The Facade Of Sectarianism

‘Sectarian’ clashes in the second-most holiest site in Islam can only serve to achieve one forbidding outcome. The sight of bloodshed and hostilities in the near vicinities of this sacred site is tantamount to sacrilege in the hearts and minds of Muslims all across the globe. News of four deaths and several more critically injured in the aftermath of the recent clashes in Medina will have no doubt turned memories back to the 1987 massacre in the holy city of Makka during the annual Hajj. Despite the seemingly subsiding intensity of these clashes however, it is paramount to underline the lingering nature of its outcomes just as was the case following the massacre – which will remain to influence and shape policies vis-à-vis segments of Saudi society, and wider regional relations.


In order to come to terms with the motives for the recent clashes in Medina, it is crucial to highlight the ongoing geopolitical shifts in the wider region. The Middle East today stands at a unique crossroads; its peoples are witnessing the displacement of age-old power structures that have been the symbol of this region for decades. Naturally, the ‘old-guard’ is pitted against the forces of change, with dear life stuck between their teeth. As loyal and attentive students of history will no doubt attest to, power holds an incredible capacity to corrupt. An even more real but no less frightening concomitant of power lies in its longing for eternalness.

The distressing events in Medina over the last few days are not sectarian clashes, yet the principle motive of its agitators is to utilize these events to heighten regional sectarian tensions. Faced with a climate of growing Islamic solidarity and imperialist rejection, these provocateurs are placing their last hopes in heightened sectarianism to secure their loosening-grip on power. The process of awakening amongst the Arab masses throughout the Middle East is alarming the oil-sheikhdoms, and at their helm the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh and Cairo once stood tall as the nerve centres of the Middle East from where regional agendas, carefully calibrated in line with US imperialist interests, were set. Times have changed. Today, the simmering revolution in Egypt is being restrained thanks only to the firing guns of an ailing Mubarak. Saudi Arabia, which proudly lauded itself as the counter-balance to Iran can no longer maintain a steady footing, and finds itself replaced by a far more pragmatic and conciliatory, Qatar. Arguably, the final nails in the coffins of these historical ‘powerhouses’ have also been hammered down by the growing role that is being played out by a Turkey that is increasingly turning Eastwards.

The House of Saud today faces a distinctive predicament. Over recent decades, the Saudi kingdom has single-handedly pumped millions upon millions of US Dollars to fund the Wahhabi sect of Islam around the world. The Saudi monarchy which came into power on the crest of Wahhabi fanaticism, resolved to export Wahhabi ideology from 1979 with the particular aim of countering the Shia following the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Today, the godfathers of the Wahhabi and Salafist groups are haunted by the products of their very own making. Faced on the one hand with the return of their now matured brood, and on the other by a resolutely passionate political agenda on the Arab street strongly against US imperialism in the region, the Saudi monarchy has chosen to kill both birds with the fire of sectarianism.

The impression of a wounded fox with no other weapon in hand except for its most primordial ability to fan the fires of sectarianism is thus the proper context against which these coordinated attacks by the Saudi army aided by the fanatical ‘moral police’ (the Mutawwa’ah) ought to be seen. From Nigeria to Pakistan, Saudi policy is operating with the single goal of obfuscating the ‘awakening’ of the Arab and Muslim populous through providing regional developments with sectarian overtones. Invented terminologies like the ‘Shia tide’ and the ‘Shia crescent’ are used in line with this agenda: an agenda to polarize the unifying Muslim ranks that stand against US imperialism in the Middle East into ‘Sunni’ and ‘Shia’ bastions.

Muslims around the world, especially those who are situated in the Middle East, should be cognizant of these underlying currents. They should not allow themselves to be utilized as instruments through which the waning power of client-states in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world is consolidated. In this regard, the primary onus falls upon Muslim leaders to refrain from pitching these clashes as ‘sectarian wars’.

Ali Jawad is a political activist and a member of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM) –


The Solution to Human Suffering

It was last Monday that I found myself in a place I rarely ever get the chance to venture: looking the misfortunes of humanity-at-large dead in the face. A group of us, primarily youth from our center, had come together for a small protest rally on MLK Day, and the location chosen was near downtown Dallas’s MLK Boulevard: a roadway wedged between impoverished, primarily minority, and markedly disadvantaged neighborhoods. As lengthy speeches were delivered about the atrocities being perpetrated against the innocents of the Gaza Strip, and the essential little-known differences between Judaism and Zionism, many of the area’s inhabitants passed us by. Some were supportive, touched, and caring, but others still were inexplicably angry. They yelled at us to shut up and leave and professed hope that Israel might succeed at whatever it was doing.

As I heard these words, I knew enough about human suffering to not take them at face value, and as I reflected on the deeper sentiments behind their opposing shouts, I couldn’t help but understand exactly where these people were coming from. On an ordinary day, having fully understood both sides of the story and internalized the unparalleled suffering of the Palestinian people, I have no doubt in my heart that every one of those passerby, gathered there on the namesake road of one of modern history’s bravest crusaders against oppression, would stand next to us and express their solidarity and grief that our world is such a horrific place for some. But life for those people couldn’t possibly have ever been ordinary. They were living in one of the “worst” areas of the sprawling DFW metroplex and had probably known nothing but injustice from the moment they entered this world, dominated by power-hungry corporate powerhouses in a paradoxical nation that professes economic opportunity for all, but where the majority of the wealth lies in the hands of the wealthiest 1%. These weren’t a bunch of soulless barbarians who didn’t care about the hundreds of slaughtered children in the Gaza Strip… they themselves were simply downtrodden human beings who had probably suffered every day of their lives in lesser, but equally poignant measures.

