Transcending the moral plague

If you could get rid of yourself just once,
The secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe,
Would appear on the mirror of your perception
” — Rumi.

Selfishness, lies, deceit, the ‘me, me, me’ syndrome are a norm in today’s materialistic world. It is a world full of greed, full of intolerance and full of disrespect. Gone are the days when people genuinely cared about each other, when people thought less about themselves and more about others, when neighbours were treated as family members. Today, if a neighbour starts taking too much interest in your life, you begin to wonder if he/she wants something from you. The youth do not respect their elders, the elders do not show love towards their young ones, the rulers (particularly our rulers) are least bothered about the public and the public is too busy trying to outdo each other to care how the rulers are harming their country. It is madness, yet we are all partly responsible for this madness. What can be done to counter this frenzy?

People are always vying to get ahead of each other. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but one should achieve his/her goals through hard work and should not look for short cuts. Cheating and trickery are not looked down upon any more; in fact, these vices are now coveted. By acquitting Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif from the doping charges, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has given a free hand to players to use banned substances and then plead ignorance. If this is not encouraging cheating in a sport, then what is? Where have our ethics and morals gone?

The Muslim world is in grave danger because of mullahs. There is lack of humanity, love and tolerance in today’s world, especially in Pakistan. The extremist views hold centre-stage while the moderates’ voice is drowned out by the resonating chant of ‘jihad’. The message of ‘peace’ that Islam preaches has been lost due to the hijacking of Islam by extremists. ‘Jihad’ is a highly charged word that is often used by the extremist forces to appeal to the emotions of Muslims, making them believe that they would do Islam a great service by killing innocent ‘infidels’. Our masses are mostly illiterate. Neither do they possess any worldly knowledge, nor do they have any religious knowledge, thus making it easier for fundamentalists to lead them astray.

When it comes to the liberation of women, we seem paralysed by the moral straitjackets we have worn over the centuries. The passing of the Women’s Protection Bill is one such example. The mullahs have made a mockery of Islam by calling the bill un-Islamic. Is giving relief to a rape victim un-Islamic? If so, then these mullahs belong to a different faction of Islam than a common Muslim like me. These are the people who are responsible for spreading bigotry, hatred and intolerance in our society. When interacting with others, we need to put ourselves in the others’ shoes. We should not do something that would displease us if reciprocated. This would make us safe from misconduct, bad behaviour and hurting others.

We are a highly intolerant society as can be seen by the treatment of the minorities in our country. The way we treat the Christians, the Hindus, the Ahmadis, etc., is deplorable. Mohandas K. Gandhi once said, “It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.” Learning about other religions does not mean that you are giving up your own religious views. Even while living with our own traditions, we can learn from others and respect their teachings. In fact, it is imperative for religious scholars to know about other religions. A common man must also interact with other religious communities in order to learn and educate himself. This, however, is not possible in a society where there is no freedom of religion, expression, assembly and basic equality under the law. Muhammad Yousuf (previously Yousuf Youhana) converted to Islam last year. Although one certainly cannot doubt his sincerity to Islam, there are certain questions that come to mind. Did he face any prejudice and discrimination for being a Christian (not only during his cricketing career but outside of it as well)? Would the government have showered such lavish gifts on him after he made the world record for the most Test runs by a batsman in a single calendar year if he was still a Christian and not a recent convert to Islam?

The concept of God may be different in each religion, the methodology of worship may be different as well, but the message is the same: justice, equality, peace, love and tolerance. Our religion also has another side called Sufism. The Sufis’ aim is to spread universal brotherhood by spreading the message of acceptance, inclusiveness, rejection of materialism, challenging orthodox leadership and finding the Truth (i.e. finding God). The goal is to cleanse the heart, to educate or transform the self in order to find God. Sufism challenges the concept of organised religion and asks people to revert to the original, pristine form of religion. All religions can teach us good things. We need to interact with people of other faiths to enrich ourselves. Human contact is the best solution for overcoming our biases.

The message of ‘humanity, love, tolerance and equality’ is not just limited to Islam. The UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. It says, “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Many a Western scholar has preached the same thing. As John Stuart Mill put it, “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”

Our rulers always talk about outdoing the West, yet when it comes to following their justice and equality system, we miserably fail. “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none,” said Thomas Jefferson. Why not take a leaf out of the West’s history and follow their example? We must learn from world history that conflict has arisen wherever the dignity and rights of individuals were trampled. The example of Balochistan is right in front of us. If the Baloch are not given their due rights by the federation, it will not be unlikely that in a few years time, Balochistan could be a separate country.

We need to understand that by fairly treating others and giving them respect, we are also encouraging them to treat us fairly and respectfully. This reciprocal altruism should not be restricted to our family, religion, ethnic group or nationality, but to everyone. This would aid in reducing our xenophobia about strangers and encourage them to treat us in the same manner as the benefits would be mutual. In war, there is a loss or collateral damage on both sides and even if we win it, the cost may be too expensive to be worthy of such a cause. Peace, love, tolerance, equality, respect and humanity however, can transcend the ugly and the mundane and give us a moral victory over others, so that the mutual competition would transform in a healthier state from vice to virtue. If we can achieve such a state, we have truly won in every sense.


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Bean said…
very articulately written...thank you for speaking out.
Ahmedinajad said…
When you look at the tetragrammaton (YHWH) upside down in the hebrew text why does it resemble the arabic word for god — ALLAH???
You can find the symbol by searching on google for the words “hebrew tetragrammaton”.
Why has the word ALLAH always been used in the arabic bible and not Yahweh/Jehovah??


Open above links to see Hebrew tetragrammaton symbol then view upside down

ﷲ (Arabic)
الله (Arabic)

The 99 Holy Names and Attributes of Allah Almighty:

Al-Ilaah (The Deity)
Ar-Rabb (The Lord)
Al-Waahid (The One)
Al-Ahad (The Singular)
As-Samad (The Self-Sufficient)
Al-Hakeem (The All-wise)
Al-Haleem (The Most Forebearing)
Ar-Rahmaan (The Most Beneficent)
Ar-Raheem (The Most Merciful)
Al-Barr (The Generous)
Al-Kareem (The Kind )
Al-Jawwaad (The Bestower of Good )
Ar-Ra`oof (The Kind )
Al-Wahhaab (The Bestower)
Al-Hameed (The One who is Praised)
Al-Afuww (The Forgiving)
Al-Ghafoor (The Forgiving)
Al-Ghaffaar (The All Forgiving)
At-Tawwaab (The Oft-returning)
Al-Quddoos (The Holly)
As-Salaam (The Peace)
Al-Alee (The High)
al-A`laa (The Highest)
Al-Muta’aal (The Exalted)
Al-Mannaan (The Bestower)
Al-Jabbaar (The Compeller)
Al-Mutakabbir (The Suprime)
Al-Khaaliq (The Creator)
Al-Baari’ (The Originator)
Al-Musawwir (The Shaper)
Al-Mu’min (The giver of Security)
Al-Muhaymin (The Everwaching)
Al-Qadeer (All Powerful,The Able)
Al-Lateef (The Most Subtle,The Kind)
Al-Haseeb (The Reckoner)
Ar-Raqeeb (The All-wacher)
Al-Hafeedh (The Guardian)
Al-Muheet (The Encompassing)
Al-Qahhaar (The Subduer)
Al-Qaahir (The Irresistible)
Al-Muqeet (The Powerful)
Al-Wakeel (The Disposer of Affairs, The One Who is Relied Upon)
Al-Wudood (The Loving)
Al-Fattaah (The Judge, The Opener)
Al-Malik (The King )
Al-Maalik (The Master & Owner )
Alladhee Lahu Al-Mulk
(The One to whome belongs the Dominion)
Ar-Razzaaq (The Provider)
Al-Hakam (The Judge)
Al-Adl (The Just)
Jaami`un Naas (The Gatherer of Mankind)
Al-Hayy (The Living)
Al-Qayyum (The Sustainer)
An-Nur (The Light)
Al-Qaabid (The Taker)
Al-Baasit (The Extender)
Ash-Shaheed (The Witness)
Al-Mubdi` (The Starter)
Al-Mu’eed (The Recaller,The One Who Repeats Creation)
Al-Fa`aalul Limaa Yureed
(The One Who Does What He Wills)
Al-Ghanee (The Self Sufficient, The Rich)
Al-Mughnee (The Sufficient)
Al-Mubeen (The Clear)
Ash-Shaakir (The Recognizer & Rewarder of Good)
Ash-Shakoor (The Appreciative)
Al-Qareeb (The Close)
Al-Mujeeb (The Answerer)
Al-Kaafee (The Sufficient)
Al-Awwal (The First)
Al-Aakhir (The Last)
Adh-Dhaahir (The Manifest)
Al-Baatin (The Inward)
Al-Waasi'` (The Vast)
Al-Haadee (The Director)
Ar-Rasheed (The Guide)
Al-Haqq (The Truth)
Al-Atheem (The Most Magnificent)
Al-Majeed (The Most Glorious)
Al-Kabeer (The Most Great)
As-Samee’ (The All Hearing)
Al-Baseer (The All Seeing)
Al-‘Aleem (The All Knowing)
Al-Khabeer (The All Aware)
Al-Azeez (The Mighty)
Al-Muqtadir (The Omnipotent)
Al-Qawiyy (The Most Powerful)
Al-Mateen (The Most Strong)
Al-‘Afuw (The Oft-Pardoning)
Al-Ghafoor (The Oft-Forgiving)
Al-Ghaffaar (The Most Forgiving)
Badee’us Samaa Wati Wal-Ard ("The Originating Creator" of the Heavens & The Earth)
Al-Kaafi (The Sufficient)
Al-Waasi’ (The Vast, Extending, A Bounding, Far Reaching, All Sufficient)
Al-Jameel (The Beautiful)
Ar-Rafeeq (The Gentle)
Al-Hayee (The Shy)
As-Sitteer (The Coverer)
Al-Qaabid (The Constrictor)
Al-Baasit (The Munificent)
Al-M’utee (The Giver)
Al-Maani` (The Preventer)


Terrorist School Teacher Arrested, as reported first onCNN

NEW YORK- A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy
International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said he believes the man is member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of mathinstruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzalez said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God
had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have
given us more fingers and toes."
(MUHAMMAD IN THE BIBLE),,31200-galloway_060806,00.html

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