Today, name of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the party of Islam, may be found in different countries. They are functioning under separate constitutions and policies and programmes. But they have three things in common namely; (a) universal faith in Islam, (b) Aim, worldly and hereafter, and (c) Methodology – all of them follow democratic and peaceful means. Anyway, their differences and similarities are not under discussion here. We would briefly see the first constitution of JI in India only.
The formation of JI was announced on 26th August 1941, (2nd Sha’aban 1360 Hijri) after approval of its constitution (dastur) in the general conference (ijtema aam). In the first month of 1360 H, Maulana Abul A’la Maudoodi published the scheme of formation of JI in the monthly magazine Tarjumanul Qur’ān and later invited all those persons who were in agreement with that scheme to come to Lahore. A list of about 150 persons was prepared after their responses. Seventy-five people gathered at Lahore and after four days of deliberation, they approved unanimously the constitution (dastur) of JI.
BASIC APPROACH OF DASTUR
It should neither take only one aspect of Islam nor fight for any of Muslims’ worldly gains, but take true and whole Islam. The aim for which the prophets came should be JI’s aim; that for which they invited people should be Jamaat’s invitation. ‘Our movement should neither be more nor be less of Islam, we should make whole of Islam our movement.’ This basic approach made JI quite different from other Muslim parties.
STRUCTURE OF DASTUR
It was divided under the following headings.
1. Basic creed (Aqidah)
3. System of Organisation
4. Status of Women
5. Imarat (head of the organisation)
1. Basic Creed
It consisted of three parts (a) Description of creed, (b) Its explanation, and (c) Obligation arising out of acceptance of aqeedah. Basic creed of JI is kalimah ‘lailaha illal lah, Muhammadur rasulul lah.’ All these parts are found in the present constitution of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH).
‘To establish the sovereignty of Allah in the world and achieve the divine pleasure in the hereafter’. It was explained that the life has two parts – in one part, the divine laws or order of Allah is followed by the universe and even by the human body. There are some other parts of life where human beings are given authority and liberty to follow or not to follow Allah’s instruction in the world. Everybody shall be persuaded to follow Allah’s instruction in every part of life. This should not be done by force or coercion. Prophets did the same thing.
3. System of organisation
Out of 11 clauses of the Dastur six were related to it. It included (a) Condition of membership, (b) Responsibility of members pertaining to compulsory changes, (c) Ideal standard (gradual changes), (d) Status of those who run or co-operate with the un-Islamic system of governance, and (e) Three categories of members. About the categorisation of members, it was stated in the Dastur that those were based on the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The rationale of this division was that persons belonging to each category will work accordingly to his respective category. They would not interfere in others’ category and their weakness would not discourage the person of higher category. All this categorisation was dynamic and not permanent.
The above mentioned divisions, even today appeared to be quite new. So some details about their characteristics and responsibilities are given below:
First Category: Those who join JI with their body, mind and wealth, ready for any sacrifice to achieve Islamic objective, surrender to Jamaat without any reservation and demand and do not give preference to anything above Islam, were the people of first category. They were leaders of the movement. They had to follow shari’ah without exception. They were not allowed to take recourse of un-Islamic judiciary.
Second Category: Those who cannot devote fully, and take risk or fully sacrifice, but ready to part of their time, wealth and efforts in the way of Allah, were under this category. They had to abstain from haraam (forbidden) livelihood and follow religion in their personal life. To such persons work would be assigned to them after their consent. However, they will not be given any post of responsibility but may participate in organisational consultations.
Third Category will consist of sympathisers. Those who, in spite of following Islamic religion, could not bear hardship in dissociating with non-Islamic system, were in this category. These categories were not permanent. People, by changing themselves, could come to upper category. Reverse was also true.
4. Position of women
Following obligatory duties were assigned to them:
(a) To invite their family and contact persons for renewal of faith or acceptance of faith (Iman).
(b) Try to inculcate in their children the light of faith and Islamic values and practices.
(c) If their husband, son or father and brother were in the JI, they should encourage them by their steadfast co-operation in seeking the Islamic objective.
(d) If they were indulging in jahiliya, earning haraam, try to reform them, abstaining in their bad acts. They should disobey their un-Islamic orders without the fear of consequences.
It shall be an elected post. Those who would be considered best in taqwa (fear of God), depth of knowledge of the religion, decision making qualities may be elected as Amir. JI would not invite people to their Amir or Jamaat, instead invitation will be given for its ‘objective.’ There was a provision of change or dismissal of Amir also.
Programme of JI was very briefly described in just ten lines. Apart from tazkia (purification) of self, they were ordained to invite Qaumi Muslims or non-Muslims for the negation of sovereignty of other than God and for propagation of sovereignty of the Lord of the universe. Mentioning the dangers in their path, it was stated that next step would be taken according to the situation.
Partition of the country
After the partition of the country it was decided in a representative ijtema of Allahabad in April, 1948, that Indian Union will have their own and separate Jamaat and function under a permanent Amir. So Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) came into being. Some amendments were made in the Dastur. On advice of Maulana Abul Lais Islahi (who also became the Amir of JIH), for the objective of Jamaat, instead of ‘sovereignty of Allah’ the expression ‘iqamat-e-deen’, a Qur’anic term, was used. However, it is a separate story.