Those Who Wish To Turn Pakistan Into A Theocracy Never Wanted The Country In The First Place
Social media is not the appropriate space to engage in debates on complex historical issues. Last week, I followed a Twitter conversation about the role of Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan’s history before and after the creation of the country. This debate compelled me to write about this political party which has played a questionable role throughout our history and now its supporters are aiming to whitewash that particular role.
The founder of Jamaat e Islami, Maulana Maududi, was one of the most vociferous critics of the Muslim League and Pakistan during the 1940s, backed by his friends in the Congress and Congress-backed religiously groups such as the Majlis-e-Ahrar. During the Pakistan Movement, Maulana Maududi called the idea of Pakistan an oxymoron. This is all on record. To Maududi, Jinnah had committed the following ‘unpardonable’ crimes:
1) Mr. Jinnah was a Khoja Shia Muslim with a westernized lifestyle that was deemed not Muslim enough.
2) Mr. Jinnah spoke of a political ideal that accorded equality of citizenship regardless of creed or gender.
3) Mr. Jinnah refused to turn out Ahmadis from the Muslim League based on a mere theological dispute.
4) Jinnah’s handpicked editor in chief at Dawn was Pothan Joseph, a Syrian Christian.
5) Mr. Jinnah’s daughter married a Parsi turned Christian and Jinnah refused to take out an injunction against his son in law.
For Maulana Maududi, these “crimes” meant that Mr. Jinnah was unworthy of leading the Indian Muslims. A Pakistan founded by such a man would be a Kemalist state and not the Islamic Eschatological Kingdom – a theodemocracy no less.
When Jinnah died, Maududi refused to offer his Namaz-e-Janaza. To deflect criticism, he claimed that neither had Sir Zafrullah Khan which was a complex nuanced position. The fact is that the latter had joined the congregation but was stopped by the Imam of the Congregation Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, who did not consider him Muslim. Maududi had no such excuse. As a matter of policy, Jamaat e Islami leadership stayed away from the funeral (unlike Zafrullah Khan who was at the funeral).
Besides this, the Ahmadis had moved to Pakistan en masse voluntarily. Maududi and Jamaat e Islami had only moved to Pakistan after his own life was threatened. Having moved to Pakistan, Maududi was unmoved about the rights of Indian Muslims. While Jinnah repeatedly exhorted Indian Muslims to stay loyal to India and had promised reciprocal safeguards for minorities, Maududi believed that India should become a right-wing Hindutvist state based on the laws of Manu.
Those who have contributed to the marginalization of minorities in Pakistan are the same people who called Pakistan Na-Pakistan. These are undeniable facts of history. Most champions of the awful 2nd Amendment in 1974 were historically aligned with the Congress Party pre-1947. Check voting records and you will see it is res ipsa loquitur i.e. being that Pakistan’s establishment politicians have always used Pakistan’s worst enemies to forward their own limited nefarious agendas. The question before you is whether you are going to allow this state of affairs to continue indefinitely. Maududi’s ideas and those of Mufti Mahmood and Majlis-e-Ahrar are all mutually exclusive to Pakistan envisioned and fought for by Jinnah. Every reasonable person will sooner or later come to this conclusion.
Jinnah did not make Pakistan by being blackmailed by the religious clerics of the time. In 1938, Jinnah told his listeners that the Muslim League had liberated the masses from reactionary Maulvis. Unfortunately, since Jinnah’s death, the reactionary clerics have enslaved Pakistanis again. The choice is a stark one: Either we allow things to continue or pursue the ideal of a modern, secular Pakistan.
To end with I will leave you with some of the comments that Maulana Maududi made about Jinnah. In September 1949, Maududi claimed that he had singlehandedly foiled Jinnah’s plans to create a secular state. This feature can be found in Tafhim ul Quran in September 1949. There is more which I reproduce below:
Who are the Muslims you are claiming to be a separate nation? Here, the crowd called Muslims is full of all sorts of the rabble. There are as many types of characters in this as in any (other) heathen people. (Vol. III, P.166)
If you survey this so-called Muslim society, you will come across multifarious types of Muslims, of countless categories. This is a zoo with a collection of crows, kites, vultures, partridges, and thousands of other types of birds. Every one of them is a ‘sparrow. (Ibid. P.31)
One of Jamaat-e-Islami’s latter-day claims has been that Jinnah wanted an Islamic state. Ironically, this is what Jamaat-e-Islami’s philosopher-in-chief Maulana Maududi was writing back then:
“Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic“. (Ibid. P.37)
“To pronounce these people fit for leading Muslims for the simple reason that they are experts of Western-type politics and masters of Western organizational arts, and are deeply in love with their people, is a manifestation of an un-Islamic viewpoint and reflects ignorance of Islam”. (Ibid. P.70)
“Even with a microscopic study of their practical life, and their thinking, ideology, political behaviour, and style of leadership, one can find not a trace of Islamic character.”
Jamaat-e-Islami now claims that the Muslim League won the elections because it promised Pakistan as an Islamic state. Here is what Maulana Maududi said then:
In no Muslim League resolution or a speech by a responsible leader of the League, has it been made clear that their final goal is of establishing an Islamic system of government. Those who believe that by freeing Muslim majority areas from the rule of Hindu majority, an Islamic government will be established here in a democratic setup, are wrong. What will be achieved will be a heretical government by Muslims, indeed worse than that. (Ibid. P.130-32)
One of the main arguments in favor of separate federations in India put up by Muslim League was that parliamentary democracy would not work in united India given the permanent minority that Muslims were with their majority zones. Thus Pakistan – as a separate federation – had to be a democratic state. Jinnah’s vision, as Gandhi concluded after his abortive meetings with Jinnah in 1944, was of perfect democracy in Pakistan. The fact that Jinnah used electoral methods and strengths of numbers for his politics also upset Maulana Maududi quite a bit. He wrote:n“For these reasons, the great numbers (of Muslims) that we find (listed) in the census records have become worthless for purposes of Islam. Anything done on the strength of these numbers will result in acute frustration.” (Ibid. P.56)
It is now a routine for the supporters of religious parties including the Jamiat e Islami to gloss over these historical facts. Acknowledging the past is important to move on.
To me, Jinnah’s Pakistan is sacrosanct. It is the clearest duty of every Pakistani to spend every last bit and drop of blood, to strive for a peaceful and tolerant Pakistan. For how long will be remain the laughing stock of the world?
The writer is a lawyer and commentator. He is also the author of the book ‘Jinnah: Myth and Reality’.