The Somali And Waaqle
The Somali are definitely Kushitic. Despite numerous fictitious Quraish genealogical traditions which claim an Arab origin specifically, a Benu Hashim descent which makes them related to the Holy Prophet of Islaam, Muhammed S.A.W.
The first and oldest traditions of the Somali which claim Arab and Quraish descent can be traced to the Dir Somali clan considered the oldest and noblest Somali group which many Maxay clans of North- Central Somali groups consider the founding nation.
The Dir who entered from the West and invaded Zaila from Ethiopian region in the 700 AD imposed on the entire Somali region their culture and traditions which became know as the Xeer of Aji. Hence, even though their is evidence of at least 9 Pre-Dir Samaale Groups all Maxaay Speaking Somalis adopted the Aji Traditions which was a cultural and ways of behaving based on xeer, a strictly nomadic way of life, and egalitarian way of life. (The Invention of Somalia)
The Oldest Dir traditions base their Arabian Quraish traditions on the arrival of Prophet Mohammed's followers to Ethiopia in the First Hijra when over 80 Ashaab landed in Djibouti Eritrea ports after fleeing pagan Quraish persecution. The Ashaab included Ruqiya Binta Rasuul (R.A)Uthman and many other popular Ashaab.
The Dir claim that Dir Aji Xiil was the Son of Aqiil Ibnu Abi Muttalib who came 35 years after the first Hijra. According to this story the Muhajirs left East Africa but established business and intermarriage relations with East Africans. The Afar or the Dankalli of Ethiopia claim their royalty The Harmalis who gave birth to Afar Royals Assayo Marra are related to the Dir through Aqiil and the claim they were the sons of a leading Ashaabi who debated the Pagen Quraish at the court of King Abraaha. The King of Aussa Ali Mirreh after Meeting a Somali Dir from Dolo who traveled up North told this Dir Dignitary of the Dir Ugaas Seed, "Lafeeko lafaako"" your bone is mine as mine is yours since you are my cousine a descendent of Aqiil Abi Muttalib who is a brother of my Forefather the Harmalis and all Assayo Marra--the red men.
Despite these Arab claims the common relation between the Afar, Somali and Oromo like other East Africans is a common past and common cultures and the Arab factor is used to unite these people with their prophet S.A.W
The Somali like other kushitics worshiped Waaqle. In Somali the word waaqle is not only associated with the sky but it also means God Illahey" the one supreme creator.
Somalis use: Waaqle in proper names and place names as well as major clans have waaqle names. Also it is used in the place of Allah or God the supreme creator:
Waligaa iyo Waaqaa= Waligaa iyo Allahaa
Gar Waqso= know the justice of God the Supreme
Abdulwaaq= slave of God like Abdullah
Tagaal Waaq one who fought in cause of God
For the association of the sky the Somalis us Waqal daruureed, Waaq faal Astronomy or a from of Astrology. Waaqdacin Waaqlal and the North for Waaqooyi which is the direction
What Are Their Beliefs? Gujji oromo
These ethnic religionists worship a supreme being named Waqa. Wadaja feasts are organized on various occasions, and livestock is sacrificed in Waqa's honor.
Many people still believe that objects such as trees, springs, and rocks have spirits. It is also believed that spirits called jinn may take possession of people.
One basic value of the Oromo is tokuma, which is identification with the group. The religious, social, political,and economic life of the Oromo revolves around this. Cooperation is central to this system, especially in work arrangements.
In the traditional monotheistic religion ("Waaqa") of the Oromo, the name of God is given variously in English letters as "Waaqayoo", "Waaqa", "Waq", "Waqa", "Wak", "Waaq", and so on. Though they acknowledged a "superior being" called Wak.
African (Ethiopian) god who dwelled in the clouds. He was supreme and a benefactor god. He kept the heavens at a distance from the earth and ornamented it with stars. When the earth was flat, Wak asked man to build himself a coffin. Man did so and Wak shut him up in it and buried it. For seven years he made fire rain down. This is how the mountains were formed. Wak then danced upon the place where the coffin was buried and man sprang forth, alive. He was sure he had slept for a brief moment only and was shocked to find it had been so long and earth had changed so much; this is why man is awake for most of the day. Eventually man grew tired of living alone. Knowing of man's loneliness, Wak took some of his blood and after four days, the blood turning into a woman whom the man married. Man and woman had 30 children, but man was so ashamed at having had so many that he hid fifteen of them away. Wak was angry at this, and as a result, the children man hid away were turned into animals and demons.
