The Indian people are not antagonistic to religion, but God-fearing and religious. The framers of the Constitution of India were aware of this fact. They were also aware of the fact that India is a country of people with different religions, speaking different languages, having different regional and cultural identities. The Constitution of India has termed our country as a secular nation such that the state does not discriminate between different religions and their followers in terms of religious freedom. According to the Constitution of India, everyone has the same freedom of choice and the freedom to practice and preach his/her religion. One of the meanings of secularism is that the state will not be partial to the followers of a particular religion but will treat all equally and everyone shall have equal opportunities. It is a fact that the people of this world do not agree on a single religion or ideology and hence religious freedom is the only appropriate and workable approach.
The extreme position of secularism, adopted in some western countries is to exclude God and religion from the collective affairs of life and permit man to form a system of life for himself in the light of his intellect, desires and experience. Reducing religion to just a private matter is unwanted audacity. The position of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is that this concept is not only antithetical to Islam but also would be quite oppressive for people of India, the vast majority of who believe in spiritual and religious values, to prohibit them from following the guidance offered by religion and impose irreligiousness on them instead.
“Freedom of opinion” is a precious commodity for humanity. Implementing freedom of speech and conscience and for it to flourish requires a climate of openness called democracy. Democracy is the name given to the freedom and opportunity to present and reject ideas, to introduce and run the system, to accept, practice and preach religion, to serve humanity and to provide the freedom and opportunities to save it from the false ways of life. Democracy is alive where governments can be changed. Democracy is not the rule of the majority, but a guarantee and protection of the rights of minorities. Belief in and adherence to democratic values is a sign of a strong society. Extremism and destroying the rights of others is evidence of a weak society.
Democracy, means a state in which the representatives in charge of its administrative affairs are elected by the will of the people, is a gift of Islam. Before the advent of Islam, very few examples can be citied, in which the ruler was elected by popular will. The Rightly Guided Caliphs were elected by the will and choice of the Ummah. Nonetheless, democracy refers to a government where the people are given opportunities and encouraged to express their views openly, where the people have social and political equality. This is also one of the teachings of Islam. Implicit in the freedom of expression is the freedom of religion, as well as freedom of the media, freedom to criticize government policies, accountability of rulers, answerability of rulers to the people, freedom of association and freedom to publish and publicize.
The rise of fascism is the death knell of democracy. Fascism creates superstitious minds in the masses to reach and remain in power. Lies and mythological tales are the feet on which it props itself. Group and racial bigotry are her eyes with which she looks at social and political issues. Being reactionary and social brutality are its hallmarks. It draws sustenance from fighting, bloodshed and violence.
Emerging fascist tendencies in our country are a serious threat to the whole country. According to Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, it is important that the people of the country unite to face this threat and put an end to it.
The call given by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has two main points: devotion to God, accountability before God and the unity of mankind. Both of these points provide the right foundation for democracy. All human beings are slaves of God and they should remain as slaves of their Creator. This belief protects man from arrogance, selfishness, narcissism, vanity and from the assumption that his knowledge and thought is perfect and infallible. Greatness suits God. The Almighty is one. His knowledge is perfect and his wisdom is devoid of error. All His servants are in need of Him and all are inferior to God in knowledge and thought. In the same way, the concept of unity of mankind gives birth to the concepts of equality, cooperation and mutual consultation among human beings.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is convinced that the establishment of democracy in politics is possible only when justice and equality in social life and co-operation and patronage in economic life are adopted. A society based on oppression, inequality, discrimination, enmity, rivalry, exploitation and in which a large section of the population is trapped in the quagmire of poverty, inequality, backwardness and ignorance will be deprived of its spirit even if it adopts the structure of democracy. Only through the promotion of piety and the values that emanate from it can we get rid of these enemies of democracy.
The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind does not accept the particular notion of democracy in which people have unlimited power to run their own affairs. This unlimited power saw the rise of fascism in Europe, which came through the path of democracy. Jamaat is of the opinion that In order to regulate the will and decisions of nations, a higher and more lasting law and principle is needed. These enduring principles can only come from the Creator of human beings.
This is the basic invitation of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. The call of Jamaat is the call for piety and according to Jamaat the salvation of human beings lies in giving precedence to the will of God in their personal life as well as social and national life.
Jamaat extends this invitation to the people of the country in a peaceful manner and desires a healthy dialogue in this regards. It is up to the people of the country to accept the invitation or not, but it is both the right and responsibility of Jamaat to continue offering this invitation.