With the rise of such an unhealthy race, which in Islamic economics is called Antagonistic Competition, the number of -haves- in society continually decreases while the -have nots- multiply by leaps and bounds. This is due to the fact that, in this kind of competition, the more affluent absorb the resources of even the less privileged and push them into the category of the -have nots-
The resources of the land thus continue to accumulate in the hands of fewer and fewer people, while the larger section of the population goes on sliding downward and becoming more and more dependent on the affluent class.
Beginning on a small scale, antagonistic competition has gradually moved on through countries and communities until it eventually encompasses the entire world. Generally speaking, when a country generates a surplus of revenue, it invests it in productive uses, and thus more and more consumer items start rolling out of its factories. But there soon comes a saturation point, when the production level rises over the consumption level and, as is natural in this eventuality, the inability of the low-income groups to buy the products which they may need, but cannot afford, results in the dumping of surplus products and a build up of the rich classes’ money in ventures that are rendered unproductive. A portion of the money they invested thus becomes irretrievable and turns into loans payable by the industrial sector of a country. This is the case of just one cycle, and from this analogy we may guess how much amount of money will go on turning into unproductive loans in many other sectors and cycles if it is allowed to be reinvested in profitable ventures that have the sole purpose of letting the affluent class make more money without paying attention to equitable distribution or raising the purchasing power and standard of living of society’s less-privileged members. The surplus products are often taken out of the country to foreign markets, where they gradually create the same situation due to the similar, inequitable distribution of wealth and the disparity of income between the various classes. This leads to a vicious circle where the rich become richer and national wealth accumulates in the hands of a chosen few in each country and community.
The trend of Antagonistic Competition thus crosses national boundaries to globalise an exploitative economic system. It gives rise to global competition and takes the following steps:
Every country tries to produce more and more at less and less cost in order to sell its products in world markets and get the maximum profit. To achieve this, they keep the wages of the labourers very low. The common man in the producing country thus gets too small a share in any venture to meet even the basic necessities of life.
Each country imposes restrictions on the entry of goods from other countries into its territory and into less-developed countries under its sphere of influence. It also checks the outflow of its raw materials in order to prevent any other country from making use of them to its advantage. This gives rise to international feuds that often lead to wars.
Thirdly, the countries that are unable to check the machinations of the forces of economic exploitation fall prey to their exploitative frenzy. Economic pirates not only try to sell their surplus to these countries, but the capital that they cannot absorb themselves in profitable ventures is taken to these countries to bring back better dividends. This eventually transfers the same problem to the countries at the receiving end. The capital invested cannot be retrieved in full and a major portion of the income generated is reinvested yet again in more profitable ventures, causing the developing countries to groan under the ever-increasing burden of the capitalist nations’ loans. The time eventually comes when these countries are unable to repay their debts, even if they sell themselves out. This vicious circle, if not properly checked, means the entire world is DOOMED to go bankrupt, with no market left to consume the overflow of capital.
The element of Global Antagonistic Competition has given rise to a small group of exploitative people that includes bankers, brokers and the heads of industrial and commercial cartels and monopolies. This group has so dominated the world’s economic resources that the entire humanity today appears to be helpless before it. It has now become virtually impossible for an entrepreneur to start a venture independently, using only his own physical and intellectual strength, and gainfully utilise his part of the resources available on God’s Earth. There is not much breathing space freely available today for small entrepreneurs, traders, artisans, farmers and so on to make a niche for themselves on the world stage. Each of them is helpless, forced to live as bondsmen, serfs or servants of the global economic giants. These giants squeeze all of the potential out of their minds and bodies, as well as using up their time, in return for the bare minimum level of sustenance, enough only for them to make ends meet. This is why the human being today is reduced to no better than an economic animal. Only the few lucky ones have the opportunity now, in the midst of their back-breaking struggle for economic survival, to do something for their moral, intellectual and spiritual sustenance, to devote a little time for something nobler than the demands of the belly and to let those God-given facets of their personalities that seek objectives higher than the quest for living to flourish. In fact, the economic struggle has become so tough in the contemporary system of Cain that all of life’s other issues have been rendered almost meaningless and futile.
To the misfortune of humanity, Cain’s economic order has also adversely affected the world’s moral outlook, its political systems and legal codes. The guardians of morality and ethics are busy from East to West preaching the need to save for the future. People are made to believe that it is both foolish and unethical to spend whatever one earns, and that every bread winner must save from his income to deposit money in banks, buy an insurance policy or invest in shares. An element that is so damaging for humanity is thus being projected as most beneficial and a sign of prudence. As for political control in the world, this is evidently in the tight grip of a system which is the means of the exploitation and economic subjugation of people. The world’s legal order is being governed by the same exploitative system. According to these laws, individuals are practically free to carry on their economic struggle as they deem fit, regardless of their community’s interests. Rarely is anyone bothered to check which means of earning money is legally and ethically permissible, and which is prohibited. Those who toil hard to make a living through lawful means and those who grow rich using both fair means and foul are all equal in the eyes of the law. A person is free to produce liquor, set up brothels or sex shops, produce pornographic material in an audio-visual form or print, spread vulgarity through articles or sex-exploiting movies, establish interest-based ventures and gambling dens and promote speculation, betting, lottery and other similar means of making easy money. In short, a person may do anything that suits his agenda, and the law will be there not only to facilitate his project, but also to protect his rights. The wealth that he gathers is then allowed to remain accumulated even after his death. The Rule of Primogeniture, the practice of adoption and the joint family system have been devised with the same end in mind: one black cobra replacing another to guard the chest that holds the treasure. If no young cobra is left behind by the one dying, then the rule of adoption is used to help and the treasure finds a new custodian, instead of allowing it to pass on to the community for a wider circulation.
These are the reasons why humanity is faced today with a massive challenged to arrange a means of subsistence for every individual on God’s earth, to let each and every individual have the opportunity for progress according to their qualification and abilities and to allow their personalities to develop and grow freely.
Sayyid Ahmad Khan held a theory of voluntary associations. He did not expect the state to be the main agent in implementing reform. Rather, he advocated self-help as a basic virtue. In his own lifetime, he organised and participated in a number of voluntary associations concerned with translation activities, educational reform, and the dispersion of scientific ideas. His educational reforms came about through his own efforts in soliciting funds and setting up the new college for Muslim students. On matters of this kind, he wanted the Muslims on their own to undertake all the activities necessary to change the way their children were educated. This meant that he did not want reforms imposed arbitrarily on people who did not want or understand them; persuasion was central to his view of effective human relationships. Those who wanted change had the obligation to persuade rationally their fellow believers of the validity of their ideas.
The transformation of society should come about through the free efforts of citizens. A basic principle of his social thought was that the problems would differ from age to age. The solutions of one age would not be adequate for another. For this reason, the process of social criticism was on-going. Reform should always be taking place because institutions would never be perfect. Self-help meant that citizens should continually be challenged towards the solving of common problems through collective action. The function of religion in this society is to preach the values of justice and mercy that would lead to the formation of sensitive consciences in individuals. When such individuals grew up having internalised awareness of the need to strive for justice and mercy in human relationships, they would have the necessary basis for working constructively together to make their patterns of common life good. In a recent study of the basic themes of the Quran, Fazlur Rahman has indicated that this -sensitive conscience- is the principle virtue proclaimed by the Quran.
This unique balance of integrative moral action is what the Quran terms –taqva– perhaps the most important single term in the Quran; hence, taqva means to protect oneself against the harmful or evil consequences of one’s conduct. This idea can be effectively conveyed by the term -conscience- if the object of conscience transcends it. This is why it is proper to say that -conscience- is truly as central to Islam as love is to Christianity when one speaks of the human response to the ultimate reality – which therefore, is conceived in Islam as merciful justice.
Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s understanding of Rationality in the exercise of Deduction carried with it this kind of notion of the trustworthiness ultimately of Muslim consciences. Muslims could be trusted to judge wisely in the exercise of their rights to rethink the legal bases of their common life because they carried in their inner beings a sensitive awareness of the characteristics of righteousness. The ethical thinkers of the Islamic tradition almost always say that one should never act or make a decision while angry. One cannot think clearly or evaluate honestly while one is emotionally upset. Hence, the rationality of the good judge, or political thinker, or ethicist, is close to the clearness of mind of the good scientist or historian. The conscience does not operate well when the vision is obscured by clouds of rage or jealousy. The training of a sensitive conscience is a matter of great skill and discipline. It must being in the young child, but it is continued throughout life through the medium of friends and family. A devout life of worship is necessary to it so that the awareness of transcendent standards is maintained.
Throughout his works, Mawdudi showed little interest in the actual workings of institutions. He was more concerned with abstract theoretical formulations and lessons in moral philosophy. The incorporation of the myth and certain features of Western democracy into the Islamic state elicited objection from traditional thinkers and from the learned because they regarded it as a secular concept that had no place in the Islamic state, if there were to be one. Mawdudi, however, regarded democracy as a neutral idea that could be Islamised without surrendering any ground to the West. Undaunted by the castigations of the jurists, the pace and breadth of his assimilation of democratic ideas and values into his concept of the structure of the Islamic state increased over the years, producing more liberal versions of his model.
This model also incorporated the idea of the Prophet Muhammad’s state in Medina. The example of Medina generally has been viewed by Muslims as a perennially valid historical model, one with relevancy to their social life and politics; it thus also had relevance to the Islamic state. Mawdudi’s aim was to emulate the prophetic example in shaping the Islamic state and its mode of governance but remain true to the goal of a democracy. As democratic symbols and slogans begin to crop up in Mawdudi’s writings, the prophetic model was used in increasingly Western terms in his later works, until the Islamic state finally became a -God worshipping democratic Caliphate- founded on the guidance vouchsafed to us through Muhammad.
History therefore ceased to be the mere narration of events and lives and became idealised to embody modern values about power and authority. As the term democratic caliphate suggests, the idea of Islamic state also had its creative dimension, part romantic and atavist, and part modern. It was neither a thing of the past nor an entirely modern phenomenon but, instead, a modernising one. The term -democratic caliphate- and its corollary, -theodemocracy- both coined by Mawdudi, best captured this modernising spirit. Even within Mawdudi’s lifetime, the concept of the Islamic state evolved along exceedingly modern lines, becoming filled with values, ideals, and mechanisms borrowed from the West. Through the debate with democracy, Mawdudi’s Islamic state was drawn to democratic ideals and principles to an increasing extent until in the end, democracy was both an objective and an attribute of the State of Islam. For Mawdudi, a religious and democratic Islamic state would be superior to secular democracy; however, any comparison between the two would show that the evolution of the Islamic state toward democracy remained far from complete. Despite its democratic aims, the Islamic state remained anchored in doctrines that hindered an acceptance of pluralism. In spite of changes made in its structures and objectives, the state as Mawdudi conceptualised it remained fundamentally antithetical to pluralism, though not to other aspects of secular democracy. In the words of Khurshid Ahmad:
“We have certain reservations about Western democracy on ethical/moral principles, especially over where sovereignty lies. But that does not mean that Muslims are fascists, Muslims believe in the rule of law, human rights, interactive decision-making, all of which are also important to a democracy. We have problems of accommodating democracy, but our faith is not antithetical to it”
No doctrine was a greater impediment to democratisation than the belief that sovereignty belonged to God alone. The Islamic state could not accept the relativity of truth, which is an essential tenet of Western democracy. This idea was so central to Mawdudi’s thinking that no compromise was possible. Yet, he saw this as no deterrent because he posed the problem differently. Making no effort to hide the Islamic state’s theocratic inclination, he instead presented as true democracy what the West regarded as theocracy. The popular slogan -Rule of man over man is exploitation; submission to Allah the Creator is the only way to emancipation- best captures the essence of Mawdudi’s argument. This, as Amir Arjomand remarked, showed that Mawdudi:
“Made no distinction between legislation and jurisprudence, between law-finding (by religious jurists) and law-making (by popular assemblies), and none between the Roman conception of the republic and the Islamic conception of the Community.”
