Maya Khan and the barbaric arrogance of fundamentalism

Published: July 28, 2012

Sunil converting to Islam was perfectly legal, but what if a born Muslim wants to convert to another faith? Why is that illegal under Pakistani law?

It is apparently not enough anymore to discriminate against religious minorities in our laws or to attack their houses of worship or places of residence in random, unprovoked acts of violence. People like Maya Khan now want to use the few remaining religious minorities in the country for entertainment too.

Many publications have rightly pointed out that the televised conversion of a Hindu man named Sunil to Islam was an act that was incredibly insensitive to religious minorities in a country where forced conversions and abductions are far too common. But I have a far deeper problem with just the act of televising it. My problem is with the social attitudes among the majority of Pakistani Muslims that make televising such vile programmes profitable.

Let us start with the people who were part of the studio audience. Most of these are part of the urban middle class of this country and likely have a better education than the average Pakistani. They seemed rather delighted at what they were witnessing and eagerly suggested “Muslim” names for the young man. I have two major problems with this.

The first is this: being happy about somebody converting to Islam means that you fundamentally believe that the person’s previous religion is inferior to Islam. Here is my question to all those Muslims who get excited about religious conversions: how much do you know about other religions of the world? How much do you know about your own religion? Do you even know why you are Muslim?

The answers “because I was born one” or “because it is the right religion” were the same ones that the pagan Arabs gave to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when they tried to justify why they rejected Islam and continued with their old faith.

Incidentally, most people are probably unaware of where the tradition of changing names comes from. Most people who converted to Islam during the Prophet’s time were not asked to change their names, only those whose names were explicitly linked to other gods. It started when a man named Abdul Uzzah al-Juhani converted to Islam and the Prophet asked him to change his name to Abdullah, since Uzzah was the name of a pagan Arab god.

“Sunil” means “dark blue colour”. Going by Prophetic tradition, there was no need to change the man’s name. But of course, most of the audience did not know that because they do not know why they are Muslim, just that they are and somehow that is a good thing.

It is funny how some misguided Muslims malign pagan cultures, but fail to remember that making a spectacle of denigrating other religions is something that we get from the most famous of all pagan cultures: Rome, which made a habit of feeding Christians to animals for the entertainment of the crowd at the Coliseum.

This brings me to my second problem: how a lot of fundamentalist Muslims are utterly convinced of the superiority of Islam – and seek legal codification of that superiority in Pakistan – while demanding equal treatment in other countries. Sunil converting to Islam was perfectly legal, but what if a born Muslim wants to convert to another faith? Why is that illegal under Pakistani law?

Religion, at the end of the day, is not your identity. It is a set of ideas about morality that you hold. Like any other set of ideas, it is just an opinion and deserves no special treatment compared to any of your other opinions. It should be protected under freedom of expression, but not much else. And like any opinion, people should be free to change it as they please, no matter what religion they were born into.

Read more by Farooq here or follow him on Twitter @FarooqTirmizi


Farooq Tirmizi

The author is an investment analyst. He tweets as @FarooqTirmizi (

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

  • Chengez K


  • Faraz

    My friend, you are mixing things up. What you are calling merely a set of ideas about morality, is actually a lifestyle. it is a way of life. and if you pick up history, people have spent & even sacrificed their lives for the prosperity of their religion. Next time, before you write something on religion, please do a little research. Just a little bit of research on your own religion would suffice.
    I am utterly disappointed in this piece of writing.Recommend

  • rehan

    i failed 2 identify barbaric arrogance of
    fundamentalism in this whole story.
    The writer seems to b angry 4 the conversion of sunil to islam. U can argue whats the use of propogating the conversion on air, bt u cant question conversion. N last, writer should know that entering islam is allowed, leaving is prohibited by sharia. N v r still better in religion as compared to jews who dnt allow conversion to judaism.Recommend

  • Mazher Arshad

    Quite a lame views by the writer. Recommend

  • Hassan

    Mr. Farooq Termizi Idk what Maya Khan did, but you have to clear yourself I am surprise who allow you write to that type of article newspaper or blog, You don’t know basic rules of Islam, Islam is most superior religion in entire world and Quran is a most precious book for every religion, myself is also believe in freedom of expression but not in religion, please read Quran with translation u ll find every answer which raised in your article. For kind information Muslim wants to convert to another faith? Its not only illegal under Pakistani law but its also illegal in Islam as well, that kind of basic you thing you know,
    What if you don’ t find it and then you are the most unfortunate person in this world. Recommend

  • Hella

    More then being insensitive to minorities, a program like this is an insult to Islam. The TV program has reduced Islam a great religion, to a medium of TV entertainment. Clerics who otherwise denounce TV, have not issued any statement on this program, which has actually insulted Islam. Strangely ‘Muslims’ in the audience seemed to have no issue, with their religion being reduced to a joke on TV. Islam needs to be saved from Pakistan’s Muslims.Recommend

  • Tariq

    How much do you know Mr. Farooq about Islam? Recommend

  • Mustafa

    Mr. Tirmizi,

    I usually don’t waste my time on such stupid articles however I couldn’t stop myself from commenting on this “masterpiece of ignorance”.

