Tuesday, September 25, 2012
September 25, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The main villain of 9/11 catastrophe, Osama Ben laden is dead. His outfit Al-Qaida is immensely debilitated. President G. W Bush announced in the aftermath of 9/11 that justice would done for the death of 3000 Americans killed on that bleak day. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein an enemy of Israel and ruthless dictator is gone. Libyan ruler Mohammad Qaddafi died a very humiliating death at the hands of his own people. Qaddafi too was on the hit list of the United States as well as Israel for his revolution, fomented to keep him and his progeny in the power saddle. Hosni Mubarak, a protégé of both United States and Israel was swept away by the torrent of public outrage against him.
The whole Middle East is in the throe of a change from absolutism to democratic orders. This momentous change is unbelievable and could not be imagined until few years back. But according to a Chinese proverb that “a single spark can start a prairie fire”, the self- immolation of one Tunisian vendor Mohamed Bouazizi became a dazzling harbinger to bring about an unprecedented phenomenal transformation in the tribal fiefdoms of the Middle East. If this sweeping change can be termed as miracle then certainly it is so.Instead of clash and unremitting belligerency it is time to mount the imperative dialogue between West and Islam and for that matter between Christianity and Islam, as Christianity is synonymous with the western way of life.
Since World War II, enough bloodshed has taken place in various Islamic countries. In Iran-Iraq (1908-1988) war more than half a million people died from both the sides. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 during G.W bush presidency, to the present, over a million Iraqis have perished in war related operations and in continued violence, sectarian strife and insurgent attacks. Besides the invading coalition forces too suffered causalities. Iraq though is now a democracy but is utterly unstable as Shia Sunni cleavage is still taking its toll on daily basis. Since the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in December 2011, the anarchy and sectarian violence have again gripped that country marred by the centuries-old antagonism between the Shias and the Sunnis.
Since the start of the Afghan war in October 2001 by United States and allies, countless people have so far lost their lives in the killing fields of Afghanistan. If someone argues that this is the part of the inevitable clash of civilizations then this argument is not worth a cent. How come that a civilization is being wiped off for the sake and survival of another civilization? These are not medieval ages when the victor could eliminate the vanquished population through the macabre parched earth massacres.
In Afghanistan, USA has been engaged along with the ISAF and NATO in chasing the al-Qaida operatives whose large number and top notches have been killed through drone attacks. But indiscreetly, America opened another front also against Taliban. It is a widely known fact that both these militant outfits were the front line fighters on behalf of America and west against the Soviet Union. But USA later disowned them. The Taliban pleaded for peaceful dialogue on Osama bin Laden but perhaps President George Bush contemptuously spurned that offer. He wanted to defeat them militarily. The Taliban could be goaded and used in similar situations around the world or to become surrogates of the United States in Afghanistan.
Factually Taliban had no role in the 9/11 incident. They also posed no threat to the Christian civilization. They could be harnessed and their militancy or religious zeal and barbarian impulse could be tempered down. In any case their presence as barbarian proponents of fanatic Islam could not hold water even within the normal Islamic creed. But treating them as enemy force, the United States barring initial short term victory, has not been able to subdue them to this day.
Now the rag-tag bands can hold the biggest armies through a war of attrition and because of their abettors and access to superior weapons. So there is no cogent point or compelling logic or even any useful purpose for the American troops to keep on guarding that God forsaken land. All that America ought to do in Afghanistan is to promote a genuine inclusive democracy ensuring sectarian harmony and division of power on merit basis. Or else there can be a secular order that rises above the sectarian schisms and ethnic considerations.
The United States and the western allies cannot wage a war upon the Islamic militants till such time that only the moderate Muslims are left behind. It is unthinkable that all the Muslims can be subdued, annihilated or converted to Christianity. It is manifest that the US and Western militarism and penchant for bellicosity is correspondingly propping up the militancy in the Muslim world. So the best, the only viable and legitimate way-out is to coexist with the Islamic bloc. In due course of time the Muslim societies will have to come out of the strait-jackets of obscurantism, conservatism and orthodoxy and imbibe plausible ingredients of the modern societies.
One of the most outstanding hallmarks of the modern societies is the representative governance and a belief that power belongs to the people. Already such enlightened Islam states are in existence in Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh and to great extent in Pakistan. With the emergence of such progressive and liberal democratic states, the clash of civilizations can be averted.
The fanatic Islamic factions would be marginalized. Possibly, they could also tone down their extremism and join the mainstream population as normal practicing Muslim faithful. But if the west continues to press them hard and treating them as pariahs, bandits and terrorists they would continue to proliferate and their defiance and antagonism to the west would keep intensifying.
It is high time to initiate a healing process of the Islamic polities that have been severely hurt by the inexorable onslaughts of the western military might for giving ascendancy to the western civilization. But primarily it is not a manifestation of clash of civilizations as enunciated by Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington. It is essentially to ensure unhindered availability of raw material including oil to the West for running their industries. The Middle Eastern cauldron has been boiling and this region has remained in perpetual tension because of the Palestinian dispute.
