‘Religion’ & Violence [3 of 3]

religion-power-violence1

After the army was able to control the situation that had arisen out of the Anti Ahmadiyya Movement in the early 1950s, a lengthy enquiry followed. This was presided by CJ Munir and Justice Kayani. During the enquiry, Ulema of different sects could not agree on a definition of a Muslim.
But Islamist extremist bigots continue to resurrect the anti-Ahmadiya and ant- Shia and anti-everything except anti-Wahhabi outrages, whenever they feel they need to revive their fortunes and revitalize their cadres. 
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PAKISTAN’S DRIFT TOWARDS THEOCRACY

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by Dr. Syed Ehtisham

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One has to consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (MGA) of Qadian, now in the Indian Punjab, in the context of the prevailing conditions in India in mid and late 18th CE. Islam was under siege by Christian missionaries and Hindu revivalists. Punjab, which had been designated a battlefield by all comers and their Indian foes, had adopted a homogenous culture, in which mysticism and Sufism played a great part. In the census of 1881, men of religion had to run a vigorous campaign to persuade people to register as Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Moulvis, naturally, had to work the hardest, as Muslims had not recovered from the depredations visited on their faith and places of worship by Ranjit Singh-he had converted the Shahi mosque in Lahore into Royal stables.

MGA was a learned man, and developed a thesis in defense of his religion. He developed a big following.

 He would not have merited even a footnote in history, if he had not had a ‘revelation’ that Jesus had not died on the cross, had in fact been rescued, helped to escape from Palestine and eventually arrived in Kashmir, and lived happily for a long time. It implied that he would appear again on earth. That was MGA himself, a Nabi, but not a Rasool – the former term denotes the status of one sent by god for guidance, renaissance as it were, the latter term the status of a messenger, with a new message.

The ‘revelation’ denied the mainstream Islamic belief that Jesus had been lifted off the cross and replaced by a look alike. It also belied the Christian belief that he had died, and rose from the grave three days later.

One rather remarkable tenet of the creed is armed Jihaad is not permitted, which suited the British just fine.

He was greeted with a lot of ‘fatwas’, but continued to gain strength.

MGA died in 1908, and was succeeded by a caliph, on whose death, MGA’s son Mirza Bashiruddin took over. This led to a split. One group accepted his teachings, but rejected the claim of “ Naboat”. They are called Lahori group. Both are called Ahmadis, after his last name.

Like all small groups, they looked after each other, with missionary zeal.

Jinnah nominated a member of the creed, Chaudhary Zafarullah Khan, as high court judge, to the Partition Council, and after independence, appointed him as Pakistan’s first foreign minister. Nobel Laureate Professor Abdus Salam had converted to the faith in his early life.

The faith was, more or less, confined to the Punjab. I had not heard of it in post partition India, and was only vaguely made aware of them on arrival in Quetta. I was actually warned to brush off their advances, as they tried to entice students from the poorer sections of the population.

 Looking for a populist cause, and to gain a measure of legitimacy they had lost by opposing the creation of Pakistan, Islamists led by Maulana Maududi, started a violent campaign against them. The Punjab chief minister, Mian Mumtaz Daulatana, was in cahoots with Governor General Ghulam Muhammad, against PM Khwaja Nazimuddin, and saw in the disturbance an opportunity to destabilize the government. He kept the police from intervening. Riots exploded. Ghulam Muhammad declared martial law in Lahore, with Major General Azam Khan as ML administrator. Azam got the situation under control in twenty four hours.

That gave the army the first taste of control over the civilians, from which the country has not recovered yet.

The demand to declare Ahmadis ‘kafir’ faded, till in 1976, Zulfiqar Bhutto, in order to steal the thunder of the combined opposition of which Islamists were an important component, and who had derided him for drinking and womanizing, declared them non-Muslims, in addition to the ban on alcohol and change weekly holiday from Sunday to Friday.

A lengthy enquiry, presided by CJ Munir and Justice Kayani followed. During the enquiry, Ulema of different sects could not agree on a definition of a Muslim.

Islamist extremist bigots resurrect these anti-Ahmadiya and ant- Shia and anti-everything except anti-Wahhabi outrages, whenever they feel they need to revive their fortunes and revitalize their cadres.

Concluded.

 Previous:  Post WWII: British pass their legacy of Divide and Rule to the US

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