Ramadan, sodomy, and Muslim man-babies

I heard a story from an acquaintance recently that I still don’t know what to make of it, so I’m coming here to finally settle the matter once and for all.

My acquaintance used to be in the British Navy, and he claimed that, while on an assignment on a Turkish ship during Ramadan, the crew told him they had to have sex with each other to create a baby, because man originally came from man and someday another man would give birth. Furthermore, the reason they wear baggy pants that fit tight around the ankle was to catch the baby, should one suddenly pop out.

I refused to believe the story, being all kinds of shocked and offended, but posted it in my LJ anyway out of morbid curiosity. There, one of my friends confirmed that when her husband was in the air force he’d heard a similar story. Another commented that William S. Burroughs shared a similar story in his novel The Wild Boys.

Intrigued, I took it to google. After weeks of searching, I finally found a post on another message board where the writer claims to have heard the same story 20 years ago in Libya while serving in the USAF, and has met another USAF person who’s heard the story much more recently in Turkey. This poster also noted that the man-baby is called madhi, and is supposed to be a Muslim Messiah.

So, is there any truth to this or is it a bizarre, xenophobic rumor? I find it interesting that most if not all these cites come from military people. Is that because they see more of other countries and cultures than the average person, or they’re exposed to more b.s.? Is this the military version of an urban legend?

I just want to subscribe to this puppy.

I would have been more amused and confused.

I guess I was that, too. My acquaintance kept using the phrase “Feast of Ramadan,” which stumped me because I’m used to thinking of Ramadan as a fast. But google searches have shown that term is not unknown, because there is feasting after Ramadan. No comment on the anal sex, though.

Sailors are rather well-known for playing jokes and teases, especially upon newcomers. I’d be very surprised if this isn’t something along those lines.

They probably told this to him right before asking him to go out and get some headlight fluid.

I don’t have jack to add to this discussion, but the thread title would make a great name for a Pogues comeback album.

Sailors have, uh, ‘colorful’ traditions for when one of them first crosses the equator or whatnot. This may be a Turkish variant on one of those?

20 years ago? Did he hear it while flying over Libya to bomb the palace? (I know: that was 18 years ago, but the U.S. military has not had a military presence on the ground in Libya for well over 20 years.)

I suspect that this is, basically, military scuttlebutt with a bit of xenophobia.

The mahdi is a tradition in Islam that dates to around the tenth century and is explained as a a “final” teacher who will usher in a new age of righteousness (with the Sunni and Shi’a holding different views of the mahdi’s importance). However, the man-giving-birth schtick seems to be limited to European travelers’ tales, (especially, as you note, among all-male military groups).

That must have been seaman’s twist of the story.

I don’t know much else about this sect then that they indeed believe the Mahdi shall be born from a man. It is an other version of the virgin birth but now with a man as intermediate.
I never undertook a serious research on this - only sporadically came in contact with the subject - so I can be mistaken, but my impression is that this must be a locally surviving offshoot of Alavism influenced by pre-Islamic Iranian beliefs, Christianity and Zoroastrian influences. I can ask a Turkish/ Kurdish connection of mine if he knows more about this, but this I can not do now.

Yes, that is true.

Needless to say that such stories/beliefs have as little to do with the core beliefs of Islam as believing that rain is dry.

About the concept of the Mahdi there is no discussion in Twelver Shia Islam. The twelfth Imam disappeared as a child and since then lives hidden until the time is right to come forward again.
You can encounter Sunni Muslims who under the influence of Shi’ism, popular belief/stories, cultural influence, interpretation/mixing of the stories in the Hadith have cultivated a belief about a Messianic Mahdi figure.

He’s talking about the Druze.

The sodomy stuff is bull, of course, but the baggy pants are common among the more traditional members. I’ve heard the man-baby rumor before, but I can’t confirm it, because the Druze never, ever talk about their religious belief to outsiders. It’s all very hush-hush.

The Druze I know wouldn’t be happy to be called a “Muslim sect”, either.

How can I sign up for the Turkish navy?

Thank you very much for the information! This is all very interesting. It’s interesting that, if the Druze never talk about their religion with outsiders, that they told him, but then again he may have been passing off a second or third hand rumor as his own experience, or the people he encountered were claiming those were their beliefs as part of a leg pull. Still, I feel educated. Thanks again.

I think this falls solidly into the category of regular old “no shit” stories which have been told even since was more than one guy involved in cutting up the mammoth. These involve a little credibility mixed with barrel of bullshit, shake well and ladle out to a credulous sucker. Feeds as many as are willing to listen.

“Those Cro-Magnon guys eat rocks.”
“No shit? Hand me that big piece of flint.”

Ah, thanks, I wondered what “no shit” story meant. Well, looking at Alessan and Aldebaren’s posts, there may have been a germ of truth in there at one time, it has just been stretched and mangled beyond recognition. I do have a few new terms for google, though. :3

Baggie pants are for a Muslim man. The bagginess is so if he dies and starts to fall into hell, his friends can grab him by the pants and pull him back. This info is according to my Father, who was a missionary in Sierra Leone, W. Africa, 1946-1959.

Of course, accusing your most annoying enemy/foreigner of buggery (on or off the high seas) is a tale told early and often in folklore about one’s favourite ethnic victims. Recall on another thread how the Greeks call the Turks buggerers and the Turks say the same of the Greeks.

If you hear this from a sailor, well… that’s just too good a setup line.

Now, who wants to see the golden rivet?

This was a zombie thread and was reopened with a continuation of urban legends.


samclem, moderator