:: Biography of Shaykh al-Hadith, Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi

In the last century, India has undoubtedly become an important center for the study of hadith, and the scholars of India have become well-known for their passion for religious knowledge.

Upon them ended the era of leadership in teaching hadiths, codification of the special fields [funun] of hadith, and commentary upon its texts [mutun]. Such was their mastery of this science that Muhammad Rashid Rida mentions in the introduction of his book Miftah Kunuz al-Sunnah, “Were it not for the superb attention to detail in the science of hadith displayed by our brothers, the scholars of India in the present era, this science would have withered away in the eastern cities. And, indeed, mastery of this science has been waning in Egypt and Syria since the tenth century AH.” There is no doubt that Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya was among the most distinguished hadith scholars of India and a great contributor in the service of the Sunnah. He was given the honorary title of Shaykh al-Hadith, or “Great Scholar of Hadith,” by his teacher, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, who recognized his deep insight, clear-sightedness, and extensive knowledge of hadith and related sciences.

Lineage and Upbringing

He was born in the village of Kandhla (in Uttar Pradesh, India) on Ramadan 10, 1315 AH (February 12, 1898 CE). His full name was Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya ibn Muhammad Ismail, and his lineage continues all the way back to Abu Bakr, the great Companion of the Messenger (SallAllahu alaihi Wasallam).

Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Nadwi said about him, “Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya was born into a household rooted in knowledge and passion for Islam. His immediate family and his predecessors were distinguished by firm resolve, perseverance, steadfastness, and adherence to religion…. His family included many notable scholars… and his grandmother memorized the entire Qur’an while nursing her son [Shaykh Zakariyya’s father].”

His father, Shaykh Muhammad Yahya, was among the great scholars of India, whose primary teacher in hadith was Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Under him he studied Sahih al-Bukhari, Jami al-Tirmidhi, and others of the six famous authentic books of hadith [sihah sitta]. Shaykh Yahya went on to teach at Madrasa Mazahir Ulum, in the district of Saharanpur, but did not accept any payment for his services. He instead made his living through his own book-publishing business.

As a young boy, Shaykh Zakariyya moved with his father to the village of Gangoh, in the district of Saharanpur. Since his father and Shaykh Gangohi had a close relationship, Shaykh Zakariyya quickly earned the affection of his father’s teacher.

Growing up in this virtuous environment, he began learning how to read with Hakim Abd al-Rahman of Muzaffarnagar. He memorized the Qur’an with his father and also studied books in Persian and the introductory Arabic books with his uncle Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas (founder of the Tabligh movement). He stayed with his father in the company of Shaykh Gangohi until age eight, when the shaykh passed away.

At the age of twelve, Shaykh Zakariyya traveled with his father to Mazahir Ulum, There, under his father, he advanced his study of Arabic, tackling many classical texts on Arabic morphology, grammar, literature and also logic. But by the time he was seventeen, hadith became the main focus of his life. He studied five of the six authentic books of hadith with his father, and then he studied Sahih al-Bukhari and Sunan al-Tirmidhi (for a second time) with honorable Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri. Out of his immense respect for hadith, Shaykh Zakariyya was extremely particular about always studying the hadith narrations with wudu’.

On Dhu ‘l-Qa’da 10, 1334 AH, when Shaykh Zakariyya was just nineteen, his dear father passed away. This event was extremely traumatic for Shaykh Zakariyya, as he lost not only a father but also a teacher and mentor. His deep sorrow remained with him for the rest of his life.


Shaykh Zakariyya was blessed to live and learn in an era considered by many to be one of great achievements in Islamic knowledge by scholars in the Indian subcontinent. He studied with few but select teachers who reached the highest levels of learning, research, authorship, and piety. In addition to his father (Shaykh Muhammad Yahya) and uncle (Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas), he studied under the hadith scholar Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, author of the Badhl al-Majhud, a commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud. Shaykh Zakariyya acquired a hadith authorization from him and remained his student until Shaykh Khalil’s death in Madina Munawwara in 1346 AH.

Before his death, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad expressed his desire to write Badhl al-Majhud, and he sought Shaykh Zakariyya’s assistance as his right-hand man. This experience revealed Shaykh Zakariyya’s gift of penmanship and, furthermore, expanded his insight in the science of hadith. He worked hard on the project, attained the pleasure and trust of his shaykh, and was even mentioned by name in the commentary. This indeed opened the door to Shaykh Zakariyya’s authoring many literary works and treatises over the course of his life.

Teaching Career

In Muharram 1335 AH he was appointed as a teacher at Madrasa Mazahir Ulum, where he was assigned to teach books on Arabic grammar, morphology, and literature, as well as a number of primary texts of Islamic jurisprudence. In 1341 AH he was assigned to teach three sections of Sahih al-Bukhari upon the insistence of Shaykh Khalil Ahmad. He also taught Mishkat al-Masabih until 1344 AH. Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Nadwi said, “Although he was one of the youngest teachers at the school, he was selected to teach works generally not assigned to those of his age, nor to anyone in the early stages of his teaching career. Nevertheless, he showed that he was not only able, but an exceptional teacher.”

In 1345 AH he traveled to Madina Munawwara, the city of Allah’s Messenger, where he resided for one year. There he taught Sunan Abi Dawud at Madrasa al-Ulum al-Shar’iyya. While in Madina, he began working on Awjaz al-Masalik ila Muwatta Imam Malik, a commentary on Imam Malik’s Muwatta. He was twenty-nine at the time.

When he returned to India, he resumed teaching at Mazahir Ulum. He began teaching Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan al-Nasai, the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, and the second half of Sahih al-Bukhari. The school’s principle taught the first half of Sahih al-Bukhari, and after his death, Shaykh Zakariyya was given the honor of teaching the entire work.

In all, he taught the first half of Sahih al-Bukhari twenty-five times, the complete Sahih al-Bukhari sixteen times, and Sunan Abi Dawud thirty times. He did not just teach hadith as a matter of routine; the work of hadith had become his passion, and he put his heart and soul into it. Shaykh Zakariyya taught until 1388 AH, when he was forced to give up teaching after developing eye cataracts.

Travels to the Two Holy Cities

Allah blessed him with the opportunity to visit the two holy cities of Makka and Madina. He performed hajj several times, and his multiple trips had a profound personal effect on him, both spiritually and educationally. He made the blessed journey with Shaykh Khalil Ahmad in 1338 AH and with him again in 1344. It was during the second trip that Shaykh Khalil completed Badhl al-Majhud; he died shortly thereafter and was buried in the Baqi’ graveyard in Madina. May Allah have mercy on him and put light in his grave.

Sincere Love for Allah and the Prophet

Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya inherited piety, honesty, and good character from his father (may Allah be pleased with him). He aspired to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah in all matters, big and small, with a passion not found in many scholars. He had extreme love for the Prophet and the blessed city of Madina. His students have related that whenever the death of the Messenger was mentioned during a lecture on Sunan Abi Dawud or Sahih al-Bukhari, his eyes would well up with tears, his voice would choke up, and he would be overcome with crying. So evocative were his tears that his students could do nothing but weep with raised voices.

He was often tested with regard to his sincerity. He was offered many teaching jobs at two or three times the salary that was customarily given at Mazahir ‘Ulum, but he always graciously declined the offers. For most of his teaching career, Shaykh Zakariyya never accepted any money for his services at Mazahir ‘Ulum; he did the work voluntarily, seeking Allah’s pleasure. Although he did accept a small salary at the beginning of his career, he later totaled up the amount and paid it back in its entirety.


Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya was married twice. He first married the daughter of Shaykh Ra’uf al-Hasan in Kandhla. She passed away on Dhu ‘l-Hijja 5 1355 AH. He then married the daughter of Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi in 1356 AH. Allah blessed him with five daughters and three sons from his first wife, and two daughters and one son from his second marriage.

Daily Routine

Shaykh Zakariyya organized his time meticulously. He would rise an hour before dawn and occupy himself in tahajjud and recitation of Qur’an before performing the Fajr prayer in the masjid. After Fajr, he would read his morning supplications and litany until sunrise.

