Where have the sane Muslims gone?

Published: January 27, 2011
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The writer holds a BA in history from the London School of Economics and is a
sub-editor at The Express Tribune
saleha.riaz@tribune.com.pk

The writer holds a BA in history from the London School of Economics and is a sub-editor at The Express Tribune saleha.riaz@tribune.com.pk

Given the current polarisation of society, with the extremists who misinterpret Islam versus the liberals who want nothing to do with religion, are there any sane Muslims left? Do they still exist or are they an endangered, soon to be extinct, species?

Between Veena lovers and Veena bashers, where are those who say what she did was indeed wrong according to all possible Islamic standards — which makes her distinction between wearing shorts and ‘two-pieces’ null and void — but who also say that this in no way justifies tearing her to pieces in a public forum? Who say that, given she is a Muslim and a Pakistani, of course she is a representative of both these identities, but who understand that they cannot have control over everyone who represents them? Who know that being ‘open-minded’ doesn’t have to mean wearing jeans and drinking alcohol, it can also mean being open to debating the burqa?

Between the Qadri supporters and the Taseer lovers, where are those who say that perhaps both parties are wrong? Who while saying that Qadri was a lunatic, admit that Taseer was no saint either? Who say that while blasphemy laws are in desperate need of amendment, tweeting “tomorrow mullahs r demonstrating against me after Juma. Thousands of beards screaming 4 my head. What a great feeling!”, perhaps wasn’t the way to do it?

As someone who did a thesis on Benazir’s assassination, let me tell you, death does wonders for your public image. I am in no way condoning Taseer’s murder, but we must admit that death has a way of cleansing the sins of the deceased in the minds of the public the way nothing they could have done in their lifetime ever could. (Actually there is one thing that comes close: tears and being hounded by a TV anchor.) Again, I am not condoning his murder, I am just wondering why we cannot have an honest debate about his personality without being labelled an extremist.

And instead of milking society’s polarisation for all its worth, shouldn’t the media be trying to help find a middle ground? Or are media organisations with no agenda as endangered a species as the sane Muslim?

But I digress.

Between the Qadri lovers and haters, where do we fit in the mullahs who don’t spread hate in their sermons, who speak of peace and tolerance — yes, they do exist. For all those who want to pull an Ataturk and blow up all the mullahs — would they also blow up the good mullahs, because they assume that at some point they, too, will turn extremist? Or, just the way there are no good and bad Taliban, do they also believe there are no good and bad mullahs?

Between those who want secularism and those who want the Taliban, where are those who want neither? Who want to live in a just society where the true spirit of Islam is practiced? Not the way extremists — with agendas that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power — see it, but the way moderate and sane scholars see it. Who know that not once during the time of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was the idea of an individual taking the life of another deemed an option — even in the case of the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle, who was considered one of his greatest enemies and who’s punishment in the Hereafter is vividly described in the Holy Quran.

Where are those who know that belief in one God is all it takes to be a Muslim, that everything else is secondary? Are they part of the silent majority? Or the silent minority? Are they even out there? Speak now or forever…

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (123)

  • @bdullah
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:45PM

    Brilliantly written.. The writer has very nicely incorporated all sides of the debates. And the arguments put forward truly represent ‘sane’ school of thought! kudos to the writer!Recommend

  • Amaar
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:49PM

    Those ‘sane’ Muslims disappeared in 1974 when our national assembly took the task to decide who is not a Muslim – without even deciding who is a Muslim first. Today you are enjoying the blessings of that great verdict!Recommend

  • Sheheryar Khan
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:54PM

    “I speak”.

    Lovely. Masterpiece. Where had you been since this controversy erupted, Miss Saleha? The best column I’ve read regarding the newly-found conflict of rightists vs secularists in Pakistan. Where every write-up seems to be polarized in one or the other plane, your words stand out and infact show the brighter side of our society. Many of us hate the Pakistani Taliban and likewise do not care for and pay heed to what the liberal extremists sputter.

    Hats off for such a meticulous article. Keep your pen in running and ink down such articles in the future as well.

    PS: I do not concur with this statement of yours in strict literal terms “Where are those who know that belief in one God is all it takes to be a Muslim, that everything else is secondary?”. Belief in finality and Prophethood of Muhamamd [Peace be Upon Him] is mandatory too. Thanks! Recommend

  • parvez
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:02AM

    When you see your country being plundered, the pillars of state crumbling before you, no law and no justice being handed out, you see that crime pays and the corrupt prosper,
    the honest are derided and at best sleep with a clear conscience but an empty stomach,
    when it is fashionable to be placed on a bank’s defaulter list and getting an education is reserved for a very select few, when religion has lost its meaning then it is difficult to see the middle of the road. You are forced to take sides.
    I really liked your article and the frustration you have so nicely articulated. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:22AM

    OH MY GOD! Finally a piece that I can relate too…Recommend

  • faraz
    Jan 28, 2011 - 1:19AM

    The concept of moderate Islam is theoretically neat but practically if a state adopts a religion, then the traditional clergy will decide which interpretation of religion will be forced upon the people e.g. Wahabi islam in Saudi Arab and Shia Islam in Iran. And in a sectarianally diverse country like ours, different sects of Islam will compete with each other and claim that their interpretation is right and all others are heretics. If we want an islamic state, then a mullah who spent his entire life in a madrassa has every right to interpret islam. In Pakistan, taliban have the ideological, human and material strength to boot out all other sects of Islam; so its either secularism or taliban’s islam. A religious cum moderate society does not exist. Recommend

  • Jan 28, 2011 - 1:56AM

    This is what we call trying hard being neutral and ending up no where. The truth is when a society is going through some lethal transition, there is NO middle way. You can’t eradicating extremism by moderation. When something is being manipulated and misused to suit one’s own purpose then it needs to be deal with iron fist rule. What exactly is moderation? Do you realize that your moderation is NOT moderation for the religious lot out there? Can you please define what is the parameter of moderation? Fact of the matter is moderation is relative, and you cant built a society on a theory which is relative.

    //we must admit that death has a way of cleansing the sins of the deceased in the minds of the public the way nothing they could have done in their lifetime ever could. //

    And you ask for moderation with a liner like this? Recommend

  • Learner
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Excellent article!. In the midst of this crazy battle of pontification by the so called “right wing” and “secular liberal” elites, finally some words that one can truly relate to. Unfortunately, the space for the rare kind (at least that’s what I think, though I would love to be wrong) you have tried to appeal to is shrinking dangerously. They don’t speak up often because they are easy target for both sides. These two sides believe in the “either you are with us, or against us” idea of the world. Just wait for a barrage of comments from one particular side that will not spare you for this audacious recklessness.

    Keep writing! We badly need sane voices like yours.Recommend

  • Emmon Khan
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:52AM

    The Pakistani people are only victims. The rulers want the Taliban to be used against the rest of the world but they want to live the life of modernity for themselves. Its a paradox. In the process the Pakistani rulers have created a monster which is killing everyone on the way: the seculars, the moderates and now the elite rulers. This is what is the logical consequence of the years of machinations of the Pakistani rulers who have been unleashing these ‘mujahids’ on its neighbours. Now the fire has engulfed their own house! And ordinary Pakistanis like you and me can only ask questions and wonder where do we stand!Recommend

  • Meera Ghani
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:11AM

    Sad that people equate being liberal to wanting nothing to do with religion. Its simply not true.

    Sad that being liberal is synonymous to drinking alcohol and wearing your choice of clothing automatically puts you in a certain camp.

    Sad that people don’t research their facts and fall into the blame-game, labeling trap.

    Sad that people forget that no human is perfect, tolerance means to overlook their imperfections and appreciate the good they do in life.

    Sad that there is such a thing as a Qadri supporter and that murder is not seen for what it is- a crime.

    Sad that people feel that just because they don’t like someone’s views, politics and don’t agree with their lifestyle they can justify their murder (you don’t have to condone it but just the fact that you somehow think they deserved it or brought it upon themselves is bad enough).

    Sad that the very people asking for the moderates to stand up and speak out are also the ones who think that they have a right to judge others not for their actions but on their personalities.

