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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Ismaili: “One plant for me and one for my country” — Ismailis in Kabul mark Navroz with a tree planting

Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare

"DISTANCE LEARNING" - An Effective and Affordable method as compared to "Brick and Mortar" facilities. You can find one of the most prestigious sources on this link:
Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare:



Education

"A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can out-compete countries around the world. America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child"

-PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, JULY 18, 2011


MIT and Harvard announce edX

Joint venture builds on MITx and Harvard distance
learning; aims to benefit campus-based education and beyond

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) today announced edX, a transformational new partnership in online education. Through edX, the two institutions will collaborate to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build a global community of online learners.Read the full press release

About edX

EdX is a joint partnership between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to offer online learning to millions of people around the world. EdX will offer Harvard and MIT classes online for free. Through this partnership, the institutions aim to extend their collective reach to build a global community of online learners and to improve education for everyone.

MIT’s Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Anant Agarwal serves as the first president of edX, and Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith leads faculty in developing courses. Along with offering online courses, the institutions will use edX to research how students learn and how technology can facilitate teaching—both on-campus and online.



Also suitable for LIFELONG Learners.
Wishing best of reading (and research)

'via Blog this'

Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aga Khan Award for Architecture: "12th Cycle Launched; Now Open for Project Submissions
The twelfth triennial cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which runs from 2011 until autumn 2013, is now open for nominations. General criteria for nomination are simple: “projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture”.

Projects are required to have been completed between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2011 and been in use for at least one full year. They can be anywhere in the world but must successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. "

'via Blog this'

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Poetics of Religious Experience

The Poetics of Religious Experience
The Islamic Context

AZIZ ESMAIL


I.B. Tauris
LONDON• NEW YORK
in assocation With
The Institute of Ismaili Studies
LONDON

To download/read the publication click: FULL PUBLICATION
The Poetics of Religious Experience

do I say that classical Islam is historically conditioned while the Qur’an is not. The fact that the Qur’an has spoken and continues to speak, poignantly and powerfully, to innumerable followers through the course of centuries shows that something in it is timeless. But this ‘something’ needs to be distinguished from such phenomena as ordinances of war and truce, reactions to local ‘others’, whether Jews. Christians, or the Meccan Quraysh, codes of punishment, etc., all of which were clearly conditioned by local and regional circumstances. Rather than distinguishing between fundamental beliefs and not-so-fundamental applications—a procedure which is as mechanical as it is methodologically dubious—it is ultimately more fruitful to inquire into what this problem might reveal about the nature of faith. And one good answer to this question is in terms of a distinction between symbolic conceptions and doctrinal concepts.
The distinguishing feature of symbolic conceptions is that they are what we might call leading notions: open, elastic, and indeterminate. A good illustration of a symbolic conception is the notion of a final judgment, which is so germane to the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions. As a symbol, it represents an ideal of justice and an ideal resolution of life, where virtuous action and well-being coincide. Such an outcome is seldom realised in actual experience. But as what we might call a ‘horizon idea’, it provides a foundation for moral life. Similarly, the notion of the Last Day declares that change, decay, and death are not the last word on the question of the meaning of life. The more general and embryonic this notion remains, the more fertile it will prove in suggesting diverse interpretations. The more theologically definite it becomes, the narrower will be the range of ideas it is capable of suggesting. Narratives of what is supposed to happen beyond death are purely speculative, having little impact in the here and now. But there is an alternative way of looking at them, i.e., as symbolisations of a dimension of existence in the here and now. On this, Wittgenstein’s remarks are thought-provoking:
Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.’
The quest for the meaning of life, given its finiteness, can lead to many different attempts, not necessarily exclusive, to transcend its brevity: in pious hope for life after death, however conceived; in mystical realisation of a spiritual dimension, transcending the mundane, in the here and now; and not least, through the commitment of one’s life to a better and more equitable future for all. The symbols of ‘another’ life are open-ended symbols, with a plethora of associations, with the potential to grow and develop in new directions, and assimilate new nuances of meaning.
We are now in a position to sum up some of the propositions contained in the title of this essay. We saw that ‘religious experience is meant here in the widest rather than the narrowest sense. It refers to a vision of being, present in core-symbols, which provide an orientation to life and guides ethical conduct in the world.
We saw that this vision is both more and less than the entirety of a religion: less because religion is always an embodiment (which is to say, an interpretation, in the sense indicated above). It is also more, because the core-symbols are not exhausted by the forms which may prevail in a given time or place. On the contrary they are capable of supporting new and unforeseen nuances of meaning in ongoing history. Lastly, the symbolic character of these conceptions is what gives rise to poetics. This concept also needs preliminary exploration before the introductory section can be brought to a close.
By ‘poetics’ what is meant here is something more than poetry though poetry is part of it. It refers to creativity of a particular kind, namely exploration in language. The kind of language which lends itself to exploration is the language of symbol and metaphor The nature of this language will become clearer if we contrast it to a kind of language which gives information.
Unlike the language of information, poetic language does not state facts. The statement, on a given occasion, that it is dark outside (say, owing to a power failure, or to a lack of street lighting) is a plain, literal assertion of fact. Its truth or falseness can be checked by observation by anyone who has normal eyesight and knows the meaning of the word ‘dark’. However, when in Macbeth,Shakespeare makes Banquo say to his son as they grope their way in the thick of the night, shortly after we have been let into Macbeth and his wife’s wicked scheme to murder the King of Scotland, so that (in line with the witches’ prophecy) Macbeth may gain the throne—when, against this background, Shakespeare makes Banquo exclaim: ‘There’s husbandry in heaven, their candles are all out ...,‘ we know at once, in our deepest being, that something considerably more is said in these lines than that the night is dark. The difference is not simply between plain and ornamental speech. It is a question of the scope of meaning. What Banquo sees in the darkened sky is not solely a reflection of his own fears and concerns. It is a suspicion, a foreboding vision, of something looming there, encompassing the universe, in the shape of an objective menace, Of this, the personal careers of various protagonists are a partial reflection. Thus, the text unfolds on several levels at once. It depicts the lives and characters of its protagonists. But in doing so, it also makes statements about the kind of world in which such men and women live; in which mysterious forces, beyond their intellectual control, play on them.
Thus, while being all too concrete, the words quoted here have the force of an impersonal, universal statement. They do not only remind us that a heinous murder is about to occur. They tell us something much more, something which is true on a cosmic scale. This cosmic statement may be put simply as follows: there is Evil abroad. Since what is evoked here is the scheme of things entire, and not merely a single incident in space or time, it is not just an evil episode with which we are brought face to face, but Evil as a cosmic principle. Here another very important point deserves to be noted. On this level, which we may call the metaphysical level, there is no statement which is not at the same time a question. This is shown, above all, in what such language does to a listener or reader. Statements inform us; questions challenge us. When we hear ‘Evil is abroad,’ we are moved, perplexed, and stirred into an interrogation of being. Out of the bewilderment which comes no sooner than the terror of this recognition dawns on us, we think of our own lives, our own experience. We wonder whether we have not ourselves encountered, or observed in others, the power of an incomprehensible destiny in human life. We ask our-selves what this could mean. We search for ways in which to fathom this experience, to see it in some kind of perspective, and if possible, to go beyond it. We are reminded of the opposite principle of Evil, the principle of Good, celebrated both in classical philosophy and in religious scripture. Jews and Christians may be reminded of the Book of Job. Christians may remember the Passion of Christ. And Muslims may well recall the all-too-vivid evocation of an evil which shuts out all light, blots out all vision, in the following passage of the Qur’an:
Like the darkness in a fathomless sea darkened
By wave above wave,
and above it all, clouds.
Layers over layers of dark.
If one stretches forth his hand he can scarcely see it.
For he for whom God has not setup a light, has no light.
What we find in poetry like Shakespeare’s are echoes of symbols which were first given in the Judaeo—Christian, Islamic, and Classical traditions. Poetic traditions in the cultures derived from these sources have been continually nourished and replenished by these original symbols. It was in the Biblical, Qur’anic, and in a few other sites in the world, that long-enduring fundamental intimations about the human experience of being were revealed. To be sure, religious vision cannot be reduced to poetry; it is much more than that. Religious meaning binds a whole community, an entire society, through a narrative of beginnings and ends, i.e., of human existence interpreted in the frame of cosmic time and space. The point of such narrative is to give meaning to human life, but also, in so doing, to induce meaningful action, i.e., action oriented to ethical ends. Poetry is only a specialised pursuit within this civihisational totality. But the language of poetry, especially poetry which seeks to speak of being as a whole, is a good example of a kind of language which differs from straightforward propositions of fact. It shows a way of thinking and speaking in which metaphor, symbol, and analogy are of the essence; which challenges the imagination, feeling, and reason, and thus engenders creativity.
In short, such language is semantically pregnant. It has a way of radiating outwards—laterally, above, and into the depths. This element of continual inquiry is also what we find, in a different form, in science. Observation stimulates further inquiry in science, and knowledge builds on knowledge. For, the scientist is a poet of nature; just as the poet is a scientist of the heart. Nothing is further from the argument of this essay than the false opposition, encountered so often in modern times, of the poetic or humanistic to the scientific mind; of intuition to intellect; or of science to religion. These dichotomies, to which I shall return, arc products of modern European history. The contrast with which I am concerned here lies elsewhere. It is a contrast between two models of knowledge, one of which sees acquisition of facts as its essence, while the other is an exploratory model. Statements of fact tend to fill and satiate; whereas poetic, philosophical, or scientific thought, while no doubt dealing with facts, whets renewed hunger. Furthermore, it is critical in spirit. And there is something of this spirit we may call it, in a sense to be explained later, the prophetic spirit—at the heart of religious experience.
The language of faith enunciates the bond between man and what he perceives or experiences as sacred. The sacred cannot be captured in propositions of fact. There is something about it which makes symbolic expression especially suited to it. Several points need to he noted in this connection. First, the sacred is always perceived in the context of a relationship. It is never grasped as an object in itself. While God is depicted in the Qur’an, for instance, as the Absolute, having attributes radically free of the limitations of creatureliness, significantly the revelation of God occurs there primarily in a dialogical context. God speaks, and this speech is the most consequential act as far as human affairs are concerned. For the divine is not contemplated as if by a spectator. Hence the limitations of theology, which is an intellectual contemplation of God. The divine is primordially revealed in a dialogical act. In the Qur’an, humanity is addressed either directly or indirectly through the figure of a messenger or prophet. Reciprocally, the prophet, or the humanity which he represents, enters into a verbal exchange (through prayer, etc.) with the divine.
The second principle follows from the first. The importance of the relational aspect means that the sacred becomes known to man in forms which reflect human psychology and culture. In one form or another, the human relation with the divine involves intermediation. I shall return to this point later. Thirdly, the relationship of man to his own being, and to the being of all things, is by its very nature manifold rather than singular. This implies, as its logical corollary, the legitimacy of spiritual pluralism. Lastly, the indeterminacy of language about the sacred, which was noted above as a characteristic of symbolic language, argues not only against literalism, but in favour of a continuing rather than completed symbolisation.
The rest of the essay is devoted to elaborating the themes broached throughout this introductory section. As these themes are addressed in the Islamic context, I shall illustrate them mostly with Islamic examples; though they are, in fact, of more general importance, applicable to the study of other religious traditions, and indeed, to wider issues of culture
The epic poem of Jalal al-Din Rumi, the Iranian mystic, opens with these famous lines:
Listen to the reed,
how it tells a tale
complaining of separation:
Ever since I was parted
from the reed-bed,
my lament has made
men and women weep.
I search for a heart
Smitten by separation
that I may tell the pain
of love-desire
Everyone who has got far from his source
harks back for the time
when he was one with it 

