Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A journey towards the inescapable !

What is the simplest and most commonly accessible argument for the existence of God? Ofcourse , The answer is the perennial question "If there is no God , where did it all come from?". Though its more of a question than a response but the obvious ancillary proposition which follows from this question is "As there is all this , hence God must have done it and therefore God exists".   Any lay believer if encountered with the question "Why do you believe that God exists?"  would abruptly and impromptu give this reply. 

This line has been the historical line of defense of all believers in all cultures. And why not? Virtually  Every serious creedal documentation of religion has exclaimed that in  the beginning God created  the  universe. Not  only that God  created the universe , God invites human imagination to ponder over the universe and in an intellectually  provocative tone asks the believers to look around if they doubt the existence of God. And it is this simple act of  looking around  that has forced humans historically to believe in God.

"If there is no God , where did it all come from?". Though this question is a simple line and lacks in all sorts of philosophical numbo-jumbo , it encompasses the depth of most subtle and sublime human experiences.  No matter how unembellished and undemanding this argument for the existence of God is , it successfully and satisfactorily responds to some of the pinching inquisitiveness rhythms of human soul. It not only tells you that why and how this gigantic sun hovers over the horizon of our galaxy? , why starts glitter during the dark nights? Why is there that odd looking moon in the sky? What fills the eyes of a new born with all that innocence and inexplicable beauty?  Where did my affiliation with my mother come from? And so on.

The question not only addresses the why question related to the ontology of various galactic and universal physicality and abstracts  , it explains the connection between human necessities and material possibilities. Even if Cellular dehydration and osmoreceptor stimulation causes my thirst , why is there water to quench my thirst? Even if the shifts of sun and moon explains the length of shadows , why is there a day and night sequel befitting my biology? Even if there are rods and cones in my retina , why are there colors out there whose' differntial wave length when reaches my optical lobe through electro-chemical wave enables me to see?  If atoms explain my being , Not stones but  why after all am i experiencing the whole set of reality? Yes , Why? What else can respond to all this perplexity than the undecorated perennial answer God did it?

Neil turok is a theoretical Physicist at the  Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Canada. Having born in Africa , which is something odd for a modern day phycist , he has decided to embark on an odd adventure. Contrary to the  borde-guth-vilenkin   theorem   which necessitates a singularity at the beginning of any expanding universe , Neil has proposed a "Two clapping universes theory" (which is an attempt at the renewal of the long forgotten   cyclic universe theory). 

Just a few months back , he was invited at a university symposium during which he adressed a crowd educating them on his new theory.   The   speech was full of metaphors , semantic contradictions , doubts ,  Ifs and Buts , stochastic prepositions , observational limitations and cautions in reference to the heisenberg uncertainty principle.  Most of the audience was seen yawning after the first twenty minutes. Those who managed to stay awake could not manage to keep the incredulity off their faces.
At the end of the speech the audience was asked to pose any questions if they had in their minds. 

One buffoon rose to the challenge and for whatever odd reasons asked the extraneous question "Sir , what forces the electrons to follow it's path?". Neil , astonished and bewildered , in return unsuccessfully made an appeal to the incomplete "Quantum stability model" but the guy had an ancillary question "What makes matter at quanta stable" and Neil , having just delivered an enriching and scholarly speech about the the universal event which took place some 14 billion years ago , was left clueless about an ongoing visible and reachable phenomena.God of the small things was laughing at his face.

Though the affirmation of the existence of God through an appeal to the creation of the universe has been common in every culture , skeptics ever since Aristotle have rejected the idea of the beginning of the universe. The reason for the doubts are obvious. The universe that we inhibit seems to be quite old and solid. The rusty mountains , the grand old sun , the numerous stars which seem to be obediently stationed in the upper sky and the very ground on which we roam around are things so firm that it is hard to imagine of an event which might have initiated them.

 It seems to be more natural to assume that they have always been around eternally than to assume that they came into being as the result of some event. If the event is affirmed , it must have been the strangest metaphysical event ever. It must have been an event not only transcending the nature but originating nature. Things of such a nature have run currents of anxieties in the minds of the naturalists since time immemorial. The creation of the universe trans-natural hence utterly rejected.

Naturalism , though has never been defined in some unequivocal way , has been portrayed by most as the spirit of science. After all , if one goes through every single theory of science very carefully , the word God has never been mentioned there. So how can someone champion atheism in the name of science? Definitely a scientific atheist shall have to make an appeal to something outside science and that outsider is Naturalism. Some sort of naturalism has been around since long and the first of the naturalists with in the ranks of Muslims were the Mutazillites.

Armed with Aristotelian logic and the rudimentary science of that time , they took the onus of defending the laws of nature (Read as naturalism) upon themselves.They hardly understood anything about the laws of nature then but establishing causal relations and not going contrary to observation was what the Mutazillites perceived as naturalism. Under the influence of this unripe naturalism ,  Contrary to the common Islamic belief of a created universe , they followed the path of Aristotle. They affirmed the existence of God but rejected the creation of the universe. The kind of intellectual gymnastics that was undertaken by the mutazallites to affirm these two contradictory propositions is a matter of past now but ignorance in abundance , if the universe did not have a beginning , their benighted arguments did not have an end. Just like their peaceful successors , the Mutazzilites were ready to enforce their doctrine on the reluctant Muslims with the patronage of the state.

It was precisely this turbulent era that Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali was born in Tus, Persia. Born as an orphan , he was soon admitted in a religious ceremony where he would spend his time listening to the heated debates between the orthodox Muslims and the Mu'tazallites. As an obedient student , he  was much    influenced by his mentor  Al-Juwayni. Al-Juwayni was a  distinguished theologian and an ardent opposer of the Mu'tazallites. Al-Ghazali went through a period of skepticism during the coming years and  went  into a long seclusion which  will end  upon something remarkable.

