THE ROW OVER ISLAMIZATION PROCESS IN PAKISTAN
[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]
Pakistan was carved out of the sub-continent of India to serve as a laboratory for Islam. But as the ill luck would have it, its march towards Islam stands denied and derailed. Its “opportunist” political leadership and self-instigated and self- indulged military generals were never serious irrespective of the fact whether it was Liaquat Ali Khan, I I Chundrigar, Feeroz Khan Noon, Ayyub Khan, Yahya Khan, Z A Bhutto, Ziaul Haq, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir or General Musharraf. All had their personal agenda, were power seekers and were never sincere to introduce Islam in the body politics of the country. Islamic Parties also did not play their part in creating the requisite amount of urge amongst its Muslim masses to live and die for Islam, agitating vigorously for its just system. In this process, the country fell apart, lost its beautiful Eastern wing and left its doors wide open for the influx of materialistic trends, liberal values and gradually making it the breeding ground of extremist trends.
Valuable fifty-five years have passed. Could Pakistan become an Islamic state in the early stage of its emergence, the world would have been different and better place to live by this time. The Muslim leadership in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world had lost the golden opportunity. It is now dominated by a mega-superpower that wants its dictatorship to be established by hook or by crook, by force, by threat or imposing all around the fear of preemptive attack on the so-called “rogue” states who do not tow its lines. Muslims will have to realize that world has totally changed. The “dominant” culture of the time appears to have every intention to establish its will, especially on the Muslim world. This prevailing scenario demands utmost Hikmah of a Mumin, exemplary trustworthy character and extraordinary efforts to get the Deen of Allah introduced, spread and established somewhere in this world.
In the midst of these far reaching developments in the geopolitical situation of the world, the extraordinary success of MMA in the last year elections in Pakistan was no less than a miracle, especially overwhelmingly in North West Frontier Province. The Islamic Parties, including the Jamaat Islami got the best opportunity to work for the cause for which Pakistan was established. In November 03, the writer contributed a paper: “Task Ahead of The Islamic Parties In Pakistan”, with a concrete program for MMA to carry out silently for the next five years by sitting in opposition and assuring the regime in power to cooperate only on “Bir”. The paper was sent to different leadership of MMA, especially to JIP. It would be better and refreshing to produce that program afresh for the readers to evaluate and remind the Muslim leadership of Pakistan to realize what they would have undertaken instead of what they are doing. Had they followed the suggested Road Map, they would have not been losing the ground to the opportunist forces in Pakistan and their masters in Washington and London. The addressees were the leadership of MMA and the proposed program was as follows:
“Allah (SWT) by denying their access to the “chair” of power has pinpointed the way for them to go in the field, meet the masses, educate them day and night and aspire them to live like “conscious Muslims and Muslimah”. It would then pave the way for the Islamic Parties to oust the predominant influence of Zamindars, Jagirdars and Vederas from the political firmament of Pakistan. The MMA and its constituent parties should be thankful to Allah that He has saved their skin from the wrath of His accountability, had they been pushed up to power without doing the ground work and preparing the base to build the Kingdom of God on earth. The task before the MMA, especially JIP, to do for the next five years is tremendous and is of paramount importance. Suggestively, they will have to work on these lines:
1. At any cost, the Islamic parties must maintain the integrity and cohesiveness of MMA as a real working group both inside the Parliament and outside. They must be ever conscious not to play their differences in Fiqh, approaches and Maslak. The anti-Islam forces will try to find hole in their ranks and files by poking their nose through these differences. MMA must remain extremely vigilant in maintaining its unity and integrity that has brought them to success in elections.
2. Besides working vigorously in Punjab and Sind on the lines suggested above, they will have to consolidate their position additionally in the Provinces of Balochistan and Frontier. The MMA has to capture the imagination of the masses of these areas and be the throbs of their hearts. These provinces constitute an extremely sensitive region. Their strategic position is very important for developing both the political and economic alliances in future, especially when the USA has got almost a permanent hold of Afghanistan, staring towards Iran with bad eyes and has every intention to reach out the gas and oil rich areas of Middle east and Central Asia. A paramount forceful presence of the Islamic forces in this region will make a gulf of difference.
3. While close to power bases and holding a respectable representation in the Parliament of Pakistan, they must use this opportunity to spell out to the secularist and liberal forces of the country and abroad in Europe and America that Islam is not what they have construed willfully and wrongfully but it is the savior of mankind and stands only for justice and peace. It would be in a position to open dialogues with different institutions, governmental and non-governmental agencies, public forums and important individuals around the world. For this momentous task, it has to build different teams of efficient Da’ees in important languages of the world to roam about with emulating character and effective Dawah literature in their hands. This is a gigantic task to create the requisite good will for Islam and get the tension and the mountains of doubts and misgivings against Islam and Islamic state reduced or removed to the maximum possible extent. In the present context of the world, it would go a long way in preparing the world to think Islam as an alternate way of life.
