In the deepest corners of our thoughts dwell the quaintest questions which we are afraid to ask, and despite our age and time, we have nothing but fear that keeps all our doubts monumental. There are so many things to which we have no answer but someone out there does and though he/she is no different than us, they seem to have the solution. That solution is a claim to have the answer and when that answer is being presented, it is nothing but just an evasion to put aside that thought, for it may lead to the loss of faith which is deemed a necessity for our spiritual life. The question, therefore, stands tall and lives on until it is addressed properly, even the absence of life, death, doesn’t end the question. In short, people like you and me are full of thoughts which are bewildering, blasphemous and yet they’re unanswered.
When I was 5, I used to ask questions incessantly and my dear mother would reply to all my queries with just one answer, “I don’t know, Zafaryab”. Every weary day, poor thing would have to bear my questions and feed my baby brother and suffer my exhausting company which was nothing but interrogation about things around me. It was only last year that I was able to find answer to one of the fundamental mysteries: how can the sun rise from east or set in west when I have been taught in class that the sun is stationary and the earth revolves around it while spinning on its own axis? The answer was very simple. The sun, no doubt, has never stepped outside its position, but as we gaze the sky, it is the movement of earth which makes the sun look as if it is rising and setting. There is no movement of sun but in fact it is our receptiveness which deceives us into believing that the sun actually rises up and goes down turning day into night.
Faith is one eccentric matter of our lives that actually abolishes our power to question. I am not of the opinion that asking questions cripples the faith, in fact, it strengthens it and it helps looking at the picture from the actual angle of the reference. But, if inquiring helps restoring faith then why do people suggest that questioning is the way of the devil himself? For answers that our scholars lack – there has not been a person in the history of mankind who knew everything – they would be cocksure of themselves and actually answer the queries by evading them. When inquisition takes place, it spares no one, it relents not, and it is going to injure the very utopia that was built on unknown imaginations of dogmas.
In our society it is perfectly natural and conceivable to pinpoint any fault and denounce it by all means, but it never encourages to live the freedom that has been offered by life and that everything must be done as the religion, cult, society itself decides. A woman in a conservative society suffers lifetime degradation if she happens to have a love affair; a student is insulted if he/she doesn’t score as much as they are expected to do; a man is left to humiliation if he doesn’t equate the social status of his upper class peers. While all this seem to be a societal norm, it is in fact the shaming that should be denounced by us. The independence of individual is undermined if the society does not welcome ideas it considers to be alien to their religion or traditions. Not one single Sunni pays his dues of respect by offering the Jummah prayer in the mosques of other sects for it is akin to committing blasphemy against their school of thought. This exclusionary trend leads to extremism; it is as if one has left the boundaries of Islam. Women who are inclined initiate romance in their marital lives are looked down upon by the repressive thought of their men who consider women only to be delicate and humble and not out-loud demanding. Children are ought to be kept quiet and are expected not to utter any word that goes against the religion for the fear of them becoming heretics when they grow up. To a majority of us, this appears to be the best way to keep the equilibrium in society and to keep guard of it. No evil will stand the chance to prevail, as claimed by many, if women, men, children are shackled and all their temptations are imprisoned in the name of religion and everyone will bow to imagination as if it is the only thing intended for people like you or me.
This is what we face every day and although there is exemption from all this menace, it is not strong enough to be practiced until several measures are undertaken.
Education is the peaceful revolt against cruelties and it is only education that can make people realize how important the meaning of life is. While nobody appears to have the sole answer of life, but just to be acquainted with the importance of it is fair enough. In society like that of ours, we cannot chop down the mountain of absurd, false beliefs with reasoning and rationalization all at once. What first needs to be realized is how important is it to be logical. People should have the right to exercise what they believe in, but selling that idea with emotional blackmailing and telling everyone that it is the only road to the Promised Land is discouraging others with different beliefs. The differences should be well observed, respected, and encouraged, instead of erasing them. In our deepest understanding of human beings, we have to realize that we are not bound to be good by only observing religious duties, but it is in fact, the human nature that helps us define our beauty towards life. Independence of one man is the independence of all and the slavery of one man is the slavery of all.
Zafaryab Hassan is an electrical engineer and a freelance writer.