Question on ‘Ismah

What is ‘ismah, and why do Shi’i Muslims believe in it? Earlier in the year, a [Sunni] chaplain at an American university sought our help answering this oft-repeated question, and the following was our response: Grammatical Answer: The controversy surrounding the concept of ‘ismah (عِصْمَة‎) is largely due to an incorrect orientalist-era translation from theContinue reading “Question on ‘Ismah”

Open Letter to the Imams of Friday Prayers, From Concerned American Muslims

  بسم لله و بالله و الحمد لله وكفى وسلام على عباده الذين اصطفى In the name of Allah, by Allah, all praise is due to Allah, and peace be upon those servants of His whom He has chosen al-Salamun ‘Alaykum Hadrat al-Shaykh / al-Sayyid al-Muhtaram: The pulpit of our beloved Prophet (s) is aContinue reading “Open Letter to the Imams of Friday Prayers, From Concerned American Muslims”

Story of Imam Musa al-Kazim and a descendant of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab

Story of Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim and a descendant of ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb Translated by Agha   We find in Tārīkh al-Baghdād, continuing Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-’Alawī’s narrative of the life of Imām al-Kāẓim (d. 183/799) based on his grandfather Yahyā b. al-Ḥasan’s report: “My grandfather mentioned to me that in Madinah, a manContinue reading “Story of Imam Musa al-Kazim and a descendant of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab”

Economic Justice in the Qur’an; Our Personal Responsibility

Economic Justice in the Qur’an; Our Personal Responsibility By Agha When it comes to the practice of ‘American’ Islam, it seems that there is a hyper-focus on building, maintaining, and expanding mosques. While there is no doubt that mosques represent the heart of Islamic life, where we seek guidance and education, as well as spiritualContinue reading “Economic Justice in the Qur’an; Our Personal Responsibility”

Días de Los Muertos an Exercise of Resistance

Días de Los Muertos an Exercise of Resistance In the previous few centuries there has probably been no group of peoples that has faced more violent oppression and cultural erasure than the indigenous populations of the Americas, specifically those once held by the Spanish empire. These Spanish colonizers barbarically slaughtered, pillaged, and raped the nativesContinue reading “Días de Los Muertos an Exercise of Resistance”

Marriage is Half of Dīn, Not Isrāf: What we learn from the wedlock of ‘Ali (‘a) and Fatimah (s)

Marriage is Half of Dīn, Not Isrāf: What we learn from the wedlock of ‘Ali (‘a) and Fatimah (s) By: Agha Shabbir Abbas As the marriage of Fatimah (s), the most-beloved daughter of Muhammad (s), to ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (‘a) took place on the first of Dhū al-Ḥijjah, it is imperative to derive someContinue reading “Marriage is Half of Dīn, Not Isrāf: What we learn from the wedlock of ‘Ali (‘a) and Fatimah (s)”

Knowledge is Power; Muslims Powerless?

Knowledge is Power; Muslims Powerless? By Agha Shabbir Abbas Nearly 400 years ago, the English philosopher Francis Bacon proclaimed ‘Knowledge is Power’ (scientia potentia est); the veracity of this maxim is unquestionable as the nations wielding the most power today too are home to the best of universities, the foci of global learning. It isContinue reading “Knowledge is Power; Muslims Powerless?”

Ramadan Reflection, Abu Hamzah al-Thumali

Ramadan Reflection, Abu Hamzah al-Thumali Some of the great companions of the Prophet (s) as well as the companions of the Imams (‘a) were people whom if alive today we would point fingers at and condemn. One such historical figure is Abu Hamzah al-Thumali, whose Ramadan supplication many of us are reciting (Du’a of AbuContinue reading “Ramadan Reflection, Abu Hamzah al-Thumali”

The Nakbah: Israel’s Extermination of Indigenous Palestinian Shi’ism

The Nakbah: Israel’s Extermination of Indigenous Palestinian Shi’ism By: Agha Shabbir Abbas When the tense history of Israel and the Shi’i world is discussed, either the brutal Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon (1985-2000) is mentioned and the resulting rise of the Hezbollah militia, or the bitter regional rivalry between the Islamic Republic of Iran andContinue reading “The Nakbah: Israel’s Extermination of Indigenous Palestinian Shi’ism”

“Stand Up for the Sake of Allah…” (34:46)

Stand Up for the Sake of Allah By: Agha Imam al-Khomeini during his exile in Najaf al-Ashraf would advise his students (including my own teacher who similarly advised me) to reflect upon the following verse of the Qur’an and to apply it to their lives: قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أَعِظُكُم بِوَٲحِدَةٍۖ أَن تَقُومُواْ لِلَّهِ مَثۡنَىٰ وَفُرَٲدَىٰ ثُمَّContinue reading ““Stand Up for the Sake of Allah…” (34:46)”