisoners the proper amount of food and water for their well-being. All allergies and food recalls by manufacturers shall be taken into consideration. The cleanliness of the food and water shall be guaranteed at all times.
  • General Inspector: a position of general inspector shall be created for each prison to insure the rights of prisoners are sanctioned at all times, and the responsibilities of the management are carried out in professional manner. The inspector shall consider and review all complaints and suggestion in timely manner, and respond to all of them.
  • Disciplining the Prisoners: in case of violations and criminal conduct inside the prison, the prisoner case shall be taken to police and authorities, and the prison management shall not have any right in disciplinary actions toward prisoners. The prisoner is spending jail time for a previous crime, and any new crime inside the prison shall be dealt with as a new crime and put through tribunal.
  • Informing the Prisoner: the management shall inform all prisoners about their rights and responsibilities, and keep them updated about any changes.
  • Saving the properties of Prisoners: the management shall put its best efforts to safeguard and save the properties of its prisoners.
  • Imposing Uniform: the management shall not impose a uniform or a customary out-wear upon the prisoners, and should let the prisoners choose their clothing.
  • Prison Personnel and Management: the management shall assure the employment of highly trained personnel in its facility to maintain and contain the prison. The personnel shall have the knowledge and the expertise to deal accordingly with any prisoner under different circumstances. The personnel shall have full knowledge about eh rights of prisoners and the responsibilities they carry toward the prisoners.
  • Inclusion of Experts: the management shall assure the presence of experts in numerous fields to consult the prisoners if necessary or upon the request of a prisoner. Psychological, social and medical experts shall be made available for the prison at all times.
  • Facility: the management shall assure the feasibility and security of the facility, which contains the prisoners.
  • Prison Categories: the prisons shall be categorized and divided to accommodate different prisoners with different crimes with different natures.
    • Precautionary Prison
    • Civil Prison
    • Criminal Prison

Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of Prisoner:

The effort to redevelop the prisoner is more important than the imprisonment and penalizing the criminal. This progress will determine the future of this individual in the society, and all steps necessary shall be taken into consideration. Physiological evaluations and treatments shall be made available to the prisoner during and after his/her imprisonment. The society shall be aware and acknowledged about the presence of such individuals among them. However, the proper treatment of such individuals shall be taught to the public through comprehensive programs by the media and other means of communication.

The Judicial system and the state shall be aware about the situation and the condition of the prisoner after his/her release, and if necessary, all steps to help that individual to choose a path for his/her future shall be taken into consideration.

Conclusion:

Imam Al-Shirazi has extradited these concepts and rights through thorough and detailed dissection of the Sunnah and traditions of the Holy Prophet and his holy Household. Therefore, his views as a Shi’a Grand Ayatollah can be taken as legitimate Islamic views and rulings for the concept of imprisonments and correctional programs within the judicial and penal system.

 

***
Sources:
(1)Al-Kulaini. Al-Kafi. Volume 7. Page 37. Narration # 5
(2)Al-Thaqafi. Al Gharat. Page 251
(3)Al-Quran. Chapter 9, Surat Al-Tawbah. Verse 105.
(4)Sharif Al-rathi. Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence). Short Sermons. #526

 

 

 

Authenticity of Freedom in Islam

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The complex nature of this universe has always been inclusive of one common fact, which is the nature of contrariness and antibiosis within its elements and founding particles. All creations are astonishing when it comes to dissecting the infinite details of their existence, but that one fact is still evident, yet this whole universe remains functional in all aspects to the smallest details. This purpose of this article is not theology, however, the issue of contradiction has a strong link to human nature and the notion of differences in innate and thoughts and likes and dislikes.

Ever since the power of will was given to human, the differences and contradictions have existed, and therefore, this notion is a given and obvious right of any human being from birth to death. The power of will is defined as freedom, which is a responsibility and not a privilege as some might think. Nonetheless, with the notion of freedom, comes the notion of contradictions in innate and thoughts and beliefs, and this specific notion is the basic meaning of life, which makes life meaningless without them. In addition, Islam has guaranteed these rights to any human, since the creator gave them on the day the power of will was created.

Authenticity of Freedom in Islam:

All humans are free, and there is no justification for control of any human over another under any regular circumstances. In a narration by Imam Ali, he says: do not be anyone’s slave, when God has created you free. However, this notion will exclude prisoner, whether prisoners of criminal conduct or prisoners of war, since there are subjected to laws and constitutions that humans have agreed to abide by.