The denial of legitimate right of the beleaguered Palestinian to an independent state is central to the lack of peace and progress in the Middle East. The western countries and United States should convince their protégé Israel to implement the United Nations Resolution 181 for the creation of a Jewish state, along with an Arab state.
So instead of rampaging the Middle East by perpetual warfare and fritter away their money and lose men, the United States and the Western Europe should focus on this most pressing issue and once it is resolved the specter of clash between the civilizations would look farcical and absolute myth.
Keeping in view all the embattled regions where United States and NATO forces are engaged in wars against the Islamic militants and radicals, one would draw the conclusion that it has remained merely a wild goose chase and has not produced any tangible results nor would it be capable of doing so in the future. Yet the silver lining is gradually appearing with the withdrawal the bulk of American troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq. But if behind these withdrawals there is a hidden agenda of attacking Iran then the world can look ahead for an unimaginable catastrophe whose collateral damage and fallout would be disastrous both for Iran and Israel.
Instead, the safest and the only sagacious course to is to initiate dialogue for integrating the civilizations into a bond of peace and mutual understanding and harmonizing them into a lasting fraternal relationship irrespective of their faith, ethnicity or region. The first step towards that coveted direction should be a dialogue between Islam and the West for mutual coexistence. In this regard, the Arab spring is the right, legitimate and a desirable solution to deflate the religious radicalism and anti-American and anti-west sentiment in the Muslim world.
Let us rid this world of the incessant sufferings, the horrendous pogroms, the devastating wars and bloody conflicts that have kept the humanity divided since the dawn of human civilization. This is the threshold century to bring the humanity on one common platform and convert this planet into a veritable paradise. Humanity can jointly spring technological and scientific miracles to fathom this universe and also to find concrete solutions to diseases and economic woes of the inhabitants of the earth.
The modalities of convening an international conference for deliberating upon such a watershed dialogue can be worked out by mutual consultations between the United States plus West on one side and the leaders, scholars and theologians from the Islamic countries. If such a dialogue fructifies it would be a monumental breakthrough and giant step for the world peace that has remained elusive so far. As the world leader the United States should take lead in this historic mission.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
September 17, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The European countries and more specifically the United States should not hasten to disavow or discredit the newly established democratic governments in the Middle East for their inability to stem the huge protests mounted against the anti-Islam provocative video.
The United States and other countries, as the catalysts and supporters of the momentous Arab spring that dismantled the trenchant oppressive dictatorships, should not rush to draw the conclusions that the new establishments failed to stop the agitations and protests, which spontaneously erupted due to the denigration of their most beloved prophet Muhammad.
They should realize that these newly born democracies are nascent and currently unstable for the obvious reason that need time to move to the stage of stability and good governance. This is certainly a transitional period and is understandably murky because there can never be a switch off and switch one shift between the two contrasting systems.
The Arab oligarchies either one man rule or family dynasties, were ruthless and oppressive. In those regimes asking for human rights and civil liberties was treated as crime, sin or anathema by the rulers.
These new democratically elected regimes are still shaky and therefore, do not deserve to be accused of being incompetent or insincere in combating and controlling the mass movements in these countries triggered by extremely sensitive religious issue for the aggrieved Muslims.
Arab Spring that has come to be known as symbol of overthrow of the despotism and ushering of the people’s rule is still in its infancy. To expect it of producing miracles so soon would be an irrational and myopic tendency. As a matter of fact these regimes did not expect or forebode such a colossal upheaval.
Secondly the institutions and the administrative network have yet to be strong as to effectively deal with such unusual situations and unforeseen crisis. To allege that they were accomplice in fomenting protests is a far fetched conjecture and is not borne out by the ground realities.
But more significantly, imperative is to comprehend is that they cannot brutally suppress the crowds that swelled across the cities to register their anger and protest for an act that was most reprehensible and mala-fide. They however did their best to disperse the mammoth crowds.
The ideological friction and debate between the religions have been there for centuries and would continue as such. But in this age of enlightenment, the religious bigotry and prejudices should be cast away. We need a genre of pluralism and a culture of cohabitation. There should be an across-the-board liberty and freedom for all religions, denominations and sub sects to exist and practice their religious traditions without any let and hindrance.
But extremists are there in every society. If in other religions, there an extremists and adversaries of Islam and of prophet Muhammad, the most respected human after god for Muslims; there are also fanatics within the fold Islam as we have witnessed them in these protests.
If according to a proverb that “the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship” then our choice should be the newly established democratic regimes. The blame game is always easy to spur but evidently these governments in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere have did their best to contain the mushrooming and surging agitations and they did succeed in that endeavor.
Moreover, these governments have given all possible assurances to extend all help and cooperation to the United States to find out the assailants that ransacked the US embassy in Libya. The Libyan government has moved fast to identify and arrest the killers of the American ambassador and other staff members in Benghazi. The matter of the fact is that the outburst was sudden and spontaneous and could not be preempted, predicted or forewarned even by the best of pundits and soothsayers.
