Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Caliph

Imaginary Certitudes and Legitimacies (May 6, 2009)

The US republican notion of Capitalism is plainly discredited but established by US forced infusion with multiple pre-emptive wars around the globe.

Communism was discredited since 1989.

The doctrine of the Christian religion was discredited since the French Revolution in 1787 and a century before that. Still, religion cannot be eradicated from the spirit of the masses.  The power of the Christian religion is that nowadays you don’t need to apply or fear to be ex-communicated whether you are a believer or not or whether your opinions are not compatible with the predominant ideology. 

Religions, mainly religious sects dominated by a hierarchy of clerics, exercises its legitimacy once it combines the doctrines of “communism” for equal opportunities and the aspiration for independence against a usurper. 

That is what extremist Islam has managed to package its ideology; an ideology targeting the poor and disinherited who were deprived of dignity and were humiliated by the Western colonial powers.

Let me resume my previous article on “Misleading Legitimacies“. 

Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt managed to capture legitimacy in the emotions and spirit of the “Arab” populations as the leader of the Arab World by politically defeating the joint military attack by Britain, France, and Israel in 1956 to recapture the Suez Canal, though was militarily defeated. 

The Arab populations were satisfied that their crushed dignity for over 5 centuries was re-emerging among the nations (the western nations). 

Even the crushing military defeat by tiny Zionist Israel in 1967 maintained Gamal Abdel Nasser as the legitimate leader and most of the Arab State leaders converged to him to resolve their conflicts with their neighbors or within their State.

After the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser (The Raiyess) in 1970 the goal of Arab leaders was to re-capture Arab legitimacy. 

The successor of the (Rayess) in Egypt was Sadate who needed to rely on the legitimacy of the “Muslim Brotherhood” to strengthen his power and thus proclaimed to be “The First of the Believers (among Muslims)”. 

All the Arab leaders realized that “legitimacy” resides in convincing victories against common enemies to the “Arabs”, or mainly any western nation and Israel the closest geographically. 

The initial victory in 1973 on the Sinai front against Israel was cancelled out by bedding with the USA.

Sadate with his “My Dear Friend Henry (Kissinger)” was hated by most Arabs and no one shed a tear when he was assassinated.

Dictator Saddam Hussein enjoyed potentials in a literate population, large army, and natural resources. He jumped at the occasion when the USA encouraged him to invade Iran of Khomeini. 

This time, the enemy was the Persians who had re-captured lands that the Arab and Ottoman Empires had secured centuries ago and called “Arabstan” or Khuzestan.

After 8 years of mutual slaughtering in the battle field, Saddam Hussein redirected his military activities to its neighboring “Arab” State of Kuwait and was vanquished by the USA, the arch enemy of the Arabs.  Saddam lost his legitimacy. 

Saudi Kingdom successive monarchs endeavored to gain legitimacy in the Arab World through building thousands of mosques, appointing clerics who favored the Wahhabi sect (misleading the Sunni sect as being Sunni itself), and lavishing petro-dollars for settling conflicts among the Arab States. 

Saudi Arabia has been working for the long term by proselytizing their conservative extremist Wahhabi sect among the Sunni Muslims and gaining legitimacy by proclaiming that they are the “Servitors or Guardians of the Holy Kaaba and Medina (al Haramain)”

The progress in Europe was established indirectly by a centralized Papal spiritual authority.  

Ironically, this spiritual centralization was acquired when the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity. 

Christianity could have evolved without any serious centralization if it was not ordered by the Roman ideological system of centralized power

Hundreds of Christian sects existed in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, and throughout the Roman Empire before the year 325 and they were persecuted as “heretics” after the conclave of Nicaea in 325

Papal Rome vigorously hindered progress and change for a long period (about 1,000 years) but once society expressed its willingness for change, then it followed suit and even staunchly maintained the changes and supported them against any refracting bishop or religious Christian sects.  

Centralized Papal Rome was a counterbalance to the tyranny of temporary authorities who had to compromise and rectify policies that challenged the dignity and well being of the poor citizens.  

Islam had no such centralized spiritual authority: it viewed with suspicion any kinds of religious centralization. It didn’t appreciate mediators between the believer and his God. 

Thus, the political sultans and sovereigns dominated the religious spiritual power. In most instances, the monarch grabbed the legitimacy of Caliph. The counterbalance to tyranny lacked in the Muslim world and any recognized cleric, ordered by a sultan, could proclaim a “fatwa” or an injunction for the people to obey as a religious obligation.  You could have several “fatwas” concurrently injuncting opposing orders.

