Maulana Abu Ala Maududi was born on September 25, 1903 in Aurangabad, a well-known town in the former princely state of Hyderabad, Deccan. He was the direct descendant of Khwaja Qutubuddin Maudood Chishti, whose teachings reached Indo-Pakistan subcontinent through his well-known disciple Khwaja Moinuddin of Ajmer. Maududi’s father Syed Ahmad Hasan Maududi was an advocate by profession. He practiced in Meerut and then shifted to Hyderabad, Deccan. He was educated at Aligarh but in later life was much disgusted with the British Imperialism and western culture. He even gave up his legal profession since he found it contrary to his aim of life. Because of his abhorrence for the English way of life in stead of sending his child to the English schools employed tutors to teach him at home, among all classical subjects, the English language and literature, modern disciplines and Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages.
In 1920 his father passed away. The same year he joined the weekly Medinah of Bijnore (U.P.) and then became the editor of Taj of Jabalpore even before he completed his 17th year. Later he shifted to Delhi and joined the weekly Muslim and thereafter became the editor of the daily al-Jamiat, Delhi, which was an outspoken Muslim newspaper representing Islamic viewpoint and bitterly opposed to the British rule as well as Hindu domination. Under his editorship it became the leading newspaper of the Muslims of India. However, he left al-Jamiat when the organizer party behind it showed a preference for the viewpoint of the Indian National Congress. In 1932 he started his own Journal, Tarjuman al-Quran that soon became very popular among the Muslims of the subcontinent — guiding and inspiring them in every phase of their national existence. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal who was one of the earliest subscribers to Tarjuman al-Quran and held Maulana Maududi in highest esteem sought his cooperation in the task of reconstruction and development of Islamic jurisprudence. After an exchange of views, Dr. Iqbal also invited him to come over to Punjab.
Maududi has written over 120 books and pamphlets and made over 1000 speeches and press statements of, which about 700 are available on record. During 1920-28 he translated four books one from Arabic and the rest were from English. In 1930, his first major and monumental work was Al-Jihad fil Islam, which was highly appreciated by not less than a sage and poet-philosopher, Dr. Iqbal. Al-Jihad fil Islam is an excellent treatise on the Islamic law of war and peace. His discourses on Islam (Khutabat), Islam main Ibadat ka Tasawwur, Masla-e-Jabr-o-Qadr (The Problem of Free Will and Determination), Sunnat ki Aaeena Hasiyat, Tanqeehat were immensely applauded. His Tafhimat explains into rational way the concepts of Islam. Several editions of Purdah (veil), Haqooq-e-Zojain (Rights and Duties of Married Partners), have been published so far as these are highly popular works among the people. One of the most popular books he wrote is Towards Understanding Islam which is a concise and lucid introduction of Islam expounding the fundamentals of beliefs together with the logic and rationale of the path of Islam. However his main and memorable contribution is translation and commentary of the Holy Quran entitled as ‘Tafhim al-Quran’ in six volumes. He took almost 30 years to complete this work. This tafseer has made a tremendous and far-reaching impact on the contemporary Islamic thinking all over the world. His writings revealed his erudition and scholarship, a deep perception and profoundness of the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. His literature imbued with a critical analysis of the western thought and history has provided fresh avenues of thoughts, newer dimensions of moral excellence and dynamic concept of spiritualism. His books have been translated into the major languages of the world like Arabic, English, French, German, Turkish, Persian, Hindi, Swahili, Tamil, Bengali etc.
He criticized and showed the hollowness of various ideologies, which had begun to spoil the minds and hearts of the Muslims. Through his journal he appealed to the Muslim intelligentsia to ponder over the real call of Islam and if convinced, concentrate their energies on establishing the Islamic way of life not only in their personal life as individuals but also in their political, economic, social and cultural domains. For that purpose Maududi established an academic and research centre Dar al-Islam in collaboration with Allama Iqbal. The main task was to train competent scholars for producing works of outstanding quality on Islam, to launch a full-fledged movement on the pattern of the earliest Caliphate, and above all to carry out the reconstruction of Islamic thought.
Maulana Maududi started taking interest in politics around 1920 and took part in the Khilafat Movement and became associated with the tahrik-i-hijrat. In 1940 he launched a new organization under the name of Jamaat-i-Islami. He was elected First Ameer of Jamaat and retained this portfolio till 1972 which he left due to his deteriorating health. He was the greatest Muslim critic of the Congress. He wrote a series of articles, which were widely circulated and later incorporated in a book, Musalman aur maujooda siyasi kashmakash. He vehemently criticized and condemned all the schemes and programs of the Congress aimed to absorb the Muslims of the subcontinent into a common nationhood and lead them astray from the path of Islam. Maulana Maududi analyzed and showed the errors of judgement of Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, one of the topmost scholars of Deoband. The Quaid-i-Azam understood the position of the Jamaat and status of Abul Ala Maududi very well. When he was approached to join the Jamaat-e-Islami, he said that there was no conflict between the Jamaat and the League; the one was working for a higher ideal and the other to realize the pressing immediate which, if lost would make the work of the Jamaat impossible.
After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, there were a series of Maulana’s lectures on different systems of Islam, which were broadcast from Radio Pakistan, Lahore. These lectures commenced in January 1948 and continued up to July 6, 1948. From the outset he kept on reminding the leadership to fulfill the promises made to the nation for establishing an Islamic order, and for this purpose a declaration of the objectives of the state in the legal and constitutional form was of paramount importance. In short, he mobilized his efforts on the establishment of a truly Islamic State and society in the country. For that matter he opposed and criticized the policies pursued by the successive governments of Pakistan. As a result he was arrested time and again and put into jail for long periods. It was due to the efforts of Maulana Maududi and his Jamaat that the Objectives Resolution was passed on March 12, 1949. It was also in accord with the Jamaat’s demand that the Objectives Resolution was incorporated in the Constitution as Preamble.
He opposed the Qadiani movement and in his book Qadiani problem he wrote that Qadianis are not Muslims and they have to be treated as a minority. In 1953 when he was sentenced to death by the martial law authorities on the charge of writing a seditious pamphlet on the Qadiani problem, he didn’t file any petition for mercy and cheerfully accepted the punishment. His firmness and faith in Allah astonished the government and his opponents and critics but due to foreign pressure and strong public strain and stress, government was forced to reduce it to life imprisonment and at length it was completely canceled.
Maulana Maududi toured a lot of countries during the years 1956-1974. These tours enabled the Muslims of those countries to become acquainted with him personally and appreciate his dynamic knowledge and qualities. He lectured in Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Makkah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Rebat, Istanbul, London, New York and Toronto. He also made study tours of Saudi Arabia, Jordon (including Jerusalem), Syria and Egypt in order to probe the geographical and historical phenomena of the places mentioned in the Holy Quran. Maulana was also the member of the Foundation Committee of the Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami, Makkah and the Academy of Research on Islamic Law, Madinah. Maulana Maududi was, indeed, a symbol of Islamic renaissance and an intellectual giant of the modern times. He participated in numerous Muslim international conferences, lectured in the principles cities of most of the Muslim countries and had contacts with Muslim leaders in all parts of the Muslim world.
In April 1979, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi had kidney problem, which worsened with the passage of time, and when he also suffered from heart disease, he had to leave for United States for treatment, where his son had also been practicing as a medical specialist. Following a few surgical operations he died on 22nd September 1979, at the age of 76. His funeral ceremony was held in Buffalo but later he was buried at his residence Ichhra in Lahore, When his dead body arrived at Lahore, the road was jam-packed with swarming people up to more than four miles.
This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 02, 2012