Jabreel’s Inferno

“Per me si va ne la città dolente,

Per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:

Fecemi la divina podestate,

La somma sapienza e ‘l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create

Se non etterne, e io etterno duro.

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate!”*

Lately I have been reading Dante’s Inferno and while usually I can dismiss religious texts, it has inspired me to ponder on the (debated) reality of heaven and hell. I’ve never been a ‘Christian’ girl to the dismay of my Catholic grandmother, although in my youth I entertained the possibility and attended a couple of masses with her, and even wore a beautiful silver cross encrusted with shining azure coloured topaz. Although, I admit I wore it more for the beauty of it than the meanings attached.

My parents both rejected the Christian ways of their parents as they grew older, my father once walked in on my Nanna telling us what to say in prayer and cried in exasperation “Don’t teach them that bullshit!”. I was always told that I didn’t have to participate in Religious Education in Primary School, and while I did go in the beginning, I soon tired of singing ridiculous hymns and remembering verses, and arranged to be removed from the class. I’ve never cared for Christianity.

But I can’t shake the belief in Fate, that destiny controls my path and that I’m lead to come across certain things for my own benefit. I’ve never had an inclination to read the Inferno, but a friend of my sisters lent me a big stack of books and it was in there, along with the other two parts to the trilogy. Even then, I wasn’t too keen, but one of my lecturers mentioned it in class and said that no-one could ever reach the last text, because it was too boring. And so with such a challenge issued to me, how could I refuse?

So I’ve been reading it, and with each circle of Hell Dante passes through I wonder is that where I will be? Is this the torture I will suffer? Then I think, you don’t believe in this fairy tale bullshit do you? That death is followed by another life in a magical realm? Such things couldn’t exist. But then, why have I been influenced to read this book? I never wanted to. And it has planted a seed of doubt in my mind, a seed that may have been destined to fall into place to make me question what the world is about.

Not that I would apply that belief in Heaven and Hell to Christian beliefs, I would think of it as something that would push me back to an Islamic path. Otherwise, why would I have made so many strong Muslim friendships and fallen into their culture and beliefs so easily? In Islam, there is the notion that everyone has the chance to revert and it is up to them to take that chance. It seems to me that I’ve been given so much in the way of Islamic influence, so much information, so many connections, but my feelings towards it being truth are unfounded.

If I was meant to be a Muslim, then why was I born with such strong feelings against organised religion, and an unwillingness to believe anything that was not provable through science? I used to tell my Muslim friends, back when I was still on the path of reverting, that they were lucky to be born in Muslim families, because they never felt the conflict of reason versus faith. They used to tell me that the reasoning and signs that pointed towards Islam were all there, but I was allowing myself to be blind to them.

Another thing that haunts me is a dream I had, back when I was still ‘Islamic’, on the eve of Ramadan. The Ramadan before that I had been fasting only every second day, which was a stark comparison to the Ramadans I’d fasted before, when I would only miss out on a few days. And so, I began to wonder whether this was truly the path for me and said to myself if I couldn’t fast a whole Ramadan, I could never be Muslim.

Anyway, the eve of that Ramadan (I think it was 2005 or 2006) I had a dream that the angel Jabreel (or Gabriel) came to me and told me that I must fast, and that I had to look after a young majnun (Arabic for a crazy person, or mentally retarded person) or all would be lost. He didn’t exactly say those words, and in all honesty I can’t remember any exact words or even remember his lips moving, I just remember the message. And in my dream he was shining with a bright golden light around him, he had golden hair and bright, intense, scary blue eyes and he was so powerful that I was overwhelmed with fear, I was completely freaked out by him in a way that I can’t even properly explain.

I woke up straight away and then immediately thought, it wasn’t real, it was just a dream and turned to my side and closed my eyes. The moment my eyelids shut I saw the vision of him again, just as frightening as before, and I quickly opened them with a gasp. It was 6am, or something close to it, and the sun was shining into my room. I was pretty cut that I’d woken up so early because it meant I’d be awake and so, fasting longer, but I was too afraid to close my eyes. It would have been a good start to a Ramadan, being up so early and having a lot of time to listen to Islamic lectures and learn to pray, but that Ramadan I barely fasted at all. I ignored the message.

When I told my Muslim friends of the dream they were astounded. My best friends mother interpreted it and said that it was a very good dream, that it was extremely rare that one would be blessed to receive an angel in their dream and that the majnun was myself. They all could not believe that even after such a powerful and scary dream I was still holding back from reverting. Sometimes, neither can I. But then I think of the world through eyes of logic and reason, and Islam seems once again like a strange fantasy.

