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The Process of Islamization

Indra Nath Mukherji

By Izzud-Din Pal
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2006, pp. xv 159, Rs. 395.00


The focus of this book is on the prefix ‘Islamic’ as stated in the Constitution of Pakistan. It enjoins that the legal, social and economic framework of the country be brought into conformity with Islam. The author believes that in Pakistan it was Abul A’ la Maudoodi who actively participated in the constitutional developments which took place during the 1950s. He refers to this process as ‘Islamicization’. He considers this term preferable to ‘Islamization’, which is a direct derivative of the name of the religion ‘and ignores the variety of interpretations that may be pushed under its purview’ (p.x). Subsequently however the author takes the position that the ‘Islamicization’ process started during the rule of Ziaul Haq (1977-88), which leaves us in doubt as to the genesis of this process. The author believes that ‘Islamicization’ process is still very much intact and an important constituent of the legal system in Pakistan. Nevertheless not all the targets established under this process have met with the expected degree of success. For instance, in the financial sector of the economy, conventional banking and the modern tools of finance continue to dominate the scene. Further the issue of Zakat, being another aspect of Ziaul Haq’s Islamic reforms, has gone through uneven progress. There is also renewed awareness that official bodies such as Council of Islamic Ideology and the Shariat Courts are not fully representative of all the major viewpoints concerning the interpretation of Quran, the Hadith, and Islamic jurisprudence. A recent court judgment on interest free financing has been postponed for further review and compulsory collection of Zakat has been successfully challenged legally. The author maintains that Islam as an ideology is defined in relation to traditionalist’s Islam and with reference to Islamic jurisprudence developed during second-fourth centuries of Islamic history, which the ulema offer as an alternative to all other economic systems. This has proved an unworkable system. In the author’s conception, Islam is a religion based on revealed message. It is not an ideology. It can and does accommodate people and groups with different ideologies. There are many alternative ways in which Muslim scholars interpret the Quran and the Hadith. The attempt to equate Islam with ideology therefore is to suggest that only a specific point of view held by some people (ulema) who make such a claim, offers the exclusive and final truth about Islam. Similarly, according ...

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