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Abul Ala Maududi

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Sayyid abul Ala MaududiSayyid Abul A'la Maududi (Urdu: سید ابو الاعلىٰ مودودی ) (or Mawdoodi, Maududi, Maudoodi, Mawdudi) (September 25, 1903 - September 22, 1979) - was a Sunni Pakistani Islamic reformist or Islamist thinker, a politician,  journalist, theologian and political philosopher. He founded the Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami Islamic revivalist party. He is also known as Maulana (or Mawlana Maududi) or Sheikh Maududi. He was influenced by the Egyptian Islamist Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, he may have influenced al-Banna and he most certainly influenced al-Banna's successor, Sayyid Qutb.

One of Maududi's major contributions to Islamist extremism was the systematization of Xenophobia of the West and legitimization of revolt against Muslim states, based on the idea that all such regimes were in a state of Jahiliya - darkness and barbarism. He believed that the goal of Islamic worship was to prepare Muslims for Jihad, which must be undertaken to bring about the rule of God on Earth in a single Muslim state. These ideas were further refined by Sayyid Qutb.

Biography of Abul Ala Maududi

Maududi  was born in Aurangabad (then in Hyderabad, now in the state of Maharashtra, in India) into a traditional Muslim family with a strong religious bent. His father, Ahmad Hasan Maududi, was a lawyer and a descendent of Chisti silsiah Sufi saints. He was named for the founder of the Chisti order. For several years during Abul Ala Maududi's childhood, his father reportedly stopped practicing law and devoted himself to mystical exercises. Abul Ala was primarily home schooled. His formal education, mostly in the traditional form, did not include western learning, nor did it include traditional Muslim religious training. He was therefore not schooled systematically in Muslim Fiqh (jurisprudence) and was evidently largely ignorant of English and Arabic. At age 15 he was forced to leave school when his father died.

At the age of 17 Abul ala Maududi became a correspondent, and soon became an  editor of Taj, a newspaper in Jabalpur. In 1920 he assumed the editorship of Muslim, which was published by the Jam'iyat-i 'Ulama,' the Ulema  of India in Delhi. The newspaper closed in 1923, but  Maududi soon became editor of the prestigious al-Jam'iyah.  While a journalist, he also began writing about Islam.

In 1928, Maududi left journalism and took up scholarship. Given the paucity of his formal schooling, it is not clear on what sources he drew. He wrote a history of the Asafiyah dynasty of Hyderabad and another history of the Seljuk Turks. Most significantly perhaps, he wrote a little book, Toward Understanding Islam, (Risala al Dinyat)  that really began his career as an Islamic thinker and religious writer.

By 1930, Maududi had published Jihad fil Islam (Holy war in Islam) a collection of essays. In parts, this contained elements of his Jihadist (Islamist) philosophy and basically declared war between Islam in his version of it and the rest of the world. This was necessary because Islam, according to Maududi was superior and therefore had to dominate the world for the benefit of mankind. Being a collection of essays however, it was apparently not internally consistent. It is possible to find passages supporting violent Jihad in Maududi's writings, but also passages and logic that negate violence.

Initially a supporter of Gandhi, Maududi soon turned to Islam rather than Indian nationalism. In 1932 Mawdudi joined the Hyderabadi journal Tarjuman al-Qur'an, and in 1933 he became the editor. It became his "official organ" and that of the Jama'at e Islami party that he founded.

Maududi used the journal as a platform to spread his ideas about Islam, and later in the 1930s he also turned to Indian politics, for which he had an Islamist solution He opposed both the all-India nationalism of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim nationalism of the Muslim League. Eschewing nationalism entirely, he urged India's Muslims to recognize Islam as their sole identity and to become better Muslims. His views during this period are published in the three volumes of Muslims and the Present Day Political Struggle.

In 1941 Maududi called a meeting in Lahore to found the Jama'at-i Islami, which would  propagate true Islam as he saw it and train a followers who would  establish an Islamic system of government and society. Like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, it was a religiously-based fundamentalist political party, the practical political implementation of Islamism. Jama'at-i Islami was to become a very important force in Pakistani national politics.

In 1943, Maududi began writing his retranslation of the Quran, Tafheem ul-Quran, into Urdu. His contention was that the Arabic language was no longer understood as in the days of Muhammad, eroding the meaning and interpretation of the Quran. Though this approach could be used to disqualify all the Madh'hab schools of Muslim Fiqh (jurisprudence), as Sayyid Qutb was to do later, Maududi did not do so openly. He maintained that all the schools were valid but different viewpoints of the law. Nonetheless, he has been accused by others of abrogating the Madh'hab.  

