What our text books do not say

Published: November 12, 2011

My students seemed to be stuck in a romanticised past where Islamic empires and caliphs were the dominant paradigms.

While having class discussions with my sociology students sometime back, I noticed that some of my students, although very bright and intellectually capable, seemed to be uneasy with various debates within the stream of sociology about topics that are considered taboo in our society.

However, what struck me most was their constant reliance on pinning down problems in the societal realm of Europe to the continent being not impacted by Islam.

Their reference point always seemed to be the ‘glorious age of Islam’-the years of Madinah republic. My students seemed to be still living in a romanticised past where Islamic empires and caliphs were the dominant paradigms ruling the globe economically, politically and militarily. They seemed to be enveloped in seams of denial-history, as it seemed, was all about what their textbooks had drilled into their minds in the formative years of their life from grades one to eleven.

I inquired from them if the ‘Age’ had been so glorious and virtually free of any conflict and disharmony, then why is it those three out of four caliphs that immediately followed the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were assassinated. If the ideal society had been formed, why was it that not even the grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was not spared at the hands of a Moslem army after only 63 years of his death?

Complete silence resonated in class.

Who was to be blamed for this impasse?

When reflecting upon the whole scenario, I tried to find out the roots of this pervasiveness of ‘dysfunctional utopia.’

It is my reasoning that for this utopia to be there in the first place, it is we who deserve to be held accountable.

Our history textbooks, for decades a tool for the ultra-nationalists and self-styled ‘know-alls’ ignored many of the facets of alternative history-obscuring personalities ranging form Bhagat Singh to Martin Luther King.Jr, never to be studied or appreciated for their mammoth roles in history.  We are guilty of presenting a clearly ideological scribe version of history never having the critical component, always sure of our heroes and villains.  We also tend to ‘otherise’ the latter, dehumanizing them in the worse precedents of living in the cave named the ‘façade of grandeur.’

The problems do not end here. We seem to impart to our students a much distorted version of history as well, one that suits our religious dogma, nationalist aspirations and ‘comfort’ zones.

Why do not our textbooks recongise the significance of Gandhi, who along with Jinnah literally spearheaded the movement against the Raj. Why do we paint him as the arch-enemy of Jinnah when the latter himself held deep respect for him?

When detailing the various ventures of Moslem generals throughout history ranging from Muhammad bin Qasim to Tariq ibn e Ziyad, why don’t our textbooks mention the fate that these generals suffered at the hands of Moslems themselves.

Why is there made no mention of the fact that Alhambra was designed by a Jewish court bearer of the Abbasid caliph?

Why, when titling Iqbal as the poet of the nation, do we forget the countless ‘kufr’ fatwas that were labeled against him and by whom?

Why don’t we remember that Jinnah himself hailed from a community that is not the dominant sect in Pakistan and has been constantly targeted ever since the country’s creation?

Europe of the medieval ages seemed to suffer from the same malaise 500 years ago. The Turk was presented as the pinnacle of deviance from civilisational norms while the Persian was deemed too patriarchal, ignorant and haughty.

They partially learnt from the consequences of their terrible otherisation in the period of Renaissance. However, much still needs to be done in their spheres of academic inquiry too as made clear by Edward Said in his brilliant work of ‘Orientalism.’

Moslems, as well as Pakistanis should try to solicit historical scrolls of the ‘other’ since giving our future generations a distorted version of history would not serve any purpose. On the other hand, giving them a critical impetus would make them more comfortable about their own conflicts, roots and societal norms. At the same time, they would be better equipped to learn from the ‘Missing Chapters’ which is instrumental both for prospects of academic excellence and well rounded understanding of forces at work in the current geopolitical scenario.

Since people who do not learn from history, often have to repeat it – I hope the message is well received by those who are in charge of designing the minds of future Pakistanis.

Taimur Arbab

Taimur Arbab

A former sub-editor at The Express Tribune, college teacher of Sociology and English Language and a graduate student at Aga Khan Institute for Educational Development, who leans toward the left side of the political spectrum and looks for ideas for his short stories and poems in the everyday happenings of life.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Gullible Nomore

    In any case, Pakistanis and muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular love to boast about the ‘glorified’ past of the medieval Arabia, ignoring the fact that the Muslims of sub-continent had zilch to do with their accomplishments.
    And…my much more detailed article about this topic was discarded by ET! WHY oh WHY!?Recommend

  • Reluctant Infidel

    Loved your take on the subject. The problem is we don’t teach our students the economic and realistic aspects of partition of India. In order to justify our existence and to work out a pseudo-Islamic identity for ourselves, our books attack Hindus and Hindustan. Muhammad bin Qasim and Salahuddin Ayubi attacked our land and killed our people, and let me say destroyed our temples. We are teaching our kids that they were heroes. Recommend

  • Adarsh

    Its a short, crisp and good article but it may reach just a few people. Many of them would not appreciate this. Traditionally Pakistan is faith based society ( so is large part if India), such society tends to disdain sense of inquiry rather reject them resulting in low innovation and lack of critical thinking. Brightest of Pakistan ( I assume no other institute in Pakistan compares LUMS) believes in romanticized Islamic history is indication enough of degraded sense of inquiry based on evidences. I just hope brightest Indian drifts away from faith (of all kind) quickly and get into inquiry and innovation ( we are far away from being called satisfactory on this count )

    Taimur well written !!!! I hope your society hears you.Recommend

  • hassan

    This is what happens when you have so few things to be proud of and so many things to be ashamed about. Then you have to fabricate history to tell people what they want to hear, a sugar-coated placebo, to make the audience happy.

    And while re-telling this fictional history, more embellishments take place and people are now fed accounts of glorious past. At this point, whoever intervenes to tell the alternate discourse, will be discredited as a traitor or just as a fake scholar.

    And the story gets repeated again and again. This is how brutal, inhuman rulers like Aurangazeb and Timur get glowing tributes.

    I guess it is now too late to repair the damage. Because, if you attempt to tell the truth, some student, at some point or other, is going to snap and will then take umbrage. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    Wow….brilliant article.

    Current close minded, conservative religious ideology has a lot to play into promoting a culture of denialism.

    The fact that most Muslims can’t confront their history and face criticism, because of too much emphasis on supposed religious labels to the point of superstition and fantasy – instead of actual documented acts, creates stagnation and prejudice.

    As you pointed out, 3 Caliphs out of 4 were assassinated. within 30 years after Prophet (SAW).

    Mention or debate obvious documented and evident faults that contradicts the ‘everything is so happy’ fantasy Muslim-unity narrative, and you’ll get a serious rebuke because they have so much self-esteem and identity of self attached to such a feel-good narrative.

    Rationality, tolerance (nay, acceptance) and critical thinking must be employed and promoted.

    You have no idea how many stunned looks I get when I mention Jinnah’s background. Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com Shumaila

    Very well-written, as well as an excellent point. A one-sided history teaches nothing but propaganda. I can only hope that your message, which is being insisted on by others too, actually makes a change. Because otherwise, well, what’s the point in raising deluded generations?

    At the very least, kids should be taught to take everything with a healthy dose of skepticism and research into other points of view and versions. Recommend

  • Organization of Dhol Bearers

    Utterly Myopic Point of View! The author is trying to bombard a widely shared and historic romantic concept, for what gain? It’s how we construct our identity, what’s wrong with that! Now the author seems to be in his personal la la land where Power Politics and Meritocracy are foreign and he seems to forget that Islam originated as a religion of Pragmatists. Further to this the author clearly needs more education on “structuralism”. and “comparative politics”, and a bit of political theory. He’ll find out the concept of “Otherisation” still exists in the modern western society, it exists everywhere. Nevertheless, I appreciate the authors desire to make his students think out of the box and to think critically. While the other attempts this, I can see his personal imbalanced dystopia coming into the analysis.Recommend

  • samia

    If you teach at a pakistani school the I appreciate your courage for discussing these subjects with your students and the school for allowing you too. Recommend

  • http://dinopak.wordpress.com Hasan

    ‘Muslim Ummah’ is an illusion, The Arabs are still as ignorant as they have been in the past. I experienced it sometime ago while discussing the topic of Islam and Spain. The Arab clarified to me that in those days the ancestors of (now called) Paksitanis were enjoying a relaxing life style while the Arabs were the one who were translating the Greek scrolls into Latin.Recommend

