The Tribal Mentality in Islam

And they are at it again.  Delhi was attacked today, 7 September.  Apparently in the name of Afzal Guru.  Or, is it a prelude to the many attacks we should expect on the tenth anniversary of 11 Sep 2001?

Every terrorist attack by religious fundamentalists turn me against religion more and more.   The history of mankind reeks with the blood of men shed by religions in the name of nonexistent gods! 

Why don’t the Muslims understand the simple truth that religion is nothing more than a psychological and social crutch?

Because Islam never went through a real process of Reformation, I think. The kind of reformation that the Renaissance brought about in Europe.  A Reformation that questions the very validity of the Koran just as the Renaissance questioned the validity of the Bible.

The Islamic fundamentalists always fall back on the Koran.  Is the Koran the ultimate answer to anything?

Even the Prophet’s wife (one of the many) ridiculed the Koran saying, “Verily, the Lord hastens to do thy pleasures” [quoted from a hadith by Tariq Ali in his book The Clash of Fundamentalisms].  Prophet Muhammad’s Lord [Allah] was always keen to hasten to pander to the pleasures of the prophet. 

For example, read the following verse from the Koran:

“Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom Allah has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing women who grieves herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage.  This privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer.” [The Koran, 33.50]

The Prophet of Allah had too many girls at his mercy!  And he ‘saved’ them all by making them his wives.  The prophet also thought that Paradise, life after death, would be a place of constant erection and continual sex.  The Paradise is a place where the religious Muslim would get 70 houris in addition to their earthly wives.  [What an interesting combination!] Heaven, according to the Prophet, is a place of infinite orgasm.  “Each climax is extended and its minimum duration is twenty-four years.”  [Tariq Ali]

Salman Rushdie, novelist, thought that the Koran was as good as Satanic Verses.  And the Muslims all over the world, who wouldn’t have understood a single word of what Rushdie wrote, clamoured for his blood.

Rushdie did not choose Satanic Verses as the title of his novel for nothing.  The Koran has a history of Satanic Verses as I shall explain below. 

Allah was originally a pagan god of the Arabian pantheon with the name al-Lah.  He had three daughters: al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat.  Al-Uzza was worshipped by the Quaraish tribe to which the Prophet belonged.  Manat was, however, popular in the region.  Manat was the goddess of Fate and it is only natural she was more popular in a region where the life of each man [man rather than woman because the woman was always suppressed by the Arab tradition] was a matter of sheer fate due to the tribal wars that occurred constantly in the region in the name of anything from a lost camel to neighbourhood quarrels.  

Prophet Muhammad wanted to put an end to these inter-tribe wars.  He wished to unify these tribes for political and commercial reasons.  Such unity was important especially because the Arabs were surrounded on all sides by two mighty empires, the Sassanid Persia and the Christian Byzantium.  The Arab tribal traders brought in stories of monotheism from these neighbouring civilisations.  More importantly, a single god became convenient for trade as proved by the peace provided by Kabah, the shrine in Mecca dedicated to al-Lah, where trade went on peacefully irrespective of tribal affiliations of the traders. 

Al-Lah was the right god.  The god of trade.  The god of peace.

The same Prophet who had earlier received the revelation from Allah that al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat “are the swans exalted” later changed his revelation into: “They are but names which you and your fathers have invented.”  The Prophet had conquered the tribes through sheer physical (in contradistinction with spiritual) wars.  When he was questioned about the discrepancy in the revelations about the daughters of al-Lah , the Prophet ascribed it to the intervention of the Satan! 

Salman Rushdie did not invent the Satanic Verses, after all.

In the name of such scriptures, ‘tribal’ wars are still being fought.  We call it terrorism instead of tribalism.


About matheikal

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9 Responses to The Tribal Mentality in Islam

  1. Quite informative. Learnt a lot.

  2. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    You seem to have done much work on this post, and I must say, before yesterday. Liked it very much, much thanks to the simple narration.

    I do not want to spoil the mood of the post by commenting further, but would like to say just that you could have made a rhyming set of tags!

    Raghuram Ekambaram

    • matheikal says:

      You are right, Raghuram, I had done much work on this post earlier. My intention was to write a very sober post on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a post that would gently provoke the reader into thinking about the very validity of religion with Islam in focus. But then the attack took place in Delhi. This post was the result.

  3. Jose D.Maliekal says:

    I appreciate the genealogy, in the Foucauldian sense, of Islam, you have traced in your blog. I would like to pursue it. ” The ruling ideas of every epoch are the ideas of the ruling class.” – Karl Marx.

    • matheikal says:

      Maliekal, I wish there were more intelligent people like you in the world. That’s all I can say for now. This site seems to be under Muslim attack for the moment. It took me an hour to get to your comment!

  4. nittinj says:

    very well said sir. Every religion has undergone renaissance at some point in time. I believe that renaissance should be an ongoing process though. Based on my limited interactions with Muslim communities, I think the Islamic leaders are empowered to issue Fatwa, which is nothing but an amendment in the original version of Quran. But ultimately everything has to be read and understood in its context, as you rightly pointed out. The world has changed in past 10 years a lot, so there’s no point in sticking verbatim to what was said 1000 years ago. I think the harsh geographic and climatic conditions in Arab world also influenced the rules, rituals and laws, a lot of which are irrelevant now.

  5. Pingback: Religion as the handmaiden of Politics « Matheikal's Blog

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