Religion and Homosexuality

Homosexuals around the world face bias and discrimination from the mainstream, they are labelled outcasts and sinners. However, it is not a place of a human being to dub anyone as a ‘sinner’ or an ‘infidel’ just on the basis of his/her orientation and choices. Everyone is entitled to their own choice and way of living. Having said that, this post I am about to make is going to address the very basic question (or may I say allegation) that rises from the ranks of those who claim to be homosexuals. I am not a religious scholar, nor I am a psychiatrist but I would like to take on this claim and try to explain my point of view on this sensitive issue. I would like to emphasize that I am not judging anyone on the basis of their lifestyle and that this post must be read only as an argument towards a claim, I would appreciate if anyone can counter this.

The claim is that homosexuality is not a choice, rather God intended to create (the homosexuals) that way. I for once completely disagree with this statement, it is not because I am straight, it is not because I am religious, but because the claim does not make any sense. Let me explain.

I would like to believe there are many religious individuals among the ranks of homosexuals, I therefore understand these individuals with religious values must believe in God (of whatever religion). Here, I will be using references from the Abrahamic religions (mainly Islam). The mainstream (who hold religious values) use the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah to scare off the homosexuals, for those who are unaware, Sodom and Gomorrah (mainly referred to as the people of Lot) were two towns where people practiced homosexuality openly. However, these people met a tragic end since they failed to repent despite the constant warning of Prophet Lot. The incident has been reported both in the Holy Qura’an and Bible with very harsh wordings (used for the town dwellers).

In the Holy Qura’an, God reiterates the purpose for creating human kind (while mentioning this incident), so that they will multiply and we need no rocket science to conclude that same-sex relationships cannot reproduce. Therefore, the claim that homosexuality is not a choice is baseless. Those who think my conclusion is far-fetched, should consider the fact that the same claim can be made by a pedophile, or certain others who claim to be attracted towards animals.

God is perfect and He has created the perfect beings and these beings are capable of thinking and making choices of their own, adapting to lifestyles and choosing their own paths of life. God has laid down a set of rules (in the form of holy scriptures), in order to guide his creation, educate them on what’s right and wrong and it is up to the human kind, whether or not to take this guidance.

Now that we have established the fact that God in no possible way intends to create homosexuals, the question is why do people choose to be in homosexual relationships. Again, I do not claim to be a psychiatrist but the answer to this question lie in the past of the individual in question. It is conceivable that the individual have had a traumatic experience in which the villain is someone who is a close relative and of the opposite sex. Another possibility is the lack of trust in the opposite gender due to rumors or sexist statements, for example many men claim that women are dumb and the women claim the same about women. It is possible that people who turn to their own gender for comfort may take these statements as facts and develop a certain hatred or fear of being with the opposite sex (in a long-term relationship).

There may be many cases which may lead to an individual to ‘come out of the closet’, one thing is clear, that God is perfect and so is everything that He has created. We humans though, we are misguided, we make mistakes but it is not because God intends us to, but because we do not understand God’s intention.

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Ignoring is the first step towards ignorance

I am a frequent reader of Express tribune blogs, where I come across interesting viewpoints and mindsets. As people who have read my posts may have noticed that most of my posts are pro-Islamic yet anti-clergy. The reason for which is the fact that I believe the clergymen in practice today are steering majority of the nation (who follows them) in a dark ditch of ignorance. Then I came across this post on Express tribune blogs which was in agreement with what I have been telling my fellow Muslims about how these clergymen distort religious texts to gain their own benefits / congregation.

Naturally, I was expecting criticism to this by some hardline rightist, but it was shocking to see yet another viewpoint towards this issue. The author claims, it is better to ignore such things and move on. Many will agree and have taken up this viewpoint towards the distortion of Holy scriptures and religious theories. It is this attitude towards religion that is responsible for where our nation stands today both socially and economically. We allow these self-proclaimed scholars to continue professing ‘what they think is Islam’, these scholars know that no one will challenge their preaching, because as a matter of fact, people either don’t have time to look up their references or, as in this case, people don’t really care.

Today, we speak of accountability, in every aspect of life. Then why should we leave these clergymen unaccountable for what they preach? I can understand if religion is not a priority for many, but as I have said before, religion was the central entity towards development and disaster for every civilization. Take any example, Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, Greeks or Romans. Their rise and fall revolved around their religious beliefs whatever they may be! Muslims are no different (if you think of Muslims as a civilization).

If we ignore this (what may seem as a small) issue today, we will ignore other issues, that might be of importance tomorrow. In-fact, many did. Hence, it is time we show interest in matters of religion and try to understand, at least the important issues for ourselves, because we aren’t going to reach anywhere by following these self-proclaimed clerics neither are we going to achieve peace by completely ignoring issues related to our belief.

