Tuesday, February 08, 2005
He refuses a new air conditioner, yet his office is Internet-wired. He wants women to take political office, but not to shake the hands of men outside their families. He is easily the most powerful man in Iraq. Yet he's an Iranian
Interesting article. Despite my admiration of Persian mystics, philosophers and thinkers, my religious marji3 is Fadlallah of Lebanon. The latter gaining such wide respect in Lebanon, that even Sunnis follow him. Sistani, although also highly knoweledgeable was known to be a bit orthodox in his edicts. In the shia-ijtihaad system every believer should carefully choose an elevated scholar to be a living religious reference throughout their life. I'm pretty ok with this, as it requires each believer to read the scholar's published articles and hence places significance on research, re-evaluation, re-thinking, and new insights into religion in a contemporary context. Its very much like the way the academic world works, the shia mujtahids are pretty much high-ranking professors, maybe even deans and provosts. Only a handful of them exist in the world.
The marja3's basically weigh up the Quran, the hadeeths, and past rulings in the face of new issues that arise as time goes by. Nothing is static in this life, so the way such references are interpreted should also not be static. The argument goes that there are some very clear rulings that are perpetual and permanent, yet there is also wide scope in certain areas which are adaptable to modern day. Those who are allowed to do this however, are the mujtahid's because they possess all the tools and superior knoweledge and have gained credibility to issue edicts. What I liked about Fadlalla is that he uses a panel/committee of other experts to help him weigh up certain issues, like doctors, psychologists, politicians, etc. As religion is all-encompassing, then so should their insights.