Dr Seuss and the Mullah

Published: July 3, 2012

DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

At the mosque today, a man takes the pulpit.

He warns us quite gravely that we are all culprits;

Islam is the true religion, it would seem.

The others seem destined to fail, in his dream.

 

So we’re told to convert them: The Christians and the Jews.

The Pagans, the Buddhists, and the Brahmin Hindus.

I take great offense at his words and inflection.

Politely I stand, and I pose him a question.

 

“Don’t two rivers eventually reach the same sea?

Are any of them really that different from me?”

Calling me a “kafir”, he says I’m incorrect,

And my sacrilege’s earned me a ticket to heck.

 

On what grounds am I not a good Muslim? I snort.

Could it be that my beard is two inches too short?

Or perhaps my trousers are two inches too long?

Surely covering my ankles can’t be that wrong.

 

Was I three degrees west of Makkah when I prayed?

Was I corrupted by the video games I played?

Or when I ate with my left hand at lunch that one time?

If I’m to be condemned, at least tell me my crime.

 

Maybe it’s because I treat others as equals.

Not as non-believers but as regular people.

Maybe my priorities are different from yours.

Rather than head scarves and beard paint, I help the poor.

 

It might be the fact that I don’t speak for the crowd.

Or force my opinions onto others, out loud.

Is it that I don’t quote the Quran when I speak?

On what criteria have you made this critique?

 

What will get me to heaven? Please tell me good sir!

Why are you so unwilling to let us confer?

Why do you resist, when I ask for your help?

Could it be that you don’t know the answers yourself?

 

Could it be, that on some mountain height,

It won’t be blasphemous, if one said “Brahma’s might”?

Could it be that Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Jews,

All touched the same spirit through the God that they knew?

 

It really matters not, in what building you pray.

And if your beliefs aren’t set in stone, then that’s OK.

Take your time, teach yourself, then you’ll understand.

At the end of the day, we all share God’s own land.

Hamza.Hayauddin

Hamza Hayauddin

A poet, doodler, dreamer, rugger.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

More by this writer

  • omer

    i dont read poetry but this is brilliant stuff.. good job …Recommend

  • BlackJack

    This is the kind of stuff that many of us come to this section to read – and this one is exceptionally good. Apart from the quality content, the meter/ cadence also lends distinct possibilities to use this for rap/ hip-hop – possibly providing an even larger platform. Kudos and keep up the good work.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Great job. Probably the first piece in this poetry section that I truly enjoyed.Recommend

  • vaguereality

    BeautifulRecommend

  • Bam Margera

    green eggs and ham > Than your poem.Recommend

  • Hasan

    Brilliant work. I have been trying to write something similar. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britpak Mohammed Abbasi

    Mashallah! Love this brother!

    Salaams and duas from me and all at the Association of British Muslims :)

    Mohammed Abbasi
    (Deputy Grand Semi-Amir of AoBM or just the Co-Director or Mullah Control General Officer)Recommend

  • Faraz

    this is so great!Recommend

  • 3rdRockfromtheSun

    A tip of the hat to Mr.Hayauddin,
    May you be blessed with honey and puddin’Recommend

  • sars

    Very entertaining to those with a sense of humor and balance. Recommend

  • Belal

    SPOT ON!Recommend

  • mahrukh

    only if they knew the answers themselves!’
    great job!Recommend

  • Rizwan ali

    that is what i have been thinking for long. really sir auther you did a good jobRecommend

  • Mariam

    Funny.. But I feel sorry for u writer, u have been in the company of maybe illiterate conservatives rather than truly educated muslims, who have annoyed u by picking on small tiny things like the length of ur trousers or the length of ur beard. Really if anyone knows Islam, its nothing about focusing on tiny things like this, only wish u could see the bigger picture, talk to an educated mind, like a doctor or anyone whos done well and has a social life, and u’ll get to see the real Islam from a more broadened perspective. People like that dont go around imposing their their beliefs on u, u should know. Because they are wise. And they have better things to do.
    So tired of ET representing this religion by the few uneducated narrow minded people in the country. Where do u even encounter such people, I never have!Recommend

  • ConfusedCitizen

    @Mariam:
    “FEW” UNEDUCATED NARROW MINDED MUSLIMS?

    Honey where do you live? Ever been out of your gated community?

    I’ve seen doctors with phds spewing more vitriol than mullahs in mosques. And that’s just one example.

