Obsession with fairy tales is one hallmark of our society. India has always enjoyed a distinctive stature in this respect. Our people are so ingrained in believing everything supernatural that they always defy reason. This has not only affected our belief system but has also left its mark on our approach towards science. No matter how liberal our scientists may become, their thinking is always confined within the same old peripherals that have plagued whole society for centuries.

It's ironic, but we do research on scientific lines not to find out something new but just to prove the existing myths. And it's a well known truth, that a research cannot be called a research if the researcher undertakes it with predetermined results in mind.

This discourse, however, does not intend to elaborate the facets of scientific research. The contention, on the contrary, is to deliberate and highlight our tendencies to view the world and life on it. We have distorted not only our faith but basic principles of life. This may sound absurd on first instance to claim that our belief system is plagiarized to suit our personal liking and to serve our ineptness.

We have construed an image of Islam as being a passive, static and orthodox mythology which doesn't fit into modern developed world. The subcontinent loved and still cherishes sadhus, the only difference is, after introduction of Islam, the sadhus were replaced by Sufis, faqeers and peers in this part of the world.

We outsourced our faith and daily life to these folks and just see what an enterprise this greedy lot has become. We expect all the hard work to be done by a spiritual healer, from birth of son to getting higher grades in examination. Interestingly they themselves are willing to extend the helping hand – from courting our loved one to securing a good job for us. And of course, they also guarantee a free ride to paradise, if we pay the correct fee coupled with blind devotion.

However, our public narrative these days stays confined to lambasting Taliban for offering such services. I don't wish to comment on Hindu traditions and their values. But as a Muslim, have we ever asked ourselves, if outsourcing of all things faith and worldly was the message of Islam, then why did the Prophet of Allah struggle vigorously for 23 years? Why did he undertake long and hard journeys for trade? Why did he fight many wars, faced off hunger and sustained injuries during those expeditions? Why is it so that we can't recall even a single Sufi in entire Arab world until after 200 years of birth of Islam?

Spiritual healers, for their vested interests, have capitalised upon ignorance of common man. Instead of conveying the true knowledge of the faith, they fed fairy tales to which common Indian was already accustomed. This surely attracted many non Muslims to the new faith, mainly due to the fact that they could relate it to their existing belief system, but this process disfigured the concept of Tauheed around which the whole Islamic model stands.

How on earth would a person ride walls or walk on water or go every night from India to offer prayer in Madinah? Or how a dead person can heal me, request on my behalf to Allah or grant my wishes when Quran's clear injunctions categorically reject this concept. A learned friend had once summarized our tendencies in a single phrase, "musalmanan-e-Hindu-Mizaj".

This is not a religious sermon or a takfir of all, a term that has become snobbery of the left, who are accidentally called liberals as well. However, there is a serious need to give a second thought to the contradiction in the way we are practicing our faith. This is more important in view of the ongoing onslaught on our society, be it from the militant groups sharing our faith or from the rest of the world.

Our scholars and intellectuals, instead of setting the record straight, have resorted to hiding behind the very spiritual aspects of the faith which have weakened our thought process at the first place. They go too far in convincing the world about peaceful and tolerant nature of Islam that they even distort the factual realities and intentions behind many of Prophet Muhammad's and the caliphs’ military expeditions.

Islam neither was nor is a passive or reactionary religion. It gave and defined certain principles and then set us all free to explore, interpret and define realities and complexities of life. It always encouraged its followers to think, ponder, observe, explore and unlock the myths of the universe. It encouraged its followers to construct a worldview and present it before the world. It set limits only on few things which dealt directly with the faith; the rest is open to interpretation and debate.

It's sad to see that our scholars either try to sell a more passive image of Islam or its Sufi version which didn't exist during the life of Prophet Muhammad, his companions or tabi'yeen. Both these versions of Islam are overly flawed if not entirely incorrect. We have become so stagnant intellectually that we outrightly reject any attempt to a different/new interpretation of Fiqh.

The prime example is the rejection of DNA test as a proof in hudood cases by Council of Islamic Ideology. One dares to ask those long bearded and shortsighted men, do they really think the minds of 8th, 9th and 8th century were more intelligent in formulating Islamic fiqh than those of 21st century? With all the advancement in science and technology and access to more knowledge, really?

We have closed the doors of ijtihad and qayas, simply because our clergy, in general, has resigned to the fact that they are ignorant. And the commoners have outsourced all the matters relating to belief to that ignorant clergy.

In these circumstances the only logical outcome can only be hijacking of faith by misguided militiamen or mentally challenged spirituals.

Ars Mustafa is an Islamabad-based social activist and freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter