Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
جاوید احمد غامدی

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi.jpg
Ghamidi at Georgetown University, USA, 27 May 2015.
President of Al-Mawrid
Born18 April 1951
EraModern Era
Main interest(s)Islamic law

Quran exegesis

Islamic philosophy

Islamic history

Modern philosophy
Notable idea(s)Separation of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) from Sharia (Divine law)
Clear delineation of rules governing the primary sources of religion
Complete framework for study of Islam,
Notable work(s)Mizan, Counter Narrative, Reconstruction of Islamic Philosophy
Alma materGovernment College MA in Philosophy, BA Hons in English Literature & Philosophy
OccupationAcademic, Philosopher, Theologian, Historian Linguistic & Intellectual
Muslim leader
Disciple ofAbul A'la Maududi, Amin Ahsan Islahi
ResidenceMalaysia (Self-Exile)

Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī (Urdu: جاوید احمد غامدی‎) (born 1951) is a Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quran scholar, Islamic modernist, exegete and educationist. He is also the founding President of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organisation Danish Sara.[1] He became a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology (responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistani Government and the country's Parliament) on 28 January 2006, where he remained for a couple of years.[2] He also taught Islamic studies at the Civil Services Academy for more than a decade from 1979 to 1991.[3] He was also a student of the famous Islamic scholar and exegete, Amin Ahsan Islahi. He is running an intellectual movement similar to Wasatiyyah, on the popular electronic media of Pakistan.[4]

Early life[edit]

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi was born on April 18, 1951 to a Kakazai[5] family in a village called Jivan Shah (near Pakpattan) in District Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan. His family village settlement was in a town called Dawud in Sialkot. His father, Muhammad Tufayl Junaydi was a Sufi & landowner by ancestral profession. After the death of his father, Nur Ilahi, Tufayl Junaydi became interested in medicine and spent the rest of his life in that area. To follow the path of tasawwuf (mysticism), Tufayl Junaydi stepped into this valley at the young age of about twenty, and for the rest of his life remained an epitome of commitment and sincerity to his chosen course. He died in 1986.[6]

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi has two elder sisters & he grew up in a Sufi household. His early education included a modern path (Matriculation from Islamia High School, Pakpattan), as well as a traditional path (Arabic and Persian languages, and the Qur'an with Mawlawi Nur Ahmad of Nang Pal).[4] His father wanted him to have both traditional and modern education, splitting his time between school and learning Arabic and Persian. His first exposure to traditional Islamic studies was in the Sufi tradition. After matriculating, he came to Lahore in 1967 where he is settled ever since. Initially, he was more interested in Literature and Philosophy. He later graduated from Government College, Lahore, with a BA Honours in English Literature & Philosophy in 1972.[7]

An avid reader, it was during his usual excursions to the library that he stumbled on the works of Imam Hamiduddin Farahi, a prodigious scholar of Quran. It was in this work did he find the mention to Amin Ahsan Islahi, the then torch bearer of Farahi’s thought. Knowing that Amin Ahsan Islahi was resident in Lahore during those days, he set out to meet him the very day he had first read his mention. It was this meeting that changed Ghamidi from a man of philosophy and literature to a man of religion.[8] In 1973, he came under the tutelage of Amin Ahsan Islahi (d. 1997), who was destined to who have a deep impact on him. He was also associated with the famous scholar and revivalist Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi (d. 1979) for several years. He started working with them on various Islamic disciplines particularly exegesis and Islamic law.[1]

In his book, Maqamat (مقامات), Ghamidi starts with an essay "My Name" (میرا نام) to describe the story behind his surname, which sounds somewhat alien in the context of the Indian Subcontinent. He describes a desire during his childhood years to establish a name linkage to his late grandfather Noor Elahi, after learning of his status as the one people of the area turned to, to resolve disputes. This reputation also led to his (grandfather's) reputation as a peacemaker (مصلح). Subsequently, one of the visiting Sufi friends of his father narrated a story of the patriarch of the Arab tribe Banu Ghamid who earned the reputation of being a great peacemaker. He writes, that the temporal closeness of these two events clicked in his mind and he decided to add the name Ghamidi to his given name, Javed Ahmed.[9] His son Saad Ahmed Javed is one of the leaders of LUBP and a social activist, who graduated with a science degree from the Punjab University, Lahore and is currently pursuing his Executive Masters in Business Administration from UET Taxila.[10]


Some of the works of Ghamidi

Ghamidi's understanding of Islamic law has been presented concisely in his book Mizan. Ghamidi's inspiration from his mentor, Amin Ahsan Islahi and non-traditionalist approach to the religion has parted him from the conservative understanding on a large number of issues. However, Ghamidi argues that his dissenting conclusions are often based on traditional foundations set by classical scholars.

