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Sunday, 3 August 2014

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Ayatollah Sistani and Nomination for Nobel Prize

Sistani-new-pic.jpg
Warm welcome nomination of Ayatollah Sistani for Nobel Peace Prize-2014 has emerged enthusiastic debate over the pros and cons of this nomination amongst peace lovers and various Muslimsects particularly the Imamia Shia of Muslim fraction. Although, it is beyond the jurisdiction of any group or individual to argue over decision and process of the Nobel Foundation, but some time right of freedom of speech may help in decision making, if the arguments are positive and are discussed in constructive manner without challenging or disturbing the process and authority.

Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussaini al-Sistani, was born on 4 August, 1930 in Mashhad (Iran) into a family known for his religious background. After learning Arabic literature and acquiring theological and rational science from many eminent and well known scholars in Khurasan, in 1951 he opted to migrate to Najaf (Iraq) for his further studies. He attended the lectures of Ayatollah Hakeem, Shaikh Hussain Hilli and the late Ayatollah Khou’i. Subsequent to the demise of Ayatollah Sayyid Nasrullah Mustanbit, many scholars approached to Ayatollah Khou'i, suggesting that he should prepare the appropriate base by choosing a personality from the Hauzah (of Najaf) so that the religious authority may remain alive and effective. Thus, in view of his knowledge, good manner, stable policy, and many other virtues, Sayyid Sistani was the selection of Ayatollah Khou`i, Sayyid Ali Sistani, then began to perform the prayers at the niche of Ayatollah Khou'i, and started studying in his school. Later on, he wrote a commentary on the Resaalah of Ayatollah Khou'i.

After the death of Ayatollah Khou'i, Sayyid Ali al-Sistani was one of those six personalities who participated in the funeral and he himself performed the prayers on the late's body. After that, Sistani became the marja` (religious authority). He began to send duties and salaries, and teaching in the same classroom of Ayatollah Khou'i (in Masjid Khazra'); thus, his followers increased day after another, especially in Iraq, the Persian Gulf region, India etc.

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Research & Work

Ayatullah Sistani has compiled important books and some treatises, in addition to what he had written on Fiqh and Usoul (principles). He has published 38 Books, six of which have been translated into English Ayatullah Sistani always connects between the thought of Hauzah and the contemporary civilizations. The Tauzeeh-ul-Masail is a book written by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, almost all the Islamic rules are listed therein for guidance of his followers to improve the life style in routine and special circumstance.
He builds his opinion on the modern philosophical theory. And when he discusses the name of Time, he deals with this subject according to a Western modern philosophical theory, which declares that Time must be taken from Place, having the consequence of light and darkness. He always compares his research or discussion with the two main centers of knowledge, namely the hauzah of Mashhad and the hauzah of Qum on the one hand, and the hauzah of Najaf on the other hand. For instance, he conveys the opinions of Mirza Mahdi Isfahani (one of the scholars of Mashhad), Boroujerdi (an `alim from Qum), and the opinions of the three researchers, Ayatullah Khou'i, and Shaykh Hasan Hilli (as scholars from Najaf). The Sistani's method in Fiqh has a particular feature, some of which are listed below:
  • 1) Comparing between the Fiqh of Shia and Fiqh of other Islamic sects.
  • 2) Benefitting from the modern laws (like the Iraqi, Egyptian, and French laws) in some Fiqh subjects, especially when he discusses the subjects such as the Sale and the Choices.
  • 3) Renewal in Discussing some Fiqh rules and according to this era's circumstances, contrary to some scholars who deal with the historical texts as they are without attempting to change any part of it as the conditions may request that.

Role of Marjah & disbursement of Finance (Khums)

A Marjah has the authority to interpret Islamic law and provide guidance to Shiites on day-to-day matters. While Shiites around the world today follow more than one marjah, Ayatollah Sistani is probably the most influential. The position of the marjah is somewhat similar to that of the Pope inRoman Catholicism. The interpretation of a marjah is his best judgment. Ayatollah Sistani considers People of the Book (that is the Jews and Christians) ritually pure and his Fatwa (verdict) in this respect is very clear [1].
Sistani also has very significant financial clout due to his position as Marjah. As a Marjah his followers give him a religious tax (Khums, Arabic for one fifth). The redistribution of this tax for the common good is one of the key roles of a Marjah. Much of this remittance is redistributed through the Al Khoei Foundation—the largest Twelver Shia development organization in the world that maintains a network of educational and humanitarian establishments for both Shia and non-Shia Muslims, across the world.

Nomination of Ayatollah Sistani by Christian

Monotheistic Religions
During the year 2005, in a document signed by 6000 intellectuals the Iraqi Christians nominated Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani for Nobel Prize for his efforts for peace. The document stated that Sistani played extraordinary role to solve very difficult issues during extremely dangerous situations with peace. He provided spiritual role which played major part in mobilizing the people to join the democratic election [2].

Endorsement

The peaceful wisdom of Sistani comes during exceptional time full with terrorism and extremism. Sistani condemned all the terrorist activities and gave a civilised example for the wise spiritual leader not less than the role of John Paul II the Pope. Sistani proved that he is not only spiritual leader for the Shiites but a wise person for peace to all the Iraqis irrespective of their faith or believes. He opposes those who join religion with politics. During this time of extremism and terrorism, Sistani role was example for the others all over the world. We second the Christian Iraqi Citizens to nominate Mr Ali Sistani for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005 [3].

