Op-Ed Equal before Allah, unequal before man

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Difference, or, let us say, the right to differ, lies at the root of all knowledge, inquiry investigation, research and progress. While, therefore, we must strive to safeguard the right to differ, to question, to dissent and on occasion even to protest, we must at the same time strive to secure that our differences, in every sphere-religious, philosophical, scientific, social, economic, political or whatever, should act and react beneficently and not destructively.

The great Imams of Jurisprudence, Sunni and Shia alike, and also those of other persuasions, together with their eminent disciples and a host of those who followed after them have, through their unremitting labours sustained through centuries, not only enriched and embellished Muslim Jurisprudence, but made an invaluable contribution to the development of the Science of Law and to what that eminent international jurist C. Wilfred Jenks, has called the Common Law of Mankind. They have thus laid the juristic world under a heavy debt of gratitude.

Islam is an Arabic word, derived from a root which means both “peace” and “submission”. It thus connotes the attainment of peace, here and Hereafter, through submission to Allah, or, in other words, through conformity to His Will. A person who thus submits is a Muslim. In the Quran (the scripture of Islam), the appellation “Muslim” is applied to all the righteous.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah had so many talented people around him of international stature; he never looked at the people’s faith when he was making his choices. Unfortunately, after seventy three years government of Pakistan is only looking at the faith of people before giving them any responsibilities not their competence

So with every Prophet; those who accepted a Prophet and submitted to the Divine Will as revealed through him were Muslims. The Quran, however, affirms the truth of all previous revelations and the righteousness of all previous Prophets.

It starts with the position that no people has been left without revealed guidance. This flows from God’s attribute of Providence. He is not only the Creator of the Universe but also sustains, nourishes and leads it stage by stage towards perfection. A Muslim is required to believe in the truth of previous revelations and in the righteousness of all Prophets.

ISLAM advocates for the rights of all humans without regard to nationality, religion, race or gender. Islamic values include education for all, freedom of conscience, food security, the right to freedom from violence etc. etc.

Fortunately, Muslim society has the remedy to hand.

Difference or dissent, sincerely and honestly held, is no evil.

The Prophet said: Honest difference of opinion among my people should be accounted a blessing.

The Quran is clear and emphatic: There shall be no compulsion in religion. Surely, guidance has become distinct from error.
Even more clearly has it been announced: The Truth is from your Lord; wherefore let him who will, believe and let him who will disbelieve?Op-EdOp-Ed
And who is more truthful in his word than Allah?

The conclusion of our discourse is: All worthiness of Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Quran verses demonstrate a religion devoted to freedom equality and human dignity.

Above excerpts are from the book of Sir Zafarullah Khan, “Islam and human rights, ” which was a comparative study of Islam and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world. The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948.

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Sir Zafarullah Khan was appointed first Foreign Minister of Pakistan in 1947 by the founder of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah himself. For many years he led the Pakistan Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and he was President of the General Assembly’s Seventeenth Session. Then he had served as Judge and President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague until 1958. As Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister, he addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in the days leading up to the passing of the Objectives Resolution. The Objectives Resolution, which combined features of both Western and Islamic democracy, is one of the most important documents in the constitutional history of Pakistan. It was designed to provide equal rights for all citizens of Pakistan, regardless of their race, religion or background.

Addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, in 1949, he said:

It is a matter of great sorrow that, mainly through mistaken notions of zeal, the Muslims have during the period of decline earned for themselves an unenviable reputation for intolerance. But that is not the fault of Islam. Islam has from the beginning proclaimed and inculcated the widest tolerance. For instance, so far as freedom of conscience is concerned the Quran says “There shall be no compulsion” of faith. 2:256 Al-Quran

He was one of the most influential, skilled, and passionate diplomats of his time. In a personal tribute, King Hussein bin Tallal of Jordan said: He was indeed a champion of the Arab cause and his ceaseless efforts whether among the Muslim and non-aligned countries or at the International Court of Justice will remain forever a shining example of a great man truly dedicated to our faith and civilization.

He earned the abiding respect and admiration of the Arab and other Muslim nations as a defender of their interests Muhammad Fadhil al-Jamali, a former Prime Minister of Iraq, in a tribute on his death, wrote:

In fact, it was not possible for any Arab, however capable and competent he may be, to serve the cause of Palestine in a manner in which this distinguished and great man dedicated himself. What was the result of the debate in the United Nations is another matter. But, it must be acknowledged that Mohammad Zafrullah Khan occupies a pre-eminent position in defending the Palestinians in this dispute. We expect from all Arabs and followers of Islam that they will never forget this great Muslim fighter. After Palestine, the services of this man for the independence of Libya also deserve admiration. In the United Nations, his struggle for the rights of Arabs formed the basis of firm and lasting friendship between us.

Whenever I read about Sir Zafarullah Khan, it makes me feel proud that Mohammed Ali Jinnah had so many talented people around him of international stature; he never looked at the people’s faith when he was making his choices. Unfortunately after seventy three years government of Pakistan is only looking at the faith of people before giving them any responsibilities not their competence.

Recently Pakistan’s minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan has called for the beheading of people who commit blasphemy. Ali Muhammad Khan made the comments in response to conflicting reports that Ahmadis had been given representation on a newly established National Minorities Council.

Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq Qadri in an interview with Nadeem Malik has said that anybody that has soft corner in his heart about Ahmedis is a (ghaddar) traitor of Islam and Pakistan both.

I would like to ask both the federal ministers, that where should we put Mohammed Ali Jinnah who himself appointed Sir Zafarullah Khan first foreign minister of Pakistan knowing that he was an Ahmedi, Dr Muhammad Iqbal remain under the influence of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed for years?

Disassociation or disagreements with the views of people are possible, but how can you call me or anyone a traitor of Islam and Pakistan for having soft corner for Ahmedis? I find such statements completely against the essence of Islam.

I am a firm believer of Ali Ibn e Abi Talib’s saying:

LOOK AT WHAT IS BEING SAID, NOT WHO IS SAYING IT.

The writer is a traveller and freelance writer based in UK

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