Saturday 11 February 2012

Of Political Islam and an Ideological State

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Professor Amjad Ali Shakir, Principal of Islamia College, Lahore and author of many books including 'Dau Quami Nazriya, Aik Tareekhi Jaiza' i.e. Two Nation Theory: A historical Perspective. 
The topic of discussion was Political Islam and the concept of an "Islamic Ideological State". I'll summarize the basic points as said by Prof Amjad.

Pakistan is a secular nation state in every aspect except two
1. We do not have love for our geographical boundaries; rather we are more concerned with the ‘ideological boundaries’ of our nation
2. There is no respect for constitution by the common man.

The geographical limits are not respected because of the concept of 'ummah' thereby negating the idea of physical/geographical boundaries and we do not respect our constitution because we have been made to believe (by our erstwhile politicians and religious leaders) that Quran is our constitution and we do not need any other constitution which is not how a nation state works. Quran is the book of God, it is not a constitution and no book of God has ever been sent as a “constitution” for a nation state. Religion and Nationalism are two different domains.
Religions have a universal approach, nationalism has a limited approach. The amalgam of these two i.e. Religious Nationalism is a misuse of religion. For Example,

If Pakistani=Muslim, then a Non-Muslim Pakistani becomes a second grade citizen. Extrapolating this concept, when the same Pakistani gets a green card, theoretically he doesn’t remain a Pakistani, thus not a Muslim (but this is not something Pakistanis enamored with ‘religious nationalism’ want to think).

Regarding the claim that Islam is the complete way of life (mukammal zabta e hayat), He said:-
There is a lot of difference between 'deen' and zabita e hayat(way of life. In Quran, there are at least 14 different meanings of the word 'deen'. Deen includes shariat and matters related to religious law. Zabta e hayat(way of life) is an evolutionary term, it changes with times. It includes Laws related to everyday lives e.g. Criminal Procedure Codes. Deen is a religious term, backed by power of wahee(Revelation).zabta hayat is a secular term, not backed by power of wahee. Islam claims to be a complete Deen, not a complete way of life(there is not a SINGLE ayat or hadees explicitly stating that Islam is a complete way of Life. Explanations of many verses have been used by apologists to prove their point but different verses have been explained differently by different people, thus decreasing the reliability of their claim)
In the history of Islam, not a single aalim or imam(including the 4 big Imams of Sunnism i.e. Imam Abu Haneefa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi or Imam Ahmad) asked for establishment of an 'Islamic ideological state'(until Mr. Maududi happened), because all of them struggled for establishment of a 'welfare state'.

Regarding the history of this ideology, Professor Amjad told that Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi was the first person to say that Islam ghalbay k liye aya hai, agar ghalba nai to Islam nai(Islam is dependent upon dominance). These sentiments are an exact replica of the thoughts expressed in Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. This gave rise to the ideology of 'Islamic Fascism'.
Marxists believed that Marxism can only be practiced when it is implemented as a system in a state. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, the same sentiments were echoed by Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz in context of Islam. He proposed that theory that without political power, Islam becomes toothless/worthless for ordinary Muslims. Mr. Maududi was strongly opposed to many of Mr. Pervaiz’s ideas but surprisingly, throughout his life,Mr. Maududi shared and preached the same ideas.

Regarding a common misconception, he said:-  Namaz is a Farsi word while Salaat is an Arabic word. Similarly, ‘Khuda’ is a Farsi word and Allah is an Arabic word but due to  propaganda we do not like saying Khuda but prefer to use the word Allah. Ironically, the same people use the word namaz in their daily lives, but not salaat.Why these double standards.?

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