In Facts: Evolution of Jamaat-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is a mass cadre-based socio-religious political organization whose seeds started to sprout in the early 1940s. JI has millions of followers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Its influence transcends South Asia and the Middle East. However, after the partition, the JeI was also reorganized. It was classified into two separate autonomous organizations, the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Besides these two an independent and distinct branch was set up in 1952 in Jammu and Kashmir as Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (JIJK). All three organizations have come to have their separate constitutions. The big difference between JI Hind and JI based in other countries is that unlike others, JI Hind stands for the preservation of the so-called secular constitution of their country which is contrary to the thoughts of Maududi, the founder of the organization.

Syed Abu Aa'la Maududi was unquestionably one of the greatest Islamist thinkers of the twentieth century. He was a scholar, politician, journalist, prolific author and political activist. Maududi was born on 25 September 1903 in the city of Aurangabad in west-central India into a Sunni Muslim family. Maududi's paternal family had a great Sufi legacy of 1200 years going back to Chesti Sufi order, and several family members were spiritual masters (Pirs) within the order. Maududi started his writing and journalistic career with a journal called Medina which was edited by his brother Abul Khayr Maududi. He wrote his first book in 1918, which was a laudatory biography of Hindu nationalist Madan Mohan Malviya who was the Congress President from 1909 and 1918 and Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University from 1919 to 1940. In 1919 he wrote another laudatory biography of top Indian leader and political thinker Mahatma Gandhi which was later confiscated by the police.

In 1920, Maududi's brother, Abul Khayr Maududi, left his job at Medina and joined the Osmania University. Following which, Maududi also left his job at Medina and joined Congress paper Tej in Jabalpur. Maududi wrote hundreds of books and booklets which are regularly read by his followers, especially the voluminous translation and commentary of the Quran, Tafheem ul Quran which took him around 30 years to complete from 1942 to 1972. In 1940, Maududi joined Lahore Islamiyah College from where he was expelled for his alleged communal politics.

After all these events, Maududi invited and wrote to the majority of Islamic scholars and ulema for forming and joining the Jamaat e Islami. Very few people responded. However, JI was founded with 38 members and Maududi was elected as emir (chief), a designation which he retained for 31 years. The other scholars who were contenders for JI chief were Maulana Manzoor Naumani and Amin Ahsan Islahi. As per Manzoor Naumani, the idea of JI was jointly conceived by him and Syed Mauduudi after reading the biography of Syed Ahmad Shaheed by Abul Hassan Nadvi.

In 1942, there was a dispute between Manzoor Naumani and Maududi with Naumani alleging him for being less religious, having a short beard (considered at that time a sign of less religiosity).

Maududi then called to resolve the issue through internal election by changing emir or disbanding the JI. Following which Maududi won and Naumani with his supporters resigned from the organisation. Later, Maulana Manzur Naumani criticised Syed Maududi and his thought in his book Maulana Mawdudi Ke Saath Meri Rafaqat ki Sarguzasht aur ab mera Mauqif (The tale of my friendship with Maulana Maududi and my current stand; hereafter the tale). The foreword of which was written by Abul Hassan Nadvi (first rector of Dar Ul Uloom Nadva), who has translated most of Syed Maududi's work into Arabic. He also wrote a critical book on Syed Maududi titled Asre Hazir mein din ki tafheemi tashree.

In response to Manzoor Naumani's book, non-Jamaat poet, critic and journalist Aamir Usmani wrote a rebuttal. Abul Lais Nadvi, first emir of JI Hind also rebutted it in his book. Among the former founding members of Jamaat, Maulana Waheed Ud Din also wrote a critical book on Syed Maududi's thought, Tabeer Ki Galati (The Folly of Interpretation). As Zuhair Hussain writes in his article (Maulana Sayyid Abul A'La Maududi: An appraisal of his thought and political influence) "No study of Islamic revivalism, Islamic fundamentalism, or the  " ideologization of Islam" will be complete without reference to the name and achievements of Indo-Pakistan's leading Islamic theoretician, ideologue, pamphleteer, agitator, organised, and political leader, Syed Abu A'ala Maududi. He harmoniously combined the attributes of thought and action, theory and practice, scholarship and political activism, religion and politics".

