By Dr. Israr Ahmad
Pakistan enjoys a special significance in the context of the contemporary global movement for Islamic revival and renaissance. There are, indeed, a number of indications that Pakistan is destined to play a pivotal role concerning the future of Islam, and that Pakistan will have the honor of leading the Muslim Ummah into the age characterized by the domination of Islam. Unlike the more or less simultaneous movements launched against the yoke of Western imperialism throughout the Muslim world, it was only in the Indian subcontinent that the name of Islam was invoked. Furthermore, any keen student of history can appreciate the veracity of the assertion that, in view of the extremely unfavorable situation prevailing at the time, the establishment of a separate homeland for Muslims in 1947 was nothing short of a miracle.
The creation of Pakistan was in direct response to our firm and solemn pledge to Almighty Allah (swt) __ the pledge that, in case we succeed in gaining our much coveted freedom, we will establish the Islamic system of social justice in this country. During the movement for independence, we made public claims of creating a model Islamic state, showing to the entire world the true picture of Islam and demonstrating how the Islamic ideals of human freedom, equality and fraternity work in real life.
What we have done during the last half century or so, however, is a different story. We have utterly and completely failed to live up to our claims. We have done everything in this country except what we were supposed to. We have followed every path except the one we should have. Instead of worshipping Almighty Allah (swt), we have been paying our humble homage to the goddess of wealth; instead of cultivating a sense of unity, we have chosen the path of provincial parochialism and religious sectarianism; and instead of establishing the Islamic system of social justice, we have let the demons of exploitation and repression run amok. We, the Pakistani Muslims, are hardly in a position to blame anyone but ourselves for our sorry state of affairs. Because of our position of authority or leadership, some of us may have been more responsible than others, but none of us is totally free from guilt.
Under the present conditions, there is only one course of action that can lead to our salvation: collective repentance. What we mean by a collective repentance is that the final aim of the endeavors of a significant portion of Pakistani Muslims must undergo a radical change __ a change from their present preoccupation with the pursuit of this-worldly goals to a similar preoccupation with the fulfillment of their basic Islamic responsibilities. The prerequisite for any positive change in the present scenario is that an appreciable segment of our population must realize that obedience to the commandments of Almighty Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (sa), propagation and dissemination of the teachings of the Quran and Hadeeth and the struggle to establish the politico-socio-economic system as given by Islam are their fundamental and absolutely inescapable duties. All those, who thus realize their divinely ordained obligations, must be welded together in the form of a disciplined and highly organized party or Hizbullah. The establishment of the envisioned Islamic state will be possible only through the efforts and sacrifices of such dedicated people.
What we really need is a radical change in the entire politico-socio-economic structure, replacing this corrupt, decaying and unfair system with the Islamic system of social justice. Such a system is to be based on the sovereignty of Almighty Allah (swt) and the implementation of the injunctions of the Quran and the Sunnah at all levels of the state, whether executive, judiciary or legislative. What is being proposed here in effect is a modern and democratic welfare state, where the elimination of all forms of social discrimination, economic exploitation and political repression will be the primary objectives of the government. Keeping in view the conditions prevailing currently in Pakistan, the implementation of such lofty ideals is impossible without a revolution.
What do we mean by a revolution? A revolution can be defined as the bringing about of basic and radical changes in the social, political or economic systems dominant in a given country. The most thorough revolution involves the transformation of all of these aspects of collective human existence. Although the term ‘Islamic revolution’ is rapidly becoming a hollow cliché due to its widespread abuse by politico-religious parties, the fact remains that such a revolution is our only hope.
In view of the evolution of social thought during the last few hundred years, we believe that it is very much possible to change the entire system without resorting to any armed rebellion or terrorist activity. In contrast to the age of the Prophet (sa), it has now become possible to replace one system by another through a non-violent and unarmed rebellion against the status quo. This idea is based on the simple fact that even the most secure and the most firmly established politico-socio-economic order will collapse, when people refuse their cooperation and persist in their disobedience and defiance. Recent examples of the success of this passive resistance type of non-violent insurgency include the popular uprising in Iran against the Shah, the triumph of the ‘people power’ against the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and the anti-Communism movements in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
However, before such a popular mass movement can be launched in order to bring about an Islamic revolution, a disciplined and highly organized party or Hizbullah is needed to keep the whole movement on the right track, consisting of totally dedicated volunteers, who have realized their divinely ordained obligations and have consciously decided that they have to live and die for the sake of Islam. The Tanzeem-e-Islami is endeavoring for the establishment of precisely such a revolutionary group, its target primarily being Pakistan, but it addresses Muslims living anywhere in the world.
Most of the Islamic movements have taken either to the bullet or to the ballet for establishing the Deen of Allah (swt). The Tanzeem-e-Islami believes that an ideal Islamic state cannot be established by either of these methods, and we have to go back to the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) for the guidance of the methodology of Iqamah Al-Deen. When we look at the Seerah, we find that the struggle of the Prophet (sa) was revolutionary in nature. His struggle can be understood as having six phases. One phase naturally leads to the other. If we jump from one phase to the next without fulfilling the requirements of the former, we may not succeed. Following are the six phases of this struggle:
- Dawah (calling people to Islam and Imaan)
- Tanzeem (organization of those who respond)
- Passive resistance
- Active resistance
- Challenge and conflict
In the revolution brought about by Prophet Muhammad (sa), the final phase of conflict took the form of an armed struggle against the status quo. Under the present conditions, however, there is no need for an armed struggle; indeed, such a struggle is not likely to succeed. The state and government are now recognized as two different entities, and the right of the citizens to bring about a change in the government and the established system is now an accepted democratic right, as long as they do not indulge in violence or rebellion against the state.