Al-Ghazali is important for two reasons. He was the first to defend the basic doctrines of Islam after going through the doctrines of the philosophers (Read Naturalists). Secondly , both his religious nature and intelectual gifts were of such a nature that the combination hardly ever surfaced again in the Muslim world after him.Commenting on the depth of the soul , the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus once remarked "One would never discover the limits of the soul , should one travel down every road--so deep a measure does it posses"

If not all , Al-Ghazali had proceeded on most of the roads down towards the soul. Having carefully examined the texts of the Mu'tazallites , Al- Ghazali somewhere around 1098 AC penned down his ground breaking book "The incoherence of philosophers (read Naturalists)". The first chapter of the book is titled "Refuting the doctrine of the world's past-eternity" in which he debunks the Mutazallite's doctrine of a universe uncreated. Al-Ghazali argues that if the universe if uncreated then it must be past infinite universe. But as infinity does not exists in the real world hence time or past events can not be infinite hence the universe must have had a beginning.  Commenting on the infinite regress problem Al-Ghazali writes

"They (Naturalists) say that the universe is eternal and the precedence of God over the universe is in rank than in time. They negate the initiation of the universe and hence they negate the temproral precedence of God over the universe (ie He existed before the universe came into being). I say that this is contradictory for the reason that the affirmation of the infinity is impossible as infinity does not exist in the real world and translating mathematical infinity into the real world leads to paradoxes , hence time must be finite and the universe must have a beginning"

 After giving an affirmative argument , the attention of the sage diverts towards a naturalist's objection to this argument. In a menacing
sibylline tone , Al-Ghazali remarks.

"They (naturalists) say that if  the universe had a beginning then time must be infinite and if we (naturalists) are being accused of affirming an eternal universe with God , our opponents affirm an eternal time with God hence we are doing the same thing. I (Al-Ghazali) say that Time is originated and created, and before it there was no time at all. We mean by our statement that God is prior to the world and time" 

Al-Ghazali was just being logical.Without any empirical observation and mathematical modeling, it was hard to digest for the naturalists what he was saying. His words were taken as  an expression of his faith and his mind as  a victim of the circumstances.He survived an era in which his faith was under attack and left without any option , the humble Al-Ghazali was forced to strike back with all his mental faculties.For the naturalists ,  few centuries after Al-Ghazali , Ibn Rush while trying to write a refutation of Al-Ghazali wrote "The rational people had an issue with the beginning  of the universe and he (Al-Ghazali) has only added to the problem as  according to him not only the universe but Time was created as well and this is utterly unacceptable". What makes it unacceptable? That Ibn Rushd  never explained.

The debate continued and almost every notable  thinker had to say something about it. Immanuel kant discussed   the   issue in his "critique of pure reason" and after affirming and dismissing various propositions , at  the  end   was overwhelmed by his skepticism to conclude that "The debate is not settled and can never be settled ". David Hume out of the blue attacked the causality principle and Bruttarnd Russell when cornered in a debate by the Christian theologian Frederick Copleston , setting aside his delicacies and lordship , made a remarkable claim with a palpable irritation " I should say that the universe is just there, and that's all".

Sometime around 1910 , Einstein discovered that gravity is a geometrical function of space and time. That is to say that the space-time fiber's deformation yields into what we perceive as gravity. In 1915 He introduced the field equations modeling his general relativity. In 1920's Aleksandr Friedman and Georges Lemaitre discovered solution to the field equations and to Einsteins painful surprise they hinted at an expanding universe. For reasons that he could never make clear , Einstein regarded a past eternal universe more satisfying. It has been reported that towards the end of his life , he regarded an expanding universe with a certain fastidious distaste.

In the early years of the twentieth century , the signature of hydrogen was discovered in the light coming from far off galaxies. An American astrophysicist Vesto Slipher was the first one to note that the light coming from distant galaxies was shifting towards the red portion of the spectrum. This meant that the frequency of hydrogen atoms in the upper space was declining. In 1930's Edward Hubble using a far more sophisticated telescope made the same observation with more precession and unlike Slipher , Hubble knew that he had struck pure gold.

The conclusion from this observation was simple and obvious. The light source (Galaxies) were moving away from us and hence the red shift. If the galaxies were receding then the universe was expanding and if it was expanding it must have been expanded from a state of lesser expansion and there must have been a point of beginning (known as singularity today). What was conceived as a mere expression of faith of Al-Ghazali had gained an empirical and scientific credibility. Al-Ghazali had entered into the troubled imagination of the naturalists in a very odd fashion and as this time his entrance had been empirical, he could not be thrown out for being  just faithful.

This was unacceptable. The dogma of "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" had become a soaring reality. The ardent atheist physicist Fred Hoyle rejected the idea by mocking it as the "Big Bang" and ever since his mockery has given the name to the mystery. The expression "Big Bang" has captured a hold of its own over the public imagination just like "If there is no God then where did it all come from?". No matter whether one can understand it or not , most of the laymen have heard of the event and whether they can understand its mathematical modeling or not , almost everyone can conceive of the event. In 1964 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidentally discovered the microwave background radiation which confirmed the "Big Bang". The thermal radiation left over by the mysterious event is still there in the space to be measured.

By 1960s Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking had demonstrated that insofar the backward contraction of the universe was controlled by the equations of general relativity, almost all the lines of conveyance came to an end at the singularity. And all lines of conveyance does not only include time and space , actualization Ibn Rushd's fears , time had a beginning. Not only this but singularity itself has become a term of its own kind. A mystery , a stupefying fact and bewildering expression which donates an infinitely dense and infinitely compact with an infinite gravity.

Read together with the fine tuning of the universe , the medieval cosmological argument of Al-Ghazali has marked a triumph of faith. The connection between God and the universe has become so plain that it glows with its own energy and can even be seen in the dark. On the rostrum of the history , Al-Ghazali stands aloof , noble and uncorrupted but his ardent foes The Naturalists have resurfaced as atheists and the current of anxiety has traveled down all the way from Ibn Rushd et al to the modern day atheists. Astrophysicist Christopher Isham puts it best: 
 “Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual desire of a theorist to support his or her theory.”

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Paradise that never was !

