Zahir Batin SABAK

The one and only free public forum for Bohras. The focus of this forum is the reform movement, the Dawoodi Bohra faith and, of course, the corrupt priesthood. But the discussion is in no way restricted to the Bohras alone.
SBM
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Zahir Batin SABAK

#1

Unread post by SBM » Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:40 am

This is for IM MATURE MORON and his COHORTS
Why is that only selected few can go and learn the lesson of TAWIL. If Ilam has to be given out why only select few are allowed? Why not invite everyone to attend the TAWIL SABAKS.
Might be IM MATURE MORON can shed some NOORANI LIGHT on this. :confused:

mature
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#2

Unread post by mature » Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:32 am

you progs do not like anything about bohras so why suddenly the intrest in going to sabaks,why you zombiebharti will never get raza is that its useless to teach donkeys anything they always need to be beaten up after every few yards,get it

profrog
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#3

Unread post by profrog » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:40 am

in your case it might be that you did not get raza because of your name plus the donkey part too,like mature said donkeys have no part to play or to learn as they forget very fast

mature
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#4

Unread post by mature » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:22 am

heh heh omadonkey so you want to study taawil ask yourfriend insaaf or engineer to teach you maybe then you will convert to bohra

Kaka Akela
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#5

Unread post by Kaka Akela » Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:16 pm

Omabharti:
Your question is good and the answer is : there are two schools of thought in spreading ilm (knowledge). First one is, like you said give it to everyone without any pre-selection, which is like throwing seed on the ground and hoping it will grow everywhere. The second school of thought is to till the ground to aereate it and then fertilize it and then seed it to increase the chances of productivity with minimum seed. Dawoodi Bohras subscribe to this second school of thought. The person who is doing the selecting is first assuring himself that you have gone thru all the necessary stages of being receptive to the tawil sabaqs. If you have not done the basics then the tawil sabaq will only confuse you and may even damage you, They always ask you about your previous undertaking in the line of ilm then you proceed to tawil. They want to make sure that you have been able to eat and digest normal food before you get to eat the steaks, simple as that.

SBM
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#6

Unread post by SBM » Mon Jan 23, 2006 5:49 pm

Dear Kaka Akela
R U sure you are Kothari Bohra because you posted a very sensible reply without calling names unlike IM MATURE and NOW PROFROG(Changing color species)
I do agreea and your explanation does make sense but don't you think that during Muharram and othe Dareeses, instead of giving the same hashed stories it will be better if they do hour and hour of SABAK and do in the native language of the country, more people will learn and get involved instead of same rehashed speeches.
IM MATURE please refrain posting any replies since you are too mature (LIKE A TOO RIPE FRUIT WHICH ROTS AND STARTS SMELLING and that is why now are too mature and you are rotting and smelling)
Once again thank you Kaka Akela for an acceptable explanation

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#7

Unread post by porus » Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:37 pm

Ombharati,

Have you considered what taawil is and why you would want to learn about it? What type of knowledge are you seeking which will fulfill a need in your life?

Do you know anyone well-versed in Taawil whom you would want to emulate? Anyone whom you admire because he has this knowledge?

And I can tell you in one sentence what Bohra Taawil is if you care to learn!

Hussain
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#8

Unread post by Hussain » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:01 am

Porus.
Dont know about oma
but if you let me know that line I shall be grateful.
Thanx

Kaka Akela
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#9

Unread post by Kaka Akela » Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:52 am

Omabharti:

Thanks for the compliment. I have no idea what is kothari bohra and a non-kothari bohra, so I leave it upto you to decide. Tawil ilm is not a very mysterious or convoluted ilm. It gives you the rational and meaning behind all your actions, like in vazu why do you say certain doas 1 time or 3 times, or in namaaz why certain things are very important and if you miss those you have to repeat the namaaz again and other things are not so important. Why do you always have to say Alhamdo ni surat in every rakaat, why two sajdas one after another and many many other things. Which makes you enjoy doing what you are doing and it doesn't seem like a chore.
About sabaqs in waezes and dareeses all I can say is in many waezes the initial part (when you don't show or come late) are always sabaqs in the guise of bayan where you cannot ask questions like you can in sabaqs, and this disguised sabaqs deal with all the essentials of the 7 daaims and one daaim is covered each day. The reason there are no sabaqs included in the dareeses is because of time constraints as people have other things to do in life and they have little kids who need to get to bed for next days school, if every darees had a sabaq with it people will stop coming to the darees for those reasons. Also dareeses are held by individuals and not the whole jamaat may have been invited whereas the waezes are publicly held and whole jamaat is invited. Again in the waezes tawil is not discussed only the zahiri (open book)
ilm is given out as everyone is not capable of or ready to absorb and benefit from tawil ilm. The later half portion of waez (when you show up) the waez becomes narration of the historical events which seem like rehash (or repeat)but no one can change now what happened even yesterday.
About waez being in native language, how many native languages are there and where are you going to find as many knowledgeable people to speak it like a native.To momin who lives in the land of dawat the native language is lisan-e-dawat which is a mixture of Arabic, gujrati, urdu and some farsi. If you go to yemen etc, they do the waez in arabic because our jamea graduates are fluent in arabic, they also know english but I don't think their fluency or vocabulary is that great to make them feel comfortable to deliver an exact translation of arabic text. I travel a lot due to my job and some times I have no access to my computer for days so if I don't respond to you pronto please understand why.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#10

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:34 am

I would not call what Kaka Akela describes as taawil. Rules (tarteeb) of rituals probably have origins in practices of a prominent dai, imam or prophet. Like what is the taawil behind wadhav-vu (a hindu aarti)? That does not make much sense. Unfortunately, what Kaka Akela describes does pass for Taawil among ordinary Bohras. That is a shame.

Literal meaning of the word tawil is "interpretation". Its root is the word awwal, which means first. It refers to the original meaning of an ayat from the Quran, in accordance with ayat 3:7. Ayat distinguishes two types of ayats. One type is the "heart of Quran". These are clear and unabiguous. The other type is "allegorical" Depending upon where one chooses to insert a break in the last sentence of the ayat, it has two different meanings. (Taawil is the word used in ayat 3:7)

One is that the meaning of allegorical ayats are known only to Allah. The second meaning is that they are known to Allah and to those who are firmly rooted in knowledge (rasikhoon fil ilm). It is the second meaning to which Bohras and other Shias subscribe. For them, the rasikhoon are the imams and the dai.

Because Fatemi Caliphate took a different course from the mainstream twelver Shia, their taawil is unique and very different fom the twelver taawil. Fatemi taawil is based on synthesis of neo-platonic greek ideas and Islam. Fatemi taawil's principal character is the emphasis it places on the personality of the Imam and, by extension, that of the Dai.

Thus Bohra tawil is interpretaion of Quran by the Dai. No questions. That is it. No other authority can interpret Quran. And Bohras need only read it in Arabic for sawaab. Its meanings will be explained only by the Dai.

In its current distorted version, it requires blind faith in the Dai or Imam and absolute belief in the truth of their interpretation of Quran. For example, Aga Khan has interpreted Quran to dissolve Shariat in the present age. And Ismailies follow that blindly.

Bohra taawil is simply complete obedience (itaa-at) to the Dai. They interpret Quran to serve the Dai and any ayat can be and is interpreted to show the pre-eminence of the Dai.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#11

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:40 am

Regarding rules of rituals every sect, sunni or shia have their own versions. In the event of mistakes made in rituals they all have methods to mitigate the errors. They are not taawil.

Next time you go to sabaq, ask for taawil behind ruku and sujood and ask where in the Quran is the original ayat regarding the taawil being discussed.

You can also ask if there is taawil other than the one Quran describes in ayat 3:7.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#12

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:46 am

Another question about taawil is that if only those who are "rasikhoon" know it, how do they get that knowledge? If they (imam and dai) are the only ones who can know, it logically follows that no one else can learn, otherwise they all become "rasikhoon". Absurdity.

