Why Was Maulana Maududi On The Target In The ‘Open Letter To PM Modi’?

Maulana Abul Ala Maududi.

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI—Did any Indian Muslim leader declare to Islamize all of post-Partition India by 2047? Did Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, an international Islamic scholar, whose writings have influenced Muslims all over the world since the middle of the last century, ever give an open call for “genocide of non-Muslims everywhere in the world?”

These and many other sweeping allegations have been made in an “Open Letter to PM Modi by Academics” circulated on social media on July 27, 2022.

The signatories to the letter, who are 25 in all, most from India and a few from abroad, have stated in the letter that these thoughts and, particularly the political thoughts of Maulana Maududi, pose a serious threat to national security.

Therefore, they have demanded a ban on the publication and circulation of his books in India, apart from banning the books of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian Islamic scholar, from the curriculum of Islamic study courses in Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Jamia Hamdard. AMU immediately removed Maulana Maududi and Sayyid Qutb from its syllabi after the letter did rounds on social media and also removed their books from its libraries.

Sensationalization by mainstream media

While the mainstream media and several well-known news portals and websites carried detailed stories based on the letter, none of them approached the signatories of the letter to question them on their allegations. Professionalism demanded that they should have verified the allegations from signatories to the letter and questioned them about what knowledge the signatories had about Maududi’s and Qutb’s writings.

The journalists should have questioned the signatories if they have read any of the books of Maulana Maududi or Sayyid Qutb. And in which book does Maulana Maududi give a call for genocide of non-Muslims all over the world, including India? And who are the prominent Muslim leaders who have declared their determination to Islamize all of post-Partition India by 2047 because the letter misses the names of these leaders? For reasons best known to them only, reporters from the so-called mainstream media avoided the job of cross-checking the facts and went ahead with publishing the stories in haste lest their competitors scored over them. The sensationalization of news based on the letter without verifying its contents from the signatories has undoubtedly done great damage to the universities teaching Islamic courses and sent a wrong message to people at large.

However, this scribe made a bid to contact the signatories to the letter whose phone numbers and email addresses were available on the internet, or were made available by their offices.

Have signatories to the open letter read Maulana Maududi’s books?

Out of 25 signatories (three of them living overseas), this writer was able to talk over the phone to five of the signatories. Readers will be surprised that all the five candidly admitted that they had not read Maududi at all. None of them admitted that they were involved in drafting the letter. Then who drafted the letter and how the writers and signatories levelled serious allegations against the JIH, an organization appreciated in intellectual and academic circles for its effort to fight for justice and establish communal harmony in the country, and Maududi, an Islamic scholar held in high esteem all over the globe, remains a puzzle. The answers of the signatories with whom this writer had telephonic conversation gave an impression that the letter was drafted by someone from a think tank or someone having specialized in global Islamophobia and the signatories simply signed on the dotted lines to give credence to the baseless allegations with an ill-intention.

The first among the signatories is Prof Anand Kumar. He is a national fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies at Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. He said over the phone that he was aware of Maududi’s political ideology. When asked to reply in yes or no if he had read Maududi’s books, he felt irritated.  Though I had already introduced myself as a journalist with my full name, he asked for my name again. After listening to my Muslim name, he said, “I am not interested in talking to you” and immediately disconnected the call.

Another signatory Prof. Bharat Gupt, who retired from the English Department of Delhi University, tried to justify the contents of the letter but he candidly admitted he had not read Maududi’s books. “I don’t want to comment any further,” he said. He did not reply how could he level baseless allegations against a scholar whose books and literature he had not gone through.

The same question was put to Prof. Sangit Kumar Ragi in the Department of Political Science, Delhi University. He did not respond if he had read the books of Maududi but claimed that “the letter was written with a sense of responsibility”. When pressed further to answer the specific question, he said “I am not answerable to you.” 

“I am not accountable to you,” he said when questioned how he could make sweeping allegations against an author whose books he had not read.

Dr. Nidhi Shendurnikar, who teaches in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Gujarat), responded by saying “I don’t want to comment.” However, she conceded she had not read Maududi.

The scribe also made calls to Prof. Hari Om Mahajan in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Jammu University. He promised that he would provide the name of Maududi’s books he had read. But he did not keep the promise. There was no response to calls made to Dr. Shilpi Tiwari, a surgeon at VIMHANS, Delhi, and Dr. Dilip Kataria, a professor in the Department of History at the MS University of Baroda, Gujarat.