    So your assertion that the MAJORITY of Muslims are somehow socially integrated well into the world is pretty shallow, especially in this country.Recommend

  • Saira Ahmed

    You will find such people everywhere, it is even travelling outside – you will find the moral police pointing fingers at everyone while whatever wrong they do, they think they are right, calling themselves the saved and the chosen ones. Truly said “Don’t two rivers eventually reach the same sea?” We should keep aside the differences and embrace each other – that is the only way to peaceRecommend

  • Confused

    Great poem. Usually I dont venture in this section, but this is more than enough to prove me wrong.Recommend

  • Haani

    أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ ءَامَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَجَـهَدَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

    Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Al-Masjid Al-Haram as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah!

    لاَ يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللَّهِ

    They are not equal before Allah.

    وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الظَّـلِمِينَ

    And Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers.

    9:19

    “Don’t two rivers eventually reach the same sea?

    Are any of them really that different from me?”

    +

    “Maybe it’s because I treat others as equals.

    Not as non-believers but as regular people.

    Maybe my priorities are different from yours.

    Rather than head scarves and beard paint, I help the poor.”

    Yes, in Allah s.w.t.’s eyes believers and disbelievers are not the same. They are different!

    Educate yourself, first, and then talk about stuff.

    Oh n from where do you get the notion that people with head scarves and beards don’t help the poor?!Recommend

  • Critical

    @Mariam:
    May I know which doctor you’re talking about?? Hope its not Dr.Zakir Naik….

    I know I will face brickbats,but he’s not someone who thinks about interfaith harmony..He may have read Bible,Gita and Vedas but he has read them with so much prejudice and narrow vision that all he does is to prove Quran is right using phrases from other books or to malign other holy books.

    He openly supports Osama Bin Laden and once indirectly said that Islamic countries dont allow others to propagate their religion because they’re false(using 2+2=4 example)

    I know many praise him,but he is actually creating a rift between muslims and non-muslims by preaching bigotry,narcissism and superiority complex to muslims…
    He’s just a different version of Osama Bin ladenRecommend

  • aviratam

    The power of one!Excellent stuff.Recommend

  • Hindu Indian

    Bravo , Bravo , BravoRecommend

  • Farhan

    If we divide the whole brain’s which people have from the first man i.e. Hazarat Adam (a.s) to the last till the day of judgement Allah Subhan u Wataalah has given 99% of mental strength and knowledge of all the things to Hazarat Muhammad (saw). So for all of us muslim role model is Hazarat Muhammad (saw) personality. So if any mullah tell us anything about the life and apparent appearance of Hazarat Muhammad (saw) it’s upto us to investigate that it is true or not and if find true then we are no body to speak on that. Recommend

  • down with throracracy

    outstanding, kudos HAMZARecommend

  • Look Around

    @Mariam:
    When my father was in hospital (Shifa in Islamabad), the doctor kept bringing up how he (my father) should grow a beard. Almost as if that would cure him. Do not delude yourself, this culture of pointing fingers and focusing on the unimportant beards and “paincha’s” and hijaab and rituals and “dikhawa” of religion is our reality. And the really scary thing is even education doesn’t seem to help many people get out of their mullah-brain-washed states and see the greater picture.Recommend

  • Rational

    @Look Around:
    since education has enlightened you and the Mullah is still delusioned, do make sure that you offer the last prayers of your dear one’s (Janaza Nimaz) without involving the delusioned mullah.Recommend

  • knowledge.is.power

    @Haani:

    Word. Couldn’t have quoted better myself. JazakAllah.Recommend

  • Look Around

    @Rational:
    Do you think that the God you believe in will burn good people in hell for all of eternity because the rubber-stamp of a Namaz-e-Janaza was missing? Or because they wore whatever clothes they liked? Or because they said their prayers with their elbows in instead of out?

    Personally, I believe in a God that is rational, and not “rational” like you.Recommend

  • Haani

    @ Critical:

    “…but he’s not someone who thinks about interfaith harmony..He may have read Bible,Gita and Vedas but he has read them with so much prejudice and narrow vision that all he does is to prove Quran is right using phrases from other books or to malign other holy books.”

    The reason why ‘Comparative Religions’ is studied as a Muslim is to call non-Muslims to Islam so they can recognize the truth (Quran and Sunnah) and accept it and as a result, their Aakhirah could be saved. The purpose of ‘Comparative Religions’ in Islamic perspective is not interfaith harmony. Dr. Zakir Naik calls people to the truth i.e. Islam.

