Justice M. Munir commission investigated the large-scale riots against the Ahmadya sect in Pakistan in 1953. His report is an eye-opener. It shows that our ulema are not even able to agree on a definition of who a Muslim is. Justice Munir had called heads of all Islamic schools of thought and asked them the definition of a Muslim. No two ulema agreed. It also exposes the pusillanimity of our so-called scholars of Islam and their near-total disregard of the beauty and generosity of Islam. – Editor
The ideology on which an Islamic State is desired to be founded in Pakistan must have certain consequences for the Musalmans who are living in countries under non-Muslim sovereigns. We asked Amir-i-Shari’at Sayyad Ataullah Shah Bukhari whether a Muslim could be a faithful subject of a non-Muslim State and reproduce his answer:—
“Q.—In your opinion is a Musalman bound to obey orders of a kafir Government?
A.—It is not possible that a Musalman should be faithful citizen of a non-Muslim Government.
Q.—Will it be possible for the four crore of Indian Muslims to be faithful citizens of their State?
The answer is quite consistent with the ideology which has been pressed before us, but then if Pakistan is entitled to base its Constitution on religion, the same right must be conceded to other countries where Musalmans are in substantial minorities or if they constitute a preponderating majority in a country where sovereignty rests with a non-Muslim community. We, therefore, asked the various ulama whether, if non-Muslims in Pakistan were to be subjected to this discrimination in matters of citizenship, the ulama would have any objection to Muslims in other countries being subjected to a similar discrimination. Their reactions to this suggestion are reproduced below:—
Maulana Abul Hasanat Sayyed Muhammad Ahmad Qadri, President, Jami’at-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan:—
“Q.—You will admit for the Hindus, who are in a majority in India, the right to have a Hindu religious State?
Q.—Will you have any objection if the Muslims are treated under that form of Government as malishes or shudras under the law of Manu?
Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi:—
“Q.—If we have this form of Islamic Government in Pakistan, will you permit Hindus to base their Constitution on the basis of their own religion?
A—Certainly. I should have no objection even if the Muslims of India are treated in that form of Government as shudras and malishes and Manu’s laws are applied to them, depriving them of all share in the Government and the rights of a citizen. In fact such a state of affairs already exists in India.”
Amir-i-Shari’at Sayyad Ata Ullah Skak Bukhari:—
“Q.—How many crores of Muslims are there in India?
Q.—Have you any objection to the law of Manu being applied to them according to which they will have no civil right and will be treated as malishes and shudras?
A.—I am in Pakistan and I cannot advise them.”
Mian Tufail Muhammad of Jama’at-i-Islami:—
“Q.—What is the population of Muslims in the world?
Q.—If the total population of Muslims of the world is 50 crores, as you say, and the number of Muslims living in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Egypt, Persia, Syria, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, Turkey and Iraq does not exceed 20 crores, will not the result of your ideology be
to convert 30 crores of Muslims in the world into hewers of wood and drawers of water?
A.—My ideology should not affect their position.
Q.—Even if they are subjected to discrimination on religious grounds and denied ordinary rights of citizenship?
This witness goes to the extent of asserting that even if a non-Muslim Government were to offer posts to Muslims in the public services of the country, it will be their duty to refuse such posts.
Ghazi Siraj-ud-Din Munir:—
“Q.—Do you want an Islamic State in Pakistan?
Q.—What will be your reaction if the neighbouring country was to found their political system on their own religion?
A.—They can do it if they like.
Q.—Do you admit for them the right to declare that all Muslims in India, are shudras and malishes with no civil rights whatsoever?
A.—We will do our best to see that before they do it their political sovereignty is gone. We are too strong for India. We will be strong enough to prevent India from doing this.
Q.—Is it a part of the religious obligations of Muslims to preach their religion?
Q.—Is it a part of the duty of Muslims in India publicly to preach their religion?
A.—They should have that right.
Q.—What if the Indian State is founded on a religious basis and the right to preach religion is disallowed to its Muslim nationals?
A —If India makes any such law, believer in the Expansionist movement as I am, I will march on India and conquer her.”
So this is the reply to the reciprocity of discrimination on religious grounds. Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari:—
“Q.—Would you like to have the same ideology for the four crores of Muslims in India as you are impressing upon the Muslims of Pakistan?
A.—That ideology will not let them remain in India for one minute.
Q.—Does the ideology of a Muslim change from place to place and from time to time?
Q.—Then why should not the Muslims of India have the same ideology as you have?
A.—They should answer that question.”
