Saturday, 9 August 2014

Laylat Ul Qadr In Shia Islam

Topic 36:

Holy Qur’an talks about it in the chapter by the very name ‘Qadr’, it says:

0 Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim 
In the name of Allah/ God the Gracious the Merciful
1 Inna anzalna hu fii Laylat il Qadr
Surely, We revealed it in the Night of Authority
2 Wa maa adraaka maa Laylat ul Qadr
And what to explain, what the Night of Authority is!
3 Laylat ul Qadri khairu min alfi shahr
Night of Authority is better than a thousand month
4 Tanazzul ul malaaikatu wa Ruhu fiha bi izni Rabbihim min kulli amr
In it descends the angels and the Ruh/ Spirit with permission of Lord, for all affairs
5 Salaamun hiya hatta matlayi il fajr
In it is Peace till the dawn
‘Qadr’ is an Arabic word which could be roughly translated to authority, power, decree, ordinance, measure etc. Laylat ul Qadr or the Night of Authority is very auspicious and important night in the Islamic calender.
The above chapter states that, ‘Surely, We revealed it in the Night of Authority’, this verse describes the event of cave of Hira. Shia Islam preaches prophets and Imams/ Aimmah or divinely appointed leaders are born with that statuses and are never made so in later part of their life. They only commence their offices and declare their statuses to public, later by Divine orders.
Major difference between Shia and Sunni is that Sunni believe Prophet Mohammed was not a prophet till the age of forty, at that age Allah/ God made him a prophet, he himself did not knew what was conferred upon him and it was his wife Khadija’s cousin Waraqa son of Naufil (Judeo-Christian scholar) who told the couple that ‘Mohammed’ was no more a normal human, rather was appointed as a prophet. Shia Islam rubbishes all such claims; Shia Islam preaches whether Prophet Mohammed or any other prophet, all were born as prophets.
Shia Islam preaches Prophet Mohammed very well knew that he was the last messenger and final prophet right from the very beginning. He however awaited the Divine orders so that he could declare his mission to the people. Prophet Mohammed (aged forty years) used to recluse himself inside a cave ‘Hira’ in the mount ‘Noor’ nearby Makkah, he used to spend days and days over there and would then take break, return back to home, only to one again go back for recluse in ‘Hira’.
It was here on 23rd night of month of Ramadan that Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared to Prophet Mohammed and informed him about the Divine orders of Allah (God) that were to declare latter’s prophet-hood and messenger-ship. As per Shia Islam Prophet Mohammed was eagerly awaiting for these Divine orders, Shia Islam preaches Prophet Mohammed never trembled with fear as Sunni claim, it is a major difference between Shia and Sunni.
The event continued and Allah/ God revealed Holy Qur’an upon Prophet Mohammed through Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel. It is exactly this, the verse is describing about by ‘Surely, We revealed it in the Night of Authority’. Shia Islam preaches whole of Holy Quran was all at once revealed upon Prophet Mohammed right there in the cave of Hira, this belief is in contrast with Sunni who believe that only little bit from Holy Qur’an was revealed upon him inside the cave.
Sunni claim Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel asked the to be prophet Mohammed who was an Ummi/illiterate to read, at which the latter said, “I can’t read” this happened for three times when finally Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel squeezed the to be prophet Mohammed while giving him a hug, and thenceforth revealed only first five verses of chapter ‘Iqra’/ Read, this event trembled the latter. Shia Islam deny such beliefs and rather preaches Prophet Mohammed had always been a prophet and was very much a literate, he eagerly received Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel.
Sunni believe that rather Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel bought down Holy Qur’an and revealed it on the lowest sky in the Night of Authority and from lowest sky used to bring little by little and reveal it upon Prophet Mohammed for whole 23 years.
Shia Islam denies such beliefs and claim whole of Holy Quran was all at once, inside the cave of Hira, was revealed upon Prophet Mohammed. Prophet Mohammed preached it as much needed to the people that too by Divine orders; it was this preaching which took 23 years. Shia Islam believe people were not on par with the level of a prophet, their minds could never have grasped the Holy Qur’an in its entirety all at once, thus, practically as the situations demanded Prophet Mohammed on Divine orders preached the required portions to people, which took 23 years.
Since this Night of Authority is most important night of the year, Muslims are advised to spend it in prayers. Sunni Muslims do not know the exact night of Laylat ul Qadr/ the Night of authority, thus Sunni try to search it in last part of Month of Ramadan in odd nights (ie: 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th). Sunni believes most chances are that it is 27th night.

Shia Islam possesses several Ahaadith/ Hadith/ narations from Prophet Mohammed and later 12 Imams (Aimmah), these Ahaadith/ narrations states that 23rd night of Ramadan is Laylat ul Qadr. Thus, Shia Muslims do not first search and then spend it in prayers, since Shia Islam states 23rd Ramadan is Laylat ul Qadr/ the Night of Authority they don’t need to search. Shia Islam preaches to spend the night in deep prayers.
Thus, another major difference between Shia and Sunni is that Shia are sure about 23rd Ramadan as Laylat ul Qadr, Sunni must search it out from 5 nights relying on signs of that night. Shia Islam however, advises to spend preceding 19th and 21st night in same manner, as a prerequisite.

Another reason why Shia Islam has special significance for 19th and 21st night is because those dates are mourning dates. As first Shia Imam Ali Murtada cousin brother as well as son in law of Prophet Mohammed was stabbed with poisoned sword, on back of neck, while he was in prostration in the morning of 19th Ramadan. He became a martyr as result of wound on morning of 21st Ramadan. Shia all around the world lament, cry and mourn the preceding two nights prior to 23rd Ramadan.

