By Abdul-Majid Jaffry, Garden Grove, CA
The earlier part of the twentieth century has witnessed a turmoil in the Islamic world. The Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. Most of the Muslim countries were under colonial rule. The intellectual and political dominance of the West nearly destroyed the vitality of a Muslim mind and turned it against its own religious, cultural, and historical heritage. Many persons in the different parts of the Muslim world confronted the challenge, and fought to unshackle the Muslim body and mind from Western slavery. In the Indian Subcontinent, a few rose to revive the vitality and confidence of the Muslim people. Among them Maulana Shibli Numani, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, and Maulana Abul Ala Maududi were the most prominent. They came forward with constructive thought and vision to renew Muslims sense of identification with their religion, culture and historical heritage. These vanguards of Muslim India believed that the revival of Islam is the only way to save Muslims from sliding into abyss of the world of self destruction, and to that end they made contributions that left indelible impressions on the people and politics of the region. The forces, moral and intellectual, organized over a period of time by these men, by gradual process of growth, culminated into a movementPakistan Movement. Pakistan Movement was based on the theory that Muslims are entirely separate people from Hindus in every respect. They form an ideological community with divine guidance for every field of human life, and it is a dictate of their faith to establish a state where they can rule according to the law revealed by the Almighty. This theory is popularly known as two-nation theory. Under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the movement, in less than a decade gave birth to Pakistan The man who is most credited as an intellectual force behind the two-nation theory and a front against united Indian nationalism is Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. In the following lines, we intend to examine his contributions, as political thinker, in the face of the opposition launched by the nationalists against the two nation theory, Maulana Maududi was one of the most vigor crusaders for the cause of Islam the Muslim world has seen in the recent history. Few men have worked as relentlessly to give the practical shape to the guidance embodied in the Quran and the Sunnah as Maulana has done. He was scholar, reformer, revolutionary leader, and an Islamic thinker. His belief that preaching, printed literature, and even Islamic education is of little avail unless Islam can be implemented practically in a full blooded Islamic state was behind the fervor with which he argued for the two-nation theory. Maulana Maududis greatest contribution of the time was that he made Muslims cognizant of their identity and raised in them a fervor to organize their polity on the principles of Islam. While Quaid-i-Azm Mohammad Ali Jinnah was mustering the forces to fight the Hindus and the British for a Muslim homeland, a group of nationalist Muslims were undermining his efforts by pedling the congress theme of one country, one nation. Unfortunately, among the nationalist Muslims, there were many ulema. A few of them had selfish reasons, but many were misled by their inability to look at the Hindu-Muslim problem in a thorough and comprehensive way. These ulema came to be known as Congressite ulema. They preached Indian nationalism in their speeches and writings as a gospel of truth. Muslim League, against the outpouring of the learned and pious, found itself in the corner with little argument to defend its two-nation theory. Maulana Maududi came to their rescue. Maulana, through his extremely prolific writings, built a conceptual framework for Muslims to analyze the claim of Indian nationalists, He showed that the independence of India will not be the independence of Muslims people. For Muslims, being in minority, independence would only mean a change in masters, British will be replaced by the Hindus and that would be no independence for Muslims. Maulanas writings had aroused Muslims feelings that they were a nation by themselves and cannot be integrated with Hindus. Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, a noted historian, writes: Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudis careful analysis of the policies of the Indian National Congress opened many eyes. It did not win him too many adherents and followers, but it did serve the purpose of turning sincere and intelligent Muslims away from the Congress who mostly swelled the ranks of the Muslim League as followers of Quaid-i-Azam. (Ulema in Politics, Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, Mareef limited, Karachi, 1974, p. 3391.) Here, it would not be inappropriate to briefly outline the background and psychology behind congressite ulemas wanting in acumen and lack of insight into contemporary affairs which led them to swallow the hook, line and sinker thrown at them by Hindu Congress. They lived in ivory towers, and were oblivious to the changes that were taking place just outside of their Khanqahs secluded life of religious seminaries and an age long observed custom of taqlid (following a certain school of thought) deprived them of dynamism and turned their minds and hearts prisoners of their own doctrines. Religious knowledge and social sciences were separated which led to bifurcation of religious and profane world. As result, the graduates of religious seminaries were impoverished in the knowledge of politics, social sciences, economics, and international relations, which greatly restricted the insight into contemporary affairs. More sadly, mainly due to the shackles of age long traditional thinking, their capacity to apply the Quran and Sunnah to arrive to a solution to a modern problem (ijtihad) became stagnant. However, there were ulema, such as Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi among others, who were urbane, knowledgeable, and with insight in the national and international affairs, but they were few and far apart. The task of Maulana Maududi and others who were fighting the ideological war against Congress one-nation theory became massive and complex when the leading lights of religious seminaries swallowed the sugar-coated doctrine of Indian nationalism and wrote books and gave zealous speeches to convince Muslims to throw their lot with the Indian National Congress and give up their struggle for an independent Muslim state. Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni, a great religious scholar of Deoband, was the leader of the Deoband Congressite ulema. He, in support of Indian nationalism wrote a book, Mutahhedah qoomiyat aur Islam (united nationalism and Islam). The burden of the preaching of Maulana Madnis book was that the Muslims living in India were part of the monolithic Indian nation. He juxtaposed Muslims and Hindus into one nation, which brought strong condemnation from Allama Iqbal. He expressed his anger in a couplet in these words: Deoband produced Husain Ahmad, what monstrosity is this? He chanted from the pulpit that nations are created by countries. What an ignoramus regarding the position of Muhammad. Maulana Madni indulged in willful distortion of Quranic verses, prophets traditions, and history to propound his theory of united nationalism. His book proved a boon for Congress to counter Muslim Leagues claim to a separate nationhood. Maulana Maududi, an ardent proponent of two-nation theory, wrote a series of article to expose the fallacy of Maulana Madnis position on united nationalism. He exhorted that Muslims were a distinct community and could not be submerged with Hindus without compromising the foundation of their faith. He pointed out that the united nationalism is a trap of deception which would lead to an utter destruction of the collective identity of Muslims. Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, impressed by Maulana Maududis full dress rebuttal, writes: In fact Mawlana Mawdudis rejoinder was so logical, authoritative, polite, and devastating that it was beyond the capacity of supporter of a united nationhood to counter. Mawlana Mawdudis superior scholarship, his telling arguments, his logic and his knowledge of modern concepts in political science and law made it impassible for the Jamiat group to answer his contentions. In fact Mufti Kifayat ul-llah who was a faqih (a jurist) and, of the demand of logic and academic debate and, therefore more cognizant advised his colleagues against any attempt to continue the discussion, because he opined that Mawlana Mawdudi was in right and there was no point in attempting to defend the indefensible. (see Ulema in Politics, page 351, 352) Muslim League had an attractive slogan of two-nation theory, but had no literature to convince the nationalist Muslims/Congressite ulema, the Hindus, and the British of the validity of its theory. Between 1937-39 Maulana Maududi wrote two remarkable books, masla-i-quwmiyat (The problem of nationalism), and Musalman awr mawjudah siyasi kashmakash (Muslims and the present political crisis). These two books provided Muslim League with the much needed intellectual ammunition to fight the nationalist movement. Study of these books were once considered a must for the leaders of Muslim League. It can be said with confidence that Maulanas articles and books were landmarks in the path of struggle for Pakistan.
Courtesy : ((http://www.pakistanlink.com/community/8-16-96-07.html)) (November,1997)