Grazing in the desert


Mirza Shahnawaz Agha
PHILOSOPHY leads one to determine the
truth unabated by freethinking. No holds
barred, one thinks of everything, every which way and then after observing, analyses by logic. The tenacious journey to the truth, once undertaken is based on negation and denial until the truth emerges as a mountain firm, real, overpowering and wholesomely manifest. It is a fascinating indulgence and warrants the exercise of freewill. Religion and laws anywhere are a deterrent because they contain and restrict the extent of thought and inquisition. Ironically these deterrents have a tyrannical past and continue to remain hegemonic. Delving into the history of religions and man-made laws alike, and how they affected the freedom of thought and action draw some very interesting conclusions. They are like dams on natural waterways. Both have evolved with civilization to provide a knowledge base of belief, yet remain short of absolution. The essential thing for mankind to take cognizance of therefore is to liberalize social environment to such an extent that enable and induces the thirst for inquisition and research. This liberty although provided in the final Divine message, has with the social legacy of economic oppression been suppressed to near extinction. The other religions, as in the Divine messages, that came to mankind met a fate that today the votaries are in search of a God to be worshipped. The monotheistic messages were all hijacked, altered, predominantly by clerics and kings, and introduced illogical plurality making them unacceptable. This man devised detour rendered science to fill in the void and become the ‘religion of reason’ with followers who are atheist. This religion of reason has since contributed to mankind more significantly than one could imagine.
This is understandable because the ‘job description’ in the monotheistic messages, and most pronounced in the final message, is to remain in the search of the truth! This the atheist and or the followers of the ‘religion of reason’ strictly follow! The science we learn on and build upon today owe the basic seeds of material technology to the believers of monotheism and the Divine message. This is the greatest evidence legally for the validity of what is, God sent and God made. It is therefore incumbent on us, the created, to subject material know-how to the social science of religion. What has happened in the last couple of centuries is that the worshippers of science were able to develop a technological base in total disregard of any monotheistic religion. This is manifest as ‘modernity’ and is powerful. It supports hegemonic ambitions in place of service to their own kind. If the atomic power can be used for the provision of energy and medication it can decisively destroy populations that are rebellious to the hegemonic owner of the technology! This is the modern world as is placed. The wheels that prime philosophy as a consequence, in relation to the advancement of human civilization has cranked to a stop. Which is the religion to follow if at all, is a question to duel upon, for reasons that meaning to life becomes possible. The secular existence without the sacred tag attached to it has made human existence meaningless. Yes we need to be secular and sacred together else our existence becomes insignificant. The evidence of a Creator is in that purposeful meaning He has provided validating human existence. This is why a God is so important to human existence. From the perspective of Islam the last Divine message, the God to worship is a deity based on justice. One is free to tread whichever way one feels inclined without any compulsions and that is the revolutionary bedrock of the message, without any gender bias. The wheels of philosophy can churn hereof because the limitations (hodood) have been laid out for the management of societies and coexistence.
The wisdom for belief has, just as much, been laid out with the limitations of Haram and Halal and yet with no compulsions or punitive retaliation. True modernity stems from the liberties allowed by the religion that invites one to remain in the constant search of the truth. It induces the advancement of knowledge by ordaining continuous and compulsory migration. Most significantly it propounds the liberty to worship whatever one chooses to submit to. The liberty challenges the ethos of wisdom, logic and rationality and drives people to ‘go for the best, go for nothing but the best’. This is another injunction in the message worth the greatness it is worthy of. From the standpoint of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan it is within the purview of the ‘Objective Resolution’ in the Constitution of the country that we erase all aspects of regimentation. What clerics and state institutions are thrusting down the throats of the population is clearly in defiance of the Islamic ideology we endear to follow. In the same stride we need to defend our ideological moorings for economic and social liberties by globally positioning ourselves for what we believe in. The Islamic ideology we follow has its philosophical roots in the most civil order for coexistence and that is the dock to anchor our ship. Presently we are indeed grazing in the desert as a herd of stray sheep without a shepard whilst the greener pastures are within.
— The writer is an entrepreneur and author of the book Current Chronicles based in Karachi.