Is the modern-day dars making us better humans?

Published: August 13, 2012

Forcing religion down someone's throat will not automatically make them 'good' people; let's be logical here, shall we?

News has it that the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has restricted its residents from dance parties at home while allowing other events such as Quran Khwanis and dars gatherings. There is nothing wrong with this, in that the authorities of our country are free to do whatever they may please (read sarcasm) but one wonders what, if any, good will this bring to the community at large?

Disclaimer: I am not going to preach or protest anything. I will merely state what I have observed and felt.

Based on my personal experiences, dars events aren’t exactly the moral epitome of discipline, sympathy and everything Islamic. Let me share an account of my experiences with you to elucidate my point.

So here is me sitting in a dars, listening to the amazing teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Holy Quran, trying to retain as much as I can, when the aunty (who is giving the dars) concludes with a note:

“We should all try to live a simple life, free of materialism, free of hypocrisy, free of apathy. We should give in the name of Allah and be modest towards those in need. We should try to be indifferent to the world because that is how our beloved Prophet (pbuh) lived his life”.

The very next conversation that occurred after this conclusion was regarding the emerald necklace hanging around the aunty’s delicate neck, glittering and shining, the centre of attention of the whole room. Poor woman, if only she knew that her pendant was going to bag all the attention! What followed was a verbal stampede of questions inquiring its price, its make and where to get it made from. One aunty even admittedly said:

“Meri nazar poora waqt sirf aapke is haar pe thee, concentrate hi nai kar payee, kitne karat ka hai yeh stone?”

(The whole time my eyes were glued to your pendant, I couldn’t concentrate at all. How many carats is it?)

I was shocked. Whatever happened to the not-show-boating your wealth and living-a-simple-life lesson?

I sat there thinking, wasn’t the whole point of attending a dars to learn what we didn’t know and then have a healthy discussion about it afterwards? Weren’t we meant to share whatever new knowledge we had just acquired and ask what we didn’t understand afterwards?

This ordeal enunciated the very nature of people prevalent in the privileged segment of our society that eats, sleeps, drinks, breathes and feeds off the class gap and the self imposed sense of royalty.

It disheartened me to listen to these women discussing wasteful expenditures on extravagance whereas piety and modesty should have been the subject matter. My question is, what exactly is the point of these ‘religious’ gatherings when we manage to stray so far from our religion right after the Holy book is closed? To DHA, I would like to ask, will banning dance parties and allowing Quran Khwanis make any difference to this class of people?

I feel like we all know the answer to this question.

Forcing religion down someone’s throat will not automatically make them ‘good’ people

Let’s be logical here, shall we?

Maybe if we could overcome the idea of ‘keeping up with the Kardashians’ style of living (the desi way), we will be able to open our eyes to the difficulty of our fellow Pakistanis and actually do something about it. Do I even need to state that those designer labels won’t save the thousands struck by poverty? Yes, there are far more important things in life than custom-made clothes or jewellery in.

So by prohibiting dance parties or musical programmes, DHA isn’t really making a huge difference to society. Who does what or hosts what event in their homes is a private matter. By promoting dars in the elite inhabitant area like DHA, no public service or moral revolution is being procured.

There are graver things that we need to ban other than dance parties, like human trafficking,  illegal drugs and alcohol, the red light areas of our country and extremism being fed in Madrasas.

So to all authorities, I would like to say, by moral policing the lives of other citizens, Pakistan won’t become any less or more pious religiously. What is needed is a change in perceptions, change in class differences, change in the way people perceive religious gatherings or to the contrary, dance parties.

Do you support DHA's decision of banning dance parties in residential areas?

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Read more by Anam here or follow her on Twitter @alvi_anam

Anam K

Anam K

LLB graduate from the University of London.

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

  • Lazarus

    Too much sarcasm, Its just like too much vocab in one sentence.Recommend

  • Blue Devil

    Lol… love the honesty and candid expression, keep it up, we need such incisive introspection at both the collective and individual levels.Recommend

  • http://www.pkkh.tv DQ

    I probably missed the bit where the DHA authorities announced forcing religion down people’s throats by making dars compulsory for all residents. Oh wait, they never said that. Hence the premise of this article is false. Expect better reading on ET’s website. Recommend

  • http://www.shafiqpenworks.blogspot.com Shafiq

    I think Muslims of Pakistan know how to Adulterate their religion. They are the one who say a big no to watch movies in Ramazan but google Veena / Mathira and Maya Khan’s Controversies. They also watch Olympics just for the sake of watching women in skimpiest of clothing. Bitter, perverted but Truth!Recommend

  • Usman

    “There are graver things that we need to ban other than dance parties, like human trafficking, illegal drugs and alcohol, the red light areas of our country and extremism being fed in Madrasas.”

