Pakistan: A Secular State??By Ibrahim Mahmood • Jun 28th, 2009 • Category: Politics • 37 Comments
My God, you maybe thinking, this guy has really lost it now, what does he wants? What nonsense he keeps on writing? First he was teaching us about our Islam, and then he was spreading rubbish about beards and now, this? This is too much, you must be saying, this guy is a public nuisance and ought to be locked up pronto before our children read this. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and he is now claiming it as a secular state? Blasphemy, you may shout out aloud, who the hell he thinks he is? Amrikan agent, saala!
This is indeed an alien idea to many of us but the point of writing the above paragraph is that I know what people think about this subject and no doubt many will find it outright appalling but, yes, I will write about it and shall try to give my arguments as to what we stand to lose if we do consider Pakistan as a secular state for arguments’ sake. And no, I am not an American agent as I feel brother Hussain Obama’s recession right in my pocket and the traffic on my blog suggests that I have yet to make a single cent for what I have written. So now we can get down to business.
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place 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…. 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.”
[Aug 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam M. A.Jinnah’s address to the First Constituent Assembly]
Oh well, so the great Quaid said this, so what? Can’t he be wrong for once? Was he not a lawyer and a politician first? Maybe he was just playing to the masses; you have a right to think that. But let’s go through the various arguments given against Pakistan being a secular state.
Pakistan was created in the name of Allah as a separate nation for the Muslims, is one of the point that is often raised. By declaring Pakistan secular (Naouzobillah) will lead to nudity and obscenity in the streets as it will drive our children away from Islam, is yet another argument. This will halt propagation of Islam in the world, as Muslims it is our primary duty to spread Islam in the four corners of the world, is often said. There may be hundreds of other arguments but just to keep this essay short and readable, I will try to give my point of view.
Yes indeed, Pakistan was created to safeguard the rights of Muslims in the subcontinent but we must also realize the Muslims were coexisting with all other religions in united India for centuries but did this coexistence made our forefathers lose the faith in Islam? We should also remember that Mr. Jinnah started the Pakistan movement only after he realized that the rights of a Muslims minority in India will be at stake in the face of growing Hindu nationalism and soon after the creation of Pakistan he gave the speech in the assembly. Otherwise he could have simply told the minorities in Pakistan to leave. We should also consider that by claiming Pakistan as an Islamic state are we not taking away the rights of so many minorities living in our country and giving the same message which the Hindus gave us before creation of Pakistan? We should know that Pakistan was indeed a liberal country till Zia’s regime. Lastly, we should consider our religion is not so weak that it will not stand the test of time.
Young generation will lose their way if we allow the virus of secularism into our ranks, is a very weak argument. Unfortunately, our generation has been trumpeting our version of Islam for so long now and has this propaganda made us any better a society? I have a serious doubt. Instead, we should put some trust our younger generation as I see in them better humans and better Muslims than us. Morality is already at its lowest, I think, can it go down any further?
By showing a gun trotting and a myopic version of Islam has not helped our cause to propagate Islam in the west. We have made enemies rather than friends this way, should we not consider revising our strategy and show a more humane approach? Would we not inspire others if we show our society to be better?
Again, I quote the great Mr. Jinnah to end my lengthy essay:
“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.”
[Feb. 1948, Quaid-e-Azam M. A. Jinnah’s broadcast address to the people of the United States of America]
Indeed, we the Muslims of Pakistan, have a lot of soul searching to do to separate facts from fiction. May Allah have mercy on our souls.