Solar Eclipse is No Cure for Jahalat

Posted on July 22, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Photo of the Day, Society
Total Views: 33739


Adil Najam

We have used the ‘Jahalat‘ caption before in headlines (here, here and here). It is time to do so again.

This picture is from PPI and the caption reads:

“A physically paralyzed girl lies half-buried in sand at the banks of river Indus. Local mythology suggests burying paralyzed children in sand and exposing them to solar eclipse helps overcome paralysis.”

Need one say more!

I guess even a solar eclipse is no cure for jahalat.

68 Comments on “Solar Eclipse is No Cure for Jahalat”

  1. Shazia Rubab Hussain says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:31 am

    Jahil? ………….or desperate to try anything to cure their child?
    I believe in the latter.

  2. Asad Toor says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:54 am

    I also agree with Shazia. It is less jihalat, but more the last cries of desperate parents who will try anything for their daughter. Just look at the expression/posture of the parents. And these people should not be made fun of.

  3. July 23rd, 2009 1:58 am

    Well at first place you should not have taken this photo & labeled as ‘Solar Eclipse is No Cure for Jahalat’.

    Myth buster or so?

    node @ shazia.

    –ali muslim

  4. Sajjad Junaidi says:
    July 23rd, 2009 2:48 am

    Adil, I can understand where you are coming from but its out of sheer desperation to try anything. They need to be educated and not humiliated. I think PPI’s caption shows more balanced reporting.

  5. Darweesh says:
    July 23rd, 2009 3:41 am

    I agree with all four comments above.

  6. Ahmed says:
    July 23rd, 2009 3:44 am

    I tend to agree with most of the comments here. I was at first thinking like Adil, but on reading the comments, I too started feeling that it is an act of desperation by parents who are obviously not very educated. Their intentions are what we need to focus on here. I personally know of very highly educated parents of a mentally handicapped boy here in the United States who have tried seemingly silly sounding “remedies” along with cutting-edge medicine to try and improve things for their boy. So in a nutshell, while I see the ignorance, I also see the reason behind it. I hope for the parents sake that someone or some organization sees this picture and really helps out the little girl.

  7. PastPrince says:
    July 23rd, 2009 6:12 am

    They Are Propagating Sun As They’re Deity.
    Surely Cure Or Not Doesn’t Matter They Seem Like Praying To The Sun Either By Chance Or By Will Thats Shirk…
    No Children No Parent No One Can Come Between Allah & His Man, When There Is No Faith Left Such Thing Start Taking Part In Societies, Not Surprised By It, In Pakistan Many People Who Bow Down To The Graves Of Peers & Saints!
    Shirk All Shirk The Signs Of The End Times…
    Prepare Yourself For Dajjal, Dont Expect More Or Less Its We Who Need Change.
    Dont Be Muslim By Chance Be Muslim By Choice!

  8. July 23rd, 2009 7:32 am

    Feeling sad to see the picture both for the parents and for the kid.

  9. Nihari says:
    July 23rd, 2009 8:01 am

    The other interesting aspect of this picture is only the father having an umbrella and shading himself from the sun….Male chauvinism lives on in the land of the Pure.

  10. Gardezi says:
    July 23rd, 2009 9:12 am

    I am very surprised at some of the comments.

    I am sorry, desperation is no excuse for cruelty. And a lot of these totkas end up being cruel ad putting the person in great danger. Even if this does not now seem to, the attitude that in desperation anything is OK, no matter how stupid and the fact that people can “see” that it is OK is very disturbing.

