(This article was originally published in Jordan’s Living Well magazine)
When my father-in-law passed away last year, someone advised that his tombstone should not be raised above the ground. When I asked why, I was told that this is how it should be done in Islam, and that any structure erected above the earth level is forbidden.
Abu Khattab, God bless his soul, was a man whom I especially loved and admired, and of course, no amount of elaborate masonry would have done justice to his cherished memory.
But I was still furious at the prevailing presumption that Islam had wanted it to be that way, and that’s why the suggestion was swiftly overruled.
These widespread fallacies made me think again about the true rationale for this edict about inconspicuous graves. Don’t kid yourself, for it has nothing to do with austerity or any other spiritual explanation. These teachings are in fact an integral part of the larger “uglification” conspiracy and an essential tool of the concerted campaign to erase our history.
It’s a simple equation. Since Muslims have fascinated the world with their breathtaking mausoleums from India to Marrakesh, so why not hit them where it hurts the most, by decreeing that beauty and art are forbidden in such fields? And where better to start? Armed with this poisonous ideology, the Wahabist bulldozers set off to work razing to the ground the most sacred burial places in Islam, the graves of Al Baqe’e, the resting place for the companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, leaving unmarked bricks on barren land where domed enclaves once existed. The Sahaba’s old houses in Mecca did not escape the criminal destruction either and were also completely flattened.
Like the Buddhist statues of Bamiyan were dynamited by another Wahabist creation, today there is no archaeological trace of the old Mecca in order to chronicle the origins of the existence of Islam. It is gone forever and has all been replaced by ugly hotels and shopping malls. The madmen justified their actions by the ridiculous claim that it was feared Muslims would worship the shrines themselves, and hence it would constitute a return to idolatry which Islam had wiped out.
This assumption that Muslims are such a bunch of morons that they would today relapse into worshipping edifices built of stone after 1400 years of quitting the habit because they can’t tell the difference between a brick and a God perhaps should also make us demolish Al Ka’ba while we’re at it, lest we mistake it for a dark chocolate cube and eat it. These treacherous hands have even reached the tomb of the Prophet’s beloved wife, Khadijah, the first person to embrace Islam and the staunch incubator of the new faith. When you contrast the magnificent splendor that bejeweled the different mausoleums throughout our history, and when you see the current shameful shape of Khadija’s tomb, you will understand exactly why this was done and how they want Islam to look like in the eyes of the world: hideous and plain ugly.
These clerics with bulldozers claim that this is the correct Islamic way, and this begs my question: why do these 20th century newcomers and their forged textbooks think that they know more about our religion and what it allows or forbids than the contemporaries of Islam’s revelation and their offspring, from the Rahsideen up to the Ottomans, whose testimonial monuments have, by God’s grace and His merciful providence, escaped the ruinous claws of the “uglifiers” and still stand tall for the whole world to marvel at?
If this sect of endless prohibitions decrees burial in unmarked graves, then the surviving architectural heritage of Islamic mausoleums is the conclusive proof that these heresies have absolutely no foundations in the genius of the true Islamic civilization, and are merely a product of a lately re-installed savage culture bent on destroying every trace of elegance in its path.
The “uglification” does not start nor stop at the tombs and mausoleums. I remember when I was a kid at school during religion classes, a great deal was made of how Islam forbids the drawing of human or animal portraits, going even as far as prohibiting the photography of persons or the hanging of their pictures on our walls. Despite the innumerable gems of Islamic artifacts and paintings adorning museums throughout the world, from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg to the Louvre in Paris, these enemies of the exquisite things in life think they know better about what God wants from us.
Indeed, if this had been the divine intention all along, then generations of Muslims before us must have existed on another planet. But for these salafi gurus, it has never really been about God or His teachings. The world they want Muslims to inhabit is a dull, artless, lifeless, uninspiring world of retarded clerics and male-chauvinistic cruelty, a horribly off-tune symphony of madness where men are dumb and women are slaves.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the music. These people want us to believe that God was petty enough to ban all forms of music. Only recently, I read in the main Islamic weekly paper in Jordan an assessment of the Islamic jurisprudence on the subject of music, concluding that we are better off refraining from this whole activity since the weight of the authorities tilts towards banning it altogether, with the exception – for some weird reason – of the percussion instruments which were permitted. Actually, it is not such a weird reason after all, if you keep the “uglification” plot in mind. Music without musical instruments is the essence of primitiveness incarnate. It is in fact the ultimate reversal of evolution and the perfect hindrance to a healthy advancement of any culture.
Of course, for these muftis and sworn enemies of refinement and human progression, Ziryab and the rest of the pioneering Muslims who invented every single precursor to the orchestral instruments of today would all be considered heretics. Like jungle monkeys, we should instead restrict our audio instincts to the dry beating of unmelodious drums, lest the magic of a piano or the lamentation of a violin corrupt the harmonious rhythm of the primeval societies we have created.
It is such a sad state of affairs that words aren’t effective any longer to describe the tragedy of “uglification”. Our forefathers who left their indelible mark on all facets of human civilization apparently didn’t understand their religion as well as our bearded lot. That is why we should all take what Islam means from the mouths of the legitimate Islamic authorities of our current dark ages, such as, let me think, ah, perhaps such as those institutes chasing people with sticks in the streets, promoting virtue and preventing vice, the same people who let 15 innocent girls burn to death in a school in 2002 by forcing them back inside the inferno because these little kids were not covering their heads. Yes, perhaps that is the way to go in the 21st century.
Until the diaries are back with a special edition about Islamic architecture and the people who want to take that away from us too, take care, and if you ride, do it safely.