Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Heritage of the East Indians of Bandra Bazar Road

208,442 items / 1,705,008 views

East Indians

East Indians or East Indian Catholics are a Marathi-speaking, Roman Catholic ethnic group, based in and around the city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in the state of Maharashtra.[2] These people are of the original Marathi ethnic group and had been evangelized by the Portuguese, while retaining much of their pre-Christian traditions.

Though it is commonly thought that the origin of Christianity in North Konkan, was due to the proselytizing activities of the Portuguese in the 16th Century, it was St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, who preached in North Konkan. There are evidences of this by the writings of Kosmos Indicopleustes of his having seen in Kalyana a flourishing Christian Community in the 6th Century and of Jordanus, of his having labored among the Christians in Thana and Sopara in the 13th Century. The French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani of Severac (in south-western France) started evangelizing activities in Thana and Sapora was the first work of Rome in North Konkan. Sopara was an ancient port and an international trading center. The water once extended all the way to Bhayander creek thus making the whole area extending from Arnala to Bhayander an island - referred to as Salsette island. In the time of the Buddha, Sopara (ancient Shurparaka), was an important port and a gateway settlement. Perhaps this induced Ashoka to install his edicts there. Sopara is referred in the Old Testament as Ophir, the place from which King Solomon brought gold, Josephus identifies Ophir with Aurea Chersonesus, belonging to India. Septuagint translates Ophir as Sophia, which is Coptic for India. This refers to the ancient city of Soupara or Ouppara on the western coast of India.[3]

It should then come as no surprise that contact with India dates as far back as the days of King Solomon. Pantaneus visited India about AD 180 and there he found a Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew language, left with the Christians there by St. Barthlomew. This is mentioned by Eusebius, and by Jerome in one of his letters. The finding of a Gospel of Matthew left with the Christians by Bartholomew is very strong evidence to the existence of a Christian community in India in the first century at the time of the visit of St. Bartholomew. It traces the history of the Church in India to the first century. In fact, it is an independent confirmation of the Indian church’s ancient and apostolic origin. Most history of The Indian Church was lost between the 9th and the 14th Century, as Persia went over to the Nestorianism in 800 AD. Since the provision of Church offices and all the apparatus of public worship, was looked to a foreign source; when this foreign aid was withdrawn. the Indian Christians were reduced to "nominal" Christians.[2]
[edit] Portuguese era
Main article: History of Bombay under Portuguese rule (1534-1661)

The whole policy of the Portuguese, who came to India in 1498, was to bring the Indian Christians under their concept of Roman Catholicism.[1]

The Prabhu Brahmins and other high-class Hindus who were prudently and ceremoniously converted were treated by the Portuguese with honor and distinction.[1]

In stark contrast, was the attitude of the Portuguese to those groups who were engaged in cultivation, fishing and other rural occupations handed down to them by their ancestors. These groups were given neither education, not proper instructions in the dogmas and doctrines of the church.[1]

Among the converts the Portuguese made, it cannot be denied that a large number of them were descendants of the Christian Community founded by Apostle St. Bartholomew. But these new converts were not strangers to the old Christians.[1]

They were their own people with whom they had been living for centuries. The Portuguese however welded them into one community.[1]

Ever since then, this community has remained a separate entity, without becoming one with any of the other Christian communities. In certain instances, they were even referred to as "Portuguese Christians".[1]

The Fransiscans spearheaded evangelization efforts in the "Province of the North".[4]

Between 1534-1552, Fr. Antonio do Porto made over 10,000 converts, built 12 churches and founded a number of orphanages and monasteries. Prominent among these converts were two monks from the Kanheri Caves who came to be called Paolo Rapozo and Fransisco de Santa Maria. They in turn spread Christianity among their fellow monks converting many of them in the process.[4]

Another famous convert during this time was the Brahmin astrologer Parashuram Joshi. He was a learned, austere and devout person and embraced Christianity on September 8, 1565, taking the name of Henry da Cunha. Joshi's example was followed by 250 Hindus, including over fifty Brahmins.[4]

In Salsette, Fr. Manuel Gomes converted over 6,000 Hindus in Bandra, earning the title of the Apostle of Salsette.[4]

The number of converts in 1573 was 1,600. From 1548, the Jesuits in Bassein and Bandra converted many of the upper classes. For instance, the Bassein Cathedral registered the number of baptisms as being 9,400. At Thana, the Jesuit superior Gonsala Rodrigues baptised between 5,000 to 6,000, many of them orphans and young children of lower caste Hindus sold by their parents.[4]

By the end of the 16th century, the Roman Catholic population of the Portuguese province of the North consisted of around 10,000 to 15,000 people, centered mainly in and around Bassein.[5]

However, following the defeat of the Portuguese at the hands of the Marathas and the advent of Maratha rule, the Catholics were discriminated against by the state administration.[6]

In the aftermath of the fall of Bassein, many Catholics were heavily taxed by the Marathas who used the money to feed Brahmins and to conduct a massive re-conversion campaign aimed at bringing them back into the Hindu fold. Large numbers were re-converted in this manner.[6]

Most Portuguese priests were forced to leave and by treaty, only five churches (three in Bassein City, one in Bassein District and one in Salsette) were permitted to remain.[6]

The remainder of the Christian population was left to the native clergy under a Vicar General at Kurla. When in 1757, the Antequil du Perron visited Salsette, he found a flourishing Catholic population with many churches rebuilt and an open practise of Christianity, but with European priests totally absent.[6]

Later on the advent of the British, there came a lot of change.[1]

In the 1960s, the Archdiocese of Bombay estimated that there were 92,000 East Indians in Bombay out of which 76,000 were in suburban Bombay and 16,000 in urban Bombay.[1]
[edit] British and modern era
Main articles: History of Bombay under British rule and Bombay Presidency

On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal, placed Bombay in the possession of the British Empire, as part of Catherine's dowry to Charles.[7] From the early days of the East India Company, there were no other Indian Christians in the North Konkan except the East Indian Catholics. Employments that were intended for the Christians, were the monopoly of the East Indians. With development, came in railways and steamship, a boon for the traveling public. And with that came a number of emigrants from Goa who were also known as Portuguese Christians. The British found it expedient to adopt a designation which would distinguish the Christians of North Konkan who were British subjects and the Goan and Mangalorean Catholics who were Portuguese subjects. Accordingly on the occasion of The Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Christians of North Konkan, who were known as "Portuguese Christians" discarded that name and adopted the designation "East Indian”. By the adoption of the name "East Indian" they wanted to impress upon the British Government of Bombay that they were the earliest Roman Catholic Subjects of the British Crown in this part of India, in as much as Bombay, by its cession in 1661, was the first foothold the British acquired in India. As the children of the soil, they urged on the Government, that they were entitled to certain natural rights and privileges as against the emigrants.[2]
[edit] Culture
[edit] Architecture and Cuisine

The ordinary Koli house comprises a verandah (oli) used for repairing nets or the reception of visitors, a sitting-room (angan) used by the women for their household work, a kitchen, a central apartment, a bed-room, a gods' room (devaghar), and a detached bath-room.[8]

The East Indian cuisine is a unique blend of Koli, Maharashtrian, and Portuguese cuisine.
[edit] Language and Literature

East Indian Catholics speak a particular dialect of Marathi, which they retained as their mother tongue despite the Portuguese influence. The Marathi language is central to the community's identity. Murphy author of Trans. Bomb. Geog. Soc., 1836–38, Vol. I. mentions the dialect of Marathi spoken by the East Indians of Salsette, Mahim, Matunga and Mazagon, which enters very largely into the language spoken by the Kulbis, Kolis, Bhandaris, Palshes, Prabhus, Panchkalshis, Kuparis, Vadvals. This was probably Konkani.[9] Some of the East-Indian upper class families and in the Khatri ward of Thane speak Portuguese.[10] 110 Portuguese lexical items are found in Marathi.[11]
[edit] Traditions and Festivals

Although, they have preserved their pre-Christian Marathi culture and traditions, many Portuguese and influences have been absorbed. They still retain many of the practises of pre-Christian tradition.[12] East Indian ladies wear ornaments like the Mangalsutra, and Bindi.
[edit] Costumes and Ornaments

The traditional dress for the female is the lugra or kashta saree and for male is a khaki short pant and white banian. A Koli Christian bridegroom usually wears a dilapidated Portuguese Admiral's uniform, which is specially preserved and lent out on such occasions.[8]

In the olden days, East Indian women wore a blouse and cotton lugra the hind pleats tucked into the waist at the back centre of the legs, while the girls do not make use of the upper portion of the sari covering the head and breast until they are married. This mode of wearing the sari is known as sakacch nesane as opposed to gol nesane the round or cylindrical mode of wear. The latter is popular among young girls and women.[13]

Formerly, women among the well-to-do used to wear for the head, like rnuda, rakhadi, kegada, phul, gulabache phul and chandrakora, for the neck, such as thushi, galasari, Putalyachi mal; and tika[disambiguation needed]; for the ears the bugadi, karaba; kudi, kapa and ghuma; for the nose, nath, phuli, moti.[14] Mangalsutras (wedding necklace), made of the black beads being stringed together in different patterns.[14]
[edit] Historical Society

There are five broad cultural groups of East Indians —- Kulbis, Samvedi Christians (commonly called Kuparis), Koli Christians, Wadvals, Salsette Christians and the urbanized section.[2]
[edit] Songs and Music
“ Galen sakhali sonyachi,

Yee pori konachi,
Whose daughter is this?

Galen sakhali sonyachi,

Yee pori konachi,
Whose daughter is this?

Yachi aais bhi teacher, Ani bapus bhi teacher,
Her mother is teacher, and father too is a teacher,

Yee pori konachi
Whose daughter is this?

Yachi aais bhi teacher, Ani bapus bhi teacher,
Her mother is teacher, and father too is a teacher,

Yee pori konachi
Whose daughter is this?

Prominent East Indians

Gonsalo Garcia: Roman Catholic saint from India
Joseph Baptista: Indian freedom activist
Michael Ferreira: amateur player of English billiards
Gavin Ferreira: Olympic hockey player
Luke Mendes - film maker[16]

Eric Parker An Enchanting Street Photographer Poet

208,442 items / 1,706,537 views

photo courtesy eric parker

We all like beauty in one form or the other and beauty is different things to different people , and my dear friend Eric Parker graphic designer from Toronto shoots wild beauty , wild beauty that aesthetically touches the core of humanity.

I met Eric several years back ,we met at Flickr and it is my bad luck I did not meet him in Mumbai he had shot Chor Bazar that was once my Friday hideout.

He became a fan of my Sufi pictures and I became a fan of his street lore , Eric is a product of Adabb and Tehzeeb and connected to a lot of old musical gharanas in Kolkatta.

Erics photostream at Flickr is more vibrant soul pulsating than mine, he shoots emotions moments that live on and on and on..he shoots various genre , being erudite , worldly and street saintly too.

Because he looks a bit like my dear friend Benn Bell , our friendship is more evocative than ever.

I am looking forward to his trip to Mumbai and this is my humble tribute to a prolific street chronicler and street poet.

He is the best of the best.. my dear friend Eric Parker .

My new Poem inspired by Paula

eric is a loner
a poet a stag
his tail seldom wags
he shoots beauty
hidden beneath
the wrinkles
of a hag
to all my friends
that eric is my friend
i brag
this poem
in all it humility
a tribute
to a great
as abuse
or positive spam
you dont
need to flag
what a tag

Firoze Shakir -Photographerno1 Google Profile

208,442 items / 1,706,187 views

Set not the chain of Fate upon thy foot. There is a way beyond this rolling sphere.
Allama Mohammed Iqbal

I feel the winds as they blow
the golden sunset glow
like a little paper boat
into the waters of an ocean
I flow
my destiny
not yet ready to kiss
dollar littered American shores
I am happy shooting hijra beggars
eunuch kids and hijra whores
my karma my dharma
my bare feet
my diabetic sores
my camera like vision
to a deaf and dumb god
above implores
when it rains it really pours
man two legged animal
crawling on all fours
open windows of my mind
my future stares at me a shut door
a whimper held to this leopards roar
a chant of my faith
blood sweat tears and gore

Firoze Shakir a Shia mystic..they don't make like this any more.. he walks on fire,self flagellates,cuts his forehead each Moharam.. he is sane as sane as you or the guy next door,..

Karbala Black Page of Islamic History

land of sorrow
day after
what we have
we dont need to borrow

Master Chef Renie Ranvin Wants Me To Be a Cook

208,442 items / 1,706,109 views

a beggar poet
a blogger
the god of
the blogs
he gave
me an ultimatum
happy married life
success prosperity
you need to become
a cook the phone
went off the hook
so at home under
the watchful eyes
of wife no1
i am learning
to unblog uncook
cut the veggies
wash the dishes pans
i am playing
by the recipe book
the steaming cauldron
my perspiring poetry
the kitchen
my alcove my nook
no ulterior designs
no scissors
no measure tape
for this walking
talking stylebook
online sinker and hook
depleted dreams
delusional dilemma
dehydrated disillusioned
diehard whose
kingdom shook
my tryst with
at RK studios
my fate on a platter


Dear Glenn,

As you already know your work is being exhibited at the Chelsea Art Museum during the World Photography Events in New York.

If you wish to attend or some of your friends and contacts to attend the opening party of the exhibition, please do RSVP to the event! The opening party is on the Thursday 13th of October starting at 7pm. Please see the e-fliers attached. You can forward it to all the person you wish to invite to the opening party. This is the opportunity for them to view the exhibition without paying the entry fee. Hurry up to RSVP as places are limited!

Shiasm Up Close

the blood of our forefathers
from every face flows
1400 years
our pain grows
a chapter
that shall
never ever close
blood like melting ice
our ancestry of pain shows
we bleed
to remind the world
of a spiritual terrorism
on the soul of humanity
as Moharam
the whole world knows
save those
lovers of Mauwiyah
lovers of Yazid
behind close doors
the Lion of Karbala
on the banks
of the Euphrates
lets out a roar
Hussain is Humanity
a thought implores
the standard of Hussainiyat
on all hearts soars
puritanical poison
as Yazidiyat ignores
the Beauty of Islam
Hussain restores

Shiasm Up Close
A path of Truth
that we chose
through our blood
a conspiracy of hate
expose ..
Allah Ho Akbar
scriptured silence
of all our foes
read this as a poem
or read it as prose
testament and will
of men in black clothes

The Torch Bearer of Ahle Bayt -Maulana Athar Mirza Saab

For his Majlis

I shot this picture on 8th Moharam at Moghul Masjid ..Maulana Athar Saab Mirza , an eloquent speaker, a wise conversationalist and a lover of Ahle Bayt.
A modern Maulana who speaks for the Shia youth and their progress.
He speaks on Muslims womens rights and is dead againt the disease called Ignorance or Jahallat..



(By- Jalal Kazim)

The 9/11 episode brings a major interest for the West to learn about Terrorism & its causes. And without going into the deep the lazy brains of most of them bring the conclusion that Islam is responsible for all this bad. And a War against Terror is announced by the Whites. I might say that it is not Islam who is responsible. They are so called Muslims who are involved in these acts. The worst who suffered from these activities is Islam itself. Islam is bleeding from 14 Centuries. Only American and Western Lives are not suffered from this but Islam and the Family of Prophet Mohammad(pbuh) itself has been targeted by these radical thoughts. The world is now talking about the War against Terror, but they never tried to know about the real War against real Terror which is been underway since the demise of Prophet(pbuh) himself. Prophet (pbuh) announced his successor to be Ali (pbuh) who carries the Laws and teachings of Qoran and Prophet (pbuh) to the Muslim after him. But soon after his demise the Real and the Ancestors of today’s Terrorists disobeyed Prophet (pbuh) and elected their own Caliph. And those radicals were not true lovers of Islam but they were more interested in making wealth and monarchy in terms of leading the Muslims which was totally against the teaching of Islam. While Ali (pbuh) was the true successor so he spent his life in real teaching of Islam. But these radicals find Ali(pbuh) as their biggest enemy in their unIslamic deed so they attacked his house and burnt the door, due to which Imam Ali(pbuh) lost his Wife(Daughter of Holy Prophet pbuh). That was the first attack of Terror by these so called Muslims. It is said that Omar was leading those people who attack and torched the house of Ali(pbuh). We the Shia Muslims followed the teachings of Prophet(pbuh) and accepted Imam Ali(pbuh) as true successor of Islamic Laws and teachings. So we condemned that deed of those terrorists. And they don’t even stop there, That Hatred for Imam Ali (pbuh) continued to his Children and his Family. Ummayad Dynasty was the first outcome of that radical thought into the politics. They were much interested in Wealth, Kingdom, Wine & Womanizing that Islam. While Imam Ali(pbuh) and his Family was following the True Islam peacefully. The difference between the life styles of these two was telling the truth to the Islamic World that who is right and who is wrong. This caused a big unrest for Ummayads and their supporters. And conspiracies were cooked against the Ahlulbaet(pbuh) The biggest outcome of that was the Martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain(pbuh) Son of Imam Ali in the battle of Karbala fought between the 72 Thirsty men of Imam Hussain(pbuh) and Thousands of Soldiers of Yazeed’s Army. Yazeed was the Son of Muawiyah who was the founder of Umayyad Dynasty. Yazeed thought that he will call the Imam Hussain (pbuh) from Medina and will kill him in some remote Area where no body will know about this and he will continue his UnIslamic activities in the name of the Amer of Muslims. But Imam Hussein (pbuh) stands strongly against him as Islam was not the toy of Yazoo’s hand. It was the great religion and Imam Hussein (pbuh) was the True successor of its Laws. He knew that if Yazeed get his support in becoming the Caliph then there would be no one remains in the World who should be called as a Muslim. So he came out in opposition of Yazeed and never feared the death for him or his family. The Yazeedi Terror was at its peak as Yazeed found himself defeated by Imam Hussein(pbuh) in his mission. He ordered his army to Kill Imam Hussain(pbuh) and brings his head to his court. Imam was traveling with his family and few companions and they were brought into the deserts of Karbala in Iraq. Imam Hussain (pbuh) was brutally martyred by the Yazeedi Soldiers along with his family and companions who were in all ages of life. The Youngest was Ali Asghar, 6 month old Son of Imam Hussain (pbuh) and the Oldest was Habib Ibne Mazahir a.s. That was the Biggest Terrorist incident of the Islamic History. Zainab(pbuh) & Imam Zainul Abideen (pbuh) were in the few of the survivors of the terrorist attack of Karbala. They were captured by the Yazeedi army and were kept in the prison of Syria for no reason except one that they were the Family members of Prophet (pbuh). When the news spread among Muslim world about this harsh treatment given to Ahlulbaet (pbuh) then a kind revolution came. The lovers of Ahlulbaet (pbuh) started agitating against Yazeed and his people. People gathered in public places and the incident of Karbala was shared among each other with grief and sorrow. People cried and wept on the barbaric deeds of Yazeedis. That was only the beginning of this War against terror. This was fought without any weapon. That was the protest against terror and brutality. A very strong agitation against the cruelty and unhuman activities. The people with Heart stood against Yazeed and his thinking. It continued till today. We Shia Muslims stood against Yazeed and we are the ones who started this real War against Terror. Moharram is that War against Terror. We Mourn the Martyrs of Kabrala. Our way of mourning is more deadly for Yazeedis and radical thoughts than any other weapon exists. The tears which we shed in memory of Imam Hussain (pbuh) are more lethal than any chemical for Yazeedis. We beat our chest but it hurts like a slap on the face of Yazeediyat. We cut our heads but the scar appears on the face of Yazeedis. They have killed Imam Hussain (pbuh) and his companions who were thirsty & hungry so we distribute water and Food in Moharram. This is their defeat as well. Moharram is also a War against thirst and Hunger. They can not bear this. As our act of mourning let these Yazeedi to recall their sins. They feel guilty. They want this war to be stopped. But we will continue this great service till a single Yazeedi is alive on this planet. Imam Hussain (pbuh) not died only for Islam, his sacrifice is saviour of humanity and universal brotherhood. So its duty of all human beings to get together on the common cause of unity under the light of Karbala which is a true mirror of humanity. Come and be a Soldier of this Great War against Terror. Say “Ya Hussain (pbuh)”



