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The Role of Historiography In Promotion of Religious Extremism

By

Hassan Jafar Zaidi


There is a growing trend of studying and writing the history as religious literature: it has gone extensively rampant to a dangerous level for the last few decades, reflecting extremism by itself, yet serving as an instrument to promote religious extremism in all its kinds and forms. That approach towards history writing and reading, was originated by the end of 19th and early 20th century. The political history of medieval Muslim kings and emperors, and their respective states and empires, was termed as Islamic History or The History of Islam. The religion and history were amalgamated to form an integral whole: the Muslim invaders, warriors, and conquerors were painted as heroes of Islam; a kind of religious sanctity was attached to their names; they were classified as religious cults and were portrayed as models for the revival of Islam. The protagonists of Islamic revivalism brought forth the concept that the Muslims of medieval period in general and the heroes in particular, strictly adhered to the orthodox religious teachings; the Islamic Order was in force; the society reflected the true spirit of Islamic moral code; the golden principles of tolerance, equality, brotherhood and justice, as taught by Islam, prevailed at all levels in letter and spirit; and such presumptions formed the basis of the rise and glory of Muslims of that period. Further extending the hypothesis, the revivalists attributed the decline of Muslims to the hypothetical fact that the Muslims abandoned the practice of true Islam; degenerated their exemplary Islamic character; abolished the Islamic order; gave up the moral and ethical code of Islam; Muslim brotherhood and equality also vanished in the society etc. etc., thus leading to anarchy, chaos and final decline. Advancing this thesis further, the revivalists raised the slogan that if the model Islamic Order of the medieval period was revived and if the Islamic moral code was put again to practice, which, in their opinion, had been the pride of medieval Muslims, they could again emerge as a rising force and re-attain their lost dominance on the world. The Islamic revivalists and Mullahs in Pakistan went a step further to propound the slogan that Pakistan, as they interpreted, was brought into being as a laboratory to experiment the Islamic Order, therefore if the supremacy of Mullahs

was recognized in the power structure or the power was handed over to the religious parties, allowing them to launch their model Islamic Order and Islamic moral code, then Pakistan would not only lead the Muslim Ummah but would also hold sway on the entire world. The foregoing logic of revivalists dragged the simpleton Muslims to the trap of nostalgia and they were lost in the blind alleys of their imaginary past to search for their better future. As none of the roads to the bright future crossed through these blind alleys, the followers of Islamic revivalism could achieve nothing but selfannihilation, catastrophic failures and disillusionments. During the last 25 years, particularly during the period of military dictator Zia-ul-Haq, the nostalgia was whipped up in Pakistan, under the auspices of state institutions and authority, to such a high degree that it turned out to be a kind of religious narcissism, culminating into its logical end: the religious extremism, violence and terrorism. Military junta of Zia regime and the ISI promoted the nostalgia to curb political freedom of the people and thrust their fascist political agenda upon the people against their will. American imperialism and its European allies, in the wake of socialist revolution of Afghanistan and the presence of Soviet troops there in the 80s, sponsored the promotion of religious extremism and lunacy in the name of Afghan Jihad; Western media projected those zealot Jihadis as freedom fighters, and inflated their achievements as defeating a super power USSR. At the same time, the Iranian Islamic revolution also whipped up lunatic religious zeal amongst the Shiites in Pakistan. The overall religious lunacy gave rise to the extreme religious terrorist organizations like Sipah i-Sahaba, Tehrik-i-Nafaz Fiqh Jafaria, Lashkar-i-Jhangavi, Sipah-i-Mohammad, Jaish-i-Moahammad etc., and its climax was Taliban movement in Afghanistan in the 90s. Sectarianism and terrorism engulfed the country: the places of worship, the mosques, the Imambargahs, the churches, even the graveyards were no longer the safe havens; volley of bullets of religious terror would follow you everywhere. The religious extremists, in the name of Islam, portrayed their idealistic model of Islamic Order and Islamic Jihad that, in their opinion, prevailed during the medieval period as they had read or heard about it in the so called Islamic History written by the Islamic revivalists. To brain wash and mislead the innocent youth, they used the idealistic Islamic History written as religious literature by the Mullahs and religious revivalists of the recent past. The misguided youth got alienated from the

