Pakistan’s extremism problem can only be solved through ijtihad

The parliament can take the initiative regarding ijtihad, which seems like an idea which is a notch above the rest

2016-07-07T01:50:09+05:00 Khadija Khan

While reading different articles about the day-to-day happenings in my country, it is hard to fit into one’s vision of being sane. Especially in a society which is surrounded by conservative thoughts, so called pureness and fear for life. These combine to compel individuals to stay static in their opinions and sweep the unwanted moderation under carpet when necessary.

More often we put our own honor to death when we hide our weaknesses. We obliterate the virtue of being pure when we decide to stay quiet and dispose the moral excellence into the dustbin of egotism.

Keeping everything on hold, I turned my computer on and aimed to start writing about the reclamations in the society which might bring serenity. Just then something struck my mind: ‘What are you going to tell the society? That it must not give up the spirit of evolution and address the culprits who tarnish essence of human society?’

Come on woman! I said to myself. It’s a retold story.

Then I decided to write about something which may not be new, but more profound and important to retell.

Life in a conservative society has never been easy. To my mind every individual is suppressed by his own ego and anger, which results into incompetence of the society in coping with the level of crimes that it has invited unto itself.

Nowadays our society seems to be divided among conservatives, liberals and neutrals. The schism between conservators and liberals is ruffling the neutral’s equanimity and bringing no fruit for an infinite number of people. It seems to be a case of hoping against hope and nothing else.

The conservatives are not willing to change their mindset, which facilitates only one portion of the society, serves one class and its purposes and the rest barely get anything out of it.

The liberals, who have ostensibly embraced a different approach, compel the conservatives (clergy) to bring forth changes in the teaching of Islam through ijtihad, which has been proposed by the Islamic teachings. It is not a bad solution to the growing number of inhuman activities in the land.

As this is the only way to incorporate the religious teachings with the changing world. This approach appeals to every single soul who intends to see peace and harmony among different religions and sects.

Meanwhile, the neutrals simply don’t give it another thought. They themselves don’t know where they are heading.

So eventually liberals take up this task to purpose a way out of this problem. But nobody ever specifies how this utopia comes into existence in this chaos especially when the ulema (Islamic scholars) have practically closed the door for ijtihad? Throughout the history of Pakistan, whenever this idea has been under consideration, these ulema put hurdles in the way of the process by calling it 'un-Islamic'.

 In 1961, General Ayub Khan’s government tried to modernize Islamic laws by introducing Family Law Ordinance but left some loose ends. Right afterwards, it was rejected as un-Islamic. Therefore, this ordinance could never be implemented in its true essence.

Evidently a lobby has always been meddling in uprooting the ideology of ijtihad.  We all learn about this concept but never see it coming through.

First and the foremost, the question is that in a religion followed by innumerable people, there is no scale for the measurement of an imam’s qualification – someone who is being burdened with the responsibility of preaching.

Mostly imams have no research based knowledge of the religion.  A man who earns through teaching religion can hardly do it wholeheartedly, as he has to make ends meet. Moreover, in remote areas of Pakistan where mostly the population is uneducated – or has been kept uneducated – inspiration is taken from the imam.

The situation is surely thought provoking that today we Muslims are not fighting for the implementation of sharia but fiqh, which has many versions at large. This is the reason why we see many sects and versions of Islamic teaching.

There are those people who want everybody to accept their own interpretation without any doubt and objection. And when someone tries to recommend any reformation then these extreme-minded rigid people raise a slogan of bidat and all the efforts get drained. Such rigid mullahs always undermine every effort in this matter and shelve it for an inestimable time.

They taught us that Jinnah created Pakistan as a separate land for Muslims and have exploited us for three generations by feeding us a very radical version of Islam in the founding fathers’ name.

Yes it’s a fact that Jinnah envisioned a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent, but just to the extent that majority of Hindus, especially the extremist kind like RSS and VHP won’t be able to slaughter and abuse the minorities the way we saw in Gujarat and many other riots across India since its creation.

Even a blind eye can detect the magnitude of deception if someone today tells us that Jinnah was just like a Noorani, Haq, Fazalur Rehman, Molvi Umar or Hafiz Saeed and had struggled for a homeland to reflect a Lashkar, Hizb, Harkat, Qaeda or Taliban.

Perhaps it would be the lie of the century for Pakistanis, if some illusionists made them think that Pakistan was meant to be a state that would serve the authoritarian and inhuman designs of extremist states like Saudi Arabia or Iran. All founding members, and most of all Jinnah himself, strongly contradicted the notion.

Jinnah was no saint, but a shrewd politician who in time figured out the fault lines of communal hatred that existed in India that was perhaps the most versatile and multicultural country in the world. Although one couldn’t imagine how far the politicians/mullahs would take the simple idea of a separate democracy for minorities, created by a very liberal person, and fool the people to turn into zombies.

These fundamentalists are taking advantage of these circumstances, while the masses (neutrals) are still entangled between halal and haram, momin and munafiq, Muslim and kafir.

My concern here is: why does a common man not dare to understand his faith instead of relying upon such people?

We are emotionally attached to the clergy. We hear what a mullah says with all eyes and ears but we never bother to scrutinize this hierarchy. These people rule our world, regurgitate after delivering self deceiving fatwas and toxicant speeches as our innocence minds become victims of their propagandas.

Nevertheless, if we have to form a body/committee of these mullahs – who are leaving no stone unturned in creating havoc among the masses through their hate speeches – then we better stop thinking about it.

In this scenario why do we not ponder over other options? We have democracy in our country, even if crippled. The parliament can take the initiative regarding ijtihad, which seems like an idea which is a notch above the rest.

O people let’s get together and seek the logical conclusion. We have the beautiful concept of Sufism to mop up all the differences among us. We have to convince our souls that violence is not an option in order to attain our rightful place in the world. Before performing ijtihad we have to purge our minds and souls and exclude the prejudice and bigotry from our ways of life.

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