Conservative anti-colonialism: Maududi, Marx and social equality

Humeira Iqtidar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abul A -la Maududi explicitly built on Islamic ideas of equality to critique nationalism and modern racism. How then could he reject the idea of social equality between men and women? This is particularly puzzling given his noticeable employment of a Marxist critique of the marketisation of society and liberal conceptions of freedom in his controversial 1939 book Pardah. Parsing out the structure of his argument in Pardah in some detail and emphasising the hitherto understudied engagement with Marxist ideas in his thought, this article shows that Maududi rejected a specific vision of social equality, where equality amounts to exchangeability. His use of Marxist ideas to non-Marxist ends was in large part a result of his assessment of Marx as a capable historian but a flawed philosopher, and more fundamentally a very different conception of society to the Marxist one. Maududi relied on his by then well-developed concept of divine sovereignty to carry much of the conceptual burden regarding his critique of, as well as alternatives to, social equality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of The Royal Asiatic Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Abul 'la Maududi
  • Anti-colonial thought
  • Marxism in South Asia
  • Social equality


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