Tag Archives: Shi`ah

The Tattoo-Issue: An Islamic-Perspective

Standard

tattoo pic

This is a fairly controversial-subject, within the Muslim-World, historically as well as contemporarily, something that I had only found out recently, the issue of Tattooing: to do or not to do. Honestly, I, myself, early on, as a New-Muslim, had actually, seriously, considered & was prepared to get a  Tattoo. But, once I learned the general Islamic prohibition against it, I was very unsettled: I had wondered to myself why would something like a Tattoo be such a religious-issue. It has taken a considerable amount of time for me to actually come to the correct-conclusion about this issue, and the conclusion is fairly-simple: Tattoos are Mahrum/Haram (Prohibited/Unlawful). Now, there are a lot of people (both Muslims & Non-Muslims alike) whom will in fact take issue with this particular stance, regarding this issue, and that’s okay…I’ll explain why I chose to arrive at this conclusion, after considerable study, textually (via the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition).

Allah states, very clearly, within His Noble-Book, “There is no justifiable change for the creation of Allah.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.30, V.30). Now, this means that we are to be grateful for how Allah has fashioned our bodies, and to not attempt to make “improvements” or “adjustments”, based upon our selfish egos/desires. When you get a Tattoo, you’re basically stating that Allah didn’t complete you, that you know have to spend money, endure unnecessary-pain, etc., in order to gratify one’s self, instead of just being grateful for the way that Allah has already formed us.

Then, there’s also this: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has stated that we are not to cause (unnecessary) Harm, either upon ourselves, nor upon others. And, also, Muhammad quotes Allah, as Allah has stated, “Oh, My Property/Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppression prohibited upon Myself, as well as between you (the Creation). So, do not oppress one another (yourselves)!!!”.(an-Nawawi)

This Verse (from the Qur’an) & these Prophetic-Narrations show us that any type of Oppression (large or small), either to one’s own self, or to others, is completely (Islamically) prohibited. Because, the Islamic definition of Oppression is actually: to place something where it doesn’t belong, where it can damage, or cause Harm, and it’s Islamic wrong to harm people, unless Islamically justified, and there’s never any Islamically justified reason to harm one’s own self.(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Language of the Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language)

Let’s stay on-topic with the self-harm: When getting a Tattoo, what happens? Well, you get stuck with a needle-machine, for quite awhile, depending on how sophisticated the Tattoo in-question actually is: there’s significant, (unnecessary) pain/blood-loss, that one endures, for no Islamically sound, or universally-intelligent reason, at all. Then, there’s the (very-high) risks of getting infections, diseases (most common HIV, Hepatitis, etc.). You then have the ink of this Tattoo tainting your blood, which could, in the near/distant future, cause many (potential) health-complications, as a result of this ink inserted into the body.

Now, it’s obvious why people would have a problem with what I’ve thus mentioned, especially if they are among those whom profit from the Tattoo Industry: people like me are bad-for-business. And, also, for those whom may or may not even be Muslims, they would obviously have a problem with my statements, because they view it as a valid element of either individual, social, cultural, expression. But, let’s focus on the Muslims, for just a minute: who created us? Who sent-down/revealed Guidance to us, via Revelation, Textual-Scriptures? Who has the ultimate right to dictate to the Creation, Humanity, etc., what is right, wrong, proper, improper, etc.? Yeah, you’ve got it: Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe: it is He whom has [provided us with existence, life, family, Guidance, etc. And, likewise, it is He, alone, whom is worshipworthy & it is He, alone whom has the ultimate-right to dictate our beliefs, statements, actions, behavior, conduct, etc.

So, with that being said, regardless to whether you’re a Muslim or Non-Muslim, proponent or opponent (to Tattoos/Tattooing), Scholar or Layman: just, please, simply digest what I’ve mentioned, just for a few minutes or moments, then, if you really feel like I’ve not made my case concrete enough, then, you definitely have the full-option to ignore what I’ve presented. At the end, it is Allah whom will judge us all, according to His own standards & we all will be held accountable for what we’ve done & what we haven’t done, what we knew & what we didn’t know, what we adhered to & what we ignored…May Allah guide us all…Amen

GarethBryant/2013

Advertisements

al-Husayn & the Massacre of Karbala’:

Standard

Author’s note:
It’s a must that I mention that the events, known today as the Massacre of Karbala’, which caused the execution of the maternal-grandson of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), al-Husayn ibn-`Ali ibn Abi-Talib (May Allah be pleased with him), was indeed a true tragedy, and is globally, Islamically, recognized, among all Muslim sectarian-lines, as something that should not have happened, and as well, didn’t even have to happen; but, unfortunately, it did happen, and we, as Muslims have to acknowledge this, objectively examine why it happened & move on in order to move forward, and unify one another, and to cease & desist some of the many unnecessary divisions between the Muslims, because of this issue alone.

