Monday, March 31, 2008,1:21 am
Dua Tawassul - Sheikh Hamza Sodagar
Shaykh Tusi says, in his book Misbah, that Imam Hassan bin Ali Al Askari wrote this dua'a for Abu Muhammad who requested him to teach him the proper way of reciting salawat. Allama Majlisi has mentioned this dua'a on the authority of Ibn babawayh who confidently says that there is no difficulty or problem that this dua'a does not solve. The merciful Allah is beseeched in the name of and for the sake of the Holy prophet and his Ahl ul Bayt. It is known as the Dua which fulfills all legitimate desires in a short amount of time.

Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi, writing on the famous Du'a' Tawassul which is directed at the Prophet (s) and the Infallible Imams ('a), says:
'The purpose of tawassul to the pious believers is that they are being requested to supplicate to Allah to deliver the person in need from his affliction, since the supplication of these saintly figures is accepted by Allah.'

(Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi, Risalah dar Kitab wa Sunnat, Majmu'ah Maqalat, Kitab Nida'-e Wahdat, Tehran, Chehel-Sutun Publishers, p. 259.)

Dua Tawassul - Sheikh Hamza Sodagar

posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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,12:57 am
Twenty-Nine, going on Thirty: In Honor of the Islamic Revolution

"You stand up against those who seek to portray this Islamic Revolution contrary to what it is. State your truth as it is and promote it until, God willing, Truth is established in all Islamic lands and Falsehood by itself disappear, God willing, from all Islamic, rather all the countries of the world.” – Imam Khomeini

Contrary to popular belief, the Islamic Revolution was not just for Iranians. Many of us heard this, but what does this mean to us? Does our nationalistic pride, our ignorance of the goals and efforts, or our pure apathy stop us from benefiting from the fruits of this world-changing movement?

It has been 29 years since the victory. 29 years since the moral and political triumph over corruption and brainwashed mentality. Many Muslims continue to walk around today, clueless as to what effect the efforts of Imam Khomeini and the Iranian people left on Islam in modern times. Many Muslims are unwilling to read about it, or even ask questions. Maybe it’s that "fear of the unknown" factor?

The Revolution was an uprising by the Iranian people. If you look at popular modern critics of the Revolution and Islam, many portray the picture that Imam Khomeini was a dictator who was power hungry and an "Islamic fundamentalist". Imam Khomeini in a message one said, "Today I am convinced that it was not clear whether the most powerful persons could have achieved more success than existing individuals have achieved, considering those abundant conspiracies and the animosities and warmongering that was waged in the world against the Islamic Revolution." Why do so many ignore the pictures which show the people of Iran emptying their homes by choice? How much longer will people continue to believe the "womp womp womp" that comes from the ignorant and blind?

So what exactly was the aim and purpose of this uprising? Many Muslims feel "excluded" and can't relate, but again, that's their choice. Imam Khomeini stated, "Of course, had we had all means and equipment at our disposal, we would have reached even higher goals in the war; but this does not mean we have been defeated in reaching our main aim, which was repulsing aggression and proving Islam's steadfastness."

And there we have it. This aim must be ours today as well. Where is there not aggression? Where is there not a stereotype and misconception of Islam? Is it not our duty to speak up for what Islam is? Just as the Shah portrayed a totally backwards Islam, today our religion is being misconstrued, slandered, and completely twisted. Is it not our job to continue the goals of the Islamic Revolution to fight for the cause of Submission? How can we not salute those who gave their lives to fight against corrupt people who were banning hijab, the symbol of Islam? How can we not salute those who sacrificed their sons who stood up against those who did not allow the commemoration of the Master of Martyrs, Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) take place? Would we have been willing to leave our homes? If it were not for these martyrs, would the institution of majaalis still be thriving today? How can we not commemorate this great achievement?

For 29 years now, we have sat back and taken the lies, accepted the critiques, the misinterpretations, the ignorance. Imam Khomeini was a figure who gave his all to make people feel proud of their beliefs, making it unbearable to just sit back.