There was no enduring shower of bombs or criminal phosphorous making the lives of these people a visible hell, and our momentary attention and solidarity must spiritually and ethically be with the most virulently oppressed, but they were still the victims of a different brand of war: the wars of the streets, of limited prospects, of class divisions, and gang fights and no escape but gunfire. As I reflected on the likely plights of these human beings who lived not an hour away from me, I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. It didn’t kill me that I couldn’t directly reach a hand out to the victims in Gaza and nurse every one of them back to health; the unimaginable distances were enough to appease my heart. But there was nothing I could tell myself now, as I looked out into the city and saw the homeless wanderers, drug addicts, and other casualties of capitalism. I looked at the bleak community centers and the schools, whose deterioration seemed to attest that efforts to move forward are always made, but don’t always succeed.

It completely blew me away: there were so many people, as far as the eye could see and further, who needed help, quite possibly the kind of help that can only come with lifelong guidance and unfailing personal persistence. I was near enough to help some of those many, but what could I do alone? Was there anything I could say to help even one of these people, or ten? How could I chant in burning fervor for the souls of Gaza, behold the injustices all around me now, and commit myself to only one group of people? And even if I could fight the good fight for all of them, what about the three-fourth of the continent of Africa that is still perishing in poverty and malnutrition from the ill effects of colonialism and imperialism? If I were to take a survey of how many people in the world need help, would I run out of room to account for them all? Every second, isn’t there likely another human being born who will probably struggle to survive? I am a seventeen year old girl who can barely exit gym class unscathed. How could I even dream of taking on the infinite conflicts that ravage the human race?

Needless to say, when the protest ended, my heart felt like a ship anchored down by the weight of a thousand accounts of human tragedy. Mankind has existed on this earth for untold millennia, but no amount of time will ever be sufficient to eradicate the injustices that multiply as fast as creation itself. As different as today’s world is, as much as we pride ourselves for how far we have come, every starving child is a testament that things will never be different enough. 1982 has just replayed before our very eyes, when surely the world must have whispered “never again” as soon as the smoke over Sabra and Shatila cleared. So at the last, one question lingered in my heart… what answer do these people have? Who is going to help them if I can’t be the one?

It was then that it really struck me: that grand, beautiful realization that sometimes hits you when you stare at a gargantuan mountain peak and murmur Subhan’Allah, and other times steals your breath as you revel in the glow of a child’s smile. For a long time, my friends and peers, particularly the ones who have experimented with every belief system under the sun, have asked: why do we need religion? Amid all the wars that have been waged throughout history “in the name of God”, is there any central reason why human beings should logically submit themselves to a bunch of preset guidelines and dictates? If it is in man’s fundamental inclinations to be a free being, why should he willfully bind himself to a prescribed way of life?

The answer for me, in the context of that day’s frustrations, became Allahu Akbar – God is great! We may be limited in our ability to help others, but God is the Infinitely Beneficent, and He has given us a faith wherein there lies a collective solution to human suffering. In my walk near MLK Boulevard, that single notion became my answer: Islam – the flawless religion bestowed on creation by our beloved Creator – prescribes, dictates, and sanctions compassion, and if you have ever looked into the eyes of someone who has truly suffered, you cannot possibly find an insufficiency in such a perfect idea. There will never be enough “mes” or “yous” to ensure that “they” make it through life, and there is no assurance that “me” or “you” won’t someday, by an unexpected twist of fate or two, find ourselves in “their” position.

Therefore, in order to endure, we must become a “we”, and seek empowerment from an outside force so much greater than ourselves that we become always, at any given moment, capable of inwardly coming to terms with whatever life throws at us, and devote ourselves to helping those less able. And where else might this empowerment come from but the very God who has created us and comprehends our every weakness more intimately than we do, who is nearer to each person than his or her jugular vein? And where in this savage world is there ever an assurance that you will be helped merely because you need it; does starvation ebb its hold on a dying orphan merely because the child cries out and asks to live? There are not enough sets of ears in the world to hear every dying child, but when we come together and listen to the oppressed as an Ummah, when we incorporate into the very practice of our religion the necessity of helping those less fortunate than us, we combine the power of millions of souls united under the common goal of living Fi Sabeel Allah: in the way of God, who treasures acts of compassion almost more than any.

One of the uncountable beauties of our belief system is that it does not merely suggest that we make time to remember the oppressed ones and contribute from our excesses to help those in need; it unequivocally requires it. One of the biggest issues people have with organized religion is the strict finiteness of its rules, but isn’t it worth pondering that one such guideline in our faith is the charity – Khums – an assurance that a faithful Muslim cannot legitimately pass through this world without helping his fellow man? The Qur’an outlines it in a beautifully concise manner:

“Know that whatever of a thing you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, for the Messenger, for the near relative, and the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer.” (8:41) I might not be able to do much in my idealistic hope to help others, but by the grace of Allah, Islam ensures that I will never be alone in whatever trite efforts I make.

Islamic Insights

The Plot Against Gaza

Israel has justified its assault on Gaza as entirely defensive, intended only to stop Hamas firing rockets on Israel’s southern communities. Although that line has been repeated unwaveringly by officials since Israel launched its attack on 27 December, it bears no basis to reality. Rather, this is a war against the Palestinians of Gaza, and less directly those in the West Bank, designed primarily to crush their political rights and their hopes of statehood.

The most glaring evidence contradicting the Israeli casus belli is the six-month ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that preceded the invasion. True, Hamas began firing its rockets as soon as the truce came to an end on 19 December, but Israel had offered plenty of provocation. Not least it broke the ceasefire by staging a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas members. Even more significantly, it maintained and tightened a blockade during the ceasefire period that was starving Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants of food, medicine and fuel. Hamas had expected the blockade lifted in return for an end to the rockets.

A few days before Israel’s attack on Gaza, Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s domestic security service, the Shin Bet, noted Hamas’ commitment to the ceasefire and its motives in restarting the rocket fire. “Make no mistake, Hamas is interested in maintaining the truce,” he told the cabinet. “It seeks to improve its conditions — a removal of the blockade, receiving a commitment from Israel that it won’t attack and extending the lull to the Judea and Samaria area [the West Bank].” In other words, had Israel wanted calm, it could have avoided invading Gaza simply by renegotiating the truce on more reasonable terms.

Israel, however, had little interest in avoiding a confrontation with Hamas, as events since the Islamic group’s takeover of Gaza in early 2006 show.

It is widely agreed among the Israeli leadership that Hamas represents a severe threat to Israel’s ambition to crush the Palestinians’ long-standing demands for a state in the West Bank and Gaza. Unike Fatah, its chief Palestinian political rival, Hamas has refused to collude with the Israeli occupation and has instead continued its resistance operations. Although Hamas officially wants the return of all the lands the Palestinians were dispossessed of in 1948, at the establishment of Israel, it has shown signs of increasing pragmatism since its election victory, as Diskin’s comments above highlight. Hamas leaders have repeatedly suggested that a long-term, possibly indefinite, truce with Israel is possible. Such a truce would amount to recognition of Israel and remove most of the obstacles to the partition of historic Palestine into two states: a Jewish state and a Palestinian one.

Rather than engaging with Hamas and cultivating its moderate wing, Israel has been preparing for an “all-out war,” as Ehud Barak, the defense minister, has referred to the current offensive. In fact, Barak began preparing the attack on Gaza at least six months ago, as he has admitted, and probably much earlier.

Barak and the military stayed their hand in Gaza chiefly while other strategies were tested. The most significant was an approach espoused in the immediate wake of Hamas’ victory in 2006. Dov Weisglass, former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s fixer in Washington, gave it clearest expression. Israel’s policy, he said, would be “like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”

John Wolfensohn, envoy to the Quartet of the United States, the United Nations, Europe and Russia through most of 2005, has pointed out that the US and Israel reneged on understandings controlling the border crossings into Gaza from the moment of Israel’s disengagement in summer 2005. In an interview with the Israeli media, he attributed the rapid destruction of the Gazan economy to this policy. However, although the blockade began when Fatah was still in charge of the tiny enclave, the goal of Weisglass’ “diet” was to intensify the suffering of Gaza’s civilians. The rationale was that, by starving them, they could be both reduced to abject poverty and encouraged to rise up and overthrow Hamas.

But it seems the Israeli army was far from convinced a “diet” would produce the desired result and started devising a more aggressive strategy. It was voiced last year by Israel’s deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai. He observed that, if Hamas continued firing rockets into Israel (in an attempt, though he failed to mention it, to break the blockade), the Palestinians “will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” The Hebrew word “Shoah” has come to refer exclusively to the Holocaust.

Though his disturbing comment was quickly disowned, Vilnai is no maverick. He is a former major general in the army who maintains close ties to the senior command. He is also a friend of his boss, Ehud Barak, the Labor leader and Israel’s most decorated soldier. The reference to the “shoah” offered a brief insight into the reasoning behind a series of policies he and Barak began unveiling from summer 2007.

It was then that hopes of engineering an uprising against Hamas faded. The diet regime had patently failed, as had a Fatah coup attempt underwritten by the United States. Hamas struck a pre-emptive blow against Fatah, forcing its leaders to flee to the West Bank. In retaliation the Israeli government declared Gaza a “hostile entity.” Barak and Vilnai used Gaza’s new status as the pretext for expanding the blockade of food and medicines to include electricity, a policy that was progressively tightened. At the same time they argued that Israel should consider cutting off “all responsibility” for Gaza. The intention of Barak’s blockade, however, was different from the Weisglass version. It was designed to soften up Gazan society, including Hamas fighters, for Israel’s coming invasion.

Far from being threatened by the intensifying blockade, Hamas turned it to its advantage. Although Israel controls two of the land borders and patrols the coast, there is fourth short land border shared with Egypt, close by the town of Rafah. There Gaza’s entrepreneurs developed a network of smuggling tunnels that were soon commandeered by Hamas. The tunnels ensured both that basic supplies continued to get through, and that Hamas armed itself for the attack it expected from Israel.

From March 2008 Barak and Vilnai began pushing their military strategy harder. New political formulations agreed by the government suggested the whole population of Gaza were to be considered complicit in Hamas actions, and therefore liable for retaliatory military action. In the words of the daily Jerusalem Post newspaper, Israeli policy makers took the view that “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas.”

At this point, Barak and Vilnai announced they were working on a way to justify in law the army directing artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighborhoods of Gaza, as has been occurring throughout the current Gaza campaign. Vilnai, meanwhile, proposed declaring areas of the tiny enclave “combat zones” in which the army would have free rein and from which civilians would be expected to flee — again a tactic that has been implemented over the past three weeks.

Although Israel is determined to crush Hamas politically and militarily, so far it has been loathe to topple it. Israel withdrew from Gaza precisely because the demographic, military and economic costs of directly policing its refugee camps were considered too high. It will not be easily dragged back in.

