Talk:Twelve Imams/Archive 1

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Plans[edit]

I will commence work on this soon. My main ideas are to expand the introduction, and add the Alevi titles of these individuals as well such as Birinci Ali, Ikinci Ali, and so forth(I'll parallel this addition to the change on the Alevism template). I think we may need to condense a few categories into one, as well. --Enzuru 20:54, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Just mind that this is a list and a sub-article as well. Thus the introduction should be brief.--Seyyed(t-c) 03:00, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Made the changes. Tell me what you think. --Enzuru 19:59, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, you've done excellent effort. I just mention two points.

  1. What does (Usooli/Alevi) mean? First, Akhbari and Sheikhi have similar view in this case and we can write twelvers instead of Usooli, second it's not clear enough that which title is from Usooli view and which one is from Alavi view. I prefer to separate them by a horizontal line or make two separate columns.--Seyyed(t-c) 11:49, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I understand that the Akhbari and Shaykhi have the exact same views and titles, mostly because all three of these groups use Arabic as a liturgical language. However, Akhbari are almost non-existent, and it is safe to refer to this movement as extinct. Shaykhi only have a small minority in two countries, so, we could call it Usooli-Shaykhi if you wish. However, there is no short way to denote "Eastern Shi'asm", primarily the Akhbari, Usooli, and Shaykhi group, and "Western Shi'asm", which would denote the Alevi and more heretical Alawi group. All five groups are however Twelver because of their adherence to the same lineage of Twelve Imams. Only Alawi are considered non-Muslims by some scholars using Khomeini's shahada definiton, though Alevi can safely be considered Muslim by the same rule. So, we can do this using the horizontal line, since we lack better terms and connotations. We can also say Arabic/Turkish, though the reader will be confused as to what the importance of Turkish is if we don't explain it is the liturgical language of the Alevi Twelvers. --Enzuru 20:13, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  1. I disagree with removing Kunya. We can add it under the name and separate it with a horizontal line. --Seyyed(t-c) 02:49, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I am unaware of the importance of Kunya. I have rarely seen it used in a modern setting. If however you feel it is extremely important, we can put it underneath, using the same horizontal line method you suggested. I'll make both this change and the above horizontal line change. --Enzuru 20:13, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
All those changes done, as well as added a reference regarding the Alevi titles. I will change the introduction soon as well. Thanks for all your dedication and kind words on this project, brother. --Enzuru 20:54, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I replaced the article's lead with the above proposal .--Seyyed(t-c) 05:34, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Nature of the Imamate[edit]

I feel this is a bit misleading "Note 1: According to Shia view Ali became Imam after death of Prophet of Islam and the other ones became Imam after the martyrdom of former Imam." We have several hadith indicating that one is an Imam at the time of birth, within both the Twelver and Ismaili branches. Another hadith, I believe it is found in Twelver books as well, but only recall it from an Ismaili, was Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (AS) stating that, (not exact quote) "Our bodies change, grow from young to old, but our soul stays the same." I don't believe those hadith are too mystic to rely on, especially in the realm of doctrine. --Enzuru 16:57, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

What you've said is correct from "Esoteric/Batini" viewpoint. But I believe we should mention the "exoteric/Zahiri" aspect. You see, from Batini viewpoint Amir al-Momenin Ali was Imam before the creating of Adam.--Seyyed(t-c) 03:37, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, he was the beginning light of all creation. And since this is our beliefs, shouldn't we make it evident on Wikipedia? --Enzuru 16:07, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I think from exoteric view there is just one Imam of time. But in fact from esoteric view we have twelve Imam at the same time. I don't think it's appropriate place for this complicated issue. We can refer to Imamah (Shi'a twelver doctrine).--Seyyed(t-c) 03:13, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

The lead[edit]

I think we should work on the lead more. I have some problems with new version. [1]--Seyyed(t-c) 09:06, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

What would you like to add and change? --Enzuru 09:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
  • However, in the theology of Twelvers, the word Imam designates an infallible male descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah . So what about Imam Ali?