Other signatories like Prof. Kanchi Gopinath at Indian Institute of Science(IISc), Bangalore, Dr. Anil Kumar Vajpayee, a retired lecturer from Central government college, Daman and Diu, Prof. P Kanagasabapathi, a former director of Tamil Nadu Institute of Urban Studies, Neeraj Atri, chairman, National Centre for Historical Research and Comparative Studies, and Dr. Satish Malhotra, a retired professor from GGS Medical College, Punjab, could not be reached because of unavailability of their phone numbers.

Likewise, Dr. Bhakti Devi, Dr. Mala Kapadia, Prof. Prashant Singh, Sahil Aggarwal, and Dr. Soumya Dey from little-known Rishihood University in Haryana could not be approached due to the unavailability of their contact numbers. There was no response to a questionnaire mailed to Dr. Bhakti Devi. Similarly, Dr. Prem Prakash Khosla from MMD University in Ambala district of Haryana, Prof. Ved Prakash Kumar from Chaudhary Bansi Lal University at Bhiwani in Haryana, and Dr. Ritendra Sharma and Dr. Ankur Kakkar from Centre for Indic Studies at a less known Indus University on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, could not be accessed due to failure to obtain their contact numbers.

Senior journalist and activist Madhu Kishwar disconnected the phone when asked from which book of Maududi she had quoted that Maududi had called for genocide of non-Muslims all over the world. However, in a written reply, she said, “I don’t want to engage with you in this manner. Whatever I have to say I will post it on our website or release it to the press.” 

Among the overseas signatories are Dr. Gautam Sen, a retired professor from the London School of Economics, Prof Lakshmi Bandlamudi, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York, and Prof. Uma Iyer, Bronx Community College, City University of New York. According to his brief biodata available on the net, Dr. Gautam Sen is currently President of the World Association of Hindu Academicians and Co-Director of Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation. The three overseas signatories could not be contacted despite several efforts. A questionnaire mailed to Prof. Uma Iyer did not elicit any response.

Allegations not substantiated from Maulana Maududi’s literature

The letter writers have given 23 references to substantiate their allegations but none of the references is from the original sources, that is, the books of Maulana Maududi.

Among the references include mdpi.com, a website published in Switzerland. It publishes scientific papers. But how a paper on religion got published on a website devoted to publishing scientific papers, is a big mystery.

Other references used with regard to allegations mentioned in the letter are theconversation.com, assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, theprint.in, dawn.com and magazine.outlookindia.com

The letter has selectively quoted from an interview of Islamophobic Nobel laureate Sir VS Naipaul in Outlook magazine, papers by Navras J Aafreedi of Presidency College, University of Kolkata, Kevin McDonald, Professor of Sociology at Middlesex University, a report commissioned by the UK House of Commons titled “Muslim Brotherhood Review: Main Findings”, senior journalist Praveen Swami, Pakistani journalist Nadeem F. Paracha and an article in the New Age Islam, claiming how the teachings of Maududi pose a serious existential threat to India. Hence, they have demanded a ban on the publication and circulation of Maududi’s books in India and its teaching in Islamic courses in Indian universities. New Age Islam, a multi-lingual news portal, founded by journalist Sultan Shaheen, carries little credibility among Indian Muslims.

The letter says that even the Partition has not dampened their zeal to convert Hindus. They have quoted a paragraph from American Historian Will Durant’s book, The Survey of Civilization I: Our Oriental Heritage. Durant has shown his hostility to Islam and Muslims in his writings. A paragraph quoted from Durant’s book in the letter claims that Muslims living inside India can pose a threat to Indian civilization.

The letter claims that the Popular Front of India (PFI) is inspired by Maududi’s ideology.

It also accuses Maududi’s ideology responsible for the creation of Indian Mujahideen, the Islamic State’s India Province, the JKLF, the Hurriyat, and the Raza Academy. It says that Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) founded by Maududi is “committed to total Islamization of India” which has “genocidal implications for non-Muslims of India.”

The letter further says that international organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, etc., “continue to derive their inspiration from Maududi’s core ideology and framework of political Islam.”

The letter claims that it is because of the influence of Maududi’s teachings that Islamists in India are opposing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a total falsehood.

Did Maulana Maududi call for genocide against non-Muslims?

Did Maulana Maududi call for violence and genocide against non-Muslims? Those who have read the books of Maulana Maududi strongly deny this. They say that there is not a single sentence in any of Maududi’s books where he has supported extremism, terrorism, underground activities, or violence against any community. AMU, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard, where Maulana Maududi’s books were taught, have not produced any terrorist.

In an interview with media persons, Dr. Raziul Islam Nadvi, an Islamic scholar, says that allegations that Maududi gave a call for genocide against non-Muslims are based on hearsay. The allegations against Maulana Maududi, he says, are baseless. Maulana Maududi never called for bloodshed. Mohammad Ismail, chairman of the Islamic Studies department at Aligarh Muslim University, and Obaidullah Fahad, also from AMU, have supported the stand of Dr. Nadvi. In fact, Maulana Maududi opposed kingship, dictatorship, and dynastic rule and because of this reason, his books are banned in Saudi Arabia. Sayyid Qutb also agrees with the views of Maulana Maududi with regard to the formation of governments. Both of them support democracy, albeit, based on principles of Islam which are undoubtedly different from the Western form of democracy.

Why Maulana Maududi is the target?

Why target Maududi when he has not made any appeal for violence against non-Muslims, stands for democracy, condemns dynastic rule and dictatorship? Academicians and intellectuals who keep themselves abreast of with global developments regarding Muslims say that the teachings of Maududi and Egyptian scholar Sayyid Qutb prevented the assimilation of Muslims into local non-Muslim cultures all over the globe, in the US, Europe, and everywhere.

If one reads the literature of the two authors, one will find that their teachings are based on the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Without using complex religious terminologies, they have argued to eliminate all pre-Islamic and non-Islamic practices from Muslim society. As culture is derived from religion, it has traces of the religion from which it has evolved. So, non-Muslim cultures based on their religions and local traditions will have elements of their religion that may be in contravention to the teachings of Islam, a monotheistic religion, in which sovereignty belongs to God alone. Sometimes culture and religion overlap so much that culture becomes religion and religion becomes culture. Hence, culture and religion cannot be separated.

These finer points of religion become much clear only after reading Maududi’s and Sayyid Qutb’s literature. The language used by the two writers is so simple that it can be understood equally by scholars and laymen. The circulation of literature by the two authors in Europe has come as a big obstruction in the grand plan of the European governments to assimilate Muslims into the local culture or, in other words, to convert them to Christianity. The volunteers of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization founded by Sayyid Qutb in Egypt, played a leading role against the assimilation of Muslims into the European culture. Hence, a vilification campaign was launched against Muslim Brotherhood by the local media in European countries and Western-controlled international media globally.

Similarly, the literature of Maulana Maududi, though not very popular in India, is an obstacle to culturally ‘Hinduise’ Muslims in India. Ram Madhav, a senior RSS ideologue, in an interview with The Print in June this year categorically stated that a separate religious and cultural identity of Indian Muslims and the concept of Ummah (a supra-national community tied by religion) is “hindering the assimilation of Muslims into Indian society at large”. These developments coming in quick succession explain to a large extent the reason for targeting Maulana Maududi in India.


  1. Each timeline of Islamophobia (euphoria), provide an opportunity to answer in terms of any inappropriatness (unacademic) levelled against catalyst Molana Maudoodi and it’s organization (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind).

    Firstly, legal remedy before the robust judiciary (taxpayers mechanism), which provide imparting of education of different philosophies, a Constitutional right as a citizen of India.

    Secondly, rebut academically at (Chair of Understanding), alma-maters of repute with all evidences of (literature), may help inndiffusing the air, negatively generated by academicians whose eyes had not experienced “reading” vis-a-vis “review” of our best literatures of faculties (religion; ethics; economy & politics; banking & finance; aesthetic values; human rights & its values; justice & global peace; Constitution; democracy; etc.).

    May Allah, envision JIH, required strength; wisdom; assistance to sanitize psychowarefare, which hardly stands are meant to divert real National issues, which citizens of peaceful India are seeking in relation to (economy; job; education; health; corruption; justice & human values; rights and access enshrined within ambit of Constitution.


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