Soon, a secretive group of worshipers tried to recruit the young widow, telling her that she could help bring the holy figure back to Earth. All she had to do was sleep with the group’s male followers. — from this article
What a line. Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker, so what can a young Muslim male do when in a Muslim country there’s very little candy, and liquor is haram, and besides, marriages are arranged, and you often can’t see the girl you are about to marry, much less do anything else with her? You use whatever comes to hand, and what comes to hand to these randy rapists with their crazed stories is patter about hastening the Great Day.
For in Muslim societies, everything — political dissent, or the search for sexual solace — must be put in Muslim terms, seen as part of the universe of Islam. Here the con men in question tried both men and women: the widow-woman seeking comfort, and the unemployed man, also at his wit’s end, seeking his own solace in a speeded-up messianism. She is supposed to offer herself; he is supposed to offer up his wife, his sister, his daughter, to the fine fellows in the Shi’ite group he wishes to join.
In the West, when conducting Da’wa in prisons, Muslim missionaries allow “New Muslims” (reverts converts) to believe that their sociopathic or at least criminal behavior can be seen as not robbery and rape, but rather as way to follow Islam, by helping themselves, even in a society still dominated by Infidels, to a kind of Jizyah-through-robbery, and to help themselves to the women of the Infidels too, but justifying it as a natural response — sorry, can’t be helped! — to the way those non-Muslim women dress, which means they were asking for it, and deserved it, and got it.
And in the Muslim lands, Islam-based beliefs (as in Shia Islam, the belief in the appearance of the Mahdi), we see from this piquant example, can be used to justify taking advantage, in some way, of fellow Muslims (such as those with near-moron I.Q.’s who are sometimes used as suicide bombers), where what is really on offer is “rape” but rape “for religious reasons.” That’s the way to make it plausible, and while the article linked above mentions two cases in which the intended victims did not fall for the appeal, how many cases go unmentioned in which such an appeal was successful?
There is something definitely boccaccesco about this story, but the similarity in the use of religion by the monk Rustico, who seduces the innocent Alibech in Il Decamerone (Third Day, Tenth Story) — it’s the famous tale of Putting The Devil Back In Hell — should not be exaggerated. This Islamic version is far more sinister.
Anyway, here’s a bit of the tale for the comparative-literature delegation that is so strongly represented among visitors to this site:
…she [the young and innnocent Alibech] came to the cell of a young hermit, a very pious and righteous man, whose name was Rustico. To him she repeated her mission. Willing to put his resolution to so great a test, he forebore to send her away, and took her into his cell. At nightfall he made her a bed of palm-leaves, and bade her lie down to rest.
Temptations did not long delay an assault on his constancy; and finding it much beyond his strength to withstand them, he soon gave up the battle, and confessed himself worsted. So putting away all saintly thoughts, prayers and mortifications, he let his mind dwell on the freshness and beauty of his companion. From this he passed to thinking of the best means of bringing her to his desires without giving her cause to suspect him of lewdness. Therefore, satisfying himself by a few questions that she had never had carnal knowledge of a man, and was indeed as innocent as she seemed, he thought of a plan to enjoy her under colour of serving God. He began expounding to her the Devil’s enmity to the Almighty, and went on to impress upon her that the most acceptable service she could render to God would be to put the Devil in Hell, whereto the Lord had condemned him.
The little maid asked him how this might be done. “Thou shalt soon learn,” replied Rustico, “only do as thou seest me do.” Thereupon he took off what few clothes he wore, and stood stark naked; and as soon as the girl had done likewise he fell on his knees as though to pray, and made her kneel face to face with him.
This done, Rustico’s desire was more than ever inflamed at the sight of her beauty, and the resurrection of the flesh came to pass. Seeing this, and not knowing what it meant, Alibech asked: “Rustico, what is it thou hast that thrusts itself out in front, and that I have not?” “My daughter,” quoth Rustico, “it is that same Devil of whom I have been telling thee. Dost thou mark him? Behold, he gives me such sore trouble that I can hardly bear it.”
“The Lord be praised!” said she; “for now I see that I am more blessed than thou in that I have not this Devil.”
Rustico retorted: “Thou sayest truly; but thou hast another thing that I have not, and hast it in place of this.”
“What is that?” says Alibech.
To this Rustico replied: “Thou hast Hell; and will tell thee my belief that God gave it thee for the health of my soul. For, if thou wilt take pity on me for the troubling of this Devil, and suffer me to put him in Hell, thou wilt comfort me extremely, and at the same time please and serve God in the highest measure; to which end, as thou sayest, thou art come hither.”
All unsuspecting, the girl answered. him: “My father, since I have this Hell, let the thing be done when thou desirest it.”
Then Rustico said: “Bless thee, my dear daughter; let us go at once and put him in his place, that I may be at peace.”
