By Bilal Ahmad
Any religion is a matter of faith. How tolerant will any system, religious or political, be if it begins with the assumption of religious ethnocentrism? How can any religious, political or ethnic group claim superiority over the other?
All this week, my mailbox has been inundated with mails from individuals who all claim to be ‘non-members’ of the Hizbul Tahrir (HuT). The column that “outraged, disgusted and offended” the senders of these e-mails was called ‘Dealings with the devil’ (Daily Times, April 1, 2011). The onslaught of the e-mails within minutes of each other started on Monday and continued till the evening. The extent of the outrage seems questionable if they had to wait for three days to send an e-mail expressing it. Can it be that all these mails were sent from a single server when the working week started after they were approved by an ‘authority’? That shall remain a mystery unfortunately.
However, I would like to respond for I think some of the points raised in the e-mails deserve not a reaction but a response, which this column will attempt to do. The following, in quotes, are excerpts from the mails sent. The creative poetic license with the English language is not mine.
“HuT never calls people to fight, rather it believes in political struggle and it fight war of ideas not the war of cruise missiles. The point to ponder is than why government don’t want to see HuT working because they have the political and ideological superiority of Islam. Your freedoms and democracies are so shallow that they can’t even bear to listen to HuT call of caliphate.”
The point is not of depth or shallowness. Democracy as a process and a system, in my opinion, has its limitations and disadvantages, but then what are the alternatives? This was best articulated by Winston Churchill when he said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Any religion is a matter of faith. How tolerant will any system, religious or political, be if it begins with the assumption of religious ethnocentrism? How can any religious, political or ethnic group claim superiority over the other? If for a second we believe that the followers of Islam are superior beings, then does this mean that non-believers are inferior? If so, then are we saying that Allah is not just and created some humans superior and others inferior? How just is that God then? Thus, I cannot understand the basis of the “political and ideological superiority of Islam”. If the HuT really does invite people to struggle for ideas rather than war, then why is it that in its literature and public campaigns, like the one mentioned in my last column, it incites hatred?
“Khilafat is a system that made Muslims a superpower for centuries and today’s democracies have humiliated us for more than a century. You and your gods every struggle to corrupt us with western ideas will be in vain and there will be a great humility in Aakhira (hereafter) for this. Be ready for disobeying Allah by criticising his system and his authority.”
The “western ideas” that are in question are of justice, pluralism, diversity, rule of law and equality before the law. If these are corrupting ideas, then is this not reason enough for opening up our lives to an iota of such corruption? The mail’s sender has not elaborated how “today’s democracies” have humiliated us. Perhaps in the next mail? As for my ‘gods’ and I, the less said the better for this is a personal matter and certainly not the subject of newspaper columns. Yes, my ideas and I are certainly debatable and I am open to discussion and criticism about them. Of course, the reverse is not true because to critique the khilafat or Islam is to end up with 26 bullets and a pamphlet attached to my bullet-riddled body highlighting the glory of Islam.
“Your such cheap article cannot stop the rising call of caliphate, it is our destiny, we will establish the rule of Allah in this land, you should fear Allah.”
My article is an expensive one since it appears in a heavily priced English paper, which would cost a third of the price in neighbouring India. However, no one has the time to focus on such consumerism issues since we are so busy defending our glorious past and building castles in the air. Yes, the ideas presented in the column can be deemed cheap as a right by readers for which I have already offered myself up for a critique.
“We the youth of Pakistan feel a responsibility and get motivated by this realisation. But once we proceed we get in confusion. The media and the other institutions of a state should be giving a direction to public, but when we see towards these (including the head of the states and political parties) we get in more confusion. Forced by the instinct of survival and nature of reaction the youth finally choose the way of gun. In these conditions, organisations like HuT not only forbid us to do so, but also give us a beam of hope with a strong reference from the life of Prophet. We understand Islam and know well that how it gives a solution to the problems of Pakistan today including the leadership crises, energy shortage and utilisation, trade and business and social international relations etc. We know how to get rid of feudalism and we know how to deal and respect the women. And this all is told by the intellectual organisation like HuT. Therefore it was totally unjust to take the name of HuT in the list of those who are portraying something else in the name of Islam. I am not a member of this organisation.”
If, after all this, the e-mail writer is still not a member of HuT, then I am really beginning to wonder why not! If he/she truly believes that the HuT has the answer to “the problems of Pakistan today including the leadership crises, energy shortage and utilisation, trade and business and social international relations etc” and is still not a member then, pray, do send me the membership form! I would also like to ask if the HuT is interested in establishing the “supremacy of caliphate and Muslims in the world”. If it has all the answers, then pray, what is stopping it from sharing the answers with all of us?
Source: The Daily Times