Fear of Religious Extremism

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Religious violence and extremism, sectarian narrow mindedness and shallowness are such special features, which do not have conformity, any accordance with the real teachings of religion. Islam teaches religious toleration and peace for all, not only for its followers but also for the infidels and idolaters as well. Surah Alkafiroon is a living example and evidence of that. Allah talks to people through Prophet (s.a.w) as follows: Say:o disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship. Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto your religion, and unto me my religion. You notice that in this Surah Prophet (s.a.w) is asked to say neither will you (idolaters, infidels) change your religious practices nor shall I. I wish you to be blessed with your religion, so shall I be with that of mine. This does not mean that Prophet (s.a.w) or His followers should abandon inviting idolaters towards Islam. This practice of preaching Islam shall continue but should be done according to the heavenly teachings. Invite them towards the way of thy Lord through wisdom and good advice (admonition) But regretfully those who are ignorant of the vital principles of Islam and are religiously narrow minded, themselves have chosen the way of murder and violence on the basis of religious and sectarian dissent.

Muslim countries, after having achieved political freedom, when faced the challenge of reformation and reorganization of their respective internal systems, could show maturity in their vision and eminence of their thinking at a stage when both were needed much. And when the people of Islam themselves entered the arena of politics in the form of separate parties, religious and sectarian violence started assuredly. This condition emerged in Pakistan as well and got strengthened at the time of General Elections before the elections held in 1970. This was the first time when religious parties properly participated in the elections though they could succeed. In the elections of 1977 and 1985 as well, the vote bank of religious parties not only did not go high but decreased to some extent. Same situation was witnessed in the elections of 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997. But in spite of this reality, the so-called liberal people of Pakistan are still shouting that sadist religious circles of Pakistan are just about to take over the government forcefully. The invasion of Taliban in Afghanistan has also added much to this fear of our people and it seems as if they are extremely confounded and wearied of just a fear of a kind of Talibanization here.

Undoubtedly after the end of Afghan war, few thousand young people are also participating in Jehadi activities over Kashmir front and the circle of such activities has also been enlarged to some other countries but inspite of their whole importance, these activities are limited so we should not be afraid and worried of the fear of their invasion. What kind of government Taliban has established? What are its positive and negative aspects? Without having its complete and thorough knowledge, our so-called liberal people under the influence of western propaganda have made Taliban a bugbear, a hobgoblin. Since the leadership of Taliban has emerged from traditional religious Madrassas so that why there exists a partiality or one-sidedness in their perception of Islam from political, religious and social point of view but this imbalance in their behavior too is decreasing gradually. Efforts made for the revival of Islam do produce imbalance in initial stages which is something natural and understandable but it also gets weaken slowly and gradually and same is the case in Afghanistan. In Turkey Mr. Najmudin Akbakan party has gone through various stages of acquiring intellectual and practical balance in their behavior. Islamic forces in Aljazair have gone far away from their initial extremism. President Khatami has raised a new voice of moderation and counter balance. The statement of anxiety and confusion in Pakistan about sectarian violence and religious extremism is just but to say that “Blood Thirsty Mullas are just about to over power the govt. in Pakistan is synonymous to an aimless fear. There is no possibility of Taliban fashioned govt. in our country. Our society is totally different. It is a cosmopolitan society and will remain the same forever. The voices of extremism will be raised but they will never be able to overcome the main stream of our national life. In Pakistan there does exist religious extremism and certainly in a very unacceptable form due to which we are also suffering losses but still a problem should be considered as bigger as it really is. The ratio of such people in Pakistan is less than even 1%. Whatever the other problems of Pakistan are, but religiously mad people are never going to overpower the govt. Temperament of Pakistani society will never allow such happening to take place.

