Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) – part 1

 

Misconceptions & fabrications

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The two personalities in history with the most fabrications, alterations and misconceptions

against them are the Holy Prophet of Islam Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and his rightful successor Ali Ibn Abi

Talib (P.B.U.H). As discussed in previous articles the notion of fabricating misconceptions and wrong

information about the Prophet is rationally understood, as any tyrant that uses the name and slogan of

Islam must do the following:

 Distort the image of Prophet Mohammad.

 Fabricate brutal and barbaric actions and decisions carried by the Prophet to legitimize crimes.

 Fabricate supressing and crushing freedom of expression must be linked to the Prophet’s

tradition, by fabricating narrations and stories about him doing the same thing.

Therefore, witnessing the barbarism and brutality of today’s self-proclaimed Islamic states and

terrorist organizations is linked to the distorted image of Prophet Mohammad, portrayed by tyrants of

Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. However, distorting the image of Imam Ali was another method for

altering the image and reputation of Prophet Mohammad as well, since history states that Ali was

raised, nurtured and taught solely by Prophet Mohammad. Ultimately, distorting the image of Ali Ibn Abi

Talib would translates to failure for Prophet Mohammad as a care-taker, teacher and a father in-law.

In addition, to targeting the Prophet of Islam by taking aim at Imam Ali, tyrants and their aides have

been able to accomplish many goals that vary from politically motivated to ideologically, socially,

religiously and even military. Therefore, the hazy vision surrounding the personality of Imam Ali would

never be worthy of assuming the post of Caliphate, or title of most knowledgeable man after the

prophet and other attributes granted to Ali by the prophet himself. The hostility toward Ali Ibn Abi Talib,

his household and followers is undeniable, where slaughtering, displacement and persecution was the

usual end of them. Therefore, it would be beneficial to examine some of the most known and

widespread misconceptions about Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) that are completely false and their

falsehood can be proven by an overwhelming consensus in Islamic tradition.

The birth of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H)

According to unanimity of scholars, the birth of Imam Ali happened on the 13th day of Rajab

(Lunar Calendar) on the year 601 AD. However, the miraculous fact about the birth of Imam Ali

according to historians is the events surrounding the birth time, which includes the Ka’ba in the holy city

of Mecca. Upon the time of Ali’s birth, once his mother (Fatima Bint Assad) began to have contractions,

she approached the house of God (the Ka’ba) and ask for the aid of almighty. Witnesses’ testimonies

indicate, the wall burst open and Fatima entered the house of God, then the wall came back together

and anyone attempting to open the door failed to do so. Three days later, Fatima Bint Assad came out of

the Ka’ba from the same split in the wall after it happened again, while carrying a child and that child

was name Ali by his father Abi Talib.

Although during the Umayyad era, many of Ali’s attributes and well characters were denied,

challenged and distorted, yet the consensus among Islamic scholars about the birth of Imam Ali inside

the house of God is undeniable. Here are some of the most respected and known Sunni sources that

affirm the news of Ali’s birth inside the Ka’ba.

 Al-Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihain by: Al-Hakim Al-Nisaburi

 Kefayat Al-Athar by: Al-Kanji Al-Shafi’ie

 Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir by: Mohammad Al-Alusi

 Moruj Al-Thahab by: Al-Masoodi

 Tathkerat Khawas Al-Umma by: Sibt Ibn Al-Jozi

 Al-Manaqib by: Mohammad Saleh Al-Tirmidhi

Note: all of these famous Sunni scholars have affirmed the authenticity of any tradition that states

Ali Ibn Abi Talib was born in the Ka’ba. There are tens of others sources, yet the mentioned sources in

this article shall be sufficient.

The title: Commander of the Faithful

Among the most famous titles allocated to Imam Ali (P.B.U.H), one title is very special and

outstanding more than others, yet it was the first one taken from him and used by every tyrant that

ruled the Islamic Empire. The title is ‘Commander of the Faithful’. This title holds a great deal of

importance, as it grants the bearer a religious legitimacy alongside his political authority. Although there

are numerous narrations that indicate this title was solely granted to Imam Ali by the holy Prophet, yet

as mentioned all Caliphs and self-proclaimed commanders of the Islamic Empire used this title and

called themselves: Commander of the faithful. The legitimacy of this title for Imam Ali has been

confirmed by several Shi’i and Sunni sources, where either by direct testimony this fact is stated, or by

giving a clear indication the prophet identifies Ali as Commander of the Faithful.

