In Aidid’s Wonderland, place of worships (masaajid) vanishes to submissions (yes, plural!); timely prayers transform to timely commitments; ; the Sacred House Kaba mutates into “the ‘ankles’ the sanctioned in the system” (the ankles are literally the ankles of deer and goats!); verbs and adverbs are ignored whenever they do not conspire with Aidid against Arab Conspiracies; nouns and verbs act the same way in a “fundamental” way where the meanings are freshly assigned by Aidid to justify his bizarre theories.
Conspiracy against Conspiracies or
Words in the Wonderland
The author, Aidid Safar, in The Arab Conspiracies Against Islam, expresses his position with an eloquent and powerful argument. I agree with some of his arguments and disagree with the most. His argument aiming to eliminate Salaat and Hajj rituals are radical, yet fragile and unsupported. His arguments against rituals occasionally appear strong when they are compared to the traditional corrupt interpretation of some verses. In other words, the strength of his position mostly relies on the weakness of mushrik Sunni and Shiite (mis)translation of Quranic verses.
Currently, I do not have time nor desire to evaluate all of his arguments, since it might take a similar book to demonstrate the numerous errors, speculations, and unjustified inferences. But, I would like to briefly note the following:
Aidid asserts that SaLLY means not prayer, but commitment. There is some truth in this statement. The word SaLLY, when it is not used together with the verb IQaMa, usually means support and encouragement. For instance, I translated the verse 74:43 in my Turkish translation, Mesaj: “They will say: ‘We did not support’”. Similarly I translated the verse 75:31 in Mesaj: “He neither accepted the truth, nor he supported.” I also translated the word Salla to mean support in verses 2:157; 9:99,103; and 33:43,56. Furthermore, I agree with Aidid that in verse 5:106 the word Salla may not mean the salaat ritual. However, when the word Salat is used with verb IQaMa it refers to a timely ritual preceded by ablution. His arguments on those verses are not convincing.
In page 19 he provides a list of words claiming that their meanings have been distorted. Though I agree with him partially, for instance that the meaning of SaLLY has been distorted in verses I listed above, and the meaning of the word MaQaM (in re Abraham) is mistranslated as footprint; however he goes extreme in his fight against the conspiracy theory and reaches to bizarre conclusions.
For instance, Aidid want us stop “worshiping God” and start “serving God” on the basis that God does not need our worship. But, he ignores the validity of the same question for serving God. Surely, God does not need our service either. When a wrong question is asked you can be sure that the answer will also be wrong. We worship God not because God needs our worship, but because we need it. However, I do agree with his basic assertion that the “serve” reflects the meaning of the word “abd” better, since it involves every aspect of human life.
Aidid asserts that the word al-BaYT (singular form) which has been traditionally translated as THE HOUSE, usually referring to the public building raised by Abraham and his children inMecca, should be translated as SYSTEM. He claims that HaJJ, the annual PILGRIM to the House inMecca, should be understood as CHALLENGE OR DISCOURSE. He is suggesting new meanings to old words. I would welcome such a radical move if he had provided a substantial Quranic and logical reason to do so. The traditional meanings of the word BaYT and HaJJ explain all the verses where they occur without forcing our imagination, but the so-called “fundamental meanings” suggested by Aidid are usually beyond my imagination. Let me explain:
2:127 is about raising the foundation of the House. Like Aidid, I can imagine this to be about laying the foundation of a new system.
2:158 is about visiting the House. I cannot imagine this to be about “challenging or discourse to God’s system” (al-BaYT in the context of Hajj does not carry a negative connotation, but is associated to Abraham and God in the Quran.)
5:95 asks us making sure that offerings reach the KA’Ba. I cannot imagine it to be about “to determine the ‘ankles’” or “guides maturity the ankle” meaning “they must determine the maturity of the deer on its ankles” as suggested by the author. I do not even understand what the author means by these words.
5:97 tells us that God has consecrated the Ka’bah, the sacred House as a safety for people. But, Aidid wants us to understand it as “God has set the ‘ankles’ (ka’bata) the sanctioned in the system (baytil-harami) to be upheld for mankind”. If the word “ridiculous” or “nonsense” has a reference in human language and in real life, then Aidid’s translation of this phrase is one of them.
8:35tells us that the prayer of the mushriks by the House was merely hypocrisy (muka) and repulsion from truth (tasdiya). But Aidid Safar wants us to understand it as “their commitment to the system,” The author does not care about INDA (nearby) or other propositions. He ignores or distorts their meaning to fit his theory.
17:93 informs us about the demands of disbelievers from Muhammad, including his having a luxurious/adorned house (mansion). Though Aidid does not translate this verse, according to his “fundamental meaning” we should understand that mushriks expected Muhammad have a luxurious (zukhruf) system! Perhaps, Aidid will change the meaning of ZUKHRUF too, since he does not need much justification as long as it serves his pre-conceived conclusions.
28:12 tells the story of Moses being returned to his home/family and quotes his sister saying “May I show you a people of a HOUSE (family/home) that can raise him and take care of him for you?” According to Aidid this is an Arab conspiracy. The “fundamental meaning” suggested by Aidid, Moses’ sister is talking about a people of a SYSTEM. In Aidid’s imagination, all the individual BaYTs (house/building) are destroyed to build a SYSTEM with no rituals. BuYuT (Houses), on the other hand, are spared. They are houses!
In Aidid’s fundamentally non-Arabic semantic world, Pharaoh’s wife prayed not for a place in paradise/garden (jannah) but a system in paradise (66:11). I suppose, Aidid has all the skills to change the meaning of every word in the Quran, including the word Jannah. The house of the lady transforms to the lady’s system dwelled by Joseph (12:23), and God’s system needs to be cleaned by people (2:125;22:26). Again, according to Aidid’s dictionary, God caused the Prophet get out of his system with the Truth (8:5)! Whatever it may mean? If you do not understand Aidid, it is because you are brainwashed by Arab conspiracies.
In short, in Aidid’s Wonderland, place of worships (masaajid) vanishes to submissions (yes, plural!); timely prayers transform to timely commitments; the Sacred House Ka’ba mutates into “the ‘ankles’ the sanctioned in the system” (the ankles are literally the ankles of deer and goats!); verbs and adverbs are ignored whenever they do not conspire with Aidid against Arab Conspiracies; nouns and verbs act the same in a “fundamental” way where the meanings are freshly assigned by Aidid to justify his bizarre theories.
This is another abuse and exploitation of the Quran Alone message. Aidid is not the first nor will be the last brave warrior who will use the powerful message of the Quran Alone against tradition to justify esoteric and absurd claims. In an overpopulated world any conspiracy theory and any absurd idea will find some followers. We should let the Arab conspirators and non-Arab counter-conspirators deal with each other. As long as there are wind mills there will be Don Quixotes and their admirers. Peace for all of them! Thank God, I do not own any wind mills;-)