Your intrepid corespondent still recovering from a perennial bout of 'flu - can hardly manage to hit the keys of the WP in order to provide you, the loyal reader (not to mention Mister Editor), with yet another scintillating piece of prose.
Actually, all these bugs, with which the entire family has been
re-infecting one another for the past month, have given me pause for thought. Everyone
keeps saying how sick the community in Britain is, so perhaps it's time for a spot of
First and foremost, it appears that we may be suffering from "Communiti Divisus" - a critical condition whose symptoms include "Linguicitis" and "Ethnicitis": sufferers tend to huddle in groups who share a common spoken tongue and hue of epidermis. Persons of other groups are regarded with pathological mistrust. This complaint is common to British, Pakistani, Arab, Malay, African - actually all types of Homo Islamicus.
"Communiti Divisus" is often accompanied by various types of internal brawling (Milk of Magnesia is not known to be particularly efficacious). This manifests itself in what is popularly known as "Whose side are you on?"
Persons affected are likely to dream up ridiculous insult of dubious derivation. (So I'm Ninja am I? Well, Go! Go! Power-Rangers!)
Then there is "Chronic Madhab Syndrome", whereby the
patient will be rigidly entrapped by his/her upbringing (or even that of the spouse) and
suffers a semi-optical complaint known as "Tunnel Vision". Symptoms include
foaming at the mouth, ranting and raving, and fearful oaths of condemnation -usually
triggered off by the presence of (or mere sighting on the horizon) of a person or persons
known or suspected to hold opposing views.
A related complaint is "Traditional Tenacity Disorder", which is suspected to be hereditary, although current research is aimed at finding a cure. Victims of this unpleasant disorder suffer from species of blindness which makes them follow blindly in the footsteps of their forefathers, fall prey to scientifically-disproved superstitions, adopt corrupt versions of the faith, etc.
Most people, however, suffer from a terrible soul-destroying affliction called "Critisisis". This is an extremely disabling illness. Sufferers rest their bums all day long, and do nothing else except run down everything around them. Nobody is right, nothing done is appreciated. Recovery from this syndrome is difficult, because one has to he honest and brave - two very rare qualities for people who want make the Pillars of Islam one long list of "don't do this" and, especially, "don't do that!"
But perhaps no other ailment is more disgusting and comical than "Genderum" - a condition normally suffered by the male gender. Sufferers believe behind every hijab should be an empty medulla oblongata: if any grey cells exist then they should be in a state of tabula rasa. This implies beards=brains=taqwa and scarves=void=taqlid ("blind-faith"). Short of a hard knock on the sufferer's block, this disease is hard to combat. The advice from experienced practitioners is to avoid these Jurassic creatures if possible, and if not, to be careful, and treat them like a deranged pachycephalosaurus.
Come January (Sha'ban) and we will come across a peculiar form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, colloquially known as "Oh-No-Here-Comes-Ramadhan-Quick-Let's-Act-Religious".
This causes people who might otherwise be down the pub (or
National Lottery centres) to remember suddenly that they are supposed to be Muslims.
Victims of this disorder appear quite unaware that Islam is a year-round religion.
Scientists have yet to discover whether factors causing this disorder are hereditary or
environmental (for instance, a total lack of Islamic input on the part of the parents and
The Community is also, alas, not immune from certain indigenous complaints, examples of which are listed here:
1) Apathy, characterised by a pathological aversion towards
2) Irrational belief in white-haired bearded men who come down the chimney, even in centrally-heated homes.
3) A belief in My Country Right or Wrong (oops, no, sorry, that one is actually a pandemic, a bit like the blasted 'flu).
4) Contempt combined with arrogance: "Me! Mix with those garlic-stinking, vindaloo-guzzling, lassie-slurping, burping, shalwar-kamiz clowns? No way. Over my middle-class ironed blazer!"
5) Other disorders too numerous and unpleasant to relate in a 'family paper' such as this.
And last, but, not least, The Good News. These complaints are not yet terminal. The prescribed remedy of preference is a five-times-daily dose of salat (prayers), accompanied by regular fasting and even more regular sessions of zikr. Donating to charity is of tremendous value (the only thing that can change the Decree, and all that).
A smile might do. Reading Q News every week is not a bad idea.
But more important is ensuring that you are a bit more compassionate, sensitive and
understanding towards fellow human beings: this is crucial in the maintenance of a
continuous state of well-being, yours and others.
Finally, have it from me, the Qur'an and the Sunnah are the only known practical and successful cures for these serious disorders.. Any other prescription is worthy only of the NHS (Not Happy Secularists).
Tasneem Osgood [is not a licensed medical practitioner - Ed.]
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