Jamaat-e-Islami was founded by Syed Abul A’la Maududi, a prolific writer, theologian and social philosopher. Maudoodi was an Islamist revivalist and believed that Islam was a religion that is a complete system of life and that Qur’an is not just another book of religion, but the complete constitution to run the government.
Maududi’s thoughts revolved around the state and he believed that Islam cannot be complete without political power. Along with Muslim Borhterhood of Egypt founded by Hasan al Banna, Jamaat-e-Islami’s whole ideology revolved around state and how to run the state on the pattern it was run during the time of the Prophet Muhammad and then by the four rightly guided caliphs.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has somewhat changed itself from the parent body that was divided into different units including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamaat e Islami Pakistan and Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh at the time of Partition of India.
While discussing its ideology, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind says, “Islam is the ideology of the Jamaat. Its structure is based on its belief on the three-fold concept of the Oneness and sovereignty of God (Monotheism), the Concept of Prophethood and the Concept of Life after Death. From these fundamentals of belief follow the concepts of unity of all mankind, the purposefulness of man’s life, and the universality of the way of life taught by the Holy Prophet”.
Jamaat further says, “Jamaat believes that this world and everything that is in it has been created by the one God. He alone is the Creator and Sustainer of life in all its forms. Not only this; He is the Ruler and the Sovereign, and Omniscient, possesses the sole prerogative, absolute privilege and unfettered right of giving laws to mankind, through Prophets, to regulate the entire mundane activity of man. He has bestowed upon man all faculties and powers, and provided for his needs in the form of goods and services. It is, thus, the duty of man, who is the vicegerent of God on earth, that he should not only worship God but also live his whole life according to His Law and render allegiance to Him, the Lord and the Sovereign”.
It believes in the ‘unity of man’ and believes, “Since all men have been created by the one God, and owe allegiance to Him alone, they are all equal subjects and servants of the Lord. There is no superiority in race and blood. Whoever is God-fearing, pure and pious is the best. Differences of region, race, colour and language do not divide men into separate entities; their essential oneness remains intact. Artificial divisions, geographical or otherwise, are mere matters of convenience. They should not be allowed to stand in the way of mutual understanding, respect and cooperation between man and man. Besides, as the children of Adam (peace be on him), all men belong to the same Family and all are brethren”.
“True guidance as to how to live in this world is among the basic needs of human being. God, Who has provided for every need of man, has not been indifferent to this most pressing need of man. For this purpose, since the dawn of creation, He sent His Messengers, Prophets and Apostles, to guide man to the true way of life. These Messengers appeared at different stages of human history and in different regions of the world. Everywhere they preached the same Message. The Last Messenger of God who bore the Guidance in its most complete and final form was Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him)” says Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
While discussing the universality of the Islamic way of life, JIH says, “The way of life that Prophet Muhammad taught mankind has, thus, been universal in character. It is by no means a property of those who are born in Muslim families. It is a Religion for all mankind, sent by one God, Who is the Lord of them all. It is through faithful acceptance of the Message and sincere and whole-hearted adherence to it in practice that a man becomes true Muslim (i.e., submissive to God) and not by the mere accident of birth”.
While discussing the purpose of life under ideology, JIH says, “Life on earth is to be so organized as to lead to the good of the Hereafter. While worldly life is transient, that of the Hereafter is eternal, and reason demands that the transient should be dedicated to the welfare of the eternal. This does not imply a renunciation of worldly goods and the avoidance of earthly enjoyments. What it calls for is a balanced and harmonious realisation of all the urges of man, material and mundane, as well as moral and spiritual. The Divinely revealed way of life alone enables man to attain this balance and harmony”.
“Such, in brief, are the answers that Islam gives to man’s fundamental questions. Now these answers are not mere abstractions that cease to be of utility the moment they are arrived at. They afford us an understanding of the ends and values of existence, and provide a comprehensive pattern of behaviour. This pattern of behaviour, contrary to popular belief, includes all the aspects of life, the moral and spiritual, as well as the mundane and secular. Islam is not simply a compendium of religious rites and rituals. It is concerned with the overall approach of man to life in all its multiple aspects. The concept of the Hereafter is vital to the Islamic system. But it is only through life on this planet that one attain the Hereafter; and Islam desires to convince human beings that only by a proper ordering of the whole of life on this planet in conformity with the Divine Guidance can they hope to realise their spiritual ambitions”, it further says.
“It is generally admitted that the nature of man’s response to his cosmic surroundings has a profound influence on his entire behaviour. Since Islam determines this response by means of the answers that it provides for man’s questions regarding the nature and destiny of man and his place in the Universe, it can hardly afford to remain indifferent to the pattern of behaviour that grows out of this response” JIH says.
It believes Islam as a way of life and adds, “The principles of Islam relating to the various aspects of life are of two kinds. In certain spheres of life the guidance of Islam is in the nature of certain guiding principles or directives, which presuppose not so much any precise pattern of behaviour as an attitude or spirit. They may be considered fundamental dictates on the basis of which every age can raise its structure of life according to its needs and requirements. Thus, the verse of the Qur’an: “Their decisions are taken after mutual consultation” bears the spirit in which Muslims should approach the problems of polity. So long as the spirit of mutual consultation, which implies discussions, deliberations and advice, is present, Islam does not insist on anyone particular form, but leaves it to the discretion and good sense of its believers to adopt whatever form historically suits their needs, and also conforms to the overall spirit of the Islamic system. In certain other spheres of life the Qur’an does not merely inculcate an attitude or a spirit, but embodies it in a definite form, thus eliminating the possibilities of multiple interpretation”.
It differentiates between islam and Muslim and says, “We admit that the statement of the ideology of Islam and its practical demands, as traced above, are hardly corroborated by a study of existing Muslim societies. It is indeed regrettable that the true Islamic society is nowhere in evidence. Muslims of today generally fail to live up to the noble dictates of Islam. But we submit that it would be equally unfortunate if this failure were interpreted as a reflection on the inadequacy of Divine Guidance. Muslims inhabiting this land and desirous of participating in the noble adventure of rebuilding, should consider it their duty to the country to present through words and deeds those principles and values which being universally true and beneficial, they consider are imperative for the building of a healthy and righteous society”.
“These principles and values are not and never were the sole property of Muslims. They have been the common heritage of all mankind. If they are really good and it is the incontrovertible verdict of human history that they are good no prejudice or historical grievance should be allowed to stand in the way of their adoption. Even now despite our long drawn antagonism to Western Imperialism, we as a nation are engaged in assimilating the essence of all that is good in the Western civilisation. Communism and Socialism, essentially foreign ideologies, are passionately advocated by those of our countrymen who are convinced of their relevance to our present conditions” the Islamist organization says.
It calls Islam a social order saying, “Given this attitude, Islam as a social order has greater claims to unprejudiced consideration. It restates the fundamental teachings of all previous Divinely revealed Scriptures in a complete and reliable manner, shedding all additions and innovations that had become associated with Divine Guidance through the vicissitudes of history. It does not repudiate a single preceding Prophet of God, nor does it controvert the teachings of anyone of them but accepts them all as the galaxy of Divine Messengers, and as links of the same chain. If Muslims have faith in the efficacy of Islam, which has been a potent force for the good of mankind throughout the ages, it is not only the necessary demand of their faith, but also their altruistic duty to propagate its principles, especially at a time when the country is in search of a stable basis for building the edifice of its life”.