Are we brain dead?

Clinically that may not be the case, but rationally the reports show no signs of life
Are we brain dead?
Pic: Aman Farooq

The good news is COVID can't kill us (asthe dead can't be killed anymore). Imagine a dying man refusing to take alife-saving drug. To him his faith is the drug strong enough to save him. Mylast week piece was a desperate cry requesting (rather begging) all Muftis andMoulvis to close down all places of worship. This week I feel relieved and wantto share that sense of relief with my readers. Whether we stay home or go tohell, we are in the lap of God. If He has decided to wipe us clean, He will. IfHe has decided to save us all, He will. So why worry? As goes the argument.

There are two things that render youspeechless. Wisdom and stupidity. These are the two gifts of God which act intwo different ways depending upon how we take them. Stupidity – as goes mybelief – is far more powerful than wisdom. Sanity surrenders before a mightymadness which rips apart all barriers of (so called) logic and reason. That iswhat I felt after reading the statement of a Mufti who says that mosques can'tbe closed down as `the situation is still not that bad'. Doctors can't stop mehere from taking a risk. Even if it means testing positive, I will go with agarland and hug him tight for this splendid piece of genius. Common sense eatsmud before such uncommon thinking which for its limitless capacity is nothingless than a miracle. He echoed a childhood story in me when a man from my townwas asked to come out of his home as the fire had engulfed the whole area.Since the fire was a few furlongs away from him, he thought `the situation isnot that bad' so why should he run away earlier than needed. In the absence ofprudence, our Muftis refer to jurisprudence. They will take the stock of thesituation first, they will exhaust their junkyard of knowledge and scholarshipfirst, they will establish the authenticity of quotes and misquotes first andwhen the situation really turns `that bad', they will take the decisionaccordingly. That is how faith from force turns a farce and blinds you towardsthe naked truth at hand. When you don't see, you foresee. Suspending reasonyields such miracles. We have heard how to deal with God and Mammon at once,here is a classic example of how to deal with God and COVID at once. Are theyworried about their pulpit which they would lose if it goes unattended for toolong? Assure them their brand will sell well as the crisis is over, they willbe at ease.

(Meanwhile in this suffocating Fatwamarket, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's statement urging people to offer prayers at homecame like a breath of fresh air. Late though, but his `social distancing' fromthe rest of clergy is worth a word.)

Another thought-provoking line I was toldby a Moulvi Sahab and (mark my word) that deserves to be scripted in goldenletters. `OK if mosques are closed down to keep the virus from spreading, doesstaying home guarantee us the safety'. Wish COVID could listen, thisgutter-born, invisible, petty, dirty dot of a creature won't dare to touch usagain. We knew we have lost sense, but such immense is the power of non-sensein our society we never knew. We have discovered our hidden treasures ofinsanity. Go COVID, Go Back.

Now a question for us. Why ask these Muftisand Moulvis what to do? Have we outsourced our thinking to them as we are busymanaging other affairs of life? Who empowers them to take decisions on mybehalf? If there is a system in place why doesn't it act here the way it actselsewhere. Good that government officially closed down all worshipping placesas an emergency measure, but why was it so late. If there is a law and ordermachinery to deal with the political conflict and keep people locked down formonths, why slacken here. If people are punished for thronging mosques in othersituations, why are we still relying on the sermons. Where a mere handshake, ashoulder rub, a body brush has a potential to unleash devastation, who listensto these edicts of `keeping the prayer as short as possible', `avoiding longerstays. This short-long or long-short theory is invalid. Do I have to ask aMufti as to what does jurisprudence say if I jump from the rooftop, if I let arock fall on me. What role a Mufti has in my personal, rational, logical life.Religion is not Muftis' fiefdom, religion is knowledge which we have full rightto understand and explore. Thinking through others' minds is like breathingthrough others' lungs. Knowledge doesn't accept it as principle.

The fault does not lie with them, the faultlies with us. The decisions regarding our rational life are taken on rationalbasis only. When we choose a career for our children, we exhaust all ouroptions, we seek guidance from career counselors. When we buy a house weconsult real-estate experts. In any field of life we take a logical route. Wedon't leave our decisions to the experts, we seek their advice only and thendecide ourselves. And our decisions are not based on faith or on a crazyunderstanding of an idea called faith, it's based on a cold calculationassessing all possibilities. But when it comes to religion, we let Muftis playfor ourselves. I am not against the very discipline of scholarship, but whatbaffles me is the suspension of common sense. In commercial market, ourbusinessmen work out profit and loss to the last detail, but in spiritualSensex they bank on the idiosyncrasies of sadhus and peers whatever the case.Our brain throbs with life in other departments, but here it acts like adeactivated SIM card or an unwanted appendicitis after removing which we feellighter and healthier.

Faith is blind, faithful are not blind.Let's use our eyes to see facts as facts. Let's inject some life into our deadmass. Clergy is the vestige of a long forgotten Church. They had their share offollies, but they have woken up. We have no plan to wake up as the `situationis not that bad.'

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