Humayun Gauhar, PAKISTAN TODAY Sunday
I am most concerned that Muslim ‘clerics’ amongst the mullahs camouflaged as scholars are putting Muslims into reverse gear. Sure there are good mullahs. I know at least one. But the good mullahs’ voice is drowned in the din of the collective voice of the intolerance of the obscurant.
Should I depend on the din of the obscurant or the example of my beloved Prophet (pbuh)? He was the best interpreter of the Word of God. His life epitomized the objectives of God in the Quran, His core principles on which there can be no alteration or Ijtehad and which are the same in every Abrahamic religion. This is what Iqbal was alluding to when he said: “No one knows the secret that the reciter of the Quran is in fact the Quran.”
I beg to submit that I choose to follow the Islam of my Prophet (pbuh). I reject the mullah in all his forms and manifestations except genuine scholarship. He can go on declaiming from the pulpit. I will not listen to him. God has given me a brain and I will use it. So should you. We are not mental cripples that we should use the de facto cleric as a crutch. It is best to rely on the example of the Prophet (pbuh) only, in the hope that it might open the brains of some illiterate and uneducated victims of the mullahs’ rhetoric.
In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) granted a Charter of Privileges in the form of a letter to the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai. The letter is still there. It covers all aspects of human rights including such issues as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
Here is the letter.
“This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a Covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
“Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
“No compulsion is to be on them.
“Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
“No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
“Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s Covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
“No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
“The Muslims are to fight for them.
“If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
“Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
“No one of the community (of Muslims) is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
If you read this with the Treaty of Medina that the Prophet (pbuh) agreed with the Jews and which is regarded as the first-ever constitution of a state, you will realize that these are history’s best examples of tolerance and moderation and the best interpretation of God’s Word and His objectives. The Prophet’s (pbuh) enlightenment shines through these documents.
Now can we keep quite for a moment and reflect what we have done to our citizens of other religions who are equal citizens of the State? Don’t get carried away by what is said in our constitution. We don’t mean it. It is a document conceived in sin and born in shame, not only because it is written in the blood of our people, not only because it was made by a minority in a rump assembly, but most of all because it mocks God.
What else is a mockery of the Almighty when you pompously declare yourself to be an Islamic republic and then go ahead and violate the injunctions of God? It is all very well to say that no law shall be made that is repugnant to the Quran and Sunnah. Then what about the law granting immunity to the head of state and other high office holders? There is no room in Islam for immunity for anyone. Two of our greatest caliphs presented themselves in court: they did not seek shelter under immunity. Is immunity not a gross violation of God’s injunctions? It is a license to indulge in crime and corruption. It is mocking Islam.
It is all very well to have articles in the constitution that set out the qualifications and disqualifications of those who seek public office. There are many in our parliaments, national and provincial, as well as in their cabinets and even above them holding elective public office who are in gross violation of these two articles. Is this not a grotesque mockery of Allah? Does God not require us to choose from amongst ourselves and to choose from amongst the best? We elect people from amongst the worst. We allow those who are the people’s oppressors to be their representatives. And we hand over our independence not to anyone from amongst us but to America. Is this not a gross mockery of Allah? I submit that mocking Allah in the constitution is blasphemy of the most vile kind.
It is all very well to say that people should think for themselves and not abdicate their thinking to the mullah. I can, for I have been lucky enough to be blessed with education. Eighty percent of Muslims are non-Arabs and 80 percent of them are uneducated. How can they think for themselves when they cannot even read the Quran, leave alone understand it. No amount of politics, constitutionalism, bourgeoisie sympathy and their NGOs can correct this deprivation of a very fundamental God-given right to His greatest creation, the people, which is the responsibility of the state to ensure, especially if it calls itself ‘Islamic’.
God has given every human being the right to develop his or her mind to its fullest potential, and it is the bounden duty of the state to provide the wherewithal to do so. Unless this is done, Muslims will remain stuck in their own Dark Ages, deprived of their basic God-given rights and being lorded over by a small ruling minority that has abdicated their independence to superpowers.