Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim

Part 2

By Adnan Syed

This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal Islamic state.

Originally planned as a two part series, I decided to split it to three parts due to the sheer volume of information in interviews in the Munir-Kiyani Report.

 (AZW)

 

SOVEREIGNTY AND DEMOCRACY IN ISLAMIC STATE

Munir-Kiyani report was one of the first studies into the contradictory stance taken by framers of the Objectives Resolution. The report pointed out that the Resolution misused the words “sovereign” and “democracy” when the Resolution stated that the constitution to be framed was “for a sovereign state in which principles of democracy as enunciated by Islam would be fully observed”.

Problem is, when a country is sovereign, its people or any group of people are fully entitled to conduct their affairs any way they like and “untrammelled by any consideration except those of expediency and policy. Absolute restriction on the legislative power of a state is a restriction on the sovereignty of the people”.

Islamic state, in that sense cannot be sovereign, “because it will not be competent to abrogate, repeal or do away with any law in the Quran or the Sunnah”. Importantly, if the Islamic state legislature is a sort of “ijma”, masses would be precluded from that group because “ijma-e-ummat in Islamic jurisprudence is restricted to ulama and mujtahids of acknowledged status and does not at all extend, as in democracy, to the populace”.

When this question was put in front of various religious leaders, the following replies were made. Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Pakistan leader Maulana Hasanat and Syed Ata-ullah-Shah Bukhari said that the religion (din) was complete and nothing else was required. Bukhari even went on to say that any more laws would constitute kufr (way of the unbelievers). Moudoudi however proposed an idea of Majlis-e-Shura (the council of advisors) to deal with matters not covered in Quran and Sunnah. Moudoudi did not supply any further written material regarding his ideas of the Shura, the status of this body (whether it was a standing body or it had any legal or binding force etc.). No further explanation was given to reconcile Moudoudi’s stance that was drastically different from the two gentlemen before him, and almost constituted kufr according to one of them.

 

POSITION OF NON MUSLIMS IN AN ISLAMIC STATE

The religious leaders were almost clear that the position of non Muslims in the Islamic state of Pakistan would be that of zimmies and they will neither be full citizens of Pakistan, nor they would have the same rights as the regular Muslims. Maulana Hasnat went on to say that:

“Their position will that of zimmies. They will have no voice in the making of laws, no right to administer the law and no right to hold public offices”.

Mian Muhammad Tufail of Jamaat-e-Islami (who died in June 2009) stated that “I do not acknowledge these rights (of minorities) for the Christians or other non-Muslims in Pakistan if the state is founded on the ideology of the Jamaat”.

However, another alim, President of Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni had his own ideas about the status of non Muslims in Pakistan. When asked if he had read Quaid’s August 11 speech that spelled out equal rights for the minorities (in a sense Quaid discarded the idea of minorities by proclaiming that everyone was first and foremost a Pakistani). Mr. Badayuni stated that all communities (Muslims or not) should have, according to their population, proper representation in the administration of state and legislation”. But in his opinion, non Muslims cannot be taken in the army, judiciary or be appointed as ministers.

He also stated that non Muslims in an Islamic state are not zimmies (since zimmies only belong to a land conquered by the Muslims), but are “mu-ahids”, people with whom some agreement is made.

All of this contradictory talk of non Muslims’ rights led the learned justices to a very fundamental question:

Just what makes any one a Muslim?

THE DEFINITION OF A MUSLIM

It was a simple question asked by Justice Munir and Kiyani to the learned alims of the new state of Pakistan. The question was simply “please define a Musalman”.

Maulana Hasnat Qadri (Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan): “He must believe in the unity of God, must believe in the prophet of Islam to be a true prophet, believe in the Holy Prophet as the last of the prophets, believe in Quran, believe as binding the injunctions of the Prophet, must believe in Qiyamat (the day of judgement)”.

Maulana Muhammad Ali (President, Jamiat-e-Ulama-i-Pakistan): “Muslim believes in the Quran and what has been said by the prophet. Nothing more is required to be believed or needed to be done”.

Maulana Moudoudi: “Muslim believes in tauheed, all the prophets, all the books revealed by God, angels and the Day of Judgement….Any alteration in any one of these (five) articles will take him out of the pale of Islam”

Ghazi Siraj-uddin Munir: “A Muslim believes in the kalmia….and leads a life in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet”.

