Words are bricks to construct a sentence and yet passages giving shape to ideas are built upon treacherous foundations. Some of the words are likely to go out of fashion and change their cultural significance; some are thought in a particular language but has no equivalent word in another. How one thinks in the east can easily be misunderstood by one in the west. Take a word like Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that describes our appreciation of transient and imperfect beauty – such as the fleeting splendour of cherry blossom. What a millennial in Bronx would make of it unless given a thorough grounding in the mystery of language? In whichever language the mystery remains as in a Gothic tale the building reeks of doom and foreboding. Words erect sometimes barriers for great many to breach unless they are tuned to their nuances in any language.
When we read a novel we are not reading words for themselves but in context of other words. We create literary spaces. From great writers for example Balzac the words are so laid out the decrepit Boarding house has a literal space: so pervasively decay fills it. When we see Père Goriot through the medium of descriptive passages you can be sure it is merely a subjective feeling and fools you to think in a manner than the character really is. So literally taking the manner a sentence is constructed to be true is error. It is compounded by cultural sensitivity of the reader who is primed to take it in a certain manner.
We see the egregious folly of some theologians impose strictures how to interpret the prophet. What are their credentials? What makes them think they can speak for the prophet since he is not there to defend himself? Literal interpretation is a veritable minefield. When laymen are ready to raise battle cry over a word or idea it is a give away of mischief. When mother feeds a child with milk it is solely knowing there is no allergic reaction to it. The bottom line of Peace is peace and not imposing it by force. Look at Islam as some have interpreted it to mean imposing religion at the point of sword. Given so many centuries what do we see? Peace or conflict? When a religion which is of peace and tolerance by any reading, becomes synonymous with religion of hate we need ask who is the villain?
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Posted in essay, moral philosophy, Truth, tagged Aaron, Benny Thomas, golden calf, Muslim Brotherhood, populism, Salafism, Syed Qutb, wahhabism on August 26, 2016|
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Only consistent thing about our world is that it changes. What are the fads we all sported and now are discarded for something of the moment? Pokemon Go! seems to have taken the world by storm as Elvis Presley hair cut and drainpipes were the thing in my youth. Fads in their very sillines carry some profound truth. The world changes and along with it man also changes.
If everything were to keep changing, how do we keep our balance? There is no up or down in space but still we take a bearing on celestial objects these are also not keeping still. Yet in our context these give us a bearing as ancient mariners relied on pole star during their voyages(1). We are on a planet that is revolving on the sun that itself is revolving through the Milky Way. But on the earth what is certain is the gravity that works. What does it tell us? If you throw a ball up, it shall sure come down. Such is the truth for which we kill and defend with tooth and nail.
We say God is Truth. But how well we understand or follow it?
God with his mighty arm delivered the Israelites from Egypt. He called Moses and Aaron his brother and elders before him. With such up and close encounter with God we may assume that he has had greater understanding of Truth than others. Yet within a space of 40 days Aaron was guilty of making a golden calf for the tumultuous crowd who wanted a god to lead them. When man is not fully engaged his heart and soul, the first casuality is truth. Aaron simply wanted to give the people what they wanted. He heard God but he heard it through the grapevine of populism, I suspect.
When I see the mob howling, ‘blasphemy’ on some perceived slight to the Quran, I know the feeling. The man lost his horse and he could not go anywhere because the whole household was arguing over the ways the noble steed could have bolted. After rewriting the Prophet, in scholarly ways of course, the theologians (they have several schools all well funded too,) have made him look a liar and his ideas dragged through mud and have made the world a slaughterhouse. O Truth! How Compassionate! How Beneficent! How Merciful!
1.By the dawn of the sixteenth century, the ancient art of navigation had begun to develop rapidly in response to oceanic explorers who needed to find their positions without landmarks, to determine the locations of their discoveries, and to establish routes between the new-found lands and home. Although the relationship of certain heavenly bodies to time of day and terrestrial directions had been known since ancient times, the first two decades of the sixteenth century saw the rigorous application of astronomy and mathematics to navigation. The new learning met the New World. Before longitude was invented sixteenth-century navigators relied on dead reckoning. Beginning at a known or assumed position, the navigator measured, as best he could, the heading and speed of the ship, the speeds of the ocean currents and the leeward (downwind) drift of the ship, and the time spent on each heading. From this information he could compute the course he had made and the distance he had covered. Dead reckoning, through educated guesswork, is often very accurate.(ack: nps.gov)
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Posted in Aesop, fables, history, Aesop and the Ass, modern fable, tagged Benny Thomas, changes, fable, salaf al-salih, Salafism on August 14, 2016|
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A Brahmin who traced his lineage to Sage Agastya worshipped his ancestor and the Sage one day appeared to him in his dream and said, ‘I have attained moksha and I am past attending to prayers of mortals. But if you must pray and ask for favours, try Mushika Muni, who between you and me shall never reach the lotus feet of the Lord Brahma. But in case of emergency he is the one to put your case.’ Thereafter Brahmin did everything after praying to the muni.
Mushika Muni was a rat.
The Brahmin worshipped the rat, or rather his golden image. He prospered and he amassed great wealth and he became certain that he was beyond any reproach. He concealed his wealth and he had offshore accounts. One morning the Income Tax authorities raided his premises and they found incriminating evidence of tax evasion. He was not in the least fazed. He smiled when he was asked to come clean. He merely said, “My case is before Mushika Muni. There is nothing you or I can do.”
That night he slept soundly in his own bed; he was under house arrest but that did not disturb his sleep.
