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AFP
November 11, 2011
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Maudoodi and Iqbal

Sports

AFP
November 11, 2011

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In her recently published work, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan, Saadia Toor, a Pakistani-American researcher, writes that the Jamaat-e-Islami began to appropriate Allama Iqbal after the creation of Pakistan in its bid to whitewash Maulana Maudoodi’s antagonistic role during the Pakistan Movement. In its attempts to revise history, the Jamaat began to practice historical schizophrenia. For instance, when the multi-volume Musalman aur Maujuda Siasi Kashmakash (Muslims and the Present Political Struggle) was reissued by the Jamaat’s publishing house, a crucial volume containing invective against Jinnah and Pakistan was removed. Musalman aur Maujuda Siassi Kashmakash was a collection of essays by the party’s founder. The revisionist gauntlet thrown down by the Jamaat was immediately accepted by Marxist thinker, the late Safdar Mir. Under the tongue-in-cheek title of Maududiyat aur Maujuda Siasi Kashmakash, Mir serialised choice excerpts from the removed volume in the pages of Nusrat, a PPP organ in the late 1960s.
According to Saadia Toor, among the “strategic sleights of hand” employed by Jamaat to find a space in a country it had bitterly opposed was “to try to play down the role played by Maudoodi’s main nemesis within the Pakistan Movement, Jinnah, while at the same time seeking to replace him with a different nationalist icon with which the Jamaat could more easily claim affinity. Maudoodi settled on Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s official national poet.
The campaign to accommodate Allama Iqbal, if one goes by Saadia Toor, picked up steam in the 1960s. For instance, she cites the keynote speech delivered by A K Brohi at the Iqbal Academy on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the poet. Brohi, a rightwing politician and a Jamaat sympathiser who had been a minister in the cabinet of Gen Ayub Khan, contended that Jinnah’s role had been merely that of an “ordinary mason” whose contribution to the struggle

for Pakistan had been limited to raising the structure on the blueprint sketched by Allama Iqbal.
On its part, the Jamaat keeps embellishing Maulana Maudoodi’s credentials by emphasising the meeting he held with an ailing Iqbal in Lahore, shortly before Iqbal’s death in April 1938. The Jamaat also exhibits correspondence between Iqbal and Maulana Maudoodi as proof of what it says was its founder’s role in the Pakistan Movement. The meeting took place four years before the Jamaat-e-Islami was founded in August 1941.
What goes unmentioned by the Jamaat is Maudoodi’s bitter opposition to the Pakistan Resolution of March 1940, less than two years after Iqbal’s death, and his denunciation of the Muslim League and Jinnah.
The Iqbal-Maudoodi meeting, which actually had little political significance, had been arranged by Muslim philanthropist Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan. Iqbal admired his work and wanted Islamic scholar Ghulam Ahmed Parvez to head the Darul Islam Trust which Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan had established in Pathankot, a town now in the Indian state of Punjab. Parvez – Jinnah’s close associate who was to become a counsellor to him after Partition – was editing the monthly Tulu-e-Islam at the time. Talu-e-Islam (The Rise of Islam) was a journal advocating the Muslim League’s case for a separate homeland for Muslims. Parvez told Jinnah that he had been asked by Allama Iqbal to join the Darul Islam Trust and sought Jinnah’s permission to do so. Jinnah vetoed the proposal. He advised Parvez to nominate someone else to head the Darul Islam Trust. He wanted Parvez to focus on the Tulu-e-Islam project. Parvez, therefore, recommended Maulana Maudoodi to Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan.
Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan wrote to Maudoodi and invited him to join the Darul Islam Trust. The prospect of heading a well-endowed Islamic research institute was an attractive one for Maudoodi and he agreed. Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan, however, wanted Allama Iqbal to personally approve Maudoodi’s appointment at the trust. Therefore, in 1937, Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan took Maudoodi to meet Allama Iqbal in Lahore. In Hayat-e-Sadeed, Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan’s biographer K M Azam says that Niaz Ali Khan was not aware of Maulana Maudoodi’s anti-Pakistan views and later parted ways with him.
Every historical event is open to contestation. While Jamaat stalwarts glorify the Iqbal-Maudoodi meeting, Marxists and secularists like Safdar Mir and Saadia Toor have contested the Jamaat’s reinvention of Maudoodi’s pre-Partition role. The latter do it in a bid to establish that the basis for the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan was not Islam. Maudoodi derisively referred to Pakistan (land of the pure) as Napakistan (land of filth) and denounced the Muslim League for its orientation “towards nation-worship, not...Islam.”
Iqbal was full of contradictions. A section of progressives, including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Syed Sibt-e-Hassan and particularly Ali Sardar Jafri, have attempted to appropriate Allama Iqbal on the basis of his poems praising Karl Marx and Lenin. They ignore Allama Iqbal’s praise for fascism and Mussolini. Similarly, these progressives and secularists glorify Allama Iqbal’s rejection of the mullah. However, this tendency tends to ignore Iqbal’s glorification of the Mujahid. In the words of one critic, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, “Iqbal’s mullah that he criticises is the guy who is illiterate, superstitious and usually found in a small mosque in a small village. Iqbal’s eulogised ‘Mujahid’ is someone like Abul Aala Maudoodi – Islam’s very own Platonian ‘philosopher king.’ A learned scholar, a lucid thinker, a prolific writer but, at the same time, a single-minded, if not entirely myopic, conservative, patriarchal, anti-pluralistic and someone geared to inspire a Muslim elite to lead a cultural and political jihad against modernism, secular nationalism and strains of Islam that Iqbal thought were adulterated and too pacifistic.”
Another recent work, Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity, by Masood Ashraf Raja, approaches the Iqbal-Maudoodi ideological conflation in a more nuanced way, though from a different vantage point. Iqbal and Maudoodi, Raja thinks, are skeptical about Western nationalism. For both, Islam must form the basis of everyday life in an Islamic state and religion cannot be reduced to an individual’s private matter. “Hence, while Iqbal articulates a grand vision of the nation, Maudoodi, highly influenced by Iqbal but also the more conservative of the two, illustrates the tactical details of the Muslim nationalistic vision. Together they generate an elite and popular discussion that is later appropriated by the Muslim League in its quest for a separate nation-state for the Muslims of India. Eventually, while Jinnah and the All-India Muslim League use Islam as a marker of national difference and as a mobilising ideology, the followers of Maudoodi, on the other hand, consider Islam the very basis of a separate Muslim nation-state.”
Allama Iqbal and Maulana Maudoodi, so to say, have an ideological affinity even if the Jamaat rediscovered Iqbal in the post-Partition period in a bid to whitewash its inconvenient past. The secularist and progressive attempts at reinventing Iqbal stand little chance of succeeding. Instead of de-Maudoodifying Iqbal in their bid to de-radicalise Pakistan’s jihadist identity, secularists and progressives will do far better if they dare deconstruct Iqbal the way Ali Abbas Jalapuri has done: unsettle him.
The writer is a freelance contributor. Email: [email protected]

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