By Blake Archer Williams
(Blake Archer Williams’ two books, Introduction to Walīyic Islam and Creedal Foundations of Walīyic Islam, which are the sources for the ideas presented in this essay – and where they are fully elaborated – can be found on Amazon.com, together with all 32 of his books on Walīyic Islam or the Shi’a Islam of Imam Khomeini which is the basis of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.)
Today is the 27th of the month of Rajab. On this day, 1451 years ago (in the Year of the Elephant, thirteen years before the Migration from Mecca to Medina of the Prophet of Islam and his nascent community of faith and the start of the Islamic calendar), our Maker and Lord of Providence commissioned the last in a long series of His prophets to act as an intermediary between Himself and mankind, and sent the final and most perfected of His prophets as a mercy to humanity, the Prophet Mohammad (may God’s peace be unto him and unto his Purified and Immaculate House) as an epiphanic embodiment of all of the noblest and divine attributes of human character, as a guide, and as a hojjat for humanity, i.e., as the clear and perfect embodied evidence of and unimpeachable authority for all truth on Earth, and as the conclusive argument and evidentiary proof against all falsehood on the Plain of Assembly on Judgement Day. This essay is this humble servant of God’s attempt to interpret what the meaning and implications of God’s commissioning of His prophets is to humanity as it finds itself today, fourteen and a half lunar centuries and a year after the commissioning of our Lord’s most perfect of commissioners, to whose spirit in Heaven I dedicate this essay: His Eminence Most Noble Prophet of Islam; for without your intercession and the intercession of the People of your Noble House, your Purified and Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, I shall surely perish.
Part 1: The First Rational Proof for the Superiority of Covenantal Dispensations over Conventional-Secular Polities
When people with Western sensibilities talk about the system of governance in Iran, two closely-related category errors are invariably present in the discourse. The first is that they fail to distinguish between Covenantal or Dispensational polities and Conventional ones; and this is because, secondly, they fail to distinguish between communities and societies, or, more specifically, between sacred communities and civil societies. Covenantal or Dispensational polities yield sacred communities, whereas Conventional polities yield civil societies; or, to put it slightly differently: sacred communities are the product of a communal consensus on a given Covenant (and on the Dispensation which ensues from that Covenant), whereas civil societies are the product of a Conventional communal consensus.
What is the nature of man and of the world in which he finds himself? Is there a God, and if so, what, if anything, does He want of me? What, if anything, is my purpose and the purpose of my nation? Different cosmologies or worldviews, having come up with different answers to these questions concerning existence and the world in which we find ourselves, will produce different sets of values and value priorities, which, in the context of nations and nation-states, will produce different legal constitutions, which are nothing other than the building blocks for the institutionalization of those value sets, enabling laws to be forged and enforced so that those values are protected and maintained. To put it slightly differently, cosmologies, theologies and spiritual anthropologies, or, in sum, one’s orientation in the world and sense of self-identity (i.e. the way the above basic questions are answered or assumed) are determinative of one’s national identity and of the polity of one’s nation. A “nation” of materialist atheists who do not believe in the existence of God, let alone believe that He might want His nation to behave in a certain purposive way collectively, will constitute a very different polity than that of a nation whose constituents believe, in unison, that there is a dispensation (or divinely sanctioned way of life) ordained by God for each individual and for their nation as a whole, and that their entire purpose in life is to live within the bounds of that dispensation in order for its salvific promise to be fulfilled.
In a world where the universe is believed to be created (and didn’t “just happen”) and the warps and woofs of whose fabric are utterly moral in their composition, and in a world whose creation is a program upon whose stage mankind is positioned front and center, and in which God is intimately involved by way of his comprehensive providential administration in the affairs of man and in the affairs of the world, the meaning and compass of religion are going to be very different and far more expansive than the conception of religion in a society whose citizens either do not believe in God, or believe that “religion” is a private affair and is best kept out of the public arena. (The decision of the relegation of religion to the confines of the private lives of the individual is itself a public affairs decision, making the attempt at such a separation infinitely regressive and therefore a logical impossibility, but that is a story for another day.)
From Sacred Community to Civil Society
Martin Luther’s The Ninety-Five Theses (1517), published 500 years ago this year, was the catalyst that started the Reformation, which set off a series of conflicts between Roman Catholic and Protestant forces within the ambit of the Holy Roman Empire, ending in the Peace of Augsburg (1555) wherein the principle of cuius regio, eius religio was adopted. This principle, (“Whose realm, his [right to impose his] religion”), went against what is now referred to as “religious uniformity”, but was in fact the decay, degeneration and ultimate ending of the state of the integrality of religion and state within the Holy Roman Empire. But the principle of cuius regio, eius religio was not enough to withstand the various Renaissance pressures and the floodgates which had temporarily been held in place by the Peace of Augsburg burst open throughout central Europe in The Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648) with the forces of the Protestant Union of the north waging war against the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II in order to reassert what they saw as rights which had been granted to them in the Peace of Augsburg. And so it was not until the Peace of Westphalia (1644 to 48) where the European wars of religion were effectively ended and the natural state of the integrality of religion and state ended with a deteriorated and decayed state of the “separation of church and state”, putting an end to the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the longer Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic. Now the reason this degeneration and decay from integrality to a chaotic modus vivendi (or from actual community to “Civil Society”) is not decried as a shame and is actually celebrated by the misinformed is because it is something that is seen as inevitable, given the history recalled in the above paragraph. But again, this did not have to be the case, and that history only came to pass because of the unique historical path that Western Christendom took which acted as an inevitable prelude to the rise of Neo-Pagan and Humanist ideas prior to the Reformation, and which saw their full bloom in the so-called Enlightenment.
The German philosopher and sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855 – 1936) distinguished between two types of social groupings. Gemeinschaft (often translated as community or left untranslated) and Gesellschaft (often translated as society). Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft describe the crucial distinction between community and “Civil Society”; community being characterized by a dispensationalist consensus or a sacred communal consensus on a dispensation sent down from on high, and the latter being characterized as a consensus to “agree to disagree” and to agree that a consensus in any meaningful form can no longer be reached, paving the way to a “conventional” polity (agreed to by secular-humanist convention). This “agreement to disagree” which crystalized between the Peace of Augsburg (1555) and the Peace of Westphalia (1644 – 1648) was, in effect, the West’s long and excruciating decision to throw out the baby of Community with the bathwater of the Church’s malfeasance in the revolutionary fervor of the Reformation and the “Enlightenment” that followed in its wake.
But whereas the integrality of church and state was lost with the Peace of Westphalia (1644 – 1648) whereat pre-Westphalian communities gave way to the Westphalian order of “Civil Societies”, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 restored community to the Moslem nation of Iran. Imām Khomeinī comments with respect to this difference:
The fundamental difference between Islamic government, on the one hand, and constitutional monarchies and republics, on the other, is this: whereas the representatives of the people or the monarch in such regimes engage in legislation, in Islam the legislative power and competence to establish laws belongs exclusively to Almighty God. The Sacred Legislator of Islam is the sole legislative power. No one has the right to legislate and no law may be executed except the law of the Divine Legislator.
The Covenantal polity and the constitution of the Islamic Republic is based on the theory of Velāyat-e Faqīh which is a theory which addresses man’s basic and existential questions in a way that is suited not to any and all people, but to people who share a broad spectrum of basic first principles or creedal beliefs and who have achieved the high plateau of “religious uniformity”; for people, in other words, who have attained to faith in and have sworn allegiance to and have dedicated themselves to living their lives in accordance with a divine dispensation ordained by God. To say the same thing from its opposite and negative rather than affirmative perspective, this political theory is suitable for a community of faith and is not suitable for an aggregation of atomized and supra-individuated persons who have pilfered away the sacred revealed guidance and teachings which are the bindings that provide for social cohesion against the centrifugal forces of excessive individualism and social alienation, and who consequently find themselves in the geographical confines of a given location which they share (through no choice of their own) with other individuals with which they have little in common other than the fact that each of their individual interests are at variance and indeed at loggerheads with those others with whom they are condemned to share the confines of their geographical as well as their emotional and cognitive spaces. Failing to attain to a collective faith, man finds himself, to quote Thomas Hobbes, in a state where there is “no society [in the true sense of the word, by which he means community, as opposed to what has come to be known as “civil society” in the post-Westphalian order], and … [where] the life of man [is], solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (This state, Hobbes erroneously characterized as a state of nature, whereas in fact, it is the state of denatured man.) This is the definition which society has slouched down to after the diluvium which followed the Peace of Augsburg and the ascendancy of the Westphalian order that followed it.
From Civil Society to Sacred Community
Contrary to this, the Islamic vision, which was to bring about a social transformation which founded the life of the community on divine norms, had to be acknowledged by society as a whole (as a logical outcome of the nascent community’s faith in that vision and program). Here is Imam Khomeinī again:
The body of Islamic laws that exist in the Quran and the Sonnaᵗ has been accepted by the Moslems and recognized by them as worthy of obedience. This consent and acceptance facilitates the task of government and makes it truly belong to the people. In contrast, in a republic or a constitutional monarchy, most of those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people will approve anything they wish as law and then impose it on the entire population [whereas in Islam, the yoke of compliance with the Law is taken on willingly by the community of those who have attained to faith.]
Here Imām Khomeinī, the greatest man the modern era has witnessed, has placed his finger on the crux of the difference between simply democratic forms of government and ones based on divine law: the latter is sacred to those who have attained to faith in it, while the former can at best be characterized as optimally coercive. The only way to escape from the tyranny of the absolutism of law is for that absolutism to have absolute legitimacy; is for society to go back to being a community; for there to be consensus, in other words, and for that consensus to be sacred, to have consensus upon the sacred, to hold values in common that are inviolable in their sacrosanctity. Without consensus upon the sacred, authority will always be illegitimate or a conventionally agreed upon approximation of legitimacy which nonetheless will always be a locus of individual resentment. Man’s failure to achieve sacred consensus dooms him to a life of tyranny. Legislation can be just, have full efficacy and be capable of fulfilling man’s quest for happiness only when it is in accord with man’s primordial constitution: with his fetraᵗ. [12:40] Judgment [as to what is right and what is wrong] rests with God alone, meaning that the creation of laws that will enable him to reach his intended perfection in this world and bring felicity for man in the hereafter is God’s exclusive prerogative, for no one but He has the competence for this undertaking.
So in this sense, walīyic Islam, which is the Guardianship-type of comprehensive authority God’s regent on earth is given in order to interpret and implement His dispensation, is not “democratic” in the sense of each person’s vote having been equally weighted in matters that require a high degree of religious expertise, but rather, is hierarchical based on a hierarchy of knowledge and learning. This of course applies to issues that fall within the aegis of the dispensation or within the jurisdiction circumscribed by the sacred law. For example, in this system, if “the people” want to marry persons of the same sex, then walīyic Islam, and specifically the walīy or faqīh will step in and remind or educate the Moslem, saying, ‘No, God’s law forbids you from doing so.’ But in areas where the sacred dispensation or sharīat is silent and has a neutral interest, say, on the matter of land use policy, for example, then a congress of “democratically” elected representatives of the people will decide such “regulations” (we use the word to distinguish between the jurisdiction of the people (،urfīāt) and sacred “laws” which are the domain of God) in accordance with the will of the people whom they are elected to represent. And the line as to where God’s jurisdiction ends and that of the people’s begins is static with respect to certain things but is wholly dynamic with respect to others, and is also determined by the fully-qualified magister.
But on the other hand, if we define the word democracy as a system of governance where the will of the people reigns supreme, then the system of walīyic Islam is indeed more democratic, because the people have willed, collectively, to submit their wills to the will of God and this consensus yields or at least tends toward the highest common factor rather than to the lowest common denominator which is the highest yield that can possibly be expected from the absence of consensus on major first principles, which is the state that is the norm and definition of secular democracies and which is a species of heteronomy that a failure to achieve sacred consensus will invariably yield. So in the strict sense of the word, walīyic Islam is maximally democratic whereas liberal democracy (even if we grant that, its misconceived anthropology notwithstanding, is capable somehow of immunizing itself from being hijacked by the creeping forces of covert de facto oligarchy) is at best minimally so.
Do me a Favor
Achieving sacred consensus on the divine dispensation is the only way in which a purposive community can be achieved, and as man was made to have purpose communally as well as individually, any polity that does not provide him with the means to achieve that common purpose will be heteronomous to his primordial disposition or original nature (fetrat), thereby annihilating it in time. And we would argue that not only is community not actually possible without man submitting and fettering his will to that of God’s dispensation, but that in the long run, even “civil society” (and the whole Faustian Westphalian project) is not sustainable either, because it will disintegrate into oligarchy or some other form of repressive system, or the 21st century equivalent of the Weimar Republic will turn into its analogue of 1933 Germany (wasn’t 9/11 our Reichstag fire?), or transmogrify into different and ever more exquisite forms of chaos and anarchy; because God has created man in such a way that he must necessarily have an umbilical relationship to his Maker at all times, such that any overplus of autonomy is ultimately false and therefore self-undermining; and in his arrogance, if man believes that he has been given the freedom to do whatever he wants, he should know that the nature of the world in which he finds himself is that the centrifugal forces of his unfettered lower or commanding self (an-nafs al-ammāra bi sū’) will inevitably burst the bindings of whatever system he has concocted for himself and ultimately cause him (and his so-called order), to quote the Qoran, [105:5] to become like a field of grain that has been eaten down to [noting but its] stubble: fa ja‘alahom ka ‘asfin ma‘kūl: a spent force.
Here are a couple of instances of the more obvious Qoranic evidences and warnings:
[75:36] Does man, then, think that he is to be left to himself?
[3:83] Do they seek, perchance, a religion other than God’s, although it is unto Him that whatever is in the heavens and on earth surrenders itself, willingly or unwillingly, since [it is] unto Him [that the affairs of] all shall be returned [for evaluation and judgment]?
And so, in conclusion, we say to those Johnny-come-lately liberal hawks who feel the urge of the “responsibility, to protect” us from ourselves by dragging us down to the minimalist version of their sham democracy is that, while we can and do appreciate their position (which is best summed up by the axiom ‘misery enjoys company’), our response must nevertheless remain: ‘Do me a favor; don’t do me any favors.’
[Sidebar: Here are some reminders of definitions of some of the key terms used in this essay:
Providence: God’s intervention in the world; the exercise of care and guidance by God in managing human affairs; God’s commands as to how one shall and shall not live one’s life and form and manage the public sphere.
Providential Lordship: The control of the affairs of humanity and indeed of all of creation by God. The Islamic belief in Providential Lordship posits such lordship as being the exclusive province of God and is sharply contrasted with the worldview of Deism, which is the belief in the existence of God based solely on reason (i.e. not having any revelatory basis), who created the universe but then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation; Deism is the rejection of the possibility of supernatural intervention in human affairs.
Covenantal means having to do with a covenant or promise or contract. In the Biblical and Qoranic contexts, it refers to an agreement between God and His people (those who have attained to faith in Him and in His Providential Lordship), in which covenant mutual promises are made. In Islam, man is believed to have covenanted with God (in pre-eternity) to abide by His will and to live by His laws and in accordance with His Providential Lordship, and the Lord God in turn covenanted with man to provide him with guidance in order for him to be able properly to carry out his commitment.