Mufti Muhammad Idris, Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore: “There is a distinction between the (Persian word) Musalman and the word “Momin”….It requires pages and pages to describe what momin is. A person is a Muslim who professes to be obedient to Allah. He believes in the Unity of God, prophethood of the Prophets and in the Day of Judgement. A person who does not believe in azan (call for the prayer) or in qurbani (sacrifice) goes outside the pale of Islam”.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Kandhalvi, Darush-Shahabia, Sialkot:  “A person who in obedience to the commands of the prophet performs all the zarooriyat-i-din (religious requirements) is a Musalman. Zarooriyat-i-din are those requirements which are known to every Muslim irrespective of his religious knowledge.”

Maulana Ahsan Islahi went on to say there are two kinds of Musalmans; political Muslims and real Muslims. A political Muslim had to fulfil 10 basic requirements and he could be a Muslim citizen of an Islamic state. The real Muslim needed to “believe in and act on all the injunctions by Allah and his prophet in the manner in which they have been enjoined upon him”.

 The above were just a few, but not all of the interviews conducted by Justice Munir and Kiyani. The justices ended this section with those memorable words: Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulama, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulama, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but kafirs according to the definition of everyone else”.

Today, the religious zealots hunt the non Muslims on the streets of Pakistan, whether these “non-Muslims” are Shias, Ismailis, Ahmadis or any other sect that is considered outside the pale of Islam and fit to be killed. The warning signs were all there, right in the pages of the Munir-Kiyani Report as one after another alim, told a story of a violent religious reality that the new Islamic state would entail.

Not only the ulama had clear designs about the non Muslims, they also had violent religious warfare ideals that an Islamic state would engage in against the infidels. The seeds of a chaotic Pakistan that would suffer under incessant religiously mandated militancy were sown way back in the fiery speeches of the ulamas right after the creation of Pakistan. The religious right were looking to oust the Ahmadis first from the pale of Islam, before they can turn their attention towards turning Pakistan into a premier Islamic state.

Sunday: Punishment for apostasy and the concept of Jihad by an Islamic State

46 Comments

Filed under Islam, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Partition, Punjab, Rights

46 responses to “Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim

  1. Amaar

    We have been bitten by these snakes and the poison feels unbearable now!

  2. Bin Ismail

    Religion, primarily deals with matters of faith and spiritually guides man towards his Maker. When we talk about the concept of an “Islamic State”, we are examining a state that is governed by an authority acceptable to the majority of its citizens as both the Chief Spiritual Guide as well as the Chief Executive in worldly matters. This was possible during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, after he migrated to Madina because he was, by virtue of his spiritual status, the Final Interpreter in all matters of religion, for the majority of the dwellers of Madina, who were Muslims. Regarding the domain of worldly affairs, the Muslim and non-Muslim citizens of the State of Madina, both, through the Charter of Madina, accepted the Holy Prophet as the Chief Executive, Chief Judge and Chief Arbiter. So it came to be a spiritual guide was assigned the additional responsibility of statecraft. After the demise of the Prophet, his successors were handed over both these spheres of responsibilities. With the death of Ali, came the death of the institution of Khilafat in Islam, and since this Khilafat was a combination of spiritual and temporal leaderships, the Islamic State also died with him. The dynasties that succeeded Ali, were merely a series of mundane rulers, who did not even come close to qualifying as spiritual guides. The “State” lived on but the “Islamic State” was no more.

    A comparison between the situation around the last days of Ali and today, reveals to us that an “Islamic State” is not even hypothetically possible now. During the Khilafat Rashida, there were no sects among Muslims. Today there are more than seventy. During the Khilafat Rashida, there was only one interpretation of Religion, the one issued or endorsed by the Khalifa. Today, there are more than seventy. We are talking about more than seventy interpretation on each issue. No sane person could even imagine drawing the potential of this dissent into the business of the state and government and yet expect the state to survive.

  3. Amaar

    @bin Ismail

    Very true. But during khilafat i rashida, we had those khwaraj whose slogan was ‘ta’at lillah wal amru shura bainana’ (obedience to Allah and principle of consultation). Rejecting khilafat, this group carried out murders and assassinations of Sahaba ruthlessly. Even the assassin of Ali was a hafiz-i-Quran Ibn Muljam and the attack too was within a mosque.

    For all practical purposes this group was the first terrorist ‘Islamic’ group. IMO, Taliban and AlQaida are the progeny of the Khwaraj. JI and JUI types are also their pupils. God save us from these modern day Khwaraj.