Petrograd ,November 1917 ,one a cold foggy morning a huge crowd composed of all age groups has gathered infront of the infamous Winter Palace where the Tsar monarchs used to reside. The zeal and zest of the crowd is unprecedented. Faces are glittering with a happiness of the highest magnitudes and not a moment goes without slogans. For Manov Makhail , it is a normal day. As a priest in the nearby church , He has just left the church for his home with the Bible in his armpit.Not much aware of the events taking place in the city , he fails to make much sense of the crowd infront of him. All what he knows is that a revolution is gearing up in the city but the rest of the details are of no interest for him. In this state of  incredulity , he decides to join the crowd artlessly  hoping that Jesus might praised by the zealots , as it had been the case in every revolution that Jesus was remembered. When he fails to see any signs of  acknowledgment  of Jesus from the crowd , he starts raising the slogans of Jesus himself alone. His voice does not match with the chorus of "long live communism , death to religion , death to Capitalism". The crowd was waiting for Vladimir Lenin , the Messiah of communism.

A girl standing nearby the priest is the first to notice him. It was as if she was just waiting for the moment. She immediately starts kicking the poor priest and soon he is lynched to death by the crowd. Pages of bible lay shattered on the ground. The crowd gets further motivated and starts chanting "god of the wrath is dead , welcome the communist brotherhood". After all new gods were out there in the market and everything new has a certain attraction and preference over the old one. Karl Marx , who before selling his own opium to the masses had called religion to be an  opium  of  the  masses , was all  set  to  serve as  the new god and Lenin , who  had  given  his  ten commandments in his "April thesis" was a perfect candidate for serving as the prophet of Marx. Things were all set to capitalize on the fragile moments. The crowd was eagerly waiting for the new religion as well. The biblical god had become too old to serve as the deity and he was much of an unpleasant character as well. His attribute of being "god of the wrath" was long criticized and deplored. But little did the crowd which had gathered infront of the Winter Palace and everyone else who lived in that era knew that soon the "god of wrath" was about to manifest himself in the strangest way and the wrath was going to be unmatched this time.

The idea of communism was first properly tabled by the German Philosopher Karl Marx. The basic pretensions of the theory are much simple. It proposes a society which shall be free of any class system. The production of the society shall have a common ownership and individual ownership shall be discouraged. The peak of such a communist society shall be a financially uniform society in which there shall be no capital at all. This was the paradise which Marx dreamed of and the the first proper experiment of erecting this paradise took place in Soviet Russia after the people fed up of the last of the Tsar kings , Nicolas Tsar , threw him out in 1917 and later executed him along with his family. It was precisely this Communist utopia or paradise which the crowd gathered infront of the Winter Palace was eagerly dreaming of.

The economical aspects of Communism are of no interest to me and they are not much relevant in this age to any intellectual urgency either. Communism soon became something more than a mere theory of economics and that "something more" enters the troubled imagination of every person till this day. Karl Marx portrayed Communism to be a theory of society not a theory of economics only. Communism to achieve its goals requires a certain kind of social metaphysics. As it makes an appeal to the materialistic needs , it needs a naturalistic and materialistic explanation of everything that governs a society. It was under these influences that in 1873 , Karl Marx sent a copy of his Das Capital to Charles Darwin who had already printed his Origin of Species. 

Karl Marx had read Origin of species  and was pretty much convinced that Darwinism not only provides a metaphysics to reject the biblical account of creation and thus serves as a ladder to the rejection of religion which he saw vital to the foundations of communism but it also provides an elegant materialistic explanation of  the class struggle. In 1861, Karl Marx wrote to his friend Ferdinand Lesale "Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle. ... Despite all shortcomings, it is here that, for the first time, ‘teleology’ in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1861/letters/61_01_16.htm

Russian 1931 , The dream of Marx has actualized itself. The Communist Party of Russia is the sole authority of power in the country. Joeseph Stalin , the premier of Russia , has replaced the long hated god. Marx had inducted Darwinism into the moral calculus of the Communist paradise and now he alone hovers on the moral landscape of Russia. Churches are being demolished and priests are being killed like anything. Joseph Stalin , having succeeded in eliminating by killing the landlords was moving towards Collectivization. The farms had to be gathered and the peasants were to work on collectively on such collective farms. The peasants could not get a good amount from their first year of experiment and they started to refuse to work in collective farms. 

The uprising of the Ukrainian nationalism  , which the poor peasants sought out as a way to escape , was a further factor after the refusal of the peasants to work in collective farms to displease Joseph Stalin. What happened next is the darkest and bloodiest chapter of the human history. A historian records it as bellow.

On 7 August 1932 a law came into force that stipulated that all food was state property and that mere possession of food was evidence of a crime. Among the most enthusiastic enforcers of the law were urban members of youth organizations, educated under the Soviet system, who fanned out into the countryside in order to prevent the "theft" of state property. They constructed and staffed watchtowers (over 700 in the Odessa region alone) to ensure that no peasants took food home from the fields. The youth brigades lived off the land, eating what they confiscated from the peasants. They often humiliated the starving peasants by forcing them to box each other for sport, or forcing them to crawl and bark like dogs. Under the pretext of grain confiscation, the brigades routinely raped women living alone. 
(Genocide revealed by Snyder)

By the end of 1932 , people living in Ukraine and  the rest of the Soviet republic had started dieing of starvation. Joeseph Stalin had inflicted people with the worst famine of the previous century. He ordered the Commun stores not to give ration to the peasants and thus a man made famine was installed to punish the people.   The coming months added to the miseries. Russia had the worst winter that year and coldness added to appetite. Having nothing to eat , people started eating babies. Soon the Cannibalism became a widespread phenomena. Some 2500 cases of Cannibalism were registered. Around 11 million people died of this man made famine known as Holodomor which means Perished by hunger. The God of the wrath had appeared.

     (People passing by a starving to death person in Ukarine , Russia 1932. After all, the fittest has to survive)

(1933 Russia , a lady passing by the corpses and the starving ones. After all , why should she care?)

