Tablighi Jamaat Coming of Age?

Ex-servicemen belonging to Tablighi Jamaat meet in Raiwind ahead of its annual Ijtimah to discuss the party’s future agenda

By Waqar Gillani, The News

Ahead of the Tablighi Jamaat’s annual congregation in Raiwind near Lahore — one of the largest congregations of Islamic world attended by at least one and half million Muslims — there has been a day-long meeting of at least 50 former officers of Pakistan’s armed forces in Raiwind to discuss the future agenda of the rapidly-expanding movement.

Though party sympathisers term the meeting as ‘routine’, insiders claim these retired officers had travelled from across the country to attend this special meeting of “Halqa-e-Khawas” (group of special people) and were well-taken care of and hosted by the Ameer of TJ, Maulana Abdul Wahab. It may be interesting to note that Wahab is no seminary student but an ordinary landlord.

The annual congregation of TJ, which is considered a non-resistant and non-political Islamic revivalist movement, is scheduled from Nov 5-8, 2009.

The meeting, convened under the driving force of this group in Pakistan armed forces, Lt Gen (r) Javed Nasir, former director general Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), was attended by at least 50 former high-rank officers of the military including many generals, brigadiers and admirals and even top police officers etc. Apart from Lt Gen (r) Nasir, there were Lt Gen (r) Agha Masood Hasan, former naval chief Admiral (r) Karamat Rehman Niazi, Lt Gen (r) Aftab Ahmed and others.

The objective of this meeting was to discuss the possibility of politicising its agenda. Many retired army officers were convinced that the TJ now should have a political manifesto. Wahab, the head of TJ, reportedly related the first phase of the party to Prophet Muhammad’s time in Mecca where he tolerated all violence and criticism by infidels and patiently focused on preaching Islam. Wahab, who believes that one day the rule of Allah must be set up in the world, however, asked these retired armymen that being the main force of this party, they should start planning about the direction this gathering of millions gathering should take.

Insiders told TNS this kind of resistance and questions are being raised within the Tablighi Jamaat from time to time.

“There are thousands of serving armymen who have joined this party and no force disallows the soldiers from practicing their religion,” said a former army officers who was privy to this particular meeting. “If you want to know the depth of this party, you have to jump into it.”

The Jamaat is extending its influence throughout the world, especially South Asia. In Pakistan it has impressed people from all walks of life including soldiers, rulers, political leaders, scientists, businessmen, sportsman, showbiz people, singers, doctors, engineers, students and many other important professions.

TJ has a loose structure and a non-charismatic leadership. The leadership is so non-charismatic that the party has no official name. The name “Tablighi Jamaat” has been publicly adopted following their motives and the way their groups have been preaching street to street.

Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi [1885-1944], a student of Dar-ul-Aloom Deoband conceived this unmanned group, which later emerged as Tablighi Jamaat in Mewat (India) in mid-1920s. After completing his education at Deoband, Maulana Ilyas took up a teaching position at seminary Mazaharul Uloom in Saharanpur. He also prepared a team of young madrassa graduates from Deoband and Saharanpur and sent them to Mewat to establish a network of mosques and Islamic schools throughout the region.

According to historical accounts, the first Tablighi conference held in November 1941 in Mewat was attended by 25,000 people. Many of them had walked on foot for ten to fifteen miles to attend the congregation.

According to wikipedia: “TJ maintains a non-affiliating stature in matters of politics and jurisprudence to eschew the controversies which would otherwise accompany such affiliations. Although, TJ emerged out of sub-school in jurisprudence of , no particular jurisprudence or interpretation of Islam has been endorsed since movement’s inception. TJ has largely avoided any form of electronic media and has emphasised on personal communication as its preaching channel. Teachings of TJ are mainly rudimentary and Six Principles set by Muhammad Ilyas influence most of their teachings.

“Despite its pacifist stance, TJ has appeared on the fringes of numerous terrorism investigations. TJ gained much public and media attention, particularly in UK, when it announced plans for the largest mosque in Europe.”

