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Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Man Called Taseer

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: January 03, 2013
Original Link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C01%5C03%5Cstory_3-1-2013_pg3_4

Ignorance is perhaps the biggest enemy of mankind. The Holy Scripture was revealed with the very first word ‘Read’. The Almighty emphasised on that particular word for a certain reason. It leads you to the possibility of further understanding and enlightenment. I am often amazed at our folks who compete with one another by saying they have ‘finished’ reading the Holy Book an x number of times and the other retorts by being one up by being a ‘hafiz’. May the Almighty create more hafiz among us but my sincere hope is that He creates better readers of His word first, people who can truly read, reread, decipher and internalise the Scripture and its true meaning.

There are no two views about blasphemy when it comes to the Holy Prophet ( PBUH). Any believer would stand against it and register his/her disdain. By the same token, a believer would not take the law in his/her own hands to eliminate people who mock our Holy Prophet (PBUH) Instead, he/she would leave it to the Creator to decide the destiny of any such blasphemer. When someone abuses any of my loved ones or uses a slur against them, they are basically accusing them of falsehood. It is often repeated in the Holy Scripture what a severe punishment awaits such people in the Hereafter.

If the readers are thinking that I am getting ready for the upcoming Friday sermon, then let me clarify, I have no such intention. I am a very sinful person and I have accumulated barely any good in my account of ‘good’. In my many regrets, another might be added. This one is not being able to meet a real man called Salmaan Taseer in person. The beginning of the New Year marks a painful reminder that Pakistan is a lot poorer without him. Being a keen observer of politics in my land of birth and elsewhere, I did disagree with a few of his political moves, but then it is only natural to have different viewpoints. This is about that occasion when Taseer’s voice resonated with that of an oppressed person. It elevated his status manifold perhaps overnight.

Amazingly, in this day and age, when information perhaps travels faster than the speed of light, there were people who virtually created a smear campaign against Mr Taseer and branded him as a blasphemer. I would ask those to revisit the very first word that was revealed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH0. Whatever little I read about Mr Taseer or saw of him on the tube made me an admirer of him and his clear thinking. His stand of the procedural aspect of the law was exemplary. What Mr Taseer emphasised and re emphasised was that we should not let anyone misuse the law by falsely accusing non-Muslims who are as much Pakistanis as Muslims are. Furthermore, he criticised the abhorrent mob style justice of people on the street against those who were merely accused on hearsay. Not repeating my pre-Friday sermon lines but the Holy Scripture has warned against such oppressors at multiple points.

As I said earlier, our emphasis is perhaps on the memorisation and not the meaning of the Scripture. Why else would some of us call a man who shoots an unarmed man twice his age from the rear while being hired to protect him a ‘ghazi’? This just leaves you utterly speechless. Or perhaps just those who left comments on the hastily created facebook fan page of that ghazi. If this was not enough, some groups of lawyers, who are supposed to uphold the sanctity of their profession, glorified a coldblooded murderer. If only the first word of the Holy Scripture could pierce through such thick skulls.

But wait the injury does not end here. The judge who sentenced the killer had to leave the country for security reasons. The family of the victim was harassed constantly and the son of Mr Taseer has been kidnapped and it has been over a year. Every day, the Taseer family members post comments on social media seeking prayers for his speedy return. What a shame that the only thing that is speedy in our land is accusation towards people and the ill-informed reaction after that.

You often wonder where is the closest wall to hit your head when you read about the so-called educated people comparing Mumtaz Qadri to another so-called ghazi, Illum Din. Both Illum Din and Qadri murdered two people in vigilante style. Both took the law in their own hands and both are equally guilty regardless of what their reasoning. The pamphlet written by Rajpal against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not diminish the holy stature one bit. My respect for IIlum Din would have been tremendous if he had invited Rajpal for a dialogue and offered him to read the Holy Book. On the other hand, Mr Taseer repeatedly explained his position. Ah, but who am I kidding. It would require some of our brethren to read. Needless to say we are extremely challenged in that area. My parting salute to a man called Taseer. May your spirit, your conviction and courage live forever. Hopefully, I get to meet with you on the other side along with my loved ones. Stay blessed.