Jamaat e Islami (Pakistan)

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Javed Hafiz*

*The author is a former Ambassador of Pakistan.

This research article was originally written in September,2015 for an Arabic encylopedia. The version below has been updated and edited.


(The author highlights the history, politics, ideology and personalities behind the establishment and expansion of Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan – editor)

The general historic context

The establishment of Jamaat e Islami in 1941 was preceded by a long period of decline of Muslims in India. The British ousted the last Mughal king, Bahadur Shah Zafar, from Delhi in 1857, thus bringing the entire South Asian subcontinent under their rule. Muslims, who had ruled India for centuries, felt disgruntled and helpless. Their identity and rights faced dual challenges of modernity brought by the British and a feeling of economic and political vulnerability, being a minority community in India. This hopeless situation demanded a new leadership that could revive Islamic identity. India had precedents of Islamic revivalism, the most prominent one being in 17th century when Sheikh Ahmad Sarhandi challenged the secular policies of the Mughal rulers. He was called Mujjadid Alf Thani ( Mujjadid of the Second millennium). The 18th century saw another prominent Muslim revivalist, Shah Waliullah (1703-1762), who invited Ahmad Shah Abdali from Afghnistan to counter the resurgent power of Marhata Hindus in India.

Feeling weak and vulnerable at home, the 20th century Muslims of India adopted pan Islamism as their creed. They identified with the symbols of Islamic power abroad, like the Ottoman Empire. When this empire started crumbling after the First World War, the Muslims of India organised the Khilafat Movement in its support. Even though it was an impractical idea, as many Turks were themselves opposed to Khilafat, young Mawdudi joined the movement. “The Khilafat Movement had ushered in an era of Muslim communal consciousness in which Mawdudi’s political and scholarly activities had found expression.” 1 Mawdudi was very young in the days of the Khilafat Movement. “He learnt the value of social mobilisation and political propaganda, as well as the utility of putting Islamic slogans to communalist and political use.” 2

Mawdudi had two great Muslim leaders as his contemporaries: Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was secular and liberal in outlook and Mohammad Iqbal was a great poet who believed in Muslim revivalism through modern education. Mowdudi was conservative in comparison to both these leaders. Indeed, he thought that the modernism of New Turks was one of the reasons behind the fall of the Khilafat. Similarly, he thought that a modern liberal like Jinnah would not establish a “truly Islamic” state. He abhorred nationalism. In his opinion Arab nationalism had dealt a deathblow to the Ottoman Empire. 3

Young Mowdudi established himself as a writer on Islamic topics. His book on Jihad dealt with the topic from a new angle. He compared the Islamic rules in Jihad with the modern laws of war and peace. This attracted the attention of Mohammad Iqbal who was instrumental in calling Mawdudi to the Punjab from Hyderabad Deccan.4 Punjab had a large Muslim population that had lagged behind in education. As a perverse reaction to the British rule, the Muslims abhorred everything modern, including education. As a result, they became backward and their economic condition deteriorated. Iqbal wanted Mawdudi to set up an institution called Dar us Slam in Punjab that would not only impart Islamic education but would also teach modern subjects.

The Dar us slam project had been financed by a Muslim philanthropist who was a follower of Jinnah and supported the Pakistan movement. Mawdudi criticised Jinnah and his movement for Pakistan. The philanthropist objected to these political activities of Mawdudi, saying that Dar us slam must remain apolitical. 5 This happened in 1939, a year after Iqbal’s demise. Mawdudi now started thinking about creating his own party of the faithful. Along with seventy-four followers gathered in Lahore in August 1941, Mawdudi recited Kalma e Shahadat and established Jamaat e Islami. After reciting the Kalima, he said,”O people be witness that I am reaffirming my allegiance to Islam and am becoming a member of Jamaat e Islami.”Many of those present had tears in their eyes.6 This party wanted to implement Sharia in the lives of Indian Muslims. In the early years of its existence, the focus of this party was more on religious work. 7

