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To most Pakistanis and to those who have been associated with various Islamic political outfits in countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Syria and Malaysia, Abul Ala Maududi is to 'Political Islam' what Karl Marx was to Communism.

Both western and South Asian historians have described him as one of the most powerful Islamic ideologues of the 20th century, whose ideas and writings went on to influence a vast number of Islamic movements in the Muslim world.

For example, the well-known British journal, The New Statesman, in its July 2013 issue, suggested that the impact of Maududi's ideas can be found in modern Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood (first formed in Egypt) and similar outfits across the Muslim realms, all the way to the more aggressive postures of men like Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda and once the most wanted terrorist in the world.

Ambitions and achievements

In Pakistan, Maududi is mostly remembered as an Islamic scholar who founded the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). But he also still remains a controversial figure here. To the left and liberal segments, he is remembered as the man who let the US use JI (during the Cold War) to undermine leftist and progressive politics in Pakistan, whereas many Islamic parties opposed to the JI once went on to declare him to be a religious innovator who attempted to create a whole new sect.

Also read: Maududi’s Children

He arrived in Pakistan from India as a migrant and scholar with the ambition to turn what to him was a nationalistic abomination into becoming a 'true Islamic state' based on the laws of the shariah.

Maududi had formed his party in 1941 like a Leninist outfit in which a vanguard and select group of learned and 'pious Muslims' would work to bring an 'Islamic revolution' and do away with the forces of what Maududi called modern-day jahiliya (socialism, communism, liberal democracy, secularism and a faith 'distorted by innovators').

To that end, he began to lay down the foundations of what came to be known as 'Islamism' — a theory that advocated the formation of an Islamic state by first 'Islamising' various sections of the economy and politics so that a fully Islamised polity could be built to launch the final Islamic revolution.

Maududi's theories in this context attracted certain segments of Pakistan's urban middle-classes and was also adopted by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which tried to jettison the process through a 'jihad' within Egypt.

Not only did Maududi and his party face resistance from leftist groups, it also entered into a long tussle with Ayub Khan's secular/modernist dictatorship (1958-69), and with the ZA Bhutto regime, which was based on populist socialism (1971-77).

Maududi was also taken to task by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, which accused the JI of creating a separate Muslim sect called 'Maududiat'.

Explore: Parliamentary democracy, caliphate and Islamists

Nevertheless, Maududi's ideas were eventually adopted by General Ziaul Haq, who had pulled off a successful military coup in July 1977 and then invited Maududi to help him shape policies to help make Pakistan a 'true Islamic country' run on 'Nizam-e-Mustafa.'

The course charted by Zia eventually mutated into becoming a destructive and highly polarising legacy that the state, politics and society of Pakistan has been battling with till this day.

But the irony is that none of what went down in the name of faith and 'Islamisation' during and after the Zia dictatorship was witnessed by the ideologue who had first inspired it, because Maududi passed away in 1979.

Not an all-out conservative — Maududi's existential journey

In all the noise that Maududi's career as a scholar, ideologue and politician generated, what got lost was the crucial fact that unlike most of today's Islamic scholars and leaders, Maududi did not emerge from an entirely conservative background.

His personal history is a rather fascinating story of a man who, after suffering from spats of existential crises, chose to interpret Islam as a political theory to address his own dilemmas.

He did not come raging out of a madressah, swinging a fist at the vulgarities of the modern world. On the contrary, he was born into a family in the town of Auranganad in colonial India that had relations with the modern and enlightened Muslim scholar, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

Syed Ahmed Khan was one of the earliest architects of Muslim Nationalism in India — a nationalism that attempted to create a robust Muslim middle-class in India that was well-versed in the sciences, arts and politics of Europe, as well as in the more rational and progressive understanding of Islam. It was for this very purpose that he formed the MAO college (later known as Aligarh University).

 The Aligarh University that was formed by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to modernise Muslim education in India.
The Aligarh University that was formed by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to modernise Muslim education in India.

Syed Ahmed convinced Maududi's father, Ahmed Hassan, to join the college against the wishes of Maududi's conservative paternal grandfather.

Incensed by the fact that his son had begun to wear 'Western clothes' and play cricket, Hassan's father pulled him out of the college and got him lectured by various clerics and ulema on how he was going against his faith by 'being overwhelmed by western lifestyle.'

Hassan soon renounced everything that had attracted him at the college and became extremely conservative and religious. When Maududi was born (1903), Hassan pledged not to give his son a western education.

So Maududi received his early education at home through private tutors who taught him the Quran, Hadith, Arabic and Persian. At age 12 Maududi, was sent to the Oriental High School whose curriculum had been designed by famous Islamic scholar, Shibli Nomani.

Read on: Mistaking Maududi for Mao

Apart from teaching Islamic law and tradition to the students, the school also taught Mathematics and English. Maududi then moved to an Islamic college, Darul Aloom, in Hyderabad. But he had to cut short his college education when his father fell sick and he had to travel to Bhopal to visit him. In Bhopal, the young Maududi befriended Urdu poet and writer, Niaz Fatehpuri.

Fatehpuri's writings and poetry were highly critical of conservative Muslims and the orthodox Muslim clergy, and on a number of occasions, various ulema had declared him to be a 'heretic.' But Fatehpuri soldiered on and had already begun to make a name for himself in Urdu literary circles when he met Maududi.

