Sayyed Haider Farooq Maududi is the son of the famous Islamist scholar and political activist, Sayyed Abul ‘Ala Maududi, founder of the Jama’at-i Islami of Pakistan (JI). While JI has become the most powerful and influential Islamist group in Pakistan today, Farooq Maududi leads the Jama’at-i Islami Sayyed Maududi group', a breakaway faction that has been ostracised by the JI itself. Together with a number of prominent activists, journalists and academics, Farooq Maududi has been trying to propagate what he feels was and is the original message of the JI and its founder, his father. Farish Noor spoke to him at his residence in Ichara, Lahore about the present orientation of the JI, the role of the ‘ulama in politics and the future of the Muslim world.
Q: Can you tell us something about yourself and your group, and how it came to pass that you broke away from the Islamist party that your father had founded and led for so long?'
A: I happen to lead an organisation which we call the Jama’at-i Islami Sayyed Maududi group. We are basically a group of Islamist intellectuals, scholars,activists and writers who have been trying to revive the original message of my late father, Sayyed Maulana Maududi. We separated from the Jama’at-i Islami when it became clear that the JI was no longer following the path that my father had set, and since then we have been attacked by them. They do not accept us or any of our claims—but I have always maintained that they (JI) have deviated from the path that my father had set for the party. We are an active political grouping and we hope to work towards achieving the goals that my father had set himself long ago.
Haider Farooq Mawdudi Exposing Jamat-e-Islami - 1 (28 May 2011 Royal TV)
Barelvi Fatwa Against Maududi and Jamat-E-Islami by Mufti Abdul Wahab Quadri http://www.scribd.com/doc/100235051/Barelvi-Fatwa-Against-Maududi-and-Jamat-E-Islami-by-Mufti-Abdul-Wahab-Quadri
Barelvi Fatwa Against Maududi and Jamat-E-Islami by Mufti Abdul Wahab Quadri
Q: There are those- both within and without the Jama’at who claim that you are really a nuisance and that you really want to disrupt the programme of the JI. They argue that you have misrepresented Maududi's ideas and views and that you are working against the JI, and, by default, against the Islamist cause.
A: It is they who have turned the message of my father on its head. Our position is clear: We hold that the struggle for Islam has to be towards emancipation and the development of the Muslim community, the liberation of the Muslim mind. We do not hold their view that the ‘ulama should be at the vanguard of the Islamist struggle. On the contrary, we feel that the real role of the ‘ulama should be as the custodians of Islamic knowledge and that they should distance themselves from politics and the political process.
Q: Can you elaborate a little more on this point. What do you mean when you say that the ‘ulama should distance themselves from politics?
A: What I mean is simply this: The ‘ulama have a role to play in Muslim society and that is something that we have never argued or questioned. But the ‘ulama should also stand above the political process and they should never try to gain political power or control of the State. The ‘ulama should stand in between all parties and political movements. Their role is to offer advice and guidance to all those who are part of the political system. They should direct their criticism to both the ruling power as well as the opposition. That way they would be truly impartial and they would be free from the constraints of politics. That was what my father originally envisaged when he spoke of the role of the ‘ulama as the guardians of Muslim society. But today in Pakistan and other parts of the Islamic world you can see hundreds of political parties and movements struggling for power- many of which are led by the ‘ulama. The Ulama have become politicians and they play the game of politics—fighting for votes, etc. This is demeaning for them and for Islam. What have they got to do with politics anyway? They condemn the abuses of politics and yet we can all see how they have become politicised themselves. They have become political animals, and this is also true for the party that my father had started.
Q: When, in your opinion, did the JI become a political party?
A: For me it began in the mid-1980s, when Mian Tufayl resigned and the position of the amir of the Jama’at was given to Qazi Hussain Ahmad (in 1985). From that point onwards, the Jama’at became a political party and it has been playing the game of politics ever since. At one time they worked with this government, and at another time they worked with another. The JI has been playing the game of politics and they have all become politicians. Their speeches are no longer about religion but about gaining power and votes. Their rhetoric has also changed so many times. Today they have started to call themselves an NGO. This is all part of the political game and they play it just as well as the other Islamist parties in the country.
Haider Farooq Mawdudi Exposing Jamat-e-Islami - 2 (28 May 2011 Royal TV)
Q: If the ‘ulama are not supposed to get involved in politics, what should they do? What do you feel they have to offer to society?