Waka-The bengign rain god of the Oromo of Ethiopia.
WAAQA created the Heavens and the Earth, and then created the first human. Unfortunately the Earth wasn't quite finished, so he buried the man in a homemade coffin to keep him safe while he added the finishing touches with fire and brimstone.
The process took seven long years, and the man was so bored at the end of it all that WAAQA created a woman to keep him company. This certainly gave him something to do, and the result was thirty children. The man was a bit embarrassed by all this activity and tried to hide some of his kids, but WAAQA in his wisdom turned them into animals instead.
Untouched by missionary zeal, WAAQA is still a Top God today. He is supreme. He is omnipotent. He is monotheistic. He rules over all. His will is unshakeable and unbreakable. He rewards the good and punishes the bad. And he likes a great deal of attention.
In other words, WAAQA is exactly like every other monotheistic deity we know of. He is worshipped devoutly and frequently by his followers, and there is little else to tell.
Oh, except that WAAQA and his people have often been the target of missionaries and religious fundamentalists claiming:
a) that WAAQA is ALLAH and should be worshipped as such
b) that WAAQA is JEHOVAH and should be worshipped as such
c) that WAAQA really is JEHOVAH, honestly...
The Sakuye a group closely related to the Somali of NFD particularly the Gaarre Dir and adopted Boorana cultural traits like gabra
Religion: Traditionally the Sakuye worshipped one God, Wak, by putting sacrifices in special trees. Over the last century aspects of Islam has come into their culture, though just overlaid on their traditional beliefs and practices. Dabel is the center of the Ayaana, a strong Oromo Satan appeasement and worship cult. Ayaana followers believe it is necessary to appease Satan because he brings harm to them, while it not necessary to appease God, as he does not harm people.
OROMO RELIGION OF ETHIOPIA
Editor: Balaam's Ass Speaks: The following is filled with half-truths. The Galla DO believe in spirits, and they hold a certain bird to be sacred, and they will run through the forest following the bird to see which way it turns in order to make a decision. The Galla (Oromo) also have reached a degree of ecumenism with Islam that is rare anywhere in the world.
THE RELIGION OF OROMO
There are three main religions in Oromia: traditional Oromo religion, Islam and Christianity. Before the introduction of Christianity and Islam, the Oromo people practised their own religion. They believed in one Waaqayoo which approximates to the English word God. They never worshipped false gods or carved statues as substitutes. M. de Almeida (1628-46) had the following to say: 'the Gallas (Oromo) are neither Christians, moors nor heathens, for they have no idols to worship." The Oromo Waaqa is one and the same for all. He is the creator of everything, source of all life, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible, he can do and undo anything, he is pure, intolerant of injustice, crime, sin and all falsehood. Waaqayoo is often called Waaqa for short.
There are many saint-like divinities called ayyaana, each seen as manifestation of the one Waaqa or of the same divine reality. An effective relationship is often maintained between ayyaana and Oromo by Qaallu (male) and/or Qaalitti (female). A Qaallu is like a Bishop in the Christian world and an lmam in the Muslim world. He is a religious and ritual expert who has a special relationship with one of the ayyaana, which possesses him at regular intervals.
Although the office of Qaallu is hereditary, in principle it is open to anyone who can provide sufficient proof of the special direct personal contact with an ayyaana. In the Oromo society a Qaallu is regarded as the most senior person in his lineage and clan and the most respected in the society. He is considered pure and clean. He must respect traditional taboos (safuu) and ritual observances in all situations and in all his dealings and must follow the truth and avoid sin.
The Qaallu institution is one of the most important in the Oromo culture and society and is believed to have existed since mythical times. It is a very important preserver and protector of Oromo culture, more or less in the same way the Abyssinian Orthodox Church is the preserver of Abyssinian culture.
The Qaallu institution has political importance, even though the Qaallu himself does not possess political power as such and religion is distinctly separated from politics. The Qaallu village is the spiritual centre, where political debates are organized for the candidates for the Gadaa offices. Thus he plays both a spiritual and political role in the Gadaa system. For instance, during the fifth year of the Gadaa period, the Gadaa class in power honours the Qaallu by taking gifts and making their pledges of reverence. This is the Muuda or anointment ceremony. As the head of the council of electors, the Qaallu organizes and oversees the election of Gadaa leaders.
