The usual argument was going on at the Sufi forum. A group were arguing that true Sufism is a cure to the disease that is Islam. The traditional adherents of Tassawuf were incensed at this provocation. But of course such remarks recently made them feel slightly ambiguous, because mainstream Islam’s relationship with its mystical child had become strained to the point of breaking.
The provocateur said: “The problem with your Tassawuf is that its basis is an Islam within a Tasawwuf within an Islam. And this holds it back: the child needs to be freed of its violent, hateful parent for good!”
The Tailor replied: “The problem of aggression is much bigger than that. For the aggression of Islam today — the aggression you all know exists and would either deny as true Islam or else affirm as its true horror — this aggression sources its polemic from the State of Israel. Whatever is said or done, all polemic returns eventually to Israel. In a way, I agree: the problems of Islam, and their solution, lie in Israel. And the problems of Tasawwuf are the problems of Islam.”
He then broke into verse:
They dispute the violence of faith’s assertion
That horror from which we turn away in our remembrance
But which lurks behind us, calling itself our legacy
And now beside me, here, in this city’s arguments: denied by those who love the Seal more than they love life itself, with tears that belie unconscious affirmation
Of their brothers who look into the darkness of their soul and gaze upon the face of that Elohim’s self-fear hypostatized without.
And they would wear armor in this forest offensive.
But from whom do they purchase their armor?
And in retaliation, martyred monks arise from their graves and leave the city for southern deserts, clothed in wool.
But from what lamb is it woven?
But from what lamb is it woven?
May the territories realise the threefold truth,
The axioms of our tribe were laid bare at the beginning of our journey
Offerings of comprehension made by the sons, subject to bitter bifurcation until only threads of charity remain, the books are wiped clean and kings lose their hope at the steps of the guillotine.
And then at this moment of execution, the republic breathes reprieve as kings are crowned by water.
And then at this moment of execution, Hizbollah and the Israeli army enter the city of Safed and, rendered drunk by its pharmaceutical completion, discard their clothes and make psychedelic love, rainbows projected upon naked flesh, houris deal out ecstacy pills promptly popped at the republic’s revolutionary rave
And free love is declared.
And the soldiers abide within each other: one army exists within the other army.
For this is the moment, a moment of conclusion, perhaps in millennia hence, perhaps in a hundred years or less,
Or perhaps last September, in some Ramadan induced dream,
The moment of conclusion:
An Israel within an Islam within an Israel.
The Tailor completed his recitation.
The people quietened for a moment and considered.
Someone said: “Are you espousing a kind of cosmic homosexuality as a solution for the problem of war? I doubt the armies would agree to that!”
The Tailor laughed and replied: “Lacan certainly equates aggression — or rather, aggresivity — with type of homosexuality, in the sense that it does not involve opposition but, rather, a war against an other who appears as a rival — an equal, not an opposite to the self — for the Mother’s affection. Sometimes, this is productive. Perhaps a modern philosopher or a psychoanalyst like Lacan might say it is in fact an endless struggle. But if we believe in God, then we believe in a peace at all levels of existence that can somehow eventuate. And I have just given a recipe for that.”
Then man said: “Can you please explain what you mean by ‘An Israel within an Islam’ as a solution to the problems of Sufism. This is a curious thing to say, particularly for me, as I happen to be a citizen of the state of Israel and I also consider myself a Sufi!”
The Tailor replied thus:
Yes, this piece is indeed about the current ongoing conflict over the physical, geopolitical state of Israel at the beginning of the 21st century. And I am proposing a solution for peace.
But I employ the contemporary bias in order to make a universal point. The fact that the Islamist groups are infatuated with this particular conflict is significant for all wars waged by religions. Because the current conflict embodies the archetypes of every other religious war: dating back to Cain and Abel. Recall that their conflict was, after all, one of jealousy over who made the better offering and — at a deeper level — the means by which the offering was made.
