3.2 Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Gerry: Your description of how believers brutalize little girls into becoming mass murderers shows some if crappy creativity, unlike your description of Paradise as stacked oasis which conforms to Lawrence's observation that the Arabs' imagination was vivid, but not creative.
Uzza: Muhammad's imagination, if you are insinuating that Paradise is how he imagined it, was not typical of the imagination of the Arabs of his time. Pre-Islamic Arabs built the jewel and engineering wonder that is Petra. It took creativity, immense creativity.
Bob: The Arabs did that. That is amazing.
Uzza: Yes, the Arabs did that! Even more amazing, my namesake, the goddess al-Uzza was worshipped by both the Arabs of Petra and those of Mecca. That required more than a vivid imagination.
Bob: What's with the "al"?
Uzza: It's simply means "the". It emphasizes the uniqueness of the one who bears the name. For example, you could spell Allah with a hyphen after the first "l" for it means the God.
Gerry: So Uzza is unique, just like you are unique.
Uzza: In more ways than one, you flatterer you. By naming me Uzza my parents were making a statement, they were breaking with tradition. It is a sin for Muslims to name their children after deities whose existence Allah has denied, which is every god and goddess that ever lived, and that includes al-Uzza.
Bob: That's sounds dangerous?
Uzza: When the Islamists come for me, my parents will already have been killed.
Gerry: That is terrible. And we let them in, as you said.
Uzza: Archie, more wine please for tomorrow we die.
Gerry: Don't say that.
Archie: What's amazing about the Arabs of Mecca worshipping the same goddess as the Arabs of Petra?
Uzza: It supports a theory that it was the well-travelled Nabataeans, the name of the Arab tribe which built Petra, who also founded Mecca.
Archie: It wasn't Adam and Eve. [sarcastically] I don't believe it!
Bob: What about the stone?
Uzza: Most agree that the stone is the remnants of a meteorite.
Bob: So, the stone in the Ka'ba is really out of this world.
Uzza: Obviously, whether you believe it came from Paradise or outer-space. The Nabataeans, some have speculated, believed the stone which fell to earth came from the home of the gods and goddesses above the clouds; a sign that they, including the goddess al-Uzza, wanted a shrine built where it fell.
Gerry: And that is where they built the Ka'ba.
Uzza: And around the Ka'ba grew the city of Mecca. The Romans maintained, in the first century, a garrison at the port of Jeddah just about 50 miles from Mecca and catalogued much of the area without mentioning Mecca. This is further evidence that it was founded by the Nabataeans. You would have expected that a shrine built by Adam and Eve, and later rebuilt by Abraham after the Great Flood swept away the Ka'ba and its contents would have already grown into a town worthy of mentioned by the Romans, who did take notice of Medina.
Bob: Abraham, from what I remember of the Bible, lived at least a thousand miles from Mecca .
Uzza: At least.
Bob: So how did he get from here to there to rebuild a cabin in the middle of nowhere? His two thousand mile round-trip by camel could not have gone unnoticed by those left behind and those who would not have let the old guy go on such a journey all by himself.
Uzza: The first time he was not by himself, he was with Hagar and their son Ismael.
Archie: You mean he did this trip more than once?
Uzza: At least twice, once to drop off Hagar and their son Ismael after Sarah finally bore her husband a son, and demanded he get rid of Hagar her Egyptian servant and Ismael.
Gerry: I thought Isaac was Abraham's first son by his first wife, Sarah.
Uzza: Islam considers Hagar a legitimate wife of Abraham therefore Ismael his first-born son. The Koran is clear on the concept; Isaac was a gift from God to Abraham because of his willingness to sacrifice Ismael on a small hill next to the Ka'ba.
Gerry: Who is right, the Bible which says that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac and the Koran which says it was Ismael on hills at least a thousand miles apart?
Uzza: The Koran was also sent to correct errors in the Bible, so the Koran has to be right.
Archie: What else is new!
Bob: If the stone from Paradise was swept away, why do Islamists still believe that the stone they worship today is the same one that Adam brought from Paradise?
Uzza: The angel Gabriel out it in a safe place and gave it to Abraham so that he could return it to its honored place in the Ka'ba he rebuilt.
