Red, White and Black

Maududi, the Islamic State and Jamaat-i-Islami : Part I
17 April, 2006, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Islam

Over the last fews days, I have ended up researching Maulana Maududi for a term paper. I was rather intrigued by findings of my research, so I think it's worth sharing some of them here.

A brief introduction on Maududi: he has been one of the most prolific Islamic thinkers of the modern times and widely read across the Muslim world. He is also the founder of the Jamaat-i-Islami and it's ideological force. More on him here.

Maududi's thought was greatly intriguing because in recent times, the Jamaat has become synonymous with violence, irrational fundamentalism and dirty politics. Moreover, through his political thought Maududi espouses the model of a "theo-democratic" Islamic state. In traditional Islamic political philosophy a democratic state is considered as the most ignorant of states in the hierarchy of states. This idea was pioneered by Al-Farabi who had essentially built upon the philosophy of Plato and was widely accepted by traditional and even medieval Islamic political philosophers. So Maududi's case is extremely interesting because he sticks to the same fundamentals as the traditional philosophers but further a theo-democratic model of the state.

Enough of the rambling, on to the real stuff then.

Part I

Theological Underpinnings of Maududi's Thought

Maulana Maududi is known for advocating Islam as the complete code of life. He has famously argued that there is no aspect of human life that does not come under the purview of Islamic code. This theory has formed the basis of all thought that has been produced by him. Maududi starts from the premise that Islam, the religion, is not “a jumble of unrelated ideas and incoherent mode of conduct. It is a rather well ordered system, a consistent whole, resting on a definite set of clear-cut postulates”. It is then incumbent upon a Muslim to spend his whole life in obedience of God, who is the provider of this complete code of life.

This means that he must order both his personal and social domains according to the code provided by God Almighty and definitely not according to man-made guidelines. This fact is laid down as the unalterable ground reality in a Muslim’s life (Maududi, 49). If God is the sole law-giver of the universe, then a Muslim has no other option than to believe in the unity of the sovereignty of God.

This belief in the unity of the sovereignty of God implies the following (Maududi, 49 – 57):

1. The “right to rule” belongs to God and God alone. He is the master of all the worlds and he alone should have the right to dictate the workings of the universe. Maududi states that there is only one way to carry out God’s “right to rule” on earth and that is through a “khalifa”, which will be a vicegerent of God on earth. It should be emphasized that the “khalifa” is merely an agency through which God executes his will and does not vest any political power in itself.

2. On the basis of the above argument, the right to legislate has been taken away from man and accorded to God alone. Moreover, man has been allowed to interpret the ideas presented in the Quran through mutual consultation and the practice of ijtehad. The condition is that it must be done within the purview of the Islamic law. The essential point here is that if man believes in the sovereignty of God, then he is not allowed to hold any other set of laws paramount to the laws laid down by God.

3. True justice and equality can only be established, if it is established according to the laws God, revealed through his chosen men.

4. Maududi states that the law of God is not a de-jure piece of law. It is a de-facto entity and it must be followed in its entirety. Any government that does not follow the above stated norms and develops its own ideologies is to be declared as deviant and a rebel to the Islamic principles.

Maududi states that the purpose of the Quran is not just to have humanity obey its injunctions, but the objective is to reform it into a just and egalitarian society.

Concept of Sovereignty Extended to the Political Realm

In the light of the above discussion, it is obvious that in order to establish the sovereignty of God in the truest sense one would need to assume control of the political power. For Maududi this political power can only be acquired if the Muslims have the control of the state. The state, which is to create a social order resembling the Quranic injuctions, can only be created through the possession of “coercive power” (Maududi, 67).

He argues that history is witness to the fact that a certain way of life can only be created by the overarching power of a coercive body. The state is then responsible for regulating society according to divine laws and to formulate it into an orderly and disciplined entity. Through the pursuit of this goal, the state will be able to eradicate all forms of evil and discord from society.

The point to note here is that the state envisioned under this ideology will be visibly distinct from the accepted notion of a state. This state will not merely be a collection of individuals who legislate and enforce laws upon on the masses. In contrast, the state will be a group of individuals who will be “working together as servants of God to carry out His will and purposes”.

Part II

Note: All quotations and references attributed directly to Maududi are the author’s translation of his views elucidated in the book “Islami Riyasaat”.


13 Comments so far
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No links or e-sources?

Comment by sukhi

Sukhi, I linked to the Jamaat-e-Islamic webiste in this post. They have some online resources, so you can browse through it.

