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    "They denied us the Hajj!"

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    "They denied us the Hajj!"

    Postby SandChigger » 04 Dec 2008 20:16

    FH in Dune wrote: Jessica recoiled, fearing she would become lost in an ocean of oneness. Still, the corridor remained, revealing to Jessica that the Fremen culture was far older than she had suspected.

    There had been Fremen on Poritrin, she saw, a people grown soft with an easy planet, fair game for Imperial raiders to harvest and plant human colonies on Bela Tegeuse and Salusa Secundus.

    Oh, the wailing Jessica sensed in that parting.

    Far down the corridor, an image-voice screamed: "They denied us the Hajj!"

    Jessica saw the slave cribs on Bela Tegeuse down that inner corridor, saw the weeding out and the selecting that spread men to Rossak and Harmonthep. Scenes of brutal ferocity opened to her like the petals of a terrible flower. And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina—first by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak...and now developed to subtle strength on Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.

    Far down the inner corridor, another voice screamed: "Never to forgive! Never to forget!"

    The Terminologist wrote:HAJJ: holy journey.

    The Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that devout Muslims are expected to attempt at least once during their lives, begins in a few days, and reminded of this quote in Dune, I've been wondering what this practice would mean in terms of the background story and to future space colonization in the real world.

    In the Duniverse, does this quote not mean that until they were "harvested", the Fremen still engaged in the practice of Hajj? (And if not, how then could they have been "denied" it?) What would have been the destination of their pilgrimage? Mecca on Old Earth? Some "New Mecca" on some "New Earth"? (There were at least two new "Muhammeds", after all; maybe they had their own Meccas?)

    In real world terms, will this practice prevent devout Muslims from participating in long-term colonization voyages (as on generation ships) that will by their nature be one-way and therefore prevent generations from fulfilling the quasi-obligation "to goon on pilgrimage"? (Didn't someone post a link to a news story about Muslims in space? Was that here or over on Dearly Departed 'Keen?)
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 04 Dec 2008 20:39

    Weird. I was just thinking about the Hajj the other day, wondering how many Muslims actually manage to make it. It could get pretty expensive, but I guess people could save up for it... seems like it might be out of reach for poor Muslims, especially the ones way off in Oceana etc.

    I think they'd find a loophole, but by the time we're off colonizing I would expect most of the major religions to have crumbled into "Agnosticized" versions of themselves anyways, if not have fallen almost completely. One can hope... :)

    (Christians have mellowed a bit on average and given up on actually following the rules of their god, though you won't hear them admitting it, so why not the Muslims too given some more time?)
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    Postby SandRider » 04 Dec 2008 21:04

    Thing already posted the immediate thought I had : by the time humans are actually colonizing space, the Sunni & Shia will have either killed each other off, or some John Wayne American President will have bombed them all into submission. (If not, then it's like all the other things your crazy religion denies you - stay home.)

    On the poor-Haji thing, the Saudi government has a massive program set up for aid to Muslims who can't afford the trip - less than fucking third class, tho. Pakis packed in buses like wetbacks, herded from the airport to the sites, ran around the rock a few times, then hustled back on the plane and gotten the fuck out.
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    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 05:55

    Um...CNN had on a Muslim expert (I didn't catch whether he was an imam or what) and he pointed out that the Hajj is not an absolute obligation but one which is expected of those able to fulfill it. That's the official line, at least. So I have to wonder how well and/or widely it has spread among the Muslim "laity".

    I always wonder this time of year how many pilgrims are going to die or be killed in accidents (like collapsing bleachers) while in Saudi Arabia. And which Western country will be chosen as host to some anti-Muslim controversy to draw attention away from Saudi mismanagement, excesses, etc. Denmark got the honor a couple of years back, remember? :roll:

    Muslims in different times and places seem to have exhibited different degrees of "devotion" to the letter of the law and tradition, so maybe future Muslims during the colonization period will be less strict in their observance than current ones and be able to come up with some rationalization that will allow them to fly, but I think one of the lessons of Dune is that people haven't changed much 11,000 or 20,000 years from now.

