The Islamic Texts Institute and Its Endeavors

Shaykh Rizwan Arastu

Shaykh Rizwan Arastu

We have all felt the frustration at some point in our lives of not being able to find the answers to those crucial questions that assault every inquiring mind. We somehow innately believe that the Qur’an holds the answers to many of these questions, but when we turn to even the best translations at our disposal, we find them inadequate, either because the translation is obtuse or because there is no authoritative explanation to address the very question in whose quest we began our search.

We intrinsically believe that the traditions of the Prophet and Imams (peace be upon them) contain the panacea for all ills of body and soul, yet the language divide between us and them proves too vast: Few collections of their sayings are translated into English, and arguably none convey the inimitable power of their teachings.

It was to fill this abyssal void that the Islamic Texts Institute (ITI) was founded. ITI is a non-profit organization that aims to make Islamic primary sources available to Muslims in the West by providing accurate, scholarly translations of major Shia collections of traditions accompanied by sufficient commentary to facilitate the reader’s comprehension and assimilation of these teachings.

The team at ITI currently consists of three highly trained scholars of the howzah, or Islamic seminary, of Qum with expertise in various fields vital to the study of the traditions. Shaikh Hameed Ha’iri, a pupil of the late Mudarris Afghani, is a renowned expert of Arabic grammar and literature and a tireless researcher. No more than twenty seconds pass from the time he enters the Institute before he delves into the substantial pile of books on his desk and begins laboriously taking notes on every aspect of the tradition he is studying. In the five years I have known him, no grammatical structure, no matter how convoluted, has proved too difficult for him to tackle. It is not uncommon for him to stay long after hours to pursue an evasive tradition.

full article: www.insight-info.com

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Rare show of Islamic unity in Saudi Arabia

Qatif: In a rare gesture of unity and amity with their brothers in Islam, a delegation of Sunnis performed Juma prayers at one of the Shiite Mosques in the eastern city of Qatif, the only part of Saudi Arabia where Shiites are a majority.

Observers see it as an unprecedented move to soothe the feelings of alienation among the Shiite minority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The delegation, headed by Shaikh Mukhlef Bin Daham Al Shamri, were attentive to the Friday sermon delivered by the well-known Shiite Shaikh Hassan Al Safar, in which the preacher underscored the
significance of strengthening Islamic and national unity and closing ranks among followers of Islam.

“This is part of our duty to promote virtue and prevent vice,” he noted. The new initiative on the part of Sunnis and Shiites to close their ranks received wide media coverage and some foreign media such
as BBC also covered it extensively.

Shaikh Al Shamri is one of the shaikhs of Shamr tribe, which spreads over a vast area in various regions of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. In yet another gesture to express the significance of national unity, Shaikh Al Shamri and those accompanying him, covered their shoulders with the Saudi flags while they were praying at the mosque, according to witnesses.

During the talks with the Shiite community, Shaikh Al Shamri proposed that a similar delegation of Shiites would come over to one of the Sunni mosques in Al Khobar next Friday. This move was regarded as a bold initiative from the part of the majority Sunnis to bury the hatchet and show their reciprocal respect to fellow members of the community.

Full article: www.insight-info.com

New Agreement Lets US Strike Any Country From Inside Iraq

By Basil Adas

05/06/08 “Gulf News” — 03/06/08 — Baghdad: A proposed Iraqi-American security agreement will include permanent American bases in the country, and the right for the United States to strike, from within Iraqi territory, any country it considers a threat to its national security, Gulf News has learned.

Senior Iraqi military sources have told Gulf News that the long-term controversial agreement is likely to include three major items.

Under the agreement, Iraqi security institutions such as Defence, Interior and National Security ministries, as well as armament contracts, will be under American supervision for ten years.

The agreement is also likely to give American forces permanent military bases in the country, as well as the right to move against any country considered to be a threat against world stability or acting against Iraqi or American interests.

The military source added, “According to this agreement, the American forces will keep permanent military bases on Iraqi territory, and these will include Al Asad Military base in the Baghdadi area close to the Syrian border, Balad military base in northern Baghdad close to Iran, Habbaniyah base close to the town of Fallujah and the Ali Bin Abi Talib military base in the southern province of Nasiriyah close to the Iranian border.”

The sources confirmed that the American army is in the process of completing the building of the military facilities and runways for the permanent bases.

He added that the American air bases in Kirkuk and Mosul will be kept for no longer than three years. However, he said there were efforts by the Americans to include the Kirkuk base in the list of permanent bases.

The sources also said that a British brigade was expected to remain at the international airport in Basra for ten years as long as the American troops stayed in the permanent bases in Iraq.

Iraqi analysts said that the second item of the controversial agreement which permits American forces on Iraqi territories to launch military attacks against any country it considers a threat is addressed primarily to Iran and Syria.

Iran has raised serious concerns in the past few days over the Iraqi-American security agreement and followed it with issuing religious fatwas and called for demonstrations, mainly by the powerful Shiite leader Moqtada Al Sadr movement, who is close to Iran, against the agreement.