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Syed Abul A’la Maududi

Abul A’la Maududi [Abū 'l-Aʿlā Mawdūdī][1] (Urdu: ابو الاعلىٰ مودودی‎ – alternative spellings of last name Maudoodi, Mawdudi, and Modudi) ((1903-09-25)September 25, 1903 – September 22, 1979(1979-09-22)) was a journalist, theologian, Muslim revivalist leader and political philosopher, and a controversial 20th century Islamist thinker in India, and later Pakistan.[2] He was also a political figure in Pakistan and was the first recipient of King Faisal International Award for his services 1979. He was also the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamic revivalist party.[3]
Early life


Maududi was born in Aurangabad, India, then part of the princely state enclave of Hyderabad, until it returned to India in 1948. He was born to Maulana Ahmad Hasan, a lawyer by profession. He was the youngest of his three brothers.[4] His father was the descendant of the Chishti line of saints; in fact his last name was derived from the first member of the Chishti Silsilah i.e. Khawajah Syed Qutb ul-Din Maudood Chishti (d. 527 AH)[5]


At an early age, Maududi was given home education, he "received religious nurture at the hands of his father and from a variety of teachers employed by him."[5] He soon moved on to formal education, however, and completed his secondary education from Madrasah Furqaniyah. For his undergraduate studies he joined Darul Uloom, Hyderabad (India). His undergraduate studies, however, were disrupted by the illness and death of his father, and he completed his studies outside of the regular educational institutions.[4] His instruction included very little of the subject matter of a modern school, such as European languages, like English.[5] He reportedly translated Qasim Amin's The New Woman into Urdu at the age of 14[6] and about 3,500 pages from Asfar, a work of mystical Persian thinker Mulla Sadra.[7]


For formal education, Syed Maududi was admitted to eight class directly in Madrassa Furqania, Aurangabad. Where he excelled his class mates, in all respects, despite being the youngest of the all. It was the time when Syed Maududi was attracted to Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, and he studied the fundamentals concepts in Physics and Mathematics in depth. He passed the examination of Molvi (Metric), and got admission in Molvi Alam (Intermediate). Meanwhile his father shifted to Bhopal where he suffered a severe paralysis attack and died leaving no property or Bank Balance, as he belonged to a middle-class family. Therefore, Young Maududi had to dissever his education due to financial hardship.

  Personal aspects

Father’s death brought young Maududi to reckon with the Economic realities of life. As he was a gifted penman, so he chose Journalism as his profession, and edited the papers ‘ the Madeena’ Bajnour, the ‘Taj’ Jabal Pur and organ of Jamiat Ulma Hind—Al Jamiat from Dehli. During his Editorship of Al jamia Dehli, he penned down honest, threadbare, incisive, analytical and visionary editorials and analysis, which speak of his worth as a top Journalist. Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar had also proffered him to work for his Daily Hamdrad, but Syed Maududi declined the offer, However, due to political differences with the Leadership of Jamiat Ualma Hind, Syed Maududi had to leave Al Jamiat as well later.
Iqbal’s poetry had impressed Syed Maududi from his early Childhood. His father also taught him history of India, this back ground helped him a lot in his journalistic career. His hatred for the foreign rulers, i.e., the English. And larger interests of the Muslims of India, prompted his participation in Khelafat Movement etc., Emigration from India Movement and Satya Gera Movement etc. Indian Muslims enthusiastically supported their Turk Brethren.
Syed Mududi also tried to purge the Muslim Society of its moral evils, and at the same, time warned them of their Political mistakes and suggested them corrective measures too. In his opinion malady of the Indian Muslims was the deviation from Islamic teachings hence, he wrote an essay wherein he gave his said finding and proposed that the Muslims could gain might only if they followed Islam in letter and spirit. When Jamiat Ulma-e-Hind entered into alliance, with Congress in 1925, Syed Maududi resigned in protest as Editor of the Al Jamiat---a Jamiat organ, for he opposed the concept of one Nation theory for both Hindus and MuslimsFounding the Jamaat-i-Islami
In 1941, Maududi founded Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) in British India as a religious political movement to promote Islamic values and practices. The JI was said to be against the creation of Pakistan,as he was arguing that the leaders of the Muslim League did not have an Islamic outlook. He believed that the leaders seeking an independent state in the name of Pakistan, was in no case competent enough to lead an Islamic state; that was why, they pleaded for a Muslim state where only Muslims would be majority in numbers and quantity. Maulana Maududi argued that, a Muslim state did not necessarily mean an Islamic state. He said,"An Islamic state is a Muslim state, but a Muslim state may not be an Islamic state unless and until the Constitution of the state is based on The Holy Qura'an and Sunnah. His arguments were criticized by all Muslim Political Leaders fighting to create independent state Pakist. Presented with a fait accompli after the Partition of India, the JI was redefined in 1947 to support an Islamic state in Pakistan.
The JI claims to be the oldest religious party in Pakistan.[9]
With the Partition of India, the JI decided to split the organization with the new political boundaries of new countries carved out of British India. The organisation headed by Maududi is now known as Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan. Also existing are Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, and autonomous groups in Indian Kashmir, and also in Sri Lanka.[9]
Maududi was elected Jamaat’s first Ameer (president) and remained so until 1972 when he withdrew from the responsibility for reasons of health.[9]

  Political struggle

In the beginning of the struggle for the state of Pakistan, Maududi and his party criticized other leaders of the Muslim League for wanting Pakistan to be a state for Muslims and not as an Islamic state. After realizing that India was going to be partitioned and Pakistan created, he began the struggle to make Pakistan an Islamic state. Maududi moved to Pakistan in 1947 and worked to turn it into an Islamic state, resulting in frequent arrests and long periods of incarceration.
In 1953, he and the JI led a campaign against the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan resulting in the Lahore riots of 1953 and selective declaration of martial law.[9] He was arrested by the military deployment headed by Lieutenant General Azam Khan, which also included Rahimuddin Khan, and sentenced to death on the charge of writing a propaganda pamphlet about the Ahmadiyya issue. He turned down the opportunity to file a petition for mercy, expressing a preference for death rather than seeking clemency. Strong public pressure from in and outside Pakistan, as well as,from the outside world, ultimately convinced the government to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. Eventually, his sentence was annulled.[10]

 Late life

In April 1979, Maududi's long-time kidney ailment worsened and by then he also had heart problems. He went to the United States for treatment and was hospitalized in Buffalo, New York, where his second son worked as a physician. During his hospitalization, he remained intellectually active.
Following a few surgical operations, he died on September 22, 1979, at the age of 76. His funeral was held in Buffalo, but he was buried in an unmarked grave at his residence in Ichhra, Lahore after a very large funeral procession through the city.[10]

  Islamic beliefs and ideology

Maududi wrote over 120 books and pamphlets and made over 1000 speeches and press statements. His magnum opus was the 30 years in progress translation (tafsir) in Urdu of the Qur’an, Tafhim ul-Qur’an (The Meaning of the Qur'an), intended to give the Qur’an a self claim interpretation. It became widely read throughout the subcontinent and has been translated into several languages.[10]


Maududi saw Muslims not who followed the religion of Islam, but as everything: "Everything in the universe is 'Muslim' for it obeys God by submission to His laws." The only exception to this universe of Muslims were human beings who failed to follow Islam. In regard to the non-Muslim:
“His very tongue which, on account of his ignorance advocates the denial of God or professes multiple deities, is in its very nature 'Muslim' ... The man who denies God is called Kafir (concealer) because he conceals by his disbelief what is inherent in his nature and embalmed in his own soul. His whole body functions in obedience to that instinct… Reality becomes estranged from him and he in the dark".[11]
Maududi believed that Islam was a "religion" in a broader sense of the term. He stated: "Islam is not a ‘religion’ in the sense this term is commonly understood. It is a system encompassing all fields of living. Islam means politics, economics, legisla­tion, science, humanism, health, psychology and sociol­ogy. It is a system which makes no discrimination on the basis of race, color, language or other external categories. Its appeal is to all mankind. It wants to reach the heart of every human being."[12]


"The Qur'an is not a book of abstract theories and cold ideas, which one can grasp while seated in a cozy armchair. Nor is it merely a religious book like other religious books, whose meanings can be grasped in seminaries and oratories. On the contrary, it is a Book which contains a message, an invitation, which generates a movement. The moment it began to be sent down, it impelled a quiet and pious man to abandon his life of solitude and confront the world that was living in rebellion against Allah. It inspired him to raise his voice against falsehood, and pitted him in a grim struggle against the lords of disbelief, evil and iniquity. One after the other, from every home, it drew every pure and noble soul, and gathered them under the banner of truth. In every part of the country, it made all the mischievous and the corrupt to rise and wage war against the bearers of the truth."[13]


Maududi believed that without Sharia law Muslim society could not be Islamic:
That if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the Sharia, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrow them from any other source in disregard of the Sharia, such a society breaks its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called 'Islamic.'"[14]
Maududi also largely expanded upon his view of the Islamic State and Sharia in his book Islamic Way of Life..[8]
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