Maududi had opposed Muhammad ali Jinnah and Pakistani separatism. However, when the Indian sub-continent was partitioned in 1947, Mawdudi moved with some of his followers to Pakistan, where he quickly assumed an important political role as the principal advocate of the Islamic state.  His activities invoked the displeasure of the authorities and in 1948 was jailed for over a year.  The peak of his political influence was achieved in 1951 in connection with the controversy over the Basic Principles Report of the Pakistani Constituent Assembly. Mawdudi acted as leader and spokesman of the Pakistani 'Ulema' in their response to the report.

Maududi was arrested again in 1953 for his alleged role in the violent agitation against the Ahmadiyah sect. He was sentenced to death by a military court, but the sentence was commuted. In 1958 Pakistan came under military rule, and political parties, including the Jama'at-i Islami, were banned.

Maududi's interest turned from the Islamic state to the achievement of true democracy according to his views in Pakistan. He was arrested by the regime of  Ayyub Khan in 1964. In the 1965 elections he supported the presidential candidacy of Fatimah Jinnah against Ayyub Khan, even though he opposed women holding high office. Maududi joined with other right wing and religious parties in 1970 in opposition to the socialism of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. During the 1971 secession of Bengal that led to the creation of Bangladesh, Maududi supported the military action of the government against the Bengalis. In 1972 he completed his Tafheem ul Quran in Urdu, since translated into numerous languages as a Tafsir (exegesis). In the same year, he resigned as emir of the Jama'at-i Islami.

In 1976, Maududi published Human Rights in Islam. In it, he argued that Islam supports human rights and equality, since all male believers are equal. He ignored the problem of gender equality and the lack of equality for individuals of other faiths in Islam.

Abul ala Maududi died in September 1979 in Buffalo, New York, where he had gone to visit a son who was a physician, and to receive medical treatment for a long standing kidney ailment. He was buried in Lahore. 

Abul ala Maududi wrote over 120 books and pamphlets. Many of his books were collections of essays published in his journals. His works have been translated into numerous languages and are popular among Muslims throughout the world, though he is hardly known among non-Muslims. He is a key figure in the evolution of Islamism  and one of the most read Muslim writers of his time; he was an important  influence, as noted, on  Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Islamic radical.

Ideology of Abul Ala Maududi

The basis of Maududi's political views is that the downtrodden condition of Muslims has come about because they abandoned the faith and are no better than non-believers:

I myself ponder ...why at all are we deprived of the blessing of God? Why are we the target of calamities from all sides? Why those whom we call Kafir, i.e. disobedient slaves of God, are everywhere dominating over us? And why we, who claim to be His obedient slaves, are being subjugated everywhere? The more I pondered over the reason of this situation the more I got convinced that the only difference now left between us and unbelievers is that of mere name, otherwise we too are in no way behind them in neglect of God, in being unafraid of Him and in being disobedient to Him. (Maududi, Abul Ala, Let Us be Muslims, Chapter 1

The ideological goals of Maududi have been summarized as follows:

1. To revolutionize the intellectual and mental outlook of humanity and to instill the Islamic attitude towards life and morality to such an extent that their way of thinking, ideal of life, and standards of values and behavior become Islamic;

2. To regiment all such people who have accepted Islamic ideals and molded their lives after the Islamic pattern with a view to struggling for power and seizing it by the use of all available means and equipment;

3. To establish Islamic rule and organize the various aspects of social life on Islamic bases, to adopt such means as will widen the sphere of Islamic influence in the world, and to arrange for the moral and intellectual training, by contact and example, of all those people who enter the fold of Islam from time to time. Maududi also laid out a stage-by-stage strategy for Islamic revolution in his many speeches and writings. His first major book, Al-Jihad fil-Islam (Jihad in Islam), defined the various ways and means of struggle for the perfect Islamic state. In other books, Maududi described the social, economic and political principles of Islam. (source)

The Muslim Islamic State

The political heart of Maududi's ideological thought was the establishment of the Caliphate and the Islamic pan-national state governed by Sharia.   The state would be have elected officials, but they would be subject to the will of God and Islamic law. Three principles would underly the state: tawhid (monotheism), risala (prophethood) and khilafa (Caliphate).

