Monday, October 31, 2011

RELEASED: Shaykh Usama Al-Attar In His Own Words

Islamic Human Rights Commission in the UK has confirmed that Dr Al-Atar is extremely relieved and he has released the following statement, his first since being released:

“Dear all,

As you are well aware I was falsely arrested and held by Saudi authorities for the best part of the previous 36 hours in what can only be described as horrid conditions.

I feel deeply relieved and very grateful to be free and reunited with friends.

First and foremost, I would like to thank God Almighty and the holy Prophet and his divine family for their blessings. Second, I would like to take this opportunity to give a few heartfelt thank you messages to the many organisations and people around the world who helped secure my release, without whom I am sure I would have been charged and imprisoned falsely for many months.

So my deepest heartfelt thank you to:

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), based in London, who campaigned tirelessly on my behalf and ensured that all relevant bodies were made aware of my desperate situation.

The Canadian media who have been tracking my situation since coming to know, and have made sure my plight was aired, broadcasted and printed for all my fellow Canadians to see.

My family and many friends and their thousands of messages of support that they have posted on various social media sites and by those people who before this incident didn’t know me.

As I will be staying in Saudi Arabia and continuing with my Haj (religious pilgrimage), it would not, unfortunately, be sensible nor wise of me to conduct any media interviews. I apologise sincerely but I am sure you will understand why.

I look forward to returning home to my family in my home town of Edmonton, Canada, by the middle of this month and will be more than willing to share this traumatic experience with all of you.

Once again thank you all so much, you make me feel proud of being Muslim and honoured to be Canadian.

God bless you all,

Dr. Usama Al-Atar"

Shaykh Usama Al-Attar

Historic Boycott of The Hajj in Saudi Arabia

 Abd al-Aziz Ibn Sa‘ud, when asked in 1918 about the Shi‘ite shrines in Iraq, could still declare that “I would raise no objection if you demolished the whole lot of them, and I would demolish them myself if I had the chance.” 9 He never had that chance, but he did besiege and occupy Medina, and his bombardment of the city produced a general strike in Iran and an uproar throughout the Shi‘ite world. For while the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca holds the same significance for Sunnis and Shi‘ites, the visitation (ziyara) to nearby Medina is of special significance for Shi‘ites. The cemetery of al-Baqi‘, near the city, is the reputed resting place of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and four of the Twelve Imams. It was the Shi‘ite practice at this cemetery to pray for their intercession with God. 10 The Wah habis, for whom prayer through these intercessors represented a form of idolatry, had leveled much of this cemetery in 1806, during an earlier occupation of Medina, but its domed tombs had been rebuilt by the end of the century. Now the Saudis, in their purifying zeal, again demolished the domes of al-Baqi‘, a move regarded by Shi‘ites as desecration of their hallowed shrines. 

The demolition created so profound a sentiment in Iran, especially in religious circles, that the Iranian government refused to recognize Ibn Sa‘ud’s rule. Instead, Iran demanded that a general assembly of Muslims be created to regulate the holy cities, while a Shi‘ite conference convened in Lucknow, India, called upon all Muslims to use every possible means to expel Ibn Sa‘ud from the Hijaz. 11 Denial of recognition was combined, in 1927, with a decision by Iran to forbid the pilgrimage to its nationals, as an act of protest against the alleged intolerance of the Wahhabis and their destruction of tombs. 12

Still, the ban failed to discourage the most determined pilgrims from Iran, who continued to arrive via Iraq and Syria. And in a pragmatic step, Ibn Sa‘ud moved to defuse the extensive Shi‘ite agitation against him by a show of tolerance designed to win official Iranian recognition. Shi‘ite pilgrims from Arab lands met with exemplary treatment during the year in which Iran imposed the ban, and Iran’s ulama soon were demanding the restored right to perform the pilgrimage. In 1928, Iran lifted the pilgrimage ban, and in 1929 Iran and Ibn Sa‘ud’s kingdom concluded a treaty of friendship. Article 3 of the treaty guaranteed that Iran’s pilgrims would enjoy treatment identical to that of pilgrims from other countries, and that they would not be prevented from observing their own religious rites.13


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Canadian Imam Arrested For "Worshipping Graves" of Islamic Historic Figures in Medina, Saudi Arabia (KSA)

American Muslim organizations who do not condemn the arrest of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Attar in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are Saudi-funded organizations. Do not contribute to or support any organization that does not condemn this violation of human rights and act of government sponsored terrorism.



Join Ali Ridha Jaffer & Eisa Ali for an EMERGENCY live show in protest of the imprisonment of Sheikh Usama Al Attar by the Saudi regime. Join us as we call eyewitnesses that were with him & other Shia pilgrims currently in Mecca & Medina.


Call in LIVE with your support. Post your comments below.


I think that all Muslims in the world need to boycott the Hajj until Mecca and Medina are in the hands of a neutral Muslim coalition. I think Allah (swt) will understand. The Saudi's biggest income after oil is the Hajj of over 2 million pilgrims in one month and the rest for Hajj Umrah through out the year.


They arrested the Canadian Imam for "Worshipping Graves", because his congregation was visiting the graves of Islamic historic figures. This is related to the Wahabi Sharia Law that dictates that everybody must follow their rules, which most other Muslims from the Sunni, Shia, and Sufi community does not follow.

Where is the outrage from the Muslim community? Where are all the American Muslim Saudi Funded organizations now? Any American Muslim Organization that does not consider this an outrage and condemn the actions against Shaykh Al Attar is a Saudi Funded organization and should no longer be given any money or support.




