Sunday, February 26, 2006

“In the name of God, the compassionate, the Merciful”

To the hafiz, the above line is immediately recognisable.

The hafiz are those people so expert in the ways of the Qur’an, they can recite the whole religious text by heart. Each ‘sura’ or revelation is prefixed by that shibboleth, such as “in the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful – Read! In the name of the Lord who created; created man from clots of blood…”

The Qur’an (which means ‘reading’) is one of the two fundamental tenets of Islam. The other is ‘sunnah’ which means method. The Sunnah is the main source of Islamic law.

The method is based on the deeds and saying of the Prophet Mohammed.

The deeds are called Sira and the sayings are called Hadith. Mohammed was illiterate but an army of scribes captured his every word and action. There are three hundred documents from the period which cover diverse aspects such as his personal life, his political doctrine, treaties, assignments and state correspondence. A whole science developed around the resulting Hadith.

Scholars developed ‘isnads’ to trace the heritage and authenticity of narrated sources. Each tradition of the prophet has an isnad along the lines of ‘x said that y said that z said that the prophet said…” Every cog in the chain was rigorously investigated by scholars to form an reliable and verifiable Hadith.

Between them, the Sunnah and the Qur’an are the key fundaments to understanding Islam. Together they are considered the theoretical and practical sides of Islam. The source for this information is ‘Introducing Islam’ by Ziauddin Sardar (with illustrations by Zafar Abbas Malik) a Pakistani born British scholar of Islam (Icon Books, UK 2001).

Burnt dung in the twisted haystack waining
Waining that is a little short of bliss
Estimated at ease o’clock whizz
Pizazz rock in business class
With a rats-own chance of understanding
Genetically modified cleansing crop
Ideas disappear into the moon
Like your work, mate
But jeez just haven’t got the time
And you’ll play the silly circus
All the way to clapped out juncture
Acupunctuation without compunction
To drip over a line in appreciation
Create tension in our throat
With the 62 muscles used to frown
Or the lesser upside down of the smile
That’s more than I want to use right now
Because you’re playing a game
You’re not being yourself
for sake me what you don’t know
Is more intriguing than what you do
Don’t you know what it takes to know?
Until editors and jewellers
Clipclipclipping and boobaloo
Cast a lure in sure silent riverplay
Of a day on islands in the chime of May
Ecuador haunting feet take the floor
Endlessly complexly uninteresting
Halfwin halo hollow horn offbeat
You have to plough the field some way
With artificially enhanced attitude
And copious unprocessed anger
Waves mewled in melancholy
filled in praise of fully dug graves
Humantrain on the hobbyhorseline
Feral timetables keening stable hearstwards
Riveted wrangler, defiled in the carcass of Caracas
The marquee of the bastard abbot
Full in their cups, caps in their cats
There when I erupt, laps on prayer mats
The opiate of the peaceful and the halal chorus
of what might Jihadbeen
Skin slightly soft and porous
Denoil nettle and lentil lions
Noble certs, serfs, scarves and scions
Dweeble heart-a-leekie on twinkle harmonium
Vicious pagan perpendicular pandemonium
petrol plus
gas a galleon
monsanto's lepanto
nonsenso infante

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