Inspired by Fatehpuri's writing style, Maududi too decided to become a writer. In 1919, the then 17-year-old Maududi moved to Delhi, where for the first time he began to study the works of Syed Ahmed Khan in full. This led to the study of major works of philosophy, sociology, history and politics by leading European thinkers and writers.

Maududi is said to have spent about five years reading books and essays authored by famous European philosophers, political scientists and historians, and he emerged from this vigorous exercise a man who claimed to have found the reason behind the rise of the West (and the fall of Muslim empires).

By now, he had also begun to write columns for Urdu newspapers. In one of his articles, he listed the names of those European scholars whose works and ideas, according to him, had shaped the rise of Western civilisation. The scholars that he mentioned in his list included German materialist philosopher, Hegel; British economist, Adam Smith; revolutionary French writers, Rousseau and Voltaire; pioneering evolutionist and biologist, Charles Darwin and many others.

With this article, he began to shape a narrative through his columns in which he emphasised the need (for Muslims) to study and understand Western political thought and philosophy and to 'master their sciences.' He said that one could not challenge anything that one did not understand.

Look through: Political Islam: Theory and reality

It was also during this period that Maududi began to exhibit an interest in Marxism. At age 25, he became an admirer of the time's leading Marxist intellectual in India, Abdul Sattar Khairi, and then befriended famous progressive Urdu poet, Josh Malihabadi.

By the early 1930s, Maududi was living the life of a studious young man and journalist who also enjoyed watching films in the newly emerging cinemas of India and listening to songs. He married an independent-minded girl, Mehmuda, who was educated at a missionary school in Delhi, wore modern dresses and owned her own bicycle! There was no bar on her to wear a burqa.

  The young Maududi (1927)
The young Maududi (1927)

Despite all this, Maududi did retain some link with his past as the son of a very conservative man. In his quest to revive the lost tradition of Muslim intellectualism, he had also come close to India's main party of Sunni Deobandi Muslims, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH).

But at the same time, he also expressed admiration for the political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi. Though he never joined Gandhi's Indian National Congress (INC) himself, he did urge other Muslims to join it in his articles. He also authored biographies of Gandhi and another Congress ideologue, Pundit Malaviya.

Maududi was greatly dismayed by the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, and he blamed Turkish nationalists for it. When INC began to talk about an 'Indian Nationalism', something snapped in Maududi.

He had devoured every book on Western philosophy and history, but when the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the hands of Turkish nationalists, Maududi realised he had been highly underrating the power of modern nationalism all this time. This was one European concept he was not too familiar with.

Disenchanted by the Congress' Indian Nationalism and JUH's alliance with the party, Maududi retreated to the life of a husband who spent most of his time with his family, books, the occasional film and classical and semi-classical songs performed on stage.

See: Why are matters of faith beyond discussion?

In 1938, he bumped into Manzoor Nomani, a prominent Islamic scholar, who admonished him for distancing himself from his father's legacy, for not having a beard and living the life of a rudderless Muslim.

Already disappointed with the way the concept of nationalism was taking root in the minds of the Hindus and Muslims of India, Maududi retired back to his library, but this time to study Islam.

He now emerged with the theory that it wasn't really the greatness of modern Western thought that had been entirely responsible for the rise of European political power, but it was due to lack of conviction of the Muslims to practice their faith in the right manner that had triggered their fall and made room for European powers to enter.

In 1937, he vehemently attacked the INC's nationalism, accusing it of trying to subjugate the Muslims of India, but by the early 1940s he was being equally critical of Jinnah's All India Muslim League and of Muslim Nationalism.

He declared the League to be 'a party of pagans' and 'nominal Muslims' who wanted to create a secular country in the name of Pakistan.

Explore: Political Islam: An evolutionary history

Maududi's vehement attacks could not stop the sudden momentum that the League gained in 1946 and that helped it form an independent Muslim country in 1947.

In another ironic move, Maududi decided to leave India and head for a country that to him was an abomination and abode of nominal Muslims and the jahiliya. He began his political career in Pakistan in 1949, and it lasted on till 1979, when he passed away from illness in a US hospital. His funeral in Lahore was attended by thousands of admirers.

The many Maududis

Writing in the 'Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought', Irfan Ahmed suggests that there was not one Maududi but many.

By this, he meant that as a scholar and ideologue, Maududi's views were often derivatives of phases in his existential journey; one that saw him depart from the conservatism his father had tried to impose upon him and wholeheartedly embrace the freshness of European philosophical and political thought.

Maududi then bounced between Indian Marxism and the anti-colonial stances of Gandhi and Deobandi ulema (JUH), before settling for a quiet urban middle-class family life. But incensed by the rise of Muslim Nationalism, Maududi finally found his calling in the project of interpreting Islam's holy texts in a political light, and emerging with a complex theory that we now call Political Islam (aka 'Islamism').

Elements of organisational Leninism, Hegel's dualism, Jalaluddin Afghani's Pan-Islamism and various other modern political theories can be found in his innovative thesis, and that's why his thoughts not only managed to appeal to modern conservative Muslim movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and populist youth outfits such as the Islami Jamiat Taleba, but even the mujahideen who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan all the way to the more anarchic (if not entirely nihilistic) ways of men such as Osama Bin Laden.

But the question is, had Maududi been alive today, which one of the many Maududis out there would he have been most comfortable with?

