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Thread: Zar

  1. #11
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masrawy View Post
    Dear A'isha and gang,
    Well, despite the misconception as Muslims we do use logic and reasons and that's why is the Zarr is rejected by educated Muslims. It's a ritual but not spiritual ... it does not even rise to cult it plays to a simpleminded individual who they have to believe in it in order for it to work and will what it does it robs them the little money they have. A similar example of it in the West is exorcism and speaking in tongues and the like of TV evangelists who can cure you though your TV set in high definition too. So I don't know what's the West attraction of such a ritual that is rejected in the East for its harmful effects in simple people lives. I hope that explain my view in this matter. Salam~Mahmoud

    Dear Mahmoud,
    You share this view with many people of many faiths and even people who have no faith. Having participated in Zarr, I can only say that is has an effect. I would not say it is involved with djinn or with other types of spirits for me, but is a sort of moving meditation that has certain side effects as well. There are two main effects that I noted every time I was involved in Zarr.

    1. At the end of even short periods of Zarr ritual movements, I felt very calm, very alert and was sort of able to look at things extremely objectively, as if any judgement of the actions of my fellow human beings had left me, but I was able to see clearly who they were.... if that makes sense.
    2. For a short period of time, I was unable to speak. The thoughts were clear as crystal in my head, but the part of my brain that connected to my actual speech somehow did not function for awhile afterward. I am assuming that some neurological process takes place. I can't remember the exact circumstances, but I could swear that someone else told me that this happened to them when they used to do Zarr rituals, too,
    I got to the point where I was doing this all by myself almost every day and I finally began to think there might be some detrimental effect, so I stopped. I was about 25 when I was doing all this.

    I do not ever claim to know that Zarr is a way to get free of evil spirits or that it is a spiritual ritual, but I can report my own experiences with it and I would say they were rather interesting and amazing in some ways.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #12
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    Dear A'isha,

    Thank you for sharing! It's nice to have folks like you around to share your experiences and knowledge with us.

    Masrawy, i hope you don't think that it is some sort of morbid intrigue that i'm expressing here in Zar because it's ritualistic in nature, it's really just a matter of me trying to have some sort of understanding of something i've been seeing references to since i started dancing.

    I try not to judge things like this, but to value and respect it for what it is to the people that it matters to. It may not matter to educated or sophisticated persons and they may discount its value but that wouldn't make me criticise or look down upon those in society that are "simple" (i hate that term!) and believe in it and what it does.

    I would never disrespect their beliefs by mocking them even if i do not hold those beliefs myself or if many other members in their society do not either. That was one of the reasons for my intitial post. Also, superstitions or folk beliefs i find give interesting insights into societies sometimes and even help you to understand people a little better. I thank you for your perspective though, it was also useful to me!

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masrawy View Post
    Dear A'isha and gang,
    Well, despite the misconception as Muslims we do use logic and reasons and that's why is the Zarr is rejected by educated Muslims. It's a ritual but not spiritual ... it does not even rise to cult it plays to a simpleminded individual who they have to believe in it in order for it to work and will what it does it robs them the little money they have. A similar example of it in the West is exorcism and speaking in tongues and the like of TV evangelists who can cure you though your TV set in high definition too. So I don't know what's the West attraction of such a ritual that is rejected in the East for its harmful effects in simple people lives. I hope that explain my view in this matter. Salam~Mahmoud
    Dear Masrawy:

    It is very easy to dismiss things like this as nonsense and your opinion is one that is shared my a lot of people. However, I would just caution you to not assume that all of it is rubbish. These sort of practices and experiences are things that have to be experienced in order to understand them. They make up the practices of a great deal of people, not only in Africa, but Korea, China, Japan and Native Americans as well. However, like anything else, there is always the risk of abuse and exploitation, whether we are talking about mainstream Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other faith system. When human nature is involved in anything, there is the risk of abuse. However, that doesn't mean that there are not those who practice in sincerity and that there isn't something very real to what they are doing.

    Every day science is finding evidence that things once considered supernatural are in fact very real and natural. Traditional peoples have always believed that all things have life, or energy, and science has shown this to be true. They also all have a strong belief that all life is connected and interdependent and now with the threat of global warming and ecological collapse we know that this too is real.

    There is a level of existence and reality beyond that of our 5 sense. Just consider the phenomenon that when groups of women spend long periods together their menstrual cycles all change to the same time. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Our bodies and its cells have a consciousness that is independent of our conscious minds.

