SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Conceit is one of the mental defects that the Islamic education has treated and purified the mentalities from its germs.
Reality of conceit:
Ethicists mention that the reality of conceit is the minds resting to what accords the fancies confusedly and conceitedly. He is deceitful that whoever esteems his present or fated success. They also disclose that deceit is composed of two matters:
First: esteeming the vile as good.
Second: the fondness of lusts and rage..
Warning against conceit:
Islam has warned against conceit because it ruins the minds and causes sufferings and leads to commit the forbidden matters. God says:
Let not this world’s life deceive you, nor let the arch-deceiver deceive you in respect of Allah.
But you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah cane, while the arch-deceiver deceive you about Allah.
The Prophet (s) said, “How excellent the sleep and the nature of the courteous are! They excel the staying up and the efforts of the idiot. A bit of piety and certitude is preferable to the conceited even if it is as much as this earth.”.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “The conceited people are poor in this world and grieved in the Hereafter. They sold the best for the worst. Do not be conceited by yourselves. Your riches and health may allure you, thinking you will persist. The long age, the children, and the associates will not save you. Your beauty, wish, and gaining the target may allure you, assuming your being sincere and true. Your remorse for delinquency in worship may allure you, while God realizes that your heart has the opposite. You may undertake excessively for adoration while God wants mere sincerity. You may take pride in your knowledge and lineage while you are unaware of the unseen damages. You may imagine that you supplicate to God while you are supplicating to someone else. You may think you are advising people while you intend your own interests. You may reproach yourself while you are actually praising.”.
This saying indicates all of the incentives and causes of deceit. The Imam warned against all sides of conceit and called to purify the mentalities against its deviation and sins.
Protection against conceit:
The eradication of fondness of lusts and fancies is the best protective way against conceit. It is essential to cognize that we will leave this world to the world of the right. Looking upon these facts may take back to the straight path.
Adapted from the book: "The Educational System in Islam" by: "Baqir Sharif Al-Qireshi"
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Wondering who has won a Google Glass? Stanford PhD student Andrej Karpathy has used Twitter’s API to compile a partial list of the so far close to 4,000 winners of Google’s Glass Explorers first adopter competition who applied to buy the high tech specs via Twitter. Google still hasn’t confirmed that the last Glass winners have been named yet so there may yet be a few more invites to go out. Update: Karpathy’s list has now been updated to 4238 people, so Glass invites are still going out today.
Big G has been busy this past week sending out notifications to winners of its #ifihadglass purchase campaign (and even rescinding a few that failed to live up to its T&Cs). Winners don’t actually win a free pair of Glass. Rather they get a VIP pass to spend $1,500 to be among the first group of folks to own a pair of the Glass Explorer Edition of Google’s high tech specs. So it’s a high stakes, high visibility marketing competition as Google seeks to both evangelise, humanise and normalise a technology that’s new, different and impossible to ignore — being as it sits right on the face.
Successful applicants on the Twitter list (whose Twitter descriptions are shown above in Word Cloud form) include famous names such as former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who pledged “#ifihadglass i would take it on tours of zoos and museums to share the animals and fossils”, and — at the polar opposite end of the celebrity spectrum — electronica singer songwriter Imogen Heap who wants to ”hook them up w/my gloves to help me navigate music making in 3D”.
As you’d expect, the list of winners is heavy on performers and extroverts promising to livestream their gig/music/show/art/sports activity/skydive. There are also a fair few marketing types — pledging to do stuff like “learn & write how it will change marketing & brands”. But — more interesting than either of these categories — are the developers with app ideas for Glass. Earlier this month Google demoed some of its own Glass apps such as Gmail, and also showed a few third party apps from the likes of the New York Times, Evernote and Path. But Glass will fly or die based on cool new apps that likely don’t exist on other platforms yet.
I’ve collated a list (see below) of some of the app ideas that Glass winners are pledging to create — and, beyond the obvious use-cases of recording and streaming a first person perspective, themes for potential Glass apps are already emerging. Education, healthcare, accessibility and safety application ideas are plentiful among this wave of Glass early adopters (albeit, these developers likely haven’t had a chance to properly live with Glass yet).
It looks likely that Glass will be the tech arena where augmented reality can seriously take off — thanks to both the natural visual overlay and the hands-free nature of the device. On smartphones and tablets AR remains something of a gimmick, since the user has to hold the device up to create a field-of-vision overlay — limiting how they can interact with it and how long they can use it for. Neither are problems for Glass.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -New York City’s literacy rates are on the decline: nearly 80 percent of high school graduates lack basic skills like reading, writing and math and are required to relearn them before qualifying for community college.
During his most recent State of the City address, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hyped about the large investment the city has made on education – a multi-billion dollar investment that seems to have done little to help the city’s teens.
Critics pointed out that just 13 percent of black and Latino students graduate from New York City schools with the skills required for community college – and overall, 80 percent of all graduates lack these skills.
“He will be remembered as the Mayor of Education Failure, and his final speech ignored that reality. He has harmed our communities and families, and we cannot wait to see a new mayor replace him,”parent Zakiyah Ansari of New Yorkers for Great Public Schools told the New York Daily News.