Author Image

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (124) Closed

Nauman M Jan 01, 2015 02:23pm

As of today, Pakistan is neither a true Islamic country nor secular democracy. It is in a big mess searching for an identity suffering from spats of existential crises, choosing to interpret Islam as a political theory and branch out on a road to show the Muslim world it can become a religious supremacy. Sadly the interpretation fell in the hands of clergies of varying and worrying abilities and it is visibly and physically showing - hatred and blood in abundance.

Imad Khalil Jan 01, 2015 02:38pm

Sufficiently elaborated. Amazing NFP

Hasan Hasni Jan 01, 2015 02:53pm

Biggest scholar of 20th century who made mistake to come in politics

imran Jan 01, 2015 02:57pm

I never followed Ji but I have read Molana Mududis Tofhim ul Quran and it is amazing.

ayazali Jan 01, 2015 02:59pm

A great islamic scholor . .

Abdullah Jan 01, 2015 03:03pm

Amazing personality and a great scholar of modern times. One must read Tafheem to understand Mawdudi, recommended. May Allah (swt) give the highest rank of Jannah, ameen.

AdHawk Jan 01, 2015 03:08pm

Amazing to learn about Maududi's attribution of the fall of the Ottoman Empire to lack of religious faith. Was he ignorant of the West's immense technological advances of the past century and a half? Was he unaware of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's untiring efforts to drag Muslims out of their religiously induced stupor toward science and reason? Was he even oblivious to Mirza Ghalib's famous assessment of British technological prowess, from the humble matchstick to the telegraph and the mighty railway, and the impact it had in the War of 1857?

Not much of an intellectual, then.

Usman Jan 01, 2015 03:09pm

Hegel was German, not Russian.

8if Jan 01, 2015 03:10pm

A very neutral and unbiased analysis (something which is becoming increasingly rare).

Danish Bhutto Jan 01, 2015 03:14pm

A very good read. Thanks

AdHawk Jan 01, 2015 03:17pm

Maududi's Islamism is already relegated to the dustbin of history along with the other failed ideologies of his time such as Nazism and Communism. On the other hand Nationalism, whether ethnic or territorial, is alive and thriving.

Ahmad Jan 01, 2015 03:21pm

This guy called Pakistan Kafiristan and Quaid-e-Azam Kafir-e-Azam. He later wrote literature that created divide amongst muslims. Remained inspired by Wahabi fundamentalist ideology and spread the same. I wish we did not have this guy.

sk Jan 01, 2015 03:22pm

Nice article and no judgemental words.

Jan 01, 2015 03:23pm

Well researched article

Confused Engineer Jan 01, 2015 03:24pm

If we look back in Pakistan's entire history we will not be able to find a single person - let alone a leader - whose reputation is not polluted. Ideologies have been taking turns which has left us with a polluted existence.

Speaking for myself, I am scared of taking sides or even having an opinion because there are extremist at both sides. There's not a single flag under which we can all unite. I'd like thinkers and influential people like you Mr Nadeem to sit together sort out the differences and prepare a single ideology for my kids to believe in, instead of taking a shot at each other's idols and destroying reputations.

Thank you

Temo Shanko Jan 01, 2015 03:24pm

A well researched article

ammar waseem Jan 01, 2015 03:27pm

"He said that one could not challenge anything that one did not understand”. I under no capacity have the knowledge to challenge but this is my interpretation of Pakistan
We are bunch of people living under the same roof with our own interests resulting in creating our ideologies, interpreting our religion (that suits our need).

Sunset Jan 01, 2015 03:27pm

Answering to your question "But the question is, had Maududi been alive today, which one of the many Maududis out there would he have been most comfortable with?"

Somewhere between JI & TTP. Perhaps would call it the Taliban e jamat e Islami Pakistan (TJIP)

When it comes to Islam and his understanding, one is required to read his Tofhim ul Quran carefully and will know his serious mistakes in Aqedah.

But the sun has already settled for him and much settling for the likes of him

S. Haider Jan 01, 2015 03:30pm

An interesting read. Only a minor correction: Hegel was a German philosopher not a Russian.( He was born in the year 1770 in Stuttgart, south of Germany, and died in the year 1831 in Berlin).

In my opinion, the biggest scholarly achievement of Maulana Maududi was to write a detailed new interpretation of Holy Quran in the zeitgeist of 20th century. He made several judgments, which were politically wrong and against the democratic system of a state.

Nadil Jan 01, 2015 03:36pm

A real heavyweight! I wish we had more well-read Islamic scholars who are familiar with Western thoughts. You could disagree with his interpretation but could not ignore him.It is better to be a scholar than a fire-brand narrow minded cleric.

Basharat Ali Jan 01, 2015 03:51pm

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Shakeel Ahmed Jan 01, 2015 03:57pm

"....but it was due to lack of conviction of the Muslims to practice their faith in the right manner that had triggered their fall and made room for European powers to enter."

We are still looking for Muslims to practice Islam in the right manner. It is not going to happen in the very near future though as we continue fighting and creating divisions among ourselves, among different sects and sub-sects as to who and what is "right". In the meantime the European powers are forging ahead in all walks of life, science and technology leaving us behind knowing very well it is no contest. We remain in our cocoon of self denial and unperturbed to change for better. Let the Mullah not dictate us anymore.

saeed Jan 01, 2015 03:58pm

The great scholar of Muslim history.

Seaman Jan 01, 2015 04:03pm

He and his kind of people truly destroys Islam. Let is Muslims keep us to the message of only Quran, And will be successfully, That`s promise by God in Quran.

ash Jan 01, 2015 04:04pm

Great Scholar who has produced most wonderful Islamic literature for the educated people of all religions and the author of the amazing Tafheem Ul Quran.

Rashid Jan 01, 2015 04:11pm

what a confused soul he was....

Rajab Ali Jan 01, 2015 04:12pm

How correct he was when he said:

"He declared the League to be 'a party of pagans' and 'nominal Muslims' who wanted to create a secular country in the name of Pakistan."

Kamal Pasha Jan 01, 2015 04:26pm

When I was young,I had heard that he did not perform Haj. May be he was occupied or was not feeling well at the time of Haj. Will somebody with 100pc sure can put some light on this matter.

shoaib Jan 01, 2015 04:30pm

great article. One thing i would like to point out is the analysis, or mere stating, of the nature of Islamic Political System that Maududi envisioned. And, one cannot help but wonder about the deviations, if occurred, during Zia's regime from what Maududi opined.

Overall, a wonderful article. The amount of neutrality maintained by NFP throughout the article is amazing.

Proactive Campaigner Jan 01, 2015 04:37pm


Superb posts and to the point. Hear, hear, hear.

Garib Manus Jan 01, 2015 05:09pm

Maududi had once (before his sudden, unexplained change of heart) described the idea of Muslim Nationalism as unlikely as a “chaste prostitute”. But, after his volte-face, sought out to be exactly that chaste prostitute. In the interest of balance, the article should have gone into some depth about the American obsession with fighting the "leftist forces" worldwide, and Maududi's collaboration in that effort.

Baber Khan Jan 01, 2015 05:10pm

@Kamal Pasha this is just a propaganda of Maulvis (particularly of Barelvi sect) who didn't like him for one reason or the other. I know for sure that he did perform Hajj.

mirza Jan 01, 2015 05:11pm

good knowledgable article

Iqbal Malik Jan 01, 2015 05:23pm

With all due respect to JI followers I fail to understand his migration from Deccan to Patahankot at the height of Pakistan movement. Was he planted by anti Pak forces in a safe Sikh town. A true muslim leader would have moved to muslim majority city of Lahore or Srinagar.

Mahmood Jan 01, 2015 05:27pm

@AdHawk I agree but with one exception. Our country lives in direct contradiction of your assertion. Pakistan was founded on basis of religion and even today we exist for the same reason. If it were nationalism, we wouldn't have survived 4 years of partition much less till today. So we are truly unique, if only we recognized that for ourselves.

Kamal Pasha Jan 01, 2015 05:31pm

In the Lahore riots of 1953, 200 Ahmadis were killed by Jamat e Islami. Martial law was declared and Moudud was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. On the pressure from Saudi Arabia he was released by Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Prof Abdul Malik Jan 01, 2015 05:38pm

As a teenager I read much of Maududi's books and later on also read his Tafheem. I was much impressed by his scholarship. But later on as I advanced in my education and reflected upon what I had read of him I felt saddened. I came to the conclusion that he was not an Islamic scholar of enlightenment but of darkness. P.S. NFP deserves much praise for the tenor of his article.

Abdul Latif Jan 01, 2015 05:48pm

Tafheemul Quran and his books were banned in Jammu & Kashmir prisons by Indian authorities during the beginning of armed struggle in Kashmir in 1990´s.

Muhammad Nisar Jan 01, 2015 05:57pm

Thought-provoking article.

Rashid H. Jan 01, 2015 06:01pm

A very objective and fair look at an important but controversial scholar. Thank you NFP. You remain to be one of my favorite columnists. But like so many knee-jerk fools out there, once I too used to have silly and uninformed ideas about you, but ever since I began to closely read your articles in Dawn a year ago, I am convinced you are one of the most fair and unbiased writers.

And what a pleasant irony that such a fair article on a conservative scholar is written by a former-leftist-turned-liberal. :) Well done. You are a great model of progressive Islam and Muslim nationalism. May Allah bless you.

Abdullah Jan 01, 2015 06:17pm

@Kamal Pasha Syed Maududi performed Hajj in 1960s. The Hajj travelogue is also available.

Ajamal Jan 01, 2015 06:20pm

Of the so many of Moudoudi' monumental works is "Tafheemat" (Understanding Islam) which has so eloquently elaborated the basic pillars of Islam.

May Allah accept and reward him for all his endeavors.

Ajamal Jan 01, 2015 06:21pm

@Hasan Hasni. As he so clearly pointed out, politics is the part and parcel of a muslim's life.

Ajamal Jan 01, 2015 06:27pm

The need for Islamic Political System professed by Moudoudi cannot be fully understood without reading his brilliant work "Khilafat aur Maloukiat". Every Muslim society today continues to suffer at the hands of "Maloukiat" (Elitism).

Mohd Ijaz Jan 01, 2015 06:29pm

@Kamal Pasha

That incident and his subsequent influence in forcing the 2nd amendment in the Constitution made him a legend among many Pakistanis. Clearly nothing has changed for better either in Pakistan or to the so called Muslim Ummah since then, except it set a dangerous platform for the subjugation and strife among other Muslims living in Pakistan to this very day. The killings in this quest are rampant.

