VIEW: Our religious complacency —Reem Wasay - Friday, December 10, 2010

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When natural calamities hit us like the plague, the first thoughts of a Muslim are not those of compassion and clemency but of blame. We blame people for cosmic curses, despite the seismic shifts in our own sanctimony

Muslims the world over have become assisted absconders; assisted by their stunted intellect, they have absconded from reason and rationale. The conditioned Muslim mind sees this world as a stopover where one needs to only buy time to make it to the next, hopefully, less cumbersome endgame. This has produced an entire populace that is gate crashing on the planet — and its people — complacent in their civil duties and innovations, yet creating fortified strongholds of erratic, religious behaviour to seal the deal in the sweet hereafter. This has nullified almost any contributions worth tipping a hat at by the many millions who occupy the sanctity of the Islamic pulpit.

I reached this conclusion when an isolated stalking session on the social networking site, Facebook, brought me to a distant, bearded cousin’s ‘status update’. Cyber banter aside, his words relegated a typical stream of average Muslim thinking, “If I do not get what I want, it means that Allah has thought it no good for me and will give it to me in jannat (heaven).” At first, his words provided a sardonic moment of insensitive pleasure at his infantile simplicity. However, his line of thought made me realise a tragic truth: Muslims have given up. They have designed their dogma in such a way that it disables their drive and dislocates their discernment. They have been drained of every last ounce of a life juice much stronger than that of plasma: the ability to challenge. The imams of the bloodstained podium have instructed the ummah on the demerits of questioning their limited interpretations of a religion and a God far more magnanimous than they have jotted down in their edicts. They have beaten us down with sermons on the wrath and fury of a bloodletting God, spearing us to a religion that teaches us not to question, screaming at us through foam spewing mouths that it borders on the sinful to challenge the rules that ‘God’s clergy’ have rendered as gospel truth by interpreting the prose of God. When these men of God are none other than their own, they have limited us to a faith where we have submitted to silence to quell the rising anger of orthodoxy. The clergy have taught us the asinine value of complacency.

When one is complacent on religious grounds, he is done for, not just as a man of faith, but as a human being as well. When natural calamities hit us like the plague, the first thoughts of a Muslim are not those of compassion and clemency but of blame. We cite everything from moral depravity to women taking off their clothes to the rapacity of our rulers to justify the wrath of God. We blame people for cosmic curses, despite the seismic shifts in our own sanctimony. We have been taught to sit silent and learn from the moral mistakes of others while their bodies are being crushed under the rubble of our own sullied intent. It is because we have been taught not to challenge and inquire that we forget about human misery, terming it as the will of God. And that suits the pulpit politicos just fine, thank you. Only after they have drained all the vitality and zest from our intellectual ambition will they truly have an assembly line of brain-dead lemmings at the ready to do their bidding. Due to years spent in submission and learning the benefits in the hereafter of a life spent in limbo, we now have more radicalised men and women ready to give everything up for a God they do not question and for teachings they do not penetrate to personalise. Existing at the beck and call of a crazed clergy, Muslims have played into their hands by casting off all the characteristics that make us human: our inquest for innovation.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, our holy order has given us a faith that is not harmonised with intelligent interpretations. The faithful’s demonstrations of devotion aside, most of ‘God’s children’ residing within the Muslim brethren of ‘Islamic’ republics throughout the world have failed miserably in attempting to negotiate a truce between the prevailing and the primitive. Too many crusaders have landed the faith in an almost Chinese whisper-style embargo, lending their versions of the sacred texts to be almost as guarded as the originals themselves. When simplifying the unknown, it is tempting — lustworthy even — to set into stone a megalomaniac’s translation of words that relay much to one’s personal imaginings of religious methodology. There is a reason many Muslims have been left out in the cold in the present global order: their unwillingness to bring even a limited amount of challenge, curiosity and expansion within the boundaries prescribed by a God only known to them through the interpretations of men. When understanding the voice of a Cosmic Being, one must never discount that the melody in the tune is one orchestrated by God’s lesser creation — a creature described in scriptures as being one without patience and virtue. When something is always lost in translation, why then discount the inconsistencies of a mere mortal?

Because of our inability to shape-shift into newly awakened times, we have been typified as victims of an order more repressive than that of any tyranny: our mullahs have given us a despot God where a benevolent one was meant to exist. They have made us victims to this order and they pay harsh reckoning to anyone who dares slide against their natural stream of things. Recycling the same retributions and punitively focusing on seeking rent on any outcry for justice, ethics and humanity, the clergy have sent the faith crashing into dark depths. Those accused of blasphemy are scythed for sacrilege and those looking to amend injustice perpetrated in the name of holy honour are labelled apostates. It is little wonder then that Muslims refrain from repealing, amending, furthering, perforating and reinterpreting anything that stands in the way of their progression on the world’s stage. Because Muslims believe in a God less merciful, they cower under state oppression and religious paranoia. Muslim states are the ones in crisis and it has as much to do with the interpretations of the faith as it does with those who rule us. Because we submit to a God described as implacable, we have prostrated before his bearded self-appointees on earth and have forgotten the essence of revolution, whether religious enlightenment or political revival. It is about time our pilferage of the planet and our lazy excuses of looking for freebies from God came to an unceremonious end; without disturbing our religious complacency, we really will remain a religious nation of the blind leading the bound.

The writer is an Assistant Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at

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