“Through the war we showed the people of the world, in particular the people of the region, that one can fight against all the powers and superpowers for several years," he said. "Our war helped the materialization of triumph in Afghanistan. Our war will lead to victory in Palestine. Our war caused all the chiefs of corrupts systems to feel belittled before Islam. Our war led to awareness in India and Pakistan. It was only through the war that our military industries enjoyed such momentum of growth. Most important of all, the continuation of the spirit of revolutionary Islam on materialized because of the war."

We can no longer give excuses. When a people are fighting for the cause of Islam, Muslims must feel obliged to join hands and show the world what it means to believe in Tawhid. As Imam said, "When one sees God's religion in danger, he must rise up for His sake." It is not for the sake of a country, for a social class, or to make it in the headlines, it is for the honor and dignity of Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, it is for the sake of La Ilaha Illallah. How dare we sit back as our religion is defamed?

May Allah bless the soul of the leader of the Islamic Revolution and of those who stood in the face of the enemies of Islam with unshakable faith, dedication, and love of Imam Hussain.

29 going on 30, Insha'Allah.

Taken from Islamic Insights
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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,12:45 am
The Profanity of a Profane World

The modern era in which we find ourselves is unlike any other era in the history of the world. From the very beginning of human history, the greatest and most intelligent men of every epoch have given credence to the existence of worlds and beings beyond this physical realm, and have posited an Absolute Being who is at once the Origin and Destination of all things. It is only now—in the last few centuries—that man has found not only “reason” to doubt the things that his forefathers saw to be certain and sacred, but has also discovered the “courage” to break from tradition and, by standing on his own two feet, has had the audacity to deny the very existence of anything sacred. The roots of this newfound “enlightenment” of man can be traced to his predilection to rebel against his Creator—individually speaking, and to the effects of the Fall of man—on the level of society and civilization. A thorough examination of these roots reveals the fact that modern “reason” is nothing other than the obfuscation of metaphysical insight and vision or, at best, the vestiges of the sacred Intellect deposited in man; and the much touted “courage” is really foolhardiness and merely the masked rebelliousness of Promethean man.

To understand the rebellious nature of fallen man, it is important to first understand his “created” nature and the fact that he is not the cause of his own existence. Man exists, but then so do dogs. What separates man from other creatures is his ability to reflect and intellect his “own” existence. Upon doing so he discovers that in himself and by himself he is nothing and that his existence is nothing but the consequence of his connection with the Source of all existence. Just as a ray of light radiating from the sun has no independent existence, so too man is an effusion of Divine Being. But when man does not use his intellect and does not see in this essential way, he begins to imagine that his existence is real and that he is a “something” in its own right. Such a skewed view of reality results in a corresponding deviation of human will. Fallen man in this new and modern fashion of “seeing” now starts to appropriate powers and rights for himself that he previously saw as a trust from Heaven which he had to safeguard and be true to. As he is now the measure of all things, he is also the sole criterion of human activity and henceforth only he decides what is to be done and what is not to be done - a bona fide rebel without a cause.

It is when man is rebellious and a renegade from heaven that he does not see the need for mediums and conduits of grace that connect him with the Source of all being and all grace. He balks at authority—spiritual or mundane—and hopes to go it on his own. Unwilling to see anything beyond his own self, he fails to transcend his limited and relative reality and becomes a prisoner of his body and a slave of his carnal desires. Sensing this and the futility of his situation he becomes desperate and in an occasional act of vulgarity, lashes out at the very sources of grace and sanctity that could save him from himself and his dire situation. Hence it is not a coincidence that profanity and blasphemy aimed at holy personalities are commonly observed in our modern era. But arguably that which is worse than the verbal or pictorial blasphemies is the general attitude of indifference and nonchalance that modern men have adopted towards religion and the sacred. It is one thing to vent “hatred” towards sacred realities, it is quite another to totally ignore them. In this vein, the very act of living a modern, liberal, secular life that is “untouched” by religion is the greatest of blasphemies.

