Keep your hands to yourself, Maulvi sahab

Published: November 3, 2011

The word, 'maulvi' (cleric) used to be a word that would strike awe and admiration.

One day while I was travelling on a public bus on my way to university, I felt a hand on my backside. Startled, I turned around in an attempt to catch the culprit. However, the only person standing behind me was an old man. Clad in a white shalwar kameez and topi, this man’s pure white beard was long enough to reach his chest. He couldn’t have been less than seventy-years-old.

I doubted myself, thinking that I was just being paranoid and it was probably an accident. The old man probably had several grandchildren my age. He would never commit such an act. I turned back around. Thirty seconds later I felt the hand again. I was outraged. I turned and confronted the old man, but he pretended to be deaf.

”Excuse me! I am talking to you. What do you think you are doing?”

I got absolutely no response; he kept looking outside the window.  After failing at confrontation, I called the bus conductor and reported the harassment. Alas! This too ended in mortification. He said something to the old man in a language I was unable to decipher, and the two burst out laughing.

I was stunned at the standards of respect our society possesses.

I was dressed modestly in a kurta shalwar, and wasn’t wearing clothes that anyone could claim would prompt men to ogle or take me for a girl with a ‘loose character’.

“How else could I have protected myself?” I thought miserably. I was clueless as to what prompted this old man to indulge in such perversity.

Even though I had been brought up to respect my elders, after this incident, I realized that even the very elderly are capable of doing wrong.

The word, ‘maulvi’ (cleric) used to be a word that would strike awe and admiration in people a long time ago. Children were taught to respect these so-called pious old men, and try to imitate their deeds.

However, I have heard  the news of a maulvi raping a girl in a madrassah and of these same men beating a student till his leg was broken. I have heard real stories of maulvis preaching Islam to others but promoting domestic violence at home. I have seen maulvis shamelessly staring at women on their way to teach children the Holy Quran and I have heard the news of maulvis assaulting innocent children.

I have often noticed that instead of tapping the positive energy of the masses, sermons by maulvis tend to encourage negative energy which promotes aggression, disturbance, confusion and racism. I have wondered if they do so on purpose, in an attempt to wrongfully use their power. When a person is given the respect that he does not deserve, this is the inevitable outcome.

It is sad that two standards that should generate unquestioned respect from society, maulvis and the elderly, hold no special ranking with me. I was disgusted by the incident that took place on the bus. Where I used to see kindness and wisdom in the eyes of the elderly, now I see them on an equal platform as all others in our society. Similarly, my experience with maulvis has led me to believe they are no better than ordinary human beings and are not devoid of sin. In fact, they have taken advantage of people who consider them to be ‘men of God’.

In a society like ours, where the two classes of people who should be most respected misuse their status, how can we trust and respect each other? The most respected group of people has been transformed in to most feared one. Parents now remain alert when the maulvi sahib comes to teach their children.

Will there be a time when these once respected segments of society will regain their lost status? Will we ever be able to imagine a holy figure when the word ‘maulvi’ pops up?

I wish I could say that change is around the corner. However, I fear that none of this will happen anytime soon.


Sahar Syed

A freelance photographer who blogs at

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

  • Modazul

    Umm just coz that guy had a beard that doesn’t mean he was a maulvi :S Recommend

  • Ali Hasan

    Hypocrisy unlimitedRecommend

  • Irfan

    ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a Moulvi”

    Yes the situation is very unfortunate. Only proper Islamic and modern education is a long term solution of our problems.Recommend

  • PostMan

    1 – Sometimes I wish all men were like Kamran Akmal – cant hold what they are trying to grab. 2 – This is not restricted to maulvis or exclusively Pakistani males – harassmap anyone?
    3 – Men should respect women – that’s it! Awareness is a must.Recommend

  • Mj

    You would have been within your rights to make a hand print on his lecherous face. Such men thrive on non-action by their victims. The reaction by the conductor and those around you was disgusting, to say the least.

    Are we so naive to think that ‘Men of God(s)’ are above perversion? Have we learnt nothing from numerous child molestation cases among the Catholic priests? I suspect that molestation by our ‘maulvis’ would be much higher compared to the priestly cases due to much severe stigma attached to making such incidents known, and the hands-off approach to sex education by parents, which leads to children having no idea whatever of their rights and what should be considered unacceptable behavior. I have seen witnessed 8th grade Islamiat teacher rubbing the back and shoulders of a student, and a qari touching the thighs of another student.

    I for one will never leave my child with a qari/maulvi/priest/pundit. The risks are too damn high.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    I understand that the train of thought for most Pakistanis departs from Islam and arrives right back at it. But can we experiment with secular humanitarianism for a change?

    I’m sure you’ve noticed all the philanthropists and over-achievers who are good despite being non-Muslims? Sweden, Japan, New Zealand…all manage to produce good, well-behaved citizens in the absence of Islamic teachings, while we suffer from a painful deficit of decency and productivity despite constant nara-bazis and calls for religious education.