Phase of emergence, development; era of establishment

The path towards the uplift of Muslims through education alone seemed long and difficult to Mawdudi. He was impatient for political action. But the route that he selected for his political action started from his religion, Islam. For establishing a political party, its organisation and hierarchy were important. The Tableeghi Jamaat of India was already doing impressive work in the area of propagation of Islam. Mawdudi travelled to Mewat in 1939 to meet Sheikh Mohammad Ilyas, the head of this religious party involved in this missionary work. Mawdudi was impressed by the work of this group to revive Islam.8 “Mawdudi came to believe that the best way to transform a society was by creation of a small informed and disciplined group who might work to capture social and political leadership.”9

One year before the establishment of Jamaat e Islami, The Muslim League, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had passed the resolution for the creation of a separate state for Indian Muslims in areas where they were in majority. The Jamaat e Islami opposed the creation of Pakistan. It viewed the leadership of the Muslim League in general and Mohammad Ali Jinnah in particular as liberals who would not establish an Islamic state.”Mawdudi had opposed Pakistan on the ground that if established it would be secular and not an Islamic state.”10 The Jamaat did not contest the 1946 elections while the Muslim League fielded its candidates and won a number of seats. Jamaat e Islami was still very young and not organised enough to contest elections at the national level.

The role of religion in state has been a debatable issue in Pakistan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of the new state was very clear about it. On 11th August 1947, just three days before Pakistan was established, he said, “You are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed…that has nothing to do with the business of state.”11 However, the religious parties, some of whom had opposed the creation of Pakistan, had opposite views on this score.

The creation of Pakistan provided larger operational space for the religious parties.12 The Jamaat e Islami, in particular, was in the vanguard for the induction of Islamic clauses in the constitution of this young state. In this second phase of its development, the Jamaat was more assertive about its objective of implementing Sharia in Pakistan through political action. The Jamaat forbade Pakistanis to take oath of allegiance to the state until it became Islamic, arguing that a Muslim could in clear conscience render allegiance only to God.13

The Jamaat was now actively working to Islamise the state of Pakistan. It lobbied for the adoption of the Objectives Resolution by the Pakistani parliament. This resolution was adopted in February 1949. Article 6 of this resolution says; “Muslims will be enabled to organise their lives in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Quran and Sunnah”. This resolution was placed in the preamble of the 1956 constitution of Pakistan. In 1985, when General Mohammad Zia ul Haq was the President, the resolution was made part of the constitution. Thus its adoption in 1949 had long-term consequences. These efforts were in accordance with the Jamaat slogan,”, The country is God’s, rule must be by God’s law; the government should be that of God’s pious men.” 14

In 1951, the Jamaat adopted its plan of action which included: 1-Reform the life and minds of individual Muslims; 2-Organisation and training of virtuous men; 3-Social reform; and 4- Reform of the government and political structure. Though the religious aspects were still important, politics was now very much part of the plan of action.

The year 1953 witnessed the Jamaat’s first involvement in violent action. A violent movement began by the religious parties against the Ahmadi sect. The Ahmadis called themselves Muslims but believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , a 19th century preacher, was a prophet. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad said that he was Zilli Nabi and also claimed to be the promised Mahdi. Ahmadis were registered as a separate sect of Muslims in 1901, at their own request.15 Mainstream Muslim sects and religious parties considered Ahmadis to be infidels (Kafir). The anti-Ahmadi movement of 1953 became so violent that martial law had to be imposed in Lahore. Mawdudi was arrested and sentenced to death by a military court. The death sentence was condoned by the appeal court later but in the appeal process Mawdudi had already spent two years in prison.

The third phase of Jamaat began in 1956 during a fifteen day long marathon meeting. The point of contention was whether religious work should take precedence over political work or not. The conservative wing of the Jamaat, led by Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi said that religious work was more important. Mawdudi thought that politics was equally important and that Sharia could not be enforced without assuming political power. There were long and heated debates. Mawdudi’s position in the party had become stronger after serving two years in prison. He decided that a decision should be taken in the open by a show of hands. He felt confident that very few could oppose his stand openly. Mawdudi’s view prevailed and fifty-six important members of the party opposing him had to resign.16

Political thesis of the party and the name under which it is working

The party is working under the name Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan. This party aims at implementation of Sharia in Pakistan by assuming power through peaceful and democratic means.17 The thesis is that a group of “true Saleheen” would become members of the party and also work for winning the elections in order to have representation in the parliament. Those in the parliament would work towards legislation in accordance with the tenants of Islam. The party also works with students, women, youth and professional groups – like doctors, engineers and lawyers – to spread its message.