In Ghamidi's arguments, there is no reference to the Western sources, human rights or current philosophies of crime and punishment.[11] Nonetheless, employing the traditional Islamic framework, he reaches conclusions which are similar to those of Islamic modernists and progressives on the subject.[11]


Ghamidi believes that there are certain directives of the Qur'an pertaining to war which were specific only to Prophet Muhammad and certain specified peoples of his times (particularly the progeny of Abraham: the Ishmaelites, the Israelites, and the Nazarites). Thus, Muhammad and his designated followers waged a war against Divinely specified peoples of their time (the polytheists and the Israelites and Nazarites of Arabia and some other Jews, Christians, et al.) as a form of Divine punishment and asked the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims. Therefore, after Muhammad and his companions, there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or implementation of Islam. The only valid basis for jihad through arms is to end oppression when all other measures have failed.[12] According to him Jihad can only be waged by an organised Islamic state, that too only where a leader has been nominated by the previous leader or by the consensus of the ulema if the state is newly established.[13] No person, party or group can take arms into their hands (for the purpose of waging Jihad) under any circumstances. Another corollary, in his opinion, is that death punishment for apostasy was also specifically for the recipients of the same Divine punishment during Muhammad's times—for they had persistently denied the truth of Muhammad's mission even after it had been made conclusively evident to them by God through Muhammad.[14]

The formation of an Islamic state is not a religious obligation per se upon the Muslims. However, he believes that if and when Muslims form a state of their own, Islam does impose certain religious obligations on its rulers as establishment of the institution of salat (obligatory prayer), zakah (mandatory charity), and 'amr bi'l-ma'ruf wa nahi 'ani'l-munkar (preservation and promotion of society's good conventions and customs and eradication of social vices); this, in Ghamidi's opinion, should be done in modern times through courts, police, etc. in accordance with the law of the land which, as the government itself, must be based on the opinion of the majority.[15]

Male-Female interaction[edit]

Ghamidi argues that the Qur'an states norms for male-female interaction in surah An-Nur.[16] While in surah Al-Ahzab, there are special directives for Muhammad's wives[17] and directives given to Muslim women to distinguish themselves when they were being harassed in Medina.[18][19] The Qur'an has created a distinction between men and women only to maintain family relations and relationships.[20]

Penal laws[edit]

  • The Islamic punishments of hudud (Islamic law) are maximum pronouncements that can be mitigated by a court of law on the basis of extenuating circumstances.[21]
  • The shariah (Divine law) does not stipulate any fixed amount for the diyya (monetary compensation for unintentional murder); the determination of the amount—for the unintentional murder of a man or a woman—has been left to the conventions of society.[21]
  • Ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), a woman's testimony is equal to that of a man's.[22]
  • Rape is hirabah and deserves severe punishments as mentioned in the Quran 5:33. It doesn't require four witnesses to register the case as in the case of Zina (Arabic) (consensual sex). Those who were punished by stoning (rajm) in Muhammad's time were also punished under hirabah for raping, sexually assaulting women, and spreading vulgarity in society through prostitution.[21]

Sources of Islam[edit]

  • All that is Islam is constituted by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Nothing besides these two is Islam or can be regarded as its part.[23]
  • Just like Quran, Sunnah (the way of the prophet) is only what Muslim nation received through ijma (consensus of companions of the prophet) and tawatur (perpetual adherence of Muslim nation).[23]
  • Unlike Quran and Sunnah, ahadith only explain and elucidate what is contained in these two sources and also describe the exemplary way in which Muhammad followed Islam.[23]
  • The Sharia is distinguished from fiqh, the latter being collections of interpretations and applications of the Sharia by Muslim jurists. Fiqh is characterised as a human exercise, and therefore subject to human weakness and differences of opinion. A Muslim is not obliged to adhere to a school of fiqh.[4]

Taliban and Islamism[edit]

Ghamidi is one of the Pakistani religious scholars who, from the beginning, has been opposing this kind of Islamism. One of his recent essays on this subject Islam and the Taliban[24]

Morals and ethics[edit]

Ghamidi is known for his stress on morals and ethics in Islam. He has raised concerns on moral and ethical issues in Muslims.

