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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is the separation of Mosque and State possible?

Islam is not just a Mazhab (Religion), it's a Deen (aka Din) … and Deen is 'a way of life'.

This means Deen includes Mazhab! Of course it includes many other things, too: Education, Family, Values, Food & Drink, Governance, Politics, Justice and much more …

Deen has 3 different meanings. The first one is a loanword from Aramaic-Hebrew where it meant "judgement". The second one is an original Arabic word, which means "custom" and "usage". The third word is an entirely distinct Persian/Farsi word, meaning "religion" (which is why the Urdu language often says Islam=Religion … i.e. Religion in its broadest sense).

Some authorities also state that the Persian word existed prior to the Arabic word, even in pre-Islamic times, and was possibly how Arabs began to start using Deen, but in their own terms. This led to some difficulty for the Muslim exegetes. Qur'an's "Maliké Yawm-id-Deen" ( or مالکِ یومِ الدِّین, to write it in Arabic) was generally accepted to mean 'Recompense' or 'Reckoning' … but eventually everyone decided to make it 'Judgement' — and that is how we see it translated by Yusuf Ali, Pickthall, and others.

Theologically deen is defined, according to Gibb/Kramers Encyclopaedia of Islam, something that "guides rational beings, by their choosing it, to salvation here and hereafter, and which covers articles of belief and actions." Here it obviously means 'Religion' … but, as I said earlier, in its broadest sense.

This definition makes it essential to ensure that deen is not milla (=religious community), mazhab (=school of canon law) and shari'a (=system of divine law). It could, of course, mean any religion - but is generally held to mean Islam, specially in the light of Quran's S3V19 إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ which shows that the "only deen under Allah is Islam".

BTW, deen, in this verse, has almost always been translated as 'Religion' by nearly all well-known English translators. Urdu translators, however, often say جزا کا مالک (the Master of the Recompense).
Why do people differ so much in their translations of such verses? They do that also when it comes to Vahy (or Wahy). They treat it as major inspirations to Prophets, while the Qur'an speaks of Vahy's to Bees and to the Disciples of Isa (Jesus). In fact Allah Vahy's to Earth and a verse even shows the Shaitan (Satan) sends down Vahy to their disciples on Earth.
Take a look at the verses on the subjects I have mentioned, using a Qur'an Translation that has an Index. Or you could go to one of these sights to get a basic idea: This or this
So, now we know that if Islam is a Deen, it is impossible to separate the Mosque from the State. At least in an Islamic Republic. However, Pakistan was not always an Islamic Republic

In 1947, at the time of the Partition of India, it was known as the Dominion of Pakistan. The other part was called the Unit of India. Pakistan was a dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations under two monarchs: In 1947, King George VI relinquished the title of Emperor of India and became King of Pakistan. In 1952, at his death, Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of Pakistan. She had that title until 1956, when Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with a Constitution. (The Constitution was suspended by Ayub Khan and the country became The Republic of Pakistan — but that came back when the Constitution came back).

Among the various things that have happened in Pakistan through its 'growth' (I can't think of a 'real' word that would describe its decline!) has been its moving away from Jinnah's ideology and starting something that has no evidence: the Ideology of Pakistan. (Allows you to take anyone to court by saying s/he is against Pakistan's Ideology, though.)

So … is there anything we can do now to stop this 'plunge'?

There are a few things that must be done and will have to come from one leader! It cannot be done, bit by bit, via several leaders, because each one feeds off the other. Which leader? Hmmmm … very hard to imagine, when we've got leaders who are
(i) pro-Taliban,
(ii) in league (underhandedly) with Taliban,
(iii) wanting the Taliban to go on with their ideas (even though they may not agree with them) because it helps get them votes,
(iv) are anti-PPP (although PPP cannot do any of this because part of it was done by their leader),
(v) are pro-Military (errrr … which side of the Military are we talking about?),
(vi) are pro-Zia (there are many who benefit from his madness).

So we seem to have no one left.

But we will have to get one, soon, if we want this change — unless you want Sharia. That, sadly, has lots of things within it that no recognisable (or even unrecognizable) sect of Muslims agree upon, leaving more room for fighting. Something we just cannot approve.

Anyway, imo, these are the things that must be done: 

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan must become The Republic of Pakistan.

• Hudood Laws must be removed. Women cannot be treated as minorities.
  They are almost equal to men.
  This must be announced boldly.

• Anti-Ahmadi Laws must be removed.

• Courts cannot 'enforce' non-Muslims' evidence or a woman's evidence to be less than a Muslim Male's evidence.

Religion must be made an 'Optional' item on your Passport.
  If you like, you can have it stamped. If you don't, you cannot have it stamped by force.

• Human Rights Laws must be made universal.
This does not stop you, in your personal level, from agreeing/disagreeing with the views of other people - and you can establish your own view - but you cannot act upon that feeling and try to move those people out of society. Laws must be equal for everyone in Pakistan.

• Religion must not become a compulsory subject in Schools and Colleges (If you want, you can attend it. Those who do not want, can refuse it.) — and should not always be an examined one. Those who want to be examined can ask for it and be examined and marks set … but those marks are not to be considered as entrance marks into programs that do not necessarily want their understanding to be essential.

• Religion should be considered a private matter.

Do you think we can do this? Or have we gone too far … ?

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Anonymous Sabeen Mahmud said...

Thank you for the introductory explanations and etymology. As for the wishlist, I am very hopeful about pro-women legislation. It would help if educated, passionate people started believing in public service and government. Everything else on the list, IMHO, can never happen :-(

01 November, 2012 10:00

Blogger Zakintosh said... Sabeen, I see no reason why 'some' of these cannot happen. They could. And not with too much difficulty. Of course, that would not 'change' where we are headed (though it could start people thinking)! We really 'need' to alter all of them together.

Some people (like Naeem Sadiq on Facebook) said it can be done … and I hope you will alter your mind in time, too.

01 November, 2012 12:23

Blogger Zain said...

I remember asking you one day the question; "What drives you?", and your answer was, "Me drives me."

I don't think a lot of people in the Urban setup are driven by their own intuitions, let alone the village mass which does not have the opportunity to have much intuitions, it is a social stream they are flowing with, not having much of their own thoughts. You cannot take example of the acute minority-type people like Naeem Sadiq who I vaguely remember runs a Industrial Environmental safety company (Industrial Safety in Pakistan; sounded like a fantasy term), so, we either need a non-violent literary gentry which is far much more in numbers, or we need a leader (or more than just one, but one in plans) to create the scenario you wrote about.

So, like you said, we don't seem to have one. Are we, thus, going to crumble further? Should I stay back abroad? And, should I happily think of migration like my parents did from India to Pakistan? Because, these days I feel life is more than just Pakistan, India, Biryani, halwa poori, and Khala-ji-ka-ghar.

I look forward to your thoughts on my questions (which confuse me much).

10 November, 2012 15:23

Blogger Zakintosh said...


As for your own migration: My first thought would be for anyone in any country to go to any other country where s/he is more peaceful, happy, wonderful and has the opportunity. People migrate from the USA and UK, too. Not just from here. So go, if you want. It is OK … This is not about Pakistan. It is about you! (I am staying here, but that's a personal choice.)

As for our having a leader — yes, we have none right now. The Army had never allowed that to happen (even when most of their own chosen or selected civilians were put into place). But we soon will have a few of them starting to come up. Times have changed!

BTW, the village mass have intuitions and dreams and would like to see them come true — but there's a stomach they have to feed, which makes them vote for things that they may not want but have to accept.

13 November, 2012 08:38


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