3.1 What Does Norman Mailer Have To Do With It!
Uzza: The battle for Medina is usually referred to as the Battle of the Ditch because of a trench that was dug in six days on the flat approaches to the city. This “ditch” completely stymied the Meccan forces.
For two weeks an army of ten thousand which included a 300-horse cavalry unit waited for their befuddled commander Abu Sufyan to devise a strategy to overcome the obstacle and defeat an army estimated at 3,000. He waited for two weeks before a windstorm forced his troops, who were out in the open, to return to Mecca never to threaten the city again.
Archie: Even if they could find 3,000 shovels for 3,000 men, which I doubt, they could not have, in six days, dug a ditch deep enough and wide enough that it could not be crossed with a little effort, or long enough that it could not be gotten around.
Uzza: That is the story that is told to school children. It is part of our history.
Archie: And who wrote these stories where the Muslims are constantly fighting superior forces who are unable to withstand their attack or finish them off?
Uzza: You must understand, until the Arabs as a nation under Islam became a force to be reckoned with and burst out of the Peninsula intent on making the world that of Allah, nobody paid any attention to commonplace skirmishes between tribes. These involved mostly posturing until the believers escalated them into violent confrontations.
Gerry: Surely the Prophet did not go unnoticed?
Uzza: At the time, Muhammad was just another doomsday prophet peddling a religion. That is how Mecca thrived, by appealing to every religion under the sun, inviting them to place a relic or an icon in a cube like structure, the Ka'ba, to which pilgrims could come and pay homage. The Ka'ba became such a hit, that, at the time of the Muslim takeover, there were at least 360 icons and relics in it including a statue of the virgin Mary. The desire to invite everyone to worship at the Ka'ba spawned the religious months during which travellers to Mecca were inviolate, until Muhammad broke with this civilizing tradition.
Gerry: I think the history of the world would have been a lot less bloody if this civilizing influence of the Arabs before Islam had been allowed to spread.
Uzza: The Arabs before Islam were the most civilized people of the time, and that was reflected in their tolerance of the benign beliefs of others.
Archie: And profiting from them.
Uzza: Nothing wrong with that when everybody is happy with the arrangement, and they were coming in their tens of thousands every year, especially for the Hajj.
Bob: The Hajj was something people did before the Muslims?
Uzza: The first person to perform the Hajj was Adam.
Bob: Of Adam and Eve?
Uzza: Yes. God told Adam to go to this place in the desert, which He said was located directly below the most sacred place in Paradise, and to erect the structure we know today as the Ka'ba.
Bob: And where was Adam when Allah told him to do this?
Uzza: In a place we know today as Sri Lanka.
Archie: What the Hell was he doing there?
Uzza: That is where he landed when Allah threw him and Eve out of Paradise.
Bob: Eve was with him. They fell together. Makes sense.
Uzza: Eve landed about 3,000 miles east on the shore of the Red Sea about 100 miles from Mecca, which of course did not exist at the time.
Archie: HOW DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE ANY SENSE? Assuming that the Koran is right and Paradise is about five miles up; two people falling from that height would not land 3,000 miles apart, let alone survive the fall? [catching himself] What I am doing trying to make sense out of nonsense. Next thing you know they will be calling me an Islamic scholar.
Uzza: [starting to enjoy getting Archie's goat] I don't think anyone will ever mistake you for an Islamic scholar Archie. Maybe if you grew a beard? [getting a bit drunk] How about another drink, you Islamic scholar you? So, who wants to hear the rest of the story of the Hajj and the Ka'ba?
Bob: I do.
Uzza: What about you Gerry?
Gerry: I'd love to hear it.
Archie: Sure, why not.
Uzza: You're going to love this Archie. When Adam was thrown out of Paradise he grabbed a stone.
Bob: I would have grabbed a parachute myself.
Uzza: A large stone which he dragged all the way to Mecca where Eve was waiting.
Gerry: That means it was a woman who first disturbed the sands of Mecca; a woman founded Mecca. Do you hear that!
Uzza: When you put it that way. But, it is the placement of the stone from Paradise that is associated with the founding of Mecca. It is as if Adam had planted Allah's flag when, after building the first Ka'ba, he made the stone its centerpiece and circled it seven times as the believers do today; counter clockwise bowing up and down as Muhammad demonstrated.
Gerry: In things big and small, the reversal of right and wrong you mentioned earlier, the Prophet was very much the contrarian, wasn't he?
Uzza: Clockwise is how the pagans circled the Ka'ba. It was perhaps Muhammad's way of again putting Islam's imprint on a pagan tradition. This is of course if you are not convinced that he was simply demonstrating the way Adam first did it.