Joeseph Stalin had to kill Seven million more before he breathed his last on the 1st of March 1953. The next to join in as god was Pol Pot who tried to implement Communism in Cambodia. Just like Stalin , he was a frank atheist as well. Pol Pot led The communist Party of Kampuchea in Combodia. The blood of some 3 million people is at his hands and most of them were people of the lower classes , to whom the promise of the Communist paradise had been made. Millions were killed by the Chinese Mao , the Afghan Noor Muhammad Tarakai and Hafizullah Amin , Nicolae Chachescue of Romia. Round about 90 million people had to die at the hands of Communists before it was realized that the paradise never was.

(The Infamous Chankhiri tree (killing tree) against which the infants were smashed to death in Cambodia)

(The Killing Fields of Pol Pot : In Phnom Penh and other cities, the Khmer Rouge (the Communist Zealots of Cambodia)  told the residents that they would be moved only about "two or three kilometers" outside the city and would return in "two or three days." Some witnesses say they were told that the evacuation was because of the "threat of American bombing" and that they did not have to lock their houses since the Khmer Rouge would "take care of everything" until they returned. People who refused to evacuate would have their homes burned to the ground and would be killed immediately. The evacuees were sent on long marches to the countryside, which killed thousands of children, elderly people, and sick people. These were not the first evacuations of civilian populations by the Khmer Rouge. Similar evacuations of populations without possessions had been occurring on a smaller scale since the early 1970s.)

 The list of atrocities caused by the atheist communists is endless and a bit of research on it shall further  reveal the sordid face of the Communist Atheists of the previous century to the readers. The question however remains that what essentially went wrong in the moral calculus of that era when all these crimes were undertaken so shamelessly. It is very much likely that some very bad and lethal mutation had taken place in the moral body of the humans living then. Is Atheism and social Darwinism so poisonous?

Who can count the calamities of the past century and forget the Nazis? The most remarkable expression related to social Darwinism came from them. Adolf Hitler had a huge program of eugenics in his mind based on Darwinian concepts of diversity. His goal was to resurrect the noble blue eyed long legged Aryan race which he deemed to be the fittest and hence the only to deserve to survive.

Richard Weikart has a whole book on this issue , titled as From Darwin to Hitler:evolutionary ethics ,Eugenics and Racism in Germany.  There he writes "A sinister current of influence ran from Darwin's theory of evolution to Hitler's policy of extermination. A  generation of German biologists had read Darwin and concluded that competition between species was reflected in human affairs by competition between races".

The Nazi propaganda films of that era when the blood was being shed by the Nazis , most of their films will start with this passage.  "in the last few decades mankind has sinned terribly against the law of natural selection. We have allowed the weak to live."  We have sinned against the law of natural selection? Read this line a few times till you absorb the tremendous amount of brutal imbecility embedded in the line. Such lines despite their ignoramus nature , come quickly. The Darwinian argument is simple. Human being is the carrier of certain traits just like the rest of the animals. Humans have been favored by nature that they have made their way to the fittest. There is nothing wrong if you kill the ones whom you feel to be weak in this competition , as after all , such preying goes on round the clock in the animal kingdom. The conclusion is inevitable if the premises are endorsed. Stalin , Hitler , Maow , Pol Pot et al endorsed the premises wholeheartedly and the  the conclusion followed inevitably.

The horrors of the 20th century should have been enough to give a break to all the humans but Darwin has entered the moral debate once again with a new face. A Neo Atheist scientist and Darwinist , Steven Pinker , has introduced a remarkable claim into the debate. He says "Something in modernity and its cultural institution has made us nobler.  On the scale of decades , comprehensive date again paint a shockingly happy picture. Some evidence has been under our nose all along"

These lines of Steven Pinker are of a splendid  stupidity. All one can say is Good Luck though. A few years before the monster was unleashed , Mathew Arnold in 1851 was hearing its footsteps. Standing on the "Dover Beach" he said something in a fatidical tone.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Pashtun Nationalism: A Failed ideology

"How about the chicken who responds back violently when her child is attacked? Is she being violent or not?" This  was a question posed infront of Ghandi by the then young Wali khan  , whose father Abdul Ghaffar khan , popularly known as bacha khan , was indoctrinating the idea of tolerance into the Pashtun socities , together with Mr Ghandi. Mr Ghandi did not have any satisfactory answer to that question of Wali khan and he just smiled away by saying that there are more important political issues to think about than the question. But the question did have a depth and it did pointed out the hollowness of the "doctrine of tolerance" vigorously preached by Bacha khan those days.

These were the good old days of united India when Abdul Ghaffar kha, popularly known as Bacha khan surfaced from a small village of Charsada, North West frontier province. He was born in an age when the western enlightenment at one hand and the soviet Marxism on the other  were impressing people globally. The effected ones were mostly from the third world which was mainly occupied by the Royal colonial Britain. The Turk Caliphate had fallen and nationalistic Arab states had started emerging in the Gulf and middle east. European imperialism  and soviet communism  were becoming the dominant ways of looking at the world. Under these influences various movments were initiating in the subcontinent as well.

These were precisely such fragile and precarious moments of the near past when  Bacha khan was becoming mature enough to make sense of his surroundings. He raised in a comparably better part of the province where the farms yielded a good amount of corps to satisfy the belly of the landowners and there was enough water to quench the thirst of the farms. His family was much well off. His father Bahram khan owned a good amount of land to keep his head high in the society. It was his father who got him commissioned in the British Indian Army where an officer shall offend Bacha khan and as a consequence he shall quit the Army.

The later part of Bacha khan's life is the focus of this article during which he synthesized a doctrine that he would preach all his life. He tried to combine the philanthropist-ism of the west and Marxism of the east in such a fashion that these two ingredients shall be dominated by Pashtun nationalism (sometimes referred to as Afghan nationalism). The theme of this blend was colored by "tolerance" , a vague word in this age and an utter stranger to the society in which he lived then.

