Pakistan: Patriotism and its hoaxes

By Ali Bhurgri

pakistan
The most mislead, misconceived and tractable word. However, the importance of this tool in general can never be undermined. It is on paper, one of the most important mechanism through which a nation state is held together.
My mind was clustered with several thoughts about what it really is? It had to be more than just waving a flag, standing up to your national anthem, loving your army and supporting your country in a cricket match. In a country of 190 million people, how does this mechanism work, if at all it works.
The most intriguing, definition of patriotism i came across, was by Bertrand Russel, a British philosopher which I thought suits the practical application of the word in this country and I quote, ” Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons”. He isn’t elucidating ISIS here, is he? As abominable as it may sound, Patriotism in Pakistan means intolerance and dishonesty.
You can be ashamed of your country in certain aspects. If you don’t, you don’t have a moral compass. As said by General Asad Durrani, the former ISI chief in an interview to Mehdi Hasan, in the Oxford Union said, when it comes to nationalism, morality takes a back seat. I always compare this to an example, where you give a gun to a blind man and ask him to stand on a busy road and shoot anyone he pleases.
Patriotism has been used to swindle people. It is, what has wavered this country, numerously. It’s stopped us, from educating the nation. We are told to believe, as kids that, Pakistan never started wars with their neighbor. That Pakistan has never sponsored terrorism in the past. When you don’t accept your mistakes, there is no question of changing them. Patriotism in true sense here is Chauvinism.
History has proved how we have misconstructed this word and more so its application. There is a structural paradigm of nationalism created by the rulers in Pakistan which is fundamentally flawed. Any dissenting opinion is dismissed as a conspiracy.
Abdul Salam, the first Pakistani Nobel peace prize winner, a Pakistani Ahmadi was celebrated in the world but Pakistan. Our first law minister , Jogandar Nath mandal, a Pakistani Hindu. These are the kind of people that make my country proud. Any person, from any group and any part of the country, wether he is a Hindu, Ahmadi, Christian or anyone from the minority. If he does not feel an integral part of this country, we should be ashamed.
Patriotism without pure secularism, as said by an Indian actor, Shah Rukh Khan is criminal. The antonym of secularism isn’t atheism, but fascism. We may always like our community more, and it is absolutely fine to do so.
Religion or communities is something as private as our families. So it’s okay to think your family is better than somebody else’s but if you want to eliminate other communities or try to change them, there could be no bigger treason.
Quaid-e-Azam said, “Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it”. When will this nation be told, that Islam was used merely as a political tool to get independence.
Leaving the hoaxes aside, patriotism, to me is love, loyalty towards your country. It is standing against prejudice. It is showing your future generation a mirror image of your country. It is about being honest. Till the time we don’t accept our mistakes. This country will keep suffering.
Thee United States commission on international religious freedom, an independent body, held Pakistan as being one of the worst countries for rights of minorities.
We can all, have different views for our country since it’s a subjective debate. But the only objective of this part, is crookedness and pragmatism. Some of us might believe democracy is the best way of governance, and some might not. We can legitimately disagree with each other, that won’t make us any less of a patriot but for that we need to hear each other out first.
Forget about Kashmir our priority should be Balochistan Insurgency that has been going on there since a very long time. 305 civilians in Balochistan have been killed. (182 in south and 123 in north) in 2015 it self. Missing people in Balochistan is not a new story either. Also the persecution and killing of Hazara tribe in Quetta. If these don’t concern you, what ultra nationalist are you?
The persecution of Ahmedi’s in Jhelum is painstakingly shameful. We raise our voice for Palestine. We raise our voice for Syria and most hypocritically we raise our voice for Amir khan in India. When will we learn to raise our voice for Pakistan?
There has always been some intolerance in India. But the liberals in India stand up for every unjust incident. That is what makes them different from us. It is about time that instead of hating we learn from them and stand up, when this country needs it most.
I am not trying to endorse a western ideology. I am saying the same thing, that Quaid-e-Azam said, after independence , “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state”
Love your nation, but separate it from the state. My voice may not be a part of a majority. But I wish to see an independent, tolerant and secular Pakistan. Let us learn to love our country, wholly and not in parts.

  • Kamath.