The Qaallu institution was once a repository of important ceremonial articles (collective symbols) in the Buttaa (Gadaa) ceremony, such as the bokku (sceptre), the national flag, etc. The national flag is made in the colours of the Qaallu turban (surri ruufa). The national flag had three colours - black at the top, red in the centre and white at the bottom. In the Gadaa, the three colours, black, red and white, represented those yet to enter active life, those in active life (Luba) and those who had passed through active five, respectively. The use of these symbols is prohibited by the colonial government.
The Oromo Qaallu must not be confused with the Amhara Qaallicha, who has a very different, much lower, social status. He is a vagabond who resorts to conjuring and black magic for his own benefit, (Knutsson, 1967). He is notorious for extracting remuneration by threats or other means. On the other hand, it is beneath the dignity of an Oromo Qaallu to ask his ritual clients for gifts or payment. The Abyssinian ruling class has confused the terms, thus disparaging the Qaallu socially and religiously by using the term depreciatingly.
The place of worship of Qaallu ritual house is called the Galma. Each ayyaana has its own Galma and its own special ceremonies. The Galma is usually located on a hill top, hill side or in a grove of large trees. Many of these sites are now taken up by Abyssinian Orthodox Church buildings or Mosques. Places of worship also include under trees, beside large bodies of water, by the side of big mountains, hills, stones, etc. This has been misrepresented by outsiders claiming that the Oromo worship trees, rivers, etc.
The believers visit the Galma for worship once or twice a week, usually on Thursday and Saturday nights. At this time the followers dance, sing and beat drums to perform a ritual called dalaga in order to achieve a state of ecstasy, which often culminates in possession. It is at the height of this that the possessing ayyaana speaks through the Qaallu's mouth and can answer prayers and predict the future.
Religious Oromo often made Muuda-pilgrimages to some of the great Qaallus and religious centres such as Arsi's Abbaa Muuda (father of anointment). Among the Borana Oromo Muuda pilgrimages are still common. Muuda pilgrimage is very holy and the pilgrims walk to the place of Abbaa Muuda with a stick in one hand and carrying myrrh (qumbii). All Oromo through whose village the pilgrims pass are obligedto give them hospitality. As the Mecca pilgrims are called Haj among Muslims, these Muuda pilgrims are cared Jila.
The Qaallu institution was weakened with the advent of colonialism to Oromia, which reduced contacts between various Oromo groups. The pilgrimage was prohibited. it became the policy to discourage and destroy Oromo cultural institutions and values. The Qaallu institution has suffered more during the last 14 years than it suffered during the previous 1 00 years. At this stage it faces complete eradication and Orthodox Church buildings are fast replacing Galmas. Just before the beginning of the harvest season every year, the Oromo have a prayer ceremony (thanksgiving festival) called irreessa. It once took place in river meadows where now the Abyssinian Orthodox Church takes its holy Tabot (tablets) for special yearly festivals, the 'timqat'. The lrreessa has become illegal and anybody who attempts to practise it is now likely to be imprisoned.
The Oromo believe that after death individuals exist in the form of a spirit called the 'ekeraa'. They do not believe in suffering after death as in Christianity and Islam. If one commits sin he/she is punished while still alive. The ekeraa is believed to stay near the place where the person once lived. One is obliged to pray to and to give offering by slaughtering an animal every so often to ones parents' ekeraa. The offerings take place near the family or clan cemetery, which is usually in a village.
Oromo people have been in constant contact with other religions like Islam and Christianity for almost the last 1000 years. For instance, the Islamic religion was reported to have been in eastern Shawa about 900
A.D. and Christianity even before that. However, in favour and defence of their own traditional religion, the Oromo have resisted these religions for quite a long time.
However, today the majority of the Oromo people are followers of Islam and Christianity, while the remaining few are still followers of the original Oromo religion. It is said that the Islamic religion spread in Oromia as a reaction to the Ethiopian colonization. The Oromo accepted Islam and non-Orthodox Christianity en-masse because they identified Abyssinian Orthodox Christianity with the oppressor and also to assert their identity vis-a-vis Abyssinians. The Amhara spy monk, Atseme wrote: "The Galla became Muslim for his hatred of Amhara priests." Bereket (1980) also noted, "... Oromos in Arsi province accepted Islam in large number as a demonstration of anti-Amhara sentiment and a rejection of all values associated with imperial conquerors." A somewhat similar situation in the west was the acceptance of Islam by many Afro-Americans in 1950s and 1960s, as a reaction to the racial discrimination and oppression they faced from the white community and in search of an identity different from that of the oppressor group.