The Jamaat is essentially a party of urban educated middle class because the literacy level is higher in the cities.18 The party undertakes a variety of training and welfare activities to increase the capacity of its members and to establish links with the common people. It operates a number of clinics and ambulance services through its Al Khidmat Foundation.

Like Ikhwan of Egypt, the Jamaat e Islami has a pan- Islamic outlook. While its basic day to day activities are confined to Pakistan, it keeps liaison with likeminded groups all over the Muslim world. For this purpose, the Jamaat has a Directorate of International Relations at its headquarters in Mansoorah, Lahore. While giving an interview in 2006, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the third Amir of the Jamaat, said that his party believed in Iqbal’s idea of pan-Islamism when he said, “Muslims are a nation beyond their borders, from China to Arabia and all over the world.” 19

The organisational hierarchy of the party and its development

The Jamaat is headed by an Amir directly elected by the members.20 Nobody can put forward his own candidature. A committee of the Shura Council proposes three names as candidates. The Amir can appoint a few Naib Amirs to assist him. Naib Amirs were appointed for the first time in 1974 as the Amir’s responsibilities increased due to party expansion. Majlis e Shura is the main policy making and supervising body which is also directly elected by the members. According to the constitution,21 the minimum number of Shurah members should be fifty. At present the total number of Jamaat members is around 38,000 and that of the Shura is seventy-five.22 The Amir also appoints an Executive Committee of fifteen members from the Shura members. The day to day administration is done by the Secretary General who is appointed by the Amir, in consultation with the Majlis e Shura.

Majlis e Shura is the most important component of the party. It makes policy decisions and gives general direction. It also passes the budget and supervises expenditure. The report of independent auditors is annually placed before the Shura. The Shura meetings are presided over by the Amir and the agenda is prepared by the Secretary General. The Naib Amirs, the Secretary General and the provincial Amirs are ex-officiomembers of the Shura. The Amir can ask the Shura to review its decision but only once. If the same decision is taken again by the majority of Shura members, the Amir will have to accept it. The Amir can be impeached by two third majority of the Shura members.23

The party is organised at four levels; national, provincial, divisional and district. There is a Bait ul Maal at all levels which is under the respective Amirs. The income comes from donations, Zakat, Sadqaat, contributions made by the lower Bait ul Maals, sale of books and magazines, income from party properties, etc. It is obligatory for all members to give their Zakaat, Ushar and Sadqaat to their party.24 Independent external auditors are selected by the Majlis e Shura.

The criteria and process for becoming a party member is long and tedious. The party accepts only those persons who are practising Muslims and avoid salient sins. His sources of income should not be related to interest, hard drinks, Zina, singing and dancing, coercive Shahadat, bribery and gambling.25 There are three stages to be crossed for any full fledged member. The party keeps an eye on those who sympathise with it. These are called Hamdard. If a Hamdard declares that he fully agrees with the party programme, he graduates to the category of Mutefiq. When the party is convinced that a Mutefiq is fully observant of Sharia and his income is from clean sources, he is considered for full membership.

The Jamaat thus becomes a closely knit body. Some observers believe that its cadre based structure is similar to that of the communist parties.26 Maulana Kawthar Niazi was a leading member of the Jamaat till 1965. He resigned when the party decided to support Ms. Fatima Jinnah as a presidential candidate against Ayub Khan. While leaving the Jamaat, he wrote,” After entering this party, it is not easy to leave it. Relationships, business interests, salaries and ties based on these three become chains that are difficult to break.”27

It is pertinent to mention that some affiliates of the Jamaat are not mentioned in its constitution. Islami Jamiat e Tulba is the student wing of the party that is active in colleges and universities. In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was considered to be the nursery of the party. It also became known for its policy of vigilantism as it opposed inter mixing of two sexes, musical functions, dancing etc. in educational institutions. Jamiat leadership is elected by the students and their leaders keep in contact with the party. Shabab e Milli is the youth wing of the party outside the campuses. Persons up to the age of thirty five can be its members. The Amir appoints its leadership. These two wings are the main sources of Jamaat’s street power. With their help, large scale demonstrations and public rallies can be organised at short notice.

