Posted by: Administrator | 28 February, 2005

President’s Speech at the International Seerat Conference 2006

12 April 2006

Mr Ijaz ul Haq Minister for religious affairs, Waqil Ahmed Secretary Religious Affairs, Sheikh Ahmed Babekar Islamic Scholar from UK, It is my pleasure and privilege and an honor to have heard whatever you have said, I think you said such wonderful words and you gave such wonderful advice to everyone sitting here and through you to whole of Pakistan and abroad that it affected me and it is the right message that we all Muslims ought to adhere to, ought to understand where we stand and what is the way forward. I am extremely grateful to you to have come to Pakistan and grace this occasion. Now all the scholars, Islamic scholars, Federal Ministers, Secretaries, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am very grateful to Mr Ijaz ul Haq, Waqil Sahab, that they have called me to speak on this occasion and I am present here. I take it as a matter of pride that I have been given a chance to speak to you.

But first of all I would like to tell you my weak point and that is, that in front of all the great ulemas who know too much more than I know, therefore I don’t consider my self as authentic to speak in front of them about Islam and the life of Prophet (PBUH).

Therefore when I was thinking as to what will I speak here then I thought to give it a new dimension of which I know and I know a bit more than all those sitting here and that I would like to give an overview of Islam and Ummah and that where we stand in the world. And after this I will give what I feel is the way forward.

First of all I would review world’s view point with which it looks at the Ummah and Islam. When I talk of world I mean West, Europe, US, China and Japan including all non-Muslims of the South East Asia and the world that how they look at the Ummah and Islam. Then I will give my view point that what is the reality of those issues in Islam which are their center of concern. Furthermore, I will throw some light on the current situation of Ummah.

Finally, I will put forth my view point of way forward. Besides holding research on Prophet’s 40 years life in which Islam spread to unlimited extent we should also study the aspect, character and inner strength of his personality, of his life, that persuaded people to follow him.

What were those qualities and his inner strengths that helped him in spreading the message of Islam? It was his character, inner strength which was visible to the people. Therefore, people accepted his message and Islam broadened. We should also review and adopt those qualities if we want others to follow us. One can’t pressurize others to follow one and one can’t impose his will on others.

I visited mosques of Central Asian Republics and I asked them that how have they been managing to exercise their religious duties under Russian occupation for 70-80 years. They told me that they have been exercising their religious duties for 70-80 years secretly but Russian imposition couldn’t stop them from continuing their religious practices. You can’t make any one to follow you and your views unless you demonstrate from your character and actions.

Therefore, I said that it was his earlier 40 years in which he demonstrated from his actions what ever he preached latter. The people of Madina and Mecca knew him (PBUH), well that’s why they accepted his message and followed it. Self correction, following right way and developing inner self is Jihad Bin Nafs. I am always asked in different world forums and where ever I go that if Islam opposes modernization, democracy, progress but promotes militancy?

World thinks that Islam is an intolerant religion. It’s a religion which preaches extremism. It’s a religion which inherently shows the way toward extremism and terrorism. Therefore, they take word Jihad in very negative connotation of militancy, blood shed and suicide bombing.

 Thirdly, they are of the view that Islam, modernization, progress and development are different things. Islam is not for progress and development rather a retrogressive thing. Fourthly, they think Islam places women at very low level and Muslims don’t give any place to them in their eyes. But I think situation is more aggravated than these four points. There is double paradox. Some of our religious elements who are not fully conversant with the true spirit and essence of Islam and are fully engaged in Huqooq Ullah but are ignorant of Huqooq-ul-Ibad, reinforce the world’s argument. The ongoing sectarian violence in the country reflects the reality of our tolerance.

They are very much right in thinking that there is some problem with our religion when we are killing each other and reinforce their perception that it is an intolerant, extremist religion that believes in killing. We don’t even think about Jihad against poverty, deprivation, and Jihad for progress and education but we concentrate only on militancy. Therefore, it reinforces their argument and provides them this reason to think that Islam has a very narrow focus.

The Bigger Jihad is totally being ignored and we are not demonstrating through our actions that what really Jihad is, and what its high objectives are. Then comes the concept that Islam opposes modernization and progress and here again is double paradox in a way that the West terms modernization as Westernization. On the other hand if some one wants to learn science and technology and their policy to give boost to their country some elements among us term it westernization.

Modernization brings ease in our lives and ensures the prosperity of people through use of modern means. There is no opposition in modernization and Islam. Some of our people and West also mix modernization with westernization. There is no denying the fact that we don’t want to be westernized because we have different culture, values and ethos.

We are Muslims and we want to be modernized but don’t want to be westernized. If we don’t get modernized we will not move forward, we will not have progress and prosperity. There is welfare of public in modernization. There is no opinion that the Hudood Ordinance should be functional but if a fraction of women say that some of its elements are not in accordance with Islam we welcome them to come forward to point out those elements which are not in accordance with Islam.

These elements could be revised through negotiation but if we start claiming to suppress those voices who are speaking against Hudood it is against Islam and our tolerance. But we have a tolerance level and are not ready to hear any dissident voice. These are our actions and practices which are closely being watched by the world and that’s why they label us intolerant and in turn they blame our religion Islam.

In my view Islam is based upon justice, tolerance, and moderation and these things are core of Islamic teachings but unfortunately we do assert them but don’t practice them in our actions. These things are present in Quran but a non-Muslim will not read the Quran to find those things rather judge from our actions that what our religion teaches us. If we practically act upon these elements they will come to know that such things are in the Quran since we are practicing upon them.

So far jihad is concerned we are demonstrating the military connotation of Jihad but we are not demonstrating Jihad Bin Nafs and Jihad-i-Akbar.

We don’t have such things in our text books to teach our students about the Jihad-i-Nafs. Now when we are modifying our syllabus to teach such principles of Islam to our children, people are objecting to this campaign. We are just teaching rituals to our children instead of teaching all those problems Islam is confronted with.

We should teach the real values of Islam so that our generation can know the real essence of Islam. The outer world, people and nations, don’t have any concern what we say rather they see our actions to build their perception about Islam and Muslims. If we teach our children tolerance through our text they simply can read our Islamic book to analyze what is Islam that we are teaching to our children.

The concept of Ijmah and Ijtehad is a consensus development through discussion and deliberation to develop a concept and action in accordance with the present time needs and requirements under Islamic guidance. If we follow this principle Islam will become applicable for all times and proves dynamic since the needs and requirements vary from place to place. It is the basic spirit of Islam that the conceptual parameters of Islam should be taken from the Quran and mould your thinking in accordance with the situation and present time.

Therefore, Islam is progressive, dynamic and it is not opposed to modernization but it is in opposition with westernization. Why is this state of affairs that the reality of Islam is some thing else but the world is taking it in a totally different way which is further being reinforced by our actions. In my view we are facing this situation because teachings of Islam are hijacked by an element which is not progressive but anchored with rigid and traditional concepts.

The educated and enlightened scholars of Islam have left Islam and left it to be hostage by those traditional scholars. Therefore, there emerged many contrasts between our words and actions. There remained no consonance between in our words and actions. We are ready to kill each other on the basis of Huqooq ullah but ignore Huqooqul Ibad since it demands sacrifice for the betterment of our people and society.

First of all we all are Muslims irrespective of our sects and we should not commit such actions which create feud among us rather resort to the things which can bring improvement and development in the society and nation. All of us are Muslims, irrespective of whether any one is Sunni, Shia, Barailvi and as such we should avoid such things which are causing a rift between our selves and instead we should endeavor to improve the society and develop our people and country.

We should discuss the problems confronting us and our country. Islam is a way of life and it is not a doctrine only, and this way of life goes beyond the scope of rituals and to explain those constitute the way of life. While I was doing a course in the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, there were only two lectures on Islam during the one year course. Some person, whom I won’t name, delivered a lecture on Islam which was not satisfactory. The asked me to question him and it was a convention that the first person who would ask the question should first appreciate the lecturer on his address and then ask the question. I told the commandant that I will not appreciate the lecture so I will not ask the first question but he insisted on me. I said to the lecturer .We had hoped that you would emphasize on the topic that why we regard Islam a way of life and why we regard it superior to the other religions, especially when there is gathering of some eighty officers from forty-five countries.. I asked him why he got entangled in the petty issues and instead he should tell the gathering the broader aspects of this religion so that every body who is sitting here should know about it. This is what we should do in our circumstances.

We should include those elements of our religion in our books; those who come on media should talk about it so that every body gets education of these points including me myself, but someone should come forward and do it. What is the present? condition of the Muslim countries, about 1.5 billion people of the world?

I feel dejected when I meet the leaders of some small Muslim countries asking me to send them 100 thousand tons of rice or wheat, because they are hungry.

The Ummah is politically deprived with a sense of Inferiority. Take the examples of Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan, every where the Muslims are politically deprived. The world is cruel and no one listens to the weak. If some one is trying to talk to us about Kashmir, it is because we are powerful.

The average literacy level of the Muslims is under 50% which is very shameful for a nuclear and missile power like Pakistan.

Amongst the worst impoverished, 17 are Muslim countries.

Muslim Ummah has 70% of the energy resources and 40% of the raw material of the world but the combined GDP of the Ummah does not exceed $2000 billion. The individual GDP of Germany, Japan and UK is more than this. The highest GDP in the Ummah is that of Turkey which is about $210 billion where as the small countries in Europe have GDP’s in the extent of $400 billion approximately, though they are poor in these resources.

This is a knowledge driven world and while we are selling products like cotton, rice and oranges, they are selling us mobile phones, cars and planes. We have no standing in this new world.

Up till 15th/ 16th century, Islam was at its climax because our students from the Madrassas were making headways in the fields of science guiding the world. After that the West took our knowledge and brought Industrial revolution from the dark ages. We did not learn from them and as a result they soared to heights and we dropped down. The way forward is that we have to move up.

The first point is that we should have a resolve and a will to take the Ummah up. Pakistan is doing fine and on the way to prosperity but we want to take the Ummah with us. It is our obligation to pick the poor Muslim countries up on their feet and for that those Muslim states which are more stable and have more resources and command power, have to give and not expect anything in return.

This is the only way forward but unfortunately I do not see a resolve in the Muslim Ummah in this regard. There are only 57 leaders who can not agree on this one agenda. Out of those 57 only 15-20 would be those who are supposed to give but even they are not willing to give appropriately.

Pakistan is ready to give and we have started to do it in our way and shall keep urging others to follow the course. There is a need for interfaith harmony and we have two ways in front of us, confrontation or reconciliation. Reconciliation does not mean giving in or surrendering.

In the present Geo-political scenario and the present condition of the Ummah, the path of confrontation is closed for us because if we take that we will end ourselves. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Mecca, he was avoiding confrontation from the position of weakness. This era is not of confrontation but of economic prosperity and to be successful in this world we have to be reconciliatory rather than confronting.

First thing is that we should first resolve the political disputes confronting the Muslims like Kashmir, Palestine and other places where the Muslims are deprived. Second thing is that the condition of the Muslims be improved by human resource development, education, especially of science and technology, poverty alleviation.

The third thing is the understanding of Islam in its true spirit, first within our selves and then projecting it to the world. These three points are the way forward for us. The whole world accepts our theory of enlightened moderation including Japan, China, Germany, America and every other nation because that is the way forward for the Ummah and the whole world. It is the need of the hour that the Ummah should leave the path of terrorism and move to socioeconomic emancipation, where as it is our demand from the West that our political disputes be solved with Justice and they help us in improving our standing. We have a platform in the shape of OIC and if we are to attain our goals, we have to strengthen the platform and this shall require restructuring because in the present shape, it is an impotent institution, deprived of the potential of doing anything. There should be Dept. of trade and education where every country should share each others.

Experiences and of Islamic thought where there should be true scholars who should preach the essence of Islam, to us and In that there should be department of Islamic thought. True scholars of Islam should sit and tell the essence of Islam, analyze it, and tell it to whole Islamic Ummah and rest of the world. These are my views. But thanks God it was accepted in Kuala Lumpur.

In Mecca summit it was accepted and we were told that they will inform us how OIC will be restructured. But when I say there should be mandatory passages in it then no one agrees. Because there they have to give. I suggested that o.1 % share should be given of GDP and Pakistan will give more than its share. Because o.1 %of GDP means Pakistan has to give just $12 million.

 What is the problem why 12 million, we will give 20 million. But these people are not ready but if this happens, then in this OIC which is begging for even their pays, and they even don’t have 8-10million, they will have 200 million. And I have clearly told that if we will not do this then this organization of OIC will always be begging and will remain in this state and we will not do anything.

By the Grace of God we are trying our best to make it much better. I have told about the world, of OIC now I come to individual country.

Every Islamic state should mend its governance, with honesty, human resource should be better, should concentrate on education, health, poverty alleviation, thorough honest good governance. And above all extremism and terrorism should be stopped.

If this will not stop then there will be no enlightened moderation, no restructuring of OIC, and not even improvement in any country.

Every country has its own environment, therefore if I talk about just Pakistan, here we are fighting against terrorism and extremism. From all over the world they come to Pakistan as if we have contract of fighting. Everything happens from here and our country is in danger and we don’t have the power that the country is in danger and the world is after us and we can defend ourselves. If by force we have to face anyone then that power should be there so that no one defeats you. So terrorism should be abolished with struggle.

This is my request to you people, you all should cooperate but I don’t see that cooperation even in words. It seems as if I am a non Muslim and I am trying to kill Muslims.

So I was just saying that we have to fight against terrorism and you will raise your voices against it. Second thing is extremism, which is entirely different from terrorism. Extremism is in the mind of man. Extremist in my point of view is that man who thinks himself better Muslim than others whereas he has no right to consider him better because God knows what is in heart and the second thing he is imposing his ideas on others.

That I am right you are wrong so follow my path, this man is extremist there is no place for him in Islam. You don’t need to tell anyone. If you are giving a personal example he will watch and follow you if you are an ideal. So we have to abolish this extremism and we have extremist and extremism in our society.

 Develop tolerance amongst yourselves. Even someone is saying something against you, if his ideas are against you, tolerate them. This extremism you have to eliminate. Now how will this happen? We have to abolish extremism which requires six things to be acted upon?

Banned organizations which are spreading hatred and sectarian violence in the society should be eliminated from the society. No body should be allowed to disturb the law and order situation and no body has to run a govt with in govt hate literature and sectarian literature and its writers and publishers should be banned and arrested. People who are disseminating hatred from mosques should be stopped since it’s a sacred place. Mosques should be the center for discussing issues the society and Ummah is confronted with.

Fourthly, we have to revise our syllabus and include principles which promote tolerance and peace in the society. Then come Madressahs and a discussion is going on with them to bring them to their real status, that is center of knowledge and fountain of knowledge to bring the society forward. In the end I would like to say that Ummah is in a plight and Islam is being defamed and I told you the way forward if we want to get its lost glory back. If you want to act in accordance with aforementioned things I will stand by you.

Pakistan is the most powerful country of the Ummah and whole Ummah is expecting Pakistan to do some thing but if we are not united internally we can’t move forward. Now we have to practically act upon those things we assert orally. Therefore, I request you all Ulema that you should help me keep the country abreast with the modern world and society but if we remain divided we will not able to accomplish our task.

Pakistan always Paindabad. Thank you.

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