The Art of Cutting your Forehead

The dagger is held by both hands firmly, head low, the blade will pass through the cleavage of your skull as though parting the hairy waves , creating a path so to speak.
The crowd normally chants Ya Ali Ya Ali and you begin the spontaneous slow choreography , silenced emotions and no pain whatsoever..pain has fled along with its
sibling continue the strokes till you feel a cold drop of blood on the tip of your nose this is Kama Zani done poetically capturing the moments on the sand dunes of Karbala and the pain and passion of Imam Hussain..the trials tribulations , sufferings of his erstwhile family.
Normally the people surrounding you grab the dagger from your hand as in my case..
There is another band of Kama Matam or forehead cutters who hit hard on their foreheads with inhuman strength , like the members of Sadka e Sakina..
It all depends on the fervour of each individual..
This is called Ghame Hussain.. the Tragedy of Hussain.
The hosting of Moharam , the Majlis, the Sabils, the Tazias the house Imambaras is known as Azadari e Hussain..
In Lucknow the Tazias or replicas of Imam Hussain are buried on Ashura day at the cemetery , the most famous being Karbala Talkatora..
All this is on my homesite shot last year..

Bleeding Faith of a Shia Blogger

This is Ashura.
10th day of Imam Hussain Martyrdom celebrated mournfully on the weeping streets of Mumbai.
The last few days that I was shooting Kaisar Bagh or the 9 th of Moharam Juloos I would get charged an animalistic fiery urge to grab the dagger from the guys hand whom I was shooting and cut my own head,but I kept myself in control, not allowing my Shia emotions to get the better of me as an amateur photographer who shoots nurtured cultivated Shia pain.Yes I am a Shia photo blogger when I shoot images of my faith per se.
I was shooting the Ashura Juloos of Anjumam e Hyderi and Habib Nasser had presented his friends and members of his Anjuman doing the Iraqi Dagger Matam, a slow choreography of bleeding Faith..
The guys synchronised the cutting of their heads , dressed in white aprons that represented shrouds..and this plea of human passion began at JJ Hospital junction and continued till the Rehmatabad Shia cemetery, a long distance on foot..
I requested Habib Nasser for the dagger , and handing him my camera began my Kama Mata, the first of this Moharam.
Habib Nasser has shot these pictures , he is a dynamic and prolific photographer himself.
I will in the next picture explain to you the feelings and the emotions while cutting your forehead .

Wa Waila Sad Wa Waila Ibn E Zehra Wa Waila

Our Blood Gives Testimony To Our Faith- In Ahle Bayt .

The Shia Blogger of Mumbai

A Pain no Pain can Replace

our blood traces the persecuted history of our Shia race
every drop a bleeding script engraved on our face
ashura karbala two pillars in our hearts space
a dream a reality hussainiyat our saving grace
we have no other dreams to chase
a pain that no pain can replace
ya hussain ya hussain
our souls solace
Yazidiyat a chapter
of Yazidi disgrace
muslims love killing muslims
mesmerized misfortunes in a maze

Verdicts of Marajay on AZADARI for Imam Hussain (p)

Verdicts of Marajay on AZADARI for Imam Hussain (p)

by: Zaynab

Here are some of hundreds of Fatawa, or verdicts, by eminent marajay of Shiite World regarding Azadari of Chief of Martyrs:


Grand Ayatullah ash-Sheikh Muhammad Hussain an-Naa’ini

(The teacher of the Marajay of the holy city of Najaf)

“There is no doubt as to the permissibility of the beating of the chest and the face with the hands to the point of redness or blackness (of the chest or the face). This is also extended to the lashing of the shoulders and the back with chains to the extent mentioned (above), and even if this led to bleeding. As for causing the bleeding of the head by sword beating, this is also allowed provided it does not lead to endangering harm, such as unstoppable bleeding or harm to the scull, etc. as it is known amongst the experts in doing this (hitting on the head).”

The above Fatwa by Grand Ayatullah ash-Sheikh Muhammad Hussain an-Naa’ini was endorsed and signed by the following eminent Marajay:

Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Mohsen al-Hakim,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad Kaadhem al-Shari’at Madari,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Abd-el-A’la as-Sabzewary,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Abul-Qassim al-Kho’i,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad Ridha al-Gulpaygani,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Ali al-Hussaini as-Seestani,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad Saadiq ar-Rouhani,
Ayatullah al-Udhma al-Mirza Jawaad al-Tabrizi,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Sheikh Hussain al-Waheed al-Khurasani
And many other Maraje’ and eminent scholars…

Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Seyyid al-Kho’i

(The former leader of the Hawzah of the holy city of Najaf)

Question: Is there any problem with causing the bleeding of the head – TATBIR – as it is practiced, to express one’s grief about the martyrdom of our Imam Hussain peace be upon him, assuming there is going to be no permanent harm?

Answer: There is no problem with that, given the assumption made in the question, and Allah knows best.

Question: You stated that there is no problem in causing the bleeding of the head – known as TATBIR – if it does not lead to harm. It is said that it is not more than a permissible act, then can TATBIR be MUSTAHAB – desirable – if the intention was the upholding and honouring the Sha’a’er – signs of Allah – and sympathy with the Ahl-ul-Bayt, peace be upon them?

Answer: Most probably Allah Almighty would give thawab – reward (the individual) – for sympathising with the Ahl-ul-Bayt if the intention is sincere.

Grand Ayatullah as-Seyyid ash-Shirazi

Question: Some individuals say that I do not see shedding my tears as enough to express my grief for Imam Hussain (AS), his household and his followers on the day of Ashura. So is hitting myself with sword and injuring myself is allowed?

Answer: The Hussaini Sha’a’er, including TATBIR, are some of the RAAJIH issues. TATBIR is a MUSTAHAB deed, unless it leads to death, loss of limb, or loss of faculties. (RAAJIH means MUSTAHAB that could become WAJIB depending on the circumstances – translator.).

Question: What is your opinion regarding hitting the head with sword – TATBIR – on the day of Ashura whether or not it harms the individual.

Answer: The most common and widely known opinion of the Fuqaha (scholars) is that the desirability (of TATBIR) is in it not being extremely harmful.

Question: What is your opinion regarding the reports that Lady Zaynab peace be upon her, when she saw the head of her brother Imam Hussain peace be upon him, being paraded in public hit her forehead on the bar of the carriage she was travelling in, causing bleeding to flow from beneath her veil, which was visible to onlookers who witnessed the event?

Answer: Yes that is proven.

{Some of the famous references, which confirm the above report, are as follows:
Bihaar al-Anwaar; volume 45, page 114,
Jalaa’ al-‘Oyun; volume 2, page 238,
Zaynab al-Kubra; page 112,
Asraar ash-Shahadah; page 474,

Al-Muntakhab; volume 2, page 478,
Nusrat-ul-Madhlum; page 18

Needless to say that ‘Allamah al-Majlisi – compiler of Bihaar al-Anwaar – and Sheikh al-Shari’ah al-Isfahani have confirmed the authenticity of the report.}

Ayatullah ash-Sheikh Abdul Kareem al-Ha’ery

(The Founder of the current Hawzah in the holy city of Qum)

“The hitting of swords on the heads (causing bleeding) is alright (allowed) provided there is no harm to the person doing this. Furthermore no one has the right to prohibit this (hitting the head with sword). In fact all kinds of TA’ZIAH – mourning – for SEYYED ASH-SHUHADA’ Imam Hussain may our souls be sacrificed for him, are MUSTAHAB – desirable deeds.”

