SMS Dawaa: The Last Hurrah Of Religiosity

I came across this hilarious piece by the great Nadeem Farooq Paracha called the Holy SMS and thought I’d share it with all of you.   The truth is that this SMS trend is indicative of a growing insecurity vis a vis religion.  As society is confronted with modernity and becomes increasingly integrated in the information age,   it creates guilt pangs in people who are otherwise going about their business of living life just like anyone else in the world.   This ladies and gentlemen is the last hurrah of religiosity. -YLH

Pakistanis love emailing and text messaging quotes from hadiths and assorted religious paraphernalia. I usually ignore such messages because in my mind I imagine a holy punter who is convinced that each email or SMS of his is getting him that much closer to booking a cosy place in heaven. The truth is that this (albeit irritating) activity is actually better than a holy bum blowing himself up in public to find that same place in Paradise. However, last Monday, as I again received my share of emails and SMSes quoting hadith and citing all that sophomoric stuff about ‘scientific proofs in the Qu’ran,’ I decided to answer one particular SMS; one I was receiving for the umpteenth time. This is how it went: Munafiq ki Nishaanian (signs of the hypocrite) – Jhoot bolna (telling lies); Wa’da khilafi karna (breaking promises); Khiyanat karma (stealing); Gaali dayna (swearing). So I replied: Sir/Madman, thank you for your SMS. But I think you forgot one more sign of being a munafiq, i.e. khaali khuli kay SMS karna (sending aimless SMSes). Right away the sender SMSed his/her reply: SMS technology wasn’t invented when the hadith were compiled. So you can’t say SMSing is a sign of being a munafiq. He/she quite obviously missed out on my sarcasm. No matter, I thought. At once, I SMSed him/her my reply: Brother/Sister, in that case, I am sure SMSing is haraam. In future I think you should use a pigeon to send your wonderful messages, or better, bring good tidings on a camel. There was silence for about 10 minutes. Then my phone buzzed again. He/She replied: I am female, so you can call me sister. I sense that you are making fun of my SMS. Very unfortunate, indeed. What was it that you found offensive in my SMS? I wrote back: Sister. You can call me Nadeem. There was nothing offensive in it, as such. I just wondered what made you the one to tell everybody else what a munafiq is. Are you suggesting you are not one yourself? If not, then do share with me the signs and nishaanian of a person who thinks he or she is not a munafiq. My phone buzzed again. This was her reply: Bhai, I was just spreading a good saying. I am not an angel, but at least I am conscious of avoiding things that can make one a munafiq. I send the SMS to many people, and most of them were happy and thankful. “Did they have a choice?” I wrote back. “You don’t even know me. SMSing unrelated men. A very un-Islamic thing to do, no?” “Dear, brother,” she SMSed, “I can’t see you, and neither can you see me. You are calling me sister, and I am referring to you as brother.” “Sister,” I wrote, “You speak well … in parables. Should I read your SMS metaphorically or literally?” “Brother,” she relied, “my SMS was only about good, clear advice. Read it as it is.” “But why bring religion into it?” I wrote back. “Can’t an irreligious person be good as well; or can’t he or she too give good, clear advice?” The phone beeped again: “Brother, I can’t understand how a person can be irreligious.” “Sister,” I replied, “An irreligious person is as much a human being as a religious person. What’s the confusion?” “Are you irreligious?” She wrote back. “What do you think?” I replied. “I think you are,” she wrote. “I see. If you think I am irreligious, does SMSing me make you a munafiq?” I wrote back. “No,” she replied. “Maybe my SMS will make you rediscover God.” “Rediscover God through an SMS?” I replied. “How very tech-savvy of you, dear sister.” “So are you irreligious or not?” she asked. “What if I was?” I replied. Bang came another advice: “A man without God is like a fish without water!” “Dear sister,” I wrote back. “How expectantly presumptuous of you. Are you also suggesting that the Taliban who also claim to believe in God are better than an irreligious person who may be a lot less violent?” “They are not Muslims!” she replied. “Oh? And how is that?” I wrote. “They are non-Muslims being paid to bring disrepute to Islam,” she replied. “And how do you know that, dear sister?” “It’s obvious. No Muslim would kill another Muslim.” she wrote back. “But it’s okay if he kills a non-Muslim?” I replied. “Yes, if he is attacked by a non-Muslim.” “So,” I wrote, “this should mean that the Taliban who are killing Americans in Afghanistan are Muslim, but the Taliban who are killing Muslims in Pakistan are non-Muslims being paid by kafirs?” “Yes,” came the reply. “Dear sister,” I wrote back, “you just presented yourself to be a glaring example of a munafiq! Jazaak Allah. I now truly understand.” “You have no right to say that,” she replied. “You are not even a Muslim!” “Did I say that I wasn’t?” I wrote. “No, but it’s obvious.” “How come everything is so obvious to you?” I replied. “That’s because I am a fish with water,” she wrote, with a smiley face. “Oh, you got that wrong, sister.” I wrote. “You are a fresh water fish stuck in salt water!” “Well, in that case, sorry to bother you. Have to go. My credit is running out,” she replied. “Oh, boy,” I wrote. “How can a good, honest, non-munafiq spreader of Islam not have what all good, honest, non-munafiq spreader of Islam should have?” “And what is that?” She replied.

