The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) regards Islam as the authentic way of life revealed by the Creator of the universe; for all human beings. Accordingly the JIH invites all people towards submission to God (which is the literal meaning of Islam).
The first major point of its programme is an intellectual one, namely, a clear exposition of the teachings of Islam which is shorn of all false ideas and purged of all unhealthy accretions. This exposition is geared to showing how the teachings of Islam can be applied in the present-day world, and what steps should be taken so as to develop a sound and healthy order of life. This necessitates’ a stock-taking both of the Muslim heritage and of modem civilisation, followed by a discriminate appropriation of healthy elements from them. So far as the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah (model of the Prophet) are concerned, they are eternally binding and should, thus, be followed in all periods of history.
It is an undeniable fact that the present Muslim society has lost a great deal of its original dynamism and elan because it has lost sight of the original order of priorities, that is, the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Opinions of the scholars. The Muslims have almost reversed this order. They now turn, in the first place, to the opinions of the scholars of the past. It is only after looking into their opinions that they turn to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. This has stultified the Muslim mind. The original dynamism can be recaptured only if the Muslims decide to replace the present by the original order of priorities. This means that they ought to look first to the Qur’an, then to the Sunnah, and after that to the deductive elaborations of the scholars and to the ideas propounded by Muslim thinkers.
Another effort of the JIH is to reach out to the persons who are disposed to righteousness, and are inclined to work for the establishment of righteousness in human life. Such persons should be identified and brought together into an organised body. Not only that, an effort should also be made to help such people develop a clear outlook to purify their lives and cultivate the qualities of good moral character in them. It is only after a group of people, which combines true Islamic vision and Islamic character side by side with intellectual competence and with the skill needed to run the affairs of this world, emerges on the stage of human history, pools its strength and resources, and strives in a systematic manner that God will permit the Islamic Order to be established. This group, however, is not to remain stationary. It should rather expand by persuading others to share its viewpoint and cooperate in the struggle to establish the supremacy of justice and righteousness.
Another significant item of the JIH programme consists of striving to bring about societal change and to effect reform in the light of Islamic teachings. The idea is that the people who are dedicated to the cause of Islam, or at least have an Islamic orientation and a concern for the well-being of human society, should take the initiative and expend their time, effort and resources to bring about maximum healthy change and improvement. This programme of societal reform is quite a comprehensive one. It seeks to make the mosque the hub of all Islamic activity. Moreover, there is heavy emphasis on education: the basic teachings of Islam should be communicated to the common people, arrangements should be made for adult education, reading rooms should be opened to create enlightenment, and educational institutions should be established at different levels. In the area of social life, the programme emphasises resort to public pressure to prevent people from being subjected to injustice; creating a sense of hygiene and cleanliness and fostering cooperation among people so as to ensure healthy conditions of living; drawing up lists of orphans and widows, of the crippled and the incapacitated people, and of poor students and arranging for their financial assistance; and catering for the health requirements of people, especially the poor. Clearly, inspired by Islamic ideals, the objective is to foster the religious, moral, social and material welfare of the people and to move towards creating the social conditions which are conducive to the total transformation of human life.
The JIH also envisages change of leadership in the broadest sense of the term. It includes intellectual leadership, social and cultural leadership, and ultimately, political leadership too, which marks the culmination of the process. The state is conceived as an indispensable means for establishing the order envisaged by Islam. A truly Islamic state is considered inconceivable unless its affairs are directed by people of clear Islamic vision and commitment, and upright character and competence.
As far as non-political leadership is concerned, the change can be brought about by developing leadership qualities in people who are possessed of right orientation. This is one of the aims of the JIH. As for the change of political leadership in today’s world, this can be brought about by educating the public opinion and channelising it. The JIH is hopeful that if the Islamic movement keeps on striving patiently, it will ultimately succeed in installing righteous men in power.