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The Sovereignty of God in Modern Islamic Thought1


The sovereignty of God and related ideas have had a prominent place in Islamist discourses. Key figures like Mawdudi of Pakistan and Qutb of Egypt have argued that anything less than exclusive submission to God's law, and all that it necessitates in religious and political terms, is idolatry. Yet the idea of the sovereignty of God has been invoked by many more people than the Islamists, and it has meant quite different things in different quarters. Focusing on South Asia, this paper seeks to shed some new light on the provenance of this idea, on how and to what purpose it has been deployed in religious and political argument, and what the debates on it might tell us about rival conceptions of Islam.

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An earlier, much condensed, version of this paper was presented at a conference in honour of Michael Cook in Bergen, Norway, in June 2014 on the occasion of his receiving the Holberg Prize. I thank Said Amir Arjomand, Eric Gregory, M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, and Hossein Modarressi for answering my queries on particular points in this paper, and Michael Cook for his comments.

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2 With modifications, as needed, I follow the translation of Abdel Haleem, M. A. S., The Qur’an: A New Translation (Oxford, 2004). The term authority is broad and evocative enough to serve as a convenient rendering of both Arabic terms here.

3 Pickthall, Marmaduke, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran: An Explanatory Translation (New York, 1930), p. 598 (rendering the title of Q 67 as “The Sovereignty”). The translation was dedicated to the Nizam.

4 Needless to say, Bodin and Hobbes had quite different conceptions of sovereignty and both differed from other early modern theorists writing on this matter. For a brief survey, to which I am indebted here, see Skinner, Quentin, “The Sovereign State: A Genealogy” in Kalmo, Hent and Skinner, Quentin (eds.), Sovereignty in Fragments: The Past, Present and Future of a Contested Concept (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 2646.

5 On the idea of the “Artificiall person” as Hobbes articulated it, see Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, (ed.) Tuck, Richard (Cambridge, 1996), Chapter 16, pp. 111–115; Skinner, “The Sovereign State,” pp. 35–37.

6 The pre-modern exegetical tradition is of course vast, as is the corpus of the modern commentaries. The examples I adduce here are illustrative of some broad trends in this literature on the questions under consideration, though no such sample can claim to represent the full range of the relevant opinions.

7 al-Tabari, Jami` al-bayan, 30 vols. (Cairo, 1954–68), iii, p. 222; al-Qurtubi, al-Jami` li-ahkam al-Qur’an, 20 vols. (Cairo: Dar al-katib al-`Arabi, 1967), iv, pp. 52, 54; al-Razi, al-Tafsir al-kabir, 32 vols. (Tehran, n.d.), viii, p. 4.

8 Tabari, Jami`, iii, p. 222; Razi, al-Tafsir, viii, pp. 5–6; Qurtubi, al-Jami`, iv, p. 55; Kathir, Ibn, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-`azim, ed. Muhammad, Mustafa al-Sayyidet al., 15 vols. (Giza, 2000), iii, p. 42.

9 Qurtubi, al-Jami`, xviii, p. 206 (commentary on Q 67.1).

10 Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, iii, p. 42 (commentary on Q. 3.26).

11 al-Baghawi, Tafsir al-Baghawi, Ma`alim al-tanzil, (ed.) Muhammad `Abdallah al-Nimr et al. 8 vols. (Riyadh, 1993), ii, p. 23.

12 Razi, al-Tafsir, viii, p. 7 (commentary on Q 3.26).

13 al-Baqli, Ruzbihan, Ara’is al-bayan, (ed.) al-Mizyadi, Ahmad Farid, 3 vols. (Beirut, 2008), i, p. 75.

14 The phrase also occurs in Q 6.57.

15 Tabari, Jami`, xii, p. 220. Also see Thana Allah Panipati (d. 1810), Tafsir-i mazhari, translated from Persian into Urdu by Sayyid `Abd al-Da’im al-Jalali, 6 vols. (Delhi, 1962), vi, p. 154.

16 Qurtubi, al-Jami`, ix, p. 192. Cf. ibid., vi, p. 439, where, commenting on Q 6.57, he understands it to mean that God alone decides whether to delay or hasten punishment for the wrongdoers.

