SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Praising the swift and dedicated work of law enforcement officials to identify the perpetrators of Boston marathon bombing, a leading US Muslim organization has rejected the ‘heinous’ attacks as contradicting with Islam and all faiths.
“While we do not yet know the motivation for these heinous attacks, people of all faiths know that the horrific acts committed by these perpetrators go against everything to which God calls us,” Imam Mohamed Magidb, the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net on Friday, April 19.
“It is rather the loving, selfless acts of those who immediately responded on the scene that best uphold His teachings.”
“At times like this, I am reminded by a verse from the Holy Qur’an which is similar to one in the Old Testament: if anyone kills a person, it is as if he kills all humanity, while if any saves a life, it is as if he saves the lives of all humanity.”
Twin bombings rocked Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, killing at least three people and injured scores.
Late on Thursday, the FBI has released several images of two men they were hunting in relation to the bombing.
Suspects include Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, said to be 19 and of Chechen origin, after he escaped a shootout with police in which a second suspect, named in the US media as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed.
Heavily armed police started a house by house search, urging residents of Watertown and surrounding areas, including the whole of Boston, to stay indoors.
On Friday afternoon, Col Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police said officers in Watertown were searching "door to door, street to street" for the suspect, but there was as yet no word on his whereabouts.
"Things change, they change quickly," the officer said, adding: "We are working on several new leads that have just developed in the last few minutes."
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said there were "continuing developments" in the investigation, and that an order to stay indoors remained in place across the whole of Boston and surrounding suburbs.
As two brothers of Chechen origin were named as suspects of staging the Boston bombings, their father accused FBI of setting up his children because they are Muslims.
“In my opinion, my children were set up by the secret services because they are practicing Muslims,” Anzor Tsarnaev told the Interfax news agency from the North Caucasus Russian city of Makhachkala.
“Why did they kill Tamerlan? They should have taken him alive," said the father.
The father insisted that his sons were innocent, but said he would appeal to his son to "surrender peacefully."
"Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia," the dad said.
The father warned, however, "If they killed him, then all hell would break loose."
"If they kill my second child, I will know that it is an inside job, a hit job. The police are to blame," the father told ABC News.
"Someone, some organization is out to get them."
Friends of his younger son, Dzhokhar, confirmed that the young man was smart and studious.
"He never seemed out of the ordinary at all," high school classmate Sierra Schwartz told "Good Morning America" today.
"This is not someone who seemed troubled in high school or shy. He was just one of us. It's very weird."
Steven Owens told ABC News, "I met him when I was in seventh grade and he was just a great kid. He was fun to be around. Very studious, very smart.”
“I don't remember a time when he was ever having trouble in school. He was a great athlete. Great to be around," he added.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Office of Grand Ayatollah Khamenei (may Allah grant him long life):
1. If the singing is ruled as ghinā, it is ḥarām and the content makes no difference. Similarly, if one listens to her voice with the intention of seeking pleasure or if it entails evil or it is accompanied with licentious and forbidden music, it is not permissible.
2. Ghinā is a kind of singing accompanied by vocal undulation and rapture so that it is suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin. It is haram for a singer to sing [ghina] and the listener to listen to it.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani (may Allah grant him long life):
Singing (ghinā) is harãm: doing it, listening to it, or living of it are not allowed. The money received by the singer does not become his property. By “singing — ghinā,” we mean an amusing statement expressed in the tunes that are suitable for those who provide entertainment and amusement. In this prohibition, we should include the recitation of the Holy Qur’ãn, supplications (du‘ãs) uttered to the accompaniment of those tunes [that are used by the entertainers]. The prohibition of reciting other non-entertaining expressions —like songs intended to lift the morale [of fighters]— is based on compulsory precaution. As for music, it is not permissible to play or listen to music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings. [The crucial line is in it [music] being commensurate with the gatherings of entertainment and moral depravity.] Playing such music and receiving money for it are also haram and the money does not become the property of recipient. Teaching and learning it are haram and listening to a woman’s song with the intention seeking pleasure is not permissible.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):
1. In any case, there is an objection (ishkal) to a woman singing singly.
2. As for the definition of ghinā and the philosophy of its prohibition, refer to book “180 Questions and Answers”, page 510 which is accessible on the Farsi web page under Works section.
3. Answered above.
Office of Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant him long life):
Generally speaking, all kinds of music which are played with instruments which are for joyful ecstasy (tarab) is haram. Ghinā means "prolongation and vibration of sound with variation of the pitch to such an extent that people may say that ‘he/she is singing’. It is also haram to listen to her.
An answer given to the above the question by Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani (may Allah grant him long life) is as under:
1. Ghinā is a song which makes a person go out of normal condition causing him sexual excitement. Generally such songs are commensurate with gatherings of entertainment and debauchery.
2. Ghinā is haram irrespective of whether the singer is a man or a woman.
3. Music accompanied with ghinā has no role in prohibition of ghinā.
4. If music makes a person go out of normal mood and causes him sexual excitement, it is haram. Such music is normally appropriate for gatherings of entertainment and debauchery. Such music is proven to be haram even if it is not accompanied with a son.
Question 6185 (site: 6364) (What is meant by ‘evil’ in respect of Ghinā and Music?))
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Considering the virtual mapping program a Western spying tool, Iran is planning to create an Islamic alternative to Google Earth to provide information to users worldwide, The Guardian reported.
"We are doing our best to launch the Islamic Google Earth in the next four months as an Islamic republic's national portal, providing service on a global scale," Mohammad Hassan Nami, minister of information and communication technology, was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.
The new portal, to be named Basir, will be an alternative to the world’s 3D map program Google Earth.
"Preparations have been made for launching our world's 3D map project,” Nami said.
“And we are currently creating an appropriate data center which could be capable of processing this volume of information.”
Created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-funded company acquired by Google, Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program.
It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe.
Iranian officials have always termed the program as a tool by the West to spy on the Islamic Republic.
Last year, Iranian police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said Google Earth was not a search engine but "a spying tool".
Web users in Iran can usually access Google but some features like Gmail or Google Earth have intermittently faced filtering.
According to the Guardian, Iran blocks access to many search results.
Access to more than five million websites is blocked in the Shiite country.
Iranian officials have given little information about the content of the Islamic alternative to Google Earth.
"We are developing this service with the Islamic views we have in Iran,” said Nami, who studied political geography in Iran and is a PhD graduate in country management from North Korea's Kim Il-sung University.
“And we will put a kind of information on our website that would take people of the world towards reality.
“Our values in Iran are the values of God and this would be the difference between Basir and the Google Earth, which belongs to the ominous triangle of the US, England and the Zionists [a reference to Israel]."
But experts have raised serious doubts on the Iranian plans to create an “Islamic” Google Earth.
"They have claimed to run their service in four months and said their data center capacity will reach Google's size in three years," an IT consultant, who worked on Iran’s national internet project, told The Guardian.
"Three-year project, no business model and only relying on government funding, a piece of cake indeed.
“To have a data center with such capacity and security level they need power stations, cooler systems, bandwidth, etc, which will require billions of dollars of investment that doesn't fit with Iran's sanctions-hit economy,” he said.
The consultant opines that the Iranian government does not have enough time to pursue the project, as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will step down in June.
"I believe they are aware of the project's restrictions and their capabilities. They are only looking for the budget and upcoming contracts," he said.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The swift growth of Islamic banking is amazing economists in Muslim-majority Pakistan, a boom analysts predict to grow further due to the big potentials of the sector.
“In given circumstances, this is an amazing growth,” Muzzamil Aslam, a Karachi-based economist, told OnIslam.net.
“But it does not amaze me a lot. Not because it is not a big achievement, but because the growth could me much higher if the potential of Islamic banking is actually exploited.”
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Total deposits of Islamic banks in Pakistan have grown by 35 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.
Assets of Islamic banks have also increased by 30 percent in the past five years, taking their assets to 8.5 billion dollars.
The financing in different sectors by Islamic banks have also shot up by 14 percent in 2012.
Currently, the volume of Islamic banking in Pakistan is estimated at 7.6 trillion rupees (7.8 billion dollars), which stands 10 percent of the total capital size of the banking sector in the country.
Aslam opines that due to growing investment in Islamic banks, the overall share of Islamic banking is increasing in the banking sector.
“Being an economist and a banker, I know that a majority of Pakistanis do not prefer interest-based banking,” he said.
