Posted by: Administrator | 2 September, 2006

President address to Intellectuals and Scholars of Muslim World

28 December 2006

The Co-Chancellor of International Islamic University, Mohammad Bin Saad Al- Saleem, Rector Dr. Manzoor, President of PML Ch. Shujaat Hussain, all the Ministers, Senators, all the scholars, specially our distinguished guests from abroad; Assalam-o-Alaikum.

I have decided to enlarged the scope of whatever I talk about, I would like to talk about the challenges Islamic world is facing within the entire world at large and what is the way forward, what are the contradictions within ourselves and what is the way forward and within this, I am not the Islamic scholar I have no pretensions of being one therefore I would like to see Ummah in its broadest context existing within the world within the comity of a nation in the world and see the problems affecting us and see the way forward. But I would like to start with Pakistan, ladies and gentlemen; Pakistan is an Islamic Republic the only ideological Islamic state, created for the Muslims of the Sub-continent, because we thought the rights of the Muslims in the Sub- Continent would not be safeguarded if they remained in the United India. The Muslims of the Sub-Continent have seen lots of ups and downs just to give a very brief run down on the background, as I remember, the Sub-continent saw the Mughal empire in the shape of first Mughal emperor Babar coming somewhere in 1526 or the early 16 empire continued till the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, who was imprisoned and he is buried in Rangoon and in 1857 we had our last pang of reassertion in the shape of War of Independence by the Muslims which is called  revolt or an insurgency by the British where we failed and then onwards Muslims saw a very sudden decline at the hands of the coalition between the British Colonialists and the Hindu majority at that time and Muslims themselves forced to move into the shells, they refuse to learn, they refuse to learn from others they  refuse to acquire knowledge which is superior and they kept drawing in the shell and going down and being suppressed, but then the towering in the form of Sir Syed Ahmed khan rose to gave a new vision to the Muslims told  hem to rise through learning through enlightened progressive learning and learning from whom, learning from those who crushed us the Britishers because they had the knowledge, so he appealed the Muslims to get out of their shells and rise and learn and be emancipated. His thoughts followed the opening of the Aligarh University and an Aligarh Movement which was an enlightened movement by the students of the Aligarh University the Muslim students then became enlightened

th centaury and then onwards the Mughal and that lead on to the Pakistan Movement, under the philosophy of Allama Iqbal and the guidance and leadership of Quaid-e-Azam and it resulted in a major declaration, the Lahore Declaration 23 homeland for ourselves. And then onwards it was a fight for Pakistan which was  lead by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and in seven years we got Pakistan.

So this is our history of ups and downs and now times to come up again. Since 1947 in our homeland created for the Muslims of the Sub-Continent in the Islamic

Republic of Pakistan, but where the vision of the Quaid, a vision where he

believed in a progressive modern welfare Islamic state. Where the minorities,

women and the marginalized classes, the masses the people needed to be

emancipated this was his vision. We should have carried his mission but I think

we have falter the past, we have done reasonably well I would say if we see the

whole history the very fact is that we survived and kept moving civic values,

energy and resilience for the people of Pakistan.

I wouldn’t give the same comments for the leadership of Pakistan but it was the

people of Pakistan whose resilience kept Pakistan safe and secure. However we

have come to stage where Pakistan exists in a globalised environment, the world

is globalised through all the communications through all the media through all the

economic and trade interactions this is the globalised world, no country exists in

a vacuum no country can progress unless it interacts suitably and favorably with

other countries and in any case it’s the Ummah which is more deprived and most

backward, if we want to emancipate if we want to rise the situation I feel is the

same as Sir Syed faced and the Muslim first faced in the days of Sir Syed, the

choice is clear do we want to learn and acquire knowledge and progress and rise

socio economically if we want to do that we have to learn from the West or even

East now, but that what we have to learn is not within ourselves unfortunately.

So therefore in this globalised world we are existing, I would now like to talk of

the world and Ummah, I always believe that we have to understand the

environment first of all very accurately and then only we will be able to workout

some kind of strategy and the way forward, so if I was to talk of the world very

briefly that we all know that the world is a turmoil, needless to go into details we

all see this. But the critical part is that it is the Muslim world which is the sufferer

only everywhere, where there is political turmoil it is the Muslim World which is

suffering and that should pain all of us and we must make all effort to finish this

suffering for ourselves not for anyone else, but if it happens to the world or after

all we are part of the world we should contribute harmony in the world also. And

the good part now after all this turmoil is that the world and the powers that be

are yearning for some solutions. They are yearning for the solution. They are

asking how can we resolve these issues and how can we reach to the solution.

This is the key issue, which agitate our minds, the Muslim minds. That this is the

time that may be we can snatch peace with honour and dignity and gain

advantage for our own socio economic emancipation.

rd March 1940, where we decided to have a3

The Ummah is suffering, suffering loss of lives, suffering loss of property,

destruction, devastation, economic loss; this is what we are suffering. We are the

poorest, we are the most uneducated and I have been seeing this everywhere

but it is quite shameful that inspite of the fact that we have 70% of energy

resources, 40% of natural resources yet our combined GDP of all the Muslim

Ummah is even lesser then the single countries, if you take Japan it is not even

half of Japan’s one country verses 57 countries. And then other then this

deprivation, this state the deprived state is suffering from internal strife, internal

strife in two forms I feel, first is progressive verses retrogressive, progressive

enlightened minds verses retrogressive backward obscurantist thinking within our

selves in most of the countries including Pakistan ofcourse and there was minor

sectarian strife but the developments in Lebanon in the region in Iraq the

sectarian strife is emerging and unless we control it unless we grasped it, it has

seeds of disaster in this whole region. It will engulf the entire Muslim world, so

this is our internal strife, backwardness and progressiveness and sectarian strife,

which is taking very alarming proportions unless we act immediately.

Islam, ladies and gentlemen, has become an enigma to the world and other then

become an enigma to the world it has internal conflict and contradictions on the

correct interpretations and understanding of Islam, if you talk to thousand

scholar, there will be thousands views, there is no consensus what is Islam?

Inherent internal contradictions confusions and I think illiteracy has exacerbated

the situation where the illiterate masses going to the hands of illiterate

obscurantist elements who do not understand Islam themselves, but

unfortunately sit intellectual like all of us may be left the Islam, teaching of Islam

understanding of Islam generally I would say generally in the hands of those

obscurantist in the hands of those who are semi literate and we abdicated our

responsibility on teaching our generations what is real Islam and within our

education system also specially I would say of Pakistan it was the backward

retrogressive ritualistic views which gained ascendancy over the teaching of

Islam to the people to our generations to the masses this whole situation of

illiteracy and abdication of position on Islam by the intellectuals by the

enlightened exacerbated this situation where we stand at a place where we do

not we are confused about Islam, we are specialized on branding each other

giving fatwas against each other as if Islam is being endangered by anyone who

is not of our views. There is double paradox internationally on Islam. And the

double paradox I feel is on one side Internationally the perception of a common

man, non Muslim, he takes Islam to be a religion of intolerance, militancy but this

view, this perception which is wrong, we all know, but this has been reinforced by

the obscurantist elements, nobody reads or carries out research, no non-Muslims

or a common man doesn’t know about Islam. They see Muslims, they see us

acting, they see us behaving, and it is through that they form views.

Unfortunately, what is seeing of Islam, is what we are seeing all over the world.

And that is not very pleasant at all. Therefore this double paradox where Islam

suffers from misperceptions and we tend to reinforce those misperceptions by

our deeds

4

There is a conflict of interpretation of Islam. And I personally feel there are two

major decisions, one is the modern progressive thought, the right kind of thought,

who understands Islam in its true essence who are enlightened. But there is a

fringe within our society, specially in our Pakistani society and generally in the

Muslim world also. The fringe of ultra modern and this fringe want to or they have

views of secular modern democracy. This is on one side, a fringe being ultra

modern, believing in secularism and a modern democracy, which is not at all in

conflict which I will come and explain it later. A person with modern and

progressive thoughts, on the other side is the obscurantist, who wants to shape

the Ummah as a conservative Islamic state, like the early years of the Muslim

world. They are even talking of returning to the Caliphate of the early Muslim

years. So we have these two major divisions within Pakistan. With major broad

chunk in the centre gets confused on which is the way forward. They are looking

for the right way forward. If I was to talk about the obscurantist, who wants to

take us back to the years of Caliphate, thinking that is the right way of moving or

solving Muslim problems; they are in the time whop. And quite clearly what little

understanding I have about Islam. Islam’s greatness is that it is for all types. It is

applicable and it will remain applicable for all times. And it is applicable to all

environment, it is not confined to any particular environment. It is so because, it

only provides broad guidance, broad guidance on all national and governance

matters. Very broad guidance, it does not deal with implementation tactics. One

has to evolve the implementation tactics in its own environment and time. That is

the greatness of our religion. And that is how it will remains for all times. That is

how it is applicable to Africa or to Arabs or to us, Indonesians, Malaysians and

the South East Asians. On the other side when we talk of ultra liberal, who talk of

secular, as if Islam is again in minorities, Islam inherently guards the rights of the

minorities. As far Pakistan is concerned, in Pakistan the vision of Quaid is very

clear. The minorities have the same right as of Muslims. They are in Pakistan.

They also talk of modern secular democracy, as if the modernism is counter to

Islam, I think both these views are wrong, quite clearly, I feel Islam is not in any

contradiction with either democracy or secularism, when we say Pakistan is an

Islamic republic of Pakistan, it do not mean that we does not look after our

minorities or we are not secular. It does not mean that there would be no

democracy in Pakistan. And it also does not mean that we are not modernization.

