A New Fatwa: Does it Matter?
The ringing phone woke me up. I am not a morning person, though I want to be one because it would help with my sadhana. It is not my thing. I did not want to get out of the bed but the phone would not stop ringing (I keep phone and alarm clock on the other side of the room just a technique to help me from sinking back into the bed). I picked the phone; it was Begum, my Pakistani friend. I mumbled “Ah, Begum so early whatz up?” Begum was pretty charged up. She was up in arms, “Did you see that on the ndtv, did you see it.” I was still sleepy and Begum was literally screaming in my ears. She asked me to turn on my computer and take a look at the email she sent me. I wanted little time but she was on my way or high way. I abided by what she said.
Her email read “watch this and write something.” I am one lazy dog who refuses to write about current topics because I know many bloggers will do that every morning so why do I need to reinvent the wheel. Rather I prefer writing comments on other people’s posts. Here Begum was on my case. She was calling me 11,000 miles away at an uncomfortable time to tell me what she thinks about this new fatwa on working women. Her voice was tense and high pitched all charged up. Here is what she said:
“Ask this attention seeking juvenile who is going to pay my rent and bills. Is he going to send me a check to cover my daughter’s school fee because her father washed off his hands after returning my mehar (dower)? Is he going to make sure my old parents are taken care off when I work in a sweat shop because it is one place where only women work and have no interaction with unrelated men. He doesn’t have to work his rent money comes from the zakat (tithe) other people make. How much is he willing to send me? Where should I send my budget? Begum’s voice was rising and I was now almost awake. She continued, “He is talking about the divine career or carrier like the cycle carrier, on the day of judgment why doesn’t he say anything about my present. Yeh, kill my present career to make my divine career, good advice.” “Why is he concerned about my journey on the pul-e-siraat I’ll manage it on my own, I make an honest living and I am raising my daughter all by myself. Does he have anything to say to the father of my child? Why can’t he mind his own business, attention seeker?
I had to say something before her voice rose even higher. I said, “Begum, this guy is in India and you are in Pakistan on vacation why are you so charged up and what is this with attention seeking thing?” I was amused at her explanation, “Your Khaps have seized all the attention in the last month and there is nothing for this guy to do these days. In order to feel he exists and to make others known that he is still alive he has to make such absurd comments every now and then. Do you think we educated women are going to follow what he says? Be assured we are not, he is just barking at the wrong tree. Will your Sania Mirza stop playing or Shabana Azmi quit acting. But he is definitely making it hard for the poor uneducated masses especially women and pushing them into cycle of poverty generation after generation. I asked again, “He is in India how does it bother you?” Her response was, “As a sensible person it bothers me. It encourages other guys in the third world to come up with such absurd ideas and make women’s already hard lives harder.”
Begum was equally mad at the moderates and liberals. She said the moderates were buying peace from such fundamentalist at any cost forgetting peace at any cost is no peace where as, liberals are hiding because they are scared to face the fundamentalists. She had few other personal and not so personal things to vent out and I am all ears. Isn’t that what friends are for. I have eliminated all the expletives from this talk. I love her Urdu spiced with Punjabi and before saying Allah Hafiz I asked her to narrate Ustad Daman’s my favorite couplet:
Anna mare anni noo, ghasun pain dhammi noo,
A blindman in his bid to hit the blind woman hits a pillar but is thinking he is hitting the blindwoman.
Keep bribing and corrupting the system as much you can, keep biting on what ever you can but still keep screaming it is evil system.
Jinni jinni paindi ay oni oni paayi jao, whichon wich khayee jao, utton utton rola payi jao.
Do what ever works as always thus continue your old ways (contribute to towards the corruption of the system ) but keep crying wolf (keep complaining like always). This was the best interpretation I could provide.