The above Fatwa by Ayatullah ash-Sheikh Abdul Kareem al-Ha’ery was endorsed and signed by the following eminent Marajay:
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Sheikh Muhammad al-Araki,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad Ridha al-Gulpaygani,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Shahab-el-Deen al-Mar’ashi al-Najafi,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Hassan al-Tabataba’e al-Qummi,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad al-Waheedi,
Ayatullah al-Udhma al-Mirza Jawaad al-Tabrizi,
Ayatullah al-Udhma as-Seyyid Muhammad Saadiq al-Rouhani,
Ayatullah al-Udhma Muhammad Mahdi al-Lankaroudi
And many other Marajay and eminent scholars …

Grand Ayatullah Abul Hassan Asfahani

Grand Ayatullah Abul Hassan Asfahani is that greatly respected and honoured figure who was once asked by some muqasereen type people to give Fatwa (verdict) saying that mourners have crossed the limits in performing Azadari-e-Madhloom (perhaps they mean hitting back and shoulders with rzaers and head with swords).

On this the Ayatullah said: Az Madar-e-Hussain mee tarsem (I fear Hussain’s mother). This matter is between Hussain and his mourners.

(This event and these words have been heard by Ulama-e-Karam and it is the talk of town).

Grand Ayatullah as-Seyyid as-Seestani

(The current leader of the Hawzah of the holy city of Najaf)

Question: What is the ruling regarding the lashing with chains, chest beating, and walking on fire on the occasion of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him?

Answer: If (these are) not associated with extreme harm or loss of limb, there is no objection.

Question: What is the ruling regarding wearing black, and chest beating when commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him, as well as other infallible Imams peace be upon them?

Answer: This is permissible, and in fact this is regarded as one of the best means of seeking nearness to Allah, since it is upholding and honouring the Sha’a’er of Allah Almighty. [This is a reference to the Qur’anic Ayah 22:32. – translator.]

For more verdicts visit:

Muntakheb Ul Aqwaal
"Knowledge is better than wealth because it protects you while you have to guard wealth. it decreases if you keep on spending it but the more you make use of knowledge ,the more it increases . what you get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth disappears but what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you." MORE..
(Hazrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S)



The centuries old Shia Sunni differences are the major obstacle to Muslim unity (Shia Sunni unity). The enemies of Islam to their benefit have always fanned these differences. Unfortunately, some so-called Muslim scholars on their payroll have also played a key role in keeping these differences alive.

Although I was born into a Sayyid Sunni family, I did not know of many differences while growing up as a child. Our families always respected Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) and his parents and participated in ceremonies marking the anniversary of his martyrdom (the 10th day of the month of Muharram which is called Ashura) by reciting the first chapter of the Holy Qur'an (al-Fatihah) and other chapters and verses of the Holy Quran and fasted on the ninth and tenth days of that month.

Now when I give lectures on Islam to non-Muslims, one of the questions they always ask me is if I am Shia or Sunni. I ask them if they know the difference. They have no knowledge, other than what has been given to them by the media. So they say Shias are the ones who are the bad guys, the militant version of Islam, and cause all the trouble in the Middle East these days.

These non-Muslim American audiences of mine are surprised to learn that some of the known tyrants like Saddam Hussain and troublemakers like the PLO and Hamas are all Sunni's, just as they are surprised to learn that Tariq Aziz (Former Iraq's Foreign Minister) was Christian and not a Muslim.

This is what I say to them about Shiite. "If Ali ibn Abu Talib (cousin of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)) was a Shia, then I am a Shia. If he was a Sunni, then I am a Sunni [i.e., a follower of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)]." In Islam there are five recognized schools of Divine Law: 1) Hanafi; 2) Shafi; 3) Maliki; 4) Hambali and 5) Jafari.

The first four are called Sunni, and the fifth one, who in addition to following sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), also follows those of Ali ibn Abu Talib and consider him as the rightful successor of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), are called Shia. The first four have many major theological differences among themselves and according to a Christian friend of mine, "The only time Sunni's are united is when they are fighting Shias." Shiism started as a political movement (Shia means follower or partisan) to help Ali ibn Abu Talib become successor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Around every successful popular figure, there are some admirers whose own future interests rest with the rise of their leader. Thus in Indiana, we have "Friends of Lugar Club", who are hoping that some day Senator Richard Lugar will become a US President. Nationally, we now have a "Hillary Rodham Clinton Fan Club" with 4,000 members! Thus, there were the Followers of Ali ibn Abu Talib Club, which later on became a political movement. During the initial battles with unbelievers, Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Sword of Islam, was in the forefront and defeated and killed many of their leaders whose children and grandchildren, even when they became Muslims, always remembered who killed their father (animosity).

Ali ibn Abu Talib was raised by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a child so he knew Islam very well. Thus, when Ali ibn Abu Talib became a judge, his judgments were based on strict Islamic principles, much to the disappointment of many who expected him to be lenient to the rich and powerful. Ali ibn Abu Talib was so well respected and trusted by both Caliph Abu Bakr and Umar, that in difficult cases they asked his opinion.

Nevertheless, I tell my non-Muslim audience that both Shia and Sunni have many things in common. They both believe in One God (Allah), follow the same Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the last Prophet, offer five daily prescribed prayers, perform the prescribed fast in the month of Ramadan, go to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage, read the same book of Allah, Holy Qur'an, and pay the poor-due (Zakat).

However, my answers can only satisfy my uninformed non-Muslim audience. The Sunni brothers, misguided by western propaganda, who are ready to embrace non-Muslims (especially the white ones), in the pretext of invitation to Islam, will not do so for Shia. They are ignorant Sunni's. Our job as a missionary should be to invite both groups to the true Islam and not chase them out. There is a movement in the Sunni world to have Shias labeled as disbelievers. I have been told that Shaykh Bin Baz of Saudi Arabia has declared an edict that the meat of the People of Book (Jews and Christians) is permissible for Sunni Muslims to eat but not the meat slaughtered by Shias.

There are scholars on both sides, like Imam Khomeini and Shaykh Shaltut of al-Azhar who have done their best to minimize these differences and bring unity, but it is not working due to the misinformation prevailing in the common masses of Sunnis about Shiism. Thus I am listing their misconceptions of Shia belief and practices. For answers, I have consulted two Shia scholars in America. Dr. A. S. Hashim of Washington and Imam Muhammad Ali Elahi of Detroit.

Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr wrote to me "to ignore and not waste time in responding to such wrong allegations." He also mentioned that "a great deal of money and effort is being spent in the last few years to fan the fire of hatred between Shia and Sunni in the Persian Gulf region with obvious political and economical fruits for powers to-be." However, in the interest of Islamic unity, I must deal with the questions rather than shun them. Please note that Imam Jafar as Sadiq (peace be upon him), founder of the Shia school of law, was the teacher of Imam Abu-Hanifa (peace be upon him).

Misconception #1: Shias have a different Holy Qur'an. They add another 10 chapters to the original Holy Qur'an.
Response: Not true. I have checked many times Holy Qur'an kept in Shia homes and mosques. I still find it the same as the original Holy Qur'an. More recently, I took care of an Iranian lady patient hospitalized here. I saw a copy of the Holy Qur'an by her side. I borrowed it from her and browsed through cover-to-cover. In Arabic it was the same as our Holy Qur'an. Of course, since I did not know the Persian language, I can't say much about the translation. It is a sin to even say that the Holy Qur'an can be changed or added to by Shia when Almighty God protects it.
Misconception #2: Some Shia considers Ali ibn Abu Talib as God.
Response: Not true. It is disbelief to even think of such a thing. During the time of Ali ibn Abu Talib, some pagan groups called Gholat did consider Ali ibn Abu Talib as Lord. When he found out, they were burned to death.
Misconception #3: Shias have different declarations of faith and they add to the call to prescribed prayer.
Response: The declaration to become a Muslim, as administered to non-Muslims, is the same. Some Shia add to themselves, "Ali ibn Abu Talib is a friend of God or Ali ibn Abu Talib is a spiritual leader of God," after the call to prescribed prayer, but not as part of the call to prescribed prayer.
Misconception #4: Shias do not perform Sunnah prayers. Sunnah prayers are non-obligatory prayers performed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Response: Shias do perform non-obligatory prayers, 36 cycles per day in total, but call it Nawafil and not Sunnah.
Misconception #5: Some Shia believes the Angel Gabriel made a mistake and prophet hood was meant for Ali ibn Abu Talib and not Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Response: Not true. No Shia thinks of such false claims. "Only demented minds think of such questions."
Misconception #6: Shias slander and ridicule the first three caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) and Prophet Muhammad's wife, Ayesha.
Response: Shia considers the first three caliphs as companions and administrators, but not spiritual leaders (Imams). Imam Jafar as Sadiq (peace be upon him), whose mother and grandmother came from the line of Abu Bakr, said of Abu Bakr, "He gave me birth twice." Ayesha is respected by Shias as the "Mother of Believers," as Ali ibn Abu Talib respected her when he sent her back from Basra to Madinah after the Battle of the Camel. If some Shia do slander the three caliphs and Ayesha, they do it out of ignorance and should ask God's forgiveness. (As we have witnessed how Imam Khomeini, The Shia bravely declared death of Salman Rushdie - The author of Satanic Verses who abused the wife of Prophet Ayesha and Shia Leader declared blasphemy, just for his Fatwa the whole western countries became against Iran. See how much price did Shia pay to defend Ayesha - while Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE etc. etc. as the Sunni government were silent they did not defend Ayesha. Now who loves Ayesha?)
Misconception # 7: Shias combine all five prayers into one prayer in the evening.
Response: Not true. In Shia mosques, whether in Iran or the USA, all five daily prayers are performed. Shia do combine noon and afternoon and evening and night, but Shia scholars recommend performing them separately. Such combinations may not be ideal, but better than not praying at all. How can a Sunni who does not pray at all be better than a Shia who combines prayers?
Misconception # 8: Shias do not pay zakat (poor-due).
Response: Not true. They not only pay 2.5% left over from savings as zakat, but also an additional 20% as Khums or general charity. However, they prefer to pay directly to the needy rather than corrupt Sunni government.
Misconception #9: Shias practice temporary marriages (Mutah).
Response: Temporary marriages (Mutah) was allowed during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he himself practiced it. Ibn Zubayr was born out of the temporary marriage. Later on Caliph Umar prohibited it due to social reasons as the Islamic world was rapidly expanding. Shias discourage Mutah but do not consider it prohibited. Some do abuse this. As a temporary privilege during travel, it is better than adultery.
Misconception #10: They consider Imams infallible and above the Prophets.
Response: Not true. All prophets are born Prophet but as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an about Abraham that after passing the test, a prophet becomes a leader (Imam). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Prophet (Nabi), Messenger (Rasul) and leader (Imam). Imams are carriers of the message of Islam. Shias consider Ali ibn Abu Talib only as an Imam and not prophet.
With the little knowledge I have, I tried to do my best as a Sunni in defending my Shia brothers in Islam with the hope and prayer to God Almighty that He will "instill love in the heart of the believers" and bring us closer to each other so that we jointly can fight our common enemy, Satan and his followers.

May God forgive my mistakes in this article and this book (Amin).

"Knowledge is better than wealth because it protects you while you have to guard wealth. It decreases if you keep on spending it but the more you make use of knowledge, the more it increases. What you get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth disappears but what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you."

Dr. Shahid Athar M.D. is Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, Indiana, and a writer on Islam.

Shias Shiasm Shiite Ashura 2

The Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S.) by Syed Hasan Akhtar, M. D. Austin, Texas Member, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. 7102 W. Shefford Lane Louisville, KY 40242 E-Mail: Website:

The month of Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar year. An important and tragic event took place on the tenth of Muharram that shook the Muslim world. It was the murder of Imam Husain (A.S.), his family members, and his close friends by the army of Yazid. Yazid was at that time the despotic ruler of the Muslim world, who came to power as the self-proclaimed “sixth caliph of Islam” after the death of his father, Mu’awiya. Yazid gave himself the title of ameer-ul-mu’mineen, meaning “commander of the faithful.” Husain was one of the two grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.), and the younger of the two sons of Hazrat Fatima (A.S.), the daughter of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet loved his two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, dearly, and since he had no surviving sons of his own, he used to call them his “sons,” out of affection. There are numerous traditions, recorded by many historians, which indicate the great love and respect the Holy Prophet had for his grandsons. According to one tradition, the Holy Prophet declared that Hasan and Husain were the “Princes of the Youth of Paradise.” Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.) took his grandsons with him, along with his daughter Fatima and son-in-law Imam ‘Ali (A.S.), to face the challenge of the Christian delegation from Najrain, which had come to dispute with the Holy Prophet about his divine mission. The Christians were awe-struck at the sight of the Holy Prophet and his family, and withdrew the challenge. This event became known as Mubahila, and is recorded in the Holy Qur’an in chapter 3 verse 61. Historical Background During the caliphate of Imam ‘Ali, Mu’awiya declared himself the governor of Syria. After the assassination of ‘Ali by a Kharijite, ‘Ali’s elder son, Imam Hasan, succeeded him, being judged as the most qualified and deserving by the people. By this time, however, Mu’awiya had amassed enough support in and around Syria to unilaterally declare himself caliph of whole Islamic world. In order to avoid bloodshed, preserve unity, and in fact to save the religion of Islam from destruction, Imam Hasan signed a peace treaty with Mu’awiya. The treaty included these terms: (1) Mu’awiya would be the temporal political head of the Muslim empire; (2) Mu’awiya would not appoint his own successor, but would leave the caliphate to the will of the majority (which favored Imam Husain); and, (3) Mu’awiya would allow the Muslims to live in peace, free from oppression, especially those belonging to the Hashimite tribe (the tribe of the Holy Prophet and his family). Mu’awiya violated the terms of this treaty and, near his death, designated his son Yazid as his successor. Yazid was an immoral and ruthless man with no sense of justice. He employed bribery and coercion to win support. Imam Husain, as the protector and guardian of the religion established by his noble grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.), refused to swear allegiance to him. Yazid realized that he could never legitimize and consolidate his rule without the allegiance of Imam Husain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. Consequently, he decided that he would either force the Imam to submit to his rule, or else he would have him killed. In the 61st year after Hijra (680 AD), Imam Husain, while performing the pilgrimage in Mecca, received the news that assassins had been sent by Yazid to kill him. Desiring to protect the sanctity of the Holy City, he interrupted his pilgrimage and headed towards Kufa, in modern-day Iraq on invitation of the people there to come and teach them about Islam. He took with him his family members and close friends, including his six-month-old infant son, Ali Asghar. His journey to Kufa was intercepted by a detachment of Yazid’s army, led by a commander named Hur. Hur had orders to re-direct the Imam to camp in the desert plains of Karbala, on the banks of the River Euphrates. In order to avoid bloodshed, Imam Husain chose not to resist, and followed Hur’s directions. He and his companions were forced to camp at a great distance from the river, which was the only source of water in the area. On the seventh day of Muharram, Ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, ordered that food and water supplies were to be blocked from reaching Imam Husain’s camp. In the meantime, the ranks of Yazid’s army were increasing by the thousands. The blistering sun scorched the desert sand, and the thirst was becoming unbearable in Husain’s camp. The children especially were becoming dehydrated and weak, and Imam Husain pleaded with Yazid’s army to supply water at least to those children, but to no avail. On the tenth day of Muharram, Yazid’s army was ready to attack the small band of defenders in Imam Husain’s camp. One by one, his friends and relatives took permission to go out and fight and each one laid down his life in the defense of Islam. Two of his nephews, who were only ten years old, were among the brave soldiers who died fighting. The commander of Husain’s forces was Abbas, his brother, who had inherited his chivalry from his father ‘Ali, the Lion of Allah. Abbas asked Husain’s permission to go and fight his way through to the river and bring back some water for Sakina, Husain’s four-year-old daughter, and the other children. The Imam reluctantly gave him permission to go and fetch water. Abbas took an empty flask, charged into Yazid’s army, cut through the ranks, and arrived at the river. While he filled the pitcher with water, he himself did not drink a drop, for he reasoned that he could not do so while Imam Husain, Sakina, and the others were still thirsty. Abbas did not make it back to the camp, however. The whole army of Yazid converged upon him. He died defending the precious pitcher of water. Imam Husain’s six-month-old son, Ali Asghar, was on the verge of death from dehydration. Husain brought him out of the tent to show his pitiful condition to the soldiers in Yazid’s army, pleading for at least enough water to save the infant’s life. The enemy denied his request. A heartless archer from the enemy army shot an arrow that struck the infant, killing him in his father’s own arms. Soon, Imam Husain was left alone to face Yazid’s army, since all the able-bodied male members of his camp had died fighting one by one. He made a final plea to the army of Yazid, reminding them of his kinship with the Holy Prophet of Islam, the love and respect which the Holy Prophet had used to show him, and the numerous traditions in which the Holy Prophet had warned the Muslims not to disobey or injure him. He reminded them of his desire to uphold the truth and his status as one of the true protectors of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. He asked to be allowed to leave the Muslim kingdom, so that Yazid would not perceive him as a threat to his power. Finally, he clearly warned them that by shedding his blood, they would be subjected to the wrath of Allah (S.W.T.) and they would lose any hope of the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.). The commanders of the opposing army were unmoved, and reiterated their desire to kill Imam Husain unless he chose to submit to the authority of Yazid. Husain was left with no choice but to take a firm and final stand against falsehood, and to fight for the preservation of Islam. He fought bravely, and in the end he achieved martyrdom. The Significance of Imam Husain’s Martyrdom Immediate outcome of Imam Husain’s actions: Muslims and non-Muslims alike have acknowledged that Imam Husain saved Islam from destruction by sacrificing his life. Yazid had been successful in winning over the allegiance of the great majority of Muslims, and the rest of the Muslim world was in a state of moral slumber. The principles of Islam were being plundered, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet was being tampered with, and phony traditions were being concocted to justify the rule of Yazid. It was the singular sacrifice of Imam Husain and his faithful followers that shook the Islamic world out of its slumber. The Muslims were forced to ask themselves why the beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet had been murdered so brutally. It then dawned upon the people what the true nature of Yazid and his supporters was. Long term outcome of Imam Husain’s actions: Imam Husain, by challenging Yazid and in the process laying down his life, changed the world and re-shaped human destiny forever. Yazid, and indeed all future despots, were put on notice that they would not be tolerated, and that truth and justice would be upheld and would ultimately succeed, regardless of the costs. The Iranian revolution that uprooted and overthrew an unjust government, and the liberation of Lebanon from foreign occupation are two of the more recent exemplars of these principles laid down by Imam Husain. Imam Husain’s Philosophy: Professor Syed Jafar Raza Bilgirami beautifully describes Imam Husain’s philosophy. He states that at Karbala, Imam Husain came to rebuild a system of life. He gave a practical embodiment to the rational concept of justice. He successfully placed the spirit (savage, war-making qualities in man) and the appetite (greed for material things and lust for power) under the command of reason (‘Aql). In Karbala, he formulated a new code of life to safeguard the peace and security of human society for all times to come. Imam Husain’s Foresight and Planning for the Battle of Karbala: Imam Husain chose not to flee or hide from Yazid, because that would not have exposed Yazid’s corruption of Islam and would have served to legitimize his unjust rule. He knew that by rejecting Yazid’s demands, he would most likely be killed. However, he also did not want to die like any other martyr. He wanted his death to serve as a starting point for a revolution that would strengthen justice and oppose tyranny for all times to come. This type of stance needed planning and wisdom. As pointed out by scholars, Imam Husain’s planning encompassed three factors: 1. The choice of location; 2. The choice of companions; and, 3. Foolproof arrangements for passing on the event to the annals of history. The Choice of Location: Imam Husain chose not to stay in Mecca because he did not want his blood to desecrate the Holy Precincts. Besides, if he were to be killed by hired assassins, then the killers’ motives would not be clear and his death would fade away on the pages of history. So he chose to travel to Iraq (the den of the tyrant himself), where his mission would receive the maximum publicity, and where Yazid’s evil would be best exposed. The events of history proved that Imam Husain was right. The Choice of Companions: Hujjatul-Islam Maulana Ali Naqvi has written that in Karbala, the largest number of true Muslims gathered in the entire history of Islam. Imam Husain was not seeking the best fighters, since his goal was not to fight to win a physical war. He was looking for men of principle, true Muslims, firm and patient, who would go through the utmost hardships successfully. His companions included men of different tribes, coming from different parts of Arabia and beyond. They included, among others, an elderly companion of the Holy Prophet, some liberated slaves, and a young newlywed Christian couple. The age of his supporters ranged from six months to a ripe old age of over 90. The heterogeneity of Imam Husain’s supporting group indicates that he did not want the confrontation with Yazid to be misrepresented as a struggle between two clans, or a campaign for gaining power. Preserving His Sacrifice in the Annals of History: Imam Husain took women, children, and all of his family members with him. This strategy ensured that after his death, his message would be spread through his family members, and that Yazid would not be able to suppress the truth or falsify Imam Husain’s motives. History proves that it was a brilliant move. His sister Zainab (A.S.), through her scholarly and bold speeches, and with no fear of the tyrant Yazid, eloquently proclaimed the truth and exposed the falsehood of Yazid in his own court. He was speechless and humiliated before her. His court was full of dignitaries, both local and from other nation-states, and his own supporters. They were shocked to hear the truth put forth so forcefully, and many were brought to tears. The same scene was repeated in the bazaars and marketplaces of the country, all along the travel route of the surviving captives. Husain had laid the foundation of the revolution with his blood. His sister Zainab stirred the revolution with her oratory. That revolution changed the world forever. Statements of Historians and World Leaders: This unique historical sacrifice of Imam Husain and his small band of 71 male supporters has caught the attention of historians, scholars, and writers throughout the world, in all periods of history. Some of the more notable quotes and insights are given below: “Of that gallant band, male and female knew that the enemy forces around were implacable, and were not only ready to fight, but to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under the burning sun and scorching sands, yet not one faltered for a moment. Husain marched with his little company, not to glory, not to power of wealth, but to a supreme sacrifice, and every member bravely faced the greatest odds without flinching.” - Dr. K. Sheldrake “If Husain had fought to quench his worldly desires, as alleged by certain Christian critics, then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.” - Charles Dickens “The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Cerebella is that Husain and his companions were rigid believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain, despite his minority, marvels me!” - Thomas Carlyle “In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Husain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.” - Edward Gibbon “The tragedy of Karbala decided not only the fate of the Caliphate, but also of Mohammadan kingdoms long after the Caliphate had waned and disappeared.” - William Muir “Imam Husain uprooted despotism forever, till the Day of Resurrection. He watered the dry gardens of freedom with a surging wave of his blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation. If Imam Husain had aimed at acquiring the worldly empire, he would not have traveled the way he did. Husain weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily, therefore, he becomes the foundation of the Muslim creed ‘La Ilaha Il-lallah,’ meaning, there is no deity but Allah (God).” - Sir Mohammad Iqbal “A reminder of that blood-stained field of Karbala, where the grandson of the Apostle of God fell, at length, tortured by thirst, and surround by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at anytime since then, sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and the heedless, the deepest emotion, the most frantic grief, and an exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger, and death shrink to unconsidered trifles.” - Browne’s History of Persia References: The Martyrdom of Imam Husain by Yousef N. Laljee The Spirit of Islam by Ameer Ali Imam Husain and Planning of the Incident of Karbala by S.G. Haider Imam Husain and His System of Life by Syed Jafar Raza Bilgirami

