Pakistan should remain as an ‘Islamic Republic’
by Raakin Iqbal
The elections now over, we going to see who is going to be bickering 1st on how the country function. Will it be the Mullah’s? Or will it be the Liberals? On one side, The Liberal force who believe that Pakistan should become into a secular state (much like India & U.S) and the Mullah’s who believe essentially Pakistan should become the next Saudi Arabia, if not harsher (attempt by Zia-Ul-Haq). It really comes down to what is more practical? What is the level of faith currently being practiced? If anything is wrong on both cases, how can we correct it?
As a guy who works in the entertainment industry and works out ways to how Pakistani Music can be further revolutionized and become a true element in the World Genre category, you may find it at surprising. But I prefer Pakistan to remain as an ‘Islamic Republic’. Currently if, you ask anyone their opinion about the right wing or even the Mullah’s, they will say to you that they have ruined the country [paraphrasing] which I do agree with. However, we can all agree that some of these guys [some crazy mullah’s] probably hold a ‘Jahali’ [Fake] degree in Islam/Quran/Islamic Culture Ideologies. But with the current events taking place (radicalization, etc…) clearly their school of thought is compromised and questionable, which leads me to cite the following verse from the Noble Quran:
“Obey your Allah and your messenger and who have authority. But if they differ, go back to Allah and the Prophet. But if teachings differ. Then go back to the Quran and the Hadiths.”
– Holy Quran, Surah Nisaa (Chap 4 v.459)
If we take a moment and follow the fundamental rights given to Muslims from the Holy Quran, a lot of the rights that are not followed and are fact a birthright to the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The interesting fact is these same rights (decent majority) are as well listed in the Pakistani Constitution.
The Human Rights Watch published in 2012, “Pakistan had a disastrous year in 2011…” (Human Rights Watch). Other than the occasional “Islamic” Militant attacks, you have current ethnicities such as the Shia, Christians and Ahmadiyya who are targeted by such hate groups. Certain groups have no rights at all such as freely practice religion, take part in a government office, etc… But we can’t just BLAME the militant’s on such hateful crimes against Islam, but also hold the government accountable for not following their own constitution. In the Noble Quran & Pakistani Constitution it states:
Noble Qur’an: “O Mankind: We created you from a male and a female; and made you into tribes and nations that you may get to know each other. And verily, most honored before God is the most virtuous.” – Qur’an English Translation [49:13]
And verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore fear Me (and no other). But people have cut off their affair (of unity), between them, into sects: each party rejoices in that which is with itself. But leave them in their confused ignorance for a time. – Qur’an English Translation [23:52-54]
Pakistani Constitution: “Equality of citizens” (Article 25)
“Non-discrimination in respect of access to public place” (Article 26)
“The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services” (Article 36)
An Islamic State would have to follow what Islam clearly states. As clearly stated above, the Holy Quran delivers the clear message that people are made equal in Allah (S.W.T) eyes. One’s true test of character is not decided by what “tribe or ethnicity” but rather how virtuous and pious the individual is. Islam stresses the point that all of the God fearing believers of this world are a part of a single brotherhood (unisex). Along with the minority, you also have women rights.
As the Western Media continues to tarnish the true representation of our beloved faith, women rights and choice of freedom is referenced in the Noble Quran and the Hadith’s. A Pakistani Islamic State would give the rights to women in all social aspects such as marriage, choice, inheritance, role of citizenship, education and the list continues. A lot of these rights are not either exercised by women in Pakistan or are withheld by the men due to the culture that has been around for only Allah knows.
I want to point you towards some key points that will help you understand that fact that men and women according to the Holy Quran are equal.
“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” [Noble Quran 2:228]
Currently, there are countless reports of women treated unfairly, violence, rape, traffic, and other forms of domestic violence (i.e. as we see in a lot of Pakistani Dramas). If Pakistan is going to be a true Islamic State and one of the key factors comes towards women rights, then I shall cite the following:
“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” [Noble Quran 4:19]
One of the key question that arises on what rights should women have in an Islamic State when it comes to clothing. As everyone is most well aware of the following passage:
Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is acquainted with all that they do. And say that the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.
—Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 30-31, Holy Quran
Though the Noble Quran clearly states that Women should be dress modestly, we cannot ignore what the Hadith’s which state:
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: “Aisha used to say: ‘When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils (Khumur) over their necks and bosoms(juyyub),” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces'”
– Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:282, 32:4091
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: “I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubay ibn Ka’b used to ask me about it. Allah’s Apostle became the bridegroom of Zaynab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Allah’s Apostle remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Allah’s Apostle got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon the Prophet hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.”
– Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:65:375, Sabhih Muslim, 8:3334
Does that mean that it should be mandatory in an Islamic Republic that a woman should be covered to accordance what the Hadith’s state? Not necessarily, a true Islamic Republic would give the option to women in what choice of dressing they desire. Certain Women realize that what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state were only revealed truly benefits them. But, the reason why I state that is the Holy Quran is very much clear on punishments of the choices we make (general context) and should be ready to account for them to when Allah (SWT) feels it’s time. In the matter of clothing for example, if one decided to wear the something reveling and go to the market, just know what the social/cultural reprocaustions that may occur and the possible attention (God forbid) you maybe attracting:
“And had Allâh willed, He could have made you (all) one nation, but He sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. But you shall certainly be called to account for what you used to do.” [Qur’an 16:93]
Education for women is an important must! Khadeeja, was a successful businesswoman in her own right. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) often said:
– “Acquisition of knowledge is binding on all Muslims, male and female.”
– “The person who goes forth in search of knowledge is striving hard in the way of Allah, until his/her return.
In an Islamic Republic, Women would be treated as equals and also have access to education channels. The problem is that a lot of people who are on both sides of the spectrum fail to see all of what is a birthright to the citizen of this Islamic Republic.
On August 14th, 2011, Mr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais posted an opinion piece for the Express Tribune stating that ‘Pakistan had stepped away from Jinnah’s Vision of Pakistan’. This has been a very common cry amongst progressives. He says in the article, “In a nutshell, he [Jinnah] wanted citizenship not religion as the founding principle of the new state” (Rais). However, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Rais on the notion that Jinnah did want have a state for the Muslim Majority and provide equal rights to the minorities as clearly stated in the Holy Quran as founding principles. Jinnah mentioned it numerous times in his speeches that ‘Islam’ would be the bases of morals and laws of the founding state. In a speech given on the 25th of August 1947, he talked of securing “liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam”. Another key historical event to be recalled is when he called upon the mammoth Lahore audience and said, “Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam”, to “live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory”, adding, “If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours” (30 October 1947). As how liberal Jinnah is stamped upon, Jinnah was an educated man and having one of the greatest poets/philosophers, Allama Iqbal, on this side, Jinnah new the very founding principles that Muslims and minorities deserve rights to what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state.
An Islamic Republic should consider certain practices by the Caliph’s as a way of true leadership. A great example of one of the many true leaders of not just faith but also true statesmen is Hazrath Umer (May Allah Be Please and Bless Him). In order to prevent corruption, he paid his statesmen, police, justice, etc… not double but tripled their salaries. If the members of your governing and enforcement body are well compensated, it gives them a sense of purpose to construct and enforce the rule of the land. The people who had an obligation and duty to keep the growing Islamic Republic were well compensated and needs were met (providing for family, livable conditions, etc…) and they did not have to resort to any foul practices.
This particular practice can be seen in countries who are ranked the least corrupt nations. According to the 2012 Corruption Projection Index, Denmark received the highest score in the least amount of corruption. The Median Monthly Disposable Salary is 18,000 kr and the average cost of living (Food, Living, Utilities, Transportation) is about 8,000 kr. The Average salary is about $12,000
Our Islamic Republic would take a page of history (and many other that do not conflict with foundation of the Holy Quran and Hadith) and apply it to the real world. Currently the Police is one of the many establishments that looked down upon, easy sells and in certain areas, just lazy. It’s sad and a frightening thought that these guys duties is to protect us and you can get out of a speeding ticket by offering them a Klondike Bar (sarcasm)?
Another interesting thing that Hazrath Umer did to keep the balance between regulations and the people was to create a Council that allowed people to file corruption cases against officials (knowing that witnesses were being provided). This was the moment that people also had a share in giving feedback to on Hazrath Umer’s officials were behaving and Hazrath Umer himself would preside over that. Yet again, these are very much the practices that the current Islamic Republic of Pakistan are not following and the results are clearly showing.
Because of the way, how the faith is interpreted by a lot of the religious parties. It has created a very bad taste and people are now stating to wonder how would Pakistan be faith did not exist in certain elements or at least there is a separation of ‘Mosque’ and State. At times mistakenly defining it as ‘Jinnah’s Vision’. If practices were to followed and matched to what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state, then it gives the freedom and practice on how Pakistan can stay true Islamic Republic and the people have the choices [Freedom] to how they live their lives within the boundaries of what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state. When it comes to Sharia, A lot of grey area leading room for wrong interoperation. Factors such as time must be taken in account when a punishment is to be assigned. My personal feeling has been that we can go into exact details of what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s say what is right and what is wrong. However, what must be kept in mind is Pakistan would not be an Islamic State without any minorities. The very rules that establish our basic rights should come from the Noble Quran and Hadith’s. Had Pakistan been founded as a theocracy (of some what) like Saudi Arabia, then this entire blog post would be thrown out. However, as Jinnah’s true vision of this Great Islamic Republic of Pakistan was,
“The creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play” (11 October 1947).
Those rights granted to us from the Noble Quran and authentic Hadith’s.