“Therefore, in order to avoid that, their majority maintains current accounts in commercial banks, which make up 40 percent of the total deposits of these banks.
“These deposits (in current accounts) have turned the Pakistani commercial banks into one of the highest profit rate earners.”
He said that the growing drift towards Islamic banking has forced all commercial-local and international-banks in Pakistan to introduce Islamic banking branches in order to retain their clients.
Meezan Bank was the first Islamic bank in Pakistan, which kicked operations in 2003.
In 2004, The State Bank established a dedicated Islamic Banking Department (IBD) by merging the Islamic Economics Division of the Research Department with the Islamic Banking Division of the Banking Policy Department.
A Shari`ah Board was also appointed in 2004 to regulate and approve guidelines for the emerging Islamic Banking industry.
In the same year, the government awarded the mandate for debut of international Sukuk (Bond) offering for 500 million dollars.
Currently, six full-fledged Islamic banks are operating in Pakistan with over one million customers.
Meezan bank is the largest bank with 250 branches in 63 cities across the country.
A total 1079 branches of Islamic banking – owned by both Islamic and commercial banks- are operating across Pakistan.
Despite the growth, economists believe that the actual potential of Islamic banking in Pakistan is yet to be exploited.
“The current growth (in Islamic banking) is amazing in terms that just a couple of years ago, the total share of the Islamic banking was 5 percent in the banking sector, and now it has been doubled within two years,” Jabbar Khan, a Karachi-based economic analyst, told OnIslam.net.
“But still, it is not getting what it should have.”
He says if the Islamic banks increase their capital investment size, they can lure more and more customers of commercial banks.
Currently, five major commercial banks enjoy a combined share of 70 percent in the banking industry, taking advantage of current accounts system.
Though these banks too have introduced Islamic banking branches, they are restricted to big cities and urban areas.
“These commercial banks have not only much heavier capital size, but much more number of branches across the country, especially in rural areas, which make up 70 percent of Pakistan,” Aslam said.
“The booming business of these (commercial) banks mainly relies on current accounts system, which they do not want to lose. That’s why they have not opened Islamic banking branches in rural Pakistan, where Islamic banks do not exit.
“This is a very tactical move. These commercial banks have opened Islamic banking branches in urban areas to counter the Islamic banks, but because Islamic banks do not exist in villages and small towns, therefore they (commercial banks) do not care about Islamic banking there,” he said.
“If they do that, they will lose the benefits of current accounts because Islamic banking system does not exist on the foundation of profit but profit and loss.”
Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.
Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.
Shari`ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.
Islamic banks have proved a success because of rules that forbid investing in collateralized debt obligations and other toxic assets that cause financial crises..-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In order to understand the milieu in which Islamic medicine was born, one has to understand the salient events in the advent of Islam and a few events just preceding the Islamic era. Arabia which was a large area covered mostly by an arid desert that was roamed by nomadic tribes of Bedouins. Certain communities had been established where the trade routes intersected and water was available. Mecca was along the Yaman- Damascus trade route. It was considered a holy city and a sanctuary. The Kaaba or house of worship was replete with idols of different gods each representing a tribe or community.
These Bedouins had their own tribal moral or ethical codes of conduct and idolatry was in practice. Blood feuds were common and attacking caravans along trade routes was a way of life. Sacrifices were often offered to appease the gods and burying of live female children was common practice. Family feuds were common and settling scores in order to uphold tribal honor led to frequent bloody encounters in which many people were killed.
Women and children were treated as 'chattels' or private possessions and became the property of the winner. This era of Arabia is frequently referred by Muslims as 'Jahilliya' or age of ignorance. Islam was not only to bring dramatic changes in the religious practices of these warring nomadic tribes but also unite them into an unprecedented social and cultural nation that very quickly was to develop into a strong political entity, with its own system of administration, justice, and military power, all under one leadership.
The first leader of the Islamic State was no doubt the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed but then his four successors called the 'Pious Caliphs' were to quickly consolidated and expand the nation. Within one hundred years of coming into existence, the Islamic empire had spread from Spain in the west, to China in the east, and encompassed in its midst, the whole of northern Africa ,Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Transjordan ,Central Asia and parts of western India. Later it was to be even carried further by the Muslim merchants to the shores of the far east including the Malaysian peninsula, the islands of the East Indies and Indonesia.