    Do you suppose we’re missing something here? And perhaps we should stop linking morality with religiosity?Recommend

  • Sarah B.Haider

    “All generalizations are false, including this one” – Mark Twain.

    First of all, your approach is highly generalized since you have labeled people on their face value. Having a beard and being clad in a white shalwar kameez does not make one a “maulvi” per se; neither do an abaya makes a woman chaste, or a prostitute for that matter. Similarly, a woman or man wearing western clothes cannot be termed “liberals”. I have seen someone who used to wear jeans and t-shirts like other guys in the university, nor did he have a beard and he was essentially a “maulvi” if I put it correctly. I think one must stop judging people on their face value. Having a beard or even a “genuine” maulvi does not guarantee that you have been sent down from the Heaven.
    As for the harassment (without generalization), 60 % of Pakistani men are intrinsically sexually frustrated (Tharkis, if I put it correctly) because of the lack of opportunities to follow their basic instinct. Every girl travelling in have gone through such incidents. And let me tell you, wearing a niqaab and abaya does NOT stop them from touching a woman upon getting an opportunity, so the absurd notion that “dress appropriately and they won’t look at you” does not apply here at all. The author made a mistake by “reporting” to the bus conductor and I think that you had been travelling in the bus for the first time which is why you don’t know the self-made rules which women travelling in busses follow. If they touch you, bash them verbally or if you are courageous enough, smack their head or give them a low blow so that they forget their manhood for 5 minutes. I have literally seen some women doing that, and I admire them for their courage. As for people condemning the act, I think their opinion does not deserve to be considered. Islamization of Pakistan or westoxication of the society is not going to work. Remember, these men are cowards to the core of their existence, so don’t be scared and show them some girl power. There is no other solution to “tharak”. Seriously!Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    I think it was Swami Vivekananda who said,”It takes a priest to destroy a religion”

    Come to think of it, all the power, respect and authority that a priest has is due to the fact that he mugged-up a book or two books. No understanding, no practice and no self-realization are needed……just parroting of the words is sufficient!!Recommend

  • Hasan

    By no means this should be tolerated. However, we should avoid calling people with beard, a molvi….Recommend

  • MD

    All religions have been a tool of exploitation throughout human history. It is a myth that religion can make a person good human being. The people who wear religion on their sleeves and still commit heinous crimes are the worst kind of hypocrites.
    These hypocrites thrive on the ignorance, vulnerability and helplessness of others. Recommend

  • baqar

    Well you shud have slapped him hard….afterall self-respect exceeds the need of keeping sanctity of a pervert.
    As for saying something about maulvis that can change them…well that ship has long sailed we have to bear this breed.Recommend

  • Sanity

    @Loneliberal PK:
    I have been following your comments for quite some time now. I must say you are an excellent thinker. I second your views.

    One should do right/good deeds and be moral not to please God or attain Paradise and avoid hell or achieve Liberation, but solely because it is right. Recommend

  • farooq

    @ Sahar..I thought you were visiting a Mosque and the Imam of Masjid grabbed your Musharaf but here I am wondering how you decipher that all white bearded man in their 70’s are Moulvis. This is Typical Stereotyping. aviod that.Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman Gilani

    The comments here are so dogmatic, the usual demonizing of clerics by phobic-of-religion liberals. Dear there are ulema-e-haq and ulema-e-soo, dont focus on ulema-e-soo only. There are very good aalims present in the form of Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Maulana Taqi Usmani, Allama Ibtisaam Elahi Zaheer, Maulana Tariq Jameel and so on.Recommend

  • Sana

    //I was dressed modestly in a kurta shalwar, and wasn’t wearing clothes that anyone could claim would prompt men to ogle or take me for a girl with a ‘loose character’. “How else could I have protected myself?” I thought miserably.//
    What on earth do you mean, Sahar Syed? Do you think that if I’m wearing jeans in a public place, I shouldn’t complain about being harassed because I have not “protected” myself? If I were you, I would have shamed the buddha khoosat by pulling his beard HARD and stamping on his feet, instead of running to complain to the bus conductor. High time we stood up for ourselves instead of expecting lecherous men to “protect” us.Recommend

  • san

    its all due to sexual frustration…it’s nothing else..Recommend

  • Mj

    I highly recommend women to start keeping pepper spray with them. The harassment will decrease substantially within a few years. Recommend

  • Ahsan

    Facial hair goes naturally on a man…its not that only ‘maulvis’ grow it…Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    cheap publicity…Recommend

  • Murtaza Ali

    1.) Any bearded man =/= Moulvi

    2.) I recommend this to all the young women and girls of Pakistan, to practice martial arts. They’re not forbidden by religious means, and I believe in a country like Pakistan, women really need the art of self-defense. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Lonelib Pki,
    Catholic clergy just filled BankCrupcy not too long ago if u remember and why u better knows too Gay priest….. Bacha baz.Recommend

  • sahar syed

    @sana: here in Pakistan when any harrasement takes place..the first thing that comes to mind
    of people here is ‘your dress might have prompted it’
    and as I wear jeans 90 percent of the time , I cannot mean in anyway that any other dress ocde except shalwar kamiz is improper

    @MJ and sarah: I regret not slapping him… pepper spray ..haha..good suggestion MJRecommend

  • Feminist

    @ LoneLiberal PK: I salute your views. You’re absolutely right, 90 % of the problems we’re facing could be solved only if we stop dragging religion into everything.