There are many Oromo who are followers of Islam or Christianity and yet still practise the original Oromo religion. Bartels (1983) expressed this reality as follows: 'Whether they (Oromo) became Christians or Muslims, the Oromo's traditional modes of experiencing the divine have continued almost unaffected, in spite of the fact that several rituals and social institutions in which it was expressed, have been very diminished or apparently submerged in new ritual cloaks." Many used to visit, until very recently, the Galma and pay due respect to their clan Qaallu. This is more true in regions where Abyssinian Orthodox Christianity prevails.
Editor: Balaam's Ass Speaks: Ha, Ha, Ha!! So when Oromo Galla become Christians they still practice their pagan religion. Well, not in Arussi Galla, friend. In fact, the Galla there, who do not become Christians, are abandoning the Oromo religion because they see that the Christians are healthier and happier. Oromo religion is full of terror of devils who are believed to be able to kill babies and drown people in the lakes on the Rift Valley. So let us take this rubbish with a grain of salt please.
Oromos believe that Waaqa Tokkicha (the one God) created the world, including them. They call this supreme being Waaqa Guuracha (the Black God). Most Oromos still believe that it was this God who created heaven and earth and other living and non-living things. Waaqa also created ayaana (spiritual connection), through which he connects himself to his creatures. The Oromo story of creation starts with the element of water, since it was the only element that existed before other elements.
Oromos believed that Waaqa created the sky and earth from water. He also created dry land out of water, and bakkalcha (a star) to provide light. With the rise of bakkalcha, ayaana (spiritual connection) emerged. With this star, sunlight also appeared. The movement of this sunlight created day and night. Using the light of bakkalcha, Waaqa created all other stars, animals, plants, and other creatures that live on the land, in air, and in water. When an Oromo dies, he or she will become spirit.
Some Oromos still believe in the existence of ancestors' spirits. They attempt to contact them through ceremonies. These ancestral spirits appear to relatives in the form of flying animals.
Original Oromo religion does not believe in hell and heaven. If a person commits a sin by disturbing the balance of nature or mis-treating others, the society imposes punishment while the person is alive.
Oromo heroes and heroines are the people who have done something important for the community. Thinkers who invented the gada system, raagas (prophets), and military leaders, for example, are considered heroes and heroines. Today, those who have contributed to the Oromo national movement are considered heroes and heroines.
5 • RELIGION
Oromos recognize the existence of a supreme being or Creator that they call Waaqa. They have three major religions: original Oromo religion (Waaqa), Islam, and Christianity.
The original religion sees the human, spiritual, and physical worlds as interconnected, with their existence and functions ruled by Waaqa. Through each person's ayaana (spiritual connection), Waaqa acts in the person's life. Three Oromo concepts explain the organization and connection of human, spiritual, and physical worlds: ayaana, uuma (nature), and saffu (the ethical and moral code).
Uuma includes everything created by Waaqa, including ayaana. Saffu is a moral and ethical code that Oromos use to tell bad from good and wrong from right. The Oromo religious institution, or qallu, is the center of the Oromo religion. Qallu leaders traditionally played important religious roles in Oromo society. The Ethiopian colonizers tried to ban the Oromo system of thought by eliminating Oromo cultural experts such as the raagas (Oromo prophets), the ayaantus (time reckoners), and oral historians.
Today, Islam and Christianity are the major religions in Oromo society. In some Oromo regions, Eastern Orthodox Christianity was introduced by the Ethiopian colonizers. In other areas, Oromos accepted Protestant Christianity in order to resist Orthodox Christianity. Some Oromos accepted Islam in order to resist Ethiopian control and Orthodox Christianity. Islam was imposed on other Oromos by Turkish and Egyptian colonizers. However, some Oromos have continued to practice their original religion. Both Christianity and Islam in Ethiopia have been greatly influenced by Oromo religion.
6 • MAJOR HOLIDAYS
The Oromo celebrate ceremonial rites of passage known as ireecha or buuta, as well as Islamic and Christian holidays. The Oromos have also begun celebrating an Oromo national day to remember their heroines and heroes who have sacrificed their lives trying to free their people from Ethiopian rule.
7 • RITES OF PASSAGE
Since children are seen as having great value, most Oromo families are large. The birth of a child is celebrated because each newborn child will some day become a worker. Marriage is celebrated since it is the time when boys and girls enter adulthood. Death is marked as an important event; it brings members of the community together to say goodbye.
Traditionally Oromos had five gada (grades) or parties. The names of these grades varied from place to place. In one area, these grades were dabalee (ages one to eight), rogge (ages eight to sixteen), follee (ages sixteen to twenty-four), qondaala (ages twenty-four to thirty-two), and dorri (ages thirty-two to forty). There were rites of passages when males passed from one gada to another. These rites of passages were called ireecha or buuta.