17 Tabari, Jami`, xiii, p. 14; Qurtubi, al-Jami`, ix, p. 228.

18 Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, viii, p. 43 (commentary on Q 12.40).

19 Razi, al-Tafsir, xviii, p. 175 (commentary on Q 12.67).

20 Razi, al-Tafsir, viii, pp. 7–8 (commentary on Q 3.26). This was also the view of the proponents of the divine right of kings in English constitutional history. See Skinner, “The Sovereign State,” p. 30 (citing Sir John Hayward, An Answer to the First Part of a Certaine Conference, Concerning Succession [1603]).

21 al-Amidi, al-Ihkam fi usul al-ahkam, 2 vols. (Cairo, 1347 AH [1929]), i, p. 41; quoted in Urdu translation in Sayyid Sulayman Nadwi, “Hakim-i haqiqi sirf Allah ta`ala hai” in idem, Maqalat-i Sulayman, ed. Shah Mu`in al-din Nadwi (A`zamgarh, 1971), iii, p. 366–388, at 381. Mawdudi also quotes Amidi, whom he takes to say that “Allah is the Sovereign and no command is worthy of obedience except that which is given by Him”. Sayyid Maududi, Abul A`la, The Islamic Law and Constitution, trans. Ahmad, Khurshid, 2nd edition (Lahore, 1960), p. 275.

22 al-Bihari, Muhibb Allah, Musallam al-thubut (Cairo, 1908), pp. 1617 (al-maqala al-thaniya fi’l-ahkam); quoted in Urdu translation in Sulayman Nadwi, “Hakim-i haqiqi”, pp. 385–386.

23 Malihabadi, Amir Ali, Tafsir mawahib al-Rahman, 30 vols. (Lucknow, 1926–31), iii, pp. 146151. For some other examples, see Panipati, Tafsir, ii, pp. 208–212; al-Alusi (d. 1854), Ruh al-ma`ani, 30 vols. (Beirut, 1970), iii, pp. 112–114; Siddiq Hasan Khan (d. 1890), Fath al-bayan fi maqasid al-Qur’an, (ed.) `Abdallah ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari, 15 vols. (Beirut, 1992), ii, p. 211.

24 Rida, Muhammad Rashid, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-hakim, al-shahir bi-Tafsir al-manar, 12 vols., 3rd edition (Cairo, 1947–54), iii, p. 270 (commenting on Q 3.26).

25 Ibid., pp. 270–271.

26 Ibid., p. 270; cf. ibid., p. 271. Rida here follows his mentor, the modernist scholar Muhammad `Abduh, whose influence pervades this commentary.

27 Ibid., p. 271, again following `Abduh.

28 Carré, Olivier, Mysticism and Politics: A Critical Reading of Fi Zilal al-Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb (1906–1966), trans. Carol Artigues (Leiden, 2003), p. 202.

29 A noteworthy earlier discussion of the idea of the sovereignty of God in the context of Pakistani constitutional debates is Ahmed, Manzooruddin, Pakistan: The Emerging Islamic State (Karachi, 1966). This book is based on the author's PhD dissertation titled “The Concept of Divine Sovereignty in Pakistan,” Columbia University, Department of Political Science, 1960. The study, written from a Muslim liberal perspective, is useful in showing how the idea of divine sovereignty figured in the early constitutional history of Pakistan, but it does not do much towards putting the development of this idea in an historical context. Instead, it examines it as a way of showing how Pakistan's first constitution, of 1956, “was successful in bringing about the synthesis between Islamic principles and the Western institutions” (ibid., p. 244). For other discussions of divine sovereignty, see Carré, Mysticism, 192–194 and passim; Khatab, Sayed, The Power of Sovereignty: The Political and Ideological Philosophy of Sayyid Qutb (London, 2006), esp. pp. 7–46; March, Andrew F., “Genealogies of Sovereignty in Islamic Political Theology”, Social Research, LXXX (2013), pp. 293321; and Hartung, Jan-Peter, A System of Life: Mawdudi and the Ideologisation of Islam (New York, 2014), pp. 100110, 205–209. Also see n. 33, below.

