Towards Greater Unity!

22800371_3aa694cc98_z

[Source]

The world is as bitter as we perceive it to be and it can be as sweet as we dream it to be. It is just a matter of perception. The latter however, inspires goodness, action and faith.

Facebook, Blogoshpere, Twitter and all these social media has brought humanity together. Now we are more able to understand the feeling, emotions and thoughts about each other. And I am very happy to know that mostly we are together. The morals we share, the boundaries we have for each other, the love that resides within; all points towards a Greater Unity (GU). This GU is something integrating all our suffering, all our pleasures, all our sorrowness, all our merriment and all our knowledge. There is no third world, or first world; developed or under developed; democratic or socialist; these are just emotions that reside in everybody. There are some who hold on dear to something that the other thinks is not that important. But all these concepts and -isms just tends to make us divided but with ease in global consciousness and global communication, these things are fading away. I hope that we move on towards this GU and make this world a better place to spent in the so little time we have.

The reason for this GU are found in our own self. Iqbal said:

The world-life intuitively sees its own needs, and at critical moments defines its own direction. This is what, in the language of religion, we call prophetic revelation. It is only natural that Islam should have flashed across the consciousness of a simple people untouched by any of the ancient cultures, and occupying a geographical position where three continents meet together. The new culture finds the foundation of world-unity in the principle of Tawhid (Oneness of God). 5 The word literally means to exert. In the terminology of Islamic law it means to exert with a view to form an independent judgement on a legal question. The idea, I believe, has its origin in a well-known verse of the Qur’an– “And to those who exert Islam, as a polity, is only a practical means of making this principle a living factor in the intellectual and emotional life of mankind. It demands loyalty to God, not to thrones. And since God is the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to God virtually amounts to man’s loyalty to his own ideal nature. The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a conception of Reality must reconcile, in its life, the categories of permanence and change.

– Iqbal in Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam

I face many criticisms on these ideas. Most popular are the ideas of End of the world. That all things are bound to go wrong because the end is near. The other is of conspiracy theorists who claim that there are few secret societies who are actually controlling the minds of the people. These theories are all full of pessimistic attitudes and inspire me to do nothing. This is the biggest flaw I find in them.

Conflict of the ages

We need freedom from the conflict between orthodoxy and modernism. We need freedom that resonates vitality in a society and an individual. One of the most visible barrier for this freedom is this conflict.

A slave’s heart is dead, frustrated and never sees the light of hope;
A free man’s heart is alive, full of zest and happiness.

A free man’s wealth, a shining heart and warm breath,
that of slave, only moist eyes.

[Source]

Modernity and orthodoxy have been in conflict over many ages. Still they go hand in hand. Both have many names and many forms. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, rights of women, logical positivism, are some of the things that constitute modernity. While, tradition, cultural conformity, social conformity, caste conformity, moral code of conduct, are some of the common names that are given to conformism.

It is an observable fact in Pakistan that people who are modern, tend to be free from social conformism and are likely to adopt lifestyle of their own accord. These people however, do not have any regard for religion. To them religion is a chain that restricts their so called ‘freedom’, they will speak with fervor against all the negatives of mullaism (traditional Muslim scholars) and they will go to lengthy debates about how religion has restricted all the development. If they have any religious associations they tend to keep that to themselves. They are supporters of everything new and all the imports from the Western world are their benchmark of quality and culture. They are usually more educated than other classes of Pakistan and their education has been in English medium schools. It is amazing that they condemn the very culture they are a part of. Few of these people hold true to their claims as they themselves become enslaved by the cultural inferiority complex and are constantly looking to evade anything that belongs to their own culture. Morality for them is nothing except freedom from all tradition. They hold sacred every scientific theory and are prone to knowledge of prophets of modernity; Freud, Nietzsche , Marx, Darwin etc.

The orthodox have their own ways of thinking, although, they are in majority, they live in fears, fear of people, fear of society, fear of poverty, fear of non-conformity. They constantly endeavor to make their lives according to their social construct and they are always ahead of defining tradition and convention by which ancestors of their ancestors lived by. They have strong moral standards which they impose on their children forcefully. They will, many a times ignore the moral dis-integrity of the society but still hold on to what people are thinking about them. They are actually living the life of the society and not their own. These people have medium level education. They have utmost regard for molvis and they celebrate all the religious rites. In their regard for everything sacred they usually do not want to hear a word against it. They are strict in their following of their sect. They do not remain neutral in religious debates rather they will detach from those in family who change their religious associations. For them sacredness of tradition and convention is all the morality.