    Before writing this article, it would have been much better if you had tried to find the answers from Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Anyway, it is still not too late for you if you do research on the following questions:

    1 – What does Quran say about Islam and other religions?

    Answer: “This day have I (Allah) perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”. (Soorah Al-Maa’idah 5:3)

    “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him”. (Soorah Aal’imraan 3:85)

    2 – What was the behaviour of our Prophet (SAW) and his Sahaba (RA) when anyone left his/ her previous religion and entered Islam?

    Answer: You will find it after reading about conversion of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA).

    3 – What does Islam say about people who leave Islam?

    Answer: “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims” (Bukhari, vol. 9, bk. 83, no. 17)

    I feel sorry for you man. This is what Islam teaches us. Take it or leave it. And once you do more fact finding research, it would be much helpful for all the readers if you write against the root causes of Muslims’ joyous attitude when they see someone entering the religion of Islam. This way, your true intentions and identity would be known to all of us.

    And yes, all the true Muslims will enjoy when they see somone entering true religion of Allah and will become sad when they see the opposite OR read the article like this from a person with a Muslim name. Recommend

  • Salman Arshad

    How many pagans still prospered after Islam, in Arabia?
    Wasn’t Islam’s superiority codified in law in Makkah, when the idols were smashed?
    Were the idols given any “respect” because they were after all someone’s god?

    There is nothing wrong with celebrating a conversion publicly, as far as Islam is concerned.Recommend

  • Mj

    Well said. Recommend

  • Zainab Imam

    Best piece ever on the Maya Khan show. This should be mandatory reading!Recommend

  • Glaedr

    What if he decides to go back to Hinduism? The same people who are hailing him now will be baying for his blood.Recommend

  • Human

    Awesome. The writer got gutts to write write against so called champions of Islam who actually have commercialized Islam. And I agree with the fact that there are equal number of conversions from Islam to other religion (now whatever excuse you give for it) which are kept hidden by those who converted. There are even people who were born muslim, but became atheists afterwards.( And its sometimes dangerous while sometimes not necessary at all for them to announce their ideas). So have the guts to bear the truth.Recommend

  • AJ

    Mr Farooq, u have spent a lot of time in answering your 1sr question, I wished u had spent a little time on the second one, its not allowed in Islam as said by Muhammad S.A.w. once said bears no doubt in its validity. people who hide behind ‘the freedom of speech’ crap should also be tolerant towards others views, how hypocrite of you to taunt at media while u yourself lack basic knowledge…..Recommend

  • Awans

    My friend yesterday named her Daughter Yaffa which simply means beautiful in Hebrew and my and all relatives told him that it is not the Muslim name so it is Haram and all of the ignorant people dont know that in Islam there is no Compulsion in name at all. Similarly my second cousin name is Askar simply meaning Soldier in Turkish and still he is a good Muslim. Name is just an identity which helps you to identify. So we can name our child in any different manner since Islam allows us as there is no compulsion . But Sadly Islam which we follow right now is a New Islam developed after Hundreds of years after real Islam by some scholars and now Islam is a totally changed religion hijacked by some Scholars who now consider this religion as their property.Recommend

  • Faraz

    I don’t think he will find the need to go back to Hinduism once he has ample understanding of the differences between both religions.Recommend

  • Veena Malik fan.

    I wonder how many of these vitriolic young angry men criticising the article are fasting today – and in turn communing with the divine spirit and feeling the peace and love.

    Mr Tirmizi: thank you for a muscular plea for non-coercion. The insidious fascism played out in this TV show is obviously the surface of a culture where, deeper down at street level, those who deviate from the absolute ways of the Volk end up being sidelined, made to feel like outsiders in their own land, abused and dehumanised, and, very often, killed.Recommend


    The article with wisdom and reason.thanks for putting Mirror in front of jahils.Recommend

  • Faraz

    There is no harm in keeping of such name as far as my knowledge is concerned:

    but it is better to keep one of the names from the recommended beautiful Islamic names which are better accepted socially also. You are going far away into Turkish & Hebrew. You should look into some Arabic names also, I’m sure Arabic has many equally beautiful names.Recommend

  • Rehan

    Tirmizi Saab, you’re one of the few good ones. You should see how primitively and disgustingly others in our society have reacted to this news. In general, an individuals personal freedom’s should never be trampled on in the name of another person’s ideology. Anyways, best wishes to you and keep writing.