article courtesy

May 31st, 2007

Shias Shiasm Shiite Ashura

These are Shias followers of the Shiasm faith, a Muslim sect that mourns for the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet. Says com complete article on

What is Ashura ? In the month of Muharram 61 AH (approx. 20 October 680 AD), an event took place in Iraq at a place known as Kerbala on the bank of the river Euphrates. It seemed in those days insignificant from the historical point of view. A large army which had been mobilised by the Umayyad regime besieged a group of persons numbering less than a hundred and put them under pressure to pay allegiance to the Caliph of the time and submit to his authority. The small group resisted and a severe battle took place in which they were all martyred. It appeared at that time that like hundreds of similar events, this battle would be recorded in history and forgotten in time. However, the events that occurred on the 10th day of Muharram in Kerbala were to become a beacon and an inspiration for future generations. In this article, we shall examine briefly the principal adversaries. Who is Hussain (A)? The leader of the small band of men who were martyred in Kerbala was none other than Hussain (A), son of Ali bin Abi Talib (A)and grandson of the Holy Prophet (S). Who was Hussain(A)? He was the son of Fatima (A) for whom the Holy Prophet (S) said, “Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain. May God love whoever loves Hussain.”[ref:1] With the passing away of his brother Hassan (A) in 50 AH, Hussain (A) became the leader of the household of the Holy Prophet (S). He respected the agreement of peace signed by Hassan (A) and Muawiya, and, despite the urging of his followers, he did not undertake any activity that threatened the political status quo.Rather he continued with the responsibility of looking after the religious needs of the people and was recognised for his knowledge, piety and generosity. An example of the depth of his perception can be seen in his beautiful du’a on the day of Arafat, wherein he begins by explaining the the qualities of Allah, saying: ” (Oh Allah) How could an argument be given about Your Existence by a being whose total and complete existence is in need of you? When did you ever disappear so that you might need an evidence and logic to lead (the people) towards You? And when did You ever become away and distant so that your signs and effects made the people get in touch with you? Blind be the eye which does not see You (whereas) You are observing him. What did the one who missed You find? And what does the one who finds You lack? Certainly, the one who got pleased and inclined toward other than You, came to nothingness (failed).” On the other hand, we have Yazid, whose father (Muawiya) and grandfather (Abu Sufyan - the arch-enemy of the Prophet) had always tried to sabotage the mission of the Holy Prophet, and who showed his true colour by stating in a poem, “Bani Hashim had staged a play to obtain kingdom, there was neither any news from God nor any revelation.”[ref:2] Mas’udi writes that Yazid was a pleasure-seeking person, given to wine drinking and playing with pets. It is no wonder that Husain’s response to Yazid’s governor, when asked to pay allegiance to Yazid was, “We are the household of the prophethood, the source of messengership, the descending-place of the angels, through us Allah had began (showering His favours) and with us He has perfected (His favours), whereas Yazid is a sinful person, a drunkard, the killer of innocent people and one who openly indulges in sinful acts. A person like me can never pledge allegiance to a person like him .

…” [ref:3] The revolution of Hussain (A) was an Islamic movement spearheaded by one of the great leaders of Islam. The principles and laws of Islam demanded that Hussain (A) act to warn the Ummah of the evil situation which it was in, and to stand in the way of the deviating ruler. As Hussain (A) himself remarked when he left Madina for the last time, “I am not rising (against Yazid) as an insolent or an arrogant person, or a mischief-monger or tyrant. I have risen (against Yazid) as I seek to reform the Ummah of my grandfather. I wish to bid the good and forbid the evil.”[ref:4] Why remember Ashura ? Why is Hussain (A) regarded as the “leader of the martyrs” ? It is because he was not just the victim of an ambitious ruler. There is no doubt that the tragedy of Kerbala, when ascribed to the killers, is a criminal and terrible act. However when ascribed to Hussain (A) himself, it represents a conscious confrontation and a courageous resistance for a sacred cause. The whole nation had failed to stand up to Yazid. They had succumbed to his will, and deviation and regression towards the pre-Islamic ways were increasing. Passiveness by Hussain (A) in this situation would have meant the end of Islam as we know it. Thus Hussain (A) took upon himself the responsibility of the whole nation. The greatest tragedy was that one who stood up for the noblest of causes, the defence of Islam, was cut down in so cruel a manner. It is for this reason that the sacrifice of Hussain (A) is commemorated annually throughout the Muslim world. Our sorrow never abates as we relive the tragedy. As Allama Iqbal says in his Baqiyat (in Urdu): Ronay wala hoon Shaheed-e-Kerbala key gham men main, Kya durey maqsad na dengey Saqiye Kausar mujhey I am one who weeps at the plight of the Martyr of Kerbala Won’t the reward be given to me by the Keeper of Kauser (Imam Ali (A)) The commemoration of Ashura on the 10th of Muharram every year serves to remind us of the sacrifices of the family of the Prophet (S). It also makes us aware of the people, then and now, who tried to destroy Islam and the family of the Prophet (S) and all that they stood for - as well as those who watched, listened and did nothing.

May 31st, 2007

SHIITES AND SHIAISM, Shi'aism, Shia, Shias, Shî'ah, sheee, shi ...

