Ummah in the Dock
Osama embarrassment is only the latest indicator of the moral rot, economic deprivation and political disempowerment Muslims have brought unto them
BREAKING VIEWS BY NAEEM AKHTAR
The death penalty against Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has been in news for quite some time. The murder of the Punjab governor Salman Taseer at the hands of his security guard and the response to the killing have created a scenario in Pakistan and the mindscape of Muslims that is unprecedented. Soon after that another minister, a Christian Shehbaaz Bhatti was done to death for the same ‘crime’.
Prophet of Islam is dearest to every Muslim as part of his or her faith. Muslims have historically never tolerated any dilution of reverence for him. Much has been said and written about the sentence faced by Aasia Bibi. For, against and about the sentence and the situation caused by it which by any standards is serious.
Conspiracy theories abound, grouses are galore about 'others', blood stains not just the land but the discourse even and threatens more of it. The atmosphere is surcharged with emotion, gloom, war cries, revenge and rhetoric. All this is understandable considering the strong bonds of love and reverence for Prophet (SAW). The Muslims have previously also reacted to incidents like Salman Rushdi, Tasleema Nasreen writings to a lesser extent and Danish cartoons in a big way. But this time it seems Pakistan could be exploding...
Amid all this frenzy and worry why should all the thought go to Aasia, her slain supporter Salman Taseer, his killer cop or the charged warriors of Islam who have hit the street in Pakistan, alone? Is the 1.5 billion strong Ummah incapable of looking inwards to locate the source of the rot?
The sad fact is that we have as a community lost the plot. Causes are as many as the dimensions of our degeneration. Muslims sit on most of the natural resources of the world and are reduced still to recipients of doles. They owned half the world when all their resources were unexploited but lost their glory as world learnt using oil, energy and machines. Muslims stopped growing five hundred years back and ever since have been groping in the dark for a response to the change without trying to change themselves. We have tried to stall change at crucial moments of history, failed in stopping the tide of the time and tried to follow the harbingers of new knowledge centuries later. The results are obvious. The developmental and power gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’ has grown to unbridgeable proportions, it seems.
Paradoxes have not been addressed either. West segregated church from the state and progressed. Muslims followed it and perished. When some attempts were made to resurrect the connection between the religion and state the results were in the shape of Jamaluddin’s Afghanistan under the Talibaan or Muhammad Ali Jinnah's Pakistan at the cross roads of hell for the living and heaven believed to be reserved for the teenaged suicide bombers.
The religion whose very first call to humanity is 'Iqra'- READ- has the most illiterate followers to boast. Afala Yatadabbaroon (Why don’t they ponder?) or Afala Yatafakkaroon (Why not think) the clarion calls from Qur'an that changed the course of human history and made Islam a catalyst of change in social, political and intellectual fields are followed by the non Muslim world only and with obvious results.
Islam ended the belief in miracles but miracle is all we wait for. This was the religion of revolution that liberated human mind from worshipping nature's assets and instead created a scientific temper, taught to conquer and utilize the universe for the good of humankind and here we are almost no where in sciences and scientific research. The only scripture that used almost all known sciences, though unknown in 6th century AD, physics, astrophysics, human sciences, archaeology, oceanography, embryology, zoology and botany to develop a religion based on logic and argument is now known in public domain as the code of wanton violence, thanks to us, its teeming followers. We have not been able even to benefit from the cumulative achievements of mankind triggered in part by our ancestors who understood and practiced the commands of Qura’an.
While we have a plethora of complaints against the west and other non Muslim powers having usurped our rights what are we doing to ourselves? Wikileaks provides substantial evidence on what most of us knew without being able to articulate. The ‘servant of the Haramain e Shareefain’ (Holy mosques of Makkah and Medina), as the title of the most absolute monarch on earth goes, is caught in a compromising posture with Israel, of all countries, offering her help to bombard Iran. That is besides the moral degradation among the Saudi elite which is reported in detail. Or closer home the hypocritical drone strategy in Pakistan between that country and USA that has brought the region near a catastrophe. Osama operation has only added to the fog and resultant confusion over the beleaguered nation which boasts Allama Iqbal as its inspirational source.
While all this is happening at the cost of Muslims, how is the fabled Muslim pulpit conducting itself? Those who practice the art of the gab in mosques have forgotten the most important core of Islamic teachings, the social messages of Qur’an. They have limited themselves to misplaced interpretations of Jihad or the size of beard and the length of trousers relating them to heaven and hell. Sanctioning atrocities on women, issuing bizarre decrees like the recent one in Saudi Arabia recommending suckling for men of the women they work for to convert them into ‘mehrams’ they have converted a liberating force into a laughing stock.
Iqbal said as back as in 1912 Ummati baa’is e ruswaai e paighambar hain (The believers are a source of disgrace for the Prophet). It never stood as true as it is now. The community has lost the moral right even to its traditional breast beating and the usual condemnation of ‘others’ for their woes. It is the Muslims who hold the record now for killing the most Muslims. Not even Halagu Khan’s destruction of the Baghdad caliphate must have cost as much in terms of human lives and property as we have witnessed around the world in last few decades of Muslim fratricide.
Aasiya Bibi may or may not be hanged. Her crime will always pale into insignificance compared to the atrocities those claiming to be the followers of Muhammad PBUH, the greatest man that ever strode the earth, committed on each other. Will we ever be able to explain it to the Lord on the day of Judgement? Or face the prophet as we believe we will have to? What will be our collective and individual punishment? Allahumma ajirna min khizyidduniya wa azaabil aakhirah. God spare us the disgrace in this world and punishment in hereafter. Amen!
For now though each one of us must hang his or her head in shame!
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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