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For similar topics, see Jamaat-e-Islami (disambiguation).

Jamaat-e-Islami (Urdu: جماعتِ اسلامی) is an Islamic political organisation and social conservative movement founded in 1941 in British India by the Islamist theologian and socio-political philosopher, Abul Ala Maududi.[1]

Abul ala Maududi,
the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, Jamaat-e-Islami was one of the original and most influential Islamist organisations,[2] and the first of its kind to develop "an ideology based on the modern revolutionary conception of Islam".[3]

The group split into separate independent organisations in India and Pakistan -- Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind—following the Partition of India in 1947. Other groups related to or inspired by Jamaat-e-Islami developed in Bangladesh, Kashmir, Britain, and Afghanistan (see below). The Jamaat-e-Islami parties maintain ties internationally with other Muslim groups.[4]

Maududi created the party to influence the leadership of the Muslim community, dominated by the Muslim League, who sought a separate, independent state for Muslims (to be called Pakistan) following the withdrawal of the British from India. The Muslim League wanted to prevent domination of Muslims by the majority Hindus, but expressed no interest in an Islamic state, i.e. ruling the state according to Sharia law, the traditional injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah. These included abolition of interest-charged on loans, sexual separation and veiling of women, hadd penalties such as flogging and amputation for alcohol consumption, theft, fornication, and other crimes.[5] The promotion of Islamic state by Maududi and Jamaat-e Islami had broad popular support.[6]

Maududi created Jamaat-e-Islami with the objective of making post-colonial India (or a separate Muslim state if the Muslim League got its wish), an Islamic state.[7] Although this would be the result of an "Islamic revolution", the revolution was to be achieved not through a mass organising or a popular uprising but by what he called "Islamization from above", by winning over society's leaders through education and propaganda, and through putting the right people (Jamaat-e-Islami members) in positions of power.[8][9][10] incrementally and through legal means.[11][12]

Mawdudi believed politics was "an integral, inseparable part of the Islamic faith". Islamic ideology and non-Islamic ideologies (such as capitalism and socialism, liberalism or secularism) were mutually exclusive. The creation of an Islamic state would be not only be an act of piety but would be a cure for all of the many (seemingly non-religious) social and economic problems that Muslims faced.[9][10] Those working for an Islamic state would not stop at India or Pakistan but would effect a sweeping revolution among mankind, and control all aspects of the world's life.[13]

Groups associated with Jamaat-e-Islami[edit]


Maududi opposed British rule but also opposed both the anti-colonialist Muslim nationalist Muslim League's proposal for a separate Muslim state led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the "composite nationalism" (muttahida qaumiyyat) idea of Jam'iyyat al-Ulama-ye Hind and Deobandi scholar Husain Ahmad Madani for a united independent India with separate institutional structures for Hindus and Muslims.[23]

Although Maududi believed Muslims formed a separate nation from the Hindus of India, he initially opposed the partition of India to create a "Muslim state" circumscribed to Muslim-majority regions, agitating instead for an "Islamic state" covering the whole of India[9][24]—this despite the fact Muslims made up only about one quarter of India's population.

In his view Muslims were not one religious or communal group among many working to advance their social and economic interests, but a group `based upon principles and upon a theory` or ideology. A "righteous" party or community) that had "a clearly defined ideology, allegiance to a single leader, obedience, and discipline",[25] would be able to transform the whole of India into Dar al-Islam.[25] Unlike the fascists and communists, once in power an Islamic state would not be oppressive or tyrannical, but instead just and benevolent to all, because its ideology was based on God's commands.[26] [27]

In 1940, the Muslim League met in Lahore and passed the Pakistan Resolution, calling for autonomous states in the Muslim majority areas of India. Maududi believed the nationalism in any form was un-Islamic, concerned with mundane interests of people and not Islam.[28] In response he launched his own party, Jamaat-e-Islami, founded on 26 August 1941, at Islamia Park, Lahore.[29] 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 the first "Islamic state".[9][10] Members uttered the Shahada, the traditional statement of conversion to Islam, when they joined, implying to some that Jama'ati felt they had been less-than-true Muslims before joining.[30] Jamaat-e-Islami was and is strictly and hierarchically organised in a pyramid-like structure. All supporters work toward the common goal of establishing an ideological Islamic society, particularly though educational and social work, under the leadership of the emir.[24][31] Being a vanguard party, not all supporters could be members, only the elite. Below members were/are "affiliates", and "sympathizers" beneath them. The party leader is called an ameer (commander).[32]