The Origins of the Sunni/Shia split in Islam
by Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Editor of

The Shia shahadah (declaration of faith) states:

"There is no god but Alláh, Muhammad is the Messenger of Alláh, Alí is the Friend of Alláh. The Successor of the Messenger of Alláh And his first Caliph."

If you are already familiar with standard Sunni beliefs, you will immediately notice the addition to the shahadah regarding Imam Ali (ra), cousin of the Prophet (pbuh), husband of his daughter Fatima, father of Hassan and Hussein and the second person ever to embrace Islam. The term Shia or Shi'ite derives from a shortening of Shiat Ali or partisans of Ali.

Ali is the central figure at the origin of the Shia / Sunni split which occurred in the decades immediately following the death of the Prophet in 632. Sunnis regard Ali as the fourth and last of the "rightly guided caliphs" (successors to Mohammed (pbuh) as leader of the Muslims) following on from Abu Bakr 632-634, Umar 634-644 and Uthman 644-656. Shias feel that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed (pbuh) via Ali and Fatima, They often refer to themselves as ahl al bayt or "people of the house" [of the prophet].

When Uthman was murdered while at prayer, Ali finally succeeded to the caliphate. Ali was, however, opposed by Aisha, wife of the Prophet (pbuh) and daughter of Abu Bakr, who accused him of being lax in bringing Uthman's killers to justice. After Ali's army defeated Aisha's forces at the Battle of the Camel in 656, she apologized to Ali and was allowed to return to her home in Madinah where she withdrew from public life.

However, Ali was not able to overcome the forces of Mu'awiya Ummayad, Uthman's cousin and governor of Damascus, who also refused to recognize him until Uthman's killers had been apprehended. At the Battle of Suffin Mu'awiya's soldiers stuck verses of the Quran onto the ends of their spears with the result that Ali's pious supporters refused to fight them. Ali was forced to seek a compromise with Mu'awiya, but this so shocked some of his die-hard supporters who regarded it as a betrayal that he was struck down by one of his own men in 661.

Mu'awiya declared himself caliph. Ali's elder son Hassan accepted a pension in return for not pursuing his claim to the caliphate. He died within a year, allegedly poisoned. Ali's younger son Hussein agreed to put his claim to the caliphate on hold until Mu'awiya's death. However, when Mu'awiya finally died in 680, his son Yazid usurped the caliphate. Hussein led an army against Yazid but, hopelessly outnumbered, he and his men were slaughtered at the Battle of Karbala (in modern day Iraq). Hussein's infant son, Ali, survived so the line continued. Yazid formed the hereditary Ummayad dynasty. The division between the Shia and what came to be known as the Sunni was set.

An opportunity for Muslim unity arose in the 750's CE. In 750 except for a few who managed to flee to Spain, almost the entire Ummayad aristocracy was wiped out following the Battle of Zab in Egypt in a revolt led by Abu Al Abbass al-Saffah and aided by considerable Shia support. It was envisaged that the Shia spiritual leader Jafar As-Siddiq, great-grandson of Hussein be installed as Caliph. But when Abbass died in 754, this arrangement had not yet been finalised and Abbas' son Al Mansur murdered Jafar, seized the caliphate for himself and founded the Baghdad-based Abbassid dynasty which prevailed until the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.

Theological Differences and Attempts at promoting Unity
The line of Mohammed (pbuh) through Ali and Hussein became extinct in 873CE when the last Shia Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who had no brothers disappeared within days of inheriting the title at the age of four. The Shias refused, however, to accept that he had died, preferring to believe that he was merely "hidden" and would return. When after several centuries this failed to happen, spiritual power passed to the ulema, a council of twelve scholars who elected a supreme Imam. The best known modern example of the Shia supreme Imam is the late Ayyatollah Khomeni, whose portrait hangs in many Shia homes. The Shia Imam has come to be imbued with Pope-like infallibility and the Shia religious hierarchy is not dissimilar in structure and religious power to that of the Catholic Church within Christianity. Sunni Islam, in contrast, more closely resembles the myriad independent churches of American Protestantism. Sunnis do not have a formal clergy, just scholars and jurists, who may offer non-binding opinions. Shias believe that their supreme Imam is a fully spiritual guide, inheriting some of Muhammad's inspiration ("light") . Their imams are believed to be inerrant interpreters of law and tradition. Shia theology is distinguished by its glorification of Ali. In Shia Islam there is a strong theme of martyrdom and suffering, focusing on deaths of Ali and, particularly, Hussein plus other important figures in the Shia succession. Shi`ism attracted other dissenting groups, especially representatives of older non-Arab (Mawali) civilizations (Persian, Indian, etc.) that felt they had not been treated fairly by the Arab Muslims.

Sunnis and Shias agree on the core fundamentals of Islam - the Five Pillars - and recognize each others as Muslims. In 1959 Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the School of Theology at Al Azhar university in Cairo, the most august seat of learning of Sunni Islam and the oldest university in the world, issued a fatwa (ruling) recognizing the legitimacy of the Jafari School of Law to which most Shias belong. As a point of interest, the Jafari School is named after its founder Imam Jafaf Sidiq who was a direct descendent through two different lines of the Sunni Caliph Abu Bakr. And Al Azhar University, though now Sunni, was actually founded by the Shia Fatimid dynasty in 969CE.

However, there remain significant differences between the two forms of Islam and these are what tend to be emphasized. Many Sunni's would contend that Shias seem to take the fundamentals of Islam very much for granted, shunting them into the background and dwelling on the martyrdoms of Ali and Hussein. This is best illustrated at Ashura when each evening over a period of ten days the Shias commemorate the Battle of Karbala, with a wailing Imam whipping the congregation up into a frenzy of tears and chest beating. It is alleged that instead of missionary work to non-Muslims, the Shia harbor a deep-seated disdain towards Sunni Islam and prefer to devote their attention to winning over other Muslims to their group. There is ongoing violent strife between Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan. On the other hand, in recent years there has been signification co-operation between the two groups in the Lebanon. And some of the most dynamic developments in Islam today are taking place in Shia-dominated Iran.

Practical Differences
On a practical daily level, Shias have a different call to prayer, they perform wudu and salat differently including placing the forehead onto a piece of hardened clay from Karbala, not directly onto the prayer mat when prostrating. They also tend to combine prayers, sometimes worshipping three times per day instead of five. The Shias also have some different ahadith and prefer those narrated by Ali and Fatima to those related by other companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Because of her opposition to Ali, those narrated by Aisha count among the least favored. Shia Islam also permits muttah - fixed-term temporary marriage - which is now banned by the Sunnis. Muttah was originally permitted at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and is now being promoted in Iran by an unlikely alliance of conservative clerics and feminists, the latter group seeking to downplay the obsession with female virginity which is prevalent in both forms of Islam, pointing out that only one of the Prophet's thirteen wives was a virgin when he married them.

Shias Today
Iran is overwhelmingly Shia - 89%. Shias also form a majority of the population in Yemen and Azerbaijan, Bahrain and 60% of the population of Iraq. There are also sizeable Shia communities along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in the Lebanon. The well known guerilla organization Hizbollah, which forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in 2000, is Shia. Worldwide, Shias constitute ten to fifteen percent of the overall Muslim population.

Within Shia Islam there are different sects. Most Shias are "Twelvers", i.e. they recognize the 12 Imams. There are also Sevener and Fiver Shias who don't recognize the later Imams.


Please find below a commentary from a Shia encyclopaedia concerning Sheikh Shaltoot's fatwa plus the English translation of the fatwa itself. Both were originally posted on the One Ummah site where the original Arabic version of the fatwa is also available.

At the very bottom of this page, you will find what I understand to be a complete statement of Shia beliefs.

©2001 Islam For Today dot com


Al-Azhar Verdict on the Shia

What follows is the Fatwa (religious verdict/ruling) of one of the Sunni world's most revered scholars, Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot with regard to the Shia. Shaikh Shaltoot was the head of the renowned al-Azhar Theological school in Egypt, one of the main centers of Sunni scholarship in the world. It should be of interest to know that a few decades ago, a group of Sunni and Shia scholars formed a center at al-Azhar by the name of "Dar al-Taqreeb al-Madhahib al-Islamiyyah" which translates into "Center for bringing together the various Islamic schools of thought". The aim of the effort, as the name of the center indicates, was to bridge the gap between the various schools of thought, and bring about a mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of each school's contributions to the development of Islamic Jurisprudence, among the scholars of the different schools, so that they may in turn guide their followers toward the ultimate goal of unity, and of clinging to one rope, as the well-known Quranic verse, "Hold fast to the Rope of Allah and do not diverge" clearly demands of Muslims.

This massive effort finally bore its major fruit when Sheikh Shaltoot made the declaration whose translation is appended below. It should be made unequivocally clear as well, that al-Azhar's official position, vis a vis the propriety of following any of the Madhaahib (schools of law), including the Shi'ite Imami school, has remained unchanged since Shaikh Shaltoot's declaration.

For the readership's reference the phrase "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah al-Ithna 'Ashariyyah" means the Twelver Imami Shi'ite School of thought which comprises the overwhelming majority of Shi'ites today. The phrase "Twelver Shi'ites" is used interchangeably with "Ja'fari Shi'ites" and "Imami Shi'ites" in various literature. They are merely different names for the same school of thought.

