For the greater glory

Published: February 24, 2012
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The writer is author, most recently of, The Apricot Road to Yarkand (Sang-e-Meel, 2011) and a member of the Royal Geographical Society 
salman.rashid@tribune.com.pk

The writer is author, most recently of, The Apricot Road to Yarkand (Sang-e-Meel, 2011) and a member of the Royal Geographical Society salman.rashid@tribune.com.pk

Hamid Gul has recanted. But when he falsified concerning the presence or otherwise of a terrorist leader at some rally, he had no compunction. The man thought he was doing this for the greater glory of religion.

I have heard dozens of tales as spun by those of this breed who have no qualms prevaricating. Sample a couple.

About 12 years ago, I met in Peshawar the master of the post office at, if memory serves, Michni. He was not bearded but he introduced himself as a surgaram rukn of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Having waxed eloquent on the many achievements of his political party, he launched on a tirade against the West that was out to destroy us Muslims in tandem with the vicious lobby of the Hunood-o-Yuhood (Hindu-Jewish).

An argument followed and, to illustrate the forces in action against Islam, he quoted a story from a ‘digest’. On questioning, the digest turned out to be the organ of the Jamaat. The following, he said, was from this digest. Blinded by its anti-Islam hatred, the West had created the falsehood of the first heavier-than-air flying machine being invented in America. It was, in fact, designed and invented by an Egyptian Muslim.

Abu Musa, a bicycle repairman practiced his trade in Cairo, so it was reported in the digest. This genius of a man had drawn a detailed blueprint of a powered flying machine but, unable to finance its building, was at a loss to take the project any farther. Now, about that time, there lived somewhere in the US two brothers, “evil Christians or perhaps Jews”, who somehow got wind of this magical machine that they or anyone in the sinful and malicious West were incapable of conceiving.

Travelling to Cairo, the diabolical brothers sought out Abu Musa, the Muslim technician and requested for an apprenticeship to learn the art of the vulcanising bicycle tyres. And then one day, they stole the blueprints and made off to Kitty Hawk, where on a cold and windy December day in 1903, the brothers — Wilbur and Orville Wright, bloody fraudsters — flew the world’s first aircraft.

The other story is about Hazrat Musa (AS) and Aristotle as told by another pious and bearded man in the presence of several older gentlemen of similar countenance. It was not revealed where this particular story had been gleaned. The philosopher said to the prophet that he was so smart he could outwit God and his angels and that when his time was up, the Angel of Death will not be able to claim his soul.

And so when the day neared, Aristotle created two dozen statues in his exact likeness and in identical poses. He then placed himself in their midst so that no mortal could tell the sculptor from the sculptures. There came the Angel of Death to take the heathen soul and at a complete loss stood scratching his chin. But guided by God, the angel hit upon an idea. He called out aloud, “Ah, so Aristotle thinks himself a great mind. He may well be, but he has made one mistake and I know the real him.”

“What mistake could I have possibly made?” cried out the indignant philosopher. And so the Angel of Death who until then had not zeroed in on the real Aristotle and may never have discovered him — so it was implied — grabbed the man by the throat and took his accursed soul straight to the eternal fires of hell.

As the man finished his tale, a round of breathy prayer and adulation went up. At least, one elderly man in the company claimed to be a writer, but no one asked how Hazrat Musa (AS) and Aristotle came to share the same time in history. The former is believed to have lived about 1400 BCE and the latter in the 4th century BCE. But for those who wished to assign greater glory, even if supposititious, to their belief this was irrelevant.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • John B
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:58PM

    I can imagine how the poor youth get all fired up in listening to the stories like these.

    I even heard a story from a gentleman that the Pyramids were built by Caliphs and the Christian Napoleon changed the historical documents to please the Pope. He was an MBA graduate working in a bank in US.

    Guess, we can forgive the ignorance of Peshawar clerk.

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  • Mj
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:40PM

    I like to imagine that charlatans who create such fairy tales do it for fun and to see what absurdities they can make their gullible listeners and readers believe. I am unable to count the number of otherwise intelligent people who believe that Armstrong heard prayer-call on the moon, that NASA has pictorial proof that moon was split in two(!), and that meteorites are missiles for snooping devils.

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 12:16AM

    Compunction. Good word.

    How does one reason with such superstitious paranoid prejudiced twisted ignorant fundamental hypocritical mindsets, who don’t simply lie to others for their untouchable dogmatic beliefs, but delude themselves too?

    Whether he was doing it or rationalizing it for the ‘greater good’, at the end he was standing right next to a notorious Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extreme sectarian with the same poisoned mindset who justify violence and aggression for their ‘greater good’, which is actually unethical, bigoted, devious and diabolical schemes falsely legitimized by moral religious ultra-nationalist labels. Recommend

  • Feb 25, 2012 - 2:16AM

    “How does one reason with such superstitious paranoid prejudiced twisted ignorant fundamental hypocritical mindsets, who don’t simply lie to others for their untouchable dogmatic beliefs, but delude themselves too? “

    Why should they listen to reason if a lie serves their purposes? These folks can rile up a crowd to kill or terrify victims, robbing or forcing them out cheap and selling for a handsome profit. Then they can tell their kids how brave they were and terrify their teachers to echo the same thing. What possible good purpose could truth and reason serve such people?