The Pashtun society of that era, as it has always been the case , was a deeply religious society. Mosque was the center of the society where most of the social disputes shall be handled by the elders and "Mullah" was the most influential character of the society whom everyone shall respect. The central part of the province which included cities like Mardan , Charsada , Peshawar and Swabi were relatively peaceful. These cities were dominated by the Yousafzai , Uthmanizai , Muhammadzai and Momand tribes of Pashtuns. The west of province where mainly the Masood and Wazir Pahstuns lived were much at a continuous unease. Mullah Powindah  and Faqir of Ippi  had raised a local insurgency against the British occupation. Their gorilla warfare kept the British outside of what are now known as the tribal areas and the center of Taliban insurgency these days.

The religious nature of Bacha khan himself has been a matter of much debate. All what can be said with confidence is that he was not an irreligious man.He performed two Hajjs and would offer his prayers regularly. However he did reject Islam as a political ideology. His "tolerance" was of such a quality that he shall borrow glasses from Mr Ghandi , his political partner and close friend , to read the Quran. Ghandi was his time tested friend and both opposed the two nation theory. Bacha khan was Muslim and Ghandi was Hindu but both were secular enough not to consider religion as a source of dispute or difference and above all both were self proclaimed flag bearers of tolerance , a specious term they never cared to define properly.

What happened next in the political theater of the Indian Subcontinent is of a great importance but is in irrelevance with the topic. Awami national Party , presided by Asfandyar Wali khan , the grandson of Bacha khan , is the main offspring of the ideology of Bacha khan. ANP is the ruling party in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa nowadays. ANP is the ally of Pakistan people's party in center and Sindh as well. The themes of socialism have been eradicated from the party. It once stood for socialism and hence was a major supporter of soviet union in the region but ever sense of demise of the bipolar world , it has shred off its socialistic themes. Though its flag still happens to be red but in the current so called War against Terror they are Pro-America. Asfandyar Wali khan made a secret visit to America Link in the recent past. For this visit he was severely deplored by his  old socialist friends. Socialism negated , Awami national Party still stands for Pashtun nationalism and the dream of Pashtunistan ( a state composed of Major portions of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and Afghanistan which shall be the homeland of Pashtuns) still lives somewhere in the deep dungeons of insecure future.

Awami National Party confronted with the first ideological challenge when USSR invaded Russia on the requist of the then Afghan communist president Babrak Karmal. USSR forces accompanied by the military of  PDPA (stands for People's democratic Party of Afghanistan which was a secular communist party that ruled Afghanistan after the Saur revolution in which President Daud Khan was dethroned and killed) started massacring the Afghan people. The major uprising against the invaders took place from the Pashtun majority areas of Afghanistan. Pashtuns from the tribal belt of Pakistan also joined hands with them in their battle against Russia. It was a critical time for Awami national Party (which was then known as National awami Party). At one hand was the slogan of "Lar o Bar Yo Pashtun" (Every Pashtun no matter where is one) and at the other hand it was the old socialist friend Russia. In those weak moments , Awami National Party joined hands with Russia against the Pashtun population.

After the expulsion of Russia from Afghanistan , Dr Najib Ullah Ahmedzai still lived in Kabul as the last remain of the people's democratic Party of Afghanistan. He got a no objection certificate from Russia and hence was appointed as the president of Afghanistan. He belonged to the Parcham faction of PDPA and had earlier served as the commandant of KHAD (Afghanistan's national intelligence agency). He was involved in the massacre of many Mujahideen during the Russia-Afghan war. He was the person who advised the Russians to bombard the cities and villages indiscriminately which resulted into thousands of deaths. This shameless man decided to preside over the graveyard , a large part of which was filled by the corpses that were there due to him. Awami national Party started supporting Dr Najib and in his face again some saw the prince of Pushtunistan.

Dr Najib was later killed by the Taliban after they captured Kabul. His dead body was hung through a street lamp post in the same city from which he used send his death squads to kill the Mujahideen. After all heroes die young. Meanwhile in the Pakistani Pashtun area Wali khan , the son of Bacha khan and president of Awami national Party , was defeated in the general elections of 1990 by a poor "Mullah" of his constituency Maulana Hassan Jan. This defeat exemplified the unpopularity of Awami National Party in the region. Wali khan never contested any election after that humiliating defeat.

It is a perplexing question that why shall a Pashtun nationalist party stand for the massacre of Pashtuns? After all they claim to look after the interests of Pashtuns. What comes as a further surprise is the support of these so called Pahstun nationalists towards America against the Taliban , a wide majority of whom happen to be Pashtuns. Asfandyar Wali khan symbolically seated himself in the middle of Zardari and Obama to show where he stood on the war against "terror". The same America which has killed thousands of Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal agencies.

( Third from the left , Asfandyar Wali khan is sitting with the gang which has killed more Pashtuns than ever killed in the history)

    (A Pashtun lady killed in a drone attack in Waziristan. She was probably asleep when the missile struck her)

What about Mullah Omar and Hakim Ullah Mehsood? Both happen to be Pashtuns. Gul Badeen Hikmatyar is a Pashtun and so is Jalal uddin Haqqani. The vast majority of the leadership of Taliban across both sides of the Durand line happen to be Pashtuns. Why does not the slogan of "All pahstuns no matter where they are , are one" encompass these Pashtuns? Same goes for the people who get killed in drone attacks who happen to be as Pashtun as Asfandyar Wali khan is. It was Russia against the Pashtuns and the Pashtun nationalists were with Russia. Now it is America versus pashtuns and they are with America. I have always thought about this paradox , ever since my childhood. I was myself raised in an ANP affiliated family and i have always asked these questions. I got many chances to meet Asfandyar Wali khan. I asked him these questions but the answer was never there. Instead i had to hear a big rant which included naming me an Islamo-fascist , Wahhabi , stooge of the Arabs and what not and i have always ignored these labels as ad-hominems.

