"Islam came as a stranger and it would return to be a stranger” – Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) – So which side are Me & You on? For quite some time, we have seen that the narrative war (as it has become) between Pseudo Liberals and people believing in certain religious and cultural values in this country, is becoming increasingly common and furious. For women, "Covering your head is being conservative”, for men, "Having a beard is being a mullah” and so on, these are the trends which are increasing with time. Where did this all come from? Have we really thought this through, how did we reach at this stage?
It has always concerned me and made me anxious. Sometimes, I talked about it, sometimes, I did Not. Why? Just like many of you reading this, I too was afraid of being labeled as a conservative and backward person & bla bla bla. Over the years, we have seen this fire growing in magnitude and this so called "liberal” narrative turning into a complete paradoxical reality, many many moderate Muslims becoming convinced that may be our religion is something outdated in terms of social structure and "we have to keep up with the changing world”. Really?
Today, we come across cases where Well Educated & Highly Intellectual women are targeted just because they have scarves on their heads and treat it as a symbol of their integrity and honor. The men are denied jobs and career opportunities and much more just because they "look” like old fashioned and "can’t keep up with the ‘changing’ world” because they have a beard. Because some women have refused to shorten their clothes and expose parts of their bodies, they are not given the space like those who have done so.
Wait, you might think that I am exaggerating at certain points, but pause, look around and think again. Are we really living in an environment where we can freely talk what we feel or know, is morally wrong? Do we even care the same about morals anymore? If not, what has gone wrong? Where and how? In my own opinion, we have let this happen to us, to our social values, culture and above all, our religious beliefs and values by just doing an "apparently small” mistake that is staying silent or indifferent. This has allowed these disgraceful human beings to strong their narrative to the extent that in this country named as "Islamic Republic of Pakistan”, we have started repelling religion. All of the above is happening all around but we have started fearing calling wrong as wrong. Consciously or otherwise, most of our young generation is increasingly starting believing that removal of clothes is modernism and attractive while a scarf or beard is a sign of lack of intellectual ability.
Why have we made these things bigger than human beings themselves? How can we be so far away from reality and accept these concepts? Few more years down the road, I fear that this war of narratives, if lost, would make life very tough for those who desire to live a life of their choices, with righteousness and honor. Many of these choices have already been stolen, if you think deeply. My cry is to be aware of this fire which is burning us very quickly. My cry is to speak up, if not anything else. My prayer to you is to not side with anyone telling you that our religious and spiritual beliefs and values make us any inferior of human beings. My cry is to build the counter narrative so strong that we don’t let these negative people take away our freedom and not let anyone down for their choices of clothes, appearance and life style.
After all, we are Muslims, we have to present ourselves in front of Allah SWT. And no liberal is going to come and help at that day when no one will be free from accountability but only those who will be closer to Allah SWT and His messenger, in some way. Let’s all play our role. The time is not the best for the best of people at the moment. Surely, "Islam started as a stranger and it would return to be a stranger”.