Remembering Uzza

4.1 More Slavers, Less Sinners

(2nd draft)

Bob: I know the Prophet needed the promise of slave-girls and plenty of sex to entice the young men he needed to do the killing until no one was left alive that did not say Allah is the greatest. But why would Allah not have demanded that slavery be abolished once He got everyone to kiss His ass?

Uzza: No, He could not do that, and touching the ground with your nose and forehead during prayer is not at all like kissing someones ass.

Bob: That is not what I meant, but okay.

Archie: Why could he not do that get, rid of slavery? I thought Allah could do whatever He wanted, that He has the power.

Uzza: Because Allah is the smartest god that has ever been imagined, which is why the other gods did not stand a chance.

Archie: Did you just say imagined?

Uzza: It’s just an expression.

Archie: No, it isn’t.

Uzza: Whatever.

Bob: There are other gods? I thought Allah said there weren’t any.

Uzza: That is what He told Muhammad to say.

Bob: What do you mean.

Uzza: Often, Allah in His Koran tells Muhammad, as if Muhammad was responding to a question, which may actually have been what he was doing, to say this or that.

Archie: He actually uses the word “say”.

Uzza: The actual word “say” may have been added during an early revision of the Book, to portrait this back and forth between Allah and His spokesman, in real time to use a modern expression.

Bob: That would mean that…

Uzza; Don’t go there. It would just lead to another pointless discussion. You either believe that every word are God’s or you don’t, and let’s leave at that.

Archie: So, are there other gods, or not?

Uzza: It’s all very confusing. Allah rants and rages against those who worship what He say doesn’t exist when He admits to creating them. He will even have them participate in His Judgment Day extravaganza where they will denounce those who worshipped them. His attack on other gods and those who believe in them are so pervasive and so vicious that the number one sin in Islam is that of Shirk, associating other gods with Allah. Do that and you’re dead.

Archie: Many of these other gods allowed slaves. For example, those of the Greeks and Romans. How was Allah-approved slavery different from theirs?

Uzza: For these other gods slavery was an end in itself; for Allah slavery was a means to end.

Archie: As a reward for those who did His dirty work.

Uzza: It was more than that; much more and part of the inescapable logic of the Koran.

Bob: The Koran is logical!!!

Uzza: Don’t believe those who say that Islam is the stupidest of all the religions. Some of the things you are asked to accept on faith, I will agree are stupid from a rational person’s point of view, but they do not, by themselves, deny the logic of the Koran; logic that makes Islam a smart religion, a very, very smart religion, and slavery is at the core of that logic.

Bob: I’m confused.

Archie: This time Bob, you’re not the only one.

Gerry: Same here.

Uzza: That is because you haven’t read the Koran or like many who have, not looked beyond the inconsequential contradictions and the tall tales. To have abolished slavery would have required Allah to send down another Koran thereby denying the logic that made those who understood so successful. Logic also dictated that it was not enough to offer an incentive to do away with unbelievers. People being what they are, they would have to be kept in line until such a time that Allah decided to bring an end to His Creation. Slavery ensured victory, but it also diminished the threat of sedition once victory is achieved and the need to take more drastic measures not only to stop individual from leaving Islam but entire communities as well.

Gerry: Allah being Allah, that would be death.

Uzza: That would be death, yes. Muhammad told the believers to kill any Muslim who abandons their religion, say, for one which does not condone slavery or no religion at all. Allah, in the same murderous vein, but on a much larger scale, decreed that a community who would leave Islam after embracing it should be slaughtered forthwith.

Bob: Did that ever happened, that a bunch of people were murdered all together for leaving Islam?

Uzza: Only a short time after Muhammad’s death, several tribes tried to leave Islam. Toward the end of what is known as the War of the Apostate, an estimated seven thousand men were surrounded, and none were spared by the believers. They were slaughtered to the last man as per Allah’s directive. There is no leaving Islam, not as a group not as an individual.

Archie: Bunch of murderers. To believe in Allah is to believe in cold-blooded murder and be willing to carry it out.

Uzza: Mass executions have been very much a tactic of Islam since the beginning, both in its wars of conquest and equally bloody pitiless conflicts between believers over dogma and succession. The slaughter which took place towards the end of the War of the Apostates was the first documented methodical massacre of more than a thousand people by the believers.

Bob: The apostates were obviously no match for the believers.

Uzza: The believers’ opponents were not into extermination and valued their lives and that of their opponents, therefore Muslim casualties tended to be less. But still, at the battle of Yamama, 70 or so fanatics of the Koran, the professional reciters of the Book, were killed.

Archie: You would expect fanatics of the Koran to be in the thick of things, the damn book is an invitation to kill and be killed.

Uzza: Not always. The tradition was that whatever Allah told Gabriel to tell Muhammad to tell the believers was not to be written down but committed to memory.

Archie: Then and there, that’s ridiculous. Who remembers everything some preachers says, even the short-winded ones, especially when their spouting stuff you haven’t heard before.

Gerry: No, telling people not to write anything down, that’s smart. With nothing written down the Prophet could deny anything he said from one day to the next if the message did not have the desired effect. And if he was making it up as he went along, well…

Uzza: I don’t know why the tradition of not writing down Allah’s revelation, but the loss of the best memorizers worried Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s successor as leader of the believers, and he broke with tradition and asked a scribe by the name of Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari to go around and ask people what they remembered about what Gabriel communicated to Muhammad from Allah and to write it down. And that is how we got the first written Koran. The way the revelations were collected may also explain the apparent repetitiveness with people remembering things differently.