There is a female wing in the Jamaat which has its own 25 member strong Majlis e Shura. The Shura, like its male counterpart, is elected for a period of three years. The female wing has its own Secretary General who is appointed by the Amir. 28 The Jamaat claims to have a “Minorities Wing” for the non Muslim minorities in Pakistan 29 but is not mentioned in the constitution of the party.

Propagation activity of the group, its practices, the regions of its spreading and social milieu

Jamaat e Islami has followed an active policy of propagation. It holds training camps for the members in all four provinces of Pakistan. The total number of such training camps held in 1992 was 562. 30 Then there are separate Missionary Work (Dawa) training camps. The number of such camps held in 1992 was 4910. 31 All units of the party hold weekly meetings to discuss individual, social, religious and organisational problems. All members are expected to attend the meetings regularly. If a member fails to attend two consecutive meetings without assigning a valid reason, he could be expelled from the party. 32

Initially, the Jamaat e Islami had more activities in Karachi and Sindh. But those activities have gradually shifted to Lahore and other cities of Punjab. In 1974, out of a total 113 training camps, 103 were held in Sindh. In 1992, out of a total number of 562 training camps, 101 were held in Sindh and 361 were held in Punjab. Jamaat e Islaami is essentially a middle class urban based party of educated people. But in the early 1970’s some rich people also started supporting the party because they were opposed to the socialist policies of the Peoples’ Party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto which ruled Pakistan then. This, however, was a temporary phenomenon as Bhutto was ousted in a military coup led by General Zia ul Haq and the Jamaat supported the General.

The Jamaat has an active publishing wing that produces books and magazines regularly and these are distributed to the offices of the party all over Pakistan. The monthly Tarjman ul Quran is the flagship publication of the party while the ladies wing takes out the monthly Batool. On 4 September 2015 the Women Wing celebrated Hijab Day and lady members and supporters walked on the streets in groups wearing Hijab. 33 Pakistan is a multi sect Muslim nation. Jamaat e Islami draws its cadres mostly from the Sunni Deobandi sect. That makes its base quite restricted. 34

Relationship with the government and regional political powers– co-operation and tussle

Jamaat e Islami’s relationship with various governments in Pakistan has been changing. In the begining the governments were suspicious of the party as it had opposed the creation of Pakistan. Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, did not want government officials to become members of this party. 35 Jamaat’s role in the violent clashes in Lahore in 1953 strengthened the suspicion that it did not want a stable Pakistan. Pakistani military establishment till that point was largely secular in outlook and a military court awarded the death sentence to Mawdudi.

President Field Marshal Ayub Khan (1958-69) was liberal in his outlook. He wanted a modern and progressive Pakistan free from the control of clergy. He passed Family Laws Ordinance which, inter alia, said that no Muslim male could marry more than once except under certain explicit conditions. These included death of first wife or long ailment or lack of issue. However, if the wife gave permission in writing, her husband could marry again. 36 The Jamaat opposed the ordinance. In 1962, a rally of this party was fired upon in Lahore and one member was killed. The Jamaat political activities were banned, for a while, in 1964. In 1965 the Jamaat decided to support Ms. Fatimah Jinnah against Ayub Khan in the presidential elections. This made its relationship with the government worse. In his zeal to dethrone Ayub Khan, Mawdudi increasingly referred to democracy and less to Islam. The pro government faction of Ulema denounced Mawdudi for supporting the candidature of a woman to become president of Pakistan. 37

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a socialist with secular views. His government (1971-77) was opposed by the Jamaat. The Jamaat thought that Islam and socialism were incompatible. Soon after the 1977 elections, the Jamaat, with other opposition parties, started a mass movement against Bhutto saying that the elections had been rigged. A long mass movement began and Bhutto’s government was toppled by General Zia ul Haq in July 1977.Unlike other Pakistani rulers, Zia ul Haq was not averse to assigning the religious parties a significant role in the affairs of state. 38 The Jamaat’s relationship with General Zia’s military regime was friendly and three senior members of the Jamaat became ministers in the cabinet. This showed that the Jamaat’s declared policy of supporting democracy and opposing military rule had been compromised.

