Holier than thou


Hypocrisy in the garb of religion

Hypocrisy is one of a multitude of vices that we consider as being etched in our national ethos. We pretend to be philanthropists, yet hoard charity donations in our personal accounts; we pretend to be patriotic, yet cannot fathom letting go of our provincial and ethical identities; we pretend to be politicians, yet in all honesty we’re illiterate mudslingers at best; we pretend to be journalists, yet sell ourselves out to the biggest bidder; we pretend to be the chief justice, yet blatantly breach a fundamental code of the constitution. We’ve been there, done that, mastered all levels of hypocrisy, this is common knowledge, end of story… err not quite.

Hypocrisy in the garb of religion is one front where we do not have any peers at all, but due to a myriad of reasons this unrivaled excellence has not been fully appreciated as such. Thus, it is worth highlighting that unless we acknowledge the fact that religion in our neck of the woods, unfortunately, has become more of a tool to assert your pretentious supremacy over the rest, we cannot truly cherish our true hypocritical potential.

Take for instance the example of a certain Mr Junaid Jamshed, former pop-star turned fashion designer cum face of the tableeghi mafia on television, who left his career in music because music is ostensibly haram in Islam. Fair enough, that’s his choice, and while the claim is debatable one could still try to understand his transition. However, when the same man performs live on stage in Washington DC at the Islamic Society of North America Convention 2012, with Salman Ahmed with drums and guitars – categorically declared to be haram multitudinous times by Mr Jamshed – being played in the background, anyone with a logical head on their shoulders would be disgusted by this hypocrisy. For, Mr Jamshed – a complete authority on the religious perspective on potato snacks these days– has sat on air for nearly a decade now, with an aura of how he’s the quintessential Islamic scholar who propagates the message of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala (with exaggerated stress on Arabic pronunciation). So basically for JJ, guitars and drums on Aitebar, Hum Tum, Uss Rah Par et al are haram, but not haram at all on Dil Dil Pakistan and Jazba Junoon since they are ‘patriotic anthems’, seriously now JJ? Plus having sleeveless clothes for women in his designer outlet and accepting credit cards from banks indulged in riba, isn’t exactly according the school of thought that Mr Jamshed propagates, now is it? But unfortunately no one sees any issue with all this at all.

With the blasphemy debate becoming a 24/7/365 thing here, it is criminal to note that the whole nation is discussing who does and who doesn’t deserve to live, while conveniently ignoring the sheer hypocrisy of ‘scholars’ whose only qualification is donning the holier than thou persona. Every other person has become a ‘religious scholar’ these days and is wearing their beliefs on their sleeves, oozing a sense of superiority owing to the apparent closeness with the divine deity. Not only is this attitude pretty unbearable for most, in all honesty – since religion and beliefs are a matter of opinion and perception, and cannot be stated as a matter of fact – but when you only follow selective aspects of the school of thought that you follow and preach, declaring things to be halal or haram according to your own tastes, you unfortunately make a mockery of your own preaching.

Talking of selectiveness, why doesn’t any ‘scholar’ make a fuss about the prostitution hub that is next to the Badshahi mosque? Why are there no fatwas on some of our filmmakers and films, which would put the most vulgar of offerings from the rest of the world to shame? Why do we find it hard to wake up at fajr, when no one is watching, but dutifully massacre animals on Eid to flaunt our ‘religious’ side? Why is there public outrage when France bans the niqab and nothing at all when Saudi Arabia doesn’t even let women drive? Why is there furor following American drone attacks, and nothing at all when Taliban attack innocent people? Why does our constitution not grant due rights to the religious minorities and refuses to recognize some other ideological minorities – that have to remain inside their pretty crammed closet – declaring them as wajib-ul-qatal? Why are the only people that have to hide their identity or go in a hiding at all are the ones that express their disagreement with Islamic teachings – are we that insecure about our religion that we have to chop off the head of everyone who doesn’t agree with us? Why do we use hindu and yahoodi with a negative connotation in common discussions and popular literature, disrespect their beliefs and their gods and yet expect everyone else to respect our religious sentiments– and again butcher them if they don’t, because that is blasphemy?

Do we not realize that mocking Hanuman Bhagwan, failing to recognize that Jesus is the son of God, claiming that the Old Testament has been tampered are all blasphemous in the context of other religions – or does it only count as blasphemy if it’s against Islam?

