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From Holy Community to Political Party
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The Machchi Goth Affair, 1955–1957

Mawdudi was released from prison in 1954. After his release a general meeting was held in Karachi, a routine session that unexpectedly turned into a forum for airing grievances about procedural matters, the electoral defeat of 1951, and government harassment in 1953–1954.[8] In that session Sa‘id Ahmad Malik, a one-time Jama‘at amir of Punjab, leveled charges of ethical misconduct and financial embezzlement against another high-ranking member. Mawdudi was greatly disturbed by Malik’s allegation, all the more so because it had been aired before the entire body of the Jama‘at. Eager to spare the holy community the shock of confronting its fall from grace, Mawdudi sent Islahi to dissuade Malik from further registering his complaint before the gathering by promising a full investigation.

Malik agreed, and, true to his promise, Mawdudi announced the formation of a review (ja’izah) committee, consisting of seven members of the shura’ and Malik himself. The committee was to investigate Malik’s charges and prepare a report on the general discontent in the Jama‘at that had been aired in the Karachi meeting. The committee immediately made apparent a concealed source of power in the party. In its early years the Jama‘at had few office holders and hardly any “workers”; there was no real division of power or duties and no payroll. The Jama‘at’s members in those years had all been part-time religious organizers and missionaries.[9] The expansion and rationalization of the Jama‘at in Pakistan after 1947, however, had generated an organizational machine managed by party operatives out of the secretariat in Lahore. These party workers and managers, many of whom were full-time employees, had by 1954 gained considerable control over the Jama‘at’s operations. They were mainly younger and more politically inclined members and had vested interests of their own, both with regards to the Jama‘at’s internal policies and its stand on national issues.[10]

The Jama‘at’s bureaucracy supported the leader whom Malik had accused of wrongdoing. The complaints the committee would be reviewing in most cases involved the policies and operational procedures followed by the Lahore secretariat. Afraid that the bureaucracy would be blamed, Mian Tufayl Muhammad, the secretary-general at the time, procrastinated to hinder the committee from beginning its work. ‘Abdu’l-Rahim Ashraf, appointed by Mawdudi to head the committee, brought up the subject in the shura’ meeting of November 1955.[11] With the shura’’s sanction the committee began its deliberations, but the bureaucracy managed to trim it down to four members—Ashraf, ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffar Hasan, ‘Abdu’l-Jabbar Ghazi, and Sultan Ahmad—all of whom were ulama and senior leaders, and none of whom was either a functionary or stationed in Lahore.

No sooner had the committee begun its investigations than it became clear that the scope of complaints and misconducts far exceeded what had initially been suspected, and worse yet, they reached far up in the hierarchy. At the time they met Mawdudi was away touring the Arab world; he was therefore not aware of the scope of the committee’s probes and findings. In his absence, ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffar Hasan was made interim overseer of the party, which permitted him to stifle any resistance to the investigation by the Lahore bureaucracy. The investigations lasted a year, during which its members interviewed some two hundred members across Pakistan, noting their complaints and questioning them regarding their attitude toward the party.

The findings were not complimentary and were in many ways disturbing. Wide-ranging ethical transgressions and financial misdeeds were reported, and complaints were registered against the procedures and behavior of the Lahore bureaucracy. Even Mawdudi and Islahi were implicated. The committee prepared a comprehensive report of its findings and submitted it to the shura’ for consideration during its session in November 1956: the Jama‘at had strayed from its path of “upholding the truth” (haqq-parasti) to opportunism (maslahat-parasti) and following popular will (‘awam-parasti); it had departed from its original educational aim and mission and had become a political organization; its moral and ethical standards had sharply dropped, and political work was occupying an increasing share of its time to the exclusion of religious studies and even worship; the treasury was relying to too great an extent on outside sources of funding, which influenced the members and the decisions of the party, and since 6.7 percent of its members were paid employees that part of the membership had lost its independence of thought and action.[12] The report suggested that, since the issues raised by the committee’s findings were in part the result of the party’s premature involvement in politics and their remedy would require the lion’s share of the party’s time and resources, the party should not participate in the general elections which were expected to follow the passage of the constitution of 1956 in Pakistan. This recommendation enmeshed the committee’s findings in the party’s debate over its future course of action, further complicating the resolution of the problems. Ethics was posited as the antithesis of politics, forcing the party to choose between them.

