Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My Toenail!

It was around midnight when I felt like cutting my fingernails… toenails actually. My friend who was sleeping over at my place suddenly yelled:

“NOOO! Don’t!”

“Don’t what”

“Don’t cut your nails”


“Cutting your nails at night will bring you poverty”

“heh! who said so?”

“it is written in the ahadeeth”

“which ahadeeth?”

“I don’t’ know but my mother knows”

“Please tell me you’re not serious?”

“Wallah, I’m serious.”

“Hmm! Do you know why Arabs and Muslims are backward my friend?” I said while *tick* the mouth of my nail cutter took a bite out of of my big toe nail. “It is because most people still think the way you do!”

She nodded her head in slight agreement and some hesitation. Of course, how can you expect someone who had been hearing all this nonsense throughout their entire life to change their mind in one night even in the most trivial of things such as cutting your toenails!

Unfortunately, my friend is not unique. As a society in general, our umbilical cord is still attached to the placenta of ignorance in the days of Jahiliyya. We lack the ability to examine the knowledge we receive. We’re just not critical enough…we’re not analytical enough… and we don’t even know our faith enough to the point that we fear questioning some nonsense just because “gee! This might really be part of what I’m supposed to believe in.” “Read!” Gabriel revealed to Muhammad some 1400 years ago and we have yet to do that in the 21st century. Wasn’t it the prophet who said that spending more time learning is better than spending more time praying…that one learned man is harder on the devil than a thousand ignorant worshippers…that the ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr? Wasn’t it Imam Ali who said “Use your intellect to understand something when you hear about it… for surely there are many who repeat the knowledge that they hear, and there are few who examine it.” So why don’t we do that? Why are we a bewildered herd as Chomsky would put it?

Well, the answers are obvious but to overcome them is the challenging task because the problem is that as a nation we’re ignorant and in order to be critical of ourselves we need to have the ability to think and realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with us but to have the ability to do that…we need to be critical to begin with…so basically throughout the past few decades we’ve done a good job of cornering ourselves in a Cath-22 situation and the only way out of this conundrum is to… is to…

I don’t really know!


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Bahrania said...

Never cut ur toenails at night
Never whistle in the toilet
Never leave the prayer mat open
Always do the egg thing under the tyre when you get a new car

would make for an interesting statistical survey!

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Desert Island Boy said...

Take comfort in knowing that when you cut your nails, it was 8 in the morning in Mecca.

Eid Mubarak!

At 11:25 PM, Blogger global soul said...

Thanks DIB.

The results of the survey would be interesting, Bahrania. One would assume that mostly old, traditional, uneducated people hold these beliefs but in fact they're also widely accepted by those who are perceived to be "learned and cultivated". Of course, everyone is free to hold their own personal superstitious beliefs but elevating them into the status of reliable truths is stretching it a bit too far.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger sume said...

My favorites are the ones that make you keep your house clean. Shortly after I converted to Islam, a friend of mine told me these wonderful jinn stories. They all seemed to be an attempt to scare you into keeping your house immaculately clean. She insisted that if I left dishes in the sink, clothes lying about or if my closet was untidy, the black jinn would come and do horrible things to me in my sleep.

I heard that cobwebs also bring poverty. You should also enter the house with your right foot and leave with your left. I forgot why. Anyone know?

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi GS,
Interesting post. Having lived in the Muslim world for 9 years I agree with you. Now to be fair all cultures have their own superstitions, but in Central Asia they are all given the weight and authority of God or the Koran. Most of my friends don't know the Koran as well as I do, so I just kind of laugh, but at the same time I see the people trapped in fear over these things all of the time. You don't stand your broom up in the house do you???

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At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Viagra Online said...

what the hell happen to your friend, believe in something like that, is like I tell you don't broke a mirror, or don't let a black cat cross in front of you.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous safemeds.com said...

hahaha, well many people recommend to cut them after a bath because they are soft, but well i don't like to cut them, I like to have long finger nails.

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous indigo hotel indianapolis said...

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