By Fazal Amin Beg
This note is about a burning issue raised by Izhar ali hunzai in one of his posts on the Facebook , which was liked by over a hundred and sixty readers or viewers but at the same time confronted by many readers in terms of their comments. I’d like to invite highly educated readers of this piece towards a serious dliberation within themselves before they embark on comments based on their personal or familial affinaity or friendship as it has become a set norm before us in many ways in many fields. Please go through all lines but also think beyond the lines. You need to be positively critical towards this piece or when you read any text on any media or scholarly papers or books. First and foremost, make sure you intended to begin the texts as a human (disassociate yourselves from your affinities and biases of families, classes, clans, tribes, gender, villages, faiths, parties, regions and nations). Once, you set yourselves free from such layers of biases, you’ll be capable of reading and understanding the posts/writing pieces with great joy and bliss. You’ll be able to positively critical on various aspects of life.
Izhar Ali hunzai writes: “Just learned that the Ismaili community in GB was advised by their religious institutions not to participate in the recent protests against illegal taxes. If true, this is wrong as it amounts to taking away the political rights of the people. Members of the Ismaili community did participate in the protest and it shows their political maturity. Some people deliberately misrepresent Imam’s guidance about being loyal to your count[r]y.We must understand that government and the country are different things. If a government is corrupt and does not serve the interests of the people, we must oppose it. The country is our common motherland and protecting it from internal and external enemies is the duty of all citizens. That is what it means to be loyal to the country.”
From the outset, I’d like to clarify that I agree with most of the views expressed above by Izhar Ali Hunzai but at the same time I’ve some relevant reservations and observations, too. I restrained myself initially to say something about the above explosion made by IzharHunzai so that to observe clearly once the dusts are disappeared. Now, another topic emerged , multiplied with intr-communal theocracy and politics of GB on tax issues.
When I looked at the reactions in terms of likeness of the above post, the score reaches to more than 170 so far. Among those reactions of “likeness” are highly professionals, too, serving at key positions within and out of Pakistan. Such phenomenon invites us towards a serious deliberation on the subject matter. We are not supposed to blindly take for granted or act upon the views and worldviews of IzharHunzai or any anyone else’s (including myself) or any organization (religious or secular).
What I’ve been reading out so far that IzharSbhas been inviting participants or readers towards critical thinking. And it should be appreciated rather than depreciated unless he has his own vested interests somewhere (and I believe he hasn’t so).
He further elaborates:
“I am a responsible citizen, I am a responsible member of the community, I am an educated person, I am a stakeholder, i am a political activist. i am not against institutions, I am not your enemy. I know what I am doing! What I am doing is presenting hard facts, promoting openness, clear thinking, critical thinking. I have always raised these issues during my years in AKDN, and some incompetent people have always disliked me. When I was forced to resign in 1996 from my position as RPM AKRSP, Hazir Imam advised the then Board members to respect and retain competent people. I was rehired by Geneva Office as CEO AKCSP, within 2 weeks of my resignation. Then I faced the same issues and forced to resign again. Again I was brought back as GM AKRSP in 2003. I am the only CEO of any AKDN institution who did succession planning, and prepared a second and a third generation of leaders! I am a true product of AKDN, professional institutions, and I always had issues with unprofessional elements in the system, who always interfered with the work of professional organizations. If the Ismaili youth wants to criticise people, criticise those who hired an Accountant to head AKESP, and rejected a Top Educationist from Yasin, who leads the education programme of UNICEF in Pakistan”.
More than sixty people have commented on his views and they are nice in looking at his critical views with critical perspective.But the invitiation, first and foremost, need to be critical towards ourselves being individuals. As individual, I should be critical of myself and my views and knowledge on top to observe what kind of positive or negative effects it would or could produce over the respective societies. We people normally push up and keep our tongue ahead of our inttlect. To illustrate, we present or offer our words before our thoughts and that lead towards severe conflict of ideas , thoughts and approaches. Critical thinking never means to make someone naked in bazaars or humiliate people, but rather there are set and acceptable standards of ethics (as broader norms and values) around which we (being humans) are supposed to move at local, national, regional and global level. No human is free in this world or no one or society could claim for it in the name of liberal thinking or thoughts in this world. Free thinking can be carried out within oneself only but can never be extended or applied or brought in action as per se to the second person. That’s why there differences of thoughts and action even between a father or mother and his or her child. Avoding in imsering in the theories, it’s pertinent to understand and realize that if one says or claims I’m liberal or so and so as it’s against the nature of the Nature. Nature itself is not fre in itself. Rather it’s basically composed of the four elements at broader scale such as water, air, fire/heat and soil . Each fundamental elment thus can not exist on its own independently. When our ecosystem is not independent but in contrast is interdependent how could we being human claim that we are liberated or liberal in nature? being human, we are, of course, more interdependent on each other.
Another naturall example we can find within our bodies. a human body is not fre of itself and composed of various organs and linked with head (and the head itself is that complicated part that one cannot imagine for the notion we discuss with regard to our societies and communities within the framework of separate entities such as religion and politics. However, discussion of such themes provide us opportunity in terms of mutual learning and mutual sharing.
We need to understand and realize how we can use effectively and productively the social media like FaceBook. It’s not lesser than a miracle that we share our views, thoughts, pictures, videos and audios on it. But we need to use it productively as a huge resource for us in the age of globalization.At this point, it’s a moment of serious reflection for us and we need to deliberate for a while.
For instance, among other gems, our beloved Imam of the time strongly directed us towards enabling the environment for peace and harmony (among humanity), sharing of knowledge, respect and affection for each other (within family or community or communities of humankind), knowing and understanding the humans and humanity through knowledge, advancing one’s knowledge towards knowing the creation of the Creator, striving towards competency in global leadership (whether within our professions or otherwise), playing our roles and responsibilities in developing bridges and friendship among the human communities around us, and many other aspects within our lives. Why don’t we discuss such invaluable themes of Imam of the Time? What we have taken out of them in lesser than a month’s period?
Thanks to the social media that it clearly shows us and the world real faces of many of us that without the desired and required deliberations and free from our personal likeness and dislikenesswe are promoting Hatred instead of love, conflict instead of peace, distrust instead of trust building, and many more.
Although I highly value and respect the comments contributed towards the post of IzharaliHunzai, some participants have commented in a very vulgar and unacceptable way (against the Islamic ethics), if you people claim to be a foloower of our beloved Imam. I’d request you to be open your hearts and minds and broaden your approaches and voluntarily replace those hatred words with words of affection. However, it’s your willing and personal decision if you like. When we talk of ethics, it has also its defined boundary. Some may argue that there is diversity and we should be mindful of it, too? It’s very fascinating to note that the diverse notions of diversity and pluralism we use more as a fashon to impress other people with such big jargons but we haven’t conceptualized or ingrained them deeply and effectively within our thoughts and actions yet. Although, We have become literate, we are not yet educated.
In the sameway, I’d expect IzharHunzai(with a due apology and respect, though he himself is something beyond imagination in manyways but sometimes, being human it happens one leaves the track unintentionally and errors occur) that he would develop the themes and text after serious reflections and deliberation by remaining within the real world before they are postedon such delicate issues in public. I agree with some of those respected contributors who have provided him with precious and valuable suggestions in a neutral way. Would be great to respect the religious institutions. I agree with Izhar Ali and endorse that many people within those institutions or organizations have transgressed their respective orbits and incompetent professionals or volunteers are thus influenced by various forces internally and externally. But the institutions and organizations have ultimately no mistake at all and the concerned reps are there who use or are used for some purposes. And above all, we need to invite oursleveexplore further and understand that within Islam, religion and politics are interlinked in many ways as opposed to the prevalent Western thoughts or approaches suggesting for a disconnect between both.
Before coming to conclusion, I’d like to share with you a befitting but an awe-inspiring an ever beautiful but meaningful Farsi stanza of Sa’di-e Shirozi the great. The stanza is a reflection of the crux of interdependence ofhuman creation within Islam (which could also be extended towards interdependence of the Universe and our ecosystem):
BaniOdama’zoy-e yak digarnd Ki darofarinashzi yak goharand
Chu u’zwibadardarowardruzgor Digaruzwhorona monad qaror
Agar tuziminat-e digaronbighami Na shoyadkinomatnahandodami
Descendants of Adam are like the organs of a body; because their birth is from the same soul/fundamental nature.
When an organ of a body receives pain, other organs cannot remain in rest/silence.
If you are careless of others hue and cry; you may not be termed as a human.
It’s this notion of humanity for which we are together. We need to look and opt for socio-political leaders and organizations for integration and not disintegration; organizations and leaders of peace and affection and not conflict or hatred; organizations and leaders for transparency and meritocracy and not for corruption; and above all leaders and followers of truthfulness and trustworthiness .
At the end, I’d like to apologize if someone’s emotion or views are unknowingly hurt in result of this writing piece somewhere. Would request you all tokindly educate me for deeper understanding and knowledge on the subject and bring me on the path whever I’ve unintentionallly left it. I’ll be highly grateful to you all.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Izhar Ali Hunzai (the debate initiator), and all participants who generously and enthusiastically shared their views in the discussions for over 24 hours in terms of their comments, reflections and reactions that enabled me to come up with this little contribution.