Archive for the ‘Islamic Studies’ Category

Red Shi’ism vs. Black Shi’ism

Friday, December 25th, 2009

By: Dr. Ali Shariati, 1933 – 1977

Islam is a religion which made its appearance in the history of mankind with the cry of “No!” from Mohammad (PBUH), the heir of Abraham, the manifestation of the religion of the Unity of God and the oneness of mankind; a “No” which begins with the cry of “Unity”, a cry which Islam reiterated when confronted with aristocracy and compromise.

Shi’ism is the Islam which differentiates itself and selects its direction in the history of Islam with the “No” of the great Ali, the heir of Mohammad and the manifestation of the Islam of Justice and Truth, a “No” which he gives to the Council for the Election of the Caliph, in answer to Abdul Rahman, who was the manifestation of Islamic aristocracy and compromise. This “No”, up until pre-Safavid times, is recognized as part of the Shi’ite movement in the history of Islam, an indication of the social and political role of a group who are the followers of Ali, known for their association with the kindness of the family of the Prophet. It is a movement based upon the Qoran and the Traditions; not the Qoran and the traditions as proclaimed by the dynasties of the Omayyids, Abbasids, Ghaznavids, Seljuks, Mongols and Timurids, but the ones proclaimed by the family of Mohammad.

The history of Islam follows a strange path; a path in which gangsters and ruffians from the Arab, Persian, Turk, Tartar and Mongol dynasties all enjoyed the right to the leadership of the Moslem community and to the caliphate of the Prophet of Islam, to the exclusion of the family of the Prophet and the rightful Imams of Islam. And Shi’ism begins with a “No”; a “No” which opposes the path chosen by history, and rebels against history. It rebels against a history which, in the name of the Qoran, Kings and Caesars, follows the path of ignorance, and in the name of tradition, sacrifices those brought up in the house of the Qoran and the Traditions!

Shi’ites do not accept the path chosen by history. They deny the leaders who ruled the muslims throughout history and deceived the majority of the people through their succession to the Prophet, and then by their supposed support of Islam and fight against paganism. Shi’ites turn their backs on the opulent mosques and magnificent palaces of the Caliphs of Islam and turn to the lonely, mud house of Fatima. Shi’ites, who represent the oppressed, justice-seeking class in the Caliphate system, find in this house whatever and whoever they have been seeking:-

the heir of the Prophet, the manifestation of the “rights of the oppressed” and, at the same time, the symbol of the first objection, a strong and clear embodiment of the “seeking of justice”. In the ruling system, these are the cries and slogans of subject nations and oppressed classes.

the manifestation of a justice which serves the oppressed, a sublime embodiment of the Truth who is sacrificed on the altar of inhuman regimes, and which lies hidden in the layers of the formal religion of the rulers.

the manifestation of the last resistance of the garrison of “Imamate Islam”, who confronts the first garrison of “Islamic Rule”.

bears witness to those who have been martyred by the oppressors throughout history, heir of all the leaders fighting for freedom and equality and the seekers of justice, from Adam to himself, forever the messenger of martyrdom, the manifestation of bloody revolution.

bears witness to all of the defenseless prisoners in the system of executioners, and is the messenger left after martyrdom, and the manifestation of the message of revolution.

Shi’ites take their slogans from the embodiment of the tribulations and hopes of the masses of the oppressed. Aware of the rulers, and in rebellion against them, they cry out:-

“Seek the leadership of Ali and flee from the leadership of cruelty. Choose Imamate, and stamp ‘cancelled,’ ‘disbelief’ and ‘dispossession’ upon the forehead of the Caliphate.

Choose justice, and overthrow the system of paradox and discrimination in ownership.

Choose the principle of being ready to protest against the existing conditions, where the ruling government, religious leaders and aristocracy try to show that everything is in accordance with the Will of God, the Divine Law and the satisfaction of God and his creatures. Such things, to the ruling government, included their conquests, their plundering of mosques, associations, schools, gifts, trusts, and charities and the observance of religious ceremonies and practices.

Choose religious leadership for the central organization of the movement.

Choose the concept of imitation of your betters so as to properly organize your energies and bring order, discipline and direction.

Choose the viceregency of the Imam so as to have a responsible leader.

Give a share of the funds to provide for the socio-political struggle, for educational foundations and for teaching, in a system where all religious funds are forcibly collected by the government acting as a government of the Law.

Choose mourning, to continue the constant historical struggle of the Shi’ites against usurpers, treachery, cruelty, and the sources of fraud, lying and degeneration, and especially to keep alive the memories of the martyrs.

Remember Ashura, to humiliate the ruling group who call themselves the inheritors of the traditions of the Prophet, for the remembrance of it will prove that they are the inheritors of the killers and murderers of the Prophet’s family. It will show you a path of action, and provide an answer to the recurring question “What should be done?”. It will help you to decide on the best agenda for the struggle against the rule of tyranny. It will avoid allegiance to cruelty. It will provide a pattern for the unbroken continuity of history. It will declare an unending struggle between the inheritors of Adam and the inheritors of the devil. Ashura reminds us of the teaching of the eternal fact that the present version of Islam (in1972), is a criminal Islam in the dress of tradition, and that the real Islam is the hidden Islam, hidden in the red cloak of martyrdom.

And finally, concealment; creating a clever camouflage for the organization, and its activities, affiliations, leadership, personalities and plans, to protect the leadership, people and groups from being harrassed by the rulers of the day and from the hard-heartedness of the religious organisation associated with them, who might either slander the Shi’ite movement through excommunication and rouse the ignorant masses against them, or destroy it through persecutions, or weaken it through wholesale murders, imprisonment and deportations, and thus to create the best conditions for the struggle and its continuation; to practice, carefully, the principle of secrecy, and maintain the distinctive conditions of an underground movement.”

We can see that for over eight centuries (until the Safavid era), Alavite Shi’ism was more than just a revolutionary movement in history which opposed all the autocratic and class-conscious regimes of the Omayyid and Abbasid caliphates and the kingships of the Ghaznavids, the Seljuks, the Mongols, the Timurids and the two Khanids, who had made the government version of the Sunni School their official religion, and it waged a secret struggle of ideas and action. Like a revolutionary party, Shi’ism had a well-organized, informed, deep-rooted and well-defined ideology, with clear-cut and definite slogans and a disciplined and well-groomed organization. It led the deprived and oppressed masses in their movements for freedom and for seeking justice. It is considered to have been the rallying-point for the demands, distress, and rebellions of the intellectuals seeking to gain their rights, and for the masses in search of justice.

Because of this, throughout history, as the power of the rulers grew, the difficulties, injustice, dispossessions, and the denial of the rights of the people, and the exploitation of the farmers, increased. Inequality became more pronounced because of the system of aristocracy, class-inequalities, brain-washing, ideological prejudices, the connection between the theologians and the temporal rulers, the poverty and privation of the masses, and the power and wealth of the rulers. When this occurred, the Shi’ite front became stronger, the basic slogans of the movement more powerful, and the struggle of the Shi’ites more intense and more important. It changed from a School of thought, a way of study and religious sectarianism reserved for the intellectuals and the chosen few, to a way of correctly understanding Islam and the culture of the people of the house of the Prophet, when confronted by Greek philosophy and oriental Sufism, to a deep-rooted and revolutionary, socio-political movement of the masses, especially the rural masses. It caused greater fear among the autocratic rulers and the hypocritical religious bodies who rule the people in the name of the Sunni sect.