Turning now to the social plane, it is the general conditions of the Fall which bear heavily upon modern man’s inability to have faith in God and the men of God. To explain, in opposition to the cult of progress that modern man subscribes to, traditional religious doctrines have always seen man’s entry into this world to be a fall from a higher realm to lower and lower ones. They speak of a degression, not progression. On the noetic plane, they hold that the former generations of men had more of a direct access to Revelation and the vision of the prophet through whom the religion was established, the latter — due to their distance and the entropic conditions of the Fall — have more difficulty in “seeing” the truth. They need to be helped from the outside, so to speak. They require aids to achieve the vision and intellection of the former generations. These aids and “artificial” constructs are providentially provided, and are a part and parcel of the religious tradition as a whole. So while they are in reality instruments which compensate for the overall decline, they are seen ostensibly as “developments.” After the initial vision there is for instance the development in the religious universe and orthodoxy of a doctrine, theology, ideology, sociology, and political system.

For a time the constructs, ones that pertain to a discursive and rational understanding of religious truths, were satisfactory and sufficient, as reason was still based on higher levels of the intellect and the sense of the sacred and holy was still alive and strong in traditional societies. Further on this was not the case and reason was increasingly divorced from its higher principle—namely the sacred intellect or al-‘aql al-qudsī — and a purely human rationality came to take its place; a rationality that insisted that all aspects of being fall within the pale of its discursive and deductive methods. This led to the absolutization of the said constructs—things which are in principle relative, leading to their solidification, irrelevance, and eventual impotence. This in turn, opened the Pandora’s box of religious criticism and, after which, there was nothing sacred left. All things were to be dissected by man’s rational faculty and pronounced as dead after the event. Indeed, God himself was pronounced as dead at the scene of the crime that modernity represents.

Man without a sense of the Absolute is a man that is bewildered and distraught amongst countless relativities. In a world where there is no Sacred, everything is profane. In a profane world, profanity is indistinguishable from true and noble speech worthy of man and his divine origins. Without such distinctions, man is free to bark everything and anything that comes out of his mouth. Not realizing that the very freedom of will that he uses to express his profanity is only made possible by the existence of the sacred and supreme will of his Creator. Hence the profound statement of Meister Eckhart, “the more he blasphemes, the more he praises God” rings true in our day more than in any other. But the final word must be from the Master of Eckhart, Jesus, upon whom be peace, who said:

“Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.” (Matthew 18:7)

Written by Shuja Ali Mirza
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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Monday, March 10, 2008,1:12 am
Kullo yawmin Ashura. . .
Out of the cluttered recesses of timeless clichés rises one phrase that, pushing through the dirt of falsehood to let glow the irrepressible light of truth, shines its beacon upon the human contemplation.

“Every day is Ashura, every land is Karbala.”

It is a simple slogan whose controversy exceeds its unimposing construction of a mere eight words. Certain origins unknown, the phrase is most widely known to have been coined in a speech by Ayatullah Khomeini and is most properly attributed to him. More controversial guesses cite our sixth Imam (AS) as the initial voice behind this saying, but many 'ulema deny this claim due to a lack of textual evidence. Origins aside, the greater controversy that surrounds the popular slogan is its acceptability. Some Shi’a place the saying at the center of their lifestyles; as a reminder to keep the mission of Imam Hussain (AS) in mind at every moment, while others passionately oppose its use; feeling it undermines the true value of Imam Hussain’s (AS) sacrifices on the tragic occasion of Ashura, a day infinitely dissimilar to any other. No matter what side of the fence one sits on with regards to this debate, striving to truly understand and consider the deeper meaning behind the well-loved motto is a worthwhile action for every person who counts him or herself among the cherishers of Imam Hussain’s (AS) cause.