    Does the writer realize that most of the graver things she would like to see banned are somehow related to the culture of dance parties? Where dance parties are actually promoting them.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/syedmuzamilhasan Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi

    I am no extremist and I do my fair share of partying, but this just looked like a two year old whining about something with absolutely NO connection to the rest of the article. Firstly, dars and dance parties are two different things, you should’ve written an article about the hypocrisy in these events separately. Just because they dont live up to your expectations, doesn’t make alcoholic dance parties fine too.

    Secondly, the DHA doesn’t care about the ‘moral uplifting’ of its citizens, its not shoving any form of Islam down anyone’s throat, what it’s doing is banning house parties 3/5 of which end up badly with drunk phaddas, sexual assaults and what not. Dont be naive enough to deny that. I agree people with regular parties which WOULDNT have any such problems happening would get affected by it and its unfair, but you have to look at the bigger picture and take decisions for the overall betterment of the whole community rather than for a few kids who wouldn’t be able to get their weekly dose of partying. Recommend

  • RF

    Instead of judging others,it is always better to mind one’s own business.There are times when it becomes difficult to concentrate on the ‘Dars’ when there are too many distractions.
    I can tell you from my personal experience that these ‘DARS’ help a great deal for people,who usually do not get time at home to go through the teachings of Quran.Recommend

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

    DQ,

    The premise of the article is DHA’s notion that they can dictate to others what (legal) social activities they can or cannot participate in. That is unacceptable, because we do not all subscribe to the same moral values.Recommend

  • http://myasinmasood.blogspot.com Muhammad Yasin

    The article goes like this : Dars is not effective, so, don’t ban dance parties. Recommend

  • http://www.pkkh.tv DQ

    Loneliberal PK

    DHA is a housing authority. They can set whatever laws and regulations they feel like, particularly if it helps cut down on activities that the rest of the civilized world doesn’t permit in residential areas in the first place. Those who have an issue with it can – in the immortal words of our ex premier – ‘leave, who’s stopping them’Recommend

  • Asif Nawaz

    What else is new here except for the blame game. Discussing necklace is blasphemy, and staring bras is a noble thing to do these days. You don’t like it change the channel. Too much sarcasm, more than I can digest for now.Recommend

  • Ashraf Gul

    We should encourage more dance parties and bollywood type of dances.Recommend

  • Aleena Raza

    DHA has NO right to control what people do in the privacy of their homes. this is NOT a police state. Anyways, they wont be able to implement it. some Mullah Army man must have just thought of the issue.Recommend

  • umer

    Strange artilce… but necklace story was hillarious.. Besides, would you advocate brothels shouldnt be closed as its closure does not change the lust level in men? Wouldnt it be hypocratic not to? i THINK, any public display of social evil should be avoided. As far as gatherings like dars are concerned there may be down side but some attendees will actually take some good message out of the event as compared to a dance party. I do beleive not just the so called fanatics, extermists or Jamati for that matter are cynical to liberalism but also the Liberals are cynical towards Islam. We must not lose the power to reason any logic. Nicely written article, though I may not totally agree with the content. Recommend

  • ali mairaj

    This article is a prime example of complex towards religion. Well, not all those religous aunties are as vain as your encounter was. There are many humble down to earth and religiously savy people around. If you ended up going to a wrong one then i guess its about time you do your research and sit in the right company. Reading this article kind of promotes or protest against banning of parties which is a gathering of bunch of complexed confused desis surrounded by alchohol and drugs.Recommend

  • Jarrar

    Dear Author!
    Do note that in the Dars you attended, whose fault was that? Was that of ones own or that of Authorities? or was that the fault of ‘Mudarris’? I varies from person to person.
    We will not close the mosque If some people come and talk about Worldly affairs after the Namaz (Which is very often). Recommend

  • Ahsan Iqbal

    first of all, can u people read the article properly, the author no where says she thinks ALL dars are like that, she actually has a point people, that these DHA elites whether dance party or dars are the same, what needs to be banned is their hypocritical mentality!

    DHA should probably first ban illegal alcohol and stuff. she is trying to say that dars parties in these areas aren’t exactly the best religious gathering either!Recommend

  • Irene bhajat

    “There are graver things that we need to ban other than dance parties, like human trafficking, illegal drugs and alcohol, the red light areas of our country and extremism being fed in Madrasas.”

    Exactly!! Recommend

  • sana

    first of all the writer is simply stating an an account of her ” experience”, she is not generating her views. Any literate will know that she speaks of the elite class. The blog merely states that by banning dance parties and promoting dars wont change anything. We should applaud her for pointing out that!. She dosnt say she is protesting or promoting anything. Dont you people read english!Recommend

  • Parvez

    What is very apparent is that the more religiosity we show the less religious we get. This is hypocrisy and the DHA’s policy stems from this.Recommend

  • SK

    I think everybody is missing the point. It does not say that if dars are not helpful enough, parties should not be banned; or maybe something synonymous to that. It is just about the psychology of the whole Pakistani muslim society, that goes like this “Don’t do what I do, do what I say”!Recommend

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

    DQ,

    Nobody in the civilized world forbids dance parties in residential areas, There are certain rules regarding noise control, but you can do whatever you damn well please inside your property, within legal confines. Last time I checked, dancing was legal even in this country.

    Even large dars gathering may cause neighborhood disturbances, so the issue is not dars vs dance parties. It’s about setting a proper code concerning noise levels and other kinds of pollution.

    This, right here, is just moral policing and nothing more.Recommend

  • louis

    You do know that DHA hasn’t made Dars mandatory? Recommend

  • http://www.zafarimam.wordpress.com Zafar Imam

    Agreed. The ‘thought police’ in our country has already caused too much damage to our private lives. since the period of Zia, the state, its moral brigade and various covert forms of ‘authorities’ have created a mess of our lives and deprived us of recreation, amusement, art, dance, poetry and music. It is no business of any ‘authority’ to force what we should do and what not within boundaries of our home! Strange enough, there are over zealous people around here, who’ve been dozed with so-called morality but in their own private lives there are moments they’ve gone against what they are saying here. Writer has presented logical questions before us. One must think over it before criticizing it.Recommend

  • Amna Ali

    Strange article. The poor child should have been told that there is no connection between dance parties and dars. I am a no big fan of dars or dance parties either. also, i agree with the point she raised about dars and how they promote materialism but comparing dars with dance parties is kinda offensive to your religion. it didn’t make any sense to me.

    The thing is dance parties aint part of our religion. Full Stop. So, even if you promote such culture or attend them, thats your own issue. But, while being Muslim, you keep on propagating western or unislamic thing is not acceptable. Either be a Muslim (liberal or moderate are the two options) or stop calling yourself a Muslim and do whatever you feel like doing. But dont try to make your religion look conservative or outdated by make such strange connections. Recommend

  • Julian

    I can safely say, judging by the vast majority of comments, that less than 10% of readers understood (in my opinion) the writers objectives, it’s not my job to address this as a reader, should the writer, ‘dumb down’ future articles? Common, guys, read it again before posting comments, it’s actually a very good, thought provoking read.Recommend

  • http://www.zafarimam.wordpress.com Zafar Imam

    @Amna Ali:
    So here is another kind of Dars you are giving to this writer. Welcome Ya Ukhi ! Just check out your comment, you’ll find that there are more commandments in it than analysis. And let me ask, why have you people made Islam so fragile that it keeps on getting offended by this thing or that?
    You said ‘The thing is dance parties aint part of our religion’. Haven’t you watched those Naatkhwaans on religious TV channels shaking their bodies in Kashaf while listening to rhythmic Naats? Isn’t it also a form of dance and music?
    You also wrote, “while being Muslim, you keep on propagating western or unislamic thing is not acceptable.” Ah, so when she has ‘propagated’ western or UnIslamic thing in this write-up? And why do you ‘defenders of Islam’ always measure things in ‘Islam-o-meter’? Even this website is not an ‘Islamic’ thing, Internet and computers are not holy and Islamic, they were invented by ‘rascal’ jews, infidels, why on the earth are you using them? Please go and attend a Dars, why wasting your time here?Recommend

