I am the atheist Seyyed

Since I remember I have always had problems with my name! Particularly since I have become an atheist! Not my first name though, but the religious title of “Seyed” which follows me everywhere I go in all official documents!

My first name is Maziar. I kinda like it! I prefer Maz though! Maziar originally belongs to a rebellion Persian freedom fighter in the 9th century AD who fought the spread of Islam (the spears wasn’t a peaceful one as you know) and the Islamic regime and eventually was killed by Abbasid soldiers. However, in my birth certificate “Maziar” is always preceded by “Seyed”. Seyed ( Sayyid, سید) is an honorific title given to people who are accepted as descendants of the prophet, Muhammad, through his grandsons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, who were the sons of Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah and his son-in-law/cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib. So, the title is common in Shia but not in Sunni, hence its popularity in Iran. So, as I have been told, my family tree shows that my ancestor was Hasan ibn Ali, although I have never seen this family tree. And Come on!… the sons of Fatima (12 Imams as they call them in Shia) fucked and created offsprings until they died and had trillions wives, they were worst than hamsters! Wherever they went, took a wife for a week, made a baby and left! How can you actually make a family tree? You will run out of paper and ink!

Now let’s see why I have had problems! Well…The problems began when my parents named me! As I was born in Islamic Republic of Iran, and my father had this title in his documents, it was mandatory to write it in my birth certificate! Then I became Seyed Maziar. Do you see the paradox too? Seyed a religious title, Maziar a man who died fighting the religion. After naming me, my grandfather went batshit crazy and had a quarrel with my father that “Maziar was a muslim killer, why have you named him Maziar?” And apparently he didn’t talk to my parents for a while. He was strictly Muslim you see! And I remember him calling me MuhammadAli or sth similar, instead of my own freaking name!

The problems didn’t end in the family though! When I was in school, I was bullied by teachers and students. My religion studies teacher always tried to avoid my first name, they either called me Seyed or by my family name! It wasn’t all bad! Once, a history teacher gave me extra mark because I was a Seyed! (Stupidity has no limit!)

When I was 19, I decided to remove the title, but I couldn’t as that would have been considered as apostasy! (WTF indeed!). Later, I moved to Australia, and guess what!?…the problem persisted in a different way! Now as the damn title is in my passport, everyone thinks that my first name is Seyed and Maziar is my middle name!! I was in VicRoads the other day, and the poor receptionist was looking for Seyed for 5 minutes, walking around yelling “SEYED” until I realised I was Seyed! She was a bit suspicious then, asked me a few tricky questions to see if I am actually the person in that passport! Seyed is everywhere, in my driver’s license, my insurance card, my bank card :(. Yep… I am the atheist Seyed! (Actually the atheist Seyed was my 2nd choice for the blog’s name). 😀

P.S. I couldn’t find a funny image for this post, if you have any idea please shoot!

Morality of religion… NO! Thank you!

It is believed that religion is the ultimate model of morality, and whoever follows a religion is considered as a moral person within that specific religion.
Religion texts are ancient, and they reflect the values of the times when they were written”. Humans live and thrive on a corrective feedback system. We improve ourselves everyday. Thirty years ago, we used to smoke every where, now we can’t smoke even outside a restaurant in Melbourne. This is corrective feedback system. Now, do you think the values and morality of the past three milleniums have stayed exactly like how they used to be? The answer is an obvious no! You may argue that the Bible or Quran is God’s words and it is never-ending and it’s always true. In this case, I would offer you my counter-arguments with examples of both texts. As follows, the examples given are instances of social issues or behaviours which were believed to be moral or ethical, but in the modern world we consider them irrational and preposterous.
1- Slavery: Bible has numerous references to slavery. Not condemning it but basically giving instructions and guidlines as how to own slaves. For more info you can read Leviticus 25:44-46 where the guidlines of ownership are explained and Exodus 21:20-21 where how to behave with slaves is explained. Quran has the same situation. If you look at Quran 8:69, 24:32, 2:178, 16:75 and 30:50, you can see that Quran doesn’t condemn slavery, but appraise it. According to Quran, muslims are more than welcome to take war booty (women as sex slaves and men as slaves). Also, muslims can have sex with their slaves. They can also have unlimited supply of sex if they temprorarily marry them. Temporary marriages (Nikah mut’ah) are a dark side of Islam which I will discuss in another post. Also, there are numerous hadiths about slavery. Here I quote one of them: Sahih Bukhari (80:753) – “The Prophet said, ‘The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him.'”
2- Homosexuality: According to the Bible, homosexuality is punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). Quran 7:80-84 explains how God rained stone on ‘the people of Lut’ who were the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their sexual practices. As they died by rain of brimstones, islamic clerics have interpreted that as a punishment for homosexuality. Thus, the punishment is stoning!
3- Adultery: According to the Bible, adultery must be punished by death (Leviticus 20:10). In Islam too, according to Sahih al-Bukhari, v.9,book 83, Hadith 17 the blood of a Muslim can be shed if a married person commits illegal sexual intercourse. In Quran, there’s no reference to capital punishment for adultrey, however, there are lots of hadiths that affirm such punishment.
4-Deconversion: In Islam, deconversion from Islam is punishable by death. According to Sahih al-Bukhari, v.9,book 83, Hadith 17, the blood of a Muslim can be shed if one leaves Islam.
5- Wife-beating: It is clearly stated in Quran that a Muslim man must beat his wife if she is disobidient. Quran 4:34 advises that if a wife is arrogant and disobedient you must first advise her, then forsake her in bed and then strike her.
Out-of-context argument: Many believers would argue that the mentioned texts above have been misinterpreted out of context. As a linguist, who has worked decoding and understanding layers of language in morphology, semantics and pragmatics, I have to say that the texts whether in context or out of context have the same meaning. They are stand alone sentences, following the grammar rules of their written language. The texts above are not phrases or clauses, they are complete sentences. Also, by pragmatics of language, they are prefectly meaningful. So the agument of out-of-context is a total fallacy.
Morality can perfectly exist outside of religion. As it does in animals. Moral standards are social constructs that change overtime. Morality by religion is argument ad populum. Since, many people believe in it and practise it, does not make it true! People believed that the Earth was flat. Did it make it flat? No!

