The Institute of Business Administration was established in Pakistan’s most vibrant city, Karachi, in the 60s with the help of the University of Southern California. It was the first institution producing MBAs in South Asia and soon it became the most prestigious higher education institution. The Harvard Business Review rated it the number one in South Asia in the business studies.
The students admitted to IBA were mostly from the upper and middle class, the ones who were fortunate enough to have parents who could afford to send them to a school with higher standards and hefty fees. One young man from a middle class family went to IBA and graduated with a gold medal which was awarded to the students acquiring above 96% marks in all 20 subjects. He joined the Standard Insurance Corporation and got married. He had a chauffeur-driven car and a house in a posh locality. The life was good.
Then he started going in the meetings of the religious Tableeghi Jamaat held at the well known Makki Masjid. In few months people noted a change in his appearance: he grew a beard and stopped wearing the pants. Besides, he closed his bank accounts, as interest incurred was haram in Islam and sold his house as he had to pay interest on the loan. One day, he resigned his job because he believed that this income was haram too as it was based on insurance and interest.
I met this man, Shahid, several years after this. In his 40s. I saw him clad in an ordinary kameez- shalwar. He was working as an accounts clerk in a construction company. I was shocked to hear that he was an IBA gold medalist. He did not appear to have acquired higher education or even been in a civilized environment ever. He had got used to spitting on the floor by his desk. A friend in that office told me that Shahid would disappear from his work for days, sometimes even weeks. For, he believed that the work of Allah was more important than the work in the company. His employers tolerated his odd behavior as a charity, just to support his family. He lived in a rented house in a poor locality because that was all he could afford. His children went to a government school where the standard of education was poor. The kids were deprived of good education that Shahid’s parents have given him.
I considered myself. I too was raised in a very religious family. I went to an English school but each summer I studied religious books. At ten, I studied the Hadith, offered prayers five times a day and observed fast for the whole month during Ramadan every year. On the other hand, I was not bitten by religious fanaticism. I and my siblings all offered prayers but also went to the movies with our parents.
Shahid’s story made me think why a person became so much involved in religious activities that he became unreasonable and became so aberrant in his actions that:
1. He wasted the investment that his parents made in his education for the purpose that he would have a bright career. You can be sure they must have sacrificed a lot to pay the hefty expenses of his school.
2. Of several thousand applicants, IBA admitted only 100 best students each year. By wasting his education, he deprived another candidate of improving his life.
3. By leaving a good job, he deprived his family, especially his wife, the comfort and conveniences of a good life that they had expected.
4. He did not fulfill his responsibility of providing his wife and children a good life, which I think was a great sin.
5. By declining the opportunities he had been provided because of his better education and better job, he disrespected what bounties Allah had blessed him with.
6. He deprived his children the good education and the opportunities his parents had provided him. He did not pass on the benefits of his education to his family as well as to the society.
Shahid is not the only one too stupid to suffer in the name of religion. I have seen many more. You too may have come across many people like poor Shahid. So my hypothesis is: “Brain retardation is contingent upon religious conservatism”.END
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