Islamic Sectarianism

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RajeshA
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Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 11 Apr 2011 14:56

Within the Muslim world, there are deep schisms running, none deeper than the Sunni-Shia divide. There are other sectarian tensions amongst the Sunnis themselves, especially amongst various sects in Pakistan - the Barelvis, the Deobandis, the Ahl-e-Hadiths, etc.

I am starting this new thread. It is primarily meant to study and discuss
  1. The sectarian thinking within the various regimes in the Muslim world
  2. The sectarian political and paramilitary groups in the Muslim world
  3. Sectarian politics and conflicts in the Muslim World
  4. Alliances of various sects with each other and with the non-Muslim powers
  5. Theological differences between the various Muslim sects
  6. History of the Muslim sects
  7. Impact of Muslim sectarian relations on rest of the World

There is sectarian churning going on in the Muslim World, and it is will have consequences on India as well.

I hope all interested BRFItes would contribute to this study!

In case, the issue is not appreciated, the moderators are requested to delete the thread or move it elsewhere as deemed fit.

Thank you all!

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 11 Apr 2011 14:59

X-Posted from West Asia News and Discussion Thread

Published on Aug 21, 2010
By Joshua Teitelbaum
The Shiites of Saudi Arabia: Hudson Institute
the kingdom, they keep an ever-watchful eye over their own Shiite population. The ascendancy of the Shiites in Iraq and Lebanon has given rise to a feeling of empowerment amongst the Shiites of Saudi Arabia. They are proud of the accomplishments of their brethren. At the same time, they are cautious in what they hope for and how they express themselves, because much of the Wahhabi ulama in Saudi Arabia fears the rise of Shiism, and vocally opposes it. The Saudi Shiites expect the government to condemn anti-Shiite fatwas, and act as a protector, but the government has not done so.
It is impossible to arrive at an exact determination of the number of Saudi Shiites. They constitute between ten and fifteen percent of the population, and about thirty-three percent of the population in the Eastern Province.6 They reside primarily in the Eastern Province, where Saudi Arabia’s oil is located, with a small number living in Medina.
Deep in Shiite historical memory rests their persecution by the Saudis during the18th and 19th centuries. Expanding into Iraq in the early 19th century, Saudi warriors famously destroyed the tomb of Imam Husayn in Karbala and the tombs of the Prophet’s companions (the sahaba) in Mecca and Medina, demonstrating the extreme enmity the Saudi Wahhabis held towards the Shiites. For the Wahhabis, grave worship was the paramount act of shirk, or polytheism, a severe accusation, so its practice by the Shiites became a source of constant suffering.
There were two important events in 2005 for Saudi Arabia’s Shiites. One was the accession of Abdallah to the throne in August, following the death of King Fahd. The other was the elections held for the Saudi municipal councils. When Abdallah became King, the Shiites thought their moment had finally arrived. He was the champion of reform and religious tolerance. A busload of leaders and clerics from the Eastern Province traveled to Riyadh to pledge their loyalty, or baya. A Shiite activist was quoted as saying, “I have never seen anything like this.”

In the spring of 2005, national elections were held for municipal councils. These were the first such elections in over forty years. Although some more radical Shiite clerics declared a boycott of the elections, Shaykh Saffar’s policy of engagement carried the day. Coming on the heels of the Shiite victory in the January 2005 Iraqi elections, Saffar pointed to Iraq as an example of the need to participate in the process. The turnout was relatively high, even higher than in the rest of the kingdom. Even though the actual positions contested were for half the seats in powerless municipal councils (the other half being appointees), the campaign itself and the very fact that their vote counted was reason for great optimism among the Shiites. They won nearly all of the seats they contested.


The time for surgery approaches! :twisted:

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 11 Apr 2011 15:00

X-Posted from West Asia News and Discussions Thread

Old Article but relevant to the emerging situation

Published on Mar 17, 2005
By John R Bradley
Saudi's Shi'ites walk tightrope: Asia Times Online
So the question everyone was asking, after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, was what would stop the Shi'ites of the Eastern Province, who have no obvious incentive to support the al-Saud regime that oppresses them and damns them as "infidels", from welcoming US forces if they rolled into the Eastern Province to "liberate" Saudi Arabia's oil fields?
In 1802, Wahhabis supported by the al-Saud penetrated Karbala, the Shi'ite holy city in Iraq, and destroyed the mausoleum of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet whose martyrdom Shi'ites commemorate during Ashura. With that attack on the tombs of Hussein and his followers, the al-Saud ruling family, and their Wahhabi backers, declared their open hostility to the Shi'ite sect.
In a region obsessed with conspiracy theories, many Saudis, both Sunni and Shi'ite, think that Washington has plans to split off the Eastern Province into a separate entity, and seize control of the oil reserves after Iraq has stabilized. No amount of appeasement from the al-Saud is, in the meantime, going to pacify extremist Wahhabi elements - or, for that matter, the majority of the Shi'ites in the Eastern Province, who, not satisfied with token gestures, seem certain to exploit their ambiguous position when it comes to the issue of their loyalty to the Saudi state to push even more strongly for greater freedom and rights.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 11 Apr 2011 15:06

Again old article

Published on Feb 19, 2010
By Rannie Amiri
The Shia Crescent Revisited: Counter Punch

Zakaria: “You spoke a couple of years ago about the danger of a Shia crescent, meaning the Shias in Iran, a Shia-dominated government in Iraq, presumably Shias in the Gulf. Do you regret having made that comment?”

King Abdullah: “No, well, that’s not what I said. What I said is I was worried about members – certain members – of the Iranian government using an agenda to create the perception of a Shia crescent, because the last thing that we need in this part of the world is a conflict between Sunnis and Shias. And so when I raise the alarm bell, I saw a political strategy that would as an endgame have the Sunnis and Shias at each other’s throats ... the fault line between Shias and Sunnis goes from Beirut all the way to Bombay and it’s a catastrophic subject to play with. In my view, I felt that there was an agenda out there that was going to try and push it in that respect, and also raising the alarm bell that that cannot happen.”

– Excerpt from Fareed Zakaria’s interview with King Abdullah II in Davos, Switzerland, 29 January 2010.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 11 Apr 2011 15:43

Published on Aug 20, 2007
By Nizar Latif and Phil Sands
Mehdi fighters 'trained by Hizbollah in Lebanon': Independent UK
a 26-year-old who asked to be identified as Abu Nasser, said he and 100 other group members travelled to Lebanon in December 2005. "They didn't teach us anything about suicide bombings, they showed us real tactics and taught our snipers," he said. Speaking in Tufa in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Mehdi Army, admitted to "formal links" with Hizbollah.

"We have formal links with Hizbollah, we do exchange ideas and discuss the situation facing Shiites in both countries," he said. "It is natural that we would want to improve ourselves by learning from each other. We copy Hizbollah in the way they fight and their tactics, we teach each other and we are getting better through this."

Mr Sadr said members of the Mehdi Army had travelled to Lebanon, and would continue to do so.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby harbans » 11 Apr 2011 17:49

Islamic sectarianism is relevent in it's very basic tenet. Darul Islam and Dar Ul Harb. Thats something msot relevent to non believers. Chapter 1 Koran exemplifies and the rest amplifies that. Intrinsic sectarianism within Islam or any excluvist relgion is of natural order. The Shia-Sunni-Ahmedi divide will no divide Pakistam for example. More basic ethnic based ones probably will irespictive of Islamic affiliation. Understanding Islam or Islamism is understanding it's excluvism. But a good idea probably to understand the mechanics about what may unfold when the pious trike at the less pious ones. Equally interesting is when the equally pious from different sects strike at equally pious from the other ones. Who know's even God might be eager to check the scores out once in a while.. :mrgreen:

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 15 Apr 2011 17:05

Published on Oct, 19-25, 2006
By Rasha Saad
Labyrinths of the sect: Al Ahram
Such tolerance is in fact typical of Egyptian Muslims, who tend to bypass the sectarian question in favour of a more open version of the creed, with the result that Egyptian Islam has often been defined as Sunni with strong Shia leanings -- a model hardly found in any other Arab country. Egyptian love for Aal Al-Bait is remarkable, manifest in the year-long flow of worshippers to the shrines of Al-Hussein, Al-Sayeda Zainab, Al-Sayeda Nafissa and Al-Sayeda Aisha -- a scene not at all unlike that of Iraqis visiting the Marqad (shrine) of Imam Ali in Najaf or Iranians at Sayeda Ma'souma in Qom or Imam Ali Al-Reza's in Mashhad. Likewise the moulid (saint's anniversary) celebrations: they draw in millions all across the country, all year round. As a result of the Fatimid influence (AD 969- 1171),Egyptians celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with lanterns, bake kahk (cookies) for the Eid. The defining given names of Sunni and Shia Islam are, respectively, Ali and Omar; the latter, at least, is largely avoided by Shia communities, as it refers to the Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, one of those who reigned prior to Imam Ali and subsequently became associated with Sunni Islam. Yet in Egypt it is very common to encounter both names in the same house. In Fatimid times, it is believed, the vast majority of the population refrained from involvement in their rulers Ismaili (Shia) creed, committing themselves instead to love of Aal Al-Bait, whom they saw as agents of intercession. According to Hoda Zakariya, Cairo University professor of sociology, Egyptians have always adapted religion to their own character, which is mild and balanced.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Airavat » 16 Apr 2011 06:33

x-post from Af-Pak

Anti Taliban Ali Khels:

A direct interaction with Shia and Sunni Ali Khel families will reveal to any investigator that Shia Ali Khels were killed as well as injured in the suicide attack on the grand Ali Khel jirga in 2008. Over generations, the Shia and Sunni Ali Khels have intermarried. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find Ali Khels coming from mixed Shia-Sunni families. I have come across Ali Khels who were even ‘unclear’ about their sectarian affiliation. Such unclear Shia and Sunni Ai Khels also participated in the clashes with the Taliban.

The anti-Taliban resistance was a united Ali Khel tribal move beyond any sectarian differences. The Ali Khels proved with their blood that they have the ability to set aside any sectarian differences and stand up as a united tribe against the extremist Sunni Taliban. All Muslim societies across the world that may be affected by any Shia-Sunni tension could learn a lesson in sectarian harmony from the Ali Khels of FATA.