Now, obviously, this subject has caused great controversy, both historically, as well as in the present-day still, because of the magnitude of this event, even to the extent as to how this event should or should not be commemorated, among Muslims from various & all sectarian-persuasions-This event has grabbed the attention, emotions, and guilt of so many Muslims, that there are even celebrations, literally around the world, commemorating this event, with people doing things which are completely contrary to Islamic-Teachings. What I attempt to do is to bring some unbiased-light, as a Muslim, loyal to no religious-sect, to this event & the events surrounding & influencing it.

The following is based (primarily but not exclusively) upon the historical writings of Maqtal-il-Husayn/The Murder of al-Husayn, by Abi-Mikhnaf Lut ibn-Yahya ibn-Sa`id ibn-Mikhnaf al-Kufi & Tarikh-il-Rusul wal-Muluk/The History of Messengers & Rulers, by Abi-Ja`far Muhammad ibn-Jarir at-Tabari, two of some of the foremost Islamic-Historians of their time, as well as al-Khulafa’-ir-Rashidin/The Rightly-Guided Islamic-Rulers, by the famous Islamic-Historian, Jalal-id-din as-Suyuti, which chronicles the Khilafat/Islamic-Rulerships of the following persons: `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah/Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq, `Umar ibn-il-Khattab, `Uthman ibn-`Affan, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, al-Hasan ibn-`Ali, Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (May Allah be pleased with them).

`Uthman ibn-`Affan: His assassination & Civil-War-
Realistically, it would be unfair to mention the Massacre of Karbala’, without first mentioning & examining, with an unbiased-lens, all of the events which not only influenced what happened at Karbala’, but, what had directly caused it. Let’s start with the martyrdom of `Uthman ibn-`Affan (a Companion, twice Son-in-Law of Muhammad [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt/Members of the Prophetic-Household of Muhammad] and 3rd-Khalifah [the globally-recognized/accepted leader of the Muslims] of Islam); after the vicious torture/assassination of `Uthman, at the hands of three cowardly assailants, from among the Khawarij (the 1st recognized sectarian-group from among the Muslims, thus personally prophesied by Muhammad, during his own lifetime [al-Bukhari & ibn-Majah]), `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a Companion, paternal 1st-cousin, son-in-law of Muhammad [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt ] and 4th-Khalifah) had been selected & nominated, by the senior-leadership of the Companions of Muhammad, to succeed `Uthman, as the Khalifah; he accepted the appointment.

Upon this confirmation of `Ali’s ascension to the helm of the Muslim-World, immediately, Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (a Companion, brother-in-law [making him a legitimate-member of Ahl-il-Bayt] and 6th Khalifah of Islam, known historically as Mu`awiyah I) had petitioned that the murderers of `Uthman be brought to justice. However, `Ali had thought it wiser to suspend the pursuit of the assassins of `Uthman and bring political-stability back to the Islamic-Empire first. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough for Mu`awiyah & as a direct-result, when `Ali had commanded all the current governors of the provinces, of the Islamic-Empire, serving under `Uthman, to resign from their positions, he refused to step-down from his current position as the governor of Syria.

Now, of course, this was a major-problem-At this particular time, Syria was the wealthiest province, with the largest army within the Islamic-Empire; so, as we all know, unfortunate, bloody civil-war took place. The most historically famous military confrontation during this period was none other than the Battle of Siffin-The painful, shameful, irony is that even many of the Companions of Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with them all-together), who had all fought together, side-by-side, nearly 40-years prior, had taken sides between `Ali & Mu`awiyah, and were fighting, even killing one another. After the Battle of Siffin, a much-need peace-treaty, as well as territorial-partition, was established, between `Ali & Mu`awiyah: basically, as a result of this treaty & partition, all of the territories north & west of the Arabian-Peninsula went under the jurisdiction of Mu`awiyah & all of the territories south & east of the Levant went under the jurisdiction of `Ali.(For more info. concerning the true members of Ahl-il-Bayt: http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/theperfectsolutiontothewholeahlulbaytissue)

`Ali is betrayed & slain, and Mu`awiyah stands alone-
There is immediate dissent, as a result of `Ali agreeing to the terms of this treaty with Mu`awiyah, and many of his supporters turn-tail on him & defect to the already-established sectarian-group, the Khawarij, who end up plotting, and unfortunately are successful in their assassination-attempt upon him. So, after the assassination of `Ali, naturally, the still-loyal-supporters of `Ali, looked to al-Hasan ibn-`Ali (the eldest maternal grandchild of Muhammad & older-brother of al-Husayn) for leadership & to lay claim to head the Khilafah (the Islamic ruling position & government over the Muslim-World). With the support of his followers, he in fact was nominated/selected and confirmed to be the 5th-Khalifah.

