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Daily Archives: August 23, 2014

Advice of Ja’far al-Sadiq (d. 765) to Musa al-Kadhim (d. 799)

“O my son, verily the one who is satisfied with what he has is the truly wealthy, while the one who covets that which another possesses is truly impoverished…Know also that the one who exposes the sins of another, his own sins will be exposed. It is undoubted that the one who unsheathes the sword of unjust rebellion will be killed with it. Verily, the one who consorts with the foolish will become abased, while the one who affiliates with scholars will be ennobled. O my son, do not interfere in affairs that do not concern you, for therein lies humiliation. Speak the truth whether it is in your favor or against it, consult about matters with your close relatives, constantly recite the Qur’an, be a conveyor of Islam, an enjoiner of the good, a forbidder of evil, and generous to the one who seeks assistance. Always re-establish relations with the one who cuts you off. Beware of backbiting and slander for it engenders hatred and implants enmity in the heart. I warn you against exposing the faults of others for the one who does so is like an exposed target…Make sure to visit the righteous while shunning the sinful, for the latter are like a rock that provides no water, a fruitless tree, and a barren field.”

يَا بُنَيَّ ! مَنْ قَنعَ بِمَا قُسِمَ لَهُ ، اسْتَغْنَى ، وَمَنْ مَدَّ عَيْنَيْهِ إِلَى مَا فِي يَدِ غَيْرِه، مَاتَ فَقِيْراً، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَرضَ بِمَا قُسِمَ لَهُ ، اتَّهمَ اللهَ فِي قَضَائِهِ، وَمَنِ اسْتَصْغَرَ زَلَّةَ غَيْرِه ، اسْتَعْظَمَ زَلَّةَ نَفْسِه، وَمَنْ كَشَفَ حِجَابَ غَيْرِه ، انكَشَفَتْ عَوْرَتُهُ ، وَمَنْ سَلَّ سَيْفَ البَغْيِ، قُتِلَ بِهِ، وَمَنِ احْتَفَرَ بِئْراً لأَخِيْهِ ، أَوقَعَهُ اللهُ فِيْهِ ، ومن دَاخَلَ السُّفَهَاءَ ، حُقِّرَ ، وَمَنْ خَالطَ العُلَمَاءَ، وُقِّرَ ، وَمَنْ دَخَلَ مَدَاخِلَ السُّوءِ ، اتُّهِمَ .

يَا بُنَيَّ ! إِيَّاكَ أَنْ تُزرِيَ بِالرِّجَالِ ، فَيُزْرَى بِكَ ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَالدُّخُوْلَ فِيْمَا لاَ يَعْنِيكَ ، فَتَذِلَّ لِذَلِكَ .يَا بُنَيَّ ! قُلِ الحَقَّ لَكَ وَعَلَيْكَ، تُسْتَشَارُ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَقْرِبَائِكَ ، كُنْ لِلْقُرْآنِ تَالِياً ، وَللإِسْلاَمِ فَاشِياً ، وَللمَعْرُوْفِ آمِراً ، وَعَنِ المُنْكرِ نَاهِياً ، وَلِمَنْ قَطَعَكَ وَاصِلاً ، وَلِمَنْ سَكَتَ عَنْكَ مُبتَدِئاً ، وَلِمَنْ سَألَكَ مُعطِياً ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَالنَّمِيْمَةَ ، فَإِنَّهَا تَزرَعُ الشَّحْنَاءَ فِي القُلُوْبِ ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَالتَّعَرُّضَ لِعُيُوْبِ النَّاسِ ، فَمَنْزِلَةُ المُتَعَرِّضِ لِعُيُوبِ النَّاسِ ، كَمَنْزِلَةِ الهَدَفِ ، إِذَا طَلَبْتَ الجُوْدَ ، فَعَلَيْكَ بِمَعَادِنِهِ ، فَإِنَّ لِلْجُوْدِ مَعَادِنَ ، وَللمَعَادِنِ أُصُوْلاً ، وَللأُصُوْلِ فُرُوعاً ، وَلِلفُرُوعِ ثَمَراً ، وَلاَ يَطِيْبُ ثَمَرٌ إِلاَّ بِفَرعٍ ، وَلاَ فَرعٌ إِلاَّ بِأَصلٍ ، وَلاَ أَصلٌ إِلاَّ بِمَعدنٍ طَيِّبٍ ، زُرِ الأَخْيَارَ ، وَلاَ تَزُرِ الفُجَّارَ ، فَإِنَّهُم صَخْرَةٌ لاَ يَتَفَجَّرُ مَاؤُهَا، وَشَجَرَةٌ لاَ يَخضَرُّ وَرَقُهَا ، وَأَرْضٌ لاَ يَظْهَرُ عُشْبُهَا

[[al-Dhahabī, Siyar A‘lam al-Nubalā’ (Beirut, 1981), Vol. 6, p. 263]

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500th Anniversay of the Battle of Chaldiran (Aug. 1514): Letter Exchange between Sultan Selim I (d. 1520) and Shah Ismail (d. 1524)

Today (August 23rd 2014) marks the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Chaldiran, an event that had a major transformative impact on the geo-political and religious landscape of the Middle East. It limited the expansion of the Safavid state, allowing it to consolidate itself as a Shi’i-majority state on the Iranian plateau, while facilitating the expansion of the Ottoman empire into the Middle East on the other. The aftermath of the battle witnessed the confessionalization of the Near East into two distinctive political-sectarian camps with an aggressive Sunnism being promoted by the Ottomans in response to the militant Shi’ism that was imposed by the Safavids on the Iranian plateau (for more on this, see my piece: https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-conversion-of-iran-to-twelver-shiism-a-preliminary-historical-overview/).

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(Battle of Chaldiran, Chehel Sotun Palace, Isfahan) (more…)