    Recommend

  • abhi

    Haani you are funnyRecommend

  • Zalim Singh

    Excellant piece sir.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Writer
    You are that class of people who are paid/trained to malign Islam and Muslim. Your poetry if it is so is nothing but to lash Muslims and Islam. However, such attempts can not change beliefs and teaching of Islam.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Memorizing select content of different holy books and deliveingr a staccato burst to impress the uninitiated does not constitute the noble subject of comparative religion. A true student of comparative religion should ideally end up with one conclusion – Ekam sat, vipraha bahudha vadanti (Truth is one, sages call it by various names). Yes, the quote is from the Rig Veda.Recommend

  • Mariam

    @ Critical
    Hmm how is Dr Naik creating differences? Isnt he just giving lectures on subjects like Islam and Science, and Comparative Religions?
    How is talking about Islam being compared with the concept of Osama bin laden? How can a hall full of people muslims and non muslims sitting together with “interfaith harmony” peacefully debating about religions with references to the Quran and hadith and other books be seen as “creating rifts and differences”?
    Dr Naik isnt FORCING anyone to listen, he doesnt have the people attending his lectures held up as bound hostages. They come from their own free will to listen.
    And I think if one’s convinced that his/her religion is the one true faith there is nothing wrong in spreading it peacefully. Dont hindu scholars preach their religion, dont nuns and clerics go from door to door handing out bible’s? Talking about religion is just talking, and its up to u if u want to listen, Dr Naik isnt shoving it down ur throat. Many times our teachers at universities give information and their own opinions on contraversial subjects, should we compare them to Osama too? Anyone who has a different OPINION from urs is a terrorist?
    The only person here who’s creating hate and fear and differences is u, by labelling friggin innocent people terrorists or comparing them to terrorists. Stop with the terrorist propaganda and Islamophobia. If the religion doesnt suit u thats fine, but stop with this hate spreading. All Dr Naik spreads is peace. He’s not training people to become zombie like killers in his lecture halls.. jeez!Recommend

  • Hi :)

    @Haani:
    “Yes, in Allah s.w.t.’s eyes believers and disbelievers are not the same. They are different!”
    And that is why I am a athiest…..Recommend

  • Parvez

    I have difficulty with poetry but this was amazing, simple, clear and so very true.
    Today (Wednesday) a known mentally unstable man was burnt alive by a mob in Bahawalpur in this Islamic Republic for desecrating the Holy Quran – we should hang our heads in shame and acknowledge our faults. Recommend

  • deedee

    Brilliant Excellent Well done!!! Just loved it!!!! Wish I could write like you!! :-)Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    great writeup.

    PS. may be its not mullah but the common people who give so much importance to a mullah. religion is a personal matter and mullah is no prophet. ignore them and they will go away. just like veena malik mullah wants attention.Recommend

  • Critical

    @Mariam:
    Hello madam,I’m a Hindu from south India…South India has more religious tolerance compared to North.My parents used to take me to mullah when I was sick to ward off spirits,also we used to go to St.Antony’s church on Tuesdays….I grew up in a religiously neutral home,though we are Hindus

    I initially used to watch Zakir Naik’s speeches in Peace TV and was very impressed with them…But he burst my bubble one day when a muslim in the audience asked why muslims are allowed to propagate islam in non muslim countries,not Islamic countries dont allow the reverse..He used 2+2 example and indirectly said other religions are propagate falsehood(You can search youtube for that)…
    Apparently,anyone who preaches interfaith harmony will never make such a statement,no matter what he thinks of the other religion…I’ve many muslim friends and none of them ever comment on each others religion…
    In another session,when asked about terrorism,he immediately said “every muslim must become a terrorist”,then later he mellowed it by saying they should strike fear in those who do sin…
    I can tell everyone that Col.Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya are terrorists,but why was Zakir Naik so adamant to quash the allegation that Osama was a terrorist??? He spent around 10 minutes talking about Western media influence and all just to say that Osama must not be called a terrorist..

    I believe in interfaith harmony and because of that I hate anyone who tries to disrupt it..I hate Bal Thackeray for exactly the same reason..Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Haani:
    Are you the one to decide who is or is not a believer? Sane people do not believe so.

