75 Years of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind: A Critical Analysis

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Even the adversaries of Jamaat accept that the members and workers perform the Jamaat work in an organized and systematic way. They are trained so well that they keep calm and work patiently, even in the most challenging situations. They are not outraged, avoid harsh words, and try to convince the opponents with logic and arguments.

Abhay Kumar

NEW DELHI—IT is often observed that organizations are established, but they get involved in internal bickering and personal interests. However, keeping this bitter truth in mind, when we look at Jamat-e-Islami Hind’s history and contributions, it can be said that this organization is different.

WITH this uniqueness, it is a matter of pleasure for JIH’s members and workers that their organization has completed 75 years of its formation. It may be mentioned here that Jamaat-e-Islami was initially formed in 1941 in Lahore at the call of Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maududi.

MAULANA Maududi is considered to be one of the great Islamic thinkers. He was an advocate of applying Islam in all spheres of life.

THE partition of India caused the bifurcation of Jamaat-e-Islami too. In 1948, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was formed afresh.

READ ALSO: Women’s Strength in JIH’s Highest Decision-Making Body Exceeds Women’s Representation in Parliament, State Assemblies

WHILE JIH’s first Amir (chief) was Maulana Abul Lais Islahi Nadwi, Mr Syed Sadatullah Husaini with an engineering background, is the present Amir.

THE credit for the immense success of JIH goes to its workers who toiled hard for Jamaat’s works calmly with few resources and kept away from the limelight.

READ ALSO: Jamaat@75: Work for the Nation’s Welfare; Convey the Message of Islam and Worship of Only One God to Fellow Countrymen.

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JIH was banned twice in Independent India, and its top leaders were jailed. Its offices were raided, but its cadre remained stuck to their mission despite these problems and tribulations. Due to their efforts, JIH is a nationwide organization with a strong presence in South India. Its frontal organizations are active at the Mohalla levels.

EVEN the adversaries of Jamaat accept that the members and workers perform the Jamaat work in an organized and systematic way. They are trained so well that they keep calm and work patiently, even in the most challenging situations. They are not outraged, avoid harsh words, and try to convince the opponents with logic and arguments.

THE JIH cadres do not confine themselves to Islam and Muslim society but also keep themselves abreast of other issues and subjects. Therefore, it can be said that JIH represents a well-educated section of the Muslim community.

THERE is a misunderstanding among many that Jamaat suffers from stagnancy or lack of activity, and it needs to be more active. The truth is that while JIH is going strong in its mission of Iqamat-e-Deen (establishment of the religion of Islam), it is still catching up in adopting modern technology.

ALTHOUGH it believes in establishing a society based on Islamic values, it shares platforms with secular and left-leaning people. Moreover, it undertakes welfare programmes also for the propagation of Islam.

IT is highly active in every field – from media to human rights issues. JIH has spread its network among civil society groups. It is not a simple matter that hundreds of frontal organizations affiliated with Jamaat are working today. However, it has succeeded in maintaining coordination among them. JIH works professionally. This is something that other organizations may learn from it.

DESPITE all these virtues, several serious allegations are levelled against it. The main accusation is that it is a ‘communal organization’. Some even say that Jamaat works the same way the Hindu communal organizations do.

BUT terming JIH as a communal organization is not justified from any angle. Having differences with JIH’s thoughts does not mean we can say it is a ‘communal organization’.

IN India, communal organizations divide people in the name of religion and indulge in violence. But Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is a liberal organization of Muslims whose leaders, members and

workers come from different schools of thought. Its cadre has no compulsion to adopt a particular dress code or follow a certain Maslak or sect.

THOSE calling JIH communal have either not observed it from close quarters or are levelling this baseless charge due to their vested political interests. Rumours are often spread that a particular organization of Muslims is communal to instil fear among the majority community.

THERE is nothing to prove that JIH has indulged in any act of communal hatred to date or it has fanned a communal fire.

SOME people are biased to the extent that they allege JIH of being involved in anti-national activities or promoting anti-national thoughts and ideology. These are completely false allegations.

INDIAN Muslims’ contribution and sacrifices to the country’s freedom struggle and development are not less than any other community. Whenever the country has gone through tough times, all the Milli (community) and religious organizations of Muslims have worked to strengthen the unity and sovereignty of the nation.

ANY organization fighting for minority rights is defamed as communal due to a vested interest to suppress its voice. The extremist and anti-social elements don’t know that India’s second name is diversity. Someone should tell the hardcore elements that when people of all religions in the country get equal rights, the nation will become stronger. But on the other hand, the country’s unity and sovereignty remain fragile until the weaker and deprived sections get justice.

I PAY a big tribute to the Jamaat’s success. At the same time, I take the liberty to put some points. First, JIH should work to remove misunderstandings against each other among Muslim institutions themselves. It is a pity that there is a lack of democratic values in Muslim institutions. While Islam prescribes a system of consultation and democratic process, Islamic institutions are unfortunately devoid of these Islamic values.

SECONDLY, While trying to bring unity among Milli organisations, Muslims must also work to forge unity among all the oppressed, irrespective of creed and community.

THERE are injustices committed in the name of religion, but the system of inequality based on caste and gender is ruining people. Class inequality is also increasing. For example, all Muslims pray in one mosque. But when they leave the mosque, the same Muslims are divided into masters and servants.

JAMAAT should promote the weaker and Pasmanda sections and women in their leadership. It must support the Dalits, Adivasis, Pasmanda, and other deprived sections. Merely saying that such and such leaders of the Jamaat come from Pasmanda groups and hence, Jamaat has fulfilled its mission of social justice is not enough.

MUSLIMS must realize that the caste system, economic disparity and gender discrimination are not only non-Muslims’ problems but the Muslim community is also affected by this deadly disease. And this ailment has infected the Muslim community due to Muslims’ own mistakes.

THE scholars of Jamaat know better than me that Islam teaches to help the poor, the needy and the disabled, along with offering Namaz and performing other religious duties. Also, justice and equality are other names of Islam. But many Muslim institutions are not following the above teachings of Islam. Muslim institutions should understand that until they accommodate the weaker sections in their organizations, they would have no right to ask the state to demand a reasonable representation for Muslims in government bodies.

MUSLIM institutions cannot achieve their objective without fighting the disease of bias, ego, and discrimination. However, if Muslim organizations thoughtfully ponder these issues, they would need not meet the majority community’s communal organisations in the darkness of the night.

(The author is a PhD in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The author’s opinion are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of India Tomorrow.)

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