Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Tag: Shi’ism

The death of a true saint

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This weekend was incredibly sad; the lion of the Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia was executed, along with forty-six other poor souls, on trumped-up ‘terrorism’ charges. What he did was called for a peaceful uprising against the government.

Watch this speech. I would much rather that our Prime Minister support a man as principled as the late Sh. Nimr and not those odious Kings and Princes that spread widespread takfirism and were the precursors to the so-called ‘Islamic State’

This is a man of principle. May the Almighty Embrace this saint and warrior against imperialism and tyranny.

Friends, there is another Islam that you don’t see. Please always remember this.

What Mastery of the Mystical Sciences…

Stillness and motion do not apply to Him. How can a thing occur in Him which He has Himself made to occur, and how can a thing revert to Him which He first created, and how can a thing appear in Him which He first brought to appearance? If it had not been so, His Self will have become subject to diversity, His Being will have become divisible (into parts) and His reality will have been prevented from being deemed eternal. If there was a front to Him then there will have been a rear also for Him. He will need completing only if shortage befell Him. IN such case, signs of the created will appear in Him and He will become a sign (leading to other objects) instead of signs leading to Him. Through the might of His abstention (from affectedness) He is far above being affected by things which effect others.

Below, I have typed up Sermon 28 from  the Peak of Eloquence, the vast repository or  collection of Sermons, sayings, letters Imam Ali  (a.s), compiled by Sharif al-Radi.

This version is published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, New York.

I’ve included sections from others that are utterly awe-inspiring (emphasis mine, mostly!)

Sermon 28 – About the Transient Nature of this World and the Importance of the Next World

What a truly edifying, (perhaps terrifying) words of perennial wisdom and admonition; how easy it is to forget the life that is to come; too easily do we live as if we will never die, that we’ll repent tomorrow – yet in whose mortal hand does the power exist to guarantee his tomorrow? Sharif al-Radi, the compiler of this great work,

“So now, surely this world has turned its back and announced its departure while the next world has appeared forward and proclaimed its approach. Today is the day of preparation while tomorrow is the day of race. The place to proceed is Paradise while the place of doom is Hell. Is there no one to offer repentance over his faults before his death? Or is there no one to perform virtuous acts before the day of trial?

“Beware, surely you are in the days of hopes behind which stands death. Whoever acts during the days of his hope before the approach of his death, his action would benefit him and his death would not harm him. But he who fails to act during the period of hope before the approach of death, his action is a loss and his death will harm him. Beware and act during a period of attraction just as you act during a period of dread. Beware, surely I have not seen one who covets Paradise asleep nor dreads Hell to be asleep. Beware, he whom right does not benefit must suffer the harm of the wrong and he whom guidance does not keep firm will be led away by misguidance toward destruction.

“Beware, you have been ordered insistently to march and have been guided as to how to provide for the journey. Surely the most frightening thing which I am afraid of about you is to follow desires and to widen the hopes. Provide for yourself from this world what would save you tomorrow (on the Day of Judgement).”
The Last Portion  of Sermon 83 – The Lesson to Be Learned from Those Who Have Passed Away:

“O servants of Allah!! Where are those who were allowed (long) ages to live and they enjoyed bounty? They were taught and they learned. they were given time and they passed it in vain. They were kept healthy and they forgot (their duty). They were allowed a long period (of life), were handsomely provided, were warned of grievous punishment and were promised big rewards. You should avoid sins that lead to distraction and vices that attract the wrath (of Allh).

“O people who possess eyes and ears, health and wealth! Is there any place of protection, any shelter of safety, or asylum or haven, or occasion to run away or to come back (to this world)? If not, how are you, then turned away (Holy Quran, 6:95;   10:34;   35:3;   40:62) and whither are you averting? By what things have you been deceived? Certainly, the share of everyone of you from the earth is just a piece of land equal to his owns stature and size where he would lie on his cheeks covered with dust. The present is an opportune moment for acting.

