Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mormons

Trip to Boulder in Colorado

Note 1: Repost from my autobiography  to Convention of Human Factors Society in Boulder

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society of 2002

And I wanted to attend this convention for a change in scenery.

It was a long trip of two days and we passed through Salt Lake City and I visited the temple of the Mormons. We crossed a long stretch of salty land.

There was snow and the University of Boulder was lovely.

During the second day of the convention my advisor failed to show up and I had no copy of my dissertation and I felt frustrated for not being prepared to deliver anything.

Actually, I was invited by the chairperson of the session to do the presentation and I felt totally stupid. I declined the offer.

The convention offered my side trips which I accepted. For example, a tour to Palm Spring and the US Olympic training center.

I had the opportunity to tour Denver by night and boarded the spacious and large bus that crosses Main Street.

The return trip was long.

A week later I was to battle a discrimination case.

There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles. She had no one to testify on her behalf.

The girl was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager. I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.

I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish serving the entire year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.

I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.

I thus joined an office on Van Ness Road and funded by the City of San Francisco that aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.

This facility was useless since during Bush Senior unemployment was deep and widespread.

Urban Islam and Rural Islam

Western Europe (England, France, and Germany) of the 19th century was hooked to Orientalism: The aristocracies wore turbans and Ottoman attires.  They were carried away with the romantic notion of an Orient (Middle East and Central Asia)  as being the remaining original primitive races and conserving the roots of “spirituality” (sufism).

The Jew Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister, was baptized at the age 12, but never relinquished his Jewishness.  Disraeli was a staunch Orientalist and categorized the Arabs as “Arab-Moses” and “Arab-Muhammad”  on the basis that they are the original races; thus, his classification was based on race.

Implicitly, Disraeli must have considered Arabs as a collection of tribes roaming arid desert lands and conserving their customs and traditions, not altered for centuries, in order to survive the influences of surrounding vast empires such as Persia, Byzantium, Romans, Greeks and so forth.

In the Near East, Antoun Saadeh, founder of the Syria National Socialist Party (SNSP) in 1933, divided Islam in his book as “Islam in its two messages: Islam-Christ and Islam-Muhammad.”  Implicitly, Saadeh classified Islam into two major sects:  Urban Islam (living near urban conglomeration and in fertile agricultural regions) and rural Islam (living in arid desert regions and rugged mountain areas.)

Consequently, Urban Islam or Islam-Christ is a set of sects that exhibit flexibility in changing customs, traditions, and have propensity to compromise and accepting even abstract dogma (constructs) to survive Imperial edicts (Byzantium, Persian and Caliphs…)

People in urban environmental setting are more concerned with commerce, trade, and freedom of opinion. In a sense, urban religious sects have tendency for assimilation into a culture that has demonstrated material supremacy over its surrounding neighboring people.

Rural Islam or Islam-Muhammad is a set of sects that refuse to consider abstract constructs and rely on sets of antique laws that regulate their daily life.  They are either petrified on mountain strongholds or arid desert regions that do not encourage easy communication and travel.  They lack financial means to trade for luxury items that might disturb the social fabric of equality in standard of living and the unity of the tribe.

There is a third class of religious sects than can resolve many difficulties in working out a taxonomy for religious sects.  They are the tribes living close to urban surrounding and fertile zones; they adopt nomadic characteristics, but have acquired flexible line of thinking.

They are the “conveyor belt” or the transmitters of cultural differences between the two major categories of sects.  They are the prime “intelligence gatherer or front-line intelligence agencies” for the powerful neighboring empires; they are the guides in time of wars; they guard the security of caravans crossing regions and extend facilities in water and supplies.

These third class of tribes have the mental agility to manipulating abstract dogma, though they preferred the freedom of keeping away from the lures of urban “decadence“.

It is no enigma why fundamentalist sects of all religions, and particularly the three monotheist religions (that I call “mono-idolatry religions”) move away from urban environment to far away regions, where they can exercise and apply their restrictive laws and not succumb to urban disastrous influences.

That what the Mormons did, the Calvinists, the Huguenot, and the Wahhabi did, and so on.

