The implementation of Islam has proven to be the most
elusive task in the hapless history of our country. The earnest yet assertive
voices of our religious scholars in this regard have always been received with a
deaf ear. The apparent exception to this rule occurred quite recently, and time
conclusively proved that it too was, in fact, no exception.
It was rather like a sudden gust of wind that had ignited a cindering mass of
wood, restoring the status quo after some anxious moments of hope and
expectation. It was widely proclaimed that the creation of an Islamic State was
just in the reckoning---a state which had once manifested itself in the desolate
deserts of Arabia many centuries ago; when moral and social values scaled
unprecedented heights, and all of man’s ideals became tangible realities.
But alas! these expectations could not materialize. This
failure, in our opinion, was due to the fact that our rulers were initially not
equipped with the pre-requisites of this task. Moreover, they were not aware of
the proper strategy without which this goal cannot be achieved.
This article is written to present to our ruling class the
strategy which we deem proper for this task. In our estimation, it should be
based on the following two dimensions:
Firstly, all those factors should be enumerated and
analyzed which in some way or the other influence our society and, subsequently,
the role played by those found harmful be reformed.
Secondly, priorities should be set according to which
the directives of the Qur’ān and Sunnah are to be implemented in the society,
and all measures should be taken accordingly.
Consider the first dimension:
The factors which exercise a decisive influence in the
socio-economic and religio-political spheres of our lives are apparent to every
keen eye: Among them is a vast network of religious and general educational
institutions, both of which are a perpetual source of scholars and
intellectuals, orators and rhetoricians, academicians and thinkers; there are
numerous mosques throughout the length and breadth of our country where millions
of Muslims turn to five times a day; there are khānqāhs, the abode of our sufis
where innumerable devotees are indoctrinated with the occult of sufism; there is
the media comprising radio, television, newspapers and magazines which is the
foremost means of entertainment; there are countless religious and political
parties disseminating there call and message to the general masses and Lastly,
we all live under the influence of a political and economic system which play a
significant role in determining the pattern of our lives.
We have mentioned the important factors which influence
our society. Our aims and objectives, attitudes and desires, cravings and
convictions, ambitions and aspirations, trends and inclinations, customs and
traditions---in short, the general set-up of our society is determined by the
interaction of an individual with these metamorphosing agents. Consequently, our
foremost task, as mentioned above is to purify them from any evil they cause and
then redirect them so that they can contribute positively to our society. We now
examine them one by one.
Institutions of Religious Education
We start our analysis by the role played by our
institutions of religious education. A rigorous evaluation of their structure
reveals a number of flaws.
Their gravest flaw is that they are based upon the
principle of Taqlīd.
Here a student from the very first day is labelled as an orthodox follower of a
particular sect. His destiny seems to be carved out beforehand as a devout
denouncer of every other sect and an ardent acclaimer of his own. He is made to
believe that only his brand of beliefs is in direct conformity with the Qur’ān
and Sunnah. He is brainwashed with the notion that only his sect has been
divinely blessed with the true version of Islam. An inference attributed to a
highly revered scholar of his sect stands supreme till the Day of Judgement.
That it can be challenged by explicit reasoning’s derived from the Qur’ān and
Sunnah cannot be dared thought of. On the contrary, it becomes a part of his
faith that such a scholar cannot falter.
It is this superhuman veneration that has actually given
rise to the menace of religious sectarianism. Differences in opinion have often
developed into severe conflicts. An atmosphere charged with lightning and
resounding with thunder prevails amongst our religious circles. Every now and
then, a new episode of defamacy erupts form our mosques, which are unfortunately
being used for these malignant offensives. The intense disregard the various
sects have for one another has led them to violate all norms of decency. Even
immoral tactics are employed to safeguard their own views and interests.
Prejudices and bigotry have severely hampered the long needed compilation of the
Islamic law and its subsequent implementation. Like nations at war, they
continue their crusades against each other---while, very close to them, the
forces of evil mock at them and continue to flourish.
There are some among them, who claim to be liberal by not
insisting upon the Taqlīd of a single person, yet are adamant that after the
fourth century Hijra, the process of direct deliberation and reflection over the
Qur’ān as a means for deduction and derivation can no more be deemed admissible;
a matter that stands closed and no one should dare open it. To them the
explanation of a Qur’ānic verse or a Hadīth contrary to the conventionally
understood meaning, outrightly amounts to heresy. Evident omissions and apparent
flaws in inferences made in the past are accepted vehemently simply because no
one has ever disputed them. In their opinion, scholarship and research only
consist of enumerating, as much as possible, the views of previous scholars in
support of their own. As a result, all their mental pursuits are confined to
compilation and collection of references, while the faculties of reasoning and
intellect are impelled into a permanent state of dormancy.
The arguments, they give in their support have no basis in
the realms of reality. All of them acknowledge that the Qur’ān is the foremost
source of our religion. We need not elaborate upon the fact that the Qur’ān has
always remained under the protection of Allah, and there is no question of
anyone ever having tampered with it. Its authenticity stands unchallenged, and
it has been passed on to us as it was revealed. Its meanings and implications
like its language, Arabic, are very clear. All the material required to study
the semantics of the language is available to us, just as it was in the early
days. After the Qur’ān, the Sunnah and Ahādīth are the second source of our
religion. Most of their contents have reached us by way of ‘amalī-tawātur,
while the remaining content is in the form of akhbār-i-ahād
which has been critically examined by our scholars and the portion found
authentic has been transferred to us. They have even recorded the reasons which
have led them to accept or reject a Hadith. In short, they have passed on the
smallest bit of information that might prove useful. These are the two sources
of our religion designated as the final words of authority. They are as
accessible to us as they were to our predecessors.
Therefore, any argument on these grounds cannot be
entertained in support of their principle of Taqlīd .
After this, only two things can be alleged: firstly, the
degree of piety achieved by our forefathers is now unattainable, and secondly,
the extent of intellect and comprehension possessed by them cannot be emulated
in present times.
The latter is just a claim that finds no basis in the
Qur’ān and Sunnah, nor has it ever been justified in the field of observation.
The former is, also, just another claim, which is actually in contradiction with
the Qur’ān itself. The Qur’ān unequivocally states that in the Hereafter the
highest honour would be bestowed upon the Assābiqūn---people foremost in faith.
They would grace this world in the earlier as well as the later times:
"And those foremost [in faith] are foremost. They will be
nearest to Allah in gardens of bliss. A number of people from the old and a few
from those of later times." (56:10-14)
Whatever else affirmed by the proponents of this viewpoint
is mere wishful thinking which has no place in the world of reason and
Their second major flaw is that though these institutions
are centres of religious education, the Qur’ān, which occupies the cardinal
position in Islam, has been driven in the background within their confines. The
lofty status commanded by the Qur’ān as the Mīzān, the Balance of Justice and
the Furqān, the Distinguisher between good and evil, demands that it should be
made the pivot around which the whole curriculum should revolve. Students should
be reared with the notion that in the Qur’ān rests the final authority and that
it is the Qur’ān which rules over every matter in our religion. With this beacon
in hand, they should be made to explore the various domains of knowledge and at
every step seek its guidance. Every other subject taught should merely help the
students in having a better understanding of the Qur’ān. Everything accepted in
our religion should be rigorously scrutinized under the light of this Divine
Guidance. All basis of belief and faith should be directly derived from this
Word of God and it should be considered the ultimate authority not only in all
religious issues but should also be regarded as the ultimate linguistic standard
of Arabic. Students should be made to ponder over every word and meditate over
every verse they encounter. They should be made aware that even the works of
great jurists like Abu Hanīfa and Shaf’i, scholars of Hadīth like Bukhārī and
Muslim, scholastics like Ash’are and Maturedi, sufis like Junaid and Shibli must
be weighed in the scales of this Mīzān and that nothing can be accepted from
them which is not in consonance with it.
