This post is imported from an anonymous blogger and is originally published here, I want to invite this blogger to post anonymously on this blog, just contact me through the contact page.
The religious beliefs (related to Islam) mentioned below are not necessarily writers personal religious beliefs.
Why Zaid Hamid is popular among the youth of Pakistan and what is actually deriving his success? Is he giving a different message that is unprecedented in nature or is he using a different strategy to communicate the same old conspiracy theories?
The analysis below will help us figure out the reasons why his theories are successful amongst the Pakistani population and whether if there is any difference between his propositions and those of the religious traditionalists i.e. the Maulvis. An illustration given below will demonstrate this:
Let’s take a look at the hypothetical scenarios and analyse these examples:
Imran is an elite middle class boy who, having completed his A levels from a posh private English medium school in Pakistan, now studies in a top notch university in Lahore. He regularly parties with his mates and goes to watch Indian and Hollywood movies with fervour, driving fancy cars (he has a collection, including a new Honda Civic). His parents are religiously and culturally inclined and encourage him to pay more attention towards religion and traditions. They are inwardly extremely proud of their child and fulfil all his whims and fancies. Imran, an obedient child, is forced to reconsider his lifestyle and finds he faces two choices…
In another scenario, Mariam, a girl from the same background loves to partake in night time entertainment with her friends, including eating out and watching movies, and her favourite past time is getting clothes tailored in the latest fashion, and applying an assortment of makeup. Her parents are worried about Mariam finding a suitable suitor and wish her to become more eastern in her manners and more religious. As the age for marriage approaches, Mariam is forced to reconsider her way of life. She finds she faces two choices s well…
The first choice for both these youngsters is to join a Zaid Hamid group, which is ostensibly silent on various religious aspects (such as ban on music, or wearing a headscarf) or to join the old school traditionalists such as Farhat Hashmi (in Mariam’s case), or Maulana Tariq Jameel, Israr Ahmed, or other such religious preachers. The Traditionalist path requires strict adherence to the principles of Islam such as complete and strict pardah (Hijab) for women, Music is absolutely haram (forbidden), gender segregated gatherings, prayers 5 times a day and excessive love of jihad.
Mariam considers these options carefully… she thinks about it… if she were to follow the traditional path, she would have to first of all change her dressing style. That would mean shrouding herself in a burqa and forgetting about the juicy designer wear she so loves. Secondly, she thinks, if she were to cover her face as required by these preachers, it would be useless to apply any makeup as everything would be hidden behind her headscarf and veil! What about all the compliments she always received on being the best dressed of all, and having the nicest hairdo and following the latest makeup trends? In addition she is also required to strictly pray 5 times a day and have no interactions with men- be they cousins or any other friends.
She next considers joining Zaid Hamid… hmmm…what would she have to give up? She muses over her checklist: clothes- no compromise (she doesn’t need to hide behind some veil), parties- no compromise, music- also no compromise, makeup- definitely no compromise. What is she required to do then?
She discovers much to a pleasant surprise that she just has to excessively love Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal -which most of the Pakistanis already do anyway since this has been taught to us from the day we started going to school- and to carry some beliefs in her heart – to hate India, Israel and America and hold only them responsible for the disastrous state of our country and to firmly believe that our army is sacred and that the Prophet (PBUH) has prophesised for it to eventually conquer and rule India (Ghazwa-e-hind).
Similarly for Imran, the thought of giving up fun parties at his friend’s places, supporting a beard, praying five times daily, and excluding women from his social life (even social events are segregated), and to give up listening to his favourite singer, Bryan Adams, was too much of a sacrifice…
So he too ponders over the alternative- the easier option: though this Zaid Hamid group also glorifies Jihad and propagates immense hatred against Jews, Indians and Americans, it does not ostensibly share the orthodox views of the traditionalists (such as hijab, Music ban, sex segregation).
In other words, by joining Zaid’s group both Imran and Mariam do not have to compromise on their sophisticated pleasures
Let’s take a look at some of these images which reveal to us the appeal for youth today that each of these groups carry, which will in turn reveal to us why Zaid Hamid’s group would have precedence in the mind of a youngster:
This picture of Junaid Jamshed gives a glimpse of the changes that he adapted to, having followed the footsteps of traditionalist Tariq JameeL (head of TJ).
