Islam has laid down certain principles and parameters to keep the economic life of mankind firmly based on the twin concepts of justice and fair play. It seeks to ensure that the entire system of the production of wealth, its use and distribution should function within the limits drawn for the purpose. How should wealth be produced and how should it be circulated? Islam is not much concerned with these issues because the ways and means are continually changing and assuming new shapes and patterns as time passes and civilisations grow and march on. Human needs and circumstances serve as catalysts which determine this change that takes place automatically in response. Islam is principally concerned with the strict observance of its basic principles on a permanent basis, under all circumstances and in all times and climes, irrespective of the shape that the economic affairs of mankind may take.
Islam tells us that the earth and everything it contains have been created by God for mankind. Therefore, it is every human being’s birthright to seek his means of living from the land on which he lives. All humans equally share this basic right: nobody can be deprived of this right, nor should anybody enjoy precedence over another in this respect. According to Islamic Law, it is unlawful to impose any restriction on a person, class, clan or ethnic group regarding their right to use the means of subsistence or close the doors to certain vocations to them. Similarly, the Law does not allow any distinction or privilege that results in a particular means of living or source of income becoming the monopoly of a particular class, race or family. Every human being is entitled to work for his share of the means of subsistence made available by Allah on His earth and must, therefore, be equality of opportunity for all in this respect.
Nature’s bounties need no labour or entrepreneurship to be beneficial to mankind; they are humankind’s common inheritance. Everyone has the right to make use of them, according to his needs. The water flowing in rivers and streams, the wood available in forests, the wild-growing fruit, fodder and grass, the winged creatures of the skies, the animals of the desert, the fish of the free-flowing rivers or the sea and the mines wide open on the earth’s surface – each one of these is nature’s free gift. These cannot be monopolised by anyone, nor can any restrictions be imposed to prevent someone making use of them to satisfy his need. However, the government is entitled to levy tax on those who wish to make use of these bounties from God on a commercial scale.
Things that God has created for the benefit of man cannot be kept idle. If you so desire, take advantage of them yourself; otherwise, allow others to put them to their best use. Based on this principle, Islamic Law states that everyone in possession of land given by the government should not let it lie fallow for more than three years. If someone fails to make use of the land for farming, residence or any other purpose for three years, it is deemed to be an abandoned property. If someone else then puts this land to use, no lawsuit is permissible against him. The Islamic government can also cancel ownership of the land and give it to someone else for cultivation or habitation. Anybody who gains anything from the bounties of nature, and through his labour and enterprise makes it worthy of use, is the rightful owner of that property. For example, if a person takes possession of a wasteland that nobody owns the title to, and then starts putting it some better use, he cannot be dislodged from that land according to the law. According to Islamic Law, this is how all ownership rights are acquired in the world. In the beginning, when human settlements began to develop on God’s Earth, everything that belonged to the treasure house of nature was a common legacy. When people started putting what they possessed to use, they eventually became the owners. Their labour, ingenuity and enterprise entitled them to have those things as their exclusive property and to seek compensation from those who subsequently also wished to make use of them. This is the natural basis of all economic transactions of mankind, and ought to remain intact under all circumstances.
The ownership rights available to anyone in this world through lawful means have to be respected at all cost. However, the legality of an ownership claim can be challenged under the terms of the Law. Any ownership without a legal sanction should be declared null and void; those found to be lawful can neither be taken away by any government or legislature, nor can the lawful rights of their owners be curtailed or enhanced in any way. No system can be introduced in the name of public interest in contravention of the rights guaranteed to individuals by the Law. In the same way that it is an act of high-handedness to ease the restrictions imposed by the Law on private ownership in the name of public interest, it is similarly abominable to circumscribe them further arbitrary. An Islamic government is obligated to safeguard the legal rights of its citizens, and also to ensure that they truly observe their duties to the State.
Under the Divine Dispensation, there is EQUITY but not necessarily equality in the distribution of His bounties. In His infinite Wisdom, Allah has elevated some people over others. Beauty of the exterior, mellowness of voice, physical strength, intellectual capability, family background and other similar gifts have not been awarded evenly. It is the same with the means of subsistence. Human instinct, itself a Divine creation, demands that humans should not have parity in their earnings. From the Law perspective, all measures that are taken to impose an artificial economic parity on the people are, therefore, wrong both in approach and objective. The equality that Islam stands for is not in the amount earned for living on, but in the opportunity to struggle for a better living. Islam aims at purging society of those legal and conventional hurdles which restrict mankind’s ability to struggle for economic benefits according to their own capacity and qualifications. It also removes those distinctions and privileges which seek to turn the inherited good fortune of a certain class, race or family into permanent lawful prerogatives. Both of these factors tend to replace the natural disparity forcefully with a system of artificial disparity. By eliminating these factors, Islam thus aims at bringing society’s economic order back to its natural position, where every individual enjoys an equal opportunity to make efforts to improve his lot.
