Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Ramadan — Party On!

As everyone knows, we are now six days into the ever-so-holy month of Ramadan, in which the faithful must fast during daylight hours, non-Muslims must show respect for Islam, and Muslims may proclaim jihad against Christians and other infidels.

Below is another insider’s view of Ramadan, this time from an Iranian. It was published in Jyllands-Posten on August 14, translated from the Danish by Henrik Ræder Clausen, and then posted at Europe News:

Happy Ramadan — party on!
by Mehdi Mozaffari

The demand for discipline, otherwise seen only in the military, is the hallmark of Islam and not merely limited to Ramadan fasting. Every Muslim is a soldier himself, required to believe in one god, one book and one true prophet. Muslims constitute the army of Allah (jundAllah).

Ramadan is, without doubt, the nicest month in the Islamic calendar. One fasts, and one feasts. This corresponds, in a way, to celebrating Christmas, New Year and Easter all at once. For a full month, one eats festive meals twice a day: In the morning before daybreak and once again after sunset, when breaking the fast (iftar).

It is impressive that Muslims all over the world meticulously follow exactly the same rituals during the fasting: One does not eat, drink, smoke, and any kind of sexual activity is prohibited. In the evening, one takes revenge and does everything much more than in an ordinary month.

Ramadan is also the month to visit family and friends, invite each other, illuminate bazaars, mosques and homes, and one is in general having a good time. Also for the children, Ramadan is feast. Some children, not even old enough to be required to fast, do so anyway, and in the evening they play at home or in town, and in particular they indulge in the amazing variety of cakes and sweets, some of them created only in the context of Ramadan.

The advantage of Ramadan is that it crosses social borders and is practised in all social classes; even poorer families celebrate in their ways, getting some help and assistance from others. Muslim governments, governors and mayors hold lavish celebrations.

Ramadan is also the most important Islamic month, which apart from the fasting also implies a series of other rituals. One reads the quran and other religious texts more than usual. One participates in religious ceremonies, where the preachers are holding sermons fit for the occasion. The most important about Ramadan is that the quran was revealed to Muhammad on a night called “Night of Destiny” (Laylat ul-Qadr), which is more valuable than a thousand nights.

Possibly the most interesting here is the purpose of Ramadan. Some Muslims believe that it is for health reasons, that is some kind of weight loss diet. This thesis, however, does not quite hold up under scrutiny. First, it turns our that Muslims eat a lot more during Ramadan, and further it probably wasn’t very popular, at the time of Mohammed, to be slender — particularly for women.

Ramadan had a different and more serious purpose, namely to create a stringent discipline, a moral and physical preparation among the men and women who more or less voluntarily had become part of the newly created Umma.
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The demand for discipline, which is otherwise found only in the military, is a hallmark of Islam and not restricted to Ramadan fasting. Every Muslim is a soldier in himself, required to believe in one god, one book, and one true prophet.

Muslims constitute the army of Allah (jundAllah). This starts out with submission, implying that one submits fully to the orders of Allah and his messenger, and is always ready to mobilize. And, as demanded by the quran, believing Muslims must be prepared to sacrifice everything they own in the name of Allah: Their property, their families, and ultimately their own lives.

According to the quran, Shaheeds (those who died for the Cause of Allah) are not dead, but instead gain V.I.P. status with Allah. A Muslim has not much freedom for himself, for around the clock he is to fulfill a series of duties ordained by Allah, and all the time have Allah and the prophet Muhammad on his mind. Body and soul are to be permanently at the service of Allah.

It is with a similar purpose that prayers are to be made five times a day. Once before sunrise, once at noon, once in the afternoon, once at sunset and once in the night, Muslims are to submit themselves in a certain direction: Towards Mecca. Further, it is recommended to pray at night, and not to forget Allah while sleeping.

Drinking alcohol, gambling, drawing humans or animals, or creating sculptures is all prohibited, for the exact reason that consuming alcohol and gambling can influence and distract one into forgetting Allah. Drawing and sculpturing is a crime against Allah, who is the only creator.

Before the modernization of Muslim countries, legalizing soccer, volleyball etc., the only legal sport was horse racing, which had the dual purpose of making Muslims into a better cavalry.

In a way, one can say that the original training of Muslims was even harder than what the US Marines are taken through.

In this entire process, the mosque plays a central role. ‘Mosque’ (masjid) literally means ‘Place for submission’. Originally, the mosque was both the seat of government, barracks where weapons were stored and booty shared, as well as the place for prayer (salat). Minarets were used both for call to prayer and to defend the mosque against intruders.

To be a Muslim, a soldier of Allah, is definitive.

