By Nusrat Pasha
Europe drew wisdom from pragmatism, and eventually separated the Church from the State. Ataturk had to struggle ardently to emancipate Turkey from its theocratic past and lead it to a secular and secure future. Secularism, as some people misleadingly propose, does not at all imply being anti-God, anti-Religion or atheistic or even agnostic; it only means to separate Religion from the business of the State. In fact, speaking realistically, this precisely is what the Holy Quran teaches in the words ” laa ikraaha fid deen ” (Quran 2 : 256) meaning ‘there is no compulsion in matters of religion’. Instead of deriving guidance from the Word of God, we as a nation, preferred to be intimidated and remain enslaved by the ‘ holier than all ‘ clergy of this country.
There is an oft misquoted line of Iqbal, which , can actually open the doors to religious extremism. Iqbal said : ” juda ho deen siyasat say to reh jaati hai changezi “. People in search of justifications for bringing Religion into politics, keep quoting this line. Deen does not mean Clergy, because if it did, we would have to infer that contrary to Iqbal’s claim, by bringing deen into siyasat, we practically landed in the midst of Changezi. This Changezi in turn has cost us the lives of more about 3000 of our valiant soldiers and a similarly large number of innocent civilians.
The truth, rather undeniable truth is that, what we apologetically call “militancy” is nothing but ” mullaism “. Opting to use terms like “militancy” instead of “mullaism “, has less to do with our objectivity, and more to do with fear of the Mulla that rides our subconscious minds. Otherwise, it is historically established that all forms of religious priesthood, known to man, when allowed into politics have invariably evolved into militancy. This is a thumb-rule we must always keep ourselves reminded of. Each time a soldier falls, during the ongoing Rah-e-Nijat Operation, let the entire nation be reminded that this is the price we must pay for silently tolerating mullaism for six decades. Each shahadat offered and each wound received is the result of allowing religion into politics.
Let us not forget that in the history of Muslims, mullaism was first politically institutionalized during the reign of Yazeed. That was the first instance of a council of Muslim ulema, involved in politics, issuing a unanimous fatwa. The council of ulema, in the court of Yazid, unanimously declared Hazrat Imam Husain a kaafir (heretic), a murtadd (apostate) and waajibul qatl (worthy of being put to death). The tragic events of Karbala were only a logical consequence. Therefore, it is not surprising, that throughout the history of Muslims, Saints and Sufis have, for some reason or the other, always been opposed and persecuted by their contemporary ulema. These are all facts – bitter historical facts. We have to reconcile with them, and learn from them.
Today our dear country is at war with religious extremism. Religious extremism is either the natural consequence of allowing religion to come into politics or the result of politicizing Religion. Either way, the outcome is religious extremism. Extremism leads to religious inequality. Religious inequality, in turn, arouses among the clergy representing the majority, an insatiable desire to rule and impose its own interpretation per force. This subsequently paves the way to friction, then militancy and then terrorism, in the name of Religion.