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PAKISTAN. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with a population of 122.8 million (1993 estimate), is the second largest Muslim nation in the world. Although they belong to five distinct ethnic groups-Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Baluch, and Muhajirs (Urdu-speaking immigrants from prepartition India)-the overwhelming majority (97 percent) of Pakistanis are Muslims. NonMuslim minorities include Christians, Hindus, and Parsees. Among the Muslims, between 1o and 15 percent are Shl’is, the majority of these subscribing to the Ithna `Ashari (Twelver) school of Shiism. Minority Shl’! sects include Isma`ilis, mostly in Karachi and the northwestern region of Gilgit, and Bohoras, whose spiritual headquarters are in Bombay, India. The overwhelming majority of Pakistan’s Sunni Muslims subscribe to the Hanafi school of law, although a small minority follow the Hanbali school.

Origins. Pakistan, which came into being as a result of the partition of British India on 14 August 1947, is unique among Muslim countries in regard to its relationship with Islam: it is the only Muslim country that was established in the name of Islam. Hence Pakistan’s political experience is integrally related with the struggle of Indian Muslims to find a new sovereign political center after their loss of power to the British in the early nineteenth century. Beginning with Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s Aligarh movement of educational and religiointellectual reforms and his insistence on separate political identity and rights for Indian Muslims, the resurgence of Indic Islam made its mark in such religious movements as the Mujahidin movement of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid and the Deoband movement of Maulana Qdsim Nanautvi (1821-188o) and Maulana Mahmudulhasan (1851-1920). While the Mujahidin movement launched an armed jihad to restore Muslim political power in northwest India, the Deobandis and other Islamic educational movements sought to help Indian Muslims keep their traditional Islamic heritage during their period of political subordination. The concept of a sovereign Muslim political domain was kept alive by Muhammad `Ali (1878-1931) and Bahadur Yar Jang (1905-1944) and by the emergence of the Khilafat movement in the 19205 under the leadership of the `Ali brothers. [See Khilafat Movement.]

Earlier, in 1906, the Western-educated Muslim elite had established a political organization of their ownthe all-India Muslim League-in Dhaka to champion the religious, cultural, political, and economic interests of Indian Muslims and to thwart attempts by the growing Hindu nationalist organizations to deprive Muslims of their rightful place in the India of the future. What galvanized the Muslims’ search for a new political strategy, however, was the Hindu agitation against the partition of Bengal, which convinced the Indian Muslims of the need to protect their religio-cultural and political interests through a separate political organization. This drew support to the Muslim League and its platform for a separate system of Muslim representation in all political institutions. At about the same time, extremist Hindus started the Shuddhi and Sangathan movements aiming at the forcible conversion of Muslims. The Muslims reacted by organizing the Tanzim and Tabligh movements to defend Islam and to launch their own missionary work.

After many years of persistent attempts to reach some reasonably acceptable settlement with the Hindudominated Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, realized that the religious, cultural, and political interests of the Indian Muslim community could not be safeguarded in a postindependence united India dominated by the Hindu majority. The Muslim League therefore adopted the goal of creating a separate state from the Muslim-majority areas of northwest and northeast India, to be known as Pakistan. The poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal also argued for centralizing “the life of Islam as a cultural force” in a specified territory through the creation of a “consolidated Muslim State” in Northwest India. He thought that for Islam such an autonomous state would mean “an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arab Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its laws, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own spirit and with the spirit of modern times.”

The popular acceptance of the idea of Pakistan was made possible only through the Muslim League’s success in politicizing the religious sentiments of Indian Muslims and in claiming that the struggle for Pakistan was the struggle for the preservation and glory of Islam. By the time the movement for the establishment of Pakistan came near the realization of its goals, its religious revivalist character had already been established. The revivalist character of the Pakistan movement had firm historical roots in such premodern fundamentalist movements as that of Shah Wali Allah of Delhi and Sayyid Ahmad Shahid of Bareilly. This revivalist impulse was also intertwined with the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Muslim modernist-nationalist tradition of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Syed Ameer Ali, and Muhammad Iqbal on the one hand, and such diverse religious revivalist movements as the Tablighl Jama’at of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, the reform Sufi movement of Maulana Ashraf ‘All Thanvi, the Jama’at-i Islam! of Maulana Abu al-A’la Mawdfidi, the Khilafat movement of Maulana Muhammad `Ali Jauhar, and the Khaksar movement of `Allamah `Inayatullah alMashriqi. Although these movements differed on important religious and political issues and methods, their emergence during the most critical phase of the history of Indic Islam had the combined effect of directing the collective Muslim position on a parallel course with that of Hindus and of dividing the two religious communities-a division that ultimately resulted in the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. [See All-India Muslim League and the biographies of Jinnah, Igbal, Ahmad Khan, Ameer Ali, and Mawdadi.]

Pakistan ka matlab kya? La ildha illa Allah! (“What does Pakistan stand for? There is no god but God!”) was a powerful popular slogan given to the Indian Muslims by the All-India Muslim League during the peak of its struggle for the establishment of a separate homeland. Especially since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the question of the new nation’s ideological character has been a subject of continuous debate among Pakistani intellectuals. Two distinct schools of thought have emerged on this issue: one contends that Pakistan was demanded and created in the name of Islam and therefore can exist only as an Islamic state; the other emphasizes that the country was created to safeguard the political and economic interests of South Asian Muslims and was in no way intended to be a religiously based, ideological state. Irrespective of the real motives and interests of the Muslim League leadership during the 1940s, there is ample evidence that the Muslim masses of India who formed the backbone of the struggle for Pakistan and voted in large numbers in favor of the Muslim League candidates wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic state. Maulana Shabbir Ahmad `Usmani and a few other `ulama’ of Deoband who defied the majority support for Indian unity also justified their call for Pakistan in terms of its potential as an Islamic state. The same may be said of the Muslim League leadership, despite certain differences among the Western-educated Muslim League leaders, the traditional `ulama’ who supported the Pakistan movement, and the Muslim masses, in regard to their respective visions and perceptions of an Islamic state.

