Saturday, December 13, 2008

What was the original identity of Pakistan as envisaged by Jinnah:

It is a raging debate in Pakistan. The secularists quote Jinnah's 11 Aug 1947 speech as proof that's what Pakistan was intended to be. In this speech, he spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. He also seemed to advocate the separation of church and state. This speech was delivered a month before Pakistan was born. He had said:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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. "

[Full text here ...]

The Islamists on the other hand quote the 'Objectives Resolution'. It was the resolution adopted on 12 March 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. The resolution, proposed by the Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, proclaimed that the future constitution of Pakistan would not be modeled entirely on a European pattern, but on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam, which proclaimed the following principles:

1. Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.

2. The State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.

3. The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed.

4. Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

5. Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop
their cultures.

6. Pakistan shall be a federation.

7. Fundamental rights shall be guaranteed.

8. The judiciary shall be independent.


This resolution was made the Preamble to the existing Pakistan Constitution of 1973, and later amended to be fully incorporated in the Constitution of Pakistan in Article 2A of the Constitution.

I, however, argue with neither. Not the 11 August 1947 one because it was in the backdrop of one of the most violent episodes in history in which a mass and unplanned exchange of populations took place and millions were dead and still dying in riots, nor the March 1949 Objectives Resolution because it was not moved by Jinnah but by Liaquat Ali Khan, and was prompted by the pressure of the rallying slogan (still popular) of Indian Muslims demanding partition of "Pakistan ka matlab kya; La Ilah-a-Ilallah" meaning "What does Pakistan mean; Say there's no God but Allah." This is half of the 'Shahada' or that sentence belief in which is essential and inviolable to be a Muslim in the first place.

My argument is entirely based on something between the two, i.e. at a time when the upheavals of partition had ended and a State structure was well underway, and Pakistan's Central bank was inaugurated. It was the last speech Jinnah ever made, and died two months later. It is dated 1 July 1948. He said:

"I shall watch with keenness the work of your Research Organization in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideas of social and economic life. The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is not facing the world. It has failed to do justice between man and man and to eradicate friction from the international field. On the contrary, it was largely responsible for the two world wars in the last half century. The Western world, in spite of its advantages, of mechanization and industrial efficiency is today in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contended people. We must 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. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind."

[Full text here ...]

Above is not an official source, because this particular speech has been expunged from Pakistan's collective memory. It is not even listed in Pakistan's official web archives.

This leaves little doubt what Jinnah actually wanted. A modern Islamic state with religious principles as the guiding source for its most vital policies.

Religion, to Jinnah, had everything to do with State.

Side Note:

We may also ponder over what Jinnah said back in 1948:

"The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is not facing the world."

Has he been proven right after all these years?

Would we agree the Western free-markets Economic Model has collapsed and a new or modified one is now needed and will emerge? Another experiment?

We shall have to wait and see.

24 comments:

Zeemax said...

Baiting Majumdar :))

Anonymous said...

Zee, I have a question. How come so many statements/speeches of Jinnah and possibly other Pakistani leaders have been expunged or don't show up in the archives? When Majumdar comes here may be he can tell us if the same thing happens in India.

This makes it hard to believe what actually does exist.

-----------

Coming back to the issue you raised, zee, what Pakistani need to do is to (1) look at the whole set of speeches that Mr Jinnah gave, particularly as history moved nearer to 47 and just beyond, and (2) figure out if they want to build a history just around Mr Jinnah or take a broader view in which Mr Jinnah is seen as giving voice to collective aspirations (instead of all Muslims following Mr. Jinnah's aspirations).

Only Pakistanis can make that determination but it is a critial one, IMHO.

Zeemax said...

Anonymous, Welcome back.

How come so many statements/speeches of Jinnah and possibly other Pakistani leaders have been expunged or don't show up in the archives?

Because Pakistan's original identity has been twisted since Jinnah's death. The people who did it are the same who sent the ambulance which broke down and Jinnah died in the heat on Mauripur Road in Karachi, with no other vehicle accompanying, all when he was the Governor General of Pakistan.

I had told Majumdar about who said about Jinnah after visiting his death bed in Ziarat "Budhha abhi mara nahin", and he was totally amazed.

Re your next observation, yes it is critical to identify Pakistan's original identity. Expunging and re-writing history will not work. It will have to be what Jinnah wanted and his followers wanted.

That identification I'm afraid will not be done. It will eventually be which side turns out to be stronger both with a gun as well as public sentiment.

Anonymous said...

"which side turns out to be stronger both with a gun as well as public sentiment."

That of course goes to the basic ideas we have discussed often before :)

-----------

One more point I wanted to highlight here, zee.

In clarifying what Mr Jinnah or anybody else wanted, it is absolutely important to know what he or others did NOT want. It seems to me that Mr. Jinnah did NOT want western style capitalism or democracy or social set up (that's the impression I get, could be wrong here). That gives a much closer approximnation to what he might have actually wanted, and what people following him were looking for.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, zee! You get visitors from all over the world! You are an international star!!

ha ha, good for you. You have a good set of ideas and these ideas need to be articulated, and heard.

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

Yes I have visitors from Papua New Guinea and Iceland. I don't know why the hell they read this blog. Maybe it comes up in Google.

Re Jinnah's death, that fact is pretty obvious. What is still shrouded in mystery is Fatima Jinnah's death. According to Sharifuddin Pirzada, Jinnah's intern and Personal Assistant and later the Attorney General of Pakistan - still living - she was strangled in bed by her servants.

Maybe I'll write about that sometime.

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

It seems to me that Mr. Jinnah did NOT want western style capitalism or democracy or social set up (that's the impression I get, could be wrong here)

Does this speech still leave any doubt as to what Jinnah wanted?

Anonymous said...

How do secularists counter that? They probably argue that Islam is secularism - which may be right, but within a clear Islamic context and setup alone.

I won't be surprised if even Iranians call themselves secularists and democrats but they must have clearly a very Islamic version of those concepts....

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

How do secularists counter that?

They don't need to. It's been expunged you see. It doesn't exist. Didn't I clarify that Sir?

But he did make that speech as a dying statement. His abhorrence of the Western market-based economic system have turned out to be valid.

We expunged it, and we have paid the price. But even though this speech is not on Government record, the ideas are instilled in the public mind because these very same are not Jinnah's ideas. This is Qura'an! No one forgets that.

Do you know what I'm saying, Anonymous? Jinnah was a staunch Muslim of Iqbalian thought.

Anonymous said...

zee, majumdar and ylh may confirm that, but they probably don't see Jinnah in the same mould as Iqbal.

Starting from Iqbal, there would be no way not to have a fully, explicitly Islamic system!

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

There are two ways to learn Islam. Either read Qura'an, or read Iqbal. Both are exactly the same, without any distinction.

Iqbal was an interpreter of nothing else but Qura'an, and Jinnah his disciple. Notwithstanding the Whiskey and the three piece suits. Iqbal attended mujras daily too.

kunfyakoon said...

Zeemax:

The Kanjaroons have tried to portray our beloved quaid in their own image. What they hide from the Muslims in Pakistan is

1. That the quaid was a shariah abiding fundamentalist muslim. Fundamentalist in the true sense of the word. He bequeathed his wealth strictly according to sharia laws.

2. He was the ones who presented the Sharia bill and the wad-al-aulad bill in the Indian Parliament in 1935. Hence we have the separate muslim personal law in India to this day.

3. His best buddies were Maulana Hasrat Mohani and Nawab Bahadur Yaar Jung..both Fundamentalist muslims. Quaid was learning arabie from Bahadur Yaar Jang till his last days.

3. His "schooling" was in Madresaas..Sindh Madrassatul Islam and Anjumani Islam school in Bombay.

4. He completed his grade 5 when he was 14/15 ..He was a"problem" child..He did not like to be in "business" either. He was a street "fixer" & he had is own "gang"...meaning he was a leader. He was not the kind presented in textbooks as if he was from the present-day Offence-colonies. He was thouroughly a Kharadar guy.

6. When you are "called to the bar" you have to DRINK..that WAS the rule to get a lawyers' papers.

and that is exactly meant when "called to bar". You did not rquire even a schooling to write the two law papers. It was more like today's taxi permit then.

7. He had a flare for theatre & acting...he used that training to good effect in ourt and public stage.

8. He agreed to see his daughter only once after her marriage to the non-muslim. Only a FUNDAMENTALIST would do so.

9. He found it to be important enough for himself & his family to become an asna-ashari shia & abandon agha-khanism. A secularist would have just muttered " who cares" & moved on. Mind you he was not then a memeber of Muslim League.

10. He exposed the machinations of the Agha-Khan who was in collusion with the British & the Jew Balfour to uproot Paletinians.

etc etc.


ECHOBOOM

kunfyakoon said...

