Hypocrites against Blasphemy

I don’t know the punishment of blasphemy. In fact I don’t know when it is blasphemy or when it is not. When it comes to making of cartoons of religious figures, it is blasphemy. But what is the punishment for it? I don’t know. No one knows as it seems. Different religious scholars have different theories. Some favor punishment and others are of the view that ignoring them is the best response.

I don’t know what the punishment is when the blasphemer is non-Muslim.

But I do have certain arguments. People, who were laughing out loud on Pk movie regarding fun made of Hinduism, are the same who are showing approval regarding mass killing of editors and cartoonists in Paris, France. Isn’t it hypocrisy?

Those who believe Denmark and France are committing blasphemy should also boycott movies like Pk and should condemn where ever there is mockery of religion or holy personalities regardless of any religion.

We don’t need to go into Islamic details to find out where we stand on our personal levels of hypocrisy. We laugh on the most vulgar and abusive jokes of stage dramas, but we get angry when someone abuses us.

Why do we like someone else punished for the actions which we ourselves have as habits? Isn’t blasphemy happening all over Pakistan and other Muslim countries in different forms?

The couple burned in Kot Radha Kishan was not convicted of blasphemy. All those who burned them were actually the blasphemers.

Islam is the religion of peace for the whole world. Islam teaches us to be respectful to all religions and humans. It frustrates me when people make fun of Islam. I feel gutted. But when others (only some of them) are making fun of our religion, we are killing them in the name of the same religion. Isn’t it a major hypocrisy and a major sin?

How are we going to preach them in future? How are we going to have religious debates with them? And how they will understand us when we have pistol in one hand and fatwa on the other?

Who are we to decide that people need to be punished? And who are we to decide what punishment suits their sins? How are we so sure that that punishment is death?

 

I feel that we are perpetually stuck in a vicious cycle of self-destruction.

They make fun of us; we react; they make fun of us again. We kill them; they call us extremists. You have to admit; killing is a bit extreme.

Let us assume, for argument’s sake that they are the enemies of our religion.

How are we bringing our religion a good name? We lie; we cheat; we rob; we steal. And then all of sudden we stand up to protect Islam.

If they are the enemies of our religion; are we the friends?

When a movie offends another religion and some ‘sensitive’ people of that religion demand that the movie be banned, we raise hue and cry over that.

If a joke is directed at other religions, we can easily see the humor in it. But when the joke is directed at our religion, it becomes intolerable. Personally, I believe there shouldn’t be disrespect for any religion; be it a satirical or humorous.

We can find no remorse in our hearts for 14 people who are killed because they printed and obnoxious and offensive content. And rows upon rows of hateful messages directed to them do not faze us. We are not ruling France. There is no Caliphate in France. We should have demonstrated our views peacefully. But killing in the name of Islam where the state and government is not Muslim is not the right way. We can teach but we cannot kill. We need to condemn it. Muslim scholars need to condemn it like Nouman Ali Khan did.

Why is it not hate speech when we rejoice in the killing of people?

Why must we comment and dissect and approve or disapprove of people’s actions?

Why can’t the judging be left to God?

Why can’t we practice a little self-reflection?

A little tolerance?

A little love?

I vote for peace; for mutual respect; for patience.

I vote for an end to hypocrisy.

I vote for Islam.

Do you?

She

Everyone is alone. So was she. She used to think about her loneliness. She loved to share her loneliness and misery with her friends and loved ones. Sometimes, she wondered how she was lonely if she had a lot of people to talk about her loneliness with.

This was not all. This is not all. She meant to be different from the others. She was not like most girls. She was not into fashion, jewelry, pearls, curves or attention. She was who she was. She meant to be unique.

And she was.

Her life had been defined… her gender by society and profession by her parents. She was a thinker. She used to think even in her profession. She was known to be a thinker among her friends. But she was lonely.

She remembers what went wrong. It was just a small incident of touch… a touch she didn’t allow, but she was never asked. She was touched where she didn’t feel comfortable.

With fire and fear in her eyes, she couldn’t stop him.

How could she stop him? He was a gentleman. He is still a gentleman and resolves family issues in her family and relatives. He is the gentleman who is usually asked to recite naats during gatherings and performing ghussals of dead men.

That gentleman took the basics of her life away. Her natural feelings from childhood to adolescence to teenage to a girl and to a loving wife; all were taken away. She was not normal. She was alone. She was deprived internally. Nothing had filled the emptiness inside.

How could she tell her newly married husband to stay away from this gentleman? The effects could be long and devastating. She was afraid because she was already alone.

A boy came in her life after a year; a beautiful and healthy lad. That gentleman started to visit again. His gentleness was the same for everyone except her. She saw the animal in him. She was standing at the same place where she stood two decades back.

She started to guard her boy like a lioness.

One day; an unfortunate day, her worst nightmare came true. She saw the same fire and fear in the eyes of her lad. That was it. That was enough to bring out the lioness in her.

She stabbed the gentleman. She stabbed him again and again and again… until she was done. Her husband was watching. Many relatives were present in the courtyard. They all saw. They all believed that she was wrong. She was mad. She smiled for the first time after her delivery. She laughed for the first time since who knows when.

Of course she was mad.

She doesn’t know where she is now. Sometimes she wakes up in a court; sometimes in a jail; sometimes in a ward.

But she doesn’t care because her other half is safe.

Is he?

Aren’t there more gentlemen?

Rehmu’s Day

Rehmu was on his last tour of the day, carrying bricks from one point to another on his donkey cart. He needed to do at least five such tours a day in order to earn enough for a sufficient meal for him and his family. But today he could only do four and he knew that it would not be enough for his family. He was thinking that either he or his wife would have to pretend not to be hungry that night.

He had known since that morning that he would not have enough work today. His mind had been preoccupied with worries and when the body thinks through the stomach, it creates problems for individuals and hence, societies. But Rehmu was too old and too weak to create problems for the society.

His problem was the fire in the stomach; not the fire in the heart.

Suddenly, he was jolted out of his reverie back to reality. He was lying on the road and the cart had fallen since his donkey had fainted. Oblivious to his own injuries, he rushed towards the cart. Bystanders decided to help him unload the bricks from the cart. Thankfully, the donkey was alive but he had lost consciousness and received a few injuries from the fall.

People around him, the witty analysts they thought themselves to be, laughed and passed remarks at him. An ill-humoured man said,

“O baba ji! Your cart got some dents.”

Another one tried to give him some rational advice,

Baba ji! Don’t overload your cart.”

An apparently religious fellow passing by said,

“You will answer on the Day of Judgment for the way you treat your animals.”

But Rehmu was already worried about his donkey. The donkey might have been the world’s stupidest creature but for Rehmu he was a true companion. He was feeling really sad and heartbroken but he had no other options. He realised that people around him didn’t know about his difficult life and lack of options.

People who think with their brain have a lot of things to worry about – new restaurants, new cars, new movies, new serials, new clothing. But people who are forced to think with their stomachs don’t have many options.

Their world starts and ends with fulfilling the needs of the stomach.

They don’t have to worry about where they sleep and they don’t care about animal rights but do they care for their own rights?

Do they even have rights, these poor donkeys and people like Rehmu?

Are they both equal in the so-called status quo of this world?

What would hell be like for them if this temporary world is so difficult for them?

He helped his donkey to the side and put all the bricks by the side of the road.

What were his options now? He had no other cart to transfer the bricks to the construction point. He didn’t have the modern ‘necessity’ of a cell phone to call for help. And even if he had one, who would he call?

His only option was to feed the donkey, re-load the cart and move on. But did he have the money to feed his donkey?

And more importantly, if he fed his donkey, how would he feed his family?

The harsh reality was that human rights overlapped with animal rights in this cruel world.

He knew people were cursing him as he overloaded the donkey cart yet again but no one helped him or his beloved donkey.

No one really cared about Rehmu’s life.

No one cared that he had to worry about his wife and children before he could think about his donkey.

This post was published on Express Tribune on February 25, 2014.