Our religion confers this supreme status upon the Qur’ān
and, consequently, it should have held the same status in these institutions.
But here, unfortunately, we know that during the initial years the only stress
is upon its recital and committal to memory, while in the later years, students
have a final glimpse of it in the commentaries of "Jalālain" and "Bidhāvi".
This is all as far as Qur’ānic teaching is concerned.
This estranged attitude towards the Qur’ān has resulted in
there being no ultimate authority which can decide the correctness of a specific
thought or a particular course of action. All religious concepts have become
disputed and a subject of hot debate. Our religious educational institutions
which could have enlightened us over these issues, are themselves plunged in
pitch darkness. Suffice to say that these institutions can have no access to the
exalted wisdom of the Qur’ān, just as a born blind person can have no idea about
the sun’s splendour.
The third major flaw in these institutions is that the
syllabus they follow is both outdated and ill-suited to the requirements of
teaching and learning. It is generally believed that it was composed by Mullah
Nizām Uddin. While, according to Shah Suleman, the heir to the shrine of
Phulwārī Sharīf, its initial seeds were sown by Mullah Fateh ullah Sherāzī, and
after many subsequent changes and additions reached its present form.
Nevertheless, it was composed during the time when our religion had been
completely isolated from its sources. The aforementioned treatment given to the
Qur’ān speaks volumes about its inefficacy. The methodology of Daurah
employed in the study of Hadīth in this syllabus can never instil the fondness
of contemplation, neither in the teacher nor in the pupils. No importance has
been given to pre-Islamic Arabic literature, which has rendered the subtleties
of a language beyond appreciation. The books included for the teaching of Arabic
grammar and rhetoric have an approach in which logical terminologies have
overshadowed the diction of the language, and even if a student has an initial
aptitude to relish the finer aspects of a language, he finally ends up with its
crudest comprehension. His aesthetic faculties are made to remain passive and he
inevitably fails to acknowledge the finesse in a Qur’ānic expression. Whatever
has been set aside for philosophy, logic and ‘Ilmi-kalām
in the syllabus inflicts a harm that surpasses its utility. Only the Hanafite
Fiqh has been accommodated in the syllabus, and the concept of an Islamic Fiqh,
irrespective of any school of fiqh, is non-existent. ‘Ilmi-Usul
is one discipline, pioneered and perfected by the Muslims; unfortunately, no
book about it has been incorporated which could cultivate and develop the skill
in the students. On the other hand, books like "Sadrā" and "Maibzī"
are regarded with a sanctity which has rendered them an eternal part of the
syllabus. Any revision of old books or introduction of newer ones is considered
high treason. Two centuries have gone by since the enunciation of this syllabus,
but the progress made in other branches of knowledge has failed to find any
place in it. Tremendous advances made in philosophy, psychology, astronomy,
economics and political science have been treated with an almost contemptuous
disregard. We are well aware of the fact that the world of knowledge
continues to grow and expand and this dynamism constantly replaces older
concepts with newer ones. The last two centuries bear witness to this with so
much of material which once shaped the intellect of the world now being regarded
as redundant. But our religious educational institutions, quite unaware of these
additions and abandonments, continue to blow their ancient trumpets.
These are the main flaws of our institutions of religious
education. No methodology for the enforcement of Islam in this country can
succeed unless it also aims at the reformation of these institutions. In our
estimation, the following measures should be adopted by the government in this
1. Besides persuading the pundits of the existing network
of religious institutions to reform their set-up, the government should
establish under its own supervision higher level religious educational
2. Scholars entrusted with the task of teaching in these
institutions should be specifically those who consider only the Qur’ān and
Sunnah as the source and basis of Islam and, as far as possible, practice what
3. These scholars should be freely allowed to form and
express their opinions about the various matters and issues of our religion,
wherever and whenever they want to do so within the limits set by the Qur’ān and
Sunnah, so that all distinguished scholars are provided with an opportunity to
lecture at these venues.
4. Only students who have passed their intermediate should
be admitted in these institutions, just as in the existing framework students
enter medical and engineering institutions after passing their intermediate
5. The total period of education should be five years. The
Qur’ān should occupy the same place in the syllabus as we have mentioned above.
Besides this, the basic emphasis should be upon the disciplines of Arabic
grammar and rhetoric, pre-Islamic Arabic literature, usul-i-fiqh, Hadīth and
Islamic law. The students should just be made familiar with the medieval trends
and terminologies of philosophy and logic enabling them to read the works
written in the older diction. The essentials of modern philosophy, psychology,
economics, physics and politics should be expounded to the students so that they
are able to follow their methodology of reasoning and have the capability to
explicate, in contrast, the views of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The syllabus should
also constitute an anthology of world literature which will assist the students
in developing a literary taste and in having some idea about the delicacies of
the sublime language of the Qur’ān. A comprehensive book upon the principles and
basis of modern law should also be part of the syllabus. All schools of fiqh
should be taught and students should be made to consider themselves the
beneficiaries of this vast heritage and also made to realize that any biased
affiliation in this regard is intolerable in the world of knowledge and
learning. It should be made clear to them that from this profound legacy of our
scholars, only material found in accordance with the Qur’ān and Sunnah is
acceptable and everything else stands rejected without any hesitation
6. Besides these mental pursuits, the character of the
students should be moulded so that they profess a high calibre of moral conduct.
They should be made to spend sometime everyday in the company of pious scholars,
and urged to pay special attention to the injunctions of the Qur’ān and Hadīth
which pertain to self-purification and character-building. They should be
induced to offer their utmost support and co-operation in furthering the cause
of Islam, and also made conscious of the fact that after being enlightened with
the true understanding of Islam, it is their responsibility to urge and exhort
the ruling class of our country to follow and implement the teachings of Islam.
7. The existing way of higher education in Islamiyat
should be completely abolished and the degree given by these institutions should
be equivalent in level with the M.B.B.S degree.
Institutions of General Education
Consider next, the institutions of general education. The
system on which they are based is the legacy of the British rule in our
sub-continent. It is the brain-child of a nation which still rules our minds
more than four decades after its departure. It was implemented to achieve the
mental servitude of the Muslim subjects and to gain their affiliations. Sure
enough the objective has been more than achieved, as each passing day merely
strengthens this relationship between the victor and the vanquished.
The system is based upon the negation of any metaphysical
explanation of the universe and upon the assertion that man himself is capable
of deciphering the complex code of his existence without any assistance from his
Creator. This is the underlying concept upon which philosophy, science,
sociology and other branches of knowledge have evolved and developed in the West
during the last two centuries, and it still holds sway in contemporary Western
thought. No doubt, not all of the Western thinkers have denied God’s existence,
yet it is a manifest reality that all their views and thoughts are actually
built upon His denial. Quite naturally, the syllabus of these institutions
upholds this concept. The entire celestial cosmos is presented as a creation
without a creator, a scheme without a deviser, a book without an author---a
self-existent and self-sustaining mechanistic reality. The fate of the universe
is considered to be in the hands of its inhabitants who carve out their own
destiny and shape their own future. All the bases and principles of law and
politics, economics and sociology are constituted by a human endeavour that
looks down upon any Divine Guidance in these disciplines. Human intellect on its
own seeks to solve the problems that face the world. The story of mankind starts
and ends with man himself and the concept of a God is granted no place anywhere
in it by this syllabus. It warrants that man is a material entity who himself is
the source of all concepts of truth and reality and that nothing lies at the
exterior of this space-time continuum. Consequently, the graduates of these
institutions become advocates of the view that life can also be spent without
having any relationship with God and all affairs of life can be conducted
without His Guidance. Overlooking changes at the basic level and inducting
Deenyat as a compulsory subject in the syllabus has made the situation even more
ironical. Severe conflicts have arisen in the minds of the students, regarding
their religion and its relation with their lives.
As a result, this system of education has injected in our
society a novel breed of men regarded as its intellectuals and trend-setters.