Other options are either unpalatable or unfeasible. A Fatah government riding in on the back of Israeli tanks would lack legitimacy, and no regime at all — anarchy — risks losing forces more implacably opposed to a Jewish state than Hamas, including al-Qaeda. Placing Gaza under a peacekeeping force faces other hurdles: not least, the question of which countries would be prepared to take on such a dangerous burden.

Instead Israel is planning to resort to its favorite diplomatic maneuver: unilateralism. It wants a solution that passes over the heads of Hamas and the Palestinians. Or as Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, put it: “There is no intention here of creating a diplomatic agreement with Hamas. We need diplomatic agreements against Hamas.” The formula currently being sought for a ceasefire will face opposition from Israel unless it helps achieve several goals.

Israel’s first is to seal off Gaza properly this time. Egypt, although profoundly uncomfortable at having an Islamic group ruling next door, is under too much domestic pressure to crack down on the tunneling. Israel therefore wants to bring in American and European experts to do the job. They will ensure that the blockade cannot be broken and that Hamas cannot rearm with the the help of outside actors like Iran. At best, Hamas can hope to limp on as nominal ruler of Gaza, on Israeli sufferance.

The second goal has been well articulated by the Harvard scholar Sara Roy, who has been arguing for some time that Israel is, in her words, “de-developing” Gaza. The blockade has been integral to achieving that objective, and is the reason Israel wants it strengthened. In the longer term, she believes, Gazans will come to be “seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims.”

In addition, Gazans living close to the enclave’s northern and southern borders may be progressively “herded” into central Gaza — as envisioned in Vilnai’s plan last year. That process may already be under way, with Israeli leafletting campaigns warning inhabitants of these areas to flee. Israel wants to empty both the Rafah area, so that it can monitor more easily any attempts at tunneling, and the northern part because this is the location of the rocket launches that are hitting major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon and Ashdod and may one day reach Tel Aviv.

The third and related goal, as Barak and Vilnai proposed more than a year ago, is to cut off all Israeli responsibility for Gaza — though not oversight of what is allowed in. Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian analyst, believes that in this scenario Israel will insist that humanitarian supplies into Gaza pass only through the Egyptian crossing, thereby also undercutting Hamas’ role. Already Israel is preparing to hand over responsibility for supplying Gaza’s electricity to Egypt — a special plant is under construction close by in the Sinai.

Slowly, the hope is, Gaza’s physical and political separation from the West Bank will be cemented, with the enclave effectively being seen as a province of Egypt. Its inhabitants will lose their connection to the wider Palestinian people and eventually Cairo may grow bold enough to crack down on Hamas as brutally as it does its own Islamists.

The regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, meanwhile, will be further isolated and weakened, improving Israel’s chances of forcing it to sign a deal annexing East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank on which the Jewish settlements sit.

The fourth goal relates to wider regional issues. The chief obstacle to the implementation of Israel’s plan is the growing power of Iran and its possible pursuit of nuclear weapons. Israel’s official concern — that Tehran wants to attack Israel — is simple mischief-making. Rather Israel is worried that, if Iran becomes a regional superpower, Israeli diktats in the Middle East and in Washington will not go unchallenged.

In particular, a strong Iran will be able to aid Hizballah and Hamas, and further fan the flames of popular Muslim sentiment in favor of a just settlement for the Palestinians. That could threaten Israel’s plans for the annexation of much of the West Bank, and possibly win the Palestinians statehood. None of this can be allowed to pass by Israel.

It is therefore seeking to isolate Tehran, severing all ties between it and Hamas, just as it earlier tried — and failed — to do the same between Iran and Hizballah. It wants the Palestinians beholden instead to the “moderate” block in the Arab world, meaning the Sunni dictatorships like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that in turn depend on Washington for their security.

The prospects of Israel achieving all or even some of these goals seems improbable. Too often Israeli meddling in its neighbors’ affairs has ended in unintended consequences, or “blowback.” It is a lesson Israel has been all too slow to learn.


The Instances of Arrogant powers and the psychology of arrogance in the viewpoint of Imam Khomeini

Imam Khomeini

Imam Khomeini

Islam and revolutions that have sprung forth from Islam in all ages have been in danger of enemies and an attack by arrogant powers. This principle continues today as well.

In must be observed in regards to arrogant powers that they are not exclusive to particular people or a particular group. They cannot be considered to only be from one or two countries. Rather, they include individuals, organizations, and political parties who are open enemies of Islam. Because of their expansion they have been entitled the world arrogant powers.

Secondly, the enmity that the arrogant powers have with Islam started from the age of the Noble Prophet (s) and this groups enmity has severely increased with the internationalization and spread of Islam. They were always at war with the Prophet and his companions at all times; when the prophet had power and before he had power.

full article:

The Truth Withstands Scrutiny

Shaikh Ali Abu Talib

Shaikh Ali Abu Talib

You can tell a vision from an illusion by close examination. “But the deeds of those who cover their perception to shield ignorance from the ego-annihilating effects of the Light of the Truth are like (a person moving towards) a mirage in the Desert; the thirsty one supposes it to be water until he comes up to it and finds that it is not.” (Qur’an 24:39)

People thirsty for spiritual knowledge, wandering in the desert of worldliness, selfishness, and nationalism (tribalism, racism, sexism, elitism, materialism, intellectualism, ritualism, etc.) will run after an illusion and nearly (if not actually) deify the person who pointed them in the direction of the mirage. Then comes a person Allah sends who knows where the real oasis is. He or she tries to get the pitifully misguided people to stop and realize that this thing they think is real can be seen through. It lacks substance. It’s illusionary. Undeniable proof makes it obvious that he or she is correct. Yet, that God-sent guide is often viewed with contempt and sometimes hostility, by mommy, daddy, preachers, teachers, governors, and their own children, students, disciples, and political constituents who have come to revere the illusion as unquestionable, infallible truth.