It is for this reason that the pseudo-intellectual and free-thinking rulers, at whose courts the Jews, Christians, Magians and even the materialists enjoy freedom, honor and influence, talk of the Shi’ites with such anger and vexation that a massacre of all of them would not quench the thirst of these rulers. They flay them alive, pass iron rods through their eyes, pull out their tongues and burn them alive. These are all current practices of the day. It reaches the point that the historians, theologians and even philosophers and men of piety of the court considered it to be part of their prayers to invent any false accusations, forgeries and falsified records that they could against the Shi’ites! It is in such circumstances that Sultan Mahmoud of Ghazni declares “I search the world over for a Shi’ite”. It is his government which sponsors the Sunni theological decree that marriage of a Moslem man with “people of the Book” i.e. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, is legal, but it is illegal to marry a Shi’ite woman.

With the coming to power of the Seljuks, prejudices and bias become stronger against the world of thought and religion. From the social point of view, the feudal and guardianship system accentuates the degree of the exploitation of the masses, expecially the farmers, to an unbearable degree. In order to maintain the policies of the state, floggings and torture are necessary, resulting in the construction of many piles of skulls and eyes.

The religious body of the Sunni sect, which had from the beginning become ‘the government’s Islam’, becomes a conglomeration of the most debased and prejudiced beliefs and harsh rules. It turns into a tool for the justification of the inhuman ways of the rulers. It compromises with the autocratic regimes of the Ghaznavid and Seljuk Turks and the Mongols. It becomes an opiate for the masses, and an instrument for murder to be used to prevent any thought or action that jeopardizes the interests of the strong and harms the landlords and feudal chiefs.

This is what causes Shi’ism, during this period, to appear as the fountainhead of the rebellion and the struggle of the downtrodden and oppressed masses, especially the rural people. It flourished wonderfully, in multiple facets, and in different directions, moderate or extreme, in the form of various movements of the masses against the powers of the day; movements like the terrorism of Hasan Sabbah, the communal living of the Qaramateh, the extremist cultural and religious beliefs of the Ghalat, and the rebellion for free-thinking of some of the Sufi sects of the revolutionary and Shi’ite School of thought, against the harsh prejudices and the souless, petrifying censorship of the theological and legal system attached to the ruling group. Finally, the intellectual, moderate and rich School of the Imamate, as the greatest flow of thought and culture, rebels when confronted by the religion and culture of the government.

The rousing call and the possibilities for learning in this School of thought are based upon the twin principles of imamate and justice. It produces the revolutionary cries of A’shura and the aggressive mobilization of the masses against existing conditions. It invites people to await the hidden Imam who is in occultation. It raises the critical problems of the ‘signs of appearance’ and the ‘end of time’. It keeps alive the hope of ‘redemption after martyrdom’. It promotes the idea of revenge and revolt, faith in the ultimate downfall of tyrants and the decrees of destiny against the ruling powers who dispense justice by the sword. It prepares all the oppressed and justice-seeking masses who are waiting to participate in the rebellion. In some towns like Kashan and Sabzevar, where the Shi’ites are strong, they saddle a white horse on Fridays, and all the people of the town, the protesting, disatisfied and expectant Shi’ites, follow the horse out of town, despite the opposition of the government and the ruling religion. They await redemption and freedom from tyranny, and the beginning of a rebellion. They discuss questions which cause fear among the ruling group.

During the first half of the eighth century, following the wholesale massacres of Ghengis Khan and Hulaku, when the rule of the Mongols had reduced the Iranian masses to submission, depression, humiliation and weakness; when the revenge of Ghengis Khan was law; when the sword and the hangman were enforcers of the law; when the Mongol Khans and nomads and the officers and chiefs of Mongol tribes each ruled as a feudal lord over various regions and estates, and had enslaved the peasants in the most cruel manner; when, in the towns as well, the men of religion were mostly in the service of the Mongol rulers, they called upon the masses to submit in the name of ‘the true Sunni religion’ to the pseudo-Moslem rulers who continued to be replicas of Ghengis Khan. They circumcised themselves only to please the religious sentiments of the Moslems, at the cost of the spread of the culture, faith, morality, society and of the very existence of the Moslems!

Some of the religious men, whose piety made them abstain from co-operating with the rulers and tyrants, had crept into the oblivion of piety in the monasteries of the Sufis, thereby indirectly becoming the means by which the path is paved for oppression and the ground is prepared for murder. They had left the people defenseless against the floggings of the Mongol executioners and robbers, and the fraudulent men of religion.

It is under these circumstances that a religious preacher sets out in search of the truth in the way that Salman did. Salman approaches all those with claims to religious faith. First he approaches the pious Balu to seek the path of salvation in his School of piety and freedom. There, he sees piety remaining silent against tyranny. What a shame! What heartlessness and selfishness, that a man should be surrounded by the screams of prisoners, the shouts of executioners, the poverty of the hungry, the whips of the cruel over the bodies of the helpless, and, instead of volunteering to defend them, that he should simply seek his own redemption and try to gain paradise for himself! Salman flees from this man in disgust and goes to Semnan to see Rukneddin Emad-od-Dowleh, whose piety and leadership in Sufi practices is well-known. He finds Sufi practices also, like piety, a means of escape from reality and responsibilities, turning away from the fate of the masses, and ignoring cruelty and tyranny. Salman finds the Sufi to have a tender heart, tender feelings and a sublime soul. But, how is it that the rivers of blood shed by the Mongols in this country, and that the decline threatening Islam and the masses of the people, do not in any way disturb the peace of his soul and the tenderness of his heart? Salman flees from him in hatred, and goes to the Sheikh ol-Islam, Imam Ghiasuddin Habibollah Hamavi in Bahrabad, to gain knowledge of the religious laws and the theology of the true Sunni sects from him, and to find his way back to the original spring of truth. Here, he sees a theology that discovers and discusses a thousand problems in bathroom etiquette, but has a total lack of any awareness of the evil destiny facing the nation.

Disgusted with all these robes of piety, and satisfied that these religious teachings are all the weavers of the clothes of piety to be worn on a body of oppression, then with a heart filled with hatred towards the cruel Mongol rulers, and reeling with pain because of the evil destiny of the Moslem masses, as a Moslem responsible for the people and knowledgeable about the times, and as a protestor against the existing system, having lost all faith in the sellers of religion, Sheikh Khalifeh chose the Islam of Ali, the School of protest and martyrdom.

In the dress of a simple darvish, he goes to Sabzevar as a lonely stranger, takes up residence in the great mosque of the town, and begins preaching there. This marks the beginning of the Sarbedaran liberation movement. He is a preacher who is in revolt against everything that teaches people to bow to ignorance and oppression, a revolt backed by a faith, a School of thought and a “Red” history: Shi’ism. Slowly, the deprived masses begin to understand, to find their way, and as a result, to become a threatening force. The official pseudo-clergy start their usual game of spreading rumors and then issuing religious decrees, and at last, calling for authorised murder, saying:-

“This Sheikh discusses worldly affairs in the mosque”,
“This Sheikh conjectures in the mosque and defiles the house of God”, and “This Sheikh confuses the religion of the people”.

