Friday, July 30, 2010

Capacity of Hearts

"Tell them that God's Mercy is on those who direct peoples' love toward us, on those who teach the people that which their hearts can accept to their capacity, and on those who put aside that which is too heavy for the peoples' hearts to bear." Imam Sadiq (as)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

History Detectives -The Barton Letter - recommended viewing

History Detectives is one of my favorite television shows.
In this week's episode, one story really moved me - entitled "The Barton Letter". Clara Barton was a true heroine who made valiant efforts to help people discover the fate of missing soldiers in the Civil War as well as to get soldiers basic supplies they were lacking like socks and food. She later went on to found the American chapter of The Red Cross. Despite her huge efforts, 60% of the war dead in the Civil War were never identified and their families and friends never learned their fates. "The Barton Letter" is about one man's efforts to enlist the aid of Clara Barton in finding out what happened to his missing neighbor. A very sad chapter in American history.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Passing of Sayyed Fadlullah

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un (انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون)

Sayyed Fadlullah influenced me in a few profound ways; of all the maraje', I felt a human connection with him. He is the only marja' that I'd ever seen in person; when I went for hajj in 1999 he was also there and I saw him in a meeting room near where our group was staying. He made arrangements to meet with people from the group to answer questions, etc., - he made efforts to be accessible to all. Also, a few of his writings touched me personally. He wrote a short biography of Fatima (as) called The Infallible Fatima (as) - A Role Model for Men and Women that remains the best work about her I've ever seen in English. I also have his World of Our Youth which contains questions and answers in a wonderful readable, mild, informative style. He was a true champion among the elite for the causes of women in particular, and his rulings were found by many women to be easier on a practical level and liberating from traditions that may be more cultural than religious in nature. What I liked about his fatawa is that he explained his reasoning in many cases - very simply and clearly, especially when he differed from the more traditional views, such as on moon sighting for the start of an Islamic month, or rulings about following a marja, and so on - and those explanations always meant a lot to me because they gave me room to reflect, ponder, absorb, and understand. I think those explanations helped to provide the human connection and addressed the need for appealing to reason. Through his website he and his appointees answered questions in a timely manner compared to many others. His Friday khutbas were regularly sent out in e-mail and on his website and he always had good messages and did a lot for the cause of unity worldwide, not only among Muslims but also particularly between Christians and Muslims. He often took strong political stances compared to some other scholars, perhaps due to his position in Lebanon instead of certain other locations where he might have been more restricted - but he also was far removed from hard line absolutist us-them world views, in the true moderate Shia tradition. His death is a great loss.

Obituary of His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
"To Allah we belong, and to Him we shall return"

"And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants." (02:207).

"If a 'alim dies, there will be a rift in Islam that nothing, whatsoever, could fill."

At a time we are in most need for him, this great man has died, leaving in the hearts of those who love him a grief that has incorporated all the tragedies of history.

The leader, father, Religious Authority, renovator, guide and human being has left us.

He left with the prayers and the remembrance of Allah on his lips and the nation's causes in his heart.

Finally, his heart has stopped after 75 years that were spent in the struggle for the cause of Allah, as well as in jurisprudence, renewal, opening up on and committing to the cause of the nation and confronting all the powers of arrogance and tyranny…

He left, after a lifetime of embracing the cause of Islam, as a thought a movement, a methodology and a commitment in all the fields of life. He left saying, as he has frequently expressed: "These are my only wishes. I have never had any personal wishes. I lived all my life and strived to be a servant of Allah, His Messenger (p.) and his Household (a.s.), as well as Islam and Muslims."

His most essential advice for the Muslims before his demise was to preserve Islam the Islamic nation and its unity, for he believed that the arrogance would not be defeated unless the Muslim unite and support one another.

He was, with his illuminating mind and radiant soul, a reference, a guide and an advisor to all the aware Islamic movements in the Arab and Islamic worlds that were inspired by his thought and methodology.

His Islamic integrity and originality lead him to institute a school of dialogue with the other on the basis that truth is the child of dialogue.

He opened up on all people and he embodied dialogue in his movement, thought and entire life away from any slogans that lack any realistic content.