    Dear authorities: You wrote that “..Abdul Salam, the first Pakistani Nobel peace prize winner, a Pakistani Ahmadi was celebrated in the world but Pakistan. Our first ….” He was awarded the Nobel prize for PHYSICS to be shared with American physicist Weinberg.

    The former was Ahmadi and the latter Jewish. Science has no religious labels!

  • Kamath.

    I meant “Dear author”. Sorry for the typo!

  • khalid husnain

    Dawn SearchSEARCH
    Aamir Khan finds supporters among Sikh pilgrims
    KHALID HASNAIN — UPDATED ABOUT 19 HOURS AGO

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    Sikh pilgrims call the ongoing hate campaign a reflection of Modi-led government’s policies. —Reuters/File
    Sikh pilgrims call the ongoing hate campaign a reflection of Modi-led government’s policies. —Reuters/File
    LAHORE: Sikh pilgrims say they support Aamir Khan’s stand on intolerance in the Indian society, and condemn provocative remarks against him and other Indian film stars, scholars and minority groups by extremist groups.

    They call the ongoing hate campaign a reflection of Modi-led government’s policies that is fanning intolerance, fundamentalism and extremism in India.

    “Actually, the Union of State of India never accepted the independence of Pakistan in 1947,” Sardar Manmohan Singh, World Sikh-Muslim Federation chairman, told Dawn on Friday at an international seminar on Baba Guru Nanak’s teachings at Governor’s House.

    “The on-going situation created by Shiv Sena is actually a reflection or sequence of that mindset that is being fanned since Modi came into power.”

    Mr Manmohan arrived in Pakistan from the UK to attend religious ceremonies in Lahore and other cities. He said Modi had been an agent of the RSS, which had forced the social caste system in the Indian education system poisoned and filled the minds of innocent students with hatred, discrimination and indifference.

    “And now it is evident that minority groups and individuals are uncomfortable there (in India because of such policies). The Muslim minority is being told to leave India if they don’t want to stop eating cow meat.”

    Mr Manmohan said filmstars Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan were facing the trickled down effects of extremism.

    Sardar Amarjeet Singh, Sikh pilgrims deputy group leader, said the BJP was backing intolerance in India to get the sympathies of far-right voters in elections.

    “Actually, it’s a group of mischief mongers that plans to hold secular citizens hostage. They are so-called nationalists but the public at large has rejected them,” he went on.

    He said there was no difference between Shiv Sena and Taliban. He said Baba Guru Nanak always promoted peace and love among the people irrespective of their religion.

    Sardar Gurumeet Singh, pilgrims’ group leader, also condemned terrorism and intolerance by Shiv Sena and the Taliban.

    “We will promote coexistence since the people on either side want love and peace. Why (the governments of) India and Pakistan are pushing the innocent people into a life of hatred that is never taught by any religion?” he said.

    He appealed to the governments of India and Pakistan to open borders for trade and make peoples’ mobility easy. Gurucharan Singh from the UK said as far-right Modi’s government had received a humiliated defeat in the Bihar elections, it would meet the same in next elections.

    “I’m sure that the people will not elect the BJP in the future, if it continues with the same policies,” he added.

    Later, addressing the seminar, Governor Rafiq Rajwana said the message of love must be disseminated at a large scale.

    “Our religion, constitution and laws discourage all sorts of terrorism and intolerance. And the teachings of Baba Guru Nanak in Sikhs’ holy book ‘Gurugrenth’ have also incorporated the teaching of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj that are based on love, peace and brotherhood.”

    Sardar Manmohan Singh said the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), Baba Guru Nanak and Baba Farid preached love and peace. He said those fighting against intolerance, terrorism and extremism should unearth those behind the creation of terrorists.

    “All wars and problems stem from ego and it’s a proven reality that only love and affection prevail and defeat wars,” the governor said.

    “Pakistan’s image is being tarnished under a plan. It is because of its growth as an emerging power in South Asia with the help of China,” he added.

    Bishop Alexander John Malik called the acts of love as the completion of shariah, while MNA Asfandyar Bhandara said in Pakistan, the Muslim majority and other religious minorities were united against terrorism

  • haroon

    णे: दुनिया भर में मशहूर भारतीय लेखिका अरुंधति रॉय ने आरोप लगाया कि नरेंद्र मोदी की अगुवाई वाली केंद्र सरकार ‘हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद’ के नाम पर ‘ब्राह्मणवाद को बढ़ावा दे रही’ है। इसके साथ ही उन्होंने कहा कि ‘असहिष्णुता’ जैसा शब्द उस ‘डर’ को बताने के लिए नाकाफी है जिसमें अभी अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय जी रहा है। रॉय के इस बयान पर दंक्षिणपंथी कार्यकर्ताओं ने विरोध प्रदर्शन कर उन्हें ‘राष्ट्र विरोधी’ करार दिया।

    रॉय के खिलाफ एबीवीपी ने किया प्रदर्शन
    पुणे में आयोजित एक कार्यक्रम में रॉय की मौजूदगी से नाराज राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ की छात्र शाखा अखिल भारतीय विद्यार्थी परिषद (एबीवीपी) के कार्यकर्ताओं ने हंगामेदार प्रदर्शन किया। इस कार्यक्रम में रॉय को समाज सुधारक महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले के नाम पर दिया जाने वाले महात्मा फूले समानता पुरस्कार से सम्मानित किया गया।

    अल्पसंख्यकों का ‘डर’ बताने को ‘असहिष्णुता’ शब्द नाकाफी
    पुरस्कार प्राप्त करने के बाद रॉय ने दावा किया कि ‘असहिष्णुता’ जैसा शब्द उस ‘डर’ को बताने के लिए नाकाफी है, जिसमें अभी अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय जी रहा है। इसके साथ ही मोदी सरकार को आड़े हाथ लेते हुए रॉय ने कहा कि ‘हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद’ के नाम पर वह ‘ब्राह्मणवाद को बढ़ावा दे रही’ है।

    फिर से लिखा जा रहा है इतिहास
    बुकर पुरस्कार से सम्मानित रॉय ने यह आरोप भी लगाया कि बीजेपी देश के समाज सुधारकों का महिमामंडन ‘महान हिंदुओं’ के तौर पर करने की कोशिश कर रही है और डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर को भी हिंदू करार दे रही है, जबकि उन्होंने हिंदू धर्म छोड़ दिया था। रॉय ने आरोप लगाया, ‘इतिहास को फिर से लिखा जा रहा है और सरकार ने राष्ट्रीय संस्थानों पर कब्जा जमा लिया है।’

    ‘राष्ट्रविरोधी, पाकिस्तान समर्थक और भारतीय सेना विरोधी’ हैं अरुंधति
    रॉय के इन आरोपों के बाद उनके खिलाफ नारेबाजी करते हुए एबीवीपी कार्यकर्ताओं ने उन्हें ‘राष्ट्रविरोधी, पाकिस्तान समर्थक और भारतीय सेना विरोधी’ करार दिया। बाद में पुलिस ने प्रदर्शनकारियों को हिरासत में ले लिया। एबीवीपी ने आयोजकों को एक ज्ञापन सौंपकर कहा कि रॉय ने अपने ‘राष्ट्र विरोधी’ रवैये से सभी भारतीयों की संवेदनाएं आहत की हैं।

    वहीं इस मौके पर एनसीपी नेता और महाराष्ट्र सरकार के पूर्व मंत्री छगन भुजबल ने कहा कि बीजेपी को बिहार विधानसभा चुनाव के नतीजों से सबक लेना चाहिए और प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी को अपने ऐसे नेताओं को काबू में लाना चाहिए जो ‘असहिष्णु बातें’ करते हैं।

  • haroon

    Noted author Arundhati Roy today alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government was “promoting Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad”, and word like “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities are presently living, prompting protest from right-wing activists, who dubbed her an “anti-national.

    Irked by Roy’s presence at a function here, where she was presented an award instituted after social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, activists of BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a noisy protest at the venue.

    After receiving the Mahatma Phule Equality award, she claimed the word “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities in the country are now living.

    Slamming the Modi government, she alleged it was promoting “Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad.”

    Roy, a Booker Prize winner, also alleged that the BJP was trying to “glorify” social reformers in the country as “great Hindus” and cited

    Dr B R Ambedkar as one of them, though he had left the Hindu religion.

    “The history is being re-written and national institutions are being taken over by the government,” she further alleged.