Thereafter he would go to meet with some people and drink tea (but never ate anything with it). He would then return to his quarters to read. During this time he would also research and compile his literary works, and, with few exceptions, no one was allowed to visit him at this time. When it was time for lunch he would come out and sit with his guests, who were from all walks of life; he would respect and treat them well, irrespective of who they were. After Zuhr prayer, he would take a siesta and then spent some time listening to his correspondence (which amounted to around forty or fifty letters daily from different places) and dictating replies. He also taught for two hour before ‘Asr. After ‘Asr, he would sit with a large group of people, offering them tea. After performing Maghrib, he would remain devoted in solitude to optional prayer and to supplication. He did not take an evening meal except to entertain an important guest.


Shaykh Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi says about his characteristics, “He was extremely vibrant,never lazy; light-hearted, smiling, cheerful, friendly; and he often jested with his close friends and acquaintances. We saw in him good character and forbearance with people, as well as a rare humility; and above all, his personal qualities were always governed by his deep faith and sense of contentment.”



He had always hoped to meet Allah while in the city of the Messenger (SallAllahu alaihi Wasallam); Allah granted his wish. He died there on Monday Sha’ban 1, 1402 AH (May 24, 1982 CE) and was buried in Jannat al-Baqi’, in the company of the Companions and the noble family members of the Messenger (SallAllahu alaihi Wasallam). His funeral procession was followed by a large number of people and he was buried in the Baqi’ graveyard next to his teacher Shaykh Khaliq Ahmad Saharanpuri. May Allah forgive him, grant mercy, and elevate his status. Amin.

Scholars’ Praise of Him

Many scholars, both Arab and non-Arab, have praised him and recognized his knowledge and excellence. ‘Allama Muhammad Yusuf Binnori relates, Indeed there are some remnants of the scholars of past generations living today among the scholars of today’s generation. They have been guided to praiseworthy efforts in multiple religious sciences, such as jurisprudence; they are on par with the previous generations in their knowledge, excellence, fear of Allah, and piety; they stir up memories of the blessed golden age of scholarship. Among these scholars is a unique figure envied for his excellence in knowledge and action, the author of outstanding, beneficial works and of beautiful, superb commentaries: Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi Saharanpuri.

Shaykh Sa’id Ahmad, the head of Islamic studies at the University of Aligarh, UP, relates, It is evident to one who take a look at his works that he had a brilliancy, both in knowledge and with the pen, like that of Ibn al-Jawzi and Imam Ghazali. Of the scholars of his era I know of no one comparable to him in this regard, except Imam ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Farangi Mahalli (of Lucknow).

Shaykh Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi relates that Shaykh ‘Alawi al-Maliki said, When he reports the ruling and evidences of the Maliki school [in his writings], we Malikis are astonished at the accuracy and integrity of the report…. If the author had not mentioned in the introduction of [his] book that he was a Hanafi, I would not have known that he was

Hanafi, but would have definitely concluded that he was a Maliki, since in his Awjaz he cites by-laws and derivatives of the Maliki school from there books that even we have a hard time obtaining.


Shaykh Zakariyya had numerous students who spread around the world and continue, to this day, to serve Islam, particularly establishing traditional Islamic schools in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, Canada, America, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and other countries. Some of his more prominent students in the field of hadith were Muhaddith Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi (d. 1384 AH), author of Amani ‘l-Ahbar Sharh Ma’ani ‘l-Athar, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Jabbar A’zami, author of Imdad al-Bari (Urdu commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari), and Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi (d. 1417 AH). Many other scholars and students also acquired authorizations in hadith from him, including Dr. Mustafa’ al-Siba’i, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, Dr. Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki and Shaykh Muhammad Taha al-Barakati.

Written Works

Shaykh Zakariyya wrote many works both in Arabic and Urdu. A number of them treat specialized subjects intended for scholars, and the rest have been written for the general public. His works demonstrate his deep knowledge and intelligence; his ability to understand the issue at hand, research it thoroughly, and present a complete, clear and comprehensive discussion; his moderation, humility, patience, and attention to detail. His respect and awe for the pious predecessors are evident in his works, even when he disagrees with their opinions on any particular aspect.

His first written work was a three volume commentary of the Alfiyya ibn Malik (on Arabic grammar), which he wrote as a student when he was only thirteen. His written works amount to over one hundred. He did not withhold any rights to his works and made it publicly known that he only published his works for the sake of Allah’s pleasure. Whoever wished to publish them was permitted to, on the condition that they were left unaltered and their accuracy maintained.

Hence, his books have gained overwhelming acceptance throughout the world, so much so that his work Fada’il al-Qur’an [Virtues of the Qur’an] has been translated into eleven languages, Fada’il Ramadan [Virtues of Ramadan] into twelve languages, and Fada’il al-Salat [Virtues of Prayer] into fifteen languages. He wrote four books on Qur’an commentary [tafsir] and proper recitation [tajwid], forty-four books on hadith and its related sciences, six books on jurisprudence [fiqh] and its related sciences, twenty-four historical and biographical books, four books on Islam creed [aqida], twelve books on abstinence [zuhd] and heartsoftening accounts [riqaq], three books in Arabic grammar and logic, and six books on modern-day groups and movements.

Some of His Hadith Works

One can find a complete list and description of his books in the various biographies written on him. Here is a brief description of a few of his more popular works on hadith:

Awjaz al-Masalik ila Muwatta’ Imam Malik: One of the most comprehensive commentaries on the Muwatta of Imam Malik in terms of the science of hadith, jurisprudence, and hadith explication. Shaykh Zakariyya provides the summaries of many other commentaries in a clear, intellectual, and scholarly way, dealing with the various opinions on each issue, mentioning the differences of opinions among the various scholars, and comparing their evidences. This commentary, written in Arabic, has won great acclaim from a number of Maliki scholars.

Lami’ al-Dirari ‘ala Jami’ al-Bukhari: Written in Arabic, a collection of the unique remarks and observations on Sahih al-Bukhari presented by Shaykh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. These lifelong acquired wisdoms were recorded by his student Shaykh Yahya Kandhlawi (Shaykh Zakariyya’s father) during their lessons. Shaykh Zakariyya edited, arranged, and commented on his father’s compilation, clarifying the text and adding a comprehensive introduction at the beginning.

Al-Abwab wa ‘l-Tarajim li ‘l-Bukhari: An explanation of the chapter headings of Imam Bukhari’s Sahih al-Bukhari. Assigning chapter headings in a hadith collection is a science in itself, known among the scholars as al-abwab wa ‘l-tarajim [chapters and explanations]. In it, the compiler explains the reasons for the chapter heading and the connections between the chapter headings and the hadiths quoted therein. It is well known that the commentators of Sahih al-Bukhari have paid special attention to the titles therein, in tune with the Arabic saying: “The fiqh of Bukhari is in his chapter headings” [fiqh al-Bukhari fi tarajimihi]. Shaykh Zakariyya not only quotes and compiles what has been mentioned by other scholars like Shah Wali Allah al-Dehlawi and Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, but also correlates and clarifies these opinions and presents findings from his own research in many instances.

Juz’ Hajjat al-Wida’ wa ‘Umrat al-Nabi : A comprehensive Arabic commentary on the detailed accounts of the pilgrimage [hajj] of Allah’s Messenger. It includes the details of any juridical discussions on the various aspects of pilgrimage, giving the locations, modern-day names, and other details of the places the Messenger of Allah passed by or stayed at.

Khasa’il Nabawi Sharh Shama’il al-Tirmidhi: Composed in urdu, a commentary on Imam Tirmidhi’s renowned work al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyya, a collection of hadiths detailing the characteristics of the Messenger. This commentary explains the various aspects related to the different characteristics and practices of Allah’s Messenger. It has been translated into English and is widely available.


:: Biography of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas; First Ameer of Tableeghi Jamaat (RA)

Early Days

On the outskirts of Delhi, near the tomb of Khwaja Nizamuddin, there lived, some seventy years ago, a godly person in the house on top of the red gate of the historical building called Chaunsath Khamba. His name was Maulana Mohammad Ismail. Maulana Mohammad Ismail


The. ancestral home of Maulana Mohammad Ismail was in Jhanjhana in the district of Muzaffarnagar. But when, after the death of his (Ismail) first wife, he married again in the family of Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Kandhlawi, who belonged to the same ancestry as him, he visited Kandhla frequently and it became a second home to him.