TJ’s international headquarters is in Nizamuddin, Delhi. It has several national headquarters to coordinate its activities in over 80 countries and has a significant presence in North America, Europe, Africa, and Central Asia. Britain has remained a major focus of the movement. Press reports also pointed fingers at the party when the 23 accused of 7/7 (July 2007) London terror plot were found to have connections with it.

TJ has been facing a lot of criticism by other Deobandi factions of Islam, especially those in the business of jihad; their contention is that this non-resistant and consistently expanding humanitarian outfit should also gear up for jihad, one of the compulsory tenets of Islam. The party elders generally avoid responding to criticism from outside, though they are forthcoming to questions within the party.

In Pakistan, the family of political leaders like Nawaz Sharif are also great sponsors of Tablighi Jamaat. Mian Sharif, his father, is believed to be a prominent member and financier. He also managed to make his Tablighi friend Muhammad Rafiq Tarar president of Pakistan when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister. In 1995, the military officers who hatched a conspiracy against the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto were associated with Tablighi Jamaat. A coup was thwarted against many high-ranking military officers and civilians, all of whom were members of the Tablighi Jamaat.

An investigative report published in The News on Feb 13, 1995 discussed the connection between the Tablighi Jamaat and Harakat ul-Mujahideen, founded in 1980 and “their clandestine role in supporting Islamic extremist movements in different countries.”

Westerns press reports term this Jamaat as having a great potential for jihad. After more than 80 years of this ‘quiet revolution’, voices have started rising that this jamaat should do more to purge the world of infidelity, predicting another storm.

27 Comments

Filed under Army, Islamism, Pakistan, Taliban

27 responses to “Tablighi Jamaat Coming of Age?

  1. Junaid

    The objective of this meeting was to discuss the possibility of politicising its agenda. Many retired army officers were convinced that the TJ now should have a political manifesto. Wahab, the head of TJ, reportedly related the first phase of the party to Prophet Muhammad’s time in Mecca where he tolerated all violence and criticism by infidels and patiently focused on preaching Islam. Wahab, who believes that one day the rule of Allah must be set up in the world, however, asked these retired armymen that being the main force of this party, they should start planning about the direction this gathering of millions gathering should take.

    Sends shivers down my spine.

  2. bonobashi

    @Junaid

    If you are getting shivers down your spine, guess what an infidel kafir’s spine is going through.

  3. PatExpat

    What really frightens me is that the leader of TJ considered the ex-servicemen as vanguards to devise a political strategy.

    Hasn’t the country and all its institutions (politicians, civillian institutions etc) been screwed and corrupted enough already by the military? Now they are going to screw the Tableeghi Jamaat otherwise a pacifist organization despite its roots in Deoband.

  4. Bloody Civilian

    there has been a struggle between the maudoodist (whether they consider themselves followers or not) and ilyasist (for want of a better word) schools of thought within the TJ for some time now. qutbists like hameed gul have had influence from the periphery. ie the ilyasists believe that da’wa is all they need to do. staying away from politics, but following the deobandi scholars and school. for many years now TJ has proudly defended the wahabi school of thought too, ie indirectly affirmed and adhered to it.

    the goal of course is state capture. to have a state to serve as the very first latter day islamicate to be used as a base.. a beginning. unlike the da’wa-only TJ, maudoodists stop short of using violence (they make an exception for university/college campuses, of course)… but that does not stop them from covertly or overtly supporting other violent groups. they participate in democracy but have no issues with supporting dictarships either. qutbists, otoh, believe in violent state capture.

    TJ, however, remains far too loose an ‘organisation’ so anyone can and does participate.. and even try to exploit and even appropriate it. a million members coming to the annual dua will not necessarily translate into a million workers if and one the group transforms into a more political creature. but, given the agenda, even half the number is scary. now being led by these javed nasir-types, and with a significant presence of arabs and other int’l members, the group seems ready for radicals to take it over.

  5. Ex Muslim

    May Allah Bless Dr. Frankstein and his monster
    Amen.