However, al-Hasan (very shortly after becoming the next Khalifah) made a very noble decision: he decided to completely end this political/military stalemate with Mu`awiyah, and in the same year as the death of his father (which was actually `Ali’s 6th & final year as the Khalifah), popularly known as “The Year of Unity”, al-Hasan had abdicated his power & claim as the Khalifah & there was a legitimate transfer of power from al-Hasan to Mu`awiyah, thereby making Mu`awiayh the 6th-Khalifah-Shortly after this abdication, al-Hasan ends up dead, in a very straight-forward, sad, manner. It has long be eluded, assumed, speculated, believed, etc., that Mu`awiyah had a direct-hand in the death of al-Hasan; yet, to date, there is no standing, surviving, legitimate, credible, evidence supporting this (controversial) claim. At any rate, as a result of all that went down, Mu`awiyah was the last-man-standing, in this first of many unfortunate political-upheavals within the 1400 year-old history of the Khilafah.

al-Husayn, Yazid, and Karbala’-
Now, to our main point of discussion: Mu`awiyah by this time is dead, after surviving one of the bloodiest in-house political-periods the Muslim-World had ever known, having been the Khalifah for the last 2-decades of his life; his son, upon his request, Yazid (known historically as Yazid I) becomes nominated/appointed as the Khalifah, which sets a trend, that had remained until the end of the `Uthmani-Period/Ottoman-Empire, of having one’s family member (typically father-to-son) be a succeeding Khalifah, thus replacing a former Khalifah. There were still a great deal of understandable animosity between Bani-Hashim (the sub-tribe of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib) & Bani-Umayyah (the sub-tribe of Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan). However, the consolidation of the Umayyi-Period/Umayyad-Dynasty was set, and, honestly, there were no serious military-threat to the authority of the rule of Yazid.

However, al-Husayn, based upon his conviction, as well as tension between the himself & Yazid, fueled by the deaths of both his father & brother, caused him to rebel against Yazid, a decision which cost him his life. Yazid being the new Khalifah & all (the 7th Khalifah generally & the 2nd Umayyi-Khalifah), in my opinion handled the situation between himself & al-Husayn very prematurely, as well as foolishly. Likewise, I also view al-Husayn’s decision to pursue a military confrontation against Yazid, against the advice of many still-surviving Companions, including his own cousin, `Abdullah ibn-`Abbas, one of, if not the single most respected religious figure of his lifetime, after the death of Muhammad, equally as foolish & reckless.

He was out-manned, out-weaponed and out-supported. Even as he had made preparations to meet the forces of Yazid, headed by the then governor of `Iraq, `Ubaydullah ibn-Ziyad, it was very clear that from the start, it would’ve been a losing-battle, even before it had began. However, like his father & brother before him, he stuck to ideals that he had deep-conviction in, and was not fearful of the consequences thereof. He was initially welcomed by some factions in `Iraq to establish resistance beginning in Kufa & make this city his base. However, this plan was immediately scrapped, as a result of `Ubaydullah executing several messengers of al-Husayn, including one of the sons of `Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, one of the brothers of `Ali, Muslim ibn-`Aqil-Muslim was savagely executed at the hands of `Ubaydullah, after even Yazid had ordered that the rebellion stirring up in `Iraq be quelled without bloodshed, particularly, without the bloodshed of either al-Husayn or Muslim. By this point, al-Husayn had officially made up his mind that he would descend upon Kufa and lead his insurrection against Yazid from there.

Unfortunately, what he did not expect was for the people of Kufa to abandon him, when he needed them the most. In fact, one of the most (notoriously) infamous statements of the betrayal of al-Husayn, by the people of Kufa particularly, was the following, “Our hearts are with you; but, our swords are not with you.”. This was a most devastating blow to the morale of what was left of the ever-dwindling forces of al-Husayn, and there was no turning back: he couldn’t get any help, from anyone else in `Iraq, by virtue of them either being too cowardly to support al-Husayn & stand-up to Yazid, too far away to reach him in time, turned-tail on al-Husayn, or were just tired of fighting other Muslims generally & wanted this on-going conflict to come to an immediate end.