On 8th Shawwal, Wednesday, in the year 1345 AH (April 21, 1925), mausoleums in Jannatul al-Baqi (Madina) were demolished by King Ibn Saud.

In the same year (1925), he also demolished the tombs of holy personages at Jannat al-Mualla (Makkah) where the Holy Prophet (s)'s mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried.

Destruction of sacred sites in Hijaz by the Saudi Wahhabis continues even today. According to some scholars what is happening in Hijaz is actually a conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the guise of Tawheed. The idea is to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.

The Origins of Al-Baqi

Literally "al-Baqi" means a tree garden. It is also known as "Jannat al-Baqi" due to its sanctity, since in it are buried many of our Prophet's relatives and companions.
The first companion buried in al-Baqi was Uthman b. Madhoon who died on the 3rd of Sha'ban in the 3rd year of Hijrah. The Prophet (s) ordered certain trees to be felled, and in its midst, he buried his dear companion, placing two stones over the grave.
On the following years, the Prophet's son Ibrahim, who died in infancy and over whom the Prophet (s) wept bitterly, was also buried there. The people of Madina then began to use that site for the burial of their own dead, because the Prophet (s) used to greet those who were buried in al-Baqi by saying, "Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O' Allah, forgive the fellows of al-Baqi".
The site of the burial ground at al-Baqi was gradually extended. Nearly seven thousand companions of the Holy Prophet (s) were buried there, not to mention those of the Ahlul Bayt (a). Imam Hasan b. Ali (a), Imam Ali b. al-Husayn (a), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) were all buried there.
Among other relatives of the Prophet (s) who were buried at al-Baqi are: his aunts Safiya and Aatika, and his aunt Fatima bint al-Asad, the mother of Imam Ali (a). The third caliph Uthman was buried outside al-Baqi, but with later extensions, his grave was included in the area. In later years, great Muslim scholars like Malik bin Anas and many others, were buried there too. Thus, did al-Baqi become a well-known place of great historic significance to all Muslims.

Al-Baqi as viewed by historians

Umar bin Jubair describes al-Baqi as he saw it during his travel to Madina, saying "Al-Baqi is situated to the east of Madina. You enter it through the gate known as the gate of al-Baqi. As you enter, the first grave you see on your left is that of Safiya, the Prophet's aunt, and further still is the grave of Malik bin Anas, the Imam of Madina. On his grave is raised a small dome. In front of it is the grave of Ibrahim son of our Prophet (s) with a white dome over it, and next to it on the right is the grave of Abdul-Rahman son of Umar bin al-Khattab, popularly known as Abu Shahma, whose father had kept punishing him till death overtook him. Facing it are the graves of Aqeel bin Abi Talib and Abdullah bin Ja'far al-Tayyar. There, facing those graves is a small shrine containing the graves of the Prophet's wives, following by a shrine of Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib.
The grave of Hasan bin Ali (a), situated near the gate to it's right hand, has an elevated dome over it. His head lies at the feet of Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, and both graves are raised high above the ground, their walls are panelled with yellow plates and studded with beautiful star-shaped nails. This is how the grave of Ibrahim, son of the Prophet (s) has also been adorned. Behind the shrine of Abbas there is the house attributed to Fatima, daughter of our Prophet (s), known as "Bayt al-Ahzaan" (the house of grief) because it is the house she used to frequent in order to mourn the death of her father, the chosen one, peace be upon him. At the farthest end of al-Baqi is the grave of the caliph Uthman, with a small dome over it, and there, next to it, is the grave of Fatima bint Asad, mother of Ali b. Abi Talib (a)"
After a century and a half, the famous traveller Ibn Batuta came to describe al-Baqi in a way which does not in any way differ from the description given by Ibn Jubair. He adds saying, "At al-Baqi are the graves of numerous Muhajirin and Ansar and many companions of the Prophet (s), except that most of their names are unknown."
Thus, over the centuries, al-Baqi remained a sacred site with renovations being carried out as and when needed till the Wahhabis rose to power in the early nineteenth century. The latter desecrated the tombs and demonstrated disrespect to the martyrs and the companions of the Prophet (s) buried there. Muslims who disagreed with them were branded as "infidels" and were subsequently killed.

