A real life superhero

Aitzaz HasanJanuary 6, 2014. It was just another day in Ibrahimzai, in Hangu district of Pakistan. A young boy from this small village, never thought this would be the day he will lose his status as a mortal, to become immortal for his nation. He would go on and make history.

Aitzaz Hasan was standing outside the gates of his school  with his friends, when a man with beastly intentions tried to gain access to his school. This sick being wanted nothing else other than to put to death, if not thousands, hundreds of children who were inside the school compound. As the story goes, Aitzaz confronted him despite the pleas and cries of his friends. He fearlessly asked them to get shelter and went ahead, grabbed that stonehearted man in his arms, what followed next was inevitable.

In a glimpse of a second, this brave kid went from being an ordinary boy, to being a symbol of gallantry. Only few before him have imitated what he did, just a few. What was extra ordinary in Aitzaz’s case was the fact that he was only 14 or 15 years of age. An age where many like him would be enjoying their youth, going out with friends having fun around. But not Aitzaz, the moment he saw that coward marching towards the school, he was clear in his mind what he had to do. His goal was to save the precious young lives, a new generation in the making. To achieve his goal, he paid the ultimate price.

Words cannot suffice his act of bravery, no amount tears are enough for his patriotism. In a nation which is divided into castes, sects, ideologies and classes, comes a 15 year old kid who’s selfless act saved many families from visiting the graveyard that day. His bravery, shines in the face of those cowards, who are bathed in the blood of many before him. He sent out a clear message to them, to the enemies of his motherland. He showed them that there is still hope, there is still an Aitzaz ready to lay down his life when his motherland is in need. Let the terrorists know, that there are more like Aitzaz than those who are intimidated by their cowardice.

No medal, no prize is enough for this act of valor, no honor too big. Children of Ibrahimzai school, went back to school the following day but they will remember January 6th, they will remember it as the day they were virtually given new lives. The children of that school will remember that day, when they witnessed a boy who used to be like one of them, become a hero. “A real life superhero”.

Advertisements

Prophet Muhammad: A blessing for mankind

I am writing after a very long time, I have been busy with certain things in my personal life, I apologize to my readers. There is nothing better to resume my blog, other than the most gracious blessing of God upon mankind, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

Not so long ago, an infamous amateur film maker (not sure if he is that or not) released a short-film, in which he depicted the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) as an inhumane personality. Which has caused ripples of protests across the Muslim world, enraging then across the globe. I haven’t seen that infamous video myself but the act of this Coptic Christian was provocative and saddening. Surely one can see the lack of research on this subject by the team who publicized this video. I will prove it, without quoting any scripture today, I will give references of other (non-Muslim) personalities who analyzed and described the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in their words.

Reverent Bosworth Smith wrote:

Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Popes pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports.’

(R. Bosworth Smith ‘Muhammad and Muhammadanism’. Page 262)

Washington Irving wrote:

‘His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vainglory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power, he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance.’

(Washington Irving, The Life of Mahomet, page 272)

Karen Armstrong writes in her book ‘Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet’:

‘Muhammad had to start virtually from scratch and work his way towards the radical monotheistic spirituality of his own. When he began his mission, a dispassionate observer would not have given him a chance. The Arabs, he might have objected, were just not ready for monotheism: they were not sufficiently developed for this sophisticated vision. In fact, to attempt to introduce it on a large scale in this violent, terrifying society could be extremely dangerous and Muhammad would be lucky to escape with his life.

Indeed, Muhammad was frequently in deadly peril and his survival was a near-miracle. But he did succeed. By the end of his life he had laid an axe to the root of the chronic cycle tribal violence that afflicted the region and paganism was no longer a going concern. The Arabs were ready to embark on a new phase of their history.’

(Karen Armstrong, Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet page 53-54)

She also writes:

‘Finally it was the West, not Islam, which forbade the open discussion of religious matters. At the time of the Crusades, Europe seemed obsessed by a craving for intellectual conformity and punished its deviants with a zeal that has been unique in the history of religion. The witch-hunts of the inquisitors and the persecution of Protestants by the Catholics and vice versa were inspired by abstruse theological opinions which in both Judaism and Islam were seen as private and optional matters. Neither Judaism nor Islam share the Christian conception of heresy, which raises human ideas about the divine to an unacceptably high level and almost makes them a form of idolatry.’

(Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, page 27).

Mahatma Gandhi’s statement published in ‘Young India,’1924:

‘I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.’

And finally here is the famous Sir George Bernard Shaw:

‘I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.’

