A friend sent in this article by S. Parvez Manzoor that is a needed dose of common sense on the issue of the lack of our lack of introspection.
Our age possesses no will for self-criticism and reform. We show no courage to look at ourselves as we really are. In place of cherishing the living, we venerate corpses. Fleeing our present, we turn to the past not for reflection and review but for comfort and solace. Our dialogue with history is nothing but a deceptive game of self – indulgence . Self – aggrandizement not self-appraisal is our pastime. Our faith may not be an opiate, but we certainly are the most past-intoxicated people in the world.
Even our moral sensitivity, the most precious gift of our faith and our window to the rest of mankind, has been made an instrument of isolation and retreat. In order to defend an ‘Islam’ that we do not practise, we indict everyone else for cherishing what they believe in. Our pretence convinces us that in the Bathhouse of Nations, we alone possess the towel of morality.
We are holier than everyone else. Our past is spotless; our scholars have solved all the riddles of the world; our soldiers have won all the battles, and our ancestors have done everything that needs to be done. Without addressing any questions to ourselves, we are ever ready to supply answers to everybody else. We have lost power, dignity, respect and righteousness, but our pride clings to us even after the fall.
Nothing spells the doom of our civilization as the moral cancer of sanctimony and mendacity. Self-delusion may be a sedative but it is a lethal drug all the same. The defeat of our armies, the collapse of our institutions, the perfidy of our rulers, the bigotry of our divines are not half as fatal for our survival as is our love for self-deception. Unless we start practising what we preach, our endangered species would soon become extinct.
In this issue, these insights have been extended to the realm of culture. The neo- Salafi politics of purity, it is further demonstrated by our authors, is scornful of all human achievements. It is as destructive of the artistic heritage of the past, as it is inimical to the cultural life of the present. In seeking a moment of authenticity in a mythical past, it rejects all history and tradition. By so doing, it acts as an agent of sedition and disharmony We on our part seek to demonstrate that our civilization is heir to a rich artistic tradition in which spirituality triumphs over puritanical emptiness and in which beauty is regarded as a means to approaching God, at par with prayer! Similarly, our faith demands an ethical revolution in the soul and prescribes righteousness as the measure of man. This we believe is the ultimate antidote against all the poisonous ideologies of self-worship.
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