The number of students who lack crucial reading, writing and math skills is the highest it has been in years, CBS 2 reports. Officials from City University told the news station that 79.3 percent of graduates, or 10,700 students, who arrived to take a test to get into community college last year failed and were required to relearn basic skills that should have been taught in high school. This is a sharp increase from the 71.4 percent who were lacking the skills in 2007.
With such a high number of uneducated students, City University has launched a program to help struggling high school grads. Called the CUNY Start, the program provides cheap immersion classes that help New York teens catch up with those who are prepared for college.
“They get lost sometimes in the classroom and in CUNY Start we give them a lot more one-on-one
attention, small group work,” Sherry Mason, who teaches a writing class, told CBS. “It helps them achieve more in a short amount of time and so they’re able to get on with their credit classes.”
But students who are forced to shell out $1,000 or more for courses that bear no college credit are disappointed that their high schools failed to prepare them for college.
“The basics that I’m receiving now should have been taught in high school,” Feona Wilson, a high school
graduate from Brooklyn, told the New York Post. “It’s more money coming out of your pocket.”
Despite efforts by lawmakers to improve high school education, the US still lags in comparison to other developed countries. In 2012, the US placed 17thin the developed world for education, according to a report by Pearson. Finland and South Korea topped the lost of 40 countries. But when it comes to math, Americans are in the bottom half, with US students ranking 25thout of developing countries.
Experts have warned that American students’ comparatively average to low performance could threaten the country’s future economic growth. And with 80 percent of New York’s high school graduates unprepared for community college, Bloomberg’s large education investments appears to have been ineffectively used.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says the French-led war in Mali has worsened the educational situation of children in the West African country.
On January 11, France launched a war on Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of the north of the African nation. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have voiced support for the move.
"Many teachers have failed to return to the north and already overcrowded schools in the south cannot cope with the influx of displaced students from the north,” UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Francoise Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Mali added that "When a teacher is afraid to teach and when a student is afraid to go to school, the whole education is at risk.”
This comes as Malian Education Minister Bocar Moussa Diarra said only one on three schools in northern Mali is working.
The minister noted that in the northern town of Kidal, all schools are closed while just five percent of schools in the city of Timbuktu have reopened.
“In Gao, only 28 percent of teachers have resumed work," he said, adding that “hundreds of schools need to be built or rehabilitated, and equipped with school canteens.”
The French-led war on Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of the country, displacing thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.
The people of northern Mali say the French war and the ruling junta are blocking the flow of humanitarian assistance to the war-affected areas.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Prophet (a.s.) paid too much attention to education. He cared much for the spread of knowledge and sciences and for the struggle against illiteracy. He made the seeking of knowledge an obligation on Muslims and ordered knowledge to be written down lest it would be forgotten. He blamed those who did not learn saying, “What about some peoples who do not learn from their neighbors or acquire knowledge?!” He imposed punishment on those who did not try to know or learn. He did not differentiate between men and women in education because no nation could develop under ignorance.
Among Muslims there were some famous teachers whom the Prophet (a.s.) ordered to teach Muslims writing, reading, the Qur'an, and the teachings of Islam. Sa’eed bin al-Aas, who was a scribe of nice handwriting, taught the people of Medina by the Prophet’s order. Ibadah bin as-Samit taught writing and taught the Qur'an to some people of as-Suffah. Abu Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah was also a teacher. Ibn Tha’laba narrated, “Once, I met the messenger of Allah and said to him, ‘O messenger of Allah, would you send me to a man of good teaching?’ He sent me to Abu Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah and said to me, ‘I am sending you to a man who will teach you well.”
The Prophet (a.s.) imposed a certain ransom on the prisoners of the battle of Badr, and whoever was unable to pay the ransom had to teach writing and reading to ten children from the children of Medina. A prisoner was not to be released except after teaching the children, and thus writing and reading were widespread in Medina.
Education of women
The Islam’s situation toward education and literacy is clear and it does not concern men away from women. As an example, the Prophet (a.s.) ordered ash-Shifa’ the mother of Sulayman bin Abi Hatmah to teach Hafsah the Ant Spell as she had taught her writing.
As for the tradition “Do not teach them (women) writing, do not make them live in rooms, and teach them the Sura of an-Noor” is a fabricated tradition.
Lady Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, (a.s.) taught the Muslim women the principles of Islam and the rulings of religion. Lady Zaynab, Imam Ali’s daughter, did not only teach women, but she also was an authority in fatwas that the companions and other Muslims came to her asking about the religious rulings and the laws of Islam, and when her brother Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, she was the only authority as to the religious rulings.
Once, Asma’ bint Yazid al-Ansariyyah came to the Prophet (a.s.) and said to him, “I am a messenger of a group of Muslim women; they say as I say and have the same thought as mine. Surely Allah has sent you to men and women equally. We have believed in and followed you. We, the women, are confined to houses, are the place of men’s lusts, and the bearers of your children, and men are preferred to us in congregational prayers and escorting the dead. When they go for jihad, we keep their properties and bring up their children; so do we participate with them in the reward, O messenger of Allah?”
The Prophet (a.s.) admired her speech and he said to his companions, “Have you heard a woman asking about her religion better than this one?”
