The Pakistani society is in a conundrum. Our society wants to turn Muslim when convenient, and turns to culture when Islam does not cut it for them. Politically things are not so different. Sovereignty of Allah, Blasphemy Law, and Riyasat e Madinah are few of the tactics used by the political leadership for controlling power in Pakistan. PM Imran Khan’s Islamic narrative turned prolific after he took office.
One cannot deny using religion as a mode of attaining political goals. After all, 98 person of our entire population consists of Muslims, who are easily and emotionally driven through religion. But such an ideology is troubling in the long term.
Like I mentioned earlier, we cherry pick Islam to suit our own narrative. This can have adverse effects on people in the country. Not long ago, the West was also ruled by religion. The ruling elite used religion to control the general public which made them wary of religion. Eventually, people started to move away from religion. The end result? Religion no longer holds any weight in the social, political and economic aspects of the west. Growing number of people in the west are turning antagonistic, or atheists.
In Pakistan the religious clerics are at the forefront of extremist incidents. TLP, who rose to fame by using the sanctity of Prophet SAWW’s name, is one example. Similarly, the cleric who called for hunting down and killing the participants of Aurat March, Mufti Azizur Rahman, used Islam to hide his hideous reality of being a child molester. The rapist and murderer of Zainab was a Qari who used to recite naats at Milads.
Religion and politics, are now two different extremes in the west. Using religion in politics is not wrong. But using it for personal gains at the cost of the wellbeing of the common public is not right. When religious-political rhetoric is driven to placate the few, it will instil animosity among the people who fall victims to this atrocity. Excluding religion from mainstream politics will only lend legitimacy to the reactionary narratives propagated by certain religiously inspired groups.
Religion should be used in politics to bring about positive change in our society, instead of giving birth to extremist rhetoric that calls for beheading anyone who does not adhere to their agenda. This way social economic and political progress
By Amna Sheikh