    Raising slogans against Roy, ABVP activists called her “anti-national, pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian Army”, before they were rounded up by police.

    The ABVP, in a memorandum handed over to the organisers, Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, alleged that Roy, by her “anti-national” stand, had hurt the sentiments of all Indians.

    On the occasion, NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the BJP need to learn its lesson from the Bihar Assembly polls result and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should control the party’s “fringe elements” indulging in “intolerant talks

  • Ali Bhurgri

    @kamath science has no religious labels but we do. My point emphasizes on discrimination not science.

  • haroon

    Noted author Arundhati Roy today alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government was “promoting Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad”, and word like “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities are presently living, prompting protest from right-wing activists, who dubbed her an “anti-national.

    Irked by Roy’s presence at a function here, where she was presented an award instituted after social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, activists of BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a noisy protest at the venue.

    After receiving the Mahatma Phule Equality award, she claimed the word “intolerance” is inadequate to describe the “fear” in which the minorities in the country are now living.

    Slamming the Modi government, she alleged it was promoting “Brahmanism” in the name of “Hindu Rashtravad.”

    Roy, a Booker Prize winner, also alleged that the BJP was trying to “glorify” social reformers in the country as “great Hindus” and cited

    Dr B R Ambedkar as one of them, though he had left the Hindu religion.

    “The history is being re-written and national institutions are being taken over by the government,” she further alleged.

    Raising slogans against Roy, ABVP activists called her “anti-national, pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian Army”, before they were rounded up by police.

    The ABVP, in a memorandum handed over to the organisers, Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, alleged that Roy, by her “anti-national” stand, had hurt the sentiments of all Indians.

    On the occasion, NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the BJP need to learn its lesson from the Bihar Assembly polls result and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should control the party’s “fringe elements” indulging in “intolerant talks

  • Ahmed

    The author is a tratior and should be thrown out of pakistan. give me your adress i will tell you what patriotism is

  • ‘There has always been some intolerance in India. But the liberals in India stand up for every unjust incident. That is what makes them different from us. ‘
    ..
    What a joke .. Indian liberals raise their voices selectively. Though there are many incidents where liberals have not raised their voices, I will post just two recent controversies, where none of the liberals raised their voices. Kamal Hassan was not allowed to release his movie, Vishvaroopam. It was only allowed after he apologised and made few cuts in the move as per the demand of mullahs, In process, he lost crores. No liberal raised voice for music composer, A R Rehman, when fatwa was issued against him.

  • Rex Minor

    It is on paper, one of the most important mechanism through which a nation state is held together.

    Ali Bhugri,
    Yours is not a Nation state but a state with several independent Nations. You not only mislead others but yourself because of using variety of terminologies. It matters not what your forefathers said, about the land which was given the name Pakistan, what matters is how the country has evolved into half of the original size.
    If you want to quote Dr Abdus Salam not Abdul that you quoted, then do not ignore the following about the great scientist:

    After his doctorate in 1951, Salam returned to the Government College University as a Professor of Mathematics where he remained till 1954. During the same period, he was the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, and professor as well, at the University of the Punjab. As he became the chairman, Salam sought to update the university curriculum, making a course of Quantum mechanics as a part of undergraduate course.[32] This was soon reverted by the Vice-Chancellor, and Salam decided to teach an evening course in Quantum Mechanics outside the regular curriculum.[33] While Salam had mixed popularity in the university, he began to supervise the education of students who were particularly influenced by him.[34] As a result, Riazuddin remained the only student of Salam who has the privilege to study under Salam at the under-graduate and post-graduate level in Lahore, and Post-doctoral level in Cambridge University. In 1953, Salam was unable to establish a research institute in Lahore, as he faced strong opposition from his peers.[35] In 1954, Salam took fellowship and became one of the earliest fellows of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. As a result of 1953 Lahore riots, Salam went back to Cambridge and joined St John’s College, and took a position as a professor of mathematics in 1954.[36] In 1957, he was invited to take a chair at Imperial College, London, and he and Paul Matthews went on to set up the Theoretical Physics Department at Imperial College.[37] As time passed, this department became one of the prestigious research departments that included well known physicists such as Steven Weinberg, Tom Kibble, Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, Riazuddin, and John Ward.

    Rex Minor

  • haroon
  • haroon
  • Kamath.

