Les remparts


Communism came up with a unique solution to the economic issue. This recipe was to transfer the means of the production of wealth from private to public ownership, and also to assign to the community (with the Communist Party as its sole representative) the responsibility for its distribution. On the face of it, this appears to be a reasonable solution. But the more that one reflects on its practical side, the more its drawbacks are revealed and one is forced to admit that the result of the prescription is bound to be as deadly as that which it sought to replace.

An addition problem with this system is that, even if making use of the means of production and the distribution of produced goods is entrusted theoretically to the community, it will still have to be carried out practically by a small group of administrators who form the Executive. Although initially elected by the community, this group will have all the resources of the land at its disposal, while the people will be at the receiving end. The entire population will thus be left at the mercy of this all-powerful coterie of managers, or rather exploiters.

Who would have the courage to go against their wishes, to challenge their authority in the country or to organise a peaceful struggle that could replace them through a popular ballot?

The reality is that anyone who earns the displeasure of the ruling elites under this kind of dispensation foregoes their very right to exist. The workers have no courage to go on strike against their mill-owner to uphold their rights. They have no option to choose a workplace for themselves, as there is but one sole mill-owner for the whole country, who also rules the land. It is not possible to seek popular support and sympathy even for a good cause if this is contrary to the wishes of the Party. The natural outcome of communist rule is therefore the emergence of one Super Capitalist out of the ashes of many large and small ones in the country and the rise of a single mill-owner and feudal lord, who is simultaneously the Ruler as well as the capital baron.

An absolute power like this is bound to corrupt its power-base absolutely. It will be hard for the ruler to refrain from tyranny and oppression, particularly because he has no faith or sense of being answerable to any Supreme Being. Hypothetically speaking, even if we presume that a group of ruling elites would not go beyond certain limits in their use of the absolute power at their command and would continue to fulfill the demands of justice and fair play, there is no avenue under such a totalitarian dispensation for the natural growth and development of the personalities of individuals. What the human personality needs most for its proper growth is freedom and the means to use that freedom according to its discretion for the further development of its hidden potential. The communist system offers no room for this. The resources of the land are entirely out of the individual’s reach and are concentrated in the hands of the executive authority, which then uses them according to its own plan and in furtherance of the rulers’ interests. Individuals who wish to benefit from the state’s resources are left with no option but to follow the plan drawn up by those in power and actually to surrender themselves to the dictates of the ruling elites, who mould them according to their own scheme of things. This kind of social order places virtually every individual in society at the disposal of a few persons, as if they were no better than inanimate raw material. Under this so-called Dictatorship of the Proletariat, a small band of the most powerful men in the land are free to put the enormous human material at their disposal to whatever plan and use they choose, in exactly the same way that shoes are moulded from leather and tools are wrought from raw iron.

The drawbacks of the communist system are so terrible for human civilisation that, even if it succeeds in the judicious distribution of the basic needs of life, its disadvantages are going to be far more meaningful than the benefits. The natural growth and development of human civilisation depends entirely on the availability of equal opportunity to each and every person, helping them to develop the distinct faculties and potential with which they are born. This is how everyone can play his due role in life’s venture. This natural growth cannot be achieved in an environment where there is regimented planning to -tame- humans. A group of humans, however intelligent, well-meaning and well-qualified, cannot be so knowledgeable and -omniscient- that they can correctly assess the intrinsic qualities and inborn faculties of countless millions of their fellow humans, and then chart out for each of them a perfect course for their growth and development. Such a group of -master planners- is liable to make mistakes due to the limitations of their knowledge, while also failing to serve their own group interests due to their lop-sided approach. A ruthless regimentation of this type will be a death-blow to human civilisation’s diversity and will turn a society into a lifeless monotony; it will put an end to the natural growth of civilisation giving rise to an artificial evolutionary process, eventually leading to the freezing of human potential and a severe mental and moral degeneration. A human being is after all not a sapling or grass grown in a garden that a gardener may trim to suit his design. Every individual has his own personality and likes to grow and develop as demanded by his nature. If you try to deprive a person of his freedom by force, he will grow not as you have planned, but will instead either rebel or slowly whither away.

