Friday, May 21, 2010

Three Hadith on the Greeting of Peace (As Salaamu 'Alaykum) from Usul al-Kafi, Compiled by Shi'i Scholar al-Kulayni

Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ya'qub bin Ishaq al-Kulayni al-Razi (864-941 C.E.) was a ninth/tenth century Twelver Shi'i religious scholar and muhaddith, a scholar and specialist in hadith (plural: ahadith), reports of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and actions as recorded by transmitters from Companions of the Prophet. For Twelver Shi'is, ahadith may also be sayings and actions of the 14 "Infallibles," individuals whom they believe to be inerrant. These 14 include the 12 Imams, descendants of the Prophet through his cousin and son-in-law, 'Ali bin Abi Talib, and, more specifically, 'Ali's son Husayn, the third Imam.

Al-Kulayni, as he is usually known, compiled one of the four collections of ahadith (al-kutub al-arb'ah) considered canonical by Twelver Shi'is, Kitab al-Kafi ("Sufficient Book"). The two hadith below come from the one part of the collection, Furu' al-Kafi (approximately, "Sufficient Branches"). Both address the issue of jihad ("struggle"), which has numerous varieties in Sunni and Shi'i jurisprudence, including the now well-known military jihads, offensive and defensive. Honorific formulas repeated after the name of scholars, Infallibles, and the Prophet are omitted.
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Hadith #3638, Book of Social Manners, Chapter 10, Hadith #1

'Ali ibn Ibrahim narrated from his father Hammad ibn 'Isa from Rib'i ibn 'Abdullah from Abu 'Abdullah (sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq), who said: "The Messenger of God would offer greetings of peace to women and they would respond to him. The commander of the faithful (Amir al-Mu'mineen; first Imam, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib) would offer greetings of peace to women but he disliked offering it to young women. He would say: 'I fear their voice may attract me and a feeling may cause me more harm than the reward for offering the greeting of as salaamu 'alaykum.'"

Hadith #3640, Book of Social Manners, Chapter 11, Hadith #2
Muhammad ibn Yahya narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Muhammad ibn Yahya from Ghiyath ibn Ibrahim from Abu 'Abdullah (sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq), who said: "The commander of the faithful (first Imam, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib) has said, 'Do not initiate the offering of as salaamu 'alaykum to the People of the Book (Christians, Jews, Sabians), but if they offer it, just reply, 'wa 'alaykum' ("the same unto you")."

Hadith #3639, Book of Social Manners, Chapter 11, Hadith #1
'Ali ibn Ibrahim narrated from his father Ibn Abu 'Umayr from Ibn 'Udhaynah from Zurara from Abu Ja'far (fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir) who said: "Once, a Jew [a Jewish person, yahudi) went into the presence of the Messenger of God while [his wife] 'A'isha* was with him. The Jew said, "Sam 'alaykum" (wrath, condemnation upon you) instead of "As salaamu 'alaykum" (upon you be peace). The Messenger of God replied, "'Alaykum" ("the same unto you"). Then another Jew came and said the same thing as the one before and the Messenger of God responded in the same manner as he had before. Then a third Jew came. He also said the same thing that the other two had said before and the Messenger of God responded just as he did the previous two times.

'A'isha became angry and said: "'Alaykum al-Sam (wrath, condemnation upon you), O' group of Jews, brethren of monkeys and swine.' The Messenger of God said to her, "O' 'A'isha, if hurling insults were to appear with a shape and form, it would have a very evil shape. Wherever gentleness is placed it beautifies this place and removing gentleness is only to make it a despised place."

'A'isha then asked, "O' Messenger of God, did you not hear their words, 'al-Sam 'alaykum'?" The Messenger of God said, "I heard them, but did you not note how I have replied to them? I said: ''Alaykum" (and unto you). Whenever a Muslim offers you the greeting of peace, say: 'As salaamu 'alaykum,' but when a non-Muslim says something to you in their way, just say ' 'Alayka' (and unto you).'

