TE21 Serbian Moments

Dejan Tiago Stanković


essential if there was to be a more or less organized society in what at the time was such a brutal place as the Arabian desert where Muhammed lived and spoke with God. Anything that poses a danger to the individual is haram. The law of God forbids eating pork, the meat of animals that crawl and mollusks, because in hot climates such food quickly spoils and can poison and kill the person who eats it. In order to eat meat, every animal, for instance a sheep or camel, has to be slaughtered and bled because blood quickly goes bad in the strong sun. The Quran stipulates that the deceased must be buried within 24 hours of death, otherwise the body will start to smell in the heat. Anything other than this is considered haram. Anything that can endanger the survival of the tribe is also haram. It is haram to swear and engage in intrigue, it is haram to desecrate sacred objects and not to maintain one’s personal hygiene. It is also haram to drink alcohol, and so is carnal love before or outside of marriage, but I have the impression that these harams happen very often, it is just important to be discreet and if nobody learns of them, it is as if the haram doesn’t exist. There were always cultural misunderstandings when it came to haram. For instance, bread is one of the most sacred items in Egypt. In Egypt they use the same word for bread as they do for life: aish. Egyptians never throw bread away, that is a huge haram; instead, they nibble at it even when it is stale

and dry. There was an urban legend making the rounds among foreigners in Cairo about an instance when bread was desecrated. One day a certain foreigner, an Italian I think, didn’t find toilet paper in the public toilet and since he wasn’t accustomed to washing himself with water and then drying himself with the dirty towel found in the bath, he managed by using bread. The cleaner found the desecrated bread in the toilet, the people easily recognized a haram and a mob attacked the Italian. The outcome was fatal, all because of a small cultural misunderstanding. Wealth amassed in an immoral or dishonest way is also haram. Any money collected by means of another’s misfortune, theft, corruption or murder is haram, and for a good Muslim even eating bread coming from haram-money is haram. One the other hand, if a vender rips you off and charges you ten times more because you are a foreigner, that is not haram, because you are rich and didn’t know how to bargain. Haram is a very useful word for a woman in Cairo. If a man attacks a woman, or touches her in a crowd or looks at her lustfully, it often helps if she simply cries out:

Haram! Haram!

Ayoung Dutchwomandidn’t know thiswhen shewalked into a hugecrowd in the streetwearing short sleeves and thousandsof men started pinching and poking her; all that male excitement



Made with FlippingBook PDF to HTML5