Arab Times

A joke, a fact and ‘khums’

- By Ahmad alsarraf e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

Ajoke appeared on WhatsApp which said an officer was appointed to run a camp. On his first tour, he saw a soldier guarding a long line of iron chairs fixed to the ground, so he asked him what he was doing and the soldier replied he was carrying out orders.

It became clear that the site was guarded because of instructio­ns given by the former camp commander for reasons no one knew. When the former officer was contacted he said that he had received such orders from the camp commander who was in charge before him.

The latter, who was ninety years old, was contacted, but it turned out that his memory was still with him, so he laughed when he heard the news and said that he had asked a soldier to guard the chairs to prevent anyone sitting on them because the paint was still wet, and a few days later he was transferre­d to another job and he forgot to cancel the order, so his military orders remained intact for fifty years.

The story may not be true, but its implicatio­ns are clear and confirmed by the following real story.

Hisham, who was studying in the US in the early 1960s received an invitation for dinner from an American family, and as usual he helped in the kitchen.

Hisham noticed that the wife, after cleaning the fish, cut its head and tail before putting it in the oven. He asked her why, and she said that she had learned this from her mother, so he asked her to call her mother and ask her, so her mother told her by phone that she had learned this from her grandmothe­r, that the head and tail should be cut off before grilling.

They called the grandmothe­r to ask her for the reason and she replied with a laugh that she was actually cutting the fish’s head and tail because the oven during her days was small.

It is clear from the joke and the story that we do many things in our lives, from customs, rituals and traditions that may not be correct or real but we learned them or took them from others, and often from those who are older or more understand­ing than us and often without thinking about their validity or logicality.

I wrote an article in response to those who asked me to write about the “khums” which runs into thousands of dinars, and it is not worth looking into. I added that whoever believes otherwise and sees that the amount is in the hundreds of millions of dinars, owns the tools of questionin­g and belongs to a party and is hostile to the owners of the khums, and has representa­tives in Parliament, should do the research and look for the truth about what is collected, where it is spent and who is the beneficiar­y and not ask such questions to an individual like me.

Because of the severity of the stupidity of some, they swallowed the bait and wrote that I claim that what is collected from khums money is in the range of thousands of dinars, and therefore I am sectarian.

To these, I say that repeatedly describing me as sectarian may appeal to them and delight the ears of the gullible among their followers, and it turns out that having not any real accusation­s to defame me though I have many, except that the contemptib­le sectarian accusation is not among them, and it suits them more as they are among those who trade in religion, and it is not my business or ‘My cup of tea’

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alsarraf

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