Pakistan Women’s Cricket: Expressing Gratitude

Posted on March 11, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Photo of the Day, Sports, Women
Total Views: 43622


Adil Najam

This picture is interesting at so many levels.

The official caption reads: “Pakistanplayers pray after winning the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 round two group stage match between Sri Lanka and Pakistanat Manuka Oval on March 9, 2009 in Canberra, Australia.”

What should one comment on? The achievement of the Pakistan women’s cricket (we have written earlier about Urooj Mumtaz Khan, who was again instrumental in this victory). The significance of the women’s team’s achievement when the men’s team is in doldrums. The fact that this was against Sri Lanka, given the horrible incidents of last week. Or just the gesture of gratitude and prayer (and whether this was synchronized for the cameras or spontaneous!).

I will leave the commenting to our readers.

I put this up, because seeing the picture I felt good at the news. Felt good for our womens’ team. And felt good that at least there is some hope for Pakistan cricket. Most of all, because I think its a great picture.

39 Comments on “Pakistan Women’s Cricket: Expressing Gratitude”

  1. Atookmook says:
    March 11th, 2009 10:38 am

    In addition to giving thanks, these young, talented, Pakistani women are most probably praying as well. I pray that their prayers will come true. It’s not difficult to guess at least part of what they might well be praying for. When we try and deceive ourselves in to thinking that by leaving the girls of Swat at the mercy of the beastial Taliban, we are ‘saving’ the rest of Pakistan. We forget how Ms Nilofar Bakhtiar had to resign because of the skydiving issue. How her pictures were hung all around ‘Islam’abad, and no ‘Pak’istani cared to tear them down and stand up for her. We forget how the marathons were attacked in 2005. We deceive ourselves when we deny the only natural trajectory and destination of these acts and mentality. When we fail to stand up and fight. We, men, will only have to grow a beard and pull up our shalwars above the ankle. But think about these girls. They stand to lose everything. Once again, please think about the hundred of thousands of girls in Swat who are no longer able to go to school or college, and have become prisoners in their own homes. Who really is paying the price for this ‘peace’? The team has two girls from NWFP. Both from Abottabad. Which is right next to Malakand. These 11 girls symbolise what is at stake for the women of Pakistan… far more than for the men of Pakistan. Let us all stand together against the enemies of women, and of freedom.

  2. Uzma says:
    March 11th, 2009 11:50 am

    Beautiful comment by Atookmook. I am speechless after that. May our women stand strong and be able to attain freedom that they deserve.

  3. atheist says:
    March 11th, 2009 12:05 pm

    there are two things in this picture

    its a awesome thing for the society when _everyone_ has the right to follow their dreams, irrespective of their gender/religion/color. this is what civialized and democractic societies are for. cheers for this and i wish for more of these kind of initiative where everyone and especially women are given the freedom to make their decisions.

    its not a good sign to bring religion into everything especially things like this cricket match which was between two countries and not two religions. thanking god is a good thing but that should have been a personal gesture and not in the middle of a stadium. sports and religion shouldn’t be clubbled. isn’t mixing the religion with _all_ aspects of life one of the biggest problem for the country ?

  4. Nostalgic says:
    March 11th, 2009 1:53 pm

    I am delighted by the success of this team, and there is nothing wrong with thanking the Almighty, but what I find disconcerting, not only with this picture but also with other such acts of public piety, is this insistence on wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve…

    Why make a spectacle about one’s beliefs? Were sportspeople in the past any less pious? Before this newly discovered love to broadcast our faith at every conceivable opportunity, were we any less Muslim?

    That said, if this is how the girls want to commemorate a victory, all power to them… if the maulvis have their way they wouldn’t be playing, and I wonder if this is their way of hitting back…

  5. Indscribe says:
    March 11th, 2009 2:15 pm

    The photograph is good.

    When you are happy, delighted and overwhelmed, you feel like praying, thanking God. But I don’t know what to speak about this overt religiousity on the ground that seems to have become a ritual for Pakistani cricketers. If there is ever a non-Muslim in the team, what he or she would feel like?

  6. Usman Khan says:
    March 11th, 2009 2:56 pm

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve if that’s what one wants to do. Dinesh Kanaria says “Allah ka shukar hai” and “Insha’Allah”. He is happy to be called “Danish” instead of the original “Dinesh”. The only time he has not able to join in is when the team is saying namaz. It’s all fine.

