Pain should be Felt

I know this pain and living with it for many months now. But I hide it and I hide it very well.

Initially i mentioned it to some friends and peers, but no one has the eyes, heart, and aura which I have… because it is my pain. It is not because others are selfish but because it is my share of pain which I have to live with in this immense universe.

I am happy because I have seen others with different and insane kinds of pain too.

The biggest pain is the departure of a loved one. One is where there is no hope to meet again; at least not in this world. Then there is another kind of pain where there is hope but no chance. This latter one is ruthless… it gets inside until it reaches your bone marrow and then it turns out like a cancer.

I live in my own world. I live in my own abyss. I am victim of pain too, just like you. But my pain is cold blooded.

As they say about pain is that it should be felt. I not only feel my pain, but I feed it too. I nourish it. I will keep on nourishing it until one of us will die. 

This is a pain of a father living without his daughter. Both living in one city but forced to live apart due to the modern society we have developed in over 6,000 years.

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?

Done with Blasphemy, Time for Treason

You protest against injustice and you are an activist and want change.

You sit in dharnas to show that the government is based on a corrupt electoral system.

You go on strikes against privatization of public companies.

You protest against the wrong use of blasphemy laws which shows your comprehension and sensibility.

You speak out against killings of minorities, children and women to support peace causes against barbarians.

But if you speak or ask a question about the war on terror, military strategies, military spending, or the intelligence, you are a piece of shit. You are a traitor as you question the very foundation of Pakistan. How dare you?

This is my Pakistan as much as anyone else’s.

I will ask questions when I am dying due to an unknown war, with unknown people, based on unknown money, with unknown motives.

I will ask questions when my General will put me into a situation where murdering women and children is termed as “collateral damage”.

I will protest when I have to kill my own people with my own gun in my own streets.

I have been silenced for far too long.

I remained silent during 1971. I even kept peace when I read the Hamoodur Rahman Commission.

I supported you blindly in the 80s when you created the Taliban and empowered them with weapons for a decade long war against the Soviets.

I ignored your policies in the 90s when you were supporting your Taliban and helping their madrasah system.

Then you started to kill them in 2001.

May I ask what you have achieved in the last 14 years?

I question your capability against people who were empowered by you.

And most importantly I question how you plan to defeat them when they have defeated the Soviet Union, America, and the NATO.

I have a number of serious reservations.

The November 2014 carnage at Wagah Border happened at the third check-post. I want you to punish all the personnel in the first and second check-posts which the bomber crossed easily.

The genocide at Army Public School Peshawar happened in Cantt. There are check-posts on each entry and exit of Cantt. How did the terrorists manage to pass all the hurdles? I want all the culprits hanged along with the terrorists.

There is blood on your weapons. There is blood on your hands. Our weapons have killed children and women in Pakistan. Our bases were given to drones to launch strikes against children and women in Afghanistan.

Who started targeting children first?

It was a military decision to enter into a war which was not ours. Imran Khan was against this notion since the beginning and he was labeled a Taliban sympathizer.

It is time to see the cause rather than continuing to moan about effects. I need you to accept your mistakes. It is time to accept the real reasons that our children are being targeted.

You said that America would destroy Pakistan if we did not support her. Haven’t we self-destructed as a result of this support?

Whether you want to call it treason or any other tag that makes you comfortable; so be it.

My patriotism lies with Pakistan and its people; not with any organization and its personnel.

And Insha Allah, Pakistan will survive; with you or without you.

Come see the Blood in my Streets

I didn’t know my fate would be destined on the leftovers of my father. I saw some of his journals. As I couldn’t read, I burned them. Later on I was charged by a mob with blasphemy. I was burned too. The words in Quran are precious, I know. But my life was precious.  The life of my husband was precious too. There was another life within me which was more precious to us than either our lives.

I didn’t burn Quran. Those who burned me burned the Quran.

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I don’t know what came in my mind when I decided to visit the Wagah border ceremony. It happens every day. There are groups of overly enthusiastic patriots standing and chanting on both sides of the border gate. I went to the Wagah border. Then a person helped me cross India, Burma, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and finally we reached heaven. I am very happy here Alhamdulillah.

I hope all of you find some suicide bomber soon.

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I don’t live in DHA, or Cantt, or Bahria Town. I lived in Joseph Colony. Now I don’t live in Joseph Colony. I live in Blasphemy Colony. I am planning to shift to Muslim Town.

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I was ugly but I was lucky to find the love of my life. We got married. My father and brother were angry that I married without their consent. They were angry that my sister was not married happily. They called me to Lahore High Court. They killed my outside the court with bricks.

I am happy that I died in the arms of my father and brother. This was a privilege. I always wanted to die among my loved ones. There were hundreds of people who saw me dying. Maybe my life wasn’t worth much but my death was worth innumerable stares and uncountable headlines.

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I am a Hindu. No I am a Muslim. No, I am a forced Muslim. I have a husband. He is a Muslim. No, he is a Muslim by choice. He converted me forcefully for my well-being here and in the Hereafter. I don’t know what will happen next but I am sure people around me will force happiness on me.

______________________________________________________________

I am a six year old girl. I didn’t know earlier that I am Shia. So I was kidnapped, tortured, raped, and strangled to death; otherwise I was going to live a sinful life and would make my land impure. I wish they kill my father and mother too so we can be together in the inferno.

______________________________________________________________

I was pronounced a mental patient but he didn’t care. I don’t know what I said that made him angry. I was already in prison. He was supposed to guard me; instead he helped me escape the prison. He opened fire at me. Unfortunately I didn’t die.

When will I die?

______________________________________________________________

She was walking and eating, talking and laughing. She was with family. She was working and everything was going well. But now she is doing nothing. All she sees is blood. She walks on blood. She swims in it. She drinks blood and she loves blood.

She bleeds till there is no blood left in her.

I’m sorry Mr. Jinnah! I pronounce her dead.

Why did the Prophets…?

Like a soul who has a lot of questions and none of the complete answers, I am a meek one. These days the questions which are not letting me sleep are weird. I don’t know why they are coming in my mind and in my nightmares. I don’t qualify for that.

Why Musa A.S. became afraid when Allah transformed his stick into a snake? It was Allah who was talking to him and He said don’t be afraid.

Why Ibrahim A.S. had to fight his Nafs when Allah asked him to sacrifice?

Why the greatest of all the Prophets were confused sometimes when Allah asked them to oblige for some hardest of tasks?

They were Prophets. Talking directly to Allah and getting direct messages. Musa A.S. was the luckiest ones to chat with Allah in the relative time. He usually got his replies right at the moment. Not like some other Prophets who had to wait for the divine reply for weeks or months. But then why he questioned Allah’s orders time to time?

In the mainstream human lives, there comes moment when I see people who didn’t confuse themselves before obliging for Allah. I have even read stories of people who didn’t have to fight their Nafs because they were right on track to oblige and sacrifice. But why Prophets… they were too above… so close to Allah…???

I am a human being… graded to the least bit. I am one of those kinds who ask themselves “Who was it” after having a good or bad dream. Was it devil or a jinn? I have a lot of dimensions to think about after every thought that comes in my mind because I am too ordinary to think extraordinary.

But why did the Prophets…? They were talking directly to The Lord.

Alas! I don’t have a Baba Gee to answer my conflicting questions.

Prelude – Walli’s Life of Parallel Worlds

The newspaper said “200 years ago in 1814, a man named Walli was killed while standing against strict tax regulations by the Company.”
Wrong! I saw that incident and it was me who died. But not for standing against the Company. Anyways…
What if I tell you that I am on my deathbed now in 2014?
And what if I tell you that I have to die once more in 2174 while saving someone from The War? That someone is The One for whom I am travelling through all the times of parallel worlds…

Procrastination and Purpose

I wake up early in the morning, wash myself, have a forced breakfast (better than missing it as my doctor said), then a forced driving to reach office (better than being late or absent as my director said)… hence a day starts… a day which some people can only dream of.

On my 9 to 5 job, I spend time doing the least important things. Listening to rubbish supervisors about things we never do. One hour job surrounded within an eight hour day service. Then I question myself why I procrastinate? What else can I do?

I do read articles on internet on avoiding procrastination just to pass time. Liking and sharing procrastination on social media is a trend. It’s a highly-appreciated hypocrisy today.

Evening is the beautiful part of my day. I drive home and enjoy the sunset in the ugly smoke of traffic on busy roads. By the time I reach home, I am too exhausted to do anything… but then start the priorities of relations. Sometimes I do play football on a nearby ground, and sometimes on Xbox. Other times I do have commitments like appointment of my family members with doctors or dentists, visiting relatives, or something… something which requires driving through the road traffics to reach an un-wanted destination.

There is pursuit to reach destination after reaching destination… another of modern-day-internal-chaos.

By the time I reach bed, there is too much smoke in lungs through burning of both nicotine and oil which makes my head heavy. The same exact day is waiting for me which makes me over-excited to sleep well.

Weekend is another part of self struggle. On weekends, I over-enjoy myself by meeting friends, arguing with them on different macro-economic and political topics, life’s shits, cholesterol, lack of exercise, and similar interesting topics. By sleeping late on weekends, I make my Mondays very struggling. The struggle with eyes and head is so hard that I have to share something bad about Mondays on social media to get likes and similar feelings that we all had an awesome weekend.