Because of these sporadic flare-ups, if the Arab spring fledgling democracies are not given enough time to consolidate and take roots then it would be tantamount to paving way for the religious radicals and the agents of the former tyrannical regimes to take over. Which option is better to choose? Obviously it is to sustain and beef up the new democracies to grow up and strengthen. It would be a colossal betrayal to the unprecedented cause of the new democratic order that is akin to the spectacular French revolution that liberalized and unchained the humanity from abominable shackles of feudalism, monarchy and rigid papacy.
The knee-jerk and whimsical chastising of the popular dispensations in the riot-ridden countries would be tantamount to renouncing democracy and going back to the era of tyrants. It is for the United States and Europe that spearheaded the historic movement of Arab spring to decide if the throwback to dictatorship is preferable or to strengthen these new democratic regimes.
On the contrary the march and sway of Arab Spring should be enlarged towards the other regimes in the Middle East that are still family dynasties or ruled by the brutal autocrats and merciless dictators. A piecemeal and selective plantation of democracy in the Middle East looks hypocritical and a half-realized dream aimed at giving power to the people of those countries. Even otherwise the people have awakened and finally would elbow out the remnants and upholders of the old tyrannical orders. The age of human rights, equality, democracy and people’s rule has already dawned and it cannot be reversed though it may be delayed.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
September 15, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
Google, the leading Internet Mughal has declined a request by the White House to block the controversial video that denigrates and caricatures the founder of Islam prophet Muhammad. The giant media network argues that it was not consistent with its belief in freedom of speech policy to block the highly inflammatory 13 minute video. Its argument which is patently hollow when it insists that “It had already determined that the video did not violate its terms of service regarding hate speech. In this case, the video stays up because it is against the Islam religion but not Muslim people”.
Now per say even if the video does not violate the terms of service regarding the freedom of speech, Google should withdraw it because its projection is causing so much of turmoil in at least 20 Muslim countries that are violently protesting its footage. The main country being unjustifiably hit is the United States of America. The United States is also taken by surprise and has no role in the making of the incendiary film. It was the dirty work of some four individuals who made this detestable and uncalled-for film that has hurt the religious feelings of about over one billion Muslims around the world.
The freedom of speech is not a cogent and compelling reason while the Western and American embassies are being targeted, assailed, and burned and their staff members exposed to grave danger to their lives. What other reasons or grounds could be as imperative and unassailable as the lives of human beings lost on both the sides.
The United States for no obvious reasons has to face the brunt of this fury and bulging deluge of violent protests and besieging of her embassies from the enraged Muslims. The Muslims are genuinely hurt and outraged because their most revered figure and founder of the religion is being vilified, slandered and mocked in such a shameful, brazen, crude and bizarre manner.
The freedom of speech looks mere taboo behind which the Google is taking shelter. This roller coaster rule should not be applicable to defaming and reviling the most adored and esteemed personalities, all the more the exalted messengers of God who have connected the humans with the creator of the universe and were a model of exemplary character and superb conduct for humankind.
The religious prejudice and hate apart, but the fact is that all the apostles of God, be it the Jesus Christ, Muhammad (pbuh) the Moses, the Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak and others were people of immaculate integrity, profound sublimity and great blessing for the oppressed segments of humanity.” Even if someone does not believe in a particular religion, he or she has no right to malign, despise and spread hatred against their rival faith and their founders.
It is highly regrettable that we live in 21st century which is exploding with unbounded knowledge and man is reaching the thus far unknown and uncharted frontier of the universe. The mental outlooks are broadening, the civil liberties sprouting and the geographical boundaries are getting meaningless. Yet we have a pedigree of human beings who live in the lurid medieval past, the age of crusades and who are trying to inflame and trigger the religious animosity and bad blood.
“While the Rome was burning Roman Emperor Nero was playing his flute” as the story goes. In the prevailing scenario while the whole world is witnessing the burgeoning catastrophe and the interstate relations being dismantled, the mighty unleashed Google is sticking to its spurious and frivolous claim of freedom of speech. That argument or plea, arguably, logically and morally, does not apply to the ongoing crisis, getting worse and violent by the day.
It is like abusing some one's mother or father. If the insult to the parents cannot be swallowed, how come that derision and smear of the spiritual leaders of such a vast humanity can be tolerated and stomached by the believers. In this case the Islamic believers respect their prophet more than such precious relations.
If the Google does not heed the White House’s request to remove this extremely damaging, diabolic and mischievous video then the Jews, Christians and Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus should jointly register their protest by boycotting the Google outlets and its search engines so as to show their repugnance and annoyance against the dubious conspiracy and machination by some nasty person of targeting an exalted prophet. It would also be helpful in soothing and placating the enraged Muslims. May be it impels Google to remove it from the YouTube.
It is also necessary to halt the anti-American rage that is getting fiercer and might water down the fruits of the Arab spring that was an historic milestone in democratizing those countries teetering under the oppressive tyrants for ages. Should we call it the clash of civilizations? But which is the biggest scapegoat of this pernicious chain of horrendous development? Woefully it is our country the United States of America.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
September 8, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The American democratic culture is simply laudable. A candidate for the presidency has to toil very hard round the year to reach that most coveted and powerful position. The marathon race for winning the presidency in United States is beset with numerous hurdles that have to be crossed with distinction in order to convince the American electorates that their choice was going to be absolutely best.
The elections to be held every four years are traditionally a colossal contest between two main parties: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The entire country is gripped with a kind of formidable frenzy and profound fever that demonstrates the deep involvement of the citizens in choosing their president. The American people are extremely conscientious and possess acute sense of judgment about the fielded candidates whose number finally shrinks to two from a bunch of several candidates.
In 2012 elections the incumbent president Barack Obama is running for the second term while Mitt Romney is a nominee of the Republic party and a kind of challenger to the former. Both are reputed for upholding commendable family traditions as husbands and fathers. Nevertheless, both hail from different economic, social and ethnic background.
The holding of national conventions by both the parties towards the end of the campaigning and canvassing period is the most thrilling, glaring and rigorous tradition of political bouts between the two parties. The underlying objective of these conventions is to nominate and confirm their candidates by these two parties for the top political positions of the President and Vice President. Another vital goal is to give vent to the party’s manifesto for the next four years and to bring party cadres together.
The Republican held their conventions from august 27-30 at Tampa, Florida. The Democratic convention commenced on September 4 and ended on September 6. In these conventions, both the parties and specifically the two candidates place their programs and agenda before the whole nation through excellent articulation and rhetorical speeches.
The auditoriums where these conventions take place are filled by the delegates from various states and caucuses. With a visible bias and enthusiasm, the participants and workers of the respective parties are highly motivated, fired and exude a high degree of excitement and enthusiasm and also approbation and support for their Party and its candidate.
The vision and outlook of the two parties in steering the country both internally and in foreign affairs is candidly distinct and as if between two markedly wide and irreconcilable isles of philosophy and outlook. Briefly the Republicans are known to be the representatives of the wealthy classes, the special interest groups and powerful lobbies that are in control of and own the big corporations and businesses.
The Democrats speak in favor of the middle and lower classes. The paramount and core issues usually deliberated in these conventions invariably are the state of economy, the jobs, social welfare programs, the American security and the taxation. In 2012 conventions, the Medicare floated by Obama administration as a package of enhanced relief measures for the low income Americans has also been overly, hotly debated issue and was one of the main bones of contention between the two parties.
The health care domain in America takes away whopping portion of the national budget every year. The health insurance companies are the backdoor beneficiaries of the huge spending on the health care. If the government would offer free or subsidized health care to its citizens then that would be at the cost of earnings of the huge private insurance companies run mostly by the most affluent families and individuals in United States.
The private health insurance is also known as a rip off corporate sector. Since the rich sections are mostly inclined towards the Republican Party and are allies of the powerful propaganda lobbies, they would resist any plan, howsoever in the public interest, that could slash their fabulous incomes.
Romney claims that he is a kind of a maverick manager of economy by virtue of his success in his private business. He denounces Obama for mismanagement of the economy and not doing enough on the creation of jobs. At the same time he wants to do away with the so called "Obamacare" and replace it with the “voucher system”. He also attacks him on withdrawing the American forces from abroad, not pressing Iran enough on nuclear issue, and cutting down the defense budget.
But as one can figure out from these conventions, he and other republican luminaries were lacking in the quality and veracity of their speeches and claims. But Romney certainly has an upper edge on Obama in the field of raising funds for the elections. The Republican super duper business magnates are pouring money into Romney’s election funds by millions.
Obama and his Democratic Party colleagues have less inflow of funds because their donors are mostly the common Americans, the working classes, low income groups or individuals. But his rhetorical skills and oratorical finesse stand in good stead for him. He moves the crowds with his stunning and eloquent speeches that drive his programs and plans more succinctly and emphatically into the minds of the listeners than his counterpart. Let us paraphrase it like this that he looks less affluent in money but rich in dissemination, intellectual capacity and knowledge.
In this debate he had one added advantage over Mitt Romney. That advantage is to claim the right of being re-elected on his sterling accomplishments of the past four years. Those enumerated among others were killing of Osama Ben Laden, reviving the sinking auto industry, creating millions of jobs despite a thoroughly shattered economy bequeathed to him by his Republican predecessor. His implementation of the stalled Dream Act by stopping deportation of the young undocumented immigrants, who match certain criteria, has brought him sizable chunk of the Latino vote.
The middle class that stands benefited from his health care plan and other special benefits seems to be more supportive of him. The recalling of the American troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq has endeared him to the families whose members are serving in the army. His practical measures and decisions to rehabilitate and rescue the forsaken war veterans and those maimed or killed in wars popularize him also among a section of the American society.
But what distinguishes him most is his sincerity, sobriety, a dignified posture, a tinge of profound humility, a rancor-free disposition and a constructive and positive attitude. He possesses a steeled determination and an unflinching commitment to reconstruct America and revive and maintain the supremacy of this mighty country as an economic and military power.