They said, “No, O messenger of Allah.”
The Prophet (a.s.) kindly said to the woman, “O Asma’, you may go and inform the women, who have sent you, that one’s good wifing to her husband, her seeking of his satisfaction, and doing according to his acceptance equal all that which you mentioned.”
The woman left while she was delighted by the Prophet’s saying.
The house of hospitality
The Prophet (a.s.) built a house for guests called ad-Dar al-Kubra (the big house). It was the first house in Medina to be taken for this concern. The delegations that came to the Prophet (a.s.) to announce their faith in Islam or for other things stayed in this house. Habib bin Amr narrated, “We were seven persons that once came to Medina. We met the Prophet (a.s.), who was going to escort a dead person after being invited to that. We greeted him and he replied to our greeting. He asked who we were and we said, “We are from Salaman coming to pay homage to you as Muslims with all our tribe that we have left there.”
The Prophet (a.s.) asked his servant Thowban to take those men to the guest-house that Habib described as a big house with a garden of date-palms and that there were some Arab delegations in it.
The Prophet (a.s.) also had assigned a house, which belonged to Makhramah bin Nawfal, for the reciters of the Qur'an who came to Medina from other places.
The Islamic economy
Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) established for Muslims a developed economy that would be able to remove poverty and put an end to deprivation. The following are some of the Prophet’s means in his economy:
1. The encouraging of agriculture
In the first Islamic age and later, agriculture was the main pillar of the general economy of Muslims. The Prophet (a.s.) encouraged Muslims to practice agriculture and often asked them to plant date-palms. Once, the Prophet (a.s.) entered Umm Mubashshir al-Ansariyyah’s garden of date-palms and said, “No Muslim seeds a seed or plants a plant and a man or an animal eats from it, except that it shall be as charity for him.”
Ibn Shihab narrated, “One day, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, when he was the caliph, sent for me and said, ‘Sa’d bin Khalid bin Amr bin Uthman came and said to me ‘O Ameerul Mo'minin, give me a bare piece of land for I was informed that the messenger of Allah said: ‘No man plants a plant except that Allah will give him reward as much as the plants (he has planted) and the fruits.’ Have you heard this?’ I said, ‘Yes.’”
There are many traditions transmitted from the Prophet (a.s.) encouraging Muslims to practice agriculture. The Prophet (a.s.) said, “No man plants a plant except that Allah will record for him rewards as much as the fruit that comes out of that plant.”
2. The encouraging of labor
The Prophet (a.s.) encouraged labor in all permissible fields and he invited people to it because it is the most important element in production. Once, he took a worker’s hand and began kissing it before his companions saying, “This is a hand that Allah and His messenger love.” The Prophet (a.s.) considered labor as honor and sacred struggle for the sake of Allah, and that Allah had not sent a prophet except that he was a laborer. Anyhow, Islam insistingly invites its followers to work and it dispraises unemployment and laziness.
3. The forbidding of usury
Islam is too strict in forbidding usury and in determining severe punishment for whoever practices it. It has been mentioned in some traditions that “a dirham out of usury that a man knowingly eats is worse, near Allah, than thirty-six commitments of adultery.”
Islam has prohibited usury to build its economy on sound scientific bases that have no kind of injustice. Surely, usury is one of the worst means of gaining wealth and accumulating it by a certain group of people with no exertion or effort.
4. The prohibition of cheating
Islam has prohibited cheating whether against the seller or the buyer. When cheating takes place in dealings, Islam gives the option to repeal the dealing and to give the cheated one his dues.
5. The prohibition of monopoly
Monopoly leads to the confusion of markets, excessive prices, and poverty. Therefore, Islam has prohibited it. Many traditions in this concern have been transmitted from the Prophet (a.s.); here are some of them:
The Prophet (a.s.) said, “Whoever monopolizes the foods of Muslims Allah will afflict him with leprosy.”
He said, “No one monopolizes except a wrongdoer.”
He said, “How bad a monopolizer is! When Allah cheapens prices, he will be grieved and when Allah makes them high, he will be delighted.”
He said, “The importer to our market is like a mujahid in the way of Allah, and the monopolizer in our market is like a disbeliever in the Book of Allah.”
Islam has legislated to confiscate monopolized goods and to price them in a way that does not disadvantage citizens. Jurisprudents have mentioned the period of monopoly and the (monopolized) goods that should be confiscated.
6. The watch of the market
From the important actions in the Islamic economy is the watch of the market lest cheating happens or prices go high that may affect people.
Islam has imposed taxes to be paid to the poor and the needy such as the zakat of fitr that must be paid after the end of Ramadan by every Muslim; young or old, male or female. It is about three kilos of food or their price.
8. The zakat of monies
This tax is obligatory on four kinds of food; wheat, barley, dates, and raisins when they reach a certain quantity (nisab; the definite minimum value) that is about eight hundred and fifty-five kilograms, and whatever exceeds that must be taxed. If the crops are irrigated by rainwater or flowing water, the amount of the tax is one tenth and if they are irrigated by a means, the amount of the tax is a half of the tenth. This tax is also obligatory on sheep, cows, and camels when they reach the nisab. It is also obligatory on (gold) dinars and dirhams. This tax is to be given to the poor of the same area and not to be taken abroad.
