On our heads

“Hindustan had become free. Pakistan had become independent soon after its inception but man was still slave in both these countries — slave of prejudice … slave of religious fanaticism … slave of barbarity and inhumanity.”

 ― Saadat Hasan Manto

What Manto said over 65 years ago, holds true here in Pakistan even today.

The killing spree of Shia (Hazara) community in Quetta continues without break, and without even a single arrest of the people who claimed responsibility. While the people, with some understanding of the dynamics and the role of politics, religion and state actors in this carnage, very well know about the perpetrators behind all this and about their helping hands, but a common citizen is blindfolded by conspiracy theories he loves to listen. Majority of the people do not accept the fact that all theses religious extremists are a reality and enemies of Pakistan, rather they see ‘foreign’ hand in all the mayhem taking place here. Nevertheless, when they are confronted with the religious extremist groups’ acceptance of carrying out such barbaric and savage acts, they then advocate apologetic reasoning such as the non-existence of extremists before 9/11, and that such acts of terrorism are reaction to the government’s pro-US policies, specifically being an ally in ‘war on terror’. Ironically though, they fail to realize that these sectarian killings have nothing to do with Pakistan’s alliance with the US, but rather with the ideology of a group of people who follow a particular version of Islam (sect) whose teachings declare Shias ‘Kafirs’ (non-muslims); and thus for them it becomes an act of ‘jihad’ and virtue to slay such people who, according to them, are harming their version of Islam.

Our obsession with religion has in fact made us less human. We seem to be more concerned with the condition of muslims living in non-muslim countries than the muslims and non-muslims living in our own country. The Shahrukh Khan episode brought a hell of Pakistani-muslimness out of us and suddenly we became convinced that the state of Muslims in India is deplorable and they are being victimized for being a minority. Our Federal Interior Minister asked Indian government to provide security to Mr. Khan, whereas an Ameer (Commander/Leader) of a religious organization went farther and, quite sarcastically, invited Mr. Khan to come to and live in Pakistan. However, both the minister and the ameer were silenced by Mr. Khan when he clarified his stance and said muslims were safe and happy in India. Interestingly, no other muslim country took note of state of muslims in India in general or Shahrukh Khan in particular. On twitter, I asked the same Ameer what country he’s going to advise the minorities of Pakistan (both muslim and non-muslim) to go to and live in, but haven’t yet received a reply from him. Almost all the religious organizations went rampant about condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru by throwing innumerable tweets, speeches, meetings and protests; however their condemnation of Shia massacre came in a single sentence, nothing more. A friend of mine was fooled into retweeting a tweet by one tweeple named ‘Sharia for India’ who claimed to have been beaten by BJP hooligans while going for namaz, and asked all tweeples to RT what he experienced to let the world know India’s real face. While one person told him that he was lucky to have been beaten only because in Pakistan people get killed for being Shia, most of my country fellows didn’t waste a second in hitting RT before having fallen flat on their faces only a few minutes later when that user mockingly said that he was a Hindu and was only trying to troll.

The hatred for India and America is overshadowing our love for our own homeland and our own people. There is a big fat hue and cry and rage if our army soldiers get killed by Indian or US forces; or civilians killed by Drones, but there is a pin drop silence if religious militants behead our soldiers and civilians. The apologists rather justify their acts of terrorism by saying that if Pakistan gets out of war on terror then such attacks will be no more. It is quite appreciable when all the Sunnis condemn the execution of Shias, however it is high time they should join in the protests and openly call for action against extremist outfits responsible, and become louder in criticism of LeJ, LeT, ASWJ, SSP etc etc.

God bless Pakistan!

Declaration: Before I may be accused of being pro-US/India/Israel, let me put this in crystal-clear words that; I strongly condemn US’ imperialistic policies and its invasion and slaughter of innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan, also the killings of innocent civilians in Drone attacks in Pakistan and anywhere in the world. I also condemn the illegal occupation of Palestine and Kashmir and homicide of their people by Israel and India respectively. I denounce every act of violence (state or otherwise) anywhere in the world against any people of the world. 

Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam

This was not the first time that Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] was attacked. And this is not going to be the last time, I’m sure. In past, a number of insults were hovered at the most revered prophet of Islam, but as such cheap attempts proved to be more futile and were only successful in attracting the Muslim-rage and disrepute on account of being controversial, people who didn’t know Muhammad [pbuh] before, started reading about the Prophet of Islam and came to respect him in the end.

In response to a mediocre and el cheapo film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ which was based purely on lies about and hatred against the prophet and Islam, the thousands of Muslims around the world took, quite contrary to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], to the streets and protested violently by damaging the properties of the persons (who even condemned the film) and even killing innocent non-muslims and Muslims alike (as happened in Libya, Pakistan, Egypt). On the other hand, a million more protested peacefully in different countries and on social media, they grabbed this opportunity to spread the word about Muhammad [pbuh] who he really was and the one they have known, loved and respected throughout their lives. The anger and furore was justified, however the violence can never be.

