Nearly a decade ago, few Sociologists visited Pakistan including 2-3 Americans and 4-5 Scandinavians. They were investigating reasons why bribery is so common in Pakistan and other countries? Why Government and semi-government officials accept bribes on any given opportunity? Why do they hassle their countrymen like this? Out of curiosity, I remained with this group for a year or so, to find out what comes of this research. Finally, they concluded that no one would take bribe unless he thinks himself to be lowly, wretched and pitiable. To extend his hand in bribery, a person has to be convinced in his heart that he is wretched, mean, liar and lowly. If a person lives a contended life with respect, honour and dignity, he would not resort to taking bribes under any circumstances. Our religion has also emphasized that we must not let go of dignity, grace and contentment. Always consider ourselves the best and superior among creatures because we have been granted the status of Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqat اشرف المخلوقات (Best of creation). To live up to this status we must try to live like the best of creation. We often hear and read in books that dog is a desecrated animal and we have been discouraged to keep it as a pet except watchdog for cattle. Logical and religious reasoning is proffered in this regard which is disapproved by kids of new generation (my grandchildren often protest why I not allowed them to keep dogs in house). Willy-nilly we allow them but it has been pondered upon why dogs are not allowed to be kept at home? If this animal is unclean then there are other animals which are not clean as well. Why only dogs are not allowed to be kept at home? It revealed that dog among all animals particularly among pets is a psychophysicist and keeps waging his tail to please his owner. Our religion did not want to keep an animal close to us which keeps polishing our apples all the time. Dogs are thought to leave negative impact on our lives because they are always ready to please us by wagging their tails or cuddling our feet all the time. That is the reason we are not allowed to keep such an animal as pet. There is a possibility that his characteristics may take root in your personality. When you become a psychophysicist, without a reason you tend to please others, which may leave negative impact on your individuality, grace and personality. So please do not keep this animal as pet. Keep a cat as pet, it will not please you rather when not in good mood, a cat may snap at you with her claws. Horse is a beautiful animal and is an old friend of man. A horse can die for you. But if you do not treat him well, he will react by standing on his rear legs but he will not try to please you. You have to treat him well. There are other animals like eagle and hawk. You must have observed the eagles with Arab princes who visit our country in hunting season. They sit them on their hands and blindfold them. If head cap is not worn, the eagle can even snap at his owner on whose wrist it sits protesting why I am being enslaved with these chains and cords around my feet. We are allowed to keep such animals but those which tend to impair our dignity and teach us flattery, are not allowed. At the same time, draw clear lines between you and your ego and avoid arrogance and pride of Pharoses. Man cannot live a life of his choosing because of the lines drawn which limit his total freedom of action. So much so, there are lines drawn to his biological needs. It is my biological need to eat food and eat more, better and tastier food. But I am enjoined to draw a line today. Today you cannot eat from dusk to dawn. Delicious food will come your way, mouthwatering aura of food will tempt you but you will not eat it. The order is not to eat during daylight hours because you are the best of creation and you are a notch above from the rest. Man is the best of creation when he attains total freedom, when he can choose to do or not to do, only then he becomes truly free. But he reins in his undue and proscribed desires and actions which makes him the best of creation. It is not true freedom to write an article against someone or deliver a fiery speech but to exercise control and remain within limits of human decency, is real freedom. A buffalo grazes in alfalfa fields and eats whatever she likes whether it is clean or not. But he is a man who can eat everything yet restrains himself during fasting hours. During his fast even if hundred guests show up, he serves them with food and drinks, extends warm hospitality but does not eat himself. The purpose of keeping him from attending his biological needs is not to starve him but the objective is to polish his dignity and grace so that he can exercise control over himself when required. A brigadier lives in our neighbourhood in Model Town Lahore. He is very fond of dogs. He had a good Al Session dog. Somehow, the brigadier lost liking for the dog and it was left to wander at his own. The dog developed habit of eating raw meat and remains of butcher shop, which is considered unhealthy for dogs. When the dog would return after daily way wandering, he would not behave well. Due to this, the brigadier set down a note on little card and placed it in his neck collar saying,” Please do not give this dog raw meat, if this dog comes to butcher shop, just shun him away”. Seeing the note, butchers would not give meat to brigadier’s dog. Dog is a psychophysicist and he must have thought that he was in trouble and he should find a way out of this? Al Sessions are very intelligent dogs. No real surprise when this dog found out that whole problem was with the card inserted around his neck. So he tore it apart with his claws and teeth. Next day when he went out, it was obvious that the restraining note was not there, so he ate well and returned home happily in the evening. But for us humans, it is better to go to some cave then to live lowly life without self-esteem which will be no different from lives of animals and insects.