“A post-paid connection.”

11 Comments

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11 responses to “SMS Dawaa: The Last Hurrah Of Religiosity

  1. Hades

    And the last hurray for paragraphs.

  2. Samar

    hats off to NFP…THANK GOD someone finally wrote about this thing I call SMS Islam. That is just so ridiculous, I could never understand how many people can justify sending hadiths or other quranic verses when on other hand they very “delightfully” share porn jokes….!
    This probably won’t relate to the article above, as the “Sister” was truly an “Islami Sister” and telling a “Namehram” nishaanian of a munafiq…

    I don’t know why people are going so fanatic to win a small place in haven, instead being a good human being first??? ACTIONS USUALLY SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS…louder than my capitalized sentence !

  3. Sadaf Hafeez

    I Send Islamic sms Its a nice way to spread achi baat provided reference is there.We humans are forgetful and needs reminders now and again.
    However ayat and hadiths without reference shouldn’t be send.Otherwise i don’t see any harm in it.
    Nadeem F Paracha is utterly sarcastic,makes me want to throw away the newspaper.His columns are least constructive.if he likes to criticise,he should offer suggestions to correct them too

  4. Sadia Hussain

    The whole sms frenzy trend indicates how religiously indoctrinated we are! Religious sermons are passed though the technology and on the pretext of threats of having a bad luck or burning in hell if they are forwarded. Very rarely one would get a text which preaches tolerance!

  5. May be Richard Dawkins should also SMS people “If you donot believe in God Pls forward it to 15 ppl and you will receive a copy of book God Is Not Great.”
    LOL

  6. Samar

    Since it all started from Mr. Paracha’s article. I think what he is pointing out is the fanaticism of some people who are ridiculously trying to preach through texting and email and stuff, and this is thesame within followers of different religions. It is not with Islam specifically. So a humble request to the people who are going to make comments here, please do not make fun of the religion, its the people who are using some stupid ways in the name of preaching.
    I know everyone has or should have the so called “freedom of expression”, but please use it wisely.

    (@ Mr./Ms. Ex-Muslim,although that was a good joke, but I was really disappointed that how on your website you guys are spreading hatred for a religion that millions of people follow. If you all believe in nothing that’s okay but at least there should be some respect! )

  7. Dear Samar

    Please read carefully,our website doesnot spread hatred against any religion.We are only asking for freedom to renounce religion.

    Kindly read our statement on Swiss ban on Minarets.We are against the bigots of every shade and colour,be that rightwing Islamists or far right European racists.

    We demand the repeal of Apostasy and Blasphemy laws in Muslim countries.Surely you will support our basic human right of freedom to renounce religion.

  8. Milind Kher

    If the true apostates were to be singled out, Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT, JeM, LeJ and SeS amongst many others would be the first who would need to be executed.

    The noose is tightening around these pseudo Muslims. A time will come when the very people they are dominating will rise up against them. They have failed to see the writing on the wall.

  9. why we all only discuss and let others to decide

  10. I guess i never really thought of it that way, good stuff. (im from netherlands)