Why I am not a Jamaati? , Why I am not a Shia? , Why I am not a Barelvi? we Muslims need to Unite into a Singularity.

 Last year when I wrote about the demonization of democracy in India, the RSS-backing of the government and the suggestion of delinking religion from the secular Indian state, I was hugely targeted by the radical Hindus.

There was no respite when my confused emotions needed a vent to expose in the form of queries regarding the groupings (jamaats) within Islamic religion. The members of Jamaat-e-Islami, Barelvis, Tableegis and  Tanzeemis  came fuming, shouting with hateful comments on the social networking sites. My mailbox almost bulged to burst. This is possibly the first time in my life  when I saw all these groups reaching at consensus!

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A number of responses which  were published in this daily were full of hatred and misleading analogies were used to prove nothing but the exaggeration and frustration of the respondents. The language was poignant and the tone was intended to thwart the voice that won’t.

From their write-ups I could hardly make out anything. My suggestion was really simple; let’s be united. I wanted all the groups, not only JeI, to shun their labels as the labels do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the affiliates of JeI took it as Jamaat-bashing and they,  instead of clearing the queries with comprehensible and well-presented fact based debate, tried their best to defend Abul Ala  Maududi and their own cult.

This is in itself evidence that their identity is more of Jamaat-e-Islami (a movement founded by a scholar) and less of Islam (a divinely revealed way of life).

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Scholars are human beings, not prophets. They are bound to make mistakes. Instead of admitting this, all the groups, their social representatives, as they need to be called owing to their exclusive commentary on social sites, selected what was going against their outfit and crossed every limit of modesty to harass me.

My actual intent was plain. The division of muslims into groups is harming us. Islam is the divine movement and you don’t need to manufacture an artificial  movement to revive it. The idea is simple; move with it. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Who is better in speech than the one who calls (humans) to Allah, works righteousness and says, ‘I am of them who bow in Islam (muslim)’,” {41:33}. On another occasion, Allah says, “Say ye: Bear witness that we are muslims” {3:64}.

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The message is simple. When anyone asks you about your religion, you respond by saying that you are a muslim. All muslims do form a jamaat, ideally bound by the basic Qur’an and Sunnah.

There is certainly a diversity and divergence between the scholars on a handful of Qur’anic verses and certain ahadith when it comes to their analysis. It doesn’t mean that these scholars divide the compartments and prescribe different rulings to their followers. Look, this is where consensus is required to diminish the differences among the scholars. They ought to work in harmony with  each other, not in a mutually-exclusive manner where one scholar upholds some selected verses and ahadith and another one stresses on some others.

The fact is one jamaat stresses on Jihad and another emphasizes individual spiritual development, one preaches seclusion  and another forces on  politicisation. This was what I wanted the leaders of these jamaats to mull over. This is like cherry-picking of selected verses from the Qur’an to set up the identity.

Some of my brothers who chose to reply me through this daily raised questions instead. To my astonishment, my ‘naive’ article generated a lot of heat. By the way anything naive, seemingly innocuous stuff shouldn’t have fetched so much of attention (on a lighter note).

Someone went on to say that this article was just a publicity stunt. Well brother, seriously I am not interested to break my leg in stunts. He proceeded by saying that the matter shouldn’t have been debated on the public platform. How childish? I ask him, if the jamaat he’s a member of is stainless and open to all questions, what are his fears?

He advised me to have a thorough look on the history and literature of JeI. Though I did a lot of it, I returned to one more pamphlet of Abul Ala Maududi and found as he wrote that  if a nation wants freedom from another , it should be granted. It raised one more question as to why then JeI was against the liberation of Bangladesh if the latter wanted to bud off from Pakistan.

Again, don’t take it as a bash. I am only replying to the questions raised back by my brothers who were supposed to answer mine. You made a lot of noise, but I don’t mind. I grant you that pardon which every intellectually-starved being deserves.

As far as Bangladesh war-crimes are concerned, I researched the unbiased sources. He suggested a book by Sharmila Bose. Before I could turn to it, I found it handy to go through the reviews of it.

In the reviews, I found a lot of hullabaloo with a larger proportion of reviewers criticizing the author of wrongly painting Pakistan army as ‘good’. Still I would read it. But the Englishmen are neutral by nature. So I advice him to go through Philip Hensher’s article “The War Bangladesh can Never Forget”. He can also go through Sirajul Islam, Ahmad A. Jamaal’s “Killing of Intellectuals”.

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The analogy put forward to justify the label of Jamaat in different regions is totally illogical. My dear brother in Islam should understand, Islam is Islam, be it in India or Pakistan. Kashmir or Karachi. We can have mosques decorated and built differently in different regions, but we can’t afford to have different interpretations/versions  of Islam in different regions.

The Islamic constitution is same in each region. Indian Islam, Pakistani Islam, Karachi muslim, JeI Pakistan, JeI Kashmir, Constitution of JeI Bangladesh, Constitution of JeI Pakistan – Does it sound good? Similarly, Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, Barelvi Cult, Tableegi Islam, Tanzeemi Outfit – Get a life brothers. Don’t you want to unify?

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The question whether JeI is a personality cult got answered. All of them tried to support the leaders of their respective cults even when I had accepted in the disclaimer that I am confused and in search of the truth. A brother who wrote “Even I am not a Jamaati…..” isn’t jamaati for sure but mark my words. He must be an ardent follower of Tanzeeem-e-Islami as he praised Dr Asrar Ahmad throughout missing out on the actual point. He pointed out that diversity of opinion is the beauty of Islam and simultaneously, missed this diversity ethics calling me naive and bla bla.

To him I ask whether having a different opinion entitles you to establish a group within a group? Diversity of opinion is good until it is for the cause of unification of ummah. When it is exploited to label the cults, what do you call it?

The expulsion of Dr Asrar and the cause thereof was put rightly to some extent by one of my brothers. He was forced to get out of the association as he considered his voice and vote was being wasted. He was not in  favour of electoral politics and was up for enhancing the value of the vote of the members of the Jamaat which was unacceptable to Abul Ala Maududi {Al-Hayat: Dr Asrar number}.

About the ‘Kafir-e-azam’ statement, I would reiterate what I wrote. I wrote that M.A. Jinnah’s disciple in Z.A. Bhutto has vilified Abul Ala Maududi  in his book “If I am Assassinated”. It doesn’t mean I endorse Z.A. Bhutto’s statement. Same allegation one can find in “Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s interpretation of Islam” by Arsalan Sohail and “The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan” by Sadia Toor.

A brother then jumped into K-issue and presented Pakistan as the sympathizer to Kashmir. Let me tell him that K-issue is a different debate. And Pakistan is locking horns with India just because it is a battle on resources. Both the nations have benefitted from the boiling pot of Kashmir.

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The tail-line is I am not here to offend anyone. My actual intention was to go like this – Why I am not a Jamaati? , Why I am not a Shia? , Why I am not a Barelvi? And so on – a series of letters to major Islamic cults that could finally culminate into Why we Muslims need to Unite into a Singularity?

Unfortunately, the harsh and void responses forced me to stop right here. My final message to all the leaders of major Islamic Jamaats is to give unity a try. It may be great feeling to be a single jamaat with having differences sorted out on a common platform. It would really be intimidating for the west to see us united under the single flag.

For my brothers who resorted to all the stuff they had, I leave a confession. If you are educated and mature, I would be proud to be different – ignorant and naive, as you call me.

 By Aarif Qadir

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