The family of Siddiqui Sheikhs of Jhanjhana and Kandhla had been known, for generations, for piety and learning, and was held in high esteem in the neighborhood. The lines of descent of Maulana Mohammad Ismail and Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh Become one, six generations upwards. with Molvi Mohammad Sharif. The lineage runs as follows: Maulana Mohammad Ismail, son of Ghulam Husain, son, of Hakim Karim Bakhsh, son of Hakim Ghulam Mohiuddin, son of Molvi Mohammad Sajid, son of Mofti Mohammed Faiz, son of Molvi Mohammad Sharif, son of Molvi Mohammad Ashraf, son of Sheikh Jamal Mohammad Shah, son of Sheikh Baban Shah, son of Sheikh Bahauddin Shah, son of Molvi Mohammad Sheikh, son of Sheikh Mohammad Fazil, son of Es Sheikh Qutub Shah.

Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh

Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh was among the most outstanding pupils of Shah Abdul Aziz. Besides being a distinguished teacher, author and legist, he was, also a Unani physician of a high order, and possessed a thorough knowledge of both the rational and traditional sciences. He had a great command over Arabic, Persian and Urdu poetry as well, as is borne out by his commentary of Banat Su’ad in which he has translated every line of Hazrat K’ab into Arabic, Persian and Urdu verse. He left behind about 40 books in Arabic and Persian of which Shiyamul Habib and Mathnaawi Maulana Rum Ka Takmial are more famous.

Mufti Ilahi Bakhsh had taken ba’it at the hand of Shah Abdul Aziz. A glowing proof of his sincerity and selflessness was that though he was a renowned spiritual mentor himself, on the death of Shah Abdul Aziz, he felt no hesitation in taking ba’it at the hand of the latter’s young deputy, Syed Ahmad Shaheed, who was about 28 years his junior in age, and in seeking guidance from him. Mufti Sahib was born in 1748, and died in 1831, at the age of 83 years. All his sons and grandsons were men of learning and position. Scholarship and religiousness have been the characteristics of this family Molvi Abul Hasan’s Mathnawi, Gulzar-i-Ibrahim, which forms a part of his well-known work, Bahr-i- Haqiqat, is a poem of rare spiritual feeling. Till recently, it was very popular. His son,
Molvi Nurul Hasan, and all the four grandsons, Molvi Ziaul Hasan, Molvi Akbar, Molvi Sulaiman and Hakim Molvi Ibrahim, attained to fame as worthy representatives of their celebrated ancestors.

Maulana Muzaffar Husain

Mufti Saheb’s nephew, Maulana Muzaffar Husain, who was a most favorite pupil of Shah Is’haq and a deputy of Shah Mohammad Yaqub, and had, also, been favored with the company of Syed Ahmad Shaheed, was a very pious and godly person. He never touched anything that was of doubtful purity in the eyes of the Shariat. Incidents of his humility and prayer and fullness are still fresh in the memory of the people of the neighboring areas and serve as a reminder to the glorious days of the earliest decades of Islam.

The maternal grand-daughter of Maulana Muzaffar Husain was married to Maulana Mohammad Ismail. It was his second marriage which was solemnized on October 3 1868. Maulana Mohammad Ismail was the tutor of the children of Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh, who was related to Bahadur Shah Zafar the last of the Mughal Emperors. He lived, as we have seen. in the house on top of the red gate of Chaunsath Khamba. Close to it, was a small mosque with a tin shed in front which used to serve as the parlor of Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh, and, owing to it, it was called Bangle Wali Masjid.

The Maulana was spending his days in obscurity and even Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh had no idea of his high station till he had a personal experience of how the Maualna prayers were granted by God. Worship, Zikr (repeating the Names, praise and Attributes of the Lord), attending to the needs of the travelers and teaching the Quran giving instruction in the Faith were his sole occupation in life. He used to take down the load from the heads of the thirsty laborers who passed the way place it on the ground, draw water from the well and give it to them to drink, and, then, offer two Rak’ats of Salaat, expressing gratitude to the Lord that He had given him the opportunity to serve His bondsmen, though he did not deserve it. He had attained the state of Ihsan.

Once, as he requested Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi to teach him Sulook, the latter remarked, “You don’t need it. You have already attained the objective that is to be reached through this method. It is like a person who has read the Quran saying that he should, also, read the elementary text book of Arabic because he had not begun with it”.

The Maulana was very fond of the recitation of the Quran An old wish of his was that he went on grazing the goats and reciting the Quran. He was very particular about some member of his family keeping vigil in the night. His second son, Maulana Yahya, used to study till midnight, and, then the Maulana himself got up and Maulana Yahya went to bed, and for the last part of the night, he woke up his eldest son, Maulana Mohammad.

The Maulana never bore a grudge against anyone. His detachment with the world was so complete that it had made him attached to everybody. All the persons who came into contact with him were impressed by his piety, sincerity and selflessness. Leaders of the different warring groups of Delhi held him in the highest esteem, and put an equal trust in him, though they disliked each other so much that none of them was willing to offer Salaat behind the other.

The link with Mewat, too, was established in his lifetime. It is related that, once, he went out in the hope of finding a Muslim whom he could bring to the mosque and offer Salaat with him On meeting some Muslim laborers, he inquired from them where they were going.? “We are going in search of work”, they replied. “How much do you expect to earn?’ asked the Maulana. The laborers, thereupon, told him about the daily wages they, generally, received. “If you get the same here,” the Maulana asked, “What is the use of going elsewhere ” The laborers agreed and the Maulana took them to the mosque and began to teach the Salaat and the Quran. He would pay them their wages every day and keep them engaged in their lessons. In a few days, they developed the habit of offering up Salaat. Such was the beginning of the Madrassa of Bangle Wali Masjid, and these laborers were its first scholars. After it, about ten Mewati students always remained in the Madrassa and their meals used to come from the house of Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh.

Death of Maulana Mohammad Ismail

Maulana Mohammad Ismail died on :26th February, 1898 in Khajoor Wali Masjid at the Tiraha of Bahram in Delhi. The number of mourners, at his funeral, was so large that though long bamboo poles had been tied to the either side of the bier to enable them to lend a shoulder to it, many people did not get a chance during the entire route of three- and-a-half miles from Delhi to Nizamuddin.

Muslims belonging to various sects and schools of thought, who never got together, joined the procession. The Maulana’s second son, Maulana Mohammad Yahya, narrates that my elder brother, Maulana Mohammad, was a very soft-hearted person and had a most obliging nature. Fearing that he might invite someone to lead the funeral service behind whom people of another sect or group refused to offer the prayer, and, thus an unpleasant situation arose, I stepped forward and said that I would lead the service. Everyone then, offered the prayers peacefully and there was no dissent or commotion.

Owing to the vast concourse of men, the funeral service had to be held a number of times and the burial was delayed. During it, a venerable person and another man known for his spirituality had a vision that Maulana Mohammad Ismail was saying, “Send me off soon. I am feeling ashamed The Holy Prophet is waiting for me

The Maulana had three sons: Maulana Mohammad from the first wife, and Maulana Mohammad Yahya and Maulana Mohammad Ilyas from the second, who was the maternal granddaughter of Maulana Muzaffar Husain The Maulana had married her after the death of his first wife.

Maulana Mohammed Ilyas

Maulana Mohammed Ilyas was born in 1885 His childhood was spent in maternal grandfather’s home in Kandhla, and with his father at Nizamuddin. In those days, the Kandhla family was the cradle of godliness and piety so much so that reports of the high religiosity nightly devotions and Zikr and Tilawat of its members, both male and female, would seem imaginary and fictitious to the faint-hearted men of our time

The ladies used to recite the Quran themselves in the Nafl prayers as well listen to its Tarawih and other Nafl prayers. standing behind the male relatives The month of Ramadan, in particular, was the springtime for the Quran. It was read for long hours, almost in every home The limit of absorption was that, sometimes, the ladies forgot to pay attention to purdah and would not become aware of the coming of outsiders in the house at a time of urgent need.

The Quran with its translation and commentary in Urdu, and Mazaahir-i-Haq Mashariq ul Anwaar and His-i-Haseen formed the limit of the education of the ladies. Deeds and accomplishments of the families of Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Shah Abdul Aziz were the most popular themes of conversation, and facts regarding these illustrious men of God were on everybody’s lips. Instead of the stories of kings and fairies, ladies of the household related these to the children.