Dispensation refers to the religio-legal and ethical system or order determined by God for a given age and nation or nations whereby such nations are to live in conformance with the totality of the system’s legal ordinances (prescriptive and proscriptive imperatives) as well as with all of its ethical commendations and disapprobations. Sacred or Covenantal Dispensations are exclusivist: no other agency can be allowed any quarter in this matter, whether this be Man himself, as in the secular humanist philosophy subscribed to by the liberals of the era, or the dynamics of accumulated capital taking on a life of its own as in capitalism, usury, fractional reserve fiat private central banking and other such modern-day idols.
Conventional literally means “of or relating to a convention or assembly”. A Conventional polity is a form of government wherein the people (or their elected representatives) gather in an assembly and determine their constitution and laws by means of the general agreements reached in their compact or convention.
Sacred Community can be defined as a form of intentional and purposive community whose members form the collective with the intention of achieving a specific purpose, and who communally and in unison hold that purpose or objective to be sacred. In Islam that purpose is to live in accordance with the revealed will of God (or in accordance with His dispensation) in order to gain His good pleasure in this world, and in order thereby to attain to everlasting felicity and Heaven in the Hereafter.
Society refers to a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Now witness the semantic slide that has taken place from what a society used to mean to what it has come to mean:
Traditional definition: A society is a group of people living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values which are held to be sacred and to have a divine origin and purpose, the society having been formed in order to bring about the conditions necessary to fulfill that divine purpose.]
Part 2: The Emergent Multipolar Religio-Political Landscape from a Shī‘a Perspective
The End of an Era and of Uncle $cam’s Unipolar Moment
In the first part of this essay, we stated that in talking about politics in Iran and its polity or system of governance more generally, two closely-related category errors were invariably present in the discourse. These consisted of (1) the failure to distinguish between Covenantal or Dispensational polities and Conventional ones; which error, we said, came about as a result of (2) the failure to distinguish between communities and societies, or, more specifically, between sacred communities and civil societies. Covenantal or Dispensational polities yield sacred communities, whereas Conventional polities yield civil societies; or, to put it slightly differently: sacred communities are the product of a communal consensus on a given Covenant (and the Dispensation which ensues from that Covenant), whereas civil societies are the product of a Conventional communal consensus (that has come about as a result of the failure to come to a consensus on that which is sacred).
Thus, there are those of us who believe in the reality that we have a Maker Who has created us in a way so that the optimal state of our freedom obtains for us when we submit our will to the will of our Maker and conform the way in which we transact our lives to the Sacred Dispensation which He has in mind for us and which He has revealed to us by way of His prophets. So where does this new dichotomy between the sacred and the profane leave us? The Islamic Revolution of Iran was the first crack to appear in the wall of the bi-polar world of the 20th century. That wall literally fell with the fall of the Berlin wall a decade later in 1989. About a decade after that, the events of September 11th, 2001 adumbrated the kind of century the 21st of the Christian Era was going to be. And so the dozen years between 1989 and 2001 can be considered to be the unipolar moment, or Uncle $cam’s interregnum and the transitional period between the bi-polar world of the last century and the multipolar world of the present one. (We say that the unipolar moment was a brief one because it was formally put an end to by the 9-day Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, where the “New American Century” mission creep was nipped in the bud by Russian forces; the Crimean annexation of march 2014 was simply Russia’s making sure that Victoria Nuland got the message.)
So what has the bi-polar political landscape of the two false paradigms of socialism and capitalism transitioned to? We argue that it has transitioned to another dichotomy, but this time, it is not so much bi-polar as it is a single dominant pole (the dominant paradigm of the New World Order of the West), being resisted by various phases and facets and elements and aspects of that order’s polar opposite, namely, the old world order, i.e. the sacred order of God, which has been and is being revived first and foremost under the aegis of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, but also under the aegis of multiple other poles, the most important being that of President Putin and Patriarch Kirill’s Third Rome. The battle lines are now fully drawn and could not be any more obvious: It would seem that it is not enough for the United States militarily to support the two vilest regimes on the planet, namely, that of the as-Sa’ūd clan which has occupied the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for over a century, and the regime of the European Zionist implants which have been occupying al-Qods and the rest of Palestine for 70-plus years; no, she has to support the vilest groups of bandits and liver-eating outlaws that the world has ever seen, against the Syrian nation, namely, al-Qāeda and Dāesh. Surely, anyone who still thinks that the Republocrat foreign policy of the United States has any legitimacy whatsoever is truly beyond hope and help. And of course, who is arrayed against this daemonic alliance but Iran and Russia. It is these two nations who are on the front lines of a spiritual war whose first major battle is being waged in Syria.
Preliminaries: the proactive, limited and self-critical Entezār (Awaiting) of the Islamic Republic versus the False-Enraptured Messianism of Judaic Zionism
On the basis of our Qoranic anthropology (of fallen or, better, imperfect man, who is a creature who is recalcitrant and generally not amenable to true guidance), as well as on the basis of our prophetic and imāmic prophecies, we Shi’a believe that man’s moral condition will degenerate with each passing generation until it reaches a point where humanity’s only remaining hope will be the Universal Savior, whom we believe to be the promised Imam al-Mahdi (may God hasten the advent of his noble person); and who we further believe will be accompanied and aided by the great prophet Jesus, the son of the Immaculate Virgin, Lady Mary (may God’s peace be unto them both). But at the same time, our teachings tell us that this general trend notwithstanding, we have a religious duty to strive with our utmost diligence to ensure that “God’s Name be hallowed, and that His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” (to paraphrase the Lord’s Prayer). Shī’a Islam always had a political posture that balanced man’s imperfect state with his divinely-ordained imperative of enacting God’s will on Earth; but that imperative went into abeyance for a thousand year (in the year 941 of the Christian Era, to be exact) with the Imam al-Mahdi entering into a state of occultation; but it re-emerged from this millennial state of abeyance with the triumph of Imam Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution, which was the realization of the imam’s theory of the Regency of the Magisterium (also translated as the Guardianship-type Governance of the Religious Jurist) in the absence of the Immaculate Imam, or the theory of velāyat-e faqīh.
Now the accusation has been levelled both from within the Islamic tradition (by the Hojjatieh Society types, for example), as well as from outside it, that the theory of velāyat-e faqīh and the revolutionary order that it ushered in is just that: it is revolutionary and radical, and as such, is not conservative or traditional. For example, in his essay Counter-Liberalism: Heidegger’s Ghosts, Alexander S. Duff states: “[The project of the Islamic Revolution of Iran] should not be confused with traditionalism or conservatism, though contemporary far-rightists in this orbit sometimes identify as “Traditionalists.” Rather, the future orientation of this radicalism aspires to retrieve a new form of particularist communal existence from a past to which even tradition is blind.” This is a valid and good concern, but because Mr. Duff does not have sufficient empathy with “traditionalism and conservatism” he mistakenly characterizes the Islamic Revolution as radical. (Strictly speaking, the Islamic “Revolution” is in fact an insurrection [to restore the tradition of the Prophet and of the Imams to its rightful place], not a revolution.)
In that essay, Duff’s concern is with Heidegger, who he states sensed that the complete “destruction” of culture would be required to effect the philosophic and historical changes he envisioned; and, not knowing enough about the evolutionary development of Shī‘a Islam, Duff goes on to conflate it with Heidegger’s nihilism, or, better, with what can be characterized, from our perspective, as advocacy of a form of what William F. Buckley used to refer to as the ‘Immanentization of the Eschaton’. Eric Voegelin worded the general idea in this way: “The problem of an eidos in history, hence, arises only when a Christian transcendental fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis of the eschaton, however, is a theoretical fallacy.” In other words, it is a mistake to believe that the disorder of the world can be transcended by extraordinary insight, learning, or knowledge, (which Voegelin called a ‘Gnostic Speculation’); and that the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) can be implemented in the world by man prior to the advent of the Imam al-Mahdi (or to the Second Coming of the Christ in the Christian tradition).
The introduction of change and novelty is increasing at a furious rate; and the triple bind of modernity is that because the changes it has introduced outpace the host tradition’s ability to cope with or digest and assimilate them, the resultant cognitive field of modernity with which the moderns identify (to the dubious extent that it can be said that they identify with anything) is itself an unprecedented radicalization of the status quo ante that is profoundly at odds with the tradition out of the belly of which it emerged. So let us be quite clear on that: it is the post-Westphalian order with its Gesellschaft (or “Civil Society” — aggregates of individuals) departure from the wholeness and integrality of their host Gemeinschaft (community), to use Tönnies’ words, that is what is radically at odds with “traditionalism and conservatism”.
And given this radicalized cognitive field that unceasingly coopts elements of traditional cultures and communities in a parasitical fashion (not having any tradition of its own), the second knot in the bind is that the only “solution” to the problem (given the co-mingling and cooption of the past, and also given the traditional communities’ failure to assimilate or at least to forestall the changes which are radically at odds with it) is a reformation which will ineluctably appear as radical against the background of this corrupted cognitive field, but which is reformatory in its essence nevertheless. And this is why Imam Khomeinī said: “Islam lives among the people of this world as if it were a stranger; if somebody were to present Islam as it truly is, he would find it difficult to make people believe him.” So yes, modernity has blinded even “tradition” because traditional solutions no longer have efficacy and one must go back to the Creedal Foundations and apply those principles to “newly arising situations” in a kind of neo-ejtehād, if you will (and I hate to use that term), in a field where there have been cardinal changes (no pun intended) such that the presumptive framework of the sacred canon and everything else has shifted and will continue to do so at ever faster dizzying speeds. And the third knot is that this “solution” is not a solution at all and cannot be a solution in the real sense of the word, but is at best only a stop-gap measure or a place-holder for the coming of the Mahdi, as it is the lesser evil among all of the other alternatives.
I emphasize this last part because that is what differentiates what I will call the proactive, limited and self-critical entezār (awaiting) of the Islamic Republic from the false-enraptured messianism of Judaic Zionism (whose proponents could not wait for the fulfillment of the promise of their Lord for their Messiah to take them to the Promised Land); not to mention their Atlanticist Evangelical enablers further to their west in London and New York and Washington.
The task of the refashioning of the post-Vatican II, post-9/11 Neo-Liberal World Order (which Heidegger believed requires the complete destruction of culture) is indeed necessary, but one that must be left to the Imam al-Mahdi or the promised Universal Savior whose advent will be coterminous with that of the Second Coming of Jesus the son of Mary (unto both of whom be God’s peace and blessings). The project of the Islamic Revolution is not the establishment of the City of God “on Earth as it is in Heaven”; it is a stop-gap measure to attempt to take from Caesar that which does not belong to Caesar, as it were; to establish God’s will in the absence (or “occultation”) of Immaculate guidance as best we can, given our Fallen state. This is exactly what is meant by entezār or awaiting the Mahdi: it is an awaiting, but an awaiting that is proactive, with due attention to the limitations of our ability to do anything until his blessed advent. Unfortunately, most of the authorities in the Islamic Republic still harbor naïve and idealistic notions of what those achievements can and should be (a remnant of a once necessary revolutionary fervor); and their aims are misdirected more often than not. They have yet to realize (or in any event they have not yet been ready to announce publicly) that, contrary to their claims during the tumultuous heyday of the revolution, they are incapable of bringing about the conditions necessary for the full implementation of Islam as it was intended by the Lord. But again, this is a far, far better alternative than to sit there twiddling one’s thumbs like the Hojjatieh, doing nothing to help the situation of their lot, until the advent. As Āyatollāh Bahjat has stated, those who take this position will not be able to answer their Lord on Judgement Day as to why they did nothing to help relieve human suffering when they were perfectly able to do so. And that is exactly what the Islamic Republic is doing, bless its heart, with all its bumbling faults, false starts and struggles against seemingly insurmountable odds, whose project is destined not to reach its end goal and perfection.
Yet, this is not an endless Sisyphean struggle that is without purpose. The purpose of the life of this world is for it to serve as a testing ground to separate those who, given limited free will, will choose to obey their Lord and Maker in the way of life that in His wisdom and grace He has revealed to us (and thus achieve felicity in this world and in the world to come), from those who will rebel against His will (and be condemned to perdition). And we view the fact that the struggle to maintain as best we can the conditions necessary for the continuance of the implementation of God’s will on the social as well as on the individual level has seemed to become a thankless Sisyphean task that is doomed to fail, as just another indication and sign of the nearing of the end of the current phase in human history and the ever closer approach of the blessed promised return of the Imam al-Mahdi, may Allāh hasten the advent of his noble person.
The Emerging Brotherhood of Resistance
A New Horizon has been ushered in after the 1968 peak of the heyday of the liberalism of the Soixante-Huitards and the turning of the tide in Iran and Poland in 1979, and in Berlin in 1989, and the coup d’etat of September 11th, 2001, with everything leading up to the world-war-in-microcosm of Syria and beyond at present. This emerging New Horizon which is arising to combat oppression and to establish justice and equity on the basis of the moral values and ethical principles revealed to us by the prophets through the ages, and which are shared by Christianity and Islam alike. What we see unfolding in the unipolar interregnum (or in the transition between the bi-polar world of the cold war and the multi-polar world that is developing before our eyes) is not only the transition of political and economic institutions to epicenters that define the new multipolar topology (such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Shang-Hai Cooperation Organization (SCO)), but an ideological and spiritual shift from the bipolar model of left/ right, libertarian/ communitarian, to one whose dominant paradigm is the hegemonic dynamic of liberal capitalism, Zionism and the New [Secular] Order of the Ages (Novus Ordo Seclorum), which is itself the antithesis to God’s original order or dispensation, which is on the rise and posing a challenge to the dominant paradigm. This latter order, which is at times referred to as the Axis of Resistance, is centered on Iran’s Velāyat-e Faqīh constitutional theocentric system (with our Hezbollāh allies being early adherents), and with the welcome and very important addition of the Russian Federation, the bear having been unintentionally awakened, it would seem, by the Jewess warmonger Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman). (And of course with the Bishop of Rome sadly and conspicuously absent.)
With the spectacular “success” of capitalism ever on the ascendant, the material conditions and comforts and power of the super-rich (and their rich accomplices and managerial-class enablers and administrators) reaches unprecedented peaks, and the divide between them and the vast majority of humanity becomes ever more evident, stark and grotesque, an equal and opposite reaction is also emerging as its antithesis. And that is the emerging sense of significant basic commonalities between peoples of different faiths who are coming to understand that they hold in common traditional values whose origins go back to revelations revealed by God and which they all hold as sacred, and that given the ascendancy of modernism or capitalism or neoliberalism or globalism or whatever you want to call the anti-human and ungodly values of the order that has become the dominant paradigm or operating system of the world; that, given this ascendancy and its unremitting assault on these commonly-held values, that there is an emerging sense of a new priority and urgency that presents itself, namely, that if we are to hold on to what we have as traditional cultures and peoples, we had better start coming together as a confederation of forces and to start to work together in defense of our common values rather than to stick to the lines that have traditionally been defined by our creeds.
The emerging multi-polar landscape is a spiritual one, and is one that recognizes that people of different faiths have more in common with each other on matters of substance and importance than we have differences on things that have divided us in the past (and continue to mark our boundaries), and that we have a very nefarious and powerful enemy in common which is eroding and ripping our values to shreds, call it modernity, secular humanism, neo-Paganism, the New World Order, or what you will. The basic premise of this assertion of the essentially spiritual nature of this emergent concrescence is that as time progresses and the outlines of the concrescence are more clearly adumbrated and ultimately crystalize into clearly discernable new formations, that the spiritual commonalities will trump other more traditional factors such as ethnicity, religious affiliation, cultural formations, national boundaries and geostrategic considerations.