Based on a theological mandate, freedom of humans is nil when dealing with the notion of creator. Since the creator is the giver of life, and controls its duration and the power of will and freedom was given by this creator, it will be irrational to speak of freedom before the creator. Especially, when Islam tells humans, they are all equal before Allah, and the best of you is the one with the best of deeds and attributes.

To understand the freedoms given to humans by the creator, it would be better to categorizing them, and dissecting them separately.

Types of Freedom:

As discussed above, freedom is not a matter that is given to humans by others, or a matter that can be stripped away from a human by another human. However, it can be a subjected to framing and labeling, due to its numerous uses and natures.

  • Physical Freedom: all humans are in full control and authority of their physical mass (body). No one shall be able to take control over someone’s body (physically, mentally) under any circumstances. Therefore, one of the main phenomenon, which Islam sought to demise and neglect gradually, was slavery. The Imams of Shi’a Islam bought many slaves and concubines and taught them a profession, so they could survive on their own, and would let them free. It is narrated that many of those slave would reject leaving the Imams, after realizing the glory and the mercy of them, and would spend their whole life by their side to take advantage of their presence.
  • Freedom of Profession & Labor: all humans are free to be active in the profession of their choice, and no one shall force any human to do a profession or a job against his/her will. Some exceptions and exclusions should be added here due to social & personal mandates. For example, the state shall be able to force a human to work, if the family of that person is in desperate need and that person is refusing to work, although work is available and he/she is physically able to work. In another case, the state shall be able to force a person to work to pay out a debt if the person is able to work and work is available.
  • Freedom of Religion & Belief: all humans are free to adopt any religion they desire. As stated in the Freedom Religionholy Quran: There is no compulsion in religion. However, this type of freedom can be categorized as well. No one should be forced to change his belief, and convert to another against his will. When dissecting the biography of the Prophet, we shall witness that he never forced or ordered anyone to force a non-Muslims to convert to Islam, and Treaty of Medina is an excellent example for this notion.In addition, no one shall be forced to remain on his belief against his/her will, if he/she desires to convert to another religion or belief. Although it should be noted that the issue of apostasy is exclusive to Islam, and has many conditions and criteria, which is not evident and available in today’s era.The non-Muslims residing in Islamic state shall have full freedom to practice their faith, without preaching it to Muslims. They shall be protected by the Islamic state, and no Muslims has the right to ban or abstain them from practicing any of their rituals. In case of domestic conflicts, non-Muslims have the freedom to seek tribunal through their own tribunal system or they can access Islamic tribunal and court system is they chose to.
  • Freedom of Expression: The necessity of this right is proven through four evidences from the Quran and the Sunna, the traditions of prophet and Imams, peace and blessing be upon them. This right would insure that the state is aware of all the necessities the population need, and it should put full efforts to meet them. This right would insure the revival of free minds and political awareness within the population. This notion would result in an environment, where good and bad is labeled and outlined, and therefore, there is no excuses for dereliction. Due to the absence of this right, radicalization and ignorance will arise, and big portion of the population would turn to other means of expressing themselves, which can be catastrophic in most cases. However, competences and innovations are found in friction of thoughts and opinions. Absence of freedom of expression will result in dictatorship and autocracies.
  • Freedom of Gathering and Assemblies: formation of gatherings and assemblies (temporary or permanent) such as committees, commission, foundations, societies, rallies, protests and all other types of gatherings are a given right to all humans. State has no right to reject the formation of any gathering unless evidence of sabotage and devastation are evident in a type of gathering.
  • Freedom to Protest: The state has no right to ban any type of protest. Whether civil, labor or political, all protests shall be free, and secured by the state.
  • Freedom of Hunger Strike: as far as this kind of action is nor harmful to an extent where a human might lose his/her life or a body part, hunger strike is a given right of any human.

 

Where is the World Heading?

Economic meltdowns, Civil Conflicts, Natural Disasters, Political Turmoil, Poverty, Neo Slavery and etc…

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

By spending one hour a day watching news from around the globe, an observer will be able to determine that there is serious calamities and tragedies of all natures taking places all over the world. What is notable is, these problems are not limited to a specific geographic destination, and they do not differentiate between the developing world, or the developed world or the destitute places on this planet.  Whether in the United States, Europe, Japan or in Africa or the Middle East, there are calamities and tragedies everywhere, and everyone is seeking solutions and asking questions about the roots, the reasons and the outcomes.

