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Whom the gods would destroy….

11 June, 2010

By Anwaar Hussain

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So what do we have in the aftermath of the Lahore massacre in Pakistan? No protests against the killings, no joint condemnation from the flag bearers of Islam who foam at the mouths at a mere hint of any ‘danger to Islam’, no conciliatory gestures towards the victims, no nothing.

We have this instead.

According to a BBC Urdu report, a gathering of the leaders of 13 religious and political parties in Lahore claimed that the attack on Ahmedis on May 28 was part of a conspiracy to repeal the laws against them. The meeting also condemned Nawaz Sharif, the twice elected ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan and now the leader of the opposition, for having sympathized with the Ahmadis and calling them his ‘brothers’.

The gathering was attended by the leading divines of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat-i-ulema-i-Islam Fazlur Rahman group, Jamaatud Dawa and Markazi Jamaat-i-Ahl-i-Sunnat among others–almost the entire cast on the honor roll of divinity’s who’s who in Pakistan.

Click here to read the report first and then reach for the nearest sick bag.

Let us see what the report means in plain English.

If we discount the possibility of CIA, Mossad, RAW, Indo-Zionist lobbies of involvement on the grounds that they would rather scheme to have more people leaving the fold of Islam than strategize to get millions of Ahmadis to joining it, only two conclusions can be drawn. One, the hundreds of murdered and injured people conspired in their own slaughter and hurt. Or two, the killers were hired by the fast vanishing secular/liberal/rational section of Pakistani society, who see Ahmadis as common, everyday Muslims and citizens, to commit the massacre to merely initiate a debate to get the label of non-Muslims lifted from the beleaguered community. The scribe is at his wits end to draw any other conclusion from the news.

A little dive into history has become unavoidable to shake the collective conscience, or whatever goes by its name in our country, of us common Pakistanis–and to remind us who is a Muslim and who is not.

Some fifty-six years back, in the year 1954 to be exact, there was another gathering of the leading stars of divinity’s who’s who of the time in front of Munir Inquiry Commission. Here is a brief backgrounder.

Justice M. Munir commission was appointed to investigate the large-scale riots against the Ahmadya sect in Pakistan in 1953 with Justice Muhammad Munir as the president and Justice Kayani as its member.

No less than twenty-two leading lights on Islam were invited to define a Muslim. Ironically, no two given definitions coincided with each other. Yet, all these leaders were vociferously adamant as to the validity of their definition of a Muslim and the imposition of their brand of Shariah given a chance. The net result of was that the Shias, Sunnis, Deobandis, Barelvis, Ahl-i-Hadith etc., to name just the main sects, all were non-Muslims according to each other’s definition of a Muslim. All groups thought that any change from one view to the other must be accompanied in an Islamic State with the penalty of death if the Government of the State is in the hands of the party which considers the other party to be kafirs.

The justices wrote:

“The result of this part of inquiry, however has been anything but satisfactory and if considerable confusion exists in the minds of our ulema on such a simple matter, one can easily imagine what the differences on more complicated matters will be…. Keeping in view the several different definitions given by the ulema, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim, but kafirs according to the definitions of everyone else.” (Pages 215, 218)

They then went on to explain that if Deobandis are in charge, all non-deobandis would become Kafirs, and if Barelvis are in charge all non-Barelvis would be declared Kafir. Depending on the sect, the definition of a Muslim changes, and so everyone else becomes a Kafir. They pointed to one Fatwa from DarulUloom Deoband in India, attached as an exhibit, which declared all Shiites as Kafirs and Murtids.

Strikingly bold, the report was an eye opener. However, it’s not just a question of Sunni Islam and Shia Islam and how they interpret the Shariah. There are at least 70 sects within these two main offshoots whose interpretation of Shariah differs with each other. Aren’t we witness to leaders of one sect declaring the murder of the followers of another sect as not only religiously legal but also divinely rewarding? What else was the recent killing of Ahmadis, or the target killings of Shias in the past, a result of?

For want of space, the scribe has purposely avoided certain other relevant issues in this piece. For instance, if a Muslim country has a right to dictate the laws of the religion of the majority then, by a natural corollary, every other country should have the same right. The Hindutva buffs then should be allowed to implement in India the laws of the Hindu religion as they see it even if it means sealing the fate of Indian Muslims and other minorities of India. Likewise, visualize Israel enacting the laws from Talmud? The non-Jews probably will be debarred from even entering the state of Israel.

For now, suffice it to say that the news perhaps is the most ringing declaration of the bloody drama unfolding itself in Pakistan. It confirms in unambiguous terms that from intolerance to utter madness, we are traveling on a straight line. And if there is any truth in the Latin proverb, “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”, the end point on the line now looms ever larger.

May the madness end first.

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