By Ali Hassnain
There has been uproar due to mischief by the usual suspects. A Qadiani was recently spotted in the Oval Office telling President Trump about his ‘plight’ in Pakistan. The president replied that “The world is a tough place and we have made strides. We have made some very good strides”. The Qadiani in question was complaining that he was not classified as a Muslim in Pakistan. Interestingly the translator of the Qadiani was not an official translator and had possible political ambitions. Also this was a blatant misuse of possible noble intentions of the US authorities by the people responsible for arranging this audience with the president.
The Qadiani debate is a long one but I find myself compelled to address the argument that Qadianis cannot call themselves Muslims. Yes, they are non-Muslims and classified so not just by Pakistani law, but by all Arabs (literally), Iranians, Indonesians and basically all the members of OIC, so basically by representatives of ALL the Muslim majority countries. Having said that, mob violence is not the answer to any problem and everyone deserves a due process and an opportunity to be heard. Unlike propagated to Mr. Trump by the old man, people who believe Qadianis are non-Muslims (1.5 billion Muslims) are not out for their blood. Acts of violence are another issue and that is for the authorities to deal with them. The non-acceptance of Qadianis socially and the fact that they are classified as non-Muslims are two different issues.
Let’s see what is the problem and what do they want and what means are they using to achieve it.
So the immediate question which has been used to propagate demands of the Qadianis is, that they are not classified as Muslims. Either you are Muslim or you are not a Muslim. Whether the Muslim laws regarding property, inheritance, marriage, prohibition etc. apply to you or not is a matter for the relevant competent authorities to decide.
Forget Islam, forget the US. Let’s take examples of other religions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints permits polygamy. Mormons have this complicated set of rules about polygamy where state governments and US federal government look the other way. For that to happen you have to be a followed of the particular church. A Hindu for example cannot just walk into the church and demand to be treated like other Mormons, naturally they would ask questions about his beliefs and decide whether to treat him as a Mormon or not?
The Roman Catholic Church has strict rules about appointing officials from priests to cardinals and pope. When they choose a cardinal they assume in common sense that the person believes in trinity for example. A person cannot be a priest in Roman Catholic Church and claim he believes in trinity but at the same time is confused about it.
A Muslim cannot be classified as a Christian just because a Muslim feels likes it. A Canadian would not be classified as American or American as Canadian on the wishes alone. Christians believe in the divinity of Christ (PBUH) which we Muslims don’t. Only Catholics are awarded sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. Any person believing Christ (PBUH) was a Prophet and not son of God is not a Christian in modern day, not categorized as one and not awarded sainthood. Imagine Roman Chaotic Church awarding sainthood to Rasheed bin Sultan who is an Imam in a small mosque near Tehran! Makes no sense, does it? Wouldn’t even makes sense if Rasheed calls himself a Christian. Imagine Rasheed as a cardinal and praying five times a day and baptizing children on behalf of Roman Catholic Church at the same time.
In Judaism you either have a Jewish mother or you have to go through the formal process of conversion. Acceptance as a Jew by one denomination is not a guarantee to be accepted by other denominations. Without it you cannot get married as a Jew in Israel.
It is a social and legal question which can at worst be addressed politically. However the approach of Jamaat (organisation) of Qadianis is nothing short of intention of causing mischief. They are involved with hostile foreign intelligence agencies, it is a terrible idea and they should stop at once.
They had a chance in Pakistani parliament in 1974, when a comprehensive (in camera) debate was conducted. And they can raise the issue in the parliament again as they have reserved seats which they accept, which means they have a representation in parliament no matter what. However this issue has not been touched in the parliament or courts since. Turning to propaganda, half-truths, using any forum or any party against Pakistan to further their point of view, hide behind different shades is not only counterproductive to them and their cause, it also backfires. They should come out with all their arguments and see if Muslims all over the world accept it and classify them as Muslims. Or they should stop using that argument if they cannot even share their beliefs.
If they think they are Muslims, why not talk with reason and sit down with Muslim Scholars at a place of their choice? Most preferably televised? What about internet? Why not parliament? Why not courts? Why through India and Israel and through their lobbies or a US President whose knowledge on anything international is often limited? Here is our constitution. Please read it and if anyone is usurping your rights detailed in the constitution (freedoms, right to life etc.) it should be raised on appropriate forums. If they have reservations on the constitution it should be mentioned. Cherry picking is good for spin doctoring, but not an alternative to bilateral inter-religious dialogue by a long shot.