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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Deafening Noise of The Empty Cans

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: February 16, 2012

The Prophet (PBUH) provided the following distinct traits of a hypocrite: "When entrusted with something, he betrays the trust; when he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he breaks the promise; and when he argues, he behaves in a very imprudent and insulting manner." If you still have doubts about the hypocrisy of our nation, just revisit these signs. It sure makes you feel almost strip naked in front of the mirror.

When it comes to Islam and its purity, we think that screaming off at the top of our lungs will make us convey our message properly. Whether we understand the essence and its real beauty or not, our faith is always on our sleeves. We are trying to convince this entire world in futility that we are right and we mean well. But truly speaking, we are so detached from the real teachings of our much revered Prophet (PBUH) that it is beyond saddening.

Just imagine, a person who was termed as 'Rehmatul-lil-Alameen' (Blessing for the entire Mankind), has followers who have become nothing but a joke and major ridicule of this world. We just celebrated Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH), which signifies the day of his blessed birth. We had processions, lectures, speeches, religious hymns, lights and TV transmissions dedicated to this auspicious occasion. Yet in my humble opinion, it was nothing but a bunch of noise from empty cans.

Each year we celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH) and try to demonstrate our devotion and love for our dear Prophet (PBUH) through these means. Undoubtedly, its sheer reverence makes you go into total awe. The hymns often move you so emotionally. Often I find myself welling up or breaking down in tears. The shame of being extremely sinful often overcomes my entire soul. The fact that I believe in the message of such an exemplary person amazes my entire existence.

Yet when I see myself and my brethren going a total 180-degree turn on what our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has taught us, it just baffles me. Today, people look at us as some strange creatures, totally detached and alienated from the values and morals that made us who we are. What has really overtaken us? Where did we miss the boat? In my very humble and flawed opinion, the day we embraced hypocrisy. The day we thought that our religion is merely a ritual.

We pray five times a day without even understanding the meaning of that requirement. To us it has become more of a matter of display. People can certify that we are seen praying five times a day in a mosque. Whether we are rude, obnoxious or untrustworthy, it all pretty much is of no significance. Whether we slander others, rip other people's character to shreds, no issues, so long as we get the seal from others as 'punj waqta namaazi' (a person who regularly prays five times a day).

Getting back to Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH), there were many transmissions on TV. On great insistence of the better half, I sat for about an hour in front of the otherwise idiot of a box. Our famous 'televangelist' was on air — the same guy who was caught mouthing obscenities once he was off the camera, the same guy who dismissed his obvious hypocrisy as a 'conspiracy' by his former employers — giving people lectures and sermons about the character of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). It all just hit me like a dagger in the heart.

There were callers who called him, there were SMS messages being played on the screen and it all appeared like a show. The unstoppable rhetoric if you will. How shameful of a person who uses third rate abuse off camera: rather than being repentant and asking for forgiveness from the viewers, he was the one preaching to them. I was reminded of the Prophet's (PBUH) saying about hypocrites. You look at the media, print or electronic, and you will find those a dime a dozen in our gifted land. Their shows are on at all times. There is no dearth of preachers in our promised land. None whatsoever. If there is any dearth, it is of people who truly understand and embody the real message of our beloved Prophet (PBUH)

To add insult to injury, there were certain channels that were running these Eid Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH) specials very shamelessly. Yet they owed several months of pay to their workers. Again, I was reminded of the saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) about paying your employees their dues even prior to their sweat drying up. But I guess that is all unimportant. We have figured out our means of salvation. To us we are the chosen, we are the followers of the best Messenger (PBUH). We are banking on this assumption regardless of what we do to our fellow human beings. We have quantified the number of good deeds we will receive upon the recitation of the Holy Quran, hamd or naat, yet unable to quantify how many ditches in hell we are digging for ourselves by harming others. But of course, what can one expect from a bunch of empty cans. That would be utter wishful thinking.
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