Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
The advent of the ICT revolution has undoubtedly placed the world at a very unfamiliar and exciting threshold, where there is so much knowledge around for everyone to pick and utilise to their advantage and for the benefit of humanity in general.
One of the greatest engines of this phenomenal growth has been the technology of the internet and its various offshoots such as email, instant messaging and other media applications. When the technology first came, it was slow and expensive compared to today. Of course, arguably most of the expensive nature of the service is still attributed to profiteering rather than a true reflection of supply -demand.
We regularly hear elders speaking in dismay about why, despite the presence of so much knowledge today, there is still difficulty in understanding of concepts or in maintaining, for example, body health. 50 years ago, one could lay the blame on unavailable knowledge, but today things are different. You can pick any simpletone and if he has gone through a medical case in his family, he will give you a verbose and accomplished sermon about the processes involving diagnosis, cure and treatment from appendix to cancer.
The question that therefore lurks in the mind is why then we all still have issues using the knowledge we have. Let me explain. In Dar es Salaam, the most fascinating things in outdoor foods is the barbeque. Travellers to Dar will tell you that if you did not taste these, you have not been to Dar. But save for established houses, there are also several other street vendors whose mishikaki’s (dubbed thumni thumnis for the fifty cent coin size) are a great delicacy, until you see the hygiene issues with eating at such joints. Each person, having bought his number of sticks, smoothly glides the bite sized grilled meat through his actively salivating mouth, then hands back the stick to the seller, who immerses this in a bucket of water, mostly unchanged for long hours, and in some cases, days. Visitors, even from other advanced countries, don’t mind having it, in fact drool over it, inspite of the fact that in their own homeplace they are very picky about clean places. Dar also has one of the world’s most haphazard sewerage and waste water system, that snakes along old routes, now overcrowded and eventually burst out into the streets. It is not uncommon to see streams of murky water along main passage ways in the city. Yet, you may find crowded places on the sides where food sellers are doing good business. Something as senseless as this, you would wonder. Yet, no knowledge is of help.
Many such things are happening all over the world, where most of us are bargaining the better of two options, which may not necessarily be a good one after all.
Young people are today a force to reckon with. They have a much higher disposition to knowledge and awareness, yet most of it is superficial. They are a force to reckon with as far as economics are concerned, but because their social development is not keeping pace, they are ultimately going to create more chaos in society. Sample this advice from a marketing journal: Of all the generations born on Earth, the current youngsters are the biggest Blabbermouths. If they don’t like something, its going to go straight to Facebook, twitter or any other social networks. In fact, people ask online whether they should watch a movie or not. So if you don’t deliver your promises while targeting youngsters, be ready to watch your brand fall online. And once that happens, it will be difficult to rise up.
Here again, you see knowledge of ICT – but limited to rumour mongering and spread of ill about others all in the name of reviews and references to help others. Another popular use is to find scandal and to post it. In the groups I belong, for instance, each time you ask for something of knowledge to be discussed, you are met with jokes or silence. A joking generation. What does Allam Iqbal say about them:
‘ Masjid To Bana Di Shab Bhar Mein Iman Ki Hararat Walon Ne
Mann Apna Purana Papi Hai, Barsoun Mein Namazi Ban Na Saka
Though the mosque was built overnight by the believers
Our heart being old sinner for years devout could not be
Kya Khoob Ameer-e-Faisal Ko Sannosi Ne Paigham Diya
Tu Naam-o-Nasb Ka Hijazi Hai Par Dil Ka Hijazi Ban Na Saka
What a beautiful message did Sanusi give to King Faisal
By descent you Hijazi are, but in heart Hijazi could no be
Tar Ankhain To Ho Jati Hain, Kya Lazzat Iss Rone Mein
Jab Khoon-e-Jigar Ki Amaizish Se Ashak Piyazi Ban Na Saka
Though eyes become wet there is no pleasure is in this weeping
If by mixture of affliction’s blood tears pink could not be
Iqbal Bara Updeshak Hai, Mann Baaton Mein Moh Leta Hai
Guftar Ka Ye Ghazi To Bana, Kirdar Ka Ghazi Ban Na Saka
Iqbal is a good advisor, fascinates the heart in moments
He did become hero in talk, but one in deeds he could not be.
Talk heroes…that is the summary in Iqbal’s view. From morning to evening, we keep receiving shares and forwards on all of the platforms we subscribe to. Most of them are from someone else, who we don’t know or whose anectodal advice, we do not follow. But we keep punching the send button, for what great reputation we can enjoy for being propagators.
Could this be another reason why mosques may be physically full, but in spirit, they are dead. And before you jump to any offence, greeting with a smile, may be the first step in the right direction, but talking ill behind their back is not, or meeting people at the mosque and not trying to know who has a need that you can fulfill, are certainly backward steps. We may have made large mosques, fabulous in design, but we are failing the spirit of the House of Allah. let me end with another couplet by the revered poet in a celebrated piece Paris Ki Masjid Paris Mosque
Meri Nigah Kamal-e-Hunar Ko Kya Dekhe
Ke Haq Se Ye Haram-e-Maghrabi Hai Begana
What should my eyes, but an architect’s Nimbleness,
See in this shrine of the West? It knows nothing of God.
Haram Nahin Hai, Farangi Karishma Bazon Ne
Tan-e-Haram Mein Chupa Di Hai Rooh-e-Butkhana
Mosque?—the Frankish illusionists
Have smuggled into the carcass of a shrine, an idol?hall’s soul!
Ye But-Khuda Unhi Gharat Garon Ki Hai Tamer
Damishq Hath Se Jin Ke Huwa Hai Weerana
And who built this palace of idols?
The same robbers whose hands have turned Damascus into a desert.