Jinnah was not Secular

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah In the wake of frequent cultural and political exchanges between the two countries the supporters of secular Pakistan have increased their propaganda, have geared up their efforts and have created some forums to spread this notion. All those who subscribe to the secularistic view are bending backward to prove the Quaid as secular. They base their arguments on 11 August 1947 speech of the Quaid which he delivered in the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.

They quote this speech in support of their view but are guilty of misinterpreting the same. According to their perception and perhaps according to the agenda given to them, ‘they do not quote any other speech and are thus again guilty of omission and commission. Unfortunately, since its very inception, Pakistan is faced with a cultural invasion particularly from its Eastern neighbour and undoubtedly, this invasion has influenced some people and a feeling is growing that the nation’s commitment to its Islamic ideals set by our elders is getting diluted thereby eroding our ideology.

The factual position is that the Quaid on many occasions had clearly and unambiguously stated that Pakistan would be an Islamic democratic state and Islam would be the ideology of Pakistan. He meant what he said and he said what he meant and was never equivocal.

First of all we all know that he never said that he was secular. Islam was in his blood like it is in the blood of all Pakistanis. Yet he was conscious and aware of true spirit of Islam. It was on the appeal and persuasion of Allama Muhammad Iqbal that he forfeited his career as a highly successful lawyer of England and came back to lead Muslims and Muslim League.

Let us also keep in mind that Allama Iqbal is considered by all Pakistanis as a great son of Islam, who really understood the dilemmas facing Muslim Ummah, and who was firm believer in Islam. For some he was a great mystic, visionary and philosopher as well as Ashiqu-e-Rasool (SAW). Had the Quaid been secular, he would not have honoured the appeal of Iqbal, the profounder of the idea of Pakistan.

Besides, had the Quaid been secular, he would have not got the support of Ulema like Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (who led Quaid’s funeral prayer), Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, heads of Muslim shrines and personalities like Pir of Manki Sharif. Besides, all the Muslim leaders except the so-called nationalist Ulema gave the Quaid full support in Pakistan Movement.

The best way to judge whether the founder of Pakistan was a secular or not, is to have a careful look at some of his speeches and statements on various occasions and analyse them objectively. We should also keep in mind his views on various issues concerning Muslim world such as Palestine as well as his policy statements regarding relations with other Muslim countries such as Egypt, Turkey and the like.

Speaking on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s birthday at the Karachi Bar Association on 25th January 1948, the Quaid said, “The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was a great teacher. He was a great law-giver. He was a great statesman and he was a great sovereign who ruled. The life of the Prophet (PBUH) was simple according to those times. He was successful in everything that he did from as a businessman to as a ruler. The Prophet (PBUH) was the greatest man that the world had ever seen.Thirteen hundred years ago he laid the foundations of democracy”. On another occasion addressing of the Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers at Khaliqdina Hall Karachi on 11th October 1947 he 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”.

In his concluding speech at the session of All-India Muslim League, Karachi on 26th December 1943, the Quaid said, “What is it that keeps the Muslims united as one man, and what is the bedrock and sheet-anchor of the community. It is Islam. It is the Great Book, Quran, that is the sheet-anchor of Muslim India. I am sure that as we go on there will be more and more of oneness, one God, one Book, one Prophet and one Nation”.

In the message to the Muslims on September 1945 he said, “Every Mussalman knows that the injunctions of the Quran are not confined to religious and moral duties. From the Atlantic to the Ganges, says Gibbon, the Quran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology, but of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and the laws which regulate the action and the property of mankind are governed by immutable sanctions of the will of God”. Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows the Quran is the general code of the Muslims”.

Addressing the Karachi Municipal Corporation on 25th August 1947 the Quaid said, “It should be our aim not only to remove want and fear of all types, but also to secure liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam”.

In a press conference on 11th October 1947, in Karachi the Quaid said, “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 means not the end in itself.

The idea was that we should have a state in which we could live and breathe as free men and in which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play”. On one occasion when a Muslim who was holding a copy of the Holy Quran asked the Quaid what laws would govern Pakistan, he pointed to the Holy Quran (in the hands of the questioner) and said that the laws were given in the book in his hands.

Nobody has a right to be wrong in facts although all are free to express their opinion. Yet to deny or ignore or omit facts is intellectual dishonesty which cannot be condoned by any reasonable man. One should not mistake tree for the forest.

Source: The Nation, Lahore, February 06, 2005 (By Muhammad Abbas)

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