    Ahmed says,” the author is a traitor……..”

    What a silly juvenile and ignorant comment! The author is a brave man who is prepared to the flak against ignorant nationalists and criticise the short coming of ones country. It is like a parent who is enraged by the bad behaviour of his children and chastises them. Patriotism is doing a unselfish service for the sake of higher good of the society in war or peace. That includes criticism of ones country if necessary to purge ugly laws or practices. Remember once all reformers were viewed as traitors. So in my view, the writer is a brave and patriotic man. Just my view for you chew on…

  • Kamath.

    The mythical caliphate
    Hi all: the regular contributor to PTH , Dr. Hafiz has written an excellent Column in recent Daily Times .29th Nov. Issue., It is worth reading by both Muslim as well as non-Muslims alike. Excellent summarisation about state of affairs world of Islam.

    See:
    Mythical califate
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/Columnist/saad-hafiz
    .
    .
    .These are difficult times for Muslims. The murderous campaign launched by Daesh or Islamic State (IS) has intensified the friction between Muslims and the west. There is also trouble within Islam itself, the Shia-Sunni schism having widened due to the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Islamic ummah or nation that comprises a fifth of humanity is in trouble. In the incessant turmoil, it is not a radical idea for Muslims to dream of a reunified Islam. As such, a great many long for such unity in the form of a global Islamic caliphate.

    Muslims see the sorry state of Muslim countries as symptomatic of the sorry state of Islam. The caliphate is being viewed as a panacea for the continuing instability, wars, poverty and dictatorships that plague the Muslim world. Many Muslims are eager to live under a caliphate, even if it is a mirage of one. Even ‘progressive’ Muslims, who find merit in democracy, denounce its implementation in the west. Their view is that western capitalism, secularism and materialism lack spiritual and ethical values. A caliphate is deemed more in line with the beliefs and values of Muslims. Past caliphates have been described by some historians as “leading the world in discovery, art and culture”. The last widely recognised caliphate — that of the Ottomans — was abolished over 90 years ago by Kemal Ataturk.

    Traditionally, the caliphate is a distinguishing term for political ruler-ship in Islam. It signifies a system of governance that not only manages the civil and economic affairs of a people but also represents an ethical code the ruler adheres to, which is be based on Islam. In other words, it respects no borders. It is a religious and political state where sharia is practiced, ruled by a legitimate caliph. It is not a democracy; there is no need for a legislature since all the necessary laws are encompassed in sharia. There is need for a judiciary, staffed by clerics, to adjudicate sharia and an executive to enforce sharia. The reason all Muslims should live in a legitimate caliphate is to ensure salvation. Since following sharia leads to salvation, living in a state where it is enforced is required for religious purposes.

    In June 2014, Daesh jumped onto the caliphate bandwagon, formally declaring the establishment of a ‘legitimate’ global, Islamic caliphate in the lands within their control and beyond. Muslim extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic state, or caliphate, that ruled over the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in various forms over the course of Islam’s 1,400-year history. Daesh exploited the nostalgia of past caliphates in its declaration and dedicates a great deal of it to citations from various Muslim scholars and passages in the Quran to give religious legitimacy to their caliphate. But it all seems a cynical ploy to garner political legitimacy.

    However, it is important to recognise that Daesh is not drawing religious rhetoric for a caliphate from a vacuum. In spite of the schisms between different Muslim sects today and throughout history, one issue Muslim scholars past and present have unanimously agreed upon is the necessity for political unity among Muslims. When it comes to the caliphate, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), the Muslim historian and sociologist, said, “The purpose of the caliphate is the unity of Muslims and abandoning division.” Similarly, the poet, Allama Iqbal, called for a unified ummah and a caliphate that surpassed the idea of artificial boundaries.

    It is easy to challenge the legitimacy of a future caliphate espoused by Daesh, as their concept of governance is barbaric and their positions on women and other faiths is reactionary and regressive. But is a legitimate caliphate, in which Muslims are apparently duty bound to live, the way forward for political, social and economic progress? Is a future caliphate guaranteed to be tolerant, progressive and democratic? Will a caliphate allow equal rights and freedom of expression and religious practice, support gender equality, believe in freedom of expression, a free media and elections, and accept the utility of secularisation? Will a future caliphate help reduce the growing civilisational divide in the world? Based on available evidence, the answer to the above questions is a resounding ‘no’.

