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Religion, the tool

Published May 29, 2013 03:28pm


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enter image description here When a religious scholar asks you not to vote for a party because he thinks it is a Jewish lobby, and the only proof he is able to offer is his own “righteousness”, you know you live in a society where religion has become a tool.

From extremists up north claiming democracy is unislamic to political leaders issuing decrees as per their will, we are past the time where we felt the need to back religious instructions with concrete proof from the Quran or Ahadith. It angers me that a religion best understood through study of scripture is used as collateral by people who do not reference any ayat or hadith when preaching and imposing their version of Islam. Instead, they leave the bewildered, terrified awaam more confused, passing fatwas left and right without verifying where Islam and their personal opinions diverge.

As for us, the believers, we find it hard to distinguish between Islamic laws and statements made by people that may have no religious base.

We live in a society where women do not understand that they have the right to inherit property or ask for divorce in an unhappy marriage, because our religious leaders may say otherwise. They back it up by calling their opinion the will of Islam.

We are surrounded by extremist groups who term Shia followers non-Muslims without quoting where they derive this ‘Islamic’ inspiration. They wreak havoc in our cities and homes and citizens who have coexisted in peace for years fear for their lives due to religious affiliation.

We see our lawyers applaud and revere a murderer who walks into court because he killed a political leader challenging the blasphemy laws. The fact that all ruthless killing and similar inhumanities should be condemned is lost upon them and their supporters.

Worst of all, we read through our Arabic holy scripture without learning the language or referencing the translations. We complete our Qurans, often without comprehending what any of the words we pronounced faithfully actually meant, not only breeding but encouraging further ignorance.

We do not consider ourselves qualified enough to investigate what Islam has to say on an individual basis. And as we surrender to ‘leaders’ who do not reference written Islamic teachings in their religious judgments or live by the rules they endorse, we are in danger of never knowing what our faith really stands for.

Is it any wonder that people around us use Islam as their crutch to edge us farther away from becoming an equitable, fair, democratic society?

This country was founded with religion as its centripetal, uniting force so that people could learn and practice religion freely. But using Islam as a stage for political agendas or blatant intolerance is unacceptable and we need to confront this as a nation.

There is a severe lack of symmetry between living as a Muslim in an Islamic republic and not knowing what Islam actually says because we follow leaders, not teachings. It is this imbalance that has spiraled out of control. We are so busy worrying about securing a spot in heaven by listening to the Maulanas that we watch in silence as the Christian’s home is burnt to ash and the Ahmadi is politically and socially isolated. In our haste to cocoon ourselves with Islam and our scholars, we have forgotten that Muslim or not, the minorities of this country are still Pakistanis, and above all, humans with the right to live and worship freely. Are we a barbaric, careless society? I don’t think so. Are we a clueless, confused nation that looks to political leaders and extremists for religious instruction? The answer is evident around us.

Religion in Pakistan is no longer a private, spiritual experience, something everyone is expected to independently study and interpret before propagating beliefs. It is an open casket in the middle of a public square that people can toss their ill-founded, unverified views into, abusing the fact that their words may be taken as the Divine rule.

This use of religion to gain ulterior motives must stop if we are ever going to feel safe again. It is human instinct to guard the faith we come from and live according to its tenets. But before doing what our ‘religious leaders’ ask us to do, we need to stop and question the teachings that are shoved down our throats. There is a reason we, as Muslims were given Islamic teachings in writing. We need to stopliving with our eyes and minds closed for fear of committing religious offence and have enough accountability to investigate what Islam really says to us before we construct our lives around it.

Author Image
Areeba is an alumna and former employee of Nixor College, where she served as Director for the student-run NGO, House of Dreams Community Welfare Society. She is currently studying International Relations at Mount Holyoke College, USA.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (118) Closed

David Thompson May 29, 2013 04:05pm

It would seem like life would be a lot better without religion at all. What a challenging way to live and think.

Maryam May 29, 2013 04:07pm

In Pakistan religion has been used as a tool to gain power and conduct politics, nothing else.

Girish Pathak May 29, 2013 04:17pm

The author is brilliant and genuine. Most of the Islamic population of India or Pakistan the situation is same. Religion has to be only a tool for personal spiritual upliftment. If one gets uplifted spiritually, crosses the boundaries of religions.

Girish Pathak May 29, 2013 04:17pm

The author is brilliant and genuine. Most of the Islamic population of India or Pakistan the situation is same. Religion has to be only a tool for personal spiritual upliftment. If one gets uplifted spiritually, crosses the boundaries of religions.

Francis Higgins May 29, 2013 04:21pm

An excellent article. I profess to being Christian, but the same can be said in relation to the Christian Faith. The Bible advocates cutting off that member of the body which causes you to 'sin', "pluck out your eye" etc. BUT this was not meant in a literal sense, it was stressed in this way such that the 'enormity' of our 'sin' could be understood. In fact, self disfigurement itself, as suicide, is considered sinful. Most sin being as acts against our fellow human beings. The Creator is more than capable of looking after his own name.

Misbaur Rahman May 29, 2013 04:31pm

I do agree with the writer of this article that we should not mix politics with religion. She has express her views nicely. It is high time all people must respect others religion and we should be tolerant to each other so that we can live in this world peacefully.

C Roy May 29, 2013 05:15pm

You spoke... we heard... what next?... is there someone to disturb this "sound of silence"

Faraz Ahmad May 29, 2013 05:20pm

Reading fell quite easy. Good article. Thanks. May 29, 2013 05:22pm

One of the best articles about contemporary society and current affairs in Pakistan. I am saving and forwarding it to my kids, relatives and friends. Thanks, Areeba.

TAM May 29, 2013 05:24pm

What a splendid article.

Areeba, you so eloquently spoke my mind, heart and eternal soul's feelings.

By living in a non-Islamic country, one WILL routinely see symmetry between Islam and its teachings as strangely practised by the inhabitants of those countries which we so arrogantly refer as infidels.

Hence "Are we a clueless, confused nation that looks to political leaders and extremists for religious instruction? " - Yes and to many more.

seedoo May 29, 2013 05:41pm

The answer lies in separating religion from the state machinery and level the playing field. It will also help if muslims stop looking at everything thorugh the prism of religion and start using common sense, instead of turning to their religious leaders for fatwas on everything

a.k.lal May 29, 2013 05:45pm

hi friend---your country is in fifteenth century going to fourteenth.sad

CrankShaft May 29, 2013 05:50pm

Good post! Most blogs suffer from losing coherence as authors go on rants and diverge from their main points but the author does very well in defining a clear hypothesis and then hammering home the point and coming to a clear conclusion.

Well Written and structured article. Keep it up Areeba!

Dani May 29, 2013 06:07pm

Very well written, completely agree. Our people involve religion in everything, from cricket to marriage to every single thing. Call each other Kafir, don't respect other people's beliefs. Some people even support Taliban. Even our so-called educated lawyers showered petals on a killer named Mumtaz Qadri. Such people disgust me. May God help them.

Goldy May 29, 2013 06:39pm

A nicely written article. It is a tug of war between the real n fake practitioners of the religion.

Bushra May 29, 2013 06:51pm

We lost the battle before it even began when Pakistan Muslim League under Jinnah's leadership employed local maulvis to use Islam into persuading people into supporting Pakistan's creation. Any country founded on such unbelievable confusion where the founder calls for a secular Pakistan while speaking at the constituent assembly and talks about laying foundations on "true Islamic ideals and principles" in another address. He used Islam as a political tool and opened the door for everyone else to follow. Ironically, Pakistan would not have existed had he not done just that. So yes, the precedent goes way way back than Fazlur Rehman saying it is haram to vote for Imran Khan.

malik May 29, 2013 07:26pm

Very well written, a majority of us know this but who will bell the cat.

touseef May 29, 2013 07:33pm

@C Roy: we first acknowledge the problem.

Tabdeeli May 29, 2013 08:07pm

Very Nice. You spoke my heart

Jawwad May 29, 2013 08:14pm

You touched upon us being careless and barbaric society pretty much sums up. Muslim or not, you need to understand what constitute Pakistanis. This is the land that has been plundered and conquered by passing empires from Alexander to Mongols to Mughals to Afghan invaders. Interestingly, this is land where several major religions had been practiced at one time or another. People's understanding of distant religions have been built upon narratives and was never translated into local languages this is why you see hybrid versions of religions practiced. Look where Turkey stands today as a Muslim nation.

BRR May 29, 2013 08:38pm

In an otherwise interesting article, the writer injects an unsubstantiated statement - "It is human instinct to guard the faith we come from and live according to its tenets." This is not true - and there is no proof of that. The word instinct refers to natural responses without necessarily involving a thought processes. I don't think hating others for dissent, or just fr having a different opinion, is human instinct.

Nafisa May 29, 2013 09:10pm

Areeba, you have pinpointed the root cause of our problem as Pakistani and as a Muslim in general. The Holy Quran is for everyone to understand. There are repeatedly mentioned verses in Quran that ask believers to look around, ponder over things and knowing their worth. The teaching of Quran is of pluralism, living a moral life while establishing a Just society. Our Ulemas on the other hand, tell people that they cannot understand Quran on their own, they need to rely on these "professional" imams to get guidance. Our Imams and so called scholars turned politicians have no knowledge about Islam and they just use religion to further their influence. It is time that people realize their own worth and seek guidance from the book of God themselves and stop relying on others to guide them.

Asif May 29, 2013 09:24pm

The writer has become delusional and has no idea on what Islam is and the importance of it. As people become desperate to get acceptance from their western friends and want them to be accepted among that crowd, they start to do Islam bashing! What a non-sense.