‘And what to explain, what the Night of Authority is!’ this verse clarifies that human mind could never comprehend the divine and spiritual aspects of this night. Thus, Allah (God) explains its position in terms of human intellect and understanding capability by the following verse, ‘Night of Authority is better than a thousand months’. A single night of Laylat ul Qadr/ Night of Authority spent in worship and prayers would be spiritually much better than thousand months if those thousand months too would be spent in worship and prayers.
‘In it decends the angels and the Ruh/ Spirit with permission of Lord, for all affairs’, the verse clarifies the event of Laylat ul Qadr / Night of Authority, one can imagine how spiritual it would be when numerous angels descend upon the earth. The verse specifies a Ruh which too descend along with angels, a lot of people believe there are a lot of spirits which too descend along with angels, but the verse uses Ruh (singular) and not Arwaah (plural), thus it is stupidity to consider numerous spirits, it is just one Spirit.
Although, Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel is known by his specific name, he has other names as well. Ruh ul Amin/ Trustworthy Spirit, Ruh ul Quds/ Holy Spirit or simply Ruh/ Spirit are other titles of him. Thus, according to Shia Islam angels as whole along with one special Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel come down to Earth, with the permission of Lord, they come with kulli amr (all affairs or all ministries).
Shia Islam preaches that at all time at least one representative of Allah/ God is alive on earth; they are Hujjatullah/ Proof of Allah/ God, more precisely Ambassadors of Allah/ God. To obey them is to obey God they are infallible and thus could never lead anyone astray. Shia Islam believes Allah/ God never leave the earth without His guidance; these people are the ones who are that agency of God through which He guides His creation.
 Shia Islam preaches the concept of Imamat (Divinely appointed leadership); Holy Quran itself states that on the day of Resurrection every person would be called with his Imam (Divine leader of his/her time). Shia Islam states till Prophet Mohammed was alive he was this Hujjatullah (Proof of Allah/ God) on earth, along with being Last Prophet and Last Messenger. No more new Shariah/ Canon was to come after him, no more new Divine Books were too descend after him. Islam as completed upon Prophet Mohammed was to remain the Divine religion till the last day; Holy Quran was to remain the last Divine Book.
Shia Islam preaches that after Prophet Mohammed, Imamat (Divinely appointed leadership) begins. 12 Imams (Aimmah) the deputies of Prophet Mohammed would lead people towards Allah/ God, they would do tafsir/ interpret the Holy Quran. They would reveal Holy Quran’s divine secrets in proportion with the maturity of human intellect, they would undertake kullu amr/all affairs according to what Allah/ God wishes. Holy Quran itself asks us to Atiullah/ obey Allah and Atiur Rasul/ obey Prophet and Awli ul Amr/ Divine Ministers of affairs.
Thus, Shia Islam preaches that by Divine orders Angels along with Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel descend to whoever is Hujjatullah/ Proof of Allah/ God on earth, who is thus Wali ul Amr (Divine Minister of affairs) as well. After Prophet Mohammed, 1st Imam Ali became Hujjatullah/ Proof of Allah/ God on earth therefore he was Wali ul Amr/ Divine Ministers of affairs of his time, after him 2nd Imam and so on.
Current Hujjatullah/ Proof of Allah/ God on earth is 12th Imam Mohammed Mahdi who though alive lives in occultation. Thus on Laylat ul Qadr/ Night of Authority, Archangel Jibril/ Gabriel along with other angels come down to Wali ul Amr (Divine Minister of affairs) 12th Imam Mohammed Mahdi with all the affairs and bring divine orders for those regards.
Laylatul Qadr/ Night of Authority is such an important spiritual and Divine occasion, a Divine and Spiritual festival for human souls, to have a spiritual encounter with presence of Allah/ God. In that span believers are in worship, praying, seeking Divine forgiveness and grace. Holy Quran, thus announces ‘In it is Peace till the dawn’, this peace is divine aura which envelops a sincere believer, it continues till the dawn occurs to the believer. The believer comes out of the night as if that person was busy worshiping Allah/God since more than thousand months and Allah/ God has accepted the person’s sincere worship.
O Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sawm/ Roza/ Fasting In Shia Islam