If the mode of gaining the taawil is unknown, have others tried to find a way of acquiring this knowledge? The answer takes into the area of Fatemi Gnosis. Enough said.

profrog
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#13

Unread post by profrog » Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:02 am

like i said above its not for donkeys so you are not even in the category of people allowed to get raza

anajmi
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#14

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:48 am

We are forgetting one very important part of 3:7

"But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings"

Which is the first part and then we have the second part

"but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding."

So if we know who the people are referred to in the second part, we should know who the people are referred to in the first part.

Let us figure out who these are. It should not be too difficult.

SBM
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#15

Unread post by SBM » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:57 am

Asalam U Alekum
We had very good learning process going on with postings from Kaka Akela and Porus and then a dirty frog jumps in the muddle the water.
Refering to KA, when I said about wayaz in native language what I mean is some parts of the Majlis should be in English if you live in UK or USA, so children and now the native spouses of some of our members can understand that. We do have Aamils who have fluency in English
I like the model used by Jafferis, their Muharram Bayan starts with a short SABAK in English(aprox 15 mins) then they switch to Urdu or Gujrati for SHadat and they do Mataam for about 5-10 mins and the whole thing ends in one hour.
Most of the Majlis and Darees I have attended and all I see that our Bohras give more importance to Mataam and Vaza-e-funa rather than to Namaz and recitation fo Holy Quran. People donot mind missing their Namaz with Amalaat and have no concern if they cannot read Quran but they know by heart Ya Syeda Shudai and Vaza-e-funa. I think our priorites are little skewed. Both should have their right places in our Jamat

Muslim First
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#16

Unread post by Muslim First » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:58 pm


porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#17

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:42 pm

The article by Dr Engineer that MF refers to is also available on this site. It is at http://www.dawoodi-bohras.com/perspective/qur-tawil.htm

Dr Engineer's article provides excellent historical introduction to Ismaili taawil. However, I believe, amongst Bohras, there have been developments in recent decades concerning the position of the Dai in the taawil's scheme of things.

In summary, Dai is the spiritual heir of Imam amd thus is the repository of all ilm of taawil in accordance with ayat 36:12. The latter is nterpreted to mean the all knowledge is vested in the Imam and hence the Dai.

anajmi
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#18

Unread post by anajmi » Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:57 pm

porus,

036.012
YUSUFALI: Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence).
PICKTHAL: Lo! We it is Who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before (them, and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear Register.
SHAKIR: Surely We give life to the dead, and We write down what they have sent before and their footprints, and We have recorded everything in a clear writing.

Please explain.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#19

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:21 pm

Anajmi,

Re 36:12

This is the issue of interpretation we are talking about.

The last sentence of the ayat states "wa kull shay, ahsaynaahu fi imam mubeen"

Literally, "all things, we have vested in manifest imam"

This is the case where Shia interpret the words literally to mean that all knowledge is in the person of the Imam. Others translate Imam as a book. I am not sure whether Imam can be translated as book.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#20

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:38 pm

anajmi,

In 3:7, Yusufali translates taawil to mean "hidden". I disagree. Taawil refers to original meaning or the knowledge of source. Hidden meaning of the ayats are usually refereed to as baatin.

As I have argued, taawil cannot be learned or its knowledge cannot be imparted except, according to the Shia, by God's grace to some very special people.

So, when Bohras talk about taawil, they are really talking about baatin. They are interpretations according to knowledge and experience of their revered leaders.

Humsafar
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#21

Unread post by Humsafar » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:02 pm

Porus, I've a question. What does the Quran mean by "imam"? Is this imam the same as the one understood by Islamilis/bohras?

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#22

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:41 pm

Humsafar,

I do not really know for certain what Quran means by the word Imam, but I have my view, which I will state at the end of this post.

The word is used in Quran (2:124), in which God appoints Ibrahim as Imam of mankind. When Ibrahim asks if that applies to his progeny, God says that his covenant does not extend to wrong-doers. Shia take this to mean that Imam is the leader of mankind and can only be from Ibrahim's progeny (and by extension from Ahle bayt)and that guidance as to who leads will be available at appropriate time.

Thus Shia Imam is Aga Khan or Imam Tayyib or Imam Mahdi etc.

The word Imam has its origin, I believe in the word amama, which is a preposition meaning "in front of". Thus Imam is someone who leads, most ostensibly in prayer. It also applies to a person who leads others by clearing obstacles, especially in spiritual matters. And thus it sometimes refers to anything which provides criterion of right conduct.

My view is that only Ibrahim is mentioned in the Quran as being Imam. In 36:12, I think that the word Imam refers to Quran itself. It states we have placed everything in a "clear Imam". In many other ayats Quran states that it is a repository of all knowledge and that it is all clear. This, along with the claim that only Imam can interpret Quran has the required meaning, according to the Shia, that Quran and Imam are one and the same thing.

Hence the term Quran Natiq (Speaking Quran).

Humsafar
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#23

Unread post by Humsafar » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:04 pm

Thank you Porus for your explanation. So, to sum up:

According to the Quran

Imam= Ibrahim
and
Imam=Quran

Now, to take the Imam=Ibrahim equation and extend it to Imam=Aga Khan/Mahdi equation to me personally is quite a stretch, but let’s leave that as a matter of (Shia) interpretation. But we know that the Quran did not presage the creation of shia, sunni factions, much less the imam>dai hierarchy that shias have. So the Quranic imam is not the same imam as Shias take it to mean. The whole superstructure of imam, taawil etc. is built on a flimsy basis. I suspect this whole business has more to do with the question of power as derived from knowledge. More like the Brahmins who kept religious knowledge to themselves to control both kings and the masses.

Alislam
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#24

Unread post by Alislam » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:07 pm

Porus,

"My view is that only Ibrahim is mentioned in the Quran as being Imam. In 36:12, I think that the word Imam refers to Quran itself ".

"This is the case where Shia interpret the words literally to mean that all knowledge is in the person of the Imam. Others translate Imam as a book. I am not sure whether Imam can be translated as book. I am not sure whether Imam can be translated as book".

--- Imam can't be translated as book, but it refers to mean Quran itself..??

Am i missing something ??

kalim
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#25

Unread post by kalim » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:12 pm

Many scholars have defined tawil as a process of taking something back to its origins. Henry Corbin has a long discussion on tawil in almost all of his books, specially "Cyclical Time and Ismaili Gnosis" and "History of Islamic Philosophy". As porus says tawil can't be taught but but a person can, after sufficient contemplation, achieve an epiphany, at which moment he feels in a flash that he understands something which he, before that moment, did not. Those who want to understand what Ismaili tawil is all about should consult these two books by Corbin.

There are two reasons for hiding this knowledge. First, the more pragmatic one, is simply the fact that tawil involves a lot of abstract speculation which are completely useless in day-to-day life. A lot of philosophical preparation is needed even to read some of the haqaiq literature, let alone understand it or achieve epiphanies. This is true in general of any type of knowledge, though, as is obvious. Further, those who do claim to have epiphanies are completely incoherent when it comes to describing their experiences. Thus, tawil can't be learned, it must be experienced by each individual for himself.

The second, and more insidious one, is to control knowledge. It seems that the main reason for the Ismailis to amalgamate Greek, specially Neoplatonic, ideas into their philosophy was to simply take control of it and hide it, teaching it to only a select few. This is exemplified by the following anecdote. In a waaz many years ago, the Sayedna's brother, Muhammad al-Bakir bhaisaheb, was talking about creation according to the dawat. This was simply a rehash of well known Neoplatonic ideas about emanations etc. He said a few things and then at the end said: "If you ask the Imam, he will tell you. Why waste your time asking 'zahir na logo'?"

