In the Beginning a Man

In the beginning there was nothing technical, but there was a man, and he was almost always a man, not a woman. Initially, he had some gold and silver, usually on trust from others. His great trick was to play his cards close to his chest. Did he have a hundred or a thousand or a million? No one knew. So when he wrote notes lending ‘money’ to others, people played his poker game. And it worked for a while, and sometimes went horribly wrong. People just love poker.

As the game was so tremendously exciting and could produce splendid results – although the long list of losers committing suicide or retiring in destitution cannot have escaped people’s notice – more and more people piled in, and the amount of money that was or was not there multiplied, if not infinitely, then at least exponentially.

With this quantum money, and well aware of its indefinite nature – is it there or is it not? – the banker lent to some, first of all monarchs. But they were treacherous customers because they could turn on the banker, kill him and seize whatever wealth he had, and sometimes did. When, by dint of lending to them each and every one and pitting them against each other, he had reduced them to penury and token royal status, or had dethroned them, he sought other customers, which was very necessary since his indeterminate money (more often not there than there) had to move or it would vanish. Therefore there had to be a perceived need. The need was called ‘progress’ or ‘development’.

Along the way, finding the monarchs to be so untrustworthy, he resolved to take government itself under his wing, and found willing vassals and customers – in this scenario, a customer is a vassal – in democrats.

Needing to shape the public discourse in all sorts of ways, he took the media into his armoury.

Needing to shape public and private consciousness, he took education, primary, secondary and tertiary, under his wing.

Needing to be able to collect the debts, he took the military into his stable.

Then, as with any religion, he needed his missionaries. They are called Economic Hitmen. Their job is to sell nothing in exchange for everything. The quantum money, which is so indeterminate, has swollen in its indeterminacy to such an extent that we have to say that it is entirely a decreasingly remote probability. In general, there is nothing there. The EHMs’ job is to bamboozle the gullible, of whom there are plenty, into believing that there is something there, and to believe that there is such a thing as progress and development, which can only be bought with money that doesn’t exist. That is double gullibility, but apparently it is almost universal.

So the world has engaged with the mad dream of progress, cannot pay the bill, and the banker sends in his assassins to remove recalcitrant heads of state, or alternatively he organises mobs on the street in colour revolutions, or, failing all else, he sends in the army on some pretext, he does not really care which, as nobody else seems to care.

In all of this, everybody is collateral damage, the entire planet. Property is appropriated on a massive scale, the family is destroyed, women are cast loose on the job market and abused sexually – and children to an appalling degree – to an extent no one could ever have imagined possible, children are handed over to the state for programming to make sure that their ADHD is properly impacted and that they grow up to be useful psychopaths, the eco-system is visibly in collapse, and in the increasingly maddened populace, some spark of insane resistance ignites in a few lonely souls who embark on quixotically psychopathic ventures, blowing themselves up and even more innocents across the earth, which proves very useful for the banker and his minions in their strategic plans.

Faced with the horror of this, the mind reaches for an answer, but, seeing properly how it started, the answer gives itself. Since the beginning was not a system, it was not gold or silver, a bank or money, but a man, the answer is a man. But this man must not believe in money that is not there, or banks and systems or in a progress that leads nowhere or a state that faithfully serves as a vassal to its masters or in the lies of the media and the more insidious lies of education. He must stop believing in the false religion of the age. 

He must be a man.

To achieve that, he must first be a human being. They are a rare and endangered species. Although the human being uses tools, he is not essentially a tool-user. That is not his distinctive characteristic, although it has become the distinguishing trait of modern man in his rage to destroy humanness. Under the sway of the dominant prejudice, this technical idea of tool-use has come to swamp every other characteristic of man, even that which is his genuine nature. 

Conversely, although he is a talking animal, this is not yet what we want to posit, for even his talking has been instrumentalised. Indeed, his language has become weaponised in the service of ideologies to such an extent that its real nature is almost completely obscured. We exist in a gale of words that wage war on each other pitilessly so that most men will find the actual war that is coming a relief, but only for a moment. 

The instrumentalised version of language treats words as conventional socially-agreed labels that expedite our utilisation of things. As a language being, however, man is really a creature of meaning. Whereas language is on the tongue and in the brain, meaning is unseen and is perceived by the heart. Whereas the tool-user and the speaker of  instrumentalised language is opaque and sees only the visible material world, the meaning being becomes alert to the unseen dimension of existence, in comparison with which the visible universe is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This awareness of the unseen and of meaning is the very core of what we conventionally call worship.

Being alert to meaning, the creature of meaning finds himself in the visible world of today like a salmon swimming against a torrent hurtling over the edge of a waterfall to oblivion. Since that is his true nature, it is bracing. He is alive, whereas the flotsam and jetsam that go with the flow are not alive; they are already dead even before the torrent finishes them off.

Being the creature of meaning, the human is intrinsically a social being, since con-sciousness is a with-knowing or a knowing-together. The worshipping being, the meaning being is social in a way that the atomised individuals of the age can only dream of and in a way that can never be achieved by mere management and organisation.

Although few, the people of meaning are not alone and are not lonely, whereas the millions of the savages of contemporary disorder know a loneliness that is intolerable.

Being people of meaning, they find meaning in all their acts. With an eye to our first man whose poker game has brought us to such a pretty pass, the people of meaning refuse to believe in the mime that is modern economics, tokens with writing on them or digital impulses in exchange for their very real wealth, however little, or for the hours of their lives. 

If they exchange gold and silver, it is not because they have been seduced by the two precious metals’ ancient allure, which has led many to hoard and gather them and which served as the foundation for our banker-poker player’s opening gambit. Rather, their emphasis is on spending them and giving them, on their leaving their hands, and on their movement in the world. This is a meaningful act and thus a worship. 

Yet, in this moment, nothing weighs heavier on the people of meaning and nothing more impresses the people without meaning than the gigantic nature of the materialist world-disorder and the pitifully tiny numbers and comparatively impoverished nature of the people of meaning. Yet, in this there is good news for the latter. The sheer dinosauric nature of the beast heralds its extinction. And in the study of the science of Chaos, we see that the immeasurably tiny may have incalculable effects: the butterfly beating its wings in the west may create a hurricane in the east.

The circle is complete. The private nihilism of the poker players has ended in an unparalleled descent into global nihilism. With the people of meaning, the age of nihilism is put behind us and a new age begins. And the salmon presses on against the flow, knowing that ahead of him lies the moment when he will come back with the flow in numbers and in strength.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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