Screeching at the pulpit: Is this Islam?

We have so many issues in Pakistan which require attention.Why don't maulvis address these in mosques?

Majid Lohani January 10, 2012
Whenever I face a problem in my daily life, I turn to the Holy Quran. If I cannot find what I am looking for there, my second option is always the mosque. 

Unfortunately, I am often disappointed. Imams and maulvis are seldom able to provide me with guidance. This is in stark contradiction to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). At that time,  mosques played a vital role and people used to come to Muhammad (pbuh) and share all kinds of problems - financial, physical, emotional, or psychological - with him.

My conversation with a maulvi reiterated the unfortunate reality of sermons in mosques today.

I work for a telecommunication company, and the nature of my work demands 24/7 availability. A few days ago, I returned home at 10 am, having worked a night shift. I was dead tired and ready to collapse. I fell asleep the minute my head touched the pillow.

However, within minutes, I was awoken by the maulvi sahib of our mosque. He cleared his throat and then started talking non-stop on the loud speaker of the mosque. The volume was so high, I thought it might be dangerous for human ears. I felt like someone had come into my room and was beating drums, forcing me to wake up and listen.

Unable to sleep no matter how hard I tried, I woke up and dialled 15 (the police).  The person on the other end of the phone was barely able to hear me above the bellowing of the maulvi. Finally, I found a silent corner in the house and discussed my problem. The man on the phone agreed with me and said:
“You are absolutely right, but he is talking about Allah and Muhammad (Pbuh), so you should not feel bad."

Shocked, I replied:
"Bhai, I have offered fajar prayers in the morning and I have been awake all night. I am sure this maulvi and you have had eight hours sleep - please have mercy on me."

My pleas fell on deaf ears. Nothing happened, no police help arrived, and I had to wait until the maulvi got tired and stopped talking.

The next day, I decided to have a conversation with the imam sahib of that mosque. I asked him what he is contributing to society for its welfare.
Dengue fever is spreading in whole country. Why don’t you ever discuss preventive measures in the Jummah sermon?”

He defended himself by saying that is not important and it isn't the duty of the mosque.

This is an unfortunate reality. All this maulvi did was complain about the behaviour of the young generation, and discuss the so-called generation gap. My question is, why complain? Why doesn't the imam tell people to use the parental guidance option on TV so that children are protected from vulgarity? Why doesn’t the imam educate people on the safe usage of the internet? Isn't this their job? Isn't Islam a religion that gives us guidance on all aspects of life? Then why are maulvis not addressing such important issues?

Most of these religious men are not focusing on making good human beings. Their sole agenda is to further their sectarian beliefs and downgrade others. In every jummah sermon, all I hear is how bad the other sect is and how their sect can do no wrong.

Is this Islam, I ask you?

We have so many issues in Pakistan which require attention. Issues such as alcohol consumption, homosexuality in the community and so on are real concerns which maulvis do not address. Why?

Why don’t maulvis beseech people to return to their business after prayers and not sell commodities at exorbitant prices? Why don't they ask them to conduct a fair and honest business?

Predictably, imam sahib could not give me a single reasonable answer. I ended our conversation by saying:
“Aap ne is qoum ki taleem kharab kar di hai, adat kharab hoti to shayed badal letay.”

(You have ruined the educational mindset of this nation; if our habits were ruined, we could have at least been able to fix those.)

What our country needs is well-educated religious leaders, not ignorant maulvis. Only then can we recover from the poison they are embedding in the minds of our youth.

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Majid Lohani A computer sciences graduate from NCBA&E Lahore who currently works for Nokia Siemens Networks
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Asim | 12 years ago | Reply I don't know where you are from but homosexuality is still considered a disgusting abnormality and dirty, disease spreading practice in most parts of the world by most people, even if it is legal in many places. I know what you're going to say, that it's natural and possibly genetic. That's not completely accurate though. Even if it is genetic, genetics express themselves differently depending on the environments in which behavior is fostered. Hence why there are more homosexuals in the west than anywhere else, because the environment is so accepting of it and feminizes boys to the point that it's easy for them to become gay. I bet you're thinking that there aren't more gays in the west than anywhere else, it's just that everywhere else gays have to remain hidden unlike in the west. This argument is also flawed because the marriage rates (heterosexual marriages of course) clearly exclude that idea as being the case. boys who have thought themselves straight have become gay and vice versa. Some men who were sent to prison's in the west as straight men have come out gay. I don't mean that they just had sex with men in prison, i mean that they fell in love with other men in prison and maintained an attraction to me and not to women upon being released.
Zia Syed | 12 years ago | Reply @Asad: Can you try to be bit more reasonable while answering "Cynical"? @Cynical/Vikram: I do respect your queries, they are based on real issues observed throughout. Reasoning posted by most "Pakistani Muslims" are based on the intent "Islam is the best." Unfortunately they are mostly (not all) hypocrites in nature. They like to brag and blog about how good is Islam, yet they adopt a life style exactly opposite (hence hypocrites). You will see all kind of confusion in their responses. Believe it or not, I have seen people like such bragging about Islam under you tube remix videos! Try to find better venue to get a proper answers.
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