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.

Defining Political Parties According to Ayatullah Shirazi

By Ahmad Ali (Contributor)

There is no right political career without parties competing for power. That is one of the political realities one can see among the democratic countries  around the world.

The political parties have a great deal of impact on a democracy when majority is supposed to agree  so one can say that there is no true democracy without the political parties because they are the bases of a democratic society in the modern time is organization through such parties.

It is a necessity in a democratic country to have a democratic parliamentary system in which a particular multi-party state participate and contribute to best represent their people which is the vision of true democratic country,

As for the importance of  the political parties in the communities we find that there are those who believe in the necessity of its existence as a unit that will be a factor of stability and support for governments and political systems, and there are those who believe it could be divisive and nationalist conflict and instability factor.

Definition and Goal of a Political Party

John Benoit defines the political party as an organized rally to contribute in the conduct of institutions or access to the highest political authority in the country to implement the program and the interests and of its members.

In all of the cases, the aim of every political party is getting into power or at least the influence at the decisions of the governing authority. And if they do not seek the power or the influence it can’t be called a political party.

And political parties are related to government as a central state authority and representation in Parliament and this relationship isn’t on one level, there are distributed in many dimensions there are trends which dominate the political process, and there are other parties which have participation in power, and there are parties which are marginalized in the taking of the political decisions, and there are the opposition parties to the political process who show resistance to the high power authorities.

Characteristics and Roles of a Political Party 

The political parties have  a number of characteristics which can be summarized as:

  1. Permanence and continuation.
  2. National regulation.
  3. Seek to get into power and thus they distinct from the civil society organizations because they don’t seek it, and this also what distinct them from lobbyists and pressure groups, these groups seek to achieve their aims in many ways and styles, but does not seek to reach them.
  4. Seeking the popular support.
  5. A party should have a political-social-economic vision which defines the it’s identity and the nature of it’s composition from the community and the social and political aims that the party is trying to achieve when it reaches the power.

The functions of the parties are

  1. Activate the political life: through political competitions, and showing their programs and ideas and attempts to gain the support of the public opinion to win the elections and stay in power.
  2. Forming the public opinion: through directing the citizens and make them aware of the political problems and explain their proposals to solve them, and encourage them to participate in the public affairs and formulate their opinions in a certain direction.
  3. The formation of political leaders: as the party starts to train its members to engage in political work practice the power and nominate them for the general elections and then take public positions.
  4. Achieve political stability: through driving the trends of public opinions to control and regulate the aspirations of the citizens and contribute to solve their problems.

Types of Political Systems

And when it come to the types of party systems most of the specialists have adopted the triple division when they study the types of political systems, unilateral, bilateral and pluralistic, as follows:

  1. One-party system: a non-competitive system makes the political actions monopolized on one party, it has been invented by the Marxism, Nazism and fascism, And it spread to the countries of the Third World, but many of those countries has left it behind with the democratic developments that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  2. Bipartisan system: it’s based on the presence of tow major parties in the country which are vying for power, and one of them wins and the other stays in a constructive opposition.
  3. Multiparty system: This system is based on the presence of three or more parties in the country who are competing to reach the power.

Because of his awareness of the importance of political parties and their role in the life of society, the grand scholar Ayatullah Muhammad al-Husseini al-Shirazi wrote (the grace of god be upon him) about this subject in more than one of his books.

The Consultation in Islam
In his book (Shura in Islam) “the Consultation in Islam”, which was published for the tenth time in 1999 Ayatullah Muhammad al-Husseini al-Shirazi  talks about this subject starting with the definition of the party and which he sees it as Arabic definition (in Arabic the words meaning is: a team or a group of people who have one type of thinking and one aim). Then he goes to the definition of a political party, saying:

A political party is a part of the social class which is struggling a certain system in order to secure its interests and gain power and apply its behavior and its ideological path and lead the society and the social conflict field“.

And as he writes about parties, he held a comparison between the political life in the West and the Arab and Muslim world, and believed that parties in the western countries are a necessity for western society and one can observe that having a stable government without backing a party is hardly noticeable in a western democracy. These parties are usually divided into two types, active outside parliament\congress (the minority party) and those that are in control of parliament\congress (the majority).