4. Simultaneously, the leadership of MMA should and must undertake to visit different Muslim countries, develop personal contact with the Muslim leadership, both in power and public and convince them to organize their respective masses on the lines they will organize the Muslims of Pakistan. The urge for Islamic system must now be echoed from every land and region to make it a reality and a force that must be accepted by all our adversaries. The contemporary Muslim regimes that are behaving like stumbling blocks against the emergence of Islam as a political entity in their respective lands are to be exhorted and convinced to change their attitude about Islamic system or the masses will force them to go out. This is a very delicate task and the learned scholars and Ulama of Pakistan will have to undertake it with extreme care, caution and brotherhood feelings for each other. A united approach and struggle for the Islamic system of life is the need of the time. Alone Pakistan cannot hold the fort if struggle for Allah’s Deen is not resounded or displayed from every nook and corner of the Muslim world and at global level.
5. Together with fighting along the aforesaid lines, it is equally important that the leadership of MMA must try to build at least one ideal Muslim community somewhere in Pakistan to serve as model for the non-Muslims world to visit and see by their naked eyes the blessings of Allah’s Deen in practice in this modern world. Islamic society does not exist anywhere. Some model communities must be built in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world where Islam will be visible in all walks of life of the people living in that community. It will help in removing a lot of misgivings about the practicality of Islam as a way of life in twenty first century.
6. Equally it is important that the Islamic leadership should work hard in developing the Fiqh for the current millennium. Pakistan has the expertise in this respect. Islamic Shariah Court has already done a lot of work. Dr. Nijatullah Siddiqi and Dr. F. R. Faridi have elaborated the salient feature of this onerous task in their recent writings. In my humble way I have contributed a paper: “Issues and Challenges Confronting The Ummah.” It is available on my website: WWW.dawahinamericas.com MMA leadership will have to take a lead and pool the talents of the Muslim world to present Islam in more acceptable form to the developed societies of the world in order to serve the growing needs of modern age.
7. This is not a wishful thinking. If MMA and its leadership, especially that of the Jamaat-e-Islami, is desirous to make Islam dominant in body politic of the country, it has to work hard on these lines to make Islam as the need and urgency of the Muslim Ummah and that of the world at large. It needs a lot of resources and that is to be procured by our Ulama by pooling Zakah and Sadaqah Funds of the Muslim Ummah from Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. If Zakah is collected in an organized fashion, total needs of funds for the aforesaid projects and programs will be available in time. When the Ulama will issue a religious decree to this effect, the Ummah will not hesitate to finance these projects overwhelmingly.
8. None can do this gigantic task except our learned Ulama and Islamic scholars. The leadership that constitutes MMA is ideally suitable to undertake this task as its primary objective. It appears to be its destiny and that is why Allah (SWT) has managed it to sit in the opposition, cooperate with the government for good [Ta’wanu Alal-Bir] and oppose where it is committing sin and injustices [wala Ta’wanu Alal isme wal udwan] and pilot the affairs of the Ummah in a very enlightened and sophisticated manner with wisdom and Hikmah. Islamic parties of Pakistan have the manpower, a clear vision to establish the Deen of Allah in the body politic of the country and introduce it as an alternate way of life to the world community at large. This is the road map for the Islamic forces of Pakistan at least for the next five years to carry out with courage and a will to get the Deen of Allah introduced, spread and established in the body politic of the day with love, persuasion, intelligence and exhortation where necessary. If they pursue this onerous task ahead of them for the pleasure of Allah, He will shower His infinite Mercy and bless all their moves with Barakah. Allah will bless the entire leadership of Islamic parties with courage, wisdom and Tawfeeq to undertake this program with the determination of a Mumin.”
But, unfortunately, the leadership of MMA has unnecessarily opted the path of clash and confrontation with the regime in Power. It must be known to them that currently President Bush is at the back of Mr. Musharraf. He is flying high in his self-created balloon of vanity. It was the demand of Hikmah that MMA should have used their “elevated” position and created the atmosphere of mutual trust and practical understanding with the government in power for developing an Islamic society in Pakistan without the least making any show, propaganda or fan fair. They could carry out all the Islamic reforms under the name of promoting “human” values, “humanitarian” services and “Ma’roof” that is recognized as good in every society including the USA. There was even no need of calling it Islamic. In such situation, General Musharraf or his master in Washington would have never opposed it. The MMA leadership, allow me to say, perhaps just out of “haste”, has fruitlessly given the impression of “Talibanization” in Pakistan which no secular, American or pro-American power on earth will permit at this juncture.
The Road Map as suggested in the above quote is still wide open for MMA leadership to act upon. The row created by them with the government will lead them to nowhere. It will slow down the process of Islamization and give a deterrent, a set back to this process for years to come. Rather, they may lose the opportunity that Allah (SWT) paved for them out of His infinite mercy. They still can roll back their position of confrontation and channelize it towards building the Ummah on proper lines as suggested above. This confrontation, if not checked immediately, will cause immense damage to the process of Islamic revolution in Pakistan. The intention of the “people” who now occupy Afghanistan and Iraq will not hesitate the least to get the Islamic parties, especially JIP banned and the MMA government of NWFP dismissed within twinkling of an eye. The row over the process of Islamization as being introduced in the Frontier Province is in extremely crude form. It must, therefore, come to an end forthwith. The practical wisdom of the Mumin, in the very interest of Deen, demands it.
Shamim A Siddiqi
June 13, 2003