These are true stories, fictionalized to protect the identity of the characters. All photos are borrowed and have no actual association with the story.
This series of “Stories from Pakistan” were related to me when I researched the reasons for moral decay in Pakistanis, and the evolution of “the Talibanisation of Pakistan”.
The analysis of the stories is my own.
Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and squander not (thy wealth) in wantonness. Quran: 17.026 :
He…………… was a poor young man from a small village in the North; She was an affluent, educated wife of a CEO from Karachi.
She was the mistress and lady of the house and he was her driver.
One day he heard from his uncle the truck driver that his mother was desperately ill with cancer and would die unless taken to the Shaukat Khanum Hospital in a city far away from their village. Money was needed and someone needed to take her there.
He had a good job, driving his mistress in her Mercedes earning 7000 Rupees a month. He needed 5000 more to get his sick mother to Lahore, where the cancer hospital was located. This put him in a quandary. If he left his job and took his mother to the hospital in Lahore, he would lose his job as well as the money needed to finance her treatment.
She………….. was a graduate of St. Josephs College an elite college in western education run by the Catholic Nuns. A college providing free education to the catholic girls on the backs of the city’s Muslim elite that beat down the doors to get their girls into the college.
Her parents were Muslims by birth but secular by choice. She had never been educated in the Quran and was not aware much of the Sunnah, which to her like many other girls growing up in Pakistan was an optional path. Her children were grown and married and had their own homes. She loved shopping, for them, for herself and for her friends.
He came to her and asked her if she would give an advance on his salary of 5000 Rs, to take care of his sick mother. She was irritated. These drivers from up north always had some excuse; if it wasn’t a sick mother it was a dying grandmother. She told him that she did not have 5000 Rupees to give him, and that was that. Having said that she rapidly forgot him and carried on with her lunches and visits with family and friends, till her husband got home in the evening.
The next day he was summoned to drive her to the shopping mall. After shopping all day she came out of the mall in the late afternoon laden with lots of bags filled with her purchases. He rushed to her assistance in his usual respectful manner.
There were at least ten bags. As he was loading them into the trunk, one of the bags ripped and the contents and a rolled up paper fell out. As he stuffed everything back in the torn bag and placed it in the trunk, he glanced at the piece of paper that had unrolled in its descent. He picked it up and glancing at it realized that it was a receipt. He froze as he saw the total amount and his breath stopped as he tried to focus on the end total of Rupees 25,000.
She had been brought up in an affluent home, where money was never an issue. Where servants were seen and not heard and sometimes not even seen. Her convent education had precluded her from her Islamiat classes which she was happy about as Arabic was so difficult. She had been beautiful in her youth and some of the well preserved looks still lingered. Her life ran like a smooth well-oiled machine, there was no incentive to learn anything as old fashioned as The Quran. It was the book bound in a beautiful cover, which graced the upper most bookshelf. It had been used for a ceremony at their wedding and since then had never been cracked open.
He was a child of war torn Afghanistan when the Afghans were fighting the “Godless Russians”. In crossing the border to Pakistan he had lost his grandfather, his father and all the rest of his family members. It was only he and his mother who had survived the trek from the mountains of Afghanistan into Peshawar.
His mother had kept him hidden from the Madrassahs where one could get free food and free education. She was fearful of madrassahs, as she had heard from others in the camp that mysterious aircraft with no men in it dropped bombs onto Madrassahs. She was going to make sure her son did not go to any madrassah. She regretfully accepted that her decision also meant that he would never be able to learn the Quran.
Thus he had learnt his English and his math at the NGO camp. His mother could not read the Quran, though she revered it. Having lived in makeshift areas she had not had the continuity of a secure family life to learn the Quran from her elders. Her nomadic life in the fifteen-year war with Russia had taken its toll on the family, which barely kept body and soul together.
Thus she had acknowledged with sadness that she could not teach him the Quran, the salaah or its meaning. She had a strong faith in God and transmitted that to her son in the best way she could.
One day his uncle who was a trucker invited him to go to Karachi a city 1500 miles away from his village where he said jobs abound.
She sent him away knowing as she said goodbye to him that she may never see him again, but that he would do well in a job as a truck driver, in the remote but large bustling city of Karachi.
Standing at the open trunk of the Mercedes in the parking lot of the mall, the receipt in his hand, his head was spinning. The tidal wave of rage was rising like a tsunami in his heart spreading into the cool areas of his brain, until all he could see was his sick mother and the receipt for goods for 25000 Rupees. Just as the fire of rage ascended to its peak, the chill of cold focused anger settled in his heart and mind. He shut the trunk and slipped into the driver seat.
She was looking at the new fashions in the glossy magazine she had picked up at the mall. Soon she realized that the car seemed to have been traveling for a while and they were still not home. She looked up and out of the window and saw the desert in the outskirts of Karachi. She was alarmed but coolly tapped him on the shoulder, “Are you lost?” Where is this?” She asked, authoritatively. He did not answer, but turned onto a wide stretch of sand and brought the car to a standstill.
He got out of the car and opened her door, his eyes cold with anger. She was petrified but maintained her arrogant composure.
He then said showing her the receipt “ you had told me you did not have the money to advance me 5000 Rs from my salary to help my sick mother, and look at this”………..he said showing her the receipt for 25000 rupees,………..“this!”……….He said. Utter contempt, rage, disgust, and the finality of end point anger poured into that one word, and without another word, he killed her on the spot. He killed her!
The Karachi news and media erupted into another tirade of venomenous indignation against the Taliban.
A man in need, but in Ghafala (ignornace of the Deen that brings peace, trust and faith in God) and thus devoid of the rope of Hope from Allah. A woman raised in greed and ghafala ( ignorance of the Deen that sensitizes one to the needs of the less fortunate and teaches compassion and the fear of God), oblivious to the rights of the needy, devoid of the knowledge and commandment in the Quran to fulfill the rights of the needy instead of” wasting it wantonly”.
Pakistan……………….. unraveling the fiber of its moral fabric, stitch-by-stitch, person-by-person, at all the levels of society, where the light of the Quran has not permeated, and the darkness of Ghafala presides.
004.093 YUSUFALI: If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.
O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you. Quran 004.029