Victims of negligence [Associate Engineer selling Pakoras]

Earlier this week, a friend of mine shared the following video with me, after watching it, I had mixed emotions. I felt very happy yet extremely grieved, here is that video

I was sad that yet another talent is going to waste on the streets of my beloved country, I was angry at Sheikh Rasheed, who rather than do effort to get the guy a decent job, sit there claiming there are a lot of people like him in Pakistan. Is this why the youth gets education for? Other countries do not let go of their skilled labor easily, then there is Pakistan, where all those years of study and effort, a guy like him have to resort to do ‘something’ to make ends meet. The dreams of his mother can be seen washed away by her tears.

It is a sad situation but, there was a very powerful and strong message in this clip, the fact that though this guy was down and nearly out, he didn’t opt for the criminal path, rather than the honest way of living. People like these easily fall victim to the ‘jihadists’ and ‘terrorist’ networks, where they are used for all sorts of gruesome activities.

It is people like these, despite of being deprived of their rights, they strive to make this world a better place.

What “Mullah” want

Yesterday’s tragic incident, is nothing but a slap to the face of the nation. It wasn’t just a murder of a man, it was a murder of moral values given to us by Islam. It is not just the funeral of Shahbaz Bhatti, it is the funeral of Islamic principles, torn apart by the nation which claims to be the caretaker of this great religion. Every human, irrespective of their religion (except for many in Pakistan) has condemned this gruesome act of brutality. However, yet again, the clergy is quiet, none has come forward and condemned this heinous crime. Why? Because the killing machine called ‘Tehreek-e-Taaliban Pakistan” claims this murder in the name of the infamous, controversial blasphemy law.

I know, it came as a shock to me too. Not that the clergy failed condemn this act, but the fact that the atrocious Taliban are actually standing up for “rule of law”? There is a catch to this, they ONLY want to defend the blasphemy clauses while they are happy to break every other law in this country. All of a sudden, constitution is very important to them. Where is the mullah now? Are you happy ‘maulvi sahab’? Isn’t this what you really want? What else do we need to prove that this law is nothing but shame and misery towards Pakistan and the nation.

It is time to repeal this law once and for all, it has already claimed lives of many innocent people and have brought misery to others. Those who speak for it cannot bring forth a single piece of evidence neither from Holy Scriptures, nor from history. The facts they put forward are distorted and disgraceful, which have been proven over and over again. Yet the nation is unable to see through their disguise of ‘Holy men’, what deceiving and hypocritical beings they are.

Even if this incident doesn’t open our nation’s eyes, then I am afraid no Messiah is going to come for them. Pakistanis should understand the fact that these self-proclaimed religious scholars and these extremists, jihadist, ignorant and blood thirsty butchers (call them Al-Qaeda or Taliban) are one and the same. They have already hijacked our peaceful religion Islam and are using our beliefs against us, they want to rule the nation with fear and ignorance, that is what the Mullah want.

The worst creatures

atrocious

The importance of knowledge in Islam

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was quoted saying:

Seek knowledge, even as far as China.

On another occasion the Prophet (peace be upon him) is recorded saying:

Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim (man & woman).

Many ‘hard-line’ Muslims have a common yet bizarre perspective to these sayings. A few days ago a group of people from the mosque (تبلیغی جماعت) came to my house to ‘preach’. These are the people who go house to house and meet with people and invite them to mosque and charities. One of them referenced the first saying and said, “You know, the Prophet was talking about Islamic knowledge, the spiritual knowledge and he emphasized so much as to ask the Muslims to travel to China at that time to seek knowledge, the science is just for skills, it isn’t real knowledge”. I respectfully disagreed with him and asked, “But, Islam at that time was only confined to Arabia and some eastern parts of Africa. What Islamic / ‘spiritual’ knowledge was to be gained in China at that time?” To which he had no answer, only to tell me that I have less religious knowledge and walk away.

After this (rather insignificant incident) I had forgotten about it, until one day while watching a documentary (Engineering an empire) on the History channel I was literally amazed at what I saw. It was a documentary about China and how over time it was engineered by its emperors. According to it, Chinese were one of the first astronomers, chemists, mathematicians and engineers. They were the first to modernize naval warfare. They put mercury and other elements to various tests and discovered many properties that the world had never seen. They  were on their way towards inventing rockets and torpedoes. They constructed the great wall, which to this day, stands as a monument to human engineering.

While at that time (during the 6th century) Arabia was in the age of darkness, ignorance ruled hearts and minds of the Arabs. But China at the same time was advancing intellectually, socially and technologically. The vision of the Prophet(peace be upon him) was so vast, his sense of urgency was spot on, He must have known what is happening in China (at that time). Ofcourse at that time, journey to China was a life long experience, which goes to show how much importance knowledge had in the eyes of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

It is sad how Muslims today have ‘limited’ the great vision of the Prophet (peace be upon him), by viewing his sayings in a perspective which (more often) doesn’t even make sense. It was this knowledge & technology which has changed the world to what we know today. It was this knowledge which has helped nation progress and overcome their rivals. It is this knowledge which has made nations like United States and China, world leaders. It was this knowledge that the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Muslims to seek 1,400 years ago.

