The Land

Sometime between 1953 and 1955, Abul Ala Maududi, a leading Pakistani Islamist philosopher and scholar, wrote his book “On the Ownership of Land in Islam” from within the walls of his prison cell. The book, which contains a series of correspondences between Ala Maududi and an anonymous writer, criticizes the latter’s claims that the Quran forbids the private ownership of land and encourages the equal distribution of its production. As Abul Ala Maududi set himself to criticizing what he considered a faulty interpretation of the word of God, Syria was on its way to being merged into the Arab United Republic, under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose socialist program included far-reaching land reforms. Those reforms aimed at minimizing the percentage of authorized areas for private ownership and nationalizing the rest.