  11. July 23rd, 2009 9:21 am

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “Jaisay Des, Vaisa Bhes aur Vaisay log! Jahalt is universal & not a nation specific trait”
    - “poor gal, she seems to be enjoying it though!”
    - “what is the word for the ability to believe in one set of completely undemonstratable’ ideas and hold them to be not just knowledge, but the source of all Truth, all the while looking down upon those who have other notions of belief?”
    - “it’s insanity”
    - “when will we get educated !!??? and stop believing in this nonsense !!???”
    - “there is no cure for ignorance .. !”
    - “i agree with you 100% nosherwan!”
    - “Yes… is very common practice here in Pakistan.”
    - “jahalat???????do u really think that all such stupid customs and superstitions have anything to do with being educated… we need to educate the minds of ppl…school education only teaches us how to do rote learning and nothing about morals and logic:) so changing such yr old customs would take yrs….but lets start..”
    - “AbbasWhat u stupid ppl think about this JAHALLAT (so Called). You dont knows and dont believe in super hyper spiritual miraculous doings, these things in fact have impacts and ppl are getting benefits but not always succeed; thats a separate issue…”
    - “may be we should look towards Allah rather than looking for eclipse to cure someone!! THIS IS JAHALAT!!”
    - “wah aala.kiya baat hai in logoon ki.pure Jahalat”
    - “well i dont really think this is jahalat, because every individual has its own believes and perspectives. you cant just come to a conclusion because you dont know how it feels like to be in their situation! If they think this might work, then i dont think there is anything wrong in giving it a try, and ofcourse pray to ALLAH!”
    - “i feel awful about them, they are ready to try like anything to get her child back into the race of human beings, and we have gone so cynical that instead of praying or helping we are sitting here commenting about the beard of that father…. my dad used to tell me that you will not feel me until you become me.. there is no limit for the love of parents how far they can go.. they will go for almost anything they are sure will cure, the rest is upon Allah… i pray and hope she turns healthy…. and the name of this thread should be rational not biased.”
    - “i think its “jahalat” to judge someones feelings, esp when its parents!”
    - “If you allow me to add, we have to think twice before we do anything… Personally, I do really like ATP. We are humans, nd we could think, criticize, make fun, & commit mistakes without we mean to hurt or any (i.e. have sleepy minds/unaware of what we do), since it would be considered as an opinion, but i strongly advise that we think twice before we act or say anything nd also take it from a neutral side. “Our tongues are our horses; if you keep them safe, they will do protect you, and if you insult them, they will also do likewise”. :)”
    - “appaling”
    - “With your permission, I would like to add that we ppl living in this region are having dual personalities. We are Muslims by name, but r Hindus by our culture, heritage and rites. It can be seen that the way our bros n sis did on this occasion, it is being practiced in a same manner by the Hindus in India. We can easily verify this by a little bit survey and ask these guys why they are doing. They will just say our elders have been practicing this…. This is one of the reasons that we have not been able to understand so far that what actually Islam has taught us. The teachings of Islam are above than all such rites. This all we need to figure out!”
    - “Do they freakin care if she is able to breath half burried??? I was watching GEO and saw many like this couple practicing the same thing, and their kids were crying in pain because some had burried them till their freakin throat….Now does anyone care how this poor kid is feeling…for all you know, he might be loosing his breath….this is not love….this is insanity! and education has alot to do with it…Allah in bachon ko shifa day! ameen!”
    - “a burqa clad woman is shown on the front page of THE DAWN who is sitting in the shade of an umbrella with her half buried child at the time of solar eclipse. people think this is islam. hey!OPEN YOUR EYES. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM”
    - “please can someone define jahalat?”
    - “Is it really true?? Amazing”
    - “It is in their brains, we cannot change them”
    - “is liyey islam aya tha.Jahalat khatum karnay k lieye”
    - “well…well…well…ever wondered when people say ke did this really had to happen with me only!! what is the exact answer to that!! now people forget that it is the test from the Al Mighty God!! we should really think about that!! these parents are showing in their test that they are ignorant to Allah!! they will believe any thing accept that what Allah told us in the Quran!! “this life is a test” and for some it is bitter!! if they r to be told that they should understand their daughter being born like this to be a test!! pity to say but then they must also be told they r Muslims!! and they should believe in it too!! we should show patience!! thats what i would do if i had someone cclose to me in the same situation the girl is!! and would fear and pray for nothing like that to happen to anyone around me!! we should atleast be logical!! think atleast how the girl would have felt getting buried in sand!! being paralyzed never means that she can not feel as well!! think about that!!”

  12. Hamza says:
    July 23rd, 2009 9:49 am

    I usually agree with the titles of the blog posts here, but I have to disagree with this one.

    I found this headline in bad taste. You may call this Jahalat, but as some of the other posters have noted, it’s an act of desperation by desperate people. If my loved ones were paralyzed, and I lived in a society as unfriendly as ours to the physically disabled, I, too, would resort to any means possible to help my children.

    Perhaps a less judgmental headline would have been more appropriate and in better taste.

  13. Musaafir says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:15 am

    Like the famous statement “There are no atheists in foxholes” I think any other parent in this situation would do anything in their power. This has nothing to do with a person’s faith, religion, belief or any other such explanation. This is an act of desperation, pure and simple. Even in the most advanced and ‘Educated’ and enlightened of countries, the United States, people would go to any lengths to find a cure for their loved ones.

