Hudood Ordinance is neither Islamic nor Pakistani -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Hudood Ordinance is neither Islamic nor Pakistani

President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday rejected criticism that the Women’s Protection Bill was ‘un-Islamic’. He also rejected the notion that the Hudood Ordinances was, in any way, a divine law. He told the Women’s Convention 2006 that the laws handed down by Allah could not be changed because they were eternal, but any ordinance framed and promulgated by man could be amended or even set aside. In the current case, he said that the amended law was in consonance with the laws of Allah and therefore there was nothing wrong with it.

President Musharraf also made reference to the clergy that is up in arms against him for various reasons but is using the issue of the WPB to denounce and undermine him. He explained that the same clergy had once denounced the printing press as the devil and condemned the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as a kafir or infidel. He noted that the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had vouched for the Islamic health of the bill; and those who had walked out on the bill were hypocrites (read PMLN). He then asked the people to vote for ‘moderates’ and reject the extremists in the coming elections. But he did not go so far as to say whether the PPPP would qualify as a moderate party which had supported the bill or whether the last-minute dilly-dallying by the ruling party would qualify as extremist.

The MMA calls the bill ‘un-Islamic’ and has denounced the CII many times already as a house packed with men not qualified to adjudicate matters of doctrine. But let us face it. As far as the Laws of God are concerned, the Islamic world is torn between rational and literalist interpretation of the divine message. Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal was in favour of ‘reconstruction’ rather than a literalist application of it. But the Hudood were enforced by General Zia ul Haq under the literalist inspiration of Saudi Arabia that had bailed him out financially and was to spread its largesse to all and sundry willing to make Islam harder than the people of Pakistan had ever known it.

The Hudood Laws together with other Islamic laws have been discussed by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) since the latter’s inception in 1962, but their promulgation was considered seriously by General Ziaul Haq after coming to power in 1977. A long-standing member of the CII, Syed Afzal Haider, in his 974-page book titled Islami Nazriati Konsal: Irtaqai Safar aur Karkardagi (Council of Islamic Ideology: Evolution and Activity) tells us how the Council came to its final draft of the Hudood Ordinance as it was later promulgated by General Zia.

Reproducing an article by an official of the Council, Abdul Jabbar Khan, the book informs us that ‘during the term of Justice Cheema as head of the CII, the Imam Kaaba (sic!) Dr Maroof Dualibi visited the offices of the Council’ (p.961). Indeed, the Council’s own report to the government in December 1981 observed that Hudood laws were discussed by the Council and the Law Ministry ‘under the guidance of Dr Maroof Dualibi who was specially detailed by the Government of Saudi Arabia for this purpose’. From this it seems as if Dr Dualibi sat in on discussions merely as a senior jurist and did not actually frame the laws. But just the opposite in fact happened. The CII report actually says that the recommendations on Hudood laws made by it were set aside ‘at the government level’ before their promulgation as an Ordinance on 10 February 1979.

Typically, the Dualibi affair is vague in official documents. Why wasn’t the Saudi Imam’s contribution to the formulation of legal texts formally acknowledged and his credentials explained in detail together with the extent of his influence on the final draft of the law? The CII in its report quoted above is reluctant to say who changed the draft recommended by it, except that it was ‘done at the government level’. Who influenced the government? Whose advice was General Zia taking? Was it the Saudi ambassador, together with Dr Dualibi, who was present in Islamabad and not just visiting the Council offices for a few hours? Another CII report reveals more tantalising details.

A document titled Salana Report (annual Report) pertaining to the years 1977-78 issued by the Council for Islamic Ideology says that “on the request of President General Muhammad Ziaul Haq, the King of Saudi Arabia Khaled bin Abdul Aziz was pleased to send his special assistant, President of Mo’tamir al-Alam al-Islami (World Muslim Congress), Dr Maroof al-Dualibi, former prime minister of Syria, to provide guidance in the establishment of an Islamic society and formulation of Islamic laws in Pakistan. Dr Dualibi presided over the meetings devoted to the formulation of the Hudood Laws, which were prepared in the Arabic language.” (p.87).

This suggests what may have transpired. Therefore we are compelled to think that Mr Dualibi introduced his Wahhabi views into our texts and was not challenged by other members of the Council whose earlier collective efforts on the subject were finally set aside. The Hudood Ordinance was actually a translation from Arabic as handed down by Saudi Arabian Wahhabis. Later, of course, General Zia went on to fight the other battles of Saudi Arabia across the Gulf, engulfing Pakistan in sectarian violence after he tried to enforce zakat on the Shia community. It was in the midst of his sectarian war that General Zia was killed by someone in 1988. The Hudood Ordinance is not only not Islamic, it is not even Pakistani!
Source: Daily Times