Ahmad, Irfan. 2010. “Genealogy of the Islamic State: Reflections on Maududi’s Political Thought and Islamism.” In F. Osella and B. Soares (eds).Islam, Politics and Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell & JRAI: 138-55.
Abstract: According to the conventional wisdom, there is no separation between religion and the state in Islam. Ernest Gellner thus asserted that Islam `was the state from the very start’. Most readings of `Islamic fundamentalism’ aver that since Islam fuses religion and politics, the idea of the state flows from the inner logic of Islam. Challenging this explanation, I argue that the state became central to Islamism not because of theology. Rather, the configuration of modern political formations – particularly the unprecedented interventionist role of the modern state in everyday life – catalysed the state to become central in Islamist thought. To trace the genealogy of the Islamic state, I draw on the life of Maududi, arguably the most influential ideologue of Islamism in the twentieth century. In a context where the colonial Indian state had begun to impact deeply on individual and collective lives, Maududi interpreted Islam to equate it with the state.