So I propose to a solution to realise peace everywhere. Most importantly, peace within physical conflicts. But I also believe I have a solution to find everlasting peace by completing what is missing in Islamic Tassawuf itself, which, I guess controversially, I believe is only a means to broker temporary truces. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this: I am wearing woolen underpants, so, yknow, I’m saying this believing that I am still part of the club.
My solution is on the face of it perverse because I propose that this peace will be achieved by the very armies that currently wage war.
Let me spell out the peace process, making the poetry specific (and therefore doing myself a disservice but never mind, I am not hung up on that particular garment).
Step 1. The armies must realise their true names. Hizbollah means the party of Allah. Bin Laden won’t be happy, but let’s say they stand in for all jihadists everywhere. What is an Islamic military party of Allah? It consists of a regime of actions formed under the name of Submission/Praise/Reception/Majesty/Aaron. The Israeli armed forces are the Foot Soldier of Israel. What is the Foot Soldier of Israel? It is a regime of actions formed under the name of Victory/Giving/Moses.
The realisation of their true names is simply to think prophetically (following the sunnah of Muhammed): the truth lies before them, in front of them, in the very language games they have constructed for themselves. The armies need to sit down and think about what it really means to be Hizbollah and the Foot Soldier of Israel.
Step 2. Once this is done, the armies must realise that, even though their names are realised, there will still be no peace and war will continue.
The war is over Israel. What is Israel? Its name is Beauty/Jacob/Prophecy married to the Feminine (the Bride of the Sabbath). We might conceive of this marriage as an axis, with Hizbollah on the left and the Foot Soldier of Israel on the right.
Both armies exist on the left and right and, as long as they cling to their own individual names, they are in conflict with each each other and — importantly — in conflict with their own nature, because, I argue, their true nature is to contain each other.
An example in the case of Islam, because it is that army that I speak for: Occasionally the detractors of Islam claim that it worships the the Golden Calf, falling into the error of Aaron. Quite right, although not at the level they consider. Islam can fall into the worship of its own name: submitting to submission. The Calf here is understood as one of the Calves that carry the chariot seen by Ezekiel: it is indeed part of the God-complex, but the complex is only any good when the names contain each other, flowing into each other, unified with each other. For the common folk, this leads to the kind of religious practice that is all hung up on the ceremony of salat but doesn’t lead to any contact with the Divine. And yes, this is the source of violence in the religion of Islam. But also for the esoteric elite, this kind of Calf is also a real danger, because submission without Beauty, submission without the Bride (a matyrdom without Houris) is a form of cosmic harm.
(This is why both ibn al-Arabi and the Zohar speaks derogatively of Islamic mystics as worshipping a golden calf of fana, the dawning of the Light, but both forgive them this mistake because, at least, they are sincere in this limited submission.)
Step 3. For peace to be realised, a homosexual merging is necessary. Cosmically, the Foot Soldier of Israel must embrace and be contained by — the Party of Allah. And, in turn, the Party of Allah must embrace and be contained by the Foot Soldier of Israel. The Foot Soldier carries the banner for Israel: it contains Israel — the Beauty of Prophecy and the marriage to the Bride — as potential. And, in this sense, the union will result in an Israel inside Islam inside Israel.
Armor must be discarded at this point, and, importantly, it must take place in the city of Safed, where the peace process was drafted by a master pharmacist a number of centuries. Clearly armor needs to be dissolved if we are to get it on Wisely. This understanding is preempted in the Prophecy of Muhammed, in the case of the narration of Aisha: “Allah’s Apostle bought food from a Jew and mortgaged his armor to him.” (Volume 3, Book 45, Number 690)
The final union ceases to be homosexual at this point, because a cosmic sexual transfiguration takes place here. Finally, the core essence of Islam will be returned to it: its Submission will be once again the dwelling of the Bride. Islam will, in effect, ascend and become like Jacob/Muhammed, and be as a garment for Rachel/Safiyya/the Bride. At the same time, the masculine Sword of Israel will be laid down to rest and become feminized once again as the Bride. And, in simultaneous counterpoint, Islam-as-Prophecy must finally enter and abide within the land of Israel, now like a child suckling from its Beloved (m)Other.