The deceased scholar also believes that the common interest of a group of individuals was and still is the  reason that these individuals are gather in parties. The Ayatullah divides the parties according to their directions and programs to:

  1. Radical parties (or progressive radical): consisting of opposition and discontent social groups which aim to change the social, political and economic conditions in the community with any cost.
  2. Moderate progressive parties (or Liberal Parties): Consisting of social groups which don’t show resentment and discontent with the prevailing conditions in the community, but at the same time they are ready for any change in the situations in a quiet non-hasty way.
  3. The conservatives –  this group shows satisfaction about the status quo and don’t want any major changes, even though they claim that they are trying to improve the prevailing situation in the society.
  4. Reactionaries – this group of people expresses satisfaction about the current situation in the community and don’t want any improvements or changes in the current situation.

The deceased Ayatullah sees these divisions unstable depending on the choices of people and their ages, because people in the different ages change their views. The youth tend to be more progressive or hardline, but as they get older they may change their views and that change may continue until they are old where many may adopt more of reactionary trends.

Shia Muslims: one of the largest oppressed minorities through history

Notion of being a minority & Shi’a Muslims

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithiz

A minority is defined as a sociological group/category in a demographic zone as defined by the majority due to their ethnicity, religion, race or social class. However, some sociologists argue every human on the face of this planet is part of a minority in a way or other, but some tend to disengage themselves from this category and they rather be identified as majority for the sake of interests and advantages. As Ayn Rand argues, the smallest minority in the world is an individual. Nevertheless according to a conventional definition of minority Shi’a Muslims can be identified as one of the largest minorities in the world. When a minority is recognized and given special status within a society, it means they are able to practice their rituals and express themselves freely, without scrapping and undermining the rights of others including the majority. Although some observers might argue Shi’a Muslims form the majority of population in some countries and in other cases, they have been able to rule and govern, the notion of being a minority still exist and I would definitely say they are more oppressed than any other time.

Shi’a Muslims in the Islamic World:

As of 2009 the estimates were indicating Shi’a Muslims are 10 – 20 percent of the Muslims world, which translates into approximately 200 million in number. They form the majority of the population in countries like: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, and they form notable minorities in other Sunni dominant countries like Kuwait, Lebanon and Yemen. The Shi’a majority in Iran and Iraq are currently in charge of running their nations, and majority of people tend to think of these two nations when they hear the word Shi’a Islam or Shi’a Muslims. However, even in these two states the Shi’a Muslims have been oppressed and stripped out of many of their rights. For instance, in Iran a devoted Shi’a Muslims, who identifies him/her self as a Shi’a before nationality is not able to practice many of his/her rights rituals and express thoughts and opinions easily or without prosecution.

The Gulf region excluding Kuwait and Oman are very hostile toward Shi’a Muslims and since they have adopted a more radical Sunni Islam the term (REJECTOR) is given to Shi’a Muslims to distinguish them from rest of the society. In Saudi Arabia’s eastern provinces, which the majority of Shi’a Muslims reside, they are considered as second class citizens and they would never be able to assume a mid to high position within municipal, provincial and central governmental agencies. There would never be allowed to join the army, and they would never be allowed to identify themselves openly in a place like Mecca or Medina. Bahrain, which has a Shi’a majority is ruled by the minority and the past few years the struggle to gain more rights and privileges have been faced with brutality and military involvement against the Shi’a citizens. Place like Qatar and UAE are very strict with their Shi’a population, and they have maintained a short leash to fully contain and control them.

In addition, rest of the Islamic world don’t view the Shi’a Muslims in a positive way, and places like Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Malaysia and Indonesia there have been laws and policies to place their Shi’a populations on short leash and refuse their requests of opening places of worship or conduct rituals and etc. In Egypt for instance, after the most recent Arba’een Ziyara ritual, the Egyptians who visited Iraq to commemorate this event were taken into custody upon their return to Egypt and interrogated for several hours. Few years ago Morocco ended its diplomatic relations with Iran, due to allegations that Shi’a Muslims were being funded by Iran to convert Sunni Muslims into Shi’ism.

I will not underestimate the influence of Iran and its agendas in the region to use sectarian issues as a mean of legitimacy and maintaining legitimacy. However, to include Shi’a Muslims in general and integrate them into Iran’s political agenda as a political enigma is an unacceptable notion. The Sunni state of the Muslim World has used the issue of sectarian conflict and Shi’a minorities and their hidden agendas as a mean of legitimacy for themselves as well. In another word they have created a new bogey called Shi’a Islam to contain their masses, due to lack of credibility and ability to present alternatives for their nations.