Another picture of a cricketer (Mohammad Yousef) who went through a dramatic change in appearance after converting to Islam from Christianity…
Now look at these alternative images of people who adhered to Zaid Hamid’s ideologies:
A picture of Musician Ali Azmat reveals no change after he started supporting Zaid Hamid’s group…
The same goes for Fashion Designer Maria B., another major supporter of Zaid Hamid’s “cause”…
These pictures give us a clear idea of the changes that a person has to make to oneself in order to adhere to either one of these groups.
Hence Imran and Mariam are much more likely to follow the latter two celebrities’ footsteps. Here’s why:
The first two images make plain that a striking and sudden change is immediately observable in a disciple of the traditional classical school, whereas no such change is detectable on the surface of the latter two. Thus it can be safely concluded that adherence to Zaid Hamid’s group is the easier option of the two, as it requires minimum of change to oneself.
The adherents are easily labelled ‘good Ummatis’ (good muslim destined for paradise), patriotic, and religious good muslims, without the efforts required by the classical religious school (such as compromising on sophisticated pleasures). Thus personal satisfaction equalling that of a classical religious follower is obtained without the same hardships of personal sacrifices.
In addition, it goes without saying that when youngsters see particular celebrities making a choice (as we also see in advertisements- that’s what brand ambassadors are for) the fans are likely to follow the same path. Thus Imran and Mariam are likely to follow Ali Azmat and Maria B. This is because their upbringing was in a non-restrictive environment and they would like to continue living the way they do- but also have the added benefits mentioned above (being called good ummatis, patriots etc.)
Below are a few images of social events or gatherings of the traditional school of thought:
As can be seen above, the traditional schools have strict modes of sex segregation in their gatherings and there is nothing alluring about them. Our hypothetical characters Imran and Mariam will not be impressed.
Now lets see how Zaid Hamid conducts his events:
A mixed gathering of men and women sitting together without any kinds of barriers between them.
Here again, men and women are standing together as one group in a promotional video for an event organised by Zaid Hamid’s proponents. Here is the source http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVUfzkL9h4c
This picture depicts Zaid Hamid standing amongst his supporters who have lighted candles for hope – a traditional Jewish and pagan culture-one that was never recognised by any khilafat (A Muslim totalitarian rule) which Zaid Hamid may follow (the Caliphs never observed such a ceremony involving lighting candles nor did they ever direct others to it). Nevertheless it is an appealing activity which is used as a gimmick to attract fan following. Traditional religious sects explicitly disapprove these tactics to entice the public their way.
This is also in contradiction with Zaid’s mission statement on his website where he claims: “Restore a sense of honor and dignity in the nation by reintroducing our people to their glorious Islamic heritage and pristine cultural and moral values”.
Not only this, Zaid further resorts to use of music (also forbidden under Islam) to publicise his cause. The most common back drop of music he uses for his promotional videos is the dramatic theme of Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell. This is a powerful piece of music which has the effect of making the young generation very emotionally excited.
Please refer to the short promotional and propaganda video:
You may have noticed that in general music is capable of touching the human soul in a way in which simple words can not. Music is used in restaurants to give a relaxed environment, in weddings to create a happy and exciting atmosphere, in sad scenes in a movie to depict sadness. Compare this music to the naats without the aid of instruments (used for tableeghi jamaat’s marketing purpose) which Junaid Jamshed has produced after becoming an orthodox Muslim, and you realise that the former is much more powerful in invoking the requisite emotions in it’s audience.
This picture in particular, I think, epitomises the essence of Zaid Hamid’s strategies to allure the youth towards him. It is clearly visible to the reader that men and women are holding hands without any qualms about the inappropriateness of this according to religion. What is so ironic about this situation is that Zaid Hamid’s ideology is based on (so called) Islamic precepts. Yet he resorts to propagate his ideologies by going against the very basic principles of Islam. Is this not a serpentine attempt to reduce religion to mere whims and fancies?
These pictures clearly illustrate that there is no requirement of emotional self-control as that required in the traditional Islamic sects.
However, this does not mean that Zaid Hamid discourages Hijab, sex segregation etc. He is in fact purposely silent on religious topics such as those of music and pardah. He does not tell us whether music is forbidden or not, neither does he hint at whether it will be allowed or not in the Caliphate society which will rule after his prophecy of the Pakistan’s Army’s victory over India comes true.
Instead, he is more focused on Jihad as his core ideology. This is why the Ghazwa-e-Hind ideology is asserted by him repeatedly even though this so called prophecy is not mentioned in any of the 6 recognised books of hadiths that Muslims follow today. While he is asserting this vague unauthenticated hadis so assertively, why does he not also assert other ahadis in the same manner?- Those which forbid all the worldly pleasures on muslims such as listening to music, men and women freely intermingling in gatherings, and following the proper dress code for muslims.
The truth is that the common interest of the traditional religious sects of Pakistan and Zaid Hamid’s sect i.e. the hatred for Jews, Americans and Indians and glorification of their twisted versions of Jihad, is so important and over-powering that it overshadows and hence blinds them to other aspects of religion. The traditional sects therefore accept Zaid’s version as something valid and recognisable (even if temporarily and tactically), so long as the common purpose is served.
His followers are under the false impression that they are the best nation and the most righteous of people.
To summarize this at the end, Imran after following Zaid Hamid can call him himself both, an Ummati and a true Pakistani. Thus Zaid Hamid is fulfilling both his religious and nationalist requirements as compared to the traditionalists who are more focused on curbing sophisticated pleasures.
After following Zaid Hamid, Both Mariam and Imran can still:
- Listen to music
- Watch Amir khan’s movie ‘3-Idiots’ or Sharukh Khan’s ‘Kabhi khushi kabhi gham’
- Fantasize about Megan Fox, Kareena Kapoor or Jonny Depp
- Imran can keep a French beard, goatee style, or remain as clean shaved
- Mariam can still wear tight Jeans
All they have to do is hate Jews, glorify past Islamic imperialist rulers, avoid criticizing Pakistan army, legitimize all the army’s actions in supporting militants such as Mullah Omer or Hekmatyar and believe in Ghazw e Hind (Prophesised capture of India by Pakistan army).
This is a clever strategy that Zaid Hamid is adopting here which is to deliberately stay silent on issues like hijab and simultaneously preach the same jihad and khilafat doctrine that is common among militant organizations such as Lashkar e Taiba
Keeping all these facts in mind, it can be said with surety that Zaid Hamid would never propagate the restrictive commandments of traditionalist Islam, because the day he sets restrictions on these worldly pleasures, his adherent ratings would take a plunge. This is because the elite and the upper middle class youth of Pakistan would never easily sacrifice their comfort and pleasure.
Despite all this, however, there are still many unanswered questions left.
Presuming Zaid Hamid’s assertions that we will eventually have a caliphate society and be ruled by a caliph under Shariah law is true:
1. What about the role of women in society? Will we live in a patriarchal society? If yes, then will Maria B. be able to continue making the western line of clothing which she so loves to design and market or will she then design hijabs only?
2. Will women be forced to wear a burqa like in Saudi Arabia (Zaid Hamid’s favourite country)
3. Will non-muslims be able to proselytize their religion like Muslims do today? (Note that no Muslim country allows this today)
4. Will there be complete freedom of speech? Or would the rules be like those of Saudi Arabia or China where people are jailed for voicing their opinions against the government policy?
If I were the reader of this article, I would have raised a question to the author:
The question is that why do you expect Zaid Hamid to talk about hijab, music and such other Islamic directives when that is not his job in the first place? Zaid Hamid can not be criticised for the lack of these assertions since he describes his job as that of a Security Analyst.
The answer to this is given in the questions raised below:
One might ask oneself, that if he really is a security analyst alone, then why does he talk about religious prophecies coming true?
If he really is just a Security Analyst, why does he talk about the history of banking and claiming that US Federal Reserve is actually a private institution?
If he really is a Security Analyst then why does he advocate the enforcement of Shariah Law and Khilafat?
if he really is a mere Security Analyst and nothing more, why does he suddenly assume the role of a historian and claim to know the true history such as the truth of the Chanakya Ideology, the truth of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal- hailing the latter two as Islamic warriors?
And lastly, what about his mission statement of “restoring Islamic culture and pristine values and promoting legal and constitutional reforms to reflect the true spirit of the Quran and Sunnah”
Is this a job of a “Security Analyst?”
Zaid Hamid mission statement