Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An essay on divisive Faith - A Background for the layman

An essay on divisive Faith -  A Background for the layman

The virulent hatred that splits the Islamic community into Shia’s and Sunni’s is something that questions that edifice of Institutionalized religions. I have been doing some reading and research into the origins and structure of mass belief’s and faith; and I was taken aback to find that the fault line that exists between the two major sects of Islam ,is so completely based upon choices that have nothing to do with Islam or its fundamental tenets.

The entire course of Islamic history would have been different if Prophet Mohammed had had a Male child. Despite the fact that the he married ten times during his lifetime, not one of his myriad wives could give him a male progeny. His first wife, Khadija, gave birth to two sons in quick succession, only to lose them in their infancy. It was almost as life had destined that Mohammed (the quintessential Arab) would not have a son to carry his spiritual destiny forward, and ream in the entire Arab world into a single Islamic fraternity. As he lay dying, in the small chamber of his favorite wife Aisha, little did he know or realize that his death would cut asunder generations of Muslims into a pitiful state of bloodshed and relentless persecution of one another. His closest Male protégé was his Son-in-law Ali, who had been his devout follower, and had risked his life to help Mohammed sneak out of Mecca in the dead of the night in the year 622A.D - to avoid the swords of Assassins, who took offence to his egalitarian teachings of equality and compassion. Though, Mohammed had not explicitly christened him as his spiritual mascot, it was widely acknowledged that Ali would slip into this role. But here was the catch: Aisha had different Intentions. Irked by the fact that she was childless, yet closest to Mohammed - she did not take to well to the fact that Ali would usurp a position that she thought was rightly hers to take. She had a visceral dislike of Khadija, The prophet’s first wife and Mother –in-law of Ali. It was Khadija, who had held Mohammed in her tender arms after his first trembling encounter with the divine, and comforted him that he was indeed the chosen vehicle to spread the word of Allah. Mohammed gave her respect that he would not share with Aisha, whom he treated as a child to be played around with. This was the possibly the only political mistake that Mohammed committed in his otherwise immaculate dealings with people around him. Aisha’s deep dissent and anger came surging forth during those final ten days of the prophet’s life, when she meticulously plotted along with her Father Abu Bakr to wrest the divine authority that seem be implicitly resting on Ali’s head ,and leave the spiritual legacy of Mohammed in a permanent state of rift.

It is out of this cauldron of triviality, that the schism between the Shiites and the Sunnis burst forth. The believers of Mohammed, who had innately acknowledged the spiritual mantle of Ali, even before Mohammed was bedridden, came to be known as the Shiite’s; and the others who opined along with Aisha and her father, that Mohammed never truly anointed anyone as his successor, and sought a more convoluted process of election to choose a Caliph came to called as the Sunni’s. What Mohammed really intended to do is now lost now in the hazy mists of time and history. The wide spread advent of Islam did nothing to deter to the ever deepening chasm between the two sects. The Shia’s and the Sunnis - both of them abide by the Holy Koran and the wisdom of the Prophet’s words. But again, the light of enlightenment that Mohammed could not be transmitted and what has come through over the last fourteen centuries is a trail of hatred, bloodshed and meaningless wars to legitimize a claim that is essentially non-existent.
This brings me to the central point of this essay. I am just wondering what would have transpired if Mohammed had lived a few more years, begotten a male child from a eleventh wife and passed on the mantle of Islam to him; or, the other more significant question as to whether Mohammed really wanted somebody to succeed him. The division in Islam is purely based on interpretations of what the prophet would have intended to say and never on what he actually said. Therein lies the tragedy – the reverberations of which are till echoing with greater intensity than ever in the middle east and across the world. The Genocidal cleansings, the castigation of innocent lives with no future in sight, the whirlpool of chaotic interpretations , the politicizing of the cult of the Prophet   - is a grim reminder as to what happens when  religion becomes organized . It loses that touch of beauty and grace. It is said that when Mohammed, the illiterate trader, returned after the cataclysmic revelation from Angel Gabriel to Iqra (to recite) the transcendental poetry of the divine -  his face was flushed with a ethereal  light that was blinding, and was unable to believe that God had chosen to him to be capable of creating such soul stirring words of beauty.

Would he have also believed that centuries later , that those very  revelatory words that created a faith ,would lose the spirit of it ,and retain only the empty dry shells of verbiage that is mechanically recited across Islamic dominions day in and day out, without delving into the unity that Holy Koran truly stands for…... 

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