A Brief Introduction to Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Kerala Circle
Jamaat-e-Islami was founded in the Indian subcontinent in 1941 by about seventy learned men, under the leadership of the eminent scholar and thinker Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi. It is a comprehensive revival movement.
Re-organized after Independence in 1948 as Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), it has been working in the country for about six decades with its own policies and programs taking into consideration the social, cultural and political circumstances that prevail in India. JIH has its Headquarters in New Delhi and has branches in all provinces. Its organizational structure comprises of a Central Representative Council (CRC) having deputies elected every four years from among the members of the organization, the Ameer (President) and a Central Consultative Council (Majlis Shura) both elected by the CRC.
In each state, the organization is led by a Zonal Ameer and a zonal Consultative Council elected from among the members of the organization within the state. A revision of the organization's policies and the formulation of a four-year program of activities take place once in every four years.
A modern reformist organization based on the Islamic ideology, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has developed a distinctive style and methodology in propagating the message of Islam in the indigenous society and in affording proper guidance to the Muslim community in implementing the values and laws that characterize the Islamic system of life. Through its well-studied and elaborately planned four year programs, the Jamaat strives to prove that the Islamic ideology and way of life is the most practical and befitting solution to the woes of the present day world. At the same time, the Jamaat firmly believes in the moderate character of Islam, and only resorts to peaceful means to propagate its creed and ideals. It does not approve of extremist views to implement its programs, nor does it support violent and unlawful means.
Kerala is one of the most advanced states in India in education and social awareness. JIH in the state is also one of the most pro-active and dynamic branches of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. With its conscientious efforts ever since its inception in the state, the Jamaat has effectively conveyed the message of the Islamic movement to the majority of the populace to such an extent that various categories of people including students, teachers, government officials, leading cultural and literary personalities, political leaders, authorities, media persons and the general public come forward to study about Islam and engage in serious dialogue about the lively issues that the Islamic movement puts forth for discussion. Jamaat attaches paramount importance to communal harmony, and is actively involved in numerous activities to achieve this goal.
The Jamaat gives utmost importance to creating a true Islamic awareness in the Muslim society and cleansing them from un-Islamic rituals and superstitions. Its relentless efforts to salvage the Muslim community in general, and their youth in particular, from destructive material influences and anti-religious movements and to lead them to the Islamic belief and its culture have succeeded to a considerable extent. Furthermore, Jamaat is an ardent supporter of peaceful coexistence in a plural society and encourages members of the Muslim community to cooperate with people of other faiths.
Service to Humanity:
The Jamaat emphasizes that service to human beings is complementary to and the extension of the worship of the Lord of the universe.
All local units of the Jamaat spread all over the cities and villages of the state dutifully engage in social service activities rendering financial assistance to the deprived classes of the society. They help them to meet their essential needs for medical treatment, children's education, marriage of dependents, housing, ensuring regular income through small and medium range business enterprises etc. During natural disasters and calamities, systematic relief and rehabilitation works are undertaken by a purposely organized and trained group of volunteers named Ideal Relief Wing (IRW).
Following the tsunami waves that devastated many districts in the state along with many other coastal areas in South Asia, extensive relief works were carried out by IRW volunteers and medical teams belonging to the Ethical Medical Forum (EMF),Madhyamam Health Care Program (MHCP), Association of Ideal Medical Services(AIMS)- three organizations serving under the guidance of Jamaat. The public response to its call for contribution to the relief fund was quite overwhelming and the sum of Rs. 2.35 crores so collected has been utilized on short-term relief and long-term rehabilitation purposes. During the earthquakes that resulted in extensive loss of life, injuries to tens of thousands of people and tremendous damage of properties in Lathur (Maharashtra), Gujarat, Iran and other places too, the Jamaat undertook large-scale relief and rehabilitation work. Following the last earthquake, which caused unprecedented damages in the Kashmir region, a team consisting of doctors and relief workers from Kerala visited the quake-hit areas and offered their comprehensive services to the suffering inhabitants.
