The crescent moon has arrived — alone, tender and grand. Couched on the clouds, she seems to lend herself to all the earth tonight. The world is invited to commune and confide, to surrender all its tears, cries and hopes in the caress of her listening.
The joy of Eid is followed by the truth of our terror-stricken world today. Week after another, the blood in the ink of our headlines screams of violence, rape and tragedy — terrorism and wars fuelled by bigotry, politics and grabby business.
Where is this endless river of blood flowing from and how may I negate it? The terrorist, the politician, the lamenter and the layman: all are united by one fact and that is their inherent condition of being human. And if I want an answer, I’d like to begin by looking within.
Many of us toil and struggle to escape from our own insufficiency, loneliness, inner poverty and isolation. And we decorate this sense of escape with glamour, to make it look inviting. Consider what would happen if we — you or I — were robbed of power, position, wealth and the inflated sense of self these give. We would resist it, wouldn’t we? We take the image of ourselves to be so important that we’d fight any challenge to it with violence, or with cunning and ‘rational’ arguments. Because, if we were to voluntarily set aside all our myriad acquisitions at all levels of our being, we would be ‘nothing’, wouldn’t we?
So, we prize the outer appearance of ourselves without caring for inner substance. One person wants a particular outward show, and another wants a different one, and from this conflict comes fear and hate, violence and death. I, with my ideology, shove my self on you, who believes in something else, and hence we destroy each other, whether in the name of peace, sufficiency, employment, or in the name of God.
The sort that fuels the likes of ISIS, Donald Trump and their tribe is their terrible obsession with their beliefs, religions and ideologies — they use these to assert their sense of importance in the world, to cover the sheer emptiness that spook their hearts. And there is a sort among us who respond to this vacuous wind of hate with similar foolishness: we stigmatise entire communities, making them objects of suspicion and disdain, discriminating against them in hallways, destroying the countries they come from. One ideology pitted against another — both, vehicles of violence.
This Eid, while I join my friends across the world in solidarity, prayer and hope, I want to rid myself of the fear of being ‘nothing’ — renouncing the need to be looked upon as the ‘best’ or the ‘revered’ — and finding a fullness in my heart that is entirely different. And as this new freedom flowers in me, the society, the country and the world — when each is not trying to better the other in prestige and status — I think the seeds to a new tomorrow shall be sown.
Perhaps there is a reason why the moon glows alone.