I. AN INFIDEL’S TOUR OF PARADISE
The Qur`aan tells Muslims that it came down to them in Arabic so that they may become wise. (Sura XII/2 “Yusuf”) What the Qur`aan does not tell you is that its vision of Paradise is an Arabian one for Arabians, a paradise which would reflect the earthly pleasures most easily comprehended by an inhabitant of Mecca, Yathrib, Yanbu’ or ‘Aad. It is a Paradise steeped in images locked in the subconscious of any denizen of those lands that are surrounded by desert and vast stretches of volcanic tiles so parched, cracked and incandescent that they invite those dreams of everything which end with a mirage of running water, swaying date trees and cool wine from Andareen served by women as comely as Bavarian stewardesses. Their very existence necessitated traversing the sand dunes for trade – their Yemeni spices in exchange for Syrian wines, jewelry and fruit. The oases, at which they often stopped for a rest, were the first impressions of what Allah had planned for those among them whom he deemed righteous and worthy.
In many pages of the Qur`aan, Paradise is described as “Gardens of Eden under which flow rivers in which (Believers) will live forever. That is the reward for those who are pure.” Sura XX/76. (Note: Not everyone would translate “’Adn” as “Eden”. Some prefer “Eternity” which I believe to be inaccurate.) It is mentioned also this way in the Sura of “The Opening, XLVIII/5. (That some Islamic scholars and translators persist in translating “Fath” (فتح) as “Conquest” is exasperating.) There is in the Sura of “Al-Saff” the same reference to rivers, but, with the added quality of “lovely mansions” within the Garden of Eden. (Sura LXI/12. See also Sura XXIX/58 where the righteous are promised chambers under which flow rivers). It is described as a “refuge”, “blissful”, “peaceful”, “fruit-bearing”, “eternal”. In Paradise, the Believer is granted bracelets of gold, and shall wear green silk and brocade as he reclines on elevated thrones. Sura XVIII/31; Sura XXXV/33-35. Fruits are everywhere in Paradise. The rivers are of the purest waters; of milk whose taste never changes; of wine for those who drink; of pure honey with all the fruits of the imagination. Sura XLVII/15 “Muhammad”.
I know what you’re all waiting for. You want to hear about the girls in Heaven. In Sura LII/20, Islam delivers:
“(The Righteous) shall recline upon thrones arranged in rows and We shall marry them (or join them) to “houris” (beautiful women) with lustrous eyes”.
All right, you get the message. I could write an entire treatise on the earthly pleasures of being in an unearthly Heaven, but, I can’t for the time being. The images of Paradise in the Qur`aan are meant for an Arab audience of the 7th Century when the Arabs had no working alphabet to set down their ideas. Unless they knew Aramaic/Syriac, Greek, Latin or Farsi, they were limited to their dichromatic world of blue sky and blanched pumice. The promise of the Qur`aan to reward the Believer with a world devoid of the toil, travail, scorn and suffocating heat in which they had to live must have come like a cool night’s breeze in Jidda. Some persons, like this author, believe that the images are metaphorical – making them easier to understand for the average bedouin – sedenterized or otherwise. Whatever the case, for those who suffered the agonies of life, the Qur`aan made it clear that there was an alternative gate out of temporal existence, so enchanting and enticing, only devils would resist the keys to its doors.
You could erect a Club Med hotel on this little gem in the middle of the Arabian Desert.
II. HOW KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE GETS YOU INTO AN EARTHLY PARADISE ACCORDING TO WAHHABIST CRIMINALS
“Jihad” means to strive. In its most limited meaning of “striving for a cause”, it comes to mean “crusade” in the way English speakers use it when talking about a “crusade against drugs” or a “crusade against crime”. Sometimes we say: “I’m on a crusade, man!” George W. Bush goofed once when he referred to his war in Iraq as a “Crusade”. It caused some serious rumblings in the Islamic World when that reached Muslim ears because it is translated in Arabic as “Huroob Al-Saleebiyya”, e.g. “The Wars of the Cross”. It would have been better to properly translate it as “Jihad”.
This is not what buffoon Bush meant when he referred to his “crusade”. Yet, this is the image he inspired.
“When the forbidden months are over, kill the idolators wherever you find them and take them, besiege them, lie in wait for them at every vantage point. But, if they repent, pray and pay their tithes, release them! For Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Sura IX/5, “Al-Tawba”).
