Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

More Freaky Numerology

The UIA list has chosen to spin its assigned number ‘555’ away from homosexual and pedophilic connotations towards something more poignant by finding the relevant verse 5:55 in the Koran. They struck propaganda gold. This, naturally, has become their campaign motto:


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


إنما وليكم الله ورسوله والذين آمنوا


السورة5 آية 55

Sura 5: Al-Ma’ida (The Tablespread) Surra
Verse 55: “Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,-those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship).”

Transliteration: “Innama waliyyukumu Allahu warasooluhu wallatheena amanoo allatheena yuqeemoona assalata wayutoona azzakata wahum rakiAAoon.”

This is the Yusuf Ali translation, in other words, where Sunnis like to qualify the term “wali” (from which “waliyyukumu” is derived) as ‘friend’. The Shi’ites attach a whole different meaning to this word, and they go for a ‘patron’ with temporal authority. This all goes back to Ghadeer Khum, where the Prophet Muhammad, shortly before he died in 632 AD and while en route to his last Hajj to Mecca, said the following:

“O people don't you know that I am awla with the believers from their selves. They said: Yes. Whosever's mawla I am from now on Ali is his mawla”.


Which either meant: lay off my recently-arrived cousin and son-in-law Ali for messing-up the mission he was assigned to perform in Yemen and consider him a ‘friend’, OR (and pay attention because this alternative interpretation is why we have Shias and Sunnis in this world) Ali is my successor and your ‘patron’.

So in the Shia sense, which is where the UIA is seeking votes, verse 5:55 instructs Iraqis to cast their votes to whom God has assigned as their ‘patrons’: those in the ‘fellowship of the believers’.

Gotta say, the fundamentalists spun this one very nicely. But is it enough to get people to picture anything other than Sa’adi Al-Hilli when they hear the number 555?

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