Islamic Revolution: the only possible future for Pakistan – Dr Kalim Siddiqui

Abridged text of Dr Kalim Siddiqui’s speech at the MI seminar on ‘What Future for Pakistan?’, London, 16-18 August, 1984. Published by Muslimedia (October 1984) and reprinted in Issues in the Islamic movement, vol. 5, 1984-85 (1404-05), pp. 103-109.

Islamic Revolution: the only possible future for Pakistan

By Kalim Siddiqui

The State of Pakistan was created a ‘Dominion’ of the British Empire, and its rulers have gone on to seek greater and greater subservience to the west. Having got the State of Pakistan, these leaders and rulers of Pakistan had no idea why the State was created. Their only concern was to maintain themselves in power. If this required subservience to the west, they accepted such subservience in the ‘national interest’. The west has spoon-fed these rulers because such rulers were most likely to destroy Pakistan from within. If Pakistan has a future, then that future can only be reached by first dispensing with the past and present rulers, the politicians, the political parties, and the officer class of the military and civilian establishments. The feudal and the capitalist systems have also to be displaced.

The future of Pakistan is not a matter that concerns only the people of Pakistan. The 100 million people of Pakistan are part of the 1,000-million-strong Muslim Ummah. The future of every Muslim State is the proper and rightful concern of every other Muslim community or State. No Muslim country today can solve its problems in isolation. Muslims an over the world must realize that nationalism is kufr, and that the modern nation-States are a creation of that period in history when Muslims were defeated and dominated by kufr.

The Ummah in Pakistan is in particular difficulty over nationalism. The secular leadership of the Muslim League was incapable of defining the identity of the Muslims of British India in terms of Islam alone. Being secular and westernized, they felt that the ‘national’ unity of India claimed by the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress could only be broken by a nationalist attack on it. This was the ground that Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah knew well. He led the Muslim ‘nation’ to the nation State of Pakistan through constitutional means. For his performance he rightfully earned the popular accolade of the Quaid-e Azam, the Great Leader. Thus the leaders of the Pakistan movement and the Muslim Ummah in Pakistan arrived in the new State facing in opposite directions: the leaders determined to build a European- style secular nation-State, the Muslim Ummah in Pakistan expecting a return to the golden era of the Khulafa-e Rashideen. The contrast and contradiction between the leadership and the Muslim masses was perhaps never so great. Tyranny is the natural outcome of a situation in which the leadership wants to take the people in a direction in which they do not wish to go. Such tyranny can only survive with help from outside. Such help for oppressive secular regimes in Muslim countries is readily available from the centres of kufr in the modern world.

The misfortune of the Muslim Ummah in Pakistan extends to the role of Islam in the country’s secular politics. All secular parties and politicians have claimed that they, too, were working for Islam. This is a hangover from the Muslim League’s success in mixing Islam with nationalism. Even the late Maulana Maudoodi found that he could not challenge the secular roots of Pakistani nationalism. When the secular leaders accused Maudoodi of having opposed Pakistan, the learned Maulana, instead of standing his ground, went on the defensive. Just as Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League had mixed nationalism with Islam, Maulana Maudoodi and the Jama’at-e Islami tried to mix Islam with nationalism. The Jama’at, having tried to emulate the Muslim League, has itself become a Muslim League. It is this that has led them to support the officially-launched ‘Islamization’ programme of the military regime in Pakistan that is a mockery of Islam.

The performance of Pakistan as a nation-State is so dismal that its existence is threatened. The failure of its successive rulers is so total that it is difficult to take an optimistic view of the future. States that do not achieve the minimum level of performance necessary for survival wither away or are destroyed by external force. Already we have seen East Pakistan wrenched away through civil strife and invasion. What remains is by no means safe.

