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I think therefore I am by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

French philosopher Rene Descartes presented this famous idea that the sure sign of existence is that a person is conscious of his own existence. Co-related to this was the concept that there is only one thing we can all be sure of which is our own existence. All other things around us could be a delusion of the senses and should be treated with fair dose of skepticism. For instance let’s suppose you are sitting in a room watching things around you. To a naked eye the things in the room like chairs, tables, vase etc. are real and have an existence in the physical time and space. While sitting in the same room you watch the things on a tv screen using a video camera. These same things that are real in the room are not real on the screen as they don’t exist in the screen but are just an impression of it. This creates a dilemma for the consciousness whether the things in the room are also an impression than an absolute realty.

I mentioned the above concept for a particular reason which will become clear to all of you as we continue exploring it. There has been one question that has occupied me for quite sometime i.e. would I be a Muslim if I was not born to a Muslim family. I did not know the answer to this question until I decided to embark on the journey of exploration of my own soul. That created another dilemma. What is the nature of soul? Where it comes from? Is it linked to the souls of the parents or only shares their history? I have been contemplating on these questions for over 27 years now and still counting.

Few days ago a thought occurred to me that when a child is born he carries with him a body derived from the DNA of his parents but his soul has no relations with them. The body is the product of the genetic code of the parents including facial features, texture of hair, skin color, height etc. The body may carry the imperfections it has acquired from the parents. But the soul is not created by parents and hence does not carry their history or culture. At its creation this new soul is pure and perfect without any faults or defects. It arrives with its own unique possibilities for a future. It is like a blank slate. It has no credit or debit. It has no history. No prior knowledge. No consciousness at birth.

An infant is a brand new entity with its own mind that is sleeping; a body that is growing and a soul that is getting ready for a new journey. With each passing day this new soul starts accruing debits towards his parents and other people who care for him. It slowly acquires the culture and religious dogma of his parents. His teachers develop the faculties for him to experience a career. To learn all these things requires time. The time required by a person to acquire adulthood is one of the longest among all animals i.e. 15-18 years.

But when it grows fully to be an adult the challenges start for this person. He is now accountable for his own actions. He has to decide what kind of life he wants to live. A life of faith pursuing the religion of his parents or personal exploration to find the true faith or no faith; a life style of righteousness or fraud; and a career to serve the mankind or take away from it for the personal satisfaction. All these actions become part of the history of this soul. At the end of the journey the soul returns to where it came from but carries with it the consequences of actions that have to be accounted for.

Quran says clearly that each person has to answer for his actions and will not be given any special credit for being born to noble parents. In the stories narrated by Quran we have examples of Prophets whose sons or brothers were Prophets as well for instance Dawood & Suleiman (RATA), Yaqoob & Yousuf (RATA), Musa & Haroon (RATA) and Ibrahim & his sons Ishaq & Ismail (RATA). But at the same time we have the examples of son of Noah (RATA); father of Ibrahim (RATA); and brothers of Yousuf (RATA) who refused to accept the faith. The message is that lineage does not guarantee anything; each person has to embark on his own quest regardless of who his parents were.

How does this apply in the political arena? It means don’t tell us who your father or mother was. Tell us who you are and what can you do for the nation. Tell us whether you have been a good citizen or not in terms of respecting rules, laws and paying your due share to the nation. And if you have a bad reputation among majority of your constituents than it is most likely you are a bad person whether a court of law has convicted you or not. Because your reputation is a result of countless acts of small injustices and insults you have meted out to your neighbors in the constituency. If your constituents can’t trust you then you can’t be trusted with governing the state as well. And don’t tell us you got the mandate from them because this mandate is most likely a manipulation through the octopus of your agents working in the constituency.

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