It is a literal expression, which means to let go your earthly tether
According to Islam and other Abrahamic monotheistic religions, the expression is related to the fact people shouldn't be so materialist in order to be independent as much as they can.
If we have a business to attend for example, we should arrive in time and driving would help us better instead of riding on a mule. However, depending on the situation, it is far better to ride on a mule instead of driving, in order words, we shouldn't do some activities in a hurry otherwise we won't achieve anything. In our case, we can negogiate with some camel merchants
in no time, but if we do the contrary, like to hurry up to the point we can also lose our opportunity. The merchants could suspect of something and cancel the negotiation
Some terrorist organizations interprets the teaching radically and others simply distor them in order to form strong, but unwise followers. Can you imagine yourself riding a mule in the middle of a road, for example? It is difficult and quite impossible due to the current traffic laws which forbidden the use of animals in metropolitan areas not to metion wildlife activists' protests. The terrorist organizations often perform brainwash maneuvers in order to win many people to their cause.
The sentence you've presented can be interpreted in another way. It could be considered a warning, for example, especially to advise the non-believers how they should behave themselves in a mosque or a synagogue if they are visiting them for a first time. Another example could be related if the non-believers want to become Islam worshipers and be recognized for that, or for those who want to become religious
leaders and guide the followers. Instead of performing their activities on the backside
and be recognized as true followers they must endure and deal with difficulties
without leaving the right path - which explains the part of "walking in
middle of the road" - until finding the light
, in other words, to find true peace or whatever they are really looking for
He [the non-believer] is not allowed to walk on the pavement, he has to walk in the middle of the road, and he has to ride a mule. That is, my dear brothers, the Islamic state.
>> Ele [o descrente / o ateu] não pode caminhar na estrada, ele tem que caminhar no meio da pista, e ainda montado numa mula. Isto, meus queridos irmãos, é o Estado Islâmico.
Leaving the bad interpretation
aside, the sentence could also be impelled on companies in order to guide the beginners how to become true leaders without performing their duties under the table.
Just for curiosity, the expression to ride a mule
comes from William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew
(A Mulher Domada
, in Brazil) and it was created at the end of 16th century. It is the typical story where a man without belongings must conquer a ill-tempered and rich woman, actually a shrew
(megera; vulgo: jararaca, cobra
), that hides her true feelings behind her actions.
represents an obstinate or stubborn person. There is an act in which the husband (Petruccio) cannot do the consummation with his wife (Katarina Vanessi) due to her hard behavior. So, he excuses himself to the audience in a joke tone saying "Miss Vanessi can't ride the mule tonight
". There are many puns related to the meaning in theory.
Shakespeare based his story on many old folk tales and it was massively adapted to movies, television series and other plays. It is worth to point out that one of these adaptations were the musical Kiss me, Kate
, a musical written by the couple Spewack in the late 1940's and O Cravo e a Rosa
(The Thorn and the Rose), a Brazilian soap opera which was produced and broadcasted by Rede Globo in 2000.To ride a mule
/ To ride the little pony / To ride donkeys
>> amansar a fera; domar a mula; a cabrita; a égua
. [Brazilian informal and vulgar expression
Meaning: To deal with something / someone very inconvenient, surprisingly unpleasant.
Regardless of teachings and meanings, we should be careful in order to not become radicals to enjoy life with honor or without regrets.
(1) SHAKESPEARE, William. The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare
. 5th vol. Dublin (Ireland): John Exshaw, 1794.
(3) F. E. PETERS. Allāh
. In John L. Esposito. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.
(4) PECKHAM, Aaron. Urban Dictionary: Fularious Street Slang Defined
. Andrews McMeel Publishing; Later Printing edition. 2005.