Neo-Islam in Pakistan: we need to confront it with full force – by Dr Muhammad Awais Khalil

Thanks to General Zia for the forced islamization of Pakistan, pouring bags full of US dollars and Saudi riyals and mushroom growth of madrassas of a particular ideology [wahabism and deobandism] which has created a generation who has a different way of seeing things.

The unholy nexus of the military, mullahs, and Muslim Leagues has affected the social, moral, and religious core of our society. The pre-Zia generation must have noticed that they have a different view to things when compared with the Zia and post Zia generations. All the efforts put in by this unholy nexus started paying off in 1980s and beyond and this started the emergence of a global new brand of Islam which I call as Neo-Islam, which was non existent before that.

This can also be compared with the emergence of Protestantism but the difference is that Protestantism didn’t have such a far reaching effect on the world as this neo-Islam has.

Neo-Islam is a combination of overlapping ideologies of wahabism, deobandism, Kharijites and militant Shiaism. This results in an end product of freelance Islamism which takes bits and pieces from most [if not all] ideologies and versions of Islam. It also interprets the scriptures in its most literal terms.

Some people might think that this is not a single ideology; yes it’s not, but the end result comes up with a set of characters and morals which are sufficient enough to call it a consistent ideology. For example it divides people into Muslims and non Muslims contrary to the old Islamic tradition of dividing people into good and bad. It’s global in its approach and propagates the slogan of ‘ummah’ which is fairly new. It has taken the people’s loyalty away from their country and put it back to the religion which is again contrary to old traditions of Islam.

It is racist in approach and considers Muslims as a race/unity/nation which is superior to all the others. It also takes a divine right to forces people a set of morals which it thinks is right. It has given much more importance to external features of religion [beard, naqab / hijab, naked ankle, a specific dress code] than the old traditional concept of purification of the soul or inner self. It judges others as good and bad Muslim by their dress, external features and Islamic terminologies in their language.

It has also produced and propagated a very successful hate propaganda against Jews, America, ‘the west’, India, Ahmedis, Shiites and Braelvis in descending order. It wants Muslims to believe in Quran and Shahih bukhari and nothing else. Every thing else thought, said or done will either be considers Biddah, Shirk or at least a major sin.

In today’s environment its starts from Maulana Maududi, Sayyed Qutb, and reaches Dr Israr Ahmed, Zakri Naik, Farhat Hashmi, Saudi daar ul fatwa, and its militant offshoots.

When we compare the Neo-Islam with our old indigenous Islam we notice that we used to be very tolerant people. We didn’t have an approach ‘to see everything with an ‘Islamic eye’ which neo-Islam teaches. We enjoyed music and dance as a part of religion. We enjoyed basant and nobody ever thought or questioned for 100s of years that it is Islamic or not. We used to go to shrines of Sufi saints of all faiths, never bothered checking if it is Islamic or not.

We never used to check each and every food label to ‘make sure its not made up of haram gelatin’. Our old traditional Islamic scholars opposed the creation of an Islamic State because they thought we could peacefully live with Hindus. We were wearing dhoti, patka, waistcoat, sherwani, shalwar qameez, dopata; dresses such as jilbab, hijab headscarf were alien to us.

We used to have statues at corners of most famous streets until late 1950s when a ‘neo-Muslim’ realised that these are ‘idols’. There were less mosques, less maulvis, less beards and buqah brigades but we were much better Muslims than what we have become today.

We never used to check or counter check every act, every statement and every moral under the close myopic eye of ‘Islam’.

But now every thing is different; you are not considered a Muslims until you hate Jews, Indians, Qadiyanis and Shiites. You are not a true Muslim until and unless you like Zakir Naik and accept him as a greatest preacher Islam has ever produced. You are not ‘Muslim’ if you don’t believe in global jihad, supremacy of Muslims, Muslims being the only rightful rulers of the world, Muslims being the most oppressed nation in the world.

This ‘Neo-Islam’ has utterly destroyed the very fabric of our society to its core. Now we are more ‘Muslim’ but less human. We have more mosques and mosque goers but lesser humanist morals. We now have people sitting on TV channels running programmes such as Aalim Online (often dubbed as Jahil Online), vomiting our Islamic myopic hatred left, right and centre, openly inciting one faith to attack the other.

Because of neo-Islam, Muslims are not safe in mosques, Imam bargahs and shrines, Christians are not safe in their homes, Ahemdis are killed every week, Sikhs are beheaded, Hindu girls are abducted, raped and then converted to ‘holy Islam’ and married to a ‘faithful’.

In my own ex-medical college, jamiya masjid [under tablighi control] is being used to recruit people to different banned outfit. You will find more doctors in the masjid than in the lecture theatre during the session.

Now in society as general if there is an argument between Muslims and non Muslim, Muslim is always right no matter how wrong he/she is. Almost 100 Ahmedis killed by the Taliban is ok but not 10 Muslims by Israelis. Hamas’s indiscriminate rockets on Isareli population are fine but not the drones against Abu-Yazid or others ‘brothers in faith’.

We as a society don’t have any problem, and sometime we get pleasure on the acts of Ajmal Kasaba ‘the butcher’.

These are only a few of the outcomes and effects of the ‘neo-Islamic’ generation which has now almost full control of media, intelligentia, bureaucracy, rightists political parties and establishment.

In my view all those who believe that this ‘neo-islamization’ of our society is wrong, they need to come forward. There is no time to sit in our cosy drawing rooms and chat rooms. We will have to come forward and strengthen the forces of liberalism, pluralism, federalism and socialism. I don’t want my kids to be taught or forced to do things which my forefathers never did. I want my kids future, their Pakistan saved from the dirty clutches of the ‘neo-Islamist’ agenda.

I don’t want a mullah sitting in a palace ordering my children what to wear, what to eat and how to behave. My forefathers never accepted this imperialistic approach neither did I and nor will my children. Come and join the liberal forces if you want a liberal, secular, pluralistic Pakistan, free of the barbaric neo-Islamists.

Long live Pakistan
Long live people of Pakistan



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