by Nasir Ahmad
The concept of State Religion is inherently flawed. Enforcement is essential for state whereas freedom is integral to religion. State has got a separate intitution for the enforcement of Law and the Constitution. If we make religion an integral part of the constitution, the institution for the enforcement of Law and the Constitution will be bound to enforce it upon people. They will have to compel people to abide by the dictates of the religion and this is exactly what is totally alien to the spirit of religion. Religion grants everyone the freedom to accept and adopt whichever faith he finds correct or whichever faith he chooses. Similarly, to the people who are committed to a particular faith, religion grants total freedom as to whether they act upon its dictates or not. If a person is Muslim, though he should act upon all the dictates of the Holy Quran, but no one else is allowed to compel him to abide by any particular dictate of the Holy Quran. He may abide by it or he may not.
The Holy Quran asks everyone to abide by all its dictates but it allows no one the right to compel anyone else to abide by any of its dictates. Everyone Muslim should follow the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, but Quran is totally clear at this point that it is upto the people THEMSELVES whether they do so or not. They should, but no one else is allowed to compel them.
The following are some of the representative verses of the Holy Quran in this regard:
Al-Kahaf, 29: “…let him who WILL, belive, and let him, who WILL, disbelieve.”
Al-Furqan, 57: Allah asks our beloved Holy Prophet PBUH to say: “I ask of you no recompense for it, save that whoso CHOOSES may take a way that leads to hir Lord.”
Al-Muzammil, 19: “This, surely, is a reminder. So let him, who WILL, take a way unto his Lord.”
Al-Mudassir, 55 to 56: “…this Quran is an exhortation enough. Let him, then, who WILL, remember it.”
Al-Dahr, 3: “We have shown him the way, WHETHER HE BE grateful or ungrateful.”
Al-Dahr, 29: “Verily, this is a Reminder. So whoever WISHES, may take a way unto his Lord.”
Al-Naba, 39: “That day is sure to come. So let him, who WILL, seek recourse unto his Lord.”
Abasa, 11 to 12: “Surely, it is a Reminder; So let him who DESIRES pay heed to it…”
Al-Baqarah, 256: “There is no compulsion in religion.”
So, anyone can see that The Holy Quran gives every right to everyone that he may accept or he may reject. Our beloved Holy Prophet never imposed Islam on anyone. He was sent only to REMIND, not to COMPEL or FORCE. The following are some of the relevant verses in this regard:
Al-An’aam, 107: “And We have NOT made thee a keeper over them, NOR art thou over them a guardian.”
Al-Zumar, 41: “Verily, We have revealed to thee the Book comprising all truth for the good of makind. So whoever follows guidance, follows it for the benefit of his own soul; and whoever goes astray, goes astray only to its detriment. And thou art NOT a guardian over them.”
Al-Shura, 6: “And as for those who take for themselves protectors beside Him, Allah watches over them, and thou art NOT a guardian over them.”
Qaaf, 45: “We know best what they say; and THOU ART NOT TO COMPEL THEM IN ANY WAY. So admonish, by means of the Quran, him who fears My warning.”
Al-Ma’ida, 92: “And obey Allah and obey the Messenger. and be on your guard. But if you turn away, then know that on Our Messenger lies ONLY the clear conveyance of the Message.”
Al-Ma’ida, 99: “On the Messenger lies ONLY the conveying of the Message.”
Al-Ra’d, 40: “…on thee lies ONLY the delivery of the Message, and on US the reckoning.”
Al-Shura, 48: “But if they turn away, We have NOT sent thee as a guardian over them. Thy duty is ONLY to convey the Message.”
Al-Ghashiyah, 21 to 22: “… you are MERELY an admonisher; you are NOT a magistrate over them.”
So, if even our beloved Holy Prophet PBUH was not allowed to compel anyone to belive and to follow and abide by the dictates of the Holy Quran, then who is the state and who are the so called champions of Islam to impose it on people? To claim a place that was not allowed even to the Holy Prophet PBUH is a sheer BLASPHEMY! How strange it is that the peole who always come shouting at the top of their voices that this is blasphemy, that is blasphemy, this must be arreted, that must be punished, do not realise that when they claim that “we the chosen ones, we are the protectors of Islam, Islam is in danger, we are appointed by God to implement it in the country, it must be made a part of the constitution, it must be entitled to be our state religion,” etc, they are actually claiming for them a status, a place that was not allowed even to the Holy Prophet PBUH, and this itself is blasphemy incarnated!! They keep crying in the name of Namoos e Rasaalat, and dont recognize that they THEMSELVES are its first and foremost violators!!! Religion has granted us total freedom and has left it upto US whether we follow it or not. We should, but no one has the right to compel or force us.
State requires us to abide by the Constitution and religion grants us total freedom as to whether we accept it or not. So, if religion becomes a part of the constitution, it will be binding upon the citizens, and this is exactly what is not allowed in religion. The problem with the state religion is paradoxical and contradictory in nature. At one side we will have total freedom, whereas on the other we will be bound. Religion will be allowing us to accept it or reject it, whereas state will be forcing us to abide by its dictates. In the case of a state religion, the state will be having two such segments – i.e., the law enforcement institution and the religion – as will be mutually exclusive, and, being contradictory in nature, will never be able to co-exist as part and parcel of a single entity, the state. Religion will be granting us total freedom of choice, whereas law enforcement institution will be snatching it away from us. The contradiction is obvious. So, the concept of a
state religion in instrinsically and inherently flawed and it is practically impossible to implement it on governmental level; because such an implementation will be totally against the soul and spirit of religion.