In the 20th century Europe, there were several kinds of Judaism.  You had the notable, professional urban Jews who were ready to be assimilated within the dominant culture of powerful nations; and you had the Jews of the “shtetl” in poor rural Eastern Europe and within non-advanced cultural regions; and you had the Jews of ghettos or tribes close to urban centers.

Obviously, there were Jewish tribes in harsh mountain regions in the Caucasus and other tribes in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  You had cosmopolitan Jews in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Ottoman cities.

The Jews of the shtetl tended to accept the German ideology of the “volkish” or pure tribal blood with creative minds.  The volkish was a romantic notion that required to be settled on a piece of land for many centuries that conserved the folk spirit of the rural life style.

Thus, the various Zionist factions finally agreed on two fundamental notions:

First, the spirit of Judaism is rooted in the Orient and the Jews have to become the mediators between the Western and eastern civilizations.

The second principle was to finding a land and occupy it in order to satisfying the German per-requisite of the volkish ideology.

As Zionism settled in Palestine, it applied the two worst social and political structures of both civilizations.

First, it applied the apartheid and racist Western European ideology of “Teutonic vital space” (camouflaged under Biblical myths) by the sword and blood of utmost cruelty.

Second, Israel society was transformed into a caste system among its Jewish sects, for example Ashkenazim “European” sects and Sephardi Arab-Jew sects (and more blatantly with Palestinian minorities) in all its administrative and governmental services.  So much for Zionism mediation among civilizations.

Note 1: Antoun Saade proved that Islam-Muhammad was almost identical to Islam-Christ in the first 13 years of its proselytizing in Mecca.  It is after Muhammad settled in Medina (Yathreb) that Islam-Muhammad changed and had to institute laws governing the City -State of Medina.

To Saade, Jesus had no need for religious laws governing people, since Roman civil laws were the laws of the Land and because Jesus was against the 650 laws of the Pharisee sect, shackling people in restrictive daily life behavior and obliterating free reflection and liberty in thinking.

Note 2: The “conveyor belt” tribes close to major urban setting (Damascus, Aleppo…) were mostly of the kind of “heretic” Christian sects that refused central religious power. They had suffered from the frequent changes in religious belief of Byzantium Emperors…

Note 3:  This anecdote is reflective of the sameness in belief system at the beginning of Islam. Prophet Muhammad told his most beloved wife Aicha: “I know when you are happy and when you are angry with me.  When you are happy you say: “God of Muhammad” and when angry you say: “God of Jacob”

San Francisco: Soothing recollections May 31, 2009

The trip to San Francisco from Oklahoma to attend the Human Factors convention lasted almost 3 days and I spent my money on junk food. This is a period I’m still not ready to face much less to write about but I finally came around to tell it. Suffice to admit that I roomed with my adviser in the hotel and that he woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that my snoring was loud.

After the convention was over, I was on the verge of joining the file of the homeless. I stayed at the studio of a referral that I got in Norman for one night in Ashbury Heights. I had later many occasions to walk this famous street during the period when the hippies selected it as headquarter for their movement.

The next morning I was feeling sick because of too much nervous tension. I called my cousin Nassif in Vancouver and all that I got was a reprimand “Adonis, you are always in trouble”. I called Ali who was working in Canada but he had no referrals in San Francisco to stay over. I used an old number of Ali’s in Houston and it seems that this number connect him everywhere he relocates.

I know that I slept one night at an Algerian student who was the manager of the restaurant “Marrakech” that served Moroccan dishes; it was one of the longest nights and the most nerve wracking wait for this Algerian student to show up and pick me up.

It was a cold night and I waited for over three hours sitting on my suitcase wondering if he is ever going to show up. I had nowhere to go and no money for any decent lodging facility.  The next day I slept at a hostel for foreign student visitors for two nights in Downtown San Francisco.

The Algerian student referred me to two Spanish students living in a foggy neighborhood; the fog enveloped this quarter 20 hours a day. I had shelter for a week at the foreign students from Spain and they were very nice.