    You may claim to be a believer and judge others as non-believer all you want. Scripture tells us that good deeds speak louder than the Holy verses recited as sound bites out of context. Kindly leave the final judgment to the Master of the day of judgment for your own salvation.

    Also register in your mind that you are no scholar. There is already an overload of fervent parrots like you sucking humanity out of the land of the pure. Seek counseling to control the need to judge others.

    And by the way, use of the Holy Scripture to create fissures among humanity and to spread hatred tantamount to blasphemy. You don’t understand a squat about its message of love for humanity. Please do not desecrate its message because you do not get it.Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Mariam wrote “Hmm how is Dr Naik creating differences? Isnt he just giving lectures on subjects like Islam and Science, and Comparative Religions?”

    Really ?? What does this Naik know about Islam? I have heard this sorry excuse for a man add words to the Kalima. Who does he think he is?

    The sad fact is that people gave handed over the responsibility of thinking for themselves to the fake scholars, jahils online, and semi-literate mullahs. No wonder Islam is in danger at the hand of “Muslims”.Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Rational wrote “.., do make sure that you offer the last prayers of your dear one’s (Janaza Nimaz) without involving the delusioned mullah.”

    Our sympathy is for the Rational’s dear one who has to depend on a delusional mullah for the funeral prayer.

    Rest assure there are plenty of well respected God fearing people fully capable of leading a funeral prayer. By God they are not the deranged mullahs running amok brain washing sane people into fervent parrots.Recommend

  • Saira Ahmed

    Who said @Critical wasn’t religious? This moral policing needs to end! Just because one does not advertise their practice of religion does not mean they have no faith. And Zakir Naik DOES create differences – You cannot call someone to Islam by dissing their faith. He has also been found to just speak without proper knowledge meaning just speaking on and on with wrong references. Look what happened earlier just due to all of this “Holier than thou” practice! A man allegedly accused of blasphemy, not confirmed was taken out of the police station by a mob and burnt alive on the street! The crowd watched on. This is what religion has come to? And whoever up there who said that God looks at believers and non believers differently – you are wrong my friend, God listens to the prayers of all, regardless of their faith. Just being a Muslim does not guarantee anyone paradise, it is the act, humility and selflessness that will gain one a higher status. We all need to REALLY start minding our own business when it comes to the matters of faith because we will Only be asked about Our deeds on the day of judgement – not anyone else’s! This is exactly what the poem says – Now if any of you feel it is untrue, then it is only a state of denial, nothing else!Recommend

  • Haani

    @Humanity: No, I do not decide who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. Allah s.w.t. decides and He hasn’t left this judgement off to be passed on the Last day. He has given us those definitions through out Quran. Maybe you can try reading it with translation and explanation. Education can be a treasure, you know!

    Just so you know, believer translates as Mumin (muslim) and disbeliever as Kafir. Should I be naive and go around calling Christians, Jews, Polytheists as Muslims? I’m not too optimistic about them liking being called Muslims!

    And just to clear it up, I was not the one passing judgement. Oh wait, maybe, it’s you! I was simply objecting to a CONCEPT portrayed behind part of the poem. And I backed it up with reference from Quran. Maybe you can back your arguments, as well, next time. No?

    If you think I quoted the ayah out of context then maybe you can prove it? Come back with facts and reference and then maybe we can talk. Till then, Salam.Recommend

  • Waqas

    Just to let you know the Meaning of Mullah – ‘Allah wala’ (A great follower)…. So be careful before using such words. Recommend

  • http://tribune.com.pk p r sharma

    @Haani:

    persons like you have made The Great Allah personal property of Muslims only and His mercy is reserved for Muslims only. What a great respect you are showing to the mreciful Almighty.???Recommend

  • Haani

    @ p r sharma: I was only quoting from Quran which is the word of Allah Almighty Himself. You disagree with Him, take it up with Him :)

    But please, do point out where I talked about mercy of Allah reserved for only Muslims! just curious.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Good stuff, must be said.. Recommend

  • Abdur Rahmaan

    @Mariam:

    Well Said! May Allah Reward You!Recommend

  • Abdur Rahmaan

    @Humanity:

    Haani didnt decide whos a believer, Allah the creator of the heavens and the earth and the creator of the human beings has given us the criteria in the Qur’an to ascertain who is a believer and who is not.Recommend

  • Abdur Rahmaan

    Your argument is self defeating, its like, if you dont agree to the fact that people who dont serve, disbelieve in and disrespect the very God who created them and the people who do so are different in the sight of God. then there is no God….I think most atheists who stick so much to logic and proof, are themselves blinded by their illogical assumptions.Recommend

  • Humanity

    So ET mods you chose to not post my response to Haani after all or is still pending approval of the gate keepers?Recommend

  • Curlyhammed, Moe’s Brother

    Islam thrives among the poor and uneducated. “Muslim Scholar” is an oxymoron.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Curlyhammed, Moe’s Brother
    It is part of Islam’s teaching to support weak and poor. It is a religion of humanity.Recommend

  • infidel

    As a proud American Infidel, I loved that poem. Great writting. Stop trying to force religous beliefs on others.

