SHIAT-E-ALI

The conflict between the Shia and Sunni Muslims can be dated back to the death of Holy Prophet (PBUH). The major distinction that arose during that time is considered to be rather political than spiritual. The chain of events that were set into motion since that time has still impacted Islam even after 14,000 years.

Shia-t-Ali (party of Ali) were the followers of Ali ibn-Talib-the cousin and the son-in-law of Islam’s last Messenger. After the demise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH, a conflict arose on who was to rule the community. A consensus was formed, and Abu-Bakr was chosen as the successor. This created a displeasure among the Muslims who though that the ruler of the community should be based on Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) first family.

Ali’s succession as a Caliph was in times of turmoil and confusion. Due to the assassination of Usman-the third Caliph- prominent Muslims including: Muawiya (the ruler of Syria and relative of Usman) and Aisha -the wife of Holy Prophet (PBUH)-were asking Ali to avenge the death of Usman. This was denied by Ali on the basis that he did not want to try someone wrongfully. This contradiction led to the first war amongst the Muslim community in the form of Battle of Camel and Battle of Siffin.

After the assassination of Ali, Hasan ibn-Ali was the successor however, he later retired to Medina. Muawaiya became the leader of the community and ruled till his death. He was succeeded by his son Yazid I. Because of the differences between the Muslim communities, they asked Husayn-ibn-Ali to fight for Islam as he was the grandson of Muhammad (PBUH). Husayn marched a small army to Iraq and prepared for a battle. It is at this battle that Husayn and his family had been martyred.

The Karbala battle puts an indelible mark on Islam for all Muslims regardless of the sect. It was after this episode that the Shia Muslims became more prominent in their reverence for the Ah-ly-Bait (family of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The difference between the two sects has given rise to ethical, political and social issues and till this day affects the lives of millions. There is no clear proof that which sect is better than the other however, it should be kept in mind that Shia, Sunni and all other sects are the followers of Allah, Quran and the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

BRAHMAN

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions and has proved to have its own unique mysticism. The philosophical approach has much more knowledge to give than any other source. In Hinduism, Brahman is the absolute reality that levitates over all other forms of being.

Brahman is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘brr’ which can be translated to grow. It is the concept of being omnipresent. It is from where the truth begins and ends. According to a Hindu text ‘Brahman is the nature of truth, knowledge and infinity’. It is the highest source of completion which has no end or start. It transcends over nothing and everything.

As one may conceive, Brahman is not a god yet it is associated with almost similar characteristics; from within the soul to the unconscious, from the dharma to the mere physical world. It is fascinating to note that Hinduism does not have the ex nihilo concept- built out of nothing-. Brahman then does not create out of nothing rather is the creation of the reality itself. It’s the basis of all that exists in the world.

In some schools of thought, Brahman is associated with atman or human soul. Each philosophical school mentions different thoughts to define Brahman but they all hold the same basis- Brahman is the absolute reality.

Renaissance (1)

The highest form of learning is art

The World had seen a remarkable increase in wisdom and knowledge during the Renaissance period (13th-17th century). Renaissance can be literally translated to rebirth and is a time period that marks a shift in the thought process in almost all the fields of learning as well as the birth of high intellects.

Renaissance period completely changed the European structure from the Dark Ages. It saw an increased in enlightenment through art, knowledge, architecture, innovation, literature. The Hub of renaissance was Italy and Rome where the movement was sponsored by the wealthy families notably the Medici family. With the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and the knowledge brought in by the Crusaders, a quest for knowledge had been spurred. This was further fuelled in by the interest as well as the revival of the Greco-Roman scriptures and teachings. This era gifted the world with masterpieces that still cannot be recreated.

The Renaissance period itself had four distinct eras

1. Proto Renaissance

2. Early Renaissance

3. High Renaissance

4. Mannerism

Each period produced distinct polymaths that shifted the human thinking. The greatest era is the High Renaissance which is marked by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. Famous artworks and architecture have been linked to this era.

Mona Lisa

School of Athens

Ceiling of the Sistine chapel