  • Faraz

    @Veena Malik fan.:
    Considering the quality of the argument, I’m sure most of them are fasting :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Akram

    I do not understand the unhappiness of the author over the TV program (under discussion) televised in a Muslim country. Some points are to be noted here.
    1. As per author’s statement, The audience was “urban middle class”. He should be reminded that there are no classes in Islam except on the basis of تقویٰ . Is he trying to say that low/medium income peoples are ignorant to Islam?
    2. The person converted to Islam on his will without pressure and then remained on practicing Islamic values is better than to an ordinary Muslim by birth who is not practicing values wholeheartedness. For this if the audience is happy then what is the problem of author?
    3. “How much do you know about other religions of the world? How much do you know about your own religion? ” These are the personal capabilities, Does the author consider himself superior than all of others? He should look into himself rather than pinpointing others.
    4. Do you even know why you are Muslim?. All are (with some exceptions) Muslims by birth, so what is the problem with the author?
    5. The author stated “a lot of fundamentalist Muslims…”. He should be aware of that every Muslim is a fundamentalist because literally “fundamentalism” is a religious or political movement based on a literal interpretation of and strict adherence to doctrine. He should consult the dictionary for his satisfaction.Recommend

  • Rehman

    In a country of 96 % Muslims, we still feel insecure. Shame Shame ShameRecommend

  • Hina.A

    Bitter reality of our nation!!!Recommend

  • mudathir

    Pakistani musulmani ki dukhti rug per hath rakha hai. well done and pity the sore loser attacking the writer.Recommend

  • Awans

    @Faraz: Mr Faraz the first reference on that website is not Authentic and the consecutive references are changed as well. That is exactly my point that we are blindly following these teachings without investigating. How many Sunnis actually Know what is meant by Sahih Satta???.So many new books have been made out of Hadees and majority have unauthentic word of Mouth. In Pakistan Brelvis sect even develop a new volume of Hadees that did not exist in Sahih Satta at all and even in Islamic World. Also how can i believe in those teachings in these unauthentic hadees which tell me that it is not good to marry a widow and it is Haraam to even Adopt a Child and raise them as your own child as Allah will throw you in Hell only because you are raising a Child as your own and adopting them…?…Just tell me does my conscience even allow me to believe in these teachings……A real Islam is Just Quran and Sahih Satta ( Even tough some Hadees are debatable) and please dont follow blindly any link other than them that made things up seriously.Recommend

  • Faraz

    The truth is, I did not go through the entire page. I pasted the link to tell you about the Islamic names wala part, that it is better to keep Islamic (arabic) names rather than going to different languages. regarding adoption, there must be detail available. Please go through it over the internet or refer to books by Sahih Bukhari.Recommend

  • Mubasher Pasha

    So we are happy because a guy who couldn’t be true to his own religion is expected to be a true Muslim! Sunil is happy because there are no repercussions for converting from Hinduism, let’s see him try the other way round :-p
    And Farooq Tirmizi, you are one brave writer. Kudos!Recommend

  • Muslim

    Religion at the end of the day IS OUR IDENTITY my illusioned friend. And that is the bottom line. Whether you accept it or not. Open your eyes, look around and you’ll see that in these times and those that passed, it has ALWAYS been one’s identity. Recommend

  • Muslim

    For all those friends calling the writer BRAVE! being BRAVE doesn’t essentially guarantee the person’s SANITY :-)Recommend

  • khaleeq nazar

    Sunil converted to which Islam? Many sects which have different meaning of Islam. pity on sunil.Recommend

  • HolierThanThou

    As a muslim who spends most of his time working 14-16 hrs a day… including Sundays. Not only am i deeply appalled and disgusted by Maya Khan’s act. For the first time in my thirty year life i am disturbed to an extent which causes me mental anguish.

    In India which is a “Muslim Minority”, Dr. Zakir Naik periodically conducts televised conversions of hindus and christians. BUT… in the same way many Muslims convert to other religions in India.

    When it is not ok for a Muslim to convert to any other religion, in the privacy of his home in Pakistan. Why is it right to show a conversion to Islam on Television, just for the ratings game, just to slap the Hindus and Christians and other Minorities.