Raina PL May 29, 2013 10:02pm

I agree with Areeba. I understand her feelings because we both live in USA where religion does not take a front seat in our dealings with fellow humans. I wish Muslims all over world listen to her.Thanks

dinesh May 29, 2013 10:32pm

@Misbaur Rahman: genuine comment from the heart, but a little too late...the problem started in the 7th century and there was no one to stop it.

Ruhul Ameen Yousufzai May 29, 2013 10:43pm

@C Roy: Grim and hopeless situation in present day Pakistan. Albeit, the million dollar question is how can the genie, released by General Zia, be returned to the bottle. Nonetheless, great article..worth saving and spreading to others.

Ruhul, USA

Mohammad Adam Khan May 29, 2013 10:42pm

"Character would be your last religion".

Khalid May 29, 2013 10:59pm

All our problems are linked to religion:

1) We are expected to wear religion on our sleeve and we have to do it because not doing it will exclude us from the society. 2) We do not respect any other religion/sect other than our own. 3) The biggest problem we have are talibans and they are killing Pakistanis every day. No one is willing to discuss their role in our society openly. Have you seen any discussion on TV where politicians clarify the reasons for supporting Talibans?. 4) I wish Pakistanis wake up and realise that the world is moving forward and unfortunately we are running fast backwards. 5) I think we should only worry about one thing "EDUCATION" and everything else will take care of itself.

Mansoor May 29, 2013 11:00pm

Smart and well written. My Mother who is now 83 often talks about living under the British Raj. What amazes me about her narrations is the incredible diversity. She talks about having neighbours who were Hindu, Sikhs, Christians and every stripe of Muslim. She's says it was not perfect by any means but there was peace and safety. The British kept law and order. After independence her narrations change. Being Ahmadi and living through the events of 1953 in Lahore changed everything. There is fear and mistrust in her words about post partition Pakistan. She left Pakistan in 1955 and only returned a couple of times to visit relatives. She became Canadian in the early sixties. When asked about her nationality she replies "I am Canadian". She has never thought of herself as Pakistani. Ms. Areeba is right in saying, In our haste to cocoon ourselves with Islam and our scholars, "we have forgotten that Muslim or not, the minorities of this country are still Pakistanis, and above all, humans with the right to live and worship freely." Quaid-e-Azam understood this and lectured the citizens of the newly created nation on this very concept in his first post independence speech.

haris May 29, 2013 11:13pm

@Misbaur Rahman: "I do agree with the writer of this article that we should not mix politics with religion."

If you really get this then I am afraid you haven't got a clue what the author has tried to say.

Naseer May 29, 2013 11:16pm

It is good to read some one say the truth honestly and openly. The so called religious organisations are nothing but a political party. They use the name of Islam to farther their own agenda. They are only after power, they have nothing to do with Islam. Islam is truly a religion of peace. This is the first religion that gave rights to women. Fourteen hundred years ago, no religion accepted the women's rights, Islam did. Fourteen hundred years ago, no one accepted the POW rights, yet our beloved prophet (SAWW) gave very precise instructions about how to deal with the prisoners captured during the war of Badr. It is sad that because of these people who use the name of Islam for their benefit alone, Islam is regarded as a religion of cruelty and ignorance. Our prophet (SAWW) is insulted mainly because Islam is seen as a religion of violence due to the acts of these so called Islamic organisation.

RAKESH VAID May 29, 2013 11:22pm

AREEBA JI very well said and well written I hope you understand that half cooked food always gives you heart burn .. Pakistan in my opinion can never grow to its full potential until and unless it adopts secularism and that does not mean "ladineeyat" in any way .. I am sure you are enjoying complete religious freedom in US but do you think religious minorities in Pakistan are enjoying same freedom. they ( minorities including shias and ahmadiya etc ) are constantly living under the fear of blasphemy laws . God Bless Pakistan

David Thompson May 29, 2013 11:40pm

It sounds like a horrible way to live. You do know that there is no evidence for a god. You can free yourself from those chains and live a happy ethical life.

malik May 29, 2013 11:41pm

There is need for serious reformation just like the Christians did when they got sick and tired of these religious ulemas. We need to treat religion as individual matter and stop inviting these ulemas in every petty dispute.

TR May 30, 2013 12:06am

People must understand there are MANY ISLAMS. We should respect and tolerate each sect within.

JDL May 30, 2013 12:08am

Good article, but it would be more impactful if the writer quoted actual verses from the Quran that support her point, e.g. that safeguard the rights of women and minorities. Having not read the Quran myself, the leaders she refers to clearly have the masses under their sway with their self-serving interpretations.

Parvez May 30, 2013 12:16am

Strong stuff, well written..........but most of this is already known. What is left to guess work is how will this progress and end ? My view is that when violence is used and people killed to achieve an end using religion to justify this, then religion is being abused and the logical outcome is that it will implode on itself. Religion in its true sense is universal and will survive but what impact will this have on us as a people is again left to guess work.

