The basis for the following article was originally published in 2005 by the Taliyah al-Mahdi. Edits and further additions have been made to the text, in order to reflect the evolving approach of the Inner Circle of the occulted group, and current events.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Over the years much talk has arisen as to what the nature of the Taliy`atu-l-Mahdi is, and what defines a "member" of this jam`at al-Fitrah. To clarify, the nature of the Taliy`ah is synonymous with belief; with faith or "iman" itself. One is automatically taliy`i if they are on the path of righteous intention (niyyah) and iman; for these are the true Believers (Mu'minin).
This means that the true Mu'minin will strive in every possible manner to be living embodiments of the Divine Will, on Earth as it is in Heaven. This means that unskillful behavior will be avoided and skillful behavior will be pursued, with the Mystic Warrior (Mujahid `Arif) striving hard in the way of Allah to become purified of the inner filth (rijs), which tarnishes and stains the mirror of the innermost heart (qalb).
This means that one will fulfill the bare minimum requirements prescribed in Shariy`atu-l-Islam, but it also means that the true Mu'minin will strive also for the recommended, righteous practices (al-Mustahabbaat); shunning the reprehensible (makruh) and drawing near to the good (tayyib). This is not only relevant to the Taliy`iyyin but the tru Hizbiyyullah or the the jundiyyun of Jayshu-l-Mahdi, for these are not "organizations" but instead are universal manifestations of iman. Any attempt to brand an organization with these holy names is no different than the ethno-national State of Israel branding itself with the holy, Qur'anic and Biblical term "Israel" as though calling something by a holy name automatically makes it holy (regardless of its actions).
This is what those who have, admittedly understandably in some cases, associated the name "Hizbullah" with "terrorists" do not understand. For to say that "Hizbullah" are terrorists is to say that Muslimun are terrorists. Thus, while we denounce any organization that falsely uses names to describe their unIslamic practices of racism and nationalism (`asabiyyah), we cannot denounce any Qur'anic name itself. Similarly, to say that the "Jaysh al-Mahdi" are "terrorists," is to say that every Shi`i is a terrorist, as every Shi`i should embrace this term, by definition (as should any Muslim who believes the Qur'an, in fact). In the same way, the "Taliy`atu-l-Mahdiy", as we have termed our jam`at al-Fitrah and our shared aims, is merely a band of Mu'minin which the Qur'an has enjoined us to come together as in Surat aal `Imraan, Aayah 104:
"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: and these it is that shall be successful." Qur'an, Sura 3.104
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
The Taliy`atu-l-Mahdi is not an "organization" in the traditional sense of an activist group, with a list of adherents, who gets together once a week, pickets an establishment and then goes back to their "other" life. We are defined by our lives and the actions therein. These actions alone determine whether we are Taliy`iyyin or not.
When people see the call towards truth and away from falsehood, they naturally gravitate towards those others who heed this call as well. They then seek to wage their inner and outer struggle in the midst of such Mu'minin, and serve as beacons in their communities for enjoining right and forbidding evil; and more importantly LEADING BY EXAMPLE.
Accordingly, though our nature is Universal, the natural inclination for like-minded individuals to harmonize and collaborate to work towards a similar goal, has emerged the Taliy`ah as more than just a loose coalition of individuals, but also as a Movement, an organized struggle through which we Mu'minin with similar goals (rooted in Divine Scriptural prescription), seek to "band" together to strengthen and fortify each other. Thus, as a unified force we will naturally be stronger and more effective in accomplishing these goals which Islam commands us to strive after, than if we were all going at this alone, or in a more loosely knit context.
We who march under the title of "Taliy`atu-l-Mahdi" also march under the title "Jaysh al-Mahdi," (despite not being part of the organizational structure of milita which has taken the same name in `Iraq), also under the Qur'anic title "Hizbullah" (despite not being part of the organizational structure or stated racist aims of the group by same name in Lebanon), and also under the Qur'anic title of "Shi`ah" in general. We are all of these things, because all of these things are synonymous with Mu'minin. People should not get confused or distracted by the language, as these are not titles, they are descriptions of a caliber of person, no different than the term "Mu'min" describing belief or "iman," or "Muslim" describing Submission itself. Taliy`i is merely a description of our actions, the actions of belief. If one has belief or iman, then the Qur'an and ahadith are clear on what the caliber of such a person will be. Hadith literature is clear on the Mustahabbaat that the individual Mu'min will strive towards. Furthermore, ahadith are clear on the actions that the person will take to defend the innocent, and to prepare for the Revolution of the Leader who will Rise (Thawratu-l-Qaa'im). Those who do these things, and live a lifestyle in accordance with iman, are Taliy`iyyin, those who do not, are not.
Similarly, as a note to the interchangeability of these synonymous terms, the Iranian leader Khamana'i addressing the Lebanese milita who calls themselves Hizbiyyullah proclaimed the same: "You are the Taliy`ah of the Mujahidun. When I look at you, I see the enthusiastic appearance of the Great Army of Islam. Surely, the victory is certain and inevitable and you will see it with your own eyes."
Whether or not one agrees with that assessment - and to be sure, we do not, as we will not be fooled by public relations campaigns, when the leader of the organization has openly stated his racist objectives - the point is that Khamana'i understood this as a term that applies to those embodying a certain set of actions, not the title or lable for some sort of centralized organization.
Just as using the term "Sunni" does not necessarily mean one is of the true Sunnah of Muhammad and just as one using the term "Shi`ah" does not mean that they are truly of the actual Shi`ah, in the same way, the term "Hizb'ullah" or "Hezbollah" is not a term that can be thrown around lightly and used in spite of the actions and ideologies of one professing it. For just as the Qur'an uses the term Shi`ah, it also uses the term Hizb'ullah. And yet, today there is a group taking funding from a repressive state apparatus in Iran, and being led by a man who has openly admitted he does not really fight for the Palestinian people, but against the Jews because of his hatred for Jews. His hatred is not for nationalism, nor even Israeli nationalism. He has admitted that he is glad there is a State of Israel in which so many Jews have gathered from throughout the world, because it has saved him the trouble of hunting Jews down throughout the world and carrying out genocide, nation by nation.
These are his words brothers and sisters. Are these the words of someone who keeps to Muhammad's Sunnah, when he wrote in the Constitution of Medinah that his followers along with the Jewish people constitute "One Ummah" - an Ummatan Wahidatan (أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً)?
The origanization using the name "Hezbollah" has an aim, and according to their own leader, it is not to “end the occupation of Palestine,” or even to “liberate all of Palestine.” Its goal is to kill the world’s Jews. Listen to the words of its leader Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
NY Times, May 23, 2004, p. 15, section 2, column 1.
Amal Abdo Saad-Ghorayeb, a Lebanese writer and political analyst known for her writings on the Israeli–Lebanese conflict and Hezbollah, quotes Hassan Nasrallah as saying, "If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli."
"In the Party of God: Are terrorists in Lebanon preparing for a larger war? by Jeffrey Goldberg". The New Yorker. 14 October 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
Muhammad Fnaysh, 15 August 1997. qtd. in Saad-Ghorayeb, 2002, p. 170.
Saad-Ghorayeb quotes Hezbollah's Deputy-General Shaykh Na'im Qasim as saying, "The history of Jews has proven that, regardless of the Zionist proposal, they are a people who are evil in their ideas."
Abbas al-Mussawi, Amiru'l-Zakira, Dhu al-Hujja 1406, p. 197. qtd. in Saad-Ghorayeb, 2002, p. 174.
There is no way one can read statements like this, and the many dozens of others by the leadership of the so-called "Hezbollah" and claim they are another other and bigots using the suffering of the Palestinian people to justify their hatred of the Jewish people worldwide. As such, we make little distinction between these dajajilah imposters and their mirror image terrorist groups in the so-called Sunni world.
From our perspective, we are the true Hizbiyyullah, the true Taliy`iyyun, the true Jaysh al-Mahdi, the true Jaysh al-Ghadhab, and the true Shi`ah and the true Sunni. We embrace all of these terms as holy titles for how we aspire to live and what we aspire to embody, and we speak out against those who use these terms as titles for sectarian division - and worse - for racism and nationalism (`asabiyyah).
When we say "Sunni" and we say "Shi`ah" we mean the true living meaning of those terms. We do not mean madhahib, we do not mean shiyaan that are split into. We have not and will never turn to sectarian violence. Islam is Islam. Truth is truth. And as the Qur'an says, "Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Verily, falsehood is bound to vanish" (جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا), and "let there be no compulsion in religion, for Truth is manifest from falsehood" (لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ).
There is no differentiation between one who is fighting for the same cause under a different banner, and one who is fighting for the same cause within the ranks of our jam`at al-Fitrah. The only functional difference can be noted in the Universality of approach of such groups. For instance, one can be of the same Din, the same madhab, the same region, and choose to attend a different masjid than their brother. Yet at the same time they might attend 'Adi`yyah Kumayl at the same center. One person might prefer the approach of one masjid, and one might prefer that of the other.
So perhaps one group embodies one's focus more so than another. This does not mean that we wall ourselves off from other organizations, or prohibit membership or association with others. Rather we wholeheartedly encourage people work with various organizations, activist groups, and the like, as well as working within their communities to better the conditions therein, and teach by example; working in soup kitchens, starting and participating in clothes drives, donating spare time to homeless shelters, giving Charity, or "Sadaqah" (above and beyond obligatory Zakaah and Khums Qur'anic taxes), to the poor whenever you see anyone in need. As well, investing in the community by providing needed services, such as renovating and providing affordable housing, or opening local shops with affordably priced goods and services within the communities reach. These are not activities separate from our Movement, these things are all aspects of what is encouraged for the Taliy`iyyin, because these are the natural actions which should be pursued by all Mu'minin. The Taliy`atu-l-Mahdi is not about theorizing about change, it is about changing things today, and preparing ourselves to be increasingly productive and efficient in effecting change tomorrow. For as Imam `Ali has said: "Never, never will prosperity be reached by remaining idle and lazy."
A Bundle of Flowers, from the Garden of Traditions of the Prophet & Ahlul-Bayt Page 214 Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani Translated by Sayyid Abbas Sadr-ameli
If there is to be a different masjid from those which already exist, a different organization from those which already exist (or anything of the like), then it must be for a purpose; a purpose that is not yet being accomplished holistically through other avenues. Certainly the last thing that the Ummah needs is another group, existing for the sake of itself. For when an entrepreneur wishes to receive a loan from a bank, he must present a business plan. If he goes in and says "i want to open a business," then the lender will inquire, "Why?" The entrepreneur cannot then reply that it is simply because he likes whatever product or service he wishes to provide and thus he wishes to open a business revolving around that product or service. If this product or service already exists in the market place, offered on a larger and more efficient scale, then some new small business offering the same thing, on a lesser and less efficient level will not be viewed as an acceptable risk for a lender. For the world, and his community in particular will have plenty of businesses. Without the power, financing, momentum and notoriety of the existing businesses, this entrepreneur is doomed to failure in a sea of competition.
The lenders will want to know "What makes your business different?" What makes an entrepreneur's business plan any different than the myriad of other businesses just like it? Ultimately the entrepreneur must have some REASON to be creating this new business, or there really is no point to the lender supporting his venture. This is the same with our jam`ah. We do not call people to join our ranks for the sake of creating yet another division, another "ism" or "schism." We do not call them to join us because we do not find other organizations to be acceptable, pure in intention and good in result of efforts.
We do not call people to join our organization and exclude themselves from others. Rather, we call Mu'minin to join us in UNITING under the banner of eemaan, under the banner of doing everything that we possibly can to be the Vanguard, the Taliy`ah of the Thawratu-l-Qaa'im; laying the foundation, making the conditions right, for the Qayim, or Rise of the Mahdiy; exactly as we are required to do as Mu'minin.
We call Mu'minin to join not only with us, but also with whatever organizations that they feel will similarly help effect change. However, we know that they have been drawn to our jam`ah for a reason, because there are in fact things which we are doing, necessary things, which many organizations, particularly global organizations simply are not doing. Thus, our organization has ultimately spawned forth from necessity itself.
The Taliy`atu-l-Mahdi, the Taliy`atu-th-Thawrah will not change and could not even if we all wanted it to. For this name is merely a description of what has been here all along. The Taliy`ah has existed since there has been a fight for freedom or any organized Struggle. Since there was oppression, people organized, strategized, trained and carried out resistance to oppression in the name of Righteousness. They were themselves Taliy`iyyin just as all Mu'minin are by nature of their actions Taliy`iyyin. Mu'minin who have no concern with such things are by definition of the Ma'sumin not truly believers, not truly Mu'minin. This may not sit well with the masses who suppose that anyone who merely agrees with a certain `aqidah is a Mu'min. Nevertheless, the Ma'sumin have made it clear that a Mu'min is defined by the highest caliber of action not merely some set of rules or ideological tenets that he keeps locked away in his heart, like a light hidden under a bushel.
The Taliy`iyyin are not defined by a set of views one must subscribe to in order to be part of the movement. Instead one must accept truth wherever it manifests, and when truth is presented with evidence from empirical, scientific sources, or sources of Scriptural dalil from the Qur'an and Ahadeeth, along with any other supporting evidence as well, the true Mu'min will accept this truth without the hesitance or resistance that so often comes from a lifetime of cultural and societal indoctrination. The Mu'min is objective. Where truth is found, he accepts it. That wherein it is not found is rejected. Where it is found amidst falsehoods, it is extrapolated and cordoned off from the falsehoods.
Taliy`i is something we are or are not according to what we do, how we live, how we plan, and how we organize, strategize and Strive in the Cause of Allah and the Struggle in the Way of Righteousness. "Taliy`iy" not a "title" though it will naturally appear as such due to it is being a foreign language for most of the world, not at all unlike the term "Muslim" itself.
Yet "Islam" is something you DO. A "Muslim" is one who DOES this thing called "Submission" to the Divine Will and Commandments; one who DOES the action of "Islam" of "Submission." It is not a title for a set of rules or beliefs the language barrier confuses people in the West; both those who are outside of the deen and those within it. For example, theological differences aside how could a true Jew or Christian have ANY problem with claiming to be a "Muslim?" They may object to Muhammad or the `aqeedah he taught, but they should linguistically tout themselves as Muslimoon. By denying that they are "Muslimoon" they are denying that they are Submitting to God. Could anything be further from what they feel in their hearts?
Similarly, within the Ummah itself, you will see a split into many sects and parties: "Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them; their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did." Al-Qur'an, Surah Al-An`aam 6:159
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُواْ شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ
In accordance with this, the Prophet Muhammad said: "Out of the seventy-one sects of the Yahud, only one was on the right path. The Nasaarah also divided into seventy two sects, out of which only one was on the right path. Likewise there will be seventy three sects among my followers, out of which only one will be on the right path."
O Brothers and Sisters, if we are creating groups and parties and organizations and they are not in actuality Universal in nature, if they are exclusive and not inclusive, if they are not actually just a band of Mu'minin who have united together to do nothing different than what all Mu'minin worldwide should be doing, then we are breaking off into shiya` and we are FORBIDDEN from this sort of divisiveness.
When we claim to be "Muslimoon," it is because ALL prophets taught us to submit to God. When we claim to be "Shi`ah" it is because all prophets and righteous ones had a party who followed them; THE 73rd "Firqah" or "Shi`ah" out of the the 72 other "shiya`" which we are told are not on the right path. For the Qur'an uses both of these terms - firqah and Shi`ah - in both positive and negative lights, depending upon whether it is a singular uniting firqah or Shi`ah or if it is a division.
Brothers and sisters, if we seek to divide that 73rd "Firqah" or "Shi`ah" further by saying "i am a Mureed of the Order of Shaykh so and so" or "i am a mubaa'i` of this Shaykh or that and will follow him alone" or "i am a muqallid of this marj`ah or that marj`ah, and will not take part in an organization which is," then we have sought to divide the indivisible, and have caste ourselves into the ranks of the 72 divisions of "ism" and "schism."
This does not mean we cannot hold a personal affinity for a particular teacher, Shaykh, marj`ah or the like. However, while having a personal affinity for this teacher or that, we must hold everything up to the Light of Reason, and not follow anyone blindly. For this has been the trap of every man-made religion, and those imposters who distorted the pure teachings of the Primordial Din al-Fitrah throughout the ages.
Imam `Ali ar-Rida has said that Islam is the deen of Reason and can ONLY be understood through the use of Reason. If we are blindly following any man, be him a great scholar, religious teacher, military commander, Imam or even Prophet or Messenger, then we do not truly understand the deen of Islam. The same reasoning ability that enabled us to separate truth from falsehood, that facilitated us identifying the greatness manifest through various individual religious leaders, shuyookh, prophets or the like, must continue to operate without compromising itself by blind allegiance or unquestioning acceptance or emulation of another.
If you have an affinity for the method of instruction of one religious teacher or another then al-hamdulillah. But you should hold no personal allegiance to them. To do this creates a sect of division. You hold allegiance to the Truth, to Al-Haqq, and you follow that Truth wherever you see it manifest; in religious writings, in philosophical texts, in writings of poetry and art, and in Nature itself.
Even our use of the term "Shi`ah" stems from Qur'anic usage eleven times. The word itself is lexically derived from the `Arabic verb "sha`a," "yashi`u" meaning "to spread, disseminate, divulge, publicize or become known." Of course one can spread either that which is good or that which is bad, just as the Qur'an speaks of both the "Hizbullah" and the "Hizbu-sh-Shaytaan." These are the only two parties that there are in reality; if you are not in the Party of Allah, then you are in the Party of Shaytaan. If you are not in the Party of Shaytaan (whether or not you intend to be), then you are in the Party of Allah.
However, the Qur'an speaks of the Shi`ah as the "Partisans" of the Prophets in the Ayaat: "And most surely Ibrahim was among the Shi`ah of him (Nuh)" Al-Qur'an, Surah 37:83
وَإِنَّ مِن شِيعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِيمَ
As well, the Qur'an says: "And he (Musa) went into the city at a time when people (of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his Shi`ah and the other being his enemy, and the one who was of his Shi`ah cried out to him for help against the one who was of his enemy" Al-Qur'an, Sura 28:15
وَدَخَلَ الْمَدِينَةَ عَلَى حِينِ غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا فَوَجَدَ فِيهَا رَجُلَيْنِ يَقْتَتِلَانِ هَذَا مِن شِيعَتِهِ وَهَذَا مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ فَاسْتَغَاثَهُ الَّذِي مِن شِيعَتِهِ عَلَى الَّذِي مِنْ عَدُوِّهِ فَوَكَزَهُ مُوسَى فَقَضَى عَلَيْهِ قَالَ هَذَا مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ مُّضِلٌّ مُّبِينٌ
This is the one and only Shi`ah which we are permitted to belong to. This Shi`ah is not defined by the ijma' of religious scholars or `ulamaa', shuyookh, or anyone else. This Shi`ah is defined by the Qur'an itself, and according to the Qur'an, it can only be understood, "touched" in meaning by those who are spiritually purified. We know that this "touching" is not a physical touching, because when the Qur'an was revealed, it was not written, but "recited," (as the name "Qur'an" or "Recitation" itself means). The Qur'an is not touched by those who have studied for 20 years or even 200 years if they are not spiritually purified. Otherwise, the education on the Qur'an is simply a memorization of the words reported of those who were spiritually purified.
"None shall touch it save the purified ones (mutahharoon)." Al-Qur'an, Surah Al-Waaqi`ah 56:79
لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
Who are these purified ones? Who are these "mutahharoon?" The Qur'an tells us that only such people can touch the Qur'an. Surely we can all reason that the Prophets and Messengers themselves are Mutahharoon, but are there any others? Are there any others that we can be sure of? More importantly, are there any others who the Qur'an itself makes the point of directing us towards and identifying as "Taahir" or "Pure?" Surat al-Azaab, Aayah 33 points us to those who are mutahharoon. It says that they are the Ahl al-Bayt, the People of the House of Muhammad.
"And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Jahiliyyah; and establish regular Salaah, and give regular Zakaah; and obey Allah and His Rasul. And Allah only wishes to remove all rijs (filth, impurity or sin) from you, O Ahlu-l-Bayt, and to purify you with a thorough purification."
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
This "thorough purification" (yutahhirakum tatheeran) of them is references in these two words for "purify them" (yutahhirakum), with a "thorough purification" (tatheeran); both from the same root of "Taahir" or "pure," indicating that these are those who are thusly the "purified ones" (mutahharoon). This is no secret. This is nothing ambiguous. This is what the Qur'an has said all along. Allah does not leave us to fend for ourselves if we are not spiritually purified. The Qur'an not only tells us what type of people will touch the meaning of the Qur'an, it also points us to them and identifies them.
So being of this 73rd "Firqah" or "Shi`ah" is not something that we are because our society, masjid, shaykh, marj`ah, friends or family tell us we are a part of. It is not defined by majority opinion. It is not defined by consensus. Being of the one Shi`ah and not dividing off into shiya` is something that is determined by the path that we decide to tread down ourselves. This is determined by our actions, by our lives, just as Islam itself is an action. Islam is not something you sit around theorizing about. It is not a list of rules to follow on some checklist. Islam is a way of life, the Religion of Nature itself. This is the nature of the Taliy`atu-l-Mahdiy.