A: The ‘uma today have forgotten that their main role is da’wah (missionary work). They have to teach and offer instruction to Muslims who know less than they do about Islamic law and ethics. That is why the ‘ulama should stand in between the government and the opposition. They should correct the errors of both. What the ‘ulama have forgotten is their role in creating a good human being. I don't even mean a good Muslim. Whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu— what matters is the creation of a good person above all else: Someone who obeys the law, has a respect for the fundamental rights and needs of others, and has a sense of social obligation and duty. When such individuals are around, creating an Islamic society that is just and equal is easy. But without such moral instruction from the ‘ulama, the Muslims are without moral leadership and examples to emulate. Now all we have are ‘ulama who are busy trying to become politician and leaders in government. What kind of moral example is that?
Q: If moral instruction is as important as you say, what kind of leadership are the ‘ulama meant to provide? How can they help to educate and guide the people? What would be required for such a project?
A: Moral instruction cannot come from the ‘ulama today because they themselves are intellectually bankrupt. The ‘ulama today all come from the same traditional schooling system. They have been reading the same books that have been read by previous generations of ‘ulama, uncritically and with no imagination. Look at the state of Muslim law at present. We Muslims talk about ourselves as being dynamic and progressive, yet we still live under the dominance of the ‘ulama who are themselves guided by a school of fiqh that is hopelessly out of date and inadequate in the face of the demands of today.
Islamic jurisprudence has not evolved since the time of the last Caliph Hazrat ‘Ali. After his martyrdom, the Muslim world has been in a state of stasis and decay. The Ummayad, Abbasid and other dynasties that came after merely appropriated the laws and customs of the Muslim community at the time and adjusted them to their own needs. Look at how the history of Islam is littered with the biographies of Sultans and the elite. What of the ordinary Muslims themselves? How come we still live in a world where so many Muslims count for nothing? All these kingdoms and dynasties were an aberration of Islam and they have twisted the message of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Islam has been used to justify the acquisition of power and the corruption of the elite—but the message of equality and justice has been lost.
Haider Farooq Mawdudi Exposing Jamat-e-Islami - 3 (28 May 2011 Royal TV)
Q: For some time now you have been calling for a return to the fundamentals of Islam and the revision of Islamic thought in the light of present-day realities. Isn't there a danger of essentialising the argument here? By
referring to the time of the early Caliphs it sounds as if you are talking about the fabled 'golden age' of Islam all over again. Isn't this exactly what so many Islamist movements are doing today?
A: Look at the historical facts themselves and you will see what I mean. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the entire Muslim community was no more than five thousand. That was the entire Muslim Ummah during the Medina era. The mosque in Medina could house the entire Muslim community, and there was still space for more.
How can we hope to revive Islam in the present when our laws and codes of jurisprudence are still based on the revelations that came during that time? Today there are more than a billion Muslims in the world. How can the ‘ulama hope to guide these people if they still rely on laws that have not evolved since the early Islamic period? All the major schools of Islamic law remain stuck in the past. The Hanafi school, for instance, still cannot deal with problems in the present age. According to some orthodox scholars of the Hanafi school if a man or wife loses his spouse for some unknown reason- he or she may have gone missing somewhere- the husband or wife cannot marry again until a period of ninety years has lapsed. What kind of legal reasoning is that? This is what I mean when I say that the Muslim world is in a state of stasis- We have not been able to update and upgrade our laws in the light of present- day realities. I am not asking for us to reject Islamic law- just make it dynamic and contextual for our daily needs.
Haider Farooq Mawdudi Exposing Jamat-e-Islami - 4 (28 May 2011 Royal TV)
Q: So do you mean to say that all the Islamisation programmes that we have seen in the Muslim world have achieved nothing? Do you mean to suggest that even after the time of President Zia ul Haq, Pakistan has not really turned into a more Islamic society?
A: Of course it hasn't. What signs do you see of Islamisation here? The number of Madrasas? The number of Mosques built everywhere? That is not Islamisation- these are merely concrete structures. What kind of Islamisation is it if the people do not feel they are better Muslims, if they do not understand their own religion any better? During the time of my father, Sayyed Maududi, what we wanted to do was to preach Islam. We rejected the original idea of Pakistan itself because it was not based on anything Islamic. We wanted to create a society that understood the religion and the principles upon which it is based. But during the time of Zia all we had were policies and public speeches, vast projects and empty promises. The politicians used Islam to reinforce their power and the Islamist movements began to work with the government to gain political power for themselves. But the message of Islam was forgotten and so was the struggle to revive its internal dynamics. Today there are no longer any learned scholars in the Jama’at and the other Islamist movements in Pakistan. There are no original thinkers and scholars- only politicians and tacticians.
