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The Concept of Seven Heavens

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Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

As long as seven earths are concerned (the mention of which is there in the Holy Qur'an is an indication and in some traditions, is given with specific mention), about them thoughts similar to the aforesaid are expressed. For example, that the number seven is in the sense of many or that by seven earths it is meant seven planets (Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and moon).

A Look into Congregational Prayers

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You have to pray anyway...so why not in congregation?In fact, it can be a bone-chilling view to see hundreds or thousands of people gathered in one spot, standing together, bowing together, and prostrating together. The view is aesthetic. The scene is artistic. And it is very inspiring seeing how these people who come from different backgrounds gather to fulfill their religious duty together. If unity in Islam can be seen in one thing, it surely starts from congregational prayers.

Where Is God?

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In the heart of the believer

There are a number of traditions which try to clarify the 'where-ness' of God. Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) asks God, "Are You far away that I should call You, or are You near me that I should whisper to You?" And God replies, "I am (very) close to the one who remembers Me." Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says in the first sermon of Nahjul Balagha, "He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation."

The Importance of Self-Accounting

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Is our scroll of deeds worthy of being presented before Imam Mahdi?

God advises us clearly in the Qur'an, "Oh you who believe, be conscious of God and maintain your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent to the morrow, and fear God. Verily, God is All-aware of what you do." [59:18] The Almighty also says, "And whether you make known what is in your minds or hide it, God will bring you to account for it." (2:284)

Resurrection from the Sleep of Death

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Ayatollah Musawi Lari

Indeed, this total annihilation of the cosmos, in which no single creation will be identifiable, is the inevitable future of our world. Then, graves will be upturned, and the earth, in obedience to the directive of its Lord, shall reveal the age-old contents and secrets that she had hidden in her bosom, and lighten her burden.

Finding Faults in Others

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What about pointing the finger at ourselves?

Imam Ali has also said, "One who contemplates his own flaws is too busy to consider other people's faults, and the one who is satisfied with whatever sustenance Allah has provided him does not grieve over that which he has lost. The one who observes the shortcomings of others, disapproves of them, and then adopts them for himself is truly a fool." These words of the Infallibles are enough of a warning against finding fault with others.

Medina: the Roots of Karbala

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The likes of Umar ibn Sa'ad and Shimr were reported beating the women and children with whips. They tied defenseless women and children and dragged them from city to city. One wonders how such injustice can happen. But how can we be surprised when the daughter of the Prophet, shortly after her father's death, was beaten with the whip on her arms until they blackened. Her eye became red, and the earrings from her ears shattered at the force of the hands that struck her. This was the Prophet's daughter, and this is how she was treated while still in Medina. And it happened right before the very eyes of her young children. The attackers also burned the door of Lady Fatima's house, the very same door that the Prophet stood and knocked to get permission to enter.

The Psalms of Islam

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Sahifa Sajjadiya can be seen as a spiritual medicine cabinet. Just as one goes through their own medicine cabinet to find a cure for the specific ailment they have, this book can be used as a medicine cabinet for any spiritual state you find yourself in. If you find yourself in the midst of making some tough decisions, you can read the supplication in worrisome tasks. If you have committed a sin and feel ashamed of it, you can read the supplication in wrongdoing. Any spiritual state you find yourself in will have its corresponding supplication. There are supplications for certain holy occasions, such as the Month of Ramadan and the Day of Arafa.  There are also supplications for self-improvement, the main one being Makarimul Akhlaq, the supplication for noble moral traits. There are also short supplications for each day of the week, so as to make regular recitation easy. Just looking through the table of contents of this book shows us the depth it possesses.

The Etiquette of Fatimiyya

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Ayatollah GulpayganiIt is better that the believers should hold mourning gatherings from the 13th of Jamadi al-Awwal all the way until the 3rd of Jamadi al-Thani, as well as express their love towards the Holy Household (peace be upon them) and refrain from acts which do not befit the days of mourning during this period.

The Extremist Within

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Are we too quick to point fingers at others?The extremist within packs enough terror to sabotage not just the religion of peace that is Islam, but also the community itself! One such example is said Aunty. Let alone every third sister and brother on YouTube who has taken it upon her or himself to 'save' those that have gone off track, or continue to remain ignorant.

Lady Zainab: the Daughter of Her Mother

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Both Lady Fatima and Lady Zainab lost their mothers at a very young age. Lady Fatima is the Kawthar to her father, and Lady Zainab is the Zain (adornment) of her father. Just like Lady Fatima was the 'mother of her father', Lady Zainab grew up playing a similar role with the responsibility of looking after her brothers and tending to her father. Both Lady Fatima and Lady Zainab had the same dowries. Imam Ali testified that Fatima was "a good helper and wife in the way of Allah". And Abdullah ibn Jafar testified that his wife Zainab was "the best housewife". Both inherited the eloquence from their fathers, delivered keynote speeches, and resembled their fathers in their demeanor.