Thursday, 31 March 2011


The current intellectual scenario in Pakistan has been particularly set in the backdrop of controversies as to what kind of state system should be adopted and how it should be adopted. Among other shades of this debate, the most important is the discourse as to what Islamic principles and approaches should be adopted to rebuild and reform state system in Pakistan. In this connection, Mr. Javeid Ghamdi presents some views which are not tenable when judged on established and internationally approaved principles of interpretation of Islamic texts.For instance, he opines that one can adopt 'Din' in his individual life without establishing islamic systems; he portraits that adoption of "Din" in individual sphere is to take precedence over establishment of Islamic systems which would naturally come into existence when people would have adopted "Din" in individual sphere. So people should not take special pains to establish Islamic systems at first stage; they should focus only to reform their personal lives/ characters at the first stage.Let us analyze Mr. Ghamdi's views in the succeeding lines.

Islam assigns two types of duties to people; firstly on individual level and secondly on collective level.In fact Every duty assigned in Islam has two phases (individual and collective). For instance, duty of payment of Zakat(taking wealth from the rich and giving away to the poor) as an individual's duty is fulfilled, when individual pays Zakat; but when it comes to collective level, only payment of Zakat by individual is not suffice; at collective level, there has to be a system of Zakat to take wealth from the rich and give away to the poor. An individual's duty to pay Zakat is one phase of the duty; the other phase of this duty is to strive for and establishment of system of Zakat at the collective or state level.He can't defray his duty of Zakat completely, without establishment of zakat system; he has to defray both individual and collective phases of his duty simultaneously.

Similarly, all duties assigned in Islam have two phases (i'.e. individual and collective) e.g. duties aiming at personal purification and collective purgation, relating to all moral, social, political and economic spheres. Fulfillment of these two phases of every assigned duty, is called Aqamat-e-Deen. Islam has left neither adoption(at individual level) nor establishment (at collective level) of "Din" to human instincts.
There is no denying fact that Islam deals with both individual and collective matters of mankind. Social collective matters are managed through a system. We can't imagine any social system without institutions. In other words, a social system always operate through the institutions. The establishment of institutions is neither a work of accident nor a natural outcome of individuals' pious actions, as Javaid Ghamdi is preaching; institution-building always requires some planning,skill and expertise of capable selected/ chosen people of the society. The Muslims can't defray their collective duties without establishing Islamic institutions through sheer planning, capability, devotion and skill. Only after establishing such institutions, we can ask people to mould their lives accordingly and lead their collective lives accordingly.
Aqamat-e-Din, at the individual level, is the matter of "adoption of "Din", but at the collective level, it is the matter of "establishment of "Din". Aqamat-e-Din is just like adoption and establishment of any other system. For instance,if we want people to adopt a democratic system, we first establish democratic institutions, and then ask people to act accordingly; similarly if you want people to adopt capitalistic system, you first establish capitalist institutions and then ask people to act accordingly. Mr. Ghamdi's logic is strange; he is preaching adoption of "Din" without establishing the Islamic systems.
The viewpoint that we should first abide by Islamic injunctions individually, is also not tenable due to very simple fact that we would require crores of years to mould 18 crore Pakistanis to establish Din; it may be appreciated that such approach would lead us to forget about establishment of our Din. On the other hand, establishment of "Din"/system at the first stage would make the task much easier, because due to force of system/Din, the people , not willing to mould themselves, would also be compelled to go along the system. So, at the first stage, our focus should not be character reformation of whole masses; rather our focus should be selected, skilled, capable, devoted people (NOT narrow-minded like some Talibans) which could install Islamic political, social,moral and economic systems. After establishment of such Islamic systems/institutions, we can ask common people to abide by such system/Din to submit to God's will in their collective life. Look at the life of holy Messenger (SAW); in 13 years of Makki period, only a few hundred people got converted. Why? because there was no institution-building. But in 11 years of Madni life, lacs of people were converted, because institutions were established there in Madina. Make your task easier and practicable by establishing Islamic institutions first and then asking people to go along these institutions.
Mr. Ghamdi has remarked that Islam does not require a common person to establish Islamic system; it is not a correct view. In Quran, whenever a duty is assigned, it is not only assigned to an individual but also to whole Ummah ( except where duty is assigned to the Messenger (SAW). That is why, in such cases, for the addressees, gramatically plural form (not singular form) is used. It means, all the Muslims are to contribute in establishment of "Din" through whatever capacities and capabilities they have; if any person is unable to contribute in terms of knowledge, skill or authority, he can contribute by offering physical, active or even silent support.

In fact, many sectarian controversies emanate from the fact that many Islamic scholars do not subordinate their wisdom / logic to revealed knowledge; rather they subordinate revealed knowledge to their logic/wisdom. Quran commands human beings to utilise their intellectual faculties, but function of of intellectual faculties is to prove revealed knowledge, not to contradict it. According to Quran " whoever becomes alive, he becomes alive due to logic; whoever dies, he dies due to logic". Human intellect is a double edged sword; it can set anyone on the right path as well as on the Satanic path.In my humble understanding,if function of human intellect is confined to prove revealed knowledge, it will not detract us. It would be more wise, if an Islamic scholar who reaches a conclusion/ idea which is not mentioned in the revealed knowledge ( Quran,Sunnah), or endorsed, by inference, by revealed knowledge, he should keep on thinking over the issue until his conclusion is endorsed by the revealed knowledge; however any idea/conclusion which contradicts the revealed knowledge must be rejected straightaway.

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