One of the writer’s problems is the panic he faces every time he (or she) is confronted by a blank computer page. It is the tyranny of getting going and filling it. So here goes.
“Talk comes easy,” they say. “Walking the talk is difficult.” Imran has now come into walking mode. He has taken the high road. Mao Zedong said that a 1000-mile journey begins with a single step. Sure, but the Muslim’s journey is endless because his destination is infinity which is eternity not to be counted in secular numbers like miles. The destination is what Sufis call ‘fana’— consummation with and assimilation with God, like a drop falls into the ocean and becomes part of the ocean. Some get there earlier, even in this life. Others have to try much harder, which is a good learning process. Along the way the traveller gathers knowledge through experience and understanding. He acquires some Divine qualities like tolerance, forgiveness, mercy, justice, adl or balance, speaking only the truth and meaning it, (Truth or Haq is also one of God’s names), kindness etc.
This journey actually lies within us, for God says that when He created Man he blew His spirit in him. He says that, “I am closer to you than your jugular.” It is actually an internal journey into one’s mind and heart and then into one’s spirit, which means into God’s Spirit. Find God’s Spirit within you and you find God. That is why some mystics proclaimed ‘An al Haq’ — I am the Truth which could also mean I am God, for which the greatest of them all, Mansoor al Hallaj, was killed by secular authorities who had no notion of what Hallaj was talking about. Mullahs supported the authorities; indeed they demanded it.
The fuel driving this journey is Love of the Divine and His Creations. Just as God says that killing one innocent human being is like killing the whole of humanity, the reverse side is that if you help even one human being and change his live for the better, you save the whole of humanity.
That is why He makes a person he thinks might be qualified the Ameer, because He has seen just that quality in you Imran. Some lose their way along the way by not being able to resist human weaknesses and fall prey to all sorts of corruption — moral, intellectual, financial etc. Such people are most unfortunate, for they had the chance to touch infinity and missed the chance.
Imran has taken but the first step in this journey to eternity. It’s like climbing a steep staircase and you Imran have climbed the first step pretty well. So far so good because there is no end to this journey for Man’s work for God is never over in this world or the next. It bears reminding, it’s a journey to infinity. At the end of the stairs you will find the High Road that is called Sirat-al Mustahqeem or the Correct Path on which walk the people with whom God is pleased. That is what we pray to God for in the first surah or chapter of the Holy Quran, called Fateha. The Quran is God’s answer to that prayer in which he begins by saying that “surely this is the Book about which there can be no doubt”. It is no ordinary book: it is the book of guidance, a manual, a road map for finding and then staying on the Correct Path. The path is also called ‘Sh’ar’, the path that leads to water, or the well for water is the source of all life.
The well is the well of Divine love and knowledge. Sh’ar is where the word ‘Sharia’ comes from. Islamic law is part of Sharia but Sharia is not only Islamic law and more. If you don’t follow laws during your journey you could end up in a horrific crash.
“Many of them have what you call ‘experience’ and a track record (not very glorious) because they have from time to time been in many parties and governments”
We cannot come to any judgment on the first step; it only gives one a sense of what track the climber is on. What we call disappointing is often something we do not like but are unable to tell clearly what we like.
Thus there is quite a lot of negative chatter on the team Imran has chosen. But they are amongst the best we have, so give them a chance to prove or disprove themselves. A few of them are untried and untested in government, which could be a breath of fresh air.
They are being accused of inexperience. Well, experience has to start from somewhere and the newcomers’ experience starts right now. Many of them have what you call ‘experience’ and a track record (not very glorious) because they have from time to time been in many parties and governments. There’s a sense of de javu since a large number of Imran’s team used to be in General Musharraf’s government and the party he created. Some were in others. But when the best party and leader came along, they joined.
That is no sin. Our Holy Prophet (Pbuh) took many people into his fold who once fought against Islam and who later rendered great service to the cause of Islam. We are told by the Almighty to follow the Prophet’s (pbuh) example, so let Imran accept people who have worked for inept and corrupt governments without themselves getting corrupted and give them a chance to do good. It will give them a chance for atonement.
Remember Imran cannot select from the choir of angels. We have to choose from what we have and what compulsions we are under. The biggest compulsion is that he has a very small pool to choose from: a parliament of some 436 or so and a limited number of advisers. This is one of the worst aspects of our horrible alien British parliamentary system that underlines the imperative to craft a new and better system that will make us a true Islamic Welfare State, as Mr. Jinnah repeatedly said and wanted. Imran has also said this many times. That is what will break our current man-eating status quo and create a more equitable and egalitarian one that Islam demands. Else you Mr. Prime Minister will not be able to meet a lot of the targets you have set yourself, which will be a pity for your targets are very good and just what this benighted country needs. Most of your targets are important elements of an Islamic Welfare State, which have been adopted by many non-Muslim western countries.
For example, if you read the Geneva Conventions of War and the treatment of Prisoners of War, you will find that such were requirements given to the Muslims before Jang-e-Badr, Islam’s first war, and they are still go beyond the Geneva Conventions and therefore are better. That’s where the West picked them up. Thomas Jefferson used the Quran while making the U.S. constitution.
The UN Charter of Human Rights takes most of its principles from our Charter of the Rights of God’s Creations (in the plural), which is called Haqooq ul Ibad and goes far beyond the UN Charter.
The requirements and duties of an Islamic Welfare State is something that we will discuss in later articles, but Imran knows most of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t know that it is one of the duties of the Ameer to protect the individual and his family from defamation even if it is true unless it serves the public good. ‘Ameer’ means ruler who has ‘amr’ and ‘hukm’ — authority and command.
I have meandered somewhat in trying to advise Imran, while in a way I am advising myself. More later on trying to understand an Islamic Welfare State. That is all one can do — try.
Now that I have finished there is the feeling that I have conquered the tyranny of the blank page. But the panic hasn’t gone. Soon another blank page will face me. Have I written mumbo jumbo or does it serve some purpose? I wonder. Write and be damned, I say, and leave the rest to the hindmost.
By: Humayun Gauhar