I am a Muslim; I believe there is no God, but Allah and that Mohammad (pbuh) was His last prophet. I believe in Angels, in Prophets, in the Divine Books and in the Day of Judgment. But, above all, I acknowledge that I am incapable and thus prohibited from passing judgment on any other human being on matters of religion in particular and personal preferences in general, for that is the realm of the Almighty and He alone is the arbiter of souls.
Any and all rituals, beliefs, practices, dissensions and technicalities adopted by individuals that label them as Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc are personal choices and affect me to the extent of whether they appeal to my understanding of Islam or not; an understanding that first and foremost is derived from my understanding of the Holy Quran in its entirety.
Yet, the number of people, who have diligently done the exercise of reading the entire Quran, in a language they comprehend, at least once in their lives, is regrettably low and the root cause of so much violence, ignorance and inhumanity done, all in the name of religion.
This deplorable state of affairs has reached an eruption point and now you and me, cannot afford to sit inside our homes merely condemning the barbaric massacre of minorities for sooner than later, on any pretext of religious deviation, we will find ourselves and our children the target of myopic hatred, religious intolerance and finally holy vengeance.
Shame on us for letting things come to such a pass; more shame on us for letting them remain as they are. Enough is enough.
The blood of a Shia child is now the blood of my child, will I not demand retribution? The grave of a Sunni desecrated is now the grave of my kin, will I not seek justice? The public humiliation of a Christian falsely accused of blasphemy is my humiliation, will I not insist on a fair reckoning? I will, I must and so must each and every Pakistani, who claims to be a Muslim because that is what Islam requires of us.
Islam condemns the violation of human rights, not I repeat the violation of Muslim rights but human rights; as such it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stand up against this perversion of our religion where hatred is God and intolerance His will.
Isn’t the social set up of a society based on the principles of Islam established on the three fundamental pillars of social interaction; justice, mercy and protection of rights. Nowhere are these stipulations limited to interaction with Muslims; these are universal principles to be adhered to under any and all circumstances when dealing with fellow beings, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Where is the conflict in this? It is to be never forgotten that anyone who takes an innocent life will never be forgiven in God’s scheme of affairs.
Leaving the religious aspect aside, what is the government doing. The indifference is appalling, the absence of law and order is deplorable and the lack of justice disgraceful.
The current state of affairs has left us with no choice, but to shed our apathy and join hands with our fellow Pakistanis, irrespective of their faith, caste or creed and demand that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes be tried and then hanged. Let them know that a human life is not to be trifled with at any cost under any pretext.
We are already witnessing the transition resulting from our silence on such affairs. This anarchy is spreading at such an alarming rate that what was once thought to be the problem of Hazara Shias only is now developing a stronghold in other major cities. Targeted killings in Karachi are an everyday story, Lahore is seeing its share of sectarian bloodshed, mosques filled with people offering prayers are turning into graveyards of bullet-ridden bodies. What worse can happen to jolt us into action? Let there be no doubt, inaction today will lead to annihilation tomorrow.
I don’t want to be forced to leave my country because my children are not safe in the country my forefathers sacrificed everything for. This is my home, my identity, my hopes, my aspirations and if I don’t fight for it, who will?
We are the silent majority, but a majority nonetheless. Victory is inevitable because of our numbers, we must rescue our country, our identity from the clutches of these extremists, nay these monsters devoid of faith and compassion and thus unworthy of being called human.
May God grant us the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to act on it. We may never be given this chance of righting a wrong that is forever becoming more pervasive in our society, we cannot afford to sit idle and do nothing.
The religion of hate will devour everything that we hold dear; we cannot let it thrive. Whether your approach is Islamic or secular, the principles of justice remain the same. United we can achieve the impossible, our faith gives us hope and hope will give us strength. May God help us.
The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org