    Sad times we live in!Recommend

  • Hassan Talal Maitla
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:19AM

    Excellent article Saleha! Have been waiting for an article which is not blind in its liberal outlook. You have stood for the sane Muslims – the moderates. Recommend

  • Shayan Afzal Khan
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:42AM

    “Again, I am not condoning his murder, I am just wondering why we cannot have an honest debate about his personality without being labelled an extremist.”

    let me answer your query, even if it was supposed to be rhetorical. Discussing Salman Taseer’s personality would certainly not result in you being labelled an extremist. However, his personality is irrelevant to the issue. He was not assassinated because of his “personality.” His murderer stated that the reason he decided to kill Mr. Taseer was because Mr. Taseer had blasphemed. The issue, therefore, is (1) did he blaspheme – which he did not, as all he has been quoted as doing is to have called the Blasphemy Law (which is a man-made law, and not God’s law) a black law (2) even if he did blaspheme, does that justify anyone taking the law into his own hands and killing a man rather than allowing the law to take its course.

    You seem to have missed the most important and integral aspect of this entire disgusting episode in our country’s history.Recommend

  • M
    Jan 28, 2011 - 8:14AM

    Finally a sane piece! Love it! Recommend

  • Hamood
    Jan 28, 2011 - 8:43AM

    There are no sane Muslims left in Pakistan. Most of them have left the country. It is too late for Pakistan. Pakistan has been lost to illiterate Mullahs who will burn it down to the ground.Recommend

  • observer
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:03AM

    @Author

    where are those who say what she did
    was indeed wrong according to all
    possible Islamic standards

    And pray what exactly are Veena Bashers saying.

    who also say that this in no way
    justifies tearing her to pieces in a
    public forum?

    And since this not to be said in a public forum, perhaps they are saying this in the privacy of their cupboards.

    Who know that being ‘open-minded’
    doesn’t have to mean wearing jeans and
    drinking alcohol, it can also mean
    being open to debating the burqa?

    Shall we have this debate after we have eliminated ‘jeans wearing and alcohol drinking’ which is ‘indeed wrong according to all possible Islamic standards’ or will this debate be with them. And what shall we wear while having this debate.

    Who want to live in a just society
    where the true spirit of Islam is
    practiced?

    Can we have 5 principles of this just society? What does it say about Ahmadis?

    Who while saying that Qadri was a
    lunatic, admit that Taseer was no
    saint either?

    So while Qadri has ‘lunacy’ for an excuse, Taseer has none. Whatever he did was done in complete ‘hosh-o-hawas’.And for which of his sins was this ‘no saint’ executed? please.And those showering rose petals, are they ‘lunatic’ too, or just those who belive in ‘no sainthood’ of Taseer.

    Are they even out there? Speak now or
    forever…

    Does the silence tell you something?Recommend

  • TKhan
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:09AM

    Liberalism does not mean “blowing up all the Mullahs”; liberalism never advocates or fantasizes violence. Instead liberalism is the ideal of freedom, to promote individual liberty and free thought in an equal society. Thomas Jefferson put this liberal ideal into one succinct paragraph in his magnificent Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed….”

    Learn about liberalism first before commenting on it please. For a liberal, Mullahs freedom to practice and preach his religion, provided they do not infringe on the equal liberty of others, is as much important as Aasia Bibi’s right to fetch water. Recommend

  • Jaffery
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:24AM

    the sane muslim has truely gone insane.Recommend

  • Parhakoo
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:38AM

    Me searching too. So befitting. and needed.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Moderates will always be in a minority… or be a silent majority… why? Because there is nothing to shout about…
    Extreme views are exactly that… extreme. Therefore to make their views heard and understood… they need to scream and whine about them, day in and day out… they have this innate need to be heard and get their message across.
    They can not do it rationally or with civil arguments so they take to the streets either holding banners, supporting an actress (who does NOT represent Pakistani woman) on tv and internet-based media, or holding ‘laathis’ and guns…
    Its easier to be an extremist than a moderate… Its not only convenient but it gives you this sort of ‘identity’…
    This country is stuck between these two extremes of liberal fascists and muslim extremists… and people like us will always be in a minority… or be a silent majority… because we have nothing to shout about.Recommend

  • Amina Khalid
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Very nice article. Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:03AM

    Lets see how many liberals can swallow this bitter pill.Recommend

  • Shemrez Nauman Afzal
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:03AM

    This is the Sane Pakistan – a silent and nonviolent majority: http://bit.ly/eYeqMJRecommend

  • Abeer Siddiqi
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:04AM

    Remarkable.
    I feel like you’ve spoken my mind!
    Two wrongs don’t make a right! When will our nation learn to stop living in the extremes.
    One day Veena Malik is an outcast, people were bashing her. The next day when she exposed those “fake” mullah’s (I don’t wish to judge), she became a “national hero”. Did you just forget what she did? Its a case of amnesia, I tell you! Of an emotionally ridden nation that needs to think along moderate lines for a change and put an end to this conflict of extremes!

    We need people like you :)
    People who have some sanity left in them!

    Kudos!Recommend

  • pmbm
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:23AM

    Belief in ONE GOD also means living by his message and guidance. That is where we have failed leading to divide as described in the article. How can supporters of a murder be called “religious”? We certainly need to know our religion better.Recommend

  • R S
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Sorry, but your arguments are so confusing and misleading. I don’t think the people who are writing against Veena-bashing are approving her behaviour at the show. Nor, the haters of ‘Qadri-lovers’ say Taseer was a saint. Even the middle path Mullahs you are talking about are suspected only because they remain silent when crooked one defame the faith.

    It’s fair to be diplomatic and say every argument has its two sides. But, when two opposing ideas are pitched against each other, theoretically and practically, one has to more right than the other. If one fails to be on the right side, one is just being apologist for the other. Your argument of secularism vs Taliban gives that away. Is that even a debate, after having seen the experiences of countries across the world with both?Recommend

  • arshad
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:24AM

    I agree with saad. Atleast she is unbiased, but I still believe that as she write FOR liberal she must go the same way FOR religious minded people.

    Hanging to death Veena Malik cannot resolve the case or extremism in our society though how loudly she defind her and media and other liberal society portray her as a strong lady, but the truth is that she has done wrong. This is the fact that due to her boldness the show has been transfer from prime time to adult time. She can avoid alot of stuff what she do there and I sure no one can see that clips of Veena while sitting with his or her family. In deep of our heart we are still Muslim thhough whatever we do. I think our society is divided into two big segment Muslim and more Muslim.

    Have mentioned in the article “tweeting “tomorrow mullahs demonstrating against me after Juma. Thousands of beards screaming 4 my head. What a great feeling!”, perhaps wasn’t the way to do it?” what is the end… no one is there to lead Namaz-e-Janaza of him for whatever reason, if you saw the clip of namaz-e-janaza all attended are clearly seems frightened. The son of man who have a great name in history for the reason of protecting the innocent person for the same reason he is always speaking against it. Is this the truth of present and clearly mentioned the Greatness of ALLAH.

    Killing the extremism from the society can only be eliminated when Muslim and and more Muslim goes towards the modesty. More Muslim should not expect Muslim to come towards modesty alone and vise versa.Recommend

  • Jan 28, 2011 - 11:40AM

    Dude, this was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Recommend

  • Saqib Mahmood
    Jan 28, 2011 - 11:57AM

    “Where are those who know that belief in one God is all it takes to be a Muslim, that everything else is secondary?”. It is pertinent to mention to the author that our kalima contains two parts; belief in ALLAH and belief in Muhammad (PBUH) as ALLAH’s messenger. Without this, one ceases to be a MUSLIM. If belief in one GOD was the only requirement of being a Muslims, then Jews and Christians would also be Muslims. Please clarify your beliefs before writing about them in public forms.
    Other than that I think the author has made a valid point. The thing is if Pakistan, being a Muslim state, had implemented the Shariah Law (or even the British Law) properly, all these matters would have been decided in the courts; whether Taseer did blasphemy, whether Veena’s action were justified. This way Qadri would’nt have to take matters into his own hands and Veena would have ceased to pull up the publicity stunt that she has done so very successfully. Recommend

  • Sana Shaikh
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Read an excellent article after a very long time…truely depicts the mayhem in our society!! Recommend

  • Shahrukh Hassan
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:04PM

    Believe me (and i am not exaggerating), this article has worked somehow as a marham on my zakhmi soul.

    I have been lamenting on the Bipolarity of our today’s society for quite a while now.
    Our society (roughly >80% of the people if not all) has divided into Liberal and Fundamental extremes. There is ALL OR NONE RESPONSE for every matter. No middle way :(

    Saleha, you have aptly quoted two latest issues (Veena’s issue and Taseer’s murder) to showcase this grievous situation of our society. Hope there are more people, like you, who can think out of box and outside their tunnel vision !!

