Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan

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This article is about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. For other organisations with similar names, see Jamaat-e-Islami (disambiguation).
The Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan
Founder Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi
Ameer Siraj ul Haq[1]
General Secretary Liaqat Baloch
Naib Ameer Khurshid Ahmed,
Mian Muhammad Aslam,
Rashid Naseem,
Asad ullah Bhutto,
Hafiz Muhammad Idress.
Founded 26 August 1941 (1941-08-26)
Headquarters Mansoorah, Lahore, Pakistan
Ideology Islamic democracy
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation Muslim Brotherhood
Colors Green, white, blue
National Assembly
4 / 342
KPK Assembly
8 / 124
Election symbol

Jamaat-e-Islami (Urdu: جماعتِ اسلامی, JI) is a social conservative, and Islamist political party. Its objective is to make Pakistan an Islamic state, governed by Sharia law, through gradual, legal, political process.[2](p122) The JI strongly objects to and opposes concepts such as capitalism, liberalism, socialism and secularism, as well as economic practices such as offering bank interest. The JI is a vanguard party: its members form an elite, with "affiliates" and then "sympathizers" beneath them. The party leader is called an ameer.[3](p70) Although it does not have a large popular following, the party is quite influential and considered one of the major movements of Islam in Pakistan, along with Deobandi and Barelvi.[4]

The JI came to its modern foundation in Lahore in 1941 in British India by the Muslim theologian and socio-political philosopher, Abul Ala Maududi.[5] In 1947, JI moved its operations to West-Pakistan after Independence.[6](p223)(Members who remained in India, formed an independent organisation called Jamaat-e-Islami Hind).

In 1971, during the Bangladesh Liberation War, JI opposed the independence of Bangladesh. However, in 1975, it established a new branch, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami in the new nation. Other offshoots of Jamaat-e-Islami, (which split into separate independent organizations following the Partition of India in 1947) include Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in India, and Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir in Jammu & Kashmir. The JI maintains close ties with these and other international Muslim groups.[2](p171)


Growth of JIP[7]
Year Members
Sympathizers and workers
1941 75 (unknown)
1951 659 2913
1989 5723 305,792
2003 16,033 4.5 million
SOURCE: Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World (2004)[7]

Syed Abul A'la Maududi[edit]

Jamaat-e-Islami's founder and leader until 1972, was Abul A'la Maududi, a widely read Islamist philosopher and political commentator, who wrote about the role of Islam in South Asia.[8] His thought was influenced by many factors including the Khilafat Movement; Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's ascension at the end of the Ottoman Caliphate; and the impact of Indian Nationalism, the Indian National Congress and the Hinduism on Muslims in India. He supported what he called "Islamization from above", through an Islamic state in which sovereignty would be exercised in the name of Allah and Islamic law (sharia) would be implemented. Mawdudi believed politics was "an integral, inseparable part of the Islamic faith, and that the Islamic state that Muslim political action seeks to build" would not only be an act of piety but would also solve the many (seemingly non-religious) social and economic problems that Muslims faced.[9][10]

Maududi opposed British rule but also opposed the Muslim nationalist movement (nationalism being un-Islamic) and (at first) their plan for a circumscribed "Muslim state". Maududi agitating instead for an "Islamic state" covering the whole of India[9]—this despite the fact Muslims made up only about one quarter of India's population.

In 1940, at the time of the Pakistan Resolution, Maududi taught that Pakistan was destined to be an Islamic missionary nation. This was in comparison to scholars of the Indian Congress who promoted the formation of a sub-continent united against British rule. To Maududi, a united sub-continent would be worse than British rule. He likened the Congress to Robert Clive, and Arthur Wellesley, and Muslim followers of the Congress to collaborators like Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq. He compared nationalism and communism to the Shuddhi movement. Maududi criticised Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, alleging that he opposed religion, was an enemy of any division on basis of faith and planned to merge Islam into the Hindu faith.

Maududi also criticised the nationalist, Husain Ahmad Madani for promoting unity through a combined governance and justice system or a majority based political system. The Joint Secretary of the All India Muslim League and expert in constitutional law and Islam, Zafar Ahmed Ansari, supported Maududi's stance.


