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January 20th, 2010

Spiritual/Sufi ideology and Pakistan

Submitted by Usman.


An article today in the Daily Times laments that much of Pakistan’s problems today can be traced to the country’s ideological boundaries that have been defined by the political mullahs. This has been in cohorts with politicians and dictators as by themselves the mullahs have no political power. He goes on to say that this ideology is the opposite of the vision of the country’s founder and that Sufi Islam presents the correct religious ideology that would have saved Pakistan. According to the writer the rot started with Bhutto “when he declared Ahmadis a minority, banned liquor and racing and designated Friday as a weekly holiday.”

It is a fact that in the Mullah’s zeal to outcast the Ahmadis, some fundamental sufi concepts have been labelled as heretic as well. The result is that in Pakistan today, it has consequently become very difficult to have an alternative religious ideology for the nation that can credibly challenge the extremist ideology. This is even more unfortunate because the extremist ideology is not the view of the majority; but with the deliberate exclusion of competing ideologies, it may very well become so over the passage of time.

5 Responses to “Spiritual/Sufi ideology and Pakistan”

  1. 4: 160. Then (by way of punishing them) on account of the transgression of those who judaised, We made unlawful to them certain of the good and pure things which had been allowed to them before, and that too on account of their causing hindrances to many (people, and their own staying away) from Allâh’s way;

    Now read the verse in context of above linked article.

    Then (by way of punishing them) on account of the transgression – the punishment is clearly manifest after the transgression on the streets, in the national assembly and finally in the Constitution of Pakistan in 1974, when Kalima Shahada reciters are termed non-Muslims.

    of those who judaised, – judaised is someone who saves the body but kills the soul of a religion, a.k.a. mullah and his blind followers, who transform the religion into a ritualistic shell minus its spirit. In the process, such a religion in no more than an idol which is then worshiped.

    We made unlawful good and pure things which had been allowed to them before, – i.e. peace, hope, economic middle class etc. that the article refers to as “…Unlike 1970, land reforms, increasing labour’s share in industry, giving people shelter, bread, education and health services was never put on any party’s election manifesto or were never made the focus of the election debates…”

    and that too on account of their causing hindrances to many (people – a point and case of legal, social and economic hindrances erected against Mirza Ghulam Ahmed’s revivalist ideas and those who adopted such ideas

    and their own staying away) from Allâh’s way – And Allah’s way is nothing but Islam, human rights and calling oneself a Muslim. Mullah never follows the spirit of Islam nor enforces human rights nor lets the Kalima reciters to call themselves Muslim.

    The above is not to score points but to elucidate the practicality of Quranic Laws in our own lifetime.
    [The Holy Quran – Allamah Nooruddin]


  2. “The Canadian military planners expect that Pakistan will collapse by 2016, and the territory will be occupied by India. Sound bizarre? Not so to the security analysts in Ottawa.” Downhill for Pakistan? (Dawn) Tariq Amin-Khan. Tuesday, January 19, 2010
     
    God forbid if this happens, then I suppose there won’t be any 1973 Pakistani Constitution, and no more 2nd constitutional amendment that declares Kalima-Shahada reciters  as Kafir (non-Muslim). What a punishment for people of Pakistan. I guess Allah SWT is not relative of Pakistani majority.
     
    I personally hope better a scenario evolves out of current mayhem. Civil society in Pakistan stands up to religious discrimination and demand abrogation of 2nd amendment, the root cause of today’s Islamic extremism and Political Islam.

    Read:
    Downhill for Pakistan?


  3. The parliment has finally passed the women’s protection bill despite oppostion from the Mullahs, so at least on this occasion the Pakistani civil society and the politicans have stood up to the Mullahs.  Senator Babar Awan who previously was reported to be against the bill also supported it.  However, the comments from the religious parties are eye opening.  Also the practical implementation of the bill will be another issue…but at least the first step has been taken.

    I should mention here that Mr. Babar Awan has “eventually” supported the womens protection bill (eventually was the word used by anothe senator with regards to Mr. Awan’s support to the bill).


    Read here

     


  4. While I think the author’s right to lament the decline of Sufism in Pakistani religious and political life, his treatment of Sufism as simply “laid back” Islam is very trite and poorly informed. Without getting into complex questions of dogma and religious authority, I think the chief practical advantage of Sufi influence is not that people limit Islam to the private sphere any more than other Muslims do, nor that they become less concerned about the observance of sharia.  Those are old, disproven misconceptions that result in part from the application of Western religious and historical categories to Islamic culture, and also due to widely disseminated anti-Sufi propaganda by Salafis in modern times .
    I would argue that the advantage, at least potentially, is openness to doctrinal debate and the acceptance of the possibility that seemingly mutually conflicting beliefs can coexist within the pale of orthodoxy thanks to the fact that people have different needs and capability.  Compare that to the relentlessly one-size-fits all approach of most contemporary Islamist movements.
    The core concerns of Sufism have always been controversial to a segment of the Muslim community and, thus, they have long since had to acknowledge the fact that their way isn’t meant for everybody.  Also, the existence of a multiplicity of equaly valid tariqahs–each with its own teachings, which sometimes conflict in important respects–make it impossible to imagine that only one version of Islam exists.
    That doesn’t mean that Sufis can’t be intolerant, of course, but their teachings contain the seeds of a far more supple approach to religious thinking than most of their critics, I think.


  5. I think the most fundamental part of the Sufi creed is the personal connection of each individual to Allah, without the need for an orthodox clergy as a go between.  In fact this is the position of the Quran as well so is in no way a radical concept.  Neverthelss, I think that it is this creed that undermines the power of the Mullah, and the basic underlying reason why Sufis are then branded heretics.  The fact that this connection at the highest level can only be described in metaphors, just gives the Mullah fodder for his allegations. 


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