    My mother, when she was a girl, had been very ill to the point where she had died. The hospitals and doctors could find nothing wrong with her. It was at that point the doctor told my grand mother to find a healer. She was revived and that's when she was taken to a shamanic healer. They performed a ceremony that was exactly like the one described in one of the articles. It involved drumming, singing, sacrifice and other things, I won't go into, but the point is, she came out of her coma that very day during the ceremony. We may not know exactly what happened, and maybe we call things spirits because our technology hasn't caught up to being able to detect certain energies and so to us they seem mysterious.

  4. #14
    Member Makeda Maysa's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the Zar ritual, so I am following this thread with great interest.

    I do just want to agree with Tarik that we not pooh-pooh things that we do not understand. I am deeply rooted in my Christian faith and that has led to experiences with things that other people swear don't exist or that they do not understand, including spirits and angels, speaking in tongues, etc. All these things are real to me and millions of others. For people who participate in the Zar ritual, this is real to them. I do not put down things I do not understand, nor do I seek to engage with energies, spirits, or what have you, that I do not understand and I think we are all wise to take caution in such matters. It is never wrong to treat subjects of spirituality with wisdom and respect.

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    Gosh dont let this get to you!! think about it with a clear mind....there is a lot of hocus pocus in the world ,aswell a lot of cheating and playing with poeple,s mind....have a clear brain about this...dont just believe what people say...if you believe everything pffffffffffff....the mind is a strong thing ..a very strong tool ..if you use it correctly..so dont let others ,use it for you THINK!!!!

  6. #16
    V.I.P. masrawy's Avatar
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    I hope you guys understand that I'm not trying to put anybody down first of all I have said You have to believe in it in order for it to work. And obviously there is a scientific reason for that.
    I can see how eager and ready to embrace a mid-east culture in this forum and that's good thing in my opinion. But a person as smart as A'isha can fall easily into a trap of mind game that zar play on you. Tarik and his ability to write two to three pages in any subject he ... at hand and bombard you with so many clips off of youtub to prove his point right or wrong. Makeda for holding the stick from the middle just in case it may be true and Mya who want to learn every thing about ME. Lydia well, she see it like what it is also she live their...
    here is some clips that I found

    This one is more or less of my opinion



    Christian Egyptian also practice another version of it too



    This is a Westerner point of view I don't necessarily agree with everything in it but it is in English.



    From different parts in the Middle East











    This is listed as Zar I have no clue what the hell is it interesting !!



    I'm speechless in this one but it is listed as zar bellydance


  7. #17
    Member Makeda Maysa's Avatar
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    I'm not "holding the stick in the middle" as you say, Masrawy. I know in my heart, mind and soul what is truth to me. However, just because my truth and another's isn't the same, that doesn't mean that I have any reason to call another's beliefs/traditions "hocus pocus" or whatever else. I have had many people say such to me about my Christianity and it is insulting. I treat people as I want to be treated.

  8. #18
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masrawy View Post
    I hope you guys understand that I'm not trying to put anybody down first of all I have said You have to believe in it in order for it to work. And obviously there is a scientific reason for that.
    I can see how eager and ready to embrace a mid-east culture in this forum and that's good thing in my opinion. But a person as smart as A'isha can fall easily into a trap of mind game that zar play on you. Tarik and his ability to write two to three pages in any subject he ... at hand and bombard you with so many clips off of youtub to prove his point right or wrong. Makeda for holding the stick from the middle just in case it may be true and Mya who want to learn every thing about ME. Lydia well, she see it like what it is also she live their...
    here is some clips that I found

    This one is more or less of my opinion



    Christian Egyptian also practice another version of it too



    This is a Westerner point of view I don't necessarily agree with everything in it but it is in English.



    From different parts in the Middle East











    This is listed as Zar I have no clue what the hell is it interesting !!



    I'm speechless in this one but it is listed as zar bellydance

    Well yes I can write pages, especially when I know what I'm talking about, hopefully this wont be one of those occasions.

    Okay, the clips you listed are all different things. Real Zar is a belief system and a way of life. It is not a dance or necessarily an exorcism. I can't tell you about the first clip because its all in Arabic, so I have no way of knowing if the reporters are portraying it accurately or slandering it. Also, I don't know what the practitioners were saying and if they were telling the reporters what they felt they wanted to hear, or bending the truth to gain acceptance in the public eye.

    Second clip was a Coptic exorcism. This has nothing to do with Zar or African spiritual beliefs in any way shape or form. The other clips with Koranic verses were not Zar or related to it in any way. The English clip I've seen before, sorry, they get it wrong. Its not an exorcism. Clip with the kid with the bug eyes was not listed as Zar but a comedy. Just another youtube kid acting silly to get a laugh out of his friends. Last clip was pure bullshit. Zar is NOT a dance and certainly isn't any form of Raks Sharki, much less really bad American style.

    Simply believing in something is not enough. One has to use their common sense and be observant. I am a follower of a traditional Nigerian derived religion which is very similar to the system which Zar is a part of and that is how I know that there is more to it than a ritual. There is a whole philosophy and world view that is every bit as profound as anything in Christianity, Judaism or Islam, but we have been slandered because of the world wide belief that Africans have no religion beyond rattling chicken bones and freaking out to wild drum music. Anything taken out of context can seem ridiculous. Jews would have us believe the universe was made in six days and god made women from a man's rib. Christians would have us believe that a virgin gave birth to a kid who turned out to really be god in disguise, who was killed, came back to life and flew back to heaven. You, a Muslims believes that an illiterate camel caravan boy heard the voice of an angel in a cave telling him to write the word of god. You also believe that a virgin gave birth to the same kid the Christians follow, but that he spoke on the day of his birth, however, he's not god. He gets demoted to prophet. So far, I think all these religions are on a par. They can all be put in a light that makes them seem like something only the simple minded would get involved in. As far as money is concerned. Yes, depending on the ritual, or initiation it can be a sum of money involved. The majority of it goes to pay the musicians, make the food that is served, buy the necessary objects for the ceremony and lastly, pay the kadia. And so what? Islam isn't a free religion. All Muslims must make a journey to Mecca where they walk around a big black box, then run up and down a hill. It is an enormous expense and many poor people strain themselves to do it, not to mention, many of the die once they get there from being trampled.

    Don't know about you, but I think killing a few chickens is more cost effective. For your money you get dinner, (even if you have to kill it yourself, hey, at least you know its fresh), you get music, a floor show and some exercise. Best of all, you don't have to leave home!

    Shit I wrote a book after all.... but at least I didn't bombard you with videos! Look, this whole Zar thing has been taken out of context by people who do not understand it. It was first done by the fakelore groups trying to portray aspects of Egyptian folk culture on stage. This lead to the misperception that it is a different type of folk dance and that's why we now have westerners who want to do it. I personally find it silly. Its like saying I'm going to dance the Pentecostal, or dance the Catholic Mass, or Do the Muslim Jumma, or do the Zikr dance. Everyone would realize how silly this
    is. But because this an African practice done by people on the lower economic ladder, we can make a "dance" about it because its just some mumbo jumbo. Why didn't Redda make a tablue about Friday prayers, or Zikr?

    Whether its Zar practices, Christianity, Judaism or Islam, there are frauds in all of these belief system who seek to take advantage of people and exploit them for one reason or another. Hell, we have Muslims in Palestine telling young people that if they blow their nuts to kingdom come they go to Paradise and get 72 virgins to screw every night! I think I'll stick with killing chickens. Besides, we do wonderful thing to them with the curry sauce after wards!

  9. #19
    V.I.P. masrawy's Avatar
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    Dear Tarik,
    And your point after all this Bullshit is?! ...
    Best of Regards~Mahmoud

  10. #20
    V.I.P. masrawy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeda Maysa View Post
    I'm not "holding the stick in the middle" as you say, Masrawy. I know in my heart, mind and soul what is truth to me. However, just because my truth and another's isn't the same, that doesn't mean that I have any reason to call another's beliefs/traditions "hocus pocus" or whatever else. I have had many people say such to me about my Christianity and it is insulting. I treat people as I want to be treated.

    I don't know much about the Zar ritual, so I am following this thread with great interest.
    ///Cut
    I do not understand, nor do I seek to engage with energies, spirits, or what have you, that I do not understand and I think we are all wise to take caution in such matters. It is never wrong to treat subjects of spirituality with wisdom and respect.
    Dear Makeda,
    I call it as I see it .. here is the quote from your first post you seem to hold it from the the hip so we don't anger the spirits, we were talking about " Zar " it has nothing to do with your Christian believe if you think it is hocus pocus that is your problem not mine.
    Best of Regards~Mahmoud
    Last edited by masrawy; 09-28-2008 at 02:14 AM.

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