Providing theocracy with a veneer of democracy, whether to assuage criticism or to appropriate democratic myths and symbols to further the cause of the Islamic state, was not free of problems. In theory, as well as in practice, the democratic rather than purely theological justification for the Islamic state led Mawdudi and the Jamat into a maze of complex, muddled, and often contradictory arguments. The Jamat consequently became entangled, on the one hand, in apologetic responses to its critics, who have persisted in exposing the inherent inconsistency of Mawdudi’s position, and, on the other hand, in warding off the scorn of the traditional establishment who found Mawdudi’s use of a secular idea to define the Islamic state insupportable.
In defining the Islamic state, Mawdudi sought to tailor the Islamic doctrines of Oneness understood as the absolute sovereignty of God, Prophecy understood as the ideal Islamic state; and Caliphate understood as a viceregency of mankind on behalf of God and, hence, the perpetuation of the Islamic state in the post-prophetic era, to support his position. Although Oneness and Prophecy are immutable Islamic beliefs that were used to explicate and legitimise the concept of the Islamic state, it was Caliphate that governed the intellectual and practical formulations on which Mawdudi based the working of the state.
Mawdudi’s scheme for the Islamic state was premised on the absolute sovereignty of God, who held the role of Law-Giver and was the de jure head of the socio-political order. The executive branch in the Islamic state would serve as viceregent to God – a political interpretation of the Islamic belief that man is God’s Viceregent on Earth. In this conception, God became the raison d’être, the guarantor, and an integral part of the socio-political order. As the Islamic state was the sole medium of interaction between man and God, God’s role and image were temporalised.
The absolute sovereignty of God furthermore would act to mold the Islamic state in a particular cast. Because the state would operate essentially as viceregent to the –legal sovereignty– of God, it would be a managerial and PRAETORIAN state -a caretaker- state. The Islamic State was not an evolving model, but an already perfect one, requiring no changes. Man could not improve upon it; he was merely enjoined to institute it and, subsequently, preserve it. Hence, politics, elections, or legislations could only play secondary roles in such a state.
The liberal notion of the state is based on the centrality of the individual citizen. In this theory, the state’s legitimacy is directly related to its accountability vis-à-vis the individual; that is, the state is regarded as legitimate only as long as it serves the public interest as freely expressed. The Islamic state, on the other hand, requires the depoliticisation of the public sphere to make it subject to the designs of the state, a fear that can be accomplished through the education of the citizenry in Islam – in the Religion, to be specific. This will harmonise public opinion, reduce the role of competing interests in forming political programs, and produce a unified view on what constitutes the good of the state and the interests of the citizenry. The effort to depoliticise the citizenry also justifies the right of the state to intervene in society as arbitrator.
According to Mawdudi, individual expression would also be curtailed by the primacy of the legal and, by implication, political sovereignty of God, lest it counter the divine mandate of the state. As the embodiment and seat of divine will and man’s viceregency, the state would become the supreme authority and the sole political actor, as well as the embodiment of the popular will. The individual would have to relinquish his own viceregency to the Islamic state, which is the expression of a collective viceregency. The individual therefore would be bound by the writ of the state, backed by the full force of religious law and the more paramount power of the collective viceregency. Mawdudi concluded his argument with a Quranic injunction 4:59 -Ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you- he identified –those in authority– as the guardians of the Islamic state –the executive branch– the example of the Prophet’s rule in Medina, the model for the Islamic state, moreover, confirmed that the Islamic state was a centralised-body political system with an omnipotent executive branch.