Once an international conference of scientists was held which was also attended by Albert Einstein. After lunch break, one of the participants inquired from Einstein, ‘Sir, if we keep the vastness of universe and milky-ways in mind, mathematically, place of man is much smaller than a tiny particle i.e. it amounts to nothing’. Consenting to his contention, Einstein remarked,’ True, it is amazing that meaningless, worthless and insignificant man who values lesser than a speck, while looking through his telescope, is unfolding mysteries of the universe to his fellow beings’. One should not consider himself so worthless to succumb to taking bribes. You will come across people who will convincingly tell you,’ everyone takes bribes’ and ‘values have changed’. In fact, people of this kind consider themselves despicable, mean and sordid, and their guilt continuously hurts them. Allah has bound us in so many different ways. If you ponder, you will see all the nations, all the communities and groups of people in the world start their day when sun breaks on the horizon and someone will tell you that today is first day of December or first of January. There is only one nation in the universe which starts her day at sunset. That Ummah is Muslim Ummah which starts her day in the evening. You must have observed in Ramazan when cannons are fired, hooters are sounded or announcements are made on loudspeakers or media after last light to declare that we have entered the month of Ramazan. We do not enter Ramazan in the morning rather in the evening. This is a strangely different religion where day or month starts in the evenings. No other religion in the world has this kind of issues. In my reckoning, this Ummah has been distinguished from others. Notwithstanding the fact that new day or month has commenced, you still will have to face the darkness of the night because you are a dignified Ummah. You must not be weary of the darkness of night, rather you have to have the self belief to reach the day break when light shall shine everywhere. This implies that you will have to lit the darkness of night with the light of your soul, self and personality. All of us start our day and month with sunset. We as Muslims go in to the night with the belief that darkness of the night will not do us any harm. There we are, there is this darkness and light in this darkness is due to the light within us. We are not as anxious to catch a bright day and sunny morning like other nations of the world. We lit candles in darkness of night with our breaths. This dignity and poise is our hallmark. But sometimes we fall short of this mark. Then the guilt takes birth. It cannot happen that we debauch ourselves by saying ‘times have changed’, ‘everyone is doing the same’ (taking bribes), so should we. You may give your arguments against it by writing or convincing others but you cannot suppress your guilt. You cannot get away with the framework which has been enjoined upon us. This reminds me of the story of Khawaja Naseer ud Din Chragh Delhvi who was Khalifah of Hazrat Nizam ud Din Auliya when Delhi was hit with a severe drought. People went to him and requested him to pray for rain by offering Prayer of Istisqa. He reluctantly agreed thinking how could I ask for something which was completely Allah’s discretion. Anyway, on predetermined time and place he went and led the prayers but nothing happened. No sign of clouds appeared on the horizon and he embarrassingly returned from that place. Among the people who attended those prayers, was a sage named Yousaf Sarhandi who told him that same thing had happened before as well. Everyone gathered and prayed for the end of drought but nothing happened. He said when nothing worked at that time, people suggested that we must ask someone who carried himself with dignity and was editorialized person because Allah listened and trusted the word of such people. Yousaf Sarhandi said he had no objection to that and asked people who that person might be? People proposed that a sage lived near Seri Darwazah in Delhi, we should go to him and request for prayers. When we reached there, I was amazed and mortified to see that sage was a eunuch named Khawaja Rahat. The person who took me to Khawaja Rahat introduced me and stated the purpose of visit which was to request him to pray for rain fall. He inquired what would happen then. The person said, Hazrat! (He used this word for that eunuch, I am in serious discomfort addressing that great person as eunuch, but since he was eunuch and he had declared himself as such. But see how graceful people carry themselves? It has nothing to do with caste, gender or eunuchs. Human dignity and grace is a different thing altogether which comes in humans through soul) Delhi is seeing worst drought because it did not rain since long. That great person asked the maid to bring hot water for ablution, after which he prayed. He stood on his feet and addressing Yousaf Sarhandi said, “You must go and offer prayers for rain fall according to prescribed procedure and beg Allah to show mercy on His creatures. Still, if it does not rain then (he pulled a strand of thread from his cloak) wrap this strand around your right hand and request Allah that this strand is from cloak of Khawaja Rahat the Eunuch who has submitted himself to You, who does not meet people, chooses to lives in a quiet corner with dignity and grace and avoids people so that people may not ask him to pray for them, has requested for rain fall from You”. Yousaf Sarhandi said that we did as were told. People came in numbers as if entire Delhi had poured out. We all offered Prayers of Istisqa but nothing happened. Then I took out that strand of thread from my turban which was given by Khawaja Rahat the Eunuch, wrapped it around my right hand and prayed to Allah. Instantly, clouds appeared on the sky and torrent poured down so fast that despite quick dispersal, rain caught them before reaching their homes.Ladies and gentlemen, now it is up to us that being part of this Ummah how dignified we opt to live our lives. May Allah grant us a life of dignity and grace. I pray that Allah gives you due relief in life and blesses you with ability to offer relief to fellow beings. Ameen.