Saturday, May 29, 2010

Is it all worth it?

I am not trying to rattle any cages with this blog post. Or perhaps it is a sign of my weakening faith, but I've found myself asking some real basic questions over the last couple of days, most notably: Is it all worth it? I mean religion. Did God create one of the most beautiful things in the verse so that so many people could one day abuse it and kill their fellow beings in their attempts to be closer to Him? They say terrorists have no religion, I say every religion has its terrorists - people who are so blinded by their faith and devotion to God that they forget the most basic principle there is: the sanctity of a human life. Is religion just a tool to kill other people in a society with such alarming levels of poverty and illiteracy? Or alternatively, if there were no religion, would people still kill like they do today?

We all believe in leading good lives and going to jannah (paradise), but I ask: at what cost? Is it not a collective responsibility of a religion and a society based on one to condemn injustices and speak up against them. Do you really want your paradise so bad that you're willing to stay stilent on every injustice and act of barbarism you see around you? What good is paradise then? I keep referring to paradise, because frankly we're obsessed with it. We're far too obsessed with being "good" Muslims individually that we've forgotten perhaps the most basic Islamic principle there is: Husn-e-Ikhlaq. Someone asked the Prophet (PBUH) to define Islam in two words, and thats what he said: "Husn-e-Ikhlaq". Islam is nothing but husn-e-ikhlaq, in every aspect of life, individual and collective. That is all, and alas! how badly we have failed at it.

The attacks on Ahemdis two days ago are nothing new in the context of our history, they are another persecuted minority in Pakistan. What has truly been sickening has been people's reaction. How can so many people be devoid of humanity? How can you condone the killing of an innocent human being? Is everything that we practice somehow more important than whether another person lives or dies (regardless of their beliefs)? Time to put things in perspective and root out the proponents of this venom who seem to think all this is OK, all in the name of God and paradise.

If we must ban something, it should be these poison-spewing madrassahs and maulvis spreading such hatred and blatant disregard for human lives. Facebook may have partaken in blasphemy but there's plenty of it going on in our cities and society. How about cleaning our own house first?

21 comments:

Anas Imtiaz said...

Interestingly all these killings and sectarian violence are abundant only in Pakistan. Why? Personally, I think it is because the maulvis at our place are not educated. They are self-professed. And their ambitions are in direct contrast to the state's. We have failed miserably in following the basic pillars of faith but we use it nicely to hold power or get power. Its all politics, where human lives dont count.

I felt so sick and ashamed at this incident of Ahmadis killings esp. after I found out that there were banners of hatred against them in Lahore prior to this incidence, and no one took notice? And some ppl even linked the facebook campaign to them :o Sick!

Faraz said...

"if there were no religion, would people still kill like they do today?"

The World Wars as well as countless other wars were not fought because of religion. They were fought for material gain: of land, of money, of resources and of honor.

Religion is just another excuse for war. As long as greed exists in the heart of man, wars will be fought.

JDèé said...

Excellent post, Raza.

I talked to a few guys after the incident and their reaction sickened me to the bone. And we aren't talking about the religious, beard supporting mullas here. We are talking about normal professionals, having college degrees, working in reputable organizations.

And the funny thing is there was a religious person in the very same gathering that did support a beard and had the best arguments to negate these people's extremism and apathy, all with references to hadiths and sunnah.

Very sad, indeed. The incident and the reaction from a sizable bunch.

Sujay said...

Truly amazing

Razz said...

@Anas
One word, Jahalat. Jahalat that makes us think we are doing good in the eyes of God by taking the life of a fellow human being.

@Faraz
Agreed. My question was more in the context of Pakistani society and the predicament we find ourselves in these days. Even if there were no Islam, karo-kari would still take place (perhaps it would be more prevalent), tribal and honor killings and what not. They'd have found some other excuse no doubt

@Jawad
Thanks!

Thats what has been real sickening to me too. Supposedly rational, normal people defending this act is something I cannot fathom! Unbelievable. Maybe we do deserve to be bombed back to the stone ages, cuz that's where that thinking belongs

Razz said...

@Sujay
Care to elaborate what was "truly amazing"? :)

Ausif said...

Excellent work, Raza.

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Asma said...

Every such link goes back to a madressah oor some religious school being run by a self-proclaimed maulana. Yet no one has courage to question them or to investigate the educational matter and training being provided in these madressahs.


And this attitude is slowly causing us our own country. Sadly.

Irteza said...

It is a complete misunderstanding on the part of the wirter of this article that self-centered, socalled, Mulsims will go to jannah. I am afraid it is very misleading to suggest that by being a selfish Muslim,at the cost of communal unrest, you will get jannah. A person has to fulfill his individual duties as well as the communal duties in order to qualify for Jannah.
So a muslim who is abiding by the personal islamic laws and not fulfilling his communal islamic duties (as in this case of Ahmadis) he cannot really sure of getting jannah.

Razz said...

@Ausif
Thanks!