  4. Ahsan

    Islam as I know is justice and absolute justice. Keeping in mind the opinions of some learneds that a non-muslim cannot be an equal citizen of an ‘Islamic’ state, I wonder, with due respect, this is a serious negation of the concept of equality. Islam to me greatly emphasize on merit and ability.

    If a person is able and meritorious he deserves the highest rank. He can be a minister, army officer, Chief Justice and yes President or Prime minister.
    and
    This would be exactly Islamic!

  5. Yasir Qadeer

    Until you limit religion to your personal life, its fine but when religion is tool which you apply on economics and politics that is where it becomes complicated. The whole world does not run on our standards and we need to understand that.

  6. Amna Zaman

    The trust deficit between the government and people needs to be addressed here. Islam is a moderate religion and the true teachings need to be promoted to finish wipe out the distorted ones.

  7. Hira Mir

    Education is the right of every citizen. We must press to support such ideas in which citizens are provided with standard education that will give them International recognition.

  8. Bin Ismail

    When it comes to defining a Muslim, one wonders could anyone ever have greater insight into this definition than the Holy Prophet himself. Does anyone enjoy greater authority than the Founder of Islam himself, in relation to defining the term “Muslim”? When the first census in Madina took place, during the lifetime of the Prophet, someone inquired from him, who should be counted as a Muslim. The Prophet’s reply was simple: “Write down for me the names of all those who call themselves Muslim”.

  9. ramesh

    why the necessity of the outward or the visible criteria required to be called a”muslim”and not the inward or the spritual state of ones mind,which could be different from one showing the required outward look.this is only necessory to rule and subjugate the ‘ following’.only the’worldly’reqirement’to be a muslim and not the godly.that is why it is essential to keep the two seperate and not one

  10. AA khalid

    Very interesting and worthwhile articles.

    I do think however, we should also start a series of articles like the present one initiated by Adnan Syed, known as the ”Religious Left”.

    Present the writings and thought of other liberal Muslim intellectuals, scholars and thinkers.

    A series of posts on the liberal political theology that other religious intellectuals and thinkers have presented.

  11. @A. A. Khalid

    Unfortunately, it would seem that there is no choice. Unless such a stance is clearly articulated by the ‘Religious Left’ as you have called them, their position will go unexplained and undefended by default.

  12. AA khalid

    @ Vajra

    Yes I think we should present an alternative religious discourse. I think I will try and start an equivalent series presenting liberal religious thought. I liked the format Adnan used which was to use direct quotes.

    That I think is an accessible and easy form of presentation, but it takes a lot of research and hence time. But I think it is necessary as you said to present an alternative.

  13. AA khalid

    I think the fundamental crux and problem with this imagined ”Islamic” state which is really a clerical sharade with the singular imposition of a particular interpretation of Islamic Law (which goes against the juristic tradition, hence one should argue that these movements are not ”orthodox” but wholly modern manifestations which are reacting to these modern conceptions of the nation state and modern legislation, as they feel their spheres of authority are being eroded by democratic discourse).

    It is also the absolute disregard for human agency (free will) and rationality. Furthermore it undermines the egalitarian teachings of a singular but diverse humanity which share common values.

    The real problem however, is that this religious right does not recognize any form or conception of a common civic identity, i.e. the crucial lesson of citizenship. A form of membership which transcends but does not disregard other identities of a religious or ethnic nature. We need a common civic identity, which is wholly inclusive.

  14. @A. A. Khalid

    I tried to write what comes out below cautiously and without committing myself to a theistic position, which I don’t hold, to be honest.

    Nothing worked. It seems that to express the thing in direct terms is the only way.

    There is a lot of material already, much of it contributed by you and Bin Ismail, others as well. It quite conclusively offers a platform for observant liberals to support democracy.

    The format you liked was quite effectively deployed by Adnan and many of us will look forward to it, once you have carefully drafted your platform.

    There will be those of us who are encouraged at the possibility of the broadening of the liberal front in Pakistan herself that might ensue. There will be others who will examine it carefully to see if its generic stand will be useful to observants of other religions, who sometimes feel excluded in these discussions by their personal discomfort with what they perceive as a sterile secularism which fails to take a genuine personal faith into consideration or to reconcile faith with civic duty.

    It should be interesting. Do however invest in a steel helmet even as you write.

  15. YLH

    “religious left”

    In Pakistan after Qazilbash Waqf v. Chief Land Commissioner PLD 1990 SC 99, there is no scope for religious left.

