You ViewsVOLUME 19 ISSUE # 11

Oath-taking on religious books

In Western democracy, taking an oath on the Bible, or any other religious book according to the faith of the person elevated to a public office, is a routine affair. It is unfortunate that this trend is absent in Pakistan. Our parliamentarians, the head of the state, prime minister, ministers, judges and all other public office holders are seen taking rather long-worded oaths.

Taking an oath on the Holy Quran is a sacred and significant act for Muslims around the globe. Although Pakistan is decreed an Islamic Republic, the practice of doing so is never followed by the public office holders. In the United States, right from the president down to the local officials, everyone takes the oath of office on their respective holy books. Similarly, this practice is in vogue in a number of European countries. At the British House of Commons, a set of holy books of different beliefs is placed on a table facing the house speaker.

Recently, the newly elected Muslim Scottish First Minister Hamza Yousaf took the oath of office on the Holy Quran. Judge Nadia Kahf in the US took the oath by placing her hand on a copy of the Holy Quran she had inherited from her grandmother (as can be seen in the accompanying image).

In these countries in many legal and official settings, including courtrooms and governmental institutions, individuals are required to take an oath on holy books. This practice ensures that people make truthful statements and abide by their given word. The practice of taking the oath on the Holy Quran and other religious books should have been enshrined in the Constitution. Had this been done, the question of parliamentarians being sadiq and ameen would not have arisen.

One wonders if the incoming set of parliamentarians would like to make the necessary amendments. They should.

Fawad Hashmey