THERE is a vast difference between a government being Islamic and the ruler of a country being a Muslim. In the subcontinent, the rulers of many small states were of a different religion to that of the majority, but they were religiously impartial, their main concern being the welfare of the people. With British occupation, things changed. They learnt a bitter lesson from the 1857 War of Liberation and thereafter they concentrated solely on administration and left religious matters to the respective communities. Neither Hinduism nor Islam was forced on people by the rulers. Had that been the case, the whole of India would have been Muslims. However, foreign traditions and religious festivals did leave lasting imprints. For example, Muslims adopted hina, ubatna, soyam, chaharam, etc, from the Hindus.
Pakistan was created in order for its people to have a free atmosphere, religious freedom and financial autonomy. Under the present conditions it is very difficult to enforce strict Islamic laws. Muslim leaders, realising the sensitive nature of the matter, declared it an Islamic state, but did not enforce Islamic Shariah. Now hardliners want a theological Islamic state while the modern generation wants a western-type system. It had already started during British rule. Some people were dead against any form of orthodox religious practices while others considered all modern practices as “kufr” and “ilhad.” It was at this time that the great Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and others appeared on the scene. Sir Syed preached educational reforms while Maulana Hali laid emphasis on culture and good behaviour, and Allama Iqbal used his excellent poetic gift to preach Islamic values.
Shahjehan Begum, Nawab of Bhopal ( grandmother of Nawab Hamidullah Khan), embarked on the construction of a grand mosque made of red stone. Unfortunately, she expired before its completion. Only the inner hall had been completed at the time. Her daughter Sultan Jehan and Sultan Jehan’s son, Nawab Hamidullah Khan, were unable to complete the mosque. A very fine person, Dehraduntrained Maulana Imran Khan, started a madressah there and also gave regular lectures to Muslims. He collected money from the Middle East and finally managed to complete the structure – now the biggest mosque in the subcontinent known as Tajul Masajid ( crown of all mosques).
In 1962, Nawab Hamidullah Khan died and his daughter, Sajida Sultan, arranged a large function with lots of food. Fewer people came than were expected and the large amount of food that was left over was sent to the mosque for the children. This was politely returned by the mosque’s administration, with the message that it was against students being fed leftovers. Should the Begum have wanted to provide a feast for the children, it would have been more appropriate to invite them rather than sending them leftovers. This indicates the character of the teachers and the upbringing the children were receiving. Nowadays, even national leaders and rulers do not hesitate to use zakat money for personal use. In one of his verses, Himayat Ali Shair said: “How to comment on plunderers and looters; they are our leaders, our leaders.”
Our religious leaders are no better. Instead of serving Islam and guiding the people, they have their attention focused on Islamabad. They waste millions of man-hours on useless processions, sit- ins, etc, causing immense inconvenience to the public and destroying public and private property. After making inciting speeches they return to their comfortable lives.
In Karachi, a massacre is in full swing and it is only the ANP that is demanding the army’s deployment. The PPP and the MQM are vehemently resisting that, fearing they will lose their grip on the mafias and extortionists. Traders are forced to pay “bhatta” ( extortion money) to criminals in order to protect their businesses and their own skins.
The PPP is forever crying itself hoarse claiming that there should be no state within the state, but that claim is made only to enable it to disobey court orders. They don’t seem to have any objection to killers running a state within a state. The situation has become so bad that criminals have even taken to killing police, Rangers and army personnel with impunity. This is the beginning of the end of Pakistan!
The present situation and behaviour of our rulers and the public reminds me of what is written in Surah Al- Maida, Ayat 105: “O you who believe! Guard your own souls. If you follow right guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who go astray. The goal for you all is Allah. It is He who will show you the truth of all that you do.” Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq explained this in a prayer address: “O people, you read this verse and make wrong deductions. I have myself heard the Holy Prophet ( pbuh) explain it thus: ‘ When people don’t stop others from wrongdoing or don’t stop the tyrant from cruelty when they see such acts being committed, then it is possible that the Almighty will inflict severe punishment. By Allah, you must preach goodness and stop others from wrongdoing. If you don’t, Allah will thrust on you as rulers those who would be the worst from among you. They will make your life intolerable. The God- fearing, good people will then beseech Allah for His favours, which request will not be accepted.” The present situation is a true reflection of that edict from Allah and its explanation by His last Prophet ( pbuh). Only the Almighty can save us from the prevailing situation and forthcoming curses.