 Kitab Al-Kafi by: Al-Kulayni (Shi’i source)

 Al-Amali by: Sheikh Al-Sadooq (Shi’i source)

 Al-Mustarshid by: Al-Tabari (Sunni source)

 Helyat Al-Awlia’a by: Al-Hafidh Al-Isfahani (Sunni source)

 Tarikh Ibn Asaker by: Ibn Asaker (Sunni source)

 Al-Mujam Al-Sagheer by: Al-Tabarani (Sunni source)

There are tens of other sources that affirm this notion and allocation of the title to Ali Ibn Abi Talib

by the Holy Prophet.

To be continued.

Resolution Methods for Privation & Adversity

Part 14: The economic factors for generating, sustaining and developing wealth to fight poverty (10) (Stimulating wealth flow)
(Based on the thoughts & theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murtadha Al-Shirazai)
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
The flow of wealth and funds will result in active and healthy economy, where citizens have access to funds for consumption, transactions are facilitated and inflation is contained and reduced. However, accumulation of wealth and funds, will freeze and prevent them from a healthy flow in the markets, which will also prevent the creation and flow of new wealth and fund generation methods. Therefore, the Islamic system has discouraged accumulation of wealth and the 34th verse of Quran’s 9th chapter indicates: “and those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah, give them tidings of a painful punishment”. (Note: the phrase way of Allah would not necessary hold a religious aspect, as other verses of the Holy Quran and traditions of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household, indicate that any action, deed, statement and effort which would benefit the people is considered an action in the way of Allah.)
The prohibition of accumulation in this verse is not bound to gold and silver, but since those two items are the most notable and known examples their names are mentioned. Presently, states around the world have maintained a continuous policy of wealth accumulation under the name of (RESERVE) or (Emergency fund). Unfortunately, billions or hundreds of billions in dollars and precious metals are stashed in reserves and funds, where the entire management process of these funds are granted to administrational bureaucrats.
Nevertheless, the methodology of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) shows that funds received from taxation or other sources were granted to the masses immediately, as Imam Ali never left any funds in the state treasury at the end of the day. This methodology and policy of Imam Ali would assure that all the funds and wealth of a nation is directed to the masses, including the lower class. Therefore, poverty and privation is minimized vastly, flow of wealth leads to stronger economy and this trend would ultimately benefit the state and its citizens on all levels and aspects. In general, once the consumption ability of the masses is increased, the investment opportunities are available in a broader range, infrastructures, cultivation, manufacturing and mining are sought to be excellent opportunities for wealth growth. Nonetheless, this strong and healthy economy would translate into an ability to pay more taxes, which will also end up in the hands of people in different shapes, services and plans.
Therefore, pouring the reserve funds into the hands of the masses would create and enormous direct and indirect ability to diminish poverty and privation, which would lead to a stronger state and public. This method would also increase the gross domestic production, which is the real reserve fund and power that could support and sustain any currency regardless of the size of an economy.
According to some historians and researchers, the necessity of stimulating flow of wealth and funds was among the primary reasons behind the Prophet Mohammad’s decision to change the goods exchange methods to currency and monetary system. The system considered gold and silver as standard for exchange, comparison and equivalency, where the worth of the currency was set. Therefore, for instance 1 Dinar was equivalent 4.6 g of gold and other measurement.
The shift to this system enabled the consumers to explore various options for trade transactions, as transportation and other related aspects to any trader deal were facilitated. Therefore, exchanging a good for another was not the method to conduct a transaction, which also prevented some goods being kept aside until expire, because the goods exchange method made them unpopular.

