The events of this beginning of century have shown the resistance and the diversity of an Islamism, which certain had already buried.
According to Bobby S. Sayyid, ‘Islamism is a discourse that attempts to centre Islam within the political order. Islamism can range from the assertion of a Muslim subjectivity to full-blooded attempt to reconstruct society on Islamic principles', and ‘Islamists are people who use the language of Islamic metaphors to think through their political destinies, those who see in Islam their political future'. Thus, Islamism is not an essence, but a discursive construction of reality. Consequently, understanding Islamism means necessary taking account of the ideologies, programmes and practices of the various groups, which claim that Islam is a comprehensive view of the world. Islamism is what Islamists make - and said - of it. That is why the category of ‘Islamism' can only be understood through an examination of the differences and similarities between its main groups.
Thus, the purpose of this essay is to compare the political theories, social support and politics of two of the major radical Islamic movements: the Pakistani Jamaat-i-Islami (the Jamaat) and the Iranian Islamic Revolution (the IR).
The Jamaat and the IR explained the need for the setting of an Islamic state and proposed to lead this process with popular support. Consequently, these movements encompass abstract explanations and positive actions, which are interrelated in such a manner that one cannot be comprehended without the other. That is why we will contrast successively the theoretical logics (I) and the socio-political dynamics (II) of the Jamaat and the Iranian Revolution
[...] This process is better illustrated by the letter he sent in 1988 to Iranian President Khamenei, when he wrote: government is empowered to unilaterally revoke any sharia agreement which it has concluded with the people when those agreements are contrary to the interest of the country or to Islam'. This example does not present a literal reading of canonical texts but rather an innovative and allegorical reworking, which always uses Islam's words. Thus, the two theories' goals aimed to allow Muslims to live in a totally Islamic environment. [...]
[...] This school, which is the dominant Shiite school, insists on the authority of the imams interpretations. Ahmad, op. cit., p A. M. Ansari, Iran, Islam and democracy: the politics of managing change (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2000), p M. Foucault, Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and other Writings 1977-1984 (London: Routledge, 1988), p (quoted in Ansari, op. cit., p. 40). Ahmad, op. cit., p Ibid, p. 496-498; and G. Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (London/ New York: [...]
[...] Ahmad, ‘Islam Fundamentalism in South Asia: the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Tablighi Jamaat of South Asia', in Marty, Martin E., Appleby, R. Scott Fundamentalisms observed (Chicago/ London: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), p Thus, as Emmanuel Sivan has put it, Islamisms are primarily cultural phenomena despite their political dimension. See E. Sivan, Radical Islam (New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1985), p Similarly Sayyid writes: ‘Islamism is only possible in a world in which there is suspicion of a western meta-discourse. [...]
[...] Since then, and notably with the return of army in 1999 with the Kemalist General Musharraf, the Jamaat remained active by questioning systematically government policies and taking refuge its role of an eternal opponent'. Furthermore the ideological and tactical evolution of the Jamaat has undermined Mawdudi original hope for an ‘Islamic order' as condition for an Islamic state. The Islamic state in itself became the Jamaat's controlling fundamental. The destiny of the IR was completely different. After the overthrow of the shah, it got the whole power in these hands. [...]
[...] With this metaphor, the Iranian leader transformed the United States into a personification of Evil. According to Martin Kramer ‘this posited an absolute conflict between Islam and the West, not just in History but in eschatology [ ] In fundamentalist ideology, political conflict with the West was transformed into a timeless, cultural and religious conflict with the “enemies of Islam”, led by America and represented on the ground by its proxy, Israel'. But while Mawdudi and Khomeini had a similar attachment to the ‘true Islam' described in the Scripture and a common rejection of the West as a ‘non-Islam', they differed in the way the Islamic state should be established and the choice of the authority entrusted with the exercise of power Differences in the transition to the Islamic state: disagreements about the means, quarrels about the men Although Mawdudi and Khomeini both wanted the establishment of an Islamic state, they held different views about the methods to reach it. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee