Monday, December 30, 2013

Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan and Misaq-e-Madina

An ongoing debate about the vision of Pakistan's founder flares up every year around Christmas time which coincides with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's birthday. It is centered on one key question: Did the Quaid want an Islamic state or a secular one?

Islamic or Secular Pakistan?

Here are a couple of excerpts from Quaid-e-Azam's speeches given at different times which are often cited in this "Islamic vs Secular Pakistan" debate:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State"

“Who am I to give you a constitution? The prophet of Islam had given us a constitution 1,300 years ago. We have to simply follow and implement it, and based on it we have to establish in our state Islam’s great system of governance.”

The secularists insist that the first excerpt from the Quaid's speech of August 11, 1947 to the constituent assembly should be accepted as his true vision for a secular Pakistan. The Islamists vehemently disagree and cite the second excerpt in which the Quaid talked about the fact that "prophet of Islam had given us a constitution 1,300 years ago" and we must implement it.

Misaq-e-Madina: 

The question is: Do the two speech excerpts conflict or support each other? On the surface, the Quaid's speeches appear to send conflicting messages. However, a deeper examination of Misaq-e-Madina (Charter of Medina), Islam's first constitution approved by Prophet Muhammad (SAW), suggests the Quaid's speeches are consistent with each other and conform to the original Islamic constitution.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Honored by US Supreme Court

Here's the opening line of Misaq-e-Madina:

"This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation -- Ummah."

It clearly says that all citizens of "Yathrib" (ancient name of Madina), regardless of  their tribe or religion, are part of one nation--"Ummah". So the word "Ummah" here does not exclude non-Muslims.

Further into the "Misaq" document, it says: "No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew. The enemies of the Jews who follow us will not be helped. If anyone attacks anyone who is a party to this Pact the other must come to his help."

The Mesaq assures equal protection to all citizens of Madina, including non-Muslim tribes which agreed to it. The contents of Misaq-e-Madina, Islam's first constitution approved by Prophet Mohammad 1400 years ago, appear to have inspired Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah vision of Pakistan where people of all religions and nationalities live in harmony with equal rights and protections under the law.

Two-Nation-Theory:

Some might now ask what was the need for the Two-Nation-Theory given the above vision of the Quaid? The Quaid's search for Pakistan as an independent state for Muslims was inspired to give India's minority Muslims better opportunities to grow and prosper. While it's true that Pakistan has not lived up to the Quaid's expectations, it is also true that, in spite of all their problems, Muslims in Pakistan are still much better off  than their counterparts in India.

An Indian government commission headed by former Indian Chief Justice Rajendar Sachar confirms that Muslims are the new untouchables in caste-ridden and communal India. Indian Muslims suffer heavy discrimination in almost every field from  education and housing to jobs.  Their incarceration rates are also much higher than their Hindu counterparts.

According to Sachar Commission report, Muslims are now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men are unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% are unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 ca not read or write. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims account for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they hold less than 5% of government jobs.

Those who say that the Two-Nation-Theory died with the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 are wrong. They need to be reminded that the Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940, in fact called for two "independent states", not "state", in Muslim majority areas of India in the north east and the north west. The other fact to remember is that Bangladesh did not choose to merge with India after separation from Pakistan.

Here's a video discussion on this and other current subjects:

http://vimeo.com/82796819



Jinnah’s birthday, Bangladesh Independence, Abdul Qadir Molla hanging, Aam Aadmi Party success India from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Jaswant Lauds Jinnah

Are Muslims Better Off in Jinnah's Pakistan?

Comparing Pakistan and Bangladesh

Is This a 1971 moment in Pakistan's History?

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Global Firepower

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom

Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan

India Wins Freedom by Maulana Azad

Ayesha Jalal Taking On Pakistan's Hero

The Poor Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Iqbal and Jinnah



8 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Happy and prosperous 2014 to all in America, South Asia, Middle East and elsewhere. My special prayers are for Pakistan to become peaceful, stable and prosperous starting in 2014. Amen!

YLH said...