    Shame on Maya Khan and others who support this. Allah will put you to your place on the day of judgement for harassing and causing mental anguish to the minorities and the literate muslims.Recommend

  • Rahat

    Read it with high expectations, but sadly the author got way too emotional while writing it…lots of loopholes in the argumentsRecommend

  • http://f/omerirfanofficial Omer

    okay who is proof reading all of this? :sRecommend

  • Umer

    It’s very interesting that from others Muslims want human rights such as in Burma but on others they want to impose their Shahrish. Where do human rights go in that case?Recommend

  • Sunny

    Brave writter !! Hats off to the writer !! but i am very hopeless from pakistan’s public after rinkle conversion case !! Recommend

  • HK

    @Faraz: What are Islamic names for pete’s sake??These are Arab names, period! Arab names exsisted before Islam so how do they become Islamic or Muslim names? How do these names become superior to ALL the other names people choose to keep for their kids? And by the way before you become all mushy over the Arab/muslim brotherhood, try convincing a Saudi or a Kuwaiti you are an equal to them and maybe than we can have this conversation again. Recommend

  • Mubasher Pasha

    You are so right ‘Muslim’; Dr. Abdus Salam was a Ahmadi, so we are happy to disclaim our only Nobel Prize winner. Pathetic!Recommend

  • Mubasher Pasha

    Right again ‘Muslim’, being brave does not guarantee sanity… same way as being sane does not guarantee someone is brave, similarly being brave does not guarantee a person wears yellow pants… but what’s your point? You are comparing apples to oranges. Doesn’t make sense, now does it? :-pRecommend

  • http://Www, Zoheb

    Pathetic articleRecommend

  • VivaLaRevolution

    Okay I have a question for those well versed in Islam. Imagine this scenario:

    There is a person, let us call him “X”. “X” was born in a Muslim family and was a practicing Muslim. He would offer Sal-at, Fasting everything. But then he realized that he was not satisfied in being Muslim or any other religion for that matter and turned atheist and he felt much better this way. “X” is a great person too. He loves his parents and takes care of them, he loves his siblings wholeheartedly and is a role model for them. He gives half his income to charity, He feeds the poor. He respects women, speaks against injustice, always tries his best to avoid hurting anyone. He is kind of a Model Citizen except that he is not a Muslim.
    But since he is an “apostate” should he be killed? Should his life be ended because he was not satisfied by what he was taught all his life?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    The problem is that every day hundreds, if not thousands of muslims are being killed by fellow muslims and to take their place we need many more Sunils. Well done Maya, you are doing a great job.Recommend

  • Dr. Esther-Marie Chandran

    I am deeply pained — not only because I am a Christian Indian but also because I am journalist — that a self-professing journalist Maya Khan whose credentials are as dubious as those of Herr Goebbels (Hitler’s propaganda minister!), should sell her profession to propagating the conversion of an unsuspecting and immature Hindu boy into Islam (many neutral observers believe he was, probably, forced into it) through what became an abhorent and tasteless media spectacle. Journalism performs a watchdog role and pinpoints and checks the malaise that gnaws into our society; it should report honestly and objectively all the wrong doings and evils of our society. Alas, Ms Khan acted — for lack of any better word — as a female pimp. She has played into the hands of religious fanatics and extremists who thought they could use her (even giving allowance to Ms Khan’s ignorance of their true intentions which nobody believes). Many international journalists’ organizations worldwide have condemned this farcical media spectacle. The Pakistani media, already under a cloud of suspicion as being a mere tool in the hands of the military, mullahs and powerful politicians, has once proved how very vulnerable and corrupt it is. There are, of course, conversions taking place in many parts of the world, including in India (Muslims and Christians become Hindus and vice versa) but Indian media (which is by no means perfect, like the media in any other country) does not fall prey to the temptations of making an extra buck by engaging in a distasteful media spectacle. The challenge for Pakistan’s media is to be bold enough to confront the evil that is going on in your country. Despite its claims, your country is not a democracy. One of the institutions that can strengthen democracy is a free and independent media. Your country, already descending into the destructive abyss, will have no shame or moral authority if incidents manipulated by people such as Maya Khan are not stopped. The media has a big responsibility. Don’t take your rights so lightly by ignoring your duties. Recommend

  • Muneeb

    Excellent excellent excellent piece! Extremely well said!

    The way this country is going it scares me, and reading the comments frightens me even more. May God (whichever one you choose to believe) grant these people peace and satisfaction and security in their own beliefs without having the need to resort to such disgusting public conversions. Recommend

  • Haroon Gul

    Hypocrisy has always been at its highest in Pakistan…These hypocrites like maya khan veena malik think they represent Islam??…Are you kidding??…Face it everyone people..Pakistan is a nation of hypocrites..No one can deny that…To deny that is to blind one’s self from the truth.Recommend

  • Milestogo

    Allah has chosen the best religion available at the time.Recommend

  • Faraz

    What I meant by Islamic names was that the Arab names after Islam came to them. The reason why I suggested arabic names, and why I prefer them also, is because arabic is the language of the Quran, and it is more complete than any other language. I’m sure you would also agree to it once you study it in depth. as far as convincing an arab is concerned, I wouldnt waste my time in that. what my acts and beliefs are, that is between me and my Allah. and what the Arab does, it is between him and his Allah.Recommend

