By A. G. Noorani*
(Throughout the campaign for Pakistan, Sayyid Abbul-Ala Mawdudi opposed it, pouring scorn on the concept and coarse invective against Jinnah. Yet, this is the very man who entered it. He initially refused to swear allegiance to it, only to jump into the political arena with his divisive politics and rancourous rhetoric on an Islamic State. He died in 1979 but the poison he injected into Pakistan’s political discourse survived to hold the State at ransom. Mawdudi tried to hijack Jinnah’s Pakistan and came very close to success. – Author)
“What the League has done is to set you free from the reactionary elements of Muslims and to create the opinion that those who play their selfish game are traitors. It has certainly freed you from that undesirable elements of Maulvis and Maulanas. I am not speaking of Maulvis as a whole class. There are some of them who are as patriotic and sincere as any other; but there is a section of them which is undesirable. Having freed ourselves from the clutches of the British Government, the Congress, the reactionaries and so-called Maulvis, may I appeal to the youth to emancipate our women. This is essential. I do not mean that we are to ape the evils of the West. What I mean is that they must share our life not only social also political.” Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah said on 5 February 1938 at the Aligarh Muslim University Union.(Jamiluddin Ahmed (Ed.) Speeches and Writings of Mr. Jinnah; Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore; Vol 1, p. 43). This was Jinnah the rational modernist keen on exclusion of a certain class which had performed a parasitical role in the political life of Muslims of India since the Khilafat movement. This stand included his concern for the emancipation of women.
The speech reflected an outlook which he had consistently and fearlessly expressed throughout his career. It did not inhibit Muslims from accepting him as their leader.
He said in the Central Legislative Assembly on 7 February 1935 “religion should not be allowed to come into politics … Religion is merely a matter between man and God … but … is this a question of religion purely?… No, Sir, this is a question of minorities and it is a political issue.” (ibid.; p.6). On 1 February 1943 he repeated at the Ismaili College at Jogeshwari in Bombay “religion is strictly a matter between God and man” (ibid.; p. 469).
Jinnah reverted to the theme at the Aligarh Muslim University Union on 2 November 1941 when he replied to the Congress leader K.M. Munshi’s warning that Pakistan would be “a religious State pledged to rule according to the teachings of that religion”. Far from agreeing with him Jinnah angrily refuted him. “Is it not an incitement to the Sikhs and Hindus? Telling them that it would be a religious State, excluding them from all power, is entirely untrue. He seems to suggest that non-Muslims in Pakistan will be treated as untouchables. Let me tell Mr. Munshi that untouchability is only known to his religion and his philosophy and not ours. Islam stands for justice, equality, fairplay, toleration and even generosity to non-Muslims who may be under our protection. They are like brothers to us and would be the citizens of the State.” (ibid; p. 314).
Talking to journalists in Kashmir, on 24 May 1944, Jinnah said: “A vexed question was put to me: “Among Muslims who can become a member of Muslim Conference?” and this question was particularly in reference to Qadianis. My answer was that so far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League was concerned, it is laid down there that any Muslim, irrespective of his creed or sect, if he wishes to join the All-India Muslim League, he can do so, provided he accepts the creed, policy and programme of the All-India Muslim League and signs the form of membership and pay his subscription of two annas. I would appeal to Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise any sectarian issues….” (ibid; Vol.2; p. 147).
At his last press conference in New Delhi, on 14 July 1947 a month before the partition, Jinnah was pointedly asked “Could you as Governor-General make a brief statement on the minorities problem?” The answer was clear. “Minorities to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion or faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed. They will have their rights and privileges and no doubt, along with it goes the obligation of citizenship. Therefore, the minorities have their responsibilities also and they will play their part in the affairs of this State.” (Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948; Oxford University Press, Karachi; p. 13). It was an explicit assurance: “they will play their part in the affairs of this State”.
Note this exchange moments later. “Q. Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic State? A. You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.” A correspondent suggested that a theocratic state meant a state where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens. “A. Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on a duck’s back. When you talk of democracy. I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”
The teachings of Islam mandate, not a theocratic or a “theo-democracy” (a la Mawdudi), but a full-fledged democracy. On this issue Jinnah went so far as to part company with one whose father had appointed Jinnah as his guardian, the young Raja of Mahmudabad, who wrote : “My advocacy of an Islamic state brought me into conflict withJinnah. He thoroughly disapproved of my ideas and dissuaded me from expressing them publicly from the League platform lest the people
might be led to believe that Jinnah shared my view and that he was asking me to convey such ideas to the public. As I was convinced that I was right and did not want to compromise Jinnah’s position, I decided to cut myself away and for nearly two years kept my distance from him, apart from seeing him during the working committee meetings and on other formal occasions. It was not easy to take this decision as my associations with Jinnah had been very close in the past. Now I look back I realise how wrong I had been.” (C.H. Philips and Mary Doreen Wainwright; The Partition of India; George Allen and Unwin; pp. 388-9). Could this record have been more explicit?
