‘By Muhammad Farooq Rehmani’
For long quietly, but nowadays more aggressively and satirically Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mission is being made disputed and controversial. It’s sad and strange that a new twist has been given by the media debate to Islam and secularism in Pakistan. It’s the discussion of ‘Mr’ and ‘Molvi’ between the country’s liberal and pro-religion lobbies—both interpreting speeches of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah to defend their views. The advocates of liberalism and secularism have gone too off the mind to emphasize that the Quaid had preferred to change his name from Muhammad Ali Jinnah to simply M. A. Jinnah. No doubt, Jinnah was not a Molvi, but he carved out a state of the Muslim dominated provinces of India for the Muslims of South Asia, with their tremendous sacrifices under the banner of Islam. This is true that he was opposed by some Islamic pundits and the pro-Congress Moulanas. But, at the same time Quaid-E-Azam received miraculous support among many renowned and popular Moulanas and Islamic jurists of his times. This also can’t be repudiated that had there been no Islamic factor in the movement of Pakistan, the Muslim masses wouldn’t have united for a separate Muslim home land. The honest and charismatic leadership of Jinnah galvanized them to offer great sacrifices for freedom.One wonders what message Pakistani liberal writers want to send across the country by their gimmickry and disinformation. If Iqbal or Quaid wanted a secular/liberal state after so great sacrifices, then there was already one in the shape of India. Muslims of India didn’t shed their blood for gaining freedom simply from Hindu money-lenders to become slaves of Muslim Wadayras or pro-West politicians. They laid down their lives to establish a truly just social, political and economic order, on the lines of Islamic teachings. The pro-West and pro-India elements have started the debate of ‘Molvi’ and ‘Mister’ at a time when the country doesn’t afford any kind of animosity and friction in the society; because it’s in the grip of unruly winds and waves of internal and external terrorism; and all its enemies around are united to destabilize and bifurcate it. A sizable part of Jammu and Kashmir lost in 1947 war is fighting a great political battle against India’s occupation and neo-imperialism to gain the right of self-determination. The advocacy of liberalism and alien culture, and the debate of ‘Molvi and Mister’ in the country is also passing on wrong signals to the people across the Cease-fire-line. I don’t accede to any rigid interpretation of religion by some religious leaders, but the western cultural and social liberalism is no option and indeed unacceptable to the Pakistani nation. Why the secularists have waged a venomous war of words and ideas against the Islam, that doesn’t permit disparity and injustice with non-Muslim citizens under Muslim rule. They were treated at par with the Muslims citizens of the state. It’s the golden principle of Islam. The rule of Islam will never deviate from its traditional path of religious harmony in any age. Pakistani liberals are eager to appease neo-imperialists of India and the West; and the invaders of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, but they are mistaken should they believe that West would ever trust their liberalism. Imperialists are only in search of agents after agents in the Muslim world for their interests. It’s very harmful on their part to look to alien sources against the country’s interests, and seek favour from moth-eaten ideologies which can’t with stand Islam.
In this hue and cry and humbug of liberals aimed at striking a fierce blow at the fundamentals of constitution and identity of Pakistan, a term “Islamisation of Jinnah” has been coined sarcastically by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa Agha, and other liberals, not knowing that their prejudice against Islam stands exposed. It looks like the France’s anti-Islam tirade, and such liberals seem akin to Israeli and Indian expansionists, fascists, and war-mongers. Dr. Ayesha in a TV talk show of the “Dunya TV” 0n 13 February, 2014 said that Jinnah stood for a secular and liberal Pakistan as opposed to an Islamic state. She went a step further to give vent to her contemptuous ideas by linking the Islamic way of life with terrorism and extremism in her article in the ‘News Line’ of February, 2014, under the caption “Islamisation of Jinnah.” Besides, the ‘magazine’ not only endorsed it in its editorial, but also published other articles to equate Islam with religious fanaticism. It has satirically showed beard over a picture of M.A. Jinnah—nothing can be more ridiculous than it. No Pakistani patriot can imagine of printing such satirical pictures or drawings about his Quaid. Beard is an Islamic symbol. All the messengers of God grew it on their chin and cheeks. No Muslim mocks at the beard, although he may not have one. It’s shameful and sacrilegious to print/publish pictures or caricatures to mock at the Islamic faith and symbols; no Muslim or Pakistani can ever mock at any Islamic symbol, not necessarily an orthodox Muslim. This is nothing but the Islamophpbia of liberals. They claim to be Pakistanis but, are pouring venom on Islam and Pakistan. The Pictures or caricatures of the Quaid or other Muslim personalities being printed to mock at Islam reflect height of contempt, mockery and sinister designs of some rabid liberal columnists in Pakistan. The form and version of secularism or liberalism they propagate so blatantly could puzzle, even the advocates of secularism in countries like India, America and UK. The holy name of the Prophet (PBHU) was being misspelled and ridiculed in almost similar manner by European crusaders in the middle ages, who not only recruited young boys for war on Islam and the Islamic holy cities but also used inflammatory and slanderous language against the last Messenger of Allah on Earth Muhammad (SAWS). During the last 67 years after the death of Quaid-e-Azam, hypocrites made every effort to make Islam controversial, but they failed. Their invective against the Islamic concept is yet another attempt to please the foreign lords; it will meet the similar end.