Firstly, we must consider: what is the slogan truly intended to convey? At first glance, one may be tempted to think that it means simply what it says; that the challenges of every day life can themselves be compared to those challenges faced by our third Imam (AS) and his loved ones (na'udhubillah), and that such difficulties can take place anywhere, whether in Karbala or otherwise. But as we consider the incomparable sanctity of the land of Karbala and the holy ones slaughtered upon it unarguably possess, how can we bring ourselves to think such a thing? What those both in favor of and against the use of this saying must realize is that such a meaning that potentially jeopardizes and undermines the sacred position of the holy day cannot logically be taken for fact. If we allow ourselves to draw such an unjustified parallel, we should immediately stop and question: what other land bears the honor that the sands of Karbala got when they were cleansed with the blood of Al-Hussain (AS) and his dear ones? What day before or after Ashura has ever borne witness to the degree of unspeakable injustice against sanctified innocents that befell the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his dear ones on that revered tenth day of Muharram?

If not in this most obvious manner, however, one wonders what interpretation can be given to the motto at hand? It is hence at this point that the world must learn to see Karbala as more than a nonpareil tragedy of unbearable grief and suffering and see it also as a live-action manifestation of every Qur’anic value, filled just as the unspeaking Qur’an is with allegorical guidance for all of mankind.

It is on the day of Ashura each year that the peace-loving heart rips apart upon hearing of the indignities inflicted upon the purest of living beings… It is on this commemorative day that every knowledgeable mind delves into the infinite store of lessons that Imam Hussain (AS) died to preach and preserve… It is on this day that the floodgates of human tears open simultaneously with the gates of heaven; the precious testaments to humanity which spill from our eyes becoming the tickets by which our entrance into that Jannah may someday be earned. Undoubtedly, Ashura marks the occasion for millions of human beings worldwide to rediscover their understanding of humanity and truth as they reflect upon the struggle of the holy Imam (AS) who sacrificed all dear to him to uphold those very values. So given the capacity for spiritual improvement within us rememberers of Hussain (AS) in the span of this one single day, would it be ridiculous to wonder if perhaps the ongoing need for such change is the real meaning behind the phrase “every day is Ashura, every land is Karbala”? Could it be that the speaker of these words was merely asking mankind to revive the same sense of humanity, compassion, and justice as arises in the hearts of the commemorators of Ashura every single day rather than merely once a year? Perhaps it was a message to the drowsy consciences of the ones who stop their entire lives for the singular 24-hour remembrance of Ashura yet leave abandoned on that same farsh-e-aza all the potentially life-changing lessons the remembrance is meant to teach us, with the coming of the next day? Could it be a plea to humanity to stop thinking of the tragedy of Karbala as an event pertaining only to a small piece of land centuries and centuries ago, and recognize it for the eternal and boundless revolution it truly is? Perhaps this motto is a universal outcry against passivity and nonchalance; perhaps it is a call to action ringing with a purpose akin to Imam Hussain’s (AS) legendary cry of “halmin nasirin yansuruna”?

Maybe some searching soul looked upon the story of Karbala, and enthused by a spark of true understanding, turned back to the world to beseech those who had lost all hope of redemption, to look one more time upon the allegory of Hazrat Hur (AS)? Perhaps he frowned at the stark contrast between the thankless attitudes of today and the eternally grateful attitudes of those present on that day… Upon which mothers greeted the worst affliction a woman’s heart could possibly endure- the loss of her beloved children- with nothing but thanks? Perhaps this stranger sought to ask humanity what excuse it could give for its constant greed and ingratitude in the face of such blaring paragons of humility as Lady Zainab (AS) and Umme Laila (AS)?

