Developing an Ethic of Justice Maqāṣid Approaches in Maududi and Solidarity Youth Movement

Main Article Content

Thahir Jamal Kiliyamannil



New Muslim movements in South India, such as the Solidarity Youth movement, re-formulated Muslim priorities towards human rights, democracy, development, environmental activism, and minorities. I read Solidarity Youth Movement as proposing an ethic of  Islam’s conception of justice, while also drawing inspiration from the influential Islamist Abul A’la Maududi. Focusing on  jurisprudential debates, I look at the ways in which Maududi’s intervention informs the praxis of Solidarity Youth Movement. This  paper seeks the possibility of examining their activism as an instance of juristic deliberation, linked to the revival of maqāṣid al-sharī’ah in the latter part of the twentieth century. I suggest a reading of their maqāṣid approach, born out of praxis in a Muslim minority  context, as potentially informing the development of fiqh al-aqalliyah.

Abstract 1489 | PDF Downloads 282


1 The new movements acquired what can be categorized as ‘secular’ or ‘constitutional’ names compared to the ‘Islamic names’ of their antecedent counterparts: Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, Tablighi Jamat, Jamate Islami, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, Indian Union Muslim League, Students Islamic Movement of India, Sunni Students Federation, Ithihadu Shubbanil Mujahideen, Mujahid Students Movement, Students Islamic Organization, etc. For details about the changes in their orientation, see Thahir Jamal Kiliyamannil, “Political Mobilization of Muslims in Kerala: Towards a Communitarian Becoming of democracy,” in Companion to Indian Democracy: Resilience, Fragility, Ambivalence, eds. Peter Ronald deSouza, Mohd Sanjeer Alam, and Hilal Ahmed (Delhi: Routledge India, 2021), 175-186.
2 Irfan Ahmad, Islamism and Democracy in India (Princeton University Press, 2009).
3 The same approach is employed in one of the earliest analyses (Rajni Kothari, “Pluralism and Secularism: Lessons of Ayodhya,” Economic and Political Weekly 27, nos. 51-52 (1992): 2695-2698) and in a recent one (R. Santhosh and Dayal Paleri, “Ethnicization of Religion in Practice? Recasting Competing Communal Mobilizations in Coastal Karnataka, South India,” Ethnicities 21, no. 3 (2021): 563-558).
4 Asghar Ali Engineer, “Remaking Indian Muslim Identity,” Economic and Political Weekly 26, no. 16 (1991): 1036-1038; and Arndt-Walter Emmerich, Islamic Movements in India: Moderation and Its Discontents (London: Routledge, 2019).
5 Nilüfer Göle, “Islam in Public: New Visibilities and New Imaginaries,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 173-190.
6 Asef Bayat, Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post Islamist Turn (Stanford University Press, 2007).
7 Robert W Hefner, Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton University Press, 2011).
8 Gilles Kepel, “Islamism Reconsidered: A Running Dialogue with Modernity,” Harvard International Review 22 no. 2 (2000): 22–27.
9 Mohammad Fadel, “Islamic Law and Constitution Making: The Authoritarian Temptation and the Arab Spring,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal 53, no. 2 (2016): 472-507.
10 Armando Salvatore, and Dale F. Eickelman, eds. Public Islam and the Common Good (Leiden: Brill, 2004).
11 Raymond William Baker, Islam Without Fear: Egypt and the New Islamists (Harvard University Press, 2009).
12 Halim Rane, “The Impact of Maqasid al-Shari’ah on the Islamist Political Thought: Implications for Islam-West Relations,” ICR Journal 2, no. 2 (2011): 337-357, 338.
13 Wael B. Hallaq, Sharī‘a: Theory, Practice, Transformations (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 474.
14 Wael B. Hallaq, “Maqasid and the Challenges of Modernity,” Al-Jami’ah: Journal of Islamic Studies 49, no. 1 (2011): 1-31, 26.
15 Ibid.
16 Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Islam in Modern History (Princeton University Press, 1957), 236.
17 Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, Political Theory of Islam, trans. Khurshid Ahmad, 6th ed. (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd, 1980), 2.
18 Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, ed. and trans. Khurshid Ahmad, 7th ed. (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd, 1980), 112.
