Maulana Nizami is the Ameer (Chief) of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He is the elected Parliament Member for two terms (1991-95 & 2001-2006). He is the former Agriculture Minister (2001-2003) and Industry Minister (2003-2006) of Bangladesh. He is also the permanent Member of the Muslim World League (Rabita) which is the Central Co-Ordination Committee among International Islamic Organizations and Centres. He was the Central President (1969-1971) of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba Pakistan, which was then the largest student organization of Pakistan. He did his Masters in Islamic law with distinction. He is a Graduate of Dhaka University (DU). Maulana Nizami is a Prominent Islamic Scholar & Author of 54 valuable books in different disciplines. He was named as one of the most top 50 Influential Muslims of the World in 2009 by USA based prestigious “the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre”. Currently he has been imprisoned by the ruling Party (Bangladesh Awami League).
Education and Childhood:
Motiur Rahman Nizami was born on the 31st of March, 1943 at the village of Monmothpur of Sathia upazila at Pabna. His father late Lutfur Rahman Khan was a pious and God-fearing man. This contributed to a predominantly ethical and religious upbringing throughout his childhood. He began his education from the primary school at Monmothpur. He then went on to enroll at Boalmari madrassah at Sathia. Throughout his student life, he showed his calibre as a meritorious student through consistent brilliance in various examinations. In 1955, he secured first class in his Dakhil examinations. In 1959, Nizami stood the 16th in his Board while securing first class from Shivpur Toha Senior Madrassah at Pabna in his Alim (equivalent to Matriculation) Examinations. In 1961, he passed his Fazil (Honours) examinations from the same madrassah, again securing first division.
At the time he was studying at Shivpur Toha Senior Madrassah, Maulana Nizami started an organization with some meritorious, dedicated and promising like-minded students in order to play an important role in setting up a platform to allow general students to develop and showcase their skills and talents. Maulana Nizami understood the importance of organization and the role it could play in improving people’s lives and the society in general early on in his student life. This far-sighted outlook was instrumental in attracting him towards the Islamic movement.
To further pursue higher studies in the madrassah education system, he enrolled in the erstwhile beacon in Islamic education, the Dhaka Alia Madrassah. In a short time, he became well known among general students at the institution for his merit and prowess in studies. During his days as a student at this madrassah, he came into contact with the Islami Chatra Sangha, a very popular student organization which worked for spearheading an Islamic movement amongst students. The strikingly well organized activities of Islami Chatra Sangha very much attracted Nizami to the ideology of the organization.
With his acumen, he was successful at both his studies and being highly active in student movements. He obtained ‘Kamil’ (Masters) in Fiqh (Islamic Law) degree with first Class from Madrasah-e-Alia, Dhaka in 1963 where he secured the second place in the Education Board. Afterwards, he enrolled into Dhaka University and completed his B.A with distinction in 1967.
Contribution to the student movement:
Maulana Nizami actively engaged in politics as a Student activist of Jukto Front (United Front) in 1954. In 1961, he answered the call to the Islamic movement through joining the Islami Chatra Sangha. At the time, madrassah students were actively campaigning for various demands, including the establishment of an Islamic university and the chance to allow madrassah students to enroll in general universities. This movement intensified in the period of 1962-63, and Maulana Nizami, during his days as a student of Kamil final year, played the leading role in the intense movement, the demands of which were accepted by the erstwhile government after a huge turnout of students at the Sohrawardy Uddyan in support of the movement and its demands in 1963.
In the 1963-64 session, the base of Islami Chatra Sangha became stronger as it gained widespread popularity amongst the student community. At about the same time, the erstwhile Ayub government increased surveillance on the Chatra Sangha. On 6th January 1964, Jamaat-e-Islami was banned in Pakistan with a view to curtail the spread of the Islamic movement. However, supporters of Jamaat continued their political activities through forums such as the COP, PDM and the DAC.
Maulana Nizami dispensed his duties as the Central office secretary of Islami Chatra Sangha through the period of 1962-66. He was then given the duty of leading the East Pakistan wing of Islami Chatra Sangha in 1966, at a time of great political upheaval and social unrest. He continued at this capacity for three consecutive years. Later he was elected the central President (Nazim-e-Alla) of Nikhil Pakistan Islami Chatra Sangha and continued to serve the organization for two consecutive terms.
The student education movement under the leadership of Maulana Nizami is a shining example of the erstwhile student politics. In 1967-68, the education week was held by general students. On this occasion, two booklets “Education problems- Education crisis” and “The Reformation of the education system” were published. Through his leadership of the movement, both Nizami and the organization he represented, the Islami Chatra Sangha, gained widespread popularity during this period.