The pseudo-clergy try to turn the people against him, and prepare the ground for his downfall. They help the Mongol ruler to take his life. They write to the Mongol ruler saying that the Sheikh has strayed from the true Sunni Religion, and is not prepared to repent and retract in spite of their best efforts. They say he is propagating worldly ideas in the mosque, and spreading the work of the protesters (Shi’ites)! They continue “His behaviour calls for the death penalty, and it is up to Sultan Saied to rid the religion of this pestilence”. The spreading of rumors and the rousing of people against him increases but the Sheikh’s call to understanding, faith and salvation, continues to attract the hearts of the deprived and suffering rural masses more and more to him. Until early one morning, when his admirers go as usual to see him, they see his dead body in the mosque.

After the Sheikh’s assassination, his disciple Sheikh Hasan Juri continues his work. He gives an immediate call to arms, organizes his disciples and goes underground. He starts roaming the towns and sowing the seeds of understanding and revolt wherever he goes, on the basis of Shi’ism. The minds of the people are prepared. The hearts of the enslaved masses are throbbing for revolt under the curtain of secrecy. One spark will be sufficient…

A nephew of the ruler enters the village of Baashteen, a village about thirty-six kilometers south of Sabzevar, as he normally does. With his followers, he enters the house of Abdul Razzaq, one of the pious and honourable villagers who is still reeling under the devastating influence of the religious propaganda of the ruler. The retinue asks the villagers for food, and are duly served. Then they ask for wine! For the villagers, who are Moslems and Shi’ites, who have been deeply influenced by the words of Sheikh Khalifeh, the bringing of wine for such rascals, and that, too, under compulsion, is too much. However, they serve it! The guests become intoxicated! They ask for women! This was the beginning of the explosion, very simple and rapid! The host goes to the people and calling the Shi’ite masses, exclaims that the Mongol ruler is asking for their women. What is their reply? They say “We are prepared to die rather than be so defiled! Our women for the enemy shall be our swords”. The result is inevitable. The masses have made up their minds. They kill the whole group at one attempt. As they know that there is no turning back, as they know that they have already chosen death, they stop wavering. The choice of death gives them such energy that their single village revolts against that bloodthirsty regime and is successful. The villagers overrun the town, fighting against the Mongol army and the decrees of the pseudo-clergy of the religion of the state. They are victorious. Their cry: “Salvation and Justice!” and “The destruction of the power of the ruling Mongols and the influence of the priests of the religion of the rulers and the big landowners of the ruling class”. The victims of the ignorance of the pseudo-clergy and the prisoners of the oppression of the Mongols continue joining the ranks of the rebels. Sabzevar becomes a center of power; like a fire that spreads through dry brush, the Shi’ite revolutionary guards, who enjoy the backing of the rural warriors and champions of the masses, and have the ideology of Sheikh Khalifeh and Sheikh Hasan and similar kinds of well-informed, righteous and missionary men of learning, engulf the whole of Khorasan and northern Iran and even inflame the south of the country. And for the first time, a revolutionary movement based on Alavite Shi’ism, against foreign domination, internal deceit, the power of the feudal lords and wealthy capitalists, had an armed uprising, led by peasants seven hundred years ago, under the banner of justice and the culture of martyrdom, for the salvation of the enslaved nation and the deprived masses.

And this is the last revolutionary wave of Alavite Shi’ism, Red Shi’ism, which continued for seven hundred years to be the flame of the spirit of revolution, the search for freedom, and justice, always inclining towards the common people and fighting relentlessly against oppression, ignorance and poverty.

A century later came the Safavids, and Shi’ism left the great mosque of the common people to become a next-door neighbor to the Palace of ‘Ali Qapu in the Royal Mosque.

Red Shi’ism changes to Black Shi’ism!

The Religion of Martyrdom changes to The Religion of Mourning.

Support Islamism and Pan-Arabism!

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The only thing that deeply scares the Zionist Occupied Government enemy regime more than the proletarian shouts of “White Power!” as bullets fly through the streets is the monotheistic affirmation by a heroic and Jihadic Mujahid of “Allahu Akbar!” Hence any conscious European-American, including the Christians, must uphold and understand the need for critical unity against the common hated enemy of humanity – the Jews – and against the extermination of either of our peoples.

I speak here of White Power, not so much as a chauvinistic, divisive, and predatory project aligned with imperialism, but an all-encompassing civilizational project belonging to the popular classes of European-Americans stemming from their deep brokenness and desire for self-determination, one constituting the path and national constants by which any of our revolutionary patriots must travel if seeking to place our people on the solid footings of the resistance option.

The Arab brother or sister in his or her psychology does not recognize the existence of race, genetics, and bloodline in the formation of national identity today, but what they must understand is that our people’s racialism in their nationalism, like that of Garveyism amongst the Africans, is a progressive racialism that simply demonstrates the incompatibility of linear universal definitions of a nation.
Michel Aflaq, even during his Christian years, demonstrated persuasively the centrality of Islam in the make up of Arabism and the formation and expansion of the Arab nation, and hence developing a three-dimensional view of the Arab nation and bonds of the Ummah stemming from the progressive formation of the Caliphate, including its positive effects on Christians and other non-Muslims. This too is a serious error according to dogmatic Western Marxists and cosmopolitan leftists. Hence, we need to speak of the need for the self-determination of peoples, rather than pretending such peoples formed along five common points, and build real true fighting solidarity with one another.
While the Arab and Muslim will launch the immediate complaint about “racism,” and I do not dispute that our people are full of reactionary and chauvinistic social roles, I plead for them to understand that our people are consistently fed by the Jews and cosmopolitan leftists illusions that they are the only nationality in world history to have developed an advanced civilization that lacks a right to self-determination and must suffer and die needlessly. This brainwashing comes as a total assault on the dignity of our people and a direct provocation to push our people towards the camp of conservative and reactionary forces. The problem is intensified by the lack any real significant revolutionary anti-imperialist project capable of correcting our people’s reactionary social roles and ideas, and also capable of demonstrating a love for a our people, a truly proletariat platform, and the demonstrated ability to seize power.
You Arabs have your qualms with the Iranian Safawid for having overstepped their borders and for having decided to play an opportunist role against the Jihad of beloved Iraq and fellow Islamic brother Afghanistan (and who is frankly for us our Aryan cousin!), but you never put into question that there is an Iranian people or contend that Iranian people should be exterminated rather than simply have their hegemony fought and self-determination exercised solely in their natural borders. Indeed, most peoples have had problems with their neighbors over the years. This is true also of the Turks, and indeed only filth of the Zionist entity is treated to the scorn of unconditional non-recognition, and this for the very survival and unification of your nation and the liberation of al-Quds.
For us the problem is greater. First, there is the very real attempt by the Jews and their lackeys on the Western “left” to foment hatred by the world’s people for the White race and the European-American in particular. They claim such attempts at forming anti-White hatred and White self-hatred are not an deliberate platform of promoting globalism, but supposedly because of an eternal grudge because of the policies of colonialism and imperialism. The super-majority of our popular class had absolutely no control over these polices. Indeed, many occurred so many centuries before the birth of anyone living today that it would be idiotic to assign blame to anyone.