Abdullah Jan 01, 2015 06:31pm

@Iqbal Malik Maududi sb migrated from Daccan to Punjab on the special request of Allama Iqbal in 1939/39. A visionary muslim alloted him a piece of land In pathan kot , to establish an institution for Islamic revival. Maududi stayed there till 1947 with his party members. He named the area under his custody "Dar ul Islam". After partition, he had no other option to migrate Pakistan like every muslim settled in East Punjab.

InFrame Jan 01, 2015 06:43pm

Will the real Ala Maududi please stand up.

TKHAN Jan 01, 2015 06:51pm

Finally a well researched piece of writing that clarified few misunderstandings about a bright but controversial man. I wonder 'What IF' had he found the balance he was yearning for! Perhaps we have had a different post Zia era.

Proust Jan 01, 2015 07:07pm

What kind of a life he lead, sometimes modern, sometimes religious as if in search of his identity. That does not portray a very stable personality. BTW, if he did not believe in Pakistan movement why did he move here when initially he belonged to Bhopal?

baqar hasnain Jan 01, 2015 07:13pm

A thousand years from now, religion will be a thing of the past. Long distance connectivity will change the way humans interact with each other so much so that society as we know it today will no longer remain recognizable. Neither will religion. It will be a world of nanotechnology and nanorobotics. Religion is already feeling a chokehold even at the level of pure academia. Politics due to its own self serving agenda is keeping it alive - for now.

Umar Jan 01, 2015 07:15pm

"With this article, he began to shape a narrative through his columns in which he emphasised the need (for Muslims) to study and understand Western political thought and philosophy and to 'master their sciences.' He said that one could not challenge anything that one did not understand." Greatest Muslim Scholar of 21st century #Respect

Ayaz Jan 01, 2015 07:25pm

Impressive essay.

Wasi Jan 01, 2015 07:48pm

@Confused Engineer There is a single ideology my friend already prescribed by the Engineer of humanity and its called Islam. We just have to have a sincerity of intent and leave our ego out of the equation and read the speech of Allah with the sincere intention for Him to guide us to the true path and we are encouraged to do it and Question to seek guidance from our Maker with a sincerity of heart and intent.

Now if we can't find that heart then its our own fault.

Avtar Jan 01, 2015 07:50pm

Mr. Maudidi is a typical Pakistani leader. Mr. Maudidi criticized the West (as well as admired it) most of his life, took money from the US and probably from the Saudis for spreading Wahabbism. Ironically, he died in a US hospital!!! An average Pakistani wishes that they could receive treatment in a US hospital. The formula of criticizing the West and at the same time criticizing them is adopted by most politicians. None of his ideas to improve the lot of Muslim countries seems to have worked.

Wasi Jan 01, 2015 07:52pm

Thank you Nadeen I really did not expect objective and straight forward reporting of Maududi's life summary from you. Well done and I appreciate it very much.

Previously your articles and their attempt to ridicule everything turned me off and I stopped reading your articles after the first paragraph but you proved me wrong with this one.

Thank you again.

khalid sadary Jan 01, 2015 07:53pm

@Nauman M Well said. I guess you too are someone like me grown up in the Arab world.

Aamir fida Jan 01, 2015 07:55pm

if we follow what Maududi thought and preached in its true spirit nshallah we ll prosper economically as will as politically ...

Khan-Haqiqi Jan 01, 2015 08:26pm

If he be alived he would be Maududi Talibinism. By the way the young maududi of 1927 resembles old pics of Altaf Hussain

Kamal Pasha Jan 01, 2015 08:26pm

@Abdullah, Thank you for your information.

Kamal Pasha Jan 01, 2015 08:27pm

@Baber Khan,thank you for your information.

Syed Hussain Akbari Jan 01, 2015 08:28pm

After his Tafhim the most important book from him is / was "KHILAFAT O MALOOKIAT". It is a valuable book dealing with some facts of Islamic History.

Ahmed Jan 01, 2015 08:30pm

Sound's like he was confuse most of his like, that is why he formed a confuse party called jamat -e-islami,

Tajamul Jan 01, 2015 08:41pm

Interesting article and an eye opener. The other side of Maududi. That is the beauty of NFP. How easily he explains things.

javed ali Hasrat Jan 01, 2015 08:44pm

but very sadly to say today JI

Sufi Muslim Jan 01, 2015 08:51pm

The term, "Islamism", is a recent invention, is invalid, has no fixed meaning, and is thrown around carelessly as a slur.

Many label those Muslims they disagree with and are engaged in activism, albeit peacefully, as "Islamists" to demonize them.

That said, it is my observation that the marriage between Islam and politics has been devastating. Just like any ideology and system, it is well known that religion can also be used to oppress, subjugate and fool people, as can be used for positive and constructive actions.

At the core is the human heart, which needs to be cleansed of selfishness, arrogance, pride, anger, revenge, hatred, ignorance, injustice, etc., for one to use an ideology, a system, or a religion constructively.

EEJ Jan 01, 2015 09:21pm


EEJ Jan 01, 2015 09:23pm

Globalisation is going to dissolve and soften nationalism eventually and a blend socialism, marxism, islamism and democracy are going to thrive again

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jan 01, 2015 10:03pm

We cannot belittle Maulana Maudoodi's thinking. Pakistan did not benefit from his thought. It is regrettable.

TARIQ Jan 01, 2015 10:03pm

The Jamaat -e-Islami as mentioned in Mr. Peracha's great article, was against the creation of Pakistan as he called Mr. Jinnah and the league Non Muslims so to speak.Why do the people not understand that! They the JI has no business in the politics of a country they were not in favor of to begin with. But Phenomenal writing Nadeem.