The shura’ meeting of November 1956 lasted for fifteen days. This was the longest and liveliest session in its history. The four committee members, led by Ashraf, presented their case: (1) the Jama‘at had gone completely astray, as the extent and nature of the complaints registered in the committee’s report indicated; (2) politics had come to dominate the Jama‘at’s activities with dire results; and (3) if the Jama‘at did not desist from political activities it would lose what it had gained. Ashraf, in a nine-hour speech presented their points and argued that any departure from the four-point plan of action stipulated in November 1951 would seriously compromise the Jama‘at’s doctrinal position.[13] Mawdudi and Islahi, although supported by some of the shura’’s members, were unable to argue with the findings of the report and, at best, staved off some of the sharpest criticisms leveled against the party. Mawdudi tendered his resignation a number of times during the session but was dissuaded: committee members argued their objective was not to oust him but to restore the party’s moral standing.[14] Mawdudi was not, however, thoroughly convinced, but he was outvoted.

The fifteen-day shura’ session ended with a four-point resolution: First, the Jama‘at had veered from its proper course. While the party had made gains, it had also been damaged, and this damage should be repaired. Second, the decisions of the shura’ session of July 1951, the four-point plan that de-emphasized politics, continued in effect; therefore the new stress on politics since 1951 should be reversed. Third, the Jama‘at’s position on various issues was based on the Qur’an, hadith, and decisions of the amir and the shura’, and not on any party document. In other words, Mawdudi’s works did not dictate policy, and the Jama‘at was not an extension of him. Finally, Islahi along with two other senior members of the Jama‘at would form a committee to see that the resolution was carried out.

Mawdudi was clearly upset by the proceedings of the shura’ and by the resolution, which was constitutionally binding on him. Not only had the fifteen-day meeting revealed problems and curbed the party’s appetite for politics, but it had also challenged his authority. For the first time in the Jama‘at’s history it was the shura’, rather than he, who was deciding the party’s future. The party’s constitution had been invoked to assert its autonomy from his person. The guarantees of the autonomy and efficacy of the Jama‘at’s organizational structure, which had been designed by none other than Mawdudi, were now in competition with him. He was by no means reconciled to the decision of the shura’, and this allowed the Lahore bureaucracy to enter the fray.

Remedying the problems cited in the review committee’s report would certainly encroach upon the bureaucracy’s powers. It consisted mainly of lay religious activists and had a different view of the choice between ethics and politics than the ulama members of the committee. Young activists were predicting imminent victory at the polls in the forthcoming elections, and this expectation of victory made them eager to run candidates in the elections, to ignore the four-point plan, and to become a national party. But men like Ashraf anticipated a repeat of the party’s 1951 electoral performance.[15] Hence, no sooner had Mawdudi arrived back in Lahore than the activists led by Sayyid As‘ad Gilani, ‘Abdu’l-Ghafur Ahmad, and Kawthar Niyazi approached Mawdudi to encourage him to defy the writ of the shura’. They argued that it had been biased, and its resolution represented mutiny against Mawdudi’s authority that would encourage factionalism and even the party’s dissolution. These were far graver transgressions against the party’s constitution, they argued, than the amir’s disobeying the shura’’s decisions.[16] Moreover, since the resolution had been based on an “erroneous” report—which the committee members were accused of having contrived with ulterior motives in mind—it could not be binding, and the issue should be reopened. The Jama‘at, or at least elements in it, were showing a surprising independence in trying to influence the amir in a manner hitherto not associated with that party.

Mawdudi allowed himself to be persuaded by the arguments of the Lahore bureaucracy, because they presented an opportunity to break the unwelcome restrictions the shura’ had placed on the party and on his office.[17] Mawdudi’s two-year stint in prison had given him prestige and made him a hero.[18] He was not prepared to forego his newly found stature, and expected the respect that went with it. The prolonged shura’ session had led to recriminations and bitterness. Mawdudi regarded criticism of his leadership as disrespect for the office of amir, as well as representing a vendetta against his person. The latent disagreement over the extent of the amir’s powers and the nature of his leadership, which had first become apparent when the Jama‘at was founded in 1941, was once again casting its shadow. The ulama members continued to view the amir as primus inter pares and as a manager rather than a spiritual guide, while Mawdudi felt the amir’s role should be that of a preeminent and omnipotent religious leader.

On December 23, 1956, thirteen days after the shura’ session, Mawdudi wrote to the members of the review committee, arguing that by exceeding the powers mandated to them they had at best inadvertently conspired against the Jama‘at. He accused them of factionalizing the organization to further their own ambitions.[19] Given the gravity of their “crime,” and the fact that their performance in the shura’ had proven destructive, Mawdudi demanded their resignation. Should they not resign, he threatened, he would go to their constituencies and demand that the Jama‘at members “turn them out.”[20]

The four members of the committee appealed to Islahi for justice. Islahi, a man of mercurial temperament, had up to this point supported Mawdudi, but now he took it upon himself to respond on behalf of the four. He chastised Mawdudi for his prevarication and pointed out that the four were among the Jama‘at’s most senior members and all men of the highest moral standing. Mawdudi had himself approved of their selection for the review committee. Three of them, ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffar Hasan (1948–1949, 1956), ‘Abdu’l-Jabbar Ghazi (1948–1949), and Sultan Ahmad (1953–1954), had been appointed by Mawdudi as provisional amirs. How could their integrity be slighted without casting aspersions on Mawdudi’s own judgment? Islahi furthermore charged that Mawdudi was being influenced by the insidious propaganda of “the staff of the Jama‘at’s central offices” to act “undemocratically” and against the Jama‘at’s constitution.[21] Islahi was, at a more fundamental level, trying to consolidate or defend the constitutional powers of the shura’ against what he regarded as encroachments upon them by the amir.

When he read Islahi’s letter, Mawdudi was incensed. He wrote to Mian Tufayl that the party should choose a new amir, as “if [he] had died.”[22] Mawdudi was no doubt doing just what he had already threatened the review committee he would do: force the Jama‘at to choose between him and his critics. Clearly Mawdudi was confident of where their loyalty lay.[23] Mian Tufayl, Na‘im Siddiqi, and Malik Nasru’llah Khan ‘Aziz, three of Mawdudi’s most loyal lieutenants, went to Islahi to end the mounting crisis. Islahi ordered them not to disclose the news of Mawdudi’s resignation to anyone, within or outside the Jama‘at, and quietly to call a session of the shura’. Siddiqi, a fervent Mawdudi loyalist, thought otherwise. He resigned from the Jama‘at forthwith to relieve himself of the obligations of the party’s code of conduct and Islahi’s order, and proceeded to spread the news of Mawdudi’s resignation, along with incriminating reports against Islahi and the review committee. The news soon spread beyond the party; it appeared in the press.

After Mawdudi’s resignation, Chaudhri Ghulam Muhammad was named vice-amir (qa’im maqami amir) by Mian Tufayl, so that he could oversee the party’s operations. Ghulam Muhammad set out to bring about a reconciliation between the two men. The party’s leaders were aware that government intrigue would make the Jama‘at’s internal problems worse if they dragged on or were exposed in national news with embarrassing consequences for the holy community. Arguing that the very future of the Jama‘at was at stake, Ghulam Muhammad asked Mawdudi to withdraw his resignation; ordered those aware of the dispute to maintain strict silence; and suggested that the issues in dispute be put before an open Jama‘at meeting at the earliest possible date. The trepidation of the Jama‘at’s leaders and members regarding possible government machination in this crisis no doubt assisted Mawdudi. He was a national figure; his resignation from the office of amir, many felt, could spell the end of the party.