The European-Americans, like many peoples today, and indeed much of the White race, at least throughout much of Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand plays a largely reactionary and unbearable social role, but this does not deny a very real and ancient Jewish conspiracy to either subjugate or destroy us alongside many other brotherly national, racial, and spiritual groups.

The Zionist assaults center on 1948 Palestine and on affirming the Arab character, but on a global and historical level it does NOT end there, and it didn’t begin there either.
Just to read the Old Testament, the Jews have been committing genocide since their very inception, and according to the Babylonian Talmud they want to exterminate Christians, believe Jesus of is boiling in semen, and wish to rule over the goyim. One may note correctly that today’s Jews are the descendants of the Khazar Kingdom and not the people of the Old Testament, but what is significant is that such people subjectively identify by this vulgarity and base their “spirituality” and supposed “national” mythos around it.
Today the Jews who for centuries persecuted Christians and were justly crushed and regularly defeated and exiled have turned the Western Church in a brothel of cannibalism, that is to say a Synagogue of Christ-killers and national nihilist speculators in the name of the Jesus they martyred. Martin Luther’s wise instructions calling on Christians to exile Jews, burn down their synagogues, business and homes, and even kill them if necessary have been ignored and covered up with disastrous consequences for the popular masses of the world.
Now Islam stands beside nationalism in a war of attrition against a globalist enemy led by Jews and Zionist America.
While I espouse socialism and even communism, I cannot in good conscience and without feeling like a traitor to my people and the revolution, but denounce the Western “Left” and most “socialists and communists” for their cosmopolitanism and opportunism.

The right-wing anti-Zionists and White Nationalist camp have HUGE flaws at times. Some are so stupid they think the real enemy are African-Americans who seek self-determination or that we should support Z.O.G. soldiers killing freedom fighter who are resisting a common enemy.
This, however, is not the case for all White Nationalists and “patriotic” forces who if not White Nationalist in name are in content. Some groups cheered the September 11th attacks. Some groups reject the Zionist entity’s right to exist. Some even support attacks on US troops and know that this whole thing is going to come down to needing the maximum amount of unity possible to bring down the Jews and American regime and that we need each other.

My colleague Kevin Walsh and I who started the European-American Socialist Front (EASPF) have such lines and openly support national liberation struggles, the socialist bloc, and advocate self-determination for the Black and White nations alike in the present day United States. When we interact with the European-American streets and White nationalism as a whole, we are finding little pockets here or there that may not get published or openly noticed, but who understand that the paleo-conservativism of the old school White Nationalism isn’t going to cut it, and are beginning to see the need for patriots of all over the world to have international solidarity with each other against a common enemy.
Likewise one can think of a million Arabs, Muslims, and groups and people from traditionally Islamic countries who are traitors, opportunists, or if genuine are retarded, sectarian, or foolish. That doesn’t mean we should dump the whole of Arabia and the Ummah down the drain. It means that ALL people have to undergo ideological struggle to build and maintain the resistance option. My people have a lot to learn, but we also have a lot to offer.
We have so many elements who worship the system and are slaves to the Jews, but like the Islamic psychology we value martyrdom amongst our “fringe” elements. Look at the number of domestic bombings and internal military attacks (i.e. Timothy McVeigh and “The Order”) against the system as well as the amount of presidential and other political assassinations my people have achieved. Just this week a young European-American appears to have wanted to assassinate Barack Obama, and contrary to the liberal politically correct Zionist distortions that this is just racism, the brother supposedly joked or taunted about getting Bush the little or how someone should get him.
It’s just simply that we are in the center of imperialism. People who deep down hope Iraq kicks Z.O.G. America’s ass aren’t going to often say so. Furthermore, lots and lots of my people alongside African-Americans and others would be willing to take on an enemy if they believed in the probability of victory.
It’s OUR job build the path of hope, to build the united front.
Now is not the time for splitting hairs. We don’t have to all agree. A racialist pagan and a racial nihilist Salafi jihadi may not share much in common on a day to day level, but if they both hate the Jews and the American government, if they both understand the need for collective action to ensure the destiny and greatness of one’s own nationality and the stability and prosperity of the world, then WE HAVE THE MAKINGS FOR A UNITED FRONT AGAINST THE JEWS AND THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.
Let us march in solidarity, in the spirit of love we each feel for our heritage and people, and in such spirit let us unite to destroy the common hated enemies of us all!

A Guideline for Islamic Governance

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

From the Official Blog of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In the Name of Almighty God, the All-Knowing, the Most Lovingly Compassionate

One’s perspective regarding government and governance determines the way one ‎should cooperate with the people.   If one recognizes government as a privilege and prey ‎of the governors, then the period of governance can be counted as an opportunity to fulfill ‎the expectations of certain individuals and groups or the ostentation and hedonism of the ‎governors.‎

But if in our view, “government” would be a responsibility before God for ‎establishing justice and a duty to ensure the rights of common people, serving the ‎servants of God and helping the oppressed- then the most important issue will be the ‎people’s concerns.  If this is the case, governors would not view themselves as better than ‎other people and they wouldn’t put themselves in any other position except serving the ‎people.  ‎

Based upon this view point, the ultimate goal is to achieve God’s approval and ‎satisfaction in the way of serving His servants, implementing justice and expanding ‎spirituality. This goal cannot be achieved unless fully devoting yourself to Almighty God, ‎and thus even sacrificing your life and reputation for its achievement becomes sweet.  ‎With this type of reasoning, the happiness of an orphan who has achieved his right is ‎preferable to the satisfaction of oppressive and voracious politicians. And the ‎appreciation of an oppressed woman- who is emancipated from the oppression- is much ‎more valuable than hundreds of official and international medals and awards. ‎

The political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on this viewpoint.  ‎The governmental framework and the job description of the rulers is derived from the ‎Islamic holy sources and texts, which are which are the best guidelines for good ‎governance and honest service.  ‎

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Last night-while I was spending time with my family-I had the opportunity to ‎review the noble book- Nahjul Balagha – one of our most valuable religious texts. ‎Naturally- as someone who bears the heaviest executive responsibility of the country for ‎sometime now – I preferred to use that opportunity and again study with my wife and ‎children, the letter of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to his governor Maalik al-Ashtar, in ‎which he (pbuh) elaborates the right procedure of ruling and governance.  Certainly, that ‎which is in this letter- the 53rd letter in this noble book – is undoubtedly the greatest ‎management charter of Islamic government. ‎

I present here some sections of this valuable text which were attention-grabbing to ‎me.  I invite everyone -especially my dear colleagues in the government- to again refer to ‎Nahjul Balagha and study the Imam’s (pbuh) orders to Maalik al-Ashtar and to try to, ‎more-and-more, adjust your daily activities and operations with the Imam’s (pbuh) ‎instructions. ‎

