The other day young girls and young boys along with their mentors were lighting candles in the middle of a busy square of Lahore. They had also written some slogans on placards and were demonstrating a protest against the killing of school-children in Peshawar. There were some large-sized pictures standing with a support and in front of them – candles. Each one of the participants had brought his or her candle to pay homage to the slain ones. Indeed, everyone was in grief and charged to avenge.
But wait, does this way of mourning really belong to us? And do the mourners really mourn when they light candles for someone deceased? Without questioning their intention we ought to respect their spirit but if this innovation in society, culture, and custom is left unnoticed; it will surely mark a dent on our social as well as religious norms and eventually compel the two to be at back-foot.
For the last few years we have been witnessing such acts of mourning in which people ‘representing’ civil society light candles in the ‘remembrance’ of dead souls and put their portraits and pictures in front of them. Another thing we have started practicing is ‘one-minute’ or ‘two-minute’ silence in ‘remembrance’ of some accident or incident. These are nothing but the ‘imported’ ways of mourning which are too distant not only from our traditions but also from our very religion. Christians have long been in association with candles in their worships and naturally, they should not have any problem with it either. But Muslims never have had such history nor should they opine for such behavior. Our own traditions are rich enough to overcome the sorrows of any incident.
Once Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Wisdom is the property of Muslim; fetch it, wherever you find it.” It is true that Europe and the entire West has the lead of the world and we too should not hesitate in learning advancements in sciences and other fields of knowledge from them. We should open-mindedly and liberally adjust ourselves with the requirements of the present age. However, it will be a shame for us and the loss of identity if we adopt western culture after compromising our religion Islam and the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him).