Violent protests: Islam taught us better

Americans are truly magnanimous. I've seen them teary-eyed as they hear the stories of our Prophet’s (pbuh)...

Faheem Younus September 20, 2012
Sir, it was 1995, North Medical Ward of Lahore’s Mayo Hospital, where you famously said in your English-Punjabi accent,
“Putter ji, batti uthay balo, jithay hanaira howay”

(Son, light a candle where it’s dark).

You didn’t want your students to go abroad after completing medical school. You wondered what difference we will make in America, where, compared to Pakistan, there were abundant doctors; where there was so much light.

I left, however, as I had no choice, sir. Yet you had a point ─ a point that haunted me whenever I earned a new degree, another publication, or an accolade.

For years, the praise of my patients from New Jersey reminded me of the prayers of my patients from Old Anarkali. Mothers in America reminded me of my own mother in Pakistan.
“Is she waiting to see a doctor while her own son is treating patients in a foreign land?” I thought.

In healthcare, though, rationalisation comes fast. I quickly realised that regardless of who my patients were – a Pakistani boy, an American woman, a Spanish farmer, a Jewish rabbi or a transgender atheist – the face of pain and suffering is the same.

A plethora of enlightened doctors serving in our small community hospital, however, were an affirmation of your statement. It was all light, until one day two planes crashed in the World Trade Centre and pockets of dark ignorance about Islam and its Prophet (pbuh) started emerging in America. TV, radio, magazines, books, and the anonymous walls of the internet succumbed to a dark attack on my Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) character.  Some were suggestive, others were direct.

Suddenly, light and darkness had new meaning to me.

Pakistan was illuminated and dark. It was illuminated with the love of the Prophet (pbuh) by virtually everyone (I refuse to believe that any Pakistani willfully commits blasphemy against him), regardless of religious sect or affiliation. Yet, it was dark with the atrocities committed against innocent citizens in the guise of blasphemy laws.

America was dark and illuminated. Dark, in places, with a barrage of hostility aimed at the Prophet’s (pbuh) character by many twisted individuals; yet it was illuminated with the notion of free speech for all.

I know why people don’t confront the darkness of blasphemy laws in Pakistan – they’d be killed. But it beats me why a huge majority of the three million plus American Muslims would remain indifferent to this darkness of true blasphemy in the US.

There is no justification for violence; none whatsoever. American Muslims could use their freedom of expression in a responsible fashion to light a candle, yet you won’t see even 300 Muslims peacefully protesting against such planned attacks.

That comes across as a double standard, sir.

Are Muslims wrong in Pakistan or are we wrong in America?

Sir, I am happy to report to you that on this topic, my friends and I are lighting candles of mutual understanding in America. It was not possible for us to witness one sinister attack on our Prophet (pbuh) after another and do nothing. We are busy educating the American masses about the exemplary life of our Prophet (pbuh) by writing for the newspapers, giving courses on Islam in colleges, and most importantly, by trying to emulate our Prophet’s (pbuh) character of love, humility and forgiveness.

I know a majority in Pakistan dislike America, but this is a great country. The masses are truly magnanimous. I have seen them teary-eyed as they hear the stories of our Prophet’s (pbuh) character.

I admire you, sir Dr Faisal Masud. I have worked with world’s top notch physicians in America, but I have not seen a teacher and clinician of your calibre. Shine on Sir and  keep telling your current and future medical students to light a candle in the dark but please don’t stop them from exploring the earth. There are pockets of darkness everywhere.

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Faheem Younus The writer is clinical associate professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA. The author can be followed @Faheem!/FaheemYounus
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Imtisal Ahmed Siddiqui | 11 years ago | Reply Life After Death. Sitting alone in a room, lots of things in your mind. Wandering around in your hall. Planning out about the future, buying an iphone-5, getting exquisite quality rims for your tyres,Calling your girlfriend,using internet,hanging out with your friends,back stabbing and trying to make fun of your friends and ridicule him for his stupid talks. Life goes on and on and one day it comes that Holy ghost comes and grab you by the neck and then you are all alone and noone`s there to hear your voice,feeling repentful and dismayed about the deplorable condition of yours. Did u ever think you have to die one day? That thought comes to my mind and i get a feeling of as if i am going to die the next moment and i start praying that moment ,recalling the sins i have done in past.We arent infidels, the more you will think about the death, the more your faith would be strong. May Allah teaches us the right path and especially to those who are astray and fellows of the evil.
jzamans | 11 years ago | Reply @Serious: Yes we Ahmadis love the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from the depth of our hearts. Out of the ten conditions to which one commits when entering the fold of Ahmadiyyat one is that we will invoke blessings and peace of Allah on Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) by reciting durood regularly. And the founder of our community loved him more than any of us. I would quote his couplet: After the love of Allah it is Muhammad’s love which has captivated my heart If this love be kufr, by God I am a great kafir My Love! My Benefactor! Let my life be sacrificed in Thy way For when hath Thou shown indifference in Thy goodness to this slave? If it be the custom that claimants of Thy love be beheaded at Thy threshold Then let it be known I am the first to claim that reward
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