    We like to emphasize the humanistic philosophical aspects of the Butlerian Jihad and count it a good thing, largely ignoring its pernicious effects, but let's not forget that it was also in important ways a reflex of narrow religious bigotry, and that it was followed not long afterwards by religious riots that killed additional millions. Whatever else they were (will be?), the people of the Duniverse (or at least a large enough percentage of them) at the time of the BJ are not "lukewarm" about their religion.

    And while the upper classes and Guild, etc., may be largely agnostic at the time of Dune, the fervor of the Fremen and "Religions R Us" stock-in-trade of the Bene Gesserit and hidden fanaticism of the Bene Tleilaxu show that religion is far from dead in the future (in Frank Herbert's vision ;) ).
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Dec 2008 17:28

    SandChigger wrote:Muslims in different times and places seem to have exhibited different degrees of "devotion" to the letter of the law and tradition, so maybe future Muslims during the colonization period will be less strict in their observance than current ones and be able to come up with some rationalization that will allow them to fly, but I think one of the lessons of Dune is that people haven't changed much 11,000 or 20,000 years from now.

    We like to emphasize the humanistic philosophical aspects of the Butlerian Jihad and count it a good thing, largely ignoring its pernicious effects, but let's not forget that it was also in important ways a reflex of narrow religious bigotry, and that it was followed not long afterwards by religious riots that killed additional millions. Whatever else they were (will be?), the people of the Duniverse (or at least a large enough percentage of them) at the time of the BJ are not "lukewarm" about their religion.

    And while the upper classes and Guild, etc., may be largely agnostic at the time of Dune, the fervor of the Fremen and "Religions R Us" stock-in-trade of the Bene Gesserit and hidden fanaticism of the Bene Tleilaxu show that religion is far from dead in the future (in Frank Herbert's vision ;) ).


    True all, I was thinking more in RL terms when I said I thought the religions would mellow, not in Dune terms.
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    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 18:55

    True, but it seems to me that the thing goes in cycles. We're living in a particularly sad period of resurgent fundamentalism in many religions, particularly Paulianity and Mohammedism.

    Meh. People are stupid. :wink:
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Dec 2008 19:17

    Stupid indeed :wink: , but I'm hoping there's less need for magic to explain reality as the generations go by. There will always be mini-surges of fundamentalism and cycles within the decline of religion, but I'm hoping (note: hoping, but not fully expecting) it will eventually just die off completely.

    There may still be agnostics at that point in the future that I hope for, since some people seem just have an innate need for the supernatural (and I can't disprove this and therefore don't have a really big problem with it), but I can't see actual religion persevering forever, since every decade more and more "facts" lain out by religions get disproven.

    Might take a while though, by "while" I mean millennia :( , and I would expect some of the Dharmic religions to outlast the peoples of the book.

    EDIT TO ADD: thinking about it though, religion will only go away if most poverty goes away, they tend to go hand-in-hand. THAT could really take a while.
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    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 20:07

    You're basically much more optimistic than I am. ;)

    For too many people, religion is an important part of their identity and self-image. Add a little adversity and persecution, both real and imagined, maybe a pinch or two of ethnicity, and let it simmer long enough and you get a fairly potent little mix with staying power. Jews for 2,000+ years? How about Palestinians in 4008?


    (That's "forty-oh-eight", btw. ;) )
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Dec 2008 20:13

    True nuff, I just can't understand the burning desire to be delusional. :? Makes me more optimistic than is realistic perhaps.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 08 Dec 2008 12:56

    I'm not sure how they would deal with the Hajj, weren't there a few more "prophets" that came after Muhammed? Maybe they had an equivalent to Mecca on each world.

    But there's been a couple of Muslims in space recently:

    http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/ap ... faith.html
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    Postby Freakzilla » 08 Dec 2008 12:58

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:...some people seem just have an innate need for the supernatural.


    I saw a a show on PBS claiming this was actually a form of epilepsy.
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 08 Dec 2008 15:57

    Is it inconceivable that they just flock to Earth Mecca?

    Further, is it inconceivable, based on the Terminologist's wording, that the hajj does not mean precisely the same thing in 10,191 AG?
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    Postby SandRider » 08 Dec 2008 17:21

    Didn't Keith destroy the earth in one of the comics ?
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 08 Dec 2008 19:18

    Not that that matters.

