Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hanging between two extremes? by Nadia Khan

Sufi Muhammad, the spiritual leader of TNFM, and a central figure who is working to bring peace, in Swat or Malakand division, back with the induction of Nizam e Adl regulation, yesterday in his maiden speech to people of Swat & adjoining areas, has talked about number of controversial issues – such as democracy has no role in Islamic system of government, higher courts including supreme court are null or void, and only black-turban is as per the teachings of Holy Prophet, other colour turbans are not Islamic etc. Further, he has given a deadline to present govt to remove all superior courts judges with Qazis by 23rd April; otherwise all responsibility would be on government shoulders.


In response to Sufi Muhammad speech, MQM leader Altaf Hussain, who is now quite vocal against Taliban, due to number of political reasons, lashed out by calling denial of Taliban Shariat. He has invited number of religious personalities of Karachi, mostly from Barelvi sect, and delivered a sermon like speech – quite similar to the language of Sufi Muhammad, and has rejected the implementation of Nizam e Adl Ordinance, though it is promulgated by its main political ally; PPP, in centre.


The silent majority of Pakistan – who mostly does not vote but are an effective majority in shaping up the society & culture – is speechless over these two extremes, which might result fierce confrontation between Taliban, now termed as the symbol of all religious forces, and secular elements of society.


Western democracy has any role in Islam or Islamic state, is a bigger question and can’t be addressed by a religious figure, who represents only one division of a province and also not a real Mufti – a decree in religious education after its completion, you might be in a position to draw judgement from Holy Quran verses and agreed Hadiths. In religious discussion, such an individual interpretation of Islam is termed as Farad (alone in that approach). So his opinion about democracy is not an authority, with a fact that since last 62 years in Pakistan many religious personalities, especially from Deubandi sect, have been elected in parliament or upper house including the spiritual father of Afghan Taliban – Maulana Sami ul Haq. So such opinion requires further analysis at national or probably at international level, by calling the religious authorities from all over the world and working out the political system of a true Islamic state in today’s environment.


By keeping the eye on the evils of western democracy, it is a documented fact that in Pakistan , legislators can’t formulate any law which could be against Holy Quran or Sunnah. For example, like in UK , Pakistani legislators can’t legalise the same sex marriages as per law and so on.


Sufi Muhammad statement about superior judiciary, if it is not his edict, may possess some substance. This is an agreed fact that, judicial system in Pakistan , as formulated by British Empire , is partly corrupt and takes longer than normal period for dispensation of justice. An independent judiciary that provides speedy justice is the basic requirements of Pakistanis including the residents of Swat & Malakand division since ages. However, the basic foundation of superior judiciary can’t be demolished with the help of Qazi courts – by inducting only religious figures as judges & disturbing the whole judicial system.


The ideal way is to train both Qazis for law education and present judges for Quranic law knowledge, might become the middleware between the two extremes.


Over black or other colour turban, minor issues may not take the whole society hostage. However, this has given some impression about the society, its culture, and interpretation of thoughts, if the dominance would be with radical forces.


The dilemma of Muslim world is that it is hanging since many centuries over Islamic culture, dress code, food, rituals, celebrations, and way of living Islamic life. Many of radical figureheads feel that whatever culture they follow and which got intermixed with their religion, is the true reflection of Holy Prophet. This requires further debate, nationally among religious circles. For example, a Muslim cleric (Mulvi) in Pakistan feels that Shalwar-Qamees (the national dress of Pakistan ) along with a turban or cap is a true Islamic dress and anyone who wears Western dress is not following the Sunnah of Holy Prophet. In India , a Muslim cleric, feels that the true Islamic dress is Kurta-Payjama with Sherwani (which is Indian national dress for Muslims) with cap or turban of any colour.


The religious figureheads of Pakistan especially those who practice Deubandi School of thoughts, should look into the controversies of Sufi Muhammad speech and clarify before the silent majority otherwise secular political forces are waiting to counter the mistakes, and eventually Islam as it is their real target!

Posted via email from nadia_khaan's posterous

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