There is a deep philosophical question as well. What defines a person? We open our eyes one day and find ourselves in this universe which is wide and huge enough to make us feel that we don't count much in the grand scheme of the things. It is after this realization , which further deepens after maturity ,  that we start associating us with groups so that we get counted in the bigger picture. One's affiliation with an ideology stands for how he has defined himself and allocated  himself a role in this universe. What about nationalism as an ideology? Is it good enough to be adopted to live with? I don't think so. It is the specific sequence of my genome that  makes it sure that i belong to such an such race. Why should one fall to his genetic structure? Is the genetic structure a good enough reason to get myself individualized from the rest of the humans? Certainly Not.

If one has to individualize himself on the base of race , why stop with Pashtuns? There are sub-casts in the Pashtuns and why should not i look for the interests of the Yousafzais which happens to be my sub-cast? Or why stop there , why should not i just care for my family which comes from Mubarik Khel sub-cast of the Yousafzais?  Even why stop there? Why should not i identify myself with my own self only as i am the perfect copy of my own genetic structure and no one else can compete me in that? It all shall be ofcourse as irrational and radical as the so called nationalism of Awami national party is. It is more plausible and rational to think of myself as a creation of the Almighty Allah , a dignity which is shared by all my fellow humans. This coming from one source and going towards that same source after death bonds me in a magnificent relation with the humanity across me. The grandeur of  this bond is so great that any kind of racism or nationalism seem to be doctrines of idiots infront of it.

It is evident that Pashtuns have always been predominantly religious. This religious face of Pashtuns has never been acceptable to ANP. They want to deface them. One solemn donkey once told me that only a secular Pashtun is the real Pashtun and so Mullah Omar and his sympathizers are not Pashtuns.These are the types of ignoramus efforts to redefine what a Pashtun is. What is common in all these daft new definition is that Islam is always negated. A Muslim Pashtun is not something which they are ready to accept.If such is the nature of biased towards Islam , I am justified in assuming that it is a battle against Islam camouflaged under Pashtun Nationalism.

These days Awami national Party is on the run. The fallacious and inhuman doctrine of nationalism is breathing its last. Asfandyar Wali khan narrowly escaped a suicide attack after which when inquired by a journalist he said "The bomber was most probably a Pashtun". It is a rare event that Asfandyar is seen in his native place. The fear of being attacked by his own fellow Pashtuns for his obvious crimes keep taunting him. Same goes for the rest of the leadership of Awami national Party. They rarely attend any open meetings.That very kin whose name they use is their enemy and infact they have made a classical example of self enmity in this age.

Islamists with weapons in hands are dominating the adjacent areas of the Durand line which was to be become a part of Pashtunistan. They are against many things and one of those things that they castigate the most is racism and nationalism. The dream of Pashtun nationalism whose epic is Pashtunistan is no where in the picture. Bacha khan together with the rest of the racists rests deep down the soil , the ultimate resort of all these discarded gods. His interpretation of the vague term tolerance has met with the American interpretation in this age. Both of them agree that Taliban are intolerant. As a result both have become intolerant of the religious Pashtuns.

After his secret visit to America , Asfandyar Wali khan uttered with sanguine confidence that "I had gone there to present the case of Pashtuns". This lines stands for a remarkable stupidity of its own kind but line is not new. Wali khan , Asfandyar's father , had presented the case of Pashtuns in the court of USSR. He lost it there and I am sure that Asfandyar shall lose it in America. It does not take much of a thought to come to the conclusion that the future of Pashtuns is associated with Islam. Islam is embedded in their nature , expressed in their consciousness and constructed in their subconsciousness. All the efforts to construct a secular Pashtun society have failed in the past and this one has failed as well. Though the most shameful phase of the failure for the so called Pashtun nationalists is yet to come.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Islam and postmodernism

As it is a general sentiment these days among the modernist camp that Islam must be "reformed" properly to make it acceptable to the people in this age so it also necessary to address this issue of reformation as well in details. We all know that the idea of reformation manly originates in the modernistic camp under the influences that the Western "enlightenment" is no more compatible with Islam or Islam is incompatible with the western enlightenment. The western enlightenment is a broad term which encompasses all the social doctrines that became prevalent in the post modernism west. Such ideologies will primarily include democracy , the social doctrines related to the relation ship between men and women , the various economic theories and so on.

Why should one think of making Islam compatible with the Western enlightenment? The reason that the modernists give is obvious. The western enlightenment is prevalent , accepted and has taken a grip over the popular imagination therefor Islam must be brought into the boundaries of it so that it remains acceptable to the general public. The parts of Islam that stay out of the boundary must be chopped and trimmed. What remains outside includes Jihaad , Niqaab , ruling related to apostasy etc. What they don't understand is that it is impossible to think of a theoretically neutral world. It is impossible that one day the whole world will give up all the various theories prevalent and people will roam around with out any ideology with the flags of western enlightenment in their hands.

Marxism offered a resistance to imperialism , one of the tenets of western enlightenment but faded away after sometime. Chinese socialism is offering a resistance to the economical tenets of western enlightenment but lack the various equipment to rebuke it completely. Islam and the Muslim world is the only resistance left these days. It has all thew potential to ideological replace the western enlightenment whose core ingredients include materialism , relative morality , consumerism and imperialism. The decline of western enlightenment has already begun and i am sure that it shall fall to Islam as Allah has said in the Quran Huwalazi arsala rasoolahu bil huda Wa deen al Haq Leyuzheral Haq ala deeni kuli . It is Allah who has sent his messenger with the true Deen and truth so that he makes it prevalent over all the religions.

Instead of investing the potentials futilely in efforts to neutralize the ideological bases of Islam , , under the influences of supremacy of western enlightenment , we should work on methods to present Islam as an alternate to the western enlightenment. The west has wickedly ruled the world for long now. It is evident from the history that no man made doctrine survives for long. People get fed up , the internal inconsistencies break the ideologies and the social changes negatively effect them. The real beauty of Islam is that it has survived for so long and has presented an ideology to the world. It has established itself and its ideological bases are firmly rooted. Why surrender it to the west? Why come up with the modals of reformed Islam (which is not Islam) to make it reconcilable with the western enlightenment? The only reason that i can see is the lack of faith.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Is human all and only matter?