Between the ages of one and eight, Oromo male children did not participate in politics and had little responsibility. When they were between eight and sixteen years old, they were not yet allowed to take full responsibility and marry. Between ages sixteen and twenty-four, they took on the responsibilities of hard work. They learned about war tactics, politics, law and management, culture and history, and hunting big animals. When young men were between twenty-four and thirty-two years of age, they served as soldiers and prepared to take over the responsibilities of leadership, in peace and war. Men thirty-two to forty years old had important roles. They shared their knowledge with the qondaala group and carried out their leadership responsibilities.
Nowadays, those who can afford it send their children to school. These children complete their teenage years in school. Children and teenagers participate in agriculture and other activities needed for survival. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, young Oromos marry and start the lifecycle of adulthood.
8 • RELATIONSHIPS
By Getachew Chamadaa Nadhabaasaa, Member of Gadaa Melbaa
The Origins of Waaqeffannaa
As far as the investigation of human origin is concerned, Africa is proved to be the Origin of Man. 1 It was the continent where the human being had begun to form simple and complex social organisations. 2 It was on this continent that one of the earliest ancestors of Black African Families known as the Oromoo 3 had come to recognise the existence of a Supreme Being, apart from them. They identified the Supreme Being, as a Transcendental Reality, by giving Him the name Waaqa. They attributed to Him the symbolic quality of the colour Gurraacha, literally means Black, 4 but symbolically stands for WaaqaÂ´s tolerance, compassion, gracefulness, invisibility, purity, helpfulness, among other symbolic qualities ascribed to Him.
According to Oromo mythology, their early ancestors were inspired by Waaqa. 5 Guided by the Law, 6 Which Waaqa granted them - through the first Qaalluu Booranaa (Mana Booranaa) - they were able to institutionalise a highly elaborate egalitarian social system known as Gadaa. 7 Since then, Gadaa has been used not only as a system but as a method, as a programme, and as an ideology 8 in checking and balancing the entire lives of the Oromo nation as one family.
Hereupon was grounded the History of the organised social, ritual, political military and economic activities of the people, which cannot be perceived separately from the Gadaa System. 9 The Oromo people, who had long ago recognised Waaqa as the only Supreme Reality, the Creator of everything, could be one among the earliest peoples of the world, not only in Africa, to develop the doctrine of monotheism. 10 Thenceforth, Waaqeffannaa as a religion, as a religious thought, and as a religious practice of the Gadaa-organized Oromo people, sprung out of the Oromo concept of Waaqa. As a public affair, Waaqeffannaa is manifested by Oromummaa 11 as part of the cultural domain of the Gadaa Oromo Society.
Since the emergence of Waaqeffannaa as a public religious affair, the Oromos have been organising "Thanksgiving Ceremony" (Irreecha/Irreessa) near a body of water (lake, spring, crater, or stream) or at the Galma of the Qaalluu every year. 12 The ceremony is conducted by offering thanks and greeneries to Waaqa, Who helped them pass through the 'dark' rainy winter season 13 to the bright sunny season, which begins to shine in the month of Birraa/Fulbaana, the time crops and plants are furnishing colourful flowers. 14
In spite of problems confronting the Oromos in course of their history, interaction with other peoples, voluntary or involuntary conversion to the Â´writtenÂ´ religions 15 of the Muslim and Christian worlds, Waaqeffannaa continues to offer pertinent answers to its adherents.
Waaqeffannaa has made remarkable contributions in conflict resolutions, in making peace, in maintaining social harmony, in defending the Gadaa-based moral qualities of the Oromo families, in shaping the behavioural system of the Oromos (from blessing ceremonials to etiquette of socialising). and in bestowing socially meaningful names upon the newly born Oromo children. 16
Invoking Waaqa, and the Teachings of Waaqeffannaa
In the daily life of every Oromo, Waaqa is frequently invoked.. In morning and evening prayers, in seeking peace, in giving an errand of blessing and oath, in mediating conflicting parties for reconciliation, in testifying witness etc. 17
However, this does not necessarily indicate that those who invoke are all on the Avenue of Peace (Karaa Nagaa) that Waaqa brightened for the Oromo people to walk on. 18
There could be individuals who might have gone far from the Avenue of Peace and committed themselves to a tricky invocation. Waaqeffannaa teaches the invocation of Waaqa to be held at the right time, for the right reasons, at the right place. 19
Falsehood invocations are believed to be signals of calling misfortune upon one's own life, beside their blasphemous connotation. 20 Falsehood invocations are a blatant rejection to walk on the Avenue of Nagaa, a flagrant violation of the spiritual quality of the Gadaa Oromoo Society, a defection and flight from being a faithful citizen of the Gadaa-based indigenous republican form of Oromo governance.
