Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Notable Deobandi movements

Tablighi Jamaat (Urdu: تبلیغی جماعت, Arabic: جماعة التبليغ‎, "Conveying Group") is an apolitical religious movement whose principal aim is spiritual reformation of Muslims. Many members of the movement follow the Deobandi interpretation in Hanafi jurisprudence of Islam. However, the scope of their activities is not limited to the Deobandi community.Maulana Ilyas, in 1926, founded Tablighi Jamaat as a voluntary, pacifist and independent movement. The main aim of the organization is to work at the grass roots level and reaching out to all Muslims of the world to bring them closer to the directives of Allah and life practices of prophet Muhammad. The Six Principles, set by Maulana Ilyas, influence most of their teachings. Tablighi Jamaat maintains non-affiliating stature in matters of politics and jurisprudence to eschew the controversies which would otherwise accompany these affiliations.
The emergence of the Tabligh Jamaat, as a movement for the reawakening of faith, can be seen as a continuation of the broader trend of Islamic revival in North India in the wake of the collapsed Muslim political power and consolidation of the British rule in India in the mid-nineteenth century. This emergence also coincides with the rise of various Hindu proselytizing movements which launched massive efforts in the early twentieth century to reconvert those Hindus who had converted to Islam in the past. Notable among these Hindu revivalist movements were several Shuddhi (purification) and Sangathan (consolidation) movements. The magnitude of these movements generated widespread concerns regarding the vulnerability of non-practicing and new Muslims to conversion.
Tablighi Jamaat originated in 1926 in Mewat, in North India, inhabited by Rajput tribes known as Meos. It was formed at a time in India when some Muslim leaders feared that Indian Muslims were losing their Muslim identity to the majority Hindu culture. There is evidence that there were several Meo conversion to Islam, followed by re-conversion to Hinduism whenever Muslim political power declined in the region. In general, Meos were benighted Muslims before the emergence of Tablighi Jamaat and lacked due acumen to resist the overbearing cultural and religious influence of Hindus.
Maulana Ilyas, the founder of Tablighi Jamaat, wanted to set forth a movement that would exemplify the Quranic decree "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to attain felicity."[Qur'an 3:104] The inspiration for devoting his life to Islam came to Ilyas during his second pilgrimage to the Hejaz in 1926. His initial effort was to establish a network of mosque-based religious schools to educate Mewati Muslims about correct Islamic beliefs and practices. Shortly afterwards, he was disappointed with the reality that these institutions were producing religious functionaries but not preachers. Following this, he stepped aside his teaching profession at Madrasah Mazharul Ulum in Saharanpur and embarked on his life as a missionary. He relocated himself to Nizamuddin near Delhi where Tablighi movement was formally launched in 1926. When setting the guidelines for movement, he sought inspiration from the practices adopted by Islamic prophet Muhammad at the dawn of Islam. Maulana Ilyas put forward the slogan, Urdu: "!اﮮ مسلمانو! مسلمان بنو", "O Muslims! Be Muslims". This expressed the central focus of Tablighi Jamat, aiming to renew Muslim society uniting them in embracing the lifestyle of Muhammad. The movement gained phenomenal following in a relatively short period. Thousands of Muslims joined Maulana Ilyas to propagate the message of Islam throughout Mewat. There were signs of Islamic religious revival everywhere in the area.
The group began to expand activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, first in Arab countries then in Southeast Asia. Before Europe, the movement first established itself in the United States. It established a large presence in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, construction of the Dewsbury Markaz in Dewsbury, England commenced which subsequently became the European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat. It was especially prominent in France during the 1980s. The members of Tablighi Jamat are also represented in the French Council of the Muslim Faith.[10] Tabligh's influence has grown, though, in the increasing Pakistani community in France, which has doubled in the decade before 2008 to 50,000-60,000. However, United Kingdom is the current focus of the movement in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s. By 2007, Tabligh members were situated at 600 of Britain's 1350 mosques. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the movement made inroads into Central Asia. As of 2007, it was estimated 10,000 Tablighi members could be found in Kyrgyzstan alone. By 2008, organization had a presence in nearly 120 countries and had become a leading revitalist movement. However, it maintains a majority presence in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Organization:Tablighi Jamaat follows an informal organizational structure and keeps an introvert profile. It keeps distance from mass media and avoids publishing details about its activities and membership. The group also exercises complete abstinence from expressing opinions on political and controversial issues.
The organization's activities are coordinated through centers and headquarters called 'Markaz'. Since its inception, the Tablighi Jamaat has maintained its international headquarters in the Nizamuddin West district of Delhi called Nizamuddin Markaz. It also has national headquarters in over 120 countries to coordinate its activities. These headquarters organize volunteer, self-funding people in groups (called Jama'ats, Arabic: جماعتِ ‎ meaning Assembly) ,averaging ten people, for preaching.
The largest gathering of the followers of Tablighi Jamaat is known as Bishwa Ijtema, Bengali for 'world gathering', convergence of followers from all over the world. It takes place in Tongi which is on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The second largest gathering takes place in Raiwind (Punjab, Pakistan). In 2008, around 1.5 million people attended the Raiwind congregation.[17] And also many other regional gatherings in all over the world.
Their operations in the UK are coordinated through Dewsbury Markaz, Yorkshire. This centre holds one major gathering annually, generally in Dewsbury itself. The Tablighi Centre in Dewsbury has also constructed a busy madrassah or seminary, where future British Islamic scholars are trained.
Maulana Ilyas devoted to what he described as “the mission of the prophets”. The method adopted by him was simple. It was to organize units of at least ten persons and send them to various villages. These units (jamaat), would visit a village, invite the local Muslim to assemble in the mosque and present their message in the form of six demands:
Every Muslim must be able to recite Shahadah correctly in Arabic.
A Muslim must learn how to say the Salat correctly.
To learn the basic teaching of Islam and to do dhikr.
To respect the fellow Muslims.
To inculcate honesty and sincerity of intention in such endeavors.
To spend some times and travel from place to place spreading the words of Allah.
Maulana Ilyas later added another rule asking members to abstain from wasting time in idle talk and from sinful deeds.

