Sayyid Abu’l-A‘la Mawdudi (1903-1979) was one of the most prominent Islamic revivalist thinkers of the twentieth century. He wrote more than 150 books and treatises on different aspects of Islam, such as jihad, the Islamic state, the position of women, and the shari‘a. A central concept in the Islamic revivalist movement is that Allah has entrusted the Muslim umma (the community of the faithful) with the spiritual and political leadership of the world. Other religions and their followers are regarded inferior. The implementation of shari‘a will have dramatic consequences for the non-Muslim communities living in the Islamic state.
This dissertation provides a commentary and a Critical Discourse Analysis of Mawdudi’s texts Muslim aur Kāfir kā Aslī Farq (The Fundamental Difference Between a Muslim and a Kāfir) and Islāmī Riyāsat mēṅ Zimmiyōṅ kē Huqūq (The Rights of Dhimmīs in the Islamic State). The first text addresses spiritual realities, such as people’s standing before God in this life and the hereafter. It is a text that establishes a sharp distinction between the believer (the Muslim) and the unbeliever (the kāfir). Mawdudi also discusses the bewildering aspects of Muslims being ruled by kāfirs. The second text can be regarded as an attempt at codifying the shari‘a injunctions regarding dhimmīs (the indigenous non-Muslims). It is a text about the minority policies of the Islamic state. It identifies social actors like “the ruling class” (the Muslims) and “the subjects” (the dhimmīs). The dhimmīs are obliged to pay the poll-tax, jizya, while Muslims don’t. If elected to the parliament, “the influence of non-Muslim members would be strictly limited”. Mawdudi also reproduces the discourse of the books of fiqh, according to which the dhimmīs have to pay jizya on pain of being slain, enslaved or dispossessed. Both texts were written with special reference to South Asia and have been contextualised with examples from the history of Islam in the Indian subcontinent.
In Mawdudi’s discourse there is a cultural categorisation of people on the basis of religion. We find a positive self-stereotyping of Muslims and a negative stereotyping of kāfirs. This is a typical feature of ethnocentrism as described by social identity theory. Mawdudi favours the Muslims in economic, social and political competition with the kāfirs. This discrimination is legitimated by allusions to Qur’ānic teachings and references to the shari‘a and the classical books of fiqh. There is also an implication of ethnocide (i.e. cultural destruction) of indigenous non-Muslims in the suppressive educational and cultural policies of the Islamic state as envisioned by Mawdudi