Archie: That is one handy angel to have around isn't. Maybe he was kind enough to loan Abraham his flying horse for at least the return trips to Mecca when he would not have to carry the three of them, which may have exceeded its takeoff weight.
Uzza: Funny you should say that. Scholars have speculated that Gabriel did just that.
Archie: I was joking.
Uzza: Scholars don't joke about such things.
Archie: Are you saying I'm a scholar now?
Uzza: No, but you may want to pretend to be one if the police hear you talking that way about scriptures.
Gerry: Getting back to the Hajj, if you have the means and the wherewithal you have to perform the Hajj at least once in your lifetime.
Gerry: If you don't, Allah will not let you into His Paradise. You will have to spend eternity in Hell.
Gerry: Two million is about the maximum number of Hajj pilgrims Mecca can accommodate because of the limitations of a finite space and the set-in-cement example of the Prophet.
Uzza: That is the why the Saudis impose quotas by county.
Gerry: That means, the Saudis decide who’s going to Hell.
Uzza: I think I know what you’re getting at.
Archie: So do I. 1.5 billion divided by 2 million is 750. If every Muslim alive today wanted to do the Hajj it would take more than 750 years to accommodate them all.
Gerry: Uzza, how could Allah have mandated a ritual that you must perform or spend an eternity on fire in His Hell that the vast majority of believers cannot fulfill even if they wanted to?
Archie: Makes you wonder about the big guy's ability to see the future doesn't it?
Uzza: Muhammad insinuated that the end of the world would occur during his lifetime or shortly thereafter when there was plenty of room for everyone at the Hajj. This may have had something to do with it. I don't know.
Gerry: Could Allah have been setting up the believers for a fall or perhaps lied about, not only able to see the future but to control it?
Uzza: His angels did accuse Allah of wanting to spread mischief when he sent Adam to earth. But, I don't think it was His intention to put so many believers in the impossible situation you described; a situation that is bound to get worse if no solution is found with people joining Islam in record numbers, if only to be on the winning side.
Archie: Maybe the Chinese will able to turn the tide and solve the Hajj accommodation problem.
Gerry: By doing to the believers what the believers are doing to the unbelievers. That would mean they are no better than them.
Archie: They kill on the promise of grateful manufactured broads who will allow them to screw them non-stop for an eternity. To kill them in self-defence and to protect your family from sex maniacs is not the same, not the same at all.
Bob: I agree with Gerry. I don’t like this idea of all this killing.
Archie: They started it.
Bob: The Chinese could expand on their re-education camps. We don’t kill sex addicts and the delusional, we try to cure them. That is the humane thing to do.
Uzza: It’s also not the same to kill someone simply because you can’t bring yourself to say a simple phrase.
Archie: It’s more than that, and you know it.
Gerry: Can we get back to how we can save people from going to Hell because the Hajj can’t fit them in.
Uzza: We could rebuilt the Ka’ba along the lines considered by Muhammad after Gabriel showed him the Ka'ba in the sky and do away with the circling and all the other rituals. In one door and out the other, and your obligation is fulfilled.
Gerry, Bob, Archie: There is a Ka’ba in the sky?
Uzza: The Bait-ul-Ma'mur, which is directly above in Paradise and which the angels enter by one door and leave by another. Much more efficient.
Gerry, Bob, Archie: The angels have their own Hajj?
Uzza: Yes, as weird as that sounds.
Bob: What about aliens?
Uzza, Archie, Gerry [taken aback] WHAT!
Bob: What if there is intelligent life out there and they too chose to submit to the Will of Allah. If the Hajj cannot accommodate the people of earth how will it accommodate aliens?
Archie: Haven't you been listening, there is no there, there. It is all an illusion, aliens not included. The only there, there, according to the Koran, is Paradise a few miles up, and like on earth it is filled with mindless automatons who spend much of their existence in awe of the great illusionist. Not only is there no intelligent life out there, there is not that much here either, when you think about it.
Gerry: Uzza, ignore that stuff about aliens, but consider everything else. Do you honestly believe what you have just told us about the stone from Paradise and the sanctity of the rituals associated with it, which the majority of believers will not be able to perform through no fault of their own and be condemned to an eternity on fire?
