Our selective heroes
Ever since its inception, many efforts have been made to justify the creation of Pakistan. Based on Two-Nation Theory, one that defines both Muslims and Hindus as different nations, the said purpose of its creation was to safeguard the rights of Muslims.
The theory itself is full of glaring paradoxes and has been questioned innumerable times in the past. To counter these questions, many state-sponsored historians, most of them belonging to far-right, have tried hard to prove the authenticity of the theory by relating it to Muslims rulers from the past.
From Muhammad Bin Qasim to Mahmud Ghaznavi, we have named the foreign invaders as the founders of this theory.
One such ‘historian’, Dr Safdar Mahmud, wrote last year that Ghauri was in fact the founder of Pakistan.
Debunking this vile claim, Dr Mubarak Ali wrote, “It is customary to be proud of our invaders such as Muhammad Bin Qasim, Mahmoud of Ghazna and Muhammad Ghori and to denounce other invaders who looted our country from time to time. In fact, all these invaders were mass murderers and should be treated as criminals in history.”
Many such historians trace the spiritual link of Two-Nation Theory to the likes of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi and Shah Wali Ullah. In our textbooks, the foundation of the idea of two different nations has been credited to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
When reading through the original text from these personalities, one comes to conclusion that their ideologies were as contradictory and paradoxical as the theory itself.
Ahmed Sirhindi was the founder of ‘Wahdatul shahood’, which was considered ‘bid’at’ by most of the Muslim theologians. He was against the Mughal’s policy of ‘sulah-e-kul’ and considered it a hurdle in the way of the spread of Islam. Jahangir arrested Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi after he was informed of Sheikh’s activities.
“Jahangir came to know of a man in Sirhind, who had laid the web of deception for the simple and devoted people. He had appointed his khalifas to various areas from where they are misleading people,” Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, page 360.
Sibte Hasan writes in ‘Hindustan Mein Tehzeeb Ka Irtiqa’ that Sheikh Sirhindi considered philosophy as heresy and saw philosophers as idiots. (Page 323)
Hassan’s claim can be verified from Sheikh’s letters. He wrote to one of his disciples, “When Jesus invited Plato (the chief of these idiots) to accept his prophethood, his reply was that they were enlightened people and they didn’t feel the need of someone who wanted to enlighten them.” (Maktoobaat-e-Imam-i-Rabbani, Maktoob No 266)
Interestingly, Plato died 348 years before Jesus was born.
He also claimed few things in his book ‘Mubda-o-Muaad’ which cannot be repeated. (Translated by Hussain Naqshbandi, pp 188-189)
Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi had sectarian inclinations as well, as he wrote Radd-i-Rawafiz or ‘Refutation of Shia-ism’. (Rood-e-Kausar by S M Ikram, pp 567-574) The modern fatwas against Shias are derived mostly from his work.
If the founder of Two-Nation Theory is Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, who has apostatised Shias, where do we stand?
Shah Wali Ullah’s character and ideology, again, are inconsistent to say the least. Shah Wali Ullah invited Ahmed Shah Abdali to invade the subcontinent, knowing that the previous foreign invasion by Nader Shah resulted in him looting and plundering the wealth of Mughal Empire.
“God forbid, your act must not be like that of Nader Shah who destroyed Muslims but left Marathas as they were before,” Shah Wali Ullah wrote to Abdali. (Shah Wali Ullah Dehalvi Ke Siyasi Maktoob by Khaleeq Ahmed Nizami, page 106)
Describing the result of his invasion, Dr Mubarak Ali writes, “Although Abdali defeated the Marathas in 1761, he further weakened the Mughal emperor and the nobility by plundering their wealth. The idea of reviving power and stability using foreign help failed; so no lesson can be learned from this dismal episode.”
An estimate tells that 30-120 million rupees were looted by Ahmed Shah Abdali. He married the younger daughter of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah by force. (Gumshuda Tareekh by Dr Mubarak Ali, page 101)
Shah Wali Ullah was faced with death threats when he translated Quran into Persian and he had to leave Delhi due to fatwas of apostasy. (Rood-e-Kausar by Sheikh Muhammad Ikram, page 522)
His son, Shah Abdul Aziz decreed in favour of working for British and be loyal to them but he advised the Muslims must not have any links to them culturally. He even said that it was advisable to wash the utensils used by British before utilising them. (Ulema Aur Siayasat, Dr Mubarak Ali, page 80)
Like Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, Shah Wali Ullah also apostatised Shias.
