Pious pretence

  • Ah the joys of religious puritanism

Given man’s status as the superior species on earth, one shouldn’t suppose that it took us long to figure out that religion provides the most concealing mask for our abominable acts. All sorts of gains are made by people of each socio-economic class under the pretext of being virtuous; a worldwide phenomenon practiced by followers of all doctrines.

Now although Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism; all are contaminated, it is really the hypocrisy of the Muslims that strikes me as incredible. This is partly because I have witnessed it first hand and partly because the hypocrisy itself is baffling. How do the followers of a religion that preaches humanistic values, modesty and God-fearing as core values end up as the most tyrannical and pretentious race in the world?

A brilliant place to observe this conflict is in the land of the pure itself. Here the men of the tawhid misuse, misconstrue and disregard each and every teaching of their religion.

Here, a cleric supposedly fighting for the honour of the Prophet (PBUH) leaves behind 50 tonnes of waste, including human faeces, after disrupting civic life for a good 22 days. Wasn’t it that same prophet who preached ‘Safai nisf emaan hai’? The one who advised of removing stones from a person’s path?

Here, a senior journalist who rambles about ethics on a popular TV show every week does not think twice before using crass language for a colleague who is late to work. Shall we assume that a 67-year old man never heard of the Islamic take on anger and foul language?

Here, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, heads of state rule in ways that are in absolute contrast to the political, administrative and economic guidelines of Islam.

Prominent figures aside, the general public too seems to be performing their daily ablutions with buckets of hypocrisy. On regular days, we indulge in cardinal sins while wearing God on our sleeves as a habit. On special days, it is with determination that we do so.

The blessed Ummah, convinced of its guaranteed eventual end in heaven for the good luck of being Muslim, is in the habit of following physical practices like the prayer, fast, Quran recitation, etc, while throwing caution to the wind

Eid is an occasion to show off our clothes and judge our relatives according to the Eidi they give our children. Eid Milad-un-Nabi is a festival where the purpose is to gain worldly recognition. A Niyaaz is an excuse to socialise and use our finest cutlery.

During Ramzan, there’s a ban on eating in public because how dare someone test our patience? That’s not what it’s about! We’ll beat a feeble old Hindu man to pulp, we’ll curse on traffic signals, we’ll sell vegetables at double the price and we’ll end it all with an appreciation for the capacity of our stomachs with full gluttonous force. Ah! The spirit of Ramzan.

Funerals, too, have not been spared. Women do a good job of letting their hair down as the burial is preceded by ample drama involving loud wailing and clinging to mayyats, and followed by juicy gossip.

It is also interesting to observe the hypocrisy of those who pray five times a day. Most people have reduced namaaz to a robotic verbal and physical exercise. Stand, bow, sit, bow, stand, bow, sit, bow, head to the right and head to the left; no idea what they’re saying or why. This ‘five times a day’ practice has no effect on their lifestyle. Between these prayers, the day is filled with backbiting, lies, and judging among many other delights.

The blessed Ummah, convinced of its guaranteed eventual end in heaven for the good luck of being Muslim, is in the habit of following physical practices like the prayer, fast, Quran recitation, etc, while throwing caution to the wind.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that secular Muslims aren’t half as bad. Religious hypocrisy runs rife among the seculars. These people adopt secular pretension to enjoy the pleasures of liberalism but can use anything from a Hazrat Ali (RA) Facebook quote to a hadees if the need arises. They basically sift between what suits them and what doesn’t according to the time and their preference. If they want to do something, it is balance; if they don’t, then its haram.

The list is never-ending and multifarious. There’s a ban on Valentine’s Day and porn yet nothing is done about rapes in madaris and we rank as the top porn watching country in the world. Burqa-clad women are made to shop for lingerie on the streets, prostitution is looked down upon yet no one bats an eye at the men who visit brothels and vile old women fail to raise sons with the religious values they preach to girls.

On one hand, beauty pageants are not held in Pakistan for reasons of being vulgar and against the traditional culture, on the other, morning shows rub sacrilegious content in our faces at the break of dawn.

The actions of Muslimeen range from paradoxical to tragic.

Why are Muslim countries the most destitute and troublesome on earth? Because each country has its own Pandora’s Box of religious hypocrisy that unleashes its tattered integrity.

So, for a race that is in blatant defiance of the logic and reasoning of its own teachings, its ill reputation and troubles are well-deserved. Do we not embrace the religion yet fail to adopt its principles each time our lifestyle, ego and personal interests are put to test?

If you are among the Muslim religious hypocrites, know that you have a part in our collective shame, in tainting Islam. You don’t just fail to live up to Islamic standards, you are in clear violation of the religion. You all are munafiqs, Satan’s concubines; this filth is not within you, you are the filth. You, with your religious pomposity, your holy masquerade, your pious pretence.