The second excerpt is not from the 11 August speech.
The excerpt that secularists rely on btw is:
In due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims not in a religious sense but in a political sense as citizens of the state.
Here are even clearer pronouncements:
On 21st May, 1947, Jinnah described clearly what kind of state he envisaged in Pakistan:
The basis of the central administration of Pakistan and that of the units to be set up will be decided no doubt, by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. But the Government of Pakistan can only be a popular representative and democratic form of Government. Its Parliament and Cabinet responsible to the Parliament will both be finally responsible to the electorate and the people in general without any distinction of caste, creed or sect, which will the final deciding factor with regard to the policy and programme of the Government that may be adopted from time to time… The minorities in Pakistan will be the citizens of Pakistan and enjoy all the rights, privileges and obligations of citizenship without any distinction of caste creed or sect. They will be treated justly and fairly. The Government will run the administration and control the legislative measures by its Parliament, and the collective conscience of the Parliament itself will be a guarantee that the minorities need not have any apprehension of any injustice being done to them. Over and above that there will be provisions for the protection and safeguard of the minorities which in my opinion must be embodied in the constitution itself. And this will leave no doubt as to the fundamental rights of the citizens, protection of religion and faith of every section, freedom of thought and protection of their cultural and social life. p.845, Zaidi, Z.H. (ed) (1993) Jinnah Papers: Prelude to Pakistan, Vol. I Part I. Lahore: Quaid-i-Azam Papers Project
In an interview with Duncan Hooper he said:
Minorities DO NOT cease to be citizens. Minorities living in Pakistan or Hindustan do not cease to be citizens of their respective states by virtue of their belonging to particular faith, religion or race. I have repeatedly made it clear, especially in my opening speech to the constituent Assembley, that the minorities in Pakistan would be treated as our citizens and will enjoy all the rights as any other community. Pakistan SHALL pursue this policy and do all it can to create a sense of security and confidence in the Non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan. We do not prescribe any school boy tests for their loyalty. We shall not say to any Hindu citizen of Pakistan ‘if there was war would you shoot a Hindu?’p. 61, Jinnah Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Oxford 1997
In his address to the people of the United States of America, Jinnah said:
In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State — to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non- Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan. p. 125 Ibid
Speaking to Parsi gathering in Karachi in February 1948, he said:
I assure you Pakistan means to stand by its oft repeated promises of according equal rights to all its nationals irrespective of their caste or creed. Pakistan which symbolizes the aspirations of a nation that found it self to be a minority in the Indian subcontinent cannot be UNMINDFUL of minorities within its own borders. It is a pity that the fairname of Karachi was sullied by the sudden outburst of communal frenzy last month and I can’t find words strong enough to condemn the action of those who are responsible.
On 22nd March 1948, meeting with Hindu Legislators in an effort to stem their exodus to India, he said
We guarantee equal rights to all citizens of Pakistan. Hindus should in spirit and action wholeheartedly co-operate with the Government and its various branches as Pakistanis. p.102-103 Ibid

Riaz Haq said...

YLH:

You have offered more extensive quotes from the Quaid’s speeches to buttress your secular view. There are a lot more quotes that Islamists can find to argue that the Quaid’s vision was the opposite of what you believe.
Instead of engaging in the battle of the quotes that leads nowhere, what I have done is chosen one representative quote each used by two sides and compared with key clauses of Misaq-e-Madina to make sense of the Quaid’e vision. And my conclusion is that the Quaid sought a state like the state of Medina with a pluralistic constitution that offered equal protection to all citizens of Pakistan regardless of their faith, tribe or ethnicity or other attributes.
Please also view the video linked to the post.

HopeWins Junior said...

^^RH: "The Quaid's search for Pakistan as an independent state for Muslims was inspired to give India's minority Muslims better opportunities to grow and prosper.."
--------

This is a silly thing to say. Only 1/3 of India's Muslims live in Pakistan. 2/3 of India's Muslims do not live in Pakistan.

If Pakistan was indeed created to provide "better opportunities to grow and prosper" for India's Muslims, then it has completely failed. Here is why:

Although the creation of Pakistan may have benefited those of India's Muslim who now live in Pakistan (1/3), it has done considerable harm to those who do not live in Pakistan (2/3).

In other words, while the creation of Pakistan helped a minority of Muslims, it harmed the majority of Muslims. Simple logic tells you that, on the whole, the result is a negative one.

Please try to think about others once in a while, instead of always focusing on yourself.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Although the creation of Pakistan may have benefited those of India's Muslim who now live in Pakistan (1/3), it has done considerable harm to those who do not live in Pakistan (2/3)."

So why is India's "secular democracy" harming India Muslims? Because they are Muslims? And what guarantee is there that the Muslims in Pakistan would do any better than Indian Muslims if there were united India?

Indian journalist Aaker Patel recently wrote that Urban elite of cities now in Pakistan was Hindu, Sikh. Muslims were peasants.

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/57YwvcZC4oXwM0Evqj7s4O/Remembering-Pakistans-intellectual-wanderer.html

Punjab makes up more than half of Pakistan's population. It is the largest, best educated and most prosperous province in Pakistan today:

Let me share some data that sheds some light on the lives of Muslims in a province where Muslims were a majority in 1940s undivided India.

From "PARTITION OF PUNJAB" by Dr. Kirpal Singh (1988):

1. Landholdings 65% non-Muslims the remaining by Muslims

2. Electrical Connections: Muslims 74,790 and non-Muslims 81,525

3. Tax paid for urban immobile property:
Rs. 924, 358 by non-Muslims &
Rs. 396,189 by Muslims

4. Sales Tax :
Rs. 519, 203 by non-Muslims &
Rs. 66,323 by Muslims

5. Out of the 97 banking branches only 7 were run by Muslims.

6. Of the Rs. 100 crore bank deposits only 1 crore belonged to Muslims

7. Out of 215 factories in Lahore 167 were owned by non-Muslims

8. Total investments Rs. 6.05 crores Rs. 4.88 crores by non-Muslims

9. OUT OF 16 COLLEGES ONLY 3 WERE RUN BY MUSLIMS

10. Out of the 40 High Schools only 13 were run by Muslims

11. Candidates appearing for University examinations only 28.51% were Muslims.

12. Several Public libraries and hospitals established in Lahore were by non-Muslims

13. Of the 5332 shops in Greater Lahore 3501 were owned by non-Muslims

14. Of the 80 Insurance offices, only 2 were owned by Muslims

15. Of the 12 Arts & Science colleges in Lahore only 1 was run by Muslims

16. Of the 15 professional colleges, excluding 3 run by the Govt, all were run by non-Muslims

17. Of the 12 hospitals NOT EVEN ONE WAS RUN BY MUSLIMS.

18. Rationing enumeration: Muslims (53.9%), Hindus (34%), Sikhs (10%) & others (2%).

Muslims in undivided Punjab had very low standards of living relative to Hindus and Sikhs, they were poor and backward, and there was no Muslim professional or business class as there is now.

Although I haven't seen any data on it yet, I bet similar or worse situation prevailed in Bengal and Sindh as well. And I can bet development never touched the lives of the Muslim provinces of NWFP and Baluchistan either.

Athar said...

You are right! ISLAMIC IS ESSENTIALLY SECULAR & DEMOCRATIC

While on the subject, Maulana Azad's predictions would be of interest to review. I am not proposing to lament. I propose to move on and prove that Pakistan can be as secular as its big neighbor, as democratic as the west and as Islamic as any other Islamic nation - all at the same time.


Granted! Maulana Azad's prophecies and apprehensions (subject to authenticity of this document) proved to be exact and true. The lesson to be learned is the fact that creation of Pakistan on the basis of religion and communal divide proved to be a catastrophe of immense proportions. Attempting to sustain Pakistan's existence on the basis of religion has been and will be equally consequential and bear its price tag in terms of disservice to Islam.

Nahin khuch Sabbeh wa Zunnar ke phande mein Geerai
Wafadari mein Shaikh wa Brahman ki Aazmaish hai - Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Statistically the divide on the issue of Pakistan’s creation continues to be the same now as it was before the creation of Pakistan. Those on the other side of Maulana Azad's argument will perhaps find solace in a book " The Fall and rise of Islamic State" by a Harvard professor Noah Feldman wherein the professor argues that the Sharia Law system promises an equal enforcement of the rule of law which subsequently protects people under autocratic governments.


Regardless, the need for every Pakistani, anyone with a soft corner for Pakistan, thinkers, writers, journalists and Pakistani Society as a whole is to focus on Pakistan as a nation- Pakistani First and then whatever else one wants to be.

Athar said...

Riaz,

Bravo! You have hit the nail right on the head by analyzing Quaid's two speeches and convincingly arguing that these two speeches are conciliatory rather than contradictory. More importantly you have brought to light a point of view that is beaconing in terms of accepting that Misaq of Madina - Islam's First Constitution for governance was secular as well as democratic. If all Pakistanis can appreciate this we will have no complex ideological and philosophical and sectarian differences that has plagued the nation to a point that we are killing each other simply on the basis of religious sects or provincialism.

Your knowledge of the sub-continent, its history and complex ramifications is commendable. I urge you to write more and more projecting the fact that Pakistan can be truly Islamic by being secular and democratic. The INDUS team will be very happy to have such an article published on INDUS web site. www.induspk.org

With reference to the Indian democracy or its treatment of minorities I prefer not to compare. Let us focus on Pakistan and revive its national fervor that once existed. Let us worry about eliminating perceived ideological differences, perceived or concocted by exploiting Islam for short term and selfish political gains. Let us have a nation that we were 30, 40 or even 60 years ago. One nation bound by brotherhood.

Hope to hear more from you on the subject of spurring national solidarity and projecting Islam as essentially secular and democratic.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an announcement of Jewish professor speaking on how Muslims have helped Jews for centuries before the occupation of Palestine:

David J. Wasserstein, a professor of Jewish History at Vanderbilt University, will lecture on “How Islam Saved the Jews” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

The free, public lecture will take place at UAB’s Volker Hall, Lecture Room A, 1670 University Blvd. The event is co-sponsored by the UAB Department of History and the Birmingham Islamic Society.

"It's a chance for Jews and Muslims who are now often at odds politically to reflect on our glorious historical past and for a moment forget about our political differences, and work on future peace," said Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society.

Wasserstein will discuss how the spread of Islam after Muslims conquered Mecca in 630 A.D. led to a thriving Muslim culture that also allowed a thriving Jewish subculture, until about 1300 A.D.

"Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond," Wasserstein wrote in The Jewish Chronicle. "Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms - all for the better."

If not for the Muslim conquests, Jewish culture might have died out, Wasserstein believes.

"The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilization, similar to the older Christian civilization that it replaced," Wasserstein wrote in The Jewish Chronicle. "Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews - like the Muslims - into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India."

Wasserstein has written several books, including “The Rise and Fall of the Party-Kings, Politics and Society in Islamic Spain, 1002-1086” and “The Caliphate in the West; An Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula” and he co-authored “The Legend of the Septuagint, From Classical Antiquity to Today.”...


http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/04/jewish_scholar_lectures_on_how.html