Path that Leads to the Well 

By Humayun Gauhar

My last article elicited this response from Mian Suhail Husain: “Sadly, I see considerable problems ahead. As a great grandson of Sir Fazle Husain and a nephew of Begum Salma Tasaduq Husain the passions for Pakistan are high.

“What has gone wrong? My analysis is:

1.                  The start of our problem is the judiciary and the lawyers, those who know the law, could do public interest litigation. The judges we have are poorly trained, as are the bureaucrats. Today, one of the greatest threats we have is human resource capacity, both in the public and private sectors.

2.                  The Judicial system: profiteering from this are the ‘qabza’ [land grabbers] group, the lawyers, corrupt businessmen, politicians etc. Once we can cure the above, our laws are sufficient to handle corruption etc.

“What Allah allows in the Quran, we, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan think we know more and have declared a moratorium on execution.

“We keep praising Dubai, Singapore etcetera but these are police states. Adherence to law there is through the ‘danda’ [big stick].

“Let’s look at Sharia. Why are we against this word? It only means ‘the Right Way’ – right way according to our Maker.

“Circa 1550, examine English society.  Were they any different than our ‘wadera’ [feudal] brotherhood? First, they moved out from the island and within 200 years the sun never set on the British Empire.

“Were there any laws to speak of at this time?   Definitely not!

“Then see the Miracle from Allah: within 100 years all the laws originated from the UK, spread to the colonies, were adapted by EU and USA… And nearly all the origins are from the Quran – a true worldly imposition of the Sharia by Allah.

“Does Allah want women to be used as a promotional asset for a BMW car, a Q-Mobile etcetera? It’s really abhorrent to say the least, a scantily clad woman lying on a Series 7 bonnet, saying: ‘Try me’ Does she mean her or the car?

“The Afghan-Pukhtoon sharia system is non-Islamic as is the Saudi system.  Hypocrisy would be a better way to describe this system.

“On the other hand the correct Islamic Sharia, which the world is following, and following Deen-e-Muhammadi (even countries like China where religion does not exist follow this code as the opposite would be Satan’s code) must be promoted by the intelligentsia of this nation.

“Late Qazi Husain Ahmad once said, ‘Why are you against the maulvis? You and your laziness have put them there.  When you want to educate your children, it has to be the best school and teachers and money is no object.  When you are asked to pay Rs. 50,000 to a religious scholar, you do not contribute even Rs.100. At least they say the Azan at the correct times and are there for your namaz-e-janaza’. I feel hypocrisy should be finished. Decide, if we wish to be an Islamic Republic in the true sense and follow the teachings of our Prophet strictly or otherwise. There would be a soft Islamic revolution or a bloody one. The decision is for the intelligentsia to take.”

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“What you say of Nawaz is so correct. I see a terrible and bloody end to the path he chooses and instead of letting well enough alone he embarks on another confrontation with the military. Had he been a statesman, he would have rung the bell at Musharraf’s place, let bygones be bygones, asked him to help on the international scene and bridge matters with the army. An era of peace, tranquility and phenomenal growth would have ensued.”

You may not agree with some or any of what Suhail says but it symbolizes growing anger and frustration. Some critical readers ask, “Why are you against implementing sharia?” They couldn’t be more wrong. I am all for implementing Sharia as long as it is God’s Sharia in the Quran, not any man-made ones compiled centuries later with their many interpretations? Certainly, the starting point of all man-made sharias is the Quran, but they are infused with local customs and traditions of the scholar’s times and his interpretations that have been superimposed on the Faith and come to be regarded as part of the Faith by the unlettered. No wonder Muslims are divided into myriad sects and movements laced with rituals, customs and de facto churches under de facto clerics masquerading as scholars basically in a struggle for power that have created countless schisms. The only acceptable Sharia is God’s Sharia. Period.

