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Aab-e-Hayat: Episode 8

“Agar woh (Khutba-e-Hajja-tul-Vida) Nabi-e-Kareem (ﷺ) ki apni ummat kay liye akhri wasiyyat thi to hum buhot bad-qismat hain kay un (ﷺ) ki sunnat to aik taraf, un (ﷺ) ki wasiyyat tak hamen yad nahi, amal karna to buhot door ki baat hai.”

Finally, that which was expected from Umera Ahmed’s pen has come. The story which was going pretty straight for the past seven episodes has taken off in another dimension. Personally, I found this sudden turn in the story expected and pretty much connected to the previous tracks as we were already given a blue-print in the first episode. Let’s find out what this episode had in store for us…

Progress

The episode was woven in a matrix of excerpts from the last sermon of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). The first thing that was condemned in this sermon is sood (interest). Imama tricks Salar into confessing that what he does at the bank is not halaal because of the unavoidable involvement of interest. Salar feels extremely uneasy about this subject and tries to avoid listening to the last sermon but Imama continues and each excerpt unfolds bits of new tracks.

We were introduced to Ghulam Fareed, a poor watchman at a school, who is heavily burdened with debt and interest. Despite having financial help from his working wife and two elder sons, he is unable to provide for his eight children and clearing off his debts seems a daydream. Chunni, his ninth daughter, was highly unwanted even before birth and lives a life of pure misery and neglect. To cut a long story short, Ghulam Fareed finds a way to ‘earn’ money by taking his share in the alms for the local Masjid by the owners of the school he works in. He manages this by double-crossing the Imam of the Masjid who is a fraud himself and puts all the sadqaats coming in interest-ridden investments. Moulvi sahib feels cheated by this act (according to him, it was only his right to peculate in the alms) and takes revenge from Ghulam Fareed by ousting both him and his wife from their jobs and defaming him to the extent that the family is socially boycotted. Ghulam Fareed losing his sanity, kills his wife and children , except one. Chunni (real name Kaneez) is miraculously spared by her father and is taken by the neighbours temporarily. She soon becomes centre of attention because of the aids received by authorities and finally lands with his maternal uncle, just for the sake of the aid she was entitled for by the government.

Another track introduced was of Ahsan Saad, a young boy who watches his mother being beaten every now and again by his father. He is brain-washed by his father that women who do works of ‘be-hayaii’ (shamlesness) deserved to be beaten and insulted. These shameful acts, according to his father’s definition, ranged from disobedience to not cooking food properly. Ahsan Saad develops fuzzy questions in his mind like should such women be even revered as mothers?

We also get to know that Hashim Mubeen has lost his son Waseem and now his remaining progeny is demanding to distribute all the worldly possessions he acquired by trading his faith. There is guilt in his heart regarding Imama and he wants to ‘confess’ some things too.

So a Little Guess Work…

The question of relationship of these newly unfolded tracks to the main Salar-Imama track is confusing and frustrating. Let me share with you what I have guessed.

Ahsan Saad is the Son of Saad from Peer-e-Kamil ()

Remember the hypocrite university fellow of Salar who used to pose himself as a staunch Muslim but was involved in almost every sin that Salar used to do? There is a very good chance that Ahsan is the son of the very same Saad. The clue (along with the name) was in the following excerpt:

“Aur us ka baap aik ideal baap tha..baraish darhi kay sath Islami Sha’air par sakhti se kar-band…jo apni zindagi ka aik bara hissa maghrib mein guzarne kay bawajood aik misaali aur amali Musalman tha.”

Imama Hashim is Chunni/ Kaneez

A crude guess is that the miserable little Chunni we were introduced to could be our very own Imama. For Chunni it is mentioned that she neither needed this name nor this charactersistic (Kaneez), she was chosen by Allah for something else. This might be hinted at the extra-ordinary events in Imama’s life.

If we take this hypothesis to be true, then the question is who was Hashim Mubeen in this whole story? Following are some theories…

  1. She was adopted by her eldest maternal uncle who bought some land for farming by cashing the cheques she received. In Peer-e-Kamil (ﷺ), Imama’s friend Tehreem says to her:

 

“Tumharay dada Musalman magar ghareeb admi the. Woh kaasht-kari kiya karte the, aur aik chhotay se kaasht-kar the. Rabvah se kuch faslay par unki thori buhot zameen thi.”

There is still some doubt as to who this uncle was, as farming is associated with her grandfather, not uncle. May be she was later adopted by someone other than the uncle. But one thing is certain, Hashim Mubeen’s family was poor before they converted and thus may be related to Ghulam Fareed.

  1. Alternatively, the owner of the school might be Hashim Mubeen (already converted and rich). He could have given alms to the Masjid so that he could inject his own beliefs in the minds of the children learning Quran there.

 

The obvious loop-holes in this theory have led me to another hypothesis…

Imama Hashim is NOT Chunni/ Kaneez

I have more faith in this one. Following points go in the favour of this theory

* Umera Ahmed is a clever writer and she would not put such obvious clues. She made two different points in time to appear as same in Aks. She might be using this trick in this one too

* In Peer-e-Kamil (ﷺ), it was said about Imama that surely she was among the children who are born with a silver spoon (Page 81). We can see clearly that Chunni was born in extremely unfavourable conditions

* The owner of the school can be Salar as we all know he runs a school in a village.

* In the first episode, there is a scene narrating CIA finding something in a man’s past and his relation with a girl. This girl was born at the time the man was in Pakistan. The girl can be Chunni and the man Salar

* In the next scene a girl is shown holding her dad responsible for her family’s It can be possible that Salar may have adopted Chunni.

Ghulam Fareed is Alive

I have a hunch that Ghulam Fareed was not tried for his crimes may be because he was not in his senses anymore. He might still be alive and might play an important role in upcoming events.

Much to Look Forward to

This episode bore the signature style of Umera Ahmed and was definitely a starting point for graver episodes coming ahead. It, however, proved very challenging for me to review, so please forgive me if I have thrown some wild theories J Still there is a lot of ambiguity because only a few tracks have been unfolded. The pace was definitely good (4 out of 5) and there was satire in-between the lines that made up for humour. Let us see what Umera Ahmed has in store for us in upcoming episodes.

Thank you all for your support.

Yours Truly

Noor-us-Saad

 

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My name is Shozib Ali. I have done Bachelors in Media Sciences. Currently Working as an administrator and content writer for reviewit.

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