Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Who is going to light the candles? Michael Young now pontificates on Islamic religious (and historical) matters. I mean, he is quite qualified to pontificate as the neo-conservative-in-residence at the Daily Star, in whom Jumblat confides about his Bushite inspirations. But to pose as an expert on Islam now? Well, here he says: "Whether it is Sabbah the Ismaili or Assad the Alawite, both men hail from sects that are offshoots of mainstream Twelver Shiism." He is commenting on what Jumblat allegedly told Nasrallah during the so-called dialogue sessions. But what Young does not know is that neither Ismailis nor `Alawites are actually offshoots of Shi`ite twelvers. How can the Ismai`ilis, also known as the Seveners ("Seveners" for reasons that Young will not understand), be an offshoot of Twelvers, when the Islam`ili line of descent from `Ali does not extend to the twelfth Imam? And in fact, Hasan As-Sabbah belonged not to an offshoot of Shi`ite twelvers, but to the Nizari branch of the Ismai`ilis. In fact, the Druze connection to the Ismai`lis is much closer than that of the Twelver Shi`ites, which totally undermines the point that Young, hoping to sound knowledgeable on Islamic history, was trying to make. Druzes are in fact offshoots of Fatimid Isma`ilis. And if Jumblat was trying to be smart, if in fact he made that remark, he also shows ignorance about As-Sabbah, but he simply buys the legend that was concocted about him by chronicles of Crusades. In fact, there is no evidence that As-Sabbah actually killed anybody, and will not get into whether the Hashshashin were really intoxicated. Young is also inaccurate in maintaining that `Alawites are offshoots of Twelvers since Ibn Nusayr (hence, Nusayriyyah) declared himself the bab of the 10th Imam (10th Imam, o Daily Star expert on Islam, 10th.). But wait: what if Young used the word offshoot and did not know what it meant, and what if Young learns about Islam from the 700 Club? That would not surprise me. But then again, he, like most Lebanonese, probably thinks that Walid Jumblat is a deep intellectual because he reads the New York Review of Books (and Jumblat always brags about that). Sa`d Hariri reads the National Inquirer but I don't see him bragging. And historically, `Alawites were not considered part of Twelver Shi`ism and the "privilege" of considering `Alawites "Shi`ite twelvers" was only accorded by Imam Musa As-Sadr, and only for political reasons due to his close relationship with the Syrian regime of Hafidh Al-Asad. I am trying to sleep, o Michael Young. Please turn off the light. But wait: since you are the expert on offshoots. Is Hummus an offshoot of Baba Ghannuj? Thanks.