The difference is very clear. The concepts of Ijtihad and Ijtiham themselves are

inherently democratic in concept. But the world doesn’t know these things

anyway. May be we have to tell them. Secularism I said, modernization, once

has to differentiate between Westernization and modernization. I take

modernization to be the living standards of people, their education their progress

and development as a society, through modern means and modern

developments, scientific developments acquired by humanity. Using it for own

comfort, using it for our own emancipation, that is modernization. Certainly

modernization is not what we want to acquire from any other culture. Whether it

is a Western culture, they like that way, we have our own culture, we should

guard our own culture. Therefore, I would like to conclude that both the elements,

the secular modernists or the backward obscurantist, they both are wrong and

5

we need to come out with a clear vision. I personally feels that ladies and

gentlemen there is tussle between enlightened and backwardness. Tussle

between the essence of Islam and ritualistic view of Islam. Those who think that

performs rituals and prayers, Roza and doing Tableeg is enough. And thinks that

God will make us rise, the tussle is of confrontation and the reconciliation with the

world. I would like to say few words on these aspects and all the turmoil’s of the

Muslim world. We have to decide today, should be continue to adopt the

confrontation approach. Should we curb this confrontation approach and go for a

reconciliation, and as I said in the beginning the world is learning for peace and

we can snatch peace with honour and dignity right now.

In case we adopt the confrontationist approach, what is our aim and objective,

can we achieve, can we be victorious, and can we take the world forward, if we

are victorious. Do we have the capacity to move the world forward or do we take

the world backward into regression. The ultimate desire of all of us, I feel ought to

be socio economic emancipation, ladies and gentlemen the Ummah is in the

worst state. We have to rise, we cannot rise through confrontation. We can rise

through reconciliation with honour and dignity, not through submission. That is

what I am saying everywhere. Turmoil has to stop, and this will stop when we go

for conflict resolution everywhere, starting from Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq or

Lebanon, Afghanistan, we have to resolve and bring peace to concentrate our

socio economic development of the whole Ummah. This is knowledge driven

world. And all of us are left behind. When I talk of Pakistan, and see our

resources and see what is happening I see that we have resources but the value

addition of those resources done elsewhere. We may be growing cotton, but the

ultimate value addition is done through garments produced elsewhere in the

world. We may be the fifth largest milk producer of the world. But our cheese,

yogurt and butter comes from outside. But we don’t export and we don’t add

value to that. We may be having gem stones, marbles or precious stones but

only we do mining in an ancient manner. Its cutting, polishing and selling back to

us, our stones back to us with hundred times the cost what done by others. So

this is knowledge driven world. If we want to emancipate or if we want to rise, we

have to learn, we have to acquire knowledge for our own soco economic

development. Then the third element we have to do is the correct understanding

of Islam within, Islamic renaissance within ourselves more than telling the whole

world. Let us stop conflict within. Therefore go for enlighten moderation, the main

idea was exactly what I have said. We must stop and reject terrorism and

extremism. And go on the path of socio economic development, and we must

demand and the world will give it to us when we demand.

Solution of our problems with justice, with honour and dignity, for this I have

purposed restructuring of the OIC, because this is the Ummah. Restructuring in a

manner that these two elements, socio economic development of the whole

Ummah and understanding of Islam. It must be contributed by OIC, At the

moment not doing anything. In these restructuring two elements, we have to

have a department of Islamic thoughts for Islamic renaissance so that a common

6

view of Islam and the whole Islamic world and outside. And this in this Islamic

renaissance, the eminent scholars, the scholars, of the Muslim world must

contribute. I was very proud charring the meeting of International Islamic

University, the board of trustees, this could serve as a platform for this Islamic

renaissance. But the true Islamic renaissance in its essence, let Islam not be

hijacked by the obscurantist which it has been to quite and extent. We need to

take it back and tell the masses what is Islam, what is its essence and if we are

not bold enough and we stand in front of the obscurantist, God save Islam. And

God save the Muslim Ummah.

It is indeed a pleasure and a very unique privilege for having such an eminent

scholars from abroad specially, and all the Pakistani brothers and sisters sitting

around, which is high time in conclusion, I would like to say, it is time to act, it is

the time to act within the Muslim world. A Muslim voice, a strong Muslim voice

has to be created to impose its will on the Muslim world, a common strong

Muslim voice, imposing its will in the correct direction on the Muslim world and at

the same time a strong voice dealing with the pars for resolution of our problems

and disputes with honour and dignity. If this is the path we choose, we need to be

bold, we need to be aggressive, and we cannot scum. And we have to act

immediately.

Thank you very much.

Ladies and Gentlemen

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