**Guest Post by Nauman Abbas, a Network Engineer based in the U.K. The writer blogs at Living Like A Traveller**
It hasn’t been much time I was just one of the typical teenagers of the society. And like any other human being all of us intrinsically want attention and appreciation. So did I. Every human needs appreciation, even Allah has appreciated the momineen and has given them a lot of glad tidings in the Quran since He the “Al Aleem” knows the human nature.
As I grew up I unconsciously realized that the two best ways to get attention were either to side with the most popular trends or be something different. I also did what every youth does. I listened to rock music, played music at events, hung out with friends and in short almost experienced every kind of joy and tasted every colour of pleasure that I could (while being in some limits of course). For some reason, probably because of my mother I still had a great regard for religion in my heart though it never got to come out for a long time.
While I enjoyed all the “pleasures” of my youth I was still trying very hard to find who I really was. What was the purpose of life? And in this pursuit I developed a lot of conclusions, debated and argued with people to prove my conclusions right. As I went on doing the analysis of myself and the society what I found out was that we all love to have a sense of belonging to something. A political party, a country, a personality you like, or even your own thoughts. And once we have this sense of belonging we feel very good about it and we are not ready to hear anything wrong about it (even if it IS wrong). A beautiful word for this in Urdu is “ta’sub”.
The people who like a certain leader or a group either reject all the faults in that person or group or else accept their mistakes thinking “chalo yar jan dos, banda over all acha hai” but they will not give the same chance to someone they dislike because the disliked person or group whether over all acha or not does not share the same ideology as theirs. If someone belongs to a certain religious sect he would defend it no matter what. As this happens with the things we like the same happens with the things we dislike. As I was growing up I started seeing a certain divide in the youth. The religious and the not-so-religious. And slowly and slowly the divide started growing bigger and bigger. On one hand beards grew longer and on the other the clothes shorter. (yes the word is mullah ! :P)
However what started happening on both sides was that because of the “ta’sub” both parties hold they would never really try to re-think why do they dislike the other group or more importantly what things they dislike and what might be likeable as well. They just do it because it’s a certain group which is supposed to be bad with certain characteristics. For the religious ones all the secular people are “totally” bad and mostly their characteristics are that they are clean-shaven, don’t do purdah, and they share a lot of western videos and songs.
For the liberals, there’s a big group of bearded people and they are all fundos. Their characteristics are that they have beards, they share a lot of Quran and Hadith and they bring every argument down to Islam. They bring religion in everything.
It breaks my heart as much to see “Ali Moeen Nawazish” side pose spreading with Israel logo on his forehead captioned : “Jew Agent with one eye” as it does when I see Pakistani people commenting on a tribune article saying “These terrorists should be taken out of the country” because the picture shows a rally of people having beards + shalwar qameez + flags. Without knowing anything about these people, these “Pakistanis” would give them a name as bad as “terrorists” just because of their get-up. SubhanAllah! As we can see this tolerance needs addressing on both sides.
Having been a part of both of these “groups” at different times I realized that every person has a different story, and different circumstances and different experiences and his conclusions are an outcome of that. So is it really possible that all of us would come to the same conclusion? It would be absurd to think that all the people or even two people would reach exactly the same right conclusion. It’s against human nature. And if we don’t address this fact all these debates and talk shows will continue till eternity. For example “Socialism vs Captialism” “Khilafah or secular” “Imran Khan or Nawaz sharif” “Zaid Hamid or Najam Sethi” :p
These debates cannot and will not stop ever because everybody is right according to his own limited knowledge and experiences. So then WHO is the one who has more knowledge than any of the people we follow. WHO will give us the right standard of judgement? Since we are BOUND to misjudge because of our limited knowledge. In other words someone should say to us “Yar tujhe tou kuch pata hi nahi hai.” Or something like “Pehle history parho phir bat karna”.
The answer is very simple but unfortunately because of our hyper-rational upbringing also because of being very cliché becomes strange as well to us. It doesn’t really ‘click’ to us at all. And that answer is that we must go to the primary source of knowledge Allah S.W.T. and accept His knowledge and guidance as supreme and deny our own logics and philosophies as we human beings are very limited. We don’t even know .0001 % of what is out there. Who are we to give a judgement? While He knows what goes on inside the hearts. And since Allah knows this aspect of human nature that is why he asked us to Hold tight to the rope of Allah because there is no OTHER thing ALL of us can belong to or unite upon. Nothing at all !
If we do not do this, regardless of if we are right or wrong individually, we are out of the one group which belongs to Quran and to Allah. And every human being can have a sense of belonging to Allah. A liberal cannot have a sense of belonging for Jamaat-e-Islami. A PML N follower cannot have a sense of belonging for Imran Khan. A Sunni cannot have a sense of belonging for Shia and vice versa. A Pakistani cannot have a sense of belonging to Sudan. These are all our own made “ta’subs”. But all of the people I mentioned above can share a sense of belonging to Allah and love and respect each other on the basis of this relationship. And that is why an amazing thing that is seen today is that a lot of youth nowadays which is turning religious after studying Quran and Hadith themselves is free of sectarian conflicts and avoids them.
It is my request to all the people to look inside themselves and find out their inner qualities which can be used to apply generalized conclusions and assumptions on them very easily. I’m very sure they will find them inshaAllah and will stop this stereotyping and labelling. This world is not a boxing ring it’s a place with a very limited time to save yourself from the fire. The west does not need to stereotype us anymore since it has prepared us well enough that we do it ourselves. And that goes without saying that it’s definitely our own fault not theirs. As Allama Iqbal R.A. had said:
“Mujh ko tou gila tujh se hai Europe se nahi”
All the good that comes from this article is from Allah and Allah alone and all the mistakes are from my nafs and shaytan.