9. The Khums
There are many true traditions transmitted from the infallible imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) on the khums (fifth) that is obligatory on minerals, the treasures taken out of seas, and the monies mixed with ill-gotten monies.
10. The government’s responsibility
The government is responsible for the struggle against poverty through some means like the preparation of jobs and equal opportunities for the citizens lest unemployment and neediness spread in the society, and the subsidy to those whose incomes do not cover their living, besides the payment of the debts of those who can not pay their debts. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “Whoever dies while there is a debt on him and his heirs cannot pay it, we are responsible for paying his debt.”
The change of the qibla to the Kaaba
The Prophet (a.s.) used to offer his prayers towards Jerusalem, but on Tuesday the fifteenth of Sha’ban in the second year of Hijra the qibla was changed (by Allah’s order) to the Kaaba. The place where the Prophet (a.s.) offered prayers was called the mosque of the two qiblas. The Prophet (a.s.) offered prayers towards Jerusalem for sixteen months. And in the second year of hijra too, the Prophet (a.s.) was ordered to fast during the month of Ramadan and to pay the zakat of fitr a month after the change of the qibla.
The Prophet consults with his companions
Though he was an infallible prophet sent by Allah, Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) consulted with his companions about most political and social affairs following the saying of Allah to him (and consult with them upon the matter). Abu Hurayra narrated, “I have never seen anyone more consulting with his companions than the messenger of Allah.”
Surely, the Prophet (a.s.) was in no need of anyone’s opinion, but he consulted with his companions to unite and spread love among them. Historians say, “He (the Prophet) consulted even with women and he regarded their opinions.”
The Prophet’s scribes
The Prophet (a.s.) depended on some of his companions to record the Qur'an that was revealed to him and to write, by his dictation, the letters he sent to the kings and rulers, besides the documents of treaties and truces and other concerns. The following were the Prophet’s clerks:
1. Imam Ali (a.s.): he recorded most of the revelation and he wrote for the Prophet (a.s.) his agreements, truces, and other affairs.
2. Ubay bin Ka’b al-Ansari: he was the first one who recorded for the Prophet (a.s.) after his emigration to Medina.
3. Zayd bin Thabit al-Ansari: he recorded the revelation besides his writing letters to the kings. Some letters that came to the Prophet (a.s.) were in Syriac, and so the Prophet (a.s.) ordered Zayd to learn Syriac and he learned it, and then he began writing to the kings in Syriac.
4. Abdullah bin Arqam: he wrote the letters to the kings and he wrote for ordinary people their contracts and dealings.
5. Ala’ bin Uqbah: he sometimes wrote for the Prophet (a.s.).
6. Az-Zubayr bin al-Awwam: some historians mention that he was among the Prophet’s scribes.
7. Mu’ayqeeb bin Abi Fatima: he recorded for the Prophet (a.s.) the spoils.
8. Khalid bin Sa’eed: he scribed for the Prophet (a.s.) all affairs taking place before him. The Prophet (a.s.) sent him as an official on the charities of Yemen.
9. Handhalah bin Rabee’: al-Ya’qubi mentioned him as one of the Prophet’s scribes.
It has been mentioned that the Prophet’s scribes were about forty-two ones. Al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah, Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufiyan, and Khalid bin al-Waleed were mentioned among the Prophet’s scribes, but we do not trust or rely on that, for these persons had a black history full of vices and sins and the Prophet (a.s.) knew well what there was in their inners and souls that were full of hypocrisy. So was it possible that the Prophet (a.s.) neared them to him and entrusted to them the writing of his letters?
The Prophet’s seal
The Prophet (a.s.) took for himself a seal made of silver impressed on it ‘Muhammad the messenger of Allah’. The reason behind that was that one of his companions said to him that those whom he sent letters to would not read them if they were not sealed with his seal, and thus he made a special seal for himself.
The political document
When the Prophet (a.s.) settled in Yathrib and took it as his capital, he began writing down a political document that was very important and has been described by the orientalists as ‘the constitution of the people of Medina’. This document assigned private and public laws for the people of Medina and their brothers of the Muhajireen (who had come from Mecca to live in Medina). It also determined for the Jews who lived in Medina their courses and made them free in practicing their rites besides some obligatory conditions. Here is the text of the document:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. This is a book from Muhammad the Prophet, the messenger of Allah, to the believers and Muslims from Quraysh and the people of Yathrib and whoever follow, joins, and struggles with them.
2. They are one nation among people.
3. The emigrants from Quraysh are as they are; they pay among themselves (to each other) blood-monies and ransom their prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
4. And Banu (family or tribe of) Ouf are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
5. And Banu al-Harith from al-Khazraj are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
6. And Banu Sa’idah are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
7. And Banu Jusham are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
8. And Banu an-Najjar are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
9. And Banu Amr bin Ouf are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
10. And Banu an-Nabeet are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
11. And Banu al-Ous are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.
12. And the believers should not turn their backs to a needy, indebted one of a big family among them and they should give him in a good manner in ransom or blood-money, and that a believer should not ally with another believer’s ally.
