In a structure, like many others scattered around the territory, designed by the Italian Authorities to temporarily host the new migratory arrivals until their legal situations get cleared, a simple quarrelsome event took place in the night of October 12th 2013 and went out of control to turn into a bloody fight involving all the hosts of the structure and producing 72 injured and 3 deceased.
At a first glance one may think that it was a fight over food, money, water or anything of the sort.. No.. The testimony of the Italian volunteer assigned as a night shift care-taker for the structure will answer the how and why it started in the first place.
Ø A Muslim refugee from African origins (A..) shared a room with another Muslim refugee(B..) of another ethnic origin.. (A..) wanted to pray his sunset and Night prayers when he came back from work at 22:oohrs when (B..) was deeply asleep, till this point there is no problem, the harm started because (A..) insisted to pray with the lights on, while his room-mate implored him to pray in the dark and silently as he’s tired and needs to sleep. And as (A..) wouldn’t compromise because he was firmly convinced that : “Islam is light, and in light the prayer must be done”!
Ø As the argument became loud, it woke up the rest of the floor residents and called the attention of the care taker, who thought he can intervene to calm the water between the two, now twenty six.. But his efforts were quickly devoured by a threatening: “stay out of this” coming from frustrated and angry voices, who kept shouting in different dialects attracting more supporters, for each camp, from all the floors of the structure by now entirely involved and fully red-necked..
Ø It didn’t take long until verbal offensive turned physical and mutated into a real fight.. One that you can’t really say who’s with who, because everyone is swinging blows or getting the blows, and the poor care-taker was forced to call the Police, which intervened after quit some time.. A delay which allowed the event to become tragic.
In poor words a young man of 22 years of age who’s a university graduate in his country of origin, insisted that since Islam is Light, then the prayer must be held in the light! And because of his close-mindedness, added to the epidemic spreading of such unjustifiable rage that obscured the minds of so many frustrated individuals, 72 persons were injured and 3 young men got killed!
If there is any meaning at all for such a stupid act, I was able to detect only one: that no one really taught him to think in order to discover what really made the greatness of the Islamic Nation far back in history, and that is the “Spirit of the Doctrine”.. When we recite verses like “Allah light of the skies and the earth” or “to take you out from the darknesses to the light”; we recall the ‘spirit’ of the very first order transmitted to Mohammad (ppoh) by the Archangel Gabriel: Iqra’!
And it is that very same spirit the reason why I don’t believe that the term “light”, repeatedly brought in the Holy Koran, meant to switch on the light while praying!! But I do believe that it was frequently brought in many parts of our Holy Book for us to switch on all the Lights of the Brain at all times to know, analyse, comprehend and extract new meanings for more teachings out from all our surroundings and from what we’re reciting.
Also if there is a teaching about the prayer in the light, I’d interpret it as “don’t hide your belief”.. Or “valorise your faith by applying it”, in the sense of ‘Be’ a Muslim not only ‘Appear’ as one.
One of the basic facts of life is that we humans, the more we go older the more we tend to understand more, and sometime even review some of what we previously considered as certainties, in the ‘light’ of new findings.. This rule is applicable not only to the scientific research, but as well to the spiritual and doctrinal researches.. Except for these 3 fundamentals conceiving the essence of ‘Belief’:
I. Concerning the Obedience: we are ordered not to discuss the Nature of Allah, the Spirit and Death.
II. Concerning the Practice: The five pillars of Islam: The Testimonies (Asshahadatain), the Prayer (Assalat), Fasting Ramadan (Saom Ramadan), the Solidarity Contribution (Azzakat),and the Pilgrimage (Al Hadj).
III. Concerning the Faith: accepting Allah as the one and absolute only God; accepting the 3 divine books as his word; recognising All the Prophets and messengers chosen and sent for our guidance; acknowledging All the Angels; and trusting in the certainty of the Resurrection and the Final Judgement in the Last Day.
These are indisputable, and only by fully embracing them one can be considered as both Muslim and Believer. Outside from this circle anything else is open for debate, discussion, analysis, revision, redefinition, re-qualifying, re-considering, modifying, researching, experimenting…etc.
My mind tells me that I will not burn in Hell because I prayed in the dark (maybe the light went off, or maybe I’m blind.. And I don’t think that Allah will reject my prayer because the light went off); because I put on my left foot’s shoe before the right one; or because I didn’t mold my mother, sister, wife and daughter into the Veil..
And my mind also tells me that I’ll be judged according to my Understanding the spirit of the doctrine, based upon what I was able to grasp from the Book and the Sunnah, and the actions I apply according to that understanding.. So it is according to our free choices, from a universal variety of options present before our intelligence and knowledge, that we shall be praised or sanctioned.
All this embodies the core of the ideological challenge which is confronting today’s Islamic Movements; a challenge related to the continuous search for means to define and ensure an “Islamic Identity” in a globalised world with no borders, walls, flags or colours; and where all identities are fading away in the apparent confusion of a global cultural chaos.
So in their efforts to meet that challenge, these movements chose to embrace the most radical conservative, if not doubtfully manipulative, interpretations of the ‘text’ (The Holy Koran) or the ‘hadith’ (The Prophet’s Sunnah); and instead of going through the meticulously devoted and agonising work of screening, funneling and filtering the interpretations with the objective of finding new adaptable ways to demonstrate that the doctrine “is adaptable to provide answers for ALL new challenges and meets ALL the demands of ALL mankind at ALL times, until God inherits the earth and what’s upon it” in order to supply the Muslims all over the world with the ‘Immune Identity’ characterised by a discipline founded upon the implications of one single simple order: Iqra’!
But in the absence, other than the rejection, of an effective renewed Islamic Philosophy elaborated by courageous and competent Philosophers; the spirit of the doctrine would not be transmitted or elaborated, thus leaving an intellectual void where anyone could be able to jump in and fill it in full.. And that’s exactly what happened.
Instead of evolving by using the Iqra’ methodology, that our forefathers mastered in order to set the foundations of the Nation; the so-called scholars, who are preaching under the banners of these Islamic Movements, decided to lock our brains inside the many ‘pray in the light’ type “Cultural Ghettos” for whatever reasons other than progress, evolution or development.. They are educating us that it is the only way to preserve our ‘Identity’ from any ‘Contamination’, along with other measures as the Veil, the Beard, the pray in the light or the put on the right one first!!
The Muslim Brotherhood, as well as many other International Islamic Organisations and movements, have all failed to rule and govern, in the ‘Light’ of modern times politics, precisely for not being able to (a) comprehend modern age politics and economy; and (b) communicate effectively with these politics using similar competent tools and lexicon. They simply couldn’t grasp the fact that the 21st century’s political, economic and social issues cannot be addressed by the same understandings and/or interpretations of a much more simpler life our ancestors enjoyed little less than 15 centuries ago.
Unless the Islamic scholars will find the intellectual courage to make front with today’s pressing issues, the Spirit of the Doctrine will remain distorted and the Identity will remain restlessly roaming about inside the purgatory of time unshaped, undefined and unidentified.
Pass On The Word.