Sunday, September 27, 2009

Faith of the ancient -- أيمان العجائز

I have not posted anything for several months. Mostly as I see no value in it other than me venting, which was not my initial intention of starting this blog over 20 months ago.

Anyway, I received an email from a dear and thoughtful friend of mine who needed to vent after an email exchange with someone that forward him an email full of the usual nonsense: conspiracy theories about everything, and total denial of the most simple obvious truths in life as we know it. The most amazing usually in such email rants is the unrelenting sense of certainty and belief in thoughts that are the brain product of an 'intellectually below average' 5 year old.

My friend, in his email to me, expressed a wish that our clergy may be a bit smarter that those that circulate the mass emails. My friend is wishful that in their sermons and numerous teaching classes, they -- i.e., the clergy -- may help put some sense of reality in the minds of the paranoid defensive and ignorant individual 'mass email machines' who think they are using the internet to defend their own religion and ethnic groups.

I wanted to respond to my friend's email with a 2-liner: "The world is full of idiots, so do not waste your brain energy debating with them. Just mark emails from those persons and the likes of them as spam and move on."

But, being who I am, my email ended a longer then I intended, so I decided to post it on my blog- possibly just to vent as well.

The "ancients -- العجائز " mentioned in the title of the post is a term used in Arabic to refer to very old people that are waiting to die.
Not necessarily terminally ill, but their life seems to have come to being 'passing time awaiting death'.
Not in a depressed way, but as a matter of waiting for destined event to happen. One can only imagine how mentally placid and stagnant - yet peaceful - those people are.

Here is my email to my friend:

I am sorry you wasted your time responding to the those emails. I recently started a policy of marking as 'spam' the emails that come from people I know, who send nonsense most of the time. There are those who will NEVER send you anything but a mass forwarded nonsense that they may have not even read (not to mention thought about its content for a second or two). Mark those as spam and save yourself the headaches.

Most of 'Our' clergy - and I am using the word "our" loosely since they are definitely NOT mine - are no more informed, thoughtful, smart or less paranoid than those circulating those emails.

Still, I cannot help but envy people like those. They are certain of everything they know. They do not need to dig deeper or appraise anything to validate it. Their life is simple and they are comfortable they are collecting 'hasanat' (God's rewards) for every email they forward to 'enlighten' others.

Blessed are the idiots of the world!!!!

In the mean while, I am trying to drown myself in reading, especially about the early intellectual battles in Islam and some modern revival literature. There is a lot worth reading and a lot worth sharing but no venues, and no interest.

So, I have got to envy the 'mass forward email' people. Their life is a lot happier.

In the past I heard the following being attributed to Prophet, pbuh

اللهم ارزقني ايمانا كأيمان العجائز
which loosely translates as:
"O' Lord, bless me with faith (or belief) that the ancients have"
I am not sure if the prophet said it - actually it has been attributed to several other early Muslim scholars- but I see the wisdom in it: passive, submissive and totally non-critical faith or belief system is a blessing.

Although, knowing about our Prophet, I doubt he would have enjoyed that kind of non-challenging mental stagnation. If he said it, I would read it a his magnificent way of telling us what his own intellectual turmoils could have been.

I may dream of simple non-challenging life, but I do not think I would want it.

Talk about intellectual turmoil!!!!

I am not sure my friend would feel any better after reading my email (I have not heard from him yet), but he vented and now I, too, have vented.

Let us carry on with life.


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