Islam and Ulema in Pakistan

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By Sheikh Shuja
In response to articles by Mr. Busharat Elahi Jamil and Mr. Wajid Shamsul Hussain in ‘The nation (November 24, 2017), it must be stated once again that the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad AlI Jinnah expressly stated that Pakistan would be an Islamic state and its laws would be based on the Holy Quran. No historian can deny this fact. Not once but several times in his speeches before 1947 the Quaid-i-Azam emphasised the role of Islam in the life of the Muslim nation.
His speeches to the students of Aligad and Usmania Universities are worth noting. The author of the present article had the good fortune of associating with the Quaid-i-Azam during the 1940s and hearing his speeches sitting close to the great man. Even after the creation of Pakistan more than once the Quaid-i-Azam said that Pakistan would be based on the principles of Islam. His three famous speeches: one in October 1948 addressing a public meeting in Lahore attended by more than a hundred thousand people he said loudly and clearly that the Holy Quran would be the basis for Pakistan. Those who wish to listen to this historic speech can do so on Youtube. His second speech was in the NWF.
The third and the last was when he opened the State Bank of Pakistan in Karachi on 1 July 1948, when he declared, “We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on the Islamic concept of equality of mankind and social justice.” Some of these speeches are on tape in possession of the present writer, and collections of the Quaid-i-Azam’s speeches are available in various forms. In a speech delivered at the All India Muslim League Conference held on 26 September 1943, presided by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Nawab Bahadur Yang stated that Pakistan’s constitution would be Islamic (see Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang: Pakistan Islami Riyasat (Urdu) ed. Shaikh Shuja). On 14 August 1947 Lord Mountbatten, in his handing over speech, referred to Emperor Akbar’s tolerance; the Quaid-i-Azam was quick to retort that the lesson of tolerance was taught to us by our Holy Prophet (SAW) thirteen hundred years ago. The next morning a maulana recited Surah Nasr from the Holy Quran before the Quaid-i-Azam took oath of office as the first Governor-General of Pakistan.
The Quaid-i-Azam’s 11 August speech, which has been much misrepresented by the secularists, is in fact a true expression of the Islamic concept of tolerance. Further, his broadcasts to the peoples of Australia and of the USA repeated his commitment to Islam. Speaking to the Bar Association in Karachi the Quaid-i-Azam said,” Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is also a code for every Muslim which regulates his life and his conduct even in politics and economics and the like”. Addressing the Sidi Durbar on February 14, 1948 he said, “It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law giver the Prophet of Islam (SAW). Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles.” Nothing can be more clear than the above words of the Quaid-i-Azam about his commitment to the Islamic state of Pakistan.
Those who participated in movement for Pakistan between the glorious days of 1940-1947 cannot forget the spirit and devotion of the 100 million Muslims of India as it was. They responded to slogans of “Narae Taqbeer, Allah-o-Akabr”, Pakistan ka Matlab kia, La Ilaha Illalah and also shouted “Pakistan Le ke rahenge” and “Quaid-i-Azam Zindabad”. The Muslims of India had a hope and a vision of the Islamic state of Pakistan. Allama Muhammad Iqbal in one of his thirteen letters to the Quaid-i-Azam very openly said that the future Muslim state would be a ground where the Islamic ideals would be practised. Allama Iqbal’s great friends and followers were famous Ulemas of his time. Iqbal was critical of narrow dogmatism of certain molvis hence his famous verse “Mullah ki azan awr, Mujahid ki azan awr”. Iqbal did not consider Islam as a monopoly of the Ulemas. As there is no priesthood in Islam, it is misleading to talk of a theocratic state. The Ulemas are a part of the whole society of Islam. In Islam there is no separation of secular and religious (“Al Yaum Al Aqmamalto……Surah Bakrah). Islamisation is a continuous process, it is not a static position. Allama Iqbal has frequently referred to this dynamic process. After all it is for the people of Pakistan to decide what kind of constitution they want.
It is absolutely false to say that all or majority of the Ulemas opposed Pakistan. Maulana Ashraf Thanwi, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Maulana Aleem Siddiqui, Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani, Maulana Qari Tyyab, Maulana Abdul Sattat Niazi and many other maulanas were great supporters of Pakistan. The Deoband maulanas splitted and Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani formed the Jamiat-i- Ulema-i- Islam and a handful were left in Deoband. Even Gandhi never bothered to consult them. The rank and file ulemas all over India were enthusiastic supporters of Pakistan and they gave speeches to express their support. Whenever the Quaid-i-Azam fell ill, the ulemas prayed in their mosque for his early recovery.
For over seventy years past, with some years of exception, Pakistan has been ruled by secularists like Bhutto and Sharif families. During this period all kinds of secularists have plundered the wealth of the country and hoarded it in the Berchetsgadens of the West and elsewhere. Under the secularist regimes rampant corruption prevails in the government and non-government sectors while poor Pakistanis have to go without the basic needs of life. There is no room for terrorism in Islam. Having said that we have not heard of allegations of robbery of the country by the Islamists or the so-called mullahs. If there is evidence they should be disclosed. The last Prophet of Allah, Hadrat Muhammad (SAW) showed tolerance towards the non-Muslims. When the Prophet (SAW) entered Makkah he forgave all those who opposed him, including his arch enemy Abu Sufian. Hadrat Abu Bkr (RA) ordered his soldiers not to fight non-combatants and laid down rules of behaviour for them, which are now a part of the Geneva Convention. Here is not the place to go into the details of why East Pakistan was lost. But, one of the factors was deviation from Islam. Otherwise the Bengali Muslims were the first to raise the flag of Muslim nationalism.
The secularists should cross the border and see what respect Narendra Modi has for them. By the way, we have not heard the secularists condemning the religious Zionist state of Israel. The two authors referred above would be better advised to represent the true facts. If they would join millions others in their fight against family rule, corruption, dishonesty and fraud amongst the Pakistani politicians, bureaucrats and in business, they would deserve the respect of the people of Pakistan.
(The writer is a Barrister, ex-visiting Professor University in Sweden and former Mayor of Hackney, London)