Faith & Beliefs

The Sun Behind the Clouds

Al-’Allama al-Majlisi ’s Thoughts on the Ahadith Identifying the Twelfth Imam as “The Sun Behind the Clouds”. Translated by Afzal Sumar One of the common narrations relayed to convey the role of Imam Mahdi (AS) during his occultation is the analogy of the ‘Sun behind the Clouds’. In this text, …

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The Greatest Blessing; Islam

 Commentary of Surah al-Hujurat ( Verse 17 ) يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا قُلْ لاٌّ تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلاٌمَكُم بَلِ اللٌّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدٌاكُمْ لِلْإِيـمٌانِ إِنْ كُنْـتُمْ صٌادِقِـينَ (The Bedouins tell you O’ Muhammad that) you owe them (a great deal) for their embracing (the religion of Islam). Say to them (O’ …

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The Art of Contemplation

In Madrasah (Weekend Islamic School), we were taught that Islam is the way of life. Growing up, I paid little attention to that saying and viewed Islam as an entirely separate entity from life. Many young Muslims of today may have at one point or the other, been in the …

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Merits of the Soul: Pursuit of Knowledge

  Pursuit of Knowledge ..And fear God, (so that) He will teach you… (Holy Qur’an, 2: 282) The Holy Prophet (s) of Islam said: “Seeking knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim, male and female.” [Al-Majlisi Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1. p. 177] According to the teachings of Islam, seeking knowledge is one of …

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Spirituality is Intoxication

Spiritualism   has   been   metaphorically  considered  to  be  a form  of  intoxication  throughout history. As with any metaphor, this overshadows a large portion of what true spirituality actually entails. Many  famous  poets  have  referred  to wine and drunkenness to express how one  feels  when  in  a  spiritual  state. Shouldn’t   one   feel   …

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‘Islam’ and ‘Iman’ from the Point of View of the Qur’an

In verse 14 of Suratul Hujurat, we read: قَالَتِ الأََعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُلْ لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَ لٌكِنْ قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَ لَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الإِِيْمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ “The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts.” …

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Trial – Patience – Reward

We were talking about the trial in the life of the person, and we said that the trial is not considered a Divine punishment, but rather it is an experience that the person goes through, throughout his life. When God creates life, He does not make one that is full …

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Man and Animal; The Distinction

Man himself being a kind of animal, has many things in common with other animals. At the same time he has many dissimilarities which distinguish him from other animals and make him superior to them. The main and basic features distinguishing man from other living beings, on which his humanity …

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Seasonal Change: A sign of God

The  advent  of  Spring  is  the turning  of  another  page  in the  book  of  creation  and  is a golden opportunity to learn lessons  that  are  constructive  for  our lives.  The  changes  that  the  beginning of  every  solar  year  brings  are  opportunities  for  human  beings  to  also make changes to spiritual …

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The Politics of Using the Qur’an

Lessons from the use of the Qur’an by Muslims who wish to profit from it whenever sanctimoniousness increases and it becomes fashionable to display one’s piety. Excerpted from Polarization around the Character of Ali ibn Abi Talib. It is now some thirteen centuries that the politics of “holding the Qur’an upon …

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Introduction to ‘Istikhara’

The Istikhara is an Islamic tradition which is strongly rooted in the culture of the Shi’a especially those of Iran, India and Pakistan. Unfortunately however, it has been noticed that most people have an incorrect view of the Istikhara and the usage of it. When an important issue comes up in their lives, without …

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The Concept of Love in the Shi’i Creed

Love is one of the most sublime and most appealing of concepts in Shi’ism in particular and Islamic culture and belief in general. In Shi’i belief, mahabbah or hubb, and related words like mawaddah and waliyah, play a very significant and profound role, to the extent that, to cite one instance, it is asserted to be …

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The Fellowship of Faiths

As a teenager I used to attend a local mosque in Tehran for congregational  prayers,  called “al-Anbiyaa”  (the  Prophets). As recommended in Islamic narrations, the last two verses of the second chapter of the Qur’an were frequently recited in our mosque and for many days I listened  and  reflected  on  …

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