Linking Tabligh with terrorism baseless, says Darul Uloom

It asks Saudi Govt. to review decision on ban

The Darul Uloom, Deoband, on Sunday, disapproved of the Saudi Government’s decision to ban Tablighi Jamaat for spreading terrorism and said linking the organisation with bidat (undesirable religious innovation) and shirk (indulging in idolatry) was baseless. The Islamic seminary, where the largest Muslim organisation took root, asked the Kingdom to review its decision.

In a press note in Urudu, signed by rector Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, the Darul Uloom said the charges were baseless and that the Jamaat’s role was to spread deen (faith). In a tweet, it further stated the Jamaat came into being in Deoband because of the efforts of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas about a century ago.

Saudi directives

The tweet came as a response to a series of tweets by the Religious Affairs Ministry of the Saudi Government wherein it directed preachers and mosques that held Friday preachers to warn against Tablighi and Da’wah group that is called Al Ahbab.

It said the sermon should include a declaration of the “misguidance, deviation and danger of this group” and went on to describe it as “one of the gates of terrorism even if they say otherwise.” The tweets further stated that the sermon should state that affiliation with partisan groups (Tablighi and Da’wah) was prohibited in the Kingdom.

However, sources in Deoband and those following the practices of the Jamaat said the seminary and a section of the media had overread the Saudi Government’s statement as it had less to do with the terror charges and was more about the differences in interpretation of Islamic practices. They felt the Salafis consider Tablighis as grave worshippers and question the importance they give to Faza’il e A’mal, a treatise by influential Jamaat ideologue Muhammad Zakariya over the Koran, and that is why the references of shirk and bidat have come out.

Musharraf Usmani, a senior journalist based in Deoband, said the Saudi Government’s tweets seemed to be directed towards a particular group called Al Ahbab and not the Jamaat in general. Drawing a parallel, he said, “In 2017, Darul Uloom also banned the entry of Tablighis in the seminary after a feud between two sections of the Jamaat. The seniors didn’t want the followers of the Maulana Saad [whose name cropped up during the Nizamuddin Markaz incident], the head of one of the factions, to enter the campus.”

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