No one is denying that the events of Karbala are and always will be absolutely nonpareil… But perhaps it is this very inability for comparison that some unknown speaker was pointing to as proof of his reflections; that if those faced with every extreme tragedy the human imagination could possibly fathom were able to forsake every material need in order to embrace, defend, and uphold truth- even upon the weakened frame of armless shoulders, even upon an infantile neck- what, what is OUR excuse for not at the very least sincerely embracing this truth as well, when most assuredly the conditions of our daily lives will never even be thinkable before those of Karbala?

Alas, how easy it is to dismiss the lessons of a day which becomes a distant memory until the next year it is ceremoniously commemorated. How easy it is to say that not a sin must be committed, not a wrong must be done, for the length of a single day… Yet how paradoxical to avoid renewing this pact for EVERY day of one’s Islam-bound life...
Whether we are in absolute rejection of the slogan, or inject its essence within our very bloodflow…

Let us never stand silent against oppression, against whomever and within wherever it may arise. Let us always uphold the values exemplified by Imam Hussain (AS) and whole-heartedly go about honoring his teachings in not merely one, but in all 365 days of every year we live. Let us think no cost too dear for the preservation of the truth. Let us confront our every problem and every grief not with complaint or regret, but with the faithful conviction of the pure ones in Karbala who met even the gravest tortures with unceasing thanks to Allah (SWT). Let us never go a day without shedding tears of consolation for Lady Fatima (AS), upon whom the wounds of Karbala will incur their agony until Qiyamah.

If we can simply promise to uphold such pledges, then it becomes irrelevant what words we use to revive them- the point is, it is our duty to answer the call of Imam Hussain (AS) in the language of the heart and soul, every day of our lives.
posted by R
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,12:43 am
The Training Ground of Faith
Just as the jihad of Imam Zain al-Abideen (AS) did not end in Damascus, the jihad of Imam Hussain (AS) did not begin in Karbala. Our third Imam’s entire life, and not merely an oft-noted span of three days, was filled with struggles and griefs; from the death of his beloved grandfather and mother in his youth to his father and brother’s brutal deaths later on. When he stepped into the battlefield of Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) was thus already equipped with a lifetime of difficult experiences and the fortitude and faith with which to overcome them. His entire life, and not merely the tragedy of Karbala, remains an enduring example to the Shi’a of Ali (AS) regarding how a believer should live and how he or she should hope to die.

The lifelong mission of Imam Hussain (AS) teaches us a few particularly important lessons: what it means to truly believe, and what the true nature of courage really is.

Imam Hussain (AS) showed us that courage is not merely how tough we can be in the face of adversity; because difficulties naturally push us to defy our limitations… Courage is even better described as the resolve we have in day to day living; which in turn creates such gradual strength within us that when the greater adversities do arise, our battling skills are proven stronger than ever. Was Imam Hussain’s revolution built up in a day? No, it began from the moment his blessed countenance graced the earth and merely found its climax in the land of Karbala. What we Shi’a need to realize is that we cannot wait until the greater battles to develop our skills as mighty warriors of truth. Sometimes it does take a greater jihad to lure us out of our security blankets; because until we are actually pushed to the limit, we do not recognize the ability within ourselves to meet it. But simply because that greater jihad has not yet reached us, does not mean we cannot or should not build up our abilities regardless and exercise the same degree of faith in our day-to-day lives.

It may be for this reason that every Imam deserves just as much recognition and commemoration as Imam Hussain (AS) himself, and why the lifetime of no member of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) can be considered inferior or less important. Yes, the tragedy endured by our third Imam is unparalleled by anyone, but yet his honor and esteem is like that of the rest of the Imams. What does this mean?

It means that just because the lives of your closest companions and family members aren’t being threatened, doesn’t mean you can’t exercise equal resilience as one in such a situation. It is easy to guess what one might do if the degree of distinction between two choices was great enough- after all, as Kufan commander Hazrat Hur (AS) told us, choosing between limited wealth in this life versus unlimited abundance in the next is a no-brainer. What we really need to consider is the amount of courage it takes to make such distinctions when the lines are blurred.