13. And the pious believers should be together against anyone from them who oppresses, commits injustice, a sin, aggression, or corruption among the believers, and they all should be united against him even if he is the son of one of them.
14. And let a believer not kill another believer for an unbeliever, and let no an unbeliever be supported against a believer.
15. And the protection of Allah is one (the same); the farthest of them (the believers) is to be protected, and the believers are guardians to each other from among people.
16. And whoever from the Jews who follow us shall be supported and comforted, and shall not be wronged or aggressed by helping others against him.
17. And the peace of the believers is the same; no believer should make peace away from another believer in a fight for the sake of Allah except equally and justly among them.
18. And every troop that fights with us should be replaced by another.
19. And the believers are equal to each other as to their bloods in the way of Allah.
20. And the pious believers should be in the best and straightest guidance…and that no polytheist should protect a property or a person of Quraysh and he should not be protected against a believer.
21. And whoever kills a believer for no guilt and intendedly, shall be bind by him until he satisfies the killed one’s guardian by reason, and that the whole believers should be against him and it is not permissible for them except to rise against him.
22. And it is not permissible for a believer, who has acknowledged what there is in this document and believed in Allah and the Last Day, to support or give protection to a heretic, and whoever supports or protects him then the curse and wrath of Allah shall be on him on the Day of Resurrection and no compensation shall be accepted from him (shall not be pardoned).
23. And whatever you disagree on you should refer it to Allah the Almighty and to Muhammad.
24. And the Jews should spend with the believers as long as they are in fighting.
25. And the Jews of bani Ouf are a nation with the believers; the Jews have their religion and Muslims have their religion, adherents, and themselves except he who wrongs or commits a sin that he shall not harm except himself and his family.
26. And the Jews of Bani an-Najjar shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.
27. And the Jews of Bani al-Harith shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.
28. And the Jews of Bani Sa’idah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.
29. And the Jews of Bani Jusham shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.
30. And the Jews of Bani al-Ous shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.
31. And the Jews of Bani Tha’labah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have except he who wrongs or commits a sin that he shall not harm except himself and his family.
32. And that (bani) Jafnah are a sept from (the tribe of) Tha’labah and they are like them.
33. And Bani ash-Shutaybah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have and piety is not like sin.
34. And the adherents of Tha’labah are like them.
35. And the retinue of the Jews are like them.
36. And that no one should go away except by the permission of Muhammad, and a vengeance of a hurt is not to be prevented, and whoever ravages he shall ravages but himself and his family, except he who wrongs, and Allah shall be satisfied with that.
37. And the Jews should undertake their spendings, and they should support each other against who fights the people of this document…and they should be loyal and benevolent to each other avoiding sin, and no one should sin against his ally, and support should be for the wronged.
38. And Yathrib is inviolable for the people of this document.
39. And one’s neighbor is like oneself that he should not be harmed or sinned against.
40. And no woman should be given protection except by her family’s permission.
41. And whatever event or dispute taking place among the people of this document that it is feared to cause corruption should be referred to Allah the Almighty and to Muhammad the messenger of Allah.
42. And that neither Quraysh nor those who support it should be given protection.
43. And they (the people of the document) should support against whoever attacks Yathrib.
44. And if they are invited to peace, they should respond to it, and if they are invited to like that, then they should get it from the believers except those who fight the religion…every people should undertake their share that is before them.
45. And that the Jews of al-Ous, their adherents and themselves, have to undertake the same as that of the people of this document with piety from the people of this document, and piety only and no sin. No one commits except against himself and Allah shall be satisfied with what there is in this document.
46. And this book does not protect any unjust one or a sinner, and whoever goes away shall be safe, and whoever stays in Medina shall be safe except he who wrongs or sins, and Allah shall reward whoever is pious and fearing Allah, and (so shall) Muhammad the messenger of Allah.”
This document organized the social relations between the Muhajireen and the Arab tribes living in Medina and the Jews and the other tribes. Wellhausen has analyzed this document and said, “It has come down to us from the heaven.” Prof. Lutfi Jum’ah, as well, has analyzed this document and discussed its contents and values.
 Kanzol Ummal, vol. 5 p. 22, al-Bayan wet-Tabyeen, vol. 1 p. 161, Kashf ad-Dhunoon, vol. 1 p. 26.
 Majma’ az-Zawa’id, vol. 1 p. 64.
 Al-Istee’ab, p. 393 edition of India.
 Al-Istee’ab, printed on the margins of al-Isabah, vol. 2 p. 374. As-Suffa was a shed beside the mosque where homeless, destitute people lived.
 Kanzol Ummal, vol. 11 p. 237.
 The System of the Prophet’s Government, p. 131, quoted from al-Matali’ an-Nasriyyah fil-Usool al-Khattiyyah by Abul Wafa’ al-Hurini.
 Ant is the name of a certain disease.
 Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 6 p. 372
 Refer to Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 14 p. 224, ad-Dhu’afa’ (the weak) by ibn Hayyan, vol. 2 p. 302, Shu’ab al-Eeman, vol. 2 p. 477.