So emphatically claimed by our liberal intellectuals that it does seem some times as if Talibanization really is going to take place in Pakistan but conditions when analyzed and realized carefully, we come to know that Pakistani society can never be a reflection of the society established there in Afghanistan. 80% of the people of Pakistan are certainly having an intimate attachment with their religion. All of them are having their own perception of Islam, which is also having a deep effect of the teachings of Muslim devotees (Sufees). They have a strong emotional attachment and love for the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). They do participate wholeheartedly in religious gatherings and processions. They also pay tributes to the graves of pious people. At the darbar of Data Sahab in Lahore, one will find a gathering of many and at times thousands of people. If the number of such people on these Mazaraat and Darbars all over Pakistan is counted on any Thursday, one will be surprised to know their number. In our society the number of those people who fast the whole month of Ramazan and offer their prayers five times a day is still very much high even today. And this is what common people perception of Islam is in Pakistan. Common people who are extended over the majority of population of Pakistan and you can call all such people fundamentalists in the light of the topic under discussion. On the other hand the same people who visit Mazarat, who are ready to sacrifice their lives in the name of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w), who do respect our Molvies, listen to their speeches over nights, give them a special importance in matters regarding religion, they do not give away their vote or daughter to the same Molvies. For when it comes to vote or a daughter marriage, their prudence of attention to worldly affairs over power their religious fundamentalism. Thus 80% of the people of Pakistan are simultaneously fundamentalists as well as liberals because the phenomena and demands of both these mental states are separate and different i.e. to what limit should they keep themselves in touch with these Molvies and for what reasons should they stay away. Rest of the 20% of the people are those who give different and conflicting opinions. They also include pitiless religious people who are ready to die for extremely ordinary sectarian dissent and on the question of respect and reverence for insignificant particulars but the collective ratio of such people in the society is very low. Our literate class also includes such people who believe blindly in the teachings of religious and spiritual personalities but majority of our people is comprised of intelligent, prudent, liberal and those who are aware of the real spirit and essence of the divine revelation. They agree to the Quranic teachings For you is your religion and for me is mine. In our society the number of those people who are well aware of the inclinations and preferences of the modern world and are having an enlightened perception and understanding of Islam are easily more than those who are lacking dynamism in their behavior. To be religious is one thing and to be an extremist is another. Moreover extremism is also having two forms. One form is that your extremism is limited just to yourself while the second form is that besides an extremist you are also a compeller, an enforcer that means that you also want to impose your extremism forcefully on others. Again the ratio of such people in Pakistan is very much low because those who do are notorious for their extremism and those who do not are considered cowards and even not Muslims. So far as the international image of Pakistan is concerned, only its Islamic identity is enough to cause it to say an Extremist State. Western media so often calls us inferior (Ghattya) that we have developed a sort of feeling in ourselves as if we really are Ghattya. We have become doubtful in our own eyes. In the same way they have projected our religious fundamentalism in such a cheap and inferior way but with somewhat though groundless but influential arguments that we too have begun to believe in their sayings. Thus in fact, each and only a true Muslim is an eye sore to them. That’s what I believe in that west due to their own reasons is allergic of political Islam and especially Jehadi Islam. Because Jehad apart from many other reasons is also a consequence of such western thinking. In their sayings and thinking you never find even a gesture of any need to take notice of their unjust behavior towards the Islamic World, their problems, their desires and wishes and the disgust and displeasure of their youth with the west. What else would be the consequence of such western disfavoring but to earn our peoples anger? Thus if these non Muslims keep on abusing us then whether they call this act of ours extremism or even terrorism, this wave will continue to move forward and that time is not too far when this kind of extremism of our people will become a threat to their economic and political interests. Thus how this behavior of ours can be declared unjustified.

Believe me if you force these Jehadies to go out of Pakistan, to open discos in the country, to issue the syllabus of Oxford in our educational institutions where subjects like Pakistan studies and Islamic studies are automatically struck off, to make jeans shirt and joggers our national dress, to allow our nation to celebrate new year night, to date and to give valentines gifts openly then I sure that this same western media will be in our favour and will support and defend us openly or at least there would appear a little decrease in their austerity as can be seen their behavior towards Turkey. So thats the whole story. West in particular and non Muslim world at large fear not Islam but a well and strong character Muslim whom they are constantly trying to finish off ideologically at any cost and in any way possible.

Unfortunately there does exist sectarian violence as a consequence of internal and external affairs of Pakistan which is very regretful and sorrowful but again this too has been projected with so much higher a degree that once again there rose an impression in the west that none life and property is safe in Pakistan which is certainly not the case. It is something, which is yet not known that who exactly are the people behind this violence. Whether they really are Muslims or not. Unfortunately, there also has been played a part by our own people in raising up that kind of image in the west. Why is that the news of just few such unfortunate incidences reaches from one corner of Pakistan to the other corner of the west within just a few minutes where as there also occur many good and righteous events in the same Pakistan but anyone is rarely aware. Unfortunately the collective nature of Pakistani nation has become such that many respectable virtues are ignored intentionally but is shown an unnecessary interest in others mischief and badness. Why don’t we regard our own people goodness with attention? Why do we put someone goodness behind his/her back because he/she is also having bad qualities? Why don’t we let someone mischief go to hell and try to learn something of his/her elegance? Our Molvies in particular are victims of such collective conduct of ours. A Molvi on saying something good is ignored just because of our misconception that a Molvi can just be an extremist and nothing else. On seeing a Molvi involving in some kind of evil is said to have been perpetually, two faced, mongrels. Therefore, I think that sectarian clashes and violence are not that intense and severe that while making it a big issue, involving the whole Pakistan in it. Instead we should try to learn something of others excellence rather than enjoying their bad qualities for the time being. In the end, people of Pakistan should not feel degraded of their fundamental ideologies but it is also necessary to have an enlightened, balanced and realistic perception and understanding of Islam. Our print media is doing a lot in awaking this sense but our electronic media has yet to do a lot.

Why do we have to cause non-Muslims to mind ourselves? Why do not we accept ourselves dignified? Why have we become doubtful in our own eyes? We must have to realize our real status. The hatred that we have for such non-Muslims would be 10 times greater than that they have for us. But have they ever given any importance to this hatred? Never. Because they have realized their position and after having caused us to mind their status they are now confident on their identity. Why always are those of us who are having apologetic minds? Why do always we have to present ourselves affluent by adopting their way of life, by showing ourselves not concerned with Islam? Those who consider themselves superior under the cover of modernization are in fact those who are touching the deep bottom of inferiority complex. Even a bathroom washer white man is looked at with emulation where as our honorable people are not very welcomed because of their third world Islamic background. Adopting their way of life may make us acceptable to them for the time being but they will never agree to give us as high a place where they see themselves. We will remain Ghattya to them forever. The diversion of their view is possible only when we would successfully get rid of our apologetic minds. When we will realize the fact of our existence and our Muslim identity. Undoubtedly Muslims are superior to all the nations of the world. Muslim nation has been sent to lead the world by Allah. Non Muslims only are a challenge and examination material to us. Nothing more than that. Need of the hour is to acknowledge our essence. We are dignified human beings. That’s the reason that our so called extremists are the most unwanted and disliked people in the eyes of west because they have proven themselves to be dignified. These are the only people from whom, while admitting them the only people of their match, the west is facing a threat for their importance and status to come to an end. Allah has long been tolerating our mental state. Prior to running out of His patience, we should transform ourselves or is it necessary that until we are not overwhelmed with troubles and completely destroyed, we will not come to our senses as it happened in Kashmir, Palestine, Kosovo and Bosnia. Kashmir and Palestine anyway are having some traits of Islam in their conduct but I’m certain that the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo for the very first time would have acquainted themselves. They perhaps for the first time would have realized their significance due to their relation to Islam. We are and we really are great but before we recognize the truth about ourselves, we have been made disgraced and degraded in our own eyes. We have been made ignorant of even ourselves. Now that most of us are left with only a stamp of Islamic identity, we still are Muslims to them. To them a Muslim in anyway is a Muslim. None fires at us for we are Shia or Sunni, Punjabi or Pathan. They only have to fire and this is what they just do.

Thus if it is the only way left to wake up Pakistani nation, then I wish them to be overwhelmed with troubles today, now, right now before we are finished physically and ideologically with the hands of our own people in subjection to the evil intentions of non Muslims. In fact being Muslims we have to do not just something but something that really matters.