    Thumbs up for your article !Recommend

  • Asad Shairani
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Very nicely writtenRecommend

  • Zubair
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:42PM

    I agree with faraz.Taliban in Afghanistan did not enforce any single law, which was not according to either Quran,Sunna,or Ahadees.It is the interpretation of religion, which matters,and religious people consider it as their domain, and rightly so.There is nothing in between secularism and Taliban.The solution is separation of religion and state.In a secular country,every citizen, has an equal right, to freely practice his faith.Recommend

  • Proud Shia
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Once the fanatics in Pakistan are thrown out of Pakistan sane people will start voicing ideas.Recommend

  • Jan 28, 2011 - 1:14PM

    Saleha – when you want a just society where the true spirit of Islam is practiced – pray tell me which society are you talking about. You would have had my vote if you had said that you wanted a just society. Period. Religion is a matter of personal choice – when you said that all it takes is belief in one God to be a Muslim, you were corrected by one of the respondents. This proves my point that for every person religion means a different aspect of faith and no society can attain justice when religion is in the public and legislative realm, however enlightenend that religion is.

    And just one comment about Salman taseer – he is a hero for every human being because he held a public office and took a stand that was just and that won him no votes only bullets. A selfless act by a politician. His lifestyle choices are not your business. By even contemplating to judge him on his personal choices, you are no better than the like of Amir Liaqat. Recommend

  • Arif
    Jan 28, 2011 - 1:54PM

    Dear Writer: The oneness of God is not the only thing which require to be a Muslim. Recite the kalma and you will get to know what you are missing. These both things are primary.Recommend

  • observer
    Jan 28, 2011 - 1:56PM

    @Faraz, @Meera Ghani, @Shayan Afzal Khan

    Hats off for telling it like it is.

    Personally, I would like Ms Riaz and everyone else looking for religiously valid excuses for justifying Taseer murder or Veena bashing, to read Ayesha Tammy Haq on this very siteShe very perceptively says,”But once the wall is penetrated, we are left reeling from the shock that there is a thought that we cannot identify with. It terrifies people, prompts them to take cover behind what they think is safe and pious rhetoric.”

    This piece of writing fits ‘safe and pious rhetoric’ like a glove.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:41PM

    By trying to be neutral and hoping to please all groups involved, you have only ranted without any serious thinking behind this. I mean how can you equate the things you mentioned as being equal. Perhaps your pandering to the entire gallery would be effective, if you found common ground between all rather than equating all to one.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:43PM

    We must admit that death has a way of cleansing the sins of the deceased in the minds of the public the way nothing they could have done in their lifetime ever could.

    What is this supposed to mean?

    I also think this line is very insensitive, why they kept this line is beyond me.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:45PM

    I am deeply offended by this.Recommend

  • Shahnawaz kashmiri
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:48PM

    Oh what a descent article. Hats off for you.Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jan 28, 2011 - 3:25PM

    Brilliantly written. The best article I’ve seen in a very long time. Thank you for writing down what I, and I am sure at least a few other Pakistanis, have been wanting to see written for quite a while.Recommend

  • amlendu
    Jan 28, 2011 - 3:43PM

    @TKhan:
    Hats off brother you should be writing the articles here and not the author who seems to be so confused. The whole article seems to be an exercise in somehow prove the liberals to be at same level as religious fanatics. The article is a lame effort by the author to prove herself an intellectual. Thanks Khan Saheb again for putting things in some perspective.Recommend

  • abhinav
    Jan 28, 2011 - 3:48PM

    You did not describe what “sane” muslim, neither liberal nor extremist should do. Sitting on the fence forever is not an option. When things come to such a pass, you need to take a stand. Recommend

  • Jan 28, 2011 - 3:50PM

    Finally a sane article ..Recommend

  • TKhan
    Jan 28, 2011 - 3:54PM

    I am deeply offended by this. [2]

    The things that disgust me most are people commenting about liberalism without even knowing its meaning and spirit. Recommend

  • antony
    Jan 28, 2011 - 3:55PM

    I am from india and graduated from London school of economics 5 years back .

    We must admit that death has a way of cleansing the sins of the deceased in the minds of the public the way nothing they could have done in their lifetime ever could.

    This mindset approving tacitly an inner feeling that …Kill any wrong doer according to You ,ISLAM and a great feeling of justice has been achieved.!!Recommend

  • Tilsim
    Jan 28, 2011 - 4:31PM

    Saleha, it’s false to say that liberals want nothing to do with religion. There are all shades of liberals from atheists to religious ones. They share a common trait which is respect for the individual, desire for equal treatment and a democratic, non-violent ethos in society. Many liberals, including religious ones believe that politics and religion do not mix. It’s as false to say that all liberals drink alcohol etc as it is to say that all mullahs abuse children. Sweeping generalisations are no good when you are asking for people to develop nuance.Recommend

  • Ahmed Waheed
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:05PM

    The word ‘Liberal’ is used too liberally by non-liberals (people who have no idea what being a liberal means!

    In Pakistan, sadly, liberal refers to the jean-clad, alcoholic, party-going, girlfriend-boyfriend class. Not true.

    Nonetheless, great article Sualeha!Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:08PM

    The writer seems to think that the distinction is between Qadri supporters and the Taseer lovers – it isn’t. One is a murderer, the other is the victim. Personality issues do not matter, nothing Taseer did justifies Qadri gunning him down, whether you love him or hate him, whether he was a crook or a saint. The article is based on a false premise, making everything that follows from it utter nonsense.

    “Who are to say that both parties are wrong?” Well, that’s the thing. The murderer, in a “civilized society”, is always wrong. There isn’t much to debate regarding this matter. If you have been wronged and seek retribution, take the matter to the court. Simple! Otherwise we get the despicable situation of “penchayits” and their verdicts, militias etc. A recipe for disaster.

    The writer seems to think that the distinction is between “Between Veena lovers and Veena bashers”. Again, a false premise leading to utter tripe. The debate is whether a society, or mullahs, have the right to police everyone’s morals, whether good or bad. You don’t have to love Veena or her dresses or her morals to defend her right to self-expression and live her life as she wants. Let God be the judge and let Him guide us all to the right path.

    What is even more disturbing is that from the comments, many people appear to be taken in by the “balanced” debate. The political and civil discourse in our country gets worse by the day. Sad indeed!Recommend

  • Haris Masood Zuberi
    Jan 28, 2011 - 6:19PM

    Very well expressed Saleha.
    Good job reflecting on the mess from a sane perspective–It was about time someone wrote this.

    In essence I agree 1000% with your concern, however, the issue at hand has gotten so complex, the theoretical approach almost never reflects in practical circumstances–it’s unfortunate but our social dynamics are just that way…

    where are those who say what she did
    was indeed wrong according to all
    possible Islamic standards (…)
    but who also say that this in no way
    justifies tearing her to pieces in a
    public forum?

    Between the Qadri supporters and the
    Taseer lovers, where are those who say
    that perhaps both parties are wrong?
    Who while saying that Qadri was a
    lunatic, admit that Taseer was no
    saint either?

    Most Pakistani people defending Taseer and damning Qadri or protecting Veena and shunning the Muftis are in fact exactly the people you are looking for–the one’s who it seems have disappeared all of a sudden.

    They’re all right here, only they’re so pushed to the wall by the unholy audacity of the fanatical extreme, that they end up reflecting the entire opposite (liberal) extreme in their own staunch opposition of the overwhelming and intimidating ferocity of the other (fanatic) side’s antics.

    The unbalance in any debate, perspective or opinion seems to arise when one party ends up going to an unacceptable extreme. From that point onwards the debate is no longer about what one side thinks is right or the other thinks is wrong–it turns into a matter of survival of choice and individuality.

    The moment mullah’s dis-balanced the equation in the entire argument through their rabid behaviour, polarization emerged at its ferocious worst.

    Had they debated Salman Taseer’s stand for Aasia bibi on intellectual/Quranic grounds rather than rabid religiosity, who knows, they might have shaped everyone’s opinion to their perspective. But when their side killed, and refused to shun a barbaric killer, failed to denounce the act of murder which is against Islam’s most basic principles, and hailed the killer as a hero, who cares whether Salman Taseer was wrong in supporting Aasia or if he lead a liberal lifestyle…? The neutral/sane people who wish for things to be judged objectively, were impulsively aligned with the liberal extreme to shun and denounce the greater wrong done by the misguided side; the wrong which has greater and more far reaching repercussions including possibility of engulfing the whole society.

