Thus spake depravity


Columnist? Feminist? Humanist? Human? Look away lest you get all agitated over what one is compelled to narrate for there are times when the truth is said in jest, and at other times in angst. If your curiosity has led you this far then you would be dismayed to learn that we are a step closer to realising how far society has allowed the degeneration of self-styled guardians of Islam. One speaks of the ubiquitous maulvis and maulana sahibs who, not being content with their ramblings in our mosques and roadside rallies, must now also spew vitriol on the internet. Indeed, the World Wide Web is rife with memes – viral videos and images that are propagated from person to person. While one is quite partial to the odd Lolcat or an Epic Fail on the Cheezburger network from time to time, it seems internet bandwidth must now make way for a certain Syed Meraj Rabbani and his teachings on the bounties of the afterlife. One had never heard of the name until seeing his YouTube video titled “Jannat ki Hoorain” which is a five minute video edited from a larger eight minute clip. And five minutes is all you’ll need before you are gobsmacked by the raunchiness of Paradise and the perversion of Mr Rabbani.

Most of us are unaware that the jury is still out on the meaning of the word “Hoor” and many scholars would say the term may not necessarily mean virgins but mermaids or even raisins. But who needs a shriveled old grape when Mr Rabbani is selling heaven in his very own rap video. While most of us are used to clerics condemning us all to hell, here is one who goes the extra mile by ordering us sinners to a heaven that seems more like Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion than… well… heaven. And while he is wondering over the rewards in the hereafter, the not-so-learned cleric doesn’t hesitate to make his views on mortal earthly women clear. As this is a respectable newspaper and a family type column such views will not be expressed here but let’s just say these teachings (a perfect anagram for cheatings) are not very positive and such interpretations of Islam are dangerous if allowed to propagate.

The video has already attracted many hits since it went viral and it seems Mr Rabbani is well on his way to becoming the next internet sensation. While he may deserve some credit for harnessing new technologies to spread his message, it’s altogether a rant we could do without. And as can be expected, it has attracted a barrage of criticism from members of the public who don’t quite agree with him. There are calls for his arrest, the infliction of grievous bodily harm upon his person and other recommendations from people condemning his speech. Self-respecting men are angry while insulted women are fuming over such a violation of their dignity – and there still appears to be no action against him in this country or on the internet. Although there appears to have been some legal action against Mr Rabbani across the border, Pakistan is nothing more than a silent observer.

Mr Rabbani certainly does not speak for the majority of Muslims, and neither does he seem to wield power over mainstream religious discourse. What he does have is the innate ability to distort our religion to meet his own perverted ends and to further obliterate the line between morality and wickedness. If we have lost the true meaning of our religion amongst all the sectarianism and misinterpretation of such scholars, then perhaps the only way to rectify the situation is through a process of exclusion. We may not be able to say for sure what Islam really means anymore but this is certainly not it.

Such ideologies and the people who hold them should find no place amongst modern society, and it is about time we eliminate extremist elements. Surely this ideology is already on the fringe and doesn’t reflect the views of the majority of the population in Pakistan. But if allowed to spread through the delicate minds of the illiterate and uneducated, we risk poisoning the world view of countless others who don’t know any better and can fall into the trap of depraved maniacs like Mr Rabbani. Perhaps the time is right to become scholars of Islam ourselves so that we can also recite scripture to beat these maniacs on their own turf? Hopefully, Mr Rabbani is a lone lustful wolf who would sooner be found in Stringfellows of London than the Garden of Eden. How fortunate for him that they are the same thing.


The writer is a consultant on public policy.