20 November, 2006
By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
MMA has decided to quit the National Assembly in protest to its passing the Women Protection Bill. MMA considers the bill un-Islamic and as such has taken the extreme step. All those voting for the bill are equally adamant that there is nothing against Qura’n and Sunnah in the bill passed and Chaudhry Shujaat has even offered to resign from the NA if proven wrong.
The question arises who is right and who is wrong. Does MMA comprise of the political parties or of the religious muftis entitled to issuing religious edicts – fatawa? If they are a conglomeration of political parties – contesting elections, opposing a President in uniform and upholding the democracy - then they should follow the democratic norms of the Assemblies. And if they consider themselves to be the religious authorities then they should preach religion in the madrassas and mosques. However, even there, I do not think that they have the right to dictate any one to order his/her life in accordance with their particular line of thinking. Islam allows no compulsion in the matter of Deen. At best they can do is to set the personal example for the others to emulate them. Qazi Sahib and his colleagues have publicly pronounced many a time that given the opportunity they would Islamise the nation. They insist that as Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, Islam and Sharriah have to be imposed in it. What is feared that their such efforts might result in theocracy leading to the Talibanisation in Pakistan. However, it is a different matter that almost all the Muslim religious parties of then India to which the present lot of our religious leaders belong had opposed creation of Pakistan. So much so that Pakistan was called by them ‘Na-Pakistan’ and the Quaid-e-Azam as ‘Kafir-e-Azam’ !!. Ironically the political clerics of today who are the heirs and descendants of the very same anti-Pakistan elements consider it to be their right to rule over the country begotten by the Kafir-e-Azam and enforce their brand of Islam in it.
One wonders where from they would drive the authority to enforce what they consider correct and good for others. They can certainly set the personal example of conduct and concept by their words and deeds for others to follow but cannot and should not be allowed to enforce their thinking upon them. There is no papaiyat in Islam or any room for any one claiming to be more religious than others. All are equal before Allah (SWT) and answerable to HIM and HIM alone. However, having surrendered their legislative powers they seem to have designs to exploit the street power in the name of Islam and the so-called abolition of Hadood Allah by the present ‘secular’ rulers. Unfortunately, they know the art of oratory to influence the minds of the naïve and gullible simpletons, who can be orchestrated to the pitch of even laying their lives for Islam. The ordinary folks know not much of such religious intricacies, and one sincerely hopes and prays that they shall not be exploited in the name of religion by our religious political leaders.
I think according to a Hadees, an aalim using deen for his personal gains stands condemned before Allah (SWT and His Rasool (SAW). I hope the learned Qazis and Maulanas are aware of it. However, if in their heart of hearts they are convinced that what they are doing is correct, and the Women Protection Bill is un-Islamic and thereby they are not exploiting the naïve masses then they are welcome to it. At the same time all those who think it otherwise must do all within powers to put across their point of view to the masses. Masses must know the truth and apprising them of the truth and absolute truth is not only the domain of the maulvies and ulemas alone. They are to be told if passing of such a bill is or is not un-Islamic. Whether the God ordained Hadood Allah have been tampered with or not? In this very serious matter it is the duty of all to educate the masses absolutely correctly without any fears or favours. Let’s in the process open the doors to Ijtehad and not leave it only to the Maulanas and Maulvies who have their political axes to grind as well.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is reported of having plans to dissuade the MMA leaders from submitting their resignations to the Speaker when the NA meets around 6/7 December. My sincere advice to him is not to do so. It will not work and the Chaudhry Sahib will stand to lose face. The MMA leadership has not taken such a big decision succumbing to emotions just on the spur of the moment without having given due consideration to all pros and cons of it. Instead Chaudhry Sahib should concentrate on the Bye Election for the sixty odd vacated seats. He is likely to sail through easily with his candidates as the MMA would not and should not, on principle, contest the seats and be again part of the same NA. This way PML (Q) and its supporters could attain the much coveted two third majority in the house enabling them to usher in any bills and amendments that they need. Even if Chaudhry Sahib succeeds in dissuading the MMA leaders from resigning, their Sword of Damocles will remain hanging to be put to a crucial use in any next eventuality by them. So, why not make full use of the opportunity provided by the MMA themselves? At least so demands the prudence.