Communism’s fundamental mistake is that it takes the economic issue as the core factor in human life. It lacks insight into the problems that face human beings and thus the capacity to resolve these from a correct perspective. Its attitude towards all of the issues of life if lopsided. Its approach towards metaphysics, morality, history, the social and physical sciences and everything within the sphere of human knowledge and learning is economy-centred and, because of this one-sided approach, the entire balance of life is disturbed. It therefore does not offer a correct or natural solution to the economic problems of man.



Le château


In arguing against Western critics, Sayyid Ahmad Khan said that Islam had given more rights to women than other religious traditions.

Muslim women have complementary rights and responsibilities as individuals freely responsive to God.

They have rights over their own property and the freedom to make their own decisions about marriage.

However, in an article entitled Purdah, he expressed himself as worried about the dangers of rapid social change and inclined to feel that the limits established by the Heavenly Law should be dutifully observed and respected into achieving a high level of personal culture within the Purdah system.

He felt that in number of respects Muslim insights into relations between the genders were superior.



La tour


Islamisation was to take place within the framework of a -dava- movement, directed at popularising adherence to Religion. It had to transform the existing apparatus and mechanisms of the secular state into Islamic ones. An Islamic constitution, as it was shaped in Pakistan between 1947 and 1956, was supposed to provide a path to the Islamic state that would replace the Islamic revolution. An Islamic constitution thus became the Jamat’s main agenda and the way it would carve a niche for itself in Pakistani politics. It would be the mechanism used to move the struggle for the Islamic state away from revolutionary activism and toward pragmatic politics in the existing political order.

The Islamic Constitution was to be an EVOLVING document; it was neither the Law, nor any other ready-made document. It was to be the axis along which the existing polity would be reformed and reconstituted:

“When we say that this country should have an Islamic Constitution, we do not mean that we possess a Constitution of the Islamic state in a written form and the only thing that is required to be done is to enforce it. The core of the problem is that we want an unwritten Constitution to be transformed into a written one. What we term as Islamic Constitution is in reality an unwritten Constitution. It is contained in certain specific sources, and it is from that we have to evolve a written Constitution in keeping with the present-day requirements of our country”.

Constitution making was therefore integral to the struggle for the creation of an Islamic state. It also implied the acceptance of the principle of gradual change that would replace Colonial laws, institutions, and judicial procedures. Mawdudi placed a great deal of emphasis on proceeding gradually, lest the entire process be jeopardised. The population first had to be prepared in the ways and means of the New Order through Islam, a path fraught with difficulties, especially in view of the machinations of the imperialist powers.

“If we wish to promulgate Islamic law here (in Rumelisaray), it would mean nothing less than the demolition of the entire structure built by your former masters and the raising of a new one in its place”.

The Islamic Constitution would be a religious document based on the Quran, hadith, conventions of the rightly guided caliphs, and the canonised verdicts of recognised jurists (i.e., the Divine Law). It was not, however, the same thing as the Law: although the Law would serve as the basis of the legal code, it was not structured in the form of a constitution.

The Divine Law had two parts, one immutable and binding, and the other open to interpretation and change. New laws would have to be incorporated into the body of the Law through Hermeneutic Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Invoking the Spirit of Law in Novel Circumstances, all in keeping with the precepts of Religion. Such legislative endeavours were open only to the learned men of the religion or Vanguard movements such as the Jamat. The law-making process, moreover, was complemented by the institution of ancillary changes in the infrastructure of society in general and its educational system in particular. Mawdudi argued that, for the constitution-making process, a -Law academy- should be established that would relate knowledge of Islamic sources to the contemporary needs of the society and the polity. This academy would consist of legal minds versed in the religious sciences and familiar with modern subjects. The latter requirement would disqualify the Learned. Mawdudi prescribed education in Arabic and law for the people as a corollary to constitution making. Islamic legal education would be reformed to create a milieu that would enable an Islamised legal and political order to work. All this should take place in tandem with reforms in the existing legal and constitutional structures of the state, to bring them closer to the Islamic perspective.

The Law also had to be streamlined, reinterpreted, and expanded to accommodate the needs of the state. In its classical form, it did not address questions of governance to the extent required for a state to function. For instance, it did not make clear the relation between the various branches of government. Safeguards would have to be added to the existing Islamic legal code.

