5 Quaide Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah: A Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Luminary India became Independent in 1947 when the country was divided as India and Pakistan. Four men played a significant role in shaping the end of British rule in India: The British Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Indian National Congress leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Muslim League leader, Mohamed Ali Jinnah. Jinnah led the Muslims of India to create the largest Muslim State in the world then. In 1971 East Pakistan separated to emerge as Bangladesh. Much has been written about the first three in relative complimentary terms. The fourth leading player, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founding father of Pakistan, lovingly called Quaid-e-Azam (the great leader) has been much maligned by both Indian and British writers. Richard Attenborough's hugely successful film Gandhi has also done much to portray Jinnah in a negative light.
6 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 4 The last British Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, spared no adjectives in demonizing Jinnah, and his views influenced many writers. Akber S. Ahmed quotes Andrew Roberts from his article in Sunday Times, 18 August,1996: Mountbatten contributed to the slander against Jinnah, calling him vain, megalomaniacal, an evil genius, a lunatic, psychotic case and a bastard, while publicly claiming he was entirely impartial between Jinnah s Pakistan and Nehru s India. Jinnah rose magisterially above Mountbatten s bias, not even attacking the former Viceroy when, as Governor General of India after partition, Mountbatten tacitly condoned India s shameful invasion of Kashmir in October Among recent writers, Stanley Wolport with his biography: Jinnah of Pakistan, and Patrick French in his well researched Freedom or Death analyzing the demise of the British rule in India come out with more balanced portrayal of Jinnah - his role in the struggle for India s independence and in the creation of Pakistan. Prof. Akber S. Ahmed in his Jinnah Pakistan and Islamic Identity The search for a Saladin makes a valiant attempt at reassessing the role of Jinnah. While paying lip service, most of the leaders of Pakistan have ignored him, writes Akber S. Ahmed. He was too much of a giant, too honest and firm in his moral correctness to make them comfortable. This indeed is the perception of those who knew Jinnah and can compare him to his successors. 2 The first Netherlands Ambassador to independent India, Mr. Winkelman told me that he knew Jinnah well. He had bought Jinnah s house at 10 Auranghzeb Road in New Delhi which served as the Chancery for the Netherlands Embassy in Delhi. In response to my
7 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 5 query whether Jinnah was a difficult man to deal with, Winkelman gave me an interesting analysis. Jinnah he said, was an extremely intelligent person. At the same time he had an equally high standard of personal morality. Such people would not stand mediocrity and flippancy. As a result they at times sound impatient or cold since they would not suffer fools. Jinnah was one such person. Mr. Winkelman was full of praise for Jinnah as a most well mannered and cultured gentleman. In the light of the Indian scene then, Mr. Winkelman went on to define the philosophical difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. According to him, for a Hindu, the ultimate utopian concept was the mythological Ram Raj where a person would live in a thatched hut; eat out of palm leaves to serve as plates and where a lion and a goat would peacefully drink water from the same pond. For a Hindu, the Ram Raj had come and gone and one could only yearn for it. For a Muslim, according to Mr. Winkelman, there has not been such Ram Raj. Even in the days of the Holy Prophet, the life of Prophet Muhammad was beset with endless struggle. The Ram Raj for a Muslim is the ultimate concept of Jannat for which he has to work hard in this life to be worthy of it. Jinnah understood this philosophical difference between the Hindu and the Muslim outlook and struggled to lead Indian Muslims to a better future. 3 To add to the complexity of Jinnah bashing, a new debate has since emerged among Pakistani Muslims. Questions are now raised as to whether Jinnah was a Shia or a Sunni. There are claims and counter claims. A man who throughout his life never projected himself as a deeply religious person, did not court cheap popularity on religious
8 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 6 grounds and was careful enough not to be entrapped into the sectarian divide that ails the Muslim society today, is now being touted as either Sunni or Shia by the respective communities. Who was Jinnah then? Why this belated interest in determining the sect he belonged to? Mohamed Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi on December, 25, 1876, in a Khoja family. As we have seen before and reviewed in greater depth in this book, the Khoja community in India was then fragmented into three sections. There were Khoja who practiced the Nizari Ismaili faith and looked upon the successive Aga Khans as their Nizari Ismaili Imams. The second group practiced the Shia Ithna-Asheri faith while the third group was known to be practicing the Sunni faith. Despite their doctrinal differences, because of common ethnicity, all three Khoja societies were closely interlinked and operated as one ethnic group. Often the individual sectarian beliefs and practices were so intertwined and overlapped with the beliefs and practices of the other Khoja sects that at times it was difficult to determine who was an Ismaili, Ithna-Asheri or a Sunni Khoja. The crunch came in 1862 when the first group separated to proclaim themselves distinctly as Sunni Khoja. A decade later, from 1873 onwards, yet another group branched out from the main Khoja community to proclaim themselves as the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri community. It has been widely believed that at about the period when Mohamed Ali Jinnah was born, his parents had declared themselves as Shia Ithna-Asheri as was the case with many other Khoja families at the time. Hatim Alavi, an associate of Jinnah, himself a reformist
