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10 February 2010updated 24 Sep 2015 10:46am

Sayyid Abul-A’la Maududi

The Islamist politician and leader of the righteous vanguard.

By Ian K Smith

Maududi was the first of the Islamic revivalists to develop a wide-ranging ideology through the Jamaat-e-Islami, the party that he founded in Lahore in 1941. Party branches and student arms now exist in Pakistan, India, Kashmir and Sri Lanka.

Maulana Maududi, as he is sometimes called, was one of the first Muslims to equate religious devotion with political obedience, through Jamaat-e-Islami. Maududi wished, as did Sayyid Qutb, to establish a true Islamic society. He agreed with Qutb that civilisation was torn between the forces of Islam and jahiliyah, or ignorance, and that Islamic law was central to a just society.

In this quest, Maududi sought a vanguard of religious intellectuals to transform society through education, spreading Islamic teachings as widely as possible. This vanguard became the Jamaat. After the creation of Pakistan, the party focused its efforts on making sure the Islamic republic lived up to its name.

On the need for Islamic law:

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That if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the sharia, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrow them from any other source in disregard of the sharia, such a society breaks its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called “Islamic”.

Next: Ayatollah Khomeini (d.1989)

Previous: Ali Shari’ati (d.1977)

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