Mawdudi was particularly keen on guaranteeing the AUTONOMY of the judiciary and of lawyers such as Allahbakhsh K. Brohi (who at the time was critical of Mawdudi) from the executive. This did not appear in his earliest works. The charge was not because he was influenced by Western political thought; it came about because of his experiences with the strong-arm tactics of Pakistani governments. In the beginning, Mawdudi had rejected both the adversarial system and the role of lawyers as immoral and non-Islamic, arguing that Islam accepted only an inquisitional system in which the judge was the final authority. Mawdudi said that during the time of the Prophet, Judges implemented the Law without discussion or the interference of lawyers, who could obfuscate the truth. Then in 1948, 1953, and again in 1963, when the Pakistan government tried to crush the Jamat, it had been the judiciary that rescued the party. Mawdudi and the Jamat consequently favoured the autonomy of the Pakistani judiciary and accepted the adversarial system and the right to appeal as beneficial (the Jamat subsequently even formed an Islamic Lawyers Association). What the Jamat advocated for Pakistan soon appeared in the model for the Islamic state. As a manifestatiton of equity, itself a cardinal Islamic VIRTUE justice was the conditio sine qua non for the Islamic state.

Many were skeptical of this view, however.

At the centre of the debate were the Singular Laws, which were unpalatable to the Westernised classes whom Mawdudi sought to attract to his cause, because these laws entailed punitive punishments for such crimes as theft, adultery, or murder, and were criticised as retrogressive, cruel and infringing international human rights. Mawdudi tried to mollify this opposition by instituting limits to the law’s applicability, but he defended them in principle, arguing that the cruelty in the West that resulted from the absence of punitive measures far outweighed the barbarity of the -hudud- after that, however, he suspended their application. The Law, argued Mawdudi, enjoined certain practices, the -good- and forbade others, -the evil-

as long as Muslims remained ignorant of the teachings of their faith, they could not be punished for Evil.

When a society was imperfect, individuals could not be held entirely accountable for deeds that might have been provoked either by their social and economic circumstances or by their ignorance of the faith. Singular laws, Mawdudi argued, only made sense in the Islamic state, where the individual had no legitimate excuse for committing evil. Even in the Islamic state, however, the Laws were not likely to be a problem because once Muslims were educated in Religion, they would not err, and the laws would fall into disuse.

Mawdudi’s views on the -hudud- also changed over the years. He first regarded these law’s function not as punitive, but as a deterrent, but he moved away from this position by linking their implementation to the elimination of the causes of crime. When General Zia-ul-Haq enacted his Hudud Ordinances of 1979, this caused difficulties in the Jamat’s alliance with the general’s government and led to costly doctrinal compromises by the party.

Practical politics in Pakistan and modification in his treatment of the Islamic state forced Mawdudi to modify a number of other doctrinal issues. Some of his conclusions were implemented in policy; others remained mere guidelines yet to be reflected in the Jamat’s program. In his later writings and speeches he seemed to have grown weary of the centralisation of power in the executive branch. He gave greater scope to the rights of the citizenry to -protest against tyranny in the Islamic state- which is in contrasts with his earlier declaration that the Islamic state had the right to expect obedience from its subjects, whether its orders were -palatable or unpalatable, easy or arduos-

Later on, however, his proclamations on Pakistani politics were a good deal more liberal than his prescriptions for the Islamic state. The Jamat demanded from Pakistani governments rights that in principle it would not itself grant in the Islamic state. For example, Mawdudi favoured neither a party system in the Islamic state, because in an ideal state there would be no need for intermediaries between the state and its citizens, nor a mechanism to translate popular demands into policy.

In 1963, when Ayub Khan abrogated the multiparty system in Pakistan in favour of his Basic Democracies, something akin to what Mawdudi intended for the Islamic state; the Jamat was in the forefront of those struggling to restore the multiparty system. In 1978, Mawdudi gave the Islamic state a – One Party – system but found it inappropriate for any other state until the society was fully committed to Islam. As the Jamat became more and more political, Mawdudi adopted party politics as a tool in the struggle to achieve the Islamic state, but he saw it as one to be discarded when the goal had been reached.

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