Mr Haider’s most misleading information about the Ali Khels is that the Pakistani state supported their resistance to the Taliban. The fact is that the state abandoned the Ali Khels by design so as to punish them for their anti-Talibanism. The Ali Khel tribe had encircled the Taliban, killed several of them and destroyed their centres. How could some soldiers of the professionally trained Pakistan Army not achieve what ordinary farmers and drivers from the tribe were about to achieve?

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 18 Apr 2011 12:44

Originally posted by Pranav

Published on Apr 18, 2011
By 'Mahmoud' - a Shia who lives near Bahrain's capital
A chilling account of the brutal clampdown sweeping Bahrain: Guardian UK
The army and riot police have begun to destroy the Shia matams [mosques] in some villages, even those where there was no protest that day. They say they are looking for arms, but the only ones they've shown were obviously put there by them – they are government-issue weapons. The demolitions took place in broad daylight in the morning, with bulldozers.

In Karanh village at 4pm one day last week, demonstrators marched towards the entrance of the village on the main road, and they were faced with heavy firing from the riot police and masked armed civilians. They managed to get hold of three people whom they handcuffed,


So when is the alarm clock of the Shia going to ring?

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby JE Menon » 18 Apr 2011 18:17

>>So when is the alarm clock of the Shia going to ring?

My guess is not anytime soon, except for rhetoric and some minor actions. Like I said before, I believe Iran overplayed its hand.

Of course, you never know. But above is my best bet.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 30 Apr 2011 11:30

Originally posted by abhishek_sharma

Published on Apr 29, 2011
By Lindsey Stephenson
Ahistorical Kuwaiti sectarianism: Foreign Policy
Unlike in Bahrain, the Shia hold high government positions and 9 of Kuwait's 50 elected members of parliament are Shia. Although some neighborhoods are becoming more homogenously Shiite, contrary to the situation in Bahrain, the vast majority of Sunnis and Shia live beside each other -- and have for decades as houses generally stay within families. Simply put, the Shia are fully Kuwaiti, and have long been regarded as such by the government and Kuwaiti Sunnis. And yet, events in Bahrain have provided fuel for those in Kuwait who wish to make waves.

The open Kuwaiti media has proven itself to be an incessant instigator of sectarianism and a forum for outlandish comments that were previously only said in private and often written off as nonsense. Bahraini government as well as predominately Shiite news channels have also been influential in stoking the flames. Kuwaiti Sunnis and Shia alike have commented that once the TV is on, there is no escaping sectarian discussions (indeed, many TVs these days sit muted in the background). The state of Kuwaiti newspapers is similar.

There are two issues for which talking heads have raised unfounded questions; namely Shia origins and loyalty. Polemical comments about "weird things Shia do" have played into deliberate othering tactics in efforts to drive a wedge between Sunni and Shiite communities, and have unfortunately been picked up by the masses. Setting aside the historical fact that many Kuwaitis of Arab origin are Shia and Kuwaitis of Persian origin are Sunnis, many programs are propagating an idea that Shia have Iranian origins and are thus an alien presence. This has seeped into common rhetoric and fostered suspicion amongst some Sunnis that they don't really know who their neighbors are anymore. One Sunni women from a merchant family explained that, "In school we used to know all of our classmates. Now their are lots of families who say they are Kuwaiti, but we don't know them." Initially thinking she was speaking about Bedouins, I asked if that was who she meant. "I don't know," she said. "They're from Iran, these kinds of places."

Furthermore, the notion of Shiite religious authority being centered in Iran (although many Kuwaiti Shia are followers of Ali al-Sistani, the senior Shia cleric in Iraq) has conveniently lent itself to polemics which aim to demonstrate that the loyalty of Kuwaiti Shia is first to Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran and second to Kuwait.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Samudragupta » 03 May 2011 20:14

Why Do They Convert to Shiism?


1) The weakness of the Sunni institution for which ruling regimes and fundamental currents contended whilst its basic structures for issuing fatwas, teaching and providing endowments, were weakened and were no longer producing composed traditional knowledge. At the same time, the Shia institution that was already firmly established was further consolidated. (Ernest Gellner noticed that the Islamic course differs to that of Christianity in terms of institutional organization whereby the main sect, meaning the Sunni majority, has a fragile institutional structure unlike the sectarian minorities that have a firm structure). However, the matter here is related to the Shia institution that was subjected to ideological restructuring since the Iranian revolutionary project (Wilayat al Faqih) was launched. At first, this was isolated to the realm of Shia knowledge.



2) Sunni Islamist movements played the role of attracting the contemporary Shia ideology towards which it sought openness away from the sectarian equation. There are two reasons for such openness: the first refers to ideology, which is related to the proximity that occurred gradually between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wilayat al Faqih. The second reason refers to politics, which is related to the positions on regional and international issues and this is most clearly reflected in the prestigious status enjoyed by the Lebanese Hezbollah among Islamic Sunni currents.


Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi’s warning against the “Shia expansion” had some significance to Sunni institutions. However, what the Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh failed to notice was that it is not the ideological Shia expansion that is dangerous and should be feared but rather “ideological and strategic Shiism,” which is subject to political and geo-political factors rather than the sectarian or doctrinal ones.


http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp? ... 2&id=16147

Iran and the Shia legacy

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middl ... 67546.html

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Samudragupta » 03 May 2011 20:51

Cross Posting::

One of Khomeini’s most important assertions in his 1970 book,Velayat-e Faqih (Islamic Government),13 was that the world is political as was the Prophet Muhammad, and therefore ‘‘Islam was political or nothing else.’’ The importance that Khomeini placed on politics would form the foundation of his revolution, but to make Shiism political, he first needed to change the way it was understood.



One way Khomeini made his argument was to reinterpret the Koran (Sura four, verse fifty-nine) which states: ‘‘Obey God, His prophet, and those among you who have authority.’’ The words, ‘‘those among you who have authority,’’ historically have been interpreted to refer to several different groups of people. Indeed others, who like Khomeini, have vied for power, had turned to this verse. For example, while in traditional Shiism the verse was interpreted as referring to the Imams, the medieval Sunni philosopher, al-Ghazali, used this verse to condemn rebellions against a monarch, and in 1501 the Safavids, who established Shiism as the official religion of Iran, used the verse to justify their rule. Khomeini offered a different interpretation.
Claiming that the Imams had passed down their authority to the clergy, Khomeini applied the verse to the religious establishment.



Prior to Khomeini, Shii Islamic legal decisions were largely informal. There was no set of procedures to be followed, and most aspects of an individual’s life were governed by the laws of the state, not the laws of Islam. To some extent this was due to the Shii idea of waiting for the return of the Imam. The argument was that in a truly Islamic government, the infallible Imam would have all the answers. As opposed to Sunni Islam, which does not believe in a divinely inspired Imam and, therefore, has to rely on the jurist, traditional Shiism assigns far less importance to jurisprudence. It is probably for this reason, as Abrahamian points out, that in
the Middle Ages the Shias unlike the Sunnis failed to establish a consistent theory of an Islamic state.


http://www.fpri.org/orbis/5302/helfont. ... erhood.pdf

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Hari Seldon » 04 May 2011 07:43

Also, there are the alawites - Syria's ruling clan belong to this sect - that is apparently some mish-mash of chritian-islamic beliefs and traditions.

This is also one reason why many are not keen on seeing the Bashir Asad regime fall for that might bring the real (or pure) islamists to power in Syria bordering Israel...

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 17 Jun 2011 16:24

Old Article

Published on May 11, 2005
By Sudha Ramachandran
Ismailis in deadly education spat: Asia Times Online
An alliance of Sunni religious organizations in Pakistan proposes to have the Nizari Ismaili community, also known as Aga Khanis, declared infidels. The proposal comes amid increased targeting of members of the Ismaili community and criticism of the educational institutions they run in Pakistan.
The Nizari Ismaili community is an Islamic sect whose members are followers of the Aga Khan. The Koran is their primary religious text. They could be described as a Shi'ite sub-sect, as like the Shi'ites they regard Ali as the Prophet Mohammed's successor. However, they broke away from the Shi'ite mainstream centuries ago when they adopted Ismail as their seventh imam, instead of his younger brother. Another difference between Shi'ites and Ismailis is that the latter consider the Aga Khan's birthday and the anniversary of his inauguration as more important than Muharram - the most important event on the Shi'ite calendar, when the battle of Karbala and the death of Hussein are commemorated. Ismailis, unlike other Muslims, rarely undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Ismailis regard themselves as "proper Muslims". However, Sunnis and Shi'ites in Pakistan (and other countries where Ismailis live) believe they are "different". For one, they seem quite "Westernized". Ismaili women are not expected to wear the burqa (veil). In their congregation halls, women pray alongside men - on separate but similar and adjacent carpets, denoting equality between the sexes. The schools run by Ismailis are co-educational. A distinct Hindu influence is also discernible in their style of worship. They sing hymns while praying and believe in reincarnation.
Ismailis, who had escaped by and large the attention of Pakistan's Sunni hardliners, are now under attack. About 22 Sunni organizations have come together as the Difa-e-Islam Mahaz (Front for the Defense of Islam) to spearhead the anti-Ismaili campaign.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Samudragupta » 17 Jun 2011 17:13


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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Sachin » 17 Jun 2011 18:00

Recently I read an analysis on the recent election results in Kerala. And it was then, I realised that in Muslims of Kerala there does exist various groups.
* E.K Sunni
* A.P Sunni
* Mujahid faction

I have not checked up what are the differences between the three, and how their relationship is with the Muslim League, political outfit in Kerala. Organisations like NDF,PDP etc. seems to be again on a different plain.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Agnimitra » 17 Jun 2011 18:56

Here's my 2c on the theological PoV:

"Deen" in Islam is similar to "dharma", or more precisely, sanatana-dharma, i.e., it is intrinsic and not based on external designations. Similarly, "islam" means "peaceful submission", which is similar to "sharanaagati". A specific act of sacrifice in submission (fidaa) is similar to "prapatti". Etc. In light of this, the Qur'an is actually against sectarianism, both, within the Prophet's tradition, as well as between his and other traditions.

