Diwali Celebration: Pakistan Muslim League Style

Posted on October 31, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Minorities, Politics, Religion
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Adil Najam

Ordinarily, I might have just posted this photograph below as a comment on yesterday’s post on Diwali celebrations in Karachi (also here). But please, just look at the people in this photograph; its way too interesting to be relegated to a comments section.

The occasion is a Diwali celebration at the Islamabad Headquarters of the Pakistan Muslim League, standing (and clapping) extreme left is Syed Mushahid Hussain, Secretary General of the Pakistan Muslim League, next to him is Ijaz ul Haq (Minister of Religious Affairs, and son of Gen. Zia ul Haq), fourth from left is Tariq Azim, State Minister for Information.

The Daily Times (31 October, 2006) provides more details of the event:

Members of the Hindu community from across the country participated in the event where they performed their religious rituals and traditional dances in candlelight to mark the event… A number of office bearers of the party and ministers, including PML Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Syed, Minister for Religious Affairs Ijaz-ul-Haq, State Minister for Information Tariq Azim, Minister for Minorities Affairs Mushtaq Victor and members of the National Assembly (MNAs) Bindara, Donia Aziz, Akram Masih Gill and others were present on the occasion. Officials of the Indian High Commission also participated in the event.

Hussain said that Quaid-e-Azam had envisioned a Pakistan where all the religious minorities enjoyed equal rights. He underlined the importance of inter-faith harmony for the greater prosperity of the nation and announced that the PML would also celebrate the birthday of Baba Gurunanak next week. He said that the minorities played a vital role in building any nation. He said that the present government was allocating high importance to giving all minorities’ equal. Hindus are playing a leading role in country’s economic development and the present government will leave no stone unturned to ensure their safety and well being, he added.

This is, of course, a political gesture – some might even say a gimmick. But if so, let us have more such gestures and gimmicks. They will, in time, hopefully help change our perceptions and treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan.

76 responses to “Diwali Celebration: Pakistan Muslim League Style”

  1. Ibrahim says:

    [For some reason the comment was being cut-off…may be too long; here’s the rest, continuing from above]

    So, if someone couldn’t get clothes from Humms then men used to circumambulate fully naked while women used to take off all their clothes and wear a short open-front top (semi-naked…I wrote this in the parenthesis) only….To abolish this practice Allah said:””O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer…””(Al-Ahzab (no. 7, ayat 31).”
    I got the English translation of this ayat from Yusuf Ali. Brother Saif, this should be plenty but I’ll give you some more.

    * “Abu Bakr Leads the First Hajj Journey in 9 A.Hâ€

  2. Ibrahim says:


    Saif, I like your post. From the sound of it, if I can prove it inshaAllah, then you’ll agree that people used to come to Kaa’ba for tawaf naked. Right? I didn’t learn it from a “semi-literate maulvi”. Rather, I learned it in my house and through books. This is a “fatoor” of your mind that you think this way. I don’t know who Syed Amir Ali is but have you read ash-Shaykh ibn Jarir at-Tabari’s Tareekh ar-Rusool wa al-Muluk (Tareekh at-Tabari)? If not, how do you know he hasn’t written that? Plus, I won’t be surprised that it might not have this thing about hajj because the tareekh is not exactly a seerah on Rasoolullah (saw). Rather, it’s history of prophets and kings and he might not have mention things commonly found in seerah books.

    I want to just demonstrate that people doing hajj naked in pre-Islamic time is very well known fact. So, in one hour or so since I’ve read your comments and started writing my comments, and Allah would have it that I had some time, I was able to find some sound references. Note that I’m no scholar and I don’t have all the knowledge and books. Otherwise, one can easily find I would say 20-30 references, time permitting. Now, you can be like a toddler and still not agree or believe. If so, I can’t do much for you, Saif. May Allah show me and you the right path, inshaAllah. Here’re the references:

    * It’s narrated in Sahih Bukhari that Abu Hurayrah said:”Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) sent me as an announcer on that Hajj [which the Prophet (saw) appointed Abu Bakr to lead in 9 AH], to announce on the Day of Sacrifice in Mina that after this year no mushrik might perform Hajj and no one might circumambulate the House naked”. Brother Saif, this should be plenty but I’ll give you some more.

