India’s Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has decided to remove books by renowned Islamic thinkers and scholars, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi and Syed Qutb from its syllabus taught in the Department of Islamic Studies.
“In order to avoid the controversy, the University has decided to do away with the optional paper on Islamic thinkers, including Maududi and Shaheed with immediate effect,” the spokesperson for the University, Shafey Kidwai, said, according to The Hindu.
AMU reportedly dropped the influential twentieth century Muslim writers after Hindutva activist Madhu Kishwar, along with other Hindu nationalist academicians wrote to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
A senior AMU staff member was quoted by India Today as explaining, “This decision has been taken in response to a recent letter that was written by social activist and academician, Madhu Kishwar, along with some other academicians, to PM Modi, in which the books of these authors were demanded not to be taught to the students. The academicians had not just named the AMU, but also the Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard Universities, claiming that all these universities had books written by Pakistani authors in their curriculum.”
Born in British India, Maududi, an Islamic scholar founded the Jamaat-E-Islami (JI) before migrating to Pakistan following the Partition, where he helped steer the new country away from secularism towards an Islamic republic. His writings would influence Egypt’s Sayed Qutb, an early Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who expanded on his ideas. Both thinkers inspired subsequent generations of Islamist movements including jihadist groups who claim their ideological lineage to both.
Originally established in 1875, AMU is one of Asia’s oldest universities and was modelled on Cambridge University by its founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, for educating Indian Muslims. AMU is India’s oldest Muslim University.