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Random thoughts

March 19, 2019

A friend’s dilemma


March 19, 2019

Recently a dear friend, a well-educated retired former civil servant, came to see me. He seemed very depressed and I enquired after the reason for this.

He gave a loud sigh and replied: “When I go to the mosque for prayers, it is always full. I see hundreds of thousands Pakistanis going for Umra and Hajj. I see many welfare organisations that are doing excellent work. Despite all this, it worries me to see so much corruption, adulteration, cheating, fraud, etc. Not only is our internal/domestic situation precarious, but we are also facing external threats.”

When my friend said that, despite so many ‘devout’ Pakistani Muslims, we are still a rotten, corrupt nation, I pointed out to him a commentary given by our Holy Prophet (pbuh). This explanation was narrated by Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA), the first caliph, to an audience in a khutba in Masjid-e-Nabvi and Maulana Maudoodi has written about the whole episode in ‘Tahfimul Quran’.

It refers to Surah Al-Maida, Ayat 105, which says: “O people who are believers, worry about your own deeds. Misdeeds of others have nothing to do with your deeds if you are God-fearing and do good deeds. You all have to return to the Almighty who will tell you what you have been doing.”

This seems to mean that, rather than worrying about the character, deeds and faults of others, we should worry about our own deeds. If one lives a life according to divine edicts, one need not worry about life hereafter. However, this does not mean that a person should only be thinking of his own hereafter and be oblivious to the misdeeds of others.

Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA) clarified this verse and said: “O people, you read this Ayat and draw wrong conclusions. I have personally heard our Holy Prophet (pbuh) explain this Ayat with these words: ‘When people see others indulging in misdeeds and do not try to correct it; see people mistreating others and don’t try to stop it, then severe punishment from the Almighty is going to take place. The Almighty will allow the worst of people to become your rulers/masters and they will be the worst wrongdoers. They will make your lives miserable, unbearable even, and then the pious, upright people amongst you will pray to the Almighty and their prayers will not be answered’”

For the past few months, blame game, backbiting etc, has been going on – and all the while the same people project themselves as angels. Past rulers are now trying to make us believe they were angels, which is far from the truth. The current prime minister does not seem bothered about the character and past performance of his ministers, etc. There are many who have questionable past performances and/or achievements. It is unfortunate that the mistakes of past rulers, which led to their downfall and disgrace, are once again being repeated. (The Punjab information minister was justifiably sacked).

The people voted those rulers out for their failures, misdeeds and corruption and the same fate will befall this government in the next elections if they don’t perform well. Seven months is long enough to see that there has been a change for the worse. Inflation is high and the rupee is worth nothing. Everyone I talk to gives me bad news about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Peshawar, they say, is like a devastated city. Law and order is negligible. The government has all the powers and funds and followers placed in high positions, competent or not, but still hours are spent on blaming and abusing past rulers. Do we ever see such behaviour in any other countries? Mr Prime Minister, if you don’t take the bull by the horns and solve the problems facing the nation, then you may very well face the same fate after the next elections.

Note: I was extremely pleased to note that the new chief justice of Pakistan has declared all actions taken by the previous chief justice against the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute null and void. It was not at all befitting to degrade Prof Dr Saeed Akhtar, an experienced and highly-trained professional. Great harm was done, but luckily it did not last long. It is to be hoped that remedial action will also be taken in favour of some other benefactors of the country who are victims of past dictators etc. There is an excellent saying by Maulana Rumi: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

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