Friday, May 14, 2010

Khutba of Qirwash of the Uqayl Tribe in Iraq, on 4 Muharram 401 (August 18, 1010) in Mosul

Uqaylid territory

The selection below is taken from the khutba (sermon) of Mutamad ad-Dawla Qirwash bin Maqallid, head of the Uqayl tribe in Iraq and ruler of Mosul, Anbar, and al-Kufa, given on the fourth day of the Islamic month of Muharram (August 18, 1010 C.E.) in Mosul. This was the same year that he switched his allegiance from the Sunni 'Abbasid caliph (ruler) in Baghdad to the Fatimid Isma'ili Imam-caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (reign 996-1021). The translation was done by Prof. Paul E. Walker, a noted specialist on medieval Isma'ili Shi'i Islam and the Fatimid caliphate, contained in Orations of the Fatimid Caliphs: Festival Sermons of the Ismaili Imams, published by I.B. Tauris and the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS). The IIS supports excellent scholarship on Isma'ili Shi'ism and medieval Islamic history generally, as well as for an enormously beneficial translation series of key Shi'i texts, with a focus on Isma'ili ones. I will be drawing from a number of IIS publications for Dar al-Hadith posts.

Fatimid Caliphate

I have inserted a few notes in brackets, such as identifying the Qur'an as the source of citations, but have otherwise not changed the book's text. Refer to a hard copy for the full sermon and the Arabic text.
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Page 139:

"O people, 'fear God with the piety He is due' [Qur'an 3:102]; seek His reward; beware of His punishment. You have seen what was recited to you in His book. God the Exalted said: 'the day We summon all the people by their imam [Qur'an 17: 71], and He said: 'O you who believe, obey God and obey the Messenger [Muhammad] and obey those with command among you' [Qur'an 4:59]. So beware, beware, O people, it is as if the present world were leading you to the next. Its conditions have become clear, the pathway looms up, interrogation is its reckoning and entry is according to its book: 'thus whosoever does an atom's weight of good he will see it; whosoever does an atom's weight of bad he will see it' [Qur'an 99:7-8]. Climb aboard the ship of your salvation before you founder; 'hold fast to the rope of God altogether, do not scatter' [Qur'an 3:103]. Know that He knows what is in your souls, so beware of Him. [Footnote: Qur'an 6:115]. Know that He knows what is in your souls, so beware of Him. [Footnote: Qur'an 2:235]."

Page 140:

"Obey your imam and you will be well guided; cling to the holder of the covenant and you will be led on the right way. He has shown you knowledge by which you are led rightly and the path by which you are guided. May God make us and you those who follow His wish; He makes faith his provision. He inspires him with his piety and good sense. May God the most magnificent grant us and you forgiveness and for all Muslims the same."

Pages 140-141

"O God, bless your radiant guardian and your greatest friend, 'Ali b. Abi Talib, the father of the rightly guided imams. O God, bless the two pure grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husayn [the second and third Imams of all Shi'is] and the righteous imams, the best and most excellent, those of them that stood forth and appeared and those of them that were concealed and hidden. [Footnote 1: see below]. O God, bless the imam who is 'The One rightly guided by You' [al-Mahdi bi-Ilah], and who conveyed Your commandments and made manifest Your proofs and who took up the cause of justice in Your lands as the guide for Your servants. O God, bless 'The one who takes charge by Your order' [al-Qa'im bi-amr Allah] and 'The one who is victorious through your support' [al-Mansur bi-nasr Allah], these two who expended themselves for Your satisfaction and waged holy war on your enemies. O God, bless 'The one who makes strong Your religion' [al-Mu'izz li-din Allah], warrior in Your cause who revealed Your authentic signs and prominent proofs. O God, bless 'The one who is mighty because of You' [al-'Aziz bi-Ilah], by whom the land is cleared and by whom the servants are guided. O God, extend all of Your blessings and the most perfect of Your favours to our lord and master, the imam of the age, fortress of the faith, head of the 'Alid da'wa [call, propagation] and prophetic religion, Your servant and guardian on Your behalf, al-Mansur Abu 'Ali al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, [the then Fatimid caliph] Commander of the Believers, just as You blessed his rightly guided forefathers and as You ennobled Your saints who were rightly guided. O God, bear in mind what You have appointed him to do and safeguard him in what You observe of him. Favour him in what You bring to him; support his armies; raise high his banners in the east of the land and its west, for indeed You are capable of all things."

