After a long day of touring in Cordova,(Spain) returning from a late dinner the tour guide asks if anyone is interested in taking a candlelight tour of the city. To my surprise along with me all exhaustion disappears and the majority of the bus opts in.
We start the tour along the outer city wall of Cordova. I walk along the water channel rippling softly in the night, and the moon shines down on us beatifically as if it has seen no horrors that man has done to man in this very city in the name of Christianity.
We make short stops at the statue of Averroes and Maimonides and pass the only synagogue that has survived the Crusader rule, none of the mosques have survived as mosques.
We turn into a narrow lane, and there it is “the horror of horrors” contained in a museum, I ask if we can see the museum tomorrow and the guide shakes his head just the thought seemed abhorrent to him. He seems to want to forget the many hundreds of years when the Spanish Inquisition ruled Spain with an iron rod and more.
Today the young men and women of Spain have turned away not only from Catholicism, but all its ramifications as well as the catholic God. The reasons are complex but at the root of it is their past that lies like a mantle of fire that they seem unable to shake off.
The chronicles of the Spanish Inquisition have been unsealed and one by one the horrors perpetrated by man in the name of the Christian God are unraveling the population. Deep in their hearts they have known of the ignominy of their forefathers and yet they are searching for peace within to wipe off the blood from their hands and the cross from their hearts.
Ironically as the Spanish youth detaches itself from all vestiges of Christianity, other western organizations are coming in to study the methods of the Spanish Inquisition.
The sign indicating the museum of the Spanish Inquisition stares at me with the insolent glare of one who has been vanquished in this land but is waiting to rise in another land, slowly reaching out its tentacles across the Atlantic, again in the name of the Lord, but no longer the Catholic Lord but this time the Christian Lord of a different denomination. Like Spain Muslims are the first target of these modern day Crusaders across the Atlantic.
The plight of the modern day Spaniards is the conscious and subconscious guilt so much so that their prime minister apologized to the Jews under duress. He has yet to cleanse himself with an apology to the Muslims who were persecuted, forcible converted, tortured by the Inquisition for not practicing Christianity properly and then killed in a senseless foray of violence. This violence is against the muslims and jews is celebrated in a bizarre festival every year around Easter time as a festival of the Reconquista.
Christian repentance involves two humans: the repenter and the priest. The history of Christendom tells us of the human follies of the priests especially the very pious celibate ones chosen for the confessors box. They live an unnatural life of celibacy, which is considered the epitome of purity and dedication to the Christian religion. This lack of human love, compassion and responsibility of a loving family makes them hard, unforgiving and inflexible. This is superficially very similar to the Taliban orphans that were raised with strictness by a mullah but never had homes or family life nor did they study the life of Prophet Muhammad pbuh who was also an orphan. However the Taliban were spared the harshness of celibacy and many were tempered in their harshness by marrying and having families of their own and becoming vulnerable to normal human sentiments.
Whereas the Christian priests, and monks including the Buddhist monks are strictly celibate leading them into a strange and unnaturally cruel outlet of molesting young boys. The Buddhist monks in Burma went berserk with horrifically violent and cruel acts upon the poor Muslims. These muslims had families in and the monks were perhaps unable to stand the joy of love of a family in this otherwise impoverished group of people.
Monkhood and priesthood takes away manhood and gives a strange asexual power to these men over other men and women. Att some point in their life the facade of purity breaks and they loose control. At this point they either become openly disobedient and lose their status or like the Christian monks and priests of the Spanish Inquisition and other christian inquisitions before them (Norman) channelize their rage into finding pleasure in torture under the guise of extracting confession. The victim in the case of the Spanish Inquisition were young women or girls 12 and over and boys 14 and over. (Spanish inquisition records)
Guilt about hidden but forbidden desires or private acts what they perceive to be against their Lord has to be repented with another priest.
The problem is that the priest has human weaknesses too, and thus to hide their gory acts the confessors were sometimes eliminated.
Confession Christian style with the power of the Inquisition, the monarchy and the Pope behind them blinds them to human compassion and the Priest then makes it his duty to “extract” the confession.
The grand master of the Spanish Inquisition would bring the converted Muslims and Jews in and they would be forced to “confess” or they were put on the rack or given “water torture” or what is termed as water boarding in modern terms.
All this stemmed from forcing people to confess that they have sinned against the Christian God Jesus.
What an amazingly different approach given to in Islam to sinners and transgressors where they are allowed to wipe out their past sins and begin anew if they are sincere to Allah.
Allah Subhanawataala gives the prescription of the best Istigfaar or asking for forgiveness in the Quran in Suran Noah. Here He relates all the gentle, kind and intellectual ways of bringing people to believe in one God. People of Noah continue to make excuses and say O we are sinners its no use to change now too much water under the bridge etc. etc.
Allah Subhanawataala offers the path to return to him (istighfaar) as long as they are sincere, not forced, and do it voluntarily and at least promise to stay away from that sin or oppression that they committed on themselves or others, from here on. He actually rewards someone for having returned to him with Istighfaar (asking Him for forgiveness).
Allah Subhanawataala says in the Quran:
[71:10] Yusuf Ali
“Saying, ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; for He is Oft-Forgiving;
[71:11] Yusuf Ali“‘He will send rain to you in abundance;
[71:12] Yusuf Ali“‘Give you increase in wealth and sons; and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers (of flowing water).
In Islam there is no State or Pope controlled confession, there are no priests putting your body on the rack, and there are no Inquisitors standing with jugs of water to “make you confess” or they water board you till you are brain dead.
Istighfaar taught to us Muslims by Prophet Muhammad pbuh is between Allah Subhanawataala and us as Muslims.
What does it do? It wipes the slate clean and we can move on into life without the burden of guilt, depression and sins of the past. We cannot change the past we can only be in the present and in the present for Muslims and human beings alike Istighfaar is a gift from Allah with may bonuses attached to it…………….
For details of the tafseer of how and where in the Quran are the instructions for Instighfaar check the posts in the next few days while I study it more.