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Islam and Politics ( 23 Aug 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Theocratic Nation of Maulana Maududi and His Jamaat-e-Islami's Vision - Part 1

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam

24 August 2022

 He Also Raised the Divisive Argument That India Is a Separate Nation Consisting Of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and The Underprivileged

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Maulana Maududi

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In order to understand and engage with Islamist terrorism which is devouring so many Muslim and some non-Muslim lives, we must engage with several ideologues of the 20th and 21st centuries, not to speak of the middle ages. One such ideologue is Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maududi, a very influential scholar of Islam in the South Asian sub-continent as well as the Arab world.

A group operating in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka under the name Jamaat-e-Islami was formed based on the ideas of Abul A'la Maududi. In all other countries extreme positions are adopted and followers often engage in terrorist activities too, but Jamaat takes peaceful positions in India, and even projects itself as secular and democratic. But the Indian Jamaat too did not accept India's democratic system in principle until early 1970s. The organization's goal is to recognize them only as a means to accomplish its goal and essentially establish a religious state, though, of course, now they recognize it cannot be done in India. Indeed, they have even started a political party now, though until early 1970s Jamaat members were not even allowed to participate in the democratic process. SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India), which was the unofficial student organization of the group, stuck to its basic ideas and professes fiercely the establishment of Khilafat or a religious state like Jamaat-e-Islami in other countries do. But the Jamaat believes that the time has not come for such a move in India. That is why SIMI had to sever ties with Jamaat. The Jamaat formed a student organization called SIO to work with their programmes.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s ideas are not appreciated by any other Muslim organization in India or in the world. Not only that, traditional Muslim sects strongly oppose it. In other countries, Jamaat-e-Islami often works with terrorist organizations. According to the judgment of the Ulema leadership, which leads the Muslims, the Jamaat is a movement that has deviated from the right direction. Secular organizations also oppose the Jamaat as it aims for religious statism.  The Jamaat in India does not adopt violent methods. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, Jamaat is actively involved in politics, but has adopted a distinct policy in India. However, the Jamaat was banned twice in India.

Abul A'la Maududi

Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, grew up in a rich environment. He was born in 1903 in Aurangabad, Hyderabad. Maududi belonged to a Sayyid family that served the Mughals and Nizams. His father Ahmad Hasan, who was a modernist at first, later lived as a Sufi. Maududi studied language and religious rituals at home. At the age of eleven, he joined the Oriental High School (Madrasah Faukhaniya Mashriqiyyah). Later he studied western thought from Aligarh. British Islamic writer Thomas Arnold was the main teacher here. Later, he studied at Hyderabad Darul Uloom for a short time, but due to his father's illness, formal education had to suffice. During his stay in Bhopal, he befriended the famous rationalist Islamic scholar Niaz Fatehpuri for a while.

After coming to Delhi he read Sir Syed's works. And also acquired a good knowledge of English. Like Sir Syed, he believed that Western culture was superior. He lamented why religious scholars in India do not go to England to understand the secret of the West (Tajdeed wo Ihyauddin, Tarjumanil Qur'an, November-December, 1940, 345). In the article written about this, he also introduced philosophers who should be studied by Muslims. Maududi later wrote that his views were wrong: “In my days of ignorance I read old and new philosophy, science, history, economics and politics. I read and digested a library itself. But when I read the Qur'an with open eyes, I realized that God is the truth and that what I read was nothing. Now I have a mine of wisdom. Kant, Hegel, Marx and other thinkers seemed to me to be mere children'.

Maududi also became close to Marxism after the Bolshevik Revolution. His guru at that time was Abdul Sattar Khairy, a Communist leader in Delhi. Khairy was the representative in India of the Bolshevik Propaganda Committee in Moscow. Maududi's brother-in-law Shahid Zamdi was also a communist. Zamdi is also a university teacher. He translated a work of Marx into English. In the late 1930s he became attracted to Islam, although his contacts with the intelligentsia of Delhi made him a thorough reformer. At that time Islamic religious scholars used to grow big beards. But the addition of a beard to the name of Maududi, a modernist, drew criticism from scholars. He argued that there is no such thing as beard as a necessity in Islam. After the formation of Jamaat Islami in 1941, the beard problem came up again. Mansoor Nu'mani resigned from the organization when Maududi refused to grow his beard. In the 1930s, he was among those who enjoyed everything from cinema to music. An English role was adopted. But when he came to Islam, his position changed and declared everything forbidden (Irfan Ahmad, Islamism and Democracy in India, New Jersey, 1974, 54).

He married Mahmuda Begum, a green gardener, at a time when he was fascinated by western culture. The father-in-law was very rich at that time. Begum studied at Queen Mary School. Mansoor Nu'mani says that they were forced to resign from the Jamaat because they did not wear purdah. Her education at Queen Mary's was also criticized at the time.

