To my fellows in faith - By Maryum Ameen
Bhatkal is my hometown and I absolutely cherish the principles and fundamentals that govern it. In a generation where the hijab and all other forms of veiling that Muslim women use is misunderstood as oppression, Bhatkal proudly has continued to maintain and encourage the concept of pardah so strongly that no person or political propaganda has succeeded in destroying it. In a generation where people are driven only by personal interests and hold no importance for the notions of brotherhood, it brings me immense joy that the people of Bhatkal; to this day compete in mastering the art of hospitality. Another major achievement, in my opinion; is that while preserving its tradition and customs, this town has built itself from a small foresty village to a well-established town in the area that surrounds it. We have undoubtedly witnessed rapid modernization in almost every field there is. My personal favorite, however; has to be the increase in the established educational institutions and the collective realization of the people regarding the importance of proper schooling and graduation. This drive towards improvement has also resulted in the development of various facilities in the fields of medicine, infrastructure, commerce, etc. This I strongly believe is a development that everyone must be grateful, appreciative, and proud of. However, every coin has two sides, and inevitably; this one does two. Every time I visit my hometown, I cannot help but notice that the city has confused modernization with Westernization. Islam is a modern religion and we all are not freshers to the fact that our religion has given us rules, regulations, and rights that the world fights for now. These female rights and equality that the people protest for today; were given to us 1400 years ago. Westernization, however; is a concept that is not allowed to us and is something we must free ourselves from. I find it extremely saddening to note that women neglect household activities, men indulge in unethical commercial practices and the increase in the supposed ‘café culture’ bring the city no gains. It has in fact bought unrest in households and has led the nation to perceive the town differently. Westernization is a vulgar practice and must be actively frowned upon. Our town holds the potential to reach heights and is consistently doing so but these few mistakes we commit as a community might bring obstacles in our road to success. Only Allah has the power and capability to help and make our journey easy. On that note, I would like to share a few lines I penned; ‘I know it hurts to walk alone, With dejected self and ties sore I know it hurts to lift the weight Of staggering hope and a ceaseless wait. The world calls you a hopeful fool They tell their children to be nothing like you Abandoned, you've been, by your very own Forgotten they have; of their loyalties sworn. But with hope you walk on this impending path, Standing tall, despite the never-ending darts Belief you have, that blessed is your fate Because in the greatest of all, you have placed your faith. Oh you on this journey, I wish to see you be great I pray you never are a victim, to worldly baits My faith and your faith are one and the same Dejected we won't be if we keep calling His name For pleasing Him, is our final aim.’ (A Bhatkallys.com disclaimer informs readers that the opinions and thoughts expressed on an online platform reflect only the author’s views).