I suggest this:Imam designates an infallible including Ali ibn Abi Talib and appointed male descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah.--Seyyed(t-c) 09:43, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

To change it a little, "The title Imam designates an infallible leader, starting from Ali ib Abi Talib and passing on to his direct male descendants from his wife Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad." --Enzuru 19:38, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
  • We can remove Sunni's viewpoint. This is not an article about Imam.--Seyyed(t-c) 09:46, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I think this sentence isn't understandable for non-Shia:It is believed that a supernatural light, called the light of Aql was the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gave them esoteric knowledge and power, and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.[2]
I changed it in this way:It is believed that Aql, a divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gave them esoteric knowledge, called Hikmah
Looks good. --Enzuru 19:38, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

What's your idea about the following text :

  • According to the Shi'ite view the successor of the Prophet of Islam must be one who not only rules over the community in justice but also is able to interpret the Divine Law and its esoteric meaning. Hence he must be free from error and sin (ma'sum) and he must be chosen from on high by divine decree (nass) through the Prophet. (Nasr, preface of Shi'a Islam, p. 10)--Seyyed(t-c) 17:32, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
As always. Nasr puts it brilliantly. :) --Enzuru 19:39, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
If we can summarize the following quote and add it to the article, it might be useful(Moojan Momen, An Introduction to Shi`i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver, Yale University Press, 1985, ISBN 0300035314, p.174) :

Since the Prophet and, for Shi'is, the Imams were sinless and infallible, their words and deeds are a guide and model for all to follow. These were eventually written down after being transmitted orally for several generations... They are also frequently called khabar (information, plural akhbar) by Shi'is... The Shi'i traditions usually rely on the words or actions of one of the Imams and even those that go back to the Prophet are usually transmitted through one of the Imams.

--Be happy!! (talk) 20:36, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I suggest the following text as the lead:

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna Ashariya branch of Shia Islam. According to theology of Twelvers the successor of Muhammad must be one who not only rules over the community in justice but also is able to keep and interpret the Divine Law and its esoteric meaning. The Prophet and Imam's words and deeds are a guide and model for all to follow. Hence they must be free from error and sin, Infallible, and they must be chosen from on high by divine decree (nass) through the Prophet. It is believed that Aql, a divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gave them esoteric knowledge, called Hikmah, and their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees..

There is always an Imam of the Age who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first Imam and rightful successor of the Prophet of Islam, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah Zahra. Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, except for Husayn ibn Ali who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.

--Seyyed(t-c) 04:29, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Something may be duplicated in my proposal and it can be shortened. --Seyyed(t-c) 04:46, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna Ashariya branch of Shia Islam. According to theology of Twelvers the successor of Muhammad is an infallible individual who not only rules over the community in justice but also is able to keep and interpret the Divine Law and its esoteric meaning. The Prophet and Imam's words and deeds are a guide and model for the community to follow, hence they must be free from error and sin, and they must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through the Prophet. It is believed in Shi'asm that Aql, a divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gave them esoteric knowledge, called Hikmah, and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.

There is always an Imam of the Age who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first Imam and rightful successor to the Prophet of Islam, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah Zahra. Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, except for Husayn ibn Ali who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.

How is this? --Enzuru 06:51, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

The issue of pictures[edit]

Before we talk about this issue again, please see Template_talk:Shia_Islam. Now it comes down to whether calligraphy or not is the best route. I argue that most non-Muslims, calligraphy means nothing. At least the pictures of Imam Ali (AS) and Imam Husayn (AS) are similiar across portrayals. And we must use the phrase depiction, not picture, because just like most Christians know the depicitons of Christ are not accurate, so do most Shi'a know that these are not accurate. Remember, Wikipedia does not condone censorship. --Enzuru 23:39, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Confucius_02.png
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ikaruga_cover_DC.jpg
These pictures are two different languages, yet aside from the font and length most Muslims would have trouble telling them apart through a quick glance, while a picture allows us to tell things apart through one. --Enzuru 00:27, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
(my previous statement removed because I was under a misconception of what we were talking about)
I think insofar as the article is concerned that images of the Imams could be included with the qualification that they are depictions and not accurate portraits. However, I am loath to add depictions of anything based on nothing, as it promotes misconception in general. Is there any evidence that these are based even remotely on their actual appearances? Peter Deer (talk) 01:32, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I was going to respond right when you fixed it! Anyway, to answer your question, no, they're pretty far from accurate. Imam Ali (AS) and the Imams (AS) after Jafar (AS) were dark-skinned, Imam al-Mahdi (AS) is even said to be half-African. But, these depictions are prominent in the Shi'a world, in particular Iran and among the Alevi (10-20%) of Turkey. It is almost like how you can find pictures of the Last Supper in many Catholic homes. --Enzuru 02:07, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, not just among Twelvers but they are prominent in the Nizari branch of Ismaili Shi'a Islam. --Enzuru 02:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
lol yeah I thought we were talking about the Shia Islam template at first.
Anyway, I think that such images might be included in an encyclopedia, which is really the main thing to consider, but I would include references, links, and information regarding the historical Aniconism in Islam, as well as the ethnic transformation of the Imams in art (particularly Persian art) and other such measures so that accuracy is maintained and misleading information is not promoted. Peter Deer (talk) 05:09, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I prefer calligraphy. Recently calligrapher try to use graphic art to show something more than letters. For example see these ones:
I think they may be meaningful for non-Muslims too. --Seyyed(t-c) 12:00, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
On a personal level, I understand what you mean. I personally also do calligraphy, below are some of my works:
The reason I show you this is I don't want anyone to think I have some intrinsic problem against calligraphy: I myself partake in it. You are correct, graphic calligraphy is popular. But, every graphic calligraphy is going to be different: one will look one one thing, another will look like another. With these portraits, we often see that Husayn (AS) and Ali (AS) look similar. Another thing we need to realize is, we don't necessarily need to link to Aniconism in Islam, because it applies for very few Shi'a. I believe we may end up giving a fringe Shi'a view more than it's worth. Now, I understand that we are being very broad with our focus, but wouldn't we agree that as far as this article is concerned we already have the Arabic text in it? The pictures simply add to the article. I don't believe need to insist that they are not accurate. Every Christian knows Jesus wasn't European looking, but do we have an insistence in those articles that these pictures are inaccurate and he doesn't look like he is portrayed? --Enzuru 18:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I think it would be best if we can keep templates to using a few colors and not 32bit images. For templates it doesn't matter so much if images are popular... On this article I don't fully mind images--although, they do have their problems. Calligraphy would not be fitting in the place where we now have the images. I'm not fully sure what the answer is for this article. gren グレン 19:13, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