    Talking about generalizing people on the basis of their beards… I haven’t had a good experience with bearded men too. For some reason, my Qari Sahab found it ‘respectable’ to stare at a 15 year old me. All of the frustration bottled up inside them finds shameless ways to seep out. It is for the reason that whenever I have to travel on a rickshaw, it is a well known fact (that all of my friends know) that I never prefer the one being driven by a bearded man. Call me biased but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Ali Tanoli,
    Thank you for that red-herring. You’re right, which is why I don’t favour the Catholic church either.

    Also, this is not a “gay/straight” issue. If a perverted man harasses a female, you don’t say, “It’s because the man was straight. That’s why he did such a disgusting thing.” But when a perverted man harasses a male, then homosexuality as a whole comes under fire. Why’s that?Recommend

  • err

    Omg, did you just compare a bearded man to a maulvi sahab? I completely sympathised with you until I read that term and i realise your no better than those people who think girls who wear jeans are immoral and shalwar kameez ones are shareef (which actually u do make a point to mention you were wearing shalwaar kameez. Generalization much? You could have made a point without diving into stereotypes, you just lost your audience right there.Recommend

  • Pradeep

    You should follow the method my friend used to follow. She used to carry a compass from a geometry box. Pierce their hand when it ventures near you. Their situation will be like that of a “hiding thief who has been stung by a scorpion”. They can scream out At you. They have to silently bear the pain.Recommend

  • Chief “Saab”

    Well the good news is that many ‘molvis’ or ‘qaris’ now use video-conferencing technology to teach the Holy Quran remotely to kids. So at least they don’t have to be in close proximity to your child in order to teach the Holy Quran. However, I still wouldn’t trust the ‘molvis’ too much because who knows what they could or will show on the webcam. So the better alternative is either sit in the room when they teach your kids or have an older sibling monitor the whole session. The best alternative is to teach the Quran to your kids yourself or have a grandparent teach it to them.Recommend

  • sahar syed

    I do not mean to call the old man on the bus as a maulvi nor do I think of all the beared men as maulvis.

    but i do intend to say that maulvis in general usually contribute to harassment. I also cannt understand why every Tom dick harry is called a maulvi sahab who comes to teach quran.
    Maulvi is a title..that only should be given to a man of credible statureRecommend

  • Maham

    ummmm…just because that man in the beard wasn’t a maulvi doesn’t mean that children aren’t beaten to death and that girls aren’t raped in madrassahs.Recommend

  • muhammad naveed

    excellent’s a pity we don’t have more girls like you in pakistan.atleast you were not intimidated or scared off by his beard,otherwise the beard brigade get away with all sorts of crimes in our one dares say anything to a dariwala as the bearded ones think that by not shaving they have earned the license to not be criticised.Atleast you had the courage to write about your ordeal at the hands of this mullah.and bravo to ET for having the guts to publish this a society dominated by the religious fanatics atleast some newspaper has shown that it has the good sense and the moral courage to stand up for what’s right.Recommend

  • bigsaf

    Should have popped a punch into that pervert’s face…then into the conductor’s face for having a laugh with the pervert about it….and then punch the pervert again for good measure!Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    It is simply disgusting how whenever someone has the courage to write about something negative in our society people begin picking faults with it such as “your approach is wrong” and otther nonsense such as “this is an unfair generalisation”. You need to wake up and realise that this generalisation only exists in the first place because such things are SO VERY COMMON. Why can’t you just appreciate the point the writer is trying to make instead of becoming so defensive and utterly idiotic.Recommend

  • err

    As a girl I sympathise with you, and such behaviour is disgusting whether from an elderly or the norm. But when you casually throw in words like maulvi casually not only do you display prejudice yourself but you isolate your readers from the main gist of your analysis, which is that every girl who travels alone on the bus is thought of as fair game by such perverts. On one hand you say maulvi title should be delegated to someone credible stature and at the same time you have thrown in this word so many times in your article, as if this category of men are the sole precipitants of such culture.
    Again you need a perspective shift as much as the people your calling out. Do you know how offensive it is when you single out ‘maulvi’ as people who generally contribute to harassment? People like you give others excuses to say things like girls in jeans ask for it, or liberal fascists like to drag in religious people or religion everywhere
    If you are right on an important topic such as this, try to be informative not offensive, and appeal across the audience.Recommend

  • Texan

    I grew up in Islamabad and when I was in my “O” Levels … there was a girl in our class who all of us guys had a crush on. One day we all heard that she went to the “Numaish” or the Exhibition that used to take place once a year … it was a like an over-crowded bazar … and the word was that someone pinched her butt there and she just turned around and slapped the guy. He was so startled that he started apologizing.