    All his life, ex-president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were against stem cell research, based on their moral and political beliefs. But when Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which eventually destroyed his life, Nancy was quick to endorse the stem cell research when it showed promise of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

    So, my friends, think twice before you mock someone’s acts of desperation, lest you find yourself in such a despondent situation.

  14. Roshan says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:19 am

    I tend to agree with majority of the comments. It is jahalat out of parental desperation.

  15. Daktar says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:55 am

    I am sorry, but as a physician and as a parent of four kids, I cannot agree with the sentimentality of the comments.

    I will not be a good parent nor a good person if I were to subject my child to such cruelty and, yes, jahalat, whether out of desperation or not. I would seek medical help and if not available or not curable would make every effort to make the life to my child as comfortable as possible rather than subjecting her to such cruelty that has no basis whatever.

  16. Expat says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:56 am

    I would give aything not to be in these parents shoes. I think we should be sympathetic with these people. They seem to be poor people probably with no access to modern medicine. Although we are very fast to make fun of and humiliate these people but lets see who takes some pain to locate these people and offers some help.

  17. Daktar says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:57 am

    By the way, no one is making fun of them. But supporting ignorance does not help these parents or their child. It is itself cruel because it gives false hopes and may even take them away from real medical remedies.

  18. Expat says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:59 am


    Since you are a physician which these people may not be and you are supposedly more learned than them and probably more resourceful, why dont you help these poor people. Believe me, they may not be able to give you any material benefit but you will feel happy and inner peace if you are able to help them out.

  19. Daktar says:
    July 23rd, 2009 11:00 am

    Sorry for the many and emotional messages but I really do take this seriously and I think so should all of us rather than just being sentimental. You are NOT helping the parents by supporting stupidity, rather we support them by pointing them in the right direction.

    People believe in jinns and take kids to get jinns removed also out of desperation. They go to other totkas out of desperation. People can and do die out of these acts.

    It is NOT humane to support such acts, the humane act is to highlight that this is in fact ignorance and is in fact very very dangerous. This particular act may sound less dangerous but it will lead to even more silly and possibly fatal ‘remedies’ done out of desperation. Will we support those too?

  20. Expat says:
    July 23rd, 2009 11:02 am

    Ok then. Walk the talk and help them.

  21. Daktar says:
    July 23rd, 2009 11:04 am

    @Expat (again, sorry for the many messages, I will stop after this).

    If I was there, I would and I am sure there are many physicians who will help them and without any benefit. Physicians in Pakistan do a lot of good work for free and they would.

    But if everyone is “bucking them up” on this jahalat and “supporting” their act of burying a poor girl in sand out of “desperation” instead of pointing out what is and is not right to them, I doubt if the most well-meaning physicians can get through. As long as society as a whole is supportive of such acts, as even the highly educated ATP readers seem to be, then we cannot hope for change in individual acts.

  22. Adam Insaan says:
    July 23rd, 2009 11:11 am

    I have been looking at this picture, more than once.
    What frustrates me , is that (I can only presume it) that these good people have come to this situation, to this “End-station”

    From a perspective of pshychology I am capable of understanding that they are not using the “Ratio” /Vernuft ,
    -they might have tried other remedies (inclusive medical treatment), or they might not have done so.
    They are as parents, and as a family are trying everything possible for the sake/benefit of their child/sister.

    What frustrates me is the fact that I don`t have more information.
    I am not able to judge them.
    May The Almighty give shifaa` to the girl,

  23. Daktar says:
    July 23rd, 2009 11:36 am

    Dear Expat

    Unfortunately, my ‘walk’ to them would cover 500 miles and cross two oceans.

    From your comments seems like you are going to walk to them, and I wish you best of luck in that. When you do, please send me a way to contact them and where they are and I can promise you that even if I cannot do so myself I will insure that they get the best medical advice available. My worry is whether they will take it or not. But I can promise that.

    I will await those details from you. Good luck on your ‘walk.’

  24. Musaafir says:
    July 23rd, 2009 12:21 pm

    Daktar saab, I do not wish to belittle your profession as a number of my very close family members are doctors. However, I will say this that medical science is not the last word and it is a fact which most people are aware of, educated or non. Members of this profession will be the first ones to admit that too.

    The practice of looking down on anything beyond the realm of modern medical science is very common in the medical profession. Allopathic doctors look with disdain at homeopathic practitioners and vice verse.

    All I am saying is that this is not a clear sign of jihalat. This is more of a sign of a situation where you are at your wits end and will give anything a try. A drowning person will still grab at straws even though knowing full well that the straw will not help him one bit.

    I think jihalat is a sign of a closed mind rather than an open one.

  25. Asim says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:10 pm

    This way I see this image is that a desperate family’s willingness to try whatever they can to cure their loved ones. Obviousley, I dont know the whole story as what kind of medical treatment they have already tried, but my understanding for paralysis is that there is no cure for it yet!

    By the way, do we have this family’s permission to make their private moment public? I just hope that anti pakistan media does not publish this image as “pakistani about to bury a girl alive” or something more ridiculous.

  26. DuFFeR says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:30 pm

    yeh to kuch bhi nahin
    log to beemari ka ilaj karnay k liye bacha tandoor main dal detay hain
    o jee apna apna ilaj he
    jitni jahalat utna ajeeb ilaj

  27. Adnan says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:51 pm

    I’m sorry to say this is a very bad picture … unless the photograher and the writer of this article have sought permission from the family to take and publish this picture ….

    If no permission has been taken, I consider this moral lagardness a worse form of ‘Jehalat’ than believing in a myth or tradition …

    This article has insulted the family … you can insult an idea, a belief or tradition, but not those who practise it …

  28. Kamran says:
    July 23rd, 2009 1:58 pm

    The comments show that their jahalat is really coming from all of us. So, because they are ‘desperate’ they should bury their daughter in sand? How about put her in a tandoor as someone suggested. What about the story that one of the links pointed to:

    It is really the type of ideas that some are suggesting in their comments that strengthen these practices. Society should not only condemn this but stop the parents from doing this. Of course, that means society also has to give them better scientific alternatives.

    The jahalat is not just their’s it is of society as the comments show. Sorry to say that.

  29. Akif Nizam says:
    July 23rd, 2009 4:38 pm

    Is it only me or someone else thinks that it’s just an innocent picture of a family having fun at the beach? Just because some idiot put a caption on the photo, mischaracterizing the nature of the scene, doesn’t mean that it’s so.

    Looks to me like the girl is wearing sunglasses, buried herself in the sand, like a lot of people do at the beach; her legs are exposed, so she’ not really buried. There is another couple in the background, closer to the water, so it looks like a picnic spot anyway. And why is there bright sunshine during a solar eclipse? I think it’s the publisher’s idea of the same stupid joke that we all made when we were six and saw someone wearing sunglasses: ” babajee, road cross kara doon?”

  30. Rehan says:
    July 23rd, 2009 5:00 pm

    This is a much milder form of ignorance and should not be bundled together with Honor Killing, or killing of Shagufta or Jahalat of our Assembly representatives.

    One must look more at the plight of the family and the intense desire to find a cure within the means they have. Obviously they do not want any harm to come to their daughter.

    To me this photo do not invoke any negative sentiment, I am actually touched by the photo. I feel the pain the family felt. The whole family is waiting around the girl waiting for a miracle to happen. I only wish they could be educated and informed better.

    This is quiet unlike of ATP not to give due thought to the title of a post.

    Would I call it Jahalat, if my mother says, do not eat ice cream in winter you will get flu. Or eating parathaas make you healthy.

    May I also call attention to an event happened here in USA,
    A mother decided to pursue alternate medicine for cancer of her son, when it is proven that Chemo will benefit that type of cancer, and denying chemo would put the life of the boy in danger. If this is jahalat, this type of jahalat is not just a pakistani phenomenon.

  31. Owais Mughal says:
    July 23rd, 2009 5:04 pm

    @Akif. I don’t think it is picnic. Parent’s faces look sad and pained.