But most of this research is based upon a collection of his urdu wirtings on his conception of an Islamic State – the writings have been compiled over a period of 30 odd years and I don’t think you would be able to fnid an e-resource for it.

Comment by ayesha

Yes! After asserting that Islam is a complete, absolute and perfect code of life, Maulana Maududi then assigns the responsibility of ‘implementing’ this complete code in every aspect of social and political life, to the so called “Jamaat-e-Muslehoon” (class of reformers) … i.e. obviously his own “Jamaat-e-Islami”. Maududi’s concept of Islam is more than rigid. First of all he sees that his contemporary governments are not functioning as per his concept of true Islamic ideology. So he allows the “Jamaat-e-Muslehoon” to do efforts to bring about political revolution so that affairs of government should go to the hands of Jamat-e-Muslehoon. Apparently, here Maulana Maududi has just merged the Communist’s concept of ‘revolution’ with Islamic politics. According to him, the complete and perfect code of Islam can be rightly implemented only if government is in the hands of “Jamat-e-Muslehoon”. This is reflection of Lenin’s point of view who thought that only “communist party” could implement the perfect and absolute philosophy of Marx.

What the “Jamaat-e-Muslehoon” shall do after assuming power, is no different from what Taliban did as they assumed power. Secondly Maulana Maududi is having the opinion that Islam has spread through the power of Sword. He has went so far as in saying that initially Prophet (PBUH)’s peaceful preaches had been quite useless and that the rusts on Kaffirs’ hearts started to finish only when at last Prophet (PBUH) hold the Sword in his hand.

In this way, Maulana Maududi rejects the way of peaceful preaches and favours the way of struggle with sword, with the view to just spread the religion.

Again, apparently Maulana Maududi here forgets that the most devoted true Muslims like Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA), Hazrat Umer (RA), Hazrat Ali (RA) etc. etc. etc. had embraced Islam not because they were asked on the point of Sword. Maulana Sahib also forgets that purpose of early wars in Islamic history was not to compel others to convert to Islam. If the purpose of wars were to compel others to convert to Islam, then why had the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) released the prisoners of wars without asking them to convert to Islam…???

Maududi Sahib’s ideology can be better understood in the light of Marxism and Linen’s extremist interpretation of Marxism. Particularly the idea of ‘revolution’ and the struggle for that ‘revolution’, by the ‘communist party; which for Maulana sahib, has become “struggle for revolution by the Jammat-e-Muslehoon”.


Comment by khuram

Maulana Sahib was basically advocating a movement to crush modernism and innovation in Muslim countries. For this, and for his intellectual efforts aimed at promoting the Afghan Jihad, he was clearly a negative force in the Muslim world.

Mr Khuram up there rightly points out the influence of Leninism on Maulana Sahib’s thinking.

Maudoodi was a man of no small intellect, trapped though he was by his religious cocoon. It is a pity that he dedicated himself to reactionary Islamism rather than a reformist, progressive version of Islam.

Comment by kronstadter

The above comments are correct in asserting the communist methods in maudoodi’s thinking but they’re limited to just the ideology, they go so far as organization as well, such as the cell structures of the movement etc. I was myself once a devotee of Maudoodi during my teenage days (as Jon Stewart once said “hey! everybody is a communist at 19!”). But then I grew up, thankfuly. The best critique of maudoodi thinking is provided by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan ( in his devestating masterpiece “Ta’abeer ki ghalti”.

Comment by Omar F Omar

Woah.Its so good to listen about the great scholar from those who most probably read just one book or maybe a mere link n den rushed to write an article abt him.
U all support democracy , dont u , the great torch-bearers of modernism in Pakistan? 😀 U surely den accept that coming to power thru votes is a very valid and legal way of assuming power. Den wats ur pain when JI strives , politically , to gain power and hav its version of things implemented.Obviously it will come to power after majority votes for it and if they do , that means majority supports its ideology .
N its ideology aint dat rigid.Jus writing n depictin it dat way wont make it so !!
Maudoodi was truly one of the most intellectual scholars of Islam and most of his writings follow a very logical pattern !

Comment by salman

Is it possible to get a copy of the full article you wrote on Maududi? Please email me.

Thank you.

Comment by Mustafa

Great site. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!

Comment by how to get back ex

Woh I like your posts , saved to fav! .

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Comment by

Thanks for finally writing about >Maududi, the Islamic State and Jamaat-i-Islami :
Part I | Red, White and Black <Loved it!

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