Mysticism and the Plurality of Meaning

The Case of the Ismailis of Rural Iran
RAFIQUE KESHAVJEE
I.B.Tauris
LONDON • NFW YORK
In association with
The Institute of Ismaili Studies
LONDON
Mysticism and the Plurality of Meaning
Context as a Sanctuary for the Plurality of Meaning
This essay illustrates how the diversity of interpretation of the Qur’an and of devotional poetry reposes, or finds sanctuary, in the oral context. This raises a much larger issue, namely the role of oral context in contemporary life.
We live in a paradoxical age. In the realm of scholarship, the text is supreme, while in the public realm, television is ubiquitous. Both features of the intellectual landscape conspire to reduce the importance of context. In this connection, Joshua Meyerovitz has broken new ground in his study of the implications of television for society. Instead of focusing only on the content, he examines television as a medium, and takes his analysis well beyond that of Marshall McLulian. His basic point is that, unlike television, a book which has to be obtained by individual purchase or borrowing is not accessible to everyone at any one time. Moreover, the privacy offered by the closed door protects parents from exposing their conflicts and concerns to their children. There are rules for access to the book (literacy, technical proficiency, age), and until recently in Western society at least, there have been rules that determined discourse in various contexts.
Television, on the other hand, has broken all the bounds of context. This is because, through investigative reporting and situation comedies, television shows the ‘off-stage’ behaviour of politicians and public figures, as well as that of parents, whose errors, concerns and private discussions are presented not only to any member of the family who can switch the machine on, but also to the entire family cluing together in one room. This phenomenon, suggests Meyerovitz, has exercised profound social and psychological effects. In American Political life, one notes a greater concern with visual criteria such as appearance and ease of manner rather than with intellectual criteria in the judgment of politicians. In family life, the breaking of the bounds of context has resulted in a decrease in the authority of parents over children. In ordinary discourse, this trend has blurred distinctions between formal and informal speech. Finally, a blurring has taken plate in the way males and females dress or cross-dress. ‘What is of particular interest here is the suggestion that the appreciation of context is disappearing in modern society. More and more, things are expected to be the same to everybody. Plurality is primarily in the choice offered by numerous TV channels.
Over the last few decades there also appears to have been a resurgence of religious movements that insist upon single and literal truth of the religious text as the unchanging core of the faith. Debates about the creation of the world as described in the Bible hinge on the scientific validity of the age of the earth or of the universe; debates about the creation of man hinge on whether Darwin or the Bible is right. The spread of printed media, on the other hand, has increased the perception that what is written is more important and more permanent than what is oral. What has retreated from the general arena of religious belief are the notions that a religious text can have layers of meaning that coexist with their respective standards of validity, that religious narrative can be understood through literary analysis and can be appreciated for the power of the image without losing its link with the divine.
The extraordinary power of the text lies in the simple fact that it can survive context, that is, it can outlast the time and place of the verbal utterance. Moreover, it turns the act of reading into a special, personal event, which allows for a unique and flexible encounter between the author who creates a world and the reader who enters it — as anyone who has sat in an armchair with a good book can confirm. Finally, a text can fix and enforce reality. All three features of the text are particularly important for the preservation and development of culture.
The fact that the text can survive the verbal utterance means that it can widen intellectual discourse and, more generally, it can perpetuate civilisation long after its living bearers have disappeared. Perhaps the single greatest defining moment of a civilisation is the appearance of writing. For instance, it is difficult o exaggerate the importance to Islamic civilisation of the moment when al-Farabi chanced upon an Arabic translation of Aristotle in a bookshop. That started such an opening of the mind, such a centuries-long conversation, such a quickening of culture! This episode makes one ponder how fragile is the text: it is on paper so thin, so tearable, so burnable, so susceptible to the corrosion of time and the elements. The medieval city of Baghdad was renowned for its cultural splendours under the Abbasids; yet so little remains of it that scholars today are unsure of its configuration. But the ideas, the poetry, the philosophy that its citizens produced in its days of glory, have survived the centuries of the rise and fall of cities and empires to come down to us on mere sheets of paper.
The text inscribes reality in several ways. A novel creates a world that you, as a reader, can enter. Moreover, this fictional world, upon entry, becomes your world; and if the novel is a great one, like all great works of art it will push open the boundaries of your world and force you, for example, to see life differently, or to understand human motivation better. For evidence of the immense potential of the text one need only look at the lengths to which authoritarian regimes will go to punish independent-minded writers. A Russian once said that if a hundred years from now the question is asked, ‘Who was Brezhnev?’ the answer will be, ‘He was someone who lived in the time of Solzhenitsyn.’
In the realm of daily action, the text can also enforce reality, especially where the rule of law prevails. No lawyer or businessman needs reminding of the value of the phrase, ‘Get it in writing!’
Context is more difficult to define. To put it most simply, context is what is said to whom within a particular boundary. This boundary is usually physical space, such as a room in which people can talk in privacy. Context can also be invisible, such as a language shared only by some of the people present or. more subtly, words, hints or gestures understood by only a few. The most crucial feature of context is that it is created by a boundary of some sort. A text is an object, whereas a context is a situation. A text is fixed once it is inscribed, while context is fluid. Control over a text is ultimately limited because it can be disseminated and distributed almost indefinitely. Control over a context is by definition much more effective. Text works by dissemination, while context works by closure. Context tends to form boundaries of groups, whereas text tends toward informing everybody.
An essential complement to the poetic and historical texts of a community is lived understanding, for it is the latter which awakens meaning. Mystical thought and discourse can only be understood properly in the orality that surrounds and protects the layers of meaning that a great poetic text renders possible. It is essential to preserve such a plurality of meaning because it befits the diversity of human beings and offers the gradations of insight that are vital steps in the journey towards God.
Towards a Pluralistic Notion of Muslim Civilisation
The argument for a plurality of meaning goes much further than its role in the vitality of mystical thought. It speaks to the very idea of Islam that we entertain. To speak of there being one single set of ideas or system of thought called ‘Islamic’, or ‘Ismaili’ for that matter, is a monolithic fantasy that pervades much of current thinking on Islam as a phenomenon.
To encompass a plurality of meaning within Islam means we must reconsider the concept of diversity in Muslim societies. Diversity in Islam is not some essence that has been contaminated by local differences or foreign influences. Muslims from the very beginning have been in constant and creative interaction with local traditions and regional cultures. Diversity is therefore a measure of breadth and tolerance rather than a problem that calls for explanation or a return to the centre. But respect for diversity, however important as a starting point, cannot serve as the sole objective of religious thought.
The Muslims of today have barely begun the major task of grappling with the vast social, technical and intellectual transformation that has gripped the world in the last three centuries. The mystical, the legal and the rational-intellectual each have a role to play in this task, each with its strengths, each reliant on the others to compensate for its weaknesses. The legal minded dimension in Islam is required to the extent that the law helps provide some parameters for the religious community and a foundation for norms of justice and fairness within the various Muslim communities. However, the rational and legal domains cannot satisfy the soul searching for the truth behind the promise of the Qur’an, that having come from God, so we shall return.
Neither of these two domains can attend to the need for freedom in individual interpretation, or offer the succour of divine love that the great poets have spoken of with such inspired longing. But the mystic, in his suspicion of everyday rationality, if unrestrained, can have a corrosive effect on human advancement in knowledge and technology which rests on a commitment to rational and empirical tools of inquiry. The rush for mystical certainty can short-circuit the task of individuals, as much as of a civilisation, to cope with a changing world. On the other hand, when the mystic points to the divine as the source of knowledge, we should be in awe of the intuition that is the fountainhead of creative thought, be it in the mathematical equations of Albert Einstein or in the fertile imagery of Jalal al-Din Rumi. The example of the mystic can inspire us to bow our heads in humility Whenever we approach such boundaries of human reason.

