Fasad fil arz and fasad

The establishment spent years trying to cultivate a public that would be sympathetic to its ideology and beliefs.


Fasi Zaka March 22, 2011

I have to admit I feel amused when I see the PTI, Jamiat and a whole lot of others in the media, try to avoid the suggestion that they are actually protesting the use of Sharia in the case of Raymond Davis’s release. After all, they can’t let it appear that they, as the so-called ‘defenders of Islam’, are now suddenly against it.

The lesson here is that the religious and political right have been guilty of one thing all along: empty jingoism. Their desire for Islamisation has always been nothing less than opportunistic. They use it when they want a specific outcome and are now scrambling to explain why they don’t want it in the one case where they got an outcome under qisas and diyat that they don’t like.

But more so, they have been exposed for their shallowness, which presumes slogans and rhetoric is genuine and critical thought. It’s become dangerous to talk sense these days because of them. Simply arguing for the blasphemy laws to become stronger to avoid misuse can get one killed.

Because of this air of menacing fear over discourse, the religiously-inclined right has helped foster injustice by disallowing discussion. For example, under Islamic principles of justice, there is easily a case to be made under ijtihad that child-murdering paedophiles, who have a high chance of being repeat offenders, are not given the benefit of relief under qisas or diyat. Or in societies with high degrees of inequality, how does one ensure that the qisas and diyat law does not become a get-out-of-jail card for the extremely wealthy?

Legal clauses, ‘fasad fil arz’, can easily be created to avoid these negative outcomes, if only there is a safe way to discuss them. But in these climes, any discussion is painted as an attempt to demonstrate divine laws as inadequate, letting the status quo and injustice prevail. When the ‘ghairat’ brigade easily slanders those who are interested in implementation with justice in mind, like Ghamidi, they do a disservice to their own cause of Islamisation. Or maybe, they never have been interested in it genuinely all along. For one thing, they certainly haven’t put any work into it.

When friends suggest khilafat as the only way forward, they are always at a loss to explain who will select the khalifa. Well, actually, they do say it will be a panel of honest religious scholars. But then they won’t know who selects the panel of scholars or what sects will be included and left out. When questioned, their desire for a certain political system is exposed not as an ideology or a system but only as a ‘naraa’.

But now those very people are suggesting this was not a case for qisas and diyat are trying to get around it by suggesting it falls into ‘fasad fil arz’. This is interesting in that others who suggested ways to get around the misapplication of the blasphemy law are now dead, killed indirectly by the foaming rhetoric of those who are now trying to find a balancing act on qisas and diyat in the Raymond Davis case. But these people are lucky because they won’t find the ‘liberals’ trying to settle scores by insinuating or actively suggesting they are now guilty of blasphemy by critiquing the application of Islamic law.

It’s even more amusing to see anchors suddenly turn on the ISI, the PML-N and the army who have orchestrated the release. Which is why the ‘topi drama’ of the military protesting against the drones attacks rings so hollow. Did it just realise now that the drones kill Pakistanis? Is it still impervious to the realisation that some of the drones are fuelled and loaded with missiles in Pakistan?

The establishment spent years trying to cultivate a public that would be sympathetic to its ideology and beliefs. Well, now they are hostage to the very people whose mindsets they created. Social engineering has a way of exacting a price from those who direct it. If anything, that’s the lesson of the Raymond Davis affair. In the hamaam of Raymond Davis, all stand naked now.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2011.

COMMENTS (59)

XYZ | 11 years ago | Reply @A Muslim who appreciate and respect Ulema e Kiram.: Thanks to your stupid explanation, I will now never even think of the Khilafat system.
Umair | 11 years ago | Reply All i would say is that we need to understand the ethos of islamic laws qisas and diyat are not to be branded as a way out for the rich and one can write lots about the philosophy of Islamic laws. The issue is that paki govt has used these laws for covering up their ulterior motives. the aircraft waiting in the airport and ultra speedy processing of this case should leave no doubt what was govt upto. This case has again unearthed corruption even in our judiciary. But i don't know if there is any law that questions the intentions of an act :). Over all Fasi is doing great job in raising issues some time in questionable manner but we have to be patient with him :)
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