Archive for September, 2017

The Islamic laws and modern legal systems

September 28, 2017

–Nasir Khan

Those who are well-acquainted with the Sharia laws and modern legal systems should be in a position to show what the Sharia laws of Islam are and how they are inadequate to protect and safeguard people and their rights in these times.

No doubt, during the early period of Islamic rule, the system of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqah) that developed had its basis in the Qur’anic legislation and they were progressive and innovative according to the standards of those times. Prominent Muslim jurists (fuqhah) used various devices, such as ijtihad, analogy, istihsan, ijma, istidlal, to extend the laws and their application.

But around the 13th century things changed and Islamic jurisprudence came to a standstill. It was no more able to move with the changing times. And that condition still prevails. In addition, the Sharia law has become more regressive and inequitable in places where it has been enforced, especially in matters of women’s rights, male domination, criminal offences, etc. etc.

Many ordinary people who have their traditional Islamic identity and customs don’t have the slightest clue about the Sharia laws. Their way of thinking is shaped not by any independent thinking or observations, but by what they hear in the sermons of their clergy and religious preachers. Their thinking in such matters is very simple: The Sharia laws are made by God; therefore they are always the best for all! Once they become the laws in our countries, justice and truth will prevail; injustice and violations of human rights will disappear. The true rule of God on earth will appear. The lion and the goat will drink water from the same pond!

In sum, this is all what they think and nothing more. But unfortunately all this is illusory and has no basis in reality. Now the big question is: How to remove such daydreaming and misunderstandings? The answer lies in giving the correct information. That involves a gradual and systematic educational process. This can be performed by those who know the inadequacy of the Sharia laws that don’t and can’t meet the needs of people in this age. To do so is not an easy task for many reasons. However, it is essential to impart such information in a polite and humane way without resorting to abusive or aggressive language or making any attacks on traditional religious beliefs and customs.

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The role of Mr Jinnah in a historical perspective

September 3, 2017

Nasir Khan, September 3, 2017

For many historians of the Indian subcontinent Mr Jinnah’s role both as a leader and a statesman in pre-partition India is controversial. Personally, I have never accepted even for a second his communalist perspective that led to the demand for Pakistan. Right from the start, the “Two Nation Theory” was hollow and untenable, which in practice became a dead albatross round the necks of the people of the Indian subcontinent and is still choking them.

During the Second World War, the British used the leaders of the Muslim League to weaken the demands of the Indian National Congress for independence when Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement and a major civil disobedience movement became a threat to the British in India. At that critical juncture in the national struggle for India’s independence, the British were able to resort to lure the leaders of the Muslim League to reject the struggle for independence and side with the British, which they did under Mr Jinnah. Thus the groundwork for the partition of India was becoming a reality under the patronage of the British. That’s exactly what they did in 1947 and divided India on Hindu-Muslim lines as two different nations, thus defying both common sense and practical issues involved in such a partition plan.

The religious card had served Mr. Jinnah well and he succeeded in his ambitious plans. But at what a cost! The Muslims spread throughout the length and breadth of India were left in an extremely vulnerable position and the subsequent history of the subcontinent has shown how the Indian Muslims become marginalized and left at the mercy of Hindutva forces and militant reactionary Hindus. In fact, these people were sacrificed for a cause which proved to be a disaster for all.

Now coming to Mr. Jinnah’s role as the Governor-General of the newly-established state of Pakistan, Mr Jinnah was aware that the reality of Pakistan as a state was different from the rhetorical propaganda that was used for the creation of such a state before the partition of 1947. This new country didn’t have only Muslims, but also had large religious minorities of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and followers of other faiths! He could no longer repeat the previous slogan of Pakistan only for the Muslims. Now, Pakistan had followers of different faiths.

To meet the needs of all religious communities, he made his famous speech in which advanced his views for a state where religion was not to affect the democratic state or to impose only one religion on the people of this country. That was a realistic assessment of the situation in the new country. But he was an ailing person; he didn’t live long enough to lay the foundations of any such policy as the guiding principles that could have led Pakistan in a direction than the one it followed after his death in 1948.

Some thoughts on killing and eating animals

September 1, 2017

— Nasir Khan, September 1, 2017

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.”

— The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

In this saying, the greatest Russian writer of all time had a particular perspective on humanity, a perspective in which the members of this species are viewed as fully human and humane who can live perfectly well by using diverse products of nature that come from the Earth, but without killing other animals to use as food.

For an uncultivated mind, such a perspective definitely is far too idealistic and remote from what the humans mostly do as they have done for hundreds of thousands of years. But that message is not for such people. This message is for people who can understand that we as human beings have also a responsibility to protect other animals and not to kill them as humans did in the early periods as hunters and gatherers.