Thus, there is a need to come up with a manifesto of all that we hold in common, and to define new protocols whereby communication and lines of cooperation are better defined in order to facilitate and harmonize more contact and cooperation between peoples of faith. Think of it as a Declaration of Social Rights. Having defined what constitutes a traditional community or nation, one such protocol or Article of Confederation would be, for example, that the sacred tenets and creedal bases of each nation and culture and civilization are inviolable. Thus, the Manifesto would be the polar opposite of what today passes as “religious ecumenisms”, being the broad credo of a movement wherein a true dialogue between people of faith can be held. It will be true in the sense that all previous efforts at ecumenism were based on achieving common ground by sacrificing values which are held as sacred, and by abandoning the most sacred value of all: attaining to social justice, which can only be achieved by establishing the ordinances of God’s sacred laws as the basis of all legislation. And of course all of these efforts were bound to fail because ultimately no one was willing to abandon what they held as sacred in order to achieve a meaningless common consensus. But our approach, which we think of as the Shī’a Ecumenism, is based not on the attitudes and values of the New World Order but on the Old World Order, the sacred and divine World Order, not the secular one; but it is the Old World Order 2.0, with (a) multi-dispensational mutual respect and cooperation rather than conflict, and (b) rational bases and proofs for our positions that supplement and buttress our respective sacred revealed values and truths, rather than relying solely on scriptural dogmatics. To paraphrase the words of the ideological platform of Alain Soral’s party of Equality and Reconciliation in France, generally speaking, “we are on the right when it comes to moral values, and on the left when comes to workers’ rights and social justice”, with the difference that, unlike Alain Soral’s party, we have the spiritual underpinnings that have sustained our position for over a millennium.
We need to provide a common credo for Catholic, Orthodox, Sonnī and Shī’a alike in our struggle against our common enemy. Most importantly, if we are ever to succeed in taking even a single step in the right direction toward promoting the necessary conditions that will promote and foster social justice and the brotherhood of man, we need to understand what is really going on with the system of usury that has taken over the world, what fractional reserve banking is, what fiat currency is, what the prospects are for the Bretton Woods monetary system to implode upon itself given the abuse of the system that placed the US Dollar in a monopoly position contrary to all international norms, and what the alternatives to it are: what a usury-free and just financial order would look like (and what steps must be taken in order to bring about such an order). We need to provide constructive analyses and observations of where we should be heading as a multi-polar and multi-denominational and multi-dispensational community of faith: what our common grounds are and should be, and what objectives we should set for bringing ourselves closer in spiritual and geostrategic alliance, and most importantly, the answers, expressed in rational terms, to the question as to why the sacred dispensation that we believe in is superior, by way of rational proofs, than the secular and profane alternative, and furthermore, why it is our only way forward.
The main thing that we share in common with our brothers in faith is our belief that not only is there a God, but that He has ordained for us through that special faculty of intellection we call revelation a certain way of life (or a dispensation, if you will) through which we will attain to our perfections in this life and to salvation in the hereafter. Thus, we all agree that fornication, gambling, usury, abortion, homosexuality (let alone pedophilia and bestiality, which seem to be right around the corner on their Satanic agenda), all lead to untold miseries in this life, and to perdition in the life to come. We even share almost identical views on the consumption of alcohol, the difference being that while it is a vice that is strictly forbidden in the Islamic dispensation, it is one that has been allowed in the Christian tradition, but only in very limited quantities, and certainly not in anything like the volumes that give rise to the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths annually that is the result of the debauchery of the liberal lifestyle). And last and by no means least, we also agree that there is and should be such a thing as real social justice.
We mention these issues because not only do they cover the large majority of the issues that are grist for the mill of the culture wars that have been raging for decades, but because they are issues where we have 100% agreement and where we can and must go on the offensive. Not only do we have scriptural bases and proofs for the veracity and righteousness of our positions on all of these issues, but we also have rational proofs that buttress our positions on these issues as well. Too long have we left the sociological approaches to these key issues to the leftists, which are nothing but the burnt-out remnants of the Soixante-Huitards. From the Shi’a perspective, the Axis of Resistance should aim to bring about the concrescence and confederation of the forces of righteousness within Christianity and Islam (and other civilizations such as the Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian, and even the secular-minded individuals and groups who accept traditional values and the priority of the principle of social justice over unfettered individual freedom) who are engaged in the sacred struggle (jehād) of establishing God’s providential lordship (robūbīat, mashī’at, sharī’at) on Earth as it is in Heaven. As such, our mission is to work with leaders within Christian Orthodoxy as well as with Catholics who reject the separation of church and state that was adopted by the Second Vatican Council of 1958 – 1963 (the group that has come to be known as the Traditional Catholics and at times as the sede-vacantists), as well as any other groups that adhere to these values and are determined to focus and work on positive points which we share in common, and not to accentuate divisive differences.
It seems to me that the “New Horizon” that is emerging (to use Nader Talebzādeh’s term) is a concrescence of forces pointing to what can be called an emerging “Brotherhood of Resistance” against the forces of tyranny and oppression (in secular terms), and against the forces of evil and of those working against the will of God and His sacred Dispensation (in religious terms). What I see emerging is something like what I have depicted graphically below:
The Shī’a Perspective or the Five-Ring Circus
Let us take a closer look at the topology of the new political field. It is one that is defined on one side by a polity that is profane (secular-humanist) and democratic (yes, it is oligarchic and kleptocratic, but we are talking theory here); and on the other side, at its epicenter, as one that is sacred and theocratic. One that believes in making the community consensus united in its belief in a sacred covenant and dispensation work at any and all costs, as opposed to one whose communal attribute is civil society and laws that are arrived at by convention and which do not have any sacred or other-worldly origins (refer to Part 1 of this essay for an elaboration of this dichotomy).
The New Horizon that has come into view shares the values of the traditional Right (in the previous bi-polar model) when it comes to social values and everything that promotes traditional family values, but shares the values that have traditionally been held by the Left when it comes to social justice. On questions where the traditional Right and Left are at odds, as with, for example, the issue of individual vs. social rights, the sacred dispensationalists come down on the side of the priority of social rights over those of the unfettered rights of the individual. But this does not mean a strong statism which is then coopted by corporations, because the sacred dispensation insists on social justice, and can be identified with the traditional Left in this respect. Thus, the default is for government to establish the minimum requirements of the dispensation (which includes guaranteeing the conditions necessary for traditional family values to be maintained and to thrive and for social justice to obtain), and to leave everything else open for society to decide as it sees fit in fully empowered micro-communities. But this “leaving everything else open” does not apply to matters of social justice; here the dispensation insists that when one member of the community is oppressed, all are oppressed, and poverty and lack of access to decent housing and healthcare and education are all considered instances and species of oppression.
Now if we focus in on the newly-emerging front within this dichotomy, i.e. the one that holds traditional values as sacred, we will be able to discern five concentric rings, each being endowed with multiple more or less autonomous poles. As already stated, the center of this Sacred Axis (or Axis of Resistance, if you want to characterize is simply as a reaction to Western hegemony, which it is not) is the Islamic Republic, of course. But let us go out to the periphery and work out way inward.
The Peoples of the Fifth Ring: Here at the periphery we find the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people from the Indian subcontinent, to Indo-China, to China and Japan, be they Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian or Shinto – all of whom more or less believe in the traditional values which we Moslems and our Christian brothers and cousins believe have a divine origin. The Peoples of the Fifth Ring, let us call them, may not believe, with us, in the sacred origin of their values; but they hold them as sacred and inviolable nonetheless. They are fully and unequivocally united with us in their position on this.
The Fourth Ring is populated by Traditional Catholicism, which includes the hundreds of millions of Catholics of Latin America together with a sprinkling of what is left of the pre-Vatican II sensibility in Spain and France and Italy (and Eastern Europe too, of course, including, not least, the Poles). The People of the Fourth Ring are not confused concerning the divine origin of their values, but they are indeed confused or worse, are unaware, of how their leadership at the Vatican has betrayed them, and how the Second Vatican Council has severed the Church from the Apostolic Succession. The Catholic Church was once at the leading edge of the brotherhood of man in that it believed in the integrality of church and state and was to a large extent able to implement this belief. But now, tragically, and I dare say inevitably (because of their rejection of the prophethood of the Prophet Mohammad, unto whom be peace, and their insistence on the primacy of their church which led to the Great Schism of 1054), they sealed the fate of their Church from ever being able to be an instrument of salvation again. Those among the Protestants who still believe in traditional family values (are against gay rights, for example) and also believe in social justice (and are anti-Zionists, for example), fit into this Fourth Ring also.
The Third Ring is comprised of the Peoples of the Third Rome or Russian Orthodoxy and their fellow Eastern Orthodox Christians. These are people whose dispensation has a divine origin (being ordained by Almighty God), and whose patriarchs and patriarchates have not fallen for the modernist hokey-doke of the separation of church and state, cultural relativism, gay parades and all the rest of it. The dispensations in this Third Ring suffer from two short-comings: the dispensations themselves are based on sources which have been falsified and corrupted and superseded (the Bible having been superseded by the Qoran and Hadith); and, the role of the Orthodox Patriarchs are not front and center as is the role of the Shi’a clergy. But still, the Church’s involvement in statesmanship is unquestionably present, and it is a very welcome presence in these trying times, to say the least.
The Second Ring is comprised of those among our Sonnī brothers who are not “undecided” in the choice that has been facing them for a long time now, namely, that they have to choose which side they are on: are they allied with their Shi’a brothers in faith against the takfīrī Wahhabis and Salafis waging their bogus jehād on behalf of the Anglo-American Imperium and their Jewish masters in London, New York and Washington D. C.; or are they allied with these against the Shi’a. Those who anathemize those who anathemize the Shi’a are true Moslems and belong in this group. And although it is true that Sonnite political theory has been an unmitigated disaster from Day One (i.e. from the Saqīfa), which is why Sonnīs are basically spastic when it comes to political philosophy (kinda like the post-Vatican II Catholics who are basically schizoid), the reason they still get to be in the Second Ring ahead of the People of the Third Rome is that their praxis, being colored by the all-embracing sharī’a, is comprehensive and makes up for their political spasticity to a large extent. Thus, they are right in practice on most issues (except the ones that require statesmanship to enforce and foster), although their creedal basis is weak and has led them to disband the caliphate and to be ruled by puppets who dance to the tune of their foreign masters.
And the First Ring and final Ring is comprised of Shi’a Moslems, because not only do we get the dispensation right, we also have our religious leadership at the helm of the ship of state. As such, that very small minority among the Shi’a which does not believe in the duty of the clergy to step up to the plate of statesmanship during the period of the occultation of the 12th Imam (I am referring to the Hojjatieh Society types, as well as the “British Shi’ism” of the Shīrāzī type, as Imam Khāmeneī has famously termed it) do not belong in this first ring, but in the second, together with the Sonnis, to whom they are spiritually closer in any case, not having understood the key concept of welāyat (spiritual sovereignty). This exception also applies to what I have translated as the “Dinoseminarians” (dīnāsor-hāye howzeh, literally: the ‘dinosaurs of the seminary’ [whose cognitive output, the implication goes, is as good as extinct) against whom Imam Khomeini went to battle, and whose sole preoccupation and concern are matters having to do with ritual purity and acts of devotion (ahkām va ebādāt), on which they spend all their time on, at the expense of the real issues of the day which have to do with how to bring about social justice in Iran and to the whole of the world of Islam, and how to make Islam more relevant by having it deal with the issues raised by modernity more effectively. Imam Khomeini won the battle with the Dinoseminarians, but alas, at times it seems that they and their millennial inertia are winning the war. But inshallah, this will not be the case, if we can help it.
We must always bear in mind that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and although at times our prospects seem very bleak indeed with the ascendancy of the Forces of Profanity coming upon us wave after wave, we must always be conscious of the fact that while it might appear on the surface that the minions working against God’s Providence are in charge, it is God, the Lord of Providence of both worlds Who is actually in charge. God’s words in the Noble Qoran remind us:
وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ ۚ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ ﴿٣٠﴾
[8:30] AND [remember, O Prophet,] how those who were bent on denying the truth were scheming against thee, in order to restrain thee [from preaching], or to slay thee, or to drive thee away: thus have they [always] schemed: but God brought their scheming to naught – for [the power of] God[’s Providential Lordship] is above [that of the power of] all schemers.
The righteous and the God-fearing will prevail and inherit the Earth, and this is because the universe that our Maker has created is a moral universe, which means that while things might become temporarily displaced as a result of the wicked taking undue advantage of the limited freedom of will that God has granted them for a limited time, God’s order will ineluctably be restored in the long term and when all is said and done. Thus, bearing this Promise of our Lord ever in mind, we will be able to engage in the sacred struggle, first and foremost with the forces within our own lower selves that command us to ignorance and evil, but also with the forces of the wicked in the external world, with a sense of self-assurance and confidence that, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, it is we who will be the winners in this cosmic war. To be sure, we will lose battle after battle, and lose the battle in Syria also, if we have interpreted our prophecies correctly (possibly in a nuclear holocaust); after which there will be the advent of the Imam al-Mahdi, together with the Second Coming of Jesus the Christ, who will fight side by side against the forces of evil and triumph over them, after which there will be a long period of the reign of true peace and justice on earth, before the Resurrection. And so, knowing this sequence of events, it will be easier for us to work as separate poles in a confederation of people and nations of faith and of a Brotherhood of Resistance fighting to establish and maintain our the Covenantal Dispensations of our respective Sacred Communities with a posture of Active and Self-Critical Awaiting, and to avoid falling into the trap of the False-Enraptured Messianism of Judaic Zionism and its evil twin, the New Lower-Worldly (i.e. materialist and God-denying) Order, until the Advent of Imam al-Mahdi and of the Second Coming of Jesus the Christ.
Let us end on a supplication: Help us, Lord, to fight diligently and courageously in Your cause until the Advent of these two noble servants of Yours, and to prepare the conditions for their Advent, against all odds, to the best of our abilities. Amen.
This is necessary information, IMO — outstanding in quality and relevance.
Thank you !
Good–pre-Vatican II Catholics.
Bad–post-Vatican II Catholics.
Sorry, doesn’t fly.
Sorry, doesn’t fly.
Wow! Now that is a profound argument, fact based and logical.
Dude – be happy that *somebody* is willing to give at least *some* Latins the benefit of the doubt!
FWIW – I have much more respect for pre-VII Latins who at least had the honesty to stand up for their beliefs and who rejected the wholesale betrayed of what the Papacy stood for for about 1000 years. VII was a crushing and painful blow to millions of Latins who were sincere in their beliefs and love for their traditions. It was a moral crime against millions of people, many of which turned away from Christianity altogether after that. I (Orthodox) see that, the author (Muslim) sees that, but you don’t. How pathetic and sad, really.
I never cared for the Latin “taste”, but VII was a perfect example of the “salt losing its taste”. Wake up to it!
Yes, I am afraid Rick does not appreciate the significance of the self-inflicted broadside that VII was and continues to be. In my opinion: sadly, it put paid to the notion that the Catholic Church can ever come back into being a significant force for good.
I can give you two horrible examples:
1) in France after Vatican II they “abolished relics”, including the relics of famous saints which were venerated by pious French catholics for centuries. You know what happened then? I actually had an Orthodox friend who used to visit Catholic parishes and offer them to take their relics. As for the poor Catholics, they were banned from showing the relics to the people, but they felt too much devotion for them to simply toss them into the trash. So they gave them to my friend. In large quantities. And since this friend of mine was Orthodox, we are talking, by definition, of relics which were older than 1054! Imagine that.
2) I have seen with my own eyes how a post Vatican-II priest used grape juice in lieu of wine for the Eucharist and then had kids deliver the bread used in the Eucharist by hand to people in the church while guitar music played…
It is a shame that the suffering inflicted on Latin traditionalists is never mentioned nowadays. I have had too many Latin traditionalist friends (still have many of them even today) for whom I had the greatest respect personally (even if I had none for their church) to be silent about it. The truth is this: VII back-stabbed millions of Catholics worldwide. It is an utter disgrace.
Incroyable! Very sad indeed.
What I am seeing from you gentlemen are massive ad hominem attacks.
My wife and I are Catholics. She grew up in the post-Vatican II charismatic movement; I was a later convert. We go to a small country church where the spirit of Jesus Christ abides. We avoid religious politics. We get a lot out of your website. But please don’t throw us in your historical determinism garbage can. That’s all I’m saying.
In my opinion the salt lost its taste long ago, in may little steps. many steps so incrementally small that people got used to it. May be V2 was an attempt to begin the process of reconstituting the salt again? May be it was not, I do not know, was not there.
I think what the essayist drives at is not so much the joining together based on desires for rituals, ceremonies or traditions, but to reach down to the very roots or foundations of the various believes which can be expected to be the same. All traditions and believe systems are but superstructures built upon these common principles. And what are these principles you might ask. I do not know, but I found in Leo Tolstoy’s writing ( especially in ” On What I Believe” notably chapter 9) well reasoned approach to these questions.
Unfortunately preV2 as well as post V2 does not seem to grapple much or seriously with these questions.
I further think the “Salt” began to loose its flavor with Constantin by abandoning it original mission that was expressed in the words: … my kingdom is not of this world … (Also these words might obtain a clearer meaning in light of Tolstoy/s thoughts)
And finally Dostoyevsky’s story of “The Grand Inquisitor” could come to mind if one contemplates preV2 conditions of the Catholic Church. ( By the way I am a Catholic sort of). But regardless of V2 in forming the proposed Federation the essence of the thoughts presented by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky might merit consideration
I would encourage those curious or interested in this topic to take a look at this brief video of Father Thomas Keating, Cistercian (Trappist) monk, speaking on “spiritual, not religious” with a brief reference to VII.
Thank you for this fantastic essay! I’m only partway through it, but had to jump into the comments. My personal faith journey led me into contemplative spirituality, which I gained entry to from a couple years of spiritual direction with an immensely qualified (not evil) Jesuit. I went forward from there dedicating myself to the life of a spiritual seeker, following closely the teachings of (also not evil) Indian Jesuit, Anthony de Mello, and drawing considerably from the Sufi ways and teachings (through written stories. I believe that if my heart was dissected it would expose itself as partly Sufi – such was the influence on me.) It seemed that I should have found a home in the Catholic church community, but solitude dominated for this journey, spanning two decades. At one point, I felt the guidance of Jesus Christ lead me into a Hindu temple, and I joined the community there for many years. (It took me about two years of discernment to take this step!! Not an easy one for me.) For me personally, I find the Hindu-Christian or Christian-Hindu path to be tremendously fruitful. (This brought me full circle also, in a way, since my most beloved teacher, Anthony de Mello was Indian. In the teacher’s footsteps? If so, what an honor!)
So, what is to become of Benedictine spirituality now?? What of the Latin tradition of contemplative spirituality?
The link says ‘unavailable’.
Thanks, Franz. Yet another example of my total ineptitude with YouTube links!! Maybe one of these two will work:
Thank you for your kind words of praise for the essay. I pray that your spiritual journey will bring you closer to God, which, from my perspective, is to delve more deeply into your own tradition, and then, if that does not satisfy, to learn more about Shi’a Islam, God willing.
Thank you for the prayer. It is always a blessing to receive prayers for one’s journey to and with God.
I very much appreciate your essay, which, I think, offers a kind of completeness, a perfection, in view of the religio-political landscape. You mention geography. And it reminds me of the mischievousness of India, which insists on including followers of several great traditions, intertwined, intermingled in community, without compromising any one tradition. How to approach this? Some of the quirkiness of my own journey reflects this state (again, learned through de Mello’s teachings, who seems to try to unlock the door to purposive multi-tradition community.) This completeness you present here, I would argue, would have to look different for that nation?
I live in Canada, so I’m a product of many, many nfluences. :-) It bothers me that more Westerners have not dennounced the wars on Muslim nations, simply in the name of the Sufi saints, whose poems and teachings influence so many of us in this part of the world. Even if commercialized, turned into ready to consume commodities, still, the power of their work can be felt.
check out scienceandnonduality.com?
Thanks for the link, JJ. I’ll check it out. Sounds intriguing!
Long way to go to say: “my god is better than your god, and any god is better than no god”.
The entire line of “logic” exhibited in the article is based on the circular premise that: god created the universe, therefore the religious/spritiual view of the universe and all in it is moral, because god created it and god is moral. (the missing Oxford comma is intentional)
Again I ask (the author has made his choice clear, but the rest of the religions of the world have equal say)” WHICH GOD IS THE REAL GOD? INDEPENDENT PROOF PLEASE, since science is required to prove any information it presents beyond a shadow of a doubt, why should core religious beliefs (we know exactly were the cultural dress/diet etc. “laws” came from) escape that same rigorous standard?
With respect, science, whose ambit has to do with the physical or sensible world, has no purchase on the meta-physical realms. Some, therefore, choose to deny that such a domain even exists. That is their prerogative. It is a mistaken view, but it is logical, within the limits of the logic of its proponents. But to want to explain the province of religion by way of a faculty which itself maintains that it has no purchase on the metaphysical is illogical.
Also, I was not saying “My God is better than your God” at all. What I said was that polities based on a consensus that is communally held to be sacred (no matter the religion) are superior or “maximally democratic” I think was the term I used, to profane or secular democracies which are minimally democratic at best. If you pay attention to the argument in Part 1, and actually try to follow it, you will see that it has nothing to do with a *particular* religion at all, but is equally applicable to all communities of faith. That is its strength. You will also not that it is a rational rather than a scriptural proof, meaning that it does not rely on dogma or any creedal tenets, but on the strength of reason alone. In other words, it is not a religious argument at all; it just states that religious polities are superior to non-religioius ones, providing *reasons* for having arrived at this position.
What an interesting and productive line of reasoning… for a change. I hope that your interlocutor can rise to the occasion. You have somewhat squared the circular reasoning of the atheists by incorporating logic, which claims to be the child of the enlightenment, but is it really?
Yes, the so-called Enlightenment claims exclusivity with respect to the use of reason, or at least to putting it to proper use. And it does so justifiably against much of the dogma and even against the scriptural sources and creedal tenets of Christianity, in my opinion. Ditto, Sonni Islam. But there is not a single creedal tenet or dogma within Shi’a Islam or a single scriptural source or sacred text that cannot stand up to the light of reason within Shi’a Islam. Now I know that is a large claim, and I am not going to be able to defend it in a forum such as this. I mention it merely in answer to your “but is it really?” question. And the answer is a resounding No. The Shi’a believe that there are three faculties of perception or intellection or understanding: the direct perception provided by the senses; abstract reason, with its concepts and categories and universals, and the most important of the three, the understanding of the domain that is beyond the ken of ordinary human perception (al-ghayb, usually erroneously translated as ‘the world of the unseen’), which includes the spectrum of intuition and inspiration and (personal or subjective) ‘unveiling’ (mokaashefa; kashf), whose highest form is revelation. The Enlightenment thinkers were reacting against a decadent Church and they overcompensated by throwing out the baby of metaphysical truth with the bathwater of the mystical mumbo-jumbo that usually accompanies claims to truth in that domain. And so, denying the whole metaphysical domain (al-ghayb), they also concomitantly denied the faculty that encompasses it and can digest and assimilate it, namely, revelation. By so doing, they upset the balance between reason and revelation, giving reason a much wider berth that it itself is comfortable with. Reason works in concepts and categories, all of which are discrete entities, meaning that they are bounded and finite. If they were not, one would not be able to get one’s mind around them, so to speak. But at the same time that reason sees what its ambit is and what is grist for its mill (discrete, finite concepts), it *also* sees that the world in which it finds itself is *not* discrete but is infinite in its expanse, in its depth, and in its complexity. Thus, reason itself reasons that it cannot comprehend the world in its entirety, and that its jurisdiction is therefore limited. And that if the world as a whole is to be understood at all, it will need to be understood by means of a different faculty of intellection. Thus, reason is open to revelation, and welcomes it when it sees it (given proofs, such as miracles).
Therefore, we say that Islam is *actually* that which is rational (because it conforms in every way with the self-critical and limited faculty of intellection we know as reason), and those who want to understand the world by way of reason alone are actually irrational, as they are using the wrong tool, like trying to drink the ocean with a spoon.
And you unintentionally have hit upon the crux of the biscuit. I believe there is no “unknowable” or supernatural, no matter what euphemism is used to confer some special status to the guesses and elaborate scenarios the ancients contrived to convince themselves and others they knew the answer to the then unknowns. And that answer was always god and/or mystical/spiritual/etc. I posit that the universe (and beyond) is indeed knowable, whether by science or some other rational means we have not yet fully come to understand. Gravity and the electromagnetic spectrum show conclusively that there is “something” going on beyond the current human ability to sense the natural around us. That the matter we can “see” was insufficient to explain the motion/speed of solar systems and galaxies has been written about for at least 100 years… the early scientists simply did not have sufficiently sophisticated instrumentation to gather the data required, which we now have. Dark Matter/Energy is now pretty much a given, the trick is now how to more directly sense and measure it.
The most important Three Little Words in the universe now come into play… “We Don’t Know.” Yet…
I have dealt elsewhere on the Saker blog (in the Cafe) with the divine/spiritual as what amounts to “religion without god”. The same “attribute the mysterious to some intelligent power and just believe” process when the end of the known is encountered applies. That politics and religion have been inextricable linked in such heinous activities is is beyond dispute.
Non-religious polities have never really been given the unhindered opportunity to reach fruition, just as real democracy or socialism have been subverted by those individuals and groups that would lose wealth and power if such projects were more successful in creating rational human societies than oligarchy and crony capitalism. Altruism vs. Greed if you will. No god required.
I do not dismiss the obvious natural, but very subtle, energies/forces which have been “explained” and appropriated by the religious leadership/establishment and associated polities since chiefs and shaman held their tribal followers in rapt attention of “miracles” and fear of the unknown around the fire. I know for certain that humans can access and interact with those “mystical/spiritual” energies/forces, but the main prerequisite is to leave your ego at the door and not think you actually control the process. As but one small example, meditation in its highest form is not about the individual, or the group or all the humans on earth… it is about “all”.
The “domain” of such natural, but currently scientifically undefined, energies/forces has been ceded to those story-tellers who could convince the most followers, and parlay that position into real-world wealth and power. The idea that any lasting good can come from such a fundamentally flawed belief system, no matter how widely accepted the various version are, is like saying the world would have been better off if The Church managed to silence Galileo and any other scientist that figured out ideas contrary to Church sensibilities.
That drive to attain power and wealth “in god’s name” or in pursuit of the truths of the ancients, has been repeatedly misused to get those religious polities to foment hate, wars and now potentially the end of life on earth as we know it.
It may be the products of science that end it all, but it is the religious beliefs of those who refuse to let go of the ancient stories and the cultural/tribal divisions they cause which will make the decision. No truly rational human would “push he button”. But a in a real-world example of Milgram’s Shock Experiment, where a cabal of religious/political zealots are playing the lab-coated authority figure to Trump’s well-meaning button-pusher role all too likely will.
Well, dinner is ready…
You say, “No truly rational human would “push the button”. But why not? For the atheist or Satanist, both of whom I more or less equate, pushing the button is an eminently rational act.
If there is no valid, absolute basis for a law against mass murder, other than force, in the absence of force, or even better, when you hold all force in your hands, why not push the button?
Your insistence on there not merely being no God, but no gods, is a perfectly Socialist Orthodoxy. Here is what Dostoyevsky writes on that subject;
“Socialism is godless—it proclaimed in its very first statement that it aims at an organization that does not presuppose God; that is, an organization based on the principles of reason and science exclusively. But reason and science have always performed, and still perform, only an auxiliary function in the life of peoples, and it will be like that till the end of time. Nations are formed and moved by some other force whose origin is unknown and unaccountable…. It is the force of an incessant and unwavering affirmation of life and a denial of death. It is the spirit of life, “river of water of life” as the Scriptures call it, the drying up of which is threatened in the Apocalypse. . . . I call it simply the search for God. The objective of any nationalist movement in any people at any time is actually a search for God, for their own, national God—and it must be, above all their own God…. God’s personality is a synthesis of the entire nation from the beginning of its existence to its end.”  Devils, F. Dostoyevsky
Finally, about ‘pushing the button’, I want to cite Kirilov’s thoughts before his suicide, also from Devils. Please keep in mind that pushing the button on oneself, in suicide, is not that different from pushing the button on the suicide vest or the button on a Nuclear WW3.
“Once three crosses stood in the center of the earth. One of the three of the crosses believed so completely that He said to another: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” By the end of the day, both of them died. They went and they found—no paradise, no resurrection—nothing. His words didn’t come true. Listen now—that Man was the best on earth—He represented that which makes life worth living. The whole planet with everything on it is sheer insanity without that Man. There hadn’t been anyone like Him before nor has there been since—never; and therein lies the miracle—that there never has been and never will be such a Man. Now, since the laws of nature didn’t spare even Him, didn’t spare even that miracle, and forced even Him to live among lies and to die for a lie—it proves that the whole planet is based on a lie and an inane smirk. It proves too that the laws of nature are a pack of lies and a diabolical farce. So what’s the point of living?”  Devils.
It would be futile, I believe, to argue that the Western .001% have any compunction at all about ‘pushing the button’. If they did have, their agents, the Albrights, Nulands, Mattises, Comeys, McMasters and Trumps and Clintons, would have long ago been reigned in. Even if they know that there is a God in their universe, I suspect that, as talmudo-satanists, they hate Him. They also have such a hopelessly long list of crimes amassed before the human race, which is growingly realizing that fact, that blowing up the planet, to throw their pursuers, (one of whom may be God himself), off their track is a supremely rational act. It may be unethical, to say the least, and the rationality of psychopaths and criminals but it is rational all the same.
No. It is not the Godly, ‘irrational’ (in your terms) man that will push the button, as you brazenly posit, but the ungodly or anti-godly man. And that man and that act will be entirely rational, within his own mental and social construct.
I believe there is no “unknowable” or supernatural
and then you launch into a lengthy discussion of religion.
