An adorable child of a friend had hurt herself. That was a compelling reason to visit the friend, residing at Lal Bazar, Srinagar. Though we meet often, and keep in touch quite regularly on mobile, last Saturday, I was visiting his place almost after a year.
Despise the advent of mobile technology that has almost curbed meeting friends and dear-ones, if not every evening but the other day. At the mouth of the narrow street leading to friend's house, I noticed a green board hanging on a wall; in almost screeching tone announcing, Masjid-e-Ahle…..
The presence of a mosque itself is so conspicuous a place, why does it need to have an advertisement. Abode of Allah is to welcome one and all, even a nonbeliever. Why this conditioning of Ahle…., burdened with these thoughts, I reached my destination.
Not for the first time I was to notice a sheet of iron painted green having bold letters of Masjid, with a striking condition of Ahle…. or for that matter Hanafi; as if a person belonging to the other sect, or even with some minor difference of theological understanding, is altogether unwelcome. To the layman understanding of mine, every ugly advertisement of a sectarian place of worship resembles a tombstone of faith. I am hesitant to describe these sectarian establishments as pious places of worship.
Those ought to be inviting one and all, to the refuge of all-encompassing Mercy and Benevolence of Allah. Whether I am rebuked or reprimanded but let me share with my worthy readers my humble understanding. That what exclusively belongs to a sect doesn't belong to an all-inclusive Allah, and not least to Islam. Does the new mosque exist, ironically just opposite the old one, when I came here last? This question bothered me more than discovering a board informing the existence of a mosque confined to a sect, disgustingly a common sight in Kashmir now.
The construction of the mosque is the most recent development; perhaps you may have missed it last time as I was informed by my host. Someone donated a small piece of land, and people belonging to the particular sect with upmost zeal built the mosque within a span of few months, my friend narrated the whole incident. With ever growing population and people also migrating from other areas, is it a space problem that necessitated the construction of a new mosque? Even though knowing well the menace of growing sectarianism, still I asked the friend. With impressive network of mosques in the vicinity, the problem is not of space; our hearts have completely shrunk, my friend despondently narrated the real conflict of minds.
The division on the basis of a sect forced the construction of a new mosque, yet the conflict didn't end there. At the old place, so-called worshipers now stand divided on political lines. Who says that Sher-Bakra conflict only belongs to past? What that divides indeed is divisive, let's face the bitter truth.
Mosques are in abundance, where, however, has the piety disappeared? Please forgive me for affirming this; Islam is not hosted in a mosque, it should essentially reflect in the character of its adherents. "True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west – but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance – however much he himself may cherish it – upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God" (2:177). In a hope of reserving a place in heaven, with utmost zeal, we construct a brick and mortar structure, and therefore tend to describe it as holy place.
A construction owing its existence solely to unfair means, corruption and siphoning of public money, can never be rendered as holy, even if we come to describe it as a mosque.
With fanatic drive we go on constructing new mosques on sectarian lines, thereby dividing Islam. Yet why that zeal is missing when it comes to siding with truth and resisting the false? Why that zeal is missing when it is to reject corruption; moral and material? Why that zeal is absent when it is to discard the evil extravagance of marriages here?
Why we invariably fail to muster any zeal, when it comes to wage a war against many social evils eating the very vitals of this society? Why that zeal is missing when it's time to reject the temptation of greed? Long beard and ankle high pyjama is not the sole criterion of spirituality. Living for and living by truth, is the only standard of spirituality. Junaid Baghdadi rightly emphasizes that Tawakkul, unparalleled and complete faith in Allah alone, is Tasawuf, spirituality. Do the so-called champions of Tasawuf, presenting here a new brand of Islam, ever posses an iota of faith? How come the jugglers could be aware of, what faith stands for?
Badan Ghulam Ka Souz-e-Amal Se Hai Mehroom
Ke Hai Muroor Ghulamon Ke Roz-o-Shab Pe Haram
Taweel Sajda Agar Hain To Kya Ta'ajjub Hai
Waraye Sajda Ghareebon Ko Aur Kya Hai Kaam
Khuda Naseeb Kare Hind Ke Imamon Ko
Woh Sajda Jis Mein Hai Millat Ki Zindagi Ka Payam!