For example, in the beginning, the Prophet's movement was like most other religious leaders - it was a call to revitalize the encrusted religious tradition(s) of his time and place. He and his disciples would sometimes go into churches and synagogues, and of course the kaaba sanctuary, in order to "Praise the Lord." But the authorities in those places would disrupt this celebration because they considered it disturbing to the established order, challenging the established priestly authority. So, a verse speaks to this tendency:

"And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah's Name should be celebrated? - whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear." [Qur'an 2:114]

Muhammad also attracted some of the cream of the crop amongst Jewish and Christian youth, apart from the "pagan" Arabs. When that started happening, the rabbis and church scholars, who were well-respected in that contemporary society, began sowing doubt in the minds of the youth followers with theological sectarian arguments. Initially, they even said that Muhammad was a good man and had glimmerings of truth, but that the final conclusion was to understand that their particular sect was the ultimate truth. To this mentality, there are verses like:

"And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful.' Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. The Jews say: 'The Christians have naught (to stand) upon'; and the Christians say: 'The Jews have naught (To stand) upon.' Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book! Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. " [Qur'an 2:111-113]

This is similar to the verse "sarvaan dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja..." [Bhagavad Gita 18:66]

Unfortunately, "Islam" itself became a brand-name with its own ulema who are themselves sectarian. Other significant verses about sectarianism:

“As for those who divide their religion (deep) and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Quran, 6:159]

"Do not join gods with Allah like those who divide
their religion (deen) into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have. " [Qur'an 30:32]

In Islamic philosophy, "joining gods" or "idol-worship" (shirk) is similar to the concept of "upaadhi", meaning a label or designation that skews the truth, which is contacted only in meditation that is free of identification (sarvopaadhi vinirmuktam...). After cognition also, there is a tendency to stop and build one's whole life and philosophy around one cognition. This is also idol worship.

"Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the
knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and
resentment among themselves. [...] Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts. " [Qur'an 42:14]

All this is clear in most forms of Islamic Sufism, but political sectarianism is what rules the public discourse these days amongst the ignorant mango abduls. I was once chatting with a Pakistani Deobandi, and I brought up the topic of having a guide, or an "Imam". Now most Sunnis have a bad point on the button of Imamat, since that's a Shi'a keyword. He immediately assured me that the word "Imam" doesn't even occur in the Qur'an. I was surprised, and promptly showed him a verse. He looked genuinely astonished and sheepish.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Airavat » 18 Jun 2011 10:21


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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Agnimitra » 18 Jun 2011 11:19

The significance of Piruz of Nahavand

Pirouz Nahavandi (or Firuzan) (also known as Abu Lulu) was a Persian soldier who served under the Great Persian commander Rostam Farrokhzad, but was captured in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 636 CE when the Persians were defeated by the Arab-Muslim army of Caliph `Umar ibn al-Khattâb on the western bank of the Euphrates River. After he was brought to Arabia as a P.O.W, he managed to assassinate the Muslim ruler, or caliph, Umar al-Khattab in 23 AH (644–645) CE.

Pirouz Nahavandi is regarded by many Iranians as a National Hero [...]

Pirouz Nahavandi said "We Persians ruled the world for more than 1,000 years, we fought the Romans for seven centuries and never took anyone as slaves, but you Arab-Muslim took me as a slave. You should let me die rather than save me so that I could serve you Arab-Muslim as a slave".

After Pirouz Nahavandi learned about Arab Quraysh culture and Islam he asked to join the army of Islam. Having gained the trust of the army of Islam he was able to join Umar ibn al Khataab, that is how Pirouz got the chance to execute his plan of assassinating Umar.

Pirouz Nahavandi's tomb "is located on the road from Kashan to Fins, constructed in an eleventh century distinctive Persian-Khwarezmian dynastic architectural style, consisted of a courtyard, porch and conical dome decorated with turquoise coloured tiles, and painted ceilings. The original date of its construction is unknown, but in second-half of fourteen century it was fully restored and a new tombstone was placed over his grave."

Controversy was caused recently when the International Union for Muslim Scholars called for the tomb to be destroyed, a request which was not well received by Iranians, even among those who support the Islamic Republic, according to the CAIS website, having being perceived as a specifically anti-Iranian act.


Presidential Decree Orders destruction of Tomb of Persian National Hero Firuzan

After protests from the local Persians (see article above), the Govt of Iran decided to refuse demands from Arab and Pakistani Sunni organizations to demolish the tomb.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Sushupti » 18 Jun 2011 11:22

Here's my 2c on the theological PoV:


Man, you put even Karen Armstrong to shame. You can collect your $50,000 here.

http://www.faithfreedom.org/challenge.htm

Sushupti
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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Sushupti » 18 Jun 2011 11:27

This is similar to the verse "sarvaan dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja..." [Bhagavad Gita 18:66]


As a Hindu i find above statement insulting and offensive.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby ramana » 18 Jun 2011 11:39

The real fight was between the Hashemi tribals and the rest of the Qureyesh tribes. Muhammad and his cousin/son in law were Hashemis, the numerically lesser and hence less powerful. Muhammad tried to parley his prophethood into power during his lifetime but couldn't and didn't pass it on to the Hashemis.
He married 9 times to get marital ties to bolster his power. I realized that Muhammad did not nominate Ali clearly to avoid break up. Abu Bakr was his father in law and the lone helper when he fled to Medina. However it was Omar/Umar who took Abu Bakr's hand declared allegiance to him and thus cleared the issue. After that Abu Bakr nominated Omar. Later a shura debated long hours and ended up choosing Othman. After Othman got killed, Ali got the nomination. He was challenged by Muwaiya the brother of Um Habibia (the daughter of Abu Sufiyan) and was a brother in law of Muhammad.

So its a faction fight between two tribes. The larger tribes won in the long run.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 19 Jun 2011 00:16

ramana wrote:The real fight was between the Hashemi tribals and the rest of the Qureyesh tribes. Muhammad and his cousin/son in law were Hashemis, the numerically lesser and hence less powerful. Muhammad tried to parley his prophethood into power during his lifetime but couldn't and didn't pass it on to the Hashemis.
He married 9 times to get marital ties to bolster his power. I realized that Muhammad did not nominate Ali clearly to avoid break up. Abu Bakr was his father in law and the lone helper when he fled to Medina. However it was Omar/Umar who took Abu Bakr's hand declared allegiance to him and thus cleared the issue. After that Abu Bakr nominated Omar. Later a shura debated long hours and ended up choosing Othman. After Othman got killed, Ali got the nomination. He was challenged by Muwaiya the brother of Um Habibia (the daughter of Abu Sufiyan) and was a brother in law of Muhammad.

So its a faction fight between two tribes. The larger tribes won in the long run.


Only two of his "marriages" were within the "clans", and the second one was from a family with very low status within the clan. At the time among them, marriage was not equal to what we or even they now understand as - it was specifically described by a term in Qureyshi Arabic which meant a contract for sex by which the use of the body of a woman was pledged for a certain period of time [which could be indefinite] after a payment of money or material value. At least one or even two of his "marriages" were not even this - Mariam was apparently a Coptic slave "gifted" to him, and another refused to take the Kalima and chose to remain a "right hand possession" by at least one school of Hadiths. Among the others, most were captured from the Jews who were exterminated or expelled - so no gain of allies by such "marriages".

There is a theory that he gathered about a hundred [perhaps even this is an exaggeration - because given estimates of possible numbers in the clans controlling Mecca at the time this would be a significant number to challenge the authorities and not seek refuge at Yathrib] from the more destitute and marginals sections of Meccan society - not all of whom would be cream or elite, because this city survived as a pilgrim centre and lived off the proceeeds of pilgrimage [the main reason the Qureysh fought and invaded the city generations ago displacing the previous citizens]. A pilgrim centre would have lots of hangers on, not necessarily connected to the elite. Muhammads own father was descended from a "freed" slave - and slaves need not be son's of the soil, especially from the elite, in fact less likely to be so. Bilal - for example was an Abyssinian/Ethiopian/East African who had been purchased by Khadija, and became one of the first "muazzins" under Muhammad.

With these followers he carried out his "ministry" "in secret" for two-three years - a claim openly acknowledged by Islamist narrators, as justifying that "if he had come out into the open" "his nascent movement" would have been finished off. There are some indirect indications that towards the end of this "secret" period, some hot-heads of his party attacked/drew blood in the some public brawl and this was when Muhammad's secret ministry came to be publicly known. Even then at first apparently when forced to spell out his position, he either pretended to follow the "old traditions" [ a well-known episode which is passed off as a temporary temptation and confusion created by Iblish] or said things that made the Qureysh elders doubt his sanity or possessed by "demons" [because he claimed he heard "voices"]. He was offered "medical help" of his times - something along "exorcism".

Obviously when this did not help, or perhaps one or more of his party did something so much so unacceptable by the elders that he was asked to leave with his "party". He and his followers were obviously not physically penalized [such expulsions of clan-members were pretty commonplace] - but one of his first actions was to ambush Qureysh "caravans" as retribution for allowing him to go out safely with "friends" and limbs and life.

The clan fighting that we are often told about was perhaps not within factions of the Qureysh, but between his non-Qureysh and Mecca-marginal followers and the surviving Qureysh. There is a theory that the Qureysh faction actually took a longer term and grim view of what Muhammad had done, and systematically eliminated his close aides in a struggle that lasted for the better part of 30 years following Muhammad's death.

The conflict started within the lifetime of Muhammad, when his rash open campaign against the Byzantines resulted in a massacre of his forces [previously he had always fought deceptively in ambushes or sudden breaking of treaties without warning and raiding the "ex-treaty" friends]. Many Hadiths and certain passages in the Quran are interpreted to indicate this public doubting and criticism of his claims of "prophethood" - following this disastrous campaign.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Agnimitra » 19 Jun 2011 02:44

More on the Iran-Arab schism that historically is another factor that underlies a lot of sectarianism in Islam. The following news item kicked up a storm a few months back:

Hassan Nasrallah on Iran

Speaking about the country which is Hezbollah's greatest benefactor, NAsrallah says:
Hassan Nasrallah wrote:"There is nothing in Iran called Persian or Persian civilization. What exists in Iran is Islamic civilization. What exists in Iran is Muhammad's religion from Arabia, from Tahami, from Makka, from Quraish, from Tamim and from Mathar, and the founder of the Islamic Republic [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] is an Arab, son of Arab, son of God's messenger. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic today is Imam Khamenei, sayyed from Quraish, from Hashim, son of God's messenger, son of Ali ibn-Abitaleb, son of Fatemeh Zahra [the Prophet's daughter and Imam Ali's wife], and they are [all] Arab."


I've made this post and the Pirouz Nahavandi post as background to the persistent Iran-Arab schism. This is again emerging in Iranian politics, with folks like Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie talking of the national religion stemming from a "maktab-e-Iran" (Iranian school). Moreover, during several protests following the disputed elections in that country, the chant was "na Ghazeh, na Lobnaan, jaanam fadaa beh Iran" (Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life is fidaa only for Iran) - voicing a frustration with and rejection of the ruling elites obsession about ingratiating itself with Arabs and the larger Islamic world and their feuds.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 19 Jun 2011 03:17

Carl wrote:Here's my 2c on the theological PoV:

"Deen" in Islam is similar to "dharma", or more precisely, sanatana-dharma, i.e., it is intrinsic and not based on external designations. Similarly, "islam" means "peaceful submission", which is similar to "sharanaagati". A specific act of sacrifice in submission (fidaa) is similar to "prapatti". Etc. In light of this, the Qur'an is actually against sectarianism, both, within the Prophet's tradition, as well as between his and other traditions.

For example, in the beginning, the Prophet's movement was like most other religious leaders - it was a call to revitalize the encrusted religious tradition(s) of his time and place. He and his disciples would sometimes go into churches and synagogues, and of course the kaaba sanctuary, in order to "Praise the Lord." But the authorities in those places would disrupt this celebration because they considered it disturbing to the established order, challenging the established priestly authority. So, a verse speaks to this tendency:

"And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah's Name should be celebrated? - whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear." [Qur'an 2:114]

Muhammad also attracted some of the cream of the crop amongst Jewish and Christian youth, apart from the "pagan" Arabs. When that started happening, the rabbis and church scholars, who were well-respected in that contemporary society, began sowing doubt in the minds of the youth followers with theological sectarian arguments. Initially, they even said that Muhammad was a good man and had glimmerings of truth, but that the final conclusion was to understand that their particular sect was the ultimate truth. To this mentality, there are verses like:

"And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful.' Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. The Jews say: 'The Christians have naught (to stand) upon'; and the Christians say: 'The Jews have naught (To stand) upon.' Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book! Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. " [Qur'an 2:111-113]

This is similar to the verse "sarvaan dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja..." [Bhagavad Gita 18:66]

Unfortunately, "Islam" itself became a brand-name with its own ulema who are themselves sectarian. Other significant verses about sectarianism:

“As for those who divide their religion (deep) and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Quran, 6:159]

"Do not join gods with Allah like those who divide
their religion (deen) into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have. " [Qur'an 30:32]

In Islamic philosophy, "joining gods" or "idol-worship" (shirk) is similar to the concept of "upaadhi", meaning a label or designation that skews the truth, which is contacted only in meditation that is free of identification (sarvopaadhi vinirmuktam...). After cognition also, there is a tendency to stop and build one's whole life and philosophy around one cognition. This is also idol worship.

"Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the
knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and
resentment among themselves. [...] Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts. " [Qur'an 42:14]

All this is clear in most forms of Islamic Sufism, but political sectarianism is what rules the public discourse these days amongst the ignorant mango abduls. I was once chatting with a Pakistani Deobandi, and I brought up the topic of having a guide, or an "Imam". Now most Sunnis have a bad point on the button of Imamat, since that's a Shi'a keyword. He immediately assured me that the word "Imam" doesn't even occur in the Qur'an. I was surprised, and promptly showed him a verse. He looked genuinely astonished and sheepish.


Can you back this up - for a start - what is the Qureyshi Arabic parsing of "Islam"?

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 19 Jun 2011 05:25

Carl wrote:Here's my 2c on the theological PoV:

"Deen" in Islam is similar to "dharma", or more precisely, sanatana-dharma, i.e., it is intrinsic and not based on external designations. Similarly, "islam" means "peaceful submission", which is similar to "sharanaagati". A specific act of sacrifice in submission (fidaa) is similar to "prapatti". Etc. In light of this, the Qur'an is actually against sectarianism, both, within the Prophet's tradition, as well as between his and other traditions.


Never seen such a brilliant piece of equal-equal between Indic and Islam - especially from the "Indic" side [or is it not "Indic" any longer?]. But then lets focus on the claims. It reminds me of a joke I once heard in my student days from Bengali dadas - Both Rabindranath Tagore and he-goats ["Raam-chaagol"] have beards, therefore "Rabindranath Tagore == Raam chaagol.

(1) "islam" is "in" -"s-l-m" - a tri-literal in Quranic [Qureyshi - and which is slightly different from modern used Arabic] Arabic, and "s-l-m" stands for "submission". The "in peaceful" is linguistically spurious, and malicious propaganda to hide the inherent violence that literally drips almost line by line from the standard texts - and primarily meant to confuse and lull the target non-Muslim into complacency. Didnt know that it would be peddled here too.

Since there is no word of "peace" involved, all the subsequent == with "sharana-gati" and then onwards to "prapatti" is spurious too. What exactly is meant by "sacrifice in submission"- any examples please? I can give examples from the early founders lives that always asks for such "sacrifices" in "submission" from non-Muslim targets. Since you are so well versed in the Quran, can you find the passage that deals with asking a certain tribe's menfolk to "sacrifice" in "submission" their claims over property/livestock/and their wives and womenfolk? I will wait for you to say that such a passage does not exist.

You are equating these sort of "sacrifices" in "submission" to "prapatti"? In the light of the above spurious and tenuous identifications - we have to believe that the "Quran" is against "sectarianism" and "the prophets tradition - as well as between his and others"?!

For example, in the beginning, the Prophet's movement was like most other religious leaders - it was a call to revitalize the encrusted religious tradition(s) of his time and place. He and his disciples would sometimes go into churches and synagogues, and of course the kaaba sanctuary, in order to "Praise the Lord." But the authorities in those places would disrupt this celebration because they considered it disturbing to the established order, challenging the established priestly authority. So, a verse speaks to this tendency:

"And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah's Name should be celebrated? - whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear." [Qur'an 2:114]


Can please point out the passages where he and his disciples "went" into "Churches", and clear reference to entrance into "synagogues"? Are you sure of the context of the passage you quote - that it refers to such mere "praising" the "lord" and in the religious sanctuaries/congregations you name?

Muhammad also attracted some of the cream of the crop amongst Jewish and Christian youth, apart from the "pagan" Arabs. When that started happening, the rabbis and church scholars, who were well-respected in that contemporary society, began sowing doubt in the minds of the youth followers with theological sectarian arguments.


I find this a most intriguing piece of new historical research I have come across. The "cream" of "Jewish and Christian youth" was attracted by Muhammad!!! Can you please name them? were there not opposition from the Jews and Christian youth too? or for that matter other "pagan" "Arabs"? are you sure that there were distinct "Christians" and "pagan Arabs" and there were no Christian Arab tribes? sure that "Christian Arab" youth were not opposed to Muhammad and so much so that they actually collaborated with the Byzantines? repeatedly you refer to "Churches" in the areas roamed by Muhammad and his followers - can you please refer to the exact passages? Unfortunately, you do not realize or you do not point out that - the Quran or the ahadith are not written by the Jews or the Christians, and hence all the words ascribed to them, or any reality suppressed - are firmly from the Islamist viewpoint. We do not know what they really said.

I will again wait for the exact passages you claim to support your thesis.

Initially, they even said that Muhammad was a good man and had glimmerings of truth, but that the final conclusion was to understand that their particular sect was the ultimate truth. To this mentality, there are verses like:

"And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful.' Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. The Jews say: 'The Christians have naught (to stand) upon'; and the Christians say: 'The Jews have naught (To stand) upon.' Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book! Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. " [Qur'an 2:111-113]


This is not a reference to what the Jews or "Christians" are saying about Muhammad's claims. This is about Jewish-Christian mutual accusations. There is no proof, even gleaned from the hagiographies of megalomania that abound in the texts, that the "rabbis" even took his theological outpourings seriously. It proved fatal for them though - because by the time they realized what he was rallying for, it was too late and they were looking at their friends heads rolling off ahead of them in the line to be decapitated publicly beside the trench in the public square of Medina - to be mocked in person by Muhammad while they waited fro death, as to their "just" desserts awaiting them in "Gehenna".

This is similar to the verse "sarvaan dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja..." [Bhagavad Gita 18:66]


You are of course free to have your own opinion about such a "similarity". We hold our own opinions about what sort of minds fail to see the glaring contradictions and still insist on doing such equal-equals. Some of the Jews were definitely confused some of the times, but I doubt even they succeeded to produce assembly-line production of "Indic-born" elite [in terms of educational opportunity -what a waste of resources - those who do not have such opportunities seem to be doing much better in terms of good sense and rationality] most of whom are confused most of the time.

Unfortunately, "Islam" itself became a brand-name with its own ulema who are themselves sectarian.


Ah! Really? But how come? They were all basing their claims strictly on the words of the Quran and the ahadith, weren't they? And the "sunnah" of the prophet? If the original foundational texts and the philosophy had no such elements of sectariansim, how could the Ulema invent one and moreover pass it off as part of the foundational revelation?
Can you point out how they managed to do this by deviating and simultaneously non-deviating from the texts?

Other significant verses about sectarianism:
“As for those who divide their religion (deep) and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Quran, 6:159]

"Do not join gods with Allah like those who divide their religion (deen) into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have. " [Qur'an 30:32]

In Islamic philosophy, "joining gods" or "idol-worship" (shirk) is similar to the concept of "upaadhi", meaning a label or designation that skews the truth, which is contacted only in meditation that is free of identification (sarvopaadhi vinirmuktam...). After cognition also, there is a tendency to stop and build one's whole life and philosophy around one cognition. This is also idol worship.


Sure about that interpretation of the two quotes? Please drop this comparison with elements of Bharatiya darshan. What you are doing is first conveniently giving a spin to passages from the Quran - in such a way that may then make those spins more amenable to == with Bharatyia elements. The "joining gods" and "idol-worship" is taken in a way-too-different from your spin, mode, in the Quran and in much more literal sense than you represent them as. There is no "meditation" in the Quran. Idol-worship is a whole different ball-game in early Islam, and has nothing to do about "one cognition" stuff.

"Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. [...] Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts. " [Qur'an 42:14]

All this is clear in most forms of Islamic Sufism, but political sectarianism is what rules the public discourse these days amongst the ignorant mango abduls. I was once chatting with a Pakistani Deobandi, and I brought up the topic of having a guide, or an "Imam". Now most Sunnis have a bad point on the button of Imamat, since that's a Shi'a keyword. He immediately assured me that the word "Imam" doesn't even occur in the Qur'an. I was surprised, and promptly showed him a verse. He looked genuinely astonished and sheepish.


"sectarianism" does not exist in "Sufism" and its philosophy? Goodness! and "Islamic Sufism" is distinct and different from "political sectarianism"?

Let us drop this == business with Indic philosophy, which is completely uncalled for in this thread, and has no relevance at all, even if it has separate merit as a topic.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Prem » 19 Jun 2011 06:18

Any attempt to make Islam relevant to Indian philosophical and spiritual paths lacks credibilty, honesty and good motive . This will be deliberate attmept to lower the standards and context. The nature of Godhood in Quran and in Indian Darshans has no meeting point.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Agnimitra » 19 Jun 2011 12:09

Looks like my first post has attracted a feeding frenzy by some. :)
Sushupti, Brihaspati ji and others,

First of all, there is no intention of offending anyone's religious sentiments -- quite the opposite actually, considering that we have a lot of good Moslem citizens whom I had in mind. I'm frankly amused by your sense of hurt, which first derailed the Lokpal Bill thread. And your deep prejudice is uncalled for and may even be counter-productive. I am totally at one with the need to solidly condemn and fight the menace of Islamism, but in doing so one need not create a mirror image of it here. My intention was to be more discriminating, identify a recurring force of change and schism in the Islamic world, and leverage a possible ally.

As I indicated clearly, I related the POV of tasawwuf or Sufism. That is how they see it, whether you or I agree with its basis in their scripture or not. There are a lot of big names in Islamic history who interpret it this way, and this is something we can leverage. It is not my personal opinion, since this is not a religion/spirituality forum. However, since you bring the subject up, I now state that on being given an explanation by dedicated, practicing Sufis I know, and by being provided with scholarly context by them, I see nothing "deceptive" in their chosen interpretation of their scripture. I have spent my time on their invitation and participated in their study sessions and watched them practice, and we felt our exchange as adhyatma-bandhus was mutually beneficial. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I bore the same burden of prejudice, and I was happy to be relieved of it. This bestows greater clarity and vigor with which to pursue the real enemy.

brihaspati wrote:The "in peaceful" is linguistically spurious, and malicious propaganda to hide the inherent violence that literally drips almost line by line from the standard texts - and primarily meant to confuse and lull the target non-Muslim into complacency.


So, you have already decided that the scripture is a classic of mendacity. You decide what part of a word is meant to deceive, and what part accords with your memory of malice. Pray, what standard of lexicographic exegesis is this? Even assuming lexicographical interpretation is valid on its own (which is not the case in Vedic or any other tradition)?

"Peace" in the Qur'an is a word with multiordinal meanings, just like any other word in any scripture. That is the basis of ontological semantics. It is not according to one's wordly or anthropomorphic imaginations or preferences. But there are plenty of references to peace as it was understood in those times and today, using the word "salaam" for example, which is from the same root. E.g. odkholooha be salaamen zaaleka yowmul kholood. The word "Islam" is thus defined noetically, using its grammatical variants as well as the whole complex of all ideas.

brihaspati wrote:What exactly is meant by "sacrifice in submission"- any examples please?


What is meant by yajna, daana, tapas? That is how words like fanaa, islam, sadaqah, tazkiya, fidaa, jihaad, etc were explained to me by them, how it was explained in their textbook commentaries, and that is how I saw them take it to heart. Now whether you agree on whether that's what the Qur'an really wanted them to do or not is a different matter.

Since you are so well versed in the Quran, can you find the passage that deals with asking a certain tribe's menfolk to "sacrifice" in "submission" their claims over property/livestock/and their wives and womenfolk? I will wait for you to say that such a passage does not exist.


My ears are burning. Please provide me the reference. I will show it to them and let you know what they have to say.

Yes, the Qur'an is definitely a book that talks in terms of life and death. For example, in terms of obedience to divine authority, it says stuff like, "But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then they do not find any straitness in their selves as to what you have decided, and submit with total submission. And if We had prescribed for them: Kill yourselves or go forth from your homes, they would not have done it except a few of them; and if they had done what they were admonished, it would have certainly been better for them and most efficacious in strengthening (them) (4:65 66)."

But I think that's how most scriptures that address the mind in that mode of nature are. For example, the Bhagavad Gita was sung in a dramatic setting of fratricidal war. Now if a nutcase takes that out of its context, there's no gainsaying that it is a prescription for mayhem! There are verses of violence against ignorance in most scriptures I've seen.

You are equating these sort of "sacrifices" in "submission" to "prapatti"? In the light of the above spurious and tenuous identifications - we have to believe that the "Quran" is against "sectarianism" and "the prophets tradition - as well as between his and others"?!


Yes sir! There is some debate among Thengalai and Vadakalai Shri Vaishnavas about sharanagati and prapatti. But hairsplitting apart, the same scenario is found in tasawwuf. Experientially also, one discovers that with progress in sadhana, an ability is gained whereby a movement of thought achieves the spiritual result of thought+action. Whence Muhammad said in reply to a young whipper-snapper that a person who sits in meditation (zikr) in any circumstance is a much, much greater mujahid and shaheed than someone who only charges into battle during wartime and is martyred. Plenty of examples of synesthesia in the Vedas, too.

Secondly, about "other" traditions, the first few verses of the Qur'an itself say that accepting completely the bona fides of all previous traditions is a necessary condition for having spiritual benefit. Moreover, there is the hadith of Muhammad instructing a few fanatical devotees who were being critical of other traditions. He said that they ought to spend their intellect justifying other traditions on Judgment Day so that they may have the opportunity of intercession on their behalf. This is a classic balance of positive ratiocination without indulging in wishy-washy "all is ==" doctrine, which is necessary for the neophyte. Note how he avoids any "==" but circumvents the pitfalls of dogmatism and fanaticism.

Can please point out the passages where he and his disciples "went" into "Churches", and clear reference to entrance into "synagogues"? Are you sure of the context of the passage you quote - that it refers to such mere "praising" the "lord" and in the religious sanctuaries/congregations you name?


Yes, the context is there in ahadith. Also true that there were instances of some of his followers getting into brawls upon provocation, but there is no doubt that for the vast majority of the time they were on the receiving end of shunning and active persecution. Please don't try to twist your way around it.

Also, his mission was not "secretive" in the beginning. The initial followers had their gatherings forced underground after some of them faced torture. But the Prophet himself would even visit fairs (melas) to advertize his message. He was once done the honor of being pelted with stones by children. That provided the occasion when he recited a famous prayer.

I find this a most intriguing piece of new historical research I have come across. The "cream" of "Jewish and Christian youth" was attracted by Muhammad!!! Can you please name them? were there not opposition from the Jews and Christian youth too? or for that matter other "pagan" "Arabs"?


Of course there was plenty of opposition! What a silly question. But there are famous hadith of prominent Jewish scholars becoming disciples, such as Abdullah ibn Salam! I would have thought you would know them, considering how Moslems like to talk about these hadith.

are you sure that there were distinct "Christians" and "pagan Arabs" and there were no Christian Arab tribes?


:rotfl: Brihaspati ji, everyone with the most superficial knowledge of Arabia knows that there were Christian Arabs, including a relative of Muhammad's own first wife Khadija.

sure that "Christian Arab" youth were not opposed to Muhammad and so much so that they actually collaborated with the Byzantines?


Sure some did. What are you hammering away at? Many youths affiliated with the Shankara Mathas converted and became disciples of Shri Madhvacharya. But there were many others who did everything they could to undermine him and his mission. So??

Unfortunately, you do not realize or you do not point out that - the Quran or the ahadith are not written by the Jews or the Christians, and hence all the words ascribed to them, or any reality suppressed - are firmly from the Islamist viewpoint. We do not know what they really said.


Ah right, its all one big conspiracy. In fact, even I may be in on the conspiracy, since you hint that I may have defected from the Indic to some non-Indic demon cult. :twisted:

This is not a reference to what the Jews or "Christians" are saying about Muhammad's claims. This is about Jewish-Christian mutual accusations.


My point was that the Qur'an pooh poohs the silly sectarian claims of existing traditions. That's all!

Ah! Really? But how come? They were all basing their claims strictly on the words of the Quran and the ahadith, weren't they? And the "sunnah" of the prophet? If the original foundational texts and the philosophy had no such elements of sectariansim, how could the Ulema invent one and moreover pass it off as part of the foundational revelation? Can you point out how they managed to do this by deviating and simultaneously non-deviating from the texts?


Sure I can explain. Madhvacharya points out that shaastra has asura-vimohana woven into it - and he wasn't talking about the Qur'an. :lol: Its a matter of epistemology. If someone's tone is conspiratorial and thinks that the god of the Qur'an or Vedas is a vindictive termagant, then that's definitely a problem. There is plenty of sa-kapata kripa for rascals who approach the Lord. Apparently, His nishkapata kripa is reserved for the sincere and the nishkaama.

Speaking to the real purpose of the thread -- The point is that there are various strands that run through any nation and religious tradition. It is strategically important that we understand the whole picture as finely as possible in order to be able to engage and influence events there to the advantage of our traditions and our intrinsic strengths as a dharmic nation. Sufism provides a platform that has historically worked to our advantage. The Sikh phenomena and Guru Gobind Singh's conjuring up the khalsa would not have been possible without the sacrifices made by several Sufi Moslem teachers and their followers at that time. They recognized him as the axis of dharma (qutb-ud-din) and their followers martyred themselves protecting him -- while the Hindu Hill Rajas allied with Aurangzeb to try to kill him! We need to understand the forces at work.

The "joining gods" and "idol-worship" is taken in a way-too-different from your spin, mode, in the Quran and in much more literal sense than you represent them as.


Read any book on kalaam or tasawwuf, and the meaning of asnaam and shirk are made plain. That it is also taken literally by most of them is another matter that I certainly did not intend to ignore. And Hussain, the Prophet's grandson, famously told an ex-priest of an Arabian temple, that what's the use of breaking idols when people are following walking idols now.

There is no "meditation" in the Quran.


Come on! Numerous verses of the Qur'an are a direct call to meditation. And what was Muhammad's intention when, days before his death, he decided to pass his cloak on to a person named Oveys of Qarani? This was his most resonant slap in the face of the adrenalized types who surrounded him. Our problem is with the adrenalized idiots, but we need the saintly Oveys types to defect to our side. It will give us a tremendous psychological advantage over the rest.

"sectarianism" does not exist in "Sufism" and its philosophy? Goodness! and "Islamic Sufism" is distinct and different from "political sectarianism"?


Yes, most Sufis. Followers of the likes of Rabbani are different. I have already drawn that distinction.

Let us drop this == business with Indic philosophy


Someone should have been there to advise the Sikh Gurus, or even Madhvacharya, who told a Moslem prince and seeker, "Your religion and mine are the same." Or was Madhvacharya doing taqiya in your opinion?

Brihaspati ji, I took the time to reply to your post as a matter of forum etiquette. But this sort of discussion is not at all my interest on this board. To reiterate - my point is that there exists a Sufi PoV. This Sufi PoV has wound its way through the history of Islam, however duplicitious or suspicious you may find it. This "suspicious" Sufism was instrumental in effecting the Safavi Shi'ite coup, for example. Therefore, this medium should not be lost when brainstorming ways to engage and influence the Ummah to our advantage. I hope my explanation has allayed your main concerns, which I duly appreciate.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 19 Jun 2011 13:27

Carl ji,

in the first post of this thread, there is a listing of all that what belongs in this thread's brief - nothing more! Discussions on theological similarities between Islam and some other ideology or world view does not belong here.

In this thread, we would all welcome your insights on sectarian differences within Islam itself.

On BRF we do discuss the extent of theological and historical sanction for the aggressive memes in Islam, and usually that is the extent of how far we delve into Islamic Theology. Additionally there are three threads: Islamism & Islamophobia Abroad - News & Analysis Thread to deal with how Islam plays out outside the Indian Subcontinent, then we have Islamic Sectarianism basically to see how India can exploit the divisions within Islam for her national interests, as well as to access the treat from that angle, and the Future Strategic Scenario for the Indian Subcontinent -II Thread to discuss how the Muslims on the Subcontinent would influence society and states here. On the Strategic Forum, rest of Islamic Theology is not considered relevant.

I would suggest to take comparative religious discussions elsewhere (to some new thread, to a some other BRF Forum or totally elsewhere.

Thank you.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 19 Jun 2011 17:06

Carl wrote
Looks like my first post has attracted a feeding frenzy by some. :)
Sushupti, Brihaspati ji and others,

First of all, there is no intention of offending anyone's religious sentiments -- quite the opposite actually, considering that we have a lot of good Moslem citizens whom I had in mind.

But you were discussing the ideology of Islam which you analyzed purely based on its textual claims, and not based on what "good Moslem" citizens you had in your mind.

I'm frankly amused by your sense of hurt, which first derailed the Lokpal Bill thread. And your deep prejudice is uncalled for and may even be counter-productive.


I can understand your feeling of hurt at exposing the bashing-onlee-Ramdev-for-non-sympathy-to-homosexualism or "cross-dressing" hate-fest that was going on as the sole single focus in the Lokpal Bill thread, but I am not amused. It was a good thread to indulge in political propaganda on behalf of certain party positions and against "Hindu gurus" onlee and that had to be abandoned - so definitely several were saddened.

I am totally at one with the need to solidly condemn and fight the menace of Islamism, but in doing so one need not create a mirror image of it here. My intention was to be more discriminating, identify a recurring force of change and schism in the Islamic world, and leverage a possible ally.


You mean you wanted to selectively highlight aspects of Islam, as retold by some of its adherents, to whitewash it in such a way as to make it more acceptable to the non-Musilm. You did not state this most noble agenda as the purpose of your post.

As I indicated clearly, I related the POV of tasawwuf or Sufism. That is how they see it, whether you or I agree with its basis in their scripture or not. There are a lot of big names in Islamic history who interpret it this way, and this is something we can leverage. It is not my personal opinion, since this is not a religion/spirituality forum. However, since you bring the subject up, I now state that on being given an explanation by dedicated, practicing Sufis I know, and by being provided with scholarly context by them, I see nothing "deceptive" in their chosen interpretation of their scripture. I have spent my time on their invitation and participated in their study sessions and watched them practice, and we felt our exchange as adhyatma-bandhus was mutually beneficial. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I bore the same burden of prejudice, and I was happy to be relieved of it. This bestows greater clarity and vigor with which to pursue the real enemy.


Whether it is deception or not, can only be seen if you compare their interpretations with the original texts, as well as the history of their practice. I can go on quite a bit about Sufi practice, as written by Sufi "narrators" or "historians" themselves. Can you please ask your adhatmya bandhus to explain the spiritual basis of the actions on the ground of the founder of Ajmer Sharif? or the actions of Shah Jalaal - and adevnturer from the south of Arabian peninsula who is supposed to have "peacefully" converted Sylhet now in BD? There is a whole list of such peacefully spiritual sufis we can talk about. By the way, what is your bandhu's opinions about the practice of slavery endorsed in the Quran as a direct order from Allah? Sufis did practice it, there are documents. [Of course I do not know which "silsila" of the Sufis you had as bandhus, definitely differences in paths among Sufis are not to be taken as different sects - even if they have fought physically about on occasions - since after all they are "Sufis", sects only exist in non-Sufis!]

Did you verify what they said with texts and what their own past records say about them? Or you willingly swallowed what you wanted to believe about the sufis?

So, you have already decided that the scripture is a classic of mendacity. You decide what part of a word is meant to deceive, and what part accords with your memory of malice. Pray, what standard of lexicographic exegesis is this? Even assuming lexicographical interpretation is valid on its own (which is not the case in Vedic or any other tradition)?

"Peace" in the Qur'an is a word with multiordinal meanings, just like any other word in any scripture. That is the basis of ontological semantics. It is not according to one's wordly or anthropomorphic imaginations or preferences. But there are plenty of references to peace as it was understood in those times and today, using the word "salaam" for example, which is from the same root. E.g. odkholooha be salaamen zaaleka yowmul kholood. The word "Islam" is thus defined noetically, using its grammatical variants as well as the whole complex of all ideas.


The scripture itself was quite clear what it meant by the tri-literal. It did not mean "peace" because that is not the context of the root word - it is purely "submission", peaceful or not peaceful. So if you use it in an extended sense to claim "peaceful" that does become mendacity on whoever represents it that way. We can go on into the history of "peace" as interpreted in "salaam" - and you can see that it had nothing to do with "peace", both in the supposed mimicry of the similar sounding Jewish phrase, as well as the Qureyshi Arabic use. Islam-Muslim- all denote "submission" and not necessarily only "peace". This is the mendacity if you try to force a single "peace" connotation and meaning on this.

You have no "memory of malice" as evidenced even in the actions of Sufi preachers in India? even if you do not have, can you deny the right of others to "remember"?

What is meant by yajna, daana, tapas? That is how words like fanaa, islam, sadaqah, tazkiya, fidaa, jihaad, etc were explained to me by them, how it was explained in their textbook commentaries, and that is how I saw them take it to heart. Now whether you agree on whether that's what the Qur'an really wanted them to do or not is a different matter.


How relevant was bringing yajna, daana, tapas into this? Shall we take up those words quoted by you as used in the Quran and the ahadith? Do your friends deny those contextual use of those words in the Quran and the ahadith - as anti-Islam or un-Islamic? This is important - since if they fail to do this, but push these "yajna/daana/tapas" imagery or push those words in a non-physical nonpolitical non-military sense, it does become deceptive.

My ears are burning. Please provide me the reference. I will show it to them and let you know what they have to say.


But you are well-versed in the Quran, isnt it? You could promptly show references in the Quran to a disputer! Please scan and say that you did not find anything.

Yes, the Qur'an is definitely a book that talks in terms of life and death. For example, in terms of obedience to divine authority, it says stuff like, "But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then they do not find any straitness in their selves as to what you have decided, and submit with total submission. And if We had prescribed for them: Kill yourselves or go forth from your homes, they would not have done it except a few of them; and if they had done what they were admonished, it would have certainly been better for them and most efficacious in strengthening (them) (4:65 66)."

But I think that's how most scriptures that address the mind in that mode of nature are. For example, the Bhagavad Gita was sung in a dramatic setting of fratricidal war. Now if a nutcase takes that out of its context, there's no gainsaying that it is a prescription for mayhem! There are verses of violence against ignorance in most scriptures I've seen.


The context game would actually be wonderful! Of course the context should not be taken out of the words! Of course! Would you allow the contexts of the words mentioned by you and your friends, also to be tagged to the "contexts" and not re-invented as some oh-so-spiritual whitewashed concept? It is the standard practice of Islamist as well as "Hindu" hagiographers of Islam to bring in the Gita whenever the context of "violence/killing" comes up in the "faith" context - Zakir Nayak is a shining example. "ignorance"!!!!The Quranic texts reco violence onlee on "ignorance"?!!! "ignorance" indeed! Are you sure that it was Quran that you had gone through or some interpreted commentary on it?

But hairsplitting apart, the same scenario is found in tasawwuf. Experientially also, one discovers that with progress in sadhana, an ability is gained whereby a movement of thought achieves the spiritual result of thought+action. Whence Muhammad said in reply to a young whipper-snapper that a person who sits in meditation (zikr) in any circumstance is a much, much greater mujahid and shaheed than someone who only charges into battle during wartime and is martyred. Plenty of examples of synesthesia in the Vedas, too.

Secondly, about "other" traditions, the first few verses of the Qur'an itself say that accepting completely the bona fides of all previous traditions is a necessary condition for having spiritual benefit. Moreover, there is the hadith of Muhammad instructing a few fanatical devotees who were being critical of other traditions. He said that they ought to spend their intellect justifying other traditions on Judgment Day so that they may have the opportunity of intercession on their behalf. This is a classic balance of positive ratiocination without indulging in wishy-washy "all is ==" doctrine, which is necessary for the neophyte. Note how he avoids any "==" but circumvents the pitfalls of dogmatism and fanaticism.


