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Unfinished Agenda

5. Theological Genesis of Separatism

Partition was consistent with Muslim separatism or rather his inability to coexist with people of other faiths. In the wizards of M.J. Akbar, in his book The Shade of Swords, Roli Books, New Delhi, 2002.

the community did not forget that Prophet Mohammad himself had warned that there should never be two religions in Arabia. In their 1400 year history, Muslims have shown clear preference for being masters or rulers. When and wherever this has not been possible, the inclination has been to migrate or undertake hijrat to another land which they could call Darul Islam, or a society where the writ of the sharia runs without any hindrance.

In the absence of a Darul Islam. the Mnslim feels tha the would be unable to blossom as a momin which means a faithful. In India, since the sun finally set on the Mughal empire in 1858, Muslims have been uncomfortable. Instead of being rulers, they became British subjects like the rest of Indians. When the British were preparing to give up their Indian empire 90 years later, Muslims feared that the Hindu majority would overwhelm them. The only alternative therefore was partition and for those one/third of the ummah who would remain on the Indian side of the dividing border, hijrat was the way. To make space for the mohajirs, the government of Pakistan cleared the western wing of their country of nearly all non-Muslims on the morrow of the vivisection.

The inspiration to separatism is not merely socio political but is embedded in the theology of Islam. To illustrate, it is useful to quote a contract that was signed between Khalifa Umar II and the Jews and Christians of Arabia sometime between 717 and 720 AD. They affirmed:

We shall not build in our cities or in their vicinity any new monasteries, churches, hermitages, or monks' cells. We shall not restore, by night or by day, any of their that have fallen into ruin or which are located in the Muslims'quarters.

We shall keep our gates wide open for the passerby and travellers. We shall provide three days' food and lodging to any Muslim who passes our way.

We shall not shelter any spy in our churches or in our homes, nor shall we hide him from the Muslims.

We shall not teach our children the Koran.

We shall not hold public religious ceremonies. We shall not seek to proselytize anyone. We shall not prevent any of our kin from embracing Islam if they so desire.

We shall show deference to the Muslims and shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit down.

We shall not attempt to resemble the Muslims in any way.We shall not ride on saddle.

We shall not wear swords or bear weapons of any kind, or even carry them with us.

We shall not sell wines.

We shall clip the forelocks of our head.

We shall not display our books anywhere in the Muslims thoroughfares or in their marketplaces. We shall only beat our clappers in our churches very quietly. We shall not raise our voices when reciting the service in our churches, nor when in the presence of Muslims. Neither shall we raise our voices in our funeral processions.

We shall not build our homes higher than theirs.

Instead of insisting that the kafirs or infidels subject themselves to conversion and become Muslim, or face the blade of the sword, this was a concession made to the Jews and the Christians because they were also ahle-kitab or the people of the Book who shared common prophets. Incidentally, this privilege of not being forced to convert, provided one accepted the status of a zimmi or a protected citizen and paid jiziya or the poll tax, was extended to Hindus. This contract of Khalifa Umar II was in tune with the Quran Sharief and the sunna or the practice of the Holy Prophet.

To illustrate, it is best to quote from the Life of Mahomet, a biography by Sir William Muir. Its third edition was published way back in 1894.

The dispensation of Mohammad was distinguished as Islam, that is, Surrender of the soul to God; his followers as Muslimin (those who surrender themselves). or as Believers; his opponents as kafirin, that is, those who reject the divine message, or mushrikin, such as associate companions with the Deity. Faith, Repentance,

Heaven, Hell, Prayer, Almsgiving, and many other terms of t he religion, soon acquired their stereotype meaning.

The practice of the Holy Prophet is also best quoted from the same biography:

Mohammad was the prophet of God, and his word was law. Opposing doctrine must vanish before the divine command. The exclusive and intolerant position finally assumed by Islam is sufficiently manifest in the ban issued at the Farewell pilgrimage against Jews and Christians, who were for ever debarred from the sacred rites and holy precincts of the Ka'ba; and by the divine command to war against them until, in confession of the supremacy of Islam, they should consent to the payment or tribute.

Unfinished Agenda
Prafull Goradia
1. Why Transfer Population?
10. Frontiers
11. Financial Resources
12. Armed Forces
13. Pakistan and Communal Peace
14. Redrawing Boundaries
2. Unfinished Agenda of Partition
23. Two Nation Theory
24. Ethnic Cleansing by Pakistan
25. Get Out of Bangladesh
26. Population Transfer Between Greece and Turkey
3. Betrayal
4. Hindu Muslim Gulf
5. Theological Genesis of Separatism
6. Medieval Experience
7. Subcontinental Ummah is One
8. Separate Homeland For All Muslims
9. Ambedhar on Partition

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