Islam with a few Muslims

LAHORE: Over 1.6 billion human beings believe in the Islamic faith. A lot of them regularly offer rituals of prayer, observe the fast, listen to sermons and perform Umrah or Hajj. However, very few of them, in essence, follow the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in their daily interactions with others, i.e. to show compassion, tolerance and respect for others. The emphasis is on delivering lectures and sermons, but there is no effort to implement what the faith system obliges followers to do with regard to Haqooqul Ibad, or duties towards mankind.

Rulers of Muslim-majority states lead lives of luxury, often at state expense, totally oblivious to the suffering, poverty and curse of illiteracy which afflicts the vast majority who live below the poverty line. Laws and loopholes are intentionally tailor-made to facilitate the affluent in tax evasion and organised flight of capital from their countries, driving them to a state of perpetual economic crisis, with no funds for education, health and security of life or private property. Yet billions of rupees are available to buy luxurious jets, limousines and build palaces spread over acres for the tax-evading ruling elite. State welfare is denied to the most deprived sections of society, while it displays generosity in providing tax amnesties to the rich and giving multiple plots and agricultural land at subsidised rates to paid members of the civil bureaucracy, cronies and political loyalists.

Most Islamic states have vast natural and mineral resources with no dearth of population, but invest the least in human resource development. There is negligible investment in education, research and health, with the net result that all Islamic states are at the bottom of the list of nations rated according to socio-economic development indicators.

Although the Holy Book explicitly mandates inheritance rights for females, giving them the right to marry of their choice, these basic rights are denied to them. Over the years, countries like Pakistan have witnessed a rise in illiteracy because the state has outsourced this vital constitutional obligation to the private sector, some funded by foreign NGOs or governments, which has led to a rise in militancy, intolerance and a convoluted interpretation of the religion, which has nothing in common with what the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) preached. Islam, a religion of peace, love, compassion and tolerance for other faiths, has been exploited by the ruling elite to perpetuate their injustices and indulge in massive conflicts of interest, which are forbidden.

Malik Tariq Ali

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