The Six Principles:Maulana Ilyas articulated his six demands in the form of Six Principles which are quintessential to Jamaat's teachings. When an individual goes out in a jamaat, he tries to inculcate six principles in his life. These six principles are:
Firm belief in the Kalimah
"An article of faith in which the tabligh accepts that there is no god but Allah and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger. and that Allah can do each and every thing without the help of the creation, and the creation cannot do anything without the help of Allah. The only way to succeed in this world and the next (life after death) is to walk on the path shown by Prophet Muhammad."
Concentration and Devotion in Salah
"Five daily prayers that are essential to spiritual elevation, piety, and a life free from the ills of the material world. To build a connection with Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala and to gain from his unlimited treasures."
Ilm and Dhikr
"The thirst for knowledge and remembrance of Allah conducted in sessions in which every individual contributes whatever knowledge which one can regarding performing prayers, reciting the Quran and reading Hadith and to gain the remembrance of Allah in every action make Dhikr by reciting three Tasbihaat: Third Kalimah, Durood and Istighfaar."
"The treatment of fellow humans with honor and deference, to love the youngsters and respect the elders and have respect for the scholars of Islam."
"Reforming one’s life in supplication to Allah by performing every (good) human action for the sake of Allah and toward the goal of self-transformation."
Dawat i allah
"The sparing of time to live a life based on faith and learning its virtues, following in the footsteps of the Prophet, and taking His message door-to-door for the sake of faith. Since Rasoolullah Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wasallam was the last and final prophet, it is our duty to now carry on this work of the prophets, i.e. call others towards good and prevent evil.

Amirate:Ameer is the title of leadership in the movement and is instated by the recommendation of a council or concerned group members. The international ameer is appointed by a central council which generally comprises of experienced members. The first international ameer, also the founder, was Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, second was his son Maulana Muhammad Yusuf and the third was Maulana Inaam ul Hasan. Currently, there is a council of two people performing as ameer: Maulana Zubair ul Hasan and Maulana Saad Kandhalawi. In Pakistan, the duties of the ameer are being served by Haji Abdulwahhab. The ameer for outgoing preaching groups is selected either by the majority vote of group members or by experienced members of nearby Markaz.

Activities:The Tablighi Jamaat also sets guidelines for local mosques to increase the level of worship and local Muslim involvement in the mosque. These guidelines include having the local members of the mosque implement these steps: two weekly visits to nearby Muslims. One visit to Muslims surrounding the local mosque and another to the Muslims of a nearby mosque. Two daily readings from Fazaele Amaal (One reading in the mosque and another in the home). Going out for preaching at three days a month, forty days a year, and four months once in a lifetime. A daily council to discuss how to increase Tablighi activity in the area and spending at least two and a half hours in the tablighi activities a day.
Celebrated members:There are many eminent personalities associated with this movement. These include the former Presidents of Pakistan, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar and Farooq Leghari. Former Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif lives in the town of Raiwind and has attended Jamaat's activities many times. Major General Ziaur Rahman, former President and Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh, was a strong supporter and member of Tablighi Jamaat, and popularized it in Bangladesh.
Lieutenant General (R) Javed Nasir of the Pakistan Army and former head of Inter-Services Intelligence along with former. Many well-recognized writers and scholars, such as Dr. Nadir Ali Khan (famous Indian writer) and others are deeply related with it.
Among Pakistani cricket professionals, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Yousuf; and the former Pakistani cricketers Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Anwar, Saleem Malik are active members. It is also widely believed that batsman Mohammad Yousuf embraced Islam through the influence of the Tablighi Jamaat. Others include South African batsman Hashim Amla.
Former renowned singer and pop star Junaid Jamshed has close links with Jamaat, and his departure from professional singing career is attributed to his inclination towards this movement.
Many famed singers, actors and models, including Gulzar Alam, Alamzeb Mujahid, and Moin Akhter, are also affiliated with the movement. Former reputed Pakistani motorcar and motorcycle jumping specialist Sultan Golden is also affiliated with the movement.[citation needed]
Maulana Muhammad Zakariya, who compiled the book Fazail-e-A'mal, was among the revered personalities of the Jamaat


The Deobandi movement developed as a reaction to the British colonialism in India, which was believed by Muslim theologians to be corrupting Islam. Fearing its consequences, a group of Indian Hanafi Islamic scholars (Ulama) led by Maulana Qasim Nanotwi founded an Islamic seminary known as Darul Uloom Deoband. It is here that the Islamic revivalist and anti-British ideology of the Deobandis began to develop.
Gradually, through organisations such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Tablighi Jamaat, their influence began to spread, and hundreds of schools and Darul Ulooms affiliated with Deoband sprouted. Notable Hanafi seminaries of Deobandi school include: Nadwatul-Ulama in Lucknow, India, Darul Uloom Karachi, Karachi, Jamia Binoria [1]Karachi, Jami'ah Ashrafiyah, Lahore, Pakistan.
Early Deobandi scholars include Sheikh Qasim Nanotwi, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Sheikh Sayyid Husain Ahmed Madani, Sheikh Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Sheikh Mohammad Ilyas Kandhalawi Dehlawi, Sheikh Ubaidullah Sindhi, Sheikh-Ul-Islam Zub’dat-Ul-Hukama Hakeem Mian Ghulam Jilani and Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandhalawi.
Other prominent adherent of the past include Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, who led the funeral prayer for the founding father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.