ground realities of modern world and identified themselves with some idealistic characters of remote past, painted as heroes in the history books of revivalists, that prompted them to jump intrepidly in the blaze of Nimrood. That extreme lunacy led the same youth to believe that a fellow Muslim, if he did not belong to their sect, too was an infidel (Kafir); therefore the war between Kufar and Islam soon turned out to be the civil war between Muslims themselves. The infidel (Kafir) Soviet troops did not kill the Muslims during their presence in Afghanistan as much as the Muslims killed Muslims there; the scale of devastation of cities and townships at the hands of Muslims was far higher than what was faced at the hands of the Soviet troops; also the recent mass destruction and killings resulting from the US bombing is not comparable to that of the Soviets who had mostly stayed away from the population centers. What have the Muslims gained out of indulging in a war between the two super powers? Mass destruction, devastation, killings, and humiliation at the hands of both the super powers! Both Islam and Muslims were driven to a downtrodden position. It is high time we look back and reconsider our conduct and attitude that had led us go astray in the idealistic imaginary past, far away from the present day living realities, modern challenges, and what was demanded of in the 21st century. What lies in the root of this attitude is the concept of history mingled with faith; naming the political history of despotic regimes of Muslims of medieval period as Islamic History or The History of Islam and attaching religious sanctity and holiness to it. Whereas the history of Europe and Americas is not termed as the History of Christianity; the history of Hindu rulers (Rajas and Maharajas) of India is not named as the History of Hinduism; the history of Buddhist rulers of India, China, Japan and the Far East is not called the History of Buddhism or History of Taoism; similarly the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian and Iranian histories are not named after the respective mythologies. The History of Church and the history of Christian rulers of Europe are treated and written as separate subjects. But why would I quote the examples of others: why I should not refer straight to the history of Muslims. Let us pass on to the history books written by the great medieval Muslim historians during the period of about twelve hundred years running through the era of Muslim empires. Did they ascribe any of their compilation to the synonym of Islamic History or History of Islam? Allama Mohammad Bin Jareer Al-Tabri, a great name among the

historians of early periods and known as Imam-ul Mowarikheen, named his voluminous compilation as Tarikh-ul-Ummam- wal-Mulook meaning the history of the nations and the kings. Though he covered about three hundred years of the history of only the Muslims yet he did not name it as Islamic History, given the fact that he was also the interpreter (Mufassir) of The Quran and he compiled his interpretation (Tafsir) as a separate book. The name he attributed to his history book indicates that, to his mind, the Muslims were not one nation but comprised of a number of nations bearing their identity based on their tribe, race or region; similarly the Muslim kings and emperors were just the rulers (Mulooks) identical to the other rulers of the world belonging to different religions. Another great name, Al-Baladhari, who compiled all the expansions and conquests of Muslims on the vast lands from Spain to Sindh during early three centuries, entitled his compilation as Futuh-ulBuldan which meant conquests of the lands; he did not choose to put it as Futuhul-Islam i.e. the conquests of Islam. Mullah Mohammad Umar Al-Waqidi, a very prominent name among the renowned early Muslim historians, labeled all his compilations after the names of the lands conquered or the persoanalities; some of the names are Futuhat-ul-Iraq, Futuhat-ul-Shaam and Kitab-ul-Maghazi-AlNabbawiyyah etc. His secretary Mohammad Ibn Saad compiled all his works under the title of Tabaqat-al-Kabeer or Tabaqat-al-Kubra which earned the fame later on as Tabaqaat Ibn Saad. In Arabic, Tabaqaat means classifications or categories; as Ibn Saad portrayed the historical figures under different categories or classes, hence the name. Another great historian, Al-Masoodi, titled his famous compilation of history as Murooj-ul-Zahab-wal-Muaadin-ul-Jawahir-fi-Tarikh meaning the meadows of gold, and mines of gems in the history: what a secular beautiful name. Another famous historian Ibn Athir compiled his multi volume works on history of Muslims under a very simple name Al-Kamil-fi-Tarikh, that means the complete history. Abdul Rehman Ibn Khaldoon, a great historian and first know sociologist of the world, who not only compiled the history but formulated the philosophy of history in his famous preamble (Muqaddimah) of his compilation, entitled his works as Kitab-ul-Iber-wa-Diwan-ul-Mubtada-wal-Khabar-fi-Ayyam-il-Arab-wal-Ajam-walBerber which can be translated as the book of narration and compilation of subjects and predicates of the periods of Arabs, Ajems (non-Arabs) and Barbarians (north Africans): more down to earth to describe the tribal, racial, and regional nature of the history of Muslims. Another prominent name is that of Abul Fida Ibn Kathir, famous

not only for his work on history but also for his interpretation (Tafsir) of The Quran; he named his book on history as Al-Bidayya-wal-Nihayya that is the beginning and the end: a simple secular name. Jalal-ud-Din Al-Siyuti labeled his works as Tarikhul-Khulafaa, meaning the history of Caliphs, yet did not qualify them as caliphs of Islam. A famous historiographer of North Africa and Spain, Alllama Al-Maqqari, entitled his compilation as Nafha-ul-Teeb that is the breeze of fragrance: yet a beautiful secular name. Another rich source of history is Ahmad Ali-Al-Khatibs Tarikh-i-Baghdad i.e. the history of Baghdad. Similarly a huge source of information is provided in the multi volume works of Ibn Asaaker who named his compilation as Tarikh al-Kabir or Tarikh Damishq al-Kabir meaning a large history of Damascus. Another interesting name comes from Ibn-i- Miskweh, who titled his famous source on history as Tajaareeb ul-Ummem meaning the experiences of nations, which speaks of itself how secular his approach was towards the history. Ibn-i-Khalikaan, an authentic and very rich source on history in general and literary history in particular, termed his compilation as Wifiyat-ul-Aaiyyaan which means obituaries of the renowned. These are just the few names that I have counted, which are the most authentic sources and enjoy consensus of almost all the Muslim sects and schools, at least in regard to the history of Muslim rulers of medieval period. There is a long list of many more sources and compilations of medieval Muslim historians which bear similar kind of secular or non-religious nomenclature without qualifying the names with Islam or Islamic. In the Subcontinent, the medieval Muslim historians who compiled the history of the Muslim rulers, the kings, and the emperors, also did not qualify that history to be Islamic. The major source regarding the conquests of Mohammad Bin Qasim in Sindh, commonly known as Chach Namah, was termed by medieval historians as Fatah Namah Sindh: the name given to it by its Persian translator Ali Koofi. An important treatise written during Mehmood Ghazanavis period was Kiatab ul Hind or the Indica by Abu Rehan Al-Bairuni; it was a book on the sociology of the subcontinent. One of the early historians who came from central Asia was Qazi Minhaj-ud-Din Siraj: he compiled his accounts starting from the Adam and the Eve; went through all the prophets and the caliphs briefly; covered in detail the times of Mehmood of Ghazna, Shihab-ud-Din of Ghour and the Slave dynasty; named his compilation as Tabaqat-i-Nasiri i.e. the chronicles after the name of Sultan Nasir-

