Editor: This is the 4th in a series of guest posts by ‘Pungentpeppers’ about Bacha Bazi, the Afghan pedophile practice targeting boys that has made its way to the West (including possibly to the US). Go here, here, and here to see the previous reports. Part II (Australia grapples with Bacha Bazi compulsive predators) was our top post last week.
Bacha Bazi & Islam: Devilish Deception, The Mullah’s Response, and Beyond Heaven’s Pearly Gates
Why does Afghanistan, an Islamic country, allow men to prey on boys – men such as Ali Jaffari who came to Australia, bringing his immorality with him? Do these men operate under some grand delusion? Their behavior is perplexing because Islam expressly and clearly and repeatedly forbids homosexuality. Yet in Afghanistan so many men – regardless of ethnic origin – actively engage in sexual activity with underage boys, contrary to religious law. This Bacha Bazi culture also pervades the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s population is mostly tribal. The prevailing values system, which includes Bacha Bazi, is tribal. The people have values and morals – but their values system is very different from Western values. Their morality also differs from socially acceptable norms found in other Muslim societies. Afghans have adapted Islam to fit their own tribal values and customs. In so doing, they twist certain Islamic teachings into something peculiarly Afghan.
Afghans pedophiles do not admit that they are breaking Islamic law. Incredibly, they claim that Bacha Bazi is permitted and sanctioned by Islam. As usual, the Devil finds ingenious ways to let people deceive themselves.
Some of the deceptions: Women are “impure”; boys without beards are not men; the men are not “in love”, just having sex; the men are not homosexual since they have wives. Such silly arguments are not worth airing. Instead, let’s explore some puzzling Koranic references Afghans use to justify Bacha Bazi.
The Rewards of Paradise: Young, Beautiful, Eternal Boys like Pearls
Bacha Bazi perpetrators say that the Koran allows pedophilia with boys, per passages in the Koran that describe the afterlife in Paradise:
There will circulate among them [servant] boys [especially] for them, as if they were pearls well-protected. [52:24]
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal with vessels, pitchers and a cup [of wine] from a flowing spring. [56:17-18]
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal. When you see them, you would think them [as beautiful as] scattered pearls. [76:19]
These passages, that supposedly justify Bacha Bazi, mention neither sexual rewards nor boys on earth. These eternal beings compared to “pearls”, who are circulating and moving in Paradise and offering refreshments, are called “boys” in English, but the words used for them in Arabic are not identical. Other English translations say they are “youths” or “young men” or “menservants”. The words chosen depend on what the translators think was meant. In Persian, a language used in Afghanistan, the Koran translation for the first entry shows “boy” (in Persian the word is applicable to many different ages), while the second and third ones make use of a term that refers only to pre-teens and teens. You cannot take these translations literally, for they contradict each other. But nowhere do they say that Bacha Bazi is allowed. I will share with you a very different translation in a bit, but first let us make a visit to Afghanistan.
A Mullah’s Dilemma
Imagine you are a Mullah (an Islamic clergyman), in Mazar-e-Sharif, where Bacha Bazi is rampant. Yours is a Persian-speaking congregation. Some of the devout have an unshakeable belief that in Heaven, men have sex with pearly pre-teens and teen-aged boys. They grew up with this belief, and if you deny it, they may accuse you, the Mullah, of denying what is in the Koran! Does the Koran lie?! Other members of your congregation have their own Bacha Bazi boys – these men also have guns. Dare you tell them they are not allowed to keep their boys? (Powerful Afghans don’t take kindly to authority.) You know though that boys are being abused and want to discourage Bacha Bazi. What should you tell your congregation?
A cleric named Hayat Ed-Din Sahibi, who preaches in Mazar-e-Sharif, came up with an Afghan approach to discourage his flock from trying to replicate Heaven here on Earth. Speaking in Dari, he preached, “Those who do not get caught in the sins of Bacha Bazi will have God give them beautiful boys in Paradise.” Now I don’t know what his motivations were, or what he really believes. Yes, he told his followers there are benefits to abstinence; but he told them also, in essence, that there is pedophilia in Heaven.