Shi’a Muslims & Historical grievances:

Historically the Shi’a Muslims were able to form few states, which did not last a long time due to sever rivalry and hostility from neighboring Sunni empires and dynasties. During the time of the 12 Imams of Shi’a Muslims the only semi-state that is worth mentioning is the state formed by Mukhtar Al-Thaqafi in Imam Al-Sajjad’s era. (4th Imam of Shi’a Islam – 682 AD). Other dynasties and states that can be identified as Shi’a are:

  • Uqaylids in what is now northern Syria & Iraq, were Arab Shi’a that ruled from 990 to 1096 CE.
  • Buyids were a dynasty that ruled modern Iran and Iraq from 934 to 1055 CE.
  • Bahmanis were the first Islamic kingdom in South India, who were Shi’a Muslims and formed the state of Deccan, which is considered one of the great medieval Indian kingdoms. They ruled from 1347 to 1527 CE.
  • The Fatimid caliphate were one of the largest Shi’a states through history, as they ruled much of North Africa, the Levant, parts of Arabia including Mecca and Medina. They ruled from 909 to 1171 CE.
  • The Safavids were without doubt one of the most powerful Shi’a dynasties in the history of Shi’a. They ruled Iran from 1501 to 1736, and announced the Shi’a sect to be the official sect of the State.

What is notable, although these dynasties were Shi’a Muslims, but they were limited by a political-geographic notion, which prevented them from protecting Shi’a Muslims in other places. Therefore, in different places and states that were ruled by Sunni dynasties the Shi’a Muslims were being prosecuted for being Shi’a or in some cases carrying Shi’a names such as Ali, Hassan, Hussein, Sadiq and etc. The Umayyad, the Abbasid and the Ottoman Empire are considered the most hostile to Shi’a Muslims through history, and there are recorded genocides against Shi’as, which took place during their era.

Contemporary Enduring and Sufferings of Shi’a Muslims:

Currently the notion of being a Shi’a Muslims in the Middle East is affiliated with the following speculations and allegations.

  • A Shi’a Muslims has no allegiance to his/her home-nation, and he/she is an agent of Iran and notion of patriotism cannot be found in the mentality of a Shi’a Muslim.
  • A Shi’a Muslim considers all non-Shi’a Muslims as infidels and view them as enemies. Therefore, his/her ultimate goal is to take as much as possible with any mean feasible to reach his/her goal.
  • A Shi’a Muslim supports Hezbollah.
  • A Shi’a Muslim curses and cusses the symbols and glorious figures of Sunni Islam (Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman).

There are other stereotypes and labels given to Shi’a Muslims in the Middle East, which limits their ability to mobilize and express themselves freely. Although a Shi’a Muslim might curse the figures of Shi’a Islam, he/she is still entitled to express themselves and be whoever they want to be. Shi’a Muslims don’t view rest of the Muslim world as infidels and this notion only applies for the Wahhabi sect. In addition, even if there are sympathizers with Hezbollah within Shi’a Muslims, this notion should be considered as a political affiliation, not a religious one, as Hezbollah is a political group and not a religious one. The issue of Iran and claiming Shi’a Muslims are agent of Iran and have no allegiance to their nations is pure lunacy. The conflict with Iran is a political matter and integrating a large portion of the population into this tension would only widen the gap rather than containing the problem. Resolving the tension with Iran would be more feasible and beneficial than putting Shi’a Muslims under surveillance.

According to recent reports by Shi’a Rights Watch reports in Washington DC the Shi’a Muslims in many Arab states are subjected to arbitrary conducts and policies. Many Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian Shi’a business men were asked to leave Qatar and UAE for no reason other than being a Shi’a Muslim and suspected of being an Iranian sleeping cell.

There are tens of TV networks airing from the Middle East and some western countries, which openly call for slaughtering Shi’a Muslims and their physical elimination. Sunni Scholars in Saudi Arabia and other places openly curse the Shi’a Muslims and call them names like, pigs and dogs and calling Shi’a Muslims as infidels. All of these steps are transferring the Middle East to a place where the Muslims are able to tolerate anyone but a Shi’a Muslim. The daily suicide bombings in Iraq that are taking the lives of innocent Shi’a Muslims are not even being condemned by the general Arab media, and this notion will ultimately make the Shi’a Muslims seek alternatives for protection and stability.