It is also to create as large a middle class as is possible for better life for the Americans. Obama’s inclination and attitude is to bring peace and to craft a role for America as a just and honest arbiter in the international disputes. But he would not hesitate for a moment to retaliate with full force if America’s security is at stake.
In his convention speech he appealed to the American people to reelect him for another term so that he can continue his sublime mission of realizing the American Dream. And what is the American dream? The “Declaration of Independence” proclaims it in these indelible words “In which all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
Friday, September 7, 2012
September 5, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
Apart from the un-Islamic parties and socio-political entities that opposed the creation of Pakistan as an independent Muslim state, there were also Muslim organizations that were not in favor of an Islamic state within the British India. These were Khaksars, the Khudai Khidmatgars or Red Shirts, the Deobandi Muslim Movement (later JUI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami founded by Maulana Maududi in 1941.
Had these segments supported Quaid-e-Azam in that historic movement for carving out an independent state for Indian Muslims, the political strength and backing would have been formidable for the founder of Pakistan to claim Pakistan with greater confidence and tenacity. Besides the religio-political outfits, the feudal of West Pakistan also stood in the way of Quaid-e-Azam to strive for Muslims a separate independent homeland.
The Jamaat-e-Islami believed that a democratic state can never be Islamic because the power is in the hands of the people and not God. The pinnacle objective of Maulana Maududi behind founding a politico-religious party was the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law as was prevalent during 23 years of the caliphate of the first four caliphs. Such a government would be run by chaste, pious, and righteous Muslims. Maulana Maududi did not want Pakistan to come into being because it collided with his concept of a universal Islamic empire with sovereignty resting in God.
Yet one paramount question that boggles the mind is that when Maulana Maududi opposed Pakistan and its founder Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah tooth and nail, why he migrated to live in this state immediately after the partition. Later he said that Pakistan was destined to be become an Islamic state. What a volte face!
The fundamental argument of the Jamaat-Islami was that their concept of a universal or global Islamic empire did not fit into a territory-bound country of Pakistan. Maulana depicted Pakistan an un-Islamic state and the Quaid-e-Azam as the biggest infidel. Yet after partition despite blocking and bitterly opposing its creation, Maulana Maududi and his ideological companions had no other place to migrate except Pakistan.
They had come to Pakistan with a design to convert it into an Islamic state of their vision and bidding. That was a plan to hijack a progressive Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam had visualized and that he had literally snatched it from both Indian National Congress and the British colonial masters.
The pinnacle objective of Maulana Maududi behind establishing a politico-religious party was to create a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law as was prevalent during 29 years of the caliphate of the first four caliphs. Such a government would be run by the chaste, pious, and righteous Muslims. It also meant transfer the global leadership from evil, immoral and unjust to the hands of righteous and faithful servants of almighty God.
Now how an Islamic state on universal level could be established with God as its sovereign without a territory or place to stand upon? The man has been deputed by God in Adam to act and rule in earth as his lieutenant. They ignored the historical fact that the prophet of Islam spread his divine mission from the territory of Medina. Even a providential empire cannot be founded in the air and the land is indispensable for carrying out such a mission or undertaking.
The Jamaat stalwarts and its founders were bitterly opposed to such titles as Muslim Nationalists or Nationalist Muslims that they perceived were like calling a prostitute a pious prostitute. Besides rejecting nationalism based on territory, they were also against socialism, capitalism, communism and even science. How could JI (Jamaat-e- Islami) discard and root out these powerful movments and replace these with a universal caliphate? Would the respective states allow them to do so? It was thus a purely utopian doctrine which was hotly contested later by Maulana Maududi’s dissident companions.
Now let us suppose that if Muslims would have lived in an undivided India, would that conform to the model of an Islamic state that Maulana Maududi wanted to create. In larger context even the whole of India would not be sufficient to realize the dream or goal of Jamaat-e-Islami to found a truly Islamic empire or state where only the prototype of Khilafat-e Rashida could be established.
Would the Hindu majority allow them to remain at large to campaign and strive for an Islamic polity and state within the undivided India? It was the kind of Pan-Islamism that was advocated by Syed Jamaluddin Afghani in the 19th century and which met with miserable failure as it could never be achieved.
The gigantic refugees’ problem, the building of national institutions and infrastructure, the framing of a constitution and establishing a democratic form of government were the gubernatorial challenges to which the newly born state of Pakistan was exposed. The Jamaat’s strategy of turning it into a theocracy by opposing every government, in fact, triggered a process of destabilization and instability in the society.
From day one this party knew that it would be impossible for it to come into power through the democratic process of elections for realizing its myopic dream of ruling the world with Islam as the dominant religion. The Jamaat’s lethal weapon has been its monolithic organization and staunchly committed cadres such as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. It was also adept in vicious rumor mongering, and vituperative propaganda to slander and defame its opponents.