PRIVATE REPORT ON MITIGATION EFFORTS FOR THE AFFECTED POPULATIONS IN UPPER HUNZA


Status Report

    
   
      
 

Summary
Preamble: This is a report compiled after a detailed visit to the site of disaster both from air as well as ground. It is intended to augment the reports being rendered by the council in Hunza as well as FOCUS channels. This report covers only the aspects connected with day to day movement of goods and people in the affected areas and status of the lake - its potential and risks. The progress on rehabilitation aspects for those already suffered due to the massive land slide, the property that has so far submerged in Ainabad/Siskat(Nazimabad) and also other properties that will submerge in the near future has not been fully investigated. More important aspect is my personal recommendations on improvement in the mitigation aspects. The basis of information is:
  1. Feed back from travelers in the affected areas
  2. Discussions and feed back from the military operators involved in rendering service to local populations
  3. Detailed briefing by FWO task group (Major Irshadullah Beg and his team of officers and men) engaged on digging a spillway on the DAM caused by the disaster
  4. Personal observation
  5. The feed back from volunteers manning embarkation point on the Gulmit side and discussions with the president local council.

Last Period

  • NO REPORT HAS BEEN RENDERED BY ME PRIOR TO THIS ONE
  
This Period

  • AGENCIES CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN RELIEF OPERATIONS:
    • Local Administration, PWD and government of GB
    • FWO (Pakistan Army Intervention)
    • Local Councils and FOCUS
    • FCNA (Force Commander Northern Areas - Pakistan Army Intervention)
    • NDMA (National Disaster Management Agency)
    • Self help groups
    • Private Entrepreneurs
  
Issues

  • The Tehsildar in Gulmit is supposed to coordinate at embarkation point in Gulmit side. However this is being done by volunteers from Gulmit local council who experience frequent ugly and quarrelsome behavior from needy travelers. On the dam site, traffic at one embarkation point is regulated by the contingent of Army Engineers under the supervision of a Junior Commissioned Officer, a Major is overall in charge, he has his camp in Karimabad and as per feedback, seldom visits the contingent at disaster site. The approach to this embarkation site is difficult especially for women and sick as well as transportation of goods - which can be done only as a backpack.
  • The other embarkation point - relatively easier in approach, is free for private operators - there are two boats, one was brought by a dealer from Nagar who has imported a large consignment (60 truck loads) of fruit from China which he needs to ferry across the 11 Km Lake. He offers free available space to travelers as a goodwill service. The other boat is mostly used by the contractor to ferry the relief wheat consignment that government has allocated. He also provides some space for priority passengers such as sick and women.
  • The Amy Engineers have supplied five 12-seater Fiber glass boats along with 9 operators. Four of these are used for free of cost ferry service to Ainabad, Nazimabad, Gulmit (including the residents in upper Hunza) while the fifth is allocated for rescue. They operate between 0830 AM to 05.00PM. The fuel for the outboard engines is being provided by the government of GB through the control of a PWD overseer mostly available on site, who also monitors the dam for water seepage from the dam.
  • On the average each boat takes about one hour each side thus a boat can do only four round trips during a working day. Wind conditions force the operators to change the number of passengers they can safely ferry giving rise to mistrust and, unruly behavior and suspicions from the users on the intentions of these operators - written SOPs have neither been provided on Embarkation points nor on the boats. On the other hand operators show obvious signs of fatigue and overwork.
  • Another nine wooden army engineer boats give a picture of wasted effort as all of them (Nine) are not usable - being from the condemned stock of owning Engineers unit.
  • FUTURE PROSPECTS: The water level in the lake is increasing at 0.8 meters in 24 Hours, so far 9 houses (and landed property as well as animal sheds) out of 35 in Ainabad have got submerged. The FWO engineers have planned to excavate up to 30 meters from top of the debris to provide the overflow for the dam. They claim that they are within 95% of their work schedule which extends to first May 2010. By then the water level would have reached another 25 meters above the level on 17th March. This implies most of the remaining Houses in Ainabad and some eight to ten houses in Nazimabad will also get submerged before the water flows over the excavated spillway. There is no danger to any house in Gulmit or beyond.
  • The seepage from dam has increased recently. The engineers are optimistic that the over flow will not create a disastrous situation and in fact they have modified their original opinion and feel confident that the dam can be used for generation of electricity (this opinion has not yet been communicated to the government).
  • The government of GB had not agreed to this proposal when I made it to them on 6th Jan - two days after the disaster.



  • RECOMMENDATIONS: I have following recommendations for immediate consideration of FCNA, council for Pakistan/Hunza/FOCUS:
  • The base operating camp by the army be shifted to Gulmit side as it will facilitate the travelers from upper Hunza
  • Some of the volunteers (from Karimabad and Gulmit LC jurisdiction) be trained to operate the boats  and army should give these boats on Loan to civil society (in fact this is on my agenda for my talks with commander FCNA when I meet him on Monday , (I have already discussed this point with president local Council Karimabad)
  • FOCUS should immediately procure at least ten 10-20 men inflatable boats along with safety vests and put them in to operation between now and the time when government can make suitable arrangements for water or over land movement. These boats will also be of immense value to populations if the dam bursts uncontrollably and roads and or bridges between HUNZA/Nagar and Gilgit get damaged.
  17 Mar 2010
Karimabad, Hunza


 

 
 

Communication with the Government as Head of Ismaili Delegation


The gist of communication with the Minister and his team consisting of Chief Secy, Deputy Chief Executive, Police Head, all secretaries and deputy commissioner, is as follows:
' Honarable Minister had the occasion to meet our Imam on a number of occasions and is aware of his thoughts on the matters affecting Ummah throughout the world and particularly in Pakistan. As Mualim-e-Quran we Ismailis believe that the Imam-eWaqt teaches us the spirit of the Quranic teaching of "La Tufsidu" and "La Ikraha Fid deen". as such we neither believe in Fasad nor in imposing our will on others in the matters of faith We do not oppose any Tariqa and believe in tolerance. As such you see disciplined attitude within the violent people of the past and desire to cooperate and follow legal procedures. Like other Tariqas we do not have a clergy to represent Ismailis as such I would not call this delegation akin to the other delegations that you have met today. The presence of elected representatives is because they represent the feelings of populations in their respective jurisdictions. We believe in following a totally merit based approach. Over the past few decades we have noticed an imbalance in the society in dispensation of government jobs and resources based on sectarian feelings by the government functionaries in Northern Areas which has created frustrations amongst the youth in the area as such we hope that the present 'restoration phase' will be followed by a 'reformation phase. We will contribute in both phases. With particular reference to Hunza its economy and peace has been affected through interference from non locals. The trade with China is dominated by violent smugglers creating a sense of deprivation and frustration. This needs to be corrected. You are aware of the long term measure that has been initiated by me which in due course will hopefully result in reduction of acrimony within North'.
The minister reciprocated his appreciation of the attitude of Ismaili populations and indicated his intention to form a commission to investigate all aspects during which the specific suggestions would be included.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION SUBJECTS IN HUMANITIES – (SOCIAL SCEINCES) RECOMMENDED FOR COMING GENERATIONS – PART OF ADVOCAY FOR HDF LONGTERM GOALS

1.    Introduction to Humanities
    The "Humanities is not one specific subject, but many things: philosophy and cinema, studies of science, of religion, of society; literature and poetry; history and culture. The material in this course is designed to help the students to begin exploring their own ideas, as critical thinkers, critical readers, and critical writers. In this course the students look at past, present and imaginary cultures, across times, and space, and people. Students learn to "interpret" by understanding different possible perspectives of the texts they read. 


    2.     Individual and Society 


    Relationship between individuals and society has been part of the debate across many humanities and social sciences disciplines such as anthropology, history, literature, philosophy and sociology. This course focuses on the issue of individual and society in the light of individual and social identity formation, gender, science, technology and ethics, individuality and religion, and natural environment. The course will examine ideas from diverse writers of Asian, western and/or Islamic backgrounds, where students will have an opportunity to address contemporary issues that have an impact on their lives. 
       
    3.     Identifying Civil Society


    Identifying civil society, exploring its roots in history, literature, religion and society is a need that has been felt more in the late twentieth and the twenty first centuries than at any other time in human history. This need to identify, establish, and root civil society in every modern state is being met by scholars, politicians,Professionals, citizens, as well as students. Through enrolling in this course, students will get an opportunity to examine the concepts of civil society, the alternatives to it, and the value humanity sees in it. Some of the questions that will be addressed are: What is civil society? How has the concept of civil society evolved in recent human history? Is respect for universal human rights the foundation for civil society? 


    4.     Negotiating Human Nature 

    Most transactions in the market, at work, and at home are more or less based on our understanding of human nature. Directly or indirectly we rationalize our decisions on the basis of human nature. This course therefore, allows the participants to explore the concept of human nature through reading texts gathered from diverse cultures, perspectives, and ideologies. There is no absolute agreement on what is human nature. However there is serious debate on human nature that involves philosophers, ideologues, artists, social scientists and theologians. It is therefore, necessary for people from different backgrounds to come to a negotiated agreement on what constitutes human nature. This course allows the participants to become part of that negotiation on human nature.


    5.  Seeking Social Justice


    This course introduces diverse ideas of justice and examines how these ideas on justice guide societies and communities. By examining these conceptions and comparing them with the ideas presented in the texts and in discussions in media, at home, and in classroom, the participants will have the opportunity to see patterns of justice and injustice that guide and order communal life. A critical examination of social justice by each and every citizen remains the only possibility for achieving it in any society. The course promotes the development of a keen sense of social justice and recognizes the need for responsible citizenry for better world for all of us. 


    6.    Tradition and Change
     

    All societies and cultures, as well as individuals, are in a process of change. We are always evolving, always becoming new and reacting into the future. Our ideas and our imaginations encourage us to assess our present situation and what our future might be. The knowledge, way of life and cultural habits, and experiences of the past become a tradition that is handed on to us. With tradition, we shape the present, and finally the future. In this course, the dynamics of tradition and change will be examined through the six themes:  
    (1) The creation of traditions, 
    (2) religious innovation, 
    (3) tradition as nostalgia, 
    (4) urban traditions, 
    (5) tradition vs. modernity, and 
    (6) globalization and traditions. 
    Understanding the role and place of tradition in daily life will enable us to be rooted in our culture without becoming trapped and locked into it.


    7.   Rhythm and Movement


    The rhythm and Movement course will explore the great influence music has had on shaping human society and history. The main purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to dance and music as important disciplines within the humanities and to debate basic ideas related to the art's aesthetics. All the materials presented in this course are selected from different cultures and civilizations (Europe, America, Russia, some Muslim countries, and India, among others) that gave had direct or indirect links to the history and contemporary life of Central Asia. This course will allow the participants to freely question existing musical forms, groups, and ensembles and to challenge the ruling cultural, traditional and political attitudes concerning issues of professional or local musical performance, self expression, and the responsibilities of musicians to society.
    Also read the concept of HCF.


    8.   Art as Appreciation


    Most people appreciate art and/or critique art but few people understand what that appreciation or critique means. This course offers an opportunity to appreciate and understand art through a discussion on the various aesthetics propounded by artists, critics, philosophers and writers. At various times art has been defined as something sacred, beautiful, intuitive, political or experiential. We will address each of these definitions. Participants in this class will present and defend their own views on visual arts. They will get an opportunity to visit an art gallery, talk to local artists and watch films on famous artists. The aim of this course, therefore, is not about gaining knowledge of art history but simply of understanding the various responses to it and the relative benefits of that understanding.


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    To reach the broadest spectrum of learners possible, UCA will offer a range of internationally recognized academic programmes

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Difference between Sunni and Wahabi


    The major difference between Sunni and Wahabi is the beliefs and rituals. Sunnis are in majority and almost 90% percent of Muslims around the world belong to Sunni sect whereas the members of Wahabi movement are located in Saudi Arab. There are a few main and major as well as many secondary differences between the Sunni and Wahabi Muslims which caused these sects to be cut off from each other and emerge independently.

    The major difference between them is that Wahabis believe that Prophet Muhammad should be praised only as a human being whereas Sunnis show extra special care and respect towards the Prophet of Islam. 

    Sunni Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet and arrange Meelaad. Meelaad is a form of gathering in which the Sunni Muslims get together and praise the Holy Prophet. The birthdays of Sufi saints are also celebrated with much dedication and enthusiasm. The day of their deaths are commemorated in the form of Urs. Wahabi Muslims do not believe in celebrating and practicing all these events which are very strongly rooted in Islam. Wahabis call these practices of events as unlawful and wrongful innovations. Wahabis also believe that this is as close as to shirk or polytheism and Sunnis follow the ways of infidel Hindus. 

    Sunni Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is Nur and still present in this world. Whereas Wahabis do not believe in using pious individuals as intermediaries when asking Allah as they consider it shirk or polytheism. Sunnis believe in the saints and mysticism whereas Wahabis do not believe in mysticism, intercession and prostration as well. Sunni Muslims visit the tombs of the saints and perform tawassul for the blessings of Allah whereas it is the greatest sin for a Wahabi. 

    Sunni Muslims believe in four imams of fiqah or Islamic laws such as Hanfi, Hanbli, Malakii and Shaafeyii whereas Wahabi does not follow an Iman in Fiqh. Wahabi Muslims are a group of fundamentalists and have an orthodox version Islam. Wahabis in Saudi Arab do not allow their females to work side by side with their men and they also are not allowed to drive a car. The women are treated as third rate citizens and they are bound to wear a long abayaa or garment to cover them from head to toe. Sunni Muslims are moderate and believe in the equality of women as suggested by Islam. 

    There are many differences present in their rituals of praying, marriage ceremonies, dresses etc. Wahabi Muslims have separate mosques and schools. Wahabi Muslims are followers of Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahab in the 18th century in Arabia, and his movement came up against a lot of opposition from the Indians Sunni Muslims. Members of the Wahab movement in Saudi Arabia believe their role as a restorer or reformer to free Islam from negative deviances, heresies, innovations, superstitions and idolatries. Wahabis prefer to eliminate music and listening to songs. They are against watching television and drawings of living things which contain a soul. 

    Summary

    1. Wahabi Muslims are followers of Muhammad ibne Abdul wahab present in the 18th century in Saudi Arabia whereas Sunni Muslims are followers of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

    2. Sunni Muslims believe in intercession and mysticism whereas Wahabis call them as deviants and wrongful innovations in Islam.

    3. Sunni Muslims strictly follow one of the four schools of thoughts or madhabs of fiqah or Islamic jurisprudence whereas Wahabis follow their sheikh.

    4. Wahabis do not observe annual Sufi festivals, events or the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

    5. Sunni Muslims wear charms and believe in healing powers unlike Wahabi beliefs like visiting tombs or shrines of saints.

    Related Links:HISTORY,  SALAFIWEBSITE , VIEW FROM WITHIN , TIME BOMB , THREAT , ANALYSIS , YUSUF  MONITORING TERRORISM

    MESSIAH, KALKI, MEHDI


    Messianism

    CULTSONE RECENT VIEW, VIEW FROM WEST

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Messianism is the belief in a messiah, a savior or redeemer. Many religions have a messiah concept, including the Jewish Messiah, the Christian Christ, the Muslim Mahdi and Isa (Islamic name for Christian Jesus), the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki and the Zoroastrian Saoshyant. The state of the world is seen as hopelessly flawed beyond normal human powers of correction, and divine intervention through a specially selected and supported human is seen as necessary.
    Masih (pronounced [ˈmɑsiːħ]) is the Arabic word for Messiah. In modern Arabic it is used as one of the many titles of Isa (عيسى `Īsā), who is known to Christians as Jesus. Masih is used by Arab Christiansas well as Muslims, and is written as Yasu' al-Masih (يسوع المسيح ) or Isa al-Masih.
    The word Masih literally means "The anointed one"[citation needed] and in Islam, Isa al-Masih is believed to have been anointed from birth by Alläh with the specific task of being a prophet and a king.[citation needed] The Israelites, to whom Isa was sent, had a traditional practice of anointing their kings with oil. An Imam Bukhari Hadith describes Jesus as having wet hair that looked as if water was dripping from it, possibly meaning he was naturally anointed [1]. Muslims believe that this is just one of the many signs that prove that Jesus is the Messiah.
    In Islam, Isa is believed to hold the task of killing the false messiah (al-Dajjal, a figure similar to the Antichrist in Christianity), who will emerge shortly before him during Qiyamah (Armageddon in Islamic belief). After he has destroyed al-Dajjal, his final task will be to become leader of the Muslims. Isa will unify the Muslim Ummah (the followers of Islam) under the common purpose of worshipping Allah alone in pure Islam, thereby ending divisions and deviations by adherents. Mainstream Muslims believe that at that time Isa will dispel Christian and Jewish claims about him.
    Abdul Masih, "servant of the Messiah", is used as a given name by Arabic-speaking Christians. Masih is also a surname among Pakistani, Iranian and Indian Christians.
    Messiah is the anglicized version of a Hebrew term
     (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ,Modern Mashia Tiberian Māšîă; Greek: Μεσσίας; Aramaic: ‎משיחא, Məšīaʼ;Arabic language مسيح, Masih; all meaning "anointed one") generallytransliterated as Mashiach, designating a king or High Priest, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25 (the term was not applied exclusively to Jewish kings; the Hebrew Bible refers to Cyrus the great, king of Persia, as a messiah). Following the death of Simon bar Kokhba, who ruled Judea from 132-135 until defeated by the Romans and who was considered by some to be the last messiah, the term came to refer to a Jewish king who would rule at the end of history. In later Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, messiah refers to a leader anointed by God, and in some cases, a future King of Israel, physically descended from the Davidic line, who will rule the united tribes of Israel[1] and herald the Messianic Age[2] of global peace.
    Today, their beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world,[3] in other words the Messianic Age of the World to Come.
    The translation of the Hebrew word Mašía as Χριστός (Khristós) in the GreekSeptuagint[4] became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth, indicative of the principal character and function of his ministry. Christians believe that prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (especially Isaiah) refer to a spiritual savior and believe Jesus to be that Messiah (Christ).
    Islamic tradition holds the view that Isa (cf. Islamic views of Jesus), son of Maryam (cf. Islamic views of Mary) was indeed the promised nabi (Prophet) and masih (Messiah) sent to the Israelites, and that he will again return to Earth in the end times, along with al-Mahdi, and they will defeat Masih ad-Dajjal (lit. "false Messiah"; cf. antichrist).[5]

    Judaism
    Messiah (Hebrewמשיח‎; mashiahmoshiahmashiach, or moshiach, ("anointed [one]") is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed. For example, Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia, is referred to as "God's anointed" (Messiah) in the Bible.
    In Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, the term came to refer to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who will be "anointed" with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. In Standard Hebrew, The Messiah is often referred to as מלך המשיח, Méle ha-Mašía (in the Tiberian vocalization pronounced Méle hamMāšîª), literally meaning "the Anointed King."
    Traditional Rabbinic teachings and current Orthodox thought has held that the Messiah will be an anointed one (messiah), descended from his father through the Davidic line of King David, who will gather the Jews back into the Land of Israel and usher in an era of peace.
    Other denominations, such as Reform Judaism, perceive a Messianic Age when the world will be at peace, but do not agree that there will be a Messiah as the leader of this era.
    The Jewish Messiah was the source of the development of later, similar messianic concepts in Christianity (originally a Jewish sect) and Islam.
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    In Christianity, the Second Coming is the anticipated return of Jesus from the heavens to the earth (Zechariah 14:3-4, Acts 1:11, Revelation 19:11-20:6), an event that will fulfill aspects of Messianic prophecy, such as the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment of the dead and the living and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, including the Messianic Age. Views about the nature of this return vary among Christian denominations. Jesus is understood as having fulfilled the laws set forth by Moses (such as sacrificial offerings) with the supposition that those laws represented Jesus in the first place, being the shadow of the true substance which would be this new fulfillment, see also New Covenant. Therefore, this new fulfillment of the law is believed to now have potentiality in being upheld by each individual instinctively, as Jesus Spirit is believed to be abiding in each Christian. This includes the allowance and explanation of calling God "Father", because God recognizes the new Christian as a son, since that person has Jesus own Spirit within them. However, Christianity has a unique attribute of a tri-part God. The "Son" is believed to be one with the "Father", and also with the "Spirit". Therefore there is an overall understanding of oneness, and each identity of the Christian God is fully separate, and power is authoritatively different while at the same time retaining equality among the Godhead, as being all three aspects to one God. Granted, this explanation only roughly describes the triune God within the Christian Religion. Therefore, God himself is the Messiah, King of All the Earth, in the person of Christ Jesus.

    [edit]Islam
    In Islamic eschatology the Mahdi (مهدي Mahdī, also Mehdi; "Guided One") is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on earth seven, nine, or nineteen years (depending on the interpretation[1]) before the coming of Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally "Day of the Resurrection" or "Day of the Standing").[2] Muslims believe the Mahdi will rid the world of error, injustice and tyranny alongside Jesus.[3]The concept of Mahdi is not mentioned in the Qur'an nor in the Sunni hadith collection called Sahih al-Bukhari.[4][5] Hadith about the Mahdi are present in other Sunni hadith collections, although some orthodox Sunnī theologians question do Mahdist beliefs.[5] Such beliefs do form a necessary part of Shīʿī doctrine.[4]
    The idea of the Mahdi has been described as important to Sufi Muslims, and a "powerful and central religious idea" for Shia Muslims who believe the Mahdi is the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi who will return from occultation. However, among Sunni, it "never became a formal doctrine" and is neither endorsed, nor condemned "by the consensus of Sunni Ulama." It has "gained a strong hold on the imagination of many ordinary" self-described orthodox Sunni though, thanks to Sufi preaching.[6] Another source distinguishes between Sunni and Shia beliefs on the Mahdi saying the Sunni believe the Mahdi will be a descendant of the Prophet named Muhammad who will revive the faith, but not necessarily be connected with the end of the world, Jesus or perfection.[7]
    The word Masih literally means "The anointed one" and in IslamIsa son of Mariam, al-Masih (The Messiah Jesus son of Virgin Mary) is believed to have been anointed from birth by Allah with the specific task of being a prophet and a king. In orthodox Islam, Isa is believed to hold the task of killing the false messiah al-Dajjal (similar to the Antichrist in Christianity), who will emerge shortly before him during Qiyamah. After he has destroyed al-Dajjal, his final task will be to become leader of the Muslims. Isa will unify the Muslim Umma hunder the common purpose of worshipping Allah alone in pure Islam, thereby ending divisions and deviations by adherents. Mainstream Muslims believe that at that time Isa will dispel Christian and Jewish claims about him.

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    1.CURRENT SUNNY THOUGHT

    [edit] Buddhism
    Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (TheravādaMahāyānaVajrayāna) and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an actual event that will take place in the distant future.

    [edit] Taoism
    Around the 3rd century CA religious Taoism developed eschatological ideas. A number of scriptures predict the end of the world cycle, the deluge, epidemics, and coming of the saviour Li Hong 李弘 (not to be confused with the Tang personalities).

    [edit] Hinduism
    Main articles: Kalki and List of avatar claimants
    In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; also rendered by some as Kalkin and Kalaki) is the tenth and final Maha Avatara (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will come to end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. The name Kalki is often a metaphor for eternity or time. The origins of the name probably lie in the Sanskrit word "kalka" which refers to dirt, filth, or foulness and hence denotes the "destroyer of foulness," "destroyer of confusion," "destroyer of darkness," or "annihilator of ignorance."[8]
    Beliefs: Kalki Avatara The Symptoms of Kali-yuga or Age of Hypocrisy... SB 12:2... Predicted over 5,000 years ago... Please, Be the Judge friends...
    Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the Age of Kali. SB 12:2:1
    In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a person’s good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power. SB 12:2:2
    A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath. SB 12:2:5
    As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of the social classes shows himself/herself to be the strongest will gain political power. SB 12:2:7
    Losing their wives or husbands and properties to such avaricious and merciless rulers, who will behave no better than ordinary thieves, the citizens will flee to the mountains and forests. SB 12:2:8
    Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined. SB 12:2:9
    The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety. SB 12:2:10
    Lord Kalki will appear in the most eminent brāhmaṇa or priest or great soul HOME. SB 12:2:18
    Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift White-horse Devadatta and, Sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings, presidents, emperors, etc. SB 12:2:19-20
    After all the impostor kings and bad-individuals have been killed, the residents of the cities and towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood paste and other decorations of Lord Kalki, and their minds will thereby become transcendentally pure. SB 12:2:21
    When Lord Kalki, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears in their hearts in His transcendental form of goodness, the remaining citizens will abundantly repopulate the earth. SB 12:2:22
    When the Supreme Lord has appeared on earth as Kalki, the maintainer of religion, Satya-yuga will begin, and human society will bring forth progeny in the mode of goodness. 12:2:23

    [edit]Zoroastrianism
    Main articles: Saoshyant and Frashokereti
    According to Zoroastrian philosophy, redacted in the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht, "at the end of thy tenth hundredth winter [...] the sun is more unseen and more spotted; the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth is more barren; and the crop will not yield the seed; and men [...] become more deceitful and more given to vile practices. They have no gratitude.
    Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith [...] and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night [...] and it will rain more noxious creatures than winter."
    Saoshyant, the Man of Peace, battles the forces of evil.[citation needed] The events of the final renovation are described in the Bundahishn (30.1ff): In the final battle with evil, the yazatas Airyaman and Atar will "melt the metal in the hills and mountains, and it will be upon the earth like a river" (Bundahishn 34.18), but the righteous (ashavan) will not be harmed.
    Eventually, Ahura Mazda will triumph, and his agent Saoshyant will resurrect the dead, whose bodies will be restored to eternal perfection, and whose souls will be cleansed and reunited with God. Time will then end, and truth/righteousness (asha) and immortality will thereafter be everlasting.
    [edit]Religious Zionism

    Main articleReligious Zionism
    Religious Zionists are the Jewish religious minority of the basically secular Zionist movement who justified, on the basis of Judaism, secular Zionist efforts to build a Jewish state in the land of Israel. In their belief, the Jewish state is "the commencement of the growth of our redemption" (Hebrewראשית צמיחת גאולתנו‎ reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu), and that state may be brought about by human action, without waiting for the Messiah to gather the Jews back into the Land of Israel. This view ran contrary to the view of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism which rejected any secular, human effort to preempt the ingathering of the exiles by God and his chosen one, the Messiah. Religious Zionists explained in terms acceptable to the Halakha, the secular, mainly socialist, existentialist Zionist vision where material needs of the people are addressed through practical and realistic solutions, reflected by secular philosophers such as Ahad Ha'am.
    In 1862, German Orthodox Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer published his tractate Derishat Zion, positing that the salvation of the Jews, promised by the Prophets, can come about only by self-help.[9]
    The main ideologue of modern religious Zionism was Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who justified Zionism according Jewish law and urged young religious Jews to support efforts to settle the land, and the mainsteam, majority, secular and socialist Labour Zionists to give more consideration to Judaism.
    Rav Kook saw Zionism as a part of a divine scheme which would result in the resettlement of the Jewish people in its homeland. This would bring salvation (Geula) to Jews, and then to the entire world. After world harmony is achieved by the refoundation of the Jewish homeland, the Messiah will come.
    The apparent contradiction arising from the fact that political and practical Zionism were overwhelmingly secular, socialist and even atheist schools of thought, was resolved by the concept of "the Messiah's donkey" (Hebrewחמורו של משיח‎ khamoro shel mashiakh) whereby majority secular Zionism was seen as a temporary divine measure for the achievement of Jewish salvation.
    Since the Six Day War, Religious Zionism, speared by mass-movements such as Gush Emunim, has been the leading force behindJewish settlement in the non-consensual areas of Judea and Samaria, bringing about the main schism dividing Israeli politics for the past 40 years.