So saying, he laid her on one of their rough beds, and set about showing her how to shut the accursed one in his prison. The girl, who until then had no experience of putting devils in Hell, felt some pain at this first trial of it; which made her say to Rustico: “Father, this Devil must indeed be wicked, and in very sooth an enemy of God, for he hurts Hell itself, let alone other things, when he is put back in it.”
“My daughter,” said Rustico, “it will not always be so.” And to make sure of it, before either of them moved from the bed they put him in six times, after which the Devil hung his head and was glad to let them be.
But in the succeeding days he rose up many times; and the girl, always disposing herself to subdue him, began to take pleasure in the exercise, and to say such things as: “I see now the truth of what the good folk in Capsa told me, that serving God is a delight; for I never remember doing anything that gave me as much joy and pleasure as this putting the Devil in Hell. So I think the people who spend their time otherwise than in serving God must be very foolish.”
Often she would come to Rustico and say: “Father, I came hither to serve God, not to stand idle. Let us go put the Devil in Hell.” And once, when it had been done, she asked: “Rustico, why does he want to get out of Hell? If only he would stay there as willingly as Hell takes him in and holds him, he would never want to come out at all.” By thus constantly egging him on and exhorting him to God’s service the girl so preyed upon Rustico that he shivered with cold when another man would have sweated. He had perforce to tell her that it was not just to punish the Devil by putting him in Hell save when he had lifted his head in pride; and that by God’s mercy they had so chastened him that he only implored Heaven to be left in peace. Thus for a time he silenced her.
But she, finding that Rustico did not call on her to put the Devil in Hell, said one day: “Even though your Devil is punished and no longer troubles you, my Hell gives me no peace. You will do a charity if with your Devil you will quiet the raging of my Hell, as with my Hell I tamed the pride of your Devil. To these demands Rustico on a diet of herbs and water could ill respond; and he told her that to appease Hell would need too many devils, none the less he would do all that in him lay. At times he could satisfy her, but so seldom that it was like feeding an elephant with peas. Therefore the girl thought she was not serving God as well as she would like, and she grumbled most of the time.
Whilst things stood thus amiss between Rustico’s Devil and Alibech’s Hell, for overmuch eagerness of the one part and too little performance of the other, a fire broke out in Capsa and burned the father of Alibech with his children and every one of his kin, so that Alibech became the sole heiress to his goods. Whereupon a certain Neerbale, a young man who had wasted his patrimony in high living, sought for Alibech in the belief that she was alive, and succeeded in finding her before the Court had declared her father’s goods forfeit as being without an owner. Much to the relief of Rustico and against the girl’s will, Neerbale brought her back to Capsa and married her, so becoming entitled in her right to a large fortune.
One day, when as yet Neerbale had not lain with her, some of her women asked how she had served God in the desert. She replied that she had served Him by putting the Devil in Hell, and that Neerbale had committed a grievous sin in taking her from such pious work. Then they asked: “How is the Devil put in Hell?” To which the girl answered with words and gestures showing how it had been done. The women laughed so heartily that they have not done laughing yet, and said to her: “Grieve not, my child; that is done as well here. Neerbale will serve God right well with thee in this way.”
As one repeated the words to another throughout the town, it became a familiar saying that the most acceptable of all services to God is to put the Devil in Hell. The saying has crossed the sea and become current among us, as it still is.
Wherefore, young ladies, I beseech you if you would deserve Heaven’s grace, lend yourselves to the putting of the Devil in Hell; for it is a thing beloved of God, pleasing to the participants, and one from which much good comes and ensues.
A thousand times and more were the chaste ladies moved to laughter by Dioneus”s novel, so much were his phrases to their liking. And the Queen perceiving that as his tale was ended, her office had expired, took the crown of laurel from her head and graciously placed it on the head of Philostratus, saying: “Now we shall see whether the wolf will rule the sheep better than the sheep ruled the wolves.” At this Philostratus laughed, and retorted: “If I had my way, the wolves would have taught the sheep to put the Devil in Hell, no less well than Rustico taught Alibech. Since we did not, call us not wolves, for ye were no sheep. Howbeit, I will reign as best I may, seeing ye have laid the trust on me.
As old texts confirm, from the Rosetta Stone to Rosetta Tharpe, there are strange things happening every day. Perhaps this excerpt posted above (“Mettere il diavolo in Inferno”) from Il Decamerone will lead to revival-readings of Boccaccio, complete with shout-outs from De mulieribus claris, all over this land. The Decameron, after all, surely has had a similar effect on readers as did that celebrated book Dante calls the “galeotto,” the one that Paolo and his belle-soeur Francesca read together, as described in Inferno, Canto V, before they decided, that day, that they would read, fatally, no further. In deliberate allusion to Dante’s inspirational “galeotto,” Boccaccio even had another title ready for his Decameron: “Prince Gallehault.”
But now I’ve wandered a bit, if not exactly into a wild wood, at least into an academic grove, franco-fideian or carlo-ginzburgian, insufficiently familiar to me, and I’d better find the straight path, and get out fast, while the getting is good.