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Friday, December 28, 2012

All These Godly Men

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: December 06, 2012
Origianl link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\06\story_6-12-2012_pg3_5

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi and his decree of being chosen by God to lead the people of Egypt sounded more like a scene from a Hollywood action drama. It was almost like a sequel to my all time favourite classic, Ben Hur. These decrees that would make him above any judicial oversight are perhaps meant to make him the modern day Pharaoh. Come to think of it, it is not his fault after all. Let us blame it on those Pharaohs who perhaps left their evil legacies in the air of this ancient nation by the Nile. To add insult to injury, Mr Morsi’s stance is that it is all to strengthen the roots of democracy. This is a nation that has barely got over the 30-plus-year-old rule of Hosni Mubarak. Boy, what a democrat he was. Honestly, our Muslim world as a whole is very deficient in the basic tenets of democracy. All over in our parts of the world, one witnesses monarchs, dictators or dictators who behave like so-called democrats. The concept of absolute power is what everyone wants to practice and excel at.

The general masses think it is the western conspirators who want these Muslim despots to further their agendas. This may have been true until perhaps the late 1980s or early 1990s, but believe me, times have changed. The British are struggling to maintain themselves, so are the rest of the European nations. The Americans, after the episode of 9/11 have come to a very hard and realistic conclusion. For a long-term solution to the menace afflicting the Muslim world, it has to support the freedom and will of the Muslim people. After all, it is the battle of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Borrowing a famous line from one former US president: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Mr Morsi’s decree reminded me of another ‘self-made’ president, but this one is from my land of birth. Mr Morsi ought to take a lesson or two from Mr Musharraf, as he in the last leg of his tenure tried to curtail the powers of the judiciary too. Perhaps he was not in direct contact with God like Mr Morsi, so he ended up taking his final bow within a year or so of his so-called ‘emergency declaration’. While we are on that subject, I would urge you to revisit newspapers of November 2007. Has anything changed? All the reasons outlined as the reasons behind his declaration are perhaps still present and maybe with a renewed vigour. The only thing that is visibly missing is Mr Musharraf himself.

All I know is, Moses was the only one who was able to speak to God, but another US president claimed to be in direct contact with the Lord. President Bush claimed to be in touch with the ‘Big One’ when he launched his war against the menace of ‘evil’. Of course, much prior to that when he was a governor, he was commanded by the Almighty to shun alcohol and remain ‘sober’ for the rest of his life. One wishes that he could have concentrated on becoming the latter with all seriousness and sincerity.

While we are on the subject of God’s chosen men, another self-made president of Pakistan, the late General Zia comes to mind. He felt that God had directed him to save the nation from the jaws of destruction. He tried to enforce the will of the Almighty with all his might. But 11 years later, perhaps he lost his inner connection with the Big One himself. One of my most favourite writers, Mohammad Hanif, penned an article in English in a publication, where this scribe has done a few scribbles as well. The title interestingly is in Urdu, “Murshed, marwa na daina” (Don’t get me in trouble, my spiritual teacher). This was the line the late general had reportedly uttered to one of his confidants prior to following the command of his Lord.

If the zigzag commentary of this scribe is making you scratch your head, then let me ease your confusion. I know I am sinful and I just experience a calm silence when I try to communicate with my Lord. Most people share the same experience. The ones who claim to be following the commandments of God are actually trying to cover their shortcomings in the guise of decrees and directions directly from God. It is the easiest cop-out, if you will. If you are still in doubt, go back in time. All dictators and tyrants, whether they were Pharaohs or other rulers, called themselves god. The pursuit of absolute power made them indulge in absurdities.

Now just ask yourself, where are these ‘god-likes’ and where is the real God? Silly are those who think they can achieve absolute power. The name of the sage does not come to mind who once said: “Just hold the dry dirt firmly in your clasped palms. When the dirt starts slipping, you will get the reality of power and life.” If I was Mr Morsi or anyone like him, I would give heed to this sage’s words with all honesty and sincerity.

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