 Al-Istee’ab, printed on the margins of al-Isabah, vol. 4 p. 237.
 Al-Wafa’, vol. 1 p. 555.
 The System of the Prophet’s Government, p. 466, quoted from al-Iktifa’ by Ibn ar-Rabee’ al-Kila’iy.
 Uyoon al-Athar by ibn Sayyid an-Nas, vol. 4 p. 250.
 At-Tabaqat al-Kubra by ibn Sa’d, vol. 4 p. 150.
 Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1188.
 Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 6 p. 378.
 Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 2 p. 727, Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1228.
 Work and the Rights of Workers in Islam, p. 305.
 Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 2 p. 728.
 Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1228.
 Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol. 2 p. 12.
 Al-Mustadrak ala as-Sahihayn, vol. 2 p. 12.
 Al-Muntadham, vol. 3 p. 93.
 Al-Muntadham, vol. 3 p. 93.
 Ibid., p. 96.
 Qur'an, 3:159.
 Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 7 p. 45.
 At-Tathkira al-Hamduniyyah, vol. 1 p. 312.
 Al-Istee’ab, vol. 3 p. 35.
 Al-Kamil fit-Tareekh by ibn al-Atheer, vol. 2 p. 103.
 As-Seerah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 3 p. 327.
 Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 80, as-Seerah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 3 p. 327, al-Kamil fit-Tareekh, vol. 2 p. 176.
 Makateeb ar-Rasool (the Prophet’s letters), vol. 1 p. 21.
 Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 10 p. 128.
 Makateeb ar-Rasool, p. 31.
 Al-Kamil fit-Tareekh, vol. 2 p. 199.
 As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 4 p. 229.
 Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 80.
 Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 1 p. 128.
 Makateeb ar-Rasool, vol. 1 p.
 As they were in the state when Islam came.
 Tareekh ibn Katheer, vol. 3 p. 224-226, As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 2 p. 147-150, Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 1 p. 271.
 The Revolution of Islam and the Hero of the Prophets, p. 706.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Germany’s education minister has announced her resignation after a university withdrew her Ph.D, accusing her of plagiarizing parts of her thesis. This comes during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s campaign for a third term in office.
The decision to resign came several days after Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf stripped Education Minister Annette Schavan of her doctorate on plagiarism findings. A review of her 1980 thesis, which dealt with the formation of conscience, was undertaken after an anonymous blogger raised allegations of plagiarism online last May.
The probe culminated on Tuesday in a decision to revoke Schavan’s Ph.D. on the basis that the university council found proof that she had "systematically and deliberately" copied parts of her thesis from other authors.
The minister denies the accusations, intending to take legal action against the university's decision.
"I will not accept this decision — I neither copied nor deceived in my dissertation," Schavan told reporters, speaking alongside Merkel at a news conference Saturday. "The accusations … hurt me deeply."
Schavan, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), made it clear that she wasn’t going to undermine the reputation of the party and the government in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 22.
"If a research minister files a suit against a university, that of course places strain on my office, my ministry, the government and the CDU as well," she said. "And that is exactly what I want to avoid."
Merkel praised Schavan for her professional accomplishments as a politician whose career in education began 17 years ago, saying she "had much to thank [Schavan] for."
Johanna Wanka, the regional education minister in the state of Lower Saxony, will replace Schavan, Merkel said.
The scandal comes two years after the now-former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was stripped of his doctorate and quit, also accused of copying parts of his dissertation.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- This week, business leaders are gathering in Davos to debate global priorities at the World Economic Forum. The forum declares itself to be "committed to improving the state of the world". So why isn't education higher up on the agenda?
On the face of it, there should be little need to make the business case for education. It is intrinsically tied to all positive development outcomes. Economic growth, health, nutrition and democracy are all boosted by quality schooling. If all children in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, poverty would fall by 12 percent - and that's good for business. The private sector benefits directly from an educated, skilled workforce.
The private sector spends only $683 million per year to support education in developing countries, however, making up equivalent to just 5 percent of total education aid, as we found in the latest Education for All Global Monitoring Report. This is equivalent to less than 0.5 percent of the annual profits of the ten biggest companies in the world. It is about the same as the price of two Boeing 747s or the amount Americans spend on pizzas in just over a week.
By contrast, health usually features high on the agenda at Davos and is one of the top three global risks identified by the forum. Health, as each of us knows, is the foundation of well-being. From an education perspective, having visited classrooms around the world I know all too well that children cannot concentrate and benefit fully from school if they are ill or malnourished.
Why does health figure so much more prominently than education? One reason is that recent campaigns against malaria, polio, HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis have been headed by Bill Gates or endorsed by the Gates Foundation. A vaccination summit held in 2011 and championed by the Gates Foundation raised $4.3 billion, enabling 250 million children to be vaccinated worldwide.
Such sums give pause for thought. There are still 61 million children out of school, and it would cost $16 billion a year to get them all into school - but universal primary education might truly be possible by 2015 if a leader like Bill Gates galvanised private companies and foundations to prioritise schooling.
The reality is that, without such a champion, education gets little attention from the private sector: 53 percent of US foundations' grants are allocated to health and only 8 percent to education. And contributions that are made need to be set in context. ExxonMobil - the world's second-biggest company - is one of the top five corporations giving to education. But its annual contribution of $24 million is equivalent to just 0.06 percent of its 2011 profits.
