In Their Eyes

Your living miracle has brought you this far. You are unstoppable now – so long as you nurture this insight. The present moment expands forward and backward in time. You are on a journey towards the infinite, there is no turning back. With the clarity of this moment, you can now peek into the past. You have a living miracle, you have a living guardian – even if only behind the scenes – and you have a guarded community. This awareness is a critical vision, a discerning mechanism, granting you access to the past in ways that others simply lack. If many supposedly “historical” records were influenced by tyrants, how do we tell what is true from false? Put aside petty details; I’m speaking of the core events. What about those turning points in history that govern our spiritual program today? What about the transition from chosen one to succeeding guardian and from guardian to subsequent guardian? In Their Eyes gives the reader straightforward and concise answers to these pivotal questions.

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Your Living Miracle

When we cannot figure it out otherwise, a miracle is our proof that the person claiming to be a chosen one (or a guardian) speaks the truth. If the so-called “chosen one” is known to fall short of impeccable character and sound reasoning – based on fair standards – then such a person is not even a serious candidate. A chosen one (and a guardian as well, for that matter) is meant to be a lighthouse in word and in action, an untainted connection to the one with no need. Falling short of that purity disqualifies any potential claimant. If claimant X says [s]he is the creator of the one with no need, our sound reasoning can expose such a charlatan right off the bat. The same goes for any other with an absurd claim. Your Living Miracle is a brief analysis of our living miracle and the Last Chosen One.

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Thoughts that Give Me Life

The following thoughts are packed with life. But it is up to the reader to see for her/himself. If I could have pinpointed any thoughts more pivotal to my own life than these, I would have. Almost every, if not every, sentence in Thoughts that Give me Life addresses a condensed facet of discussion regarding one of these five key ideas. A reader unfamiliar with these discourses might not recognize it, but can rest assured that there are long conversations in between the lines. That being said, I have avoided technical and even traditional terms, and have instead attempted to cast these timeless truths in a language more akin to our times. My humble attempt has been to move from point to point in an intelligible fashion, while inviting a contemplative type of reading.

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Empowered By Clarity

Empowered by Clarity is a collection of seven reflections that are key to clarity on a multitude of questions that a person faces in the voyage home. I have personally formulated my worldview and addressed objections to it in light of these fundamental principles. As simple as they may appear at face value, they have the propensity to resolve quagmires that have paralyzed even experts in their fields. Let us not forget that sometimes attention to detail keeps us from seeing the bigger picture. We may lose touch with obvious facts when we get caught up in specialization. This booklet brings to the surface what many would find to be unspoken assumptions of the sound-minded. It is a reminder and an invitation to be empowered. The coming booklets in this series will take these reflections as sound assumptions.

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Between Lake and Sea

In Between Lake and Sea, Ali finds himself hitting rock bottom after waking up one morning on the grassy slopes of Hines Park. Growing distant from his family and falling into complacency, Ali needed something to change. To reconnect with his rich heritage, and rediscover his faith, 24-year old Ali travels to his father’s homeland of Najaf, Iraq. It is a spiritual journey marked by an unlikely friendship with a mystic scholar – the Sayyid – who opens Ali’s eyes to answers that were always there deep within. Growing up between America and the Middle East, Ali’s journey reflects on what it means to be both American and Arab, both Lebanese and Iraqi, and a practicing Muslim. It’s a story of vulnerability and discovery – a story that unpacks the challenging conversations around identity, faith, and belonging – pivotal to young people everywhere.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

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Spirituality

Mankind lives in this world surrounded by temptation and desire. Many of us fall into complacency – becoming more and more attached to this world while not paying much attention to the hereafter. God sent His messengers and scriptures to call mankind to avoid the temptations of this world and seek the eternal life of the hereafter, setting on a journey towards an everlasting Paradise.God created a system in which our free will and choices can lead us towards the greatest of spiritual heights to be the greatest of His creations. This spiritual journey is not a small or trivial matter. We cannot approach the task of spiritual advancement without first equipping ourselves with the proper tools and understanding.This book is a compilation of lessons in ethics revolving around specific discussions on man’s relationship with God and the effects of our actions on that relationship. The topics discussed here range from the methodology for self-betterment to building a relationship with the Creator. It is an effort to provide some practical wisdom for anyone seeking to reach closer towards the Almighty.

