For example, narrations concerning the Miraj and Isra refer to the Prophet seeing angels smash people’s heads with rocks. These heads would return to the shape they had been, and then the angels would smash their heads again–and so on. Jibril told the Prophet, “These are the ones whose heads felt too heavy to perform prayer–the ones who used to sleep without praying.”
There is also the following, regarding brains:
Narrated An-Nu’man: I heard the Prophet saying, “The person who will have the least punishment from amongst the Hell Fire people on the Day of Resurrection, will be a man under whose arch of the feet a smoldering ember will be placed so that his brain will boil because of it.”(Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 566)
I remember attending a hutba in South Ilford a few years’ ago where these descriptions were enumerated — with the Sheikh reminding us of how painful that would be, to have your brain leak out from your skull and then for it to be repeated — with the congregation being put under a palpable spell of collective fearfulness.
Now, just so people don’t mistake my intent, let me remind you that I respect traditional Islam’s responses to these stories. In particular, I remind my Western readers not to pre-judge the Muslims on their usage of these gruesome narrations: their purpose is to instill a particular mode of emotional comportment toward their Allah (fear and reverence), an embodied mode of feeling that entails a quite different form of subjectivity from, say, a 19th century pastor’s hellfire and brimstone sermon or a Medieval Christian conception, etc.
And we must be cautious in relating to the Islamic subjectivity of embodied piety — and, when tempted to criticise, must always ask ourselves — for what purpose do we wish to criticise? There’s always a political subtext to any critique, so what’s our politics? And if we can’t answer that sensibly, morally, then it is better to hold our tongue. So what follows is not Islam, has no colonial intent to affect or challenge Islam’s embodied practice: it is something completely separate without a political agenda other than to lay down what I believe.
The Tailorite Reading.
So now that’s out of the way (I ought to form a standard disclaimer), let me give you the Tailorite reading of head smashing.
The human being consists of a number of different aspects and has a meaning that runs across lives, forms of lives, forms of forms and formation itself. The relationship between one level and the next is one of events to forms of events.
At any point in time, the life that we have lived so far constitutes a (fractal) trace of events, a trace, form or set. This trace is called the “head”, while the life we have lived is known as the “neck”.
As we move through life, we encounter signs. When these signs are read (processed, rather than bypassed) light is unlocked into formative space (archetypes are encountered) and conduits of transmission are opened from neck to head. The head feeds from the neck-event, the neck provides nutrient of light extraction/processing, like a tree is sustained by its roots.
The Qur’an ordains necks being severed, because as nutrients are fully extracted from one lifetime, the head needs to pass onto another lifetime to continue its extraction/feeding process. Like a cosmic combine harvester: the head-neck-reading complex.
At the same time, the complex is not unidirectional between neck and head. The head itself provides revelatory dispersal, bidirectional sustenance and nutrients to the neck: like a mother feeds her children. When the neck reads shariah, in an awakened state, it stimulates the head with a call, that is then responded to, with milk of Wisdom which flows down to sustain our lives.
This bidirectionality of this flow is the meaning of Qur’an here:
When My servants ask about me, then I am near. I respond to the invocation of the caller when he calls me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me so that they will be rightly guided. (Qur’an 2:186)
And that’s what prayer is.
But we’re talking about this all from within the perspective of the individual soul, transmigratory though it is. So when we say “Wisdom”, it’s still indirect with respect to the wider matrix of forms of forms, and the core of formation itself. So here we need to speak of head smashing. Heads are smashed when this reciprocal circuit of head-neck-reading is in turn repeated, so that the soul does not merely transmigrate between bodies in one universe but, rather, entire universes are destroyed and recreated: transmigration of the self, not between lifecycles, but between world-cycles.
Reading is navigation through shariah, reading is reading shariah, and shariah is fire. The neck’s movement through fire is always by means of two feet: these constitute the diamond dialectic.
Reading of shariah provides the catalyst for a violent call upwards to the skull of the heaven: reading shariah is the fire against the arches of the feet. This awakens the subject who was previously asleep to prayer. The circuitry of the neck-head-reading complex is activated and the head is “smashed”, so that the brain (acquired/provided localities of immanent Wisdom), passed through all lifetimes in one moment and is both dispersed downward and its archetypes of archetypes are inscribed within the “higher head” of the Invisible Intellect.
The lower (visible) process of reciprocation is therefore mirrored in the upper (invisible) complex. Conceptually mirrored, from the perspective of the skull, not actually, from the hypothetical/fantastic perspective of the meta-skull. The skull is smashed and its nutrient (brain) is released from its form and piped upward to the meta-skull, which recognizes, maintains and corrects the meta-reading of your lifetimes, as they pass between bodies/ummahs, and as bodies pass between worlds, between entire cycles of the universe’s creation. The meta-skull in turn takes these refined calls and emits them upward into the secret of Your Being, Who in turns reciprocates downward through both circuits, a refined sustenance of the Single Tablet, downward into ordinal Qur’ans.
Both the Jesus of the visible order and the Jesus of the invisible order are therefore speaking when they say the following — appearing as he does between cities and villages:
And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, “I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
The visible Jesus does not know them because he’s a different Jesus now, that universe was terminated and while he looks the same, he’s entirely different without any memory of what happened earlier (parallel universe Jesus). The invisible Jesus does not know them because they are the residue of illusion through which the roots extracted and retained the nutrients: they were lost during the process as it evolves from his meta-perspective.
We are talking about 2’s and 3’s here, lives, skulls and meta-skulls, in relation to Jesus. This is why the following appears to contradict the former, regarding gatherings and recognition. Depending on what part of the self we are talking about, and what point in the cycles and cyclical cycles we refer to, there is recognition or not, though actually the lines of kinship are not severed.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)