@Asma
True. And like I commented on somebody else's blog that unless we change the thinking of a large number of ordinary Muslims (the silent ones that gave muted approval to this heinous act), this whole thing is not going to end.

@Irteza
Never did I imply what you seem to have inferred. I was trying to capture a picture of our society and thinking of ordinary Muslims. Sure, there is a criteria for going to Jannah, (which I pointed to) and it so emphasized in our lives, but in a strange way where it is ok to hate a fellow Muslim just because they belong to a different sect. What I was trying to convey was that in a race to be better Muslims, we have ended up being lesser humans.

Senilius said...

The course of divine religions has always been altered from what it was meant to be, throughout the history of mankind.

Right now, we are a bunch of sensitive-to-the-ass Muslims who don't know shit about religion but we never hesitate before passing Fatwas. Our weakness is lack of knowledge and lack of tolerance. In short, we are idiots and in no way worthy of calling ourselves Muslims. We are the lowest form of lowlife on this planet.

Zia said...

Its not the religious seminaries only!

This menace would only prevail more as I see it. Its the basics of beliefs of these people that has gone wrong from the beginning and resulted in intolerance for others. Its the narrow mindedness of their thoughts that has caused inability to comprehend the true essence of the religion. I see 'educated, well fed, assimilated' people around me turning into religious beasts for the very reason. No wonder the hungry, illiterate, rejected would blow himself up!

Syed Zeeshan Ahmed said...

Very well written piece of work, Raza. It is indeed a tragedy of your society, that misuse religion, use it for their own benefits, while removing the right of other individuals. There is solution to every problem, evident from history itself. As you pointed out, that these so-called Maulvis and Madarsas are promoting hate speech, intolerance. It is quite a fact that these people are doing so, and have been doing so since a long time. Friday sermons are filled with phrases such as "don't respect infidels", "Islam will destroy" etc. which are in no any sense part of our religion Islam. It's high time that our religious scholars (NOT maulvis) disregard such people and openly criticize them. What a Nation are we, I ask. We will make nothing issue of Facebook everything, and when there is some issue like Attack of Flotilla or attack on Ahmedis we just become silent audience?
May Allah show us the right path. Ameen.

Ammar Faheem said...

You have raised some very valid questions. I believe it is not religion, it is like Anas said, the self-proclaimed maulvi's who believe they are the 'chosen' ones.

Take a look around the globe and you will see that the problem lies with all those who think they are the 'chosen ones'. Israel is another example.

I appreciate all the comments that have come in here in response to this post.

Husn-e-Ikhlaq, like you have so well highlighted, is the true spirit of our religion. Jihad has been badly spread in a misinterpreted form by these home-grown molvi's.

It is time those who have been silent for so long stood up and took control of affairs. We need a major overhaul of the way the masjid-madressah culture operates in Pakistan. A 'Strategy' is required to make sure masjids are led by able and qualified molana's.

Razz said...

@Senilius
Cant help but agree with you dude.

@Zia
I do not care what people believe in, as long as they show the dignity of respecting another person's jaan, maal n all. Whether it is the basic of their beliefs or not, there is definitely a a growing trend of extremism in our society as a whole, and self-righteousness. We think we are the chosen ones, and are willing to impose our thinking on others.

@Zeeshan
Thanks! You're right, there is a lot of hypocrisy going on when we only go out on the streets when it is in our personal interest, and not for the good of the society.

@Ammar
Dude, there is a lack of willingness on the govt's part, there has always been, for some odd reason I cannot seem to fathom. How can it be in the interest of Pakistan to let these goons carry on spoon-feeding their twisted version of Islam to thousands of kids across the country?! How far worse do we need to be in order to realize that this attitude has to change! :(

anadrol said...

I think we all have to believe in something. I guess we just didn't learn all the lesions so that we all could live in peace and harmony. The God is only one - name it whatever you like!

ayesha5 said...

Can't agree with you more.

waleedalikhan said...

I agree. There appears to be a divide between ethics and faith. The people of Pakistan think they are not the same anymore; You see people saying words like mashaAllah and Alhamdollilah while at the same time giving bribes and being unfair.

Tilsim said...

@ Waleedalikhan

Yes, I can't agree with you more. There is a total and utter collapse of ethics in Pakistan. The reasons for this would be worth a PHD study. However, my premise is that it starts with the way Muslims teach Islam to their children. They leave it to the unethical Mullah. Islam is taught as a set of rituals totally devoid of spiritual meaning, ethics and any connection to the modern world. A madrassah education produces the perfect example of this product. We need to fix this big time. If you have kids, please give them a break and get involved in their moral and ethical upbringing and not leave it to Mullahs.

sarah said...

very well written........and to the above......islam is not a difficult religion at all that one would have to leave it to the mullahs to teach it to ones kids.....islam is a beautiful religion and a complete code of conduct try to understand it and beware of the jahil mullah who is only depicting a false picture of islam

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