    We all have the right to worship ANY god or NO god however we want without you or the government telling us how. Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Abdur Rahmaan wrote “Haani didnt decide whos a believer, Allah the creator of the heavens and the earth and the creator of the human beings has given us the criteria in the Qur’an to ascertain who is a believer and who is not.

    So you claim to have a the capability to ascertain a person’s faith. That is a godly claim. May God have mercy on you.

    A person may perform all the rituals. No one can say for certain whether or not he or she is actually a believer in the eye’s of Allah SWT Faith is a matter between the human and the Creator. No one but the Master of the Day of Judgement is entitled to judge a persons faith.

    Islam teaches us humility and respect for humanity. It strictly forbids judging others on the matters that a human does not have the capacity to judge.

    Please step down from the godly pedestal and worry about your own salvation instead of passing judgements on other.Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    The current version of Hadiths are due to the efforts of Imam Bukhari and the the Holy Quran is from Uthman. Only Allah (SWT) or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is capable of perfection. To claim that Uthman or Bukhari (or their efforts) were as perfect as them will be blasphemy. I gave this as an example to illustrate the difficulties of text-based arguments. Faith-based arguments are not arguments, but simply statements because faith does not stand on reason. Hence, when arguing, it makes sense to use ijtihad to come to a mutually agreeable position. Th Mughal prince Dara Shikoh came to a mutually agreeable position trying to reconcile scriptures from different religions. However, if one does not choose to argue and stand strong on their belief, I respect that too! Peace!Recommend

  • Junglee

    In ‘allahs eyes’ there are believers and non believers..that is for him to judge ,
    not us. Otherwise there would be no need for a day of
    Judgement. All we can do is treat others equally..leave the judging to [email protected]: Recommend

  • Unknown

    @Haani:
    Maybe we can let Allah/God, however you refer Him, decide this. Islam has been spoilt by views of some people who make their own intrepretations to Quran verses, and consider these to be true. My friend, no one is this world can give a true and fair meaning to these heavenly verses, let your believes be yours and mine be mine; let the One who has the authority to decide whether the different rivers meet the same sea or not, not you and me.

    If you consider that other people wrong, then silently pray for their well being and guidance, and not indulge in actions that might in anyway harm someone’s feelings. Before correcting, ask God if He considers you to be good in His books or not, as I am not sure about my position, I can’t and shouldn’t comment if someone is a believer/good muslim etc. Lets be kind and helpful, lets live as humans, if God has sent all of us to share one land, I consider everyone (irrespective of their believes, thoughts etc) to be equal, not superior or inferior, for I don’t have the power or authority to decide.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Profound and spot on. Great work. Recommend

  • R

    loved this. so poignant.Recommend

  • http://doomedlionsinstarlight.wordpress.com Doomed Lions

    What about those who dont believe that this is any God’s land, Mr. Hamza? Yes, yes, I am referring to atheists. You did not mention them in your poem, you did not acknowledge their disbelief in any of your God/s. Why such hypocrisy, Mr. Hamza, yet you teach us about inter-faith harmony and openness via this poem? Recommend

  • I am Sam

    @Abdur Rahmaan:

    ‘Haani didnt decide whos a believer, Allah the creator of the heavens and the earth and the creator of the human beings has given us the criteria in the Qur’an to ascertain who is a believer and who is not.’

    Pray, tell me kind Sir, why did create us ‘Unbelievers’ since He had a choice to create all of us as Muslims?Recommend

  • http://cairnsscubadivinglicence.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/perhaps-the-best-way-to-ensure-that-your-next-flight-is-as-pleasant-as-it-can-be-is-to-follow-all-air-travel-rules/ Carter Cairns

    Wonderful paintings! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared across the net. Shame on Google for now not positioning this submit higher! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thank you =)Recommend