Ameer of Jama’at-e-Islami, Syed Munawar Hasan, has an active and meaningful past to cherish; for he has travelled a long way and his efforts and initiatives have nurtured him into a mature political figure. His intellect has remained in safe hands since his early days, as he was born and bred in a noble family of Karachi. His father, Syed Akhlaq Hasan, was an educationist and retired from ‘Sind Madrassah-tul-Islam’ in 1954. His mother had active political affiliations with Pakistan Muslim League, and Munawar Hasan vividly remembers Quaid-e-Azam’s funeral which he attended as a young boy – only 7 years old. Born on 5th August 1941 in Delhi, the six year old boy was brought to Karachi by his family. He has seen through the lens of a toddler what it takes to secure a free country, and therefore holds great regard for people like ‘Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani’ who led the heroic struggle in a befitting manner.
Married and a father of a daughter and a son, Syed Munawar Hasan has his family settled in Karachi.
He attended ‘Government Secondary School Nazimabad’ for his Matriculation, and then moved to ‘Central Government College Nazimabad’ from where he did his Intermediate and Bachelors. He obtained Masters in Sociology (1963) and Islamic Studies (1966) from Karachi University. As a student, he marked his presence as eloquent speaker, extempore orator and editor of the college magazine, while being a good player of badminton. He remained champion of badminton doubles at Karachi University, and played real good cricket and Table Tennis. Among his teachers at school, he drew inspiration from Mr. SanaUllah who taught Islamiat and Mr. SafiUllah who helped him learn Chemistry.
Regarding his religious education, he remained a student of Maulana Abdul Aziz, Maulana Moeen-ud-Din Khattak and Maulana Muntakhib Qadri.
Syed Munawar Hasan joined National Students Federation (NSF) – a student body with leftist leanings – and was elected its President in 1959. Those were the Martial Law days; all political parties and organizations were banned, and an underground platform was formed to carry out the activities. The real change appeared in his life when he got a chance to come closer to the activists of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) Pakistan and studied the writings of Maulana Syed Abul A’ala Mawdudi. As a result, he joined IJT in 1960 and shortly afterwards became its member. Soon afterwards, he was elected as President of its Karachi University Unit, Karachi City Unit and member of the Central Executive Council. Later, he reached its top slot and became all-Pakistan President in 1964 and served in that capacity for three consecutive terms. During his tenure of the President, the Jamiat organized several campaigns mobilizing public opinion regarding education problems, system of education and women education etc. During Martial Law, IJT was banned along with other organizations. So, its re-organization was an uphill task which he undertook successfully.
Starting off as a professional after graduating from Karachi University:
He joined the Islamic Research Academy, Karachi as a Researcher in 1963. In 1969, he was appointed its Secretary General. Under his supervision, the Academy published 70 scholarly books. He also rendered services as Managing Editor of the Monthly ‘The Criterion’ and ‘The Universal Message’, Karachi.
On board Jama’at-e-Islami:
Syed Munawar Hasan became member of Jama’at-e-Islami Pakistan in 1967 without any gap between the membership of IJT and the Jama’at. He served Karachi unit as Deputy Secretary, General Secretary, Naib Ameer and Ameer of the city. He was also elected to the Central Shura and the Executive Council of the Jama’at. He represented Jama’at at several platforms, including United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). Contesting National Assembly election in 1977, he secured the highest votes in Pakistan. He was Assistant Secretary General of Jama’at-e-Islami Pakistan in 1992-93, and became Secretary General in 1993. It was in 2009 that he became the Ameer of Jama’at-e-Islami, Pakistan.
A great political mind at work:
He is convinced and accepted Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) life as a complete code of conduct for everyone to abide by in order to be a true leader. Syed Munawar Hasan is very much indebted to Maulana Maududi whose thought provoking writings changed him altogether. He believes that the state must provide for a re-vamp of Education Syllabi and Education System in Pakistan in order to educate its youth in the right direction; bringing them up as good Muslim scholars in all disciplines. He takes pride in mentioning Jama’at-e-Islami’s efforts towards researching and bringing forth a practical education system at various forums at different points in time. However, Syed Munawar Hasan maintains that the state would have to mobilize its resources to implement such a system.
He feels upset for the fact that Pakistan has always been and remains a ‘Land without Constitution’. He laments those who remained in power, for not implementing the constitution in its letter and spirit. Pakistan was lucky enough to frame a constitution in 1973 unanimously but alas, the very next day the same Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declared emergency and it rendered the constitution ineffective. Syed Munawar Hasan believes that constitution must be adhered to, as a “Social Contract”. This is the solution to all the problems of Pakistan.
He is an ardent advocate of the supremacy of constitution and believes that it shall bring in provincial harmony; provincial autonomy and basic rights to every citizen.
Syed Munawar Hasan is sure about Pakistan’s future and has a beautiful picture in his mind for Pakistan 20 years down the line, and is working day in and day out to make it happen.
Syed Munawar Hasan’s persona revisited:
Spending his leisure time, which he hardly manages, watching TV or reading books; Syed Munawar Hasan is a true intellectual soul. He has read the creations of ‘Nasim Hijazi’ and ‘A.R. Khatoon from Delhi’, and finds a great deal of good work in the poetry of Habib Jalib, Allama Iqbal, and Faiz. He loves being with his friends and family, and believes that a man’s acquaintances are reflective of his own personality.
He has been to many a countries which include USA, UK, Canada, Middle East and many countries of the South East and South East Asia.
Syed Munawar Hasan is well versed in English. He is a welcome speaker in the country and abroad. Many of his speeches, mostly in Urdu, are also available the shape of audio/video cassettes and CDs. He also heads a number of planning and research committees within the Jama’at.