  16. Raju Brother

    What constitutes a true Muslim?

    Either some abstract concept is pre-defined by the founder, discoverer, inventor, in no uncertain terms; or it will never be definable. Everybody would have his own subjective view on it, and all those views would be understandable.

    In fact the question is all the more absurd, because it asks not what constitutes a Muslim, but rather what constitutes a ‘true’ Muslim, as if there are grades of being Muslim, and not just different shades of being Muslim.

    The portrayal of the question as one of grades and not shades presupposes, that in the midst of such diversity of sects, of opinion in Islam, one is supposed to not only categorize shades, but also one has to assign every shade a grade. Why would any shade accept for itself a lower grade?! As the Muslims lack a singular earthly representative of Allah on earth, there is no way that question will be answered. So why pose an unanswerable question?

  17. asterisk

    bin ismail writes:

    “The Prophet’s reply was simple: “Write down for me the names of all those who call themselves Muslim”.”

    The muslim terrorists, dictators, killers, rote-learners, talibani teachers/mulhs etc. they all expressly call themselves muslims.

    So what’s your way out now?

  18. Amaar

    @asterisk

    These people would also be technically ‘Muslim’ at least in name if not in spirit. The right of someone to associate himself to Islam stands regardless of his misdeeds. Just as Hitler was a ‘Christian’ and those mobs who killed Muslim migrants by their millions in 1947 were ‘Hindu’.

  19. Bin Ismail

    In the opening chapter of the Quran, Surah Fatiha, God introduces Himself as “Maalik-e yaumid deen” meaning ‘Master of the Day of Judgement’. This is one of the principal attributes of God as revealed in the Quran. Man has been reminded that God and God alone, will judge people’s state of belief and action – no one else.

    God also says in the Quran: “And do not say to anyone, who even says ‘salam’ to you, ‘you are not a believer’ ” [Quran 4:94]. Thus has God shut the door to suspicion regarding someone’s being or not being a believer. A mere pronouncement of “salam” or salutation of peace should quell all curiosities regarding the state of belief or disbelief of the pronouncer.

    During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, whenever someone accepted Islam, he would simply declare “laa ilaaha illallaah Muhammadur rasoolullah”, meaning ‘there is none worthy of worship except Allah – Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. This brief statement which takes less than ten seconds to deliver was all that it took and the person was considered by all as a Muslim.

    The Holy Prophet, the founder of Islam, himself defined a Muslim in the following words: “He who offers salat (prayers) the way we do, faces in the direction of our Qibla (Kaaba) and partakes of animals sacrificed by us, is indeed a Muslim – such as is guaranteed by Allah and His messenger.” [ref: Bukhari & Muslim].

    Thus from many angles, God and His messenger have on one hand set very simple and uncomplicated standards for defining a “Muslim” while on the other discouraged suspicion, leaving the final judgement with God.

  20. tilsim1

    @ Adnan Syed

    This is an excellent and informative article. Thank you.

    The status of non-muslims in an Islamic state is problematic. Mullahs have no problem with non-muslims being regarded as second class citizens but muslims like me do. Many mullahs would be the first ones to complain about perceived second class treatment of muslims in say Switzerland etc because they can’t have mosques with minarets.

    Frankly this part of Islam needs ijtihad now that we have nation states, not tribal culture and laws.

  21. Nasir

    mullahs are the worst beasts on Allahs earth – and the paki mullah is the worst of all mullahs

  22. Raju Brother

    Amaar wrote:

    These people would also be technically ‘Muslim’ at least in name if not in spirit. The right of someone to associate himself to Islam stands regardless of his misdeeds. Just as Hitler was a ‘Christian’ and those mobs who killed Muslim migrants by their millions in 1947 were ‘Hindu’.

    This argument just does not hold.

    A person can be of any religion and commit a crime. Nobody says that a crime is because his religion, unless, the criminal himself invokes his religious affiliation as motivation and justifies the crime in religious terms.

    Hitler invoked the ‘Aryan Race’ as his justification, not his Christianity. He was in war with other Chrisitians.

    As far as Partition is concerned, the killings that occurred were between two communities which identified themselves differently, whose tribal interests were in conflict, and much of it were revenge killings.

    The hatred and brutality that were shown could have been built up by religious propaganda, but the catalyst for the killings was not religion, but rather greed and revenge, even as we know that the situation was created because of the demand for a religion-based Partition.

    Not every crime committed by some Muslim automatically makes him Al Qaeda. But if he commits some crime citing some religious duty or through his past associations it can be proved that he considered himself as working for some religious cause, then the epithet of ‘religious extremism‘ would indeed by apt.

    If a substantial number of people of that religion are also of the opinion, that the crime was indeed sanctioned by the religion, then the religion is also to be blamed.

  23. AZW

    AA Khalid:

    It is also the absolute disregard for human agency (free will) and rationality. Furthermore it undermines the egalitarian teachings of a singular but diverse humanity which share common values.
    The real problem however, is that this religious right does not recognize any form or conception of a common civic identity, i.e. the crucial lesson of citizenship. A form of membership which transcends but does not disregard other identities of a religious or ethnic nature. We need a common civic identity, which is wholly inclusive.

    It would be great to read about the endangered species called the religious Islamic left wing and what are their views on the political system, constitutions and the citizens of a nation, Muslim or not.

    For the past 1,000 years, Islamic world has been leaning towards a right wing political Islam ideology that frowns at human reasoning by terming it inherently mistake-prone. To chase a utopian world of black and white good vs. bad, this group led by the likes of Tamiyya, Ghazali of the old, and Afghani, Moudoudi and Qutub of the modern world has successfully crushed any sort of Islamic revivalist movement. I would think any revivalist movement is in the lines of what Mutazzalites followed some 1,000 years ago in Damascus and Baghdad. Would that be correct?

    From a previous thread, I understand that you favour a softer religiously-hued secularism. I have mixed thoughts on this front. The left wing religious school of thought, according to my understanding is more humanist in its outlook. I am however not sure if political systems need a preference of left wing versus right wing Islam, or that the extreme right wing philosophy of the religious organizations in Pakistan need to be fought by a left wing/humane interpretation of Islam. Because when we start using religion as a backdrop for our political system, extreme religious bigots will have a platform to always impose themselves on the system.

    Do we really need a modern Islamic revivalist movement on the political front? Maybe a 1,000 years ago the Islamic world needed that left vs. right wing religious debate. Maybe 300 years ago, Europe needed a gradual evolution towards secularism through a softer version of Christianity. But world has grown quite far ahead of those initial evolutionary phases. Political secularism guarantees religious freedom, but the western political system does not try to sustain itself from a softer version of religion. Why should we try to reinvent the wheel today?

  24. Bin Ismail

    @ Raju Brother (August 28, 2010 at 2:41 am)

    Amaar’s comment does not appear to be aimed at initiating a debate on either the communal rights of ’47 or Hitler’s nazism. Apparently, the point he’s making is that regardless of conduct, it is not the right or even within the scope of other mortals to declare anyone a non-Muslim, non-Christian, non-Hindu or whatever.

    If someone claims to be a Muslim, Christian or Hindu, the society is obliged to recognize his religious identity, as claimed, whether or not his actions correspond to the teachings of that faith.

  25. ramesh

    this can not be left to the evolutionary forces,as not much has changed in the last 1000 yrs,thanks to the mullahs and the clerics,who have held on to the hard and fast side of it.no ijtihad,hardly any tasavuf,only intence intolerent jihad is preached.hence we see arabization of all things and thoughts.it is high time some reinterpretation in the light of the culture and character of the land is undertaken,and the softer,secular and humane side revealed

  26. Tilsim

    @AZW
    Political secularism guarantees religious freedom, but the western political system does not try to sustain itself from a softer version of religion. Why should we try to reinvent the wheel today?

    I am in favour of this but I think the objective ground realities in Pakistan need to be considered. Elsewhere Bin Ismail and I have discussed that the Objective Resolution in Pakistan needs to be modified or abandoned for a secular polity to come about. This seems an impossible objective in the short term.

    The trend is strongly in the opposite direction towards an Islamist state where all laws are derived from Koran and Sunnah as interpreted by a medieval mindset. That is why I think AA Khalid’s advocacy of religious liberalism and reform is a line of thought that will have greater resonance in society.

    That said, we should definitely continue to educate people about the benefits of a secular polity for all a country’s citizens and remind people of the problems that Islamism has brought to Pakistan.

  27. Raju Brother

    Bin Ismail wrote:

    Apparently, the point he’s making is that regardless of conduct, it is not the right or even within the scope of other mortals to declare anyone a non-Muslim, non-Christian, non-Hindu or whatever.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  28. asterisk

    There are religions which wish to dominate over mankind as a whole. And there are religions which have only local or tribal significance.