Mawdudi also conceived of the Islamic state as having a legislature and a judiciary. The task of legislative and judicial oversight would be vested in the state itself. As the Viceregent of God, the state could exercise Independent Inquiry to establish the ruling of Heavenly Law, which traditionally is the domain of the jurists.
When Mawdudi defended the Islamic state from charges of theocracy, the influence of Western political thought on his views could be seen. The Islamic state, ideally above mundane political slogans, was given shape through the use of unmistakably Western terminology and theoretical constructs. It was a seemingly Islamic system that was in fact premised on a modernising ethos. The issue of the absolute sovereignty of God aside, Mawdudi’s assimilation of Western ideas in his discourse flowed without interruption. The Islamic state duplicated, assimilated, and reproduced Western political concepts, structures, and operations, producing a theory of statecraft that, save for its name and its use of Islamic terms and symbols, showed little indigenous influence. The synthesis, although systematic and consistent in its method, was not always free of theoretical inconsistencies and operational flaws.
The Islamic state relied heavily on the Heavenly Law and the office of the Supreme Leader or Caliph; one set the boundaries of the state by determining its laws, and the other oversaw its affairs. The titular head of the state, the Leader, was to be elected by the citizenry, but no one would be allowed to put forward his candidacy or to engage in electioneering. Mawdudi also did not countenance the operation of more than one political party in the state because more than one correct position could not exist, and it was religious law rather than popular vote that was to decide what the truth was.
How democracy was to take its course, thus remained unclear.
The Heavenly Law guaranteed the equality of all citizens before the law and provided the proper channels for expressing popular grievances against the executive. Grievances had to be based on stipulated criteria that would be in accord with the aims of the state. Freedom of political expression was limited because it could have currency only during the formative stages of the Islamic state when, in the absence of the Rule of divine law, inconsistencies might persist that required protection of individual rights. After the formative years, dissent in a polity based on divine law could only be construed as apostasy. With this in mind, Mawdudi further curbed individual rights by stipulating that unless the citizenry of the Islamic state was able to prove inappropriate intentions or deeds on the part of the executive body, it was bound by its decisions. More significant, he argued that should a legitimate grievance arise among the citizenry regarding the affairs of the state, and it be demonstrated that the government had erred from the path of Religion, care should be taken not to confuse the state, which always remained virtuous, with the holders of office, who were fallible. Dissent thus was also restricted to the government and was diverted away from the state. With the legislature and the judiciary occupying merely advisory positions, it was not certain what channels were open for an orderly expression of dissent or for forcing a transfer of power should the dissent be justified.
In Mawdudi’s works, discussions of popular consultation were theoretical and diffuse. Concrete procedures and mechanisms were supplanted by emphasis on the prophetic saying,
-My community will never agree over error-
and its corollary doctrine of consensus. The Islamic state would employ these concepts not as a mechanism for consultation and expression of popular will, but as the means to reinforce its legitimacy and policy decisions. The individual was, in effect, excluded from political activity unless he could prove it was necessary for him to interfere in the affairs of the state. The burden of proof in such circumstances was with the dissident, who could participate in governance only at the helm of a popular movement of dissent, if there were a clear consensus regarding a particular program. The Gathering of Jurisprudence and Verdict, by stipulating the possibility of change only as a result of popular consensus, the extent and nature of which was open to interpretation, strengthened the status quo and vested power in the Islamic state; therefore the individual, though given the right to dissent, would be hard pressed to express it. Dissent would be irrelevant to the working of the state unless it were expressed by the overwhelming majority of its citizens.
Mawdudi saw nothing undemocratic in all these propositions. He argued that the election of the Leader, albeit divorced from a free electoral process, would provide a democratic state whose continuity would be guaranteed by a sacrosanct code of law, which by definition was just and therefore required obedience. Absent from Mawdudi’s list of democratic features were guarantees for democratic procedures, protection of individual rights, and, most important, a mechanism for translating popular interest into policy. By discouraging electioneering, Mawdudi divorced the election of leaders from popular concerns and cast a shadow on the manner in which the state could reproduce itself and gain continuity.
In effect, Mawdudi had understood democracy as static, involving only elections and equality before the law. Demoracy as a dynamic process through which social, economic, and political concerns could be relayed to political actors and find expression in their programs, policies, and decisions had no place in Mawdudi’s thinking. He understood democracy in parts, rather than entirely, as a concession by the state and not as a system.
Perhaps Mawdudi thought that in an ideal state no grievances could exist that would require a leader’s attention. Where the citizenry willingly submitted to the state and turned its attention from the affairs of the world to spiritual concerns, democracy could easily be reduced to elections and the rule of Islamic law. Mawdudi assumed that a powerful and centralised state, whose institutions were based on Islamic law and reflected Islamic values, would be democratic in spirit, provided it was the ideal state.
The picture that emerged from Mawdudi’s discourse was of a state with COMMANDING authority, based on MASS support that was guaranteed as long as the state remained TRUE to Islamic norms. Mass support would be ensured by the education of the population in the true teachings of Islam, which would reduce the burden of the government because the use of compulsion in enforcing its authority would be unnecessary. A state guided by the tenets of the Law was unlikely to wield power unjustly or to resort to the oppression of its citizens. Corruption had been introduced by the Umayyads, argued Mawdudi, who had converted the historical institution of the caliphate into a tyrannical regime. Until then, the Islamic polity had been free of authoritarian tendencies. Islam in its pure form could never support despotic rules because by its very nature it was attuned to the needs of man and was the best guarantor of his rights. The human rights, people in the West had to fight for, Mawdudi argued, already existed in the Law. The advent of the Islamic state would resolve rather than generate the problems of guaranteeing human rights.
Human rights were considered in terms of the objective of Islamic law and not in relation to the epistemological and political basis of the concept. The basic human right was the right to demand an Islamic order and to live in it, not the right to differ with the rulers of the Islamic state or defy its authority. Rather than providing concrete safeguards for individual rights, Mawdudi entrusted the state with the supervision of Law, the implementation of which was seen as synonymous with protecting fundamental rights. As long as the Islamic state and its executive branch abided by Law, their democratic character would be preserved. The influence of Islam on the state was such that democracy, a concept and myth that bore positive connotations for Mawdudi, could be appropriated to describe its working. The Islamic state was democratic because its virtues could best be captured by that term: it is a mark of adulation rather than a point of fact. Islam as the embodiment of the highest moral values and democracy as the most cherished political ideal were blended into the language of Mawdudi’s discourse. Thus Mawdudi’s Islamic state, although it grappled with the notion of democracy, remained at odds with it. As the embodiment of the will of the masses and the realisation of an ideological vision, the Islamic state approximated the setup of a –democratic republic–
Although his assurances failed to calm anxieties about the Islamic state’s authoritarian tendencies, Mawdudi suggested that the primary concern was Islamicity, not democracy. The Islamic state was to be judged by its adherence to Religion and by its mode of government. Ideally, Islam and democracy should both shape the state, but Islam was the more important. For that reason – to protect and perpetuate Islamic rule, to enforce Islamic law, and to ward off -corruption- and -decay- from within – Mawdudi gave the state broad coercive powers and a monopoly over such key Islamic doctrines as Struggle. The division of power in the state between the various branches reflected the same objective: to augment the power of the executive and therefore bolster stability and order in the system. Such thinking echoed the position of medieval Islamic political thinkers, for whom order was the highest ideal and anarchy an evil that should be avoided at all costs, even if it meant support for an unjust ruler. The disdain shown for the political will by the Muslim thinkers from Mawardi to Ghazzali found their regeneration in Mawdudi’s Islamic state.
The election and duties of the Leader in the Islamic state were modeled after those in the rightly guided caliphate. Elections provided legitimacy because although the state was legitimised by Islam, its leader received his mandate from the people. The contradiction inherent in applying democratic mechanisms to an ideological state structure is self-evident. In both the Islamic state and the Jamat-e-Islami, where elections have been institutionalised as the principle mechanism for transfer of power, discouraging candidates to preserve the ideological purity of the party vitiated the implementation of a democracy. Democracy without a choice of candidates is impossible, and Mawdudi’s insistence on it created numerous difficulties for the Jamat when the party decided to take an active part in Pakistani politics.
It had to be abandoned, therefore, and since 1957, although candidates are not put forward in the Jamat’s internal elections and are not incorporated into its theory of the Islamic state, they have been allowed in national elections.
This discrepancy is just one example of the distinction Mawdudi was forced to make between the tenets of the Islamic state and actions permissible during the fight to achieve it. It also underscores once again the difficulties of accommodating democracy in such a state.
Once in office, the Leader was supposed to emulate the rule of the Prophet in Medina and the rightly guided caliphs, a model that, Mawdudi argued, had been tested and found viable. Because traditional thinkers regarded the prophetic era and the reign of the rightly guided caliphs as unique in history, and were suspicious of anyone who claimed to recreate that period, Mawdudi was careful to avoid that claim by identifying the social mechanism and political institutions he believed had supported the early Islamic polity. With the rigour of a sociologist, he sought ways and means to make his idealised order relevant to an operable in modern times.
The result was the -democratic caliphate- a bicephalous system combining early Islamic history and modern political concepts.
One example is the emphasis on elections, which, in some measure, was a way to guarantee against a dynastic usurpation of power in the Islamic state. Mawdudi believed just such an event had caused the corruption and decline of the caliphate in the seventh century. He disapproved of primogeniture and thought that elections would avoid any eventuality of hereditary rule. The tenet that the interests of the state were more important than the interests of either its leader or any of its constituent branches stemmed from the same concern. In Mawdudi’s concept, the leader was more clearly bound by the law and more accountable to the people than were the Prophet and rightly guided caliphs. He avoided the dependence on the leader that typified the prophetic and early caliphate states and, subsequently, all Muslim rule, instead seeking to anchor all authority in the state itself, and, symbolically at least, to delegate more power to the judiciary and the legislature. As the mainstay of the VIRTUOUS order, it would be the state and not its leader that would serve as the object of loyalty and adulation of the citizenry.
Mawdudi replaced the charismatically charged office of the caliph as successor to the Prophet with the -impersonal collective autonomous reality- of the Islamic state, thereby doing away with the traditional criteria for leadership. The classical sources, for example, specified that the caliph must be a member of the Quraish tribe to which Prophet Muhammad and all subsequent caliphs had belonged. Mawdudi argued that any Muslim, regardless of caste, color, race or any other affiliation, was eligible to become the Leader of the Islamic state.
Aside from these changes, Mawdudi continued to appeal to the emotive power of the classical doctrine of the caliphate to avoid a total break with tradition and to legitimise his model. This coexistence of the idealised past with a more modern revision led to confusion about the source of authority and legitimacy. This ambivalence also surfaced in the Jamat with regard to authority within the party and the extent of Mawdudi’s powers.
As Mawdudi saw it, the leader was the omnipotent head of the Islamic state, and his source of authority rested in the ideological content of the state. His power emanated from his function as the protector of the Islamic state and from the electoral mandate he received from the citizenry. His office demanded the loyalty of the citizenry, although it was implicitly in competition with the loyalty demanded by the state itself, a confusion evident in the dynamics of Mawdudi’s own position in the structure and political praxis of the Jamat-e-Islami, the forerunner of the Islamic state. This accounts for the Jamat’s equivocal approach both to pragmatic politics and to Islamic revolution. The contradiction in Mawdudi’s plan for the Islamic state obviated the possibility of its consolidation into a revolutionary movement.
Mawdudi’s ideas about the legislature had similar problems. It was based on the concept of Consultative Assembly and on the institution of Hearth Assembly. Throughout Islamic history, both had performed consultative and legislative functions. The Consultative Assembly, which figured prominently in the Jamat, was compared by Mawdudi to a Western parliament. Its role was to reflect the popular will, reinforce the democratic proclivities of the state, and be the source for new legislation. However, it had no power and could act only in an advisory capacity. Membership was open only to pious Muslims; the criterion of piety, although ambiguous, reinforced the Islamicity of the state and was supposed to eliminate the possibility of discord in the ranks and limit the extent of legislative autonomy vis-à-vis the executive. The criterion of piety would also exclude -undesirable- ideas, politicians, and policies. This criterion undoubtedly limited the democratic intent of Mawdudi’s formulation as ideological concerns of the state overrode democracy. The legislative powers of the Consultative Assembly would be based on the practice of Deduction, which would be limited by Mawdudi to a select few pious men well-versed in modern subjects, the religious sciences, and Arabic. The activities of the Consultative Assembly were therefore limited, both by the constitution and by the criteria governing membership. Mawdudi regarded the legislature as a legal functionality, not as a political one. Mawdudi favoured limiting the contacts between legislators and their constituencies by advocating a system of proportional representation that would reduce the contact between the electorate and its representatives. Proportional representation, moreover, would allow for elections without candidates, which Mawdudi always favoured.
The Assembly was limited in its powers by the executive branch and the Leader. Mawdudi did not see this as a conflict of interest because he assumed that in ideal circumstances (which he deemed attainable if Religion reigned supreme in the state) no discord could arise. The unity of Religion would preclude disagreement over policy because disagreements could only result from deviations from Religion. Discord was both unnatural and religiously reprehensible and seen as Seditious Discord.
The state was not designed to manage discord, but to minimise its occurring. Checks and balances and mechanisms for ironing out differences did not feature prominently in Mawdudi’s exposition. As a result, the Islamic state was susceptible to discord: with no viable means to resolve disagreements, aside from the reiteration of the ideological ethos of the state; Religion was the only glue that bound the otherwise fragile structure of the state together. As a result, the state would be more viable.
-once society is educated in Islam (then) this (Islamic) view of the state would appear most natural-
One implication of Mawdudi’s argument was that the Islamisation of the society, in contrast to the preaching of other revivalist thinkers such as Ayatollah Khomeini, had to precede the establishment of the state.
That inference caused much confusion about the aims and agenda of the Jamat in Pakistani politics because participation in politics meant that the Jamat sought to establish the Islamic state before the Islamisation of the society.
Mawdudi’s ideas about how the Islamic state worked were put to test in 1956 and 1957. When dissent arose in the Jamat over the party’s participation in Pakistani politics, a number of its members, backed by the resolutions of the party’s Consultative Assembly, opposed Mawdudi’s decision. Their opposition was overruled by Mawdudi, who, true to his teachings on the working of the ideal Islamic state, refused to accept the legitimacy of their dissent and openly rejected the decisions of the party’s Assembly as unwarranted infringements on the Leader’s powers. The merits of the argument were overshadowed by concerns for unity of purpose and the rights of the Leader.
Mawdudi argued that the success of the party hinged on
-Unity of thought, heart, spirit, and most important, action-
and that the position of the Leader should be as supreme as a military commander in the battlefield.
This episode pointed to the inherent weakness of Mawdudi’s essentially authoritarian orientation.
It also showed how FIDELITY to the ideological aim of the state could be used to augment the powers of the executive.