19 Hallaq, Sharī‘a, 476.
20 Taha Jabir Alalwani, Towards a Fiqh for Minorities: Some Basic Reflections, 2nd ed. (International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2010), 37.
21 Hallaq, “Maqasid and the Challenges of Modernity,” 12.
22 Updated Constitution of Solidarity Youth Movement, 6.
23 See Imam Ahmad, Al-Musnad, Book 5/196, Hadith no. 21763.
24 Khalid Moosa Nadvi, “Nabi Theruvilaanu [Prophet is in the Streets],” Prabodhanam Weekly Feb 11, 2012.
25 Halim Rane, “The Relevance of a Maqasid Approach for Political Islam Post Arab Revolutions,” Journal of Law and Religion 28, no. 2 (2013): 489-520.
26 Muhammed Shameem’s article [“Paristhithiyum Neethiyum [Environment and Justice],” Prabodhanam Weekly, Jan 20, 2007] gives more insights into this method of developing an eco-theology.
27 Shahul Ameen K. T., “Piety and the Civic: Solidarity Youth Movement and Islamism in Kerala, South India,” in Religion and Secularities: Reconfiguring Islam in Contemporary India, eds. Sudha Sitharaman and Anindita Chakrabarti (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2020), 146.
28 Rane, “The Relevance of a Maqasid Approach,” 490.
29 Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, (Oxford University Press, 1996).
30 Jan-Peter Hartung, A System of Life: Mawdūdī and the Ideologisation of Islam (London: Hurst, 2013), 130.
31 Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 61.
32 M. Abdul Haq Ansari, “Mawdudi’s Contribution to Theology,” The Muslim World 93, no. 3/4 (2003): 521-531, 521.
33 Irfan Ahmad, Religion as Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Marketplace (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), 140-150.
34 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 76.
35 Muhammad Qasim Zaman “The Sovereignty of God in Modern Islamic Thought,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 25, no. 3 (2015): 389-418, 418.
36 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 87.
37 Ibid.
38 Anis Ahmad, “Mawdudi’s Concept of Sharia,” The Muslim World 93, nos. 3/4 (2003): 533-545.
39 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 206.
40 Alalwani describes ‘combined reading’ as “a reading of Revelation for an understanding of the physical world and its laws and principles, and a reading of the physical world to appreciate and recognize the value of Revelation.” See Alalwani, Towards a Fiqh for Minorities, 15.
41 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 68.
42 Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, Fundamentals of Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publications Limited, 1982)
43 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 79-80
44 Wael B Hallaq, “Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 16, no. 1 (1984): 3-41.
45 Sohrab Behdad, “Islam, Revivalism, and Public Policy” in Islam and the Everyday World: Public Policy Dilemmas, eds. Sohrab Behdad, and Farhad Nomani (New York: Routledge, 2006), 19-20.
46 Maududi, Political Theory of Islam, 23.
47 Ibid., 24.
48 Humeira Iqtidar, “Theorizing Popular Sovereignty in the Colony: Abul Aʿla Maududi’s ‘Theodemocracy’,” The Review of Politics 82, no. 4 (2020): 595-617, 607.
49 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 117-118, 320.
50 Wael B. Hallaq, The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament (Columbia University Press, 2012), 45-46.
51 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 248-51, 316-18.
52 Muneer Muhammad Rafeeq, a Santhulithathwam, Muslim Ummah, Maqasid al-Shariah: Oru Charithra Vishakalanam [Balance, Muslim Ummah and Maqasid al-Shariah: A Historical Analysis],” Prabodhanam Weekly, November 24, 2017.
53 “About Us”, Official website of Solidarity.
54 T Shakir Velam, “Solidarity Oru Kalpanika Bhavanayalla [Solidarity is not a Fantasy of Imagination]” Prabodhanam Weekly, April 26, 2013.
55 Olivier Roy, Secularism Confronts Islam (Columbia University Press, 2007).
56 Baker, Islam Without fear.
57 Ahmad, Islamism and Democracy in India, 9
58 Sherman A. Jackson, “Islamic Law, Muslims and American Politics,” Islamic Law and Society 22, no. 3 (2015): 253-291, 265.
59 Ovamir Anjum, “Interview with Talal Asad,” American Journal of Islam and Society 35, no. 1 (2018): 55-90, 77.
60 Sajjad Idris, “Reflections on Mawdudi and Human Rights,” The Muslim World 93, no. 3-4 (2003):547-561, 548.
61 Humeira Iqtidar, “Jizya against Nationalism: Abul A ‘la Maududi’s Attempt at Decolonizing Political Theory,” The Journal of Politics 83, no. 3 (2021): 1145-1157, 1145.
62 P Mujeebrahman, “Solidarity Vettakk Pinnil Mafia Thalparyangal [Mafia Interests Behind the Witchunt of Solidarity],” Prabodhanam Weekly, June 5, 2010.
63 PI Nowshad, “Aikydartyathinte Puthiya Mugham [New Face of Solidarity],” Prabodhanam Weekly, Sept 10, 2011.
64 See description of Quran 2:143 in Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhimul Qur’an.
65 Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 76.
66 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 185.
67 Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam (London: The Islamic Foundation, 1980), 107.
68 Nowshad, “Aikydartyathinte Puthiya Mugham”.
69 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 145.
70 Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 99.
71 Irfan Ahmad, “On the State of the (Im)possible: Notes on Wael Hallaq’s Thesis,” Journal of Religious and Political Practice 1, no. 1 (2015): 97-106, 102.
72 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 45.
73 Jackson, “Islamic Law, Muslims and American Politics,” 286.
74 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 45.
75 Hallaq argues that a modern Islamic state is impossible and is a contradiction in terms due to the different nature of sharī‘a and the modern state, and it leads to the division of moral and legal laws. While Hallaq’s thesis revolves around the changes in the conception of sharī‘a, the implication of modernity, and the contradiction of Islamic state, inexplicably neither his book Impossible State nor Sharia: Theory, Practice, Transformations gives a single reference to the original works (except a secondary reference) of Maududi, who of course is an indispensible figure in conceptualizing sharī‘a and Islamic state in the modern context. A comparative reading of Hallaq’s propositions in these two works with Maududi’s Islamic Law and Constitution would potentially elucidate disconcerting parallels, which is beyond the scope of this article.
76 Rane, “The Impact of Maqasid,” 348.
77 Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam, 88.
78 K. T., “Piety and the Civic,” 146
79 Abdul Hameed Vaniyambalam, “Neethikk Sakshikalaavuka [Be Witness to Justice]”Prabodhanam Weekly, January 20, 2007.
80 Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam, 114.
81 For a historical account of different trends within the development of fiqh al-aqalliyah, see Said Fares Hassan, Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat: History, Development, and Progress (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Adis Duderija and Halim Rane, Islam and Muslims in the West: Major Issues and Debates (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); and Uriya Shavit, Shari’a and Muslim Minorities: The Wasati and Salafi Approaches to Fiqh Al-Aqalliyyat Al-Muslima (Oxford University Press, 2015).
82 Iyad Zahalka, Shari’a in the Modern Era: Muslim Minorities Jurisprudence (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
83 For example, see Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press 2005); Adis Duderija, and Halim Rane, Islam and Muslims in the West, and Jackson, “Islamic Law, Muslims and American Politics.”
84 The two approaches within the Arab-Sunni jurists that arises due to the differing interpretation of maṣlaha are identified as wasaṭī and salafī approaches. See, Shavit, Shari’a and Muslim Minorities.
85 Duderija, and Halim Rane, Islam and Muslims in the West.
86 Alalwani, Towards a Fiqh for Minorities, xvii.
87 K. T Hussain, Islamika Akademika Activisathinte Kerala Parisaram [Context of Islamic Academic Activism in Kerala], Prabodhanam Weekly, January 14, 2012.
88 For a detailed discussion on the subject through classical jurisprudence, see, Fadl, Uddat al-Umara’ (Cairo: Matba’ al-ḥujra al-hamida 1857 [Rajab 1273]) and for contemporary discussions, see Alalwani, Towards a Fiqh for Minorities.
89 Ahmad, Islamism and Democracy in India.
90 Abdul Jaleel PKM, “Arab Immigrants under Hindu Kings in Malabar: Ethical Pluralities of “Naturalisation” in Islam” in Migration and Islamic Ethics of Issues of Residence, Naturalisation and Citizenship, eds. Ray Jureidini and Said Fares Hassan (Leiden: Brill, 2020): 196-214.
91 According to Jackson, there are rules and regulations that fall outside the parameters of what is strictly sharī‘a and are not anti-religious but simply non-sharī‘a. Muslims can engage in this realm of what he calls “Islamic secular” without invoking and without abandoning Islamic law. For details, see Jackson, “Islamic Law, Muslims and American Politics,” 290.
92 Andrew F. March, Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus (Oxford University Press, 2011).
93 For details of the immigrant condition, see Ian Law, Amina Easat-Daas, Arzu Merali, and Salman Sayyid, eds. Countering Islamophobia in Europe (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); and Jackson, “Islamic Law, Muslims and American Politics,” Islamic Law and Society 22, no. 3 (2015): 253-291.
94 Rachid Ghannouchi, “The Participation of Islamists in a Non-Islamic Government,” in Power Sharing Islam, ed. Azzam Tamimi (London: Liberty for Muslim World Publications, 1993): 51-63.
95 March, Islam and Liberal Citizenship.
96 Shaykh Ibn Bāz and Shaykh Uthaymeen, Muslim Minorities: Fatawa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities (UK: Message of Islam, 1998), 15, 18, 20-21.
97 Mass conversions, especially by the lower castes, that took place in India are primarily motivated by the desire to escape the clutches of Hindu caste system. Conversion of thousands of lower castes in Malabar (Kerala) in the 19th century and at Meenakshipuram (Tamilnadu) in 1981 attest to the fact.
98 Maududi, The Islamic Law & Constitution, 150.
99 Abul A’la Mawdudi, Human Rights in Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd, 1995), 20.
100 For Maududi, the distinction between believers and non-believers is crucial and rights are distributed accordingly, especially in his proposal of Islamic state. This may go against the modern conception of equal citizenship.
101 Iqtidar, “Jizya against Nationalism,” 1153.
102 Maulana Sayyid Abul A’Ia Maudoodi, A Historic Address at Madras [1947], Trans. Mohammad Siddiqui Naveed (New Delhi: Markazi Maktaba Islami Publishers, 2009), 6.
103 Ibid., 14.
104 Syed Abul Aala Maududi, Al Jihad Fil Islam [1930], trans. Syed Rafatullah ShahIdara (Lahore: Tarjuman ul Qur’an, 2017), 63.
105 Iqtidar, “Jizya against Nationalism,” 1149.
106 Nowshad, “Aikydartyathinte Puthiya Mugham”.
107 Constituent Assembly debates demonstrate how Hindu ethics were systematically incorporated in the constitution. For details, see Shabnum Tejani, Indian Secularism: A Social and Intellectual History, 1890-1950 (Indiana University Press 2021); Pritam Singh, “Hindu Bias in India’s “Secular Constitution”: Probing Flaws in the Instruments of Governance,” Third World Quarterly 26 no. 6 (2005): 909–926; Thahir Jamal KM, “Mathethara-Desheeya Udgrandanavum Nyoonapaksha Samudaya Chodyangalum: Niyama Nirmana Sabhayile Islam Pedi [Secular-Nationalistic Integration and Minority Community Questions: Islamophobia in Constituent Assembly]”, in Islamophobia: Prathivicharangal ed. V Hikmathullah (Calicut: Islamic Publishing House, 2017).
108 Ghannouchi, “The Participation of Islamists in a Non-Islamic Government,” 63.
109 Love Jihad is an Islamophobic conspiracy theory that alleges Muslim men seduce and convert Hindu women in an organized attempt to change the demography of India and to receive money from international Muslim sources.
110 Hallaq, “Maqasid and the Challenges of Modernity,” 13.
111 Muhammad Khalid Masud, “Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities,” ISIM Newsletter
11, no. 1 (2002):17-17, 17.
112 Alalwani, Towards a Fiqh for Minorities, 3.
113 Ibid., 10.
114 The question of whether maqāṣid universals are a temporary adjustment due to loss of power or are innate in the Islamic principles would generate two ways of understanding the maqāṣid approach of Muslim movements: firstly, as reinventing the scope of making law, and thereby reinventing sovereignty, considering sovereignty as the authority to make rules. Secondly, as enforced due to the disciplining by the State, and thereby limiting the sovereignty. The second analysis, as a criticism of the maqāṣid turn, would demand a critical discerning of the genealogy of Muslim sovereignty, which is beyond the scope of this paper.
115 Hallaq, Sharī‘a, 508.