IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENS OF INDO-PAK SUBCONTINENT
[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]
The existing Islamic Movements of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have a common ancestry of the Islamic Movement - Jamaat-e-Islami, envisioned and founded by Late Moulana Sayed Abul A'la Maudoodi (May Allah bless his soul
immensely) in August 1941. Maulana Maudoodi ® presented the concept of "Islam as a Deen and a way of life". It was nothing new, but he forcefully advocated it and launched upon the Movement of Jamaat -e-Islami to get the Deen of Allah established as a system in the body politics of the day.
Based on the model set by Rasulullah (S) for Iqamatuddeen, the late Maulana Maudoodi (R) envisioned attaining the aforesaid cherished Goal trough the following process:
1. Searching for the good souls [Saeed Ruhun ke talash] through intensive/extensive, organized and continuous Dawah efforts;
2. Building the team, the Jamaah of like-minded, dependable and trustworthy, brothers and sisters through a comprehensive program of Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah;
3. Reforming the society through fighting against Munkar and establishing the Ma’roof to the extent possible;
4. Reforming the system of the day in proportion to the accumulated strength to be gained through working on the first three points.
This was also the dominant spirit of the Machigoth Ijtima of the Jamaat, held in February 1957. It was a landmark event of the Islamic Movement. Late Moulana Moudoodi (R) himself addressed the Ijtima for about six hours in a stretch, [in response to a three-hour long speech of Dr. Israr Ahmad], explaining the progress of the Jamaat from its very inception, encircling the process it passed through, and elaborating the above points in a threadbare discussion. These points were summed up in a Resolution, which was overwhelmingly adopted by 1015 [out of 1035] Arkan present in that meeting. It advocated a sustained and balanced growth towards the Goal. The most important and the paramount spirit of the Machigoth Ijtimah was that under no circumstances any of the four points of the Resolution would be delayed, suspended, differed or withheld.
[Alhamdulillah, the wrier was one of the participants of that crisis-oriented Ijtimah and he still remembers every bit of it].
Since then, more than 42 years have passed, but all the three Islamic Movements of the Sub-continent of India could not make any headway towards the set Goal of bringing Islam into the body politics of the day. Individually, a lot of Tahreeki brothers and sisters have passed away from the scene, and I am more than sure, they all will get Jannah, the
promised reward from Allah, in proportion to their marvelous efforts and sacrifices in the way of Allah. But the Ummah could not set a model of a modern Islamic society/state anywhere in this world, what-to-say of the sub-continent of India.
It needs an in-depth study of the Islamic Movements of the Sub-continent, pinpointing what has gone wrong, where and to what extent. In this respect, JI Pakistan and JI Bangladesh can be bracketed in one category as the goal and object of both are to get in power through the election process and then change the system of the day in their respective country. The case of JI Hind needs a separate probe, as its approach, historical progress, problems and strategies are different than the other two. The disease in both the cases is different but the cure is only one with somewhat different approach. I will try to assess the condition of each in my humble way, keeping in mind only the best interest of the Ummah and the good of each Movement. My recently concluded study tour of India and Pakistan has encouraged me enormously to undertake this probe.
JI PAKISTAN AND JI BENGLADESH:
Currently, it appears that both JI Pakistan and JI BD are determined to reach to the tentacles of power one way or the other through election process. Their entire activities rotate on this axis. No doubt Dawah, Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah programs are going on at each place one way or the other. Number of Arkan and workers are also increasing but not in a desired number, in proportion to the population of each country.
Further, the available team of workers is not used to reform the society at the grass root level in a sustained and continuous manner, which in itself would have turned into a huge Dawah campaign of an unprecedented magnitude. Without reforming the society and creating an urge for the ideology in the masses, no revolution can see the light of the day including the Islamic one. The abortive, short-lived and casual campaign of mass contact yields only a little, short-lived impact on the society. The prevalent Batil system, if it is not shaken thoroughly and uprooted at the grass- root level through a prolong and constant struggle, the desirable change in the people mind and in the order of the day cannot take place.
Thus the equilibrium and the balanced growth which the spirit of Machigoth Resolution advocated is either ignored or side tracked at both the places for he sake of political maneuverings, strategic expediency and haste to get into power. In this process, both the Movements have transformed themselves into a simple political party. No one’s sincerity is in doubt, however, the goal of Iqamatuddeen has become a distant dream.
