Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth

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Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth Author:
Publisher: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
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Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth

Author: Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi
Publisher: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
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Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth

Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth

Author:
Publisher: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

Fifty Lectures On The Principles Of Faith For Youth

Author: Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi

www.alhassanain.org/english

Notice:

This work is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The typing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

Preface 10

Prelude 12

[Ten Lectures on God and His Attributes] 13

First Lecture: Searching for God 14

Why Do We Think And Study In Order To Know The Creator Of The Universe? 14

1. The love to be informed about and know the world is deep inside every one of us 14

2. A Sense of Gratitude 14

3. The connection of our benefit and loss to this question 14

THINK AND ANSWER 15

Second Lecture: The Consequences of Knowing God in our Lives 16

1. Theism and the Advancement of Knowledge 16

2. Theism, Endeavors and Hopes 16

3. Theism and the Sense of Responsibility 17

4. Theism and Peace of Mind 17

THINK AND ANSWER 17

Third Lecture: Theism from two Secure Paths 19

The Approach from Within 19

THINK AND ANSWER 20

Fourth Lecture: The Answer to an Important Question 21

The Question 21

The Answer 21

Fifth Lecture: A True Story 23

THINK AND ANSWER 23

Sixth Lecture: The Second Way to Know God 25

A Way from Without 25

The Relation of Order and Wisdom 25

THINK AND ANSWER 26

Seventh Lecture: Some Examples of the Order of Creation 27

Order, purpose and planning are vividly observable in all of creation. Here are some striking examples 27

The Headquarters of the Territory of Man’s Body 27

The Cerebrum, the Most Amazing Part of the Brain 27

Another Astonishing Section of the Brain is the Memory 28

THINK AND ANSWER 28

Eighth Lecture: A World of Wonder in a Small Flying Animal 29

THINK AND ANSWER 30

Ninth Lecture: The Friendship between Insects and Flowers 31

THINK AND ANSWER 32

Tenth Lecture: In the World of Microcosms 33

From atoms we learn Lessons on Monotheism 33

THINK AND ANSWER 34

Further Discussion on the Tenth Lecture 34

How Splendid are the Attributes of Allah 34

His Attributes 34

Divine Beauty and Divine Majesty 35

THINK AND ANSWER 36

Ten Lecures on God’s Justice 37

First Lecture: What is Justice? 38

Why is justice, above God’s other attributes, considered as one of the principles ` religion? 38

To answer this question, we should take the following into consideration 38

During the early days of Islam, a dispute arose over the issue of God’s justice 38

What is Justice? 39

Justice has two distinct meanings 39

The Differences between Justice and Equality 40

THINK AND ANSWER 40

Second Lecture: The Reasons for God’s Justice 41

Rational Goodness and Unseemliness 41

Ignorance 41

Selfishness and Revenge 41

The Qur’an and God’s Justice 42

Invitation to Justice 42

THINK AND ANSWER 43

Third Lecture: The Philosophy behind Disasters and Evils 44

Man’s Relative Judgment and his Limited Knowledge 44

Unpleasant Events and Warnings 45

THINK AND ANSWER 46

Fourth Lecture: The Philosophy behind Unpleasant Events in our Lives 47

Man Matures when he Faces Difficulties 47

Hardships Prepare Man to Return to God 48

THINK AND ANSWER 48

Fifth Lecture: More Discussion on the Philosophy behind Disasters and Evils 49

Hardships and Life’s Ups and Downs Enliven Us 49

Self-made Hardships 49

THINK AND ANSWER 51

Sixth Lecture: Determinism and Free Will 52

The Origin of the Belief in Determinism 52

The Basic Error of the Proponents of Determinism 52

The Politico-Social Factors Involved in the Philosophy of Determinism 53

Political Factors 53

Psychological Factors 53

Social Factors 53

THINK AND ANSWER 54

Seventh Lecture: The Clearest Proof for free will Man’s Conscience Categorically Rejects Determinism 55

The Religious Opposition to Determinism 56

THINK AND ANSWER 56

Eighth Lecture: What is the Intermediate School? 57

Delegation vis-à-vis Determinism 57

The Intermediate School 57

Another Example 57

Determinism and Free Will in the Holy Qur’an 58

THINK AND ANSWER 59

Ninth Lecture: Guidance and Misguidance are in the Hands of God 60

1. Kinds of Guidance and Misguidance 60

A crucial and important question 60

God’s Eternal Knowledge an Excuse for Justifying Crime: 61

THINK AND ANSWER 62

Tenth Lecture: God’s Justice and Eternal Chastisement (khuld) 63

Through a simple example, we may visualize this fact 63

THINK AND ANSWER 64

Notes 64

Ten Lectures on Prophethood 66

First Lecture: Our Need for Divine Leaders 67

The Limitations of our knowledge 67

We Need Prophets for Educational Reasons 68

The Need for Leadership in Social and Ethical Fields 69

THINK AND ANSWER 69

Second Lecture: Prophets are Needed to Provide us with Rules and Regulations 70

Rules could solve three types of hardships 70

The Relation between Monotheism and Prophethood 71

THINK AND ANSWER 72

Third Lecture: Why are Prophets Sinless [infallible]? 73

Immunity against Sins and Wrongdoing 73

THINK AND ANSWER 74

Fourth Lecture: The Best Way to Recognize the Prophet 75

Miracles and supernatural deeds 75

Some Vivid Examples 75

Miracles should not be mingled with Superstitions 76

The Differences between Miracles and Other Extraordinary Acts 76

There are two clear answers to this question: 76

THINK AND ANSWER 77

Fifth Lecture: The Greatest Miracle of the Prophet of Islam 78

The Eternal Miracle 78

The Story of Walid Ibn Mughirah 79

THINK AND ANSWER 80

Sixth Lecture: A Brief Look at the Miracles of the Holy Qur’an 81

Why the Discontinuous letters? 81

Lack of contradiction and unrelated issues 81

Eloquence and Clarity 81

THINK AND ANSWER 82

Seventh Lecture: The world view of the Holy Qur’an 83

THINK AND ANSWER 85

Eighth Lecture: The Holy Qur’An with Respect to the Scientific Discoveries of our Time 86

The Holy Qur’an on Gravity 86

The Discovery of the Rotation of the Earth around Itself and its Orbit around the Sun 87

THINK AND ANSWER 88

Ninth Lecture: Another Proof for the Legitimacy of the Prophet of Islam 89

THINK AND ANSWER 91

Tenth Lecture: The Prophet of Islam: the Seal of the Prophets 92

The Real Meaning of the Seal of the Prophets 92

The Reasons why the Prophet is the Last Prophet 92

THINK AND ANSWER 94

Notes 95

Ten Lectures on Imamate 96

First Lecture: When was Imamate first discussed? 97

THINK AND ANSWER 99

Second Lecture: The Philosophy behind the Existence of the Imams 100

Spiritual perfection with Divine Leaders 100

Protecting Heavenly Laws 100

The Need to Make the Proof Irrefutable 101

The Imam is a Great Medium for Divine Grace 101

THINK AND ANSWER 101

Third Lecture: The Imam’s specific traits 103

1. Infallibility or Sinlessness 103

2. Having Great Knowledge 103

3. Bravery 104

4. Piety and Austerity 104

5. Ethical Attractiveness 104

THINK AND ANSWER 104

Fourth Lecture: Who has the Responsibility to Appoint the Imam? 105

Could the Muslim community appoint the Prophet’s successor? 105

1. Did not the Prophet Appoint a Successor? 106

2. Consensus and Consultation 107

3. `Ali (s) had the Greatest Merit for the Imamate 107

THINK AND ANSWER 107

Fifth Lecture: The Holy Qur’An and Imamate 109

1. The Holy Qur’An considers Imamate as an Appointment by God 109

2. The Verse on Delivery 109

3. The Verse on Obedience to Those in Authority 110

4. The verse on Wilayah: 111

THINK AND ANSWER 112

Sixth Lecture: Imamate in the Prophet’s Tradition 113

The Narration of Ghadir 113

THINK AND ANSWER 115

Seventh Lecture: The narration of Manzilah and the narration of Yawm Al-Dar 116

The content of the Narration on Status 117

THINK AND ANSWER 118

Eighth Lecture: The Thaqalayn and Noah’s Ark Narrations 119

The Recording of the Thaqalayn Narration 119

The content of the Narration of Thaqalayn 120

The Narration of Noah’s Ark 120

THINK AND ANSWER 121

Ninth Lecture: The Twelve Imams 122

The Narrations Concerning the Twelve Imams 122

The Content of These Narrations 122

Distinguishing the Imams by Their Names 124

THINK AND ANSWER 125

Tenth Lecture: Imam Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam and the World’s Great Reformer 126

The End of a Dark Night 126

Innate disposition and the Appearance of the Great Reformer 126

Rational Proof 127

The Holy Qur’an and the Appearance of the Mahdi 128

The Mahdi in the Traditions 129

The Narrations on the Mahdi Relayed by Shi`ah Scholars 130

THINK AND ANSWER 131

Notes 131

Ten Lectures on Eschastology 132

First Lecture: One Crucial Question: Is Death Considered as One’s End or Beginning? 133