Conclusion;

The solution to this matter lays within the willingness of Muslim masses to accept and comprehend the fact that neither the Sunni governments are Sunni according to Sunni Islam nor Shi’a governments are Shi’a according to what Shi’a Islam mandates. They have to realize both side are using the issue to sectarianism as a mean of containment and legitimacy to survive the change and upcoming possible political rattles. However, if both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims do not accept the notion of co-existence, the foundation of their existence would be endangered and unstable. It should be understood that Shi’a Muslims like all other humans are eager to take advantage of what life has to offer and seek stability, tranquility and co-existence in anyplace they live in. Therefore, the ball in the other side’s courtyard to take initiative and accept this large minority.

Islamophobia a legitimate fear?

Extrapolating the legacy of Ibn Taymiya in contemporary Islamic Society.
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Dissecting the issue of Islamophobia should be conducted by considering many aspects within the Islamic history and its theological divisions. According to some narrations by Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), the nation of Islam will be divided into many sects and groups, and according to some of the quotes numbers like seventy and seventy-two have been given. Nevertheless, the intended issue of this article is not the division within the Islamic nation, it is about one specific sect or rather about a specific man who has influenced a sect within the religion of Islam. The complexity of his influence is to an extent where almost all terrorist and radical groups today claim to adopt his views and interpretations on Islamic issues. This man is Ibn Taymiya, who was born in the mid-1200s in the city of Harran, which is located in modern Turkey now.

The views of this scholar are controversial to an extent that even during his lifetime, he was challenged and debated in different places by different scholars, and in some cases, he was placed in prison for his radical views. Even within the Sunni Islamic sects and theology, this man was individualized due to his radical opinions, and many commentaries and researches have been written to dissect his views.  However, his views were eventually to one group and one specific man who later founded the sect today known as Wahhabism, which is the official adopted ideology in Saudi Arabia. Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who the Wahabbi sect has been named after him has admitted to adopting many of Ibn Taymiya’s views and opinions. Unfortunately, this small sect would have not been a subject for dissecting and review if it did have major influence on today’s Political Islam and the way Islam is presented globally.

Regardless of the actions of Muslims in their countries and abroad, they claim that their religion is a religion of peace, and even this notion has been mentioned in the name of the religion itself, since the word Islam is rooted in the Arabic word “Selm” which means (peace) in English. I will not discuss what does Islam say about violence and use of force and other social and political matters in this article, but rather I will look at the legitimacy of Ibn Taymiya’s views according to contemporary ideologies and philosophies including Islam itself. Since this man’s ideology has influenced the minds of many radical Islamic groups in the world, it would be imperative to dissect his views and see whether Muslim are obligated to condemn and neglect his views and rip them out of their societies.

Ibn Taymiya and concept of (Others):

It is understood that is we want to know whether a person is peaceful or not, we can look at his/her tolerance toward others who differ with him/her. To begin with this notion, here are some of Ibn Taymiya’s views and opinions about some of the sects within the religion of Islam.

  • Esoteric groups in Ibn Taymiya’s opinion: these groups include, the Qarmatians, Isma’ilism, Alawites and other small groups, which are scattered through the Islamic countries in different proportions. Ibn Taymiya’s opinion about these groups is as follow: “Esoteric are infidels, their infidelity is worse than Jews and Christians, mating with them is not permissible, their food is not eatable, they should not be buried in graveyards of Muslims, no one should pray on them after death, they cannot be drafted in Muslims armies, nor should they be in Muslim’s castles and safe shells”
  • Mysticism & Ibn Taymiya: the mystics are other groups that could not flee from this man’s radical views. His opinion about these groups is “if their (Mystics) infidelity was evident, then they should be fought and considered infidels, and whoever doubts their infidelity is infidel, and punishment shall awaits whomever aids them, or affiliate with them and praise them”.
  • Druze, Fatimytes & Ibn Taymiya: these minorities have not been able to be excluded from Ibn Taymiya’s views as well. He puts them in the same category as the earlier groups mentioned above, and calls for their cessation and slaughter.
  • Shi’a Muslims & Ibn Taymiya: this group has the lion share when it comes to Ibn Taymiya’s radical opinions and radicalism. He pours all of his intensity and hateful views on them, and labels them as “Rejecters” due to Shi’a Muslim’s rejection of the first three Khalifs after the death of the prophet. He starts his opinion by fabricating a quote from Prophet Mohammad by saying: “their (Shi’a) blood is the key to haven gates”. He continues further by justifying their slaughter and cession of being by giving fabricated quotes from the prophet, and giving ideal situations for having an opportunity to kill them and not be in an undesired position.

