ET: If you can’t win the game, change the rules. This has been the cornerstone of the political ideology of religious groups from Egypt to Pakistan. It all started from Syed Qutb in Egypt and his mentor Maulana Maududi in Pakistan. Qutb, upon his return from the United States, became increasingly disturbed by what he saw as the ‘Westernisation’ of Egypt by its pro-Western elite.
He saw how rapidly Egypt was taking the colours of Westernisation. To save Islam, which Qutb thought was in ‘danger’, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood as a political action front that would bring about reformation through Sharia. However, soon Qutb realised that the political action and mobilisation of people was too difficult to achieve — partly because the ‘jahliyya’, he thought, was so widespread that it had infested the people of Egypt in moving away from what they really wanted. People were like sheep that needed direction.
The only way, Qutb thought that these people could be saved was through an act of adventure that would jolt them — a revolution by radicals who would alter the status quo. Likewise, in Pakistan, Qutb’s mentor, Maulana Maududi, the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was going through the same dilemma. The JI, together with other religious groups, was trying hard to enforce Sharia through political action, only realising that people were least interested. This not only made the religious groups hate democracy and the rulers, but also the people whose eyes and ears were “blackened”, according to the them.