30 Qutb, Sayyid, Fi zilal al-Qur’an, 6 vols. (Beirut, 1974), iv, p. 1990 (commentary on Q 12.40). On his sense of the significance of Q 12.40, see ibid., pp. 1989, 1991. For another rendering of the passage quoted here, see Qutb, Sayyid, In the Shade of the Qur’an, translated by Salahi, M. A. and Shamis, A. A., 18 vols. (Leicester, 1999–), x, pp. 76–77.

31 See al-Manar (Cairo, 1904), vii, pp. 577–580; reprinted in Rida, Tafsir al-manar, vi, pp. 405–409 (commenting on Q 5. 44ff.). The request for the fatwa had come from Mawlawi Nur al-din of the Punjab, whom I take to be the person who came to lead the Ahmadi community after the death of its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908). On Nur al-din (d. 1914), see Friedmann, Yohanan, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and its Medieval Background (Berkeley, 1989), pp. 1314.

32 Cf. Qutb, Zilal, ii, p. 898 (commenting on Q 5. 44).

33 For instance in Binder, Leonard’s, Islamic Liberalism (Chicago, 1988), pp. 174177; Carré, Mysticism, 25; Hartung, A System of Life, pp. 100–105, 205–209. Also see Hasan al-Hudaybi, Du`at la qudat (Cairo, Dar al-tiba`a wal-nashr al-Islamiyya, n.d. [1977]), pp. 16ff., 63–65, 72–73. Putatively written by the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (1951–73), this work is highly critical of Qutb (who is not mentioned by name), though rather less so of Mawdudi, who is mentioned and some of whose ideas Hudaybi takes to have been misinterpreted by others (ibid., pp. 72–73). On Hudaybi and this work, see Zollner, Barbara, The Muslim Brotherhood: Hasan al-Hudaybi and Ideology (London, 2009).

34 Mawdudi, Abul-A`la, Islam ka nazariyya-i siyasi (Lahore, 1955; first published in 1939), pp. 2223. In his translation of the Qur’an and commentary on it, Mawdudi renders the relevant part of Q 12.40 as follows: “The authority of rulership (farmanrawa’i ka iqtidar) belongs to none other than God”. He does not however use the term hakimiyyat in discussing this verse. See Sayyid Abul-A`la Mawdudi, Tafhim al-Qur’an, vol. 2, second edition (Lahore, 1958), pp. 402–404.

35 Mawdudi, Abul-A`la, Qur’an ki char bunyadi istilahen (Delhi, 1981; first published in 1941), p. 20.

36 Ibid., p. 27.

37 Ibid., p. 28.

38 Ibid., p. 28.

39 Ibid., pp. 28–29. Mawdudi evoked the Qur’anic phrase malik al-mulk (Q 3.36) often in his discourses. It also occurs in the constitution of the Jama`at-i Islami. For the original version, see “Dustur-i Jama`at-i Islami” in Mawdudi, Musalman awr mawjuda siyasi kashmakash, vol. 3 (Pathankot, n.d.), pp. 208–220, at p. 209. For a later iteration of the constitution, see Dustur-i Jama`at-i Islami Pakistan (Lahore, 1952), p. 11 (Article 3).

40 Ali Suavi, “al-Hakim huwa Allah,” Ulum Gazetesi, Rebiülahir 1286/August 1, 1869, pp. 18–31. I am grateful to M. Şükrü Hanioğlu for drawing my attention to this article and for translating portions of it for me. On Suavi, see Mardin, Şerif, The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in the Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas (Princeton, 1962), pp. 360384; on the question of sovereignty, ibid., pp. 366–367, 373–374.

41 Suavi refers, inter alia, to Muhammad A`la ibn `Ali al-Tahanawi's [Thanawi] Kashshaf istilahat al-funun, an encyclopedic work explicating the meaning of theological, juridical, and other technical terms. Thanawi was an eighteenth-century scholar from northern India. For the relevant passage, see al-Tahanawi, Mawsu`at istilahat al-`ulum al-Islamiyya, 6 vols. (Beirut, 1966), ii, p. 380, s.v. “al-hakim”.

42 “Inil-hukm illa lillah,” al-Hilal (July 1, 1913), pp. 5–8, at p. 7.