The shura’ called by Mian Tufayl met on January 12, 1957. Islahi, Ashraf, and Ghazi were not present. Islahi charged that the Jama‘at’s bureaucracy had deliberately arranged the session so that critics of Mawdudi could not attend.[24] Already sensitive to allegations that in his dispute with Mawdudi he was motivated by personal ambition, Islahi tendered his resignation.[25] A delegation of senior Jama‘at members led by Ghulam Muhammad managed to dissuade him pending the result of the open meeting, scheduled for February 1957 in Machchi Goth, a small and desolate village in the Chulistan Desert in southern Punjab. Islahi acquiesced and withdrew his resignation. He was receptive to compromise, and those who approached him in this spirit found him forthcoming.[26] Islahi demanded redress for the grievances of the members of the review committee and limits on Mawdudi’s powers, but Mawdudi and his supporters felt no need to compromise and continued to force a showdown.

Under pressure from Ghulam Muhammad the handpicked shura’ accepted his proposals without change and ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffar Hasan was compelled to ask Mawdudi to withdraw his resignation.[27] Mawdudi agreed on the condition that an open party meeting be given the power to resolve the dispute. He would not return to his duties until they had reached a decision.[28] He intended to hold the threat of resignation over the shura’ and the review committee, because he was convinced that the rank and file of the party supported him and that an open session would circumvent the constitutional powers of the shura’, which was stacked against him by supporters of Islahi and the review committee. Faced with constitutional restrictions and unable to win his case through regular channels, Mawdudi circumvented the very rules he had himself devised to prevent the domination by any one leader. This was a volte-face with momentous implications and a testament to the fundamental role politics and personal ambitions played in Mawdudi’s decisions and policies. By acceding to an open meeting and Mawdudi’s demand that Jama‘at members arbitrate the issues in dispute, the shura’ surrendered its constitutional powers to an ad hoc body, opening the door for the amir to undermine the authority of the shura’ with the blessing of its members.

Meanwhile, warned by Siddiqi, the Jama‘at’s bureaucracy mobilized its resources—organizational circulars, newspapers, and magazines—to inveigh against Islahi and the review committee, and to sway minds before the antagonistic parties could put their cases before them in the open session.[29] The bureaucracy especially sought to shift the focus of the debate away from the report, the grievances of leaders against the amir, the constitutional implications of Mawdudi’s attack on the committee, and the future of the holy community and toward the victimization of Mawdudi and his resignation from the office of amir. The bureaucracy also helped embolden Mawdudi by casting in a conspiratorial light all the criticisms leveled against him or Jama‘at’s functionaries. They convinced him that, with the backing of the review committee, Islahi was maneuvering himself into the position of amir, an accusation which had enough truth to it to seem compelling to Mawdudi.[30] He took to treating criticism of his decisions as invidious efforts to paralyze the Jama‘at, and became uncompromising in his drive to cleanse the organization of dissent and to use, if needed, extraconstitutional measures to preserve its unity. This accusation put Islahi on the defensive and effectively silenced him. Unwilling to give credence to rumors regarding his own ambitions, Islahi approved all resolutions that confirmed Mawdudi’s leadership.

