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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Secularism: Another face of Masonic Lodges? PART THREE

By Naveed Tajammal

Islam & Christianity  

Religion is religion, when it is believed in as ‘Free from any defect’. A religion ceases to be a religion when its  ultimate principles is believed ‘Not to be absolute and unchangeable’. The Fundamentals of the Faith cannot be subject to the ‘Law of Evolution’, like social institutions.
The Holy Quran is preserved and the ‘SUNNA’ (the social life as led by the Prophet) ‘ is recorded as far as possible. The divine part of the “SHARIA” (The Islamic Law or Jurisprudence), being a divine act, is in a state of “Absolute Perfection”; Hence it is exempt from any evolution or progress.
As to the term, SECULARISM, it was coined by an Englishman, named George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906). He was convicted on account of Blasphemy, in a public lecture, and was sentenced to undergo a six months imprisonment and upon his release he invented the term “Secularism” – as descriptive of his “Opinions”. And so, he also established the “Reasoner”  in support of his NEW THEORY, in the various books he wrote. The author of the term “Secularism” has the dubious honor   for being convicted for a second time also, for publishing a illegal newspaper. He was the author of a number of books, including two volumes of his own reminiscences, “Bygones worth Remembering” (1905). He died at Brighton, England on the 22nd of January 1906.
All works of the author, of this term, have been in support of his argument which justifies the separation of state politics or administration from religious or church matters. It is pertinent to note here, that, secular education is a system of education / imparting knowledge in which religious teaching is excluded in the school teachings.
Pakistan is a country composed of people having one faith, which is ISLAM. Christians, Hindu and Parsees, remain a fraction of our total population. We are an Islamic State and as a State it is unfortunate, that we have a tendency to adhere, and still cling with, the laws and traditions of our previous rulers. As to the mindset and people, who still think as per the western education and see things as per their perceptions, and as they gradually ease out, the national character of our nation will re-emerge, in which no doubt exists, as the chain reaction is already in motion. The point to be borne in mind here is; what is good for Christianity Need not be good for us as Moslem’s.  Christianity never had the chance to flourish as did Islam.
Islam, immediately after it’s coming in force and establishing itself as a world power in the known corners of the then known corners of the world and since the last almost 1400 years, has flourished without a break as a power and a code of life. Christianity, on the other hand, originated within a community that was under the domination of a powerful state and that had no hopes for political independence. Islam on the other hand flourished among a people, free from external domination, which had the capacity and established an independent state. And a state means a public authority which has the power to enforce its judicial rules over the individuals whose safety it undertakes. At the time of rise of Christianity, the Roman State and its laws were in force. Christianity found a political organization already in existence, and thus it took the matters of organizing a government and maintaining laws as matters outside the concern of religion. It accepted the separation of state and religion, as a principle, and formulated it in the slogan, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto god that, which is gods”.
Thus, Christianity seems, at first sight, like a religion that has left judicial powers entirely to the government and has concerned itself exclusively with pronouncements on matters of righteousness and ethical teachings.
The real nature of things, however, was not that way at all. Christianity by accepting the State outside of Religion was relegating the state to a non-sacred realm. It did not appropriate the state to itself, because it looked down on it. This attitude, originally, was due to the fact that the Romans were foreign to the early Christians; both from the point of view of nationality and religion. And this did not disappear, even when the conditions changed. Although Christianity took on political government outside of the realm of religion, it nevertheless brought to the world a new government under the name of heavenly kingdom.
Thus, two kinds of governments came into existence in Christendom, one as the non-sacred, temporal government, and the other as the sacred spiritual government.
Now, ‘IF’ Christianity had not found an already existing order of state at the time of its birth, it would have attempted undoubtedly to create one. And then, it would have regarded it as a sacred being of its own creation. As this government would have been within the religion, and as such a sacred institution, no need would have been felt to establish a spiritual government. If this had happened, there would be no duality of temporal and spiritual governments, BUT, something similar to the case existing in ISLAM.
Europeans who have compared Christianity and Islam usually believe that Islam’s acceptance of judicial matters as part of religion, and of the state organization, as part of religious organization, is a DEFECT, in Islam. More so, unfortunately, our own Muslims and Pakistanis, born and bred in western circles, who have received their ideas from the same sources of knowledge, as the Christians do, also think like them.
However, when the problem is investigated more carefully, it appears that this is NOT a defect but, on a contrary, ‘A MERIT’. In Islam religious provisions are divided into three categories; those relating to piety, to morality and to judicial affairs. All of them are religious because they are sacred. Religion, is the sum total of all beliefs, that are taken as sacred by the “Ummah”. Aesthetic and rational rules are non-sacred and therefore they are outside of religion.
Islam takes ethical and legal rules as religious rules and thus makes them sacred. This conception is contrary to the interpretations of ethics and law, from the point of view of utilitarianism, historical materialism, and the doctrine of social contract. And this creates among the Moslems the bond of “Ummah” which goes beyond the limits of national boundaries, a natural threat to the west of such a bond. And this has always existed. This was the rational of breakup of ottoman / Osmanli Empire, as was also seen when British defused the Khilafat Movement in British India, or they have tried their best not to let Pan Islamism germinate.  It is not that in Christianity, the effort on the part of the Pope, has not been there .The “Popes” used every charm in their inventory to claim authority over the political matters, but the Christian rulers declined to accept such claims because, according to rulers – Monarchist, no power can overrule them. And in the Orthodox Church, as we see in the historical perspectives, that the Christian religion was indeed sacrificed for the sake of the ego of the Christian rulers.
The idea and the theme of separating Church from the State originated within the sphere of these petty kings of Christendom. And the history, or political history, of Europe is full of such “CONCORDATS” (agreements between a state and the Church on Church affairs) continuously changing and always dragging both sides into conflicts.
The French parliament decided to separate these two powers from each other, completely. From that time onward, France did not have an ‘Official Religion’ and the Churches ceased to have any official character. They remained, just a private association, under the “Statute of Associations”. As was seen in the Ottoman Empire, the French Concord of 1801 became the source of inspirations of the French Oriented Ottoman Intellectuals whose culmination was the Turkish Constitution of 1924 where secularism became part of it.
(The writer has over 26 years of experience in Investigative Historical Research).

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