Africa has been the home to some of the most tragic violent ethnic and sectarian conflicts with victims Africa Povertyexceeding millions, and illnesses ripping the social fabric of this beautiful continent. To top these tragedies, record levels of poverty and misplaced masses are exhausting the nations and keeping them in constant need of foreign aid and being exposed to intrusions and outside influence.

The Middle East is torn apart due to political turmoil and sectarian tensions, which is evaporating any notion of co-existence and tolerance in this ancient part of the world that is the birthplace of the major three monotheistic religions in the world.

Europe is being exhausted with its fragile economy, and the ability to contain its masses in different parts of this continent. The state of unity that brought the nations of this continent together seems to be the factor in dividing this continent once more. In addition, the masses tend to turn toward solutions that are more radical by supporting conservative and radical political parties to save their national and personal interests.

The current super power of the world, the United States is losing its luster day after day due to heavy burdens domestically and abroad. Natural disasters and a super growing national debt is exhausting the United States, and prevents it from playing the same role it played decades ago in the world. The domestic tendency to pursue a more isolationist nature of politics is becomes stronger in the United States as well.

Nevertheless, the world is witnessing hideous actions like modern types of slavery, poverty, schism and clashes between classes in general, and the question remains, what is the solution? Why is God letting so much oppression take place? Why the rich is getting richer and why the poor is getting poorer? Where is the World heading? These questions are very common in these days, and a person does not need to be an atheist to be able to question these matters.

Politics has failed us

To start with, without any skepticism the failures of modern political schools is the main reason behind the Stephen Harper, Barack Obama, King Abdullah, Jacob Zuma, Dmitry Medvedev, Meles Zenawi, Wayne Swan, Naoto Kan, Guido Mantega, Recep Tayyip Erdogantragedies and calamities of this era. Ever since the Industrial revolution and implementation of new political order in this world, the notion of social classes has been expanded and the gap has been dilated day after day. The main theme and ideology behind most political schools, whether realism, liberalism and even socio-political philosophies like capitalism and Marxism is to ensure survival of the state, and secure self-interest.

These schools of thoughts have failed to maintain a secure notion for individualism in their societies, and even the current concept of individualism in today’s modern societies is affiliated with the notion of collective security, and interests of the state, not the sole interest of the individual him/her self. Therefore, the concept of humanity has been stripped out of its core, and its definitions are presented according to political tendencies and implementations.

Ever since the implementation of new world system, planet earth has witnessed two brutal world wars with numbers of victims being more than one hundred millions. Due to the clash of ideologies, (Capitalism VS Marxism) proxy wars and civil unrest ravished numerous countries, and civil conflicts and traditional wars have been inevitable. Therefore, all the efforts to prevent conflicts and tensions have been unsuccessful, which ultimately means the system is not functional, or in other word NOT RIGHT.

The Problem Within:

The 11th verse of Quran’s 13th chapter says, “Indeed, God will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves“. The notion here is not to put the blame for today’s situation entirely on the masses themselves, but reality indicates that a big portion of the problem lies within their will and ability to desire change and wellness for themselves. History is filled with examples that shows how the masses took initiative to change their destiny and future, and regain their wills from the hands of some of the most cruel and brutal tyrants.

Therefore, the masses are faced with two choices:

  1. Their current situation is normal due to the nature of the global system, and turbulences in any path are random, and they shall be dealt with. Therefore, there is no need for drastic change, conditions will ultimately get better, and al tragedies and calamities will be over eventually.
  2. The current situation is due to the unfair nature of the current system, which is only in the benefit of the states and big corporations, and the ones with massive capital are benefiting from the calamities and tragedies. Therefore, tyranny has reshaped itself to the form of global system, and out rights shall be taken by struggle, and a drastic change is mandatory.

The one unified fact that exist in this world is the power of will and the ability to make decision, and all humans are entitled to this right no matter what. Therefore, regardless of which route is chosen by the masses, they should be willing to face the consequences of their decisions. Under no circumstance, a state or any system is able to prevent change if the masses decide it is time for change, and the power of free will is stronger than any coercive force regardless of its power.

Is there Hope?