A large number of interest-free lending societies have been working at various places, which helps the less-fortunate people meet their unexpected needs on a continuous basis. More than 200 such societies have a collective capital of over Rupees two crores circulating in small sums ranging from Rs. 500 to 10,000. Another recent project implemented by the Jamaat is the Alternative Investment and Credits Limited (AICL) which encourages people to invest their savings in various business enterprises to secure "Halal" (lawful) earnings without any involvement of interest that is forbidden in Islam. Having Reserve Bank of India (RBI) licence, AICL has invested in trading, manufacturing and service sectors, and gives out a reasonable dividend to its shareholders.
With a view to promoting education and supporting poor students to pursue higher studies in their chosen fields, the Jamaat has launched a scholarship program in 2007. The program extends grants and loan scholarships to students of under graduate and graduate courses as well as research scholars.
The Jamaat has established "Baithuzzakat Kerala" to collect Zakat contributions and to disburse them in accordance with the relevant Islamic laws. In 2006-2007, Baithuzzakat collected about 9.4 million that were distributed to 883 families. This is in addition to a great number of local Zakat committees that have been working in the state for a long time past.
A number of multi-specialty hospitals under the supervision of the Jamaat render valuable services to poor patients in the public health sector in addition to the MHCP and EMF mentioned earlier.
A very recent endeavour of the Jamaat is a lawyers' forum called JUSTITIA, which was formally launched in December 2007. It aims to enlighten the public on issues related to law and justice, and provides them legal support as far as possible. It also works with a view to preserving human rights.
Another area where JIH Kerala has been active for the past decades is the educational sector. More than 300 educational institutions including primary and secondary madrasas, schools from the nursery to higher secondary levels as well as undergraduate and postgraduate level colleges impart education in both Islamic studies and modern disciplines including technical fields. These activities are controlled by the educational wing of Jamaat, the Majlis Thaleemil Islami Kerala". The highest institution in this sector is the Al Jamia Al Islamiya, Santapuram that includes undergraduate and PG level faculties for Usuluddeen (Religion), Quran, Shariah and Dawaah, in addition to an IT centre and a Research Institute.
JIH Kerala pays due attention to creating public awareness in all issues of social relevance. This is done through its publications, periodicals and journals. The Islamic Publishing House (IPH) is the largest of its kind in Kerala, which has published over five hundred (500) books on a wide variety of topics. One of its most acclaimed works is the "Islamic Encyclopedia". Eight (8) volumes are already on the bookshelves, and the remaining four volumes will be brought out in due course. Another significant work undertaken by IPH is the translation of the six authentic collections of Hadeeth called "Sihah al Sitta", out of which the first volume, Bukhari was released in April 2007. The periodicals published under the Islamic movement are: The Prabodhanam weekly, Bodhanam bi-monthly, Aramam women's monthly, and Malarvadi children's monthly. Launched in 1987, the Madhyamam daily, with its 15 editions, now occupies a leading position among the Malayalam newspapers; it publishes six (6) editions in Kerala and two in Karnataka. Its overseas edition Gulf Madhyamam is published from Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.
The women's wing, the Solidarity Youth Movement, Students' Islamic Organization (SIO), Girls Islamic Organization (GIO) and Malarvadi Balasangham are the subordinate organizations that work on the same lines as the Jamaat among the women and the growing generations respectively.
Particularly, the Solidarity Youth Movement, formed in May 2003, has grown to occupy a leading position among its counterparts through the distinctive character it has demonstrated in respect of all the lively issues and struggles. During the short period of four years, Solidarity has associated itself with diversified areas including economy, infrastructure, environment, industry, national development, public service and morality. The Jamaat's sworn insistence on strengthening virtues and eradicating social evils vehemently reflect in the working policies and morals taken up by Solidarity and the other supporting organizations of the movement.
Similarly, the Jamaat is active in a host of programs that are aimed at empowering women.
In the present day society which gropes in total darkness, conscious work and untiring efforts are essential to show the light of prudence to both the rulers and the ruled and to save them from destructive tendencies. Those who come forward to impart this mission should be armed with nobility of character and exemplary behavior. The Jamaat has persistently been trying to convince the society of these facts and create and nurture even a small group who are worthy of undertaking this responsibility.