Topic 35:
Sawm/ Roza/ Fasting is obligatory in Shia Islam, in ninth month ‘Ramadan’ of Lunar Islamic Calendar (Hijri). Sawm/ Roza/ Fasting is second in the 'Furu Deen' or Branches of Faith. A very special night, mentioned in Holy Qur'an as 'Laylatul Qadr' occurs in Ramadan.
Fasting is obligatory in Shia Islam on sane adult Shia Muslims both men and women. However, there are people on whom fasting is not obligatory. A Musafir/ Traveller who must Qasr/ shorten his Salah/ Namaz/ Prayers cannot fast. Old age people to whom fasting causes extreme hardship are exempted from fasting. Any other person is also exempted from fasting to whom it causes extreme hardship. Any person who suffers from a disease which causes Polydipsia (suffer from excessive thirst) or under extreme hardship is exempted from fasting. Pregnant ladies are exempted from fasting. Suckling mothers whether biological mothers or suckling mothers are exempted from fasting.
Shia Muslims are required to fast from dawn, when the whiteness in the sky starts to spread (before sunrise) and continue to till redness after sunset passes the top. Holy Qur’an ask us to fast from Fajr/ Dawn up to Layl/ Night, Holy Quran did not used the word Maghrib/ Sunset as time to end the fast rather asks us to continue fasting till Night/ Layl.
The difference between Shia and Sunni Sawm/Roza/ Fasting is that Sunni end the fast with Maghrib/ Sunset, while Shia Muslims continue the fast till the Night/Layl approaches, which differ from place to place.
Niyyah/Intention is required in Shia Islam for fasting. Without Niyyah/ Intention fasting is void. In Shia Islam Niyyah/ Intention is intention in mind, thus one is not required to say it with mouth, just intending in mind is enough. Also, one is not required to make daily intentions during month of Ramadan, if one intends to fast the whole month right at the start of month, it will suffice. There will be no problem if person doesn’t observe all fasts with that Niyyah/ Intention. Taharah/ Spiritual Purity is required in Shia Islam, this is major difference between Shia Islam and other sects.
There are some Non-Shia, who preach fasting as alternate dieting. They say best dieting is fasting. If you fast you will have double benefit it will help you in dieting and also earn you divine rewards of fasting. This concept is ridiculous and stupid in Shia Islam, because intention in Shia Islam should be solely worship of Allah (God), the moment any other intention joins it like dieting etc, fasting will become null and void in Shia Islam. Thus in Shia Islam Sawm/ Roza/ Fasting is solely worship of Allah (God), for a Shia Muslim he/she is free to diet for whole other eleven months of year but when a Shia Muslim must fast in month of Ramadan etc, that is solely worship of Allah (God).
During Fasting Shia Muslim are required not to indulge into any of these nine things or acts. The person who fasts cannot eat or drink. The person who fasts cannot have sexual intercourse (mere penetration). The person who fasts cannot voluntarily ejaculate (Masturbate leading to ejaculation). The person who fasts cannot attribute any lie (false things) to Allah (God), Prophet Mohammed or Twelve Imams (Aimmah). The person who fast cannot inhale or swallow thick dust in throat (ie: smoking cigarette). The person who fasts cannot immerse his/her entire head in water. Remaining Najis/ Spiritually Impure till the time of Fajr/ Dawn prayer. The person who fasts cannot use liquid enema. Vomiting by a person who is fasting makes his/her fast void.  Doing any of these things or if any of these things happens the fast will break.
In Shia Islam, swallowing one’s saliva, salivating at smell of food, involuntary ejaculation (nocturnal emissions), pre-cum, erections in men etc doesn’t break one’s fast.
There are things which one does or happens that does not break Sawm/ Roza/ Fast in Shia Islam. Although these thing won’t break fast but are not preferred in fasting and must be avoided. The person who fasts should not use eye drops or cosmetic eye stuffs, if its taste or smell is felt inside. The person who fasts should not perform an act which causes excessive weakness, should not extract blood, or have hot bath etc. The person who fast should not snuff when one is sure it might reach throat. The person who fasts should not use stimulants for bowels. The woman who fasts should not sit immersed in water. The person who fasts should not wet one’s dress which one is wearing. The person who fast should not extract tooth or allow any other action causing bleeding in mouth. A person should not use a wet toothbrush, in Shia Islam one cannot use Miswak/ Siwak (thin branches or thin root of several trees used as tooth brush) while one is fasting, this is a major difference between Shia and Sunni. The person who fasts should not put water or any other liquid in mouth without an appropriate cause (ie: gargle). The person who fasts should not indulge in foreplay, romance, kissing etc with one’s partner without the intention of ejaculation, if intention is there fast as a precaution would be considered broken.
Suhur/ Sehri/ Pre-fast meal is a meal which is taken before commencing the fast, it is taken in such a manner that by the time one finishes the meal, Fajr/ Dawn, the time for commencing the fast should begin. Suhur/ Sehri/ Pre-fast meal is recommended to be eaten in last part of night, like a morning breakfast. It is not a compulsive meal but highly recommended; at least a date and water will suffice.

When Layl/ Night approaches, it is recommended to formally end the fast by date, water, salt, fruits etc. This post-fast meal is called Iftar. Iftar/ post-fast meal is recommended not to be delayed on the Layl/Night has arrived.
Both Suhur/ Sehri/ pre-fast meal and Iftar/ post-fast meal are Sunnah/ Traditions of Prophet Mohammed and are highly recommended. One is free to eat, drink, have sexual intercourse and any other legal activity forbidden during fast.
If anyone is not observing fast due to several conditions, or the fasting person breaks the fast in middle with eating, drinking or sexual intercourse etc, the person must offer Kaffarah/Compensation (ie: feeding poor), observe Qadha Fast/ Observe pending fast or both depending on conditions which varies from situation to situation, details are lengthy and thus, avoided here, as this is just a brief information.
Apart from Obligatory fasts of Ramadan, there are other preferred fasts in Shia Islam on other special days also; their details are available in Shia religious books/sites. A married woman is required to take permission of her husband for such preferred fasts. One is required to take permission of one’s father before observing such fasts, whether one is independent or not, son or daughter, except in case of married ladies. It is forbidden to observe such fasts if it causes emotional suffering to parents.
There are several days when fasting is Haram/ Forbidden or Makrooh/ Disliked in Shia Islam. The day of Eid al Fitr, Eid al Adha. A major difference between Shia and Sunni is that Shia don’t fast on Ashura (10th Moharram) while Sunni do fast on that day. Ashura (10th Moharram) is the day tragedy of Karbala (Iraq) happened, and for Shia Muslims it is a day of sorrow and mourning.
The content on Sawm/ Roza/ Fasting in Shia Islam over here is brief explanation; details could be had from further reliable sources.
O Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Taharah/ Spiritual Purity in Shia Islam