According to Waaqeffannaa, a cheeky person of sneaky behaviour, a counterfeiter, a renegade, a socially inconsiderate, selfish and deceptive person is understood as existing against the Law of Waaqa. 21 Hence, Waaqeffannaa refrains from approving a 'certificate of integration' into the religious life of Gadaa Oromoo Families. No one can ever trust such person as a faithful citizen of the Republic of Gadaa Oromoland. Waaqeffannaa rather adheres to teaching human compassion, conformity to facts of truth, respect to the Law of Waaqa, honesty to the legitimacy of social taboos, fairness to individual and public opinions, care for strangers, and hospitality to foreigners etc. 22
Waaqeffannaa teaches its followers to abhor practices like persecution, ostracising and segregation of man by man because of differences in faith, language, ethnicity, hair texture, physical character, skin colour, height or weight. 23
The most important quality for Waaqeffannaa is the "Tone" of the man and the coherency of his tone with his activity 24 that can defend the Nagaa Oromoo Family for the development of the "We-Oromo society" together. 25
However, as it has been witnessed in the past ten decades, Oromos' fairness, openness and honesty have given ample opportunities to the Â´closedÂ´ Monophysitic 26 Amhara and Tigray people, including the Monophysitic Eritreans, who constitute the core part of the Abyssinian society, to devise the strategy of divide and rule.
Religious Terrorism and Intolerance carried out by Monophysitic Abyssinians
In order to uproot Waaqeffannaa, the leaders of the Monophysitic Abyssinian religion, who worship 44 types of Â´TabotsÂ´, have greatly helped the successive colonial regimes of Abyssinia to carry out wars and perform all sorts of military and police activities.
In addition, the greedy-espionage of European missionaries, notably the Pentecostal sects, have taken the advantage of Oromos' openness, and succeeded in diverting numerous Oromos from the path of their original faith to the imported 'Cross Worshiping' religion 27 by giving priorities to selected Oromo localities. The worst side of Pentecostalism is the creation of self-alienation, the inculcation of an illusive life on the part of its followers, so as to damage the indigenous values. 28
Helped by Oromos' generosity, hospitality, and frankness, the missionaries 29 have been able to manipulate Oromo's local psychology, scrutinise their mental faculty, and succeeded in establishing Euro-centric 'Cross Worshiping Centres' among Waaqeffataa Oromos.
They preach what they call preparedness for 'the best life after death' 30 which does not exist in the OromosÂ´ Waaqeffannaa creed. On this point, too, the teachings of the Euro-centrists are not different from those of the Monophysitic Tewahido 31 Ethiopianists, who also preach the 'beauty of life after deathÂ´. They teach how the very nature of man is aggressive, 32 vindictive, and deceptive, when one is born to live on earth. Hence, to be able to conquer the 'beauty of life after death', they preach means to control such tendencies through long fasting that requires abstention from nutritious food like milk, meat, chicken, egg etc.
Islam and Waaqeffannaa
Islam, too, teaches the existence of a 'wonderful life after death in paradise' 33 but it conditions it "if all peoples accept Islam as the only true religion of the world,". It teaches "holy slavery" 34 to the Arabian 35 Supreme Being called Allah. 36
The Monophysitic Coptic Abyssinians, the Evangelical European missionaries, the Muslim Arabians 37, and their followers are in the same category in rejecting Waaqeffannaa as a Human Faith.
Waaqeffannaa does not believe either in the existence of an eternal joyous life in heaven after death or a miserable life in hell. Its teachings are based on the existence of Life before death on earth. It only believes in the virtual existence of the dead person in the form of Ekeraa (AncestorÂ´s Holy Ghost) where the person was buried in his ancestor's cemetery. 38
According to Waaqeffannaa, a person is totally responsible for all sins he committed while on earth. 39 It attributes virtue of success, happiness, peacefulness, compassion, victory etc. as a direct consequence of man's close communion with the Law of Waaqa and his constant walk on the ever-luminous path He cleared for man to travel on.
That is why, Waaqeffannaa always advocates honesty, modesty, truth, purity and humanity as inherent qualities of the Gadaa-based Oromo Society, which can lead them to successful achievement for the endeavours they are constantly undertaking.
