The Zensunni Religion
Disclaimer: This is a fictional description of a fictional religion. It may draw from Islam, but it's really a hodge-podge mix of various bits of Islam, Trotskyism, Ba'athism, Zoroastrianism, and Zen Buddhism. Those bits are also badly understood if they haven't been deliberately mangled. The purpose of this document is to provide some interesting meat for a role-playing game, not to make any comments on any real-world belief system. See the Jineev Jihad page for more details.
The Zensunni people have a long and tragic history of enslavement and forced migrations. They have been on the world of Arrakis for millennia where the are now known as Fremen, inhabitants of the deep desert. Throughout their history, they have been sustainedby their Zensunni faith.
The main tenet of Zensunnism is that the universe is a battleground between the forces of God, and the Devil, Shaitan. By acting in correct ways, the faithful can increase the power of God and decrease the power of Shaitan. The traditional Zensunni virtues are self-reliance and service to the tribe. The faithful Zensunni follow the word of God that has been revealed to them by a series of prophets. Religious services are led by the Reverend Mothers, but most Fremen had a personal relationship with God. The social fabric of the tribe and seitch was reinforced with the seitch orgies, fueled by the melange-based Water of Life, which expanded the participants' consciousnesses so that differences between individuals were dissolved.
Since the rise of Maud'Dib, the Zensunni faith has split into three main factions: the Qizara, who follow Maud'Dib's new teachings, the Hyamuni, who focus on the mystic aspects of Zensunnism, and the reactionary, isolationist Fremen.
Dedicated members of the Qizarate faction regard Maud'Dib as the latest madhi (prophet) to have revealed God's plan. They believe that all humanity should live by the Zensunni sharia law and are spreading the word across the Imperium. Their ultimate aim is to unite all humanity under Maud'Dib's benevolent and wise rule. This can only be achieved when the House dominated, feudal societies are swept away and replaced with open and egalitarian societies governed by Zensunni sharia law.
The Qizarate organisation achieves this reform through two main tactics: social betterment and military force. Initially, its outreach program supports such social goods as the building and equipping of schools and hospitals, which generally provide services to the lower classes in the non-converted worlds. They also sponsor missionaries to spread the word of Maud'Dib. If and when the Qizarate's outreach programme is suppressed and its members persecuted, the Qizarate's military wing comes into play. The scope of military actions is limited by the rules of Qitaal; it normally starts by providing security and bodyguards for Zensunni missionaries and merchants and escalates to more direct action when it's both needed and justified.
The Hyamuni are the Zensunni faction that emphasise the mysical aspects of the faith. Their emphasis is on the individual's own personal relationship with God and how this can be experienced to its fullest extent. They believe that the overriding force in the universe is the love that God has for his universe and everything within it, and his greatest love is for the people. By expanding one's consciousness and experiencing the universe, the Hyamuni can directly experience God's love for creation. Hyamunis seek to experience and become the universe, and to dissolve the self into a state of pure existence and oneness (the tau), without striving for delight or suffering, validation or extinction.
As a summary of their approach, one Zensunni philosopher has said --
There are three ways of knowing a thing. Take for instance a flame. One can be told of the flame, one can see the flame with his own eyes, and finally one can reach out and be burned by it. In this way, we Hyamunis seek to be burned by God.
The central doctrine of Hyamunism is the understanding that all phenomena are manifestations of a single reality. The essence of reality is devoid of every form and quality, and hence unmanifested, yet it is inseparable from every form and phenomenon either material or spiritual. The chief aim of all Hyamunis then is to let go of all notions of duality, therefore the individual self also, and realize the divine unity. The main vehicle for this realisation is through 'seeing deeply into the nature of things,' generally by direct experience. Preconceptions in the minds of Hyamunis are identified and challenged by the posing of koans and by teaching through allegory and metaphor.
The sense of dissolution of the self is often assisted by intense meditation and ecstatic rituals, including dancing and singing. Wherever possible, these experiences are enhanced by consuming near-overdoes of melange, which induces psychic connections and prescient glimpses of the future. The most powerful techniques are derived from the spice-fuelled seitch orgies.
Hyamunis teach in personal groups, believing the interaction of the master is necessary for the growth of the pupil.
Hyamunism's patron is Maud'Dib's sister, St Alia-of-the-Knife, the preborn, prescient mystic.
This is a small and generally insignificant group. Many Fremen care little for Maud'Dib's revolution and strive to retreat to the deep desert and preserve the old Fremen ways from before the madhi arrived. Some more militant Fremen attempt to resist and sabotage the efforts to ?green? Arrakis. Some jihadis, and even some Fedaykin, become disillusioned with the Qizarate message after long service and retreat to this reactionary faith.
The Little Qizarate
There is a fourth faction among the Fremen. The members of this faction come mainly from the city-dwellers on Arrakis. They essentially ignore the Fremen religious activity, or pay lip service to the Qizarate. Their main motivation lies in the desire the better themselves and make money from the opportunities open to Fremen, both off-world (taking up bureaucratic posts on conquered planets) and on Arrakis (generally fleecing the tourists on hajj there). They often follow the Qizarate missionaries and jihadis to implement the bureaucracy of empire.