  • Ali

    @Reluctant Infidel:
    Salahuddin never moved out of Arabia
    do you even know anything about him?
    Hey ET! Silence the troll please.Recommend

  • Salman

    @Reluctant Infidel

    Salahudin Ayubi never attacked india…. go read history first then give us ur wise opinion…..Recommend

  • Sanity

    @Reluctant Infidel:
    Easier said than done. It is a very complicated issue and bears many implications specially when applied to Muslims of Pakistan or Sub-continent, for that matter.

    Even if Pakistan was not created, whether we accept it or not, Muslims need to justify to themselves and to their next generations that why they adopted a new religion (spiritual philosophy, which is very different from the native religions), when four major religions (Hinduism (Santan Dharma), Budhhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism) existed already. It is same as West, who term the religions previous to Christianity as Pagans and generally do not like them much.

    Recently I was watching a TV program featuring Hassan Nissar, he argued that those who converted belonged to lower caste (shudras, he said disdainfully), which can be easily refuted on the following basis:

    From the surnames of many existing Muslims, it can be easily identified that many people who converted belonged to warrior clans (lets call it Kshatriya). They may have converted either due to change of heart, because they liked Islam or for other reasons.For instance, the first rulers of Sindh after Arab rule were Rajputs (Soomro Dynasty)
    It should also mean that most of the lower castes (I don’t like to use this term honestly, but for the sake of argument) currently in South Asia should be Muslims, but based on my interactions in Pakistan I find many people who perform menial jobs are still as Hindus.

    Based on my study (from Wikipedia), people may have converted due to variety of reasons, such as: 1) Sufism; 2) Political reasons to stay in power; 3)Caste system; 4)Genuine change of heart; 5) To avoid status of Dhimmi

    Therefore, it is very delicate issue and one of the reasons for our identity crisis.

    As far our history lessons are concerned, In my opinion, there are following options: 1) One way to address this issue that the history books should not present historical events emphatically. Arrival of Mohd Bin Qasim and Ghazanvids should be presented only as events without stressing that they were saviours or villians – they were simply rulers. 2) Second way is to present the people of who fought against the outsiders as the Heroes (irrespective of their religion), a strategy adopted by Sindhi nationalists. Recommend

  • Talha

    By recalling history as it actually happened, you have proven yourself to be an agent of the Zionist.Recommend

  • malik


    One greatest thing our text books never teach is that the Salahudin Ayubi died a natural death, which itself is a magnificent aspect.

    If you see our Islamic history, most rulers get killed. Even the caliphs (3 out 4) immediately succeeding the Prophet (PBUH) did not die of natural causes. If you read Moghul history, it is clear that, the first thing a Prince does after becoming an adult is to kill his brother and father.

    Most of Islamic rulers, including modern day rulers, get their fate sealed, the moment they assume the top post of their country/nation/empire. A Muslim ruler invariably gets assassinated. (In fact, the word ‘assassin’ is our gift to the English vocabulary.)

    I think this aspect our text books should not ignore.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Finally, some piece which reflects some critical thinking and thorough analysis. Brilliant! Recommend

  • Sanity

    First of all thanks to the moderator for allowing my comment to be published. I understand fully that it is a sensitive issue, my comments are not intended to hurt anyone’s feelings but to explore the truth (I guess the same is the intention of the author of this blog)

    I forgot to mention one more reason for conversion, that was forceful conversion. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Its like that all over the world every body glorified there reliegen what u think what india or
    in americans books do i dont understand u few Muntash el Khyal peoples.Recommend

  • Indian

    Do they teach in Pakistan why unarmed, polite Sikh 9th Guru Teg Bahadur was massacerred by “great” Aurangzeb that too publicly at Chandni Chowk in Delhi?Do they teach in Pakistan why unarmed, polite Sikh 9th Guru Teg Bahadur was massacerred by “great” Aurangzeb that too publicly at Chandni Chowk in Delhi?Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman Gilani

    There were different reasons and scenarios regarding the assassinations, but that in no way shows that the ideal system hadnt been reached. Hazrat Umer R.A.’s system of governance is a role model till today.

    The real disarray had started during the last few years of Hazrat Usman R.A.’s Caliphate, when due to intrigues, the Caliph was unjustly murdered. The vacuum generated was partially filled by Hazrat Ali R.A. but fact is that he himself became a victim of the disarray that had spread during the time.

    It was not a decline, but fact is this, that the expansion of Muslim lands, and their foundations for a great empire which remained strong till centuries had been laid. Note that the Muslim Empire flourished whilst Europe and the West in general were undergoing the Dark Ages.

    Thats why there is romanticism for the past, but there are more religious reasons as well to it. Which I can expound but you wont comprehend.Recommend

  • Sajid.

    OKay Salahuddin Never attacked India. But still, is he a hero? He brought an end to the 300-year long Fatimid Empire, the Empire that founded the first University in Muslim lands, the Al-Azhar in Cairo, the empire that promoted intellect and research over Sword and Horses as promoted by Ummayad or Abbassids. Salahuddin brought an end to Fatimid Empire because Fatimid was a Shi’a empire, pretty much liberal in the sense that no one was oppressed under Fatimids; Shia, Sunni, Christians, Jews, all lived together in an enlightened milieu, and Salahuddin came and brought an end to it and that was because Fatimid was Shia and Salahuddin was a Sunni “hero” who had time and again targetted Shia’s between Persia and Egypt. So, Should Salahuddin Ayubi be glorified? If yes, you may well want to glorify Haq Nawaz Jhangwi too. Recommend

  • Indi-Pop

    In comparison to Pakistan , history taught in India is extremely politically correct. Equal emphasis is given to our history of hindu and muslim rule. Infact as far as I can remember , rule of Akbar and Shah Jahan were taught quite elaborately to ingrain in the students our composite culture. The fact that Akbar married a hindu princess, had many Hindu ministers in his court like Birbal and Tansen and propagated Din-i-ilahi , which combined the best of all religions. Such rulers were highlighted and especially differentiated from Mahmud Ghazni who never settled in our land and never adopted the people as their own .

    Similarly in modern history before partition, the creation of Congress party and Muslim League were both dealt proportionately in a matter of fact way. You might find anti Pakistan propaganda in our war films or by trolls on social networking sites but a strict adherence is kept to the fact that students’ mind are not polluted in their formative years. Recommend

  • Ammar

    Brilliant article.. This is the first thought that pops into the mind of students of history..Recommend

  • asdf

    When you are done teaching this, Allow me to say something even more radical. How about no temples were destroyed but merely converted (including babri masjid)? And, the dome architecture became famous as mosque/tomb architecture.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Abdul Rehman Gilani:

    Hazrat Umer R.A.’s system of governance is a role model till today.

    I’m sorry, but instead of looking at it objectively we’ve let the religious labels and romantic fantasy or dogmatic views flavour history projecting it as a role model of governance, which in actuality it was not.

    There is the controversial matter of successions, before and after him, and the recorded tragic events thereafter which does not put him in a flattering, upright or democratic light as some imagine. There’s also the controversial matters of his lack of scholarship on Islamic law and contradicting religious law as stated in the Quran or delay in codifying Hadiths.

    Under his reign, he was interested in spreading an Arab Islamic empire through military campaigns, but not interested in spreading Islam, though this avoidance of preaching and conversion was actually more of a pragmatic move to justify and stabilize the conquests and allow inexperienced Arab administrators, economy and military units to function by receiving tax from the non-Muslim residents.

    However, these conquests also ended up boosting slave ranks, which was in opposite contrast to Rasool’s (SAW) revolutionary slave reforms which should have eventually promoted freedom and ended the institution of slavery within decades but sadly was continued to be pro-longed by every other self-proclaimed conqueror. Also the tax levied on the non-Muslims was considered burdensome. Hence this also fermented the Arab, non-Arab (or Muslim, non-Muslim) divide, and considered the crux of the assassin’s motives, a non-Muslim Persian slave.

