Christmas Greetings and Realizing Jinnah’s Vision

Posted on December 25, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Minorities, Religion, Society
37 Comments
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Adil Najam

On this auspicious day, we at ATP pray for peace and goodwill to all.

A couple of days ago we had done a post related to Christmas by celebrating the architectural heritage of Churches in Pakistan. Of course, one needs to go beyond structures and to the core of relations between Christian and non-Christian Pakistanis. It is in the content of that relationship that the essence of true Pakistaniat lies.

This picture, from Islamabad (published in Dawn 24 December, 2006) reminds me of the famous 1947 speech by Jinnah (whose birthday we are also celebrating today), where he says:

“… you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state… in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state…”

Of course, the Santa Clause in the picture is a plastic doll. We still have a way to go towards making the relationship between Pakistanis of various religions – and even of various sects within the same religion – what Jinnah had hope it to be. That is the goal we must keep striving for.

I must confess, my spirit is uplifted today by reading this wonderful op-ed by Karen Armstrong in The Guardian (23 December, 2006), which she starts thus:

In 632, after five years of fearful warfare, the city of Mecca in the Arabian Hijaz voluntarily opened its gates to the Muslim army. No blood was shed and nobody was forced to convert to Islam, but the Prophet Muhammad ordered the destruction of all idols and icons of the Divine. There were a number of frescoes painted on the inner walls of the Kabah, the ancient granite shrine in the centre of Mecca, and one of them, it is said, depicted Mary and the infant Jesus. Immediately Muhammad covered it reverently with his cloak, ordering all the other pictures to be destroyed except that one.

As someone who named one of his sons Eesa (Jesus in Arabic), I can relate also to how she ends her essay:

The Muslim devotion to Jesus shows that this was not always the case. In the past, before the political dislocations of modernity, Muslims were always able to engage in fruitful and stringent self-criticism. This year, on the birthday of the Prophet Jesus, they might ask themselves how they can revive their long tradition of pluralism and appreciation of other religions. For their part, meditating on the affinity that Muslims once felt for their faith, Christians might look into their own past and consider what they might have done to forfeit this respect.

All I can say to this is, Amen and Aameen!

37 responses to “Christmas Greetings and Realizing Jinnah’s Vision”

  1. Hina Zafar says:

    I agree with Turab. (These discussions should not be about bashing or displaying superiority of knowledge, but rather to gain some positive insight into current affairs.)If we want to stay current as a nation we need to take positive actions and encourage those who do. Most of the comments were more argumentative than anything, and sadly enough did not offer any suggestions or any acceptable alternative.

  2. TURAB says:

    I am starting to witness a great revolution in the country.

    Mushi is the first President to visit Quaid’s Mazar on 25th Dec. He is the first pres to hold a dinner at Aiwaan e Sadar for Christian leaders and community people. Shuakat Aziz was the first Prime Minister to attend christmas celebrations at St. Joseph Cathedral. MQM had their own christmas party at NINE ZERO with the christian leaders. Lastly but not the least MMA had a christmas party with christian leaders of Balochistan and other areas invited over……. Now this is the true implication of Quaid’s Vision….

    And please people uderstand that, just by respecting other religion’s sentiments does not make you a Kafir!

  3. Ibrahim says:

    Salamalikum,

    I admit my comments were out of context for this post because I shouldn’t have discussed merits of tasawwuf/sufism here. However, talking about religion was not out of context. Just because I take a pro-religion side doesn’t make it out of context. And, it’s not like I decided to inject religion in this dicussion. Somebody brought up sufism, and I just responded. Who’s to say Prophecy’s comments (and many other’s) are not religious? Yes, they aren’t pro-religion but they involve religion. The only difference is he’s talking about separation of religion and state, and I’m not. If he can’t come up with concrete references (may be because there aren’t any??), then that’s not my problem. Thanks Administrator for the notice, I’ll try to keep the posts shorter.

    [quote post=”490″]molvi key access main google[/quote]
    First of all I’m no molvi. Yes, I use google but I’ve many books that I provide references from (you might want to check other comments to see what I’m talking about). If I were to use google and support your views, you would be like ‘great job man, good use of the Internet’. If you haven’t noticed, most of the posts on ATP come from somebody finding an interesting photo or article online, etc. But, since my comments irked you so much, you were quick to use nonesense to try to debunk them.

  4. Prophecy says:

    may be its time to change ‘bandar kay hath main ustara’ to ‘molvi key access main google”. There are some etiquette’s of a productive discussion, may be moderators can do a post on that as well, but i remember an article by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in our 8 or 10th grade urdu about that, may be some one can post that essay here, cannot recall title of essay but it he used analogy of dogs

    Just like Jesus birthday, 25th is not Quaid-i-Azam’s actual birthday – not sure if this is discussed in G Allana’s biography but my boss was referring to this in a discussion couple of weeks back, any one have more details on this?

    i was reading a column in Pakistan times (or something similar) published locally in Chicago, cannot recall name of columnist, but he urged his readers to learn to distinguish between a religious festival and a national festival (point being people do not celebrate xmas as religious festival, most know 25th date is incorrect,only pseudo intellects still debates this as it has no practical significance). If we generalize his thoughts, we should learn the difference between national and religious life. Pakistani brand of Islam insists on merging these two – but this theory was developed by Muslims who were interested in non-Muslims minorities only as source of income but we have to re-think and restructure our social and governance model. Since Pakistan has become (after Jinnah) Islamic Republic we should not expect to see his version of government here…this country need some fundamental restructuring – just read Hassrat Mohani’s interview where he condemned Liaqat Ali Khan for supporting ” Qarar Daday Maqasad” (the one in which right of government is shifted from people to Allah) and we will know how Pakistan movement was hijacked so early in the life of this nation.

    but we are in even more trouble – the approach Jinnah and muslim league took (separaton movement for a religious minority)is inherntly against how they wanted to run pakistan – separation of religion from state…Musharaf is not Ata-Turk, we are full of google equiped mujahideens to defend islamic pakistan, we need good teachers, good schools and good libararies to reverse the effects of islamizaton of state of pakistan.

  5. IMPORTANT NOTE:

    This discussion has already strayed far away from the topic towards issues not relevant either to this post or to this blog. We request readers to please follow ATP Comment policy, including keeping comments relevant and keeping them short. Attacking anyone’s faith or prosetylizing one’s own are not acceptable topics for this blog. Nor are issues of theology and whose belief system is right. There are plenty of other places on the web for those discussions; this is not one of them.

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