Wikileaks have taken the lid off the most stinking diplomatic cesspool of modern times. For men with sight there is nothing very much surprising about these odious revelations. When a civilization embraces unadulterated materialism as a way of life no value is too precious not to be sacrificed at the altar of the Mammon. Almost a century ago Iqbal had seen the horrible interior of the post-Renaissance materialistic civilization. Reviewing its two main manifestations – Capitalist democracy and socialism – he had observed:
Gharq deedam her du-ra der aab-u gil
Her dura tan roshan-o tareek dil
I see both of them steeped in water and clay:
Both are effulgent of body and dark of soul.
Like many sages of the East as also of the West he had seen a way of salvation in the wholesome spiritual teachings of the Orient:
Rakhta hai ab tak maikhana-e sharq
Woh mai ki roshan jis sey ho idraak
Ahl-e nazar hain Europe sey nowmeed
In ummaton key baatin nahin pak
The tavern of the Orient is still in possession
Of the liquor that lights up minds and hearts:
Men of vision are despaired of European (civilization);
These peoples' inmost is polluted and impure.
Obviously when no reality beyond the apparent exists, the question of its purity and impurity does not arise. So there is not much shocking about the leaks as such. What is, however, shocking is the behaviour of the guardians of the Orient as uncovered by these leaks. After the dubious and not always so dubious role in the devastation of Iraq through an unjust war and in the ten-year Iran-Iraq war that preceded it, when you hear the servant of the two holy shrines of Islam talking of serpents and their heads it defies all one's norms of propriety.
This recalls to mind an episode from the early history of Islam. When the Caliphate was divided as a result of Muawiah's assumption of independent authority and war broke out between Hazrat Ali (RA), the fourth Caliph of Islam, and Muawiah, the Byzantine rulers saw an opportunity of attacking the Muslims. Accordingly a council was held where an experienced old advisor suggested that before deciding on launching an attack an attempt should be made to assess whether the differences between the two warring camps are irreconcilable or not. An ambassador was deputed to the camp of Muawiah seeking answers to three inquiries of apparently scholarly nature:
What is the most superior way of remembrance (dhikr)?
Which part of the earth has seen the sunlight only once? And which animal was born without a father and a mother?
Muawiah's camp was not able to answer these questions convincingly. The general feeling in the camp was that the only person who could answer the questions authoritatively was the leading scholar and exegete, Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) but he belonged to the camp of Hazrat Ali. Immediately a messenger was deputed to the camp of Hazrat Ali who returned with the answers to the three questions:
The most superior dhikr is that 'no one is deserving of worship and obedience except Allah (La ilaha illa Allah).' The part of the earth which has seen the sun only once is that part of the sea which was struck by the staff of Moses (AS). The Animal born without father and mother was the she-camel of Salih (AS)
The Byzantine ambassador went home with these answers and the idea of attack on Muslims was given up.
Bibin tafawut-e rah az kujast ta bi-kuja