Topic 34:
Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) in Shia Islam is a state of being, when certain conditions are met the person is said to be having Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity). There are a lot of religious obligations ie: Salaah/ Namaaz (Prayers) which could not be done unless the person is having Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity). Thus, to be eligible to perform those religious obligations one must acquire Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity). Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) is acquired through Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath), Wadhu (Ablution) and Tayammum (Dry Ablution) depending on type of Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) and Situation.
Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) in Shia Islam is not to be confused with hygiene or cleanliness, both are very different. A person may be very clean and hygienic but that does not mean the person is having Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) as well. Urine, blood, semen, pigs, dogs etc are not unclean and unhygienic from biological and physical point of view, but from spiritual point of view they are considered Najis (Spiritually Impure). Likewise, no matter what much amount of dirt and filth are poured in sea or in  a lake, they are considered as having Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity).
Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) is an act of worship in itself, and to acquire it Niyyah (Intention) is required, else mere performance of acts to acquire Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) would not make the person Taahir (Spiritually Pure). Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) is initial level of worship, with which the person performs higher order worships. If Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) was all about cleaning then there would never be specific repetitions of acts; say once, twice; in Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath), Wadhu (Ablution) or Tayammum (Dry Ablution), rather it would have been asked to continue till the dirt is removed.
Cleanliness or Hygiene are rather pre-requisite for Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath), Wadhu (Ablution) or Tayammum/ Dry Ablution. Shia Muslims are required to wash or remove all the dirt and filth before beginning Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath), Wadhu (Ablution) or Tayammum (Dry Ablution).
One thing which differentiates Shia Muslims from others is that Niyyah (Intention) for Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) should be solely worship, the moment any other intention joins it the whole act of Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) will become mere washing. Thus, for a Shia Muslim Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath) and  Wadhu (Ablution) are not washing or cleaning of face and body. Shia Muslims do not consider Wadhu (Ablution) as having secondary benefits that it keeps our face and hands clean and fresh. Shia Muslim would rather wash face and hands or have a normal bath if he/ she wants to keep face and body clean and fresh. But when a Shia Muslim performs Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath), Wadhu (Ablution) or Tayammum (Dry Ablution) it is just an act of worship and not washing, cleaning or a part of beauty/ fashion etc.
Non-Shia Muslims who claim that: look performing Wadhu (Ablution) five times a day would please Allah (God) and the by-product of Wadhu (Ablution) is that it will keep your face, hands clean, shiny, moisturised and help us in beautification, dual benefits; for a Shia Muslim these claims are ridiculous and perfect stupidity. When a Shia Muslim performs Wadhu (Ablution) he/ she does not intend to clean or beautify rather the intention or aim is solely and solely just worship of Allah (God). Thus, Shia Muslims are required to wash or scrub till one is satisfied that all dirt, dust or filth are removed from face, hands or clothes before beginning Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath) or Wadhu (Ablution).
Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) for a Shia Muslim is a state of being which prohibits one from performing several acts of worship, although the person would be very clean or had just taken normal bath, the person may still be Najis (Spiritually Impure). Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) is all about ineligibility for performance of several religious obligations.
Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) has two levels major Spiritual Impurity and minor Spiritual impurity. To simplify, if a person looses major Spiritual Purity he/ she looses minor spiritual purity along with, he/she become totally Najis (Spiritually Impure), but if a person who is having major Spiritual Purity looses minor Spiritual Purity he/she would not loose major Spiritual Purity and may easily re-acquire minor Spiritual Purity easily.
Major Spiritual Impurity is acquired by several higher level Spiritually Impure actions or incidences ie: Sexual Intercourse. One looses total Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) after those actions or incidences. One becomes Najis (Spiritually Impure) and that Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) could only be removed by Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath).
Minor Spiritual Impurity is acquired by several lower level Spiritually Impure actions or incidences ie: Urination. One does not loose total Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) after those actions or incidences. One becomes minor Najis (Spiritually Impure) and that minor Najaasah (Spiritual Impurity) could be easily removed by Wadhu (Ablution).
Minor Spiritual impurity is lower level Spiritual impurity due to Urination, Excretion, Passing Gas, Sleep, Bleeding from wounds, Intoxication and Unconsciousness. One does not loose Major Spiritual Impurity because of these, and can easily acquire Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) by mere Wadhu (Ablution).
Major Spiritual impurity is higher level Spiritual impurity due to: Sexual penetration no matter whether ejaculation happens or not both man and woman would become Spiritually Major Impure, Voluntary or involuntary ejaculation in men would make them Spiritually Major Impure, Menses or Post-Partum Bleeding would make women Spiritually Major Impure, physical touch or coming in physical contact with an unwashed Human Dead Body no matter how slightly would make living person Spiritually Major Impure. One can acquire Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) with Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath).
Foreplay, Precum, Erection, Lubrication, Kiss has no effect on Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) in Shia Islam, thus, one loose neither minor Spiritual Purity nor Major Spiritual Purity.
Minor Spiritual Impurity prevents Shia Muslims from: Touching Holy Qur’an, names of Allah (God), names of Prophet Mohammed, names of twelve Imams (Aimmah), names of Lady Fatima Zahra. Minor Spiritual Impurity also prevents Shia Muslims from: performing Salaah/ Namaaz (Prayers), Performing Tawaf (Circumbulation) of Holy Ka’ba.
Major Spiritual Impurity prevents Shia Muslims from: All preventions of Minor Spiritual Impurity, also from: Entering Masajids (Mosques), Recitation even out of memory those particular chapters of Holy Qur’an which require obligatory prostrations (Sajdah), Observe Sawm/ Roza (Fasting), Undertake Hajj/ Umra (Pilgrimage).
Tayammum (Dry ablution) is an alternative ablution for both Ghusl (Ceremonial bath) and Wadhu (Ablution) to acquire both Major and Minor Tahaarah (Spiritual Purity) in following cases: If one cannot find water, If using water for Ghusl (Ceremonial bath) or Wadhu (Ablution) can cause severe hardship i.e. sickness, extreme fever, extreme water shortage etc, or If performing Ghusl (Ceremonial bath) or Wadhu (Ablution) would take so much time that time for Salaah/ Namaaz (prayers) get over.
As a pre-requisite of Wadhu (Ablusion) one may wash dirty foots, hands, gargle, clean nostrils with water etc. With Niyyah (Intention) Wadhu (Ablution) is performed in following manner in Shia Islam:
1. Using right hand’s cup of palm water is poured on forehead; using right hand entire face is washed with that water. One may repeat the step for second time but not thrice.

