Thursday 13 October 2011

De-constructing Zaid Hamid part 6

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid

God can not alter the past, but historians can.
Samuel Butler
Zaid Hamid is a TV-phenomenon popularized by his programmes like Brass Tacksand Iqbal ka Pakistan. Eight episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been examined by this author in last five issues. Episodes 11 and 12 of Iqbal ka Pakistan, are reviewed below.

Episode 11

They mentioned during the show that Iqbal Academy,Lahore had sent them books. Sadly, they did not even know WHERE Iqbal academy was located. I can not say anything for sure but I think people at Iqbal Academy sent those books because they thought Zaid and Ali are not making any sense and instead of commiting blunders abt iqbal, they should actually read him.
Zaid Hamid also expressed his views on the prevalent economic disparity and used the oft-repeated ideas of left-wing intellectuals to make his point.

Zaid Hamid:- Ummat e muslimah ki aakhri chatan Pakistan reh gaya hai. (Translation:- Pakistan is the last remaining  frontier of Muslim Ummah.)
Comment :- This line comes straight out of a Nasim Hijazi Novel named Aakhri Chataan(The last frontier). For those who do not know, Nasim Hijazi wrote novels about Muslim History which were quite much exaggerated and portrayed the “glory” of Islamic empire and bravery of Muslims in long-gone eras. Unfortunately, many of the audience does not know that those novels are a work of fiction and are not facts. Regarding the Pakistan is ‘the last frontier’ point, it reminds me of the ideology of Al-Qaeda as narrated by Syed Saleem Shahzad in his book “Inside Al-Qaeda and Taliban”. According to Al Qaeda’s Ideology, Khurasan will be the last battlefront before a Muslim Victory in the final battle. Khurasan includes Pakistan and parts of Iran and Afghanistan.

Zaid Hamid:- The Whole muslim ummah celebrated with joy when Pakistan conducted nuclear explosions.
Comment:-  Regarding the “Islamic Bomb”, I have explained in a previous article that this concept was given by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. There is no piece of news or documentray evidence that all the muslim countries erupted in joy upon hearing that we have gone nuclear. What Zaid Hamid and a lot of people in Pakistan fail to fathom is that a nuclear arsenal is of no use if you can not feed 50% of your population. We need not look further than USSR which had the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and they still failed to stop the economic landslide. The nuclear explosions sent us decades back in terms of development.

Zaid Hamid:- Most of muslim religious leaders were bought by Hindus and British before Independence.
Comment :- This is plain conjecture and defamation. Most of the muslim religious leaders did not want creation of Pakistan because they thought it would divide the muslims of India and because Islamic Scholars are not in favour of Nationalism. As I have written before, just because you do not confrom to a certain ideology does not give you a license to dole out false narratives. 

Zaid Hamid:- Pakistan is a re-grouping base for revival of Muslims.
Comment:- Facts tell us otherwise. In the last 10 years, the only thing of which Pakistan has been a base, is International and Domestic terrorism. What does Zaid Hamid even mean by “re-grouping”.? Not since the time of early Omayyad Caliphate have muslims been under a single ruler.

Zaid Hamid:- We are supposed to expand Pakistan.
Comment:-  This again is a convoluted narrative. As I have pointed out before, noone in the Pakistan movement ever hinted at expansion of Pakistan. This narrative only suits the military because they have got so many weapons and soldiers and they want to put all that money and infrastructure into some use.

Zaid Hamid:- A good muslim should have economic and military strength.
Comment:- I do not understand what religion has got to do with economic means. History tells us that early muslims including Prophet(PBUH) were not wealthy and had to survive on bare mininum. How can Zaid Hamid justify that.? It is a fact that for a hungry man, the only religion is food but it does not mean a poor person can not be a good muslim.

Zaid Hamid:- Implementing system of collecting zakat wil ensure that there is no economic disparity in the country. Islamic economic system is the panacea to all our problems.
Comment :- Zaid Hamid probably does not know that a centralized Zakat collection and distribution centre in working in Pakistan. He also does not seem to know that when that system was implemented, 40 thousand Shias surrounded secretrait in Islamabad because their fiqah does not envision a centralized zakat collection system. Zia ultimately had to exempt them from getting Zakat deducted from their bank accounts. The “Islamic economic system” is nothing but a myth. Only TWO sources of revenue i.e Zakat and Ushar can not account for the complex economic system that is being used worldwide. If Zakat and Ushar was the panacea, it would have worked somewhere in the world in the last 1000 years.

Episode 12

Zaid Hamid:- Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was also a sufi.
Comment :- About Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi Dr Annemarie Schimmel wrote, “His dictum, “Mohammed has become Ahmad” points to his own name, Ahmad. He also regarded himself as a qayyum upon whom the world rests. Towards the end of seventeenth centuryAbdullah Khweshgi from Qasur accused the mujaddid of having arrogated Prophetic qualities, thus lately Maulana Maududi was very critical of Ahmad Sirhindi’s claim to be the mujaddid. Ahmad’s fame rests on his 534 letters which were described by Jahangir as “bunch of absurdities” and he had him imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior because of writing an anti-shia tract”. (Annemarie Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Sang-e-Meel Publications; 2003; pages 91 and 92)

Zaid Hamid:-  A firm belief can lead you to great things while doubt is not a good thing.
Comment:- I quoted Descartes in an earlier article who said, “In order to reach the truth, it is necessary, once in one’s life, to put everything in doubt.” This assertion by Zaid Hamid is a direct opposite of the Renaissance ideology that paved way for the golden age of science. If a person has firm beliefs, he become rigid in his mentality, he becomes less tolerant, his mind becomes stagnant.

Zaid Hamid:- Iqbal was preparing a “constitution” for revolution in the 1910s.
Comment:- ZH said it in reference to Asrar e Khudi and Ramuz e Be-khudi. They were indeed landmark books but unfortunately, majority of population of India was not very well versed in Persian which was the language in which these books were written. Consequently, there was no such great revolution. No leader  except Mr Jinnah fulfilled the criteria of an ideal personality at the time of formation of Pakistan. 

Zaid Hamid:- All politicians are corrupt.
Comment:-  This has been said before by Zaid Hamid. To be honest, there is not much that is wrong about this statement, but the system itself can not be corrupt. If democracy was a system that favored corrupt people,why would the system work for so many other countries of the world. Democracy has not been given enough time to work in our country. Military over-takes after every 5-10 years do not augur well for the democracy.
 (originally published at

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