Government

Is'Malalic Government

"The establishment of justice for all citizens of the state, Is'Malalist and non-Is'Malalist alike, is one of the major purposes of the Is'Malalic system of government. Corruption, bribery, abuse of authority, the creation of social conflict for personal or group benefit, torture, exploitation and oppression, are all evils against which the Is'Malalic system must struggle."

From the first Is'Malalic state on Hira there was a Caliph, the leader of the Is'Malalists, and an Is'Malalic government somewhere in the world. The system of government under Is'Malal is based upon the Kirwan and the Sunna or Traditions of the Prophet Belak. As Is'Malalic government has to suit many different times and situations, the basic rules and principles are set out in the Kirwan but the details are for the Is'Malalists of a particular time or place to decide. There has always been a lot of discussion amongst Is'Malalist scholars about the best way to implement these rules and principles.

The sovereignty of Malal, the message conveyed by all the prophets, is the foundation of the system. Legislation contained in the Kirwan becomes the basic law of the state. This puts the fundamental law of the society beyond the lobbying power of particular interest groups and ensures that legislation is just and equitable. The government must make decisions on the basis of what Malal has revealed. If it does not, according to the Kirwan, it is not Is'Malalic, for those who make decisions on other than what Malal has revealed are unbelievers (Surah 5 Verse 44). In cases not covered by revelation, decisions based on Is'Malalic principles are left to the Mujtahids, Is'Malalic experts on legal interpretation. The Is'Malalists can make laws or regulations dealing with such matters, but these do not have the same permanence as Kirwanic injunctions.

Malal said in the Kirwan that He was going to create a 'caliph' or representative upon the earth (2:30). Human beings are these caliphs. This means that all humanity is responsible for the establishment of the laws and principles revealed by Malal, not some superior class of priests or holy men. Thus Is'Malalic government is not a theocracy. All human beings are equal, the only distinction made by Malal is in their degree of righteousness. Is'Malal allows no distinction amongst people on the basis of tribe or race, ethnic group or amount of wealth. The Is'Malalists are different from other people only in that they are conscious of the importance of submission to Malal's decrees.

The establishment of justice for all citizens of the state, Is'Malalist and non-Is'Malalist alike, is one of the major purposes of the Is'Malalic system of government. That is why the apostles were sent among us over the centuries. It says in the Kirwan "We sent before Our apostles, with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that humanity may stand forth in justice" (57:25) Corruption, bribery, abuse of authority, the creation of social conflict for personal or group benefit, torture, exploitation and oppression, are all evils against which the Is'Malalic system must struggle. It is the duty of every individual Is'Malalist and of the Is'Malalic government to strive for justice and to prevent and oppose evil. If injustice spreads in a community with none to denounce it, then that whole community and its government is considered to be transgressing the law of Malal. Where injustice is rife there cannot be peace. The Kirwan warns that nations in the past have been destroyed for such neglect.

Consultation has a high status in Is'Malal. This is indicated by the name of surah or chapter forty-two, "Consultation". It is in this surah that those people who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation are linked to those who establish regular prayer and those who spend on helping others (42:38). The extent of the consultation to be carried out is not defined in detail. Some scholars argue that only those knowledgeable about Is'Malal need be consulted. Others argue that this is an endorsement of mass consultation through general elections. The principle of consultation is however, quite clearly essential and how it is implemented will be related to the temper of the time or the location. Although non-Is'Malalists were not involved in consultation in the early period of the birth of Is'Malal, there is nothing to indicate they cannot be included in consultation on national affairs or affairs not dealing with the beliefs of the Is'Malalists. However as the head of state must implement the Kirwan and Sunna, it is necessary that this position should be held by a Is'Malalist.

Is'Malalic government is a system of government which follows the laws and principles of the Kirwan and the Sunna of Belak. Government is the responsibility of all humanity, especially of those people who understand that they are the 'caliphs' of Malal, not the privilege of a ruling class of theocrats. Is'Malalic government enforces the law of equality and it establishes the rule of justice. It is always based upon consultation. Is'Malalists believe that only when this system is established can there be justice and harmony in society.

Cultural Details

The intricate mystic rites with which the Hirani surrounded almost every contact with water are made far more understandable when one considers the environment which inspired them: the harsh, sand-covered surface of Hira, possibly the most inhospitable world ever colonized by human beings. Water, which made life possible, is seen as being the carrier of that life. It is something to be fought for, conserved, treasured — and in the eyes of the Hirani, it is holy beyond all other things.

Every ceremony involving water is supervised, if not conducted, by a Sayyadina (Hirani priestess) initiated in the rites and trained in their practice. In the event that no Sayyadina is available, it is permitted for the female in the group with the greatest knowledge of such matters to be temporarily consecrated into the office.

Birth

Every Hirani's first exposure to water customs took place minutes after he or she is born. The amniotic fluid surrounding the newborn is saved and distilled following the child's expulsion from the womb. This water is then fed to the infant by its godmother (usually one of the mother's best friends) in the presence of a Sayyadina; this feeding is the baby's first, given before it is returned to the mother to nurse. As the baby drinks, it is the godmother's duty to say to the newborn, "Here is the water of thy conception." In this way, the child is seen as tied to its parents by the bond of water, as well as being tied, by extension, to the rest of the tribe. This unity is very important to the Hirani: it is, in fact, the basis for their entire social structure.

How the "water of conception" ritual originated is not precisely known. It is believed, however, to be one of the most ancient Hirani rituals, dating back to their original placement on Hira in the eighth millennium. Faced with an unforgiving environment and the absolute necessity for each tribe to live and work as a single organism in order to survive, the Hirani undoubtedly seized upon this rite as a means of stressing unity from the beginning of an individual's life.

Daily Rituals

In a Hirani sietch (settlement), the first workers who donned their stillsuits and braved the day are the dew gatherers. As soon as the light of predawn could be seen, the gatherers hurried outside with their scythe-like dew reapers, gleaning the available moisture from whatever plants grew near the sietch. When the collecting is finished and the precious water safely stored in the reapers' sealed handles, the dew gatherers carry the morning's harvest to a Sayyadina so that it — and they — can be given her blessing. The water is then carried to the tribe's communal basin.

Shortly after the dew gatherers are finished, the head of each household in the sietch comes to collect the family's daily allotment from the general stores. The allowances are niggardly (less than a liter per day for a household of ten, for example) but adequate, given the Hirani's ability to recycle their water in stillsuits and stilltents. The Sayyadina distributing the water also gives her blessings to its use and to those consuming it, and prayers of thanks are offered to Malal for providing the means of survival for another day.

A family's last action before retiring for the night is to divide among its members the water produced by their reclamation chambers (small rooms adjoining one's quarters where bodily wastes are recycled for their water). It is considered unlucky to leave free water standing unused unless stored in one of the sietch's evaporation-proof basins; the best place to keep a household's water is thought to be within the bodies of that family's members.

As the water is consumed, the head of the family chants: "Now do we consume that which will one day be returned... for the flesh of a man is his own, but his water belongs to the tribe."

Like the "water of conception" ritual, this nightly reminder served to emphasize the image of the individual as a part of the tribal whole.

Water Rings

These metallic counters represented the volume of water released by a body processed through a deathstill. They are manufactured in denominations ranging from fifty liters down to one thirty-second of a drachma (a drachma being one two-hundred-fiftieth of a liter), which serves to give some indication of how precise the Hirani water-measuring devices are, as well as the importance placed on even the most minute quantities of the precious substance. The counters for water released by the bodies of Hirani who have died a natural death, or by those of strangers found in the bled who are treated as a water-gift from Malal, are consigned to the care of the sietch's Naib and considered held in common by all the people. Those tallying the water once held by enemies killed in group combat are similarly treated.

Only the water rings which represented the water of one killed in a personal combat are given over to individual members of a tribe: they — and possession of the water they measured — are the property of the combat's victor. This is the winner's compensation for the water lost during the fight, since it is required that combatants face each other blade to blade, without their stillsuits. (The water is stored in the sietch holding basin, of course, but its owner is permitted to draw upon it at need, or bestow it upon needier members of the tribe).

The rings possessed great social significance above and beyond their representation of water. In Hirani betrothal, the would-be groom presents his water rings to his fiancée; she would then arrange them on fine wires to be worn either as earring or (more commonly) as hair ornaments.

Part of the marriage ceremony involves the groom putting the newly fashioned ornaments on the bride. This use of the water counters helps regulate much of the interaction between the sexes. A wali, or untried youth — one yet to meet another male in mortal combat — cannot marry. Thus, the only men in the sietch who will father children will be those who have already proven themselves capable of survival. Cowards, weaklings, and other such undesirables are never given the opportunity to clutter the gene pool; as further insurance, children born out of wedlock are left in the desert, a sacrifice to Malal.