The Muslim masses saw Pakistan as an Islamic state that would reflect the religious and social ideals of early Islam as practiced during the era of the first four rightly guided caliphs. However, this vision of an Islamic state was constitutive more of socioeconomic ideals of justice, equality, and brotherhood than of the specifics of the shari `ah. The “religious” element in this vision was primarily a cultural framework that would encompass and, in some concrete way, create conditions in their new homeland for the realization of the socioreligious ideals of Islam. Building an Islamic state for the Muslim masses was thus synonymous with building a good society. Hence we see little if any reference to the introduction of specific Islamic laws, such as hudud (Islamic penal laws prescribed in the Qur’dn), in the prepartition popular literature on Pakistan. Similarly, the speeches and statements of the leaders of the Muslim League do not indicate that the new state would be governed by the letter of the shari`ah. If this had been the case, the majority of the `ulama’ in India would not have opposed the establishment of a separate homeland for Muslims.

Almost the entire Deoband school of `ulama’ led by Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, opposed the creation of Pakistan and allied itself with the All-India National Congress. Their religio-political organization, Jam’iyatul `Ulama’-i Hind, campaigned vigorously against the Muslim League and accused its leadership of being ignorant of Islam and lax in the observance of Islamic rituals and practices. A fatwa (religious decree) was issued by Maulana Madani forbidding the Muslims of India to join the Muslim League and describing the League’s Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, as “Kafir-i-A’zam” (“the great heathen”). Maulana Mawdudi, who founded the Jama’at-i Islam! in 1941, opposed Muslim participation in the Indian National Congress but was equally emphatic in rejecting the concept of Pakistan. He also doubted the ability of the westernized Muslim League leadership to establish an Islamic state in Pakistan.

Nonetheless, the Muslim League leadership-least of all Mohammad Ali Jinnah-were not dishonest when they proclaimed that Pakistan would be an Islamic state; however, their vision of an Islamic state was sharply different from that of the `ulama’ Most of the Muslim League leaders were Western-educated, liberal-minded Muslim nationalists whose commitment to Islam was primarily defined in terms of the economic, political, and cultural uplifting of the Indian Muslim community. Their notion of Pakistan as an Islamic state included the restoration of Muslim political power in the subcontinent, or at least in a part of it; the revitalization of the cultural and intellectual tradition of Islamic civilization in a modern-day context; and the establishment of a modern, sovereign state for Indian Muslims where they would be free to practice their religion and pursue their economic and political interests without fear of domination by or competition from the Hindu majority. Although it was religion which provided the basis for all these concerns, it is obvious that their vision of Pakistan as an Islamic state was influenced by their political and cultural ideals and economic interests formed and conditioned, in part, by the ideas of modern nationalism. Thus the classical idea of the Islamic religious community living in its own, autonomous political domain under divine law, and the modern idea that culturally distinctive people are entitled to political selfdetermination were employed with equal emphasis in the Pakistan movement.

Although there is no doubt that the Pakistan movement was essentially a nationalist movement, its nationalism was firmly anchored in the Islamic consciousness and sentiments of the Muslim masses. The Muslim League’s slogan “Islam is in danger” was a powerful stimulus to move the masses to political action. The “Two Nation Theory” of Mohammad Ali Jinnah further reinforced the Islamic basis of this nationalist movement. It is important to note that Jinnah did not define “nation” in terms of shared language or common territory, history, culture, and custom; rather, he stated that Islam and Hinduism are not religions in the strict sense of the word but are in fact distinct social orders and thus cannot evolve into a single nationality.

Both Jinnah and the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal perceived Islam not in terms of the details of shari’ah and the hair-splitting of fiqh, but at three broad and interrelated levels: (I) Islam as a faith, a religiomoral system whose cardinal beliefs identify its adherents as Muslims; (a) Islam as a culture, a way of life that would integrate Muslims into a nation-state; and (3) Islam as a political ideological system whose set of values could socialize Muslims into a viable, separate political community.

Early Years as a Nation. While the Muslim League leadership which assumed political power in independent Pakistan in 1947 saw Islam as a moral force and as an ideological base on which national unity and loyalty could be built, the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami viewed the Islam-state relationship in terms of an Islamic constitituion, the introduction of the shari’ah and the restoration of traditional socioreligious institutions sanctified by medieval Muslim jurists. These contrasting visions became the major source of conflict between the so-called modernists and liberals on the one hand and the conservatives and fundamentalists on the other.

Although Pakistan has from the beginning faced critical economic, political, and ethno-regional problems which have shaped subsequent political developments and engendered its chronic sociopolitical instability, there is one issue that has generated maximum political conflict and intellectual controversy: the role of Islam in politics and the state. The ideological and political history of Pakistan has been marked by a continuous debate on the nature of the Islamic political system and its concrete manifestation in constitutional structure and socioeconomic policies. With the exception of the Islamic-oriented martial-law regime of General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq (1977-1985), this debate always took the form of fierce confrontation-sometimes violent and leading to serious political crises-between the state and organized religious groups. The ideological orientations and power imperatives of those who controlled the state-the higher echelons of the civil service, the military, the feudal landlords, and a section of the urbanbased capitalist class–did not always coincide with those of the `ulama’ and the fundamentalists.

In analyzing Islamic constitutional developments in Pakistan in the early 1950s, Leonard Binder has identified four distinct groups that were actively involved in the controversies associated with the Islamic state and constitution. These included the traditionalists, represented by the `ulama’ of various schools of thought; the fundamentalists, represented by the Jama’at-i Islami the modernists, represented by politicians, westernized businessmen, and professionals; and secularists, represented by “the most highly westernized” politicians, senior civil servants, and military officers.