A leading scholar and academic John L. Esposito say that “Maududi's thought is an idiosyncratic combination of Ijtihad and literal exegesis”. He was one of the first in his times to talk of Political Islam in the world. Maududi's thought of the Islamic state is based on the Quran, Sunnah, and Khilafa Rashidun. His thought evolved because of British policies towards Muslims and Hindu nationalism. As Vali Nasr writes in his book Vanguard of Islamic Revolution Maududi witnessed the second class citizen treatment of Bombay CM and Congress chief BG Kher towards Muslims and so decided he never will live under a Hindu government. The other reasons being the work of Arya Samaj who used to convert Muslims to Hindus especially those Hindus who had become Muslims because of the caste system. Maududi had great concern about it. He even visited Mewat, Haryana where Maulana Ilyas Kindhalvi, founder of Tablighi Jamaat, was based and praised his work. Tablighi Jamaat was formed to teach Muslims Islamic teachings and ideals. It was formed in reaction to Arya Samaj and Ahmadi's who rejected the basic concept of Islam Risalat and finality of Prophet Mohammad.

Origin and Development of Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.

JI Jammu and Kashmir is a well-organized group with a systematic ideology of its own. Presently it is banned with its entire leadership arrested. It has its first roots in Jammu Province, where, in 1943-44, Chaudhary Mohammad Shafi with Abdul Majeed Salahi, Abdul Wadud Chauhan and others laid its foundation before it was organizationally shifted to Kashmir. The Jamaat, in particular, appealed to lower-middle-class young men from towns such as Srinagar, Baramulla and Sopore. Most of the Jamaat's founding members belonged from a middle class, had Sufi roots and were influenced by Maududi's writings at Noor Mohammad Publisher's (known as Neval Kishore of Kashmir) shop at Maharaj Gunj who used to sell Maududi's writings.

It was the literature of Syed Maududi which influenced them to form JI in J&K. At first, many of the JI leaders were antithetical to its ideology like Qari Saifuddin, who was initially influenced by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani's teachings, whom Jamaat considers non-Muslim. Abdullah Vakil an Ahl-e-hadeeth missionary turned Mirzai missionary was his father's friend. It is through him that he got influenced towards Mirzaism. After passing his tenth he visited the house of his relative Ghulam Rasool Nazki, a literary personality where he read Iqbal through him and attended Maulana Abdullah Qadoos's lectures on Islam which got him back towards Islam.

Another being the present prominent leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who started his career with NC's (opposed by Jamaat) paper ‘Khidmat' and had close ties with socialists (thought of as deviant by the Jamaat) like Maulana Masoodi. To strengthen their ideology they married among their own families: Maulana Ahrar married his children to Hakeem Ghulam Nabi's children; Saadudin Tarabali was Qari Saffudin's brother-in-law. 

Jamaat's first emir in Kashmir was Saaduddin Tarabali. A teacher by profession, Saaduddin was one of the few who had studied till graduation during that time and was a hafiz (had memorized whole Quran). He first taught in Anjuman Nusratul Islam's Islamiyah High School then at Chrar and Sopore. In the education department, he was first transferred to Muzaffarabad for not bowing down to the flag (which is a sin as per Jamaat ideology), then terminated by Bakshi. Before joining the education department, he was rejected in the department of tourism for a receptionist post for his dress code by R.C Kak, the then Chief Secretary who later became prime minister of J&K and was removed by Maharaja Hari Singh for his stand of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan. He belonged to the Sufi family of Ahmad Shah Tarabali. He even translated prominent Sufi Mir Syed Ali Hamdani's work Auraad i Fatiaha into Urdu. Before being inspired by Maududi, he was deeply influenced by Congress leader and scholar Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He even translated Maulana Azad's commentary of Surah Fatiha in Kashmiri.

Other leaders like Ghulam Ahmad Ahrar, Syed Nabi, Qari Saffudin too belonged to the middle class and had a Sufi legacy. Qari Saifudin belonged to the family of famous Sufi Pir Khizr Hayat. He worked in the Khanyar shrine for 13 years, seven years as its chairperson, and translated poetry of Sheikh Noor Ud Din Noorani in Urdu titled Guldasta Sheikh Ul Alam. Among the recent heads, Emir Nazir Ahmad Kashani was the nephew of prominent Sufi of Kashmir Meerak Shah Kashani who identified the holy relic of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) in the theft of 1963 when it was restored.

