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Sunday, October 24, 2004

It's a way of saying "what I am here to do"

Yes, that's how people define karma. I have been here for two months. My first term is over by now and I have done well in the exams, Alhumdolillah. The result of the first term would be announced in a few weeks. But, is it why I am here? Yes, good grades are part of me but is it really the "most important thing" that brought me here.

Certainly not. I am here to complete myself - the way I want myself to be and the most important part of that is to understand life which, I am fully convinced, is linked with Islam; yet I am so far away from my goal. But not any longer.

Uptil now, what has made me afraid of saying anything about Islam is my own self which is evil enough not to deserve any acclaim. Yet, I feel that time is running short and I am not doing anything - may be I should just start and I would improve as I traverse this path. Writing makes you formalize your argument and makes your thoughts concise and coherent. And certainly to say something about Islam is a huge undertaking - even Qudurat-ullah Shahab titles his autobiography's chapter on Islam as "chota moun bari baat." What he has written is astonishing, to say the least.

Last night I had an Iftar at Rymdtorget in Bergsjon from some Pakistani PhD students. Amongst others, a Bosnian, named Raghib, who was in his late 20's was also invited. The man, though young, seemed to be a religious scholar and later I came to know that he taught Arabic as well. He was asked about the situation of Islam in Bosnia-Herzogovina. The man replied, "The atrocities on Muslims by Serbs had been a blessing." According to him, the Muslims before 1991 genocide were no different from other nations of Yugoslavia. "It was common to marry with non-muslims and people hardly offered prayers. Yet, it's this systematic eradication and the sufferings that has made us look deeper into our identity and thus, our religion. The situation is very different now. And we look towards nations like Pakistan for guidance."

How is a Pakistani supposed to respond to the last sentence? Certainly there is something wrong somewhere. But what is it? I am going to find out and it would be very different from the regular stuff told to you by everyone.

A month ago, there was a dinner by Chalmers Muslim Students Association in which the guest speaker talked about "The concept of Saving the Environment in Islam". One of the questions put to him was, "How much of what you have said is practiced in the Islamic world and if not, then why not?" The speaker responded by saying that till the time Muslims followed the teachings of Islam they were the best in the world. It's a very typical answer that we have heard so many time from our teachers and religious scholars. But ponder on the question once again, "Why aren't the teachings followed?" Putting it in other terms, I would say, "If Islam is so good and the teachings if followed can make our country/ place heaven then why aren't they followed?" Perhaps, no one has a satisfying answer.


It's just an official start of a journey which unofficially started quite a long time back. I would be talking about very many things (most of which will be esoteric and thus, unheard of) and would appreciate if I get some feedback along my way!


I do not look for holy saints to guide me on my way
Or male and female devilkins to lead my feet astray.
If these are added I rejoice - if not, I shall not mind
So long as I have leave and choice to meet my fellow-kind.
For as we come and as we go (and deadly soon go we!)
The people, lord, Thy people, are good enough for me.

Thus I will honour pious men whose virtue shines so bright
(Though none are more amazed than I when I by chance do right)
And I will pity foolish men for woe their sins have bred
(Though ninety-nine percent of mine I brought on my own head)
And Amorite or Eremite or General Averagee
The people, Lord, Thy people are good enough for me

(A Pilgrims Way by Rudyard Kipling)