    But just a thought. No criticism. How does it make us better muslims or the country more Islamic by calling it the “Islamic” Repucblic of Pakistan? There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling it that, if that’s what we want. But what do you think is more Islamic… closer to the true nature of the Prophet (PBUH): Insisting on calling the country the “Islamic Republic” making it very clear that all living within it are fully included as equal citizens? Or, out of generosity of spirit, and no other compulsion, whatsoever, to voluntarily ‘sacrifice’ our right to call our country “Islamic Repubic” in order to make sure, out of sheer Islamic generosity, that no non-muslim Pakistani child ever feels even slightly less included or equal than any other Pakistani child? It’s just a question. Better muslims and better humans than I would know better.

  7. Nostalgic says:
    March 11th, 2009 3:19 pm

    Well, its just that the urge to wear our religion on our collective sleeves is quite a recent phenomenon… Where has the urge come from? What is the urge? Why now, after a thousand years or so of being Muslim? Is it an attempt to prove something or the other to the rest of the world, or to ourselves?

    There are other manifestations of this too, besides the sajdas… young women deeming the shalwar kameez inadequately modest and resorting to the ninja look for instance, the profusion of beards on young men, and the refusal to persevere with the traditional Khuda Hafiz as a parting greeting…

    I don’t “get” it…

  8. Usman Khan says:
    March 11th, 2009 5:05 pm

    Nostalgic, read the history of Islam (or several other religions). Read it over smaller or bigger time ranges. Read it in the regional or globall context. You will find that whenever Muslims have been strong and prosperous, they’ve been less worried about outward and rhetorical religious symbolism. They’ve produced world leading thinkers, scientists and progressive societies and developed rich and vibrant cultures. Realised their religion and spirituality in its true sense without feeling any absurd need to wave it around. They’ve put the guidance in to practical use, instead. Whenever muslims have faced reverses, failure and a crisis of self-confidence, they’ve ultimately tried to find refuge in hiding behind a bloated, exaggerated rhetoric and facade of religion. Look at Indian history and contrast Akbar with Aurangzeb. In Pakistan, compare Jinnah with Zia. Or even Bhutto of 1967/8 with that of 1976/77. This coorelation between self-confidence and reducing religous rhetoric and rigidity and advances in Islamic thought, and crisis of confidence and increasing rhetoric and closing minds applies even to muslim minorities. Look at the Indian muslims. Compare the backward British Pakistani community with the more successful American Pakistani community. Apply this to any number of muslim countries today, and you will find it to be true. If not religion, then you will find the scoundrel seeking similar refuge in the mere rhetoric and exploitative exaggeration of nationality. Indeed, both bloated religion and nationality are the refuge of the devious, the incompetent, and the failed… more often than not.

  9. Nostalgic says:
    March 11th, 2009 7:18 pm

    Excellent points Usman… the only issue I have is that in the cases of Akbar vs. Aurangzeb and Jinnah vs. Zia, the persona and the intellectual makeup of the man in question had a big role to play in addition to the eras they were variously in p0wer… but I agree with your general premise… it definitely has a role to play in our current obsession with ritualism…

  10. Usman Khan says:
    March 11th, 2009 7:35 pm

    Yes, Akbar and Jinnah were special, in very different ways. Yet Akbar had a forerunner in Sher Shah, and Jinnah in Sir Syed. Again, in very different ways. In Jinnah’s case, especially, he took an idea still at its formative stages, and, single handedly, turned it in to a fully fledged reality. It’s not his fault that we, his successors, reversed it. Jinnah, encouraged by what Sir Syed had started, defied the prevailing crisis of confidence. We need someone who can do that today. Otherwise, we’ll see capitualtion after capitulation to the likes of Fazlullah and Baitullah.

  11. adeel says:
    March 11th, 2009 7:53 pm

    I am not sure what to make of this picture. I guess if the girls really do want to display their gratitude like this, it is their choice.

    A wise man once said that the best form of service to God was not to make a show of it. One could infer that more subtle forms of showing thankfulness are desirous as Allah does not need to actually see us prostrate to accept it. By the way, the wise man’s name is Ali (r.a).

    On the other hand, if the girls are saying one of their daily prayers, I guess a mosque or a prayer room is more suited for it than a cricket pitch – unless it was hot inside!

    Great conversation between Usman Khan and Nostalgic, by the way. You guys explored so much that was absent in the original post without fighting over it (!), which makes me wonder if Prof. Najam deliberately left it out knowing full well that some of us will pick up these angles in the comments.

