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Secularism vs Islamism (in Pakistan)

fawwaxs

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In a recent TV debate on this subject, the applause meter would have given the win to Islamism. The debaters, three on each side, faced a small mixed audience — quite a few girls, many wearing hijabs, also young men in jeans and a handful of beards.



The ‘secularists’ appealed, in measured tones, to the intellect, made references to European history, called for tolerance, pluralism and progress. The ‘Islamists’ were assertive, emotional and received applause when they spoke of the ‘moral decadence’ of the West and condemned, to louder applause, the West’s aggression against Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Iraq.

So do the people of Pakistan want an Islamist state? Well, yes and no.

A poll of young persons in a recent issue of the Karachi monthly Herald shows the complexity of the Pakistani mindset. A substantial majority (64 per cent) wanted an Islamic state but the religious parties that espouse this cause received only three per cent of the vote. By an emphatic majority they preferred democracy to military rule. Most were optimistic about the future, but even so 53 per cent would leave the country if given the chance. There were other questions that touched on lifestyles, friendship, marriage, etc, the answers to which showed a predictably conservative bent of mind.

During the TV debate’s question time, one young girl in the audience said: “Show me one verse of the Quran that is against tolerance, human rights and democracy. Then I too shall be for secularism.” She was saying in effect that western secularism does not offer anything that Islam as such does not provide, refuting both Samuel Huntington and Maulana Maududi.

It brought to my mind what a French thinker had written at the time of Iran’s Islamic revolution: nothing worthwhile can be done in Muslim countries except in the name of Islam.

However, when someone in the audience recalled the tolerance and progressiveness of Moorish Spain, one debater on the ‘liberal’ side responded: let us not always be talking about past glories. The dismal present of the Islamic world, she said, is what we must face up to — poverty, ignorance, intolerance, and corrupt and autocratic governments. “In the entire Muslim world there isn’t one world-class university.”

What one may make of this, if one takes the Herald poll as representative, is that the Pakistani youth has faith in the Islamic system but does not go along with what is proposed by the religious parties; thinks democracy is compatible with Islam; is patriotic but also pragmatic; and is conservative in the matter of social mores. He/she feels strongly about the West’s policies towards Muslims and is repelled by its sexual permissiveness.

Could one say then that the gulf between Islamists and secularists is not as wide as the 60-year contention on the subject would indicate? The dispute arises from confusion over the terms of the debate. Secularism in its European meaning of separation of church and state does not apply to Islam which has no church, no priesthood. What our Islamist parties want would indeed amount to creating a sort of institutionalised priesthood.

In their view democracy, in which decisions are taken by majority vote and not according to the will of God, is not Islamic. In the first Constituent Assembly they proposed that a council of ulema, which can interpret His word, be established to vet all legislation. They did not get this but the assembly instead adopted an Islamic ‘Objectives Resolution’.

This somewhat ambiguous document, when all is said and done, says no more than that Muslims should be ‘enabled’ (not obliged) to order their lives in accordance with Islam. Otherwise it calls only for all accepted democratic values — equality of status, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association.

But in due course more substantive measures followed. Only a Muslim could be president or prime minister (what then of equality of status?). Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims. A more draconian blasphemy law was introduced, along with the Hudood Ordinance, the Qisasand Diyat(an eye for an eye) law, and the Qanun-i-Shahadatregulations under which a woman’s word is worth half that of a man. And the list doesn’t end there.Few, if any, of these provisions were introduced as a result of public demand or debate. Most of them, such as the ban on interest, have remained a dead letter, no one has had his hands cut off, no adulterers have been stoned. When the Hudood Ordinance was amended some time ago there was no public outcry. I daresay there wouldn’t be too much if it was done away with altogether.

The real debate is not between Islam and secularism but between democracy and theocracy, and in that context the entire history of our constitution-making shows on which side the people stand.

The situation is paradoxical. The average Pakistani is devout and religion is an important part of his being. Islamic signs and symbols are everywhere but Pakistanis are not willing to be ruled by clerics and do not vote for the religious parties. Yet a rightwing Islamism (the Shariat Court calling land reform un-Islamic, for instance) coupled with an exhibitionist religiosity has been making headway in the country’s politics and hearts and minds.

The Islamists care little for votes and elections but rely on sympathisers in the administration, the education system and the military to promote an agenda concerned with ritual and revival rather than welfare and progress. Obscurantist teachings in madressahs, Friday sermons spewing sectarian bias and, more recently, some religious TV channels have cast a medieval pall over Pakistani society and created an atmosphere of bigotry and intolerance.

It will not be an easy task to bring about a more open-minded, tolerant attitude. Musharraf’s ‘enlightened moderation’ did not go anywhere because it did not have the support of his power base in the army and he did not have the courage of his convictions. For the moment nobody else is even trying. I don’t at all see the Taliban in our future but don’t rule out Taliban-lite, some of which is here already.