I managed to be hired in a full-service retirement hotel, for room and board in exchange of 4 hours work a day. The Spanish students could not believe that I landed a job that quickly. I accepted all the overtime I could get in all the departments, until I was offered the job of assistant to the manager three weeks later.  I was fooled by the offer of $1,200 a month which turned out to be less than $900 after all kinds of deductions but I fulfilled my “word” to stay a whole year in that position.

My cousin Patrick visited me once when he was attending a conference in San Francisco for the anesthesiologists. I enjoyed my stay in this lovely city of San Francisco and visited frequently all its parks and waterfronts and beaches, carrying a book with me.

I had also located a nearby covered swimming pool that I patronized three times a week.  I had the opportunity to tour the neighboring towns around San Francisco with co-workers and a French older woman called Michelle that I helped secure a part-time position at the Hotel.  The red headed Michelle carried all her belonging in the trunk of her small beat up car and she invited me on her many excursions out of town.

I saw many famous locations because I was responsible for arranging tours to the elder residents and I was to be part of the trip for supervision purposes.  The City offered a van with a driver and we toured San Francisco once a week and I took pictures and described the tour in the monthly promotional brochure along with the monthly events in the Hotel.

I was caring for elder persons, mostly ladies, but in my state of confusion for my future and frustration in not finding within my spirit of what I loved to do for a job didn’t leave much space in my soul for sincere compassion.  Practically, I cared better than most of the managerial staff because I was new to this environment of human spiritual misery and I was highly respected by the “clients”.

The retirees knew of my higher education but never asked me “why are you working in such an institution with your degree?”; it is as people in the US are accustomed to seeing all kinds of individuals working temporary jobs that turned out to be more permanent than proclaimed.

One elder man of over 80 of age, tall and of powerful constitution, committed suicide a week after his “incarceration” by falling in a stairwell from the eighth floor.  Many of the elder ladies whom I cared for passed away during my job but I was not shaken emotionally, or that what I thought at the time.

I think that I read most of the famous authors who lived in and around San Francisco. I had a Mexican girlfriend. (You may read my post in the addendum to my introspection “Chica Lupita”)

I have toured Marin County, the forest of the highest Red trees, ventured to Monterrey, Big Sur, Little Sur, Carmel, and all the environs.  There was old Jake who was a gambling addict; he used to receive invitations from the casinos for free rooms in Reno.  I joined him twice because he needed company.

I played little and ate a lot; food and drinks were cheap and in abundance, and enjoyed looking at pretty servers too.  We traveled on two occasions as a group in a van belonging to an employee and spent glorious days up north and tasted wine in wine counties and farmhouses.

I recall that I had an interview for a job in statistical analysis and had to board several ferries to reach destination; luckily, I didn’t get the job but it was a good exposure for various transport facilities. All in all, my stay in San Francisco was the loveliest and most enriching experience in the US.

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society and I wanted to attend it. It was a long trip of two days and we passed through Salt Lake City and I visited the temple of the Mormons.

There was snow and the University of Boulder was lovely. During the second day of the convention my advisor failed to show up and I had no copy of my dissertation and I felt frustrated for not being prepared to deliver anything even though I was invited by the chairperson of the session to do it.  I had the opportunity to tour Denver by night and boarded the spacious and large bus that crosses Main Street.

The return trip was long. A week later I was to battle a discrimination case.  There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles; she had no one to testify on her behalf.  The girl was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager. I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.  I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish the whole year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.

I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.  I thus patronized an office on Van Ness Road that was funded by the City and aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.  In one of my posts titled “Are you searching for a job?” I wrote:

“I recall that in 1991 the US was in serious recession during the Bush Sr. Administration and jobs were frighteningly scarce.  I had graduated with a PhD degree in Industrial/Human Factors engineering and missed better periods for hiring academicians.

I was working as assistant to manager at a retirement community in Downtown San Francisco and visited an employment center on Van ness Road. It was a center meant to help you out rewrite your CV for the nth time anytime you wanted to apply for the scarce job announcements posted in the center.

People swarmed this center just to feel busy and serious about searching for a job but not that hot for finding one.  I guess the center was one of the hundreds of facilities with the sole purpose to blaming the citizens for failure to doing their due diligence and compete since no one is about to beg you to work for them.  If you failed to re-write your CV and spent more money on useless stamps per day then you are not making good use of this “valuable” help facility.

This was the period when ridiculous denials were the custom of the land. For example, this custodian at NASA who claims that he is contributing to sending astronauts to the moon; or redefining their jobs as sanitation “engineering”.  I recall that I was forced to accept a job cleaning and vacuuming the main library while working on my dissertation.

I fooled my spirit into believing that as long as I am doing my job perfectly and with excitement then I am learning the value of a job well done, sort as a training period for toughening my character.  A state of denial is not a bad reaction; it is successive states of denials that can be deleterious to your development”.

I was very curious and enjoyed being among crowds; I attended the public events such as Shakespeare in the park, the free open concerts, joined the homosexual yearly celebrations, and the Latinos Days of Independence.  Unfortunately, I was mugged on a wonderful evening 50 feet from my hotel and I was hospitalized.  I never believed that I might be a statistics. Nobody in the hotel heard anything or even noticed what happened when I returned from the hospital.

I refrained from going out for three weeks.  Walking in San Francisco even during the day was no pleasure anymore: there were too many beggars along the streets and they were not a peaceful lot.  I was glad to move to Washington DC for a change but no city compares to San Fran in variety, beauty, and recreational facilities.

I never walked as much as my two years stay in San Fran.  This was a wonderful period when I devoured all kinds of books on a daily basis; I had the pleasure to be acquainted with most of the famous Bay Areas authors from Henry Miller, to John Steinbeck, to Jack London, and the Beatnik movement.

WOMEN IN ISLAM: Polygamy (Part 4, April 20, 2009)

Polygamy in Islam is restricted and may be practiced theoretically only when certain strict conditions are met.

It is also the exception rather than the norm in Muslim societies throughout the World.

A World Health Organisation census has shown that less than 5% of Muslim men practice polygyny. This is in contrast to other groups in countries such as India, where 15.25% of men from tribal religious groups practice polygyny; 8% of Buddhists, 6.77% of Jains and 6% of Hindus have plural marriages.

The percentage of polygynous marriages in India is lowest among Muslims, at 5.7%. The fact that Islam permits a man to have more than one wife has been the cause of much ridicule and misinformation.

The fact is that the Mormons, “the pseudo Christian sect in Utah, USA) are still practicing polygamy and the blind eye of the State of Utah is functioning though a recent Federal Law has prohibited this practice.

Prior to the advent of Islam, women were treated as chattels and objects for the gratification of men; it was the same prejudice of the Jews in Judea and in poor agricultural lands. In the modern world, this practice continues under the guise of frequent divorces, affairs, mistresses and prostitution.

Women are left alone to fend for themselves and their children, whilst divorce is so common that there exist groups such as “Single Again“, which cater for people who have been divorced for the second (or subsequent) times.

Islam did not abolish polygyny, as it recognised that in some cases, polygyny would be necessary and even preferable to the alternatives of leaving unmarried widows. However, it strictly limited it, to a maximum of 4 wives at any one time; there are also stringent conditions to be met by a man who wishes to take a second wife.

The initial intention of this law was to bring some order to the people of Arabia and neighboring societies, who had been accustomed to unlimited numbers of wives, and to inaugurate a civil system that would take care of the needs of women. It sought to solve the problem of the existence of large numbers of widows and orphans who were left to fend for themselves after the many raids and warfare among the tribes.

In the sourat Al Nissa it is said: “If you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.”

Thus, any man who wishes to take a second wife has to meet the important condition of fair treatment of all his wives; he is commanded to treat wives equally, and anyone who is unable to do so should marry only one wife. Equal treatment includes all social, economical and physical needs.

It is very difficult for human beings to be completely fair, a fact which is recognized by the Koran In Al Nissa you read: “You are never able to be fair and just with even two women, even if it is your ardent desire: but turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air)” and “A man who marries more than one woman and then does not deal justly with them will be resurrected with half his faculties paralysed”.’

