Canada Day 2008

Blue Rodeo, Chadors in Canada Colours, a Boy and a Dog

It was not easy finding a good spot that late in the evening to enjoy Blue Rodeo, who were closing out the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, but I did, on the sidewalk on the south side of Wellington Street in front of the old American Embassy.

A short distance in front of where I was standing were six teenaged girls attired in Canada Day colours. Some wore white chadors and bright red dresses; others, white chadors and white dresses with bright red patterns. Some of them held sparklers. With them were two little girls, who could not have been more than eight, wearing glowing red head ornaments and holding a small Canadian flag.

At my feet, sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, were two older women wearing the traditional black burka without the face covering, watching over the girls enjoying themselves. With the two older women was a small boy. He could not have been more than four.

Blue Rodeo was about halfway through their performance when two men with Errol Flynn-like moustaches, baseball caps as headgear and wearing a white tee shirts on which was written in bold letters Canadian, eh! made their way to where I was standing and the women were sitting. Next to each man, who were undoubtedly part of the security for Canada Day festivities, was a large jet-black Lab on a short leash.

As the men and their dogs passed between the women sitting on the sidewalk and the girls watching Blue Rodeo, one of the women pointed at one of the men, then the dog, then the child whose hand she was holding. The men smiled and stopped to let the child pet one of the dogs, then continued on their way.

This was even more extraordinary when you consider that the Prophet, at one point in time, demanded that his followers kill all dogs. The graceful Saluki, one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog, probably suffered the most from this declaration.

Muhammad later amended his decree to limit the slaughter to black dogs.

Abd Allah B. Mughaffal reported the apostle of Allah as saying: "Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one."

Abu Dawud

Still later, this was amended to only black dogs with white spots over their eyes.

Abu Zubair heard Jabir Abdullah saying: Allah's messenger ordered us to kill dogs and we carried out this order so much so that we also killed the dog roaming with a woman from the desert. Then Allah's apostle forbade their killing. He said: "It is your duty to kill the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes) for it is a devil."

Sahih Muslim

The reason Muhammad initially ordered the killing of all dogs was because he blamed a puppy for the angel Gabriel not showing up when he was supposed to.

Maimuna (another of the Prophet's wives) reported that one morning Allah’s Messenger was silent with grief.

Maimuna said: "Allah’s Messenger, I find a change in your mood today."

Allah’s Messenger said: "Gabriel had promised me that he would meet me tonight, but he did not meet me. By Allah, he never broke his promises," and Allah’s Messenger spent the day in this sad mood.

Then it occurred to him that there had been a puppy under their cot. He commanded and it was turned out. He then took some water in his hand and sprinkled it at that place. When it was evening Gabriel met him and he said to him: "You promised me that you would meet me the previous night."

He said: "Yes, but we do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture."

Then on that very morning he commanded the killing of the dogs until he announced that the dog kept for the orchards should also be killed, but he spared the dog meant for the protection of extensive fields or big gardens.

Sahih Muslim

With the Canada Day festivities coming to a close, Blue Rodeo asked  the crowd to join them in a loud rendition of "O Canada." Both women got up, one taking the child in her arms, for the national anthem.

It was a good day to be Canadian.

Bernard Payeur, July 2, 2008