With the exception of a few secularists, the majority of the political leadership of the new nation agreed that Pakistan’s constitution and government should reflect the teachings and traditions of Islam. The problem was how to relate Islam with the needs of a modern state. The definition of an Islamic state formulated by the `ulama’ and the fundamentalists assumed the application of the shad `ah and an overarching authority of religious scholars in evaluating the Islamicity of all legislation, which was not acceptable to the modernists. The fundamentalists saw Islam as a guiding force that regulates every aspect of human life-social, economic, political, or personal. They insisted that existing laws and practices that were in conflict with the Qur’an and the sunnah should be repealed or amended to conform with Islamic law.

In marked contrast were the views held by the Western-educated, Western-oriented politicians, civil servants, judiciary, and military. Though they did not seem to have abandoned the all-embracing concept of Islam, they nevertheless subordinated it to the intellectual approach of Western secular education and training with its assumption of the separation of state and religion. While the religious leaders defined and formulated the goals of the newly born state in terms of Islamic revivalism, very few politicians and administrators saw these goals as anything other than secular economic and social development. The only thing they could promise to the religious groups was that they would try to create conditions favorable for the realization of Islamic ideals. They would not, however, commit themselves to the actual legislation of these ideals. The terrestrial heaven was to be designed and built by the modern-educated Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) officials and not by the madrasah-educated `ulama’ To the Western-educated politicians and administrators, the foremost task was the establishment of a viable civil order and the maximization of national production. They perceived public policy issues not in terms of their conformity to the shad `ah but in terms of their relevance to national development goals.

Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad `Usmani, a respected Deobandi `alim whose services were extremely effective in winning over the support of the `ulama’ in east Bengal for the Muslim League and who was appointed to the prestigious position of Shaykh al-Islam of the new state of Pakistan, was the first to raise the demand that Pakistan become an Islamic state. However, it was Mawdfidi and his Jama’at-i Islam! that played the central part in the demand for an Islamic constitution. Mawdudi asserted that the Constituent Assembly must make an unequivocal declaration affirming the “supreme sovereignty of God” and the supremacy of the shari `ah as the basic law of Pakistan. He also demanded that existing laws that were in conflict with the shari `ah should be gradually repealed, and that the state should have no authority to transgress the limits imposed by Islam. The Jama’at launched a massive public campaign to seek popular support for these demands.

The majority of the `ulama’ also joined the movement for Islamic constitution, although they differed with the fundamentalist Jama’at-i Islam! on what the government should do to establish an Islamic way of life. They were primarily concerned about the preservation of orthodoxy under the guardianship of the `ulama’ implementation of the shad `ah under their supervision, and the infallibility of the ijma` (consensus) of classical jurists.

The first important result of the combined efforts of the Jama’at-i Islami and the `ulama’ was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in March 1949 In their search for a compromise, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and the religious groups had come up with a formula that, at least on the surface, was good enough to satisfy all the groups. The resolution embodied “the main principles on which the constitution of Pakistan is to be based.” It declared that “sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.” Further, “the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed,” and “the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accord with the teaching and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Qur’an and Surma.” The Objectives Resolution has been successively reproduced as a preamble to the constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973. The Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution, passed in 1985, made the Objectives Resolution an operable part of the constitution.

The Objectives Resolution was a classic case of compromise made possible by vague and indeterminate for mulations. For the `ulama’ the acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty meant the acceptance of the shari `ah as the law of the land and the recognition of their role as its guardians and interpreters. The Jama’at-i Islami interpreted the resolution as a document that laid the foundation for an Islamic state as a “theodemocracy” in order to transform the entire spectrum of collective life in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’an and sunnah. For the Western-educated politicians, the resolution recognized that God’s authority had been delegated to the people and to no one else, and that it was up to the people to decide who would exercise that authority. The resolution further precluded the establishment of a theocratic state in Pakistan by incorporating the liberal principles of “democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice,” and by guaranteeing fundamental rights including “freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association.”

When the first constitution was finally approved by the Constituent Assembly in March 1956, it was mainly a collection of modern secular laws for the administration of a parliamentary democratic form of government with broad Islamic ideology as its guiding but nonbinding basis. A synthesis of Islamic principles and the needs of a modern society, the constitution became a symbol of ideological victory for all the major contending groups, except of course for the secularists.

The preamble of the constitution reproduced the Objectives Resolution with an addition that Pakistan would be a democratic state based on Islamic principles. The Directive Principles of State Policy-which were not enforceable in courts of law but were expected to serve as a guide to the state authorities in the formulation of policies-included the elimination of gambling, drinking, prostitution, and parochial, racial, tribal, sectarian, and provincial prejudices; the elimination of ribs (usury) and the implementation of zakat (obligatory alms-tax); and promotion of Islamic teachings and moral standards. Article I of the constitution designated Pakistan an Islamic Republic; the president of Pakistan was required to be a Muslim.

Two other Islamic provisions were of a more substantive nature. The more important was Article 198, which stated that no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Qur’an and sunnah, and that existing laws should be brought into conformity with such injunctions. However, contrary to what the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami had been demanding, the constitution made the National Assembly responsible for deciding whether any law was repugnant to the Qur’an and sunnah.

The other Islamic provision related to the establishment of an Islamic research and instructional organization to assist in the “reconstruction of Muslim society on a truly Islamic basis.” This provision led to the establishment of the Islamic Research Institute, later renamed the Central Institute of Islamic Research, which under the leadership of late Professor Fazlur Rahman emerged as a major component of Islamic modernism and an adversary of the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami in the 1960s.