Jinnah was, unquestionably, the founder of Pakistan. He expounded his vision for that State in advance – the character of its polity being its foremost feature. If Pakistan was intended to be an Islamic State, why did he and the Muslim League accept the Cabinet Mission’s Plan of 16 May 1946 under which the Pakistan provinces were to function under an All-India Centre confined to defence, foreign affairs; and communications? As he told the All-India Muslim League Council at Bombay on 29 July 1946, “The League, throughout the negotiations, was moved by a sense of fairplay and sacrificed the full sovereign state of Pakistan at the altar of the Congress for securing the independence of the whole of India. They voluntarily delegated three subjects to the Union, and by doing so did not commit a mistake. It was the highest order of statesmanship that the League displayed by making concession.” (Ahmad; Vol. 2; p. 315).
Against this background, Jinnah’s famous address at the inaugural session of Pakistan’s Constituent assembly in Karachi on 11 August 1947 reflects an unwaveringly consistent outlook. “We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State….
“Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” (Ahmad (Ed.) Vol. 2; pp. 403-404). (italics mine, throughout).
This was the Pakistan Jinnah and the Muslim League had fought for. The Lahore Resolution of 23 March 1940 did not envisage an Islamic State. Indeed, there is not a single resolution of the League which envisaged an Islamic State. Pakistan was intended as a solution to the communal tangle; when a national approach failed, a bi-national or international solution was devised.
Throughout the campaign for Pakistan, Sayyid Abbul-Ala Mawdudi opposed it, pouring scorn on the concept and coarse invective against Jinnah. Yet, this is the very man who entered it. He initially refused to swear allegiance to it, only to jump into the political arena with his divisive politics and rancourous rhetoric on an Islamic State. He died in 1979 but the poison he injected into Pakistan’s political discourse survived to hold the State at ransom. Mawdudi tried to hijack Jinnah’s Pakistan and came very close to success.
This tragic story is told with a wealth of detail and stupendous scholarship by Sayyid Vali Reza Nasr in two richly documented volumes to which this writer is greatly indebted. The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan; University of California Press, Berkeley, 1993 and Mawdudi & The Making of Islamic Revivalism; Oxford University Press, New York; 1996).
Mawdudi hated Jinnah because, in his egoistic perception, he had usurped the leadership of the Muslims of India. Never mind the fact that Jinnah had presided over the Muslim League’ Lucknow session in 1916 when Mawdudi was 13 years old. His Jamaat-e-Islami, set up on 26 August 1941 with 75 members, was to be a “counter-League”. Nasr writes that he “had simply decided that he should be the one to found and lead the Muslim State of Pakistan if there had to be one … he distrusted Jinnah’s intentions and even more the secularist inclinations of the League’s program … He demanded nationalism and hated secular politics as blasphemy (kufr) … His program was no longer to save Islam in India but to have it conquer Pakistan” (Vanguard; pp 6-7).
But not before he had denounced the very concept of Pakistan. After the Lahore Resolution “Jinnah’s conception of Pakistan would be the single subject of Mawdudi’s invective” … Mawdudi said of Jinnah’s enterprise: “No trace of Islam can be found in the ideas and politics of Muslim League [Jinnah] reveals no knowledge of the views of the Qur’an, nor does he care to research them yet whatever he does is seen as the way of the Qur’an. All his knowledge comes from western laws and sources. His followers cannot be but jama’at-I jahiliyah (party of pagans).” The term jama’at-I jahiliyah was no doubt coined to make the contrast between the Muslim League and the jama’at-I Islam more apparent (ibid.; p. 20). As early as in 1942 he developed plans to operate in Pakistan if it materialised.
