Maulana Rumi

While new age interpretations of Maulana Rumi have often made him out to be some airy fairy kinda hippy dude … he is hardly ever that when addressing his students/readers/listeners … Maulana Rumi expresses heights of respect, deference, and love for the Prophets (peace and blessings on all of them) and the Awliya (friends of God). But when it comes to regular people – i.e. everyone else – well, he has little or no niceties. This is consistent, because the point of the teachings of tasawwuf or irfan, or even the practice of “exoteric” Islam, is *not* to build up or strengthen the ego …

“If anyone is looking for any purchaser
Other than God,
He is nothing but a donkey.
He’s searching for something to eat
Like a donkey at the green of that sewage* hole. ” -Maulana Rumi (Divan-i Kebir)

*translated as “stock hole” – I think this is referring to the hole around an outhouse – where green may grow.

Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyah – by Dr Rebecca Masterton

An excellent review of the history of Islamic spirituality/mysticism and its relationship to the prayer manual Shaifah Al-Sajjadiyah (translated in English as the Psalms of Islam) of Imam Zain al-Abideen (AS)

Below are links to some of the works mentioned in the talk by Dr. Masterton:

Shaifah Al-Sajjadiyah (trans. William Chittick)

A Comparative Exploration of the Authority of the Awliya’ in the Shi’i and Sufi Traditions by Dr. Masterton

The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism: Two Works by Al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi – An Annotated Translation with Introduction

the meaning of resistance – Imam Khamenei

What does resistance mean? It means that the people of Iran stand up for the ideals of the Revolution. Well, we have both affirmative and negative [in logic, an affirmative proposition is a statement that asserts something and a negative proposition is a statement which denies or negates something] slogans. These are our affirmative slogans: we are after social justice, we are after public presence in different events of the country, we are after Islam, we think that the happiness of the country lies in observing Islamic teachings, we are after an independent economy, we are after the kind of culture which is independent of foreigners, we are after a completely Islamic and Iranian culture, we are after offering refuge to the oppressed and confronting the oppressor, we are after the progress of the country, we are after the scientific prominence of our country and we want our country to play a leading and pioneering role in economy, culture, social issues, morality and spirituality. These are the affirmative slogans of our Revolution.

Our Revolution had also certain negative slogans. These are the negative slogans of the Revolution: we do not give in to bullying and blackmailing and we do not give in to arrogance.

Arrogance means that a few powers – which have gained materialistic capabilities and which have weapons, money and other such things – want to rule over the world. And today, arrogance is manifested by America. During the Revolution, during subsequent events and during the imposed war, the people of Iran said, “We do not give in to America’s bullying and blackmailing”.

Some people should not put make-up on the face of America and erase the ugly parts, savagery and violence from its face. They should not describe America as a friendly and philanthropic government to our people. Even if these people make an effort to do this, their effort will be vain. Notice what America has done throughout the world over the last 70, 80 years – of course, there are many things in the history of America before this era which I do not want to discuss now. Take a look at the wars which America has waged, the innocent and civilian people whom it has viciously killed in these wars and in other events and the dictators which have been supported by America in the East and in the West.

One of these dictators was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Iran and tens of other such dictators in Asian, African and Latin American countries including military and non-military figures. These dictators oppressed their people for many years. They viciously oppressed the people, they looted their wealth and they created many disasters for them. This support for dictators exists in the performance sheet of America.

An example is its support of international and governmental terrorism. The fake and criminal Zionist regime, which has usurped Palestine, has been receiving support from America for tens of years. It kills people, destroys houses, oppresses and imprisons youth, women, men and children.

The Zionists have attacked Beirut, they have destroyed Sabra and Shatila and they have committed many other crimes. These measures have been recorded in the performance sheet of America. It launched an attack on Iraq and it killed tens of thousands of people. We do not know the exact figure. It is estimated that in recent years, the Americans have killed around one million Iraqi people directly or indirectly.

I do not know the exact figure, but at least tens of thousands of people have been killed. Even killing one person is enough for this act to be condemned. In Afghanistan, they are committing crimes in a different way.

They have established certain terrorist organizations for killing people. In a certain meeting, I mentioned the name of one of these organizations. They have established the well-known Blackwater company whose job is to kill, to create terror and to destroy people. It was the Americans who first established these extremist, murderous and takfiri groups. Of course, in the present time, this bullet which the Americans fired has ricocheted and has hit themselves. The government of America is such a government.

The issue is not about the people of America. They are like other people. The issue is about the regime and the government of America. How can this face be beautified with make-up while these acts are in front of the eyes of the people of Iran?

How did we people of Iran suffer from these crimes? Around 25, 26, 30 years – from the coup d’état launched on the 28th of Mordad of 1332 to the year 1357 – the people of Iran suffered from the oppressive regime of Mohammad Reza and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the people of Iran were faced with many oppressive, malevolent and evil acts.

The people only remember the recent sanctions, but they started imposing sanctions from the beginning of the Revolution. In the beginning of the Revolution, the Americans supported anyone who wanted to do something against the Revolution. The Americans did not care if these people were leftist, rightist, military or non-military figures. They did their best to help anyone who had certain motives against the Islamic Revolution. These people took the form of ethnic groups and many other different forms.