The First Destruction of Al-Baqi

The Wahhabis believed that visiting the graves and the shrines of the Prophets, the Imams, or the saints was a form of idolatry and totally un-Islamic. Those who did not conform with their belief were killed and their property was confiscated. Since their first invasion of Iraq, and till nowadays, in fact, the Wahhabis, as well as other rulers of the Gulf States, having been carrying out massacres from which no Muslim who disagreed with them was spared. Obviously, the rest of the Islamic World viewed those graves with deep reverence. Had it not been so, the two caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar would not have expressed their desire for burial near the grave of the Prophet (s).
From 1205 AH to 1217 AH, the Wahhabis made several attempts to gain a foothold in Hijaz but failed. Finally, in 1217 AH, they somehow emerged victorious in Taif where they spilled the innocent blood of Muslims. In 1218 AH, they entered Makkah and destroyed all sacred places and domes there, including the one which served as a canopy over the well of Zamzam.
In 1221, the Wahhabis entered Madina to desecrate al-Baqi as well as every mosque they came across. An attempt was even made to demolish the Prophet's tomb, but for one reason or another, the idea was abandoned. In subsequent years, Muslims from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt were refused entry into Makkah for Hajj. King Al-Saud set a pre-condition that those who wished to perform the pilgrimage would have to accept Wahhabism or else be branded as non-Muslims, becoming ineligible for entry into the Haram.
Al-Baqi was razed to the ground, with no sign of any grave or tomb whatsoever. But the Saudis were still not quite satisfied with doing all of that. Their king ordered three black attendants at the Prophet's shrine to show him where the treasure of valuable gifts were stored. The Wahhabis plundered the treasure for their own use.
Thousands of Muslims fled Makkah and Madina in a bid to save their lives and escape from the mounting pressure and persecution at the hands of the Wahhabis. Muslims from all over the world denounced this Saudi savagery and exhorted the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire to save the sacred shrines from total destruction. Then, as it is known, Muhammad Ali Basha attacked Hijaz and, with the support of local tribes, managed to restore law and order in Madina and Makkah, dislodging the Al-Saud clansmen. The entire Muslim world celebrated this victory with great fanfare and rejoicing. In Cairo, the celebrations continued for five days. No doubt, the joy was due to the fact that pilgrims were once more allowed freely to go for Hajj, and the sacred shrines were once again restored.
In 1818 AD, the Ottaman Caliph Abdul Majid and his successors, Caliphs Abdul Hamid and Mohammed, carried out the reconstruction of all sacred places, restoring the Islamic heritage at all important sites. In 1848 and 1860 AD, further renovations were made at the expense of nearly seven hundred thousand pounds, most of which came from the donations collected at the Prophet's tomb.

The second plunder by the Wahhabis

The Ottoman Empire had added to the splendor of Madina and Makkah by building religious structures of great beauty and architectural value. Richard Burton, who visited the holy shrines in 1853 AD disguised as an Afghan Muslim and adopting the Muslim name Abdullah, speaks of Madina boasting 55 mosques and holy shrines. Another English adventurer who visited Madina in 1877-1878 AD describes it as a small beautiful city resembling Istanbul. He writes about its white walls, golden slender minarets and green fields.
1924 AD Wahhabis entered Hijaz for a second time and carried out another merciless plunder and massacre. People in streets were killed. Houses were razed to the ground. Women and children too were not spared.
Awn bin Hashim (Shairf of Makkah) writes: "Before me, a valley appeared to have been paved with corpses, dried blood staining everywhere all around. There was hardly a tree which didn't have one or two dead bodies near its roots."
1925 Madina surrendered to the Wahhabi onslaught. All Islamic heritage were destroyed. The only shrine that remained intact was that of the Holy Prophet (s).
Ibn Jabhan says: "We know that the tomb standing on the Prophet's grave is against our principles, and to have his grave in a mosque is an abominable sin."
Tombs of Hamza and other martyrs were demolished at Uhud. The Prophet's mosque was bombarded. On protest by Muslims, assurances were given by Ibn Saud that it will be restored but the promise was never fulfilled. A promise was given that Hijaz will have an Islamic multinational government. This was also abandoned.
1925 AD Jannat al-Mu'alla, the sacred cemetery at Makkah was destroyed alongwith the house where the Holy Prophet (s) was born. Since then, this day is a day of mourning for all Muslims.
Is it not strange that the Wahhabis find it offensive to have the tombs, shrines and other places of importance preserved, while the remains of their Saudi kings are being guarded at the expense of millions of dollars?

Protest from Indian Muslims

1926, protest gatherings were held by shocked Muslims all over the world. Resolutions were passed and a statement outlining the crimes perpetrated by Wahhabis was issued and included the following:
  1. The destruction and desecration of the holy places i.e. the birth place of the Holy Prophet [s], the graves of Banu Hashim in Makkah and in Jannat al-Baqi (Madinah), the refusal of the Wahhabis to allow Muslims to recite Ziyarah or Surah al-Fatiha at those graves.
  2. The destruction of the places of worship i.e. Masjid Hamza, Masjid Abu Rasheed, in addition to the tombs of Imams and Sahaba (Prophet's companions).
  3. Interference in the performance of Hajj rituals.
  4. Forcing the Muslims to follow the Wahhabis innovations and to abandon their own ways according to the guidance of the Imams they follow.
  5. The massacre of sayyids in Taif, Madina, Ahsa, and Qatif.
  6. The demolition of the grave of the Imams at al-Baqi which deeply offended and grieved all Shias.

Protest from other countries

Similar protests were lodged by Muslims in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Indonesia, and Turkey. All of them condemn the Saudi Wahhabis for their barbaric acts. Some scholars wrote tracts and books to tell the world the fact that what was happening in Hijaz was actually a conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the guise of Tawheed. The idea was to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.