But some Leaguers and later men at Pakistan’s helm of affairs began helping Mawdudi. “Soon after the formation of the Jama’at in 1941, Qamaru’ddin Khan, the Secretary-General of the Jama’at, was dispatched to Delhi to meet with Jinnah. Through the good offices ofRaja Mahmudabad – a deeply religious and generous patron of the League – a meeting was arranged between Qamaru’ddin Khan and Jinnah at the latter’s residence. During the meeting, which lasted for forty-five minutes, Qamaru’ddin Khan outlined the Jama’at’s political platform and enjoined Jinnah to commit the League to the Islamic state. Jinnah responded astutely that he saw no incompatibility between the positions of the Muslim League and the Jama’at, but that the rapid pace at which the events were unfolding did not permit the League to stop at that point simply to define the nature of the future Muslim state: “I will continue to strive for the cause of a separate Muslim state, and you do your services in this regard; our efforts need not be mutually exclusive.” Then he added, “I seek to secure the land for the mosque; once that land belongs to us, then we can decide on how to build the mosque.” The metaphor of the mosque no doubt greatly pleased Qamaru’ddin Khan, who interpreted it as an assurance that the future state would be Islamic. Jinnah, however, cautioned Qamaru’ddin Khan that the achievement of an independent Muslim state took precedence over the “purification of souls.” (ibid.; p. 113).
Mawdudi realised that he could not rope in Jinnah. “In October 1945, Mawdudi issued what amounted to a religious decree (fatwa) forbidding Muslims to vote for the “secular” Muslim League in the crucial elections of 1945. Muslim League leaders were understandably irritated at such behaviour from the head of a party that was not even taking part in the elections and concluded that the move proved the Jama’at’s pro-Congress sentiments. But, unperturbed by the implications of its anti-Muslim League campaign, the Jama’at pushed ahead with its line of attack, which by 1947 became caustic vituperations. Mawdudi himself set the tone when in Kawthar in January 1947 he referred to the “Pakistan of the Muslim league” as “faqistan” (the land of the famished) and “langra” Pakistan (crippled Pakistan). While these insults were directed at the secular nature of Jinnah’s program for the new state they incensed Muslim League leaders and rank-and-file members alike; they were having enough trouble defending their cause against the Congress party. They began to retaliate.” (ibid.; p. 114). In May 1947, on the eve of Pakistan’s establishment, Mawdudi issued an edict against the League’ “secular, irreligious nationalist democracy” – and stopped further attacks. But he had correctly understood the League’s secular credentials.
Nasr’s assessment is accurate. “The League was Mawdudi’s bugbear and, as such, an important influence on his views. So was its leader. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (d. 1948), whom Mawdudi viewed as a rival in his drive to win over Muslims. He was drawn into politics by Jinnah’s example. Mawdudi believed that Jinnah’s popularity emanated from his appeal to Islamic symbols. If a secular Muslim could sway the masses in the name of Islam, surely Mawdudi could, and ought to, do better. Leadership in the Muslim community would be meaningful only if it was tied to the very roots of the community, Islam.” (Nasr; Mawdudi; pp. 40-41). (Vide Mawdudi Ham ne Tahrik-e-Pakistan ke Saath Nahi Diya Tha; Nara-e-Waqt; 15 August 1975. “We did not support the Pakistan Movement”). For a few months he refused to pledge loyalty to Pakistan on religious grounds.
In February 1948 Mawdudi opened his account with a speech at the Law College in Lahore with a four-point formula whose essence was that the shariah “shall form the inviolable basic code for all legislation in Pakistan”. One gets a very revealing glimpse of his mindset in the evidence he gave to the Munir Commission. “Q. Is a country on the border of dar-ul-Islam always qua an Islamic state in the position of dar-ul-harb? A. No. In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the Islamic State will be potentially at war with the non-Muslim neighbouring country. The non-Muslim country acquires the status of dar-ul-harb only after the Islamic State declares a formal war against it.”
“Q. What rights have non-Muslims who are taken prisoners of war in a jihad? A. The Islamic law on the point is that if the country of which these prisoners are nationals pays ransom, they will be released. An exchange of prisoners is also permitted. If neither of these alternatives is possible, the prisoners will be converted into slaves for ever. If any such person makes an offer to pay his ransom out of his own earnings, he will be permitted to collect the money necessary for the fidya (ransom). 1)Are you of the view that unless a Government assumes the form of an Islamic Government, any war declared by it is not a jihad? A. No. A war may be declared to be a jihad if it is declared by a national Government of Muslims in the legitimate interests of the State” – not Islam. Q. If we have this form of Islamic Government in Pakistan, will you permit Hindus to base their Constitution on the basis of their own religion? A. Certainly. I should have no objection even if the Muslims of India are treated in that form of Government as shudras and malishes and Manu’s laws are applied to them, depriving them of all share in the Government and the rights of a citizen. In fact such a state of affairs already exists in India. Q. What will be the duty of the Muslims in India in case of war between India and Pakistan? A. Their duty is obvious, and that is not to fight against Pakistan or to do anything injurious to the safety of Pakistan.”
