Professor Emeritus - Dr. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi
Abdul Azim Islahi*
Academic Committee of Aligarh Muslim University decided unanimously to make Dr. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi Professor Emeritus. The move came from the department of Business Administration in the Faculty of Business Management.
Dr. Siddiqi joined Aligarh Muslim University in class BA in 1956. He topped the list of successful candidates both at the BA (1958) and MA (1960) examinations. At completion of his M.A., Dr. Siddiqi was appointed to lecturership in 1961 in the Department of Economics, Aligarh Muslim University. He continued on this position till 1975 when he was selected to the position of Reader (Associate Professor). While lecturer, he also served as the Warden of Aftab Hostel of Aligarh Muslim University between 1961-63.
In 1976 Saudi Arabia organize the first International Conference on Islamic Economics. Dr. Siddiqi was member of its various committees. The conference proved to be a turning point in rapid development and propagation of Islamic economics in various circles, academic expansions as well as practical experimentation. Dr. Siddiqi, after his return from this conference tried that Islamic economics be introduced as subject of study at the Aligarh Muslim University and submitted proposal of a paper on history of Islamic economic thought but despite having the blessings of the Vice Chancellor Prof. A.M.Kusro the idea did not materialize.
In 1977 Dr. Siddiqi was appointed a professor of Islamic Studies Department and Director to its institute due to his extraordinary works in the field. In 1978 he was offered professorship by the King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, while the probation period to his appointment in Islamic Studies was yet to be over. As soon as it was completed, he accepted the offer and the same year joined King Abdulaziz University, first Department of Socio-Technical Studies, College of Engineering and then the newly established International Centre for Research in Islamic Economics where he worked till June 2000.
Dr. Siddiqi translated two important works, one from the classical literature “Kitab-al-kharaj of Abu Yusuf and the other Syed Qutbs Al Adalat al Ijtimaiyyah fill Islam. Especially by translating Kitabal-kharaj he set an example for researchers and editors as he added to it an introduction containing analysis and evaluation of the work and hundreds of notes which enhanced usefulness of the work. His three early works in Urdu, Islam Ka Nazriyah Milkiyat (Islams theory of property) in two volumes, Shirkat aur Mudarbat ke Shari Usul (shariah principles of partnership and profit sharing) and Ghair Sudi bankkari (Interest-free banking), all published in 1969, attracted the attention of scholars and brought him fame and regard in literary circles. Islam ka Nazriyah Milkiyat is a detailed and comprehensive treatment of crucial economic institution property right, with Islamic perspective. Shirkat aur Mudarbat ke Sharai Usul provided basis for understanding and writing on Islamic banking; and Ghair Sudi Bankkari is the first detailed exposition of Islamic banking. Now their English, Arabic and Persian versions are also available. His first work in English is Recent theories of Profit “ A Critical Examination , his Ph.D. thesis, published in 1971. The next year he published two more books Some Aspects of the Islamic Economy and Economic Enterprise in Islam comprising mostly his already published papers. In 1974 he authored an important treatise entitled œInsurance Islami Maishat Men (English version: Insurance in an Islamic Economy 1985) which invited reconsideration over the subject and Islamization of this important sector of the economy. While working at the Center for Research on Islamic Economics, KAU.Jeddah, from 1978 to 2000 he preferred writing in English for the international audience and occasionally some papers into Arabic which can form a book if collected and edited. Here is an incomplete list of his works published in this period: â€œContemporary Literature on Islamic Economics (1978), Muslim Economic Thinking , Issues in Islamic Banking (1983), Role of the State in the Economy (1996), Teaching Economics in Islamic Perspective (1996). Dr. Siddiqi is very fast and vast reader and steady writer. So his interest is not confined to economics only. He has extensively written on Islam and Islamic movements, Quran, Ijtihad and Muslim personal law, progressive literary movement, Islamic education, literature and poetry, etc. During 1950s he also wrote a few short stories and fictions. Some important non economic works are ˜Nashat-e-thaniyah ki Rah (Towards Islamic Renaisance 1974), Quran aur Science (Exerts from Syed Qutbs Tafsir with a detailed introduction, 1978), ˜Tahreek-e- Islami Asr-e-Hazir Men (contemporary Islamic movement, 1999), ˜Tawhid; the concept and the process 12 1979, ˜Muslim Personal Law (ed.)1972, etc. Coming back to India, recently he published collection of letters written by various scholars and commoners to him and his responses to them, entitled â€œIslam, Maashiyat Aur Adab “ Khutut ke Aaine Meinâ€ which is a valuable treasure on miscellaneous topics. In addition to his own works he has supervised a number of Ph.D. dissertations in India and abroad and currently he is at the editorial and advisory board of about a dozen of periodicals. He is also enriching various national and international conferences and seminars with his valuable contribution and expert deliberations. Alhamdulillah, his academic and literary endeavors are still going on. May Allah Almighty reward the best and grant him his favour for more such works for the benefit of Islam and Muslims. Aamin.
Dr. Siddiqi is among the first generation of leading professional economists who joined hand to develop and propagate Islamic economics. He raised a second generation of scholars who would carry it after him and who did carry it during his absence of 21 years from the country. While working all along these years in the Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, Jeddah, he coordinated researchers and writers on Islamic economics all over the globe. In recognition of his contribution to Islamic economics, he was awarded in 1982 the prestigious international King Faisal Prize. Before leaving the Centre Dr. Siddiqi set a pattern which, if followed properly, would ensure its smooth functioning and satisfactorily fulfilling its aims and objective. Last year he has been elected unanimously the president of International Association for Islamic Economics who is third in series since its inception in 1985.
Dr. Siddiqi is always open to have dialogue and exchange ideas even with those who do not accede to his views. As it is clear from collection of his letters, he has correspondence with people of diverse thinking. According to him there is no one whose all opinions are fully correct and acceptable and that even with the people of opposed ideologies there may be some good opinions. So one should not hesitate to read the works of people with different ideologies, and this is what he practices.
Dr. M. N. Siddiqui has Tawhidi way of thinking. To him, Tawhid is the key concept in Islam. It sums up the Islamic way of life and presents, in a nutshell, the essence of the Islamic civilization . Twahid requires emancipation from the mental slavery and cultural imitation of other human beings even own forefathers, so as to bring into fullest play ones own creative genius. According to Dr. Siddiqi Muslims must be brought into direct intellectual contact with the revealed word of Allah and the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as the leader of the Islamic movement, so that they are able to take a fresh and original commitment to Allah that is accompanied by a sense of Mission Dr. Siddiqis ideas influenced a large number of modern educated young Muslims who are not satisfied either with static traditional Ulama or the so-called dynamic western trained scholars. He has shown the way to correct and combine the two for the benefit for all and that is the message of his life.
* Prof. Abdul Azim Islahi is a Professor of Economics at King Abdulaziz University Jeddah Saudi Arabia and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
UFANA Conference 2010, Toronto, Canada - March 30 & 31, 2010