Seeking happiness in a religious society

January 23, 2014 at 11:19 ,

Mobarak Haider:
It is said that happiness is one of the highest human ideals. But happiness, dejection, pleasure and pain are complex subjects, as complex as the human psyche itself and hard to define. It is hard to define a feeling because it varies from individual to individual and because it flows from the defining logic of one’s life.

Happiness is distinct from pleasure. While pleasure pertains to one’s individual physical feeling, happiness flows from a domain of our human self; it is perhaps a state of being more than oneself, of rising above one’s physical pettiness, a product of devotion, of wonder and discovery.

Those of us, who aspire to create, and outgrow the routine and the normal, often experience moments of happiness.
But such happiness is not allowed to individuals in a religious society, particularly in Pakistan’s Muslim society. There are many who boast of spiritual happiness. But even if that claim is true, it is no more than pleasure of the individual who is pleased with his rich account of “Sawaab”.

It is a society ruled by political Islam, which is organized and highly vigilant. Political Islam has no concept of happiness and no desire for it. Most authorities of Islam agree that a true believer lives to please Allah because Allah created the universe and created life for His own pleasure. The highest ideal for a true Muslim is to live and die for Allah.

“ان صلاتی و نسقی و محیایا و مماتی لله رب العالمین”

This verse has been the guiding light of Al-Qaida fighters and Taliban. The believers, therefore, must remain at least grave if not angry; they must dedicate their life’s activity to earn Allah’s pleasure.

On the other hand, Islam has no objection to pleasure and material benefit. Even in the world of “Aaqbat” (eternal life after death) there are abundant pleasures of food, luxury and sexual activity as rewards of loyalty. Similar pleasures are easily available to believers and non-believers alike. Almost every third male of this society drinks alcohol like fish. The number of brothels in a large Muslim town is less than the number of mosques but quite sufficient for the believers’ extra marital needs. Tax evasion is not difficult at all, so every business fellow has enough to pay heavy hotel and health bills for his family. Think of any pleasure and you will find it available.

Those who seek happiness in such a “religious society” have a poor chance. But they can try and find others like them who are in search of happiness in the religiously dominated society. Being together in a dark night of cold storm is a happiness no tyranny can stop. Such togetherness will open the gates to a larger happiness one day when forces of tyrannical hypocrisy will no more decide our destiny.

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