Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim

Part 2

By Adnan Syed

This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal Islamic state.

Originally planned as a two part series, I decided to split it to three parts due to the sheer volume of information in interviews in the Munir-Kiyani Report.




Munir-Kiyani report was one of the first studies into the contradictory stance taken by framers of the Objectives Resolution. The report pointed out that the Resolution misused the words “sovereign” and “democracy” when the Resolution stated that the constitution to be framed was “for a sovereign state in which principles of democracy as enunciated by Islam would be fully observed”.

Problem is, when a country is sovereign, its people or any group of people are fully entitled to conduct their affairs any way they like and “untrammelled by any consideration except those of expediency and policy. Absolute restriction on the legislative power of a state is a restriction on the sovereignty of the people”.

Islamic state, in that sense cannot be sovereign, “because it will not be competent to abrogate, repeal or do away with any law in the Quran or the Sunnah”. Importantly, if the Islamic state legislature is a sort of “ijma”, masses would be precluded from that group because “ijma-e-ummat in Islamic jurisprudence is restricted to ulama and mujtahids of acknowledged status and does not at all extend, as in democracy, to the populace”.

When this question was put in front of various religious leaders, the following replies were made. Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Pakistan leader Maulana Hasanat and Syed Ata-ullah-Shah Bukhari said that the religion (din) was complete and nothing else was required. Bukhari even went on to say that any more laws would constitute kufr (way of the unbelievers). Moudoudi however proposed an idea of Majlis-e-Shura (the council of advisors) to deal with matters not covered in Quran and Sunnah. Moudoudi did not supply any further written material regarding his ideas of the Shura, the status of this body (whether it was a standing body or it had any legal or binding force etc.). No further explanation was given to reconcile Moudoudi’s stance that was drastically different from the two gentlemen before him, and almost constituted kufr according to one of them.



The religious leaders were almost clear that the position of non Muslims in the Islamic state of Pakistan would be that of zimmies and they will neither be full citizens of Pakistan, nor they would have the same rights as the regular Muslims. Maulana Hasnat went on to say that:

“Their position will that of zimmies. They will have no voice in the making of laws, no right to administer the law and no right to hold public offices”.

Mian Muhammad Tufail of Jamaat-e-Islami (who died in June 2009) stated that “I do not acknowledge these rights (of minorities) for the Christians or other non-Muslims in Pakistan if the state is founded on the ideology of the Jamaat”.

However, another alim, President of Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni had his own ideas about the status of non Muslims in Pakistan. When asked if he had read Quaid’s August 11 speech that spelled out equal rights for the minorities (in a sense Quaid discarded the idea of minorities by proclaiming that everyone was first and foremost a Pakistani). Mr. Badayuni stated that all communities (Muslims or not) should have, according to their population, proper representation in the administration of state and legislation”. But in his opinion, non Muslims cannot be taken in the army, judiciary or be appointed as ministers.

He also stated that non Muslims in an Islamic state are not zimmies (since zimmies only belong to a land conquered by the Muslims), but are “mu-ahids”, people with whom some agreement is made.

All of this contradictory talk of non Muslims’ rights led the learned justices to a very fundamental question:

Just what makes any one a Muslim?


It was a simple question asked by Justice Munir and Kiyani to the learned alims of the new state of Pakistan. The question was simply “please define a Musalman”.

Maulana Hasnat Qadri (Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Pakistan): “He must believe in the unity of God, must believe in the prophet of Islam to be a true prophet, believe in the Holy Prophet as the last of the prophets, believe in Quran, believe as binding the injunctions of the Prophet, must believe in Qiyamat (the day of judgement)”.

Maulana Muhammad Ali (President, Jamiat-e-Ulama-i-Pakistan): “Muslim believes in the Quran and what has been said by the prophet. Nothing more is required to be believed or needed to be done”.

Maulana Moudoudi: “Muslim believes in tauheed, all the prophets, all the books revealed by God, angels and the Day of Judgement….Any alteration in any one of these (five) articles will take him out of the pale of Islam”

Ghazi Siraj-uddin Munir: “A Muslim believes in the kalmia….and leads a life in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet”.

Mufti Muhammad Idris, Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore: “There is a distinction between the (Persian word) Musalman and the word “Momin”….It requires pages and pages to describe what momin is. A person is a Muslim who professes to be obedient to Allah. He believes in the Unity of God, prophethood of the Prophets and in the Day of Judgement. A person who does not believe in azan (call for the prayer) or in qurbani (sacrifice) goes outside the pale of Islam”.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Kandhalvi, Darush-Shahabia, Sialkot:  “A person who in obedience to the commands of the prophet performs all the zarooriyat-i-din (religious requirements) is a Musalman. Zarooriyat-i-din are those requirements which are known to every Muslim irrespective of his religious knowledge.”

Maulana Ahsan Islahi went on to say there are two kinds of Musalmans; political Muslims and real Muslims. A political Muslim had to fulfil 10 basic requirements and he could be a Muslim citizen of an Islamic state. The real Muslim needed to “believe in and act on all the injunctions by Allah and his prophet in the manner in which they have been enjoined upon him”.

 The above were just a few, but not all of the interviews conducted by Justice Munir and Kiyani. The justices ended this section with those memorable words: Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulama, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulama, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but kafirs according to the definition of everyone else”.

Today, the religious zealots hunt the non Muslims on the streets of Pakistan, whether these “non-Muslims” are Shias, Ismailis, Ahmadis or any other sect that is considered outside the pale of Islam and fit to be killed. The warning signs were all there, right in the pages of the Munir-Kiyani Report as one after another alim, told a story of a violent religious reality that the new Islamic state would entail.

Not only the ulama had clear designs about the non Muslims, they also had violent religious warfare ideals that an Islamic state would engage in against the infidels. The seeds of a chaotic Pakistan that would suffer under incessant religiously mandated militancy were sown way back in the fiery speeches of the ulamas right after the creation of Pakistan. The religious right were looking to oust the Ahmadis first from the pale of Islam, before they can turn their attention towards turning Pakistan into a premier Islamic state.

Sunday: Punishment for apostasy and the concept of Jihad by an Islamic State

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