You are failing to mention what is clearly stated and meant as valid "traditions", this was the supposed tradition of the "book/qitab" that was given before to specific groups, and not to all traditions. In particular, his own Qureysh clan's "traditions" are not accepted. There are plenty of refs in the texts in denouncing all other "interpretations" of the Abrahamic "tradition" as defined by Muhammad and "Gibrail" and direct revelation by "Allah" - as deviations and not traditions. As for dogmatism and fanaticism, there are plenty stacked against in the texts to what you are pushing for. Please quote the exact Hadith giving the "book" you are referring to.

Yes, the context is there in ahadith. Also true that there were instances of some of his followers getting into brawls upon provocation, but there is no doubt that for the vast majority of the time they were on the receiving end of shunning and active persecution. Please don't try to twist your way around it.


See how you make it so obvious as to your over-zeal in trying to justify every action by the early Muslims! So "some followers" got into "brawls" only upon "provocation"! Can you quote these provocations and the narrations where these provocations are described? Where is the poof of this shunning and "persecution" and in what form? The most that we get is that some "poets" lampooned his words - and which he retaliated to by specifically getting one such woman poet assassinated while she was suckling her baby, and executing such women and men when he "peacefully" re-conquered Mecca. Even remembering that we do not have any independent voiceof the opponents of Muhammad left in record, and all that we get have been only coming from the "victorious" side, we have plenty of evidence as to who provoked whom and in what form. I think you should consult your bandhus first before making such claims. Ask them about a certain woman poet assassinated on the orders of Muhammad - and what was her crime. I have many such cases in mind.

It is you who are twisting and misrepresenting what is clearly stated in the texts, to create a whitewashed image of the early Muslims and painting their critics falsely with actions or attitudes exactly as per Islamist propaganda.

Also, his mission was not "secretive" in the beginning. The initial followers had their gatherings forced underground after some of them faced torture. But the Prophet himself would even visit fairs (melas) to advertize his message. He was once done the honor of being pelted with stones by children. That provided the occasion when he recited a famous prayer.


It was secretive, and openly acknowledged to be so. Can you give me the refs to "torture" of his initial followers? The one incident that is used to claim this would actually reveal the propaganda involved as to who did what! Children cannot understand high philosophy perhaps. But you must have seen whom children go after in gangs - anything that they see as odd, ridiculous, especially those that appear loony. As for societal or parental encouragement to children "pelting stones" - that again is a peculiarly Islamist culture and tradition [a modern exception would be the Nazis - but they had solid Abrahamic pecedence]. Muhammad cannot complain about stone pelting - because it was part of ritual "rejection" rites endorsed by himself, and part of the traditions of the Jews which he mostly adopted, and prevalent in the area he moved around.

Of course there was plenty of opposition! What a silly question. But there are famous hadith of prominent Jewish scholars becoming disciples, such as Abdullah ibn Salam! I would have thought you would know them, considering how Moslems like to talk about these hadith.


You were claiming that the "cream" of Jewish and Christian youth took to following him. You have not given the references to yet. Shall we discuss Abdullah Ibn Salam and how he got "converted"?

Brihaspati ji, everyone with the most superficial knowledge of Arabia knows that there were Christian Arabs, including a relative of Muhammad's own first wife Khadija.

You did not mention the opposition from the same quarters - and made only statements that appears as the leading lights supporting Muhammad.

Quote:
sure that "Christian Arab" youth were not opposed to Muhammad and so much so that they actually collaborated with the Byzantines?

Sure some did. What are you hammering away at? Many youths affiliated with the Shankara Mathas converted and became disciples of Shri Madhvacharya. But there were many others who did everything they could to undermine him and his mission. So??

We are not discussing Madhvacharya are we - or is doing that == your only business here?

Ah right, its all one big conspiracy. In fact, even I may be in on the conspiracy, since you hint that I may have defected from the Indic to some non-Indic demon cult. :twisted:


I think in much earlier interactions you were firmly on the position that Islamic narrators "exaggerate" a "lot" and boast or lie when it comes to descriptions about their opponent non-Muslims. Of course then you had to defend the Thaparite whitewashing of the Islamic record in India, and had to even pooh-pooh what the narrators themselves claim. You see no inconsistency in your two positions? Or the islamic texts are authentic when they are talking of their opponents "torturing" them or "provoking"them, but not authentic when it is they themselves heaping atrocities on their "opponents"? By the way, can you make it clear what is meant as "opponent" in the early Islamic literature - exactly what could qualify as "opposition"?

My point was that the Qur'an pooh poohs the silly sectarian claims of existing traditions. That's all!


But you talked a lot more about other things - isnt it, without having any clear idea of what was meant by "traditions" in the texts? or on what exactly was actually carried out on what was seen as "non-tradition"?

Early Islam, itself can be seen as a sect within the Judaic traditions - adopting the iconoclastic traditions within Byzantine Christianity, and just as the other sects - claiming that all others are deviations from the "truth" - in particular, which was onlee being revived and revealed through Muhammad. The extreme vituperation against these other sects is scattered all over the place in the texts, and have not been quoted here.Only selective quotes [context please ?- but only when it helps to show peaceful intent, otherwise remain silent] pushed to create a view that is not supported by a comprehensive consideration.

It is strategically important that we understand the whole picture as finely as possible in order to be able to engage and influence events there to the advantage of our traditions and our intrinsic strengths as a dharmic nation. Sufism provides a platform that has historically worked to our advantage. The Sikh phenomena and Guru Gobind Singh's conjuring up the khalsa would not have been possible without the sacrifices made by several Sufi Moslem teachers and their followers at that time. They recognized him as the axis of dharma (qutb-ud-din) and their followers martyred themselves protecting him -- while the Hindu Hill Rajas allied with Aurangzeb to try to kill him! We need to understand the forces at work.


Yes - and the same Sufis helped and were in turn helped by - Islamic military forces and regimes. In this respect the Sufis would be an even greater danger as should be apparent by their records in preparing the grounds for Islamic regimes, and their success in winning confused Indic voices which helps to divide opposition to Islamism. [perhaps the "cream" of non-Muslim youth are onlee now being brainwashed?] Sufis have helped in putting a spin on the proselytizing and past-culture erasing imperialist coreof the theology. Yes, we do need to understand the forces at work.

Read any book on kalaam or tasawwuf, and the meaning of asnaam and shirk are made plain. That it is also taken literally by most of them is another matter that I certainly did not intend to ignore. And Hussain, the Prophet's grandson, famously told an ex-priest of an Arabian temple, that what's the use of breaking idols when people are following walking idols now.


Literalism is often heaped on "followers" and "misinterpreters", but that was the clear original intent in laying out the "book". Only ignorance or worse, political deception would pretend that the text was not meant to be taken literally.

Come on! Numerous verses of the Qur'an are a direct call to meditation. And what was Muhammad's intention when, days before his death, he decided to pass his cloak on to a person named Oveys of Qarani? This was his most resonant slap in the face of the adrenalized types who surrounded him. Our problem is with the adrenalized idiots, but we need the saintly Oveys types to defect to our side. It will give us a tremendous psychological advantage over the rest.


You mention this repeatedly. Can you provide the "interpretation" of "zikr" you claim as meditation from the original texts - and not the later Sufi obfuscations? You were so saddened at the "derailment" of the Lokpal thread - according to you by people like "us" - where the focus has now shifted to claiming that it is the system/in-built-policy/rules that "attracts" corruption and the corrupt, and here you are claiming that policy/rules in-built into the theology has no role in attracting the "adrenalin" types? For if the fault lies in the system, it will continue to do so - isnt it? We can discuss Oveys too! Have you been told by your "bandhus" that there is a concept of "weak Hadiths"? [of course weakness is according to convenience].

Yes, most Sufis. Followers of the likes of Rabbani are different. I have already drawn that distinction.


Tauba tauba - that sounds so close to sectarianism! How can there be differences of interpretation even within the Sufi traditions - if the texts rule it out?

Brihaspati ji, I took the time to reply to your post as a matter of forum etiquette. But this sort of discussion is not at all my interest on this board. To reiterate - my point is that there exists a Sufi PoV. This Sufi PoV has wound its way through the history of Islam, however duplicitious or suspicious you may find it. This "suspicious" Sufism was instrumental in effecting the Safavi Shi'ite coup, for example. Therefore, this medium should not be lost when brainstorming ways to engage and influence the Ummah to our advantage. I hope my explanation has allayed your main concerns, which I duly appreciate.


But Shia Bijapuris or Sunni Aurangzeb - were equally atrocious on the Hindus. Sufis help in some factional infighting for forces outside India - grand! Inside India, sorry - they are a threat. As long as those other interpretations are not firmly and clearly rejected as un-Islamic, nay, anti-Islamic, mere mumblings of "literal interpretations is not good" is not enough. We have to interpret it as a clever ploy to confuse the "enemy" in Islam - a "tradition" as old as the first and core texts.

Cain Marko
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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Cain Marko » 19 Jun 2011 17:58

Don't often come to the "hot air" forum but did have some time today. Seems like Carl's original post has surely caused some takleef! No, that was a good post - there are many who look at Islam as a "primordial" religion (deen as in the dharmic sense). It is hardly any wonder that the prophets who came before are referred to as "muslims" in the Quran - an allusion to the main idea of "submission" or sharanagati.

And Rajesh, Carl's post is in fact about a certain perspective within Islam, some have even called Sufism a "sect" so it would fall under the parameters for this thread - that he compared it to an Indic perspective might be tangential but it was informative nonetheless. That it caused such offense, however, and the aftermath that followed was otoh, rather derailing, not to mention boring.

CM.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby RajeshA » 19 Jun 2011 18:16

Cain Marko wrote:And Rajesh, Carl's post is in fact about a certain perspective within Islam, some have even called Sufism a "sect" so it would fall under the parameters for this thread - that he compared it to an Indic perspective might be tangential but it was informative nonetheless. That it caused such offense, however, and the aftermath that followed was otoh, rather derailing, not to mention boring.

CM.

Cain Marko ji,

We are talking here Islam. Discussions on Islam can get very heated and controversial. So it is absolutely necessary that one sticks to the mission statement of the thread. You make a few comments outside of the mandate, and the whole thread gets derailed.