The problem in Islam is not in the source or the Koran but the free interpretations of any monarch or leader at any period.  There are no stable and steady spiritual legitimacy in any interpretations that can be changed or neglected at other periods.

The author Amine Maaluf recounts this story:

A Muslim woman applies in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for a private club that would allow Muslim women to meet and maybe share common hot baths in sauna and Jacuzzi (hammam). A week later the municipality rejected the application on the ground that the local Muslim cleric (Imam) had an objection to the club.” If the woman was European would the municipality ask the opinion of a Christian cleric? It would certainly not. 

What this story proves is that, under the good intentions of respecting ethnic minorities, the European are exercising covert apartheid: they are sending the message that minority rights are not covered by the UN declarations which are supposed to be valid for all human kinds. 

The human rights approved by all States within the UN convention are applicable to all regardless of color, religion, sex, or origin. 

What is fundamentally needed is that all States feel that the United Nation is a credible institution that is not dominated by veto power super nations and that it has effective executive power to enforce its human rights proclamations to all world citizens and political concepts.

“Koran has nothing to do” with current waves of Islamic extremist terrorists

The northern African states of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco had linked with France culture since 1830.

Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon had also linked with the French and British culture since the early 19th century.

Many were sent to Paris and London to learn and continue their education. The translation of “foreign manuscript was the rage.

The question is: “Have the Arab societies linked up with the modernity of the western civilization”?

The intelligentsia classes have linked a long time ago with the western culture and know more about these cultures than the western people themselves: At least, they can read and write in a couple of European languages.

Did the rural people in the Arab societies linked with other civilizations?

The more the rate of literacy increased the more complex the linkage and communication lines.

Forget that the Koran has anything to do with extremism and these waves of terrorist attacks.

The Koran is another praying Book, as all the other religious Books.

Moslems who can’t read Arabic or are illiterates memorize the Koran or large chunks of it.

Moslems pray in the Koran, but the Koran is not their preferred source for their behaviors, and barely comprehend the texts of the Koran.

The behaviors of most Moslems, the extremist types and the ignorant, are based on telling tales that are extracted from the Hadith.

The Hadith is constituted of thousands of stories related to the behaviors of the prophet, Muhammad what he said, what he did in different circumstances and context.

The Koran:

1. Retells the stories and myths of the Jewish and Christian praying Books such as the creation, how the Jews wandered in the desert…

2. Respect and veneer the prophets, in the Christian and Jewish praying books, such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mary…

3. The Koran details how to pray, the ablution process…

4. The Koran details the inheritance procedures. (Two decades after Aicha died, there were no learned recognized women to educate the women on their rights for inheritance and writing the wedding contracts.  

And the Moslem forgot all about sharing inheritance with the female genders: the illiterate women had no recourse to remind the clerics about their rights…)

5. Reminding the Moslems that the Christians and Jews are people of the faith and their religion is to be respected and the people to be protected and do not have to pay taxes.

Aisha, the most beloved wife of Muhammad, and the most learned among women and men in the Arabic peninsula, fought most of her life discrediting the fraudulent and false hadiths.

The problems stems from how the Moslem sects interpret the Hadith, what is meant by the Jihad on oneself for self-improvement and when Jihad against other people is valid…

All these atrocious behaviors in forced marriages, honor killing, violent fatwas, nikab, nikah, sharia, polygamy….are part of the hadith.

The interested groups, political leaders and business leaders, made it a habit to ask from someone who “lived” or accompanied the Prophet to relate a story that would match their interests.

For example, the tribal leaders of Mecca had vested interest to claim priority in acceding to the key political and governmental positions and to keep the social structure as practiced in Mecca, a system that was different from the tribes in Medina.

During the third caliph Othman, the Koran was tampered with, and Christian sects and Jewish sects were added as people deemed to pay taxes for protection.

The budget of the caliph was shrinking annually as more people were converting to Islam and the empire needed more money to finance the expansion of the empire.

Misogyny cannot be found in the Koran, but in the Hadith.  Women had to be excluded from any position of power and false stories were disseminated related to their incompetence, the volatile passions and lower level of intelligence .

The women in the first Islam city-state of Medina (Yathreb) did not wear the veil or any head cover. It was the women who migrated from Mecca who struggled to impose head cover.  The “noble”women of the tribes of Mecca wore the veil as a mark of distinction from the working women and to preserve the “White” completion, safe from the sun rays and the dusty climate.

Muhammad had suggested to his wives to cover their faces when they step outside in order not to be harassed at every corner with countless questions and queries.