He experienced Islam in complete awareness of the responsibility that ought to be shouldered and the line of justice that ought to be followed. He was the mastermind who launched the resistance movements, which inspired from his thought the spirit of confrontation, opposition and steadfastness and were able to achieve big accomplishments and victories in Lebanon and Palestine and any position of Jihad [struggle]…

His main concerns and top priorities were always the big issues of the Arabs and Muslims, knowing that Palestine was his biggest concern since his early age and until his last breath, for he has always said: "I shall not rest until the Zionist entity falls."

His Eminence was a distinguished mark in the movement of the religious authority institution towards being concerned with the nation's pains and ambitions… Actually, this institution guided the people to the light away from backwardness, and shouldered the responsibility, side by side with the people, of building the future and confronted all forms of exaggeration, myth, and Takfir, guided by the path of the Messenger of Allah (p.) and his pure Household (a.s.).

Armed with piety and righteousness, Sayyed Fadlullah stood against the strifes amongst Muslims, for he rejected that they undermine their existence as a result of narrow sectarian fanatic acts. He also called on the nation's aware religious scholars and people to fear Allah when dealing with issues pertaining to people's lives, considering that whosoever knits seditions amongst Muslims aiming to rip apart the unity of Muslims and their word is a traitor to Allah and His Messenger, even if he fasts and prays…

He always strived to make sure that the relations between Muslims and Christians be based on "common terms" and understanding over the mutual issues, and he called for developing the relations between them on the basis of moral and humanitarian conceptions that take part in elevating man's status at all levels, and the value of justice in the face of all forms of oppression.

Actually, he adopted the Quran as a basis for his activist and missionary methodology and jurisprudential and activist movement, for he regarded the Quran as the book of life that could only be really understood by the activist and innovative people…

The Sayyed was known for his modesty, humanitarianism, and supreme missionary morals. His heart encompassed those who loved him and those who did not love him as well, and he used to advise all people to: "Love each other, for love is what authenticates and enables one to be creative and productive… Join us in love away from personal, regional, partisan and sectarian considerations… Let us all meet and gather under Allah's shadow instead of disagreeing in His name…" This can only mean that his pure heart held no grudges or spites towards anyone, for it is he who always repeated: "Life cannot bear spite, for spite is death and love is life…"

Moreover, he believed in the role of the institutions which he considered to be the primary and most essential civilized pillar for the rise of every nation and society… Thus, he established minarets and buildings for knowledge and care, which represented a sanctuary and shelter for the orphan and the needy, and an oasis of ambitions and high hopes for the physically-disabled, and a lighthouse for the learned towards the wide and open horizons, and a haven of security and safety for the sick and the elderly…

O Sayyed, you true master! Your house was and will remain the destination of the seekers of knowledge and whosoever is in need, for the call of "love" towards people, all the people, was your everlasting call.

The poor and the downtrodden were the closest to your heart, and you saw in the youth an aspiring hope, provided that they arm themselves with culture and knowledge…

The heart that filled the entire world with activist Islam, and missionary awareness and humanity that endlessly poured love and good until the last breath… this heart has rested in peace…

O Dear Sayyed, your pure body has rested whilst aspiring to achieve all hopes and ambitions at the level of constructing the present and future of the nation…

You left us having undermined all the conspiracies, threats, distortion campaigns and assassination attempts, be they physical or moral… you left after you surpassed all that and preserved the all-purity of your mind, heart and soul…

O Abu Ali, you left, yet your blessed name will remain curved in the conscience, heart and mind of the nation. O Sayyed, you left, yet you will remain present and vibrant by your thought and methodology in the life of our present and the future generations…

The Sayyed's body has gone, but his soul thought and line will stay with us. The nation whom he loved and made every effort to serve, will continue the march of awareness that he has set out its line throughout his life.

Dear brothers! As we offer our condolences to the entire nation upon the death of this great academic and religious scholar and this great missionary pioneer and struggler. We vow and promise Allah, and we vow and promise you, your Eminence, that we shall proceed with the march that you established its foundations and that we will execute your will that calls us to defend the nation, uphold its unity and maintain the humanitarianism of the Message.

"O soul that art at rest!Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him),so enter among My servants,and enter into My garden." (89-27:30).
04/07/2010 A.D 22/07/1431 H