    The type one religions will always be a source of big trouble, especially because religions are by nature irrational and anti-scientific. This causes them to become arrogant.
    As soon as a religion acquires a large demographic strength it becomes a nuisance.

  29. Pingback: Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim - BlogOn.pk

  30. Bilal Ahmad

    1953 judicial commission report is very important document of our history. If it had been based for some strong decisions then, we would never had the chaotic state of affairs that we have today. It does give glimpse of situation if any of the religious political parties comes into power.

  31. Sameer

    I do not understand how did justice came to conclusion that no ulema agreed with each other on definition of Muslim. From the article, it seemed, that definition of Muslim is same according to all ulema. Only vocabulary used to define Muslim is different

  32. Bin Ismail

    @ Sameer (August 29, 2010 at 12:58 am)

    You may like to read the report of the Munir-Kiyani Commission in full. The fact is that there was a complete absence of unanimity among the ulema, on the definition of the term “Muslim”.

  33. AZW

    Sameer:

    The criteria of Tauheed and the prophethood of the Holy Prophet is same, the additional criterion varies for various religious leaders, who appeared in front of the inquiry commission. For one (Maulana Muhammad Ali), tauheed and the life in the steps of prophets was fine. Nothing else was needed to be called a Muslim. The other (Maulana Hasanat Muhammad Ahmad Qadri) however said that it was imperative that the Holy Prophet be considered the last of the prophet. Notice that Ahmadis are Muslims by the first gentleman’s criteria, but are suspected non Muslims by the latter one.

    Moudoudi himself was saying to the Justice Munir and Kiyani that a person is a Muslim if he believes in tauheed, prophets, all the books, angels and the Day of Judgement. When he was specifically asked if a person was following the five criteria, does anyone has any right to call him a non Muslim (obvious reference to the Ahmadi sect). Moudoudi’s reply was “The five requisites that I have mentioned above are fundamental and any alteration in anyone of these articles will take him out of the pale of Islam”.

    (By the way, the concept of angels is another interesting addition to the mix as many Muslims believe in metaphors when it comes to djinns or angels (like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan). However, Moudoudi not only forgot to add the criterion of Holy Prophet being the last, he explicitly added belief in angels to the mix of being considered a Muslim as well).

    Hafiz Kifayat Hussein however added zarooriyat-e-din to the three basic doctrines (tauheed, nabuwwat (prophethood) and Qiyamat (the Day of Judgement) to the mix, and put them obligatory for a Muslim. He said the list was too long but counted prayers, fasting and Hajj among the necessary zarooriyat-e-din for a Muslim, along with many others that he hinted at. The judges were probably deducing that a person is Muslim by the definition of Moudoudi, but if that person is not fasting or praying (or following the long list of zarooriyat-e-din), is not a Muslim by Kifayat Hussain’s criteria.

    And last but not the least was the definition by Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Rabwah: his written reply regarding the definition of a Muslim is a person who belongs to the ummat of the Holy Prophet and professes kalma-e-tayyaba.

    But his definition is obviously not enough if we are to go by the definitions of Kifayat Hussain or of that of Ahsan Islahi, whose requisites were specifically a lot higher than what Maulana Muhammad Ali or Sadr, Anjuman Ahmadiyya were looking for.

  34. Bilal Ahmad

    I see many commentators are trying to highlight commonalities among different definitions produced by ulema to 1953 commission. But if learnt judges of federal courts were categorical in their assertion that if they took any definition from any ulema, they remain Muslim for that alim but for all others they become Non-Muslim, then how can today we can prove the their was consensus among ulema for definition of a Muslim.
    The fact is that disturbance of 1953 had three basic demands
    1. Ahmadis be declared Non-Muslims
    2. Zafar Ullah Khan be removed from post of foreign minister
    3. Ahmadis be removed from key posts of government jobs
    All above demands were unjust as the first one is against the speech of Jinnah on August 11, 1947, remaining two asked for religious discrimination against a minority, which are against our constitution and UN charter.
    What we did with this report, our government found itself incapable to face these unjust demands and kept silence and didn’t implemented verdict of military courts that were established as a result of this report.
    Ulema took 21 years to find a consensus definition of Muslim, and in 1974 they came up with one to declare Ahmadis as Non-Muslims. According to it, you have to declare Mirza Sahib as a false prophet to get yourself accepted as a Muslim.
    I have a disturbing question in my mind for all those who consider 1974 definition to be a big milestone, is this definition time bounded or applicable to all times. As all the Muslims who died before Mirza Sahib never rejected him to be a prophet, so are they all Non-Muslim?
    Also in times of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) nobody rejected Mirza Sahib as prophet, so this definition is not valid for all times. Now someone can say that in times of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) there was no Mirza Sahib so how could they reject his claim to be a prophet. But interestingly Musalma Kazab appeared and claimed to be prophet in life of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) but he (P.B.U.H.) never gave any definition of Muslim that contained declaration to reject a possible false prophet. Also false claimant of prophet hood kept appearing after Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H.) death but no Khalifa modified definition of Muslim to contain declaration to reject possible false prophets, and nothing of this sort of definition is found in Islam prior to 1974.
    So sadly our Ulema did come up with a definition but that is a joke with Islamic history, if you have any answer please let me know.

