Living a Life in Denial
Pakistani Journalist Hassan Nisar tears into Islamists’ criticism of Western contributions.
Here is a transcript of a TV interview of Pakistani journalist Hassan Nisar’s response to Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s poser that the madrassa curriculum cannot be changed, on the popular TV programme in Urdu Meray Mutabiq on Pakistan’s Geo TV.
Shajia Niazi: Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the Jamiatul Ulema-e Pakistan has warned that he would launch a struggle against those who impose Western culture on Pakistan. He also says they will not allow the madrassa curriculum to be modified even a bit.
Hassan Nisar: For God’s sake, these maulanas should allow Muslims to live their lives. Let them allow our younger generation to get prepared to compete with the West. I would appeal him to have a little pity considering the precarious situation of Muslims. What kind of action is he planning against the Muslim ummah? Muslims began to regress from the moment that Sheikh ul-Islam of the Ottoman Caliphate issued a decree (fatwa) stating that printing press could not be allowed in Turkey. This led to the total ruin of Muslims as they were pushed two centuries behind the West. He even vetoed the decision to set up a medical college!
No Iota of Shame
Look here! Immediately after getting up in the morning what do we do? We turn on a tap, run a flush and pick up a tooth brush. From where have these been copied? When these people fall sick and hospitalised, they are administered pills, tonics and injections—all of these have been prepared according to formulae patented in the West. They are operated with surgical instruments manufactured in Western countries. All the apparatuses that diagnose illnesses are also imported from the West. Tell me if any of these have been developed by Muslims. If these clerics really have any iota of shame, they should avoid using these things! Once you enter a hospital, you submit your body to Western sciences and await their treatment to get back to health!
Ignoring the Debt
They board a plane to go to Makkah and Madinah to visit the holy places for Hajj and Umrah. Would it not be alright for them to pass on at least 5% of the sawab (virtues) to those people who made the journey by airplanes possible? Don’t they remember those days when people used to die with the desire to perform a pilgrimage buried in their hearts? Even those who could undertake the journey were not certain of their returning alive.
Now most of our mosques are air-conditioned. Why do they forget that the science and technology that facilitates these comforts came from the West? Electricity is a gift from the West. Tell me one contribution of Muslims to the current civilization. I am sure you will fail to point out even one single such contribution.
For these people, the Western civilization is merely bare legs, alcohol and unveiled female faces. But don’t they see that [Thomas Alva] Edison gave life to humanity by inventing electricity, which today powers so many appliances and gizmos?
Why this prejudice against the people of the West? They are creatures of the same God who has created us. Isn’t it?
What are we proud of? Nothing! God promises success only to those who are pure in their beliefs and honest in practices. But we are the most dishonest people. There is nothing in our markets that is not adulterated. But look at the West! Adulteration and impurity are inconceivable for them! We produce fakes of original products and hoard our wealth outside the country and flee when the arms of the law reach for our jugular. But still we abuse the West! What an irony?
Where do we send our children for higher education? We don’t have a single educational institution of quality on par with the West. Do these maulvis realize what they are talking? Such questions only raise my blood pressure. These maulanas need to understand where we stand and where the West stands. They need to introspect and correct themselves.
(Extracts transcribed and translated from an Urdu programme on Geo TV)