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Random thoughts

February 11, 2019

A hunger for decency

Opinion

February 11, 2019

Politics in Pakistan has always been polluted with foul language, hypocrisy, lies and false promises. It has become an accepted characteristic. In the past, leaders also used to get carried away by their emotions and often went out of control. But they never used foul language.

Unfortunately, during the last few months, this despicable trait has gone from bad to worse. Our politicians have crossed all norms of decency. Abusing and taunting each other, using foul language and mudslinging have now become routine.

In the Quran, the entire mode of conduct (zabta-e-hayat) has been discussed and we have been instructed to adhere to it in letter and in spirit. With time, Muslims became lazy in their religious practices and materialistic in their outlook. Everything was weighed in terms of profits and possessions.

All of us know that the Quran was sent to us to read, understand and follow in our daily lives. In it, we have been given instructions and guidance on the dignity of life, our way of living, character-building, and our relationships with others and their sanctity. We also find that considerable emphasis has been laid on good character and following all divine edicts. Adhering divine edicts is the only way to achieve salvation and deliverance, and earning a place in Heaven. Following the practices laid out in the Quran could help us create a true Islamic welfare state.

A few months ago, we saw a change in our government and governance. Unfortunately, no change of rulers has ever brought about improvements or betterment for the people in Pakistan. A culture of intolerance has become dominant. If you switch on the TV, you are bound to see rulers using foul, highly objectionable, uncivilised language against the opposition and vice versa. Nobody is spared in this dirty blame game. Our cultural fabric has been torn to pieces. Many people like, including me, are feeling ashamed to be citizens of this country and part of this culture.

The nasty results are there for all to see. Not only are verbal war being fought, but violent, targeted actions are also taking place. Murders in broad daylight, the kidnapping, rape and murder of children have become everyday occurrences. Everyone who has any way of wielding power is becoming haughty and exhibiting gross arrogance, entirely forgetting the divine edict that this life is temporary and short. One can try to avoid death, but hiding or trying to use one’s wealth or power will be to no avail.

The Almighty will hold everyone accountable for their deeds. He has informed us that there is always someone more learned and more powerful than we are. Therefore modesty and kindness are obligatory. As per these divine edicts, we must feed the poor; take care of the sick, needy and orphaned; and fulfil all promises and oaths. In addition, we must dispense justice fairly; show tolerance, love and affection for all Muslims; avoid arrogance and rude behaviour; and, above all, refrain from indulging in hypocrisy and backbiting.

Hypocrisy and backbiting have been likened to eating the flesh of a dead brother. We have been advised to be humble and polite, and to talk gently rather than shouting and yelling, as the worst sound is said to be the braying of a donkey (ie, the loud-mouthing by politicians). These are only a few of the relevant divine edicts. But it seems that both the youth and the elderly are completely unaware of them. Those who are ignorant – which many have proven to be, indulge in such uncivilised behaviour.

Those mighty rulers of the past who have left their mark in governance and history had to face death in the end. In recent history, there are many instances of mighty rulers who were defeated and faced an ignominious end.

Our present rulers should not be under any illusion of permanency. It is written that the Almighty gives wrongdoers some respite (to indulge in even more sins) and then, often without warning, holds them accountable for their misdeeds. Chastisement for such people will be severe, painful and everlasting. There is a divine curse on liars, hypocrites and those who are arrogant and cruel – no matter what form it is in.

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