Jamaat-e-Islami was founded on 26 August 1941, at Islamia Park, Lahore,[6](pli) before the Partition of India. JI began as a Islamist social and political movement. Seventy-five people attended the first meeting and became the first 75 members of the movement.

Maududi saw his group as a vanguard of Islamic revolution following the footsteps of early Muslims who gathered in Medina to found an Islamic state.[9][10] JI was and is strictly and hierarchically organized in a pyramid-like structure, working toward the common goal of establishing an ideological Islamic society, particularly though educational and social work, under the leadership of its emirs (commanders or leaders).[7] As a vanguard party, its fully-fledged members (arkan) are intended to be leaders and devoted to the party, but there is also a category of much more numerous sympathizers and workers (karkun).

The emir is obliged by the party constitution to consult an assembly called the shura. The JI also developed sub-organizations, such as those for women and students.[7] JI began by volunteering in refugee camps; performing social work; opening hospitals and medical clinics and by gathering the skins of animals sacrificed for Eid-ul-Azha.

Abul ala Maududi


Following the Partition of India, Maududi and JI migrated from East Punjab to Lahore in Pakistan. There they volunteered to help the thousands of refugees pouring into the country from India[11]—performing social work; opening hospitals and medical clinics; and by gathering the skins of animals sacrificed for Eid-ul-Azha.

During the prime-ministership of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (July 1946 - August 1947), JI argued for a separate voting system for different religious communities. Suhrawardy convened a session of the National Assembly at Dhaka and through an alliance with Republicans, his party passed a bill for a mixed voting system.

In 1953, JI led "direct action" against the Ahmadiyya, who the JI believed should be declared non-Muslims. In March 1953 riots in Lahore started leading to looting, arson and the killing of at least 200 Ahmadis and the declaration of selective martial law. The military leader, Azam Khan had Maududi and Rahimuddin Khan arrested and sentenced to death for sedition (writing anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets). Maududi preferred martyrdom over clemency. However, under public pressure, his death sentence was commuted to life in prison and eventually annulled. Many JI supporters were imprisoned during this time. The fight continued until the Constitution of Pakistan of 1956, which JI supported, was adopted by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali .

In 1958, JI formed an alliance with Abdul Qayyum Khan (Muslim League) and Chudhary Muhammad Ali (Nizam-e-Islami party). The alliance destabilised the presidency of Iskander Mirza (1956 - 1958) and Pakistan returned to martial law. The military ruler, the president Muhammad Ayub Khan (1958 - 1964), banned political parties and warned Maududi against continued political activism. JI supported the opposition party, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). In the 1964 - 1965 presidential elections, JI supported the opposition leader, Fatima Jinnah.

In 1965, during the Indo-Pakistani war, JI supported the government's call for jihad, presenting patriotic speeches on Radio Pakistan and seeking support from Arab and Central Asian countries. The group resisted Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Maulana Bhashani's socialist program of the time.

JI's political platform for the 1970 general election, advocated political freedom of the provinces and Islamic law based on the Quran and Sunnah. There would be separation of the powers (judiciary and legislature); basic rights for minorities (such as equal employment opportunities and the Bonus Share Scheme allowing factory workers to own shares in their employers' companies); and a policy of strong relationships with the Muslim world. Just prior to the election, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan left the alliance leaving JI to run against the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami League. JI won four seats in the national assembly and four in the provincial assembly.

JI opposed the Awami League East Pakistani separatist movement.[2](p100) Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba organised the Al-Badar to fight the Mukti Bahini (Bengali liberation forces). In 1971, during the Bangladesh liberation war, JI members may have collaborated with the Pakistani army in the killing and raping of Bengali civilians.[12][13][14]

In 1972, Maududi resigned citing poor health. In October 1972, the Majlis-e-Shoura (council) elected Mian Tufail Mohammad (1914 - 2009), the new leader of JI.

