Saturday, May 14, 2011

Politics of Witchcraft and Power Struggle in Iran

Politics of Witchcraft and Power Struggle in Iran         pdf File
A.  A.  Kazemi
May 12, 2011

باش تا صبح دولت ات بد مد       کاین هنوز از نتایج سحر است

Wait till the majestic   glow of the morning light
This is yet the results of the early dawn bright
It took more than six long years for the Islamic regime to realize that the man, who was led to occupy the office of the “president” in Iran, was in fact an empty magic box, making too much noise while connected with a dubious entourage of a witchcraft circle. Indeed, this looks not much bizarre for a pompous figure who has led the nation to the brink of another war with his controversial claims and behavior.  Perhaps he is relying on the magic power of his allies for the management of the world,.  The danger lies on his consistent pretension of being a true Muslim believer having unusual connection with the Almighty “Allah” and his apostles namely the hidden 12th Imam of the Shiites.

Just very recently a number of Iranian President’s advisers were arrested and jailed for practicing witchcraft. They have been charged with sorcery in an attempt to influence and challenge the power of the supreme Leader in favor of their chief mentor. This has been construed as part of power struggle before the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran’s political arena. 
How far the practice of witchcraft during the past several years (i.e. during Mr. Ahmadinejad tenure in office) has influenced government’s decisions decision making process? What is the extent of damages caused to the nation as a whole and the Islamic regime in particular as a result of this astonishing practice? What is the fate of the incumbent president after the revelation of the witchcraft scandal?

This short paper shall attempt to shed some light on the subject and evaluate the objectives and consequences of witchcraft practice by the president’s entourage and his reliance upon supernatural phenomenon for the attainment of his long-range political goals.

 Witchcraft in Religion and Politics
Witchcraft can be examined in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts. Generally, it is the alleged use of metaphysical, supernatural or magical powers.[1] Beliefs in witchcraft, and resulting witch-hunts, are both found in many cultures worldwide. In anthropological terminology a 'witch' differs from a sorcerer in that they do not use physical tools or actions to curse; their mischief is perceived as extending from some intangible inner quality, and the person may be unaware that they are a 'witch', or may have been convinced of their own evil nature by the suggestion of others. [2]

Practices to which the witchcraft label has historically been applied are those which influence another person's mind, body, or property against his or her will, or which are believed, by the person doing the labeling, to undermine the social or religious order. Some modern commentators consider the malefic nature of witchcraft to be a Christian projection.[3]
Witchcraft in politics is still practiced even in modern societies. Americans may well remember Nancy Reagan’s alleged reliance on fortune-telling[4], witchcraft and astrology[5] in order to get advice for vital White House decisions of his husband, President Ronald Reagan. It is not known whether the miraculous collapse of the Soviet Union was the outcome of such supernatural practice!  Politicians have often attempted to seek help of magic and supernatural with an objective to attract people’s attention or to destroy the chances of others by “locking the tongue” of their adversaries.

In the Islamic tradition, while Muslims in general believe in magic (Sihr), its practice is explicitly forbidden by Qur’an.[6]  Some Muslim practitioners believe that they may seek the help of the   Jinn[7] in magic. It is a common belief that jinn can possess a human, thus requiring exorcism. Still, the practice of seeking help to the Jinn is prohibited and regarded the same as seeking help to a devil.[8]

However, whereas performing miracles in Islamic thought and belief is reserved for only Messengers and Prophets, supernatural acts are also believed to be performed by “Awliyaa” – the spiritually accomplished. Disbelief in the miracles of the Prophets is considered an act of disbelief; belief in the miracles of any given pious individual is not. Neither are regarded as magic, but as signs of Allah at the hands of those close to Him that occur by His will and His alone.[9] This is the main reason for which some people pretend to have special connection with Good and metaphysics.[10]

Power Struggle and Witchcraft Controversy
While many opposition groups had long accused Iranian president to be associated with circles practicing magic and sorcery, the witchcraft controversy emerged only after his defiance over the supreme leader’s order regarding the Intelligence Minister. He was fired from his post due to some quarrel concerning an eavesdrop scandal of the president chief adviser who happens to run the dubious circle[11]. The supreme leader wanted reinstate the minister on his job, which resulted to the president’s absenting the cabinet for almost two weeks as a gesture of discontent and protest. This led to a widespread verbal attacks and accusation on the person of the president and his staff which followed by the arrest of a group of people allegedly associated with the witchcraft story. The arrests came amid a growing rift between the President and the Supreme Leader which has prompted several MPs to call for the president impeachment. But, when he realized that his political career is being threatened, he decided to return to work.