However, we must say that we are very far away from what Imam Ali (pbuh) has ‎asked us to do, but we can and must strive to fully comply with his orders.    ‎

‎[Excerpts from Nahjul Balagha:]‎

Maalik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your ‎subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous ‎beast and as if your success lies in devouring them.‎

Remember Maalik that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: ‎those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and ‎those who have religions other than yours, they are human beings like you. Men ‎of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human ‎beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or ‎unintentionally and mistakenly without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let ‎your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and ‎to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you. ‎You must never forget that if you are a ruler over them, than your wali [Imam Ali ‎‎(pbuh) is referring to himself] is the ruler over you and Allah is the Supreme Lord ‎over the wali. And the reality is that He has appointed you as the governor and ‎tested you through the responsibility of this rule [that He has given you] over ‎them. ‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

And you should never be remorseful if you forgive. And do not be pleased and ‎proud of your punishment. Do not get angry and lose your temper quickly over ‎the mistakes and failures of those over whom you rule. On the contrary, be ‎patient and sympathetic with them. Anger and desire of vengeance are not going ‎to be of much help to you in your administration.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

If you ever feel any pride or vanity on account of your rule over your subjects ‎then think of the Supreme Rule of the Lord over the Universe, the extent of His ‎creations, the supremacy of His Might and Glory, His Power to do things which ‎you cannot even dream of doing and His control over you which is more ‎dominating than that which you can ever achieve over anything around you. ‎Such thoughts will cure your mental weakness, will keep you away from vanity ‎and rebellion (against Allah), will reduce your arrogance and haughtiness and will ‎take you back to the sanity which you had foolishly deserted.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

So far as your own affairs or those of your relatives and friends are concerned ‎take care that you do not violate the duties laid down upon you by Allah and do ‎not usurp the rights of mankind, be impartial and do justice to them, because if ‎you give up equity and justice, then you will certainly be a tyrant and an ‎oppressor. And whoever tyrannizes and oppresses the creatures of Allah, will ‎earn enmity of Allah along with the hatred of those whom he has oppressed and ‎whoever earns the Wrath of Allah loses all chances of salvation and he has no ‎excuse to offer on the Day of Judgment. Every tyrant and oppressor is an enemy ‎of Allah unless he repents and gives up oppression. Remember Maalik, that ‎there is nothing in this world more effective to turn His Blessings into His Wrath ‎than to insist upon oppression over His creatures because the Merciful Allah will ‎always hear the prayers of those who have been oppressed and He will give no ‎chance to oppressors.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

You must always appreciate and adopt a policy which is neither too severe nor ‎too lenient; a policy which is based upon equity will be largely appreciated. ‎Remember that the displeasure of common men, the have-nots and the ‎depressed persons lays heavier in the balance than the approval of important ‎persons, while the displeasure of a few big people will be excused by the Lord if ‎the general public and the masses of your subjects are happy with you. ‎

Remember Maalik, that these personages are the people who will be the worst ‎drag upon you during your moments of peace and happiness, and the least ‎useful to you during your hours of need and adversity, they hate justice the most, ‎they will keep on demanding more and more out of the State resources and will ‎seldom be satisfied with what they receive and will never be obliged for the favor ‎shown to them if their demands are justifiable refused, they will never accept any ‎reasonable excuse or any rational argument and when the time changes, you will ‎never find them staunch, faithful and loyal. ‎

While the common men, the poor and apparently less important section of your ‎subjects are the pillars of Islam, they are the real congregation of Muslims and ‎the power and defensive force against the enemies of Islam. Keep your mind on ‎their affairs, be more friendly with them and secure their trust and goodwill.‎

‎* * *‎

But be careful in forming your contacts (whether with the important persons or ‎the commoners). Keep such people away from you and think them to be the ‎enemy of the State who are scandal-mongers and who try to find fault with others ‎and carry on propaganda against them because everywhere people have ‎weaknesses and failings and it is the duty of the government to overlook (minor) ‎shortcomings. You must not try to go in search of those weaknesses which are ‎hidden from you, leave them to Allah, and about those weaknesses which come ‎to your notice, you must try to teach them how to overcome them. Try not to ‎expose the weaknesses of the people and Allah will conceal your own ‎weaknesses which you do not want anybody to know.‎

Do not give cause to the people to envy each other [man against man, tribe ‎against tribe or one section of the society against the other]. Try to alleviate and ‎root out mutual distrust and enmity from amongst your subjects.‎

Be fair, impartial and just in your dealings with all, individually and collectively ‎and be careful not to make your person, position and favors act as sources of ‎malice. Do not let any such thing or such person come near to you who does not ‎deserve your nearness and your favor. Never lower your dignity and prestige.‎

Remember that backbiters and scandal-mongers belong to a mean and cunning ‎group, though they pretend to be sincere advisers. Do not make haste to believe ‎the news they bring and do not heed to their advice.‎

Do not accept the advice of bakheel [bakheel is a person who is not only very ‎stingy with his own money, but has an envious character and does not like others ‎to contribute anything of theirs to other people]. They will try their best to keep ‎you away from acts of kindness and from doing good to others. They will make ‎you frightened of poverty.‎

Similarly do not allow cowards to act as your advisers because they will make ‎you timid in enforcing your orders, will scare you from handling important affairs ‎boldly and will make your enterprises and invasions timid and fearful attempts. At ‎the same time avoid greedy and covetous persons who would aspire to the ‎position of acting as your counselor because he will teach you how to exploit the ‎community and how to oppress people to get their wealth. Remember that ‎miserliness, cowardice and greed appear to be different wicked qualities but they ‎all arise from the same evil mentality of having no faith and no trust in Allah.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Your worst ministers will be the men who had been ministers to the despotic ‎rulers before you and who had been a party of atrocities committed by them. ‎Such persons should not be taken into your confidence and should not be trusted ‎because they have aided sinners and have assisted tyrants and cruel rulers.‎

In their stead you can comfortably find persons who are equally wise and learned ‎but who have not developed sinful and criminal mentalities, who have neither ‎helped the tyrants in their tyrannies nor have they assisted them to carry on their ‎sinful deeds.‎

Such persons will prove the least troublesome to you. They will be the most ‎helpful. They will sincerely sympathize with you. If you take them in your ‎confidence they will sever their connections with your opponents. Keep such ‎people with you as your companions in your informal company as well as in ‎official gatherings in audience. From amongst such honest and humane ‎companions and ministers some would receive your fullest confidence and trust. ‎They are those who can always speak out the bitter truth to you and ‎unreservedly and without fear of your status, can refuse to assist you or ‎associate with you in the deeds which Allah does not like His good creatures to ‎commit.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Select honest, truthful and pious people as your companions. Train them not to ‎flatter you and not to seek your favor by false praises because flattery and false ‎praises create vanity and conceit and they make a man lose sight of his real self ‎and ignore his duties.‎

