Arab Invasion Of Pakistan

Squandering a nation to a stifling interpretation of a religion

11/2/2016 4:59:26 PM
written By : Reema Abbasi Print

Although trite, but cannot be said enough — we celebrate God and let man-made laws kill his children. 

WE are living in times of either cultural hijack or rejection. The stage seems set for all Persian literature, language and liberalism to become a faint water-mark of the past. Today, Persia’s most enduring legacy appears to be hummus. 

The Arab invasion of Muslim milieus, particularly in Pakistan, is a pronounced sign of similar marginalisation. The peninsula has become painfully synonymous with the giant, diverse entity of Muslim culture. To the point that the Indian subcontinent must mind its Ps and Zs – they are new yardsticks of the ‘degrees’ of submission to a monopolised God. 

The fact that Islam came to our part of the world through Persia and Turkey, that Persian and not Turkish was the court language of the Ottoman Empire, cannot save our alphabet. ‘Ramadan Kareem’ has put our own Ramazaan Mubarak in a place far darker than the shade. In fact, the entire concept eluded us till only a decade ago. The wish was Chaand Mubarak, followed by Eid Mubarak and on our way out, it was the more secular Khuda Hafiz -- the antecedent to today’s Allah Hafiz. Those were the days when we did and said ‘Wuzu’ five times a day and not ‘Wudu’. The more conservative, and not necessarily orthodox, adorned a rather romantic ‘burkha’ with a sheer veil, now entirely eclipsed by the cloak called abaaya. Also, where do we trace Juma Mubarak’s roots? 

Many will agree that although ostensibly this swing reeks of Arab imperialism, it is in sad reality rooted in our own limited ideas of faith and an absence of self-belief. We stand on the threshold of losing a rich, tolerant culture, lyrical customs such as henna nights on moon sightings with the tinkle of glass bangles, anklets, ‘jhumkas’ in the air as grandmothers and ‘buas’ (maids) stitched ghararas and pyjamas overnight to usher in the festival of Eid. This cloaked abandonment is the offshoot of a lack of pride and ownership of a Muslim ethos that once revolutionised not just cultural practices with Sufi inspiration such as Qawwali, but the world of science and innovation, politics, governance and the arts. Needless to say, we are also squandering a nation to a stifling interpretation of a religion, which at birth was inherently secular, entirely tolerant, peace-loving and a profound message of mirth and love. 

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