Shāh Chérāgh (شاه چراغ‎‎) "King of the Light" is a mausoleum and mosque in Shiraz, Iran, built around 1130 AD, housing the tomb of the brothers Ahmad and Muhammad, sons of Mūsā al-Kādhim (7th Imam of Twelver Shia Islam). The two took refuge in the city during the Abbasid persecution of Shia Muslims. The tombs became celebrated pilgrimage centres in the 14th century when the pious and art-loving Queen Tashi Khatun erected a mosque and theological school by the tombs. After carrying out essential repairs, the queen ordered the tomb to be covered with millions of pieces of colored glass that glitter in the light and magnify its brilliance a thousand times.

Life consists of two days, one for you and on against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are a test for you.
—  Imam Ali (AS)
Maintaining patience in loneliness is a sign of the strength of intelligence. One who has understanding about Allah he keeps himself aside from the people of this world and those interested in it. He becomes interested in what is with Allah. Allah then gives him comfort in his fear and company when he is lonely. Allah gives him riches in his poverty and honor without the existence of his tribesmen.

I’m researching about titles used to address leaders (miltant and royal) in Arabic culture, and I found this site which had a quick glossary of these terms:

Ayatollah: From the Arabic ayat Allah, meaning “sign of God,” a high-ranking Twelver Shiite religious authority. In Iran, it refers to the nation’s political and religious leader. Generally not used by Shiites in Arab countries or in India.

Emir: Also Amir. Leader or commander. Amir-ul Momineen means “commander of the faithful.” In the 10th century, the amirs were Turkish army officers who seized power in Iraq, Iran, and central Asia. Emir can also be used as the Arabic equivalent of “prince.”

Imam: Shiite Muslims use imam for Muhammad’s descendants, whom they believe to be the true rulers of Islam. For Sunni Muslims, imam means “prayer leader.”

Mufti: A Muslim scholar who interprets Islamic law. Only a mufti can issue a fatwa, a formal ruling on a matter of Islamic law.

Mullah: The definition can vary regionally. For Afghanistan, Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban defines it as the traditional prayer leader at a local mosque.

Shah: Formerly the title for Iran’s hereditary monarch. A title for the Persian emperor was shah-en-shah, or “king of kings.”

Sheikh: An elder or religious leader; a wise person.

I’m not entirely sure if this information is correct and I’d like to reach out to everyone else as I conduct my research. Thanks!

The signs as religions/sects of the middle east & north Africa
  • Aries: Zoroastrianism, Twelver Shia, Rabbinic Judaism
  • Taurus: Alevi, Coptic Orthodox, Bahai
  • Gemini: Ibadi, Karaite Judaism, Assyrian Church of the East
  • Cancer: Alawite, Syriac Orthodox, Samaritan
  • Leo: Chaldean Catholic, Yazidi, Sufi
  • Virgo: Greek Orthodox, Druze, Syriac Catholic
  • Libra: Ismaili Shia, Armenian Evangelical
  • Scorpio: Zaidi Shia, Maronite Catholic
  • Sagittarius: Hanbali Sunni, Mandaean, Coptic Catholic
  • Capricorn: Maliki Sunni, Armenian Catholic
  • Aquarius: Melkite Greek Catholic, Hanafi Sunni
  • Pisces: Shabak, Shafi Sunni, Armenian Apostolic

This was the condition of Imam al-Kadhim (AS). He lived most of his life in a prison where he used to be beaten and tortured everyday, until they poisoned him and killed.

They thought by that they can erase the remembrance and mention of Ahl al-Bayt.(AS). They should see Baghdad today, it all belongs to Imam al-Kadhim (AS).

Iran: Full speed ahead toward nuclear bomb?

From, All Signs Say Iran Is Racing Toward A Nuclear Bomb

It is difficult for a Western rationalist to accept the possibility, even if its likelihood is negligible, that Iran is motivated by religious belief in its determination to obtain a nuclear weapon, and might even use such a weapon for religious reasons. After all, aside from Ahmadinejad’s domestic troubles, including calls in parliament for his ouster, the one who decides on sensitive strategic issues like the nuclear one in Iran is not the president, but supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who is not known to have any messianic leanings.

But the sum total of all these developments - the appointment of Abbasi Davani, his announcements about the acceleration of enrichment and its transfer to Qom, the unusual article - all these, especially in light of the Arab revolutions that have diverted the world’s attention from Tehran, may indicate that Iran is closer to reaching a decision than experts had previously thought. 

pt 2: more on shia theology

pt 1

Alright, so we get the simplified germ of the split between Sunni and Shia belief, we understand about Imams and that each Imam leads to the next. Yet to understand the beautiful explosion of Shia schismatic beliefs, we have to introduce two more concepts: the occultation or hidden Imam, and the Mahdi. See, a lineage of one Imam after another already gives you plenty of room for belief splits when one group supports one successor over the other, etc. But as Shia belief changed over time, some groups added onto this complexity by developing an idea that a given Imam, rather than dying as reported, actually went into hiding, or occultation. The idea was that this hidden Imam (and many Imams have been thought to be in occultation, it depends on the sect you’re discussing) would disappear and remain unseen until he was needed to return, usually to set everything right with the world.

This is related to the Islamic idea of the Mahdi, a messianic figure who appears in order to again make things right. An Imam does not have to go into occultation in order to become the Mahdi, but if an Imam becomes the Hidden Imam, you’re probably looking at the Mahdi when he pops back up.

This is really another channel for schisms, based on whether you believe a given Imam actually died or went into occultation, etc. And in fact the varying strains of Shiism recognize different numbers of Imams, think that different Imams went into occultation, and recognize different folks as the Mahdi. Twelver Shia, the largest modern group of Shia, believe that Muhammad al-Mahdi, the twelfth Imam born in 868 CE, is still alive as the hidden Imam, and is destined to return one day as the Mahdi (incidentally, he may or may not return with Christ).

Alright,that’s all well and good, but what about the Qarmatians? To get to that, we have to step away from the Twelvers (continued).

pt 3