A partial list of the demolished graves and shrines

  • Al-Mualla graveyard in Makkah which includes the grave of Sayyida Khadija bint Khuwailid (a), wife of the Prophet (s), the grave of Amina bint Wahab, mother of the Prophet (s), the grave of Abu Talib, father of Imam Ali (a), and the grave of Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of the Prophet (s)
  • The grave of Hawa (Eve) in Jeddah
  • The grave of the father of the Prophet (s) in Madina
  • The house of sorrows (bayt al-Ahzan) of Sayyida Fatima (a) in Madina
  • The Salman al-Farsi mosque in Madina
  • The Raj'at ash-Shams mosque in Madina
  • The house of the Prophet (s) in Madina, where he lived after migrating from Makkah
  • The house of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) in Madina
  • The complex (mahhalla) of Banu Hashim in Madina
  • The house of Imam Ali (a) where Imam Hasan (a) and Imam Husayn (a) were born
  • The house of Hamza and the graves of the martyrs of Uhud (a)



Religious police officers beat and arrested a Canadian imam after he recited prayers at a graveyard while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, witnesses said.
Usama Al-Atar, 33, of Edmonton read religious passages to a small group of travellers from Canada, the U.S. and Europe after morning prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina around 6 a.m. Sunday.
Michael Hayward, a British citizen who was part of the group, said a religious police officer watching over the mosque told Al-Atar to lower his voice.
“He was reading to about 10 of us, so he lowered his voice and we crowded close together,” Hayward said. “But the officer wasn’t happy and told us to leave, which we did.”
As the group walked toward the exit of the plaza, the same officer yelled, “Thief!”
The officer pointed at Al-Atar, Hayward said. And then a slew of citizens jumped the Canadian and pinned him to the ground.
“Then the religious police held (Al-Atar) down by the neck and (tried to) strangle him,” Hayward said. “He turned blue and red before they finally stopped.”
A few minutes later, the city police arrived and took the imam to the central station in Medina, Hayward said, allegedly for breaking the same officer’s arm.
“This is just a lie — Usama (Al-Atar) didn’t do anything,” Hayward said.
Saudi Arabia’s religious police largely belong to the Sunni Muslim sect and discriminate against Shiite Muslims, Hayward said. Members of Al-Atar’s group are Shiites.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is aware of the arrest.
“The Canadian Embassy in Riyadh has been notified and stands ready to provide consular assistance as required,” said spokeswoman Aliya Mawani in an email, but she wouldn’t discuss the incident further “due to privacy considerations.”
Al-Atar’s friends in Canada are disturbed by the incident and worried for his safety. Al-Atar is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alberta where he researches solar cells and nanotechnology.
Jeffrey Murphy, who sits beside him in their lab in Edmonton, said he was worried about Al-Atar’s family. The imam’s pregnant wife and 3-year-old daughter remained in Canada.
“He’s a good family man, devout and helpful and friendly,” Murphy said with a quavering voice. “He’s a very Canadian guy.”
Murphy said Al-Atar makes the hajj pilgrimage every year and hasn’t had problems on any of his six previous visits.
“He always comes back joyful and refreshed,” Murphy said. “Maybe not this time, though.”
The U.K.-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, which is lobbying for Al-Atar’s release, demanded Saudi authorities let him go immediately. The commission has procured a lawyer for the imam’s 8 a.m. hearing Monday, where he’s expected to be formally charged with assault.
The commission’s Massoud Shadjareh said tensions are high in Saudi Arabia because of the Arab uprising.
“I don’t think this had anything to do with one man,” Shadjareh said. “This is because of religious and narrow-minded reasons.”
Shadjareh has been in contact with the British embassy in Saudi Arabia, but said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with any Canadian authorities yet.
Shadjareh said he’s hearing rumours about Al-Atar — that authorities have sent him to a psychiatrist because they suspect he’s mentally disturbed — and is worried that the Canadian won’t be treated well unless the government steps in.
“The imam needs someone from the Canadian government at his hearing (Monday),” an exasperated Shadjareh said. “Where are the Canadian authorities?”
With files from The Canadian Press

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gaddafi Sodomized: Where is the Islamic Chivalry?

The disturbing part about this is that he was treated in a way that is cyclical and Un-Islamic...meaning that the way they tortured and killed him has now set a standard for future revolutions in Libya and across the region where if for example the Wahabi Crown is overthrown in Saudi Arabia, he might get a literal "stick up his a**" and be sodomized. Violence begets some point the cycle has to stop. Another question that arises is that how many of these rebels were Wahabi/Salafi Islamists? Where is the Islamic Chivalry (Futuwwah)? Where is the Islamic Behavior (Adab)?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zakaria: Reflections on Iran

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Here is my snapshot from a brief visit to Iran. I thought it might add some color to the picture you have of Iran.
Tehran is a big, sprawling city of 8 million people, nestled in a semi-arid plain in the shadow of the Albroz mountains. The highest peaks of these mountains are always snowcapped, with a well-known ski resort. Yes, Iranians ski.
My first impression of Tehran was of cleanliness. It is a remarkably clean city for one in the developing world – certainly a far cry from the chaos of Cairo, for example. The streets are swept daily; garbage is picked up daily. Traffic in the city is terrible but that is largely a consequence of a growing middle class that buys more cars each year. The city has a large network of roads and highways and public buses and the underground metro - all of them effective and clean. The overall impression is of order. Iranians I spoke to said this was attributable to an Iranian fetish with cleanliness and order, though some did credit the city government. Remember the last Mayor of Tehran is currently the President of Iran and the current Mayor of Tehran is reported to be eyeing the presidency as well.
Tehran also a bustling, cosmopolitan city. From the bazaar to shops of every kind that dot neighborhoods, you see Iranians doing business. Because of sanctions, you see very few Western brands. Every bank, store, and boutique has a local name with local products. There are some exceptions. Coca Cola is a here as it is everywhere.
One of the other effects of the sanctions has been that larger and larger parts of the economy are now controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guard - the elite corps of the armed forces. Iranians are a worldly people and don't like the sanctions and their isolation from the world. But they are also a nationalistic people and they seem to resent that they - ordinary people - pay the price for the actions of their government.
Woman in Iran are covered from head to toe but somehow Iran's women have managed to take this restriction and turn it into a fashion statement, so you see highly tailored outfits, colorful headscarfs and peeking out from it all, beautifully made-up faces. Women in Iran are educated, articulate and well-integrated into society. When you watch them driving their cars to work, you are reminded that women in the Islamic Republic of Iran are considerably more liberated than women in Saudi Arabia.
The talk of the people I met with - the political charter - was of the rift between President Ahmadinjad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameni. Now what is hard for most westerners to understand is that in this debate, in Iran, Ahmadinejad is the moderate. He has been trying to clip the wings of the clergy; he has advocated loosening up some of the restrictions on women, allowing them to attend football games, for example; he speaks of Iran's pres-Islamic past with pride - something that is anathema to the clergy. And many here believe that he wants to be the Iranian president who normalizes relations with the United States. But with all that is going on now - between the Saudi plot and the nuclear deadlock - that appears a distant prospect.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saudi Ayatollah Nimr Discusses Freedom of Religion in Saudi Arabia