Ammi Bi Maulana Ilyas’s maternal grandmother

The Maulana’s maternal grandmother, Amtus Salam, who was the daughter of Maulana Muzaffar Husain and was known in the family as Ammi Bi, was a very pious lady. About her Salaat, the Maulana, once observed “I saw her likeness of Ammi Bi’s Salaat of Maulana Gangohi”

During the last phase of her life, Ammi Bi’s state was that she never asked for food and ate only when someone placed before her. It was a large family and there was always so much to do. If the thought of having her meal! did not occur to her in the midst of domestic chores, she simply went hungry. Once, someone said to her, “You are so old and weak. How do you manage to without food ?” “I draw sustenance from my Tasbihat (remembrance of Allah) was her repy”

Bi Safia, Maulana Ilyas’s mother

The mother of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, Bi Safia, had learnt the Quran by heart and attained great distinction in it. It was a regular practice with her to recite the whole of the Quran and additional ten Juze (part) every day during Ramadan. She, thus, completed forty recitals of the Quran in that month and was so fluent in it that her household duties did not suffer on account of it. See, generally, kept herself engaged in some work while doing the recitation. Apart from the month of Ramadan, her daily routine of worship included: DURUD Sharif, 5,000 times; Ism-i-Zaat Allah, 5,000 times; Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, 1,000 times, Yaa Mughnee-u 1,100 times, La illaaha illallaah, 1,200 times Yaa-Haiyyu, Ya Qaiyum 200 times, Hasbiallaah wa ni’mul Vakil, 500 times; Subhan Allah, 200 times; Alhamdu lillaah, 200 times; La ilaaha illallaah, 200 times; Allah O-Akbar, 200 times; Istighfar, 500 times; Ofwwizu amree illallaah, 100 times; Hasbunallaah wa ni’mul Vakil, 1000 times; Rabb-i in-ni maghloobun fantasir, 1,000 times: Rabb-i-inni masanni-az-zurru wa anla ar-hamur rahimeen, 100 times; Laa ilaaha enta subhanaka in-ni kunzu minaz-zalimeen, 100 times. In addition, she recited a Manzil (1/7) of the Quran everyday.

Like all other children in the family, the Maulana Ilyas began his education in the maktab, and, according to the family tradition, learnt the Quran by heart. The learning of the Quran was so common in the family. that in the one-and-a-half row of worshippers in the family mosque, there was not a single non Hafiz except the Muezzin. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was Ammi Bi’s favorite child. She used to say; to him. “Ilyas, I feel the aroma of the holy Companions in you. ” Sometimes, placing her hand on his back, she would say, “How is it that I see figures resembling the holy Companions moving along with you?

From his childhood, there was present in Maulana Mohammad Ilyas a touch of the religious ardour and fervent feeling of the blessed Companions which had led Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan to remark that “when I see Mohammad Ilyas, I am reminded of the holy Companions. Eagerness and enthusiasm for Faith were ingrained in his nature. Even in his early days, he, sometimes, did things which were much above the common level of the children. Riazul Islam Kandhlawi, a class fellow of his in .he Maktab, says that “when we were reading in the Maktab, he, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, once, came with a stick and said, “Comes Riazul Islam, let us do Jihaad against those who do not offer up Salaat

Stay at Gangoh

In 1893, his elder brother, Mohammad Yahya, went to live at Gangoh with Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas used to live with his father at Nizamuddin, and, sometimes, with his maternal grand-father’s family at Kandhla. At Nizamuddin, his education was being neglected owing to the over- fondness of his father and his own excessive occupation with prayers. Maulana Yahya, thus, requested his father that as the education of Mohammad Ilyas was suffering, he might be allowed to take him to Gangoh. The father agreed – and Maulana Mohammad Ilyas came to Gangoh in 1896 or early 1897 where Mohammad Yahya began to teach him regularly.

Gangoh, in those days, was the seat of Sufi-saints and savants, the benefit of whose company was constantly available to Maulana Mohammad Ilyas. A greater part of his impression able age was spent there. When he went to live at Gangoh, he was 10 or 11 years old, and at the time of Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi death, in 1905, he was a young man of about 20. Thus, he stayed with Maulana Gangohi for about 9 years.

Maulana Mohammad Yahya was an ideal teacher and benefactor. He wanted his brother to derive the utmost advantage from the society of those illustrious men. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas used to tell that when the Ulema who had been the favorite pupils or disciples of Maulana Gangohi came to Gangoh, his brother would, often, stop the lessons and say that his education, then, lay in sitting with them and listening to their conversation.

Usually, Maulana Gangohi did not take bait from children and students. It was only when they had completed their education that he allowed them to take the pledge. But owing to the exceptional merit of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, he, at his request, permitted him to do the bait at his hand.

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas had been born with a loving heart. Such a strong attachment did he develop for Maulana Gangohi that he felt no peace without him. He would, often, get up in the night, go and see the Maulana’s face, and return to his bed. Maulana Gangohi, too, had a great affection for him. once, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas told his brother of severe headache after which he could not bend his head even to the extent of performing the Sajdah on a pillow for months. Maulana Gangohi son, Hakim Masud Ahmad, who was his physician, had a peculiar method of treatment. In certain diseases, he forbade the use of water for a long time which was :unbearable to most of the patients. But with the strength of mind that was so characteristic of him, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas abided strictly by the advice of his physician and abstained from drinking water for full seven years, and, during the next five years, he drank it only sparingly.

There was little hope that he would be to resume his education after the discontinuation owing to illness. He was very keen to take it up again, but his well-wishers would not allow. One day, as Maulana Mohammad Yahya said to him what he would, in any case, do by studying, he retorted, “What will I do by living?” Ultimately, he succeeded in resuming his studies.

The death of Maulana Gangohi occurred in 1905. Maulana Mohammed Ilyas who was at his bedside during the dying moments and reciting the Sura of Ya-Sin, was so deeply affected by it that he used, often, to say, “Two shocks have been most painful to me. One was of the death of my father, and the other, of the death of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi. ” In 1908, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas went to Deoband where he studied Tirmizi and Sahih Bukhari from Maulana Mahmood Hasan. The latter advised him to approach Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri for spiritual guidance and instruction, since his mentor, Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, was no more, and, thus, he completed the various stages of Sulook under Maulana Saharanpuri’s supervision.

Absorption in prayers

During his stay at Gangoh, after the death of Maulana Gangohi, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, generally, remained silent and spent most of his time in meditation. Says Maulana Mohammad Zakaria, “We read elementary Persian from him those days. His practice, then, was that he sat cross legged, and in utter silence, on a coarse mat behind the tomb of Shah Abdul Quddus. We presented ourselves for the lesson, opened the book, and placed it before him, indicating with the finger where we were to begin from on that day. We would read aloud and translate the Persian verses. When we made a mistake, he would shut the book with a movement of the finger, and the lesson came to an end. It meant that we were to go back, prepare the lesson thoroughly, and, then, come again . . . …………….. He used to offer Nafl prayers much and often at that time. From Maghrib till a little before Isha, he devoted himself exclusively to Nawafil. His age, then, was between 20 and 25 years.

Ardor and eagerness

Ardor and eagerness, without which no real success is possible in any field, were deeply rooted in him. It was by sheer determination and earnestness that he accomplished what he did in spite of persistent ill-health. One day, during his last illness, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas related that “once I was so ill and feeling so weak that I could not go down the stairs. All of a sudden, I heard that Maulana Saharanpuri had come to Delhi and I was so excited that I left for Delhi immediately on foot and forgot all about my illness and exhaustion. It was in the way that I remembered I was sick.

Contact with other spiritual mentors

Regular contact with other spiritual mentors and disciples of Maulana Gangohi was maintained during those days. About Shah Abdur Rahim Raipuri and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi he used to say that they abided in his heart. They, too, had a great regard and affection for him owing to his extraordinary qualities.

Spirit of Jehad

Together with Zikr, Saga (spiritual exercises and exertions) Nawafil and Ibadaat, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was, also, infused with the spirit of Jehad. Throughout his life, he was never without it, and had, in fact, taken the pledge of Jehad at the hand of Maulana Mahmood Hasan for that very reason.