If you were to announce that you were tone deaf as a preamble to delivering your opinions about music, or that you were color blind before a critique of painting, the absurdity involved would be apparent. But — alas — religion has become so overburdened with exactly that that no one protests.
If you were to announce that you were tone deaf as a preamble to delivering your opinions about music, or that you were color blind before a critique of painting, the absurdity involved would be apparent. But — alas — religion has become so overburdened with exactly that that no one protests.
EXACTLY! You put it best. I will reuse your “tone deaf commentator about music” allegory in the future, if that is okay with you.
The main thrust of this essay and the points it is making have little to do with the question of the existence of God. As such, your comment and general line of thought are off-topic.
You cannot ask this question because there is only one God.
All religions and philosophers and native tribes are talking about the same God, the importance of sticking to the truth, notwithstanding any religions name.
Please note, even that many Western countries deny God´s existence, all Western Governments, Kings, Queens, Societies, are still based on the bible´s principles:
You are born as a divine free man, but because of the first sin, God elected authorities to manage evil and good, those not doing God´s rules (do not kill, steal, fraud, envy), hereof we have police, justice, courts and then Government and Churches to teach and lead and prison us to follow Gods rules to the extent we do not demand our right to live as a free adult man fully able to follow God´s rules.
This is still the foundation in West (God save the Queen, God save America, etc.).
What happened is that this Authority came in breach of law by not not obeying Gods laws itself, When they breached Gods laws, they also became in non compliance with their own foundation and thus incompetent and looses their legal right to be an Authority.
Western solution was to select Satanism in order to stay in power and under which now will give their ruling legal authority.
O and H under agency of fire, etc.
will produce H2O ? I say these are the necessary conditions for water to appear in the physical realm. Electrolysis is the condition for water to disappear back to its subtle state and gasses to reappear please proof where I am wrong
will nature ultimately be destroyed and we have chances to be whipped out of this planned thanks to science and technology
the list of scientific aberrations is long.
I an Arab American Sunni Muslim. A true Muslim. I call for brotherhood with the Sunni, Shia and Eastern/Russian Orthodox in the fight for our survival. This is a zero sum game the evil ones are playing. United we can take down the forces of belligerence and hegemony. Our pragmatic friends, the Chinese, want an alliance.
Its all taking shape as we speak. Beautiful indeed.
Not believing in any of the the panoply of gods does not make anyone automatically evil, contrary to religious dogma and past tribal/church practice. Some of the most moral/ethical/tolerant people I know don’t believe in any god or religion/mysticism. Some of the most immoral/unethical/intolerant people I know are staunch religious believers and attend services regularly.
After over 40,000 years of god-based, leader-driven, scripture-as-“proof” religion/mysticism’s failure to bring peace, looking for more of the same to do it is beyond pointless.
If said religions were to openly, in perpetuity, reject the existing politics/militarist symbiosis all believer-“solutions” are based on, MAYBE there would be hope for a religious solution to bring peace. The jihadists and Christian-soldiers must be re-educated in the real beliefs of their faiths, or publicly excommunicated/disowned by the true followers of those religions. Muslims can start by disowning the Saudi royal family, Christians by booting out any POTUS that unilaterally (like in Syria) orders bombs dropped and soldiers deployed beyond the US borders.
The religious communities that spawned Wahhabists, Zionists and neo-Crusaders are the ones responsible for neutralizing the “belief credentials” of those killers/haters, from the battle field to the governments. If jihadists and those who arm/pay them are not true Muslims, such a statement must come from every Ayatollah and Imam. Ditto from the Christian bully pulpits… the Pope can start by warning, then excommunicating, any “catholic” leader who bombs another country or supports the US/NATO in doing so.
You argue very well. I do not agree with your argument, but it is well-made. I wonder if you would consider arguing the opposite position, if only as an exercise? In other words, defend the claim that Religion is a force for good and has had a net positive effect on human beings and civilization. Your argument currently is a bit predictable and repetitive.
I hope you take up this challenge. Who knows what you, and we, may discover.
I lived in the “other side” for the first 1/3 of my life. I can see no value in perpetuating a belief system which is plainly based on a lack of real information.
If that is so then for the life of me I don’t see the point of your comments.
We get it: religion bad. Fine. But that is not the topic here. This article was written for and about those who do share a basic belief in God and who understand who their common enemy is.
However, since you mention it “ I believe there is no “unknowable” or supernatural, no matter what euphemism is used to…. You are fully entitled to your opinion. Just be aware that it contradicts the experience of millions of people all over the planet, ranging from the ancient seers of the Vedas to saints in our times. Even myself, a most imperfect person and a sinner, have seen miracles during my short life of 53 years. I don’t care one bit that you will deny it all in block, I really don’t, but I wish you had just a little bit more humility and caution about being so sure that something does not exist. Saying “there ain’t such thing kuz I didn’t see it” might well be true, but just be aware that the millions and billions of people who have *experienced* what you say does not exist say otherwise. And they were not all idiots, delusional morons and crazed individuals.
You comment is full of categorical sweeping statements, yet I suspect that your actual knowledge of religions and history must be very, very basic, based mostly on secondary sources of tertiary quality. So do me a favor, read, say, some of the works of Saint Maximos the Confessor or Saint Gregory Palamas, and tell me that you are smarter, better educated and more in touch with reality than they were :-)
Nice try – forgive me for saying so, but you are totally out of your expertise here, and being emphatic does not add any credibility to you. Sorry.
I can see no value in perpetuating a belief system which is plainly based on a lack of real information.
That is exactly my view of atheism :-P
Clearly this deserves at least a series of columns all to itself. If we are to become one against the threat of absolute tyranny, then we should not allow semantics to prevent us finding our common purpose in opposing evil.
Does it really matter why we think that it’s evil?
Matters as important as this should not be left in a stalemate.
Not believing in any of the the panoply of gods does not make anyone automatically evil
True. But it does disqualify you in the field of religion.
I posit that the universe (and beyond) is indeed knowable, whether by science or some other rational means we have not yet fully come to understand.
Let’s not take Scientism too far because if you stretch it further, it becomes a religion albeit a godless one.
I share your angst, disgust and despair when I look at what is happening in the world today. But at least my belief in God (I’m a Muslim) makes it possible for me to believe that justice is possible and that all is not lost; that the evil-doers who are dispensing so much misery will get their punishment, if not here then in the afterlife. There is no poverty in the sense of lack of ultimate justice in my life. That doesn’t make us passive bystanders, wringing our hands and whingeing about all the wrongs happening before our eyes while doing nothing. In our small little ways millions of us are fighting the injustice through deeds, words or deep down in our hearts. I despair, sometimes I feel fed-up, but I don’t feel hopeless.
It is not true that Muslim religious leaders — and I can only speak for Muslims — are doing nothing. Muslim leaders have issued and are continuing to issue strong statements condemning the ‘jihadists’, ISIS and its ilk. What they’re doing in the name of Islam and while using the Prophet’s banner is revolting to the vast majority of Muslims. Even the chief mufti of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are very strongly Wahhabi-influenced, have issued public statements refuting the religious basis of the jihadists’ “struggle”. We hear anti-jihadist sermons at every Friday congregational prayer here in my part of the world (which has more Muslims than the Middle East) but you probably don’t hear about all of that in MSM. And the sermons are probably not heard by the wannabe jihadists too because they probably don’t attend Friday prayers as they’re too busy reading ‘Islam for Dummies’.
There are so many points in the article which I agree with completely, such as man is meant to live in a sacred community and that the real enemy that we need to form a coalition to resist and destroy is western imperial hubris. Other points that I think I might be able to agree with is your believe in the existence of God. When I hear someone speak of God as an anthropomorphic entity that is intimately involved in the lives of us human beings here on earth I’m never sure if they mean these things literally or if they are speaking metaphorically. As I look inside and as I discern the truth I can say that I am in agreement with you on the universal laws that we all should be guided by. As for the separation of church and state, I guess I never questioned it. When we look at Iran, a majority Muslim country it doesn’t seem unnatural but how does it work in a more diverse country.
You talk about a manifesto and certain traditional values that we would all need to agree upon. You list; fornication, gambling, usury, abortion and homosexuality. I’m assuming that you mean that we are to be opposed to these things. In principle I only partly agree. On fornication, if by fornication you mean sex outside of marriage, I could agree that that is a sin as long as the sin was the same for both males and females and where the punishment is negligible and symbolic and true penance is left to the individual. (No stoning to death). I would say that this last part where penance for any of these sins against traditional values should not be harsh and should look to encourage the individual to lead a more moral life in the future. I think you need to rethink your position on homosexuality. Statistically one in every fifteen people is born attracted to the same sex. God would not create a person with this feature for no reason. It is not for me to say what that reason may be but I think it is important that these people are allowed to live in our sacred community and not be ostracized or punished or humiliated. And as for abortion, mother nature or sacred forces perform millions of abortions each month for a variety of reasons. The facts are that the conditions were not right for pregnancy and birth and life. Part of the assessment of conditions for pregnancy, birth and life involve financial status and emotional status and other factors that can best be determined by the potential mother to be.
I know that the key to defeating this western evil imperial power is for a coalition of the awake. We all need to modify our views and stances without compromising our core values. I intend to sharpen my pencil and see how I might redraw some of the lines. Thanks for the great article.
To your question, “When we look at Iran, a majority Muslim country it doesn’t seem unnatural but how does it work in a more diverse country?” I would say that diversity is certainly a very high value, but only on condition that some form of integrated culture actually exists. Once you have one culture that is united in its goal of reaching God and doing God’s work, and then you have another culture that is also directional, vectoral, telosic, and is doing God’s work as *they* see it, then you have two actual cultures that are different, and diversity can obtain. But when you have “diversity” within on alleged “culture”, then that is neither a culture nor is it diversity: it is pseudo-diversity, and a mirage or false semblance of a culture. That is what the Westphalian order has wrought. And then they point the finger of accusation at Iran, saying don’t do this, and don’t do that; because misery enjoys company and they are like a drug addict who wants to get others addicted too because the presence of sober individuals adds an additional layer of discomfort to their miserable state.
The key for people living in the “freedom” and “diversity” of the West is to coalesce into small micro-communities of faith and to build on that. But alas, that is ultimately doomed to fail also unless those communities are based on Shi’a Islam (or possibly Easter Orthodoxy?), because it is only by abiding to the revealed ordinances of God that the bindings of society are maintained, and failing to do so will eventually lead to the dissolution of your community of faith.
You say that adultery and fornication should not be punishable by death. But God has determined that these are the most serious of crimes and that their effects are highly caustic to the integrity of society. That is why He has determined these penalties for them. And when God has made such a determination, then man must simply submit, not go on to say, ‘No, I disagree.’ That is what Satan did when he refused to prostrate himself before Adam, as commanded to by God. And that is what all secular-humanists do. Why do you think that the situation with family life has degenerated to where a married man believes he can have affairs and even flirt with homosexuality? Because the boundaries were not taken seriously enough. And the result will ultimately tend toward the Satanic trinity of paedophilia, incest and bestiality, because if one does not believe that the laws of his society are God-given, then the doors all left wide open to desires of his lower self, which will eventually degenerate man into lower and lower forms of existence.
The main thing to recognize is that the triumphalist Westphalian order is actually a giving up of ever living in accordance with man’s primordial disposition (fetrat), i.e. living in community, as opposed to in what is euphemistically referred to as “civil” society. And the way forward is not to go back to the Holy Roman Empire, which the vacant seat of the See of Rome will not allow in any case (post Vatican II), but to recognize the prophethood of God’s final and most perfect messenger, whose failure to recognize is what lead to the Great Schism of 1054 and to the mess that ushered in the wars leading up to the Peace of Augsburg in the first place.
You say that adultery and fornication should not be punishable by death. But God has determined that these are the most serious of crimes and that their effects are highly caustic to the integrity of society. That is why He has determined these penalties for them. And when God has made such a determination, then man must simply submit, not go on to say, ‘No, I disagree.’
The Gospel account of the Woman Taken in Adultery refutes this.
The Gospel account of the Woman Taken in Adultery refutes this
I have never come across this in the Gospel. Prophet Jesus (as) will never run a kangaroo court, and I have discussed this on the old blog, but unfortunately Mindfriedo didn’t allow me to discuss it fully.
It takes two to tango for adultery. The other guilty party was not presented nor any witnesses who have seen the penetration. Unfortunately, Jesus accepted her guilt and then he moved on somewhere else.
1. Was Jesus, the leader who can dole out the punishment or was it Caesar?
2. What happened to the women when Jesus moved on?
3. How did she the community dealt with her guilt?
4. How did the community dealt with her parents, brothers, sisters and rest of the family?
5. Did she have a husband. How did he dealt with her?
6. How did the community dealt with her husband?
7. What happened to the other guity person in crime?
8. How did community dealt with him?
9. And, many, many more questions?
According to Jimmy Carter, if Jesus was here, he will allow same sex marriage. According to the person who wrote. Misquoting Jesus”, it was added later. Jesus sermon on the mount that he came to withold the law and not to abandon it.
You say: “Statistically one in every fifteen people is born attracted to the same sex. God would not create a person with this feature for no reason. It is not for me to say what that reason may be but I think it is important that these people are allowed to live in our sacred community and not be ostracized or punished or humiliated.”
While that might indeed be true now, it was certainly not the case earlier, and is certainly not the case in Iran, for example (the percentage is much, much smaller here). This is a plight that man has brought on himself.
You say that you think that “it is important that these people are allowed to live in our sacred community”. Why? Let them live in peace in their *own* “community” and become extinct (within a single generation!) from their grotesque sterile posture, which is “an abomination” and an affront to God (to quote the King James Version). Why should we allow them to adopt our children only to perpetuate themselves? Let them have a leper colony all their own. That is the most merciful approach.
On fornication, if by fornication you mean sex outside of marriage, I could agree that that is a sin as long as the sin was the same for both males and females and where the punishment is negligible and symbolic and true penance is left to the individual. (No stoning to death). I would say that this last part where penance for any of these sins against traditional values should not be harsh and should look to encourage the individual to lead a more moral life in the future. I think you need to rethink your position on homosexuality. Statistically one in every fifteen people is born attracted to the same sex. God would not create a person with this feature for no reason. It is not for me to say what that reason may be but I think it is important that these people are allowed to live in our sacred community and not be ostracized or punished or humiliated.
The definition of fornication; when penetration is taken place between two individuals, either a man and a woman or two men.
In Islam, especially in Shia Islam there the punishment is left with the Just God on Judgement Day, as long as things remain private. When things become public, then it becomes the business of State to enforce the laws.
To prove fornication is almost impossible. Four witness not the usual two, have to testify that they have seen penetration with their own eyes. It can only happen when the penetration is openly in public like animals, or at least 4 peeping toms have witnessed the penetration thus becoming part of the act, or in a orgy where at least 6 people are present and 4 of them witnessed penetration between the other two. Impossible. It is like looking for a needle in a hay stack.
When Ahmadinejad was asked in USA in a University settings, if they are any homosexuals in Iran. He honestly replied that there are none, zilch. People laughed at him, and didn’t allow him to explain. I wonder how many people have replied in positive if Ahmadinejad had asked the crowd if there are any thief in the crowd. Theft is a crime in USA and anyone confessing to theft will be punished in USA by law. So, is homosexuality is a crime in Iran, and anyone confessing to being a homosexual is subject to be punished by Iranian law.