In 2002, under General Musharaf, the Jamaat became part of a coalition government in North West Frontier Province with other religious parties. By now the Jamaat was well aware of the fact that the vote bank of religious parties in Pakistan had oscillated between 5-10%. As a result, no religious party has been able to form a government on its own.

Historically, the Jamaat has opposed good relations between India and Pakistan until outstanding issues, including Kashmir, are resolved.

It fully supports a strong relationship between Pakistan and China as a strategic necessity. It’s think tank, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, keeps regular contact with think tanks in China. 39 The Jamaat supports strong relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and has kept in touch with the Islamic parties there.

The potential for tussle becomes evident from the Jamaat’s point of view that Muslims and Non Muslims cannot enjoy equal rights in an Islamic state. 40

Relationship of group with ruling government

Although the Jamaat has been a coalition partner with the Tehrik e Insaf party in Peshawar, it keeps a good working relationship with the ruling Muslim League (N) in Islamabad. Tehrik e Insaf is a leading opposition party that demanded fresh elections in 2014. The government did not accept this demand and rallies ensued in Islamabad , lasting for more than four months. Siraj ul Haq, the Amir of Jamaat e Islami, played the role of a mediator between the two opposing sides. This positive role was appreciated by the media and the public at large. This showed the Jamaat had become part of mainstream Pakistani politics.

The military establishment has traditionally exercised a direct or indirect influence on governments in Pakistan. By 2013, it was convinced that the Pakistani Taliban had to be tackled through military action. It was also trying to convince the civilian government that talks with the Taliban were no longer a viable option. When Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of Taliban was killed in a drone attack in 2013, Sayyed Munawar Hasan, the then Amir of Jamaat e Islami called him Shaheed. This statement became very controversial. Munawar Hasan’s leadership of the Jamaat was not renewed for another five years in 2014. He would be remembered as the only one term Amir because of a reckless statement. This showed that the Jamaat wanted to keep good relationship with the military establishment and was also sensitive to the public opinion in Pakistan. It also wanted to distance itself from the Taliban. This statement had damaged the Jamaat’s image which it wanted to correct. 41

Role of the group in violence at regional and domestic level

It is well known that the Jamaat e Islami Pakistan gave moral and political support to the resistance forces in Afghanistan when the Soviet Union occupied it. The third Amir of Jamaat, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, had friendly relations with all Afghan resistance leaders. His relations with Professor Burhan ud Din Rabbani, the head of Afghanistan Jamaat e Islami, were particularly friendly. 42 However, as the government of Pakistan was also supporting the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, few objected to the Jamaat policy.

The Jamaat professes to be a peaceful and democratic party and has not been directly involved in violence inside Pakistan except in 1953 in Lahore as indicated earlier. However, some high profile arrests in Pakistan clearly indicate that the party has had links to terrorists, at the individual level. On 1 March 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, was arrested from the house of a female Jamaat e Islami leader in Rawalpindi.43 In September 2013 an Al-Qaida operative was arrested from the hostel room of an Islami Jamiat e Tulba member in Punjab University Lahore.44

Islami Jamiat e Tulba, the student wing of this party, witnessed a series of acts of violence at educational institutions, both for and against it, in the 1980’s. Between 1982 and 1989 approximately eighty students were killed in right wing-left wing clashes in Pakistan. 45

Secret activity of the group among local society

All activities of the Jamaat e Islami Pakistan are open. The party is allowed all political activity and takes part in elections. Since it has become a mainstream political party, it has no secret activities. Its religious work and welfare activities are also undertaken openly. Since 1989, the annual general meetings are open to public. 46 This step was thought to be useful as a publicity measure and to attract new sympathisers.

