Irsad

From IIWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Irsad
The Arab word 'Allah' or 'God' within a Crescent as a symbol of the Irsadic faith.
The Arab word 'Allah' or 'God' within
a Crescent as a symbol of the Irsadic faith.
TypeMonotheistic
ScriptureNashwad (The Chants)
PolityUmmah (The Community)
GovernanceKhilafa (Caliphate)
CaliphSultan Azamat Nuruddin
AssociationsUniversal Irsadic Cooperative Congress (UICC)
RegionArabekh, Majula, Catai
HeadquartersHalif State
FounderProphet Mubashshir al-Mahdī
Origin92 BCE
Sulh, Catai
Tertiary institutionsMadrasah
Other name(s)Al-Hudan, Al-Hilam

All is in the Name of God, the Most Good, the Most Generous.
Irsad or Irshad (Arabic: Irshād; إرْشاد), commonly translated as 'guidance' or 'instruction', is a monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God (Allah), that he is composed of two intertwined but distinct aspects (Asira and al-Maqqa), and that Mubashshir is the last messenger of God. It teaches that God is wrathful, all-powerful, and unique; and He has guided mankind through revealed scriptures, natural signs, and a line of prophets sealed by Mubashshir al-Mahdī. The primary scripture of Irsad is the Noble Nashwad (literally: 'The Chants'), viewed by its believers (Muridin) as the tuneful verbatim word of God, which ought to be chanted or recited rather than merely read.

Muridin believe that Irsad is the original, complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets, restored from its corrupted form by Mubashir. As for the Nashwad, Muridin consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the Creed of Irsad, which are five principal and obligatory acts of worship, and following Irsadic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. Certain religious rites and customs are observed by the Muridin in their family and social life, while social responsibilities to parents, relatives, and neighbors have also been defined. Besides, the Nashwad and the teachings of Prophet Mubashshir prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muridin to be followed in their personal, social, political, and religious life.

Irsad began shortly before the Common Era. Originating in Meccat, it quickly spread in Central Arabekh and by the 10th century the Irsadic Empire was extended from West Arabekh to the Majulan Ocean in the east. Its Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 4th century to the 9th century when much of the historically Irsadic world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muridene world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Irsad by missionary activities. In the present, the Khilafa or Irsadic Caliphate is lead by the Kodeshi Sultan Azamat Nuruddin who henceforth acts as its spiritual leader and primary guide in the temporal world.

Etymology and Meaning

The Arabekhi word Irsad or Irshad can be translated as 'guidance', 'guideline'; 'regulation'; or finally as 'instruction' and originates from the word root r-sh-d, signifying or meaning 'rightly guided' or 'to be on the right track or path'. The term Irshad is mentioned frequently throughout the Nashwad, though the word dīn is also used to denote the religious practice, and implies the believer's commitment and compliant position towards God. Comparable to a student and his teacher, the believer relies on God's guidance and supervision as a result of his omniscience and omnipotence. From the same root comes Murshid ('Guide', 'Teacher'), the Irsadic clergyman and the honorific titles of Rashād, Rashīd (Rightly Guided). The term Murīd (pl. Muridīn - 'committed one') is derived from the related word root r-ā-d, meaning 'to seek, to search' and additionally stresses the believer's desire or search for Divine Guidance.

History

Faith and Principles

God

In Irsadic theology, God (Arabic: الله‎; Allāh‎) connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Reality beyond our reality. In major schools of Irsadic Sufism, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. God as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe.

As a being, God is recognsed as the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer and judge of everything in existence. It is composed of two distinct but connected entities (Asira and al-Maqqa), but is strictly singular (tawḥīd), unique (wāḥid) and inherently One (aḥad). According to Irsadic teachings and to the Nashwad or Nasheed, "No vision can grasp God, but God's grasp is over all vision: God is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things." Though God has a multitude of names within the faith, the most familiar and frequent of these names are "the Most Good" and "the Most Generous". Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.

Asira, the feminine manifestation of God's creation, and al-Maqqa, the masculine manifestation of God's destruction, are aspects (Arabic: مظهر; mazhar‎) of God and are considered to be distinct from one another but inseparable from God. Their depiction varies depending on Order (tariqah) and Sect (sha'i) but the Nashwad teaches that like God they are formless and exist with him outside of time and reality.

Muridin believe that the creation of everything in the universe was brought into being by God's sheer command, "Be, and it is" and that the purpose of existence is to understand God and its creation. It is viewed as a personal god who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls them.

Divine Revelation

The holy scriptures are the records or gospels which Muridin believe were dictated by God to various prophets. Additionally they believe that the previously revealed scriptures of the primordial faith, long since lost and reduced to oral stories, had become corrupted over time and distorted in interpretation. The Nashwad (literally, "Chants") is viewed by Muridin as the final revelation and literal word of God and is widely regarded as the finest literary work in the Arabic language. It is believed that the verses of the Nashwad were revealed to Mubashshir al-Mahdī by God through chanting spirits on many occasions between 92 BCE until his death in 66 BCE. While Mubashshir was alive, all of these revelations were written down by his companions, although the prime method of transmission was orally through memorization. The Nashwad is divided into 114 suras, or chapters, which combined, contain 6,236 āyāt, or verses. The chronologically earlier suras are primarily concerned with ethical and spiritual topics. The later suras mostly discuss social and moral issues relevant to the Ummah or community of the faithful. Overall it is more concerned with moral guidance than legal instruction, and is considered the "sourcebook of Irsadic principles and values".

Denominations

An overview of the major schools and branches of Irsad.

Malufi

The largest denomination in Irsad is Malufi Irsad, which makes up 75%–90% of all Muridins. Malufi Muridins also go by the name Ahl al-Malufi which means "people of the correct way [of Mubashir]".

Malufis believe that the Caliphs were the rightful successors to Mubashir; since Mubashir instructed his followers to elect a steward to protect the community. Malufis believe that anyone who is righteous and just could be a caliph but they have to act according to the Nashwad, the example of Mubashir and give the people their rights, otherwise they can be deposed.

Malufis follow the Nashwad and the Hikayat [al-Mubashir], which are recorded in tales of Mubashir's life, as recorded or told by his companions, known as Al-Kutub Al-Thamania (eight collections). For religious matters derived from the Nashwad, many follow six malufi and one shared madh'habs (schools of thought): Akrami, Billahi, Ka'bi, Faizi, Hadi'i, Iqbali, and Sadiki. All seven accept the validity of the others and a Muridin may choose any one that he or she finds agreeable. Ahl al-Hikayat is a movement that emphasizes sources of jurisprudence outside the Nashwad, such as informed opinion (ra'y), and from the tales of Mubashir's life (the Hikayat).

Rafada

The Rafada (Rafada al-Khilafa lit. Rejecters of the Caliphs) possibly constitute 10–20% of Irsad and are its second-largest branch, though their status as a branch is sometimes contested.

While the Malufis believe that a Caliph should exist and be elected by the community, the Rafada reject the idea of the Caliph entirely. As a result they believe that every Caliph since Abu al-Mustafa has been incorrect in assuming the duties once exercised by Mubashir. They contend that Mubashir is the eternal leader of the community and as such no steward in religious aspects is needed.

Despite the difference in this core doctrinal belief, the Rafada and Malufi differ very little in doctrine and conversion between the two is not uncommon. The Rafada form the core of the Ahl al-Hikayat movement and many hold the Hikayat as being near important as the Nashwad. For religious matters derived from the Nashwad, they may follow the six malufi madh'habs, but many choose to follow the Sadiki madh'hab which tends to cater more towards their beliefs.

Due to their doctrinal similarity to Malufis, and general rejection of any label given to them without context, they are sometimes grouped with malufis.

Muadhi

The Muadhi constitute less than 5% of Irsad and are formed from the teachings of the 6th-century spiritual leader Ibn Muadh. They are primarily concentrated in the north of Naharin, and they form a majority of the nation's population.

Muadhis believe that Ibn Muadh, patrilineally descended from the Prophet, possessed the spiritual essence (روح rūḥ, literally spirit, essence) of Mubashir and could therefore commune with him and gain new revelations from Allah. This essence could be passed on within his line but only to those considered righteous and just enough to be given heavenly audiences with Mubashir. As a result the movement quickly split into various branches following different lines of descent from Ibn Muadh.

Muadhi practices such as veneration of Ibn Muadh and ritual seances have faced stiff opposition from more orthodox Muridins, who have sometimes historically and in the modern day physically attacked Muadhi places of worship, leading to deterioration in Muadhi–Mulafi relations. This has led to Muadhis often following the controversial doctrine of taqiya (تقیة‎ taqiyyah, literally "prudence, fear") to conceal their religion when persecuted.

Kufri

The Kufri constitute around 5% of Irsad, though their status as Muridins is sometimes internally and externally denied. Their name derives from the exonym Ahl al-Kufri which means "people of disbelief [of Mubashir's ways]".

Most Kufri sects are seen as a blend of local beliefs, Irsadic Rafada doctrine, and Alydianism. As a result many of the sects beliefs are highly divergent from mainstream Irsad and from each other. They have historically been persecuted in the Muridin world as Iktira'at (اِخْتِرَاعَات‎ iḵtirāʿāt, literally innovators, fabricators), though not all sects have adopted the taqiya doctrine and some openly condemn it.

Kufris belong several branches, the most prominent being the Sixers (the largest branch), Yuhyiyyas and Ilyasis. The Sixers believe in six ages each with a prophet sent by God, that Alid was the fourth, Mubashir the fifth, and that mankind is currently in the sixth epoch and awaiting the sixth and final messenger. Yuhyiyyas are doctrinally similar, but believe that each prophet is a reincarnation of the human essence of God. Ilyasi beliefs are not very well understood, owing to the extreme secrecy and tribal nature of their sect, but seem to revolve around a dualism of linked gods represented by Alid and Mubashir. The Takidi were historically a major sect, but in the 5th century they were reconciled with the mulafi position after intense persecution and conversion missions.