Because this Mullah’s sermons are on YouTube, and they are shared on Facebook, word about this and some other of his unusual sermons got around to Iran, the country next door. Some people reacted fiercely – Mullah Hayat Ed-Din was labeled a liar, and accused of deceiving and misleading uneducated people into thinking there was room in Heaven for the sins the Prophet Lot forbade (i.e., sodomy). They stated he was symbolic of the hopeless backwardness that is Afghanistan.
Typically Afghans were reluctant to criticize the Mullah. Though some denied he said certain things, his words are recorded and on the internet. Others said it was a “mistake” or he spoke thus because of where he preaches. However, it is apparent that they don’t like ignorance and wrong things being said. Perhaps, eventually – though it may take a very long time or a miracle – Bacha Bazi will become unacceptable in Afghanistan. But in the meantime, keep an eye open, in case it arrives to your shores!
What Really Awaits the Faithful Behind Those Pearly Gates?
Islamic scholars differ on the meanings of certain passages in the Koran. The knowledge gap is especially wide because the origins of the Koran go back 1400 years. In any language, the meanings of words and phrases change over time. To understand the true meaning you must understand the historical context. Further, since the Koran’s references to Christian beliefs are numerous, Christian teachings can be studied along with the Koran to see whether they shed light on puzzling passages of the Koran.
Scholars have given many different explanations for the Koran’s unusual references to “boys” who are “like pearls” and are circulating. I have put some of them in the links. Historical linguists, however, say the “boys” are not boys in the sense of humans, but are instead “fruits”, specifically grapes. Grapes are the refreshment in Paradise that is circulating, not boys or youths.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said in Aramaic, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29) The “fruit” of the vine are grapes that are pressed to make new wine.
The language of Jesus, Aramaic, has a dialect called Syriac. Syriac became the language used by Eastern Christians. Jesus’ word was spread throughout the Near East through the Syriac Bible. Syriac was also the major medium of communication in the regions north of the Arabian peninsula and was used by Arab traders. The Syriac language is a close cousin to Arabic.
The Syriac Bible relates the above passage from the Last Supper. For the word fruit it gives “yalda”. The word “yalda” means “child” or “birth” or “that which has been born” – i.e., the “child” of the vine is its fruit. In an odd coincidence, we have the word “yield” in English that is also used to mean the product of a crop. In Arabic, the word boy, “walad” is similarly close in sound, but some of the verb forms referring to “giving birth” and “production” drop the “w” and replace it with “y”. At the winter solstice, Persians celebrate the festival of Shab-e-Yalda (night of “Yalda”) and eat the fruit of pomegranate, but the word “Yalda” itself comes from the Syriac for “birth” and “Christmas”, and is related to our “Yule”. Thus, our discussion about Heaven yields all good things: fruits and festivals and feasts.
And yet the Afghans say they are allowed on Godly authority to harm young boys. Truly, theirs is a Devilish deception.
In the next segment, we return to Australia. How will the Australian Parliament protect boys from arriving Bacha Bazi predators?
For additional reading ‘Pungentpeppers’ has forwarded the following links:
Sufism and same-sex relations:
In English, Misunderstanding Sufism
In Persian, Sufism and pederasty:
About Heaven’s “boys” in Islam:
Islamic teachings on homosexuality:
About those “Grapes” beyond the Pearly Gates:
“Boys of Paradise” An excerpt from “The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran” by Christoph Luxenberg
“Virgins? What Virgins?” “The Guardian” book review:
“The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, And Misread. The Aramaic Language Of The Qur’an” by Gabriel Sawma.
See Part One for a link to a short YouTube video on Bacha Bazi in Mazar-e-Sharif, Hayat Ed-Din’s region:
Article about Hayat Ed-Din and Bacha Bazi in Heaven (Persian)
Opinion piece about Hayat Ed-Din (Persian):