Sins we commit and defend
Mufti Abdul Qavi is caught pants down with that naughty damsel Qandeel Baloch. Well, not exactly pants down, but waistcoat, cap and honour down.
I corrected myself because society considers these maulanas something out of this world. People generally think that they are not human. As if they have no heart. As if they don’t have basic instincts. As if they can’t err. And the one who talks ill about them or shows insolence towards their majesty is normally thrown to the infidels’ basket.
If it is good on the one hand, it’s so bad on the other. Good for the maulanas, bad for us.
Good for them because with this holier-than-thou image they get away with anything they want. You can only eat their dust if you ever dared to question whatever they say or do. One is not even allowed to discuss their real-time actions let alone question them. Or one would have loved to describe in detail some of their colorful exploits.
For example there is a huge religious personality who has a reputation – in concerned quarters, of course – of consuming at times barrels of wine. His love for the stuff is so intense and consistent that he himself has started looking like a king-size vintage oak wine barrel. Ranjha, Ranjha kardi ve main aap hi Ranjha hoyi… But he covers it under religious robe as he is mindful of Jag-badnami and wants to avoid it. And mind you, he has the guts to interpret religion even when he is under influence as he wants to portray the soft and liberal image of Islam to the world – or may be, not the world but to the fanatic herd inside Pakistan.
While talking of Pakistan and its mullahs and maulanas, one cannot forget the year 1991, and the great story that rocked the country’s religious and non-religious circles alike that year. There was a lady by the name Tahira but as our religion emphasizes respecting women therefore, she was generally called Madam Tahira. She was also a naughty woman like Qandeel Baloch and spilled the beans about the perverted sexual behaviour of another religious luminary who would later become one of the many fathers of Taliban.
Termed the ‘Islamabad Sex Scandal’, the revelations of Madam Tahira about the pious man’s sexual inclinations were so gushing that Hitler stood pale in comparison. Though it could have been used to prove who was more anti-Jewish, Hitler or that religious man of ours, the story was pooh-poohed. The Maulana, who had recently moved the Shariat Bill, alleged that he was innocent and was framed by the government agencies because he, of late, was at odds with the government over certain policies. So, he was denied the opportunity to remain in the news for a little longer.
Those were not so Islamic times. So much religious waters have flown down the social river that now it is not needed to brush such stories under the carpet or feel embarrassed about. Now you have religious scholars called televangelists who are more broad-minded and barefaced – according to the demands of the post-modern age.
Time, money, TV and resources are on their side. Religious shows are aired round the year by different TV channels with the corporate sector and state institutions encouraging all such activities due to their commercial and institutional interests. But the real boom comes in the ‘piety season’ which the TV-wallahs call Ramadhan Kareem. Keeping in view the dwindling entertainment and other businesses everyone is turning to religious shows on the idiot-box. Film stars, TV artists, singers, chefs, lawyers; you just name it and there they are, running some religious show or other.
The TV-wallahs have, over the years, encouraged bringing spiritual wisdom to mundane matters. For this purpose they have their informal research and development departments to identify and nurture televangelists that can speak on issue ranging from running vehicles on water to US spaceships landing on Mars and from Pakistan foreign policy crisis to the definition of beauty, etc.
Due to the sincerity of purpose, God has blessed their efforts and has showered us, inside the TV and outside it, with the genius that they, and we all as a nation, desired and strived for. There are now stars everywhere who can put their foot not only in their mouths but also in all those who want to argue with them on the basis of logic. This ‘foot’ is normally either in the shape of an ultimatum that one is about to cross the religious circle, or a fatwa declaring the big mouth as one belonging to an infidel.
However, there is a widespread confusion among their supporters – by the way, majority of the people are their supporters because of the prevailing national narrative – which they normally use to stop you from talking against those who have donned religious robes. This is; don’t call them ulema or muftis. This one sentence is like the religious edict which these ulema issue against ordinary Muslims before their own fall from grace. This sentence connotes two meanings; one, whatever they – the fake maulanas – have said is not worth discussing as their words do not reflect the teaching of religion; and two, an aalim is a superhuman whose words cannot be questioned – as he can’t err. Nothing can be faultier.
An aalim is as much human as any other human can be. Yes, they are qualified clergymen. But even qualified professionals can make mistakes. It is not that the most qualified of doctors won’t err. This is truer in case of all those who don’t deal in hard science. Secondly, every aalim is an aalim till he makes a blunder. For example, Junaid Jamshed was an aalim until he tried to cross the red line in case of the life companions of the Prophet (PBUH). Aamir Liaqat was considered an aalim till his off-air private conversation was heard and his hanging tongue seen by the people. Hamdullah was an aalim till the moment he hurled on-air abuses on Marvi Sirmad. Abdul Qavi was an aalim and member of the moon-sighting committee till yesterday when he put off his waistcoat and cap and allowed a not-so-pious lady to (almost) sit in his lap in order to guide her towards the ‘right path’.
Questions are, if they were not ulema how were they allowed to exercise religious authority? Who or which religious authority allows them to practice religion? Which state authority permits them to rule the roost on and off air and guide or misguide millions of people? And why have we, the people, accepted them as authorities on every issue under the sun? Today, almost all of the showbiz people are playing the role of spiritual heelers; even Veena Malik was about to join the Televangelist Ulema club. Someone recently remarked on social network, it’s good Sunny Leone is not around.
We should ponder what we have made of religion and how can we stop this downward spiral.