9 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 7 Bohra, has stated that Jinnah was born as Ithna-Asheri Khoja and remained to be one until his death. 4 Commenting on the faith of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the community he hailed from and the attributes of the Khoja community, Stanley Wolport author of Jinnah of Pakistan writes: Though religion never played an important role in Jinnah s life - except for its political significance - he left the Aga Khan s Sevener Khoja community at this stage of his maturation, opting instead to join the less hierarchically structured Ithna-Asheri sect of the Twelver Khojas, who acknowledged no leader. One of Jinnah s most admired friends, Justice Badrudin Tayabji ( ) the first Muslim high court judge and third president of the Indian National Congress was Ithna Asheri 5 About the community of Jinnah and his personal attributes, Stanley Wolport further writes: Jinnah (in Arabic, wing as of a bird or army) was born a Shi ite Muslim Khoja (Khwaja, noble) a minority community within Islam, itself a religious minority in India, the Khojas of South Asia remained doubly conscious of their separateness and cultural difference, helping perhaps to account for the aloofness so often noted as a characteristic quality of Jinnah and his family. Khojas, like other mercantile communities the world over, however, traveled extensively, were quick to assimilate new ideas, and adjusted with relative ease to strange environments. They developed linguistic skills and sharp intelligence, often acquiring considerable wealth. Mahatma Gandhi s Hindu merchant (bania) family, by remarkable coincidence, settled barely thirty miles to the north of Jinnah s grandparents, in the state of Rajkot. Thus the parents of the Fathers of both India and
10 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 8 Pakistan shared a single mother tongue, Gujarati, though that never helped their brilliant offspring to communicate. 6 In Moslems on the March, F.W. Frenau comments that the family of Jinnah was not of the Sunnite persuasion of the majority of the Indian Moslems, but belonged to the sect of Khojahs. This is one of the countless offshoots of the Shia. It is something like a cast, in so far as one can only become Khojah by birth. Most of the Khojahs are followers of the Aga Khan. Jinnah was a believing Moslem, but by no means was a fanatic; or he would not have married a Parsee lady. 7 M. A. H. Isphahani, a close associate of Jinnah who later became the first Pakistani Ambassador to the United States writes in Quaid-E- Azam Jinnah as I knew him: In the course of one of our many intimate conversations, the Quaid-E-Azam told me that he was an Ismaili Khoja by birth, and when he was twenty-one, decided to quit the ranks of the Ismailis and join the Ithna Asheri fold. This he did and before long, he converted his family too. He was convinced that the faith built up by the first and second Aga Khan and thereafter by the third Aga Khan, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, the present Aga Khan was so unnecessary that he tried to persuade the Aga Khan himself to abandon his headship of the Ismailis and to join the ranks of the Ithna Asheri, to which sect most members of the Aga Khan s own family belonged. 8 The nationalist in Jinnah did not approve of the Aga Khan s role in Indian politics. The Aga Khan has also admitted that they never saw eye to eye. In his political autobiography, Ayub Khan has recorded the views expressed by the Aga Khan on Jinnah.
11 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 9 Then one day, the Aga Khan started talking about his association with the Quaid-e-Azam. He said: He and I never saw eye to eye, but I regarded him as a very great man indeed. I say this because you get one or two opportunities in life when you have to make major decisions. The Quaid-e-Azam had the chance of saying whether Muslims of India should not have Pakistan and he said: They will have nothing but Pakistan. He took the right decision, at the right time. You can see his breadth of vision, how great he was a man of tremendous determination and sense of purpose. Once he made up his mind he put everything into it. I wish he had lived. 9 Of late, there have been attempts by some to claim that towards the end of his life, Jinnah was in fact a Sunni. Akber S. Ahmed author of Jinnah Pakistan and Islamic Identity the search for a Saladin, writes: Although born into a Khoja (from khwaja or noble) family who were disciples of the Ismaili Aga Khan, Jinnah moved towards the Sunni sect early in life. There is evidence later, given by relatives and associates in court that he was firmly a Sunni Muslim by the end of his life (Merchant, 1990). 10 Prof. Akber quotes Yahya Bakhtiar who saw Jinnah at close quarters saying that Jinnah was a very sincere, deeply committed and dedicated Musalmaan though Bakhtiar does not say whether Jinnah was a Shia or Sunni. At the same time he cites examples from other sources to say that Jinnah would go to Sunni Mosques for Fridays and for Eid prayers. He claims that according to one account, Jinnah was seen to be offering Eid prayers as the Sunnis do, by folding their hands. 11
12 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 10 It is permitted for Shia and Sunni to go to each others Mosques. There is no difference in the modes of the daily ritualistic prayers known as salat except for the fact that Shia pray with their hands open while majority of Sunnis fold their hands. According to the Maliki Sunni sect, which is prominent in North Africa, many Maliki offer their prayers with their hands either open or folded, as both concepts are permitted for them. In Mecca and Medina, Shia and Sunni pray together while the prayers are led by local Sunni Imam. The Shia pray with their hands open while the majority of Sunnis pray with their hands folded. That Jinnah should frequent a Sunni Mosque is not surprising at all. In fact it would be only prudent for him to do so as a leader of the Muslim community. In the interest of fostering Muslim unity, many Muslims do frequent both Shia and Sunni mosques. Many may recall having seen photographs of a delegation of Muslim leaders which included President Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan and Yassir Arafat, among others, praying behind a Shia Ayatulla Khomeini of Iran. During his visit to East Africa, President Rafsanjani of Iran led the congregational prayers in an open ground at the Jaffery Sports Club, Mombasa, in which the Chief Kadhi of Kenya and many Sunni and Shia joined. During his visit to Indonesia, in 2006, President Ahmedinejad is seen to have joined the congregational prayers led by a local Sunni Imam. Whether Jinnah offered his prayers with hands folded is not proven. Considering his status as a leader of Muslims of India, even if he did fold his hands on any particular Eid occasion as an act of takiyye, permitted among Shia, to help foster better Muslim unity, this would not confirm him as a Sunni. When Jinnah was at his zenith,
