Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Theological Interpretation of “Rukh” In Magi

Written by: Micha

I have not forsaken this fandom yet. To make up for my abrupt absence, where my University is 83% held accountable, I’m going to present a kickass theological interpretation of “rukh” in Magi. We’re aware of how much Magi borrows religion and mythology for its plot devices, and I feel like we’ve not quite grasped the depths of the symbolism in the concept of rukh.

If that doesn’t get the motor running in your nerd genitals, this is your cue to leave this post before I present my two primary interpretations of the concept and its implications and how it relates to the manga. I’ll make this as fast and painless as I can.

Don't look at me. Y'all started this.
Before we get to the religious links, if you’re familiar with the trivia, you’d know that the word “rukh” comes from either “roc” the bird, or “rooh” which is the Arabic word for spirit and soul. Personally, I’m an advocate for nuanced explanations so I see no reason why we cannot consider the possibility that Ohtaka could’ve implied both when she came up with rukh.

While it is interesting to note that a roc is a huge bird associated with a lot of literary traditions including Arabian Nights and it was mentioned that Ugo named rukh considering the fact that it looks like a bird, this is not in relevance to my primary topics. So moving forward, the ontological foundation for my arguments is that the concept of rukh was derived from the Arabic word “rooh” meaning soul.

Point 1: Rooh has the same etymological derivatives as the Arabic word Ra’ha meaning serenity and liberty.

You must be thinking, “What in God’s darn tootle does that have anything to do with Magi, LOL?” What you need to understand is that Magi has a lot of references to the strictly monotheistic religions that is Islam and Judaism; both of which has their precepts about souls and its characteristics which happen to parallel with those described in Magi.

As mentioned, Ra’ha means serenity and liberty, which lays down the scope for the concept of freedom in Islam. Islamic tradition narrates that the man is never truly free as we’re thrown in to a world where our ideas and beliefs are shaped and influenced by our society. We are burdened by social pressure and we are enslaved to the many social institutions that are relative and subjective. Despite how convinced we are that we have the freedom of choice, we are slaves to context.

And the soul or “rooh” searches for freedom, which lies in obedience to the Divine which is the Creator of the soul. So pretty much, your “rooh” attains true liberation when you break the thousands of shackles to the social pressure and submit yourself to one God and acknowledge him as your Creator; that is changing your slave master.

Interestingly enough, Magi has pretty much the same concept when it comes rukh. What you need to understand is that fundamentally, ever since Solomon’s apotheosis- meaning when he tore the rukh from Ill Ilah and became God- the white rukh became his will. The white rukh flow became his will. And as a human being, the flow that became Solomon’s will is the guidance and your destination. And to defy that, you will be defying the absolute will of God- that is our beloved Solomon- therefore, you Fall in to Depravity. Not defying the flow and accepting your destiny is what the rukh wants. The rukh is liberated in to the Great White Flow when people accept their fate.

Here's a picture of Solomon as God with the rukh. Pondering philosophy and shit like that.
Acceptance and obedience. Those are the two themes that are paralleled in the interpretations of both the religious notion of the soul’s freedom and the concept of rukh in Magi.

Point 2: Rooh has similar etymological derivatives as the Arabic word Raah meaning “to go”

This one is quite straight forward and no, there is no implication of take-out food in here.  It simply means to go somewhere or “went”.  

The monotheistic religions, especially Islam, describes the soul in a journey where it starts from the Creator, lives in the physical body while on Earth, and then returns to the Creator after death. The soul always have to go or return to God, where it originally came from.

This theme is emphasized mostly in response to how people strive on human disposition and worldly pleasures, for instance; you and I obsessing over fiction right now and wasting time and not asking the fundamental questions such as “where am I going?” or “who put me here?”. So pretty much, it concerns the journey of the “rooh”.

In addition to this, the soul is considered immortal.

However, I should note that in Magi, rukh and soul are completely two different things; but existing together. It is said that rukh is the “home of souls” as the soul returns to rukh after one dies and they all “go back to one place” which is the Great White Flow; where the rukh originated from. 

Unless you a magi. In which case, you return to this handsome fella.
From this perspective, we can highlight how the rukh and the theological concept of soul has similarities as they both undergo a paralleled journey where it ends up where it started.

Aint Magi beautiful. I realize that I’ve stretched the interpretations a bit thin, but that’s pretty much how these far-fetched theories of mine work. Even if none of these might’ve been implied by the writer, it sure does sound like a happy coinkidonk to my theology obsessed brain. And when you mix theology with my favorite manga, it hits me in all the right places and at the same time gets I a bit upset since I’m not the biggest fan of religious exploitation in fiction. However, that’s a topic for another article.

Micha: [Co-founder]
Micha likes to broadcast her terrible drawing skills to the world on her DeviantArt account and talks about her life long ambition of making Yakushi Kabuto a woman, on her Skype; michasucks. Yes, with the dot. She will also respond to e-mails on her because Amber forces her to.
Also, she now has an and tumblr. Here's your chance to harass her.

No comments:

Post a Comment