The phenomenon of insecurity about religion most likely occurs in a conservative society whenever people try to praise the good deeds while keeping the religious affiliation aside.
Recently on demise of Abdul Sitar Edhi; his saying, “no religion is higher than humanity” was endorsed globally through sharing and making profile photo on Facebook. And later on I found the most expected reaction of people in the form of two rhetoric statements regarding their insecurity about beliefs as they started to examine the Edhi’s quote under the microscope of religion.
“Religion always comes first”
The deluded examiners projected the goodwill in Edhi’s message as some threat to religious doctrines. After asserting the fear through their entheomaniac minds, they further preached that religion comes first; humanity is basic entity of religion; follow the religion to build humanitarian values and so on. Well I really feel sorry for them and their utter ignorance. If they are assuming that Edhi’s quote could manipulate someone to quit the religion because it sounds more liberal and distracting; then you “Sir” are totally siding with those (clerics) Mullahs who tried to segregate Edhi by declaring him well-wisher of “Ahmadis”. Yes it is a bitter truth for ignorant conservatives to swallow that Edhi was not affiliated with any sect because of his liberal as well as revolutionist mind set. He did that practically which is only bragged by the religious conservatives. It’s a dilemma of our society that we connect every moral characteristic at individual or collective level with lack of religious following. Religion is not a chip that once inserted in the body would autocorrect our thoughts, intentions and actions. Religion is an idea and we are the one who have to materialize it by living a practical life. Edhi’s work was neither for fame of world nor for the gains of afterlife and even he did not take his job as a religious obligation. His work was purely the call of his consciousness or inner self to help his fellow humans. His humanitarianism surmounted the religious obligations as it was not a product of religious doctrine. It’s because humanitarianism is an innately embedded feature in every human soul and it is nourished by embracing the path of selflessness, lowliness and kindness. It is evident that cultivation and refinement of human attributes does not require the adoption of dogmas.
“Noble work is a work of chosen one”:
This is another rhetoric statement that comes from conservatives that God chose Edhi to do such a selfless job of serving humanity. Without going into this controversy of being chosen or not; let’s assume it as truth that he was chosen one. But again this truth would never negate the reality which exists in the form of Edhi’s documented life. His life is an open book which showed he suffered and endured pain like a common man. Furthermore he practically supressed the worldly desires to achieve absolute generosity and compassion for selflessly working to serve the humanity. He was a practical man who struggled hard to accomplish the unthinkable. So when people say that he was chosen one, then do remind yourself that he was made of flesh and bones like us. Let’s exemplify it by understanding the 40 years life of Prophet Muhammad PBUH prior to Prophet hood. In those 40 years he established his credibility and earned the trust of people by his truthfulness. He was known for his extraordinary integrity, dignity and honesty. As far as his religious beliefs were concerned, he refused to worship the idols and held monotheist belief like his forefathers. His belief was not the driving force behind his successful life because he lived his life without adopting any “shariah” or divine codes of conduct. The strong character of Prophet we see is due to the hardships and challenges he faced in his life. For instance in his early age, he was shepherd like many previous prophets. The life as shepherd induced patience and bravery in him. Later he worked as merchant which improved his negotiation and leadership skills. And he even took exhausting ascends to “Cave of Hira” for seeking solitude to vitalize his spirituality and inner self. That’s how he trained and subdued the materialism and luxuries of this world. It is very clear that he did not follow any divine scripture to conduct the affairs of his life without Prophet hood. And how could he follow a scripture when he was incapable to read and write. He learnt the basic human attributes by bearing the mental and physical pain of learning. Even a chosen one lived a practical life to earn his name in the tribe. So life of Muhammad PBUH without Prophet hood shows that his magnanimousness character was an outcome of the wisdom found through real life experiences but wasn’t a product of religion.
Therefore to relate morality, spirituality, humanitarianism and other human attributes with religion, is a totally obnoxious thing. Mastering the concept of inner self and humanitarianism is beyond the fulfilment of any religious obligation or dogma. Today many non-religious people are morally sound and they gained a great control on their own selves without following any religious scriptures. We have to acknowledge this truth that testing and training the minds by teaching impartial, rational and sensible concepts can lead us to make a morally good society. Otherwise fulfilling the religious obligations can make the person a good ritualistic but it cannot ensure development of a humble human being. The collective decline seen in our society is due to ignorant and conservative religious class which has never studied religion with critical and progressive mind. This class has always propagated their religious views by keeping blind eye on the discrimination, bigotry and sectarianism residing deep in the societal and religious roots. This class is actually fooling the masses by dignifying the features of utopian religious welfare state and ignoring the ground realities of our existing society. The realities which were exposed by Edhi through his life long struggle as a humanitarian and tried hard to overcome those with philanthropy. One thing we need to clearly understand that the misery, agony and disparity of our society cannot be removed by words of religion, we need practical life overwhelmed with tolerant and open-minded approach to do the humanitarian work. In short- we want practical intellectuals like Edhi, and not insecure religious bigots like Orya-not so-Maqbool!