  12. Allah Wasaya says:
    March 11th, 2009 9:25 pm

    Interesting comments, could it be that these ladies are bowing down to let the some of their fellow countryMEN know that “We too are good muslims and please don’t brand us a bunch of westernized, free thinking, secular women who pounce on any chance of running around like men playing a man’s sport dressed in unislamic clothing”

  13. bonobashi says:
    March 11th, 2009 9:47 pm


    I can’t help pointing out that the great personalities in question were probably allowed to flourish by the spirit of the times they lived in. They might have been as great, but constricted by their society and the state of the world in general.

    Consider Frederick II Hohenstaufen, ‘stupor mundi’, Holy Roman Emperor with Arab ministers and advisers, who was one of the very few European crusaders who won concessions and victories purely by negotiation. He was excommunicated for setting out on the crusade, and excommunicated again for negotiating with his foes instead of killing them. What might he not have achieved without two strong Popes as his implacable enemies?

  14. Nostalgic says:
    March 12th, 2009 8:28 am

    Yes, which is why I mentioned the eras they were in power too… hadn’t heard of the Holy Roman Emperor you mentioned… thanks… I’m off to Wikipedia… :)

    Thanks adeel!

    By the way, Usman’s mention of Baitullah and Fazlullah made me realize that there probably aren’t two more inappropriately named men around, especially Fazlullah… the Lord probably has a great sense of irony to go with His sense of humor…

  15. sheepoo says:
    March 12th, 2009 9:31 am

    Great picture!
    I have read the points being discussed here and agree to most of what readers are saying.
    Bottom line: Islamism will destroy Pakistan, Islam will save Pakistan. Take your pick!

  16. bonobashi says:
    March 12th, 2009 9:49 am

    @Usman Khan

    For some mysterious reason, even the admittedly high quality of the exchange between you and Nostalgic left me with the feeling of a rather well-fed goose sometime around All Saints’ Day; an increase in tension and blood pressure, with no clear-cut reason for it. It took more than one reading of your post to realise why:

    //Quote//You will find that whenever Muslims have been strong and prosperous, they

  17. Owais Mughal says:
    March 12th, 2009 10:03 am

    Pakistan women team has qualified for the Super Six stage. They are on the bottom of super 6 table, but that means they can only go higher from here. It is an achievement for Pak ladies to reach to the super six stage.

  18. Owais Mughal says:
    March 12th, 2009 10:09 am

    Pakistani women’s win against Sri Lanka woment is also Pakistans first ever win against SL in women ODIs.

    This came after 18 consecutive losses. So far Pak women and SL women have played 19 ODIs since 1998. SL has won 18 and Pak 1. Conngratulations to Pak on their first win against SL

  19. Jam Yasir says:
    March 12th, 2009 6:47 pm

    Thank God after reciving the worst news on cricket this odi victory against srilankan women’s team would be a sigh of relife for cricket fans in Pakistan

  20. ali says:
    March 12th, 2009 8:55 pm

    These girls are genuinely praying to Allah for victory.I am sure they pray before every match and also after the match if they win.

  21. ali says:
    March 12th, 2009 9:06 pm

    well said Atookmook.

  22. Aisha Khan says:
    March 13th, 2009 4:51 am

    A great Success by Pakistan Women Cricket Team who are quite young in the world of cricket. Instead of being negative to everyting we, as a nation, should make it a habit to see positive sides of things. This habit will not only give us a peace of mind but will lead us to success as well in every stage of life.

    What a Great picture! Green Shirts are inexperienced and haven’t got exposure as far as other teams playing in this mega event are concerned but by qualifying to the Super Sixes they have proved that when determinations are strong nothing seems impossible because impossible itself says I m possible for those who struggle.

    My Best Wishes for the Young Pakistan Women Cricket Team.

  23. Owais Mughal says:
    March 14th, 2009 8:43 am

    Pakistan women beat West Indies by 4 wickets today. A lady named Arman Khan who hails from remote area of Chaghi, Balochistan was instrumental in Pakistan’s win against West Indies. Don’t the news like this make us feel proud. Scorecard here

  24. Owais Mughal says:
    March 14th, 2009 8:49 am

    Latest Points Table is here

  25. Bloody Civilian says:
    March 14th, 2009 9:19 am

    Congratulations team Pakistan! We love you! Take that Taliban, appeasers, Quislings, and Marathon wreckers! Power to the wonderful women of Pakistan! Shame on those men who wouldn’t stand by their women… their fellow humans and compatriots! Will we continue to ignore the girls of Swat? Lets do something, please. If a brave girl from Chaghi can do wonders in far away Sydney, surely we can do our duty in Pakistan.

