Quaid and Pakistan


Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was undoubtedly one of the greatest men of modern history. He was the founder and builder of Pakistan. His vision of Pakistan has often been debated. Some critics maintain that he wanted to make Pakistan a secular state, which is absolutely a wrong thesis. The reality is other way round. As a great protagonist of Islamic system of government, his vision of Pakistan was that of an ideal Islamic State with its socio-economic set-up based on the teachings of the Muslim faith. “His ideal State” in the words of one of his distinguished associates, “would be one where Islamic values and mandates would be accepted and observed; where the Islamic concept of equality, fraternity, liberty, and justice would find play.”

            Speaking elaborately, the adoption of the Lahore Resolution at the annual session of the Muslim League in March 1940 was the starting point of the Pakistan movement. It was at this session that Quaid-i-Azam exposed the barren and absolutist character of democracy which the Congress High Command wished to impose its own brand of democracy on the whole of India. This, in his opinion, would “only mean Hindu Raj” and “the complete destruction of what is most precious in Islam.” He wanted a free Muslim State “to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best, and in accordance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people.” A year later he said that Pakistan was the only solution “if you want to save Islam from complete annihilation in this country.” He was quite clear in his mind as to why he was asking for Pakistan. “Let me live,” he said to Hindus in November 1942, “according to my history in the light of Islam, my tradition, culture and language, and you do the same in your…”

            Prof. Waheed-uz-Zaman says that while explaining the creed of Pakistan to Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan early in 1943, the Quaid said that Pakistan “would be a base where we will be able to train and bring up Muslim intellectuals, educationists, economists, scientists, doctors, engineers, technicians, etc., who will work to bring about Islamic renaissance.” After necessary training, they would spread to other parts of the Islamic world “to serve their co-religionists and create awakening among them eventually resulting in the creation of a solid, cohesive bloc, a third bloc which will be neither Communistic nor Capitalistic but truly Socialistic based on the principles which characterized Caliph Umar’s regime.” In a message to the NWFP Students Federation on April 4, 1943 he said:

            “You have asked me to give you a message. What message can I give you? We have got the greatest message in the Quran for our guidance and enlightenment.”

            Prof. Waheed-uz-Zaman further writes that in April 1943, Abdul Waheed Khan, a member of the All-India Muslim League, addressed a letter to the Quaid and requested him to clarify the object of Pakistan in his Presidential address at the session of the Muslim League which was due to be held in the next few days. In his own view this object was “not only to free the Musalmans of certain parts of India, but to liberate Islam, its traditions, its system of law and, above all, its social and economic order. Islamic rule means the kingdom and sovereignty of God, and not of Musalmans over the non-Muslims.” The Quaid in his speech on April 24, at Delhi said:

“Please substitute love for Islam and your nation in place of sectional interest.” He held out a firm assurance that the government of the proposed State of Pakistan would be democratic and “people’s government” and its constitution will be “framed by the millat.” He believed that “democracy is in our blood. It is in our marrows. Only centuries of adverse circumstances have made the circulation of that blood cold.” As regards the social and economic order in an Islamic State, he was clear and forthright: “Here I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense. They have forgotten the lessons of Islam. There are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilization? Is this the aim of Pakistan?....If that is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it.” Touching upon the question of minorities, he ruled out all intentions of domination. “Minorities,” he said, “must be protected and safeguarded to the fullest extent…..Our Holy Prophet has given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously.”

            Prof. Waheed-uz-Zaman also remarks that at the Karachi Session of the Muslim League in December 1943, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, whom Quaid-i-Azam held in the highest esteem, said:

“There is no denying the fact that we want Pakistan for the establishment of Quranic system of government. It will bring about a revolution in our life, a renaissance, a new fervour and zeal, and above all, a resuscitation of pristine Islamic purity and glory.” Turning to the Muslim youth he said: “If Communism means to efface poverty and class distinctions and to provide bread and clothing to poor, I can call myself a rank Communist. But if Communism, as inspired by Karl Marx’s philosophy, is based on a negation of Islam, I seek the shelter of God from it.” To those among the audience who wished to “base their economic system on the negation of God,” he advised to withdraw from the pandal.” Facing the President he said, “Quaid-i-Azam we have understood Pakistan in this light. If your Pakistan is not such, we do not want it.” The Quaid fully endorsed these views. In his concluding remarks he said that Islam was the bed-rock of the community. “It is the Great Book, the Quran that is the sheet-anchor of Muslim India,” he said. “I am sure that as we go on, there will be more and more oneness – one God, one Book, one Qibla, one Holy Prophet and one Nation.”

            We know it well that the Holy Quran was the Quaid’s source of inspiration and his guidance. It sustained him in the darkest moments of his life. “Why should we worry or be dejected,” he once told Mian Bashir Ahmad, “when we have got this Great Book to guide us.” “Its teachings,” he added “are not restricted to religious and moral issues. It is a comprehensive code of life. As a religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal penal code,” he said on a later occasion, “it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the rights of all to those of each individual, from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in the life to come.”

            The demand for Pakistan was based on the right of self-determination for Muslims. The proposed state, for the Quaid was not a geographic expression or a mere territorial concept. “Can you not appreciate our point of view”, he wrote to Gandhi, “that we claim the right of self-determination as a nation and not as a territorial unit, and that we are entitled to exercise our inherent right as a Muslim nation?” Reiterating this point in a message to the Frontier Muslim Students Federation, he exhorted them “to fight for Pakistan, live for Pakistan and, if necessary, die for the achievement of Pakistan, or else Muslims and Islam are doomed.” He added: “Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure.” He had no doubt in his mind that the future constitution of Pakistan would be Islamic. Addressing the students of Islamia College, Peshawar, he categorically announced: “The League stands for carving our states in India where Muslims are in numerical majority to rule there under Islamic Law.”

            Prof. Waheed-uz-Zaman points out that on the eve of the inaugural session of Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Islam at Calcutta in November 1945, Maulana Ghulam Murshid, the Imam of Badshahi Masjid, Lahore, met Quaid-i-Azam and received a definite assurance from him that the injuctions of the Holy Quran alone would be the basis of law in the Muslim State. In a letter to Pir Sahib of Manki Sharif in November 1945, the Quaid said: “It is needless to emphasize that the constituent assembly which would be predominantly Muslim in its composition, would be able to enact laws for Muslims not inconsistent with the Shariat Laws, and the Muslims will no longer be obliged to abide by the un-Islamic laws.” In a meeting with Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in June, 1947 the Quaid assured him that an Islamic constitution would be implemented in Pakistan.

            It may perhaps be said that all these pronouncements of the Quaid belong to a period before the emergence of Pakistan. It may, therefore be argued that it was scarcely anything more than a familiar device on the part of a politician who used Islamic vocabulary to bring the maximum number of Muslims to the fold of the Muslim League. This line of reasoning is supported by the assertion that the Quaid dropped all references to Islam and Islamic state in his post-Independence speeches. Sri Prakasa, the first Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, has tried to strengthen this view by reporting a conversation between himself and Quaid-i-Azam soon after Independence. “I know,” he reportedly said to the Quaid, “that Partition has been affected on the basis of differing religions. Now that this has taken place, I see no reason why stress should be laid on Pakistan being Islamic State…..At this he (Quaid-i-Azam) said that he had never used the word ‘Islamic’.” This fanciful story stands clearly discredited in the face of numerous post-Independence speeches of the Quaid. Indeed, he was even more forthright on the subject of loyalty to Islam and its principles.

            We know it well that Mountbtatten was an inveterate adversary of the Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam and the demand for Pakistan. He on his own admission, opposed the creation of Pakistan till the very end. The religious enthusiasm of the Muslims, which finally led them to the goal of Pakistan was his pet aversion. Assuming that the non-Muslims would not be treated as full citizens in the Islamic State of Pakistan, he counseled the Pakistan Leaders to root out ill-will against non-Muslims. In a speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, he prescribed the path followed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. He said:

“May I remind you that, at the time when the East India Company received its charter, nearly four centuries ago your great Emperor Akbar was on the throne, whose reign was marked by perhaps as great a degree of political and religious tolerance as has not been known before or since…..Akbar’s tradition has not always been consistently followed…. I pray, for the world’s sake, that we will hold fast, in the years to come, to the principles that this great ruler taught us.” In an on-the-spot rejoinder, the Quaid said: “the tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims is not of recent origin, it dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Holy Prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and belief.” 

            Outlining the purpose of the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam said in a speech to the officers of the Defence Service on October 11, 1947, that the establishment of Pakistan was only a “means to an end and not the end in itself. The Idea was that we should have a state in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.” Addressing a public meeting in Lahore a few days later, he described the circumstances in which Pakistan came into existence. Consoling those who had been subjected to inhuman brutalities as a result “of a deeply laid and well-planned conspiracy” on the part of the enemies of Pakistan, he gave them the hope that this was but a temporary setback. He assured them that “If we take inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours.” He advised that everyone “to whom this message reaches must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all, if necessary in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam….Do not be afraid of death…..Save the honour of Pakistan and Islam.”

            In January 1948, at a reception on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s birth anniversary, he declared that “he could not understand a section of the people who deliberately wanted to create mischief and made propaganda that the Constitution of Pakistan would not be made on the basis of Shariat.” He reminded his audience that “Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1,300 years ago.” Paying his humble tributes to the Holy Prophet he said: “Not only has he reverence of millions but also commands the respect of all the great men of the world…..The Holy Prophet was a great teacher. He was a great law giver. He was a great statesman and he was a great sovereign who ruled….No doubt there are many people who do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam that Islam is not a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is also a code for every Muslim which regulates his life and his conduct in even politics and economics and the life….In Islam there is no difference between man and man. The qualities of equality, liberty and fraternity are the fundamental principles of Islam.”

            In February 1948 at the Sibbi Darbar, the Quaid reiterated his belief “that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law-giver the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles.”

            In a broadcast talk to the people of the United States in the same month, he said that

“The future Constitution of Pakistan, which he described as the premier Islamic State,” would be democratic, “embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future Constitution of Pakistan.”

            In July 1948 the Father of the Nation performed the opening ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan. This was his last public appearance. In view of the great importance that he attached to this occasion, he specially came down to Karachi from Ziarat where he had gone for rest. His inaugural speech, as Bolitho has remarked, was “his last comment on the confusion of the world.” He rejected the Western economic system for Pakistan because it “will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contended people.” He instead, advised that “we must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice.” It would be only then that we could fulfil “our mission as Muslims and give to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.”

            In the end an important question may be answered. Despite his numerous and self-explanatory statements  projecting his ideological vision of Pakistan, it is believed in certain quarters that his adherence to the concept of the two-nation theory lasted only until August 1947. His address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11 is put forth as an instance and as an argument to prove that he had abandoned the two-nation theory and wished Pakistan to be shaped into a secular state. In this speech he had said: “You are free: You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – this has nothing to do with the business of State…You will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”

            The following considerations may be kept in mind for a proper appraisal of this pronouncement. First, it was not the only occasion on which the Quaid spoke about the status of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. Long before the establishment of Pakistan he had repeatedly assured the non-Muslims that they would be accorded generous treatment in the State of Pakistan. As far back as November 1941, he said that “Islam stands for justice, equality, fair play, toleration and even generosity to non-Muslims who may be under our protection.” In November 1942, he again assured the non-Muslims that their right “would be fully safeguarded according to the injunction from the highest authority, namely the Quran, that a minority must be treated justly.” In February 1943, he repeated his “solemn assurance” to the Hindu leaders that “we will treat our minorities not only in a manner that a civilized government should treat them but better because it is an injunction in the Quran to treat the minorities so.” Secondly, speaking purely from a religious point of view, there was nothing startling in this speech. The utterance is based on precedent and it is in line with the injunctions of the faith. The Holy Prophet, after his arrival in Madina, gave a charter of freedom to the Christians of Najran. This document, says Syed Ameer Ali, “has for the most part, furnished the guiding principle to all Muslim rulers in their mode of dealing with their non-Muslim subjects and if they have departed from any instance the cause is to be found in the character of the particular sovereign.” It had explicitly assured them that “there shall be no interference with (the practice of) their faith or their observances, nor any change in their rights and privileges….They shall continue to enjoy everything great and small as heretofore.” The declaration of the Quaid thus only confirms his typically Islamic approach to the problem of minorities in the Islamic State of Pakistan and in no way does in repudiate the two nation theory.

            In the words of Waheed-uz-Zaman, the Quaid’s speech also needs to be read in the context of the prevailing political situation which vitally affected not only the security but even the continued existence of the nascent State of Pakistan. Since a climate of total insecurity prevailed on both sides of the border and one of the greatest mass migrations in the history of mankind had already started, such an assurance to the non-Muslims of Pakistan was urgently called for. It would, the Quaid hoped, not only stop the exodus of Hindus from Pakistan but would also have a salutary effect on Indian leaders and persuade them to extend a similar treatment to the Muslim minority in India.

Reference:     Pakistan Vision (Quaid-i-Azam Number) Vol. II, Nos. 1 & 2, Jan-Jul 2001
Publisher:      Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab, Lahore. 2001

Notes and References

  1. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Speeches as Governor-General 1947-48, Karachi, Pakistan Publications, n.d.
  2. Fateh Naseeb Chaudhri, Quaid-i-Azam ka Tasawwar-i-Mumlikat-i-Pakistan, Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab, 1985.
  3. Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad, Speeches and Writings of Mr. Jinnah, Vol. II, Lahore. Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1968-74.
  4. Jamil-ud-Din-Ahmad, Quaid-i-Azam as Seen by His Contemporaries, Lahore, Publishers United, 1966.
  5. Rafique Afzal, Selected Speeches and Statements of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Lahore Research Society of Pakistan, 1967.
  6. Mohammad Munir, From Jinnah to Zia, Lahore, Vanguard Books, 1979.
  7. Mohammad Munir, “Days to Remember,” The Pakistan Times, June 23, 1964.
  8. Saad R. Khairi Jinnah: Re interpreted: The Journey from Nationalism to Muslim Statehood, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 1955.
  9. Waheed-uz-Zaman, “The Quaid-i-Azam’s Vision of Pakistan,” The Pakistan Times, August 14, 1979.
  10. M.S. Toosy, My Reminiscences of Quaid-i-Azam, Islamabad, 1976.
  11. Sher Muhammad Garewal, “Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, A Greatest Protagonist of Islamic System of Government,” Journal of Research Society of Pakistan, University of the Punjab, Lahore, April 1999.