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Roadmap to establishing Riasat-e-Madina in Pakistan (or not)


Mar 14, 2017
United Kingdom
A few things I want to say before hand;
  • I have used the term Riasat-e-Madina but in no way should this be linked back to the PTI government and their campaigning.
  • When I use the term Riasat-e-Madina I mean a legal system and a system of governance built around Islamic values and Shariah.
  • I am not going to define an Islamic system of governance in this thread
  • The purpose of my thread is to outline what I consider are required steps and the challenges involved.

There is a lot of talk amongst people in our society, especially more conservative elements that all our societal woes would be fixed by implementing Shariah law and a system of governance based around Islamic values and principles. I am also a person who thinks this is a part of the solution as opposed to the whole solution.

In my opinion if we implemented any system of governance and implemented any legal system effectively, we'd fix a lot of our societal woes. I feel a legal system based around our religious values would have the highest chances of success, and I feel a political system other than FPTP parliamentary democracy would be more suitable for our country. I think there ought to be proportional representation and I think we need more centralised power, and more local government. I think the provincial level of government is a waste and is ineffective.

However today I don't want to talk about my opinions, I want to address the challenges to implementing an Islamic system of governance and an Islamic legal system. I do not think it can be successful in Pakistan today.


1. We don't have a clear definition of what it is.
2. We don't have trust in the people who advocate for it.
3. We don't have any demonstratable examples of success in the modern world.

DEFINITION - Much like with the rest of Pakistani politics, there is a lot of talk of change, but nothing beyond rhetoric in terms of what that change will look like. Nobody writes white papers about what these alternative legal/governance models will look like, who will play what role, how they will function, how they will address the problems in our current systems, and how we will transition from one system to the other. There is no intellectual material put out, nothing is challenged, nothing is debated.

A perfect example of this is the TLP talking about moving away from an interest based economic and no longer paying interest on loans. They had nothing to backup how that would work, how they'd implement it, how they'd transtion from a government reliant on interest based foreign loans, to one that was self sufficient or somehow getting interest free loans.

To be taken seriously - conservatives must create this intellectual debate, they must be open about it, they must invite challenge from critics, they must respond to that challenge and show iterative improvements on their models where required.

TRUST - Would you trust todays Islamic cleric to look after your finances or to invest your money? Would you trust them to not be swayed from an opinion by money? Would you trust them to leave your child with them? For most sensible people the answer is NO. In the last instance - the answer is ALWAYS NO. There will be no more Prophets of Allah, so don't leave your children alone with strangers.

Religious conservatives have been present in our political system for a long time Jamat-e-islami is older than Pakistan itself. TLP has had many forms, previously as Sunni Tehreef for example. Barelvi molvis and peers have long been involved in Pakistani politics. What difference have they demonstrated from the average Pakistani politician other than facial hair and headwear? How many votes have these people won in elections? It's clear that the general public doesn't really trust them.

For this to change they must earn the trust of the people through actions and demonstrate that they are successful and competent people.

The very first place this must change is in religious institutions. The village imam, the imam in the mohalla needs to be a person who is educated, who can express his ideas, a person who is involved in the community, someone who cannot be swayed for a few bucks and someone who will not turn a blind eye to wrong doing. They need to be social champions, this is the role of in imam and most halwa molvis are incapable of stepping up to it.

They must also reform masjids and make them places of relevance in our community. Right now they are white elephants. The one in our village in AJK is clad in marble, yet down the road from it, punjabi labourers live in shantys without access to clean water or toilets. The men use the masjid toilets in the morning at fajr time, the women and children don't have access to it. It's shameful. There will be many masjids that do excellent work, our village one is not one of those and it is a reflection on the lack of values of the people who attend the masjid. Unfortunately the imam also lives on charity so is in no position to criticise his community - even if he wanted to.

This leads me on to another point - imams need to be financially secure. If a few thousand rupees can make halal haram and visa versa - what value can be placed on that man. People will be reading this thinking WTF has the village imam got to do with the implementation of Shariah? Well the imam is the representative of Islam as an institute in the eyes of the common man.

The madrassa is the next point of call. In the UK there are two incredible privately funded madrassas. One in Blackburn, one in Birmingham, and they produce graduates who's GCSE grades are on par with the top 1% of British society. I don't remember their names, but they're incredible institutes. Most of the rest are places insular insecure people send their children to fail to get a proper education. Until our madrasas can generate the best graduates, the people championing an Islamic legal/governance model - won't be of a high calible intellectually or economically.

In our society (and all others tbh) other than physical strength, the next value the worth of a person is measured at is their economic and intellectual capacity. Values are given a lot of lip service, but you don't see many nice guys in leadership roles. The boss is always the one who took the opportunties, made the money. Some of them are great people with great values, other times they're not - but they're always the ones with the money and the ones who take chances. Until our madrasas generate men and women who can be industry leaders, who can challlenge intellectually - the change cannot come.

When people see the boss is a religious conservative who provides better working conditions who's running a successful business, who implements his values in his pathway to success, people will be interested in copying that. When the boss is the liberal guy who studied abroad, has a cabinet full of liqour, is a lovely guy but will do whatever it takes to suceed and expects the same from his employees - they'll copy that. We all want to be successful, we will follow whatever models we are exposed to. Until religious conservatives can be the people who are successful by the definition of success wider society holds, they aren't going to have their ideas given the thought they want.

Finally they need to demonstrate commitment to the community. To get an internal promotion, or even to get a job at a new company, you have to demonstrate the qualities and skills the role you want to fill requires. Internally this means doing the job before actually getting the job. Religious conservatives need to do the same. They need to show commitment to communal betterment.

  • If TLP can pay for lawyers for gustaki cases, why can't they organise a communal legal fund to pay for people who are fighting cases against powerful people but have no money?
  • If you can organise 24/7 langar, why can't you organise foodbanks for the most desperate families?
  • If we can clad our mosques in marble, why can't we fit them with libraries?
  • If we can work for the hidmat of pir saab, why can't we organise to clean the streets, or volunteer to help those in need?
  • I hear a lot of criticism of Quadiani from dumbasses within my circles. Apparently they give people money to setup business, help them find wives, help them setup homes - anything to get people to convert. If they can do that - why can't we provide halal communal business loans? Why can't we train youth so they can get jobs?
  • If Amish can volunteer services and labour to build barns, why can't we?
A criticism of the current system and the politicians involved in it are that they are in it for money and power - so if you want to suggest yourself as an alternative, surely you must work for the people to improve society in new and innotative ways - without incentive. In Karachi Alamgir Khan ran a charity called Fix-it. The great Edhi saab did huge work for society. With the amount of religious conservatives in our society, if people gave their time and others gave only a single ruppee - what can be achieved?


TLDR: I think we can't establish an Islamic system of governance or implement a Shariah based legal system before demonstrating to the public the superiority of said systems. Only then the vast majority of the public is convinced of the superiority of said systems and has confidence in the individuals who are asking to implement it, only then can it even begin to be considered a reality.

Until that point, the challenge for the sections of society who want to implement an alternative to parliamentary democracy and our current legal system is to demonstrate the superiority of their alternative, and to win the confidence of the public in their abilities to implement it.

El Sidd

Apr 5, 2017
Why don't people read up on Objective Resolution and 1973 Constitution?

Populist leaders like Imran Khan are rubbing lamps all over the world for genies they cannot contain.

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