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Humayun Gauhar | 15 DECEMBER, 2014

‘Bad’+ Ma’ash = Badmaash

A 16th-century Persian miniature painting celebrating Muhammad's ascent into the Heavens, a journey


The phrase “Wato Izzo Mantasha Wato Zillo Mantasha” is from Surah Al-Imran verses 26-30 of the Holy Quran: “O God, Lord of the Kingdom! You give the kingdom to whomsoever You please and strip the kingdom from whomsoever You please; You honour whom You please, and abase whom You please. In Your hand is good. Verily, You are mighty over all”.

Now don’t get carried away by the words “Whomsoever You please”. God does not bestow honour or dishonor on someone for pleasure but bases His decision on a person’s conduct and deeds and, most importantly, on the intent behind those deeds. It is not a game. It is deadly serious.

Honour, dishonour and abasement are in God’s hands no doubt, but in a vital sense they are in human hands first because it is by their conduct and intentions that God decides to bestow honour or dishonour on them. For fear of God please try and understand this. I am concerned here with rulers past and present and would-be rulers and their supporters. Understand God’s warning, for rulers and minions should know that by acting like demi-gods they are committing the cardinal sin of ‘shirk’ – you shall not ascribe any equal or partner to God. The word ‘shirk’ means partner and comes from the word ‘shirkat’ or partnership. Supporters of those who commit ‘shirk’ commit the same cardinal sin of ‘shirk’ and are equally culpable.

‘Honour’ derived from wealth, power or station in life is secular and ephemeral: it can evaporate in a whiff because of that person’s poor conduct and intent. He takes nothing to the next world except his deeds, intent and knowledge. The beauty of it is that when a person attracts honour or dishonour from God he does so by his own hand through his deeds and intent based on the exercise of his free will bestowed on him and on Jinns alone by God. Which is how Satan or Iblis (from which name comes the Greek word ‘diablos’ and the English word ‘diabolical) could refuse God’s Command to bow to Adam because he too had free will. Angels do not have free will and Satan is not an angel. Thus ‘Fallen Angel’ is wrong; ‘Fallen Jinn’ is right. It is Satan, according to the Abrahamic scriptures, who misleads Man towards evil to demonstrate that God’s greatest creation is a huge mistake. It is for man to learn to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong. Whether Evil is winning the battle over Good at this point in time is for each one of us to decide, but in the end the war will be won by Good.

A person who has honour but little power or office is very rich indeed. His honour is reflected in the true friends he has and acceptance in society, which is important for mental wellbeing because Man is a herd animal. Hazrat Ali said: “A person who has one true friend is very wealthy indeed.” Conversely, a person who has only illusory honour despite his wealth, power and influence is very unlucky because in its heart society balks at him even though it might cohabit with him because of his station. He has many acquaintances but no friends. There are many wealthy and powerful people who find themselves alone and lonely when they are in trouble. People who do good or bad get their reward or punishment in this world and in the next. It bears repetition: when God decides to bestow honour on someone, He does so because of that persons own actions and intent through the exercise of his free will and when He removes a person’s honour, He does so because of that person’s actions and intent through the exercise of his free will – by that person’s own hand, as it were.

Another important point. When a person uses his free will for doing bad he blasphemes God because the spirit in every human being is God’s Spirit – “and I blew My Spirit into Adam” which we, as Adam’s progeny carry. I don’t have space to go into the ‘An al Haq’ philosophy – “I am the Truth” – that comes from this. By doing bad deeds and following the path of evil we dishonour God’s Spirit within us so dishonour becomes our lot. In exercising our free will, if we decide consciously or subconsciously to follow not the path of the Almighty but of Satan, then we leave God no option but to take away our honour. Such a dishonoured and dishonourable person should know that God has not done so willy nilly but because he has misused his free will for doing bad with bad intent because he did not exercise his God-gifted free will honourably for doing good with good intent.

Man is free to choose between good and evil in this world: if he chooses more of evil than of good he loses his honour and respect. Worldly wealth, power, office and influence are of no consequence on the Day of Judgment, which in my understanding is perpetual, not a single day in earthly time but ongoing.

Now consider those that have honour and how many do not. Allama Iqbal held no office, wasn’t wealthy with only enough for his needs, yet he has great influence on society and events because he had a lot of everlasting honour through his good thoughts expressed in poetry and prose. Look at the honour God has bestowed on Malala from a lower middle class family and little wealth. So too the late IT genius Arifa Karim and Abdur Sattar Edhi the great philanthropist. Do our rulers have such honour? Truly? Do those parliamentarians who agree that elections were rigged but would still support an illegitimate government because they want to save the system that benefits them have any honour? Do they who have allegedly illegally accumulated huge wealth through misusing office, surrounded by obscene protocol, pomp and panoply have honour? They are poor because they have no honour, their protocol irritates people and they are surrounded not by friends and good advisers but by sycophants and bloodsuckers who reinforce the bad in them instead of showing them the correct path, the path that pleases God, Sirat al Mustahqeem, Sh’ar, the path that leads to the well, water being the source of life.

