“We have today become contented only with becoming superficially and traditionally connected with Islam and are far from being true faithful model of Islamic idealism” – Muhammad Manzoor Nomani
“People out there are burning in the fire of ignorance and you are wasting your time here inquiring after my health!” – Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandlavi on his deathbed.
What is the Tablighi Jamaat?
Tablighi Jamaat is undoubtedly one of the most successful Islamic dawah movements in modern times. It was founded (revived) in 1926 in Mewat, north India by the prominent Deobandi great scholar of Islam by the name of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandlavi (1884-1944).
This new movement was so popular that the first Tablighi Ijtima (conference) held in November 1941 in Mewat was reportedly attended by 25, 000 people many of them had walked on foot for ten to fifteen miles to attend the conference.
Tabligh Jamaat interprets dawah as “enjoining good and forbidding evil” in line with the Holy Quran 03:104 and Holy Quran 41:33.
“And who speaks better than he who calls to Allah while he himself does good, and says: I am surely of those who submit?” [Qur’an 41:33]
“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 Six Points Of Tablighi
Maulana Ilyas used to organise units of about ten persons and send them to various villages where they would assemble at the local masjid and present their lectures (bayan) in the form of six principles articulated by the Maulana Ilyas. These Six Points are now quintessential to Tablighi Jamaat’s teachings.
The six points are: –
1) Imaan/Kalima – Believing in the oneness of Allah
2) Salaah – To offer five daily prayers
3) Ilm and Dhikr – Gaining knowledge and the remembrance of Allah
4) Ikram-i-Muslim – To respect every Muslim
5) Ikhlas/Tas’hih-i-Niyyat – Sincerity of intention
6) Tafrigh-i-Waqt – To spare time and go out for the sake of Allah
Rules When Going Out For The Sake Of Allah
Apart from the Six Points mentioned above, Tablighi Jamaat members are commanded to follow a specific set of rules while they are going out in the path of Allah to conduct dawah work: –
– DO MORE
a) Dawah – Spreading the message of Islam (through bayan and ghust)
b) Ibadah – Worshipping Allah (by performing Zikr)
c) Taalim – Reciting of Holy Quran and Ahadith
d) Khimat – Taking care of fellow Muslim brother
– DO LESS
a) Eat less
b) Sleep less
c) Spend less time out of the masjid
d) Speak less un-important things
a) Don’t take anything without permission
b) Don’t desire with the heart (lust)
c) Don’t desire with the tongue (gossip)
d) Don’t speak of worldly affairs
Tablighi Jamaat Main Activities
1. KHURUJ – Proseltysing (dawah) tour which has to be conducted on this schedule: –
a) 3 days a month
b) 2 ‘ghust’ (visiting Muslims in the neighborhood twice a week)
c) 40 days a year
d) 4 months in a lifetime
2. IJTIMA – Annual gathering (conference) of about three days. Tabligh Jamaat Ijtima gathers a lot of Muslims worldwide and can be assumed to be the second largest annual Muslim gathering in the world after Hajj. I personally witnessed such a gathering in October 2003 in the outskirts of Islamabad Pakistan which assembled over a million people.
Criticism Against The Tablighi And Their Response
There are many criticisms that are levelled against the Tablighi Jamaat sect both from within Islam and outside.
Amongst the major criticisms are: –
a) No dawah to non-Muslims – This was forbidden by Maulana Ilyas in 1944 because according to him “Present day Muslims cannot do dawah to the non-Muslims because Muslims (themselves) are not practising Islam (in full)”. It is however common knowledge that Islam is spreading in the USA (especially in prisons) due to the relentless activities of the Jamaat there.
b) Tablighi Jamaat men neglect their families when going out on dawah for long periods – The movement however says that the women can be rewarded by Allah for letting their husbands perform such duties.
c) Neutral stance on politics – During decisive conflicts with un-Islamic forces, the Jamaat do not join either sides and is viewed by other Muslims as tolerating evil governments. The movement has however defended itself by saying that political power is not enough to ensure effective organisation of the Islamic social order but by reforming the Muslim individual.
d) Tablighi Jamaat is breeding ground for terrorism – The movement is under strict surveillance in Germany, UK and USA because most suspected terrorists have used the Jamaat when going to carry out terrorist activities in other countries. There is however no direct link that the Jamaat advocates violence although the Pakistani government has openly criticised some extremist Jamaat members for carrying out terrorist activities.