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Wahabi theocratic monarchy in which Wahabi Islam is the official religion. Although no law requires citizens or passport holders to be Muslim, almost all citizens are Muslims. Proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal, and conversion by Muslims to another religion (apostasy) carries the death penalty, although as of 2010 there have been no confirmed reports of executions for apostasy in recent years.
Religious freedom is virtually non-existent (ie. Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. do not have freedom to even carry their books). The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.  The Saudi Mutaween (Arabicمطوعين), or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police) enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions. Wahabi Sharia Law applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia, regardless of religion."

Haram (Forbidden): Bloodletting During Muharram and Ashura

Considering that the month of Muharram is upon us in November, I think it is very necessary to remember that blood letting is forbidden in Islam, even in the Shia school of thought.  There are many who continue to say that it is ok, however common sense and reason say otherwise in addition to the following comments by Shia scholars on the subject...

Ayatollah SistaniQuestion by Ahmed: My brother wants to do Qama on 20 Safar, he is following Ayatollah Sistani. Based on the misuse of Qama today, insincerity of many people, diseases spreading around, and political views can I stop him from doing Qama?

Answer by Board of Istifa, Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The main objective of mourning and lamentation during 'Ashura', is to respect the signs and symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (as), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. Also its ritual aspect should be preserved. So those actions which are not understandable for the enemies of Islam and non-Shia Muslims and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided.

Question by Zaeem Sherazi: I want to know the status of beating our backs with knives (ZANJEER) on the day of Ashura? What is it status in our Fiqh?

Answer by Board of Istifa, Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The philosophy of mourning during 'Ashura', is to respect the symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (as), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. So those actions which are not understandable and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided.

This video is for our Urdu and Hindi speaking community that this issue is the most problematic:

Ayatollah Khamenei: Practical Laws of Islam >> Religious Events

Ayatollah KhameneiQ1430: What is the view on beating the drum and cymbal, blowing the trumpet, and lashing oneself with chains with blades during the processions of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.)?

A: If the use of such chains leads, in the eye of the public, to defaming our school of thought or inflicting a noticeable harmful effect on the body, it is not permissible. There is no harm in using the drum, cymbal, and trumpet in the traditional way.

Q1439: Is there any basis in religion for piercing one's body with weights dangling therefrom, all in the name of commemorating the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn (a.s.)?

A: These acts, which are, inevitably, bound to portray our school of thought in a negative shade, are impermissible.

Q1449: In commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on the tenth of Muharram, some people hit themselves with a machete, or walk bare-footed on fire. Such actions defame Shi'ism and put it in a bad light, if not undermine it. They cause bodily and spiritual harms on these doing it as well. What is your opinion in this matter?

A: Any practice that causes bodily harm, or leads to defaming the faith, is Haram. Accordingly, the believers have to steer clear of it. There is no doubt that many of these practices besmirch the image of Ahlul Bayt's (a.s.) School of Thought which is the worst damage and loss.

Q1450: Is hitting oneself with swords Halal if it is done in secret? Or is your fatwa in this regard universal?

A: In addition to the fact that it is not held in the common view as manifestations of mourning and grief and it has no precedent at the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.) and even after that and we have not received any tradition quoted from the Infallibles (a.s.) about any support for this act, be it privately or publicly, this practice would, at the present time, give others a bad image of our school of thought. Therefore, there is no way that it can be considered permissible.

Zanjeer, Qama zaniAfter reading the above mentioned orders from two Great Ayatollah's of our times. People should start following the orders to safeguard Islam and to fail the propaganda of "Taghoot" and arrogant powers of this era against Shiites proving them "Crazy" & "Insane" people who beat themselves sometimes so hard even threatening their own lives. To see the propaganda of "Taghoot" by yourself to believe, please visit the below given link called as Ashura.

As such the true form of Azadari (mourning) is relevant to Wilayat only. The Azadari seen mostly are a set of rituals which are done with the purpose of earning rewards, expressing love of Imam Hussain (a.s.) in the form of grief, or expressing condolence to his mother Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Whereas Azadari in its true sense is awakening of the Ummah to stand and protest against the Yazid of our age and denounce their cruel and harmful policies towards Islam, and this spirit is very much lacking in our Azadari sessions, and this can only be enlightened through the Wilayat of the righteous, that is the Ulama (Faqih) during the occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.).