“A thorough study of lzatal-Khifa and Qurratal-Ainain and the letters of Wali Ullah in Kalimaat-e-Tayyabaat will reveal that Wali Ullah called the Shias as zindiq, nawabit and mubtadi (heretics and innovators in religion), as did Sheikh Ahmad of Sirhind,” writes Khaled Ahmed in Sectarian Wars. (Page 15)
Likewise, Wali Ullah’s son, Shah Abdul Aziz wrote ‘Tuhfa Ithna Ashariya’, a comprehensive anti-Shia book.
The founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah is well known to be a Shia himself. If we accept Wali Ullah and Sheikh Ahmed as the founders of Two-Nation Theory, we are bound to ‘otherise’ Jinnah, who, in the eyes of the former, was not a Muslim.
Syed Ahmed of Bareli and Shah Ismail are also glorified as the freedom fighters who lost their lives, waging jihad against infidels.
These personalities, instead of fighting against British, who were geographically near to them and in fact were invaders, went all the way up north to fight against Sikhs and their fellow Muslims.
Shah Ismail, when he started lectures on jihad in Calcutta, describing the ‘oppression’ of Muslims by Sikh rulers, was asked the reason behind not waging jihad against the British rulers.
“It’s not obligatory to wage jihad against them because Muslims are subjects of British rulers and they are able to live freely under their rule. In case of a foreign attack, it is the responsibility of Muslims to fight for their government,” Shah Ismail responded. (Hayat-e-Taiba, Mirza Hairat Dehalvi, page 264)
The freedom struggle which led the creation of Pakistan was directed against the British rule. Can we ask how Shah Ismail is a hero of freedom movement when he decreed that there was no jihad against the British?
Ismail was not alone in praising the British government and asking his followers to submit themselves to the ruler. Mian Nazir Hussain Dehalvi, one of the leading Ahle Hadith scholars, was praised by British rulers for his ‘services’.
To avoid any hurdles on his way to Hajj, Nazir approached Commissioner Delhi for a letter, who wrote, “Maulvi Nazir Hussain is a leading scholar in Delhi, who in difficult times proved his loyalty to British Empire and on his pilgrimage to Mecca, I hope that any British Officer whose help or protection he may need, will be given to him, as he fully deserves it”. (Al-Hayat-Baad-Al-Mamat, page 83)
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan has been frequently placed next to Jinnah and Iqbal as the founder of Pakistan in our textbooks. Altaf Hussain Hali, in Hayat-e-Javed, a biography of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, writes, “Sir Syed Ahmed Khan prayed fervently for Queen Victoria in one of his manajaat, thanking God for her. (Page 110)
Ahle Hadith Magazine ‘Ish’at Sunnah’ apostatised him over ‘Tahdhib-ul-Akhlaq’. (Page 194)
Although Sir Syed Ahmed Khan is said to be the founder of the ideology of Pakistan i.e., Hindus and Muslims are two different nations, but Muslims themselves refused to accept him as one of them. All Muslim scholars from subcontinent and Arab unitedly decreed a fatwa of apostasy against him. (Hayat-e-Javed, page 182)
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan writes in ‘Asbab-i-Baghawat-e-Hind’ that Shah Ismail Shaheed’s fight against Sikhs was actually a jihad. (Page 73) The same Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had ardently condemned the 1857 war of independence against British, terming it a mutiny.
His contempt for those who fought in the 1857 war was so great that he called one such fighter a ‘bastard’. (Hayat-e-Sir Syed, Zia Uddin Lahori, page 124)
Under such circumstances, when the alleged ‘founders’ of Two-Nation Theory either apostatised other Muslims, waged selective jihads to protect the interests of British rulers, wrote extensively in their favour, one can totally expect the nation to be a confused crowd.
It is about time historians debunked more of such characters who have falsely been accredited as the founders of this country and how negatively they influenced their followers.