Zeemax: This I posted in 2004


Just to reiterate and set the record straight: emphasis are mine

An excerpt from: Shariful Mujahid

The writer was Founder-Director of the Quaid-I-Azam Academy (1976-89), and authored Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (1981), the only work to qualify for the President’s Award for Best Books on Quaid-I-Azam.
(Courtesy DAWN Tuesday December 25, 2001)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


But should equal citizenship for one and all, with equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations, necessarily mean a secular state? Does Islam nullify this concept? Jinnah did not think so; (nor did Iqbal). This is evident from his July 17, 1947 press conference and his reply to Mountabatten at the transfer-of-power ceremony on August 14. Consider the following extracts from his press conference:

Question: “Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic state?”
Mr. M. A. Jinnah: “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.”

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

Mr. M. A. Jinnah: “Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck’s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”

And when Mountbatten commended Akbar’s model in dealing with non-Muslims, Jinnah invoked the Medinite model:

The tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims (he said) is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet (Peace be upon him) not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims, wherever they ruled, is replete with those humane and great principles, which should be followed and practised.

Remember, this response was really off-the-cuff since Jinnah was not provided with an advance copy of Mountbatten’s address and, hence, had no time to deliberate, mull over it, and formulate a suitable response. In other words, he had to depend on the quickness of his mind and his basic convictions to come up with a ready response. This means that Jinnah regarded equal citizenship for one and all as an integral part of Islam’s legacy.

Indeed, in all of Jinnah’s multitudinous pronouncements during 1934-1948, which I have pored over, time and again, the word, “secular”, does not occur even once. Then, how could he have conceived the indivisible Pakistani nationhood concept in a “secular” context, and not in the Islamic one, especially when Islam was his constant refrain and the counter piece of his rhetoric all through the momentous 1937-47 decade.

And because, as Dr Fazlur Rahman has pointed out, those who understand modernity do not know Islam and those who understand Islam do not know modernity, and because we are, alas! not a research-oriented society and not even a “reading society” such as Iran, Syria and Egypt, we have failed to establish linkages between Jinnah’s and classical (not traditional) Islam’s view-points. More critical and grievous is the spectacular failure of our West-oriented elites and cultural affiliates whose ignorance of Islam is matched, if at all, by their playing hostage to the professional clergy’s distorted version (or interpretation) of Islam, motivated as it is by their personal, sectarian and political agendas.

Though Jinnah might not have been aware of it, his “national” framework, comprising both Muslims and non-Muslims as equal citizens of a political unit, has a hallowed Islamic precedent. And that precedent is the Misaq-i-Madina (622/623), which Dr Muhammad Hamidullah, the renowned Islamic scholar, describes as “the first written constitution of the world”.
Articles 1 and 2 of the Misaq describe the Quraishite and Medinite (Yathrib) Muslims as “a political unit (ummah) as distinct from all the people (of the world)”, and Article 25 lays down that “verily the Jews of the Banu’ Awf shall be considered as a community (ummah) along with the Believers, for the Jews being their religion and for the Muslims their religion…” (Muhammad Hamidullah, The First Written Constitution in the World; Lahore: Ashraf, 1968, pp. 41, 48). Articles 26-35 accord the same status to other Jewish tribes, which were also placed within the ummah canopy.

Thus, the Quraishites, the Medinites and the Jews, who together constituted a “political unit” or political community in multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-racial Medina, were accorded equal rights, equal privileges and equal responsibilities. For one thing, without such rights, such privileges and such responsibilities, these constituent sub-units could never have become integral parts of a political unit or community (ummah), nor delineated as such in the Misaq.

True: unreserved equality in terms of rights, privileges and responsibilities in a polity is today considered a “secular” value, but long before this principle was discovered as a “secular” value, it was enshrined as an Islamic value in the Misaq, and that by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself. If this assertion jolts West-oriented intellectual elites and “cultural affiliates” they have none but themselves to blame. For sure, they have found it convenient aquitable and tolerant one i.e., a society which is absolutely free from the cantankerous evils of creeping prejudice and invidious discrimination, and which does not debar any one from his entitlement to a fair deal on the basis of his race, language, and religion. Thus, fourteen hundred years ago, Islam set its face against the extermination of minorities through ethnic cleansing as witnessed in the blood-drenched twentieth century in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir and Palestine.

Pluralism means co-existence of various groups on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Clubbing together the Quraishites, the Medinites and the Jews under an all-embracing ummah canopy means equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations for all members of the constituent sub-units, Moreover, Islam puts a premium on meritocracy and the principle of equality in legal terms. Then how can Muslims have an edge over non-Muslims in the political sense? And this is what Jinnah laid down: “Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims… in the political sense as citizens of the state”.

Religion intrudes into the business of the state only to the extent as the people, either directly or through their representatives, wish it to. It may become the fountainhead of the cluster of overarching values that constitute the ideology of the nation, that become the source of public morality, that shape and determine its social philosophy and ethos. In the case of Pakistan all that has been ensured through the objectives Resolution (1949), which is an integral part of the constitution. This Resolution envisages an “Islamic democracy”, and incorporates the core Islamic aspirations behind the Pakistan movement. If we had only implemented the Resolution in Pakistan’s public life, Pakistan could have become an “Islamic democracy” in the true sense of the term.
Islam not only rejects the concept of a “chosen people”, but it also countenances pluralism: “those who believe (in the Quran) and those who are the Jews and/the Christians and the Sabians-whoever believe in God and the Last Day and does good works-/they shall have their reward with God, and no fear/shall come to them nor shall they grieve.” (al-Quran, al Maida, 5:69).

And remember, this ayaat did not belong with the Meccan period, when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was courting the Jews and the Christian, but with the Medinite era, after the battle of Khaybar (630), when the Jews, in making “tangible contribution towards the Meccans’ campaign to raise an army of ten thousand men against Medina” in brazen contravention of the pluralist Misaq, had proved implacably hostile and utterly untrustworthy.

And when Allah promises salvation to non-Muslims in the hereafter, how could you deny them fundamental rights in this world?

These pluralist tendencies in Islam also explain why, much against the Lahore Ulema’s interpretation, the Objectives Resolution recognized not the followers of a particular faith, but the people- all “the people, irrespective of whatever faith they may follow”, as emphasized during the debate on the Resolution- as the vehicle of “the authority” – i.e., the sovereignty- by Allah to the state of Pakistan. And this, in turn, explains why Mian Iftikharuddin (1907-62), the foremost spokesman of the Left during Pakistan’s formative years (1947-58), waxed so eloquent on the concept of “Islamic democracy” during the debate on March 10, 1949, saying “Sir, I repeat, no one need object to the word ‘Islamic’. If we can use the words ‘Roman Law’ or the ‘British Parliamentary system’ and so many other terms without shame or stint, then why not ‘Islamic’? But you must give to the world an Islamic constitution. Had we given the world a proper Islamic constitution, a fine ideology, a new way of achieving real democracy, I think we would have performed a great task.” He could commend Islamic democracy because, unlike the later day Western elites, “progressives” and cultural affiliates, he knew his Islam and refused to become hostage to the clergy’s myopic and motivated version.

This version generally seeks to equate an “Islamic state” with theocracy, which it is not. In his speech on the Objectives Resolution, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (1885-1949), the foremost alim of the day, who should know Islam much better than the half-baked, self-appointed clergy, declared categorically that “an Islamic state does not mean the ‘Government of the Ordained Priests’. How could Islam”, he asked, “countenance the false idea which the Quran so emphatically repudiated in the following words”: “They (The Jews and the Christians) took their priests/and their anchorites to be their lords besides Allah to (the) derogation to God (al-Quran, al-Ta’uba, 9:31)

Prime Minister Liaquat was emphatic: “… theocracy … is absolutely foreign to Islam. Islam does not recognize either priesthood or any sacerdotal authority; and, therefore, the question of theocracy does not arise in Islam.” Iqbal has expressed serious reservations about the vetoing power accorded to the Mujtahids in the Persian constitution of 1907, in his Reconstruction (1930). And Jinnah had ruled out theocracy time and again, especially in his broadcast talks to the peoples of Australia and the United States, in February 1948.

To conclude then: there is no contradiction in Jinnah’s enunciation, on the one hand, of the concept of a united Pakistani nation, with all its members’ full entitlement to equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations and his call, on the other, to the officers and men of the 5th Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir on February 21, 1948, “to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of man-hood in your own native social” (italics ours)

Indeed, Islamic democracy subsumes the concept of one, indivisible Pakistani nation-hood.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer was Founder-Director of the Quaid-I-Azam Academy (1976-89), and authored Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (1981), the only work to qualify for the President’s Award for Best Books on Quaid-I-Azam.
(Courtesy DAWN Tuesday December 25, 2001)

kunfyakoon said...