The ideology advocated before us, if adopted by Indian Muslims, will completely disqualify them for public offices in the State, not only in India but in other countries also which are under a non-Muslim Government. Muslims will become perpetual suspects everywhere and will not be enrolled in the army because according to this ideology, in case of war between a Muslim country and a non-Muslim country, Muslim soldiers of the non-Muslim country must either side with the Muslim country or surrender their posts. The following is the view expressed by two divines whom we questioned on this point:—
Maulana Abul Hasanat Sayyed Muhammad Ahmad Qadri, President, Jami’at-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan:—
“Q.—What will be the duty of Muslims in India in case of war between India and Pakistan?
A.—Their duty is obvious, namely, to side with us and not to fight against us on behalf of India.”
Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi: —
“Q.—What will be the duty of the Muslims in India in case of war between India and Pakistan?
A.—Their duty is obvious, and that is not to fight against Pakistan or to do anything injurious to the safety of Pakistan.”
Other incidents of an Islamic State are that all sculpture, playing of cards, portrait painting, photographing human beings, music, dancing, mixed acting, cinemas and theatres will have to be closed. Thus says Maulana Abdul Haleem Qasimi, representative of Jami’at-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan: —
“Q.—What are your views on tashbih and tamseel?
A.—You should ask me a concrete question.
Q.—What are your views on lahw-o-la’b?
A.—The same is my reply to this question.
Q.—What are your views about portrait painting?
A.—There is nothing against it if any such painting becomes necessary.
Q.—What about photography?
A.—My reply to it is the same as the reply regarding portrait painting.
Q.—What about sculpture as an art?
A.—It is prohibited by our religion.
Q.—Will you bring playing of cards in lohw-o-la’b?
A.—Yes, it will amount to lahw-o-la’b.
Q.—What about music and dancing?
A.—It is all forbidden by our religion.
Q.—What about drama and acting?
A —It all depends on what kind of acting you mean. If it involves immodesty and intermixture of sexes, the Islamic law is against it.
Q.—If the State is founded on your ideals, will you make a law stopping portrait painting, photographing of human beings, sculpture, playing of cards, music, dancing, acting and all cinemas and theatres?
A.—Keeping in view the present form of these activities, my answer is in the affirmative.”
Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni considers it to be a sin (ma’siyat) on the part of professors of anatomy to dissect dead bodies of Muslims to explain points of anatomy to the students.
The soldier or the policeman will have the right, on grounds of religion, to disobey a command by a superior authority. Maulana Abul Hasanat’s view on this is as follows:—
“I believe that if a policeman is required to do something which we consider to be contrary to our religion, it should be the duty of the policeman to disobey the authority. The same would be my answer if ‘army’ were substituted for ‘police’.
Q.—You stated yesterday that if a policeman or a soldier was required by a superior authority to do what you considered to be contrary to religion, it would be the duty of that policeman or the soldier to disobey such authority. Will you give the policeman or the soldier the right of himself determining whether the command he is given by his superior authority is contrary to religion?
Q.—Suppose there is war between Pakistan and another Muslim country and the soldier feels that Pakistan is in the wrong; and that to shoot a soldier of other country is contrary to religion. Do you think he would be justified in disobeying his commanding officer?
A.—In such a contingency the soldier should take a fatwa of the ‘ulama’.”
We have dwelt at some length on the subject of Islamic State not because we intended to write a thesis against or in favour of such State but merely with a view to presenting a clear picture of the numerous possibilities that may in future arise if true causes of the ideological confusion which contributed to the spread and intensity of the disturbances are not precisely located. That such confusion did exist is obvious because otherwise Muslim Leaguers, whose own Government was in office, would not have risen against it; sense of loyalty and public duty would not have departed from public officials who went about like maniacs howling against their own Government and officers; respect for property and human life would not have disappeared in the common man who with no scruple or compunction began freely to indulge in loot, arson and murder; politicians would not have shirked facing the men who had installed them in their offices; and administrators would not have felt hesitant or diffident in performing what was their obvious duty. If there is one thing which has been conclusively demonstrated in this inquiry, it is that provided you can persuade the masses to believe that something they are asked to do is religiously right or enjoined by religion, you can set them to any course of action, regardless of all considerations of discipline, loyalty, decency, morality or civic sense.