13 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 11 after the creation of Pakistan there are reports that on Eid day he took part in Eid prayers twice. At one congregation he was seen to be praying with his hands open and at another congregation, he is said to have joined with his hands folded. Photographs of Jinnah while offering prayers appear to be carefully selected as he is always shown while performing takbir. The most recent photo of Jinnah offering Eid prayers in public on August 17, 1947 (reproduced here) show him in this position. Considering the character of Jinnah it is most unlikely that he would have ever feigned to be a Sunni in order to deceive the Muslim society of his religious identity. This is especially born out by the fact that as early as 1918, at the time of his marriage, Syed Abdul Qasim Najafi, resident Imam of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Mosque, Mumbai, who performed his nikah, has recorded in a handwritten register of marriage in Persian language (facsimile of which is reproduced here) the community and the faith of Mohamed Ali Jinnah is specifically described as Khoja Ithna-Asheri and further describes his wife as respected spinster of mature age, Rattan bai, daughter of Deenshaw, Parsee, and then goes on to tabulate the dowry and the gift amounts plus the names of the witnesses. Again, in 1929, on the occasion of the death of his wife, despite opposition from the Trustees of the Khoja community, Jinnah exercised his right to bury his wife in a Khoja-Shia cemetery. Another interesting point to be taken into account here is that if ever Jinnah tried to project himself as a Sunni, his political opponents, the hardcore Muslim Ulema, the Indian National Congress party and the British Colonial administration would have had a field day upon
14 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 12 finding out his true beliefs, to indulge in his character assassination and in projecting Jinnah as a hypocrite. Jinnah may have been accused of all sorts of sins by his political adversaries but hypocrisy is not an attribute he has ever been accused of. In the face of the long recognized fact and the overwhelming evidences to the effect, as we shall see below, the conclusion arrived at by Prof. Akber, based on isolated quotations that Jinnah was a Sunni is surprising. As an astute politician working to unite Muslims of India, Jinnah was careful not to be labeled as a sectarian. It is a tribute to his character that in a predominantly conservative Muslim society, despite being viewed as an educated and westernized individual, with no pretenses about projecting himself as a devout religious person, Jinnah was yet able to draw support from across the divide among Sunni and Shia. Jinnah was once asked whether he was a Shia or a Sunni and he said if Prophet Muhammad was a Shia, then he (Jinnah) was a Shia and if the Prophet was a Sunni then he was a Sunni, but as the Prophet was neither of the two and was but a Muslim then so is he. He also declared that any Muslim who professed to be a Muslim was a Muslim, responding to demands by some quarters to declare Ahmadis as non- Muslims. Pakistan however, declared the Ahmaddiya Islamic sect, which had been very close to Jinnah during partition, out of the fold of Islam in 1974, through a constitutional amendment. 12 Ahmadis are also known otherwise as Qadiani, named after the place in Punjab where Mirza Gulam Ahmed was born. Chawdri Mohamed Zafarullah Khan, a Qadiani served as the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Prof.
15 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 13 Abdu-Salam, one of the few Muslim Nobel Laureates was also an Ahmadi from Pakistan. Jinnah standing for election for the Indian Legislative Assembly from his Bombay constituency was once opposed by a Shia Conference candidate who incidentally happened to be Huseinbhai Lalji, a one time President of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat in Bombay. Huseinbhai Lalji tried to play the Shia card. Jinnah won the election with an overwhelming majority drawing support from both Shia and Sunni voters. Jinnah married a Parsee girl who first converted to Islam. On Friday 19 th April 1918, his marriage to Ruttie was solemnized at Jinnah s residence in Bombay by the Resident Aalim of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Mosque in Bombay, Sheikh Abul Qasim Najafi who acted as the wakil (attorney) for the bride while Sir Muhammad Ali Muhammad Khan, Raja of Mahmudabad acted as wakil for Mohamed Ali Jinnah. The marriage was solemnized in the presence of Gulamali Advocate, Sheriffbhai Dewji and Omar Sultani acting as witness. 13 According to facsimile of the marriage records written in Persian language maintained by Syed Abul Qasim Najafi, which is reproduced here, the Mahar dowry declared was Rs.1, 001 and a gift of Rs.125, 000. M. A H. Dossa however records that Jinnah gifted his Bombay residence, which is now subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan, to his wife Ruttie Jinnah as meher (dowry) verified in the log of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamat, Palagalli Mosque, at Samuel Road Bombay. 14