    The reason I bring this up is because it seems we always praise those who are military commanders, conquerors or disciplinarians, even when there’s heavy evidence of cruelty or personal power, than actual governors, scientists or pious scholars (what of Rasool’s (SAW) model of governance? Would he justify military campaigns for the sake of expansion or would he have just continued through preaching first and only act when attacked or under threat?) or indeed even spiritual entertainers – such as the case of Sufi musicians who probably had a greater role in spreading Islam in the sub-continent than it being spread by the sword, which sadly is the more popular misconception.

    This I believe has been a narrative that’s been embedded in our ideology and it’s time we revisit our history and thinking, such as Aurangzeb and the Mughals. Our narrative is just so totally distorted from actual history and should make one ashamed on how we could praise their behaviours or leaderships and so wrongfully and unjustly equate it with Islam and such, to make ourselves feel better. This sort of thinking was applied on Gaddafi recently, and it is just very very sad and sickening…we must become critical thinkers. Recommend

  • Ammar Ahmad

    First off, its Muslims not Moslems. You are not some European alright. Stay tuned to your roots. Secondly, we all know our history very well and we also know the bloodshed that happened in history. Don’t take us for fools. You are not the only genius here (if you are). Secondly, we also know Jinnah was a secular and we love him still.

    Seriously, grow up and stop criticizing everything. There are more important issues out there then just correcting history. Recommend

  • Ali Rajani

    OMG !!! so basically what you are trying to say that there will be no Gazwa e Hind .. Ohhh damnnnn * Throws his sword away * and joins PTI … :)Recommend

  • Sajid.

    @Ali Rajani:
    * Throws his sword away * and joins PTI … :)

    That is like saying throws his towel away and jumps in the tubRecommend

  • Ozy

    @Reluctant Infidel:
    Salahuddin Ayubi? Have you lost your mind?Recommend

  • Umar

    Moslem? seriously who?Recommend

  • Cynical

    Depends on who writes the book.
    A better option is to read books written by people who do not have a historical baggage tied with the land and it’s people they are writing about.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    The polarization of our society can be blamed on these text books, as they present an inaccurate view of the past and have promoted radicalization.Recommend

  • John B

    Why do not our textbooks recongise the significance of Gandhi,* who along with Jinnah* literally spearheaded the movement against the Raj.

    The author is also a victim of the PAK history text books if he continues to write and think Jinnah spearheaded the movement against British Raj in India, along with Gandhi.

    While it may be “patriotic” to think that way, the historical records, speeches, and press writings of Jinnah and criticism of Jinnah in Indian newspapers, and praise of Jinnah in British newspapers of that time say otherwise.

    Gandhi spearheaded the movement against British Raj. Jinnah spearheaded the movement against Inclusive India and chose dominion status over total independence from British Raj.

    Eventual PAK independence was an incidental outcome of Independence of India.

    Since we are talking about correct history, let us discuss truthfully. Recommend

  • mind control

    What the Textbooks omit is far less toxic than what they contain. How about talking about what they contain?Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/pavanmehta Pavan

    Sarcasm as it’s bestRecommend

  • Raja Islam

    Not only were most of Caliphs murdered, but most of the Shia imams who were the descendants of Ali were murdered by their wives.

    Most Pakistanis avoid the fact that we are descendants primarily of Hindus and not of the Muslim Arabs. There may be some Mongol, Greek and Arab blood thrown in, but the Dravidians are of pure southern Hindu descent.

    Mohammed Bin Qasim was an invader and justified the invasion of India on the pretext of chasing pirates. His uncle Hajjaj Bin Yousuf was considered a trouble maker and was sent to Basra from Taif as Governor by the Caliph of the day in order to shunt him aside. Rumor has it that on his return from India, Qasim took back Raja Dahir’s daughter as a gift for his uncle. Having spent the night with the girl, Hajjaj inquired from her as to how she had lost her virginity. On being informed by Dahir’s daughter that she had been raped by Qasim on the journey by boat to Basra, Hajjaj had him killed.

    Mahmud Ghaznavi was another robber baron who invaded India 17 times and claimed to be an idol breaker when the primary motive of his incursions was to loot the wealth of the temples of India.Recommend

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    I read it somewhere: There is your story, and there is my story and then there is history. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Jaydee

    You’ve got it in one. Couldn’t have put it beettr.Recommend

  • Baqar

    You are spot on….Recommend

  • Baqar

    Quaid e azam was a shia but history has been distorted so much that he is labeled as a sunni, but the point is not about the sect the point is the we want to make people see what we want to see. The instances that the writer pointed out alongside many comments deface the reality that we want to see, hear and percieve as we would like them to be. In short our history is full of wet dreams displaying high morals of the past history, much contrary to the reality. Muslim history in particular is hasnt been nothing more than greedy and ambitious charade of powerplay.

    P.S Does anyone know how did Hazrat Ayesha die, and where is she buried? Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    That’s because in spite of Jinnah’s background, he himself didn’t keep in touch with that background, and himself accepted and joined the same sect that the majority of Pakistanis today follow.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Reluctant Infidel:
    Salahuddin never came to the subcontinent, and was greatly respected by his enemies (from Europe, not India). Read up on your own history before attacking great figures baselessly.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Reluctant Infidel:
    Salahuddin never came to India, and was greatly respected by all for his generosity and magnanimity (extended to other faiths, Judaism and Christianity). Read up on your history before attacking a great figure.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Salahuddin brought an end to the Fatamid Empire because the Fatamids were traitors and presented a threat to others. He deserves all the respect he gets and more.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Christians and Jews were allowed in Jerusalem by Salahuddin, he was tolerant and magnanimous towards them.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Quaid-e-Azam was born into a Shia family but later became a Sunni.
    Hazrat Aisha is buried in Madinah.Recommend

  • Arjun Shetty

    The simple fact that contradicts the Pakistani versions in textbooks is how popular Gandhi is compared to Jinnah explains how much far Pakistan is from truth. A lot of arguements keep mentioning Jinnah is saviour and greater but sorry-not even 1 percent of this popularity is reflected internationally for Jinnah. The answer from Pakistanis is -this is a media game by western societies. Either way- Pakistan has not had influence of Jinnah in its journay thus far-Hindus did not cease to be hindus but were forced to convert or killed. Muslims did not cease to be muslims but many became far more virulent muslims that school textbooks teach false glorification of religion (sound harsh but truth). In an nation like India that gave birth to 4 religions, it is no doubt that islam will not totally establish but only can survive with others. It can never overcome the much stronger native forces in India-the battle of mind. Unlike other societies, islam never settled in India because Indian cultural diversity was far too strong for even islam -a religion that has some strict regimen.
    The religious zeal in Pakistan went to an extent that they started considering themselves Arabs-sorry no arrogance here-anyday Indian society beats Arabs and middleeast -despite poverty. Now who is going to change the textbooks and how much will they change? The real problem as Indian media says is not Taliban but whats taught in schools in Pakistan? This reality and guts to face the truth and will to push religion to secondary status is going to almost impossible for Pakistan anytime soon. Salman Taseer is just one example. When educated use religion as reference in daily dealing at times when it is totally not needed-there is some crisis brewing. It may not be harsh to say that Pakistan has very bleak future
    as these issues far more serious than dealing with political corruption or poverty. Recommend

  • i like what he’s having

    brilliant article, you should blog a lot more frequently. the issue is that people really dont like to read too much in our society and hence conversations either on tv or in the living room tend to focus more on politics. hence the best way to actually improve things is to have the electronic media be more active on this front, not only to highlight and debate the issue that you have raised but also bring in more documentaries on such topics to spread more information. Recommend

  • Ali

    Do they teach in India that 16 children in Kashmir, while playing cricket were opened fire upon? I don’t think so. Do they teach in the US what they did to the black people in Africa? Do the English or Portugese or the Spanish teach how they massacred the Indian people, raped their women and created Latinos?
    Do the Japanese teach what were they called during WWII?
    No Nation would tell their children things which would make them hate that nation. People eventually find out. This is how it works.Recommend

  • Ali

    @Umar: hahahahhaRecommend

  • Salman

    @Reluctant Infidel: Salahuddin Ayubbi had nothing to do with the subcontinent.He was the one who stood againt the tide of European crusaders saving the middle east from their barbarism and finally recapturing Jerusalam from them.How can you be so stupid my friend?Recommend

  • Baqar

    @Mustafa Moiz:
    Dude go read Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan which has the status of official autobiography of Jinnah. Moreover, and at his funeral two namaz e janaza were held…first the sunni way becoz he was the head of a sunni state and then shia way because he was a shia in his beleifs.

    But again I’d like to point out Why do we want to see the things as it pleases us…even if jinnah was Shia wat difference does it make…he ll still be greatRecommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Mustafa Moiz:

    That’s because in spite of Jinnah’s background, he himself didn’t keep in touch with that background, and himself accepted and joined the same sect that the majority of Pakistanis today follow.

    Unless majority of Pakistanis happen to be Twelver Shia Muslims, which I doubt, there is no evidence that suggests he joined the Sunni Muslim orthodoxy in any scholarly or academic research, and have not seen any credible source to the contrary.

    Its a false assumption most hold, mostly based on projection. For example, some base the false association that since he was present amongst Sunni Muslim jamaats, he must therefore have been Sunni. The false conclusion and logical fallacy is self-evident.

    His conversion from the Shia Ismaili branch was due to his falling out with the Aga Khan. But the split only moved him to the point of identifying himself as a Twelver Shia…a rather passive non-observant one, but nevertheless, active enough to be a trustee behind a noted Karachi Imambargah. While his public prayers was lead by a Deobandi cleric, his private funeral rituals followed the Shia Islam version, where an ‘Alam’ is evident even in public.

    His colleagues, such as his personal doctor, Liaquat Ali Khan as well as his own sister, Fatimah Jinnah, would claim the same, though apparently she would lose her inheritance rights case as per Shia Muslim laws from a Pakistani court that denied the affidavits and claim and would suggest otherwise (in support of Walji, giving Pirzadah’s words more weight than the nation’s founders), on the pre-text the sisters were married to Sunnis.

    There may have been some with anti-minority/anti-Shia resentment or prejudice who defensively took issue with this fact to maintain a certain narrative of ‘purity’. In fact the final court decision during Zia’s time, a noted extreme Sunni or Wahhabi ideologue, sought to quell any such sectarian mention and outright denied he was a Shia (but would not confirm he was Sunni either. Liaquat Merchant would expound that he was not Sunni either, simply ‘Muslim’).

    Many biographies try to avoid the issue altogether (and perhaps something Jinnah himself may approve of, considering his own dismissal of the issue in public and it being simply his own private and personal matter), perhaps due to the historical emotional argumentative messiness, that most try to conclude that he was neither Shia nor Sunni, just a secular Muslim.

    However, noted academics such as Stanley Wolpert and Vali Nasr would decisively claim what Jinnah’s sectarian pulse was and cite his leanings.

    So bottom line….there is no credible source that claims Jinnah became a passive or practicing Sunni, which is simply conjecture or white-wash, whereas there’s more evidence of him simply ending up as a passive Twelver Shia.

    If it is too difficult for some to grasp then at least they can reassure themselves that he was a Muslim whose secular vision called for no one being discriminated on the basis of sect or religion, despite how contradictory or controversial a Muslim majority state might be even amongst the majority extreme religious right or the minority most liberal left.


    http://www.thefridaytimes.com/24122010/page27.shtml (a great article for Express Tribune’s own contributor, Khaled Ahmed)Recommend

  • sajid

    Quaid-e-Azam was born to a khoja shia family but later on converted to twelver shia. The evidence for this is that his funeral prayers were led by a shia.
    However in his personal life Quaid-e- Azam was not an extremely practicing muslim.
    Here is an excerpt
    “Most of Jinnah’s political life, which spanned over four decades, was dedicated to the service of the people of India, Hindus and Muslims alike, and their progress. His contributions as a legislator were always progressive. He helped pass the Child Marriages Restraint Act 1929 for which he was bitterly attacked by the religious class amongst Muslims. Much of his efforts during the 1910s and 1920s were directed towards the Indianisation of the army and greater indigenous control over economic policy. He spent a considerable amount of time attempting to get the British government to recognise universal education as a basic human right. He was a long time supporter of the bill to allow inter-communal marriage, which was — without renunciation of their respective faiths — banned in British India. At another time, he warned against the misuse of the proposed 295-A (the forerunner of blasphemy law) to quell dissent. His advocacy for human rights and civil liberties — again entirely on non-communal basis — was noted and appreciated by all. It was for these reasons and more that Jinnah alone in a galaxy of political stars of the time was called the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity. His political career — beyond just words — was in practice completely secular. No biographer of Jinnah, be it in India or the west, has ever concluded otherwise.”
    I remember asking my teacher once if Quaid-e-Azam used to offer daily prayers and he answered that even if he did not he is still our ‘mohsin’. So I do not give a damn about what sect he was from he was always my hero and still is. Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    As you say, there’s no evidence of Quaid-e-Azam’s religious leanings. As you accept, he was a secular Muslim, and for the most part not very strict with regards to practicing. It is because of this that he became a Sunni Muslim, from his birth as a Shia, because, being a secular man, he accepted and followed the religion of the majority, as he was not too concerned about religion.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Quaid-e-Azam became a Sunni in 1901.Recommend

  • omar

    Jinnah never spearheaded any movement against the Raj. Where do you get YOUR history?Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    Quaid-e-Azam became a Sunni in 1901.

    I see we’re repeating and siding with Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada and Hussain Ali Ganji Walji.

    Again, no, he left the Ismaili Shia branch, ending up as a Twelver Shia. This is backed up with credible facts and evidences if you only bother to honestly to read and take note.

    Considering the contradiction from your opening sentence in the previous comment, trying to convince you otherwise would be futile and the nuances would be lost in translation.

    Regardless, I encourage everyone to apply critical thinking rather than bias and click the following links to read the Wikipedia entry and Khaled Ahmed’s article. The links were also given earlier in an above comment.

    For those who enjoy questioning and tackling historical narrative, honestly debating and critical analyzing with an open mind here’s an interesting link on Jinnah’s own contradictions. Recommend

  • Umer

    I have studied Islamic history i the uk, and let me tell you it’s not that different to what Pakistani textbooks say.
    It’s shameful that so called pakistanis / Muslims on this blog are denying their Islamic history and heritage whereas the ” non believers ” in the west are promoting it as it was. These people think they will sound modern and open minded by this when they actually look rather foolish and ignorant. Recommend

  • xyz

    The answer to all your questions may be, “Because we don’t want these minds to change. They should be molded that way. Otherwise, they would start thinking that there was no need to create a separate country called Pakistan and all those who were involved in creating Pakistan were goofs”.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Ahem..according to me if a thing is not imp for hereafter’s success..then my approach towards it dznt matter.
    nd as for this world..US can be rendered as most successful state, yet i dnt think their txtbooks teach them unbiased histories..nd a step ahead..jews said to b influencing even American policies..we all know how much ‘missing chapters’ they would like to know abt their hollocaust..as for subcontinent india is way more well establishd than us..i read their expert relating in ‘encarta’ that in 1965 pakistan attacked india..they fought bravely n made us to surrender in end..so same thing :) n here our channels show movies paying tribute to ghandi..religious scholar admires him for his way of dealing with ‘angraiz’..n when there an author writes a few lines in ‘deceptive admiration’ of jinnah..we all know wt happnd..nw u can well imagine wt’ll b in their txtbooks..so this is a criteria for nothing in my opinion :p nd System of caliphate IS the most perfect system NO doubt.. martyrdom of caliphs was for a totally different reason..n one cause of martyrdom of his (S.W.A) grandson(R.A) was that Khilafat was abolished n baadshahat started! Recommend

  • Anonymous Is Right

    ‘I agree with you ! Most of the comments here are by wonderFOOL liberals who are jh’hak-marrowing about being liberal without seeing how much damage it can do to our ideological identity.Your comment has brought a balanced view .Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Hazrat Ayesha died of illness and is buried in Jannat ul Baqi in Madina along with other members of the prophet’s (saw) family.Recommend

  • anonymous

    one of the best articles i have read , periodRecommend

  • http://twitter.com/ahsanzee Ahsan


    waah yaar clapping ho jayay…what a spech Recommend