Pakistan is being taken by the common man, though it is not, as an Islamic State. This belief has been encouraged by the ceaseless clamour for Islam and Islamic State that is being heard from all quarters since the establishment of Pakistan. The phantom of an Islamic State has haunted the Musalman throughout the ages and is a result of the memory of the glorious past when Islam rising like a storm from the least expected quarter of the world—wilds of Arabia—instantly enveloped the world, pulling down from their high pedestal gods who had ruled over man since the creation, uprooting centuries old institutions and superstitions and supplanting all civilisations that had been built on an enslaved humanity. What is 125 years in human history, nay in the history of a people, and yet during this brief period Islam spread from the Indus to the Atlantic and Spain, and from the borders of China to Egypt, and the sons of the desert installed themselves in all old centres of civilisation—in Ctesiphon, Damascus, Alexandria, India and all places associated with the names of the Sumerian and the Assyrian civilisations.
Historians have often posed the question: what would have been the state of the world today if Muawiya’s siege of Constantinople had succeeded or if the proverbial Arab instinct for plunder had not suddenly seized the mujahids of Abdur Rahman in their fight against Charles Martel on the plains of Tours in Southern France. May be Muslims would have discovered America long before Columbus did and the entire world would have been Moslemised; may be Islam itself would have been Europeanised. It is this brilliant achievement of the Arabian nomads, the like of which the world had never seen before, that makes the Musalman of today live in the past and yearn for the return of the glory that was Islam. He finds himself standing on the crossroads, wrapped in the mantle of the past and with the dead weight of centuries on his back, frustrated and bewildered and hesitant to turn one corner or the other. The freshness and the simplicity of the faith, which gave determination to his mind and spring to his muscle, is now denied to him. He has neither the means nor the ability to conquer and there are no countries to conquer.
Little does he understand that the forces, which are pitted against him, are entirely different from those against which early Islam, had to fight, and that on the clues given by his own ancestors human mind has achieved results which he cannot understand. He therefore finds himself in a state of helplessness, waiting for some one to come and help him out of this morass of uncertainty and confusion. And he will go on waiting like this without anything happening. Nothing but a bold re-orientation of Islam to separate the vital from the lifeless can preserve it as a World Idea and convert the Musalman into a citizen of the present and the future world from the archaic in congruity that he is today.
It is this lack of bold and clear thinking, the inability to understand and take decisions which has brought about in Pakistan a confusion which will persist and repeatedly create situations of the kind we have been inquiring into until our leaders have a clear conception of the goal and of the means to reach it. It requires no imagination to realise that irreconcilables remain irreconcilable even if you believe or wish to the contrary. Opposing principles, if left to themselves, can only produce confusion and disorder, and the application of a neutralising agency to them can only produce a dead result. Unless, in case of conflict between two ideologies, our leaders have the desire and the ability to elect, uncertainty must continue. And as long as we rely on the hammer when a file is needed and press Islam into service to solve situations it was never intended to solve, frustration and disappointment must dog our steps. The sublime faith called Islam will live even if our leaders are not there to enforce it. It lives in the individual, in his soul and outlook, in all his relations with God and men, from the cradle to the grave, and our politicians should understand that if Divine commands cannot make or keep a man a Musalman, their statutes will not.
KHWAJA NAZIM-UD-DIN’S REACTION TO DEMANDS
We have stated in earlier parts of the Report how the three demands in respect of the Ahmadis came to be formulated and presented to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din under the threat of direct action. In view of the long and frequent discussions Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din had with the ulama, the correctness and justification of the demands on theological grounds must have been discussed. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din is a devoutly religious man, and since he did not straight away reject the demands, he must have been impressed by their plausibility. At the same time, he must have realised that the demands were merely a thin end of the wedge and that if the principle that such religious matters were to be discussed and determined by the State were conceded, he might be confronted with some more awkward demands. He must also have thought of the possible repercussions of the acceptance of demands not only on the Islamic world but also on the international world.
The essential assumption underlying the demands was that in an Islamic State there is a fundamental difference between the rights of the Muslims and non-Muslims and that in such State it is one of the ordinary duties of the State to decide whether a community or an individual is or is not Muslim. The demand relating to the removal of Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan and the other Ahmadis, who occupied public posts of importance in the State, presented a still more complicated problem. Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan was widely known and respected in the international world. His removal was bound to be widely publicised and to lead to international comment, and an explanation which would have satisfied the international conscience, would have been difficult to discover. Under the Constitution Act, neither Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan nor any of the Ahmadis occupying a public position could be removed from his office on the ground of his religious belief and the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan had, as early as 6th October, 1950, adopted an interim report on fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan, by which every duly qualified citizen was declared to be eligible to appointment in the service of the State, irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex, descent or place of birth and every citizen’s right to freedom of conscience and to profess, practise and propagate religion was guaranteed.