"al-Shia al-Zaidiyyah" are a minority among the Shi'ites, concentrated mainly in Yemen located in the Eastern part of Arabian peninsula. For a more detailed description of the Zaidis vs. the Twelver Shi'ites, please refer to the book, "Shi'ite Islam" written by the great Shi'ite scholar, Allamah Tabataba'i, and translated by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and published by the State University of New York Press (SUNY).

And as for Shaikh Shaltoot's declaration ...

Fatwa (ruling) of Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot

Head Office of al-Azhar University:

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL Text of the Verdict (Fatwa) Issued by His Excellency Shaikh al-Akbar Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the al-Azhar University, on Permissibility of Following "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah" School of Thought

His Excellency was asked:

Some believe that, for a Muslim to have religiously correct worship and dealing, it is necessary to follow one of the four known schools of thought, whereas, "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah" school of thought is not one of them nor "al-Shia al-Zaidiyyah." Do your Excellency agree with this opinion, and prohibit following "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" school of thought, for example?

His Excellency replied:

1) Islam does not require a Muslim to follow a particular Madh'hab (school of thought). Rather, we say: every Muslim has the right to follow one of the schools of thought which has been correctly narrated and its verdicts have been compiled in its books. And, everyone who is following such Madhahib [schools of thought] can transfer to another school, and there shall be no crime on him for doing so.

2) The Ja'fari school of thought, which is also known as "al-Shia al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" (i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi'ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought. Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Divine Law (Shari'ah) was never restricted to a particular school of thought. Their jurists (Mujtahidoon) are accepted by Almighty Allah, and it is permissible to the "non-Mujtahid" to follow them and to accord with their teaching whether in worship (Ibadaat) or transactions (Mu'amilaat).

Signed, Mahmood Shaltoot.

The above Fatwa was announced on July 6, 1959 from the Head of al-Azhar University, and was subsequently published in many publications in the Middle East which include, but are not limited to:

al-Sha'ab newspaper (Egypt), issue of July 7, 1959. al-Kifah newspaper (Lebanon), issue of July 8, 1959.

The above segment can also be found in the book "Inquiries about Islam", by Muhammad Jawad Chirri, Director of the Islamic Center of America, 1986 Detroit, Michigan.


Compiled by Ilyás Islám

La iláha il Alláh, Muhammadan Rasúl Alláh, Alíyun Walí-Alláh, Wasíyu Rasulillah, wa Khalífa tuhu bila fasl. There is no god but Alláh, Muhammad is the Messenger of Alláh, 'Alí is the Friend of Alláh. The Successor of the Messenger of Alláh And his first Caliph.

1) Tawhíd (The Oneness of Alláh)
2) 'Adl (Divine Justice)
3) Nubuwwah (The Prophethood)
4) Imámah (The Imamate)
5) Qiyámah (The Day of Judgement)

1) Salat (Prayer)
2) Sawm (Fasting)
3) Zakát (Poor-due of 2.5%)
4) Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah)
5) Khums (The Charity of 20%)
6) Jihad (To Struggle in the Path of Alláh)
7) Amr bil ma'ruf (To Promote the Good)
8) Nahy 'an al-munkar (To Forbid the Wrong)
9) Tawalla (Loving the Prophet's Family)
10) Tabarra (Shunning the Enemies of the Prophet's Family)

THE PROPHETS OF ALLÁH (mentioned in the Holy Qur'án)
1) Adam
2)Idrís (Idrees)
3) Núh (Noah)
4) Húd
5) Sálih
6) Ibráhím (Abraham)
7) Ismá'íl (Ishmael)
8) Isháq (Isaac)
9) Lút (Lot)
10) Ya'qúb (Jacob)
11) Yúsuf (Joseph)
12) Shu'aib
13)Ayúb (Job)
14) Músa (Moses)
15) Hárún (Aaron)
16) Dhu l-kifl (Ezzekiel)
17) Dawúd (David)
18) Sulaimán
19) Ilyás (Elijah)
20) al-Yasa' (Elisha)
21) Yúnus (Jonas)
22) Zakaríya (Zakariyah)
23) Yahyá (John the Baptist)
24) 'Ísa (Jesus)
25) Muhammad

In a famous hadith (prophetic tradition), the number of prophets given was 124 000. May the blessings of Alláh be upon them all. Prophethood ended with Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny). Then, Alláh deputed Imams to guide us.

1) Núh
2) Ibráhím
3) Músa
4) 'Ísa
5) Muhammad

1) Sahífa (scroll revealed to Nuh)
2) Sahífa (scroll revealed to Ibráhím)
3) Taurat (the book revealed to Músa)
4) Zabúr (the psalms revealed to Dawúd)
5) Injíl (the gospel revealed to 'Isa)
6) Qur'án (the Koran revealed to Muhammad)

Muhammad, Fátima al-Zahra, 'Alí, Hasan, Husayn

Muhammad, Fátima al-Zahra and the Twelve Imams


Name Title Year of birth and death
1) Imam 'Alí ibn Abu Talib al-Murtadha (The Satisfied One) 600–661
2) Imam Hasan ibn Ali al-Mujtabah (The Chosen One) 625–669
3) Imam Husayn ibn Ali Sayyid al-Shuhudah (The Lord of the Martyrs) 626–680
4) Imam 'Alí ibn Husayn Zayn al-Ábidín (The Jewel of the Believers) 658–713
5) Imam Muhammad al-Báqir (The Spreader of Knowledge) 676–743
6) Imam Ja'far al-Sádiq (The Truthful One) 703–765
7) Imam Músa al-Kazim (The Patient One) 745–799
8) Imam 'Alí al-Ridhá (The Accepted One) 765–818
9) Imam Muhammad al-Taqí (The Pious One) 810–835
10) Imam 'Alí al-Naqí (The Pure One) 827–868
11) Imam Hasan al-Askarí (The One with an Army) 846–874
12) Imam Muhammad al-Mahdí (The Rightly-Guided One) 868—

The Twelth Imam is still alive. He is in a state of occultation. He will reappear at a moment determined by Alláh. He is the Awaited One who will spread justice throughout the world.

I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His servant and Messenger, and that 'Alí, the Commander of the Faithful, and the Chief of the Deputies of Alláh, is the Imam whose obedience has been made incumbent by Alláh on all people; and that Hasan and Husayn, 'Alí ibn al-Husayn, Muhammad ibn 'Alí, Ja'far ibn Muhammad, Musa ibn Ja'far, 'Alí ibn Musa, Muhammad ibn 'Alí, 'Alí ibn Muhammad, Hasan ibn 'Alí, and the Living One, the Mahdí (the blessings of Alláh be upon them all), all the Imams of the believers and the Proofs of Alláh for the whole of creation are my Imams, the rightly-guiding and the pious. I bear witness that: Alláh is my God, Muhammad is my Prophet, Islam is my religion, the Qur'án is my scripture, the Ka'aba is my qibla, 'Alí ibn Abú Tálib is my Imam, Hasan ibn 'Alí is my Imam, Husayn, the Martyr of Karbala, son of 'Alí, is my Imam, 'Alí Zayn al-'Ábadín is my Imam, Muhammad al-Báqir is my Imam, Ja'far al-Sádiq is my Imam, Musa al-Kádhim is my Imam, 'Alí al-Ridhá is my Imam, Muhammad al-Taqí is my Imam, 'Alí al-Naqí is my Imam, Hasan al-Askarí is my Imam, and al-Huja al-Muntazar is my Imam. They, upon whom be peace, are my Imáms, Masters and Intercessors before Alláh. I love them, all of them, and shun their enemies in this life and the next.

I bear witness that: Alláh, the Almighty, the Exalted, is the best Lord; that Muhammad, the blessings of Alláh be upon him and his Family, is the best Prophet; and that the Commander of the Faithful, 'Alí ibn Abú Tálib, and his offspring, are the best Imams; and that the message Muhammad brought from Alláh is true, death is true, the questioning in the grave by Munkar and Nakír is true, the Resurrection of the dead is true, the appearance before Alláh is true, the Bridge (al-sirát) is true, the Divine Scales are true, the dissemination of the book of one's deeds at Doomsday is true, paradise is true, and hell is true; and that there is no doubt about the coming of the inevitable Hour of Reckoning; and that the rising of the dead from their graves is true.

1) Qadím: Alláh is eternal. He has neither a beginning nor an end.
2) Qadir: Alláh is omnipotent. He has power over all things.
3) 'Alim: Alláh is omniscient. He is all-knowing.
4) Hai: Alláh is living. He is alive and will remain alive forever
5) Muríd: Alláh has his own discretion is all affairs. He does not do anything out of compulsion.
6) Mudrik: Alláh is all-perceiving. He is all-hearing, all-seeing, and is omnipresent. Alláh sees and hears everything though he has neither eyes nor ears.
7) Mutakalim: Alláh is the Lord of the Worlds. He can create speech in anything: the burning bush for Musa and the curtain of light for Muhammad.
8) Sadiq: Alláh is truthful. His words and promises are true.

1) Sharík: Alláh has no partners.
2) Murakab: Alláh is neither made, nor composed, of any material.
3) Makán: Alláh is not confined to any place and has no body.
4) Hulúl: Alláh does not incarnate into anything or anybody.
5) Mahale hawadith: Alláh is not subject to changes. Alláh cannot change.
6) Marí: Alláh is not visible. He has not been seen, is not seen, and will never be seen, because he has no form or body.
7) Ihtiyaj: Alláh is not dependant. Alláh is not deficient, so he does not have any needs.
8) Sifate zayed: Alláh does not have added qualifications. The attributes of Alláh are not separate from His being.

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