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem is an esteemed Muslim scholar, lecturer, and researcher residing in Dubai, UAE. Sayyid Al-Hakeem spent ten years studying at the Islamic seminaries of Qum, Iran. There, he completed his Advanced Seminars (a Ph.D. equivalent in Islamic seminaries) in Islamic Jurisprudence and Thought. He also received a Master’s degree in Islamic Thought from the Islamic University of Lebanon. Sayyid Al-Hakeem has dedicated the past twenty-two years of his life to service of the Muslim community in different capacities. He serves as a resident scholar in the Imam Hassan Mosque, Dubai. He is the Chair of the Religious Committee and the religious supervisor of the Charitable Deeds Committee of the Ja’afariya Endowment Charitable Council of Dubai.

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Understanding Karbala

“Surely, whoever follows me will be martyred. Whoever does not follow me will not witness the Triumph.” These were some of Imam Hussain’s last words before leaving Medina. He set out from Medina towards Kufa, and ultimately to Karbala, knowing the great sacrifice that he would make. He foretold of his fate and knew that his movement will only result in a crushing military defeat. But he also knew the great value – the great triumph – that was to be gained. He set out not to achieve any immediate results or short term goals. Rather, his movement was meant to build an eternal legacy and achieve lasting reform in the nation of his grandfather. But what and how did Imam Hussain reform the nation of his grandfather? Why did Imam Hussain sacrifice as he did? What was the context in which this sacrifice and tragedy took place? What was the role of the remainder of the Household of the Prophet before and after the tragedy? What was Imam Hussain’s goal and how did he triumph despite the grand massacre? Understanding Karbala is an in depth historical and theological analysis that attempts to answer these far-reaching questions about Imam Hussain’s movement. Based on the work of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed al-Hakeem, the book looks at the driving factors behind Imam Hussain’s journey. It sets the theological framework for studying the movement of the Household of Prophet Muhammad, and then begins to analyze their choices as seen in their words and actions, as well as the historical context in which they operated. The book also looks at the great triumph Imam Hussain aimed for and was able to achieve through his movement. By studying the short and long term effects of the grand tragedy, the book sheds light on Imam Hussain’s objectives and achievements, and how the remainder of the Household of the Prophet worked to preserve that triumph.

