'Religious fragmentation based on misinterpretation leads to extremism'

Published: October 20, 2012
Bridging the gap amongst individuals, states by common understanding and sharing of knowledge about law, peace and religion and exploring the factors that can help in achieving the objective of global peace, says Justice Chaudhry. PHOTO: ONLINE/ FILE

Bridging the gap amongst individuals, states by common understanding and sharing of knowledge about law, peace and religion and exploring the factors that can help in achieving the objective of global peace, says Justice Chaudhry. PHOTO: ONLINE/ FILE

LAHORE: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said Saturday that religious fragmentation, without understanding the true spirit and philosophy of religions, has given rise to terrorism and extremism and is affecting global peace. 

He was speaking at the “Peace through Law” International Conference in Lahore.

The chief justice said that Islam was undoubtedly a peaceful religion as were all other religions. It was the lack of understanding of the true spirit of the religions that was creating these differences.

“Islamic teachings are oriented towards achievement of peace, brotherhood and human welfare,” he said.

“I believe that like Islam, all major religions of the world carry the message of peace-making and peace-keeping,” he added.

“It is unfortunate that human kind has got fragmented into religious and ethnic sects and groups without understanding the true spirit and philosophy,” said Justice Chaudhry.

“These deep-rooted rifts have given rise to terrorism, bloodshed, extra-judicial killings, human rights violations and other evils that are perpetuating extremism and radicalism and affecting global peace,” he added.

He said that the best way to address these issues was “through bridging the gap amongst individuals and states by common understanding and sharing of knowledge about law, peace and religion and exploring the factors that can help in achieving the objective of global peace”.

“Restoration or maintenance of peace and harmony through adherence to rule of law is the increasingly acceptable mean for resolving conflicts and terrorism, be it at the international or domestic level,” he added.

‘Islam a religion of peace’

“It is a matter of importance undoubtedly that as far as our religion Islam is concerned, being a great religion, conveys the message of peace,” said the chief justice.

“There is no basis for violence of Islam.”

Quoting from the Quran, the chief justice said that the opening verse read ‘in the name of Allah, the most Merciful and the most beneficial’ which was repeated 114 times throughout the Holy Book.

He said this verse shows mercy and compassion to be dominant traits of Islam.

Moreover, he said, the Holy Book sets peace as the destination of Islam and quoted another verse from the Quran.

“Most verses of the Quran are directly or indirectly aim at propagating peace and abhorring oppression and violence,” he added.

Justice Chaudhry said that the conquest of Makkah under the leadership of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is a great example of peace when Muslims, despite being in a dominant position, conquered the whole city without bloodshed or violence.

“Peaceful methods of settlement of dispute are preferred options of contemporary religion,” added the chief justice.

“In my view genuine peace between those who are in a state of conflict can only be brought about through peaceful settlement… such a settlement can be made acceptable to conflicting parties only when they are assured that the settlement is fair and will be enforced through the force of law,” he said.

The chief justice said that without the guarantee of law behind it, no settlement can last very long and without such settlements, peace cannot be established, and added that the reverse of this was also true: If the disputes can be settled legally, people have no need to start a conflict.

Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that the opening verse repeats 140 times in the Holy Quran instead of 114. The error is regretted.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Naumann Malik
    Oct 20, 2012 - 2:16PM

    The perfect words Mr. CJ. Everyone has taken Islam and misquoted verses for their own personal gains & vested interests. There is no central body for Fatwas & Religious Affairs. This is the reason why people’s mindset are in a mess, and they want to believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories. The height of stupidity.

    Please stop quoting Holy Quran for your own interests.


  • Oct 20, 2012 - 3:37PM

    The kind of Islam the Taliban practice are not different from what Saudi Arabia, Iran, few African Muslim states and many other Gulf states practice. Subjugation of women, public executions, etc are the dominant theme of all the above actors.

    The Taliban are not different. If you look at their reign in Afghanistan in the 1990s, they mirror their Gulf and African counterparts. Only when they lost power, after 9/11 did they resort to insurgency.

    TTP too implemented the same system in Swat, and believes in the same exact set of principles. If there were no 9/11 the status quo in Afghanistan would have continued.

