Dr Javed Ahmed Ghamidi summary
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Ghamidi (1951—) is a well-known Pakistani scholar, exegete, and educationist.
Javed Ahmed Ghamdi was born on 18th April, 1951. He studied traditional Islamic
disciplines and is a graduate in English Literature from Government College
University, Lahore. He is the president of Al-Mawrid, Institute of Islamic
Sciences, Lahore, and the chief editor of two monthly journals published from
Lahore, Renaissance (English) and Ishraq (Urdu).
Interaction with other Islamic scholars
Ghamidi worked closely with Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi (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 unique and sophisticated
approach in 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 (an 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.
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 (paricularly 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. 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.
Ghamidi’s understanding of Islamic law has been presented concisely in his book
Mizan, (Lahore: Dar al-Ishraq, 2001). Some of his views have become controversial
in Pakistan. 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. Some of the notable points which he
mentioned in his writings are summarized below:
-Jihad (armed struggle) can only be done to end oppression; it cannot be done
-Jihad can only be done by a Government with atleast half the power of the
-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).
-Modern Non-Muslims are different from kuffar (Non-Muslims of Muhammad's time),
who challenged the Prophet despite the fact that they knew the truth with their
-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.
-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.
-Just like Quran, Sunnah (the way of the prophet) is only what Ummah (Muslim
nation) received through ijma (consensus of sahaba) and tawatur (perpetual
adherence of the Ummah).
The Shariah (divine law) is from God while Fiqh (rulings of Islamic jurists) is
purely a human work based on social norms, human instincts, traditions, and
thoughts. Former cannot be challenged.
-Unlike Quran and Sunnah, hadith (individual reports from Prophet Muhammad) can
be challenged if it contradicts with first two sources.
-Ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), a woman's testimony is equal
to that of a man's.
-The Shariah (divine law) does not require a woman to cover her face; it also
does not unequivocally require her to cover her head.
-Quran and Islam did not forbid women from leading society or prayers.
-Isra and Mi'raj (ascention of Prophet Muhammad), was a dream.
-Jesus was given death in this world and then raised bodily by Allah (The God).
Ghamidi's students are running many Islamic websites. Some of these websites
have question-answer service and are quite popular over the internet.
www.al-mawrid.org - in Urdu, Arabic, and English
www.ghamidi.org - in Urdu
www.renaissance.com.pk - in English
www.understanding-islam.org - in English
www.studying-islam.org - in English
www.islamicissues.info - in English
Ghamidi, Javed Ahmad. Burhan. Lahore: Dar al-Ishraq, 2000.
Al-Bayan. Lahore: Danish Sara, 2000.
Mizan (Urdu). Lahore: Dar al-Ishraq, 2001.
Professor Paul H. Robinson, Final report of the Maldivian penal law &
sentencing codification project, Volume 2, Official Commentary, Criminal Law
Research Group, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Commissioned by the
Office of the Attorney General of the Maldives and the United Nations
Development Programme, January 2006. 
Iftikhar, Asif. Jihad and the Establishment of Islamic Global Order: A
Comparative Study of the Interpretative Approaches and Worldviews of Abu
al-A‘la Mawdudi and Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. (Master's Thesis). Montreal: McGill
University Libraries, 2005.