As far as mourning is concerned and getting attention of entire world, then it should be done very nicely with "beating chests and heads with hands" and with complete discipline in procession. All the people should participate with fully dressed in black cloths. Then definitely it will impress the entire world and will force them to accept us as a peace loving people. On the other hand people fear from Shiites when they see them doing Zanjeer Zani crazily and from head to toe covered with blood.

Some people call it Mojeza (Miracle) of Imam Hussain (a.s.), that there is no infection out of the wounds of Zanjeer and Qama.

As far as no infection with Zanjeer and Qama is concerned, shows the lack of knowledge regarding cultures and religions of world. National Geographic channel has shown many times that in some countries they do the same things which Shiites do and they neither feel pain nor infection after doing so. Hence they can also claim it as Mojeza. So, it has been decided that religion can not be practiced according to our assumptions and self-made thoughts instead we should commemorate true Azadri with its soul.

Some says; this is an issue of Aqeeda, whereas Taqleed is forbidden in Aqeeda, so what concern we have with the Marjae's?

This is one more ignorant question. Aqeeda (Usool example Tauheed) is belief, beliefs are always in the heart, when the beliefs get manifested in practical form it becomes Furoo (example Salaat), and all Furoo are controlled by laws of Shariah. Now love for Allah is Tauheed, but when the same love comes into action it become Salaat, which is Furoo, and Shariah will tell us the way of Salaat. In a similar way, the love of Imam Hussain (a.s.) is Aqeeda, but when the same love comes in practical form, it becomes Furoo (example Azadari) and has to be controlled by Shariah.

As far as matter of Owais-e-Qarani is concerned, he didn't broke his teeth's deliberately but infact it was emotional act and was not pre-planned thing rather than it was unplanned and very quick as he heard the news of the Prophet's broken teeth's. So if we suppose that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) didn't object on it then even we can't relate it to Zanjeer and Qama Zani's permission. Because (1) we do this Zanjeer and Qama Zani pre-planned and we do it every year and Owais-e-Qarani did it only once so we can't make habit of it. (2) we see no continuation of such practice after Owais-e-Qarani, hence proving that its not desirable or Mustahab thing otherwise other companions (Sahabas) would have done it or after that any of companions of Aimma would have done it when hearing martyrdom of any Imam.

Hence it is proved that we find no legal status of shedding blood deliberately and make a practice of it every year rather then we should try to find out the ways which Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) has done, don't forget after Imam Hussain (AS), we have the history of eight (8) Imams, its not less. Why sticks on the act of Owais-e-Qarani only hence try to prove baseless thing?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Proclamation by Jesus of the Mission of the Prophet of Islam

My new NAB interfaith Bible
There is no doubt that belief in the preceding Prophets is one of the pillars of the Islamic creed. The long line of Prophets who succeeded each other throughout history with the single goal of teaching the human being monotheism may be compared to a chain in which the final and most sublime link was the Most Noble Prophet of Islam.

If the Quran insists on the exalted position that God's messengers occupy in the history of revelation and calls on the Muslims to believe in the heavenly books that they brought, it is in order to confirm the truth and veracity of religion and to demonstrate that human beings must at all times turn to pure, authentic religions that derive from revelation, the religious guidance of humanity being entrusted by God in every age to a particular Prophet.

If we see any variation in the procedures and programs followed by the various Prophets, it is to be explained in terms of the swift changes that take place in human development and the passage of the human being from one stage to the next. For all the Prophets were, without distinction, true guides of humanity to the goals set by God; they preached a single doctrine deriving from a single source, advancing it in accordance with the dictates and circumstances of their time. The Quran says: "We make no distinction among any of the Prophets."(2:135)

The sending of the Prophets formed part of the plan of creation from the very beginning, and the chain of the Messengers represented the gradual unfolding of Divine guidance. Just as the human being advanced in the general conduct of his life, so, too, the mission of the Prophets moved forward, in harmony with the progress of the human being, and the Prophets accordingly foretold the appearance of the Prophets who would succeed them. 

The Prophet of Islam confirmed the messengerhood of previous Prophets and the heavenly books they had brought, just as they had confirmed the Prophets who had preceded them. Those earlier Prophets had also proclaimed that others would follow them, so that the very leaders of religion clearly proclaimed the interconnectedness of all true religion.

Although the fact that the appearance of a Prophet has been foretold cannot serve in itself as proof for the veracity of a person's claim to prophethood, it does serve to indicate what might be the nature of a true Prophet and what qualities might be observed in him.

Were a name to be specified when predicting the emergence of a Prophet, this would, of course, be open to misuse, since naming is a conventional matter and anyone could adopt the name in question.

Similarly, to specify the exact moment when the Prophet was to appear would have facilitated the task of false claimants by giving them the opportunity to prepare themselves for making their fateful and monstrous claim. Furthermore, this might have led to a profusion of claims, which would then have induced confusion in the minds of people.

It may not be difficult for people with the ability to examine matters carefully and realistically to tell the difference between a true Messenger of God and false and erroneous claimants. But at the same time, it should not be forgotten that recognizing the truth, particularly in circumstances where it is mixed with falsehood, is not easy for those many people whose level of thought and awareness is not especially high. Many are those who fall into traps laid by the ambitions of the wicked.

It is for these reasons that the characteristics of a future Prophet are spelled out, these being the distinctive signs by which he may be recognized. Then those scholars on whom others depend for guidance in this matter can measure the claimant to prophethood against the characteristics that have been mentioned, devoting themselves to the task in utter purity and sincerity. 

