The talk of the town these days is suicide bombings being undertaken by what the media claims are Islamic Zealots and Fanatics. What is perhaps very interesting to note is that the garb of Islamism over the past few decades of our country’s existence has been worn by all sorts of people ranging from fundos to pirs masquerading as healers via faith to ordinary stick wielding men in colleges shouting slogans against musical programs to numerous parliamentarians in our coveted assemblies. The underlying constant in all these various so-called Islamists actions has been that they have used and abused religion to suit their needs. The oft repeated dictate of Karl Marx that Religion is the opium of the masses has been depicted blatantly in all these religious and pseudo moralistic actions of various individuals over the past few decades. The support garnered in the name of religion has sometimes been astounding and at other times abysmal but this pendulum effect in terms of support has not dissuaded numerous new comers to avoid usage of religion as a tool to generate support for their cause.
The interesting part to note is that this trend of moulding religion to suit one’s needs instead of amending ones own behavior to suit the needs of religion is a symptom prevalent even amongst the so called liberal and educated classes of our country. Therefore we have various forms of un-informed liberals and intelligentsia declaring their own limits in terms of what is allowed by Islam and what is not and whatever suits their methods and actions is often justified in the name of a liberal version of Islam and whoever goes against their declaration is termed to be a fundo. The interesting bit to note is that these pseudo religious- liberals have not gone into the depth of what the Quran says and what are the dictates of Islam. Instead their version of liberal Islam is based on an antipathy of what the other side of the divide is proclaiming. For example, if the so called fundos are blatantly against photography, the liberals will proclaim that photography is allowed and disallowing it is just a case of taking a rigid view of islam in which photography is not allowed. This just being an example, my point is that if u were to ask either side of the divide I.e the fundos as well as the liberals to explain their position in light of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet(PBUH), none would be able to justify their stance.
The underlying thought in all I have written above is that if one were to start a discussion on religion, 90% of the people would have an opinion on it but only 2% of them would be able to back up their opinion in light of what is revealed in the Holy Book. Why is it then that we seek to impose our own humanitarian version of what religious inductions are when actually these inductions have been revealed by the Almighty whose knowledge supersedes that of all humans combined. Psychological studies indicate that the answer to this lies in human tendency to alter things to satisfy their own needs. However, are we apt enough to alter the commands of a religion to suit our needs???… and if we are moulding religion based on our opinion, then what is the difference between a so called liberal and a fundo when essentially both are toying with their own interpretation of religion and acting accordingly? Are we then not essentially talking about two sides of the same coin??.. and are we not degrading our religion by casting our own opinions onto others without going into an in depth analysis of what the finer points of the religion actually are and what they mean??
The underlying premise in all the ramblings above is that its high time that we, as Pakistanis and Muslims realize that the tendency to have an opinion on everything whether it be sports, religion, politics etc is a flaw and not a treasured part of our respective personalities. The opinion that really counts is one that is backed up by a proper study of the subject and one that can be classified as solid. For this purpose, the first step to take is to do an introspection of our own selves. It is very easy to cast fingers at others but have we ever looked at our own faults and follies. The flaws we find in others are perhaps symptomatic of the flaws of our general society which has a tendency to undertake character assassinations and fault finding missions instead of drafting solutions. Successful nations and people are those who have amended their faults before pointing fingers at others. Whether we have the wherewithal to undergo this transformation is a 1.5 billion dollar question…. And alas if we fail there is still hope as we can always become beggars and ask uncle Kerry and lugar for aid!!!