By Inam Khawaja
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was adorned with great personality, purged from the flaws of hypocrisy, duplicity, lack of principles, integrity, moral uprightness or honesty. He believed in following the right way even if it was unpopular. On September 8, 1920 Jinnah vehemently opposed the resolution in the extraordinary session of the Indian National Congress at Calcutta, moved by Gandhi to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement. Nothing could swerve him from the constitutional path and when Gandhi asked him to contribute his share to the movement he bluntly said, “Mine is the right way – the constitutional way.” In December 1920 when the Civil Disobedience Movement Resolution was passed Jinnah resigned from the Congress. It is important to note that Quaid being a lawyer spoke in precise terms. Campbell-Johnson in ‘Mission with Mountbatten’ while narrating the events of June 3,1947 stated that the Quaid himself said, “a spade should be called a spade, I always think in constitutional terms.” Therefore the Quaid’s speeches should not be loosely interpreted and should be read according to the exact meaning of the words used by him and no further meaning should be added.The Quaid’s views on his own Islamic identity are also noteworthy. In 1939 he stated: “Those who took that view might be branded as communalists. So far as I am concerned, I am willing to be branded so for doing my duty to the Muslims. I was born a Muslim; I am a Muslim; and shall die a Muslim”-Bombay, August 6, 1939, reported in Star of India August 7, 1939. In his own words the Quaid said: “I am not a learned Maulana or a Maulvi. Nor do I claim to be learned in theology. But I also know a little of my faith and I am a humble and proud follower of my faith.” Those who have read the speeches and statements of the Quaid and have also understood the teachings of Quran would know that he was always modest. He had a very clear and deep understanding of the Quran, which not only came out very strongly in his speeches but his whole life, reflects it. Shortly after the establishment of Pakistan in his famous speech at a mammoth rally in Lahore he told us to seek guidance from the Quran. In a speech at Lahore on October 30, 1947, Quaid said: “We thank Providence for giving us courage and faith to fight these forces of evil. If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours. All I require of you now is that everyone of us to whom this message reaches must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all, if necessary, in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam.” The Quran states in Surah Al-Maidah (5-3), “Today I have perfected your Deen for you, and completed. My favours upon you and approved Al-Islam as a Deen”. In the Quran, Islam is always referred as Deen and not as Muzdhab, the Arabic word for religion. Deen means a complete code of life and is inclusive of religion (Muzdhab). The Quaid understood the importance of this matter and in his famous speech at Patna on January 10, 1939, he said: “Many people misunderstand us when we talk of Islam, particularly our Hindu friends. When we say this flag is the flag of Islam they think we are introducing religion into politics. Islam gives us a complete code of life. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics. It contains everything that matters to a man from morning to night “The Muslims demand Pakistan, where they could rule according to their own code of life and according to their own cultural growth, traditions and Islamic laws”- quoted in a Speech at Peshawar on November 21 1945. After the establishment of Pakistan he again felt it necessary to explain this when talking about the future constitution as reported in Dawn on January 26, 1948, he said: “No doubt there are many people who do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam. Some of our non-Muslim friends do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam. Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is a code for every Muslim, which regulates life and in every aspect of social, political, economic. It is based on highest principles of honour, integrity, fair-play and justice for all.” In complete consonance with the injunction of the Quran, the Quaid on August 11, 1947 in his speech in the Constituent Assembly stated: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” In this speech the Quaid has unambiguously propagated that “there is complete religious freedom in Pakistan and one can belong to any religion without any interference from the state. This is exactly in accordance with the teachings of Islam as there is no compulsion in religion.” The Quran states in Surah At-Tauba (9-79) “They have taken their rabbis and priests to be their Lords besides Allah and so they did with Messiah the son of Maryum although they were commanded in the Torah and the Gospel to worship none but One Allah; besides Whom there is none worthy of worship.” This indicates that there is no priesthood in Islam hence an Islamic State cannot be classified as a theocratic state. Whenever he was asked this question the Quaid explained that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state. In his broadcasts to the people of Australia and to the people of USA he said, “Pakistan would not be a theocratic state. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.” “I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission”. Here, Quaid confirmed that Pakistan would be developed on the roots of the democratic state while embodying the basic principles of Islam. Further the Quran states in Surah As-Shura (42-39) that: “Better and everlasting is the reward which Allah has for those who believe, put their trust in their Rabb, avoid major sins and shameful deeds, forgive even when they are angry, answer the call of their Rabb, establish Salah, conduct their affairs with mutual consultation, spend out of their sustenance which We have given them, and when they are oppressed, help and defend themselves.” Also in Surah Al-Imran (3-104) it has been stated “And from among you there must be a party who invite people to all that is good and enjoin the doing of all that is right and forbid the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success.” Whereas Surah Al-Nahl (16-90) quotes “Allah commands doing justice and good to others.” These verses underline the essence of democracy in a Muslim state, which is to conduct the affairs by mutual consultation; to help and defend them against oppression, to invite people to do good and forbid evil and to do justice. In modern phraseology the combined meaning of these verses is enforcement of democracy, freedom, equality and rule of law. The Quaid was a strong believer of democracy as it has been quoted in Civil & Military Gazette November 9 1939, “Democracy in the abstract was quite different from democracy as practiced. Democracy was like a chameleon, changing its complexion according to the environment. Democracy was not the same in England as it was in France and America. Islam believed in equality, liberty and fraternity, but not of the western type.” The Quaid at the Presidential address at the 30th Session of All India Muslim League at Delhi on April 24 1943 stated, “Democracy is the blood of Musalmans, who look upon complete equality of manhood. I give you an example. Very often when I go to a mosque, my chauffer stands side by side with me. Musalmans believe in fraternity, equality and liberty”. While delivery the speech at the meeting of the Muslim League Branch in London on December 14 1946, he said “It should be our aim not only to remove want and fear of all types, but secure liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam.” In a reply to the civic address on August 25 1947, he responded, “In proposing this scheme I have had one underlying principle in mind, the principle of Muslim democracy. It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great lawgiver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic Ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that; “our decisions in the affairs of the State shall be guided by discussion and consultation.” Quaid said in a speech at Sibi Durbar on February 14 1948, “Now you have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and equality of manhood in your own native soil.” Here again we find that the vision and the views of the Quaid are nothing but the reflection of Quran in his own words and in his speech in the Sibi Darbar he quoted the passage from Ayah-39 of Surah As-Shura. He unambiguously expressed his views against western type of democracy and advised us to guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, social justice and equality of manhood and told us that our aim should be to secure democracy as enjoined by Islam. There are about two hundred speeches of the Quaid in which he has expressed his Islamic orientation. His views on different subjects particularly socio-economic-justice, nepotism, bribery, treatment of minorities, civil unity, charity and women in actual his statements are the reflection of the Quran in contemporary idiom and depicted the Quaid’s deep and clear understanding of the Quran. nThis news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 25-Dec-2012 here.