  6. Hayyer

    Retired generals feel the loss of power and position. The more ambitious ones seek restoration of power in club elections and such like harmless pastimes. Others join politics, and there, depending on skill, they flourish or fade.
    If TJ is seeking the help of retired generals in fomenting an uprising in the army it may be cause for alarm but hardly for panic . Retired Generals lay claim to political relevance on the assumption of continuing loyalty of ex-servicemen to the quondam command structure, but this loyalty rarely survives retirement.
    While army men cannot easily discard the Pavlovian response of ‘sir’ring generals, they vote with their minds not their conditioning.
    If thousands of tablighi ex-soldiers were to decide to take to arms on the strength of religious belief, it would be a different matter; but in such a contingency they would hardly flock to the ex-generals for guidance. The mullahs would have to lead from upfront, and that is as unlikely as a general waving his sword and dashing into the fray.

  7. This article by Waqar Gilani is totally misleading and shows he has very little knowledge about the objectives and working of Tableeghi Jamaat. Haji Abdul Wahab Sahab himself has no authority to change the direction and agenda of TJ which has remained unchanged for almost nine decades, let alone asking direction from Army officers.

    TJ will always be like No politics, No violence, No rallies, No roadblocks, No banners, No electronic media and many other NOs that are good for the society, not just muslims.

  8. kashifiat

    Bloody Non Civilan !

    “there has been a struggle between the maudoodist (whether they consider themselves followers or not) and ilyasist (for want of a better word) schools of thought within the TJ for some time now. qutbists like hameed gul have had influence from the periphery. ie the ilyasists believe that da’wa is all they need to do. staying away from politics, but following the deobandi scholars and school. for many years now TJ has proudly defended the wahabi school of thought too, ie indirectly affirmed and adhered to it”

    This whole writeup reflects your extreme biasness & sick mentality. Accusing, bashing & calling names to others, to whom u r not agreed proves your intellectual level. You & ur clan need to learn the etiquettes of debate.

    The obove writeup is the true picture of “Conspiracy theory” without any prove, without any reference , witout any logic, routine attack on those sections of society who love Islam.

    In the same way I can say “According to the sources Yesterday eveining u & ur clan, under the guideline of Rand corporation report, get the guideline from Musharaf to how to attack on Islamic values & challenge Islamic teachings”

    Here, there is no liberal like Major Akbar in TJ who tried to lead a millitary coup

  9. Rashid

    It is hard for me to figure why Tablighi Jamaat and other Muslims in Pakistan and other countries have lost faith in rational, intellectual and aspiring message of Islam. Why don’t they understand that they can take peaceful, rational, inspiring message of Islam to Europe and Americas and appeal to intellect in western society? I guess, these Muslims are not themselves convinced of message of Islam, and its beauties. Instead of making non- Muslims accept Islamic beliefs through their own volition, they want to usurp power and then impose their doctrine and beliefs worldwide. If it was will of Allah SWT to make every human being a good Muslim, he could have done it long before idea came to TJ leaders.
    Someone*, in India, said over hundred years ago, “when West will appreciate beauties of Islam and become Muslim, then Muslims in East will correct their understanding of Islam”.

    *I guess people figured who I mean by ‘Someone’.

  10. Rashid

    LOOK WHO IS TALKING????????

    “This whole writeup reflects your extreme biasness & sick mentality. Accusing, bashing & calling names to others, to whom u r not agreed proves your intellectual level. You & ur clan need to learn the etiquettes of debate.”

    Yup, he is KASHIF HAFEEZ SADDIQUI ‘kashifiat November 4, 2009 at 11:32 pm’

    This guy will WRITE ALL NON-SENSE, in support of 2nd constitutional amendment, on his blogs and elsewere. But will RUN AWAY WITH HIS TAIL IN HIS LEGS if he is asked to defend his support for 2nd amendment on an IMPARTIAL FORUM, BLOG and even IMPARTIAL COURT. He is like of Senator Professor Khursheed Ahmad of Jammat Islami, WHO RAN AWAY FROM COURT IN SOUTH AFRICA , when he had to face Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement on question of who is Muslim and who is Kaffir.
    SHAME ON YOU KASHIF!!!