2.1. Using left hand’s cup of palm water is poured on right elbow, using left hand entire right hand is washed down to fingers with that water. One may repeat the step for second time but not thrice.
2.2. Using right hand’s cup of palm water is poured on left elbow, using right hand entire left hand is washed down to fingers with that water. One may repeat the step for second time but not thrice.
3. Using remaining wetness on tips of right finger or right palm, front head is wiped from top of head down to hairline, covering an area of nine digits on fingers, once.
4.1. Using remaining wetness on right palm, upper side of right foot is wiped from toes up to ankles, once.
4.2. Using remaining wetness on left palm, upper side of left foot is wiped from toes up to ankles, once.
As a pre-requisite of Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath) one may have a normal bath with soap, shampoo etc to remove dirt from body, gargle, clean nostrils with water etc. With Niyyah (Intention) Ghusl (Ceremonial Bath) is performed either Irtimasi Ghusl (Immersive Bath) or Tartibi (Sequential Bath) in Shia Islam.
In Irtimasi Ghusl (Complete Immersion), whole body is immersed in water like in lakes, sea, pools etc.
Where as in Tartibi Ghusl (Sequential Bath), first the head above neck is poured with water to make it completely wet, later body below neck is poured with water to make it completely wet.
With Niyyah (Intention) Tayammum (Dry Ablution) is performed in following manner using Dry Earth, Sand, Stones, Dust on wall etc in Shia Islam:
1. Both palms are placed on the object ie: Dry Earth, Sand, Stones, Dust on wall.
2. Using both palms forehead from hairline down to eyebrows is rubbed upon, once.

3.1. With left palm upper right hand is rubbed from wrist down to fingers.

3.2. With right palm upper left hand is rubbed from wrist down to fingers, once.

Optionally one may, place both palms on the object once again and repeat 3.1. and 3.2 steps second time.
The content on Taharah/ Spiritual Purity in Shia Islam over here is brief explanation; details could be had from further reliable sources.
O Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Friday, 13 June 2014

15th Sha'ban in Shia Islam

15th Sha’ban is an auspicious day in Shia Islam, as the last and current of the twelve Imams (Aimmah); Imam Mohammed Mahdi was born. Imam Mohammed Mahdi was born on 15th Sha’ban 255 AH (869 AD) in the city of Samarra, present day Iraq.
Imam Mohammed Mahdi was born to Lady Nargis the wife of eleventh Imam Hasan Askari. Lady Nargis was a Byzantine princess. Birth of twelfth Imam Mohammed Mahdi fulfilled the prophecy of Prophet Mohammed that after him there will be twelve deputies for him. Imam Mohammed Mahdi is the ninth generation of third Imam Husain. Prophet Mohammed also prophesised occultation and re-appearance of twelfth Imam before Resurrection as promised Messiah.
Imam Mohammed Mahdi’s father Imam Hasan Askari was under house arrest as the caliphate considered them as a threat; lately they martyred the eleventh Imam. Imam Mohammed Mahdi was born under arrested life of his holy father, and all mean while was kept hidden from general public and his identity too was kept hidden from caliphate, since it was dangerous for his life. Only a handful of loyal persons had the knowledge for the same.
After the martyrdom of eleventh Imam Hasan Askari, Imam Mohammed Mahdi assumed the office of Imamat at age of five years; he appeared to general public to lead the funeral prayers of his holy father. Thereafter under the divine order underwent occultation, hidden from public although not dead.
For near century his occultation was minor, an agency of his deputies maintained a link between him and public through letters and orders. Before the death of fourth and last deputy, it was announced by Imam Mohammed Mahdi through his deputy that there will be no more deputies, and his major occultation will begin.
Imam Mohammed Mahdi declared he will re-appear to establish faith and justice at the end times as promised Messiah by the divine order. 15th Sha’ban is thus a day of celebrations for Shia Muslims all around the world to mark his auspicious birthday.
Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Marriage and Divorce in Shia Islam