The schism among the Sunni sects (supporters of the power to be) and the Shiaa sects is based on the inheritance of power (direct descendants of the Prophet) and the right and obligation to interpret the verses of the Koran.

Note 1: Muhammad refused to set any rules for his succession process, the power and political structure or to appoint Imams

Note 2: Islam one of the “heretic” Christian sects https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/islam-is-one-of-the-%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D-christian-jewish-sects/

“The man with the long curly hair”: Fragments of Abu NuwassPoems (February 12, 2009)

Note:  I am attempting to convey the style and position of the great Arab poet Abu Nawass.  The translation is not literal and I am selecting fragments in specific genres.

Ascetics  (Abu Nawass is witnessing his physical disintegration after his 50)

It is true O God: Great is my villainy.  Your clemency, I know, is infinite.

If the virtuous only dares keep hope.  Then, who the sinner is to appeal to?

Whom the sinner is to believe in?

In humility I implore you my Lord.  Don’t reject me! Only you can have pity.

You are the clement and forgiving.  Finally and besides, I am a Moslem.

My God, you have always been good to me.  My gratitude is little adequate. 

Do I have to present my flat excuses?  My excuse is that I have none.

Nullity crawls in me; my members are dying one at a time. Every moment takes its share.

My youth has fled and didn’t deign to listen.  What have I done with my tender youth?

My youth was dedicated to pleasure, every day and every night.

All possible mischief I have committed.  Forgive me God; I hear you and I tremble.

The full moon is just a dim glow compared to your majestic Face.

I carry on my front the indelible mark of prostrations that might pass me a devout.

Oh, how many noble figures are entombed and as many refined beauties.

How many brave are buried and as many great minds.

Let a rational man interrogate Earth. 

We have taken all Earth’s alleys, highways, and passes. 

Earth is our enemy disguised as friend.

Satires

(The Caliph Al Amine is pederast and wanted to honor Abu Nawass’s young son Mussa.  The satirized personalities were the poet’s benefactors and he joined their merriments)

The Caliph is losing his way.  It is the Caliph fault.

His ignorant vizier Fadl and his naïve counselor Bakr are to be blamed.

The Caliph Al Amine is a pederast.  He loves young eunuchs.

The Caliph is the active actor: How wonderful!

His vizier is the passive one.

The compromises of these two are splattering all the neighborhood.

Like a pissing camel.

The greatest poet: “The man with the long curly hair” (February 6, 2009)

Baghdad in 809 is the largest metropolis in the world; it has over one million inhabitants. 

In comparison, Paris has less than 100,000 (the contemporary of Charlemagne reign), Damascus less than 400,000 (the former Capital of the Arab Umayyad dynasty), and Samarkand (in current Turkestan)  less than half a million; and most of the cities in North Italy average less than 50, 000 inhabitants. 

Baghdad was newly built less than 75 years ago by the Abbasid Dynasty.  The new Caliph is Al Amine; he is 23 years of age and the former student of poet Abu Nuwass. Al Amine is a learned man and very conversant in poetry.  The poet Abu Nuwass was in exile in Egypt on order of the Caliph Harun Al Rasheed.

Abu Nawass learned that his unique son had died and he hurried his return to Baghdad to join his student Al Amine. Four years of the ultimate in libertine life in the court of Al Amine awaited Abu Nawass. Al Amine had fondness for young eunuch; his mother tried to steer her son toward girls by promoting young girls in boys’ attire (a la garsonne) or whatever it takes.

 

Before the advent of Islam Iraq had been under the Persian Empire (the Sassanide Dynasty) for over 4 centuries.  The Arab tribes of the northern Arab Peninsula were mostly concentrated in the towns of Basra and Kufa in southern Iraq.

The main Capital of the Sassanide Dynasty (Sesiphone) was very close to current Baghdad that did not exist yet, on the other side of the Tiger River. Thus, the Iranians were far more numerous than the original “Arabs” and the culture and civilization of Persia was predominant. 

During Abu Nawass time, 150 years after Islam presence, Iraq was still mostly Persian and the most influential personalities had Persian relatives. There was a large minority from the Sind (current south Pakistan) known as “Tuz”; the European would later name them Tzigan.  

There were many Christian and Zoroaster Iranians, other Christian sects and Jews.  The non-Moslems ran the taverns and produced, imported, and sold alcoholic beverages and wine. The fundamentally Christian sect of Mani (Manichean) spread from Northern Africa to India.  The Abbasid Dynasty started the persecution of the Mani followers and then the Pope of Rome followed suit.

