Daily Archives: July 31, 2010

Forging Faith and Freedom – Iqbal and Jinnah

AA Khalid has written this thoughtful article for PTH

Pakistan has been unfortunate that two of its founding fathers Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal died before the country were properly on its feet. Iqbal died years before he saw Pakistan come alive and Jinnah died in its infancy. Their deaths represent more than just their earthly demise; it represents the death of their ideas in the public sphere of Pakistan.

Every nation has a series of figures and architects of the country that leaves behind an intellectual legacy about the type of ideas they wish to see flourish in their new nation. With Pakistan this has not happened, from the earliest days of its existence there has been a vacuum with the political and indeed religious discourse. What does Pakistan stand for, and what is our identity? What are our ideals and how can we implement them? These ideas provide the social and psychological bedrock for the type of democratic discourse which flourishes in a country, but due to their absence from the marketplace of ideas there is a noticeable vacuum.

If Pakistan is an ‘’Islamic Republic’’ then it must learn to balance these two concepts and learn to forge faith and freedom, and this can be done by revisiting the intellectual and political legacies of Mr Jinnah and Iqbal. Whilst Mr. Jinnah was an exponent of liberalism, appreciating minority rights, democracy and tolerance, Iqbal on the flip side of this very same coin of liberalism was a humanist and a religious man. Iqbal clearly thought a synthesis of the republican spirit (as he put it) and religious sensibilities of a Muslim nation can be achieved (as he cited Turkey many a time). If Pakistan is to be an ”Islamic Republic”, it must learn to develop a republican based religiosity, a religiosity based on tolerance, rationality and democratic contestation. Continue reading

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