Is the modern-day dars making us better humans?
By moral policing the lives of other citizens, Pakistan won’t become any less or more pious religiously.
News has it that the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has restricted its residents from dance parties at home while allowing other events such as Quran Khwanis and dars gatherings. There is nothing wrong with this, in that the authorities of our country are free to do whatever they may please (read sarcasm) but one wonders what, if any, good will this bring to the community at large?
Disclaimer: I am not going to preach or protest anything. I will merely state what I have observed and felt.
Based on my personal experiences, dars events aren’t exactly the moral epitome of discipline, sympathy and everything Islamic. Let me share an account of my experiences with you to elucidate my point.
So here is me sitting in a dars, listening to the amazing teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Holy Quran, trying to retain as much as I can, when the aunty (who is giving the dars) concludes with a note:
“We should all try to live a simple life, free of materialism, free of hypocrisy, free of apathy. We should give in the name of Allah and be modest towards those in need. We should try to be indifferent to the world because that is how our beloved Prophet (pbuh) lived his life”.
The very next conversation that occurred after this conclusion was regarding the emerald necklace hanging around the aunty’s delicate neck, glittering and shining, the centre of attention of the whole room. Poor woman, if only she knew that her pendant was going to bag all the attention! What followed was a verbal stampede of questions inquiring its price, its make and where to get it made from. One aunty even admittedly said:
“Meri nazar poora waqt sirf aapke is haar pe thee, concentrate hi nai kar payee, kitne karat ka hai yeh stone?”
(The whole time my eyes were glued to your pendant, I couldn't concentrate at all. How many carats is it?)
I was shocked. Whatever happened to the not-show-boating your wealth and living-a-simple-life lesson?
I sat there thinking, wasn’t the whole point of attending a dars to learn what we didn’t know and then have a healthy discussion about it afterwards? Weren't we meant to share whatever new knowledge we had just acquired and ask what we didn’t understand afterwards?
This ordeal enunciated the very nature of people prevalent in the privileged segment of our society that eats, sleeps, drinks, breathes and feeds off the class gap and the self imposed sense of royalty.
It disheartened me to listen to these women discussing wasteful expenditures on extravagance whereas piety and modesty should have been the subject matter. My question is, what exactly is the point of these 'religious' gatherings when we manage to stray so far from our religion right after the Holy book is closed? To DHA, I would like to ask, will banning dance parties and allowing Quran Khwanis make any difference to this class of people?
I feel like we all know the answer to this question.
Forcing religion down someone's throat will not automatically make them 'good' people
Let's be logical here, shall we?
Maybe if we could overcome the idea of ‘keeping up with the Kardashians’ style of living (the desi way), we will be able to open our eyes to the difficulty of our fellow Pakistanis and actually do something about it. Do I even need to state that those designer labels won’t save the thousands struck by poverty? Yes, there are far more important things in life than custom-made clothes or jewellery in.
So by prohibiting dance parties or musical programmes, DHA isn’t really making a huge difference to society. Who does what or hosts what event in their homes is a private matter. By promoting dars in the elite inhabitant area like DHA, no public service or moral revolution is being procured.
There are graver things that we need to ban other than dance parties, like human trafficking, illegal drugs and alcohol, the red light areas of our country and extremism being fed in Madrasas.
So to all authorities, I would like to say, by moral policing the lives of other citizens, Pakistan won’t become any less or more pious religiously. What is needed is a change in perceptions, change in class differences, change in the way people perceive religious gatherings or to the contrary, dance parties.
Read more by Anam here or follow her on Twitter @alvi_anam