Waaqeffannaa teaches the abhorrence of the root causes that emit cataclysmic social disorders and defile the established social norms with which the Oromos have been living in the longest period of their history, when they stood in the light of Seera Waaqa and Safuu Oromoo.
More specifically, Waaqeffannaa teaches that
1. Waaqa endowed the Oromos with the Avenue of Peace, Karaa Nagaa, to walk on, 40
2.. Waaqa blessed for them with the Gadaa Rule of Law, as promulgated and declared by the Supreme Legislative Organ, Caffee/Gumii, 41
3. Waaqa blessed the Oromos to be men of justice and law-abiding citizens of the Republic of Gadaa Oromoland, 42
4. He blessed them to be a victorious and prosperous nation of numerous progenies, if they follow the Avenue of Peace, 43
5. Waaqa strictly warned them never to cultivate persons of dictatorial ambitions nor to allow the growth of such person among them and so on. 44
These and other messages of Waaqa are believed to have been delivered through the mouth of the first Qaalluu Booranaa, who had been anointing Oromo pilgrims from all over Gadaa Oromoland at Haroo Walaabuu before colonisation. The message has become a self-assertive declaration in rejecting and fighting any form of internally assumed dictators and the Abyssinian colonial rules and rulers.
The Oromo Concept of Evil
Waaqeffannaa preaches that there is no other power to dares challenge Waaqa's Supreme Authority. 45 This is diametrically opposed to the Â´revealedÂ´ religions of the Christian and Muslim worlds which preach too opposite to WaaqeffannaaÂ´s fundamental religious creed.
The origin of the religion and the word Waaqeffannaa is Waaqa, the Invisible Supreme Power. Hence, there is no other power that could contend WaaqaÂ´s infinite power, wisdom and supreme authority. Followers of Â´revealedÂ´ religions call this power satan. 46
According to their teachings, this so-called satan is full of power, has the ability to instigate man against Waaqa, Waaqa against man, man against man, to become king of the world on earth and king of paradise in heaven. 47 To the question they are often asked "who created the satan?", they reply: " God created him. However, they say, since God found him challenging His power, He restricted him to be king of eternal damnation, the hell". 48 According to the Bible and the QurÂ´an, satan is the cause of all conflicts, war, delinquency, deviancy, vagrancy, robbery, sadness, madness, unsuccessful achievements, injustice, social vice, etc.
Before the introduction of the colonial religions into the belief systems of the Gadaa Oromoo Society, the word satan had not existed in the vocabulary of Afaan Oromo. 49 Unfortunately, it has become one of the foreign words that existed in a corrupted form in Afaan Oromoo. The Oromos call it seexana. In Hebrew language, it is known as sa-tan. In Greek, as sa-ta-nas.
They identified it as a chief adversary of "Their God", narrating that Satan had spoken through the mouth of a serpent and succeeded in seducing Eve into disobedience to God. 50 The disobedient Eve in turn seduced her husband, Adam, to follow the same rebellious action like her. Thereon, the spirit of the satan interwoven with that of God, and the recognition of its decisive role in Judean-Christian and Muslim religious beliefs, came into existence as Â´Holy ScripturesÂ´. 51
As the case of Pheenxee Oromos clearly demonstrated to us, particularly followed by some Islamic sects, this so-called seexana is blamed and condemned to death for their weaknesses and failures, for their delinquent, deviant and sneaky misbehaviours.
In great contrast with the Waaqefataa Oromo religious doctrine of altruism, they preach egoism within the context of Pentecostalism as the only means to achieve the desired self-centred objectives etc.