The door into Islam is wide open. It is fully sufficient to publicly declare belief in Allah as God and Muhammad as the Messenger of God (shahada). It is striking that the same word, shahada, which is the Islamic declaration of faith, also means martyrdom. This also implies that Islam has but one door, that of entry. There is no corresponding door of exit, nor even an emergency exit. Leaving Islam corresponds to a soldier deserting from the battlefield, the punishment for which is execution.

The entire system is based on reward, punishment and fear. For the good Muslim, the reward consists in being admitted to Paradise in the life after death. Conversely, the punishment is harsh, in this world as in the next, where one will burn in the eternal fire.

This is a threat supposed to have significant dissuasive effect. The eternal hell (jahannam) is mentioned 72 times in the quran, and some believe that Dante got his inspiration from this. This eternal hell whose systematic torture and painful burning (‘azab) is mentioned 145 times in the quran. In brief, everyone not submitting to and not participating in the army of Muhammad — bad Muslims as well as non-Muslims — is destined for a painful burning, a Holocaust of sorts.

It is beautiful that all 114 suras of the quran, except for sura 9, have the positive and peaceful opening verse: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”. It can be hard to understand how it could be the same ‘gracious’ and ‘merciful’ God who let those not believing in him burn in the eternal fire.

It is encouraging, however, that not all Muslims are literal, and that many Muslims have changed. As long as Muslims use Ramadan as a feast, a time to socialize and enjoy each other, it can be beautiful. Ramadan is also an occasion to reflect on the message of Muhammad, his strategy and his aims.

Any attempt to demilitarize the original message of Islam can only be of benefit to Muslims and the world at large. Just imagine if one day we could condense the message of Muhammad and the quran in one single sentence, stay with that, and leave behind the rest.

A beautiful sentence, full of significance, love and tolerance:

“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.”

Happy Ramadan!


Jedilson Bonfim said...

Some Muslims believe that it is for health reasons, that is some kind of weight loss diet.

Hahahaha... The article mentions subsequently that mahoundians gain weight during their fasting- and binge-eating madness, and that should be obvious to anyone, except those practicing this nonsense for a month that is, since they don't bother to hold their stupid beliefs to anything that might even remotely smell of science regarding the impact of their fasting on one's metabolism.

In a nutshell, the human body adapts quite fast to signs that calories might not be coming in the amounts it's used to by reducing its metabolism; when one's metabolism slow down, burning off extra calories instead of storing them as bodyfat becomes harder. Take one's body becoming more energy efficient and stuff it with a ton of calories from the worst possible sources (the sweets and the deep-fried stuff mahoundians love at this time of the year) and bam... You got them fattening out as fast as they possibly could.

Of course an "all-knowing" imaginary alter-ego of a bedouin pedophile should have known better than to turn the pre-islamic month of the year when the Arabian tribes took a break from slaughtering each other into one of fasting madness, due to its impact on one's physique and health. But, since mahoundianism and science go as well together as trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle and having four meals a day at Carl's Jr., we just couldn't have expected such considerations to be taken when they thought up this whole nonsense.

It's just too bad that mahoundians cannot even think critically about this for a minute to see that it's yet another bit of evidence that allah is nothing but a big lie.

Beach Girl said...

Don't know where my comment went but here it is again sort of.

Far far away at a university many light years ago in time, we had leased several dorms to a company that was training young men from Saudi Arabia.

Well, along came Ramadan about which we knew nothing. One morning one of our employees whose job it was to empty the trash and clean the dorms called me and said he was driving over to drive me to the dorms because there was something I needed to see.

It seems that alcohol is no respecter of the ideology of supremacy of college boys regardless of what ideology they supposedly follow.

With no religious police and no mullahs breathing down their necks, the Saudi students got drunk as skunks and would have put a pure die-hard hard drinking American fraternity to shame.

Alcohol is no respecter of Islam and those young men weren't either. I won't go into the disgusting details. Suffice it to say that after my walk-through of the dorms accompanied by our male employee, we called a cleaning crew and turned the mess over to them. We charged the contracting agency and I suppose someone passed out the aspirin.

For those male students, Ramadan meant drinking until they passed out and doing what follows extensive alcohol consumption.

I suppose Mohammed and Allah as well showed their wrath through the pounding headaches the students no doubt had.

I can't criticize the students but examples of Mohammed they may not have been and respecters of Islam they certainly were not but they had a story to tell or share with each other even if they could not share it with anyone else.

I hardly knew the word, Islam, then. But I witnessed how superior its followers can be, brought down in the dirt with a bottle of alcohol in their hand. In retrospect now it is a fond memory of "boys being boys" and of how the teachings of their childhood proved once again that alcohol can be a leveler of man...

Yes, happy Ramadan indeed...