Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jinnah and Shariah

Just recently I came across a brilliant article in which the writer has collected all the quotes of Mohammad Ali Jinnah which highlights the Quaid’s intention of fighting for a Modern Islamic State, which was to be Pakistan. Although the full article can be read at the following link, I would like to mention some of the notable quotes of Mohammad Ali Jinnah as excerpts from that article.

I would like to suggest to the readers to forward the following article if they find it suitable, to all they can, so that the confusion, which is being deliberately hatched by some of our misguided brothers, can be cleared.

The Flag of Islam
In an address to Gaya Muslim League Conference in January 1938, Jinnah begun mapping out his new world view. He said:

When we say ‘This flag is the flag of Islam’ they think we are introducing religion into politics - a fact of which we are proud. Islam gives us a complete code. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics, In fact, it contains everything that matters to a man from morning to night. When we talk of Islam we take it as an all embracing word. We do not mean any ill. The foundation of our Islamic code is that we stand for liberty, equality and fraternity.

Lahore Resolution (1940)
He spelled out his reasons for reaching out towards the 'Pakistan' goal in his Lahore (1940) address in more or less ideological terms, arguing that "Islam and Hinduism... are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are... different and distinct social orders", that "the Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature", "to two different civilizations", that they "derive their inspiration from different sources of history"... (with) different epics, different heroes and different episodes." "We wish our people", he declared, "to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people."

Jinnah for Shariah
Shariah is simply defined the Islamic Law, isn’t it? Read the following excerpt.

"We are a nation," he wrote to Gandhi on 17 September 1944, "with our distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitude and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life."

He returned to this more extensively in his Id message in September 1945, saying:

"Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal code, it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of all to those of each individual; from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in the life to come, and our Prophet has enjoined on us that every Musalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collective[ly] and individually."

Social, civil, commercial, judicial, criminal, penal code. Do we still need clearer words? If yes then we have ‘it is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collectively and individually’

Pakistan as a Bulwark of Islam
After independence, as head of the state he had founded, Jinnah talked in the same strain. He talked of securing "liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam" (25 August 1947); of "Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood" (21 February 1948); of raising Pakistan on "sure foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism which emphasized equality and brotherhood of man" (26 March 1948); of laying "the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles" (14 August 1948); and "the onward march of renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals" (18 August 1947). He called upon the mammoth Lahore audience to build up "Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam", to "live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory", adding, "If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours" (30 October 1947).

Guidance from Holy Quran, isn’t that Shariah?

Islamic Economic System
As for the specific institutions of the new state, he exhorted the armed forces to uphold "the high traditions of Islam and our National Banner" (8 November 1947); and commended the State Bank research organization to evolve "banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life" and to "work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice" (1 July 1948).

Islamic, Muslim Rule
For Jinnah, "the creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play" (11 October 1947). He told Edwards College students that "this mighty land has now been brought under a rule, which is Islamic, Muslim rule, as a sovereign independent State" (18 April 1948). He even described Pakistan as "the premier Islamic State" (February 1948).

What does Islamic, Muslim Rule mean if nothing else than Shariah.

Now following are some quotes which are being used frequently to make us believe that Jinnah wanted a secular state. Although if one looks into closely he would find its nothing like that.

Pakistan Not A Theocracy
Jinnah's broadcast to the people of the United States (February 1948) is in a similar vein:

I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of men, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State -- to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non- Muslims -- Hindus, Christians, and Parsis -- but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.

While he laid a good deal of stress on Islamic ideals and principles, he ruled out theocracy, saying "Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds."

Technically speaking, theocracy means a government "by ordained priests, who wield authority as being specially appointed by those who claim to derive their rights from their sacerdotal position." Unlike Catholicism, there is no established church in Islam; (in fact, it decries such a church). Moreover, since Islam admits of no priest craft, since it discountenances a sacerdotal class as the bearer of an infallible authority, and since it concedes the right of ijtihad to "men of common sense", the concept of theocracy is absolutely foreign to Islam. Hence, during the debate on the Objectives Resolution (March 1947), Mian Iftikharuddin refuted the Congress members fears about the sovereignty clause, saying that "the wording of the Preamble does not in any way make the Objectives Resolution any the more theocratic, any the more religious than the Resolution or statement of fundamental principles of some of the modern countries of the world" (10 March 1949). Thus neither Iqbal, nor Jinnah, nor any of the independence leaders (including Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani) stood for a theocratic state.

Muslims will cease to be Muslims
Finally the one and only argument, taken from all of Jinnah’s quotes, is the following one, to prove their point is this one. Of all Jinnah's pronouncements it is his 11 August address that has received the greatest attention since the birth of Pakistan, and spawned a good deal of controversy. Although made somewhat off-the-cuff -- he said that "I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me".

How can these remarks be termed as a policy statement is still alien to me.
... If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, ... is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make. ...we must learn a lesson from this [our past experience]. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state ... we are starting in the days when there is no discrimination between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste, or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.... I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.

In dissecting this statement, there is, however, little that could lend itself to disputation. There is no problems with the dictum that every one, no matter what community he belongs to, would be entitled to full fledged citizenship, with equal rights, privileges and obligations, that there would no discrimination between one community and another, and that all of them would be citizens and equal citizens of one state. These principles Jinnah had reiterated time and again during the struggle period, though not in the same words.

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