Pakistan is, perhaps, the only state in world history to have been founded by an individual leader on the basis of an ideology. It is also one of only two states to have been founded on the basis of religion.
In his biography of Pakistan's founder, author Stanley Wolpert famously observed: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, being the founder of Pakistan, therefore, has a continuing and unshakable hold on the discourse on Pakistan's raison d'etre and national identity.
Jinnah's vision for Pakistan was that of a modern, progressive, and democratic Islamic state.
Because of their lack of knowledge of Islam and its principles of state and government, secularists make four fundamental mistakes when interpreting Jinnah's vision for Pakistan:
(i) they wrongly equate the concept of an Islamic state with that of a theocracy (i.e. a state ruled by a clergy);
(ii) they confuse Jinnah's repeated appeals and references to the Islamic principles of freedom of religion, equality before the law, and protection of minorities as ideological secularism;
(iii) they overemphasize and interpret out-of-context Jinnah's speech of 11 August 1947; and
(iv) they ignore (either deliberately or ignorantly) dozens of Jinnah's other speeches, statements and correspondence that shed light on Jinnah's vision for Pakistan.
The concept of the Islamic state is unique in that it is neither secular nor theocratic. There is no theocracy in Islam because there is no clergy in Islam. There can be no theocracy without a clergy. The concept of the clergy belongs in other religions, not Islam. The debate on theocracy vs. secularism is, therefore, a Western dilemma, not an Islamic one. Both secularism and theocracy are equally alien to Islam.
Mistakes are often made in defining Islamic concepts using Western jargon and nomenclature, which does not always do justice to Islamic concepts, particularly those involving the principles of state and governance. The desire to fit ideologies, events, and personalities in labelled boxes is a great disservice to our understanding of history and religion. In the process, truth becomes the first casualty, as is the case in our understanding of Jinnah and his vision for Pakistan.
Jinnah, being a widely-read, English-trained Barrister, was eloquent and possessed a mastery over the English language. He also had a vast and sophisticated English vocabulary. Additionally, Jinnah was a bold, forthright, and courageous leader, who was never afraid of uttering what was on his mind.
Those who paint Jinnah with a secular brush struggle to explain why, with all the aforementioned qualities, his expansive vocabulary, and his knack for eloquence, Jinnah never used the words "secular", "secularist", or "secularism" to explain his own ideology or his vision for Pakistan. Not even once. This is evident from his correspondence, speeches, and writings, which are preserved in the Jinnah Papers (now spread over 18 volumes and counting). He was certainly aware of the word "secular" as is evident from his press conference held in New Delhi on 14 July 1947. If Jinnah wanted, and had he indeed been secular, he could have ended the debate for posterity by explaining his vision and ideology by using such words.
While the proponents of a secular Jinnah rely upon only a few of his speeches (less than half a dozen to be precise), most notably his speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947, to try and paint him as secular, they conveniently and deliberately ignore dozens, if not hundreds, of Jinnah's other speeches, statements, and correspondence that tell an altogether different story of the man and his vision for Pakistan. To support their views, both the proponents of a secular Jinnah and his detractors have gone as far as to manufacture fake quotes, which they have attributed to Jinnah. This is intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind.
Secularists also struggle to explain why Jinnah, if he was secular, would carve out another secular state from India, which India's Congress party and Nehru had openly declared would be a secular state. This begs the question: why carve out a secular state from another secular state, that too on the basis of religion? To do so, would be a glaring contradiction on both counts.
Jinnah, like any other historical figure, should not be judged on the basis of a single speech (or even a few). In order to understand Jinnah and his vision for Pakistan, we must look at him as a whole. To highlight and overemphasize Jinnah's speech of 11 August 1947 at the expense of his other speeches and statements and to look for seeds of secularism in Jinnah’s politics is to miss the forest for the trees.
The page relies on sourced and authentic quotes of Jinnah from reliable, reputable, credible, and published sources, including the Jinnah Papers, to debunk the theory that Jinnah, or his vision for Pakistan, was secular.
This page's objective is to set the historical record straight regarding Jinnah's vision for Pakistan by countering the revisionist historical narrative of some secularists, who, at the lesser end, are painting Jinnah as secular by selectively quoting him and, at the more extreme end, are engaged in the outright falsification of history by attributing untruths and fake quotes to Jinnah.
As the quotes on this page demonstrate, Jinnah wanted a modern, progressive, and democratic Islamic state, which would be neither secular nor theocratic.
One may have the right to hold the view that Pakistan ought to be a secular state, but one does not have the right to claim that Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular state. One has the right to disagree with Jinnah's vision, but not the right to distort it.
This website is a work in progress and will be periodically updated with Jinnah's quotes as well as articles on Jinnah's vision for Pakistan.
As you read through Jinnah’s quotes, ask yourself this: are these the words of a secular man?