In defence of my faith

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Zaheer Bhatti

IT ought to be understood by the modernists for their own comprehension that Islam professes tolerance, peace and accommodation, and recognizes the rights and freedom of practices by other religions, but scrupulously distances itself from clichés like liberalism, women’s empowerment and modernity as propagated by West-oriented intellectuals, because they are couched in brazen offence and affront to human dignity against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. The last of the revealed Books, forbids exploitation, adultery, permissiveness and nudity, holds females in the highest of esteem and promotes human values of truthfulness, humility, simplicity and social justice in addition to obedience to the edicts of God and teachings of the Last Prophet (PBUH).
That some among the followers of the faith are being waylaid into fashioning and practicing what is being termed by its detractors as secular or liberal Islam, does not allow anyone to adulterate the ultimate Divine faith and the resolve of an ever expanding humanity. The success of such a camouflaged incursion upon the faith of Islam under cover of re-interpreting some of it to match with changing times may meet with limited short-term success but is ultimately doomed to failure if Muslims read into the game and frustrate the evil designs of the opposing forces. The Holy Qur’an has not only vouched about the finality of Prophet-hood but also the ultimate faith embracing all in the past. Any changes required for guidance of humanity were thus passed on by the Almighty at that very time during the currency of Revelations (Wahi) transmitting the Holy Qur’an, thereby closing the door for any frivolous attempts to tamper with the spirit of the eternal Divine Message.
Deeni Madaris, once known for their religious and scholastic excellence like Dar-ul-Uloom and Jamia Ashrafia etc, from which religious personalities of Central Asia, Kashghar and beyond sought enlightenment, likes of them which took into their fold countless millions deprived of formal education for religious schooling today are alleged to be breeding extremism, sectarianism and terrorism, and imparting military training to its students. They are also alleged to be receiving funding from other countries which may or may not be used for fuelling ethnic divide but is exploited by enemy forces.
It is time we analyse the whole myth, starting with the allegation of foreign funding particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran to Deeni Madaris with Sunni and Shiat lineage in Pakistan and elsewhere. The various pieces one has read on the issue over the years have slyly sought to pitch the two main Sects of Islam, and despite the Wafaq-ul-Madaris effort to shun and condemn such fissiparous implants they have met with some degree of success with vulnerable segments of the society. While one must outright condemn any attempt to draw cleavage between these countries and embarrass their common friend Pakistan, all three considered to be in vanguard of the Islamic world need to be aware of enemy designs to weaken the collective destiny of Ummah, and must stand together to frustrate secular, liberal and promiscuous mindsets operating to destabilise Islamic world.
The propaganda of sectarianism and disharmony which gained currency and momentum with the staging of the World Trade Centre drama so conveniently put on the Muslim world, is no coincidence but a well-designed plot to run down the Ummah and to put it on the back foot. It is nevertheless an abject failure of the Ulema of Wafaq-ul Madaris and various schools of political thought, who have not been able to bring home to the Government and the people that although they belong to different sects and socio-political religious schools as evidenced even in the times of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, they must duly respect each other’s beliefs and practices. It is this ineffectiveness that the enemy and its agents have exploited.
In defending my faith and religious beliefs, I am not for a moment suggesting that there is nothing wrong among religious parties, groups or individuals. There are indeed exploiters who make religion a roaring business in fanning hatred among fellow countrymen. Such persons should be summarily executed in the open without mercy as should those extremists who resort to terrorism against State and its subjects, but we have no right to condemn entire religious-minded 90% silent majority of country or tinker with their fundamental sensitivities of faith.
One holds no quarter for such religious groups or Madaris, which take the law into their own hands and create nuisance in the Society or even embarrassment for the State as did those demonstrating against execution of a self-confessed murderer. But no one can absolve the Government of its apathy in not taking effective and timely notice of those exceeding their limits of individual liberties and freedom of speech, or allowing the dens of immorality to prosper and multiply as rapidly as they have throughout the country. Such official indifference coupled with growing gap between rich and poor, allows enemy forces to infiltrate frustrated ill-educated ranks, fund them and exploit their weaknesses to carry out clandestine incursions into our land.
In the name of liberal secularism some so-called modernists have neither remorse nor shame in ridiculing Islamic values finding nothing wrong with revealingly dressed Pakistani women in fashion cat-walks, educational institutions and even girls in their impressionable early teens out into the open. No wonder they have started to consider it well within their right to elope, make merry and take to drugs, and sometimes marry in secret as a matter of women’s right. Might one serve them a refresher on the benchmark of morality ordained by the Almighty in Sura Al-airaaf Ayaat 26 and 27 wherein He, addressing Hazrat Adam’s dynasty says that ‘He bestowed dress upon mankind so as to cover its sensuous body parts modestly and adorn it gracefully. This is in testimony to his being and in the hope that his creation might pay heed’. What is happening today explains the depths of immorality into which the high society in Pakistan is sinking into.
One was amazed at the reaction of no less a person than the Chairman of the Senate the other day, who felt disconcerted at the honour-killing of a 16/17 year old girl by her mother for running away from home and supposedly marrying another teenager, but finds nothing wrong as a Muslim with elopement and extra-marital relations. Might one ask if he would encourage his own daughter to do the same? In the name of heavens! Let us not tinker with the established norms of morality, serenity and grace of a family relationship so deeply ingrained in Muslim Societies for centuries; lest these signs are symptomatic of the end of the universe which does not seem too far.
Islam presents a bouquet of bounties to the faithful, among others providing recourse to sanity and compassion in the shape of Qisaas and Deeyat; that is if practiced in letter and spirit in the event of a murder committed due to rush of blood or even deliberately. Where else does one have such option of reprieve, and which bounties of nature and God would you, and can you falsify? (Fa-bey aiyye aala-e- rabbekuma tukazzebaan) Al Quran.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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