Friday, February 03, 2012

Faith, Rationality and Consequences

Faith, for me, is a private matter. What I have in my heart regarding myself and the God, is to remain within confines of my heart and others have no right to judge or base their acts on it. But this assumption gets tested most of the times.

Islam is different in the sense that it involves various issues that relate to society in general, for example, guidelines related to divorce, matters related to orphans, inheritance, marriage so on and so forth. This renders the border between personal faith and public display of religion in form of rites, rituals and behaviors all the more blurred. What constitutes as a matter of my personal faith and how implementation of a certain religious injunction could intrude into that personal space are topics of interest.

Why do we hate the Taliban? Because they make religion (their sect specifically) enforceable by power. Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan are testament to the brutality that Taliban inflict in the name of religion. If I offer my prayers or not, Taliban should not have a problem with that, but unfortunately, it is their problem so I will be dragged to the mosque if I did not say my prayers, will be forced to grow beard and my pants will be above my ankles because according to them its un-islamic. They will not care how good a person you may have been otherwise but if you did not fall to the crtiera they have established, you are not good.

Then there is this little interesting thing. There is an author at Express Tribune who posted in the Blog section of the newspaper titled 'Who says I can’t be a Muslim feminist?' What she was trying to say was that while being a muslim, she held feminine principles too and did not find them contradictory in their implementation. The regular comments followed. I too participated in it. The basic thrust of the arguments was against her telling her that she could not be a muslim and a feminist at the same time because both were contradictory in nature.

The discussion then focused upon a verse of Quran and what implications it might have on the people following it. This will also serve as an example to what I am trying to say in this post. Here is the Quranic verse.

2:232Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe.  

This is a much debated verse of Quran and antagonistic say that this verse is extremely demeaning to women, that women are to be treated like 'tilth' - they say and provides males all the powers to abuse women. I differed. I said I found the verse telling me to be kind to the women folk. (I will be writing a separate post on that verse later on why I said so, its in the comments of the news website if anyone is interested. My Post 'Verse 2:223 - Women and 'Tilth')

The nice souls on that blog were trying to make me understand what the verses really meant – and they were very mean according to them. They all worried, rightly, that if I were to follow such scripture, I would end up on the wrong front – in this case, will abuse womenfolk. I, on the other hand, the adherent to this scripture, was saying that the scripture was telling me to be nice to womenfolk. These guys were insisting, that since the verses were wrong so I had to be wrong. They said I was just 'sugar coating' the verse by offering explanations. Instead of being worried what I was deriving from the verse they were more interested in what verse really meant. If they thought it would result in my being abusive to women then I was stating the opposite. Is it not this what they wanted?

Take the case of this blog author. She says she is a muslim and considers herself a feminist. She wants to maintain her faith and be a productive member of the society. BUT she is wrong. Why? because Islam and feminism are ‘oxymorons’ to each other. So she could not be a valuable member of the society because she was an adherent of Islam. Not very different from religious bigots who say that only religion provides the moral guidelines. They think that an atheist would not be a good human being, that secular societies would be glaring examples of social evil conveniently forgetting that best law abiding societies are secular

In essence, one would not care whether I am a productive member of the society but more interested to know what my faith was and then trashing it. But for what? Does one argue just for the sake of argument or there has to be an outcome preferably positive from it? Whether I am a believer of a certain faith, follower of a particular religion, believer in thousand gods or just single one, whether I am an atheist and rationality is my only god - should one not be concerned with what good I do for the society and/or personally instead of what I believe in?

The only consequence should be - whether you are believer of a particular faith or your religion is only rationality and logic - be human and humane. Peace.

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