But where was the “living” part. I don’t get it.

People say you earn “living” by having a good job, bank accounts, savings, good food, happy family, nice car, and house. But I didn’t meet any “living” standards the entire week, month or a year. How can I live with all these commitments around me?

So many commitments and so much procrastination.

Making excuses with friends and family members of hectic routine, while always finding something to pass time… thanks to smartphones and 3G.

Life is highly overrated. If this is the life, then we have to re-think and re-evaluate. Living is totally missing in these living standards. Saving holidays for future which never comes. Avoiding absents to avoid what? Always dreaming of holidays on peaceful mountains but never trying for peace. Always trying to buy expensive materials to impress all expect ourselves, but never trying to buy a cheap peaceful home in north. Why all our priorities are against living and for chaos? Why not internal peace?

Li

The “I” World & Sufi Entrepreneurship

We have divided our lives into disconnected moods, feelings and formats which make it very tough for us to define ourselves. Sometimes while driving or sitting idly, we do think who we are actually? Am I the one sitting in the office working on business analysis, career development and money making? Or am I the one who listens to pop songs and starts jumping? Or am I the one who gets sad while listening to ghazals of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Habib Jalib? Or the one who reads Sufism and gets deep into my own world of seven continents and four oceans? Who is the real “I”?

We are born to act in different ways in different scenarios. We have to behave and be modest with our parents, as it is ethically and religiously right. We have to be more frank and more interactive among friends so that the whole gathering can enjoy with us. We have to be sad and supportive during funerals while happy during happy events of people around us. Our behavior must have to change in accordance with the situation. It is what we are supposed to do in society. But what about the inner “I”?

Why we enjoy pop songs and gets sad on ghazals? Are we bad listeners!

Why do we have an ultimate feeling while reading one good book, and then next good book (entirely different from the previous one) changes the whole previous aura? Are we bad readers!

One has to leave “I” outside the door of Sufism and spiritualism. “I” has to be left in Islam, Buddhism and other spiritual domains of almost all the religions in the world. We live in an “I” world when others are dependent on us in organizations, offices, games, gatherings, etc. Similarly we try to be in the “us” world when we are dependent on others or want to show association with certain groups.

Sufism is humbleness, knowing oneself, unleashing the “I”, exploring internally and externally, and letting us know ourselves. We can have the same aura within the inside and outside world while anywhere. Sufism and spiritualism are not separated from our working lives. With Sufi approaches, we can have better success in our careers.

A  Sufi Entrepreneur will not focus on his goals but the overall goals of the organization. He will focus on the needs and wants of others, will not insult or embarrass anyone, will go on ethical business means, and will try his level best for win-win situations of everyone. He will earn money, will try to earn more fortune, but will remain within approaches of Sufism. Sufism can be the soul of a successful business. One who listens to Sufi poetry frequently and uses unfair means in business and career development, is perhaps a hypocrite.

Sufi business and Sufi entrepreneurship are related in the modern world today. We should be the firm-one internally regardless of the external set-up. We have to be the same person internally regardless of an external situation. We need to be emotionally stable. As said, a good person is not the one who is good with you at a restaurant, but the one who is good with everyone including the waiters.

Our business education system has to introduce Sufi and Spiritual approaches. The current focus is on career development and making money which is generating humanistic machines running for same materialistic goals in life. Colleges and Universities are hub where one learns about himself. They should remain such hubs of internal prestige where students are taught with a less materialistic (if possible) and more spiritualistic lessons. We need Sufi entrepreneurs in the modern world to end hunger and poverty all over the world.

We need to learn more of the “I” world than the outside world. 

 

Book Review: After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton

 

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Lesley Hazleton published a book named “After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam”. The book has focused on Sunni and Shia versions of the incidents on which there are differences among Muslims. But the main focus of the book can simply be seen as hate, which is evident throughout, along with biased opinions in the end. She has mentioned Quran as Word of God because of its beauty and divine message. She has also mentioned Prophet Muhammad PBUH as literally the Prophet from God because of the divine revelation of Quran on Him. It is highly regarded however I couldn’t understand is as she mentions herself as “Agnostic Jew” in a Ted Talk on Quran.

But apart from that, her study on Islam while writing on it was more than poor on various Islamic laws. She mentioned in Chapter 3 of the book:

For a wronged woman, there could have been no better outcome, yet the form of it would be cruelly turned around and used by conservative clerics in centuries to come to do the opposite of what Muhammad had originally intended: not to exonerate a woman but to blame her. The wording of his revelation would apply not only when adultery was suspected but also when there had been an accusation of rape. Unless a woman could produce four witnesses to her rate – a virtual impossibility – she would be considered guilty of slander and adultery, and punished accordingly. Aisha’s exoneration was destined to become the basis for the silencing, humiliation, and even execution of countless women after her.”

Here, like most of other Western authors, Lesley Hazelton has presented her weak knowledge and lack of study before writing the book. To come up with four witnesses is only in case of adultery or fornication. There is nothing like to present four witnesses when someone is raped. Some clerics in Muslim world, and recently in Dubai, have done as what Lesley Hazelton has mentioned, but these clerics and countries are not Islam. Islam is not what we are. Islam is Quran and Sunnah; and to judge Islam, one has to study Quran and Sunnah, not us.

The whole boot is written without citations and endnotes, making it more vulnerable. However the book is written in a balanced way like;

  • To praise the dimensions where Sunnis and Shias have no conflict.
  • To defame the dimensions where there are conflicts. The book is meant to present the differences, but not the hate and biased views.

Mood of the author also seemed to change frequently. On some stages it is felt as the author is angry with Islam, and on other sides her mind is blown away on the remarkable early successes. She is confused in certain areas, and makes this similar effect on the reader. But still, the overall book is a piece of knowledge. People who want to learn more can read Al-Tabari from where she has gathered material for her book mainly, however her personal opinions have ruined the tastes in various places, as well as made some beautiful points as well.

While presenting history, authors should be careful. At least they should be honest as a researcher, as well as a writer. They have the right to opinionate certain aspects, but they should have thorough grip.

In the end of the book, there are some current political scenarios mentioned by the author, which are strongly mentioned. These are lessons, messages and things to remember for Muslims. Some of these fragments are as follow;

Whatever balance there was would be changed utterly by World War I and the consequent partitioning of the former Ottoman Empire. Western intervention reshaped the Middle East, often in what seems astonishingly cavalier fashion. The British enabled the Wahhabi-Saudi takeover of Arabia, installed a foreign Sunni king over Shia majority Iraq, and shored up the Nazi sympathizer Reza Khan as Shah of Iran. After World War II, the United States took over as prime mover. Motivated by Cold War ideology, it helped engineer a coup d’état against Iran’s newly elected prime minister Muhammad Mossadegh and reinstated the autocratic regime of Reza Khan’s son, Shah Reza Pahlavi, under whom Iran first aspired to nuclear power—with American encouragement. Successive U.S. administrations backed the Wahhabi-dominated kingdom of Saudi Arabia not only for access to its oil but also as a bulwark against Nasser’s pro-Soviet regime across the Red Sea in Egypt. In the 1980s the United States joined forces with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to fund the anti- Soviet mujahidin—literally jihad fighters, or as Ronald Reagan preferred to call them, freedom fighters—in Afghanistan, and in a rather stunning example of unintended consequences, these troops later formed the basis of the Taliban. In that same decade, the United States found itself arming both sides in the Iran-Iraq War, supporting Saddam Hussein in order to counter the fierce anti-Americanism of post revolutionary Iran, while also supplying Iran in the murky “arms for hostages” Iran-Contra affair.

Sunni and Shia radicals alike called on a potent blend of the seventh century and the twentieth: on the Karbala story and on anti-Westernism. By the 1980s such calls were a clear danger signal to the pro-American Saudis, who were highly aware that radical Sunni energies could come home to roost in an Arabian equivalent of the Iranian Revolution. Their answer, in effect, was to deal with radical Islamism by financing it abroad, thus deflecting its impact at home. The Saudis became major exporters of Wahhabi extremism and its bitterly anti-Shia stance, from Africa to Indonesia, countering a newly strengthened sense of Shia identity and power—“the Shia revival,” as it’s been called—energized by the Iranian Revolution. The Sunni-Shia split had again become as politicized as when it began.

 As the United States has at last recognized, with thousands of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Westerners enter such a power struggle at their own peril, all the more since many in the Middle East suspect that Western powers have deliberately manipulated the Shia-Sunni split all along in order to serve their own interests. The chaos unleashed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 may have resulted in yet another unintended consequence in American eyes, but it was not so unintended in Iraqi eyes. “The invader has separated us,” declared Muqtada al-Sadr in 2007. “Unity is power, and division is weakness.”

The Karbala story has endured and strengthened not least because it reaches deep into questions of  morality—of idealism versus pragmatism, purity versus compromise. Its DNA is the very stuff that tests both politics and faith and animates the vast and often terrifying arena in which the two intersect. But whether sacredness inheres in the Prophet’s blood family, as the Shia believe, or in the community as a whole, as Sunnis believe, nobody in the West should forget that what unites the two main branches of Islam is far greater that what divides them, and that the vast majority of all Muslims still cherish the ideal of unity preached by Muhammad himself —an ideal the more deeply held for being so deeply broken.