A Bill Gates for education may yet appear. We hope the quest for new targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals will underline the considerable power of education to boost progress in every other development sector - and persuade the private sector to abandon its reluctance to fund education.
One thing is for certain: Without new investments, education funding will continue to stagnate. As populations increase, we will start to see the number of children out of school going up rather than down, as is already the case in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our hope is that on the global stage at Davos, business leaders will find the motivation to step up alongside governments and donors to help fill the funding gap and reinvigorate progress towards Education for All.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded its outlook for the higher education sector to negative across the board, saying even prestigious, top-tier research universities are now under threat from declining enrollment, government spending cuts and even growing public doubts over the value of a college degree.
Previously, its outlook had been stable for those better-positioned institutions, and negative for the rest.
The report explaining the decision outlines a range of financial challenges now burdening virtually all institutions, though in different measures in different places – stagnant family income that limits pricing power, substantial state funding cuts, a demographic dip in the population of new high school graduates and a federal budget standoff that almost certainly bodes ill for the future flow of dollars for research and student-aid programs like Pell Grants.
And despite the obvious pressure, Moody's says too many college leaders still haven't made the bold choices required to survive and thrive.
"The actions that have been taken right now are fairly reactionary – cutting expense in order to align with the revenue declines, but not looking at the structural changes to how universities do business," said Moody's vice president and senior analyst Karen Kedem in a telephone interview.
The report speaks to a painful reality in the field: While institutions continue to increase tuition much faster than overall inflation, angering parents and politicians, most are in fact struggling to collect much more tuition revenue.
While colleges raise their list prices and collect more from those who can afford to pay, most simply cannot fill seats without offering substantial discounts. The report cites federal data showing the average American family's net worth declined 39 percent in the three years ending in 2010, dropping to its lowest level since 1992. Increasingly, price is a factor for families.
A separate survey of about 300 colleges released last week by Moody's found about one-third were expecting tuition revenue this year either to decline or fail to keep pace with inflation. A few years ago, virtually all colleges were seeing tuition revenue rise.
Enrollment fell this fall in about half of colleges, and there have been sharp drop-offs in graduate business and law programs, which traditionally have been key revenue sources for many institutions.
Even at brand-name universities "all of their revenue streams, whether it's research or fundraising or patient care, all of them are pressured in this environment," Kedem said.
Much of higher education has always operated on the financial edge, and with endowments recovering, times now may well be better than at the height of the recent recession. (Moody's also gave the entire higher ed sector a negative outlook in 2009-2010, returning to a stable outlook for top-tier universities the next year.)
But lately there have also been growing challenges involving the public's perception of the value of college.
In particular, the report notes "alarm over a potential student loan bubble and diminishing affordability of higher education has reached a fevered pitch over the last two years." While acknowledging postsecondary education "remains a valuable long-term investment," the report argues burgeoning student loan debt and seemingly endless tuition increases are raising public doubts that may continue to affect colleges even if the economy recovers strongly.
"It's been such a massive outcry that has caught the public's attention, and it has just intensified the stress on colleges and their ability to grow net tuition revenue," said Moody's analyst and assistant vice president Eva Bogaty . "The public discourse and the scrutiny has attracted so much attention, that's not going to just fall away in the next year or two. "-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Kids from wealthier and white families are over-represented in the gifted programs offered by the New York public school system. In comparison, the general stream is so lacking in challenge that even a teacher says she would only allow her kids to be enrolled in enriched classes.
Stop the race to more education
Gifted programs in primary and high school can allow students to access better university educations, better graduate schools and better – read higher-paying – professions. Sometimes, though, less is better. Let’s end the spiral of qualification, writes Peter Wilby, and replace it with enthusiasm and apprenticeships.
Kids benefit from Luddite notions of technology
Digital native Douglas Rushkoff argues that kids’ comfort level with technology should not blind parents to the need for a domestic digital policy. Starting with limiting all screen time to 20 minutes twice a day. Yes, he’s tough but gives good reasons, including the development of spatial and sensory awareness.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Last week, an article began circulating on Facebook about the collapse of higher education.
"The adjunct crisis (of many decades) makes the New York Times," tweeted Karen Kelsky, an anthropologist who runs The Professor Is In, a service where graduate students pay for advice on how to game the job market. The article depicts a bleak world of impoverished professors, diminishing career prospects and subpar courses providing "less educational quality to the students who need it most".
It was several days later that everyone realised that the article was from 2007 - and that the situation had changed so little that even experts like Kelsky could not tell the difference.
For the past decade, American higher education has been marked by the explosion of debt and the erosion of opportunity. As college presidents' salaries balloon into the millions of dollars and schools spend record amounts on lavish infrastructure, contingent faculty subsist on poverty wages while students take outmassive loans in the pursuit of career stability they rarely find.
In 2012, student debt surpassed $1tn for the first time. Tuition has skyrocketed to the point that some schools cost more annually than the average household income. Grade inflation is so rampant that more than 43 percent of grades given out at four-year universities are A's. Within the classroom and outside of it, knowledge and ability are devalued over the rote accumulation of accolades - marks and degrees that reveal less about the promise of the individual than the decay of the system.
