Marvi Memon What is our ethos? It is Huqooq-ul-Ibad. I am no expert in Islam; sadly, our generation has abdicated its responsibility of discussing the Islamic principles in political life because of the Mullah, out of the fear of getting it wrong and then getting into trouble with the Mullah. However, when we say Islam is not just a religion but a way of life, then it is only natural to look towards it when we find ourselves in a mess. My mother taught me that all the answers are in the Quran. She is absolutely right. I had said some time back that Pakistan, while being the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, had nothing Islamic left about it as a country. I meant this in all seriousness and it also made me sad to admit this. Look around you and you dont find real Muslims the way the description of Muslims is. Those living abroad look more like Muslims, if Muslims have been instructed to be disciplined and considerate about the rights of others. The concept of a Mussalman is equally critical. For me, I was neither a Shia, nor a Sunni since I was taught to be a Mussalman. And when it was my turn to pass it to the next generation, I remember the echo of my toddler as he used to say the same: I am a Mooosalman. I inherited this kind of thinking mostly from my Sindhi paternal grandmother who was technically - I suppose - a Sunni, and my Saudi maternal grandmother who was definitely a Sunni. The former was my best friend and I remember lying in her lap, as a child listening to her stories about how ehtaram for Muharram was an obligation on all Shia-Sunni alike. And then later on in life when I got a close experience with Shias, I realised that a part of me associated with both. It was my Pakistaniyat and it was, more importantly, my Islamic way of life. What was that ingredient, in both, that made me run towards the two sects equally. It was, perhaps, the sense of humanity and history. The sacrifices made by the Prophets (peace be upon him) family gave renewed vigour to Islam. I felt better and richer thinking of myself as a bit of both and, therefore, as a whole Mussalman. Linked to this was my take on Huqooq-ul-Ibad. It was the strongest notion ever and the most beautiful one. Both rights - Huqooq-ul-Allah and Huqooq-ul-Ibad - formed the entire spectrum of rights. But the importance given to the latter was for a reason. I want to quote from some paras on the internet on the same, which are extremely enlightening. Ab Hurayrah relates in Sahh Muslim: The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) asked us, 'Do you know who is bankrupt? We replied, 'The one among us who is bankrupt is someone who has neither gold nor silver nor any provision. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, 'Among my people, the one who is bankrupt is the one who - after praying, fasting, and paying charity - arrives on the Day of Judgment having cursed one person and slandered another, assaulted another, and misappropriated the wealth of someone else. Then those people will be given of his good deeds, and if his good deeds run out before redress is made, then some of their sins will be taken from them and put upon him. Then he will be cast into Hell. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, 'The best of you is the one who exhibits the best ethical conduct [Sahh al-Bukhr and Sahh Muslim]. This ethical conduct is none other than to uphold the rights of others and safeguard their honour. Islam teaches us to determine the rights of others by considering our own rights. A person may well know what his own rights are, but may fail to honour the rights of others. This is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself [Sahh al-Bukhr and Sahh Muslim]. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: Treat others how you wish to be treated [Sahh Muslim]. Allah says: We did them no injustice, but they were unjust to themselves [Srah al-Nahl: 118]. Islam has made the individual responsible to police his own conduct in how he fulfils the rights of others. At the same time, Islam has placed in its sacred law legal injunctions to safeguard those rights, in the context of a painstakingly detailed understanding of interpersonal ethics. In this context, it presents a formidable corpus of law to ensure human rights, the rights of women, the rights of spouses, the rights of citizens, the rights of children, the rights of labour and the rights of property owners. These rights, in turn, exist within the context of civil rights, political rights and economic rights. The bottom line is that we Pakistanis have lost our sense of Huqooq-ul-Ibad. And the minute we find it back, we can be saved as a nation. So, we need to be kind to each other. We need to be fair with each other. We need to not cheat each other of our rights. This is the only way we will get self-respect and our dignity back. At the moment, unfortunately, it seems that izzat-e-nafs and waqar has all gone. When the poor drink water from the same canal as animals do, and when women in tents do not have the privacy/pardah they deserve because our incompetence to manage the consequences of flood has left them on the roads then I think of this. We need to give our people the basic necessities of life back, which make them humans. Pakistans looters have left our humans as animals. It is time to wake up and see how far we have drifted away from Huqooq-ul-Ibad and how we have lost our dignity. The solution lies in our self-awakening and rejecting the unIslamic decadent animal-like political order the current looters have imposed on us. The writer is a former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.