20140307

Le Tonnerre / The Thunder (poem)

Ceux qui croient
en l'unicité de Dieu,
et dont les cœurs se reposer
dans le souvenir de Dieu,
en vérité, dans le souvenir de Dieu
ne tranquillisent les coeurs?.

Ceux qui croient
en l'Unicité de Dieu,
et font de bonnes oeuvres,
toutes sortes de bonheur
est pour eux et un bel endroit
de la déclaration finale.


In the original translation, Quran 13: 28-29 declares:

28. Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.

29. Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism), and work righteousness, Tuba (it means all kinds of happiness or name of a tree in Paradise) is for them and a beautiful place of (final) return.


In my sect of Buddhism, Buddha Remembrance consists of recitation of the Nembutsu. In Islam, Zikr (dhikr) refers to remembrance, specifically by recitation of the names of God silently. Given that the name of the Buddha is contained in the Nembutsu, zikr is remotely similar to Buddha Remembrance.

When one casts away the quasi-polytheism that Buddhism appears to be, it appears to be more similar to Islam than to Christianity but only within the context of that proverb from the Quran. To objectors of the monotheism faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) who as strangers to Buddhism misunderstand the statues of Buddhas and the many Bodhisattvas, gods and other cosmic creatures who protect the Dharma as idolism, Rai Manuhar Kuchwáhhah has said:

“O Moslem! if the Kâbah be the object of thy worship,
Why dost thou reproach the adorers of idols?”

Just as the Muslims do their perambulations around the Kaaba, the Buddhists do their walking meditations. To the stranger of Buddhism, it might look like the Buddhist is pacing about, to and fro, but instead he is deep in meditation.

Thus it seemed to be a shame when the Taleban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas because of their misunderstanding. These graven images carved from rock were not created for idolatry but out of devotion for the Buddha. They do not work righteousness through acts of violence and by threats, repress human nature into a parody of religious devotion. Instead, the Taleban and their compatriots, al Qaeda, as well as imitators in Africa, only serve what they call "Shaitan".

Because they cannot hide their mischief due to their exaggerated devoutness, such thugs project their fear of evil within their hearts as an external "Shaitan". So when I hear them calling America, Israel and the West, the "great Shaitan", I interpret it as the great evil hidden in their hearts.

Recently I read of how, in February 2009, the founder of the Pakistani Taleban sect TNSM, Sufi Mohammad was asked to help the Pakistan Army pacify the Taleban in the Swat Valley. While the Pakistan government allowed for Sharia courts, Sufi Mohammad said that because the government would not allow for the courts to work within their own system, rather than aligning with Pakistan's justice system, he declared that Sharia would not work within democracy by saying:

"Democracy is un-Islamic."

At that point, negotiations for disarming the Pakistani Taleban ended. Sufi Mohammad blames democracy for causing factionalism within Pakistan. I have to laugh at this statement because the factionalism actually proves that democracy is not working in the rural areas of Pakistan. It appears to work in certain parts of Islamabad and other urban areas of Pakistan in a limited fashion, depending on your connections with the ruling elite.

By July of 2009, the Pakistan government arrested Sufi Mohammad and charged him with sedition. As of January 2011, he has denied any ties with his organization TNSM and the Pakistani Taleban, declaring that he had only been seeking to establish Sharia in Malakand in Swat district.

I'm not fond of Sufi Mohammad's group TNSM because in October 2007 members of his group used dynamite to erase the face of the twenty-three foot high image of a seated Buddha carved sometime in Seventh century CE. It is a reddish rock face on a hillside southwest of Jehanabad (Shakhorai) near Manglawar in Swat district. In the West this would be considered defacement of a national heritage treasure.

What vandals! This is like going up to a bronze image of the Buddha and whipping out a ball peen hammer to beat the face of the Buddha into lumps of metal. Is this not unlike the statement by Paul the Apostle who said "If your hand offends you, cut it off"? I suppose then if my face offended me, then I am to get plastic surgery! Sorry, I'm stuck with my face for life. Plastic surgery is not an option. :p

When religious leaders make these statements in Christianity, they are forms of rhetoric and are not meant to be carried out by the devout. Yet almost everything in TNSM tends to be taken literally. It is like they are stuck in a childlike state of mind, and have no ability to understand symbolism and metaphor. It makes me wonder how educated Sufi Mohammad and his son "Radio Mullah" truly are.

Unlike the Pakistan in Taleban militants of TTP, the father of the Taleban Maulana Sami ul Haq is not against vaccination. In December 2013, he issued a fatwa favoring polio vaccination, stating that "vaccination against deadly diseases is helpful in their prevention according to research conducted by renowned medical specialists." He added that the vaccines used against these diseases are in no way harmful.

My take on this is that Maulana Sami ul Haq was probably moved by the fact that vaccinations after partition kept much of Pakistan from polio's ravages. Sadly though, his proposal to train Pakistan men for jihad if elected president means he is a man to watch carefully in Pakistan.

Given that ul Haq is the father of the Taleban, it means that the Taliban of Afghanistan are applying the philosophy of a foreigner to ensure that Sharia is the rule of law in Afghanistan. However, it also implies that America leaving Afghanistan should not result in a smaller force there since the experience in Iraq shows that an occupation force of NATO troops will have no hope in pacifying the Taliban there.

So whatever strategy they have after 2014, be prepared for the Taliban to come into the news more often through the year.


Reference:

Quran 13 - Noble Quran:
http://www.noblequran.com/translation/surah13.html

Zikr / Dhikr - Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhikr

Kaaba - Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba

Taleban in Pakistan -Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taleban_in_Pakistan

TNSM - Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi

Sufi Mohammad - Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufi_Muhammad

Pakistan's Heritage at Risk - Archaeology:
http://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/pakistan/

Maulana Sami ul Haq - Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Sami_ul_Haq

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