Khurshid Ahmad was born in Delhi, India, in 1932. Khurshid had a traditional Islamic education. As a young boy he attended the Anglo-Arabic higher secondary School in Delhi. He was an excellent student and already showed an inclination to political activism.
In 1948, after the partition of the Indian subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan, Khurshid Ahmad and his family emigrated West Pakistan, travelling first to Lahore for a few months and then on to Karachi where the family settled.
Khurshid enrolled at government College of Commerce and Economics. It was here that he developed a serious interest in economics and the Jamaat, the twin passions of much of his lifes work.
In 1949, he wrote his first article on PakistanҒs budget which was published in the Muslim Economist. This was also the time when he discovered Mawlana Mawdudi. He had known Mawdudi the man as a frequent visitor in his fathers house; it was only in 1949 that he encountered Mawdudi the religious scholar for the first time. In particular, he was impressed with MawdudiҒs discussion of both Islamic and Western thought and the conflict between Western civilization and Islam.
Khurshid Ahmed had been exposed to Western thought through his fathers interest in political science and his schooling. In fact, he had written his first article in English. Although Khurshid, like most South Asians, had memorized IqbalҒs poetry as a child, it was only now, as a College student, that he discovered Iqbal, the prolific Islamic modernist thinker and author who used both poetry and prose to explore such themes as the relationship of Islam to Western science and philosophy, the relevance of Islam as a comprehensive way of life,the need for reinterpretation and reform to renew Islam, and the need to revitalize the Muslim community. These themes were synthesized in Iqbals “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”
The l950s and the early 1960s were a long formative period of development both academically and Islamically. Khurshid Ahmad earned his B.A. in Commerce (First Class) in 1953, M.A. in Economics in 1955, L.L.B. (First Class) in l958, and M.A. in Islamic Studies (First Class) in 1964. During that period, after serving as national President of the Islamic Student Association from 1953-55, he formally joined the Jamaat-i-Islami as a full member in 1956.
Khurshid AhmedҒs years at Government College in Karachi proved to be a significant turning point, for it was here that he combined the intellectual and the religious aspects, embarking on the path of a scholar-activist.
He also became active in the Islami Jamaat-e-Talaba (IJT, Islamic Student Association). In December 1949, he officially became a member of the IJT. The IJT were serious-minded students who held training programs in religious beliefs, prayer, discipline, and social etiquette. As he excelled as a student so too he emerged as a gifted leader.
In 1950, he was elected head of the IJT in Karachi. From 1953 to 1955, he served as President of the all-Pakistan IJT. He introduced two major changes. A bi-weekly student newspaper, The Students Voice, addressed current issues such as whether Islam could provide the basis for PakistanҒs constitution and student concerns. Shortly after it published an open letter to the Prime Minister on student problems, student riots broke out in Pakistan.
Between 1952 and 1956, he wrote a series of articles on Islam, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and Western civilization.
In addition to serving as editor of The Students Voice (1952-55), he was the editor of three Other Jamaat publications:
1) The New Era (1955-56)
2) The Voice of Islam (1957-64)
3) Chiragh-e-Rah (1957-68), as well as associate editor of the Iqbal Review (1960-64).
From 1955 to 1977, Khurshid taught economics in the Faculties of Economics and Commerce at the Urdu College and in the Department of Economics at Karachi University. Increasingly, in the late 1960s and the 1970s, as a member of the Jamaat, he combined teaching and writing as an economist with da`wah [propagation], the spread of Islam nationally and internationally.
Prof. Khurshid Ahmed is a trained Economist and he has been a member of the Cabinet and Senate of Pakistan, a Father of Modern Islamic Economics, and an internationally recognized Islamic Activist.
He has also been associated with The Islamic Foundation, Leicester.