In my own tradition. The embarrassment …of the things that you grabbed hold on at a young age…. and desire to still hold. Until becoming aware of the history. You are loyal to the State Department, to a president, a flag, mostly to a political party. Living in Morocco. Defending the King – as “our ally” if not your friend. Without much awareness of this King, in the audience, listening to the former U. S. Ambassador to Morocco – from where his power had come. About the King and his relation to Spain and Franco and the Spanish Civil War. During and after, accented by all the executions, of your enemies. Like kings could do.
Church. State. The split. In my own tradition if not in my God. Like Sunnis and Shiitites. And Muslims.
After The Split: Shia Islam contrasted with Sunni Islam. The not understood split by outsiders about spiritual power. As the group now known as Sunnis chose Muhammad’s adviser, Abu Bakr, to become the first successor [caliph] to lead the Muslim STATE. The birth right. Passing it on. In contrast to the Hebrew Bible, this inheritance bounced over to the father of Muhammad’s wife. The group now known as Shiites favored Muhammad’s son-in-law / cousin, Ali. Because the adherents of Sunni Islam believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor, Sunnis consider Abu Bakr (who was appointed Caliph through a consensual Shura) the successor. So the conflict, in Islam, seems over whether the future belongs to the past or to the next generation. In both cases, the inheritance – the authority linked to the power of Muhammad – was going to the in-laws, so outside the family of the Prophet.
Story-tellers. Pigeon flying. The aftermath of The Tradition. The Voice, of a trained poet and story-teller addressing issues of Church and State undivided, in the Muslim STATE. Shia Islam contrasted with Sunni Islam. So who is the correct Caliph [successor]? And does Sharia Law constitute a consensus? For the Sunnis, anyway?
Adherents of Shia Islam consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. According to Wikipedia, Shia Islam is based on the Quran. The successors of Ali [as well as Ali himself] are called imams, who not only lead the Shiites but are considered to be descendants of Muhammad, with the blood of a cousin? The second-largest branch of Islam, in 2009 Shia Muslims constituted 10 to 13 percent of the world’s Muslim population.
Chosen People. The split in the tradition. The blood in the story of Chosen People, once removed? The Authority with a concern of purity here, still. The enforcers for Church and State, as police and priests and armies. For the Sport of kings, after the split in Church and State. What was Hemingway’s quote about Communism in the Civil War in Spain –he loved the soldier, the firmness of the belief of the soldier, but hated the priests of communism. Shia scholars link their Authority to the family of the prophets as demonstrated in verse 3:33-34: “Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds…”
Cain and Abel. Majority rule? Sharia Law. Was it the method of worship centered upon the splitting by Noah of the pigeon? Sunnism and Shiaism are both the end product of several centuries of competition. The majority of the Islam world population – 1.6 billion people – is Sunni. There is, like between Cain and Abel, a battle over if not the narrative of Islam, the proper way to pray. Sunnis believe that the companions of Muhammad were the true believers because the companions were “tasked” with compiling the narration of the Quran. Furthermore, this narration from the perspective of the companions (ahadith) are a second source of knowledge of Sunni Islam.
Behold the split! Cain and Abel. The War over Modernity in world history, since the birth of freedom in the New World. Did you ever follow the history of the Jesuits for 250 years, in many different nations of Europe, as the concept of Nationalism as a religion replaced a universal Christian Faith itself so split more than 500 years ago. The War of the Roses. The Peace of Westphalia. 1648.
Behold the banishment, even in the first years in the 20th Century, in Paris. Of the Jesuits. Again. As the State acquired an ownership in the mostly Catholic Churches.
How did Cain kill the second-born brother? And as the tribes of Abraham grew, a gang mentality to inflict death/war on those nations who did not pray or govern as we govern/pray, grew but not much different than the original difference of opinion that Cain had with the manner Abel prayed.
Sharia is derived hierarchically using one or more guidelines. In early Muslim communities, “jurists” were more concerned with pragmatic issues of Authority and teaching than with legal theory. Two primary sources of Sharia are The Quran and opinions in the Hadiths with life examples of Muhammad). The Sharia concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in Sharia – with Capital punishment – is different from that of secular law in Western nations. The guidelines are Qiyas (analogy derived from the primary sources of The Quran and opinions in the Hadiths); Ijma (the consensus of Muhammad’s companions); Istihsan (ruling that serves the interest of Islam in the discretion of Islamic jurists); and Urf (customs). What does Sharia say about DNA evidence, and Unjust justice, when the wrong life is taken? What does Sharia say about rape and murder, as the world population is transformed in urban life? How does one crime/sin compare to the next in this “judicial” process? Are there “mortal” sins? Are there unforgivable sin? Is there conflict of this one-time tribal perspective to the traditional Western Judeo-Christian perspective?