For whatever the reasons, for people bailing on al-Husayn last-minute, it happened; also, there was no way that he could’ve went back to Makkah or Madinah, to get support or refuge, because he was just too far away. Alas, his fate was sealed, and his life came to a tragic end. His final-stand, against Yazid, was at Karbala’, this was truly about one of the most unfairly matched military battles ever: the official accounts of the attendees of this battle vary greatly; but, it’s safe to assume that the forces of al-Husayn were outnumbered by at least 1,000-1; not only was al-Husayn slain at this battle, in a most inhuman way, but, also a whole slew of his own family-members, whom were with him, at Karbala’. along with his entire (what was left of that is) army. This was truly a sad event indeed.

Now, how can we learn & heal from this?
One particular suggestion is to not deny that the atrocities of this day actually happened: these events actually happened, to people beloved by Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. At the same time, we must also keep this event in its proper context: this was purly politically-driven, power & control were the ultimate prize, let’s not be blinded by this fact, let’s not deny this. People wanted power, and others got it; people pursued what they deemed as justice, and ended up causing more harm than good; there were a lot of betrayals, sides-switching, loyalty-changing, and the like. However, as Muslims, we must not embody these political-events as though they are our burdens to bear: one, we weren’t there to prevent or promote any various political-agendas; if we were there we have absolutely no idea whose side we’d actually be on; it’s really easy to say, “Yea…yea…Ahl-ul-Bayt…all-day!!!”, outside of reality. But, in all reality, many of us may have very well been from among those who wanted `Uthman dead, `Ali dead, al-Hasan & al-Huasayn dead, we really don’t have a clue what conditions our hearts would’ve been in or what decisions that we would’ve made as a result of that.

So, in conclusion, before you attend any Muharram festival, any Muharram event, visit any gravesites of any members of Ahl-il-Bayt: one, make sure that your heart is right with Allah, by making sure that you’re not participating in any celebration, commemoration, festival, act of worship, which is completely against what Allah & His Messenger has allowed for us, as Muslims to partake in; two, make sure that you heart is right with Allah, in regards to your criticisms of either `Uthman, `Ali, Mu`awiyah, al-Hasan or al-Husayn or any other Companion of Muhammad involved in this conflict, leading up to the Massacre of Karbala’, because for whatever they may have did wrong, they are still among the Companions of Muhammad, the greatest generation of Humans to ever walk the face of this earth(al-Kaba’ir), those whom Allah is pleased with & they are pleased with him(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.98, V.8), and many of those who were a part of these conflicts were even promised paradise during their own lifetimes by Muhammad, personally(at-Tirmidhi, Abu-Dawud, ibn-Majah), as well as by virtue of the fact that they had given all that the had for Allah’s service by preserving Islam for us to inherit today, just so that we can have something to debate/argue about, concerning who was more right than who, or who was more wrong than who.(al-Bukhari)

Gareth Bryant/2012

The Perfect-Solution to the whole “Ahl-ul-Bayt” Issue:

Standard

Author’s-Note:
I hear Muslims (all the damn time) debate about this issue, so unnecessarily. So, what I’ve decided to do is the following: do some actual, honest, unbiased, historically true, research as to who the Ahl-ul-Bayt truly are. And, once you embark upon this type of research, you’ll learn so much about the actual Ahl-ul-Bayt, as well as significant aspects of Islam, generally, historically, and, as to why people have been at odds over this one singular issue, for so many centuries.

So, without any further adieu, here’s what I’ve got:
Ahl-ul-Bayt (literally meaning, “The People of the House”, referring to the Prophetic-Household of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]) isn’t just a group of four persons (Fatimah, `Ali, al-Hasan & al-Husayn [May Allah be pleased with them]), and their familial-descendants. Rather, Ahl-al-Bayt, based upon its strongest Islamic understanding, according to as-Salaf (as-Sahabah/the Companions of Muhammad [May Allah be pleased with them altogether] & generations 1 & 2 of at-Tabi`in/the followers of as-Sahabah [May Allah mercify them altogether]), are persons whom were Muslims, during the lifetime of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & were either related to him through blood or through marriage.

Ahl-al-Bayt are specifically categorized as 3-Tier categories:

