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On Being a Woman in Pakistan

Qayyum (Pakistan)

Thank you for your concern about my rational thinking and the dangers surrounding me in this country. I am ready to face things, though I am very cautious about expressing my thoughts before others.

I was born into a conservative Muslim family. My mother was and still is very religious but my father was not that orthodox. He was not highly educated but he was very logical and rational in his thoughts and actions. When I was very small, I remember my father arguing with people on very sensitive religious issues and outwitting them through rational arguments. My father, a very simple, humble man of low profile, taught me to use reasoning and logic in my perception. In my childhood, I was never forced to go to mosque or recite the Koran, as is normally done in mediocre families in Pakistan. I studied in a Western type of convent school, where religion was not given much importance at that time (late 1950s). With this background I could have grown up an average materialistic, nonorthodox, Koranic Muslim. But I don't know how I had a knack for seeking the reality about the creator and creation. When I was in college, someone introduced me to Tulul-i Islam, an Islamic movement run by Ghulam Ahmad Parvez. I became a staunch supporter and fan of Parvez for his novel concepts derived from the Koran. As a student and disciple I lived with him in his house for about eight years. He was a man of very strong and dominant personality, although his personal life was not of a very high moral character. But as a true follower I always tried to justify his follies and lapses in character. There were numerous instances where he himself did not follow what he taught as Islamic teachings. I was so influenced by his charismatic personality that at one occasion I even went to jail for spreading his concept of Islam. Parvez was a bitter opponent of Mawdudi; so was I. But to satisfy my thirst for Islam or to verify what all Parvez said about Mawdudi, I once went to listen to the lecture of Mawdudi. He was a very efficacious speaker, who could attract the audience. I made it my routine to go to the mosque, where Mawdudi used to give lectures three times a week after Fujar prayers. When Parvez came to know this he threw me out of his house.

This was when I rationally analyzed the Islamic concepts given by Parvez. I was away from his magnetic influence and my mind was out of his overshadowing personality. I found out that what Parvez had preached throughout his life is contained in a very small portion of the Koran. A major part of the book teaches apartheid, damning of the non-Muslims, condemning of women.

This was the time when I approached some other Muslim scholars, like Dr. Israr, Maulana Amin Islahi, Dr. Wadood, Allama Tahir Qadri, and so on. But every time I came out to be a more steadfast atheist. It was like being "lost in the wilderness." My greatest companion and supporter in all my shortcomings, "Allah" was taken away from me. Then I came across the web site of Dr. Sina. It showed me a new path and new concept of god, the all-loving god, real creator of the universe, much more compassionate and caring than the religious god and above all the dirty, passionate Allah of the Muslims. This is in short my divine journey, which took almost thirty years. I will write more later. I love all living beings of this planet.

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