Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

It’s All Fortune-Telling! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Despite the outright rejection of theorizing – which in other words is a type of fortune-telling – by the Arab world, and the prohibition of this in Islam, it is no secret that this practice is [currently] enjoying great publicity. This issue has become evident in the increasing popularity of astrology, as well as the guests that appear on satellite television channels predicting the future, and offering their opinions on what is right and wrong, in a confident and elegant manner.

But something else is also taking place which is the spread of a hypothetical form of theorizing or fortune-telling. Let me explain what I mean by this. Overnight a vast space has been granted to a variety of people from all walks of life to speak to the public and offer their personal opinions. This has led to the emergence of terrible illnesses and diseases. Today, with the absence of specialization, information, accountability, and responsibility, it has become “the right” of everybody to speak as they wish without any fear of being held accountable for their words. And so a politician practicing this type of fortune-telling can make promises and give assurances of a rosy future without being held accountable for his words or promises. These politicians foretell a future which cannot come into existence because, most of the time, their decisions are purposeless and random.

Economists practice fortune-telling in a different way. They present facts and figures to back up their view, despite belonging to a society that is allergic to data and statistics. This means that the available data is either old or undocumented, and so the information from this data is insufficient and useless.

Some [religious] clerics are also not far from this type of fortune-telling. They issue Fatwas on matters the exact detail of which remains unknown to them, and they embroider these fatwas with a “safe” and tradition prologue so as not to cause doubt or worry in the minds of the audience. However these fatwas are inadequate as they lack sufficient depth and knowledge on the specific subject.

Even the Doctor has failed to escape this kind of virtual fortune-telling. For many years such Doctors have failed to update their medical knowledge, remaining absent from scientific research, and not participating in [medical] symposiums and specialist conferences. They became guest in an ever-developing and changing world, playing it safe and prescribing “antibiotics” for every symptom I order not to expose their ignorance about new diseases and advanced medical treatments.

Examples of this type of virtual fortune-telling which has plagued various fields are endless. In the examples I have mentioned, scientific methodology, and a reliance upon facts and information has been absent from the decision-making process, with this process becoming closer to looking into a crystal ball and magically foreseeing how it will all turn out. In any case, talk is cheap. The real danger of this type of virtual fortune-telling is that is infiltrates all walks of life, becoming a general trend and key approach with regards to policies, legislation, opinions and views, which govern fates determines trends. Despite the existence of a trend that rejects and prohibits fortune-telling and its practices, the ignorance, lack of specialization, and lack of accountability have allowed for its emergence. Just take a good look around you and you will see the gravity of the damage that this has caused. We do not need tarot cards, tea leaves or any other methods of deceit and dishonestly to practice this kind of fortune-telling anymore. There are new methods that require one to have a post, a platform, and status.