To Congress or Hindu extremist organizations of India, the debate of secularism about Jinnah won’t make much difference, as they are/were inimical and prejudicial towards the very foundation of Pakistan, or unless at least Pakistan accepted occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by India as the fait accompli of the Kashmiris. Jinnah’s political struggle is being made controversial, when there is no contradiction between his conception and struggle for Pakistan. It looks that in the name of so called ‘enlightenment’, and minority rights, vested interests want ideological and constitutional topsy-turvy of Pakistan by scrapping the present constitution of the country. While an overwhelming majority of the people in this country doesn’t look eye to eye with this and is interested in seeing Pakistan a truly Islamic welfare state, where people could live free from hunger, disease, illiteracy and without the exploitation of weaker by the stronger and privileged one. Opponents of Islam—who prefer to hide their real motive in Pakistan must realize that by making Quaid’s concept of state controversial, and by campaigning against the objective resolution of the state, they are giving a free passage to religious extremism. Thus, today the radical political approach to religion is to a great extent a reaction against the liberal activists to protect the Muslims from the cultural onslaught and foreign domination of the western imperialism and liberalism that seeks to undermine the basic social and cultural value system of the Muslims about Islam. If the advocates of western liberalism and materialism were granted a free hand here, no regime will be able to stop the expansion of religious radicalism in Pakistan, as Islamophobes work countrywide, to implement things repugnant to Islam.
Notwithstanding, the discussion in the media, with sermons of ‘tolerance and enlightenment,’ opposing the Islamic concept of state and society, one should realize that an important feature of the May2013 election campaign in Pakistan was the promise of a good and meticulous governance, economic development, fight against energy crisis and horrible price-hike, and peace and prosperity throughout Pakistan. Above all, the politicians promised to rid the country of foreign and circular debts, inflation, recession and depression of economy. They had raised common man’s hope by ensuring to bring back the robbed wealth of Pakistan. Thus, the pivotal objective was to make living conditions of the people better, fill the gap between haves and have-nots, preserve and protect the constitution, and implement it in letter and spirit to establish a truly Islamic democratic and welfare state. By bulldozing the constitution, or its preamble no individual, or leader or organization can claim to serve the country.
Obviously the elements who try to change the basic character of the state by demolishing the Islamic basis of the constitution are notorious for their sinister motives and designs. They like materialism and capitalism and therefore, divert the attention of the masses from the present economic decline and deprivation; thereby making the country vulnerable to both-internal as well as external security threats and challenges. Pakistan will lose immunity against terrorism, if it bowed before the pro-West and pro-India lobby of cultural and commercial liberalism.
The parties which took part in the last general elections didn’t raise any ideological question about Pakistan or its constitution, as such things had been settled long before in the British India by launching the Pakistan movement in 1940, and again, by adopting of the objective resolution in 1950s, during the prime ministry of Liaqat Ali Khan. Nevertheless, the ‘liberal’ lobbies lose no opportunity to make deafening noise that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a secular and liberal leader, who according to them fought the battle for the partition of India as a lawyer, not as a true dreamer or champion of Muslim nationalism. They intend to change the direction of the present Parliament from Islam to liberalism to gain space for all disruptive elements and enemies in and out of the country. The media debate between the liberals/secularists and the Islamic visionaries continue in one shape and reference or other. The protagonists of the separation of Islam and state in Pakistan were always in search of pretexts to ignore the core issue in the freedom struggle of the Indian Muslims for Pakistan, in the 19th and 20th century. However, during the reign of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, all mouths if any, questioning the nomenclature of the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ or pooh-poohing the principal belief and concept of the finality of the prophet hood (Khatme-Nabuwat) were silenced, when the 1973 constitution was approved and adopted unanimously by the constituent Assembly of Pakistan. This was a grand debate and discourse between the political and religious parties and minority groups, culminating in the landmark proclamation of the 1973 constitution, which to this day is commemorated as a mile stone in the history of Pakistan. It is an unprecedented and memorable document of the people, government and opposition of the country. Had the spirit of 1973 constitution been kept alive; and implemented in letter and spirit, then the rule of law, independence of judiciary, media freedom, economic parity and parliamentary democracy would have flourished and Pakistan would have become a symbol/minaret of progress and good governance even for other Muslim countries. But, indeed today, no government can ever think of changing, amending or modifying the fundamentals of this constitution. Almighty Allah is Sovereign, Qur’an is His last Book, and Muhammad (PBUH) is the last messenger of Allah on Earth. It is sad that the successive governments failed to uphold their principal obligation and pledge towards the nation, to establish and sustain an independent foreign policy, internal social-welfare policy, and a viable and stable economy, because in the past, the constitution was brushed aside and the people were left in despondency.
Despite all the ingredients and features of a democratic and welfare state; there are of course hypocrites and vested interests however small, to destabilize the state politically, and economically. They have a variety of reasons, ways and means to build pressure on the state and parliament, showing their bias and hatred against the Islamic commitment made in the constitution of Pakistan. For their veiled and covert tirade against Islam, they are called as liberal fascists in the lingua franca press and literature of Pakistan. They want to change the very basis of the constitution, to please their masters abroad and to plunge the country into an unimaginable and uncontrollable anarchy and turbulence. They have brought the country at the cross-roads, underestimating the grave consequences of their poisonous and hypocritical campaign against the State ideology. Had they sensed repercussions and fallacies of their illogical campaign, they would not have contested the premise of the Pakistan movement, nor would have ignored the spirit in the speech of Quaid on 11 August, 1947. It’s a controversy hatched to deliberately misinterpret the speeches of Quaid-i-Azam. Already Pakistan is in the throes of fighting internal crisis, as there are many formidably trained and supportive groups fighting ruthlessly with the security forces in isolated and crowded places with multiple aims and changing strategies. And the path to dialogue looks uncertain and unpredictable. Beside, every big or small gang of criminals is free to exploit the unruly law and order situation. But certainly reconciliation and reach-out policy of the Government with Taliban can help the country to overcome the present crisis.