  32. ABC says:
    July 23rd, 2009 5:08 pm

    I am deeply appalled by the fraudelnet journalism shown here by ATP. You just saw the picture on another newspaper and reproduced it as is on ATP. Did you do your research? Do you know what are the circumstances under which this family is doing this? Did anyone ask this family why they are doing this? This is the exact kind of “Jahil” journalism that Pakistanis are known for. I thought that ATP would have some sort of higher standards than the negative journalism that we ususally see in Pakistan.
    Instead of calling this family ‘jahil’ and other names, has anyone even thought about what their plight is? what are they going through? why are they doing this? As a father of a special needs child, I can tell you this… a parent will go to any lengths to save their child. The mind set becomes totally different. No other person can undersatnd it.. even other parents with normal kids. Let me tell you two true stories that happned recently…
    News 1
    A 65 year old woman shot her 40 year old (with brain function level of a 2 year old) special needs daughter and then committed suicide. She left a note… “since I am dying with cancer, I do not trust anyone to take care of my daughter after I die”.
    News 2
    A dying mother left her 26 year old (with brain function level of a 2 year old) special needs daughter to her step sister. After her death, the sister locked the girl in the basement, and never fed her. A year (or much less, I can’t remeber) later Police found her frail body covered in her own feces. With no food and water the poor girl ate her own feces. When she was left in her sister’s custody, she was 140 lbs… when police found her body, she weighed only 60 lbs.
    Now you tell me… was the Mother in News 1 wrong in killing her child???? I asked the same question to myself when I read that news, and I could not decide whether what she did was wrong or right. As a father of special needs child I am scared to death of the moment when I might have to make a choice. I pray to Allah that no one be faced with this situation. So please be considerate, we do not know what this family is going through and what their situation is. Thanks to ATP, this family’s dignity is being publicly humiliated.
    On the other hand, I will admit that parents of disabled and special needs children or any parent for that matter, always tends to find the magic pill that will fix everything quickly. I, myslef has wished for this… a miricle that would cure my child. But the realty is that there is no magic pill, there might be a miricle, but I can not wait for that miricle. Parents of special needs children need to realise that they must not wait for that magic pill or miricle. They need to apply themselves and work hard on their kids.. therapies and whatever else is recomended by the professionals. The goal is to make them as independent as possible. Certainly one always prays to Allah that He show his miricle and cure my child.
    The biggest challenge from Allah to man is the challenge of their children. Even the prophets were brought to their knees by this challenge, then who the heck are we?? or as we say in Urdu “hum kis khet ki mooli hain”. I pray to Allah that no one has to face that challenge.

  33. Parveen says:
    July 23rd, 2009 5:40 pm

    The picture is not really remarkable, but the comments are.

    The nonsense about “getting permission” is ridiculous for anyone who knows anything about journalism. This is not a case where you would require such permission.

    Whether the PPI caption is wrong and this is a ‘picnic’ is more interesting, but only in a funny way. Since we have no way of knowing whether it is or not the sensible thing is to assume that they did do their homework and you cannot reasonably ask everyone else to go and dig out the family and ask them when a major news agency has stated that to be the case.

    More interesting is the case of sympathy with the parent. My sympathy is also with the parent and maybe the headline is a little harsh, but only a little. It *IS* jahalat certainly, but probably not the type that should incite ridicule. I do not believe that the author is trying to ridicule the family, rather showing that we do silly things without thinking about their consequence. That is a legitimate and admirable journalistic point, because it is true.

    So, I do feel that what these parents are doing, even if in love, is wrong. But I do not feel angry at them, I feel their pain. I just wish that we will stop being a society where such things are encouraged. In that, I think the attitude of many commenters is quite disturbing because they seem to be supporting this, even suggesting that maybe this is the solution.

  34. Rehan says:
    July 23rd, 2009 5:42 pm

    Deeply moved by ABC’s post. I stand by him and wish ATP change the title and add more to the body of the post correcting its statement.

  35. ABC says:
    July 23rd, 2009 6:09 pm


    Here is a taste of the journalism that you are supporting…

    Say you are reading the holy Quran in your open air backyard. Suddenly your child cries out in pain or your haandi is burning. You get up and try to run, in hurry the Quran slips from your hands and you accidentally step on it. Right at this moment your neighbour takes your picture and sends it to a news paper. ATP sees that news item and puts it up on their website with a caption “Jahil Lady stomps on the holy Quran”. Next day a mob shows up outside your house and… you get the point.
    Now would’nt you want ATP to do their home work beofre putting up the picture and the caption??? As a matter of fact this actually happened (on more or less the same lines) and the mob burned that poor guy/girl alive.

    I guess my point is that do not call some one jahil, just beacuse they had to make a hard choice for their child. We do not know what their circumstances are.
    Some one posted a link to a news story on a mother who did not want Chemotherapy for her son dying with cancer. I followed that story closely. Her son’s cancer would come back after several sessions of chemo. The son was really in pain because of all the chemo. The doctors did not guarantee that chemo will eradicate cancer completely and gave her 30% success chance. The mother had to make a choice… see her son go through extreme pain and still die Or seek an alternate painless treatment. To me she made a tough choice. What would have you done in her place?? If I were in her place what would have I done? To be honest, I don’t know…

  36. Anver says:
    July 23rd, 2009 6:29 pm

    The description given by Dawn with this picture and also a related story from Yahoo News about eclipses and superstitions.–bi-10

    Children buried up to their necks for

  37. ShahidnUSA says:
    July 23rd, 2009 7:06 pm

    Once on karachi beach (sandspit) I got bitten by a jelly fish (blue bottle). It hurt like hell, some said rub an onion, some said to pee on it. They barried my feet in sand. When I pulled out my feet from the sand, it had blisters all over from the hot sand, but the pain got lessened. Rest I dont remember, I was only 12 years old.
    Once during Muharam parade in karachi, I saw a woman was pushing her young son to walk under the decorated horse, splashed with fake or real blood. When I asked her the reason, she said she wanted her next child to be a boy as well.

