Jinnah’s Use of Islam in his Speeches


  • Tariq Rahman


Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder father of Pakistan, used words relating to Islam and Muslims in his speeches. This has been interpreted differently by people according to their ideological orientations. The liberals maintain that he wanted to create a state for Muslims and not an Islamic state while the religiously oriented ideologues asserted that he wanted to create an Islamic state. Another line of reasoning implying that Pakistan was made for pragmatic (to secure rights from an unsympathetic majority) not for ideological reasons also supports the liberal position. However, this argument is easily refuted by the upholders of orthodoxy so it is not the strength of the argument or the authenticity of the sources which wins the debate; it is official authority. There are a number of books for students of Pakistan studies which purvey the official, orthodox view. The question is one to give up or is there room for a rational debate on this issue. In my view, providing material for the debate is necessary. This is what this article does. It is meant to encourage debate about the exact meaning of Jinnah’s use of the Islamic idiom in his speeches to provide answers to whether he wanted to create an Islamic state or a modern, democratic state for a Muslim majority but one which would give equal rights to non-Muslim citizens. The data used in this article include several collections of speeches of Mr Jinnah. The four volumes of Yusufi, which contain most of them, is our major text. However, it has been supplemented by such additional material as is missing from this text.