  • Jawad

    Are dance practices for shadis considered “dance parties”? Or Mehndi’s with dance section?Recommend

  • Kay

    Feasible And practical solution is to open sound proof night clubs and dance bars. In the Prophet days men were having fun by keeping multiple women as wives. Today men cannot afford it and women would not allow it. Many Islamic countries have night clubs and dance bars. I do not understand when Arabs do not mind night clubs and dance bars why their slaves mind it?Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    @LoneLiberalPK: I couldn’t agree with you more.Recommend

  • VivaLaRevolution

    So you are telling me that if I invite people over and have a party they are going to take action against me?
    Even if I soundproof the walls? Recommend

  • omair shahid

    Miss anam
    what DHA has done is not the solution we are just pointing fingers instead of giving solution because mot of these dance parties end up badly. one incident happened on Khe -e-rahat where 5 to 6 people were killed and several others injured. in dars peoples lives are not taken.
    yes dars are not perfect but you are going there for yourself not for those aunties. Recommend

  • Usman Saeed

    This country is going to dogs and faster than I expected. Nothing left to cheer me up, no energy, no electricity or economy but Islam is solution to everything. Recommend

  • Raw is War

    oh. you are humans?Recommend

  • Sia

    @Usman:
    How the hell do dance parties promote extremism and human traffikiking?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Right now this week… Hindu Festivities are comin’ up and they will be dancing and drinking so shuold the DHA stop them.. Have had it Hosss… but if you’r family is muslim for the Allah’s Sake leave the partying till the end for the month celebrate then .. For devil’s freedom sake.Recommend

  • FAZ

    @Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi:
    Absolutely agree with you..
    A dars full of hypocrites is not comparable to rich kidz fooling around Recommend

  • Umar

    @writer: Keep in find if you are arguing over something, you need to have some valid points to support your side. Recommend

  • Hasan

    @ DQ : Those who have an issue with it can – in the immortal words of our ex premier – ‘leave, who’s stopping them’ ”

    You make a great case for doing just this. I would love to leave. Recommend

  • Bilal Sajjad

    Freedom of speech and freedom of life.No one will ever agree on anything so lets not argue.One track has to be followed not so many where you don’t know which one to be followed.We are literate amongst the western world not the Islamic world.Every one has there own perception.So let it be.Recommend

  • http://maisamasif.blogspot.com Maisam Merchant

    , this article wasn’t just your own opinion, but this is what you really want (Sharaab, Jooa, Be-pardagi etc. Perhaps you could listen the original dars by some good Mauliani’s to know the “Qabar ka Azaab” for these filthy acts.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    With all due respect to the author, I would like to tell why DHA has banned the dance parties in residents.
    Almost a year ago, there was a dance party and Komal Rizvi’s place KHE GHAZI DHA PHASE VII/ VI KARACHI, Apart from loud music and dance there were alcohol and drugs. A drunk guy came in at around 4AM in the morning with 8 guards and opened fire taking three lives and several people got injured. That guy was a son of some politician.
    Now who’s accountable for those three lives? I am not at all against dance parties in fact would love to attend some with my friends but not in residents. Recommend

  • http://www.shakoorslounge.weebly.com A.S

    That sarcasm was just too hot for me =P Recommend

  • Irene bhajat

    The writer isn’t supporting dance parties, she is giving you a look on the other side of mirror by telling you that whether its dance or dars, our mentality especially in the elite is what the problem really is so no matter how much you ban whatever event, you cannot eradicate the sickness in this class of people. Recommend

  • KM

    I don’t really like dance parties and don’t go to any but it’s everyone’s personal choice. Next DHA authorities will be telling us that all women must wear Burqas in DHA. It’s like Zia all over again. :(Recommend

  • Umar

    The number of people against the decision shows how many people have started loving ‘Drinks and vulgarity’!Recommend