We are selective about religious beliefs and only do what is easy, to fallaciously convince our conscience, and to maintain the aforementioned ‘holier than thou’ persona. Muslims collectively as a whole display the said persona as well, disrespecting other religions but expecting the world to be sensitive about their beliefs. But the question is: why is this becoming increasingly common in our society? And why are we all individually becoming the structural units of a massively hypocritical and intolerant social and religious structure, failing to recognize who deserves to be extolled and blindly following the leads of those that only pretend to be religious connoisseurs? Well for starters, it could be because that book that we believe in and consider as the complete guide to our lives and which has been locked up in our cupboard for ages – we haven’t read it in a language that we understand.

The writer is a staff member and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Excellent observation what is being done on the name of religion around us.Double triple standards of icons of religion is quite visible to us but all maintain silence as they don't want ot be blasphemous in this hypocrite society.
    same here is in case of Al huda like organization where ms Hashmi often delivers an inflammatory opinion her acceptance of polygamy as a Muslim man’s right and, more specifically, her encouraging women to ‘let their husbands marry a second time so ‘other sisters can also benefit’’ (Daily Times 2005). Many of the secular-liberal and moderate Muslim elites in Pakistan are skeptical about Al-Huda’s followers and what they perceive as misogynistic and self-righteous attitudes. These critics are ready to believe that Hashmi preaches women’s subservience to their husbands. Hashmi, on the other hand, is keen to attract recruits from within this social group by presenting herself as a liberal and feminist interpreter of Islam. She explicitly denies accusations of advocating polygamy (Obaid-Chinoy 2005), and claims that she is protecting women’s rights by arguing that the Quran orders a man to marry a woman with whom he has an illegal sexual affair. She frequently protests that her teachings inform women about the rights and dignity that Islam grants them.Neither she nor her daughter evr follow this prescribed morality in their practical lives but enjoying Canadian citizenship with million dollar funding in their accounts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18729683
    Farhat Hashmi has been accused of embezzling funds from her television show and fleeing to Canada to avoid prosecution, although she denies any wrongdoing. And Mehar Bukhari, known for her political interviews, sparked outrage by declaring the politician she was speaking to was a heretic.

  2. Kid religion isnt concerned about what one man does or doesnt do and you cant judge whats halal or haram based on what faja and gama doing.

    you seemed to be more concerned about what JJ is doing and called everyone hypocrite who thinks music is haram just because JJ sung a song.

    that is problem with you confused liberals you dont go to the books to interpret religion but look at people how they are doing.

  3. Beautiful!! It touched my heart. Mr.Kunwar please never stop writing articles like this. If you read this article with open heart and mind it clears the mist from the minds of those people who have double standards. I think we should adopt humble and positive and caring attidute.

  4. Only Musliims have the right and responsibility to ridicule others' religions as our religion is authentic and superior than any other religion. We are the greatest followers of the greatest religion. I know Muslims dont feel like this, or do they?

  5. Thank You. Finally, a voice of reason from an individual from a country which (from the Australian perspective) is always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Recently in Australia we have witnessed a small percentage, but still significant numbers, of Muslims protest about a film on youtube that no-one here would have watched, made in a different country by someone once from the Egypt. Theses protesters spewed hate and displayed contempt for Australia for ‘allowing this to happen’ – when this county had allowed these same people to enjoy religious freedom, free healthcare, education, housing and a standard of living they wouldn’t have got living anywhere else. Whilst at the same time these same people are free to publish their own views other religious groups with immunity. Just have a look at various Australian Muslim Facebook sites to see how they openly describe Jews as pigs and Christians as dogs… but get upset when someone in another country dares to provide their own opinion! I recently visited the UK where I saw what Muslims had done to destroy that country, having visited there 10 years earlier, with their hate message delivered by way of mega-phones in Hyde Park in London. I also met with a journalist in the UK who showed me how Muslims were streaming hate programs via pay-TV from various Middle Eastern countries with characters akin to those found on Sesame-street telling their audience (kids) that they duty was to kill the infidel! What sort of religion would allow this to happen..? Hypocrisy at its finest! I’m all for freedom of religion, but at what price?

  6. The more true believers quote the tenets of their faith and act upon these while the great majority worldwide let them do so, the more all of humanity learns about an ideology that claims to be superior to all others, hates all who do not believe like them, yet lives off the infidel world; the end goal being the destruction of the societies that feed them. Back to the 7th century with 21st century technology! That is the war cry.

    Hypocrisy at its finest indeed! It would be funny if it were not for the body count.

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