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!

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