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Old Saturday, May 13, 2006
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Arrow An Islamic State Depoliticizes Religion without secularizing society”

“An Islamic State Depoliticizes Religion without secularizing society”
Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Pakistan will become a perfect democracy only as an

Prof. Col (r) M. Zahur-ul-Haq

The most perfect and truest form of democracy is Islamic. That was a distant dream. Even its imperfect version i.e. the western styled democracy failed to come to Pakistan. Reason: From day one feudals continue to rule. Pro-democratic forces could not gather enough strength to replace feudalism. Army takeovers were indorsed by the feudals because it is by nature un democratic. The pseudo democracies introduced by the generals were welcomed by the feudals. They could continue to rule under their garb.

Why democratic experience in
India is successful, because on Independence they abolished feudalism forthwith. Pakistan did not. So Pakistan could never get the taste of real democracy. Pakistan could not be Islamized for the same reason.
Bulk of country’s wealth went into the hands of a few, leaving millions in a state of destitution. Wealth was produced in abundance but poverty could not be eradicated due to the policies of macro economic development adopted by them. They never cared for equitable distribution of wealth. Feudals ruled for more than half a century and kept more than half of the population illiterate and uneducated, by design.

Twice, in our short history, a moment has struck when a man of destiny could have given
Pakistan the system for which it was created – the system of Islamic Welfare State (IWS). First it was Ayub and then Zia. Both frittered away the golden opportunity they were blessed with. They remained occupied with trifles to perpetuate themselves. Ironically they could neither gain personal ends nor transform the fate of the nation. Instead of improving the lot of the common man they strengthened the hands of the feudals. The legacy they left behind was social turmoil, economic disparity and political exploitation by a tiny elite. The fact is, had they given priority to realize the goals of Pakistan Movement, they would have not only perpetuated themselves for indefinite period but also become immortal in posterity. But they were for lesser men incapable of rising to the heights of national aspirations.

Another fateful moment came in Oct 99. It was expected that it will be seized by a man of initiative and courage to ride its flood and set the nation free from the suffocating stranglehold of the inhuman feudalism and fascistic industrialism? With the advent of Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there was no reason why it shouldn’t have, There was no more time to lose. However, this too was not to be. But this should, however, not dampen our sprits. It is not the end of the world.

To start with, we have to be absolutely clear about our goals before an effort is made to reach them. Undoubtedly we want to see
Pakistan becoming an Islamic democracy as a true Islamic Welfare State.

An Islamic Welfare State (IWS) promotes and guarantees the individual and collective welfare, both material and spiritual, of its people, through a blend of the mandates and commandments of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, on socio-political, religious and economic matters, that develop into an applied form of divine statecraft. Justice – individual, social and institutional – is the soul of welfare. The society is kept in a constant state of equilibrium to ensure peace, tranquility, both material and spiritual. Some of the alien concepts that portray enormous material gains as the predominant measure of welfare and doling them out to the unemployed is only one quarter of the human ‘welfare’. The other is equitable distribution of the produced wealth among the entire population. The rest is the welfare of the spirit, tranquility of the soul and the peace of mind of the citizen. An overall environment created out of the amalgam of these factors enables the State to make broad-based progress in national and international affairs.

The face is that ‘welfare’ as defined above, has been denied to man as much in poverty as in plenty. It is Islam’s economic system, a divine dispensation, that is sure to succeed where all other systems, have failed because they do not explicitly make moral and ethical values the guiding principles of man’s economic behaviour.

A political system of Islamic character is an integration of all the sub-systems covering economy, education, elections, administration, justice, working of the parliament etc giving shape to an Islamic Constitution. It certainly reflects the concept of democracy but what kind of democracy? A democracy in its truest form. The Holy Quran leaves no doubt about the un-Islamic character of a system based on simple majority vote, the one that we presently have under the western brand of secular and hypocritical parliamentary pattern. Islamic concept of democracy enjoins: a. To sift the view of the educated ones which implies 100 % education of the whole nation. b. Further the authority to govern is entrusted to the nation as a whole and not to a particular individual, as in a dictatorship, or a group of people as in
Pakistan we have a handful of feudal families ruling the country for the last many decades. C. In an Islamic democracy no one seeks power.

Justice – individual, political, social and economic – will be the ultimate aim of the constitution of the IWS. This is the only institution that makes a state truly Islamic and saves a nation from falling apart. The main task of the judiciary is to put the society on the highway of justice. a. It is absolutely independent. b. The aggrieved party does not run about to knock at more than one door for redress of grievance. c. Justice is provided free of cost to the deserving aggrieved. d. The Judges, like teachers are highly paid and given mot respectable status to free them form financial cares and maintain their integrity. e. No one enjoys immunity, not even the head of the state, to appear before a court of law.

Critical Question-1: How the anti-Islamic democracy, the bedrock of our present Constitution, would permit the advent of the Islamic system?

It will certainly not. It will resist, But the inevitable has to come. It may come by evolution or revolution but more probably through enforcement by a leader in absolute command of the national affairs. It is so because evolution is lethargic and revolution destructive.

Education is an essential ingredient of an Islamic Democracy. Without attainment of a state of 100 % education it remains inoperative. That is exactly the reason why Islam enjoins upon all men and women to educate themselves even if they have to travel to far flung places in search of knowledge. An IWS creates conditions and provides facilities to that end. Curriculum is the main vehicle that spreads right kind of education laying rational emphasis of religious, temporal, professional, technological, scientific and general educational in all institutions up to the higher secondary level. Thereafter, students adopt specialized streams such as medicine, engineering, higher religious learning etc. They all acquire sufficient background knowledge of religion as well as modern subjects. This gives uniformity to the national educational process. The distinction between religious schools and non-religious institutions thus becomes irrelevant.

Education of religious scholars is not considered complete unless they have also studied modern subjects of humanities and sciences. Without the background of these subjects it is just not possible for them to interpret Islam and teach the Holy Quran. This arrangement promotes desired religious enlightenment and enables them to shed narrow-mindedness, fanaticism and sectarianism. It also grooms them to develop rational understanding of the human and national affairs. Their religious education appears to have always suffered from a serious flaw that prompts them to act against the wider interests of the Muslims. They, for instance, opposed the advent of
Pakistan during the Pakistan Movement, individually and collectively. It is an unfortunate episode of Islamic history. All major religious organizations, such a Jamiate Ulamae Hind, Majlise Ahrar, Jamaate Islami, Khaksars etc which should have fought battle of Pakistan in its front ranks, in fact sided with Hindu Congress and did their best to block the coming of Pakistan. Muslims of the sub-continent showed better sense of history and achieved a separate homeland for themselves and future generations, against the joint opposition of religious elite and feudal lords. Jamiate Ulamae Islam of Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a comparatively smaller religious party was the only one that wholeheartedly supported Pakistan Movement.

Teachers hold a status higher than any other equivalent functionary of the government and equivalent to the members of the judiciary.

Political parties, being the outcrop of an Islamic state, are as much religious as temporal. Their major role is to sent right kind of public representatives to the Assemblies and the Parliament. No one offers himself as a candidate for the membership of the legislature. No applications are invited, from individuals, for the purpose. The political parties, the people of various regions and other social institutions, spot suitable persons who are known for their scholarship, piety, leadership and social services and approach them to accept the candidature of the election. In case of more than one nominees for a seat, elections are held on the basis of majority vote. The expenditure on election campaign is institutionalized. It is incurred by the sponsoring parties and not the individuals. A candidate who cannot afford to contribute to his party’s election fund, his legitimate expenses are met by the state. No member of the defunct feudal families is permitted to contest the elections for a periods of at least 18 years so that their next generation is reared in a normal social environment and has reconciled with the new realities of life.

No one offers his name for the high office of the President of the state. Names are recommended by all kinds of institutions and independent organizations of the nations. Those who come up to the laid down standards are requested to contest election. If there happens to be only one candidate in the field even then referendum is held to ascertain the approval of the nation. The President is of outstanding reputation, is a man of taqwa, high integrity, solid scholarship, deep insight and penetrating far-sight. He is an authority on national and international affairs and is capable of showing leadership of international standards. He is of matured age. He selects a Prime Minister, the best out of the elected representatives of the House who also measures up to the laid down standards.