I was also the one who set up the thread on Islamism and Islamophobia, and to my pleasant surprise, the thread has managed to keep on the rails. I'd like this thread to survive as well and to remain informative.

The mandate is not to discuss Qu'ran and Islamic theology as such but to highlight the historical and theological differences among the sects. And any comparisons between Islam and other religions especially Indic religions have no place here. You can already see the aftermath, regardless of whether you find it interesting or boring.

So my request to everybody is to take the discussion on pure theology and comparative religions somewhere else.

Thanks!

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Sushupti » 19 Jun 2011 20:08

It is hardly any wonder that the prophets who came before are referred to as "muslims" in the Quran - an allusion to the main idea of "submission" or sharanagati.


"Sharnagati" is not Submission. This whole "prophet" business would be considered "Aasuric" from Dharmic vantage point.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Agnimitra » 19 Jun 2011 23:35

Cain Marko, thanks for an injection of sanity here. I was about to switch off, but I think I'll make another post.

Rajesh ji,
RajeshA wrote:Carl ji,

in the first post of this thread, there is a listing of all that what belongs in this thread's brief - nothing more! Discussions on theological similarities between Islam and some other ideology or world view does not belong here.


Your first post about the thread profile states:
e. Theological differences between the various Muslim sects

So, I explicitly highlighted the Sufi position, because Sufism is:
1. Considered a sect in itself by many today.
2. It was/is a prominent force that was instrumental in the formation of other historical schisms, such as Shi'ism.
3. It has certainly been used by some Islamist forces to further their aims, but has equally been used by anti-Islamist forces to dilute Islamist aims, both within India and outside (like Iran). Therefore, it is the baton that is to be wrested from the enemy.
4. It has significant Indic memes, which is an obvious highlight for the purposes of this thread.

Which of the above are outside the scope of this thread?

I have given examples of the above 4 points in boldface in my previous post. If you like I could expand on them, but you prefer I shut up?

The fact is that you allow a small group of paranoid, touchy and outrageously communal folks to unjustly narrow the scope of discussion, which is actually counter-productive in the following ways:

1. Undermines India's soft power projection, especially in this globalized internet age. Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of goodwill about India and Buddhism/Hinduism in the middle east, even after 60 years of Paki propoganda against India and "Hindus". But it takes only so much nonsense to lose that capital.

2. It gives us a massive blind spot, occluding our historical perspective as well as our ability to formulate a response in present time.

3. It is hypocritical and based on a b!tching, moaning inability to come to terms with a significant part of India's history and heritage that goes beyond dhoti-and-tilak. Do some of these guys also think that the Taj Mahal was Tejo Mahalaya? :eek: The same aggressively communal folk will also be paranoid about importing Pakistani brides because they don't believe Indian men can cast any influence on the offspring! Apparently the only scenario of engagement and influence that cuts through the density of their small-hearted hatred is a post nuclear armageddon where Indians supposedly swarm and take over the mid-East!! You consider this a healthy and useful influence on "strategic" discussions??

4. It is not dharmic in any sense that I can see, though it most vocally pretends to protect dharma. Madhvacharya said that the word "raakshasa" is a derivative of "rakshati" (preserves, protects), applicable to a conservative, closed-minded person whose obsession is with preserving an outward form at the expense of an evolving, expanding and all-embracing essence. Ravana was supposed to be a great enthisiast of Vedic artifacts and technologies in Lanka. :lol: I am astonished that even a mention of "similarity" between Sufism and Vedic definitions is intolerable to them! They cannot see the positive upshot of any historical "manthana" in their self-professed posturing on "daiva-asura sangraama"!

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby ramana » 20 Jun 2011 00:06

Carl, I think you can make your points without comparing to other religions, faiths or dogmas. if you want to on those lines then do so or else desist.

Thanks, ramana

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 20 Jun 2011 00:17

There would have been no problem if the "comparisons" were made with other Islamic "sects" within Islam - which would fit the thread. But the comparisons were made with philosophies outside Islam. Moreover, only a certain pro-Islamic line of quotes and interpretations were given to material sourced from foundational texts - and freely "interpreted" to make them == with Indic. But then those other aspects which could equally be interpreted in complete contradiction to what was being claimed - in Islam - were never mentioned.

I would have no problem in discussing those from what was really said and done -angle, but then this discussion would be forced to quote actual narratives as described/or historical descriptions even of the Sufi militancy and politics - and would then go beyond what the thread set out do. It would actually be interesting and I would gladly provide the material - believe me, without any of the "bi!ching" and "moaning" that has been going on here complaining against a "little" counter to the propaganda that was sought to be made in favour of a reconstruction of Islam that is based on falsification and done with an ultimately political agenda.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 20 Jun 2011 02:55

For a non-insider view on the early "sectarianism" - that incorporates archeological findings, people should go through [notwithstanding the claims of it being "controversial" because they do not seem to give importance to the demand for "submission" - and if you read it you can actually see quite a genuine fascination with and regard for the mechanism of "certainty" in Islam) Hagarsim : The Making of the Islamic World, by Crone and Cook. Their guru, Wansbrough has also several works exploring the early years.

Here is what Crone and Cook has to say :
Islam and Muslim in the sense of ‘submission’ and ‘one who submits’ was borrowed from the Samaritans. The verb aslama has cognates in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac, but whereas neither Jewish nor Christian literature provides satisfactory precedent for the Islamic usage, we find exact parallels in the Memar Marqah, which is the most important Samaritan text of the pre-Islamic period. The sense of submission can readily be seen as intended to differentiate the Hagarene covenant from Judaism.


Surah 33:35 in the Quran explicitly mentions "Muslim" and "Islam" - but it never has any connotation of "peace" as a meaning. It is clearly used to denote respectively - "one who submits" and "submission". Adding "peaceful" to submission will change the word and its root construction. It was never also added up with "peaceful" in the commentaries until the most recent hagiographies.

In case people get confused : do look up the following from available texts [note that printed versions sometimes differ in editions as well as from web versions - over time the tendency has been to edit out refs that do not fit current representations - but crucially onlee in translations and not in the Arabic versions].

Quran 47:33 “Believers, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger. Do not falter; become faint- hearted, or weak-kneed, crying for peace.” [so obedience and submission in the "Islam" sense does not incorporate "peace"]
Qur’an 9:3 “Allah is not bound by any contract or treaty with non-Muslims, nor is His Apostle.” [treaties are parts of "peaceful" behaviour in all societies, here even if people say that contextually this verse is to be taken in the specific historical battle that Muhammad was planning, the addition of "Allah" makes it last beyond the lifetime/battle of Muhammad]
Bukhari:V9B84N59 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” Whoever says this will save his property and his life from me.’” [again submission after defeat in a fight - and a fight which has explicitly been taken out of spins of -verbal-philosophical struggles - by the ref to property and life]
Qur’an 8:58 “If you apprehend treachery from any group on the part of a people (with whom you have a treaty), retaliate by breaking off (relations) with them. The infidels should not think they can bypass (Islamic law or the punishment of Allah). Surely they cannot escape.”
[note "apprehend" treachery - which means you can actually do so based on mere suspicion. So even if you had been in "peace" that was not equivalent to "submission", because of the word "escape" used. the Arabic used does mean "escape".]
Qur’an 8:61 “If the enemy inclines toward peace, you incline to peace. Should they intend to deceive or cheat you, verily Allah will suffice, aiding you with Believers.” ["intend" - again related to the theory being propounded in 8:58, and you can see that "peace" is a matter of interpretation and is distinct from "submission"]

This subversion and twisting of the "submission" into "peaceful submission" is actually a very crucial insight into the early sectarian nature of the doctrine that evolved. The Quranic texts or even the later commentaries show very contradictory statements that border on deceptive opportunism - simply because lots of things are said to justify tactical behaviour. Thus when it is convenient there is enough material to represent things as "peaceful" while there are also enough material to revoke that "peaceful" interpretation and bring on violent submission when needed.

These features are peculiar to doctrines that evolve through a lot of early sectarian violence and contests, and are also constantly ridden by factional or sectarian infighting. The evolution of Nazism or Communism from Marx to Mao through Lenin - would amply show the overt concern to gain unquestioning submission of all to the "party leader" and polemics against "sectarianism", especially when sectarianism is what constituted the movement in the first place. The ultimate "big boss" and his coterie emerges from one of the early struggling sects fighting rival claimants and desperate to establish sole control over doctrine and organization.

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby brihaspati » 20 Jun 2011 03:32

An early issue pointing to sectarianism would be the matter of the Quiblah in the early ME mosques, pointing towards Jerusalem or Mecca, and the supposed burning down of "alternative" Hajj sites. Further the harangues against the "hypocrites" should also provide a wealth of material. Unlike the so-called "pagans" or people of the "Book", "Hypocrites" were coming from within "Islam".

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Re: Islamic Sectarianism

Postby Sushupti » 20 Jun 2011 03:59

3. It is hypocritical and based on a b!tching, moaning inability to come to terms with a significant part of India's history and heritage that goes beyond dhoti-and-tilak. Do some of these guys also think that the Taj Mahal was Tejo Mahalaya? The same aggressively communal folk will also be paranoid about importing Pakistani brides because they don't believe Indian men can cast any influence on the offspring! Apparently the only scenario of engagement and influence that cuts through the density of their small-hearted hatred is a post nuclear armageddon where Indians supposedly swarm and take over the mid-East!! You consider this a healthy and useful influence on "strategic" discussions??

4. It is not dharmic in any sense that I can see, though it most vocally pretends to protect dharma. Madhvacharya said that the word "raakshasa" is a derivative of "rakshati" (preserves, protects), applicable to a conservative, closed-minded person whose obsession is with preserving an outward form at the expense of an evolving, expanding and all-embracing essence. Ravana was supposed to be a great enthisiast of Vedic artifacts and technologies in Lanka. I am astonished that even a mention of "similarity" between Sufism and Vedic definitions is intolerable to them! They cannot see the positive upshot of any historical "manthana" in their self-professed posturing on "daiva-asura sangraama"!


As expected, any questioning of the secular fantasy is not tolerable and ad-hominem attacks follows. May be proponets of vedic-sufisism (whatever that mean) could have thrown some light on the facts rather than losing their cool.


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