Mian Tufail Mohammad[edit]

Mian Tufail Muhammad

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1973 - 1977) attempted to suppress JI through the assassination of Nazir Ahmed and the imprisonment and victimisation of JI and Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba members. There were electoral irregularities at the 1975 elections with JI members being arrested in order to prevent them from lodging their nomination papers.[2](p120) However, by 1976, JI had 2 million registrants.

In 1977, Maududi, who had been arrested, called on Islamist parties to commence a campaign of civil disobedience. The Sunni led government of Saudi Arabia intervened to secure Maududi's release from prison warning of revolution in Pakistan. JI assisted the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) to oust Bhutto and met with Zia-ul-Haq for ninety minutes on the night before Bhutto was hanged.[2](p139)

Initially, JI supported the president, General Zia-ul-Haq (1977 - 1987).[2](p123) In turn, Zia's use of Islamist rhetoric gave JI importance in public life beyond the size of its membership.[15] According to journalist Owen Bennett Jones, JI was the "only political party" to offer Zia "consistent support" and was rewarded with jobs for "tens of thousands of Jamaat activists and sympathisers", giving Zia's Islamic agenda power "long after he died."[16]

However, Zia failed to deliver timely elections and was dictatorial. When Zia banned student unions, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba and pro-JI labor unions protested. However, JI did not participate in the Pakistan Peoples Party's Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. JI also supported Zia's Jihad against the Soviet War in Afghanistan and became part of the Peshawar seven.[6](p272) Such conundrums caused tension in JI based on conflict between ideology and politics.[8](p104)[15]

In 1987, Mian Tufail declined further service as head of JI for health reasons and Qazi Hussain Ahmad was elected.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad[edit]

In 1987, when Zia died, the Pakistan Muslim League formed the right-wing alliance, Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).[15](p180) In 1990 when Nawaz Sharif came to power, JI boycotted the cabinet on the basis that the Pakistan Peoples' Party and the Pakistan Muslim League were problematic to equal degrees.

In the election of 1993, JI won three seats. In this year, JI was a member of the newly formed All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) which promotes the independence of Jammu and Kashmir from India.[6](p26) Prior to this, JI had allegedly set up the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a Kashmir liberation militia to oppose the Kashmir Liberation Front which fights for the complete independence of the Kashmir region.[6](p127)

Ahmad left his position in the Senate in protest against corruption.[3] JI then boycotted the 1997 election and therefore lost representation in parliament. However, the party remained politically active, for example, protesting the arrival of the Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in Lahore.

In 1999, Pervez Musharraf took power in a military coup. JI, at first, welcomed the general but then objected when Musharraf began to make secular reforms and then again in 2001, when Pakistan joined War on terrorism, alleging Musharraf had betrayed the Taliban. JI condemned the events of 11 September 2001 but equally condemned the US when Afghanistan was entered.[3](p69) Some members of Al Quaida, for example, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, were arrested in Pakistan in homes owned by supporters of JI.[17][18]

In 2002, JI made an alliance of religious parties called Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) (United Council of Action) and won 53 seats, including most of those representing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.[6] JI continued its opposition to the War on terrorism, particularly the presence of American troops and agencies in Pakistan. JI also called for restoration of judiciary.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad gave his resignation from the National Assembly when visiting the camp of victims of an attack in Lal Masjid.

In 2006, JI opposed the Women's Protection Bill saying it did not need to be scrapped but instead, be applied in a fairer way and more and be more clearly understood by judges. Ahmed said,

"Those who oppose [these] laws are only trying to run away from Islam...These laws do not affect women adversely. Our system wants to protect women from unnecessary worry and save them the trouble of appearing in court."[2](p145)

Samia Raheel Qazi, MP and daughter of Ahmed stated,

"We have been against the bill from the start. The Hudood Ordinance was devised by a highly qualified group of Ulema, and is beyond question".

Sayyed Munawer Hassan[edit]

In 2008, JI and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf again boycotted the elections. Ahmad declined reelection and Syed Munawar Hassan became ameer.

Siraj ul Haq[edit]

Siraj ul Haq

On 30 March 2014, Siraj ul Haq became ameer.[1] He resigned from his role as senior minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This coincided with a drone attack on Madrassa, Bajour Agency.