The constitutional victory of the religious groups was, however, short lived. The 1956 Constitution was abrogated by the martial-law regime of General Muhammad Ayub Khan in 1958. President Ayub announced a new constitution in 1962 that changed the name of the nation from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Pakistan. Later, however, as a result of the intense pressure from religious groups, the constitution was amended to restore the word “Islamic.” The new constitution retained most of the Islamic provisions of the 1956 constitution but did not make them mandatory. It also replaced the phrase “Qur’an and sunnah” with the word “Islam,” a change that the `ulama’ thought was intended to deny the authority of hadith as a source of Islamic law and to allow a liberal and modernist interpretation of Islam. The constitution stated that “no law should be repugnant to Islam” but gave to the legislature the responsibility for deciding about the repugnancy of proposed laws. Superior courts were not allowed to review the laws for their Islamicity. The constitution, besides retaining the Islamic Research Institute, provided for the establishment of the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology, which was to recommend means by which Muslims could live in accordance with the tenets of Islam, and to advise the legislative or executive on any questions of the Islamicity of proposed laws.

Besides these constitutional issues, the major demands of the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami, as always, had been the introduction of Islamic penal laws, the elimination of ribs, and the prohibition of drinking, gambling, and the free mixing of sexes-questions of little interest to President Ayub Khan. Unlike the military regime of Zia ul-Haq, which appointed fifty-three different commissions and committees to make recommendations on various aspects of Islamic reforms from 1977 to 1985, Ayub Khan’s military government set up thirty-seven reform commissions and committees from 1958 to 1966 to review virtually all aspects of Pakistani society, economy, and government-none of them directly concerned with Islamic issues. In 1958 Ayub Khan appointed the Law Reform Commission to suggest how the administration of justice might be improved and how to restructure the laws of procedures and evidence, as well as to recommend changes in the legal system. It is indicative of the Ayub Khan regime’s ideological orientation that the 368 recommendations of the Commission, not a single point dealt with the islamization of laws or legal procedures.

Islamic Resurgence after 1971. The traumatic events of the 1971 civil war and Pakistan’s dismemberment at the hands of India had a psychologically unsettling effect on the people. The separation of East Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state raised serious doubts about the Two Nation Theory as a foundation on which to base a modern nation-state. The serious questioning of Pakistan’s ideology, nationalism, and statehood was no less critical than the physical assault on its integrity in 1971. In the midst of what many Pakistani authors described as an “identity crisis,” there began a period of introspection and soulsearching. A renewed quest for authenticity and national identity caused by the Bengali separatism and defeat by India tended to reaffirm Islam as both a personal succor and a national ideology the 1970s and 1980s, the two decades identified with Islamic resurgence and islamization in Pakistan.

The Islamic groups seized on the opportunity and pointed out that East Pakistan was lost because the leaders betrayed the cause of Islam; the loss was not the result of Islam’s failure to keep the country together but that of the ruler’s un-Islamic policies and conduct. The experience of East Pakistan thus became a rallying point for many Pakistanis, especially the religious groups, to “return” to Islam as an ideological remedy to national malaise and to cultivate religious rejuvenation.

This post-1971 rediscovery of Islamic identity in Pakistan also had great impact on the new constitution promulgated in 1973. Spearheaded by Zulfiqar ‘Ali Bhutto, a secularist, the 1973 constitution (which is still in effect) has been described as the most Islamic constitution in the history of Pakistan. Islam was declared to be “the state religion” for the first time. The Objectives Resolution, the pillar of the `ulama’s success in the history of constitution-making in Pakistan, was retained as a preamble and later incorporated in the operable body of the constitution during General Zia’s regime. While the 1956 and 1962 constitutions had made the office of president attainable only by a Muslim, the 1973 constitution made non-Muslims ineligible for the office of the prime minister as well. The constitution also made it obligatory for the president, prime minister, and certain other officials to take an oath in which the prophet Muhammad was explicitly declared to be the final prophet. The constitution also commits government officials to “strive to preserve the Islamic ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan.” It states that steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles of Islam, and to provide facilities “whereby they may be enabled to understand the meaning of life according to the Holy Qur’an and sunnah.” The constitution mandates compulsory Islamic studies in schools, promotion of the Arabic language, and publication of an “error-free” Qur’an. The constitution provides that the state shall endeavor to secure the proper organization of zakat and awgaf and to eliminate ribs, the two tasks that became hallmarks of General Zia’s islamization program in subsequent years. Another clause called for the preservation and strengthening of fraternal relations with all Muslim countries on the basis of Islamic unity. It was further required that all existing laws should be brought into conformity with Islam, and that no law should be enacted which is repugnant to Islamic injunctions. The task of reviewing existing laws was entrusted to the Council of Islamic Ideology, which was to make recommendations to the national and provincial legislatures. Later, during General Zia’s regime, this task was shared by the Federal Shariah Court.

Prime Minister Zulfiqar `Ali Bhutto’s islamization went far beyond introducing an Islamic constitution and employing powerful Islamic religious imagery and symbolism in his public speeches and statements. A 1973 law created institutional procedures for the printing and publishing of an error-free Qur’an. In 1974 Bhutto changed the name of the Pakistan Red Cross to the Pakistan Red Crescent. During the same year Bhutto granted the ultimate favor to the `ulama’ and the Jama`at-i Islami: he amended the constitution to declare the Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority, a concession that even the devout Khvajah Nazimuddin, Pakistan’s prime minister during the first anti-Ahmadiyah agitation of 1953, had refused. [See Ahmadiyah.] Bhutto also established a separate federal Ministry of Religious Affairs to de

velop and supervise the teaching of Islamic studies, promote Islamic research, establish contacts with Islamic institutions in other countries, organize conferences and seminars on Islam, give advice to other government departments on Islamic religious matters, seek cooperation from the `ulama’ for national development, formulate policies for the management of awgaf, and make arrangements for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Bhutto’s other islamization measures included instituting Arabic language courses in school curricula; the liberal allocation of foreign exchange for those performing the hajj; initiating Islamic missionary activities in Africa; hosting the Second Islamic Summit Conference in Lahore in February 1974 (a turning point in Pakistan’s renewed efforts to form new cultural, political, and economic ties with the Muslim Middle East); and hosting an international conference on the life of the prophet Muhammad. In 1977, in order to appease the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami-who had launched a mass movement to overthrow his government-Bhutto issued another package of Islamic reforms that included ban on alcoholic drinks, gambling, horse-racing, and dance and nightclubs. It has been rightly observed that in the realm of ideology, Zia ul-Haq, not Benazir Bhutto, turned out to be the true heir of Zulfiqar ‘Ali Bhutto.

Although the Islamic measures introduced by Bhutto were piecemeal and peripheral to the core of his socioeconomic policies, their impact on subsequent Islamic development was quite significant and far-reaching. By incorporating extensive Islamic provisions in the 1973 constitution and by declaring the Ahmadis nonMuslims, Bhutto helped raise the expectations of the religious parties and prepared the ground for a full-blown islamization movement during Zia’s regime.

General Zia’s military government defined its mission as “laying down the foundations of the Islamic system in Pakistan.” An orthodox Muslim himself, Zia was convinced that the success of the 1977 anti-Bhutto agitation provided him with a sufficient mandate to introduce “concrete steps and solid measures” designed to transform the country’s socioeconomic and political structures in accordance with the principles of Islam.

Coming in the wake of worldwide Islamic resurgence, President Zia’s islamization measures, introduced from 1977 to 1988 through a series of laws and executive decrees, were much more substantive than those of earlier regimes. Working in close cooperation with the `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami, Zia was able to create a network of state-sponsored institutional structures to translate the norms of the shari’ah into public policies. First, federal, provincial and local institutions and committees were created for compulsory collection and distribution of zakat and `ushr (an Islamic tax on produce of the land), a long-standing demand of the religious groups. Second, a Federal Shari`ah Court was established with power to decide whether laws were consistent with the injunctions of Islam. Third and most important was the introduction of Islamic penal law (hudud) with specific Islamic punishments (such as caning, stoning, or cutting off limbs) for drinking, theft, adultery, and false accusation of fornication. The law of evidence was amended in conformity with the shari’ah to give lesser weight to women’s and non-Muslims’ evidence in courts of law. Fourth, some initial measures were taken to eliminate interest (riba) from the banking system and the economy. Fifth, school textbooks were revised to reflect an Islamic bias, and an International Islamic University was established in Islamabad to promote higher Islamic learning. [See International Islamic University at Islamabad.] In 1988 President Zia issued a comprehensive Sharl’ah Ordinance encompassing most of his earlier Islamic reform measures and incorporating further moves toward islamization of economy, society, culture, and education. This ordinance was subsequently incorporated, with some changes, in the Sharl’ah Bill introduced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in April 1991, providing for a series of legislative and administrative measures to islamize education, the mass media, the economy, the bureaucracy, and the legal system.

Most of the substantive Islamic measures introduced by the Zia regime were retained by the governments that came after him, although they showed no enthusiasm in implementing them. While Islamic groups were critical of the method, scope, and effectiveness of these reforms, other sectors saw the whole process of islamization by the military regime as a cynical exploitation of the religious sentiments of the Muslim masses for political goals.

The long-term consequences of Zia’s islamization policies on Pakistani society have yet to be determined. However, because of the great gap between the heightened expectations of the people and the actual outcome of the Islamic reforms, especially in the socioeconomic sector, the early enthusiasm seems to have dissipated and Islam and Islamic issues have gradually receded to the periphery of national political discourse. One important fallout of the islamization process-sectarianism-continues to haunt Pakistani politics and society.

The introduction of zakat and `ushr and the enforcement of other shari`ah laws have brought to the surface the old doctrinal and juristic differences between Shi’is and Sunnis. The question of which interpretation of Islamic law should form the basis of public policy became a major source of conflict both between Sunni and Shi’i `ulama’ and also among different schools of Sunnis. These controversies have caused frequent violent incidents, including sectarian riots and the assassination of several prominent Sunni and Shl’! `ulama’ Sectarian politics has also given rise to such militant Shi’i organizations as the Tahrik-i Nifaz-i Fiqh-i-Ja’fariyah (Movement for the Enforcement of Ja’fariyah Fiqh) and the Imamiyah Students’ Federation (a pro-Khomeini group that has been involved in several sectarian riots), as well as the madrasah-based militant Sunni organization, Anjuman Sipah-i Sahabah (Society of the Soldiers of the Prophet’s Companion), a group that regards Shi-is as non-Muslims and demands that Shi’i literature be proscribed and that Pakistan be declared a Sunni state, barring ShMs from holding public office.

Islam in Pakistan Today. At the sociocultural level, Islam is central to the life of most Pakistanis; but, as in other Muslim countries, Pakistan does not present a monolithic structure of Islamic beliefs, practices, and interpretation. There is considerable variation in the ways people articulate, interpret, and practice their faith and work out its implications in their individual and collective lives. For analytical purposes, one can discuss the religio-intellectual situation of Islam in Pakistan with reference to at least four distinct categories-orthodox, Sufi, reformist/liberal, and revivalist/fundamentalist Islam.

Orthodox Islam is represented by the Sunni `ulama’ who are regarded as guardians of the sunnah of the Prophet and the socioreligious institutional structures developed under the guidance of the classical jurists. Included in this category are three important schools: the orthodox Deobandi school, the Sfifi-oriented Barelwi school, and the extreme right-wing Wahhabi school of Ahl-i Hadith. [See Deobandis; Barelwis; Wahhabiyah.]