Article in New York Times in 2005

Thomas L. Friedman, has served in New York Times, as Beirut bureau chief (Lebanon) and Jerusalembureau chief (Israel) from 1982-1988. He won his third Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times , in 2005. Later, Mr. Friedman was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board. He has written an article [4]titled A Nobel for Sistani a few contents from his article are reproduced here as a reference of previous endeavors:
A procession in favour of Ayatollah Sistani
  • As we approach the season of the Nobel Peace Prize, I would like to nominate the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for this year's medal (2005).
  • Mr. Sistani has also contributed three critical elements to the democracy movement in the wider Arab world. First, he built his legitimacy around not just his religious-scholarly credentials but around a politics focused on developing Iraq for Iraqis. To put it another way, says the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen, "Sistani did not build his politics on negating someone else."
  • The second thing that Mr. Sistani did was put the people and their aspirations at the center of Iraqi politics, not some narrow elite or self-appointed clergy. Third, and maybe most important, Mr. Sistani brings to Arab politics a legitimate, pragmatic interpretation of Islam, one that says Islam should inform politics and the constitution, but clerics should not rule.
  • The process of democratizing the Arab world is going to be long and bumpy. But the chances for success are immeasurably improved when we have partners from within the region who are legitimate, but have progressive instincts. That is Mr. Sistani. Lady Luck has shined on us by keeping alive this 75-year-old ayatollah, who resides in a small house in a narrow alley in Najaf and almost never goes out the door. How someone with his instincts and wisdom could have emerged from the train wreck that was Saddam Hussein's Iraq, I will never know. All I have to say is: May he live to be 120 - and give that man a Nobel Prize.

Ayatollah Sistani Nomination for Peace Award 2014

This year (2014) Members parliament of Iraq have nominated the name of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for award of Noble Peace Prize for 2014 [5]. Mr. Abd al-Hadi al-Hakim, an independent MP of the Iraqi Parliament told in an interview published on 9 March, 2014 that Ayatollah Sistani’s nomination for the prize proves that the principles of true Islam does not stop at the borders of sectarian, ethnic and geographic conflicts [6] .

The Noble Peace Prize is the biggest award in the world. Due consideration to the nomination of Ayatollah Sistani which has again been petitioned would be the honour for peace lovers and a great achievement of peace promoters, satisfying their expectations for a noble cause by award of a Nobel Prize. It will also be a source of pride for Muslims across the globe and bandage of ointment to the wounds of Iraqi specially the shia around the world and his followers.

Appreciation to nomination for Nobel Prize-2014

An article in respect of nomination of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani published on 4 March, 2014 in the Sunday Telegraph written by Colin Freeman, the Chief Foreign Correspondent has received a wide coverage in the media. His deliberations have been appreciated by the Community concerned. Some contents from his article require careful attention of the figures responsible for promotion of global peace and harmony. He writes: [7]
In the decade since, the Shia community has suffered the most appalling provocation. Most of the car bombs that have gone off in Baghdad over the years have been targeted at Shia neighbourhoods, killing thousands. Sunni death squads regularly ambush Shia pilgrims as they head to Sistani's city of Najaf, turning the annual holy festivals into a ritual slaughter. In 2006, al-Qaeda also bombed the Shia holy shrine at Samarra, an act roughly the equivalent to destroying St Peter's Basilica….. But as with so many things in Iraq, the horrors that actually took place were nothing compared to how bad it could have been. In telling his fellow Iraqis to turn the other cheek, sometimes when it was quite literally stained with their loved one's blood, Sistani has helped averted all-out disaster, and is credited as such by many Western diplomats. He continues in this role today, as a resurgent al-Qaeda continues to re-ignite the civil war.

True, a group of Iraqi Christians nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, for giving "Muslims all around the globe a good example how to follow peaceful ways". But to my knowledge, he's never made the shortlist, and today, rather than going on global lecture tours, he's still holed up in that alleyway in Najaf, trying to bring peace to Iraq. In other words, perhaps he's just a bit too "quietist" to be a modern Nobel Peace Prize winner

Recognition of Humanity and Acceptance of Decision

Fundamentalists have extreme thrust of making whole world follower of their school and obedient to their orders. Whoever does not accept their religious manifesto and social policies they declare him Kafir (skeptic). Consequently, the noble and sober Ayatollah Sistani has faced disgracing by a religious cleric in January, 2010 by referring to him (Sistani) as an “atheist”. The remarks were considered extremely offensive and as a result outraged protest in some Shia communities in Iraq and Lebanon were witnessed [8]. However, no such baseless and blemish remarks have ever been heard from this side. It is well accepted in the western media that followers of Sistani care for humanity and peace at top, because they know that the philosophy of sociology suggests that all religions are made for mankind and no mankind is made for religion(s), so humanity is superior above all.

As per demographic data of shia population demonstrated at Wikipedia [9] is approximately 192.9 millions. By virtue of rough estimates, and without taking figurative totals of his supporter and lovers belonging to various region, religion, sects, casts and profession, 25 million shia follow the guardianship of Ali Sistani. His followers all over the globe have a long desire for award of Nobel Prize to their leader in appreciation and recognition of his adherence to peace and democracy and placing a good example before general mankind the success of peace efforts over tyranny. It is interesting to share that at least 20% of Nobel Prizes had been awarded to Jews, even though they represent less than 0.2% of the world’s population. Therefore it is not necessary to give importance to population or religion & race, the criteria for consideration is merit of the case. Thus it is an ethical bounding upon all of us to wholeheartedly accept the decision to be announced in October, 2014, by the Nobel Prize Committee.

References