Maulana Syed Abul Aa’la Moududi: The uncontested thinker of 20th Century
On one hand the communal violence was growing enough strong in undivided India. The growth of extremism within nationalist circles had leaned the leaders towards usage of religious symbolism in the freedom struggle. The growth of Hindu Mahasabha and later RSS had politically frustrated the Muslims of subcontinent. Muslims were being led by a class of big landholders, who were there only to reap for themselves. The communal clashes had aroused the feeling of fear and minority psyche. On the other hand, the western world which had progressed leaps and bounds was overpowering the eastern lands politically, economically and intellectually. Their knowledge, ideas, concepts, along with all their isms were being backed by political power. Islam was presented as an idea that had lived and spread on the back of power. Frustrated by the prevailing conditions Moulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar stood on the pulpit of Jamia Masjid in Delhi and went emotional and asked the Muslims youth to stand for the cause of Islam. Moulana Jauhar made a plea that someone should rise and answer the queries of west and east about Islam in general and Jihad in particular. A boy in his teens was there listening to Moulana and made up his mind to come up with answers about Islam and respond to the challenges of western world. Three years later he came up with a voluminous book entitled “Al Jihad Fil Islam” (1925) and brutally deconstructed the myth and propaganda that Islam was spread with sword. The boy grew to be called as Moulana Syed Abu Aala Moudoodi.
The founder of Jama’at e Islami in 1941 Maulana’s greatest contribution lies in the fact that when whole world had got engulfed in the war of isms and ideologies, he presented Islam not as a mere religion, but a way of life and thus an ideology. He not only challenged the idea of western civilization and their ideologies but presented Islam as an antidote to the world crisis. The most inventive aspect of his thought relates to his unique perspective on Islamic history.
From the days of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, Islamic history has consisted of nothing more than a perpetual struggle between Islam and different kinds of ignorance. Sometimes Islam triumphed; sometimes the forces of ignorance prevailed. At each stage, Islam provided a catalytic process transforming the life of individuals who then developed a community of faith. The community grows into an ideological movement that works to bring about social change in the desired direction. The success of the ideological movement produces a new society and state. Interesting thing to understand is that the way Moulana Moudoodi defined Islam and interpreted it has always failed his ideological opponents to oppose that on intellectual grounds. Those who have questioned Moudoodi’s approach of Iqamat e Deen even after a century are even those who were once his onetime associates. These included Moulana Waheed ud Din Khan or Moulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, Manzoor Nomani, Dr Asrar or for that matter Javid Ghamdi all are those who have themselves worked with Moulana Moudoodi. However it is pertinent to mention that except Moulana Waheed u din Khan and Javed Ghamidi who grew differences even with thought, the rest were having differences only with methodology and approach. The thought that Moulana preached is yet to be intellectually criticised by his ideological opponents.
Born in 1903 in Aurangabad, in the princely state of Hyderabad in British India, Moudoodi spent his adolescence working as a freelance journalist and grew to be a Muslim philosopher, jurist, journalist and imam. His numerous works, covered a range of disciplines such as Qur’anic exegesis, hadith, law, philosophy and history. To Nadeem Paracha, Moulana Madoodi’s literature has been “a ginormous thing for the Islamic world, what Karl Marx’s literature has been for the communism”. The biggest achievement of Moulana Moudoodi was that he gave a new shape to the Islam in modern times when Islam was unpacked from the minds of the Muslim ummah. He enrolled an Islamic teaching to the minds of the young generation through their own way. It was for his revolutionary though and intellectual contribution that he became the first one to receive “King Faesal Award” in 1979, the year he left for the heavenly abode.
Moulana passed away and left his ideas behind. It was the responsibility of Jamaat e Islami to take forward the agenda of their founder. But it’s unfortunate that after Moudoodi, jamaat failed their founder. Jamaat in whole subcontinent failed to come up with a single scholar who could have taken the thought further and worked out the lacunas. Maulana’s famous book “Purdah” still has data pertaining to western countries of 20th century. The organization failed their founder even in these basic things.
Post script: – We must keep in mind that the positive criticism comes only from the people who care for, thus must be acknowledged with an unbiased approach.
Author hails from Kanispora Baramulla and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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