Was Jinnah a Propagandist?

Refuting Najam Sethi’s editorial Passions of Bangladesh

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Bangladesh,

17th century Western thought was already yielding skepticism, empiricism and humanism, all diminutives of the completely God-free ideas of secularism and atheism that were to strengthen its feet in European ideology by the following two centuries. Hegel, whose dialectic methodology had initially cast its color upon Iqbal’s thinking, too, was a hidden proponent of atheistic thoughts himself. Perhaps the realizations of the emptiness of the Western thought and the devastation it was headed to forced Iqbal to put his hopes away from Western philosophy and revert to the Quran as soul-giver to true knowledge.

In his 1930 Allahabad Address, Iqbal said, ‘In Europe Christianity was understood to be a purely monastic order which gradually developed into a vast church organization. The protest of Luther was directed against this church organization, not against any system of polity of a secular nature, for the obvious reason that there was no such polity associated with Christianity. And Luther was perfectly justified in rising in revolt against this organization; though, I think, he did not realize that in the peculiar conditions which obtained in Europe, his revolt would eventually mean the complete displacement of [the]universal ethics of Jesus by the growth of a plurality of national and hence narrower systems of ethics’.

In the above lines, Iqbal has made it clear that Europe’s turning away from Christianity had been by virtue of its inability to create a sociopolitical system for its masses, and the desertion of the Church for all practical matters was going to eventuate into ‘national, hence narrower systems of ethics’. For Iqbal, therefore, nationality is a narrower thought compared to religion, whereas religion, which holds the ideals of universality and absoluteness, brings man to a heightened illumination, which is the basis required for true altruism. In such an understanding from an intense thinker such as Iqbal himself, what does a trivial thinker such as Najam Sethi have, when Sethi says:

‘…a significant majority of Pakistan’s youth are inclined to say “I am a Muslim” when asked the simple question “who are you?” rather than “I am a Pakistani”? This contrasts sharply with Muslims elsewhere in the world who are more likely to stress their nationality over their religion, eg, Arabs, Saudis, Malaysians, Chinese, Palestinians, Kuwaitis, Emiratees, Iranians, etc. Indeed, even Muslims in India would answer “Indian” rather than “Muslim”.’

Najam Sethi here seems to be a proponent of Karl Marx, who had gone one step further from Hegel in separating any idea of ‘spirit’ from the human process, reducing it to mere ‘material’ factors. Marx regarded religion to be the ‘opium of the masses’, and regarded change in material conditions as having primary influence on how society and economy are organized; thus making national interest the highest point of man’s thought. Further on, Mr. Sethi goes on shamelessly maligning the Quaid, saying:

‘…Mohammad Ali Jinnah, deliberately mixed up propagandistic notions of Islam, the religion and culture, “being in danger” with the fact of “economic and political discrimination” of Muslims in the body politic of India led by the predominantly Hindu-Congress.’

So Sethi and the liberal lot call Jinnah a secular first, and now they are resorting to call him a propagandist, and Islam needed not any safeguard in united India! Surely the stubborn minded, secular cult will never admit religion to be the most essential consideration for the Muslims of the subcontinent, and they knew practically that Islam was not practicable under alien circumstances. Iqbal had said:

‘The nature of the Prophet’s religious experience, as disclosed in the Quran, however, is wholly different. It is not mere experience in the sense of a purely biological event, happening inside the experient and necessitating no reactions on its social environment. It is individual experience creative of a social order. Its immediate outcome is the fundamentals of a polity with implicit legal concepts whose civic significance cannot be belittled merely because their origin is revelational.’

It was this Iqbal who wrote to the Quaid, inviting him back to the Subcontinent, as the only hope for Muslim unity and as a guardian who could secure an independent state for them that would ensure the ‘polity’ he saw created around the Prophet. He wrote to Jinnah in March 1937:

‘It is absolutely necessary to tell the world both inside and outside India that the economic problem is not the only problem in the country. From the Muslim point of view, the cultural problem is of much greater consequence to most Indian Muslims.’

He wrote again to Jinnah in May 1937, ‘But the enforcement and development of the Shariat of Islam is impossible in this country without a free Muslim state or states… If such a thing is impossible in India, the only other alternative is a civil war, which as a matter of fact has been going on for some time in the shape of Hindu-Muslim riots. I fear that in certain parts of the country, e.g. N.W. India, Palestine may be repeated.’