43 Ibid., p. 7.

44 See Qur’an-i majid mutarjam bil-tarajim al-thalath (Delhi, 1872), p. 263.

45 Ahmad, Nadhir, Chiragh-i hidayat, ed. Muhammad Isma`il Afzal (Lahore, n.d.), p. 288; idem, Matalib al-Qur’an (Lucknow: Nadhir Press, n.d.), p. 130.

46 Richardson, John, A Dictionary of Persian, Arabic and English, new edition by Wilkins, Charles (London, 1806), pp. 379–80. The work was first published in 1777.

47 In his Persian translation of the Qur’an, the 18th century north Indian scholar and Sufi Shah Wali Allah, the father of Shah `Abd al-Qadir, had rendered al-hukm in Q 12.40 as farmanrawa’i.

Qur’an-i majid mutarjam bil-tarajim al-thalath, 263. The 1829 edition of Richardson's Dictionary translates a cognate term, farmanguzari, as sovereignty (and empire). That Persian term does not occur in the 1806 edition.

48 Ali, Mohamed, My Life: A Fragment, ed. Iqbal, Afzal (Lahore, 1946), p. 108.

49 Ibid., p. 205.

50 Ali, Maulana Muhammad, The Holy Qur’an: Arabic Text, English Translation and Commentary (Lahore, 1973), p. 136 and n. 406.

51 Ibid., pp. 1079–1080. Also see his preface to this chapter (ibid., p. 1079) and n. 2526.

52 Mohamed Ali, My Life, pp. 165–169.

53 Ibid., pp. 168–169; quotation at p. 168.

54 Wells, H. G., Mr. Britling Sees it Through (New York, 1916), pp. 439, 442; the words in single quotation marks are from a letter Mr. Britling was trying to write to the father of the slain German youth. Part of this text is also quoted in Mohamed Ali, My Life, p.149.

55 Wells, H. G., God the Invisible King (New York, 1917), xiii. This, too, was a book Muhammad `Ali had read during his confinement, along with Wells’ The Soul of a Bishop (1917). See Mohamed Ali, My Life, pp. 148–153.

56 Mohamed Ali, My Life, p. 153.

57 Minault, Gail, The Khilafat Movement (New York, 1982), pp. 139140, 169–172.

58 For the full proceedings of the two trials, see Thadani, R. V., compiler, The Historic State Trial of the Ali Brothers and Five Others (Karachi, 1921). For brief comments on this trial, see Minault, Khilafat Movement, pp. 172–174. For a contemporary Urdu version of the proceedings, see Siddiqi, `Abd al-`Aziz, ed., Muwazana-i madhhab wa qanun (Delhi, 1922), cited in Qureshi, M. N., Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics (Leiden, 1999), p. 299 n. 378. I have not been able to consult this Urdu work.

59 Historic State Trial, pp. 69–70.

60 For his part, Maulana Muhammad Ali had translated the key sentence as “Judgment is only Allah’s.”

61 Historic State Trial, p. 283.

62 Ibid., pp. 314–315.

63 Ibid., p. 324, citing Matthew 6.10. The “k” in king George is in lowercase in the original.

64 On the proposed title of the book, see the introduction, by Afzal Iqbal, to Mohamed Ali, My Life, vii-viii. A section of that incomplete book was published by the editor under the title My Life: A Fragment. See ibid., pp. viii-ix.

65 See Mawdudi, Abul-A`la, “Khud niwisht” in Bhutta, Muhammad Yusuf, ed., Mawlana Mawdudi apni and dusron ki nazar main, 2nd edition (Lahore, 1984), pp. 2339, at pp. 32–5. This is a brief autobiographical essay that Mawdudi had written in 1932.

66 Ibid., pp. 32–33.

67 Ibid., p. 33.

68 See John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion in John Calvin: Works and Correspondence (Charlottesville, 1995), electronic edition, note 1 to book 1, chapter 13 (, accessed March 23, 2014.