    I “heard” that in pakistani village, if a girl does not like to marry an arranged boy and in love with someone else, she starts acting weird and annouce that she is possessed. Then the father calls the Mullah and then they beat the hell out of her until she cries out. OK! OK! The bhoot I mean the Ghost is gone.

    In Rome, there is a huge fountain. where tourists from all over world visit and throw a cent or penny in water and make a wish. Did I do that? You bet I did. But atleast I threw a dime because my wish was expensive.

  38. Parveen says:
    July 23rd, 2009 7:16 pm

    Thank you Anver for those more detailed stories. They make obvious just how this is in fact jahalat.

  39. Osman says:
    July 23rd, 2009 7:24 pm

    I find this conversation rather funny now given the turn it has taken.

    So, here is the obvious question I would ask if I was a journalist.

    So, OK, I am the parent and I am desperate so, yes, I will try anything (reasonable things only I hope). And so the parent listens to this so-called ‘spiritual healer’ and buries his daughter in the sand for 90 minutes. OK. Then what?

    What happened after that? Is the girl cured? Is she running freely on the beach?

    That is all I want to know. And if she is maybe I will bury myself in the sand too :-)

    And did this peer sahib ‘spiritual leader’ make a buck by selling this nonsense to poor desperate parents. Yes, this is jahalat!

  40. ABC says:
    July 23rd, 2009 7:39 pm

    I guess this is it for me. I would just say one last thing…

    it is easy to say all this and call people “jahil” if you don’t have a disabled/special needs child, or a child who is dying.

  41. Taimur says:
    July 23rd, 2009 10:42 pm

    Sad to see the comments here. Even more sad than the picture itself.

    I hope the girl gets better. But am sure that it will not be because of such ignorant behavior.

    Defending the ignorance of people is not feeling for these parents, it is the opposite. IT shows how unconcerned people are about the actual pain they are in that we would support counterproductive acts like this.

  42. Eidee Man says:
    July 24th, 2009 1:02 am

    I agree with those who said that calling these people “Jahil” is overly harsh.

    Is what they are doing completely unnecessary? Yes it is. But like others have pointed out, who are we to tell desperate parents what they should and should not do? One can extend this flawed reasoning to religion as well; why should a disabled person be encouraged to pray if he gets some pain in the process? I certainly cannot think of rigorous scientific evidence in support of prayer.

    I would go as far as to say that this sort of public humiliation is ITSELF a “Jahil” behavior, because this viewpoint completely fails to acknowledge the massive education problem in Pakistan.

  43. Omer says:
    July 24th, 2009 2:13 am

    But who are we to call them Jahil when we and our government cant ensure a good modern education?

    How many times have we volunteered or entered in discourses, logical educated discourses, with people around us who believe in these things…not many have.

  44. July 24th, 2009 2:49 am

    Looks at the guy’s expressions. Priceless !

  45. adeel says:
    July 24th, 2009 8:13 am

    When I saw this post and the photo a couple of days ago when it had been just published, I tch-tched at the presumed jahalat with a smirk on my face and moved on.

    However seeing the comment-count on it near 50, I returned today to read what was going on and came across ABCs reply. And I must say I too was moved by it.

    As someone else, we cannot lump this with houour killings and other such forms of extreme of jahalat. In all probability we don’t know what the family was going through.

    IMO, this warrants a reconsideration on part of ATP.

  46. Humaira says:
    July 24th, 2009 8:23 am

    So, did the girl get cured?

  47. Rehan says:
    July 24th, 2009 11:18 am

    @ Humaira. :) so you think there is a chance that the girl might have been cured. It is quite likely that even the parents in the picture did not think so.

    I can tell, from personal experience, that sometimes you pretend to believe in something beyond reason only to give emotional and psychological support to the dear person who is suffering from something incurable. The small moments of hope that the suffering person feels are priceless.

  48. Shoaib says:
    July 24th, 2009 11:48 am

    Shame on you the enlightened ATP. How could you not see the pain on parent’s faces?

