If indeed Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic State what exactly did he think an Islamic State means?

  • If indeed Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic State what exactly did he think an Islamic State means?

Now what about him repeatedly stating that Pakistan will be run on Islamic principles? Well what are the Islamic principles? What are the principles of any religion? As Leo Tolstoy explains about his idea of a true religion, ‘’ The principles are very simple, comprehensible and uncomplicated. They are as follows: that there is a God who is the origin of everything; that there is an element of this divine origin in every person, which he can diminish or increase through his way of living; that in order for someone to increase this source he must suppress his passions and increase the love within himself; that the practical means of achieving this consist in doing to others as you would wish to do to you. All these principles are common to Brahmanism, Hebraism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. ‘’

So in my opinion when Jinnah said his Pakistan will adopt Islamic principles as its constitution his concept of these principles was the same as Tolstoy’s. And this comes out quite clearly in his 11th August address when says that after sometime there will remain no difference between Muslims, Hindus and Christian citizens of Pakistan for they will all be seen as and act according to the same principles.

It is also demonstrated by his statement that in an Islamic state all laws and made and decisions taken after discussion and consultation. In other words in Jinnah’s mind his Islamic Pakistan would give all of her citizens the same legal status regardless of their religion and will allow them to practice their respective religions freely not favoring any specific religion nor hindering any particular religion. Now tell me doesn’t this concept of an Islamic state look to be the same as a secular state?

  • If Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular democracy then is it possible that an Islamic state can be a Secular Democracy?

I think we already have the answer to this question. If we take the definition of an Islamic state as propagated by Ibn Taymuyyah, Ibn Wahab, Maudodi and as practically put to practice by the Taliban, Iranian Mullas and Baghdadi then certainly Jinnah had no intention of touching such crap with a barge-pole. If however an Islamic state is where the universal principles of tolerance and equality are applied, where every law is made in way that is consistent with the principles of a modern humanistic society, where everything is decided after discussion and consultation among all the citizens of every religion, sex and caste, then I am sure Jinnah had no problems in adopting this as his vision for Pakistan.

Jinnah is also blamed for using the religion card in achieving his aims. Well we have to remember that Jinnah never once said either in public or private that he was not a Muslim, unlike Nehru he never declared himself to be secular. And as far as using religion in politics it was Gandhi who introduced this to India despite Jinnah’s protests. And in the 1946 elections religion was used freely to get Muslim support by both The League and The Congress, it is worth noting that while we criticize Jinnah for allowing his party workers to use religion we should keep in mind that the secular Nehru was allowing his party members to do the same, at least we cannot accuse Jinnah to be a hypocrite like Nehru who proclaimed secular politics yet allowed the use of religion when it suited him.

Renowned historian Ayesha Jalal cautions in judging Jinnah just on the basis of his words. Jinnah was a man of immaculate credibility. Even as an outstanding lawyer, a profession where telling lies is considered a way of life Jinnah would never lie. However, that does not mean he would tell people a truth that would lead to him to losing a case. Jinnah was thus a master in evading the questions that would weaken his case, and he brought the same skills to politics where if he would have just come on stage and announced that he will have a secular Pakistan it would have meant that no one would have given him a second look. So he did not say this but instead talked about a Pakistan run on Islamic principles of social justice and democracy which were more or less the same as practiced in a modern, secular democracy. In this Jinnah was envisaging an Islam which has now evolved to a higher religion as described by Sir Alama Iqbal in his book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam; a religion without rituals, without priests and without dogma, based on universal modern principles of equality, liberty and fraternity.

Finally we should not forget that Jinnah repeatedly said that it is the people of Pakistan who will decide what path Pakistan follows and how it develops its state ideology. And regardless of what Jinnah’s vision may have been it is only of academic interest for now it is up to the Pakistani people do steer their nation in the direction they want to. And here things are rather worrying for a recent poll showed that 79% of Pakistanis are in favor of enforcing the conventional, centuries old Sharia as the law of Pakistan. And here I feel to blame Jinnah for the ills of Pakistan is the same as to blame USA or the Yahudis, for if the people of Pakistan have decided not to use their brains and follow a 1300 year old dogma then what can we expect but disaster.

Dr Aamir Butt was born in Lahore and is now living in the UK. He works for the national health service as a consultant dermatologist. He has interest in history and aspires to become a fiction writer.

Notes and Principal Sources





About ayyubkulla

Ex Army Officer, NWFP UET'88, Civil Engineer, 3D Modelling, BIM and IFC from FHNW . Liberal religious views. All out to serve motherland.
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