You should not treat good and bad people alike because in this way you will be ‎discouraging good persons and at the same time emboldening the wicked to ‎carry on their wickedness. Everyone should receive the treatment which his ‎deeds make him deserve.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Have a lot of dialogues with aalims [learned scholars] and a lot of discussions ‎with hukama [wise persons who are truth-seekers and thinkers] because these ‎‎[dialogues and discussions] would initiate and stabilize prosperity and ‎improvement for the country. And also restore law and order which existed in the ‎past. ‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

You must know Maalik that the people over whom you rule are divided into ‎classes and grades and the prosperity and welfare of each class of the society ‎individually and collectively are so interdependent upon the well-being of the ‎other classes that the whole set-up represents a closely woven and reciprocal ‎net. One class cannot exist peacefully, cannot live happily and cannot work ‎without the support and good wishes of the other. ‎

Amongst them are God’s faithful soldiers who defend His cause, the next class is ‎that of the secretaries of the State to whom duties of writing out and issuing ‎special or general orders are assigned, the third group is that of the judges and ‎magistrates to administer justice, the fourth is of officers who maintain law and ‎order and guard the peace and prosperity of the country. Then there are common ‎men, the Muslims who pay the taxes levied by the government, and non-Muslims ‎who pay the taxes levied by the government, and non-Muslims who pay tribute to ‎the State (in lieu of taxes). Then comes the class of men who carry on various ‎professions and trades and the last but not the least are the poor and the have-‎nots who are considered as the lowest class of the society. The Merciful Allah ‎has fixed the rights and duties of each one of them. They have been either ‎mentioned in His Book or explained through the instructions of the Holy Prophet ‎‎(pbuh). A complete code of them is preserved with us.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Then there is the class of the poor and the disabled persons. It is absolutely ‎necessary that they should be looked after, helped and well-provided for. The ‎Merciful Allah has explained the ways and means of maintaining and providing ‎for each of these classes. And everyone of this class has the right upon the ruler ‎of the State that the minimum necessities for its well-being and contented living ‎are provided for.‎

Remember, Maalik that Almighty Allah will not absolve any ruler from his ‎obligations unless he sincerely tries his best to discharge his duties, invokes ‎Allah to help him in their performance, remains steadfast and diligent on the path ‎of truth and justice and bears all this whether the performance of these duties is ‎congenial or hateful to him.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Protect your government from dishonest officers. If you find any of them ‎dishonest and your confidential intelligence service submits acceptable proofs of ‎his dishonesty, then you must punish him. This may be corporal punishment ‎besides dismissal from service and taking back from him all which he has ‎dishonestly collected. He must be humiliated and must be made to realize the ‎infamy of his wicked deeds. His humiliation and punishment must be given ‎publicly so that it may serve as a lesson and a deterrent to others.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

In reality a state lives upon the revenues collected from the tax-payers. ‎Therefore, more importance should be attached to the fertility of land than to the ‎collection of taxes because actual taxable capacity of people rests upon the ‎fertility of the land. The ruler, who does not pay attention to the prosperity of his ‎subjects and fertility of the land but concentrates only on collection of revenues, ‎lays waste the land and consequently ruins the State and brings destruction to ‎the creatures of Allah. His rule cannot last for long.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

By Allah, by Allah, I want to caution you about the poor. Fear Allah about their ‎conditions and your attitude towards them. They have no support, no resources ‎and no opportunities. They are poor, they are destitute and many of them are ‎disabled and unfit for work. Some of them come out begging and some (who ‎maintain self-respect) do not beg, but their condition speaks of their distress, ‎poverty, destitution and need. For the sake of Allah, Maalik, protect them and ‎their rights. He has laid the responsibility of this upon your shoulders. You must ‎fix a share for them from Beit-ul Maal (the Government Treasury). Besides this ‎reserve in cash, you must also reserve a share in kind of crops from government ‎granaries in cities where food-grains are stored as are cultivated on State-owned ‎land because in these storages the share of those living far away from any ‎particular city is equal to the share of those living nearby.‎

Let me remind you once again that you are made responsible for guarding the ‎rights of the poor people and for looking after their welfare. Take care that the ‎conceit of your position and vanity of wealth may not deceive you to lose sight of ‎such a grave and important responsibility. Yours is such an important post that ‎you cannot claim immunity from the responsibility of even minor errors of ‎commission or omission with an excuse that you were engrossed in the major ‎problems of the State which you have solved diligently. ‎

Therefore, be very careful of the welfare of the poor people. Do not be arrogant ‎and vain against them. Remember that you have to take particular care of those ‎who cannot reach you, who’s poverty-stricken and disease-ridden sight may be ‎hateful to you, and whom society treats with disgust, loathing and contempt. You ‎should be a source of comfort, love and respect to them. Appoint a respectable, ‎honest and pious person – a person who fears Allah and who can treat them ‎honorably, order him to find out everything about them and to submit a report to ‎you. ‎

Then treat these poor people in such a way that on the Day of Judgment you can ‎plead your case successfully before Allah because of all classes of your subjects ‎this class deserves more of your attention, sympathy and fair-deal.‎

Though every one of these poor persons deserves your sympathy and you will ‎have to do justice to His cause to achieve His favor, yet you should pay more ‎attention to young orphans and the old disabled. They neither have any support ‎nor can they conveniently come out begging. They cannot reach you, therefore, ‎you must reach them.‎

Remember that the fulfillment of this obligation and duty is considered as a ‎tiresome burden by most of the rulers but to those who desire to achieve His ‎Blessings and to enter into His Realm, even this work seems light and congenial. ‎They bear it happily, dutifully and sincerely. They find pleasures in it and they ‎believe in the promise made by Allah.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Out of your hours of work, fix a time for the complainants and for those who want ‎to approach you with their grievances. During this time you should not do other ‎work but hear them and pay attention to their complaints and grievances. For this ‎purpose you must arrange public audience for them during this audience, for the ‎sake of Allah, treat them with kindness, courtesy and respect. Do not let your ‎army and police be in the audience hall at such times so that those who have ‎grievances against your regime may speak to you freely, unreservedly and ‎without fear.‎

All this is a necessary factor of your rule because I have often heard the Holy ‎Prophet (pbuh) saying, “The nation, where that rights of the oppressed, destitute ‎and down-trodden are not guarded and where the mighty and powerful persons ‎are not forced to accede these rights, cannot achieve salvation”. You must ‎remember that in those audiences the most common men will gather. Therefore, ‎if you find them misbehaving, becoming unmannerly or if you feel that their talk is ‎irrelevant, tolerate them; do not be rude and do not insult them, so that Allah may ‎be kind and merciful to you and may reward you for obeying His commands ‎explicitly. Treat them courteously, hear their grievances patiently and if you are ‎forced to reject their demands then reject them in such a way that your rejection ‎may please them as much as your grants.‎


Then there are certain duties which only you will have to perform and which none ‎of your officers can carry out. Among them are replies to the letters of your ‎commissioners and governors and they are beyond the jurisdiction or preview of ‎your secretaries. If you find that your officers are not attending as much to the ‎complaints of the public as they should, then you should personally attend to ‎them.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

You must finish a day’s work on that day only because each day will bring its own ‎special work for you. Reserve your best time for prayers to Allah, though every ‎work of the State is the work of Allah, especially, if you are sincere and honest, ‎and if your subjects are happy with your rule and are safe from your oppression.‎

