Pro-Khilafat internet warriors have built up an increasing presence in the cyberspace. You can hardly spend a few hours on a serious political discussion forum until you come across an emotional brother eager to break the news of a fresh advance in the war to proclaim a Grand Khilafat that would comprise all Muslim majority lands and perhaps a few bonus extra stretches too.
One Facebook anti-democracy forum has over 20,000 members and there is even a weekly video broadcast from Lahore by the name of Khilafat Forum. Despite the temptations, I have deliberately stayed away from exploring the concept in any detail. My reasons are pretty simplistic yet they are going unaddressed thus far.
I am sort of a proud Punjabi Muslim and until and unless I am given stone cast assurances that a fellow Cheema and Chatha and Toanna and Gujjar can also become a Khaleefa in the would-be Grand Khilafat, for me there is no point in exploring the concept any further. Anyway why stop at the Chathas and Cheemas? Why not include Mengals and Memons and Wazirs and Abros and Gilgitis etc into the equation as well? I am sure they are just as keen to become a Khaleefa-till-death of this empire-to-come.
What the Khilafat brothers forget is that there are more Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh alone than the entire Arab world put together and this numerical strength alone creates more questions before the project can take the flight of fantasy. Until and unless the Khilafat Brigade can reveal that this can happen and that Punjabi and Urdu and other South Asian languages will be given an equal footing to Arabic, I should not be expected to have a sympathetic ear.
The speakers of the South Asian languages once again outnumber the Arabic speakers by a long margin. The Grand Khilafat will be about protecting the interests of the Muslims after all and the South Asian Muslims have a bigger stake in the project due to their sheer numbers. I can understand the Tunisians, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians and Saudis getting excited about the Khilafat because they have an axe to grind if it comes to reality. Their language and culture will spread as a result but I am equally keen to be able to hear the words “Khilafat” instead of “Khilafah” and “namaz” instead of “salah” and “maseet” instead of “masjid” and “khudda” instead of “Allah” in the far flung lands of the Muslims. How could a Punjabi (or Sindhi, Baloch, Pathan, Bengali, Indonesian etc for that matter) whose name does not carry an “Abu” or a “Bin”, jump up and down with excitement every time a propagator of the real or imaginary glories of Khilafat gets into a trance?
In fact, I feel threatened by this Khilafat Brigade because I see the capital of the Grand Khilafat to be many thousands of miles away from our KotAddu, Gilgit, DI Khan, Larkana and Ziyarat. If the Khilafat Brothers can provide something more concrete than mere theoretical assurances (a written document with the plans for instance) to make the centre of the proposed Khilafat to be geographically near this more numerous mass of Muslims, where Egypt, Iraq and North Africa are merely outer provinces of the grand empire, then perhaps why not? Who in Pakistan would resist the temptation of a newly chosen/elected/ s e l e c t e d / w h a t e v e r Sudanese governor coming all the way to KotAddu, the capital of the Grand Khilafat, and kiss the hands of Khalifa Masroor Gujjar or Dilpazeer Khan or DastageerKhosa or Sarmad Memon etc to take ‘ba’iyat’ and then present his credentials?
I am fully convinced that Arabs will be ready to leave Islam in hordes if they are told that a Grand Khilafat is being established with Kot Addu as its capital, Pervaiz Guddu as its Khalifa, Punjabi as its language and Islam as the official religion. However, these very Arabs and Khilafat Brigade expect us Pakistanis to remain loyal and faithful to the Khilafat when they say that the Khilafat will be centred around Baghdad, the Khalifa will be called Abu Dajajah Abdulaziz al-Hammed al-Shahbaz and the official language will be Arabic!
I understand the concerns about gender equality here too but perhaps we should claim the seat of Khilafat for South Asia first and then enter into further negotiations on behalf of Shahnaz Parveen, Gullalai Kakakhel, Hameeda Bano and Sassi Channa to be treated on equal footing when the time comes to chose/select/ elect/whatever a Khalifa.
Till the day I get these assurances, the whole concept of Khilafat carries little interest for me and I am content in being ignorant of it. I will continue to think that Khilafat is merely the image of a 17 years old general in a flowing robe on a white horse with a covered dosheeza (damsel) sitting at the back. And while sprinting on a rocky plane, the horse gets into an orgasmic spirituality emitting sparks from it hooves and imagining the full scenario gets some people into a trance demanding a return of the Khilafat.
An Economics Graduate and a freelance writer based in Glasgow, UK. He runs a blog at http://cafe-reality.blogspot.co.uk and can be reached at email@example.com