The Public Face of Shiadom's Islam

  The Public Face of Revolutionary Islam
Here are some images of the “new terrorists” propaganda system in the making. Can you imagine the global headlines that Daniel Pipes, the Jewish Islamophobe propagandist of the West, would give to these images of self-flagellating blood-letting in Muharram during the remembrance of the Memory of Karbala by the Shia devotees of Imam Hussein, aided and abetted by the Valih-e-faqih, and assorted marja-e-taqlid Ayatollahs from Qom to Najaf, who tacitly encourage this barbaric display of Shia faith by silently condoning it, not issuing categorical injunctions against it, when Dr. Pipes has most imaginatively already captioned “militant Islam” and “radical Islam” as: “It's Not a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians? Is this what Shiaism is all about --- is a question that is even asked by the majority of the Sunni Muslims worldwide, never mind the world's public.


Convince people that: “It's Not a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians, and you can get them to commit atrocities!
Caption Ashura Child1 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child2 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child3 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child4 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child5 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child6 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child7 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child8 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child9 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Child10 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Children1 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura 2016 Children2 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Woman1 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Woman2 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Man1 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura Man2 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption Ashura 2016 Man3 (Source: from the web, please check in the image property for any copyright information)
Caption-1 The extremes to which the Shia devotees of Imam Hussein go to commiserate with the martyrs of Karbala as the fast-path to heaven. These self-inflicted wounds heal sooner than most people uninitiated into this ritual might think. This display of faith and love for Imam Hussein is virtually risk free, as people return to work with at best minor discomfort for several days, and it's business as usual. It is, evidently, still a lot easier to break blood from one's own head, to soak in one's own blood once or twice a year in remembrance of what the tyrant Yazid's army did to Imam Hussein and his family in 61 A.H., than to stand up to the systems of oppression in one's own time. Especially when such display of devotion, tears and self-flagellation, elegiac poetry with narrative reenactment, and walking for miles, often barefoot, in long processions to commemorate the event of 61 A.H., even when there be threat to one's life due to crackdown by authorities inimical to such remembrance, is thought as the fast-path to Heaven. It is almost universally believed by the Shia laity, regardless of which nation and culture they might live in, that Imam Hussein would intercede on behalf of his devotees on the Day of Judgment if they shed tears for his misery. This belief is so strongly held that it has become the predominant religious ethos of Shiadom.
Shedding such tears of devotion is also virtually risk free, while interfering with the imperatives of villainous power is always hazardous in totalitarian systems. Even in supposed liberal systems, such as democracy, the corruption of power is only disguised. Despite the electorate, imperialism and hegemony, endless warfare and police states, continue to thrive at the expense of the lesser peoples. To say “NO” to the tyrant of the day, to say “NO” to his imperialism and injustices, as Imam Hussein and his womenfolk and children and handful of companions did, is to lose one's livelihood, or worse, be shot dead for dissent, when not incarcerated and tortured. This of course happens only when one acquires the courage of Imam Hussein to say “NO” to rulers and to their systems of corruption. But for the simpleton Shia laity, instead of commemorating Imam Hussein's unflinching act of categorical imperative, which the Imam had most elegantly summed up for the benefit of all times in his now famous sentence: “a man like me does not give oath of fealty to a man like Yazid”, the devotees have been culturally trained to commemorate what the bad guys did to the Imam. Not what the Imam did to the bad guys by taking his stance!
What Imam Hussein and his family suffered, surely remained unparalleled throughout most of mankind's history when battles were fought on horseback and with swords outside of civilian centers. Until indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian centers became the preferred military doctrine of the West in our modernity. What happens from Palestine to Syria to Iraq to Libya to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Yemen today, or what happened to Hamburg and Dresden and Tokyo and Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, is not all that physically different from what happened to the family of Imam Hussein. Is it really worse to die from the sword of Yazid's army with parched throats in the middle of 120 degrees heat in the sweltering desert of Mesopotamia, than from an atom bomb, or daisy cutter, or in a napalm fire-bomb inferno?