A translated snippet from his book "Ikhlaqiyat":

Interaction with other Islamic scholars[edit]

Like Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Maulana Naeem Siddiqui and Dr. Israr Ahmed, Ghamidi also worked closely with Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi (alternative spelling Syed Maudoodi; often referred to as Maulana Maududi) (1903–1979) and Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi. His work with Maududi continued for about nine years before he voiced his first differences of opinion, which led to his subsequent expulsion from Mawdudi's political party, Jamaat-e-Islami in 1977. Later, he developed his own view of religion based on hermeneutics and ijtihad under the influence of his mentor, Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904–1997), a well-known exegete of the Indian sub-continent who is author of Tadabbur-i-Qur'an, a Tafsir (exegeses of Qur'an). Ghamidi's critique of Mawdudi's thought is an extension of Wahid al-Din Khan's criticism of Mawdudi. Khan (1925– ) was amongst the first scholars from within the ranks of Jamaat-e-Islami to present a full-fledged critique of Mawdudi's understanding of religion. Khan's contention is that Mawdudi has completely inverted the Qur'anic worldview. Ghamidi, for his part, agreed with Khan that the basic obligation in Islam is not the establishment of an Islamic world order but servitude to God, and that it is to help and guide humans in their effort to fulfill that obligation for which religion is revealed. Therefore, Islam never imposed the obligation on its individual adherents or on the Islamic state to be constantly in a state of war against the non-Islamic world. In fact, according to Ghamidi, even the formation of an Islamic state is not a basic religious obligation for Muslims.[15] Despite such extraordinary differences and considering Maududi's interpretation of "political Islam" as incorrect, Ghamidi in one of his 2015 interviews said that he still respects his former teacher like a father.[25]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In 2009, Ghamidi was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the third highest civilian honor of Pakistan.[26]

Resignation from Council of Islamic Ideology[edit]

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi resigned in September 2006[27] from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),[28] a constitutional body responsible for providing legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistani government. His resignation was 'accepted' by the President of Pakistan.[29] Ghamidi's resignation was prompted by the Pakistani government's formation of a separate committee of ulema to review a Bill involving women's rights; the committee was formed after extensive political pressure was applied by the MMA. Ghamidi argued that this was a breach of the CII's jurisdiction, since the very purpose of the council is to ensure that Pakistan's laws do not conflict with the teachings of Islam. He also said that the amendments in the bill proposed by the Ulema committee were against the injunctions of Islam. This event occurred when the MMA threatened to resign from the provincial and national assemblies if the government amended the Hudood Ordinance,[30] which came into being under Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization. The Hudood Ordinances have been criticised for, among other things, a reportedly difficult procedure to prove allegations of rape.[31]

Public appearances[edit]

Ghamidi had appeared on several TV Channels and appears regularly on dedicated programs. His television audience consists of educated, urban-based middle-class men and women between the ages of 20–35, as well as lay Islamic intellectuals and professionals. Ghamidi's religiously oriented audience tends to be dissatisfied with the positions of traditional ulema and Western-educated secular-liberal elite, and find his interventions and ideas more sensible, moderate, and relevant.[32]

  • Alif[33] on Geo TV (In multiple airings)
  • Ghamidi[34] on Geo TV
  • Live with Ghamidi[35] on AAJ TV (Usually Q/A format but with occasional special programs)
    • AAJ TV also airs other Islamic programs by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi and his associates. (Like Aaj Islam[36])
  • And other channels like PTV.
  • Al-Mawrid has video recording setup of its own.[37]
  • Ilm-o-Hikmat, Ghamidi Key Saath (Urdu: علم و حکمت غامدی کے ساتھ) (Knowledge and Wisdom with Ghamidi) on Duniya TV.[38]
  • The official website of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is linked to his official Twitter (@javedghamidi) and Facebook[39] pages.


Ghamidi has earned criticism from Islamic scholars in Pakistan (like Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman) for his interpretation of certain Islamic values.[citation needed] Some books highly critical of Ghamidi are, Fitna-e-Ghamdiyat (فِتنئہ غامدیت) by Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf[40] and Fitna-e-Ghamdiyat ka Ilmi Muhasbah (فِتنئہ غامدیّت کا عِلمی محاسبہ) by Maulana Muhammad Rafiq.[41]

In one interview, when asked his opinion about being branded as a liberal, Ghamidi replied that he does not care about such things and his objectives are not affected by such terms.[42]

Exile from Pakistan[edit]

Ghamidi left Pakistan in 2010[43] as a result of strong and violent actions against his work. In a 2015 interview with Voice of America, Ghamidi explained his reason for departure was to safeguard the lives of people near him[44] including his neighbours who had begun to fear for their safety.[45] Some of his close associates had already been killed like Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan and Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, the latter of whom was murdered in his clinic.[45] Another close associate who was related to the work of Ghamidi's Risala, Syed Manzoor-ul-Hasan, one day after leaving Ghamidi's office was shot through the mouth but survived although the bullet still remains in his body.[45] Ghamidi maintained that because of today's means of communication, his work of education does not get affected by his exile.[44] Ghamidi, also regularly appears on Ilm-o-Hikmat, a Pakistani Dunya News show.[46] He has also presented his desire to return in the future when circumstances change.[45]

