The origin of the Islaamic Shariah is derived from four important factors which are known as the four principles. They are the Qur`aan. the Hadith-e-Nabawi, consensus of opinion (Ijma)and deductions of the Mujtahideen (Qiyaas). The fact that Maududi distances himself from the predecessors and deduces his own understanding of the four principles is indeed shocking. Regarding the Qur`aan he claims that its teachings were gradually distorted and forgotten, and after the period of revelation it became meaningless (Nauthubillaah). He writes in his book “Qur`aan Ki Chaar Bunyaadi Istikaahe” that the four words Ilaah (Allaah), Rabb (Sustainer), Deen (religion) and Ibaadat (worship) have a basic importance in Qur`aanic terminology. The reason for their importance according to him is:
“It is absolutely essential to understand these four terms correctly in order to comprehend the Qur`aanic teachings. If a person cannot understand the meaning of Ilaah or Rabb, or what is Ibaadat and what the definition of Deen is, then in reality the entire Qur`aan becomes meaningless for him. He will be unable to distinguish between unity and shirk (polytheism). He will not be able to worship Allaah alone, nor will he be able to establish Deen purely for Allaah‟s sake. Similarly, if a person fails to understand these terms correctly, the entire Qur`aanic teachings will be unclear for him, and notwithstanding his faith in the Qur`aan, his belief and action will both be incomplete.” (pages 9-10)
In short Maududi states that if a person does not understand these four terms correctly, “Then in reality the whole Qur`aan becomes meaningless for him.” Thereafter he informs us that when the Qur`aan was revealed to the Arabs, every person understood the correct meanings of these words.
Not only the Muslims, but even the disbelievers knew their meanings…..“But in the later centuries their meanings as known at the time of revelation, gradually began changing until they became restricted, in fact vague. The lack of enthusiasm for Arabic was one of the reasons for this situation. The second reason was that the words Ilaah, Rabb, Ibaadat and Deen did not take on the same meaning for the Muslims as they did for the kaafir society at the time of revelation. Due to these two reasons the dictionaries and books of Tafseer, instead of explaining the original meanings of the Qur`aanic words, began assigning explanations which the latter Muslims could understand.” (Ibid. Page12)
And what was the result of neglecting and being ignorant of these four basic terms? “The reality is that because a veil was thrown over these four basic terms, more than three quarters of the Qur`aanic teachings, in fact its actual essence became concealed.” (Ibid. Page14)
It is entirely probable that Maududi‟s followers may regard these statements of his a worthy interpretation of events, but I have no choice but to call it an insult to the Qur`aan and the Muslims. The clear interpretation of his words is that during the period of revelation even the non-Muslims understood the true meaning of the Qur`aan but all the later generations were ignorant of the essence of these four terms and thus the Qur`aan was read as a meaningless book. Allaah forbid, had Maududi not stepped into this world and opened the knot of these four Qur`aanic terms, no person would have understood Allaah‟s Word.
This view of Maududi‟s does not merely regard the whole Ummah as misguided and astray, but is an expression of the total loss of understanding regarding the Qur`aan, which shakes the very foundations of the Ummah‟s faith in the Qur`aan. Can the very final book of Allaah be envisaged as having lost its teachings and spirit after such a brief period. If I did not have respect for Maududi, I would have branded his interpretations as being the result of pure ignorance, nay insanity.
The Qur`aanic teachings will shine till the Day of Qiyaamah. Thousands of rotations of the earth and millions of revolutions were unsuccessful in distorting them. Accordingly his ideology is absolutely nonsensical. There are three basic causes for his wayward thinking.
Firstly, he has not pondered over the fact that Allaah has taken the responsibility of safeguarding the Qur`aan. Allaah Ta`ala states: “We have revealed the “Thikr” and We will protect it.” Not only is this a reference to the words and forms, but also the meaning, message, teachings and in fact all the means which are essential in safeguarding the scriptures. Hence to propose that this Kitaab became meaningless is in fact tantamount to rejecting the protection of the Qur`aan as proclaimed by Allaah Ta`ala.
Secondly, Maududi did not ponder the fact that the finality of the prophethood of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasalam) requires the Deen to be intact till Qiyaamah without interruption. If for only one moment any teaching of Rasulullaah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) is taken away, such a gap will appear between Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Ummah that can never be restored and a shadow of doubt will prevail over every part of Deen. But Maududi advocates that after a short period, more than three quarters of the Qur`aanic teachings were lost. This viewpoint indirectly represents a rejection of Rasulullaah‟s (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) finality and the permanence of true Deen.
Thirdly, Maududi did not realize that the viewpoint he has presented in such flowery language is the very same stance which the irreligious people have adopted since ancient times to distort Deen. Rejection of the Qur`aan is based on three principles:
I. To reject the words of the Qu`aran as being revealed from Allaah,
II. To recognize the Qur`aanic words as originating from Allaah but simultaneously saying that Rasulullaah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) did not understand the correct meaning, but we have understood it.
III. To claim that the meaning of the Qur`aan which Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) understood was not preserved in the later centuries. Hence the meaning of the Qur`aan in the form of Hadith and Tafseer, which the whole Ummah regards as correct, is not the actual message of the Qur`aan. The original meaning is the one we have presented.
The first two forms of rejecting the Qur`aan are so blatant that even the most irreligious person will not dare to bear this burden in an Islaamic society by boldly rejecting the Qur`aan or openly stating that he does not believe in the Qur`aanic meanings as portrayed by Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum). Accordingly all irreligious people choose the third method and state that the molvis have distorted the meaning of the Qur`aan. Just as a thief using the darkness as a camouflage holds the hand of the owner of a house and shouts “Thief, thief!” in order to cause the people to assault him while making good his escape, similarly these heretics have blamed the elders for changing the Qur`aanic meanings, thereby unleashing an onslaught on them while they sit innocently. To understand this, consider the example of Mr. Ghulaam Ahmad Parwez and Qadiani. According to them, wherever the word obedience to Allaah and his Rasool is mentioned in the Qur`aan, it refers to obedience of the central authority. The meaning of Allaah and his Rasool which the “mullahs” have understood is the product of a foreign mind (Nauthubillah).
The Qadiyanis claim that the molvis have not understood the true meaning of the “Seal of Prophets”. The term according to them is not a reference to the termination of prophethood, but is a term meaning the continuation of the prophet‟s seal.
Furthermore the Aayat: “Allaah raised him unto Himself” does not refer to the physical raising of Hadhrat Isaa (alaihi salaam), but it means a death of honour. When the statement of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) and the Imaams are presented before these misguided groups, their answer is that these are writings of people of later generations. In reality they wish to reject the Qur`aan but do not have the courage to do so openly. Hence they present the argument that the meanings have been altered by people of later ages. This is the same path which Maududi has tread on. Furthermore he has the audacity to blame the Imaams of Arabic for lacking in their knowledge when in reality they were “walking encyclopaedias” who knew all the different meanings of a word and its usage without resorting to dictionaries.
They all had such knowledge preserved in their memories, yet they are being accused of not understanding the correct meaning of Qur`aanic words and the Qur`aan Majeed remained meaningless for them Laa Howla Wa Laa Quwwata Illa Billaah.