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The Fourth Berth: Excerpt 4 from The Atheism Delusion by Ahmed Al Hasan

The Land of Sumer and Akkad Cried over Dumuzi, and Now it Cries over Al-Hussain pbuh?!

The Sumerians or Akkadians grieved and cried over Dumuzi (Sumerian: Dumu, “son” + Zi, “faithful”) for thousands of years. The grieving of the Mesopotamians over Dumuzi continued until the time of the prophet Ezekiel. The Torah mentions that the residents of Mesopotamia grieved over Tammuz (Dumuzi):


13 He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.” 14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. 15 Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.” 16 And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the Sun toward the east  Ezekiel 8:13-16.


The killing of Tammuz is the act that is described as an abomination, and it caused the women to weep and the men to prostrate at his altar.


The story of the killing of King Dumuzi starts with him paying the price for his refusal to prostrate before Ishtar-Inanna (the temporal life):


If Inanna [Ishtar] would ascend from the nether world,

Let her give someone as her substitute.

Inanna ascends from the nether world,

The small demons like shukur-reeds,

The large demons likedubban-reeds,

Held on to her side.

Who was in front of her, though not a vizier, held a scepter in his hand,

            Who was at her side, though not a knight, had a weapon fastened about the loin.

            They who accompanied her,

They who accompanied Inanna [the goddess Ishtar or the temporal life]

Were beings who know not food, who know not water,

Eat not sprinkled flour,

Drink not libated water,

Take away the wife from the man’s lap,

Take away the child from the nursemaid’s breast.


Inanna [Ishtar] proceeds to the two Sumerian cities Umma and Bad-tibira, whose two deities prostrate themselves before her [Ishtar or the worldly life] and are thus saved from the clutches of the demons. Then she arrives at the city Kullab, whose tutelary deity is Dumuzi. The poem continues:

Dumuzi [Tammuz] put on a noble robe, he sat high on (his) seat.

The demons seized him by his thighs . . . ,

The seven (demons) rush at him as at the side of a sick man,

The shepherds play not the flute and pipe before him.

She (Inanna) fastened the eye upon him, the eye of death,

Spoke the word against him, the word of wrath,

Uttered the cry against him, the cry of guilt:

“As for him, carry him off.”

The pure Inanna gave the shepherd Dumuzi into their hands.

They who accompanied him,

They who accompanied Dumuzi [Tammuz],

Were beings who know not food, know not water,

Eat not sprinkled flour [food made from flour],

Drink not libated water, [water submitted as an offering], . . .(Kramer 1981, 163-64).

Ishtar-Inanna, the wife of king Dumuzi, handed him over to the demons to be killed in a paradox that anyone would find difficult to understand without knowing the meaning of the supremacy of God or divine appointment, or as the Sumerian-Akkadians call it, “the kingship that came down from the heavens.”

However, a recurring theme that is oft-repeated in the divine religion is that Ishtar, the temporal life, yields to the kings whom God has not appointed in many cases, because they have prostrated before her and submitted to her, as a result of worshipping their temporal desires.

Ishtar, the temporal life, is rebellious against those appointed by God to rule in the temporal world, because they are actually rebellious against her. Ali’s pbuh share was five bitter years in which all the demons of the earth broke out to fight him pbuh in al-Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrawan. They did not stop until they killed him in al-Kufa. The share of al-Hussain pbuh, the king appointed to rule in this temporal world, was a massacre where not even the infant survived.

These are some of the texts from the Sumerian clay tablets that have reached us regarding the tragedy of Dumuzi and his sister. We will now see how closely it describes what happened to al-Hussain pbuh, in spite of the fact that they are archaeological texts that circulated among the Sumerian-Akkadians thousands of years before the birth of al-Hussain pbuh:


His heart was filled with tears.

The shepherd’s heart was filled with tears.

Dumuzi’s heart was filled with tears.

Dumuzi stumbled across the steppe, weeping:

            “O steppe, set up a wail for me!

O crabs in the river, mourn for me!

O frogs in the river, call for me!

O my mother, Sirtur, weep for me!”

If she does not find the five breads,

If she does not find the ten breads,

If she does not know the day I am dead,

You, O steppe, tell her, tell my mother.

On the steppe, my mother will shed tears for me.

On the steppe, my little sister will mourn for me.”

He lay down to rest.

The shepherd lay down to rest.

Dumuzi lay down to rest

As he lay among the buds and rushes,

He dreamed a dream.

He awoke from his dream.

He trembled from his vision.

He rubbed his eyes, terrified.

Dumuzi called out:

“Bring . . .  bring her . . .  bring my sister.

