Jam?iyat-e ?Ulama-e Islam

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Jam˓iyat-e ˓Ulama-e Islam (JUI) broke off from the Jam˓iyate ˓Ulama-e Hind (JUH), which stood for Indian nationalism and opposed the demand for an independent Pakistan. In contrast to its mother organization, the JUI, established in 1945 under the leadership of Shabbir Ahmad ˓Uthmani, supported the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan. However, after independence in 1947 it had to struggle for a long period before being accepted by the Pakistani elites.The JUI remained a religious organization until the late 1960s, when general elections were announced after the collapse of the Ayub Khan regime. The JUI then entered the Pakistan political arena, where it demonstrated a remarkable career. It soon split into a a politically quiet faction, led by the Karachi-based Ihtisham al-Haqq Thanawi, and a more activist group centered around Mufti Mahmud and Ghauth Hazarawi, primarily in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). During the elections of 1970 Mufti Mahmud's faction of the JUI became quite popular by making use of Islamic symbolism, postulating the establishment of shari˓a in Pakistan, and advocating the implementation of Islamic economic and social reforms. The party benefitted from the use of traditional infrastructure, such as madaris (Islamic schools) and waqf (pious foundations), and established an umbrella organization of religious schools. In this way it won quite a number of seats and eventually entered into a coalition with the National Awami Party (NAP) and thus managed to form provincial governments in NWFP and Baluchistan. Mufti Mahmud became chief minister of the NWFP from 1971 to 1973. The Islamization of this region under his tenure influenced the following political scenario.

Under the leadership of Fazl al-Rahman, the son of Mufti Mahmud, the JUI became increasingly orthodox and also anti-Shi˓ite, as can be witnessed in the activities of the Punjab-based communal Anjuman-e Sipahan-e Sahaba, a militant splinter group of the JUI established in 1985. In the same year JUI senators Sami˒ al-Haqq—who runs the largest religious school in Pakistan, the Dar al-˓Ulum Haqqaniya—and Qadi ˓Abd al-Latif introduced the Shariat Bill to the National Assembly.

Although the JUI has not been very successful in gaining political influence at the national level, it is one of the most powerful political and social forces in Pakistan, particularly in the NWFP and Baluchistan. It controls a large number of religious schools throughout the country that have been recruitment centers not only for thousands of young religious scholars but also for the Afghan mujahidin who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Since the mid-1990s the madaris also have been very actively supporting the Taliban. The talibanization of Pakistan goes to the extent that after the Afghani Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996, the JUI openly declared abjuring the electoral politics of Pakistan. The JUI is also believed to have a wide international jihadi connections, such as in Tajikistan, Chechnya and Kashmir.

See alsoDeoband ; Jam˓iyat-e ˓Ulama-e Hind ; South Asia, Islam in ; Taliban .


Malik, Jamal. Colonialization of Islam: Dissolution of TraditionalInstitutions in Pakistan, 2d ed. New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1998.

Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza. "Jamiat-e Ulama-e Islam." In TheOxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, J. L. Esposito, ed.Vols. 1–4. New York and Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Waseem, Mohammad. Pakistan under Martial Law, 1977–1985. Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1987.

Jamal Malik