The Qur`aan means here the idolators of Mecca who had waged war against Muhammad and his Companions. But, this would not stop the troglodytes of today’s Arabia from assuming it meant anyone who didn’t agree with their particular heresy. In the holy book of Islam, Christians, Jews and Sabians were given special treatment as “People of the Book” from whose adherents true Muslims could marry or whose food was sufficiently pure for sharing. But, not to Wahhabists who teach their offspring in their suffocating schools that Christians are idolators who believe in a blasphemous Trinity made up of three Gods. I’m not joking. So, you can see how easy it is to snooker a mind as ape-like as those of the Arabians in Saudi Arabia or Qatar into believing killing Christians is a “moral duty”.
Jihad is used regularly in the Qur`aan as a way to strive “in the way of Allah”. You must use yourselves and your wealth to serve the interests of God. You can “fight” to preserve the unity of Islam or to fight injustice. You can also “fight” back against those who attack you with means like those used against you. (Sura II/194) All these are allowed. (See Sura 22/39-40) Notice that word used here is to “fight” (qaatilu) and not to “wage Jihad” (jaahidu).
There are some exceptions to the rule. In the Sura of Al-Furqaan, the Qur`aan provides: “Do not pay heed to the Unbelievers, but, wage a great Jihad against them.” (Sura XXV/52) It’s not even clear here if Jihad means to “fight” them. It could just as easily mean to strive against them with cogent arguments. The Qur`aan is very strict about how the argument for Islam is presented. In this famous Aaya, Allah admonishes his Believers “not to debate with People of the Book unless you have something better”. (Sura XXIX/46-47)
So, when the feather-brained clerics of Wahhabist Arabia declare Jihad for this or that purpose, are they empowered to declare it or are they just fiddling around with words? And why is Jihad a “Holy War”? And if it is a Holy War, can it be fought against other Muslims? When Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on mostly Shi’i Iraq, was he on firm ground? The two countries eventually wound up declaring Jihad against one another only to wind up 8 years later with close to a million dead and no change in the borders. Khomeini died of natural causes and Saddam went the way of the noose a few weeks before his 70th birthday thanks to American kangaroo court justice.
Well, only a class of individuals addled by generous doses of laudanum (that’s opium, fellas) or psychopathologies worthy of the Behavioral Sciences department at the FBI could invent a movement that rewarded beheadings of innocent civilians before the lenses of video cameras with the amenities of the earthly Paradise we described in the foregoing. And, even the way they behead is totally wrong. They can’t even get their beheadings right. As M.P. George Galloway said in the British Parliament, they use a dull bread knife to saw away at a persons neck when in the Qur`aan it specifically uses the verb “dharaba” to indicate that a sword would be used to “strike” at the neck.
But, here’s the kicker. Beheading is only recommended in battle as a way to avoid the armor some fighters wore over their breastbones. The neck was always more vulnerable. In no place in the Qur`aan is beheading sanctioned as a means of execution. The Saudis had better be reading this.
In the Sura titled “Al-Anfaal” (The Spoils of War), Allah speaks to his adherents: “Whereas your Lord inspired the Angels: I am with you! So, make steadfast those who believe. I will instill terror in the hearts of those who blasphemed. So, strike above the necks and strike every fingertip”. (Sura VIII/12).
In the Sura titled “Muhammad”, Allah tells his Believers: “When you meet the blasphemers in battle, strike at their necks……”. (Sura XLVII/4).
“Here. Do you like a close shave?” An ISIS barbarian commits the ultimate cowardly act in a staged MI6 production.
Thus, the ISIS, Nusra, Wahhabist rat terrorists purchase tickets to the luxurious afterlife by sawing off the head of a bound captive in a manner that can only be described as “grisly” and “cowardly”. This is where Wahahbism is taking Islam. No school of the Islamic faith, be it Maaliki, Shaafi’i, Hanafi, Zhaahiri, or, even, Ja’fari/Shi’i, for that matter, would condone the savagery we are seeing in videos published on the internet except for the one disgraceful deviation called Hanbalism. This heresy started sadly in Syria – near Der’ah for that matter. Even Ibn Taymiyya, the Hanbali degenerate whose useless and ineffective writings are at the heart of this Takfirism was born in Syria, although, it could be argued that his angry prose was inspired by the Mongol destruction of the Caliphate of Al-Mustansir-billaah. But, this would hardly be a reason to encourage the genocide of Nusayris (a/k/a “’Alawis”).
III. HOW DOES NIHILISM ATTRACT NIHILISTS? (Republished and Re-edited by SyrPer for SyrPer)
Your editor has met three jihadists in his life. In 1975, while a graduate student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Department of Near Eastern Studies), I chanced upon a Sudanese who had completed a law degree in Egypt but who had come to Ann Arbor to continue with African Studies. I met him at a Friday afternoon meeting of the Organization of Arab Students. I was the vice president and my roommate, Dr. Ragaie Lasheen, an Egyptian, was the president. My conversation with him was in Arabic which he projected in as Cairene a manner as possible. He was interesting to me because I had just finished a dialogue with Professor Richard Mitchell whose Ph.D. thesis and subsequent book about the Muslim Brotherhood reverberated everywhere Middle Eastern Studies were discussed. Prof. Mitchell was a visionary, even in the Sixties, when he first posited, to skeptical audiences, that Islamism would become the major political force in the entire Islamic World. He was right. But did he know about the rise of “jihadism”, “Takfirism” and “Salafism”?