“O servants of Allah! Since the neck is free from the loop and spirit is also unfettered, now you have time for seeking guidance. You are in ease of body; you can assemble in crowds, the rest of life is before you; you have opportunity of acting by will; there is opportunity for repentance and peaceful circumstances. (But you should act) before you are overtaken by narrow circumstances and distress, or fear and weakness, before the approach of the awaited death and before seizure by the Almighty, the Powerful.”

*”Sayyid ar-Radi says the following: ‘It is related that when Imam Ali ibn Abu [sic] Talib delivered this sermon people began to tremble, tears flowed from their eyes and their hearts were frightened. Some people call this sermon Brilliant Sermon (al-Khutbatul-Gharra’).

A Portion of Sermon 184 – on the Creation of the Universe

“In His creation, the big, the delicate, the heavy, the light, the strong, the week are all equal. ** So is the sky, the air, the winds and the water. Therefore, look at the sun, moon, vegetation, plants, water, stone, the difference of this night and day, the springing of the streams, the large number of the mountains, the height of their peeks, the diversity of languages and the variety of tongues. Then woe unto him who disbelieves in the One who ordains, who denies the Ruler! These believe that they are like grass for which there is no cultivator nor any maker for their own sundry shapes. They have not relied on any argument for what they assert, nor on any research for what they have heard. Can there be any construction without a constructor, or any offense without an offender?

The Wonderful Creation of the Locust

“If you wish, you can tell about the locust (as well). Allah gave it two red eyes, lighted for them two moons like pupils, made for it small ears, opened for it a suitable mouth and gave it a keen sense, gave it two teeth to cut with and two sickle-like feet to grip with. The farmers are afraid of it in the matter of crops. Farmers cannot drive the locust away even though they may join together in their effort. The locust attics the fields and satisfies its hunger although its body is not equal to a thin finger.”

The Glory of Allah

“Glorified is Allah before Whom everything in the skies or on earth bows down in prostration willingly and unwillingly, submits to Him by placing his cheeks and face (on the dust), kneels before Him (in obedience) peacefully and humbly and hands over to Him full control in fear and apprehension.

“The birds are bound by His commands. He knows the number of their feathers and their breaths. He has made their feet stand on water and on dry land. He has ordained their livelihoods. He knows their species. This is the crow, this is the eagle, this is the pigeon, and this is the ostrich. He called out every bird by its name (while creating it) and provided it with its livelihood. He created heavy clouds and produced from them heavy rain, spreading it on various lands. He drenched the earth after its dryness and grew vegetation from it after its barrenness.”

**

A Humbling Prayer

Friends; apologies for my absence. I’ve been battling something of a relapse of late (tremendous fun, don’t you think?), but have been managing to read a little for the last three…so I thought I’d share:
Here’s a short part of a prayer, as narrated by a Saint from the Islamic tradition, Ali ibn Husayn (the great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, may God’s Peace descend upon him always), and one of the Imams of the Shi’a tradition; it describes to me something very profound – the concept of Mercy. I prefer this to ‘Grace’, because the former suggests a much greater need for Him in the relationship between man and his Lord.

The fact is, truly, that millennia of human civilisation have shown that we are incredibly fickle, and lack spiritual strength, often lost in a world of choice because our ethics change according to the era we find ourselves in. Time and again we have created and done things that have been to our immense detriment; though some of these have enriched the human experience and affected our collective memory, it is so tragic that, for example, the last century has wrought such incomprehensible chaos and human calamity that we ought to have avoided. My theory has been this  – that if only we had humbled ourselves… David Berlinski once remarked, and I happen to agree, is that the catastrophe inflicted upon our brothers – Jews as well as others –  in what became (and I use the lower-case on purpose as it is more-encompassing of all) known as the holocaust, could take place because they saw that there was no Power greater than their own.

I think it applies to all cases of man’s inhumanity. We fail to realise that our Higher attributes cannot come from other than him; namely, they do not originate in us…because we originate in Him.

O Lord, do not allow our souls to choose as they like, for, verily, they will choose what is evil, unless you show pity. They will choose what is bad unless you show Mercy.

(From His Supplication in Yearning to Ask Forgiveness from God, as found in: Wilayat in Qur’an, Sayyid Athar Husain Rizvi (trans.), Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli)

With love,

Imraan

“They deserve life, because we all deserve life.” – The Virtue of the Vicious

Here is my rant for this morning… long awaited I’m sure. My condition is a little treacherous  – I had this massive surge of adrenaline and so my ears are ringing furiously, my vision is blurred and the lights seem to be getting brighter all around me, though I’m sitting in near-darkness!

But that makes it a great time to vent over the last two days. I am a Muslim. I am British. I despise these salafist jihadists with every fibre of my being. Yet I will not be subject to simplistic discourses about Muslims being the enemy.

What an incredible distortion of history.

This man has utter contempt for fact.

Funnily, in two days, he has clearly seen no ‘condemnation’ coming from the community (though Mehdi Hasan seems to have been published in every possible outlet, and the now the near-legendary MCB statement is ubiquitous)… one must wonder why on earth this man seeks to absolve himself from any moral agency in terms of what his government is responsible for. Please remember this, if nothing else… our enemies…well they have families too, you know. You kill one…you devastate an entire family also.

One wonders…what about the things that he, dear Tommy Robinson, is responsible for? He speaks of the “Sunni v Shia” fury raging in Iraq…does he not realise that there was not one suicide attack in Iraq prior to his glorious troops’ invasion (yes, they were coerced…that is the nature of the military…they go where they’re sent…and yes, Saddam was a tyrant)… or the so-called ‘liberation’ of the Muslims in Bosnia only came long after Western complicity in massacres… the fact that Syrians are crying out for Western troops comes, to large degree, because of his own country’s warmongering in the region at-large, and the support of fanatic jihadists receiving material from his noble country’s government…driving the war into immeasurable depths.

The thing that I will agree with him about is our rampant support for kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia, which has promoted fanatical Takfiri and Jihadi culture/theology…and my suspicions are that most of these atrocities are carried out by people that adopt such world views. Whether they’re blowing themselves up in Iraq or in Afghanistan, or whether they’re promoting Jihad in Syria whilst ignoring the plights of their brethren in Gaza, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar… Funny that…where’s their Jihad in Israel? Anjem Choudary was recently asked… the fact that he couldn’t answer coherently is very telling about the nature of these mercenaries and barbarians. For that is what they are. A bunch of paid lunatics…sold to the highest bidder. Only we forget that we actually own them, often. Until they go their own way and then we need to fight them again to remove the weapons from their hands, the ones that we gave them in the first place. As was said…you create the monster…and then act surprised when he behaves like one! Have a memory longer than twelve seconds, people!

But I will not be taught morality by a man who believes a government mercilessly sent troops to liberate people from a dictator, when In fact a war was started on false premises that was never supposed to overthrow him in the first place (the former was merely an excuse to justify our further adventurism, quite frankly), and not when his own government provided the aforementioned dictator the wherewithal to construct chemical weaponry to massacre his own population…when his glorious government was part of a system that led to the death of a million Iraqi children in the ’90s.

Do I support the troops? I can’t say I’m a fan of avid or avowed nationalism, or a military culture that glorifies potential death. As it stands, until there is a shift in our political culture, that “Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious” applies desperately to those that govern us. And we are fools for letting them dominate our discourse.

I don’t glorify death and I don’t like the culture of death. Because then the human body becomes an expendable biological commodity to fight someone else’s war. For me, the preservation of life is a sacred duty. But I support honour. I support the fact that the men and women entering the armed forces are convinced that they are doing so for noble causes, and their families sacrifice much when they are active.