Despite these monumental failures, those who have assembled at this seminar in London (August 16-18, 1984) believe that the creation of Pakistan in 1947 was right and that Pakistan can still be saved and indeed must be saved. The creation of the State was right because it was the unanimous will of the Muslims of the subcontinent. And for that reason, above all, Pakistan represents a clear divide between Islam and kufr. As such, the defence of its frontiers is the duty of every Muslim.

None of the failures of Pakistan can be attributed to the people of Pakistan. The Muslim masses of Pakistan have remained as oppressed as they were under the British raj. This colonialism from within has made Pakistan an integral part of the worldwide American empire. No verdict on Pakistan is possible until the people of Pakistan have had a chance to shape the destiny of the State. That destiny is the establishment of an Islamic State in Pakistan.

How is this to be achieved? It has already been argued that the future of Pakistan is not a matter that concerns the people of Pakistan only. This is a question of concern to the entire Ummah. That being so, any future that we may contemplate for Pakistan, or for any part of the Ummah, must be in harmony with the future that we must also seek for the entire Ummah. The world seminar on State and Politics in Islam that met here in London exactly a year ago formulated the ‘political objectives of the Ummah’ in the following terms:

1.   to eliminate all authority other than Allah and His Prophet;

2.   to eliminate nationalism in all its shapes and forms, in particular the ‘nation States’;

3.   to unite all Islamic movements into a single global Islamic movement to establish the Islamic State;

4.   to reconstruct the world of Islam into a system of Islamic States linked together by such institutions as are necessary to express the unity of the Ummah;

5.   to eliminate all political, economic, social, cultural and philosophical influences of the western civilization that have penetrated the world of Islam;

6.   to re-establish a dominant and global Islamic civilization based on the concept of tawheed;

7.   to create the necessary institutions for the pursuit of al-amr bil ma’ruf wa al-nahy ’an al-munkar;

8.   to establish ’adl (justice) in all human relationships at all levels throughout the world.

The political objectives that must now be pursued by the Islamic movement in Pakistan, and in all other parts of the world, can now be deduced directly from the political objectives of the Ummah. However, there is one other factor that has to be taken into account. This is the factor of geography and the environment. Those parts of the Ummah that are closest to Pakistan must have a direct and immediate relevance to the Islamic movement in Pakistan. I refer of course to the Islamic Revolution in Iran, to the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, to the almost equally effective control that the United States has acquired over the Arab States, and to the long-established hostility of India to the State of Pakistan. Pakistan itself is almost totally controlled and manoeuvred by the United States. It can be assumed without discussion that any attempt to establish an Islamic State in Pakistan will be vehemently opposed by the US, the Soviet Union, their European clients and allies, China, India, and the nationalist regimes in the Arab States.

For the future of Pakistan, therefore, there is only one factor of geography and the immediate environment that is relevant. That is the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Before the Islamic Revolution in Iran there was some justification for Muslims in different parts of the world making widely different attempts to overcome the preponderance of kufr in their societies. Never before had all parts of the Ummah become politically subservient to kufr at the same time. Never before had there emerged among the Muslims a body of men, the westernized elite, nominally Muslim but politically instruments of the worldwide power of kufr. In such a situation Muslims organized in relatively small ‘parties’ in distant parts of the world, trying in their own ways to escape the stranglehold of kufr, made some sense. Such a fragmentary approach makes no sense now that in one important part of the Ummah a breakthrough has been made, kufr has been defeated and expelled, an Islamic State under the leadership of an imam has been established, the Islamic State and its muttaqi leadership enjoy the support and confidence of the Muslim masses, the new Islamic State has transformed the society from corruption to taqwa, and the Islamic State is engaged in a war against the combined might of world kufr.

Just as there is only one Ummah, so there can be only one Islamic movement. Indeed the Ummah itself is the Islamic movement. It is not a shapeless, aimless, non-functional collection of Muslims; it in fact represents the Will and Purpose of Allah on earth. The Will and Purpose of Allah cannot be understood and defined separately by small and isolated ‘national’ or local ‘Islamic parties’ and movements. Similarly, Muslim political thought cannot develop on regional, national or subcontinental lines. Once an Islamic State has been established it becomes, ipso facto, the leader of the global Islamic movement. The Islamic State is the highest form of social organization in Islam. Only an Islamic State can properly defend and promote the interests of the Ummah. The Islamic movement outside the Islamic State is only an extension of the Islamic State. This understanding is essential if we are to avoid the emergence of rival and competing centres of authority and influence in the Ummah.