Estimation in the eyes of elders

From his early days, he was held in the highest esteem by the elders of the family as well as the spiritual leaders of the day. Maulana Mohammad Yahya was like a father to him, yet the former’s attitude towards his younger brother was like that of the sacred Prophet towards Hazrat Usman Indifferent health prevented him from taking part in duties involving physical labor. He concentrated wholly on his studies, and on Zikr, and other forms of worship. Maulana Mohammad Yahya, on the contrary, was a very industrious person. He owned a bookshop which he managed with great care. It was not only his source of livelihood, but of his brothers as well. One day, the manager of the shop said that Maulana Mohammad Ilyas did not take any interest in the business which was not good for him, too, benefited from it. When Maulana Mohammad Yahya heard of it, he was very angry and remarked that “a Tradition has it that the sustenance that reaches you and the help you receive from the Lord is due to the blessedness of the weaker ones among you. I believe that I am receiving my sustenance owing to the good fortune of this child. Nothing should be said to him in future. If there is anything to say, it should be said to me.
Sometimes, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was asked to lead the service in the presence of renowned theologians and spiritual leaders. Once Shah Abdur Rahim Raipuri, Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi happened to be in Kandhla. When the time for Salaat came and Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was asked to lead it, a senior member of the family, Molvi Badrul Hasan, humorously remarked that “such a small engine has been fastened to so many big carriages.” “It depends on the power (not the size of the engine”, replied one of them.

Career with a teacher in Mazaahirul Uloom

In 1910, a large number of men, including most of the senior teachers of the Madrassa of Mazaahirul Uloom, left for the Haj from Saharanpur. It necessitated the recruitment of new teachers for the Madrassa, Maulana Mohammad Ilyas being one of them. He was given the secondary books to teach. On the return of the senior teachers from the Pilgrimage, all the new entrants were relieved of their duties, but the services of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas were retained.

At Mazaahirul Uloom, the Maulana had to teach some books which he had not read himself as, in Maulana Mohammad Yahya’s scheme of instruction, it was not customary to complete the books, and Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, further, had to miss some secondary books owing to ill-health. During his teaching days, he tried hard to make up for the deficiency and prepared his lectures carefully. For instance, for teaching Kinzul Daqa’iq, he studied Bahr-ur-Ra’iq, Shaami and Hadaya, and consulted even Hisami’s notes and comments when he taught Nurul Anawaar.

Marriage The Maulana married the daughter of his maternal uncle, Maulana Rauful Hasans on Friday, October 17, 1912 was performed by Maulana Mohammad, and Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, Shah Abdur Rahim Raipuri an Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, all the three of them, attended the ceremony. Maulana Thanwi’s celebrated sermon, Fuwayid us Suhbat, which has subsequently been published times without number, was delivered on that occasion.


First Haj

In 1915, Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri and Maulana Mahmood Hasan, decided lo go on the Haj Pilgrimage. When Maulana Mohammad Ilyas came to know of it, he was strongly seized with the desire to perform the Haj. He felt that it would become dark and gloomy in India with their departure and he would not be able to live in Saharanpur any more. But there was the question of permission. As his sister, the wife of Molvi Ikrarnul Hasan, saw his distress, she offered her ornaments to meet the expenses of the Pilgrimage. Contrary to expectations, the Maulana’s mother gave her consent. after which Maulana Mohammad Yahya, also, agreed. The Maulana, then, wrote to Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri asking for his permission, and explained that as far as she wherewithal for the journey was concerned, three courses were open to him. He could take his sister’s ornaments or borrow the amount or accept the offers of money made by certain relatives. Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri preferred the third course. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas was fortunate enough to travel by the same boat as Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri. He sailed in August, 1914 , and returned in February, 1915, to resume the teaching at the Madrassa.

Death of Maulana Mohammad Yahya

The death of Maulana Mohammad Yahya, on Wednesday, the 9th of August, 1915, was an extremely sad and frustrating event for the Maulana. In addition to being a most affectionate brother, he was, also, his teacher and benefactor. He could not get over the shock till the end of his days. He used to get lost in thought and a peculiar kind of abstraction took possession of him when he talked about his brother.

Stay at Nizamuddin

Two years after the death of Maulana Mohammad Yahya, the eldest brother of Maulana Mohamad Ilyas, Maulana Mohammad, also, passed away. He was a man of angelic disposition and an embodiment of affection, piety and humility. He loved solitude and cared little for worldly comforts. He lived in Bangle Wali Masjid, at Nizamuddin, in the place of his late father. There was a Madrassa in the mosque which had been founded by Maulana Mohammad Ismail. Only primary education was imparted in it, and, among its pupils were mostly the children from Mewat. It had no regular source of income and reliance was placed solely upon God for meeting its needs.

Many people of Delhi and Mewat were devoted to Maulana Mohammad and had benefited from his guidance. His face had the radiance of spirituality. He, often, gave the sermon, but in an informal, conversational way. He remained seated during it, and, generally, read out the Traditions on good morals and Zuhd, ( Islamic asceticism ) and explained their meaning in a simple language.

Once Maulana Mohammad developed a boil under an eye which had to be opened seven times. The doctors insisted on administering the anesthetic but he refused to take it and lay motionless throughout the operation. The surgeon, afterwards, said, that he had not seen the like of it in his life.

Maulana Mohammad spent most of his time in prayer and meditation. During the 16 years before his death, he did not miss the Tahajjud( before dawn prayer ) prayers even once, and breathed his last while performing the Sajda in the Namaz of Witr.

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas had route to Delhi to look after his sick brother and was staying with him in the Nawab Wali Masjid of Qassab Pura. It was there that Maulana Mohammad died and the burial took place at Nizamuddin. Thousands of men attended the funeral.

After the burial, people urged upon Maulana Muhammad Ilyas to take up residence at Nizamuddin in order to fill the void caused by the death of his father and brother. They, also, promised monthly donations for the Madrassa to which the Maulana agreed subject to certain conditions which he observed throughout his life.

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas had made it clear that he would come to Nizamuddin and take charge of the Madrassa only if Maulana Khaiil Ahmad Saharanpuri approved. Upon it, several persons offered to go to Saharanpur to obtain the permission, but Maulana Mohammad Ilyas checked them saying that it was not the way to do it. He would go himself, unaccompanied by anyone.

The Maulana, thus, went to Saharanpur and explained the whole thing to Maulana Khalil Ahmad. The latter gave his approval, but added that, in the first instance, only a year’s Ieave be taken from Mazaahirul Uloom and if the stay at Nizamuddin proved useful and it was decided to settle down there permanently, he could resign at any time.

But before Maulana. Muhammad Ilyas could move to Nizamuddin, he was suddenly taken ill with pleurisy and went to Kandhla where his condition worsened. One night his illness took such a grave turn that all hope was lost. The pulse sank and the body became cold, but God had to take some work from him. unexpectedly, he began to improve, and, in a few days, was able to leave the bed.

On regaining health, Maulana came to Nizamuddin from Kandhla. In those days, there was no habitation in that part of Nizamuddin, and, adjoining the mosque, there was a thick growth of trees and underbrush. Maulana Ihtishamul Hasan who, in his childhood, had come to live, for sometime, with Maulana Mohammad Ilyas tells that “I used to go out and stand in the hope of seeing ‘a human face. When anyone appeared, I felt so happy as if someone had given me a precious gift.”

A small pucca (built of bricks) mosque, a shed, a living apartment, a small settlement of the attendants of the tomb to the south of it, and a few Mewati and non-Mewati students that as all that formed the world of the mosque and the Madrassa.

The resources of the Madrassa were so meager that, some times, they had to starve, but. the Maulana bore it all with a cheerful heart. Occasionally, be would say plainly, that there was nothing to eat. Whoever wanted to stay’ might stay and whoever wanted to go might go and make his arrangement elsewhere. The moral and spiritual training the students were receiving, however, was such that none of them. was willing to leave. Often, they would live on wild fruits. The scholars themselves brought wood from the forest to prepare the chappati (flat bread) which they ate with chutney (pickle) The extreme poverty made no impression on the Maulana. What worried him was the prospect of abundance and prosperity which, he was sure, was going to open up, according to the practice of the Lord, after the phase of trial and tribulation.

The outward appearance of the Madrassa held no interest for the Maulana. He was supremely unconcerned with it. Once, during his absence, some residential quarters were built for its staff through the efforts of Haji Abdur Rahman, an old friend of his and an ex-student of the Madrassa, which made the Maulana so angry that he did not speak to him for a long time. The Maulana remarked that the real thing was education, and, referring to a certain Madrassa, said that its building had become pucca, but the standard of education had gone down.

Once a prominent merchant of Delhi begged the Maulana to supplicate to the Lord for him in a very important matter, and presented him a purse. The Maulana agreed to pray on his behalf, but declined to accept the’ money. Haji Abdur Rahman, however, took it in view of the chronic financial difficulties of the Madrassa, but the Maulana had no peace until he had it returned. He used to impress upon Haji Abdur Rahrnan that the work of faith was not carried out with motley, otherwise much wealth would have been granted to the holy Prophet

Worshipfulness Maulana Mohamrnad Ilyas, exclusively, kept himself occupied with prayers and other spiritual exertions in those days. He had inherited the inclination for it from his ancestors which blossomed up during the stay at Nizamuddin. He sought solitude and carried out vigorous exercises for the purification of the soul. According to Haji Abdur Rahman, the Maulana remained in seclusion for long hours at the gate of Arab Sara which was the favorite place of worship of Hazrat Nizmuddin Aulia, and was situated to he north of Humayun’s tomb. near the mausoleum of Abdur Rahim Khan Khana and the grave of Syed Nur Mohammad Badaynni, the spiritual mentor of Mazhar jan-i-Janan. Usually, his mid-day meal was sent there while the evening meal he took at home, He offered the five daily prayers in congregation. Haji Abdur Rahman and his fellow students used to go to the gate to form the congregation, and for their lessons, they, sometimes, went there, and, some times, the Maulana himself came to Chukkar Wali Masjid.


The Maulana performed the Wuzu (abulation) and offered two Rak’ats of Namaz before commencing the lesson of the Traditions, and remarked that the claim of the Traditions was even greater. He did not talk to anyone, however important, while teaching the Traditions, nor ever complained if the meal came late from Nizamuddin, nor found fault with food.

Interest in teaching

The Maulana took keen interest in his pupils and personally taught all the subjects, elementary as well as advanced. Sometimes, he had as many as eighty students directly under his instruction, and took the class of Mustadrak_i_Haakim before Fajr.

The main emphasis in his method of teaching was on the application of mind. He wanted the students to come thoroughly prepared. The Maulana did not follow the general syllabus of the Madrassas in the selection of books and many books that were but prescribed in the other Madrassas were taught at Nizamuddin He thought of new ways to stimulate the students and develop the faculties of imagination and understanding in them.

Beginnings of the movement of Religious Reform in Meewat

The area to the south of Delhi where the Meos have been settled from the olden days is called Mewat, Presently, it includes the Gurgaon district of the Punjab, the native states of Alwar and Bharatpur and the district of Mathura of the United Provinces. Like all other regions, its boundaries, too, have been changing from time to time and the dimensions of the old Mewat must have been different from what they are now.

The English historians hold that the Meos do not come from the Aryan stock, but are related to the non-Aryan races of ancient India. Their history, thus, dates far back than that of the Rajput families of Aryan blood. According to them, the Khanzadas (lowest order of Mughal nobility) of Mewat, however, belong to the same ethnic group as the Rajputs, and, in the Persian history books, wherever the word ‘Mewati’ occurs, it denotes the very Khanzadas. We, further, learn from Ain-i-Akbari that the Jatau Rajputs came to be known as Mewatis on embracing Islam.

In the annals of Firoz Shahi dynasty, Mewat is mentioned, for the first time, in the memoirs of Shamsuddin Al-timash. The Mewatis had become very troublesome during the early days of the Muslim Kingdom of Delhi. Aided by the long range of thick forests that extended up to Delhi, they used to raid it frequently and had become such a terror that the gates of the capital were shut at sunset. Still, they managed to enter the town in the night in search of plunder. Ghayasuddin Balban, thereupon, dispatched a strong military force against the Mewatis, killing a large number of them. Outposts manned by the Afghan soldiers were set up in Delhi, the surrounding forests were cut down and the land was brought under cultivation. Mewat, thereafter, remained in oblivion for about a hundred years

After the long lull, the Mewati adventuress, again, became active and started harassing the people of Delhi which forced the authorities to take punitive action against them from time to time. The names of Bahadur Nahir and his successors are, particularly, mentioned in the chronicles in this connection. They succeeded in establishing the Kingdom of Mewat which was, later, reduced to a Jagir (a feudal estate) by the rulers of Delhi.

Another prominent Mewatis was Lakhan Pal who brought the whole of Mewat and its outlying territory under his domination. He embraced Islam during die reign of Firoz Shah.

Moral and religious condition

Owing to the negligence of the Muslims religious teachers, the moral arid religious condition of the Mewatis had sunk so low that there was little to distinguish between their beliefs and practices and wholesale apostasy. Even non-Muslim historians have commented at length on their estrangement with Islam, as the following extract from the Alwar Gazetteer of 1878, written by Major Powlett, will show:

“All the Meos are, now, Muslims, but only in name. Their village deities are the same as those of the Hindu landlords, and they celebrate several Hindu festivals. Holi is a season of special rejoicing among the Mewatis and they observe it like their own festivals, such as, Moharrum, ‘Id and Shab-i-Barat. The same is the case with Janam Ashtami, Dussehra and Diwali, The Meos engage the services of the Brahmins to fix the dates of marriages. They have Hindu names, with the exception of the word ‘Ram’, and their last name, often, is ‘Singh’, though not as frequently as ‘Khan’. Like Ahirs and Gujars, the Mewatis, too, observe Amawas as a holiday on which they abstain from work. When they build a well, they begin with the construction of a parapet in the name of Beeriyi or Hanuman, but when it comes to pillage, they do not show much reverence to the Hindu temples and other places of religious significance. If, on such an occasion, their attention is drawn to the sanctity of these establishments, they, unhesitatingly, says, ‘You are “Does” and we are “Meos”.’ Meos are, largely, ignorant of their faith, i. e., Islam. Very few of them know the Kalima,’ and fewer still observe Namaz regularly. About the hours and rules of namaz, their ignorance is complete. This is the state of the Meos of Alwar. In the British territory of Gurgaon, the position is a little better because of the Madrassas. In some parts of Alwar, also, where the mosques have been built, the religious duties are observed to some extent. A few of them know the Kalima and offer up namaz and an attachment for the Madrassas, also, is found among them. As we have seen earlier, the initial ceremonies of marriage are performed by the Brahmins, but the real ceremony (of nikah) is performed by the Qazi. Men wear dhoti and loin-cloth. The pajamas are not worn at all. Their dress, thus, is wholly Hinduised. Even ornaments of gold are worn by men.”

At another place, Major Powlett writes:

“The Meos are half-Hindu by their habits. Mosques are rarely to be seen in their villages. There are only eight mosques in the fifty villages of the tehsil of Tijarah. Leaving aside the temples, the places of worship of the Meos are very much similar to those of their Hindu neighbors. These are known, for instance as Paanch Peera, Bhaisa and Chahand Chahand or Khera Deo is consecrated to the service of Maha Davi where animals are offered as a sacrifice. In Shah-i-Barat, the banner of Syed Salar Masud Ghazi is worishipped in all Meo villages.”

Similarly, ii the Gazetteer of Gtrgaon (1910), it is stated that ‘‘the Meos, still, are a very loose and careless type of Muslims. They share most of tile customs of the neighboring community specially those which possess an element of fun and merriment . Their basic rule seems to be to observe the religious celebrations of both the communities and disregard the religious duties of either. Lately, some religious teachers have appeared in Mewat and a few Meos have started to keep the fasts of Ramzan and to build mosques in their villages and observe namaz. Their women, too, have taken to wearing Pyjamas instead of the Hindu Chagras. All these are the signs of religious awakening.”

The Gazetteer of Bharatpur, again, says:

“The customs of Meos are a mixture of Hindu and Muslim customs. They observe circumcision, perform nikah and bury their dead. They make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Syed Salar Masud Giiazj at Bahraich, and attach a great importance to the vow taken under his banner, and consider it a religious duty to fulfill it. They, also, visit the other shrines of India, but do not perform the Hajj. Among the Hindu festivals, they celebrate Holi antI Diwali. They do not marry in the family or in their own branch or sub­division of the clan, girls do not have a share in ancestral property, and they give mixed Hindu and Muslim names to their children. They are, wholly, illiterate and have a fair number of bards and minstrels among them whom they pay liberally. Many quatrains on the themes of agriculture and rural life are popular which they love to recite. Their speech is rough arid coarse, and the manner of addressing both men and women is the same. Intoxicants are widely in use. They are extremely weak of faith and highly superstitious, and believe in omens and auguries. Both male and female dresses are Hinduised. In the olden days, infanticide was prevalent, but now it has been given up. Highway robbery and pillage had been’ their traditional profession, but they have been reformed lately. They. however, are still notorious ifor cattle-ifting.’