Whatever they say or write vouches for the fact that the concepts of absolute
truth can only be obtained from the West, but the Qur’ān can be regarded as a
sacred book if it is interpreted, modified and brought in accordance with
Western thoughts. Their characters have become an amalgam of ambiguity. They do
not deny God’s existence, yet consider regular vigilance in worship a needless
affair. They do not disclaim the Day of Judgement, yet are not ready to
sacrifice the paltry leasures of life for nobler causes. They assent to the
Prophethood of Muhammad (sws), yet consider his directives outdated and
inapplicable. The recital of the Qur’ān might herald the start of their
gatherings, but the promulgation of its decrees in the constitution of their
country weighs down heavily upon them. Only a grim lesson can be sought from
their contradictory personalities. In short, the system has drained out the
Islamic spirit from their mortal remains and they present a sight most pathetic.
Their lives are tuned with the trends of the West and even
the blood in their bodies seems to flow after seeking permission from these
sources of revelation.
The secular nature of the system has not only produced an
aversion from Islam within the minds of our elite, but also has gone a long way
in degenerating their characters, without which no nation can thrive and
prosper. It never envisages the real purpose of educational institutions which
are not just meant to impart knowledge to the students, but a bigger objective
is to breed and rear men of high moral calibre in consonance with the ideology
of a nation. This goal can only be achieved if the mentors of these institutions
are not only competent in their own fields but are also devout Muslims who
possess an impeccable character and lead a chaste life. Undoubtedly, the most
powerful influence upon a child after the mother is the teacher’s personality.
If he honestly upholds a certain ideology and leads his life in accordance with
it, his pupils receive tremendous inspiration from him. No other way can be more
effective in building their characters. Woefully, this system never takes this
aspect into account. Courage and perseverance, valour and discretion, discipline
and steadfastness which were once the hallmarks of Muslims, are now extinct
commodities. The virtues of honesty and integrity, benevolence and sincerity
have become relics of the past. We seldom see any modesty in their eyes,
loftiness in their thoughts, and dignity in their behaviour. What we often see
is an immaculate mixture of dishonesty and pettiness, a charming blend of
arrogance and haughtiness, an exquisite combination of perversity and
corruption. We are breeding a nation that has been detached from its glorious
past, has become indifferent to its present and unconcerned about a future which
after all may not even exist. Thanks to this system moral values are breathing
their last and materialistic goals are being regarded as the ultimate objective
of life. To say the least, a scheme more sinister could not have been contrived
against us, as a nation.
Rectifying this system is no easy job. It requires drastic
measures that would extract it from its roots and implant a new one in its
place. We suggest the following steps in this regard:
1. A uniform system of education should be enforced in our
country. Any diversity in nature, religious or non-religious, and medium, Urdu
or English should be eliminated.
2. Only teachers who are self-righteous, staunch and
practising Muslims besides being proficient in their fields should be selected.
3. The total period of education should be divided into
three levels: primary, secondary and a higher level. The first of these should
span over eight years, the second over four years while the last level should
extend over five years.
4. At the primary level, only the Qur’ān and the language
trio of Arabic, Urdu and English along with mathematics and calligraphy should
be taught. Initially, the students should be made just capable enough to read
the Qur’ān fluently and they should then be made to learn by heart the last
group of the Qur’ān (Surah Mulk to Surah Nās). As soon as the students get
acquainted with Arabic, the Qur’ān should be studied with a specific stress upon
its meanings. By including the essential teachings of Islam in the Arabic reader
and interweaving the Urdu reader with topics pertaining to general knowledge and
the English reader with topics relating to science, the students should be
imparted a comprehensive understanding of these languages, besides being
enlightened with other branches of learning. They should be encouraged to read
about subjects that interest them from the libraries. Furthermore, all modern
educational aids should be extensively employed in all these pursuits and the
present way of loading the students with scores of text books should be
5. The study of the Qur’ān and the languages should
continue at the secondary level. Besides this, a few more subjects relating to
the one in which a student wants to specialize at the higher level should be
introduced. Just as in the present system the students of medicine and
engineering study certain science subjects at this level, the students of Dīnyat,
for example, would study pre-Islamic Arabic literature, grammar and rhetoric.
The same mode should be adopted in the teaching of other subjects.
6. The higher level should only be reserved for
specialization. This specialization can be in Dīnyat, medicine, engineering,
sociology, physics, biology or any other subject the students choose. The
existing mode of specialization in non-professional subjects should be
7. All topics in various books should begin with an
elucidation of the Qur’ānic point of view about these topics. Other details
should be enlisted in coherence with this point of view so that the relationship
between the knowledge obtained from the Qur’ān and the knowledge acquired by
means of rational inquiry and scientific observation is clear in the minds of
8. Co-education should be completely abolished and all the
surplus energy of the students should be directed towards receiving the
necessary training for Jihād.
9. Teaching should be made the most highly paid profession
and teachers should be given more facilities than any other professional. That a
person should have an aptitude towards teaching must be firmly emphasized in his
The influence exercised by our Mosques is, also, no doubt,
tremendous. In this regard, the Sunnah set by the Prophet (sws) is that the
Friday address should be delivered by the head of state and his administrators
and only they should lead the Friday prayers. However, in case of any legitimate
plea on their part, some other person can address and lead the Friday prayers as
their authorized representative.
The implications of this Sunnah are very clear: In Islam,
mosques are meant to be the fountainhead of authority. Also, there is a complete
negation of theocracy. A person whom the Muslims choose as their leader shall
also lead them in worship, eliminating once and for all the division between
state and religion.
After the Prophet (sws), his Companions solemnly adhered
to this Sunnah in the Caliphate they established. However, in later times, when
due to their own ill-ways the Muslim rulers could not stand face to face with
the public, they themselves handed over the mosques to the ulema. This was the
most tragic incident in our history. The result was that religion lost its grace
and the state its grandeur. A further consequence of this was that the most
ill-suited and corrupt lot of people has assumed the country’s helm of affairs.
The whole set-up does not leave the slightest of chance for the able and morally
sound to rule and govern the country.
The menace of sectarianism has turned the mosques into
citadels which are in a perpetual state of war with one another. This has
further led to the creation of professional Maulvis who are an utter disgrace to
knowledge and learning. Differences of opinion are very ‘graciously greeted’ by
them with fire and fury. They shower ‘special courtesy’ on those who propagate
Islamic teachings by slinging cartloads of insults on them. Intellectual
endeavours and advancements are the cherished targets of their ‘highly
encouraging’ jeers. Every mosque is a stronghold of sectarianism which is
taught, encouraged and patronized in place of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. It is
impossible for any scholar to use a mosque to spread and communicate the message
of Islam---an obligation the Almighty has imposed on him according to his
These evils which emanate from our mosques are apparent to
every keen person. They can only be eliminated if the above stated Sunnah of the
Prophet (sws) in this regard is revived. In our consideration, this can be done
through the following measures:
(1) The centre of every administrative unit of the state
should be a Jami’-i-Masjid, and the division of these units should be such that
one Jami’-i-Masjid should suffice for one unit.
(2) Within each unit, all the administrative offices and
courts should be instituted adjacent to this Jami’-i-Masjid.
(3) The state capital together with the provincial
capitals should have a central Jami’-i-Masjid.
(4) The address of the Friday prayers should only be
delivered by the head of state and only he should lead these prayers in the
central Jami’-i-Masjid of the capital. The provincial governors should be
entrusted with this job in the central Jami’-i-Masjids of the provinces, while
the representatives of the government should perform this duty in the Jami’-i-Masjids
of the various administrative units.
(5) The Friday prayers should be prohibited in all mosques
except the above ones.
(6) Mosques should be established and supervised by the
(7) Every religious scholar should be allowed to deliver a
lecture or teach, educate and instruct his students according to his own views
in any of these mosques.
We continue our inquiry by assessing the role played by
our khānqāhs. The religion preached here is called tasawwuf (sufism) and, we are
afraid that, it is entirely different in all fundamentals and principles from
Islam. Even a cursory analysis clearly brings out this fact. It is observed thus
1. The Qur’ān defines Tawhīd (monotheism) as the
acknowledgement of Allah as the only Ilāh, who is free from all flaws and
imperfections and to whom all gracious attributes are ascribed which are
accepted by all norms of sense and reason and which have been explained by the
Almighty Himself through His prophets. The word Ilāh in the Arabic language is
specifically used for someone who at some level or the other possess control and
authority without requiring any cause or means to execute what He intends.
According to the Qur’ān, if an attribute is acknowledged for someone which is
actually the result of such control and authority then this is what is called
Shirk (polytheism), and it states in unequivocal terms that such an attribution
is only true in case of the Almighty. It demands from all Muslims to acknowledge
this control and authority only for Allah in their faith, deeds as well as in
all their objectives.
It is this Tawhīd upon which our religion is based. It is
around this basic belief that the mission of all the prophets had revolved.
Abraham and Moses, John and Jesus, all upto Muhammad (peace be upon them) had
proclaimed and propagated this message. All Divine Books elaborated upon this at
length. There is no other level of Tawhīd above this for which a person must
strive in this world.
In Tasawwuf, however, this is regarded as the first level
of Tawhīd and it is meant for the common man. It is considered as a mere prelude
to the actual contents of Tawhīd. The highest level of Tawhīd , according to the
exponents of this religion, is to acknowledge existence only for the Almighty
and simultaneously affirm that no one besides Him actually exists. All the
determinations (ta’ayyunāt) of the Universe whether observed directly or
perceived through reason and intellect are mental concepts and emanate from the
Absolute Being---the Almighty. They have no external existence beyond the
Absolute Being. The Universe is actually another name for the manifestations of
Allah. It is God as regards its substance though it cannot be considered so as
regards its determinations. Its nature is nothingness (‘adam). If it is regarded
to exist then this would be associating something in the Being of Allah, and
this is precisely what the popular sufi maxim Lā maujūda illalāh (there is
nothing except God) negates.
This same view about Tawhīd is held by Shiri Shankar
Achāriya, the famous commentator of the "Upanishads", along with Shri Ram Noje
Achāriya, Plotinus and Spinoza. Among modern western philosophers Leibniz,
Fichte, Hagel, Schonpenhauer, Bradley and Benedict are the ardent exponents of
this concept. Among these, Shri Shankar, Plotinus and Spinoza uphold the
philosophy of Wahdat-ul-wujūd (Oneness of Being), while Ram Noje Achāriya
advocates the philosophy of Wahdat-us-shuhūd (Oneness of Witnessing) as does
Shri Krishan in "Gita". The "Upanishads", "Braham Suter", "Gita", and "Fusūs-ul-Hikam",
occupy the same position in this religion as the one occupied by the Torah, the
Zabūr, the Bible and the Qur’ān in the divinely revealed religions. Viewed thus,
it can be observed that in contrast with the Qur’ānic concept of Tawhīd, this
fallacious concept has remained a universal evil, influencing many intelligent
people the world over.
2. The concept of Tawhīd presented by the Qur’ān is an
obvious reality asserted by the Almighty Himself in all Divine books and
explained by all His prophets. It conforms with the highest possible standards
of rationality and is, in fact, the call of our hearts. Its rationality is so
indisputable that those enlightened with true knowledge as well as the angels
vouch for it and none of its aspects is concealed from our eyes. According to
"Allah [Himself] is a witness that there is no God save
Him. And the angels and the men of learning [too are witnesses]. [He] is the
Executor of justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise."
All the Prophets were sent forth in this world to call
mankind towards this belief. This was their foremost obligation, and if they had
failed in fulfilling it, they would have, in fact, failed to discharge their
basic duty as Prophets. It must also be borne in mind that this assignment was
not something beyond their ability, for the Qur’ān clearly says that the
Almighty never imposes an obligation on someone which is beyond his capability.
In tasawwuf, on the contrary, when a sālik (the traveller
of the spiritual path) gets to know the secrets of his Tawhīd as stated above,
words are unable to state and define it and a person, therefore, is unable to
propagate it as well.
It is said that the more it is explained the more complicated it gets and the
more it is revealed the more it gets concealed. Therefore, the secrets of this
Tawhīd cannot be written down and, in fact, the disclosure of these secrets
amounts to infidelity.
3. The Qur’ān categorically states that the institution of
Prophethood has been terminated at the Prophethood of Mohammad (sws). This quite
obviously means that all forms of divine revelation have been brought to an end
and no person after the prophets can claim utter innocence from any sin and
divine protection from any evil on their basis. This meaning of the finality of
Prophethood has been stated in clear terms by the Prophet (sws) himself:
"Mubasharāt are the only remnants of Prophethood. People
inquired: ‘What are mubasharāt?’ The Prophet (pbuh) replied: ‘Good dreams’." (Bukhārī,
However, our sufis have always negated the implications of
the finality of Prophethood and have their own peculiar concept about this
finality. They maintain that the Almighty still sends down His revelation to
their leading figures, just as He did to His Prophets. They also claim that like
the Prophet (sws), many of their own distinguished people have ascended the
heavens to witness Divine Disclosures (Tajalliāt) and were also blessed with the
opportunity of a dialogue with the Almighty. According to them, the meaning of
the finality of Prophethood is that no one will be able to give a new Sharī’ah,
but as far as other features and characteristics of prophethood are concerned,
they still exist and are attainable. To them the inspiration (ilhām) of their
elect, because of their innocence, is free of any traces of evil and its
authenticity is beyond any shadow of doubt. The views of the person among them
who is entrusted with the first station of bestowed spiritual stations (maqāmāt-i-wahabiah)
are regarded by them to be based on truth in their entirety, and no evil can
make an incursion into them. They say that such a person follows a Prophet only
because he has been divinely commanded to support him, otherwise he does not
need a prophet or an angel to receive divine guidance because of his own direct
link with the Almighty. Therefore, on this earth his own words and deeds are the
final authority to which the Qur’ān and Sunnah themselves submit.
After violating the sanctity of the institution of
Prophethood, they move ahead and enter into the realms which lie beyond the
spacio-temporal order crying out in frenzy: ‘O daring spirit of man! The Lord is
reachable as well’. Their control and authority at this stage extends over the
entire space-time continuum. They are not only aware of the language of birds
but are even aware of a footfall and are even able to hear the sound of an ant
walking on a stone at night. They have complete knowledge of a person’s fate and
fortune and are able to read a person’s mind. They hold and grasp the world and
enforce the orders of the Almighty. At this point they cry out: ‘O group of
Prophets you have only been given the title of a Prophet and you never received
what we were given’ ("Futūhāt-i-Makkiya", Ibni Arabi, Vol 2, Pg 90)
4. According to the Qur’ān, the basic duty which Islam
requires of its believers is to worship the Almighty. Worship, in reality, is a
subjective phenomenon and first of all appears within a person, and after it
becomes related with his external self, it completely encircles his personality.
As a result, his relationship with the Almighty is that of a worshiper and the
worshipped. Throughout his life, he tries to worship the Almighty in the most
befitting manner in order to please Him and thereby become entitled to the life
of eternal bliss---something which he has been promised by Allah through His
On the contrary, since according to the sufis, man is
actually a Determination (ta’ayyun) of the Almighty and since on the basis of
this Determination he has left the Domain of the Divine (‘ālam-i-lahūt) and
entered the corporeal world (‘ālam-i-nāsūt), therefore, a return to his origin
is actually what is required of him. Hence, according to this religion, the
relationship between a man and the Almighty is that of a lover and his beloved.
He regards his own actual reality---the Almighty---his beloved and tries to seek
Him under the guidance of a spiritual mentor after he is made aware of his
reality by his mentor. Until he is united with his reality, he rolls and writhes
in the agony of remaining parted from his beloved. Since death, in fact, means
an eternal union with his actual reality, therefore, it is called ‘union’ (wasal)
and the function held to commemorate it is called ‘urs’. All the poetry of
sufism is actually a tale of this love and its related issues.
5. The Qur’ān categorically states that the religion it
has revealed upon mankind through the Prophet (sws), is totally complete and
final in all respects and there is no possibility of any addition. It says:
"This day I have perfected your religion for you and
completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."
The Prophet (sws) used to explain this verse in the
"Listen! Indeed, the best book is the Book of Allah and
the best guidance is the Guidance of Muhammad (sws) [the Prophet of Allah] and
the worst of all things are those which are new to this religion and every new
thing leads [a man] astray." (Muslim, Kitāb -ul-Jum’ah)
The followers and exponents of tasawwuf maintain that the
religion presented by the Qur’ān and Sunnah is just a preliminary principle
consisting of a few superficial things. The real spirit of this religion can
only be saught, after the death of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions, by a
methodology they themselves have formulated. Furthermore, the way to obtain the
real religion beyond this preliminary principle has also been revealed only to
them. Consequently, there exists a whole Sharī’ah of aurād, ashghāl, chillās and
which is above and beyond the Sharī’ah given by Allah, being not contained in
the Qur’ān and Hadith. In fact, it is totally against the aims which the Qur’ān
and Ahādīth intend to achieve, and about it they openly say that it can only be
obtained after associating oneself with their distinguished people. It is called
According to sufism, the level of excellence that can be
achieved in virtues like perseverance, thanksgiving, veracity, sacrifice,
modesty, trust and faith is so high that even the Prophet (sws) and his
Companions hardly qualify for the first or second level. As far as the third or
the level of the elect of the elect is concerned, even they could not attain it.
In this regard, the ultimate target of the sufis is much beyond the one fixed by
the Almighty. The best example of the contradictions which consequently result
between their words and deeds is a piece of writing of a great scholar of
tasawwuf of contemporary times. He writes that for a number of years he remained
very perplexed at the fact that none of the sufi saints had ever committed a
sin, whilst it is historically proven that some of the Companions of the Prophet
(sws) had even committed as grave a sin as adultery and were also punished for
it. He goes on to write that after many years of contemplation he was able to
solve the riddle. He concluded that none of the Companions of the Prophet (sws)
committed a sin intentionally, but since the Almighty wanted to complete and
finalize his religion through them, He forced them to commit some sins so that
He could reveal His laws and directives about them.
In the short space of this article, it is not possible to
discuss this topic in detail. However, from the few examples quoted, it is quite
evident that tasawwuf is a totally different religion from Islam and has been
given patronage under the deceiving label of the reality of Islam. After
appreciating this fact, it is necessary to make efforts to reform this state of
In our estimation, only two measures are needed in this
regard: Firstly, those who undertake this job must be very clear that now the
Qur’ān is the final and ultimate word of Allah on this earth and every belief of
Islam is stated in it. Secondly, the Arabic language, congregations in which the
meaning of the Qur’ān is recited and other ways of education should be given
patronage so that no one is able to fool the general masses about the content of
These two steps, it is our sincere belief, will go a long
way towards ridding our society from the evil creed of tasawwuf.
The Mass Media
Our mass media exercises the most powerful influence on
our society, as it actually shapes the trends and inclinations within it. The
present day forms comprise a highly sophisticated network, which has
progressively developed in congruity with the needs and requirements of a
society. Various forms of mass communication in the form of public gatherings
and festivals, congregations in village-pavilions and proclamations of town
criers had always existed. But today, after the advent of radio, film,
television, newspapers and magazines, the influence exerted by a media has
reached an extent which could never have even been imagined a couple of
centuries ago. A brief analysis shows that it is involved in somewhat
circulating the following types of information:
1. Certain realities that are accepted in a society.
2. Propagation of a system of faith and beliefs as an
obligation after a person adopts them.
3. Knowledge and information beneficial to mankind.
4. News about man himself and his world.
5. Creative ability and technical competence of a person
that distinguish him from others.
The above list encompasses almost all types of information
which man has always aspired to transmit in a society. Today, our media is
carrying out this task. Each of the above mentioned categories is needed by man
in one way or the other, and the Qur’ān and Sunnah have not prohibited their
propagation in the absolute sense. In fact among them is a category whose
communication and propagation is our religious obligation. Moreover, in this
regard, the Qur’ān and Sunnah has not even discriminated between a man and a
woman. Both can discharge this religious duty through the written or the spoken
word as well as through various forms of literary expression. Barring our Fiqh,
there is no directive in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, which are the only two sources
of Islam, that imposes any restriction upon women in using these modes of
propagation. But it is disgusting to see that all the agencies of the media are
transmitting within our society some other types of facts and figures that
violate all norms of morality. They openly commit an unforgivable crime against
humanity and instead of being ashamed, consider themselves worthy of praise.
Shamelessness has overpowered them and they do not care that these outrageons
acts would lead them to negotiate the severest of penalties in the Hereafter.
Their first offense is that they seldom give any coverage
to learned and accomplished women who have not only distinguished themselves in
the fields of arts and science but also as scholars of Islam. Instead, they
present women as objects of lewd entertainment. This lecherous display is in
complete disregard to the injunctions of the Qur’ān which specifically enjoins
all Muslim women to cover their heads and chests and to refrain from exhibiting
themselves. Rather than setting examples of dignity and modesty they ‘sell’
their honour and integrity by furthering the shameless trends of a shameless
Their second offense is that through their courtesy the
stories of romance and intimacy which everywhere in the world had been confined
to the subtleties of poetry and literature and whose recital and listening to
was not disallowed in a specific age and situation even by the great Caliph Umar,
have now invaded the everyday atmosphere of our homes. Such is the nature of
this invasion, that the chastity in the relationship between a mother and son,
father and daughter, brother and sister, upon which the poise and grace of a
society so heavily depends, is becoming an episode of the past. Through the
agency of our media a state has been reached in which our youngmen, like most
women are seen perpetually involved in glamourizing themselves with the latest
flares of fashion. The older lot, may not be very enthusiastic about their
clothes and appearance but show tremendous enthusiasm in shredding off any shame
they might have originally had.
Their third affense is that they have promoted sports and
other means of amusement to an unwholesome and unhealthy degree. Such is the
nature of this patronization that our younger generation regards actors and
sportsmen as their ideals in life. While our scientists and technologists,
scholars and thinkers do not even receive posthumous recognition for their
achievements, these merry-makers are kept in the highest esteem. The bewitching
manner in which they allure young minds by depicting the daily routines of these
celebrities effectively diverts them from the higher objectives of life, after
which they can no longer be expected to become scholars and thinkers, and
indulge in other intellectual pursuits.
Their fourth offense is that specifically among them radio
and television show complete disregard to the mandatory hours of worship in a
day when nothing except prayers are permissible.
These are the everyday offenses which the media commits
and continues to flourish triumphantly in our society. If the ruling class of
our country sincerely wishes to promulgate Islamic values and traditions in our
society, it must develop an abhorrence against these offenses and cleanse the
media from them.
We continue our investigation and next examine the shadows
of influence cast by our religious parties. They can be classified into three
categories on the basis of their aims and objectives.
The first category comprises religious schools of thought
which have organized themselves into religious parties to propagate their
specific thoughts and safeguard their rights and interests. The basic principle
underlying their formation is that since Islam grants every person the right to
freely deliberate on all affairs of life and formulate his own views, therefore,
if a group of people adheres to certain thoughts in common, which may be the
result of a lone or a collective intellectual endeavour, they should be granted
this right also by Islam to organize themselves in the form of a party. We
acknowledge this principle and, in our opinion, upon its basis various schools
of thought can organize themselves into parties. They can strive with all
freedom to propagate their beliefs and increase their following. In this regard,
though, certain stipulations should be sought from them: They should abstain
from denouncing and censuring other religious schools and issuing religious
verdicts against them. Each party should refrain from inflaming and provoking
the common man against other parties and should also not be a source of any
hindrance in the propagation of their beliefs. Furthermore, the common practice
of the party leaders forbidding their followers to sit in the company of
scholars of some other religious school should be discontinued. They should only
be permitted to rationally reason out the flaws in the thoughts of other
religious schools and at the same time positively assert their own. Intellectual
disagreements are, in fact, a blessing. It is due to them that the frontiers of
knowledge expand, making the truth more and more discernable. But these
differences should remain within bounds and not exceed them by manifesting
themselves into rivalries and enmities. This is what actually leads towards
religious prejudice and bigotry, which are now so apparent in our society. An
Islamic State can in no way tolerate such attitudes and tendencies.
Among the second category are constituted those religious
parties whose aim is to disseminate the basic message of Islam and to reform the
moral character of the people. These are the parties that assist an Islamic
government in fulfilling its primary duties of Da’wah-ilal-khair,
and an Islamic Government is as such indebted to them for this service. For an
Islamic State this noble collaboration is no doubt indispensable, but can only
produce the desired results when these parties base their message only and only
upon the Qur’ān and Sunnah. When such virtuous enterprises base themselves upon
stories, legends and folklore then inevitably the true picture of Islam begins
to vanish from the people’s minds, and they are ultimately not even able to
distinguish the good from the bad. Unfortunately, such religious parties are not
free from this serious drawback. Until and unless this flaw is overcome, no
Islamic government can accomplish its obligation of Da’wah-ilal-Khair.
The third category comprises parties that have been formed
to enforce the Islamic Sharī’ah at the state level. Quite obviously, after this
enforcement they would have no justification to exist upon previous objectives.
They would, in fact, be left to accept two alternatives: either to devote all
their energy in reforming the nation or to transform themselves into political
parties and by adopting constitutional measures strive for a better political
leadership. These are the only two options open for them, which would, of
course, have the same stipulations and restrictions mentioned earlier on.
However, among this category there are some other
religious parties as well which insist that even after the creation of Pakistan
as an Islamic Republic, a Muslim will die the death of Jāhiliyyah, if without
any excuse he is not a member of any such party or otherwise, does not form his
own party. They further assert that for such a religious party of this third
category, the Prophet’s Sunnah is that its leader will assume the title of Amīr
and his followers would be required to pledge a covenant of Sam’u Tā’at (to
listen and to obey). This point of view is in obvious contradiction with the
Qur’ān and Sunnah and amounts to a revolt against the state affairs of Pakistan.
Therefore, no political party can be established on this basis in Pakistan.
This, in our view, should be the policy of an Islamic
State towards our religious parties, and it should be very clear that any
deviation in this regard could lead to serious mishaps in the state affairs.
Consider next the political parties of our country.
Indeed, the influence they cast is tremendous. They have the same significance
in the formation of a state as that of a family in the formation of a society. A
study of history reveals that man, by nature, has always been a gregarious being
and just like food and clothing, a social set-up is his indispensable physical
need. Therefore, from the earliest days of his creation, he has striven for the
formation of a society. His needs induced him to live in a community and a
community itself had some requirements. Gradually, a community developed into a
civilization and with it arose the need for resources. The natural tendency in
man to expand and augment these resources together with other wicked
inclinations within him led to a state of anarchy and disorder. The only way to
protect a community from such turmoils and discords was to organize it under a
single leadership. Again, since this leadership, for its own existence and
well-being, depended on the support of the masses, things like caste, race,
language and ideology were instrumental in forming this support and allegiance.
Hence, the result was that the progeny of a single human being were divided into
many clans and tribes. Finally, as a result of some social need or the outright
internal strength of a group, there emerged a supreme group to which other
smaller groups became subservient.
The political history of man is but the tale of a mere
repetition of this process. Ibni Khuldūn, the founder of the subject of the
philosophy of history, writes in his celebrated treatise "The Muqaddamah":
"Furthermore, if in a single group there are different
families and various sub-groups, it is certain that a single group will emerge
which is the strongest in the lot. This group achieves its supremacy over others
and demands their obedience. Finally, all groups merge into it and a larger
group comes into existence. If this does not happen, the outcome is a turmoil
which leads to disagreement and dissension." (Ch 2, Pg 139)
Our political parties are actually these groups and to
ascertain the strongest among them, the Qur’ān has directed us to follow the
principle of amruhum shūrā bainahum,
and has thereby provided mankind with a peaceful means of transfer of power.
History bears witness that when in the Thaqīfa of Bani Sā’idah the two major
groups of the Muslims---the Ansār and the Muhājirīn---had gathered over the
issue of the Prophet’s (sws) successor, the Muhājirīn, in accordance with the
Prophet’s (sws) directive, were transferred the reins of power since they
commanded the confidence and support of the majority of the Arab Muslims.
Therefore, it is incorrect to believe that in an Islamic State there is no
justification for political parties. However, it must be conceded that most of
the parties which at the moment tread this country’s political arena have no
basis for existence in an Islamic State.
The leaders of some of these parties do not dare to openly
invite people towards secular ideologies. However, they have adopted another way
to propagate their ideas: They say that religion is a personal affair and as far
as a state is concerned, it should have no religion. Previously, the king and
his nobles were the final authority and now the parliament should play this
role. A majority opinion should decide what is right and what is wrong.
Religious laws are relics of the past and are outdated and ill-suited for the
requirements of the modern era.
This viewpoint is obviously based on ignorance. Truth is
an indivisible whole. If religion is a truth then it is so for both a person and
a state. If people who hold this point of view regard it as being contrary to
the truth then there should be no discrimination between a state and an
individual in this regard. A reality whether divinely revealed or intellectually
derived is a reality for all. It addresses both an individual and the
collectivity in which he lives. Veracity, justice and honesty are universal and
not relative truths. If, for example, a religion obligates the individual to
observe fasts in a certain month and obligates the state to follow the principle
of consultation, enforce collective justice, establish prayers and promulgate a
certain penal code, then these are two aspects of the same reality. Both a state
and an individual must necessarily adopt it. If it is a truth that man on this
earth is a creation of the Almighty and one day he shall be held accountable in
front of Him for all his deeds then it is so for an individual as well as for a
state. It cannot be correct for one and incorrect for the other.
Similarly, there are leaders of some other parties who at
times openly and at times secretly try all what they can to dismember the state
of Pakistan and wish that it should be, God forbid, wiped out from the face of
the earth. Such horrible campaigns, obviously, are heinous crimes which no
Muslim can commit against his country. People who die in such a cause, according
to the Prophet (sws), die the death of Jāhiliyyah:
"A person who separated [himself] even slightly from the
political system of his country and died in this condition then he died in the
state of Jāhiliyyah." (Bukhārī , Kitāb -ul-Fitan)
Such ignorance, as we have mentioned earlier, cannot be
tolerated in an Islamic State. But apart from these parties, other political
parties, groups and clans of an Islamic State must, also, follow certain
principles and observe certain limits. To quote the Qur’ān:
"O Mankind! We have created you from a single [pair] of a
male and a female and divided you into nations and tribes that you might get to
know each other. The most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who fears
Him the most." (49:13)
The sociological principles of Islam which are so
compactly stated in the above verse need a lot of space for their explanation.
However, since some of their aspects do not concern the topic under discussion,
we shall briefly state the important points which are penitent to our topic.