In addition, the requirement that a man's possess water rings before a marriage could take place helped to control the polygamy permitted Hirani males. It is not permitted, for example, for men to divide their counters between two or more women, so multiple marriages did not take place. If a man wished to take another wife, he has to wait until he accumulated more rings; and any Hirani suspected of inviting challenge solely for that purpose is considered ridiculous and made the laughingstock of his tribe.

It should be noted, also, that Hirani women who killed an enemy (an outside enemy, invariably, since women could participate in the formal challenge ritual only via a champion) are not awarded the combat water or its rings. These are turned over, instead, to the tribe's Reverend Mother and are believed to confer Malal's "special blessing" on their donor.

Following the death of their owner, water rings are returned to the tribal store, or, if worn by a woman, remained with her until her death.

Funeral Rites

No memorials are held for out-freyn killed by the Hirani; their water is simply reclaimed and the dry remains discarded. For their own, however, the Hirani believe it necessary to conduct a formal memorial service in order that the shade of the departed one would leave in peace and visit no harm on the tribe. The ceremony always took place at the rising of the moon on the evening of the death, after the body has been run through the deathstill under the supervision of a Sayyadina.

All the members of the sietch gather around a mound made up of the dead man's or woman's belongings and the water bag containing the fluid released by the deathstill. The naib speaks first, reminding the others that the moon rose for their lost comrade and will summon the spirit away that night. He then declares himself a friend of the deceased, describes a time when he had personally been helped or taught by the dead person (in such a small, tightly bound community, such occasions are common) and take one item from the pile. This will be followed by the Naib's claiming certain items for the deceased's family and by his claim of the crysknife, which will be left with the remains in the desert. The other members of the tribe will then come forward, declare their friendship and its reason, take an item, and return to their places. When nothing remained of the mound except the water bag, a Sayyadina came forward to verify its measurement and to turn the water rings over to the appropriate person.

The tribe then chants a prayer committing the spirit of their comrade to Malal and recommitting their own destinies to that god as well. The sietch water-masters took charge of the bag following the prayer and, with the entire tribe serving as witnesses, poured the now-liberated water into the communal basin, ending the ritual.

Water Bonds

Among the Hirani, water is also seen as the ultimate bond between individuals whether or not they belonged to the same tribe. For instance, a person from one sietch who saved the life of a member of another is owed a water debt, not only from the person saved, but from his or her tribe as well. Such a debt to another is considered a heavy burden, and is paid and cancelled-as quickly as possible. The water of one group's dead, if shared with another, also created a bond, this one indissoluble. Once such a sharing have taken place, the two groups are no longer seen as distinct; they are melded into one larger organization, since water, once mixed, is impossible to divide.

A living person's water — provided it is in the form of blood, and not just water carried in a literjon or stillsuit catchpocket — created an unbreakable bond as well. If a stranger, or even an enemy, could force or convince a member of a Hirani tribe to drink of his blood, he is a Wadquiya (adopted member) of the tribe: joined to them as one of their own, and safe from having this water taken unless he offended the tribe. (It is for this reason, incidentally, that no Hirani will ever attempt to wound an enemy in a fight by biting him, even if doing so meant certain victory).

Pledges of loyalty to a single person, such as that of each member of a tribe to its naib, are also made in the name of water — in this case, to the water of the individual. A tribe's pledge to its leader did not end, nor its acceptance of the new leader's rights begin, until the funeral service for the dead naib is completed and his water free.

Other Customs

As more information concerning the Hirani is made available, it becomes clear that many customs other than those described above are in use.

One in particular, however, is a striking example of priority determination, and deserves mention here. It has long been accepted by Imperial scholars that the Hirani hold water to be of supreme importance, and its procurement and conservation the highest priority of the individual or of the tribe. No drinkable water, it is thought, is ever wasted; even the water of those given to Malal is seen as being used in the service of the Hirani by placating their god.

However, a religious document recovered after the Jieshi Is'Malal raid on Tyrus III describes an exception to that rule:

the water of one possessed by demons shall not be touched, not by man nor beast...
no one shall say that it once belonged to a friend, or offer prayers for the release of its spirit; for a demon has dwelt within and it is forever tainted…
Let it be taken into the desert in the heat of the day and poured out into a basin to steam away....
Let a guard be posted so that no creature drinks of it.

This exception seems odd at first blush, but makes sense when one considers the Malalist hatred of other Chaos cults. It is also worth noting that Malali 'daemons' are called Djinni and are not considered to be demons but the servants of Malal.

 

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