Critical Question-2: In the Agricultural sector, redistribution of income, wealth and property is achieved by abolishing feudalism, how the same end is realized in the industrial sector?

a. Share-holding becomes broad based. It is ensured that maximum number of shares are held by the workers so that they develop sense of ownership of the production unit for which they work. That makes them well-wishers of the factories. Due to personal stakes involved they try to run them to their maximum production capacities. b. Wages are determined with reference to the profit margin. Thus the worker not only gets annual dividend against the shares held but also daily wages that lead to increase in his incomes and a higher standard of living. c. Increase in production under this arrangement is substantial that encourages the entrepreneur to use his skills to enhance pace of industrial activity more than before. d. With the broad based agricultural incomes thus achieved, the distribution network too no more remains in fewer hands.

Critical Question-3: The election procedure that has been used to elect people’s representatives makes two crucial assumptions. One: Feudalism stands abolished and economic units of the land have been surrendered in favour of millions of landless families. Similarly industrialism too has been reformed an large scale redistribution of wealth has taken place and poor classes have been sufficiently leveled up. Is the taking over of the land form the landlord and making the rich to part with their excess wealth justified by the Holy Quran?

Yes it is very much justified. There should be no doubt if for those who read the holy book with wider scholarship and unbiased mind.

The Holy Quran makes a clear distinction between ‘wealth’ and ‘property, and prescribes ownership limits on each. The ownership of property is confined to the frontiers of the state only. Wealth may be created with or without the help of property. It can be owned anywhere in the world. The ownership, however, is not absolute in nature. It is trusteeship or guardianship only. In the Islamic Welfare State of Pakistan, the mainspring of welfare, individual and social, is the humane Quranic economic philosophy of Al-Adl, Wal Ihsan.

Al-Adal means dispensation of Justice-socail, economic and legal – in every field of human life. Wal–Ihsan implies fulfillment of all kinds of legitimate needs of every member of the society putting an end to sense of deprivation in all its manifestations. If right of absolute ownership is granted then these commandments become inoperative. An individual in possession of fabulous riches is only a trustee or a guardian of all what he has. The ownership really belongs to Almighty Allah. The riches stay with him to the pleasure of the Almighty so long as ordained by Him and those can be taken away by Him without prior notice and against his will. A feudal lord with thousands of acres under his command cannot claim right of absolute ownership of that acreage To satisfy the commandment of Al-Ihsan, the acreage in excess of his needs can be taken away and given to the deprived individuals. Feudalism thus becomes un-Islamic. That is why feudalistic culture has developed all kinds of un-Islamic customs, usages, vices, evils, oppressions, high-handedness and many other shameful practices.

The implementation of this commandment requires a heavy redistribution of wealth and property to bridge up the gap between the rich and the poor within rational limits. The ownership limits on wealth and property are determined by the commandment that enjoins how incomes are to be earned and how they are to be spent. Individuals which take precedence over his own needs. Individual’s need is subordinated to his social responsibilities. Wealth and property thus can be legitimately appropriated to promote larger interests of the society. This leads to redistribution of resources on the national scale. Incomes of the masses, in turn, increase as a result of these two policy measures. Broad based demand (Aggregate Demand) increases manifold and to satisfy it broad based supply (Aggregate Supply) also expands. This makes the economy buoyant and forward looking. State’s income and expenditure are also subject to Quranic commandment of income and expenditure. Foreign development resources and the internal loans are made productive enough to pay back the loans in time and save enough to plough back into the economy.

Critical Question-4: If redistribution of wealth and land has the Quranic sanction how it shall be accomplished in practice? Will the feudal lord and the industrialist voluntarily part with their excess property and wealth?

No they will not. The holy Quran acknowledges that man by nature is greedy, selfish and grudging, which means no voluntary surrender of wealth and property would ever take place. It shall have to be accomplished by: a. launching a movement in its favour. But who will launch the movement? There is no such committed organization or forum in existence for the purpose. b. Through an act of Parliament. But why the feudal in power will pass such a bill? c. Through revolution? That, of course is an indefinite option.