By viewing these opinions, an observer notes the following notions in Ibn Taymiya’s views:

  • Conclusively, Ibn Taymiya considers Jews, Christians and other non-Muslim people as infidels, and he justify their slaughter, since they are considered as belligerents and anti-Islam.
  • The notion of mass murder, physical elimination and genocide is a normal and justified conduct according to the ideology of this man, and we should not be surprised if we witness a terrorist beheading a Shi’a Muslim or an Alawite, since that terrorist is applying the teachings of this so-called Islamic scholar.
  • There is no room for tolerance in the ideology of Ibn Taymiya, and notions such as unity, co-existence and equality have no definition in his glossary. According to Ibn Taymiya all other sects and groups and religions other that his own likes are considered infidels and worthy of being slaughtered.
  • Under any circumstance, if an entity of a government adopts the ideology of Ibn Taymiya, they should not be considered anything but a totalitarian system, which will impose its ideology through no other means except force and coercion.

By conducting a fast search through the books of Ibn Taymiya on the web, we will witness he has used the word “Infidel” 917 times, the word “apostate” 29 times, the term “permissible blood” 19 times, the phrase “if repents, and if not shall be killed” 97 times, the term “Shall be killed” 849 times, the term “behead” 39 times. According to today’s definitions, a person who carries these mentioned views is considered a phonetic, or a lunatic, and other terms like psycho and mass murderer.

Therefore, as a Muslim do I have the right to condemn a random western citizen, who has negative views about Islam, when he/she witnesses some of the most horrific actions by individuals claiming to be Muslims, in the name of Islam. The intent is not to Justify Islamophobia, but rather to give an understanding about the roots of these violent actions. Muslims, who live in the west, have suffered from discrimination and other discriminatory actions against them, but to lift these barriers between them and the societies they live in, they must publicly and clearly condemn and neglect the ideology behind these radical groups not the actions only. On a global scale, this ideology should be condemned and ripped out of this planet by cutting its sources and its roots from its cores. The global community acknowledges that states like Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries in the Middle East region are officially adopting this ideology within their governing system. Therefore, due to lack of tolerance by this ideology toward others, the global community should not have tolerance toward the ideology of Ibn Taymiya. It must be clear to everyone, that Terrorism has no religion, and will not differentiate between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, therefore, it is everyone’s duty to take action and minimize their threat.

 

——-

Sources:
منهج الكفير عند ابن تيمية .عبدالمجيد المشعبي. الرياض 1418. ج 2 ص 39
Same source p 424
Same source p 431
Same source v 3 p1096

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

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

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

2014 in Review:

 

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

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

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

 

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.

World’s Largest Pilgrimage!

Arbaeen is the World’s Largest Pilgrimage That You (May) Have Never Heard Of! Find out Why

by Ali Reza

This article was inspired by article by Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi’s article on Huffington Post. The article has similar title except that I give my own opinion about why you may not have heard of this large Pilgrimage.

He writes about Pilgrim of Karbala, also known as Arbaeen, which is the most crowded muslim pilgrim even greater than Hajj according to the article by “actors of five”. Last year reports were around 20 million in attendance, about 60% of Iraq’s population; Of course people had come very everywhere, even United States and Canada. I was blessed and honored to attend, a memory which I will never forget and will share in another post, insha-Allah (God’s will). And yes Karbala is located in south of Iraq with the Shia population majority.

This is a very dangerous pilgrimage because of the instability in Iraq over the years especially with the terrorist militant group “daesh” (ISIS or Islamic State in English), occupying the Northern Iraq and performing many terrorism operations outside, there are many many lives that could be in danger. Nevertheless such threats, millions this year are expected to attend Arbaeen and probably exceed the numbers from last year despite the danger. This is to pay alliance to Imam Hussein (a).