Q: If that is the case, what then is the role of the ‘ulama in contemporary Muslim society?
A: The ‘ulama have become the disease of Muslim society! They are the ones who stand in the way of the Muslim scholars and intellectuals who want to revive the intellectual tradition within Islam. Whenever a Muslim scholar raises a new controversial issue, the ‘ulama are the first ones to accuse him or her of attacking Islam itself! Any attempt to question the dominance of the ‘ulama is re-interpreted as an attack on Islam. Any attempt to question the outdated fiqh of the ‘ulama is seen as an attack on Islam. How can we Muslims ever develop if we have to face such opposition on a regular basis? Instead of intellectual development and original ideas, the ‘ulama have merely emphasised the ritualistic aspect of Islam. For example: In Pakistan we have thousands of ordinary people going on the hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca every year. The ‘ulama encourage this sort of public devotion as it suits their interpretation of ritualised Islam. But as any learned Muslim scholar will tell you, in Islam the act of going on the hajj is qualified by many other restrictions and conditions. One should not go on the hajj is one's relatives are poor. The money for the hajj should go to them instead. Or to other poor people to whom one is close to. This is the egalitarian aspect of Islam that has been forgotten in the rush to perform such rituals for personal benefit. The end result is that we have thousands of Muslims going to Mecca every year, while their own relatives, neighbours and friends are poor and needy at home. Isn't charity a part of Islam as well? Isn't it part of our farz-i kifayah (social obligations)? Apart from their ritualistic approach to religion, the ‘ulama still cannot think of Islamic law outside the framework of crime and punishment. They still cannot address the issue of rights and entitlements, of justice and equity. They talk about how Islam is a humane religion, a just religion- but all the while it is they who have given Islam such a bad name and made it look like a religion of retribution and punishment. No wonder the Muslim world has such a bad image today, thanks to the ‘ulama.
Q: Why do you think the ‘ulama, as an institution, have become so dogmatic today?
A: The ‘ulama have grown increasingly conservative themselves. They talk about leading the way towards the path of development, but in fact most of them have proven to be fundamentally conservative. In Pakistan the ‘ulama have sided with the military regime, the feudal landlords, the traditional elite. In all these cases they have really supported the status quo, as it is in their interest to do so.
Q: So who do you put your trust in? Who can possibly lead the Muslim Ummah out of the morass it finds itself in today?
A: What the Muslim world today needs is another Ataturk! We need a new Ataturk who has the vision and foresight to see that the Muslim world cannot survive on empty slogans and simple solutions only. By this I do not mean one leader or one sole spokesman, but rather a class of revolutionary thinkers, scholars and lay Muslim experts who have broken from the mould of the ‘ulama of the past. Rather than acting as the watchdogs of the Muslim community, these Muslim intellectuals need to be brave enough to be able to re-think some of our most basic suppositions and adapt them to the needs of today. We cannot go onreproducing the same old legal codes from one thousand years ago. We need to be able to think originally, apply our legal reasoning and adapt our approach to the world that we inhabit today. This means trying to operationalise fiqh in relation to other modern sciences and disciplines. And we need to remember that this does not make us anti-Islam or anti-Muslim. What we are really doing is saving the spirit of Islam itself, something that my father was trying to do all his life. REFERENCE: An Interview with Maududi's Son I found the interview quite interesting and useful for those striving for Islamic Modernism. Taj Hashmi Interview with Sayyed Haider Farooq Maududi By: Farish Noor http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Shetubondhon/message/5808
Haider Farooq Mawdudi VS Jamat-e-Islami - 1 (Bolta Pakistan - 24th May 2011)
Haider Farooq Mawdudi VS Jamat-e-Islami - 2 (Bolta Pakistan - 24th May 2011)
Saudi Arabian Scholar on Blasphemous Founder of Jamat-e-Islami i.e. Mawdudi - Mawdudi, Qutb and the Prophets of Allaah http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/downloads/pdf/NDV080001.pdf
Mawdudi Was a Blasphemous Founder of Jamat e Islami http://www.scribd.com/doc/98969773/Mawdudi-Was-a-Blasphemous-Founder-of-Jamat-e-Islami
Mawdudi Was a Blasphemous Founder of Jamat e Islami
Deobandi Fatwa Against Mawdudi and Jamat e Islami http://www.scribd.com/doc/98966337/Deobandi-Fatwa-Against-Mawdudi-and-Jamat-e-Islami
Deobandi Fatwa Against Mawdudi and Jamat e Islami
DEOBANDI SCHOLARS ISSUED FATWA AGAINST JAMAT-E-ISLAMI