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Mashal Khan’s inexplicable murder – Let’s not forget Allama Iqbal was once accused of blasphemy [The Nation] 16 Apr, 2017

Mashal Khan succumbed to injuries following a mob attack in Abdul Wali Khan University on the accusations of blasphemy, and, as was discussed as a motive later, for being a socialist as well. Scrolling down his Facebook profile, his innocence bulges out, and the accusations made against him can be clearly seen as pretext to settle personal enmity.

What happened in Mardan isn’t a new phenomenon. When Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal put forward his Shikwa (Compliant) to God, many religious clerics of his time declared him to be a blasphemer.

Backlashes and incitement followed, led by weak-kneed clerics who had failed to grasp his invigorating message. They then misinterpreted the great philosopher-poet, and dubbed him am infidel.

Jawab-e-Shikwa (Reply to the Complaint) was published after four years and was a slap on the face of all hardliners. Today Sir Allama Iqbal is a renowned Ashiq-e-Rasool (SAW) all over the globe, and clerics have recognized that Quran is the reference point of his poetry and philosophy.

Interlinking our eminent poet and philosopher with Mashal Khan’s inexplicable murder isn’t meant to announce the latter as a true Ashiq-e-Rasool (SAW) posthumously, but to awake ourselves from hallucinations of extremism. Because let’s not forget that Allama Iqbal was similarly accused of unsubstantiated blasphemy.

What Mashal posted in two poetic lines on social media in 2016 might have hurt some people’s religious sentiments – just like Iqbal’s Shikwa did – but that doesn’t mean he was an infidel, not even worthy of genuine probe over any claims that the mob might have used to justify their actions.

Secondly, many people are ‘accusing’ him of being a socialist on social media and using that to justify his brutal murder. Let me mention here the most eulogized figure this country has produced, the philanthropist, the humanist and most importantly an individual respected by everyone irrespective of their religious affiliations, Abdul Sattar Edhi, was a socialist according to his son’s statement.

Socialism isn’t synonymous with atheism. Although socialism is a man made way of governing the system, inferior to the God-prescribed Islamic model, but man should also come up with ideas to face the reality of the world and the challenges it poses.

There isn’t any Islamic model purely implemented in the Muslim world. Although there are a few states that follow the socialist model.

Socialism is much inferior to Islamic way of life, but far better than the Neocon-Zionist developed capitalism. When the educated and the humanists have such a system of governance on the ground, where exploitation of the labor class, ruling of the elites and lethargy of the bourgeoisies are not permissible, then they must advocate socialism to counter the prevalent system of capitalism. This is what Mashal Khan was doing, as was evident in his posts on Facebook.

Embracing violence to defend Islam, without reading and understanding the religion, has become a norm for Muslims. The perpetrators enjoy impunity by the state, which is paranoid about backlashes from the religious cadre. This is the reason our holy and peaceful religion is vulnerable to exploitation by hypocrites.


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