There is an inherent threat when everyone is to think alike, as much when people do not think at all. In the western world, the threat is seen while watching CNN or reviewing all of this thoughtless social media. In the western world, the threat is seen by those who want to legalize marijuana, by people who do not want to think at all. The threat is now of majority rule – one way of thinking – to an artist who question the status quo. There is the inherent threat of majority rule to minorities, this year in particular with favored candidates for public office in the United States. And was that inherent threat when everyone is to think alike the basis of the conflict of Cain with Abel, over the method to sacrifice?
The old threat of Chosen People, not much different than the threats that kings posed to their subjects in places all over the world in world history, was over Authority. To give someone Authority over me. In the secular world of the West, there is no requirement to give the Creator authority over me, in my life. In the nation where I lived, it is different. Who had Authority? Of Church/State, who should have Spiritual power, like the Prophet? How did you develop a divine Spiritual power on matters of Church and State?
How did such perfect people, the companions of Muhammad, need to change? Was it hard to be married to such perfect people? Were– the true believers – really such perfect people? If the answer is yes, why were there even concepts of crime, with a judicial process? For such perfect people, why are the modern companions of Muhammad unable to convince the every day perfect people to forgive? Where is the justice in their punishments embodied in Sharia – with so little ability to change, over capital offenses?
On matters of full disclosure, I believe in the God of Abraham. One branch called Islam teaches that God is Omnipresent, as well as Merciful; it is the Mercy of God, which merits salvation for a Muslim. And this theology is little different from the theology to which I adhere. According to Wikipedia, Islam teaches Repentance that must not be used to sin any further, which might explain all of these suicide bombs in the news. Is that what comes out of a distorted understanding of the God of Abraham? By adherents who do not seem to have studied at institutions in much of any depth, for this faith that they espouse so loudly.
What is the Spirit in the LAND of ISIS except one of everyday fear? When you have absolute power, what will happen in the Islamic State … to imperfect people? What are the limits to the range of actions available to a ruler? How can a ruler so easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community? With The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice? Would there even be a judicial branch with a separation of powers from the correct Caliph [the successor to Muhammad]? And if you separated a judicial power from the execution of the law, would you ever separate Church and State on matter how frequently your subjects prayed? Or for how long?
To discover the Middle. After all the fly-overs, to find your own middle and come to know the Spirit of a LAND by studying history.
So whether here or in the Middle east, who is and who would determine exactly what is a Muslim? What was in the middle of a Muslim? Would only Sunnis be allowed in the Islamic State? Did Abu Bakr love Muhammad’s son-in-law/cousin, Ali? Did Muhammad love Ali? Did Muhammad love Abu Bakr? What God had Abu Bakr believed in before Muhammad came along? Was there a forced conversion of Abu Bakr? What would be the concept of love in the Islamic State? Would Abraham and all of his sons be welcome, or was the world view more like that of Cain’s on the day that he killed, somehow, Abel? Wikipedia tells me that a Muslim believes no one can gain salvation simply by virtue of their belief or deeds. So why are all these young men fighting …. and sacrificing who they perceive to be the imperfect infidels? When Abraham, according the shared belief went to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his PERFECT son. As all of these Muslim women flee this distorted concept of God by the minority, would they come to learn in refugee camps about The Peace of Westphalia, and listen in horror –like Hagar — to stories like that of Abraham trying to sacrifice her first born son?
So at war’s end – in the case of this War on Terror – in a society now based upon majority rule, as is so often the case, at war’s end in the 20th Century – the remnants of war carried this fear as my neighbors begin to think only one way. Whether Church or State — with all of the secrets connected to the atrocities of war — would the world ever return to the day to work harder on shared belief, with more concern about my own middle, and less concern about the stranger’s? Not with cameras against cameras, in the battle over truth, but with story-tellers, looking deeper about a Spirit in a LAND?