  35. Bin Ismail

    What constitutes a true Muslim? God’s judgement does.

    On the Day of Reckoning, God will decide who was a true Muslim during his earlier life and who was not. This job of reckoning will be carried out by God and God alone. Not even His messengers will share with Him the burden of reckoning. We read in the Quran: “On thee lies only the delivery of the Message, and on Us the reckoning.” [Quran 13:40]

    So what’s the hurry? Let us all wait till the Day of Reckoning and we will all know who was or was not a true Muslim.

  36. Muhammad

    AoA

    Its interesting to see everyone buying the writer’s view.
    All the definitions provided are all together the same which en circles various aspects of Islam. Those definition was for writing the law or rule of a state. However if a non muslim ask a definition then it would be quite simple.
    A true follower not neccessarily a jihadi but some one abstains from bribery, lie, teasing fellows, theft, insane manners etc is the basic element of a democratic society.
    We as muslims are far from Islam even the historical details e.g. ask any one just 20 names of sahaba or yourself and you will know. But are ready to criticize each and every aspect of it.
    I hope we become better muslim inwardly and outwardly instead of finding or fighting oves definitions only.

  37. However, another alim, President of Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni had his own ideas about the status of non Muslims in Pakistan. When asked if he had read Quaid’s August 11 speech that spelled out equal rights for the minorities (in a sense Quaid discarded the idea of minorities by proclaiming that everyone was first and foremost a Pakistani). Mr. Badayuni stated that all communities (Muslims or not) should have, according to their population, proper representation in the administration of state and legislation”. But in his opinion, non Muslims cannot be taken in the army, judiciary or be appointed as ministers.

  38. AZW


    Muhammad:

    AoA

    Its interesting to see everyone buying the writer’s view.
    All the definitions provided are all together the same which en circles various aspects of Islam. Those definition was for writing the law or rule of a state. However if a non muslim ask a definition then it would be quite simple.
    A true follower not neccessarily a jihadi but some one abstains from bribery, lie, teasing fellows, theft, insane manners etc is the basic element of a democratic society.
    We as muslims are far from Islam even the historical details e.g. ask any one just 20 names of sahaba or yourself and you will know. But are ready to criticize each and every aspect of it.
    I hope we become better muslim inwardly and outwardly instead of finding or fighting oves definitions only

    Problem is not if there is no single definition of a Muslim. As various interviews showed, many alims considered followers of the other sect non Muslims. Anyone is free to believe whatever they believe in. You consider an honest, upright and decent fellow a Muslim, good for you.

    Problem occurs when these subjective definitions are used to impose one institutionalized version upon all. Then it is the dominant majority that will target the minority faction. Institutionalized religion has brought havoc and anarchy exactly due to these reasons. It goes against the idea of every man being equal. As the alims themselves pointed out, not only they considered the non Muslims unequal, due to their inability to define a Muslim, they were also targeting the very people who called themselves Muslim.

    Pakistan ended up de-Muslimizing the Ahmadis. And if these uleman would have their way, Shia, Ithna Ismailis would also be in their list of declassification soon.

    This is a good example of the futility of religion when it is imposed on a state level basis.

  39. Bin Ismail

    @ AZW (September 1, 2010 at 3:44 am)

    “…..Pakistan ended up de-Muslimizing the Ahmadis. And if these uleman would have their way, Shia, Ithna Ismailis would also be in their list of declassification soon…..”

    Reminds me of these lines:

    “ibtidaa-e ishq hai rota hai kya
    aagay aagay daikkhiay hota hai kya”

  40. shiv

    18 non Muslims killed in serial blasts in Lahore during shia procession

    Pakistan is a country of barbaric animals.

    Have you guys checked the degree of deforestation in northern parts of Pakistan as seen on Google earth?

  41. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    “Pakistan is a country of barbaric animals.”

    Yes, yours too.

  42. Amit Kumar

    @Tilsim
    Please check the latest news from Lahore.. Who is responsible.. CIA/RAW/MOSAAD ?

  43. Tilsim

    @ Amit Kumar

    An 11 year old boy was killed by a rubber bullet in Indian Kashmir yesterday. Please check the news Who is responsible? ISI?

    People who only have unbalanced and hateful things and to dehumanise and denigrate other people are not people worthy of a conversation. They are their own worst enemies. They are stiffening our resolve to reject them and confront them at every opportunity.

  44. AZW

    Bin Ismail:


    Reminds me of these lines:

    “ibtidaa-e ishq hai rota hai kya
    aagay aagay daikkhiay hota hai kya

    Hear these words from one of my favourite historical figures, the great Black anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass. He movingly describes how otherwise devout American Christians blatantly practiced slavery, while quietly going about their lives as solemn Christians:

    “I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of ‘stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.’ I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”
    (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)

  45. AZW

    I do not know why I remembered these words by Frederick Douglass when it came to this conversation. I think we all have a barbarian that lurks on an individual level within and becomes a true monster when it interacts with others inside the framework of a collective society.

    As humans we all are duplicitous individuals; where a society may openly discriminate against its minorities (whether it is racial or religious), while patting its own back in the false sense of piety and moral superiority. Where a man acts like a barbarian while at the same time thinking to himself in his self righteous zeal that he is the chosen one and the best thing to happen on the face of the earth.

    Each and every one of us is a bigot to some extent. Humans crave powers, but generally do not know very well how to be judicious with these excessive powers. It is the laws and the impartiality of these laws that ensure that as a society we treat others like we want to be treated. Yet in our limitless ingenuity, we tailor the laws themselves to make sure that the unfortunate ones remain discriminated.

    The barbarian within us was there to see in these interviews. Shamelessly, each and every one of these ulama came and spoke of unequal humans, not worthy of the equality and rights that they demanded for their own the-only-correct creed. Our society shunned the Ahmadis, discriminated against them when it came to giving them jobs, sharing food with them, even disallowing them the right to be buried in a Muslim graveyard. We kept on going about as pious Muslims in our personal lives, while in the society we mistreated others and planned on institutionalizing this mistreatment under the garb of a religious state.

    In Pakistan, the tyranny of majority did not remain confined to token gestures and mild discrimination. It was ready to erupt as the state continued to play a dangerous duet with the religious right. We are collectively responsible for this malaise, as we kept quiet until the subsurface violence of this duet started targeting even ourselves. It was an inevitable outcome; the barbarian within us is not happy with token gestures only. No more of this rhetoric and imperfect marriage of the state and the religion, it said. As the barbarian found laws to its advantage, it went for the jugular; nothing less than a complete capitulation to the barbarian would do it now.

    There is no foreign hand, no external enemy. We need to recognize that we fed the voracious barbarian within us who is threatening to squeeze out any hopes of an equal society that we ought to be sixty years ago, but never worked towards. At all times the majority is a passive observer, thinking it is too weak to stand up against the institutionalized wrongs that are committed day in and day out. And if someone does not stand up to the barbarian, we would all be sad history in the not so distant future. We must stand up to the tyranny of our majority, keep raising our voices, keep being a thorn in the side of a smug self righteous religious right, who is refusing to give up a lost cause, yet keeps on treating its own like a second class citizens. It will be a long haul indeed, but we might as well live for something that is worth living for.

    As Frederick Douglass himself said. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”.

  46. Bin Ismail

    @ AZW (September 2, 2010 at 5:44 am)

    With reference to the following words of Douglass – “I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land” – were I to respectfully reword, from a Pakistani perspective, I would say:

    …I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Islam of Muhammad: I therefore hate the corrupt, enslaving, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Mullaism of the land…”

    @ AZW (September 2, 2010 at 7:57 am)

    “…..There is no foreign hand, no external enemy. We need to recognize that we fed the voracious barbarian within us who is threatening to squeeze out any hopes of an equal society that we ought to be sixty years ago, but never worked towards…..”

    Brilliantly worded truth.