Lumpen-bourgeoisie: an impenetrable defence of the regime

Iran’s social classes have experienced a chaotic change after the 1979 revolution, and eventually gave birth to a new filthy group of lumpen-bourgeoisie who stand between the upper and middle class, sucking the blood of the lower class to get richer and sucking the dicks of the Islamist upper class to stay alive. Lumpen-bourgeoisie group, I don’t call it a social class, consists of a group of opportunistic, graceless and unthinking people who sees nothing but their own individual benefits. They have always stayed silent during protests and supported the regime with their wealth.

Lumpen-bourgeoisie is quite a recently made group. Before them, we had lumpen-politariats in power. Before the revolution, Iran was a capitalist country with three distinct social classes. It was not surprising that people felt the urge for a socio-democratic regime, so they revolted. However, the results were not promising. Socio-democrats were trampled by Islamists who snatched the revolution. Right after sitting on the throne, Islamists started mass murders, imprisonment, daily executions, assasinations and enforcing Sharia laws including mandatory hijab. Yet, they promised socialism. The class changes had already started. Clerics who were proletariats with no power in the former regime suddenly jumped to the upper class, started to rule the country. The classes started to form more clearly of a capitalist society. An upper-class including Islamists, particularly clerics, in power, a middle class with lawyers ,doctors, univeristy lecturers,etc. whose status defined their class, and the lower class including workers with lower incomes. However, it was not as simple as this! Another group started forming, a lumpen-proletariat group including unemployed and thugs. The upper class were defenseless against internal and external threats. The other classes had intellectual resources and man power. So, the regime (the upper class) started utilizing the lumpen-proletariat group against the middle and lower classes as protection, giving birth to Basij and the Revolutionary Guards. Basij and Revolutionary Guards were the best defence with no demand! They assasinated intelectuals, silenced people and terrorized the whole nation. Best free fearmongers the regime could get. As time went by, these groups gained more power, both economical and military, forming a wall between upper class and other classes. Although, the international sanctions and the internal and external infamy slowed their expansion.

As IRGC and Basij fell short, it was time for Lumpen-bourgeoisie group. The regime started utilizing normal people, decent people you would think, but not really! Having experienced economical issues, the middle class started disappearing. Some moved down to the working class and some moved towards the upper class, but have never reached it and will never reach it, but they got richer and richer everyday, while the lower class got poorer and poorer. This class is the lumpen-bourgeoisie, a group lingered between upper and middle classes with great dependancy on the lower class to get richer and great dependancy on the upper class to stay alive. In return, they provide protection for the upper class with their wealth. They are so pragmatic that they would follow the regime to the end of the abyss, and will not let go of the lower class either. To me, they are the most sophisticated. They don’t fight for anything, they are unthinking, yet they will cling to anything to hold their position. This group can include real estate owners, business owners, bank managers, teachers, football players. It does not have any job classification. It all depends on the people’s choice and their wealth! Some with wealth have chosen to go up and duel in this group. They don’t necessarily believe in the regimes indoctrines, nor they believe in humanity and equal rights. They would pretend they are Islamists where needed by the upper class, they turn a blind eye on the protests and never join the poeple not to risk their filthy hypocritical positions.

The situation of Iran is somewhat between capitalism and feudalism, where religion and wealth rules and people suffer under the pressure while lumpen-bourgeoisie families don’t really feel any trouble, have no boundaries and live in welfare. The first generation of lumpen-bourgeoisie are the leaders of the group with their wealth and hypocritical behaviour, while their second generation live in peace and prosperity, mostly without any jobs, with extreme wealth of their fathers they enjoy their lives in Iran.

A few meters away, the lower classes are endeavouring to survive, they risk their lives in the protests for a better future, for a secular democratic regime, a free country where everyone lives equally without fear. On their shoulders they hold the whole country, while bleeding from the lashes of Islam, and the bites of the lumpen-bourgeoisie. Still, they care about their country and their brothers and sisters. They strive but they are graceful. They will never let go of their country, and the upper class and the lumpens must rememebr that if the working class let go, they will all go down!