The first thing on which the verse throws light is that
although mankind has been created from the same man and woman, yet the nearness
in blood relations, association with a country and its customs, common
collective needs, harmony in cultural traditions, conformity in behaviour and
mental tendencies, collaboration in achieving aims, common targets and many
other natural and instinctive needs and sociological requirements have divided
mankind into many groups and tribes and prevented them from living as a single
Secondly, the real aim behind this division is that
various people are able to show and express their characteristics and features
and are identified on their basis as separate groups, instead of being lost in
the vastness of a single group. Furthermore, if as a result of this
identification, some values exist in common then efforts should be made for
mutual cooperation and collaboration to achieve wider collective needs by
regarding these values as the principles for such an alliance.
Thirdly, these groups and clans should not become a means
for expressing arrogance, pride and vanity and an association with anyone of
them should not be regarded as a basis for a person to be on the right path and
should also not be regarded a standard for his nobility and righteousness
because the most honoured in the sight of Allah are those who fear Him the most
and observe the limits set by Him. If these groups instead of being a means of
expressing individuality start showing hostility and malice towards each other
then they shall not only be deprived of the very utility for which they were
actually created, but also become a source of harm and damage for the society.
If in an Islamic State, groups, clans and parties do not
exceed these limits and are strong and stable then they serve to check the
tyranny and oppression of the rulers and restrain their dictatorial tendencies.
They also nurture and nourish alternative leaderships for the country. They are
the fountainhead of power for those in authority and their existence ensures the
freedom of a society. Dictatorship and monarchy may not tolerate them, but the
political system based on consultation envisaged by Islam thoroughly relishes
their existence. Islam wants its followers to think and reflect and freely
express themselves both through individual and collective means. Though it
curtails this freedom, yet it does not totally prohibit it.
The Political System
Let us next analyze our political system. The
intellectuals of our society generally regard democracy as the ideal political
system. A vast majority of our religious and political leaders, scholars,
writers and journalists have been, as a mission, striving for the establishment
of a democratic order since the very birth of our country. Irrespective of the
conventional connotation of democracy, if we analyze it as a system in which the
affairs of state are run by the elected representatives of the people, who
conduct these affairs through the consultation and approval of the people,
remain in power as long as they enjoy the general support then it can be safely
said that though the Islamic form of government is an aristocrarcy based on the
piety and political acumen of the individuals which constitute it, yet the state
affairs in this form of government are also run in this manner.
The Qur’ān says: ‘The affairs of state of the believers
are run by their mutual consultation’ (42:38). Keeping in view linguistic
considerations, it is evident from this Qur’ānic injunction that a consensus or
majority opinion of the Muslims can in no way be overruled. The Qur’ān has not
said: ‘The believers are consulted in their affairs’, it has, on the contrary,
declared: ‘Their affairs of state are run by their mutual consultation’.
The style and pattern of the verse demands that an Islamic
government should be established through the consultation of the believers,
continue to exist on this basis and should cease to exist without it. It should
conduct its affairs, in all cases, on the basis of a concensus or majority
opinion of the believers.
In compliance with the above Qur’ānic injunction, the
Sunnah decreed by the Prophet (sws) is based on two principles: Firstly, Muslims
shall be consulted in the affairs of state through their leaders in whom they
profess confidence. Secondly, among the various parties or groups present in an
Islamic State, only that party shall assume its political authority which enjoys
the confidence of the majority.
It is evident from the above two principles that the real
essence of democracy definitely exists in an Islamic Political System, however,
there are certain evils present in the prevailing system of democracy, which are
contrary to the teachings of Islam.
The first evil in this system is that in the state
affairs, it bestows the final authority on the masses. On the contrary, the
basic principle on which Islam has based its political law is that in the
affairs of state God and his Prophet (sws) are the final authority. The head of
an Islamic state and even the members of the parliament have no right whatsoever
to have a ruling in matters decreed by the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The believers have
a right to disagree with those in authority and indeed also have the right to
ascertain the real purports of the Sharī’ah and discuss how to carry out the
directives of the Qur’ān and Sunnah, but they can have no disagreement with God
and His Prophet (sws). In fact, if such a situation arises even with those in
authority the decision must be made in the light of the Qur’ān and Sunnah: ‘If
you disagree among yourselves in any matter, refer it to God and the Prophet’
The second evil is that greed for an office in the
government has become so desirable a trait that even the pious feel no aversion
to it. It has now become a tradition for people to come forward and present
their names for various posts, go about proclaiming their qualities and services
in streets and employ other means to allure the public. In Islamic ethics, this
shameless attitude is not permissible at all. The Prophet is said to have said:
"Do not seek a post. If it is granted to you because of
your desire, you shall [find yourself being] handed over to it and if it is
granted to you without your desire, the Almighty shall help you." (Muslim, Kitāb
The third evil is that a general acknowledgement is given
to the fact that the people should vote for whatever is in the party’s interest,
even if their conscience considers it against the truth. Quite evidently, this
attitude cannot be tolerated in a religion which says that the whole Muslim
Ummah has been instituted to bear witness to the truth and whose followers have
pledged a covenant at the hands of the Prophet (sws) that they would always say
what is right disregarding ‘the reproaches of a reproached’.
The fourth evil is that money has become the decisive
factor in the election campaigns that take place in this system. Therefore, only
people who are able to spend lavishly in these campaigns, however little they
might know about Islam, however much they may lack in wisdom and intellect and
however low they may be in character, reach the parliament. Islam on the
contrary, as every one knows, stresses that only people who are pious and noble,
worthy and competent should assume political authority. It totally disapproves
that money should rule the realm of politics in place of intellect and morality.
These are the evils which plague a democratic order. In
their presence everything but Islam can be enforced in the country. The whole
set-up must be reformed and rehabilitated to achieve the supremacy of Islam. The
following steps, in our consideration, must be taken:
1. It should be very clearly written down in the
constitution of our country, that the Qur’ān and Sunnah shall be the Supreme law
of the state to which our parliament and constitution itself must submit.
2. For the interpretation of the Qur’ān and Sunnah a
committee of competent religious scholars should be instituted by an electoral
mandate of the parliament. This committee would be entrusted with the task of
ascertaining the implications and purport of the Qur’ān and Sunnah in the
collective affairs of life. It would also be assigned to formulate the rules for
legislation, and to determine the limits beyond which we, as Muslims, can never
exceed. After this the actual task of legislation should be done by the
parliament itself keeping in view these ascertained implications, rules and
limits. The following two principles should be clearly spelled out in the basic
code of this committee:
Firstly, all differences of opinion shall be resolved by a
majority vote. Anyone, within or outside the committee, who disagrees with its
final verdict will have all the freedom to rationally express his views,
wherever he likes and in whatever form he chooses. However, any protest, evasion
or refusal to obey it would be considered a criminal offense.
Secondly, the content of Islam is only that which is
endorsed by the Qur’ān and Sunnah, which also, incidentally, are the only two
sources of it. Whoever considers this to be so, shall only be considered
eligible for this committee.
3. The affairs of the state should be run by the
consultation of only those who establish regular prayers, and if eligible, pay
zakat to the Bayt-ul-Māl, and the only basis of their appointment in the Shūrah
(parliament) should be their wisdom and piety, intellect and sagacity which
distinguish them from others.
4. Those in authority (the ūl-ul-amr) should be obligated
that their standard of living must not exceed that of a common man, and to
always keep their doors open to the general masses.
5. In the general elections, the mode of proportionate
representation should be adopted so that instead of an individual, a party
presents itself to take charge over the affairs of state, and as a result of
which the parties, on the basis of the trust and support bestowed upon them by
the public, are able to nominate their pious and competent members for the
6. In the parliament, the tradition should be established
that instead of the party members voting only for their own party, should vote
for what they consider as right, abide by it and, in fact, take pride in it.
Also, no one should be allowed to forcibly convince them against something which
they consider as correct.
7. After the general elections the process of transfer of
power to the newly elected representatives should be delayed by at least six
months. During this interim period, all the members of the parliament should
undergo training in political affairs in an academy specifically instituted for
this purpose, just as in the present set up those selected for the civil
services are given a training in administrative affairs for a certain period
before they actually take charge of their duties.