    Its not the Taliban who have misunderstood, perhaps it is the people who accuse them of misinterpretation have. How can so many people have got it wrong- Saudia, Iran, Taliban(both Afghan and Pakistan),etc.?


  • Uza Syed
    Oct 20, 2012 - 3:40PM

    Useless verbosity from someone who has lost completely whatever little credibility and respect he ever had. No point wasting anytime on such attempts at self-rehabilation through self-aggrandizement. Let’s first get some serious inquiry to establish the truth of what Faisal Raza Abidi is saying about this man before he pontificates on things much more serious than the petty thuggery he seems to be covering up.


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:01PM

    I first time saw him delivering a written speech. If one can not speak English or pronounce words according to English language then better to speak in Urdu and handover its text in English to all who do not understand the language. He went on and on without any coma or full stop. Anyhow this speech was only to please both hardliners and liberals. The rest was all diplomatic and muscle showing.Recommend

  • AK
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:02PM

    @Nauman sb

    The problem is not Holy Quran. The problem is in secondary sources in Islam. That actually created fragmentation and Extremism in Islam. The Holy Quran is simple and straight without any sects and useless practices. Quran tech us humbleness no hate. Secondary sources tech us kill them who is not from you and kill it who is not following your practices in the name of their own Islam.


  • major-ji
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:12PM

    One most effective method for religious harmony is to organise inter-religious dialogue events. There are certain commonalities in each religion and basing on these commonalities the events can be arranged. Learned scholars from each religion can be invited to present the good points of their religions without criticising or attacking other religions. Such practices can definitely facilitate to achieve the religious harmony.


  • AnisAqeel
    Oct 20, 2012 - 4:50PM

    This is a good, balanced and unbiased speech and I am reading some good suggestions first time from the mouth of a judiciary’s highest officer. We appreciate and look forward a moderate approach towards all factors in Pakistan for the sake of this country that has consumed hundreds of thousands of lives due to extremism since its inception.


  • Jugno
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Mr. Chief Justice it would be admirable, appreciable, commendable of you if you better take action against innocent killings in the country rather than lame lecture. What you are quoting from holy book is contrary to your actions so far. People are still being killed in Quetta, Gilgit and Karachi and now even in Lahore. What action you have taken so far, how many you have summoned so far, LeJ bravely accept their coward activities. TTP accept killing and attacks security personnel and other innocent people in the country. You should give this lecture to the enemies of humanity TTP, LeJ by visiting their safe heavens which i am sure you know where they exist.


  • Oct 20, 2012 - 6:03PM

    Now he has lost all credibility thus he will start acting as a moderate Just to survive But even then will do every thing to Hinder the Delivery of Justice to his son by every mean. He should resign because he has already destroyed the sanctity of Cheaf Justice Supreme Court Office.Recommend

  • Oct 20, 2012 - 6:03PM

    @Naumann Malik:

    “….There is no central body for Fatwas & Religious Affairs.”
    To lessen the present chaos (read anarchy) the logical choice, the way you put it would be, a body which comprises of very highly educated persons from the elite who carry weight because of their status, besides can independently take decisions which are also presumably obeyed by all.
    Mr Malik’s idea is brilliant. The Supreme Court, the highest authority of the land, could decide on secular matters at the same time be subservient to Sharia thus Sharia and Secular Courts conjoin with each other.
    There is just one Koran that has to be followed, hence all decisions will get automatically streamlined, ruling away present confusion. Head of the Supreme Court could even be granted the status of a Grand Mufti of sorts. He will see to it that rulings are done not in the spirit of Colonial past but strictly follow the ethos of Koranic values.


  • Something Clever
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:21PM



  • Babbarsher Khan
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:25PM

    Why can not he keep himself confined to judicial/legal issues? All of us know he is just a functionary of judicial organ of the state, not an intellectually gifted chap. When he competes with politicians for newspaper space he is just encouraging the feeling of contempt in the mind of educated Pakistani for the organ of the state he represents! Recommend

  • major-ji
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:34PM

    There seems to be misunderstanding in exchange of ideas. No mistake in any original revealed book or scripture. As said the interpreting forces are manipulating with these revealed books. Be the Taliban, Saudis or Pakistanis. Common brutal interpretations are similar with Taliban, Saudis and Pakistanis. If you trace back the original sources it will lead to one place and that will be the Saudis.


  • HA
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:41PM

    Mr. Cheif Justice the holy quran also teaches humility and fear of God.


  • faraz anwar
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:44PM

    fake speech by fake CJ
    Islam also says before correcting others, first you must correct yourself.


  • saleem
    Oct 20, 2012 - 6:53PM

    @Brute force you are wrong. Saudi Arabia Iran do not follow what taliban are talking about. Specially the gulf states the women have more rights then pakistan can dream of now. The socalled the women work, drive and even live alone . They have the right to property, education and do not need to cover themselves up like Taliban. What taliban did in afghanistan was inhuman and they should be eliminated.


  • Dr. Boodhun
    Oct 20, 2012 - 7:15PM

    140 or 114 times !!!!!


  • AK
    Oct 20, 2012 - 7:27PM


    It is not the problem in scripture you didn’t understand and as Major-ji said absolutely correct.The scripture is protected. The secondary source means books other than Quran. Those has been written down as Islamic literature. The issue is there because we innocent people as masses have not that much intellect to think over on those books, we just take them as final authority to those books without realising that has been written down by humans. And the problem lies there which creates all sects and different practices. As we move on those, become do and die kind of situation for groups who follow those different books. Every group think, they are right and other is wrong and for this there is no limit. Results are in front of us.


  • Siddique Malik
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:20PM

    After having interfered in many areas of government as if Pakistan was under “judicial martial-law” — a succinct phrase recently used by a Pakistani senator, and justifiably so — now the CJ becomes an expert on foreign policy, law and order, terrorism, etc. Is there no end to his day-dreaming?
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


  • Ishaq Khan
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:20PM

    Political CJRecommend

  • Jibran
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Now his sermons sicken us. Mighty CJ! you could have better utilized your time, if you had disposed off a few more cases during this time.


  • R2D2
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:44PM

    is there anything that this man does not have a self righteous opinion on?Recommend

  • Jibran
    Oct 20, 2012 - 8:54PM

    @Naumann Malik:
    Mr. CJ and his fellow judges themselves have invoked Quranic versus and Islamic historic examples while deciding various cases. It just depends what and how it suits someone, and radical judges are no exception.


  • Jibran
    Oct 20, 2012 - 9:04PM

    “Islam is a religion of peace” – CJ

    Not sure which world he lives in, or how ignorant one can be. Reality check: A religion is what is practiced by its followers. And in our world, no religion is currently as violent and brutal as Islam(as portrayed by its followers presently). Now don’t pin this on some conflict between states, or on drone strikes. The Muslims themselves have to be blamed for their own actions and atrocities.Recommend

  • Oct 20, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Global ideological crisis and imposition extremism needs to be seriously tackled, and it can start with laws (Hudood, blasphemy), education (bigoted textbooks) and attitudes (violence, discrimination, abuse, ideology, etc) within Pakistan being corrected.

    CJ’s own Islamist religiosity is worrisome in itself. He over-reaches and meddles with skewed priorities due to irrational dogmatic ideological beliefs like his earlier claim that he had to reign in parliament to save Pakistan from secularism. He continues the Zia-ul-Haq religious supremacist ideologue mindset fantasizing about a theocracy imposing his own interpretation on all diverse citizens. Despite good intentions of an Islamic Republic of Pakistan, they create a Munafiq (hypocrite) Republic of Pakistan instead, twisting laws to exploit by state and extremist powers.

    Apart from the lawyers that threw petals on Qadri or prayed for OBL, all of whom are still practising, his courts have shown an incredible knack for excusing and favouring religious Deoband/Wahhabi/Salafi/Sunni sectarian extremists and militants, and himself failed to take notice of atrocious attacks against religious and sectarian minorities highlighting possible inherent prejudice and bigotry due to non-moderate beliefs.Recommend

  • Siddique Malik
    Oct 21, 2012 - 12:25AM

    Great analysis, and a true depiction of reality; I agree with it.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentcuky, USA.


  • gp65
    Nov 1, 2012 - 10:48AM

    @bigsaf: Great post. Sadly I can only recommend it once.


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