There has been a concerted push in recent weeks and months, culminating on 14th August, by the chattering classes to denounce all things Islamic in Pakistan and call in earnest for secularism to be implemented. Religion was never supposed to control the State as it supposedly does today. Citizenry were supposed to be free to visit whatever house of worship they chose in pursuit of glorifying their deity, but the deal was they were to keep their beliefs out of running the country. This allegedly has not happened and now we have ended up with a failing backward State, with blame for this being laid on the door of Islam. Enter the secular crusaders, here to save the nation by the light of liberalism!
But before the noble forces of hedonism are unleashed on the people it is worth asking that is Pakistan a State based upon Islam? Yes we have the word ‘Islamic’ in the name of the country and yes there is something written in the preamble of the ever amendable constitution that says no law will be enacted that is ‘repugnant’ to Islam. However mere words do not make a State Islamic (legally non-binding ones too at that). Whether under dictatorship or democracy, Pakistan has always enacted laws which have served the will of the ruling class. When Islam has been dragged out of the mosques it is confined to, it has been by politicians seeking to win influence over the people or rulers taking decisions for the sake of political expediency rather than attempting to deduce the hukm of Allah on a matter.
The case of Raymond Davis is case and point; the CIA was let in to the country by the secular dictator Musharraf and allowed to stay and expand by secular democrats of the current regime. That Islam considers the presence of foreign military/intelligence personnel on its territory as forbidden is irrelevant. But when caught in a bind over the murderous actions of the spy of our ‘ally’, rules of diyat were used to get him off the hook. One wonders what happens to the Islamic enthusiasm of these rulers when it comes to cutting the hands of those corrupt thieves in power.
Indeed the few areas of the State where Islam is involved, such as family law, actually proves to reflect the true secular spirit; the rejection or selective adoption of God’s law based upon the judgment of man, thus resulting in the latter transcending the former in authority.
So what do our secular warriors cry out for? It isn’t as if though Islamic rules on private property or land distribution are shaping the economy. It isn’t as if the Islamic directive to have a currency backed by the gold standard instead of a weak fiat system is being adhered to. It isn’t as if though the rules of Islam of freeing your Muslims brothers around the world from occupation are guiding the foreign policy. It is not as if though the political system is based upon the Shariah model of the Caliphate. So what is it?
The secularists have long coveted the Western secular model which is failing before our very eyes for Pakistan. However due to ironically having blind faith in the West these secularists refuse to accept that events like the UK riots and the collapsing global financial system are results of the values that secular liberalism espouses. Concepts of individualism and consumerism are driving the decline of Western power in every sphere ranging from the societal to the economic. Despite this, the secularists are bent upon implementing such a bankrupt model on the country due to a combination of their desire to indulge their whims and lusts as well as their disdain of Islam.
At home, they are alarmed that the very political system which has made them rich, powerful and influential is also coming under threat. Pakistanis are increasingly disillusioned with the same old tired chants of democracy, democracy, democracy. The people have seen that there is no material difference in policies between a democracy and dictatorship; both secular systems subjugate the nation to America and sustain the same corrupt politicians and political parties. Both systems support a deeply unpopular war and support murderous drone strikes on their own kith and kin. Both fail to address serious problems in the economy such as crushing poverty, mounting national debt due to loan addiction, rampant inflation and a chronic shortage of energy. Both fail to establish rule of law in society where the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak are subject to same justice. Both fan the flames of sectarian hatred as a tyrannical few desperately try to hold on to power and wealth in places like Karachi, playing politics with lives and blood of innocent bystanders.
Pakistanis are increasingly turning towards ideological Islam as practiced by the Holy Prophet (saw), which the secularists condescendingly label as Islamism. They desire a true Islamic State, the Caliphate, on the model of the State the Holy Prophet (saw) established in Medina. This is something the secularists cannot stand, leaving them with no option but to engage in flippant discussion amongst themselves whilst shutting down any voices of dissent, with force if necessary. Peaceful political groups like Hizb ut Tahrir are subjected to abductions and shambolic bans; actions which apparently do not contradict their secular liberal beliefs. Large amounts of money are ploughed in to foreign sponsored projects and organizations which claim to combat extremism whilst leading the youth astray.
At the time of the Holy Prophet (saw) the Quraysh would employ identical tactics in an attempt to crush the message of Islam. Amongst these included torture, boycott and even spending money to hire dancers to distract the people whilst the Holy Prophet (saw) proclaimed his message in public. There were those who would thrust their fingers in to their ears and told others to do the same just so the message of Islam could be ignored.
It is ironic how much these so called modernists have in common with folk who lived 1400 years ago, though sadly not those on the side of Islam. The secularists should be warned however that such tactics have never worked in history and that they cannot fight the message of Islam with incoherent babble or brute force. If they truly wish to prove themselves superior, let them publically debate those working for the Caliphate so people can see whose ideas are truly the strongest and worth following.
What do they have to fear in debate apart from losing?
By: Muhammad Asim
The author is a freelance columnist.