However, Islam totally disagrees with those who want to force people to be equal in their means for their struggle and its outcomes because this seeks to turn natural inequality into an artificial equality. A system can only be closer to NATURE if individuals are free to join in the economic race from the starting point of their birth as set for them by the Almighty. Whoever comes with a car is free to drive it and those who have with them only the assets of their two legs have the right to full use of them. But the one who is born lame cannot lag behind either and should have the opportunity to use his only leg to his best advantage. A society’s legal set-up must not allow the owner of the car to monopolise his opportunity, making it difficult for the lame to own a car. It must also not force every member to begin his race from one and the same point, making it binding on all of them to run together. Justice demands that everyone should be FREE to undertake his own struggle in his own way. Anyone who is able to own a car by his efforts must not be deprived of this opportunity, and if someone loses the car he received at this birth or becomes lame due to his own negligence must also be free to bear the consequences of his acts.
Islam not only aims to keep this economic competition and race open and free from unwarranted encumbrances, it also encourages those in the race to cooperate and be sympathetic to each other instead of being apathetic or antagonistic. Through its moral values and precepts, it inspires people, on the one hand, to be steadfast in their support for their fellow humans who are ill-provided and backward and, on the other, it calls on society to have a fully-fledged system and mechanism to guarantee this support for the less privileged and handicapped. Those who are not able to take part in the economic struggle are guaranteed to have their needs provided for by this institution. Proper help is also ensured for those people whom circumstances have pushed out of the race or whose progress has been halted so that they can rise once again and continue their struggle with honour and dignity; while necessary help is also available to those who may need it to join the race. Keeping these lofty objectives in view, Islam levies an annual 2.5 percent compulsory deduction of Alms on the capital accumulated during a calendar year and the revenue generated annually through trade and commerce. Alms are also levied on agricultural produce at the rate of ten and five percent per annum, and on various other items at different rates. Alms-levy is thus a system of social insurance and public welfare, which means that nobody can ever remain deprived of the basic necessities of life in a Muslim society. No workhand can ever be so helpless that he must agree to serve on terms dictated by the mill-owner or landlord, and no-one can ever suffer because of his failure to qualify for participation in the struggle for survival.
Islam seeks to establish a balance between the individual and society so that the individual may retain his personal freedom on the one hand and, on the other, his freedom is not detrimental to the interests of society, but is more beneficial instead. It does not approve of any political or economic set-up that compels an individual to submerge himself totally into society and leaves no room for his personal freedom, which is so essential for the proper growth and development of his personality. The natural outcome of placing the entire means of a country’s production under public ownership is that every individual is turned into a slave of the party in power. It will be difficult, or rather impossible, for people under such a system to retain and sustain their individuality. Socio-political and economic freedoms are essential for private enterprise to flourish. If we do not intend to cripple humanity absolutely, we must allow a person enough space in our social set-up that he is able to earn a livelihood independently, to retain freedom of conscience and to let his intellectual and moral faculties GROW and prosper according to his aptitude and leanings. No ‘ration’ that is issued by the authorities for subsistence, however plentiful, can ever be pleasant and nourishing until the key to that ‘ration’ is in the hands of the person himself. A bird in a cage, though adequately fed, may grow fat but will never be fit to fly unless it is set free.
Just as Islam disapproves of all totalitarian dictatorships, it also does not commend a system that gives unfettered freedom to individuals in the socio-economic milieu of a nation, letting them do whatever they like in pursuance of their personal ambitions and interests regardless of the danger caused to the society and the nation. The middle road that Islam follows between these two extremes makes it incumbent upon the individual, on the one hand, to remain within his well-defined limits and always be mindful of his responsibilities towards society; and on the other hand, it allows him freedom to conduct his own affairs within the prescribed limits. It may be out of place to give full details of the restrictions and responsibilities here; a brief resume may, however, be worthwhile.
