Les remparts


Fascism and national socialism also claim to offer a solution. This solution aims at retaining the individual’s right over his economic resources, but keeping this right subservient to the national interest and under the state’s tight control. Practically speaking, the consequences of this approach do not appear to be greatly different from those of communism. Like the communist agenda, the fascist solution also demands that the individual lose himself in the melting pot of the group, leaving no room for his personality to develop and grow freely. Moreover, the fascist state that keeps this right of the individual under tight control is as oppressive, tyrannical and autocratic as communist rule. It needs a strong, coercive state power to keep all the resources of the land under its thumb and make them serve its agenda. The population of a state that has such coercive power at its disposal can only be a helpless entity, reduced to the level of serfs by its rulers.



Le château


With respect to usury, Sayyid Ahmad Khan quoted the verse:

They who return (to usury) shall be given over to the fire (2:275).

His view was that the exegesis of scripture involved a consideration of its intention with respect to the context at the time of revelation. He argued that the original intent of this verse was to prevent the exploitation of poor people who could not pay and who were being grievously mistreated by their creditors. The crime, as he saw it, lay in the mistreatment of persons for the poverty which they could not help. They should have been constructively helped. But he saw no harm in charging interest to persons who could afford to pay it. He said that when loans are arranged in such a way that the community in its entirety flourishes, then good has been done.

On the issue of the cutting off of the hands of the thief, he discussed the following Quranic verses:

As for the thief, whether man or woman, cut off their hands in recompense for their deeds (5:38).

Only, the punishment of those who war against God and His prophet and who strive to make mischief in the land, is alternate hands and feet should be cut off or they should be banished from the land (5:33).

In interpreting these verses, Sayyid Ahmad Khan followed the reasoning attributed to Abu Hanifa, the argument runs as follows:

In the second verse, there is a choice between two types of punishment, hand cutting or imprisonment. In all the six schools of law, there is stipulation as to which goods would require the hand cutting if they were stolen. This means that the jurists did not consider the simple stealing of anything to deserve this punishment. There is good evidence that even at the time of the Companions of the Prophet hands were not cut off and only imprisonment was used. In sum, then, hand cutting is a possible form of punishment. As indicated above, the jurists had discussed issues of this kind exhaustively and had attempted to arrive at solutions which would incorporate as effectively as possible their grasp of justice.



La tour


Mawdudi’s views on the Islamic state reveal the influence of Western values and ideas. The very notion of a state with an elaborate machinery of government, a due process and the apparatus to oversee it, a system of checks and balances, and codification and centralisation of law and its application are all modern imports. The process of appropriation and assimilation did not produce a harmonious political theory nor an efficient working model, however, as has been shown. Still, his use of the idiom and symbols of democracy represented more than just rhetoric. It was idiosyncratic, but it was one link in an intellectual and ideological chain that preceded Mawdudi and will no doubt continue to shape Muslim societies in the future. In and of itself, Mawdudi’s Islamic state was imperfect and incongruous, authoritarian by nature and democratic by claim. But its significance lay not in its promise as a viable model for government, but in what it purported to do – find a more rational, consistent, and democratic formulation that would remain open to change. Mawdudi’s synthesis was an opening in the structure of traditional Islamic thought, beginning a debate with Western ideas and assimilating them entirely. Khurshid Ahmad argued that Islamic revival was only a -phase- in the history of the Muslim people; it was not so much a return to the past as a bridge to the future.

In fact, it is the very inconsistency intrinsic to the concept of an -Islamic democracy- and the practical problems that it has created for the Jamat that will continue to push Mawdudi’s ideology and the party’s political program toward great rationalisation and clearer understanding of the ideas that have been borrowed and debated. Time and again, throughout the Jamat’s history, realities have justified disputable political choices. The dynamics of these compromises have by and large determined the course of the Jamat’s development and the changes its ethos and worldview have undergone.

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