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In a previous column, we had stated that Mufti Shafi (rahimahullah) Quds Allah Sarrahu used to humorously call Maulvis as ‘Malamati Firqa’ (censured group). The reason behind this was that some people consider Maulvis, their every move and action as objectionable and condemnable. They have always been censured for their wealth, their poverty, their culture, their dressing and their appearance. If they take a side and cut off relations with the world, they are criticized. If they take part in the national politics and stay active in the field of journalism, they are not spared. There is a spate of criticism for Maulvis from worldly people, particularly the modern and educated class. Here we shall analyze only one objection.

Main criticism on Maulvis is that they are the hurdles in the way of progress and prosperity. It is said: “The world is progressing fast but the Maulvis are hindering the developments. The time has changed, there are new opportunities, new avenues, new demands. Man has stepped on the moon. Computer and Internet have turned the whole world into a village. But, Maulvis are repeating the old stories. Prayers, fasting, beard, turban, mosque, madrasah, recitation of Holy Quran, Halal and Haram, purity and impurity, loose dressing, Shalwar above ankle, centuries-old views and practices, opposition to TV, singing and dancing, making women observe Hijab.”

After these remarks, they say with great regret: “In such a situation, how can the country progress well?” It gives an impression that the Maulvis have misguided the people, rendering the country backward and conservative and from the hut of a religious man to the luxurious bungalow of wealthy people, religious codes are being followed; every rich person is paying Zakat; every man has grown beard, every head has a turban, every house is purified and there is no TV in any residence; recitation of Holy Quran can be heard from each house; every lady is observing Hijab; un-Islamic gatherings have stopped and every individual has said ‘no’ to the interest-based system of economy; anti-humanity representatives of World Bank and IMF have been expelled from the country.

Nothing of this sort has happened, absolutely not. As these people claim that preaching by the Maulvis have been a cry in the wilderness which can be heard by the animals in the jungle but not by the people living in cities, then the country should have made good progress, there should have been zero unemployment and there should have been rapid industrial development, no child should have been deprived of easy access to the education, each and every person should have access to potable water, no-one should be sleeping hungry, no man should have committed suicide on seeing his family on starvation, no patient should have been left unattended, none of the city road should have looked like a dent-ridden path, we would have defeated India at least in the field of computer, we should have locally manufactured vehicles, weapons and medicines.

But this did not happen, absolutely not. Why? … Did any Maulvi prevent us from making progress? The voice of the poor Maulvi does not go outside the mosque and madrasah. He has nobody in his circle except the poor, uneducated and needy people. Scientists, engineers, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, doctors and professors are “immune” from the Maulvis. Then, why our beloved country could not lead the world in the fields of science, medicine and engineering? Due to the misdeeds of the rulers, corruption of bureaucrats, betrayal of leaders, bribery of administration, partiality of judiciary, infighting of power-hungry politicians, greed of government officials and indifference of the public, the country could not make progress. But the blame of decline was put on the Maulvis.

Unfortunately, the people consider beard, turban, prayer, haj, mosque, madrasah and hijab as the causes of non-progress. Actually it is presumed that the progress and development, which prevails in Europe and America, is due to freedom from parental bonds, ignoring the religion, eliminating difference between right and wrong. This sort of thinking is wrong. The reason behind west’s so-called progress is different. They have a system and discipline in their all affairs, while we are victim of mismanagement in every field from politics and governance to industry and education. Every project of ours is erratic and based on ad-hocism. Despite the passage of 55 years of the establishment of our country we could not decide whether we should have presidential system or parliament system; whether we should adopt Marshall Law permanently or look for a modern form of kingship.

The Europeans are constant-minded and committed people while we get tired very soon. That is the reason no country has confidence in us. The world is of the view that the Pakistanis change their mind very frequently. It is apprehensible that they are adherents of Islam, but the other side of the picture is that they do not take time in adopting the non-Islamic culture. Neither their friendship is stable nor their enmity is based on any principles. It was in the recent past that they were settling the Afghans in the country, and the same day it was seen that they were providing logistic support bombing the Afghans. Developed nations know the worth of each passing moment while in our society time is the cheapest thing. For us, time has no importance. It is like a tap of water that is left open without knowing whether the water is benefiting the barren land or it is going in vain. Developed nations think before they take any step while we think after taking a step.

Developed nations keep in view the national interest while planning a project and we give preference to the individual and personal benefit. Everything is in a haphazard manner. It seems as if the Day of Reckoning has approached and every Pakistani is struggling for self-protection. Nobody bothers about the national benefit and interest. Every influential person is trying to do something for himself and for his own family. People in the developed world never damage the respect and honor of their fellow citizens. The developed nations provide justice to the common people without any discrimination. They provide unemployment allowance if anyone is not in job. Jobless people are provided all sort of help including free treatment and free education. The parents of disabled children do not have to worry because their government is there to support them.

Contrarily, Pakistani rulers and agencies are always bent upon damaging the honor of common people. People at the helm of affairs enjoy luxurious lifestyle on the basis of taxes, and consider the common men as their slaves. An appeal by Pakistani mujahideen languishing in Haripur jail was published in a section of the press in the past week. In their appeal, they described the atrocities and torture being meted out to them in the jail and sought the help of human rights organizations and influential people to get them out of there. They wrote in their appeal that they were kept under subhuman conditions and are made to go without food and water for many days. They are subjected to severe torture by the jail officials. They are asked question about the ladies of their families.

This is the height of atrocities being meted out to the Muslims by the people of the same country and the same religion. Under such a situation, scholars and high officials ask why the country is not progressing well? Why the youth of the country are hesitant to volunteer along with the Pak military as was done in the past. People who raise this question know the reply to this question, but they still hold the Maulvis responsible for the miserable state. Government department like banks, telecommunications, electricity, railways and judiciary are controlled by the maulvis.

Corruption is the most dangerous thing in a country as it undermines the institutions. The evil has damaged Pakistan’s image in the world. Police are backing the robbers and criminals. Law and justice is put for sale in the courts. Journalists are indulged in unfair affairs. Horse Trading is common on the floor of upper and lower houses. In all such affairs no Maulvi is involved in any way.

The country that had two hands – East and the West – lost one hand in just 25 years of its independence. Did this happen because of any Maulvi? There are so many such questions which can be raised anytime. But at present we are discussing just the reality and propaganda by friend-like enemies. Some people are of the view, “Had there been no Maulvi, Karachi and Lahore would have become Paris or New York. On the other hand, the Maulvis rightly think that the real peace of mind is found in Makkah, Medina and not in imitating the non-Muslims or bowing down to America and Europe.