Among those duties that you are to perform diligently must be your daily prayers. ‎These should be offered sincerely and persistently. You must fix times for this ‎during days and nights. You must tax your bodily strength for this duty though it ‎may tire you.‎

‎* * *‎

You must take care not to cut yourself off from the public. Do not place a curtain ‎of false prestige between you and those over whom you rule. Such pretensions ‎and show of pomp and pride are in reality manifestations of inferiority complex ‎and vanity. The result of such an attitude is that you remain ignorant of the ‎conditions of your subjects and of the actual cases of the events occurring in the ‎State.‎

You will fail to realize comparative importance of events taking place and may ‎attach great significance to minor events and may slip over important facts, ‎similarly you may attach importance to mediocre or insignificant people and may ‎ignore real men of consequence; and what is more, you may lose the power of ‎distinction between good and bad and may take one for the other or hopelessly ‎mix up the two.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

You should never overlook the fact that around the rulers there usually are ‎certain privileged persons (relatives and friends). They may often try to take ‎advantage of their status and may resort to selfishness, intrigues, fraud, ‎corruption and oppression. If you find such people around you then do away with ‎them (however closely connected they may be with you), immediately bring an ‎end to the scandal and clear your surroundings of all such moral and spiritual ‎filth.‎

You must never give lands in permanent lease with all proprietary and ownership ‎rights to your friends and relatives. You must never allow them to take ‎possession of the source of water-supply or lands which have special utility for ‎the communities. If they get possession of such holdings they will oppress others ‎to derive undue benefits and thus gather all the fruits for themselves leaving for ‎you a bad reputation in this world and punishment in the next.‎

Be fair in dispensing justice. Punish those who deserve punishment even though ‎he may be your near relation or a close friend and even if such an action may ‎give you pangs of sorrow and grief. Bear such a sorrow patiently and hope for ‎Divine reward. I assure you this will bear good fruits.‎

If on account of your strict measures people get suspicious of your behaving like ‎a tyrant and oppressor, then come out openly before them and explain to them ‎the reasons of your actions and let them see the facts for themselves and realize ‎the truth. This will give training to your mind, will be an act of kindness to the ‎subjects and the confidence thus reposed in them will make them support justice ‎and truth while you will achieve the end you have in view of obtaining their ‎support in the cause of truth.‎

If your enemy invites you to a peace treaty that will be agreeable to Allah, then ‎never refuse to accept such an offer because peace will bring rest and comfort to ‎your armies, will relieve you of anxieties and worries, and will bring prosperity ‎and affluence to your people. But even after such treaties be very careful of the ‎enemies and do not place too much confidence in their promises because they ‎often resort to peace treaty to deceive and delude you and take advantage of ‎your negligence, carelessness and trust. ‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

At the same time be very careful, never break your promise with your enemy, ‎never forsake the protection or support that you have offered to him, never go ‎back upon your words, and never violate the terms of the treaty. You must even ‎risk your life to fulfill the promises given and the terms settled because of all the ‎obligations laid by Almighty Allah upon man (in respect to other men) there is ‎none so important as to keep one’s promises when made. ‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Allah has given promises and treaties the high rank of being messengers of ‎peace and prosperity and through His Kindness and Mercy has made them a ‎common desire (of keeping promises) in the minds of all men and a common ‎requirement for all human beings. He has made them such a shelter and asylum ‎that everybody desires to be under their protection. ‎

Therefore, there should be no mental reservation, no fraud, no deception and no ‎underlying meanings in between the lines when you make a promise or conclude ‎a treaty. Do not use such words and phrases in your promises and treaties as ‎have possibilities of being translated in more than one way or as may have ‎various interpretations and many explanations, let there be no ambiguity in them, ‎and let them be clear, precise and to the point. And when once a treaty has been ‎finally concluded, do not try to take advantage of any ambiguous word or phrase ‎in it. If you find yourself in a critical situation on account of the treaty made in the ‎cause of Allah, then try to face the situation and bear the consequences bravely ‎and do not try to back out of the terms that account, because to face such ‎perplexing situations as may gain His Rewards and Blessings is better than to ‎break your promises on that account and earn that about which you feel nervous ‎and for which you will have to answer Allah and which may bring down His Wrath ‎upon you in this world and damnation in the next.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

Beware and do not develop the trait of self-admiration and self-appreciation. Do ‎not get conceited of the good points that you find in your good character or good ‎deeds that you have done. Do not let flattery and cajolery make you vain and ‎ego-centric. Remember that of all the cunning ruses of the devil to undo good ‎deeds of the pious people and to affect their piety, flattery and false praises are ‎the ones on which it relies the most.‎

Do not boast of the favors and kindnesses that you have done to your subjects ‎and do not try to make them realize this, do not think too much of the good that ‎you have done to them, and do not go back upon the promises made, all these ‎three habits are very ugly features of one’s character. The practice of boasting ‎over the favors done undoes the good done, the habit of exaggerating and ‎thinking very highly of our good actions will make us lose the guidance of Allah, ‎and the habit of breaking one’s promises is disliked both by Allah and by man. ‎The Merciful Allah says, “It is most hateful in the sight of Allah, to say something ‎and not to practice it.” [Holy Qur'an, 61:3].‎

Do not be hasty and do not precipitate your decisions and actions, when the time ‎comes for an action to be done, or a decision to be taken, then do not be lazy ‎and do not waste time and do not show weakness. When you do not find a true ‎way to do the thing on hand, then do not persist on the wrong way and when you ‎have found a correct solution, then do not be lethargic in adopting it. ‎

In short do everything at a proper time and in a proper way and keep everything ‎in its proper place.‎

‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏‎ ‎‏*‏

I beseech Allah that by His Limitless Mercy and by His Supreme Might He may ‎grant our prayers, that He may lead both of us to the Divine Guidance of ‎achieving His Pleasure, of successfully pleading our cases before Him, justifying ‎our deeds before man, of gaining good repute, of leaving good results of our ‎benign and just rule with ever-expanding prosperity and ever-increasing welfare ‎of the State and of meeting our ends as martyrs and pious persons, as our return ‎is towards Him only.‎

May the peace of Allah be upon the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and His chosen ‎descendants.‎

The History of Hajj

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Praise be to Allaah.

One of the things on which there is scholarly consensus among all the Muslims, ancient and modern, past and present, is that Hajj or pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allaah is one of the five pillars of Islam, as proven in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) and others.

It is well known that Hajj, like other acts of worship, involves special actions, and each of these actions must be done in the prescribed manner, such as entering ihraam from the meeqaat, tawaaf, saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah, standing in ‘Arafah, staying overnight in Muzdalifah, stoning the Jamaraat, slaughtering the sacrifice, and the other well-known actions of Hajj. All of these actions should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There are very many ahaadeeth which describe the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); these have been compiled by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad and by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer in his book al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah; these scholars have also explained the rulings derived from these ahaadeeth. The Muslim should pay attention to learning these rulings and acting upon them.

