While the hard-line fanatic violent crazy pyromaniac Muslim is well-known and much loved in the West, not as much attention has been to paid to far more widespread and insidious phenomena of the New-Age Muslim (NAM). So, I propose to acquaint the Gentle Reader with this common creature.
Although the natural habitat of the NAM are the fancier neighbourhoods of Tehran, many, many species roam the hallways of universities and businesses in Europe and North America happily and joyfully. NAMs generally enjoy a certain amount of financial ease and success, and indeed, many wealthy people are also NAMs, though I have not seen any poor NAMs.
The main characteristic of NAMs can be defined as gladness and joy (at themselves, for having transcended the stupid little narrow minds of non-NAMs), combined with a certain sorrow (at the non-NAMs, for their stupid little bickering minds). In the context of Iran, examples of non-NAMs are women who wear the the black official body wrap, or chador, provincial people (although I have been reliably informed that there are plenty of NAMs in the provinces, however, they keep themselves to themselves), people who are affiliated with the Iranian government, and generally all people who take Izlam too seriously.
But don’t get NAMs wrong. They love Islam! And the prophets, and Ali, and all the great Iranian mystics too- best buddies with Bastami and Kharaghani, and they absolutely love reading Persian poetry. Indeed, I have heard NAMs declare that the love sonnets of Hafez and/or Mowlana are simply the Persian version of the Qur’an (really, NAMs?) Though NAMs don’t really have much to say on the subject of contemporary poetry (except perhaps Sohrab).
Indeed, the main defining features of NAMs, like the Beatles song, is Love. Love, Love, Looooove. Everything you do or say is Love.
Let me provide you with some examples of NAMs in action:
-the female NAM does not believe in hijab the way it is implemented in traditional Izlam. However, she is not exactly bi-hijab, either. She keeps her beautiful colorful sequinny sparkly silky scarves on as a sign of love and respect.
-the female NAM does not believe that she has to wipe off nail polish before prayer ablutions. Allah loves her fingernails just the way they are.
-NAMs sometimes say their prayers, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t face Mecca while saying their prayers, and if anyone points out that they’re facing the wrong direction, they explain with a gentle amused smile that really, God has more important things to care about that the direction you are facing.
-NAMs generally love fasting, unless they have an obscure medical condition which prevents them from doing so. Sometimes they like fasting outside of Ramadhan, for the sheer hell of it.
-A NAM told me yesterday to go pray to Jesus in my local church- God does not really distinguish between mosques and churches and that they are the same for him. My brain is still frozen in vomit.
-NAMs like scented candles and expensive perfume.
-NAMs heard Mowlana’s story of the shepherd and Moses (google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about) at some point in their life, and their brains froze. Occasionally, they will retell the story in awestruck, reverent tones, tears in their eyes.
-Hardline fanatic or traditional Muslims loathe NAMs more than they hate atheists, and wish they could shoot them on sight.