Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The question of my religion

It seems that I do not say Alhamdullah, Inshallah and Mashallah enough. Especially when I watch TV shows these days it seems more pronounced how Western I have become. I love to read the likes of NFP and M Hanif who constantly get battered by readers for their over-liberal views and are labeled by many Pakistanis as CIA agents.

The way things are secularizing in my life, it seems that many of my friends would not even consider me even a "Naam Ka Muslim". For me the biggest religion is humanity, the biggest duty is to help others and be a good human being. God is secondary to humanity! I openly denounce many practices my friends think are necessary to keep their religion like hating infidels, Yahud and Nassara! To me the ideology of hate does not make any sense. On the contrary I believe that an eye for an eye will leave everyone blind in this world. However, having said all that, I also admit that I do not want to give up my Muslim identity. I feel angry at the atrocities hurled at Muslims in Aghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan etc. The only difference between me and the self proclaimed good Muslims would be perhaps that I do not agree that a bloody jehad is a solution to solve the issue of the Ummah. Nor do I think that the rhetoric of Islamism, going back to Shariah, adopting Wahbi version of Islam etc. is an answer to our problems. I personally do not see Islam and the West as polar opposites. Yes, there are problems with Western culture but there are problems with our cultures too! I think we need to find a solution for us based on the Islam, but not on Badouin culture. And that solution should be according to the needs of the 21st century in which women are no longer baby producing machines but equal partners of men.

Coming back to my identity, I sometimes think that may be I have gone too far in shedding the layers of what makes my Muslim identity like practices, beliefs, dress, food etc. How far can you go in being liberal and be still considered Muslim, since there is an obvious dichotomy between being liberal and being a Muslim. Thankfully, there are several writers, journalists and bloggers in Pakistan who give me hope that a Pakistani Muslim identity for me is still possible for people like me. And, the biggest hope and solace comes from the Sufi poets of this land of pure, who had to fight similar battles in their times but they never gave up their message of humanity and love!

Monday, February 08, 2010

A question of identity....

What makes a you a Pakistani? Or how do you "perform" your Pakistaniat other than using Inshallah and Alhumdulliah in every phrase... I learnt recently that you also have to show your hatred of the Kafirs like Indians/Americans/Israelis. I also learnt the same goes for many Bangladeshis who "perform" or prove their Bengaliness by Pakistani bashing/hating and holding all Pakistanis accountable for 1971 atrocities... It is a nightmare they do not want to wake up from! As for Indians I don't know who their favorite "others" are, other than Pakistanis.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Youth of Pakistan: Herald 2009 survey

Youth Speak

By Madiha Sattar

Surveys conducted by Razzak Abro, Irshad Akhtar, Qazi Asif, Asif Akhtar, Muhammad Badar Alam, Ali Hazrat Bacha, Bashir Baghi, Hassnain Ghayoor, Ali Hassan, Hameedullah Khan, Mohammad Hussain Khan, Muqaddam Khan, Shahnawaz Khan, Sikandar Bakhtiar Khoso, Nasir Rahim, Verda Adil Shah and Shahzada Zulfiqar

Herald February 2009 Issue If you arranged all 176 million Pakistanis in a line according to age, the person in the middle of the queue would be about 21 years old. This is fairly remarkable, given that the average citizen of this country lives to be 64 — there are as many Pakistanis in the first two decades of their existence as there are in the next four. So while the world’s current geopolitical focus means the country as a whole has been polled on its political opinions time and time again by international and domestic surveyors, what is not really known is how the country’s massive pool of young people – the majority of its future voters, consumers, producers, parents and civil society – will shape Pakistan.

Is this country becoming more conservative as it grows older? Is our future electorate politically engaged enough to make meaningful voting decisions? How has the recent spate of terrorism affected their lives? Will they demand a secular state or a religious one? Will they be able to contribute to the economy? Have they found role models among our major public figures? Are they likely to change family structures, sexual mores and the nature of social interaction between the sexes? What keeps them up at night? And, ultimately, how do they feel about being citizens of the complicated and challenged country they live in today?

Source: Herald Pakistan

Also read Husham Ahmed's analysis of the same on Dawn Blog.