The `ulama’ as the bearers of the legal and political tradition of latter `Abbasid period, have four primary concerns: the unity and integrity of the Islamic ummah as a universal religious community; the integrity of the orthodox beliefs and practices of Islam as represented by Ash’ari theology and the consensus (ijma`) of the classical jurists; the implementation of the shari`ah under their supervision, especially in matters pertaining to family law and religious rituals; and the preservation and dissemination of the Islamic religious sciences under their guidance. As the interpreters of the divine law, they resolve religious disputes and issue fatwas, providing the faithful with religious guidance on all kinds of issues. As religious functionaries, they organize and lead congregational prayers, supervise the celebration of Islamic religious occasions and festivals, and conduct marriage ceremonies and burial rituals.

The persistence of orthodox Islam as a significant cultural alternative and as the intellectual mode of a vital religious tradition is nowhere more salient than in the two central Islamic institutions, mosques and madrasahs, which constitute the base of the legitimacy, power, and authority of the `ulama’. A recent government survey estimated that there were more than 200,000 mosques of various sizes in Pakistan, staffed by approximately 350,000 religious functionaries-imams (prayer leaders), khatibs (preachers), and khadims (caretakers). Unlike most Middle Eastern Muslim countries, the network of mosques and madrasahs in Pakistan operate outside state control and retain considerable autonomy, despite some recent moves by the state to weaken their independence. In many small towns and cities where there are no public halls or similar civic facilities, the mosque is not only a place of worship, it is also a forum in which to discuss public issues. A typical small town in Punjab, Sind, or the North-West Frontier Province will have at least four or five major mosques (jami`ahs) and at least one small mosque for each muhalla (neighborhood). These small neighborhood mosques are closely identified with their congregations.

Madrasahs have long been the centers of classical Islamic studies and the guardians of orthodoxy in South Asian Islam. The madrasahs in today’s Pakistan-estimated at more than two thousand at the intermediate and higher levels, with about 316,000 students-are a legacy of the spectacular resurgence of Islamic religious education in India during the late nineteenth century. Since then the madrasah system has played an important historical role by preserving the orthodox tradition of Islam, training generations of Islamic religious scholars and functionaries, by providing vigorous political leadership, and, more importantly, reawakening the consciousness of Islamic solidarity and the Islamic way of life among the Muslims of South Asia.

The madrasahs in Pakistan teach a curriculum known as Dars-i-nizami, a standard course of study in all Sunni madrasahs of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It consists of about twenty subjects, broadly divided into transmitted sciences (al-`ulum al-naqliyah) and rational sciences (al-`ulum al-`aqliyah). Most madrasahs in Pakistan are private and are supported either by religious endowments (awqaf) or by donations from the faithful. The financial autonomy of the mosques and madrasahs has been a major source of the independent political power base of the `ulama’ in Pakistan. It has also been responsible for thwarting the efforts of state authorities to introduce reforms in the madrasah system and to bridge the gap between the traditional systems of Islamic education and the modern, secular system.

Although the `ulama’ have vigorously resisted state efforts to introduce changes in traditional religious practices, Muslim family law, and madrasah education, they are not frozen in legal, theological, and intellectual rigidity. Contrary to the general perception, the `ulama’ have shown a remarkable flexibility in adapting to changing socioeconomic and political conditions, as is evident in the changes in their social organization and in their political role during the past hundred years. Although their system of education remains an exclusive and isolated phenomenon, there are nevertheless powerful social and political forces and institutions that cut across socioeconomic and cultural strata and tend to bind the traditional and modern sectors. These processual and institutional changes have become more significant in the postindependence era, as the changed political context has created a series of symbolic and institutional linkages (e.g., shared religious symbols; government-sponsored Islamic educational, cultural, legal research, and advisory institutions and (awqaf) organizations; political parties and legislative assemblies; and communication media, particularly the growing vernacular press) that facilitate increasing interaction between the `ulama’ and the modern educated elite. These interactions (especially in the context of an increasingly mature democratic political process), have tended to create a measure of shared intellectual space and a common language of religious discourse between the `ulama’ and the modern Muslim intellectuals.

The `ulama’ are organized in several political groupings and have emerged as important actors in Pakistan’s politics. The Barelwi-oriented Jam’iyatul `Ulama’-i Pakistan (Society of Pakistani `Ulama’) enjoys a considerable following in the Urdu-speaking areas of urban Sind and in the rural areas and small towns of Punjab, where the influence of Islamic orthodoxy has not penetrated very deeply. Its religious ideology is based on folk Islam with an emphasis on populist Sufism, the festive display of syncretic religious rituals, and veneration of saints. [See Jam`iyatul `Ulama’-i Pakistan.]

The ultra-conservative, orthodox `ulama’ of the Deoband school are represented in Jam’Iyatul `Ulama’-i Islam (Society of the `Ulama’ of Islam), a party that represents the core of Islamic orthodoxy and insists on strict adherence to the shari`ah as interpreted by the founders of the four schools of Islamic law. Their political program consists of the enforcement of the shari’ah under the strict guidance of the “righteous `ulama’ who will have the ultimate authority to determine whether a law passed by the parliament is in conformity with the shad`ah. [See Jam’Iyatul `Ulama’-i Islam.] The third group, Jam’Iyat `Ulama-i Ahl-i Hadith (Society of the `Ulama’ of the People of the Hadith) is heir to the extreme right-wing theocratic particularism of the Wahhabi movement. The party preaches uncompromising monotheism, rejects all notions of intercession by spiritual mentors, and condemns visitation of Sufi shrines as polytheism. This is the only `ulama’ organization that rejects modern democracy as antithetical to Islam and advocates autocratic rule by a “pious ruler” under the guidance of the shari `ah. Among the non-political Islamic groups, the best-known is the Tablighi Jama`at, a grassroots movement of lay Muslims and some `ulama’ that strives for the moral and spiritual renewal of individual believers.