  • Rabia

    love your article, because its exactly the voice of a kid, and kids are beautiful, don’t let this hurt you. But when you get to my immense age of 50 some, you’ll realise that by banning dance and music parties in a residential area, DHA is calling down blessings on its head by numerous residents who value peace and quiet and unblocked streets, at least in their own neighbourhood.
    Dance and music parties have nothing intrinsically wrong with them, only they tend to extend well into the night, and that’s a time when old folks such as me want to, you know, sleep. So well done, DHA. Now lets just hope you can enforce your own rules.
    Love your description of what happens at Dars btw, but you know, that is a separate issue. Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @DQ:
    “I probably missed the bit where the DHA authorities announced forcing religion down people’s throats by making dars compulsory for all residents.”
    I probbably missed the part where the blogger mentioned “DHA Made Dars Compulsory for all residents” too Oh w8 she never said that !
    One sort of social gathering is allowed while the other is Banned !! so the premise is very real towards pointing that DHA is promoting the allowed varient.. Recommend

  • Intelektual

    Although I do believe the real issue is probably Just administrative refferring to the recent incidents of Gun fights and assaults at the dance parties and law and order problems that the drinking creates…
    While showing off and having a reason to show off ya Dars can also do that !!Recommend

  • fahad

    probably anyone can get up write up what is coming in their mind without weighing any of it and upload to tribune, no baseline quality acceptance criteria.Recommend

  • Sid

    The point which i think is not highlighted or considered is the commercial aspect of the matter, Dars or anyother religious activity has no commercial value and no gate fee is there. As far as Dance parties are concerned they have commercial value as far as gate passes are concerned(if anyone knows a free entry , do let me know.). So its just making a fuss out of nothing. I am expecting that in few days they will impose some fee for dance parties as the same goes for weddings venues and other things. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Kay: “Today men cannot afford it and women would not allow it. Many Islamic countries have night clubs and dance bars. I do not understand when Arabs do not mind night clubs and dance bars why their slaves mind it?”

    Slaves are supposed to follow masters’ Instructions. If reading religious book or talking about religion could make people better, then Quran teachers and imams should be role models.

    One needs to seahc Internet for Quran teacher and rape or imam and rape and see what happens in real life.

    Clubs can be located away from residential areas. Middle aged women can go to Dars and younger people can go to clubs.Recommend

  • shooshi

    You really just need to ask yourself two questions:

    Which has more potential of creating moral improvement in the Society at large: a Dance party or a ‘modern day dars’ ?
    Which has more potential for creating moral degeneration?

    There are bigger things that today’s Pakistan needs to fight for and the right to get drunk at a dance party is certainly not one of them.
    Recommend

  • Dinky Mind

    Oh, so dance parties should be allowed… or let’s say, “promoted”! (read sarcasm)
    .
    .
    @writer: Even if you become completely Islamic, or completely un-Islamic, I’m sure even you wouldn’t be able to resist gossips, back-biting, or your admiration towards certain beautiful jewelry items!
    .
    .
    You attended just 1 dars and you’re out rightly rejecting it. Maybe the attendees were as new as you were and ended up gawking at the jewelry rather than listening to the dars.
    .
    .
    With the information in this article, despite having the disclaimer (you used to save yourself against such comments), is forcing me to not attend ANY of the dars, and especially those in DHA. Recommend

  • MUHAMMAD OMAR

    Forcing religion down someone’s throat will not automatically make them ‘good’ people

    allowing them (muslim youngsters both male , female) to do any thing any time at any place jointly making them worst humans on this universe . . Facts

    NA SMJHO GAY TO MITT JAO GAYE . . . . and in 21st century 2012 you know what are happening ! Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Rabia: Dance and music parties have nothing intrinsically wrong with them, only they tend to extend well into the night, and that’s a time when old folks such as me want to, you know, sleep. So well done, DHA. Now lets just hope you can enforce your own rules

    DHA can make rules to control noise or number of people etc.
    I just did a simple search that showed me prostitutes are doing good business in DHA.

    ezinearticles.com/?The-Prostitution-Racket&id=4012193 – Similarto The Prostitution Racket

    Mar 28, 2010 … A prostitute is no longer the one who lives in the slums such as the Shahi Mohalla. A girl who lives two streets from our house in DHA, …

    Beauty parlours in DHA doing more than just your hair? | …

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/04/19/city/karachi/beauty-parlours-in-dha-doi...

    Apr 19, 2011 … Beauty parlours in DHA doing more than just your hair? … The people visiting these brothels, especially teenagers, openly arrive with liquor ..Recommend

  • Tayyab

    @Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi: 100% True! best comment, even better than article itselfRecommend