Such people are called ‘Badmaash’ in Farsi and Urdu, two words conjoined: ‘Bad’ or ‘Badh’ meaning just that in English, ‘Bad’, and ‘Ma’ash’ from the word ‘Ma’ashira’ or ‘society’. Thus someone who is a ‘Badmaash’ is bad for society because he indulges in ‘Badmaashi’. Obscurants of all religions who twist God’s Word and change his ‘maqasid’ or objectives are ‘badmaash’ because they are bad for society. Similarly, those who misuse their office to maximize their power and wealth are ‘badmaash’ for they are very bad for society. Dishonour is their fate. So too is the fate of those who blindly support such people for personal gain or because of stupidity.

Recall when the Prophet’s (pbuh) granddaughter Bibi Zainab and other female members of his family were presented before the Caliph Yazid after the battle of Karbala in which the grandson of the Prophet (pbuh) Imam Hussain was martyred and all male members of his family bar one were slaughtered by Yazid’s General Shimmer? Yazid had wrongly inherited the caliphate from his father Mawiyya, son of the one-time great enemies of the Prophet (pbuh) Abu Sufiyan and his wife Hind who ate the liver of the Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle Hamza. Abu Sufiyan embraced Islam the night before the conquest of Mecca; both were forgiven by the Prophet (pbuh) after the conquest, as were all others, and no booty was permitted. Seeing Zainab, Yazid is reported to have uttered, “Wato Izzo Mantasha Wato Zillo Mantasha”, upon which Zainab rebuked him and told him not to twist and misuse the Words of God. Zainab then gave her famous sermon in which, addressing him as “O Yazid” she inter alia said:

“Do you
believe that we have been afflicted with insult and dishonour by Allah and that
you have been given honour and respect by Him? You have become boastful of this
apparent victory that you have secured and you have started feeling jubilant and
proud over this prestige and honour. You think that you have achieved worldly
good, that your affairs have become stabilised and our rule has fallen into your
hands. Wait for a while. Do not be so joyful. Have you forgotten Allah’s saying: ‘the unbelievers should not carry the impression that the time allowed to them
by us is good for them. Surely we give them time so that they may increase their
evil deeds, and eventually they will be given insulting chastisement’ [3:178].

“Those who have made you the head of state and burdened the Muslims with your
leadership will soon find out what awaits them. The end of all tyrants is
agony… You are
from among those in whose heart Satan has made his abode and has been breeding
young ones… If you consider our defeat as your achievement then you will have to
pay its price… You may contrive and try however much you can… Your word now is weak and your days are counted.” Ever since, dishonour has been Yazid’s fate while honour the fate of the Prophet’s (pbuh) progeny.

In making his son Yazid caliph after him, Mawiyya established dynasticism in Islam violating God’s democratic injunction to “choose from amongst the best.” Henceforth the sons of dead caliphs, including those born of concubines, would fight it out and the last man standing would become caliph. Monarchy and dynasticism were inserted in Islam; democracy was ejected.

No different from grabbing power through an allegedly rigged ballot for it means stealing the people’s mandate and twisting their will, tantamount to twisting God’s Will by casting out His injunction to “choose from amongst the best”. What a sin! Is it ‘badmaashi’ or not, dishonourable or not? Is not agreeing to an election audit to remove all doubts not dishonourable? Such people are publicly reviled and abused throughout the land day and night. What could be greater dishonour? Is killing innocent people because rulers believe they are above the law dishonourable or not? Is their assassins’ excuse that they “only obeyed orders” without considering whether they were lawful or not honourable? Is obeying patently unlawful and sinful orders for personal benefit with confidence that rulers will protect them, like Yazid protected Shimmer, dishonourable or not? Are rulers and their minions publicly denying and justifying their evil deeds by resorting to lies and deceit dishonourable or not? Is stealing the wealth of a nation dishonourable or not? Are rulers of pathetically poor states staying in expensive presidential suites and driving around in Rolls Royce and Bentleys on official visits abroad when their people don’t have decent shelter and then begging their hosts for handouts honourable or dishonourable? Do they think their hosts are impressed or mocking?

Pakistanis are seeing God bestowing abasement and dishonour on such people before their eyes. A horrible fate awaits them, for they are dishonoured.

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