69 Mawdudi, , Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind awr Musalman, ii (Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1973), pp. 190199, at pp. 191–192. Cf. idem, Tafhim al-Qur’an, 6 vols. (Lahore, 2008), i, pp. 254–255 n. 48 (commenting on Q 3.51). Qutb, too, spoke of the Kingdom of God (mamlakat Allah), though without invoking the Bible. See Zilal, iii, pp. 1433–1434; Carré, Mysticism, pp. 297–299.

70 Historic State Trial, p. 283. For Mawdudi's insistence that God alone is the source of law, see Islam ka nazariyya-i siyasi, pp. 21ff.

71 This language appears, for instance, in a letter the Prophet Muhammad is said to have written to the Christians of Najran. See al-Ya`qubi, Ta’rikh, (ed.) M. T. Houtsma, 2 vols. (Leiden, 1883), ii, p. 89. Quoted in Cook, Michael, “Is Political Freedom an Islamic Value?” in Skinner, Quentin and van Gelderen, Martin, (eds.), Freedom and the Construction of Europe, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 2013), ii, pp. 283310, pp. 289–290, n. 26. The letter also has Muhammad call the Christians “to the authority (wilaya) of God and away from that of [His] slaves.” Ya`qubi, Ta’rikh, ii, p. 89.

72 Mawdudi, “Pakistan main Islami qanun kyun nahin nafidh ho-sakta?” in idem, Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind, 2, 335–364, at 360. This was a speech Mawdudi had delivered at the Lahore Law College in January 1948. For an English translation, see Maududi, Islamic Law and Constitution, pp. 39–72, at p. 67.

73 For a cautious discussion of the relationship of Iqbal and Mawdudi, see Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism (New York, 1996), pp. 3439.

74 Mawdudi, Islam ka nazariyya-i siyasi, pp. 38–39; Cook, “Political Freedom,” p. 302.

75 Mawdudi, Islam ka nazariyya-i siyasi, p. 38.

76 Muhammad Iqbal, Rumuz-i bekhudi, in Kulliyyat-i Iqbal, Farsi (Lahore, n.d.), pp. 44–46; Nicholson, R. A., trans., The Secrets of the Self (Asrar-i-Khudi): A Philosophical Poem (Lahore, 1944), pp. 7884.

77 Iqbal, Mohammad, “Muslim Democracy,” The New Age (1916), p. 251, quoted in Nicholson, “Introduction,” Secrets of the Self, xxix n. 1.

78 Iqbal did, however, speak of “the Kingdom of God on earth,” which, as he explained in a letter to Nicholson, “means the democracy of more or less unique individuals, presided over by the most unique individual possible on this earth.” Nicholson, “Introduction,” Secrets of the Self, xxviii-xxix. Compare Mawdudi, Islam ka nazariyya-i siyasi, pp. 43–44: “The position of the imam, amir, or head of the government in an Islamic state consists in this alone: that ordinary Muslims, to whom the caliphate belongs, choose the best amongst them and entrust the powers [of their caliphate] to him. That the term caliph is used for him does not mean that he alone is the caliph; it means rather that the caliphate of ordinary Muslims has become concentrated in his person”. (The term “concentrate[d]” is Mawdudi's own.)

79 Sajjad, Abul-Mahasin, Hukumat-i Ilahiyya, (ed.) Qasimi, Mujahid al-Islam (Phulwari Sharif, 1999), p. 42 and passim.

80 Ibid., p. 134.

81 Wells, too, was anything but friendly to clerical authority, which makes it ironic that Mr. Britling was read at a school for chaplains during the Great War. See Smith, David C., H. G. Wells: Desperately Mortal (New Haven, 1986), p. 224.

82 Hifz al-Rahman Seoharwi, “Muqaddima,” in Sajjad, Hukumat-i Ilahiyya, pp. 17–32, esp. pp. 22–24, 26–30.

83 Seoharwi, “Muqaddima,” pp. 19–20.

84 Seoharwi, Hifz al-Rahman, Islam ka iqtisadi nizam (Delhi, 1942), pp. 110111 and n. 1. For a discussion of Seoharwi and of this book, see Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 234239.

85 Hifz al-Rahman Seoharwi, Islam ka iqtisadi nizam (Lahore, n.d.), p. 126 n. 1. This fourth and final edition of the book was published in 1951. As Seoharwi notes in his preface to this edition, it represents no change over the previous edition, which was published in 1946 (ibid., pp. 17–18).