Footnote 1: This is a reference to those imams in the Ismaili line-usually said to be three between Muhammad b. Isma'il b. Ja'far al-Sadiq and al-Mahdi-who went into concealment to avoid Abbasid persecution.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iranian Ayatullah Muhammad Misbah-Yazdi: Defend Wilayat al-Faqih (Khumayni's Concept) to the "Last Drop of Our Blood"


Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Misbah-Yazdi (Mesbah-Yazdi), born 1934, is a senior Iranian Twelver Shi'i religious scholar who supports the system of government instituted in the early 1980s by Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ruhullah Khumayni (Ruhollah Khomeini) and his supporters after the 1978-1979 Iranian Revolution. He is often rumored to be the "spiritual adviser" to Iran's current president, the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the head of the underground Hojjatiyyeh (Hujjatiyya; Hojjatieh) movement, which was banned by Khumayni. Misbah-Yazdi denies the latter claim and no substantial evidence has been offered to support it.

The ayatullah is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a powerful government body composed of Shi'i jurists (mujtahids) who are responsible for electing and monitoring the country's supreme leader (rahbar-e jumhuri-ye Islami). Misbah-Yazdi is a staunch supporter of Khumayni's conception of wilayat al-faqih (velayat-e faqih in Persian), approximately the "authority of the jurisconsult." Khumayni argued that in the absence of the twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who Twelver Shi'is believe is in a mystical hiding from which he will return at an appointed time, the 'ulama (religious scholars) were to act in his stead. Of the 'ulama (or fuqaha), a single jurist (faqih) would be the leading guide. Although Twelver Shi'i scholars have long argued that they were acting as stewards, of sort, of Twelver Shi'is until the return of the Imam, Khumayni expanded his definition of wilayah significantly and his concept was and is not accepted or considered a requirement by many Twelver Shi'i 'ulama.

In the quote below, taken from Misbah-Yazdi's official web site, he succinctly discusses the importance, in his view, of Khumayni's wilayat al-faqih (the English translation is the official one from his web site; I have also included the Arabic and Persian versions of the statement):
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"The most important thing which we should defend to the last drop of our blood is vilayat faqih. This is what the arrogant powers hatch their plot and try their best to challenge. That is because, different authorities regardless of their status, position, and clothing are prone to be misled; and the only one they cannot mislead is the valy faqih. This is why the enemies of the Islamic system suffer enormous costs in order to weaken vilayat faqih."


مشکاة


إنّ أهمّ الامور التي يتعيّن علينا الدفاع عنها حتّى آخر قطرة دم في عروقنا هي مسألة ولاية الفقيه وإنّ كلّ مؤامرات ومساعي الاستكبار تصبّ في وادي مواجهة ولاية الفقيه. إذ من الممكن بطريق أو باُخرى حرف الشخصيّات المختلفة بأيّ زيّ تزيّت وفي أيّ منصب كانت، وإنّ الشخصيّة الوحيدة التي لا يمكن حرفها هي شخصيّة الوليّ الفقيه والقائد. ولهذا السبب نرى أنّ أعداء النظام الإسلاميّ قد بذلوا ويبذلون مبالغ طائلة في سبيل تضعيف ولاية الفقيه


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مشکات

مهم‌ترين امري كه بايد تا آخرين قطره خون از آن دفاع كنيم مسأله ولايت فقيه است و همه توطئه‌ها و تلاش‌هاي استكبار به خاطر مقابله با ولايت فقيه است. زيرا شخصيت‌هاي مختلف را در هر لباس و پست و مقامي‌ مي‌توان به گونه‌‌اي منحرف كرد؛ تنها كسي را كه نمي‌توان منحرف كرد، ولي فقيه و رهبري است. به همين دليل دشمنان نظام هزينه‌هاي هنگفتي را در جهت تضعيف ولايت فقيه صرف كرده‌ و مي كنند.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iranian Ayatullah Muhammad 'Ali Taskhiri: Toward a Definition of Terrorism


