Ahmad, Irfan. 2009a. “Genealogy of the Islamic State: Reflections on Maududi’s Political Thought and Islamism”.Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute (NS) 15: S145– S162.
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.