This article was originally addressed to “Institute of Islamic Research” which was headed by Dr. Fazlur Rahman at that time, but applies to all modernists of our time.
Indeed numerous judicial problems have been created in our time, and in order to solve them it is essential that scholars of Islamic jurisprudence and those having insight in these matters make collective efforts through regular discussions, debates and research. There are many such problems facing the Muslim world which require that the scholars of Islam and experts of modem science hold joint discussions to solve them in the light of established principles of Islam. The importance and necessity of this splendid job is being felt in various circles of Islamic scholars and some efforts are also being made at some places but due to lack of resources these efforts have so far not materialized into an organized collective forum.
The present government has formed an institute for this purpose after it came into power. Section 107 of our Constitution describes the purpose of such a body that through it research on various religious problems be carried out on the one hand, and on the other hand the society may be reformed on “True Islamic fundamental values”. The president of Pakistan, Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, has written in his autobiography that he had constituted an Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and an Islamic Research Institute to advise the Government on our legislative problems, after studying them in the light of religion. He stated that this would help the legislators in bringing our laws in harmony with the spirit of Islam. But for the practicability of these laws, “a thorough survey of the requirements of the society is needed.” (Friends Not Masters, page 106). Nobody can deny the importance and commendability of purpose described here. In fact, this reflected the wishes of scholars of Islam and every one having an Islamic mind. Without such a move it is impossible to change and mould the worn out system of the country’s judiciary into Islamic laws.
But any institution, no matter how sincere be the intentions behind it and how useful be the purposes of its establishment, can not give beneficial results unless its system of operation is right and its authorities are competent to deal with its problems without bias and prejudice. They must have a reasonable working plan in their minds and the way to achieve them must be just and straight. Unless these conditions are fulfilled no institution can be expected to be successful.
This is why the “Institute of Islamic Research” has not been able to justify its establishment so far. Several years have passed since this institution was formed but so far it has not only been unable to do some useful work but in fact an atmosphere of discord and dissension has been created in the country. So far it has created problems rather than solving them, evolved difficulties for our social structure rather than removing them, given air to the glowing fire rather than extinguishing it. That is why the institution which should have been the centre of wishes and ambitions of the nation, could not gain the confidence of the people. Living in the world of vain imaginations is living in a fools paradise. Try to penetrate the feelings of more than a hundred million population of Pakistan and your conscience will tell you that they do not consider this institution as their own. The so-called achievements of this Institute pinches in their hearts like thorny bushes, and their lack of confidence is so extreme that even a rightful statement from this institution is looked with doubt and suspicion.
In these lines we would like to discuss the reasons which have turned an extremely useful institution into an extremely harmful and unsuccessful one, and due to which a very unhealthy atmosphere of disruption, disputes and disturbances has been created.
This is not a matter of obstinacy or anybody’s personal prejudice rather it concerns a problem on which depends the survival of Islamic thought and Islamic way of life, if it is not solved with solemnity and balanced thinking, this nation will never be able to achieve the goal that led to the creation of Pakistan. Hence the exigency of time demands that all concerned should think and ponder over this problem with a cool temperament disregarding sentimental pressures.