In the 1950’s when I was born, I came to understand Islam through the prism of Palestinian struggle. The only role model for us was the “fidaa’i” or “fedayeen” (corrupt plural). In Arabic, fida’i was one who “sacrificed himself for another”. In a way, Sidney Carton, in A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens, willingly went to his death in the place of another person – by any standard a “fida’i” in the French Revolution. The fidaa’i sacrificed his life in a military operation to liberate Palestine. For us, Christian or Muslim, he was bravery incarnate. He would enter battle with the evil Zionists never knowing if he would return. He did not fear torture, his body nothing more than an ordinary vessel in the service of a Holy Mother, Palestine herself. He was depicted in posters as one wrapped in the regal colors of his kuffiyyeh – a saint delivering the point of his lance into the body a serpent writhing under his steed. He was Khodr, St. George.
Professor Juan Cole of my alma mater, the University of Michigan, holds the Richard P. Mitchell Chair for Middle Eastern History. I knew Dr. Mitchell very well; I hope the seat does not communicate Prof. Mitchell’s somewhat self-destructive preferences.
The Palestinian experience of the Seventies and Eighties showcased a popular predilection for secularism, Pan-Arabism and moderate Islam. Some of the most visible leaders were Christians like Dr. George Habash, Dr. Wadee’ Haddad, Nayef Hawatmeh and Kamaal Nasser. Fatah was known as a secular group with Yasser Arafat at its head who was often suspected of having Muslim Brotherhood sympathies although that never actually materialized in my recollection. Arafat cultivated excellent relations with Christians (he even married one) and could boast of their presence in the PLO organization. One was my mother’s cousin, Alfred Toubassi.
Your editor was too secular and Christian for Fatah and gravitated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In 1968, I got on a plane from Beirut and traveled to Amman, Jordan where my paternal aunt lived with her Palestinian husband, and hooked up, literally, with Dr. George Habash’s organization. I was there at the time of the PFLP split that created the PDFLP and the PFLP-GC. I saw fighters coming into our office in Jabal Webdeh and knew Dr. Habash, Wadi Haddad and Nayef Qaddoura quite well. I watched Dr. Habash smoke his life away on Reem cigarettes just one office down from the one we used to translate his monographs into English. It was an ebullient time, just as it was in the United States.
I was also in the “Aghwar” area of Jordan, specifically Kreima down from the then-famous Karaama where, in 1967, the Palestinians took on the Zionist invaders when they crossed the Allenby Bridge and a legendary battle ensued giving the Palestinians their first claim to credibility by fighting off the army that gob-smacked the Arabs in 1967 in the “Six Day War”.
I knew over 100 fighters belonging to the PFLP, Popular Forces and Al-Fatah. None thought of Islam as the motivator for their battle with Israel. The air was rife at the time with discussions about dialectical materialism, Lenin vs. Mao, Trotsky vs. Stalin and a whole farrago of effete subjects which galvanized afternoon discussions at the AUB in Beirut. These pretentious ideological exercises would prove a failure enveloping us all in the darkness of violent Islamism.
The Sudanese student I mentioned above was named ‘Uthman something. I can’t remember his family name although I’m sure it started with a G. But he was curiously early for the absorption of Islamist concepts, their beliefs still rejected by modernistic Arab students — beliefs which seemed almost antiquated, archaic, backward. No one mentioned people like Sayyed Qutb in the early Seventies. Richard Mitchell did, of course, in the ether of academe where implausible events could occupy some time during brown-baggers or cocktails at Richard Marash’s apartment on North Campus.
To me, the greatest of all Arab leaders. George Habash. A pediatrician from the AUB. A boy from Al-Lidd, Palestine. This picture was taken close to when he was allowed to escape a Syrian jail by order of Gen. Ahmad Suwaydani. I was there when he arrived in Amman. Between his fingers, the ever-lit Reem.
Uthman believed strongly that only Islam could deliver the Arabs to victory over Zionism and the West. Only through devotion to Allah could the fighter be imbued with the kind of zeal which would overpower the enemy and drive him from our lands. He viewed me as some kind of zealous communist, which I was not, and tried to convince me that even my Christian beliefs (shallow as they were) were heretical, illogical and contrary to the needs of the “Umma” (the Islamic Community). I found him amusing in the same way as a Jehovah’s Witnesses, comfortable in the knowledge I could just walk away with a contrived “appointment”.