    Nostalgia apart, it seems that Muslim thought is on the wrong track in arguing in favour of a caliphate. The past caliphates were fine in their respective eras but their authoritarian and exclusive character appears out of place in modern times. At present, the necessary ingredients to build a just society, such as consultation, consensus and independent judgment are hard to find in Muslim countries. As the effort to create more effective democratic structures continues apace throughout the world, the challenge is to unite Islam and democracy. Hopefully, this will encourage more Muslims to join the mainstream of the global democracy movement. An effective case can be made on how liberal democracy, rather than a caliphate, is the way forward for the Muslim world. Evolving democracies in key Muslim states like Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia are good examples for the rest of the Islamic world. Arguably, a functioning democratic system is the best bulwark against extremism, sectarianism and anarchy.

    The writer can be reached at shgcci@gmail.com

  • haroon
  • Chilling and shameful video of naked anti-Muslim bigotry on display in Virginia. “All Muslims are terrorists”. https://t.co/3G0CGHQReF

  • Rex Minor

    Kamath,
    Let us not be emotional, the author is neither a patriot nor a traitor in giving his opinion, which is also not an act of bravery by any means.
    The author is simply confused and disillusioned with the reality which do not meet his expectations.

    Rex Minor

  • saadhafiz

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Nov-2015/the-mythical-caliphate

    The mythical caliphate by Saad Hafiz

    These are difficult times for Muslims. The murderous campaign launched by Daesh or Islamic State (IS) has intensified the friction between Muslims and the west. There is also trouble within Islam itself, the Shia-Sunni schism having widened due to the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Islamic ummah or nation that comprises a fifth of humanity is in trouble. In the incessant turmoil, it is not a radical idea for Muslims to dream of a reunified Islam. As such, a great many long for such unity in the form of a global Islamic caliphate.

    Muslims see the sorry state of Muslim countries as symptomatic of the sorry state of Islam. The caliphate is being viewed as a panacea for the continuing instability, wars, poverty and dictatorships that plague the Muslim world. Many Muslims are eager to live under a caliphate, even if it is a mirage of one. Even ‘progressive’ Muslims, who find merit in democracy, denounce its implementation in the west. Their view is that western capitalism, secularism and materialism lack spiritual and ethical values. A caliphate is deemed more in line with the beliefs and values of Muslims. Past caliphates have been described by some historians as “leading the world in discovery, art and culture”. The last widely recognised caliphate — that of the Ottomans — was abolished over 90 years ago by Kemal Ataturk.

    Traditionally, the caliphate is a distinguishing term for political ruler-ship in Islam. It signifies a system of governance that not only manages the civil and economic affairs of a people but also represents an ethical code the ruler adheres to, which is be based on Islam. In other words, it respects no borders. It is a religious and political state where sharia is practiced, ruled by a legitimate caliph. It is not a democracy; there is no need for a legislature since all the necessary laws are encompassed in sharia. There is need for a judiciary, staffed by clerics, to adjudicate sharia and an executive to enforce sharia. The reason all Muslims should live in a legitimate caliphate is to ensure salvation. Since following sharia leads to salvation, living in a state where it is enforced is required for religious purposes.

    In June 2014, Daesh jumped onto the caliphate bandwagon, formally declaring the establishment of a ‘legitimate’ global, Islamic caliphate in the lands within their control and beyond. Muslim extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic state, or caliphate, that ruled over the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in various forms over the course of Islam’s 1,400-year history. Daesh exploited the nostalgia of past caliphates in its declaration and dedicates a great deal of it to citations from various Muslim scholars and passages in the Quran to give religious legitimacy to their caliphate. But it all seems a cynical ploy to garner political legitimacy.

    However, it is important to recognise that Daesh is not drawing religious rhetoric for a caliphate from a vacuum. In spite of the schisms between different Muslim sects today and throughout history, one issue Muslim scholars past and present have unanimously agreed upon is the necessity for political unity among Muslims. When it comes to the caliphate, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), the Muslim historian and sociologist, said, “The purpose of the caliphate is the unity of Muslims and abandoning division.” Similarly, the poet, Allama Iqbal, called for a unified ummah and a caliphate that surpassed the idea of artificial boundaries.