ud-Din Mehmood, the king in whose times Minhaj compiled his works. That too was a tradition that the historian would compile his past and contemporary history and attribute it to the name of his contemporary king or emperor; some important ones for instance are Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi, Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi, Makhzan-iAfghani-Tarikh-i-Khan-Jehani, Humayon-Nama, Tabaqat-i-Akbari, Akbar Namah, Iqbal Namai-Jehangiri, Shahjehan Namah, and Maasir-iAlamgiri etc. However even the chronicles which had not been attributed to the contemporary rulers were not qualified with Islam or Islamic phrases. Mullah Abdul Qadir Badayuni, who was Qazi of Mughal emperor Akbar and covertly opposed his liberal policy of total reconciliation (Sulah-i- Kul); compiled annals from the times of Mehmood Ghaznavi to the times of Akbar; named his works as Muntakhib-utTawareekh meaning the selected annals. Another saga of the glorious Mughal period is Muntakhab-ul-Lubab meaning the selected quintessence by Mohammad Hashim Khafi Khan. Among the last ones, Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai has covered the period of fall of Mughal Empire in his narration known as Siyar-ul-Mutaakhireen, meaning the biographies of the later (Mughals). Some of the history books bear the names after the names of the respective compilers e.g. Tareekh-i-Farishta, Tareekh-i-Maasoomi etc. None of the medieval Muslim historians of the subcontinent depicted the period of glory as the glory of Islam, nor they attributed the decline as the decline of Islam. The medieval Muslim historians had a secular approach about their description and narration of the events, too. They took history as political history and put forth the conflicts between the ruling classes as a matter of power politics. In their compilations, they brought out political discords and controversies between the rulers and the rulers-to-be, the kings and the princes, the governors and the ministers; with all available details of their political vengeance, palace intrigues, deceit, treachery, pretence, despotic killings; murders of their political rivals using different and novel tortuous means of cruelty, brutality, malice and vindictiveness which were assumed as accepted norms of the prevailing despotic political system of medieval era. They were straightforward in sketching the moral or immoral character of the ruling elite; their good points; and what could be termed as bad points including debauchery, sodomy, drinking, and so many other acts prohibited under Islamic Law (Shariah). Nobody ever blamed them for character assassination of the apex leadership of Islam of the

glorious Muslim period, nor their writings were declared as sacrilegious or anti-Islam. In fact they put forth, without any reservation, whatever they could dig out from the annals of the past and what they had observed in their contemporary age. They also didnt feel apologetic about narrating those hard facts because what they described of the despotic rulers quest to snatch power and consolidate it, was considered to be the accepted norm and was consistent with the prevailing morality and politics of the contemporary despotic era; the world was unaware of any other system of politics, governance, and morality, than the monarchy, despotism, feudalism and tribalism. Hence according to the accounts of medieval historians, most of the Ummayyads, Abbasids, Fatamids. Andalussis, and Ottoman caliphs and their contemporary Muslim kings and emperors, with few exceptions, indulged in either kind of act or habit that was prohibited by Shariah; most of them consumed wine, arranged private concerts of dance and music, staffed their Harams with slave girls and concubines (most of the Abbasid caliphs were born by the slave girls); some of them practiced sodomy: however, despite all of the prohibited, illegitimate and illicit acts, the clerics of faith (Ulama-i-Din) recited the names of those rulers in the holy sermons and considered allegiance and loyalty to them as mandatory principle of Islam. The rulers would in turn shower huge sums in the way of stipends, salaries and awards upon them; the offices of education and judiciary remained with these clerics; thus they were part of the state structure as a vital tool of the prevailing dynastic despotic monarchical order of that period. None of those clerics ever declared that monarchical order of governance was un-Islamic, nor anyone of them ever launched a movement of promulgation of Islam as complete code of life. Apart from their personal moral delinquencies, those autocratic rulers followed the accepted norms of the prevailing order of despotism and tyranny to eliminate their rivals through worst kind of punishments leading to death; killing ruthlessly even the infants who could be the probable claimant of the crown; sparing not even the pregnant women who could give birth to a potential rival; large scale massacres, rapine and pillage of towns and cities, were recognized by all as vital components of customary order of the day. Religion, faith and even blood relations bore no meanings so far as the quest for power was concerned. The forces of material interest had always been dominating upon the abstract ideologies and beliefs, not only in the past but in the present as well. All acts of tyranny and torture perpetrated to fulfill the quest for power were conventional according to the despotic political system and morality, current during that era all over

