A word about Mawdudi

Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

A word about Mawdudi

A word about Mawdudi’s ideas  

Dr. G.F. Haddad

Adapted from al-Binnuri’s Arabic introduction to Shaykh Zakariyya al-Kandihlavi on Mawdudi (Waqf Ihlas ed.)

1. Mawdudi says in the introduction to his book The Four Key Concepts of the Qur’an (p. 10-12) that those were the God, the Lord, worship, and Religion.:

Whoever knows them knows the Qur’an and whoever does not know them does not know the Qur’an, nor Tawhid, nor Shirk, nor does he know that worship is for Allah alone. Whoever is unclear about those concepts then understanding the Qur’an will remain unclear to him even if he is a believer. Despite his being a believer, his belief will be lacking as well as his deeds. Further, these concepts were changed from their original meanings in the time of the Revelation, and have become narrow and obscure due to two reasons:

(1) poor knowledge of Arabic [!] and

(2) because Muslims were born in Islam so they did not know those meanings as they were used concerning the unbelievers at the time the Qur’an was being revealed. As a result those concepts remained unclear and hidden from the Imams of the Arabic language [!!] and the Masters of Tafsir , who all understood them as the rest of the Muslims understood them.

I.e. Mawdudi knows what the Imams of Arabic and Tafsir have failed to know since the earliest times until his. Also, belief in Allah, the angels etc. and accomplishment of the Pillars is not enough to make one a true believer until he fully understands the four concepts of “the God, the Lord, worship, and Religion.”

2. Same book (p. 14) :

Due to the unclarity of those meanings, three quarters of the Religion remained hidden from the people, indeed the true spirit of Islam remained hidden from them, hence you see deficiencies in their beliefs and works.”

I.e. Mawdudi knows the true spirit of Islam and the fullness of Religion, contrary to everyone else among the Muslims.

3. He concludes (p. 156):

Allah Most High ordered the Prophet (saws) in Surat al-Nasr to seek forgiveness from his Lord for what he committed during the accomplishment of his duties [i.e. as a Prophet] such as shortcomings and defects.

I.e. the Prophet’s (saws) conveyance of the Message contains defects.

4. In the periodical al-Minbar of 21 January 1958 and in the Rabi` al-Thani 1376 issue of Tarjuman al-Qur’an p. 13-14 Mawdudi said that

the foundational principles of Islam are of two kinds: the kind that never changes such as Tawhid and the Message; and the kind that changes according to needs.

Then he gives as an example of the latter the verse in which Allah said “We have made you peoples and tribes so that you may know each other, and the noblest among you are those who are most Godwary/righteous.”.

And this is what the Prophet (saws) applied at first, but then he quickly had to abandon that principle and resorted to the principle of monarchy, saying: “The Imams are from Quraysh.”

Al-Mawdudi calls the principle of change al-hikma al-`amaliyya, “practical wisdom” on the basis of which, he says, “it is halal for the amir to change the rulings of the Law for a certain wisdom and a religious gain.”

Al-Binnuri said:

This belief is the apex of misguidance and heresy and its ugliness is manifest like the new dawn. … It means that every aspect of worship and religion such as prayer, zakat, fasting, hajj and others are subject to change and replacement even if they are essential objectives of Islam. … He used this principle to support Fatima Jinnah against Sayyid Ayyub the late chief of government in Pakistan.

5. In the third edition of his Tafhimat (2:57) he dismisses the `Isma of Prophets (saws) – immunity to sin – as not being an essential aspect of their persons and says that Allah protects them from error:

but sometimes lifts His protection so that they [Prophets] will commit some blunders, and Allah by this means to show people that they are human beings and not deities.

This means that at any given time, Divine protection might actually be lifted and the ruling that comes from a Prophet at that time might be spurious, or indeed his acts might be those of a lowly person.

6. In his Khutubat (“Discourses” p. 227) he states that:

all those types of obligatory worship such as Salat, Siyam, Zakat, and Hajj which Allah imposed and made the pillars of Islam, are not like the religious obligations of other religious denominations which, once accomplished, release one from one’s responsibility. Rather, they have been imposed towards a huge objective and mighty end, …. [until he said] and in a nutshell, the reason for them is so as to bring out mankind from the human dominion and enter them into the dominion of Allah the One. Jihad is self-sacrifice and total striving towards that same goal, and Salat, Siyam, Hajj, and Zakat are preparations for this one unique objective.

In other words the Five Pillars are but a means towards a certain end – which was left unexplicited in the Qur’an and Sunna until Mawdudi came along to explicate it – and they are not needed in themselves.

