[Wrote this article in 2005. It was published in GK)
Death, Pain, Misery – you name it and we have it! Depression and hopelessness fills the atmosphere. Lawlessness and disorder is the norm. Psychological trauma, physical abuse, moral decay is what meets the eyes (for those who bother to keep them open). The happiness that people crave for seems fake – meaningless. There is no joy, no peace, no contentment!
Amidst all this utter confusion a cry is raised, “Has God forsaken us?”
Everyday we call our Creator by His attributes of Most Beneficent, Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem) – then how could He leave us in this state of misfortune? How could He plunge us so deep in the darkness that we cant even perceive a tiny ray of hope? In a place where people – young and old, rich and poor – shed tears, raise their hands in dua; why is it that He doesn’t set all things right? Why is it that He watches us helplessly cling to life – rather to whatever of life is left within us?
Some call it a test, while some others call it punishment… “gonah panin”… Some faces frown… some others turn pale. A few dare to speak out, and others hush them up … “Keriv panin katha..”, believing that speaking out is useless and that it wont help.
And we are in a situation that comes to a point where one would think it can’t get worse; and it actually does become worse!
Death frees the suffering soul from the worries of this damned life; but leaves a much heavier penalty for those who are left behind. Ask an aging parent who lost a child, a widow whose world has become uglier, a child who looses his childhood and plunges into the harsh, cruel adult world – ask them what expectations they have from life?
The sick languish in pain in the pitiable conditions of our hospitals. Those who are lucky enough to be outside these hospitals, still suffer the psychological trauma. The reasons could be many – from traumatic experiences to the ever increasing demands of a society that is based on materialism. The pursuit of survival in this jungle where fear reigns supreme is enough to keep minds occupied. There are many who end up with drugs, many others who just end up with depression and other psychological disorders.
With the policies that the ‘people in power’ come up with, many of the evils that long existed in the dark corners of our society are coming out into the open – a closed eye to prostitution and lewdness, an open license to liquor!
Enough!!! Obviously, all this is too much for any society to bear with. We all run like blind people and become the ardent followers of “Escapism”. Like mad people we strive for our individual immediate materialistic interests. Our minds are bogged down and busy with “here and now” – we want more, more and more. With an insatiable hunger for goods and services that would make us “respectable” in the society, we forget future with its extended time horizon – that includes the hereafter! Where future seems bleak, we live to enjoy the moment!
And we squeeze happiness from our hollow lives. But somehow, every now and then, we feel a lump in our throat, a heartache, a restlessness that we seek a relief from. We cry out, “Where is God?”
“Where is God?”
The echo of “Haya alal Falah” – inviting to victory, progress, success – resounds from the masjid’s five times a day. We hear and we don’t know how to respond. We don’t even make an effort to make the connection with our Creator.
Is it that we don’t understand – or that we don’t want to understand?
What a paradox life has become! We steal and we complain of corruption. We live lives based on lies and expect justice. We build palaces with money obtained from all unlawful means, and wear a garb of piety by going to hajj! We shrug our shoulders from the responsibility of the orphans and the destitute – and wonder why The Most Merciful doesn’t shower His mercy on us?
Surprisingly, we as individuals and at a societal level have found justifications for everything. For every lapse of ours, we have conveniently found someone else to blame. By forever blaming the system for our failures, we have found a scapegoat. Why don’t we channel our money to an orphanage – “Well! They are already getting lot of money from people…” Why don’t we spend an hour voluntarily with some NGO – “ (Seari choor!) They are all cheats…” Why don’t we do our work with honesty, “ Yahan yehi chalta hai”. Why we don’t do a small thing like not throw the plastic bag out of our maruti, “Myani na karne saeth kyah gasi…”.
From big decisions to the very small mundane ones, we are more and more contributing to the problems that we seek riddance from. By being part of the rotting system, we are nurturing the rot. We murder our conscience and wonder why tranquillity doesn’t descend upon us. We are running away from God and wondering why He has turned away from us!
If we are looking for God, we will find Him – He is always there, we just need to make the connection with Him. If we want His mercy, let’s attempt to be worthy of that mercy. If we want changed conditions, let’s change what is in our hearts.
We all have to remind ourselves that, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. And if we are part of the problem, know that God hasn’t forsaken us, rather, we have forsaken ourselves!
“Verily God will not deal unjustly with man in aught. It is man that wrongs his own soul.” (Surah Yunus:44)