  11. Bloody Civilian

    @Kashifiat

    is your rant about the bit you’ve quoted from my post.. or the article? i did not write the article… so make up your mind whether you wanna throw this maj akbar at me or not. and the self-satisfied “Here”. it’s a cross-post from The News.

    as for the main import of my comment, it’s based on javed nasir’s own words (in jawabdeh, for example). similarly, hameed gul’s. my view of TJ itself being no more than an apolitical missionary group is obvious even in the piece you have quoted. which part is ‘conspiracy theory’??

  12. Muhammad Hassan Miraj

    Kashifiat?
    What is your obsession with conspiracy theory… I wonder how on earth would you live if there is no Conspiracy theory..why you blame each n every failure of Muslim Politics as a conspiracy theory..Trust me they have their own business to mind. My advice is why dont you / we put our energies in developing ourselves and improving our shortcomings. What US is doing with us/Muslims across the world is much similar to what we Ottoman Empire have been doing when it was calling the shots…? Have you read Ottoman role on Protestant – Catholic Conflict? What is your take on Arab Imperialism?

  13. kashifiat

    Mr. Hassan,

    Its clear if some Generals gather in barshop then u call it party.

    If someone gather for prayers & wants to listen dars then its a conspiracy theory.

    There is no prove of this gathering, these are not more than some spectulations of sick minded liberals.

  14. kashifiat

    Mr. Rashid – Ahmadiat promoter.

    Pls control yourself. You & ur clan is using this site to promote nothing more than ur Misguided perceptions / thoughts / theories.

    Even I don’t consider u a worthy to answer more.

    Specially for u – Qalu Salama🙂

  15. Muhammad Danish

    I second Talha in his opinion. There is no proof of the meeting and the minutes of the meeting….. secondly the direction of TJ is very well defined and is not to be changed (at least in the direction of politics). Also the People in Raiwind are not supposed to decide as the Jamaat is lead by the Head Quarters in Nizamuddin. In short if any change is to be done it will only be with the consent of all the “Buzurgs & Ulamas” of TJ in Pakistan and in India and (I think) those all over the world.

    And why i have said that all is for the reason that i am been with this jamaat for at least 12 years and i think i know what the Leadership of TJ thinks and how they act…

    Lastly, one of the mis-guiding text in the article above is about the TJ being financed by someone (as told about Nawaz Sharif being a financer). As far as i know and as much as i have spent my time with the Jamaat, the person getting involved has to spend from his pocket and is NOT AT ALL reimbursed either he spends 10 Rupees or 10 lakhs………

  16. Rashid

    @kashifiat
    November 5, 2009 at 6:59 am
    “Mr. Rashid – …
    Even I don’t consider u a worthy to answer more.”

    Kashif, of course you are a TYPICAL MULLAH like Jamaat Islami Senator Khursheed Ahmad WHO RAN AWAY FROM AN IMPARTIAL COURT IN SOUTH AFRICA, when he had to face Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement on the issue of who is a Muslim and who is Kafir, based on Holy Quran and Sunna.

    Kashif, it is people like YOU who are cause of Pakistan’s troubles. Kashif Shame on you.

  17. Mohammad

    I will say bring them on in politics, as Pakistanis have shown more than once that they have no apitite for mulladom, this time it willn’t be differnt. Besides that TJ has occupied campuses and faculties in Pakistani universities and defence institutes where they are running a defecto ban on none tablighis to join as teachers and staff. I went to a university where the faculty was run by TJ, and I am not sure of their capabilites and commitment towards academic ends. In my views they have ruined so many lives in those institutes that government should purge our educational institutes from these Tablighis, and send them on Tabligh forever.

  18. aliarqam

    “After more than 80 years of this ‘quiet revolution’, voices have started rising that this jamaat should do more to purge the world of infidelity, predicting another storm.”