Critics of American higher education often point to a culture of greed - one that rewards presidents over professors and luxury over learning. But while the system may be structured on greed, it is powered by fear. Professors fear losing their jobs if they protest a crumbling system, while students fear searching for a job without a degree. Seeing no other options, they check the boxes and write the checks.
In recent years, MOOCs - massive online open courses - have been proposed as an alternative. MOOCs make higher education accessible and affordable, proponents argue, eliminating the financial barriers that derail equal access to knowledge. They fail to see that MOOCs have an inherent weakness. Higher education today is less about the accumulation of knowledge than the demonstration of status - a status conferred by pre-existing wealth and connections. It is not about the degree, but the pedigree.
'Access' and class
On December 5, a study was released showing that more than 50 percent of faculty positions in political science departments were filled by graduates from 11 schools, out of the 116 schools that offer doctorates. Most of the 11 schools were located in the most expensive cities in America.
Robert Oprisko, the author of the study, argues that institutional prestige has trumped individual merit. "It's about access. It's about class," he says. "Access" in higher education means the ability to supplement the meagre funding offered on merit with personal resources. For wealthy students, attending a funded programme in an expensive city is easy. For the rest of the population, it means taking on debt - debt that new statistics reveal is disproportionately held by disadvantaged groups.
A new survey released by the National Science Foundation shows that black PhD recipients are carrying the majority of the graduate debt burden - an average of $34,055 versus the $17,138 by white PhD recipients (these figures do not take into account debt from undergraduate education, although that is also disproportionate). 12.6 percent of black PhD recipients owe more than $90,000 by the time they earn their degree; only 5.2 percent of white students do.
What happens to these students after they graduate? They enter a job market which has collapsed for everyone - 34.5 percent of PhD recipients were unemployed upon graduating in 2011, an increase from 28.4 percent in 2006. But not everyone was unemployed equally. The National Science Foundation foundthat while 31.8 percent of white PhDs had "no definite commitment for employment or postdoctoral study", this was true for 40.5 percent of black PhDs, 39.6 percent of Asian PhDs, and 39.6 percent of Hispanic PhDs.
As the market tightened after the 2008 economic crash, the hiring gap between minorities and whites widened. The ethnic group most likely to take on massive debt is also the ethnic group least likely to find a job. This is hardly the road to equality that proponents of higher education envisioned.
As I have previously argued, higher education in the United States is no longer a path out of poverty, but a road into it - a fact to which administrators seem oblivious. Speakers at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools blamed the debt crisis on students not "living cheaply enough", a baffling admonition to adults struggling to afford rent and health care on less than $20,000 per year, much less cover the entry costs to academia (in some fields, applicants must pay to see job listings).
One could argue that these problems are limited to a small segment of the population. But when a graduate degree is considered mandatory in so many professions that shape society, who can obtain it and how - and at what cost - matters to everyone.
In Washington, one analyst argues, a PhD is a mandatory stepping stone to a career in policy. As higher education becomes unaffordable, the category of people willing and able to earn advanced degrees narrows, and the expectations and priorities of this class disproportionately influence the broader population.
We already see this in the normalisation of unpaid labour and in the unemployment crisis. A system that rewards pre-existing personal wealth produces leaders oblivious to those who do not share their fortune. As Paul Krugman remarked, "Influential people in Washington aren't worried about losing their jobs; by and large they don't even know anyone who's unemployed."
Educators are aware that this system is unfair, but the solutions they propose - like MOOCs - often serve to reaffirm inequalities. The very premise of the MOOC, academic Aaron Bady notes, is flawed: "'Access' wouldn't even be a problem if we didn't expect mass higher education to still be available," he writes. "Americans only have the kind of reverence for education that we have because the 20th century made it possible for the rising middle class to have what had previously been a mark of elite status, a college education."
The term "status" is critical. MOOCs may spread knowledge and spur insight, but they do not provide the true value of the American university degree - the status it confers upon the recipient. Unlike in the 20th century, an elite degree is not necessarily a sign of achievement. An elite degree shows that the recipient is of a social class willing and able to pay for it.
"Educational success in the United States maps all too precisely upon wealth," notes one MOOC analyst. "Money is a major factor." Students of MOOCs will not be able to succeed on merit. Rather, they will face the same disadvantages held by degree-holders from low-ranked schools, who are often shunned in elite professions. For the lower classes, meritocracy in education is dead. Meritocracy has become the ability to owe and borrow money. Meritocracy is access to credit.
The American higher education system will collapse, but it will not be because of MOOCs. It will be because of time. Right now members of the first generation to take out massive student loans are having children of their own. In the next 10 to 15 years, these children will be the right age for college. But will they go?
Many of today's young parents are underemployed and drowning in debt. They are working in jobs that have no relation to their degrees. They will be paying off their college loans well into old age. Will they be able to afford their children's tuition as rates rise exponentially? Will they advise their children to take out loans and live like they did?
Today's young adults know all too well the value of a college degree. The question is whether they will want their children to pay the same price.