By Saleem Qamar Butt
The moment one lands back from a developed country at any airport in Pakistan, one gets uncanny feeling of chaos, mismanagement, dishonesty, rudeness, pollution and lawlessness…..all antonyms to values otherwise expected to prevail in an Islamic country where everyone claims to be a pious and holier than holiest Muslim. One is compelled to ponder as to why people in majority behave so bad living here, or even those who live abroad and soon after touching home base, behave in the same appalling manners. Our airports, railway and bus stations, all public places and traffic on roads is perhaps one of the worst display in the world and speak volume about our poor education system and overall poorest grooming as human beings or a members of a civilized society. Ironically, nothing seems to be done either by the government or by non-government institutions to arrest these negative practices.
While our religion puts so much emphasis on piety, cleanliness, truthfulness, doing good things and stopping self and others from evil practices, discipline, politeness and on helping the needy, why then people apparently performing all Islamic duties (haqooq Allah) and visibly following five main pillars of Islam, falter so badly on performing duties as a useful and sober member of society (haqooq-ul-ibad)? There is no short answer though; yet, a shallow dive into this matter reveals that most of us are wearing ‘invisible blinkers’, that keep us from considering a situation rationally or suffering from a phenomenon akin to a pair of flaps attached to a horse’s bridle, one beside each eye, to keep the horse from looking anywhere but straight ahead…..focused on self-preservation and progress alone. What causes these invisible blinkers’ attachment to our eyes that causes ‘munafqat’, ‘double dealing’ or ‘hypocrisy’? I posed this question to an Islamic scholar and he gave an out of the ordinary answer. According to him, “if a person willingly, knowingly or unknowingly eats forbidden or Haram, his/her sense of judgment on sifting right from wrong is taken away by Almighty as a punishment” something similar to ‘summun bukmun….!’
However, in societies like Japan or Singapore where religion is not so much visible, Islamic virtues and values are best seen in practice and hypocrisy is almost extinct. It is said that ‘poverty has no religion’….but our society defies this proverbial truth too, because rich class is more corrupt and duplicitous than poor people. The honest minority is facing enormous frustration as corruption infested society makes it almost impossible to remain free from ill practices one way or the other. No amounts of dua or prayers seem to work to put the rail back on tracks as far as Pakistan’s difficulties and challenges are concerned. Nevertheless, sometimes most complex challenges have simple solutions.
If we can follow the dictum, “charity begins at home”, we may find the silver lining sooner than expected. In Germany and Japan after second world war and in Central Asian Republics after independence from former Soviet Union in early 90s, the institution of Mothers and teachers played the main role in grooming and educating the children and youth to rise as shining stars of hope and prosperity of nations and results achieved by these countries in all fields in a short span of time are too obvious to neglect. If we can choose and elect the right leadership, who can provide people universal free education system, well-groomed mothers and highly qualified teachers, we can achieve in a decade what we have missed in the last seven decades. The training of trainers through Japanese and German teachers at national level on a massive scale and raising the status of teachers in the society needs to be accorded a high priority. Our highly educated women resource need to be galvanized to undertake grooming of mothers as being practiced in Ladies Clubs in military circles. Inclusions of sports in all education institutions must be made compulsory for inculcation of sportsmen spirit and to ensure mental and physical health. A political party that can include these simple and basic grassroots level steps in its manifesto may be given preference for electing our government instead of lofty but hollow slogans. We as a nation have to strive hard to get rid of invisible blinkers. Allah only helps those who help themselves; therefore, we have to bell the cat ourselves rather than expecting in vain miracle happening by mere inactive prayers.
* Brigadier(R) Saleem Qamar Butt, SI (M) is a student of International Relations, Defence and Warfare Studies with expertise in Executive Management, Military & Intelligence Diplomacy, Strategic Analyses and Forecast. (email@example.com)
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