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The Caliphate Movement was an unqualified disaster



The Caliphate Movement, in the early part of the 20th century, was an unqualified disaster. It added to sectarian bigotry and divided the Muslim communities in then India.

The Young Turks (the actual ones, not the MSNBC mouthpiece on social media) wanted an end to the regressive Caliphate. Meanwhile, sectarian mullahs like Abul Kalam Azad wanted to perpetuate a system that even the Turks were then sick of.

Celebrating one of the central figures of a CALIPHATE MOVEMENT as some sort of secular hero as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad is, is one of the other reasons why fewer Pakistanis take liberal elites seriously.

There is much to criticize about Jinnah. No doubt about that.

That does not mean we view the Caliphate Movement with a romantic prism either as one of the central planks of this problematic sectarian movement was the Majlis e Ahrar.

Majlis e Ahrar, a Deobandi organization was one of the participants of this movement. Pretending to care about Ahmadis, while diluting the role of the Ahrar is dishonest. And that is precisely what has happened in Pakistan.

The Ahrar is known for its hate campaigns against Sunni Sufis, Ahmadis and Shias. It lead the 1953 riots against the Ahmadis and was also responsible for destroying the composite culture in Lucknow.

Mushir ul Hasan has written about this.

Essentially the Ahraris also launched a virulent Madh e Sahaba Movement that advocated genocidal violence for simply criticizing anyone who had ever come into contact with the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Lumping tens and thousands of people as “companions” was an Ahrar conflation tactic to absolve the Omayyad Caliphate. The Omayyad Caliphate not only only massacred the Holy Prophet’s family at Karbala. They also attacked and destroyed the Kaaba. And committed horrifying atrocities (mass rape and carnage) in the holy city of Madina. The Omayyad Caliphate also oversaw the brutal invasion of Sindh under MBQ and Hajjaj Bin Yousuf.

The Madh e Sahaba’s Mazhar Ali Azhar was a leading proponent of hatred against Ahmadis and Shias. However, Pakistan’s commercial liberals deliberately misrepresent Mazhar Ali Azhar as a Shia. When in fact, he was not only not a Shia but lead a hate movement against Shia Muslims.

These lies were repeated in 2016 by Jibran Nasir, a darling of Pakistan’s Jejune liberals. It has been repeated by others as well to put two targeted faith communities (Shias and Ahmadis) against each other.

I think enough time has elapsed when sectarian mullahs like Abul Kalam Azad are also viewed objectively over the course of their career.

The problem with nationalists on both sides of the border is to eschew those parts of the narrative that don’t suit their blind nationalisms.