Relation of the domestic group with the international organisation of the brotherhood:

Although there are no formal links between the two parties, they have consistently shown empathy with each other. Both organisations were set up in the 20th century when India and Egypt were under British rule. Many of Mawdudi’s books have been translated into Arabic and Ikhwan literature into Urdu. There are striking similarities between the Quranic Tafseers of Mawdudi and Sayyed Qutab.47 The sentences awarded to Mohammad Morsi and other Ikhwan leaders in Egypt has been severely criticised by the Jamaat.48

According to Mohammad Hasnain Kaikal, Mohammad Salam Faraj, who was the mastermind behind the murder of President Anwar Sadat and who had told Lt. Khalid Islambuli to take part in the military parade, was inspired by Mawdudi’s writings.49 A reading of Hasan Al Banna special number of Tarjman ul Quran(monthly magazine of Jamaat e Islami) shows that the two organisations were fully introduced to each other around 1949. Sheikh Masood Alam Nadvi, Head of the Arabic Department in the Jamaat undertook an extensive tour of the Arab countries that year and wrote down his impressions in the form of a book.50

Mawdudi and Sayyed Qutb were contemporaries, with an age difference of only three years. Both witnessed British rule and its impact on the Muslim societies of India and Egypt. Both were disliked by two military rulers in their respective countries. Qutb is said to have adopted the concepts of Hakimyya and Jahilyya from Mawdudi’s writings. “A gifted orator, excellent organiser and charismatic leader, he(Mawdudi) was to have his imprint on political Islam and influence a large number of his contemporaries, particularly Sayyed Qutb”. 51 Mawdudi is widely perceived as the main character in the drama of modern day political Islam. “His views have influenced revivalism from Morocco to Malaysia, leaving their mark on thinkers such as Sayyid Qutb and events such as the Iranian revolution.”52

In 1982, the Hosni Mubarak government requested the Jamaat e Islami Amir to visit Egypt as head of a delegation for mediation between Ikhwan and the Egyptian government. Mian Tufail Mohammad, the then Amir of Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan, headed a four-member delegation to Cairo that also included Prof. Burhan ud Din Rabbani of Afghanistan.53 The same interview also reveals that Saeed Ramadhan , son in law of Shaikh Hasan al Banna had some meetings with Mawdudi after the assasination of his father in law. Saeed Ramadhan also helped the Jamaat e Islami organise its student wing in the 1950’s when he lived in Karachi.54 A Kuwaiti member of Ikhwan named Abdullah Ali Al-Mutawwa visited Lahore to condole Mawdudi’s death in 1979. He donated generously to the expansion of Jamaat headquarters at Mansoora, Lahore.

Current phase;

Jamaat e Islami has recently parted ways with Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf(PTI) as its coalition partner in Khyber PakhtunKhawa(KP). This relationship lasted for five years and the separation was amicable. This was necessitated by the JI decision to join hands with Jamiat e Ulama (JUI) Islam for election purposes. Elections often result in strange bed fellows. JUI has often been criticised by the PTI for its unscrupulous politics and corrupt practices. JUI has been part of all federal governments, dictatorial and democratic, since 2002. The two parties differ on the issue of FATA merger with KP.

Siraj ul Haq, the Amir of JI since 2014, is widely respected for his integrity and Spartan life style. He, however, lacks the scholarship of Mawdudi and charisma of Qazi Husain Ahmad. In a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan in 2016, JI was considered the least corrupt political party in Pakistan. 55 However, tribal links, money, personal clout of candidates and party alliance all play their role in elections. And this has obliged JI to make another compromise. Left to its own devices, the JI is not capable of winning many seats. That is why it has had to join hands with JUI, another right wing religious party. While discussing the religious and liberal strands of politics in Pakistan, columnist Khurshid Nadeem says 56 that a modern state cannot be run on the basis of religion. To elaborate his point, he adds that even a conservative leader like former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was trying to move towards liberalism. JI, it would appear, has been obliged by its limited vote bank to make this “worldly” compromise.