Let us first look at the question of earning a living. The minutest details of the lawful and the prohibited provided by the Islamic Law about the means of livelihood are hard to find in any legal code anywhere in the world. It singles out and declares prohibited all those means that encourage the individual to earn his living by harming others’ interests or damaging the society’s cause either morally or materially. Islam has thus totally banned the production and sale of wine and all intoxicants, as well as every form of obscenity and undignified profession, such as music, dance, gambling, betting, the lottery, interest-based transactions, speculation, fraudulent deals, hoarding of essential goods to increase their market value and every deal which is against public interest. The deeper you go into the economic laws of Islam, the more evident it becomes why all shady deals and unhealthy practices have been declared prohibited. These are the means that people use under the capitalist system of our times to amass wealth and to become men of millions. The Law has declared all such means -ultra vires-, but has given complete freedom to every individual to earn his living in a manner that may be beneficial in real terms, not only for himself but also for his society.
Islam affirms the ownership RIGHT of man on wealth that he earns through lawful means. But this right is also not unlimited. He is only allowed to spend lawfully from that which he has earned through lawful means. Islam thus lays down a system of checks and balances, so that a believer, though free to live a clean and comfortable life, cannot indulge in unwarranted luxuries or squander his wealth at will. He is not authorised to live a life of pomp and show simply to masquerade as an elite member of a privileged class. There are certain categories of overspending which are strictly forbidden in Islam. An Islamic government can legally ban people’s indulgence in unwarranted expenditure and displays of wealth.
There is no restriction on a person’s saving from his legitimate earnings. He can also reinvest his savings to generate more money in a lawful manner. In both of these cases, however, the Islamic Law has certain restrictions in place. A man has to pay Alms on his savings and is only allowed to invest in a lawful business. Everyone is permitted to start an enterprise through lawful means, or to make a joint venture with another person and lend him his capital, land, tools or other means on a profit and loss-sharing basis. It is also acceptable if, working within the prescribed limits, one becomes a billionaire. The profit thus earned will in fact be treated as a blessing of Allah. In the interests of society, however, Islam obliges the individual to fulfil the following two preconditions: he must pay Alms on his business commodities and Taxation on his agricultural produce; and he must act justly towards those who are his partners in business, his employees and workers. If he fails in these areas, the Islamic State can force him to fulfil his OBLIGATIONS.
The wealth that is gathered by a person through lawful means and saved after paying the mandatory dues should not simply lie to accumulate for long. Through the law of inheritance, Islam lets it pass on to the legal heirs for a larger circulation, one generation after the other. The trend that is set by the Islamic Law is quite different in this respect from other legal systems around the world. According to other legal codes, once the wealth is accumulated, it is allowed to continue growing from one generation to another. In contrast, Islam makes it binding on every Muslim that the assets gathered during his lifetime must be divided immediately following his death among the next of kin in a manner laid down by the Islamic Law. Should the deceased have no near relative alive, the legacy passes on to more distant relations and, in the absence of anybody even distantly related, the Islamic state becomes the legal heir. It is thus impossible under the Islamic legal SYSTEM for any sort of feudalism or capitalist cartels and monopolies to prosper and flourish. The mandatory charity, alms and taxations along with other social obligations are sufficient to discourage the accumulation of wealth. The Islamic Law of Inheritance goes a step further and places a lasting curb on the possibilities of the rich growing richer in an Islamic social order.
The style of the Quran tends to be that of speech directed to an individual listener. The message is that of a proclamation, a warning that those who hear and understand should take action immediately to direct themselves to God. They should cast off disbelief and scepticism. A Muslim, male or female, is a person who has responded to the Quranic imperative to “believe and do right”. The Quran proclaims that right action and right faith are inextricably linked, yet the final evaluation of any individual’s faith and action will occur only at the Day of Judgement. Within the context of life on earth, no individuals have final power to judge other individuals. There are no priests in Islam, or mediators of God’s will or judgement. Each Muslim alone has to decide for himself or herself and take the consequences. At any given point in Muslim history, the majority may and often do hold certain convictions about appropriate behaviour. In principle, however, since no judgements are final until the end, God’s judgement cannot be mediated within history. Put simply, any individual Muslim wishing to respond appropriately to his or her awareness of God’s mercy and goodness may take any amount of help and guidance from other Muslims and the Islamic past. He or she cannot, however, find anywhere a guarantee that a given course of action will inevitably be accepted by God as the right one. A believer fears God’s justice, hopes for God’s mercy, and acts as best he or she can. But until the end, any evaluation of the appropriateness of given responses is tentative, and may well be overthrown or reversed.
