Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Misaq-e-Madina Inspired Quaid-e-Azam's Vision of Pluralistic Pakistan

An ongoing debate about the true vision of Pakistan's founder flares up every year around Pakistan's Independence Day. This year is no exception. It is centered on one key question: Did the Quaid want an Islamic state or a secular state or a pluralistic democratic 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's vision of  a pluralistic 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 are a couple of video discussions on this and other subjects:

http://vimeo.com/82796819

http://vimeo.com/103030587


Nawaz Sharif Govt Survival Questioned; ISIS Advances in Iraq from WBT TV on Vimeo.


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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

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



13 comments:

Akber S. said...

The question that will remain unanswered is that if india had remained united with a Muslim population of , today, 35 pc, or 600 million, vs 1000 Hindus, 300 million Sikhs, Christians etc. what would have been the scenario for India?

Riaz Haq said...

Akber: "The question that will remain unanswered is that if india had remained united with a Muslim population of , today, 35 pc, or 600 million, vs 1000 Hindus, 300 million Sikhs, Christians etc. what would have been the scenario for India?"

India would still have the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates as it does now. And the deprivation in what is now Pakistan would be far worse than India.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/08/63-years-after-independence-india.html

Roland D. said...

dear riaz,

i was a little surprised at how badly muslims were doing in india. was not aware of the numbers stated in the 2008 article.

however, there is little one in pakistan can do about the mistreatment of minorities in india.

but --- realizing this injustice --- it should be possible for us to do something about the mistreatment of hindus and other minorities in pakistan! assuming, of course, that one does not believe that two wrongs make a right.

we can lead from the front. we can say:'"we are humanists. see how well we treat the less privileged and weaker sections of our society." the others may feel ashamed and change their behaviour.

otherwise, how are we different from the indians, the pot calling the kettle black?

Riaz Haq said...

Roland: "i was a little surprised at how badly muslims were doing in india...we can lead from the front. we can say:'"we are humanists. see how well we treat the less privileged and weaker sections of our society." the others may feel ashamed and change their behaviour."

Indian Christians are not faring better either. Muslims make up 13% of India's population but 28% of Indian prisoners? Similarly, Christians make up 2.8% of India's population but 6% of India's prison population? Meanwhile, the newly elected parliament has just 4% Muslim representation?

I agree with you that Pakistan should set a better example of how it treats its non-Muslim citizens. The thrust of this article I wrote is captured in the quotes from Misaq-e-Madina, signed by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which are as follows:


"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."

"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."

Mahesh said...

If Pakistan is doing so well and India is SO poor (which I agree - specifically UP, Bihar, Orissa, Chattisgarh) then, why is Pakistan slipping in HDI?

Few years ago Pakistan was neck in neck with India especially after the Bangladesh dividend (the per capita income levels went up by 25% for "west" Pakistan because of the Bangladesh split off)

In the 2014 report, Pakistan is not just behind India but also behind Bangladesh and Nepal!

Bangladesh is classified now as medium human development country like India whereas Nepal followed by Pakistan are classified as low human development country.

Riaz Haq said...

Mahesh: "If Pakistan is doing so well and India is SO poor (which I agree - specifically UP, Bihar, Orissa, Chattisgarh) then, why is Pakistan slipping in HDI?"

Pakistan is not doing "so well". HDI is just one indicator that does not give the whole picture about the depth of deprivation in South Asia, particularly India which is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry, sick and illiterate.

Read more at: http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/08/63-years-after-independence-india.html

Mahesh said...

Haq: "HDI is just one indicator that does not give the whole picture ......."
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. It was created by a Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian economist Amartya Sen in 1990[1] and was published by the United Nations Development Programme.[

By the way and according to your bio you are a "South Asia" watcher. As such it will be nice to blog about news and events where people from both countries have collaborated or done something valuable !

Riaz Haq said...

#WorldBank finds #Pakistan's grade 5 and 8 students are better at math than their counterparts in #India. #education

Student achievement levels are generally low throughout the region, except for
Sri Lanka. A significant proportion of school leavers do not achieve minimum
mastery of mathematics, reading, and language as defined by national governments.

For example, in India, on a test of reading comprehension administered to grade 5
students across the country, only 46 percent of students were correctly able to
identify the cause of an event (NCERT 2011). Only a third of students could
compute the difference between two decimal numbers (NCERT 2011). Another
recent study found that about 43 percent of grade 8 students could not solve a
simple division problem. Even recognition of two-digit numbers, supposed to be
taught in grade 2, tends to be achieved only by grade 4 or 5 (ASER-India 2011).
In Pakistan, the ASER 2011 assessment also found that arithmetic competence
was very low in absolute terms (figure O.4). For instance, only 37 percent
of grade 5 students in rural Pakistan could divide a three-digit by a single-digit
number. By grade 8, only 72 percent could perform simple division.

Unfortunately, although more children are in school, the region still has a
major learning challenge in that the children are not acquiring basic skills. For
example, only 50 percent of grade 3 students in Punjab, Pakistan, have a complete grasp of grade 1 mathematics (Andrabi et al. 2007). In India, on a test of reading comprehension administered to grade 5 students across the country, only 46 percent were able to correctly identify the cause of an event, and only a third of the students could compute the difference between two decimal numbers (NCERT 2011). Another recent study found that about 43 percent of grade 8 students could not solve a simple division problem. Even recognition of two-digit numbers, supposed to be taught in grade 2, is often not achieved until grade 4 or 5 (Pratham 2011). In Bangladesh, only 25 percent of fifth-grade students have mastered Bangla and 33 percent have mastered the mathematics competencies specified in the national curriculum (World Bank 2013). In the current environment, there is little evidence that learning outcomes will improve by simply increasing school inputs in a business-as-usual manner (Muralidharan and Zieleniak 2012).

In rural Pakistan, the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2011 assessment
suggests, arithmetic competency is very low in absolute terms (figure 2.1).
For instance, only 37 percent of grade 5 students can divide three-digit numbers
by a single-digit number (and only 27 percent in India); and 28 percent of
grade 8 students cannot perform simple division. Unlike in rural India, however,
in rural Pakistan recognition of two-digit numbers is widespread by grade 3
(SAFED 2012). The Learning and Educational Achievement in Punjab Schools (LEAPS)
survey—a 2003 assessment of 12,000 children in grade 3 in the province—also
found that children were performing significantly below curricular standards
(Andrabi et al. 2007). Most could not answer simple math questions, and many
children finished grade 3 unable to perform mathematical operations covered
in the grade 1 curriculum (figure 2.2). A 2009 assessment of 40,000 grade
4 students in the province of Sindh similarly found that while 74 percent of
students could add two numbers, only 49 percent could subtract two numbers
(PEACE 2010).1

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/05/23/000442464_20140523133319/Rendered/PDF/882670PUB0978100Box385205B00PUBLIC0.pdf

David said...

He also came as Rahmat ul lil Aalameen for Banu Qurayza. Showed so much mercy, that he killed all men and made women sex-slaves

Riaz Haq said...

David: " He also came as Rahmat ul lil Aalameen for Banu Qurayza. Showed so much mercy, that he killed all men and made women sex-slaves"

As signatories to Misaq e Madina agreement, Banu Qurayza were treated under ancient Jewish law (Deuteronomy 20: 10-14)

Deuteronomy 20:10-14King James Version (KJV)

10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

Riaz Haq said...

Shadi Hamid: Will #Muslims follow western trajectory: Reformation, Enlightenment, Secularism, Liberal Democracy?

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/06/the-meaningless-politics-of-liberal-democracies/486089/

Perhaps his most provocative claim is this: History will not necessarily favor the secular, liberal democracies of the West. Hamid does not believe all countries will inevitably follow a path from revolution to rational Enlightenment and non-theocratic government, nor should they. There are some basic arguments for this: Islam is growing, and in some majority-Muslim nations, huge numbers of citizens believe Islamic law should be upheld by the state. But Hamid also thinks there’s something lacking in Western democracies, that there’s a sense of overarching meaninglessness in political and cultural life in these countries that can help explain why a young Muslim who grew up in the U.K. might feel drawn to martyrdom, for example. This is not a dismissal of democracy, nor does it comprehensively explain the phenomenon of jihadism. Rather, it’s a note of skepticism about the promise of secular democracy—and the wisdom of pushing that model on other cultures and regions.

------

Green: You open the book by asking about this inscrutable yearning for violence that seems to be felt among a small minority of Muslim extremists. What do you make of this yearning?

Hamid: On a basic level, violence offers meaning. And that’s what makes it scary. In the broader sweep of history, mass violence and mass killing is actually the norm. It’s only in recent centuries that states and institutions have tried to persuade people to avoid such practices.

That also reminds us that when institutions and social norms are weakened, those base sentiments can rise up again quite easily. And that’s what I saw.

-----

Green: You also frame violence as a way of grappling with theodicy, or the problem of evil. How does this play out in the Islamic tradition?

Hamid: That is the question many Muslims have been asking not just recently, but for centuries, ever since the fall of the various caliphates and empires: Why is God doing this? Why is God permitting this fall from grace? The Muslim narrative you hear a lot is that when Muslims were good, God rewarded them with success and territory. When Muslims went astray, then perhaps God decided to send them a message to encourage them to return to the straight path.


A question I get a lot is, “Wait, ok, is Islam violent? Does the Quran endorse violence?” I find this to be a very weird question. Of course there is violence in the Quran. Muhammad was a state builder, and to build a state you need to capture territory. The only way to capture territory is to wrest it from the control of others, and that requires violence. This isn’t about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad; state building has historically always been a violent process.

Green: On that point, you observe that the state-building impulses of the Islamic State actually make it much more terrifying than other groups. Why?

Hamid: ISIS has gone well beyond the al-Qaeda model of terrorism and destruction. Of course, ISIS does that, too, but it attempts to build something in the place of what it has destroyed. It has an unusually pronounced interest in governance. And they are not just making things up as they go along. There does seem to be a method to the madness; they are drawing from certain strains of Islamic history and tradition. They are perverting them, I would argue, and distorting them, but it is not as if they are just making it up out of the air.


Ahmad F. said...

Is there any evidence that Mr. Jinnah was aware of the Constitution of Madina? Is it cited in the Pakistan Resolution of the 23rd of March, 1940, or in any of Mr. Jinnah's speeches.

I would have expected Allama Iqbal to be aware of it more so than the secular Mr. Jinnah.

Regardless, the Constitution has been more "honor’d in the breach than the observance."

And not just in Pakistan but in the entire Muslim world.

Also, the word Ummah is used by most Muslims to refer just to the Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad F. : "Is there any evidence that Mr. Jinnah was aware of the Constitution of Madina?"

When asked about his ideas for Pakistan's constitution, Jinnah said: "Who am I to give you the constitution? The Prophet of Islam had given us a constitution 1300 years ago."

What constitution did Prophet Muhammad give us 1300 years ago? It's called Misaq e Madina.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/12/quaid-e-azam-ma-jinnahs-vision-of.html

The strong similarity between Jinnah's pronouncements and the articles of Misaq e Madina suggests to me that he was aware of it, After all, Jinnah was a great lawyer. I'm sure he knew something that the even US Supreme Court recognizes on its chamber walls: Prophet Mohammad is among the "great lawgivers of history".

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2015/01/14/muhammad-sculpture-inside-supreme-court-a-gesture-of-goodwill/