Waqqas Maalik Jan 01, 2015 10:28pm

@AdHawk you are talking about symptoms but he described root cause. Muslim left the field of knowledge for other nations and went into petty issues. He said he want people who are equally capable in the field of modern day life as they are in field of religion. He always advocated modern education system.

Sid Jan 01, 2015 10:38pm

Another thought provoking piece by NFP. One correction I want to highlight, The New Statesman is a magazine not a journal.

pathanoo Jan 01, 2015 10:58pm

AN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON MAULANA MADUDI. Madudi was one of many Muslims claimed to be Islamic scholars ( and I have no fight with it, nor am I a person capable of commenting on it) who misinterpreted the rise of Europe and the West and fall of the Muslims all over the world. All the Muslim scholars who I have read about and have knowledge of have been blinded by the chimerra of Islam claiming it to be all and end all for all situations of modern day life. And, that is the folly.

N. Jan 01, 2015 11:20pm

@Usman Read carefully before your 'profound' comment. " The scholars that he mentioned in his list included German materialist philosopher, Hegel; British economist, Adam Smith; revolutionary French writers, Rousseau and Voltaire; pioneering evolutionist and biologist, Charles Darwin " Hats off to Dawn for its moderators.

A concerned citizen Jan 01, 2015 11:20pm

@TARIQ I agree with you. JI has a very dark history in Pakistan. When Yahya's regime declared the first fair elections in Pakistan as null and void in East Pakistan and called for bye election there, JI was the only party which contested each and every seat in East Pakistan. When there was a movement against ZA Bhutto in mid-1970s and army was hesitating to intervene, JI constsantly called for army to intervene and sent them bangles for not doing so. When Zia formed his regime and was looking for civilian support, JI said Labek and nominated its members as ministers. This party never openly condemned Taliban by name (when they are put to corner in public discussions they will say" hum to her dehshatgardi kay khilaf hein" but they will never clearly name those who are known to be dehshatgard). The only one thing I like about this party is that this is one of the the only parties in Pakistan that does not go by dynastic politics. They have internal elections (the other party being TI, although that party too is highly confused).

An avid reader Jan 01, 2015 11:23pm

@S. Haider I think his biggest contribution was: Khilafat and Malukyiat. A book based on historical facts.

Atta M Jan 01, 2015 11:26pm

Well researched article on Moududi I read so far.

Mohammed Yousuf Jan 02, 2015 01:51am


I dont think that you can show anywhere he used these statements , and if he did , why our Quaid-e-Azam invited him to give lectures on RADIO PAKISTAN.......May ALLAH WT guide us, and give us courage to speak the truth. JZK

bkt Jan 02, 2015 02:15am

I think you needed to add that Maududi despite his anti-Pakistan views was highly respected as an Islamic scholar due to is monumental Tafseer of the Quran, which marked him out among Musims scholars of the day. The Tafseer gave him the standing among Muslims and Muslim leaders that he might not have had, if he had not written this work.

Mohammad hasan Jan 02, 2015 02:28am

@Nauman M What is a true islamic country even in abstract?

Yemeen Zuberi Jan 02, 2015 02:54am

Maududi failed miserably and reasons were: That he did not realize what were the peoples' needs. That he established a party with the aims to promote Islam and not to look after the peoples' well-being. That he took himself as the one person who can teach the Muslims what Islam is. That he separated himself from other Muslim schools, and became a leader of a separate cast. That he, unlike Jinnah, was not ready to serve all the Muslims. In other words he limited himself, and so his party, as a worker of a section of the nation.

Pakistani Jan 02, 2015 04:00am

A religious writer who defied Jinnah & Pakistan.He had no positive role both before the making & after the making of this country. Not sure why he was allowed to operate here after partition. No point in discussing what he achieved in the society after partition as their results are right in front of us.

Bhagat Pandey Jan 02, 2015 04:45am

As per article Maududi looks like very confused personality, and during 1936 - 1947 many of this kind of Muslim confused personalities had played big role in formation of today's Pakistan.

Mohammed Afghani Jan 02, 2015 05:20am

Thank you Mr. Paracha for educating us about Maududi. Very nice article.

Amir Jan 02, 2015 05:40am

Great non traditional Islamic Scholars including Abul-Ala-Maududi, Amin-Ahsan-Islahi, Dr Israr Ahmed, and Javed Ahmed Ghamidi mainly influenced educated people in Pakistan. It's time to learn Islam and role of state in light of knowledge of these scholars and debate current issues/ambiguities openly in parliament and media that will take Pakistan forward InshaAllah.

Ilyas Khan Jan 02, 2015 05:45am

Mawdudi did not influence the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. The Brotherhood pre-dates Mawdudi's Jam'aat, having been founded by the Supreme Guide Hassan Al-Banna in the 1920s. Rather Mawdudi was influenced by the Brotherhood.

sofie Jan 02, 2015 06:47am

this was a man who's own childern were discoouraged from reading his books. He was and still is a reason for all these psychos running using the name of God.

Alaf Khan Jan 02, 2015 07:56am

Nadeem Paracha writes well. I would, however, request him to clarify three of the words he has used in his wrote up : These are (1) ULEMA, (2) Darul ALOOM and (3) TALEBA.

The word ULEMA is not Arabic. ALOOM is also a Noun that does not exist in Arabic. TALEBA means a Singular Feminine SEEKER. The Masculine Plural of TALIB (student) is TULABA, not Taleba. You are free to give him my email address.

khalil Jan 02, 2015 08:05am

Syed Maududi was most influential Scholar of 20th century , his writings has inspired mostly educated class of Pakistan , youth of collleges and universities , one must read his books b4 commenting on him , he was criticised by both liberal fascists and religious extremists that makes him a balanced Scholar , this article misses some of his acheivments . . .

AbbasToronto Jan 02, 2015 08:46am

There are many ways to fail, but only 1 to succeed.

Shaikh Jan 02, 2015 08:50am

Another well read mullah made a wrong turn and influnced the wrong people and our and other counries that were influnced are paying the price for it. Well read mulla but egotistic in his mindset.

Weirdity Jan 02, 2015 09:20am

"Abul Ala Maududi is to 'Political Islam' what Karl Marx was to Communism"

So all the blame for the mess created by political islam all around the world can be placed on Maududi? I have been repeatedly told that General Zia was the one who encouraged political islam in Pakistan.

Usman Jan 02, 2015 09:23am

@N. Ok. First it was Russian and now a German materialist. Hegel's dialectics was idealist not materialist. It was Marx who through Feuerbach developed Hegelian dialectics into dialectical materialism.

Weirdity Jan 02, 2015 09:27am

@Rashid H. "You are a great model of progressive Islam and Muslim nationalism"

I seriously doubt if NFP subscribes to "Muslim nationalism" even though he is a citizen of a country formed out of "Muslim nationalism".

Imran Jan 02, 2015 09:29am

Good to read this side of story and find out the real Maududi...Thanks

Saakh Jan 02, 2015 10:26am

He did not commit mistake by entering into politics, but he did mistake by entering into elections.

Naqi Akbar Jan 02, 2015 10:44am

A gripping narrative Paracha Sahib; down the road, his influence in shaping the national polity post 1977 cannot be under estimated; along with its destructive fall out!

Rationalist Jan 02, 2015 11:37am

"He now emerged with the theory that it wasn't really the greatness of modern Western thought that had been entirely responsible for the rise of European political power, but it was due to lack of conviction of the Muslims to practice their faith in the right manner that had triggered their fall and made room for European powers to enter." Well everything went downhill for him and sadly for us when he thought of this.

irfantariq Jan 02, 2015 11:38am

One of the Greatest Scholar who really made Islam easy to understand in modern day.

pak47 Jan 02, 2015 12:02pm

This man was evil. He did not support creation of Pakistan

DM Jan 02, 2015 12:54pm

@baqar hasnain I am from India...I am praying for the day when people will be known like mobile numbers and religion will be things of past (1000 years back history)...believe me world will be truly colorful with absolute freedom to women....because god has made colors for women and black for men

Umair Jarwar Jan 02, 2015 01:05pm

A very well analyzed article by NFP. This work should have been mentioned by JI. Unfortunately, they never wrote anything in their periodicals so that people may know about their party's founding fathers. However, it is possible that Maudodi's youthful interest in Marxism and personal life activities like music and cinema may hurt the larger interest of Jamat Islami's manifesto.

Thanks to NFP for bringing such informative article.

Ultra Liberal Jan 02, 2015 01:32pm

The very much confused Modudi ultimately tied the knot with Zia ul Haq (the cursed soul) who patronized militants to kill innocent beings. Lucky Indians, Modudi migrated to Pakistan.

Mushtaq Jan Jan 02, 2015 02:29pm

NFP did not mention that Maududiat let to extremism. Like Jamiat Tulba was first student the party in the universities fully armed with modern weapon availed at that time and armed struggle against Ahmadies taken up by JI as early as 1953. The sane companions of Maulana like Maulana Israr and Islahi parted way with him when he announced to join politics. Summarizing, Maududiat led to extremism, which he never condemned in his times and rather justified the use of force. This is what is being followed by JI and we are suffering from till today.

Annonymous Jan 02, 2015 02:34pm

Excellent article...very well researched.

Ijaz Jan 02, 2015 02:35pm

@Abdullah Are you sure Allama Iqbal made a "Special Request" to Maududi to migrate to pathankot and that too in 1939. Although Allama Sb died in April 1938 ;)

Nahyan Mirza Jan 02, 2015 02:51pm

@Weirdity The creater of the ideology was Maudodi and its implementer and executor was Zia!!

breera Jan 02, 2015 02:56pm

For me maududi is an inspirational figure i hv read many of his books and i m a bif fan of him

Kapil Jan 02, 2015 03:27pm

nice article - informative and non-judgemental

Rao Umer Jan 02, 2015 03:44pm

Thanks for such great info.

husaini Jan 02, 2015 03:51pm

@Iqbal Malik pakistan's boundries were unclear at the time it was only during Boundry comission plan that people got to know the real boundaries.