The Real Reason Behind This Fear 133

1. An Interpretation of Death as Extinction 133

The Dreadful Record 133

Two Different Points of View 134

THINK AND ANSWER 135

Second Lecture: Resurrection Provides Life With Meaning 136

Belief in the Resurrection: an Important Factor of Education 136

THINK AND ANSWER 137

Third Lecture: An Example Of The Day Of Resurrection within Our Souls 138

THINK AND ANSWER 139

Fourth Lecture: Resurrection with Respect to Innate Nature 140

1. Love for Survival 140

2. Resurrection in History 140

THINK AND ANSWER 141

Fifth Lecture: Resurrection in the Scale of Justice 142

Free will and Freedom in Decision-Making 142

THINK AND ANSWER 143

Sixth Lecture: The Resurrection in This World 144

THINK AND ANSWER 145

Seventh Lecture: The Resurrection and the Philosophy of Creation 146

Many people might ask: Why did God create us? 146

THINK AND ANSWER 147

Eighth Lecture: The Continuity of the Soul as a Sign for the Existence of The Resurrection 149

1. We Cannot Place a Gigantic World Inside a Tiny One 149

2. The Ability of the Soul to Reflect the Outside World 150

3. Empirical Reasons for the Fundamentality and Independence of the Soul 150

THINK AND ANSWER 151

Ninth Lecture: Bodily Resurrection and Spiritual Resurrection 152

Bodily Resurrection in the Holy Qur’an 152

Rational Examples for the Resurrection of the Body 153

Questions Related to the Resurrection of the Body 153

THINK AND ANSWER 154

Tenth Lecture: Paradise, Hell, and the corporealization of Deeds 155

The Corporealization of our Deeds 156

THINK AND ANSWER 157

Notes 159

Preface

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The precious legacy left behind by the Holy Prophet’s Household [ahl al-bayt] (may peace be upon them all) and their followers’ preservation of this legacy from the menace of extinction is a perfect example of the all-encompassing school [madrasah] that embraces all the different branches of Islamic knowledge.

This school has been able to train many talented personalities by quenching them with this gushing fountain. This school has given scholars to the Muslim ummah who, by following the Holy Prophet’s Household (a.s), have done their best in order to clear away the doubts and skepticisms put forth by any various creeds and intellectual currents both inside and outside Muslim society. Throughout past centuries, they have presented the firmest answers and solutions to these doubts.

Anchored to the responsibilities upon its shoulders, the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly has embarked on defending the sanctity of risalah [message] and its authentic beliefs - truths which have always been opposed by the chiefs and leaders of anti-Islamic sects, religions and trends.

In this sacred path, the Assembly regards itself as a follower of the upright pupils of the School of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) - those who have always been ready to refute those accusations and calumnies and have tried to be always in the frontline of this struggle on the basis of the expediencies of time and space.

The experiences in this field, which contained the books of scholars belonging to the School of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), are unique in their own right. It is because these experiences have been based upon knowledge [`ilm] and the preeminence of intellect and reasoning,

and at the same time, they are devoid of blind prejudices or whims and caprices. These experiences address experts, scholars and thinkers in a manner that appeals to healthy minds and pure human natural disposition [fitrah].

In a bid to assist those who are in quest of truth, the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly has endeavored to enter a new phase of these worthy experiences by conducting research and translating the works of contemporary Shi`ah writers or those who, through divine guidance, have embraced this noble school.

The Assembly is also engaged in the study and publication of the valuable works of pious predecessors and outstanding Shi`ah personalities so that those who search for the truth may quench their thirst from this palatable fountain which the School of the Prophet’s Household (a.s) offers to the entire world.

It is hoped that the dear readers will not deprive the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly of their valuable opinions, suggestions, and constructive criticisms in this arena.

We also invite scholars, translators and other institutions to assist us in propagating pure Muhammadan (s) Islam.

We ask God, the Exalted, to accept this humble effort and enhance it further under the auspices of His vicegerent on earth and give us success with al-Mahdi (may Allah, the Exalted, expedite his glorious advent).

It is appropriate here to express our utmost gratitude to ayatullah Makarim Shirazi for writing the book and to Dr. Mahmoud Farrokhpey for translating this work. We should also like to thank colleagues who took part in accomplishing this task especially the staff of the Translation Office for fulfilling their responsibility.

Cultural Affairs Department

The Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) World Assembly

Prelude

The most salient feature of our Islamic revolution is its Islamic nature and the most prominent characteristic of Islam is its personality building aspect based on Divine standards.

Our aim is to prepare an interesting, logic-based and rigorous collection of papers for the general public on the one hand, and for the youth in particular so that they could, under existing Islamic conditions, build a sturdy faith which could in the long run influence their behavior and also be used as an impetus for further studies.