DAWN.COM | Editorial | Secularism vs Islamism
 

EjazR

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The problem is a lot of these people don't understand what secularism is as a concept. Particularly when you talk about equality of all religions vis a vis the UK/US model and NOT negation of religion like the French setup.

Is Islam against computers and mobile phones which were created by the west? The same west that suffers from 'moral decadence' and commits 'aggression against Muslims'. Then maybe its time to dump your cell phones and computers in the bin.

But then ofcourse that is stupid as this has nothing to do with policy errors of western govt.

Similarly, having a secular society(i.e. equality of all religions in the front of the state/law) is nothing different from being a good Muslim or including Islamic principles in state governance.

For example the Turkish govt. is run currently by a party that has made effort to remove the 'negation' aspect of secularism and tried to bring in laws that provides equality for all. It still declares that Turkey will be secular. That doesn't stop Turkey from being any less Muslim.


What some of these hypocritical champions of political Islam want is to have a theocratic dictatorship by using the name of Islam appealing to emotions rather than logic and the Quran and Sunnah.
 

Hadouken

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Secularism only works in Christian countries, because Christian law is very barbaric in nature.

Sharia on the other hand is the law essential for prosperity and success for the Muslims. As we can see from the first three generations of Islam, they prospered because they were loyal to Rasool Allah (SAW) and followed Islam PROPERLY!

Secularism is not compatible with Islam, because the essence of secularism is removing God from everything political and economic.

This goes against the Quran and the Sunnah of the holy Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allahu alayhe wasalam)!

Our founding fathers Jinnah and Allama Iqbal (rah) were Islamists!

Jinnah proposed an Islamic economic and political system.


And I really don't need to talk about Allama Iqbal, because it is OBVIOUS that he was a hardcore Islamist! In his works of Jawab-E-Shikwa, he states:

"...Quwathai Ishq sai har pakth ubala kar dai

Dairh mai is mai Muhammad (S) sai ujala Kardai..."

Translation:

...With love's might elevate every low to elegance

With Muhammad's (SAW) name illuminate the whole world...

Also he states in the same poem:

...Ki Muhammad (SAW) sai wafa tu nai tho hum thairai hai

ye jaha cheez hai kya loh o kalam therai hai...

So you CANNOT remove God from our politics and economic system!

The problem today lies with WAHABISM and the Munafiqs and KHARJIS that exist within our country!

They are NOT loyal to Rasool Allah (SAW), and they are NOT following Islam properly!

The faith of a Muslim IS Rasool Allah (SAW), and our nation MUST reflect our Islamic identity, values, morals, and ethics!

If we don't, only destruction and chaos lies ahead of us!

Remember the saying:

Pakistan Ka Matlab Kya?

La Illaha Il Allah!

PS: Here is an english translation of Allama Iqbal's (rah) Asrar-e-Khudi, which goes into DEEP insight about his ideas:

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/asrar/translation/index.htm

I think the Urdu and Persian versions can be found on that site as well!
 
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MilesTogo

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I thought Islam was secular. At times it looks like that people are fighting on words and not on ideology like democracy is rubbish, but concept of "shura" is great or that secularism is bad but Islam allowing everyone to practice their religion is great.
 

Shattered

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Secularism only works in Christian countries, because Christian law is very barbaric in nature.

Sharia on the other hand is the law essential for prosperity and success for the Muslims.
As we can see from the first three generations of Islam, they prospered because they were loyal to Rasool Allah (SAW) and followed Islam PROPERLY!

Secularism is not compatible with Islam, because the essence of secularism is removing God from everything political and economic.

This goes against the Quran and the Sunnah of the holy Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allahu alayhe wasalam)!

Our founding fathers Jinnah and Allama Iqbal (rah) were Islamists!

Jinnah proposed an Islamic economic and political system.

YouTube - Was Quad-E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah a Secularist?

And I really don't need to talk about Allama Iqbal, because it is OBVIOUS that he was a hardcore Islamist! In his works of Jawab-E-Shikwa, he states:

"...Quwathai Ishq sai har pakth ubala kar dai

Dairh mai is mai Muhammad (S) sai ujala Kardai..."

Translation:

...With love's might elevate every low to elegance

With Muhammad's (SAW) name illuminate the whole world...

Also he states in the same poem:

...Ki Muhammad (SAW) sai wafa tu nai tho hum thairai hai

ye jaha cheez hai kya loh o kalam therai hai...

So you CANNOT remove God from our politics and economic system!

The problem today lies with WAHABISM and the Munafiqs and KHARJIS that exist within our country!

They are NOT loyal to Rasool Allah (SAW), and they are NOT following Islam properly!

The faith of a Muslim IS Rasool Allah (SAW), and our nation MUST reflect our Islamic identity, values, morals, and ethics!

If we don't, only destruction and chaos lies ahead of us!

Remember the saying:

Pakistan Ka Matlab Kya?

La Illaha Il Allah!

