In news bulletins across the world, Pakistan and the word ‘controversies’ are never far apart. From the war-torn regions of the north of the country, Waziristan, to the growing base of the Pakistani Taliban. You’ll be hard pushed to find any good news coming out of the country. Both within the Muslim and the non-Muslim communities labeling the country as a case of ‘Mad-cow disease’. Spreading its infectious disease of corruption, bribery and fraud to its neighboring countries of India and Bangladesh. Its not surprising to think why many people see the country as a laughing stock, in the eyes of the rest of the world. With Pakistan’s leaders among the most notorious fraudulent and criminals, its beggars belief to think the country will have much else to offer the world. The post 9/11 era has enthralled the country into a spiraling decline of national identity, religious loyalty and civil morality. In some quarters of print media they have gone as far as announcing, “Pakistan: The most failed state of the last decade”. Although it is somewhat unfair to tie this tagline with Pakistan, it is nonetheless not far from the truth. Pakistan’s notoriety of ‘being the land of savages’ was further sealed, in the eyes of the world, by finding the worlds most “wanted” man in its own back yard, literally. It’s credibility to be taken as a serious world contender for peace, advancement and global trade is fast eroding away.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In recent days, news channels across the board, from the right-wing extremists, like Fox news, to the leftists liberalists like Channel 4 News. All have covered the events unfold in Pakistan with silent apprehension. Dr Tahir ul Qadri, an Islāmic scholar and the founding leader of the Minhaj ul Quran movement and a political party, the ‘Pakistan Awaami Tehreek’; has bust into the political scene of Pakistan once again. Something he had sworn off, many years earlier. This time, his mission is to rid the country of “the 60 years of corruption and bribery that has plagued the country since its conception”. Especially from the highest level of authority, the governmental ministers and politicians.
Dr. Tahir ul Qadri is calling his march to Islamabad; the capital city of Pakistan, as a “soft”, democratic revolution sweeping across the country. Whereas many of the western media are labeling it as a “Pakistan spring”, although it is happening in winter!
In December 2012, after living in self-imposed exile Canada, Dr. Tahir ul Qadri returned to Pakistan and initiated a political campaign which called for a “democratic revolution”. Qadri called for a “million-men” march in Islamabad to protest government corruption. On January 14, around 150,000 people marched down the city’s main avenue. He said that when he arrived there would be 10 million others with him.
What i found interesting watching this debacle unfold, is many of the Pakistani commentators and politicians have begun to resort to personal attacks against Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, to undermine his efforts of constitutional reform. What stuck me more profoundly was the way many Pakistani politicians have begun to make subtle jibes at his Islāmic standing. Referring to him as a “Molvi Tahir ul Qadri”. Many people from the Indian-subcontinent community would agree, that the word ‘molvi’ is generally used to refer to an alim (an Islāmic scholar). However, it also carries with it a derogatory meaning, a meaning which serves to say, ‘A movli is a person who is backward, arcane and out-of-touch with reality. A person who spends his days and nights in a masjid, head banging against the floor’. More often than not, it is this derogatory meaning which is understood by the word ‘Molvi’.
In using the word ‘Molvi’ on Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, in effect what these politicians and political commentators are saying is, ‘this man is out-of-place. He should be focusing his attention only on religious issues and leave the rest, the real life issues of running a country for example, to us. He has no right to make a stand or pass a judgement on us. We are above and beyond his “movli” issues’.
I am no fan of Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, I do not condemn his works nor do I praise his views. But, what I am a fan of is, the truth and protecting the deen. In effect, what these deluded, US backed Pakistani pseudo-politicians are doing is they are trying to marginalize and limit the potential Islāmic influence Dr. Tahir ul Qadri’s efforts may have. Undoubtedly, an Islāmic scholar with a reputable standing will make his primary concern to base laws more akin to Islāmic values. By tying together the derogatory remarks of ‘Molvi’, with Dr. Tahir ul Qadri what they are hoping to do is to win over the many of the modernist Pakistani population. The subtleties of these tactics are blindingly obvious. In effect saying, ‘look, if you go along with this “molvi”, then guess what? Pakistan will be over run by these, backward, dirty, unshaven Movlis. Life will become harder and you wont be able to enjoy your western lifestyles so openly’.
We live in a time in which anyone who is even remotely seen a religious person is automatically shunned as a ‘ancient, arcane and a lost soul’. Even if he has an array of PhDs’ attached to his name, like Dr. Tahir ul Qadri!
These demeaning and derogatory attacks on religious personalities is nothing new. From the beginning of time, man has always tried to cast out the religious person from his gatherings. From prophets, to revivalists of Islam. All have faced the same tricks; being labeled as a madman, a disturbed person, a person who is insane, etc. The sad thing is, people who think they will be seen as an advance person by stepping over religious dogma/ethics have another thing coming. They are harming no one but themselves, as ultimately, where will you go at the end of the day? We will all go back to Allah. So, a man can carry on deluding himself by thinking he will side step the one true monotheistic religion, Islam and the laws of God. He will not reach far, but have to crawl back, crying.