Zeemax: This I posted in 2004


Just to reiterate and set the record straight: emphasis are mine

An excerpt from: Shariful Mujahid

The writer was Founder-Director of the Quaid-I-Azam Academy (1976-89), and authored Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (1981), the only work to qualify for the President’s Award for Best Books on Quaid-I-Azam.
(Courtesy DAWN Tuesday December 25, 2001)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


But should equal citizenship for one and all, with equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations, necessarily mean a secular state? Does Islam nullify this concept? Jinnah did not think so; (nor did Iqbal). This is evident from his July 17, 1947 press conference and his reply to Mountabatten at the transfer-of-power ceremony on August 14. Consider the following extracts from his press conference:

Question: “Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic state?”
Mr. M. A. Jinnah: “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.”

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

Mr. M. A. Jinnah: “Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck’s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”

And when Mountbatten commended Akbar’s model in dealing with non-Muslims, Jinnah invoked the Medinite model:

The tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims (he said) is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet (Peace be upon him) not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims, wherever they ruled, is replete with those humane and great principles, which should be followed and practised.

Remember, this response was really off-the-cuff since Jinnah was not provided with an advance copy of Mountbatten’s address and, hence, had no time to deliberate, mull over it, and formulate a suitable response. In other words, he had to depend on the quickness of his mind and his basic convictions to come up with a ready response. This means that Jinnah regarded equal citizenship for one and all as an integral part of Islam’s legacy.

Indeed, in all of Jinnah’s multitudinous pronouncements during 1934-1948, which I have pored over, time and again, the word, “secular”, does not occur even once. Then, how could he have conceived the indivisible Pakistani nationhood concept in a “secular” context, and not in the Islamic one, especially when Islam was his constant refrain and the counter piece of his rhetoric all through the momentous 1937-47 decade.

And because, as Dr Fazlur Rahman has pointed out, those who understand modernity do not know Islam and those who understand Islam do not know modernity, and because we are, alas! not a research-oriented society and not even a “reading society” such as Iran, Syria and Egypt, we have failed to establish linkages between Jinnah’s and classical (not traditional) Islam’s view-points. More critical and grievous is the spectacular failure of our West-oriented elites and cultural affiliates whose ignorance of Islam is matched, if at all, by their playing hostage to the professional clergy’s distorted version (or interpretation) of Islam, motivated as it is by their personal, sectarian and political agendas.

Though Jinnah might not have been aware of it, his “national” framework, comprising both Muslims and non-Muslims as equal citizens of a political unit, has a hallowed Islamic precedent. And that precedent is the Misaq-i-Madina (622/623), which Dr Muhammad Hamidullah, the renowned Islamic scholar, describes as “the first written constitution of the world”.
Articles 1 and 2 of the Misaq describe the Quraishite and Medinite (Yathrib) Muslims as “a political unit (ummah) as distinct from all the people (of the world)”, and Article 25 lays down that “verily the Jews of the Banu’ Awf shall be considered as a community (ummah) along with the Believers, for the Jews being their religion and for the Muslims their religion…” (Muhammad Hamidullah, The First Written Constitution in the World; Lahore: Ashraf, 1968, pp. 41, 48). Articles 26-35 accord the same status to other Jewish tribes, which were also placed within the ummah canopy.

Thus, the Quraishites, the Medinites and the Jews, who together constituted a “political unit” or political community in multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-racial Medina, were accorded equal rights, equal privileges and equal responsibilities. For one thing, without such rights, such privileges and such responsibilities, these constituent sub-units could never have become integral parts of a political unit or community (ummah), nor delineated as such in the Misaq.

True: unreserved equality in terms of rights, privileges and responsibilities in a polity is today considered a “secular” value, but long before this principle was discovered as a “secular” value, it was enshrined as an Islamic value in the Misaq, and that by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself. If this assertion jolts West-oriented intellectual elites and “cultural affiliates” they have none but themselves to blame. For sure, they have found it convenient aquitable and tolerant one i.e., a society which is absolutely free from the cantankerous evils of creeping prejudice and invidious discrimination, and which does not debar any one from his entitlement to a fair deal on the basis of his race, language, and religion. Thus, fourteen hundred years ago, Islam set its face against the extermination of minorities through ethnic cleansing as witnessed in the blood-drenched twentieth century in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir and Palestine.