Because of the uncertainty one cannot really speak of any interpreters of Islamic ethical thought who might be considered to have final authority. As indicated above, the final evaluation rests with God alone. Further, within history, human arrangements such as the design of the social order and religious law are human constructs based on the consensus of the believers. Fazlur Rahman has indicated in his book “Major Themes of the Quran” that the basic imperative of the Quran is that the individual should cultivate his or her own CONSCIENCE of Allah. The strengthening of consciences allows individuals to discern with increasing appropriateness the courses of action that will most effectively mirror divine attributes of justice and mercy. Unless the conscience of individuals is cultivated, however, there can be little hope for a just order.
The Quran mediates the speech of God to humanity; some passages are also used by individuals when they speak back to God in prayer. The language of the sacred Book thus shapes and reshapes the consciousness of the believer who tries continually to refashion and reorder his or her thoughts and practices in the direction indicated by revelation. Just as a Christian steeped in the Psalms of David might answer the question “Who are you?” with the reply, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23), so a devout Muslim may base his or her sense of IDENTITY on the verses of Surah Fatiha, which are then used daily in prayer.
Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being,
the All-merciful, the All-compassionate
the Master of the Day of Doom.
Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succour.
Guide us in the straight path,
the path of those whom Thou hast blessed
not of those against whom Thou are wrathful,
nor of those who are astray.
The Muslim’s answer to this question of identity is that one affirms one’s existence in praising the Lord of all Being, in serving God alone, and in seeking guidance in following the straight path of those who have been blessed. The blessing in the first instance is the guidance that has been given through the prophets, and finally through the Prophet Muhammad.
Boisard in this book “L’Humanisme de l’Islam” has used the terms equality, equity, and equilibrium to indicate three fundamental characteristics of Muslim ethical thought. The egalitarianism of Islam stems from the basic relationships of each person with God: each is ultimately responsible to God alone. He or she prays daily, “Thee only we serve”. The person thus praying knows that no kings, priests, or other authorities can stand between human beings and their Creator. The traditions of courtesy and good manners that have characterised many Islamic civilisations have arisen in part because of the basic requirement that each person has his or her own dignity and must be treated graciously.
Equity indicates that the justice which humans seek to implement in their social organisations must be based on an on-going effort to realise in human terms that justice which is an attribute of God. The straight path that is the goal of human life is usually characterised by Muslim thinkers as the middle way between extremes. It is also the path that reflects most closely the divine attributes. Justice should always be tempered by mercy, since human attempts at implementing righteousness will necessarily be finite and inadequate. Justice and mercy are both attributes of God. The responsibility each person bears towards God is the core that shapes the conscience of that individual. He or she must decide in practice which decisions will most adequately reflect the attributes of God.
EQUILIBRIUM is also a fundamental characteristic of the Muslim way of perceiving the relationship of human beings to the universe as a whole. Some studies of Islamic art and architecture have indicated iconoclasm, the refusal to portray human beings or animals, as well as an interest in abstract patterns. This latter interest has led to the elaboration of complex abstractions that indicate a perceived interrelatedness of all forms. Harmony and balance have been major characteristics of Islamic art. This awareness of equilibrium, suggested in the work of artists, has also shaped the thinking of jurists and others who have been concerned to design social forms.
We have noted that discontinuity occurs between medieval and modern Muslims in a number of respects. It occurs with respect to the Quran: individuals can and do read the Quran for themselves, and they tend to exercise private judgement about what the scriptures mean. There is also discontinuity in relation to the medieval understanding of the hierarchical nature of the cosmos. Earlier forms of ethical writing assumed that the perfecting of the self involved a movement of self-awareness from a lower to a higher plane. This notion of hierarchy has tended to disappear from modern Muslim thought.
The cumulative tradition of ethical thinking in Islam also includes principles of jurisprudence. Modern ethical thinkers are aware that most Muslims assume that a pattern of life had been established by the earlier Muslims jurists – a pattern of life generally understood as normative. A major problem, therefore, when one deals with the discontinuity caused by modernisation, has been how to think about changes in the pattern. The modern ethical thinkers have been concerned to legitimate the changes they deem necessary.