The Jamaat’s anti-Ahmadyia movement in 1953 created immense chaos and upheaval and the first selective declaration of martial law for a nascent state that was passing through the crucial process of settling down. One would question as to why the Jamaat did not launch an anti-Ahmadyia campaign in the British India as they were even then non-Muslims. For the countrywide riots and writing incendiary and hate filled literature, Maulana Maududi was awarded death sentence by the court that was finally commuted.
The Jamaat gave a tough time to Ayub Khan by staging street agitations and taking out processions forcing him to intimidate and oppress the Jamaat cadres. The collision with Military regime of Ayub Khan started when Jamaat demanded the restoration of Islamic articles in the constitution of 1962 .The Jamaat was banned in 1964 and its activists were sent to jails.That was the beginning of a process of destabilization which resurfaced from time to time in the subsequent periods.
However, The Jamaat was successful in putting the message across the country that it was a force to reckon with and that it could rock the boat by its street agitations and violent protests, literature and vilification blitz. As stated earlier, the committed and brain-washed Jamaat cadres particularly the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba were the militant wings of the party that aggressively and violently promoted the arm twisting agenda and belligerency of the Jamaat. They have been dominating the student unions in leading universities and colleges of Pakistan.
Rationally and honestly there should be no objection to Jamaat’s desire to promote its concept of Islamizing the whole world and reviving the pristine era of Khilafat-e Rashida. But the main impediments in its way are the other religious outfits that would see the Islamic theology and precepts in a differ color. The sectarian cleavages in Islam would obviate any possibility of a common code to be followed by the Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere.
The Jamaat simply puts under the rug the Saudi Arabia monarchy that cannot be defined as an Islamic model because Islam does not allow family dynasties or priesthood (Rahbaniat). Moreover The Saudi Arabia too is a geographical entity that JI wanted to deny to the Muslims of the Subcontinent on the ground that it ran counter to the sovereignty of God on earth. However, the Jamaat’s rabble-rousing ability brought to it the reward in the form of the 1956 constitution written by a sympathizer of the Jamaat: the then prime minister of Pakistan and chief of the Nizam-e-Islam party; Ch Muhammad Ali.
The Jamaat has been shuttling between the two systems i.e. democracy and dictatorship in the political arena of Pakistan. It supported Fatima Jinnah as a candidate against general Ayub Khan in 1964 elections. That was in fact a negation and infringement of its own faith that democracy was not a substitute for an Islamic order whose head is always God himself. The Jamaat believes that the law in the shape of Qur’an is already there only to be implemented. In democracy, it contends, the laws are made by the human beings.
Again they participated in 1970 general elections disregarding that the Jamaat was against the western electoral system and believed in a Shoorai( consultation or collective decision-making) model in which only a body of pious Muslims is chosen to rule and implement the Quranic laws and traditions of Hadith.
Also in sheer breach of their Islamic constitution, they supported and sided with three dictators namely Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and lately general Pervez Musharraf. To beef up the onslaught by Pakistan army in East Pakistan in 1971, they mobilized their militant outfits known as Al-shams and Al-Badr. These brigands indiscriminately and brutally killed the Bengalis who were fighting for their freedom against an army notwithstanding the contention if they were right or wrong. That was certainly the rank opportunism and sheer betrayal of its own professed creed that it would neither support western democracy nor the dictatorship but only the rule and sovereignty of God on earth and enforcement of Shariah.
Their spine-chilling atrocities through their Bengali cohorts were returned by Mukti-Behni in gruesome massacres and barbaric slaughtering of the west Pakistanis including the men in uniform. For the cessation of East Pakistan JI bears equal responsibility besides the chauvinistic and moronic military junta that was at helm during those critical times.
It also projected itself as the strongest and most trenchant ideological, political supporter and steadfast ally of General Ziaul haq, the latter day self-styled crusader who wanted to Islamize Pakistan and impose a defunct, narrow and radical model of Islam on it by brutal means.
In their unconditional loyalty and unstinted capitulation to General Zia they were able to send Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the gallows. When Bhutto was in Rawalpindi jail they spread the rumors that the Palestinians guerrillas were planning to get him out jail. Thereafter, Bhutto’s cell was fortified with concrete walls and placed under maximum surveillance. The night Mr. Bhutto was hanged; Mian Muhammad Tufail was in constant touch with General Zia.
The JI’s third show of support was for general Musharraf against an elected and constitutional government. But they see in the dictators an easy prey for their narrow demands and phony objectives to be realized As such they forget the virtues of Islamic democracy and divine rule on earth and stand behind the ruthless and power hungry dictators.
The dictatorship is in fact close to the perception of fundamentalist parties like JI as a shortcut for the enforcement of an Islamic order of their choice. So let us call this an unworthy bid for attainment of base motives and grabbing of power under the guise of Islam: a religion that shuns such intrigues for self perpetuation and aggrandizement.
This party is now in coalition with Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI). What would happen to PTI with such a smart partner is a story in the making that would be unraveled in due course of time.
September 1, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
(Note: All the years quoted in this article are in Christian calendar- C.E. or B.C.E.)
All the known religions and their founders of the past do not have clear-cut chronological facts and figures about their lives and missions. It is only the prophet of Islam who has the unsurpassed distinction of his life properly chronicled and recorded. All the phases encompassing his birth to his final departure from the transitory earthly abode have been meticulously and distinctly preserved.
The times periods and years relating to the ancient apostles starting from Adam to Solomon and afterwards are ambiguous and lack credibility. These years are simply approximate that in a roundabout manner describe the periods in which these apostles of God existed. This assertion in no way negates their divinity or their being the messengers of God in various eras.
The Biblical or history-based religions are three i.e., Judaism, Christianity and Islam. From among the litany of the mythical religions, the Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism, stand on top. The ancient mythical religions and their dogmas come to be known from one generation to another by word of mouth or from writing on the stone tablets or columns. As such these religions suffered from distortions, exaggerations and a kind of mythical stuff that mostly are hard to believe.
The principal reason for such a lacuna was the absence of a workable or credible system for recording the chronological data and securing the utterances, sayings and sermons of the sages, saints and prophets of the bygone ages delivered to their respective communities. As such these religions belong to an age when the techniques of preserving the history of the world or religions were yet not discovered.
The New Testament was historically written by different authors at different times after the ascension of Jesus to heavens. The period of writing the New Testament is reckoned to be between 35 to 85 years after Jesus’ ascension. With regard to the contents of the Bible both in the old and the New Testament, there are grave variations in the editions published in various stages and times. The authors of the four gospels, Mathew, Johan, Luke and Mark differ with each other on a whole range of episodes and events concerning Jesus Christ. Jesus did not dictate his speeches, sermons and conversations, nor did these scribes take notes for securing his utterances and messages.
The myriad of different texts of the Bible and the variation in narration by authors bear the testimony that the gospels lacked the actual utterances of the Jesus. It could at best be described the life account of an apostle or prophet of God with broader events but not in the actual sequence as he lived and delivered his divine discourses According to a research scholar on religions, Dr. Abdul Hye, there were 103 clear contractions in the Bible.
From the primitive manuscripts of the Bible to the latest one known as “King James Version” (KJV) compiled and published in 1611, a staggering number of fifty thousand grammatical and descriptive errors have been corrected or redrafted. The KJV has dropped 7 books that were part of the Bible for roughly almost three thousand years. The Protestants do not believe in these 7 discarded books. If such a hug number of books are excluded as apocrypha, then one can imagine how fictitious this stuff could that was believed by the Christians for almost 16 hundred years.
As we all know that there are a total of 66 books that constitute the two parts of the Bible commonly known as the old and the New Testament. The Hebrew or the old treatment consists of 39 chapters or books and the New Testament comprises 27 chapters. These two sections were written by some 40 men in the course of 1600 years that is from 1513(B.C.E.) to 98(A.C.). There are only fables and narrations concerning kings, rulers, battles or the messages of the apostles covering several centuries written by a diversity of authors who were not even present during the occurrence of those incidents. These writings are devoid of clear-cut chronological order.
The Hindu religion does not have a founder, ‘definite creed, priestly hierarchy or governing agency” (Mankind’s Search for God) It historically starts from the writing of the Vedas some 900 years before the Jesus Christ (B.C.E.). The Vedas were later augmented and supplemented by Brahmanas, Upanishads and Puranas. It would be utterly impossible to justify or figure out if the 330 million gods in the Hindu mythology actually exist or not? It is also difficult to apportion definite periods or times during which these volumes were written and by whom these were written.
As for the founder of Buddhism there is no evidence or account of his life and religious doctrine that was scribed during his life time. All that we know about him are the canonical texts that have no historical evidence about their time of writings and their authors. There is a mention of the convening of council by 500 monks after the death of Buddha to deliberate about the authentic teachings of the master i.e., Siddhartha Gautama. So the Buddhist canonical material as uttered from the mouth of Gautama was not recorded in his life time but was compiled much later by others.
The Shinto and Tao and Confucianism religions too are embodiments of obscurity and are unclear about the exact time and periods of their apostles. Taoism is believed to be founded by philosopher Lao-Tzu some six centuries before the Jesus Christ. Little is known about him except that after his retirement from the royal service he wrote a brief treatise of 5000 words at the request of some custom officer of those primitive times.
After writing the book he departed and was seen or heard no more. The researchers however are skeptical about this story. But one thing is quite clear that Lao-Tzu has been obscure and least known among the founders of religious or faith based creeds. The gist of the Taoism is to “shun the society and return to the nature”
The life story of the great philosopher of the East Confucius is more elaborate as compared to Lao. Both these sages belonged to the same period of Chou dynasty; torn and weakened by a long period of wars and chaos. A part of the life account of Confucius looks to be more mythical than reality. He is described to be a great teacher. His lectures and sayings are saved in nine books by his disciples who travelled with him during his tours. This is one sage or the founder of creed and a moral code, whose writings are preserved but still not in a chronological format and without mention of any specific time periods.
Let us now turn our attention to the prophet of Islam. He is the most watched, observed, revered, adored and chronicled prophet in the history. He was born in 570 and died in 632.In between this period his revelations sayings, commandment, decrees, decisions, tenets and events were recorded and memorized by those who observed and remained with him in praying, during hardships, preaching, in battles, social interaction or in traveling.
As stated in the foregoing, the scriptures and holy books of the other leading religions such as Bible were written over a time frame of several centuries by other authors after the death of Jesus Christ. However, the holy book of the Muslims, Qur’an was preserved by prophet Muhammad himself for all the 23 years during which he was receiving the revelations. Since he himself was unlettered, his method of preserving the divine messages and directions were to recite them before the Muslim faithful, compatriots, family members and others who would commit these to memory and keep it alive by repeated recitations. Later these would be written on shoulder blades of camel or sheep, palm leaves, wood, parchments and dried skins.
Apart from his revelations his social utterances, normal conversations, sermons and decisions are composed in the form of Hadith. Every period of his life starting from the childhood, to his upbringing, his adolescence, his youth, his marriages, his business tours, his meditations in the cave Hira and the divine mission to peach Islam are meticulously preserved, arranged and tabulated in a chronological order.
It was during the first Caliph Hazarat Abu Bakr's caliphate that Qur’an was collected from written and memorized sources and the task of their assembly in shape of a book was initiated. However it was during the caliphate of the third caliph Hazrat Usman (Othman) that it was complied in the form of a proper book. A good number of copies of this original edition of Quran were made and sent to various destinations within the Muslim territories.
When Hazrat Usman was murdered in 656, he was reading the same edition of Qur’an that was compiled under his guidance and circulated to other places. The copy of that specific Qur’an is preserved in the Topkapi museum in Istanbul (Turkey) and in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). The Qur’an from that period to the present is the exact copy of that original edition formulated during the third caliph Hazrat Osman's period.
From his birth in 570 to his first marriage with Hazrat Khadija in 595, to his fist revelation in 610, preaching in public from 613 onwards, to sending of persecuted Muslims to Abyssinia in 615 are the events that are indelible facts of history. His crusades, his meeting during the Hajj with a batch of Medina pilgrims in 620 migration from Mecca to Medina in 622, stay in Medina and the “Battle of Trenches in 627, conquering Mecca in 630, his demise in 632 are various phases of his glorious life that were witnessed by countless Muslims and non-Muslims alike of those times and are clearly narrated in history with the dates and months and even timings.
When he passed away he was buried in the same room where he lived after migrating to Medina. The tomb erected on his grave stands from day one and is visited round the year by countless Muslims from all over the world. That is a continuous evidence of his presence till death in Medina and therefore is irrefutable.
The graves or tombs of other ancient prophets do not denote any period and did not survive in their in their original shape during the course time. The floods, natural disasters and ravages of invaders did not leave the original forms of their resting places in holy cities like Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Cairo, among others Damascus. During his invasion of Baghdad in 1258, the Mongol invader Hilaku Khan demolished every building in Baghdad and inundated the city by diverting the river Euphrates to the city.
In contrast, the loving and caring way, the tomb of Hazrat Muhammad with its shining green minaret has been kept intact and well maintained for fourteen centuries speaks for the imperishable glory of a prophet who is as immortal after his death as he was held in extreme love and unbounded reverence by Muslims during his life time. As a model of personal piety and immaculate moral character, his life is shining like a diamond and serves ever as a beacon of divine light for the humanity.
The sustained revelations of the Muslims’ holy book Quran for 23 years and later its compilation done by prophet himself and later by his two successors also undeniably testify to the fact that it was not the work of later day scribes or writers. It is a truthful, genuine and authentic chronological production by prophet himself and by those who were witnesses to its being revealed, memorized, written and distributed.
Prophet Muhammad appeared as God’s messenger in an era that was not as primitive as compared to those eras of early messengers and apostles. The age of Prophet Muhammad was considerably advanced and developed. The time distance between Jesus Christ and Muhammad is 570 years. In between there was no prophet that could lay claim of prophet-hood. In these 570 years the world had progressed considerably.
The two main Biblical religions namely Judaism and Christianity are in fact the forerunners of Islam. Islam acknowledges and owns these religions as the precursors of Islam. However, with the advent of Islam, the outdated, obsolete teachings or unwanted dogmas contained in those scriptures were edited, updated and refined by the founder of the Islam.
In fact Islam, as the legend goes, starts from Prophet Adam and assumes the finality with the last prophet of Islam as declared by him in Mecca in 630 C.E, in his last sermon during the pilgrimage. On that occasion he declared before a mammoth assemblage of pilgrims that the religion Islam stood completed today. The prophets and apostles mentioned in the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) and the New Testament (the Greek scriptures) are also the prophets of Islam. Yet the Prophet Muhammad enjoys the exclusive distinction of being the final messenger of God in the line of prophets that came before him from time to time.
It is therefore, foregone that the life of Prophet Muhammad is not mired in obscurity, mythical ambiguity and hollow projections. It has been candidly self–revealing, carefully and diligently chronicled by his colleagues, contemporary historians and by those who came in subsequent times. As such it is truthful and pristine.