Bring my Geshtinanna, my little sister,

My tablet-knowing scribe,

My singer who knows many songs,

My sister who knows the meaning of words,

My wise woman who knows the meaning of dreams.

I must speak to her.

I must tell her my dream.”


Dumuzi spoke to Geshtinanna, saying:

“A dream! My sister, listen to my dream:

Rushes rise all about me; rushes grow thick about me.

A single growing reed trembles for me.

From a double-growing reed, first one, then the other, is removed.

In a wooded grove, the terror of tall trees rises about me.

No water is poured over my holy hearth.

The bottom of my churn drops away.

My drinking cup falls from its peg.

My shepherd’s crook has disappeared.

An eagle seizes a lamb from the sheepfold.

A falcon catches a sparrow on the reed fence.


My sister, your goats drag their lapis beards in the dust.

Your sheep scratch the earth with bent feet.


The churn lies silent; no milk is poured.

The cup lies shattered; Dumuzi is no more.

The sheepfold is given to the winds.”

Geshtinanna spoke:

“My brother, do not tell me your dream.

Dumuzi, do not tell me such a dream.


The rushes which rise all about you,

The rushes which grow thick about you,

Are your demons, who will pursue and attack you.


The single growing reed which trembles for you

Is our mother; she will mourn for you.


The double-growing reed, from which one, then the other, is removed, Dumuzi,

Is you and I; first one, then the other, will be taken away.


In the wooded grove, the terror of tall trees which rises about you

Is the galla; they will descend on you in the sheepfold.


When the fire is put out on your holy hearth,

The sheepfold will become a house of desolation.


When the bottom of your churn drops away,

You will be held by thegalla.


When your drinking cup falls from its peg,

You will fall to the earth, onto your mother’s knees.


When your shepherd’s crook disappears,

The gallawill cause everything to wither.


The eagle who seizes a lamb in the sheepfold

Is the galla who will scratch your cheeks.


The falcon who catches a sparrow in the reed fence

Is the galla who will climb the fence to take you away.


Dumuzi, my goats drag their lapis beards in the dust.


My hair will swirl around in heaven for you.

My sheep scratch the earth with bent feet.

O Dumuzi, I will tear at my cheeks in grief for you.


The churn lies silent; no milk is poured.

The cup lies shattered; Dumuzi is no more.

The sheepfold is given to the winds—” (Wolkstein and Kramer 1983, 74-77).


Dumuzi escaped from his demons.

He fled to the sheepfold of his sister, Geshtinanna.


    When Geshtinanna found Dumuzi in the sheepfold, she wept.

She brought her mouth close to heaven.

She brought her mouth close to earth.

Her grief covered the horizon like a garment.

She tore at her eyes.

She tore at her mouth.

She tore at her thighs.

Thegallaclimbed the reed fence.

The firstgallastruck Dumuzi on the cheek with a piercing nail,

The second gallastruck Dumuzi on the other cheek with the shepherd’s crook,

The third gallasmashed the bottom of the churn,

The fourthgalla threw the drinking cup down from its peg,

The fifth gallashattered the churn,  

The sixthgallashattered the cup,

The seventhgallacried:

Rise, Dumuzi!

Husband of Inanna, son of Sirtur, brother of Geshtinanna!

Rise from your false sleep!

Your ewes are seized! Your lambs are siezed!

Your goats are seized! Your kids are seized!

Take off your holy crown from your head!

Take off your megarment from your body!

Let your royal sceptre fall to the ground!

Take off your holy sandals from your feet!

Naked, you go with us!”

The galla seized Dumuzi.

They surrounded him.

They bound his hands. They bound his neck.

The churn was silent. No milk was poured.

The cup was shattered. Dumuzi was no more.

The sheepfold was given to the winds (Wolkstein and Kramer 1983, 83-84).

Moreover, You read in the Babylonian calendars that grieving and crying over the god Dumuzi started on the second day of the month (Du uzi) meaning Tammuz [July], and commemorative processions would be held, in which torches were carried. This would be on the ninth, sixteenth and seventeenth day. In the final three days of this month, a ceremony, called Talkimtu in Akkadian, would be held, and there was a ritual demonstration and burial of a figure that represents the god Tammuz. Despite the impact caused by the ideology of the death of the god Dumuzi in the old society within and outside of Mesopotamia, grieving for him never became one of the rituals of the temple. Rather, the ceremony continued to be held annually within the scope of popular practice. . . .  And we are informed of a number of lamentations written by Sumerian and Babylonian poets that mourned for the young god Dumuzi, and were read in commemorations in different cities (Ali 1999 125-26, Arabic source, translated).