The legitimation of change can be accomplished by appeals to reason, to scripture, and to exemplars. The rationalist and the fundamentalist ethical thinkers use all three modes of persuading their co-religionists to change life and thought. The appeal to reason in itself requires justification; one of the widespread assumptions of the medieval period was that no further intellectual effort was required, other than submission to authoritative opinion. The assumption was that, by the tenth century, all necessary original thinking had been done. This assumption is usually expressed by the statement that the gates of fresh thinking had been closed. One scholar has pointed out that the belief in the closing of the gate is not based on firm evidence.
“Nobody quite knows when the ‘gate of ijtihad’ was closed or who exactly closed it. There is no statement to be found anywhere by anyone about the desirability or the necessity of such a closure, or of the fact of actually closing the gate, although one finds judgements by later writers that the ‘gate of ijtihad’ has been closed”.
In effect, then, the closing of the gate was a MYTH; no jurist had ever closed it. It served as an effective myth, however, in providing stability and uniformity.
Ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979, the West has been apprehensive about the possibility of an ISLAMIC revolution, which it has assumed to be the hallmark of Islamic REVIVALISM, the object of the Islamic state, and the culmination of the RENEWAL and REFORMATION of Islam. The function revolution is to play in Islamic revivalism is not as clear as the example of Iran or the scholarly reflections on Islamic revivalism since its advent suggest, however.
In Mawdudi’s view, and as expected elsewhere in the revivalist literature, the Islamic state could not happen until the existing political order had been removed from the scene:
”A tree (grown to bear) lemon(s) from its rudimentary stages right up to the state of its completion” cannot “all of a sudden begin producing mangoes”.
Because any political order is bound to resist change, some form of direct action is necessary to topple it.
The history of Islam in India, Mawdudi believed, shows that the religion’s success depended on controlling the centers of power. It was the decline of Muslim power after Aurangzeb that had straddled the boundary between Islam and Hinduism, arrested the spread of Islam, and ultimately caused the collapse of Muslim power in India. The Jamat’s trials and tribulations in Pakistani politics after 1947 showed the limits to the flexibility of a secular political order before the demands of Islamicity. Islam, according to Mawdudi, was not likely to survive its eclipse at the centers of power, especially when those at the helm were hostile to its interests. A complete change in the political setup was therefore central to Mawdudi’s program of action. The pace and breadth of this change, and the manner in which the logic of Mawdudi’s arguments have been reflected in the Jamat’s praxis are open to question, however. Mawdudi did not favour violent revolution; on the contrary, he wanted greater interaction with the authorities.
Mawdudi’s teachings seemed to call for “a revolution in the social set-up”: as long as the social system was based on immoral and atheistic precepts, and as long as its leaders were “disciples of Antichrist”, abiding by such a system was against reason. Still, entangled as it was in Pakistani politics, “abiding by such a system” was exactly what the Jamat has been doing. If the Jamat has not been true to a revolutionary reading of Mawdudi’s teachings, then what propels the party’s political activism? How has the Jamat understood and implemented Mawdudi’s notion of complete and thorough political change? What is needed to attain an Islamic state? The questions, as well as the answers, point to Mawdudi’s having a complex understanding of the concept of revolution that was not always in keeping with Western notions of the term.
A social revolution is a profound and often violent process of change. It involves a total rejection of and break with the established order, the destruction of the bureaucratic and military institutions of the old regime, elimination of class differences (especially in the Marxist definition), removal of cultural obstacles to social change, and the institution of fundamentally new relationships of power, distribution of wealth, and social structure. A revolution begins when contenders organise to ADVANCE the program of action that will culminate in the process of radical CHANGE, and when they are willing and able to use violence to that end.
The Jamat had no such ideas of revolution, nor has it ever acted to set a social revolution in motion. On the contrary, it has avoided violent social change and has instead, viewed the path to the Islamic state as lying within the existing socio-political order.
“The Jamat-e-Islami wants to bring about radical reform – in fact, a peaceful revolution – in this country. But this revolution can come about only gradually. It can be achieved step by step”.
Many regarded Mawdudi’s Islamic state and his plan of action for attaining it as revolutionary because it was bent on overthrowing first the Raj and later the Pakistan state through radical means, and his rhetoric and use of such terms as Islamic ideology and Islamic revolution certainly did little to discourage the idea. Especially after the 1978-1979 Iranian revolution, he came to be seen as an AVATAR of Islamic revolution. Part of the problem was that the same ambiguities that appeared in his appropriation of other Western concepts turned up in his treatment of revolution. Mawdudi’s program did indeed sound revolutionary in intent and possibly Marxist in origin when he wrote in the “Process of Islamic Revolution”:
“Islam is a revolutionary ideology and a revolutionary practice, which aims at destroying the social order of the world totally and rebuilding it from scratch; and Jihad denotes the revolutionary struggle”.