  • Xub

    what Maya khan did was wrong but you said “The first is this: being happy about somebody converting to Islam means that you fundamentally believe that the person’s previous religion is inferior to Islam”
    Commenting on this when Quran is saying the best religion for the people is Islam what more proof do you want that Islam is Superior to all the religion in the worldRecommend

  • Dr. Bilal Fazal

    Conversion of religion on air. Congratulations ARY Digital, your rankings are going up, you got much more Ads, Dear Maya Khan! you are hot again, those who were abusing u couple of months back are now praising you! and sick people of country are having entertainment through commercialization of religion.Recommend

  • Ozair

    To those doubting the author’s credentials on the subject: Mr Tirmizi here is actually a Hafiz-e-Quran and probably knows more about Islam than most of the lot commenting here.

    Good job Farooq. Recommend

  • Zahid Tabani

    Mr.Farooq Tirmizi,

    I am amazed at your definition of morality and ideology. Religion is only identity based upon which life started on earth. Religion is only reason behind everything that has happened in the past and happening today. Religion is only identity which will decide our future after death.

    I am being a Muslim believe that ISLAM is only TRUE religion in this world and everything else is false facts and philosophies. Recommend

  • Awais

    Sir….Thats right i’m calling YOU sir! If I had the opportunity of meeting you face to face, I would shake your hand and offer to buy you a beer. I don’t have the guts to say things like the ones you said here to people I know but you published a article on this topic. LOL’ing at the first several comments of upset Muslims. Recommend

  • Ali

    The article was week, however I believe that the whole public conversion thing was just a commercial stage setup(keeping in view Maya khan’s track record). Religion is a very personal thing, unfortunately people have somehow taken the huge responsibility on their shoulders to make sure that the other person is delivered to heaven in the afterlife :)Recommend

  • Mubasher Pasha

    Ch. Allah Daad, THAT’s your reasoning??? Ha Ha Ha :-DRecommend

  • Ali

    By the way, what’s wrong even if it’s not commercial and actually people are happy for this guy joining their religion? Doesn’t it also fall in the category of “Freedom of speech & expression”, or is it just when Islam is targeted and insulted in countries where it’s a religion of minorities? Recommend

  • Vijay

    Best article ever… really gives the truth.

  • saeed

    Govt. tell me that what are they doing for Karachi. Every day at least 10 people were killed. No one taken action against this terrorism. Recommend

  • A.

    I am a muslim but I would like someone to explain not being able to leave Islam to me. So if a muslim stops fasting, praying etc. and even goes to the extent of doing shirk obviously inside his own house. Will he still remain a muslim or will he become non-muslim?Recommend

  • Ihsan

    Was it explained to Sunil that if he leaves Islam now, he would face Death Penalty according to so called Muslim Mullah? If a Muslim can’t change to another religion then it must be the duty of Muslims to categorically make it clear to the man entering Islam at the time of his conversion. In my personal views as I learned ‘a Muslim can convert to any other religion he likes & there is no death penalty for that’. Recommend

  • B.

    Such is the condition of our nation. The same woman who went on a moral parade around the city upholding any couple she saw for the sake of getting better program ratings (like she never dated anyone in her whole life!)…Here she comes again, after a couple of months to try her luck at fame and publicity and of course to earn money, you give up all your previous arguments and start following her blindly and saying that she’s right?

    Didn’t her previous actions speak volumes about the kind of person she is? Nobody can control this woman or this nation, so to speak; only God will and when He does, that will be harsh! Recommend

  • Waqas

    ET doesn’t get tired of this, does it – and I was at least expecting this author to stay away. Still, tackled well and fine points made. Agreed to a large extent – just one caveat, if someone wants to make religion his/her identity, that is also completely acceptable. No one should be able to dictate to you what your identity should be – or where do we stop?Recommend

  • Commercial Islam

    Mr. Farooq! You might want to read your own article. Probably, you wanted to raise voice against commercial Islam. However, you miserably failed to do so.
    The only thing i liked was the argument on name change.Recommend

  • HK

    Woh VivaLaRevolution Aik bohat pertinent sawal kur rahay thai……nobody blood thirsty enough to tell him what mullah and his ilk prescribes for Mr. X?Recommend

  • Voom

    I feel so ethalled after watching that video. . May Islam spread throughout the world and the whole world embrace the right path. Hats off for Maya Khan. Do not listen to these liberal fashcists. Recommend

  • Sheeda Tully

    Waqas says
    “No one should be able to dictate to you what your identity should be – or where do we stop?”