Why You May Have Never Heard of Arbaeen Pilgrimage?
There are a various reasons that you may not have heard about this Pilgrimage but my humble opinion is Sunnis and their ideology. Sunnis, in particular Salafi and Wahhabi Sunnis (a popular trend among Sunnism born in Saudi Arabia), find any other pilgrimage or visiting the graves of believers as Shirk (idolatry)! They refer to their books of early days of Islam, when Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) according to their books, had prohibited early Muslims of visiting the graves of their dead relatives. While those narrations are questionable,  many open-minded Sunnis and also Sufis (another branch of Sunnism) believe that was a temporarily ban by the prophet because he was concern that Muslims don’t fall into idolatry. But as the roots of faith became strong and idolatry was removed from believers’ heart, the holy prophet later allowed visiting graves of relatives and believers, allowing them to send  peace, blessings and prayers for their loved ones and other believers. This is why some Sunnis including Sufis, are probably the most open minded among Sunnis when it comes to such things. Nevertheless, Salafi and Wahhabis are the ones that are winning the hearts of the Sunnis because of the support they receive from oil rich Saudi Arabia and Arab countries around the Persian gulf expanding the Salafi & Wahhabi ideology. In other words, they have hijacked the religion of Islam for their own political purposes by promoting their views and condemning the other ones.

Another reason that you may not have heard of this pilgrimage is because of Shias are a small minority pretty much everywhere in the world except Iran and Iraq. In addition in the West, Muslims are a minority and Shias are a minority among the Muslims. In other words, Shias are a minority within minority so they have a small voice to express the importance of this Muharram, Ashura, and Pilgrim. Also Shias don’t have a strong oil rich country backing them up on growing Shia ideology. The only two Shia majority countries are Iran and Iraq neither of these two countries have not been too helpful in growing Shiism. Iran is too busy with her own political agenda and regional ambitions and Iraq has been too unstable lacking any form of solid state leadership or government which is why there are many civil wars and civil unrest there.

Last reason I can think of is message of Imam Hussein (a) itself. Imam Hussein (a) took his entire family, relatives, and close companions to Karbala from Medina. He and his family and companions walked days in the hot desert of Karbala to get to there except to be surrounded and killed.  (hence many walk from those cities). His cause and reason were not of worldly desired but to submit to God’s will and his religion. There many lessons can be learned one of them is not letting oppressors to continue their oppression!  To invite people to good and discourage them from evil.

This is the type of message that can intimidate the world’s rulers, governments and their controlled media hence there is much resistance to give media attention. Even in Shia Iran, the government recently shut down the offices of  a Satellite TV station called Imam Hussein TV. That happened just days before Muharram started.

In conclusion, there is much misunderstandings about month of Muharram, day of Ashura, and pilgrim of Arbaeen even among Muslims. These misunderstandings are not unintentional, they are seeds of ignorance planted by the worlds rulers to keep people in the dark so they avoid the tragedy of Karbala. For over 1400 years, they have declared war against Karbala, because they fear the message it has. They feared that people would be moved by it. Because Hossein (a) stood for everything that was Godly and good or he abhorred everything that was Satanic and bad. He had very little tolerance toward existence of evil and he had absolutely no tolerance towards injustice and oppressions! This is what makes the entire rulers of the worlds to shake because most are unjust, especially those rulers that are  the rulers of so-called Muslim world.

Let humanity awakens and every tribe will claim Hussain as their own – Josh Malihabadi

Moral – Ethical Codes & Political Agendas

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

There is an ancient Arabic quote that says: “a right is taken not given”. Throughout history, we witness groups and nations raise to take their rightful rights from entities and individuals who have seized what belongs to them, whether it is freedom, land, dignity or revenge in some cases. Many scholars and thinkers have urges the masses to take lead in building their future and part of their progress to determine their path. However, these notions have been upgraded to include political philosophies and doctrines to legitimize means of political conduct, and as a result the moral aspect affiliated with any policy making conduct have been confiscated and abandoned. Whether dissecting the realist or liberal school, we witness what governs political conduct and the policies of states is self-interest and survival, and not necessarily the notion of right and wrong.

Philosophers define politics as a mean to create influence, therefore influence is defined as power, and power assures survival and self-determination. All political schools try to minimize the occurrence of conflict and implement ways to create an environment where mutual interests and needs are the common ground of governance, but at the same time they recognize in some cases conflict is inevitable. Therefore, they have assembled doctrines to manage conflict and confrontations and use of force if necessary. The Liberal school of thought suggests that conflict can be evaded through setting common grounds of interest and mutual alliances, and Realist school of thought suggest that conflict are inevitable and therefor, they have to be dealt with accordingly. I do not intend to dissect these schools of thought thoroughly and accumulate culpabilities, but the matter that I will point out in this article is the notion of moral absence in political conduct, and whether politics and morality are symmetrical of contradictory.

