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:

Akali Dal, also called Shiromani Akali Dal (Punjabi: “Followers of the Timeless One” [God]), Sikh political part in British an Independent India (see also SIKHISM). The title Akali refers to 18th-century Sikh soldiers made famous by the courage they displayed when they gathered to fight against the Mughals and later the Afghans. The modern Akali Dal came into existence in 1920 as Sikh volunteers took up the responsibility of reforming the administration of Sikh GURDWARAS (temples). When the SHIROMANI GURDWARA PRABANDHAK COMMITTEE (SGPC) was established in 1925 as the authoritative Sikh body for specifically religious matters, the Akali Dal came to see itself in a parallel way as the sole protector of the political interests of the Sikh community. It was given the task of representing Sikh interests—unsuccessfully, any felt—in the negotiations that preceded the partition of the Punjab in 1947.

The Akali Dal has historically found itself in conflict with the central government of India in Delhi. Its sustained efforts led to the founding in 1966 of the present-day state of Punjab, where Sikhs are in the majority an Punjabi is the official language. The Akali Dal was the only political party that offered stiff resistance to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s effort to stifle democratic institutions in the Punjab in the mid-1970s. Drawing its support principally from the Sikh peasantry, it is the oldest regional political party on the Indian political scene. It has been in and out of power at the state level from the late 1960s onward.

(Comeback on 7/31/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Akal Takhat“.

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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:

Akalanka, (fl. 8th century), an important DIGAMBARA logician within JAINISM. Accounts of his life, composed several centuries after he lived, claim that he and his brother secretly studied in a Buddhist monastery in order to learn Buddhist doctrine. They were discovered to be Jains, and his brother was killed by the Buddhists. Akalanka fled to the court of the king of Kalinga. There by a combination of magic and logic he defeated a prominent Buddhist monk in public debate and so established the superiority of Jainism.

Akalanka is credited with laying the foundation for the developed form of Jain logic. He provided Jain logic with an effective doctrine of PRAMANAS, or proofs, that served as a bridge between earlier Jain logic and non-Jain schools of logic. This allowed Akalanka to debate non-Jains on logical grounds that were acceptable on both sides. In particular, he used these tools to counter the influence of the Buddhist logician DHARMAKIRTI. Later Jain philosophers adopted and built upon the system developed by Akalanka.

(Comeback on 7/30/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Akali Dal“.


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:

Ajax The Lesser, Greek Aias, in Greek legend, son of Oileus, king of Locris. In spite of his small stature he held his own among the other heroes before Troy; but he was also boastful, arrogant, and quarrelsome. For his crime of dragging King PRIAM’s daughter CASSANDRA from the statue of ATHENA and violating her, he barely escaped being stoned to death by his Greek allies. Voyaging homeward, his ship was wrecked, but he was saved. For boasting of his escape, he was cast by POSEIDON into the sea and drowned. Ajax was worshiped as a hero by the Opuntian Locrians (who lived of the Malian Gulf in central Greece), who always left a vacant place for him in their battle line.

(Comeback on 7/29/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Akalanka“.


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:

Ajax The Greater, Greek Aias, in Greek legend, son of Telamon, king of Salamis, described in the Iliad as being of great stature and colossal frame, second only to ACHILLES in strength and bravery. He engaged HECTOR (the chief Trojan warrior) in single combat and, with the aid of the goddess ATHENA, rescued the body of Achilles from the hands of the Trojans. He competed with the Greek hero ODYSSEUS for the armor of Achilles but lost, which so enraged him that it caused his death. Ajax was the tutelary hero of the island of Salamis, where he had a temple and an image and where a festival called Aianteia was celebrated in his honor.

(Comeback on 7/28/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Ajax the Lesser“.


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:

Ajanta Caves, Buddhist rock-cut cave temples and monasteries, near Ajanta village, north-central Maharashtra state, western India, celebrated for their wall paintings. The temples are hollowed out of granite cliffs on the inner side of a 70-foot ravine in a river valley. The group of soe 30 caves was excavated between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE and consists of two types, caityas (“sanctuaries”) and VIHARAS (“monasteries”)The fresco-type paintings depict Buddhist legends and divinities with a beautiful exuberance and vitality that is unsurpassed in Indian art.

(Comeback on 7/27/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Ajax the Greater“.


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:

`A’ishain full `A’isha bint Abi Bakr, byname Umm al-Mu’minin (Mother of the Faithful”) (b. 614, Meca Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia]-d. July 678, Medina), the third and most favored wife of the Prophet MUHAMMAD.

All Muhammad’s marriages had political motivations, and in this case the intention seems to have been to cement ties with `A’isha’s father, Abu Bakr, who was once of Muhammad’s most important supporters. `A’isha’s personal charm secured her a place in his affections that was not lessened by his subsequent marriages. It is said that in 627 she accompanied the Prophet on an expedition but became separated from the group. When she was later escorted back to MEDINA by a man who had found her in the desert, Muhammad’s enemies claimed that she had been unfaithful. Muhammad, who trusted her, ha a revelation asserting her innocence and publicly humiliated her accusers.

When Muhammad died in 632, `A’isha remained politically inactive until the time of ‘Uthman (644-656; the third CALIPH), during whose reign she played an important role in fomenting opposition that led to his murder in 656. She led an army against his successor, “Ali, but was defeated in the Battle of the Camel. (The engagement derived its name from the fierce fighting that centered around the camel upon which `A’isha was mounted.) She was captured by her opponents but was allowed to live quietly in Medina. She is credited with having transmitted up to 1,210 HADITH and having possession of an early code of the Qur’an.

(Comeback on 7/26/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn about “Ajanta Caves“.


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:

Ahura Mazda, (Avestan: “Wise Lord”), also spelled Ormizd mazd, supreme god in ancient Iranian religion especially in the religious system of the Iranian prophet ZROASTER (7th century-6th century BCE). Ahura Mazda was worshiped by the Persian king Darius I (reigned 522 BCE-486 BCE) and his successors as the greatest of all gods and protector of the just king.

According to Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda created the universe and the cosmic order that he maintains. He created the twin spirits SPENTA MAINYU and Angra Mainyu (AHRIMAN)—the former beneficent, choosing deceit, darkness, and death. The struggle of the spirits against each other makes up the history of the world.

In ZOROASTRIANISM, as is reflected in a collection of texts called the AVESTA, Ahura Mazda is identified with the beneficent and directly opposed to the destructive one. The beneficent and evil spirits are conceived as mutually limiting, coeternal beings, the one above and the other beneath, with the world in between as their battleground. In late sources (3rd century CE onward), Zurvan (“Time”) is made the father of the twins Ormazd and Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) who, in orthodox Mazdaism, reign alternately over the world until Ormazd’s ultimate victory.

Something of this conception is reflected in MANICHAEISM, in which God is sometimes called Zurvan, while Ormazd is his first emanation, Primal Man, who is vanquished by the destructive spirit of darkness but rescued by God’s second emanation, the Living Spirit.

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


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“.