SINCERITY OF INTENTIONS

By: Zeinab Alsheraa
During ethical dilemmas the issue of whether something is morally principled can be determined by the ends justifying the means or the idea that “it is the thought that counts.” In all cases, the purpose and intentions are always taken to consideration. Then comes the issue of whether the intention is justifiable or sincere. Without a sincere intention, all actions then become invalid, especially towards God, since it is the pillar of worship and the prerequisite of an action to be accepted.
Types of Intentions
There are three types of intentions that engulf the basic motives of people. They are the underlying reasoning behind any action—for nothing is done simply just because.
1- For Self
This is the merchant of intentions, when actions are calculated specifically to see what outcome would provide the most benefits to oneselves. This is the idea that ‘if I help this person today, then tomorrow they may help me when I am in need.’ People will perform a task if they are bargained a benefit from it. This may be a direct benefit, such as a favor owed, or indirect such as self image. Someone may act in accordance to what will give off a desired appearance towards oneself. For example, a person may help in a nursery to give off an image that they are gentle and loving. Their overall purpose is their self image and pride, despite their actions.
2- For Others
These intentions are to please others. This is where people crave the approval and attention from others, desiring likes on their Facebook posts. This builds upon the idea of seeking validation from others and attempting to please society by “fitting into” its social constructs.
3- For God
This contains the truest form of sincerity. The intention for God can be broken down into a summary by Imam Ali, “a group of people worship God out of desire for reward; this is the worship of traders. Another group worships God out of fear; this is the worship of slaves. Yet another group worships God out of gratitude; this is the worship of free men.”
How to be Sincere
Doing good actions
The more right one does, the closer they will be to God. When one is closer to God then they will be more sincere and will be led to a more sincere path, for a line in the Quran reads “As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways” (29:69).
Attaining knowledge
One must first be educated and informed about their actions. They must need to know what their actions will result of so one can be guided by the true faith. Knowing right and wrong and the outcomes of certain decisions, one would be compelled to have a more integral action.
Having honesty
This is where one must admit if an action they have performed is not as it appears to be. If one assumes that another has done a righteous action when they really have not, they must answer truthfully, to leave room for sincerity with their honesty.
Being aware
The clearest way to have sincerity is to be aware of what can affect your sincerity. Three things have the most prominent way of affecting one’s intention:
1- When you known when others are watching
Knowing that someone else is observing you can turn your purpose towards pleasing/impressing that person instead of God. The best way to avoid this is to simply perform certain actions away from the public view.
2- When you want to gain something out of it
This again is being a bargainer, only doing an action in order to attain a result. One should prioritize and not guarantee themselves anything but the pleasure of God from any deed carried out.
3- Self Satisfaction from the action
This is one to be wary of since it is about pride. One might have done something and believed it to be for the sake of Allah but then afterward they feel prideful of their action and carry enigma that they are better than others. This foils any intention a person may have had if their intention in the beginning does not match their motive at the end. The best way to avoid this is to remain humble and not expect any outcome or credit.
Sincerity is a result of certainty. The lack of sincerity and the suffering ostentation relate to the wavering faith of a person. There is a distinction between the awareness of faith and the certainty of it and the latter completes the circle of a believer’s faith by validating their intentions.

HOW THE WORLD WILL ACHIEVE JUSTICE

by: Zeinab Alsheraa

The problems ranging in today’s society stem off the issues of injustice. The world has deviated from Hitler’s Nazi regime to the Ku Klux Klan and other forms of racism. Sexism has come and not left the premises along with prejudice. In the case after 9/11, Muslims still feel the effects of 9/11’s misinterpretations of the whole religion of Islam. Out of fear and to give a false sense of security, people began to generalize and label ‘Muslims’ as terrorists in order to purge their fears onto anything for a feeling of comfort knowing who the ‘bad guy’ is. Is it fair to the 1.6 billion peaceful Muslims to have a group of attackers speak for the faith of Islam at large? These acts of prejudice, racism, and bigotry in general ostracize individuals and in turn demote equity. But God does not leave his servants astray in an environment that hinders fairness. The prophets were first sent to lead the people and now it is the imams that can enlighten the people to the path of due process.

What is Justice?

Intrinsically, it is the ultimate set of virtues encompassing all morals that ultimately lead to peace. Islam has encouraged and exalted it through abundant verses from the Quran.“Allah commands (people) to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. (16:90)” There are two prominent forms of justice in this life: justice towards God and justice towards society.

1- Justice towards God:

This is the utmost revered concept and title of credibility of justice. It is not possible to achieve justice to Him because Allah does not require anything and is self-sufficient. But this form stands for believing in the Lord and conveying sincerity and love towards Him. This is where the acts of constant worship and rigid obedience come into place, along with the persisting efforts to stray away from any displeasures towards Him.

The injustice of this is self-wronging; the negligence and disobedience to God. The result is humility and disappointment.

2- Justice towards society:

This form can be achieved through the practice of adhering to individuals’ rights, abstaining from mistreating them, have sympathy to those in fragile conditions (such as poverty, weak health,etc.), and treating them with dignity and courtesy. Amir Al-Mu’mineen stated “you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself.”

The injustice of this occurs when the rights of individuals are neglected, their dignities disrespected, and interests disregarded. This behavior leads to social corruption. The lowest point of social corruption is harming a weak individual that has no means of defending oneself except to supplicate to God.

 

Promotion of Justice in this Dunya

The Prophet had stated before his departure of the dunya that he has left behind two things for the Ummah to follow: the holy book and his family. In order today to have equity one must differentiate before right and wrong and what better way to do so then to follow the Ahlul-bayt? They may have been faced with different situations then we may face today but the beauty of Islam is that its teachings transcend all limits. It is a religion for all places, people, and time. Despite any changes that may take place, the principles from Ahlul-bayt are applicable and prevail to any situation. Sometimes a simple issue may be complicated by technicalities and opinions but in remembering the principles of Ahlul-Bayt, the right choice becomes lucid. In order to put things into perspective in any situation, one only needs to ask “Would Imam Ali or Lady Fatima be seen doing this?”