Saaduddin Tarabali used to read Syed Maududi's journal Tarjuman ul Quran and his books. He also helped courier this literature to Kashmir. Maududi's book Musalmaan Aur Majoodah Siyasi Kashmakash (Muslims and the Present Political Turmoil) had a deep impact on Saaduddin. He wrote to Maududi and also got a reply, thus started a correspondence between the two. Saadudin came in contact with Maulana G. A. Ahrar who had his traditional education from Madrasa Nusrat-Ul-Hassan Amritsar and was also familiar with Syed Maududi's literature. The two then got in contact with Qari Saifuddin. They later attended Jamaat's ijtima in Pathankot, Punjab in 1945. These three and other similar minded people used to meet weekly first in Jamia Masjid, then at Syed Mohammad Nabi's place who provided them with a room in Shah Mohalla Nawab Bazar to discuss literature. These people, till 1947 pre-partition era, were part of JI Hind. Post partition JIJK got separated from JI Hind. In 1954, in a special meeting, JIJK was organisationally formed in Barzullah where Saaduddin Tarabali was elected its emir.

The JIJK follows a consultative method of functioning by President (Amir) and a team of Markazi Majlisi Shura (Central Advisory Council). The constitution of J was drafted by Maulana Ahrar and G.R Abdullah. The JIJK has a separate student's wing and a women's wing. They run darsgah's for women separately to educate them about Maududi and Jamaat's thought regarding women, purdah and revolution. They supported Hizbul Mujaheddin, also known as armed wing of Jamaat. In 1979 Sheikh Tajamul formed the student wing of JIJK called Islamic Jamiat e Talaba which has been a part of World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), International Islamic Federation of Student Organization (IIFSO). They, in collaboration with other organizations, conducted a conference in Srinagar in which Abdullah Subeel Imam of Prophet's mosque and other international Islamic scholars participated from around the world.

In 1980, the student wing of Jamaat tried to conduct the World Islamic Conference in Srinagar which the government didn't allow. Till 1971 JIJK focussed on institution building, Dawah and other important things. Post-1971, Jamaat participated in electoral politics. 4th April 1979 the day former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged was the unfortunate day for the people associated with JIJK It is believed that Jamaat was behind the hanging. Jamaat activists were killed; their houses were looted and burned. The worst-hit districts were Anantnag, Baramulla and Pulwama. It is believed that Sheikh Abdullah and his government were behind the attacks. AS JIJK was one of the major challenges for the Indian rule in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah had earlier, during his Plebiscite Front years in 1964, praised work of JIJK for the role in building the character of people and called it a need of the hour.

It was after 20 years of the establishment of JIJK that they decided to contest elections. The sole aim of participating in elections was to Islamize Jammu and Kashmir, to establish God's sovereignty, to keep right to the plebiscite and the Kashmir movement alive as discussed in the constitution of JIJK. JIJK had always sought plebiscite and Right to Self Determination based on U.N resolutions which offer people of Jammu and Kashmir a choice between India and Pakistan. The organisation sees Kashmir as an incomplete partition. It is a Muslim majority state that should have gone with Pakistan, while the thought of an independent Kashmir was unacceptable to them since that would have divided the votes that were in favour of Pakistan, thus giving India an upper hand in the lieu of an election.

When the pioneer of Independent Kashmir and one of the founders of Kashmir Independence Committee and Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Front, Maqbool Bhat was hanged on February 1984, they had condemned his hanging by the Indian state. But at the same time, they had criticized his politics in their magazine Azaan in 1984 and path of violence which they themselves took later. The JIJK believes in Islamist discursive framework, first Pakistan then global caliphate. They see nationalism and independent Kashmir as a poison of West. They see Kashmir as jihad and not as a national liberation movement. The leaders of JIJK have been arrested from time to time for their politics. The first emir Saaduddin Tarabali was arrested many times for his politics. Qari Saffudin General Secretary and former M.L.A was arrested many times in 1938. He was arrested again in 1947 and was severely beaten in 1947 for speaking against Naya Kashmir. 

Jamaat contested 1969 Panchayat polls and 1972-73 parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir. They nominated one contestant from Doda, three from Kashmir out of which one nominee Qari Saffuddin from Srinagar was rejected. The three candidates who contested were defeated by Congress. Jamaat blamed their loss on alleged rigging by Congress. Jamaat also participated in 1972 Assembly elections. They nominated 22 candidates out of which 5 won. The winners included Qari Saffuddin from Khanyar, Srinagar who contested from jail. Syed Ali Shah Geelani from Sopore, Baramulla, Razak Mir from Kulgam Anantnag and A.R Dar from Nandi Bagh, Anantnag.

When Sheikh signed the accord with Indira Gandhi in 1975 JIJK was the only party that nominated and contested elections against Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beigh from Ganderbal and Devsar respectively. Jamaat lost badly in this election. JIJK couldn't contest 1977 parliamentary elections due to its ban throughout India. However, they fielded independent candidates Razak Mir from Anantnag who lost to Shafi Qureshi and Syed Ali Shah Geelani from Sopore who lost to Abdul Ahad Vakil.