The anti-democracy and anti-Islam liberals of Pakistan ignore and disregard the various stages of the political struggle by Indian Muslims in the 19th and 20th century that ultimately culminated in the shape of Pakistan in 1947. They don’t discuss the political odyssey of Muhammad Ali Jinnah—Jinnah as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity and Jinnah as the champion of Pakistan movement. They don’t take into consideration Quaid’s writings, speeches, biographies, and relations with Dr. Iqbal and other renowned scholars of the age. They have a bundle of white lies wrapped up, in their propaganda bag, and there they quote hardly one speech of Quad-i-Azam delivered by him on the occasion of convening the First constituent Assembly of Pakistan, in order to misinterpret the whole movement of Muslim India, by emphasizing that Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted to establish a secular or liberal state. There is no worse accusation than to label the founder of the new state as a secular or liberal leader, and to read his speech without keeping in view the then ground scenario of the new-born state. Of course, Mr. Jinnah showed the path of communal peace and harmony to the people in line with the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), and that is the real Islamic polity. What else could he say in those dreadful, rabble-rousing and inciting conditions, when the subcontinent had been engulfed by horrendous communal flames and man had become absolute beast, even neighbors slit each other’s throats, and the British rulers watched idly gory scenes of Hindu-Muslim blood-shed. Jinnah at that momentous occasion addressed the nation, as the first Governor General of Pakistan. He was sad, and honestly wanted to extinguish the exorbitant and horrible flames of Hindu-Muslim communal riots, spreading like wild fire and taking lives of millions of innocent men, women and children. On the contrary British mourned Raj sunset in South Asia.
Quaid’s speech before the constituent Assembly of Sindh was most appropriate and timely, and in conformity with the concept of Islamic values, traditions, and precedents of the earliest period of Islam. Qur’an declares, “There is no compulsion in Deen (Islam).” “The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) must deliver the message of Allah and never bother or be sad about public reaction, (if it’s not positive).” Liberals out of malice or because of their shallow and faulty study of Islam ignore Meesaq-I-Medina (MOU) by the Prophet PBUH with the Christians and the Jews of Medina, followed in letter and spirit by His successors across Arabia in later periods. The same practice was adopted when Umar Farooq RTA, the fourth Khaleefa visited Palestine to meet the Christian/Jew tribal chiefs and signed a MOU with them, granting them complete religious freedom. Not a single drop of blood was shed when Palestine came under the domain of Islam, and Hazrat Umar Farooq (RTA) entered Palestine as the head of a gigantic Islamic state. Can any liberal leader of the modern nation states claim to have given good and just governance, matching the exemplary system and rule of law, established by the Khulefae-Rashdeen. Unfortunately, the principles of Islamic values and justice system today remain sandwiched between its advocates and opponents. while the deeds of the champions of Khilafa belie their tall claims and slogans about Islam, the opponents in ‘liberal’ garb in Pakistan simply foment trouble and create misgivings in the media by their venomous and satirical comments; but they can’t dare to challenge the concept of good governance or rule of law as propounded and practiced by the four successors of Prophet (PBUH).Their prejudice is worst. In Pakistan, they want to replace Islam by western materialistic conception in the same manner as was done in the past in Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, and Middle East, etc. Ironically liberals support totalitarian regimes in the Arab world.
Fortunately, in Pakistan there is no conflict between the state and society on the efficacy and implementation of Islam. Pakistanis sincerely wish to see their country as an Islamic democratic- welfare state. But, the rulers haven’t been serious to administer justice and give good and honest governance to the people. Obviously differences and disputes surface when there is class exploitation, or when communal conspiracies are hatched for political ends, Islam is misused and trivial incidents are flared up to make a mountain out of a molehill, and policies are set and adopted to instigate and ignite unrest in the peaceful religious seminaries. The state policy necessary for an Islamic welfare state is not framed by them and the Islamic moral values are ignored.
As per the rapid rise of Taliban in Punjab and Islamabad, it’s apparently the Lal Masjid post-operation phenomenon and legacy of the Musharraf regime that can’t be ignored. This horrible episode might be haunting the detained former military President, but an incurable damage has been done to the state’s political, economic and social fabric and state infrastructure. If it meant ‘liberalism’ or ‘enlightenment’ by fascist means, or maintenance of law and order through brutal methods, then the liberals must know that they have utterly failed and suffered a crushing defeat. The Pakistanis today are innocently reaping harvest of this authoritarian-liberalism. France is the latest model of this liberal savagery; Pakistan can’t afford it as the states taking cudgels with Islam are doomed. Pakistani liberals should learn the lesson, the sooner the better. And they shouldn’t equate Islam with extremism of any form or manifestation.
In the current muddled situation, liberals waste no time to equate Islam with the inquisitorial system of the 15th-17th century. They do paint Islam as a form of medieval religious order, when Church had abandoned the real message of the Bible and its Prophet Christ (AS). The priests followed hollow rituals, whims, and carnal desires to suit their vested interests. The liberal elites enjoying all the amenities and privileges in this state link Islam with the dark ages and show their ignorance of Islamic values of justice, equality and fraternity. They are biased towards Islam. They compare the Islamic order of governance with the dark European ages. It’s sad that the Christian Europe never enlightened itself with the real teachings of Christ (AS) and the Holy Bible. The same happened to the message of the Prophet Moses (AS) and the Holy Torah. How the rulers of Rome perpetrated brutalities on Jesus Christ (AS) and how the two warring communities of Christians and Jews massacred each other and desecrated their holy relics is a sad saga of their religious and political history. Christian rulers unleashed unprecedented terror, torture and genocide on Jews, but today they are united to wipe out Islam and Muslims from Arabia. And how the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought together the ‘Peoples of Book’ and Muslims in Medina on the basis of the divine teachings of the holy scriptures, and latter how His four successors made every attempt to live in peace and friendship with the Jews and the Christians, can’t be erased from the history books.