The only alternative left is that the objective would be achieved as part of the imposition of the system of IWS by a leader in absolute command of the national affairs such as Gen Parke of South Korea. On assuming power in 1949 the very first act of performed was the abolition of feudalism with one stroke of his pen. For Pakistan that day may not be too off because the present unstable state of large scale poverty cannot persist for long.

Critical Question-5: Raising of loans at home and abroad is a necessity where payment and receipt of interest is involved which is not endorsed by Islam. How the system will be reformed to eliminate ‘riba’? In case it is eliminated will be financial structure of the country function smoothly? How the international commercial activity will be handled because foreign parties will insist upon interest-based arrangements?

Some of the reasons why riba is forbidden in Islam are that it deals in money as a commodity and it is exploitative in essence. The alternative is sharing of profit and loss among the parties and their active participation in the act of trade, commerce, production etc. This alternative is beneficial both for the lender as well as the borrower because the profit volume is often much higher than the amount of interest. If the expectation of the lender is inspired by a higher returns for his funds why should he insist upon charging riba? Moreover, the profit and loss modes keep lender’s rights of lease ownership of the stock-in-trade, alive till the expiry of the agreement. So far as the fear of loss is concerned it works both ways. Most powerful banking systems are known to have collapsed by the unfair activities of the influential borrowers who never interned to pay back the loans. In the leasing system the lender’s interests remain protected because he, as an investor, is as good the owner of the enterprise as the entrepreneur.

However, the other party may or may not agree to the profit and loss option. The deal should not called off just because our terms are not being accepted. The Islamic state has to go along with the rest of the world. Provision of ‘Ijtehad’ in Islamic jurisprudence comes to our rescue. Keeping the spirit of the divine order intact a way out can be found.


THE Penal Code of the Constitution of the Democratic Islamic Welfare State of Pakistan will contain exemplary punishments, such as the amputation of the hand of theft about which there exist reservations in the minds of many, both at home and abroad. How shall these be treated?

The commandment it that “Enter into the Faith in its entirety.” There is no halfway enforcement of the Islamic order in any field or phase of the national life. For example therefore not Islamic at all, is a gross violation of the Quranic provisions on the subject. Islamic taxes can be imposed and collected by a legitimate government of an Islamic state only. Similarly, all Islamic punishments will be awarded by a truly and genuinely established Islamic order. An IWS will not get established in Pakistan until it has given to the people all that it promises – individual and social justice, tranquility of soul and peace of mind, equality of opportunity and a narrowed down gap between the rich and the poor, a state of prosperity in which poverty stands eliminated completely, protection of life, honour and property of the masses, a corruption free administration and political environment etc. No Islamic taxation or punishment will be levied till the achievement of this ideal state and when such ideal state is actually attain in which the rights of the people are well looked after, no one will have the justification to indulge in offences of grave nature invoking the imposition of the so called harsh penalties. If some one enjoying all imaginable bounties of life still commits offences that call for exemplary punishment then only he himself is to blame and not the system. The mainspring of such crimes and offences will be failings and frailties of human nature. The punishments of the Penal Code will be corrective for the crimes committed and prohibitive for the crimes not yet committed. Their overall impact will be the wholesale reformation of the society.

Main features of the Model of IWS for

*Abolition of feudalism and distribution of land among tenants.
*Giving the industrial worker the taste of ownership of the factory he works for the increase production and his incomes.
*Quranic discipline of income and expenditure for the individual and the state: How income is to earn and how to spend avoids, accumulation of wealth and keeps the finances of the state healthy.
*Level down the mountains of wealth and level up deep ravines of poverty to achieve equitable distribution of wealth.
*Achieve 100 % education which is a pre-requisite for the working of Islamic democracy that permits only the educate ones to take part in the democratic processes.
*Application of Quranic commandments of Al-Adal, Wal-Ihsan to achieve social and economic justice and put an end to poverty once for all.
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