Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Belief in one god (He Who Has No Name) constitutes the very foundation of Ja’Ilam. There is no deity other than the Creator and no power on earth that is not His. He is indivisible and absolutely transcendent. The True God is almighty, the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The god of Ja’Ilam has no shape or form and no pantheon. He rules alone, covering all the world in his blanket and claiming the right of power over all things. His followers believe that he has always existed and will always exist, and that all other “gods” are simply bastardized from his true nature.
These beliefs are the heart of the Ja’Ilamic religion. From a small group of prophets come the words of the faith, wrapped into a single text known as the Rukhbat. In the early days of Ja’Ilam, there were many battles, and the settled people of Salé (one day to be known as Esheraqh Al’qleb) were overcome by the truth of the Ja’Ilam faith. Despite persecution by the Al’ Farai tribes and a series of bloody battles known as the Prophet’s War, the people of Salé persevered and kept their religion alive. As their city grew and more people were integrated, Ja’Ilam became the heart of their settled province – its beliefs became synonymous with brick homes, permanent dwellings and trade sites, and the comforts of a non-nomadic life.
The Six Beliefs of the Rukhbat are known to all good servants of Ja’Ilam, and are taught to their children from the time they can walk. They are:
- Belief in the Creator as the one and only God and Ja’Ilam as the only path to his wisdom.
- Belief in angels and other creatures of magic sent by the Creator as guides.
- Belief in the Rukhbat as the true words of Ja’Ilam and the breath of the Creator.
- Belief in the Prophets of Salé and all that they foretold.
- Belief in the Day of Judgment, when the sands will rise and swallow the unfaithful forever.
- Belief in predestination because the Creator has already chosen our path in this world.
Halajhim, the Prophet, was the first of all the worshippers of Ja’Ilam to set forth these beliefs. He is the leader of the Ja’Ilam faith, and many say he is the only true prophet of the Creator. Halajhim was once a simple architect in the town of Salé, but he saw faith and religion as a type of building and set himself to creating it with solid foundation and sturdy faith. His endeavors captured the minds of others, who asked him to speak on Ja’Ilam, and his words became the basis for the Rukhbat, the holy text of Ja’Ilam.
Ritual prayer, five times a day, is the essence of Ja’Ilam worship, whether done in the mosque or anywhere else. It is integral to keep one’s mind open to the will of the Creator, and this can only be done through prayer. Before the midday prayers at the end of each week, the mosque’s imam will give a talk on a relevant subject based on a piece of text found in the Rukhbat or on a well-known story about the Prophets.
A niche in one of the walls of the mosque, called a mihrab, shows the direction that the worshippers should face in order to face Esheraqh Al’qleb, the sacred city of the faith. As Esheraqh Al’qleb was the birth and final resting place of Halajhim the Prophet, it is considered appropriate to pray facing the city. In this way, the followers not only give reverence to Halajhim, they also ask him to carry their words to God. Everyone sits on the floor, and every place of prayer within the mosque is equal in status.
Although women can attend the mosque, when they do, they sit separately from the men. This is not designed to force the women into “lesser positions” before God, but rather to help stop any possible distraction for those in prayer.
Festivals and Holy Days
There are only two Ja’Ilam festivals set down in the Rukhbat: Eiduk-Itr and Idul-Halij. The first commemorates the birth of the Prophet Halajhim. This is the Ja’Ilam New Year and is a day on which the faithful both put away the things of the past and begin preparation for the future. It is marked by three days of fasting, during which food may only be eaten at night after the sun has set. The festival is celebrated by telling the beautiful story of how the Prophet Halajhim was visited by two archangels while he was asleep on the night before his thirteenth birthday. Those angels are said to have purified his heart and filled him with knowledge and faith. Many people pray for such visions on this occasion. Angels sweep the world with their wings on the night of the Prophet’s birth, clearing away all things foul and unclean in the eyes of the Creator.
The second festival, that of the Idul-Halij, marks the day of the Prophet’s death. It is a time of mourning when women will weep openly on the streets and all the faithful wear black in commemoration of the death of the holiest man. The festival begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky after the last great rain. It lasts, as most mourning periods do, for one month, during which the Ja’Ilamic people fast during the day and eat only at night. Each member of the Ja’Ilam faith is called upon to remember that Halajhim died because it was the Creator’s will. The festival not only allows for a long period of studying the Rukhbat and remembering the life of the Prophet, but also reminds the faithful that they should also be submissive to God and have a great willingness to sacrifice anything to God’s wishes. If the Prophet, who was greater than any mortal that has ever been, bent his knee to the Creator and offered his life when asked, then how can any other person dare to turn away from the will of God?
At the end of the festival of Idul-Halij, presents are exchanged from parents to children and from friend to friend. These presents are in memory of the great gift that Halajhim left behind for his people after his death – the Holy Text of Rukhbat.
Imam of Ja’Ilam
Although Ja’Ilam is a monotheistic religion, its imam often choose to follow their Creator in many different manners. Ja’Ilam has a tremendous number of followers and is a very widespread and powerful religion. The priests of Ja’Ilam wear silken robes made of the finest cloth covered at the hem with intricate needlework depicting tiled patterns such as are found in most mosques.
The high priest of Ja’Ilam is the brother of the Grand Sultan. His name is Makallah Jah’Fedoul Saluman ibn Ibrahim al-Kharajah, but he has renounced all titles and claims to the throne of al-Maghrebia.
Clerics of Ja’Ilam
The priesthood of Ja’Ilam is commonly associated with the Domains of Law, Healing, Destruction and Protection, but occasionally a priest will have access to the Domain of Strength, particularly when working and living among the Ghazi. All imam of Ja’Ilam must be Lawful in alignment. The favored weapon of the religion is the double-edged dagger.
Ghazis and Bakaghazis
Ghazis are fanatical warriors sworn to the holy cause of Ja’Ilam. They are devout, highly religious, and believe that God controls their very thought and action. They are willing to die at the word of an imam priest with no thought of hesitation. Such devotion is both revered by and frightening to the common follower of Ja’Ilam.
Some Ghazis rise in the ranks of the
Some of the servants of Ja’Ilam question whether the Ghazi tradition should be maintained. They are dangerous fanatics, and no price is too high for a Ghazi who believes himself or herself to be following the will of the Creator. Many have died in suicide missions, and others have killed faithful members of the Ja’Ilam tradition simply to fulfill some other objective.
Yet even the most well-trained Ghazi has some amount of humanity with which the average person can identify They are men and women, faithful, who lead lives within the mosque and may even be married with a family. Some have alternate means of income – a job as a carpenter, or they work in the mosque as well as guarding it. Although they are dangerous, they are still somewhat normal.
Worse than the common Ghazi, though, are the secret templars of the Ja’Ilam Church, those known as the Bakaghazi. Most of the faithful of the Ja’Ilam tradition have never met a Bakaghazi, nor, if given the opportunity, would they wish to meet one. The Bakaghazi are those already condemned in the eyes of the Creator. They have fallen so far from Grace that they cannot be redeemed outside their own deaths. These men and women are not only willing to die for the cause, it is their only thought. Only by dying as a holy martyr will they be spared the eternal agony of fire.
The Bakaghazi are kept in the deepest sanctuaries of the mosques, and many are irredeemably insane. They are like dogs on chains, waiting to bring death and find their salvation through viciousness. These creatures are hardly human, kept in torment and cursed to remember the crime they have committed against God and the Faith. There is no peace for them, no chance of a normal life. The only hope they have is to die brutally with great suffering and, therefore, with hope of redemption.