Jamaat-e-Islami – manifesto and challenges

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By Siraj ul Haq

Though formally founded on August 26, 1941, the Jamaat-e-Islami is ideally the continuation of the movement which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had set up fourteen hundred and fifty years ago in Makkah.

Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and great scholars, sufis and leaders like Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, Imam Malik and Imam Ibn-e-Taymiyyah led the movement with the passage of time. Passing through Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani, Syed Mujaddid Alf Sani, Syed Ali Hajveri, and Syed Hassan al-Banna, the movement reached Sayyid Abul AalaMaududi in the Sub-Continent and is now moving ahead with the name of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

The JI is the only politico-religious party of Pakistan that stands above sectarian, ethnic, cultural and lingual biases. Opening its doors for every human being, the JI believes in Islamic democratic system of Shura. Every JI worker participates in the decision-making process and can raise questions on central leadership conduct in the any matter.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s decades long struggle to bring reforms in the society according to the brilliant principles of Islam and efforts for the protection of the individual’s rights are recognised even by its political opponents. From preparing the Objectives Resolution to taking part in movements of Tehreek-e-Nizam-e-Mustafa (Rule of Prophet), Tehreek-e-Khatme-Nabuwat (Finality of Prophet-hood) and others, the JI played a leading role in all major movements in Pakistan.

Unlike other mainstream political and religious parties of Pakistan, which act as family units and where son, grandsons, daughters, granddaughters, brothers and relatives hold complete control on decision-making, the JI has no concept of dynastic and family politics. Sons, grandsons of former JI chiefs Sayyid Maududi, Mian Tufail Ahmad, Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Syed Munawar Hassan cannot even imagine becoming the Amir (grand ruler) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The JI has been struggling for the establishment of a society based on justice, equality and human values. Its objective is to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state, which could play a leading role in the Muslim world. It fights against feudalism, secularism and imperialistic approaches, and stands firms against any conspiracy to challenge the Islamic identity of the country.

The JI’s struggle for Kashmir cause has always been widely acknowledged by the leadership of the region of Jammu and Kashmir, currently divided between Pakistan and India. It is because of the JI efforts that the issue of India-Occupied Kashmir has key importance on our national agenda and the successive governments in Pakistan dare not to compromise on it despite massive international pressure.

The JI had also raised strong voice and extended all-out support to the people of Afghanistan during the war against Soviet invasion.

Widely considered as the most influential religious organisation of Pakistan, the JI focuses on discipline and training of its workers to create a strong sense of responsibility as an individual member of the society. It upholds Islam in its entirety, with its sole purpose to transform the Pakistani society as an ideal place of living for human being.

The JI is strictly against gender discrimination and believes that without the participation of woman, a society cannot flourish. It works for the protection of the rights of small farmers, labourers and all other oppressed segments of the society. Hundreds of JI workers have served as members of national and provincial assemblies, Senate and local bodies on different occasions but there is not a single allegation of corruption and nepotism against them. It is quite a unique example in a society where the ruling class is engaged in looting the country’s resources with both hands and even a three-time prime minister failed to justify his wealth.

The JI had organised a huge public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan four years ago, which was attended by people from all walks of life from across the country. The purpose of the meeting was the renewal of the pledge made by the country’s forefathers on March 23, 1940. The JI put forward the idea of “Islami Pakistan-Khushal Pakistan” during the moot. From that day, the JI is struggling to achieve the goal.

The message of the JI aims to reach to the public masses, which who are fed up of the typical elite rule over the country for decades. The JI, if voted into power, will ensure free health and education facilities to the common man, introduce uniform curriculum, bring land and labour reforms and other structural changes in the society to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state.

The JI is the only politico-religious party of Pakistan that stands above sectarian, ethnic, cultural and lingual biases.

(The author Sirajul Haq is Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and a senior member of the Pakistan Senate. He wrote this article on the occasion of founding day of Jamaat-e-Islami which is August 26, 1941)