    [edit]Rastafarianism
    Rastafarianism believes that Emperor Haile Selassie was not killed by the Derg in Ethiopia's civil war, but will return to save Earth, and in particular, people of African descent. This is a particularly interesting case, as Selassie is identified as the Second Coming of Jesus, so the Rastafarian prophecy is effectively a second coming of the second coming.

    [edit]John Frum
    This cargo cult believes in a messiah figure called John Frum. When David Attenborough asked one of its adherents if it was rational for them to be still waiting for Frum to re-appear after 50 years, he was told that Christianity had been waiting 2,000 years, so waiting for Frum was much more rational than that.

    [edit]Russian and Slavic
    Romantic Slavic messianism held that the Slavs, especially the Russians, suffer in order that other European nations, and eventually all of humanity, may be redeemed.[10] This theme had a profound impact in the development of Russian and Soviet imperialism; it also appears in works by the Polish Romantic poets Zygmunt Krasiński and Adam Mickiewicz, including the latter's familiar expression, "Polska Chrystusem narodów" ("Poland is the Christ of the nations").[11]

    Judaism
    See also: Jewish eschatology
    The literal translation of the Hebrew word moshiach (messiah) is “anointed,” which refers to a ritual of consecrating someone or something by putting holy oil upon it.[1 Sam. 10:1-2] It is used throughout the Hebrew Bible in reference to a wide variety of individuals and objects; for example, a Jewish king,[1 Kings 1:39] Jewish priests,[Lev. 4:3] and prophets,[Isa. 61:1] the Jewish Temple and its utensils,[Ex. 40:9-11] unleavened bread,[Num. 6:15] and a non-Jewish king (Cyrus king of Persia).[Isa. 45:1]
    The Torah describes the advent of a messiah in the portion of Balak, couched in poetic prophetic prose: "I see him, but not now. I perceive him, but he is not near. There shall step forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel... From Jacob shall issue out and destroy the remnant of the city",[6] which Jewish Biblical scholars expound refers to the king's victory over Israel's enemies.[7]
    Modern Jewish movements are based on Pharisaic Judaism was embodied in the Talmud. The Talmud is replete with references and anecdotes about the Messiah and the Messianic era. It states in tractate Sanhedrin "The Jews are destined to eat [their fill] in the days of the Messiah", "The world was created only...for the sake of the Messiah."[8] and "All the prophets prophesied [all the good things] only in respect of the Messianic era."[9] It also provides exegesis of scriptural verses which illustrate the events that will occur at that time. For example, resurrection of the dead, which is exegetically supported by a verse in Exodus 15: "Az Yashir Moshe..." - "Then [Moses] will sing...", from which is derived that "then" (in the Messianic Era) Moses will arise and once again sing as he did at the time of the Exodus.[10] (Some Jewish texts also refer to a "Messiah ben Joseph" or "Messiah ben Ephraim", a military leader descended from the biblical Ephraim, who will successfully lead the army of Israel in many battles before being killed by Armilus, when Israel is defeated by Gog and Magog. His body will subsequently lie unburied in the Jerusalem streets for forty days, and he will be the first person resurrected by the Messiah descended from King David).[11][12]
    In Jewish eschatology, the term came to refer to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who will be "anointed" with holy anointing oiland rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. Belief in the eventual coming of a future messiah is a fundamental part of Judaism, and is one of Maimonides13 Principles of Faith.[13] In Judaism, the Messiah is not considered to be God or a Son of God.
    The Messianic Age is described as follows by Maimonides:
    And at that time there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry. For the good will be plentiful, and all delicacies available as dust. The entire occupation of the world will be only to know God... the people Israel will be of great wisdom; they will perceive the esoteric truths and comprehend their Creator's wisdom as is the capacity of man. As it is written (Isaiah 11:9): "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea." "[14]
    Maimonides describes the identity of the Messiah in the following terms:
    And if a king shall arise from among the House of David, studying Torah and occupied with commandments like his father David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he will impel all of Israel to follow it and to strengthen breaches in its observance, and will fight Hashem's [God's] wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one. If he succeeded and built the Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the dispersed ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain, and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it is stated: "For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue, so that they will all procalim the Name of the Lord, and to worship Him with a united resolve (Zephaniah 3:9)."[15]
    A prominent Judaism Web site states:
    Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the Moshiach: gathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin, and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.[16]
    A common modern rabbinic interpretation is that there is a potential messiah in every generation. The Talmud, which often uses stories to make a moral point (aggadah), tells of a highly respected rabbi who found the Messiah at the gates of Rome and asked him, "When will you finally come?" He was quite surprised when he was told, "Today." Overjoyed and full of anticipation, the man waited all day. The next day he returned, disappointed and puzzled, and asked, "You said messiah would come 'today' but he didn't come! What happened?" The Messiah replied, "Scripture says, 'Today, 'if you will but hearken to His voice.'"[Ps. 95:7]

    Ancient claimants:  JEWISH 

    [edit]Christianity

    Main article: Christ
    Christianity emerged early in the first century AD as a movement among Jews (Jewish Christians) and their Gentile converts (sometimes called Godfearers) who believed that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah. The Greek translation for 'Messiah' is khristos (χριστος), anglicized as Christ. Christians commonly refer to Jesus as either the "Christ" or the "Messiah." In Christian theology the two words are synonymous.
    Christians believe Jesus to be the Messiah that Jews were expecting:
    The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.[Jn. 1:41-42]
    The Christian concept of the Christ/Messiah as "the Word made Flesh" (see also Logos) is fundamentally different from the Jewish andIslamic. The majority of historical and mainline Christian theologies, as seen within the Nicene Creed, consider Jesus to be God or God the Son.
    Christians believe that Daniel (Hebrew: דָּנִיֵּאל, or Daniyyel) was a prophet and gave an indication of when the Messiah, the princemashiyach nagiyd, would come in the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks.[Dan. 9:25-26] Daniel's prophecies refer to him as a descendant of King David, a Son of Man, who will rebuild the nation of Israel, destroy the wicked, and ultimately judge the whole world.
    In Christian theology, the Christ/Messiah serves a number of roles. The Nicene Creed of 325 and 381 A.D. provides a convenient framework:[17][Full citation needed]
    §     He suffers and dies to make reconciliation with God.[18][19]
    §     He was raised from the dead on the third day after He was crucified to prove that He has defeated death and the power of Satan, thus enabling those that receive Him as their Savior to live under God's grace[Galatians 2:16]
    §     He serves as the pioneer and embodiment of the culture and living presence of the Kingdom of God
    §     When he returns he will judge the world [2Corinthians 5:10] and reign over a new creation[Revelation 21:1]. Christian believers are invited to spend eternity in this new world.[Revelation 21:22-27] (The exact order of these things differs according to the preferred theological framework of Millennialism used to interpret the passages)
    §     He is the God of AbrahamIsaac and Jacob and he came to earth as a humanJohn 1:1-2,14aIn the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. 14a And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 8:58Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.
    In the New Testament, Jesus often referred to himself as 'Son of Man'[Mk. 14:61-62] [Lk. 22:66-70], a clear reference to the first century apocrophal book of Enoch [20]
    ""He was chosen and hidden with God before the world was created, and will remain in His presence forevermore ... He will judge all hidden things, and no one will be able to make vain excuses to him"
    Christianity often interprets the phrase as a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV):
    "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."[Daniel 7:7,13]
    Because Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that he claimed to be the Son of Man referred to by Daniel, Christianity interprets Daniel 7:13-14 as a statement of the Messiah's authority and that the Messiah will have an everlasting kingdom in theMessianic Age. Jesus' use of this title is seen as a direct claim to be the Messiah.[21]
    Some identified Jesus as the Messiah,[Mk. 8:29] his opponents accused him of such a claim,[Lk. 23:2] and he is recorded at least twice as asserting it himself directly.[Mk. 14:60-62] [Jn. 4:25-26]
    Christianity interprets a wide range of biblical passages in the Old Testament (Hebrew scripture) as predicting the coming of the Messiah (see Christianity and Biblical prophecy for examples), and believes that they are fulfilled in Jesus' own explicit life and teaching:
    §     Will be born in Bethlehem [Micah 5:2-5]
    §     The root of Jesse ...to whom the Gentiles will seek. [Ia. 11:10]
    §     He said to them..."Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."[Lk. 24:25-27]
    §     "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."[Lk. 24:45-47]
    §     The Gospel of Matthew repeatedly says, "This was to fulfill the prophecy…."
    §     Psalm 22 describes the actions of the crucifixion in John 19 [Ps. 22][Jn. 19]
    Christians believe the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and seeks to spread throughout the world its interpretation that the Messiah (Jesus) is the only God, and that Jesus will return to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy.

