In Bangladesh there is an unspoken, unadmitted class system. Journalists and so-called ‘civil society’ members know it very well, yet they remain silent about it. The collective curse of millions is a burden for those of who dare choose to be honest.
Marginalised poor people work as day laborers, rickshaw pullers, maids, servants, cooks and other sorts of low level jobs, without which we could not get along in the way we are doing right now. These working people are categorized as “second class” citizens by a cruel society’s silent ranking. The status of these people is no more than a slave without chains on his feet. They can get slapped around by their owner or kicked in the butt by the police; but they cant say anything against anyone. They dont even know that they are citizens of a country with legal rights under a constitution. They just take life as granted and accept al the abuses they are blessed with by the rich.
It becomes all the more astonishing because it is happening in a muslim country. Islam came to extinguish tribalism, racism, nationalism, discrimination and above all Islam stands for liberation from slavery. All of this must sound funny today because we see that muslim countries are doing exactly the opposite. Muslims are living under the fear of tyrants, oppressors and debauched drunkards from Morocco to Indonesia.
Bangladeshi muslims come to Juma prayer in hundreds if not tousands. One would expect that at least in Juma concerns for the marginalised will be raised by Imams. Instead we hear sermons that encourage poverty, destituteness and financial sufferrings. These are according to the Imams ways to go to heaven. They love to remind us that God loves poor people and God will forgive them quickly because unlike the greedy rich people, they wont be carrying too much sins. Imams want to say, “be poor, be happy, dont complain, heaven is yours, sucker!”
Poor stupid fools. They go along with this nonsense. They actually believe that being poor is being godly in some medieval way. They end up becoming prisoners of two evil classes. One, their master employers who treat them like slaves. Two, the religious establishment, who sanctifies their slavery.
Islam has no room for these absurdities. I copied a story from the life of the Holy Prophet (swm) as a small example of how social equality in the Islamic society of Medina:
It was a usual meeting. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was in his place and his companions gathered around him to hear the words of wisdom and guidance. Suddenly a poor man in rags appeared, saluted the assembly:
“Salamun Alaikum” (Peace be on you)
And finding a vacant place comfortably sat down.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) had taught them that all Muslims were brothers and in an assembly one should sit wherever one finds a place, regardless of any status. Now, it so happened that this poor man was seated next to a very rich man.
The rich man felt very disturbed and tried to collect the edges of his dress around himself, so that the poor man didn’t touch them. The Prophet (S.A.W.) observed this and addressing the rich man he (S.A.W.) said:
” Perhaps you are afraid that his poverty would affect you?”
” No, O Messenger of Allah,” he said.
“Then perhaps you were apprehensive about some of your wealth flying away to him?”
” No, O Messenger of Allah.”
“Or you feared that your clothes would become dirty if he touched them?”
” No, O Messenger of Allah.”
” Then why did you draw yourself and your clothes away from him?”
The rich man said:
“I admit that was the most undesirable thing to do. It was an error and I confess my guilt. Now to make amends for it I will give away half of my wealth to this Muslim brother so that I may be forgiven.”
Just as he said this, the poor man rose and said,
” O Prophet of Allah, I do not accept this offer.”
People present were taken by surprise, they thought that the poor man was a fool, but then he explained:
” O Prophet of Allah, I refuse to accept this offer because I fear that I might then become arrogant and ill-treat my Muslim brothers the way he did to me.”