This collection which has been prepared with special precision and initiatives could pave the way for those who need to acquire the Islamic principles on faith for both their personal interests or for instruction.

This collection has been written and prepared by Ayatollah Nasir Makarim Shirazi, a profound pioneer and initiator of religious discussions in the Qom Seminary for the last forty years.

The instructors who wish to teach these lectures to their students should make note of the following points:

1. These lessons should be accompanied with historic evidence and interesting observations based on current affairs.

2. The students’ preferences and previous knowledge should be considered in teaching these lessons. A question and answer approach should be used during instruction.

3. The relevant Qur’anic verses on which the lecture is based should be elegantly written on the board and the students should be presented with a literal translation of the verse under consideration. This will lay the foundation for their familiarity with the Holy Qur’an. It is recommended that the relevant verse be recited by one and repeated by the students in unison.

4. If it is not necessary to cover one lecture in one sitting: it could be covered within two sessions.

5. There are subtle and detailed points hidden in each lecture. The lecturer is well advised to study the lecture beforehand in order to bring up those points during the presentation.

6. These lectures are prepared for the students of junior-high school and high school, for both boys and girls, and for the general public who wish to improve their knowledge of the principles of the Islamic faith.

7. Giving prizes to those who successfully pass the exams based on these lectures is highly recommended.

8. Students who are exposed to these lectures might have some theological questions in mind. The following sources could be used as references in order to arrive at appropriate answers: “The Creator of the Universe,” “In search of Allah,” and “Religious Questions and Answers.”

The Hadaf Publication House welcomes any suggestions for the improvement of these lectures.

The Head of Hadaf Publication House,

Qum, 1991

[Ten Lectures on God and His Attributes]

First Lecture: Searching for God

Why Do We Think And Study In Order To Know The Creator Of The Universe?

1. The love to be informed about and know the world is deep inside every one of us

We are interested in knowing whether this lofty Heaven with its shining stars and this wide earth with its wonderful sceneries and colorful creatures, its beautiful and varied birds, its seas, mountains, flowers and blossoms, and its tall trees have come into being spontaneously or have been created by a skillful, mighty and dexterous Creator.

In addition to these questions, all of us are confronted with the following questions:

Where have we come from? Where are we now? And where are we going?

How lucky would we be if only we knew the answers to these three basic questions?

Our inquisitive souls advise us not to sit idle; rather, we should endeavor to find proper solutions to the above questions.

In a car accident, an injured and unconscious victim would be taken to the hospital to get proper treatment. However, as soon as he regained consciousness, he would ask his caregivers why he was taken there, what place it was, and when he would leave. This vividly indicates that man could never be indifferent towards the above questions.

Thus, the first thing which will lead us towards the recognition of the God of The Universe and our existence is our inquisitive soul which always wants to know.

2. A Sense of Gratitude

Suppose you were taken to an elegant party by your elder brother and suppose you had never met your host. No doubt, your first desire upon your arrival at such a place would be to identify the host and to show him your appreciation and thank him for his kindness for having invited you.

When we look at the expansive table of sustenance spread for us we are anxious to recognize the distributor of these items of subsistence and to thank Him even if He was not in need of our gratitude. We are restless until this appreciation is extended on our part. And this restlessness on our part is an indication of our desire to recognize Allah.

3. The connection of our benefit and loss to this question

Suppose on your trip you arrived at a junction where there was turmoil. Everybody would advise you not to get out of your car at that place due to the dangers looming there. However, one group might advise you to drive east and another group to drive west. Still another might advise you to take an intermediate course which is said to be the safest way towards your prosperity, welfare, and convenience.

But could we allow ourselves to take up a course without much deliberation? Or could we stay at that hazardous location without selecting a right course of action. Definitely not.

Rather, without hesitation, our wisdom would guide us to study the situation and to consider the statements and advice offered by each group and adopt the best course of action.

During our lives in this world, we are confronted with the same dilemma. Each religion and school tries to attract us. However, since our destiny, prosperity misery and our progress or lack of it, depend on the way we choose for our action, we will find it significant to deliberate seriously and to identify the most appropriate solution to our problems and to keep ourselves safe from danger.

This is another reason why we try to identify the Creator of this world. The Holy Qur’an says:

فَبَشِّرْ عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ

Therefore, give good news to My servants, those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it. [Qur’an 39: 17-18]

THINK AND ANSWER

Have you ever seriously tried to know more than what you have heard about knowing God from your parents?

Can you tell the difference between knowing God and searching for Him?

Have you ever felt a spiritual delight deep inside you when you have discovered a need for God or uncovered some mystery concerning Him?