JI provides unions for doctors, teachers, lawyers, farmers, workers and women, for example, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) and Islami Jamaat-e-Talibaat (its female branch)[6](p181) a Students' union and Shabab e Milli, a youth group.

The party has a number of publications from affiliated agencies such as Idara Marif-e-Islami, Lahore, the Islamic Research Academy, Karachi, Idara Taleemi Tehqeeq, Lahore, the Mehran Academy, and the Institute of Regional Studies.

The "Islami Nizamat-e-Taleem" led by Abdul Ghafoor Ahmed, is an educational body that includes 63 Baithak schools. Rabita-ul-Madaris Al-Islamia supports 164 JI Madrasas. JI also operates the "Hira Pakistan Project" and "Al Ghazali Trust". The Al-Khidmat Foundation is JI's humanitarian NGO. Its predecessor, organised in the mid 1990s was the Al-Khidmat Trust. The foundation administers schools, women's vocational centres, adult literacy programs, hospitals and mobile chemists and other welfare programs. In this respect, JI interacts with the general market.[15](p480)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sirajul Haq replaces Munawar Hassan as chief of Jamaat-e-Islami". The Express Tribune. 30 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Haqqani H. "Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military." Carnegie Endowment, 2010 ISBN 0870032852, 9780870032851
  3. ^ a b c Adel G. H. et al (eds.) "Muslim Organisations in the Twentieth Century: Selected Entries from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam." EWI Press, 2012 p.67 ISBN 1908433094, 9781908433091.
  4. ^ Roy, Olivier (1994). The Failure of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. p. 88. "Islam in Pakistan is divided into three tendencies: the Jamaat, which is the Islamist party and which, although it does not have extensive popular roots, is politically influential; the deobandi, administered by fundamentalists and reformist ulamas; and the Barelvi, which recruits from popular and Sufi Islamic circles." 
  5. ^ van der Veer P. and Munshi S. (eds.) "Media, War, and Terrorism: Responses from the Middle East and Asia." Psychology Press, 2004 p138. ISBN 0415331404, 9780415331401.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Guidere M. "Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism." Scarecrow Press, 2012 p356 ISBN 0810879654, 9780810879652.
  7. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World| By Richard C. Martín| Granite Hill Publishers|2004|p.371
  8. ^ a b Kepel G. "Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam." I.B.Tauris, 2006 p.34 ISBN 1845112571, 9781845112578.
  9. ^ a b c Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad: on the Trail of Political Islam. Belknap Press. p. 34. 
  10. ^ a b Nasr, S.V.R. (1994). The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: the Jamaat-i Islami of Pakistan. I.B.Tauris. p. 7. 
  11. ^ Adams, Charles J., "Mawdudi and the Islamic State," in John L. Esposito, ed., Voices of Resurgent Islam, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, p.102)
  12. ^ Arefin S. "Muktijuddho '71: Punished War Criminals Under Dalal Law." Bangladesh Research and Publications.
  13. ^ [1] Bangladesh Genocide Archive website. Accessed 9 March 2013.
  14. ^ Nabi N. "Bullets of '71: A Freedom Fighter's Story." AuthorHouse, 2010 p.108 ISBN 1452043833, 9781452043838.
  15. ^ a b c d Osella F. and Osella C. "Islamic Reform in South Asia." Cambridge University Press, 2013 p479. ISBN 1107031753, 9781107031753.
  16. ^ Jones, Owen Bennett (2002). Pakistan : eye of the storm. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 16–7. "... Zia rewarded the only political party to offer him consistent support, Jamaat-e-Islami. Tens of thousands of Jamaat activists and sympathisers were given jobs in the judiciary, the civil service and other state institutions. These appointments meant Zia's Islamic agenda lived on long after he died." 
  17. ^ Gannon K. "I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan." PublicAffairs, 2006 p.158 ISBN 1586484524, 9781586484521.
  18. ^ Spencer R. "Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West." Regnery Publishing, 2003 p.244 ISBN 0895261006, 9780895261007.

External links[edit]