Maududi sought to educate the elite of the Muslim community in the principles of Islam and correct "their erroneous ways of thinking" both because he believed societies were influenced from the top down.[33]

During the years before the partition of India, Jamaat-e-Islami stood aloof from the intense political fights of the time in India, concentrating on "training and organising" and refining and strengthening the structure of Jamaat-e-Islami.[34]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Roy, Olivier (1994). The Failure of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. p. 35. 
  3. ^ "Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Islamic Assembly Jamaat-e-Islami-e-Pakistan (JIP)". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Haqqani, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 2010: p.171
  5. ^ Ruthven, Malise (2000). Islam in the World (2nd ed.). Penguin. pp. 330–1. 
  6. ^ Adams, Charles J (1983). "Mawdudi and the Islamic State". In Esposito, John L. Voices of Resurgent Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 106–7. 
  7. ^ Adams, Charles J. (1983). "Maududi and the Islamic State". In Esposito, John L. Voices of Resurgent Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 105. 
  8. ^ Mortimer, Edward (1982). Faith and Power : the Politics of Islam. Vintage Books. p. 204. 
  9. ^ a b c d Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad: on the Trail of Political Islam. Belknap Press. p. 34. 
  10. ^ a b c Nasr, S.V.R. (1994). The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: the Jamaat-i Islami of Pakistan. I.B.Tauris. p. 7. 
  11. ^ Haqqani, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 2010: p.122
  12. ^ Nasr, S.V.R. (1994). The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: the Jamaat-i Islami of Pakistan. I.B.Tauris. p. 8. 
  13. ^ Adams, Charles J (1983). "Mawdudi and the Islamic State". In Esposito, John. Voices of Resurgent Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 105. 
  14. ^ Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism, 2012:p.223
  15. ^ "Jama'at-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir". Official website. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad: on the trail of Political Islam. Belknap. p. 141. 
  17. ^ Haqqani, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 2010: p.173
  18. ^ Saikal, Amin (2012). Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival. I.B.Tauris. p. 214. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Roy, Olivier (1992). Islam and resistance in Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-521-39700-1. 
  20. ^ "UK Islamic Mission conference". August 1994 Vol. II, No. 8, p. 6/7. British Muslims Monthly Survey. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Abul A'ala Maududi Forum - Sri Lanka". 26 May 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Roy, Olivier; Sfeir, Antoine; King, Dr. John (eds.). "Britain". The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism. Columbia University Press. p. 93. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  23. ^ Malik, Jamal. Islam in South Asia: A Short History. BRILL. p. 370. 
  24. ^ a b Kepel G. "Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam." I.B.Tauris, 2006 p.34 ISBN 1845112571, 9781845112578.
  25. ^ a b Adams, Maududi and the Islamic State, 1983: p.104
  26. ^ Mortimer, Edward (1982). Faith and Power : the Politics of Islam. Vintage Books. p. 204. 
  27. ^ Charles J. Adams (1966), "The Ideology of Mawlana Maududi" in D.E. Smith (ed.) South Asian Politics and Religion (Princeton) pp.375, 381-90.
  28. ^ Adams, Charles J (1983). "Mawdudi and the Islamic State". In Esposito, John. Voices of Resurgent Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 104–5. 
  29. ^ Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism, 2012:pli
  30. ^ Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 1996: p.110
  31. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World| By Richard C. Martín| Granite Hill Publishers|2004|p.371
  32. ^ 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.70 ISBN 1908433094, 9781908433091.
  33. ^ Adams, Charles J. (1983). "Maududi and the Islamic State". In Esposito, John L. Voices of Resurgent Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 102. 
  34. ^ Adams, "Maududi and the Islamic State", 1983: p.105-6