The Economic System
Finally, we evaluate the economic set-up of our country. A
detailed analysis reveals that the whole system is founded on vice and evil.
The foremost evil in it is the institution of Banking
through which the whole nation’s wealth is rendered at the disposal of a few
individuals. In the guise of national development and stability, all the money
is actually used to satisfy the whims and lusts of a few capitalists. Banking,
on the one hand produces economic disparity and on the other, cripples the
national economy. While the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, a country
gets caught in a vicious circle of procuring external loans for its own
sustenance. It is because of the institution of Banking that a country has to
rely on money borrowed on interest from its own people through investment
certificates, prize bonds, rifle draws and other such alluring schemes for the
completion of its various welfare and commercial projects and for its
administration and defence.
The second evil is its system of taxation. The government
has an almost unlimited authority to impose whatever amount of tax whenever it
likes on the people while the rate of tax fixed once and for all by Allah and
His Prophet (sws) is not taken into consideration. As a result, it has become
almost impossible for people to honestly carry out business or pursue any other
economic activity. Every year the national budget is anticipated with dread and
fear. Every new tax decreases the credibility of the government and represses
the spirit of its people to come out and offer what they can if their country is
in need of their assistance.
The third evil is that the system does not uphold the
rightful claim of the workers to be granted both a basic salary and a share in
the net profit according to the extent of toil and labour put in. Although, the
industrial workers have been granted some other facilities besides their basic
salary, yet their share in the total profit has only been accepted
half-heartedly. The conditions of the land workers is even more pathetic. Their
share in the net profit is generally accepted but they are not given a basic
salary. They are neither employed on fixed working hours nor given other
facilities every industrial worker receives. In particular, the millions of
peasants which inhabit our villages live and die like slaves serving their
masters day and night throughout their lives.
The fourth evil in it is the total lack of acknowledgement
of the fact that every penny over and above a person’s needs does not belong to
him; the poor and the destitute are its rightful claimants. As a result, such
needy citizens have been deprived of this right and the whole system is unable
to provide them even with the basic necessities of life.
The fifth evil in it is the menace of large cities which
are actually large industrial centres. Instead of dividing the resources of
development into small units and providing all the citizens with equal
opportunities, these resources have been concentrated in a few areas which
receive development at the expense of others. Moreover, these large cities have
become perfect breeding places for criminals and have also accounted for the
disruption of our cultural traditions. Not to mention the fact that congestion
and pollution have deprived people of fresh and invigorating environments.
These are the major evils which plague our economic
set-up. They have, in fact, significantly contributed to the moral degeneration
and regression of the whole society. In our estimation, the following measures
must be undertaken to put this set-up in order:
1. All institutions which provide capital on loan should
be completely abolished, and all Banks should be converted into various branches
of the Bayt-ul-Māl where people can deposit their savings. These branches should
provide protection, exchange and other similar facilities. In return for this
service, the government should be allowed to spend the deposited money only in
the public sector upon industrial, commercial, agricultural and welfare
projects, with the precondition that without being given any profit on the
original amount, the depositers would be returned their money whenever they
2. The only form of absentee partnership permitted should
be that in which people can directly become shareholders in business projects of
the private or public sector.
3. Every economic venture which leads to moral misconduct
in the character of an individual, is a means of deceit or damage for the
parties involved, or is a cause of accumulation of wealth in the society should
be declared unlawful. Interest, insurance, gambling and hoarding should be
prohibited, and the law of inheritance should be correctly enforced.
4. To run the machinery of the state, the government
should be allowed to rely only on the income obtained from its lands,
industries, mineral reserves, trade and zakat. ‘Ushr should also be imposed upon
industrial produce. In emergency situations, however, an appeal for money can be
made by the government. Furthermore, no tax should be imposed on the people, so
that they are liberated from the shackles of this barbarity of the modern age.
5. In every economic enterprise which results from the
interaction of labour and capital, labour should be granted a share according to
its participation. Those working on the lands should also be given wages and be
entitled to all other facilities like the industrial workers.
6. It should be the responsibility of the state to provide
everyone with the basic necessities of life which include food, shelter,
clothing, education and medical treatment. Those at the helm of the state’s
affairs should always keep in mind the Almighty’s promise about all means and
resources that if the people in their national capacity hold steadfast to His
directives, He would bless them with immense prosperity and happiness.
7. All means and resources of development and progress
should be divided into small units to get rid of the menace of large cities.
8. If in the means of production, the rights of private
ownership result in injustice and usurpation, the state has all the authority to
interfere and debar a person from these rights, though, only after a court
pronounces this verdict.
9. To keep money in circulation, people should be urged to
spend it in the way of Allah and to refrain from accumulating it.
In the beginning of this article, we had stated a
two-dimension strategy for the promulgation of Islam in this country. After
elaborating on the first dimension ie, how to reform the factors which influence
a society, we now take up the other dimension ie, the priorities which must be
kept in consideration during this process of reformation.
The foremost thing in this regard is that those who
undertake this task should be aware of the reality of the religion they intend
to implement; they should have knowledge of its basic principles and the
fundamentals of its philosophy and wisdom; they should be well-versed with its
legal aspects, having an appreciation of its goals and objectives and the
strategy which must be adopted to achieve them.
Secondly, before practically commencing this task, they
should calmly analyze the extent of faith and determination they have for this
tall order. They should evaluate their own commitment to their religion: whether
their reason and intellect submit to it and they themselves have the will and
perseverance to fulfill all what it requires of them irrespective of the
consequences; whether they have the courage to remain steadfast on their mission
even if they have to risk their lives; whether they have the guts to fight a
lone battle for this cause if people desert them and do not submit to even a
small requirement of the religion they intend to implement and whether they have
the will to continue this struggle till their last drop of blood and their last
quantum of energy.
Thirdly, they should begin this implementation with their
ownselves by obeying the directives which pertain to them as rulers of an
Islamic State. Consequently, before asking their people to follow Islam, they
should take lead in complying with the Sunnah of the Prophet (sws) set for them
ie, (i) their standard of living should not exceed that of a common citizen,
(ii) their doors should always remain open to hear the grievances and problems
of the general public and (iii) the Friday prayers must be led by the head of
state in the federal capital and by his administrators in other cities.
Fourthly, they should make sure that the associates and
companions they select for this job are neither narrow-minded mullahs or the
equally narrow-minded westernized brand of intellectuals; nor are they those who
are unaware of Islamic teachings. They should, in fact, only be those who
consider only the Qur’ān and Sunnah as the source and basis of Islam and
whole-heartedly submit to their injunctions.
Fifthly, they should simultaneously start all the measures
we have mentioned above to reform the role of the factors which influence our
society, and without compromising in the slightest sense with the forces of evil
must strive their utmost to carry them out to completion.
Sixthly, they should only enforce the penal laws of Islam
after they have carried out all the prescribed measures needed to reform the
harmful role played by these factors. Furthermore, they should demolish the
present set up of the Executive and the Judiciary, and implement in its place a
new system. Under this system, the whole country should be divided into small
administrative units where all the problems of the general public should be
dealt with. They should also abolish the present gradations in the government,
and these administrative units should be first directly linked to the provinces
and then to the centre.
This is the strategy which, in our opinion, our rulers
should adopt with all the conviction of their hearts if they intend to implement
the Sharī’ah in Pakistan. In case they attempt to carry out this task, the
Almighty has promised to open His treasures for them from the heavens above and
the earth below:
"Had the people of these cities accepted faith and kept
from evil, We would have showered the blessings of the heavens and the earth
upon them." (7:96)
If our rulers have the privilege of fulfilling this task,
there is all the chance that just as in its early period, our Ummah would once
again be able to bear witness to the religion of truth upon other nations of the
world and there is all the liklihood that the Kingdom of God would be
established through their efforts on this earth as well.