  49. Expat says:
    July 24th, 2009 1:08 pm


    Although I am unable to help you out with the family shown in the picture, however, below is the address of a centre which provides services to physically and mentally handicapped children of Karachi. I have been seeing this centre since I remeember and it is locted very near to my house in Karachi. People who have visited Kashmir Road in Karachi might have seen it since it is located on the main road.

    Address :
    159-H Block-3 P.E.C.H.S.
    Kashmir Road Karachi
    Phone :
    Fax :
    Contact Persons
    Sr. Ruth Lewis
    In-charge of all the Homes
    Mr. Morris Khurshid
    Office Manager
    Email :

    Link to their website is as below.

  50. Truth Seeker says:
    July 24th, 2009 3:22 pm

    This is just an act of hope. Hoping against the impossible.

    Don’t we all do the same? Rationale tells us that Allah or God hasn’t cured a single amputated person in the history of humanity. So why do we still pray? Are our prayers more important than the prayers of permanently disabled people?

    We pray for hope, to our own imagination, as it helps us cope. That all there is to it.

    Praying to Jesus or Allah or God is no more “Jahil” that what these people are doing. Dare not pronounce judgment on them, specially if you believe you are educated.

  51. Eidee Man says:
    July 24th, 2009 9:47 pm

    @ATP administrators,

    the comments to this post make it quite clear that there are quite a few people who find the labeling of these people as “Jahil” to be at least unwarranted, if not offensive.

    I recommend that ATP make amends by writing a brand new “Jaahil” post, about the following story in Dawn:–bi-06

    According to this story, Shahbaz Sharif’s son has been allowed to import a Siberian tiger (of all things!) in violation of the law.

  52. fomi says:
    July 25th, 2009 2:59 am

    hmm. The ratio of number of posts per number views is exceptionally high. Drew more readers to discussion than most posts. What does this tell about the post and the readers?

    My opinion is that label of jahil for this family is harsh. Jaahil label for siberian tiger importers will be more appropriate.

  53. ahsan says:
    July 25th, 2009 9:24 am

    @Adil Najam. I would say that a PhD, which you have, is no cure for Jahalat. There are so many unexplained phenomenon is nature , so much knowledge , of which we know only at an abstract level. Adil, can you show me any on-going research which proves that what these people are doing wont have any effect. PhDs of your kind, when study the indigenous tribes of amazon or africa, always come up with scientific reason for their primitive customs. Everyone gets fascinated with what the INdians and arabs do. But when it comes down to our own country, likes of you term it as jahalat.
    The effect of music on plants, and of colors on our moods. ..and hundreds of others such mysteries…are all recent scietific findings,,.. and yet ” Jahil” people have been practicing them for ages. Do some reading into occult sciences.
    A very disappointing post from a person who himself claims to be a reseacher. One should be very careful in giving hard statements ADIL. That is the first lesson in research.

  54. Adam Insaan says:
    July 25th, 2009 10:20 am

    Aforetime I did write a shorter comment, I do have to add ;

    One of my professor`s in medical psychiatry told us students years ago ;
    “Don`t ever, ever take the last hope from a patient!”

    -and I have been brought up by this since, as a cathegorical imperative.

    As S

  55. Daktar says:
    July 25th, 2009 10:49 am

    Thank you Expat. I am aware of this organization and have heard that they do good work. One of my former colleagues at AKU works with them too. I will be sure to provide them whatever information and other assistance that I could. I do think that maybe referring these people to such an organziation and assisting them in getting that help with resources is far more important and supportive than supporting their ignorant beliefs that will only make the so called ‘alim’ and ‘spiritual healer’ richer by playing with their hopes and desperation.

    By the way, thank you ATP for highligting this deep problem, which is made deeper by society’s support for this.

  56. Dr Qaiser Saeed says:
    July 25th, 2009 11:14 am

    I am very glad this topic is being discussed but sad at the comments. I saw the same when I practiced as physiciam in Faisalabad and then Karachi for 15 years. It was not the patients but their friends and relatives who madethem seek silly solutions. Very often this would mean they will have severe side effects or would stop the real treatment. In at least two cases I know the patient eventually died. In one of those cases her family convinced her that ‘parha hua pani’ was more effective than the medicines she was taking. I remember being depressed for days because I tried to convince her that at least keep taking the medicines with the paani. But their Alim had told them that the medicines had to be stopped. Eventually I remember meeting the Khalla who had insisted on the paani because the medicines were not working fast enough. She told me “ji, Allah ki marzi thi” I felt so very angry at her. This was not Allah ki marzi, this was their jahalat. They may have been trying to help but the girl is dead because of jahalat.