One of the trends which have captivated the imagination of the new enlightened crowd is the slogan that Human is all matter.Coupled by  the influences of the age , this onliner slogan has been shaped into some kind of an argument for the invalidity of religion as it follows a predictable path. If human being is all and only matter then is nothing beyond that and we know that the matter of human body is an accumulation of hydrocarbons , which when buried decomposes. So a matter has decomposed into the soil and nothing more. So no life after death and so no God and lets join the Dawkins's party which after deeply "absorbing" this argument is chanting "Probably there is no God so lets enjoy".

I don't know how this "Probably" comes into such an apparently solid argument and how much disturbing it is for the faithfuls of Dawkins but the argument is a trivial argument like the rest of the cliches coined and regurgitated against religion . A superficial look into the argument reveals a certain fallacy in the proposition and the argument becomes a non-sequitur.  

For the preposition that "Human being is all and only matter" , it must be true that I am my body. For the sake of easiness , lets say that I am A and my body is B. So according to the proposition , A is B. If A is B or equal to B then all that we say about A shall be true for B as well and all that we say about B shall be true for A as well. Like if you have two match similar match boxes infront of you who match in every aspect then whatever you say about the first match box shall be true for the second match box as well.

There is a famous novel by Franz Kafka titled as "Metamorphosis". In the novel , a fellow one day wakes up and finds himself in the body of a beetle , waving his legs here and there. He accepts the misery and starts his life in the body of a beetle. It is perfectly conceivable on the part of humans to believe that they shall exist even when  his material body will vanish. Humans during the whole coarse of history have been believing in a life hereafter of some kind. Even today , most of the people of the world can conceive of a life in here after of some kind. This conception of life in hereafter comes without the conception of the existence of our  physical bodies in hereafter.

So , i can imagine that i shall exist when my material body shall not exist.The vice versa is unthinkable. So there is atleast one proposition which is true for A and not true for B and the proposition is "A can possibly exist when B does not". As already said that for any two bodies to be identical , all the statements that are true for one should be true for the other as whatever shall be true for one body shall be true for the other body as they are the same thing.  We see that there is atleast one statement that is true for A (me) and untrue for B (my body) so A and B are not identical and so I am not my body only.  We can safely assume from this that Human being is not matter (ie body) only.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Nature of Reality II

 In this part i would like to analyze three atheistic claims which are relavent to the topic at hand.
1.There must be a proof for each and every thing: Usually an atheist would come up with his normal preaching tone and will shout out “You must have proof and evidence for your beliefs and if you cannot substantiate your faith with evidence then there is something irrational, irresponsible and immoral about you because you have accepted something without any evidence or proof.” Is it really the case? I honestly think no, it is not.

The concept that you must be having a proof or evidence for each and everything that is a part of your world view and if not so you should reject it,is known as evidentialism. Evidentialism has taken a grip over the popular imagination since the advent of scientific revolution in the nether regions of west. However if we observe the basic human instincts we will find out that at the core of human nature faith plays a more important and fundamental role than evidentialism. The fundamentals of our understanding rest on some evincible, solidly constructed and deeply implanted faith. Rest of the building of our understanding stands on the foundations which are generously enriched by faith. This concept is known as foundationalism or the concept of properly basic belief.

Have you ever thought what past is and where has the moment in which you started reading this line gone? Do you remember the days during which you became familiar with something known as past and you started believing in it involuntary and you don’t remember when did this conceptualization of past came into your understanding? Were you offered a compelling proof or evidence for past before you started accepting that there is something known as past? I don’t think so.
 Our conceptualization of past is so fundamental and foundational that it is utterly impossible to think of ourselves without a hold the concept of past. So is there any empirical or scientific evidence that there is a past? None whatsoever. To such whimsical peaks of sheer irrationality and insanity can skepticism about past lead to that the ever skeptic Bertrand Russell with his wrinkled face and big jaw once remarked “It is possible that the whole world, together with all its wrinkled faces, apparent memories, rusted cars, crumbling mountains popped into existence just ten seconds ago.” There is one thing more mysterious and sublime about the past that is: as there is no evidence or proof for the past so can you ever stop believing in past? Hell no. This belief is involuntary, deeply constructed within my understanding, I can’t stop believing in past – it is basically proper foundational belief. Welcome to the faith.

The world of sensibilities apparently seems to be a generic and simple world where our empirical senses do their service quiet consistently and honestly. There are flowers in the garden which can be seen and smelled. The birds chirping on the trees can be heard. I can touch the trees to feel their solid barks while I can enjoy a chonsa mango while doing all these. Lucky me, to such a perfection I can grasp the universe. Thanks to my empirical senses. But there is a troubling thought deep down which is acting like a nasty showstopper.

The flower that I see is just a reflection of light rays activating the rods and cones in the retina of my eye which then activates an electrochemical wave which travels through the optic nerve to the optic center in my brain. So the flower is right here in my brain just as a figment of my imagination. So is there a flower outside me in the outer world or it is inside my brain? Wait wait, I can touch it to know that it is outside me but the sense of touch breaks down to the same electrochemical wave reaching to another center in my brain. Alas! I’ve been deluding myself all my life. The whole world is inside me and there is no proof for the existence of anything outside my brain. All my life I have been believing that the outer world is real without any proof.

There have been some crazy people known as solipsists who used to belief that the outer world is not real. It is all inside and it is all just a figment of imagination. The main argument of a solipsist is the one given above that there is no scientific proof for the existence of anything in the outer world instead science says something otherwise which is that the empirical senses break down electrochemical waves for getting certain centers in the brain so its all inside me.
So if everything is proof based and there is no proof for the existence of anything in the outer world why are not we all solipsists?

Why do we keep on believing that the outer world is real? Faith is at service again and it is my faith like the rest of my fellow human beings that there is a universe outside me and it is real. Can one ever stop believing that outer world is just a figment of imagination, a bombardment of electrons in brain and a delusion? Give it your best try, it is impossible because our belief in the realness of the out world is foundational, it needs no proof, it is properly basic. Thanks to the faith, it has saved us from a headache.