Gerry: I don’t remember any significant variations in the clear and to the point revelations on slavery, which, from what I remember, are few, except for the many references to slave-girls or what your right hands possess.

Uzza: That is because Allah is truly the smartest of gods. He did not want anyone disputing what He meant when He made slavery, not only a tenet of the faith, but a rule which could not be removed without brining his religion into disrepute by making it illogical

Gerry: How did he make slavery a hard-and-fast unbreakable rule?

Uzza: If you had read Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice more carefully you would not be asking me that question.

Gerry: What can I say, it's one long book. Not only does it contain the entire Koran but four times the words.

Uzza: That is why he split it into six topical books, silly. But, to answer your question, one way Allah did it was to make freeing a slave part of a blood-money payment, a condition if you have insulted your wife by comparing her to your mother’s back and now wish to touch her in that special way and penance for breaking an oath, for instance. In making freeing a slave for a variety of transgression He cut down on the number of sinners, making slavery even more attractive to men and a god for whom sinners are an obsession.

Bob: How does more slavery cut down on the number of sinners when slavery is a sin?

Uzza: In Islam it isn’t. And when Islam is triumphant everywhere, everywhere slavery will become the norm again for it is part of Allah’s unchanging natural order of things. A brave new world where you will think twice about committing some sins if it means losing a valuable slave.

Bob: I get it, more slavers, less sinners.

Archie: No, three Hail Mary’s and back to sinning until your next confession. And let us not forget the one about losing the limb that committed the sin. That limb will sin no more and neither will the guy killed for trying to leave the faith. It’s enough to make sinners an endangered species. Allah will have succeeded where so many other gods have failed.

Gerry: Imagine taking what we consider a sin, making it into a virtue than using it to combat sin. Did I get that right?

Uzza: Yes, sort of, and if you’re going to make freeing a slave an incentive not to sin, logic dictates that you must be allowed to keep slaves in the first place.

Bob: Can’t argue with that.

Archie: Sure you can, just remove slaves as part of the equation, make slavery a sin and cut down on the number of sins against gods where no human is harmed, and, I will bet you anything, you will have a greater reduction in the number of sinners than Allah’s slave-driven solution.

Gerry: What are you going to do Archie, rewrite the Koran?

Archie: If I could I would. Uzza: But you can’t, nobody can, even the so-called moderates. Inevitably they too must accept the logic of Allah, a logic that they will find so much easier to live with as the extremists make gains everywhere. An acceptance they may live to regret.

Archie: How’s that?

Uzza: Think about it. Even if everyone’s a believer, you will still need slaves to satisfy a blood payment obligation for instance or to set free as penance. And if you can't them from unbelievers because they have all converted or been killed, where will you get them?

Archie: That is where the whole thing becomes illogical, doesn’t it, and Allah is shown not to be the smartest of them all. I knew it.

Uzza: You don’t know anything, and I say that with all due respect, Archie. Allah said that you must believe with certainty. Do you think it is possible for everyone to believe with certainty in even the little I have told you so far about what’s in the Koran?

Archie: Only fools.

Uzza: You don’t know anything, and I say that with all due respect, Archie. Allah said that you must believe with certainty. Do you think it is possible for everyone to believe with certainty in even the little I have told you so far about what’s in the Koran?

Archie: Only fools.

Uzza: It is these fools that still kill more Muslims than believers every year.

Bob: Why is that?

Uzza: Because these fools are still concentrated in Muslim majority countries, but that is changing, and in places rapidly because of the number of fools we have let in. And when the fools have finished with you and the world is a glorious fascist pitiless caliphate, a super super-sized Islamic State, the true unbelievers, heretics and reformers will be the slavers’ salvation. Allah’s logic will not be denied.

Archie: What the hell are true unbelievers?

Uzza: Those who favour what Allah calls “a middle course”, who don’t believe everything that He revealed to Muhammad and the others mentioned in the Koran.

Archie: In other words, heretics.

Uzza: A mild form of heresy. But Allah is not, to paraphrase the second Bush president, a nuance type of god, it is “a demeaning punishment” for all.

Archie: I can understand heretics becoming a target, every religion has them, and Islam by the ton when you consider that the Sunni and Shias are heretics to one another, but reformers. I thought Islam could not be reformed.

Uzza: It can’t. You would have to begin with the abolition of the abomination that is slavery, which you can’t because Islam as a religion for good or evil would fall apart.

Archie: And that would be a bad thing?

Uzza: Have you ever wondered why aid workers, like the nurses vaccinating children against polio in Pakistan, are often the target of Islamists?

Archie: Are you asking to me.

Uzza: You, Bob, Gerry, Ted and Alice it doesn’t matter?

Gerry: I think we all have at one time or another. What is that all about?

Uzza: Allah warned that the true unbelievers do good deeds with the intent of corrupting you; that these do-gooders are actually reformers and reformers are evildoers.

Archie: And I thought the road to hell is paved with good intentions was just an expression.

Gerry: From what I remember from reading the Koran, those accused of corrupting the land are “to be killed, crucified, have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides” − not necessarily in that order.

Uzza: Yes, but slavery is always an option, except perhaps for some young people. Muhammad said that many of these evildoers, when Judgement Day is near, will be “young people with foolish thoughts and ideas” and that they are to be killed on sight.

Archie: The way the Ayatollahs are killing the young people of Iran, you would think Judgement Day was here.

Uzza: It might as well be.