(Sir George Bernard Shaw in ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Vol. 1)

James Michener writes in ‘Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,’ Reader’s Digest, May 1955:

‘No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Qur’an is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience’

I recon these references will be enough for the reader to wonder why on earth, some mad men came up with such filth about a personality that has been analyzed, studied and followed by every living person on earth? It is nothing but ignorance that prevails in the minds of such people.

اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد، اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

Bless, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst bless Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou art indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

Prosper, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst prosper Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

Save Burma, let Pakistan burn

Social networks are crowded with pictures, pleas and appeals for the Burmese Muslims caught in the midst of a terrible conflict with the Buddhist majority in Burma. The tales and pictures (most of which are fake though) being used on social media are gut-wrenching and horrifying. Amnesty international has accused the security forces and ethnic majority of Rakhine Buddhists for the violence being perpetrated in the north. It should be well-known that this conflict is purely ethnic and has nothing at all to do with religion. Loss of life (in any way or form) is condemnable and all measures should be taken, to bring these horrific crimes against humanity to an end.

As with everything remotely related to Muslim persecution, my Pakistani (Muslim) friends are at the forefront of the campaign to ensure that the news reaches everyone. They consider this their ‘religious duty’ to make sure every Muslims is actively participating in spreading the news of such violence. Words being used to describe the acts of the Rakhine Buddhists are “shameful”, “heinous”, “criminal”, “in-humane” etc. Just yesterday I noticed a poster where it was claimed that Muslims aren’t allowed to say “Azaan” and that this was “cruel in-justice”. I cannot say it is true but it did sadden me, to think that an individual is being deprived of his most basic religious activity.

But then, it hit me, Burma’s situation is not that different from Pakistan. The majority Muslims in this country impose on (whatever) minority (is left) in this country. Christians, Hindus and other minority religions are being persecuted all the time. Even minority Muslim sects like the Shia sect is not safe from this persecution. They are killed upon identification, Christians and Hindus are forced to give up their religious belief and convert. Those who do and revert back are killed again. Ahmadis are barred from praying, their places of worship (which cannot be dubbed as mosques according to the constitution) are being demolished. They, and other minorities, even some Muslim sects are dubbed ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ (obligated to be killed) and yet the same Pakistani Muslims feel sorry when they find Muslims in the same situation?
hypocritical isn’t it?

In no way I am justifying the crimes against humanity in Burma. They have the rights of religious liberty and freedom of living and speech. But since when does a Pakistani Muslim care about it? Burma is not a Muslim state, if Pakistanis can legislate killing of people who believe in the freedom of speech, why are they outraged if another country uses something similar to it for Muslims? They celebrate when Mumtaz Qadri kills someone who have a different opinion on some issue, but they protest if the same thing happens in Burma. I hope they understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of this persecution which is deemed ‘HOLY’ by many. It isn’t that holy when it is brought upon them (or people from their clan).

The point of writing this is not to condemn the protests against these crimes being committed in Burma (they are to be condemned strongly), but to make my fellow Muslims understand that they are no different from these Burmese military men or the Buddhist majority, imposing their will on the helpless and exposed minority. I hope this might help them understand.

Burnt alive: religion is served

While the 4th of July brought fireworks to the United States, a small town in Punjab Pakistan witnessed a totally different type of fireworks. An alleged blasphemer was burnt alive in front of hundreds of people, including those who are burdened with enforcing the law. The Police was found useless (as ever) in preventing mob justice. As always, none of the religious leader/(alleged) cleric failed to condemn the incident because it is a matter of ‘public emotions’. What is even worst is the fact that it was public knowledge that the man was mentally unstable. Even that never put any sympathy in the hearts of these (so-called) Muslims.

I am disgusted, both as a Pakistani and as a Muslim, I am ashamed to face questions which make their way towards me from non-Muslims outside of my country. How can I justify this barbarism to civilized people? How can I testify that Islam is a religion of peace and allows everyone the right to live freely? How can I tell people, that Pakistan is a nation of diversity, tolerance and compassion? A nation where Mumtaz Qadri, a convicted murderer gains fame by publicly killing someone whom he was asked to protect. A country where two innocent teenagers were beaten to death over an allegation of robbery.

These are just the highlights though, while other nations develop themselves day by day, Pakistan seems to be regressing into the dark ages.I am yet to see such incidents in Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia or even Saudi Arabia. Is Pakistan ‘more’ Islamic than these nations I quoted? I am sure the answer will be no. I wonder how many of these ‘Muslims’ present in the mob actually understand what are the teachings of the Quraan. I have given the famous example of the Ta’if incident, where Prophet (peace be upon him) was stoned by the ignorant people of Ta’if, rather condemn them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed for them.