In its early era and for several centuries, the Islamic empire was centrally governed by a leader or 'Caliph' and administered by provincial governors. The first four Caliphs were elected democratically but the later the Caliphate became dynastic. Later still a western Caliphate was established in Spain. In later history the Islamic Nation was to break up into various kingdoms, as the provincial rulers become more autonomous and independent of the center and was ultimately to be overrun by the Sejluk Turks who were the forerunners of the Ottoman empire.
It was during the early Caliphates of the 'Ummayads' and the 'Abbasids' that the maximum development of Islamic Medicine took place. It was also during this time and under the patronage of these Caliphs that the great physicians both muslim and non-muslim thrived, accumulated the wealth of medical knowledge and cultivated a system of medicine that was to be later called 'Islamic Medicine'.
The early era of Islamic Medicine and the School of medicine at Jundishapur:
Jundishapur or 'Gondeshapur' was a city in Khuzistan founded by a Sasnid emperor Shapur I (241-272 AD) before the advent of ISLAM.It was to settle Greek prisoners, hence the name 'Wandew Shapur' or 'acquired by Shapur.' In present day western Persia the site is marked by the ruins of Shahbad near the city of Ahwaz. The town was taken by Muslims during the caliphate of Hadrat Umar, by Abu Musa Al-Ashari in (17 AH/738 AD ). At this time it already had a well established Hospital and Medical school.
Many Syrians took refuge in the city when Antioch was captured by Shapur I. In fact the latter nicknamed the city 'Vehaz-Andevi Shapur' or 'Shapur is better than Antioch.' The closing of the Nestorian School of Edessa by Emperor Zeno in 489 AD led to the Nestorians fleeing from there and seeking refuge in Jundishapur under patronage of Shapur II, which got an academic boost as a result.
The Greek influence was already predominant in Jundishapur when the closing of the Athenian school in 529 AD by order of the Byzantine emperor Justinian drove many learned Greek physicians to this town. A University with a medical school and a hospital were established by Khusraw Anushirwan the wise (531-579 AD) where the Greeco-Syriac medicine blossomed. To this was added medical knowledge from India brought by the physician vizier of Anushirwan called 'Burzuyah.'
On his return the latter brought back from India the famous 'Fables of Bidpai', several Indian Physicians, details of Indian Medical Texts and a Pahlavi translation of the 'Kalila and Dimma.' Khusraw was even presented a translation of Aristotleian Logic and philosophy. Thus at the time of the Islamic invasion the school of Jundishapur was well established and had become renowned as a medical center of Greek, Syriac and Indian learning.
This knowledge had intermingled to create a highly acclaimed and state of the art Medical school and hospital. After the advent of Islamic rule the University continued to thrive. In fact the first recorded Muslim Physician Harith bin Kalada, who was a contemporary of the Prophet acquired his medical knowledge at medical school and hospital at Jundishapur.
It is likely that the medical teaching at Jundishapur was modeled after the teaching at Alexandria with some influence from Antioch but it is important to note that 'the treatment was based entirely on scientific analysis, in true Hippocratic tradition', rather than a mix-up with superstition and rituals as was the case in Greek 'asclepieia' and Byzantine 'nosocomia'.
This hospital and Medical Center was to become the model on which all later Islamic Medical Scools and Hospitals were to be built .The School none the less thrived during the Ummayid caliphate and Sergius of Rasul'ayn translated medical and philosophical works of both Hippocrates and Galen into Syriac.These were later to be translated into Arabic casting an everlasting imprint onto all the future of Islamic Medicine.
It was during the Abbasid Caliphate that Caliph al-Mansur the founder of the city of Baghdad invited the then head of the Jundishapur School to treat him. This physician was Jirjis Bukhtyishu, a Christian whose name meant 'Jesus has saved'. He treated the Caliph successfully and got appointed to the court. He however did not stay permanently in Baghdad returning to Jundishapur before his death, but the migration to Baghdad had begun. Thus his son Jibrail Bukhtishu established practice in the city and became a prominent physician.