(The Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under Punjab Act II of 1954 to inquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953; Superintendent, Government Printing; Punjab, 1954; known as the Munir Report after its Chairman Justice M. Munir. Justice M. R. Kayani was the other member; pp. 221, 225, 228 and 230).The Report’s comments on Mawdudi’s testimony are apt. It notes that on partition it split into two; three, in fact, with the Jamaat in Kashmir retaining its autonomy reflecting the State’s “disputed” character. It is in shambles, thanks to its former Amir, Syed Ali Shah Gilani’s ways.
The Report notes that the Jamaat was part of the agitation to declare the Ahmadis non-Muslims and to remove Chaudhuri Zafrullah Khan from office as Foreign Minister. “In his speech at the Government House on 5th March Maulana Maududi, according to evidence which we see no reason to doubt or reject, stated that a civil war between the people and the Government was on and that unless the Government stopped the use of force and opened negotiations with the representatives of the people, there was no occasion for an appeal for peace.”
The Reports’ comments on ulama were devastating. “The Ulama have frankly told us, without the blinking of an eye, – to say nothing of tears – that they do not care what happens to Muslims in other countries, so long as their own particular brand of Islam gains currency here. To quote a single instance, the Amir-i-Shari’at said that the remaining 64 crores – the figure is his own – “should think out their own destiny”.Perhaps for those teeming millions, the solution suggested by Maulana Muhammad Ali Kandhalvi of Sialkot is the most practicable – to change their ideology and religious views according as they are in Lahore, Delhi or Timbuctoo.” (p.299).
The Report said: “If there is one thing which has been conclusively demonstrated in this inquiry, it is that provided you can persuade the masses to believe that something they are asked to do is religiously right or enjoined by religion, you can set them to any course of action, regardless of all considerations of discipline, loyalty, decency, morality or civic sense. Pakistan is being taken by the common man, though it is not, as an Islamic State. This belief has been encouraged by the ceaseless clamour for Islam and Islamic State that is being heard from all quarters since the establishment of Pakistan. The phantom of an Islamic State has haunted the Musalman throughout the ages and is a result of the memory of the glorious past. …” (p. 231) All this was written over sixty years ago.
What is the purpose of an Islamic State? We have a comprehensive statement of Mawdudi’s scheme in his essays Islamic Law and Government translated and edited by his follower Khurshid Ahmad (Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, 1960). He holds: “Its object is to eradicate all forms of evil and to encourage all types of virtue and excellence expressly mentioned by God in the Holy Qur’an. For this purpose political power will be made use of as and when the occasion demands; all means of propaganda and peaceful persuasion will be employed; the moral education of the people will also be undertaken; and social influence as well as the force of public opinion will be harnessed to the task.”
One finds in this shades of ISIS: “A state of this sort cannot evidently restrict the scope of its activities. Its approach is universal and all-embracing. Its sphere of activity is coextensive with the whole of human life. It seeks to mould every aspect of life and actively in consonance with its moral norms and programme of social reform. In such a state no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states. But you will find later on that, despite its all-inclusiveness, it is something vastly and basically different from the modern totalitarian and authoritarian states. …
“Another characteristic of the Islamic State is that it is an ideological state. It is clear from a careful consideration of the Qur’an and the Sunnah that the state in Islam is based on an ideology and its objective is to establish that ideology. The state is an instrument of reform and must act likewise is a dictate of this very nature of the Islamic State that such a state should be run only by those who believe in the ideology on which it is based and in the Divine Law which it is assigned to administer. The administrators of the Islamic state must be those whose whole life is devoted to the observance and enforcement of this Law, who not only agree with its reformatory programme and fully believe in it but thoroughly comprehend its spirit and are acquainted with its details. Islam does not recognise any geographical, linguistic or colour bars in this respect.” (pp. 154-5). A perfect state run by perfect men.
He adds: “The Qur’an not only lays down principles of morality and ethics, but also gives guidance in the political, social and economic fields.It prescribes punishments for certain crimes and enunciates principles of monetary and fiscal policy. These cannot be translated into practice unless there is a State to enforce them. And herein lies the necessity of an Islamic State.
… “In other words the evils which are not eradicated though the preachings of the Quran need the coercive power of the State to eradicate them” (p. 175 and 248). In short, a police state. “Whoever be in charge of any facet of the affairs of the Muslims, deserves to be obeyed and followed in his own sphere. It is not permitted that one should, by unnecessarily raising issues with them and creating atmosphere of strife and conflict, disturb the life of the community. The obedience to the ulul-amr is, however, subject to the following two essential conditions:
(i). These ulul-amr should be from amongst the Muslim community.
(ii). They should themselves be obedient to God and His Prophet and their policies and actions must conform to the letter and the spirit of the Shari’ah.”
A few pages later Mawdudi throws up his hands in despair. “It is evident that at present we can hardly expect to have a Head of the State of the same moral calibre and spiritual standard as the Righteous Caliphs.” (p. 243).
He calls his construct “theo-democracy” (p.148) Arrogance is writ as large as one would expect of an autocrat and a dictator, the Amir of the Jamaat. “It is not fair for the minorities to ask us to throw our ideology overboard and introduce laws which are against our convictions merely for the sake of appeasing them. When we were helpless because of foreign domination, we tolerated the supremacy of un-Islamic Laws. But now when we are masters of our destiny, we cannot replace Islamic Laws by those of any other type without conscious apostasy and betrayal of Islam. Are the minorities really entitled to ask the majority to give up its religion and its way of life? Have they the right to demand that the majority should give up the principles which it considers right and adopt others which are against its convictions? Or, is it reasonable that in a multi-religious country all the communities should become irreligious? If the answers to all these questions are in the negative, I find no reason why ‘Islamic Law’ should not become the ‘Law of the Land’ in a country where Muslims are in a predominant majority.” Appease is precisely the one word used by the Jamaat’s counterpart in India for the minorities – the RSS. The majority community establishes its own state.
One finds in Mawdudi not a trace of the compassion for which the Chosen One of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH), was known all his life. It is coercion and coercion alone which attracts Mawdudi.
His rise was facilitated by two Prime Mininisters, Khwaja Nazimuddin, and Chaudhari Mohammed Ali. The latter was a personal friend since the thirties in New Delhi. Read this; “This was reflected in the final shape of the Constitution of 1956, which accommodated many of the demands of the Jama’at and its allies. Mawdudi was involved in drafting the constitution by his long-time friend Chaudhari Muhammad Ali, who was Prime Minister at the time. Muhammad Ali had pushed for accommodation of Islamic groups despite his own precarious position and the objections of the secular elite led by the President General Iskandar Mirza. Aware of the opposition of the secularists, Mawdudi lost no time in endorsing the constitution and claiming victory for Islam, although some aspects of then document had been opposed by the Jama’at earlier. He was also instrumental in convincing the ulama to accept the new constitution as Islamic, thus precluding widespread opposition to it. The Islamic groups, led by the Jama’at, then concentrated their energies on pushing for the Islamization of state institutions.
“Acceptance of the constitution as Islamic paved the way for the Jama’at to become a full-fledged political party. In 1957, despite reservations in some quarters within the party, Mawdudi directed the Jama’at to participate in the national elections of 1958.” They were old friends. Mawdudi had stayed in Chaudhuri Mohammad Ali’s house in 1937 (p. 33).
So powerful had he become that the haughty Zulfikar Ali Bhutto met him twice. On 25 September 1972 Bhutto invited him to Governor’s House in Lahore to discuss recognition of Bangladesh. He supported the 1973 Constitution only when Bhutto agreed to call it the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In the evening of 16 April 1977, a beleaguered Bhutto went to Mawdudi’s house in Lahore “to solicit the advice and good offices of an elder statesman”. Mawdudi asked him to resign. (Nasr; Vanguard, p. 185).
Now on the run, only two days after the meeting with Mawdudi, Bhutto announced that in response to the demands of the Nizam-e-Mustafa, casinos and nightclubs would be closed down, sale of alcoholic drinks and gambling banned. He reconvened the Council of Islamic Ideology under the supervision of Mufti Mahmud, the leader of the Jami’at-I Ulama-I Islam and the PNA, so that it could oversee the implementation of government-sponsored Islamization. The other two members of the Council were to be Mawlanas Shah Ahmad Nurani of the Jami’at-I Ulma-I Pakistan and Ihtishamu’l-Haq of the Jami’at-I Ulama-I Islam. The Islamic parties rejected this and demanded new elections.” (Nasr; Vanguard; p. 186). The Ahmadi’s were to be regarded outside the pale of Islam by the Second Amendment to the Constitution in September 1974. But it was, still, ambiguous. Zia’s Third Amendment Order of March 1985 declared them to be non-Muslims.
Jinnah’s Pakistan suffered multiple injuries. Over the protests of the Hindu members the Objectives Resolution was passed in 1949. The Islamic Constitution of 1956 and now Bhutto’s hypocritical concession in 1977. Zia’s coup on 4 July 1977 and his Islamization program, to lend legitimacy to a usurper regime did the rest. Mawdudi supported the execution of Bhutto and, tacitly, the military coup. His acolyte Khurshid accepted a post in Zia’s Cabinet as Minister for Planning (ibid; pp. 190-191). But Zia ditched Mawdudi and his Jamaat once he had consolidated his hold on power.
By the time he died on 22 September 1979 in Buffalo, New York, Mawdudi’s political program was in ruins, his intellectual legacy frayed, and his moral standing diminished. A universalist program was fitted into a national framework by sophistry.
His hypocrisy, known to close supporters, was public knowledge. Nasr writes: “Despite his increasingly overt use of Islamic symbols and his open call for a revival of Islam, certain aspects of Mawdudi’s private life continued to cast doubt on the extent of his commitment to the cause. For example, in 1937, when Mawdudi went to Delhi to find a wife, he married Mahmudah Begum, a distant cousin on his maternal side who came from a wealthy family in government service and who also owned some land. The family descended from the Bukhari family of Delhi, who continue to serve as the hereditary imams of Delhi’s Jami mosque.
“There is little doubt that the family’s financial resources were considerable, and its effect was immediately noticeable in Mawdudi’s habits. Begum Mawdudi recollected that when they moved to Pathankot to establish Daru’l-Islam, there were only three houses, one of which belonged to the Mawdudis, who also owned a tonga and employed a bearer. Mawdudi’s comfortable accommodation there generated resentment and was one reason for Mawlana Manzur Nu’mani’s opposition to Mawdudi’s leadership in 1942. Royalties from books or the proceeds from Tarjumanu’l-Qur’an would have been too meagre to support his household. His marriage allowed him to forgo all outside income and devote his time to research and political action. Shortly after its founding, the Jama’at was able to purchase a large area of land in Attock District near Rawilpindi for its headquarters.
“From before her marriage, Mahmudah Begum was quite liberated and modern in her ways. Early on, she rode a bicycle around Delhi and did not observe purdah. Ironically, Mawdudi had complained of the absence of purdah, which he witnessed during the very trip in which he got married, as one of the reasons for dismay at Islam’s future prospects. Mawdudi clearly loved his strong-willed, liberal, and independent-minded wife, however, and allowed her greater latitude than he did Muslims in general. The standards that prevailed in his household were very different from the standards he required of others, including Jama’at members.” (Mawdudi; pp. 33-34).
Footnote 45 at p. 152 reads: “Interview with Begum Mahmudah Mawdudi. The wealth of the family came from its business dealings, notably money lending. Abu’l-Khayr Mawdudi is quoted as saying that Mahmudah Begum was the daughter of Delhi’s “biggest Muslim usurer (sudkhar)”; cited in Ja’far Qasmi, “Mujhe yad hey sab zara zara,”
(Nida, April 17, 1990, p.31. ibid.; p. 152; fn. 45). Mawdudi supported Fatima Jinnah’s candidature in the elections to the Presidency in 1965.
Professor M. Mujeeb wrote in his classic The Indian Muslims: “The latest and most categorical expression of the traditional insistence on pardah is Maulana Maududi’s book on the subject. It purports to be historical in its approach, but it is historical only in the sense that the immorality which became prevalent in ancient Greece and Rome and is now evident from the reports on delinquency, prostitution and traffic in women published in Western countries is painted in the most lurid colours. It assumes that there was no background to the erotic chapters of the Gulistan of Sa’di or the Baharistan of Jami, that the Alf Lailah, the Arabian Nights, was never written, that there never was any delinquency or prostitution in any Muslim society and that the law permitting cohabitation with slave-girls was never taken advantage of. It assumes that, since the shari’ah has declared that man shall be the pillar of support for woman, nature will provide every Muslim man with all the moral, social and physical qualities of manliness. Woman’s function is to be wife and mother, and Maulana Maududi insists on this with such vehemence that the example of the sufi, Rabi’ah of Basrah, seems to cause him no embarrassment.” (George Allen & Unwin; pp. 549-550).
Prof. Charles J. Adams discovered interesting facets in Mawdudi’s thinking when they met. “Mawdudi’s criticism of Pakistan’s government did not rest on evaluation of specific policies or actions, and, indeed, for all his interest in the political scene, he could not be brought to talk about such things in specific terms. Political analysis, based on Mawdudi’s premises, must always be moral and religious judgment upon persons.This is true even when he speaks of a technical problem such as flood control; he explained to me in a conversation in 1956 that Pakistan would suffer no more devastation from the overflow of the Indus when he had succeeded in establishing people in government who care enough to do something about the matter. No amount of argument could bring him to admit that there are enormous, perhaps insuperable, technical problems in so major a project of flood control or that the resources to carry through the project might be difficult to find. In this light.
It is easy to understand why Mawdudi placed so much faith in the Jam’at-i-Islami as his tool for achieving the Islamic revolution in Pakistan. The Jam’at-i-Islami was intended to create a corps of disciplined, morally upright, ideologically sound persons who might occupy the crucial positions in the future Islamic state Mawdudi hoped to bring into being. His program for the future of the nation was the expansion of the Jam’at-i-Islami until it had absorbed the state, had, to all practical intents and purposes, become the state.” (In his essay The Ideology of Mawlana Mawdudi in Donald Engene Smith (Ed.) South Asian Politics and Religion; Princeton University Press 1966, pp. 389-390). This is the man who aspired to rule.
Prof. Adams perceptively remarked: “What lies behind Mawdudi’s desire to find a system where none existed is, I believe, the unconscious influence of the type of nineteenth-century philosophy that has brought about the emergence of “ideologies” in the twentieth century. As evidence, attention may be called to the great emphasis that Mawdudi lays upon reason, logical consistency, establishment of truth by deduction, etc. The approach to problems of social life which appeals to such principles is of a piece with the German idealism that has fathered the great ideologies of our time. It is possible also to discern behind his quest for a system a profound, though again perhaps not a conscious, perception of the threat to every religious orientation posed by modern thought. Mawdudi talks of a “system” that his ancestors felt no need of because it is reassuring to do so; the system is a kind of fortress whose intellectual walls will turn aside the arrows of doubt and scepticism.” (ibid.; p. 395). He offered certitude to the confused.
Nasr noted: “Philosophy, literature, the arts, mysticism, and especially time-honoured customs and cultural mores were all derided by Mawdudi as a syncretic and impure adulteration of the Islamic faith, diverting the attention of the Muslims from the divine to the
mundane. Mawdudi accepted only politics as a legitimate vehicle for the manifestation of the Islamic revelation and as the sole means for the expression of Islamic spirituality, a position that correlated piety with political activity, the cleansing of the soul with political liberation, and salvation with utopia.” (Mawdudi; p.59). In his vision, Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi remarked, “theocracy replaces spirituality as the objective of Quranic revelation”. In Mawdudi’s, Islam compassion was banished from the faith and reason from the religion.
The great scholar Fazlur Rehman discovered Mawdudi’s true mission in life. “I myself remember well that after I had passed my M.A. examination and was studying for my Ph.D. at Lahore, Mawdudi remarked, after inquiring what I was studying, “The more you study, the more your practical faculties will be numbed. Why don’t you come and join the Jama’at? The field is wide open.” At that time my reply was, “Somehow, I love studying.” And so it is no matter for surprise that, when a few years ago Mawdudi decided to retire from active leadership of the party, his successor was Mian Muhammad Tufayl, an obviously well-meaning lawyer but without any pretensions whatever to Islamic scholarship.” (Islam & Modernity; The University of Chicago Press; p. 117).
Fazlur Rahman’s assessment of the man and his party is as accurate as it is devastating. “The Jamaat has been politically and socially active since the early forties, but its performance from the perspective of the present all-important problem of Islamic education has been not merely inadequate, but positively harmful. Not only have its leaders not developed any educational institutions of their own in the Islamic field, but at the same time, by proclaiming themselves the representatives par excellence of Islam before the nation, they have successfully impeded the growth of progressive Islamic education in the private sector. One would not, in fact, be wrong in saying that the nonexistence of any improved version of Islamic education is directly attributable to the Jamaat. The reason is not far to seek. The new change of attitude toward Islam generated by Iqbal and other lesser figures that turned the young generation away from the traditional ulema (the essence of this change– from which had directly emerged the idea of the Islamic state – being that Islam is the total way of life and is not limited to the “five pillars” to which the Islam of the ulema had become practically restricted) had been imbibed by Mawdudi (d. 1979), the founder and leader of the Jam’at-i-Islami.
