we indeed created man; and we know what his soul whispers within him, and we are nearer to him than the jugular vein. (Q 50:16)
the clatterer! what is the clatterer? and what shall teach thee what is the clatterer? (Q 101:1-3)
There is nothing but our present life; we die, and we live, and nothing but Time destroys us. (Q 45-24)
it is interesting how texts about relgion seem to be making their way into my life at the moment! currently reading a journal wich seems to be a philosophy of religion, or anti-religion, or the philosophy of satan. the man who writes it - i think it is a man, his name is Bob! - seems very serious about it (see devil_hearts if anyone out there is interested) to be honest it doesn't seem like a religious text - more a philosophical text - i don't think it is pro- anything spiritual - though i may be wrong!
my course this term is focussing on banned literature, and our current read is salman rushdie's satanic verses, which is a very enjoyable and sprawling sort of book. so i have been researching the offence the book caused on its publication. apparantly the passages that offended the muslim community were just 3 brief ones:
1) when the prophet (salman calls muhammed "mahound") receives verses from gibreel (gabriel) that acknowledge 3 idolatrous female deities as equals of allah - mahound later revokes these verses and claims they were sent from satan.
2) mahound's scribe (called salman - hello, mr rushdie!) loses faith in the prophet and changes some of the verses as they are dictated - when salman reads then back to mahound, the prophet fails to notice the alterations
3) prostitutes in a brothel called "the veil" take on the names and characteristics of mahound's twelve wives - apparantly muhammed's wives are historically viewed as "the mothers of the [muslim] comunity" (syed shahabuddin)
the name "the veil" was considerd outrageous as a name for a brothel because it is "the symbol of female modesty and chastity in the islamic ethical outlook" (Shabbir Akhtar). i realised this, but i thought that "the veil" was a good name in that it it is suggestive of looking behind or beneath - the whorehouse is what goes on behind the veil. why do you cover up the naked face? is it obscene? if so, then "the veil" is the perfect name for a brothel because everone wants to look behind it - just like everyone wants to look up your skirt! (perhaps that is an exaggeration!) isn't that view a classic steeotyping of women, so well established that everyone is bored of it by now? behind the veil/skirt/closed door she is (or it is hoped she is) a whore.
i suppose veils are rather topical at the moment. i don't really know how to comment on this. my mum has told me that she finds veils disturbing - she wants to see the facial expression, the personality, the thoughts, that it conceals. i know that if it were the other way around i would be outraged - i wouldn't cover up my face, though if i went to a strict muslim country i would have to. when i went to morocco i couldn't wear short sleeves. i suppose it is hard to understand because, with our victorian history, it smacks of covering women up, shutting them up, putting then away, restricting them - like corsets! to be honest that is my prevailing view of traditional muslim dress. it's to shut you up. it's so they can ignore you. you're covered in fabric, like a piece of furniture, and you are taught to be ashamed of your face, of your entire self. on the other hand, millions of women who wear it proclaim that it is liberating. so perhaps we have different ways of feeling liberated. for me, it's wearing whatever i feel like - it's having the choice to wear jeans and a shirt, or a short skirt and a t-shirt so i can feel the air on my legs. that's what a short skirt is for - it's for myself, not for whoever i want to impress. that's what the people who cover up don't seem to understand - we are apparantly shameless, lewd, obsessed with looks and sex and men. shameless yes - because i have never been taught that my body is something obscene to be covered up, so i have no concept of shame when it comes to that. if you cover the body up beause it is lewd or sexual or "naughty", you immediately both eroticise and assoiate the feeling of shame with it. it becomes secretive. it's pretty counter-productive.
Current Location: york once more
Current Mood: curious
Current Music: waiting for the man, velvet underground