Bob: Is going in circles in opposite directions the only difference in the way the pagans and the believers do the Hajj?
Uzza: The Hajj before Islam was not the somber ritual you have today. It was more a song and dance festival where you did your own thing. Some even circled the Ka'ba naked and nobody minded, until Muhammad put a stop to it. Allah described the pagan Hajj as "nothing but whistling and clapping." The pagan Hajj could also be considered the first to perform the Thanksgiving tradition of sparing the lives of animals. Muhammad said that Al-Khuzai, who is credited with starting the custom of setting animals free at the Hajj before Muhammad put a stop to that as well, would spend an eternity dragging his intestines in Hell's fire.
Bob: Was the Prophet always that crude and cruel?
Uzza: When it came to describing what Allah would do to those who did not do as they were told, yes!
Gerry: Did you do the Hajj?
Uzza: My father took me a few years ago. He wanted me to experience something he thought would be wonderful.
Gerry: And was it?
Uzza: Only if you like having your ass grabbed every time you bent down while going around in circles with a million other people.
Bob: You're kidding?
Uzza: It is next to impossible to segregate the sexes during the Hajj, therefore, women and girls must silently submit or risk being be accused of arousing the males next to them, to the probing hands of men and boys who are not allowed to get as close to the opposite sex as during the Hajj until they are married, and seek to understand with their hands what Islam has denied their eyes until their wedding night. I don't blame them. And it not only happens at the Hajj.
Gerry: But, you were with your father???
Uzza: Like I said, you're going around in circles squeezed in by a million or more people. He may have been close, but unless he looked up and sideways or backwards, which would have gotten him in serious trouble, he would not have seen the men crowding together to get at his daughter's behind.
Bob: What kind of trouble?
Uzza: Muhammad demonstrated how you did the Hajj as he demonstrated everything from how you prayed to how you ate, to how you clean yourself after answering the call of nature. Unless you did exactly as he demonstrated, especially anything that had to do with worshipping Allah, and I mean exactly, you risked serious injury even death. One day, an old man decided he could not complete the prayers as Muhammad was demonstrating. Later that day he was executed as an unbeliever.
Gerry: Did you tell your father about the groping?
Uzza: Why and spoil the Hajj for him.
Gerry: For your father, was it a good experience, then?
Uzza: My father was looking for a spiritual experience, and it wasn't. I don't know if it was the preachers shouting verses from the Koran as you made your way to different venues on stark concrete walkways, the unpicked garbage in large orange bags strewn about, the noise of animals being tortured to death or the visit to perhaps the largest shopping mall in the world only a few hundred yards from what is supposed to be the holiest place on earth, where someone stole his watch.
Bob: The Hajj is much more than just a pilgrimage then, it is a shopping destination?
Uzza: It is the Saudis combining the holy and the mercantile in Allah's and their cause. Organizing the Hajj and the year-round lesser pilgrimages is an expensive proposition; not to mention funding the mosques and madrassas around the world that will generate the pilgrims and the money that will keep the thousands of Princes of the House of Saud in the lifestyle they are accustomed to when the oil runs out. The sumptuous five stories Abraj Al Bait shopping mall with its more than 1,000 stores overlooking the Ka'ba is simply part of that strategy.
Archie: I am sure the merchant in the Prophet would approve.
Gerry: The pilgrimage has to be more than going around in circles, killing some animals, doing some shopping then going home?
Uzza: The Hajj is a five-day affair. There is the Tawaf, what you called going around in circles seven times; then there is the back and forth seven times between two hills to commemorate Hagar's search for water after being left with Ismael to fend for themselves by Abraham in the vicinity of the Ka'ba; then there is the procession to Mount Arafat to stand in vigil where Muhammad delivered his last sermon; then there is the procession to Mina where we all throw pebbles at a pillar in a recreation of the three occasions when Muhammad threw stones at the devil, just like Abraham did to scare him off, and finally the Feast of Eid ul Adha which marks the end of the Hajj. During this celebration of a man’s willingness to murder his son because God asked him to, hundreds of thousands of animals are slaughtered in the ritual manner, not only at Mecca but around the world. As demonstrated by Muhammad, first you secure the animal in an upright position then cut its throat and watch it struggle as it bleeds to death; the awful noise it makes a testament to how painful this gratuitous cruelty can be. At one Hajj, Muhammad demonstrated the technique by personally slaughtering seven camel and two rams.
Bob: Isn't what the Prophet demonstrated what happens in slaughterhouses?