Sufi Islam in Pakistan is represented at two levels. The first is the folk, populist Sufism of the rural masses, associated with unorthodox religious rituals and practices, belief in the supernatural powers of saints, a binding spiritual relationship between the shaykh or pir (master) and murid (disciple), and pilgrimage to and veneration of shrines. The majority of Muslims in rural areas of Pakistan, where orthodox Islam has yet to penetrate successfully, identify themselves with some pir, living or dead, and seek his intercession for the solution of their worldly problems and for salvation in the hereafter. There is widespread belief in the magical powers of the saints and pirs, and legends about their miracles (kardmah) abound. Many pirs and sajjddah-nishins (hereditary custodians of shrines) are either themselves big landlords or are associated with the traditional landowning interests. The pirs and sajjddah-nishins of major shrines in Punjab and Sind thus exercise enormous spiritual and political influence over their followers throughout the country. Although most of the major shrines were taken over by the government in 1959 and 1961 as a part of President Ayub Khan’s modernization program, the actual management of these shrines, the organization of their religious activities, and the dispensation of spiritual grace continue under the guidance of the original sajjadah-nishins. The traditional triangular relationships between pir, landlord, and peasant have not been replaced by direct relationships between government bureaucrats and peasants despite state takeover of the shrines. Many of these pir families use their spiritual influence to gain election to the national and provincial legislatures.

The other strain is the scholastic or intellectual Sufism, a recent phenomenon based in urban areas and becoming increasingly popular in educated circles. Influenced by the writings of al-Ghazali, Shah Wali Allah, and Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, and by the spiritual experiences of the masters of the Suhrawardlyah and Nagshbandlyah orders, these young Sufis are rearticulating Islamic metaphysics as an answer to Western materialism. For them, Sufism is the heart of Islam, and Islamic revival means nothing if it does not begin with the spiritual reawakening of individual Muslims. They believe in an integral Islamic tradition and hence are critical of both Islamic modernists and Islamic fundamentalists. In recent years this trend toward intellectual Sufism was strengthened by the writings of the Iranian scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the French Muslim thinker Rene Guenon, Martin Lings, and Frithjof Schuon, with their penetrating discussions of the metaphysical questions of Islamic gnosis.

Reformist or liberal Islam in Pakistan owes its origin to the writings of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) and to his educational reform efforts, represented by the Aligarh movement. Sir Sayyid emphasized the role of rational thinking in understanding the purposes of shari’ah and maintained that ijtihdd (independent reasoning) was permissible not only in matters of law but also in matters of doctrine. His main contribution, however, was in his efforts to persuade Indian Muslims to learn the modern scientific method, acquire new technological skills and ideas, and embody the spirit of liberalism and progress prevalent in the West. Islamic modernism also found expression in the writings of Sayyid Ameer Ali (d. 1928), who emphasized the essential compatibility between Islam and Western liberal values, and in the works of the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938), one of the most eminent thinkers of twentieth-century Islam. Iqbal’s vigorous plea to reactivate the “principle of movement” in Islam-ijtihdd-to reinterpret the foundational legal principles of Islam in the light of modern conditions and ideas, and to work toward the reconstruction of Islamic religious thought has been a driving force for Islamic modernism in South Asia. The most ardent champion of Iqbalian ideas and the most profound and articulate spokesman of Islamic modernism in Pakistan was the late Fazlur Rahman (d. 1988), whose bold and often provocative reformulations of Islamic doctrines and sociolegal practices engendered intense religious controversies. As director of the Central Institute of Islamic Research during Ayub Khan’s decade of development and modernization, he launched a vigorous intellectual assault against the conservative `ulama’ and the fundamentalist Jama’at-i Islam! and challenged the Islamic basis of their traditionally held views on the status of women, family and inheritance law, bank interest, the uncritical acceptance of hadith as a source of Islamic law, taqlid (blind following of the classical jurists), and a host of other doctrinal and jurisprudential issues. At the end, Fazlur Rahman was forced to resign from his position by the anti-Ayub Khan mass movement and intense pressure from the `ulama’ In 1969, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago and remained there until his death in 1988. In line with Iqbal’s ideas, Fazlur Rahman offers a devastating critique of traditional Islamic scholasticism, its rigid system of thought, and the educational system that was built on it. He contends that traditional interpreters of the Qur’an have failed to see the universal principles underlying particular Qur’anic passages and thus have not seen the Qur’an as a unity. He believes that Muslims must return to the Qur’an and reinterpret its precepts, reformulating them as general sociomoral principles that can be adapted to ever-changing conditions. [See the biography of Rahman.]

After Fazlur Rahman’s departure from Pakistan, Islamic modernism was eclipsed as an intellectual movement. The Council on Islamic Ideology and the Central Institute of Islamic Research (later renamed the Islamic Research Institute) were reconstituted to reflect the conservative restabilization of sociocultural life and Islamic intellectualism during the Zia period. Despite Pakistan’s rich tradition of liberal-modernist Islamic thought, the resurgent forces of Islamic revivalism and fundamentalism seemed to have overwhelmed this tradition since the 1980s. Many of the well-known liberals of earlier years in the universities, research institutions, and legal profession became champions of Zia’s conservatism. The entire institutional framework created during the Ayub

Khan era to rethink and reinterpret traditional Islamic doctrinal formulations and sociolegal precepts and practices was appropriated by the conservative `ulama’ and the Jama’at-i Islami during the Zia period.

Revivalist/fundamentalist Islam in today’s Pakistan is represented by the Jama’at-i Islam!. Regarded as one of the most important and effectively organized religiopolitical movements of the Islamic world today, the Jama’at has been active in Pakistan’s politics and has played a decisive role in Islamic constitution-making and in shaping Islamic intellectual and political discourse in Pakistan. The majority of its leadership consists of modern-educated lay Muslims who came to revivalist Islam via Mawdudi’s writings. Its support base is lower-middle-class Muslims from both the traditional petit bourgeoisie and the more modern economic sectors of Pakistani society. The Jama’at seeks Islamic revival through the establishment of an Islamic state with the Qur’an and sunnah as its constitution and the shari`ah as its law. It regards Islam as a comprehensive way of life that provides guidance in all human activities. Its political struggle has focused on making Pakistan an Islamic state and on capturing political power in order to implement the socioeconomic ideals of Islam. In the course of its intense ideological and political battles against secular liberalism, Communism, and Islamic modernism, the Jama`at has emerged as the most articulate spokesman of Islamic conservatism in socioreligious matters in contemporary Pakistan. Although its political influence and ideological impact on Pakistan’s educational and cultural institutions has been considerable, the Jama’at has consistently fared poorly in national elections. It has about four thousand organization units in Pakistan with more than six thousand “full members,” a select core group. The Jama’at has been closely associated with Islamic resistance movements in Afghanistan and Kashmir as well as with other Muslim causes such as Palestine and Bosnia. These developments have engendered growing radicalization of the Jama`at’s foreign policy and have also strengthened its fraternal links with Islamic movements in other Muslim countries.

Although the Jama’at remains the most powerful voice of Islamic fundamentalist revivalism in Pakistan, there have also emerged in recent years some splinter religious groups with considerable affinity to its ideology. Two of these groups are headed by former Jama’at followers whose intellectual indebtedness and ideological loyalty to Mawdudi is evident in their writings and programs of action. One of these groups was launched by Israr Ahmad under the name Tanz, im-i Islami during the 1970s, with a program of Islamic moral and social revival aimed at the establishment of an Islamic khildfah. Another such group was organized by Javid Ahmad al-Ghamidi, who claimed that he, not the Jama’at was Mawdudi-‘s true heir.

[See also Jama’at-i Islam-1.]


Abbott, Freeland. Islam and Pakistan. Ithaca, 1968. A succinct study of the role of Islam in Pakistan’s politics, culture, and society. Ahmad, Aziz. Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan, x857-1964. London, 1967. Series of penetrating studies on modern intellectual and religious thought in India and Pakistan with an emphasis on the dynamic relationships between politics, socio-cultural change, and reformulation of religious ideas.

Ahmad, Aziz, and G. E. Von Grunebaum, eds. Muslim Self-Statement in India and Pakistan, 1857-1968. Wiesbaden, 1970. A valuable collection of writings by Indo-Pakistani Muslim intellectuals and religious and political leaders; an indispensable guide to the intellectual history of Islam in modern South Asia.

Ahmad, Mumtaz. “Pakistan.” In The Politics of Islamic Revivalism, edited by Shireen T. Hunter, pp. 229-246. Bloomington, 1988. Examines the political, social and economic factors of Islamic resurgence in Pakistan during the 1980s, and analyzes the political and social consequences of President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq’s Islamization policies.

Binder, Leonard. Religion and Politics in Pakistan. Berkeley, 1963. A brilliant and perceptive analysis of early controversies with regard to Pakistan as an Islamic State, the role of Islam in Pakistan’s constitution making and the divergent views of secularists, modernists, conservatives, and fundamentalists.

Ewing, Katherine. “The Politics of Sufism: Redefining the Saints of Pakistan.” Journal of Asian Studies 42.2 (February 1983): 252-268. Examines the traditional role of Sufism in Pakistani society and the legislative and administrative moves by the state to control the sufi shrines.

Hussain, Arif. Pakistan: Its Ideology and Foreign Policy. London, 1966. Analysis of how Islamic ideological considerations shaped Pakistan’s foreign policies toward India, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the superpowers.

Ikram, S. M., and Percival Spear, eds. The Cultural Heritage of Pakistan. Karachi, 1955. Excellent collection of essays dealing with the cultural heritage of Pakistan and the ways in which it is reflected in its contemporary art forms.

Naim, C. M., ed. Iqbal, Jinnah and Pakistan: The Vision and the Reality. Syracuse, N.Y., 1979. Offers both the conventional and a revisionist view of the role of Islam in the creation of Pakistan.

Qureshi, Ishtiaq Husain. The Muslim Community of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent (610-1967). The Hague, 1962. A valuable introduction to the history of the Indo-Pakistan Muslim Community with emphasis on religio-intellectual and ideological currents.

Qureshi, Ishtiaq Husain. The Struggle for Pakistan. Karachi, 1965. Traces the development of ideological and political forces that culminated in the creation of Pakistan.

Qureshi, Ishtiaq Husain. Ulema in Politics. Karachi, 1972. An excellent survey of the role of the `ulama’ in politics of the subcontinent from the sultanate period to the creation of Pakistan.

Rahman, Fazlur. Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition. Chicago, 2982. A passionate critique of contemporary Islamic intellectual thought and education with frequent references to Pakistani situation.

Sayeed, Khalid B. The Political System of Pakistan. Boston, 1967. Although dated, Sayeed’s study is still the best introduction to Pakistani politics during its formative period; contains an excellent chapter on Islam and political culture of Pakistan.

Smith, Donald Eugene, ed. South Asian Politics and Religion. Princeton, 1966. Contains five important contributions by Freeland K. Abbot, Charles J. Adams, Fazlur Rahman, Khalid B. Sayeed, and Wayne A. Wilcox on several important aspects of the role of Islam in Pakistan’s politics.

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. Islam in Modern History. Princeton, 1957. Includes an excellent chapter titled “Pakistan as an Islamic State.” Syed, Anwar H. Pakistan: Islam, Politics, and National Solidarity. New York, 1982, Examines the role of Islam in Pakistan’s political and ideological controversies.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/pakistan/

  • writerPosted On: June 23, 2017
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