Sunday May 29, 2022

Quaid’s views on Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state

December 25, 2021

The Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was one of the greatest leaders of the modern age who not only led his people to independence but founded a separate homeland for them where they could mould their lives by following the teachings of the Holy Quran and traditions of Islam and cultivate their culture and civilisation.

This was a far greater achievement of the Quaid-i-Azam than of any other national liberation leader. Others struggled for independence within states already in existence but the Quaid-i-Azam sought a separate homeland where none had existed. This he achieved almost single-handedly and constitutionally as also in the teeth of opposition.

Stanley Wolpert has rightly said about the Quaid-i-Azam that “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three”.

Pakistan was not just the emergence of a new state but was created on the basis of Islamic ideology.

The main objective of the Pakistan movement was not to separate some provinces to save them from Hindu domination. Had it been so the Muslims of the minority provinces would never have taken the active part in the freedom movement. The Muslims of the minority provinces knew that if Pakistan was created they would gain nothing, instead might lose everything. In fact, the Muslims of South Asia believed that they were not fighting for territory only, but for the preservation of their culture and civilisation, language and literature and Islamic way of life.

The Quaid-i-Azam at first devotedly worked for the cause of Hindu-Muslim Unity and spent most of his energies and efforts towards its attainment. His efforts were appreciated and acknowledged by the Hindus themselves when they declared him “Ambassadors of Hindu-Muslim Unity.” But the force of emerging conditions soon led the Muslims of the Sub-continent to change their outlook and adopt a different course.

The awareness of a separate Muslim nationhood in the Sub-continent can be traced back to a millennium when it was noticed for the first time by Alberuni. He visited India in the ninth century and wrote in his famous work ‘Kitab-al-Hind’ as under:

“For the reader must always bear in mind that the Hindus entirely differ from us in every respect, many a subject appearing intricate and obscure which would be perfectly clear if there were more connection between us. The barriers which separate Muslims and Hindus rest on different causes. First, they differ from us in everything which other nations have in common. And here we first mention the language although the difference of the language also exists between other nations”.

This consciousness of a distinct national identity was later stressed by Hazrat Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani (D. 1624), Shah Waliullah (D. 1762), Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed (D. 1831) and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (D. 1898).

Allama Iqbal, for the first time, pleaded for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-continent in December 1930 from the platform of the All-India Muslim League.

In the Presidential address at the 21st session of the All-India Muslim League at Allahabad on December 29, 1930, Allama Iqbal announced:

“Personally, I would go further than the demands embodied in it. I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single self-government formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appear to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India..... India is the greatest Muslim country in the world. The life of Islam, as a cultural force in this living country very largely depends on its centralisation in a specified territory. This centralisation of the most living portion of the Muslims of India, whose military and police service has, notwithstanding unfair treatment from the British, made the British rule possible in this country, will eventually solve the problem of India as well as of Asia. It will intensity their sense of responsibility and deepen their patriotic feeling. Thus, possessing full opportunity of development within the body-politic of India, the North-West Indian Muslims will prove the best defenders of India against a foreign invasion, be that invasion one of ideas or of bayonets.

He further continued: “We are a nation. And a nation must have a territory. What is the use of merely saying that we are a nation? A nation does not live in the air. It lives on the land, it must govern land, and it must have territorial state and that is what you want to get”.

For the Muslims of the Subcontinent, the demand for Pakistan was an expression of their deepest emotion for their political and cultural identity, whose roots were embedded in the state of Medina founded by the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and the Khulafa-e-Rashideen. In this sense the Pakistan movement was based on the Islamic ideology, Pakistan thus was created as the first Islamic State after the establishment of the state of Madina in 622 AD as an ideological state based on Islam. Before discussing in detail the ideology of Pakistan it is necessary to explain why Hindus and Muslims could not coalesce into one nation although they lived together for centuries. The answer to this question can be found in Quaid-i-Azam’s speech at Aligarh on March 8, 1944, wherein he remarked:

“Pakistan started the moment the first non-Muslim was converted to Islam in India long before the Muslims established their rule. As soon as a Hindu embraced Islam he was outcast not only religiously but also socially, culturally and economically. As for the Muslim, it was a duty imposed on him by Islam not to merge his identity and individuality in any alien society. Throughout the ages Hindus had remained Hindus and Muslims had remained Muslims and they had not merged their entities - that was the basis for Pakistan.”

Discussing the philosophical difference between Islam and Hinduism the Quaid declared at AIML, Lahore Session on March 23, 1940:

“It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the words, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits and is the cause of most of your troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our nations in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literatures. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalamns derive inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be built up for the government of such a state”.

Outlining the purpose of the creation of Pakistan the Quaid-i-Azam said in a speech to the officers of the Defence Services on October 11, 1947, that the establishment of Pakistan was only a “means to an and not an end in itself”. The idea was that 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”.

The Quaid demanded a separate country so that the poor and needy people could live an honourable life free from exploitation. He was anguished at their sufferings and expressed it in his speeches.

In his presidential address delivered to the annual session of the All India Muslim League, in Delhi on April 24, 1943, he said:

“Here I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lessons of Islam. Greed and selfishness have made these people subordinate to the interests of others in order to fatten themselves. It is true we are not in power today. You go anywhere to the countryside. I have visited villages. There are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilization? Is this the aim of Pakistan? Do you visualize that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day? If this is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it. If they are wise, they will have to adjust themselves to the new modern conditions of life. If they don’t, God help them, we shall not help them.”

In his presidential address at the special Pakistan Session of the Punjab Muslim Students Federation, on March 2, 1942, discussing the ideological difference of two nations the Quaid further said:

“Our demand is not from Hindus because the Hindus never took the whole of India. It was the Muslims who took India and ruled for 700 years. It was the British who took India from the Mussalmans. So, we are not asking the Hindus to give us anything. Our demand is made to the British, who are in possession. It is an utter nonsense to say that Hindustan belongs to the Hindus. They also say that Muslims were Hindus at one time. These nonsensical arguments are advanced by their leaders. They say, supposing an Englishman becomes a Muslim in England, he does not ask for Pakistan. Have you got not eyes to see and don’t you have brains to understand that an Englishman, if he changes his religion in England, he, by changing his religion, still remains a member of the same society, with the same culture, same social life and everything remains exactly the same when an Englishman changes his faith? But can’t you see that a Muslim, when he was converted, granted that he was converted more than a thousand years ago, bulk of the, then according to your Hindu religion and philosophy, he becomes an outcast and he becomes a Malecha (untouchable) and the Hindus cease to have anything to do with him socially, religiously and culturally or in any other way? He, therefore, belongs to a different order, not only religious but social, and he has lived in that distinctly separate and antagonistic order, religiously, socially and culturally. ....Now, therefore, I do not think really that any honest man can possibly dispute the fact that the Muslims are a nation by themselves, distinctly separate from the Hindus. Suppose they are, and I have no doubt in my mind. There are hundreds of Hindus who honestly think so and there are hundreds of Hindus who believe in this and who have come to me and who have often said that this is the only solution, viz., the Lahore resolution. Therefore, it is no use arguing this point any further. But how is the propaganda carried on against it? The propaganda is carried on and, as I have told you, I have tried to understand the arguments against it, without any prejudice as far as possible for a human being to do so. What is the argument?”

It is thus clear that Quaid-i-Azam’s vision of Pakistan was of an Islamic Welfare State where no one would be exploited.

-The author is HEC Eminent Scholar and former Director, Quaid-i-Azam Academy, Karachi and can be reached at