Archives For Religion


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

Ahsa’I, Ahmad Al-in full Shaykh Ahmad ibn Zayn al-Din Ibrahim al-Ahsa’i (b. 1753, Al-Hasa, Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia]—d. 1826, near Medina), visionary and founder of the SHI’ITE Muslim Shaykhi sect of Iran and Iraq.

After nearly 50 years of study and ravel in eastern Arabia and Iraq, Al-Ahsa’i taught religion in Yazd and Kirmanshah, Persia. His interpretation of Shi’ism attracted many followers, including the Qajar rulers, but also aroused controversy. He claimed knowledge directly from visions of MUHAMMAD and the IMAMS, and he was influenced by the though of MULLA SADRA (d. 1640), the leading Shi’ite gnostic at the school of Isfahan. Al-Ahsa’i argued for the existence of an archetypal level of reality (Hurqalya) in the cosmos between the divine realm and the earth. Some Usuli (rationalist) Shi’ite authorities objected to his opinions on Muhammad’s heavenly ascent (MI’RAJ), the concealment of the Imam MAHDI, and human resurrection; he maintained that each involved individual spirit bodies existing in the intermediate world, rather than physical ones. Al-Ahsa’i challenged scholarly Shi’ite doctrines on God and the imams by contending that the imams were originally beings of divine light who participated in the creation of the world. Moreover, he refuted the authority of Usuli jurists, who regarded themselves as spiritual caretakers of the Shi’ite community during the Imam Mahdi’s absence.

Al-Ahsa’i’s final breach with Shi’ite authorities occurred between 1822 and 1824, when a group of authorities residing in Iran and the holy cities in Iraq formally denounced him as an infidel. Following his excommunication, the shaykh left KARBALA’ an died during a pilgrimage to MECCA. When he died, however, he was still widely regarded as a leading religious authority. His successor as the leader of the Shayk-his was Sayyid Kazim Rashti (d. 1843) .

(Comeback on 7/24/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Ahura Mazda“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

AhrimanAvestan Angra Mainyu (“Destructive Spirit”), the evil spirit in the dualistic doctrine of ZOROASTRIANISM. His essential nature is expressed in his principal epithet—Druj, “the Lie.” The Lie expresses itself as greed, wrath, and envy. To aid him in attacking the light, the good creation of AHURA MAZDA, Ahriman created DEMONS embodying envy and similar qualities.  Believers expect Ahriman to be defeated in the end of time by Ahura Mazda. PARIS tend to see Ahriman as an ALLEGORY of human evil.

(Comeback on 7/23/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “Ahsa’I, Ahmad Al-“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

Ahmed Yesevialso spelled Ahmad Yasawi (b. second half of the 11th century, Sayram [now in Kazakstan]-d. 1166, Yasi, Turkistan [now Turkmenistan]), poet and Sufri (see SUFISM) mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkish-speaking world.

Legends indicate that his father died when the boy was young and his family moved to Yasi, where he began his mystical teaching, hence his name. He is said to have gone t Bukhara to study with the great Sufi leader Yusuf Hamadani and other famous mystics. Finally he returned to Hikmet (“Book of Wisdom”), containing poems on mystical themes. Scholars believe that they are probably not his though they are probably similar in style and sentiment to what he wrote. Legends about his life were spread throughout the Turkish Islamic world, and he developed a tremendous following. The conqueror Timur erected a magnificent mausoleum over his grave in 1397/98, which attracted pilgrims who revered him as a saint.

Ahmed Yesevi wrote poetry for the people, and his mystical order was a popular Islamic brotherhood that  also preserved ancient Turco-Mongol practices and customs in their ritual. His poetry deeply influenced Turkish literature, paving the way for the development of mystical folk literature.

 

(Comeback on 7/22/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “Ahriman“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

Sayyid Ahmad Khanalso called Sir Sayyid (b. Oct. 17, 1817, Delhi—d. March 27, 1898, Aligarh, India), Muslim educator, jurist, and author, founder of the Anglo-Mohammedan Oriental College at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India (now called ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY), and the principal motivating force behind the revival of Indian ISLAM in the late 19th century. In 1888 he was made a Knight Commander of the Star of India.

After a limited education Ahmad Khan became a clerk with the East India Company in 1838. He qualified three years later as a subjudge and served in the judicial department at various places.

His career as an author (in Urdu) started at the age of 23 with religious tracts. In 1847 he brought out a noteworthy book Athar al-sanadid (“Monuments of the Great”), on the antiquities of Delhi. Even more important was his pamphlet, “The Causes of the Indian Revolt.” During the Indian Mutiny of 1857 he had taken the side of the British, but in this booklet he laid bare the weaknesses and errors of the British Administration that had led to countrywide dissatisfaction and eventual rebellion. The booklet had considerable influence on British policy. Meanwhile, he began a sympathetic interpretation of the BIBLE, wrote Essays on the Life of Mohammed (1870), and wrote several volumes of a modernist commentary on the QUR’AN. In these works he sought to harmonize the Islamic faith with the scientific and politically progressive ideas of his time.

In 1867 he was transferred to Benares (now VARANASI), a city with great religious significance for the Hindus. About the same time a movement started at Benares to replace Urdu, the language cultivated by the Muslims, with Hindi. This movement and the attempts to substitute Hindi for Urdu in the publications of the Scientific Society convinced Ahmad Khan that the paths of the Hindus and the Muslims must diverge. Thus, during a visit to England (1879-70) he prepared plans for a great educational institution. described as “a Muslim Cambridge.” Oh his return he set up a committee for the purpose and also started an influential journal, Tahdhib al-akhlaq (“Moral Reform”), for the “uplift and reform of the Muslim”; out of these efforts grew Aligarh Muslim University. In 1886 he organized the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference, which met annually at different places to promote education and to provide the Muslims with a common platform. Until the founding of the Muslim League in 1906, it was the principal national center of Indian Islam.

Ahmad Khan advised the Muslims against joining active politics. He argued that, in a country where communal divisions were all-important and education and political organization were confined to a few classes, parliamentary democracy would work only inequitably. Muslims, generally, followed his advice and abstained from politics until several years later when they had established their own political organization.

(Comeback on 7/21/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “Ahmed Yesevi“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

Ahmadiya, a modern Islamic sect and the generic name for various SUFI (Muslim mystic) orders. The sect was founded in Qadian, the Punjab, India, in 1889 by mahdi (see MAHDI), the Christian MESSIAH, an incarnation of the Hindu god KRISHNA, and a reappearance (buruz) of MUHAMMAD. The sect preaches, among other tenets, that JESUS feigned death and RESURRECTION but in actuality escaped to India, where he died at the age of 120, and that JIHAD represents a battle against unbelievers to be waged by peaceful methods rather than by violent military means.

On the death of the founder, Mawlawi Nur-al-Din was elected by the community as khalifa (“successor”). In 1914, when he died, the Ahmadiya split. The original, Qadiani, group recognized Ghulam Ahmad as prophet (nabia) and his son Hadrat Mirza Bashir al-Din Mahmud Ahmad as the second CALIPH. The new Lahore society, however, accepted Ghulam Ahmad only as a reformer (mujaddid).

The Qadianis relocated to Rabwah, Pakistan, in 1947; there are also communities in India and West Africa as well as in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States. They are a highly organized community with a considerable financial base. They are zealous missionaries, preaching Ahmadi beliefs as the one true ISLAM, with Muhammad and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as prophets.

Members of the Lahore group are also proselytizers, though more concerned in gaining converts to Islam than to their particular sect. Led from its inception by Mawlana Muhammad ‘Ali until his death in 1951, the sect has been active in English- and Urdu-language publishing and in liberalizing Islam.

Ahmadiya also designates several Sui orders, the most important of which is that of Egypt named after Ahmad al=Badawi, one of the greatest saints of Islam (d. 1276). Al-Badawi achieved great fame for his knowledge of Islamic sciences, but he eventually abandoned speculative theology and devoted himself to contemplation in seclusion. Soon he became known as a miracle-working saint and had thousands of followers. He arrived in Tanta (north of Cairo, Egypt) in 1236. His followers were also called Sutuhiya from ashab al-sath (the people of the roof); according to one anecdote, when al-Badawi arrived at Tanta, he climbed upon the roof of a private house and stood motionless looking into the sun until his eyes became red and sore. This action was then imitated by some of hs followers. After al-Badawi’s death, the Ahmadiya was headed by ‘Abd al-Al, a close disciple who ruled the order until his death in 1332. Before his death, ‘Abd al-’Al ordered a shrine built on al-Badawi’s tomb, which was later replaced by a large mosque.

The Ahmadiya order, which is representative of certain types of dervishes, faced great opposition from Muslim legalists, who, in general, opposed all Sufism, and from political figures who felt threatened by the order’s tremendous popular influence> The Ahmadiya is one of the most popular orders in Egypt, and the three yearly festivals in honor of al-Badawi are major celebrations. Numerous minor orders are considered branches of the Ahmadiya and are spread all over the Islamic world. Among these are Shinnawiya, the Kannasiya, the Bayyumiya, the Sallamiya, the Halabiya, and the Bundariya.

(Comeback on 7/20/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “Sayyid Ahmad Khan“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

AHMAD BABAin full Abu al-’Abbas Ahmad ibn Ahmad al-Takruri al-Massufi (b. Oct. 26, 1556, Arawan, near Timbuktu, Songhai Empire—d. April 22, 1627, Timbuktu), jurist, writer, and a cultural leader of the western Sudan.

A descendant of line of jurists, Ahmad Baba was educated in Islamic culture, including jurisprudence. His fatwas (legal opinions) are noted for their clarity of thought and clear exposition of Islamic judicial principles (see SHARIA). He also compiled Nail al-ibtihaj, a biographical dictionary of the famous MALIKI LEGAL SCHOOL (one of the four schools of Islamic law) jurists; this work is still an important source of information concerning the lives of Maliki jurists and Moroccan religious personalities.

 

(Comeback on 7/19/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “AHMADIYA“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

AHL-E HAQQ, (Arabic: “People of truth,” or “People of God”), also mistakenly called ‘Ali Ilahis, or ‘Aliyu’ Ilahis (Adherents to the Divinity of ‘Ali”),

secret, loosely organized, syncretistic religion appearing in the 15th century. Their beliefs were derived largely from ISLA. The religion is centered in western Iran and Iraq and is especially prevalent among the Kurds and Turkmens. They retain the 12 IMAMS of ITHNA ‘ASHARIYAH Shi’ism and certain aspects of Islamic MYSTICISM. Influenced by extremist SHI’ITE groups (GHULAT), they preach seven successive manifestations of God and the transmigration of souls, which pass through 1,001 incarnations and in the process receive the proper reward for their actions. The ultimate purification (becoming “luminous”) is limited to those who in the initial creation were destined to be good and were created of yellow, rather than black, clay. On the Day of Judgment the good will enter Paradise and the wicked will be annihilated. Their rites include animal sacrifice.

The chief source of information about the sect are the Furqan al-akhbar and the Shahnama-ye haqiqat, written in the late 19th or early 20th century by Hajj Ni’mat Allah.

(Comeback on 7/18/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “AHMAD BABA“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

AHL AL-KITAB, (Arabic: “People of the Book”), in Islamic thought, those who are possessors of divine books (i.e., the TORAH, the GOSPEL, and the AVESTA of ZOROASTRiaNISM), as distinguished from those whose religions are not based on divine revelations.

The Prophet MUHAMMAD gave many privileges to Ahl al-kitab that are not to be extended to others, including freedom of worship; thus, during the early Muslim conquests, Jews and Christians were not force to convert to ISLAM. Muslim authorities are responsible for the protection of Ahl al-kitab for, “he who wrongs a Jew or a Christian will have myself [the Prophet] as his indicter on the day of judgement.” After Muhammad’s death, his successors sent instructions to their generals and provincial governors not to interfere with Ahl al-kitab in their worship and to treat them with full respect.

Muslim men may marry women from Ahl al-kitab even if the latter choose to remain in their religion; Muslim women, however, are not allowed to marry men from Ahl al-kitab unless they convert to Islam. The children resulting from such mixed marriages must be raised as Muslims, according to the SHARIA.

(Comeback on 7/17/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “AHL-E HAQQ“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

AHL AL-BAYT, (Arabic: “People of the House”), designation in ISLAM for the holy family of the Prophet MUHAMMAD, particularly his daughter FATIMA, her husband ALI (who was also Muhammad’s cousin), and their descendants.

SHITTES closely identify this family with the IMAMS, whom they regard as the legitimate holders of authority in the Muslim community, the infallible bearers of sacred knowledge, and the source of messianic deliverance in the end time. Since the 12th and 13th centuries most SUFI orders have included members of the Prophet’s family in their elaborate spiritual lineages (silsilas), which they trace back to the Prophet through ‘Ali.

Aside from MECCA, shrines containing the remains of members of the Prophet’s family and their heirs are the most popular Muslim PILGRIMAGE centers. These include the shrines of ‘Ali in NAJAF (Iraq), HUSAYN in KARBALA’ (Iraq) and Cairo (Egypt), ‘ALI AL-RIDA in MASHHAD (Iran), and Mu’in alDin Chisti in Ajmer (western India). In many Muslim societies people known as SHARIFS and SAYYIDS hold privileged status by descent from the holy family. Among those claiming such status in the 20th century were King Hasan II of Morocco (b. 1929), King Hussein of Jordan (1935-99), Saddam Hussein of Iraq (b. 1937), and ABU’L-ALA’ MAWDUDI of India/Pakistan (1903-79).

(Comeback on 7/15/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “AHL AL KITAB“.


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

Ah Kin, (Mayan: “He of the Sun”), regular clergy of the Yucatec Maya in PRE-COLUMBIAN MESO-AMERICAN RELIGIONS. The Yucatec title Ah Kin (from ah, “the holder of a certain position” and kin, “sun, day, feast day”) might be loosely translated “the day-priest,” or “the calendar-priest” The Ah Kin are known historically for their performance in the ritual sacrifice of victims, whose heart were offered to the Mayan gods. The chief priest (Ah Kin Mai) served in the various capacities of administrator, teacher, healer, astronomer, adviser to the chief, and diviner. The office of Ah Kin was hereditary, passing from priest to their sons, but training was also extended to the sons of the nobility who showed inclinations toward the PRIESTHOOD.

(Comeback on 7/15/14 and continue to learn about. Tomorrow you’ll read about “AHL AL-BAYT“.