Then we should remember that the basic purpose of the actions of Hajj is to establish the remembrance of Allaah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Then when you leave ‘Arafaat, remember Allaah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Mash‘ar-il-Haraam. And remember Him (by invoking Allaah for all good) as He has guided you, and verily, you were, before, of those who were astray.

Then depart from the place whence all the people depart and ask Allaah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.

So when you have accomplished your Manaasik [rituals of Hajj], remember Allaah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter…

And remember Allaah during the appointed Days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allaah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him”

[al-Baqarah 2:198-203]

And it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “Tawaaf around the House and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah and the stoning of the jamaraat were only prescribed so that the remembrance of Allaah may be established.” It was classed as mu’allaq by al-Bayhaqi (5/145) and narrated as a marfoo’ report, although there is some weakness in it.

So the Muslim venerates the rituals of Hajj because Allaah has commanded him to venerate them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Thus it is and whosoever honours the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts”

[al-Hajj 22:32]

Al-Bukhaari (1610) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) kissed the Black Stone and said, “Were it not that I had seen the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.”

Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, whilst discussing and explaining the actions of Hajj:

“The background to these rituals is no longer present but the rulings remain in effect. These rituals may be confusing for some who see them and do not know the reasons for them, so they may say, ‘This does not make sense.’ I have explained the reasons for them as far as narrated reports go, now I will explain to you the meanings behind them.

Note that the basis for acts of worship is something rational and comprehensible, which is the submission of the slave to his Lord and obedience to Him. Prayer involves humility and submission, which is is what is meant by the word ‘ibaadah (worship).

Zakaah involves kindness and helping the poor, so its meaning is clear.

Fasting means suppressing the desires of the self so that it will be obedient to the One Whom it serves.

By honouring the House and going there, and establishing a sanctuary (Haram) around it are acts of veneration. Arriving there unkempt and disheveled is like a slave turning to his Lord in humility and submission, and that is clear. A person feels at ease performing rituals that he understands, and that motivates him to do them, but to achieve full submission there are some rituals that a person may not understand, so he will not be at ease and will not comprehend them. In this case the only motive is to obey the commands of Allaah. This is a greater form of humility and submission.” See Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1.285-286).

If this is understood, then much of the history of the actions of Hajj before the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not known to us. In this case it does not matter if we do not know. And there are some things concerning whose history a few indications are narrated in some texts; we will mention some of these here:

1 – When was Hajj enjoined? When did Hajj begin?

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage) . They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)”

[al-Hajj 22:27]

Ibn Katheer says in his commentary on this verse (3/221):

This means: Proclaim (O Ibraaheem) the Hajj to the people, calling them to come on pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was mentioned that he said, “O Lord, how can I proclaim it to the people when my voice does not reach them?” He said, “Call and We will convey it.” So he stood in his maqaam (station) – or it was said, on the rock, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain) – and said: “O people, your Lord has taken a House, so come to it on pilgrimage.” And it was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all parts of the earth and those who were still in the wombs or in men’s loins also heard, and everything that heard him, cities, nomad encampments and trees, and everyone whom Allaah has decreed should perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded, (saying) Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. This is the summary of what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and others among the salaf. And Allaah knows best.

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1/354) narrated something similar, but more briefly, and he attributed it to the narrators of Seerah.

This has to do with the history of the enjoining of Hajj before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). With regard to the enjoining of Hajj in Islam, there is some scholarly difference of opinion concerning that. It was said that it was enjoined in 6 AH, or in 7 AH, or in 9 AH, or in 10 AH. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) was certain that it was enjoined in 9 or 10 AH. He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Zaad al-Ma’aad:

“There is no dispute that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not perform Hajj after he migrated to Madeenah apart from one Hajj, which was the Farewell Pilgrimage. And there is no dispute that that occurred in 10 AH… When the command to perform Hajj was revealed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) hastened to perform Hajj with no delay. Because the enjoining of Hajj came at a later stage, in 9 or 10 AH, one might say, How can you prove that the command to perform Hajj was delayed until 9 or 10 AH? We would say that the first part of Soorah Aal ‘Imraan was revealed in the year of delegations (‘aam al-wufood), during which the delegation from Najraan came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he made a treaty with them regarding their paying the jizyah, and the (ruling on) jizyah was revealed in the year of Tabook, 9 AH, when the first part of Soorat Aal ‘Imraan was revealed…”

Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (2/4/92): Hajj was known to the Arabs. When Islam came, they were told about something they already knew and what was enjoined upon them was something they were familiar with…” See also Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by Ibn al-‘Arabi, 1/286.

2 – Tawaaf around the House

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and We commanded Ibraaheem (Abraham) and Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I‘tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)”

[al-Baqarah 2:125]

This verse indicates that tawaaf around the Ka’bah was known at the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him).

3 – Raml

Raml means walking quickly with short steps. This is Sunnah for men but not for women during the tawaaf of arrival (tawaaf al-qudoom), which is the first tawaaf performed when one arrives in Makkah.

How did raml begin?

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (2/469-470, 1602) and Muslim also narrated (2/991-992, 1262) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came with his companions and the mushrikoon said, “There have come to you people who have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded them to walk quickly (raml) in the first three circuits… According to another report, he said, “Walk quickly so that the mushrikeen will see that you are strong.”

4 – The water of Zamzam and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah.

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (6/396-397, 3364) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

Ibraaheem brought Haajar and her son Ismaa’eel when she was still breastfeeding him, to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he left them there and left with them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaa’eel’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibraaheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look at her. Then she asked him, “Has Allaah commanded you to do this?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not forsake us,” and went back while Abraham proceeded onwards. When he reached al-Thaniyah where they could not see him, he turned to face the Ka’bah, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as- Salaah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks”

[Ibraaheem 14:37]

Ismaa’eel’s mother went on breastfeeding Ismaa’eel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaa’eel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of al-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from al-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached al-Marwa where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between al-Safa and al-Marwa) seven times.

Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This is the (origin of) the people’s saa’i (walking) between them between them (i.e. al-Safa and al-Marwa).” When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she said to herself “Shh!” and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, “O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” Then she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), until water appeared. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.

Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismaa’eel! Had she let Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” And he said: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people’…”

Ibn al-Jawzi said in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (2/47): “This hadeeth explains the reason why it is called Zamzam, because when the water flowed, Haajar tried to control it (zammat-ha). The linguist Ibn Faaris said: Zamzam comes from the words zamamtu al-naaqah (I reined in the camel).

5 – The standing at ‘Arafah

Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi (883) narrated that Yazeed ibn Shaybaan said: We were standing in ‘Arafah in a place far from the mawqif [where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood]. Ibn Mirba’ al-Ansaari came to us and said, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who says to you: ‘Stay where you are (for it is also the place of standing), for you are standing in the area where your father Ibraaheem stood.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1688.

Many of the actions of Hajj stem from the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), but the mushrikeen introduced some innovations which were not prescribed. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent, he opposed them in that and explained what was prescribed for the actions of Hajj.

This is a brief look at the history of Hajj and the history of some of its rituals. For more information you could refer to the book of al-Haafiz ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) which is called Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin ila Ashraf al-Amaakin – the whole of the first volume and the beginning of the second volume.

And Allaah knows best.

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