16 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 14 In 1929 when Ruttie Jinnah died, she was buried in the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Aram Bagh Cemetery. At first the Trustees of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat refused to allow Rattan bai to be buried in the Aram Bagh cemetery on the grounds that she being a non-khoja lady was not entitled to be buried there. 15 Jinnah claimed his right as a member of the Community to bury his wife in the communal cemetery and threatened to go to Court. Husein bhai Lalji, then President of the Jamaat relented and Mrs. Jinnah was accordingly allowed to be buried in the cemetery. There are also evidences to suggest that: On 24 September, 1948, after the demise of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, his sister Fatimah Jinnah and the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, submitted a jointly signed petition at the Karachi High Court, describing Jinnah as Shia Khoja Mohamedan and praying that his will may be disposed of under Shia inheritance law. On 6 February, 1968 after Mohtarema Fatima Jinnah's demise the previous year, her sister Shirin Bai moved an application at the High Court claiming Fatimah Jinnah s property under the Shia inheritance law on grounds that the deceased was a Shia. 16 Syed Akhtar Rizvi quoting from an Urdu publication Tashkile Pakistan by M. Wasi Khan gives identical information with more details: Jinnah in his last will of 20 th May, 1929, had appointed Miss Fatima Jinnah, Mr. Mohamed Ali Chagla, Solicitor, and Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan as executors and Trustees of his estate. On Jinnah s death Miss Fatima Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan applied in the High court for probate (No.54 of 1948) with an affidavit that Mr. Jinnah was a Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri and his heirs also are Shia Ithna Asheris,
17 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 15 therefore the two should be appointed Trustees of his estate according to Shia Ithna Asheri law. 17 Despite the sectarian differences, it has not been uncommon among Khojas to intermarry within the rest of the Khoja society. Especially during the early days of the three-way split within the Khoja society, in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century. Such arranged marriages based on family ties have been far too common. There are instances of such marriages even now. The confusion about his family claiming to be a Sunni emerges from the fact that one of his sisters Shirinbai got married in a Sunni family and most of the people now claiming to be his family members, including that of Mr. Liaquat Merchant have connections through Shirinbai. 18 There are conclusive evidences that when Jinnah passed away on September, 11, 1948, his last rites were performed in accordance with the Shia practice. The Nation Weekly Magazine, Karachi, issued a special edition on September, 11, 1950, to mark the second death anniversary of Jinnah. In an article entitled: From Cradle to Grave reviewing the life of the Pakistani leader, first hand account of how the last rites were performed are quoted. The following excerpts from the article are revealing. It was in the narrow hours of the morning that the last rites of Quaid-e-Azam were performed in the tradition of his community to which he belonged. Maulana Anis-ul-Husnain was called in by the
18 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 16 relatives of the departed soul to perform the last rites. The Maulana with a laden heart had to arrange for the last journey of the Father of the Nation and he says: At 3 in the morning on September 11, 1948, I was roused from heavy sleep by persistent calls and on enquiry was confidentially informed that Quaid-e-Azam was dead and that I was summoned to the Governor-General s House. The waiting car took me to the Dawn office where I changed into another car which sped towards the Government House. There I met Mr. Yusuf Haroon (Chief Minister of Sind) and his mother who took me to the Quaid-e-Azam s bed room. There, the great leader was lying dead and the corpse was stretched in the correct position (meaning, facing Qibla). I was asked to perform the Taghseel (bathing the corpse according to the shara ) and Takfeen in accordance with the Shia Ithna Asheri rites. I returned to make the necessary arrangements and at in the morning (September 12, 1948) with Mr. Rahim Chagla, President of the Khoja Ithna Asheri Jamaat and Al Haj Seth Abdul Rasul, Secretary of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamat. I started to perform the sad duty. I got the ghusl khana of Quaid-e-Azam opened and was about to perform the last rites when the Secretary, in a stern voice demanded: Who has given you permission? I referred him to the ladies in the other room. He went to the door and enquired and on receiving the reply, Maulana Anis-ul-Husnain will perform the ghuls, he left the place. The doors were closed and the ghusls started. Inside there were few Shias and Mr. Aftab Alavi, son of Mr. Hatim Alavi and a Sunni gentleman. After the ghusls the kafan (shroud) was given which was
19 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 17 Quaid-e-Azam s personal property and had been sanctified by touching the Khana-e-Kaaba. Then I led the Namaz-e-Janaza (Prayer for the dead), in the same room and the following persons joined me: Mr. Yusuf Haroon, 2) Mr. S. Kazim Raza, 3) Mr. S. Hashim Raza, 4) One Sunni gentleman, 5) Mr. Aftab Alavi, son of Mr. Hatim Alavi, 6) Haji Sheikh Hidayat Ali, Ghassal, Khoja Ithna Asheri Jamaat and three other Shia whose name I do not remember now. 19 In another publication Khaled Ahmed records: Allama Syed Anisul Husnain, a Shia scholar, deposed that he had arranged the ghusl of the Quaid on the instructions of Miss Fatimah Jinnah. He led his Namaz-e-Janaza in a room of the Governor General s House at which such luminaries as Yousuf Haroon, Hashim Raza, and Aftab Hatim Alavi were present, while Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside the room. After the Shia ritual, the body was handed over to the state and Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, an Alim belonging to Deoband school of thought known for its anti-shia belief, read his Janaza according to the Sunni ritual at the ground where the mausoleum was later constructed. 20 According to Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, quoting sources from the Urdu publication; Tashkile Pakistan by Wasi Khan: when the body (of Jinnah) was placed in the grave; Sayyid Gulamali Ahsan Mash-hadi, Advocate, recited talqin according to Shia Ithna-Asheri Shari ah. 21 I tried to check the veracity of these report and contacted the family of Hatim Alavi in Karachi. Aftab Alavi who participated in the ghusl of Jinnah is alive. According to his report relayed to me in
20 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 18 writing by his son Basit Alavi, when Jinnah passed away on September, 11, 1948, Hatim Alavi was summoned to the Governor- General s house. Accompanied by his son Aftab Alavi, Hatim Alavi drove to the State House. Upon their arrival they were straight taken to the room where Quaid s body was lying. At that time, Kazim Raza, who was the Inspector General of Police, and Yousuf Haroon (Chief Minister of Sind), instructed Aftab Alawi to sit at the door of the room where the Quaid s body was lying and not to let anyone in. That is how Aftab Alavi got the opportunity to give Ghusl to Quaid. There was a mammoth crowd outside the Governor General s house who were getting agitated because a rumour was spreading that the Quaid had been poisoned. At that time Hatim Alavi climbed the gate pillar of the GG s House and addressed the crowd to reassure them that the Quaid had a natural death, 22 When Mohtarama Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967, Khaled Ahmed records that M. A. H. Ispahani made arrangements for the Ghusl and Janaza (Funeral bath and funeral prayer) for her at Mohatta Palace according to the Shia ritual before handing over the body to the State and the Ritualistic Shia talqin (last advice to the deceased) was done after her dead body was lowered into the grave. 23 The amusing part of the fresh claim is that the affidavit by his closest associates, his sister Miss Fatima Jinnah and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, who was a Sunni, is disputed in favour of belated claims made by distant relatives, two decades after the death of Jinnah and his closest associates. According to an organization that represents Shias of Pakistan, following the Islamic Revolution in Iran there was an orchestrated
21 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 19 conspiracy during the reign of Zia ul Haq to brand the Islamic revolution in Iran as a sectarian Shiite revolution. Since 98% of the Irani population practiced Shia faith, subtle attempts were made to project Iran as a sectarian Shia state and use this example as a pretext to justify making Pakistan an Islamic state to be governed by one majority School of thought, contrary to the avowed stand of Jinnah in his life time. Jinnah had worked to create a non sectarian Muslim State with freedom of worship and equal citizenship rights for all, including non Muslims. In his famous address to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, Jinnah had defined his vision for the type of tolerant society he wished to see in Pakistan. 24 The vision for the type of Pakistan he wanted to see was lucidly espoused in this address: You are free; proclaimed Jinnah, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your Mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the fundamental principle that you are all citizens of one State.. Now, I think we should keep this in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in the course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. 25 Three days later, on August 14, 1947, Jinnah responded to the exhortations of Lord Louis Mountbatten to follow in the footsteps of Akbar, the third Mogul Emperor of India, with the following comments:
22 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 20 The tolerance goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all non Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and the Christians, after he had conquered them, with utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims wherever they ruled, is replete with those humane and great principles which should be followed and practiced. 26 Before the ugly face of the sectarian divide surfaced with such vengeance in Pakistan, thanks to the machination of Zia ul Haq and the legacy he left behind, there was hardly any debate in Pakistan about the sectarian affiliation of their great leader. Within a few days after Pakistan was created, Jinnah s name was being read in the khutba at mosques as Ami-rul Millat, a traditional title for Muslim rulers. The Sheikh-ul-Islam Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani s intense devotion to Jinnah was perhaps most eloquently expressed when he read his burial oration in September, 1948, and compared Jinnah to Aurangzeb. 27 Jinnah was too towering a personality to be wished away from the Pakistan scene. The secularist tried to claim him to justify their status in the society. So did the religious groups for their own agenda. Jinnah wearing national dress was popular during Zia s time; the western suit depicting secular Jinnah was popular during the time of Bhuttos. The depiction of Jinnah in the national dress, consciously painted in dark hues, conveys a fundamentalist Jinnah. 28 Some zealous religious activists are now attempting to distort the role of Ulema in the struggle for Pakistan. As the old generation is gradually vanishing from the political scene of the country these
23 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 21 Ulema are now being projected as the co-founders of Pakistan. "In some cases even the name of Quaid-e-Azam has been eliminated and all the credit for the establishment of Pakistan is being bestowed upon these Ulema." In recent years, there has been a systematic attempt by Mullahs and the rightist lobby to misrepresent Jinnah on Islam and they have tried hard to build up an image of the father of the nation as a religious bigot. He is being projected by Mullahs, who once branded him as Kafir, as an Islamic fundamentalist. 29 The lust for power and political expediency often lead greedy individuals to stoop to any levels. They have no qualms even in exploiting religious sentiments for political ends. Such has been the sad legacy of Muslim history. A man who had earned the respect and admiration of Sheikh Hassan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Haj Husein Al Amini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was branded by the hard core Mullas of the Indian subcontinent as Kafire Azam The great infidel - and even dubbed the emerging Pakistan as Na-Pakistan. Jinnah certainly did not want a theocratic state, a nation run by Mullas. The Taliban of Afghanistan who was doing just that in the mid when meeting Pakistan bureaucrats in the north of Pakistan refused to conduct the proceedings unless the picture of Jinnah hanging in the office was removed. The hardcore Salafi movements decry statues and human portraits. They may shield behind such an excuse to seek the removal of Jinnah's portrait. Ironically the same logic appears to be applied selectively in that few Wahhabi elements can muster courage to seek removal of the official portraits of the Saudi ruling dynasty from public places in
24 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 22 Saudi Arabia. The level of anti -Shia prejudice practiced by the Saudi led Wahhabi movement is further illustrated in what Prof. Akber Ahmed observed: Professor Abu Bakr Bagadar, a prominent Saudi social scientist, told me in 1996 in Jeddah that several South Asians believed Jinnah was not a Muslim; some even thought he was a Zoroastrian. 30 Salafi movements have often branded the Shia as kafir. Almost fifty years after the creation of the State of Pakistan, a prominent Social scientist should harbour such doubts about the Islamic identity of its founder, simply because he happened to be a Shia, speaks volumes of the inherent prejudice which the learned Professor may not have considered diplomatically prudent to spell out in so many words. Despite all attempts at maligning Jinnah over the years, ironically Jinnah was now being courted posthumously and touted as a Sunni Muslim to give credence to the sectarian designs that has plunged Pakistan into its present sad state. Religious belief has now become an important issue (in Pakistan) and there are debates whether Mr. Jinnah was a Sunni or a Shia. This is because religious tolerance is at its lowest ebb and anyone and every one in Pakistan today claims to be an authority on Jinnah. Secondly, in a predominantly Sunni state, it cannot be digested that a Shia Muslim was the architect of a Muslim country, particularly when the divide between the sectarian groups is widening. 31 When Zia had decided on Islamization of Pakistan, the unspoken and unappreciated assumption was that the entire population would conform to an official version of Islam, where many schools of Islamic thoughts had flourished with tolerable accommodation through the
25 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 23 ages, writes Farhat Abbas in Pakistan s Drift into Extremism. Emphasis on religious conformity was to be a baleful novelty to be enforced by religious zeal only to be opposed by those whose persuasions were different. This could only accentuate the already existing sectarian differences and widen them into a deep chasm of intolerance and mutual exclusivity garnished by bloodshed and brutality. The Shias feared that the majority would end up ramming their version of Islam down the throats of all the minority sects and force them to comply with laws that, according to their interpretations of Islam, they saw as violative of Islamic injunctions. In response to these fears, they had already formed Tehrike-Nifaz-i-Fiqh-Jafaria (TNFJ) in 1981, an organization dedicated to guard against infringement of their set of beliefs. Hardliners among Sunni, for their part, felt that such dictation was their right, and those on the extreme right of the Sunni spectrum cut the Gordian knot by taking a position right or wrong, Pakistan had a Sunni majority and as such it should be declared a Sunni Muslim State in which Shias should be treated as a minority. Since the achievement of this holy goal would likely take some time, some of them decided that the interregnum aught not be wasted. Thus in 1985 they formed the Anjumane Sipah-i-Sahaba (ASS) an organization piously dedicated to ridding the country of Shias by eliminating them physically. 32 Despite his pragmatic approach on political issues, Jinnah was sensitive about the feelings of his co-religionists. In this context it is
26 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 24 worth recording some interesting incidents in Jinnah s life that have received scant mention in his biographies. In 1944, Gandhi and Jinnah were having talks to resolve their differences. On 9 th September, Jinnah issued the following statement to the Press: Tomorrow is the 21 st day of Ramadan and all Muslims observe it. I have therefore requested Mr. Gandhi to oblige me not to have the meeting tomorrow. The 21 st day of Ramadan is commemorated as the martyrdom anniversary of the Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib. 33 After the formation of the Interim Government in India in 1946 with Nehru of the Indian National Congress as Prime Minister and Liaquat Ali Khan of the Muslim League as Finance Minister, the bickering between the two parties continued. To help resolve the simmering dispute, the British Government summoned Indian leaders for a meeting to London. Accompanied by the British Viceroy, Lord Wavell, Congress and Muslim League leaders flew to London. King George V invited the delegation to lunch on 4 th December. Jinnah wrote a letter asking to be excused because the date coincided with Ashura' day (10 th of Muharram) which is a mourning day for the Muslims. In fact it was unthinkable that anyone could reject the royal invitation; but Jinnah did and the King of England graciously changed the date. 34 Another interesting aspect of the funeral of Jinnah was that a black banner known as an Alam of Hazrat Abbas was brought from the Kharadar Imambara of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat and carried throughout the funeral procession next to the gun carriage bearing the
