23.10.09

A Baby, the Quran and Terrorism


Do miracles happen? Do they serve a larger purpose other than giving signals? Must all miracles have a religious basis?

We know that parts of Russia have been going through turbulent times. In the Kizlyar region of Dagestan, one such place, a nine-month old is being touted as a “miracle baby”. Ali Yakubov is oblivious to the hordes descending to see the verses from the Quran appear on various parts of his body. I find it amazing that these people are being referred to as pilgrims.

In normal times they would be blind believers, and we have them in every society and for reasons of personal consolation Now it is being referred to as “mystical hope…in Russia’s mostly Muslim southern fringe who are increasingly desperate in the face of Islamist violence”.

What is so different about the message “Be thankful or grateful to Allah” that is found imprinted on the infant? Is this a sign of god? How will this small region solve major problems, as one of the heads suggested when he said, “The fact that this miracle happened here is a signal to us to take the lead and help our brothers and sisters find peace”?

The child’s mother says that this is connected to extremism: “Allah is great and he sent me my miracle child to keep our people safe.”

I really am sorry but this is taking it a bit far. Ali was born with cerebral palsy and an ischaemic heart condition but he's now healthy, they say. Yet, when the marks appear, he has high fever that goes up to 105 degrees. It could be a serious medical condition and there must be some way to ascertain whether his sudden health is real or is being merely sidelined because of this new miracle?

It is also quite surprising that local Muslim leaders have joined ranks and are passing on photos of the verses that appeared on the child’s body and praying outside the house that is now seen as some sort of shrine. 2000 people visit daily. How Islamic is this? Not one bit. In fact, it is anti-Islam, which absolutely does not permit such worship. It is almost akin to paganism. Don’t these clerics realise it?

One of them even said, “It is written that the closer to the end of the world, such signs will appear on a person's body.”

We have been seeing and hearing about such end of the world scenarios for years and all religions have different versions. So will each faith’s followers have different worlds which will end at different times? Is it time zone bound? And, don’t these people realise that the “wisdom of Allah” that appears on the child’s body are the very words used by the militants themselves to justify their acts?

In times of crises, we do have instances when people seek solace in anything. We have seen faces appearing on potatoes and other vegetables and the Virgin Mother’s bleeding tears and a milk-guzzling Ganesha deity.

There are auras and paranormal phenomena that cannot be explained logically or scientifically. One is not dismissing these. But, let us not assume that such miracles will solve harsh social, economic and political problems. And most certainly it is time that the media stopped making everything into a terrorist issue. The poor kid’s mother is unlikely to pronounce such views when her child runs a high fever and has been seriously ill.

Whoever is behind this marketing ploy should think about the child first.

As for miracles, I suppose it is possible to see them everywhere – in nature, in people, in every single day that we wake up. And in the face of such unquestioning devotion, to manage a little cynicism is a miracle too!

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