Brief biographies of prominent JI leaders:

Sayed Abu’l-A’laMawdudi;

Mawdudi (1903-79) was the founding father of Jamaat e Islami. He was born at Aurangabad (South India) and migrated to Punjab in 1937 where he lived the rest of his life. Mawdudi was taught Arabic, Persian and Islamic Studies at home by his father (a lawyer) and other tutors. His formal education was only up to secondary school level. He could not graduate from college because of the sudden and serious illness of his father. Mawdudi translated some classics at a very young age. He was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. “Mawdudi is without doubt the most influential of contemporary Islamic revivalist thinkers.”57

At the age of 21, he became the editor of a religious magazine called Al- Jamiah and remained in the field of journalism for ten years. He became head of a large modern Islamic educational institution in 1937 but left it after two years due to political reasons. Mawdudi believed that an Islamic revolution could only come from the top. So a party of pious Muslims had to assume power through democratic and peaceful means. He said, that “…transformation of political order through unconstitutional means is forbidden by the Sharia.” 58 Mawdudi was jailed three times for his political views and actions. He opposed the creation of Pakistan before 1947 but recognised it after its establishment. Later, he became the torch bearer of the Islamic Pakistani ideology.

His party, Jamaat e Islami, is active and fully functional many years after his demise. It is an ideological and political party at the same time. Mawdudi remained Amir of the party for 35 years. Several of his books have been translated and that has given him international recognition. His party, however, remains confined to one major sect and to the urban areas of Pakistan. In the political arena it has become a minor power broker that had to join other parties in a province to form governments.

Its vote bank is limited but its real strength lies in its position as moral pressure group that can bring people to the streets when required.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad;

He replaced Sheikh Mian Tufail Mohammad in 1987, to become the third Amir of the party. He remained head of the party till 2009. Qazi Hussain Ahmad had a Master’s degree in Geography from Peshawar University. He became a member of the Jamaat in 1970. Hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, a province neighbouring Afghanistan, he was well versed with Afghan political developments. He also had close personal relations with most of the Afghan leaders who had resisted Soviet occupation.59

He was elected a member of the Pakistani Senate in 1986 and a member of the Pakistan National Assembly in 2002. Qazi Hussain Ahmad was a strong critic of US anti terrorism policies. He tried to mediate for peace between Iraq and Iran. He fully patronised Shabab e Milli, the youth wing of his party. He introduced populist politics by bringing the supporters to the streets. He was replaced by Sayyed Munawar Hasan as Amir in 2009 and died in 2013.

Samia Raheel Qazi;

She is the daughter of Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the third Amir. She was born in 1965. She is the President of the Women Wing of the party. She was elected member of the Pakistan National Assembly in 2002. She was appointed member of the Council of Islamic Ideology by the government of Pakistan in March 2015.60 She regularly appears on television channels to discuss social political issues and to give her party’s point of view.

Publications, books, newspapers of the organisation and its media activity:

1-  Khutabat e Sayyed Abu’l A’la Mawdudi

2-  Ladies and religious issues by Mawdudi

3- Islamic economics by Mawdudi

4- Mohammad e Arabi  by Inayat Ullah Subhani

5- Rah e A’mal by Jalil Ahsan Nadvi

6- Easy Fiqh(Two volumes) by Mohammad Yousaf Islahi

7- Rudad (Story) of Jamaat e Islami(Four booklets)

8- Aadab e Zindgi(Manners of living) by Mohammad Yousaf Islahi

9- Tarjman ul Quran–a monthly magazine of Jamaat e Islami

10- Batool– a monthly magazine of the ladies wing Media activity;

The Jamaat follows an active media policy through newspapers, magazines and TV channels sympathetic to its point of view.

List of important resources;

a- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr—Vanguard of Islamic Revolution-Jamaat e Islami of Pakistan

b- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr–Mawdudi The making of Islamic revivalism

c- Hussain Haqqani Pakistan between mosque and military

d- Riaz Mohammad Khan– Afghanistan & Pakistan– conflict, extremism and resistance to modernity

e- Pooja Joshi  The Jamaat e Islami  The catalyst of Islamisation in Pakistan

f- Tareekh e Jamaat e Islami by Abaad Shahpuri

g- Kauthar Niazi Jamaat e Islaami awaami Adalat Mein( Jamaat in the court of people)

h- Frederic  Grare  -Political Islam in the Indian subcontinent–The Jamaat- i -Islami

i- Party constitution


1- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi & the making of Islamic Political Revivalism, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996, page 21

2- Ibid Page 19

3- Ibid Page 20

4- Shahpuri’s history of Jamaat e Islami Vol .1 Page, 394

5- Iqbal Ahmad Nadvi’s editorial in Zindgai e Nau magazine April,1978 Page 12.

