By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
The concept of modern Islamic state that goes completely against the Qur’anic notion of Islam is attributed to Maulana Maududi who coined and popularized the term “Islamic revolution” in the 1940s and published his subsequent writings to incite his followers to establish an Islamic state wherever they live. Maududi believed that democracy transfers Hakimiyat-e-Ilah (God’s sovereignty) to the people, so it should be seen as antithetical to the Islamic principles of law and governance. He advocated establishing an Islamic state where the so-called “Islamic Jihad” should be incumbent upon every Muslim until the authority of God is established on the entire earth, where the rights of non-Muslims would be limited and they would not be permitted to practice the faith, rituals of worship or social customs “which fatally affect the public interest from the viewpoint of Islam”, where “Islamic Jihad” would not recongnise their right to administer state affairs, because, he believed, their access to governance is an evil, and every evil must be eradicated by Muslims by force and arms, as laid out in the writings of Maulana.
In his book on “Jihad”, he exhorts Muslims to fight such an “evil” by force and go to the extent of laying down their life, possessions, powers, wealth and health in the fight against “evil forces of the world”. He says: “But the most important – indeed the most basic – ideal of the revolutionary doctrines of that “Revolutionary Party” known as Muslims is to expand all the powers of the body and soul, life and possessions, in the fight against the evil forces of the world; not so that, having annihilated them, we should step into their shoes, but so that evil and contumacy may be eradicated and Allah’s Law enforced on earth. This is the significance of Jihad fi Sabilillah, Jihad for the cause of Allah.”
After reading the above excerpt from Maulana Maududi’s book, it should not be difficult to see what the essence of Islamic Jihad in his view was. Much against the view of mainstream Islamic scholars of the Muslim world who look at “Jihad fi Sabilillah” as a defensive struggle against oppression and tyranny, Maulana Maududi declared Jihad to be an offensive war on non-Muslims, both combatants and civilians, aimed at establishing the sovereignty of God on earth.
He writes in his book: “Jihad in Islam”: “the terms “offensive” and “defensive”, which are usually applied to definitions of warfare, are not at all applicable in the case of Islamic Jihad. These terms are relevant only in the context of wars between nations and countries, for technically speaking, the terms “attack” and “defence” can only be used with reference to a country or a nation.” He further elaborates his point: “The division of Islamic Jihad into “offensive” and “defensive” is not permissible. Islamic Jihad is both offensive and defensive at one and the same time. It is offensive because the Muslim party attacks the rule of an opposing ideology, and it is defensive because the Muslim Party is constrained to capture state power in order to protect the principles of Islam in space-time forces.” (Maulana Maududi: Jihad in Islam)
Despite Maulana Maududi’s view on offensive Jihad, the reality is that, the mainstream Islamic scholars, including those from the early Islamic period, have been of the opinion that Islam permits only defensive jihad. A number of moderate Islamic scholars, in recent past, have seconded the same view. The most noted among them were Shaikh Muhammad al-Ghazali, the renowned Egyptian scholar, Mufti Muhammad Abduh and his disciple Shaikh Rashid Rida, Abdur Rahman Azam, Allama Mustafa Sibai, Ahmad Amin, Mahmud Aqqad and the famous Indian scholar Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, Shibli Numani etc. Even the Egyptian Islamic scholar Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is known for his Salafist influence and attachment with the Muslim Brotherhood, also shares the same view, as is outlined in his book “Fiqh al-Jihad” (the Jurisprudence of Jihad), which has triggered a considerable debate in the Arab world. Following the moderate Islamic scholars, the adherents of mainstream Islam subscribe to the doctrine of defensive jihad and they believe that the rationale (illat) of waging a war in the early Islamic period was the aggression or offensive attack from the infidels and deniers, not just their infidelity or denial of the truth (kufr). The holy Quran contains a great number of the verses that establishes the very perspective of the mainstream Muslims on Jihad. Here are a few of them:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors” (2:190)
“[And] fight the Pagans all together as they fight you all together” (9: 36)
“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid” (22:39).
On the contrary, Maulana Maududi’s stand on Jihad is quite different. Declaring it of the offensive nature, he holds that the objective of jihad should be to topple all the “un-Islamic” governments in order to establish Hakimiyat-e-Ilah (Sovereignty of God). He goes on, writing in the same book: “fighting in the way of Allah” refers to the struggle for the establishment of Allah’s just order in the world. The fighter in the way of Allah aims to abide by the law of Allah himself, and to enforce it among other human beings. In connection with this, the Holy Qur’an says: “That Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not highhandedness on earth. And the End is (best) for the righteous.” (Al-Qur’an 28:83)”
Interestingly, Maulana has connected his personal view with a Qur’anic verse that totally denies his argument and makes it paradoxical and self-contradictory. The above verse, as translated and interpreted by the mainstream Islamic scholars and Quran exegetes, says that Almighty Allah will grant paradise to only those people who do not want to establish their supremacy on the earth ( لاَ يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوّاً فِى الاٌّرْض), nor cause corruption by committing sins (وَلاَ فَسَاداً), because the paradise is for those who have taqwa (piety and righteousness) (وَالْعَـقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ). None of the words in this verse hints at establishing an Islamic state in the name of Hakmiyat-e-Ilah (Sovereignty of God).
But Maulana Maududi and his extremist ideological supporters today are hell-bent on inferring a paradoxical conclusion from this verse, much against the interpretation of this verse by even the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), the people who comprehended the Holy Quran the best due to their companionship with the receiver of the message, the Holy Prophet pbuh. Imam Ibn Kathir who wrote a famous commentary on the Qur’an (Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim) linking certain Hadiths, or sayings of Muhammad, and sayings of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet pbuh) to verses of the Qur’an in explanation, and which is now one of the most widely used exegesis of the Qur’an all over the Muslim world, and especially among Muslims in the Western world, writes explaining this verse:
“In this verse, Allah tells us that He has made the home of the Hereafter, and its eternal delights which will never change or fade away, for His believing, humble servants who do not rebel against the truth with pride and oppression in the land, and who do not exalt themselves above the creatures of Allah, arrogantly oppressing them and spreading corruption among them. Ikrimah said that this phrase referred to haughtiness and arrogance. Ibn Jurayj said: “it means those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land, nor cause corruption by committing sins.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Hazrat Ali (r.a) said, “If a man wants the straps of his sandals to be better than the straps of his companion’s sandals, then he is one of those referred to in this verse.” This is understood to mean that if his intention is to show off and appear better than others, then that is to be condemned, as it is reported in the Sahih that the Prophet said: The blessings of the Hereafter are for the humble believers”. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: http://mquran.org/content/view/8198/2/)
Here, the question arises as to who are the humble believers to be entitled to enter paradise, whether those who attain personal relationship with God and engage in good deeds of righteousness and piety to achieve salvation in the eternal life, or those who relentlessly fight other fellow human beings and lay down their life, possessions and power of body and mind to establish their own state and governance (in the name of sovereignty of God) in this temporary world? The answer to this question is not difficult to find now when we have read the above Qur’anic verse and the authentic Hadiths quoted in its explanation.