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When ‘Sheikh Zenki’ becomes a righteous ruler, donkeys bray: ‘O nation whose ignorance other nations laugh at !’

BECAUSE an Arab does not admit to a mistake, is arrogant, and refuses to take responsibility, he tosses everything at others or at fate, and may fabricate stories to support his imagination.

In politics, we have known many such models in the past decades. They fantasize about their position, irrespective of whether they are a group, an organization or a sect. They fight for them to the extent of eliminating other compatriots who belong to the same land and have the right to exist.

The best proof of this is the story narrated by a cleric in his Friday Prayer sermon.

The cleric said, “Three thieves burgled a palace, loaded everything they had seized on the back of a donkey, and fled. On their way, two of them agreed to kill the third so they could take over more shares of their loot. Their plot succeeded… but not long after, one of them thought it would be better to get rid of the other so that he could keep the entire treasure. At night, he killed his partner.

In the morning the last man standing was on his way to his destination and was going down a slope when his foot slipped, his neck broke and he died. The donkey returned to the palace with the stolen treasure.”

One of the worshipers then asked loudly, “If the three thieves died, who told this story, O Sheikh? Was it the donkey?”

The cleric left the pulpit and the mosque, and then the city.

This story reminds me of the things some clerics say in mosques or churches in an attempt to convince people of their point of view, and brainwash them with such poor narratives. The same applies to all Arab politicians except for a blessed few.

This is what the Muslim Brotherhood Group did in Egypt when they wanted to market Muhammad Morsi as the president. One of them gave a sermon in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, claiming that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) visited him in a dream, and said to him, “May the blessed Morsi lead you in prayer”. Another said, “The Messenger (PBUH) was present at one of the congregational prayers, and he asked Morsi to lead the worshipers.”

These individuals are no better than other political orators who try to support their idea with heresies of their own, which are many, including the issue of “divine victories” that Iran’s agents in the region talk a lot about after every battle.

However, if one of them is put on the spot, he flees to silence. One among such people is Yousef Al-Qaradawi, who was the theorist of the so-called “Arab Spring”. He made Hamad bin Jassem a savior who deserved all support, obliterating the reality of the scheme that was intended to arbitrate the Muslim Brotherhood Group in the Arab countries with national instruments and salvation. The issue of the “savior” was just “business”, which increased his wealth by capitalizing in it, as he generously spent about $137 billion on this destructive scheme and got about $30 billion.

When the uprising of the Egyptian people against the rule of the Brotherhood overthrew this scheme on June 30, 2013, Hamad bin Jassim said his famous phrase,“Lost prey”, which is what the Brotherhood considered as the sacred project of the Islamic state.

After this major transformation, the scandals of the planners and implementers began to unfold. They began to blame each other for the failure. If someone tried to evade, they rushed to confront him with the popular Arab adage, “We all buried him.”

This proverb has an interesting story. Drought struck some areas of the Levant, which depended on rain for three years in a row. People became hungry, and the livestock perished. Two people from one of the affected villages met and pondered about what they could do to get out of this crisis?”

One of them said to the other, “I have a donkey which we can ride until it leads us to a place where we can get food.”

After a two-day journey, the donkey died. One of the individuals had the idea to bury him, render his grave a shrine, and tell people that he is a righteous saint.

When men from a neighboring village came to them and asked them who the new grave is for, one of them answered, “This is Sheikh Zenki, a righteous man. He commanded us to bury him here so that people from villages could visit and acquire blessings”.

After people started visiting the shrine, the two started collecting donations from the visitors on behalf of Sheikh Zenki.

After a while, one of the two “monks” thought of his children, and so he traveled to them taking money and food. He stayed with them for a long time, after which he returned to his partner, where he asked for his share of the money.

His partner gave him a small amount, which resulted in an argument between them. His partner told him, “I swear to you by Sheikh Zenki, what I gave you is your share”.

The other said, “Do you swear to me by Sheikh Zenki? Remember that we buried him together, for he is a donkey… So are you swearing to me by a donkey?”

Given that all the partners in the Arab coups and uprisings “did the burial together”, corruption, ignorance, and lack of accountability permeate the Arab world. However, when sectarian and partisan instincts are mobilized, they return to taking cover through generalization and ignorance, and engage in blame games.

The self-esteem of the Arabs refuses to accept when they commit a mistake. Hence the famous Arab poet Al-Mutanabbi was right when he said, “O nation whose ignorance other nations laugh at.”

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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