    [edit] Islam
    Main articles: MahdiMasihMuhammad al-Mahdi, and Jesus in Islam
    The Qur'an states Jesus the Son of Mary (Arabic: Isa ibn Maryum) is the Messiah or "Prophet" sent to the Jews,[Quran 3:45] and Muslims believe Jesus is alive in Heaven and will return to Earth to defeat the Antichrist (Arabic: Dajjal).[5]
    hadith in Abu Dawud (37:4310) says:
    Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus. He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish hair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine, and put an end to war (in another Tradition, there is the word Jizyah instead of Harb (war), meaning that he will abolish jizyah); God will perish all religions except Islam. He [Jesus] will destroy the Antichrist who will live on the earth for forty days and then he will die. The Muslims will pray behind him.
    Both Sunni and Shia Muslims agree[citation needed] al-Mahdi will arrive first, and after him, Jesus. Jesus will proclaim that the true leader is al-Mahdi. A war, literally Jihad (Jihade Asghar) will be fought—the Dajjal (evil) against al-Mahdi and Jesus (good). This war will mark the approach of the coming of the Last Day. After Jesus slays al-Dajjāl at the Gate of Lud [disambiguation needed http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/InterlanguageLinks-Asset-Pencil-Hover.gif], he will bear witness and reveal that Islam is indeed the true and last word from God to humanity as Yusuf Ali's translation reads: "And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness against them.[Quran 4:159]" He will live for several years, marry, have children and will be buried in Medina[citation needed].
    Allah's Apostle said "How will you be when the son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imam is from amongst you."
    Very few scholars outside of mainstream Islam[citation needed] reject all the quotes (Hadith) attributed to Prophet Muhammad that mention the second return of Jesus, the Dajjal and Imam Mahdi, believing that they have no Qur'anic basis. However, Quran emphatically rejects the implication of termination of Jesus’ life when he was allegedly crucified. Yusuf Ali’s translation reads "That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";― but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.― (157) Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (158) Verses[Quran 4:157] imply that Jesus was not killed physically but it was made to appear so. Verse [Quran 19:33] "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! implies that Jesus will die someday. The unified opinion of Islam maintains that the bodily death of Jesus will happen after his second coming.[citation needed]
    Many classical commentators[citation needed] such as Ibn Kathir, At-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, Suyuti, al-Undlusi (Bahr al-Muhit), Abu al-Fadl al-Alusi (Ruh al-Maani) clearly mention that verse [Quran 43:61] of the Qur'an refers to the descent of Jesus before the Day of Resurrection, indicating that Jesus would be the Sign that the Hour is close.
    And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour)... [Quran 43:61]
    Those that reject[citation needed] the second coming of Jesus argue that the knowledge of the Hour is only with God, and that the Hour will come suddenly. They maintain[citation needed] that if the second coming of Jesus were true, whenever it happens, billions of people would then be certain the Hour is about to come. The response given to this is that signs that the Last Hour is near have been foretold and given, including that of the second coming of Jesus, as signs indicating the Last Hour is near. They[citation needed] will not clarify when it is to come in any specific sense, and hence do not reveal it.

     

    Ahmadiyya


    In Ahmadiyya, the terms "Messiah" and "Mahdi" are synonymous terms for one and the same person.[22] The term "Mahdi" means guided by God, thus implying a direct ordainment by God of a divinely chosen individual.[citation needed] According to Ahmadiyya thought, Messiahship is a phenomenon through which a special emphasis is given on the transformation of a people by way of offering suffering for the sake of God instead of giving suffering (i.e. refraining from revenge).[citation needed] Ahmadis believe that this special emphasis was given through the person of Jesus and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[23] among others.
    Ahmadis hold that the prophesied eschatological figures of Christianity and Islam, the Messiah and Mahdi, were in fact to be fulfilled in one person who was to represent all previous prophets.[24] The prophecies concerning the Mahdi or the Second Coming of Jesusare seen by Ahmadis as metaphorical and subject to interpretation. It is argued that one was to be born and rise within the dispensation of Muhammad, who by virtue of his similarity and affinity with Jesus, and the similarity in nature, temperament and disposition of the people of Jesus' time and the people of the time of the promised one (the Mahdi) is called by the same name.[citation needed]
    Numerous hadith are presented by the Ahmadis in support of their view, such as one from Sunan Ibn Majah which says, There is No Mahdi but Jesus son of Mary.[25]
    Ahmadis believe that the prophecies concerning the Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus have been fulfilled in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(1835–1908), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Contrary to mainstream Islam, the Ahmadis do not believe that Jesus is alive in heaven, but that he survived the crucifixion and migrated towards the east where he died a natural death and that Ghulam Ahmad was only the promised spiritual second coming and likeness of Jesus, the promised Messiah and Mahdi.[citation needed]

    [edit] Other traditions
    §     Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, claimed to be the figure prophesied in the scriptures of the world's religions.[26]
    §     Maitreya (Theosophy), a being that Theosophists believe will physically manifest sometime in the 21st century and who will be the Messiah expected by various religions.
    §     Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia is regarded to be the Messiah by followers of the Rastafari movement.[27]

     

    Kalki

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For other meanings, see Kalki (disambiguation).


    In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; also rendered by some as Kalki and Kalaki) is the tenth and final Maha Avatar (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will bring to an end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. He will establish a new era based on truth, righteousness, humanism and goodness, called Satya Yuga. The name Kalki is often a metaphor for eternity or time. The origins of the name probably lie in the Sanskrit word "kalka" which refers to mud, dirt, filth, or foulness and hence denotes the "destroyer of foulness," "destroyer of confusion," "destroyer of darkness," or "annihilator of ignorance."[1] Other similar and divergent interpretations based on varying etymological derivations from Sanskrit - including one simply meaning "White Horse" - have been made.[2]
    In the Buddhist Kalachakra tradition, some 25 rulers of the legendary ShambhalaKingdom have the title of Kalki, Kulika or Kalki-king.[3]

     

    Li Hong (Taoist eschatology)

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Li Hong (Chinese: 李弘) is a messianic figure in religious Taoism prophesied to appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices and virtues. Myths surrounding Li Hong took shape in literature during the Han dynasty. He is depicted in the Daoist scripture Spirit Spells of the Abyss as an ideal leader who would reappear to set right heaven (tian) and earth () at a time of upheaval and chaos.[1] Li Hong is sometimes considered to be an avatar or reincarnation of Laozi, with whom he shares the surname Li.[2] Prophesies concerning Li Hong's appearance have been used to legitimize numerous rebellions and insurgencies, all of which rallied around a Li Hong.[3] These were particularly prevalent during the fifth century, and continues to appear until the Song dynasty. [4]

     

    Maitreya


    Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pāli), or Jampa (Tibetan), is foretold as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he or she is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.
    Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya references a time when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa. It is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravāda,Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Earth.