Maududi's conceptions of "democracy" should be studied carefully, because they seem to be the model not only for Sunni Islamists but perhaps for the Shi'a Islamic Republic of Iran as well. Though Maududi in practice believed in rigid hierarchical rule and regimentation, in theory he believed that the caliphate would not be ruled by one man, but by the collective of Muslims. The state would be totalitarian in the sense that its rule would be  "co-extensive with human life ... In such a state no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private." (Abu al-Ala al-Mawdudi,  Islamic Law, p.154)

The state would follow Sharia Islamic law. This is described as a complete system covering all aspects of life such as:

family relationships, social and economic affairs, administration, rights and duties of citizens, judicial system, laws of war and peace and international relations. In short it embraces all the various departments of life ... The Sharia is a complete scheme of life and an all-embracing social order where nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking. (Abu al-Ala al-Mawdudi,  Islamic Law, p.57)

A righteous Muslim knows what is right instinctively and makes the right decisions, but only based on Sharia and not on other sources. Thus, while the state has a legislature which the ruler must consult, its function "is really that of law-finding, not of law-making."(Abu al-Ala al-Maududi,  Islamic Law, p. 77)

Maududi asserted that the sovereignty of God (hakimiya) is superior to rule by man, and that it excludes the sovereignty of the people. He declared Islamic "democracy" to be inherently opposed by definition to that of secular Western democracy, which gives hakimia to the people. (Abu al-Ala Maududi, Political Theory of Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1976), pp. 13, 15-7, 38, 75-82). The opposition to rule by man was carried over rather directly into the philosophy of  Sayyid Qutb.

The Maududi state would presumably have nothing to do with actual democracy, since there would have to be a ruler or council of Ulema or a ruler who decide what is properly Islamic and what is not.

Maududi and the Afghan War

Maududi's Jama'at-i-Islami helped to generate the ideology and organizational basis of the Afghan uprising against the Soviets. Jama'at-i-Islami was un-Islamic in its rigid hierarchical organization, and was therefore useful as a model for the Afghani Mujahedin. It helped to spawn the two most important Mujahedin factions in the Afghan civil war, that of Ahmad Shah Masud, and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. This history provides one path from Maududi to Osama bin Ladin's Al-Qaeda, but it is not the only path. Ayman Zawahiri, a follower of Sayyid Qutb and a founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad is (or was) second in command to Osama Bin Laden. He is credited with introducing the most radical Islamist ideas to Al-Qaeda and of  initiating and encouraging attacks against Western targets. 

Theology of Maududi

The theology of Maududi evolved over time, and yet even in revised editions of his books he often did not change assertions that conflicted with what he had written earlier. In the Risala al Dinyat (Toward Understanding Islam), Maulani presents a relatively mild form of defensive Jihad, and at least at one point in his career he legitimized all the schools of Fiqh:

Jihad means struggle to the utmost of one's capacity. A man who exerts himself physically or mentally or spends his wealth in the way of Allah is indeed engaged in Jihad. But in the language of the Shari'ah this word is used particularly for the war that is waged solely in the name of Allah and against those who perpetrate oppression as enemies of Islam.(source: Maududi, Toward an Understanding of Islam, Chapter 5, Prayer and Worship).

Detailed law derived from the Qur'an and the Ahadith covering the myriads from of problems that arise in the course of man's life have been compiled by some of the leading legists in the past. Thus the Muslim Peoples shall for ever be grateful to those men of leading and vision who devoted their lives to gaining a mastery of the Qur'an and the Hadith who made it easy for every Muslim to fashion his everyday affairs according to the requirements of the Shari'ah. It is due to them alone that the Muslims all over the world can follow the Shari'ah easily even though their attainments in religion are never such that they could themselves give a correct and authentic interpretation to the Qur'an or the Ahadith. (source: Maududi, Toward an Understanding of Islam, Chapter 6, Din and Shariah).

