By Irfan Mahar*
There are multiple ways of using wisdom such as theological and modern. Modern wisdom is used through applying the process of rationality on the changing dynamics of globalized world, the process which is interpreted and understood by each person or group according to their understanding as well as capacity. Unlike modern wisdom, theological wisdom is mostly used through faith, available religious literature (which sometimes is interpreted and understood by various groups in different ways) and role models/leaders whom they follow blindly without any justification or rationale and unbiased inquiry as well as a process.
Furthermore, most of the people who follow the theological wisdom for problem solution are unable or don’t want to understand and study the matter because of multiple reasons like their inefficiency, illiteracy and idleness as compared to the people who follow modern wisdom. Therefore, they keep faith in those personalities; consequently, they are more prone to exploitation at the hands of their leaders and role models. As once defined by Heraclitus, “Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become”. On one side, theological wisdom is used to look at the world, its problems and solutions through the use of old testaments. While on the other hand, modern wisdom comes side by side with theological wisdom, it interprets the world in its own way through looking at the changing dynamics and circumstances of the present globalized world. The point of difference between both the groups is not a new phenomenon but since time immemorial with the creation of the world.
In this regard, Pakistan has been facing multiple problems because of the difference of opinions over many issues between the government of the country which wants to solve the issues through modern wisdom and various radical Islamist groups which operate within the country as well as have a huge following all over the country while they want to handle the problems by applying theological wisdom. Sometimes, such kind of groups that use Islam as their weapon also use blind followers as means to achieve an end that might be political and economic. Though most of their followers consider that they are taking the side of the people who use theological wisdom to save Islam from anti-Islam elements, therefore, it is also their responsibility to stand with such people who talk about the Quran and Hadith. But in reality, they have nothing to do with Islam, Quran and Hadith, rather they follow their own interests. As for theological wisdom and its use are concerned, no one is against it if it is applied and used in a proper, artistic, strategic and unbiased way without the interests of a particular group or entity.
In this regard, many radical Islamist groups wrongly use theological wisdom for their interest. Just take an example of the pressure from the streets of Pakistan through strikes in multiple cities of the country by the radical Islamist group Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) over the controversial comments by the French President in November the previous year. The supporters of TLP kept a point of view that the present government had failed to properly respond to the blasphemous comments by the French president. The main demand of the TLP was to expel the French ambassador from the country because the comments by the French president were perceived as an insult to Islam and all the Muslims throughout the world. In this regard, many other religious parties also supported and considered the demands of TLP as just and reasonable. Therefore, the Islamist groups were not in a condition to compromise or bear such kind of comments by any entity which were considered controversial, discriminatory, derogatory and unbearable for Muslims all over the world. Moreover, it was considered an attack on Islam as a religion by the anti-Islam entities.
While the government of Pakistan did not agree with the demands and point of view of the TLP because it was emphasizing the use of modern wisdom in the solution of such kind of problems. As defined by a senior politician, lawmaker and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan in an interview, these matters are very complex, therefore, the government should not take such decisions which would prove very harmful and dangerous for the country and its people. Moreover, he expressed that if the government of Pakistan is deciding on the expulsion of the French ambassador, then, consequently, the French government will also expel the Pakistani ambassador including cutting off all diplomatic as well as economic and political relations with Islamabad. He further described that the matter would not remain limited only between two countries, rather its circle could be increased to other European nations as well.
If all the European nations and the US are going to abandon the diplomatic, economic and political relations with Pakistan, then it will be very difficult for Islamabad to survive in a globalized world independently. However, the fact of the matter is that the countries like Pakistan which are developing or considered underdeveloped are caught in a very complex situation that could not take decisions independently through ignoring and side-lining the global structure where the US and the European nations keep much influence as well as dominant status.
*The writer teaches at the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.