    I will never forgive that guy because:
    – None of us guys ever had the guts to ask the chick out.
    – We all were scared of being slapped for even accidently bumping into her.

    Bottom Line: If someone pinches your butt …. dont necessarily slap them …. but make such a big fuss … that the perpetrator(s) feel out numbered.

    My Advice: Guys, come on, if you see a girl that you like … talk to her … tell her she’s pretty …. make her smile … compliment her … tell her that her smile makes your world brighter …. tell her that her twinkling eyes make your heart skip a beat or two !!! You will get a response then the response you will get from pinching her back side.Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    What Pradeep said.Recommend

  • Sara

    What else could it be other than Sexual Frustration ! Hypocrisy …Recommend

  • Ed

    There are good Maulvis and then there are those who pretend to be good maulvis but aren’t.
    Just like there could be good priests and then there were one’s who were involved in child molestation in churches in europe.
    Generalisations really don’t do any good to anyone.
    The name of MAULANA Abdul Sattar Edhi generates respect and only respect on most places on the planet…and there are many others worthy of respect.
    It is unfortunate that you had to endure what you did.
    …by the way…anyone here recalls Shaheed Dr. Ghulam Murtaza Malik? May his soul rest in peace – Ameen.Recommend

  • Dr F

    I am a medical doctor by profession and for about last 8 months or so I’ve grown a beard.With that I’ve felt that all of a sudden I’ve become a second grade citizen for quite a number of people no matter how poor or illetrate they are or how learned I might be.On the other hand many of my colleagues and workers in my hospital who knew me have started giving me more respect.This difference in attitude has made me think about it.
    I’ve become more critical of ‘moulvis'(though I hate this word)when they ogle at girls,or breaking laws,enticing road rage and many bad things which you wouldnt like to do in a civilized or ISLAMIC soceity. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of those ‘IDIOTS’ are those who have grown beard just as a ritual or as a sign of their ‘mardangi’.Most of the criminals that come to us after gunshot wounds have grown ‘beards’
    Very few of them have grown beards out of love for the sunnah.Its a pity that we can’t differentiate between these 2 categories so the only solution is patience (or may be some karate kicks).Unfortunately its a male dominant soceity,so most of the females are oppressed.
    About being a ‘MOULVI DOCTOR’:For illetrate patients coming from urban areas I’m a respectable ‘moulvi sahab’ but for many illetrate (and even literate) people like you I’m just a moulvi sahab whom anybody can blame to be a homosexual if he lowers his gaze on seeing a girl(trust me I’m not lying). We do not give anybody enough room. Jayen to jayen kahan
    So please do not generalize and pray for the hidayat of any oppressor instead of cursing him.Recommend

  • HJ

    I believe the word maulvi having been used so many times here is only reflective of the general usage in the society. What do you call the person who teaches your children the Holy Quran? Maulvi Sahab! How do you address a random person who sports a beard? Maulvi Sahab! The beard, which is infact a beautiful sunnah, has very unfortunately become a sign that warns you to beware of all such disgusting behaviour.

    Sahar Syed has very aptly put forward a thought provoking article. Her mention of appropriate dressing, as I decipher it, is also mentioned from the point of view of the society at large which believes that it has to be the girl’s fault in all such incidences. Recommend

  • u_too

    Burkha is your friend girl !Recommend

  • Awien

    You should have slapped him.Age difference does not matter here. Recommend

  • Ammad Hafeez

    Yeah, I have observed most of Bearded men show Sexual Frustration. Hypocrites :@Recommend

  • toocool

    why a reputed newspaper like tribune allow a stupid blog like this?… The comments here are so dogmatic, the usual demonizing of clerics by phobic-of-religion liberalsRecommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely written. If you had stuck to only a dirty old man story, you would have got a few sympathetic comments and advice like the pepper spray (great advice), the beard adds a whole different dimension to the story and justifiably so. Recommend

  • misspink

    At least a totally random maulvi did this to you. Someone at one of my relative’s place did the same to me, and he and his grown up and married sons were all supposed maulvis. Maulvi or no maulvi, young or old, anyone is capable of such acts. It does make you a bit apprehensive though, because now when I see a maulvi or random uncle I just head for the hills. Better to be safe than sorry.Recommend

  • shah

    if all of maulvis are hyprocrites,then u r not a legal child ,because some maulvi did read the nikah ceremony of your parents! and if all maulvis are wrong then the nikah was also wrong…. :D :DRecommend

