Jesus and Jinnah

“Jesus said: ‘I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live, to cherish my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless. Peace was on me the day I was born, and will be on me the day I die and the day I am raised to life again’. Such was Jesus, son of Mary”

- Qur’an, 19:30–34

you’re going to be your nicest ‘round your midlife crisis
if your life like Christ live your midlife like it’s Christ-like

- Lupe Fiasco, “Old School Love” featuring Ed Sheeran
(1st and 15th Entertainment, Atlantic Records, 2013)

Lupe Fiasco, “Old School Love” featuring Ed Sheeran (1st and 15th Entertainment, Atlantic Records, 2013)

1. MERRY CHRISTMAS, MEDIUM!

2. Merry Christmas, Medium.

BUT FIRST, WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU A SUFFICIENTLY NONTROVERSIAL 2018-FRIENDLY MILQUETOAST PRAYER, PRAYER USED LOOSELY AND FIGURATIVELY HERE, SO AS NOT TO OFFEND THE SENSIBILITIES OF THE IRRELIGIOUS, NEW ATHEISTS, SILICON VALLEY NEW AGERS, GEN X, Y, AND Z “SPIRITUAL NOT RELIGIOUS”, META-IRONIC TO THE GOOGOL POWER TIMES INFINITY QUASI-WOKE FIRST TIME ACID TRIPPERS, GARDEN VARIETY “DUDE SWEAR TO GOD I SPOKE TO GOD, WELL IT WAS EITHER GOD OR A BADLY PARKED MODEL X, COULDN’T TELL ACTUALLY, THE DIMEBAG I COPPED FROM A DEV LEAD AT THE FOURSQUARE CAMP LAST YEAR AT BURNING MAN KINDA SMELLED FUNNY”, TIM FERRISS, AND YOUR LET’S-RACIST-LIKE-IT’S-1957 REPUBLICAN BOOMER PARENTS, PRAYER

May we all, no matter what we do and/or don’t believe, differences in faith and/or lack thereof acknowledged yet notwithstanding, strive to live out the remainder of our individual and collective lives in this experiential reality more Christ-like. This is my one sincere hope, prayer, and wish for today.

Peace be upon our beloved Christ, and God’s blessings and salutations.

Amen.

Peace, love, prayers and light, from your brother in faith and humanity, and from my family and loved ones, to you, your family, and your loved ones.

Whether you have been with me since I started writing here in 2015 or this is your first time reading any one of my stories (and if so, keep reading below:)

(incoming stream of consciousness I’m feeling too lazy to edit so please don’t bother reading okay fine but you’ve been warned it’s probably the longest run-on I’ve ever written considering the parentheses introducing it is 3 lines)

You couldn’t have picked a better one to begin with seriously this is my personal favorite not only because it’s my latest ergo the grumbling machinations of 28 years 5 months and 24 days should best case scenario mean I’m better than I’ve ever been at my wisest and this writing should be my best yet but because the intersections of Jesus Jinnah church state faith politics secularism scripture my role as the founder of a new media startup for the 18–35 crowd being THE Perennial Millennial #ad #shamelessplug #sponsored Medium’s resident cheerleader and most of all lately Silicon Valley’s resident reluctant Millennial Muslim ambassador to the Islamic world no joke the other day a reader emailed me feedback and told me straight up I’m an influencer whether I like it or not and I don’t like it tbh but 1) since when have y’all known me to not speak my truth I’m SF Ali let’s be real lol 2) I’d rather take up space and tell you what Islam and Muslims are not amidst the past 16+ years of hate speech mainstream media white supremacy and now Russian superspy Donald middle initial J but it most definitely does not stand for Jesus because he’s anything and everything except Christ-like Trump telling you pause and because contrary to the majority of readers who text me the iMessage equivalent of a CAPTCHA after reading the CTA on the bottom of any of my stories only to find out sorry to burst anybody’s bubble I’m in fact actually not a bot cc Medium Support it’s all love I forgive but never forget lol where was I oh yeah but a live and direct real flesh and blood human being human doing human achieving human wooing human winning person with this one final shred of a terminal appendage the rest of my fellow Earthlings sidenote does anybody say Earthling with a straight face and expect to not be immediately assumed as definitely not from here and very very very likely to be a Martian or idk Mark Zuckerberg end sidenote call “feelings” /pause but even more aggravatingly me, what Islam and Muslims are 3) there are over 2,000,000,000 other people just like me so if any of this incoherent screed meant anything real, evoked your empathy, resonated, accrued emotional capital, well then compound this and maybe taking Christmas to talk about a modern messianic figure who shares more than just a birthday with Christ himself is not a bad idea after all meaning it’s a good idea meaning by Jove Farooq you’ve finally cornered the gargoyle representing writer’s block and Stone Cold Stunned that sorry sadsack straight to Hell maybe all is not lost and I will go back to publishing something weekly like I did for a good year or so wow this stream of consciousness was meant everything to me which only proves my point my readership is the lifeblood, core and tribe I stubbornly cling to despite all of life’s dizzying dances. All this to say, thanks for reading.

