The irony of ‘Islamic’ Pakistan


Everyone here has been termed non-Muslim, one way or another



Chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology recently suggested to move in some issues to discuss in their meetings – the first one being, are Ahmadis just non-Muslims or apostates too? In a country which is almost on a threshold of destruction due to Islamist terrorism at its peak, growing radicalisation among youth and increasing penetration of religious extremism among the educated class, can we afford having such a dangerous discussion at this point?

Established in 1962, the chief purpose of Council of Islamic Ideology is to advise the government and Parliament on matters pertaining to Islam and its teachings.

The council constitutes of clerics from all major Islamic sects in Pakistan, except Ahmadiyya community which is considered non-Muslim.

The kafiri-zation of Ahmadis in 1974 was the result of decades-long movement against them by religious parties. The final blow came when Deobandi, Barelvi, Jamat-i-Islami and Shia clerics formed an alliance to move in a resolution in National Assembly, as well as convincing Bhutto for the big step.

The coalition between far-right parties is not a past story. These clerical organisations forged an alliance under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) to counter the ‘Westernised Musharraf’.

After the American bombing at Salala check post, killing 24 Pakistan Army soldiers, another religio-political coalition was established, named ‘Difa-e-Pakistan Council’.

All of these religious parties have common demand: to implement the system of Sharia in Pakistan.

The big question here is: which Sharia? A study of original text of existing sects shows that from founding fathers to the followers, every sect has apostatised all others in Pakistan.

Starting with Jamat-i-Islami, which is famous for apostatising Jinnah and rabidly opposing Pakistan Movement, its founder Maudoodi wrote, “Political leaders or religious scholars – all of them, due to their ideology and policy, are equally ignorant and have been detracted from the path of righteousness.” (Musalman Aur Moujooda Siyasi Kashmakash, Volume 3, page 77)

On the other hand, Hussain Ahmed Madni, a Deobandi cleric, about Maudoodi said, “Maudoodi talking about Quran and Sunnah is just fraud. He believes neither in Quran, nor Sunnah. He is actually formulating a new religion.” (Maudoodi Mazhab by Qazi Mazhar Hussain, page 132)

Another Deobandi scholar Khair Muhammad Jalandhari said, “Some of Maudoodi and his followers’ beliefs are against Ahle Sunnat and he is against the following of great Islamic scholars. Thus, I consider him an infidel (non-believer).” (Page 135)

On 1 August, 1951, at the Delhi office of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, it was decreed decisively by the whole leadership that, “Maudoodi and Jamat-i-Islami’s beliefs have affected Muslims in a very negative manner and lead to the path of ignorance. Their beliefs are very dangerous for Muslims.” (Page 137)

Yousaf Ludhianvi, in his book ‘Shia Sunni Ikhtilafaat Aur Siraat-i-Mustaqim’, has apostatised Shias with historical references from early religious scholars, including those touted as the ‘founders’ of Two-Nation Theory.

Barelvis are not far behind as well. “Devil is up to establish new sects in Muslims like Deobandism, Wahhabism, Shiaism, Ghamadism, and Isamailism and so on. Since their beliefs are based on infidelity, they can’t be righteous.” (60 Zehreele Saanp Aur Maslak-i-Haq Ahle Sunnat by Muhammad Tufail Rizvi)

“Among all those who claim to be Muslims in subcontinent, only Sunnis (Barelvi) are Muslims and the rest are infidels and apostates.” (Tajanib-i-Ahle Sunnat, page 116)

When asked about his opinion on Shah Ismail, Ahmed Raza Khan replied, “I believe he was like Yazid. If someone calls him an infidel, don’t stop him.” (Malfoozat Ahmed Raza, Volume 1, page 110)

“All the followers of Ahle Hadith sect are infidels, pure devils and are inspired by evil.” (Daman-e-Bagh Subhan-as-Subuh, page 134)

On Deobandi scholar, Ahmed Raza Khan wrote, “People will be sent to hell for following Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi.” (Hassamul Harmain, page 21)

“Don’t suspect the infidelity of those who suspect the infidelity of Ahsraf Ali Thanvi.” (Fatawa Africa, page 124)

To further understand the amount of hatred between Deobandis and Barelvis, readers can go through ‘Razakhani Mazhab’ by Saeed Ahmed Qadri and ‘Deobandi Mazhab’ by Ghulam Mehar Ali.

Proving Hanafis to be against the teachings of Quran and accusing them of committing shirk, Ahle Hadith scholar Badi’ ud-Din Shah decreed it was not allowed to offer prayer behind a Hanafi imam.

Mufti Naeem Jamia Binuria, often comes on TV talk shows, posing to be a moderate Muslim. On the contrary, on the website of his madrasah,, the Muftis have decreed almost all other sects to be out of the circle of Islam.

Organisations belonging to Deobandi, Ahle Hadith, Jamat-i-Islami and Barelvi sects have been seen rallying in the favour of Saudi Arabia under the cover of the protection of holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Interestingly, Saudi ulema themselves have declared Deobandi and Barelvis to be non-Muslims and ‘innovators’.

When asked about Deobandi Tableeghi, Jamaat Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee said, “Their going out is not [regarded as] in the Path of Allah, rather it is in the path of Iliyaas. They do not invite to the Book [of Alaah] and nor the Sunnah, rather they invite to Iliyaas, their Shaykh in India.” (Fataawa wa Rasaail Samaahhtush-Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee, Volume 1, page 174)

About Barelvis, “Most of their characteristics and attributes are of kufr (disbelief) and bid’ah (innovation) which negate the tawheed (oneness) with which Allah had sent His messenger and revealed in His Book, and that which conflicts with the Quraan” (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daaimah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa, Volume 2, page 396, Fatwa No 3090)

We have seen the curse of fatwa-mongering when in 2004, after Wana Operation started, Deobandi ulema decreed a fatwa of heresy against the officers and soldiers of Pakistan Army.

“Any army officer or solider who acts on the orders of his commander will be committing the biggest sin and if died, must not be termed as shaheed. Moreover, it is not advisable for a true Muslim to either lead or take part in his funeral.”

When asked about those killed by army soldiers, the response was: “Because those who got killed were ‘innocents’, they would be termed as shaheed.” The fatwa was signed by all the leading Deobandi scholars; few of whom include names like Nizamuddin Shamzai, Abdul Razzaq Sikander, and Doctor Sher Ali Shah, Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid and Hameedullah Jan of Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore.

Under these circumstances, when every sect apostatises others, is it possible to implement a system of Sharia acceptable to everyone? Things seem to be standing exactly where they were in 1953, when Justice Munir Commission filed its report, concluding there was no definition of a Muslim on which scholars from all sects agreed.

Neither have the clerics of these sects detested the fatwas of apostasy by their elders, nor have they stopped practising it themselves. Hence, demand of implementing Islamic system by all sects combined, who otherwise apostatise each other, seems ludicrous.

The only way out of this ongoing problem is to secularise the constitution, confine religion to personal lives, pulling it out of statecraft whatsoever, and criminalise all sorts of sectarian discussion. Otherwise, this sectarian conflict is the getaway to the path of destruction and any move to implement an Islamic system (of a particular sect) could be the end.


  1. The writer has worked very hard in establishing conflict between all the sects and on the basis has suggested to secularize Pakistan. But the irony will be why in the first place Muhammad Ali Jinnah had demanded Pakistan on the basis of religious differences. Majority of sectarian differences date back to the time when struggle of Pakistan was still going on. So here writer has to explain that why Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted a country built on the basis of religion. Or Jinnah had other motives which could only be pursued if he could lead a country, since he couldn't lead a Hindu majority nation. The real problem is that we are following sects and sectarian leaders more than The Quran and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Solution to our problems lies in leaving our sectarian leaders and follow our real roots. Every one of us need to learn The Quran so that we can understand real message and counter sectarianism on the basis of The Quran.

  2. Muslims in all India Congress had warned that the division of india on the basis if ideology will result in a divisive dogma without any limits or end. The divisive dogma is now devouring the country. Unfortunately the original secular leadership of Quaid Azam did not get a chance to abate and control the superficial sloganism of ‘Mulla’ group. Until this group is tackled Pakistan cannot hope to grow as a powerful Muslim country.

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