Hope is one of the mercies that have been given to humankind to ease the pains and make the progress ofcandles world transformation more desirable and pleasurable. Nevertheless, hope is meaningless without action, and everlasting hope will kill and demolish competencies and creativity, and in some cases it could lead to catastrophic results. The first step to legitimize hope is to acknowledge the need for change, and the existence of conflict and tragedy. The fact that there are many individuals and groups seeking answers for the occurrence of these tragedies and calamities is the first step to have hope for a better tomorrow.

The other fact, which shows the core definition of the concept of humanity is still alive and present within the masses, is the good nature existing within people. We can always witness the willingness to help the victims of a calamity of any nature. The tendency to donate and the willingness to travel to disaster areas by volunteers and professionals, shows the good side of the people. A recent study showed the American people in top ranks when it came to donating and helping others, and disasters like Tsunami and others showed how much people of this planet value the concept of humanity.

In addition, it should be understood that no matter how long a system lasts, and how powerful it gets, eventually it will reach the peak of its existence, and afterward it will begin its descend and ultimately its collapse. However, it is up to humanity to choose and determine how it wants to run its affairs, and how much it will learn from past mistakes. During the dark ages, Europe was the victim of a brutal and vicious system led by an autocracy, and ultimately they decided to rise against it, through different means.

Human Rights in Islam;

It is sad when one sees so much of human rights are being abused and violated in the so called Muslim world and among the muslims. It is very sad because Islam stands for fairness and human rights even for non-Muslims.

Early days of Islam, prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was known to be a very fair, kind, and generous person to everyone. This is why when he announced his prophethood, there were some that accepted his prophethood right away because he was an honorable and fair person.  Even his enemies, knew prophet was a good man and if God almighty was to choose a prophet from among people of Arabia  it had to be him. This is why they fought him and they didn’t want him to grow his ideology but when his enemies failed, they decided to corrupt Islam from within and throughout 1400 years they have been successful  doing so. The first thing they did is to poison and kill him and tell everyone he died of a natural death. He didn’t! But sadly most Muslims don’t know how prophet died and are trained now to even ask!

After death of prophet, his family and grandchildren and relatives were killed then his close companions. His enemies did everything they could to make sure that there is nothing left of real Islam but just a name and text which was something prophet had prophesied. Islam, a religion that once stood for equality, equity, and human rights, now appears to be one of the most feared and unjust religions, because of non-stop efforts of enemies of Islam within.

As conscious Muslims, we find it to be our responsibility to battle this by educating others that Islam does indeed stand for human rights and equality and we will do everything we can to re-introduce those concepts to everyone.

How Does Islam Stand for Human Rights?

There maybe some verses in Quran that says things like “kill the non-believers”  or “kill them (infidels) wherever you find them” but those verses are often taken out of context and misinterpreted. Quran is referring to those non-believers who have waged unfair wars against Muslims and the innocents, killing them and their families  cold blood. These were the exceptional cases where Quran allowed fighting back because in many verses earlier it prohibited killing as shown in verses below:

Do not take life, God has made life sacred. (6:151)
Do not take life, God has made (life) sacred, except for a just cause. If anyone is killed unjustly, We allow justice through his heir but do not allow him to exceed bounds when it comes to taking life, for he is helped (by the law)” (17:33)

Quran even stood for fairness toward the unbelievers and wanted to save them. For an example, Pre-Islamic Arabs were mostly Pagans who had a very dark and wrong tradition among many other traditions they had. They would bury their newborn daughters alive (for whatever Sanatic reason). Quran reveals the verse below condemning this act admonishing them that God would punished them and ask them in hereafter:

For what crime she was killed ( 81:9)

Reading prophet’ traditions, a fair reader can see prophet’s love toward humanity as many times he was remembered praying for ordinary people and their guidance and he went beyond what could do to help guide people. He tried so hard to the point God told Prophet in Quran said the verses below:

We have not sent down to you the Qur’an that you be distressed (20:2)

Prophet’s tradition extends to his holy family where commander of faithful Imam Ali (a) said many words of wisdom including the one below to one of his companions Kumayl;

People are of two types, they are either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity

In response to handling unqualities and oppressions, Imam Hussein (a) said:
If you don’t believe in any religion …at least be free in this world

The verses of justice, human rights, equality and equity are apparent all over Quran and prophet and Ahlulbayt traditions and teachings . However sadly, they are the most ignored ones among the Muslims and in Muslim societies.

The video below is a nice recent English lecture by Sayed Salih Qazwini about  human rights and its importance in Islam we hope you find educational;