Thursday, January 21, 2016


By Mansor Puteh

 …And how there are now so many Bangladeshis who are scattered all over the world, because of poverty.

I was surprised when some friends of mine from Bangladeshi remarked that ‘poverty is bliss’.

No wonder they like to live frugally.

And the only reason why many of the Bangladeshi men like to sport hair on their faces, is not so much to make them look pious, but also not attractive to the women.

In this way they say, they can be left alone to be with Allah and become better Muslims.

What they said makes sense.

In the Arab and Muslim World, men do not generally want to put on a make-up or a face, just so he can become more attractive to the female.

Arab and Muslim men in the old days, were attractive if they can recite the Holy Koran melodiously.

But now many Muslim men, including many in Malaysia want to have a good voice but not for reciting the Holy Koran, but to sing pop songs, that they think can attract a good crowd and the women too.

And what caused me to experience some consternation is how the Bangladeshis, men and women, and the other Arabs and Muslims all over the world especially in their countries who might have been misled by the ulama in their own countries into believing whatever they had said earlier that had caused them to become backward simply because they thought they could copy the Prophet and his ways, and also by being poor they are thus safe from worldly temptations.

And no wonder too up to fairly recently there were still many Arabs who preferred to live in caves in Afghanistan and the other Arab countries without care for the world and never used modern electronic gadgets to communicate with each other and to listen to entertainment and news programs.

Yet, they were living in total bliss, compared to the many in the west who crave for modernity which they think is their only salvation and the more advanced they are in science and technology, the better they think they are.

Unfortunately, the Arabs who preferred to live in caves may be living in total bliss without having much to depend on and they eat what they grow compared to those in the large cities all around the world who have every modern and new electronic gadgets and modern forms of entertainment to disturb their peace, yet, who are still not sure why they are in the world with many who do not believe in any religion much less the Hereafter.

The hapless and poor Arabs and Bangladeshi, on the other hand, were happy and contented with the little and few they had and they did not want to ask for more.

But things had started to change when one by one the Arab countries were bombed which forced many Arabs who were living in total bliss in poverty had to scatter, with many of them being forced to even flee from their own countries to go abroad especially to Europe and also America, where there are now so many of them.

And the Bangladeshis too because of poverty, found that it was not bliss, so millions of them had found jobs doing menial work in Malaysia and many other countries around the world until they managed to create townships of their own.

Luton, was a local British city, but it has now become a Bangla City, as does Brick Lane in London which is described as a Bangla City.

And in New York City, which I had last visited in April, 2013, shocked me when I saw the many people from Bangladesh who are now working there with some who are successful in their own businesses.

I had not seen many of them on my earlier trips back to the city and more so when I was studying in the city in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Where did they all come from? I know Bangladesh. But how did they get to be here from where they were before?

Some of them told that they won the Green Card in the draws. But not all of them are in America today because of the lottery, but because they were forced to live their country to find employment in America which are left for those who wouldn’t care.

At Heathrow Airport in London, the laborers are mostly those from Bangladesh.

And in Lisbon, Portugal, there is now an area where many people from Bangladesh live with stores operated by them. 

How did the Bangladeshi and other Arabs and Muslims including those in Indonesia get to be so ‘backward’ economically?

Did their ulama tell them that because the Prophet was an illiterate that they too could copy him and be illiterate?

And did they also say ‘poverty is bliss’ that some Bangladeshi had told me about?

This could happen.

And it is not without a good reason why countries such as Bangladesh and also Pakistan and the many Arab countries had become less developed for so long, when earlier on the Arabs were some of the best qualified persons in science and technology.

And immediately after that most of the Arab World collapsed and education that had been described as modern education was disdained, with them clinging onto their old ways of educating themselves by the ulama and other religious teachers who taught the young Arabs and Muslims to recite the Holy Koran without knowing what they are saying or reciting.

They were happy to be able to recite the Holy Koran melodiously.

And their economic and political leaders were too happy to just buy anything that is sold on the international markets made or produced by the Europeans and Japanese, to use in their everyday lives.

But this is slowly changing with the new and renewed vigor shown by the Banglashis and other Arabs and Muslims who do not care what their ulama are saying and are on their own; with many of them now safely seconded in the west.

And it is the new ulama and new Arabs and Muslims who are changing the face of the Muslim World with many of them having been forced to scatter all over the world, so in times to come they are everywhere with many of them attaining important and strategic positions in the country where they are now residents in.   

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