In their views, everything, crime, disharmony, conflict, natural disaster, breach of oath, disobedience, illness, madness, etc. can be attributable to the work of seexana. They categorically reject any values that are indigenous and relevant to African origin. 52 According to Pheenxee Oromos, all material cultures pertaining to Oromo traditional religion are Â´idolsÂ´ 53 serving the will of seexana, being hence condemned to demolition and destruction. 54
For them, Oromo ritual objects are not human beingsÂ´ creativity to help the Oromos provide a meaning of life and satisfy their needs. 55 As they are officially preaching, the objects are devilÂ´s invention moulded and embellished to worship satanic authorities.. 56
Waaqeffannaa attributes the occurrence of sadness, madness, social vice, unhappy lives, unsuccessful achievements, dishonesty, delinquency, deviancy, conflict, war, disgracefulness etc as a consequence of man's departure from the Avenue of Peace, Karaa Nagaa irraa jallachuu, and his violation to observe and respect Seera Waaqa and Safuu Oromoo. 57
The Oromos express their resentment directly to their Creator, Waaqa. They know no other super power. They blame the misfortune and bad-omen they have encountered in their daily lives and activities as a result of their own negligence, derailed to follow the main chapters of WaaqaÂ´s law. Then, they directly complain to their Waaqa, why He withdrew His protection away from them. They believe that, they might have committed Cubbuu (sin) that could anger the Creator and Tolerant Waaqa. Then, they begin to pray and appeal to His help for resilience. 58
Whether the Oromos confront problems or pursue happiness, it is only Waaqa Who is to be praised or to whom either displeasure or resentment is to be expressed. The Oromos have had direct relationship with their Creator, be it in time of happiness or in moments of sadness.
The Survival and Revival of Waaqeffannaa
The colonising religions of Coptic centred Monophysitic Abyssinians, the Euro-centred Evangelists, and the Mecca-centred Muslims are claiming a 'monopoly of truth' 59 over Waaqeffannaa, by labelling this indigenous African religion as pagan, animist, inferior, backward, and imbued with a 'monopoly of falsehood'. 60 They are competing with each other for the scramble of the Gadaa-based Oromo Society. 61
Such derogatory connotations have tried to molest the noble functions of Waaqeffannaa. They have become the major cause for the destruction of human lives, human heritages, peace and peace-loving peoples of African origin in which the Waaqaafannaa-led Oromo concept of Nagaa has been deliberately interpreted as a 'violent pagan faith'.
In the 2nd half of the 19th century, the Abyssinian empire builders had effectively used their Coptic Monophysitic Abyssinian religion as a weapon to colonise the Oromo people.
Emperor Haile Sellasie declared that "the church is like the sword, and the government is like an arm, therefore, the sword cannot cut by itself without the use of the arm". 62 The emperor's decree had clearly justified the nature of their religion and its role in provoking violence instead of peace.
However, resisting the Abyssinian church's sword on the right side, the government's arm on the left side, Pheenxee's and SheikhsÂ´ assault from the rear and front lines, Waaqeffannaa has testified to its survival to this day. Waaqeffataas are reviving the genuine Oromo Religion, despite systematic harassment by the colonial regime and despite open condemnations by the fundamentalist sections of the followers of the aforementioned religions. They are offering "Thanksgiving Ceremony", Irreecha/Irreessa, to Waaqa Who created them as one of a peace-loving people of African societies.
They are thus demonstrating to the world the continuity of their stiff resistance to the colonising religions, which are detrimental to the religious function of Nagaa Oromoo..
At the beginning of the 20th century, a certain missionary, Phillipson, visited the Oromo communities around the coast of Indian Ocean and said: "To their [Oromos] beautiful custom of hospitality, their religion teaches them to take care for strangers bound on an errand of peace". This man could not conceal the true nature of Waaqeffataa Oromos, even if he was sad that the Oromos did not accept the Â´writtenÂ´ colonial religion that was ravaging the peoples in Kenya at that moment. 63
To sum up, Waaqeffannaa is an indigenous religion of African origin, which is followed by millions of people. Waaqeffannaa does give holistic, convincing, and historically remarkable answers to its followers. The door of Waaqeeffannaa was open; and it is still open; it must continue to be open to those constructive ideas and various innovations that help enhance the creative capacity of the Oromo people.
Nonetheless, the various mushrooming sects of all colonial religions in Oromoland endanger the revival of Waaqeffannaa, the Oromo prayers, the preservation of sacred places, and the institutions. These colonial religions run for the monopolisation of 'truth', based on their texts, and because of this they rather continue nurturing social conflicts, instead of restoring social harmonies among the Oromos. 64
The various missionaries, though they admire and preach the monopoly of their own colonial faiths, need to develop moral judgements and human compassion by respecting and deeply exploring the values of the indigenous religions, not merely Waaqeffannaa, for the religions of the indigenous peoples of African origin can better satisfy their needs. 65
Therefore, it would be a wise judgement on the part of Oromo Qeeses (priests), who have recently begun to be addressed by the Gadaa title 'Luba', their followers and disciples in particular, and the Oromo Sheikhs, if they start taking seriously into account the absolutely prominent and greatly beneficial role Waaqeffannaa has been playing in protecting Oromummaa throughout the ages. Such a wise act would help them avoid any further jumping into various forms of hasty generalisation. 66
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