    But anyway the Earth was messed up, then restored, and then used as a nature preserve, no?
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    Postby chanilover » 08 Dec 2008 19:25

    They could go on pilgrammage wherever they liked, I suppose. The Hajj is the only pilgrammage still permitted in Saudi Arabia after the Wahabbis went on the rampage and smashed up all the shrines of pirs, which had attracted pilgrims. It wouldn't take very long for another holy site to symbolically take the place of Mecca.

    I'm not sure how Muslims on another planet would work out the qibla for prayer - maybe they'd point their arms in the sky.
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    Postby SandChigger » 08 Dec 2008 20:26

    Never underestimate the capacity of the religious mind to rationalize a practical solution to such problems. ;)

    Unless Solsys was permanently at the zenith (or nadir? Both nice Arabic-derived words btw ;) ), you could determine some sort of intersection between a line passing through Sol's observed location and the local horizon. Or just wing it and prescribe one.

    That's for the planet-bound, of course. If you're in space, on a ship or station, you could probably find or set up a location with the proper orientation. ;)


    In answer to preceding comments, sometimes repeating from earlier posts:

    The concept of the Hajj per se is obviously still important. Whether the Second or Third (or later?) Muhammeds changed the destination is unclear.

    "Flocking to Earth Mecca" would have been possible within Solsys and after the availability of space-folding, but unlikely before unless you admit some other form of "vroom-vroom".
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 08 Dec 2008 22:01

    SandChigger wrote:"Flocking to Earth Mecca" would have been possible within Solsys and after the availability of space-folding, but unlikely before unless you admit some other form of "vroom-vroom".

    Right, but the hajj is, even these days, only a requirement for those able to actually perform it and, as has been often hypothesized, foldspace may have predated the Guild.
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    Postby SandChigger » 09 Dec 2008 01:06

    True, but it's obviously very important to Muslims. Especially to whoever in Jessica's new Other Memory was bewailing having been denied it.

    I necessarily believe space-folding preceded the Guild, since I prefer not to admit "vroom-vroom", but I don't believe it was much earlier than 3500~3000 B.G. because the Landsraad has been around for only 2,000 years or so at the time of the Jihad (There could of course have been other such bodies before, but none are ever mentioned) and, more significantly, there are only about 13,000 some planets represented in it by the same time; if space-folding had been around for much longer, wouldn't there be more planets settled and with sufficient population or importance to be represented?

    All supposition, of course.

    I don't buy the line that space-folding is needed before any colonization outside Solsys can take place.
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 09 Dec 2008 08:33

    SandChigger wrote:True, but it's obviously very important to Muslims. Especially to whoever in Jessica's new Other Memory was bewailing having been denied it.

    The existence of foldspace likely makes the hajj easier. My neighborhood in Brooklyn has a travel agency in it that specializes in the hajj, so I imagine chartered trips exist with foldspace.
    SandChigger wrote:I don't buy the line that space-folding is needed before any colonization outside Solsys can take place.

    But any sort of generally agreed on hajj destination couldn't exist with any expectation that large numbers of people would be able to make it. Then again, it might be telling that the Terminologist makes no mention of a destination...
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    Postby SandChigger » 09 Dec 2008 09:13

    Indubitably. ;)


    (Seems to be a slow day for Dune topics, you notice? I have zero interest in banning games and sports, collegiate or pro. Oh well.)
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    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Dec 2008 11:34

    Even today, isn't the Hajj one of those things Muslims have to do "if possible"?

    Not every Muslim has the means to make it.
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 09 Dec 2008 12:19

    Exactly, but foldspace likely made it convenient for a larger number of Muslims to do it.
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    Postby SandRider » 09 Dec 2008 12:26

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    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Dec 2008 12:41

    EsperandoAGodot wrote:Exactly, but foldspace likely made it convenient for a larger number of Muslims to do it.


    Well, just look at what happened after Muad'dib's Jihad, Arrakeen was deluged with pilgrims. Jessica made the Guild remove Caladan as one of the stopping places.

    I imagine the places and names will change but there will always be pilgrims. People are sheep.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Dec 2008 12:44

    SandRider wrote:http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1195032866106&pagename=Zone-English-Living_Shariah/LSELayout


    That's very informative, thanks.

    Be sure to check out the muslim mail-order brides on that site too, some of those chicks are hot!

    :P
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