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The Wise-ones'

Maulvi Aqeel-ur-Rahman

Karmu was ploughing the land when he suddenly felt dizzy and fell down in a swoon. In the scorching heat he had been slogging it for the last four hours. Turning up the soil of the barren land had given him a sun stroke. Seeing him fall, Bakhshu called out to his mother, who leaving the food cooking, came running. By his time other women, children and men had also gathered around Karmu. His loving mother rubbed his cheeks, ran her fingers through his hair, shook him by the shoulders, but Karmu's eyes remained shut, his lips unmoving. With everyone so anxious, a wise-one of the family suggested, "Take him to Baray Hakeem sahib in the next village". The 'Baray Hakeem sahib' took hold of Karmu's hand and with his quivering fingers felt for the pulse. He then pressed Karmu's foot, but found no sign of life there either. Finally he bent his head towards Karmu's chest and with half-deaf ears tried to listen to his heart beat. He could hear no sound. With a long face he heaved a cold sigh and in a voice full of sorrow recited Inna Lillah... and pronounced Karmu dead. Well, to make it short, all the last rites were carried out and Karmu's body taken to the graveyard. On the way, Karmu suddenly regained consciousness. Raising his head he cried out, "I am alive. Where are you taking me?"

A wise-one answered, "O Karmu puttar, go back to sleep. Baray Hakeem sahib has said that you are dead. Now whom shall we believe, an illiterate person like you or Baray Hakeem sahib?"

Call it a true story or a joke, it ends here. But its rehearsal continues in our country even to-day. There are some characters of this tale who are still with us. Just think about it. Whatever is the issue, whatever the problem our moderate leaders try to find its solution in the murky waters of the Western civilization. Let the worldly matters be, just take a look at their views concerning religion. You will clearly find a distinct glimpse of the Western way of thinking, of Western civilization. Mention religion to them, they will calmly say, "The stone and Iron Age is long gone. Fast-moving aeroplanes and rockets have taken the place of horses and camels. The world has shrunk and is lying at man's feet. The Islam you talk of, cannot keep pace with the times. To keep up with the demands of the present times, we need a modern Islam." Invite them to give their views about the implementation of Islam. Fearlessly they will say, "Religion is every person's private matter. Its implementation on the official level will deal a blow to the individual's freedom. Every person in his private life, is free to adopt any religion he likes". Talk about putting an end to usury, looking at you askance, they will say, "Interest is the backbone of a country's economy. By putting an end to it we don't want to lay behind other contemporary nations in the race for progress". Discuss the topic of 'purdah' or hijab with them, they will rudely retort, 'purdah' is against women's rights. It spoils our image in the modern world. It is nothing but an undesirable restriction on women." Ask them about jihad. They will say it is religious madness.

Calling it 'extremism', they will try to link it with terrorism. Ask them about deeni madaris, discus the keeping of a beard or wearing an amamah with them, question them about salat, saum, zakat, Hajj, with a frown upon their brows, they will disagreeably say, "These are all old-fashioned things. They smell of by-gone times, of back wardness. The world is trying to reach the stars while the Muslims are still embroiled in things fourteen hundred years old."

Our "Ulama-i-keram may claim a thousand times that there is no demarcation of modern and non-modern in Islam, just as it guided the lost ones in the days of the arrow and sword, to their ultimate goal, in the modern times of science and technology too its spring of life can quench the thirst of the nations of the world; they 'may argue with all their might that Islam is not a private matter, but a complete system of life; that interest is not the ladder of economic progress, but an excuse to fill the coffers of capitalists; they may reiterate with all the power at their command that 'purdah' is not an unreasonable restriction but a guarantee of protection and safety; that jihad is not terrorism but a means of establishing peace; that salat and saum are not outdated things but the basis, the foundations of the Deen-i-Islam-oh yes, our "ulama-i-keram might try to make them understand, may argue, rant and rave all they can, our 'wise-ones' don't listen to a word of these 'Karmus'. In the authoritative and proud tones of power they say, "Our 'Baray Hakeem sahib' has said so. Now should we listen to illiterate people like you or to 'Baray Hakeem sahib'?".