  • farkhanda

    Calling mental pervert a Moulvi is beyond logic. You must have beaten him on the bus in fromt of other passengers insttead of reporting to conductors. These mentally sick people are not moulvis. My dear Sahar learn to respect your elders, and real religious scholars, dont ridicule them publicly, dont go for false comparisons. If a stupid person doned white touches a woman in a bus, it does not mean he is representative of Moulvis or elderly class. Believe me, Exceptions are alwyas there. I hope you need to visit some psycahtrist to get normal and avoid becomong paranoid……….Recommend

  • Heidi

    As a foreigner dressed in shalwar kameez, with my head covered, I was shouldered rudely off the kerbstone in Rawalpindi by a maulvi. When I asked my male companion why that had happened – all the other males around, shopkeepers and such, stood still watching what I was going to do – he replied that those men “were just like that ” and liked showing their moral superiority by insulting women in that way. You do have a problem in Pakistan, Sahar, and don’t let the comments of reactionary and hypocritical religious people detract from the point you are trying to make. I didn’t do anything as I judged that the poor man was miserable enough without me adding to it with righteous anger, but I don’t have to live with that kind of behaviour every day – and if it occurs it gets arrested and dealt with, so you girls must do what you need to to teach that kind of behaviour a lesson it won’t forget. Every time it happens.Recommend

  • Umair

    Welcome to the real world,u must have traveled by bus for the first time,let alone women there are perv’s who would molest children in any way possible,and i’ve experienced that in a bus……………………
    when i confronted my friends they all have had similar kinds of experiences, so it’s something that’s penetrated deep into our society and something that should be corrected.Recommend

  • A.G.Shaikh


  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    That was one straight maulvi.Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    Nicely written.Recommend

  • kk

    maulvi is only if he is a graduate from a madrassa ( it thinks they get a degree /certificate after studying in madrassa for atleast 6 years .. only an aalim can be called maulvi ,, even Mexican cowboys have beard, it does mean we can mexcian cowboys maulvisRecommend

  • MannyK

    Your story is believable, except for the part about you being on a bus!Recommend

  • Anum Pasha

    Sorry, but this is a ridiculous piece. Just because the guy had a beard – he cannot or was NOT a ‘maulvi’ – kindly please refrain from stereotyping and generalizing! Recommend

  • malik

    I think the author was not dressed modestly. If she had worn a hijab, this would not have happened.

    When you cover yourselves from head to toe, the man is not able to get attracted to you. Then you will be safe. This is the reason the crime against women in Saudi Arabia is almost nil.Recommend

  • Ihk

    Join the club… we’ve got jackets…Recommend

  • Tipu

    Whats the point of this story here, Who knows is it fabricated or real???Recommend

  • MAS


    I am sorry for incident happens to you, that would be really a bad experience to anyone. Just because a parson have beard, doesn’t mean he is molvi. Initially word molvi was used to represent a degree from Islamic institute regarding his knowledge. In Islam their is only one law that is applicable to any person of any race of any color whether he has small beard or long. If that beard person has done something wrong he must receive same punishment, that could be given to any shaved person.Recommend

  • Ilmana Fasih

    Go get a life, your whole purpose of bringing this incident up was to defame people who prefer to practice their religion more strictly then others would do, I can mention zillion of incidents of people without beards committing more heinous crimes, most of the politicians “looting” this country do not have beards,Recommend

  • Jibran

    @Mj: good idea – rather a taser should be even better! Recommend

  • malik

    @Dr F:

    People are now giving you more respect to you because now you have a beard !! You could have knocked me down with a feather !

    Having a beard makes you feel saintly and more pure? Do they see a halo over your head? Do they come to you now asking you to foretell their future?

    Don’t you know how ridiculous it sounds?

    The concept that, having a beard and no moustache, will endear me to God sounds outlandish and preposterous. I wonder when we will come out of such antiquated and moth-eaten beliefs !Recommend

  • Shoaib

    “When a person is given the respect that he does not deserve, this is the inevitable outcome.”

    Exactly! Recommend

  • Sajid

    @Loneliberal PK:

    I totally agree with you, thought hey dont have Islamic teachings but they do follow the basic rules / concept of humanity and civilization..Recommend

  • Muslim

    I as well condemn the act. Dear writer condemn the act not selected people.

    If it would a clean shaved moderate man then it would have been right ????
    Lame :SRecommend

  • Zaki Khalid

    Funny! If Bill Clinton being President gets involved with Lewinski, does that generalize all Presidents are double-crossing sex freaks? Lame arguments!Recommend

  • zalim singh

    have beard, do anything.Recommend

  • Hira z

    I know a molvi with a foot long beard having affairs with university gals and using foul language. Most dirty creature found on the land of Pakistan is yes surly is molvi.Recommend

  • sahar syed

    @sarah haider: these men behave? (see Mr, malik’s comment),,thats why i explained what i was wearing..

    guys guys…the emphasis is on Old man..not his beard…that is only a description.
    I keep wondering why are they so frustrated even at 70, 80 years?Recommend

  • OhLaLa

    @Sahar Syed
    How is your emphasis only on old men when you specifically singled out and littered your story with the word maulvi (upon the assumption that the bearded guy was one). Then you go on and link your experience with the rape and abuse of kids in madarassas? How are the two even connected? You have contradicted yourself through out the story.
    What is it that you are trying to prove? That ALL bearded men are maulvis? That maulvis specifically are perverts? Are you really one of those people who look at a man with a beard and roll your eyes and go like *’those maulvis‘ Isnt the more important issue the harassment of women who travel alone on public transport from all kinds of men?
    Instead you singled out ‘bearded men’ and then sensationalised the whole issue by making it about perverted maulvis everywhere, when the actual issue is utterly different (and supposed to focus on single women being harassed in public) If you generalise you will just give others an excuse to generalise.
    You are just as judgmental and ignorant as the people you are calling out to. Not to mention offensive! Recommend

  • Farzana Dawakhana ki Farzana

    @malik: “I think the author was not dressed modestly. If she had worn a hijab, this would not have happened.” I hope you are being either sarcastic or joking. If not, then it’s sick people like you who always blame the victim instead of the perpetrator. “Ooh she got raped because she was wearing something revealing”. Come out of your shell and see the real world for once.
    If I hesitantly even agree with your illogical logic for a second, I still don’t see how it makes sense. Let me make it simple for you to understand. How do you explain the rapes of minors in Pakistan, for example the 4 or 5-year-old girls that are raped? Based on your ‘logic’ they must have been scantily clad wearing a bikini or something similar. Also, how do you explain boys being molested in masjids? Were the boys wearing Speedo instead of the regular shalwar kameez?
    For God’s sake, start thinking of these problems objectively rather than blaming the oppressed instead of the oppressor. People like you make reporting crimes such as rape a taboo or a judgment on the victim’s morals.Recommend

  • Haider


    You clearly need to get out more if you think that wearing a burqa will prevent a woman from being harassed! link text And Saudi’s women are confined to their houses like pets, they can’t roam around the city on their own. Recommend

  • Silas

    If only you girls would slap the hell out of these people, they would think 10 times before doing it again, because being slapped in public by a girl is more embarrasing than anything. Punch them on the face. Believe me they would never retaliate. Recommend

  • Ali Noor

    @saharsyed: what baffles me is why didnt you hit him? If you thought that would have made things worse, you should have called men from your family, everyone has a mobile now. You could have coordinated the bus stops with your family men, for a proper beating.

    When there is will there is always a way. Recommend

  • scifi

    Jews also grow beards,Sikhs also do,Hindus in some priests also, maybe that person was a jew,sikh or hindu! how can u say that he was a muslim?! Recommend

  • Mohammed Nabeel Pervez

    @loneliberal PK:
    Agree with you wholeheartedly but humanitarianism and religion are interlinked and you can’t separate one from the other. No doubt that the issue raised by the author is more ethical than religious.

    All countries have people following different religions. And every religion has its ethical values. None of the religions allow sexual harassment. Most of us aren’t staunch followers of our religion; still our actions are affected by what we’ve been taught and which shapes us too.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    @sahar syed: They want to utilize the last drop of testosterone that they can excrete.Recommend

  • Cynical

    Sorry madam.Don’t belive none of this.
    It’s the land of the pure.
    Means, nothing impure happens here and anything that happens here is pure,absolutely pure. Recommend

  • http://http// omar nasrulla

    my mom was taking me up the Kutab Minar in Delhi. Suddenly a sikh did something similar—my young mom gave him a resounding slap. I was 6 and it was one year before partition.Recommend

  • nazish

    That is exactly my point. Long beards, buqas, niqabs etc. don’t make people pious their actions do.Recommend

  • rubab

    I don’t understand why you went to the bus driver. You should’ve slapped the idiot right then and there. That is the only way to control such disgusting perverts which are increasing day by day in our society.Recommend

  • sarmad

    “The crime against women in Saudia Arabia is almost nill”
    LOLLOLLOL. I cannot stop laughing at that comment.
    As someone whose entire extened family lives in Saudia Arabia and who has known hundereds of Saudi women and men throughout their life I really can not even begin to comprehend HOW wrong that comment is.
    Please come out of the hole you are living in.Recommend

  • zubair

    @ Scifi
    Oh come on this argument would have worked in another part of the world but how many jews are there in Pakistan. And no majority hindus do not keep beards. And i did not see Sahar mention that guy had a turban on his head so he obviously was not a Sikh.
    Seriously this is the lamest answer you could’ve come up with.Recommend

