Maulana Maududi and King Faisal Award

By: Dr. Omar Farooq

Assalamu alaikum.

While highlighting one of the popular books of Maulana Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam, Br. Abdullah AM colorfully wrote: “For the FIRST “King Faisal International Award” for “Services to Islam” (A prestigious recognition of enormous value in the world of Islam) The biggest challenge for the Jury was to select one among so many outstanding Scholars throughout the world. He was unanimous selection in a fitting tribute to his monumental Services to Islam.”

I can’t speak for others, as there must be others like Br. Abdullah who count the King Faisal Award as one of the hallmark accomplishments and recognitions for Maulana Maududi. However, with due respect, I have to differ.

Maulana Maududi undoubtedly has been one of the foremost Islamic thinkers and personalities of the twentieth century, who left a broad, indelible mark on the movements for Islamic revival. He was not uncontroversial, to say the least, and, in Bangladesh, only more so, especially due to the 1971 experience. Regardless, it is only our naivete or minds of devotees that would peddle the King Faisal Award as a positive accomplishment of Maulana Maududi. Among some of the areas that did not reflect the towering mind and personality of him was his acceptance of King Faisal Award. Whether this award has fitted other recipients after Maulana Maududi or not, this award in reality is a taint on his service and contribution.

One of the great contributions of Maulana Maududi was to categorically establish that monarchy (mulukiyat) (or any authoritarian rule) is an anathema to Islam. Most of our great imams, whether Abu Hanifa, Shafi’ or Ahmad ibn Hanbal, were blessed and honored not with awards, but persecution by the respective rulers (monarchs, sultans, pseudo-khalifas) of such mulukiya.

The negative aspect of this award becomes quite clear when one understands the nature of Saudi Arabia as a nation state and its ruling monarchy. Saudi Arabia came into existence through a convergence of sinister interest of the British and these Arabian tribal elites of Hijaz, who were trying to break the Ottoman (Turkish/non-Arab) rule. By what ultimately transpired, the name Ibn Saud, in whose name this Kingdom was established, should remind us of a familiar name in the context of the history of Bengal: Mir Jafar. That King Faisal himself was relatively more pious and may have dazzled the desperate and humbled Muslim world does not alter the fact about the nature of Saudi Arabia and its monarchy.

In whatever way Saudi Arabia evolved as a nation state, today it is like just one other dangerously dysfunctional nation state in the Muslim world that is neither loyal to nor serve the interest of the people of that country or of the Muslim world. They also have no Islamically legitimate claim over the Haramain. Muslims should not have yielded the Haramain to them. It simply has been an unacceptable capitulation, which is exploited by an unislamic entity.

According to the Qur’an: “The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.” 9/at-Tawba/18]

Regardless of the piety and righteousness of the individuals in that part of the world, the regime or the sytem not only does not fear Allah, but also as a subservient, client entity it has been consistently serving the interest of the British/American axis. Also, through the confluence of a corrupt and oil-rich monarchy and a puritanical religious sect of Wahabism, a dangerous situation has been created for the entire Muslim world. Saudi Arabia is an entity that needs to be exposed to the Muslim world. Personalities, such as Maulana Maududi, should not have lent a hand in fostering more credence of this monarchy before the Muslim world. The acceptance of that award did not add anything to the honor of Maulana Maududi, but it sure opened the way for many to look up to Saudi Arabia as a vanguard of Islam. And, what a Islam that it is now representing before the world in general and Muslim world in particular!!!

Apart from the fact that monarchy (any hereditary rule) or other forms of authoritarian/totalitarian are contrary to Islam, which Maulana Maududi himself so painstakingly and authoritatively proved, one can only wonder why Maulana Maududi did not have a second or even third thought about accepting such award from an Islamically-illegitimate entity, by which he tainted his otherwise notable service and contribution toward Islamic revival.

While articulating the Islamic position that monarchy is Islamically unacceptable, Maulana Maududi accepted King Faisal Award as the very first recipient of the award. What positive thing this acceptance has served, except adding to the credibility of an otherwise unacceptable entity, which also unacceptably controls the Haramain as if they are the owners of it. Indeed, it is this kind of acceptance that has also added serious confusion among many workers for Islamic revival that they find no problem distributing free Qur’an in English or in their respective languages with explicity courtesy to the Khadimul Haramain (Custodian of the Holy Places).

Is it difficult to understand that Maulana Maududi’s acceptance in this regard may have added to the general confusion, ambivalence and inconsistency among the traditional Islamic movements that by endearing Saudi regime, these movements get funding and patronization for setting up various institutions and at the same time, chant slogan against USA, Saudi Arabia’s military protector and patron?

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