It is not known whether he was deliberately presenting a deceptively mild and relatively tolerant view of Islam in this book, or if his views quickly changed. Fundamental to Maulani's ideology was the notion that Islam or Allah is the world and pervades and runs the world. Disbelief in Allah and Islam is contrary to nature:

We have seen that all that is in the universe is obedient to God the creator. to obey, to live in accordance with His will and His Law or (to put it more precisely) to be a Muslim is ingrained in their very nature. God has given man power over these things, but it is incumbent in the very nature of these things that they should be used for the fulfillment of His will and not otherwise. But one who disobeys God and resorts to kufr is the person who perpetrates the greatest injustice, for he uses all these powers of body and mind to rebel against the course of nature and becomes an unwilling instrument in the drama of disobedience. He forces his head to bow down before deities other than God and cherishes in his heart the love, reverence, and fear of other powers in utter disregard to the instinctive urge of these organs. (source: Maududi, Toward an Understanding of Islam, Chapter 1, The Meaning of Islam).  

Taking up the Islamic belief, according to Maududi, magically imparts correct understanding and morality in all spheres:

By the correct use of his knowledge and intellect he recognizes his creator, reposes belief in Him, and, in spite of being under no compulsion to do so, chooses the path of obedience to Him... He is intelligent, truthful, and dutiful, for he has chosen light over darkness, and after seeing the light of reality has responded to its call willingly and enthusiastically...

Such a man will always choose the Right path in every field of knowledge and action....

Similarly, in history, economics, politics, law, and other branches of arts and science, a Muslim will no-where lag behind a Kafir in the fields of inquiry and struggle... A Muslim will study every branch of knowledge in its right perspective, will strive for the right objective, and will arrive at right conclusion....

The moral life of a Muslim will always be filled with godliness, piety, righteousness and truthfulness...

Think of the moral excellence of the man who lives with this mental attitude-his will be a life of purity and piety and love and altruism. He will be a blessing unto mankind. His thinking would not be polluted with evil thoughts and perverted ambitions. (source: Maududi, Toward an Understanding of Islam, Chapter 1, The Meaning of Islam).  

Maududi and Violent Jihad

In several books, Maududi presents different views of Jihad. The later writings are more intolerant and more explicit about the religious basis of violent Jihad, which is rooted in the purpose of Islam, to bring about the rule of God on Earth. This is necessary because the rule of man is inherently corrupt and oppressive. In the chapter about Jihad in Let us be Muslims, he explains:

Briefly speaking, it would be enough to state that the real objective of Islam is to remove the lordship of man over man and to establish the kingdom of God on Earth. To stake one's life and everything else to achieve this purpose is called Jihad' while Salah, fasting, Hajj and Zakat are all meant as a preparation for this task.


the duty devolves on you that wherever you are, in whichever country you live, you must get up there for the reform of God's creation, try to transform the wrong principles of government into correct principles, snatch away the power of legislation and lordship from those who do not fear God and are unbridled. And then taking over the leadership and superintendence of God's servants, conduct the affairs of the government in accordance with God's laws and with belief in their responsibility and accountability in the Hereafter as also in God being the Knower of the unseen. The name of this striving is Jihad. (Maududi, Abul Ala, Let Us Be Muslims, Chapter 7)

In Jihad fil Islam, Maududi wrote:

“Islam wishes to do away with all states and governments which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of this ideology and program, regardless of which nation assumes the role of standard-bearer of Islam, and regardless of the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic state. Islam requires the earth -- not just a portion, but the entire planet  -- not because the sovereignty over the earth should be wrested from one nation or group of nations and vested in any one particular nation, but because the whole of mankind should benefit from Islam, and its ideology and welfare program. It is to serve this end that Islam seeks to press into service all the forces which can bring about such a revolution. The term which covers the use of all these forces is ‘Jihad’. To alter people’s outlook and spark a mental and intellectual revolution is a form of Jihad. To change the old tyrannical system and establish a just new order by the power of the sword is also Jihad, as is spending wealth and undergoing physical exertion for this cause.” (Online source)

Maududi explained the virtues of violent warfare:

The Messenger of Allahsa invited the Arabs to accept Islam for 13 years. He used every possible means of persuasion, gave them incontrovertible arguments and proofs, showed them miracles and put before them his life as an example of piety and morality. In short, he used every possible means of communication, but his people refused to accept Islam.

When every method of persuasion had failed, the Prophet took to the sword.

That sword removed evil mischief, the impurities of evil and the filth of the soul. The sword did something more--it removed their blindness so that they could see the light of truth, and also cured them of their arrogance; arrogance which prevents people from accepting the truth, stiff necks and proud heads bowed with humility. (Maududi, Al-Jihad fil Islam , 137–8) (translated here)

As in Arabia and other countries, Islam’s expansion was so fast that within a century a quarter of the world accepted it. This conversion took place because the sword of Islam tore away the veils which had covered men’s hearts.  (Maududi, Al-Jihad fil Islam , 137–8) (translated here)

Maulana Maududi further explained: 

Human relations and associations are so integrated that no state can have complete freedom of action within its own principles, unless those same principles are in force in a neighboring country. Therefore, Muslim groups will not be content with the establishment of an Islamic state in one area alone. Depending on their resources, they should try to expand in all directions. On one hand, they will spread their ideology and on the other they will invite people of all nations to accept their creed, for salvation lies only in it. If their Islamic state has power and resources it will fight and destroy non Islamic governments and establish Islamic states in their place. (Maududi, Haqiqat-i-Jihad, Lahore: Taj Company Ltd, 1964, p 64).

Maududi on Treatment of Non-Muslims

Non-Muslims are Dhimmi and therefore they cannot participate in government. That includes Jews and Christians, who must pay the Jizya. It is not clear what fate awaits the polytheistic inhabitants of Pakistan in the Maududi state. Of the Jizya he wrote:

...the Muslims should feel proud of such a humane law as that of Jizya. For it is obvious that a maximum freedom that can be allowed to those who do not adopt the way of Allah but choose to tread the ways of error is that they should be tolerated to lead the life they like.
... Jews and the Christians ...should be forced to pay Jizya in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith, who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the Right Way.


That is why the Islamic state offers them protection, if they agree to live as Zimmis by paying Jizya, but it can not allow that they should remain supreme rulers in any place and establish wrong ways and establish them on others. As this state of things inevitably produce chaos and disorder, it is the duty of the true Muslims to exert their utmost to bring an end to their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order. (Mawdudi, . Abul A'la, The Meaning of the Qur'an, (Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, 1993 edition), vol 2, page 183 & page 186 (last paragraph.)

Maududi believed that copying cultural practices of non-Muslims was forbidden in Islam, and that imitation was a sign of inferiority

Muslims are forbidden from imitating the ways of life of other people. The psychology of imitation suggests that it springs from a sense of inferiority and its net result is the cultivation of a defeatist mentality. Cul­tural aping has extremely negative effects on a nation. It destroys its inner vitality, blurs its vision, and befogs its skills. Breeding a national inferiority complex, it gradu­ally but assuredly saps the very spirit of the culture and its identity. It literally sounds its death bell. This is why Muhammad has positively and forcefully forbidden Muslims from assuming the culture and way of life of non-Muslims. The strength of a nation does not lie in its dress, manners, or fine arts; its growth and strength rest in correct knowledge and helpful scientific research. It is a result of the nation’s ability to discipline itself, to use knowledge and technical accomplishments for the betterment of mankind while re­jecting those arts and crafts which breed cultural slavery. (Maududi, Abul Ala, Towards Understanding Islam, Chapter 7)

At least in this context however, in Toward an Understanding of Islam, Maududi took a tolerant attitude to non-believers that was apparently later reversed:

Now we come to the relations which Muslims are supposed to have with non-Muslims. In dealing with them, the believers are instructed not to be intolerant or narrow-minded. They have been told not to abuse or speak ill of their religious leaders or saints, nor say anything insulting to their religion. They must not seek disagreements with them without warrant, but are to live in peace and friendship. If non-Muslims observe a peaceful and conciliatory attitude toward the Muslims, and do not violate their territories, if they do not violate the rights of others, then they should keep friendly relations with them. They should be dealt with fairly and justly. (Maududi, Abul Ala, Towards Understanding Islam, Chapter 7)

Appreciation of Abu al ala Maududi

Maududi's works are popular among Islamists, especially in Pakistan, and remain the basis of Islamist thought. Some of them have been translated into English and can be found at various Jihadist Web sites as well.

The Jamaat Islamiya party clearly explains the greatness of Maududi as arising not from piety or personal implementation of Islam, but as rediscovering the political role of Islam. It is explicitly a liberation theology.  For example::

At the time when Sayyid Maududi started his movement, many great misconceptions about Islam were rampant among the Muslims due to centuries-long slavery and decadence. It was thought that Islam was either concerned only with the individual life or its relation to the collective life was limited to only a few of aspects. Islam was also widely conceived as having no relationship with the state and political affairs. Rather it was believed that Islam had no concept of politics and state. In matters of economy Islam was believed to have only the guiding principles without a full-fledged economic system. Some people even said that Islam had no philosophy of education. Sayyid Maududi challenged all such misconceptions on a rational basis. As a result of his life-long intellectual and scholastic struggle, it was at last accepted that Islam is a comprehensive model of life, which guides us not only in the affairs of our individual and collective lives but also our international lives.

His writing also helped millions of Muslims in regaining their confidence over Islam and in eliminating their sense of inferiority. He wrote an unparalleled critique of socialism, and the modern western thought. Unveiling their waywardness, he interpreted the western thought as ‘modern ignorance’. (Even in 1950, Sayyid Maududi had prophesied that one day both Communism and Liberalism would not be able to get a haven even in Moscow, Paris, New York and London.) His prophesy about Communism has proved itself in its literal sense and now the world awaits the fulfillment of his second prophesy, the downfall of Liberalism. (source: Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi; His Standing )

Criticism of Maududi

Criticism of Maududi comes from both liberal reformist and Salafi Imams and theorists. On the Indian subcontinent he drew a lot of criticism for lack of scholarship, dangerous innovation, contradicting himself, and for insisting that violence was required for spreading the faith.

Prof. Fazlur Rahman observed:

Maududi, though not an alim, was nevertheless a self-taught man of considerable intelligence and sufficient knowledge… He was by no means an accurate or profound scholar, but he was undoubtedly like a fresh wind in the stifling Islamic atmosphere created by the traditional madrasas … But Maududi displays nowhere the larger and more profound vision of Islam’s role in the world. Being a journalist rather than a serious scholar he wrote at great speed and with resultant superficiality in order to feed his eager young readers—and he wrote incessantly… Not one of Maududi’s followers ever became a serious student of Islam, the result being that, for the faithful, Maududi’s statements represented the last word on Islam-no matter how much and how blatantly he contradicted himself from time to time on such basic issues as economic policy and political theory. (Fazlur Rahman, Islam and Modernity—Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 116)

The Mufti Kifayatullah of Delhi noted, ‘I know Maulana Abu Ala Maududi. He has neither learned from nor been disciplined by a scholar of repute. He is very well read but his understanding of religion is weak. (Maktube-i-Hidayat (Deoband: Kutub Khana Izaziyah), 21) .

Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani claimed:

His pamphlets and books contain opinions which are anti-religious and heretic, though written with theological trappings. Lay readers cannot see through these trappings. As a result they find the Islam brought by the Holy Prophet repugnant; the Islam which has been followed by the Ummat-i-Muhammadiya for the last 1350 years. ( Maulana Muhammad Akhtar, Maudadi Sahib Akabir-i-Ummat-ki Nazar Main (Bombay) 9) 

Maualana Qari Muhammad Tayyab wrote:

Having read Maududi Sahib’s writings I have concluded that he did not acquire the disciplines of Muslim legal philosophy and mysticism. He cannot write on them with authority.( Maulana Muhammad Akhtar, Maudadi Sahib Akabir-i-Ummat-ki Nazar Main (Bombay) 15) 

The late Maulana Ahmad Ali Lahauri also wrote in the same vein:

Maududi Sahib wants to present a ‘New Islam’ to the Muslims. And Muslims will not accept a New Islam’ unless the old Islam, which they have followed for the last 1,350 years, is not fully destroyed and it is proved that Islam has become irrelevant and impractical. ( Maulana Muhammad Akhtar, Maudadi Sahib Akabir-i-Ummat-ki Nazar Main (Bombay) 48) 

A Fatwa against Maududi declares:

With his first book, Holy War in Islam (1927), he spread his revolutionary ideas1. When it was translated into Arabic, it influenced Hasan al-Banna's thoughts and caused him to revolt against the government in Egypt and to be killed. Mawdudi's inefficiency in knowledge has brought innumerable Muslims like this to substantial and spiritual death, for no Islamic scholar has ever taken any interest in politics or thought of revolution. They have guided people to the right course through knowledge and advice. They have known that Islam would spread not through revolution but through knowledge, justice and morals. Mawdudi strove to solve all the main principles of Islam with his own reason and always departed from Islamic scholars and Islamic knowledge. If one observes his books minutely, one will easily see that he was in a struggle of disseminating his own thoughts under the name of Islam. He put Islam into various shapes in order to adapt it to modern forms of government. He shaped Islam's institution of caliphate according to his imagination and attacked almost all the caliphs. The annihilation of Islamic scholars, and consequently of Islamic knowledge, by the British and their servants facilitated the spread of his aberrant ideas. The ignorant people who were not at a level to read and understand the books of Islamic scholars readily thought of him as a scholar, as a mujahid. His political thoughts were considered extensive Islamic knowledge.