The True Justice

Despite some efforts, some individuals may still find themselves troubled with certain predicaments. This may falter the faith in fairness in the world, but one must remember that true justice isn’t by people, but by the Creator, Allah. We are here to be tested and Allah is the examiner. It is his prerogative to choose which way a person will be tested. The justness of Allah is that he does not burden a person with at test beyond his or her abilities. Allah had not given us wings and therefore does not test us based on flying. We cannot claim that because He had not given us wings that we are wronged. It is not up to us to decide how we will be tested. In the same sense, Allah does not ask a servant to perform wudhu (ablution) that has no hands, because it is beyond their ability. This is the unique belief to Shia Muslims that God is always just—as His name states; Al-Adl or The Just. It is only to Him do we turn to for justice, not to any other creation by Him.

Setting standards to facilitate final decisions – part 1

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

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

Challenging the traditions

Mainstream Islam & legacy of violence against minorities

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

Terror in Belgium

The continuous trail of a bloody ideology

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

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

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

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

Geography & Social perspective

How religion is viewed according to geographic regionalism

By: Hussein Al-Rumaiti

Humans tend to generalize about how a specific ideology is viewed by the followers of that ideology, neglecting many aspects that influence the formation of individual and collective perspective on matters. Perspective formation of any individual is affiliated with economic status (pleasure VS necessity), political affiliation, education, social class, interaction and many other aspects that shape the daily life of a human being. However, one of the most influential aspects that develop the perspective of an individual about an ideology and more specifically on religion is geographic regionalism, which simply translates to where someone actually lives.

It would be safe to say that Christianity and view of Jesus is drastically different from someone, who lives in New York than someone who lives in Latin America, even though both these individuals might be catholic or protestant. The same notion applies to a Jewish person, who resides in North Toronto compare to another one who lives in Jerusalem. Although one might argue that political realities vary from one region to another, and the comparison might be unjust on many levels, but the fact that both individuals carry a common belief entitles us to develop such an analogy.

In addition, on a diminutive scale the same comparison exists between the followers of one faith in one specific region or even a country, as for instance, the view upon Islam to a Muslim might be entirely different between a Muslim, who resides in Austin Texas and a Muslim who resides in Dearborn Michigan. The existence of such phenomenon is derived from various aspects, as the priorities, necessities, interaction, education and the demographic of each region are outlined by the nature and the regionalism of that specific geographic destination.

Applying the same analogy for Muslims around the world also, should enable an observer in distinguishing between the various ways and perspectives the religion of Islam is viewed and practiced. Therefore, it should not be a matter of complicated science to determine that a Muslim residing in the west, who has been accustomed to western liberalism and secularist nature of life, influences his/her perspective of Islam and how Islam is portrayed. In addition, a Muslim who resides in Saudi Arabia’s closed society, whether he/she supports the political authority or not, is influenced by that society, when it comes to portraying his/her belief and expression of opinion. Nonetheless, these regionalist implications influence the practice of Islam, as anyone can witness the Islam practiced in Turkey is entirely different than the Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. Although it should be noted that, the aim of this argument is not about the obligatory practices and rituals of Muslims, like the daily prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, as this comparison addresses the social and even the legislative aspects of Muslims countries.

Therefore, in a place like Bangladesh that is known to be among the world poorest nations, the Muslim majority of this country have elected more female heads of state than many Muslim and western countries. Nonetheless, in Saudi Arabia the country that is considered the heart of Islamic nation, women are stripped from many of their most simple rights and entitlements. Although, the regionalism perspective of Islam in Saudi Arabia is absolutely absurd and unacceptable by rationality and Islam itself, yet the status of women in this country is derived from its historic and regional fundamentalist perspective on Islam.

A similar analogy can be made for countries that have a Christian majority in Africa, where in Eritrea and Ethiopia the rates of female gentile mutilation are very high and worrying. However, these types of practices are fully rejected and even outlawed in other parts of the world, where Christians are the majority of population. Therefore, it would be safe to say that regional and geographic aspects, which consist of social norms, principles, values and even tribal practices are very influential in developing the perspective on religion.

The Refugee Crisis: Facts VS Presumptions

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

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

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

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

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

Refugees VS Terrorists

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

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

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

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

Psychological status of Refugees

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

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

Background screening and security checks

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

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

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

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