Liberalism, which is being glorified, originally had emerged as a reaction against the lushness of priests, and excesses and onslaught of Church on civil rights and liberties during the 17th century. It didn’t surface to challenge Islam, as this new social, political and economic philosophy with modern scientific claims was the outcome of the decadent Church practices in Europe. “Liberalism in common with socialism and conservatism emerged from the conjunction of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the political revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.” But, today, liberals are challenging Islam. Therefore, it’s at cross-roads in Muslim countries because of its anti-Islam posture, and totalitarian character. Mostly liberal rulers in the Muslim countries discourage tendencies towards economic and political independence of weaker states and nations and their right to self-determination. Thus it paves way for imperialism. Its call for enlightenment doesn’t mean granting equal opportunities of scientific education to all, to study and unravel the secrets of nature and finally raise the living standard of the down-trodden people. Promoting a nude culture of dark times, and making/using women as tools to satisfy animal desires of the so called “civilized man” is no service to humanity. It’s the concept of liberal enlightenment. Drink, dine and dance with the opposite sex is its main focus, and that too in Muslim states and societies, as otherwise they can’t kill Islamic superior cultural identity. American and French revolutions that apparently had originated from a democratic and scientific conception of humanity have since been buried, as their political and intellectual protagonists today hatch imperialism and expansionism in the under-developed countries. They have turned their back to freedom and democracy by invading, annexing and colonizing lands, waters and energy resources across the Crescent world. To gain this very end, they are used to exploit monarchs and dictators or political leaders of any hue and colour-religious or secular. Outwardly, they pretend to be spokesmen of elected democratic system in the Muslim countries, but whenever parties and politicians with a popular mandate were returned to Power in any state, they hatched conspiracies to topple them, as was done in Algeria and Egypt. Both these states have paid a heavy price for their free democratic elections. Unfortunately, as per the unholy interests of the liberal Europe, liberals and fascists are on one and the same page and are known as liberal fascists–the combination might look queer. The use of the terms ‘Science, enlightenment and progress,’ are subservient to the whims of the repressive regimes. Their grip in all fields is terribly stiff and the target of these ‘liberal and secular’ war-mongers is Islam and the Crescent world on this planet of Earth. Terrorism is its modus-operandi, and liberalism is the breeding ground for it in the Muslim world. Muslim thinkers, jurists, preachers or intellectuals had never thought of spreading Islam by force. They preached and advocated peace, love and spiritual ways of serving Islam. But their philosophy of ethics has been distorted and painted otherwise.
There are several non-Muslim writers, scholars, and commentators across Europe, and other continents, who eulogize Islam for its simplicity and rationality. They laud Muslims for practicing religious tolerance and preaching Islam by peaceful ways. One of such modern historians is Tim Wallace-Murphy, whose book, “What Islam did for us,” throws light on Islam’s contribution to mankind in both secular and spiritual fields. He greatly admires the military genius of the Umayyad generals and the warlike prowess of the Arab tribesmen as a cause for empires formidable speed. He states, “However, while these vast territorial gains were undoubtedly made by the sword, the spread of Islam as a religion was not. The newly subject peoples who became the followers of Islam in such vast numbers were attracted to that religion by its spiritual purity and the relevance of its message to their daily lives. Forcible conversion was against all the fundamental principles of choice that Islam espoused. Indeed, the People of the Book, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, were treated with such respect and tolerance within the Islamic world that they readily became willing subjects of the Caliphate. The reason is not hard to understand, for their legal status under the rule of Islam was infinitely better than that accorded to them by their rulers: the Byzantines in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, the Sassanid in Persia or the Visigoths in Spain.” Another case is related to the Ottoman rulers of Turkey, who ruled and administered justice equally among their Muslim and non-Muslim subjects for about six hundred years from the 14th century to the 20th century:
“The Ottoman state was Muslim, dynastic and medieval in its organizing principles—In accordance with the law, non-Muslim monotheists who submitted to Muslim rule were given protected status and allowed to run their communal affairs. The three main non-Muslim confessional communities—Greek or Eastern Orthodox Christians, Armenian Gregorian (Monophysite) Christians and Jews were known as millet, a term which later acquired the secular meaning of nation. Although its extent varied over time, the millet system of communal self-government gave the Ottoman state a multiethnic, multicultural character which was generally absent in Christian-ruled Europe. True, non-Muslims suffered disabilities in the Ottoman state, but they could survive and prosper, a prospect denied until modern times to Muslims in lands re-conquered by Christian rulers, and enjoyed only fitfully by their Jewish subjects.” (Ataturk by Andrew Mango Page No.4)
“Most Jews, outside the Arab-speaking provinces, traced their descent to refugees from Spain and Portugal, who had been welcomed in the Ottoman Empire after their expulsion by the Catholic Kings. The Jews prospered in the years of Ottoman greatness, and then went into decline, as local Christians came to control trade with Christian Europe, and did not rise again in society until the second half of the nineteenth century…” (Ataturk by Andrew Mango Page No. 8)
“The Arabs, especially at the beginning of their awakening, were full of enthusiasm for their faith. Yet they were a tolerant people and there are numerous instances of this toleration in religion. In Jerusalem the Khalifa Omar made a point of it. In Spain there was a large Christian population which had the fullest liberty of conscience. In India Arabs never ruled except in Sindh, but there were frequent contacts, and the relations were friendly. Indeed the most noticeable thing about the period of history is the contrast between the toleration of the Muslim Arab and the intolerance of the Christian Europe.” ‘Glimpses of World History’ by Jawaharlal Nehru
Besides, as great leaders of a separate home land for Muslims, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal and, Muhammad Ali Jinnah—had in-depth knowledge of the ancient and modern civilizations of Europe and Asia and, they knew impact of religion and tradition on the secular and spiritual lives of the people. In 1921, Turkey became the first secular republic in the crescent world. Both Iqbal and Jinnah understood well the radical and aggressive campaign of the Kamali secularism to wipe out Islam from the Turkish state and society unceremoniously, (without a slight consideration). Christian Europe had itself struck a nail in the coffin of Christianity. Iqbal and Jinnah understood the causes of the downfall of different religions, civilizations and states up to modern times. They knew and believed that the sources of Islamic law and Islamic civilization are Qur’an and Sunna and this composition/ correlation is altogether different from the authoritarian priesthood of Popes. Christian priests could change or modify the Bible and the teachings of Christ (AS), or could write letters to God/paradise for men whom they wanted to be given admission in Paradise, but in Islam there is no priesthood and no religious leader or ruler can recommend paradise to any of his favorite. According to the teachings of Qur’an all big or small men are helpless before Allah on the Day of Judgment. Islam means submission before one Allah, and the Muslims have a very firm and unshakable belief in the monotheism, and unity and love of Allah and mankind. But the two great revealed religions—Christianity and Judaism failed to share and acknowledge Islam’s concept of final revelation and Humanity and, instead Christian Europe launched religious wars against Islam and no period of history prevented the Christian Europe from waging bloody wars against Islam and Islamic holy centers and Arabs.