The Draft International Covenant on Human Rights prepared by a Commission on Human Rights appointed by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation, of which Pakistan is a member, had provided by Article 13 that every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to change one’s religion or belief and to manifest such religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. The acceptance of the demands would, therefore, have created a flutter in international dovecots and the attention of the international world would have been drawn in one way or another to what was happening in Pakistan, because the acceptance of the demands would have amounted to a public commitment that Pakistan was basing its citizenship on grounds basically different from those observed by other nations and that non-Muslims were debarred from holding public offices in Pakistan merely for their religious beliefs. India never misses an opportunity to revile and ridicule Pakistan and she would not have let this opportunity go un-availed. She also has a communal problem and would certainly have charged Pakistan, of going back on the agreement, which was concluded between the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan on 8th April, 1950 according to which members of the minorities were guaranteed by both States equal opportunity with members of the majority community to participate in the public life of their country, to hold political or other offices and to serve in their countries’ civil and armed forces, rights which that agreement recognised to be fundamental. While concluding that agreement, the Prime Minister of Pakistan had pointed to the Objectives Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan as guaranteeing to the minorities the right to hold public posts and offices in civil and armed forces, but now this very Objectives Resolution was being used by the ulama as an irrefutable argument in support of their claim, that the distinction between the Muslim and non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic State was, according to the injunctions of the Qur’an and sunna, fundamental and that neither according to the Qur’an nor according to the sunna the Ahmadis, who were alleged to be non-Muslims, could be permitted to hold any important post. India was not interested in Ahmadi religion or the Ahmadis; nor with such religious squabbles of which she had steered clear. But she must have immediately realised the implications of the acceptance of the demands and rightly contended that if Ahmadis could not be permitted to hold public offices in the State, a fortiori the Hindu community, in which India was interested, could not. These implications must obviously have been present to the mind of Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din and he must have felt a troublesome conflict between his own religious convictions and the implications resulting from the acceptance of the demands. He, therefore, protracted his negotiations with the ulama, hoping against hope that they would abandon the demands or that some unexpected event would solve the issue or human ingenuity discover some solution of the problem. He hardly expected that the ulama, who had had long conversations with him and his colleagues on this theological topic, would revolt against his Government and start what was nothing short of a rebellion.
Eventually Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din rejected the demands and gave reasons for the rejection. Simultaneously he ordered the ulama to be arrested. The arrests led to demonstrations, processions, public meetings and disorders which we have described in full in Part III of the Report. Sayyad Firdaus Shah, D.S.P., was murdered on the evening of 4th March in or just outside the Wazir Khan Mosque where Maulana Abdus Sattar Khan Niazi had virtually made himself the sole director of the agitation. On 5th March incidents of loot, arson and murders began to be reported and the police had to do a lot of shooting. The military could do nothing, the arrangement with it being that it was there in aid of the civil power and was merely to accompany the police and not to do anything independently unless a particular situation was handed over to it. Despite repeated firing, the situation not only showed no signs of improvement but it went on deteriorating. In the meeting of citizens at the Government House on the afternoon of 5th March no leader, politician or citizen was willing to incur the risk of becoming unpopular or marked by signing an appeal to the good sense of the citizen. The Kotwali was beleaguered by riotous mobs and the decisions taken in a meeting of Ministers and officers on the evening of 5th March were taken by the police as a direction to stop all firing. The Kotwali therefore remained besieged by riotous mobs and the machinery of Government showed signs of a total collapse on the morning of 6th March when the Government publicly announced its surrender to anarchy. The Chief Minister’s statement of that morning was intended to be a piece of mere Machiavellianism, but the trick had hardly been tried when the situation went completely out of control and the citizen realised the imminence of the danger to his life and property. The military could wait no longer and took over.
To sum up. The circumstances that led to the proclamation of Martial Law were:—
(1) The complete breakdown of administrative machinery and total collapse of civil power, resulting in the Punjab Government’s statement of 6th March that it accepted the demands.
(2) The magnitude and intensity of the disorder, which led to this breakdown.
(3) The magnitude and intensity of the disorder was directly attributable to the circumstance that Government had lost all respect and that a religious complexion had been given to the demands and widespread belief sedulously inculcated in the masses that Ahmadis were detracting from the status of the Holy Prophet and impairing a basic doctrine in Islam.
(4) That nobody realised the implications of the demands, and if any one did so, he was not, out of fear of unpopularity or loss of political support, willing to explain these implications to the public.
(5) That the demands were presented in such a plausible form that in view of the emphasis that had come to be laid on anything that could even be remotely related to Islam or Islamic State, nobody dared oppose them, not even the Central Government which, for the several months during which the agitation had, with all its implications, been manifesting itself, did not make even a single public pronouncement on the subject.