Uzza: Only in slaughterhouses that prepare halal meats which has become a booming business. When you see in your supermarket a piece of meat labeled halal it is from an animal that has been literally tortured to death, not from an animal that has been stunned into unconsciousness before being bled.
Gerry: And the Koran demands this, that animals whose meat is meant to be eaten be tortured to death?
Uzza: No, the Koran only prohibits the eating of carrion and decrees that animals at the Hajj be killed while standing up.
Bob: I could never kill an animal the way Muhammad did.
Uzza: You could if you had grown up in an environment where this was normal. Muslim children have been conditioned by celebrations such as the feasts that follow Ramadan and the Hajj to watch and learn, even enjoy the suffering of animals put to death in such a cruel manner.
Bob: The next time I see halal meat at my supermarket I may just throw up.
Uzza: There is also a benefit to children watching and learning how to kill an animal the ritual way. I remember looking at pictures of ISIS recruits and noticing their composure as they stood behind their kneeling victims getting ready to slice their throats like they would do a sheep. They are totally unperturbed, they know how it's done. The agony their victims are about to experience will not bother them. Most recruits into regular armed forces need to be trained and conditioned to kill. Not so for most of those who join the ranks of holy warriors as witnessed by the mass killings done by the fresh faces of Islamic State.
Gerry: That explains the knife attacks that have become commonplace; the micro-terrorism that has proven more terrifying and effective than the macro variety.
Bob: What do vegetarians at the Hajj eat?
Uzza: Only Muslims can do the Hajj and Muhammad said that those who don't eat meat are not Muslims.
Bob: During the Hajj, did you get to kiss the rock of Paradise like the Irish kiss the blarney stone?
Uzza: Tradition holds that the stone was once heavenly-white, not the black-as-Hell stone you see today. This, it is said, was caused by too much kissing of the stone of Paradise. That's it, no more kissing.
Gerry: If there are stones in Paradise, then Paradise in the Koran is not like the spiritual place of the New Testament where men and women are equal and happiness comes from being close to God and being free of physical wants and earthly desires?
Archie: If Paradise was a spiritual place you would not need those pillars to hold it up, would you.
Uzza: Paradise in the Koran is like seven large oasis one on top of the other with typical desert oasis vegetation and irrigated by underground rivers. On these humongous oases there are carpets and couches in lovely shades of green as far as the eye can see.
Bob: What's with the carpets and couches?
Uzza: On these carpets and couches men will fornicate to their heart's content with female facsimiles, the so-called houris, and blushing maidens to whom they are quickly married to avoid committing the sin of adultery.
Bob: Inflatable dolls have come a long way. I am told that taking one to bed is like having sex with the real thing, so why kill yourself and a bunch of innocent people just to have sex with one in Paradise?
Uzza: Are you kidding! Man-made female replicas will never match what the Creator of us all can manufacture in Paradise.
Archie: What about the real women?
Uzza: If you mean the wives of the men doing all that fornicating, they will be confined to large pavilions, not unlike the harems of Muhammad's day, doomed to a sporadic bout of intimacy for an eternity; not unlike prisoners dependent on a conjugal visit from a cheating husband.
Archie: Do I detect some bitterness?
Uzza: Shut up!
Gerry: I read in the Koran that the pavilions were to house the maidens.
Uzza: Obviously Allah had to have some type of warehousing complex for the legitimates wives and the houris and the maidens since the men could only do one at time. What were they to do, stand in line waiting to be fucked? Did I just say that, I’m sorry?
Archie: Don’t be, it is what Allah’s Paradise is all about after all.
Bob: [awkwardly] In Paradise do they do it that way?
Uzza: [knowing where he is going with this and feeling mischievous] What do you mean “that way”, Bob?
Bob: The thing the Backstreet Boys sang about not wanting it that way?
Gerry: Is that what the song was about?
Archie: In Bob’s mind.
Uzza: Come on, say it. What way would that be, Bobby?
Bob: You know, sex, in the you know where.
Uzza: You mean will those blushing maidens and houris and what not get fucked in the ass?
Bob: [shocked] Yes, but I would not have put it that way.
Uzza: Don’t be such a prude. Children of believing parents learn about anal sex from their mother before the age of seven as part of the sex education they get from their first full reading of the Koran. It can’t be avoided with Allah’s rants against homosexuals and sodomy.
Archie: Well, will they?
Uzza: Will they what. I forget.
Archie: Men do to women what Allah forbids men to do to other men.
Uzza: I wouldn’t know. In the Koran there is nothing about making love to a woman that way, but Allah is probably against it.
Gerry: That brings up an interesting question.
Uzza: I can’t wait to hear it.
