This was a question raised by Allama Muhammad Iqbal almost a century ago & he himself than gave a clear and precise answer & presented with clear-cut guidelines to make it possible in the modern world.
Iqbal perfectly eradicates qualms of the Islamophobes & outline design to moderate radicalization. Seculars, liberals & wannabe/ pretentious liberals (another class I have noticed!), extremists &fundamentalists should leave their stubbornness and settle somewhere in the middle. Why can’t we settle for a Modern, Moderate, non-theocratic, Islamic Republic?
“Quran embodies an essentially dynamic outlook on life” he goes. “Quran considers it necessary to unite religion and state, ethics and politics in a single revelation much in the same way as Plato does in his Republic.”
We don’t need to be secular to have a modern outlook coherent with 21st century. Neither do we have to adopt radical approach, follow unsuited, inconsistent & irreconcilable laws, in order to prove faithful, practicing Muslims. Iqbal has a way out of it!
Iqbal has deep inspiration from the Turkish religio-political thought process. His Turkish inspiration is not limited to Rumi but he’s also moved by their religious reconstruction course and their willingness to move to fresh religious interpretations. To date we can specifically see that Turkey is one Muslim state which is nominally secular, but practically Islamic!
I perceive, he advocates drastic changes in the existing Islamic schools of thought as he defies & criticizes older laws & revives the concept of Ijtehad & Ijma with a view to rebuild the laws of shariah in the light of modern thought and experience. As he says, “Equipped with penetrative thought and fresh experience the world of Islam should courageously proceed to the work of reconstruction before them”. I am sure this is the Pakistan he meant, when he gave the idea of a separate Muslim ideological, ideal state. “Conservatism is as bad in religion as in any other department of human activity” he goes.
Imperative point here is, Ijtehad must only be done by “khudi” indoctrinated; enlightened scholars & intellectuals open to innovation. Frankly, such individuals are scanty in the world today. (Imp: Along with other credentials, khudi essentially includes surrender to one God & ultimate love for his Prophet(PBUH).Islam cant get away without Muhammad(PBUH), it seems, I m sorry!!)
Iqbal,s panislamic concept is not precisely what mullahs have portrayed for years. Iqbal understands the veracity & politics around. His concept is simple & pragmatic. He sensed that Muslim countries are too week to be combined together to build a caliphate. Instead, as step-1, they should up-grade themselves independently. His impression of caliphate is that of “league of nations” i.e., somewhat similar to a UN body or say EU of our times. In his own words, “For the present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self; temporarily focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a living family of republics”
“It seems to me that God is slowly bringing home to us the truth that Islam is neither Nationalism or Imperialism but a League of Nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizons of its members”
Unlike mullahs “ameer-ul-momineen” monarchic dogma, he advocates caliphate to be a Republican type of government with power shared by one assembly, and not overruled by one person. Albeit, Supremacy lies with God.
His concept of democracy is a “Spiritual Democracy”. “As two hundred thick brains altogether cannot yield what a single visionary can”. He advocates spiritual enterprise as a fundamental leadership credential. Like Paulo Coelho rightly tweets, “Spirituality is not all about meditation & prayer, you have to act it!”. Following Iqbal, if we make nobility, integrity & honesty the criteria to choose our leaders instead of lingo-provincial based sectarianism, we can readily get out of this political turmoil for good and can have provident & farsighted men as leaders.
Nonetheless, all this sounds very idealistic & dreamy. But, than what else do you want a separate state for? And, at least we have been given an objective to accomplish, a challenge to encounter & an impossible to achieve.
This is peanuts, compared to what is encoded in his message. Pakistani intelligentsia, having degrees from the best uni,s all around the globe should build their self-esteem and come out of Islamophobia. They should understand the real spirit of Islam & for that understand Iqbal to counter extremist thought process. If we aren’t doing it, who will?
However individual responsibility aside, but more than that it is the responsibility of the state to understand & dispense the right message & provide healthy, ambulant & yielding religious environment. And, if the government is not doing it, than change the govt!! And, If we aren’t doing it, who will!!