So the work of Sethi and the likes is simply to invert the reason why this country has been made, – the only state made upon ‘ideology’, the ideology of which was securing Islam as the ‘way of living’ of its citizens. Sethi says, ‘Unfortunately, however, after the creation of Pakistan, the political leaders of the new nation state continued to clutch at “Islamic ideology” rather than secular democracy for purposes of legitimacy and conjured up “Hindu India” as the perennial external enemy seeking to undo Pakistan.’

So, according to Sethi, a ‘secular democracy’ is the only way for a legitimate state to exist. Does a secular democracy ensure the sovereignty of Allah over all matters? Does a secular democracy ensure the law given by the Quran and the Sunnah, or does it shun them off as obsolete? And did the Quaid aim for a ‘secular democracy’ using Islam only as a popular slogan to secure a revolution in the masses. ? Jinnah said:

‘When you talk of democracy, you are thoroughly dishonest. When you talk of democracy you mean Hindu Raj, to dominate over the Muslims, a totally different nation, different in culture, different in everything. You yourself are working for Hindu nationalism and Hindu Raj.’ (All-India Muslim League, Delhi, April 24, 1943.)

He said, ‘We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.’ [October 11, 1947.)

Jinnah did not mean Islam to be a means to an end, merely a propaganda to be disposed of later; one year after the establishment of Pakistan, he said, ‘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.’  (February 21, 1948,  Ack Ack  Regiments at Malir)

The question is, how does such an evident hater of Islam as Sethi, who deems ‘a singular Muslim identity in Pakistan’ to be the reason for ‘the rise of separatist ethnic movements no less than eruptions of Islamic terrorism and sectarianism’, find places of high office in the state of Pakistan? One who deplores the founding father of the nation, must answer first about his own loyalties to the state; he must answer why he has always been a proponent of the idea of the separation of Baluchistan, why the World Bank’s president pleaded for his release when he had been arrested for his ‘ attempt to destabilize the state’? He must also answer how his person fits between the infamous deal made between Geo TV and the USAID.

What kind of a democracy does this ‘cult of seculars’ want, when the majority of this nation professes Islam as their belief system? Is democracy not the will of the majority? If so, then the only democracy that will work for Pakistan is an Islamic democracy and none other!

Discuss this topic on Defence.pk


is a writer at PKKH.tv and can be contacted at aneela.pathfinder@gmail.com, she tweets @AneelaShahzad

Discussion12 Comments

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    It should be apparent that by today’s standards there is no such thing as” a singular Muslim identity”…this myth that a Muslim state is going to bring peace has been proven wrong in every location especially Pakistan…why are Muslims killing Muslims in a Muslim country?…the answer is obvious to those who can see the world without looking through a biased religious lens….there is not one Islam…and the various factions of Islam are filled with fanatics who believe they have a mission from god to kill members of the other faction for their misguided beliefs…this fatal flaw of religious belief makes a peaceful environment impossible…and take this twisted idea further and try to pattern a government after these confused ideas and you have the explanation of the conflict that faces Pakistan….that is why the Quaid really wanted a secular government that would allow all religions to be treated equally….unfortunately that idea was hijacked by the mullahs who have controlled the government ever since…hence the problems continue today without solution…

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    Jinnah was interested in his own personal agenda and did not bother for the entire muslim community in India. 1/3rd of muslims of pre independence India remained in India but he was interested only in Pakistan and those muslims who made Pakistan their home.

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    Islamic democracy is an oxymoron, a technocratic setup is rather more aligned to the spirit of Islam, and closer to the model of khilafah…. Mixing two terms with taken from entirely contrast historical contexts may lead to a mess similar to what we have seen in Pakistan since last 65 yrs… Further details can be provided upon request…

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      Looking at how muslim world governs itself, I agree that Islamic democracy is an oxymoron. Its peaceful under a dictatorship and chaotic when democratic. May be its mainly due to intolerance towards differences of opinions.

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    There IS only one ISLAM. Those who profess to be Muslim, ought only to follow the Qur’anic tenets in the light of the saheeh sunnah and make all local and family and national and international decisions.

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      Which partition you are talking about… from india to pakistan or from Pakistan to Bangladesh?
      If partition from India to Pakistan was on the basis of religion then what about partition from Pakistan to Bangladesh??
      Jinnah’s two nation theory based on religion failed the test of history when Bangladesh was born. Indians initially felt hurt that the nation was divided but in hind sight India is happy and perhaps Pakistn and Bangladesh are also happy.

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      As long as the world will fight with each other, the Americans and Europe will rule the world. After 2nd world war europe learnt to live with peace with each other. Time is now turning towards Asia but alas! the 2 Asian giants that are supposed to lead the world are at logger heads and south Asia is not united. it will indeed give west an opportunity to keep dominating the world.

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