Monday 12 July 2010

Thought Picnic: The warped doctrine of 72 virgins

An attack on people
As the world gathered to watch the greatest spectacle on earth in unity of mind and purpose some to whom any sense of enjoyment or community gathering is anathema wreaked havoc with two bomb blasts in Uganda killing scores.
It is suspected that Al-Shabab, an Islamic fundamentalist group linked to Al-Qaeda is behind this carnage because of the peace-keeping efforts in Somalia by Ugandan contingent of the African Union forces.
It remains a thing of outrage that any human-being would scheme to kill scores of innocent people to make a political or religious point and one wonders about whether the perpetrators have any conscience, a sense of retribution, an awareness of a so-called afterlife or even an element of faith.
A harem of 72 virgins
So warped is their theology that it is amazing that it gains any traction at all in the thinking of an sane being. Suicide bombers have been offered the promise of paradise, paradise painted in the basest elements of sexual lust – a harem of 72 virgins.
One does wonder if the sexually repressed male who has lived an unnecessarily ascetic life with no ambition or goal in life whose existence has been coloured with pain, suffering and a lack of prospect could in anyway be prepared in his naivety for the highly libidinous task of taking away the virginity of 72 damsels.
A virgin obsession
An untested claim, an unverified existence and a pie in the sky that makes one question the whole concept of faith and an afterlife but seems compelling enough for those impressionable men under the control of evil and nasty religious patrons to be persuaded of the joys of copulation to the exclusion of any other purpose to give up their lives for the cause.
In a culture that is so virgin-obsessed that women regardless of status have to be presented as chaste, covered, concealed and chaperoned as virgins even if they have long been dispossessed of their virginity there is need for more anthropological insight.
The sexually obsessed men are the ones who always appear to lack the self-control in managing their urges but they are never the ones caught committing adultery, the burden of guilt lies with the woman who generally is not able to fight off the advances, who is the victim twice for having been abused and then murdered for having “besmirched” family honour.
Only for the men
The paradise seems only to be made for men on earth and beyond, they have no responsibility to be well behaved or honourable but are ready accomplices in seeking heinous retribution against their womenfolk, no provision seems to have been made for women in general and especially those who become suicide bombers, and it is unlikely they would be recreated virgins but there is probably a story of bliss prepared for them too.

A bliss is that very obtainable on earth if the leaders allow for the conditions to exist for a fulfilled life on earth before that so-called paradise is populated with novices, idiots and easily lead fools to their own destruction.
Once those 72 virgins are exhausted, one could only imagine whether the tale has any legs, if the virgins would the replenished or paradise would end for that is the only reward beyond which the management of a 72-person harem becomes an eternal hell.
The 72 houri
There are references to 72 houri (could translate to virgins), in the Hadith and this constitutes the minimal reward for people of heaven along with 80,000 servants – which in general terms would a logistical organisational nightmare for people who have been followers only and never had an inkling of leadership.
Surely, servants would want to be gainfully employed in the service of their great master the suicide-bomber who just arrived from earth – no, it just does not compute even from an irrational perspective.
The houri however are described in terms that appeal more to the men and expect the women to conform to some code, which is fair enough for those societies but does the pool of 80,000 servants also get populated by persons who once lived on earth and would this servant-hood have benevolent masters or harsh task masters whose masochism on earth is rewarded with opportunities of sociopathic sadism they once experienced from others before heaven?
Silencing the apostles of hate
As for the apostles of hate and death whose power of persuasion belongs to the primitive and pre-human instinct, none of what they do on earth now can justify any sense of bliss in the afterlife, their existence now is one that calls for them to be hunted down as prey and eradicated as vermin.
The whole purpose of religion should always be in service of humanity, where it harms our humanity it is no more religion, it has become terrorism and worse – justice will only be served when all those whose lack of passion for life are taken out of the circulation of those of us who believe there is more to life and probably something more exciting to the afterlife than the satisfaction of our sexual expression.
It is time for well-meaning and true Islamic scholars and leaders to address this matter with urgency provide the context, the reasoned teaching and the framework that honours the cause of Islam as a religion of peace with possibility of happiness and joy on earth and the hereafter and blow into smithereens the warped doctrine of 72 virgins.

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