Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 6th, 2011

To Aisha (Aicha) bashers I say: “Cut it out”

I have stated many times that I am not religious and refuse to be carried away with abstract notions that have generated genocides, persecutions, hatred, and mass scale wars…

One god, several gods, interested god, class gods, one and only god, trinity god…god made of spirit, of stones, of flesh…Single sacred book, several sacred books, original sacred book, tampered with sacred books…All these teaching won’t teach you anything but plain ignorance, bigotry, misogyny

There are sects that spread hatred among their members for other people in other religious sects based on historical myths, and that is true for all sects in all kind of religion.

This post is targeting certain Moslem Shia sects that take advantage of religious events (Ashoura) to bash Aicha (the most beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and bash the second Calif Omar ibn al Khattab) for false reasons not validated in history…

First, Aicha lead the “first civil war in Islam” against the fourth Calif Ali (called the Battle of the Camel) and was defeated.  Ali forgave Aicha and she was sent back to Medina with all the honors and respect.  If Ali could forgive, why his “followers”, centuries later, refuse to let go? I say to the bashers of Aicha: “Cut it out“.

Second, Aicha spent her life in confronting the false “hadith” (stories on Muhammad’s life) that were mainly misogynistic in nature, and Aicha managed to safeguard the full rights of women and to liberate women for another century.  Aicha was the leading Faqih (the most learned person in Islamic laws) of her period and was respected by all.  I say to Aicha’s bashers: “Cut it out”.

Third, during the battle of the Camel, the supporters of Aicha were actually the Shia of the period, and the allies of Ali were the Sunnis: The Sunnis always supported the power-to-be. I say to the Shia bashers of Aicha:”Cut it out”.

Fourth, maybe the second Calif Omar was a little misogynistic, but he was the greatest Calif of all time and managed to ward off the reactions of the Islamist vanquisher against the other religious groups and ethnic minorities, particularly the Christians in Syria and Egypt.

Omar punished all governors who mistreated the Christians and other religious groups.  Omar refused to enter the Christian church in Jerusalem so that the Moslems would not take it as an excuse to replace the church with a Mosque…I say to the bashers of Omar: “Cut it out”

The Arab World is being squeezed by giant forces and powers in the East and the West, and this is no time for wallowing on stupid historical differences that will not make us more learned, more reflective, more developed, and more ready to future challenges for survival. I say:”Cut it out” now.

For the readers who don’t have much comprehension of the historical stories on Islam, maybe this short post will clarify the issues.

Under Abu Bakr (first Calif and father of Aicha), Aicha, aided by Zayd ibn Thabit, got the huge responsibility of gathering and collecting all the parchments and written verses and the early oral verses of the Koran and then sorting them, verifying their authenticity, correcting and compiling them. Aichi was not even twenty years old.

Abu Bakr died within two years and was also buried in Aicha’s bedroom next to the Prophet.  At the time of his death, Khaled ibn Al Walid had vanquished the Byzantine Emperor at Yarmuk and was advancing toward Damascus.

Omar was selected by Abu Bakr to be the next Caliph. Omar extended Islam to Persia by a victory in Qadissiya and toward Egypt.  Omar was assassinated by a Christian slave while praying in the Mosque in Medina; Omar also asked permission of Aicha to be buried in her bedroom.  By then, Aicha was the ultimate interpreter of the Koran and had issued 2,210 Hadiths and was the expert in women’s legal right or “Fiqh Al Nissa2″.

The dying Omar appointed a Council of 5 Companions from the tribes of Quraich to elect the next Caliph.  Uthman ibn Affan was selected and Aicha had misgivings on how he might manipulate the masses of documents collected on the verses of Islam.  Omar left the documents with his daughter Afsa to hand over to the next Caliph.

Uthman ended up exercising nepotism and appointing relatives as governors and civil servants in high offices and he built a palace and lived luxuriously with 500 serfs maintaining the palace and organizing the feasts.

The new Caliph destroyed the documents related to the Koran that he didn’t like and Aicha came out of her house carrying the sandals and shirts and hair of the prophet and shouted at the caliph: “The Prophet’s belongings had not had time to deteriorate and you started to turn your back on his teachings”.

