Atheist youth of mine
“Atheism is also a belief”; this is what I wrote down as one of my stray reflections in my diary a year ago. Yes, I still believe in it and endorse what I have written back then. It might seem incessantly iconoclastic but I am not to debate that here. Instead, let me tell you something else. In recent times, I had a chance to discuss and debate about how slowly the Islamic Studies were being ignored or removed as a subject in elementary and middle school education in Kashmir, leaving aside the higher education. About how ignorant our future generations are going to be, with no faith to guide them. Though the person whom I was dealing with seemed to get convinced and realised how pernicious it would be for us, there still remains a giant void in the larger part of our nation.
Muslim nations, everywhere on the planet, are held by tremendous atrocities. Be it getting bombed with missiles, being branded as terrorists or their women being raped and murdered; every kind of torture that comes to one’s mind and some which one can’t even imagine is what Muslims have to deal with. Yet I believe that there is triumph to them and every tear they cry is being watched. The truth might suffer but falsehood is destined to perish. Yet I count and find no atrocity deeper and painful than the people of faith disbelieving the faith, walking away from their religion and growing profane to the sanctums. Every single sacrifice is going waste if the generations for whom they are made don’t exist at all.
A nation can bear any bomb and walk smiling out of any torture but will never be able to sustain attrition from its own people. This is what exactly is happening in Kashmir. The nation that claims “Yahan kya chalega Nizam-e-Mustafa ﷺ” has its people turning their backs on the religion, in particular, the youth, and being atheists. I have heard of this lately and even met one of them personally. I tried my best to make that guy understand what faith is and how it stands but today I don’t know if he still holds his religion or has turned away too. To add to the pain, one finds them very much ignorant of the fundamentals about their religion. Educated youth, some of them studying medical sciences, engineering and some doing their doctorates, are the ones falling more victim to this. The most educated ones are proving to be the most illogical ones. This is the biggest failure of what we call our education, modernisation, and development. If you have your youth in their twenties who have just passed their teens dropping out of their religion instead of finding its infinite beauty, you are cursed. If one of our girls suggests someone not to revert to Islam because it ‘cages’, we need to introspect. If a guy among us who was Muslim earlier plays bet that you can never make him believe in Allah, it is time we stop and reflect.
Preliminarily, the main cause of this and what fuels and acts as the main catalyst to this are our education system, be it our state board or the boards that we have modeled at our homes. The first education of a child is his home. A child in Kashmir who earlier went to a Madrassa is now handling a smartphone with access to infinite evil. In this immature age, while his mind is developing and tuning up, he is fed with ill videos, degrading pictures and nonsense games. When the conscious is structuring itself and needs a very careful and delicate guidance, the smartphone is all we leave them with. What we lack is communication between people of two extreme ends of the human lifespan. There is no mutual development of mind and soul, no interaction of them with the outer society as screens have become the new worlds. No flourishing talks, because “Hello Siri” and “Okay Google” have taken the entire place. Taking bad alternatives to keep our children busy is what demolishes their mindset at the very first stage. We may be making our lives easier at that part of the time but are definitely ruining theirs.
Later in life, there are many factors that induce such evil in the mind. The youth is being indoctrinated in million ways. Some among the ‘educated’ ones find it shrewd to be iconoclastic while others find it coquettish. Sapiosexualism is real but this is no intelligence and this frames you more as felon than a melon. Opulence and embellishment of the mind for some is as what is an act for others. Some fall to proselytizing talks of their college professors in Kashmir and outside and others follow because their friend did. If someone, even if that is your own mind, can make reject Islam, there is no fool at par with you and no uneducated as you.
No matter what be the reason behind this, we are losing them, alarmingly high. This should be more of a concern for the think tanks than the Kashmir Issue in itself. In comparison to how we pursue their academic development, we do nothing for their religious and ethical advancement. Learning almost nothing about their religion and not being able to discover more of their purpose, our child goes to the school which burns him totally. Not being able to teach him what actually is needed is where we further add to his ruin, shooting science at him, having no idea that it actually strangulates him further. Proscribing the salah in the schools speaks enough of what we are decimating. People cursing educational institutions for degrading the children, both morally and religiously, is something that deserves our attention as to why it is happening. It is often being said these days, ‘Az kal chune haya roodmut’ (The ethics/morals are dead nowadays). Why is it so? Why it is that westernisation is seen as a freedom and fun? Devaluing the religious books, not teaching and preaching much about Islam and limiting the knowledge of children about Islam to only videos of online speakers is where we collapse. A very great proportion of our society positions their understanding and comprehension of Islam only to what they see in the altercations between Barelvi and Deobandi, Shia and Sunni, Salafi and others. An exact negative of what debaters think they are doing is what actually happens. You are not killing confusion but firing it up. The kid may clap for you that time but is sure to curse you in the hereafter. Be it a ploy or a conspiracy that is behind it, what should send a chill down our spine is that we are falling to it. Youth from the Valley of Saints are jumping into the abyss. When a kid finds only crusades in his childhood, youth is definite to die and be the one to mark ‘I don’t know’ as an answer to a question that asks the name of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Education is not only earning degrees, but it is also equally about countering the social evils and realizing our downfall, be it in any domain. The current scenario is deadly and the officials who stand at the top and have the power to bring changes are equally responsible along with the parents who neglect the proper growth of their children and then cry when the child neglects them later. This is true also for the imams who deliver lectures and sermons in masjids. Repeated deliverance of the same narrative is not going to make it. Human mind finds the same narrative of no value when it is repeated endlessly. Preach the essence of Islam. Teach who Muhammad ﷺ was, how his life was, how he treated people, what were his principles of life. Message the teachings of Islam logically and philosophically to people. Stand from that chair and show some agility. Open the beauty, brotherhood, and blessing that Islam is. Encourage people to ask questions if they have any. Believe that there are many but they are buried because either people feel shy to ask or don’t dare to speak in public. Wipe out the fear from masses. Let them question Islam. It is truth and it will never fail to answer.
The same is about the Darul-ul-Ulooms in Kashmir; we have them in very large number, Alhamdulillah. But yes, I will question them also. They are accountable for every Kashmiri. The fact that they bless us with a great number of hufaz of Quran and scholars of Islam is overwhelming and really highly appreciative. Yet somewhere it plays to be a fault that in presence of them we are having these conversions. If you produce hundreds of scholars and hufaaz but have even one of these evils being able to grow so rapidly, you have failed more and succeeded less. Contemplate on what I am trying to bring to your focus. There is a strong need for us to take notice of what is happening in and out. For the biggest enemy of Islam is the ignorant Muslim.
The writer is pursuing B. Tech. in Electronics and Communication and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.