During the peak of the anti- Ayub movement, an activist of Chatra Union, Asad was killed due to violence. Despite strong ideological differences, Maulana Nizami arrived at the absentia funeral of Asad and was invited by the student leaders who were present to lead the funeral prayers, whereby he obliged. From this, it can be understood that despite differences in opinion, Mawlana Nizami was respected by all as an influential student leader of his time.
Maulana Nizami started his career as a research fellow at Islamic Research Academy in Dhaka in 1971. Before starting a career of full time Da’yee (Islamic Preacher), he was also involved in journalism and translation works for a few years.
Career in wider Islamic Movement:
At the end of his student life, Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami joined Jamaat-e-Islami on the 30th of September 1971. Gradually he rose up the ranks and performed his duties as Jamaat-e-Islami Dhaka City Ameer and member of the Central Executive Council for the period of 1979-1982. In 1983 he was selected as an Assistant Secretary General of the party and continued to do so till 1988. For twelve years, from 1988 to 2000, he dispersed his duties as the Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami. On the 19th of November 2000, he was elected as the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, a position he continues to be entrusted with till today.
He is a staunch advocate for democracy. In the past he actively participated in all political and democratic movements which included anti-Ayub Movement in 1969, mass movement against autocratic government in 1990 and movement for holding election under Caretaker Government from 1994 to 1996. He is still playing significant roles for strengthening the democratic process in the country.
Member of Parliament:
Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami first participated in national elections in 1986 from Pabna-1 (Sathia-Bera) constituency. He again stood from the same constituency in the national elections of 1991 where he was elected as the Member of Parliament from Pabna-1 for the 5th national elections. In 2001, he was again elected from the same constituency as a Member of Parliament. His tenure at Parliament was marked by constructive and balanced debates whereby he stood out for his clear, informative, timely and objective stand on issues of both national and international importance. Throughout his tenures at Parliament, he played a leading role as head of the Jamaat parliamentarian body.
Role as Minister:
On the 10th of October 2001, Maulana Nizami was assigned the duty to lead the Ministry of Agriculture. On the 22nd of May 2003, he was given the responsibility of leading the Ministry of Industries. He dispersed his duties at both ministries to much renowned acclaim.
Minister of Agricultural Affairs (2001-2003):
The economy of Bangladesh heavily relies upon agriculture. Almost 85% people of this country is financially dependent on agricultural activities. Maulana Nizami took the responsibility as a Minister for Agriculture of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on 10th October 2001. After he took the responsibility as a Minister of Agriculture, he concentrated more on the modernisation of agricultural sector and the socio-economic improvement of the poor farmers. He was particularly keen and worked hard to ensure fair price of crops for the farmers, continuous supply of seeds, fertilisers and others agricultural accessories. He regularly organised workshops with the agricultural experts and farmers to pinpoint the problems of the sector and took practical measures to resolve these. To motivate farmers, agriculturists and grass root level agricultural supervisors, he travelled across the country, listened to their problems and took immediate actions.
To make the farmers financially solvent and to reduce deficiency of vegetable supply, he introduced a new project named as “Farmer’s house is a house of Garden” (Chashir bari Bagan bari). As a result, the economic life of the farmers have been changed significantly because of the successful implementation of this project.
Maulana Nizami also introduced fruit tree plantation project. In order to make the project more effective, the Ministry of Agriculture organised fruit fairs on a regular basis for which the people became encourage to plant, preserve and nurture fruit trees. The Ministry also distributed seeds among the people. It was because of the project that people came to know about rare types of fruits, their medicine values and financial and environmental importance of preserving those. Maulana Nizami personally supervised these projects and travelled across the country to ensure their successful accomplishments.
Rice is the staple food of the country. A huge amount of rice was destroyed in Bangladesh because of rat attack. The supply of rice also significantly reduced by the attack of insects on the paddy fields. To minimise those damages, Maulana Nizami took initiative to create awareness and to train the farmers how to protect their crops from such problems.
Maulana Nizami is also the pioneer in the development of Agro based industries in Bangladesh. He particularly concentrated to develop practical and logistic support and facilities to the vegetable exporters in order to ensure proper advancement of this industry. During his tenure the Ministry of Agriculture organised on a regular basis agricultural fair across the country by which farmers used to get opportunity to exhibit their products before the national and international customers as well as people were encouraged to engage in agro based industries.
During his tenure Maulana Nizami also worked for strengthening the seed wing of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation. He conducted a national survey of the soil quality of the country and regularly monitored the advancement of the agricultural research wings.
Maulana Nizami also represented Bangladesh agricultural sector in International arena. He led Bangladeshi delegation to World Food Conference in Rome, Italy and to the World Rice Research Organisation’s Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.
Maulana Nizami was tremendously successful as a Minister of Agricultural Affairs. Many consider his honesty, integrity and sincerity as the main determinant factors of his success. According to the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) reports the Ministry of Agriculture was rated as one of the least corrupted Ministries of the country during the tenure of Maulana Nizami.
Minister of Industrial Affairs (2003-2006):
Industrial sector is the backbone of a nation. However, in Bangladesh this sector always encountered difficult challenges to grow until Maulana Nizami became the Minister Industries in Bangladesh. He took charge as a Minister of Industries on 25th May 2003. After taking the responsibility, he sought to pin point the problems of this sector. For that he organised series of workshops with the stakeholders. Based on those workshops, he adopted long term and short term national industrial policies and took practical and effective measures to address the problems. One of the important features of his industrial policy was to adopt separate policies for micro and medium industries. The ministry declared 32 industrial sectors as the thrust sectors and took special care for their improvement. In order to guide the industries to the right direction and to provide them much needed logistic support, he formed a steering committee. The committee used to sit on a regular basis to review the improvement and took necessary actions for further advancement.
In order to fulfil the growing demand of mixed fertilizer, for example, the government during his time established two industries of phosphatic fertilizer and die ammonium phosphate fertilizer. He also took initiatives to reopen numbers of closed industries. Among those are the Karnafuli Paper mills, Khulna Hardboard mill, North Bengal Paper mills, Dhaka Lather Company are prominent. He also took initiatives to utilise abandon properties of closed government owned industries. During his time industrial parks were established in Chittagong Chemical Complex and in Khulna Newsprint Mills area.
Maulana Nizami also modernised the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) which is the quality control authority of the goods of the domestic markets. He modernised and made up to date the BSTI Act which guaranteed the consumers’ rights. He also ensured proper supervision of the markets in order to prevent adulteration of the consumers products. The anti-adulteration drive of the Ministry in the domestic markets was a huge success that was applauded from every corner.
In order to enrich the production of vitamin and mineral rich much needed foods, the government formed ‘Food Fortification Alliance’ in coordination of different Ministries in 2003. Maulana Nizami was the convenor of the alliance. The primary goal of the alliance was to enrich foods in order to fulfil nutrition demand of the people. The alliance successfully accomplished number of projects. Some of those were jointly organised with international organisations like ‘USAID’, ‘MOST’ and ‘GAIN’.
Maulana Nizami was particularly keen to ensure proper women’s participation in the advancement of industrial sector. He took initiative to establish “Self-Employment for Rural Destitute Women In Bangladesh Through Cottage Industries Trust”. Through this trust he sought socio-economical improvement of the poor and neglected women of the rural areas of Bangladesh.
The demand of sugar in Bangladesh is 12,00,000 metric tons per year. However, the government owned ‘Bangladesh Sugar Corporation’ were always running in huge deficit. In 2001-2002 fiscal year, the loss of this sector was 1 billion and 180 million taka. After taking the responsibility as a Minister of Industries, Maulana Nizami was able to reduce that huge deficit to 180 million taka only. In the year 2004-2005, for the first time in the history of Bangladesh “Bangladesh Sugar Corporation” made profit and the net profit was 700 million taka.
Bangladesh also has huge deficiency in salt production. Maulana Nizami worked for the improvement of salt production so that in one hand more people could find employment and on the other hand the export cost could be reduced. The production of salt in 2001-2002 was 775,000 metric tons where as in year 2004-2005 it was increased to 935,000 metric ton. That became possible merely because the Ministry helped the farmers to improve and modernise the infrastructures of their industries.
In order to protect intellectual property rights the Ministry under the leadership of Maulana Nizami established “Patent, Design and Trademark Bureau” in 13th May 2003. The century’s old “The Patent and Design Act 1911” and “Trademark Act 1940” were also amended during his time as required in the context of modern time. In addition, he took the initiative to establish “Intellectual Property Institute” with the help of “World Intellectual Property Organization”.
His efforts for the improvement of the industrial sector paid off so much so that within three years of his tenure in 2004-2005 fiscal year the contribution to the GDP from this sector improved to 16.58% which was 15.67% in 2001-2002 fiscal year. At the same year the growth of the sector was 6.44% which was improved to 7.48% in 2004-2005 fiscal year.
According to the observation of analysts, as indicated above, it was Maulan Nizami’s honesty, integrity and sincerity which contributed to his brilliant success as per Allah’s help & will. The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) rated the Ministries run by Maulana Nizami as one of the least corrupted Ministries during his tenure. In the year 2006 he successfully completed his tenure as a Minister. Despite the fact that the following interim government was too critical to the previous government, so much so that almost all the Ministries were identified as grossly corrupted, but they could not find anything wrong against the Ministries run by Maulana Nizami which fact testifies the transparency and honesty of Maulana Nizami.
Social Welfare Activities:
Maulana Nizami has gained a good reputation of a selfless social worker. He contributed to the establishment and development of countless educational institutes, religious and cultural centers and Mosques across the country. In his constituency of Shanthia-Bera alone, he established more than 100 mosques. He played an important role in the establishment of the rights of the students of Madrasah, and religious institutions. Because of his efforts, in 2002, the then coalition government recognized such neglected degrees of Madrasah Education Board like Fadil as equivalent to its conventional counterpart “Bachelor” and Kamil as equivalent to its conventional “Masters” degrees. He is also actively involved in numerous socio-educational and research organizations. As a Member of Parliament he untiringly worked for the socio-economical advancement of general masses especially for the people of his constituency. During his tenures the infrastructural development of the most undeveloped and neglected region Santhia-Bera was built up in the real sense of the term. Countless roads, highways, schools, colleges, Madrasahs, mosques etc. were set up, developed and repaired.
Leader of Global Muslim Ummah:
Regardless of his preoccupation he travelled more than 20 countries across the world, met dignitaries and Ulama and played his part for the causes of Muslim Ummah. Since 2002, he is an influential member of “the central co-ordination committee among International Islamic Organizations and Centers” of the Muslim World League. Because of his struggle for the causes of Muslim Ummah, in 2009, a USA based prestigious “the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre” declared Maulana Nizami as one of the top 50 most Influential Muslims of the world.
Suffering in the way of Allah:
Maulana Nizami became a target of his enemies for his uncompromised commitment to Islamic politics based on democratic values, peace and justice. He was persecuted because of his stand against terrorism. In 27 May, 1991, in a conference against terrorism in student campuses, he was brutally attacked and badly injured by the Students of Bangladesh Chattra League (Student wing of the current ruling party Bangladesh Awami League). He was an elected Member of Parliament (MP) at that time and this sudden brutal attack on him took place in the premises of such prestigious highest educational institution of the country like the Dhaka University and yet in the office of the University’s Vice Chancellor (chief executive and academic officer). The shameful picture of his wounded and blood bathed face was the leading news of all the news papers published on the following day. He is still suffering from back pain sustained from that attack.
In year 2006, after finishing off his tenure as a Minister, the then military backed caretaker government tried to persecute all influential political personalities including Maulana Nizami. Despite the fact that they did not find any irregularity in his flawless personal, organizational and ministerial activities, and notwithstanding his archenemies’ testimonies that he is an upright and honest person, nonetheless, as part of their plan, the military backed government arrested him twice in connection with some fictitious cases. The then government claimed that there were some secret deals behind some decisions of the former cabinet. Just because Maulana Nizami was an ordinary member of the cabinet, they connected him with those cases. He was in prison for two months. However, later the High Court granted him permanent bail and the successive government is no longer interested in running those cases.
Following an apparently landslide victory in 2008 Parliament Election with the help of some conspirators and anti-Bangladesh interests groups, the Awami League government planned to eliminate Jamaat from the political field. As part of their plan they are conspiring to ban religion based politics and already arrested almost all top Jamaat leaders including Maulana Nizami. On 29th 2010 June the government arrested him along with Maulana Delwar Hossain Saydee, the Nayeeb-e-Ameer of Jamaat and Ali Ahsan Mujahid, the Jamaat’s Secretary General in connection with a fictitious case of hearting religious sentiment of the masses. Later he was shown arrested in connection with 9 more political motivated cases although the initial charge on which he was arrested was proven as illegal. Finally, in order to ensure his long time imprisonment without any trial, the government, through the war crimes tribunal, ordered to keep him arrested until further notice.
On the 30th of January 2014, Maulana Nizami along with former minister Lutfozzaman Babar was awarded death sentence along with 12 others for the 10 truck weapons incident in Chittagong back in 2004 (Nizami’s name was not present in the original case files, but added later during the tenure of present government) in what was widely thought to be a politically motivated sentence. The case is under appeal.
2) মাওলানা মতিউর রহমান নিজামী এর সংক্ষিপ্ত জীবনী : The Daily Sangram