Prime Minister of Zebibahstan
Several Jihad Watch readers commented on the prayer-bruise in the middle of terrorist Parviz Khan’s forehead. For pious Muslims, this replaces the pineal gland that the Cartesian French may flaunt. The name for this sign of zealotry is "zebibah."
Infidel officers, attempting to deal with Muslim rioters, might give the order "Don't fire until you see their zebibahs."
Of course, the notion that only those with telltale zebibahs need worry us is comforting, but because it offers false comfort, it is itself a source of worry. It is not only those who flaunt that bathetic bruise of piety who are deeply committed to the duty of Jihad, but hundreds of millions of Muslims who take that duty seriously, but need have no zebibah as an outward sign of an inward determination.
The word "zebibah," incidentally, in Arabic means "raisin," which thus returns us by a commodious vicus back to Luxenberg's "Syro-Aramaische Lesen" ("a Syriac reading") of the Qur'an, and those famous "raisins" that he suggests were promised to Muslims in Paradise, rather than the traditional (never questioned by those who could not conceive of a Syriac, that is Aramaic, Ur-text or substratum, to the Qur'an) dark-eyed houris and pearly boys.
"Zebibahstan" is the name I give to that virtual land, across all frontiers, that consists of the fanatically and obviously pious. The most famous zebibah is that of Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Neither Bin Laden, however, nor the late Imad Mughniyeh, appeared to possess the zebibah. It is now quite the fashion in Egypt, where the turn to ever-more fanatical Islam reflects despair at the despotism and economic paralysis, and the problem that cannot, by those same Muslims turning their mountain of misery into the molehill of the zebibah, ever be recognized: that the very political and economic failures of their societies, the ones that cause them to turn more and more to the sole solace of Islam, are in fact the result of Islam itself.
For the political despotism so widespread in Muslim lands reflects the Muslim view of the universe, wherein political legitimacy is located not in the expressed will of the people, but in the will expressed by Allah, and in the ruler if he can continue to be seen as a Believer. And what rulers, Mubarak, the Al-Saud, any of them, would not be able to buy off or threaten local clerics to give them their imprimatur, signifying that they are "good Muslims"? Furthermore, the habit of submission -- the key to Islam -- including mental submission, is a habit easily transferred from submission to the will of Allah to submission to the will of the Ruler. Islam is a collectivist faith, and the rights of the individual must always yield to the greater good of the Ummah, and that is, to the greater good of Islam. That is why Muslims who question the faith are not allowed outwardly to jettison it -- it would damage the "image" and therefore the power, the attractiveness, of Islam. In the same way, challenging a Muslim ruler in the name of some un-Islamic concept -- "democracy" in the Western sense, not in the "consultative" version that Bernard Lewis likes to insist has always been part of Islam and therefore, he claims, demonstrates that "democracy" is not foreign to it -- is impermissible, unless it can be demonstrated that such a ruler is not, in truth, a good Muslim. Mere corruption is not sufficient.
And if Islam encourages submission to the ruler, even the despotic ruler, it also helps to explain economic stasis. Some Muslim states are very rich, but only because of an accident of geology. Some are poor but manage to get along because they receive Infidel infusions of aid -- a disguised Jizyah. A few Muslim countries rely on harnessing the industriousness and entrepreneurial flair of their non-Muslim populations -- such as Malaysia with its Chinese and Hindus. And one, Turkey, has an economy that manages to function, but Turkey is also the only Muslim country to have been subject, for 80 years, to the systematic constraints put on Islam that helped create a secularized class that, in large part, created whatever economic well-being Turkey enjoys. Though much is now made of "Islamic success stories" in Turkey -- factories in Konya owned by Erdogan supporters, for example -- almost all of the economic activity that matters is conducted by the secular class. Inshallah-fatalism is not conducive to economic activity.
But those turning to more and even more Islam, signified by the zebibah, out of political and economic despair, are turning to the mantra "Islam is the solution." For no one inside Islam, and what is still worse, no one outside of Islam, has noted (as has been done here for more than four years), that the failures, political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral, of Islamic societies are the result of Islam itself.
That is an understanding that Infidels must first grasp, and then show that they grasp it, and unhesitatingly discuss this understanding. In time, Muslims will have to recognize, and take into account, this Infidel view of things, and can no longer blame the Infidels for everything. And the keenest minds in the world of Islam will, openly if obliquely, manage in time to acknowledge the accuracy of that observation.