By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
09 February, 2014
A chilling story was quoted in one of the articles on this website recently:-
“…a newborn infant was found abandoned outside a mosque in Karachi; the cleric issued a fatwa condemning it as an illegitimate child not worthy of living in chaste Muslim society. It resulted in a mob pelting stones at the baby and killing it”.
Apart from the horror of killing a child as in this story, the fact remains that a newborn child was assumed to be “born out of wedlock” and was therefore considered as an illegitimate – Harami- and unchaste child!
Illegitimacy of a child born out of wedlock and therefore it being unchaste is a syndrome ingrained in most societies of the world, not necessarily on religious grounds only but also on social and cultural grounds.
It is therefore not beyond the realm of possibility that the child may have been sired illegitimately by the Cleric himself or by one of his close family and flock, so a cruel religious rouge was adopted, in order to “bury and cover up” the evidence once and for all and thus avoid the social stigma, no different to so called “honour killing”.
They are the ones who are “Harami” – illegitimate.
When this is put in the box of religious ignorance and bigotry, particularly by a holy man, the belief further induces others to commit indescribable savagery and brutality as an act of holiness and piety.
The above story when compare to the TV documentary--“The Baby Box” http://www.cbn.com/tv/2183242506001, of South Korea, aired last year, the comparison stands out in stark contrast to the two clerics of different religions; one a Muslim mullah from Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the other a Christian pastor from secular Korea.
The story showed, the Pastor had installed a comfortable fully wired deposit-box at his house in which unwanted babies may be deposited, which he would then care for with love and affection, even if the infant is an invalid child, and mostly they are! It is assumed his Church helps him too.
In all fairness, it must not be assumed as if the two opposite facets are cast in concrete for those two individuals, religions or nations. That is to say, brutality of one and generosity of the other. These are universal aberrations and virtues, both present in every nation on earth.
However, beside the pros and cons of the actions in the stories, it is asked whether a child can ever by itself be born as an illegitimate child; religiously, morally, ethically and legally?
Supplementary question then is asked as to what part if any does a child play in the process of being born?
Most ignorant, primitive and pagan Shamans and their followers out of the darkest jungle and most arid desert anywhere in the world, must reply to both as-“none at all”.
Suffice it to say that it is a common knowledge today that a child, human or not is born from the union of a male and a female of its species. A natural result, that occurs of that sexual union under the universal laws of Nature. It is the “parents” who are illegitimate and totally responsible for bringing the child in the world in accordance with nature’s universal laws, but against the norms of society.
The awareness of religious dogma, morality, ethics and legality, even in the most primitive cultures and societies apply only to grownups and to their actions that impinge on the community as a whole.
It is human action that impinges on the norms of the society and community they live in. If procreating a life out of wedlock is against the norms of the community and society, which generally it is, then it must take action against the guilty party and compensate fully the victim or victims, in the case of rape by a male. The mother and the innocent child must be compensated with a heightened sense of responsibility and compassion.
In a civilised society the State takes full responsibility upon itself on behalf of the society to address the wrong done and take appropriate action to punish the guilty and to ensure that the life of the victim or victims wronged, are brought to normality and human dignity.
In the stories given above, it is not the responsibility, particularly in today’s age, for any other institution, religious, terrorists or others, to take the law in its own hands. In both the cases above, it is a failing of the States and a black mark on it that a mullah in one and a pastor in the other, had to take action on behalf their societies.
However it cannot be denied that the pastor is demonstrating the highest level of noble behaviour in nurturing and caring the innocent newborns, is perhaps compensating for the shortcomings that may exist in his State.
The mullah on the other hand has exhibited the basest level of human behaviour, in torturing and killing, and his State is guilty to have let an innocent child’s life be lost.
Killing an innocent child cannot be defended in comparison to animal behaviour even. They have no natural gift of higher intelligence given to them and therefore they act mainly on instinct.
Strange as it may seem there are examples of motherly instinct taking over in the wild, where a lioness suckles a crying infant dear- a fawn- and nurtures it.
There is no argument that one religion or one society as such, is better than the other. There probably are baby boxes in Pakistan and mullah mentalities in Korea too.
The examples of the two clerics are purely and simply reflections of levels of human behaviour influenced by the environment, education, norms culture, religious teaching and enlightenment of each individual.
All churches have had, and have good as well bad marks upon their foreheads! Catholic Church today is an example. There is just no case for any religious pot to call any religious kettle black.
This applies to societies too.
It is only a comparison of degrees in the ignorance, bigotry, education, enlightenment and of basic acceptable human values that separates one society from the other.
Today the Muslim nation as a whole has been the flavour of decades in deserving world’s attention to it for better or worse.
It is a complex question to answer as to why it is so. Many have tried on daily basis. But the stories from Pakistan and that from Korea do put emphasis to the images of the two religious communities.
And the heightened negative image of Muslim church and community at large has helped other religions and communities off the hook. Examples are many and from all parts of the world.
However Muslim nation must not wallow in the mud pool along with the others and use it as an excuse to act despicably, either in the name of politics, culture or religion, particularly the later; for Islam, to which they profess to adhere to, is not a religion. For one it has no clergy and secondly it forbids taking of innocent, non-combatant life in any circumstances and of any kind, adult or child.
Furthermore, it emphasises there that one innocent life saved is akin to saving a whole nation.
Therefore the mullah has put an extra bullet in the heart, or more correctly tied an extra ribbon in the coffin-shroud of his nation, whereas, the pastor has lit an extra lamp in the path to glorify his nation. What is more, he is not even a Muslim, or is he not?
One does not have to be a “certified” by church as a Muslim- a law abiding person, to act in goodly manner to his/her fellow human beings. Because, there is no church in Islam though there are many churches among Muslims.
Justice, morality and all the other goodly actions—amillus-salihaat—for the good of the humanity as a whole, are universal virtues and values to be adopted by the law abiding humans.
No child is born in nature as an illegitimate child. They are all worthy of dignity in the schemes of the Universal Creator, without exception. One does not have to be a priest to know that.
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer