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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

Blasphemy Against Islam and its Messenger by Pakistan's Religious Elites

The original of the Covenant Prophet Muhammad made with the Christian Monks of Saint Catherine in Egypt.

Insanity has overtaken Pakistan. Religious bigotry is on the rise. Violence is common, and Islam has failed to convince the country's political, business, and religious elites of its universality, legitimacy, and humanity. What happened in Jaranwala, a historic town in the district of Faisalabad, was not only shameful for Pakistan but a negation of everything Islam claims to stand for.

A Muslim mob of alleged supporters of Tehreek Labbaik ransacked Christian homes and burned five churches because someone found a few torn and burnt pages of the Quran, Islam's scriptures, near the homes of two Christians. The local mosques actively incited the community to attack those blasphemed against Islam.

Jarranwala is famous for its role in fighting British colonialism. Bhagat Singh, a freedom fighter in British India, and Sir Ganga Ram, a Civil Engineer and a renowned architect, who designed famous buildings like Lahore High Court, Aitchison College, Hailey College of Commerce, Lahore Museum, National College of Arts, and The Horse Train Ghangha Pur came from the town. But now, the people would remember this town for Muslim intolerance and bigotry.

Christians are only 1.27 percent of Pakistan's Christians. Divided into Catholics and Protestants equally, they make up 80 percent of menial workers in the country. They are the most illiterate community. Six percent have primary education. 4% a High School education. 1% a College education, and 0.5% a Professional education. Most Christians are converts from lower castes, known as untouchables in Hindu scriptures.

Despite its claims, Pakistan did not treat them well. Discrimination is common. Forced conversion of girls often takes place. Usually, the community faces the sting of the blasphemy law.

However, the real problem is the intolerant religious leadership and the manipulative political elites, primarily representing the army. The generals and Pakistan's intelligence controls Pakistan's religious parties and use them at will.

Pakistan's laws against its religious minorities are discriminatory. They violate the fundamental Quranic principle of equality and dignity of all. They also go contrary to the policies of Prophet Muhammad in securing protection for religious minorities, especially Christians. The Ashtiname of Prophet Muhammad, also known as the Covenant or Testament (Testamentum), is a charter or writ granting protection and other privileges to the followers of Jesus given to the Christian monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery. It has an imprint of the Prophet's seal.

Here is an English translation of the Covenant:

It is a letter issued by Muhammad, Ibn Abdullah, the Messenger, the Prophet, the Faithful, sent to all the people as a trust on the part of God to all His creatures, that they may have no plea against God hereafter. Verily, God is Omnipotent, the Wise. It reminds Muslims of the Covenant given to the followers of Jesus the Nazarene in the East and West, the far and near, the Arabs and foreigners, the known and the unknown.

This letter contains the oath given unto them, and he who disobeys that which is therein will be considered a disbeliever and a transgressor. He will be regarded as one who has corrupted the oath of God, disbelieved His Testament, rejected His Authority, despised His Religion, and made himself deserving of His Curse, whether he is a Sultan or any other believer of Islam. Whenever Christian monks, devotees, and pilgrims gather together, whether in a mountain or valley, or den, or frequented place, or plain, or church, or in houses of worship, indeed we are [at the] back of them and shall protect them, and their properties and their morals, by Myself, by My Friends and by My Assistants, for they are of My Subjects and under My Protection.

I shall exempt them from that which may disturb them, of the burdens paid by others as an oath of allegiance. They must not give anything of their income but that which pleases them—they must not be offended, disturbed, coerced, or compelled. Their judges remain in their offices, their monks will exercise their religious order, or

No one is allowed to plunder these Christians, destroy or spoil any of their churches or houses of worship, or take any of the things contained within them and bring them to the places of Islam. And he who takes away anything therefrom will have corrupted the oath of God and, in truth, disobeyed His Messenger.

Jizya should not be put upon their judges, monks, and those whose occupation is the worship of God, nor is any other thing to be taken from them, whether it be a fine, a tax, or any unjust right. Verily I shall keep their compact, wherever they may be, in the sea or on the land, in the East or West, in the North or South, for they are under My Protection and the testament of My Safety, against all things they despise.

No taxes or tithes should be received from those who devote themselves to the worship of God in the mountains or from those who cultivate the Holy Lands. No one has the right to interfere with their affairs or bring any action against them. Verily this is for aught else and not for them; instead, in the seasons of crops, they should be given a Kadah for each Ardab of wheat (about five bushels and a half) as provision for them, and no one has the right to say to them 'this is too much', or ask them to pay any tax.

As to those who possess properties, the wealthy and merchants, the poll tax to be taken from them must not exceed twelve drachmas a head per year (i.e., about 200 modern-day US dollars).

They shall not be imposed upon by anyone to undertake a journey or to be forced to go to war or to carry arms; for the Muslims have to fight for them. Do not dispute or argue with them, but deal according to the verse recorded in the Quran: 'Do not dispute or argue with the People of the Book, but in that which is best' [29:46]. Thus, they will live favored and protected from everything which may offend them by the Callers to religion (Islam), wherever they may be and in any place they may dwell.

Should any Christian woman be married to a Muslim, such marriage must not occur except after her consent, and she must not be prevented from going to her church for prayer. Their churches must be honored and not be withheld from building churches or repairing convents.

They must not be forced to carry arms or stones, but the Muslims must protect and defend them against others. It is positively incumbent upon every one of the followers of Islam not to contradict or disobey this oath until the Day of Resurrection and the end of the world."

Pakistan's constitution betrayed Prophet Muhammad and goes contrary to the Quran. Its religious leadership makes a mockery of Islam, and its political elites use the faith to serve their interests. Anyone who stands for Islam cannot remain silent on the current large-scale violence. It is time that Muslims worldwide demand that governments carrying the banner of Islam respect its citizens' human rights and dignity, regardless of their religious affiliation.

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