February 22, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11143

Pakistani Commentator Criticizes Pakistan's Educated Class For Disregarding Rule Of Law, Sharing Viral Animation In Which Saladin Cuts Off A Jew's Fingers

February 22, 2024
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 11143

In recent months, an antisemitic video associated with Saladin, 12th-century Muslim military leader who conquered Jerusalem, went viral on social media in Pakistan. The antisemitic audio, which has circulated on the Internet for several years, was attached to several different video clips and shared on social media.[1]

An Urdu-language version of the video on YouTube says that Saladin's spies told him of a popular Islamic religious scholar who delivered good speeches.[2] The spies said: "There is something wrong that we can sense but cannot express in words... He says that the jihad against nafs [self] is superior; educating children is the superior jihad; to struggle toward fulfilling the responsibilities of the home is also jihad."

A screenshot from the video on YouTube.

The spies reported that scholar had asked: "What did we get from wars? Only killing and bloodshed. Only corpses. The wars have made you either killer or killed." Saladin then went in ordinary garb to the religious scholar and asked him: "Sir, please tell us some method by which Jerusalem will be liberated and atrocities against the Muslims will be eliminated without war."

"Please pray," the religious scholar replied. Hearing this response, Saladin's "face turned red with anger" and "he understood that this religious scholar was more dangerous than the entire Crusader force. [Saladin] cut off this scholar's fingers... [then] asked him: Do you tell me the truth, or should I cut off your head too? It was revealed that the white-clad religious scholar was a Jew. The Jews used to know Arabic."

The narrator continued: "[Saladin] found that teachings like his had now become common. This fitna [strife] was stopped with much difficulty. Even now, this fitna is current in full force. People dressed in the clothes of Islam mislead people, while it is clear that crime cannot be eliminated without confronting the criminal..."

Responding to the widescale sharing of this video by the educated classes in Pakistan, commentator Tazeen Hasan wrote an article in the Urdu-language daily Roznama Express, titled, "The Rule Of Law And The Destruction Of Nations." In the article, she questioned Pakistani elites for their approval of such arbitrariness by Islamic rulers, in this case Saladin, and noted that such a mindset showed that Muslims in Pakistan, and in fact the entire Ummah, was bereft of respect for rule of law.

She wrote: "This is the principle that we as a nation are ignoring based on our personal likes and dislikes or political leanings. This is a collective crime of the Ummah, the punishment of which the entire Muslim world is suffering. Not only among our rulers, but also among civil society and the people, the concept of justice is selective, not universal."

Following are excerpts from the Roznama Express article:[3]

"In The Religious Society Of Pakistan, In Which Some Sections Cannot Digest Their Food Without Talking About Religion, There Is No Flaw Seen In The Fact That A Muslim Ruler, Instead Of Initiating Legal Prosecution, Draws His Sword And Establishes A Court"

"Recently, a story about Saladin was circulating on social media, which some sections [of people in Pakistan] forwarded to one another out of religious devotion. According to the story, Saladin got angry at the ideas of a certain person, took out his sword, and cut off the person's finger.

"In the religious society of Pakistan, in which some sections cannot digest their food without talking about religion, there is no flaw seen in the fact that a Muslim ruler, instead of initiating legal prosecution, draws his sword and establishes a court on the spot to decide on the punishment, and at the same place he turns into a law enforcement agency, and executes the punishment.

"The surprising thing was also that among those who said Subhan Allah [Glory be to Allah] on this matter, there were people associated with religious schools, as well as those who have obtained degrees from universities. The extreme point is that even those who read the translated Quran could be found among the same ranks for whom the ruler is himself the law: He can do as he likes; people do not have the right to seek a reply from him.

"Without any reference cited in such viral videos, Saladin cannot be held accountable for such a mentality, but one can infer from this view that the concept of the rule of law is absent in this country, and throughout the Ummah as a whole. It should be noted that the topic of this article is not viral false stories and sayings on social media; it is about discussing the lack of awareness about the rule of law and constitution in the Muslim Ummah, or about being selected [i.e., political leaders chosen by the Pakistani military to rule Pakistan]."

"The Difference Between A King, Or An Emir, Or A Caliph, And A Democratic Ruler Is That The Former Is Not Bound By Any Law, While The Latter Is Bound By The Constitution And The Law In The Same Way As An Ordinary Citizen Is"

"In a country like Pakistan, which was established in the name of Islam and has hundreds of thousands of madrassas and a similar number of study circles, there are millions of users on YouTube who follow the profiles of Muslim madrassa teachers... Despite this, why is there not enough understanding among the educated public who use social media that in the shari'a system of Islam, leave Saladin aside, even an unknown ruler who practices religion or who has an understanding of religion cannot punish the accused without judicial proceedings?

"If the ruler was the law itself, then what was the need of [Islam's second caliph] Hazrat Umar to appear in court for the custody of his child and how could this decision have come against him? To grant a state comprising of humans or humans like us the authority that it can ignore the law and make whatever decision it wants is an argument proving lack of awareness about the rule of law. The viral post in the name of Saladin is a small example of this.

"But if you look around you, this is our common attitude. Centuries of monarchies, individual dictatorships and military rule have made us accustomed to seeing even our democratic rulers through the lens of monarchy. During the struggle for the creation of Pakistan, once some simple-minded admirers of the Quaid [the Great Leader and founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah] tried to adorn his head with a crown, which the Quaid vehemently rejected.

"The difference between a king, or an emir, or a caliph, and a democratic ruler is that the former is not bound by any law, while the latter is bound by the constitution and the law in the same way as an ordinary citizen is. What distinguishes these two forms of governance from each other is actually the rule of law and the constitution."

"When I Said That The Principle Of Violation Of Human Rights, Which Is Not Permissible For Syria And Egypt, How Did It Become Permissible For Turkey? In A State Of Extreme Grief And Anger, A Theory Was Presented That Only The Traitors Of The Muslim Ummah Could Oppose Erdoğan"

"I have often felt that apparently some people in Pakistan who are educated reasonably cannot tolerate even a minor criticism of their favorite leader. They passionately hurl mud at other political leaders, verbally abusing the system with [every] mouthful. Yet, in defense of their own dear leaders' explicit illegal actions, they bring forth such arguments as if, Allah forbid, they were Hazrat Khizr (peace be upon him), as if even behind their wrongdoings, there is a great benefit hidden for the country or the Ummah.

"Each of us has the right to have our own opinion. We also have the right to support the policies and strategies of a leader, knowing that it is the best for the country and the Ummah. But going beyond that when we start supporting explicit human rights violations by our leader or begin defending his illegal actions by saying that it is permissible for him, and impose restrictions on criticizing our leader, then we are not supporting someone's political stance; rather, we are following him blindly. But this attitude of ours, based on innocence and childishness, has become part of not only the mentality of our nation, but also of Muslim Ummah. It is regrettable when such an attitude emerges from the highly educated class of the Ummah.

A screenshot from the article.

"A few days ago, on a WhatsApp group, I expressed my disagreement with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's decision or policy on something that was clearly in the realm of human rights violations. Regardless of the fact that in the current situation, Erdoğan seems to be the last hope of the Islamic world, we must remember that he is still human and can make mistakes.

"In response to my statement, a professor of Pakistani origin, who lives abroad [and works] at a highly renowned university, said that that we should be prepared for such incidents and severity to increase in Turkey because it is inevitable to crush internal opposition. When I said that the principle of violating human rights, which is not permissible for Syria and Egypt – how did it become permissible for Turkey? In a state of extreme grief and anger, a theory was presented: Only the traitors of the Muslim Ummah could oppose Erdoğan.

"To another group, attention was drawn to the violation of laws by state institutions in the country, and the response came that the proportion of such practices in our state institutions is much less than in India. This comparison is beyond my 'poor' intellect, since thousands were picked up [by our intelligence agencies] in our country and hundreds of thousands were picked up in India, therefore criticism of India is justified, and criticism of our own state institution is treasonous. I felt that the discussion of universal principles of law and human rights was useless before Muslims of this calibre."