However, observers believe that recent  President’s  compromising move over the Leader’s order was only tactical and he is prone to further stirrup the situation in future with an objective to strengthen his position by undermining the Leader’s authority and keeping away the clerics from involvement in government affairs. One such action is said to be a documentary film prepared by the “circle” and backed by the President, that claimed the Hidden 12th hidden Imam Mahdi, would be making an appearance soon. This could mean that there is no longer need of his supplants (i.e. The Supreme Leader) since the Imam himself is handling all the business of the nation.

In fact, this curious claim has been on the agenda of the president all along his tenure in office, but few people paid attention to it or took it seriously. Now that the challenge has surfaced, even conservative allies of the President are distancing from him and his circle fearing negative consequences of his sudden downfall. Most optimistic assessments suggest that despite leader’s embarrassment of his full support of the defying President, chances for his staying in power until the end of his term are very slim. The only problem now is how to get rid of this man without damaging the status of the Supreme Leader and the Islamic regime as a whole.

Final Words
Seeking assistance from unusual source of power may be considered only as a cultural malaise for ordinary fatalistic people who see their misfortune coming from the outer-world. But for a supposedly educated man occupying a high political office and claiming the rule of the world, such practice and conviction is a real shame. In effect, relying on witchcraft, fortune-telling, sorcery and other superstitious practices is a vivid sign of ignorance, backwardness and absurdity in an age of revolution in high-tech and man’s conquering the Moon and other celestial bodies. 

Indeed, there is a sharp difference between being a faithful religious believer and reliance on magic and sorcery by looking for help of jinn and other devil spirits. Only a corrupt mind with mischievous aims may rely on such fictive powers for the attainment of his objectives.  
Thus far, Iranians have paid high price for ludicrous behavior and decisions of the witchcraft circle in domestic and international affairs. Now that the underlying cause of this situation is revealed, they should force their representatives in the parliament to stop the trend before the whole nation is engulfed in crisis and disarray. /

Wait till the majestic   glow of the morning light
This is yet the results of the early dawn bright
__________               AAK

[1] A witch (from Old English wicca masculine, wicce feminine) is a practitioner of witchcraft. Historically, it was widely believed in early modern Christian Europe that witches were in league with the Devil and used their powers to harm people and property. Particularly since the mid-20th century, 'bad' and 'good' witchcraft are sometimes distinguished, the latter often involving healing. The concept of witchcraft as harmful is normally treated as a cultural ideology, a means of explaining human misfortune by blaming it either on a supernatural entity or a known person in the community. From Wikipedia
[2] Ibid

[3]Wikipedia, Ibid
[4] Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life, often commercially. The scope of fortune-telling is in principle identical with the practice of divination. The difference is that divination is the term used for predictions considered part of a religious ritual, invoking deities or spirits, while the term fortune-telling implies a less serious or formal setting, even one of popular culture, where belief in occult workings behind the prediction is less prominent than the concept of suggestion, spiritual or practical advisory or affirmation. Historically, fortune-telling grows out of folkloristic reception of Renaissance magic, specifically associated with gypsies. Wikipedia.
[4] Astrology is a system of divination founded on the notion that the relative positions of celestial bodies are signs of or—more controversially among astrologers—causes of destiny, personality, human affairs, and natural events. Ibid

[6] Surah Al-Falaq (meaning dawn or daybreak), which is known as a prayer to Allah to ward off black magic. “ Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn From the mischief of created things; From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; From the mischief of those who practise secret arts; And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy.” (Quran 113:1–5)
Also according to the Quran: “And they follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of  Soloman. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind sorcery and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut ... And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew.” (al-Qur'an 2:102)
[7] The belief in jinn is part of the Muslim faith. It is  narrated  from the Prophet who said: "Allah created the angels from light, created the jinn from the pure flame of fire, and Adam from that which was described to you (i.e., the clay.)".
Also in the Quran, chapter of Jinn:  “And persons from among men used to seek refuge with persons from among the jinn, so they increased them in evil doing.” (The Qur'an) (72:6)

[8] Wikipedia
[9] Ibid Wikipedia
[10] See my article: Ali Asghar Kazemi, Metaphysics of Violence and Terror in Scholar E-Journal  , April 2011.
[11] Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits). Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts ‎of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author, Scholar -Journal and the ‎Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.‎