    * In the famous book of seerah “Al-Raheeq Al-Makhtoom” orginally written in Arabic and re-written by the auther himself in Urdu(also translated in English as “The Sealed Nection”), and its authenticity has been proven time and again and from every corner of the world, ash-Shaykh Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri writes (page 64, Makatabah as-salafiyyah, Lahore print–I’ll first write in Urdu and then translate):”aik bidat ya bhi thi kay inhooN (Quraish) nay bayroon-e-Haram kay bashindooN ko hukum day rakha tha kay wo Haram maiN anaiN kay baAd tawaf humms say hasil keyay huway kaproon hi maiN karaiN. chunacha agar inn ka kapra destiyaab na hota tou mard naNgay tawaf kartay aur aurtaiN apnay saray kapray utaar kar sirf aik chota saa khula huwa kurta phenlayteeiN….Allah taala nay iss kharafaat (bidaat) kay khatmay kay leeya farmaya [the author writes the ayat in arabic then translate it]””aay aadam kay baytoo! har masjid kay pass apni zinat ikhtiyaar kar leeya karo…”” (Al-Ahzab (chapter no. 7, ayat 31)”
    In English, Mubarakpuri writes:”Another bidat (innovation) was that they (Quraish) would order people who lived outside of Haram (approximately Makkah) to do the first tawaf in the clothes that they bought/got from Humms (a name which means brave that Quraish had given themselves).

  3. Malanga says:

    mandar Dha dhay, masjid Dha dhay,
    Dha dhay jay kucch dhainda aye,

    par kissi da dill na dha-ween,
    soona rab dillaN which rainda aye.

    Break down the Mandir, Break down the Masjid
    Break down whatever you want

    But do not break anyone’s heart,
    because God lives in people’s hearts.

  4. Saif says:

    Mr. Ibrahim,

    I have read your sermon. There are too many holes in it. I don’t want to get into them. However, I would like to comment on one of your statements when you say that in pre-Islamic era “the hajj was performed naked, both by men and women”. As Americans would say, this is total hogwash. No responsible Muslim historian — from Tabari in the 9th century to Syed Amir Ali in the 20th century has mentioned it. You must have got this information from a semi-literate maulvi in Pakistan. Please verify your facts.

  5. Ibrahim says:


    Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem: This strictness doesn’t stem from insecurity; And Allah knows what’s in people’s hearts. Rather, it stems from the fundamental point in Islam that as Muslims we DO NOT believe in relative truth. We believe in absolute truth, and the absolute truth being that Islam and only Islam is the correct way. Relative truth is what is commonly heard today that “your religion is right and my religion is right”. This is completely against basic Islamic understanding. So when I say that Muslims shouldn’t participate in non-Muslim activities, then it’s due to my belief in absolute truth. This point is just another way of saying what is meant by the hadith quoted by Adnan Siddiqi.

    You have to talk from a point of knowledge if one is to talk about anything, let alone Islam. When you say that Hajj is a pre-Islamic festival, do you know that in the times of jihalat (pre-Islamic times), the hajj was performed naked, both by men and women? Do you know that they used to come for hajj to pay tribute to the thousands of man-made statues that were in Kaa’ba at that time? Do you know that one of their main purposes of coming to Makkah was to do business with other tribes rather than just come for religious purposes? So just saying that Hajj is pre-Islamic is a wrong statement. Secondly, I highly doubt that Eid is a pre-Islamic activity because there was no Ramadan (Eidul Fitr) and I don’t think Eidul Azha used to be practiced. Also, if any “pre-Islamic” activity was carried on in Islam then it was from the order of Allah and his prophet. Even if you can bring one pre-Islamic festival that Islam kept, that doesn’t give Muslims today a license to go about including other non-Islamic activities because there is no prophet and Allah’s book is complete (i.e. no one is getting a wahee (message)).

    “And by the way what is a ‘non-Islamic’ activity? Is typing on the computer ‘Islamic’? If it is not, then it must be ‘un-Islamic’!”…This is such a childish, immature comment that I’m not even going to answer it because, I hope, every one can see how odd and out of whack this comment is.

    Greywolf: What you conveniently missed is that these highly knowledgeable scholars are not making judgments for personal reasons…rahter, they base their rulings in deep knowledge of Quran and Hadith and Fiqh. So, when you say that you’ll take your cue from Jinnah and not from these scholars, what are you really rejecting?? Greywolf, you should take cue from prophet Muhammad (saw) rather than Jinnah. Adnan Siddiqi has mentioned the haidth so stick to it rather than following Jinnah’s “sunnah”.

    Why do you guys not understand what I’m saying? Allowing non-muslims to worship and joining them in their worship is two completely different things. I never said not to allow Hindus their Diwali festival in their temples. So Akif, no one is suggesting to abuse or suppress non-Muslims in Pakistan. Akif, are you saying that if tomorrow someone dies you will know and make the decision on your own as to how to distribute the inheritance? You won’t need to contact a respected, knowledgeable shaykh (I’m not talking about politicians like Fazlur Rahman and Qazi Hussain) who would know what is said in Quran and Hadith more than you and I? Or would you take matters in your own hand and satisfy yourself by doing whatever you find ok?

    The bottom line is this: in my original post I never said a word about suppressing others. People like Greywolf, knowingly or unwittingly, changed the subject and tried to make out my comments as intolerant and somehow advocating suppression. But, I will say it clearly again that it is wrong to join the Hindus and celebrate Diwali with them.

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