Christianity never advanced the claim that the religion of Jesus would be permanent and eternal or that Jesus was the Seal of the Prophets and a guarantor of the textual integrity of the Gospels.

Other religions also did not make analogous claims for themselves.

Islam does, however, speak of being the last and most perfect of all religions and of its Messenger being the Seal of the Prophets.

It therefore follows that the heavenly book of Islam must always be protected from corruption and distortion.
The fundamental difference between the sacred books of Christianity and Islam is that Christianity lacks a revealed text that was fixed at the very time of its origins, whereas Islam possesses one.

The Gospels which we now have at our disposal have been extensively criticized by scholars and researchers who have examined different copies of the Gospels and have reached the conclusion that the New Testament has undergone many changes. There are many indications that the text of the Gospels has been codified to a considerable extent, to conform to personal beliefs and opinions.

John Nass, a historian of religions, writes as follows: "The history of Christianity is the story of a religion that arose from a belief in Divine incarnation having taken place in the person of its founder. All the teachings of Christianity revolve around the conviction that the person of Jesus represents the clearest manifestation of the Divine essence. But this religion that started out with a belief in Divine incarnation was transformed through a series of developments and took on a human dimension so that all the weaknesses and imperfections of the human condition began to appear in it.
"The story of religion is extremely long, including many ups and downs and moments of both glory and shame; it is these contrasts that give it meaning and significance. In none of the world's religions have such exalted spiritual aims been manifest as in Christianity; but equally in none of them has the failure to reach those aims been so marked."
Despite the textual corruption to which the Gospels have been subject, there are indications that the expressions "Spirit of Truth," "Holy Ghost" and "Comforter' which they contain may refer to the Prophet of Islam.

The Gospels record that Jesus addressed his disciples as follows: "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.[52] But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."[53] "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness because I go to my Father, and you see me no more; of judgment because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now. How be it, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you."[54] "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."[55]

If we say that the Comforter is identical with the Holy Ghost, we know that the Holy Ghost constantly accompanied Jesus and it would therefore not have been correct for him to say: "He will not come to you until I go."
When the Prophet Jesus says, "The prince of the world cometh" and that he will guide mankind, he is in effect accepting the religion to be brought by that person as the most perfect of all religions. Can the description of him given by Jesus fit anyone other than Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings?

When Jesus says, "He shall testify of me," and "he shall glorify me," did anyone other than the Prophet of Islam revere and honor Jesus or defend the innocence of Mary against the unworthy accusations made by the Jews?

Was it the Holy Ghost that did these things, or the Prophet of Islam? In addition to the fact that these verses clearly bear witness that the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, cannot be anyone other than the Prophet of Islam, we also encounter the world "Paraclete" in some of the Gospels, the meaning of which is identical with that of the named Muhammad and Ahmad. Translators of the Gospels however have taken the work perikletos, a proper name in Greek equivalent in its meaning to Ahmad, to be parakletos, translating this as "Comforter." 

Dr. Bucaille has a valuable discussion of this subject in the Chapter called "Jesus's Last Dialogues. The Paraclete of John's Gospel." "John is the only evangelist to report the episode of the last dialogue with the Apostles. It takes place at the end of the Last Supper and before Jesus's arrest. It ends in a very long speech: four chapters in John's Gospel (14 to 17) are devoted to this narration which is not mentioned anywhere in the other Gospels. These chapters of John nevertheless deal with questions of prime importance and fundamental significance to the future outlook. They are set out with all the grandeur and solemnity that characterizes the farewell scene between the Master and His disciples.
"This very touching farewell scene which contains Jesus's spiritual testament is entirely absent from Matthew, Mark and Luke. How can the absence of this description be explained? One might ask the following: did the text initially exist in the first three Gospels? Was it subsequently suppressed? Why? It must be state immediately that no answer can be found; the mystery surrounding this huge gap in the narrations of the first three evangelists remains as obscure as ever.
"The dominating feature of this narration - seen in the crowning speech - is the view of man's future that Jesus describes, His care in addressing His disciples and through them the whole of humanity, His recommendations and commandments and His concern to specify the guide whom man must follow after His departure. The text of John's Gospel is the only one to designate him as parakletos in Greek which in English has become Paraclete. 

The following are the essential passages:

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete." (14, 15-16)

"What does 'Paraclete' mean? The present text of John's Gospel explains its meaning as follow:

"But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (14, 26).

"...he will bear witness to me..." (15, 26)

"It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

And when he comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment..." (16, 74)
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me..." (16,13-14). 

"(It must be noted that the passages in John, chapters 14-17, which have not been cited here, in no way alter the general meaning of these quotations).

On a cursory reading, the text which identifies the Greek work 'Paraclete' with the Holy Spirit is unlikely to attract much attention.

This is especially true when the subtitles of the text are generally used for translations and the terminology commentators employ in works for mass publication direct the reader towards the meaning in these passages that an exemplary orthodoxy would like them to have. Should one have the slightest difficulty in comprehension, there are many explanations available such as those given by A. Tricot in his Little Dictionary of the New Testament (Petit Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament) to enlighten one on this subject. In his entry on the Paraclete this commentator writes the following:

" 'This name or title translated from the Greek is only used in the New Testament by John: he uses it four times in his account of Jesus's speech after the Last Supper 56 (14, 16 and 26; 15, 26; 16, 7) and once in his First Letter (2, 1). In John's Gospel the word is applied to the Holy Spirit; in the Letter it refers to Christ. "Paraclete" was a term in current usage among the Hellenist Jews, First century AD, meaning "intercessor," "defender" (...) Jesus predicts that the Spirit will be sent by the Father and Son. Its mission will be to take the place of the Son in the role he played during his mortal life as a helper for the benefit of his disciplines. The Spirit will intervene and act as a substitute for Christ, adopting the role of Paraclete or omnipotent intercessor.'

