For the idealogues of terrorism, the Quaid was a kafir….


Jinnah was a direct threat to religious hegemony of the clergy which it was enjoying in the Sub-Continent since the rule of Muslim monarchs of nearly all dynasties.

Hussain Saqib

True Pakistanis are still shocked at branding the Father of Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah as kafir (apostate) by terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their religious idealogues. But this should shock nobody as nearly all reformers in Muslims history were meted out a similar treatment. Bulleh Shah, a sufi saint and poet, when called a Kafir, composed this Punjabi verse: Toon hoyon aashiq Rabb da teinun hui malaamt lakh/teinun loki kafir aakhdey, toon aakho aakho aakh (ever since you have fallen in love with God, you are being criticized/(but don’t worry) if they call you kafir, you only say “yes, yes”)

But Jinnah was a different matter. He was a direct threat to religious hegemony of the clergy which it was enjoying in the Sub-Continent since the age of Muslim monarchs of nearly all dynasties. For them, the corrupt Moghul era was a model for enforcing their type of religious system. The state of Pakistan, to which they lay their claim to rule, was a secular democratic state which they despised. The clergy under JUH was resisting the idea of Pakistan and was an ally of Congress which stood for an undivided India after departure of British rulers. In Jinnah, they saw a hurdle to their rule as he had declared in clear terms that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state. They all, except for an honorable minority under Maulana Thanwi, declared creation of Pakistan as a sin. They still have not accepted Pakistan and their ideological descendants, the TTP, has unleashed their revenge on Quaid’s Pakistan through acts of terror.

Declaring a Muslim as kafir or Takfiri is not a new phenomenon. Under this, a Muslim accuses another Muslim of apostasy. The accusation itself is called takfir, derived from the word kafir (impiety) and is described as when “…one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared impure.”

In principle the only group authorized to declare a Muslim a kafir is the ulema, and this only once all the prescribed legal precautions have been taken. However a growing number of splinter Salafist groups, labeled by some scholars as Salafi-Takfiris, have split from the orthodox method of establishing takfir through the processes of the law, and have reserved the right to declare apostasy themselves.

Middle East expert Robert Baer has written that “takfiri generally refers to a Sunni Muslim who looks at the world in black-and-white; there are true believers and then there are nonbelievers, with no shades in between. A takfiri’s mission is to re-create the Caliphate according to a literal interpretation of the Koran.” Takfiris believe in Islam strictly according to their interpretation and do not accept any deviation from their path; they reject any reform or change to the religion as it was revealed in the time of the Prophet. Those who change their religion from Islam to any other way of life, or deny any of the fundamental foundations of Islam, or who worship, follow or obey anything other than Islam, become those upon whom the takfiris declare the “takfir“, calling them apostates from Islam and so no longer Muslim.

This extremist interpretation of Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyyah who issued a famous fatwa declaring jihad against invading Mongols not because they were invading but because they were apostates, apostasy from Islam being punishable by death. Though the Mongols had converted to Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah reasoned that since they followed their traditional Yassa law rather than Islamic Sharia law, they were not really Muslims and thus apostates. More recently 18th Century Islamic Revivalist Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and 20th century Muslim authors Maulana Maududi and Sayyid Qutb, referenced Ibn Taymiyyah in condemning self-proclaimed Muslims as not really Muslims. Al-Wahhab condemned practices of Shia, Sufi and other Muslims as bid’a (innovation of the religion), and al-Wahhab’s followers slew many Muslims for allegedly pagan practices. Like jihadis, Takfiri groups advocate armed struggle against the secular regime but unlike jihadis, takfiri groups make no distinction between the regime and the ordinary population when employing violence. Opponents of the Takfiris often view them as modern-day analogues of the Khawarij, a seventh-century off-shoot Islamic sect which waged war against the Caliphate.

What TTP is doing today is, in fact, what their religious forefathers did at the time of creation of Pakistan. The father of Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlur Rehman had once declared proudly, “Thanks God that we were not partners in the commission of the sin of making of Pakistan”. It is irony of history that the very same anti-Pakistan Mullah dreams, and can sell his soul to the devil, to become prime minister of the very same Pakistan his forefathers so vehemently opposed.


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