This paper attempts to explore and analyze the genesis and dynamics of extremism in the Muslim world in general and in Pakistan in particular, phenomena which can have serious political implications for the contemporary world. While analyzing the evolution and growth of extremism, the underlying hypothesis of this paper is that Muslim society as a whole, more specifically, its intellectuals, displayed strong resistance to extremism preached or practiced by any group or individual. Intellectuals from the Muslim world were always in the forefront in all such political phases or instances. A general study and comparison of the literary works of Ghulam Ahmad Perwez (1906-1985) and Abdessalam Yassine (1928-2012) will clearly reflect that throughout the last half of the past century, Muslim thinkers have never endorsed acts which might endanger human life and have always stood up against violence and extremism.
Abdessalam Yassine (1928-2012), a world-renowned writer, philosopher and reformer from Morocco, influenced the modern Muslim world with his writings, speeches and actions. His lifelong mission was to eradicate socio-political and economic inequalities in the country which provided incentive for extremism in the society. Defending his religion, by using epistemology of religion from an Islamic perspective, he proposed going back to the basics of his religion, Islam, to deal with the challenges facing human beings in general and Muslims in particular. He challenged the Western/modern philosophy which has blurred the place of religion in the society and countered their arguments. He defends the case of Islam to make it relevant to modern times. Similarly, Ghulam Ahmad Perwez of Pakistan proposed almost identical ideas to challenge the common sense of the word ‘religion’ to demonstrate how Islam can be a panacea for all social evils. A comparative study of these two thinkers and reformers will demonstrate that despite the geographical distances, the understanding of the religion of Islam of the two is almost the same and both intellectuals responded to the global challenges faced by the Muslim states and society.