Written Books[edit]

  • Al-Bayan
  • Mizan
  • Burhan
  • Maqamat
  • Al-Islam
  • Khayal o Khamah

Translation by Dr. Saleem Shehzad:

  • Al-Bayan (Volume 1 and 5)
  • Islam: A Comprehensive Introduction
  • Selected Essays of Javed Ahmed Ghamidi
  • Islam: A Concise Introduction[47]


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Esposito(2003) p.93
  2. ^ Council's two new members appointed Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release 30-01-06
  3. ^ "The Team".
  4. ^ a b c Masud(2007)
  5. ^ Sheikh, Majid (22 October 2017). "The history of Lahore's Kakayzais". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Early life of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi".
  7. ^ Ghamidi's resume Archived 1 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Baksh, Ammar. "Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: A brief Introduction to his life and works".
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ says, Faiz: The Idol Breaker! « Saad Ahmed Javed BAKHSH. "Faiz: The Idol Breaker! – by Saad Ahmed Javed – LUBP". Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference masud2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Mizan, The Islamic Law of Jihad Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Ghamidi, Javed Ahmad. Qanun-i-Jihad (The Islamic Shari'ah of Jihad). Lahore, Pakistan: al-Mawrid. p. 45. ISBN 978-9698799083. It is obvious...that jihad becomes obligatory only in the presence of a ruler...whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abu Bakr transferred the reins [of his Khilafah to Umar] or through the pledging of allegiance by the ulema
  14. ^ Islamic Punishments: Some Misconceptions Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Renaissance – Monthly Islamic Journal, 12(9), 2002.
  15. ^ a b Iftikhar(2005)
  16. ^ Quran 24:27
  17. ^ Quran 33:32
  18. ^ Quran 33:58
  19. ^ Mizan, Norms of Gender Interaction Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Mizan, The Social Law of Islam
  21. ^ a b c Mizan, The Penal Law of Islam Archived 27 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ The Law of Evidence Archived 11 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Renaissance – Monthly Islamic Journal, 12(9), 2002.
  23. ^ a b c Mizan, Sources of Islam Archived 14 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Islam and the Taliban published in Renaissance, Lahore, May 2009)
  25. ^ Adil Khan (14 June 2015), JAVED AHMED GHAMIDI a talk with Voice of America 2015, retrieved 20 May 2016
  26. ^ "List of civil award winners". DAWN.COM. 16 August 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  27. ^ Editorial: Hudood laws, Ghamidi’s resignation and CII — government wrong on all counts Archived 14 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Times, 22 September 2006
  28. ^ "Council of Islamic Ideology". Pakistan Government. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  29. ^ Musharraf rejects Ghamdi’s resignation, Daily Times, 6 November 2006
  30. ^ MMA threatens to quit Parliament over Hudood laws, Zee News, 5 September 2006.
  31. ^ WAF rejects Hudood law amendments, Dawn, 13 September 2006.
  32. ^ "Media-Based Preachers and the Creation of New Muslim Publics in Pakistan".
  33. ^ "GeoTV Geo News Latest News Breaking News Pakistan Live Videos".
  34. ^ "GeoTV Geo News Latest News Breaking News Pakistan Live Videos". Archived from the original on 12 April 2008.
  35. ^ http://www.aaj.tv/
  36. ^ [1]
  37. ^ "Al-Mawrid".
  38. ^ [2]
  39. ^ "Security Check Required".
  40. ^ Yusuf, Hafiz Salahuddin (July 2015). Fitna-e-Ghamdiyat (PDF). Gujranwala.
  41. ^ Rafiq, Maulana Muhammad. Fitna-e-Ghamdiyat ka Ilmi Muhasbah. Lahore: Maktabah-e-Qur'aniat.
  42. ^ Adil Khan (14 June 2015), JAVED AHMED GHAMIDI a talk with Voice of America 2015, retrieved 6 May 2016
  43. ^ Paracha, Nadeem F. (26 March 2017). "SMOKERS' CORNER: The Invisible Scholar". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  44. ^ a b Adil Khan (14 June 2015), JAVED AHMED GHAMIDI a talk with Voice of America 2015, retrieved 6 May 2016
  45. ^ a b c d Mohsin Zaheer (30 May 2015), Why Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Left Pakistan and When To Return?, retrieved 6 May 2016
  46. ^ Dunya News (3 July 2016), Ilm o Hikmat 3 July 2016 - Special Talk on Shab e Qadar with Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, retrieved 7 August 2016
  47. ^ "Books".
  48. ^ The portions translated as yet are: the last group Al-Mulk to An-Nas, Al-Baqara, Al-i-Imran, and a major portion of An-Nisa

External links[edit]