Hindu leaders, spread hatred, prejudice and animosity against Islam and its followers, and often tried to crush the Muslims physically and crippled them economically during the British colonial rule of India. As a result, the later had no alternative except to launch the struggle for freedom from both—British as well as majority Hindu domination, to carve out a separate state of Pakistan, under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who had a clear vision of an Islamic state and society as totally different from theocracy, or European concept of religion and secularism. Divine right of kings has no place in Islam.
“At its Lahore session-historic in retrospect, the League for the first time, adopted the idea of partition as its final goal. Jinnah’s land-mark presidential address to the All India Muslim League session in the history of Muslim nationalism in India made an irrefutable case for a separate Muslim nationhood for dividing India…” He said, “The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures….they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes.” The Struggle for Pakistan-Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi
Before Muhammad Ali Jinnah—the poet philosopher of East—Dr. Muhammad Iqbal had defined contour of a Muslim nation state, which in later years become hallmark of freedom struggle for the Muslims of India. Iqbal in his Presidential address before the All India Muslim League on 29 December, 1930, asked this pertinent question: “What then is the problem and its implications? Is religion a private affair? Would you like to see Islam, as a political and moral ideal, meeting the same fate in the world of Islam as Christianity has already met in Europe? Is it possible to retain Islam as an ethical ideal and to reject it as a polity in favor of national politics, in which a religious attitude is not permitted to play any part?” Iqbal said, “The proposition that religion is a private individual experience is not surprising on the lips of a European. In Europe the conception of Christianity as a monastic order, renouncing the world of matter and fixing its gaze entirely on the world of spirit led, by a logical process of thought to the view embodied in this proposition. The nature of Prophet’s religious experience, as disclosed in the Qur’an, however is wholly different. It is not mere experience in the sense of a purely biological event……It is individual experience creative of a social order…..The religious ideal of Islam, therefore, is organically related to the social order which it has created. The rejection of the one will eventually involve the rejection of the other.” Dr. Iqbal further clarified his views on communalism and said, “A community which is inspired by feelings of ill-will toward other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws, religious and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty according to the teaching of the Qur’an, even to defend their places of worship, if need be. Yet, I love the communal group which is the source of my life and behavior and which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby recreating its whole past as a living factor in my present consciousness… This formed the basis of Iqbal’s political perception and doctrine–the demand of a Muslim homeland in India, without which he didn’t hope survival of the Muslims and the creation of an Islamic state in South Asia.” ‘The Struggle for Pakistan’ by I.H.Qureshi
Obviously, both (Iqbal & Jinnah) complimented each other’s views on Islam’s role in the world, the prospects of which brightened in the late 1930s and Pakistan movement touched great horizons of success in 1940s. Although Dr. Iqbal could not see the birth of Pakistan, but his poetry and verse were not short of a prophecy. Therefore, the conception of Iqbal and Jinnah about Islam and Millet is inseparable and will shine as the only guiding principle for the progress of Pakistan and welfare of its citizens. Simultaneously, a Muslim, who may be well versed in the knowledge of the holy Qur’an and had gained insight into the holy life and character of the Prophet (PBUH), including His trusted companions and His successors, can’t grudge against the rights of non-Muslims or allow abuse of their basic rights and liberties. Indeed, there is no place for any kind of extremism, terrorism or fanaticism in Islam. No king or ruler however powerful is divine in Islam. Quaid-i-Azam had a broader world view of politics, nationalism and governance. Had the rulers of Pakistan acted upon his ideals, there would have been left no place for lustful life of kings, feudal lords or other privileged classes as in past. Muslim rulers lost great empires when their households fell in moral decadence.
It’s also true that in today’s cloudy and apprehensive ambiance hardly any human being is safe, because of, intolerance, anarchy and lawlessness. Even Muslims in their own independent countries, under Muslim governments feel insecure and frightened owing to one or the other reason. Easy access to arms and ammunition; unchecked arms-sale and smuggling, besides violence-prone ideas by different groups, sects, and states are adding fuel to fire. But in the case of Pakistan, it is never fair to attribute terrorism or intolerance to Islam or to the constitution of the country, and malign this country on flimsy grounds? Have liberals any control over the fanaticism of non-Muslim secular countries or can they explain or interpret the extremist behavior of youths in the western societies, cultural and educational institutions? Why the youth who are brought up and educated in the West easily embrace violence and practice terrorism to achieve their political, religious or economic ends? What about India, where notwithstanding a secular constitution Muslims, Dalits, Christians and Sikhs are subjected to discrimination and intolerance by the majority Hindu community? The political parties in India run their election campaign by exploiting the Hindu religious beliefs, sentiments and traditions. In the Muslim areas they try to woo Muslim voters by appealing to their cultural behavior and traditions- making false promises, to gain favour of the Muslim voters for the elections. Yet, Indian Muslims have been facing unjust and inhuman treatment since the days of Nehru, who is believed to have had a secular and progressive vision and approach of life. India has not changed the mindset of upper class Hindus about social and moral evils so deep rooted in that society for the last several hundred years. Did secularism produce any change on ground in the state’s behavior towards the Muslims or Dalits during the last 67 years? Liberals are highly prejudicial to ignore the issue. But it doesn’t mean that the secular constitution of India where Islam is an important factor and Muslims live in large numbers should be replaced by a Hindu constitution.
