While the world is busy in discovering new planets which could sustain live, our ulemas are suffering from what Freud said ‘fixation’ problem. Their obsession with women is so desperate that one cannot help thinking that they all have had bad childhoods. Why on earth is it necessary to waste nations’ resources on Islamic ideological council whose members have some perennial issues with women and gender problems? Isn’t there any other issue more important than women’s veil? There are so many important issues world is facing, particularly Muslim population in different parts of world are struggling for their survival while Islam as a religion is facing existential threats from the western propaganda and here the defenders of Islam are discussing unimportant issues; their behavior is analogous to the clerics who were discussing trivialities while Mongol army was trying to penetrate through Baghdad’s walls.

I wonder why our ulemas are bent on not admitting the fact that we are living in the post-modern world in which nobody gives any heed to what a few misogynists say about women; their problem is that they read only one discourse and they think that their reality is the ultimate truth and any rejection or refusal to this truth tantamount to blasphemy and infidelity. I wish they could read a few books on anthropology so they could know that the status of women in society is determined by the material forces and the relationship between the forces of production; change in status of women in the west was not due to the sermons delivered by popes on every Sunday, rather due to the rise of industrial capitalism and shortage of manpower caused by prolonged wars. All these factors were responsible for ameliorating the conditions of women in the west. And as we know that our society is rapidly industrializing which has resulted in some rights and freedoms to the women, in rural societies, due to their role in economic activities. This change is a nightmare for our ulemas because they can’t conciliate with the fact that women are working with men.

I wish our ulemas should discuss some important issues which our society is facing, such as widening gulf between the rich and poor, extremism, intolerance, exploitative finance system which favors only the rich and the role of Reba etc. they could find thousands of more important issues on which they could present Islamic point of view. I also wish that our ulemas should come out with some solid solutions to the problems which eastern as well as western societies are facing.

When I compare the role of popes and ulemas of Islam in their respective societies, I can’t help feeling regret for the latter. The Pope Francis’s sermon to United Nations focused on unjust and exploitative system which is responsible for increasing disparity of wealth; he also highlighted environmental, social and immigration problems and emphasized on the establishment of a just and humane system. Now compare his speeches with our ulemas’ and you will find the difference.

TAYYAB BUTT,

Lahore, October 20.