    Bro, that is where liberal s fail actually! They would still like to make choices for you.
    One is not better than another!
    In conclusion, opinion is like back side, everyone has got one!Recommend

  • Joginder

    A small query from an atheist: Is MAYA a Muslim name? It’s pure Sanskrit, to my knowledge. The audience ought to have pitched in with an authentic Muslim name for the lady too.Recommend

  • Farah Samuel

    Finally someone took up the issue!
    Very well writtenRecommend

  • Vivek

    Lets C how would u react if a muslim was converted on live tv to another religion in India or West or better still Israel or Myanmar. U all would scream conspiracy and Islam in Danger. Problem is ur arrogance in showing it on live tv and justifying this. And y would u want to forcibly keep some1 in ur fold who wants to leave? I thought there is no compulsion in religion. There was recently news that hindus were threatened with losing their jobs if they did not convert. Y cant u leave non muslims in peace. Mind ur own business dude. look at ur country. even with 95% muslim population, U hav more killings than India. Muslims killing each other should be ur concern. Nanak Maharaj and Jhulelal tried 2 put some sense into muslims of subcontinent but guess Zia finally won in brainwashin masses of pakistanRecommend

  • AllahkaBanda

    “Sunil converting to Islam was perfectly legal, but what if a born Muslim wants to convert to another faith? Why is that illegal under Pakistani law?”

    It illegal under ISLAMIC law and now you would ask why?
    Its same as if USA or Israel or India would kill their spies or even citizens if they convert their loyalties from their homeland and sell there secrets to some other nation, because they are traitors for them. So we Muslims are a nation and if any one leaves or converts to some other religion he/she is a traitor like them.Recommend

  • Adil

    I always have a feeling that Maya Khan wants to make religious bigots and organizations a potential backup for her.What she did in January was a mxture of activities by Shiv Sena,Ram Sena and Talibans but with camera and crew rather than weapons. I live in Canada,here a Muslim can change his faith/religion without any legal consequence and same is the case for non-Muslims if they want to enter the fold of Islam.And death penalty for apostasy is something that goes against principles of The Holy Quran.

    For Maya Khan,whose “public service” in the parks of Karachi is still fresh in our minds,I just want to share an incident from the life of Hazrat Umar Farooq Razi Allahu Anhu in the blessed month of Ramadhan.

    The second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb, used to patrol the streets of Medina personally to make sure that justice was being done and everyone’s needs were being met. One evening as he was passing a house, he overheard sounds from behind the wall of the courtyard. Listening, He climbed over the wall and found people drinking wine. He said that you are caught doing something immoral.

    The owner of the house put down his glass and said, “You’re right, O ‘Umar, I have violated one of the laws of Islam by drinking wine. But you have just violated three laws at once:
    1) The Prophet ordered: Do not eavesdrop on one another. But you eavesdropped on us.
    2)The Qur’an says: Enter houses by their doors. (2:189) But you entered by climbing over the wall.And,
    3)The Qur’an says you have to ask permission to enter a house and greet people with salâm (peace) when you enter. (24:27) But you didn’t ask permission or offer a greeting.”

    Omar (R.A.) had to admit that the fellow was right. And it is said that he broke down due to the feeling of being guilty. This was a caliph and look at Maya Khan and her own version of Khilafat these days…….ShamelessRecommend

  • Adil

    Author,you said that:

    Sunil converting to Islam was perfectly legal, but what if a born Muslim wants to convert to another faith? Why is that illegal under Pakistani law?

    Death for apostasy is common not just in Pakistan but Afghanistan,Saudi Arabia,Egypt and many other Muslim nations even though without having backup or reference from The Holy Quran. If someone talks about Hadiths then how can we follow any Hadith if it contradicts teachings of The Holy Quran at the first place?

    Not just back home,even in Canada I observed a disturbing trend.I have got few friends who regularly attend lectures of few of the Islamic institutions in North America. Infront of them, once I showed disagreement with laws relating to apostasy in Saudi Arabia,Pakistan etc…..over which they said that bro,it is in Shariah and you have to obey it,you can’t ignore such duties. When I talked about no compulsion in religion then they said that Allah SWT is also Al-Jabbar and Al-Qahhar…what??so does it mean we’ll take laws in our own hands? Does the Almighty require our actions and cooperation in order to do his tasks Nauzubillah? Earlier,this second year student from a University showed appreciaition for a murderer like Malik Mumtaz Qadri and quoted few lectures from some Imam.

    With such an attitude,forget about non-Muslims studying the teachings of Islam, I guess even people born in Muslim families would start to think about converting to some other faith, perhaps many in Pakistan are already thinking about doing it and will declare it once they take a flight and land in some Western nation.Recommend

  • Akshay

    @Author: I am so amazed and surprised at your wisdom. This is such a beautiful article. Awesome. The views and comparisons are so clear and perfectly give the message.