The Ikhwan al-Safa subscribed to the first reason (i.e. of philosophical maturity) and the later Ismailis like Kirmani and Sijistani the second (i.e. to control knowledge). For the present bohra masses, as porus said, whatever the da'i says is tawil is, and what is says is not, is not. Anyway, who has time from chest thumping and afterwards gobbling down copious amounts of jaman?

I personally feel that learning all these metaphysical speculations is a complete waste of time for most people. It is better to concentrate on things with real substance, like picking up a book on modern physics or mathematics, like "The Fabric of the Cosmos", Brian Greene or "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy", Bertrand Russel. At least you will learn something useful, and later, if so desired, will be able to understand these ideas in precise mathematical forms rather than some abstruse untestable speculations.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#26

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:33 pm

Humsafar,

To be clear, Quran states Ibrahim is Imam. That Quran itself is described as Imam is my interpretation of ayat 36:12.

Various Shia factions differ in who they call their Imam. However, the claim for Imamat as advanced by them has been solidly argued.

I tend to agree with you that later development (post Imam Jafar al-Sadiq) of the concept of Imamat owes much to political intrigue and the exigencies arising out of the need to remain in power.

Alislam,

When others translate 36:12, they do not refer to Imam as Quran but as a book (somewhere) where all records are kept, a sort of register. I doubt if Imam=Book translation is correct. I am only interpreting the word Imam to be referring to Quran. And you cannot translate Quran=book. It just so happens that Quran is a book.

porus
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#27

Unread post by porus » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:53 pm

Kalim,

Thanks for that contribution. Only a small fraction of human beings are driven to engage in search for knowledge that taawil and other perennial philosophies represent.

It is important to stress that spiritual ideas involving origins of universe and mankind are actually human speculations regardless of what religious people tell us. They may say that they come from God. Maybe. But only an individual can make that assessment after years of spritual practice. Never from someone's 'say so'.

Bertrand Russells' "Intoduction to Mathematical Philosophy" is very close to my heart. When at University, I wrestled with a "personal philosophical/metaphysical issue". This was that I could not sleep because I did not understand what a "number" was. That book came to my rescue. It made me understand what numbers were. Now a bit dated, but still great work.

anajmi
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#28

Unread post by anajmi » Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:54 am

Let us assume for a second that the Imam referred to in the quran is the human Imam.

Can the current Dai be considered to be a true representative of this Imam wherever he may be? Is the Dai following in the footsteps of prophet Abraham(as)?

If not, then the only thing you have which connects you to Allah is the quran. And considering the kind of person this Dai is, I will be sticking with the quran for some more time.

Then comes the Living Imam which is the Aga Khan. He has abolished much of that which has been established in the quran, eg, fasting, hajj, namaz. He is an expert in gambling too. So again, I think I will be sticking with the quran for some more time.

Then there is the question of the hidden Imam, well when he comes out, we will see.

So who is the Imam - well, considering the fact that the only thing pure remaining with us is the quran, I guess the quran is the Imam.

anajmi
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#29

Unread post by anajmi » Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:06 am

kalim,

I am a computer software professional. I rate myself as below average in software programming. I studied with people who were absolutely brilliant. I haven't read any of the books that you may consider worthwhile.

I work about 16 to 20 hours a week, the rest of the time I waste.

My department is extremely happy with my performance. I make a lot of money and do not care what a "number" is as long as it is written out clearly on my paycheck.

But of course I did struggle in the beginning. You know what I used to do in India? Have you seen those hathgadis (handcarts) loaded with stuff pulled by men on foot? Yeah, that is what I used to do. I wish I knew about Bertrand Russell then. All I knew was the quran.

Average Bohra
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Re: Zahir Batin SABAK

#30

Unread post by Average Bohra » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:11 am

Anajmi,

The only thing you have established so far is that you are a below average, unmotivated lazy fool and that the Quran got you where you are now, and Bertrand Russell didn’t.

I hope this wasn’t intended as a motivation to pick up the Quran.