The issue I wish to examine is the controversial issue of Imamah – Divinely-Guided Leadership. I am not using this title, Imam (leader), generally. I am talking about the extremely high office, right next to Prophethood that can only be held by a man chosen by God, and His Messenger, and the Imam preceding him, starting with Ali, son of Abu Talib (peace be upon him). I contest that this is the office that preserved the real meaning of the Ummal Kitab (Mother of the Book) and the infallible Muhammadan explanations. I thus call you to a revolution of consciousness, conscience, and behavior.

No one can claim to believe in Allah and not believe in His Most High Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny). The Message would not be known without this Most Truthful and Trustworthy Messenger, who never spoke without Allah’s Infallible Permission. So many times in the Qur’an does Allah say, “Obey Allah, and His Messenger”, “Obey Allah, and His Messenger”, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” It does not say, “Obey Allah, and His Book.” When we obey what is in the Book, we are obeying Allah. The Book is not Allah. But the Book is God’s Infallible Word. Prophet Muhammad did not compose the Book. Allah composed the Book. And the Book commands us (I count 37 times) to obey Allah and His Messenger.

The obvious question is, how do we obey Allah’s Messenger? He died 1400 years ago. We still greet him in prayers with salams, and he is the most revered man on earth. We still feel his presence. But he is no longer with us in the physical to guide by verbal orders or example. Does his death then abrogate these 37 verses revealed in the Holy Qur’an? Prophet Muhammad allegedly said, “I will leave you with two things that, if you follow them, you will not stray: The Book of God and….”

Here is where the controversy enters. Most Muslims believe that the second of the two things which the Prophet bequeathed to us is his traditions (Sunnah). Great! If I obey what is in the Book, I obey Allah. And if I follow the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, I obey the Messenger, continuing Divine guidance after the Prophet’s passing.

Problem! Which set of reports contain the most reliable traditions of the Holy Prophet?

It is obvious. We simply cannot exclusively rely on the Qur’an without Muhammad’s Prophetic input. Allah Himself through the Qur’an testifies to that fact. All of our questions and directions are not covered by the Qur’anic Text. Qur’an commands us to offer our prayers. But the Qur’an does not tell us how to offer the prayers. Do we hold our hands or drop them to the side? Can women lead prayers? Can women and men stand side by side in prayers? What is Wajib (compulsory)? What is forbidden? How can we know for sure?

Prayer is just one issue. There are also the issues of Zakat, Khums, private and public property, Hajj, fasting, at least fifty menstruation issues, what constitutes proof in prosecuting fornication, theft, rape, murder, etc.? When is homicide justifiable? How do you perform the wedding rites, burial rites, birth rites, etc.? The issues just go on, and on, and on. The Qur’an has no answer to any of these questions. During Muhammad’s time, there issues were decided by him. His decisions were enshrined by Muslim scholars and clerics into books of sacred traditions (Hadith). But political/economic/social forces broke the original Muslim community into sects. There was only one Prophet, but there are over 100 contradictory “traditions” reported on some of these issues! There are over 200 variations of prayer in the four so-called “Sunni” schools of Islamic law alone! Where did all these “traditions” come from?

Adult Muslims, men and women, need to acquire a fair degree (at least) of political sophistication. The Muslim community was never, and is not now, a monolithic Shangri-La. Problems with opportunists, ego-centric narrow minded zealots, the spiritually weak, the gullible, and all kinds of criminals existed during Prophet’s time. Allah gave the Prophet’s community power. Ambitions rose like weeds in the hearts of the undeserving. The Muslim governments ceased being ruled by saintly men very early on. For the most part, whoever controls the government writes the history. In a theocracy, the party in charge builds the Masajid (mosques), and ego controls the pulpit. So how did so many traditions appear, contradicting one another?

Sultans, Shahs, kings, and other arrogant impotent potentates claimed to be the heirs to Prophet Muhammad’s authority. Since they often lacked knowledge of Qur’an and Sunnah, they always made sure they tied the turban on somebody who would not get too big for his britches. And if they did, they were executed. Independent scholars who attracted a following were considered princely rivals and killed quickly, without ceremony, record or remorse. Most Muslims never knew the “go down”. Loose ends were cut off and/or denied public access. Each one of the Top Eleven descendants of Prophet Muhammad, who were considered the Divinely-Chosen Imams (peace be upon them), was murdered!

Ali ibn Abu Talib was assassinated in the mosque during morning prayers in Ramadan by a lunatic fanatic. His other ten top descendants met their deaths at the hands of jealous Muslim rulers. Ali’s son Hasan was assassinated by his own wife, who was an agent of the governor of Syria, Muawiyah (son of the Prophet’s arch enemy Abu Sufyan). Muawiyah was Imam Ali’s worst enemy. Muwayiah’s son brutally butchered Imam Hussain, Hasan’s brother, and almost all the males in his entire family! Yazid ibn Muawiyah ambushed Hussain’s small entourage of 73 males and a few less females with a whole battalion (literally) of cavalry men. They were detained in the desert during summer, for three days deprived of food and water. They were then set upon and slaughtered. Seventy-two men, boys, and infants were murdered. The other top-ranked eight descendants were all poisoned in prison without fanfare, as most Muslim scholars who rise out of obscurity are murdered today – without remorse, record, or legitimate reason. The deed is most often done so quietly; it doesn’t even make the papers.