    Same goes for the Veena debate. Most would agree her behaviour was below Pakistani and Muslim standards, (duplicitously enough) given that she’s a woman and was in “evil” India. However, the people who believed her behaviour was indeed wrong also believe that it’s her choice, her decision and no one, let alone na-mehram men, have the right to dissect/interrogate her or assail her character on television while the nation burns under immeasurable other miseries. If the matter is going to go to such rabid morbidity that she’d be cornered and shunned so brazenly, to the extent of being labelled a kaafir, or for sleeping with a kaafir, and in some quarters punishable by stoning and much more…who cares whether Veena was wrong or the Mufti was right or whether the opportunist parasite that Kamran Shahid proved himself to be in riding the Veena Malik high-tide was justified or not? All that people care is that the greater wrong being done to one woman is coming from the mullah side united against one woman! And in denouncing the hypocrisy of the bigoted and duplicitous mullahs, the already pushed-to-the-wall neutrals, appear liberal-extremists supporting her two-pieces or whatever.

    For all those who want to pull an
    Ataturk and blow up all the mullahs —
    would they also blow up the good
    mullahs (…)

    Attaturk’s aim was to keep mullahs in the mosques, the dervishes inside shrines and other upholders of religion at bay away from policy making–essentially making religion a personal choice, a personal responsibility and a personal ambition–keeping it from being a perpetual bone of contention in society or being shoved down people’s throats by the caricaturized and depraved caliphate which made a mockery of Islam across the Arab/Muslim world.
    Even today when this policy is mentioned, it should only mean containing or kicking out the over-zealous self seeking flag bearers of Islam and keeping only those actual religious scholars, mullahs and clerics intact who have no greater ambition than to run mosques as institutions of morality and learning, and a sanctuary for anyone and everyone that opts to come their way, rather than spreading out into the streets, shops, offices, parliament and military to grab and draw everyone to their respective versions of religion. So yes, the real good mullahs whose aim is to be mullahs and not prime minister or ameer-ul-momineen or sipah-salaar have to be saved and revered, while all others deserve what Attaturk offered.
    Again, the extreme reaction from Attaturk was invited by the caliphate’s/mullah’s bigotry, duplicity and debauchery which had dis-balanced all sane argument in their favour and pushed the liberals to a liberal extreme. Recommend

  • Maya
    Jan 28, 2011 - 7:18PM

    Great piece Saleha – just superbRecommend

  • mehndi
    Jan 28, 2011 - 7:21PM

    Where have the sane Muslims gone? its obvious, they all went to UK! :DRecommend

  • Anonymous
    Jan 28, 2011 - 7:37PM

    History tells us the day religion ceases to be a personal affair, the society is in trouble. (Medival europe is best example) Religion carries no logic with it, is subjective and therefore is open to many interpretations. This is the reason it should not be central to governance. For a saner and spiritual society, the rights of an individual should be above all else.
    @Tkhan In total agreement with you on this. Author seems to have confused the issues and tried to be all things to all people. Recommend

  • Hamood
    Jan 29, 2011 - 12:37AM

    @Saleha, liberals/ moderates are not the ones blowing themselves up in markets and colleges or shooting anybody who disagrees with them. Please do not equate liberals with fanatic mullahs.Recommend

  • Jacob
    Jan 29, 2011 - 12:48AM

    Need the family back. Proper family relations where parents have a rapport with their kids.
    good piece i read
    http://forthesakeofpakistan.blogspot.com/Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    Jan 29, 2011 - 12:52AM

    Dear Ms. Riaz,
    Sorry to say, I almost totally disagree with you. I summarize each issue raised by you as follows:
    1. Veena lovers and Veena bashers can both exist in every sane society till they know each one of us can have an opinion and no one imposes it on other(s), including over Veena herself. This rule does not change even if she a Pakistani or Muslim or anyone else.
    2. Nothing wrong with Qadri’s view or Taseer’s view, but as soon as Qadri becomes a murderer then the entire country has to scream “MURDERE!” Now on, all the Qadri supporters are wrong or insane. ALSO, I don’t understand why you abuse Taseer? He as a political leader in a democratic setup has every right to air his opinion and if you don’t like his opinion then don’t vote him … simple!
    3. What do you think is most appropriate, secularism, Talibani, Islamic or some other way of governance? Well, this has to be decided by the whole nation and not you, nor a Taliban nor a Taseer. And if most people feel that the government is not running the you desire, then in the next election choose a more appropriate candidate … simple again! “Never dictate”.Recommend

  • Meera Ghani
    Jan 29, 2011 - 1:16AM

    When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal force, the truth does not necessarily lie midway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong. Supporting and justifying murder no matter what the cause is simply WRONG!Recommend

  • Meera Ghani
    Jan 29, 2011 - 1:37AM

    When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal force, the truth does not necessarily lie midway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong. Support and justifying murder no matter what the cause is simply WRONG!Recommend

  • yasir
    Jan 29, 2011 - 2:53AM

    Miss saleha has raised serious questions which needs to be answered. Probably her curiosity is not letting her think clearly about the problems faced by pakistani nation or islamic “millat” enmasse. As per my understanding, incorrect and incomplete interpretation of Islamic Orders at individual aswell at collective level is the cause for social deterioration at national and international level. The clergy and politicians, who are to well knitt common men’s intellectual capacity at individual aswell as at sociatal level, are failing in their part, Probably inter party and inter “Sect” rifts are consuming their energies or other motives are preventing them from functioning outwardly. Morover, evasion of their responsibilities is one other blame, commonly attributed to these two categories of social architects. The root cause rests at interpretation of different inter Fiqah problems by uleima throughout, instead utillising their respected and accepted positions to inter knitt psycho social fabric of the Sociaty.
    Organisational discrepencies in religious channels have also given way to already escalating religious, moral, social and national cum political opinions. Which Inturn has aided exploitationist elements to breed extremism of emotions, opinions in socio-religoius spheres, as per their interpretations. The manifestations of this displaced yet functional system are already wellknown Talibanization or terrorism cases.
    We shall always be experiencing the doctrine of hate more commonly, unless right persons assume their rightfull role of moral ressurection, immediately, Which often gets evaded in the fight for sects and acts.Recommend

  • Jan 29, 2011 - 3:00AM

    Well written. I hope people take heed and the sane ones raise their voices…Recommend

  • Peace On Earth
    Jan 29, 2011 - 3:20AM

    In my opinion, Islam (or any religion for that matter save the Vatican City), has no place in politics. Why can’t Pakistan become a secular state instead of an Islamic one?

    We have Hindus, Christians, and other religious groups present amongst our citizenry so why not become a secular democratic state?

    It is not up to a Islamic scholar to issue statements banning this or that or for him to tell us we can’t drink Diet Coke because it is backed by Israel (which is not even true).

    Imagine if we embraced secularism and held hands with our Pakistani Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever brothers and sisters and called ourselves PAKISTANIS how much we could prosper and improve our lives and that of our future generations?