the world irrespective of the religion, nationality, colour, cast or creed of the rulers. There was no other political or governmental system known to the world till that time. From the nomenclature adopted by the medieval Muslim historians covering the Muslim periods in the Arab lands, non-Arab lands (Ajem), Africa, Spain and India, and what had been illustrated in their accounts and narratives, we can reasonably conclude the following: 1- Religion and state were taken for granted as separate entities during the glorious medieval era of Muslims. 2- During the period of Khialfat-i-Rashidah (orthodox Caliphs), the prevailing tribal (beduin) Jirga styled political order prevailed, which was in practice in the tribal society of Arabian peninsula even before the advent of Islam. There existed no state, as such, in the Arabian peninsula before Islam. In fact it was a tribal-confederacy, if I put it using Engels thesis of origins of State. As a result of widespread and rapid victories over the areas under Roman and Iranian empire during Khialfat-i-Rashidah, there occurred a transition from tribal Jirga styled political order to prevailing established monarchy styled state order. 3- After the period of Khialfat-i-Rashidah (orthodox Caliphs), all Muslim Caliphs, Sultans, kings, and emperors practiced their contemporary dynastic monarchical system of politics and governance. They never practiced so called Islami Nizam (Islamic order) that was practiced during Khialfat-i-Rashidah, and that being a Beduin political system of tribal confederacy, could not be applied on the areas where monarchy rule prevailed for the last hundreds of years before Islam. 4- The dynastic monarchical system was the prevailing secular system of governance of that era all over the world; it was, in fact, in force since centuries before Islam by the rulers belonging to different religions and faiths; hence not only the Muslim rulers adopted to that system yet it was practiced by their contemporary rulers in other lands too. The dynastic system of monarchy was in force in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Iran, India, and China for the last about two and a half millennium before Islam and even after, continued to prevail as the

sole recognized system of governance all over the world for about twelve centuries i.e. up to the European Industrial Revolution. 5- During the peak of the Muslim glorious period of monarchies, ranging well over twelve hundred years, a whole host of renowned religious scholars (Ulema and Aimas) of Fiqh, Hadith and Tafsir, the Judges (Qadhis) and mystics (Soofia), lived through that era; some of them were of the stature that almost all Muslims were, and still are, the followers (Muqallideen) of either of them; yet none of them ever proclaimed the prevailing dynastic monarchy as un-Islamic, nor they ever launched a movement of revival of true Islamic political order (Islami Nizam). That concludes that they recognized the principle of separation of state and religion by adhering to the authority of their contemporary secular dynastic monarchical system. Having reached these conclusions based on the historiography of medieval Muslim historians, we find that the medieval tradition of historiography withered away and a new era of Muslim revivalists emerged during 19th and 20th century in almost all Muslim societies. However our focus would now remain on the subcontinent. During the period of Mughal decline, the Muslim ruling classes, devoid of modern sensibility, got indulged in pleasure seeking delinquencies; whereas a section of Hindus, under the leadership of persons like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, had already taken to the path of enlightenment and modern sensibility; the Hindus, after obtaining the position of comprador of the British colonialist, had started to acquire and assimilate the modern sciences and fields of knowledge emerging in the West. At the same time Muslim scholars like Shah Wali Ullah and his son Shah Abdul Aziz, in the name of reformism, were writing books campaigning against Shia-ism and the traditions of mysticism being practiced for the last as many centuries in India as the Muslim rule lasted there. The result was that both Shiite and Sunni Ulemas used the history for religious arguments and the ties of history with faith were strengthened. A fundamentalist movement called Wahabi movement emerged as a Jihadi movement under the leadership of Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Ismail Shaheed, which soon failed to achieve a lasting goal at military and political fronts, just the way the recent Taliban movement has failed in Afghanistan. At that time too, the English gave tacit approval to Syed Ahmed for recruiting the Jihadi squads of Muslim youth from Bengal and other areas under their control for the sake of destabilizing the Sikh rule in

Punjab; these Jihadis had established a base area around Peshawar in the North-West and were giving tough fight to the Sikh regime. After the fall of Sikh regime when the Wahabi squads continued their armed activities under the leadership of Inayat Ali and Willayat Ali of Bihar and their targets then were the British, they had to face a brutal thrust from the British till they were finally crushed. At the same time, the last trace of the so-called Mughal crown had already been brought to its end, after the failure of the war of independence of 1857 Getting frustrated on the Jihad front, the religious revivalists found their refuge in religious schools (Madarissahs), and centers of producing the literature, to disseminate their ideology; thus the schools of Deoband and Nadwah emerged as their main centers. That was where the revivalist tradition of history writing took its present shape, entirely contrary to the medievalist tradition of Muslim historians of the age of Muslim glory. The revivalists painted the glorious medieval era of Muslim monarchies as Islamic History or The History of Islam and reproduced it as religious literature. The degenerate Muslim feudal aristocracy patronized the revivalists and, wherever it suited to their interests, the Western colonialists also tacitly backed them. Originating from Shibli Noamani, Syed Sulaiman Nadavi and Abulkalam Azad, the revivalist tradition passed through to Akbar Shah Najibabadi, Aslam Jairajpuri, Rais Ahmad Jaafari and Abul Aala Moudoodi etc. who ornamented history writing with flamboyant vocabulary, verbosity, and rhetoric; thus rendered history into a religious sermon or kind of fairy tales or telltale stories; it was quite contrary to the style of medievalist historians who concentrated on gathering and enumerating the facts and the details of the events as a reporter or news recorder. Shibli, Nadvi, and Abul Kalam laid the foundations of a style that addressed to the emotions of the readers rather than their intellect or thought process, and that formed a model for the later historians as a short cut to cheap popularity. Therefore almost all the history works written during the last century or so, either for a common reader or for the curriculum, were nothing but distortion of facts coated with rhetoric, verbosity and religious phraseology. The revivalist historians tried to digress from a sizable bulk of the historical facts that could not be rationalized in the framework of modern morality and polity. If at all they mentioned some undesirable facts, they tried to qualify them with apologetic explanations and rationalizations. Mostly what they brought out, comprised the long-drawn-out narrations of some popular anecdotes,

which could portray the Muslim rulers and invaders angelic and righteous; or they elevated their characters narrating the events of their bravery and victory achieving domination upon the non-Muslims, mixed with religious idioms of emotions and sensations for their zeal and courage; trying to prove that neither booty nor material gains or expansion was their aim; that their sole objective was establishing the supremacy of Deen and Islam; and that they accomplished success due to their upright Islamic character. They highlighted their gallantry and chivalry towards the defeated non-Muslims: these gallant heroes, in their accounts, never committed any atrocity against the subjugated populace; no rapine and pillage of the conquered lands was ever seen happening at their hands; they never looted the subdued population nor made any slaves of the children and women of the inhabitants of the occupied territory. Such was never the description recorded by any medievalist historian who would never paint the rulers and their victories in that parlance nor would characterize them as Islamic; he would provide all the details of the loot, atrocity, rapine and pillage at the hands of the victorious armies of Muslim rulers without any note of apology. He would not need to put a note of apology, as all that he described was consistent with the prevailing customs and accepted norms of the medieval despotism. Similar description would have been brought out by him, had the defeated ones were fellow Muslims and the scale of atrocity and brutality been the same as with nonMuslims, because the conquered ones were to be treated by the conqueror according to the same rules of prevailing despotism irrespective of religion or faith of the subjugated. What the Islamic revivalists Shibli, Nadvi, Azad and the ilk introduced as the style of writing Islamic History, was further enameled by the Islamic fiction writers: a series of Islamic historic romantic novels were written by the genre of Islamic novelists like Rais Ahmad Jaafari, Naseem Hijazi and M. Aslam. They mixed religious lunacy with nostalgia in a manner that a common reader would take the socalled Islamic heroes as religious cults. More so, they penetrated to the heart of a common reader to deepen the indoctrination to the effect that all what was achieved by those Islamic heroes was due to their profound depth of religious character, zeal and fervour, and if the same religious character, zeal and fervour were revived amongst the Muslims, they could regain their supremacy from Granada to the Red Fort of Delhi. Our national poet, Allama Iqbal, also gave fillip to the same

indoctrination

through some of his poetry; seemingly he also did not study the

original sources of history like Tabari, Ibn-i-Athir, Baladhari and Ibn-i-Khaldun etc. He also drew his knowledge of history from the writers like Shibli, Nadvi, Abul Kalam Azad and the ilk; on that basis he integrated the revival of Muslims with the religious zeal and passion, instead of integrating with modern forces of progress and enlightenment; he promoted the concept of an orthodox superhuman (Mard-i-Momin) who could jump upon in the battlefield even without a sword (Be-Taigh). The central idea of his poems Shikwah and Jawab-i-Shikwah also points to the same conclusion that the medieval Muslim was an orthodox superhuman (Mard-i-Momin) whereas the present- day Muslim has gone far away from the faith and has been blinded with the glare of Western thoughts. He finds the road to progress through the idealistic medieval orthodoxy. S.M. Ikram, a historian of liberal right, puts forth in the preface of his book Rood-iKauthar as follows. Let us look at the events and the personalities in their true perspective whether we may or may not satisfy our national self-adoration. This principle has been contradicted since the introduction of the style of history writing originated by Shiblis Mazameen-i-Aalamgiri. As a matter of fact that was the natural reaction to the opening of floodgates of misinformation and fallacious propaganda against the history of Islamic India and the religion of Islam by the Western institutions of learning. But was that the path of national reformation? Can we, by adopting that path and having viewed the historical events through a colourful haze, draw those benefits out of the study of history that are understood to be prolific in this area of learning? I am certain that this is neither the historian way of looking at things nor it serves any of our national interests. If our ultimate passion is just to please our national ego, then, what if you just read the historical romances of M. Asalm and Nasim Hijazi to fulfill that obligation. Writing and studying history can be productive only if its rules and conventions are upheld and the principle of truth is supreme to obedience (Rasti Balaey Taat Ast) is considered supreme.. The defensive and apologetic outlook espoused by the Islamic revivalists, as exposed by S. M. Ikram, puts us behind a colourful haze, the term he rightly used for it, and this is the same colourful haze that gives birth to the religious extremism.