Pluralism means co-existence of various groups on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Clubbing together the Quraishites, the Medinites and the Jews under an all-embracing ummah canopy means equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations for all members of the constituent sub-units, Moreover, Islam puts a premium on meritocracy and the principle of equality in legal terms. Then how can Muslims have an edge over non-Muslims in the political sense? And this is what Jinnah laid down: “Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims… in the political sense as citizens of the state”.

Religion intrudes into the business of the state only to the extent as the people, either directly or through their representatives, wish it to. It may become the fountainhead of the cluster of overarching values that constitute the ideology of the nation, that become the source of public morality, that shape and determine its social philosophy and ethos. In the case of Pakistan all that has been ensured through the objectives Resolution (1949), which is an integral part of the constitution. This Resolution envisages an “Islamic democracy”, and incorporates the core Islamic aspirations behind the Pakistan movement. If we had only implemented the Resolution in Pakistan’s public life, Pakistan could have become an “Islamic democracy” in the true sense of the term.
Islam not only rejects the concept of a “chosen people”, but it also countenances pluralism: “those who believe (in the Quran) and those who are the Jews and/the Christians and the Sabians-whoever believe in God and the Last Day and does good works-/they shall have their reward with God, and no fear/shall come to them nor shall they grieve.” (al-Quran, al Maida, 5:69).

And remember, this ayaat did not belong with the Meccan period, when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was courting the Jews and the Christian, but with the Medinite era, after the battle of Khaybar (630), when the Jews, in making “tangible contribution towards the Meccans’ campaign to raise an army of ten thousand men against Medina” in brazen contravention of the pluralist Misaq, had proved implacably hostile and utterly untrustworthy.

And when Allah promises salvation to non-Muslims in the hereafter, how could you deny them fundamental rights in this world?

These pluralist tendencies in Islam also explain why, much against the Lahore Ulema’s interpretation, the Objectives Resolution recognized not the followers of a particular faith, but the people- all “the people, irrespective of whatever faith they may follow”, as emphasized during the debate on the Resolution- as the vehicle of “the authority” – i.e., the sovereignty- by Allah to the state of Pakistan. And this, in turn, explains why Mian Iftikharuddin (1907-62), the foremost spokesman of the Left during Pakistan’s formative years (1947-58), waxed so eloquent on the concept of “Islamic democracy” during the debate on March 10, 1949, saying “Sir, I repeat, no one need object to the word ‘Islamic’. If we can use the words ‘Roman Law’ or the ‘British Parliamentary system’ and so many other terms without shame or stint, then why not ‘Islamic’? But you must give to the world an Islamic constitution. Had we given the world a proper Islamic constitution, a fine ideology, a new way of achieving real democracy, I think we would have performed a great task.” He could commend Islamic democracy because, unlike the later day Western elites, “progressives” and cultural affiliates, he knew his Islam and refused to become hostage to the clergy’s myopic and motivated version.

This version generally seeks to equate an “Islamic state” with theocracy, which it is not. In his speech on the Objectives Resolution, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (1885-1949), the foremost alim of the day, who should know Islam much better than the half-baked, self-appointed clergy, declared categorically that “an Islamic state does not mean the ‘Government of the Ordained Priests’. How could Islam”, he asked, “countenance the false idea which the Quran so emphatically repudiated in the following words”: “They (The Jews and the Christians) took their priests/and their anchorites to be their lords besides Allah to (the) derogation to God (al-Quran, al-Ta’uba, 9:31)

Prime Minister Liaquat was emphatic: “… theocracy … is absolutely foreign to Islam. Islam does not recognize either priesthood or any sacerdotal authority; and, therefore, the question of theocracy does not arise in Islam.” Iqbal has expressed serious reservations about the vetoing power accorded to the Mujtahids in the Persian constitution of 1907, in his Reconstruction (1930). And Jinnah had ruled out theocracy time and again, especially in his broadcast talks to the peoples of Australia and the United States, in February 1948.

To conclude then: there is no contradiction in Jinnah’s enunciation, on the one hand, of the concept of a united Pakistani nation, with all its members’ full entitlement to equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations and his call, on the other, to the officers and men of the 5th Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir on February 21, 1948, “to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of man-hood in your own native social” (italics ours)

Indeed, Islamic democracy subsumes the concept of one, indivisible Pakistani nation-hood.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer was Founder-Director of the Quaid-I-Azam Academy (1976-89), and authored Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (1981), the only work to qualify for the President’s Award for Best Books on Quaid-I-Azam.
(Courtesy DAWN Tuesday December 25, 2001)

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Tumne bulaya aur hum chale aaye
Jaan hatheli par le aye

OK let me begin with 8/11 speech which is so dear to both YLH and me. That is a clear cut statement that MAJ (pbuh) envisaged Pakistan as a state which:

Will not be a theocracy.
Will be impartial to matters of faith.
Will not discriminate between citizens on grounds of faith.

