My Favourite Caliph

Sometimes Ahmed Quraishi is so ridiculous that I wonder if he’s performing some sort of dark comedy routine. Take, for example, the conversation that he has started on Facebook about how life under an 8th century Arab Caliph was better than life under ‘baboons’ in power today.

Here’s what he wrote on Facebook “A Glimpse Into The Mind Of A Muslim Caliph”

During the government of Alwaleed bin Abdul Malik, a Khaleefa of Bani Umayya [Umayyads],who was based in Damascus and in whose tenure Mohammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, he introduced a social welfare system where widows could register themselves in special offices in various cities of the state and get monthly stipends and/or ration.

Well equipped shelters were built for the homeless and poor travelers. This covered the length abd breadth of the Muslim empire at the time. Special shelters were run by the state for the orphans. It was normal for mayors and/or rulers of various Muslim cities to compete with each other in building and running the largest libraries. Muslim cities and rulers prided one another on who maintains the largest and the richest public library of books. Every ruler competed in and rewarded citizens who would translate maximum numbers of books from other languages into Arabic and place the translated books in the local state-run library. Books on philosophy, religion, myths, science, etc. everything was translated. Muslims used to be confident. They were not afraid to translate books from other cultures that contradicted Islamic injunctions. They translated these books to learn how other nations thought and behaved and to know their strengths and weaknesses. You could find books on sex translated from other cultures lying in the local library of a Muslim city. Muslims then were confident in their faith and in themselves, knowing that they were reading foriegn material only to learn while not getting influenced by these books except in the positive.

First allow me to ask why he said ‘Muslim Caliph’ – what other kind of Caliph is there? But aside from petty redundancies, what made me laugh is that Quraishi had to go back to the 8th century to find a leader worth praising, and the leader he found certainly sounds like the ‘liberal extremist’ that Hamid Mir and Ahmed himself were trying to create as a bogey man just a few days ago.

Caliphs - notice, not PakistaniAlso, for someone who has proclaimed himself as “Pak Nationalist”, isn’t it curious that when he wanted to show good leadership he couldn’t find one single Pakistani to praise? Not even Baba-e-Qaum is worthy of Ahmed Quraishi’s praise. Ahmed Quraishi is so in love with Arabs that his perfect Pakistan leader is from Damascus.

This is where it gets less funny. How self-hating do you have to be to reject every single leader of your people including the father of your own country? And yet this is what Ahmed Quraishi is telling us. He is saying, ‘if you want good leaders, we should be servants of the Arabs.’

This greatest leader of the past 1,300 years that Ahmed Quraishi so admires declared Arabic as the only official language and decreed that all administration was to be done in Arabic only. Does Ahmed Quraishi believe we should give up our own languages and speak Arabic? Alwaleed bin Abdul Malik also invaded and conquered Sindh to add to his Arabian empire. It should be asked does Ahmed Quraishi believe in the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan, or does he believe that we should be invaded and annexed as servants to some large Arab empire?

Alwaleed bin Abdul Malik did a lot of great things 1,300 years ago. His contributions to architecture, social welfare, libraries, etc etc etc were all positive. But I will say it again – we don’t live in 8th century Arabia. We live in 21st century Pakistan.

But of course the key issue for Ahmed Quraishi has never been improving Pakistan’s economy, spreading religious tolerance, or helping widows and orphans or anyone else except Ahmed Quraishi. He has a fetish for authority. This is why he was Pervez Musharraf’s puppet while he was in power, but once he was thrown out of power Ahmed abandoned him. It’s why he tried to get a job with the Voice of America, but has turned anti-American since they rejected him. Now he’s looking for another authority figure who he can serve.

We don’t need any authoritarian figures or dictators or Caliphs. We’ve had enough of that, thank you. And Arab dictators aren’t any better than Pakistani ones. Just ask the Tunisians, Egyptians, Syrians, and Libyans. The Arabs are not going to solve our problems, only we are. Neither are the Americans. Neither are the Chinese. So let Ahmed Quraishi keep his dictator fetish to himself. I’d rather have a democracy where I can choose my own leaders, even if they aren’t perfect angels.

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