By Junaid Jahangir, New Age Islam
7 May 2021
Pakistani Muslims Better Appreciate The Qur’an Perspective That People Were Created In Separate Tribes So That They May Know One Another And Compete In Good Works
1. Indians who elected Modi hold on to a narrative where they harbour animosities on six hundred years of Muslim rule.
2. Faisal Edhi offered a fleet of 50 ambulances and assistance with personnel.
3. It manifested the Prophetic teaching to offer a date even if that is all one has to offer
4. Today, India enjoys good relations with Iran, Afghanistan, and even Uzbekistan, which is where the founder of the Mughal dynasty Babur hailed from.
As India suffers from COVID-19 and as horrific images from India were broadcast on Pakistani media, many Pakistanis reached out to their neighbours on social media with prayers. Faisal Edhi offered a fleet of 50 ambulances and assistance with personnel. That a country multiple times smaller and economically weaker than India was able to offer this much speaks of volumes. It manifested the Prophetic teaching to offer a date even if that is all one has to offer. The overwhelming response from the Indians who engage in mindless worship of Modi and his far-right party that has overseen pogroms of Indian Muslims, rejected the offer out of spite and arrogance. Some mentioned that all this was for publicity stunts, that 50 ambulances were puny compared to the thousands of ambulances running in each of the Indian cities, and that Pakistan would smuggle terrorists in the guise of such help. If such Indians, despite immense suffering of their people, spurn an outstretched hand then this does not bode well for those Pakistanis and Indians who keep posting emotional outbursts of a united India in online spaces.
It seems that the large swathes of Indians who elected Modi hold on to a narrative where they harbour animosities on six hundred years of Muslim rule. This point was made in the movie Jinnah with Christopher Lee, where he is shown to have expressed that with the awakening of the Indians, the British would have their island to go back to, but Muslims don’t have such an island. Indeed, the old warlords from Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan that attacked India are long dead and those who stayed in India long assimilated into the local tradition and culture. Today, India enjoys good relations with Iran, Afghanistan, and even Uzbekistan, which is where the founder of the Mughal dynasty Babur hailed from, but directs its intergenerational trauma against Muslims in India or neighbouring Pakistan. This ire seems misplaced, and it seems to have been fomented by a far-right party. Such parties across the globe are noted for turning the attention of the people away from pressing economic issues and towards divisive targeting of immigrants in the west, communists, Christians and Dalits in India or Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians in Pakistan.
On their part, Pakistanis have also crafted a narrative based on the past. The very fact that Pakistani missiles and tanks are named after regional Muslim warriors that attacked India is a testament that Pakistanis strayed far from the vision of their founding father, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Picking a fight with a neighbour much larger and superior in might through the decades of ill-fated wars instead of investing in education, healthcare and poverty alleviation has inflicted tremendous harm on Pakistan. Much like the U.S. where poor Americans were shipped off to Vietnam and relatively recently to Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan has seen the loss of lives of so many young Jawans (junior soldiers), who have been used as cannon fodder to serve the strategic interests of the privileged establishment. It is the confluence of Pakistanis nurturing a narrative of past warriors and the superiority of Islam, and Indians feeding a similar narrative of the superiority of Indian culture and Dharmic religion that has led to the present situation where even honest sentiments expressed by ordinary everyday people are spurned. Indeed, it is not uncommon to find Pakistanis telling Hindus to “revert” to Islam when the latter express an appreciation of Sufi music and Indians equally telling Muslims to return to their original Dharmic faith when they express an appreciation of Hindu devotional hymns in the YouTube comment section.
This exaggerated expression of emotions on converting others to one’s narrative and emphasis on religious fervour was precisely what was rejected by Jinnah, who instead favoured a more rational approach to addressing issues. Indeed, Jinnah is neither respected by the Islamists nor the hardline Hindutvavadis, for both groups have sought to infuse mindless religiosity into the affairs of the state. He is not properly understood by Pakistanis who want an ever-elusive Islamic state, or the Indians who believe in the myth that India was a united whole and not a loose mish mash of princedoms and empires with ever changing borders. If one were to pull one’s head out of emotional theatrics, it is not difficult to understand that the demand for a Muslim majority nation is not equivalent to the demand for an Islamic state. Throughout Muslim history, the Caliphs and the clergy were at odds. The fact that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was whipped, and that other prominent jurists kept a distance from the Caliphs is a testament to this very fact. In a similar vein, Jinnah rejected Gandhi’s drawing of religious symbolism in the struggle for independence. He was the one politician who understood a basic truth that would be echoed by Rekha in the 1987 movie Sansar, that instead of living under the same roof, they would live separately but visit on Sundays for it would be better to stay far but remain close instead of living together but remaining distant.
Pakistani Muslims can better appreciate this perspective hailed by Jinnah through the Qur’an when it teaches that people were created in separate tribes so that they may know one another and compete in good works, and that every human being has their own sharia (path) to tread so that each one of them would have their reward with Allah. Indeed, pristine Islam never laid down the conditions to “revert” as it has become ubiquitous in contemporary Muslim circles whose brains are so fried by anime, video games and bodybuilding that they have no reflection left for religion save parroting the views of their favourite clerics and religious cults. What all this means for Pakistanis commenting online is that they need to forgo excessive sentimentality and exaggerated emotions and instead focus on their rational faculties. In short, they need to remain rooted in the vision of the Quaid e Azam that Pakistan is a separate nation, it is neither Arab nor is it entirely Indian, but it draws its strength from the best values of both traditions. They don’t have to concern themselves with either reunification or with “reverting” others but help others whilst keeping their distinct identity intact, which is possible when they focus on the vision of the Quaid e Azam: to make Pakistan one of the greatest nations of the world.
Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is the co-author of Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions. With Dr. Hussein Abdullatif, a paediatric endocrinologist in Alabama, he has co-authored several academic papers on the issue of same-sex unions in Islam. He contributed this article to NewAgeIslam.com.
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