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Newsletter for January 2011
There seems to be a controversy and misinterpretation in some elite circles on the Presidential Address of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 about the concept of Islamic state of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 about the concept of Islamic state of Pakistan. If we candidly and reasonably examine his speech wherein he stated. “We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State….Now, 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.”
Quaid-i-Azam in these words emphasized with remarkable wisdom and foresight the idea of complete toleration and freedom of religion and conscience in the way of life of the Muslims and Hindus alike as clearly adumbrated in the Prophet’s Madinah State.
Moreover the immediate reason behind the use of the said sentence, in my opinion, seems to be first to counter the intense propaganda that the Hindus will be ill-treated in the Islamic State, and secondly, as the enmity between Hindus and Muslims was at its height in the whole subcontinent, to cool down the high tension generated during the partition and independence movement and to normalize the animosity as well as to do away with the hatred, for the benefit of both the Dominions in the interest of peace as the Quaid was the most peace loving leader of his time. There being no ill-will between the Muslims and Christians or Parsis, Quaid did not mention these two important minorities to cease to be as such. Thus Quaid’s words only that in course of time the Hindus and Muslims would cease to be as such. To my mind, it does not purport to mean that the concept of Pakistan would become “secular in any form”. It will be an insult to Quaid-i-Azam if he is said to have reversed the ideological basis of Pakistan. He never used this western terminology of secularism throughout his life.
There is not an iota of truth about his wish to inaugurate secularism in his speech. It is only a prejudicial concept to bewilder the common people and distract them from his (Quaid’s) most sincere faith in Islam.
While delivering his speech at Karachi session of the All India Muslim League on December 26, 1943, he referred to the Glorious Quran thus: “It is the great Book Quran, that is the sheet-anchor of the Muslim India. I am sure that as we go on and on, there will be more and more of oneness – one God, one Book, one Prophet and one Nation.”
During his speech on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday at Karachi bar Association, January 25, 1948, he said: “Today we have meet here in a small body to pay tribute to the Great Man for not only he has reverence of millions but also commands the respect of all the great men of the World. What tribute can I a humble man, pay to this Great Man.
“The Prophet was a great teacher. He was a great law-giver. He was a great statesman and he was a great sovereign who ruled. No doubt, there are many people who do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam. 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. It is based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fairplay and justice for all. One God and the equality of manhood is one of the fundamental principle of Islam. In Islam there is no difference between man and man. The qualities of equality, liberty and fraternity are the fundamental principles of Islam. The Prophet of Islam was the greatest man that the world had ever seen. Thirteen hundred years ago he laid the foundation of democracy.”
The Quaid further said that “he could not understand a section of the people who deliberately wanted to create mischief and made propaganda that the Constitution of Pakistan would not be made on the basis of “Shariat”. The Quaid-i-Azam said” Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1300 years ago.”
Allama Iqbal also has rightly said that in Islam religion and politics or stage cannot be separated, otherwise it would become a rule of Changez Khan and give vent to an autocratic rule. He expressed thus:
جدا ہو دین سیاست سے تو رہ جاتی ہے چنگیزی
In Islam there is no priesthood. Everybody is his own priest. In the west the priest ruled the state under the cover of the church and called it theocracy. All the western terminologies like theocracy, secularism, fundamentalism, socialism, national socialism, communism and other “isms” are alien to Islam. It believes in Muslim Ummah or Ummate Muslima. Therefore, the Quaid-Azam in October 1947 declared to build “Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam” in a public meeting at Lahore on October 30, 1947.
Earlier in 1943 before the Muslim League session at Karachi when Nawab Bahadur yar Jung observed in front of the Quaid-i-Azam that “there is no denying the fact that we want Pakistan for the establishment of an Islamic Stage on the Quranic system, the Quaid did not oppose it. He was a very vocal and straight forward man. H would have without waiting for a second contradicted it at the spur of the moment. This was the characteristic nature of the Quaid-i-Azam. He did give his support to the statement.
“Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology, which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope, others will also share with us,” said the Quaid in a message to the Frontier Muslim Students Federation on November 18, 1945.
There are other occasions on which the Quaid expressed his views about an Islamic state. A few of them are as under: In Eid message, 1945, he said:
“Every one, 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 the religion to those of daily life, from the salvation of the sol to the health of the body; from the right of all to those of each individual; from morality to crimes, from punishment here to that in the life to come and our Prophet has enjoined on us that very Mussalman should posses 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 collectively and individually.”
“The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving for the last ten years is, by the grace of God, an established fact today, but the creation of a state of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The ideal was that we should have a state in which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where the principles of Islamic social justice could find free-play.” The Quaid expressed these words while addressing the officers of Pakistan Government at Karachi on October 11, 1947.
In a public speech at Lahore on 30 October 1948, he said: “you are made of sterling material and are second to none. Why should you also not succeed like many others, like your own forefathers? You have only to develop the spirit of “Mujahids’. You are a nation whose history is replete with people of wonderful grit, character and vision. Live upto your tradition and add to it another chapter of glory. All I require of you now is that every one of us whom this message reaches must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all if necessary in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam, as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace within and peace without. Along with this, keep up your morale. Do not be afraid of death. We should face it bravely to save the honour of Pakistan and Islam. There is no better salvation for the Muslims than the death of a martyr for a righteous cause.” Is this secularism or any other ism? Certainly it is Islamic ideology purely for the Mussalmans of the State.
The Quaid-i-Azam in his broad-cast talk on Pakistan to the people of the United States of America in February 1948 said, …”I am sure that it (constitution) 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 man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are 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 theoracratic stage to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Parsis, but they all are Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.” This is the real and clear cut concept of the state of Pakistan which the Quaid-i-Azam envisaged in his speech of August 11, 1947. In that speech the sentence. “you may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state,” should be read in the light of the broadcast of February 1948. If the state is run on the pattern of the Madinah State of the Prophet, 1300 years ago, it will not affect any body’s religion or caste or creed even now. But if it is upheld that religion and state have two separate entities then the whole edifice and structure of Pakistan will collapse and the concept of Islam as a complete code of life; will have no meaning.
“The tolerance and goodwill that great emperor Akber sowed to all the non-Muslims (as suggested by Lord Mountbatten) 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 Jews and Christians after he had conquered them with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs.”Speech of the Quaid on Inauguration of Pakistan Constituent Assembly at Karachi: August 14, 1947.
Further in the same spirit of consistency the Quaid-i-Azam in a speech at Sibi Darbar on February 1948 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. Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the state shall be guided by discussion and consultations.”
While addressing the Officers and Men of Ack-Ack Regiments, Malir on February 21, 1948, the Quaid-i-Azam said: “you have fought many a battle on the far flung fields of the globe to get rid the World of the fascist menace and make it safe for democracy. Now you have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil.”
All these meaningful observations of the Quaid-i-Azam are exactly in consonance with the spirit, intention and ideology of the Pakistan Movement for which lacks of Muslims sacrificed their lives and wealth. These ideals set up by the Muslims of the subcontinent and also proclaimed by the leaders of the Pakistan Movement led under the dynamic personality of the Quaid-i-Azam are dear to the Muslims. “Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1300 years ago”. The constitution of Pakistan would be made on the basis of Shariat. These ideals are the Magna Charta of Pakistan.
Excerpt from “Saying of Quaid-e-Azam” published by “Quaid Foundation” in 1970.
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