    The mullahs are hypocritical at best, and while they denounce the West, they travel to England on Virign Airlines, get driven around in a Toyota or Mercedes Benz, and drink Coca Cola after a long day of yelling and screaming.Recommend

  • Majid Urrehman
    Jan 29, 2011 - 4:27AM

    At least someone from right wing spoke.Recommend

  • ali
    Jan 29, 2011 - 4:59AM

    i dont consider salman taseer a saint, but discuss his personality? seriously? now that hes dead let him be, whatever he did or said did not make him worthy of murder. even though you dont condone his murder, you give talking points to those that do by “discussing his personality”Recommend

  • Jan 29, 2011 - 7:31AM

    As far as Veena Malik is concerned, she brought up some very valid points on Frontline with Kamran Shahid. And just because you belong to any group of any nature does not mean you represent them. Why would Veena Malik even want to represent a country or a religion whose keepers tear her to shreds because they’ve got nothing better to do? Her own words were that she was representing the entertainment industry. So she clearly doesn’t see herself as an ambassador for Islam, or Pakistan for that matter. And it should really stop at that.
    And the Taseer lovers, you make them sound crazy and imply that they occupy an extreme of the spectrum, and by doing that you fall for the false manufactured narrative that our media proffers on the idiot box day in, day out. They are not extreme in any sense, they are the sane people you talk about, because the fact of the matter is that Taseer died for nothing more than speaking his mind. It was obviously provocative and some people will say he should have kept ground realities in mind. The fact that this is true is proof of how far this country has fallen. It is the liberal ‘extremists’ that hold the middle ground. (a meaningless term btw) The only reason this isnt self-evident is because the centre has moved to the right in this country since literally 1947.
    And then you move onto what was so predictable in this piece: secularism. Why is it that people always equate this as a war against religion? Wherever I have read about secularism in relation to Pakistan, it has always identified it in some manner with atheism, a trap you also fall into, unwittingly or not, by contrasting it with the Taliban of all people.
    Here’s my question to you: Given that this country has destroyed Islam’s true message and given the fact that this country can never truly get to the ideal you so naively suggest (can any country?), isn’t it better to eliminate religion from the public domain so that people practice religion the way they see fit? Because, irony of all ironies this, the only way to preserve religion’s true message in this country is to eliminate it, and let people make their own sense of it however they so please.
    This article is based on the false premise that people who supported Salman Taseer or support Veena Malik are extreme in some sense, and by doing that you are are doing no service to the neutrals you appeal to, because those are the people you end up calling extreme. Why do we not dampen our positions? Because we are the only ones who have ever had to accomodate the other side. When was the last time a crazy conservative amended his position to accomodate someone more liberal than him? And if liberals keep on moving to the right to please conservatives, when will that process end?Recommend

  • cidpusaorg
    Jan 29, 2011 - 8:18AM

    Islam is a moderate and liberal religion. Allah states in the Quran to respect Him, his Prophets Saw and Angles. Allah has made a law to kill any offenders who speak against Allah and his Prophet SAW.

    All muslims in the world have the option of growing a beard, Blasphemy law has nothing to do with beards.

    We are Muslims and we are slaves of Allah and we are ready to sacrifice our life for Allah.

    We are all Alim Dins, we are all Qadris , Sultan Rushdi beware! Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Jan 29, 2011 - 12:00PM

    ‘Where have the “sane” Muslims gone’??..I agree with Amaar who says they vanished when our National Assembly decided to announce who was or wasnt a Muslim..I also feel they they reside in English-speaking journalism, and the lack of translation’s in, or actual writing of, articles like this in Urdu has polarised the nation into a an English-speaking i.e.’modern’ society versus Urdu-speaking or ‘conservative’ one. I certainly resent the implication of certain bloggers who have decided that the term ‘liberal’ means God-less.. Recommend

  • salma
    Jan 29, 2011 - 12:38PM

    No one is saying that Taseer was great man . Those who curse Qadri and other so called muslum like him are more worried about having a discussion about any religious or non religious issue. the actions of Qadri will even stop people from having a productive debate about any issue. there are so many disagreements among the ulema regarding lets say Namaz . does that mean that one Muslim should kill another Muslim for not performing prayer in a certain specific way. Debate about Blasphemy was the same thing . we have examples of the Prophet ( SAW) forgiving a woman who used to throw trash on him. why was she not punished. she did commit blasphemy. Being a Muslim and a lawyer, I think that blasphemy laws of Pakistan ( emphasis on ‘Law of Pakistan’ ) is not clear. the standard of proof is very low. which means it is easy to falsely accuse any one of Blasphemy for personal vengeance. N please Dont tell me that we Pakistani are so pious that we wont falsely accuse any one. the purpose of law should be to punish violators not create fear. so please dont say that it taseers death which people sad about. its the ‘liberty to debate about issues which we think are important’ that people are worried about. it seems that in the next few years Maulvis will give a fatwa that its jihad to throw acid on woman face if shes not covering it since she is attracting man. (please Keep in Mind , covering face is a debated issues even in classical islamists ) Recommend

  • Ausama Bin Waseem
    Jan 29, 2011 - 3:38PM

    Wow well written the writer has tried to show us both sides of the coin and has tried that we should look at the facts with out having an extremist approach Recommend

  • abhinav
    Jan 29, 2011 - 4:29PM

    @cidpusaorg
    I like your commentsRecommend

  • Manit Parmar
    Jan 29, 2011 - 6:23PM

    I am just curious to know why most of the people in pakistan considers themselves muslim first and than a pakistani.. Is it just that I have never come across anyone who thinks otherwise? Friends start thinking of yourself as pakistani’s. Being a muslim was not in your control, you were born as muslim and that does not makes your a better person than any one else on this earth. For next 5 years forget who you are and just remember that you all the good human beings and good pakistani’s dont bring religion in any discussion and you will see the change

    And to the writer of this article: You guys have your pen in your hand and it can bring a revolution un society so please do not promote this. I would have been really happy if the title of this article was ” where are all teh same human beings or pakistani’s gone”. Religion is very personal and it should be kept like that.Recommend

  • bangkapi
    Jan 29, 2011 - 7:56PM

    sane muslim is an oxymoronRecommend

  • Tee
    Jan 29, 2011 - 9:52PM

    I too fall in the category of people who are deeply offended by this article. I usually encourage all writers and try not to write negative comments. But this, sitting on the fence, arbitrarily deciding where the middle lies is just not good.

    Also, on a personal note, I simply do not understand why everything has to be seen through the prism of religion. There are hundreds of religions and a thousand interpretations of each religion! Sanity is sanity. It exists outside of religion. I would even say it exists despite religion. You just know that killing someone is wrong. The victim’s lifestyle is irrelevant! Completely and utterly irrelevant. I cannot stress this enough. How can you then not condemn a killing unequivocally?Recommend

  • Tee
    Jan 29, 2011 - 10:58PM

    I wrote a really long comment but it seems to have disappeared…I don’t feel like reproducing it but I did want to state that I too am deeply offended by this post. Recommend

  • Jan 29, 2011 - 11:03PM

    @cidpusaorg

    We are all Alim Dins, we are all Qadris , Sultan Rushdi beware!

    Err,just one question if you please, Who in the name of heaven is SULTAN RUSHDI?

    Or,are we so intent on killing that the names or deeds of our victims make no difference.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 29, 2011 - 11:32PM

    An excellent article by all standards which has been commended by majority of bloggers. What Saleha has presented is both sides of coin which has invited a healthy discussion or one may call brain-storming. Well, she may be absolutely right that there will be many sane minded mullas and clerics or even Talebans who believe in true form of Islam which is devoid of hatred and violence who should come forward to propogate true teachings of Islam without locking horns with the extremists minds and who knows that their moderate ideology may find favour with many fence sitters.
    In the present scenario it will be almost impossible to switch over to secularism or amend/repeal
    blasphemy laws. The best option available is to follow the middle path and halt extremists in hijacking of religion and stop sectarian violence through right minded clerics and politicians otherwise Pakistan is going the Iran way and much worst rulers ie Taleban will take-over the reigns of the country and destroy it once for all.Recommend

  • bangkapi
    Jan 29, 2011 - 11:50PM

    @Manit Parmar
    Exactly. Religion is a personal thing. When it goes into public domain, it becomes politics in the garb of religion. too much religion, even for the sake of allah, is bad for the health of society and Allah. It then resembles the Cancerous cells which are nothing but the normal cells growing uncontrollably in a particular part of body,sucking life from other body cells, ultimately threatening the whole body.
    dear author if u really wish to progress, stop talking about religion. talking may make u feel morally superior, but ultimately it makes u hollow. keep it private and enjoy the fruits.Recommend

  • R. Khan
    Jan 30, 2011 - 1:12AM

    We have gone mad & seriously infected with IV! Nobody can help us since the brain & thinking process is affected. Recommend

  • Muhammad Haris Zohaib
    Jan 30, 2011 - 2:26AM

    I become your fan, hats off to you! God bless you. . .Recommend

  • Nafisa Khan
    Jan 30, 2011 - 2:57AM

    @ Ahmed…. Brilliantly said!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!Recommend

  • Nafisa Khan
    Jan 30, 2011 - 3:00AM

    @ ahmed Exactly what i was thinking, i love you! Recommend

  • Nafisa Khan
    Jan 30, 2011 - 3:03AM

    @Ahmad:
    Brilliantly said,
    Exactly what i was thinking…
    you are amazing… i LOVED you comment.Recommend

  • sidrah roghay
    Jan 30, 2011 - 9:47AM

    A much needed saint voiceRecommend

  • Jan 30, 2011 - 12:29PM

    @Author

    According to reports Pakistani Senate members refused to have a ‘fatiha’ for Salman Taseer. The Senate also did not support a resolution condemning Salman Taseer’s murder.
    I guess you will find your ‘sane muslims’ in the Pakistani Senate.Recommend

  • OB
    Jan 30, 2011 - 2:26PM

    While I admit that there are rational, peaceful and good fearing mullahs out there, I would still pull an Ataturk because Islam does not institutionalise clergy and it is the responsibility of every Muslim to be well versed in religion. This is so that there is no room for exploitation by the so called “men of God” as it has been in other religions. What we are seeing in Pakistan is a crude and cruel form of inquisition. It is crude and cruel because unlike the original inquisitions, the mullahs are relying on the power of the crowd to “cleanse” the society.

    While saying this, I would make a distinction between as mullah and an Islamic scholar.Recommend

  • Observer
    Jan 30, 2011 - 3:15PM

    @ Author,

    You have just touched my feelings which I have been carrying for quite sometime, I a person in my sixties, keeps wondering where is the Islam which I grew up with, no difference between casts and creed, avoiding enemosity with fellow citizens, following the simple Islam which says ‘ Live and let live’. I keep wondering and often ask people, ” Was that the true Islam which I learnt to live with, OR all what I now hear and read about, which is totally contrary to which I grew up with.Recommend

  • SB
    Jan 30, 2011 - 4:54PM

    It is reassuring to see several readers advocating religion as being entirely personal, and having no business in the running of a country. If more Pakistanis start supporting this, Pakistan may still have a chance to prosper. And, yes, I am aware that Pakistan itself was created to provide a state for the muslims of India, but the historical context now is not what it was then – Pakistan exists, and so do Pakistanis, whether they are Muslims, Christians, or whatever religious denomination they choose to follow… and even if they choose to follow none, why should that be an obstacle to being a good citizen and enjoying a peaceful existence in your own country.
    I may not be a religious scholar, but I don’t think Islam intends for self-appointed religious leaders to determine what makes a good muslim.Recommend

  • SA
    Jan 30, 2011 - 5:15PM

    Saleha you rule.. I’ll give you a standing ovation for this piece. Recommend

  • Usman
    Jan 30, 2011 - 5:42PM

    She should rather find some sanity among the ruling class ranks than searching it in poor masses cuz it is govt and elites who jeopardized all the justice system hence leading a lawless soceity where Taseers,Veenas and Qadris will never stop to act on their own understandingsRecommend

  • Asad
    Jan 30, 2011 - 7:59PM

    Girl, i dont feel like getting up and fight im not cut out do this type of stuff.Recommend

  • Gulmeenay
    Jan 30, 2011 - 9:05PM

    The dichotomies you’ve created in this piece, which form the very premise of your argument are very dangerous. You posit ‘those who want secularism’ against ‘those who want the Taliban’, ‘Qadri supporters’ against ‘Taseer lovers’ etc. Surely there’s something much worse about being a supporter of someone who committed cold-blooded, premeditated murder in broad daylight than someone who romanticises and the forgives the sins of a dead man. Recommend

  • Hira Ashfaq
    Jan 30, 2011 - 10:10PM

    Finally! Thank you for such a brilliant piece of writing that I can relate to so well!!Recommend

  • Muzammil
    Jan 31, 2011 - 12:56AM

    Between the Qadri supporters and the Taseer lovers, where are those who say that perhaps both parties are wrong?

    And what exactly was wrong on taseer’s part? he voiced his opinion ? so having an opinion is wrong? I am not taseer ‘lover’ as you put it,i despised that guy infact many who condemned qadri are not taseer lovers but when bullet is used against argument then you dont need Einstein to tell you who is wrong and if still you think that you can find ‘middle ground’ in this then you have a dead conscience.

    You are one sorry apologist,the kind because of which we are in this mess today and you have audacity to write on sanityRecommend

  • AA
    Jan 31, 2011 - 2:00AM

    People who are on Seerat-e-mustaqeem are very much present ….at individual level people know them….Collectively they will come forward and people will see them easily when time will come..(soon Insha Allah)… Hikmat lies in all works of Allah….every nation has to pay for what he did ….and at nation level he has to pay in this world……
    I left Quran….I left Islam….I became kaafir and mushrik (Nafs parast, watan parast, daulat parast, duniya parast, qom parast, baradari parast.)……I followed the same illogical behaviour which is mentioned and rejected by Quran..that I have found our fathers and forefathers doing so and so…therefore I am following their path…..
    so I am seeing whatever is the result of my deeds….
    The moment we will turn back towards right direction….towards Islam…..these leftist rightists will vanish automatically….

    And there is no categorization in Islam..there is no secular Islam there is no radical Islam…..
    There is only Islam….as there are not two Quran…one for liberals one for radicals…..there is only one Quran..
    illiterate people like me who read only a few things about Islam …..start running here and there and spread whatever they hear or read without clarifying what does that mean…and thus categorizes Islam into various styles….

    If any one has doubt…..he must clear his heart from whatever is written on it….and read and understand Quran with his own eyes and brain….Quran will automatically interact with him and will tell him that what is Islam…

    But clear, pure and disease-free heart is the basic requirement for this…

    For leftist and rightist…a description from Quran…(Surah Al-Baqarah)

    May Allah bless all….

    Allah knows best..
    Ya Hayyo Ya QayyumRecommend

  • Nadia
    Jan 31, 2011 - 5:17AM

    @observer:
    Taseer never claimed to be a saint. He was in fact a man who spoke out for the poor
    Christian woman who can’t speak for herself and who is being tortured by the bloody so called Muslims who don’t know what Islam really is.
    When a ‘liberal’ speaks out or has a drink the whole country jumps on his back but what about the Mullahs who are raping and sodomising young children in their care?????
    there was an expose of the Mullahs in London who were doing just that! The dirty buggers! There is too much religiosity in pakistan politics and its very very dangerous. Take heed and watch what is happening in the mid east; theyre kicking out the corrupt which is what the pakis should do but they dont have the guts. theyre too busy murdering and carjacking and looting innocent people. Disgusting place.
    Throwing rose petals on a murderer, bloody mad people!!Recommend

  • Nadia
    Jan 31, 2011 - 5:18AM

    @SB:
    good reply sensible person you!Recommend

  • Nadia
    Jan 31, 2011 - 5:21AM

    @OB:
    i would pull an Attaturk in a heartbeat and cleanse Pakistan of the illiterate and rabid mullahs who frankly look evil and disgusting, unlike the Egyptian clergy or even the Iranian khomeinis, who at least look clean. And more importantly are educated!!!Recommend

  • Nadia
    Jan 31, 2011 - 5:30AM

    @Observer:
    me too, it was beautiful in the old days when pak was really ‘paak’ and karachi was a clean city until the savages came inRecommend

  • Javed Iqbal
    Jan 31, 2011 - 10:35AM

    @Saleha Riaz:

    A nice effort. But your article is creating more confusions. As you are the expert on current situation, we would like a conclusion from you as well. Recommend

  • Concerned Pakistani
    Jan 31, 2011 - 7:32PM

    @Author: Just want to tell you, this line between (Seculars and Taliban or extremist as we call them) was not drawn till we started saying to people who pray (bara muslaman ban raha hai) and this happened only a few years back ………..
    I feel the same as you do, the only problem is no one is willing to listen to a sane Muslim anymore, believe me the bearded Mullah/Mullana people are not always the extremist they are way better than what we think of them. This is some Political crap that is giving us problemsRecommend

  • Kashif Raza
    Jan 31, 2011 - 7:43PM

    90% reflection of my heart is in this article.niceRecommend

  • Bilal Salim
    Feb 1, 2011 - 12:03AM

    THERE IS NO BLANCED TRUTH . Either you are right or you are wrong . Its not necessary that truth will always lie in the CENTER . What had Salman Taseer done that justifies saying that he was somewhat responsible for a lunatic’s action ?
    However, its a reality that most of our nation consists of those who love to go on the middle-path just like you. They are not visible because they are indifferent to all this , and dont bother to take part in such discussions.Recommend

  • bashi
    Feb 1, 2011 - 6:47AM

    Well i am not in a position either to agree or disagree with the writer as i am not an expert but having a little knowledge, we will must have to draw a line between a situation where a person needs to be peaceful or to react accordingly. I must have to say if a person is blashpheming he must be stopped either peacefully or forcefully. Besides a Muslim is not a muslim if he is not peacful because ISLAM itself is a religion of peace. The connotations being used such as taliban is not appropriate because this is all media’s erections. Taliban itself mean a person who is striving for education and it could be pertinent to any field from science to religion.
    Having said that a sane muslim still exists but either being conspired are become pseudo religious.Recommend

  • bashi
    Feb 1, 2011 - 6:52AM

    If you have to practice islam you have to become taliban becuse untill unless you don’t know how to live in a society, how to deal with the neighbour, how to offer prayer. I am sorry you can not practice it, and by taliban i mean student Recommend

  • sikandar
    Feb 1, 2011 - 6:22PM

    Everywhere history repeats in the erstwhile Barath or Hindustan the religious fanatics created a rift between the elite and the layman, hence lot of conversion, here we are. It will be not far off when people are fed up of enforced religion and there will be an exodus.

    Some other religion will come up provided if at all we all survive the self made holocaust.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 1, 2011 - 10:06PM

    Lets wait for the sensibility to prevail! It seems that we all have to learn a lot of goodness. We may disagree but neither in the manner on roads nor in the manner above.And excuse me all of my Muslim brothers and sisters.
    “Let us raise a standard to which wise and honest can repair and let the rest in the hands of God” George Washington, late President of USA. Recommend

  • pravez
    Feb 2, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Everything boils down to- whether you condone the murder of Mr Salman Taseer as he was in this particular case espousing liberal and inclusive society. You may object the way Mr Taseer has handle the issue but that should not force one to take just the opposite stand,As such there is no middle ground.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 3, 2011 - 11:42AM

    I beleive a human has both good and bad side available with in one person and he chooses one of the two, similarly Mumtaz Quadri and Salman Taseer both related to me as Muslim brothers they too made their choice one paid and the other in process of paying. If we study above views of the author and other people, all of them made their choice. I dont like at all to melign somebody just for his views we all have 4 accesses to our heart which make these views sight, hearing, thinking and speech. A thief was brought to Prophet SAW his theft was proven. Nabi SAW ordered punishment and same was carried out, and the Prophet SAW was sad on the incident and his eyes were full of tears, Sahaba e Kiram R.A.A. asked if the Prophet SAW was in such a situation he should’nt have ordered us so but this was the order of ALLAH SWT so was the order of Nabi SAW.
    Please appreciate Islam is what Islam is sometime we, common man can apprecite it but many a times we have to resort to special help from literate ones. Islam requires from all of us a level of love and following where love for ALLAH SWT surpasses every other love and care then comes love and following of Nabi SAW. A Muslim is responsible for every being in this world but within the parameters of Islam. And I respect you all as my learned colleages we must respect each other making fun or calling each other with belittling references does not strengthen our case. We can disagree but with respect and responsibility. Please forgive me if my expressions hurt any ones feeling.
    Best regards. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 4, 2011 - 1:18PM

    Why are we looking for sane Pakistani’s why can’t we be the ones? It seems we pay more attention to the people who have nuisance value rather than sane ones! But then we are in the process of learning and if the Almighty allows us to complete this process intime to see sane ones in business. Take care!Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Feb 6, 2011 - 4:56AM

    The issue in its roots is not Salman Taseer or misuse of the Blasphemy Law. The issue is the hatred that Mullahs propagate in name of religion. They have been empowered by previous govt and now we are reaping what they had planted for future generations. Unless we institute concrete measures to get rid of this JAHILIYAT, soon its gonna be your daughter being forcibly married to a Hazrat Jee mullah because his followers will knock at your doors saying, “Hazrat Jee had a dream last night that your daughter is her bride. Hazrat Jee’s dreams are sacred dreams and are orders for his followers”. Soon its gonna be your daughters and sons being murdered in name of Religion when you refuse their inhumane demands. This is what the Mullahs and Pakistani Taliban did in Swat Valley -unless we do something to stop these terrorists.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 8, 2011 - 1:09PM

    Dear brother Mohammad, we all must respect each other!
    Who has planted so much hatred in either parties?
    I see same is true for your writings, would you prefer a badmash instead, who is born to Muslim parents but his evil eyes has seen your daughter and he does not want nikah/marriage but he’s ready for breaking the law of ALLAH SWT and does not care about the Prophet SAW either?
    We must learn to polish goodness and as for whats reported regarding a Muslim we must ensure that ALLAH SWT has described in Quran who can be your friend and who can’t! Sorry but goodness and its opposite lies in one human but if a person either a Molvi sahib or a student of University both if nurture goodness will stay so! Similarly we need (Universities) institutions producing both Molvi sahib as well as specialists of other feilds that has to be developed. Following Islam needs care haram is few, halal are abundant. Tanqeed is haram Islah is farz. Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Feb 8, 2011 - 3:59PM

    @Abdul-Mughis Rana:
    Dear Abdul Mughis, it does not matter who comes knocking at my or your door. The crux of the matter is that the hatred propagated by Mullahs has no counter part in our country at the moment.
    Every Mullah has his own brand of Islam and I refuse to accept their “authority” on my religion the way they claim it. There is no clergy in Islam . That is against the spirit of Islam itself. IF one wants to correct a problem, the first step is to acknowledge there is a problem. anyone who says to me “death punishment is justified in Islam for apostasy and blasphey” is a person ignorant of Quran. This is exactly what Mullahs claim. They also call each other as kafirs and declare each other “wajib-ul-qatl”. so please dont effing tell me to be “tolerant” to these ignorant bigots and animals. I have been asked to leave mosque because maulvi sahib beleived namaz can not be performed without a topee. What a screwed up version of my lovely religion are these people propagating?
    Think on a humanity level. As of now, if you call Islam a religion of peace, people will call you mad. This is what they have rendered my religion-and I have a problem with that.
    They kill people and call it HALAL as per islam- I have a problem with that.
    Anyways, what was your point? your reply to my post was very broad and non-specific. Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Feb 8, 2011 - 4:05PM

    @Abdul-Mughis Rana:

    “Similarly we need (Universities) institutions producing both Molvi sahib as well as specialists of other feilds”
    We dont need any maulvis. We need to spread true understanding of Quran and not what Maulvis think what Quran means (in light of history depending upon which version a particular maulvi chooses to follow). Here is an example:
    صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ ﴿٧﴾
    Translated by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan
    1:7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).
    I have read similar translations in Urdu as well done by our “maulvis”. You can see that there is no mention of christians or jews in the said verese, yet this version of translation has been financed by Saudi Govt and Pakistan/Indian “ULEMA also do such insertions into Quran.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 8, 2011 - 9:58PM

    Dear Muhammad, please forgive me for a lengthy reply but I cant be your judge we need a teacher for all subjects!! This is no solution (if I had a bad patch) cross it out?
    Islam has the chain of communication ALLAH SWT via Hazrat Jibraeel A.S. to Nabi SAW to Sahaba e Kiram R.A. onward to Tabaeen R.A. to Taba Tabaeen R.A. and Ulema e Kiram. And aboveall ALLAH SWT is omnipotent from ever to ever. Relax and do our part. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 9, 2011 - 4:01PM

    Respected readers, Islam is the Deen which ALLAH SWT has chosen for humanity and as such all Prophets were chosen people of ALLAH SWT were actually the Prophets of Islam and on Prophet Mohammad SAW Islam was completed. Therefore all Muslims of course they have this facility of being born in Islam but then this depends on how good copy their parent were able to effort and acheive together with how God fearing they are! The goodness we are able to conduct depends on the gift of ALLAH SWT.
    Apart from Prophets A.S. rest all humans can make mistakes even Sahaba e Kiram R.A. if any commit a mistake used to correct it as soon as they realized and if a mistake was bigger they would come to Nabi SAW for correction and after Nabi SAW they used to present their case to the most learned one either Khalifatul Muslimeen R.A.(Caliph) or his referred one. All Sahaba e Kiram used to consider other Sahabi R.A. better than him or if heard a fazeelat of a certain Sahabi R.A. then would take his advise.
    Sahaba e Kiram R.A.used to refrain from being a part of any activity that would lead to (tafarka) division between Umma they had difference of opinion based on ilm but were settled without (fitna angaizi or tafarka pardazi) dividing Umma. Ilm (knowledge of what action my Creator requires from me in order to be successful in both the lives) is a gift of ALLAH SWT and all Muslims need enough ilm of 24 hourly life so their life till death would be according to Islam. (Continued)Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 9, 2011 - 4:34PM