Another family that migrated from Jundishapur to Baghdad was the family of Masawayh who went at the invitation of Caliph Harun-ul-Rashid and became a famous Ophthalmologist. Most famous amongst his three sons who were physicians was Yuhanna ibn Masawayh (Mesue Senior). He wrote prolifically and 42 works are attributed to him. By this time second half of 2nd century after hijra (8th century AD) the fame of Baghdad began to rise as also the political power of the caliphate. Many hospitals and medical centers were established and tremendous intellectual activity was recorded. This culminated into the period of Islamic Renaissance and the golden era of Islamic Medicine of which description is given under a separate section.
The resources for development of Islamic Medicine: The Bait-ul-Hikma or 'The House of Wisdom':
'Bait-ul-Hikma' or House of Wisdom was founded in 214 AH 830 AD by the Caliph Al-Mamun an Abbasid Caliph. Ibn Al Nadim, who was the son of a bookseller and whose famous catalogue of books 'Firhist of Nadim' tells us of many of the Books of his time, relates this story of the Caliph: Aristotle appeared in the dream of the learned Caliph and told him that there was no conflict between reason and revelation. The Caliph thus set about searching for books and manuscripts of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists. He sent an emissary to the Byzantine Emperor to get all the scientific manuscripts that were apparently stored in an old and dilapidated building. After initially turning him down the emperor granted him his request. Among the emissaries sent to select the works was the first director of the house of wisdom Salman, who was the one that led the delegation.
.Others in it were al Hajjaj Ibn Matar, Ibn al Batrik.They brought back with them many Greek scientific works and manuscripts. Translations of all of these was immediately started.However the translation of the medical works of the Greeks had started earlier during the reign of Caliph Harun al Rashid, with the building of the first hospital under the Caliph's patronage.
Ibn Nadim lists 57 Translators associated with he House of Wisdom. The one's who formed the first delegation to the Byzantine King have already been named. Other famous ones are as follows:
1. al Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ibn Matar completed translation of Euclid's elements. Other Greek authors including Aristotle, Archimedes, Pythogras, Theodesius, Jerash, Apollonius, Theon and Menelaus all were translated.
2. Muhammad ibn Mujsa al-Khwarizimi born in Khiva systematically explored arithmetic and al-gebra. The latter derived its name from his discourse: 'Kitab al-Jabr wa al-Muqabla.' Algebra was derived from the second letter and meant 'bone setting' a graphic description of operations on solving quadrantic equations.
3. The knowledge of geometry flourished and with it architecture and design. Ibn Khaldun was later to describe geometry as a science that 'enlightens the intelligence of man and cultivates rational thinking.'
4. Mamun's court astronomer was Musa ibn Shakir. His three sons Muhammad, Ahmad and al-Hassan devoted their lives to the search of knowledge. They exemplified the Prophetic traditions and dicta: 'Seek learning even if it be in China.' 'The search for knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.' 'The ink of scholars is worth more than the blood of martyrs.'
5. The works of these learned men or 'Sons of Musa" were exceptionally creative. They wrote on: celestial mechanics, the atom, the origins of earth, Ptolemic universe, the properties of the ellipse, Planes and spheres, The knowledge of geometry served in practice to create canals, bridges and architectural designs.
6. Muhammad ibn Musa on one of his travels met Thabit ibn Qurra. The latter was master in three languages. Greek, Syraic and Arabic and soon got appointed to become the court astrologer to Caliph al-Mutadid. He was invaluable addition to the House of Wisdom. In 70 original works he wrote on every conceivable subject including mathematics, astronomy astrology, ethics, mechanics, physics, philosophy, and published commentaries on Euclid, Ptolemy, and other Greek thinkers and philosophers.
7. The two sons of Thabit ibn Qurra also became famous. Sinan was a famous physician in Baghdad. He was director of several hospitals and was court physician to three successive caliphs. His son Ibrahim also became a prominent scientist. He invented sundials and wrote a special treatise on this subject on this subject.
8. The greatest medical mind in the House of Wisdom was Hunain ibn Ishaq. Born in Hira Hunain was the son of an apothecary. He soon translated entire collection of Greek medical works including Galen, Hippocrates. Hunain was an extremely gifted and talented translator. From being just a literal translator he tended to be more scientific and duly interpreted the original text by cross reference, annotation and citing glossaries. His original contributions included 10 works on ophthalmology which were extremely systematic. He rose to the highest honor by being appointed the director of the House of Wisdom by Caliph al Mutawakkil.