It has become very modern to come out in open and be boastful about it too. Any sex between two individual is icky if done in public, even a married couple tonguing each other. However, here the woman is at the disadvantage, because penetration sometimes leads to pregnancy. The women rights were thrown out the windows on the demise of the Prophet (saws), while his body was still warm but not in Shia Islam. Pregnancy itself is not proof for fornication in Shia Islam. Lots of women perform abortion to hide things, thus keeping things between themselves and the Just God.
Yes homosexual are created by nature. Nature is not perfect and only God is Perfect. We all like nature are born with abnormalities, and we should learn to keep our abnormalities in check and in private.
As far as Shia Islam is concerned, abortion is the choice for women only. Husband cannot interfere in this decision since it is her body which carries the weight therefore he has no say in it. He cannot even demand that she should have his children, if she don’t want to.
A very interesting article with very valid points being made. As an ardent supporter of the Resistance Axis, I find the author’s point of view rather in line with my own. However, I cannot subscribe to the author’s idea of a “brotherhood of resistance” among those five communities he mentions based of several tragic experiences of the past.
Faith, as the author mentions, is a very subjective experience for humans. Today, the imperialist West and its allies are what we perceive as Godless, yet by the end of the Western Roman Empire, the founders of the Roman Catholic Church, the hordes of “barbarians” invading Rome were perceived as the Godless beings threatening the beacon of civilization.
The Islamic Republic as the author mentions was created as a nation of faith that revolted against a tyrant, I agree. Yet taking all experiences in the past into account, of a people of faith rising to become a beacon of truth in the world, it has sadly always ended in the society becoming a faithless one itself.
Considering this, I would like to know what the author’s opinion on the Islamic Republic’s domestic situation is. I argue that God-fearing and prayers will only take you that far since the rising poverty and unemployment, the massive amount of corruption and widespread drug abuse across the country is hardly evidence for Iranians being a people of faith.
History showed us many people of faith and traditional values fall into what people back then would perceive as modernity. We could discuss examples of this forever but in the end, no single community, nation or organization has ever managed to unite under certain values and principles indefinitely without internal conflicts, for example revisionism becoming an issue. Even Communism, the greatest and most united enemy the Capitalist Empire has yet faced, ultimately failed to unite indefinitely.
“Thus, there is a need to come up with a manifesto of all that we hold in common, and to define new protocols whereby communication and lines of cooperation are better defined in order to facilitate and harmonize more contact and cooperation between peoples of faith. Think of it as a Declaration of Social Rights. Having defined what constitutes a traditional community or nation, one such protocol or Article of Confederation would be, for example, that the sacred tenets and creedal bases of each nation and culture and civilization are inviolable.”
While the idea of such a broad Consensus among different peoples indeed seem ideal, one must remain sober to the stark reality that most people will ultimately only have faith in themselves, rather than in anyone else. This makes the concept of Faith even more subjective as I mentioned before.
I believe that we humans have not yet reached a stage of evolution where our empathy, morals and principles stretch further than those we hold closest to our hearts.
Having said this, with the difficulties of uniting a people within one’s own boundaries, and with the concept of basic Realpolitik in mind, I hardly see the idea of multiple, radically different peoples with different interests and goals ever uniting in some kind of a brotherhood of faith. Indeed man’s faith only concerns his own short term interests, thus such ideas to me seem more utopian than realistic.
My viewpoint may seem very pessimistic, but I believe that experience is the mother of all knowledge. This does not mean that I do not support the anti-imperialist struggle, but I can only see such an “alliance” exist in a very short period of time due to the common interest of the anti imperialist front being the threat of extinction. As they say, my enemy’s enemy is my friend.
the massive amount of corruption and widespread drug abuse across the country is hardly evidence for Iranians being a people of faith.
Which is the country/people of faith which is free from these pathologies?
Indeed none of us are free from these pathologies. Which proves my point that faith will only have a short term effect on a society. Indeed in the early days of the Islamic Republic, the people were in a state of fraternity where solidarity among Iranians were at an all-time high. Yet less than four decades later, as the revolutionary fervour and spirit has cooled down, Iran suffers from massive domestic issues as I mentioned before.
Dear Mr. Mirzaei,
You asked my view of the domestic situation in Iran. Look, it all depends on what perspective you are looking at it from. So I would ask: relative to what? Relative to the time of the Prophet? Where most of the people there were hypocrites who only accepted Islam because they lost the battle (of Mecca) and had no choice? And the prophet whose “companions” plotted to kill him in his lifetime and instigated a coup d’etat right after he died? It is better than the situation at the time of the Prophet. Compared to the United States? In certain material terms, it is worse; and in certain ethical norms, even, it is worse. But what do you expect of a society that was steeped in a millennial slumber, who made nails manually and did not even have a factory that made simple machine screws and wood screws at the time of the revolution? But actually, all this is beside the point. If you believe in God, and believe that he commissioned the Prophet Mohammad (unto whom be God’s peace, and unto his Purified House also) to teach us how to live as a society, then you have no choice other than perdition but to form a society that tries to approximate His will to the best of our abilities. Is there corruption and nepotism and lack of accountability and transparency? In spades! But so what else is new, and again, what can it possibly matter when that is our only alternative? What are we going to do? Revert to a free-for-all and start having wet t-shirt night galas and gay bars and legal houses of prostitution like they have in Germany where people can have their choice of animals to copulate with? I don’t think so. So stop complaining and get to work.
Dear Mr Williams
You are wrong to assume that criticism towards the Islamic Republic equals being a Occidentalist (Gharb-Zadegi).
You asked me what I compare modern day Iran to. I compare it to what the great civilization of iran once used to be. At the time those followers plotted to kill the Prophet of Islam, the Iranian civilization flourished in terms of social, cultural, military and technological advancements.
Iran the home of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest monotheistic religions was lightyears ahead of its contemporaries. So I compare modern Iran, Safavid Iran, Seljuq Iran and many other Irans to that ancient Iran which I just described.
I am by no means a royalist in support of the Pahlavi regime, but rather a pragmatist who supports his country against foreign invaders. Now I mentioned before that I am an ardent supporter of the Resistance Axis, but that doesn’t mean I have to turn a blind eye to the domestic issues of the country. I do so out of fear for a US backed color revolution as was attempted in 2009. A country who’s basic social services and government bureaucracy is so corrupt that it rests on bribes rather than laws is in a very vulnerable state when the enemy tries to covertly initiate a “revolution”.
Look at Syria for example. Much of the people’s grievances (excluding the takfiris) were firstly due to government mismanagement and corruption. The enemy will try to exploit all of our weaknesses and seek to use them against us. Let’s be honest, if you have had anything to do with Iranian government services then you know what I’m talking about. Any healthy country in this world needs a people that can trust their government, its services and system. This is however not the case in Iran I can assure you.
Please, dont see this as a criticism based on Western colonial values of “democracy” and “human rights” but rather as a warning that if things do not change, Iran is in trouble.
As the Iranian saying goes “a hungry belly does not even recognize God himself”.
I agree with much of what you say (but not with your conception of pre-Islamic Iran which was neither monotheistic nor “light years ahead…” Both Persia and Byzantium (ar-rum) had become very decadent, which is why the Iranian masses accepted and welcomed Islam. But anyway, Iran suffers from all of the blights that third world countries suffer. But my essay is not about the practice, but rather about the theory of covenantal dispensations, and their superiority and therefore desireablity over secular conventional democracies. I am happy to respond to constructive criticisms concerning the rational proof that I have put forth, and am not interested in discussing the praxis, for it is off-topic, and, ultimately, irrelevant.
Porn and drugs are smuggled into Iran on a grand scale and you know also by whom and for what reason.
Whoever fears God is my neighbor.
Even if they have a flawed knowledge of Him, if they fear Him in spirit and truth, they are my brothers; not in Christ, but in Adam and in our holy father Noah, through whose righteousness all of us live today.
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
Of course, we must also remember that the centurion Cornelius, after those words, meekly listened to St. Peter and was baptized. He did not proceed to lecture St. Peter about the Faith!
Therefore, I just wish them to abstain to speak about our Faith, the faith of the Christians, because it’s really annoying to be lectured about Christianity by non-Christian. When they do, as the author of this good essay makes plenty clear, they do not know what they speak about.
As the Lord remembered to the Samaritan woman that the salvation was from the Jews, we, His unworthy servants, will always testify to our brothers in error that the salvation is from the Christians. We will also remember to ourselves that the judgement is of the Lord!
Apart from that, it’s absolutely true that our political (moral and social) views are pretty much identical, once muslims will at long last allow a man to choose freely his faith. It’s high time for them to understand that the Almighty has no need nor use for slaves. What good a slave can do for the One Who may whatever He pleases?
They should also understand that the sin of a man is a matter between him and His Creator; only the public display of sin, its apology and preaching, its disturbance and subversion of the social order, must be forbidden and punished.
I’d say that even Communists could be welcomed in this political alliance, once they flush down the toilet Marx, Lenin, Stalin and all their other idols; once they understand the sheer madness to pursue the well-being of man while considering him nothing more than a piece of meat; once they will learn to respect what God’s law protect with two commandments: private property.
Once they come to their senses, they will realize that our social goals are pretty much the same. The only problem here is that, in my poor understanding, no atheist should be allowed to public offices!
In all truth, only a fool can say there is no God.
As the Lord remembered to the Samaritan woman that the salvation was from the Jews
This is a deceptive translation. More literally, “Salvation is coming to you (this very day) from the people of Judaea.” Which is where Christ came to her/them from.
To imagine otherwise is to believe that the Judaeans were able to offer others salvation. In reality, groaning under the misrule of the Herodins, they were in need of it themselves.
The concept of “salvation” has become quite different from what it is in scriptural usage (previous to theology). In essence, it is liberation from the yoke of aliens, freeing people to observe their own laws and live in accordance with their own values — exactly the opposite of what we have in the USA.
Obviously Jesus speaks about the ‘theological’ Salvation, salvation from sin and death and not from any Herodian of Roman misrule. He was coming from Judaea, but salvation does not come through the Jews, but through Christ, the Saviour.
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he”
And the Samaritans believed “not because of thy [the woman] saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 28)
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:16-18).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13).
Very interesting article on Multipolarity. My personal viewpoint is that Multipolarity would not succeed or last longer until we have pluralistic model of society/system(not the modern democratic system). Prophet Muhamad (May peace be upon him) showed us this model in Madinah with Constitution(Charter) of Madinah.
Also, if I may ask you, can you please provide some reference from the Holy Quran regarding the theology of Wilayat?
Wilayat is a complex matter. There are dozens upon dozens of ayas and hadith sources that touch on it, both within the Sonni as well as Shi’a traditions. I assume you are asking for a simple stand-alone aya that explains all that the Shi’a believe concerning welayat. No such thing exists. All I can do here is to refer you to my books, which, even if I say so myself, are the clearest explanations written in a language that is accessible and even amenable to the modern sensibility. My main book is Creedal Foundations of Waliyic Islam
But if that is too daunting, you can try these two:
This first one is a general Introduction to Waliyic Islam:
And this second one focuses on the issue of the Imamate, which is the institutionalization of the concept of welayat (the Imamate is the office by means of which the faculty of welayat is executed)
If you ever get around to reading any one of them, drop me a line by way of my publisher’s email address (which can be found on the ISBN page at the front of the book), and I will be sure to respond.
Thank you for the reference of your books. I would like to read them sooner or later.
Just a few thoughts.
If the matter of Wilayat is a basic creed, then why would it be so complex to understand? Isn’t the basic creeds/tenets of any religion supposed to be plain and clear to be understood easily by the common masses?
If the matter of Wilayat is a basic creed, then why would it be so complex to understand?
This is what divides the Sunni and Shia. Refer to verses about creation of Adam in chapter 2 of the Holy Quran.
1. God says to angels, I am creating a Khalifa on earth by creating Adam. The Shia believe there has always been a Khalifa on earth chosen by God until now and will be until the Judgement Day. This present Khalifa is Imam Mahdi (as).
2. The angels responds, why put someone on earth who will shed blood and creates mischief:
Sahih International 2:30
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
3. How do the angels know that the mankind will cause corruption therein and sheds blood?
Sahih International 2:31
And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”
4. Who is them? In Arabic there is singular, dual and plural?
5. According to the Shia God taught Adam the names of “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” and not of animals.
Sahih International 3:32-34
Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds – Descendants, some of them from others. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
The main four words are: ذُرِّيَّةً بَعْضُهَا مِن بَعْضٍ – 3:34
It is very easy to understand, but Williams has wisely avoided the schism. And, my apologies to Williams.
Sahih International 2:30
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
I have never understood the above verse. How do the angels know that, “They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood”, ?
Can you please some light on it?
Is it some from some prior knowledge they poses?
Sorry for butting in.
Mohamed, I think that was a legitimate question posed by Mujjamil. I wanted to comment earlier but was hesitant to do so because I needed to read the article several times to be sure that I understood Blake properly. I have to say that it is a very interesting piece, a bit of dense reading required in some places (at least for me) but yes, it has certainly given me a good insight on Shia perspective and I thank Blake for it.
I’m not here to debate you or anybody else about Shia doctrine. The Imamate and notion of Wilayah al Faqih are central tenets of the Shia creed; OK I accept that. Debating points of doctrine is an exercise in futility as far as I’m concerned and it’s best left to those who are equipped for it.
But Blake has posited his ‘thesis’ about the wilayat and I think we should allow for honest questions and comments, a chance for readers to clarify things or even put their thoughts in about the subject at hand.
For instance, I can’t help but think about Plato’s ‘kalipolis’ when I read the article — the notion of a guardianship model of the ideal city/state/dawlah ruled by a philosopher-king in a sort of ‘benevolent dictator’ form. By itself this would have been problematic for several reasons, for example, in Plato’s case, being the Guardian would require a specific education, available to only a few, which would allow those few to become philosophers. Blake has answered this, of course, by saying that, this political theory [Wilayat] is suitable for a community of faith and is not suitable for an aggregation of atomized and supra-individuated persons… But the question remains, what do we do with the ‘atomized’ and ‘supra-individuated persons’? Also, was the conception of Wilayat influenced by Plato? Perhaps Blake can answer these later.
As for your questions regarding the Quranic verses? Well, I’m not an exegete and I usually try to follow the practice of early Muslims who avoid putting out verses from the Quran in their discourse for fear of not having studied and understood them properly. At any rate, Ibn Kathir (Sunni,I’m afraid) stated that ‘them’ in 2:30 refers to all of God’s creatures; the answer as to how the angels knew about the nature of mankind (2:31) is in 2:32. God told them.
The Imamate and notion of Wilayah al Faqih are central tenets of the Shia creed;
I am glad that you jumped in. You are right that it is very hard to understand Blake and I gave up trying to understand him. Yes, the Imamate is central tenets of Shia creed, but Wilayah al Faqih is not central tenets of Shia creed.
The Arabic words Wali, Auwla, Maula (Imam – Leader) are same with lots of meanings. The Prophet (saws) was Wali, Auwla, Maula himself. Chapter 5 is almost the last chapter of the Holy Quran, and even the verses in any given chapter are not in chronological order too.
Refer to verses 5:67. According to Ibn Kathir the Prophet was afraid for his life to spread Islam. Astafgurallah. So he used to have body guards, and when this verse came at the end of his Prophet-hood, Aisha told him not to worry about body guards because now God has promised to protect him. So much of Prophet faith in God. Astafgurallah.