In the case of men who had more than four wives when they embraced Islam, such as Ghaylan ibn Umayyah al-Thaqafi, the Prophet asked them to keep four wives and to release the others. The topic of polygyny cannot be considered complete without some discussion on the Prophet’s Id practice and the historical context in which he and his wives lived.

This is a topic which has received much attention from the West, and about which many Muslims are confused. It should be noted that in seventh-century Arabia, adultery, rape and fornication were the norm. The Prophet remained chaste from the age of 25 when he married Khadijah , who was twice a widower and 40 years of age. Their marriage remained harmonious until Khadijah passed away some 25 years later.

The Prophet was 50 years of age and started his exile to yathreb (Medina) in 633. The Prophet’s second wife was Sawdah. She and her husband had been among the earliest converts to Islam. They suffered great hardship at the hands of Quraysh(inhabitants of Mecca), so the Prophet had instructed them to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). There, her husband passed away, and Sawdah suffered much hardship as a widow in a foreign land. The Prophet knew that he was responsible for the welfare of his followers, so he proposed marriage to Sawdah. This marriage brought relief, respect and status to her, and provided the Prophet with companionship and assistance in raising his children from his marriage to Khadijah.

At the time of her marriage to the Pronhet, Sawdah was around 55 vears old. In order to create blood ties and to show his love and respect to his closest Companions who had given up this world for the sake of Islam, the Prophet gave two of his daughters in marriage to Ali and ‘Uthman’; he also accepted in marriage Aishah,daughters of Abu Bakr  and Hafsah the daughters of  Umar.

His marriage to these two noble women not only enhanced his close ties with his Companions, but these women were later to offer deep insight into the Prophet’s life. They were responsible for narrating over half of the ahadith which now form the basis of the Islamic code of conduct. ‘A’ishah alone is known to have narrated over two thousand hadith.

Zaynab was a cousin of the Prophet. She had previously been married to Zayd , the freed slave and adopted son of the Prophet Hi. This marriage had been arranged by the Prophet , but the couple were never happy in their marriage and it became apparent that they were not compatible. At the Prophet’s insistence, they had stayed together for several years, but in the end Zayd could not tolerate it any longer, and decided to set Zaynab free from the marriage contract.

The fact that a former slave had divorced a woman of the noble Quraysh tribe became the subject of much gossip among the pagans and the weaker members of the Muslim community. Not surprisingly, Zaynab confined herself to her quarters and it fell to the Prophet to relieve her of her misery. He married her, and she was around 38 years of age at the time. This action achieved two ends.

One was to demonstrate that Islam makes no distinction between class, race or status, as the Qur’an teaches that the noblest person in the sight of Allah is the one who is most pious. The second was to indicate that adopted sons were not to be counted as blood relatives, as had previously been the custom in Arabia. It was the custom to have blood ties with the various large tribes for unification purposes. Hence some of the Prophet’s marriages were arranged to establish inter-tribal ties and to further the cause of unity.

The Prophet’s marriage to Juwayriyah led her tribe of Banu Mustaliq, who had been among the fiercest enemies of Islam, freeing all their Muslim prisoners. The whole tribe later entered into Islam. Maymunah came from the tribe of Najd, who had murdered the emissaries sent to them by the Prophet.

After his marriage to Maymunah, however, their attitude changed and Najd became favorable towards Islam. In all, the Prophet had eleven wives, of whom two – Khadijah and Zaynab – passed away in his own lifetime. After the ayah restricting the number of wives to four was revealed, he contracted no further marriages, but his nine remaining wives were regarded as “mothers of the faithful” and as no other man would be permitted to marry them if he divorced them he kept all his wives on the grounds of compassion. With the exception of ‘A’ishah, all of his wives were widows or divorcees.

His marriages were all for political reasons or were contracted in order to set an example of compassion, as in the cases of Zaynab and Sawdah.

His polygynous marriage all took place rather late in his life, from the age of 55. The prophet Muhammad was in a position of great political power to be choosy but he marry widowers and older women – a sure indication of his upright moral character and desire to set the highest example to his followers.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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