Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Tag: Holocaust

A Humbling Prayer

Friends; apologies for my absence. I’ve been battling something of a relapse of late (tremendous fun, don’t you think?), but have been managing to read a little for the last three…so I thought I’d share:
Here’s a short part of a prayer, as narrated by a Saint from the Islamic tradition, Ali ibn Husayn (the great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, may God’s Peace descend upon him always), and one of the Imams of the Shi’a tradition; it describes to me something very profound – the concept of Mercy. I prefer this to ‘Grace’, because the former suggests a much greater need for Him in the relationship between man and his Lord.

The fact is, truly, that millennia of human civilisation have shown that we are incredibly fickle, and lack spiritual strength, often lost in a world of choice because our ethics change according to the era we find ourselves in. Time and again we have created and done things that have been to our immense detriment; though some of these have enriched the human experience and affected our collective memory, it is so tragic that, for example, the last century has wrought such incomprehensible chaos and human calamity that we ought to have avoided. My theory has been this  – that if only we had humbled ourselves… David Berlinski once remarked, and I happen to agree, is that the catastrophe inflicted upon our brothers – Jews as well as others –  in what became (and I use the lower-case on purpose as it is more-encompassing of all) known as the holocaust, could take place because they saw that there was no Power greater than their own.

I think it applies to all cases of man’s inhumanity. We fail to realise that our Higher attributes cannot come from other than him; namely, they do not originate in us…because we originate in Him.

O Lord, do not allow our souls to choose as they like, for, verily, they will choose what is evil, unless you show pity. They will choose what is bad unless you show Mercy.

(From His Supplication in Yearning to Ask Forgiveness from God, as found in: Wilayat in Qur’an, Sayyid Athar Husain Rizvi (trans.), Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli)

With love,


The Altered Moral Universe and Israeli Victimhood

Here is part of the debate where someone suggested to me that in my world, the only price I might accept for Israeli crimes is Israeli blood. Then he invoked the Holocaust….does he have no shame?

“You see, dear friend, I am not as cynical. My hatred of Israelis doesn’t run as deep as the one you think I’m expressing. I’d be satisfied if they just gave the land back, or compensated adequately the Arabs who have fled, and ended the barbaric sanctions. But you see, if they did that, they would have to admit that they did indeed “steal land from…Arab[s]” – forcing hundreds of thousands into refugee camps and the others into total destitution and refugee status all over the world.


People talk about Holocaust as if it was the sole greatest crime ever perpetrated in human history – that is absurd. …[Certainly, it is a dark stain on the slate of human history, nonetheless…] There were, at least, they tell me, 80 MILLION indigenous people across the Americas that were slain barbarically; elsewhere in the world, others were napalmed – some are still suffering the effects of chemical warfare in Vietnam, Laos etc., to this day. I don’t think you see this, because in your logic, it appears, the blood of a Jew is more valuable than that of an Arab. The Holocaust cannot be the benchmark of human suffering – just because the Jews suffered in the Holocaust cannot mean that they have a right to self-preservation to the extent that they can induce suffering in the Palestinians – who had nothing to do with the Holocaust in the first place….it [just] doesn’t compute in the moral universe.


My grandparents, who are both now dead, had refugee status out of Zanzibar – fleeing during the Revolution. As it stands, I wouldn’t dream to go back there today and evict the African family now living where their home used to be, who probably had nothing to do with my grandparents’ loss; neither would I seek to put sanctions on them to starve them, squeezing them into submission. What kind of objective morality is this? ”


Incidentally, I have nothing against Jewish people, nor really Israeli people. Certainly, the crimes of their forefathers in displacing the Palestinians cannot be the sole reason for my opposition toward the Zionist project – after all, how can one blame someone totally for the accident of their birth. But that does not mean I can idly accept the crimes against the Palestinians perpetrated today. The vast majority of Israelis can, no-doubt.

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