WHY IT IS SO:
It is said that since the adoption of the Machigoth Resolution, the socio-economic-political condition of Pakistan has changed tremendously. Time and again martial Law has visited this country. Dictators like Ayyub Khan, Yahya Khan, Z A Bhutto, Ziaul Haq and now General Musharraf have ruled this country according to their whims and desires and forced the country and its people to drift away and propelled gradually and systematically from Islam and democracy towards anarchy, chaos and frustration. The so-called democratic regimes of Benazir Bhutto and that of Nawaz Sharif only added fuel to the burning furnace of corruption. They all helped in a continuous process in getting the country degenerated morally, economically and politically. The lopsided growth of economy has crippled the backbone of the poor and the middle class of the society. Lust for ill-gotten gains, easy money and getting rich overnight is increasing in the society by leaps and bounds. The very genesis on which this society was carved out of India has changed. Hence, the stalwarts of the Jamaat allege that the conditions for Islamic Revolution as envisaged by its founder have changed drastically within the last forty years. So, the change must now be brought from top, as the masses are not responsive to the call of the Islamic Movement in either country. The choice of the masses at the time of election is always found different. It is other than that of Jamaat Islami.
It is a tragedy of a great magnitude that the Islamic Movements both of Pakistan and BD could not create an urge among the masses of the two predominant Muslim countries for the Islamic way of life in terms of the process envisioned by Late Moulana Maudoodi (R). These Movements adopted the course to change the system mostly through the election process and practiced it for about forty years with no hopeful result in sight. Both could not win the confidence of their respective Muslim masses to get popular support in election. Literally, each just got only three assembly seats in the last elections. Unfortunately, the proverb “Dhak key teen pot” stands true for them.
However, it must be noted carefully that both the Islamic Movements have not abandoned the process of Dawah, Tanzeem, Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah and doing some social works here and there in the society. But, unfortunately, this process never reached the magnitude or the extent up to which it should have been carried out in order to get the desired results. Somehow or the other, these basic Dawah programs are going on and will go on forever, even just for the name sake. But the leadership of the Jamaat does not expect much through this process as, in their opinion, the spirit and composition of the society have allegedly changed as depicted above.
Equally, since JI could not make any worth-mentioning headway in the political field, and generate the requisite amount of urge in the masses for Islam even through the election process, so there is little hope that it can come to power only through elections. It appears that JI Pakistan is gradually heading towards building a mass movement for change in the system of the day through some peaceful revolutionary means. It will thus bring the change in the system from top and go down to the masses to get the society changed on the lines as propounded by the Qur’an and demonstrated by Rasulullah (S). Sooner or later JI BD will have to come to the same conclusion.
Thus, JI Pakistan has become a political party both in letter and spirit with some variations from their adversaries to the extent that if it comes to power, it will make genuine efforts to bring Islam as dominant code of conduct. However, this process to establish Islam into dominance creates some pertinent questions that invite the keen attention of the leadership of the Islamic Movement of Pakistan. They have to address them before it becomes too late to get out of the election quagmire and the self-projected revolutionary syndrome.
THE BIG QUESTIONS:
1. The hands that will bring this “mass revolution” into a reality may not be the same as that of today. There may be some different people, product of a prolonged fight. Will they have the requisite knowledge and understanding of Islam and bear that trustworthy Islamic character which is essential to implement Islam in the society as a system of life?
2. If society is not changed through a gradual process and the masses do not develop the urge for Islam, how the situation will be tackled, if they revolt against the Islamic system to be imposed from the top? The history of the Islamic Movement of the sub-continent of India during the nineteenth century confirms this apprehension
3. Establishment of Islam in a given society will come through a clear-cut process as demonstrated by Rasulullah (S). Can any one deviate from it? Is there any short-cut method of Islamic revolution? Can any political expediency change the process and expect the same results?
4. Will the change in process or utilization of short-cut method on account of expediency brings the desired Islamic revolution (as envisioned by the founder of JI or will some other form of government) emerge through that struggle? Will it be Islamic or something like Islamic come out of this “revolutionary process” in the name of Islam?
The leadership of JI Pakistan has to answer these fundamental questions before it jumps deep into its self-created political scenario. It is a radical departure from the original concept of the Islamic revolution and its process. The JI must evaluate its position now lest it becomes too late for it to turn back towards the natural process of Islamic Revolution, which it adopted at its very outset and resurrected in the spirit of the Machigoat Ijtima.
THE ONLY COURSE:
In fact, JI should have followed the prescribed pattern and the process wholeheartedly with its total manpower and material resources ceaselessly. This would have prepared the people of Pakistan to assimilate their political muscles in favor of the Islamic Movement with will, time and resources. The mass movement built by Jamaat in early and mid fifties for the Islamic constitution should not have been given up on the flimsy grounds of future elections but is carried out to its logical conclusion. This was and is the only viable method to prepare the society for Iqamatuddeen. It matters little whether it takes 10, 20, 30 or 50 years to bring the requisite change in the attitude of the masses towards Islam. JI has no choice but to uphold the process of the Islamic revolution as demonstrated by Rasulullah (S) and pinpointed by its founder afresh.
In the wake of the current political changes in Pakistan, JI has now got a lease of time [of about two and a half to three years] to evaluate its policy, re-set its priorities, re-consider its strategies to bring Islam to the people of the land. This period of emergency is a boon in disguise for JI Pakistan to adopt the spirit of Machigoth Resolution and march ahead on the process contains therein. Within a few years time, the transformation of the society will start in right direction. JI will have to re-build its image as an ideological party, consisting of the men of character and integrity. It will gradually amass the confidence and trust of the people, the two essential ingredients to get the political support of the people of the land.
It reminds us an adage of Imam Malik (R) that the reformation [reconstruction] of the Ummah of later ages will be possible only through working on the lines of the first Islamic Revolution [of Rasulullah’s (S) time]. It is the most appropriate time for the leadership of JI Pakistan to evaluate its entire decades-long-struggle in its historical perspective and examine as to where they have gone wrong and from where they have deviated and drifted into the quagmire of political turmoil’s and party-lines bickering. This is the exercise that the existing leadership of JI Pakistan and BD must do otherwise posterity will not forgive them, if the Movement gets lost in the midst of political doldrums, workers get frustrated and the Goal looks like an unthinkable dream. There is still chance for the leadership of JI to salvage its lost position, restore its status and champion its forgotten values. It is Allah’s gifted opportunity that is available NOW to JI Pakistan and it must undertake it forthwith.
THE SPLINTER GROUPS OF JI PAKISTAN:
The discussion about JI Pakistan will not be complete without making a brief survey of its two splinter groups –Tanzeem Islami and Tahreeke Islami.
1. Tanzeeme Islami [TI] was founded by Dr. Israr Ahmad in the wake of Machigoth Ijtima with declaration that it will follow the lines on which JI was founded, keep aloof from the election politics and establish Khilafh Ala Minhaje Nabuwa through the process laid down by Rasulullah (S). It has pinpointed the process of Islamic Revolution through the following stages:
3. Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah
4. Peaceful Resistance
The first three stages are natural for any ideological movement but the subsequent stages to change the society will come through fight against Munkar and establishing Ma’roof. When that stage will come, it depends on the quality and numerical strength of the party workers and supporters. In my recent visit to Lahore, I asked Mohtram Doctor Saheb that when he is going to start the campaign against Munkar? His simple answer was “not yet”. About three decades are going to pass, since the time he started his organized effort in the form of TI to change the system of the land but so far he could not gather the requisite strength to launch upon the campaign to change the society.
The problems of TI or that of Doctor Saheb are different and are mostly of his own creation. His often and on condemnation of Maulana Maudoodi [his mentor], one way or the other, has made the Islam loving people averse to him. His insistence of personal Ba’yah is perhaps the greatest stumbling block towards the expansion of his Tanzeem. As a result, inspite of his very valuable services to the Qur’an and spreading its mission, he could not make much headway either in the intellectuals or in the Muslim masses. Mere holding Qur’anic study classes/sessions and institutions in different forms and magnitude will not make much difference or bring any revolution in the body politics of the country, if the fast deterioration of the society in all directions is not checked within the shortest possible time. No doubt, he has a great logical desire to work with JI but for the reasons stated above and many more, it could not be materialized, inspite of the best efforts by the writer himself. Now he is alone, growing older day by day, feeling sometime frustrated with the developments of events in Pakistan but doing his best to serve Islam and the Muslim Ummah through his Qur’an Academy. He has developed small but a beautiful team of his followers, which may be of use in Pakistan in the development of Islamic Movement in later period.
2. Thareeke-e-Islami: In the wake of political maneuverings of JI in late eighties and early nineties, an old veteran of JI, Mohtram Naeem Siddiqi left JI with a few hundreds of his supporters and formed Tahreeke Islami [TI] of Pakistan. Subsequently, he was ousted from the leadership of TI. Now Moulana Mukhtar Gul heads the TI. It is struggling for Iqamatuddeen as envisaged in the spirit of Machigot Ijtima. Prominent Islamic scholars like Moulana Wasi Mazhar Nadvi have joined this splinter group of JI. It has gathered some enthusiastic ideological workers but nothing can be said positively with certainty at his stage about its future and what part will it play in changing the system of the country. It is still coping with the teething problems of organization, leadership and expansion of its activities.
JAMAAT-E- ISLAMI, HIND:
At the time of the partition of the sub-continent of India, HQ of the Islamic Movement moved to Lahore and it formed JI, Pakistan. Those Arkan who were left behind in India naturally constituted Jamaate Islami, Hind in a very difficult, trying and adverse circumstances. May Allah bless the past leadership of JI Hind who struggled hard with patience and Hikmah and piloted the Islamic Movement of India from troubled waters of secular, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim policies of India to safe harbors of self-existence and self-reliance. It took years and decades to get into self-confidence and propagate Islam to the people of the land as the only way of life to believe and practice. Thus the formation, the complexion and the growth of JI Hind are quite different than that of JI Pakistan. It only once faced emergency for a couple of years. As a result, democracy and democratic process are well established in India and the Justices uphold the rule of law as and when approached.
Fifty-three years have passed since its inception but there is no change in its policy, program, priorities and strategies. JI Hind is enthusiastically busy in searching for good souls [Sayeed ruhun ki Talash] both from the Muslim and the non-Muslim population of the land through its extensive and intensive Dawah efforts. It is building valuable character in those who are responding to its call in a continuous process. Meanwhile, it has introduced the Qur’an and other basic Islamic literature to the people of the land in about fourteen national and regional languages. Islam has now been brought to the doorsteps of different people speaking different languages throughout India. This was the most basic need of the IM of India and, Alhamdulillah; JI Hind has done it and will continue to do more in this domain to meet the growing challenges of time.
In this process, they have collected the requisite Team of dedicated, devoted and committed brothers and sisters [in quality not in numbers] and, Insha Allah, will go on multiplying in both directions day in and day out. This team is scattered throughout India but it has great impact in the southern regions.
THE STATE OF STAGNANCY:
Dawah, organization, Tarbiyah, Tazkiyah and doing some humanitarian services [Khidmat-e-Khalq] are not end by themselves. These are the means to build an organized Team of Da’ees for onward onslaught on the edifice of the Batil to get the society reformed. This team should have a clear, categorical and set goal before it to attain as ordained by Allah (SWT) in Verse 104 of Al-Imran:
“ And that there might grow out of you a community [of people - a Jamaah] who invite unto all that is good, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing the doing of what is wrong: and it is they who will attain to a happy state!”
[The Qur’an. 3: 104]
This Team of Da’ees has a clear-cut assignment from Allah (SWT):
1. To work enthusiastically in the field of Dawah Ilallah and go on multiplying its strength both numerically as well as qualitatively;
2. To be involved at their respective local levels in getting the society reformed in close cooperation with and help of the people of the area. In this respect, the workers of JI should take initiative, earmark the local burning issues and problems, educate the area people about its dire consequences on their children, families and the society, launch upon meet-the-people campaign: explaining its common benefit through individual and group contacts/discussions, making the campaign as people’s struggle, seeking volunteers and funds from the people and carrying out the campaign to its logical conclusion where either the Munkar is removed or eradicated from the society. In consequence, such campaigns will introduce JI in a different color as the servant of the people and savior of mankind. It will give immense opportunities of Dawah Ilallah to the workers. Such Dawah opportunity of intensive/extensive mass contact would never come through individual contact program, mass rallies and distribution of literature in bulk. Within a few years time, Jamaat will carve out a place in the hearts of the people as their savior.
If JI Hind does not open up itself through the above process and becomes the need of the people, it appears that soon it may encounter a state of stagnancy. Workers may become indolent and feel frustrated. Its growth rate may start showing diminishing return. That is why it is essential that before it reaches that state, it should move ahead in a planned manner and used its man power [the team of Da’ees] for the aforesaid assignment from Allah. This process will ultimately open the door of political activism for JI in its most natural form. Within a few years, the JI will multiply its strength manifold in all directions. This issue-oriented meet-the-people campaign can first be started at selected places where the manpower is sufficient for a prolong and sustained struggle. Ultimately it will serve as model for other places.
[I wish JI Pakistan could follow the same strategy to change the society and the system of the land in due course of time with definite and calculated steps in right direction, akin and integrated with the ideological make up of the Jamaat].
3. Simultaneously, there is another important field in which JI HIND can play marvel and introduce itself as the most constructive and visionary political force of the country. From amongst its talented and highly educated workers, JI could select a team of experts in important fields like Population explosion, financial and banking system, ecological and environmental problems, urban growth of population, health and social injustices, cast system and waste of time, talents and energy in terms of production hours and loss to public finances, minorities contribution to growth and finances of the country, lopsided growth of economy, solution of Poverty and the part that Zakah could play in it, etc., etc.,
The experts of different departments could make an in-depth study of each issue. The Jamaat could then issue White Papers of its findings, recommending suggestions towards improvement and pinpointing the loses which the county has suffered and is likely to suffer. Each paper would have been thought provoking, and created a great attraction to the people of the land. The leadership of the Jamaat would have presented these papers to the stalwarts of pary in power and others through a well-organized publicity forum. After some time the intelligentsia of the country, the socio-economic-political activists would have looked towards Jamaat and its leadership for guidance on the burning issues of the time. It would have created an enormous amount of goodwill among the people of the land. It would have brought the Jamaat in thick and thin of political activism and transform it into a recognized political identity.
4. At some later stage, when work on the first three points gets in full swing in the country, Jamaat should and must resolve to go through the election process, fist ONLY on some selected seats in the country where the work of the Jamaat has really gone deep into the masses at the grass-roots level and it has won over the confidence of the people of the land through its services.
At present, it appears that JI Hind may soon reach to a state of stagnancy. Its growth is lopsided. No doubt it is, Alhamdulillah, doing well in the field of Dawah Ilallah to the people of the land. It has developed a marvelous system of Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah, especially for its youth. It has developed a comprehensive Dawah program to reach out the people of the land. But it is only one side of the picture.
Jamaat stands for Iqamatuddeen. If it continues to work only on the aforesaid lines - Dawah, Tarbiyah and Tanzeem, it will never become a political identity, even if it continues to work for centuries together like this. What is, then, the difference between JI and Tablighi Jamaat? TJ is avers to Political concept of Deen and its terminology’s and has no program to change the system at all whereas JI has all the concepts but not the will to change the system, standing in a state of hesitancy. From the practical point of view both stand in the same category with difference of some degrees only. In my humble opinion, it is a big question for the leadership of JI Hind to ponder upon. The attitude of hesitancy is likely to make the Jamaat stagnant and the stagnant water only stinks in due course of time, if it does not get any outlet. The outlet of JI Hind is to come into election process by closely and systematically working on the first three points as discussed above.
CONCLUSION: I may be pronounced as a layman by the stalwarts of JI at Lahore and Delhi but I have been a keen student of the Islamic Movements of Indo-Pak sub-continent, Middle East, Africa and America for the last fifty Years. I have put down my observations in this paper in all humbleness and utmost sincerity for the leadership of JI Pakistan and JI Hind. It is up to them to accept it or throw it into cold storage. In either case, history will give its verdict soon. The path to get the centuries old dream of this Ummah fulfilled is still wide open and, currently, there is no Islamic Movement in sight to bridge the gap and struggle ceaselessly to attain the Goal of Iqamatuddeen through “democratic process” which is not Haram as the “democracy” itself.
The Islamic Movements have a big responsibility on their shoulders. They have to work hard to establish a model Islamic state somewhere on the surface of the earth for mankind to think over the practicality of Islam as a system of life to follow. The process is an open secret as capsuled in the adage of Imam Malik (R), propounded by Late Moulana Maudoodi ® through his valuable writings and speeches and as demonstrated by Rasulullah (S) through his 23 years long struggle for Iqamatuddeen. These are the milestones for the Islamic Movements of the day. If they deviate, cut-short the process and do not practice in its totality, they are bound to end, sooner or later, in a fiasco.
May Allah give courage, political wisdom, sagacity and Tawfeeq to the leadership of the Islamic Movements of Indo-Pak Sub-Continent and that of the world to make every and all efforts towards establishment of His Deen in the body-politics of their respective countries! May Allah pave their way to accomplish their goal through right channels and making right decisions at right time! May Allah shower His Nusrah on each of them! And the Nusrah is just waiting on the horizon. It is in waiting for those who can invoke it in rightful manner. Ameen!
Shamim A Siddiqi
Dated: Dec 19/27, 1999