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Posts Tagged ‘Ishmael’

Sir.Rchard Francis Burton in the autumn of 1852 approached the Royal Geographical Society and offered his services to visit the Central and Eastern regions of Arabia. In his time these areas were left blank since no one had systematically mapped it. Considering the dangers it entailed he was allowed instead a three year leave of absence on special duty from India to Muscat. To smoothen the disappointment of turning down his request his superiors added one more year furlough to pursue his Arabic studies in lands where the language was best learned.
Al-Hijaz was the most difficult and the most dangerous point by which a European can enter Arabia. He had intended,
to cross the unknown Arabian Peninsula, in a direct line from either Al-Madinah to
Muscat, or diagonally from Meccah to Makallah on the Indian Ocean. Another object of undertaking this visit was to find out if any market for horsescould be opened between Central Arabia and India, where the studs were falling in standard. Burton found on the Eastern regions some specimen worth looking into and nothing on the Western, where the
animals, though thorough-bred, were ‘weeds’ and at exorbitant prices. Another reason that took him there was to obtain information concerning the Great Eastern wilderness, Rub’a
al-Khai (the “Empty Abode”) in the West; to inquire into the
hydrography of the Hijaz, its water-shed, the disputed slope of the
country, and the existence or non-existence of perennial streams; and
finally, to try, by actual observation, the truth of a theory proposed
by Colonel W. Sykes, and verify the common origin of
the Arab family.
Burton’s foray into the Peninsula led him to believe there were three distinct races.
1. The aborigines of the country, driven into the eastern and south-eastern wilds bordering upon the
ocean. 2. A Syrian or Mesopotamian stock, typified by Shem and Joktan, that drove the aborigines mentioned first; these
invaders now represent the true and proper Arabian people.
Thirdly an impure Syro-Egyptian clan-we personify it by Ishmael, by his son Nabajoth, and by Edom.
Burton’s noted as follows regarding the simple act of drinking between an Indian Moslem and an Englishman.
‘For what polite Chesterfield says of the difference between a gentleman and his reverse-namely, that both perform the same
offices of life, but each in a several and widely different way-is notably as applicable to the manners of the Eastern as of the Western man. Look, for instance, at that Indian Moslem drinking a glass of water. With us the operation is simple enough, but his performance includes no fewer than five novelties. In the first place he clutches his tumbler as though it were the throat of a foe; secondly, he ejaculates, “In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful!”before wetting his lips; thirdly, he imbibes the contents, swallowing them, not sipping them as he ought to do, and ending with a satisfied
grunt; fourthly, before setting down the cup, he sighs forth, “Praise be to Allah”-of which you will understand the full meaning in the Desert; and, fifthly, he replies, “May Allah make it pleasant to thee!”
in answer to his friend’s polite “Pleasurably and health!” Also he is careful to avoid the irreligious action of drinking the pure element in a standing position, mindful, however, of the three recognised exceptions, the fluid of the Holy Well Zemzem, water distributed in charity, and that which remains after Wuzu, the lesser ablution.
Moreover, in Europe, where both extremities are used indiscriminately, one forgets the exclusive use of the right hand, the manipulation of the rosary, the abuse of the chair,-your genuine Oriental gathers up his legs, looking almost as comfortable in it as a sailor upon the back of a high-trotting -the rolling gait with the toes straight to the
front, the grave look and the habit of pious ejaculations’.(selected:Pilgimage to Meccah and Al-Medinah)
benny

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Dispensation is a theological term. In American Heritage dictionary dispensation is defined as divine ordering of worldly affairs. Israel has conveniently cobbled an aggressive policy of laying out the extent of their territory on their perceived rights: their ownership as derived by God’s promise to Patriarch Abraham. “I will make of thee a great nation…” Gen  12:2 Ishmael is also of the seed of Abraham. Is it not? If Israel can use this as an argument cannot Palestinians also claim equal rights considering they are also of Abraham?
Suppose we adopt Israel’s argument that their nation was singled out for His blessings let me cite one passage from the  Old Testament. The story of Joseph traces his rise from prison  to be the counselor of the Pharaoh. He was cast out by his brethren and sold into slavery to Ishmeelites. Before long he found himself in the land of Egypt. As with so many who have been thrown into abyss of despair do find their feet to make a comeback Joseph also made a spectacular comeback this time to be the advisor of the Pharaoh. Because of his closeness to the Pharaoh he could save his brethren when famine in their land was at its worst. Let us only consider the divine providence at play here. Unless God had not blessed Egypt with abundance of grains and food will not the seed of Abraham have perished at that period of time? From this we can see that God blesses the Israel as well as other nations.
Do I hear someone saying that Egypt was blessed because of Israel? In the opening chapter of Exodus we read that ‘the land (of Egypt) was filled with them (Children of Israel). Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph..’(Ex. 1: 7-8) If God wanted to bless Israel at the expense of other nations He need not have made what seemed a blessing at a point of time, work like a curse at another time. They have suffered and also prospered owing to the simple Truth they are interconnected with other nations.  All these ups and downs are natural working of every nation coping with others so all the good and bad are absorbed by all. The challenges when faced and learned from prove to be our strengths. With these strengths any nation may confer a blessing to another nation when they are down.
This is how Oneness of things works.
benny

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