Print Edition - 2014-12-28  |  Free the Words

Forbidden questions

  • We need to start asking questions that lead humans towards the path of finding unity in diversity
- Zulfiqar Shah
Forbidden questions

Dec 27, 2014-

Humans have forgotten so many things. They have forgotten to ask fundamental questions to reach at priori and a priori realities. Sometimes these questions are forbidden, but mostly they find no way for expression because together, we have virtually banned logical thinking. These questions number in the millions but we can only highlight a few.

Reality of religions

Pulpits across the globe are dominated by the essence of religion. This is the point where religious stereotypes have cast out the logic of theology, and the torch bearers of theology have resisted theosophy. Although the major task and niche of our times is to reconnect theosophy and philosophy, we have downgraded our religious understanding to the bottom.

What we have forgotten is to make religions contemporary. Just imagine if Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were practically translated, interpreted, and adopted into the realities of our own times. For example, the Vedic interpretation of Aryans and non-Aryans were ones who were civilised and ones who were not. But the existing definition of Aryanism is restricted to certain practices, traditions, and ethnic origins. So if the Vedic interpretation of Aryanism is adopted contemporarily, we will see that all those who are part of a collective human society that professes religious tolerance, ethnic and cultural diversity, justice, and humanism are the true Aryans.  

Vedas are the first scripted holy books of human wisdom. The Rig Veda, the first such treatise, was said to be written in Shivasthan in Sindh, the city now known as Sewhan—one of the centres of Sufism in South Asia. All religions owe something to the Vedas. But we have forgotten to adopt and honour them. Since they are the collective property of humanity, they need to be re-explored, re-defined, and re-incorporated into our contemporary times.

Moreover, Arabs and Muslims have a fundamental responsibility to Hindusim, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, and Christianity. One of the verses in the holy Quran mentions that the Momins (faithful) are those who believe equally in all holy books and all of the prophets sent by the God. This means that Muslims generally and Arabs particularly have to respect all religions. Arabs, especially, have a cultural responsibility to Judaism and Christianity.   

In the same vein, can a state have religion? Not at all. A state has only one religion—statism.


Israel-Palestine question

Most of us mix the contemporary conflict in Israel-Palestine with the historical justification of Israel. When Israel was re-created after thousands years, and Jews finally returned to their historical homeland, the Al-Azhar University of Egypt was the first Muslim institution to gave a religious verdict in favour of Israel.

No doubt, one cannot snatch the right of a nation to return to their homeland. There are some other aspects of this issue as well, which most Muslims are unaware of. When Israel was formed, the Israeli leadership gave Palestinians two options—either a separate Palestinian state or to collectively live in Israel-Palestine. Palestinians in the early 1950s did not choose either and some Arab and non-Arab countries advised the Palestinians to fight. Today, they are fighting for the same option that they discarded six decades ago. Who is responsible for this? The Palestinian leadership and their Arab instigators! This historical reality is one important lesson of history.

Failure of communism    

Marx never said that the abolition of private property means the handing over of your resources to the state. He said that all powers and decisions should be transferred to the communes of people. He was talking about a transfer of power to the people, a highly articulated and enhanced role of the people in the governance of their own. That was the reason he once said that the fundamental task of communism is to create a new human. Almost all of the calmingly socialist and communist revolutions pursued this goal in opposite manners. They simply handed over responsibilities to the state and not the communes. Thus, the practical manifestations of socialist states were non-Marxist. Ultimately, human society has to go in that direction, but through an evolutionary and transformative process.

Mistaken identities

Most of the terminologies within English journalism are coined by media houses in the US, the UK and Europe. Some of these terminologies are discriminatory. Can there be any ‘Islamic or Buddhist terrorism’? No religion professes terrorism. Can there be ‘Muslim terrorism’? Impossible. But these inappropriate terms dominate the discourse and narrative of our times. Reality is entirely different. Almost all, except for a few, terror groups proclaim Salafism as their school of thought. Salafis are less than one percent of the Muslim population of the world and lesser than two percent of the Sunni sect of Islam. Therefore, even terms like ‘Sunni Terrorism’ are discriminatory.

What we have forgotten as humans is to find unity among diversity—of religions, cultures, thoughts, disciplines of education, and intellectual discourses. We have unconsciously or forcibly forbidden none other than ourselves from thinking outside the box and reflecting literally or logically. And, therefore we have lost harmony and world peace. Humanism will only come through welcoming diversity and dissent and seeking unity among diversified realities.


- Shah is a Sindh refugee journalist, analyst and activist


Published: 28-12-2014 10:08

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