By Wishal Raheel
April 2, 2015
God has to play a very complicated role in most societies, but it seems as if we Pakistanis have put God in a position no other society has managed to. As much as we all love God (we most certainly have no tolerance for atheism) it seems as if God’s always the bad guy. Every single day, we blame God for mistakes that we make while at the same time we take credit for things that apparently God did. An individual gets a promotion and he is showered with love and praise. The same person gets fired and ‘God’s will’ is suddenly the main reason behind his failure.
An instructor of mine once banned the word ‘Inshallah’ from being used in class. According to him, God shouldn’t be troubled with the tiniest of things. God too, needs to relax and not have to worry about what scores a bunch of students get on their psychology exams. While this ban was met with resistance, it made so much sense. Inshallah is our excuse to procrastinating. It has become our way of justifying delays or failures in advance. Inshallah, I will graduate on time. By God’s will I will graduate on time. If I fail to do so, it most certainly will be God’s will that will prevent me from doing so. I’ll choose to ignore the fact all the late night parties that I went to and the early morning classes I missed. Nothing’s greater than God’s will.
While many intellectuals have been arguing for a long time that matters of the state need to be kept separate from religion, it seems as if this needs to be applied to matters of everyday life as well. We keep failing and putting the blame on God. Instead of rectifying our mistakes, we continue hoping for God’s will to change. In the process of relying on ‘Inshallah’, why have we forgotten the fact that God helps those who help themselves?
If a doctor loses a patient, it is very easy to convince a Pakistani that God’s will was that the patient didn’t survive. If a lawyer loses a case, he can very easily justify his inability to do his job right by bringing God’s will into the picture. Of course, once God’s will comes into the whole equation, no further debate is tolerated.
We live in a country where a psychiatrist tells a patient with depression to pray to God. Very conveniently, the psychiatrist forgets that a woman is depressed the most while she is menstruating; a time when God’s doors aren’t open for her. Very conveniently, he forgets that a patient with depression needs to talk to someone who talks back and that talking to God will only push her into further depression since nobody will be talking back to her. An hour and a few thousand rupees later, the patient goes back home, feeling worse about the fact that she doesn’t find the peace in talking to God that she’s supposed to.
While one’s belief in a divine entity can act as a person’s support system, it can push an individual down a dangerous path. There is a very fine line between relying on God for support and strength to do things and relying on God to get things done. This line is often crossed by numerous individuals daily. God’s will is important to many, yet it’s high time people understood the fact that no God would will a person to succeed without putting in hard work. You think an interview went great but you never got called for the job because God didn’t want you to get the job? Well, the job went to another person who had stronger contacts than you did at that particular firm. You think you lost that loved one because God wanted them to die? Well, they passed away because the doctors failed to notice the multiple minor heart attacks that the person got during their stay at the hospital. You think you failed that test because God didn’t want you to? Well, you failed because you didn’t study hard enough for it. Let’s spend a day taking blame for our mistakes. Let’s let God be the good guy for a day. I think that’s what God’s will for one day would be.
Wishal Raheel is a finance student who enjoys travelling and spends a lot of her time writing about social issues.