To Congress

In the 1920s, Maududi became attracted to national politics and joined the Congress Party. Maududi participated in Khilafat movement and satyagrahas. The pamphlet he wrote about Gandhi was confiscated by the British authorities. In 1919, Maududi wrote a biography of Madan Mohan Malviya, one of the founders of Hindu communal politics in India and a Congressman. In the book, he described Malviya as the captain of the ship India. He asked Muslims to emulate Malviya. He is not only the leader of the Hindus; Muslims also follow Malviya (Maududi, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Hindi, Patna, 1919,13). He took charge as the editor of Muslim, the mouthpiece of Jamiat Ulama Hind, which was active on the side of the Congress.

It was Congress' presumed excessive attachment to Hindu interests that pushed Maulana Maududi to distance himself from the Congress. He aspired to become the leader of the Congress. But the Congress did not consider the Muslim leaders much. He said this openly himself (Tarjuman, 1938, March, 165). Maududi soon bid farewell to the Jamiat-ul-Ulama Hind and the Congress. Maududi moved to Hyderabad from Delhi in 1928. He spent a few years there and became fascinated with Islamic literature. He presented a plan to the Nizam of Hyderabad to revolutionize Islamic education. The Nizam showed no interest in it. In 1932 he started a journal called Tarjuman-ul-Qur'an. The aim of the journal was to present Islam rationally. It did not deal with politics much at first. In 1938, he came to Punjab on the invitation of Iqbal and the Zamindar Ali. The aim was to create an institution called Darul Islam there. Ali was not amused when Maulana Maududi started getting involved in politics by then. Because of this Maududi left Punjab within a year.

The continuous perceived neglect of the Muslims by the Congress and the pandering to the wishes of the Hindu Mahasabha led to the growth of the Muslim League. The Congress embarked on a Muslim outreach program to establish itself as a party representing both Hindus and Muslims. It doesn't matter. Maududi publicly spoke out against the contact programme in his translation. He wrote a series of articles titled 'Musalman Aur Maujuda Saiyasi Kashmakash'. It was later published as a three-volume book. Writing that he is both a Hindustani and a Muslim, Maududi wrote that as a Hindustani he stood for India's independence and as a Muslim he was concerned about Muslims’ identity. He criticized the Congress in general and Nehru in particular. He wrote that the Congress is trying to wipe out the Muslim identity through the contact programme. He argued, for example, that because Hindus were in the majority, the identity of Muslims would be wiped out in a democratic regime. He observed that if the Congress came to power, it would pave the way for political cleansing and forced conversion of Muslims to Hinduism. Maududi also contested the claim that the Congress represented both Hindus and Muslims. He wrote about Hindu Mahasabha leaders of Congress and explained their role in anti-Muslim riots. He also declared that the ultimate goal of the Congress and the Muslim League was the establishment of a Hindu Rajya (Saiyasi Kashmakash, 1938, Vol. 2. 61). Maududi explained how Hindu culture is encouraged in schools in Congress-ruled states. He alleged that the aim of Congress's Wardha education scheme was to eliminate Islamic nationalism and establish Hindu nationalism. It is argued that schools under this scheme are called Vidya Mandir, which refers to a temple (mandir) (174). There, Muslims were accused of wearing dhoti like Hindus and singing Vande Mataram with folded hands. Maududi criticized Zakir Hussain, the progenitor of the Wardha project, as a worse person than Macaulay, the British official who destroyed oriental education. Maududi points to the imposition of Sanskritised Hindi on students and the worship of Urdu as steps towards Hindu Raj (same book).

Maududi's anger spilled over to Congress Muslim leader Maulana Asad Madani. Madani had declared that collaborating with the Congress was not against Islam. Most of the Muslims were cooperating with the Congress then. Maududi branded these Muslim leaders as 'Muslim soldiers with Hindu leaders leading the cleansing act' (73-77). Maududi accused Madani of misinterpreting the Qur'an. Maududi said that India's nationalism is unbelief (Kufr) and ignorance (Jahiliyat).

Maududi stated that the basis of nationalism is religion and Muslims are a separate nation like Hindus (112). He also raised the divisive argument that India is a separate nation consisting of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and the underprivileged. He later upheld the idea that India should be made into a federal state to solve the Muslim problem. In that, Muslims should be allowed cultural autonomy. If so, they can protect their education and culture, he said. He also said that Muslims and their Hindu neighbours should maintain good relations and work together for Hindustan (207). But when the Congress demanded a federal system, Maududi was not ready to accept it. He shared his concern that Muslims would still be cleansed of their cultural identity. If so, they cannot protect their education and culture, he said. He also said that Muslims and their Hindu neighbours should maintain good relations and work together for Hindustan (207).

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A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist.


URL:   https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/theocratic-nation-maududi-jamaat-islami/d/127788


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