The people of Pakistan are fortunate that the State of Pakistan is geographically contiguous to the Islamic State of Iran, and that their State was created to achieve exactly the goals that have now been achieved in Iran. This is of very great advantage. It is no longer possible to say that it is not necessary to destroy the State structures inherited from the British; we know now that it is. It is no longer possible to argue that nationalism can be accommodated as a feature of the Islamic State; we know now that it cannot. No-one can now doubt that the westernized elite is an extension of the west itself and that while this elite is in the government, in the armed forces, in the bureaucracy and in control of the country’s economy, the State of Pakistan will remain secular, subservient, weak and dependent upon the west. It was once argued that a ‘democracy’ that is part of an ‘Islamic Constitution’ written by the post-colonial rulers would be a sufficient basis for an Islamic State. This was clearly a mistaken view and has brought nothing but failure, defeat and disillusionment to ‘Islamic parties’ and their followers. Indeed, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran it has become obvious that there is no other, and that there never really was any other, road to the reassertion of the political independence, identity and power of the Ummah.

Long before a Muslim society reaches the stage of undergoing an Islamic Revolution, certain prerequisites must be present These would appear to be:

1.   A long-established Muslim society with deep roots in history and a tradition of political and religious consciousness.

2.   A long history of oppression and tyranny in the country and a deep-rooted sense of injustice and disaffection with the political system and the rulers; and

3.   A long history of foreign domination.

An Islamic Revolution leads to the total overhaul of the social order at every level. The corrupt elite is shaken out of the political, economic, military, administrative and other dominant systems. The Islamic Revolution strengthens, mobilizes and invigorates the society. It gives the collective life of the society a moral basis and it transforms the society from a state of corruption to taqwa. Above all, the Islamic Revolution leads to the physical defeat and expulsion of all the domestic and foreign enemies of Islam.

Today conditions are ripe for an Islamic Revolution in Pakistan. The prerequisites are all there. But the situation requires the emergence of a muttaqi leadership from a source outside the westernized elite. Only the ulama can be the catalyst in Pakistan as they were in Iran; only the ulama can throw down the gauntlet, challenge the post-colonial order in Pakistan, and mobilize the energies of the Muslim masses into an invincible force. It is true that the ulama of Pakistan lack the resources and the organization of the ulama of Iran, but the ulama in Iran were alone when they had to take on the power of the shah and that of the United States; the ulama in Pakistan are not alone. Even the Muslim masses of Pakistan are not alone. Perhaps more than half the work of the catalyst in Pakistan has already been done by the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Islamic Revolution has already demonstrated that the post-colonial order can be defeated, that the tyrannical rulers can be overthrown, and that their foreign backers, especially the United States, cannot do anything about it. The Muslim masses all over the world now know that they are a power greater than any other power on earth. If the Islamic movement in a country is prepared to offer a few thousand shuhada, victory is there for the taking.

The Ummah has no frontiers, the Islamic movement has no frontiers, the ulama of Islam worldwide are one body and the Muslim masses everywhere are brothers. Once an integrated global view is taken the strength of Iran becomes the strength of Pakistan. As far as the Islamic movement is concerned there is no frontier between Iran and Pakistan. The ulama of Pakistan, or at least some ulama in Pakistan, in conjunction with the ulama of Iran, are capable of guiding the Muslim masses of Pakistan to an Islamic Revolution as glorious as the Islamic Revolution in Iran, to the abolition of the nation State structure of Pakistan, and to the emergence of Pakistan as an Islamic State.

Muslimedia, October 1984