Do these people not read the Quraan? Can they not see that Quraan speaks of mercy more than punishment? Did they not learn the value of human life from the life events of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? When will Pakistanis stop being the care takers of Islam and understand that they are doing more damage to my religion than they are serving it.

The distribution of hate

Social MediaSocial media, over the years have become (somewhat) integral in our lives. Hence, it was a matter of time before our emotions became digital too. Social media provides means of mass information sharing, here a message can reach millions in mere seconds, it is playing a vital role in shaping point of views of people who are linked with social media.

Of all the social media portals, facebook have been in focus for spreading hatred and religious bias, while it is also responsible (some say) for bringing the uprising in the Arab countries. Last year, facebook was under heavy criticism from the Muslims for an event that called for the people to depict the Prophet (pbuh). Many people left facebook, some deactivated their accounts and it was banned in certain countries (for a certain time). Many users protested over facebook, and shared an ‘anti-depiction event’ on their facebook walls and with friends. The same thing (with a twist) is going on again, some ignorant has made a page which is defaming the holy places of Muslims and Muslims are spreading the ‘anti cause’ everywhere on facebook, demanding the page to be removed.

While I do not judge the intensity of anyone’s faith and love for their religion, I think these ‘religious e-warriors’ fail to understand that they are the prime bearer of the message the ‘anti-Islamic entity’ wants to send out. Many of the Muslim users were unaware of this ‘anti-Islamic page’  until one of their deeply Muslim friend shared the message of protest and invitation to join the cause with them (same was the case with the previous anti-Islamic facebook event). If the few Muslims who saw this earlier would have had succeeded in ignoring it, they would have stopped this menace from spreading in the first place.

I am yet to see any of my non-Muslim friends spreading that anti-Islamic agenda for which our Muslim friends are protesting and asking other Muslims to join in. These people who are spreading this protest fail to understand that by spreading this protest, they are actually bringing more attention to an otherwise stupid, baseless, lame and an ignorant facebook stunt, directed towards enraging Muslims and mess with their emotions. By sharing the ‘Islamic cause’ is more of a damage rather than service to Islam.

The problem with Muslims (specially those who are familiar with the use of internet), in my opinion, is that they fail to ignore things which are insignificant and successfully ignore something thing which can help them stand united against these menaces which pop up every once in a while. The only way one can fight such menace is by ignoring its existence. It is not hurting Islam in any way, nor it will hurt us if we ignore it. But if Muslims keep spreading the word about it, then it is we who are helping this otherwise insignificant menace, to spread across the medium.

P.S: The purpose of writing this post is not to spread this menace (since it has already spread on facebook), rather ask my fellow Muslims to stop falling for this scam again and again.

Outraged over Veena Malik?

Veena MalikVeena Malik (the Pakistani actress) is in the news, once again for controversial reasons. According to the story, the actress posed in the nude for a photo shoot for an Indian magazine. As usual, many Pakistani’s have denounced her act and started labeling her infidel, anti-Pakistan, liberal extremist etcetera. To top it off, her shots contain the letters ISI (which is the central intelligence agency of Pakistan) tattooed to her arm. The news have spread like wildfire (among the Pakistani’s at-least) which has sparked a series of tweets and blogs on the internet and news stories emerging with the headline, ‘Pakistani’s outraged over nude photo’.

The outrage is due to the fact she is a representative of Pakistan (which by the way is a [so-called] Islamic Nation). It baffles me how people call her a ‘Pakistani representative’ while her actions are clearly targeted to gain fame for herself and get casted for a Bollywood film. This is not the first time she is in the news for such reasons, her performance in the Indian reality show ‘Big Boss’ stirred quite a controversy. While the liberals defended her, the conservatives bashed her with ‘fatwas’ and labels.

In all of this, I fail to understand the anger of Pakistani people. It is as if everything  is fine in our country and the people are living in a peaceful and civil manner, there is no injustice and everyone is secure. Is that the case? I am afraid not so. Once again the people of Pakistan are showing hypocrisy on matters that should otherwise be ignored. They dub the act of this infamous actress as unIslamic, while in the very heart of Lahore (the cultural hub of Pakistan), brothels exist under the shadow of the most prestigious [Badshahi] mosque in Pakistan. Why doesn’t that trigger outrage? In the very same country, women are paraded naked through the streets and the incident fails to be noticed by those eager to show off their love for Pakistan and Islam. This is the country where child rape happens every other day, but all that makes Pakistani’s angry is an actress posing for nude in an Indian magazine.

In the light of the cases I mentioned above and the fact that many incidents go unreported in our ‘Islamic Republic’, I wonder if it is Veena Malik bringing shame to the nation or something else.

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.

%d bloggers like this: