Abul A’la Maududi: Innovator or Restorer of the Islamic Caliphate?

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This article reviews the political thought of one of the most important figures during the Islamic resurgence in the 20th century, Abul A’la Maududi. The thought of Maududi is often read superficially by either those desiring to portray him as politically ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ as well as ‘backwards’ and ‘conservative’. The core of debates surrounding Maududi’s support for liberal democratic principles such as equality, freedom, democratic elections, and the like are pinpointed and reviewed individually, according to two main primary texts, Islamic Way of Life, and Islamic Law and Constitution. The themes that are covered by the article concern (a) the meaning of his term ‘theodemocracy’; (b) Maududi’s understanding of the ‘shurah council’ (advisory council to the Caliph) and its meaning in terms of popular sovereignty; and (c) the people’s role in maintaining rule of law and the office of the Caliph. It is argued that after a review of these concepts within their respective contexts, the argument attempting to show Maududi as an ‘innovator’ or ‘progressive’ in terms of his application of Islamic law in his modern-day ideal for an Islamic state collapses. Rather, it is shown that Maududi clearly envisioned the ideal Caliphate as one established by the prophet Muhammad and his companions (the ‘Rashidūn Caliphate’) and affirmed Divine sovereignty over the general concept of ‘popular sovereignty’ as conceived by western political thought.
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Archival date: 2019-02-23
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