انصار عباسی صاحب کا ایجنڈا

This post is in response to Mr. Ansar Abbasi’s Column He wrote on 21st February.




‘I blame the West’

“I blame the West”, time and again I see Pakistanis from ‘various’ sections (especially the clerics) uttering this, blaming the west for the current (humiliating) situation the Muslim world, especially Pakistan, is in. I strictly disagree with them. This mess is created by us alone, it is preposterous to hold any (foreign) force responsible for it. Make no mistake I love my country, I love my countrymen / countrywomen. But as a nation, we are not doing what needs to be done for our own betterment.

If we compare the ‘Western’ ethics with ours we will observe that our ‘national’ character has fallen behind not only in the race of material progress, but also moral and religious values too. They (the west) say religion plays no part in a nation’s progress, but the truth is, they have adopted our (religious) values which have propelled them from being barbarians, into what we see today as prosperous and progressive countries. Let’s examine some basics.

Cleanliness:

Islamic values tell us “cleanliness is half of faith“, as a nation, we are only left with half of our faith.  Our roads, our alleys, our water streams are all filled with garbage and filth. There is no mechanism, on individual level or on community level to address this issue. The nation is deprived of clean water, pollution of every kind is found in almost every city in Pakistan.

Abiding the laws:

Islam commands every Muslim to observe the laws of the country he/she is living in. In Pakistan however, ‘laws’ only apply on those who are deprived (i.e. living from hand to mouth). There is a famous saying, ‘a nation’s character can be observed by observing its traffic’. There is a majority in Pakistan who completely disregard the traffic laws, not only the vehicle owners, even the cyclists and the pedestrians. Our nation, sadly is unaware of the road ethics which are observed in the developed countries.

Traffic is just a preview of a common Pakistani’s lawlessness. Corruption is a widespread disease in the country, majority from the President of the country, to the most low ranked clerk in an office, everyone is involved in some sort of corruption. Often, no work is done until and unless some sort of  ‘offering’ is made.  Ironic is the fact that the same is true for offices responsible for law enforcement.

Unfair & Unforgiving:

Yes, unfairness, a common trait we ignore in ourselves. Nothing in our country (not even the air we breath) is pure, adulteration in various edibles (even medicine) is overlooked by the common man (even the consumer, who frankly have no other choice as an average man). Everyone wants to make money ‘by hook or by crook’, how can there be fairness in such environment.

Most alarming is the fact that we are vengeful and unforgiving. It is very troubling to know that over a hundred thousand judicial cases are still pending in courts countrywide. Even more shocking is to know that many of these cases, have been passed down from generations. How does a nation progress when it can’t even resolve conflict between them in a given time?!

Islam teaches us fairness, forgiveness and honesty, but as a nation, I am afraid to say we have lost it. Interesting to note is the fact that none of the (so-called) clerics and religious scholars are addressing this issue. They are the ones to guide the nation in the light of this great religion, rather they are leading it into a ditch of ignorance and darkness. They ‘use’ the name of Islam, they fail to ‘understand’ it.

Literacy:

“Seek education, even if you have to travel to China (from Arabia)”, this is how much the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) emphasized on education. Clerics misunderstand the concept put forward by the Prophet and confuse that He was asking Muslims to get ‘religious’ education. While it is clearly not the case, there wasn’t any Islam in China at that time? History confirms that at that time (during the mid first century A.D.), Chinese were involved in researches including, aerospace, astronomy, physics and chemistry.

In our country, education is treated as a ‘business service’, there are scores of schools in every small town, different types of education. Tragically, everyone gets education based on their wealth, which has divided the country through generations. None of our universities is even in the top 100 in the world.

The saddest part is, this nation doesn’t even celebrate its most literate person, ‘Professor Dr. Muhammad Abd-us-Salam’, who went through this education system to produce his masterpiece which was ‘Electro-Weak’ theory. I bet, no average Pakistani can tell a single postulate of his theory. He won the Nobel price in Physics for his accomplishments, while his work isn’t even mentioned in our schools and colleges. He was victimized for being a member of a minority sect. Today, the United Nations is a proud owner of his scientific research institute in Italy (which according to him, he wanted to build here in Pakistan).

Conclusion:

I believe if our nation starts embracing its religion (in its pure form), Pakistan can leave behind every developed country in the world in every field. Its time the nation understood, that they are being used, played by some interest groups, who are ‘hijacking’ their religion for their own benefits. And to those who blame the west, I blame you, I blame me, I blame every citizen of Pakistan, for where Pakistan is today. Change yourself, change Pakistan.

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