Religion as Cover: Rant and Rave

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“Maybe it’s your sins Allah punishes you for. Just seek forgiveness!”, the lady patted my sister-in-law’s back as a pretense of care, adjusted her unfurled locks, and left our place with a melodic “Allah Hafiz.”

As I left the city, a train of thoughts sheathed my mind.  I was on my way back home after my nephew’s surgery for Cochlear Implant soon after we had his hearing loss detected. Friends and relatives had swarmed in to register their sympathies with the family. Hundreds of people with thousands of different versions of what could have possibly led to this, for the second time in our family (my niece had a similar situation). We did not talk much about it at home and steadily accepted it as Allah’s qadr (destiny). We know Allah tests us in different ways, sometimes to chisel out the best in a human being. We also know that Allah loves us unconditionally and sometimes does things to this that are apparently very painful, but in our own best interest.  We do believe that Allah tests us in proportion to our own strength and potential.  I, for one, am convinced at the back of my mind that something really, really great awaits at the end of this lifelong struggle. But then, there was a class of people from among us who gave away sweeping conclusions in the name of religion that it’s just your sins that are paying off. Where do these people come from, who would know exactly when Allah singles out whom to punish for their sins? And what is the basis of this reasoning that the more sins you commit, the more you will be put through trails? In fact, I have learnt the opposite my whole life. My mum always tells me: Who was put through more tests that the Prophets (May Allah be pleased with them all)? Does that mean that they were being punished for their sins? Ridiculous! What makes the scene even more bizarre is the speed at which these self-righteous fellows can quote the scripture, while leaving the spirit behind. What could be a bigger tragedy than this, that the people that mostly look the most religious are the least intellectual in thought and action? Islam and sound intellect must go hand in hand, you take out one and the cookie crumbles!

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Simaal and Marea are the loveliest and liveliest of kids you will ever meet. You look at them warmly, and a sunny smile comes handy. You smile at them, and they burst into laughter. You could play with them all day long and still not get bored. They are basically the best anti-depressants a family could ever experience. And to say, that Allah punishes us for our sins, this way? Well, are punishments really this beautiful?