Iqbal says about freedom:

3

The juniper in the garden is free as well as chained to the soil
You should acquire freedom within these constraints!

[Source]

Truth lies somewhere in between, it is in the grey area. Humans are humans because they have control over their material urges. This control enables them to explore new possibilities. This controlled freedom or ‘growth of chained juniper’ is the freedom that can balance things out in this world. We need growth, we need freshness and innovation, but all this has to be achieved within the moral boundaries that ensure social development and growth. Truth cannot be utter freedom from all that is old, and it cannot be complete following of the old. True freedom is holding on to the fervor of growth while remembering moralities of the society. I would love to have your comments on this.

Misfits!

odd_one_out_by_da_answer

[Image Source]

The juniper in the garden is free as well as chained to the soil

You should acquire freedom within these constraints!

Phool, Bang-edra, Iqbal

Society has its own ways we are taught. Bold and the beautiful are always admired, every society yearns for those who are the prodigy of its social consciousness. For us these are the engineers, doctors and business men. The high achievers, high salaried people who are seen as the pinnacle of our society. If you are among them it is good and your every thought, your every activity is admired. As long as you stick to this it is fine, as soon as you start deviating, those who were with you will be looking with disgust at you. Those who were your buddies will go away, your parents, your relatives will disown you. Why? Because you are a misfit, you are someone who said I am going to discover life on my own.

Society is judged by the way it treats the misfits. If you are asking to quit your profession and start up a business you are a misfit, if you want to marry according to your own wishes you are a misfit, even if you want to marry before your elder sibling you are a misfit. In some circles, even if you are having a beard you are a misfit, you are wearing a hijab you are a misfit. If you are opting to study according to your desires you are a misfit. In my experience, I have heard stories about people from all these misfits. If you desire to have a simple wedding you are a misfit, if you are not going to demand dowry from in-laws you are a misfit. The list goes on and on and on . . . . .

Freedom and patience is needed in every society i believe. We have to play an enabling role. We have to altruistically love everyone. We have to stop judging. We have to make this society free from all such dogmas and traditions and chains that it is imposing. People’s lives are involved, families are involved but we in our own ego, fail to see all this. We have to revamp our behaviors and our attitudes for those who think otherwise. Because it will be an oppression of the highest order. This freedom is needed for an individual to think freely about all the possibilities that his potential self can achieve. This freedom is not haphazard, it is not crazy but an organized thoughtful quest of living one’s own life. Our society must be supportive of this freedom. Instead of making misfits, psychos, we have to make humans human.

When, therefore, it is said that the interests of Islam are superior to those of the Muslim, it is meant that the interests of the individual as a unit are subordinate to the interests of the community as an eternal symbol of the Islamic principle. This is the only principle which limits the liberty of the individual, who is otherwise absolutely free. The best form of Government for such a community would be democracy, the ideal of which is to let man develop all the possibilities of his nature by allowing him as much freedom as practicable.

Iqbal in Islam as Moral and Political Ideal, 1909

Conviction of love

Love is the Space and the Creation, Love is Time and Earth!
Love is conviction entire, and conviction is the key!

The luxury of destination is forbidden in the religion of Love;
Fighting the storms is permitted, but the comfort of the shore is forbidden;

Iqbal

Read More

Love Conquers the world (محبت فاتح عالم)

I thought of contemporary love as a feeling of deception that you have for somebody, enslaving you to inferior desires. It was not until I read عشق کے پانچ درجے by Khurram Ali Shafique and discovered Iqbal through his Marghdeen. This change introduced me to that powerful love through which beloved says بتا تیری رضا کیا ہے (What is your wish?).

My original thought was a reflection of the society, a society having boys and girls eager to talk to each other, spending sleepless nights on phone and offering useless gossip about girls/boys in gatherings. It is an ignorant world view to which youth is forced to believe in; this world view of lust, promulgated by media. It is nothing but a means of profiteering from the masses.

Love is much more powerful than all this, it is that curiosity for an infant to take the first steps; it is in those sleepless nights of mother taking care of her child; it is in those scholars who persevere to preach goodness; it is in those martyrs who stand for their countrymen. It is this love  in the universe that holds it all together.

Love is quite a real phenomenon. It exists physically. It is tangible and can be felt and sensed. It can be experienced and then held. It is supreme power of love is that constitutes ‘humanity’ today. It is the foundation of human existence: ‘He placed between you affection and mercy’.

Read More