7. He further clarifies that this “dominion of Allah the One” is “the State” – using that word in English – in the third volume (p. 93) of his book Siyasa Kashmakash:

The purpose of Religion is something near what is called today ‘STATE’.”

In other words, the hadith of Gibril in which the Prophet (saws) concludes that “He [the angel] came to teach you your Religion”, left out the most important part – the goal – and only mentioned the means and accessory parts.

Note that al-Binnuri characterized Mawdudi as primarily interested in politics, striving after power and possessing little concern with actual Religious knowledge and its requirements, to the point that both he and his followers fell into various pitfalls of error and misguidance, until they reached actual atheism and freethinking. This is most commonly verifiable today in the wholesale dismissal of the Ulema of Islam East and West by Mawdudi admirers, which leaves little room to doubt their apostasy.

8. In his Rasa’il Masa’il (p. 55) he states:

Everything that was narrated in the [mutawatir] hadiths of the Prophet (saws) in connection with the Anti-Christ – all of it – was mere opinion and conjecture on his part (saws) and he was undecided concerning it. One time he thought he would come out from Khurasan, another time from Asbahan, another time from between Sham and Iraq, and yet another time he though that the Anti-Christ was Ibn al-Sayyad in Madina. And one time he said something which was narrated from him by that Palestinian Christian Monk, Tamim al-Dari [in Sahih Muslim].

9. In the same book (p. 57):

The Messenger of Allah (saws) thought that the Dajjal would come out in his time or very near it and yet 1350 long years have passed and the Dajjal did not come out. So it is established that what he (saws) believed was untrue.

It is a measure of the terminality of our state that such discourses not only spread but are defended and even praised when they are the mark of (asfala safilin).

As al-Binnuri said:

The Prophet (saws) sought refuge in Allah (swt) from the Dajjal all his life and taught his Companions to do so in every prayer, and he further told them that no Prophet was ever sent except he warned the people about him, and he gave his description and said that his coming out was one of the portents of the Last Hour so to belie it is to belie the fact that {the Hour has drawn near}. As for the outward discrepancy of the reports concerning his location it shows that they all agree on his coming out. And the apparent discrepancy is not a problem except to those who have no knowledge of hadith and its disciplines.

10. In Tarjuman al-Qur’an for the year 1965 p. 35-36 and 49 Mawdudi criticizes `Uthman (ra) for employing in key posts the Sahaba that entered Islam late – i.e. after the conquest of Makka such as Mu`awiya, al-Walid ibn `Uqba, Sa`id ibn al-`As, and `Abd Allah ibn `Amir – because, he claims, they may have possessed the political skills but not the moral requirements! He reiterates this claim in his book al-Khilafa wa al-Mulukiyya (see next paragraph) and his letters as well as his purported Tafsir titled Tafhim al-Qur’an. In other words, Mawdudi (1) differentiates like Christians and Jews between the political and the moral realm and (2) was better aware of their moral merit or demerit than `Uthman or rather than the Prophet (saws) himself, since they fought with him at Ta’if, Hunayn and elsewhere and it is the latter that first gave them positions of responsibility even before `Uthman.

11. On page 23 of Mawdudi’s “The revivalist movement in Islam” he writes,

One of the two reasons why the institution of caliphate weakened was because Hadrat Uthman did not have as much quality of a leader as his predecessors had had.

Sayyid Qutb says as much in his book al-`Adala al-Ijtima`iyya fi al-Islam but it is a Sunni tenet that  no-one after Prophets compares to Abu Bakr and `Umar, so any comparison of inferiority to them is spurious. As for the conclusion that the institution of caliphate weakened because of `Uthman, it is not only presumptuous but actually a contradiction of the Prophet’s (saws) explicit recommendation of the caliphate of the three according to the following hadith:

The Prophet (saws) asked: “Did any of you see anything in his dream?” A man said to the Prophet (saws): “O Messenger of Allah, I saw in my dream as if a balance came down from heaven in which you were weighed against Abu Bakr and outweighed him, then Abu Bakr was weighed against `Umar and outweighed him, then `Umar was weighed against `Uthman and outweighed him, then the balance was taken up.” This displeased the Prophet (saws) who said: “Successorship of prophethood (khilafa nubuwwa)! Then Allah shall give kingship to whomever He will.”1

This illustrates that one reason for Mawdudi’s disrespect of the Companions was his lack of knowledge of the Sunnah, although he was fond of attributing such lack to the Ulema such as of Imam al-Ghazzali.

One wonders also if al-Mawdudi and Qutb considered that they arrived at such a level as to be called Hujjat al-Islam or, say, Mujaddid al-Alf al-Thani; or the level of Shah Waliyyullah; or Muhaddith `Abd al-Haqq Dihlawi; or any of the Ulema who are considered Mujaddids in India. If not, then we should equally say that one of the reasons why Islam weakened in India was because Mawdudi did not have as much moral mettle as a Muslim as they did.