Therefore, it follows that it is not the despicable and inhuman style of martyrdom per se inflicted upon the noble Imam and his noble children which is the point to ponder and remember and commemorate. They, after all, died courageously in battle with sword in hand, by choice. Why are manufactured tears extracted from the devotees for what was a courageous self-sacrifice, a choice that was deliberately made by the Imam? Why was that choice made by the Imam? It is solely that act of the Imam and his entourage as a categorical imperative, to stand up to Yazid, to be the exemplar of the meaning of Islam, to say “NO” to the corruption and reign of terror of vile power, to say “NO” to one's own “banality of evil”, which is the point of Karbala –– as heinous and barbaric, and naturally tear-jerking as the method of murdering the grandchildren of the Prophet of Islam was.
The Imam clearly anticipated his fate. It was not a surprise to him, as his letters and conversations throughout his several months long journey reveal. And yet, the Imam willingly chose that path which he knew for sure would lead to certain death. On top of it, the Imam took his womenfolk and children, knowing for sure that there was certain death at the end of the road. Why did the Imam take that path –– which today, to astute political minds whose only imperative is to rule, would appear foolish and insane?
The principal lesson to be learned, remembered, and acted upon, from the Imam's stance that brought him to Karbala in a long journey throughout which he invited Muslims to join him in the mission, and for which he offered what is considered the supreme sacrifice, was his categorical imperative, a fundamental teaching of Islam.
That teaching has mainly become relegated to elegiac poetry and religious theses. The Muslims have been taught for centuries to practice mainly the shell of Islam. That has resulted in ignoring its fruit, which is almost always thrown away by all Muslims, each according to their own shared ethos. The Deen-ul-Haq, the Religion of Justice, to even enter whose fold first begins with “NO”, has been transformed into the religion of idiotic rituals which border on barbarism and superstition in Shiadom. In the modern day and age, this self-flagellation and blood-letting appears to be a throw-back to the Dark Ages, the age of Jahiliya before the dawn of Islam, when people did all sorts of insane rituals thinking their gods favored it.
This dysfunction among the Shia Muslims has been aided and abetted throughout the past fourteen centuries by the clergy class and their thoughtless story tellers who have misguided and misdirected this spontaneous devotion of the people to the Ahlul Bayt. That has ensured that the tyrants remain free to do as they please. No tyrant, no system of oppression, and no bastard, has ever even had a butterfly stomach with this display of blood passion by Imam Hussein's followers, let alone fear for his or her power. Something has gone terribly awry with Muslims. An inheritance so profound, an emotional attachment so unparalleled and global, that the devotees, no matter where they live, in which time and in which space, shy not from shedding their own blood in remembrance, generation after generation, and century after century, and yet, still oppressed everywhere. More images of extremes in blood-letting self-flagellation during A'shura 2016 are here. (Images gathered from various news reports on the web, please check in the JPG image property for any copyright information of the original source)
Caption-2 Can anyone guess what Islamophobes would caption this display of “revolutionary Islam” to frighten the Western audiences: 'It's Not a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians'! The latter headline has already been employed by the Jewish reformer of Islam, Dr. Daniel Pipes, to awaken the Western public against the curse of the Taleban's and the Al-Qaeeda's version of “Islam” reaching them. Extending the narrative to “Revolutionary Islam” is just around the corner. Getting the two absurdities to wage an endless war in the name of “Islam” that will snowball into a Shia-Sunni world war, with the Western audience disdainfully against both barbarians, and the Western states along with their Eastern vassals, arming both sides just as during the eight year long Iran-Iraq war, is the obvious game-theorized scenario on the grand chessboard. Once brought to the Russian-roulette table, it cannot be averted. The time for its prevention is before the fait accompli is cast – and all provocations are being brought to bear on this very scenario, only the most recent of which is: Saudi Arabia's grand mufti says Iranians are 'not Muslims'.
Caption-3 This barbaric ritual in Shiadom, of splitting open one's head and drawing blood from various parts of the body with swords and knives to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and his family at Karbala in the year 61 A.H., has neither anything to do with the Religion of Islam, nor with the principal Message of Karbala: “Qullo yomin A'shura, Qullo Ardin Karbala”, and nor with basic human dignity and decency. Where Imam Hussein exemplified human dignity by freeing it from man's tyranny for all times, Shiadom enslaved it back again in superstitions and behavior control systems. The Shia clergy, by staying mute dumb and blind to this barbaric public practice of the Shia devotees, have demonstrated for centuries their own real qibla of allegiance: the god of public opinion before which they too bow like the vulgar politicians. Here is a lukewarm condemnation of this practice by the Valih-e-Faqih-e-Muslimeen of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, falling way short of a categorical religious and legal injunction banning it:
It is wrongful that some people hit themselves on the head with daggers to break blood. What are they in search of? How can this be considered an act of mourning? Of course light drumming on the head with one’s own hand is a distinctive sign of mourning. You have seen it several times when people are stricken by grief, they hit own their chests or heads. This is a typical symbol of distress for mourning. But when have you ever seen a person, who is grief stricken by the loss of a dear loved one, take a dagger to their own head in order to draw blood? How can this be a form of mourning?
Tatbir [Qame Zani] is also a fabricated tradition. It is among issues that do not belong to the Islamic religion and undoubtedly God is not pleased with such a practice. Scholars among the last few centuries did not have the opportunity to speak out and declare it as an unlawful or wrongful act. However, today is the day of Islamic establishment and the day for the manifestation of Islam. We should not go along with actions that may introduce a small group of irrational, superstitious individuals to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to be represented as the bulwark of the noble Islamic society--the society that loves the progeny of the prophet (pbuh) and has the honor to carry the names of the Imam of our Time (may our souls be sacrificed for him), Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (as) and Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as).
The more I thought about it (tatbir), the more I truly realized I cannot overlook my responsibility of informing our dear people on Tatbir, which is certainly an act of wrongdoing built upon heresy. Do not practice it, I do not approve. If someone does anything to display their desire to practice Tatbir, I will be deeply disappointed in them. I am declaring this solemnly. This is certainly an unlawful action, one which Imam Hussain (as) would not be pleased with, as practiced today. I cannot fathom who would and based on what evidence would they establish such peculiar and wrongful traditions in Islamic societies and within our revolutionary society?
Tatbir is one of those concerns which not only lacks logical reasoning, but is also the nearest of things to superstition. Why do some promote such things? This is a great danger, which has to be carefully tended to within the world of religion and religious insight by the guardians of the faith.” --- Ayatollah Khamenei, June 07, 1994
Imagine the thought experiment if you will, that you are taking an undergraduate class in media studies under Dr. Joseph Goebbels of the Third Reich --- come up with an emotionally tickling caption for these images of the bloody ritual of A'shura that would effectively rally the Western public to fight “revolutionary Islam” with an equal or greater zeal than they have thus far waged “united we stand” against “militant Islam”.
An authoritative account of the Misrepresentations and Distortions in the popular A'shura narratives heralded from the ubiquitous Shia pulpit itself is given in the series of four lectures delivered in 1969 by the notable Shia Iranian scholar Allama Murtaza Mutahhari. While ably capturing both the psychological motivations and the misrepresentations and distortions made by latter day Shia pulpits from Qom to Najaf, and from Karbala to India with reference to the sacred penmanship of the pious scribes of history, the learned and honest Iranian scholar notably failed to address the hagiographic distortions in that sacred historical penmanship itself. A reportage of the seminal events of Karbala compiled generations after the fact, in a primitive tribal society by a partisan people not much different than those occupying the pious pulpits today, but which is treated as sacrosanct! Most revealingly, whatever is written in those earliest historical narratives is treated as gospel truth by even the highest authorities of the Shia pulpit in exactly the same way as the Sunni pulpits treat their own hagiographic narratives of early Muslim history.
What recuses that early reportage of Muslim history from the same type of rigorous intellectual examination for the same kinds of psychological motivations, misrepresentations and distortions, made by the same kind of fertile imaginations and fallible pens incestuously reinforcing their own shared ethos both wittingly and unwittingly? See Introduction to Muslim Historiography in my book Hijacking the Holy Qur'an and Islam, for elaboration upon this concept of taking recorded history with a forensic measure, rather than an absolute or literal one. Making history sacred has many more uses than mere academic scholarship. It lies at the very heart of mass behavior control. Novelist George Orwell most perceptively captured the utility of the control of the narrative – what is penned ab initio, as well as what is made sacred posthumously: “Who controls the past controls the future; Who controls the present controls the past”.




Last updated A'shura 1438 A.H., October 12, 2016 2693


The Public Face of Shiadom's Islam