9. Qusta ibn Luqa was another accomplished translator and scholar. He has 40 original contributions to his credit. He wrote on diverse subjects such as 'mirrors, hairs, fans, winds, logic, geometry and astronomy to name a few.
10. Yuhanna ibn Masawaih (Mesuse senior) was an early director of the House of Wisdom. He served under four caliphs. Al Mamun, al-Mutassim, al-Wathik and al-Mutawakkil. He wrote about medical especially gynecological problems.
11. The effect of the House of wisdom was tremendous. Islamic Science, philosophy, art and architecture all felt its effects. Agriculture, Government, prosperity and economic wealth were the benefactors. It ultimately was responsible to produce figures like Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, some of the greatest thinkers, scientists and philosophers of Islam. Also some of the greatest Islamic Physicians had available to them all the knowledge of ancient Greece, Syria, India and Persia available to them and in turn they contributed by their astute observation and originality. The giants of Islamic Medicine and their achievements are described elsewhere.
Adapted from the book: "Islamic Medicine" by: "Husain F.Nagamia"
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Iran commemorates the 34th anniversary of the referendum in which Iranians voted for the establishment of the Islamic Republic following the collapse of the US-backed Pahlavi regime.
In a two-day referendum held on March 30-31 after the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution, over 98.2 percent of the Iranians voted “yes” to the establishment of an Islamic Republic.
Addressing a Sunday cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the day, Farvardin 12 in the Iranian calendar, marked the birthday of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“On this day, the blood of thousands of martyrs that prepared the ground for the establishment of the Islamic state bore fruit,” the president said.
The establishment of the system was in line with the popular motto of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that called for the country's "Independence, Freedom and an Islamic Republic" against the regime of Iran's last monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Since then, the nation annually celebrates Farvardin 12, which falls on April 1 in normal years and March 31 in leap years, as the anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, referred to as the Islamic Republic Day.
With the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Pahlavi regime collapsed, putting an end to 2,500 years of monarchic rule in the country.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Selecting a suitable spouse from an Islamic view point
Marriage is an institution first and foremost that brings you even closer to Allah and the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). Therefore, one should be clear about this important factor and should forever be continuing to strive for this goal, whether you are in the process of selecting your partner or have already entered into this sacred institution.
Why is it that when it comes to choosing a program of study, for example, we seem to exhaust all possibilities in researching for the best educational institutions and determining our future path, but do not show the same enthusiasm and preparation for the journey of marriage? We only consult religion when we find ourselves at a crossroads. Why not prepare ourselves beforehand so as not to infringe on the rights of others and our own?
We will find that some topics that we discuss in the beginning of our relationship are also revisited and discussed acontinuously throughout our married lives:
Religion: Discuss your religious practices and thoughts. Talk about your Marja Taqleed and rules regarding the marriage itself, prayers, fasts, Khums, and the rights of your parents. This will help you understand each other’s points of view, especially if you follow different Maraja. Why not also find out about each other’s favorite Islamic lecturers and topics?
Family: Discuss the importance of family and sharing of responsibilities. Remember both partners gain an extra set of parents, who have equal rights, and we will be questioned on the Day of Judgment about how we treated them. Some people are under the cultural illusion that when females get married, their loyalties are automatically directed towards their in-laws and fail to realize that both partners are responsible in maintaining and nurturing the newly acquired relationships. Discuss your and your family’s habits with your new partner so (s)he is not overwhelmed but is aware, as it takes a while for people to adjust and adapt to new people and environments. Sharing experiences may help in getting rid of nervousness or misconceptions that may arise.
Finance: Discuss your finances as a couple and budget. It is never too early to budget and set some financial goals! Discuss your financial responsibilities towards your parents, whether you can afford to now or in the future. Start saving up for a house, Hajj, Ziyarats, and emergency funds. Open a savings account for your future children! Look into financial products such as home contents, retirement, health insurance policies, etc. A marriage is like a small business that needs to be cultivated. Draw up financial accounts, as it helps in putting things in perspective, and evaluate your finances periodically.
Accommodation: Discuss where you will live as a married couple. Will you be living with your parents so you can save up for your house? If so, discuss time frames, and again, adapting to your new lifestyle may take some time, so make it comfortable. If you plan to buy your own place, discuss the area and type of accommodation you need according to your budget.
Children: Discuss the issue of furthering your family. When do you plan to have children and what measures will you need to undertake to ensure that you are both ready? Start reading religious and academic books on raising children. Start saving for your children’s future.
Education: Discuss your educational opportunities if one or both partners are still studying. Will one support the other while the partner continues to study? Perhaps look into part-time study together as a couple, whether it is religious education or any other.
Health: Discuss any future health implications in terms of short- or long-term illnesses. Take up exercises, and stop bad habits like smoking. Discuss any possible scenarios that may occur, such as a family member falling ill and your responsibilities towards them.
Career: Discuss career opportunities for both partners, whether domestic or abroad. How would you deal with your partner working long hours if necessary? How would you deal with job losses and supporting each other financially to ensure bills are paid on time? What if your partner had to accept a low-paying job after a successful career due to illness or change of circumstance? (We have all faced some sort of reprieve through the recent credit crunch!)
Ceremonies: Discuss ceremonies such as the engagement, wedding, and Valima. Discuss the financial implications that your parents may have to deal with. Remember, Islam is a simple religion that requires your Nikkah to be recited in the simplest of manners. Therefore, if the partners are willing to have a simple wedding, why not suggest to families who may wish to have a grand affair to contribute towards your new married life instead?
These are some of the main issues that need to be tackled, and in doing so, you will be able to determine the religiosity, nature, and compatibility of your future spouse. No one can predict the future, but you can always plan for it and take adequate provisions. As in any successful marriage, one needs to nurture the key ingredients, such as faith, honesty, understanding, support, and love, in order to reap the rewards.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)-
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Getting help from the spirits, jinns and devils and scientific and practical communication with them are said to be magic in the etymological and jurisprudential technical terms.[i] According to Quranic, jurisprudential and traditional evidence, sorcery or magic is not in the interest of a person in this world and in the hereafter. The Holy Quran considers magic to be tantamount to disbelief (kufr), infidelity, impiety, misguidance, deprivation from the blessings of the afterworld[ii] and promotion of sin and misery.[iii]
The religious narrations consider magic as disbelief[iv], rejection of the Quran[v], shirk (polytheism)[vi], deprivation from divine blessings[vii], misguidance[viii], needlessness from divine servitude[ix] and a cause for entering Hell[x],[xi] with the magician being considered as the accursed.[xii]
[i] - "It appears that all kinds of all kinds of overpowering (taskhirat) are included in magic based on its entire definitions." Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, Sayyid Muhammad Ali Jazaeri, vol.2, pg. 112; The Two Martyrs (Shahidayn) consider employing the angels, jinns and devils a kind of exercising magic. Ibid, pg. 68; "or seeking help from the simple spirits", Ibid, pg. 71.
[ii] - "They followed what the evil ones gave out (falsely) against the power of Solomon: the blasphemers Were, not Solomon, but the evil ones, teaching men Magic, and such things as came down at babylon to the angels Harut and Marut…" Al-Baqarah, 102 – 103; Tafsir al-Mizan, vol.1, pg. 234.
[iii] - "True, there were persons among mankind who took shelter with persons among the Jinns, but they increased them in folly." Jinn, 6.
[iv] - Al-Wasail, vol.12, pg. 107.
[v] - Ibid, pg. 109
[vi] - Ibid, pg.106
[vii] - Ibid, pg.107
[viii] - Ibid, pg.108
[ix] - Ibid, pg.108
[x] - Behar al-Anwar, vol.58, pg. 223
[xi] - Wasail al-Shi'ah, vol.12, pg. 107
[xii] - Ibid, pg. 103.
[xiii] - Al-Makasib al-Muharramah, issue No. 10
[xiv] - Imam Khomeini (r.a), does not consider these communications as magic but he has forbidden such them. .« و یلحق بذالک استخدام الملائکة و احضار الجن و تسخیرهم و احضار الارواح و تسخیرها و امثال ذالک ...»[To this is affiliated employing the angels, calling the jinns and overpowering them, calling the souls (of the dead) and overpowering them, and the like.] Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol.1; Al-Makasib al-Muharramah, issue No.16.
Although different definitions have been given and determined for 'magic' [Sehr] in lexical and jurisprudential book but Muslim scholars are unanimous that communication and association with spirits, jinns and devils is a name for magic.
Magic has a long history in human history. It developed most when either the divine prophets were absent in society or had low public profile. If you go through historical documents relating to magic, you will find out that the magicians proliferated in human communities after the period of Prophet Noahand Prophet Sulayman. As the history of magic and sorcery bears witness, the deficient knowledge which the spirits, jinns and devils have and also the people who falsely claim to have communication with jinns have inflicted tremendous religious and spiritual harms on human society. That is why we believe, the ways through which the magicians communicate with jinns, devils and spirits are against the religion. Likewise, the information and effects which the devils, jinns and spirits give or leave are opposed to religious teachings. Perhaps, there have many magicians in history who have claimed to be a prophet or the promised Mahdi.
Man's felicity rests in the fact that his friendship, enmity, happiness, concerns, sleep and wakefulness are on the basis of worldly and heavenly interests and expediency but they are quite different in the history of magic.
It should be further noted that in summoning a spirit and overpowering jinns and devils, there exists a kind of compulsion or coercion on them or on the spirit of a woman or a child that are summoned through these means. The summoning is fraught distress and discomfort created for their souls.
The conclusion is that since the information and effects of the spirits, jinns and devils are limited, and additionally, if the information and effects are supposed to be from the devils, the devil always misleads man and portrays the falsehood as truth, therefore, there is no reliability and trust in this kind of communications.
For further information in this regard, refer to following indexes:
1. Man's Communication with Jinn, question 556
2. Communication with Entities from other Worlds, question 293.
3. The Ability of Shaitan and Jinn, question 138.
 - Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, vol.2, pg. 112
 - Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.): « ... کان بعد نوح قد کثرت السحرة» Wasail al-Shi'ah, vol.12, pg. 106.
 - Tafsir al-Mizan, vol.1, pg. 237.
 - Ibid, vol. 15, pg. 330
 - Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, vol.2, pg.67
 - Ibid.
 - Ibid, pg. 69.
 - Ibid, pg. 69.
 - Al-Ihtijaj, vol.2, pg. 81
 - Ibid.
 - Al-Nisa, 60, Al-An'am, 6; And Countless Quranic verses about Shaitan.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In his interview with Shafaqna the distinguished scholar from Qom referred to very good and positive co-operations that have always existed between Shia and Al-Azhar scholars. He said that scholarly relations between famous Al-Azhar ulamas such as Dr Majid Saleem, Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot with their Shia counterparts like Sheikh Sharaful-deen and Sheikh Qomi existed in order to establish co-operations between Islamic denominations. This co-operation led to creation of Resalatul-Islam magazine which so far 25 issues have been published. All the articles in this magazine are connected to the subject of co-operation between Islamic denominations and Sheikh Shaltoot issued a religious decree (Fatwa), declaring that Ja’afari Fiqh can be followed.
Ayatollah Gharavi also expressed his surprise at the recent remarks made by the current Sheikh-ul- Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb about Shia school of thought and its widespread appeal in Islamic world especially in Egypt. Ayatollah added that Al-Azhar University originally was not in the main stream of Al-Azhar scholarly community which was established by Shia communities like Fatemian. As such a historical relationship always existed between Shia and al-Azhar communities and it will count as a negative move by Sheikh Tayeb if he wanted to go against all the traditions of his predecessors. Ayatollah Gharavi encouraged the current Sheikh-ul-Al-Azhar to play a positive role in Islamic unity.
Ayatollah Gharavi who is a specialist in Islamic history added that Ja’afari school of thought and Fiqh has always been recognised in the courts and universities in Egypt. He said that the current moves by some against Shia in that country cannot stop the teachings of Ja’afari School of thought in Al-Azhar. He stressed that the moves and influences by Salafi/Wahabis are destructive and despite the large amount of money spent by Saudis to promote Wahabism, the Shia and Sunni scholars can draw peoples’ attention to the main stream Islam and prevent Wahabis to sew the seed of discord amongst Muslims. In his final remarks Ayatollah Gharavi pointed to the duties of all Shia/Sunni scholars to answer all the doubts raised by Salafis/Wahabis in order to keep the unity amongst Muslims and encourage positive co-operation between them.