Sayyid Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem

His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem was born in the Holy City of Najaf in 1934. His father, Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Al-Hakeem, was a prominent scholar of his time. He grew under the tutelage of his father who began to teach him the basic courses of Islamic sciences before the age of ten.
Since his youth, His Eminence was known for his knowledge, ethics, and piety. He was respected amongst his peers and teachers for his keen understanding of the religious sciences and critical approach in discussion. He was always alongside his father in the gatherings of scholarly learning and intellectual discourse.
Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem was given special attention by his maternal grandfather Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem, who assigned his grandson the task of reviewing the manuscripts of his well renowned jurisprudential encyclopedia Mustamsak Al-‘Urwa Al-Wuthqa. In the course of reviewing the manuscripts, His Eminence would discuss the text with his grandfather. Through those sessions he gained a great wealth of knowledge and showcased his understanding and skill in the Islamic sciences.
During his time at the Islamic Seminary of Najaf, His Eminence studied under some of the most prominent scholars. Those scholars included his father, his maternal grandfather, Grand Ayatollah Hussain Al-Hilli, and Grand Ayatollah Abulqasim Al-Khoei.
At the age of thirty-four, after having spent more than two decades of his life in the pursuit of religious learning, he began offering bahth kharij (advanced seminars) in the principles of jurisprudence. Two years later, he began offering advanced seminars in jurisprudence based on the books of Al-Shaykh Al-A’dham Murtadha Al-Ansari and his grand-father Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem. Since then, His Eminence would continue to teach advanced seminars despite the challenges and obstacles he would face.
Along with his teachers and peers, His Eminence was active in public affairs ever since he joined the seminary. He was amongst the group of scholars that supported Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem in his movement against Communist influence in Iraq. In 1963, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem signed the notable petition from the seminary that denounced President Abdul Salam Arif’s attempt to impose Communism in Iraq.
When the Baathist regime overthrew its predecessor and took control of Iraq, His Eminence continued his activism against the state’s dictatorial policies. Most notably, he would defy Baathist threats to execute anyone who would fulfill the ritual of walking toward the city of Karbala as a commemoration of the sacrifices made there fourteen centuries ago. Because of this defiance, the Grand Ayatollah became a pursued target of the Baathist regime and was forced into hiding until the regime finally closed the case. Yet despite all the harassment and persecution, His Eminence would remain in Najaf and refuse to join the exodus away from Baathist tyranny. He saw the exodus as a threat to the existence of Najaf’s seminary, and so decided to stay in the city to ensure its continuity.
On May 9th, 1983, after the Hakeem family’s refusal to support the Baathist regime during the Iran-Iraq war, many of the family’s members were arrested, including the Grand Ayatollah himself. There, they faced constant interrogation and all kinds of torture. They were beaten with nightsticks and subjected to electric shocks, to name a couple of the most used torture methods. Diseases began to spread, with no access to any medical assistance. Still, the family’s fortitude was not broken and they persevered.
Shortly after the mass imprisonment of the family, the Grand Ayatollah began offering classes in Quranic exegesis. He found no other books or sources for study in the Baathist prison system other than an old and worn copy of the Holy Quran. The wardens soon found out about this course and forced him to stop teaching. Nonetheless, religious discussions and commemorations continued in secrecy throughout their years of imprisonment. During those years, a total of sixteen members of the Hakeem family were executed by the regime.
In 1985, the remainder of the imprisoned members of the Hakeem family was moved to Abu Ghraib prison, which was a lower security prison at the time. There, the Grand Ayatollah found an opportunity to continue teaching the advanced seminars he had offered before imprisonment. Since most of the inmates with him were highly educated seminarians and students of his, he quickly seized the opportunity.
Finally, on June 7, 1991, His Eminence and the remainder of the Hakeem family were released from prison. That, however, did not mean an end to Baathist harassment. Baathist authorities badgered him in an attempt to name him an official state designated religious authority. He definitively refused such offers, asserting that religious authority is and must always be independent. Because of his firm position, the state imposed a great deal of restrictions on the Grand Ayatollah. Amongst those restraints included a ban on publishing any of his books and scholarly work and broad restrictions on his travel.
After the passing of Grand Ayatollah Abulqasim Al-Khoei the following year, many scholars and seminarians petitioned His Eminence to assume the obligations and duties of Marja’ – the religious authority to whom the believers refer to in issues of law. In compliance with the incessant petitions of students and peers, he put forward his views on Islamic law and practice and became one of the most prominent religious authorities of the time. He continued his scholarly work, writing and teaching across the fields of Islamic sciences. Currently based in the Holy City of Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Al-Hakeem is one of the leading contemporary religious authorities for Shia Muslims worldwide.

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Leadership and Development

Islam looks at the idea of human development as a continuous movement through the lifetime of a human being. Development serves the purpose of man in his strive for excellence and perfection. It is part and parcel to the life of a Muslim and naturally should be a driving force in the life of every human being. Without acknowledging it, learning how to use it, and incorporating it in one’s life, there is surely something missing. Human development is the gateway to excellent leadership, whether it is in one’s home, organization, or community. The concepts of leadership and development go hand in hand, as shown to us by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and his immaculate disciples. This book shows us how they stressed a lifestyle of leadership through development and how one can attain their own personal excellence. Islam emphasizes that human development is meant for, and is driven by, individuals, because of their dynamic personalities, ever increasing body of knowledge, and endless potential. Development is an incentive for diligence, persistence, excellence, precision, and other facets of growth. It is comprehensive growth that affects and is effected by the movement of society. Consequently, human development is not novel in Islam, although it was not coined as a term of art until recent history.

Sayyid Abathar Tajaldeen

Sayyid Abathar Tajaldeen is a corporate attorney at the AT Law Group, based in Dearborn, MI. With a background in nonprofit executive leadership and management, he has worked with various nonprofit organizations in the United States. Tajaldeen is currently the Executive Director at the Mainstay Foundation where he focuses his efforts on strategic planning, coalition building, and expanding the organizations initiatives and outreach.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

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Social Affairs: Brotherhood. Marriage. Community.

