Secular

It has been awhile since I wrote and it has been because I have been wondering how to express myself and also for my anger and emotions to subside over this issue. Also, many of the blogs I read have been writing about events unfolding in Pakistan and they have been doing a much better job of expressing their anger and sadness.

I feel like I am coming to terms with my spirituality in a way that suits me more. I no longer try to justify the limitations I have perceived in religion or try to explain away the inequalities between the genders that seem to crop up that different scholars justify with their modern logic.

I guess I don’t believe that an old system can dictate a modern way of life. I am tired of people continuously defending Islam as a way of life when their interpretations don’t fit in some societies. I do believe in a secular state now because I don’t believe the ‘Islamic’ laws that govern us or the method of life preached by scholars are Divine. I believe people worked them out and some ideas may work very well whilst others don’t. As long as we are allowed to debate them openly and question them and work on improving them as we go along we will be fine. But in Pakistan, we hold on staunchly to outdated notions in the name of Islam. We are afraid of venturing forward in the field of arts because of supposedly Islamic limitations and perceptions. We believe in an ideal Muslim society and community when in reality, God has put on Earth so many different people with different desires, different societal structures, different ideas, different races, different climates, that I don’t think He ever intended us to follow the same laws. Maybe the challenge is to deal with all these differences in a globalised world and that is His test.

It is human nature to justify one’s own way of being of living as above all else. We hold on to our values dearly and like to propagate them. It is the same in the West as it is in the East. So I guess Muslims aren’t so much to blame for thinking that they have been granted the pathway to the perfect society. Many Christians believe that they only have access to heaven and everyone else goes straight to hell. What we could use among Muslims is more tolerance, which is hard to practise when one thinks one is carrying out the way of God. Nothing can be questioned then, nothing can be debated, no other points of view exist in front of God’s word. I guess we just have to learn that we are not God and we only do the best we can. The scholars were/are only human and speak from their own spatial and time limits. We have to work out ways for ourselves in the modern world and let others do the same in a secular society where people are free to choose.

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To write or not to write

In truth, I did not start a blog to write about happy-go-lucky stuff. I started in order to vent. I have opinions – loads of them – and I thought that I should stop being lazy and not let them fester inside me but instead just get them out. It was for health reasons let’s say. I have shared this information on the blog before that sharing is daunting to me. So when I saw that some people actually read the blog(!), I refrained from giving the hard-edged views. Goodness knows why I remain so private and anonymous. So here I am taking another big step and sharing some plans online.

I saw this video on Khizzy’s blog and it re-enforced an idea that I have had for awhile, a desire to do something even if it ends up being just for me. Do go ahead and check it out, it’s a talk on the Single Story by a Nigerian author called Chimamanda Adichie. She explains how getting only a single story of a certain country, continent or people reinforces a stereotype and why that’s negative. Anyway, putting that into context, I was sad that the sufferring of Pakistan just isn’t making headlines the way other tragic incidents do. I haven’t seen any Western media taking the view that this war is taking its toll on the Pakistani people. Maybe I haven’t looked around on the news enough but there is a limit to how much I can read about this. At first, I really wanted a show of sympathy; I wanted at least one non-Pakistani friend of mine (of which I have many) to ask me if everyone I knew there was okay. I would still like some sobriety, some respect given, a few minutes of silence. We shouldn’t get used to it no matter what so it has to be marked somehow. Maybe we can honour the dead as martyrs when this war is over and the State can remember a day to collectively remember the price we paid in this war.

For now though, I thought it would be a good idea to compile happy, positive stories on Pakistan. A story of a moment, a dinner an outing, travels, adventures, everyday stuff like trips to the tailor, the shopping mall, ex-pat and foreigner’s visiting stories gathered from different people and categorised so we can create another picture and show it. It’s not meant to be the only picture but the happy picture deserves it’s own special place. It’s like Khizzy said about the reason why she blogs and continues putting out ‘another story’. I thought the best way of reaching out where I am would be by making a facebook page with all this information so that all my non-Pakistani friends could see it. I thought the blog wouldn’t be a good medium because it isn’t known enough and it’s anonymous so it doesn’t have a real face for people to talk to. Plus there are already many Pakistani stories being shared on the net via other blogs, I just want to bring them all together to my own friends via facebook and I could provide links for more information.

So there it is folks, just an idea and I have no clue what will become of it. I will probably wait until I get back from Pakistan next year with some written and photographic material to see if I can do this. And now over to you, what do you think of this, have you felt an itch to do something, and if yes, then what?