    It is easy to challenge the legitimacy of a future caliphate espoused by Daesh, as their concept of governance is barbaric and their positions on women and other faiths is reactionary and regressive. But is a legitimate caliphate, in which Muslims are apparently duty bound to live, the way forward for political, social and economic progress? Is a future caliphate guaranteed to be tolerant, progressive and democratic? Will a caliphate allow equal rights and freedom of expression and religious practice, support gender equality, believe in freedom of expression, a free media and elections, and accept the utility of secularisation? Will a future caliphate help reduce the growing civilisational divide in the world? Based on available evidence, the answer to the above questions is a resounding ‘no’.

    Nostalgia apart, it seems that Muslim thought is on the wrong track in arguing in favour of a caliphate. The past caliphates were fine in their respective eras but their authoritarian and exclusive character appears out of place in modern times. At present, the necessary ingredients to build a just society, such as consultation, consensus and independent judgment are hard to find in Muslim countries. As the effort to create more effective democratic structures continues apace throughout the world, the challenge is to unite Islam and democracy. Hopefully, this will encourage more Muslims to join the mainstream of the global democracy movement. An effective case can be made on how liberal democracy, rather than a caliphate, is the way forward for the Muslim world. Evolving democracies in key Muslim states like Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia are good examples for the rest of the Islamic world. Arguably, a functioning democratic system is the best bulwark against extremism, sectarianism and anarchy.

  • Ali Bhugri

    @Rex the word nation is used to refer to the people living in the country not as an ethnic group gentleman. So the only thing misleading is your interpretation. As far as the second part of your comment is concerned. i dont see its relevance with the piece. Good day Rex.

  • Ali Bhugri

    @Ahmed. We should meet over coffee sometime and discuss our disagreements my friend.

  • Ali Bhugri

    @Kamath. Extremely kind of you. Thanks

  • Rex Minor

    Saad Hafiz,

    Traditionally, the caliphate is a distinguishing term for political ruler-ship in Islam. It signifies a system of governance that not only manages the civil and economic affairs of a people but also represents an ethical code the ruler adheres to, which is be based on Islam.

    Well articulated, I will hasten to add for clarification, a system of democratic order, not a monarchy nor a military dictatorship or a heavenly kingdom on earth, ruled by religious high priests.Islam means Islamic values per say.

    Rex Minor

  • rex minor5

    AB
    You must improve you education to be able to articulate. People are not a nation in a country. A country has a nation like in Germany or slovakia or more than one nation like in switzerland.

    Rm

  • haroon

    shashi tharoor says,cows are more protected in india than muslims.kaal bhaikahan no.

  • Kamath.

    Saadh Amigo: Your Colomn as usual is a fine piece of insights . I enjoyed it very much. Congratulations. I have more to say, but have to take time off due to good reasons. Anyway, wanted to say that no point in mourning the sad eclipse and passé of the high noon of Islamic civilisation. All now you see is the dead carcass and the bones of once a vibrant civilisation during its medieval era. Time to move on and relegate admirable products of world of Islam to museum as objet de arts.
    That said, when are you going to write more from your usual winter haunt- of sun, fun, gin and sin?

  • Ali bhurgri

    @Rex It makes me sad that, this is the only thing you found worth discussing from the piece. As far the word nation is concerned, let me elaborate one final time. The word ‘nation’ is used as a large body of people associated, with a particular territory, Pakistan in this case. And not used as an ethnic family. which would further divide it into nations.

  • saadhafiz

    Thanks Kamath! Enjoy your time off!

    I normally write a bi-monthly column for DT. Cheers, Saad

  • Rex Minor

    AB,
    I do not mean to be rude Sir, but you people must try to understand that what does not blong to one another can not grow together. This was the fundamental error of Mr Jinnah, who did not propose the country to live in unity with other faiths and Nations in Pakistan, but to separate from those who in fact had been living together for centuries as one people of different faiths and Nations. He was nothing less than a charaltan . Todays Pakis are nothing more than a horde of headless chickens running around amok trying to discover some führer who can rid them of from the marauding army who have nothing more than the violence which they used against the former majority simply to create a new Punjabi mjority.

    Rex Minor

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