ISLAM

I cannot imagine the anguish of Mohammed as he witnesses the depravity of those followers lost in the dark hypnosis of jihad. It’s not at all what he had in mind. His passion for God (Allah), was (is) absolutely real. Few worship with as much enthusiasm as those among the true faithful of Islam. The Sufis carry this to its blissful samadhi.

My time with the Kotokoli of Togo was time spent in an  African Muslim culture. While in this case the older animism beliefs,(there was a witch doctor on every “corner”- for which the French word was charlatan – and dead chickens hanging in strange places), often took precedence over strict Islam. Caribbean voodoo originated in this part of West Africa. There were children in doorways everywhere dutifully inking Koran scriptures onto something like a bread board, scrubbing it off, and adding near endless Arabic calligraphy.All common (and repetitive) greetings in Kotokoli included “Allah, mum mum mum”. I never fully got all the connotations other than God be with you. Very much.They were pleasant, smiling, peaceful people, loved a good soccer game out in the town field, and were known more as merchants than as laborers.

The patriarch of my village compound, the Paratao District of Bafilo, was a 103 year old gentleman affectionately known as Baba, or father.What a treat. I once visited him in the nearest hospital 10 k to the north in Lama Kara, center of the Cabrais tribe, that of Togo’s president for life , Etienne Eyadema, the second longest reigning dictator after Fidel Castro. Baba kindly pulled the smock away from the groin to show off his successful hernia scar. He had served as an unpaid conscript (slave) laborer for both the Germans, and then the French after the Treaty of Versailles,his memory favoring his treatment by the Germans.

Please do not automatically assume that Islam, and those people with Arabic features are in some way defective or lesser in some way. Islam’s disruptive minority is sadly the poster child for all sick terrified egos which have forgotten or been taught how wrong it is to be “right”while fueling mindless racism against the innocent. Right exists in one place: the heart of source from which only kindness springs. Period. All the rest is chaotic illusion. Ego. Attachment. Living somewhere other than in the moment.

Two days ago a good friend from South Africa whom I assumed ( so much for assuming) to be Hindu because of her Indian parentage, mentioned that she is Muslim. She is still mourning her Jewish partner, a friend of mine who brought 85 people from all over the world to celebrate his 90th birthday at Edenlight on 9/4/16. Burton passed unexpectedly and peacefully on 11/17.Burton Goldberg was a recognized champion of alternative medicine, and one who seemed to fully get what is happening at Edenlight( and still does!)

A Muslim and a Jew.   DIVERSITY ROCKS!

I ONCE HAD THIS NIGHTMARE THAT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WAS THE SAME AS ME. I calmed down when I remembered we are all but one being anyhow. Every religion has its purpose and authenticity in this multi-faceted human experiment. A Christian who is a bigot is still a bigot.There is NOTHING Godlike in any judgement against another, no matter what one believes they have learned from some written doctrine.

Though Mohammed didn’t entirely quell the fiery dispositions and djinns of the desert tribes of The Middle East, he did found a religion which stands as a model for devotional passion for The Creator.

One of my neighbors in Togo was named Al Hadji, because he was the only one from the village of 5000 who had made the Hadj: the long complicated pilgrimage to Mecca and back, which earns one holy bragging rights of sorts. He was a great soccer player and always looked happy. I can’t remember exactly how many wives he had. It was my understanding that you could have as many as you could afford. It was never clear to me how Al Hadji supported himself.

Edenlight doesn’t have Islamic shrines, because that’s not Islamic tradition. You just aren’t going to find many statues of Mohammed, and Allah’s already everywhere.

It may or may not be that I saw the top part on a bumper sticker, but the bottom was inspired by a friend 20 years ago who told me I was thinking too much, and / or: Another bumper sticker that said: Don’t Believe Everything You Think. All of the above comments do work well together.

 

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