Laeeq,NY May 30, 2013 12:38am

Lack of religious knowledge in our muslims society has made them dependent of Mullahs for all their religious needs. As long as they stay ignorant of their religion, our religious leaders will keep taking advantage of their ignorance. Our problems of extremism can solve, once we take control of our beliefs. This can only be achieved if we start reading Quran and Hadith of our selves and read translation of of it to understand true meaning of our religion. As long as we are dependent on these so called religious scholars, we will never be able to differentiate in right and wrong.

Dr. Al Khan May 30, 2013 12:44am

Areeba has the spirit of Quaide Azam who advised Pakistani Mussalmans to be Pakistanis first and not get bogged down in sectarianism as many of the Mullahs in Pakistan seem to be doing.....see Quaid's address to the Pak Constituent Assembly.

Congratulations and God Bless, Areeba.

Mubarak May 30, 2013 12:52am

Excellent article depicting the realities that most of Muslims seems to ignore. Knowledge and investigation were the key pillars during the Golden Age of Islam. As Europe rose from the dark ages, Muslim fell into the dark ages and have not recovered yet. Muslims have the same potential as American, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. By speaking out, we can do our part.

MSR May 30, 2013 02:33am

Areeba - the Moderate Mullah! Very nice and thought provoking piece. Thanks.

Salman Khalid May 30, 2013 02:49am

Excellent article!

Bill Hicks May 30, 2013 02:58am

There is a reason we, as Muslims were given Islamic teachings in writing.

Areeba, I encourage you to read the translation of Quran and Hadith, it will not make things any better. Just take equality of women as an example.

Quran (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"

Bukhari (6:301) - "[Muhammad] said, 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?' They replied in the affirmative. He said, 'This is the deficiency in her intelligence.'"

So what's the solution? Richard Dawkins puts it quite nicely:

syama May 30, 2013 04:43am

Is it okay for you if these so-called decrees are supported with evidence from Quran or the Ahadith?! At some point, we should stand up to the actual issue and declare "Lets stop pretending that religion is the solution to everything." If religion should be a private, spiritual experience, should the debate in the public sphere be centred around the constitution?

shriza May 30, 2013 07:12am

@Parvez: the problem is not that most of these facts are not known, but the problem is that these aspects are not accepted and acknowledged and more than that; not renounced practically.

Kausik May 30, 2013 07:37am

excellent introspective article and congratulate Dawn for publishing.She is not saying anything new that Maulana Azad predicted in 1946.from the time Pakistan changed to Islamic republic and declaring Ahmadias as non Muslims by passing laws and the to top it Blasphemy law regarded as barbaric by rest of the world as unbecoming of a nuclear powered country.The author shows confusion and does not understand that if we all follow what is written in scriptures we end up killing each other so we all need to learn peaceful coexistence by restoring rights of minorities.Pakistan has to write new laws replacing the hateful old laws that is real courage May 30, 2013 07:47am

An excellent write-up.


Jari May 30, 2013 09:38am

Great article, time now is to separate religion from politics. Mr Nawaz sharif has such a mandate that he can change this country to positive by being inclusive as a Pakistani not as Islamist. He should make Pakistan as a reformed state not Islamic state and strip off all the laws made by dictator Zia.

RPN May 30, 2013 09:58am

Excellent article!!! We are really a confused nation who do not have a central powerful religious leaders....All the moulvis give their own interpretation and we follow blindly....Quran is not comprehended rather is rote learnt...I question why? Arabic should be tuaght as lanuge as urdu and english are taught in schools, this way students shoudl be enabled to read Quran by understading it. I agree with each point of the article. Great on having the courage to voice it out.

Ram Krishan Sharma May 30, 2013 10:20am

@TAM: Dear TAM , Did you ever get a chance to read the Old Testament ( Jewish holy Book) or the New Testament ( Christian holy Book) ? you will find that All the prophets of Jews are the same as for Muslims and the Islamic teaching is derived from the Torah , but surprisingly these days Jews and Christians behave like Hindus and Budhists.

EQ8Rhomes May 30, 2013 10:55am

@Dr. Al Khan: Mr. M.A. Jinnah was an Indian who championed the creation of Pakistan, and became a Pakistani, No? When exactly was Islam a private matter for Muslims in India or Pakistan? Pakistan was created for Muslims who feared ill-treatment by Hindus in India upon independence. So Pakistanis take it literally, having removed by force, Hindus from Pakistan. Hindus were in what became Pakistan before Pakistan became Pakistan! Anyone one who speaks up for non-Mulsims in Pakistan is threatened or killed by fanatics. A first step for Pakistani obsession with Mullahism is secular education, what Areeba Kamal is getting in the USA. Where are the Islamic real scholars and their opinions? We only hear from those who use religion as a tool of self- aggrandizement and oppression.

Bash May 30, 2013 11:19am

Areeba has done an excellent job of capturing a critical issue in this short blog. More folks need to step forward to openly express their dismay of what is going on in today's Pakistan. This should help strengthen people belief that what they hear from these so called righteious religious leaders. Our Pakistanis are smart enough and the proof is that they paid no attention to the Maulana's fatwar and elected PTI into power in KP.