    @All those who support this shameful program of Maya Khan: In your hateful comments , in place of non-muslim put muslims and in place of Muslim/Islam put some other religion — Hindu/Hinduism and read it again and you would know how much hypocrisy, double standards and hatred is filled in your hearts. If someone leaves Islam, its apostasy THEN IF SOMEONE CONVERTS TO ISLAM , IT’S ALSO APOSTASY FROM THE PERSON’s PREVIOUS RELIGION….Dont have double standards dear friends.Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar

    i like how every tom dick and harry here is commenting on how farooq doesnt know jack about islam….this guy studied in a madrassa for a few years, he definitely knows more about this religion than you fair weather amir liaquat loving idiots.Recommend

  • Placebo

    Maya khan has yet again taken a very sensitive issue and exploited it in the name of ratings. Why do we follow such tv shows and tv persons? What kind of sick twisted people are we? What’s next. maya khan going to a mob and inciting violence towards a particular sect/or person cause of their beliefs?

    I really think the media needs to review what it thinks is considered as entertaining ..
    Well done farooq Recommend

  • Muneeb

    Hypocrisy hypocrisy and more hypocrisy. That defines half the people who are commenting here and most of the country.

    Great blog Farooq. It was important that this was said, and said by a Muslim. This should be mandatory reading for everyone.Recommend

  • asad

    Hopeless nation.Recommend

  • sammie

    Reality bites, good article farooqRecommend

  • Nadeem F Shezan

    Bro,you are my man….Period…….I recommend all the idiots commending Tirmizi to read Mr.Mustafa’s reply….Seriously man,I am so much happy to read your comment that if you were present in front of me I would have saluted you literally…..May Allah be with you1Recommend

  • sammie

    Maya khan, is Sunil a paid actor?Recommend

  • talha

    this piece of writing just seems to me as an abstract art. everything is being mixed up. and most importantly I am unable to understand the type of criticism in it. poorly written. being more educated on the subject is also very imp but its more imp how you convey it with a proper educated approach.Recommend

  • shahzeb

    The islam I’ve grown upto follow doesnt advocate killing some one just because they switch from islam or choose not to follow any religion. The islam i follow is about peace and tolerance, it taught me in order to be a good muslim you need to first learn how to be a good human being. People spend their entire lives trying to be good muslims, but in the process forget about becoming good human beings. Killing people because they switch doesnt really convey the message of peace and tolerance, now does it ?Recommend

  • Rabia Shakoor

    unfortunately Abrahamic religions are exclusionary by nature. It is a central article of faith that followers of one’s own religion are morally superior to others. Given this design flaw, the attitude to Hindu conversion is inevitable. Recommend

  • Mj

    That is the worst reasoning I have possibly ever heard. By the same logic, Jews should kill any Jew who converts to Islam, Christians should kill any christian who converts to Islam, Hindus, Buddhists should also kill anyone who converts to Islam. You should be ashamed of yourself for calling for the death of someone for exercising freedom of conscience and faith.Recommend

  • Rania

    I liked the translation of arabic kalma by maulana, atleast he did not force “akhri nabi” into the translation.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Maya Khan and television. Enough said. Religious conversions are something personal and unless and until someone really wants it, a show should not be airing. I am sure there is no love lost between Maya Khan or any of the people commenting here or any of the people anywhere for that matter! As for the superiority of Islam, who made Islam superior to other religion?You did, Mr. Tirmizi! You did, I did, all the people on that show, most of the commentators on this page, and atleast half of the population of this country did. We did so by choosing it over other religions. We chose this religion to follow over any other religion. We gave it supremacy over any other religion. That’s how we made it superior. So yes, we think it’s superior. Yes, it makes us happy when we see other people joining in our religion. You made reference to the ways of the Prophet (SAW), did he not show happiness for the people who converted Muslims? Did he not pray for it? Wasn’t he given this very task? To spread the message of Allah? How can you blame someone for getting happy over that, more so, how can you question their faith, merely based on their happiness at someone’s conversion to Islam? You ask them if they know about other religions of the world. I do, quite a lot as a matter of fact. Does that make me less happy to see one more Muslim? No, it doesn’t. Would that make anyone else less happy?Why would it?