On the night of Ashura, the companions of Imam Hussain (AS), Hur (AS) included, exemplified a beautiful understanding of this when they refused to leave the Imam’s side, even after he gave them the guarantee of heaven if they left and went on living. The reader must pause to truly appreciate the magnanimity of this proposal- the companions could have continued to live a peaceful worldly life all while being guaranteed a wonderful life in the next as well- and yet they chose a brutal death and leaving their loved ones to the mercy of fate instead, for the same surface reward… What could drive a sane human being to make such a decision? The answer is something beyond the callous rationality of doing a cost-benefit analysis; the answer is something so selfless, that the concept of ‘benefit’ becomes thoroughly meaningless and foreign. The answer is love, devotion, faith; the answer is TRUE courage.

If we had the chance to give our lives for Imam Hussain (AS), we would know beyond a doubt that heaven was guaranteed. By continuing to live as we do, most of us have no such promise, no matter how many minor good acts we commit; and we are required to work hard for a longer span of time in order to secure the same favor of God for ourselves. So isn’t it in a sense easier to say that we want the guarantee of heaven in the face of temporal pain (ie. Martyrdom in the way of our Imam) as opposed to a shot at heaven in the face of lasting aversion (ie. Living)? We must bow our heads with shame and wonder how our priorities would change if we knew that we could continue our worldly existences with the promise of Providence. Would we be so willing to fork over everything dear to us, including our very lives, then? If we had the purity of intention and true love for the Ahlul Bayt (AS) as the companions of Imam Hussain (AS) did, then undoubtedly we would, and it is here that the crux of the message of Imam Hussain’s companions arises. In the most basic fundamentals of Islam, we are taught how important intentions are, as in our every daily prayer we recount this understanding when we verbally declare our desire to gain closeness to Allah (SWT). Coupled with the lessons of Karbala, we must arrive at the conclusion that it is not the extremity of the situation that ensures a believer victory; it is the intent and pure-heartedness with which one steps into each respective battlefield, no matter what the circumstance.

It is easy for us to say that we would give our lives for Sahibuz Zamaan (ATF) in the event of his zahoor. After all, the reality and assurance would be right there in front of us and our good fortune after death set. But would this aspiration be based on faith marred by cost-benefit-analysis, or would it be based on faith embellished by true and sincere devotion, blind of reward?

The question is often asked why Al Qaem (ATF) will only have 313 close followers, when there are millions of Shi’a worldwide who honestly believe they would give their lives for him. Perhaps now we have uncovered the reason… Perhaps what our Imam (ATF) needs and is waiting for are people who would not only prove themselves strong in trying times of conflict, but who would be just as steadfast in times of uncertain regularity. Believers who would strive for the tranquility and sheer peace of serving the Ahlul Bayt (AS), as opposed to striving for the blessings of Heaven… For when your intentions are pure, your faith should not merely be provable when the need arises to actively prove it- your life at every moment should be based around the very same goal of pleasing Allah (SWT), for true belief is unconditional and does not wait for opportune moments.

The question of which priority group we fall into, my brothers and sisters, arises now; it does not begin in the heat of a jihad marked by weapons and bloodshed; it begins in the jihaad of the nafs as it fights its everyday desires.

It is easy to switch off our music players with the pain of Imam Hussain’s sacrifices looming over our consciences… It seems to be much harder for some in the months beyond Muharram and Safar, where the lines are harder to draw, conscientiousness harder to feel, and the off button harder to find. But as we abandon our hijaabs, switch on our IPods, delay our prayers, and bite into our haram take-out, the question needs to be asked:
Do we love in hopes of loving, or do we love in hopes of gaining?

And if the latter, are we truly living up to our reputations as Imam Ali’s (AS) ‘Shia’, and have we truly yet learned anything from the lessons of the enduring revolution of Al Hussain (AS)?

Do not waste time and find yourself unequipped in the greater battle; the training ground is the here and now.
posted by R
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