by Azam Saeed
A society can be measured by the way it treats its powerless and weak — humans or animals. Within the human kind, the list would include minorities, prisoners, women (in societies where their rights aren’t equal), children, the poor, the disabled, etc.
For Muslims, the standard has been set by the Qur’an and the Prophet (pbuh). For our normative stance, we need look no further.
For example, the covenants the Prophet signed for the protection of religious minorities are enthralling and eye-opening. Remember, he extended these guarantees to minorities when he was in power and they were “weak.” On the surface, the Muslims received nothing in return — strength of character is not a function of reciprocity.
Over the last year and a half, my reorientation to Pakistan’s sociopolitical system has left me aghast. Overall, the state and the society have reached a condition of moral depravity that is shockingly abominable.
The moral turpitude we are dealing with is beyond biblical proportions. So much so that the Qur’an does not seem to even have a word describing the evil nature and intensity of this moral bankruptcy. (The societies that the Qur’an condemns seem to be rather pious compared to where we are.)
Surprisingly, my evaluation places the main blame not on corrupt politicians, but two other defrauding groups. They happen to be the self-appointed brokers (ٹھیکیدار) of national security and religious security.
The responsibility ultimately falls upon the citizenry, especially the educated class. The time has come for us to break the idols they have created for us, and hold them accountable.
No doubt, under the guidance of these two tricksters, we have acquired immense self-righteousness. But these doyens of national and religious identity never clarified to us that self-righteousness is not the same thing as righteousness. The two, as the Qur’an implies, may in fact be mutually exclusive.
In the hands of these hoaxer factions, we have mangled not only our concepts of justice and society. The society has also gravely and grotesquely sacrificed its very moral compass.
And yet, I am hopeful. Very hopeful.
My inspiration comes from those who have thrown away their denial and delusion. And those who have become part of the struggle.
The sacrifices of some are monumental. But every sacrifice matters; none is too small when the goal is the restructuring of a system of massive injustice and moral degeneracy.
Some in the struggle are acquaintances of mine. Friends or strangers, they all inspire me and give me strength.
Allah does not disappoint those who sincerely fight for justice (for all, not just for their own selves). Our struggle will bear fruit one day — the darkness will dissipate, and the sun will rise. InshaAllah.
Participation in the effort, however, is our individual and collective duty.
May I count on you as part of the struggle?