Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Islam I Know

I have no idea about various versions of Islam being  propagated across the world. The repeated news debates over Islam has repeatedly failed to make sense to me. Their Urduish accents  are no better than Italian movies without subtitle.  One of the demerits of 32 inch HD LED TV is that
the frowning news anchor seems like your father threatening you to score a hundred out of hundred in Mathematics. They may jump out of screen and slap you red next time if you don't heed to them
Their debates have made Islam so complex that the complex differential equations involving omegas,iotas, sigmas, gammas and with respect other ammas seems more rudimentary to me.

I have also no idea of what others conceive about people who follow Islam and its practices.
Let me break a breaking news to you all.  The followers of Islam are from the very earth we all link our origin to. Well,  you don’t need an assurance from me after all . They are as simple as people of any other religion for whom religion is something what career choices are for students of middle class families : totally imposed upon them.

The college life is the time when our soft clay like character is mould and hardened for future. Having spent the crucial college life in one of the prestigious Islamic universities of India, Jamia Millia Islamia,  I sort of feel privileged and claim a right to discourse on Islam.

The college environment where friendship is the strongest religion and the professors are the real preachers, breeds thoughts which come a long way in shaping your thoughts for lifetime.  Most of my friends in college were followers of Islam. But never did we dwelled into altercations over each others religion. Forget altercation, we hardly cared what religion we followed. For us there were only three types of species on earth : Front benchers, middle benchers and back benchers. 

I came to know about two sects of Islam from them : the most beautiful girl in our class was a Shia and the second one was a sunni. Trust me no one cared about hell as long as they were present in class. I came to know that Ramadan is the more appropriate word than Ramazan, that a person who
is on travel and a child has no compulsion to keep a fast during the holy month, that the appeal of the evening Iftaar party was more alluring to them than the full day fast. My friends abstained from watching movies during Ramadan as long as it was not a Shahrukh mega. They too had fond memories of loving Ramayana or a Mahabharta on DD as much as others did. My friend Iqbal knew much more about Mahabharta than me. The Baal Ganesha put smiles on my friends younger brother as it did to any small kid. Five of my classmates proudly called themselves Paanch Paandav and shared everything from examination chits to cigarette puffs.Three of them followed Islam. 

My friends who follow Islam are liberal in approach and thoughts. For them religion is just a symbol as it is to us.
I have climbed the stairs of Kalkaji and visited Varanasi ghat with them.Together  we have unsuccesfully tried to sit in silence inside the Lotus Temple of Delhi just to smile mischievously before bursting out with laughter. We have been to Jama Masjid and Akshardam Temple all together. For us it was all fun and no religion. We hated politicians in equal measures and loved A.P.J Abdul  Kalam , we appreciated Shoaib Akhtars tantalizing looks but equally booed him when he bowled bouncers to Sachin.
My knowledge of Islam is complicated, yes, but only in names. It took me months to realize that the Mehreen Mushtaq Lanker are not three siblings but one and it took me years to spell them correctly. That Kamrul Hasan and Qamrul Hasan are two different people and not one separated just by L,M,N,O and P.
My Knowledge of Islam is simple and not that intricate  as many may have. The Islam I know thrives in the heart of my friends who treasure relationship as we all do. The Islam I know walks among the ordinary crowds of Batla House to Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, trying to earn a decent living and celebrating small nuances of life.

My knowledge of Islam is in the sweet Sheer Korma and Sewai I loved to devour at my friends house every Eid. It is in  Imran's youngest brother who was as desperate for eidis on Eid every year as he was for the crackers on Diwali. It breathes in the form of  my friend Iqbal, one of the best gifts from Jamia whom I trust as much as my brother. The Islam I know has those Paanch Pandavs who used to drown in the colours of Holi while keeping the world behind them. It lingers in the rich aroma of Naeem bhai's biryani of Jamia canteen which relieved the hunger pangs of students across all religion. The Islam I know sustains in my professors at Engineering college Azhar sir, Khalid Moin, Qamrul Hasan and several others who wanted all of us to excel in life as much as our parents did. They celebrated excellence and never religion. 
The Islam I know is quite simple and joyful. It is more than a name or a surname, more than anything wrong what people misconceive it to be. The Islam I know has love, friendship, passion, success, failure and all human emotions we go crazy for. And I am sure your knowledge of Islam is as good as mine.
(Dedicated to my Alma Mater and all friends. Forgive for putting in names without permission)

Thankyou for readin

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