It is shameful for us to witness that a murder of a political leader was showered with rose petals when brought to the court. As I said before, more folks neet to step forward and challenge ever spreading ignorance all around us more so in language (Urdu) that most of our vulnerable fellow citizens understand.

Thanks a million for a job well done!!!

Muhammad Nasir Khattak May 30, 2013 11:23am

Ms Areeba we agree with your views but it is a known fact. I belong to an area where the assembly seat is won by JUI. But one thing is to kept in mind that the peoples of area loves Islam and as you say surely they are following leaders on the name of Islam but unfortunately no serious efforts by anyone is done to teach the real Islam with connection to modern sciences. This is a wide gap and the only responsible is our educated people that why the chair of this leadership is given into the hands of mullahs. We must read and understand the Quran and explains to the people .When the people is given the reference of Quran and try to make their mind with true spirit of Islam , the whole scenario can be potentially reversed in a positive manner. You can see the difference that why the people has voted to PTI and JUI only get the seats of those area where the people are simple and innocent. I m trying to establish such a modern school in that area and needs the help of those to give me hands in completion of this mission. As ALLAH (SWT) says that

Ramesh May 30, 2013 11:24am

Religion is like expired medicines. It is not useful in modern days. It was useful in olden days when science, technology, civil life, laws, communication was not developed.

In modern days Religions are not that important.

Democracy, capitalism, constitution, laws, businesses, technology gives better life to society than following religions.

Better to dump religions and follow what is good for yourself and your people around.

HR May 30, 2013 11:30am

@malik: My friend you're confusing ulemas with mullahs. The proper ulemas with proper islamic knowledge dont run around on streets holding party flags or give speeches abt killing the infidels. If you have met any you will know that they are truly peaceful people.

As for the author, your hearts nearly in the right place but you need to study the religion too. Sincerely!

As for the rest of the people saying we need to study Islam on our own you guys are almost correct. We do need to study Islam on our own but with a teacher. A good teacher. And whatever you study you need to verify it. This is what the Quran has to say about the political mullahs who misuse the Quran:

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 10 Surah Yunus verses 69-70: 69 Say: "Those who invent a lie against Allah will never prosper." 70 A little enjoyment in this world! and then to Us will be their return. Then shall We make them taste the severest Penalty for their blasphemies.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 79: Then woe to those who write The Book with their own hands, and then say,

VINOD May 30, 2013 11:50am

It is easy to become a preacher or maulana than being a scientics,accountant or a hard working farmer.

Fida May 30, 2013 12:02pm

You have truly expressed the bitter truth about our society. Today instead of moving towards light and development our society is swiftly moving towards extremism, fundamentalism and darkness. People must abandon personality follow-up and search a true path for themselves and seek the true teachings and knowledge of Islam.

iqbal carrim May 30, 2013 12:55pm

A very succint essay.In this age of intensive information and communication, we just cannot let some half baked mullahs with limited knowledge to possess our minds.Else, we will have a hard time to explain things to our children and grand children and convince them.

Rajesh May 30, 2013 01:06pm

@Asif: Because actions speak louder than words

Abdul Hafeez Aaqulani May 30, 2013 01:48pm

@Areeba! The article is just rotating around that why our scholars and religious teachers are not regarding and obeying the written instructions, wherein the issue is addressed. ,The question arises that, even if, as to whether, they propagate the written stuff, how can you be sure that, it will be in the betterment of subjectives. The weapon is not itself bad, the intention behind, harnessing the weapon, is dangerous, so my opinion is, they just propagate things and stuff which is not contradictory to their will they just maneuver the same in accordance to their desires. Conclusively, the tool of the religion is to be separated from state apparatus and as well as person's individual life, then it could be ensured that the religion is a personal thing not a collective responsibility, since we do not have any mechanism to measure the consensus opinion about any part of the Islamic teaching, every one is interpreting in his own observations and regarding it with the affiliation where he is bound, which should be noted.

ishtiaq ahmad May 30, 2013 02:00pm

Islam is not limited to bedroom or only for clerical job(marriage, etc). If we want to be viewed as modern then apply islam in all spectrum of life and give Islam a chance then its ideas are as brilliant as anything possible.

AKHTER May 30, 2013 02:41pm

I strongly agree with Areeba.She has enlighted carefully the mystery of our society. Some religious lucarative people are mistreating the interests of innocent people over their personal interests under the cloak of rligion.I hope Miss Areeba will again keep us aware of such so called mystries of our society which are crippling the masses.

Riaz Ahmad May 30, 2013 03:15pm

Your religious leaders, like their political counterparts are in the game for money. Honest leaders lead their followers on to the streets to fight peacefully against injustice, corruption, human rights, and major issues of the day. Your corrupt and fake religious leaders pass comical fatwas instead. Only ignorant morons follow these equally ignorant and fake religious leaders. What more proof do you need, TTP and other armed religious barbarians are a product of religious leaders and their seminaries.