  26. Nostalgic says:
    March 14th, 2009 10:05 am

    Yes, well done again girls! Apart from Arman, the medium-pacer Almas Akram did really well… I think she bowled seven overs for seven runs and three wickets…

    And I do hope all the maulvis are watching… watching helplessly and cringing and gnashing their teeth…

  27. Cricket Fan says:
    March 14th, 2009 1:58 pm

    Here are a few points of clarification:

    I have first hand knowledge that the photo was a spontaneous reaction and not ‘staged’ for the cameras. For those who are not following each minute of every Pakistan match in the ICC Womens World Cup 2009 in Australia, here is more evidence. Please go to Getty Images and search for other Pakistan Womens vs Sri Lanka Womens ICC World Cup Cricket match photographs. You will see that this is one in a series of shots immediately after the victory. Pay close attention to the women carrying their stumps and rejoicing in their first major international victory, right after the last dismissal.

    Regarding celebration of a victory by kneeling in prostration, why has an assumption been made that this is limited to Muslims? Many sportsmen and women around the world make similar gestures of faith. Check your religious reference books and you will see followers of modern and ancient religions prostration.

    In response to another post suggesting prostration was only appropriate in a mosque: Yes, the entire team is Muslim and again I personally know that most of the team members pray five times a day. There is no Islamic law prohibiting prayer outside on grass, or a sudden urge to show your faith. If the team wishes to offer a dua or prostrate to show their faith then who are we to question this? Lastly, how many mosques in Pakistan would allow a female to enter a mosque in prayer if she wished to do so?

  28. Uthman says:
    March 14th, 2009 7:21 pm

    Assalam o alaykum. I am appalled at this picture. Women must be covered in hijab. Not showing their awrah to strangers, in this case to the world. This is not right.

  29. Bloody civilian says:
    March 14th, 2009 7:36 pm

    Nostalgic, just watch some of them here ‘cringing and gnashing their teeth’, and enjoy ;-)

    What do these perverts know about honour and human dignity. These cowards are so insecure in themselves that they can never appreciate the wonderful courage shown by these young, talented Pakistani girls, a lot of them very young, in defying the sick, antagonistic mentality, hurdles and lack of opportunities at home to go and do their very best at the international level. They have our greatest affection and deserve a lot of respect. Here’s wishing them the very best.

  30. Uthman says:
    March 15th, 2009 5:36 pm

    I dont understand why Islam is fastly growing in USA? I dont understand why muslim women here in the West cover up when they want to play sports. So much so that a gym here just put together a specific time for women who are muslims and want to preserve their modesty by following the Command of Allah. I dont understand why when someone puts on a beard he is called a maulvi. Instead of calling him a muslim he is labelled and shunned and ridiculed. If he says something that Allah and His Messenger have commanded he is made of fun of. I demand an answer from you and proof for what you are saying.

  31. Bloody Civilian says:
    March 15th, 2009 5:59 pm

    What some women want to do, they are abslolutely free to do, and if an American gym wants to offer them a women-only time slot for it, great.

    You have the same right to ‘think’ what is God’s command and to your interpretation of religion, as any body and every body else’s. Your interpretation is as open to criticism as is mine.

    The moment you encroach on my right in this or any other regard, in matters of religion, choosing or not choosing religion, interpreting religion, what to wear, or eat etc. I’ll let you know, in unambiguous terms., like I just did. I am sure so would these girls if they were part of the discussion here… but they are not. Without them being able to speak for themselves all I can say is what I can see, which is that they are amply modestly dressed (only relevant since there may be a fair assumption of them being muslim…. though not of a right for others to pass judgement) and are performing the muslim sajjida. I see nothing to debate here, and everything to celebrate.

    If you wish to debate interpretation of religion here, write a couple of volumes, at least, and I, if so inclined, might respond with a couple of my own. Anything less will be so inadequate as to be completely pointless. Interpretation of isloated parts is also pointless, if the interpretation of the whole is not discussed (requiring a few volumes, if done to a scholarly standard. Is there any other?).

