It is one thing to be criticized for doing something by individuals who do not indulge in similar things themselves. It is a completely different thing to get criticized for doing something by people who do the same things in private.The former can be productive and beneficial; productive criticism allows an individual to see things with a new perspective. The latter, however, is an open act of hypocrisy; something that can be found in abundance in the Pakistani society.

Hypocrisy is something that can be found at all levels within our society. However, it seems as if certain religious groups have managed to remain ahead of all other groups with regard to this fundamental flaw that flourishes in our society. Sad as it is, the ‘maulvis’ that are supposed to be the representatives of Islam have managed to bring immense disgrace to the religion merely because of the great extents to which they practice hypocrisy. From giving interviews while being intoxicated to promoting bigotry to indulging in child molestation, the mullah community has managed to indulge in pretty much everything that it ‘strongly condemns’. As a result of this, these ‘guardians’ of religion have managed to make a joke not only out of themselves but have also managed to attract extremely negative criticism towards their religion.

A mullah who openly condemns the usage of alcohol, promotes violence towards the ‘kafirs’ who drink and makes the masses aware of the terrible punishments that wait in hell for people who drink is naturally expected to stay away from alcohol himself. That, however, isn’t always the case. While many mullahs probably do abstain from drinking, cases of drunkmullahs aren’t unheard of. A mullah on vacation might conveniently forget the beliefs that he promotes for a while. A maulvisahab on an international flight might find himself free from the restrictions imposed by the religion that he himself preaches as he enjoys a glass of wine.

While the individual’s actions might be harmless for himself, the impact that these actions have on the image of his religion are severe. There is a reason why terms such as ‘disco maulvi’ have been coined and while these terms are found derogatory and offensive, it must be understood that members of the mullah community are the ones to blame for such terms gaining popularity.

The mullah community is also well known for ogling at women while pointing out how these women will be going to hell for not dressing up appropriately. The ‘lower your gaze’ rule is promoted by these mullahs only when it concerns their own women; for all other women, this rule does not apply simply because they are not ‘one of them’. The fact that some women are considered to be more worthy of honor than other women shows the prevalence of double standards in our society.

An imaam in a mosque probably makes it a point to mention in every Friday sermon that women are the root of all evil and that most men will be in hell because of these wretched women. Ironically, however, at the same time he will promote the idea of a man having four wives.

These may seem like small, harmless things, but you see, it is these small things that go unnoticed and give way to much deeper issues. Child molestation and religious institutions, for example, go side by side. Recently, a young boy was found strangled and dumped in a mosque after having been raped by the local ‘maulvisahab’ of the mosque. It is society’s failure to curb certain issues at an early stage that allows them to fester into such vile acts being committed.If a cleric knows that his ‘holier than thou’ attitude will not help him get away with things that other people aren’t allowed to get away with, he will think twice before committing any atrocities such as this one.

Hypocrisy, double standards, cherry picking all lead to the further destruction of the image of a religion that is already struggling with its image at a global level. The self appointed guardians of religion, who also claim to be the only true representatives of religion, therefore need to ensure that they practice what they preach. It would be nice, for a change, to not get stares from a ‘maulvisahab’ at a wedding for wearing sleeveless; the same maulvisahab who is later found to be dancing to baby doll with a drink in his hand.

Wishal Raheel is a finance student who enjoys travelling and spends a lot of her time writing about social issues. Follow her on Twitter