    No, to get such people to even start listening you have to have force on your side along with truth and reason. But to permanently damp out such travesties one needs a functioning justice system and officials responsible to the people; no more Deep State. Otherwise you simply replace one set of vermin with another.

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  • Sajid
    Feb 25, 2012 - 2:38AM

    Well written. There are people who think Sikandar Azam was muslim.

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 2:45AM

    Indeed. No doubt the west stole modern science from muslims!

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  • Cynical
    Feb 25, 2012 - 2:50AM

    @Author

    Any one could tell this story, but no one like you did.
    Keep enlightening us, PLEASE.
    Regards.

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  • Babloo
    Feb 25, 2012 - 3:02AM

    Pakistan is a fantastic land, where everything including history is a ‘fantasy’. However, fantasy is necessary to sustain this fantastic entity.

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 25, 2012 - 4:52AM

    Hamid Gul made a mistake and he apologised but it seems some people are always looking for reasons to bash him Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 25, 2012 - 6:17AM

    And those stories about Green dressed angels escorting PAF planes during 1965 war, Any idea who propagated such stupidity?

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  • MarkH
    Feb 25, 2012 - 7:54AM

    ….
    They’re not pious and devout Muslims. They’re should-be mental patients being allowed no interaction with other people. I can’t believe that first story referenced wasn’t laughed at so much during its inception people wouldn’t be caught dead telling it for the sake of their self-respect… But people who actually speak of it and believe it such as that man existing… It actually getting this far… Really, look into the inbreeding thing. I can’t think of anything other than severe mental defect that is progressively getting worse and there’s nothing but that, that could be so wide spread as if it was as contagious as the plague.

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  • Ak
    Feb 25, 2012 - 7:56AM

    In fact there is another one, there was one program on YouTube where I saw the famous ‘defense analyst” talking about how angels fought along side army the againsts Indians in 1965! I have come to believe that this has nothing to do with how much a person is educated but is based on what the mindset of the person is.

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  • Nadeem
    Feb 25, 2012 - 9:36AM

    What people like Retd General Hamid Gul will never tell you is that if Hindus and Jews and the rest of the world are conspiring against us, how does that justify not sending our children to school (low priority to education in a security state), how does it justify not providing decent health care to our citizens (low priority to health care in a security state), how does it justify 43% population living under the poverty line? This army uses the ‘external threat’ bogey to appropriate all funds and all political power for itself, leaving nothing for the welfare of the citizens. Israel too is threatened on all sides by enemies. Yet it has the highest social indices in the middle east. How come the army there does not turn the country into a gutter? Two reasons: civilians are the supreme rulers of the country, and the army is not corrupt.

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  • SK
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:30AM

    @ John B: I have some school friends who are practicing chartered accountants in Europe over the past ten years. One of them told me last year that the “West” was good looking, while the “Muslims” were not because the “West” was descended from Sarah, who was prettier than Hagar, who was a slave, and who is the mother of the “Muslims.” Can you even imagine the racism, the twisted logic and the extreme sense of inferiority complex the statement is laden with?

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  • Sudhir Rana
    Feb 25, 2012 - 11:01AM

    “Wise men never argue with fools, because people from a distance can’t tell who is who”?

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  • Sudhir Rana
    Feb 25, 2012 - 11:04AM

    Never argue with a fools,otherwise they will lower you to their level,then beat you in the game they are experienced

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  • Indian (Atheist)
    Feb 25, 2012 - 3:42PM

    If you go to any internet forum where muslims interact, you will find loads of religious “logics” for everything they see in the world. You can find videos of million views for “rel angels” and all these superstitious things.

    Although my above statement is a prejudiced statement but nevertheless this is the reality. Pls go and visit forums on facebook and youtube videos conversations you will find it.

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  • Deb
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:13PM

    @Sudhir Rana

    Well said.But even these fools know in their heart that they are fools.Believing in fairy tales is an escape route from the real world which doesn’t fit with their world view.

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  • Mohammad Alam
    Feb 25, 2012 - 6:25PM

    I was told Napolean converted to Islam when he came to Egypt but he had to keep it a secret. But how can it be a secret if we all now know the he really was a Muslim.

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  • Amir
    Feb 25, 2012 - 6:59PM

    I guess there are only two categories of Muslims. The first category are high caste converts who accepted Islam only to protect their power and wealth. The other are the Shudras or backward class who saw an escape from the discrimination they faced. The first category even today remains in control and is more mature and balanced, whereas the Shudras are using Islam to hit back at their humilation for generations. Look at the faces of the likes of Hafiz Saeed and others in the Difa e Pakistan and you will have to agree. And then look at the Nawaz Sharifs and Gilanis and see how different they look and behave.

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  • Taabi
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Rather than listening to the stories, we should directly consult to the “source”. How many of us try to study Quran with translation? Try to understand it? We don’t have knowledge, so whatever the people like mentioned above “tell the tales” we immediately believe them. That’s the reason we are recognized as “No.1 terrorists of the world”. Ashamed in this world, ashamed in the coming world!

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  • Zalim singh
    Feb 25, 2012 - 9:24PM

    Muslims may not be world best in Science, but they are un-beatable in science fiction, sorry, I meant fictious science,

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