Red Fort in Agra

The Bridge which accesses to the gate of the Agra Fort

Red Fort in Agra

The view from the garden inside the Agra Red Fort

Mutiny Aftermath

The painting which shows the condition during the aftermath of Mutiny 1857

Red Fort in New Delhi

The view of Delhi palace from Chandni Chowk

Emperor Akbar

The painting shows the condition during the reign of Akbar

Monday, September 07, 2009

Islam is propagated by sword

During the time of the prophet Muhammad there was not a single war was fought for the sake of conversion. The revelation that brought by the prophet to us teaches human beings to speak the truth, to do justice, and to establish social equality in place of oppression and inequity. The one who said that Muhammad was of warlike must not well informed about his life history.
We are told of no incidence of an aggressive nature throughout his period. He had received the traditional training of infant of Quraish, of being sent to the desert for the first few years of their lives. He used neither a sword nor a bow in the first battle of his life with Bani Sa’ad bin Bakar, a branch of Banu Huwaizan. He is reported not to have raised his hand against anyone. He was then 20 years old and would play in active part if he had possessed an aggressive nature or warlike attitude.

Yes he marched to the battlefield in several occasion and fought numerous wars, some are victorious while others are not so. But there must be a big difference between the war motivated by worldly evil will of colonization and the war that fought by the prophet. In the light of revelation and under the guidance of God he wages war against oppression and evil, struggling to establish a just social order of truth and social equality.

Islam that brought by the prophet is the religion of peace. A muslim deserved to be called as muslim if he were maintaining a good life and protecting other’s wealth safely in his hand (Amanah). That’s why a muslim must keep the peace linger in the world, for Allah dislike the damage prevailed on earth. But above all, reconciliation is much more favourable.

لا اكراه فى الدي

There should no compulsion in religion. (Al-Baqarah:256)
This Quranic verse explained that Islam opposed the force conversion to any religion. Moreover the Quran stated,
لكم دينكم و لي دين
You have your own religion and I have mine. (Al-Kafirun)

There are people who wanted to harm the peace and like to see the chaos happening on earth for the sake of his group or his personal interest. Sometimes we need force against those people for the peace keeping mission. Thus Islam allowed his people to take arms against the oppressors and agressors. However, it was not to be over the limit.
و قاثلوا فى سبيل الله الـــدين يقاتلونكم ولا تعتدوا ءان الله لا يحب ا لمعتدين (Al-Baqarah 190)

Some readers blamed me of whitewashing the history of advent of Islam in South Asia reagarding my previous posting “The spread of Islam to India” and “Arab conquest of Sindh and Multan“. I was describing the advent of Muslim rule to South Asia in a positive outlook, the way that my Hindu brothers might disagree with. Now I am telling the facts that you would be able to accept. Yes, Muhammad bin Qasim came to Sindh along with his troops killing many local Hindus and Rajputs, who didn’t welcome his presence for some particular reason. But the majority of them did welcome him.

Yes, Mahmud of Ghazni destroyed many cities and temples, defeated Hindu army, and converted temples into mosques. Likewise, Shahabuddin Ghauri raided the Hindu territories, shed their blood and also converted the temples. Timur, too, killed 100.000 Hindus with their swords, Sikandar Lodhi led the destruction of temples, and Aurangzeb, though Hindus were part of the Mughal Empire and gave their service to the Mughal emperor, but he discriminated them and put on them heavy taxes and jizyah. To be noted, the conversion of temples is not absent from Aurangzeb’s reign. Yet, after nearly a thousand years of Muslim rule in South Asia, there are more than 80% Hindu population in the modern India. Muslim rule was so powerful that could be able to convert the whole population of India forcibly, but above all their cruelness as mentioned, they didn’t do so.

Therefore, it was not sword which, convert many non-Muslims to Islam. There is an undeniable fact that the truth, rational and sensibility are the reason of the tremendous propagation of Islam. Followings are some factual reasons why Islam is vastly and rapidly spreading.
-Muslim is the landlord of Arab countries approximately 1400 years. Today, there are 14.000 Christians throughout the Arab countries. If Islam was propagated by sword there must be no Christian Arab left in the country.
-My Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Majority of its citizen currently are Muslim while our fore forefathers could be Hindu, Budhist, animism or dynamism. Could any body inform us what Arab troops, with their swords, had shed the blood of our ancestors?
-Today, Islam in America and Europe has advanced rapidly which reach 235% while Christian reach 47%. Could anyone tell us whose troops are engaged to convert them?. Reversely, that is the American troops who onslaught them.

I am not saying that i am agree with the brutality of some rulers. In my opinion the rulers of both side were inhuman in their virtues. According to the teaching of Islam, women, children and old man are not allowed to be killed. The place of worship, either mosques or temples should not be attacked and destroyed. There are some restriction of the war that were breached by some Muslim rulers. What I am trying to say is that the spreading of Islam nothing to do with the swords. Religion dealt with intention in heart. We can not convert any body to any religion unless he embraced that religion willingly by his heart. If some one embraced any religion forcibly he will show it outwardly but he still have his own faith inward. To say that a religion will advance because of force conversion is not logic. Therefore, the advance of Islam today must not because of force conversion.

Persians, Arabs, Indonesians,Malaysians, Turkish, Sudanese and so on and so fort, were non-muslim once, but some were the stern enemy of Islam. Now they embraced Islam and allowed non-Muslim to live with them side by side in the same country. Why the same situation could not prevail in India?. Dont the Hindus realize that they are their brothers and once have the same belief?.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The spread of Islam to India

My previous post,"Arab conquest of Sind and Multan" has acquired many complains and disagrement regarding the absence of telling the damage that Muhammad bin Qasim and other Arab Muslim rulers caused during their rule, and violence that they offered at the time of their invasion.
It is true that there were persecutions and forcible conversions committed by some Muslim rulers in India, such as the well known brutal massacres of Brahmans by Mahmud of Ghazna, the persecutions of Aurangzeb and the forcible conversion of Hydar Ali and Tipu Sultan ect.
Timur wrote in his authobiography after he captured Delhi, "I had triumphed over my adversaries, I have put to death some lacs of infidels and idolaters, and I had stained my proselyting sword with the blood of the enemies of the faith". But it is worthy to be noted, as T. W. Arnold wrote, that among the sixty-six millions of Indian Musalmans there are vast numbers of converts or descendants of converts, in whose conversion force played no part and the only influences at work were the teaching and persuasion of peaceful missionaries.

Most of the Muslim invaders seem to have acted in similar way; in the name of Allah, idols were thrown down, the priest and warriors of the enemy killed, and their temples destroyed, in place of that the mosques were usually built. But however, the war was fought only as the last alternative where there was no other way could be afford. Moreover, the offer of Islam was generally made before any attack.

One of my blog reader complained because I didn't write the brutality of Muhammad bin Qasim, Mahmud of Ghazna ect. I'm telling you, that killing and destruction is the natural result of war in every part of the world. We can not find any war that has no victim at all. But the way the Muslim rullers treat their enemy of war showed more honour to humanity insted of any other nation in the wolrd which had happened to be involved in a war. At least, their religion order them to do so. Just for your considerasion, Saladin, in act of mercy freed many prisoners of war during crusade.

The prophet Muhammad said,"Paradise lies in the shadow of sword". What MBQ, MOG or Timur had done could be based on this prophetic tradition. Dont be offended with the hadith (prophet tradition), because it could become the subject of misinterpretation if you see the full text of the original hadith as follows:
"Salim relates that a letter written to the Kharijite sect by Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, and conveyed to them by Amr ibn Ubaydillah, tells of how on certain days, when the prophet was engaged in a military campaign, he would wait until the sun had almost set and then, standing up amidst his companions, he would say: "Oh my people, be not eager to meet the enemy on the battlefield. Ask God instead for peace. But, when confronted by the enemy, stand fast and do not flinch. You must know that paradise lies in the shadow of swords". Then the prophet pray to God: "Oh Allah, you who reveal the scripture, who set the clouds afloat, who defeat armies, defeat them and grant us succour in our struggle against them".

Thus the true message of this hadith is that there should be no keenness to meet the enemy on the battlefield. I would like to quote a story of Saladin more, just to show the Muslim's love of soul, as follows: In the wake of his victory at the Battle of Hattin in July 1187, Saladin conducted a successful campaign in the Christian territories of the Holy Land. Among those Christian nobles who managed to escape from Hattin was Balian of Ibelin who first fled to Tyre. A short time later, Balian approached Saladin to ask permission to pass through the lines to retrieve his wife, Maria Comnena, and their family from Jerusalem. Saladin granted this request in exchange for an oath that Balian would not take up arms against him and would only remain in the city for one day. And what did happen when Balian breach the oath? Though angered by Balian's choice, Saladin did allow Maria and the family safe passage to travel to Tripoli. Within Jerusalem, Balian faced a bleak situation. In addition to laying in food, stores, and money, he created sixty new knights to reinforce its weak defenses. On September 20, 1187, Saladin arrived outside of the city with his army. Not wishing further bloodshed, Saladin immediately opened negotiations for a peaceful surrender. With Eastern Orthodox clergyman Yusuf Batit serving as a go-between, these talks proved fruitless.

MBQ came to Sind for the sake of restoring order, during the uncertain treat of the local chieftains and Rajput reign, and religious mission as well. Not for the sake of merely looting and sending the infidels to hell. Though we can not deny that forcible conversion could be there, but the majority of the heterogenous elements of which Indian Muslim is made up entered the pale of Islam with their own free will.

Ghukkars, a Barbarous people in North Punjab are said to have been converted through the influence of Muhammad Ghori. It is said that Muhammad Ghori released them from the prison and confirming their chieftain to bear the title of chief of the tribe. In the period of Khiljis, Ibn Batuta said that the Hindus who adopt the Islamic faith were exonerated from the Jizyah and were favoured with presents and honours. Thus the large number of Hindus admitted to the honour of Islam.

The religious influence of Islam became more persistent in the period of Mughal dynasty. Bishop Lefroy said that the positive character of Muslim teaching attracted minds that were dissatisfied with the vagueness and subjectivity of a phanteistic thought. Many Rajputs embraced Islam and are very zealous in the pracrice of their religion, yet often betray their Hindu origin.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Blames on Jamaat Tablighi

When I was playing table tennis in a lovely afternoon with a room mate, a band of people came to us.
They smiled to us saying "Assalamu'alaikum", a very friendly greeting known to me. Their face showed brightness which calm my heart.
We stop to play when they approached us and began to deliver his preaching, calling us to pray in the mosque, just a block away from my residence.
Later, I came to know that these people are the member of Jama'at Tabligh.

I had been attracted to their activities, for their teachings as far as my knowledge, nothing is contrary to the Islamic teachings.
Their main aim is to call Muslim people to the mosque and correct their daily practices which mostly deviated from the right path.

As a student of Islamic studies, absolutely I studied the initial emergence of this organization though not that deep.
Jamaat Tabligh was founded by Maulana Ilyas,to counter aggressive Hindu movements and to educate the Meos who newly converted to Islam.
From this point I believe that this movement was good from its beginning and Allah will bless whoever join this movement.

Another day, some members of JT came to meet me at my flat. They deliver a usual and long speech that began to make me bore.
It seem to me that they force me, though politely, to do "khuruj" as they did. My view about them somehow, changed.
"How come they believe that their way is the only right way? What on earth they think they are? angel?", my emotion provoked.
I came to the conclusion that JT was good and compatible to be run in the period of Maulana Ilyas only,
and now many of its members are ignorent and dont know much about Islamic law,and the real face of Islam. They have only spirit and fanaticism to this movement.
Many distinguish Muslim scholar stated that this movement is "batil" and should not be followed.

The movement that founded by Maulana Ilyas to counter other religious propagation has been countered by some Muslims itself, an ironic phenomenon.
However, to me JT as an organization is effective to cultivate the religious spirit of it's members - therefore should not be poured with tons of blames - remain the knowledge that is the task of the "ahlul ilmi" to
teach them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Indian Muslim and Indonesian Muslim

“Indian Muslims are better than Indonesian Muslims in various aspects. They have advanced religious scholarship and thoughts, the phenomenal progress that Indian Muslims have achieved.That was because we have been facing more challenges here, as a minority, than you people have to deal with”

“Indian Muslims are better than Indonesian Muslims in various aspects. They have advanced religious scholarship and thoughts, the phenomenal progress that Indian Muslims have achieved”, said a well-known Indian writer to me at my visit to his resident in the Muslim area of Nizamuddin, New Delhi. The Mawlana was sitting on the flour surrounded by a lot of Islamic books – many of them are written in Arabic and Urdu – wearing a simple dress, white in color. It was an honor for me to sit with this respected and wise man who has achieved numerous international awards including that of the noble award. His opinion on the comparison between Indian Muslims and Indonesian Muslims was quite right to me since many religious books are written by Indian Muslim scholars, a lot of genius fatwas were issued and new thoughts were produced by Indian ulamas. In other words, India has produced numerous prominent Muslim intellectuals. All these facts proved their high ability and excellent quality.

“That was because we have been facing more challenges here, as a minority, than you people have to deal with”, he continued. I listened to him and come to the conclusion that the challenge he meant must be referred to the anti-Muslim movement. As a nation, India had been shaken by several religious problems. Since the partition, the nation was threatened with disintegration. When India was set free on August 15, 1947, the whole country was caught in the grip of a severe anti-Muslim wave. The struggle between Hindus and Muslims is the immortal phenomena. The incident in Bombay and Hindu-Muslim clash in Gujarat and the demolition of the Babri Masjid were well-recorded in our mind. As the result, many Muslim groups aroused, named by the government as fundamentalist groups. The police department blames that these groups were responsible for severe bomb blasts and other terror acts in India. The attack on Indian Parliament in New Delhi on Dec. 13, 2001, killing 14 people, was done by an Indian Muslim allegedly facilitated by foreign Islamic guerrillas, or vise versa.

On the other hand, Muslims in Indonesia are the majority (Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world), therefore they have lesser challenges and enjoyed the position of a major religious group. Islam in Indonesia appears in its peaceful face – at least before religious chaos occurred in Poso, Celebes. Indonesia is the sample of the country where the minority enjoys the equal right with the majority and can live without having to worry about their safety. I told the Mawlana that Indonesia was Hindu before the advent of Islam in the region. The remnant of Hindu architecture can be seen throughout the archipelago. Reversely, Muslim emperors had ruled India for centuries, but left only 15% are Muslims from the total population. “But we are good in quality instead of quantity”, the Mawlana smiled. I wonder, what quality did he mean?. Though many Indian Muslims personalities deserve thumbs up, but we can not ignore the ignorant Muslims who practice Hindu teachings and believe in Hindu deities.

There are many religious groups in India, some are more radical than others. That is because they felt discriminated and alienated by the Hindus. That kind of feeling is commonly found in the minor community which I call minority complex, or minority panic. Thus appeared two divisions of Indian Muslims, one is extreme and the other moderate. Each division strives to disseminate its thought and opinion about their belief. The competition between the two divisions makes them strong and progressive in their thought. Yet the dispute between them, don’t make them apart because as a Muslim community vis-à-vis Hindu community they are united. The struggle between two divisions has produced the man like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Wahiduddin Khan and Ashghar Ali Engineer, fighters of pluralism. The conservative and extreme groups have provoked the opposite groups to maintain peace and become more tolerant to the current condition as a minority.

Contrary, in the case of Indonesia, The Muslims are already moderate in its origin. The five religions known to the country – Islam, Catolic, Protestan, Hindu, Budhis - live peacefully side by side. The communal riot rarely happened. The Muslims don’t face any significant challenges from other religious groups. Yes, the feeling of insecurity against other religious groups existed but it was provoked by the outsiders, not originally comes out from the heart of the Islamic adherent of Indonesia. The nature of the people is love in peace and Islam too came to Indonesia by peace. Yet some Indonesian Muslims consider it was necessary to struggle for the minority cause. Abdurrahman Wahid, Nurcholis Madjid, Ulil Absar Abdalla are worthy of mention as the fighters of pluralism in Indonesia. Ulil often refers to Ashgar’s thought as found in almost all of his articles. Moreover, he goes far beyond what Ashgar or Wahiduddin might think about Islam and Islamic law. He has been influenced, in considerable range, by Ahmadiyah teachings, the sect that was unaccepted in India, its own birthplace. He once received the death sentence by the Fatwa of a group of ulama, due to his view saying that Muhammad was not the last prophet. Ulil-kind of intellectual has proceeded to provoke Indonesian Muslims to resist and counter his view.

In India the challenges comes from the non-Muslim first and then it divides Muslim into moderate and radical. From that condition aroused the progressive and reputable intellectuals. While in Indonesia the problem comes from Muslim itself who have much worried of disintegration, thus offers unnecessary care for the non-muslims – things that the non-muslim don’t really need it – and at last encountered by other Muslims. The wise Mawlana who was sitting with me may now begins to realize that the challenge for Indonesian Muslim has been increasing now and Insha Allah will benefit us as it did to Indian Muslim.

Friday, January 27, 2006

muhammad ali

Muhammad Ali was born in the late 1760s in the small port of Kavala. His father was an Ottoman soldier of Albanian origin and a tobacco trader. When Selim III raised an army in 1798 to send to Egypt against Napoleon, the governor of Kavala in Thrace supplied three hundred men, the second in command being Muhammad Ali. The peace Amiens in 1802 and the British evacuation of the Nile found Muhammad Ali responsible for several thousand Albanian and Bosnian troops.

When the British left Egypt in 1803, Ali sided with the Mamluks and drove the Turkish government from Cairo. He then played one Mamluk faction against another. Finally, with the aid of the Cairo populace, he chased the Mamluks, deposed the new governor who just arrived from Istanbul, and was recognized as governor by the citizens of Cairo. Later he was appointed Pasha of Egypt by Selim and asserted his full submission to him.
Finances cramped him severely. War in Lower Egypt, and the passage of troops, had reduced the Delta to Barrenness. Previously, taxes and levies supported an Egyptian army, but Muhammad Ali found little to levy and taxes quite insufficient. In order to raise fund he surveyed all land holdings, seized land grants upon which payment to the state were in arrears, abolished the ancient system of land tenure, and expropriated the remaining fiefs (multazim).

As land taxes increased, Muhammad Ali turned his attention to commerce and established a government monopoly on the export of grain, in which the profit often reached 500 %. Irrigation system was improved, which provided water all the year around, and doubled the production of the land such as wheat, barley, beans, rice, sugar, sesame, indigo, short staple cotton, and later Egypt was able to export long staple cotton in large number.

Besides finance improvement, his other successful endeavors were sanitation and education. When great plagues and cholera raged every year, he organized a more effective quarantine and appointed committee for sanitation, which was given enough fund and absolute authority. The result is the general improvement of health condition and the restriction of the visitation of the diseases.

The first schools established by Ali were for the military. Most of the instructors in these schools were French. Egyptian boys were often sent to study in France and England. The polytechnic schools were founded, preparatory schools to feed the polytechnic were organized in Cairo and Alexandria, and medical college was established. In connection with the schools a government press was set up at Bulaq near Cairo. Newspapers printed in both Arabic and French. These educational activities made Egypt a leader of the Arab world in the intellectual life.

Muhammad Ali continued to make some improvement. Alexandria was transformed into Mediterranean city resembling Marseilles, Genoa and Naple. Construction for public use was carried out on a large scale, including barracks for the army, dockyard for the navy, office buildings for bureaucracy, schools, hospitals, palaces ECT. The Mahmudiya canal was dug, and country roads were improved and widened for better transportation.

Organization of the finances of Egypt and destruction of the Mamluk power enabled Muhammad Ali to widening his rule. He dispatched his able sons on military expeditions to the Hijaz, Sudan, Crete and the Morca. In 1833, Crete, Egypt, Syria, Adana and Tarsus were assigned to Muhammad Ali, for which he agreed to pay 150,000-Pound sterling a year tribute to Istanbul. His son Ibrahim governed Hijaz and Ethiopia consisting a few Red Sea ports, and later he became the governor of Syria also. Ali’s other son took Sudan and founded the city of Khartoum.

When Muhammad Ali declared his independence, Ottoman forces invaded Syria but were destroyed at Najib by Ibrahim in 1839. Five days later, Mahmud II died, and before July was out the Turkish fleet deserted to join the Egyptian at Alexandria. Muhammad Ali was now master of the situation, and the Porte prepared to surrender to his demands. However, a joint note from Austria, England, France, Prussia and Russia informed that they were concerned with the developments within the Middle East and recommended that no action be taken on Muhammad Ali’s claims without their approval. Later, after he refused the Treaty of London in 1840, signed by British, Russia, Prussia and Russia, Muhammad Ali had to face the military action against the four powers. Acre was captured by British-Austrian troops. Forcibly, Ali recalled his son Ibrahim from Syria and accepted the British term.

The defeats of 1840 and the diplomatic negotiation of 1841 gave Muhammad Ali full power in Egypt, but left him and old and broken man. However, ha has proved that he was a great ruler of Egypt who has reformed Egypt to modern country. He lived on until 1849, however, in 1847 the government passed to his grandson, Abbas.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Jamaat Islami

Jamaat Islami is one of the oldest Islamic movements and has been influential in the development of Islamic revivalism across the Muslim world in general and India and Pakistan in particular. It was founded in Lahore on 26th August 1941 through the efforts of Maulana Sayyid Abu al-A’la Mawdudi (d. 1979), an Islamic thinker and political activist who worked for the revival of Islam in India.

Mawdudi had been involved with the struggle since 1938 and opposed the Congress Party, believing that Hindu rule behind the secular nationalism would bring the end of Islam in India. He had been equally opposed to the Muslim League, which he believed to be a secularist entity. Mawdudi was supported by a number of Ulama who joined him in Lahore to form the new organization. Among them were Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi and Muhammad Manzur Nu’mani of Deoband. Soon after its creation, the party established its headquarters in Pathankut, in east Punjab, led by Mawdudi as its first president. Between 1941 and 1947, the Jamaat spread its messages across India through its widely distributed literature, rallies, conventions, and public sessions.

The Jamaat followed the teachings of Mawdudi, which emphasize the exoteric dimensions of faith, disparage traditional Islam, rationalized faith, and predicate eschatology and salvation on social action. Since the 1960s the party has also developed a women’s wing as well as semi autonomous organizations such as publication houses and unions, especially a student union, Islami Jam’iyat Tulaba.

Following the partition of India, the Jamaat divided into three separate units for India, Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan. Mawdudi, along with the bulk of the original party leaders and members, left India for Pakistan and established the headquarters of Jamaat Islami of Pakistan in Lahore, and soon became fully immersed in Pakistani politics. Mawdudi and the Jamaat quickly approached the Ulama and other self-style religious movements in pressing the newly formed state for an Islamic Constitution, most notably in Objective Resolution of 1949. Jamaat’s activism in these years culminated in an open confrontation with the government over the role of religion in politics.

In 1951 the Jamaat became directly active in politics by taking part in the Punjab election. The anti-Ahmadiyah agitation in Punjab enhanced the party’s political standing. Although the agitations were led by the Ulama and religious groups such as Anjuman Ahrar, the Jamaat’s role proved critical in providing juristification for them, especially in the form of a book, “Qodiyani Mas’alah”. In 1957 the Jamaat declared that it would participate in the national elections of 1958 as a full-fledged party. But during Ayub Khan’s rule, the Jamaat’s offices were closed down, its leaders were excoriated in government-sponsored publications, its activities were restricted and Mawdudi himself was imprisoned. The Jamaat became more concerned with the removal of Ayub Khan and the restoration of a political climate that would be conducive to religio-political activism. Therefore, the Jamaat joined the alliance of political parties that advocated restoration of democracy and an end of Ayub Khan’s rule.

During the issue of Bangladesh, the Jamaat spearheaded a political movement that consciously appealed to religious sentiment to weaken the Bhutto regime. It was the Jamaat and the movement of Nizami Mustafa that undermined the Bhutto government and in 1977 provoked a military coup d’etat. In Zia ul-Haq period, Jamaat leaders occupied important government offices, including cabinet posts, and the party’s views were reflected in government programs.

By the end of the Zia period it was apparent that the Jamaat had become a powerful political force with significant social and cultural influence, due to its organizational structure and ability to manipulate the religious factor in Pakistan’s political balance. The Jamaat remains an important political party capable of influencing the course of politics through the use of its organizational muscle.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tabligh Jamaat

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. The emergence of Tabligh Jamaat was also a direct response to the rise of such aggressive Hindu proselytizing movements as the Shuddhi and Sangathan, which launched massive efforts in the early twentieth century to reconvert those Hindus who had converted to Islam in the past. Maulana Ilyas, the founder of the Tablighi Jamaat, believed that only a grassroots Islamic religious movement could counter it.

The Tablighi Jamaat originated in Mewat, in North India, inhabited by Rajput tribes known as Meos. 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. When Ilyas started his religious movement in Mewat, most Meos were Muslim in name only. They worshipped Hindu deities in their homes and celebrated Hindu religious festivals. They could not recite Shahadah or say their daily ritual prayers. Their birth, marriage, and death rituals were all based on Hindu customs.

Maulana Ilyas, a religious scholar of the orthodox Deoband, and a follower of the Naqshabandiyah, learned the situation. His initial effort was to establish a network of mosque-based religious schools to educate Mewati Muslim about correct Islamic beliefs and practices. But he became disillusioned with the reality that these institutions were producing religious functionaries but not preachers. Following this, he quit his teaching position at Madrasah Mazharul Ulum in Saharanpur and moved to Basti Nizamuddin in the old quarters of Delhi to begin his missionary work. Tablighi movement was formally launched in 1926 from this place.

Maulana Ilyas devoted to what he described as “the mission of the prophets”. His message was simple: “Ai Musalmano Musalman bano”. The method adopted by him was equally 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;

1. Every Muslim must be able to recite Shahadah correctly in Arabic.

2. A muslim must learn how to say the Shalat correctly.

3. To learn the basic teaching of Islam and to do dhikr.

4. To respect the fellow Muslims

5. To inculcate honesty and sincerity of purpose in such endeavors.

6. To spend some times and travel from place to place spreading the words of God.

Maulana Ilyas later added another rule asking members to abstain from wasting time in idle talk and from sinful deeds.

The movement met with spectacular success 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. Jamaat workers are rigid in following the orthodox and observing the shariah. They stayed away from politics and political controversies. Instead of publishing books, they go door to door and invite people to join their work.

Maulana Ilyas was succeeded by his son, Maulana Yusuf. During this time, this informal association with no written constitution, no standardized organizational rules and procedures, was spread beyond India to countries of Southeast Asia, the middle east, Africa, Europe and north America. The Jamaat has become a truly global Islamic movement. Its influence has grown significantly over the past two decades. Today it has followers all over the Muslim world and the West. Its 1993 annual international conference in Raiwind near Lahore, attended by more than one Million Muslims from 94 countries has become the second largest religious congregation of the Muslim world after the Hajj.



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