6- Rudad e Jamaat Islami(1&2)publication of the party , Lahore April, 2015 page 20 

7- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr- Vanguard of Islamic Revolution-Jamaat e Islami of Pakistan, I.B. Tauris Publishers London ,New York 1994, Page 28

8- Farooqi – Hayat e Javedan Page 13 as quoted by Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr-Mawdudi the making of Iaslamic revivalism on page 39

9- Pooja Joshi Jamaat e Islami The catalyst of Islamisation in Pakistan, Kelinga Publications New Delhi Page 16

10- Mohammad Munir, From Jinnah to Zia- Akbar Publishing House New Delhi, 1981-Page 33

11- Munir Kiyani Judicial Committee Report , Lahore 1954 Punjab government publication Page 33

12- Riaz Mohammad Khan – Ibid-Page 249

13- Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr-Mowdudi & the making of Islamic revivalism Ibid–Page 42

14- Hussain Haqqani Pakistan between mosque and military Vanguard Books, Lahore page 23

15- Munir Kiyani Judicial Committee report -Ibid- page 10

16- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Vanguard of Islamic revolution Page 39

17- An interview with Khalid Rehman D.G. Institute of Policy Studies, A Jamaat e Islami affiliated think tank in Islamabad on 18th August, 2015 in his office.

18- Ibid

19- Quarterly Criterion Islamabad October-December, 2006

20- Party constitution Page 25

21- Ibid page 29

22- An interview with Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Aziz Director Foreign Relations at Mansura, Lahore in his office on 24th August, 2015.

23- Constitution Page 33

24- Constitution page 61

25- Constitution page 16

26- Hussain Haqqani Pakistan between mosque and military, Vanguard Books Lahore Page 22

27- Kawthar Niazi, Jamaat e Islami Awami Adalat Mein(Jamaat e Islami in the peoples’ court 1974 Qaumi Kutab Khana Lahore

28- Constitution Page 55

29- Interview with Khalid Rehman

30- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Vanguard of Islamic revolution, Page 51

31- Ibid

32- Ibid Page 49

33- Daily News Islamabad dated 5th September, 2015

34- Interview with Muzzafar Mairaj a retired banker &student activist of 1970’s based in Karachi

35- Hussain Haqqani Ibid Page 23

36- Riaz Mohammad Khan Ibid Page 251

37- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Vanguard of Islamic Revolution Ibid Page 155.

38- Hussain Haqqani Ibid Page 132

39- Khalid Rehman DG(IPS) briefing to Pakistan Economic Forum on 31st July, 2015

40- Riaz Mohammad Khan Ibid Page 243.

41- Daily Dawn Karachi, leading English newspaper of Pakistan dated 1st April, 2014.

42- Khalid Rehman DG IPS interview

43- Fox News and AP joint story dated 1st March, 2003

44- Daily Express Tribune Islamabad 11 September, 2013

45- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Vanguard of Islamic Revolution, Page 69.

46- Interview with Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Aziz Ibid

47- Abdul Gaffar Aziz during interview

48- Jamaat website jamaat.org in August, 2015

49- Mohammad Hasnain Heikal Khareef al Ghadhab published in Lebanon Page 503

50- Tarjman ul Quran May, 2007, an interview with Shaikh Tufail Mohammad, second Amir

51- Frederic Grare –Political Islam in the Indian subcontinent , Manohar – for French Research Institute of India, New Delhi 2001, Page 17

52- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi& the making of Islamic revivalism, Page 3.

53- Ibid Page 54

54- Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr, Vanguard of Islamic Revolution, Page 64

55- Gilani Research Foundation poll dated September 28,2016.

56- Daily Dunya- 5th May, 2o18

57- Said Amir Arjomand–The emergence of Islamic political ideologies–James A Beckford and Thomas Luckman–London 1989

58- Mawdudi-Tehrik e Islami Ka Ainda Laiha e amal(Course of action for Islamic movement)Lahore 1986 Page 205

59- Interview with Khalid Rehman.

60- Daily Dawn Karachi, March 10, 2015