Tuesday, 16 December 2014

djennistan or the witch of endor

Happily, I never had any exposure to the fringe belief that Islam worships a false god, a lunar deity, and when such ideas were in circulation, they were apparently limited to the audience of televangelists in America—though still potentially a dangerous thing as the former president of the US also was so inspired and many will believe the same without any academic background. Such pointed statements are obviously meant for scandal and slander but really do a disservice to all faiths when it comes to the question of incongruities that are common to every religion and put ahead of scholarship and understanding notions that Islam is inherently violent or just other—as if any group has a monopoly on bad behaviour and intolerance.
Some suggested, seemingly with an agenda, that the creator god of the Muslims was not a true god but rather an idol that was previously worshiped in Mecca as a Moon god, the long-established place of pilgrimage having aboriginal cults of gods for every day of the year. There was one Hubal, housed in the Ka’aba, that  had a special reverence—being an idol hewn from possibly meteoritic stone that fell to Earth and later studies conflate this with the Hadj and Allah. The Quran (also being in the imaginations of many as something written in secret, untranslatable and inaccessible to outsiders) mentions that the grandfather of Mohammed was expected to sacrifice his son, the father of Mohammed, to this god—which is avoided in an intervention a little less gruesome than the Slaughter of the Innocents. Christianity has not only many borrowings but also a lot of concessions to pagan traditions and customs to what came before.  One of the more theologically fascinating beings that Islam incorporates from earlier mythology—and there’s no shame in that, is the supernatural creature known as the genie.
Belief in such familiars is not universal and not a tenet of faith necessarily, but some lore holds that jinn are ætherial beings, distinct from angels in that they have free-will like humans and as such can be good or evil. Genies inhabit a parallel universe known as Djinnestan and manifest themselves on Earth as something like shoulder angels and devils, competing moral advocates. Usually just the wicked are predisposed to taking bad advice but sometimes a good genie can help someone reform, and not just grant wishes in an ironic fashion. The particularly troublesome ones fell in with a character named Iblīs, who refused to bow to God’s latest creation—Man. This is a recurring theme but Iblīs and his followers refused to be impressed with Adam and Eve out of arrogance rather than not kneeling before any others but God. For this act of pridefulness, God condemned Iblīs and his followers to Hell for all eternity. God, however, commuted the sentence, at Iblīs’ request, to Judgment Day, so the dissembler could try to prove his case and demonstrate that humans were the inferior ones after all.