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aaiil.org > Articles & Magazines > A Collection of Various Articles > 'The Light's' Message on the 'Independence of Pakistan' — The Meaning of Pakistan (The Light, 15th August 1947)

'The Light's' Message on the 'Independence of Pakistan' — The Meaning of Pakistan:

The Light, 15th August 1947

"We have not sent thee, O Prophet, but as a mercy to the whole of mankind." (The Holy Quran)

The history of early Islam is ablaze with the light and glow of the most humanitarian principles which Islam stood for and which the rule of Islam was meant to implement. Umar the Great, whose very name was a terror to a corrupt official of the State or an official given to an indolent and luxurious ways of life, personally carried bags of foodstuffs to destitute homes on his own back — and at the dead of night when nobody was about to see it. Rulership meant service of the people; it meant relieving suffering, distress and poverty. In Pakistan there must be no man who does not get two square meals a day. Pakistan must mean a struggle against poverty, against ignorance and against disease.

It is sad to reflect how badly out of shape this out and out humanistic system has been distorted with the result that the non-Muslim dread the very name of Islamic rule. And the blame is ours. We have so enmeshed ourselves in petty unimportant details that we have lost sight of the high mission, the great destiny that Islam stands for. It is like losing the woods in the trees. Did not the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, sum up Islam as "Glorification of God and kindness towards the creatures of God?" Did he not say: "A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand fellow-men are safe"?

Islam meant primarily to promote and foster fellow-feeling between man and man, to solve the big problems, social, economic and spiritual that confront mankind, to combat evil, injustice and oppression and to elevate and uplift the down-trodden masses. A message which in the words of the Holy Quran is meant first and foremost, to bring mercy to mankind at large has been reduced to a cult exciting nothing but horror in the minds of others.

Our rejoicing over the fact that the chains which bound us for a century and a half have been shattered, that the nightmare of slavery which weighed us down with its dead weight has all of a sudden been lifted and once more we are free as the sea-breeze of Karachi where the sweet breeze of freedom will be officially set in motion in a few days, and perfectly natural and legitimate. But in the midst of these celebrations, let us not forget that Pakistan is more of a call to duty, a heavy responsibility, a trust and a commission than a mere matter for jubilation. It is said of Umar-bin-Abdul Aziz, another God-fearing typically Islamic caliph, that when he was elected to this exalted position, he had to be supported to mount the pulpit to address the audience. Rulership was a heavy load, he said, and its crushing weight suddenly transferred to his shoulders had hardly left him strength to rise on his legs.

It is this spirit, a spirit of humble thanks-giving to God Almighty coupled with a sense of very grave responsibility that we must hail the dawn of this great event in our lives. Over a thousand years ago, the sands of Sindh witnessed one such phenomenon when Muhammad Bin Qasim for the first time unfurled the flag of Islam here. Today, after many a fluctuation of fortune, after many an up and down of history, that same Crescent once more proudly looks towards India across these very sands. This is a historic event. We may justly feel proud that this time it has fallen to our lot to raise the flag of Islam at this historic spot. But we must not forget that the responsibility it devolves on us is equally great.

This Flag of Islam which is to replace the Union Jack throughout Pakistan on August 15th is a Flag with mighty traditions. Viewed back in retrospect through the dim centuries, quite a host of great men and great deeds will be found clustering around it. A whole cavalcade of illustrious figures of history — saints, heroes, warriors, generals, statesmen, monarchs, emperors, philosophers, scientists — crowd upon the eye of imagination as one looks at this Crescent and star bespangled green Flag. Wherever this Flag has gone, peace, prosperity, humanity, civilisation have flowed in its wake. From Cordova to Baghdad it shed light and lustre wherever it went. It is these great traditions that we inherit along with this historic flag.

Pakistan means this high historic heritage — heritage of the great and glorious traditions of Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar Farooq, of Khalid and Tariq on the one hand and of Averrhoes and Avicenna on the other. It is these long-faded traditions that the builders of Pakistan have to rediscover and revive. In the midst of rejoicings let us not forget this only real aspect of Pakistan that matters. Heavy is the task that awaits us, if we are to be true to these traditions. Pakistan is a call to every one of us whether a politician or a minister, a soldier or a sailor, a scholar or a businessman — a call to rise above all petty considerations, personal and doctrinal, to catch a correct glimpse of this high, broad, humanitarian and chivalrous conception of Islam and glimpse of this high, broad, humanitarian and chivalrous conception of Islam and strain every nerve to build up Pakistan into a State worthy of these great traditions.

This, in plain language, is the one and only meaning of Pakistan. And in our rejoicings on August 15th over the establishment of Pakistan, we must not forget to catch hold of this inner spirit and basic urge of rulership in Islam. It is in the light and glow of this spirit that we must set about building Pakistan. Modern conditions have brought problems of their own along with them which builders of Pakistan will soon be called upon to face and solve. We may tackle these problems according to modern methods by all means. But for the spirit we must look back to that golden era of Islam when rulership meant service and uplift of the people, when peace and prosperity reigned and light and learning flourished wherever the flag of Islam went. 

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