Reviewing most of the political doctrines in modern and past era will suggest the absence of moral and ethical codes is something that cannot be denied. The Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D) doctrine, the appeasement policy, Complex Economic Integration, Isolationism and many more political doctrines and philosophies have one thing in common, and that one notion is the importance of interest. The common goal of these doctrines is to deter any state from expansionist tendencies on the account of other sovereign states, and to minimize conflict as mentioned above. However, the one thing, which was not acknowledged in between these doctrines, is the notion of morality and its ability to govern inter-state relations and political conduct.

Both logic and reality suggest that conflict is inevitable due to the absence of morals and ethic codes, and apathy for others and lives of humans, therefore, whether following the realist school or the liberal school, considering enforcing and implementing moral codes and integrating them with political conduct was not a bad idea. Although, moral and ethical codes need actual activation and implementation in reality, setting these codes must be a common tendency among all states.

Historical Examples:

  • Battle of Badr. This battle took place in west Arabia in 624 CE, between the Muslims led by Prophet Mohammad and the Meccans led by the Quraysh clan. The victorious side in this battle were the Muslim, but what happened after the battle is very interesting and notable. The Muslims tied the captives with robes and were lining them in a degrading manner, when the Prophet saw that scene, he ordered the Muslims to open the robes and treat the captives with mercy. In addition, the Prophet asked any man from the captives who is able to read and write to teach ten Muslims, and he shall be set free. Although some observers might suggest this kind of morality was during a battle and the Islamic Empire was at its beginning stages, but the reality of the matter suggests that such a conduct gave a well reputation for the Muslims, especially when the prophet continued applying these moral codes on other battles and incidents.
  • Battle of Seffin. This battle took place on the banks of the Euphrates River in modern day Syria in 657 CE. The two sides in this battle were the army of Ali Ibn Abi Talib on one side and the army of Levant governor Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan on the other side. Resources from this battle narrate that when the Levant army seized control of the Euphrates River, they banned the army of Ali from accessing water, but when army of Ali regained control of the river again, they did not do the same thing to their enemy. Although, this kind of conduct might not be effective in persuading some states and rulers to play fair, but this notion will decrease the sense of grievance afterward. Especially in those environments, when moral conduct was viewed as sign of nobility and honor.
  • Battle of Karbala. Although this battle is one of the most hematic battles in the history of mankind, but its details and conducts are being told until this day, especially among Shi’a Muslims. The battle of Karbala tool place in desert of Nainawa, in modern day central Iraqi city of Karbala in 680 CE. The grandson of Prophet Mohammad Imam Hussein with his 72 companions were slaughtered and beheaded by the army of Yazin Ibn Muawiyah. Prior to the battle, one of the commanders in Yazid’s army named Hur ibn Yazid Al-Riyahi was ordered to prevent Imam Hussein to reach the city of Kufa, and keep him in Karbala until the main army arrives to that point. When the unit led by Hur Ibn Yazid met the Imam Hussein’s Caravan, they were out of water, and in desperate need of it, therefore, Imam Hussein ordered his companions to water Hur’s unit and even water their horses. This situation later on made Hur wonder about the rationale behind battling the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, and he ended up changing side, and joined the side of Imam Hussein, and he was the first martyr in his army.

History is full of these incidents and situations, and they all prove the effectiveness of moral codes and ethic in political conduct. The presence of moral conduct in politics will force states and political players to conduct their policies according to what is right and not according to their interest. Self-interest might not be a cost-efficient notion in many cases, but it will assure each human is given a chance to fulfil his/her destiny or path in this world. Imagine if doctrines like responsibility to protect was a binding notion among nations to protect any oppressed nation against their rouge governments, would of made states think twice about using force against their masses. States claim that security and stability is their ultimate goal, both domestically and globally, therefore, how are they able to fulfill this notion by securing their interests and implementing security and stability? The actual numbers of victims and oppressed masses all around the world suggest that states have not been able to fulfil their promises and as realists have suggested, conflicts are occurring and innocent lives are taken away.