What I realize now is that the Islamism of today had started in the Seventies with a process that eventually perfected the “programming” which was so important in developing the right profile for the “Mujahid” killer. There is nothing in the Qur’an which sets out the requirements for such a person. To the contrary, with the exception of some historically anchored exhortations to violence reflecting Muhammad’s disaffection from the Jews of Yathrib, the Holy Book of Muslims praises generosity, kindness, business-acumen, honesty and all the other traits people rarely exhibit or deliberately avoid. You need to go much deeper into Islam’s ancillary literature, far deeper than the Qur’an or the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith) to find the nuts and bolts of Islamist terrorism. You have to read the works of a fire-breathing, Syrian theologian, Ibn Taymiyya (1263 – 1328 C.E.), to really know how this all started.
Think of Ibn Taymiyya in the following way: replace the word “Mongol” with any other target of hostility. Ibn Taymiyya lived during the time of the Mamluk giant, Rukneddine Baybars Al-Bunduqdari, who defeated the hated Mongols at the battle of Ain Jaalout. He exhorted all Muslims to kill the Mongols and developed Islamic-type concepts to make the war against them “holy”; this was “Jihad” against the virulent nomadic race from the belly of Asia which arrived in Baghdad, subjugated the City of Peace, wrapped the Caliph Al-Musta’sim in a rug, and rode cavalry horses over him snuffing the life out of the “Successor to the Messenger of Allah”. This was the Age of Siege; Islam was targeted for annihilation; a new technology had to evolve. Additionally, think of Ibn Taymiyya as a follower of Ibn Hanbal who founded one of Sunni Islam’s schools of jurisprudence and theology. He is a forerunner of Wahhabism. Think of Ibn Taymiyya therefore as the angry face of Islam.
How do you train a Mujahid? How do you teach a person to welcome death? How do you convince a person that Paradise exists with a certainty that dispels all fears and anxieties? This is discussed somewhat in the first part of this essay.
First of all, he has to be poor. Notwithstanding the fact that Muhammad Al-‘Ataa`, who led the 9/11 attack, was an Egyptian from an upper middle class family, he still represents an exception. The overwhelming evidence points to Jihadists emerging from utter economic deprivation. They also seem to be largely uneducated, having been taught mostly in religious schools where they were inculcated with an exclusivist type of Islam – the Islam of rejection and intolerance. In Saudi Arabia, products of the school systems are taught that anything other than Wahhabism is inimical to God.
A friend of mine in Ann Arbor, in the early 70s, (I’ll call him Sa’ud without his tribal name), told me many things about the Saudi embassy’s requirements for the students who were on their stipend list. The students were regularly told to disassociate from the Christians and Jews and to remain only in contact with their own. The students were told that Christians were unclean. It is not hard to see how this kind of mentality could result in the creation of a class of individuals who would find beheading Christians quite proper, even pleasing, to Allah.
Many Jihadists are sociopaths who search out ways to justify their murderous ideations by conversion to the one and only deviant manifestation of Islam that urges them to act out their fantasies. Serial rapists, embezzlers, thieves, racketeers, monsters, to say the least, prosper in anarchy. They flourish in a world of destruction, pandemonium, i.e. pure nihilism. Their pleasure is not in striving for God, but, in convincing themselves that by destroying all that they see in the temporal world, they will inherit an earthly paradise in Heaven with exactly the same amenities they could touch, feel, smell and see here. In their world, there are no metaphors. The CIA, MI6, Mossad and the rest know all this. They have used this knowledge to creat ISIS and to foment increasing fanaticism in the name of Islam.
The greatest enemy of Arabs and Muslims is the Zionist Settler State. Yet, how much time does Al-Qaa’ida and ISIS devote to that vicious foreign enemy? A good answer is “never”. How is it that Turkey, a secular state in name only, manages to avoid the hostilities of these fervent, inspired Muslims of ISIS? And, how is it that Saudia pretends to be afraid of ISIS even if it never threatens it or acts out violence against Saudi Wahhabists? Does ISIS take Qataris captive and behead them? No.
There can be no question Jihadists believe in their mock Paradise – described metaphorically in the Qur`aan as some eternal Ritz Carlton complete with complimentary drinks, lovely slatterns, rivers of nectar and luxurious condominiums. They gladly die after killing the innocents – in their mind – a form of “martyrdom”. If they only knew that the true Islam promises these blaspheming murderers an eternal, burning Hell and 72 ugly Virginians. Ziad Abu Fadel, Esq.
WILE E. COYOTE MOMENT: Thanks, AllahoAkbar: