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Jamaat-e-Islami (Urdu: جماعتِ اسلامی, Jamaat-i-Islami, "Islamic Block" Jamaat, JI) is an Islamist political party that was founded by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi on 26 August 1941, in Lahoremarker, in what is today Pakistanmarker. and is the oldest religious party in Pakistan.

Today sister organizations with similar objectives and ideological approaches exist in India, (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind), Bangladesh (Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh), Kashmirmarker, and Sri Lankamarker, and there are "close brotherly relations" with Islamist movements and missions "working in different continents and countries", particularly those affiliated with the mainly Arab pan-Islamic group known as Muslim Brotherhood (Jama'at al-Ikhwan-al-Muslimin)..

The JI envisions "iqamat-e-deen", establishment of an Islamic administration governing by Islamic law. It opposes Westernization — including capitalism, socialism, secularism or such practices as bank interest, and liberalist social mores.

JI stated means to power is by peaceful methods — "We have to convince the people that a ‘Bloody Revolution’ is a path leading to destruction and the ‘Islamic Revolution’ is the path ensuring true change and deliverance." It seeks to convert members of the Pakistani elite to its cause and "exercising influence in all branches of Pakistani society".

JI advocates the use of the Pakistani army to separate the predominately-Muslim province of Kashmir from India, and its president has called for a base-camp for the jihad in Indian-administered Kashmirmarker. A vanguard party, its members (or arkan) form an elite with "affiliates" (mutaffiq) and then "sympathisers" (hamdard) beneath them.


The party was founded in British India on 26 August 1941 by Syedd Abul Ala Maududi as a movement to promote Islamic values and practices. It is not simply a religious or political party. It bears the logo from a verse in the Quran " Ud-Khulu Fis-Silmi Kaffa" meaning "Enter In Islam Full Fledge" - Take Islam as a complete way of life.

This movement and its constitution has following major notable points:

1)) Human kind will find peace and growth only when it will accept and practise true teachings of God "Allah" in all spheres of its life, from individual level to national and international levels. These teachings are presented by prophets in different ages and the last Prophet of Allah, Muhammad has left the last book of God - The Holy Quran - in its original form and his personal teachings are recorded in different hadiths which are sufficient to establish a complete code of life.

2)) This movement will not adopt any illegal or underground means to come to power. It will educate people in the first course about real Islamic Values and participate in elections.

With the support of common Pakistanis, the JI organized a movement in 1948 to convince government to initiate Islamic Constitution. As a result, The Constitution Preamble, commonly known as "Qaraardad e Maqasid" was approved by the national assembly which in principle accepts that all laws and amendments will be Islamic or made Islamic.

The writings of Maududi gained a wide audience. It is to be noted that in JI no body asks for any position or responsibility. It is the movement which elects its top leadership to lead. On health grounds Mr. maududi excused to lead the movement in 1972 and requested the Top Elected Body of the movement "Shoura" to select someone else to perform the duties of Chief " Ameer".

Liberal groups in Pakistan raised the question of whether the JI could be regarded as a political party or a subversive group. The Pakistani supreme court ruled in favor of the JI as a "legitimate political group". They became an opposition party from 1950-1977.

By 1976, Jamaat's street power multiplied by 2,000,000 new entrants when it swore to organize marches to Islamabad for implementing Sharia. In 1977, Maududi cobbled together a grand alliance of rightist parties and launched a "civil disobedience campaign", leading to his arrest. So powerful had Jamaat become in Islamist ranks by then that the Sunni government of Saudi Arabia personally intervened to secure Maududi's release by dangling the specter of "revolution" in Pakistan.

Initially supporting the incoming President of Pakistan, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, they had conflicts with the decade-long Zia regime when he chose to ban student unions, including the ones under JI, such as the IJT. At this time, the IJT grew increasingly militant and clashed violently with other student organizations in Pakistan. The IJT became major recruiting grounds for the ranks of the JI and they havoc the concept of student unions.

In their aggressive support for Islamization of Pakistan, they piloted the Sharia bill through the Pakistani Senate in 1986. Over the course of the 1990s their influence diminished somewhat. In the 1993 national elections, the JI captured only 3 seats in the national assembly.

During the democratic interlude of 1988-99, the Jamaat continued to act as an "eternal opponent" of non-Islamic rulers, while grabbing power-sharing chances, especially under Nawaz Sharif. The 1999 Pervez Musharraf coup was welcomed by the JI, but once Musharraf started reforms, they turned against him and started preaching radical Islamism, warning that "Pakistan's destiny lay in the Islamic revolution" and that party workers "were ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Almighty Allah and His Prophets".

In the legislative elections of Pakistan on October 20, 2002, Jamaat-e-Islami got 53 out of 272 elected members.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal

JI was a member of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA, United Council of Action, United Front), a coalition between religious-political parties in Pakistan. The MMA has denounced President Musharraf for "betraying" the Taliban and siding with the U.S. against them. They reject any attempts to settle the Kashmir dispute with India peacefully and support the Kashmir "Jihad". The MMA also denounces the presence of American troops and agencies in Pakistan. One of the allegation is that they support militant groups banned by the government.

Views and platform

The JI website gives the party's position on various matters in a statement on "Objectives, Goals and Approach."


JI believes that war and organized violence "...flows from man’s lack of complete allegiance to God Almighty as a supreme Creator," although it supports armed jihad in Indian-held Kashmir.

Kashmir and India

Pakistan and India have fought three wars, in two of them the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir regionmarker.

In 2002, President Musharraf prohibited the movement of armed militants across the Line of Control that divides the disputed territory. His pledge to stop militants from crossing the line was a significant factor in the easing of tensions with India.

JI organized a protest rally against his action. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, president of JI, said Pakistan-administered Kashmir was the base-camp for the jihad (holy war) in Indian-administered Kashmir and no one in Pakistan had the right to create obstacles in its way. He said the people of Pakistan were not afraid of another war with India and demanded President Musharraf take a firmer stand in support of the struggle of the Kashmir's Muslims.

In 1990 the terrorists belonging to the raw killed the religious leaders including ji leaders.


"The Jamaat-e-Islami is an ideological party, devoid of any trace of expediency, power-politics, prejudices of caste, colour, country, language and nationality." In the Islamic state it seeks, however, only Muslims would have ruling positions.

JI is not opposed to discrimination against the Ahmadiyya sect, which it believes is un-Islamic. It has been accused of "fomenting religious violence against [Ahmadis] and other religious minorities."

Human rights

JI sets forth that, "Islam has laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity which are to be observed and respected in all circumstances." They state, " is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded; women's honour and chastity must be respected; the hungry must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from amongst its enemies."

Non-Muslim rights

"The life, property and honour of a Non-Muslim is to be respected and protected in exactly the same way as that of a Muslim citizen. Nor is there difference between a Muslim and a Non-Muslim citizen in respect of civil or criminal law. The Islamic state may not interfere with the personal rights of Non-Muslims, who have full freedom of conscience and belief and are at liberty to perform their religious rites and ceremonies in their own way."

While the JI platform states there is no difference between a Muslim and a Non-Muslim in respect to law, the JI supported the Hudood Ordinance which states if a Muslim is accused of rape, all witnesses against him (other than the victim) must be Muslims themselves.

Women's rights

JI states, "The Muslim woman is accorded full spiritual and intellectual equality with man...", their position on women's rights is from a "Islamic point of view" which is at odds with international beliefs of equal rights.

Unlike Western ideals, women are not considered to have the same roles as men (other than those restricted by biology) but that both men and women have separate but equal duties and rights.

"Anything a wife earns is her own to dispose of, either to use it herself or to contribute it to the family budget if she wishes.", however she, "is to recognize her husband as the person responsible for the running of the affairs of the family, and thus to obey him even if his judgement is not acceptable to her, in a particular matter, provided he does not go beyond the limits of Islam."

JI feels that Muslim woman have the right to property after a divorce. However, the man receives twice the amount of the woman of their joint property. Since the man is supposed to provide for the maintenance of all the women and children in their family, it is considered fair since the woman's share is for herself alone.

When a woman goes out in public, "...she is expected to wear a dress which will cover all parts of her body, and which should not reveal the figure." Men are also supposed to dress modestly, however in practice their attire is far less restricted.

Adultery and Rape

Failure to prove rape places the woman at risk of prosecution for the accusing an innocent man of adultery, which does not require such strong evidence or the woman could be accused of adultery herself, if she is married. However, Muhammad Taqi Usmani who was instrumental in drafting the Hudood Ordinance, claims that, "she cannot be punished in case she is unable to present 4 witnesses."

As a result of these issues and international pressure, the Women's Protection Bill was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on 15 November 2006. This Bill brings rape under the Pakistan Penal Code, which is based on civil law, not Sharia (Islamic law). The Bill removes the right of police to detain people suspected of having sex outside of marriage, instead requiring a formal accusation in court. Under the changes, adultery and non-marital consensual sex is still an offense but now judges would be allowed to try rape cases in criminal rather than Islamic courts. That does away with the need for the four witnesses and allows convictions to be made on the basis of forensic and circumstantial evidence.

The MMA opposed the Women's Protection Bill. Samia Raheel Qazi, MP and daughter of Qazi Hussain Ahmed stated, "We have been against the bill from the start. The Hudood Ordinance was devised by a highly qualified group of ulema (Islamic scholars), and is beyond question". The JI believe that the bill did not need scrapping, but needed to be applied in a fairer way, and undestood properly by judges. She maintained that the new bill goes against articles 2a and 227 of the constitution of Pakistan, which state respectively that "Islam will be the state religion" and "No laws will be passed which are repugnant to the Koran and sunnah."


The Jamat is very active in the field of Dawah (Missionary movement), Tarbiyah (Islamic education) and Tanzeem (organizations) almost in all the areas of Pakistanmarker. It has a strong body in each province which is further divided in district, cities, towns and village zones and sectors. Jamat has also its unions for doctors, teachers and workers and the same is in the female wing of Jamat Halqa Khawateen (circle of women).

Neither the "Islamic theodemocracy" nor the "Islamic economy" of the JI have been attained, and though their leader, Qazi Hussain rhetorically claims that "Allah will rule in Islamabad in five years", his organization still remains on the fringes within Pakistan.

Their failures in Pakistan are matched by their successes in foreign Islamist support and militant actions. Their faith in Islamic Jihad gave them sizable currency among the Mujahideen in Afghanistanmarker, Kashmirmarker and other areas troubled by insurgency. They have links with many international militant groups, such as the Hizb-i-Islami during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Jamaat's profession of imparting "Muslims the religious instruction that they lack" has acted as a decoy for training and indoctrination of thousands of mujahideen to fight not only in Afghanistan but also as far as Chechnya, Bosnia, Sinkiang, Nagorno-Karabagh and Southeast Asia. One of the more fascinating strategies of the ISI-Jamaat nexus in Central Asia is to "disintegrate the Russian Federation itself and the recomposition of a new structure dominated by conservative Islamist regimes".

The JI was initially supported by the Inter-Services Intelligence, but the capture of Kabul by the Taliban was as setback for JI on account of their sympathies with the Northern Alliance. Thus, the ISI, which backed the Taliban initially, alienated the JI. However, they have risen in support for the Taliban groups in recent years, including a "strategic triangle" of Hizb-i-Islami, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which is in place to dethrone the Hamad Karzai government in Kabul through a new jihad. Thus, the JI will once again rise to promincence in Afghanistan. They are alleged to have contacts with separatist groups in Kashmirmarker. It has been suggested that JI is supported by the Pakistani state in its Kashmiri activities because it is the only separatist organization in Kashmir committed to unification with Pakistan. It has also been alleged that JI maintains camps in Kashmir for training militants, both Kashmiri and foreign, for 'Jihad against India'.

Various Islamic groups are engaged in competition in trying to provide relief efforts to earthquake victims in Pakistan. JI and affiliated groups have been involved in such efforts in the Pakistani city of Balakot.

Allegation of links to extremists

In a 1993 US Congressional Report, it is stated that Hizbul Mujahideen has been supported by, and closely affiliated with Jamaat-i-Islami, "from which they receive funding, weapons and training assistance beyond the ISI's contribution. Following the organizational principles recommended by Tehran and Khartoum, the movement has transformed into the Kashmiri Jamaat-i-Islami, under Abdul-Majid Dar, with a quasi-legal character emphasizing educational and social activism, with the Hizbul Mujahideen as the clandestine terrorist arm." Regarding the training of Kashmiri Islamic militants, the report states that, "Islamist indoctrination and other assistance is provided the Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan." report that Hizbul Mujahideen was formed in 1989 in the Kashmir valley "as the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami at the behest of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, to counter the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which had advocated complete independence of the State."

Khurshid Ahmed, writes on, "The reason of war is Islamic forces’ meddling in Kashmir where religious parties’ role, and particularly of Jamaat-e-Islami, is highlighted. Collaboration and cooperation between the military and the Islamic forces is held responsible for the situation."

The Times of India reports, "The Hizbul Mujahideen had borne the brunt of counter-insurgency operations for the past two years. He also found its political wing, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and its ameer, Ghulam Mohammed Butt, stressing the necessity for dialogue."

Pakistan's Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisel Saleh Hayat has spoken about alleged links between JI and al-Qaeda, "All of the activists and terrorists who have been apprehended in recent months have had links to the Jamaat-e-Islami, whether we have arrested them in Lahore or here or Karachi .... They have been harboring them." He and other analysts add, however, that they do not believe there is an official policy to support Al Qaeda fugitives by the Jamaat or other United Front members.

See also



The Jamaat is often mentioned as a major Islamic party, being the largest "religious party" in one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. Topics related to the wider discussion include:


Other topics related to Muslims in South Asia


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