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Why The West Craves Materialism & Why The East Sticks To Religion

Why The West Craves Materialism & Why The East Sticks To Religion

By Imran Khan
Pakistani Cricketer
"This is an article I found and wanted to share with everyone I could"
My generation grew up at a time when colonial hang up was at its peak. Our older generation had been slaves and had a huge inferiority complex of the British. The school I went to was similar to all elite schools in Pakistan.
Despite gaining independent, they were, and still are, producing replicas of public schoolboys rather than Pakistanis.

I read Shakespeare, which was fine, but no Allama Iqbal - the national poet of Pakistan. The class on Islamic studies was not taken seriously, and when I left school I was considered among the elite of the country because I could speak English and wore Western clothes.

Despite periodically shouting 'Pakistan Zindabad' in school functions, I considered my own culture backward and religion outdated. Among our group if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah.

Because of the power of the Western media, our heroes were Western movie stars or pop stars. When I went to Oxford already burdened with this hang up, things didn't get any easier. At Oxford, not just Islam, but all religions were considered anachronism.

Science had replaced religion and if something couldn't be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies. Philosophers like Darwin, who with his half-baked theory of evolution had supposedly disproved the creation of men and hence religion, were read and revered.

Moreover, European history reflected its awful experience with religion. The horrors committed by the Christian clergy during the Inquisition era had left a powerful impact on the Western mind.

To understand why the West is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see the torture apparatus used during the Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy had convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive.

However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practiced by most of its preachers. In short, there was a huge difference between what they practiced and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an overemphasis on rituals.

I feel that humans are different to animals. While, the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Qur'an constantly appeals to reason. The worst, of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups.

Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence my mother wielded on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.

However, my Islam was selective. I accepted only parts of the religion that suited me. Prayers were restricted to Eid days and occasionally on Fridays, when my father insisted on taking me to the mosque with him.

All in all I was smoothly moving to becoming a Pukka Brown Sahib. After all I had the right credentials in terms of school, university and, above all, acceptability in the English aristocracy, something that our brown sahibs would give their lives for. So what led me to do a 'lota' on the Brown Sahib culture and instead become a 'desi'?

Well it did not just happen overnight.

Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited gradually went as I developed into a world-class athlete. Secondly, I was in the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both societies.

In Western societies, institutions were strong while they were collapsing in our country. However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life. I began to realize that this was the Western society's biggest loss. In trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives.

While science, no matter how much it progresses, can answer a lot of questions - two questions it will never be able to answer: One, what is the purpose of our existence and two, what happens to us when we die?

It is this vacuum that I felt created the materialistic and the hedonistic culture. If this is the only life then one must make hay while the sun shines - and in order to do so one needs money. Such a culture is bound to cause psychological problems in a human being, as there was going to be an imbalance between the body and the soul.

Consequently, in the US, which has shown the greatest materialistic progress while giving its citizens numerous rights, almost 60 percent of the population consult psychiatrists. Yet, amazingly in modern psychology, there is no study of the human soul. Sweden and Switzerland, who provide the most welfare to their citizens, also have the highest suicide rates. Hence, man is not necessarily content with material well being and needs something more.

Since all morality has it roots in religion, once religion was removed, immorality has progressively grown since the 70s. Its direct impact has been on family life. In the UK, the divorce rate is 60 percent, while it is estimated that there are over 35 percent single mothers. The crime rate is rising in almost all Western societies, but the most disturbing fact is the alarming increase in racism. While science always tries to prove the inequality of man (recent survey showing the American Black to be genetically less intelligent than whites) it is only religion that preaches the equality of man.

Between 1991 and 1997, it was estimated that total immigration into Europe was around 520,000, and there were racially motivated attacks all over, especially in Britain, France and Germany. In Pakistan during the Afghan war, we had over four million refugees, and despite the people being so much poorer, there was no racial tension.

There was a sequence of events in the 80s that moved me toward God as the Qur'an says: 'There are signs for people of understanding. ' One of them was cricket. As I was a student of the game, the more I understood the game, the more I began to realize that what I considered to be chance was, in fact, the will of Allah. A pattern which became clearer with time. But it was not until Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' that my understanding of Islam began to develop.

People like me who were living in the Western world bore the brunt of anti-Islam prejudice that followed the Muslim reaction to the book. We were left with two choices: fight or flight. Since I felt strongly that the attacks on Islam were unfair, I decided to fight. It was then I realized that I was not equipped to do so as my knowledge of Islam was inadequate. Hence I started my research and for me a period of my greatest enlightenment. I read scholars like Ali Shariati, Muhammad Asad, Iqbal, Gai Eaton, plus of course, a study of Qur'an.

I will try to explain as concisely as is possible, what 'discovering the truth' meant for me. When the believers are addressed in the Qur'an, it always says, 'Those who believe and do good deeds.' In other words, a Muslim has dual function, one toward God and the other toward fellow human beings.

The greatest impact of believing in God for me, meant that I lost all fear of human beings. The Qur'an liberates man from man when it says that life and death and respect and humiliation are God's jurisdiction, so we do not have to bow before other human beings.

Moreover, since this is a transitory world where we prepare for the eternal one, I broke out of the self-imposed prisons, such as growing old (such a curse in the Western world, as a result of which, plastic surgeons are having a field day), materialism, ego, what people say and so on. It is important to note that one does not eliminate earthly desires. But instead of being controlled by them, one controls them.

By following the second part of believing in Islam, I have become a better human being. Rather than being self-centered and living for the self, I feel that because the Almighty gave so much to me, in turn I must use that blessing to help the less privileged. This I did by following the fundamentals of Islam rather than becoming a Kalashnikov- wielding fanatic.

I have become a tolerant and a giving human being who feels compassion for the underprivileged. Instead of attributing success to myself, I know it is because of God's will, hence I learned humility instead of arrogance.

Also, instead of the snobbish Brown Sahib attitude toward our masses, I believe in egalitarianism and strongly feel against the injustice done to the weak in our society. According to the Qur'an, 'Oppression is worse than killing.' In fact only now do I understand the true meaning of Islam, if you submit to the will of Allah, you have inner peace.

Through my faith, I have discovered strength within me that I never knew existed and that has released my potential in life. I feel that in Pakistan we have selective Islam. Just believing in God and going through the rituals is not enough. One also has to be a good human being. I feel there are certain Western countries with far more Islamic traits than us in Pakistan, especially in the way they protect the rights of their citizens, or for that matter their justice system. In fact some of the finest individuals I know live there.

What I dislike about them is their double standards in the way they protect the rights of their citizens but consider citizens of other countries as being somehow inferior to them as human being, e.g. dumping toxic waste in the Third World, advertising cigarettes that are not allowed in the West and selling drugs that are banned in the West.

One of the problems facing Pakistan is the polarization of two reactionary groups. On the one side is the Westernized group that looks upon Islam through Western eyes and has inadequate knowledge about the subject. It reacts strongly to anyone trying to impose Islam in society and wants only a selective part of the religion. On the other extreme is the group that reacts to this Westernized elite and in trying to become a defender of the faith, takes up such intolerant and self-righteous attitudes that are repugnant to the spirit of Islam.

What needs to be done is to somehow start a dialogue between the two extreme. In order for this to happen, the group on whom the greatest proportion of our educational resources are spent in this country must study Islam properly.

Whether they become practicing Muslims or believe in God is entirely a personal choice. As the Qur'an tells us there is 'no compulsion in religion.' However, they must arm themselves with knowledge as a weapon to fight extremism. Just by turning up their noses at extremism the problem is not going to be solved.

The Qur'an calls Muslims 'the middle nation', not of extremes. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was told to simply give the message and not worry whether people converted or not, therefore, there is no question in Islam of forcing your opinions on anyone else.

Moreover, we are told to respect other religions, their places of worship and their prophets. It should be noted that no Muslim missionaries or armies ever went to Malaysia or Indonesia. The people converted to Islam due to the high principles and impeccable character of the Muslim traders. At the moment, the worst advertisements for Islam are the countries with their selective Islam, especially where religion is used to deprive people of their rights. In fact, a society that obeys fundamentals of Islam has to be a liberal one.

If Pakistan's Westernized class starts to study Islam, not only will it be able to help society fight sectarianism and extremism, but it will also make them realize what a progressive religion Islam is. They will also be able to help the Western world by articulating Islamic concepts. Recently, Prince Charles accepted that the Western world can learn from Islam. But how can this happen if the group that is in the best position to project Islam gets its attitudes from the West and considers Islam backward? Islam is a universal religion and that is why our Prophet (peace be upon him) was called a Mercy for all mankind.
(Internews) This article appeared on < arabnews > , a leading English daily in Saudi Arabia

Add Social Bookmark Buttons after every post in Blogger

Add Social Bookmark Buttons after every post in Blogger

For all those of you bloggers trying to get the best you can out of your blogs, there is one very crucial element you might be missing out for better targeted traffic and that would be social book marks ....these are usually in the form of buttons appearing at the bottom of the page so that viewers who get to see your blog directly or else wise have a better chance of returning if they bookmark it.

Adding social book marking buttons/icons, gives you the opportunity to add your articles on several sites. These bookmarking sites have numerous daily visitors, and there is a high chance that your article catches their eye.

These codes are for the new blogger and in perfect working condition & think that I definitely should share it with others, because I really understand the pain for getting proper working SEO tools being an optimizer myself.....

So without further adieu, I bring to you the method for adding Social Bookmarks just like the ones right at the end of my post........Bookmarks code by Raman Shingade

Youtube - Biker stunts videos lead to jail

Youtube - Biker stunts videos lead to jail

There are definitely times when you might think no ones watching, if thats your perception think again junior! There are always watchful eyes on the road maybe Youtube might just help you net such bloopers of your own !

For instance check out this guy Sandor Ferenci, 28 yrs of age, filmed by a friend on his motorcycle stunts around Banbury, Oxfordshire, June 2008, performing tricks, wheelies, and skids, zooming at racing speeds at estimated up to 130 mph (210km/hr) also includes going down the wrong side of the road.

Just when he thought no-ones watching him, he was wrong. He was approached by the UK police just when a local motorist saw him speeding and noted his registration number. Upon being interrogated he showed signs of his admittance to his doings & uploading his videos on Youtube. Upon watching the videos in court judges termed his act as "lunatic and grossly irresponsible."
This Monday Ferenci admitted his act as dangerous and against law, and has thus been entitled to serve 12 weeks term in jail. Plus, his driving license will be revoked for two years, and extended drivers' test would be held before he can get back on the road.

For all those daredevils cruising on the streets. Trying to show off their guts either in day or night time beware for officers watching youtube videos are prone to catch you !

Link to his video:

Refurbished computers - are they worth the risk ?

Refurbished computers - are they worth the risk ?

Surfing across the internet I have somehow come across many people who wouldn't really think of or even imagine themselves using computers that are used, second-hand or refurbished as you may call it. They often have doubts in their minds regarding as to "why the computer was returned in the first place ? "

To some extent I would agree on the fact that when you buy a refurbished pc, I too would simply have some repercussions because there is no certain proof as to if your purchases are going to be as delighting as you saw in the pictures, or might be holding some kind of problem already. There is no such possibility for you to be sure of such a fact. This is the exact reason why some people fail to get what they desire. They never tend to look for proper, reliable sources for buying but simply because "e-bay" or "" had provided them with people selling products for cheap appealed to them they would opt for it. Conclusion "you blow your whistle". You get dissatisfied with a piece of junk rolled up in frills for which you had given $200-300 bucks through paypal.

Now tell me is that your fault or the person selling it. Unless the seller possesses a physical "brick-and-mortar" abode as people would say, or for individuals that you recognize it is very stupid indeed to spill money on them. Otherwise they could simply fade away into cyberspace, leaving you with a smaller bank account and another headache.

Refurbished computers as the name states does not necessarily refer to other people's junk. Many a times I have found that friends & colleagues who are passionate about computing or just want a more faster/ trendier computer simply try to get rid of their older models. Their computers are many a time in mint condition, and not obsolete, these would be ideals to buy if you know someone like that. In cases where online stores and other marketplaces where people sell used stuff are often affiliated with multinationals or other contracted agenices who repostion their firms by doing away with old pcs for new ones. Such computers are often termed as off-leased rather than used.

Why I posted this topic was that this is a matter of great concern for everyone these days. People around the internet seem to be very hesitant when it comes to making decisions such as purchasing a computer for their own home. These stressful decisions just tend to add on when they start worrying about the performance.

Few Tips for Making Smart Purchases:
  1. Always opt for vendors or sellers that give a minimum of 30-day warranty
  2. See to it that you deliver your desired specifications to the seller
  3. Give preference to those products that give you more details about the product such as size, color weight condition etc.
  4. Opt for a known and reputable brand
  5. Check all devices installed such as graphics, sound cards for consistency
  6. See all applications boot quickly and correctly
  7. Seek for after sales services such as troubleshooting etc
Keep these tips in mind while making purchases and you'll definitely stand to see that a refurbished deal was worth saving lots of money after all !!