Mawdudi managed to take advantage of this state of languor in Muslims. Rendering the religion a means for political purpose, he approached politicians. He interfered with the national movement of Indian Muslims. In order to appropriate the accomplishments of vigilant Muslims and Islamic strugglers, he produced many articles in which he played the part of national leadership and inspiration.

The same Fatwa quotes from the book Al-ustad al-Mawdudi by Muhammad Yusuf Banuri:

"The reason for the heresy of Mawdudi was that he learned religious information from the non-authority. He could not gain any skill in the Arabic sciences. He could not attain to the sohbat of real religious scholars. He was not successful in reading, writing or speaking English and Arabic. All the Arabic books that he edited were written in Urdu originally, later being translated into Arabic by Shaikh Masud 'Alim an-Nadwi and his disciple. Because the author was written as Mawdudi on their covers, the readers thought that Mawdudi wrote them in Arabic."

 "Mawdudi is not a man of religion but a politician. He has a fluent style in the Urdu language, but the sins his books cause are much greater than their benefit. Their harm is much more. Their evils surpass their good effects. He tries to blemish as-Sahaba especially in his Urdu books. He defames Hadrat 'Uthman (radi-Allahu 'anh), the Khulafat ar-rashid (radi-Allahu 'anhum). He alters the terminology of Islam and blessed Ayats. He insults at the Salaf as-Salihin. All his writings openly reveal his desire for position and fame. The members of the Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami, which was founded by the la-madhhabi, and many men of religious post in the Najd and Riyadh all love him and spread his Arabic books all over the world. Among them are Kusaymi, the author of Sarra', and Nasiruddin al-Albani, a Khariji mudarris at the Jamiat al-Madina. Muhammad Zakariyya, a Pakistani man of religion, liked Mawdudi's writings at first, but later he wrote a letter of advice to him and published a booklet covering his heretical opinions when he understood his heresy and deviation. Doctor 'Abdurrazzaq Hazarawi Pakistani translated this booklet into Arabic and published it adding his comments. Those who read it will understand Mawdudi's opinions openly. Some of his opinions are of fisq (immorality, outright sin); some are bidat'; some are ilhad (heresy); some reveal his ignorance in Islam, and some others show that he has not understood religious knowledge well. His various writing contradict one another."

 "Great Muslim scholars of India of every madhhab congregated at Jamiyyat al-'Ulama' in Delhi on the 27th of Shawwal, 1370 (August 1, 1951) and reached the conclusion that Mawdudi and his Al-Jamaat al-Islamiyya caused the destruction and deviation of Muslims and published this fatwa (decision) in a book and in papers." [Al-ustad al-Mawdudi, p.7. Reproduced in Arabic by Hakikat Kitabevi, Istanbul, 1977.] And the scholars of Pakistan passed a resolution that Mawdudi was a heretic who tried to make others heretics; this resolution was edited once again in the Akhbar al-Jamiyya in Rawalpindi on the 22nd of February, 1396 (1976)."

The Web page Mawdudi's slandering of Islamic belief and the Ahlus-Sunnah Ulema and its answer has sharp criticism of Maududi's book, The Revivalist Movement in Islam. It alleges that Maududi slandered the companions of the prophet and undermined the basis of the Madh'hab and of Islamic practices by falsely claiming that they were contaminated by Greek, Hindu and other non-Islamic thought.

Critics of Maududi are not necessarily tolerant or enlightened. The writer of the above tract puts quotes from Maududi in blue ink, because he claims, "Since this shaytan [Satan] was just as bad as a Yahudi [Jew], we'll put his quotes (and other la-madhhabiyya [non-followers of the madhhab schools of jurisprudence)] in blue, which is the color of ink used by Yahudis."

Ami Isseroff

December 20, 2008

Synonyms and alternate spellings: Shaykh Sayyid Maududi, Mawlana Mawdoodi, Abul Ala Mawdudi, Abu ul Ala Maudoodi

Further Information: See Muslim Brotherhood Qutb, Sayyid  History of Islam and the Arabs Al-Banna, Hassan Islamism Jihad Islamism Al-Afghani, Jamal_al-Din

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

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Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Abul Ala Maududi