In a dream he saw an elephant and he said, ‘ Do not mistake, I was Mushika Muni, in my previous birth. I became elevated to this form. My devotee is the one who must try your case. His prayer has reached me and I am before you to tell this. I am to flatten you under my foot after your case is heard. No hard feelings.’
Appealing to ideas that ancients had accepted as truth are as sound as our Brahmin whose actions were as wrong as his idea that it can remain perfect or constant. Similarly misguided are “salafists”, advocating a return to the ways of the first Muslim ancestors, the salaf al-salih (righteous ancestors)
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. Heraclitus
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Posted in current news, tagged African Union, Benny Thomas, Cultural desecration, Darfur, jandjaweed, mausoleum, news, non-Arab influx, Petro-Islam, poaching, Salafism, Sudan, Timbuktu on December 25, 2012|
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Here is the Reuter’s news of Dec 22,2012 dealing with elephant poaching. This threat is only a tip of a much larger threat that faces Africa. A shadowy group operating from Sudan is hellbent to create Africa in its medieval retrogressive image. BBC in April 2004 had written about the Jindjaweed group that set off outrage and still continue to do so in Sudan. More than one million people fled Sudan’s Darfur region, the victims of what UN officials have described as an “ethnic cleansing” campaign by a group of Arab militiamen. Here I shall write upon the way they generate cash flow to fund their campaign. It is nothing short of changing the social history, culture and customs of non-Arab population. Why must they require funds but for their much wider agenda?
“Faced with the threat of horse-mounted Sudanese elephant poachers armed with machine guns, the central African nation Cameroon has deployed military helicopters and 600 soldiers to try to protect the Bouba Ndjida National Park, a former safari tourism destination park and its animals.
Its decision to call in the army follows a bloody incursion into the park last winter during which poachers from Sudan killed some 300 elephants, or 80 percent of the park’s elephant population, within a few weeks.
Armed only with World War One-era rifles, the park’s eco-guards were defenceless in the face of the Sudanese ‘jandjaweed’ poachers who had travelled thousands of miles on horseback to seize the tusks.
The raid left hundreds of elephant corpses in its wake.
Elephant poaching is an illegal trade that has become a multi-billion dollar industry in Africa fuelled by demand for ivory ornaments from China, some of whose citizens are increasingly wealthy.
Ivory sells for about $300 per kg on the black market, according to conservation group TRAFFIC, meaning that an average-sized tusk weighing 6.8 kg can be sold for a small fortune in central Africa, a region plagued by poverty and underdevelopment.
Officials said there was evidence that the Sudanese poachers were on their way back to the park – a territory of lush forests, rivers and hilly plains about the size of Luxembourg – now that the dry season had arrived, making travel easier.
Equipped with helicopters, night vision gear, and scores of jeeps, Cameroon’s military has set up two garrisons in the park and several camps along Cameroon’s border with Chad and the Central African Republic.
What is happening elsewhere , Mali,Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are not isolated events. These are sure to merge as one unless the African Union make a concerted effort to kill the hydra-like Arab hegemony.
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Wahhabism is a religious movement developed by an 18th century Muslim theologian Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) from Najd, Saudi Arabia. He advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations. Wahhabism is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Abd-al-Wahhab was influenced by the writings of Ibn Taymiyya and questioned classical interpretations of Islam, claiming to rely on the Qur’an and the Hadith. He attacked a “perceived moral decline and political weakness” in the Arabian Peninsula and condemned what he perceived as idolatry, the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation. Wahhabism is often used interchangeably with Salafism. They are considered ultra conservative and heretical by their detractors.
The Wahhabi teachings disapprove of veneration of the historical sites associated with early Islam, on the grounds that only God should be worshipped and that veneration of sites associated with mortals leads to idolatry. Many buildings associated with early Islam, including mazaar, mausoleums and other artifacts have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia by Wahhabis from early 19th century through the present day.
According to Riadh Sidaoui it is an Islamic doctrine which is based on the historical alliance between the political and financial power represented by Ibn Saud and the religious authority represented by Abdul Al-Wahhab, the doctrine continues to exist to this day thanks to this alliance, the financing of several religious channels and the formation of several sheikhs. Perhaps in not so distant future it will be seen how this purportedly charitable institutions bankrolled the recruits who were sent from third world,- from Malappuram District in Kerala to Malaysia, to support the Jihadist elements in the Afghanistan. Their covert mission was nothing less than bringing down the financial might of the USA.
International influence and propagation
According to observers such as Gilles Kepel, Wahhabism gained considerable influence in the Islamic world following a tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974-1980 period. The Saudi government began to spend tens of billions of dollars throughout the Islamic world to promote Wahhabism, which was sometimes referred to as “petro-Islam.” According to the documentary called The Qur’an aired in the UK, presenter Antony Thomas suggested the figure may be “upward of $100 billion”.
Does money corrupt? The Saudis have spent at least $87 billion propagating Wahhabism abroad which goes under the guise of charity. Some of the hundreds of thousands of non-Saudis who live in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf are recipients of its largesse and the fervent converts to Petro-Islam and are intended as carriers of their message.
What connection, if any, there is between Wahhabism and Jihadi Salafis is disputed. Natana De Long-Bas, senior research assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues: the militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam..’ (note: . Karen Armstrong, former US “emissary” to Islam, states that Osama bin Laden, like most extremists, followed the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, not “Wahhabism”)
Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the “deeply conservative” Wahhabis and what he calls the “followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s,” such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were “the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists” during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders.’ By the same token it could be argued that wahhabism of Ibn Saud family did not forbid if global Jihad were set in motion against the Christian west.
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