Hassan Jan 02, 2015 04:20pm

I hope this is "Abul Ala Maududi: An existential history Part I" since we would like you to shed some light on his innovative thesis of 'Political Islam', because questions arise: Movements for Islamic revival had been envisaged by many in the long terrain of Muslims history. He was not the first one. Was he ? If not, how was his ideology different from the rest ? He was a scholar or a revivalist ? Did he change course from 'Islamism' to 'nationalism' when preferred Pakistan and established JI ? This read is an account of how he reached there where he was. It does not tell us what did he do there (academically speaking, pointing to his novel thesis) when he was finally there. And though it went judgmental in the end, a good piece of writing nevertheless. #Respect

Karachi Wala Jan 02, 2015 04:46pm

@Ilyas Khan

"Mawdudi did not influence the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. The Brotherhood pre-dates Mawdudi's Jam'aat, having been founded by the Supreme Guide Hassan Al-Banna in the 1920s. Rather Mawdudi was influenced by the Brotherhood."

Does it matter who influenced who?? Both have proved to be equally destructive to the young and inquisitive minds.

Ijaz Jan 02, 2015 04:49pm

Unfortunately he found favour with Zia and we have been suffering ever since!

Abdullah Jan 03, 2015 12:03am

@Ijaz Syed maududi migrated to Pathan Kot in 1938 and indeed Allama Iqbal requested him prior to death. If any confusion you can easily verify the fact via google

Mohammad Khan Jan 03, 2015 09:41am

I appreciate the efforts of Nadeem Parcha in making the Maududis sketch interesting and readable his fluency in choosing the words is realy very good that makes the subject highlighted,frankly speaking Mr.Maududis research is contraversial by many of the Deobandi scholars but the radical Saudi form of Islam had given him a great place in there literature any way his work on towards understanding Islam andThe meaning of The Qura'n is in noway comparable to any volume os such kind until this day.

Shahid Masud Jan 03, 2015 11:17am

NFP, once again you did it.

Fazal Karim Jan 03, 2015 11:42am

It is unfortunate and sad that Allama Iqbals writings on Islam, specially Reconstruction of thoughts in Islam did not find favor among Muslims of subcontinent, specially Pakistan. Maulana Moudidi theories have actually harmed Pakistan more than benefiting. Muslims should come out of sharia myth and adopt best from all over the world.

AFTAB AHMAD Jan 03, 2015 09:52pm

Mr Abu-Al-Ala, Maududi's Tafheem ul Quran is a thought provoking explanation of the QURAN-AL-HAKEEM, which invites the Muslims to rethink of the purpose of their lives. This is an effort to tell the Muslims that Islam is a way of living and it can only be claimed if it is practiced. This is our hard luck that we claim our-self Muslims without practicing Islam (the teachings of Quran and of the holy prophet). The purpose of Islam is the provision of a system of Socio-economic justice to the masses and without it there is No Islam. We should revisit our lives and style of living, which at present looks contrary to the teachings of Islam and instead of blaming others for our misfortune, we should correct our-self in the light of teachings of Islam.

Naseem Altaf Jan 04, 2015 05:14am

@Ahmad pls read the press reports of those days . Ahrar ,an ally and follower of Congress in 1940s , ( they split away from congress for a years,though) had lost their credibility and any earlier popular acceptance at the birth of Pakistan. To regain and enhance their Political position, they got hold of , revived the matter of the Ahmedia Controversy: Pakistan,in its infancy & without the central guiding leadership of Quaid e Azam et al , got into the quagmire . Igniting the movement underage leadership of Ahrar would be a golden opportunity to rehabilitate themselves. And they did it The country' was in the midst of stress ful pulls between the Bengali and Punjabi politicians ,with the Parity and the Language issues turning bitter , could not exhibit any unity/ leadership to match the situation. Mr Mumtaz Daultana , Mr Nazimuddin had their own politicical considerations, or at least cautions; though many a people saw Daultana to be aiming at the PM 's chair ,if the popular emotions could be diverted against Karachi, the national capital,then. The support of Punjab ML cadre and the diversion of Provincial Literacy Funds to the news media Zamindar, Afaq, Maghrabi Pakistan, Ehsan,all fanning the flames was a clearly visible public secret. JI , had the position to standby / defend the Khatam-e-Nabuwat staunchly, but simultaneously Maududi's Sahib saw the political self serving motives of the Ahrar in creating anarchy under the grab of the Khatame Nabuwat and the tones of Master Tajuddin,syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari, Daud Ghaznavi, Sh. Husamuddin, So very soon JI separated out from the mainstream movement which was turning violent under the firebrand leadership of Ahrar. Maududi Sahib had no stomach for the direction of the movement. Later a military (?) court gave death sentence to Janat AbdusSattar Niazi and Maududi's Sahib : while Maududi Sahib refused to appeal for clemency ; he is known to have made the comment that the court sentenced (Death-) one for taking part ,and the other for not taking part in the anti- Ahmadiya agitation . (

A watchful brain Jan 04, 2015 07:22am

@Ilyas Khan You are correct one hundred percent.

A political thinker Jan 04, 2015 07:27am

@Weirdity Of course! Zia was a follower

AA. Jan 04, 2015 08:24am

@Ahmad , we wish many things, but we never have all our wishes were met. He was influential writer. How many Muslims died during separation?

Muhammad Farooq Khan Jan 05, 2015 01:26pm

This time Nadeem look like a true professional narrating almost all the facts of this ICON of Islamic Resurgence in 20 th century , particularly in this part of world. The inferences drawn are also up to the mark.The answer correct answer to his last para has been already given by the JI members replacing Siraj ul Haq to SMH .

Salim Mansur Khalid Jan 07, 2015 04:23pm

@A concerned citizen Absolutely lie, it is not comment its murder of history, dear unconcerned citizen sahib