86 Dustur-i Jama`at-i Islami Pakistan (Lahore, 1952), pp. 11–12.

87 Ibid., p. 15.

88 S. M. Zauqi to M. A. Jinnah, January 12, 1940, in Zaidi, Z. al., (ed.), Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers (Islamabad, 1993–2009), 3rd ser., xv, pp. 4145; quotations at pp. 42–43.

89 On the life and career of Zauqi Shah, see Rozehnal, Robert, Islamic Sufism Unbound: Politics and Piety in Twenty-first Century Pakistan (New York, 2007), pp. 4659.

90 See Muhammad Zauqi Shah, “Tahrik-i Abul-A`la” in Wahid Bakhsh, (ed.), Madamin-i Zauqi (Karachi, n.d.), pp. 279–302; for a criticism of Mawdudi's goal of establishing a “divine government” (hukumat-i Ilahi), see ibid., pp. 292–294. For other direct and indirect criticism of Mawdudi, see ibid., pp. 303–305. An English collection of Zauqi Shah's articles (see the following note) also bears the same title as the Urdu collection. My transliteration of the Urdu title serves to distinguish it from the English one.

91 This correspondence is reproduced in Bakhsh, Wahid, (ed.), Mazamin-e-Zauqi (Karachi, 1948), pp. 4764. The letters are undated, but one of Zauqi Shah's letters gives December 26, 1932 as the date of his previous letter to Pickthall (ibid., p. 59).

92 Ibid., p. 61. Emphasis in the original.

93 Ibid., p. 63.

94 Ibid., p. 51.

95 Ibid., p. 61.

96 Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Debates, 16 vols. (Karachi, 1947–1954), v/i (March 7, 1949): p. 7.

97 Sayyid Sulayman Nadwi, “Hakim-i haqiqi.” The article was first published in Ma`arif (A`zamgarh), a monthly journal of which Sulayman Nadwi was the longtime editor.

98 Ibid., pp. 386–387.

99 Ibid., p. 368.

100 Ibid., pp. 387–388.

101 Nadvi, Syed Sulaiman, Sovereignty of Allah, trans. Asim, Syed Abu (Karachi, 1953).

102 Fundamental Principles of an Islamic State, formulated by a gathering of ulama of various Muslim schools of thought (Karachi, n.d. [1951]), p. 3.

103 Muhammad Shafi`, Dustur-i Qur’ani (Karachi, 1953), pp. 6, 12. Twelve thousand copies of this tract, in both Urdu and English, were distributed free of charge (see ibid., front matter).

104 Ghulam Ahmad Parwez, Qur’an ka siyasi nizam (Lahore, n.d.), pp. 37–38. This booklet is based on an article first published in Parwez's monthly, Tulu`-i Islam, in March 1960. My references here are to the booklet.

105 Ibid., p. 29.

106 Ibid., p. 34.

107 Ibid., p. 29; cf. p. 27.

108 Ibid., pp. 31ff.

109 Ibid., p. 28.

110 For this metaphorical image, see ibid., p. 28.

111 Mawdudi, “Islam main qanun-sazi ka da’ira-i `amal” in idem, Tafhimat, 3 vols. (Lahore, 1965), iii, pp. 7–14, at p. 7. This is the text of a paper Mawdudi had read at the International Islamic Colloquium, held in Lahore in December-January, 1957–8. Also see Mawdudi, Tafhim al-Qur’an, ii (1958 ed.), p. 37 n. 41 (commenting on Q 7.54).

112 Rahman, Fazlur, “Implementation of the Islamic Concept of State in the Pakistani Milieu”, Islamic Studies VI (1967), pp. 205223, at pp. 208–209. Emphasis in the original.

113 Ibid., p. 209.

114 Ibid., p. 209.

115 See, for instance, Mawdudi, “Majalis-i qanun-saz ki rukniyyat shar`i haythiyyat se” in idem, Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind, ii, pp.233–325 (this piece is dated December 1945).

