|Professor Khurshid Ahmad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Khurshīd Ahmad (Urdu: خورشید احمد; b. 23 March 1932; popularize as Professor Khurshid), PhD, is a Pakistani prolific economist and Islamic activist who earned fame in his pioneering development of Islamic economic jurisprudence as an academic principle.
A senior and known ultraconservative figure, he has been long standing member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), and successfully contested in 2002 general elections for a technocrat seat on a platform of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)— a alliance of far right parties. Previously, he had served as the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission in a military government of President General Zia-ul-Haq where he played an influential role in Islamization of country's national economy in 1970s. Ahmad widely cited as the father of modern Islamic economics and Islamic capitalism, and is considered one of the influential thinker in the field of Islamic economics field.
Khurshid Ahmad was born into a religiously firmed family on 23 March 1932 in Delhi (now part of Republic of India and state capital as well), former British Indian Empire. His family had a deep ultraconservative background with Islamic teachings and practices were strictly followed. After being home schooled and gaining traditional Islamic education, Ahmad entered in Anglo-Arabic higher secondary school in Delhi where he excelled with good marks and standings. In 1947, his family moved to newly established state, Pakistan, and settled in Lahore, Punjab Province. In 1949, Ahmad enrolled in Government College University (GCU) where he studied commerce and economics where he gained first position in his courses. It was his years at the GCU where he developed serious interest and interaction between Capitalism and Islam, the twin passions of much of his life work. The same year, he became active Islamic activist and subsequently joined the Jamaat-e-Islami.
In 1949, Ahmad published his first English article on "Muslim Economist", where he commentated and proposed ideas on First Five-Year Plans for the national economy of Pakistan. In 1952, Ahmad earned BA with First Class Honours in Economics and Commerce, and graduated with top standing in his batch of graduating class of 1952 of the GCU. He entered in GCU's law college the same year and earned LLB with emphasis in Islamic law and jurisprudence. During this time, he became an active member of JeI and continued his passion for teaching Islamic studies in Lahore. As an aftermath of 1953 riots in Lahore and massive arrests of JeI activists, Ahmad moved to Karachi, Sindh and enrolled in Karachi University for his higher education. At Karachi University, Ahmad earned MSc with Hons in Economics where his master's thesis contained the work on fundamental concepts of Adam Smith's pioneering work on Capitalism.
In 1964, Ahmad earned MA with First Class Honours from Karachi University in Islamic Studies. In 1965, Ahmad went to United Kingdom where he enrolled at the University of Leicester for his doctoral studies and was conferred with doctorate in Economics. His doctoral works contains the fundamental work on Islamic economic jurisprudence principle which he successfully defended after submitting briefed and discussed thesis to the university. In 1970s, the Leiceter University awarded Ahmad with honorary doctorate in Education.
Islam and political activism
In 1949, after publishing first article on economics, Ahmad began studying the teachings of Abul Ala Maududi. Ha came to know Maududi as a frequent visitor in his father's house; it was only in 1949 that he encountered Maududi as the religious scholar for the first time. In particular, he was impressed with Mawdudi's discussion of both Islamic and Western thought and the conflict between Western civilization and Islam.
Khurshid Ahmad is very articulate leader of JeI and has been a driving force behind the right-wing conservative politics in Pakistan. In 1977, he campaign in 1977 general elections for a technocratic seat, and secured the appointment of deputy chairman of Planning Commission where he would played a drafting role in the nation's Islamization in 1978. In 1979, Khurshid Ahmad founded the world renown institute Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and has been its founding chairman since 1979.
Khurshid Ahmad became a member of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) in 1949 and was elected as the Nazim-e-A‘la (President) of the same organization in 1953. He formally joined Jama’at-e-Islami Pakistan in 1956 and is at present Naib Ameer (Vice President) of the organization. Besides several other responsibilities, he is presently also the editor of the seminal Tarjuman al-Quran, a monthly publication launched by Sayyid Mawdudi in May 1933.
Prof Ahmad has been editing a number of ideologically oriented magazines and periodicals. He has authored and edited about 70 books in English and Urdu combined and contributed to a large number of magazines. He has so far participated in over 100 international conferences and seminars in personal as well as representative capacities.
His in-depth comparative study of the oriental as well as occidental philosophies in religion, academics, economics, constitutional matters and commitment for Islam has led him to be entrusted with key positions in the national as well as international organizations on these socio-economic and other multi-dimensional disciplines. Throughout his life, he has held the following positions:
- Member of Senate of Pakistan (2003 to 2012).
- Vice President Jama'at e islami Pakistan.
- Federal Minister of Planning and Development and has been Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Govt of Pakistan (1978–79).
- Professor at the Karachi University (1955–68).
- Chairman, International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic University, Islamabad (1983–87).
- President, International Association of Islamic Economics, Leicester, UK (1984–92).
- Vice President, Standing Conference on Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe, Berlin and London (1974–78).
- Member, Advisory Council, Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, UK (1976–78).
- Member, National Hijra Committee, Govt of Pakistan (1978–83).
- Member, Committee of Jurists to Evaluate Islamic Laws in Sudan (1986–87).
- Member, International Review Committee, Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah(1988–89).
- Member of Senate of Pakistan for two terms (1985–1997) and Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning.
- Member, Boards of Trustees of Islamic Centre, Zaria (Nigeria); International Islamic University, Islamabad; Foundation Council, Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization, Amman (Jordan).
- The Harvard University, USA presented him an honorary doctorate (Ph.D.) most recently.
In view of his pioneering work and contributions towards the development of Islamic Economics as an academic discipline, he was awarded the First Islamic Development Bank Award for Economics in 1988.
His contributions to the Islamic cause were also recognized in the form of King Faisal International Prize,1990, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the Muslim World.
In recognition of his services in Islamic Economics & Finance, he was given 5th Annual Prize of American Finance House, LaRiba, US in July 1998.
He has given lectures and speeches at several renowned universities around the world, like Warwick (UK), Harvard (US), Washington St. Louis (UK), UofT (Canada), and IIUM (Malaysia).