Café Crem

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Religious Debt


Two weeks ago, on the eve of a mega-stressful exam, I promised God during a prayer that if I by some miracle passed it, I will offer 10 special prayers, and to donate some charity. The next day, I passed, that too with top marks, I was so pleased, then with it being that time of the year for Millaad (it’s a special celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) during these festivities I donated some money towards the food distribution at the local Masjid (Mosque) for the gatherings, It was ideal, as they usually advise ‘Sadqah’ (charity) in the form of food (well, food for a poor family really) or towards a Masjid and this was like both things, anyway I’m still owing those 10 special prayers of thanks.

Last night, I was lying in bed, with my ipod and curled up with a book before sleeping and was physically exhausted, willing myself to get up and read those prayers, but just couldn’t move, I was so getting in to this novel and at the same time listening to soft music on my ipod. I’ve accumulated so much religious debt in this same lazy fashion, I very rarely read Namaz (the statutory 5 prayers a day) now. I really want to be like the noble, lovely lady my maternal grandma was, I never met her, but she used to read Namaz 6 x a day, as she used to read a a non-compulsary one too, out of choice. She’s my hero, my inspiration, but I’m just too lazy to follow her footprints. It’s common in my family, that even when it’s impossible they wont miss their prayers, I observe that everytime I’m in Pakistan, especially within a certain gloriously peaceful area area in Kashmir, where my parents originate from, they’ll start praying wherever they are on God’s green earth, and within my immediate family and cousins in England, , I’m just the super-lazy odd one out, who reads only when ‘in the mood to’. We hear about such greatness, such nobility, such grandeurs of the past, why cant we create such stuff today? Should we blame this modern age of convenience and express lifestyles? What next, will there be some ‘Namaz robot’ who will pray for us as we sit on haunches getting electro-manicures?

I just find religion is just getting harder and harder, when they said it’s the ultimate test, they werent kidding! Ever feel like your losing control, losing that grip on life and feeling it waste away? I always feel that when I’m abandoning religious practices. Right now I’m up to my eyeball’s in ‘Religious debt’, I dont think I’ll get a moments peace until I get those 10 prayers read.



March 31, 2008 - Posted by | God in our life, life, Muslim Holidays, personal, religion


  1. If life was so easy then there would be no joy in the successes.

    I understand what you wrote so well and what is IS, so don’t fight it because you will figure everything out eventually.

    Nicely written and I really enjoyed a peak into your culture.


    Comment by Michael | March 31, 2008

  2. H, thanks so much Micheal,
    I was feeling weird after posting this, hoping it didnt sound too mumbo jumbo, especially as not all people believe in God, but I’m glad you understand,
    Cheers mate!

    Comment by supersizeme | April 1, 2008

  3. Supe, a great piece. perhaps, there will come a time when some enterprising Kashmiri will set up prayer-debt consolidation company who, for a small fee, will take on your obligations 🙂

    Reading what you wrote though, it reminded me simply of karma, feeling a weight of responsibility for tasks dodged, or hardships not endured, or as you say, pleas to a higher power to pass exams. perhaps the answer, the way to redress the balance is not to recite ancient texts, however beautiful, but to do good things and I’m sure your God will cancel any debts he may feel were outstanding.

    Comment by kevmoore | April 4, 2008

  4. Yes, it is a great piece of writing, Supe, so original, so honest, so thoughtful, so humourful too, so… YOU!
    Like Michael and Kevin, I very much enjoyed reading it. Thanks a lot for it.
    Kevin is very funny too with his prayer-debt company! In fact such a company would be very useful in my life too, not so much for my prayer-debts but for all the other moral and social debts which make me feel guilty all the time!
    I agree with Kevin, that to do good things around you from time to time should be at least as good as reciting prayers. But of course we come from very different religious cultures, and at the end I think that each one should decide for himself/herself if and how he/she wants to practice religiosity. I guess one cannot really ignore the own religious beliefs and practices without feeling guilty somehow. I think that the real challenge is to find the right balance between the own beliefs, the beliefs of the community in which one lives and the beliefs of the community within which one was born.
    By the way: don’t ever be afraid to write what you really feel and think, these are always the most interesting texts, the ones which tell the little personality differences between all our resemblances.

    Comment by Miki | April 4, 2008

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