Topic: 32
There are two types of marriages in Shia Islam. One is simple normal marriage called ‘Nikah’, while the other is temporary marriage known as ‘Mutah’ or ‘Sigha’, more information on Mutah. Both Nikah and Mutah to be initiated require two instruments, first is ‘Aqd’ and second is ‘Mahr’.
In Shia Islam ‘Aqd’ is exchange of marital vows, an agreement between a man and a woman or their representatives; it is marriage proposal by the first party and its acceptance by the second party. Shia Islam requires proper specific Arabic formula to initiate the marriage.
‘Mahr’, the second of the two requirements for marriage in Shia Islam is obligatory gift/dower to the bride by the groom. Mahr is usually money, land, ornament, ring, jewel, house etc. Mahr is fixed prior to the recitation of marriage formula or exchange of marital vows.
Translation of proper specific Arabic marriage formula or vows are; first the proposal as ‘I have made myself your wife on the agreed dower’ which follows the acceptance as ‘I accept the marriage’. If marriage if initiated through representatives then first the proposal goes ‘I have given to your client ABC in marriage my client XYZ on the agreed dower’ the acceptance goes ‘I accepted this matrimonial alliance for my client ABC on agreed dower’. Formula for temporary marriage include ‘for agreed term’ in addition to ‘on agreed dower’.
Shia Islam does not require witnesses for any of the two marriages; this is in contrast to Sunni marriage which requires witnesses. Shia Islam requires permission of either biological father or biological paternal grandfather’s consent for virgin woman to be married, there are however conditional details for it.
With regards to divorce, there is no divorce in temporary marriage ‘Mutah’. Once the agreed term is over the marriage itself is annulled. However, husband can end the ‘Mutah’ in between by saying, ‘I forgo the remaining term’.
Divorce in Shia Islam again requires proper specific formula in Arabic to be pronounced by husband or his representative.  If husband himself divorces his wife he says, ‘my wife XYZ is divorced’, if through representative the latter says, ‘XYZ, the wife of my client is divorced’. This is in contrast with Sunni rule where just uttering word ‘Talaq’ divorce in Arabic is sufficient.
In Shia Islam, divorce to happen requires three declarations of the above divorce formula, each with minimum interval of one menstrual cycle of woman. Only one declaration can be made in one menstrual cycle. This is in contrast with Sunni rules; where all three divorces could be pronounced in one go.
Shia Islam also requires two just witnesses at each of three sessions of divorce pronunciation. Sunni rule does not require any witness for divorce to happen. Husband according to Shia Islam cannot give divorce to his wife in that menstrual month in which he has had a sexual intercourse with her. This is also not a requirement in Sunni where a husband can pronounce divorce even just after sexual intercourse.
In Shia Islam, the first and second sessions of divorce pronunciation is revocable, in which divorce process is just activated but divorce has not happened. If couple have sexual intercourse the process of divorce becomes void. Husband and wife can rejoin as couple and divorce pronunciation becomes void. The third, also the last divorce pronunciation is final and irrevocable, after which divorce happens. In Shia Islam, divorce cannot be given to a pregnant wife. Divorce in pregnancy is thus void.
In Shia Islam, if marriage is consummated, then after divorce the divorced woman cannot immediately remarry, she must wait for three menstrual cycles, once, that is over she is free to remarry another man.
In case of Mutah, if marriage was consummated, when the term gets over, the couple can immediately remarry each other as there is no provision for divorce in Mutah. But if the woman desires to remarry another man she should wait for two menstrual cycles.
In Shia Islam, both marriage and divorce requires sound mind, intention and free will. Thus, any compulsion, jest or intoxication either in marriage or divorce makes their process void. In Sunni rule forced, joked or intoxicated divorce is valid, but in Shia Islam it is void.
If either of the marriage is unconsummated then there is no waiting period for woman to remarry another man. ‘Halaala’ is a Quranic injunction which prohibits Shia divorced couple (A and B) to remarry each other after irrevocable divorce. However, if later the woman (B) is also divorced by her second husband (C) after consummation of their marriage, it is legal for her (B) to once again re-marry her previous husband (A).
Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Uthman and his Caliphate

Main Topic: Karbala, brief overview

Uthman son of Affan was an Ommayyad. He adopted Islam on advice of Abu Bakr, he still had good terms with Ommayyads his clan who were against Hashmites the clan Prophet Mohammed.

Uthman migrated to Ethiopia, returned back to Makka and finally migrated to Madina with other Muslims. Khadija’s nieces were adopted as daughters by Prophet Mohammed, and Ruqaiyya one of them was married to Uthman. Uthman did not participate in battle of Badr as he wanted to be with ill Ruqaiyya, who later passed away. Uthman although did not participate in Badr, readily came forward to share the bounty. He later married Kulthum, Ruqaiyya’s sister to still be in relation with Prophet Mohammed.

At Uhad battle, Uthman did not took part in main battle for obvious reason. However, he was asked by Prophet Mohammed to guard the backdoor of battle field from possible attack and was given command of archery unit. He was asked never to leave the post no matter whether Muslims win or lose the battle, yet when he saw Muslims winning the battle, left the post with others to collect the bounty. His leaving the post prompted Makkan pagans to attack from backdoor, which was a blow upon Muslims; he later showed remorse on his actions.

Before the truce of Hudaibiyah, Makkan pagans asked Prophet Mohammed to send his envoy to Makka. But they also stipulated the eligibility of envoy that the envoy should never have killed any Makkan pagan, Uthman was the only person to meet the eligibility, thus he was sent as an envoy.

When Prophet Mohammed passed away of martyrdom, and meeting at Saqifa was going on, Uthman was also there and became the second person to pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr. He formed the part of Umar Khattab and Abu Bakr’s junta. Remember, Prophet Mohammed was never allowed to write his will on pretext that he was ill and Holy Qur’an was enough for them as guidance. Now, when Abu Bakr fell seriously ill, he was asked to write a will although he was frequently losing consciousness; it was Uthman who wrote the will for Abu Bakr.

Umar Khattab was appointed the next caliph in Abu Bakr’s will and Uthman was first to pay his allegiance to Umar. During Umar’s rule Uthman enjoyed a great amount of goodwill from Umar. A lot of Ommayyads who adopted Islam after loss of Makka began to be appointed as governors and jurists in various provinces on advices of Uthman. Hashmites, the clan of Prophet Mohammed was completely isolated; Ommayyads once the staunchest enemies of Islam now became representatives of Islam.

When Umar was murdered, before death he appointed a council of six men to choose the next caliph from among them. Ali son of Abu Talib was given top priority. Abdur Rehman another member of council convinced others to put this condition to Ali that if he wanted to become next caliph, he should abide by policies set by Abu Bakr and Umar during their era and should also work on advices of council members. Ali son of Abu Talib declared, “I will only follow Holy Qur’an, policies of Prophet Mohammed and my own judgement”. And thus Ali declined to follow policies of Abu Bakr and Umar or work on advices of council members. Uthman, the second choice of council, was also presented the same conditions which he readily accepted, thus he was made the next caliph.

Prophet Mohammed has exterminated for life time these culprits: Marwan son of Hakam and his father, from Madina. After Prophet Mohammed, Uthman had tried his best to cancel the extermination orders of Prophet Mohammed by two caliphs but they did not dare to cancel the order as it would have created anti-caliph feelings among people. Marwan was son in law of Uthman, the very next day Uthman became caliph he cancelled the orders of Prophet Mohammed and both Marwan and his father re-entered Madina.

Uthman began nepotism; all major and important positions were given to his brothers and cousins. Ommayyads who were once the staunchest enemies of Islam and were at open war with Prophet Mohammed became trustees of Islam. Islam never preached colonialism; Uthman, in name of Islam began colonialism and sent military expeditions in name of holy wars. It was at this time that Islam began to be seen as ‘spread by sword’. Holy preaching of Islam got replaced with lavish lifestyle.

Mauwiya, son of Abu Sufyan and father of Yazid, was appointed as governor of Syria during reign of Umar Khattab on advice of Uthman as both Uthman and Mauwiya were close relatives. It was Uthman who during his reign granted Mauwiya complete autonomy; he was no more answerable to central caliphate for any of his actions and could practice complete autonomy. This was birth of Ommayyad dysnasty, Ommayyads once again had come to power, during Uthman’s reign Hashmites, the clan of Prophet Mohammed was completely isolated.

Uthman started innovations (Biddat) in Islamic codex, he started an additional Azaan, call for prayers on Friday, angering many Muslims who saw this action as part of whims and fancies. Uqba, the step brother of Uthman was appointed as governor of Kufa, Iraq by Uthman. Uqba was caught drunk while leading the morning prayers in which he added two extra sets as he was drunk. These events were seen by Muslims as attack on their religious sentiments.

All these actions of Uthman created anti-caliph sentiments. These sentiments began to take severest form when Ommayyad governors and their clan members began to get undue and huge personal loans from central treasury. Clarity in finances was lost and central treasury became private riches of Ommayyads. Agitations began and numerous companions of Prophet Mohammed became critics.

The lead among critics was Abu Darr Ghiffari, he was a loyal companion of Prophet Mohammed. Abu Darr Ghiffari was among earliest convert to Islam and was very dear to Prophet Mohammed. He began challenging nepotism of Uthman, finally Uthman became fed up and exterminated Abu Darr Ghiffari to Syria. Abu Darr Ghiffari as critic in Syria became headache for Mauwiya who sent him back to Madina. Uthman once again ordered Abu Darr Ghiffari to be exterminated this time to deserts of Rabada where no humans lived. Abu Darr Ghiffari, his wife and daughter died of starvation.

Riots became the order of the day, and anti-Uthman sentiments grew in all provinces of caliphate. A lot of men formed radical organisations and parties, to launch revolt and overthrow Ommayyads from power. People began sending their envoys to different cities to gather support. The atmosphere of Madina also became critical. Few men consulted Aisha widow of Prophet Mohammed, also the daughter of Abu Bakr, she too favoured Uthman be replaced with someone else. She however went for pilgrimage to Makka.

Uthman had sensed his misfortune, and tried to get a remedy. He tried to gather support from Ali who isolated himself from all these events. Many companions also isolated themselves from these. Relatives of Uthman, Marwan, Uqba and others came for Uthman’s rescue. People who formed radical outfits and parties began entering Madina and encamped themselves. Initially, seize was not severe but in mean time these men imposed a curfew. Uthman became house arrested.

As tensions mounted food and water was blocked upon Uthman’s mansion. Days went by but the situation only became tensed. However, Ali took food and water provision to his house, as it was un-Islamic to block food and water. These people were adamant for solution and finally took advantage of moment and entered Uthman’s mansion from back wall. They attacked Uthman and finally killed him. It became impossible for Uthman’s body be buried in graveyard of Jannatul Baqi as curfew was imposed, thus his near relatives buried him in nearby Jewish graveyard ‘Hashke Kaukab’ secretly in night.

News of Uthman’s murder began spreading and anarchy started. Ommayyads who were on political posts started to take best advantage of the event and consolidate their powers, they raised the cry for revenge. Aisha the widow of Prophet Mohammed while returning from Makka heard the news. She became part for pro-Uthman people; however, before this she was against Uthman.

Sensing anarchy most of people insisted Ali to become the next caliph. This time Ali son of Abu Talib put his conditions before numerous people gathered outside his house. Ali in his conditions said, “I will only follow Holy Qur’an, policies of Prophet Mohammed and my own judgement, I will not follow policies of previous caliphs”. People agreed and started paying oath of allegiance to Ali son of Abu Talib as fourth Caliph. Ali had considered himself undisputed first deputy of Prophet Mohammed as declared by Prophet Mohammed himself, finally, assumed the caliphate.

Pro-Uthman faction sensing their future loss started to accuse Ali for murder of Uthman. Ali son of Abu Talib openly declared, “Had I supported Uthman’s murderers I would have became a part of them, and had I supported Uthman I would have became partner in his activities, I thus kept myself aloof from Uthman as well as his killers”.

Aisha the widow of Prophet Mohammed raised the banner of revenge from Ali, this she did by falling prey to propaganda of pro-Uthman men and those who themselves wanted to assume caliphate. Talha, son of Obaidullah, Zubair, son of Awwam and Aisha, widow of Prophet Mohammed formed an alliance along with Ommayyads to avenge blood of Uthman from Ali. Ali reminded Aisha that she had no Islamic right to seek revenge as she was not from clan of Uthman.