Aicha had a copy of all the documents and she rewrote her version of the Koran. A large dissatisfied mob of Moslems, who were manipulated by extremists in Basra (Iraq), marched on Medina. Aicha had premonition that the arriving mob is bad news and got permission from Uthman to leave for pilgrimage with the harem.  The mob entered the palace of Uthman, burned it asunder, and stabbed and beat the Caliph to death.

Ali was elected Caliph but refrained to give priority for the revenge for the murder of the Caliph Uthman. This lukewarm behavior prompted Aicha to action and she started delivering speeches in Meca to the effect that the punishment of the leaders of assassins should be carried out first thing first.  Her brother-in-law Zobair and another Companion Talhat excited Aicha to leading a contingent of 3,000 fighters to Basra.

Ali was on his way to Damascus to fight Moawiya, the governor of Syria, and stopped at Kufa to recruit more fighters. Ali had to challenge Aicha before resuming his campaign.  Aicha, Zobair and Talhat managed to recruit an army of 30,000 men against 20,000 with Ali.  The battle of the “Camel”, the first among the Moslems, left 15,000 victims and injured among the Moslem fighters which affected Aicha for the remainder of her life. Talhat and Zobair died in the battle.

Aicha was riding hidden in a palanquins and exhorting her army to fight.

Ali ordered his officer to cut the hand of the “camel guides” so that the camel could be moved from the center of the battle field; guides took the relay and 72 camel guides left theirs hands on the rope before the camel’s hamstrings were cut and was brought down. The symbol of “The Mother of the Believer” finally relinquishing its effect on the troops.

Ali permitted Aicha to return to her home in Medina and she was escorted as a Queen. One of Moawiya’s delegates told Aicha that they wished she died in the battle so that the allies of Moawiya would have had an excellent excuse to fight Ali.

Aicha spent the remaining of her life in her house, receiving scholars and students who regarded her as the main resource for correct interpretations of the religious verses and taking notes of her experiences. Aicha was the only virgin in the harem and whatever she knew of love-making was the invention and initiation of Muhammad.

A specific revelation forbade Muhammad’s wives to remarry and to remain in their homes and to be covered completely and wear the “nikab” on their face when stepping outside their doors or meeting males.

The effects of the assassination of Uthman didn’t end up there.  Muawiya raised the same reason of avenging Uthman to engage Ali in a terrible battle at Seffine in Syria: the bloodied shirt of Uthman hanging in the Mosque of Madina demanded retribution and the Arabs coined the dictum “the Shirt of Uthman” to convey the meaning that the reason offered is but an excuse for the power struggle.

There were no victors in this battle Seffine and a large contingent of Ali’s army dissented because Ali agreed to arbitrage.  These dissenters were labeled Al Khawarej and were led by Abdulah ibn Wahab (the actual Saudi Monarchy is Wahabi in affiliation); they went on assassination rampage against the leading followers of both Ali and Muawiya.

The Khawarej failed to assassinate Muawiya but killed Ali in Kufa.

Ali refused to name anyone to succeed him as Caliph and said to his followers that he would not disagree with anyone they select; Aicha was to say “this is typical Ali’s ambiguity” as she forecasted the worst to the unity of the “Umma” or Nation of Islam.

Muawiya was elected Caliph and the power became hereditary and the period is known as the Omayyad (the most powerful tribe of Quraich) reign in Damascus, which lasted for over a century before the Abbaseed (The house of Abbass, the Uncle of Muhammad) succeeded in taking power in Baghdad for two centuries.

The Central Asian tribes converted to Sunni (mostly relying on the Hadith) were to dominate the political and religious landscape for over ten centuries.  Muawiya sent assassins to achieve any potential leaders related to the Prophet.

Aicha lived to experience the death of many of her male family members.  Hassan, the son of Ali, was assassinated by his wife who offered her husband a poisoned dress delivered by Muawiya.  Moawiya then slaughtered Hassan’s wife to hide his schemes with her.

Note 1:

Note 2:

  1. The Prophet had two sons who died before the age of two.  Ali, his nephew who married his youngest daughter Fatima, was the only male in his “House”.  Muhammad appointed Ali to read the religious messages in meetings where the Prophet could not be present.  Ali and Abu Bakr were the most learned males, among the early Companions, on Islam but Aicha was the best and she was present during many revelations of Archangel Gabriel in her house.
  2. Ali was the most qualified to be the Imam of Islam but since there was yet no separation between the political and religious functions then Ali had to seek power as Caliph.  Ali lacked the political acumen and the qualities of a government leader because he was constantly plagued with ambiguities as a result of his vast religious knowledge and his apprehension to err in his decisions. Schism developed during his short five years reign and the Shi’aa sect (the followers of Ali’s second son Hussein) emerged as a counterpart to the Sunni sect representing the legitimate Moslems.
  3. Muhammad was mortally sick for at least two weeks and he knew his days were counted because Gabriel gave him a choice between this world and the Other World and the Prophet opted for the Other World.  Muhammad had time to think about the succession of power and the appropriate processes, but no “revelations” were forthcoming.  The tribal spirit was to dominate the political landscape, the same spirit that Muhammad intended to re-direct toward a Unique God and unite the “Umma”.  The Arab and Moslem World were tribal in structure and ended up with a caste system when the Central Asian tribes overpowered the Quraichi tribal rights for leadership.
  4. The Prophet Muhammad was highly literate

One-sided Non-violent revolution: Even in “democratic” systems?

Claiming to be in revolt connote a change in political system.  Any political party claiming to be against a political system is tantalizing to think of as a “revolutionary” party.  For example, an extremist Islamic party abhorring a communist system can claim to be “revolutionary”.  Consequently, being a revolutionary does not necessarily lead to any kind of association with programs targeted to be for the well-being of communities…

It is the social and economic programs, detailed and engaged among communities, that project the necessity for reforms, based on the deficiencies of the current system from recreating and revising programs which are demonstrating to be short of breath for any significant improvement and development.

Apparently, the documentary “How to Start a Revolution” by Ruaridh Arrow was screened at the Zionist Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University.  It comes at a time when Foreign Policy magazine has decided that Gene Sharp “has inspired Arab spring protesters.”

The New York Times decided—without any evidence whatsoever—that Gene Sharp has inspired a non-violent revolution throughout the Arab world. Can anyone claim that governments in any of the revolutions, anywhere, never used and abused of violence against mass demonstrators, marchers, extended sit-ins…?  Do thousands of revolted citizens who were killed, injured, humiliated, rounded up and put in jails, teargazed…didn’t submit to violence?

Can anyone who joined “Occupy Wall Street” protest in the scores of US cities claim that violence was not their daily staple by police forces?  Can we claim that a revolt was non-violent simply because the masses of political disobedience were the only party refraining from using arms, clubs, teargas, camels…?

No, the Arab uprisings have not been non-violent at all: the Egyptian people revolted violently in Suez and other places, and attacked government buildings,offices of Hosni Mubarak’s party. police stations throughout the country, and offices of Hosni Mubarak’s party…

The Libyan uprising degenerated, with NATO intervention, into multiple wars inside Libya, and is turning more vicious after Qadhafi assassination, though the news media refrain from covering this insidious tacit civil war…

In Tunisia, the rebels also attacked government buildings…and the violence has not subsided yet…

In Yemen, the killing and violence from both sides didn’t subside and has turned to an ugly civil war…

What about Bahrain were the Gulf Arab “States” and Western medias are doing their best to not cover the continuing atrocities committed by these self-appointed absolute monarchs…?

In Syria, the situation is now regularly labeled a “civil war.”

Changing a political system is not the same as gradually reforming a system, through unbiased election laws, and unbiased media coverage that usually favor the power-to-be system…Even lukewarm reform demands are confronted with blood and flesh by the system in order to sending “strong messages” that law and order is the sin-qua of any dominant system…

 As’ad AbuKhalil, in his blog “Angry Corner”, wrote on Dec. 2, under “The Delusions of Gene Sharp How to Start a Revolution”:

“Sharp disturbingly has no problem promoting his influence. He starts the movie by talking about the oft-used evidence of the spread of his ideas: that his books have been translated into more than 30 languages. He keeps talking about the translation of one of his books (prominently featured in the film) into Arabic.

This claim is dishonest: Sharp knows that his books were not translated through the initiative of Arab fans. They were translated by his own Einstein Institution, through external funding provided to his organization.

Jamila Raqib (who was featured in the film as his devotee) contacted me a few years ago when the Institution funded the translation of the books. They asked me to supervise the translation process and verify the accuracy. The books were too uninteresting for me, and I turned down the job and I referred them to a friend.

How could Sharp convince himself that the translation of his work into multiple languages is evidence of his influence when he knows that he himself commissioned the translation of his own work?

Politically speaking, Sharp has been working largely in sync with US foreign policy goals. He promoted his non-violent agenda against the communist governments during the Cold War, and his partner (a former US army General) talked about his work under the tutelage of the Republican International Institute.

If Sharp is keen on promoting non-violence, why does he not preach non-violence to the US government which practices more violence than most countries of the world? And why has Sharp preached non-violence to Palestinians but not to Israelis? His project of non-violence seems in the interest of the most violent governments in the world today.”

Can we dismiss the theory of Gene Sharp’s so-called inspiration the non-violent nature of the “Arab spring” uprising? What does the documentary “How to Start A Revolution” say?

AbuKhalil resumes: “It is not easy to finish the movie: there is no story, really. It focuses on Gene Sharp in his old age, in his house in Massachusetts. In the basement of the house works the executive director of his Albert Einstein Institution.  Director Sharp struggles to make his case, and the movie has the feel of a promotional movie of a cult.

The movie could not provide any evidence of Sharp’s influence. Consequently, it invites four men to confirm that Sharp has inspired revolution. One man is from Serbia, and another from Georgia, and one is from Egypt, and the fourth, a Syrian from London.

Each one of the four was tasked with providing a testimonial (clearly under prodding from the interviewer behind the camera) to the effect that “yes, Sharp inspired the revolution”.  That was it. The film was crude in contrasting images of revolutions and protests with a close up of Gene Sharp’s face in his house.

And the movie claimed falsely that governments around the world have been attacking Gene Sharp’s works due to his influence. Sharp himself, without any evidence, claimed that the Russian government set on fire two printing presses because they carried his books. The film claimed that protesters in Iran were convicted on following the instructions of Sharp — and again no evidence was presented.

The second part of the movie focuses on the Egyptian and Syrian cases.

In the Egyptian case, the movie brings in a guy and introduces him to us as “a leader of the Egyptian revolution.” I personally have never heard of the guy, but you had to believe that he is the leader of the revolution. This Egyptian “leader” said: “yes, Sharp inspired the Egyptian revolution”.

The Syrian guy, Ussama Munajjid, was even funnier. He lives in London but the film introduced him as a  “leader” of the Syrian revolution. We saw him in his office uploading footage from cameras that he “had placed” all over the country, as the film alleges. If this guy’s testimonial was not enough, he was flown to Boston to be filmed while listening to Sharp’s advice.

It is not difficult to mock the writings of Sharp. His instructions for revolution are too basic and common-sensical to be credited to Sharp. The film even suggests that he was behind the idea of beating pots and pans in Serbia, when Latin Americans have engaged in this form of protests for decades, long before Sharp’s books were translated (at his own initiative) to Spanish.

Sharp suggests that protesters should wave flags, as if they did not think of that prior to the publication of Sharp’s books!

The message of Sharp in the film is condescending and patronizing, although his firm belief in his own international influence has a tinge of self-delusion. He believes that he — the White Man — alone knows what is the best course of action for people around the world. He preaches to Arabs that they were wrong in insisting on the resignation of the leader: he urges that the downfall of the government be stressed instead, as if Arab popular chants did not aim at that.

Sharp (or his one Egyptian fan in the film) may have not heard of the nine bombings of the Egyptian pipeline to Israel. That was not in any of Sharp’s books.” End of quote




December 2011

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