Learning Never Stops:
And Here Are Some Things to Learn
All education is self-education. And it is no different in Islam.
The Hadith talks about "Talabul Ilm." And that means "Active Seeking" of knowledge. And not just passively waiting for knowledge to be given to you by someone else.
And Muslims are supposed to be, as they say, Lifelong Learners.
And that means there is so much learning to be done, and everything on a priority basis, that Muslims have no time to relax or slack off.
Here are some issues that seem to be occupying the minds of many Muslims these days.
For example, who was Hazrat Ali? Obviously, Ali was the fourth and last Khalifah to strictly follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as a Ruler that is.
Meaning, in all things of a political, administrative and governmental nature.
After Ali, Islamic Government rapidly moved in a dynastic and hereditary direction.
Naturally, Ali was the son of Muhammad, Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam's uncle Abu Talib. And he was also the son in law of Rasulullah, Sallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and the husband of Fatimah.
Most Shi'a would tend to call him Imam Ali. Many Sunnis would too.
Subsequently, Ali and his son Husain became the focus of the divergence of political allegiances among Muslims.
These political differences later acquired religious overtones. And the Muslim Ummah underwent a fundamental division along the lines of Shi'a and Sunni.
Shi'a literally means the supporters -- of Ali -- Shi'at Ali.
Dhul-Fiqar was Ali's sword.
As they learn about Ali, Muslims must also learn about the lives of the other three Khalifahs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman.
Together, the first four Khalifahs or Rulers in Islam are known as Al-Khulafaa' Al-Raashidoon, which means The Rightly Guided Rulers.
This is a reference to a Hadith in which Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, predicted that for a period of 30 years after his death the Muslim Government would be a Rightly Guided Khilafat.
And that precisely coincides with Ali's death.
Rightly Guided means, first of all, the Ruler will be elected by the fully free and informed consent and choice of the Ruled -- Muslims.
And secondly it means, in all his decision making, political or economic or military or otherwise, the Ruler will strictly adhere to the teachings, methods and examples outlined by Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And the Rule by the four Khalifahs Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali was known as Al-Khilaafah Alaa Minhaaj An-Nubuwwah: Khilaafat or Rule on the pattern and example set by Nabiy Karim Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Naturally, when Mu'aviyah, changed the Muslim Government into a Hereditary Dynastic Rule, by appointing his son Yazid as his successor, it was a clear departure from the method of Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And from the pattern and the example of the four Khulafaa' Raashidoon: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, Radiyallahu Anhum.
Ever since, Muslim Governments have been mostly Dynastic Hereditary Kingships, with some kings being better or worse than some others, even though for a long time Muslim Kings referred to themselves as Khalifah.
And to this day, much of the Muslim World suffers from the malady of Dynastic Absolute Hereditary Dictatorship on the one hand, and from all other forms of Military and Civilian Dictatorships mostly imposed on them by Foreign Colonial Powers and their Present-Day Successors.
Thus, more than 70 years since World War II ended, and much of the World became politically free, most of what we call the Muslim World continues to smolder under one kind or another of political, economic and military tyranny and dictatorship.
And those who object to it, or wish and work to change it, are crushed most brutally by local royal, military and other dictators and their former Colonial Masters and their Present-Day Successors.