In the meantime, “the monkeys” that the governments pay and train to become religious scholars and clerics keep right on guessing about these issues. They are not trained to know what the Prophetic Precedents. They are trained to lick the hand that feeds them. So each one is jealous of the other one. The ones that work in the Big Mosques are jealous of anyone who might compete for their fat cat cushy job. And the ones who work in the little mosques are envious of the fat cats and anyone who exhibits more brilliance than they do in Islamic learning and understanding (which is not usually too difficult).

Therefore, petty, jealous, government-sponsored, pseudo-intellectual, wannabe religious leaders are bogusly enshrined and continue to enshrine all kinds of personal opinions and pseudo-religious government policies as Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah. They suppress the people’s natural curiosity and keep them ignorant and Qur’anically illiterate. These mosques are operated without dynamic programs or imaginative agencies designed to solve the people’s problems of poverty, ignorance, disunity, and the intrusion on Islamic populations by anti-Islamic influences from both foreign and domestic sources.

In fact, the cleric caretakers of the Masjids act to opiate the people until the sultans, kings, and presidents need them to whip the people up to get involved in another “Jihad” to keep their profligate parties in power. Allah and His Prophet did not entrust these people with the reins of leadership (Imamah) of the Muslim community. They were usurped from their rightful owners by lovers of power who never hesitate to use murder, intrigue, and nationalistic rhetoric to accomplish their designs.

The Preservation of Prophet Muhammad’s Traditions is the Most Important Function of the Office of the Imamah

We strongly assert that this God-appointed office was given to none other than Ali ibn Abu Talib. He in turn chose his successor (Imam Hasan ibn Ali) by God’s order, and Imam Hasan chose his successor, Imam Hussain. Imam Hussain chose his successor, Imam Ali ibn Hussain, and so on, until the 12th Imam. Within these 12 houses, we find the Divine Light of the Prophetic Tradition. These men and their top students preserved the Prophetic Tradition despite near relentless government interference and brutal suppression. And today, since an Islamic Revolution based on the principles taught by these twelve houses toppled one of the world’s oldest, richest, and most powerful, despotic monarchies on the planet, the Shah of Iran, the Saudi royal propaganda machine has launched an all-out attack on the Shias.

Five hundred thousand Shias lost their lives in Operation Desert Storm, and they never touched Saddam. The whole thing was a set up and engineered by the filthy oil “a-rich-a-crats,” who saw themselves as next. So they staged a fictitious threat and sic-ed their well-paid Kafir Super Jinns on the followers of the Imam in southern Iraq. Kuwait was just bait. Saddam was never the target.

Saddam was an integral part of the set-up. Saddam and his elite forces who terrorized their own people for decades were never touched. They did, however, obliterate Saddam’s Shia enemies on international television. The whole world watched, and they still don’t know what happened. Can you imagine the Prophet Muhammad calling in the whole Kafir world to Arabia in order to defend himself from anybody? Yet Muslim clerics all over Arabia produced Hadiths showing the legitimacy of King Fat Head’s action. The Muslims didn’t even scratch their heads. This episode of the Muslims being hoodwinked to back might rather than right is just a continuation of what happened almost 1400 years ago.

After Imam Ali and Imam Hasan, the Muslim nation was ruled by the very same family whom Prophet Muhammad struggled against in Mecca and Medina. I am referring to none other than the infamous family of the arch statue worshiper Abu Sufyan. This is the same Abu Sufyan whose wife chewed on the liver of Prophet Muhammad’s Uncle Hamza, whom she also had assassinated. This is the mother and father of the first Muslim dynasty, the Omayyad. How they rose to power, stepping over the corpses of the Prophet’s family whom they murdered, is a lesson in Machiavellian tyranny.

Then the Family of Abbas rose to revenge Al-Hussain and restore the reins of power to the Holy Imam. Abbas was the youngest brother of Abu Talib. He apparently did not support the Prophet but rather supported Abu Sufyan until Mecca was conquered. He then became a Muslim. Opportunism? God knows.

All but two of the Omayyad chiefs were mercilessly executed. These two fled to Africa. The Abbasid forces gave chase but lost the trail in Egypt. These Abbasid forces founded the city of Cairo on the spot where they lost their escaped fugitives. The fugitives escaped to North Africa. There they founded the Moorish Omayyad Dynasty that ruled Spain for 800 years! A mosque was built on the spot where the Abbasid warriors congregated for Salat. This masjid was called Al-Azhar, after Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah Zahra (peace be upon her).

Unfortunately, the Abbasids reneged on their intention to restore the reins of power to the Imam. Though the Abbasids claimed to be Shia, the taste of power corrupted them to their core. The Imam (Ja’far as-Sadiq – founder of Islamic jurisprudence) was jailed and poisoned by his cousin, the Abbasid Commander. The four (so-called) Sunni Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafa’i, and Hanbal, were paid to contest with the Imam in an attempt to diminish his almost universal popularity. All four of these “Imams” were former students of the Imam!

Yes! It was the Imam-murdering, nepotistic Omayyads who paid a man from Bukhara to collect “Hadiths” from their paid agents. The most famous of these most often-quoted sources of Prophet’s sayings and deeds was Abu Hurayra. Abu Hurayra, whose association with Prophet did not begin until after the battle of Khayber, was a fixture in the Omayyad palace in Syria. He was an active agent for Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria and the arch enemy of Imam Ali and Imam Hasan ibn Ali.