"Kanjaroons" like YLH and me believe that that is the definition of a secular state. Many folks may as well believe that this is nothing but the statement of an Islamic state for in their belief a Islamic state will never be unjust to its minorities.

Nonetheless even a secular state has certain civic values, certain law codes, symbols and emblems which invariably are drawn from the society which constitutees the nation. Thus in case of Pak, it will draw its inspiration from (the Indic experience of) Islam just as let say Britain would draw its inspiration from Anglo-Saxon culture.

Coming to the SBP speech.

From what I can make out the great man was making a case for not blindly aping the capitalist Western model. But this criticism is not unique to Muslim leaders, socialists and humanists of various hues and even people who share right wing values have pointed out limitations of the Western model and its (real and alleged) shortcomings. That is all at least I can make out from the speech, it is certainly not a recoomendation for the implementation of some strict interpretation of an Islamic economy incl interest free banking.

Regards

PS: Btw, thanks for a post on one of my most beloved figures from Indian history

Zeemax said...

kunfyakoon,

Thanks for your very enlightening posts.

P.S. What exactly does your nick mean? Sounds familiar.

Majumdar,

Tumne bulaya aur hum chale aaye
Jaan hatheli par le aye


Haha. Kis ka dar hai?

Will not be a theocracy.
Will be impartial to matters of faith.
Will not discriminate between citizens on grounds of faith.


These are all basic articles of Faith. There is no theocracy in Islam to begin with.

However, he did say that "You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State."

I don't know what he meant by that because all of what he said later had Islam as guiding principle of the State.

See below:

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 Edwardes 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).

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 fairly 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.

In this broadcast, Jinnah, the constitutionalist that he was, refused to forestall the shape of the constitution, in order not to fetter the Pakistan Constituent Assembly from taking decisions it deemed fit. 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 priestcraft, 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.

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" -- it is considered a policy statement. He said:

... 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.

Not surprisingly, it has elicited varied comments from scholars and contemporary journalists. One scholar has put it down to "loose thinking and imprecise wording" and a departure from Jinnah's erstwhile position. Another calls it "a remarkable reversal" and asks "was he [Jinnah] pleading for a united India - on the eve of Pakistan?"

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.

It is, however, not usually recognized that political equality in general terms (because absolutism was the rule at the time of the advent of Islam) and equality before law in more specific terms are attributes Islam had recognized long before the world discovered them as secular values. They were exemplified in the Misaq-i-Madinah, the pact between the Prophet (PBUH) and Aus and Khazraj, and in his letter to Abul Hairs, Christian priest and the accredited representative of the Christians of Najran, and in the conduct of the Khulfa-i-Rashidun.

This covenant, comprising 47 clauses, lays down, inter alia, that the Quraishite Muslim, the Medinites and the Jews of Banu Auf from one community apart from other people, that the Jews shall have their religion and the Muslims their own, that they shall help each other against one who fights with the people of the covenant. Now, how could these disparate tribes characterised by differing religious affiliations from one political community unless their entitlement to equal rights, privileges and obligations are conceded in the first place. A community postulates such entitlement, and it may be conjectured that Jinnah believed that Islam concedes equal citizenship to one and all, without reference to creed, colour or race.

Finally one crucial question. If it is still contended that Jinnah had envisaged a 'secular' state, does one pronouncement prevail over a plethora of pronouncements made before and after the establishment of Pakistan. Does one morsel make a dinner? Does one swallow make a summer? A close study all of Jinnah's pronouncements during 1934-48, and most of his pronouncement during the pre-1934 period, shows that the word, 'secular' (signifying an ideology) does not find a mention in any of them. Even when confronted with the question, he evaded it -- as the following extracts from his 17 July 1947 press conference indicates:

Question: "Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic state?"
Mr. M.A. Jinnah: "You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means."

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and Non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

Mr. M.A. Jinnah: "Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck's back. [laughter] When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago."

It is well to recall the ideological environment of the period in which the pronouncements we are trying to dissect, analyse and interpret today were made. It was already a bipolar world, smitten by the gathering cold war. The great ideological divide had warped simple and long familiar words such as freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, state, sovereignty, justice, and tyranny with ideological overtones. Hence these concepts had to be qualified to mean what they actually stand for.

Hence when Jinnah talks of the concept of a democratic type embodying the essential principles of Islam, he was giving notice that he did not mean the standard Western type or the Soviet brand of people's democracy, but a sort of 'Islamic democracy' which, while retaining the institutional appurtenances of a democratic structure, is congruent with Muslims' ethos, aspirations and code of morality.

And, as Mian Iftikharuddin argued, "no one need object to the word 'Islamic.' If we can use the words, 'Roman Law' or the 'British Parliamentary system' and so many other terms without shame or stint, then why not 'Islamic'?"

Conclusion

Jinnah was the most Westernised political leader in all the annals of Indian Islam; no other Muslim political leader could match him in terms of modernity and a modern outlook. He was completely at home with the milieu in cosmopolitan Bombay and metropolitan London. He also married a Parsi girl, so unconventional for a Muslim leader at that time, though after getting her converted to Islam. During his chequered career, Jinnah came in contact with an exceedingly large number of non-Muslim leading personalities and a host of British officials, more than any other Muslim leader and had interacted with them for some four decades -- before he underwent a paradigmatic shift. Jinnah was also a man who minced no words, stood no humbug, and called a spade a spade. He held political rhetoric in high disdain; he preferred political wilderness to playing to the gallery.

Such a man could not possibly have gone in for an Islamic orientated discourse unless he felt that the Islamic values he was commending were at home with the values underlying modernity, that Islam was in consonance with progress and modernity.

During the debate on Islam and secularism, this is a point that has lain ignored.

This was posted on another forum where I posted the same blog, by a Swiss female journalist who has interest in matters of sub-continent. I don't know it's source.

kunfyakoon said...

Zeemax:

Arabic phrase...from Quran

He said: "Be!" (kun) "and it was" (fyakoon)

ECHOBOOM

Zeemax said...

Oh Of-course Echo. Wonder why it slipped my mind.

What do you think about the article quoted in my post to Majumdar? Have you come across it before?

Majumdar said...

Boom Boom sahib,

MAJ (pbuh) not only was fond of whisky but also of ham. What do you make of that?

He was upset with his daughter not because she married a non-Muslim but becuase she married a womaniser who the great man did not approve of. And always referred to her very affectionately. He even left her the bulk of his wealth.

As far as Agha Khan is concerned, this gentleman was one of the great contributors to the Pak movement.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

... but also of ham.

Not true. I think it's in only one source while the people closest to Jinnah with whom he used to reside on travels have always denied it. Like Hussain Harron, grandson of Sir Abdullah Haroon, the current ambassador of Pakistan to UN. But Echo can expand.

He even left her the bulk of his wealth.

I'm surprised Majumdar. This is factually incorrect. You may list what wealth did he leave her.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

MC Chhagla, later a SC judge of India and a close associate of his earlier days alluded to it. So does Mr. Noorani.

On the will, I will check up with my lawyer and let you know.

Regards

PS: Btw, both Kanjaroons and Islamists seem to have appropriated the great man for their goals.

Zeemax said...

Majumdar Sahib,

MC Chhagla, later a SC judge of India and a close associate of his earlier days alluded to it. So does Mr. Noorani.

Your original comment was with much confidence "MAJ (pbuh) not only was fond of whisky but also of ham."

Does someone's alluding to it inspire enough confidence to make a definitive statement with such finality? :)

On the will, I will check up with my lawyer and let you know.

Haha Majumdar Sahib, no. C'mon Sir. If you need to check with your lawyer for most of the facts, then we should not be discussing Jinnah. Now should we?

But do check and write exactly what he left to his daughter and to his sister and what he retained for his own use till the end.

The truth is, he just left a share in a small Bombay apartment to the daughter. Maybe gave her some money during his lifetime. But I stand to be corrected here by Echoboom.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

If I remember the story correct, MAJ was having a plate of ham sandwich when a boy came up to him. Chhagla took a sandwich and gave it to him. Jinnah sahib was shocked and asked Chhagla as to why he was party to such an act. Chhagla replied that he did not want to let out that the leader of Muslims ate pork.

Btw, his drinking wine and pork (if true that is) does not change my opinion of him being one of the greatest Muslim leaders (after the rightly guided Caliphs) and the greatest Indian of the post 1757-era.

Regards

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