"Regarding The Universality Of The Principles, The Shari'a Of The Quran And Hadiths [Traditions Of Muhammad] Also Do Not Have Any Importance In Front Of Such Educated And Apparently Religious People: The Quran Repeatedly Commands Us To Talk About Justice"

"Regarding the universality of the principles, the shari'a laws of the Quran and Hadiths [traditions of Muhammad] also do not have any importance in front of such educated and apparently religious people: the Quran repeatedly commands us to talk about justice. We all know that in religion parents are second only to God, but still it is said that justice is important, even if your parents fall under it.

"In Surah Al-Nisa Verse 135 [of the Quran], Allah says: 'Oh ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.'

"This is not the only verse in which the believer is commanded to speak for justice, but nevertheless, I do not see anywhere in the religious literature that speaking of justice is connected with the rule of law. Perhaps we [should] consider this tenet as a value of secular democracy in the West.

"Recently, a professor based in Calgary, Canada, with roots in an area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, wrote a light essay in memory of his grandmother. He said that in his childhood, his grandmother used to tell him stories about the creation of Pakistan. Once the professor asked her what differences she experienced after the creation of Pakistan. The grandmother's reply was that previously, if someone committed murder, they could not escape, but now they can get away by paying money [under shari'a]. That was the only difference.

"Meaning, after the departure of the British, the change that has reached us is that during their era, one could not avoid punishment by paying bribes, nor could one get one's work done by paying bribes. The British looted us as a colonial power, there is no doubt about that. However, during that era, no British officer could engage in corruption by exceeding their authority. Nor was it possible for them to exceed the limits of the law. And this was actually a significant reason for the success of that nation, which we are still unsuccessful in understanding today."

"The Value Of The Rule Of Law Being Equal For Everyone Was Not Introduced By The West; This Was Introduced When [Prophet Muhammad] Said: 'If My Daughter Fatima Had Stolen, Her Hands Would Have Been Cut Off'"

"In view of this mentality, when the court decision was handed down, finding [former military ruler] General Pervez Musharraf guilty of violating the constitution, some religious and jihadi organizations poured onto the streets. On social media, Pervez Musharraf was declared the protector of the Kaaba, and a series of counting his services to the country and the nation started. Obviously, many sections [of society] were also against Musharraf, and they also expressed their hatred openly, but I saw that breaking the constitution and imposing martial law in the country was not a crime even for one percent [of such people]. The real conflict was between Musharraf's supporters and opponents, based on likes and dislikes.

"Let's see what the rule of law and constitution actually is. The simplest conception of the rule of law is that the law should be equal for everyone. The law should be enforced on the American president who is called the most powerful person in the world as much as it is for the people. In fact, the more powerful one is, the more oversight should be, and the more transparent should be their dealings.

"In one of his lectures, [political scientist] Francis Fukuyama described the difference between the Third World and developing countries and described the rule of law an important value of the developed world. He said that the rule of law means that no one, including the ruler, should be above the law. However, much before this, 1400 years ago, we were informed [by Islam] that 'Nations before you were destroyed because when their weak committed a mistake, they were punished, but if the powerful among them erred, they were spared.'

"In the end, it is enough to say that the value of the rule of law being equal for everyone was not introduced by the West. This was introduced when [Prophet Muhammad] said: 'If my daughter Fatima had stolen, her hands would have been cut off' – Bukhari and Muslim. This is the principle that we as a nation are ignoring based on our personal likes and dislikes or political leanings. This is a collective crime of the Ummah, the punishment for which the entire Muslim world is suffering. Not only among our rulers, but also in the civil society and the people, the conception of justice is selective, not universal."


[1], accessed February 10, 2024;, accessed February 16, 2024.

[2], February 10, 2024.

[3] Roznama Express (Pakistan), January 17, 2024.

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