Noted columnist specialising on Islamic issues, Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajedi, in his column in Delhi-based Hamara Samaj (July 29) entitled, “Swine flu ya azaab-e-ilahi?” (Swine flu or curse of God?), writes that “the spread of swine flu has proved that the description of filth and dirtiness of swine (in Quran) is not without reason and hidden wisdom.” :: 13 August 2009; “From the Urdu Press” – The Indian Express by Seema Chisti.

I wonder what the Maulana’s take on the Mad Cow disease (1) would be? Or of Bird Flu – Influenzavirus A (2) or Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 (3) – both of which spread to humans? Remember SARS?

All of these were crossed over from birds or animals to humans. Cows, Birds, and Palm Civets respectively originally carried these virus strains. All of these killed human beings during their respective upsurge. SARS probably took the highest  of human toll.

So, would Cows, Birds – err Chicken, and ofcourse Civets find their way into God’s “dirty” creations?

No pun intended. This is serious. People like this Maulana present only half-truths to twist facts, and present them to gullible populations in a manner that suits their ideology and maintains their grip on people’s minds. In any case Islam shuns questioning. Such interpretations allowed in popular Urdu mainstream media will only further spread the bigotry and prevent the potential of human beings from rising. It furthers the cause of such maulvis and mullahs – keeping humanity in constant fear and subservience to God. If the populations start questioning, are encouraged to apply their minds, and the body of knowledge available on rebirth of souls (7) is made available to them, it would shake the the fundamentals of how mainstream Islam is preached and practiced today.

I say “mainstream Islam”, because the moment ‘Sufism’ comes into picture things completely change. In following this mystic stream of Islam the seeker may be led to abandon all notions of dualism, including ‘a conception of an individual self‘ (5). This is not different at all from the concept of “Samadhi” in Hinduism, where everything, including the self merges with the ONE divine. I see no difference between Tawhid and Advaita philosophies. Ofcourse interpretation of Tawhid remains the most controversial subject in Islam, and unfortunately, until and unless people are encouraged to read and question, fanatical Islam will continue to spread.

People like this maulana further their own narrow goals by writing in mainstream media. It is time to stop such bigots and encourage Muslims to question a lot more.

Before I end, may I recommend that the maulana goes Vegan, before a ‘goat flu’ next crosses over to humans, and he is forced to do so. Would he then claim ‘Goat Flu‘ to be azaab-e-ilahi ?

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