With Mawdudi’s backing the bureaucracy now went on the offensive. Sa‘id Ahmad Malik, who had started the review committee’s investigation, and ‘Abdu’l-Rahim Ashraf, who led the committee, were first suspended and later expelled from the Jama‘at by the amirs of Rawalpindi and Faisalabad (Lyallpur).[31] Disgusted with the turn of events, ‘Abdu’l-Jabbar Ghazi resigned from the Jama‘at, and the tide began to turn to Mawdudi. He was not content with victory alone, nor did he seek conciliation; he set out to purge the Jama‘at of his critics. In a meeting of the shura’ which convened in Machchi Goth before the open session began, it was suggested that Mawdudi resume his activities as amir and a committee be appointed to study the findings of the review committee. Mawdudi, smelling victory, rejected the suggestion out of hand—if such a committee was formed, he would resign from the Jama‘at. Only his resignation and participation in future elections were to be discussed in the open session. At the behest of Mawdudi’s supporters, the shura’ declared that it preferred having Mawdudi as amir over pursuing the review committee’s report.

Of the Jama‘at’s 1,272 members, 935 attended the Machchi Goth session.[32] They came anxious about where their party was heading and sympathetic to Mawdudi, as the circulars, journals, magazines, and newspapers meant them to be. Islahi was the most prominent of those in dissent, but he made no mention of the questions of principle that had caused his break with Mawdudi and instead spoke of the organization’s four-point plan of November 1951.[33] He preached moderation and balance (tawazun) between religious pursuits and political activism. Politics had begun to fill all the hours of Jama‘at members, lamented Islahi, leaving no room for pious works. The content and tone of Islahi’s speech showed interest in a reconciliation, but Mawdudi wanted no part of it. This refusal infuriated Islahi, and he left the Jama‘at. In a letter to Mawdudi afterward, Islahi wrote that he had been assured by Chaudhri Ghulam Muhammad that Mawdudi had at least accepted partially some of his grievances and was willing to accommodate him. Islahi’s expectation was not realized at Machchi Goth, proving that Mawdudi was hoping to mollify him and tone down his hostility before that session, without actually intending a compromise. This realization, wrote Islahi, was a major reason why he left the Jama‘at.[34] He had withdrawn his earlier resignation on assurances given to him by Mawlana Zafar Ahmad Ansari, a confidant of Mawdudi, that a compromise would be reached at Machchi Goth. Islahi felt that he had kept his part of the bargain and that Mawdudi had reneged on his.

Islahi’s cautions therefore fell on deaf ears, and his appeal for the party to return to its original agenda was rejected. With events moving in Mawdudi’s direction, his supporters became even less compromising, and all dissenters were barred from addressing the gathering.[35] Having kept the review committee’s report and his own high-handed policies out of the proceedings, Mawdudi went on the attack. In a six-hour speech, he demanded more political action and introduced a new agenda in place of the four-point plan of 1951.[36] He reiterated the Jama‘at’s original objectives and reviewed the party’s history; he said that the party would continue as a holy community and a religious movement but it would now participate in electoral politics. Reforming the political order was moved up from a distant fourth to a primary aim. Mawdudi argued that the Jama‘at had been formed with the objective of establishing the rule of religion (iqamat-i din) and a divine government (hukumat-i ilahiyah). Neither would be attainable if the Jama‘at permitted the secular forces to become too entrenched. The organization must abandon its isolation and enter the political scene, if not to further its own cause, at least to deny success to its adversaries.[37] The Jama‘at was therefore to revise its original agenda; it would now pursue political objectives and religious education and propaganda with equal vigor.

Mawdudi’s speech struck such a receptive chord that subsequent efforts to temper his call to politics met with hostility from the rank and file. Mustafa Sadiq, one of those who sought to temper Mawdudi’s powers, however, managed to secure only 148 votes for a resolution which censured overt politicization.[38] At the end of the session, participation in politics was put to a vote. All but fifteen voted in favor; the fifteen handed in their resignations then and there. A peculiar feature of this whole episode was that the two things that had originally precipitated the crisis—the review committee’s report and Mawdudi’s reaction to it—were not even discussed at Machchi Goth. Neither Mawdudi nor the opposition ever mentioned it. An ethical issue had turned into a political one and served as the handmaiden for the party’s greater politicization.