116 Sayyid Abul-A`la Mawdudi, Aik nihayat ahamm istifta (Lahore, n.d.).

117 Ibid., p. 6, n. 1. For the quotation from the opening address of the Advocate General, see Moti Ram, ed., Two Historic Trials in the Red Fort (Delhi:, n.d. [1946]), p. 19. On the Indian National Army and the movement associated with it, see Bose, Sugata, His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle against Empire (Cambridge, Mass., 2011).

118 Mawdudi, “Pakistan main Islami qanun,” in idem, Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind awr Musalman, ii, pp. 354–357.

119 Ahmad, Irfan, Islamism and Democracy in India: the Transformation of the Jamaat-e-Islami (Princeton, 2009).

120 Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza, The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution (Berkeley, 1994), pp. 127131.

121 Mawdudi, Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind, ii, 228 n. 1. Cf. Nasr, Vanguard, pp. 124–125.

122 For a hard-hitting criticism of Mawdudi and his Jama`at for their acceptance of the Objectives Resolution and the 1956 constitution, see Sarwar, Muhammad, Jama`at-i Islami awr Islami dustur (Lahore, 1956), esp. pp. 38138. For Mawdudi's statement on the occasion of the promulgation of the constitution on March 23, 1956, see ibid., p. 128. Sarwar's concern in this book is not to show the inadequacy of these foundational documents, of course, but rather to argue that Mawdudi's acceptance of them was hypocritical. They represented not a victory for him but rather a humiliating defeat, Sarwar said, since many of his demands regarding the place of Islam in Pakistan's public life were rejected by the modernist framers of these documents.

123 Nasr, Vanguard, p. 162.

124 The Report of the Hamoodur Rehman Commission of Inquiry into the 1971 War (as declassified by the Government of Pakistan) (Lahore, 2000), p. 289.

125 The question has received rather different assessments from observers of the Jama`at. See, for instance, Nasr, Vanguard, pp. 40–41; Hartung, System of Life, p. 232.

126 Mawdudi, Sayyid Abul-A`la, Tahrik-i Islami ka a’inda la’iha-i `amal, 3rd edition (Lahore, 1966), pp. 178179. For a useful account of the crisis the Jama`at faced in 1957, see Nasr, Vanguard, pp. 31–43.

127 Mawdudi, Tahrik-i Islami, p. 195. For the reference to the career of the Prophet Muhammad, see ibid., pp. 194–195.

128 Ibid., p. 194.

129 Thus, despite Mawdudi's earlier opposition to women running for public office, his organisation supported the candidacy of Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, against Ayub Khan in the 1965 presidential elections. Mawdudi explained this as an instance of having to opt for the lesser evil. Nasr, Vanguard, pp. 41–42.

130 What he did say in his famous 1957 speech was that the whole party could not be judged by the ethical lapses of some of its members, that the party's moral fiber was stronger than that of its competitors in the political arena, and that the right response to a corrupt political field was not to flee it but rather to enter it with the resolve to change things for the better. See Mawdudi, Tahrik-i Islami, pp. 222–224; also pp. 210–219 for Mawdudi's response to worries that the party would go “morally bankrupt” in the existing political arena. The point about the working of the shari`a is more unambiguously his. See Mawdudi, “Pakistan main Islami qanun” in idem, Tahrik-i azadi-i Hind, ii, pp. 348–351; Maududi, Islamic Law and Constitution, pp. 53–57.

131 See Sarwar, Jama`at-i Islami.

132 Nadwi, Muhammad Ishaq Sandelawi, Islam ka siyasi nizam (A`zamgarh, 1957), pp. 1214 (God as muqtadir-i a`la, which is glossed in English as “sovereign”). Sandelawi Nadwi had written this book on behalf of a committee of religious scholars constituted by the United Provinces Muslim League. Mawdudi and Sulayman Nadwi were among the other members of the committee, as was the journalist and religious intellectual `Abd al-Majid Daryabadi (sometime associate and longstanding admirer of the Khilafat leader Muhammad `Ali) and one Azad Subhani. The committee was able to meet only once, for an inaugural session, but Mawdudi's influence is palpable on what this book says about God's sovereignty and on the “political polytheism” (siyasi shirk) involved in failing to recognize it (pp. 14–15). This work does not really count therefore as a case of the `ulama's independent articulation of such matters. On the appointment of the committee (circa 1940) and its composition, see the preface by Daryabadi in ibid., pp. 1–3 (independent pagination).

133 `Uthmani, Muhammad Taqi, Islam awr siyasi nazariyyat (Karachi, 2010), pp. 173177. By this point, it was possible for Taqi `Uthmani to straightforwardly translate al-hukm in Q 6.57 and 12.40 as sovereignty (hakimiyyat). Thus his Urdu rendering of the relevant portion of these verses translates as “sovereignty belongs to God alone”.

134 For the Urdu text (asl hakim, tashri`i awr takwini haythiyyat se), see `Uthmani, Muhammad Taqi, Nifadh-i shari`at awr us-ke masa’il (Karachi, 1992), p. 19. For the Arabic version (“al-hakim al-haqiqi. . .”), produced and published by the Jama`at-i Islami, see al-Mabadi al-asasiyya lil-dawla al-Islamiyya (Karachi, n.d.), p. 3.

135 For the Urdu version, see Pakistan ka manshur-i azadi (Karachi, n.d. [1950]), unpaginated front matter. The difference between the connotations of the English and the Urdu versions was noted long ago by Smith, Wilfred Cantwell, Islam in Pakistan: A Preliminary Draft (Lahore, 1951), pp. 7879.

136 In his System of Life, Hartung has provided the most detailed investigation so far of how some modern Western intellectual trends shaped Mawdudi's thought. He does not, however, explore the provenance of the sovereignty of God in this study.

137 Besides examples already noted (see n. 34, above), see Tafhim al-Qur’an, ii, p. 37 n. 41 (commenting on Q 7.54).

138 Rahman, “Implementation,” p. 208.

139 I draw here on the account of the early activities of this office—the Dar al-`uruba lil-da`wa al-Islamiyya—in Rudad-i Jama`at-i Islami (Lahore, 1989), vii, pp. 163–178.

140 See Shepard, William E., Sayyid Qutb and Islamic Activism: A Translation and Critical Analysis of Social Justice in Islam (Leiden, 1996), pp. xx, 8, 43, 105106. On the various editions of this book, see ibid., p. 357.

141 For instance, see Hamidi, Khalil Ahmad, Tahrik-i Islami ke atharat (Lahore, 1976), p. 13.

142 Ghulam Ahmad Parwez to Ayub Khan, January 12, 1968. Ghulam Ahmad Parwez Papers, Parwez Memorial Research Scholars Library, Lahore.

143 Mawdudi, “Islam main qanun-sazi ka da’ira-i `amal” in idem, Tafhimat, iii, pp. 7–14, at pp. 7–8. Also published in International Islamic Colloquium Papers, December 29, 1957-January 8, 1958 (Lahore, 1960), pp. 21–28 (of the Urdu section of this volume). What may have irritated Parwez even more about Mawdudi's prominence at this event (he was on its organising committee) is that a number of leading western scholars of Islam were also in attendance at it. These included: Alessandro Bausani, G. E. von Grunebaum, Louis Massignon, Bernard Lewis, A. K. S. Lambton, Steven Runciman, and W. C. Smith. Some among them may well have been sympathetic to Mawdudi's view of what the sovereignty of God meant in an Islamic context.

144 Mawdudi, “Islam main qanun-sazi” in idem, Tafhimat, iii, pp. 9ff.

145 “Even if an ijtihad that is undertaken without the various precautions [that Mawdudi had elucidated] and according to one's capricious interpretations is given the force of law on the basis of political power, it would not be accepted by the collective conscience of Muslims. Nor can it properly become part of an Islamic legal system. The moment the political power that has enforced it leaves the scene, its law would be tossed into the trash can.” Ibid., iii, pp. 13–14.

1 An earlier, much condensed, version of this paper was presented at a conference in honour of Michael Cook in Bergen, Norway, in June 2014 on the occasion of his receiving the Holberg Prize. I thank Said Amir Arjomand, Eric Gregory, M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, and Hossein Modarressi for answering my queries on particular points in this paper, and Michael Cook for his comments.

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