Monday, April 24, 2017


A circus of religious terminology and manipulation
Sadiq (the truthful) and Ameen (the trustworthy) were the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s attributes, because he was eminently truthful and trustworthy. They became some of the names he was known by, in a society in which people were customarily called ‘Father of so-and-so’, or ‘Keeper of this or that’.
In Pakistan, although originally the constitution called for no such thing, amendments to Articles 62 and 63 in 1973 made being ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ requirements for holding legislative office, which effectively disqualifies almost everyone.
Sadiq and Ameen referred to the man who was the Messenger of God. If anyone were to inherit the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s job as Messenger of God, a requirement to live up to the same titles would make sense. But inheriting that job is out of the question. So although one might aspire to the Prophet (PBUH)’s values, it makes little sense to make his attributes a legal condition, now, for other public office, for other people. In any case, what is the litmus test, and who is to administer it? Therefore let’s give the circus a rest. This bandying of religion and so called religious terminology is sickening and nothing but deliberate manipulation of public sentiment since we have a public that is happy to accept that manipulation and is all too often unable to detect it. Although in fact, most publics everywhere are not too different.
This government has been attempting to purge those amendments from Articles 62 and 63, since once these requirements are removed those Articles can no longer be used as a tool to prosecute legislators for not coming up to scratch, in the sense of Sadiq and Ameen. A committee headed by Zahid Hamid has been deliberating the matter. It is another matter that the sudden desire for such a purge is like Richard Nixon trying to change the rules concerning obstruction of justice after Watergate became public. You wonder if that committee headed by Mr. Hamid will carry on its deliberations now that we have been informed that the PM is neither Sadiq nor Ameen.
Raise your hands, all those who ever thought he was.
No one?
Aww, that’s just too bad.
Politicians are good at manipulating public sentiment using words the public is comfortable with, which explains Donald Trump’s limited vocabulary, his willingness to honour the ‘dumb’ Australian deal, and his pronouncement that “It’s a very, very terrible thing that is going on in the world today.” Such language is one of the factors that led to his election, but not for the reasons that most people think.
Sarah Sloat mentions an article by Philip Roth in The New Yorker, where Roth equated Donald Trump’s limited vocabulary with ignorance, since vocabulary has traditionally been an indicator of intellectual acumen, or its absence. “But”, Sloat says, “It has become increasingly apparent to researchers that a non-expansive vocabulary isn’t necessarily the sign of a failing mind; rather, it might be the hallmark of a person sly enough to hook his listeners and persuade them using only a few words.” She says “An analysis by The New York Times found that Trump frequently repeats the same divisive words — like “stupid,” “horrible”, and “weak.” By means of this repetition she says, the “speaker guarantees that his audience walks away with his most important points in mind.” She also says that by using few words liberally sprinkled with cuss words, Trump wants the audience “to feel like he’s one of them. And that level of manipulation is anything but dumb.”
Well we’ve known this for years. Here, words or phrases that smack of Arabic will have the greatest impact. They need make little or no sense. We’ve had the ‘Tauheen e Risalat’ laws which no one dares touch because people kill to protect them, no matter how much our beloved Rasool (PBUH) condemned killing. There are the precious Sharia laws, although no word is more loosely defined than ‘Sharia’: what that is, whose Sharia it refers to, and how that applies to present times is yet nebulously understood.
Since it seems to be sufficient to give something an Arabic name to make it inviolate it can’t be long before all – rather than just the optional few – car number plates will be required to carry the words ‘Al-Bakistan’ along with the registration number, and it will be against the law to scrap old plates because it would be Tauheen e Risalat, and the constitution will be amended to say so. Unless of course the Ruet e Hilal committee says it’s okay, and then we can go ahead and chuck them, but only before the first session of the Majlis e Uzma, and after the Adalat e Aalia has been convened.

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