However, there is a huge difference: `Uthman is among the {First and Foremost} mentioned by Allah in His Book, and He said {Allah is pleased with them and they with Him} and he was praised to the skies by the Prophet (saws). None of this is true of Mawdudi and Qutb.

Another difference is that there is no precedent in scholarly discourse in Sunni Islam for Mawdudi’s and Qutb’s disparagement of the leadership qualities of `Uthman except, perhaps, in the books of Ibn Taymiyya. In this respect it appears that those two authors merely took their clues from Wahhabism, which consists in exhuming and reanimating the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya as stated by Imam Abu Zahra in his Tarikh al-Madhahib al-Islamiyya.

There are other differences also, such as the facts (1) that we know that `Uthman is in Paradise whereas we do not know the same of Mawdudi and Qutb, (2) that `Uthman – Allah be well-pleased with him – probably conquered more lands for Islam than Mawdudi and Qutb knew, and (3) that no Muslim opens the Mushaf or learns a single verse of the Qur’an without `Uthman receiving a share of his reward!

12. The constitution of Mawdudi’s Jama`a Islamiyya states black on white that:

No man other than the Messenger of Allah (saws) provides any yardstick for the truth nor is above criticism. And no one can take anyone else as an object of worship in terms of reason and thought because men are all alike in one same rank and they are all created by Allah. Therefore, each is subject to criticism and investigation according to that same criterion and placed at his level and rank according to his caliber.


One might say that this rule is quite acceptable, but a second look and an analysis of it reveals otherwise…. for such a rule can easily be used as an avenue for every atheist proposition against the Religion and every possible innovation in the Law, and the Umma of Islam knows since its earliest days that the Prophet (saws) directed us to cling to Abu Bakr and `Umar as our leaders, and commanded us to follow his Sunnah and the Sunnah of his rightly-guided Caliphs after him, more than that, to ‘bite upon it with your very teeth’…. In fact he targets even the Prophets themselves with his words although we are ordered to believe in them and in their being immune to sin. But we have seen Ustaz Mawdudi in action against them and he has not left Dawud, nor Sulayman, nor Musa, nor Yunus, nor even our Master the Prophet (saws) except he said they all made errors and missed the mark and were belied by history and that each Prophet not only necessarily errs but also disobeys and sins, and he said other such enormities….

Further, Allah Most High has praised other Companions highly in His Book and so has the Prophet (saws), naming so many of them and praising their accuracy and acumen without the “criticism and investigation” nor their being “worshipped” as claimed.

This constitution coupled with his so-called Four Key Concepts of the Qur’an is in fact a program for the dismantlement of the methodologies and disciplines of the Law that are regrouped under the Four Schools and the works of the Ulema. For in the sight of that man, all those works of Tafsir and Fiqh missed the mark because of deficiency in the Arabic language [!] and ignorance of his four principles.

Thus he claims that Sahih al-Bukhari contains falsehoods although the Umma is in agreement that it is the soundest book after the Qur’an. For example, that there is no such thing as the seven heavens in reality, nor that al-Tur mountain was raised over the heads of Bani Isra’il, nor that the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise exist, and he claims that those maidens are in fact the daughters of the unbelievers and the daughters of the Muslims that are undeserving of Paradise, nor that the Prophet (saws) was given the strength of so many men as related from Anas, etc.

Consequently, Jam`iyyat al-`Ulema’ in Delhi on 27 Shawwal 1370 issued the following verdict concerning Mawdudi:

The works of al-Mawdudi and his party, al-Jama`a al-Islamiyya, give people licenses to cease following the Imams of the Religion and divorce all ties with them, something which is the path to destruction of the Ummah and their misguidance one and all, and the path of severing their ties with the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and the righteous Predecessors. In addition, much of his research and false ideas are an invitation to a new Fiqh and innovation in the Religion… and we announce our complete innocence and dissociation from that Jama`ah and from such a movement.

Was-Salamu `ala man Ittaba`a al-Huda

Mawdudi’s Calumniations against Prophet and Companions – Masud Khan


1 Narrated from Abu Bakrah by Ahmad with three chains, Abu Dawud, and al-Tirmidhi (without the last statement of the Prophet (saws)) who said: hasan sahih, and from Safina by Abu Dawud with a fair chain and al-Bazzar with a fair chain as indicated by al-Haythami. Al-Hakim narrated it with a chain similar to al-Tirmidhi’s and graded it sahih and al-Dhahabi concurred.

copyright Masud Khan

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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