Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan founder, Islamist thinker and prolific author Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi, has been remembered on the 44th anniversary of his death.
Born in Aurangabad, India, into a devout Muslim family, Maududi's father, Ahmad Hasan Maududi, was a lawyer and religious scholar.
Following his father's footsteps, Maududi developed a strong religious inclination from a young age. His early education was primarily through homeschooling, but he had to leave school at the age of 15 due to his father's passing.
At just 17, Maududi became a correspondent and eventually the editor of the newspaper "Taj" in Jabalpur. In 1920, he assumed the editorship of "Muslim," a publication by the Jam’iyat-i ‘Ulama,’ the Ulema of India in Delhi. Later, he became the editor of the prestigious "al-Jam’iyah." It was during this time that Maududi started writing about Islam and laid the foundation for his future endeavors.
Pioneering Islamic Thought
In 1928, Maududi transitioned from journalism to scholarship. He authored works on the history of the Asafiyah dynasty of Hyderabad and the Seljuk Turks. Notably, he penned "Toward Understanding Islam" (Risala al Dinyat), a seminal work that marked the beginning of his journey as an Islamic thinker and religious writer.
By 1930, Maududi had published "Jihad fil Islam" (Holy War in Islam), a collection of essays that would significantly contribute to his legacy.
Spreading the Message of Islam
Maududi's passion for Islam led him to join the Hyderabadi journal "Tarjuman al-Quran" in 1932, where he later became the editor in 1933. This platform allowed him to disseminate the message of Islam. In the 1930s, he also delved into Indian politics, urging Muslims to embrace Islam as their sole identity and become better Muslims.
In 1941, Syed Maududi convened a historic meeting in Lahore to establish Jamaat-e-Islami with the core objective of spreading the message of Islam. Over time, the organization would become a significant force in Pakistan's national politics.
Challenges and Imprisonment
Syed Maududi's dedication to his beliefs did not come without challenges. He was arrested in 1953 for his active role in declaring Qadyanis as non-Muslims. Initially sentenced to death, public pressure eventually led to his release after a few months. However, in 1958, Pakistan fell under military rule, and Jamaat-e-Islami was banned.
He was arrested again in 1964 during Ayyub Khan's regime. In the 1965 elections, he supported the presidential candidacy of Fatimah Jinnah against Ayyub Khan.
In 1972, Maududi completed his monumental work "Tafheem-ul-Quran" in Urdu. That same year, due to deteriorating health, he resigned as Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami. Nonetheless, he continued his prolific writings until the late 1970s.
His last days
In April 1979, Maududi’s long-time kidney ailment worsened and by then he also had heart problems. He went to the United States for treatment and was hospitalized in Buffalo, New York, where his second son worked as a physician. Even at Buffalo, his time was intellectually productive. He spent many hours reviewing Western works on the life of the Prophet and meeting with Muslim leaders, their followers and well-wishers.
Following a few surgical operations, he died on September 22, 1979, at the age of 76. His funeral was held in Buffalo, but he was buried in an unmarked grave at his residence (Ichra) in Lahore after a very large funeral procession through the city. Funeral prayer was led by Shaikh Yousuf Al Qardhavi in Colonel Qadafi stadium of Lahore and was well attended by all sections of people from most countries of Muslim world. The then ruler of Pakistan General Ziaul Haq had attended the prayer in his military outfit.
Maududi's life and teachings have left an indelible mark on Islamic thought and activism, influencing millions of Muslims worldwide and fostering discussions on the interpretation of Islam in contemporary times. His commitment to unity among Muslims and his relentless pursuit of an ideal Islamic society continue to inspire generations. (ILKHA)
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