  • Zain

    Though I sympathise with you, I don’t agree with the premise that any person wearing a shalwar kameez and sporting a long beard is automatically a maulvi. One of my neighbours fits this description exactly and he’s not even a Muslim. He’s Christian.Recommend

  • malik

    Moulvis who dye their beards with mehndi are the most repressed and hence the most dangerous. Run for cover if you see such types. Recommend

  • yousaf

    @Author:- the word “maulvi” in the title of your blog is a misnomer,no doubt what that man did was most condemnable but to call him a maulvi because he wore a beard is not correct.just as all with beards are not maulvies similarly not all maulvies have beards.Recommend

  • samia

    I think the author called the guy molvi because thats what we generally call people with long beards in our society. We have made labels for everyone e.g. a pathan is khan sahab even though not all pathas are khans, a punjabi is chaudry ji or malik sahab even though not all of them are maliks or chaudris.
    Also in our society which is very judgemental people usually believe that older people especially older people who look religious are very pious. If you see an old man wearing a pagri and shalwar kameez compared to a young clean-shaven man in pant shirt who will you think is more likely to do something wrong. The writer is just talking about these stereotypes in the article.
    Moral of the story: what you look like on the outside does not affect your inside.Recommend

  • Atif Adnan

    Dear Writer

    I am amazed by this question man……

    “How else could I have protected myself?”

    you being a male/ A MAN are asking how could you proitecf yourself. Y u had to call someone for the help or wht ever, u should have confronted him directly.

    Sorry to say something that it not the case with Molvi Sheb only , Japan had to put in place a law to limit the public groping in local trains, sick minded ppl are everywhere around the world , the most painfulful act in modren Pakistan is that we always lable the molvis with all the bad doing in their characters.

    WE SHOULD REMEMBER that there are always black sheeps who bring bad to other.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Mohammad Nabeel Parvez,

    I don’t deny the concept of humanitarian service that is integrated in just about every religion. But this aspect is commonly overshadowed by a mountain of laws and rituals which have little practical value. They distract the believers from attending to humanity and its betterment, and instead attend to the demands and wishes of an unproven being who, even if really exists, has no real need for our time and attention anyway.

    About 80% of Swedish people are non-religious. Yet Sweden is a welfare state, and the fourth-most honest country in the world. This only proves the point that morality does not depend on religion.Recommend

  • uzma

    Having a beard does not make someone a maulvi, all maulvis do not sexually abuse people, and yes morality and religion are two separate issues—though one cannot deny that these issues, like all other issues in the world do interact with each other.
    There is a trend of connections between religious leaders (whether maulvis or bishops etc) being involved in sexual abuse and whether that is by chance or purely coincidental would be interesting to discuss. My friend has been repeatedly sexually molested in her childhood by her maulvi saab and to this day is uncomfortable with getting intimate with anyone. Mine slapped me and ran away and illegally built his house on a graveyard (haha) and was still respected by everyone…and the common stories go on.
    Of course there are plenty of non-maulvis who do similar things but it is the height of hypocrisy, acting against what one preaches so very self righteously that makes it even more difficult to digest. Leaders, whether religious, political or of any other kind carry greater responsibility for their actions as they serve as models for others to emulate. Leaders have power, and power does tempt people to take advantage of it and abuse it.
    The author mentioned “sermons by maulvis tend to encourage negative energy which promotes aggression, disturbance, confusion and racism.” That is very true, and such sermons need to be banned. I’ve noticed that often ‘na-layak’ kids who don’t do well in school and are in need of discipline are often sent to madressahs or the the military to be disciplined so there might just be a selection bias. The other thing is, imagine the life of a typical maulvi—everything is in the Quran, theres no room for doubt, search for answers, upward mobility—end of a stagnant story. Many don’t believe its ok to watch movies, listen to music, etc. so it must be extremely boring and as they say an idle mind is the devil’s playground.

  • sahar syed

    yes morality does not depend on religion but we expect morality At LEAST from religious preachers be they Muslims or of any other religionRecommend

  • Ather Sultan

    The problem with the author is that she has tried to paint all the people having beard with the same brush. Beard has nothing to do with fundamentalism / extremism. If this is the case, then I wonder what she would say about Jewish rabbis whose length of beard is known to everybody. Even in the days of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), Abu Jah’l had beard but he did not embrace Islam. There are countless examples where actions of a person having beard are not in conformance with the Islamic teachings, that’s why it has been said “Islam main darhi (beard) hai, darhi (beard) main Islam nahi”.

    After reading the blog and subsequent comments, I felt that there are certain confusions in the mind of the people regarding the beard which I would like to clarify. Firstly, the only place where the word “beard” has been used in Quran is when Hazrat Musa (Moses) held his brother, Hazrat Harun accountable by holding his beard. The Ulemah quote this verse with reference to the length of the beard.

