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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Benchmarking Religion - Death Preparation

Preparing for death is perhaps the most vital duty of a believer. Though the concept of ‘life after death’ prevails in every Abrahamic religion but I will discuss it only with reference to Muslims & particularly Pakistani Muslims. Surrounded by a large ‘religiously active’ community at Facebook & Twitter I constantly receive ample religious hearkening of what ‘death preparation’ really is, thanks to the Christian Youtube which makes this ‘Dawat’ so very accessible!

Building upon the preachings of our Islamic scholars  one can plainly conclude that they are only concerned with theoretical gains & losses. Without dealing with the practical paradoxes of Muslim community, their religious rede is limited to spirituality & concepts of worldliness are severely abated to nothingness. To them every worldly affair is cornered by God Himself & if you please Him merely by offering prayers on time; welfare & only welfare will you receive. Their preaching revolves around ‘hard-working’ but this is not the hard work an intellect believe in maybe because this is not hard-work at all! Regular & frequent ‘Ibadat’ (~worship) is inconsistently correlated with ‘Mehnat’ (~hard-working) but even a farmer understands how wearing it is to plough a land than to offer a prayer. This ‘worship-only’ religious model widely preached by our Mullah community as the only way of atonement has recently gained momentum not because it is justified or arduous  but because it is easy enough for everyone to follow.

Death preparation the way Islamic scholars represent, to me is at least inadequate & at most selfish. Having discussed incompleteness already, I will now explain why I call it selfish. Recall that worship is a personal matter between you & your creator. Your worships may buy eternal peace in your hereafter but can’t buy medications needed for your sick mother, worships may rid you from ‘Kabar ka Azab’ but you still have to pay your child’s school fee...A true believer have to be a responsible father & a caring husband, thus pragmatic considerations must not be sidelined. You don’t need to earn God’s blessing only by living in a pseudo-solitude, breaking it only when you have to attend a religious ‘Ijtima’ where your presence alleviates numbers which in turn fortifies popularity, the very thing Maulana so dearly yearns for.

While preparing for death itself is an admirable quality but it isn’t so trivial. Complexities arises when your death severely influences the lives of others. With so many hours of devoted worship in your account you may be certain that your soul will be soothed & accepted in the ‘Garden of Eden’, after all this is what you were trying to achieve; but I declare such afterlife fantasies as utmost selfishness. You forget that your afterlife in paradise may turn the worldly lives of your wife, children & parents to scorching hell. In your selfish death preparation, you failed to realise what will happen to your widowed wife & the destructive aftermaths that may befall on your daughter? Unfortunately, no such issue is discussed by our Islamic wannabes resulting in an ill-planned death preparation. Even in the presence of verbose religious scripts & speeches the more deserving questions aren’t answered, reflecting the meagre mental calibre of contemporary religious scholars.

Working out practical solutions to the above mentioned vital problems are quite straightforward, I just don’t get it why it is taking so long for our religious scholars to plug the holes. A person has the greatest amount of responsibility as a young father, when his children are adolescents & his wife totally busy handling them. This is the time one should rationally commence his death preparation. Rather than adopting a lordly grasp on wife, so very typical of Asian husbands, one should involve her & discuss with her all the possible outcomes, unfortunate they might be. In such circumstances having a learned wife besides you is indispensable. Pakistani men are accustomed of choosing their future wives based on the vague ideas of virtue. Niqab practising, Hafiz-e-Quran & preferentially educated at home is the girl of choice for them. Little do they realise that these pious girls having a maximum qualification of Matric or F.Sc will be the biggest obstruction in their future planning; but they happily live with it because innocent pigeon is much easier to subdue than a wise owl!

Understanding societal attitudes is a prerequisite for a well-planned death preparation. Even if you are not a part of it, our society in general has certain reservations for widows. If you die young, probably your wife is on her own for the rest of her life. It isn’t easy for her to find a second husband, nor it will be easy for her husband’s family to comply. Even if second marriage succeeds, their children will likely be a point of sarcasm for this largely illiterate society. This especially is prevalent at the times of their daughter marriages who are pointed out as having second-time fathers. On the other hand, a confident & a well-educated wife can take a stance for herself & her children even after her husband’s demise. She will be able to independently  feed her children without having the need to be fed by others. Let naysayers be present but her education will serve as a defensive tool.

It will be my personal appeal to Muslim male masses that please tear off the ignorance curtain sewed around you by so-called religious caretakers. Before your death think not only about God but also about your wife & children & ask yourself one crucial question “Whether I have prepared my wife, for my death?”


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