    Is Islam only a set of ideas and morals, Mr. Tirmizi? From the above comment of Mr. Ozair, you are a Hafiz-e-Quran. Can you seriously tell me that believing in Allah (which is the main idea behind Islam) is all just a set of morals and ideas? You must have innate knowledge of the religion. Can you right now tell me Allah is merely an idea. Can you reduce it down to that? Religion is not our identity? Tell that to a girl fighting to wear a Hijab in France. Muslims trying to fast in the Arctic or in Africa. Islam is much more, and all of them, us AND you, give Islam and Allah that supremacy. Yes, we call Islam superior to other religions because for us it is. For us Allah is superior to any and everything.Recommend

  • Vineeth

    I would say that a religion that does not allow its adherents to convert to another faith is the most intolerant. Period.Recommend

  • Critical

    Day by day,after watching these news and reading the comments of the supposed “intellectual” community here…

    I might come to a conclusion that you people are not muslims,rather a mafia gang….Since I’ve read books like Godfather and watched many documentaries about Sicilian mafia…I can see a lot of similarities between Mafioso and what you guys are now practising. Recommend

  • salman

    If we played by the rules of the zealot Muslim then technically, according to their narrow minded version of Islam, madam Maya Khan shouldn’t be on TV. Hawww a woman on TV talking to non-mahrams. Lock her up! Recommend

  • a human

    I must say, Mr. Farooq, you’ve gotta have guts to write this article, for your audience being the most intolerant people of all times. Props to you! A very well written piece and makes perfect sense, but please don’t be offended when most of us tell you how horrible this article is, because unfortunately most of us still live in that 1400 years old Arab when Islam was introduced, and it was mandatory for every non-Muslim to convert to Islam because it was the only “superior religion,” and everybody else deserves HELL.

    So what if in Pakistan we treat the minorities like they are inferior humans? They do not deserve fair treatment until they convert to Islam. That’s what Islam teaches us right? Yup. So let’s just be blind without using any common sense. :)

    P.S. My favorite part in this whole article is about his name. Sunil means dark blue color, but no let’s change it to Abdullah so that he can be a better Muslim, hence a better human.. LOLRecommend

  • Indian

    Its funny reading some of the comments here. People are so brain washed that they can’t even comprehend what author is speaking. Pakistani society in general and Muslim community in general are extremely intolerant.

    I completely agree with author. When people have superiority complex of religion then there is clash. Christians believe their religion is the best, Muslim thinks they know the truth, Hindus will claim that they know the Supreme.. and this is the reason for all religious hatred in world.

    Religion is external. Just think if you were born in Christian family would you still be shouting loudly that Islam is the supreme. The purpose of religion is to love GOD.. and since we are son and daughters of GOD we love everyone irrespective of his religion. That to me is TRUE religion. Just because you change dress your identity doesn’t change. Same way if you just change you religion but don’t change your heart, its useless. Recommend

  • iqbal

    Agreed…….Tolerance level has gone up to zero level. Today,those who are hailing the conversion of Hindu guy must maintain equal mindset…no need to air such conversions over TV shows..Recommend

  • Fundamentalist

    The TV program aside, which religion, by the way, is superior ? I am sure you have already created a new potpourri of a religion, your path to salvation.Recommend

  • Fundamentalist

    @Adil: plz tell the source from where you have quoted this amusing story. the caliph topping the wall and the person caught drinking .and the drinker was pretty much a lawyer or maybe a barrister… enough material for laughter. Recommend

  • iftikhar

    proof reader is also a heavily paid agentRecommend

  • Anthony Permal

    Funny, you said ‘people who stand behind freedom of speech crap should be tolerant of others’ views’

    Yet you are showing intolerance at the writer’s view yourself.


  • outlaw

    Maya Khan, is Sunil a paid actor? good article FarooqRecommend

  • Ali

    Utter nonsense, nonsense newspaper non sense writer Recommend

  • HK

    @Faraz: “what my acts and beliefs are, that is between me and my Allah. and what the Arab does, it is between him and his Allah.” I hope and pray that you practice this statement in your everyday life because if you and everybody else (khas taur pay Musalman) really practiced this way, our world would have been a different and a better place. But sadly the opposite of this statement is what we have adopted and adapted towards everybody, whether that is a fellow Muslim/countryman or people of different belief, we become their judge, jury and executioners! Recommend

  • Liberal Scum


    Your long winded rant is exactly what the writer is talking about. If Islam doesn’t allow a born Muslim to change faith according to some mullah’s interpretation of Islam, then we should show other religion the same respect and not try to convert them. What if the Hindus started to seek legal justifications for their beliefs as well? What if they legalize the murder of any who slaughters a cow in India? There will be huge massacre of Muslims in India every Eid-ul-Azha. Ever think about that?

    If we don’t give religious minorities equal treatment in our own country then why so we expect equal treatment when we are living in UK or USA?Recommend

  • Great Applause for the Writer!
    No doubt, Farooq Tirmizi raised an excellent point on which many of the so called Torch bearers of Islam are silent.
    One thing is so clear, we are ruining Islam by saying that If a Muslim converts to any other religion he be killed.
    So, if a seeker actually wants to convert to Islam and we are dreading him that if you go back we want let u go…than who will dare to come!
    Atleast, my heart and my attachment to Islam does not allow me to believe this own formulated law induced in Islam by us.Recommend