As human beings we long for bonding with our fellow human beings. It is part of our nature to live and coexist with one another. Building relationships of mutual benefit is part and parcel to human tradition. We cannot exist without one another. From the institution of marriage and raising a family to engaging in trade and general socialization, we yearn for these relationships. Isolation is not natural to the human condition. It is rarely chosen out of free will and is often only imposed by necessity or circumstance. Islam embraces the nature of man and encourages his integration with the rest of mankind. Society is built upon individual engagement forming the collective of families, groups, and communities. Islam empowers individuals to acknowledge each other, in all their diversity, appreciate one another and learn more about that diversity that exists amongst them. Out of this great family we call mankind, we find this diversity and celebrate it. The book details the rights and etiquettes taught to us by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and the Immaculate Imams (a) in regards to any individual we may encounter in our lives. This book, Social Affairs: Brotherhood, Marriage, Community, is a compilation of inspirational lessons in regards to living as part of a community. It lays a framework for Islamic teachings on how to be part of the human family. Whether it is a parent, a sibling, a close family member, a fellow mosque goer, a coworker, or an absolute stranger, our faith teaches us how to interact with integrity and respect. The book details the rights and etiquettes taught to us by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and the Immaculate Imams (a) in regards to any individual we may encounter in our lives.

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem is an esteemed Muslim scholar, lecturer, and researcher residing in Dubai, UAE. Sayyid Al-Hakeem spent ten years studying at the Islamic seminaries of Qum, Iran. There, he completed his Advanced Seminars (a Ph.D. equivalent in Islamic seminaries) in Islamic Jurisprudence and Thought. He also received a Master’s degree in Islamic Thought from the Islamic University of Lebanon. Sayyid Al-Hakeem has dedicated the past twenty-two years of his life to service of the Muslim community in different capacities. He serves as a resident scholar in the Imam Hassan Mosque, Dubai. He is the Chair of the Religious Committee and the religious supervisor of the Charitable Deeds Committee of the Ja’afariya Endowment Charitable Council of Dubai.

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The Mahdi: Understanding the Awaited One

The mind often wonders, ‘what is the meaning of life?’ The Holy Quran answers, “He, who created death and life that He may test you [to see] which of you is best in conduct. And He is the Almighty, the All-forgiving.” Life was created so that the community of man may strive to achieve excellence. And it is through the triumph of justice over oppression and of virtue over vice that such excellence can be attained.
Because this is the overarching purpose of creation, God has given mankind the means to usher in this triumph of justice and virtue – “Certainly We sent Our apostles with manifest proofs, and We sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that mankind may maintain justice.” God has given us our honored prophets, our holy scriptures, and our revered Immaculate Leaders as means of guidance as we strive towards that goal. And one day, by God’s grace, we will achieve that goal and fulfill God’s promise that “Certainly We wrote in the Psalms after the Torah: Indeed Our righteous servants shall inherit the earth.”
This book is about the man who is chosen to usher in this promise of justice and virtue – our Twelfth Immaculate Leader, the Awaited Savior – the Mahdi.

Sayyid Muneer Al-Khabbaz

Sayyid Muneer Al-Khabbaz was born in Qatif, Saudi Arabia in 1384 AH (1964 CE). At the age of 14, Sayyid Muneer traveled to the Holy City of Najaf to begin his training within the Islamic seminary. Not long after, he migrated towards the city of Qum, Iran, when the Baathist Regime in Iraq began tightening its crackdown on the Islamic seminary.
In the year 1402 AH (1981 CE), Sayyid Muneer returned to Qatif for personal reasons and continued his studies there. One year later, he traveled to Damascus, Syria to study in the Islamic seminary there under the tutelage of His Eminence Sayyid Jamal Al-Khoei. Finally, in 1405 AH (1984 CE), he returned to the Holy City of Najaf to continue his studies. There, he studied under some of the most respected scholars of the Islamic seminary, including Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abulqasim Al-Khoei and Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Murtada Al-Boroujerdi. With the recommendation of another one of his tutors, Sayyid Habib Hussainyan, Sayyid Muneer also began to study under the tutelage of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani, benefitting much from his lessons in the principles of jurisprudence, as well as his extensive examination of modern sciences and their correlation with Islamic sciences.
Sayyid Muneer then moved back to Qum where he studied under Grand Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani for several years. He also studied extensively under the tutelage of Grand Ayatollah Mirza Jawad Tabrizi, who became a guide and mentor for the remainder of his life. Before his passing, Grand Ayatollah Tabrizi gave Sayyid Muneer an endorsement as a jurist capable of deducing Islamic laws from its sources.
In 1418 AH (1997 CE), Sayyid Muneer began teaching Advanced Seminars (Bahth Kharij) in jurisprudence. He is known by his students for his eloquence, as well as his encouragement of discussion and debate. He is an avid lecturer and an author, with multiple works published for a varied readership.

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