Same is true for the belief in God. It is a properly basic foundational belief and even if a person does not have a proof for the existence of God, he is perfectly rational in his belief just like his belief in past or the realness of the outer world. This belief is so fundamental to human beings that no race or civilization through the course of history has lived without God. There are things otherwise which are not foundational to human understanding and they must be substantiated with a proof. For example if a person claims that Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan or Rajistan is the largest state of India etc then he must be having a proof or evidence for it as these two claims are not fundamental and can be easily distinguished from the properly basic foundational beliefs.

To be continued inshallah..

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Nature of Reality

The Nature of Reality
Have you ever pondered on the question that what is reality? Is there any ultimate reality? And if there is an ultimate reality then what is the nature of that reality? Will we ever be able to explore the ultimate reality? These questions might seem to be perplexing but they do generate a colourful world of introspection and deep thought.

 Of course we do share some reality otherwise I wouldn’t have been writing this and you wouldn’t have been reading it. The way we all make sense of each other originates a sublime and lucid within us humans that we have some reality in common and if we didn’t share a reality we would never have been able to make sense of each other.

Ever since the beginning of the age of “enlightment” governed by the scientific realism of Galileo and his descendants, a reductionist world view that “the world of matter is the only reality and there is nothing beyond that and the world of matter is all that matters” has succeeded in achieving a grip over the popular imagination. The whole of this rumble has inducted new colours on the incredulity-laden horizons of the human thought in the earlier part of the 21st century. Matter has succeeded in becoming god for many and for others it is something like god.

The matter after becoming god has further in some mysterious way succeeded into launching its prophets. T.V evangelists prophets of matter like Richard Dawkins and his like can be seen preaching for their god un-exhaustingly. Their bishops can be seen trolling around on internet here and there. Their tone of preaching is always the same; their insecurities however may be different from each other. Sitting on the pulpit of atheism they deliver their sermons within an un-parallel pseudo confidence and anger but deep down their sentences are as hollow as a group of wet sponges on a wire. And their insecurities are more obvious than that of the person who is stupidly but intentionally cutting the very branch on which he has invested his gluteus maximus.
The reality in the material world is composed of the observer and the observed. The fan in your room is there because you are there to observe it. The tress around us are there because we are here to observe them. The whole set of sounds which illuminate the world are only there because there are ears to percieve them. The appealing colors of this universe which vividly fill our souls with enriching fantasies only exist because there are eyes to see them. The world of matter is there because we are here to observe it. Whenever, this pair of the observer and the observed is broken, the material reality shatters into pieces. Close your eyes and then there is nothing. There is no good reason to believe that the moon will exist even if there is no one to observe it. There is an ancient paradox which asks a deep and disturbing question “Does the tree which falls down in a remote jungle where there is no one out there with ears makes sound?” This exposes the trivial and fragile nature of the material reality, the god of Dawkins and his bishops.

The material reality around us serves to effect something which is not material. The juicy zinger burgers served in KFC just serve to satisfy our appetite and appetite is of course not material. I am sure that despite their erroneous tall claims and loud sermons, Dawkins and his bishops will never dare to put their fingers on appetite. Similarly, the colorful drinks in a café only serve to quench our thirsts and again thirst is something immaterial. I am sure that you can think of several other examples like this.

So is there any good reason to believe that the material Zinger burger served in Kfc is more important than my immaterial appetite? I don’t think so that there is any. So is there any reason to believe that the material world is more important than the reality which fills our bodies and translates the currents of empirical senses into experiences? I don’t think so that there is any. The preferences accurately decided makes one to conclude that “There is a deeper sublime immaterial reality inside me and the material world has just been brought into existence for the services of that immaterial reality. The immaterial reality transcends this material world and so is superior to it”.

Allah has addressed this issue in the 19th verse of Surah e Hashar.
وَلَا تَكُوْنُوْا كَالَّذِيْنَ نَسُوا اللّٰهَ فَاَنْسٰـىهُمْ اَنْفُسَهُمْ ط اُولٰىِٕكَ هُمُ الْفٰسِقُوْنَ
And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.

It is the arrogance of these guys which has converted into ignorance. The ignorance has actualized itself into some weird but alarmingly important kind of cognitive defect which has made them forget their own selves and what a shame this is! As they have deprived themselves of conceptualizing their own existence and have opted for a reductionist view, they are more like epistemic and ideological dwarfs who are shamelessly roaming around telling the rest of the people to reduce their heights.

That famous quotation Man Arafa Nafsahu Arafa Rabbahu He who knows himself, knows his creator is the converse of that verse. The priests of atheism who are futilely involved in the efforts to persuade people that God does not exist should spare sometime out of their busy preaching schedules to ponder on their own existence. The day they realize their own existence, they will realize the existence of God. In the superfluous rhetoric and incoherent polemics that “God does not exist”, all what they have done is that they have negated their own existence. It would be appropriate to say that Richard Dawkins does not exist or at least a half human without a soul.

The famous mathematician Kurt Godel once remarked “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind. “Matter” refers to one way of perceiving things, and elementary particles are a lower form of mind. Mind is separate from matter”.

The indian poet Wasim Barelvi has the right words for these Psuedo Atheists whose mouths have grown disproportionately to their heads and this ratio fallacy has caused an ironic dilemma.
ذرا سا قطرہ کہیں آج اگر ابھرتا ہے
سمندروں ہی کے لہجے میں بات کرتا ہے

کھلی چھتوں کے دیے کب کے بجھ گئے ہوتے
کوئی تو ہے جو ہواؤں کے پر کترتا ہے

In this age, even a person as worthless as a drop of water likes to speak in the tone of a Sea. The lamps of the houses deprived of walls would have been blown out by the wind but there is someone out there who keeps on trimming the feathers of the wind. Alhamdulilah wa subhanallahu ta’ala.

To be continued Inshallah...

(If a Sunniformer happens to read it , then kindly share it on SF)