It’s easy to hold someone responsible for the problems in a society but rarely do people bother to understand the root cause. Since 9/11, every person who wears beard looks suspicious. In fact, we regularly come across incidents of violence or suicide attacks by people with similar appearance which makes them look suspicious to most of us. But have we ever tried to understand the ‘beginning of the problem’?
Let me begin with a very simple example. Stop at any traffic intersection, wait for the traffic light to turn red and observe the appearance of majority of traffic law violators. I’m quite sure that findings would be quite closer to mine, means in most of the cases, it is bearded people who never care for the traffic laws. Now it may sound like a stereotype but this is what I have observed. For quite some time, I used to view them as uncivilized people but then with time, I started to think like ‘why they do it most of the time?’ after all they are the same people who wait for Pesh Imaam (Prayer Leader) to signal the beginning of namaz (Prayer), so why they don’t wait here for the light to turn green? Why is that?
Sometimes when I have to perform wuzu (ablution) in mosque, I notice that the lavatory is in a very bad shape with mud all around and it is same almost in every mosque. I’ve seen mosques outside Pakistan also and they’re no different when it comes to this part. As mentioned once by Javed Chauhdry, a prominent columnist of daily Express, that restrooms are perhaps the dirtiest place in mosques, not just in Pakistan but everywhere. Every Muslim must have heard the Hadith (Saying of Prophet Muhammad) in which he says, ‘Cleanliness is half of faith.’ Then why is that his followers never pay heed to this saying of him?
Another odd thing is the behavior of the students of these seminaries. Children, everywhere, are known for their playful nature and this can be seen outside schools (regardless of locality). Once free from school, they do fun before moving towards their vehicles, vans or homes. Rarely they are found doing unpleasant things but scenes of seminaries students kicking or throwing stones at each other is a common sight outside most of the seminaries. This violent attitude which may look unimportant to some readers but it means a lot for me because violence only grows up with time if not tackled properly.
I know and have met with groups of maulanas who preach people about Islam. I’ve listened to preachers from various sects also but none of them inspired me at all because whatever they say seems so scripted with least possibility of inspiring any listener. They don’t even let you to ask questions.
Is it because of some bias that I view everything of religious people as bad or is there something seriously wrong with them?
In my view, most of the people with an inclination towards religion don’t follow laws because they are never preached by their prayer leader to do so. I hope that readers would agree that Friday sermons in Pakistani mosques (of any sect) cover nothing but the difference between hell and heaven. People are never told about the importance of traffic laws. They are never advised to not to spit on roads and footpaths, not to erode beauty of the country with wall chalking, not to use illegal electricity. Out of the last six or seven Friday sermons that I’ve attended, none of them covered any of the above mentioned issues. Though I don’t remember all the topics covered in those sermons but most of them begin with praising prophets and ends on blessings of Allah. Similarly, people are never told to keep the ablution area or lavatory clean. Students of seminaries are never taught to act in a civilized way. Preachers are never thought to preach new aspects of religion every time. They don’t know the importance of questions perhaps because they’re not allowed to question anything in madarssahs.
It seems that our religious scholars have never thought of Islam beyond namaz (prayer), roza (fasting) and hajj. They need to realize their power and that how this power can be utilized to bring a positive change in our society. Close your eyes for a while and think of a Pakistan where traffic laws are obeyed, where walls are neat and clean, where no one uses illegal electricity, where toilets of mosques are as neat and clean as of any mall, where students of seminaries are as civilized as of any reputable school.
Unfortunately we never thought about utilizing the power of mosque in a positive way!