Hindu Muslim contradiction in the subcontinent was also one of the prime causes behind the nostalgic poetry and historiography of Islamic revivalists. In fact the Hindu revivalists associated the history of subcontinent with their religion, and assigning sanctity to their ancient and medieval rulers; painted them as their religious and national heroes. Muslims too had to counteract in the same coin. But that wave of idolization of the past did not help to thwart the challenges faced by the Muslims of the subcontinent. The way out to their grave problems was discovered by the modernist current initiated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Syed Amir Ali, and Nawab Latif, which was steered ahead to its culmination by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The Ali Gadh movement and other contemporary modernist movements spearheaded to liberate Muslims from the heavy shackles of nostalgia hanging around their necks and the stumbling block of dead weight of history-worship tied to heir feet; and integrated them with the modern forces of current era to let them leap forward to find a bright future lying ahead. Sir Syed criticized the delinquency of medieval hereditary Muslim feudal ruling class. Syed Amir Ali compiled the history of glorious period of Muslims but did not name it as the Islamic History; he titled it as The History of Saracens. Similarly Moulana Mohammad Hussain Azad, another lieutenant of Sir Syed, in his book Darbar-i-Akbari, brought forth the strong rejoinder to the criticism of revivalists on the golden era of Akbar, and presented the history alienated from the faith. After the emergence of Pakistan, the Islamic revivalists, however, kept up the same style of historiography as founded by Shibli, Nadavi and Abulkam Azad i.e. the history sanctified as part of faith. The novels written under the same tradition by Rais Ahmad Jafari, M. Aslam and Naseem Hijazi, and the films and dramas on radio, TV and stage, based on those novels or the scripts of the same theme, got abundant promotion and popularity under official and unofficial patronage. People started to believe that that was the actual history; they assimilated it with their religious zeal and lunacy, and ingrained it deep into their emotional belief and perception as an integral part of their divine faith. More interestingly, the Islamic revivalists portrayed the Pakistan movement and the history of establishment of Pakistan as if it was a religious revivalist movement; whereas the fact was that almost all the religious parties were the arch opponents of the founding of Pakistan, including Jamiat-ul-Ulmai Hind, Jamaat-i-Islami, Khaksar Tehrik, All India Momin Conference, All India Shia Conference, Majlis Ahrar etc. The ruling classes of Pakistan, faced with huge but not insurmountable internal and external problems including poverty, illiteracy,

backwardness, provincial autonomy, a hostile neighbour and the world imperialism etc., failed to resolve any of these in the interest of the people; they brought into play Islam to divert the attention of the people from the core issues to perpetuate and consolidate their personal rule, mostly acquired illegitimately, thus provided official patronage to promote the revivalist theory of Pakistan movement as a religious movement directed, in their opinion, to its sole objective of achieving a laboratory for Islamic order. Some prominent books brought forward by the official circles included, but not limited to, The Emergence of Pakistan by Choudhary Mohammad Ali and The Struggle for Pakistan by Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi; both the writers held the positions of minister in the central cabinet, while Ch. Mohammad Ali had risen to the office of Prime Minister and had been know to have authored the constitution of 1956. Though in those early history books, the religious aspects of the Pakistan movement were highlighted as dominating the economic and political aspects, yet it was not portrayed as a movement of religious bigotry or lunacy. Later on Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, in an attempt to reinforce his so-called Pakistan Ideology (Nazariya-i- Pakistan), wrote another book on the emergence of Islamic civilization in the subcontinent titled as The Muslim Community of the Indo Pak Subcontinent. S. M. Ikram, yet another historian of the same genre of liberal right, wrote his trilogy named Aab-i-Kauthar, Rood-i-Kauthar and Mouj-i-Kauthar, taking account of the history of the Muslim civilization in the subcontinent as a lake, symbolized by the metaphor Kauthar, a lake of holy sweet water in the paradise, characterizing it through three consecutive ages: the initial stage as still water symbolizing the early Muslim sway; the second stage as a flowing water symbolizing the rise to its zenith and then the fall of the Muslim power; and the third stage as the tide of Muslim mass movements leading to the creation of Pakistan. He was a liberal right- leaning historian of Ayub Khans era: yet despite his outlook of taking history as part of religious phenomenon, he is opposed to the Islamic romantic fiction writings of Naseem Hijazi and M. Aslam. Another guy of the same genre, Altaf Gohar, the official ideologue of Ayubs regime, compiled Twenty Years of Pakistan to mark the so-called decade of reforms of Ayub Khans dictatorial rule; he also presented similar thoughts in the section relating to Pakistan movement. On the subject of fall of Dacca and the foundation of Bangladesh, a lot has been written by the Islamic revivalists, trying to find its root causes in the defiance of

Islamic order and so called Pakistan ideology by the people of Pakistan, and the intrigues of the Hindus and the Jews. Always posted on important official positions, Dr. Safdar Mehmood, from the same genre of Islamic revivalist historians, wrote many books to promote that standpoint. In all his tell tales, what could not find some place worth mentioning, in the context of main causes of their separation, were the real political, economic, social and cultural issues faced by the Bengali masses starting immediately after the foundation of Pakistan and followed by repeated humiliations at the hands of ruling classes of West Pakistan. A straight and simple issue of political, economic, and cultural autonomy; looked through the glasses of religion, faith, and ideology, promoted the religious extremism among the people of Western part i.e. the present Pakistan. In the elections of 1970, the only known fairest elections in our political history, the overwhelming majority of the people of both wings of the then Pakistan, rejected the rightist and the religious parties; however, the irony turned the table; Bhutto regime, the product of those elections, was soon hijacked by the Mullahs under the leadership of his cabinet minister, Kausar Niazi. Since declaring the Ahmadis a minority in 1974, till knuckling under the pressure of PNA movement by accepting their religious demands in 1977, that so called peoples regime also digressed from the mandate of the people by promoting the religious extremism. Though the objectives of the establishment of the History Commission and the department of Pakistan Studies in Quaid i-Azam University were understood to reorient the prevailing outlook by replacing the obscurantist and revivalist approach towards historiography with the peoples progressive outlook based on realism, but that could not be achieved due to the sway soon gained by the feudalism and Mullahism in that regime. Hence, the hitherto prevailed revivalist tradition of history writing perpetuated and nothing got changed. Zia-ul-Haq, in order to consolidate and perpetuate his dictatorial regime in a country that was founded on the basis of liberal concepts of Muslim Nationalism laid down by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, employed religious revivalism as an instrument in its crudest form and to the most dangerous limit of extremism: consequently, for him, writing Islamic History as religious literature was quintessential to fit his designs. Therefore in his period, what was presented in the name of history of Muslims, ranging from the level of school curriculum to the level

of digests and fashion magazines, crossed far beyond manifold than what Nasim Hijazi and M. Aslam had shaped. The fictions in the so-called digests, on the one hand, promoted superstition, obscurantism, horror, and detective fiction; on the other hand, portrayed the Islamic Heroes as supernatural characters. The readers of such fictions fell prey to a false romantic religious lunacy and narcissism. During the same period, the Services Book Club of Armed Forces published Abul Aala Maudoodis commentary Tafheem-ul-Quran: it was supplied in all the libraries of armed forces and distributed among all the officers. Promotion of Maudoodis revivalist and fundamentalist thoughts was sponsored officially, given though the undeniable fact of history that Maudoodi was the arch opponent of Pakistan movement. On the other hand, the Tafseer-i-Ahmadi of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the torchbearer of knowledge and enlightenment for the Muslims of subcontinent and known as the first founder of Pakistan movement, was never considered worthy of notice by any official or unofficial circle. During 60s, the Majlis-e-Taraqqi-e-Adab Lahore, published the anthologies of essays and papers of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, but these were never reprinted during the last 40 years. Study of history in the curriculum was also introduced as religious literature. The origins of Pakistan movement was related to Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi (Mujaddid Alf-iThani) who was, in fact, the arch opponent of Akbars policy of total reconciliation which was a policy of accommodating Tooranis, Iranis and Hindus, all of them, in the power structure that laid down the foundations and erected the edifice of Mughal Empire in the subcontinent. As a matter of fact, Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was representing the vested interest of only one faction of Muslim aristocracy i.e. the Tooranis who were against giving any share to Iranis and Hindus in the power hierarchy. Hence Sheikh Ahmad issued religious decree (Fatawa), proclaiming the Shiites (the Iranis) as non-believers (Kafirs). That led to the fact that, by declaring Sheikh Ahmad Sirhandi as the founder of Pakistan movement, the Islamic revivalists laid the basis of sectarian hatred in the curriculum of the very foundations of Pakistan movement. After that, Shah Wali Ullah, Shah Abdul Aziz, Faraidhi Movement and Wahabi Movement, were portrayed as religious fundamentalist movements, isolated from the contemporary political, economic, social and cultural factors. That way the Pakistan movement was associated with the religious fundamentalism. Then a meager mention of Sir Syed s Aligarh movement; because it carried such a heavy weight that