Gerry: I was at a party where I was having a conversion with the wife of a reporter from Tunisia. When her husband tried to join our conversation she waved him off. He was not pleased. Later that evening when I had a chance to talk with him, with his wife within earshot, he said she would get it tonight. I asked what he meant by that. He said he was going to punish her that way.
Uzza: And what way would that be?
Gerry: Oh, come on. Stop it. You know what he meant.
Uzza: You go to interesting parties.
Gerry: But is it true, do Muslim husbands use anal sex to punish their wives?
Uzza: I wouldn’t know, I’m not married.
Archie: You said that his wife heard him. What did she do?
Gerry: She looked at him and shrugged her shoulders as if it was no big deal.
Uzza: Maybe it wasn’t. From what I have been told it can be painful and the Koran does sanction pain as a way of disciplining wives. And Muhammad did say that you should not beat someone about the face and we’re definitely nowhere near there.
Archie: That leaves out oral sex as a punishment.
Uzza: Very funny. From what I know, non-Muslim couples do it that way to. I understand it’s a bit of a power trip for men.
Gerry: I wouldn’t leave out sadism as a reason.
Uzza: Or masochism.
Archie: Is that why women do it?
Uzza: I guess some women do want it that way for the sensation however unpleasant, and as Norman Mailer wrote, it is the most intimate form of sex a woman can offer a man.
Archie: He would say that.
Gerry: Women in a normal relationship are free to make the gesture or refuse their partner’s request for that form of intimacy. What about a relationship where the man is the ordained dominant partner and a woman dares not refuse his request for intimacy. Does this include Mailers most intimate form?
Uzza: It all depends if that which Allah defines as a wife's “private parts”, over which He has given a husband jurisdiction to do with whatever, includes her behind. I am sure there is fatwah somewhere that clears that up, but I am not aware of it.
Bob: What is a fatwah again?
Uzza: A religious ruling on everything and anything.
Bob: All this sex in tight places...
Archie: Are we still talking anal sex here.
Bob: Not only, but virgins, which seem to be an obsession of Allah and those who commit mass murder to get at them. To me that means they like penetration where there is some resistance.
Uzza: That is an interesting way of putting it, nothing funny intended.
Bob: Well, do they?
Uzza: Do they what? Just kidding. Allah in the Koran only says that the females He will provide have not been touched by another man or jinn. They will not be, what do you call them, damaged goods. On the other hand, it would be a simple matter for a god like Allah to mend a hymen after sex so that there is always that resistance which men who seek anal sex also seem to favour. Am I right?
Gerry: That would make a Paradise populated by those who have died in Allah’s Cause and been rewarded accordingly more of an obscenity than it already is.
Bob: All that sex! Young men might be able to take advantage of it, but what about old guys for whom virgins may present more of a challenge than an opportunity, if you know what I mean? Will Viagra be available for old people?
Uzza: No need. There will be no old people in Paradise. Muhammad said that no matter your age you will all be in your early thirties when you get there if you get there and the females, real and unreal, who will be providing men with all the sex they can handle will be of equal age. And, you will literally be able to go at it day and night for you will never get tired .
Bob: This is really good news for old people.
Uzza: But not children who have been enticed to become suicide bombers because of every little boys’ fantasy of being all grown up. You tell them that, literally, in a puff of smoke they can become a man if they are willing to help Allah get rid of the bad people.
Bob: You have to wonder why there are no old geezers blowing themselves up with a promise of eternal youth and orgies galore.
Archie: They know better, and with every gullible guy blowing himself up it leaves more young women and girls for them. They are no fools, just like the Prophet was no fool.
Bob: Young girls are also blowing themselves up. What’s in it for them?
Uzza: Not much, which is why the process of getting girls to do what young boys will do without much persuasion is slightly more complicated and brutal. Turning little girls into mass murderers is a challenge, but holy warriors have proven themselves up to the task with little girls increasingly outnumbering little boys as suicide bombers.
Gerry: How to they do it?
Uzza: The transformation usually begins with the rape of god-fearing girls by fighters in Allah's Cause. It is meant to make them feel a heart-breaking guilt for having brought dishonour on their family; a shame so intense that death seems preferable.
Gerry: But why do they not just kill themselve and not harm anyone else.
Archie: Or wait for their father to kill them.
Gerry: Archie, this is serious.
Archie: I am being serious.
Uzza: Rape makes a shamble of a young girl's fantasy of marrying her prince charming. What nice young man would have her as his beloved bride now that she is no longer a virgin? Only Allah, she is told, can now make her dream come true. Not in the here-and-now, but in the Hereafter, if she has the courage to kill herself and take as many of His enemies as possible with her.