I also would like to tell you about the Muhamad [pbuh] I’ve come to adore.

“Hi father died six months before his birth and his mother passed away while he was just six years old. In his teens he did trade along with his uncle Abu Talib, and due to his upright character he earned titles of Al-Amin (trustworthy) and Al-Sadiq (truthful). Having heard of his noble persona and business acumen, a strong woman of Mecca asked him to work for her. When she proposed him, he married her even she was a widow and 15 years older than him. He did most of everyday life chores himself, mended his shoes and sewed his clothes. He was courageous and fearless at the same time kind and loving. He was moderate, open-minded and tolerant. Even when faced with the sharpest and most insulting questions, he always responded with thoughtfulness and compassion. He was the most respectful to women and more often than not asked men to be just in treating women. He treated all people equally, irrespective of their cast, creed and color. He had good relations with his neighbors who also happened to be Jews and Christians. Even during battles, he never allowed his men to fight with the non-combatants. He was beaten and exiled when he was helpless, but turned out to be merciful and forgiving to his worst enemies when he became stronger and powerful. “

Yes, an arid act by one person in no way represents the whole of America or Christianity or Europe, the same way Americans and Europeans alike should not blame Islam and put the entire Muslim population on hit list because of dull and absurd acts by few Muslims.

Calling Spade a Spade

In 2005 a French Court banned a clothing advertisement based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Christ’s Last Super” by ruling that the act was “gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people’s innermost beliefs” because it depicted the female as Christ. Now, since it has become quite clear to the West that the sentiments of Muslims get hurt by such offensive acts in the name of freedom of speech, it is high time for the West to penalize anti-Islamism on the lines of laws against anti-Semitism. You see the West’s double standards in the name of freedom of speech while it’s a crime to mock The Holocaust because it hurts Jews, but it’s freedom of speech to make fun of the prophet and the book of Islam. This must change now.

This is what the Prophet of Islam said 1400 years ago:

The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr

He who deals unfairly with others can never become a useful member of the society

God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, daughters, aunts.

Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people.

A Muslim must not hate his wife; and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, then let him be pleased with another that is good.

The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.

The strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only the one who controls himself when he is angry.

For more, please read;

The Farewell Sermon

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time by Karen Armstrong

The Life of Muhammad by Ibne Ishaq translation by A. Guillaume

No vote for Jamaat-e-Islami

As a part of Jamaat-e-Islami’s outreach program, a pamphlet (a 4p manifesto of the party) was dropped at our doorsteps. The title of the pamphlet read:

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Revolutionary Manifesto

Our Destination: A Medina like Islamic Welfare State

And then it went on to list major policies JI looks forward to employ, such as breaking the chains of American influence on Pakistan’s affairs, eradication of feudalism and interest based capitalism, resolving inflation, unemployment and loadshedding issues and the establishment of Euro-like Islamic Zone et cetera et cetera. By ‘a Medina like Islamic Welfare State’ they mean present monarchist Medina state perhaps where Wahhabi version of Islam is prevalent.

However, on the face of it was the picture of Emir of Jamaat-e-Isami Mr. Syed Munawar Hassan. He came into the glare of publicity last year when in an interview, in an answer to a question about Hudood Ordinance and Rape, he alleged (according to his misinterpreted version of Islam) that if a woman is raped and she couldn’t provide four male witnesses to the mishap she is liable to be punished in accordance with the Sharia law. Therefore, it is better for her to keep her lips stitched, and quite understandably continue to live a miserable life. Such an irrational and unsound elucidation took the wind out of sails of all the sane minds. Many a number of pieces were written to lambast such a flawed understanding of Islamic laws by a head of a religio-political party which promises to provide justice to the society at large.

You can read those here, here and here.

This is not the story of yester year. In fact this is one of the established ideologies and beliefs of these so-called scholars, their orthodox religio-political parties and their followers. Jamaat-e-Islami was founded in Lahore on August 26, 1941 by political philosopher Abul Ala Maududi. JI is opposed to Capitalism, Socialism and Secularism, however it supports Wahhabism, Saudi Monarchy and Barbarism.

There are over a 100 religio-political parties in Pakistan, and each one claiming to be the true representative of Islamic teachings. At the heart of each party is one slogan: Sharia-based government in Pakistan. If the sole purpose of all these parties is the same, then I wonder why can’t they all merge together and become one party with one pious leader. They never can. Because the definition of Sharia varies from one jamaat (party) to other for all. They agree on praying five times a day, but don’t agree on how to pray. They agree on performing wudhu (washing hands, arms, face and feet) before offering prayer, but they don’t agree on how to perform wudhu. Last but not the least, each Emir (head) of the jamaat (party) claims to be most pious of all, he would definitely not want to serve under another one. This is no more the hidden truth that their intentions are more power-hungry political than religious. They are more interested in maintaining their personality/party influence and authority than serving either Islam or muslims.

I’m going to vote for JI…Not!