- Farooq

It is a well-known, established Sahih (Arabic, “rigorously authenticated”) Sunnah (Arabic, “Prophetic tradition”) for Muslims to fast — abstain from nutritional consumption and sexual consummation from dawn until sunset — both Mondays and Thursdays. Today, Monday, December 25th — despite the controversy surrounding chronological accuracy — is *commemorated* as the birth of Christ (Jesus the son of the Virgin Mary [peace be upon them both]) who —likewise within normative Christian theology — is revered as a Prophet, Word of God, Spirit of/from God, and the Promised Messiah, is acknowledged in the orthodox Islamic tradition. Coincidentally, it is also the birth date of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a barrister, politician, All-India Muslim League leader, first Governor-General, and proverbial father/founder of my native Pakistan.

Accordingly, many Pakistanis fast on Jinnah’s birthday, commemorated as a national holiday, with the intention of our fast being accepted with its reward manifesting in the reality of a better Pakistan. Today being Monday, well a little serendipity never hurt anybody. So, what is this “better Pakistan”?

This better Pakistan would be closer to Jinnah’s ultimate goal, beyond the establishment of a nation-state of, for, and by the Muslim people in the Indian Subcontinent. What was his ultimate goal? Democratic, secular, free society, with freedom of religious expression and separation of church and state.

Here’s some inconvenient truth, massively underreported reality, and what can only be called prescience from Quaid-e-Azam (Urdu, “Great Leader”):

Jinnah himself was:

a secular, non-denominational Muslim of Gujrati Ismaili heritage;

strongly condemned and bitterly opposed the pro-caliphate retention stance famously debated within Indian National Congress following the Ottoman Empire’s defeat and decline World War I, a stance lobbied by none other than Jinnah’s political foil and spiritual rival, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi —

history, how you warp and weave us together! — with Jinnah claiming the retention wouldn’t serve the Muslims’ aforementioned free society interests, and would instead foster zealotry (Hi, 1917? It’s 2017. You were right, 100%) which is nothing short of prophetic, all things considered, given the following abbreviated, satirical, absurdist, stunted, amateur synopsis of seventy years…

Pakistan and her people have mostly suffered tyrant after tyrant, dictator after dictator, human turd after human turd (looking at you, Nawaz Sharif), with its all-time worst being General Zia ul Haq, whose hilariously-foolish-if-it-didn’t-Talibanize-the-damn-motherland institution of Sharization, with its component Hudood governance, in tandem with the injection of Saudi-financed Wahhabist ideology and demagoguery, greatly contributed to Islamism past and present, but this is barely scratching the surface of the world’s most complicated, dangerous country; a tragedy in one act, curtains;

and the cherry on top? Jinnah himself is considered by millions of descendant countrymen a kafir (Arabic, “infidel”, unbeliever) due to his Ismaili heritage! When I wrote history above, I meant irony. Definitely irony. Irony, how you warp and weave us together! Nobody deserves this kind of unmerited cosmic cruelty, least of all Jinnah. I mean this without any cliche, hyperbole, and/or pretense: if there is indeed a Heaven (a conceptual potentiality whose existential possibility I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with daily) and Jinnah doesn’t make the cut, I wouldn’t want to go there. And if there is a Hell, and for all he’s done to advance constitutional democracy, quell anarchy, promote secular humanism, and protect the right of religious expression, still Jinnah is fated to wind up there, then let it be known henceforth I am the most Ismailiest Ismaili who ever Is-smiled. Choke on your candor, takfiris.

