“Ulemas are the heirs to the Prophets” (Sahih Hadith); however, witnessing a self-proclaimed “Ameer-ul-Mujahideen” swearing from the pulpit, in a bid to protect the honor of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) broke my heart. I just wonder what is more blasphemous than swearing and blocking the roads in the name of a man who was known for his mercy. Yet every swear word he utters from the pulpit is hailed by a “wah-wah”. Where is our morality and why none questions the conduct the vile individual who claims to have undertaken the task of restoring Prophet’s (PBUH) honor?
I would have stayed silent, had this kind of extremism only limited to the Mullahs and Madrassahs but the fact that an average Pakistani thinks the same way in matters of religion gives me horror. For two years having taught at various levels from school to university, I feel scared of the highly subjective and blind approach that I get to witness among students. For instance, while teaching the glorious services of Dr. Abdus Salam, the most common comment I encounter is “But he was an Ahmedi, so why is he being discussed under the heading of Muslim Scientists?” The above aren’t comments of Madressahstudents, they have come from the children of relatively progressive families. The question arises here who taught our children to give subjective judgments without research? It’s none other than us.
Just when we fell into the self-proclaimed delusion of defeating extremism and successfully emerging out of the wave of extremism, we got grappled into another one. For years we condemned and declared “Madrassah” as the nursery of extremism.
But sitting back locked in a home during the dharna, I am again wondering what has instilled such extreme narrow thinking in the minds of normal Pakistanis that they won’t settle until an entire religious minority is deprived of their basic right i.e. to practice their belief.
The post-APS massacre launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb was widely hailed and it made Pakistanis fall into the illusion of triumph over extremism. The fact is that the mindset that was systematically cultivated and nourished for decades to achieve selfish goals, cannot be unlearned by the surgical operations.
The poison of hatred, intolerance, and bitterness has blackened our hearts and faces to an extent that no Zarb-e-Azab can purge us of it. No matter how hard we try to wash, this black stain will remain there on our faces reminding us of the great ignorant decisions taken in Zia and Bhutto’s era. When the state began using religion as a tool to manipulate, fight and kill the consequences are horrible and we as a nation are not new to them.
Yes, the establishment is to be held responsible for playing with religious sentiments to carry out their nefarious designs, yet as a society, we cannot be absolved of our deafening silence. We remained silent when the bigots like Khadim Hussain Rizvi made it to the pulpit and when maniacs like Aamir Liaquat were being hailed as “Religious Scholar”, this is what we got as a result: the death of sanity.
We did not resent the murder of Salman Taseer in broad daylight, instead, we either remained silent or glorified his murderer as hero. Our collective conscience is dead and our criminal silence will continue to set entire country on fire.
Unless the educated class of our country pledges to come out and reclaim the mosque and pulpit, this exploitation will continue at the hands of our rulers. Remember, Prophet (PBUH) said, “The best Jihad is to say a word of truth before an oppressor.” (MusnadAḥmad 18449)