The Paigham-e-Pakistan Fatwa has categorically refuted all the extremist ideologies that call for armed rebellion against the state and its institutions on the pretext of Shariah, sectarian differences and Jihad. 1,829 learned scholars of Islam, including renowned Muftis and heads of all the federations of madaris, prepared this Fatwa and its authenticity has been confirmed by all the Ulema making it a consensus of whole scholarship of Islam in Pakistan. Some of the Muftis, like Taqi Usmani who endorsed this Fatwa, have been qualified Muftis for decades and their hundreds of students are also leading Ulema in the country.
In addition, the heads of federations of madaris have also been in this sacred job for many years. Therefore, indeed, the unanimity of Ulema for this Fatwa is an extra-ordinary achievement. However, some deviated individuals are still insisting upon their ignorance and they are expressing their unqualified opinions against the unanimous Fatwa.
Every one holds different perspective, thinks from his own point of view with a right to speak and criticize, which could lead to conflicting incidents and grievances of the past towards some the Ulema. It must be remembered that the Ulema gathered with an objective of promoting peace for the prosperity of Pakistan and nation by removing sectarian differences.
In this regard, some people are questioning the support of Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi for Paigham-e-Pakistan, who has been known as an extremist scholar in the past. Instead of criticizing Maulana Farooqi, everyone should extend a positive approach, as his support for a peace narrative is also a strong indicator of change in his thinking.
Similarly, some western journalists are not happy with the participation of Maulana Fazl-ulRehman Khalil in building the peace narrative in Pakistan and they highlight his previous connections with extremist outfits. Keeping Pakistan’s national interest in mind, the positive intentions of Ulema and Scholars should also be encouraged, therefore, instead of recalling bitter memories from the past, everyone should play its vital role in building consensus and unity among each other. Due to these minor sectarian differences, our society has already paid a huge price of losing precious lives and encumbered Pakistan development and growth in every way.
Since the 1980s Sunni-Shia strife has seen a major upturn leading to thousands of deaths in Pakistan. The reason behind the increased sectarianism is conspiracies by outside forces to divide Muslims. The fifth generation of war against Pakistan is in full swing with the impossibility of direct invasion by inimical forces. Enemies of Pakistan are now using the strategy of dividing and creating hatred within the nation by promoting sectarian violence and animosity, thus trying to split the essence of unity and peace and leading to the destruction and killing of Muslims.
Unfortunately some vulnerable individuals are tools in their hands and serving their cause, forgetting the teachings of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) that all Muslims are brothers. For their vested interests, some proponents of sectarianism have turned their eyes from the unanimous Fatwa, given by the Ulema from all schools of thoughts against sectarianism, extremism and terrorism with the full support of government.
The Sunni-Shia conflict is diminishing our society that affected the whole nation. At the right time, the joint declaration and unanimous Fatwa in form of Paigham-e-Pakistan refuted all sorts of extremist ideologies by focusing on obliteration and eradication of sectarian violence. Paigham-e-Pakistan is a national narrative aimed at eliminating hatred, extremism, terrorism and sectarian differences and the use of force to impose self-styled Shariah in the country. The essence of this national narrative is the way forward towards a society based on tolerance, harmony, peace and unity.
On the other hand, all the respected Ulema should also remain firm in their nobel cause of spreading peace and unity by removing sectarianism. In fact all Ulema should keep their morale high by accepting challenges in their way as a motivational force to urge their commitment, devotion and dedication more for achieving their aspiration of serving humanity, Islam and Pakistan in their utmost capacity. Criticizing blindly and revoking previous grievances is a merely a way of enhancing more demolition and commotion leading to more complaints.
It must be understood that distinguished Muftis and Ulema from all sects and heads of all the federations of madaris prepared the Fatwa and issued a unanimous declaration to strengthen the ties and agreed on removing sectarian conflict and grievances. Paigham-E- Pakistan itself is a struggle to unite all religious institutions and scholars, thus, criticism of the Ulema is a mere disregard of learned scholars of Islam and deviation from true religion.
The unanimity of Ulema for this national Fatwa is a great milestone, however, a few individuals with vested interest are still attempting to stop its success. The nation should understand the conspiracies to weaken Muslims by creating sectarian differences to split the unity and oneness among Muslims and then ruling by using the phenomena of ‘‘Divide and Rule”.
Therefore, instead of criticizing the efforts to unite the nation as one, everyone should play their role in building peace and harmony by ignoring minor differences and grievances that are intentionally exaggerated by the outside forces to tarnish the image of Pakistan and Islam. We all are Muslims and Islam is a universal religion, therefore, it is the utmost responsibility of every Muslim whether Shia or Sunni to safeguard Islam and Pakistan from hostile propaganda.
In fact, Pakistan has been able to develop a strong narrative against extremist ideologies that extremist Ulema like Maulana Farooqi and Fazl-ul-Rehman Khalil are also supporting. Therefore, without any doubt, persuasion of our national narrative (Paigham-e- Pakistan) in its true manifestation is the only way forward for strengthening our national unity and security.
*Visal Saleem lives in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her major subjects in psychology were clinical psychology, cross cultural psychology from International Islamic University. She is working as intern in AFIMH.