  32. Uthman says:
    March 15th, 2009 6:34 pm

    Doesn’t Islam tell us how to dress? What to eat? Islam tells us how to live our life because it is a complete code of life. Then there is truly no room for debate and no criticism to what I just said. Criticizing for the sake of criticizing will not get us anywhere. We need to do whats right. Criticizing for the sake of guidance is what I am looking for.
    From your response it is apparent that you are supporting a secularist way instead of a muslim one. Shouldn’t women cover up in front of strange men? Is this not what Allah says in Surah An Noor V31 and Surah Al Ahzab V 59? I am not quoting out of context or quoting in isolation. This is Allah’s Command. So what are we going to debate about?

    You are using your own intellect to say what is modest and what is immodest. If that is the case then your methodology to start with is flawed. Because we have to put the Quran and Sunnah first. Judge your response in the light of the Quran and Sunnah and maybe things will be clearer. Wallah u alam

    My email is available if you have questions/concerns.

  33. Mahvish says:
    March 15th, 2009 8:46 pm

    These women give one hope. They are the real Muslims, and not the murderers and thug mullahs of the Taliban. They stand tall and bring victory to Pakistan and to Islam…. Bravo, Ladies, you make us proud. Of course, the Taliban types will try to discredit them but they are discredited themselves. I suggest that these mullahs should themselves start wearing burqas if they are so offended by the female form!

  34. Bloody Civilian says:
    March 16th, 2009 11:16 am

    Uthman, what do you use to believe in the ‘methodology’ that you believe in? You use your mind. You come to the belief through your intellect. Not through your elbow. How do you end up having blind faith in the Quran? Again, through your intellect. Not through your stomach. Or your heart. Or your knee. You are muslim either because you were born to muslim parents, or you used your mind and Islam is what convinced you. Most probably, both.

    I am not discussing the merits or otherwise of a decision any one makes. To be a muslim, or to have a belief, to arrive at an interpretation of any part of Islam.. or the whole… they are all decisions. To follow the Quran, Sunnah, Abu Hanifa… they are all decisions. Your decisions, therefore, by definition, your interpretation. Biologically, the brain is the only place where we make decisions. All decisions. Thanks for the offer of your email address… but write a book or two.. have them published.. then I shall reply in kind. Two prargraphs to argue a whole ‘code of life’… Come on. Who are you kidding.

    As an aside, albeit an interesting one, your quick conclusion that I am secular (whatever interpretation you have for that word) and your view of my ‘methodology’… are also decisions of your mind… not mine. You use your mind I use mine. Anything else would be dishonest, if not impossible.

  35. Bloody Civilian says:
    March 16th, 2009 11:34 am

    “You are using your own intellect to say what is modest and what is immodest”. Hmmm. What are you using? Your elbow? How do you decide to have blind faith in God and accept the Quran as His word? It’s a decision of your brain. Not your stomach. Not your heart. Not your knee.

    Unless you call yourself a Muslim as a matter of identity only… i.e. to say that your parents had the same identity. But how do you have and accept a belief system without using your brain to arrive at that acceptance? There is no other organ in the human body capable of making a decision. And since it is your brain, your decision, it is also your interpretation. Whether you are reading the Quran, Sunnah, Abu Hanifa.. you are using your brain. That is your filter. You cannot escape your interpretation. You can change your own interpretation of something, and make another interpretation your own, depending on what your mind finds satisfactory and convincing.

    We can debate it. Of course.For you must have reasons for your decision. I must have others for mine. But two paragraphs to debate a whole ‘code of life’!! Come on, who are you kidding! Again, write a book or two, have it published, and then.. I might reply in kind. I am not interested in a childish tit-for-tat of statements made while talking past each other.

    As an aside, albeit an interesting one, your conclusion as to me being secular, whatever interpretation you apply to that word, and your view of my ‘methodology’… are all products of your mind not mine. Your decisions not mine. As they should be. Reached using your mind, not mine. Anything else would have been dishonest, if not biologically impossible.

  36. Bloody Civilian says:
    March 16th, 2009 11:50 am

    Apologies for the double post. Technical glitch. I thought the first one never got through. So re-typed another. Sorry!! Dear Moderators, could you please delete the older of the two. Thank you! :-)

  37. zain says:
    March 16th, 2009 5:14 pm

    now thats awesome display of unity , never saw Pakistan men team doing this together… my Salute to these strong women of Pakistan..


  38. ASAD says:
    March 19th, 2009 11:59 pm

    Even though Pakistan women are now out of the running, this was a great performance, just to get into super 6

  39. ALI says:
    April 1st, 2009 12:10 pm

    You guys make us proud

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