Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Wikis


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Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
Full name Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
Born April 18, 1951
Era Modern era
Region Pakistani scholar
School Farahi-Islahi
Main interests Islamic law and Quranic exegesis
Notable ideas Separation of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) from Sharia (Divine law)

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (Urdu: جاوید احمد غامدی) (born 1951) is a well-known Pakistani Islamic scholar, exegete, and educationist. A former member of the Jamaat-e-Islami, who extended the work of his tutor, Amin Ahsan Islahi.[1] Ghamidi is the founder of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organization Danish Sara.[1] He is a member of Council of Islamic Ideology since January 28, 2006,[2][3] a constitutional body responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to Pakistan Government and the Parliament. He has also taught at the Civil Services Academy from 1980 until 1991.[1] He is running an intellectual movement similar to Wastiyya in Egypt on the popular electronic media of Pakistan.[4]

Ghamidi's discourse is primarily with the traditionalists on the one end and Jamaat-e-Islami and its seceding groups on the other.[4] He is frequently labeled a modernist for his insistence on the historical contextualization of Muhammad's revelation in order to grasp its true moral import.[1] In Ghamidi’s arguments, there is no reference to the Western sources, human rights or current philosophies of crime and punishment.[4] He comes to conclusions which are similar to those of Islamic modernists on the subject, but he never goes out of the traditional framework.[4]


Early life

Ghamidi was born on April 18, 1951 in a peasant family of Kakazai tribe from Jiwan Shah near Sahiwal, Pakistan.[4] His early education included a modern path (Matriculation from Islamia High School, Pakpattan in 1967), as well as a traditional path (Arabic and Persian languages, and the Qur'an with Mawlawi Nur Ahmad of Nang Pal).[4] He later graduated from Government College, Lahore, with a BA Honours in English in 1972.[5] Initially, he was more interested in literature and philosophy. Later on, he worked with renowned Islamic scholars like Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi and Amin Ahsan Islahi on various Islamic disciplines particularly exegesis and Islamic law.[1]

In his book, Maqamat (مقامات), Ghamidi starts with an essay "My Name" (میرا نام) to describe the story behind his surname, that sounds somewhat alien in the context of the Indian Subcontinent. He describes a desire during his early years to establish a name linkage to his late grandfather Noor Elahi, after learning of his status as the one people of the area turned to, to resolve disputes. This reputation also led to his (grandfather's) reputation as a peacemaker (مصلح). Subsequently, one of the visiting sufi friends of his father narrated a story of the patriarch of the Arab tribe Banu Ghamid who earned the reputation of being a great peacemaker. He writes, that the temporal closeness of these two events clicked in his mind and he decided to add the name Ghamidi to his given name, Javed Ahmed. [6]

Interaction with other Islamic scholars

Ghamidi worked closely with Abul Ala Maududi (alternative spelling Syed Maudoodi; often referred to as Maulana Maududi) (1903–1979) for about nine years before voicing his first differences of opinion, which led to his subsequent expulsion from Mawdudi's political party, Jamaat-e-Islami in 1977. Later, he developed his own view of religion based on hermeneutics and ijtihad under the influence of his mentor, Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904–1997), a well-known exegete of the Indian sub-continent who is author of Tadabbur-i-Qur’an, a Tafsir (exegeses of Qur'an). Ghamidi's critique of Mawdudi's thought is an extension of Wahid al-Din Khan’s criticism of Mawdudi. Khan (1925- ) was amongst the first scholars from within the ranks of Jamaat-e-Islami to present a fully-fledged critique of Mawdudi’s understanding of religion. Khan’s contention is that Mawdudi has completely inverted the Qur’anic worldview. Ghamidi, for his part, agreed with Khan that the basic obligation in Islam is not the establishment of an Islamic world order but servitude to God, and that it is to help and guide humans in their effort to fulfill that obligation for which religion is revealed. Therefore, Islam never imposed the obligation on its individual adherents or on the Islamic state to be constantly in a state of war against the non-Islamic world. In fact, according to Ghamidi, even the formation of an Islamic state is not a basic religious obligation for Muslims.[7]


Some of the works of Ghamidi

Ghamidi’s understanding of Islamic law has been presented concisely in his book Mizan. Ghamidi's inspiration from his mentor, Amin Ahsan Islahi and non-traditionalist approach to the religion has parted him from traditionalist understanding on a number of issues, but he never goes out of the traditional framework.[4] He is frequently labeled a modernist for his insistence on the historical contextualization of Muhammad's revelation in order to grasp its true moral import.[1] He is one of the scholars from South Asia, besides Abul Kalam Azad, Muhammad Iqbal, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Muhammad Asad, Amin Ahsan Islahi, Khurshid Ahmad, and Israr Ahmed, who have fashioned an internally consistent and thoroughgoing Islamist worldview.[8] Some of the notable points which he mentioned in his writings are summarized below.


Ghamidi believes that there are certain directives of the Qur’an pertaining to war which were specific only to the Prophet Muhammad and certain specified peoples of his times (particularly the progeny of Abraham: the Ishmaelites, the Israelites, and the Nazarites). Thus, the Prophet and his designated followers waged a war against Divinely specified peoples of their time (the polytheists and the Israelites and Nazarites of Arabia and some other Jews, Christians, et al.) as a form of Divine punishment and asked the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims. Therefore, after the Prophet and his companions, there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or implementation of Islam. The only valid basis for jihad through arms is to end oppression when all other measures have failed.[9]. According to him Jihad can only be waged by an organized Islamic state. No person, party or group can take arms into their hands (for the purpose of waging Jihad) under any circumstances. Another corollary, in his opinion, is that death punishment for apostasy was also specifically for the recipients of the same Divine punishment during the Prophet's times—for they had persistently denied the truth of the Prophet's mission even after it had been made conclusively evident to them by God through the Prophet.[10]

The formation of an Islamic state is not a religious obligation per se upon the Muslims. However, he believes that if and when Muslims form a state of their own, Islam does impose certain religious obligations on its rulers as establishment of the institution of salah (obligatory prayer), zakah (mandatory charity), and 'amr bi'l-ma'ruf wa nahi 'ani'l-munkar (preservation and promotion of society's good conventions and customs and eradication of social vices; this, in Ghamidi's opinion, should be done in modern times through courts, police, etc. in accordance with the law of the land which, as the government itself, must be based on the opinion of the majority).[7]

Social laws

Head covering for women is a cherished part of Muslim social custom and tradition, but it is not a directive of the shariah (Divine law). The Qur'an states norms for male-female interaction in surah An-Nur.[11] While in surah Al-Ahzab, there are special directives for wives of Muhammad[12] and directives given to Muslim women to distinguish themselves when they were being harassed in Medina.[13][14] The Qur'an has created a distinction between men and women only to maintain family relations and relationships.[15]

Penal laws

  • The Islamic punishments of hudud (Islamic law) are maximum pronouncements that can be mitigated by a court of law on the basis of extenuating circumstances.[16]
  • The shariah (Divine law) does not stipulate any fixed amount for the diyya (monetary compensation for unintentional murder); the determination of the amount—for the unintentional murder of a man or a woman—has been left to the conventions of society.[16]
  • Ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), a woman's testimony is equal to that of a man's.[17]
  • Rape is hirabah and deserves severe punishments as mentioned in the Qur'an 5:33. It doesn't require four witnesses to register the case as in the case of Zina (Arabic) (consensual sex). Those who were punished by stoning (rajm) in Muhammad's time were also punished under hirabah for raping, sexually assaulting women, and spreading vulgarity in society through prostitution.[16]

Sources of Islam

  • All that is Islam is constituted by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Nothing besides these two is Islam or can be regarded as its part.[18]
  • Just like Quran, Sunnah (the way of the prophet) is only what Muslim nation received through ijma (consensus of companions of the prophet) and tawatur (perpetual adherence of Muslim nation).[18]
  • Unlike Quran and Sunnah, ahadith only explain and elucidate what is contained in these two sources and also describe the exemplary way in which Muhammad followed Islam.[18]
  • The Sharia is distinguished from fiqh, the latter being collections of interpretations and applications of the Sharis by Muslim jurists. Fiqh is characterized as a human exercise, and therefore subject to human weakness and differences of opinion. A Muslim is not obliged to adhere to a school of fiqh.[4]

Morals & Ethics

Ghamidi is known for his stress on morals and ethics in Islam. He has raised concerns on moral and ethical issues in Muslims.

A translated snippet from his book "Ikhlaqiyat":

After faith, the second important requirement of religion is purification of morals. This means that a person should cleanse his attitude both towards his creator and towards his fellow human beings. This is what is termed as a righteous deed. All the shari‘ah is its corollary. With the change and evolution in societies and civilizations, the shari‘ah has indeed changed; however faith and righteous deeds, which are the foundations of religion, have not undergone any change. The Qur’an is absolutely clear that any person who brings forth these two things before the Almighty on the Day of Judgement will be blessed with Paradise which shall be his eternal abode.

Resignation from Council of Islamic Ideology

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi resigned in September 2006[19] from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),[3], a constitutional body responsible for providing legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistani government. His resignation was rejected by the President of Pakistan. [20] Ghamidi's resignation was prompted by the Pakistani government's formation of a separate committee of ulema to review a Bill involving women's rights; the committee was formed after extensive political pressure was applied by the MMA. Ghamidi argued that this was a breach of the CII's jurisdiction, since the very purpose of the council is to ensure that Pakistan's laws do not conflict with the teachings of Islam. He also said that the amendments in the bill proposed by the Ulema committee were against the injunctions of Islam. This event occurred when the MMA threatened to resign from the provincial and national assemblies if the government amended the Hudood Ordinance[21], which came into being under Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization. The Hudood Ordinances have been criticised for, among other things, insisting upon an exceptionally difficult and dangerous procedure to prove allegations of rape.[22]


Ghamidi had appeared on several TV Channels and appears regularly on dedicated programs.

  • Alif on Geo Tv (In multiple airings)
  • Ghamidi on Geo Tv (First season while the second season is on schedule)
  • Live with Ghamidi on AAJ Tv (Usually Q/A format but with occasional special programs)
    • AAJ Tv also airs other Islamic programs by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi and his associates.
  • And other channels like PTV.
  • Al-Mawrid has video recording setup of its own. http://www.al-mawrid.org/

Ghamidi on the Taliban's Islamism

Ghamidi is one of the Pakistani religious scholars who, from the beginning, has been opposing this kind of Islamism. One of his recent essays on this subject Islam and the Taliban[23]

The Taliban says that democracy is a concept alien to Islam. The ideal way of setting up an Islamic government in our times is the one that it adopted for Mullah Omar’s government in Afghanistan. The constitution, the parliament, and elections are nothing but modern day shams...I can say with full confidence on the basis of my study of Islam that this viewpoint and this strategy (of Taliban) are not acceptable to the Qur’ān. It prescribes democracy as the way to run the affairs of the state. The Qur’ān (42:38) says: amruhum shūrā baynahum (the affairs of the Muslims are run on the basis of their consultation). ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Whosoever pledges allegiance to anyone without the collective consent of the Muslims presents himself for the death sentence.” It is true that, in Muslim history, monarchy and dictatorship have often been accepted forms of government. Some people also believe that the head of government should be a nominee of God Himself. However, the principle the Qur’ān spells out is very clear.


Primary sources

Secondary Sources


  1. ^ a b c d e f Esposito(2003) p.93
  2. ^ Council's two new members appointed, Press Release 30-01-06
  3. ^ a b Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan Government
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Masud(2007)
  5. ^ Ghamidi's resume
  6. ^ http://www.al-mawrid.org/pages/dl.php?book_id=69
  7. ^ a b Iftikhar(2005)
  8. ^ S. V. R. Nasr, Islamist Intellectuals of South Asia: The Origins and Development of a Tradition of Discourse, Studies in Contemporary Islam, 1 (1999), 2:16–43
  9. ^ Mizan, The Islamic Law of Jihad
  10. ^ Islamic Punishments: Some Misconceptions, Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 12(9), 2002.
  11. ^ Qur'an 24:27
  12. ^ Qur'an 33:32
  13. ^ Qur'an 33:58
  14. ^ Mizan, Norms of Gender Interaction
  15. ^ Mizan, The Social Law of Islam
  16. ^ a b c Mizan, The Penal Law of Islam
  17. ^ The Law of Evidence, Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 12(9), 2002.
  18. ^ a b c Mizan, Sources of Islam
  19. ^ Editorial: Hudood laws, Ghamidi’s resignation and CII — government wrong on all counts, Daily Times, September 22, 2006
  20. ^ Musharraf rejects Ghamdi’s resignation, Daily Times, November 06, 2006
  21. ^ MMA threatens to quit Parliament over Hudood laws, Zee News, September 5, 2006.
  22. ^ WAF rejects Hudood law amendments, Dawn, September 13, 2006.
  23. ^ Islam and the Taliban published in Renaissance, Lahore, May 2009)
  24. ^ The portions translated as yet are: the last group Al-Mulk to An-Nas, Al-Baqara, Al-i-Imran, and a major portion of An-Nisa

See also

External links

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