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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarAbdul Rauf
Title of Dissertation Mawlana Amin Ahsan Islahi: A Study of Socio-Political Thought
Issue Date2005
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Mawlana Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904-1997) began to speak and write on Islamic topics at a comparatively young age, after foundation of Jamaat-i-Islami in 1941, remained Jamaat’s chief theorist and contributor to the debate on an Islamic constitution for Pakistan till 1958. In that year, he dissociated himself from the Jamaat. His post1958 writings includes his magnum opus, Taddabur-i-Quran, a massive nine-volume commentary on Holy Quran, believed by Muslims to have been revealed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam.

Islahi, primarily a religious figure trained in religious disciplines, adopted a rational mode of thought greatly at variance with traditional Ulama. His approach, it seems, has its origin in his training under, and long association with, Hamiddudin Farahi, founder of the Farahi School, not popularly known.

Islahi’s writing, both scholarly and popular, ccontains a system of ideas in which God, man and universe from a core lying at the base of his socio-political thought. Society, in Islahi’s views, is formed by men whose creator God and who have been given powers of observation and reasoning to make profitable use of nature and its resources. Man can further take guidance from his own history. But most comprehensive guidance comes from God through revelation to his Prophets. Good societies can be created on the basis of revelation to be interpreted by man with the aid of intellect, and experience.

Islahi believes that man is beset with weaknesses and he may deviate from revelation and may not pay proper heed to the rights of fellow creatures, particularly the weaker ones. Islahi discusses several issues pertaining to social relations in the Muslim countries at variance with the traditional views iften taking issues with great classical jurists like Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, etc. in his writings on society, Islahi places great importance on family as the basic institution which is concerned with proper socialization and thereby stability in Muslim society.

In modern times, says, Islahi, education has acquired crucial importance in the task of socialization and social stability. Islahi particularly emphasises that human weaknesses can be overcome through education. He gives attention to the Islamic content of education by holding that real knowledge can make it for man’s true happiness and that education ,i.e. acquisition of real knowledge must take into account  (1) knowledge of , and issues concerned with, existence of God, (2) detailed knowledge of God’s attributes; (3) the knowledge of actions which God like and dislikes; (4) the knowledge of laws on the basis of which God decide the fate of individuals and groups; (5) the  knowledge of meeting God after death on the day of judgement and how He would treat the good and bad people. Islahi criticize the two broad systems currently functioning in Pakistan, the one copying the West and the other the classical Muslim madrasah system. Islahi wants that such dichotomy to be eliminated and a holistic approach be adopted.

Islahi believes that family and education are important in contributing to man’s happiness but in pubic conduct, public institutions regulating behaviour are also necessary. This involves laws. Islahi upholds the legal measures contained in the Holy Quran, he deals with issues arising out of the application of revealed legal measures. In law-making Islahi puts emphasis on human dignity and happiness in this world and the hereafter. In selecting the form of government, Islahi places emphasis on consultation. He is not averse to modern methods and is in favour of the opinion of the majority. At the same time, Islahi prefers training of the people to man positions of power. Islahi also believes that to form a society, the first group to be aimed at, are the elite groups in the society. Change will come when such elite groups gave been convinced of change.