Did you know that the doors to heaven can be opened by a detonator?
How did you feel when you heard that you’d been selected for martyrdom?” I asked.
“It’s as if a very high, impenetrable wall separated you from Paradise or Hell,” he said. “Allah has promised one or the other to his creatures. So, by pressing the detonator, you can immediately open the door to Paradise — it is the shortest path to Heaven.”
What is the attraction of martyrdom?” I asked.
“The power of the spirit pulls us upward, while the power of material things pulls us downward,” he said. “Someone bent on martyrdom becomes immune to the material pull. Our planner asked, ‘What if the operation fails?’ We told him, ‘In any case, we get to meet the Prophet and his companions, inshallah.’
“We were floating, swimming, in the feeling that we were about to enter eternity. We had no doubts. We made an oath on the Koran, in the presence of Allah — a pledge not to waver. This jihad pledge is called bayt al-ridwan, after the garden in Paradise that is reserved for the prophets and the martyrs. I know that there are other ways to do jihad. But this one is sweet — the sweetest. All martyrdom operations, if done for Allah ’s sake, hurt less than a gnat’s bite!”
I wonder if in his religious ecstasy experience there is room for a consideration of the possible pain of his victims?
Probably not. The essence of religious ecstasy occurs when one's Self is perfectly united to the elusive omnipotent object of one's infancy; and this fusion has little room in the crowded psyche for the consideration of of those outside the fusion. It is just one's own pathetic little Self and God.
Usually, this is not so bad as experiences go; and many who are caught up in this incredible ecstasy are led to new understanding and appreciation of their own humanity; their Self is strengthened and renewed; and they may feel a benevolence and peace toward all other human beings. Fusion with a benign and caring god can even provoke monumental spiritual changes for the good in some individuals.
But this is not the case when one unites with a brutal, bloodthirsty, compassionless god like Allah the Merciful (what a misnomer!). The Allah of the gentleman quoted in the article above is hardly benign and demands not only your death, but that you commit murder in his name. The perfect union is still perceived ecstatically, even if the Self undergoes medieval torture; for it is still the desired Oneness that the developing Self lost early on in life. Allah the omnipotent object remains omnipotent--just evil-- and the result is a profound loss of humanity and a rejection of the good.
It is possible,though, that Allah may be getting a bum rap. In the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", Jessica Rabbit--who is always responded to as a wanton sex kitten--exclaims in frustration at this depiction of her, "I'm not bad! I'm just drawn that way!"
Allah may not be so bad. Perhaps he's just drawn that way...?
UPDATE: And then again, what can one say about a god who would tolerate and encouorage a horde of Jack the Rippers? Wretchard comments:
It is not enough, as the British Army has done, to look on at this mayhem from the outside in, blinded by the illusion that these executions are just one more quaint ethnic practice that the guilt-ridden West has no right to criticize; that it is one more expression of identity that one is obliged to tolerate, whether these sanguinary events happen in British-patrolled Basra or the British city of Leeds.The wellsprings of terrorism arise from certain tendencies within Islamic society itself; and unless the weeds are pruned the flowers will never grow, until we find ourselves alone at midnight in the Garden of Evil.
UPDATE II: ShrinkWrapped and Dr. Sanity have been thinking on the same wavelength. He has a post that has an elaboration and extension of some of the points in this one. Well worth reading!