27 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 25 body of Jinnah pulled by naval servicemen. Photographs of the funeral procession show the banner with the Arabic inscription reading: Ya Hazrat Abbas. Photographs taken of the flag from reverse side do not show the writings as the inscription is only on one side. An internet search reveals the black banner with the Arabic writing clearly visible. Hazrat Abbas who was martyred in Kerbala with his brother Imam Husein has a special place in Shia fraternity. This is illustrated by the example of Canada where local Shia lobbied for a special commemorative postage stamp to be issued in Canada to mark the 1400 th anniversary of Hazrat Abbas (A.S.) As the funeral procession wound its way to the burial ground, a somber crowd lined up the route and thousands more grim faced Pakistanis followed the cortege in silence. The motto of Jinnah: Faith, Unity and Discipline were exemplified by the disciplined crowd that had come to pay their last respects to their Quaid-e-Azam. Throughout the funeral ceremony, the silence was periodically broken with chants of Allaho Akbar and La ilaha illallah. For long Jinnah has been demonized and vilified in India and there have been many in Pakistan also who chose to ignore Jinnah and his ideals, save for paying lip service to his memory. Of late, after the Indian BJP leader Advani s visit to Pakistan and his controversial comments that he wrote in the visitor s book after laying wreath at Jinnah s mazaar in Karachi, created a stir in both India and Pakistan. Another Indian leader, Jaswant Singh a one time finance and foreign minister of India in the BJP government has since come out with a voluminous new book of over 600 pages on Jinnah published in 2009, which is viewed as being much more understanding and sympathetic
28 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 26 towards Jinnah and his role in the Indian independence struggle. Publication of his book, Jinnah India Partition Independence, has earned for Jaswant Singh the wrath of his party and he was consequently expelled from the BJP. This book has however, generated a public debate in India as many writers now tend to revisit their stereotyped perceptions of Jinnah and what he stood for. 35 I have come across two scholars who are actively pursuing their research on publishing books on Jinnah creator of a new Zion or a Muslim Zion and another one on a fresh look at comparative study of the role of Jinnah-Gandhi in the Indian independence struggle. In Pakistan too, dismayed with all that is happening in Pakistan, there is growing surge of public opinion clamouring for the return of Jinnah s ideals for Pakistan as the only solution to its current plight. Bring back Jinnah s Pakistan is a demand that newspaper columnist are now clamouring for. Writing on the subject, Dawn columnist, Ardeshir Cowasjee, makes a telling comment in this respect. Jinnah s intent was to create a homeland turning the minority into a majority, not subject to discrimination and challenges. He expected the Muslims of his country to rise above themselves, to join the modern world, work and prosper, in a land free from bigotry, imbued with tolerance for their fellow human beings of no matter what creed or race. Such was his intent; of this I have no doubt. What he subsequently had to work with after the birth of Pakistan caused him grief. His motive and intent being honourable, no blame can attach to him for where Pakistan find s itself today. 36
29 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 27 Seyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi has written an article entitled: Muhammad Ali Jinnah the most illustrious name in the Khoja community. Yet how many Khojas have studied the life of this illustrious son from their community? 37 At a Government House reception in Karachi, Jinnah is seen here dressed in western suit and the inevitable cigarette in hand. From left: Mohtarama Fatima Jinnah, Jinnah, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and Begum Liaquat Ali Khan. August 18, 1947, Jinnah offering Eid prayers at Karachi.
30 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 28 August 14, 1947, Jinnah addressing the Pakistan Parliament. Sitting next to him is the last British Viceroy to India, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Jinnah, in a traditional Khoja ceremonial dress. A rare picture of Mohamed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan dressed in what is widely described as ceremonial Sindhi attire. The long velvet frock coat with golden braided borders known by Khoja community as Ves was until the mid 1950 s worn by bridegrooms in East Africa. This has also been common ceremonial attire among the Ismaili Khoja community leaders like Mukhi, Varas and Kamadiya who would don such long frock coats on special occasions as a status symbol. There would also be matching golden headgear known as pugree or turban. The golden turban was also worn by Ithna- Asheri Khoja elders during marriages and on festive occasions. Of late this custom has virtually discontinued especially among the Ithna-Asheri Khoja. It is still occasionally practiced by the followers of the Aga Khan. On festive occasions the same type of golden headgear however continues to be widely adorned by members of the Dawoodi Bohra Community while uniformly dressed in white Sherwani thus providing a colourful touch.
31 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 29 Jinnah s funeral cortege, Karachi, September 12, Naval Servicemen pulling the gun carriage on which the coffin of Jinnah was laid. The black banner of Hazrat Abbas was brought from the Kharadar Imambara. Below, another view of the coffin of Jinnah, with Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan sitting next to it. The inscription Ya Hazrat Abbas written on one side of the banner is visible in this picture.
32 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 30 Imposing mausoleum of Jinnah - Karachi Grave of Mrs. Ruttie Jinnah at the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Aram Bagh Cemetery, Bombay. The tombstone reads: Ratanbai Mahomed Ali -Jinnah. Born 20 th Feberuary, Died 20th February, 1929
33 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 31 Facsimile of the Register of Marriage in the Farsi language, maintained by Sheikh Abulqasim Najafi, Resident Aalim of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, BombayRegister Number 118 (second from above). This record of the Nikah is also reproduced by the National Archives of Pakistan in 1997 in an Album of selected photographs of Quaide Azam Mohamed Ali Jinnah.
34 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 32 Affidavit by the Secretary of the Mumbai K.S.I. Jamaat, confirming Jamaat membership of Jinnah.
35 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 33 Membership Register, K.S.I. Jamaat, Mumbai. Mohamdali Jinnah Poonja recorded as a member of the Jamaat on page 107 of the Register. Death of Ruttie Jinnah recorded in the death Register of Mumbai Jamaat on page 1404
36 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s 34 Death of Mohamedali Jinnah Poonja recorded in Mumbai Jamaat Register on 13 th September, Jinnah died on 11 th September, in Karachi and was buried on 12 th September. (Recorded in the membership register opposite the membership registration column, Page 107)
37 Q u a i d e A z a m M o h a m e d A l i J i n n a h 35 References 1 Akber S. Ahmed in: Jinnah Pakistan and Islamic Identity The search for a Saladin; Ch.1, P.134. Published in 1997 by Routlege, 11 New Fetter Lane, London, EC4P 4EE. Similar assessment with more insightful details are given by Lawrence James in Raj The Making and unmaking of British India; p.611. An Abacus Book published in 1997 by Little, Brown and Company (U.K.). 2 ibid; P Mr. Winkelman had for many years served as Netherlands Consul in Mombasa. He was transferred to Delhi in 1946 and became the first Netherlands Ambassador to India in Mr. and Mrs. Winkelman had retired to Australia and periodically would visit East Africa on holidays. Old family friends, from the days of their sojourn in Mombasa, the Winkelmans maintained contacts with our family members in Zanzibar, Arusha and Mombasa. The discussion reported took place in Mombasa around Hatim Alavi, , Mayor of Karachi In 1946 Jinnah appointed him as a member of the proposed Pakistan Planning Commission. Later, he served as a Director of the State Bank of Pakistan and as a Pakistani delegate to various U.N. forums. 5 Stanley Wolpert: Jinnah of Pakistan, P. 18. Badruddin Tayabji, though a Shia, as the name suggests, was in fact a Dawoodi Bohra. 6 Stanley Wolpert: Jinnah of Pakistan, P. 4 7 F. Frenau; P M. A. H. Ispahani: in Qaide-e-Azam Jinnah As I Knew Him; 3 rd edition A Centenary presentation, published by Royal Book Company, Karachi, P Friends Not Master A Political autobiography, by Mohammad Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan, P. 193; Oxford University Press Akber S. Ahmed writing in: Jinnah Pakistan and Islamic Identity The search for a Saladin; Ch. 1, P , Routlege, London. 11 ibid; P Ahmadi faith is associated with Mirza Gulam Ahmed ( ), who in 1876 claimed that he had received a revelation and that though Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the seal of the Prophets, he was the promised Messiah and Prophet without a book and law giving authority to continue the mission of Islam. Most Ahamadis observe routine rituals of Sunni Islam to a large extent, though minority group among Ahamadis consider Mirza Gulam Ahmad as a God sent reformer and not a Prophet. According to a great majority of Muslims, Mirza Gulm Ahmad s declarations were contrary to the basic precepts of Islam. Abbas Farhat Abbas from: Pakistan s Drift into Extremism. Allah, the Army, and Americas War on Terror; An East Gate Book, 2005, M. E. Sharpe, P. 244, Note No For more details see Muhammad Ali Jinnah the most illustrious name in the Khoja community, by Allama Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, from his book A history of the Shia people excerpts reproduced in the Light Maggazine Vol: 35 Issue No , Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania.
38 E x c e r p t f r o m E n d a n g e r e d S p e c i e s M A. H.Dossa, writer, known by his pen name of Alex London and author of the book; Khoja Khwajah the chosen people, in a letter to Dawn, Karachi. In my research, I came across account of the gift of Rs.125, 000/- given by Jinnah to his wife at the time of marriage as recorded in the Marriage Register written in Persian language. Facsimile of the nikahnama in Farsi is reproduced in this book. No mention is made of the house being gifted at the same time. Of late, an interesting development has taken place. The surviving daughter of Jinnah has staked her claim to the house and has filed a suit against the Indian Government lodging her claim to the Jinnah house in Mumbai. The following report appeared in Dawn, Karachi, dated August, 8, Quaid s daughter lays claim to Jinnah House MUMBAI, Aug 8: The daughter of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah has asked an Indian court to grant her claim to a sprawling home built by her father in India before the country s partition in Mr. Jinnah constructed a European-style seafront bungalow in the late 1930s in India s commercial capital of Mumbai, where he lived with his wife and only daughter before moving to the newly-created Pakistan at independence. For decades, Jinnah House, with its imposing columns, Italian marble and walnut panelling was home to Britain s deputy high commissioner but mostly fell into disuse after being vacated in On Tuesday, Mr Jinnah s 88-year-old daughter, Dina Wadia, who lives in New York, approached the high court in Mumbai in a bid to gain ownership of the property, built on 2.5 acres of land, estimated to be worth about $400 million. Being the only child of Mr Jinnah, she is the sole heir to his property, Wadia s lawyer Shrikanth Doijode said. This is the only property in India which she is claiming and which is in the possession of the Indian government at present. The historic house was the venue for watershed talks on the subcontinent s partition between Mr Jinnah and Indian leaders. Pakistan has repeatedly requested New Delhi either to sell or lease the house to its government for use as a consular office. India has neither refused nor accepted that request. The house now remains locked and is in an advanced state of decay. After partition, the Indian government appropriated immovable and movable property left behind by those who chose to go to Pakistan, designating such assets as evacuee property. But as a goodwill gesture, India s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, ensured neither Jinnah nor his daughter were declared evacuees. Nor was the Jinnah House registered as an evacuee. 15 S. S. A.Rizvi; see Note Google. Following is the full report as it appears in Rediff on the net. May, 9, Was Jinnah a Shia or Sunni? Which sect of Islam did Mohammad Ali Jinnah belong to, Shia or Sunni? Though it is commonly believed he was a Shia, Khaled Akhtar, a Communist, has evidence that the Quaid-e-Azam converted and became a Sunni later. After Jinnah's death in September 1948, his sister Fatima and then Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan had jointly filed a petition in the Karachi high court describing Jinnah as a ''Shia Khoja Mohammedan'' and sought that his will may be executed under the Shia inheritance law. Again, when Fatima died in 1967, another sister Shirin Bai claimed her property under the Shia law. But this claim was