Regaining power by Taliban may have been a celebration to anti-west,but it has come as a nightmare to the working women of Afghan college and school-going girls and to aspiring young women who dreamt of becoming professionals with globally competitive skills. The terror has unleashed with the killing of women police officers, blinding a policewoman, chopping off fingers of a girl with nail coloring and public flogging of women on wearing a jean pant inside her burqa and stopping girls from going to schools. They are not just a threat to the women’s liberty but to other minorities like the Hazaras and the officials who served in the west-backed government. The brutalities in the name of Sharia law are nothing but a power struggle. The claimants of so-called “Shria custodians” have forgotten that they are killing their own Muslim brothers and sisters of their own country. Though the western world and Media tried to split them into two groups, the Taliban and the Afghans, the fact remains that they are all Afghans with diverse ethnic identity. The concern of the Indian Muslims (and should be so across the globe)is that the Taliban are taking shelter under Sharia law to justify every brutal act and atrocity. This has embarrassed the Muslims of the world and polluted the minds of common non-Muslim with a cruel picture of Islam. This religion brought the message of peace and love, a religion that was the first to declare rights and honor to a woman in every walk of life. This religion prioritized knowledge discovered the mysteries of God’s creations and explored the skies. Islam had no gender discrimination in matters of learning and acquiring knowledge. Our prophet once said, acquire knowledge even if you have to reach China, and he never spoke; only men read and gain knowledge. Brutality and dishonour to a woman were hated most by our Prophet.
The most disappointing is the statements by a few responsible persons from the Muslim community, who, instead of condemning the brutalities of Taliban, particularly women, preferred to overlook their anti-Islamic actions and glorified the winning of the Taliban over the west-backed government. If they hail them from their political angle, they should at the same time condemn the anti-Islamic brutalities on women and children. We, the Indian Muslims, the second largest in population next to Indonesia, should not have much to care about the changing Afghan politics. During the past five decades, our hands have been full of issues to discuss and address for the community’s social progress and educational and economic upliftment. In all my previous articles in Islamic voice, I have been writing that Muslims first identify their priorities in the emerging communal polarization, a systematic attempt by a section of society to create bias and misconception about Islam. Some of our own senior community members are still holding the most regressive views on higher and professional education to Muslim women. I have come across an even younger generation of men who have come under the influence of some of the misinterpreted regressive views held by some religious leaders and have prevented their brilliant daughters and relatives from pursuing higher education.
The most disturbing concern of 150million Indian Muslims with 49% women is that they cannot find a single “moderate” intellectual and successful Muslim leader as their role model who can guide them. There is a shattered disharmony and divide between schools of thought and rigid Jamats. Hence a vacuum for our youth compared to the non-Muslims where the heads of community Mutts take that place and guide their sects in every field, particularly in education. The Christians also have centralized command or dictate from churches. A Muslim leader for today’s youth should understand the present world and challenges of the emerging digital world and visualize the future for the Muslim youth of the country. He should not be just an Islamic scholar but should have been a successful professional in his field, carving a place in the hearts of the Indian community, both Muslims and non-Muslims. The Muslim youth is confused mainly in the changing dynamics of globalization, increasing competition in the job market, the absence of leaders with moderate views, and progressive and practical outlook who could guide them to be an integral part of the larger society. Extreme views push them into narrow seclusion, the self-satisfying and egocentric scholarship that only preaches about “the life hereafter” ( though important), completely overlooking the significance of an excellent professional education, respectable intellectualism, and economic independence. A young Muslim woman going to university or any professional education is not banned in Islam, as long as they are in a moderate hijab, with a covering of hair, hands, and legs. A Muslim boy and girl should be recognized for their excellent, polite behavior and character and respected for education and knowledge. In the absence of an honest, scholarly, and visionary political leadership, I still believe that the only hope for us to change the community’s fate is using the platform of Masjids. But the present state 0f masjids, the power politics of the committee, mismanagement of funds, and absence of young educated men and women in affairs of Masjids disappoints us, and the dream remains a reverie.
The agent of change we look for in Masjid is the Imam, who himself needs rigorous reorientation of his thought process. But we must never give up the idea of making the Masjid a center from where a revolution should start.