Quaid-e-Azam, Islam, and Pakistan
It is said that truth is stranger than fiction. Quaid-e-Azam’s life is a case in point.
What kind of reaction would be expected from an “educated” Pakistani, if one were to ask him or her: Do you think Quaid-e-Azam was inspired by the Quran or the Prophet (PBUH) in his struggle for Pakistan? The most likely reaction will be: Quran and Quaid-e-Azam? – Are you serious? And our Prophet (PBUH) and Quaid-e-Azam? – Are you kidding? Quaid-e-Azam was more like a British and a product of their culture. How could he be inspired by the Quran or the Prophet (PBUH)? Yes, he fought for Pakistan. But his motives were political and economic, not Islamic. He wanted to improve the economic condition of Muslims who were dominated by the Hindus. He was not a good Muslim himself but he used Islam very effectively as a slogan to make a case for a separate homeland for Muslims. He proved to be a great leader. And to accomplish his goals he employed his highly skilled legal mind as a weapon in his fight with the Hindus and the British, which earned him a place in history. He had nothing to do with Islam as such. He wanted Pakistan to be a secular state, not an Islamic state.
Believe it or not, these will be the kinds of reaction one would normally get in the streets, mosques, government and business offices in Pakistan.
But why did Quaid-e-Azam still insist on having Pakistan even though Gandhi offered him the leadership of undivided India? If Islam was not an issue in his mind and if he wanted Pakistan to be a secular state, then couldn’t he have used the enormous power as the leader of the largest secular state in the world to his advantage rather than settle for a moth-eaten tiny secular state for Muslims? That would have earned him: the respect of Hindus, the blessing of Gandhi, and high accolades of the British; plus it would have given him unimaginable world popularity. Any other leader seeking fame, fortune, glory, and power would have been only too happy to accept Gandhi’s offer. However, Quiad-e-Azam didn’t. Why did Quid-e-Azam not accept Gandhi’s offer? The answer requires a deeper understanding (than the above “street” responses) of the real motive and the spirit behind Quaid-e-Azam’s struggle for Pakistan.
What Pakistan meant to Quaid-e-Azam, and what kind of political and economic system he had in mind for Pakistan as a sovereign nation? On these, you will find no dearth of books, pamphlets and articles written by all kinds of experts and political pundits with their own explanations. But you may not find in this mountain-type literature a book of the complete collection of what Quad-e-Azam said, wrote, and did; a book of his own words and deeds in wide circulation. You may find few books dealing with his selected speeches and writings that are used in specialized academic circles but ignored by popular media and the government. Few dedicated followers of the Quaid and of Allama Iqbal have tried to keep the flame of Quaid-e-Azam’s hopes and aspirations alive. But their number is fast dwindling. And they don’t count much anyway in centers of power and influence since their voices are drowned by the powerful political and religious hierarchy in Pakistan.
Not only that, to justify their positions some political and religious leaders often distort the truth about Quaid-e-Azam’s life and his work. Some even propagate outright lies. Prominent among them being that Abul Ala Maududi was somehow involved with the idea of Pakistan and that he helped Quaid-e-Azam in his struggle for Pakistan. Maududi, in fact, used insulting words to describe Quaid-e-Azam and Muslim League and tried to put obstructions in the path of struggle for Pakistan.
It is an irony that the life of such an open and honest person and a man of impeccable character and integrity has become a paradox and full of contradictions in Pakistani political mind. Both secularists and Islamists have their own view of Quiad-e-Azam: Secularists have spent (and still do) all their energy to prove that he was one of their own, while Islamists dismiss (with contempt) even a slight suggestion linking him with Islam.
Notwithstanding all the contradictions attributed to Quaid-e-Azam, there is one thing absolutely in common among both the secularists and the Islamists: they both would loudly proclaim – of course for their own ulterior motives – that Quaid-e-Azam had had nothing to do with the Quran or the Prophet (PBUH) as far as Pakistan was concerned. Very few, if at all, would acknowledge the fact that Quaid-e-Azam was deeply interested in the Quran and that he had great respect for the Prophet (PBUH) ever since he began his struggle – or shall we say his jihad (a much maligned word these days, thanks to Islamists) – for Pakistan.
This, about a person: who spent almost all his life in public, whose every movement was recorded, whose every spoken or written word was treasured like a precious gem by hundreds of thousands, who attracted millions of men, women and children with his message, and whose death brought tears to hundreds of millions of people. How could such a man be shrouded in mystery or drowned in a flood of controversy or propaganda? But the fact is that he has been – thanks to the propaganda of the Islamists and the intellectual dishonesty of the secularists.
His secular “friends” and Islamist “foes” alike have tried their best to mask his total personality with their own spins. Everyone plucks and picks some thing from his life to prove or disprove his or her point of view without presenting his life’s total picture. The backward-looking proponents of Islam, the Islamists, would not forgive him because of his physical appearance or his past ideology and declare him a kafir and an agent of the British. (Most prominent among them being “Maulana” Maududi.) And the forward-looking secularists start having nightmares (even in broad daylight) to imagine Quaid-e-Azam with the copy of the Quran and quoting from the Holy Book. (Prominent among them being Justice Munir.) Like an ostrich they would rather burry their heads in sand than see Quaid-e-Azam using the Quranic principles as the basisof the political structure of Pakistan. How can these champion imitators of Western-style secularism stand Quaid-e-Azam using the Quranic principles as guidelines in politics? They firmly believe in the separation of Church and State. And by extension they advocate the separation of Islam and the State. It never occurs to them that Church is not Islam or vice versa.
How can these “intellectuals” be intellectually so dishonest (or bankrupt) to equate Islam with the Church? Did the Church ever say: Laisa lil insaan-e illa maa sa‘aa? (A human being deserves only that for which he or she works for.) Or, Walaa taziru waaziratun wizra ukhraa? (No one has the right to shift one’s own burden (responsibility) on anyone else.) Or, Walaqad karramnaa bani adam? (We have made every human being worthy of equal respect.) Or, Aqeemul wazn bilqist? And La tukhsirul meezaan? (Establish a balanced system that provides equal justice for all, and that there must not be any tilting of justice in anyone’s favor.)
To these champions of secular humanism, these verses of the Quran dealing with universal human values remain hidden from their secular sight. They claim to be farsighted and open-minded. In reality, though, they are as shortsighted and closed-minded as the Islamists except that they are on the other extreme. Have you ever seen a secular humanist ever mentioning that the above universal human values were enshrined in the Quran 1400 years ago? But when they get enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations in the twentieth century, these values become their holy grail.