    Secondly, the word “Sunnah” is often associated with the Holy Prophet (PBUH), however, if one reads Quran, the word “Sunnah” has been attributed to Allah whereas the word “Sabeel” (way, path) has been associated with the Holy Prophet (PBUH). So, I would like to differ with those who say that growing beard was one of the “Sunnahs” of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) as every prophet had grown beard. The real “Sunnah” of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was “Jehad” (waging war in the way of Allah) & “Tableegh” (propagating Islamic teachings through whatever resources you have) which he had done during the last 23 years of his life. Unfortunately, today many people consider growing beard, doing meswak, keeping clothing above one’s ankles (males only) & wearing turban / cap as the only Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

    Thirdly, change is the only unchanging need that a man possesses. Growth of facial hair on men’s face is a natural phenomenon which is inevitable. My point is that if one’s identity becomes his/her label, then he/she should not feel ashamed of wearing it.Recommend

  • Sarah Fazal

    You’re talking about a “pious” maulvi. Crime has always been within the society the only difference is that it wasn’t as exposed. This is the era where a father raping his own daughter is exposed; much to the horror of our typecast society that Father,Maulvis, Relatives can never look at girls in the wrong way.Recommend

  • Waleed Hussain

    Now let me tell you what real Maulvi will tell you:

    1st of all you shouldnt travel among men like that – there must be separation of men and women inside bus which we do have at many places.

    2nd — by saying you were wearing kurta shalwar, this definition of a modest dress is done by ur own thoughts, for me long skirt would be modest and for others even a swimsuit would be ok. Only the dresscode mentioned in Quran is the modest one.

    3rd — your complaining there to the conductor, making a fool out of yourself, not stopping the evil right then and there and now propagating to apply Tharki theology to every person with a beard is an evil in itself. You should have stopped it by your hand, or by your tongue, or felt it bad in your heart and this latter one is the lowest level of emaan.

    4th — every person with a beard is NOT a molvi. People termed this out because many men nowadays shave their beard and leave those having them with a perception of being a molvi. In old times even worst enemies of Islam had a beard.

    5th — the strictest and most strenuous punishment in Islam is for harassing (in extreme case– rape) women. The harassment you faced would be punishable if there’s proper implementation of Islamic law. Recommend

  • Dear Effected by our Society Ladies and Gentlemen,

    What happened with you was because you were without “Mehram” Women Must Always Travel with Mehram Properly Covered Means Ony Net Dupatta Cannot Cover you at all so you shld have wear sumthing loose.Travelling in a Public Transport have some requirements he was able to touch you cuz you were standing very close to Man Section Definitly he must have seen something that you didnot realize is wrong no hard feelings but Women normally stands in their section taking rest on the Steel Rods Separater which normally do things that women cannot imagine so please stop using thos separarter as your back rest equipment.

    PARDA is your solution and Shaitan is responsible for all that what happaned to you not hat man he must have been Crazy evil man but you have some fault too in your actions.Recommend

  • sahar syed

    so we should take mehram to our university on an hours ride from clifton to gulshan on public bus? and if that mehram is our father…..he should go with us in public bus…then go back..and come back to pick us up..and then go back..good solution.

    women stand too close to the men’s section? and so men get the right to do whatever they want? thankyou for the information. I was sitting in the women’s section by the way!

    parda is a solution?My cousin who wears burqa from head to toe faced a similar situation in bazar..the difference was that she slapped him hard..and that is the only solution

    @ather: i am not against beard walas. the beard was only used as a description.Recommend

  • Sarah Fazal

    I agree with Sahar. Women in parda or even with Mahram get treated in a degrading ways. And i don’t get it when Islamists project women guilty due to her lack of proper dress code,or travelling without a Mahram.. Why is Islam just subjected to women to you men? What about the fact that Allah asks you to respect a woman? I don’t see a statement where just cz a woman is not dressed properly you can treat her or ogle at her as you may please.

    We all as muslim shouldn’t forget our duties be it a man or woman.Recommend

  • http://none.moc bp

    Get it right, it is maulawi. And it doesn’t not mean cleric and can’t mean that when the concept of the clergy is absent in the language. It is a title of endearment meaning my master given to your teacher.Recommend

  • YNA

    its very simple in such condition girls or ladies should have a pepper spray with them, and the moment such incidents happen spray it all over them, once punished so severely that theirs eyes burn for days they would eventually learn a lesson to respect females in the society and alas males would not be abused in generalization.Recommend

  • hassan

    Lol if u think that is weird and inappropriate, just think how i felt when i saw my cousin (which is a dude) being sexually harassed by a “maulvi”….i had no choice but to beat him up,me and my friends always annoy him cuz of that little incident lmao

    and i really feel bad for u,these so called “maulvi’s” are the one’s messin up our country i actually am an american citizen and i have a few friends over there that became maulvi’s and i must tell u their really devoted towards islam and are true maulvi’s….well i guess its the old saying, that a country acts like its leader…. or something like that :pRecommend