Notwithstanding, there is no justification for fanaticism, extremism, or terrorism in any form or manifestation in Pakistan, or elsewhere in the world as Islam doesn’t permit compulsion or coercion in religion. But to blame Islam and insist on making Pakistan a secular state is neither fare, nor just nor helpful for resolving the crisis of this country. Pakistan can’t be made safe and secure by abandoning the basic ideology of its visionary thinkers. Any such change in the basic frame work of the constitution can unleash forces of destruction more savagely than ever before. Prudence means that one must reckon it with.
In fact, terrorism in the name of religion is a 1990 phenomenon of Afghan imbroglio, left unresolved by the US and West, when the Soviet army quit Afghanistan. A critic of historical narratives must be honest and unbiased; he shouldn’t follow his/her liking, if he believes in delivering positive ideas to posterity.
While being eager to link terrorism with the religious books or seminaries, one shouldn’t shut his eyes about the evolution of Sunni school of thought. Is it not a fact, that not a single imam of Islamic jurisprudence ever taught his students or followers anything detrimental to peace and harmony of society and mankind at large, although Imam Abu Hanifa and other imams of great innovative thinking in the sphere of jurisprudence were harassed, tortured and jailed by the then rulers of the empire? The Muslim luminaries and pioneers of science and law had no malice or bias towards any community. They guided people in their day to day social and religious matters, and imparted knowledge to them. Their academic discussions and discourses were aimed at finding out solutions to multi-faceted emerging issues of the society and state. Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A) and Imam Jafar sadiq (R.A) shared views on different religious and social problems of the people. They made remarkable contribution to the development of the Islamic moral, social, economic, and political thought and successfully attempted to remove irritants from the society in that turbulent age of despotic rulers. Imparting, spreading, and loving knowledge; and finding out solutions on the basis of empirical research and method was their first and foremost goal of life.
Similarly, seminary students in British India would burn their mid night oil in the pursuit of knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith-followed by law, logic, medicine, etc., although the Devbandi Ulemas latter became active in the freedom struggle against the colonial rule of Britain in India, and offered great sacrifices in the Pakistan movement under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. As harbingers of Islamic renaissance the great luminaries of the 20th century didn’t raise eye-brows upon the western style of dress and education of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
But, what we have been witnessing and facing since the 1990s has a background. Everything looks topsy-turvy after the defeat, disintegration and fragmentation of the USSR in 1990. Fragmentation and re-demarcation of the Muslim countries according to the ‘new world order’ is not far from the neo-colonial eye. Why Pakistan is the target of terrorism and the entire West’s mud-slinging has been diverted towards this state, though it had supported the West and mujahedeen; and welcomed millions of Afghans after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Till then tribal and religious culture of Pakistan’s tribal areas was harmonious, and the education–modern and Maktab education flourished side by side without any confrontation against each other (Although at the outset the aim of introducing the colonial education system was to produce loyal Indian servants and to turn educated people of the long Muslim era as illiterates). In fact, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet army ultimately proved ominous for it, and routed the super communist power to the surprise of all. But exactly the same was repeated by America/NATO in 1999, and its backlash can be witnessed in the shape of rage and revenge of the people against the invader. It unfortunately shook the confidence between Pashtun tribes and Pakistan for many reasons. The latter being ally of NATO in the war against terror became more vulnerable to its own Pashtu population. Again, it can’t be ignored that America had played many foul games with Pakistan in the 1960s and 1970s. In the course of Pakistan-India conflict, the Pakistani rulers and leaders learnt little from the history. Moreover, some unpleasant episodes had remained quiescent for a long time in the history of West’s unreliable relations with Pakistan. However, the tribal population of Pakistan had always acted as a volunteer force for the defense of Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Besides, they actively participated in the liberation war of Kashmir in 1947, when they were called to march towards Kashmir, against the Indian invasion and annexation of Kashmir.
Given the history of uncertain and unpredictable relations between the US, West and Pakistan, some past events by the end of 1990s, refreshed in the public memory vis-a-vis America: e.g, Pakistan’s fall in the trap of SEATO and CENTO pacts in 1950s—yet, in that bonhomie the United States started arming Pakistan’s arch enemy India without any qualms. Frequent inkling of displeasure by Pakistan can be marked in the speeches of then ruler—President Ayub Khan about the US policy of arming India- a close ally of the USSR. However, the former communist power could not digest Pakistan’s tilt towards America and its membership of the Western military pacts. In late 1970s, the communist regime of Russia, smelling the rat in the form of American hegemony in Pakistan, finally invaded Afghanistan to foil any misadventure by the west against it. The Afghans who regard their freedom and independence dearer than life, declared Jihad as the only panacea to rid themselves of foreign occupation and domination. Their call for jihad suited America and her western allies. They not only began romance with Afghans but wooed and motivated Muslims of different nationalities, such as, Arabs, Pakistanis, central Asians, etc. to join the jihad in Afghanistan.
Pakistan and its religious seminaries became launching pads for the holy guerrilla war supported by the West. During that bygone decade of West’s romance with the Afghans and the non-Afghan mujahedeen, meetings would take place between them in the White House or in the American and the western embassies to buttress this brand of union for next generations. Media files reported that in one of such meetings in 1985, President Reagan during a photo session introduced some mujahedeen commanders to his press men telling, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” Then transgressing of all geographical boundaries was okay, now it is condemned as terrorism, and all the past arch enemies of the cold war period are united on Islamophobia; though they (US & Russia) may be at logger heads with each other over other regional issues. West’s post-1990 apathy and divide and rule policy towards Afghan Mujahidin, invasion of Afghanistan, 2000 policy of NATO war, and Pakistan’s collaboration with NATO, coupled with other internal steps added fuel to fire, putting this country in the furnace or cauldron of hate without any slight consideration. Today’s Pakistan shows that the post- 2000 policy that plunged Pakistan in blood-bath and instability was a bad omen for this country.
