At a time when Islamic revival movements in many countries make headlines, it is vital to note that Islamic revivalism is not at all a new phenomenon, nor is it simple and monolithic as it is often portrayed. In this ground-breaking study, Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr examines the origins, historical development and political strategies of one of the oldest and most influential Islamic revival movements, the Jama'at-i Islami of Pakistan. Founded in 1941, the Jama'at-i Islami, or Islamic Party, soon became the most prominent political party in Pakistan. As the first political movement to develop systematically an Islamic ideology and agenda for societal transformation, the party became active during the partition of India and it continues to be a potent force in Pakistan and throughout the Islamic world. The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution offers a perceptive analysis of the Jama'at-i Islami, focusing on the inherent tension between its central idealized vision of the nation as a holy community based in Islamic law, and its political agenda of socio-economic change for Pakistani society.
Nasr identifies the significant issues in the politics of India's Muslim community that inspired the Jama'at-i Islami on the eve of Partition and goes beyond the exploration of a single party to examine the diverse socio-political roots of contemporary Islamic revivalism more generally.
Part 1 History and development: the quest for a holy community; from holy community to political party. Part 2 Structure and social base: organization; social base. Part 3 Politics: prelude to Pakistan, 1941-1947; entering the political process, 1947-1958; the secular state, 1958-1971; the Bhutto years, 1971-1977; accommodation and opposition, 1977-1988; the rebirth of democracy, 1988-1993; Islamic revivalism in the political process.