Where ignorance is Bliss…

Mohamedarif Suleman – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Silence surrounds the hall when from across the room hails a point of order.  The silent majority turns round in apparent disbelief that the source of that voice is in fact, a far removed “lesser” individual who should in fact be keeping quiet.  Well, the obvious reason, and so well meaning as well, is to maintain unity.

Fast forward many moons, and this and any other supporting voices, go from faint to silent as perceived people power takes over.  The supreme trick works again, and things tilt back to the persuasions of the self interested few, with the unanimous endorsement of the silent majority, the herd.

As you look around your environment, you will only be able to spot the difference between good and bad, if you know what good is in the first place.  The prerequisite for knowing is to follow the many conditions of life and living as stipulated by religions and faiths across the spectre.  Taking the common denominator must not be an arduous challenge, however in reality, there is more parroting going on then there is understanding.  Look again.

The most shocking reality of our time is the level of enslavement we now suffer from inspite of our much more superior level of knowledge.  Often, people in this generation boastfully retort how exponentially rich we are in knowledge compared to our forefathers, the supposed generation of apes and monkeys.  Yet, in the myriad of this cynicism, lies our collective failure to answer why the people before us, then, could develop these wonders of the world and those minute details about what foods are good, and how should we live, and life practices, and so on, that arguably also gave them lengthy life spans.

With our advanced tools of technology, we can accurately compute distances amongst the stars in these distant galaxies, but the core knowledge as Ptolemy tells us, remains unchanged, so are we really smarter or were they? Would it be prudent to assert that we have better learning tools at our disposal and are just good operators of machinery rather than assuming otherwise?

Muslims across the globe are chagrined at the daily and almost routine spectacle of the bizarre annihilation of other Muslims.  Yet talk is all they can harness – talk and more wonder.  Then they come up, out of sheer desperation, with thoughts such as boycotting products and services, which messages are shared across the fleet of social media platforms with speeds some say, nearly contestant with the speed of light.  Sharing has acquired a whole new meaning.  No longer the noble trait of parting with endeared materials in favour of the underprivileged but in fact an electronic means to scandalise in the most dramatic fashion, issues and events that are not authenticated not the emanate from a source that is well recognised.  The haste to be the first one to bear the hot ugly news, compounds to be a disease that afflicts entire families, in which even legal minors, mysteriously armed with technology that destroys their power to reason by the very people that love them the most, and gave them life, make merry in the miseries of others as news flashes faster than fire.

Alas, the extent of the ignorance of our time has clocked the height of obstinacy and self righteousness as we all keep sharing the most inspirational thoughts and the most sacred literature, without ourselves being able to practice it.  So teachers and propagators of the good word, and themselves bereft of the very knowledge that they claim to own and possess.

The dimension of privacy is the only thing discussed when criticising the sharing and posting of sometimes intimate and mostly senseless pictures just to be in the news, where everyone is on an overload of information, and ready to pull the trigger of words and advises, where every personal affair, every visit to the downtrodden barber of hey, is headline story.  You and I have unknowingly become the bellweather of new trends and new philosophies, that are as empty as our hearts, in which the only lasting thing that now resides is self love, and the greed to survive despite all odds.  Here are some befitting couplets to set us on the path of introspection and reform from An Empty Sonnet:

              Here there be nothing worth saying aloud,
Shallow and morbid this sonnet does fray,
Beckoning from walls the echo no shroud,
This heart felt void flows nowhere to lay,
But still as the barren room calls out no more,
And the starring eyes follow my reflections throughout,
I find peace in the tranquil that glistens the floor,
Not for the lack of light that pours, do I pout,
Absent from this class of many to follow,
A table and chair destitute in longing to be worn,
Upon deaf ears the cold shuffles in dusty rows,
Where many a voice spoke volumes to lead and adorn,
No more, no more, sounds the stark silent bell,
Time to leave through the door, this blank faced clock did tell,

Here and now, I must rest my thought for nothing makes sense anymore.  They say I am beguiled by backward thought, and diseased by a resistance to change.  I wonder.  What is perfectly clear is that Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise…

About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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