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One Grand Retraction

Writing it out, that has been my way of organizing my thoughts. I have been doing that for over a decade now. I have been writing for magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs, until recently, when I abruptly stopped. My primary objective has always been to make sense of my life and help people in making sense of their lives. It was not just writing. I have been delivering lectures, teaching books, making videos, developing software, compiling poems, debating, counselling, writing emails etc. I was deeply involved and ecstatic.

At the back end of this enormous output was a very immersive effort. I was deep diving into books, listening to lectures, attending seminars, watching documentaries, contemplating and praying. I have been sincere. Although, I have been very unequivocal of what I believed to be right, I have always been critical of my own views. I have retracted several times. I have never been shy of saying ‘I was wrong’. And yet again I want to do the same: ‘I was wrong’. You might have applauded the spirit in my writing, the choice of my words, the clarity of my argument, but many a times ‘I was wrong’. You might have distributed it further, you might have given me a prize for it but many a times ‘I was wrong’. Hence, I save myself the pain of revisiting what I’ve said on any digital or non-digital forum and writing individual retractions to them, I am making do with this one grand retraction.

“There’s more to life than happiness”; for those born in religious societies, this very basic lesson is being taught from early childhood. Unfortunately, this message is appended with a very narrow understanding of what is ‘more’ to life than happiness. A very confined, restricted and unamendable understanding of salvation is indoctrinated into kids from early childhood. Along-side, a very static and stringent moral code is also injected. Critical questioning is given a death blow by discouraging, and stigmatising it. To question the ‘ultimate truths’ is presented as one humungous sin. So, I religiously adopted the scheme of salvation that was injected into me paternally, socially and culturally, without any need to critically look beyond what is being indoctrinated. I was a blind follower. I subscribed to the long list of ‘moral laws’ presented to me by ‘arguments of authority’.

Then I started challenging what was told to me as ‘ultimate truth’. I realised there are hundreds of versions of ‘truth’ being broadcasted out there with the same amplitude and I could not gulp the fact that I was ‘born lucky’ on the one true path. Then it was a long struggle to find out which version of truth was right. I accepted, tried and rejected several versions of truth. But, I never was able to fully break out of the ‘filter bubbles’. I was ever-changing, but always in quest for a long list of ‘ultimate truths’. With every version of truth that I accepted I was always convinced that I had hit the jackpot of true path to salvation.

I have been precariously zealous; always eager to get the message across and convey what I thought to be right. And after every intellectual jump I was struck by grave regret on what I had been transmitting with so much passion. And when the same thing happened over and over again, I was forced to take a step backward and contemplate. I realised there was something fundamentally wrong with my approach. It was far too narrow. I was looking for a truth that was absolute, static and fully-told. What if truth had never been fully told? What if there were versions and facets of truth still to be explored? May be it’s in the very nature of reality, that it can never be fully-told.

This idea melted all my rigidity and transmuted my constricted understanding of reality. This realization led me on the most treacherous of journeys; the journey of radical doubt, maybe that’s what, makes it holy.  It was no easy leap; it was a leap of faith into restlessness of reason. And I took my time to unlearn the truths that I had absorbed. I took my time to uncondition myself of cultural and social learnings and habituations. Now, that I feel free, I can truly empathise and philosophise. For me 2013 has been about these two words. And I plan to carry on this quest to submerge into versions of truth that have been already told and understand the dynamics of truth. I plan to enhance my ability to empathise with another soul, which requires enormous learning; learning of human mind, human instincts, human conditioning, human body and many more. But, before I go farther from the shore, where I fail to recognise what I was, I wanted to put out this grand retraction, so I can truly make a fresh start.

Comments

abubakar
Reply

When you say ‘This idea…’ in the last paragraph, do you mean the questions that posed at the end of the previous paragraphs?
Because they don’t seem to heavy enough to cause a grand retraction.

Muhammad Awais Tahir
Reply

Yes, I am referring to the idea that the truth not be fully-told already. So, to explore the truth you might have to look into the present as much as you have to look into the past. By truth I only mean the truth regarding salvation: including the beliefs and the moral code. It does seem a fairly different perspective then just looking into the past to find answers, like is commonly done in religious circles. Anyways, my idea of moral-code, will of God and nature of divine law has been revolutionized, which led to this grand retraction.

Sheikh
Reply

Thank you for your e xploring thoughts. May Allah bless you.

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