Those who know the history of Islam are well aware that after the last Hajj, where the Prophet told the Muslims, “Good Bye” on his way to home this verse was descended. Both Shia and educated Sunni believe that the Prophet stopped and camped at Ghadir Khumm Pond. He sent messengers to all Muslims who attended the last Hajj with him and who are on different ways to their homes from Mecca (being the center).
There the Prophet proclaimed Ali being the Wali, Auwla, Maula (Imam – Leader) after him thus being his successor. The Prophet quoted the verses from Quran, especially being Auwla and then tying it Wali and Maula (Imam – Leader). The Sunni say, that the Prophet chose Ali as a friend of Muslim and not his successor.
After the event the following verse was descended.
“This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion (5:3)”.
Thus, Sunni don’t believe the Prophet left a successor. It was abu Bakr who realized the necessity of having a successor, while he was washing the body of the Prophet for burial. So, he left with Omar to arrange for a successor. To Sunni the caliphs, leaders, kings, dynasties over Muslims are chosen by Allah through predestination. The Shia are called “Kafir” for rejecting (Rafidi) the Will of Allah.
Since our last Imam Mahdi is hidden, therefore in Shia we have Faqih (scholars). Each and every Shia person chooses his own scholar to follow for religious guidance. This scholars should be alive and in a family, each member must choose his/her own scholars.
Wilayah al Faqih is supposedly the Leader of the Scholars. Who choose him to become this leader? And, if he is a Leader of the Scholars, then other scholars are not needed, thus making all other Ayatollah jobless. :)
In verse 2:30 the angels tell Allah, is he going to create someone who will causes corruption and shed blood. Yes, Allah answer them in 2:32, but why they think in 2:30 that man will be oppressor and shed blood?
The Shia believe that each Adam and Eve is a generation of 20,000 plus years. According to Christians, Adam and Eve are about 8,000 years from begat to begat until now. Whereas, science tells us that mankind is millions of years old. According to our sixth Imam (as), there are about 60,000 Adam and Eve (generations) and thus the angels were questioning from their past experience. Also, the central theme of the Holy Quran is man is an oppressor, therefore 2:32 Allah tells the angels, he is creating a successive authority of chosen people who will stand against this oppression.
Yes, according to Sunni in 2:31, “them” mean Adam, Eve and all animals. To Sunni God taught Adam the names of animals just like in Bible. However, to Shia, the names were of the successive authority. The angles have seen animals so it is not a big deal for them. See what Allah claims in 2:33
“He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.”
In above verse Allah is claiming, إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ –
Thanks for your reply Mohamed. And thank you for the explaining the positions of Imamate and Wilayat in Shia creed. I’d thought that the distinctive institution of Shi’ism is the Imamate, and that the Imamate is inseparable from that of Wilayat. That’s what I understood from reading the article anyway, and from several books written by Shia writers including Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
Refer to verses 5:67. According to Ibn Kathir the Prophet was afraid for his life to spread Islam.
I could not find anything written in Ibn Kathir resembling that. The Prophet (saw) was guarded that night, yes, but nobody would interpret that as his “being afraid for his life to spread Islam”! Speaking up about Islam in front of the hostile Mekkan idolators for more than ten years prior to the Hijrah is ample proof, I think, that the Prophet (saw) was fearless in spreading the religion. Ibn Kathir wrote that it was in the second year of the Hijrah and the Prophet (saw) was with his wife Sayyidatina A’ishah (ra) who narrated the ahadith used in the exegesis.
Finally, yes, I’m aware of Hadith al-Ghadir but let’s just keep it at that. Thanks again.
I believe you are confusing Wilayat with Wilayat al-Faqihue. No doubt, Wilayat is inseparable from Imamat, and they are both one of the same thing. In the Shia creed, the Prophet (saws) is infallible and was Imam, Auwla, Muala, Wali for all mankind and especially over all Muslims. There are lots of verses in the Holy Quran in the Arabic language, but unfortunately the translation doesn’t do justice.
Succeedingly, all our 12 Imams (as) are infallible and are Imam, Auwla, Muala, Wali for all mankind and especially over all Muslims. The last Imam Mahdi is still alive so he is the Imam, Auwla, Muala, Wali for all mankind and especially over all Muslims. No one else, period.
While he is hidden, the Shia have a system called, Taqlid. Please refer to Wikipedia for the meaning of Taqlid:
Thus, each and every 12er Shia, chooses a Faqih (Mujtahid – as an Islamic scholar who is competent in interpreting Sharia) to follow and who gives verdicts on Jurisprudence (Fiqh). These Faqihs are fallible. There has always been debate in Shia Islam, why can’t we a Faqih over all the other Faqihs, thus creating a Wali of Faqihs. This has been rejected by Shia on the following grounds.
1. The Imam Mahdi, himself set up the Taqlid system.
2. And, who will chose this Wali (Faqih) over all other Faqihs?
However, nothing stop the Shia to use the Wali al-Faqihue as a political system in a country in the absence of Imam Mahdi (as), and at the same time keeping the System of Taqlid intact. This is Ayatollah Khomeini shines.
It is first time I am hearing that the verse 5:67 in the second year of the Hijrah. In that case according to Bukhari it will make Aisha 6-7 years old girl. Common sense tells us that Aisha was not living with the Prophet as a girl of 6-7 years old, while she was still not physically mature.
However, all Muslims believe that chapter 5 in reality is the 112 chapter out of 114 chapters of the Holy Quran. Again, common sense tells us the following 5:3 verse came at the end of Prophet-hood and not in the second year of the Hijrah as God will only complete the religion at the end of Prophet-hood.
“This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion (5:3)”.
The Prophet left us the Quran in form of Book of Allah (Kitab Allah). What happened to this Kitab Allah? And, where did it disappear? This Quran was in Classical Quranic Arabic and had dots for the letters.
The Codex (Mushaf) of Usman we have in houses today, is not in chronological order, nor the verses within a chapter are in chronological order. And, no one is sure that verses in a chapter are part of the same chapter, like according to ibn Kathir verse 5:67 came in the in the second year of the Hijrah while chapter 5 is considered almost the last chapter of the Quran by all Muslims.
Also, the The Codex (Mushaf) of Usman didn’t have dots for the letters and was not in Classical Quranic Arabic. It is Imam Ali (as) who started this process when he become the Caliph to put dots on the letters and convert the Quran into Classical Quranic Arabic. This was accomplished 40 years after the demise of Imam Ali and 70 years after the demise of the Prophet.
While with all Hadiths, all other Quran were burned. Hadiths were collected 250 years later after the demise of the Prophet.
Well, I’m not an exegete and I usually try to follow the practice of early Muslims who avoid putting out verses from the Quran in their discourse for fear of not having studied and understood them properly.
Salam and very well said Basil. Yes, it is very important to have the Tafsir (Commentary) of the Holy Quran form the Holy Prophet (saws) himself.
So, the Shia believe that the Prophet left Kitab (Book) of Allah but it was rejected by the Muslims:
1. Quran was in the form of Book (Kitab Allah).
2. It was in chronological order.
3. The letters had dots under or over them.
4. The Book was in Classical Quranic Arabic, not the old, old (modern) Arabic.
5. It had the Tafsir (Commentary) of the Holy Prophet for each and every verse.
6. It had the complete Sunnah of the Prophet in it.
The Sunni get their complete Sunnah from the book of Bukhari. This book was complied 250 years later after the demise of the Prophet.
3. Tafsir (Commentary). For example the Commentary of ibn Kathir and not Prophet on verse 5:67 comes from the book of Bukhari.
5. And, so forth and so forth.
The Sunni believe that the book of Bukhari overrules the Holy Quran, thus the Sunnah of the Prophet is above the Holy Quran. For example the following verse 5:6 keeping in mind the chapter 5 is almost the last chapter of the Holy Quran:
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ
The real translation of the above verse is:
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and rub over your heads and your feet to the ankles.
Now, look at the translation and see how it is intentionally matched with the Hadith in Bukhari by Imam Ali (as).
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles.
Now, the Shia are the followers of Imam Ali (as) and they follow the Holy Quran while performing the wudu (ablution):
1. The wash their faces and forearms
2. And, then rub their heads and feet.
Imagine the false Hadith in Bukhari if from Imam Ali (as), which contradicts the Holy Quran and Shia ways of doing wudu.
Basically, in Islam the Church and State is not separated. The Prophet was is infallible was the Head of Church and State in his lifetime. He was above the Church and State.
1. The Sunni believe the Caliphs (Dynasties and Kings) who are not infallible are appointed the heads of Church and State by God through Predestination. They call these Caliphs the Leader of the Momineen.
2. The Shia believe the 12 Imams who are infallible are the successive Heads of Church and State, referring back to verse 2:30. Since Imam Mahdi (as) is still alive so he is now the Heads of Church and State. He is above the Church and State.
Therefore, the Shia have always were shy to rule. They allowed the Sunni and Shia non-religious leaders to rule over them and they were highly persecuted for telling the Truth.
Since there is no separation in Islam in Church and State, the Wilayat al-Fiquhe is a political system to be ruled by not infallible Islamic Scholars in a Democratic Way. The rule of the Prophet and Imams are not Democratic as they are above the Church and State.
The Sunni have non-Democratic system which is the Caliph who are not infallible are appointed by God through Predestination and who are the heads of Church and State.
Blake has answered this, of course, by saying that, this political theory [Wilayat] is suitable for a community of faith and is not suitable for an aggregation of atomized and supra-individuated persons…
The Sunni have Waliyat Wilayat al-Fiqhue system that they believe fallible Leaders over Muslims are chosen by God through Predestination. But the system is not Democratic as the Leader is chosen by God, therefore the Leader is over all the people. Thus, no separation in Church and State.
The Shia Wilayat al-Fiqhue is the Prophet (saws) and the successive Imams (as) who are infallible refer to verse 2:30. No separation of Church and State.
In their absence, according to Ayatollah Khomeini, why can’t we have a Democratic System of Wilayat al-Fiqhue separating the Church and State. Since Church takes precedent over State, it is to be run by quailed fallible Ulemas (Scholars). And, the State to be run by qualified fallible politician and chosen by the people.
Thus, in this Democratic System keeping the Church over State and not like in Western Democracies where State is over the Church.
God’s Laws are above the Human Laws. When God says, “No, same sex marriage, there His Law is above the Human Laws”.
It seems the UN Human Rights Commission,and UN Women’s Rights Commission member,Saudi Arabia is executing a man for apostasy. I wonder how that is viewed in regard to this article. It seems under their version of law there is no right to change your religion or to just have no religion. And that merits beheading.Back in the Dark Ages and Medieval period we Christians had similar laws. But we gave them up centuries ago. Possibly if we brought them back. Those Europeans that convert to Islam from Christianity would be put to death too.Would that be an acceptable happening perhaps. Not to me by the way. I consider it a personal choice of someone to believe or not believe. But on the other hand. For those that believe forcing someone to believe is acceptable.Then maybe Christians should reinstate those ancient laws. To be on a level playing field. I can’t and won’t accept that there is any excuse at all for that type of killing. Its an abomination that makes a mockery of justice.
I agree with you entirely. Saudi Arabia is not a Moslem country. The takfiris there anathemize both Sonni and Shi’a alike, and as such, they place themselves outside the fold of Islam. The only reason they are even in power there is that Uncle $cam would nuke Tehran if we were to go and rid the Islamic world of this evil.
I cannot and do not speak for Sonni jurisprudence, but the Shi’a magisterium believes that not only *should* there not be compulsion in matters of faith, but that there should not be such because there *cannot* ever be compulsion in matters of belief. To wit: if you believe the world is round, and were told to believe that it is flat on pain of death, you could not attain to such a belief even if your life depended on it. Iran never has nor will it ever put anyone to death on the basis of his or her faith. It would be an outrage. If someone is stupid and gullible enough to abandon his or her faith for, say, some brand of evangelic Christianity, then that is his or her problem, for which he or she will have to answer to God for on Judgment Day. Period, paragraph, end of story. But now if he or she decides to go about preaching his or her newfound faith within the Moslem community, that will not be tolerated. He or she will be severely cautioned and warned off, and if he or she persists, he or she will be imprisoned so as to put an end to their sedition, that goes against the social contract that obtains in this part of the world. But that is something very different than freedom of religion. One has freedom of religion here as a minority grouping, but this does not mean that he or she has the freedom to rock the boat and to lead others astray as he or she has been led astray. And this is because we actually hold our values as sacred and will defend them to our deaths. Whereas in the US, as the only thing that is sacred is the mighty dollar (oh, and the Holocaust, too; I almost forgot), you can say and do anything as long as it does not upset the scam that has you work as a wage slave and to have Uncle $cam skim the cream. That is why less than 1% of the population own almost all the wealth of the country. Very democratic.
I agree with your comment. I believe as you also say, that its God’s judgement on you if you believe or don’t believe.And should not be man’s. I also don’t think people should go around (especially in strong religious societies) trying to push their personal beliefs onto others. I think that is actually the basis of the law on homosexual propaganda in the RF,to prevent that. The US (in particular) seeks to control the World by using minorities,ethnic or religious,it doesn’t matter to them. The only thing that matters to them is if they can subvert those minorities to drive a wedge into the targeted society.We saw that in Yugoslavia and Ukraine,we see that in Russia,we see that in Syria,Iraq,and Iran (stirring up the Iranian Kurds and Sunni Iranians). We see that in China among the Muslims of Western China,and the Tibetans.Any country with any kind of minority/majority squabble,you can almost certainly find the hand of the US in it. It works for them,and so they use it. Its not always totally successful for them of course. But its more successful than not,so they don’t give it up. And at the least, it sows disorder even in the societies where it isn’t totally successful. Which works well for them to.
There are a lot of points that you bring up. The most imp of these is the ruling of Iran by Shia clergy. The best analogy I can think of is a trust. If the clergy is ruling Iran it is doing so in the name of the imam, by calling it an Islamic Republic. So it is holding Iran in trust. And imam Ali said if you want to send someone to hell, make them the caretakers of a trust.
These are the things that I do know. In Shia Islam, until the Iranian revolution, the clergy never ruled. In fact, the title of Ayatollah was never used till very recently. The greatest scholars were always called Allamas and Sheikhs. Ayatollah Khoie was, from what I’ve heard, a great critic of the ruling by the clergy. In Shia Islam, rule belongs to the imam (to God through his Ayat), not to people who claim to rule in his stead. There were times in the past where the clergy, like sistani could choose to now, could form govt, but refrained. Because it was beyond their ambit.
I also heard in my mosque the statement that every rule before the coming of the imam will fail. And is bound to fail. Because these ayatollahs are not infallible.
Ayatollah Sistani in the first elections held in Iraq, never ever called for people to vote for so and so Ayatollah or person. He made it mandatory for people to vote, going so far as to even ask married women to not listen to their husbands if they don’t allow then to vote. But he never ever endorsed anyone.
I have heard from my Iranian friends, that under the shah the people were full of faith, and the government was full of disbelief. And now it’s very much the opposite. At least for many, and even that is a huge price to pay, so many people not believing in the institution of the ulema because they get involved in politics.
I have heard and seen that mosques, which used to remain open all day, are now closed except during prayer times. Every voice against the system, from early on has been dealt with ruthlessly, even those voices that were of the clergy. This was never the way of the earlier imams.