In fact, you can find few portraits drawn by Muslims before Mongol raid. Due to the effect of Chinese and Mongol culture drawing and painting become popular. From sociologic viewpoint, They made these portrait to propagate Shia in Iran. So the portraits looks like Iranians. I think we should mention that the portrait are fictious.--Seyyed(t-c) 04:40, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
While we should make it clear to an extent they are fictitious, I think very few (if any) Christian articles going out of their way to say pictures of Jesus are fictitious. I believe it is understandable enough that a brief passing reference should do the trick. --Enzuru 09:07, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Seyyed, I disagree with the edit you made. I used the English word 'depiction' instead of 'picture' or 'portrait' because in English, a 'depiction' means it will not be an accurate picture, it will be biased to a point of view. I feel 'depiction' is a good enough word, because it already implies that these pictures are not factual. Can another English speaker clarify?
  • depiction - to represent or characterize in words; describe.
I think perhaps that this word might not be clear/strong enough, or maybe I am wrong altogether. Perhaps we can find a shorter phrase other than 'fictitious depiciton'? What about portrayal?
  • portrayal - acting the part of a character on stage; dramatically representing the character by speech and action and gesture
--Enzuru 09:15, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Excuse me, my English is not so good. I just insist on clarification.--Seyyed(t-c) 17:40, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I didn't mean to insult you: your English is wonderful. You are correct, we do need clarification however, but I think it should be more subtle. Peter Deer perhaps can help. --Enzuru 21:28, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Your english doesn't have to be perfect, that's what we have copyeditors for :) Peter Deer (talk) 21:35, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I tend to think that people will understand that images drawn in 1200+ of figures from 600-1000 will not be accurate. My worry (as with my position on the use of images on Muhammad) is that people should be given the right impression. If it is commonplace to use depictions of the twelve imams than a major article can in a prominent place. If it is not a prominent practice then they shouldn't or they images should be subjected to lower positions in the article or sub-articles. This is especially important for subjects who, like Ali, are notable in Shia and Sunni tradition and therefore both viewpoints should be taken into account whereas in the context of Twelve Imams it might make more sense to use images if they are in fact common enough to warrant it within Shia tradition. Fictitious is too vague of a word (if anything you'd want "Non-contemporaneous") and you might even be able to use "Icons" since that captures the nature of these images (if you can remove the Christian baggage associated with the word).
I have two problems with these images. Firstly, we don't have a clear date / artist so we can't put that on the image page to make clear what they really are. Having the image dated as "a 1566 depiction by Ibn Shia of Imam `Ali" would be incredibly useful for contextualizing the image. Secondly, we don't even have proper copyright status--only the assumption they they were drawn over 100 years ago and hence in the public domain. I think that assumption--valid or not--would allow for these images to be deleted in any IfD. I would feel much more comfortable using images iff we knew exactly where they came from. gren グレン 21:49, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly with this. Peter Deer (talk) 21:55, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
As do I. I just want to clarify a few things in regards to what you said.
  • These portrayals are common among Shi'a (Usuli) of Iran and Shi'a (Alevi) of Turkey. I've also seen them in Iraq, but it could have been by Iranian pilgrims. See the picture here. Lebanon and South Asia seem more conservative on the issue, and both of these areas have Sunni majorities (so does Turkey, but Alevis are fringe enough to even consider themselves at times a different faith).
  • I agree in regards to only Ali (AS). Hasan (AS) and Husayn (AS) little theological-political importance in the Sunni tradition beyond being Muhammad's grandsons.
  • I agree, we need copyright status. I'm going to do research on these pictures. As far as my knowledge goes, they are of Turkish origin. I will see what else I can dig up.
Overall, I think we should keep them, because they make fine additions to Wikipedia. --Enzuru 00:41, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Updates:
  • The Iraqi pictures has Iraqi citizens, so, Iraq has those pictures too. --Enzuru 00:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The picture in the Template:Shia Islam seems to be fine for us to use, I updated some info: ImamAli.jpg --Enzuru 00:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I speak on behalf of many Shi'a when I say I consider these images offensive, incorrect and unacceptable. It has nothing to do with point of view. You are associating something with the Shi'ite creed without realizing that Shi'ism rejects such things. For those that think this is widespread in Iran: Iran's own government banned all such images last summer and shopkeepers who have continue to sold them have had their shops closed down. These images are unacceptable to all but a very small minority which most Shi'a consider as superstitious offshoots anyways, and I urge you to remove them as soon as possible. You cannot present something on behalf of Shi'ism when Shi'ism rejects it. Ordak mahi (talk) 21:04, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
And I speak on behalf of most Shi'a and our scholars when I say they are not prohibited. User Seyyed lives in Iran, and I can ask him to confirm if they are banned, and I doubt this is true. Also, the largest and most popular marja, Grand Ayatollah Sistani does not prohibit it, please see his website. I am also a Shi'a, so you are not speaking on my behalf, and Seyyed is a Shi'a, and there are many other Shi'a on this site. You are speaking on behalf of an intellectual minority. Shi'asm does not reject it, if it rejected it, why would the two popular marja Sistani and Khamenei both accept it? And did you not see the picture of Imam Husayn (AS) in Karbala, one of the holiest cities in Shi'a Islam? Please do your research before bringing up this dead topic. Marja accept these pictures, many believers accept these pictures, where is this rejection coming from? Please follow the laws of our Ahl al-Bayt (AS) if you are so concerned religiously, because the laws of the Ahl al-Bayt (AS) do not prohibit these pictures. And from the Wikipedia standpoint, neither do they condone censorship. --Enzuru 21:49, 17 June 2008 (UTC)