Iranian Ayatullah Muhammad 'Ali Taskhiri, head of the Iranian government's Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications, writes an essay about a definition of "terrorism."
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Towards a Definition of Terrorism (Ayatullah Muhammad Taskhiri)
Ayatullah Muhammad 'Ali Taskhiri

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grand Ayatullah 'Ali Sistani: An Opinion on Whether Jihad is Obligatory

Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid 'Ali Husayni Sistani, an Iranian by birth and a former student of the late Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Abu'l Qasim al-Kho'i (Khu'i, Khoei), is the preeminent Twelver Shi'i jurist in al-Najaf, Iraq. He is "first among equals", in a sense, together with al-Najaf's other three grand ayatullahs, al-Sayyid Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim, Muhammad Ishaq Fayyad, and Bashir Husayn Najafi. Sistani has played a major role in post-Ba'th Iraq, though his influence over the day-to-day events in the country is often exaggerated. His calls for a halt in sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007 were largely ignored, even by Iraqi Shi'i parties that claimed to follow his juridical edicts, namely the Supreme Islamic Iraq Council (SIIC; Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq) and Tayyar al-Sadr (Sadr Movement).
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السؤال: هل الجهاد في سبيل الله واجب ؟
Question: "Is jihad (struggle) in the path of God required?"

الجواب: الجهاد مع المعصوم (علیه السلام) أو نائبه الخاص واجب وهو حكم شرعي
Answer: "Jihad with (one of) the (14) Infallible(s), upon him be peace, or his appointed deputy is requirement and it is a legal command/duty."

Twelver Shi'is believe in 14 inerrant individuals, the "Ma'sum" (Infallibles), that include the Prophet Muhammad, the 12 Imams, and the wife of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (the first Imam), and daughter of the Prophet, Fatima. Twelver Shi'is narrate hadith (reports of sayings and actions) from and sourced to these 14 "Infallibles," while Sunni Muslims only accept ahadith (plural of hadith) from and about the Prophet.

With regard to Sistani's answer, he is referring to the "occulted" twelfth Imam, who Twelver Shi'is believe will return as a messianic figure from a mystical occultation or hiding from his enemies. The inclusion of the "deputy" of the Imam is interesting and could theoretically be used to argue that a living leader, such as Iran's "supreme leader" al-Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, can call for offensive military jihad, which is generally considered to be impermissible until the twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi's return (Raja')

Two Hadith on Racism from Usul al-Kafi, Compiled by Shi'i Scholar al-Kulayni

Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ya'qub bin Ishaq al-Kulayni al-Razi (864-941 C.E.) was a ninth/tenth century Twelver Shi'i religious scholar and muhaddith, a scholar and specialist in hadith (plural: ahadith), reports of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and actions as recorded by transmitters from Companions of the Prophet. For Twelver Shi'is, ahadith may also be sayings and actions of the 14 "Infallibles," individuals whom they believe to be inerrant. These 14 include the 12 Imams, descendants of the Prophet through his cousin and son-in-law, 'Ali bin Abi Talib, and, more specifically, 'Ali's son Husayn, the third Imam.

Al-Kulayni, as he is usually known, compiled one of the four collections of ahadith (al-kutub al-arb'ah) considered canonical by Twelver Shi'is, Kitab al-Kafi ("Sufficient Book"). The two hadith below come from the one part of the collection, Furu' al-Kafi (approximately, "Sufficient Branches"). Both address the issue of jihad ("struggle"), which has numerous varieties in Sunni and Shi'i jurisprudence, including the now well-known military jihads, offensive and defensive. Honorific formulas repeated after the name of scholars, Infallibles, and the Prophet are omitted.

Update: Thanks to Alexander, for a key question (see Comments): The Arabic term being translated in the two hadith below (which are not my own) is عصبية or variants thereof, which can also be rendered as "bigotry" or "blind, absolute tribal loyalty" (right or wrong).
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Usul al-Kafi (Sufficient Foundations), Hadith #2542, Chapter 119 (Hadith #2)

" 'Ali bin Ibrahim narrated from his father from Ibn Abu 'Umayr from Hisham bin Salim, and Durust bin Abu Mansur from Abu 'Abdullah (sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq): 'The Messenger of God has said, 'Whoever practices racial discrimination or it is practiced for him has removed the collar of belief from his neck.''"
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Usul al-Kafi (Sufficient Foundations), Hadith #2547, Chapter 119 (Hadith #7)

" 'Ali bin Ibrahim narrated from his father and 'Ali bin Muhammad al-Qasani from al-Qasim bin Muhammad from al-Minqari from 'Abd al-Razzaq from Mu'ammar from al-Zuhri who said: 'Once, 'Ali bin Husayn (fourth Imam) was asked about racist feelings. He said, 'The racist feeling that is a sin is the one that makes a person consider the evil-doers of his own people to be better than the virtuous individuals of another people. A man's loving his own people is not racism, but it is a sin to help one's own people to commit injustice."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Two Hadith on Jihad(s) from Furu' al-Kafi, Compiled by Shi'i Scholar al-Kulayni

Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Ya'qub bin Ishaq al-Kulayni al-Razi (864-941 C.E.) was a ninth/tenth century Twelver Shi'i religious scholar and muhaddith, a scholar and specialist in hadith (plural: ahadith), reports of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and actions as recorded by transmitters from Companions of the Prophet. For Twelver Shi'is, ahadith may also be sayings and actions of the 14 "Infallibles," individuals whom they believe to be inerrant. These 14 include the 12 Imams, descendants of the Prophet through his cousin and son-in-law, 'Ali bin Abi Talib, and, more specifically, 'Ali's son Husayn, the third Imam.

Al-Kulayni, as he is usually known, compiled one of the four collections of ahadith (al-kutub al-arb'ah) considered canonical by Twelver Shi'is, Kitab al-Kafi ("Sufficient Book"). The two hadith below come from the one part of the collection, Furu' al-Kafi (approximately, "Sufficient Branches"). Both address the issue of jihad ("struggle"), which has numerous varieties in Sunni and Shi'i jurisprudence, including the now well-known military jihads, offensive and defensive. Honorific formulas repeated after the name of scholars, Infallibles, and the Prophet are omitted.

The translations below are my own.
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Kitab al-Jihad (Book of Jihad), Furu' al-Kafi, hadith #8172

عدة من أصحابنا عن أحمد بن محمدعن علي بن الحكم عن أبان عن أبي عبد الله، قال قال رسول الله : الخير كله في السيف و تحت ظل السيف و لا يقيم الناس إلا بالسيف و السيوف مقاليد الجنة و النار .

"A number of our Companions (narrate) from Ahmad bin Muhammad from 'Ali bin al-Hakam from Aban from Abu 'Abdullah (sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq), said that the Messenger of God said: 'All goodness is in the sword and being in the sword's shadow and not evaluating the people except (by) the sword, and the swords are keys (in the sense of being "integral") to Paradise and the Conflagration (Hell)."
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Kitab al-Jihad (Book of Jihad), Furu' al-Kafi, hadith #8180

علي بن ابراهيم عن أبيه عن النوفلي عن الشكوني عن ابي عبد الله، أن النبي بعث بسرية فلما رجعوا قال مرحباً بقوم قضوا الجهاد الأصغر و بقي الجهاد الأكبر قيل يا رسول الله و ما الجهاد الأكبر قال جهاد النفس.

" 'Ali bin Ibrahim (narrated) from his father from al-Nawfali from al-Shakuni from Abu 'Abdullah (sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq), that the Prophet dispatched a raiding part/small military detachment and when they returned he said: "Greetings, people who have spent time/been engaged in the Lesser Jihad ("struggle"; military struggle), the Greater Jihad remained. They said, O' Messenger of God, what Jihad is the greatest? He said: 'Jihad of the self.'"

Struggle of the self" (jihad al-nafs) refers to the struggle against temptation and to better oneself with regard to living a moral and upright lifestyle, according to Islamic principles as expounded in the Qur'an and the Prophet's example. Similarly-worded ahadith also appear in Sunni ahadith collections.