There are eminent writers, who have focused on the causes of this continuous brutal war, among them is an eminent international analyst, Prof Phil Gasper, who has written an exhaustive review of the Afghan war against the Soviets, fought with the help of the United States. First America embraced Afghan and non-Afghan fighters, and after the Soviet-pull-out ditched them, left them in doldrums at the mercy of ebb and flow of tides. Finally America launched a long “war on terror” along with NATO against them to plunder the resources of the same Crescent world that it had romanced with for a decade over. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, America turned back to the mujahidin. Its backsliding policy alienated and angered Afghans and their sympathizers in this region, forcing them to divert their guns towards America and its partners. Unfortunately, in this situation maximum rage is being poured on Pakistan due to manifold reasons. Taliban is the product of post-soviet civil strife and anarchy, and symbol of Afghan backlash against America and NATO. They believe that the decade of romantic support by America in 1980s was hypocrisy to bolster West’s interests and expansionism in this region.
Prof Phil Gasper gives a vivid/stunning picture of Afghanistan’s developments; he calls the American war against Afghanistan brutal, being fought for the narrow economic and political interests of the US rulers. In late 1970s, America’s interests were served by the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Phil Gasper says, “President Jimmy Carter immediately declared that the invasion jeopardized vital U.S. interests, because the Persian Gulf area was “now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan. But the Carter administration’s public outrage at Russian intervention in Afghanistan was doubly duplicitous. Not only was it used as an excuse for a program of increased military expenditure that had in fact already begun, but the U.S. had in fact been aiding the mujahedeen for at least the previous six months, with precisely the hope of provoking a Soviet response. Former CIA director Robert Gates later admitted in his memoirs that aid to the rebels began in June 1979. In a candid 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, confirmed that U.S. aid to the rebels began before the invasion.”
“According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the mujahedeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan [in] December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention…. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would….”
“That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap…. The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”
“The Russian invasion in December was the signal for U.S. support to the Afghan rebels to increase dramatically.”
“Three weeks after Soviet tanks rolled into Kabul, Carter’s secretary of defense, Harold Brown, was in Beijing arranging for a weapons transfer from the Chinese to the ClA backed Afghani troops mustered in Pakistan. The Chinese, who were generously compensated for the deal, agreed and even consented to send military advisers. Brown worked out a similar arrangement with Egypt to buy $15 million worth of weapons. “The U.S. contacted me,” [then-Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat recalled shortly before his assassination [in 1981]. “They told me, ‘Please open your stores for us so that we can give the Afghans the armaments they need to fight.’ And I gave them the armaments. The transport of arms to the Afghans started from Cairo on U.S. planes.” “By February 1980, the Washington Post reported that the mujahedeen was receiving arms coming from the U.S. government.”
According to one senior official, “The question here was whether it was morally acceptable that, in order to keep the Soviets off balance, which was the reason for the operation, it was permissible to use other lives for our geopolitical interests.” Carter’s CIA director Stansfield Turner answered the question: “I decided I could live with that.” According to Representative Charles Wilson, a Texas Democrat, there were 58,000 dead in Vietnam and we owe the Russians one…. I have a slight obsession with it, because of Vietnam. I thought the Soviets ought to get a dose of it…. I’ve been of the opinion that this money was better spent to hurt our adversaries than other money in the Defense Department budget…”
There was, though, a kind of method in the madness: Brezinski hoped not just to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan, but to ferment unrest within the Soviet Union itself. His plan, says author Dilip Hiro, was “to export a composite ideology of nationalism and Islam to the Muslim-majority Central Asian states and Soviet Republics with a view to destroying the Soviet order.” Looking back in 1998, Brezinski had no regrets. “What was more important in the world view of history? A few stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War”
‘Estimates of how much money the U.S. government channeled to the Afghan rebels over the next decade vary, but most sources put the figure between $3 billion and $6 billion, or more. Whatever the exact amount, this was “the largest covert action program since World War II” – much bigger, for example, than Washington’s intervention in Central America at the same time, which received considerably more publicity. According to one report:
“The CIA became the grand coordinator: purchasing or arranging the manufacture of Soviet-style weapons from Egypt, China, Poland, Israel and elsewhere, or supplying their own; arranging for military training by Americans, Egyptians, Chinese and Iranians; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave many hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year, totaling probably more than a billion”
When Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, he found the Democratic-controlled Congress eager to increase spending on the Afghan war. A congressional staffer told a reporter, “It was a windfall [for the new administration]. They’d faced so much opposition to covert action in Central America and here comes the Congress helping and throwing money at them, putting money their way and they say, ‘Who are we to say no?” Aid to the mujahedeen, who Reagan praised as “freedom fighters,” increased, but initially Afghanistan was not a priority:
In the first years, after the Reagan administration inherited the Carter program, the covert Afghan war “tended to be handled out of [CIA director William] Casey’s back pocket,” recalled Ronald Spiers, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, the base of the Afghan rebels. Mainly from China’s government, the CIA purchased assault rifles, grenade launchers, mines and SA-7 light antiaircraft weapons, and then arranged for shipment to Pakistan…. The amounts were significant-10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983, according to Pakistani General Mohammed Yusuf-but a fraction of what they would be in just a few years.
In March 1985, the Reagan administration issued National Security Decision Directive 166, 29 a secret plan to escalate covert action in Afghanistan dramatically:
Beginning in 1985, the CIA supplied mujahedeen rebels with extensive satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets on the Afghan battlefield, plans for military operations based on the satellite intelligence, intercepts of Soviet communications, secret communications networks for the rebels, delayed timing devices for tons of C-4 plastic explosives for urban sabotage, and sophisticated guerrilla attacks, long-range sniper rifles, a targeting device for mortars that was linked to a U.S. Navy satellite, wire-guided anti-tank missiles, and other equipment….”—Now, see the irony, how America and its allies and Russia(former USSR) fought against each other at the cost of Muslim blood for strategic victory in 1980s, in Afghanistan, have since 9/11 been united, fighting jointly “war on Terror” in the same Afghanistan. The difference is that despite their old global rivalry and different geo-political interests and colours, they are one, but, Muslim unity has shattered, and the Muslims are shedding their own blood from Pakistan to Afghanistan and other regions, making the united terror campaign of their adversaries very easy. Post-World war 11, and cold war big powers, their partners and satellites might be exchanging compliments with each other for the current worldwide-environment of carnage of innocent Muslims by Muslims in their homes, hearths or offices, markets and institutions. And in the words of Dr. Iqbal:—
Chaman Mein Her Tarf Bikhry Huye Hey Dastan Mery.