Reading on, however, we discover that Mawdudi described revolution in evolutionary terms, as a piecemeal effort predicated on the exact confluence of a set of social, cultural, and psychological prerequisites. The exact requirements of this confluence preclude the kind of spontaneity that the liberating force of a true revolution denotes. Mawdudi conceived of revolution as a methodical and determinist process, that favoured an orderly transfer of power, and he was ambivalent toward the political system that it challenged. What Mawdudi wrote is not necessarily what the overall thrust of his ideas meant, nor did he define revolution consistently within the same book. Scraping away the Western political jargon, we find that Mawdudi issued directives that were not true to the spirit of those terms. He called the Prophet Muhammad “the greatest revolutionary”, then in the same article went on to extol his “patience and pacifism”. In 1941, Mawdudi told the gathering of the Jamat:
“We desire no demonstrations of uncontrolled emotions, no flag waving, slogans, or the like; (for us) such display of uncontrolled emotions will prove deadly; you do not need to capture your audience through impassioned speeches; but you must kindle the light of Islam in your hearts, and change those around you”.
Revolution was an axis around which Mawdudi conducted his debate. The definition of the term changed according to shifts in Mawdudi’s ideological perspective. Revolution had no clear-cut definition but was one of the parcel of slogans and shibboleths that served his purpose.
In his battle with the leftists for the adherence of Muslims, Mawdudi used the idioms of revolution to conjure up a progressive image for Islam. The idiom related his program to the collection of ideas that had, and continues to have, currency among the very people in India and Pakistan who were the target of his ideology. In Mawdudi’s conception, revolution and its corollary, ideology, had no class reference. They simply permitted Mawdudi to equip the Jamat with a repertoire of terms that allowed the party to stand its ground in debates over what constituted progress, justice, and political idealism. In appropriating the myth of revolution, Mawdudi hopes to disarm his leftist rivals, to tarnish the gloss of their appeal, and eventually to render their agenda redundant.
In practice, Mawdudi steered clear of revolutionary activism. His harangues against the political order in India and, later, Pakistan never extended beyond expressions of dissent and were never systematised into a coherent revolutionary worldview:
“The nature and extent of despotism in the different Muslim countries is so varied that it is not possible to suggest any one standard procedure. But what I do feel is necessary in all these cases is the need to resist the temptation of resorting to the methods and techniques of secret underground movements and bloody revolutions.”
When pressed to define Islamic revolution, it was of evolution, rather than revolution, that he spoke. “Immediate revolution is neither possible nor desirable”, said Mawdudi in 1948; instead, the Jamat’s objective was “gradual change, replicating the Prophetic era”. Mawdudi’s revolution was essentially a process of reform:
“If we really wish to see our Islamic ideals translated into reality, we should not overlook the natural law that all stable changes in the collective life of a people come about gradually. The more sudden a change, the more short-lived it is. For a permanent change it is necessary that it should be free from extremist bias and unbalanced approach.”
Despite his use of terms associated with Marxist historicism and leftist praxis, Mawdudi’s point of reference was Western liberalism:
“Living as slaves of an alien power and deprived of the Islamic influences for a long time, the pattern of our moral, cultural, social, economic and political life has undergone a radical change, and is today far removed from the Islamic ideals. Under such circumstances it cannot be fruitful, even if it were possible, to change the legal structure of the country all at once, because then the general pattern of life and the legal structure will be poles apart, and the legal change will have to suffer the fate of a sapling planted in an uncongenial soil and facing hostile weather. It is therefore inevitable that the required reform should be gradual and the changes in the laws should be effected in such manner as to balance favorably the change in the moral, educational, social, cultural and political life of the nation.”
This process was modelled partly after the example of the Prophet’s rule in Medina and later Mecca and partly after British rule in India, which had erected legal and social systems gradually and methodically. The Islamic state had to EMERGE as a particular entity; it could not be the product of conjecture, nor could it be influenced by disparate forces, which were bound to be the result of anomie. Islamic revolution could not be realised through force because the Prophet persuaded the Arabs to accept the wisdom of his reforms; he did not force them. Islam was established out of FAITH; hence, Islamisation, Mawdudi insisted, must remain true to the prophetic example. Reform on behalf of Islam should concern itself with substance rather than the pace and breadth of the reform process.