    Therefore all Muslims do not need to be Aalim e Deen but the ilm of Deen relevant to our field we all must carry and to practice all we need faith (iiman) in a developed form.This decision what people will actually do will depend on how much they have efforted on their iiman, criticising/judging others action is not (awam’s) people’s responsibilty. If a Muslim feels that another Muslim should not have done a particular deed then caring for him/her is the answer (and not resorting to highlighting his mistake (fitna angazy) this is a joint problem each Muslim is a mirror of the other Muslim infact Muslim is supposed to take pain like Prophet SAW for the whole humanity so that the whole humanity can be saved from the difficulties of both the World. So the job of Nabi SAW after him is the job of each and every Muslim and all Muslims have so much qualities which if used in this job constructively it will Insha ALLAH lessen our burden of mistakes since we wont have time for the negatives. May ALLAH SWT allows us all this job Aameen! Asalamoalaikum! Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Feb 9, 2011 - 6:21PM

    @Abdul-Mughis Rana:
    ” If a Muslim feels that another Muslim should not have done a particular deed then caring for him/her is the answer (and not resorting to highlighting his mistake (fitna angazy)”
    Mughis your suggestions are as if the problem is only few people discussing controversial issues. However, the issue is religious extemism, propagation of concepts that ” it is mandatory to kill any one who says any blasphemous remarks against Islam and Prophet”. I dont think you realize the magnitude of problem. This is what is fasad fil arz and this is what needs to be stopped with all the force and punitive punishments. No discussions or “advice” or “one muslim acting as a mirror for the other” is gonna stop these mad people from declaring you or me as amurtad and declare “Wajib-ul-qatl”. MAybe you are happy in “discussing” with them their issues, but as far as I am concerned , I dont think they are interested in any dialogue.
    Your suggestions are idealistic and indeed desireable but unfortunately unrealistic. People who use Quranic Verses to “prove” it is incumbent upon all of us to murder those who blasphem against Islam and Prophet, are terrorists of highest order. Just because they wear the title of Muslim Scholar does not mean whatever they say is correct and infallible.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 10, 2011 - 6:38PM

    ALLAH SWT is the Creator of all Humanity not just us or our off the track brothers. Nabi SAW is and will remain Rehmatulil Aalimeen till and even after Qayamat and will make a dua by virtue of which all humanity even non beleiver will get takhfeef Azab. My dear Mohammad we are talking about the Islam which ALLAH SWT has chosen for humanity not what insane ones have understood and I tell you all there are enough of those sane Muslims and they are growing, number does not matter but (Iiman) faith matters! In Qayamat (aamal) deeds will be weighed and not counted. Once Nabi SAW said to Sahaba e Kiram R.A. that there will be a time when people will plan to get rid of Muslims. Sahaba R.A. got fiqrmand, would we be so few in number? Nabi SAW replied No! Instead a lot in number but valueless like hay.
    Why Muslims were in power? When they had qualities of a Muslims, people loved to keep them in power, whole of Indonesia turned to Islam because of few Muslim traders the locals loved their ways of doing business so much that they even accepted their religion too. Muhammad name matters but qualities add to the name and that too we have to show to our Creator and not people. We cant cut off with our off track bros just like my own brother this may sound junooni but thats what we will be rewarded for by ALLAH SUBHANOHOO WA TAALA.
    Nabi SAW did sabr on the difficulties given by non beleivers even his own relatives and made Sahaba e Kiram R.A. do the same. But my dearest brother Islam is not just few items, there will be a time when following Islam would be like holding (angara) burning charcoal in one’s palm. As all unbearded are not same similarly…….! All my brothers and sisters relax and direct your energies physical, monetarial and time towards bringing the Islam in our own life and spreading it to the last human, who will accept and who wont, this is not our job to ponder about like rain (barkat wali) is for all. Insha ALLAH we will see with our own eyes what change this will bring. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 11, 2011 - 1:14PM

    Problem is not Islam instead its the heated debate which satan is making full use of sane or insane have become ……! We must cool it now otherwise it will worsen matter beyond repair. For discussion, Mohammad very rightly said you need cool atmosphere. Therefore being sane is in everyone’s capacity PM has acted very wisely on the matter so far but we all have to do our part, Jazak ALLAH!Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 13, 2011 - 1:40PM

    We are waiting for the whole world to come to us and tell us dearest Muslims we have accepted Islam why dont you too? Sahaba e Kiram R.A. (companions) of Nabi SAW (Prophet Mohammad pbuh) became the best followers which any Prophet pbuh ever had because they followed the orders of ALLAH SWT (God) as brought to them by Nabi SAW to the satisfaction of both.

    We fear if we follow Islam we have to be like the examples of today but the fact remains that this is not the requirement of ALLAH SWT and Nabi SAW!

    The life of Nabi SAW is simple and easy to follow and judgement rest with the system which ALLAH SWT has set for all and not by even the best of the Muslims. Sahaba e Kiram R.A. did their portion and got confirmation from the Creator and there were gifted people and Nabi SAW used to refer other Sahaba e Kiram R.A. to them as done in the Madrassah or call it Universities a gifted student out of the honoured batch recommended by their Muallim or call it Professor takes charge of the next class. But Sahaba R.A. used to respect their Muallim very much as guided by Nabi SAW. (Continued)Recommend

  • Anwar
    Feb 18, 2011 - 10:14AM

    I am neither a ‘liberal-fascist’ nor an ‘Islamist’ per se, but I am a student of history and based on that I think that the writer is just experiencing a departure from reality. I don’t want to sound pedantic and quote all the references from history which show that religion, when brought into the public domain has always caused trouble. Given that piece of information, I think it is best if the ‘Moderate Mullahs’ and the ‘Good Taliban’ are kept at bay :).Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 18, 2011 - 10:08PM

    Extremism of all sorts is our problem. The so called pedantic historians or the students of history not sounding pedantic, if we learn to respect our elders be it a Professor of Chemistry or an Aalim e Deen or call him a Professor of Islamic Studies and respect them from heart. And Islam is for all to practice rather than checking who is on Islam and who is not, this is certainly not common people i.e. awam’s domain. If we take out Islam than we will take out the basic reason for these Muslim to exist in this World.
    Issuing fatwa is my best domain Scholar or otherwise which was not in the original Islam meaning that the student failed to learn from his subject History. As i said earlier, Islam is Islam the religion which ALLAH SWT has chosen for humanity not for the born Muslims only. So we have the biggest paid job in this world payments of which will also be in this world and ultimate will follow in the hereafter.And for this reference life is only Prophet Mohammad SAW. A little practicing Muslim is denounced as Maulana many people accept all Islam but when it comes to parts of it then they start making excuses. My dearest brothers and sisters Islam is my responsibility that it should be in my life so much that our Creator says here is my banda, only then I am a Muslim!

    In India pre-partitioned, there was a Molvi sahib, strange by our todays Islamic standards, also Imam sahib of a Jama Masjid, common Muslims of the area decided on their own to grab a peice of land which was actually a Hindu’s place of worship. And build a Masjid on it all through the night. Hindus of the area sued the Muslims and as a (continued) Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 18, 2011 - 10:42PM

    witness those Hindus presented Molvi sahib’s name in the court, Muslims thought well done ! Molvi sahib will of course tow their line but tables turned in the court Molvi sahib gave his view in favor of Hindus and Muslims thus lost the case. As a retaliatory move Muslims turned Molvi sahib out of the responsibiilty of Imamat of Jama Masjid.
    When Molvi sahib was leaving the area while crossing the Hindus place of worship the Hindus realised on the qurbani of Molvi sahib and said to him, “No problem we all accept Islam and we give this place for Masjid with our free will. Then Molvi sahib said, ***”Muslims lost, but Islam won!*** Please forgive me if I sounded like teaching but I am not, only trying to explain my point. Best Regards. Wassalam!Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmed Malik
    Mar 23, 2011 - 1:30PM

    Answer to all your questions….Here I m, I m among the ones you are looking for and I have a lot others around me. Its not that I m silent its because I m nowhere, when I come on TV or when I write, I have to identify myself either left or right, either liberal or extreemist i normally dont have the third check boxRecommend

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