Now Mawdudi, though not an alim, was nevertheless a self-taught man of considerable intelligence and had sufficient knowledge of Arabic to have access to the classical Arabic literature of Islam. He was by no means an accurate or a profound scholar, but he was undoubtedly like a fresh wind in the stifling Islamic atmosphere created by the traditional madrasas, and he represented a definite advance over the ulema in that he had a working knowledge of English and read some works of Western writers. The lay-educated youth, fired by Iqbal’s message, became an almost automatic clientele of Mawdudi. But Mawdudi displays nowhere the larger and more profound vision of islam’s role in the world. Being a journalist rather than a serious scholar, he wrote at great speed and with resultant superficiality in order to feed his eager young readers – and he wrote incessantly. He founded no educational institution and never suggested any syllabus for a reformed Islamic education. If this kind of development had taken place, his followers, through an enlightened and serious Islamic education, would have naturally become more independent-minded and could have led the way to the establishment of new educational institutions. But not one of Mawdudi’s followers ever became a serious student of Islam, the result being that, for the faithful, Mawdudi’s statements represented the last word on Islam – no matter how much and how blatantly he contradicted himself from time to time on such basic issues as economic policy or political theory.” (ibid.; pp. 115-116).
Prof. I. H. Qureshi deserves much blame for encouraging the Jamaat’s student wing Jamiyat-e-Tulaba in the decade and more that he served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Karachi.
The harm which Mawdudi inflicted on the Muslims of the sub-continent is incalculable, but not irreversible. The cure lies in the hands of his victims, the Muslims themselves. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan injected a potent dose of rationalism in Muslim discourse; a task in which Maulvi Chiragh Ali helped him hugely. Few realised the set back which the Khilafat movement caused by giving importance to the ulama.
An extract from a letter written by Iqbal to Akbar Shah Mujibabadi and quoted by the late Dr. Muhammad Ikram, one of the poet’s best admirers, in Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan reads:“You are right. The influence of the professional Maulvis had greatly decreased owing to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s movement. But the Khilafat Committee, for the sake of political fatwas, had restored their influence among Indian Muslims. This was a very big mistake (the effect of) which has, probably, not yet been realised by anyone. I have had an experience of this recently. I had written an English essay on Ijtihad, which was read in a meeting here and, God willing, will be published, but some people called me Kafir. We shall talk at length about this affair, when you come to Lahore. In these days, particularly in India, one must move with very great circumspection”. (M. Sadiq; A History of Urdu Literature; Oxford; p. 460).
Jinnah’s politics since 1937 reversed the trend. But in the 1945 general elections the Muslim League massively deployed the mullah. Jinnah himself encouraged the advocate of an Islamic State, Bahadur Yar Khan, to perform at the annual sessions of the League. There was a time when, on13 November 1939, Jinnah said in a broadcast on All India Radio on Id Day: “In the pursuit of the truth and the cultivation of beliefs we should be guided by our rational interpretation of the Quran and if our devotion to truth is single-minded, we shall, in our own measure, achieve our goal” (Ahmad; Vol. 1; pp. 97-98).
Sadly, Jinnah faltered and died before he could make amends. By then the assailants of his ideals were preparing to do battle. The results are there for all to see today in Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan. But all is not lost. It is for the people of Pakistan, especially its vibrant youth who can join the battle and beat back the enemies of their Quaid’s Pakistan. The future belongs to them – and to none else.
In his book, From Jinnah to Zia, which was published in 1979 by Vanguard Books Lahore, Justice Muhammad Munir recalled: “After the disturbances of 1953 had subsided and Martial Law withdrawn, a special Act was passed constituting a Court of Inquiry to investigate the causes of disturbances, the circumstances leading to the imposition of Martial Law and the adequacy or otherwise of the measures taken to suppress the disturbances. The inquiry was to be a public inquiry and I was nominated President of the Committee and my friend Mr Justice Kayani its member” (p. 41).
The Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, was among the several clerics who appeared before the Committee. When he was asked to define a Muslim, he replied: “A person is a Muslim if he believes in: (1) tauhid, (2) in all the prophets, (3) all the books revealed by God, (4) Malaika (angels) and (5) Yauma-ul-Akhira (The Day of Judgement).” This definition prompted Justice Munir to observe that Maududi “does not exclude the Ahmadis from Islam as he does not say that our Prophet was Katim-ul-Nabiyeen” – the last of the prophets (p p. 58-59).
A far deeper question is whether anyone has the right in Islam to excommunicate others from the religion. The answer is an emphatic “No.” This is obvious from the Quranic passage: “(Hence,) O you who have attained to faith, when you go forth (to war) in God’s cause, use your discernment, and do not – out of a desire for the fleeting gains of this worldly life – say unto anyone who offers you the greeting of peace, ‘Thou art not a believer:’ for with God are gains abundant. You, too, were once in the same condition – but God has been gracious to you. Use, therefore, your discernment: verily, God is always aware of what you do.” (4: 94).