I support them because I believe that to a a large degree, they are pawns being moved about a chessboard by an oligarchy that could not care less whether they lived or they died. They deserve life, because we all deserve life. I do not support their unnecessary deaths, including the one we saw a couple of days ago.

To say I value the life of a British soldier does not go far enough…because my moral responsibility rests on the fact that I am complicit in allowing a soldier to fight an unrighteous, morally bankrupt and illegitimate war, invariably resulting in someone else’s death… because his death could be avoided, because he deserves a chance at life, just like that of the soldier. The only thing is, the soldier goes in prepared to die…what of the innocent children being mercilessly killed by drones operated somewhere in Nevada…and now Waddington…?

What of the civilians blown-up to pieces by multiple-tonne bombs that we fire at densely populated cities…what about the infrastructural damage we committed when we broke up the entire Iraqi medical enterprise because we were afraid of Ba’athists taking over them… what about the thousands of doctors that have had to flee that country invariably causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis….

What about the hundred-thousand people in Pakistan who will now not get Polio vaccinations because the UN has had to withdraw their agents responsible for it, because American irresponsibility in capturing OBL…

I’m not saying a beheading in London was justified… don’t get me wrong. But do you find it shocking when people complain about the deaths caused by the West in the Islamic world? Maybe you fear a religious affinity – we here seem to take exception to deaths on our own soil…when “one of our own” is killed here…yet why do we not so actively condemn the deaths that we are involved in thousands of miles away… we become surprised because of the fact that these “nutters” seem to sympathise with those people so far away… maybe if we practised that sort of charity we wouldn’t need them to do it.

Because in a state of need, I’d rather have your sympathy than that of those “nutters”, for they are no friends of mine.

But don’t trade your morality so that they can fill that moral vacuum.

Yes…as the equally nuttish fellow above says…the war “is with Islam” he declares proudly – we “need to name the enemy” and so forth. So because of my metaphysical beliefs, I’m somehow an enemy of the state? Incredible.

Timothy Winter on Salafism

Again, here’s a principled, intellectual, moralistic critique – by an intellectual giant in the West; a principled, ‘mainstream’ Islamic scholar, Timothy Winter – of the contemporary Salafi ideology that’s sweeping the Islamic world

(I’d argue that it’s an anti-intellectualist, anti-philosophical, ‘protestant’ form of interpretation of scripture and canon – sometimes with an overemphasis on literal meaning) with disastrous results on the intellectual health of the Islamic community – critical faculties seem to be cast away, despite the fact that this Salafi worldview is an hermeneutical construct.)

That said, there are plenty of people who belong to this school that one can have a meaningful conversation, I met many at university, for example – however my concern, as Seyyed Hossein Nasr points out – that the dominant theology behind Salafis and other groups have not been able to produce heavyweights in the senses of al-Ghazzali, Ibn Sina, Mulla Sadra and so forth. Certainly, these latter figures have contributed to the Islamic mystical climate for the most part – however the worldviews that they espoused had a much broader application – there are ontological, epistemological, ethical criteria outlined by these great visionaries that could prove utterly beneficial when Muslims face the challenges of a modern, secular, imperialist hegemon, as well as when it comes to dealing with internal affairs, the relationships to their own dictatorial governments, etc.- these are things that don’t seem to occur any more because of perhaps an over-reliance on ‘authority’ in a hermeneutic sense. That said, I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

Whatever path takes you there, I guess. But I wonder if we might be able to expedite our own progress if we just permitted ourselves to reflect more, just a little…? Not to be afraid of our thinking if we remained steadfast to our fundamental Islamic beliefs – Tawhid (divine ‘Unity’, I guess), Revelation, and importantly, the place of the intellect in relation to this.

Below, I’ve pasted a brilliant talk by Seyyed Hossein Nasr on the need for philosophy in the Islamic world that you will get immense benefit out of. He is a true moral heavyweight, and a very brilliant man at that. Not to mention a polymath. Please watch, if you’re interested.

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