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. Akif Nizam says:

    Ibrahim, there is no such thing as authentic or factual religious text. Religion is a matter of faith, not of fact. So when you speak of “traditional” religious books, they are by definition biased. When you are told that everyone else is wrong and you are right, it’s not a stretch to call such a point of view biased.

  2. Ibrahim says:

    [quote post=”490″]Books, for most part, present only one side of the issue, are as biased as the author and are designed to obfuscate the counter argument.[/quote]
    Akif, this might be and is true for books that are not on Islam or books on Islam by today’s contemporary “islamic intellectuals”. Maybe you want to revisit my comments and see what books I used for references. FYI, mostly Quran and ahadeeth “books” and some very authentic, factual, traditional text. So, your argument doesn’t fly as far as my references are concerened.

    Also, your whole argument doesn’t make complete sense. You start out vaguely talking about books (not mentioning what type of books) and then you say “It’s no wonder that so many people hold on to these really old books as gospel, when gospels are infact just some really old books.” What are you saying? You might want to rewrite this. If I take it as you wrote it (and put some time to really make a sense out of it), then it seems like you’re saying “old books” = biased books. That’s quite an odd statement to make and a baseless argument, and it just shows your bias against old/traditional books. FYI, gospel is not only old but it’s not authentic as well unlike my references.

  3. Akif Nizam says:

    This idea that books somehow provide a more authentic account of things than the internet is absurd. Books, for most part, present only one side of the issue, are as biased as the author and are designed to obfuscate the counter argument. It’s no wonder that so many people hold on to these really old books as gospel, when gospels are infact just some really old books.

  4. [quote post=”490″]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.[/quote]

    So this means that Mush was in hibernating phase from 99-2005 thatswhy he never thought to visit mazar before. Intresting!

  5. My friend afsos that non-molvis like you also had access to Google but you missed the train by demonstrating ignorance towrds molvis or anyother community which they dislike. I wish they would have used google to demonstrate their intellect rather ignorance but alas Allah didn’t bless them to use the easiest way of seeking knowledge[Google] to learn something about Islam or aany other matter and they believed what they heard from western resources. It’s good that molvis are using Internet, what’s wrong in it? are non-molvis going to issue some fatwa that Google was just built for non-molvis only?

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