Raza Habib Raja
Pakistan, it seems has no desire to mend its way. Hardly ten days have passed since the Peshawar tragedy and religious zealots are at it again. Now Peshawar tragedy is being linked with Ahmedis ( as kind of “conspiracy” from them) and violence is being openly incited against them.
Right now civil society is pressurizing PEMRA to take appropriate action against GEO and Amer Liaquat. Although I agree with the move of the civil society but I think this issue won’t die away unless our general way of looking at Ahmedis is not changed.
They are considered as Non Muslims who are claiming to be Muslims and therefore on this pretext, all the so called “real” Muslims are ready to resort to violence against them. Further I am told that they also hate Muslims and consider all other sects as Non Muslim and therefore it is “fair” to declare them as Non-Muslims. Of course I have been told a number of times that they are “against” Pakistan.
First of all, some of my relatives are Ahmadis and hence I have had the unique opportunity of observing them closely. Despite the open hatred which is shown to them, I have never had the opportunity of hearing any Ahmadi member of my family expressing hatred towards Pakistan or Muslims of other faiths. None of the Ahmadis I know has talked about resorting to violence against so called “real” Muslims of Pakistan despite the fact that they have been subject to violence themselves.
In Pakistan, Ahmadis were declared as Non-Muslim through second amendment. I have written against the second amendment and have also been in arguments with several of its supporters. The supporters of the second amendment have often come up with various defences ranging from supposed Ahmadi non-belief in the finality of the Prophet hood to collective wisdom of the absolute majority (second amendment was passed through majority).
However, one of the most vocal arguments given to me is that Ahmadis too think of all others outside their faith as Non-Muslim and on these grounds it is only fair and square that they should also be declared as Non-Muslim and hated in return.
Although personally I have never heard it from any Ahmadi relative of mine but some of the people I know (those who belong to Sunni faith) stress that this is the case. A friend of mine pointed out to me that a certain Ahmadi relative of his had not offered Namaz-e-Janaza of his mother owing to the grounds that he construed her as an apostle.
I replied back by asking him to return the favour. If he thinks that Ahmadis are of the opinion that all outside their sect are heretics then it is ok for him to think the same about them. I clarified to him that my point is not that he should assume them to be Muslims but rather that the state has no right to declare someone as Non Muslim and even more importantly not to resort of violence against them.
To put it simply , assuming if Ahmadis do indeed think of Sunnis or other sects as outside Islam, this does not still give you a right to actually legislate them as Non Muslim and be violent against them. All you can justifiably do in return is to just think the same of them. Once you make a law then you are actually giving material and tangible effect to your perception. Pakistan is a unique country where actually a man-made law has decided something which in principle is the prerogative of the Almighty alone.
And yes if tomorrow Ahmadis assume the majority and legislate someone as Non-Muslim, I will oppose that also and on same grounds.
So think whatever you want to about Ahmadis but you don’t have the moral authority to make absurd laws just because your perception of a Muslim is different and because you think that they also construe you as out of Islamic faith. And above all, if you want to consider them as Non Muslim, do so, but you have NO bloody right to kill them or make life miserable for them.
Let Allah be the ultimate judge. Do not assume that power yourself. Remember that every privilege in this life comes with a responsibility. Majority comes with a responsibility that it will not be misused to deny others their rights. Let’s try to assume our responsibility.