    So please, think of what is good for the girl and not just you sympathy.

  57. Fauzia says:
    July 25th, 2009 8:07 pm

    I had followed discussion quietly thinking like most that maybe we should think of parents feelings and this is OK even if we know it is not working. But now after reading Dr. Qaiser’s post I am very moved. I now realize at least one death in my family where it was same case of friends and family members trying to help by suggesting totkas and spiritual things which led the patient to stop taking the medical treatment seriously and then it was too late to do anything. I think the point made is right, we should really think before supporting such acts even if we support them of of kindness.

  58. Gardezi says:
    July 26th, 2009 12:01 am

    I would also like answer to the question that was asked. How is the girl doing now? Is she all healed by this Alim sahib!

  59. Farrukh Shahbaz says:
    July 26th, 2009 5:17 am

    Some more reading and articles on the subject in articles below. Interesting to note that in Pakistan they recite Holy Quran and in India they give a holy dip and bury the paralyzed body part in manure.


    Islam has no place for superstitions. Praying or dua at certain moments are supposed to be more likely to be accepted. Usually it is at those times when one happens to be emotionally closer to his creator. Certain days like Friday are also supposed to be more auspicious for good deeds. However, things like cat crossing the path or travelling in certain directions only on certain days, or bad omen for looking a one eyed person in early morning or healing during solar eclipse is unknown in Islam.

    During the time of the Prophet (saw) there was a solar eclipse on the day that his son Ibrahim died. The superstitious people thought that the sun eclipsed because of the young child’s death and the Prophet’s mourning. It is narrated by Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba that The prophet- in an effort to correct their wayward thinking stated this: “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life. So when you see them, invoke Allah and pray till the eclipse is clear.” (extracted from

  60. Farrukh Shahbaz says:
    July 26th, 2009 5:19 am

    reposting the second link /July/23-Disabled-kids-given-18758.asp

  61. Farrukh Shahbaz says:
    July 26th, 2009 5:25 am
  62. Illogical Science says:
    July 27th, 2009 6:00 pm

    After reading all the comments, I think the author was trying to convey the type of jahaliat that Dr. Qaiser has described in his comments – where the parents took of their child from medical treatment and put her on unconventional methods on the advice of their relatives and Alim sahab…..
    HOWEVER… the method the author chose is really distasteful and totally against journalistic ethics, where he puts a family in distress in public critisim with out finding out the facts that whether they are doing the same thing that the esteemed Dr. Qaser has described in his comments. What the author could have done is tell an anonymous true story like Dr. Qaiser did and let the people figure it out. But please don’t rub it (salt) to the broken hearted parents.
    I do not support the actions of the parents that Dr.Qaiser has mentioned… I DO SUPPORT the parents that will do anything and everything to save/cure their child. I am a parent and if I am in that situation I will do anything, even if a maulvi says that I need to stand on my head from dawn to dusk in public with barely any clothes reciting some thing…. I will do it… (well I might not do it but I will seriously consider it as an option depending on the situation… I am just giving an example people!). What I will NOT do is never take of my child off from the medical treatment. Esteemed Dr. Qaiser said it all… keep continuing the medical treatment and do whatever else you want. If the aalim sahab says to stop the medical treatment or he charges you… then he is 2 number, get rid of him.
    I guess by now Dr.Qaiser might have guessed that I am a fan of him :) However I have seen a lot of bad doctors as well…. and thats another story.

  63. ASAD says:
    August 8th, 2009 6:46 pm

    This is a more extreme case, but the same jahalat at work of pirs fakirs. FROM DAWN EDITORIAL:

    “The murder in Bahawalnagar of a five-year-old boy by his own father cannot fail to shock. Accused of slitting his son

  64. December 2nd, 2010 10:30 am

    There are practices more bizarre than the one mentioned above which have cured people. People should avoid calling things jahalat without knowledge in occult science.

  65. harOON says:
    December 2nd, 2010 10:48 am

    “occult science”??????
    Are you serious????
    Jahalat, indeed!

  66. December 2nd, 2010 11:04 am

    @Haroon: Have you been living under a rock?

  67. harOON says:
    December 2nd, 2010 12:13 pm

    I have not. But anyone who things “occult” and “sciences” go together obviously has been!

  68. December 2nd, 2010 12:56 pm

    So you have been living under a rock. Thanks for clearing my dilemma.

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