it could not be ignored; was included as a chapter highlighting only its educational aspects, yet ignoring its progressive aspects of enlightenment that would have imparted the students with his and his colleagues scientific ideas, liberal thoughts, and literary values based on nature. The objective of the foundation of Muslim League in 1906 has also been described, right from the day of its founding, as the achievement of a separate country for Muslims of the subcontinent, serving as a laboratory for Islamic System. Khilafat Movenet is also linked to the Pakistan movement, though Gandhi took over the leadership of that movement and the Quaidi-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah never took part in any of the activities or meetings of that movement. The Quaid-i-Azam considered Kamal Ataturk, instead of Ottoman Khalifah, his hero and recommended his daughter to read Grey Wolf, the biography of Kamal Ataturk. The presidential address of Allama Iqbal in the Allahabad session of Muslim League in 1930 has also been distorted in all the textbooks and history books written by the revivalists. In fact, in his address, the Allama did not demand for all the Muslims of the subcontinent, rather he demanded for only the Muslims of the North West of India, an autonomous state as a province within the federal framework of a united India with a common center: Bengal was excluded and not mentioned even. His proposed state in North West India was part of a united defense system of India, as he described it; and he quoted in that regard the example of common armies of Hindus and Muslims in the era of Mughal emperor Akbar, fighting jointly shoulder to shoulder against the invaders from North. Similarly the Lahore Resolution of 1940 is also distorted and the demand of different federal states constituting geographical units of Muslim majority provinces in North West and North East is never brought out. The cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 is also sidetracked, though Muslim League accepted it despite the fact that it was a plan in which the demand for Pakistan was rejected and a grouping scheme of federating zones was proposed by the British Cabinet and transfer of power was going to take place under that arrangement. The Muslim League leadership agreed to stay in the united Indian framework under the Cabinet Mission Plan and the Quaid-i-Azam struggled hard to get that plan through. He preferred the proposed zonal scheme compared to partition of India and strived to convince the British authorities till early 1947 not to abandon that plan, who were knuckling under the pressure of Indian National Congress to partition and create a Pakistan that the Quaid had always termed as moth eaten non viable Pakistan. And

when it was eventually coming into being, he accepted the Partition Award of June 3, 1947, with a heavy heart, as he never wanted the partition of Bengal and Punjab envisaged in that award. These undivided provinces, as demanded by the League in all its resolutions in and after March 1940, either as part of a separate entity or forming part of a zonal scheme within the united Indian framework, constituted a sizable number of non-Muslims who would have enjoyed a considerable weight in the body politic of Pakistan; consequently theocracy would never have been possible in any form in that country as demanded by the League but was never awarded. None of the Muslim League resolutions demanded Pakistan as a country meant for the Muslims of the entire Indian subcontinent nor it was ever demanded as a laboratory of the Islamic Order. The Partition Award of 1947 did not include any provision for the migration of the Muslims of India towards Pakistan for the sake of their ideology. Quaid-i-Azam strongly opposed any kind of migration across the borders: he never used the term ideological state for Pakistan in any of his speech or writing. During the last twenty-five years i.e. since the Zia period, a number of generations have grown up studying the idealist history; every line of which props up shortsightedness, intolerance, and bigotry. In the wake of the events followed by the incidents of September 11,2001, the forces of 21st century have opened our eyes to the harsh reality of the wide gap between our idealist imaginary religious narcissism and the existent, concrete, real world. If we look forward to determine the path to our future, then, instead of looking back to an idealistic past, we will have to focus on the hard realities of our present and the future; we are left with no choice but to give up running after the hallucinations; fix a concrete goal; get rid of nostalgia and fulfill what is required of the current forces of modern age. Following conclusions have been drawn summing up the discussion in this paper that may help us as the guidelines to straighten our approach of study of history to its correct direction. 1- The political history of Muslims should be studied as a part of world history of normal human beings: the ruling classes or the nobility, the ministers and the caliphs, who had been involved in the warfare and palace intrigues of power struggle and played all the tactics of prevailing despotic

political system, be treated as human beings the same way as the medieval Muslim historians always treated them in their accounts. 2- The religion (Deen) should be understood to be separate from the politics and government affairs, as the Muslim rulers of medieval period understood while they practiced their contemporary secular system of hereditary monarchy without involving in any debate of Islamic or unIslamic about it, and that played instrumental role in their glorious rise. We should adopt our contemporary secular systems of democratic politics for governance and liberal moral code for social order, based on the current forces of modern era. 3- So far as the religious piety is concerned, the number of pious and devout Muslims that existed during the medieval glorious period, exist almost by the same ratio even today. The rise or domination of Muslims, or to be more precise, their success in establishing big empires during medieval period had nothing to do with their religious piety or devoutness; many of those empire builders were not so pious. Likewise, their fall or destruction of their empires had no relationship with their irreligious or unorthodox attitudes, as many of the rulers during the fall of those empires were good Muslims too. Neither piety was associated with their glorious past, nor unorthodoxy or casual attitude towards religion has any relationship with their existing plight. 4- The political and moral systems of medieval hereditary feudal monarchy were not drawn from Islam; consequently no attempt should be made to save those decadent systems in the name of Islam. The European industrial revolution drastically changed all the medieval values and systems. Therefore we should not reject the new secular democratic system and liberal moral values pronouncing as un-Islamic or Western; rather we should adopt them whole-heartedly as our prevailing contemporary political and moral systems. 5- The greatest lesson drawn from the scientific study of the period of rise of Muslims is that the prevailing contemporary order and the current trends should be recognized as the guiding principles for redemption.