I still feel the guilt though, and I can’t shake it, especially after drinking. Even now, I feel bad for every sin and I try to stay ‘pure’. I wonder where I got it from, I was never enough of a Catholic to begin the guilt process. Its so weird being stuck in the middle. But I can’t get past the parts of the religion that I feel are wrong, even though it feels like Fate leads me towards it so often.

So I let it go.

*Translation: Through me is the way into the woeful city; through me is the way into eternal woe; through me is the way among the lost people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the primal Love made me. Before me were no things created, unless eternal, and I eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!

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20 Responses to “Jabreel’s Inferno”

  1. Domino Says:

    When it comes to religion I’m too naive to make any real judgment…I just find my place in the middle ground…I’m to skeptic to actually believe but I still try not to say Jesus Christ in the swearing sense…If I don’t believe I shouldn’t care…and yet I kinda do…stuff like that is basically as far as I go..probably because I used to go to church when I was little…middle ground is so annoying..it should be simpler lol

  2. LuLi Says:

    I think there would be a lot of people who feel the same way, in some ways it feels like religion takes a background role in society but it still holds a lot of influence over people. Its hard to force yourself to think that when you die there will be nothing, no reunion with family and friends, no darkness, just a ceasing of existence. That kinda scares me.

  3. This Devil's Workday Says:

    It’s pretty natural to want to believe in something. I keep looking as well, but unfortunately the only things I ever find that I can accept as truth depress me – the nothing and the darkness of death.

    I’d like to believe there’s something afterwards, but I just can’t come to accept anything that can’t be proven.

    So I say, why think too much about it? It’ll ruin the surprise.

    And yes I know I know I just said don’t think too much about it because I probably think about it a hell of a lot!

  4. LuLi Says:

    Atheism is depressing. I like believing that there is a point, I just don’t want the point to lead to me being burned for eternity or that whole nothingness thing.

    But you’re right, I’m never gonna know, not until I die, so I may as well just go with the flow and live life how I’m comfortable doing it. Following whatever signs I can decipher and trying to maintain my own morals – if I do have a destiny, it must have known I was going to follow that path anyway, true?

  5. John Surnane Says:

    You should really stay off drugs.

    I want to believe UFOs exist. They don’t. Shit happens.

  6. LuLi Says:

    You know us crazy kids and our drug related philosophy sessions! Weirdos!

    Seriously though Surname, we are one planet in one solar system amongst a million billion kajillion other stars which could have heaps of planets circling them, it seems to be mere common sense to believe in other life.

  7. j..... Says:

    So you find atheism depressing. Such a pitty it won’t work for you. You will never know what you’re missing 😛

    Then… wah… why not become a buddhist? An orthodox judaist? A zoroastrian? A belover 😛 of Moloch? Or Mar (-u) duk?

    & what about Satan, btw? LOL

    I don’t «know» you – and yet I think you already believe in yourself, although sometimes doubt still creeps in… That’s a good beginning. Keep things simple and take it easy.

    You have an entire life to find nothing. Don’t start killing your head right now… And yes, sometimes drugs can help with… that.

    But also with God and UFOS. Funny thing, drugs. Heh?

    P.S. – If you are reading the «Inferno», then either some professor «asked» you(r class) to do so, or you are a veeeery patient girl. If the former, my prayers are with you. If the latter, read the full triptych. It can be rewarding.

    *

  8. LuLi Says:

    I know, I always wanted to be able to say I was atheist too, if for no other reason than to annoy the passionate religion believers.
    Zoroastrian kinda sounds cool, don’t know what it is, but it makes me think of masked rebels criss crossing their swords across starry skies.. I could believe in that.
    Thanks for the advice, I think you’re right, I should stop doing my head in!
    Drugs definitely have a way of putting things into (a better? weirder?) perspective.. lol.
    I’m reading it for myself and I plan on finishing all three, but I’m not sure on the patience thing, I think I’m patient? Yeah I am, kinda. I’m thorough, anyway. That should be enough.

  9. This Devil's Workday Says:

    I don’t think you can actually decide to become a Zoroastrian. Don’t you need to be born into it?

    I’ve never understood the attraction to fate – what is it about it that makes people hope it exists? The idea that everything will be OK? I don’t think any “God” would find it necessary to plan our lives out, it would kind of beat the point. And wouldn’t you much rather be in control?

    I don’t call myself an Atheist. I probably am one, but I just hate the idea of being labelled. I’m nothing. When it comes to religion, I’m nothing.

  10. LuLi Says:

    Couldn’t tell you, don’t know much about those Zoroastrians.. I did a little wiki search on them and it got too confusing too fast so I’ll stick to not knowing for now.

    The way I see fate is not in the way that it will make life okay, but more that what I go through is for a reason and that I’m learning. And while I think that there is a certain path I’m following, I think that I divert my course with my own decisions, good or bad, and that I get off track and make a new way. So I’m still in control, just sometimes life puts things right in my lap for me, or give me hints when I’m on the right track.

    I don’t trust anything to any god or hope that life will go easy on me because I’m intrinsically good, I just think that one day I will look back and go “Ahhh, thats why that happened.” or “That taught me a valid lesson.”

  11. j... Says:

    ThisDevil’sW—day,

    «Don’t you need to be born into it?»

    No. After a quick search:

    «As demonstrated by Zoroastrianistic creed and articles of faith, the two terms are effectively synonymous. In a declaration of the creed — the Fravarānē — the adherent states: “…I profess myself a devotee of Mazda, a follower of Zarathustra.” (Yasna 12.2, 12.8)»

    If (…), a profession of faith would be redundant. Religion is never too blatantly redundant. (Look, even the Luli asks herself «what if?!») Nobody would care. Ever.

    Same source, lol

    «Proselytizing and conversion: Parsi Zoroastrians do not proselytize. In recent years, however, Zoroastrian communities in Iran, Europe and the Americas have been more tolerant towards conversion. While this move has been supported officially by the Council of Mobeds in Tehran, Iran, it has not been endorsed by the priesthood in Mumbai, India.»

    Ok, you’ll have to follow the iranian school.

    L~ – so fine you decided to read such a classic for yourself. Next year or so 😛 – when u’re done – go for Rabelais.

    Oh, who am I to suggest…? :\

  12. Bron Says:

    Interesting post, LuLi. I’m on a similar path, except from Catholicism to Judaism.

  13. LuLi Says:

    J – I always welcome book recommendations J, so thanks I will check out Rabelais.

    Bron – That is quite similar, Islam and Judaism are remarkably alike even though the followers seem to hate each other!

  14. This Devil's Workday Says:

    I wondering if driving a Mazda counts…

    Come on. Don’t tell me you weren’t waiting for someone to say something about Mazda.

  15. LuLi Says:

    You know, I’ve always wanted a Mazda Rx7 s6.

  16. j. Says:

    That was a cutie. Funny, the RX8 doesn’t have the same appeal. Looks «cheap», lacking character… Well, whatever.

  17. j. Says:

    TDW – I was.

    😛

    (Gone.)

  18. This Devil's Workday Says:

    RX8 all the way!

    One of my friends’ Dad’s was going to buy his wife a Mercedes. Then he turned around and said “I think I’m going to get you a Mazda 6 instead”.

    It was almost as if the Mercedes was just a red herring. Imagine that!

  19. Mudassar Butt Says:

    hey was just browsing your blog just wanted to let you know the old that you saw in your ream was actually an indication of nafs (which means inner desires) and the the angel as you call it you saw was actually according to your description was a manifestation of Iblis (AKA Shaitan AKA Devil AKA Azaizel) because everything that which you see in your dreams that is considered haram (prohibited due to some harmful effects on the human body some of which science is now proving to be true) has some kind of negative Tabeer (AKA dream meaning). I am not saying to discredit your friends mom from which you asked about the Tabeer of your dream, what I am suggesting that you should have had a second or third or a fourth opinion from some other religious scholar who had acquired the art of llm-Tabeer. (Knowledge of dreams and their meanings). or you could have looked up the manuscipt of Tabeer Nama Al Yousufi.

    Any ways I am also an avid Manga and Anime fan (AKA otaku) as well as animator/cartoonist. and I really like you blog keep it up and best of luck for the future.

    PS: I also want to apologize that i left this reply in one of your other blog entries as a mistake by the title :Needs Moar Gyaru.
    heck I’m new to blogging. any way you can delete that one.

  20. LuLi Says:

    Thanks for the info about the meaning! I’m not a muslim myself so I never really followed this up, although if I had of reverted like I planned to I definitely would have. I’m glad you like my blog, welcome to the blogosphere!

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