Every Ramazan, the viewers see a very interesting phenomenon when almost all the female television hosts and the women from the “entertainment” industry change their attire to host the holy month’s special transmissions. But the real vulgarity of this deception manifests itself when these souls start to interpret religion the way they want to see it.

The interpretation of religion is a serious business, which if done by the individuals lacking qualifications can lead to serious consequences. But somehow the channel ratings are more sacred than preserving our religious teachings.

Our irony is not isolated, here we are 1.5 billion Muslims, 21 percent of the total world population, living in a perpetual state of mental paralysis owing to lack of education and wrongly interpreting religion, thus making it something not implementable in the present age.

So who interprets our religion? Religious scholars?

Sadly, it is interpreted by pseudo-intellectuals, sometimes actresses and talk shows hosts and, to top it all, the Maulvis, who have converted the religion into a business venture to exploit the ignorance of the masses. Ever wondered how the other religions are being propagated, more importantly, by whom?

Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church. He worked briefly as a chemical technician before entering the seminary. In 1960, he obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo de San José in San Miguel, Buenos Aires Province. He has taught literature and psychology at Colegio de la Inmaculada and Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires City. When he talks about religion, 2.1 billion Christians (33 percent of the world population) listen.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is current spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors and a manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion. His monastic education commenced at the age of six years. In 1959, at the age of 23, he took his final examination at Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple, which he passed with honours and was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest-level Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks, roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. When he spreads a message, 376 million Buddhists (six percent of the world population) listen.

Rabbi Harold Samuel Kushner is one of the very prominent rabbis aligned with the progressive wing of Conservative Judaism. He served as the long-time congregational rabbi of Temple Israel of Natick, Massachusetts, for 24 years and belongs to the Rabbinical Assembly. Kushner was educated at Columbia University and later obtained his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1960. The same institution awarded him a doctoral degree in the Bible in 1972.

He has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taught at Clark University and the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and received six honorary doctorates.

Kushner is the author of a best-selling book “When Bad things Happen to Good People”. Kushner has written a number of other popular theological books, such as “How Good Do We Have to Be?”, “To Life!”, “Living a Life That Matters”, “The Lord Is My Shepherd”, among others. He co-edited “Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary”, the new official Torah commentary of the Conservative Movement, which was published in 2001 by the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society. When he delivers his sermon, 14 million Jews (0.22 percent of the world population) listen.

Atheism, in a broader sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. Its growth in the US has touched around 20 percent, thus becoming the fastest growing non-religious segment of the US. Late Christopher Eric Hitchens, an atheist, was an English-American author and journalist, whose writing and journalistic career spans more than four decades. He was educated at the independent Leys School in Cambridge and then later at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics. He had been published as a columnist and literary critic in “The Atlantic”, “Vanity Fair”, “Slate, World Affairs” and “Free Inquiry”, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution think-tank. In 1995, he was voted as the world’s fifth top public intellectual in a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll. What he wrote impacted the lives of 1.1 billion non-religious/atheists (16 percent of the world population).

It is not difficult to comprehend why people listen to these fellows. They are all educated in their respective domains and when they speak, they seem to talk sense to their listeners and believers, backed by very sound knowledge of the subject.

Here, no one cares to listen, for the impact of knowledge coming out from individuals full of hollowness and ignorance is pathetically deficient in substance. And the ones who do listen to them are consumed by selective interpretations of the Holy Quran, which in most of the cases is quoted out of context.

It seems we as a nation have made a choice to live in perpetual ignorance. Voices of religious sanity have already been silenced by the fanatic elements. The stage is now set for only two actors; the “fundamentalists” and the “enlightened” forward-looking Muslims. Both are driven by self-interests with no orientation towards spreading what was actually revealed by God. We cannot expect much from these misdirected souls; however, the least they can do is to at least stop using religion as a weapon to achieve their worldly ambitions.

The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan  Engineering Council and senior international editor for IT Insight Magazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.