 

Four years later, Al Maamun, the half brother of Al Amine from an Iranian mother, would enter Baghdad and assassinate the Caliph Al Amine. Abu Nawass would be assassinated less than two years later, at the age of 56. 

The Shiaa Moslem sect predominated in Iran for political reasons: in order to have the upper hand on the Kuraich tribe of Mecca, from which all the Caliphs claimed their origins, they had to claim a more legitimate descendant to the Prophet Muhammad. They selected Ali, the fourth Caliph and his offspring Hassan, then Hussein and then the others descendants of Ali and Fatima (the Prophet’s daughter). 

Abu Nawass was comfortable with all sects and minorities, though he would satirize them in his poems as front for his proper belief system that agreed with them.  With the exception of his profound loathing of the Arab tribes originating from the Northern Arabian Peninsula, I think it safe to say that Abu Nawass satires on minorities and Jews are an exit scheme for displaying the “others” point of views.

 

The German Ewald Wagner published 5 volumes of Abu Nawass poems in the seven major genres of bacchanal (wine and drinking binges), erotic, libertine, hunting, panegyric (praises), satire, saturnine (mourning), and ascetic. .  Hamza al Isfahani (946 AD) published 1,500 poems claimed to be of Abu Nawass or a volume of 13,000 lines.

Al Hassan al Hakami, nicknamed Abu Nuwass for his long curly hair), was born in 757 AD in Ahwaz (south east Iran) of an Arab soldier born in Damascus and who was at the sold of the Omayyad Dynasty and a Persian mother Golban (Rose) originating from the Sind (south Pakistan). 

Abu Nuwass didn’t get to know his father and was orphaned.  He followed his mother to Basra and attended a Koranic school. The pretty boy joined his mature cousin Waliba al Hubab (who loved pretty boys) to Kufa.  Back to Basra Abu Nawass becomes the disciple of Khalaf al Ahmar, a “rawi” or transmitter of pre-Islamic poetry.  

Abu Nuwass spent an entire year in isolation with bedwins to correctly learn the Arab language.  By the age of 30, Abu Nuwass relocates to Baghdad during Caliph Harun Al Rasheed reign. Abu Nawass was the contemporary of the mystic Al Hallaj who was horribly executed and from whom Abu Nawass learned the message.

 

The power, smoothness, and loveliness of Abu Nawass poems are that they are solely from experience.  He self describes his life, feelings, the period, the culture, the social settings, the urban amenities compared to the arid and crude customs of the clans in the desert. 

He naturally used Persian words and slang, about 200 words in all, and you could view the kaleidoscope of the period dynamically strolling as you read. Thus, there are no romanticism, sentimentalism, or faked imagination and feelings. In fact, the weakest among his genres are the saturnine (poems of mourning) because he could not force non existing feelings for those who died, even for his closest drinking companions. 

For the panegyric genre Abu Nawass was sober in his praises and tributes and would just reserve the last six lines to that purpose after describing hunting adventures or the difficult trips to reaching the influential personality. Most of the people he praised got satirized anyway.  

The bacchanal and libertine genres are pervasive in almost all of Abu Nuwass poems and that is why this great poet is not taught in schools and his manuscripts relegated to the inaccessible sections of libraries.  The polygraph Al Jaahez (869 AD) wrote “I know of no one who knew the lexical of the Arab language as Abu Nuwass.  His expressions were very pure and soft and avoided disagreeable terms

 

The other great Arab poet Al Mutanabi (one hundred year later and a master craftsman in coining memorable verses) would say that the other poets toil on their work while his poems come to him easily and naturally; I feel that this statement apply exclusively to Abu Nawass who did not edit and publish his poems.  Al Mutanabi managed to gather and edit his complete work before he was assassinated.

Francois Villion (1498) published his “Testament” of forgiveness that is almost a carbon copy of Abu Nawass “God forgive me” piece.  No wonder, Medieval Europe and up to the Renaissance had vast knowledge of Arab literature and published works because Arab civilization was the “in thing”.

Abu Nawass clearly proclaimed his preference for pretty boy of 15 year-old with large thighs and oval faces. You may read my article “The Gods of beauty: Before the age of pimples” (February 7, 2009)

 

I have read Al Moutanaby, Al Maary, Omar Khayyam, Ibn Araby, and Hafez; they emulated Abu Nawass well, each one in his favorite genre; Abu Nawass is the Master; the other poets have did their best.

I have read Rimbaud, Verlaine, and Baudelaire; they are good poets; Abu Nawass is their Master; they have done the best they could


adonis49

adonis49

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