PS: Here is an english translation of Allama Iqbal's (rah) Asrar-e-Khudi, which goes into DEEP insight about his ideas:

Asrar-e-Khudi

On of the funiest thigns i have heard tbh.

Shira laws are crule tell me if some perosn steals like 10£ acording to shira you will cut his hands off tell me how that is not babric >_>

I think the Urdu and Persian versions can be found on that site as well!
Shira laws are crule tell me if some perosn steals like 10£ acording to shira you will cut his hands off tell me how that is not babric
 

Hammy007

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Care to explain?

I come from a Muslim and a totally Secular country.
is there any difference between your country and western country, some time ago, your country itself belonged to the western empire, how can your nation behave like a muslim country if you dont have any muslim in you and have adopted all western values.

it always happens that "weak nation" which cannot progress copy the strong nation btw, so as long as we have a powerful developed and educated west the world will copy them and they will be always right. this is also called inferiority complex of poor and weak nations.

when communism was strong the communist government of soviets was strong many nations were copying them, were soviet collapsed all popular communist movements ceased to exist.
 
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Horus

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Islam is the most secular religion itself if applied in its true from.

If Extremists and Secular extremists stop poking their noses into it and stop altering it to FIT their Needs and sizes !

Thanks
 

Xtremeownage

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Islam is the most secular religion itself if applied in its true from.

If Extremists and Secular extremists stop poking their noses into it and stop altering it to FIT their Needs and sizes !

Thanks
Do you even know what secularism is?

Islam has nothing to do with secularism, because secularism removes religion from all political and economic aspects of a society.
 
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Hadouken

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Care to explain?

I come from a Muslim and a totally Secular country.
If you look at Christian history it is very barbaric, secularism saved Europe from the dark ages... That is what I meant!

But if you look at Islamic history, when Sharia was implemented, Muslims thrived in the sciences and we illuminated the world with knowledge, learning, love, and truth!

Although secularism is better than Christian law, Islamic law is much better than secularism!
 

EjazR

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Some people obviously can't get the message.

Secularism need not mean "removing God from all things", but equality of all religions in front of the state and law. Islamist unfortunately does not have the right connotation but the idea of using Islam for political purposes is anything but Islamic. Islam is a universal value system for the individuals. Theocrats and religious nationalism has nothing to do with Islam.

And what is this false information about Iqbal. Just quoting lines from his poems is enough to prove that he wants a theocratic state? Have you even read Asra-e-Khudi. Infact there is a clear section in which Iqbal writes that using the name of "Jihad" just to take over neighboring land from non-muslims is wrong.

And his much later speech in the 1930 annual convention of Muslim League is more explicit on this matter. Just to highlight the relevant parts where he was talking about how the muslim majority state in India would be like.

[[3d]] Nor should the Hindus fear that the creation of autonomous Muslim states will mean the introduction of a kind of religious rule in such states. I have already indicated to you the meaning of the word religion, as applied to Islam. The truth is that Islam is not a Church. It is a State conceived as a contractual organism long before Rousseau ever thought of such a thing, and animated by an ethical ideal which regards man not as an earth-rooted creature, defined by this or that portion of the earth, but as a spiritual being understood in terms of a social mechanism, and possessing rights and duties as a living factor in that mechanism. The character of a Muslim State can be judged from what the Times of India pointed out some time ago in a leader [=front-page article] on the Indian Banking Inquiry Committee. "In ancient India," the paper points out, "the State framed laws regulating the rates of interest; but in Muslim times, although Islam clearly forbids the realisation of interest on money loaned, Indian Muslim States imposed no restrictions on such rates." I therefore demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim State in the best interests of India and Islam. For India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam, an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilise its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times.

Presidential Address, annual session of the All-India Muslim League, Allahabad, December 1930, by Sir Muhammad Iqbal
Islam is to provide a strong moral system for individuals who - if they follow this value system like being honest, striving for justice, caring for the poor e.t.c. at a personal level, ti will automatically have an affect on the society as a whole.

But if you just want to use the name of Islam to grab political power, you are being nothing but a hypocrite and there is nothing different from other religious nationalists and fanatics out there - Muslim or non Muslim
 
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FreekiN

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Bangladesh is moving toward a secular government. And i'm not sure about Egypt but I think they are as well.

_____________

Let's be frank guys. A poor country like Pakistan which is having trouble moving up in the progression line will not be able to pull off an enormous task such as implementing, enforcing, spreading Islamic law throughout the land.

Pakistan simply does not have the money, time, and effort to make itself an Islamically propelled state.

The state cannot enforce a person's mind. If they desire in their own minds to do some bad deed then it is as bad as carrying out that bad deed even though the person did not.

Allama Iqbal said it himself CLEARLY as we see above in EjazR's post that there will be absolutely no religious rule in Pakistan. Then why can we not accept the fact that even if Pakistan was made to be an Islamic ruled country[which it wasn't], it cannot be one.
 
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