One needs to study the life of Abu Hurayra. Many of the narrations he rendered and said he heard the Prophet say are true, but he could not have heard the Prophet say these things, because he was not even Muslim, nor did he live in Medina at the time! Many narrations he reports are flat out fiction to build up his employers, the Banu Omayya and/or put down Banu Hashim or the family of Abu Talib. Yet this man is the most often repeated source of “authentic” traditions!

In the meantime, wives of the Prophet like Umm Salamah, who was very close to the Holy Prophet and lived a very long time, were practically overlooked. Fizza, the Ethiopian companion of Fatimah, the greatest of all Hafizs (male or female), was ignored. Fatimah was ignored. All the grandsons of Prophet and their sons and daughters were ignored. All the Imams were ignored. All of their top students, whose dissertations, supplications, essays, and poems are the basis of classical Islamic culture, were ignored. With all these wells of wisdom ignored while ignoramuses like Abu Hurayra were raised to the level of infallibility by a government grateful for his “Uncle Tom” services, it is no wonder why ignorance dominates the Muslim psyche. Muslims acted and continue to act like Prophet never said:

“I am the City of Knowledge, and Ali is the Gateway to It.”

It is very unwise to think that you are a Muslim who does not follow somebody’s account of Prophet Muhammad’s traditions. And it is equally unwise to follow a school of thought blindly, without knowledge of the pros and cons. Open your eyes, and wake up. Do not be stubborn and arrogant. We are never too young or too old to grow in knowledge. Only a fool refuses to face facts. Only a bigot prefers the false status quo to the unveiled Truth of a matter. There is no shame in not knowing. But there is great shame in not knowing because one has covered up his or her perception, so ignorance is shielded from the ego-annihilating effects of the Light of the Truth. It is big shame, and a bigger sin.

“As for those who cover their perception to truth, I will chastise them,” says Allah. (Qur’an 3:56) “Cursed by the tongue of David were those from the Children of Israel who cover their perception of truth.” (5:78) “And a party of the Children of Israel believed, and a party were those who cover their perception to truth.” (61:14)

The issue that faces us is the same issue that faced the mosaic dispensation of Islam. Will we accept the Divinely-Guided Leadership of the Imams and their top students’ account of the Prophet’s traditions, or will we wallow in racist, tribal, nationalistic, cultural error, following lusts, rejecting curiosity and reason, condemning scholarship, and empowering murderers?

When truth is applied, falsehood must flee the way darkness flees from light. Only a Satan stands in defiance of the Evident Truth. And the Truth not only will withstand scrutiny. It invites scrutiny.

Who Created God?

Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Written by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi


Who created God? This is a strange question, but the well-known English philosopher Bertrand Russell has stated in one of his books, “During my youth, I believed in God and thought that the proof ’cause of all causes’ was the best evidence for it. All that I see in the world has a cause, and if we follow the chain of causes, ultimately we will reach the first cause, and this first cause is who we call God. But later, I completely turned away from this belief, because I thought if everything has a cause and creator, then God must also have a cause and creator.”


It happens that this is one of the most famous and elementary objections of the materialists. More clearly, they say, “If God created everything, then who created God?” It is not clear to us how long Russell encountered this objection, but since this question occurs to many youths, it must be accurately studied.

There are several fundamental points that exist here, and by paying attention to them, the answer to this objection will become clear:

First, if we accept the materialist belief and also claim what Russell has claimed, will we be free from this objection? Clearly not, because the materialists also believe in the principle of causality. They consider everything in the natural world to be the effect of another thing. Therefore, we can ask them the same question about matter. If everything is the effect of matter, then what is matter the effect of?

Based on this, and keeping in mind that the chain of cause and effect cannot go on forever, all the philosophers of the world, including materialist and religious philosophers, believe in an eternal being, a being that always existed. However, the materialists say that the eternal being of the universe is matter or the combination of matter and energy. And theists say the central source is God. In this manner, it becomes clear that Russell has no choice but to believe in an eternal being, even if it is matter.

Secondly, can this eternal being have a cause? Certainly not. Why? Because an eternal being always existed, and a thing that always existed does not need a cause. Only that being is in need of a cause which did not exist at one time and then came to existence. Ponder over this.

As a result, everyone is in agreement about the existence of an eternal source. And the firm proofs for the invalidity of an infinite series of cause and effect has obliged all philosophers to admit that there is an eternal origin. Therefore, contrary to what Russell has imagined, the disagreement among theist and materialist philosophers isn’t that one accepts the cause of all causes and the other does not. Rather, both equally believe in the first cause and cause of all causes.

So where is the disagreement then? It must clearly be stated that the only difference is that theists believe that the first cause has knowledge and willpower, and they name him God. But the materialists imagine it to be without knowledge and willpower, and they name it matter.

Now how did a matter so clear remain unknown to Russell? We can only say that he was an expert in mathematics, natural sciences, and social science, not in primary philosophy, such as recognition of existence and its source and effects.

From what was stated, we also come to the conclusion that religious philosophers do not only use the proof of “cause of all causes” to prove the existence of God, because this only proves the existence of a primary cause. In other words, it proves the existence of an eternal being in whom the materialists also believe. The important issue for the religious philosophers after proving the existence of the first cause is to prove that He has endless knowledge. This matter can easily be proved by studying the order of creation, its secret wonders, and the calculated laws which govern over the skies, Earth, and various living beings. Ponder over this.

