May 052008

Load-shedding is rapidly building my character. Not that I had no character before load-shedding but whatever character I had was extremely self-indulgent and devoid of any moral substance. Now my morality is discovering new, deeper and more substantive underpinnings

I am starting to like load-shedding, sort of! Perhaps I am a victim of a variant of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. I realise that many of my readers are quite against load-shedding, especially small business owners that depend on a regular electric supply to make a living. These like other members of our disadvantaged classes cannot afford generators to take over when the pesky PESCO turns the lights off.

Here I would like to point out that I do not own a generator either. But I do believe that adversity builds character. Load-shedding is rapidly building my character. Not that I had no character before load-shedding but whatever character I had was extremely self-indulgent and devoid of any moral substance. Now my morality is discovering new, deeper and more substantive underpinnings.

After all, our worthy forefathers had no electricity, electric fans, telephones, and, heavens forbid, access to a split air conditioner.

Then there are my dear and good friends who keep pointing out that if only we as a nation revert to the true Sunnah, all our problems would be solved almost immediately. During periods of load shedding my mind does indeed turn to such admonishments.

More importantly, the only major advances in Muslim history, scientific, cultural and political, occurred before electricity was discovered. The Mughals, the Ottomans, the Safavids, the Ommayyads in Spain, the Fatimids in Egypt all brought great glory to Islam without a car, a motorbike, a split air-conditioner or a cell phone in sight.

Therefore I am convinced, especially during periods of load-shedding that our new and popularly elected government wants us, the people of the Islamic Republic, to revert to our greatness by recreating the environment in which Muslims excelled and built rich and thriving empires. In this connection I have a few suggestions that are offered in the true humility of my faith.

First and foremost, all technology that did not exist in the classical age of Islam should only be allowed to non-Muslims. As far as industry, manufacturing in factories and other such un-Islamic activities are concerned; ownership of these should be permitted only to people of ‘inferior’ faiths. True Muslims should, by law, be allowed none of these facilities and especially any weapon not extant during the earlier days of Islam.

This will indeed allow a great amount of foreign investment in Pakistan. Only non-Muslim foreigners or local non-Muslims will be able to own, run and profit from industry that uses un-Islamic capabilities. Industrial enclaves with non-Muslims and un-Islamic technology should, however, be carefully isolated from the God-fearing and devout Muslims lest their influence weaken religious resolve and corrupt true believers.

One great advantage of this will be the tremendous amounts of money saved as a nation by not having to provide electricity, gas, phone service, public transportation, or a functioning railway system to a majority of our population. And yes, the balance of payment deficit will disappear overnight. No gazillions need to be spent on importing oil and gadgetry! Moreover no TV or the Internet, two major sources of immorality.

Another great benefit will, of course, be that all Muslim men will walk or ride horses. They will then get healthier by the minute. Muslim women will have no need to leave their homes. This will allow them to spend even more time in efforts at procreation and subsequent nurturing of many, many more ‘good’ Muslims. I am sure that the ‘moderately’ enlightened Muslims might have some objections. They may, as they already plan to do, emigrate to Dubai.

But then there are some prerequisites that need to be fulfilled. After all, even good Muslims need to eat. So, it is obviously necessary that all ‘real’ Muslims get an adequate stipend from the state. Where will the money come from, the doubters ask? There will be enough sources of income, especially taxes on non-Muslims running all businesses and using cars and air-conditioners.

Also, the Islamic Republic will literally have no ‘carbon footprint’ since there will be virtually no production of ‘green-house’ gases except those produced in a biological fashion or in the industrial enclaves.

Therefore we can sell our carbon units to our neighbours to the east and the north. And if there are no airplanes, no cell phones and no ‘pillion riding’, then as a country we can demand a lot of money from our benefactors in the West. They all know what those three can lead to!

Any way, the really good Muslims will not need much money since they will not be in a position to spend on un-Islamic trappings of wealth. And yes as a physician I must admit that if we all reverted to the days of Islamic glory, the practice of medicine would become so much easier. Dam, darood, waving of hands and a few potions, no prolonged and entirely unnecessary heart operations!

Sadly, sadly, none of this is going to happen. In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the last thing that can be expected is the implementation of the Sunnah, even in a metaphorical sense. After all, our Prophet (pbuh) also practiced tremendous personal piety and truthfulness, matters entirely anathema to denizens of the land of the pure. That of course means that we as a nation will most likely continue to suffer from ever-increasing load-shedding for the foreseeable future.

And, even the most pious and devout among us will keep using energy-inefficient motor vehicles, air-conditioners, cell phones, automatic weapons, exploding vests and diesel generators in all the mosques so we can all be woken up in the middle of the night and be reminded of our religious duties. And, TV and the Internet will continue to play havoc with our collective morality.

May Allah in His infinite wisdom guide us and have mercy on us.

Syed Mansoor Hussain has practised and taught medicine in the US. He can be reached at

Source: Daily Times, 5/5/2008

 Posted by at 7:55 pm

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