In this book, author Hayat Alvi’s purpose and focus are to illustrate the legal basis for Islamic nonviolent activism, as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad promoted and exemplified. Maulana Azad’s endorsement of nonviolent civil disobedience as a means to expel British colonial rule from India poses a strong counterargument against Islamist extremism, and a legal precedent for nonviolent activism in Islam. Millions of Indian Muslims participated under Maulana Azad and Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership in nonviolent civil disobedience against the British Raj. These facts indicate that there is such a thing as nonviolent activism in Islam. Abul Kalam Azad introduced “nonviolent Jihad” in the form of civil disobedience. As a legitimate religious authority, trained as an Islamic jurist and scholar, he endorsed Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience and activism to free India from British colonial rule. A highly respected Islamic scholar and jurist, Maulana Azad’s endorsement of nonviolent civil disobedience provides the legal precedent for nonviolent activism in Islam. Contemporary Muslim leaders and activists can learn lessons from Maulana Azad’s example, and as Alvi’s thoroughly researched book shows, can be an argument against blind dogma, extremism, and militancy in the modern era.
Hayat Alvi is associate professor in the national security affairs department at the U.S. Naval War College.
Chapter 1: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Who was He?
Chapter 2: The Concept of Justice, “Zulm” and “Mazlum” in Islam
Chapter 3: The Islamic Principles of Social Justice: From Maulana Azad to the Arab Awakening
Chapter 4: The Islamist Extremists: A Comparative Analysis
Chapter 5: The Implications of Nonviolent Islam for Peace and Security
Skillfully using the writings and contributions of Indian nationalist leader Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Hayat Alvi presents a fascinating mosaic of non-violent activism within Islam. When the faith is often portrayed as synonymous with extremism, intolerance and xenophobia, Alvi offers a persuasive alternate narrative through Azad. Highlighting and shoring up saner voices of such towering figures is critical for a meaningful understanding of Islam and its trajectory.
Dr. Hayat Alvi has produced a masterful work which highlights the pioneering work of a giant of the Indian independence movement who used non-violent Islamic doctrine to support the struggle against occupation and promote social justice. This work deserves wide coverage particularly at a time when Islam is principally associated with jihadism and militancy
We live in a world that is inundated with negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, and the extremists provide ample material for the media to perpetuate these unconstructive and unflattering labels." This riveting work on CVE is much needed at this point in time. It makes a compelling argument that the seemingly weak can win the strong without carrying up arms and through simple means as peaceful resistance. Maulana Azad is the epitome of Islamic nonviolence at a time when violence seemed the only weapon at the hands of the oppressed. This book is an invaluable addition to CVE and a must read for those who seek to know Islam not as presented by terrorists but by peace loving, tolerant devout Muslims as Maulana Azad.
By carefully exploring the ideas and telling the story of Abul Kalam Azad, an Indian Islamic thinker and independence activist who was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi and an enthusiastic supporter of his non-violent strategy, Professor Alvi presents a powerful articulation of “the moral force and courage of nonviolence” in the context of Islamic thought. In the process, she thoughtfully ties the ideas of freedom, justice, and non-violence to important political issues of the day. Highly recommended.