From Zia to Zakir
Islam is lucklessly getting trapped in persons and projects, leading to violent formations
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD UR RASHID
One of the friends forwarded a mail urging to ďsupportĒ Dr Zakir Naik. Support him, when UK government banned his entry into their country. Good or bad, there is lots of Zakir Naik in the air from past some years. His Peace TV is being considered as the climax of some imagined mission divinely assigned to Muslims. But the content and the contours of this ďmission-divineĒ are so warped that even if named Peace it is bound to conjure up ugly shapes of violence one day. (If UK issued a ban today, Zakir Naik might one day force India to think differently.) UK governmentís ban might have its own reasons, political or otherwise, that is very well debatable. We can question it as vehemently as possible. And in a world where free speech and liberal expression are deemed as a mark of civilization, the ban does call for a due debate.
But the debate cannot be diminished to a size that fits only a person called Zakir Naik. It should talk about principles, attitudes and the accompanied effects. Wrongly, in this case itís scissored and sewed to suit a person alone. Sadly enough, Zakir Naik is the biggest contributor in making it all about himself. He has all the time under the sun to talk about every colon and semicolon of this ban. It not only sounds puerile, but essentially wrong. Islam as a divine guidance is to stay in any part of the globe regardless of who speaks for or against it. In the same West that we consider Ďanti-Islamicí loads of academic work has been done on the subject of Islam. This work is purely done from the stand point of enhancing the knowledge of mankind about a particular subject. We have millions of Muslims living better life, as Muslims, in Western countries than in the Muslim world. Explaining the ban as an attempt to stop the spread of Islam in the West, particularly UK, corrupts the image of Westís engagement with Islam, before one could get a glimpse of it. It also disallows Islam to independently engage Western mind. At times, one is gripped by the feeling that people like Zakir Naik donít serve a cause but work to the contrary. Their way of approaching the subject is highly inimical to the very essence of that subject.
Now take this case of ban. Zakir Naik is not the first person to have been banned at one particular time, by one particular country. Academics, activists, and politicians, the axe of ban has fallen on a crowd of heads. Itís a temporary thing. Saying that itís because Islam is fast spreading in the West, Peace TV is the most popular Islamic channel, and Mr. Naik is the most popular speaker on Islam Ö itís all nonsensical. Does Islam become absent in UK if one person is disallowed entry. Who dishes out the statistics of conversion and who analyses them to determine where the world is moving in terms of religion; itís all the world of shadows. When in 1980s Voice of America, Urdu service was airing Islam Amreeka Main, we didnít know that it was serving them a purpose in Afghanistan against Russia. We only tend to titillate ourselves by drawing the number line of conversions.
We erroneously connect everything to Islam to make it unquestionable. (And tragically Islam to us is more about anger than calm. We can die for it, but are averse to live for it! Itís because we see it stationed at the far end of conclusions rather than beginning every time afresh from the near end of exploration.) A mere administrative decision, at the most politically motivated, should have been casually dismissed. UK is not the whole globe and Zakir Naik is not the only person to speak on Islam in that country. He can direct his energies elsewhere, and someone else can do it in UK. Itís as simple as that. Besides Zakir Naik needs a serious revision of his understanding of Islam and the other religions.
On a more serious note the practice of connecting everything to Islam should be gravely questioned. Why canít we speak in simple, secular, mundane and practical language! If a ban is wrong, there is a commonly understandable way of talking about it. It reminds of that wicked referendum conducted by the great man of Islamisation, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. He wanted to stay in power, and this he wanted to do by any means possible. But he knew that Islam is the shortest and the surest way of accomplishing the job. He crafted a question and put it to referendum. Here is the question: ĎIf you agree that Islamic laws be brought in, in conformity with the Quran, then say YES. If the results of the referendum are positive it will mean that you approve of General Zial ul Haq continuing as President for another five years.í Now can it get more wicked, and ludicrous at the same time, than this. This is what exactly happens when we bend things, wittingly or unwittingly, and hook them on to the high end transmission line of Islam. If you want Islam to be safe in Kashmir such and such kind of politics must be supported. If you want Islam in UK, Zakir Naik has only to be supported. When Islam is brought in into our lives this way, the result is bound to be a violent collision with the outer world. This is what the state ruled by Zia bequeathed to us, and this is exactly what Zakirís speeches have the potential of producing for us.
Tailpiece: Peace TV is an Islamic channel, says Zakir Naik. Islamic! Our TV sets turn Islamic when we stay at this channel for sometime. They very next moment when we zap to some other channel, say GEO or BBC, do our TV sets commit apostasy.
(The columnist is GK Magazine Editor. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
YOUTH CLASH WITH POLICE AT MAISUMA
UMER MAQBOOL DAR
Srinagar, June 23: As life limped back to normal in most parts of the Kashmir Valley on Wednesday, scores of youth took to the streets at Maisuma here and clashed with police and paramilitary CRPF men More
- Srinagar City
CM for comprehensive upgradation plan
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 23: The Harwan garden on the City outskirts will get a facelift along with its water feeder, the adjoining lake (Sarband). This is what the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday called More
GOVT FAILS TO UTILIZE RS 34 CRORE TO CONSTRUCT KITCHENS
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, June 23: The state government has failed to utilize Rs 34 crore which central government had sanctioned to construct kitchen-cum-stores in the schools for preparations of meals under More
- South Asia
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, June 23: The Union Cabinet will discuss on Thursday the report of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal gas disaster that has recommended enhanced compensation to the victims under a Rs 1,500 More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 23: Nene Yakheen, Choak Charvan, Ranith GadheÖ! Now tasting these mouth watering traditional dishes of Kashmir is not a big deal as the exclusive cuisine is available at the picturesque More
Washington, June 23: The top US military commander in Afghanistan has left the White House after meeting President Barack Obama to explain his criticism of leading officials. Gen Stanley McChrystal More