One of our dearest friends, writer and intellectual Dr. Abbas Zaidi has on the LUBP team’s request, exclusively written this well argued piece for our readers. I on behalf of LUBP am grateful to him for sharing his efforts with us, and hope he will contribute more articles to this blog (aliarqam)
Now that Fauzia Wahab has apologized in the face of Islamofascism at its worst (or best, if you may), it is only appropriate that someone should try to put her remark in its context. Unfortunately, no one—either liberals or the PPP leadership—has come to support her claim that during the time of Caliph Hazrat Umar there was no constitution and thus the Caliph did not enjoy constitutional immunity. She was speaking in the backdrop of the constitutional immunity given to the president of Pakistan, be it Zardari or anyone else.
Suddenly Fauzia Wahab is the hated person, a kind of Salman Rushdie but on a smaller scale. The Islamofascist mullahs and their backers in the media have launched a witch hunt against her who dared speak the truth. It is hoped that after her “unconditional” apology she will not be killed. Some mullahs have countered Wahab’s argument by claiming that that the Koran is the constitution given to the Muslims by Allah. Thus, according to them, Fauzia Wahab has blasphemed by not saying so. Some mullahs have said that through the Medina Pact the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) gave a constitution to Muslims, which was the very first constitution in the history of the world (This is a contradiction on the part of the mullahs). Let us take a look at the problem.
What is a constitution? What is a scripture?
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a secular document, a constitution is “the body of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle of a political state.” A scripture is “the revered texts of the world’s religions”.
It should be clear from the Britannica definitions that a constitution deals with the profane, and a scripture deals with the sacred. We can further contextualize the issue by noting that a constitution is a legal-political document and does not cover people’s personal, ethical lives. It deals with the functioning of a state through a government. It is political-administrative in practice. It has nothing to do with the inner life or purification of a person. A constitution deals with a specific group of people in a specific place. A scripture on the other hand, the Koran included, is all-inclusive: It deals with every aspect of an individual’s life from their birth to death and beyond. A constitution is a man-made document which is made by the people for the people. It is a result of conscious efforts and deliberations of the representatives of people. The Koran is not a conscious-human document; no human consciousness went into its making. It was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) by God through the agency of the angel Gabriel. People—humans—are absolutely irrelevant to its creation. The Koran is universal; it transcends time and space. A constitution’s contents are determined by competent and authorized representatives of people, which is not the case in the case of the Koran. The Koran is the word of God.
A constitution can be changed, amended, and even abrogated. Pakistan is a classic example of it. No human is authorized to change the Koran. It will remain as it is till the Day of Judgment. Yes, a number of time Koranic verses have been abrogated, but it was God Himself who did so. Even the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was not authorized to do so. Besides, even if you accept a constitution and live under it, you can still endeavor to change it. For example, a person may accept the constitution of Pakistan, but he may also think that some of its articles are against the very notion of human rights. Such a person may argue that the constitution discriminates against Pakistan’s religious minorities. Moreover, it has declared the Ahmedis non-Muslims. Now such a person can endeavor politically and peacefully by aligning with like-minded people and work towards the repeal of these articles. There is nothing legally wrong with such an endeavor.
The Koran is a miracle and no other document can be produced which can claim the greatness and stature it has. A constitution can be guided by the Koran. The Koran has laid down principles and guidelines on a number of issues such as inheritance, divorce, and crime and punishment. Pakistan’s own constitution is guided by the Koran. Constitutions like their makers are mortal. The Koran like its Maker is immortal. Grammatically, the article “a” is used for a constitution; but for the Koran “the” is used. Thus the balderdash of the Islamofascists is not only misplaced and uncalled-for, it also shows their extreme ignorance and mindlessness.
(The writer is a researcher and has a PhD in sociolinguistics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Tags: 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, Britannica, Constitutional Reforms, Democracy, Fauzia Wahab, Hazrat Umar, Islamofascism, Koran, Pakistani Media, PPP, Secularism