Mawdudi and his supporters were not content with their victory at Machchi Goth. They met in the nearby village of Kot Shair Sangh and initiated a purge, which Ashraf dubbed “the Jama‘at’s Karbala.” Mawdudi set out to reestablish the authority of the amir’s office and to bring the party back to its original unity of thought and practice. The idea of a holy community found new meaning when, its moral content eviscerated, it persisted only to legitimize the party’s political activities. The review committee’s report was to be destroyed to eliminate any possibility of division over its content. Na‘im Siddiqi, who had violated the orders of Islahi and Ghulam Muhammad by leaking the news of Mawdudi’s resignation, was reinstated as a member. At Kot Shair Sangh the meeting also decided that all those who had differed with Mawdudi, like non-Muslims (zimmi) in an Islamic state, could remain in the party but were henceforth barred from holding office or positions which could influence the party’s platform. This decision, interpreted by many as sheer vindictiveness, led to further defections from the ranks, including Israr Ahmad, Mustafa Sadiq, and ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffar Hasan. Hasan resigned primarily to protest the purge of those who had spoken their minds.[39]

The immediate impact of these defections was muted. Islahi’s resignation was perhaps the most damaging, for he enjoyed a certain following in the Jama‘at, especially among those who had studied the Qur’an with him. Yet even his departure did not lead to a mass exodus.[40] Mawdudi, it appeared, had overcome the challenge to his authority with great dexterity and at minimal cost. In the long run, however, the purge had a debilitating effect on the intellectual caliber of the party’s members. Fifty-six members left the Jama‘at at Machchi Goth, Kot Shair Sangh, and in the months that followed; most were ulama and represented the party’s religious weight and intellect.[41] They were replaced by lay activists and functionaries.

Mawdudi was not greatly discomfited by these desertions; had they stayed, those who had left would have interfered with his plans. Those who left were simply given up as souls who had fallen from the path of Islamic revolution.[42] Those who remained would be more servile and amenable to his leadership. In a letter to Ghulam Muhammad after Machchi Goth, Mawdudi clearly showed no interest in patching up his differences with Islahi.[43] Shortly after, the Jama‘at presented candidates for the elections of the Karachi municipal corporation and won nineteen of the twenty-three seats it contested. This showing vindicated Mawdudi and erased the last traces of the Machchi Goth affair. Despite all, however, the party waged a campaign based on the four-point plan of 1951.[44]

The Machchi Goth affair and the subsequent purge reoriented the party toward politics, redefined its conception of Islam and its place in the life of men, and replaced its ideological outlook with a more pragmatic one. The Jama‘at had begun as a movement of cultural and religious rejuvenation; it had been premised on ethics and religious teachings. Its primary target was man, whose “reconversion” to the unadulterated truth of his faith would catalyze social change and eventually bring political reform. At Machchi Goth, this puritanical and somewhat traditional formula was altered. The conversion of men would now occur in tandem with, if not in pursuance of, the reform of politics. The Jama‘at, much like revivalist movements everywhere, began to show more interest in governing how Muslims lived than in their individual souls. By overlooking the review committee’s report and Malik’s allegations of financial misconduct to maintain the Jama‘at’s role in politics, Mawdudi suggested that Islamization ultimately flowed from politics to society to the individual, and not the other way around.

It can be argued that at Machchi Goth Jama‘at’s bureaucracy was manifesting the party’s reaction to outside changes. The Jama‘at had been founded in India; it had operated in Pakistan for a decade with little modification in perspective. By 1956, the Pakistani polity had consolidated and the country was now unlikely to wither away. The Jama‘at’s notion that it could conquer the new country’s soul and centers of power had proved to be fleeting. Its campaign for an Islamic constitution had, moreover, reached its aim with the passage of the constitution of 1956, which the Jama‘at had accepted as “Islamic.” The Jama‘at, therefore, had to find a new role. To remain relevant to Pakistani politics and the future development of the country, the party had to move out of its organizational shell and beyond single causes; it had either to engage in concrete debates or be yet another missionary (tabligh) movement. While, even after the Machchi Goth affair, the Jama‘at did not fully abide by these directives to its own detriment, the party was pushed to rationalize its structure and refine its plan of action.