    1.The objection here was publicized mostly by Maudoodists. As a prominent member of TJ and compiler of Tableghee Nisab, M Zakaria has written a whole booklet against Maudoodi named as “Fitn e Maudoodiat”

    2.TJ is heavily influenced by Indian Ulemas from Nizamuddin Markaz Delhi, and these ex servicemen have tried their best to split TJ in Indain and Pakistani factions in the midst of 2004, when H. A Wahaab has introduced some new ways of Tarbiat( Mashq, a way of Zikr) beyond 6 principles, but were rejected by Indian counterparts and the whole process was interupted by them in a visit here in 2004.
    Many Ex-servicemen who were permanently living at Raiwand were expelled in this Neutralization process.
    3.Maulana Ilyaas was not an apolitical character and has affiliations with JUH as for the earlier gatherings of TJ, Husain A Madni had participated and adressed to these gatherings, His speeches are available in bookstores at TJ marakiz.
    4.Most of the youth who join TJ serves as a raw material for Jehadis and Sectarian Organisations as for their Deobandi connections.
    5.They cant adopt a political agenda, though most of TJ members has due to connections of Pervez Elahi sons with Tariq Jameel and Sharif Brothers affiliations with Raiwand Markaz have soft corners for PML factions…..and others are followers of JUI factions.

  19. aliarqam

    This Kashifiat like stuff has forgotten his history of JI rift with TJ….and other Deobandi affiliated Organisations
    Even on the Taliban Govt at Afghanistan they have strong reservations against them in those days, though their beloved Hikmatyaar has left Charahsiab his stronghold for Taliban with no resistance….
    When I was at Jahanzeb College Swat, In those days Taliban had captured Kabul and hanged Dr. Najibullah, their was a protest from PSF workers in College, JI student faction( and Janam Bhoomi of Kashifiat like stuff) IJT Nazim has in his condolence speech strongly criticized Taliban…though Munawwar Hasan cant dare today

  20. mohammad

    Some ill informed evangalical being who wants to control peoples minds should not take any position in public sector as it creates gulf between them and us. Mind you most pakistanis are not evangalical, thus in tj language not muslims. In long run if left unchecked this self righteous phenomena of petty chatteraty mind set will ruin our university education where they work to get paid, rather than having any concern with academics.

  21. mohammad

    As tj is a minority in pakistan, they take most pakistani as not as good as themselves. This petty self righteous mentality has created a chasm between them godsent and public. In long run either they have to evolve themselves or they are on a direct collision course with ordinary pakistani mortals. Anyhow good luck to evangalicals as well as they steer clear of peoples wishes to learn something useful for this life.

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  23. Anwar Ahmed

    Whenever I met any one from tj I asked, “What are your achievments so far?I do not see the spirit of Islam having penetrated anywhere.People defy Qura”n and basic tennets of Islam.Lies,bigotryand cheating are the order of the day.I could make log list of defiance. Why has Islam not penetrated in to the normal life?What is the use of big gatherings who I saw breaking all rules of traffic. Anwar

  24. Muhammad Danish

    Dear Anwar,

    Just look around you, don’t you see many young and educated people keeping beard? Aren’t many embracing the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaehi Wassalam) ?

    You yourself said that there are big gatherings, gatherings of What? People na? Who are those people? Aren’t they changed? Go ask any of them randomly and you will find a new story of coming towards the religion through this channel……

    Dear, the true way to make people get near Allah is the way of Dawat and this is how all prophets did.

    Look at the brighter side my friend, don’t see that the glass is half empty…. see that once it wasn’t this much filled as it is now. And a day will come (Inshallah) when it will get completely filled.

    There are many people coming towards religion, each from different place, from different conditions. Some were robbers, some were thieves, some were in a habit of taking bribe for all of their past life, etc. etc. Now when they are coming towards the divine success and have decided to embrace the Commandments of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) and the Sunnat of Prophet (Sallalahu Alaehi Wassalam), it will take time for them to get completely cleaned….. Think of yourself. Can you change in a tic of clock? No, it will take time….. and this is what you are bothered about……

  25. all of the human beings should think that this universe is not a purposless. Almighty Allah has created it. whole of the systems solar or luner are working according to his will. this is the earth only where human being has revolted against him. Implementation of his system, given us by his prophet PBUH, is indispensable. we will see the islamic way of life by ourselves by the grace of Allah.

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