The last plot which the people of Iran saw with their own eyes was the fitna of the year 1388. The President of America shamelessly supported the provokers of fitna in Tehran. At the present time too, they are supporting them. This is the list of the malevolent acts that they have committed. Today, many of their evil intentions over which they used to draw a veil are gradually becoming clear.

This year, I said in Mashhad – in Samen al-Hujaj’s holy shrine – on the first day of the year 1392, that I am alright with negotiations. I said that a number of officials and executives of both the previous administrations and the current administration think that we should negotiate with the Americans on the nuclear issue so that it can be resolved. I said, “Well now that you insist, you can go and negotiate with them particularly on this issue”. But during the same speech in the beginning of the year, I said, “I am not optimistic. I do not oppose you, but I am not optimistic”.

Forging a Socialist-Islamist Alliance

An interesting article / book review of From Post Modernism to Post Secularism.

The former President of Iran, Dr. Ahmadinejad, made great strides in creating such an alliance with Latin American nations forging a path of 21st Century Socialism – that attempts to bring together classical socialism, and indigenous traditions. Such an alliance is necessary, and in no way contradicts Islamic precepts – in fact the coming together of independent nations, in the face of imperialism, is very much part and parcel of Islamic teachings. Because Islam is not an exclusive tribal religion, the call for justice, and the struggle against oppression is a responsibility of Muslims – regardless of who is being oppressed, and regardless of who the imperial aggressor is. The current problem for Muslims is to clarify who is the oppressor, and to not fall into the sectarian nonsense that is plaguing the community. And furthermore to rid of inferiority complexes, rooted in colonialism, that looks up to imperial nations as superior.

Thus far the alliance building has been done through socialist/islamic governments – and while some “grassroots” level contacts have taken place – primarily through the respective consulates in South American countries and in Iran, this has been limited. And with the emergence of Rohani (a capitalist-neo-liberal) in Iran, these contacts have been severely curtailed – as the point of foci has become appeasing western capitalist nations, and their mega-corporataion (invitations to these corporations for “investment” in Iran have already been issued).

Much more needs to be done, and the way forward is building on the foundations already laid with independent Latin American nations.

These are some of the questions Walberg addresses, trying to bring together the two main opponents of imperialism today: Islamists and socialists. Our foe is the entire Western corporate juggernaut, of which Israel is only a part. To survive, we must set aside our religious and political differences and form a united front. Shias, Sunnis, secularists, and socialists need to work together to defeat our common enemy. As Samir Amin wrote, “To bring the militarist project of the United States to defeat has become the primary task, the major responsibility, for everyone.” If we join in solidarity, we can win. Otherwise the imperialists will continue to divide and rule.

But it is essential for socialists to take Islamists seriously, and vice versa, for both sides to understand the various currents in the common resistance to imperialism, and to forge alliances that will be lasting. So far, Islam has been at best tolerated by socialists, at worst, dismissed and opposed. At the same time, Islamists have been suspicious of the socialist reaction to imperialism, in a sense, wishing a pox on both houses.

the traders, or the Capitalist class

The primary concern of the mercantilist class is their trade … and in today’s terms the Capitalist class’s primary concern is their Capital … Imam Ali (AS) said they were peaceful, yet narrow minded and avaricious. In our contemporary context we see that some of this class have infiltrated the “clergy” or those who purport to be seekers of the knowledge of Islam. This class, when taking on the role of the ulema (“clergy”) can be especially dangerous, as they put on the garb of the ones with knowledge, yet their main purpose is to serve the Capitalist class. They exist amongst both Shi’a and Sunni ulema – and when in power, they seek to ally themselves with the liberal – Capitalist elements of not only their own society, but also the so-called “world powers.”

An interesting recent article by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh makes a point of this in regards to Iran, and specifically to the rise of such a class in Iranian politics. If this class is left unchecked, they can, and will end up being a source of harm to the people – as Imam Ali (AS) has pointed out in his letter to Malik Al-Ashtar (see below) .

“What has made this option (regime change in Iran, from within) more promising (to the U.S. and its client regimes) is the rise of an ambitious capitalist class in Iran whose chief priority seems to be the ability to do business with their counterparts in the West. These folks literally mean business, so to speak; for them, issues such as nuclear technology or national sovereignty are of secondary importance. As mentioned earlier, they are the staunchest supporters of President Rouhani and the unquestioning supporters of his lopsided concessions in the nuclear deal. Also as mentioned before, it was the representative delegations of this class of Iranian capitalists that accompanied President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif to the United States and Europe in order to negotiate business/investment deals with their counterparts in the West.”

the traders

“Now take some advice about traders. Give them good counsel whether they be settled (shop-keepers) or traders or physical labourers because they are sources of profit and the means of the provision of useful articles. They bring them from distant and far-flung areas throughout the land and sea, plains or mountains, from where people cannot come and to where they do not dare to go, for they are peaceful and there is no fear of revolt from them, and they are quite without fear of treason.

Look after their affairs before yourself or wherever they may be in your area. Know, along with this, that most of them are very narrow-minded, and awfully avaricious. They hoard goods for profiteering and fix high prices for goods. This is a source of harm to the people and a blot on the officers in charge. Stop people from hoarding, because the Messenger of Allah (S) has prohibited it. The sale should be smooth, with correct weights and prices, not harmful to either party, the seller or the purchaser; whoever commits hoarding after you prohibit it, give him exemplary but not excessive punishment.” – Imam Ali (AS) – letter to Malik al-Ashtar