Nonviolent Activism in Islam
The Message of Abul Kalam Azad
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.