I have read that even ayatollah Khomeini was originally against the idea of clergy ruling, but changed his mind when the US started to subvert influential revolutionary figures. I have also read that ayatollah brujerdi forbade Khomeini, his student, to enter politics, a command he ignored after the teacher died.
Like the Iranians say, siyasat kasif hast, politics is dirty
Now, I feel they are stuck. For Iran there is no going back now. The clergy has made a mess. The opposing side is so dirty, that I would like to think, that there was no other way.
I agree with what mirzai had to say earlier in the comments, even though I wish he would add more facts to his articles and make them juicy.
I also heard in my mosque the statement that every rule before the coming of the imam will fail. And is bound to fail. Because these ayatollahs are not infallible.
Yes, the Marjas (Ayatollahs) are not infallible, but the Marjaiee System was personally set up by Imam Mahdi (as) before his occultation. It is a system which has to be done in the absence of Imam.
Therefore, the Wilayat al-Fiqhue is as old as the Marjaiee System and Ayatollah Khomeini didn’t invent it.
In a Muslim country where the Shia are majorities, the Shia have two choices.
1. Let the Sunni rule, and each and every Shia to follow his/her own Marja of their choice. Of course, when the Shia will be persecuted by the Sunni, then they should not bitch about it.
2. Or Shia to rule by Wilayat al-Fiqhue, and each and every Shia to follow his/her own Marja of their choice.
People are unhappy in Iran because the Islamic Government does not allow fornication, gambling, usury, homosexuality…….
Do you think that Imam Mahdi (as) will allow these vices, or he will follow the religion of his grandfather Prophet Mohammad (saws)
Very nice that you replied, you clarify things for me nicely
“the Marjaiee System was personally set up by Imam Mahdi (as)”
Yes, I am aware of this and don’t dispute this. But there are limits to the authority of the marjaa. It is these limits that were crossed with ulema starting to rule, this has never happened before.
“In a Muslim country where the Shia are majorities, the Shia have two choices.”
Why only these two choices? Did the shahs in Iran, the Safavids, the Qajar, and those early Shia dynasties like the Bouyads not rule with sanction from the clergy? Was that not better than getting your hands dirty?
“People are unhappy in Iran because the Islamic Government does not allow fornication, gambling, usury, homosexuality…….”
All these vices are present in Iran. It’s not a utopia. Most of the people are unhappy with the level of corruption, the dirty politics, and the acts they witness the ulema indulge in in the name of Islam. There is so much widespread disillusionment. Most of Iranians I know that believed in the Marja had shifted to Sistani.
“Do you think that Imam Mahdi (as) will allow these vices, or he will follow the religion of his grandfather Prophet Mohammad (saws)”
not a necessary question, shows a bit of outrage on your part.
I would rather you clear up some points for me. Did Ayatollah Khoie object? Did Bourujerdi object? I am not so sure of these facts. And you could clear them for me. Cause I’ve read them from non Shia sources.
Also a basic question, did the clergy ever rule before? Some things Mohamed do more damage than good. If you read the guidelines that Sistani laid down for the PMU in Iraq there is a deeper cause, he asks fighters not to indulge in a number of acts because it may be possible to save the souls of those worthless terrorists.
Partisan of Ali
I would rather you clear up some points for me. Did Ayatollah Khoie object? Did Bourujerdi object?
When Imam Mahdi (as) will rule, then he will be one ruler for the whole world. Right now each country is ruled by different system and different people. What some Marjaiee misunderstood that Ayatollah Khomeini wants to replace the Marjaiee System with Wilayat al-Fiqhue, thus Ayatollah Khomeini becoming the only Ruler and only Marja for the whole Shia world.
What Ayatollah Khomeini did was to keep the Wilayat al-Fiqhue for the rule of Iran only, without touching the Marjaiee System both in Iran and over the whole Shia world.
As far as Iraq is concerned it is a colony of the West, so it doesn’t compare to Iran which is an independent country.
As far as corruption and/or vices are concerned, they are present in all societies as mentioned by Saker above. Even in times of Prophet (saws) these were present too.
During the times of the Prophet (saws) he was the Wali al-Fiqhue. After his demise, the Wali al-Fiqhue were our Imams (as) in successions. Presently, the Wali al-Fiqhue is Imam Mahdi (as). In his absence we the Marjaiee System.
Thus, Wilayat al-Fiqhue has been since the times of the Prophet, and Ayatollah Khomeini didn’t invent it. It has been extensively discussed by our Ulemas (scholars) in the past.
No one had a chance in the past to implement it. Ayatollah Khomeini got the chance the very first and he wisely used to. The other Marjaiee were afraid that he wanted to become The Sole Wali al-Fiqhue during the absence of Imam Mahdi (as). Imam Mahdi is not absence, he is only hidden.
Thus, Ayatollah Khomeini was wise not to do away with the Marjaiee System, which was set up by Imam Mahdi himself. The Marjaiee System is still in effect not only in the World but Iran too.
The Shah and or any Dynasties in Iran, wanted to rule by themselves, they didn’t want the people to rule themselves. Shia Islam is a Democratic System in the absence of Wali al-Fiqhue, Imam Mahdi (as).
But Islamic Democracy is not not Western Democracy like in Iraq.
Thank you for indulging me
I appreciate your reply, but you have skirted both my questions and your answers are, for the lack of a better word, apologetic.
The Wali al-Fiqhue is limited to the imams, does not extend to the ulema. Their job is to interpret the law for us. If Islam were a democracy, they are the executive (to some extent) and the judicial (to since extent). They are not the legislative. If you or I were to study jurisprudence and come to the degree of learning needed, we would then not need these ulema to guide us or to emulate. Right now They are a source of guidance due to our limitation.
Two things, the Shi’a clergy had times in the past when they could have forced a move towards clergy rule. Power was never sought.
The imams were capable of overgrowing the govts of their time, this was very true of imam Reza also, but they acted in accordance to God’s will. The rule of God will be through the Mahdi.
Second, there are so many negative outcomes of the clergy ruling, that very often negate the benefits. The kind of militant Sunni Islam of Pakistan and the Saudis came up after the Islamic revolution. The wide spread purges in Iran so that the system could survive. I’ve read arguments that all revolutions are bloody and that Iran’s was not that bloody. Then Saddam’s whirlwind war. The clergy had to be pragmatic and deal with the devil to survive. Its all dirt.
So there is one question and one answer. Is the clergy in Shi’a Islam allowed to form govt and rule? If you say they are allowed to do so, then fine. But if it’s beyond their authority, then no amount of fighting for a cause or good intentions or good deeds make up for a basic flaw.
The argument that the shah’s of before did not act for the people does not apply. Some even, in Iran’s case, fought for more than Islam. They fought for the Iranian culture and for Islam. Others with a religious fervor that was even more pronounced and lasting than that of this revolution.
Also, You keep saying that Ayatollah Khomeini did not abrogate the marja system. But this is meaningless. What authority did he have to even contemplate that? If he had done that, would his followers today not be outside the fold of Islam. Since the imam put it in place, who is he? By not doing something that was beyond his authority he’s not done anything that you are crediting him for.
I’ll give you another example. When the first of three, with the help of the second took from Ali what was his, you think it was possible for Ali to take what was his? Abu Sufyan made him an offer that he would bring his horseman at Ali’s command and Ali spurned him. Even imam Hussain’s actions, where he is knowingly marching to his end. The purpose is not to rule. It is to shake our consciousness. It gives us marefat.
If you tell me that the clergy is supposed to rule, then why is sistani not forming govt the same way. Or trying to. Or creating an environment that it may be easier later.
I wish I had sources and facts that were to tell me, clergy should rule. Logic convinces me otherwise.
I hope you are not offended Mohamed. Not my intention to change anyone’s opinion.
Partisan of Ali,
I appreciate your reply, but you have skirted both my questions and your answers are, for the lack of a better word, apologetic.
The Wali al-Fiqhue is limited to the imams, does not extend to the ulema.
LOL, I think that you are allergic to the name of Imam Khomeini and I am not apologetic at all. Remember, the Fatwa regarding Salman Rushdie.
Who said that Waliyat al-Fiqhue is limited to the imams? You seem to be confused between Wali and Waliyat al-Fiqhue like Basil above. Please read my above replies to him.
As far as Iran Political System is concerned, like any other Political System is run by fallible human beings. The Sunni have the Waliyat al-Fiqhue System which is their Caliphs who are fallible and their belief that these Caliphs, Kings, Dynasties are appointed by God through Predestination.
The Sunni Caliph System is non-Democratic System. Where the Shia Waliyat al-Fiqhue System by Imam Khomeini is a Democratic System.
Every country has corruption and it is for the people of those countries to criticize and improve the corruption as they live first hand under the corruption and know it better than any foreigner. I am not from Iran and as a foreigner, I consider myself to have no right to criticize that system.
Read your reply to basil as well.
First, regarding the fatwa, I was not concerned with who gave it. I was concerned with the principle. I was told it was for apostery. So I was confirming with you. Since you are better read. I wanted to know that on what basis and to what extent can a marja go. I was thinking of the future, not the past.
Regarding my personal feeling for Ayatollah Khomeini, I don’t care less if it was him or say if it was Ayatollah Sistani. I was more concerned with where do you draw the line. For instance, up to now every single action I have seen sistani take, has been in my mind, within his boundry or purview. I want to know at what stage does it go beyond. Since I cannot study to that level, to know for myself, I wanted some clarity from you.
Two things you said, don’t add up.
In the first you tell basil, and you also quote the quran:
“The Shia Wilayat al-Fiqhue is the Prophet (saws) and the successive Imams (as) who are infallible refer to verse 2:30…”
You go on to tell me:
“Who said that Waliyat al-Fiqhue is limited to the imams? You seem to be confused between Wali and Waliyat al-Fiqhue like Basil above.”
And then you add this as well
“In their absence, according to Ayatollah Khomeini, why can’t we have a Democratic System of Wilayat al-Fiqhue separating the Church and State. Since Church takes precedent over State, it is to be run by quailed fallible Ulemas (Scholars). And, the State to be run by qualified fallible politician and chosen by the people.”
So it looks like Ayatollah Khomeini is improvising, for lack of a better word, as per the needs of a time. Cause once you say according to him (Khomeini) , it takes away from a lot of things. In actual fact it becomes very fallible.
Further, when you say the flowing, this is what I meant by existing yourself and being apologetic:
“Every country has corruption and it is for the people of those countries to criticize and improve the corruption as they live first hand under the corruption and know it better than any foreigner. I am not from Iran and as a foreigner, I consider myself to have no right to criticize that system”
I don’t want you to criticise any system. All will fail. And will have their falings. What I’m interested in is the basis of it. Cause no matter what it’s called, it can be better (according to you: church over state) or worse (according to some Iranians) I’m interested in its foundation. Cause like you said imam Mahdi left us taqleed in these times when he is not here (to personally guide us), but he did not leave us an Islamic system of government.
Thank you Mohamed
Also, Please don’t ascribe feelings for me against Ayatollah Khomeini. If it interests you, not that it matters, I consider him to be a leading Ayatollah of his age, but I consider him not in the same light as some other people who went to give him more importance than that (like in some earlier tapes people fervently chanting, Khomeini! Khomeini! May Allah keep you till the Mahdi). in the ulemas of the past, there are others I liked more. And since I was never old enough then, I was in the taqleed of neither Khoie nor Khomeini.
Phew! I was quite relieved to see that there is space for me too. I can squeeze into the Fifth Ring.
You have not included the many African people who also share many Christian or Muslim (or Hindu etc.) beliefs. Nor have you addressed the many, many traditionally minded African people who value community in the sense that you use the term.
I sense disquiet and a feeling of dislocation in my (South African) students, but many of them (some with a tiny bit of prodding from me), have discovered that they actually like being African and like the ties to their traditional communities.
The “Western” propaganda runs thick and fast, but there is hope yet.
It is late here in rainy Tehran, and I will be out all day tomorrow, so will respond to your comment and that of the Partisan of Ali in two days’ time, God willing.
Thank you. My teaching load is rather heavy for the next week or so, but I look forward to your response.
Just curious, what is the author’s background? Bio anywhere?
It is good that we are informed more in detail about the beliefs of the Shias (if this is really what the Shia teaching really is and not a Western colorized elaboration) at least for dispelling any illusion that there is a commonality between the ultimate goals of Islam and those of Christianity. If, as we are enjoined, we stick firmly to our traditions, we find only divergences of a nature which preclude any commonality, starting with the accusation that Christian Tradition is falsified and ‘superseded’, hardly a position which promotes good-will, the more when it is addressed to the ‘Third Ring’, supposedly the closest to ‘Shia clerics’ (in fact there is much more separation of state and church in Orthodoxy).
So, let us remind (and it could not be stressed hard enough) that Christians do not believe in Imam Mahdi (nor do they believe that “Imām Khomeinī is the greatest man the modern era has witnessed”, first and foremost because they do not believe in the prophethood of Mahomed) and jihad against evildoers, therefore they could not pray for his ‘advent’ in which Christ would fight side by side with him (actually behind him, in a subordinate position) for the instauration of the millennial Kingdom (expected by the Jews also) in which ‘crosses would be smashed and pigs killed’.
The Mahdi resembles too much to the Messiah expected by the Jews about whom Saint Paul warns us:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) .
There will not be any long period of “the reign of true peace and justice on earth” before the Resurrection. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be the Resurrection and the final Judgement in which He will judge both the dead and the ones still living including the false Prophets, Messiahs and Mahdis.
Now, if an alliance with Iran is possible (and even desirable) it could not be made but according to ‘jus gentium’ which is approximated (with all its faults) in the Westfalian system. Russia does not fight in Syria for the ‘liberation of al-Quds’, but mostly for the protection of Christians. It is hard to believe that Russia would ever permit a would be Mahdi to smash the crosses of the Holy Sepulcher (as in the time of the ‘mad caliph’ al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh, believed to be the hidden Mahdi).
What about Eric Kaufmann and Michael Blume suggesting that evolution favors strongly religious people and rejecting atheists, agnostics, seculars and formal “believers”? There’s good measure of strong faith : fertility rate. Now think sbout Iran, Spain, Russia, Germany…Kaufmann and Blume have certain small but fastly growing culture enclaves having 4-6 times higher fertility ratesrates compared surrounding seculars.
In that perspective future belongs not to Muslims of Arab world and surely not for Europeans including Russians or Chinese or Americans. It’s Africans populating world once again. Atheists and secular folks are doomed to be wiped out. Prosperity is the road to destruction because it destroys faith. That’s why Christians in Middle East moving to west are doomed. That’s why millions of former Muslims have lost their faith in west. Faith is in core of every real culture. Loosing faith is the beginning of the end for all cultures.
I was away for a couple of days and I started to gather all of the points and questions in order to answer them one by one, but then realized that there are so many points and questions that it would take a whole day on my part to do them all justice, and this is time that I simply do not have. So I thank all of you for commenting on the piece, and apologize for not being able to respond to each of the points and questions that you have raised. The Saker and I have been discussing the possibility of adding more guest posts by me, and if he decides he wants to go ahead with that, then I will have the opportunity to add information that will hopefully be responsive to at least some of the questions raised.
Thank you for taking the time to read the article and to comment on it.