Monday 28 September 2009

Would You Permit Me?

In a country where thinkers are assassinated, and writers
are considered infidels and books are burnt.
In societies that refuse the other, and force silence on mouths and thoughts forbidden, and to question is a sin,
I must beg your pardon, would you permit me?

Would you permit me to bring up my children as I want, and
not to dictate on me your whims and orders?

Would you permit me to teach my children that the religion
is first to God, and not for religious leaders or scholars
or people?

Would you permit me to teach my little one that religion is
about good manners, good behaviour, good conduct, honesty
and truthfulness, before I teach her with which foot to
enter the bathroom or with which hand she should eat?

Would you permit me to teach my daughter that God is about
love, and she can dialogue with Him and ask Him
anything she wants, far away from the teachings of anyone?

Would you permit me not to mention the torture of the grave
to my children, who do not know about death yet?

Would you permit me to teach my daughter the tenets of the
religion and its culture and manners, before I force on her
the 'Hijab' (the veil)?

Would you permit me to tell my young son that hurting
people and degrading them because of their nationality,
colour or religion, is considered a big sin by God?

Would you permit me to tell my daughter to revising her
homework and paying attention to her learning is considered by God as more useful and important than learning by heart Ayahs from the Quran without knowing their meaning?

Would you permit me to teach my son that following the footsteps of the
Honourable Prophet begins with his honesty, loyalty and truthfulness, before his beard or how short his thobe (long shirt/dress) is?

Would you permit me to tell my daughter that her Christian friend is not an infidel, and ask her not to cry fearing her friend will go to Hell?

Would you permit me to argue, that God did not authorize
anyone on earth after the Prophet to speak in his name nor
did he vest any powers in anyone to issue 'deeds of
forgiveness' to people?

Would you permit me to say, that God has forbidden killing
the human spirit, and who kills wrongly a human being is as if he killed all human kind, and no Moslem has the right to frighten another Moslem?

Would you permit me to teach my children that God is greater, more just, and more merciful than all the (religious) scholars on earth combined?
And that his standards are different from the standards of those trading
the religion, and that his accountability is kinder and more merciful?

Would you permit me?

Nizar Kabbani
Syrian Diplomat, Poet, Writ


  1. That's exactly I'm doing to my children.

    When come to religion, try to look at the bigger picture. If in doubt, refer to the sacred book, the Al-Quran, seek opinion from learned ones, not just from the ustaz or imam, but to also articulate what was discussed. It could be time consuming, but it sure not putting them into the cow-herd mentality. Never to take statement blindly from just one person including me as it could be biased from culture and the way i was brought-up.

    So, my tag-line to my children, do good unto people as you wanted people to do good unto you for God will always be with you from here to thereafter. While the tag-line is borrowed from somewhere, it also server to remind me of the borrowed time I have here on earth.

  2. Dear HH,
    Powerful words...So meaningful, so poignant yet so sad that we need permission to do something so right, so noble...
    Thanks for sharing,

  3. More gems from Mencken ....

    No government, of its own motion, will increase its own weakness, for that would mean to acquiesce in its own destruction ... governments, whatever their pretensions otherwise, try to preserve themselves by holding the individual down ... Government itself, indeed, may be reasonably defined as a conspiracy against him. Its one permanent aim, whatever its form, is to hobble him sufficiently to maintain itself.


    All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them.

    —H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), “Breathing Space”, The Baltimore Evening Sun, 1924-08-04. Reprinted in A Carnival of Buncombe.