By 1956 the Jama‘at had lost its intellectual momentum. Its zeal and ideological perspective had been important for the development of contemporary Muslim thought in the Subcontinent and elsewhere, but the party was no longer producing ideas which would sustain its vitality as a religious movement and secure a place for it at the forefront of Islamic revivalist thinking. Most of Mawdudi’s own seminal works, outlining his views on Islam, society, and politics had been written between 1932 and 1948. His worldview and thought had fully taken shape by the time he moved to Pakistan. All subsequent amendments to Jama‘at’s ideology pertained to politics more than theology. Its experience over the decade of 1946–1956 had shown that its contribution and influence lay not so much in what it espoused but in its organizational muscle and political activism. Its survival as a holy community could no longer be guaranteed; it was in politics that the party had to search for a new lease on life. This imperative was most acutely felt by the party’s lay activists and bureaucratic force, who had the least grounding in Islamic learning, and for whom the Jama‘at was the sole link to a holistic view of the role of Islam in the world. Many ulama whose ties to Islam were independent from the Jama‘at felt the depletion of the party’s ideological energies less acutely. They did not have the sense of urgency the first group felt, nor were they prepared to sacrifice values and principles to resuscitate a party. Their departure from the Jama‘at no doubt worsened its intellectual and ideological crisis and strengthened the bureaucratic element that would continue to politicize the Jama‘at.[45]

The outcome of the Machchi Goth session sowed the seeds of a “cult of personality” around Mawdudi in tandem with the bureaucratization of the Jama‘at. The political needs of the party required its amir to be more than primus inter pares; the party needed a command structure which precluded the kind of discussion, debate, and dissension which the ulama members of the Jama‘at—and most of those who had left the Jama‘at in 1957—were accustomed to. The Machchi Goth affair, much as Nu‘mani’s departure from the Jama‘at, had augmented the powers of the amir and institutionalized this eventuality as a corollary of any resolution of tensions and crises surrounding the party’s politicization. This was a cost which a party bent on a more active political role had to incur.

The Machchi Goth affair also marked the “end of ideology” and the beginning of pragmatic politics and decision making in the party. Interestingly, Mawdudi oversaw the routinization of his own chiliastic and romantic idealism. While his earlier works and career had done much to kindle revivalism across the Muslim world, his arguments for abandoning the ideological perspective in favor of greater pragmatism in large measure went unnoticed by his admirers across the Muslim world.

Mawdudi was not altogether oblivious to the problems that had produced the Machchi Goth imbroglio in the first place. At Kot Shair Sangh he initiated far-reaching constitutional reforms which would guarantee greater organizational unity and prepare for the new plan of action. Some of these reforms were designed to devolve power from the office of the amir and to contain abuses of power by himself as well as other Jama‘at members. In May 1957, the Jama‘at’s constitution was revised to iron out the anomalies and sources of discord in the organizational structure and to guard against a repeat of Machchi Goth. The amir was made subject to the writ of the shura’, but he would no longer be elected by the shura’ but by the Jama‘at’s members; the shura’ was expanded to fifty members; its procedures were streamlined; the amir was given greater control over the agenda and discussions; the shura’ was given veto power over the amir’s decisions, and vice versa; procedures were set to govern disagreements between the two; and finally, a majlis-i ‘amilah (executive council)—a politburo of sorts—was formed to serve as the ultimate arbiter between the amir and the shura’, its members to be appointed by the amir from the shura’ members.

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