Remembering role of Ulema in Pakistan Movement
By Mohd Saleem Shaikh
In 1940 the Muslim League formally endorsed the partitioning of British India and the creation of Pakistan as a separate Muslim state. During pre-independence talks held in 1946, therefore, the British government found that the stand of the Muslim League on separation and that of the Congress on the territorial unity of India were strongly irreconcilable.
The British then decided on partition and on August 15, 1947, transferred power dividedly to India and Pakistan. The latter, however, came into existence in two parts: West Pakistan, as Pakistan stands today, and East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. The two were divided by 1,600 km (1,000 miles) of Indian territory.
The separate homeland that is now named 'Pakistan' was obviously a direct outcome of insurmountable struggle and a raft of sacrifices by audacious Muslims of sub-continent from all walks of life.
Apart from the role of politicians of the sub-continent in the struggle of freedom for Muslims of India, the contribution of writers, theologians, journalists, students, women and mainly Ulema and mashaikh is worth remembering. They all channeled their energies and sources in the making of the Muslim nation and the idea of what is called two-nation theory. In pith, the credit for the success of the struggle cannot be attributed to a mere single section of the society. Irrespective of professions and strata of society, each and every Muslim was motivated and moblised to take active part.
Broadly speaking, almost all the Ulema and mashaikh as well as other prominent leaders belonging to all schools of thought from the entire sub-continent readily propped up the cause of what was named 'Pakistan Movement'.
Of the Ulema and mashaikh, Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani was the outstanding personality who rendered really valuable services for mobilizing and gearing up the movement of Pakistan. He and other noted Ulema and Mashaikh had a great number of followers spread over the sub-continent, who put their hearts in speeding up movement of separate homeland for the Muslims of the united India.
Hence, the services of the Ulema and Mashaikh in the movement of Pakistan proved strong backing and boosted efforts carried out by the Muslims of the sub-continent for a separate Muslim state, where they would spend their lives in accordance with Islamic laws and principles without any fear. Their services included educating their disciples and awakening the general masses to the need of Pakistan for the Muslims of the sub-continent, making physical and personal contacts with the people even in distant areas, convening of public meetings and ingraining the idea of inevitable necessity of an independent country in their minds.
Moreover, while complying with the instructions and directions of the Quaid-i-Azam in strict manner under the able guidance and instructions, the Ulema and Mashaikh spread the message in all corners of the sub-continent, infused the Muslims and worked ceaselessly to achieve the goal.
Maulana Shabbir Ahmed lent his full support in the election campaigns of the Muslim League and even pleaded in favour of Quaid-i-Azam against all opposition, directed from other ill-advised and ill-informed rather blind Ulema and Mashaikh. He always publicly announced his complete faith in the honesty and integrity of Quaid-i-Azam and even exhorted the Muslims to vote to the Muslim League. For, it was struggling hard for carving out a new Muslim State on the global map where the Islamic laws and traditions shall possibly be formulated and practiced. He advised the Muslims not to lend an ear to Hind-influenced Muslims or the nationalist Muslims. On one occasion, he said that any one who casts his vote for the opponents of the Muslim League must think of the eventual aftermaths of his action in terms of the interests of his nation and the answers that would be called upon to yield on the Day of Judgment.
Therefore, the role of our Ulema and Mashaikh in the Pakistan Movement is really highly laudable and worth of writing in letters of gold. They prevailed upon their followers for awakening the common people, they toured the country in spite of the difficulties in the means of communication, they addressed meetings and enabled the nation to reach that goal which they have resolved for.
In this connection, the names of Pir Jama'at Ali Shah, Mian Ghulam Ullah Sharaqpuri, Pir Ghulam Mohyuddin Golravi, Allama Allauddin Siddiqui, Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani and many other noted religious leaders will ever be remembered with regard to the superb services they rendered for the cause of Pakistan's making. It is worth mentioning here that when the matter of Aligarh University's progress and later that of the financial needs of the Muslim League for its development rose, Hazrat Pir Jama'at Ali Shah subscribed lakhs of rupees on his behalf and on that of his followers. In the same way, when the 1945 elections were in full swing, Khawaja Hasan Nizami of Taunsa and other deities asked their followers to work for the success of the Muslim League.
Apart, the grand historic congregation of Benares, which was attended by more or less six thousand Ulema and Mashaikhs as well as hundreds of thousands of students from every sphere of life delivered real support to the Pakistan Resolution in 1940, and so made the task of the achievement of Pakistan considerably easier.
Similarly, the landmark convention of the All-India Muslim League in 1946 was attended by a great number of Ulema and the Mashaikh including Pir Jama'at Ali Shah, Maulana Jamal Mian of Farangi Mahal (Lucknow) as well as the inspiring personality of Maulana Abdul Hamid of Badaun in Uttar Pardesh. As recorded in Pak-India history, afore-mentioned religious leaders and scholars enjoyed deep and intensive influence of the common people and had a large number of followers and adherents. Given the reasons, these Ulema and Mashaikh proved a strong source of greater strength and sacrifice for the Muslim League, who devoted themselves to the cause of Pakistan Movement for freedom.
After reviewing Pakistan's history, one comes to a conclusion that religious scholars have been a great source for building the nation in one way or the other. Convinced by the fact that they continue to enjoy the status of strong opinion leaders in our society with ever-rising number of their followers, their role can be utilized for the country's socio-economic development other than just spreading and teaching Islam.
It has been observed that isolating them from putting their efforts and minds for the country's socio-economic and political development is a major cause behind the outlook they present.
However, one hardly disagrees to the idea that Ulema can be made play their proactive role in helping the government in its fight against sectarianism and in promoting national harmony and tolerance in the society, help project a real and peaceful image of Islam in the world, help other Muslim countries to counter anti-Islamic propaganda, help eradicate drug abuse from society and help the government to control birth rate by augmenting population awareness in their speeches.
Being a due role of the religious scholars and orators towards society's uplift in all spheres of life, they should preach their followers and disciples through their lectures and sermons to work at all possible levels for society's socio-cultural and politico-economic development by contributing their efforts to combat society's different burgeoning problems. For example, corruption, rape, dowry, hoarding, illiteracy, AIDS, rising population, pollution, child labour, bigotry, chauvinism, terrorism, religious extremism and fanaticism, etc.
There are some so-called religious scholars in the country who have played havoc to the country's image. They preached nothing but extremism, fanaticism, sectarianism and hatred against other religious outfits to the extent. Several religious organisations, many of them albeit banned to continue to operate freely under different names, circulated inflammatory material and brainwashed the minds of youths towards fanning religious hatred, extremism, fanaticism and sectarianism; thereby, peaceful youths were turned militants. The time proved such obnoxious roles as destructive roles rather than constructive. As a result, Pakistani society continues to suffer awfully.
It is high time religious scholars realised their due role and rearranged themselves and contributed to salvage the ailing society. Its equally obligatory on them to preach Islam in its true spirit that stands for tolerance, brotherhood, tranquility and peace without harming or preaching hatred against another religion or religious outfit.