Friday, October 07, 2005

Nightmare: The House of War

Last night I had a dream that I lived in this large complex of rooms and corridors, and amidst the confusion I had a small apartment. Sometimes I would sit in a chair in the carpeted anteroom outside my apartment, reading a book. And then one time I went wandering the corridors, and I ended up inside this gigantic auditorium.

The auditorium was big, larger than a gymnasium. And there were pews set up inside it. Chairs? No, pews. And people were milling about and gathering, and I realized that a large number of us Christians were gathering here for worship.

I was dressed in a wool poncho, with a wool hat on my head and a wool scarf wrapped around my face. I was sort of wandering around, looking for a place to sit, when suddenly off on the other side of the auditorium I heard voices rising, shrill, as if in panic. Then I heard a loud burst of machine gun fire.

I looked up, and far off, over by the entrance, there were several Arab men in flowing robes and turbans. They were armed with machine guns, and they were threatening everyone, motioning them back, trying to herd everyone together. Now and then someone would break and run, and then one of these Muslims would mow them down with a rat-a-tat-tat from his machine gun.

The auditorium was now filled with terror. I didn't know what to do. Should I flee? But then they would gun me down. Should I hide beneath a pew? But surely they would find me. I stood there, frozen in indecision. Then again a machine gun fired, and as I stood there, it was like Neo in The Matrix: I could see the bullets flying by me in slow motion, as if in bullet time.

Now one of the Muslim men was coming down the aisle, carrying his machine gun, and he sighted me, perhaps because of my distinctive wool clothing. He motioned for me to follow him, and then he led me over to a table by the side of the auditorium, where he ordered me to sit down.

This Muslim man then handed me a paperback book. I looked at its stark black and white cover. On the front was a title, in Arabic, but printed in the Roman alphabet: Darm al-Harb. I looked at the back cover of the book; in a small box was the following text:
Explodes the infidel promises of Romans, the Gospels, etc., in favor of the glorious revelation delivered unto the Prophet, blessed be his name.
Oh, I thought, so this dude must think I'm convert material. No way! But I heard more bursts of machine gun fire around the auditorium: if I tried to flee, surely they would open fire on me.

I prayed to God for deliverance, and suddenly, like Philip in the Book of Acts, I was taken up and was no more to be found in that place. I had a parting vision of the Muslim man coming back to the table, in consternation, nothing there but the book and my wool scarf.

Then I was set down, at twilight, on the roadway out in front of my grandparents' old farmhouse, up in central Wisconsin. I felt guilty that I had been delivered. Should I have stayed, perhaps faced martyrdom? I felt like a filthy coward. But I had been delivered. Now what?

Postscript: When I got up this morning, I checked on the Internet, and sure enough, I found the following: "Dar al-Harb (Arabic: 'house of war') is a term used in many Islamic countries to refer to those areas outside Muslim rule. In some conservative traditions of Islam the world is divided into two components: dar al-Islam, the 'house of submission' or the 'house of God', and dar al-Harb, the 'house of war': the home of the infidels or unbelievers (Arabic: kufr).... The goal of some aggressive Islamist organizations, such as Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, is to expand the borders of dar al-Islam at the expense of dar al-Harb, and to create a universal Islamic community. According to their philosophy, this is the meaning of the term jihad."

Dar al-Harb, the House of War, the realm of the infidels who are to be conquered: No doubt I'd seen that term before, somewhere in the blogosphere. And now I'm having nightmares about it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then I was set down, at twilight, on the roadway out in front of my grandparents' old farmhouse, up in central Wisconsin.

Interesting segueway.

Twilight, roadway: Both seem to point towards a 'tween state, no?

House: The dream itself was about a symbolic house, now you're in front of a metaphor made concrete. Was your g-parent's house one of war or peace, I wonder...

Friday, October 07, 2005 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

My grandparents' farmhouse was a house of peace. It was also, of all the houses I've known, the steadiest constant in my life, from my earliest years on up till my grandmother moved into town several years ago.

I also live today in a big, sturdy old farmhouse-like parsonage, far out into the countryside, surrounded on all sides by cornfields. And far removed from the Sturm und Drang of the "outer world" today. Yet this is the second nightmare I've had about terrorists in recent weeks.

The motif of living in an extended complex of corridors and unknown rooms is one that goes way back in my dreams. So too the motif of a sudden shift or discontinuity from one setting to another.

Friday, October 07, 2005 6:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't typically get the rapid shifting nor the unknown, since most of mine take place in the same places, you know? Within my 'dreamworld' there's an entire city & countryside full of people and places I've been to in past dreams that I keep running into; it has the same geography, always, which is really kinda cool.

Everybody knows me there, but I'm just an ordinary joe to them. None of them are people I know in real life. :-)

Sometimes I'll go to foreign shores, like my Istanbul dreams, or they'll be in other languages like Spanish, but those are the rare ones. Other than that, they're often so ridiculously symbolic [& obvious to me] that I'm often too embarassed to describe any of them, since the neo-Jungians would have a field day....

Friday, October 07, 2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dean Esmay said...

Dar al-'Ahd is how most reasonable muslims view the western nations. It means "house of covenant," and it's non-muslim nations which have peaceful covenant with the muslim world.

Many anti-muslim sources omit the concept of Dar al-'Ahd because it doesn't play into their script of Islam as an implacable and bitter foe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice try--yeah its "house of covenant" when you are outnumbered or at a strategic disadvantage--when you get stronger its kill the kufrs in the re-labelled dar al harb cf the profit mohammid and the treaty of huddabayah--don't believe the headchoppers--its taquiyya for the kufr--allahu nakbar

Monday, November 14, 2005 1:09:00 AM  

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