1st-Tier-
The actual blood-relatives, both paternal & maternal, of Muhammad, who became Muslims during his own lifetime-Among them are, but not limited to, the following: `Abbas/al-`Abbas ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Hamzah ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Harith/al-Harith ibn `Abd-il-Mutalib (all of them were Paternal-Uncles of Muhammad, the brothers of his father, `Abdullah ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib), `Abdullah ibn-`Abbas, Fadhl ibn-`Abbas, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib,`Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, `Ubaydah ibn-il-Harith (the first Companion of Muhammad to be killed in battle [the Battle of Badr]), Rabi`ah ibn-il-Harith, Abu-Sufyan ibn-il-Harith (both of whom were among 8-persons whom did not flee during the Battle of Hunayn), Arwah bint-il-Harith, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah & Zaynab bint-Jash (who were both cousins of Muhammad & two of his wives), Waraqah ibn-Nawfal (the Christian-Priest, who died as a Muslim & Companion, on account of him believing in the legitimacy of the Prophethood of Muhammad [a paternal-cousin of Khadijah bint-Khuwaylid, the 1st wife of Muhammad]), etc. This has actually been proven, through a Hadith/Narration of Muhammad in which he was specifically asked, “Who are Ahl-ul-Bayt?”. Muhammad had mentioned that, “Ahl-ul-Bayt are persons whom Zakah (not Saqaqah/Optional-Charity, but the annual Zakah/Obligatory-Charity) is Mahrum for (meaning that it is Islamically-Prohibited for them to be recipients of it). From among them are: `Abbas (ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib) & the descendants of `Abbas, `Ali (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Ali, Ja`far (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of Ja`far, and `Aqil (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Aqil.”.(Muslim) In addition to this: it’s important to note that all of al-`Asharat-ul-Mubashshirin (the 10-Companions of Muhammad [Peace be upon him] who were promised Paradise in their lifetimes, by name) were all in  fact blood-related to Muhammad via their Common-Ancestor `Abd-Manaf.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum, Hayat-us-Sahabah)

2nd-Tier-
The Wives of Muhammad, the Mothers of the Believers and his In-Laws (Relatives via Marriage)-We know, for a fact, that these women are among Ahl-il-Bayt, just because, in Surat-il-Ahzab/the Chapter of the Partisans (Chpt.3, V.61 & Chpt.33, V.33), Allah mentions the Wives of Muhammad, as a group, and gives them the honorable title, “Ahl-ul-Bayt”. And, among his In-Laws are, but not limited to, the following: `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah/Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq (father-in-law), `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab (father-in-law), `Uthman ibn-`Affan (son-in-law), `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (son-in-law), Abu-Sufyan ibn-Harb (father-in-law), Hind bint-`Utbah (mother-in-law), Yazid ibn Abi-Sufyan (the brother of Mu`awiyah whom also accepted Islam [brother-in-law]) Hudhayfah ibn-`Utbah (uncle-in-law), Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (brother-in-law), Yazid ibn-Mu`awiyah (nephew-in-law), etc.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/The Sealed-Nectar)

3rd-Tier-
The Children & Grand-Children, Step-Children & Adopted-Children of Muhammad-Among the Children of Muhammad are the following: Fatimah, Ruqayyah, Zaynab, Umm-Kulthum, `Abdullah, al-Qasim, Ibrahim-Among his Grand-Children are, but not limited to, the following: al-Hasan ibn-`Ali, al-Husayn ibn-`Ali, Among his Step-Children are, but not limited to, the following: `Umar ibn Abi-Salamah (his mother, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah, had married Muhammad, after his father, `Abdallah ibn-`Abd-il-Asad, had been martyred during the Battle of Uhud), Sakran ibn-is-Sakran ibn`Amr (his mother, Sawda’ bint-Zam`ah had married Muhammad, after her husband, as-Sakran ibn`Amr ibn `Abd-ish-Shams had died when on route to al-Madinah, from the 1st-Hijrah, from al-Makkah, to Abyssinia), etc. The Adoptive-Children of Muhammad were only Zayd ibn-il-Harithah.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum)

Now, as we can all clearly see, there are at the very least, up to about 50 individuals, who can easily be classified as Ahl-al-Bayt, just from the names of persons whom I’ve already mentioned. Now, with that being said, for someone to say that they “only take knowledge from members of Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “prefer to only take from Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “trust Ahl-al-Bayt more”, then, they will seriously have to change their perspectives on a lot of individuals, because most of the individuals whom I’ve mentioned most-definitely have the most-rightful claims to being from among Ahl-il-Bayt, yet among certain sectarian-groups, they’re just not acknowledged as such.

And, also, when you observe/study the authentic narrations in which the names of any, some, most of these persons are mentioned in, you find that not only are those narrations are classified as Sahih/Authentic, by the vast majority of well-known/well-trusted Hadith-Scholars, from among the Salaf, but that these same narrations can be & are found within some of the most highly-regarded & respected collections of Prophetic-Statements. And, more importantly, these same persons, most of them, those who could read & write, were in fact persons, trusted & commissioned by Muhammad to document not only the Qur’an itself, but also Prophetic-Statements.

So, with that being said, it’s pretty clear that Ahl-al-Bayt is so much more extensive, than most people give it credit for.

Gareth Bryant/2012