the Voice of Youth
By Ali Suleman
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
Just before the French Revolution, an elderly woman used to roam about in the streets of Paris. In her hands, there used to be two bowls, one brimming with water and the other sparking with fire. She used to say that she wished to burn Heaven with that fire, so that noone does a deed of virtue for the mere greed of paradise. And she wished to extinguish Hell from that water, so that noone shuns a sin just for the fear of being burnt in hellfire.
This noteworthy lady was reminded to me last night (the alleged shab-e-braat), when my cell-phone got flooded with an avalanche of text messages from my contacts, all requesting me to forgive them for whatever they have done wrong to me, or God will destine their next year as unlucky! In other words, ‘Okay, okay, I’m sorry for everything; don’t punish me now!’. A mere thought of such a preposterous fancy crossing through one’s mind should be enough, I suppose, to convince him to consult a psychiatrist; saying it loud and clear in front of someone you wish to seek pardon from is another thing altogether. What you actually mean is that all you want from me is a signature on your “sorry application”, so that you go and show it to God, and gain His blessings. Where is the introspection? Where is the repentance? Where is the guilt? The concept of selfless virtue is almost extinct among us now. The actual meanings of the word “sorry” are being faded, just as its use escalates with every eye-blink. “Sorry” has become a custom, an accepted tradition, instead of an apology. If we elaborate the sentence “I am sorry”, it would rather become: “I regret what I did to you on that particular moment. I feel I shouldn’t have done that. And I assure you it won’t happen in the future. Now, would you please forgive me?”
Now tell me mister text sender. Do you really regret all those times you hurt me? And do you really feel you shouldn’t have done that? And to you assure me that it won’t happen again? Well, no. You don’t even know what you are being sorry for! And still you surmise that I will forgive you! For what, by the way?
After circulating these texts to everyone they could think of, from the 2nd grade mathematics teacher, to the neighbourhood’s last gardener, presuming themselves to be sin-free angels, these people expect God to take this signatures for granted, and turn them fortunate for the year to come!
How interesting it is! Whole year, you torment others, you foster hatred, you con, you lie, you backbite, you slander, and at the shab-e-braat, when you come to know that you are about to be trailed in the court of God, and are about to be held responsible for your deeds, and your accountability is imminent, you quickly start rotating text messages, seeking a “forgiveness certificate”! WOW! What a subtle and neat expression of obstinate selfishness! The next year long, you will do the same. You’ll torment others, you’ll foster hatred, you’ll con, you’ll lie, you’ll backbite, you’ll slander, and then at the next shab-e-braat, you’ll again rely on your text-message-forgiveness-certificate! Who do you think you are trying to hoodwink? God? Huh! Forget about that, my dear! Come to me and excuse when you really feel guilty of your actions. But if what you want is a ‘lucky year’ only, then I am never going to forgive you that way! I am sorry, but you are NOT sorry!