Uzza: As I said before, it does not matter what I believe, it is what Islamists believe.
Archie: That would mean that anyone who performs the Hajj is an Islamist.
Uzza: MY FATHER PERFORMED THE HAJJ AND HE WAS NO ISLAMIST!
Gerry: Uzza, calm down. From what you have told us about your father he doesn't sound like the type who would believe stories about how a stone from Paradise became the icon at the center of Islam's most sacred shrine venerated by all who believe.
Uzza: The stone from Paradise is not an icon, only unbelievers venerate icons; and the stories about Adam falling to earth can be surmised from Allah telling him to "go down from here" and Abraham's visits to Mecca and what he did there, including asking Allah the send an Arab messenger to teach the Arabs the Koran, you will find details in the Koran from which a more comprehensive story can be told.
Gerry: Uzza, have you ever wondered why Abraham asked Allah to send the Koran when He had yet to send the Torah, and how would he have known about the Koran in the first place?
Uzza: Not really.
Archie: Obviously it’s a question that also did not bother whoever filled in the blanks. Anyone we should know?
Uzza: For the complete story, believers are very much indebted to a man who spent a lifetime studying the Koran and the saying of Muhammad before writing a sixty-thousand-page history of the world, the Kitab Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l Muluk, The Book of History of Prophets And Kings, from Creation to the 9th century, his century. Al-Tabari is considered the father of Islamic History, and after Muhammad, one of the wisest men who ever lived.
Archie: The story about Adam and the stone of Paradise and all the bowing and the circling, the running back and forth like a mad person between two hills and throwing stones at a pillar as if it was the devil are not mentioned in the Koran?
Uzza: The circling, yes.
Archie: This fellow Tabari may be a wise man but an even wiser man said that "stupid is as stupid does."
Uzza: My father was not a stupid man. And how are the rituals of the Hajj any more stupid than those of the Catholics? Like associating eating a piece of flat bread with eating a piece of God as part of their worship.
Archie: He is not a fool who recognizes that he has been played for a fool, and Catholics have been deserting that church for years now. They've wised up.
Bob: I don't remember Forest Gump saying that thing about fools not being fools?
Archie: He didn't, I did.
Uzza: Catholics have not deserted their church because of some silly ritual but because of the nonsense it preaches, like that sex is for procreation only. What if you’re an infertile couple. They have deserted their church because their children are being raped by men prohibited from marrying. They say Islam is obsessed with having sex and that this is a bad thing; but a religion which is obsessed with not having it is worse.
Gerry: I would agree with you if Islam did not use sex as an incentive to commit mass murder.
Uzza: You're thinking about the houris aren't you?
Gerry: If they are the virgins promised to the murderers of men, women and children, the so-called martyrs, yes.
Archie: You know what strikes me about this discussion about rituals in praise of inscrutable gods?
Uzza: I can't wait to here this.
Archie: That we are all pagans, except me of course, for I don't believe in any of this crap. Like you said earlier, a caveman woke up one day and realized he was alone and mortal and couldn't deal with it and invented gods and the afterlife. He was the first pagan. Mindless rituals are how pagans from the very beginning worshipped their newly minted figment of their imagination. Modern religions would like you to think they are different. They are not. They simply, to survive the discovery that the moon and sun and whatever were not gods after all, embraced a new nonsense, the metaphysical, while sticking with the same shtick of the pagans of old to maintain an aura of authenticity.
Gerry: A new, what you call nonsense, that is much harder to disprove. What you have just said Archie is actually quite profound. And I'm impressed that the words metaphysical, inscrutable, authenticity are even part of your vocabulary.
Archie: Do you want to hear something even more profound? Something Mark Twain said about faith, that it is believing in something you know to be untrue.
Bob: What does that mean?
Archie: It means that cavemen who could not have known any better were probably smarter than today's pagans.
Bob: Enough about pagans. So, what happened after the Meccans went home?
Gerry: Good idea, let's change the subject. Are you okay with that Uzza?
Uzza: I guess so. But leave my father out of it. I find it very tiresome.
Archie: We're not changing the subject; that is how this discussion all started.
Gerry: Archie, give it a rest, will you.