Imperialists, dictators, and monarchs should equally rejoice that in this unending war against the Muslims and also infighting among the Muslims, there’s no communism v/s capitalism, & no democracy v/s monarchy. All the big and small powers of East and West: the capitalists, socialists, liberals, and dictators are on the same page. In this precarious situation, the secular and liberal elements of Pakistan want to promote their own narrow angle, they don’t learn from the cycle of bloody events. They have the only drum to play that M.A. Jinnah –father of this state had a secular and liberal outlook, and thus he wanted to establish a state free of Islam in the South Asia. Actually, such liberal intellectuals do add fuel to fire and fan the flames of animosity, while the spying and sabotaging net-work along the western and Eastern borders of Pakistan is fishing in the troubled waters. Dr. Iqbal had warned beforehand:—
Chupa ker asteen mein bijliyan rekhi hein gadroon nay,
Anadil bagh k gafil na bethein ashyanoon mein
Having analysed the sarcastic and provocative ideology of liberals, their biased political analysis about Pakistan’s basis, Quaid-e-Azam, and the Islamic constitution; and having further discussed the Soviet military invasion and withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO invasion and terrorism in the region, its impact on Pakistan, I believe the controversy of religion and liberalism about Quaid-E-Azam is totally irrelevant and unhealthy; the liberals want to score points but will face humiliating defeat in the end. It’s the time to defend the sovereignty and integrity of the state, and fight against the mind-set which is responsible for authoritarianism, corruption and anarchy at every level in the country.
Islam is the most tolerant religion for mankind. It teaches us rule of law, peace and harmony. There is absolutely no room for extremism, terrorism, compulsion or coercion in Islam. Pakistan as a state from its very birth discouraged religious intolerance with a firm hand. Quaid’s speech on 11 August, 1947 should be read in that light and spirit. The holy Sauna, the speech of the Prophet (PBUH) on Hajatul-wida, abhors tyranny and prevents Muslims from committing injustice and intolerance against humanity in the world. Terrorism, extremism or sectarianism created by flawed interpretations of religion and perverse motivation, etc., is an intoxicating phenomenon, which has absolutely no link with Islam or the growth of Muslim scholastic thought. Maligning the Islamic constitution of the country on that count is totally unfair and unjust. The liberals and secularists, who want to make Pakistan a secular country have no regard for the democratic urges of the people and don’t know repercussions of such a poisonous proposition. Terrorism in this region with widespread ramifications is the reflection and offshoot of west’s military intervention and regional tug-of-war for strategic interests. Terrorism is curse, it’s blind, whether state-terrorism or non-state, sponsored by any group or sect, or war-lord, under any pretext. But the imperialists and their allied forces are not infallible angels. Going by their record in the occupied regions, they are an embodiment of vice and savagery in the eyes of people.
They must admit that every country has the right to choose and follow its own system, according to its traditions, popular aspirations and cultural values. And every state has the right to protect, develop and utilize its own resources. So, the Muslims can’t be denied the right to look after their own interests and shape their destiny according to their urges and aspirations. Here the conflict emerged and animosities developed, when the liberals stooped too low to laugh at Islam or Islamic symbols and moral values and invited public wrath in different ways. As for as the Taliban or Al-Qaida, the question is, who created them and what nourished their ideologies, it requires an impartial and unbiased study, research and investigative journalism; we should stop looking from a coloured prism. Islamic teachings are not to be blamed, but big-power selfish games and follies have certainly ruined this planet. Pakistan’s future is safe in Islam only; a truly independent foreign policy will restore its glory in the world. And, on national level the state should cultivate wisdom of democratic ideals and religious tolerance and harmony. Not by discarding but by strengthening and implementing in letter and spirit the Islamic Republican constitution of the state, irritants in this socially and culturally rich state can be removed. Only one condition—the state and its political elite must break their begging bowel and sacrifice their individual interests and wants. Pakistan was created to raise the living standard of a common man, not to serve the vested interests of power-centers or privileged classes. Learn the statecraft in line with the teachings of Dr. Iqbal:—
Sodagery nehein yeh ebadt Khuda ki hey,
A bekhabar jaza ki tamana be chod day.
Even some of the modern Western historians and renowned writers stress upon the principle of non-interference and non-intervention in the problems of the Muslim world, believing in the clout and potentiality of the Muslims to solve their problems. Secularists in the Muslim world struck at the roots of the society, and the foreign agencies marred the prospects of peace. Liberalism or extremism in the name of religion has no relation with Islam. Islam’s the light of peace and justice for mankind. It doesn’t hide anything; needs not sermons/decrees from either liberals or extremists. Lastly let me quote here an extract from a Western publication:—
“Can the world of Islam solve its own problems? It has done so in the past and, thanks to the basic principles of its faith, it has done so with tolerance and respect for other faiths and cultures, a lesson that the west has still to fully appreciate. Sustained by their firm and unshakable faith, and imbued with the desire for freedom, who or what can stop them? The religion of Islam has inspired so much in the past and it will triumph again in the fields where it has more experience than others—tolerance, creativity, and respect. Grant them the same respect that they have shown to us, when they, unconditionally, shared the fruits of their culture with us.” ‘What Islam Did For Us’ by Tim Wallace-Murphy
Note: The writer & former convener All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) AJK, is the Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Peoples’ Freedom League (JKPFL).