The first surah of the Quran, al Fateha, is Man’s prayer to God to show him the Right Path and guide him to it and on it:  “Guide us to the right path. The Path of those on whom you have bestowed Your Grace, not of those who have earned Your anger.” The rest that follows in the Quran is God’s answer to that prayer, His Guidance to the Right Path.

The word ‘sharia’ comes from the Arabic word Sh’ar, which means the path that leads to the well, water being the source of life. The word ‘Sharia’ come from the word Sh’ar and is God’s signs and His way of guiding us onto the Correct Path or Sirat-al-Mustahkheem that we prayed to Him for in Surah Fateha. In this context ‘well’ is allegorical not least because water in a well keeps purifying. Similarly, life and times need constant updating too to keep pace with changing times to remain contemporary and relevant. That is called Ijtehad, constant interpretation with analogy, without innovation (bidat) and without violating any of God’s fundamental principles in the Quran. For example, it is God’s intent that thieves ought to be punished but we need not cut their hands off any more as we have jails. In those days there were no jails and punishment had to be immediate and demonstrable. At the same time one will have to consider why someone robbed: was it greed or taking the easy way out or because he was desperate to eat and feed his family? If the society he lives in provides no honourable means of livelihood, then the government of that society has failed and should be punished, not the alleged thief.

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It boggles one’s mind why we deviate from God’s answer to our prayer and instead depend on some interpretation of it by some man or men, however scholarly. It bears dinning in: The Quran is God’s way of guiding us to the Correct Path, the Path that leads to the well. That is the Sharia I want implemented in Pakistan, God’s Sharia in the Quran, nothing else. But it won’t suit mullahs masquerading as scholars and terrorists masquerading as jihadis in their quest for power.

To understand God’s Sharia one needs an ongoing understanding of God’s objectives and intent in the Quran, its immutable fundamental principles on the one hand and its secular injunctions on the other that guide us on how to live our lives in this world. To implement Sharia at the level of the State requires the implementation of the rights of all of God’s Creations of which the human being comes first. That we call Haqooq ul Ibad.

The Quran is for all Mankind, not just for Muslims. Thus western Christians have used the Quran to make their laws and constitutions. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, used the Quran extensively while participating in making the US constitution. Jefferson’s Quran is very well known. The UN Charter of Human rights is based partly on the Quran. So are the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war and the treatment of prisoners of war, though they are still behind the rules of war and its prisoners that were given in the Quran just before the Battle at the wells of Badr, the first battle fought for Islam that the heavily outnumbered Muslims won.

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Our constitution is arrogant enough to claim that Pakistan is an Islamic republic, that no law shall be made that is repugnant to the Quran and Sunnah and that Islam is our state religion. Yet you find many things in our constitution that are not in consonance with God’s laws, like the provision of immunity to heads of state and government and others. The non-implementation of Articles 62 and 63 that pertain to the eligibility and non-eligibility of someone to contest elections and hold public office reflects our hypocrisy: the two Articles are impossible and are there only to pay lip service to God’s injunction to “choose from amongst yourselves and choose from amongst the best.” There is no realistic mechanism in our constitution to ensure that we only get to choose from amongst the best so we are consigned to choosing from amongst the worst because only the worst have the mentality, priorities and wherewithal to contest and often rig elections under our corrupt and alien political system. All good laws anywhere in the world are in consonance with Islam; only the bad ones are a deviation.

The first and foremost duty of an Islamic state is to be a welfare state and not hide behind repugnancy clauses. Pakistan can only become an Islamic Welfare State by making the implementation of Haqooq ul Ibad or the Rights of all God’s Creations a Divine duty of the State.

Meantime, you really want to become an Islamic Welfare State? Then follow Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to Pakistan’s first constituent assembly on August 11, 1947. That is our social contract. Because we have deviated from it too is why we are in the pathetic and confused condition we are in today where the very integrity of our broken State has left us with is in grave danger. But when we could so recklessly deviate from God’s Word, what chance did Mr. Jinnah have?

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