P.Mishra May 30, 2013 05:09pm

@Naseer:I fully agree with you.

ahsan May 30, 2013 05:18pm

Beautiful...views expressed are sharp and clear...makes snese...awakes minds...and educates !

Mishra May 30, 2013 05:28pm

May be read Gita, you might understand Sanskrit little more than Arabic.

Singh May 30, 2013 06:11pm

So well written and said. These Mullahs and for that religious preachers of all the religion have become nothing but travel agents dishing out one way ticket to heaven as it cost nothing. It is easier to become a Mullahs or self style religious preacher than Scientist, Doctor, Engineer or Accountant.

mansoor May 30, 2013 06:37pm

to me i think we follow our culture and customs more than our religion that is where out fault lies, we need to stop following cultures and just simply stick to the religion.

tariq shaikh May 30, 2013 07:07pm

The Blasphemy law must be done away with.Allah's name and his Prophet (PBUH) cannot be degraded because someone said or did something. This is a political tool.

Karachi Wala May 30, 2013 08:31pm


Where do you see Islam bashing?

sunny May 30, 2013 08:48pm

If a religion can be misused, misunderstood, misinterpreted then it is not from god. that is the criterionthat you have to apply rigorously. To all religions. And islam fails drastically. Islam is a totalitarian, primitive, arab-imperialist ideology pretending to be a wonderful faith in a single god.

All religions contain fascism in them to some extent. Islam is the worst case. You have to speak out that truth.

Kt May 30, 2013 10:02pm

@Mubarak: All the other that you mentioned are either countries or continent where as Muslims that you mentioned are people who believe in Islam. This is the basic problem of people having Islamic ideology. If this is changed then people from any country can succeed irrespective of their faith and that is the reality of the world today as mentioned by you for those country.

Bas May 30, 2013 10:35pm

@mansoor: I disagree. What needs to be done is that people need to keep religion to themselves and live their lives according to their culture. at the same time the our politics need to upgrade from religious banter to one of sound reason, logic and facts. besides abandoning one's culture creates problems for one's identity.

alixyz May 30, 2013 10:58pm

@David Thompson: I disagree with your opinion.Life is very good if you strictly follow religion in every aspect of life.

Khalid May 31, 2013 12:55am

@Dr. Al Khan: Good to see you mentioned Jinnah in your comments. Jinnah said a lot of things and we have been ignoring them for over 60 years. I wish more people read about Jinnah. He was a genius and never said that we should wear our religion on our sleeve. I really feel sorry for my Christian, Hindu & Sikh Pakistani brothers and sisters. We have not only made our lives hell, we drag them along with us too. What a sorry state of affairs.

Khalid May 31, 2013 12:58am

@mansoor: Our culture and customs are older than our religion.

Deb May 31, 2013 02:51am

@Mubarak:"Muslims have the same potential as American, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. By speaking out, we can do our part." This is where the problems lies. All the people you have compare Muslims with are cultural identities. Be Pakistani first. That will solve 90% of the problem. Religious identities are not at all important in the societal sense at all.

John May 31, 2013 05:44am

Change Islam for most other religions in this piece and you've got the whole world covered.

HR May 31, 2013 10:30am

@VINOD: Mr. Vinod you my friend have just done what an unread person does. You have absolutely no idea what the criteria for preaching in Islam is do you? You can't just get up and go preaching, misquoting or misusing the Quran and Ahadith is forbidden. A true preacher or scholar must be thoroughly educated.

david May 31, 2013 10:39am

Muslim parents force their children to pray five times a day, and they themselves also do not miss a chance to visit mosques. But they also have a very high share of prisoners in the prisons in the west.

david May 31, 2013 10:40am

@mansoor: Muslims are too much obsessed with religion, and that is why they are poor.

david May 31, 2013 10:42am

But before doing what our

Rajiv Kaushal May 31, 2013 11:08am

Article is based on an assumption that mullah dont give a valid reference from the quran or hadith.. well young lady, they do give and justify it.... if you wanted i could give you reference to all the things you mentioned above..

Ram May 31, 2013 11:51am

@David Thompson:

Religion is a 'guide to spirituality' and not to hell as interpreted by Mullahs And without Dharma (wrongly termed as religion) , one would still be ANIMAL ..of TWo legs :-) Like most human beings on earth today

Aneesa Zeb May 31, 2013 11:57am

there are very few people who do not know about religion ,, according to me peoples like mulana Fazal ur Rehman presence in NA has still prevented Pakistan to become a secular state like turkey ,, except elite class of Pakistan who do not know about islam every one wants islam in Pakistan ,, because it was the slogan of indopak muslim "PAKISTAN KA MATLAB KIA LA ILAHA ILLILAH " and i am strongly against people like Imran khan a very immature person , don't know how to speak ,,,,,,,

Punyasloka Pradhan May 31, 2013 12:05pm

The first step in bringing revolution to a society is by appreciating the good and condemning the bad...this is what I found under this discussion from our Pakistan brother..... May Allah help you all turn this ripple into the Tsunami of revolution....

Latif Khan May 31, 2013 12:23pm

A thought provoking article. Over the last 65 years Pakistan was practicing with laws and policies which never went very well with the people of different origins, religion and cultures. In the beginning Mr. Jinnah said the right things but people around him intended to sell their form of religion to masses to save their own skin. Had we followed Mr. Jinnah and got rid of theocracy from the state business from day one, we would have come out clean from the present day's problems. I was grown up with Taliban culture and lived more than twenty years with them. They need secure income as they do not have any industry and facilities in their areas. Pakistan has not done better things for them due to their own corruption .The writer has done a good job by highlighting the element of religion which is not everybody

Taimur Khan May 31, 2013 12:36pm

Unless the modern Muslims can start differentiating between Deen and Religion, the exploitation behind the garb of religion will continue. Through out human history, the basic religious thought has been premised on noble values, aimed at regulating societies and their cultural practices. But as the time passed , it became a tool in the hands of the clergy and the authority(ies) assumed by the religious priest hood. There has always been a nexus between authoritarian rulers and monarchy and the priestly cults, who emerge as the sole adjudicators of all matters that fall in the ambit of religion, thus perpetuating an endless cycle of exploitation and fear psychosis to keep the ignorant and subjugated masses in shackles. In order to rectify this situation, every person who claims to be educated, is beholden to educate himself or herself in the matters of the Deen. It is incumbent upon all educated Muslims to study and imbibe the true meaning and intent of the Quran, in the modern context. Ijtihad or a process of modifying the laws and practices of religion, in light of the basic spirit and injunctions of God Almighty's book becomes an absolute necessity for peace, prosperity, progress and delivering the ordinary human from the strangle hold of the clergy, who have no awareness of the ever expanding horizons of modern knowledge in various fields and their deep ramifications on all aspects of human life. "Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam", the set of lectures delivered by Allama Iqbal on the subject, clearly lay down the philosophy of applying rationality and modifying laws in accordance with the needs of the society as it evolves. In undertaking this onerous responsibility, the State has,of course, to be guided by the spirit and light of the Quranic principles and injunctions, wherein spirit predominates the ritual, a tool used by the clergy to advance their agenda and achieve their goals. I urge all educated Muslims to embark on a journey of understanding for themselves, the demands of their Deen, rather than leave it to the inflexibility and orthodoxy of the religious priest hood.

Gerry D'Cunha May 31, 2013 12:57pm

Believe in One God and worship Him!!! religion is nothing but human rules and traditions - religion has brought more pain and suffering

PW May 31, 2013 01:31pm

@mansoor: Mansoor - Culture defines us everywhere, religion is merely part of your culture. If you are a Pakistani Muslim you will be treated as a subcontinental always. Just an example:- you will be much at ease with a Hindu in London than a Muslim Indonesian or Muslim Chinese or for that matter a Muslim Arab there. Accept your culture gracefully and try to change it for the good and that is realistic. Similarly a Christian Pakistani cannot feel at home in Rome nor is he European you just have to understand and accept that.

Umer May 31, 2013 09:52pm

You forgot to say that now Islam is the only tool left to keep we people enslaved to USA via KSA via this beard brigade. I think majority of us will prefer direct slavery instead.

Umer May 31, 2013 09:50pm

You forgot to say that now Islam is the only tool left to keep we people enslaved to USA via KSA via this beard brigade. I think majority of us will prefer direct slavery instead.

Mustafa Jun 01, 2013 04:22am

Areeba, your article is excellent.

I am extremely happy to see our Muslimah sisters competing with men in every profession in your country America as well as in Canada. This is Islam that is equal opportunity for Muslim men and womem. Masha Allah.

Mustafa Jun 01, 2013 04:35am

@Bill Hicks: Have you ever used your brain to think how a highly mechanised and well-cordinated universe including human body and brain could come into existence by accident or random chance or magic? Therefore the only alternative is the work of an intelligent designer. Darwin never used his brain to think about it. You are also free not to use your brain.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 09:18am

@Gerry D'Cunha: "religion is nothing but human rules and traditions..."

Wow..! You must be smart, very smart. I have yet to figure that out.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 09:44am

@PW: It is best that you talk about yourself and not project your feelings and thoughts onto others. I am almost certain from your comment that you have never been to China, Indonesia, Rome or the Arab world. Probably never to Sydney, Los Angles, Houston, Peking, Katmandu or Atlanta. Or even to London, Toronto or New York.

It is unfair to project your limited experiences and illusions on to others. You have no idea of the peoples and cultures of the world from personal interaction. A Muslim in the most remote of villages anywhere in the World from Congo, to the grandest of megalithic modern cities in the World will be like a long lost brother from another mother when you meet him. Try it some times.It will be one of a the greatest and most pleasent and pleasurable of surprises of your life.

TV and movies are an illusion, brainwashing. Use them as an escape into unreality, not as a measure of truth or facts.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 09:52am

@Taimur Khan:

Well said. In the Deen of Islam there is NO clergy or Pope. Islam is unique in this respect. If Muslims cared to read and reflect on the Noble Qur'an, as they are supposed to, this would become self evident.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 09:56am

@Aneesa Zeb:

The Great Khan is the most enlightened of them all.

Ravi Jun 01, 2013 10:14am

@Ramesh: No use talking about it, Islam is relatively new religion so craze for this religion in their followers is natural. Hinduism is thousands of years old but hindus are still following old outdated caste system in present time and they are not even thinking of disacrding this system rather they keep this tradition intact even after leaving India, abrahmic religions have changed and abolished slavery system long time ago. Hindus are much more fundamentalists and exrremists as far as religious traditions are concerned, even though they lost quite a large percentage of lower caste hindus to other religions due to their misguided fundamentalism. Muslims are adusting to the changed time to some extent and they shall adapt to changed time as the time passes.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:20am

@Rajiv Kaushal:

Please do. I will very much appreciate and look forward to you enlightening us about what the Muslim primary scriptures actually says that has escaped the author and obviously me.


El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:25am


Well said. It opens up the Grace and Unlimited Bounty of Allah...but people disagree without testing its Truth with full sincerity.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:30am

@Karachi Wala:

Right here...or have you not noticed?

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:51am


How so? It is far far more difficult to become a Maulana if at all, than earn a PhD in nuclear physics.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:52am

@Karachi Wala:

Right here.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:55am


Well said. You obviously read and reflect on the Noble Quran...most commenting here are firing blanks. Peace be with you my learned friend.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 10:58am


Spoken like one lost...

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 11:09am


Please know that Mr. M. A. Jinnah was a citizen of the British Empire living in the Subcontinent of India. He defeated the 200year old Empire and contributed to the division of India into Pakistan and Bharat.

The rest of your post is just as misconstrued as the above demonstrated inability to distinguish and differentiate fact from fiction.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 11:19am


The Noble Qur'an is studied and learnt from birth in Muslim homes. This educations begins when the baby is born and the father or an uncle recites/whispers the 'Azan' gently into the baby's ear. This is the first sound it hears in this world...

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 11:48am


Declaring Ahmadies as non-Muslims was only a formality. For example: I can not call my self a Christian if I do not believe that Christ Jesus is Divine, a fundamental requirement to be a Christian. And I cannot call myself a Hindu if I refuse the Trinity of Brahma, Krishna, and Vishnu. I can not say that an orange and an apple are the same if I don't want to be considered insane.

Ahmadies do not believe in the fundamental tenet of Islam and belief of Muslims. In addition they repudiate the Cross and propagate that their top priest is the direct descendent of Jesus by blood. So they are equal opportunity offenders, and disbelievers by their own definition and choosing are not Muslims. No one else made them so. I invite and welcome an Ahmadi reader, or anyone else, to deny and refute my statement

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 12:48pm

@David Thompson:

Yes there is. And all the chains of the world crumble into dust when you experience that truth for yourself. There no substitute for that moment epiphany.

A man born blind can never be explained the rainbow. There is NO evidence for it...for him, much less for the Mona Lisa or for the Moon. For the sighted it is effort less. The Noble Qur'an explains this better than I can ever.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 12:55pm


Right. In the 7th century people were told not to kill, bury or burn their daughters alive. Daughters, not sons, open the doors to Heaven. But some of us have progressed, have become modern, and done away with that old advice.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:00pm

@Raina PL:

UN reports states that their rape, murder, and abortion rate is highest in the world with Bharat a close second except that it leads in female infanticide comapared to Big Uncle.

Stay safe...

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:04pm


Bashing Islam and Muslims make for big profits. Islamophobia is big business today.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:12pm


Yet you are here. Welcome.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:36pm

@David Thompson:

But the next one will not.

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:37pm

@David Thompson:

Your ethics or mine? Or of the rapist next door? Perhaps the murderer across the street?

El Cid Jun 01, 2013 01:41pm

@Francis Higgins:

"The Creator is more than capable of looking after his own name."

Except that he can't forgive you unless his son is nailed to the cross.

Samreen Sheikh, Jun 01, 2013 02:19pm

Dear sister Areeba Kamal, your write-up is really an act of great 'Kamaal', because of which you aroused so many thinking minds and compelled so many pen to pour out thoughtful responses in such a large number and for that plz accept hearty thanks and sincere congratulation on such an important topic and giving a deeply analytical, true and really a truthfully, positive dispatch the reading of which arouses hope and aspirations for future glorification worthy to be regarded as model only if we follow the principles and policies of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam M.A.Jinnah and do the right act to keep state and religion separate from each other. Our leaders and mullah must stop their habitual use of religion as tool to satisfy their lust for greedy life of money and worldly matters of attractions, the main cause of distraction and going away from the right path of Divine guidance.