In 1977 Assembly elections they won 1 in 19 seats and in 1983 assembly elections they fielded 26 nominees without winning any seat. In 1987 they collaborated with MUF (Muslim United Front), which was expecting to win more than 20 seats, winning only five seats. This time too they alleged a potential rigging. With this election, it was felt that the democratic means of fighting the Indian occupation had failed; as such there was a rise of militancy in the valley. After that JIJK never contested any elections citing the unfairness as a reason and that India did not allow its members to contest elections as per the constitution.

On 13 May 2003 Khaliq Haneef was terminated from Jamaat because he contested elections. JIJK has been severely criticized for contesting elections and taking an oath on the Indian constitution. The arguments put forward by Jamaat for contesting elections were that “they tried to fight Indian rule and demand for plebiscite from within the assembly”. Among the prominent politicians, Syed Mir Qasim, former C.M J&K and Union Minister India, has severely criticized JIJK in his autobiography Dastaan E Hayat. He writes that Jamaat created doubts about the finality of Indian accession and didn't accept it. I (Mir Qasim) called Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi about Jamaat contesting elections and the accession issue and their communal politics. Indira Gandhi replied that they have to ban both RSS and Jamaat.”

Despite this, Qasim called JIJK leaders and told them that their nominations would be rejected. To this, they replied that we take oath under and are loyal to the Indian constitution. However, Jamaat has also always condemned Indianization and secularism in Kashmir. Present leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested many times and has spent more than ten years on jail and was not even allowed to attend his father's funeral. He is the only Jamaat leader who was MLA for 13 years in 1972, 1977, 1983, 1987, 1989. The JIJK has always participated in agitations since 1963 Holy relic movement with Qari Saffuddin being a member of State Action Committee from JI. They have undertaken prominent agitations, movements in the 1990s, 2008, 2010 and 2014.

They have even played a prominent role in All Party Hurriyat conference politics with Jamaat members like Syed Ali Shah Geelani heading it many times. They have supported armed movement since the 1990s and had their armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen. The children of prominent Jamaat leaders have also joined the armed movement and were killed by Indian state like sons of former emirs Hakeem Ghulam Nabi and Sheikh Hassan. Recently, Former Jamaat member and Chairman Tehreek I Hurriyat Ashraf Sehrai's son Junaid Ashraf joined militancy.

In 2000 Hizb announced a unilateral ceasefire, without consulting Geelani, for five months. Five representatives of Hizb even met Indian home secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey. Following which Majeed Dar, Hizb chief and his associates were expelled by Syed Salahuddin, Head of United Jehad Council. Soon after that Majeed Dar and his associates Masood and Farooq Mircha were also killed. The mediator, old veteran moderate leader Fazal Haq Qureshi was also attacked but survived.

Syed Abu A'la Maududi believed that Muslims can't live an Islamic life under an un-Islamic regime. To educate people about Jamaat's thought, philosophy and revolution JIJK started a magazine “Azaan” in 1948 and established schools in various parts of J&K. JIJK believed that Government of India dispatched a team to Andalusia headed by communist politician Pandit D.P Dhar (who had played a pivotal role in overthrowing Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 and had helped in strengthening Indian ties with J&K). The sole aim of this team according to JIJK was to learn about how Islam was driven out of Spain and to suggest measures on how Spanish experiences could be repeated in Kashmir. This sparked the opening of schools in Kashmir by JIJK.

The JIJK built up various schools, where both Islamic and modern disciplines were taught in a response to the Indian education system which JI found threatening to Kashmir's Islamic culture and tradition. The Jamaat schools had a dynamic faculty, non-Muslim teachers like Roshan Lal also used to teach. When Jamaat was banned during the emergency in 1975 on the allegations of spreading communal hatred, JIJK schools suffered a huge setback. 125 schools and 1000 evening schools were closed down with 550 teachers losing their jobs and 50,000 students enrolled in them losing their education. After the ban Jamaat-e-Islami made a separate body Falaah i Aam trust registered by the government of India for the sole reason to run the JIJK schools.

Despite the fact that the JIJK questioned Indian control over the state it received an adaptable demeanor towards taking an interest in the participation of elections which were held under the framework of the Indian Constitution. This was a strategic trade-off as JIJK needed to employ democratic means to grow its impact and get ready for the steady securing of the government apparatus and machinery.