Ali started to suspend the Ommayyad governors because they misused the power. Ali as fourth caliph also suspended Mauwiya, the Syrian governor of Uthman. Mauwiya along with other Ommayyads denied to recognise Ali as the caliph and declared war on Ali, son of Abu Talib the fourth caliph. Aisha, Talha and Zubair joined Mauwiya and called for battle. Ali son of Abu Talib in this environment shifted the capital to Kufa, Iraq to consolidate the caliphate.

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

Return to main topic: Karbala, brief overview

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Jihad, the Holy War in Shia Islam

When questions about Jihad (Jihaad) are put forward, they are solely about the Holy War! Jihaad Fii Sabi Lillaah or Struggle in the path of God is thus also called the Holy war. Therefore no reasons are left to divert the topic with answers other than Holy War’s topic.
Shia Islam has ten Practices/ Branches of Faith ( Furu Deen), Jihad is sixth branch or sixth practice in Shia Islam. Status of Jihad, the Holy War in Shia Islam stands suspended (Saaqit). This ‘Saaqit’ or suspension is not ever-lasting.
Shia Islam preaches infallibility of Prophet Mohammed and his deputies, the series of twelve Imams (Aimmah). Shia Islam when it talks about Jihad the Holy War, has set pre-requisite for Jihad the Holy War to be undertaken. Shia Islam states that the order of Jihad the Holy War could only be issued by an infallible divinely guided person, as bloodshed is involved, also justice is the criteria of Jihaad, and only an infallible person can observe justice.
Since only Prophet Mohammed and his deputies the twelve Imams (Aimmah) are infallible from Shia Islamic view, only they alone can issue the order of Jihad the Holy War. Prophet Mohammed and eleven of his deputies have been martyred and the last deputy Imam Mohammed Mahdi is under occultation, thus Jihad the Holy War currently stands suspended in Shia Islam.
No matter how educated or intelligible a jurist may become he can never acquire the status of Isma or Infallibility, thus as per Shia Islam’s preaching, has no right to issue Jihad. An educated and intelligent jurist may not knowingly do injustice but out of limitations of normal human, being fallible may commit mistakes unknowingly. Jihad is to be fought without personal prejudice and without anger, it is fought solely for sake of God.
Shia Islam preaches that prior to Jihad the Holy War, Hujjat, the complete proofs of faith are presented, if that is not working the policy of peaceful co-existence is presented, if even that is not working, then as last course of action Jihad the Holy War is ordered. All these highest level activities could only be undertaken by and an Infallible, either Prophet Mohammed himself or his twelve deputies the Imams (Aimmah).
Of all the Infallibles, Prophet Mohammed issued Jihad the Holy War at Badr, Ohad, Khandaq, Khaybar, Hunain etc, His first deputy Imam Ali Murtada ordered Jihad the Holy War at Basra, Siffin, Nehrawan etc in Iraq, and the third Imam Husain Shaheed undertook Jihad the Holy War at Karbala, Iraq. All three infallibles took the course of Jihaad as last course of action and at utmost necessity.
Other Imams didn’t faced these utmost critical periods although they had very severe periods upon them, but Divine guidance bestowed upon them didn’t confuse them that those period were utmost critical, thus they practised alternate courses of actions other than Jihad the Holy War.
Shia Islam preaches Jihad as branch of religion and requires every Shia Muslim to be prepared for it, but no Shia Muslim be he jurist or layman has any right to order Jihad. Shia Islam preaches when Twelfth and Last Imam Mohammed Mahdi re-appears from occultation the ghaybat, he would order Jihad the Holy War, but this topic is part of Shia Islamic Eschatology.
A lot is said about offensive Jihad and defensive Jihad, but no proofs have been shown that Prophet Mohammed of whom Holy Quran declares being ‘Rahmatulill Alamiin’ the Mercy upon universes ever undertook offensive jihad. Prophet Mohammed, Imam Ali Murtada and Imam Husain faced the worst scenario in front of them and the only course of action left before them from Islamic point of view was Jihad the Holy War. Thus, the accusation of offensive Jihad is mere guesswork by various individuals.
Prophet Mohammed never made an empire; he only gave a governing system to the people in that area which had no governance at all and were nomadic and rudimentary, thus Prophet Mohammed’s action were not establishment of an empire or political identity in World politics. Confusing later Muslim conquests with Jihad the Holy war is absurd.
Islamic empires and so called Islamic wars to establish Islamic dynasties since the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed were politically motivated, they have no Islamic sanctions. Thus to confuse Jihad the Holy War  with politically motivated wars to establish Muslim dynasties is grievous mistake. These attacks were and are given the name of Jihad the Holy War to confuse and mix political motivations of power hungry men with pristine pure Islamic teachings.
The direct family of  Prophet Mohammed was the first victim of terrorism by power hungry hypocrite Muslims. Eleven Imam (Aimmah) or deputies of Prophet Mohammed were either attacked with swords or poisoned. The sorrows are endless upon Prophet Mohammed’s family, but it makes one become clear that Jihad the Holy War and pseudo jihad is all about hunger of power and money and is branded jihad just for sake of confusion.
Giving other meanings of word Jihad, and talking about moral activities of inner fight against ego etc is vague. Defending one’s family, children, neighbours, nation; earning lawful money and staying away from sins are loftily aspects in themselves and may be called as jihad from different perspective, they all have other specifics names in Islamic vocabulary.
Jihad the Holy War is completely different thing and could be ordered only by Prophet Mohammed himself or his twelve deputies the Imams (Aimmah). Prophet Mohammed and eleven Imams (Aimmah) are martyred, thus the only person who could declare the real Jihad the Holy War is only twelfth Imam Mohammed Mahdi.
O Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.