Where were we? (Adderall, Prozac, caffeine, nicotine gum, a herniated disc, and a scratched cornea is one helluva holiday cocktail. Bear with me. lol)

Better Pakistan. One without the same faith-based abuse, bullying, crimes, discrimination, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and oppression against all of its religious minorities (including but not limited to: Shi’a; Ahmadiyya; Ismaili; Qur’anist; non-denominational; secularist; cultural/non-practicing; and all heterodox Muslim minorities; Christian; Hindu; Buddhist; Sikh; Zoroastrian; Jewish; Baha’i; Jain, Bayani; atheist; agnostic; non-monotheist; and all other non-Muslim minorities, etc.) and every other minority, community, identity, polity, citizen, resident, and human being found in its diverse social fabric.

One without the constant and consistent, needless and senseless, maddening and saddening violence which somehow always disproportionately claims the lives of its most innocent and vulnerable: darling angel infants and children.

One without endemic poliovirus.

[This is not a typo. In the year 2017, and sadly in the year 2018, Pakistan is the only Top 5 Population (210,000,000+ as of… yesterday. Thanks Wiki!) mega-demographic where this terrible, debilitating phantom still dwells, the others being Nigeria (193M+) and Afghanistan (29M+). That all three are Muslim-majority countries is not lost upon me, nor should it go unnoticed, even by the staunchest of allies in the current political climate of naked aggression and racialized anti-Muslim animus, where Islamophobia has become exponentially more fashionable since January 20th, 2017. Yes, primary factors adversely affecting eradication measures include but are not limited to: climate, parental interference, and Pakistan’s infamously crippled healthcare infrastructure. However, there is a very real, quantifiable negative outcome impact from: chronic interference; anti-West conspiracy theorizing mainstream media and extremist/insurgent-propped propaganda vehicles; and most of all, shameless misinformation campaigns and gross ignorance concerning tropical medicine, clinical care delivery in the global south, the particular specialties and domains of immunology, pathology, and virology, and basic humanity espoused by actors including but not limited to: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan), Lashkar-e-Taiba (Pakistan), Taliban (Pakistan and Afghanistan), Al Qaeda (Pakistan and Afghanistan), Haqqani Network (Afghanistan), and Boko Haram (Nigeria). Sharing all this, not as a Muslim first, nor as a proud first-generation Pakistani-American first, but as a public health professional (MPH, 2012) with 5 postgrad years’ research, consulting, management, organization, and evaluation of humanitarian relief and health delivery missions in Pakistan first and foremost. This is deeply personal to me. Most of all, and what really is the first reason, because. not. one. but. several. multiple. plural. relatives, including my darling angel cousin Syed Hammad Ali, whom I never got the chance to meet in person, would still be alive today if this weren’t the case. This is why eradicating poliovirus is my daily why. RIP.

One whose inherent foundational purity (Urdu, “pāk”) of moral compassion, dignity, and empathy is restored yet again, to the elusive-yet-familiar sterling reputation Pakistan was founded upon seventy years ago, August 14th, 1947.

INTERMISSION — PATRIOTIC TEARJERKER SONG TIME

pāk sarzamīn šād bād
kišwar-ē ḥasīn šād bād
tū nišān-ē ʿazm-ē ʿālī šān
arⱬ-ē Pākistān!
markaz-ē yaqīn šād bād

pāk sarzamīn kā niẓām
quwwat-ē uxuwwat-ē ʿawām
qaum, mulk, salṭanat
pāyindah tābindah bād!
šād bād manzil-ē murād

parčam-ē sitāra(h) ō-hilāl
rehbar-ē taraqqī ō-kamāl
tarjumān-ē māⱬī, šān-ē ḥāl
jān-ē istiqbāl!
sāya(h)-ē Khudā-ē ẕu-l-jalāl

Blessed be the sacred land,
happy be the bounteous realm.
Thou symbol of high resolve,
O Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be the citadel of faith.

The order of this sacred land,
the might of the brotherhood of the people
may the nation, the country, and the state,
shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition.

The flag of the crescent and star,
leads the way to progress and perfection,
interpreter of our past, glory of our present,
inspiration for our future!
Shade of God, the Glorious and Mighty.

- Qawmi Tarāna (Urdu, “National Anthem”)
(transliteral pronounciation: comb-E ta-RAH-na)
lyrics: Abu al-Asar Hafeez Jalandhari (1952)

CHRIST, THAT WAS OBSESSIVELY DETAILED FAROOQ. WHAT ABOUT JESUS?

Darling, I’m glad you asked.

Closing this story with a story.

One of my favorite stories ever.

It is not from the Islamic Hadith.

Not sure if it’s legit Gospel either.

Might even be a proto-meme fable.

That’s missing the forest for its trees.

Read, reflect, reply. LMK thoughts! :)

THE THREE LOAVES OF BREAD

narration attributed to Layth bin Abi Sulaym

A man once accompanied Jesus, saying to him “I want to be with you and be your companion.” They set forth and reached the bank of a river, where they sat down to eat. They had with them three loaves. They ate two loaves, and a third remained. Jesus then rose and went to the river to drink. When he returned, he did not find the third loaf, so he asked the man:

“Who took the loaf?” “I don’t know,” the man replied.

Jesus set forth once more with the man, and he saw a doe with two of her young. Jesus called one of the two, and it came to him. Jesus then slaughtered it, roasted some of it, and ate with his companion. Then he said to the young deer, “Rise, by God’s leave.” The deer rose and left. Jesus then turned to his companion and said,

“I ask you in the name of Him who showed you this miracle, who took the loaf?” “I don’t know,” the man replied.

The two of them then came to a body of water in a valley. Jesus took the man by the hand and they walked upon the water. When they crossed, Jesus said to him,

“I ask you in the name of Him who showed you this miracle, who took the loaf?” “I don’t know,” the man replied.

They then came to a waterless desert and sat down upon the ground. Jesus began to gather some earth and sand, and then said, “Turn to gold, by God’s leave,” and it did so. Jesus divided the gold into three portions and said, “A third for me, a third for you, and a third for whoever took the loaf.”

The man said, “It was I who took the loaf.” Jesus said, “The gold is all yours.”

Jesus then left him. Two men came upon him in the desert with the gold, and wanted to rob and kill him. He said to them, “Let us divide it into three portions among us, and send one of you to town to buy us some food to eat.”

One of them was sent off, and then said to himself, “Why should I divide the gold with those two? Rather, I shall poison the food and have all the gold to myself.”

He went off and did so.

Meanwhile, the two who stayed behind said to each other, “Why should we give him a third of the gold? Instead, let us kill him when he returns and divide the money between the two of us.” When he returned, they killed him, ate the food, and died. The gold remained in the desert with the three men dead beside it.

Jesus passed by, found them in that condition, and said to his companions,

“This is the world. Beware of it.”

Excerpted from the book: The Muslim Jesus by Tarif Khalidi.

THIS PART IS NOT A CTA. :) P.S. I LOVE YOU, EV. ❤

1. Did you laugh, smile, hug, kiss, and/or cry today? None? Some? All? Also, and this may be TMI, but it’s hella (as a lifelong New Yorker, I know I can’t pull off saying hella, but the name’s SF, and Medium’s HQ is in SF, so bear with me.) important to be regular, as in BMs. You know. Paying a visit to the porcelain throne. Poop. Did you poop. Told you. TMI.

2. Connect with me: Medium, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Product Hunt, AngelList, Quora and Quibb. (I think that’s all of them!) Write me via email too!

(fzafar1@gmail.com is my REAL personal email address. It’s the one I used all through college, my professional and private life ever since, the one with which I file my taxes, the one I used to wax breathless poetic nothings to several lady friends and The Ones from, and, last but not least, the one to which several of you, whom shalt remain nameless, have regrettably sent dick pics. My faith instructs me to offer 70 excuses for others’ mistakes and shortcomings. Still: not a good look, gentlemen. This section, unlike your, ahem, “curriculum vitae”, is getting rather long. TWSS.)

<<in the eternal words of Chandler Muriel Bing, “I’m hopeless and awkward and desperate for love!”>>

3. Call or text. (917) 982–3849. (Real digits, and you didn’t even have to buy me dinner. I know, I’m a mensch. Don’t believe me? Call/text me now.) I’m always happy to make new friends, listen, support, and be helpful in any way I can. That’s why I’m Medium’s resident cheerleader, duh! :)

4. Do me a solid and go clap for someone ELSE’S story, one you’ve at least read fully once, ideally twice or more, and at most responded to. Take it from me, a Medium vet. It really matters. Doing these “little things” makes this community much stronger, better, ‘smarter’ (whatever this means).

5. I love you. Someone had to say it, and you were taking too long. Real talk though, I believe you deserve to say and hear it every single hour of each and every single waking day, first and foremost to yourself, then others. I love you.

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SF Ali (Farooq)

Author, BROWN GRASS | CEO/EIC, PERENNIAL MILLENNIAL. Earned 3 STEM degrees in 5 years. Advised Fortune 500 C-suites. Medium’s resident cheerleader since 2015.