Source:  Pakistan Herald Published in Current Affairs on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The ideology that if Religion and state are separated, only barbarism is left behind is simply absurd and ridiculous.

What are the responsibilities of the state in the present times is a question the Pakistanis in particular and the Muslims of the other Islamic States are gradually realizing. All the credit of progress in the Western world goes to one act that of keeping aside the religious affairs from the state affairs. Almost 800 years ago, Europe had realized that unless Religion stops interfering with the state affairs, there is no chance of making a rapid progress. This is beyond doubt that if Religion has strong connections with the state functioning, in such circumstances ,Science , Philosophy and other sources of knowledge will be studied in a particular paradigm and in certain limits that do not clash with the interests of the Religion nor they could damage the teachings of that Religion. This is absolutely a farcical idea as no Knowledge can be beneficial if it is chained in certain dogmatic shackles.

In today’s world, only that state is successful and welfare state in the real sense that has nothing to do with Religion.  It does not interfere with the personal affairs of people. It is not a concern of a state to chalk out the boundaries of relations between a man and a woman. The primary purpose of a state is to provide Justice to each and every citizen, to vet the law according to the latest needs and requirements, to give basic rights to each person, to make flexible family laws, to provide good education and health facilities and to assure equal status of both men and women. Unlike a woman of hundreds of years ago, a woman of today should work freely and confidently and this is impossible without the support of the state.  

The ideology that if Religion and state are separated, only barbarism is left behind is simply absurd and ridiculous. It is a dead ideology and this ideology and the real world are poles apart. Where there is a nexus of these two- the state and the religion, there is exploitation, fascism, and barbarism. The countries where there is a role given to each one of these to play, there is no upheaval or social commotion at all. The combination of these two leaves nothing behind but shattered littered fabric of life and civilization.
The dreams of Dr Muhammad Iqbal and Abul Aala Maududi were sheer dreams. As they were dreams so they remained dreams and time never helped these dreams come true. 

Keeping in view all these facts and figures that lie in history, I conclude that if we want our country to progress by leaps and bounds, we must follow the footsteps of the west. We should try our level best to ward off dogma from the tools of state machinery otherwise our dream of living in a peaceful, progressive and rational society will never come true.

Ammar Anwar 

The writer is a student and a freelance contributor. 

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