This was the first necessary discussion in answer to this objection. The other necessary matter is that this objection is based on the belief that every being is in need of a cause and creator. This law is not universal and is only true in those cases where a thing previously did not exist and later came to existence. Ponder over this.

To shed further light on this point, we say that there are beings that exist now which previously did not exist, such as the solar system and living beings, both plants and animals. Their history shows that their existence is not eternal. Based on their differences, they did not exist a few million or a few billion years ago, and then they came into existence. Evidently, for the coming about of such beings, a cause or causes are necessary. Clearly, the separation of the Earth from the sun, based on Laplace’s hypothesis and others formed after him, was due to particular causes, whether we are completely aware of them or not. Similarly, the coming about of the first sprout of plant life, then animal, and then human life are all indebted to causes. Therefore, scientists are continuously striving to find these causes. If their existence was not due to causes, there is no reason for them to come about a million or billion years ago. Why didn’t they come about in twice as much time or half as much? The selection of these particular times is the best proof for the fact that the conditions and causes of their coming into being were only certain at those times.

But if a being is eternal, whether we call that eternal being God or matter, it does not need any causes. It does not need a creator or a god, because there is no history of His coming about, and so that the place of cause and creator is empty in this history. The existence of an eternal thing takes rise from its essence, not from outside its essence so that it will be in need of a creator. Think over this.

You, I, the Earth, the sky, the solar system, and so forth are in need of a creator, because our existence is not eternal and not from within ourselves. The first cause and cause of all causes is not such, because His existence is from His self.

A Clear Example

Philosophers have mentioned examples to explain this philosophical statement and make it more understandable. For instance, they say, “When we look inside our work room or living room, we see that it is illuminated.” We ask ourselves, is the illumination from the room itself?

Then we immediately say no, because if the illumination came about from the room itself, the room would never get dark. But sometimes it is illuminated, and sometimes it is dark. Therefore, its illumination is not from itself. And we quickly come to the conclusion that the brightness of our room or house is from the light particles that shine in it.

Then we immediately ask ourselves: where does the brightness of light particles come from?

With a little thought, we come to the conclusion that the brightness of a light particle is of itself and comes about from within its essence. Light particles have not borrowed their property of brightness. Nowhere in the world can you find light particles that are dark and then take brightness from something else. No matter where light particles are, they are bright. The brightness is a part of their essence, and it is not borrowed. It is perhaps possible for light particles to be destroyed, but it is not possible for them to exist but be dark. Contemplate this.

Therefore, if someone says that the brightness of every area and locale in the world is an effect of light, and then asks where the brightness of light is from, we immediately say that the brightness of light is a part of its essence. Similarly, when it is said the existence of everything is God’s, and then someone wonders whose the existence of God is, we immediately answer it is His own and from within His essence.

The author of over a hundred books and articles on religious and social topics, including a commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi is followed as a Religious Authority by millions of Shias around the world today. He lives and teaches in the holy city of Qom, Iran.

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:

Western Muslims are Racist

We have many people struggling to get married but even beyond that we have people trying to justify their skin colour, heritage, race and nationality with the overwhelming immigrant muslim community’s perception of them- especially those who are Muslims born in America to non-Middle Eastern families.

racism protest

There is a serious problem and I believe it must be addressed soon and head on. The communities as a whole must be told that racism and prejudice based on class, nationality or any other prejudice is incorrect. Telling people that they should not marry converts is not correct. Telling people that they should only marry within their culture is not correct as a general statement. These issues must be dealt with on an individual basis but the larger picture- the overwhelming prejudice in some communities is a large backward step for the Ummah.

I wanted to share a brief comment from an African American brother who is very close to me. He was born sunni and converted to shi’ism at 15 years old. He has been trying to get married for 6+ years and is now 25 and in dental school with an industrial engineering degree. He has memorized much of the Qur’an and is extremely intelligent. However he has been rejected time and time again for marriage from parents because, and only because, of his skin colour- even when the sister agreed and was hoping to marry him. Here are his feelings he shared with me:

In all honestly, I’m tired of this game…Immigrant Muslims come here enjoy this country while bashing it all the time and (insert explicit word for defecation here) on us, the Muslims here…They treat us like we are criminals or kafirs even…I’m through…This isn’t an ummah…Its not a brotherhood…Loyalty to family, tribe, and ethnicity is paramount to these people…I honestly feel like the immigrants should go back to their home countries and focus on fixing the problems there instead of coming here and being hypocrites…Other Shaykhs have said racist things on calls…I’m done with all of it…And I will be a witness against them on the day of Judgment Insha Allah…

I believe if we all banded together and decided to confront these poisonous issues together, head on, with CLARITY and PERSISTENCE then Allah will change the believer’s hearts and help us stay away from hypocrisy in our deen. I think this should also been done on individual bases too where we talk with individuals about these issues and exalt the righteous and forbid the evil and satanic. There must be a pro-active way to bring communities together, just as the Prophet (may Allah bless him and his progeny) brought tribes together. We should realize that most of the children of immigrants do not hold extremely traditional outlooks and even are very happy to marry cross-culturally. It is often the parents and elders who forbid these actions- and often with terrible excuses, sometimes racist and nationalist in nature. Every day my brothers and sisters are getting hurt because of backward mindsets…

The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “He who hurts a Muslim believer, surely he has hurt me.”

Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 72

Be part of the solution, inshaAllah….

Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (a.s.) said: “May Allah have mercy upon the person who services a right and removes a wrong, or refutes an injustice and establishes justice.”

Qurar-ul-Hikam, p. 181

With Peace, Hope, and Blessings,
Your brother in Islam,