"This commentary therefore makes the Holy Spirit into the ultimate guide of man after Jesus's departure. How does it square with John's text?

"It is a necessary question because a priori it seems strange to ascribe the last paragraph quoted above to the Holy Spirit: 'for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.' It seems inconceivable that one could ascribe to the Holy Spirit the ability to speak and declare whatever he hears...Logic demands that this question be raised, but to my knowledge, it is not usually the subject of commentaries. 

"To gain an exact idea of the problem, one has to go back to the basic Greek text. This is especially important because John is universally recognized to have written in Greek instead of another language. The Greek text consulted was the Norum Testamentum Graece.[57]

"Any serious textual criticism begins with a search for variations. Here it would seem that in all the known manuscripts of John's Gospel, the only variation likely to change the meaning of the sentence is in passage 14, 26 of the famous Palimpsest version written in Syriac.[58] Here it is not the Holy Spirit that is mentioned, but quite simply the Spirit. Did the scribe merely miss out a word or, knowing full well that the text he was to copy claimed to make the Holy Spirit hear and speak, did he perhaps lack the audacity to write something that seemed absurd to him? Apart from this observation there is little need to labor the other variations, they are grammatical and do not change the general meaning. The important thing is that what has been demonstrated here with regard to the exact meaning of the verbs 'to hear' and 'to speak' should apply to all the other manuscripts of John's Gospel, as is indeed the case.

The verb 'to speak' in the translation is the Greek verb 'laleo' which has the general meaning of 'to emit sounds' and the specific meaning of 'to speak'. This verb occurs very frequently in the Greek text of the Gospels. It designates a solemn declaration made by Jesus during His preachings. It therefore becomes clear that the communication to man which He here proclaims does not in any way consist of a statement inspired by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

It has a very obvious material character moreover, which comes from the idea of the emission of sounds conveyed by the Greek word that defines it.

"The two Greek verbs 'akouo' and 'laleo' therefore define concrete actions which can only be applied to a being with hearing and speech organs. It is consequently impossible to apply them to the Holy Spirit.

"For this reason, the text of this passage from John's Gospel, as handed down to us in Greek manuscripts, is quite incomprehensible if one takes it as a whole, including the words 'Holy Spirit' in passage 14, 26: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name" etc. It is the only passage in John's Gospel that identifies the Paraclete with the Holy Spirit.

"If the words 'Holy Spirit" (to pneuma to agton) are omitted from the passage, the complete text of John then conveys a meaning which is perfectly clear. It is confirmed moreover, by another text by the same evangelist, the First Letter, where John uses the same word 'Paraclete' simply to mean Jesus, the intercessor at God's side.59 According to John, when Jesus says (14, 16): 'And I pray the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete,' what He is saying is that 'another intercessor will be sent to man, as He Himself was at God's side on man's behalf during His earthly life.
"According to the rules of logic therefore, one is brought to see in John's Paraclete a human being like Jesus, possessing the faculties of hearing and speech formally implied in John's Greek text.

Jesus therefore predicts that God will later send a human being to Earth to take up the role defined by John, i.e. to be a prophet who hears God's word and repeats his message to man. This is the logical interpretation of John's texts arrived at if one attributes to the words their proper meaning.

"The presence of the term 'Holy Spirit' in today's text could easily have come from a later addition made quite deliberately. It may have been intended to change the original meaning which predicted the advent of a prophet subsequent to Jesus and was therefore in contradiction with the teachings of the Christian churches at the time of their formation; these teachings maintained that Jesus was the last of the prophets."[60]

The Grande Encyclopedie Francaise has the following to say in its entry on Muhammad, upon whom be blessings and peace: "Muhammad, the founder of the religion of Islam, the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets. The word Muhammad means the one who is praised; it is derived from the root hamd, meaning laudation and veneration. By a remarkable coincidence, there is another name, derived from the same root as Muhammad and synonymous with it, Ahmad, which was very probably used by the Christians of Arabia as the equivalent of Paraclete. Ahmad, meaning much praised and revered, is the translation of the word perikletos which has been mistakenly rendered as parakletos. For this reason, Muslim religious writers have repeatedly remarked that this name refers to the future appearance of the Prophet of Islam. The Quran refers to this matter in a remarkable verse in Surah Saff."[61] 

The verse referred to by the encyclopedia runs as follows: "When Jesus son of Mary said to the Children of Israel, 'I am God's Messenger sent unto you. I confirm the veracity of the Torah which is here in front of me and give you glad tidings that a Prophet will come after me whose name is Ahmad.' But when the Prophet came to the people with proofs and miracles, they said, 'This is clear magic.' "(61:6)

In another verse the Quran says the following: "Those Jews and Christians will enjoy God's mercy who follow the unlettered Prophet whose description they read in the Torah and the Gospels. He is a Prophet who summons them unto good and restrains them from evil, who makes the pure licit for them and the impure illicit, and releases them from the shackles of heavy and arduous obligations. So those who believe in him, revere him and aid him, and follow his clear and luminous guidance, are in truth on the path of salvation."(6:156)