Moral virtues

All the same, the Meos are distinguished for some excellent moral qualities and their vices and weaknesses are in the nature of the evil ways and practices that become a part of the moral and social pattern of brave and adventurous races as a result of want of education, isolation from the civilized world and indifference towards religion. These were rampant even among the Arabs during the Age of Ignorance. Natural talents and capabilities had taken a wrong turn owing to the perversity of the environment. Chivalry had degenerated into banditry, man­liness had found expression in mutual warfare and bloodshed, sense of pride and self-respect, with no better purpose to serve, had sought fulfillment in the defense of imaginary standards of honor and renown, and high mindedness, for its display, had adopted the path of pomp and flourish on petty occasions in the family or clan. In brief, God-given gifts of mind and character were being put to unworthy use, otherwise there was no dearth of virtue and merit among the Meos,

Rugged simplicity, hardihood and firmness of purpose were the chief characteristics of the Mewatis in which they were far superior to the urban Muslim population. It was on account of these qualities that in spite of having drifted so far away from Islam, the floodtide of Apostasy could not submerge the territory of Mewat even in the darkest period of its history.

For centuries the Maos had been living within the shell of their ignorance keeping by themselves and isolated from the outside world. A parallel can scarcely he found in the Indian history of a community so large and living in such a close proximity to the central seat of power and yet remaining so obscure and isolated. An advantage of it, however, was that the energies of the Mewatis, on the whole, remained conserved, the soil remained virgin while the deplorable habits and customs and superstitious belief and practices were, so to speak, like the weeds and scrubs growing on an uncultivated land. The Meos, in the 20th Century, were very much like the Arabs in the Age of Perversion

Beginnings As we have seen, contact with the Mewatis was established during the lifetime of Maulana Mohammad lsmail. It was not a chance occurrence, but an act of destiny that Maulana Mohammad Ismail came to live in Basti Nizamuddin which was the gateway of Mewat, and much before the arrival of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, seeds of loyalty and devotion of his. family had been sown on its soil.


When the followers of Maulana Mohammad Ismail and Maulana Mohammad came to know that their true successor, the son of Maulana Mohammad Ismail and the brother of Maulana Mohammad had come to live at Nizamuddin they, again, started coming to it and requested Maulana Mohammad Ilyas for a visit so that the old suppliants of his family had an opportunity to renew the ties of fealty and spiritual allegiance.

Real remedy

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas felt that the only Way to the religious reform and correction of the Mewatis was promotion of religious knowledge and familiarization with the rules and principles of the Shariat.

Maulana Mohammad ismail, and, after him, Maulana Mohammad had adopted the same method. They used to keep the Mewati children with them and educate them in their Madrassa, and, then, send them back to Mewat to carry on the work of reform and guidance, and what little religious awareness was found there was owing to the efforts of these pioneers.

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas went a step ahead and decided to establish Maktabs and Madrassas in Mewat itself so that the influence of Faith could spread to a wider area and the pace of change was accelerated.

Stipulation The Maulana knew what was, commonly, meant by inviting a spirtua! mentor or his successor to their place by his disciples and admirers, and he was not willing to go to Mewat only to fulfill the formalities of attending the dinner given in his honor delivering a few sermons and giving good counsel. He wanted to make sure before undertaking the trip, that some real advance would be made, as a result of his visit, towards bringing the Meos closer to Islam and improving their moral condition, arid, during those days, the setting up of Maktabs and Madrassas in Mewat appeared to him to be the most effective step in that direction. H had, thus, made it clear that he would accept the invitation only on the condition that they promised to establish Maktabs in their territory.


For the Mewatis, however, no undertaking could be harder to give. They considered the establishment of Maktabs next to impossible for the simple reason that no one would be sending his children to them, and, thus, depriving himself of their contribution to the family income as daily wage-earners. The enthusiasm of those who came to invite quickly subsided as they heard of the stipulation. In desperation, however, a Mewati, finally, made the promise, leaving the rest to God

Establishment of Maktabs

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, accordingly, went to Mewat and demanded the fulfillment of the promise. After great persuasion, the beginning was made and the first Maktab was established.

The Maulana used to tell the Mawatis, “Give me the pupils, I will provide the money.” The Meos who were, mainly, farmers, could not easily reconcile themselves to the position that their children applied themselves to reading and writing and stopped working in the fields or looking after the cattle. It took a lot of tact and perseverance to bring them round to it.

Ten Maktabs were opened during that visit. Once the ice was broken, the progress was easy. Sometimes, several Maktabs were opened in a day till, within a few years, hundreds of such schools were functioning in Mewat.

The Maulana had not undertaken the service of Faith as a “national cause”, the burden of providing the funds for which fell wholly upon the nation or the community, but as a personal affair and felt no hesitation in spending all he had on it. He believed that a person should perform a religious task as his own and expend his time and money freely in its way.

Once a person presented a purse to him with the request that he used it, exclusively, for his own needs. The Maulana replied, “If we do not regard Allah’s work our own, how can we claim to be His bondmen ?“ With a sigh, he added, “Alas! We are not the just appreciators of the sacred Prophet. We do not know his true worth.”

This was the Maulana’s rule of life. First of all, he spent from his own pocket on the religious endeavor he had launched in Mewat, and, then, alone, would accept help from others.

Passing Away

Due to Maulana Mohammad Ilyas (RA)’s sincerity and hard work the work of Tableegh began to spread and Jamaats started to visit all parts of the sub-continent within his life time. Hazrat Maulana Syed Suleiman Nadwi (RA) remarks, ” Hazrat Maulana Mohammad Ilyas (RA) with his simplicity and dedication to the correct principles of Dawat (invitation) quietly turned the Mewatees into sincere and pious Muslims over a twenty five years and made them the envy of even the Muslims belonging to traditional religious families.

His hard word bore fruit in his life and he raised thousands of dedicated Muslims who continued on the path of Dawat even after his passing away.

Finally the humble, physically weak and thin Maulana passed away in 1324 Hijra leaving behind not one or two but thousands to take up his cause and continue on the path of reformation.

:: Biography of Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlavi; Second Ameer of Tableeghi Jamaat

Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi was born on 25 Jumada I, 1335 H, corresponding to 20 March 1917 at Kandahla in India. His family was well-known for its Islamic scholarship and total devotion. His father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi (d. 1943), played an important role in the reform movement led by two scholars, Ahmad ibn Irfan and Muhammad Ismaeel, both of whom were to be martyrs. The reform movement aimed to remove all deviation from people’s beliefs and return them to the pure Islamic faith. Several scholars in his family studied under Sheikh Abd Al-Azeez ibn Ahmad ibn Abd Al-Raheem Al-Dahlawi, a highly reputable scholar of Hadith. Indeed the family produced a long line of famous scholars who were devoted to the study of Hadith and Fiqh, as well as other Islamic studies.

Paternal lineage:

Maulana Muhammad Yusuf son of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas son of Maulana Muhammad Ismail son of Shaikh Ghulam Hussein son of Hakim Karim Baksh son of Hakeem Ghulam Mohi-uddin son of Maulana Muhammad Sajid son of Maulana Muhammad Faiz son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah.

Maternal lineage:

His mother daughter of Maulvi Rauful Hasan son of Maulana Zia-ul-Hasan son of Maulana Noorul Hasan son of Maulana Abul Hasan son of Mufti Ilahi Baksh son of Maulana Shaikhul Islam son of Hakim Qutbuddin son of Hakim Abdul Qadir son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah

The paternal and maternal families of Maulana Yusuf Saheb come together in Hakeem Muhammad Sharif. Then the family traces their lineage back to Ameerul Mumineen Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radhi Allahu Anhu). These two families were residing in the villages of Kandhala and Jinhjana. They were famous for their religiousness, knowledge and piety.

Childhood & Early Education:

Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Saheb was born in such an environment in which the attainment of piety was the purpose of one and all. The whole family was ingrained with spirituality and nearness to Allah. It was a family of Scholars, Huffaz, and Soofia. Memorizing the Quran had been the common practice of all men and women of this noble family. The women of the house used to keep themselves busy in the recitation of the Quran, optional prayer, studying of religious books and rememberance of Allah. Inside the family, there were numerous renowned scholars.

Scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Saheb, Maulana Muhammad Yahya, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, Maulana Muhammad Ihtishamul Hasan, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah were all members of this outstanding family in which Maulana Yusuf Saheb was nurtured in.

As a young boy, Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi showed very early promise. Indeed, he completed the memorization of the Qur’an when he was only 10 years of age. He then completed his primary education and studied Hadith, starting with the six main authentic collections, under his father. He then undertook a more specialized study of Hadith under the distinguished scholars of Mazahir Al-Uloom, a specialized school which placed particular emphasis on the study of Hadith, and trained its students in the art of Islamic advocacy. During his attendance at this school he particularly benefited from studying under his cousin, Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya Al-Kandhlawi, one of the top scholars of Hadith in the Muslim world in the twentieth century. He graduated from this school at the age of 20, in 1355 H.

“The lap of the mother is the child’s first madrassa (school).” This saying is very true, training of the children at home forms the foundation of their beliefs, character and personality. The training and education Maulana Yusuf Saheb had at home was similar to that of the training the Muslim women in the time of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) used to give to their children. Each women of that household was ready to give her son for the work of Rasulullah (SAW). The stories of the companions of Rasulullah (SAW) had replaced the fairy tales in those homes. The lesson of the heroic freedom movement of Maulana Syed Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed had become so common in those homes, that when Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi wrote the detailed biography of Hazrat Syed Ahmed Shaheed, Maulana Ilyas Saheb did not find anything new in that biography.

Maulana Yusuf Saheb memorized the Quran at the age of ten from Hafiz Imam Khan Mewati. It was a blessing and a bounty of Allah on Maulana Yusuf Saheb that right from the very beginning the elders of that time had great concern and interest in him. Maulana Syed Ahmed Saheb Faizabadi, the elder brother of Hazrat Maulana Syed Hussein Ahmed Madni, sent an honorary degree to Maulana Yusuf Saheb commemorating his memorization of the Quran.

Hazrat Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Saheb Saharanpuri, who is the Khalifah of Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi and the Sheikh of Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Saheb and Maulana Zakariyya Saheb had great affection for the young Maulana Yusuf Saheb. Although, Maulana Yusuf Saheb was about ten years at the time of Hazrat Saharanpuri’s death, they had still shared tremendous love. Maulana Yusuf Saheb would call Hazrat Saharanpuri as “abba” (father in Urdu). Once, Maulana Yusuf Saheb rejected eating the bread cooked by the servant of Hazrat Saharanpuri and insisted on eating bread baked by Hazrat Saharanpuri himself. Hazrat Saharanpuri then went in the kitchen and cooked the bread with his own hands and fed Maulana Yusuf with his own hands as well.

Dedication to Tableegh & Arabs:

It was his father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi, who established an organization dedicated to Islamic advocacy. Its members devote a good portion of their time to travel and educating Muslim people in their faith, trying also to explain Islam to others. This organization is well known as Tableegh, or Jama’at Al-Tableegh, with members in many countries of the world. An important aspect of this organization is that it does not concern itself with politics in any way. It is dedicated to Islamic propagation and advocacy.

Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi began his scholarly career in teaching and writing. However, after consulting several scholars and figures of the Tableegh, his father entrusted to him the leadership of Tableegh as he sensed his approaching death. Al-Kandhlawi dedicated himself to this task which practically filled every day of his life. He traveled all over the Indian Subcontinent giving lectures and speeches and holding circles advocating a return to the pure faith of Islam, which should be implemented in people’s life.

Al-Kandhlawi believed that the Arabs must always take the leading role in Islamic advocacy, because they were the people chosen by God for this task as He revealed His final message in their language. Hence he was keen to spread his efforts and the Tableegh work to Arab countries.
He also realized that the best centers to spread this work were Makkah and Madinah, regularly visited by pilgrims from all over the Muslim world.

Therefore, he gave particular attention to educating Indian and Pakistani pilgrims, speaking to them at the ports of Bombay and Karachi, before embarking on their journey.

He would teach them the proper way of performing their pilgrimage rituals, and educate them in the need for Islamic advocacy. Thus, he was able to form groups of advocates from the pilgrims. These groups undertook the task of speaking to other pilgrims in the Grand Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. This generated interest among pilgrims of other countries who approached al-Kandhlawi to send groups to their areas. He responded to their requests and the Tableegh work began to take roots in several Arab countries.

Al-Kandhlawi traveled a great deal to promote the Tableegh work of Islamic advocacy. He made numerous trips to Pakistan where he held heavily attended functions, which contributed to the Tableegh organization taking strong roots in that country. His first pilgrimage was in the company of his father, before he took over the Tableegh. In his second pilgrimage, undertaken in 1374 H, 1954, in the company of Sheikh Hussain Ahmad Madani, a famous Hadith scholar, he met many Saudi scholars and discussed with them the issues and problems of Islamic advocacy and propagation. He made his final pilgrimage one year before his death, in 1383, where he held an endless series of meetings with scholars from all over the Muslim world, and was keen to meet as many Saudi scholars as possible.

Scholarly Work:

Despite his total dedication to the Tableegh work, which took much of his time, Al-Kandhlawi was able to write and his writings reflect his broad knowledge, particularly in Hadith and in the history of the Prophet and his companions. Two books feature more prominently among his writings. The first is Amani Al-Ahbar Fi Sharh Ma’ani Al-Athar, which is an annotation of a major work by Imam Ahmad Al-Tahawi, a famous Egyptian scholar who lived much earlier. The book is in four large volumes.

However, his book Hayat Al-Sahabah, which may be translated as The Prophet’s Companions’ Way of Life, has earned wide acclaim and become essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the Islamic way of life or to explain Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. In this book, Al-Kandhlawi collects reports mentioned in books of Hadith, history and biographies about the Prophet himself and his companions.

It highlights the aspects related to Islamic propagation and advocacy. It thus reflects life at the time of the Prophet’s companions, and shows their manners, feelings and thoughts in different situations. The book was published in Arabic in three volumes many times by different publishers. It has more recently been published, with annotation, in four large volumes, with two introductions by two highly reputable scholars, Syed Abu Al-Hasan Ali Nadwi, and Sheikh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah.

Passing Away:

In 1965, Al-Kandhlawi made a long trip to Pakistan, where he traveled throughout the country, giving a long series of lectures and speeches, and holding a continuous series of meetings, with people from all strata of Pakistani society. Although he was not feeling well at the start of his trip, he continued with his heavy schedule, paying little attention to his deteriorating condition. On the final day of his trip, he was scheduled to give a major speech in Lahore, and although he was too ill to give such a speech, he felt that he could not let people down.

But the speech took its toll of his health. On finishing it, he was immediately taken to hospital, but he died on his way there, at the age of 48. His body was airlifted at night to Delhi, where his funeral was attended by tens of thousands of mourners. May God shower His mercy on him.

:: Biography of Maulana Inaamul Hasan; Third Ameer of Tableeghi Jamaat

When Allah Ta’aala favors some one He makes unseen arrangements for all the necessary things. The learned say that there are two things which play an important role in making a person’s personality. One of the two things is one’s family because the family traditions and virtues are transmitted from one generation to another. This is the probable reason why the prophets were born in the noblest of families only. Imaam Bukhari has quoted a narration in which the Caesar of the Roman empire said (He knew it from the ancient divine scriptures) that prophets were always born in the in the noblest families of their communities .The second thing that builds an important role in building a person’s character is the child’s environment, surroundings, the birth place and its growth as these become part of the person’s whole life and personality.

Hadrat Maulana Inaamul Hasan (RA) was given both of these to a high degree. Allah Ta’aala selected a noble and high Siddiqui family which was blessed with the virtues of religious knowledge, piety, sincerity, Taqwa etc. from their great ancestor Hadrat Abu-Bakr (RA) whose legacy came down from one generation to another. Several great personalities were born with special characteristics and virtues which cannot be easily understood by the people of our times. Hadrat Maulana Sayyed Abul Hasan Nadwi (Ali Mian) (RA) says about this family that not only males but also the females of this family were models of piety. They remained busy in divine worship, zikr, Tasbeeh, and Tilaawat day and night as a daily pattern of their lives. The ladies busied themselves in non-obligatory (Nawaafil) prayers individually and prayed their Taraweeh Salat behind the male members of the family. During the month of Ramadhaan there used to be a wonderful home atmosphere. The recital of the holy Quraan used to be continuous day and night time during the whole month. The ladies had so much enthusiasm that tilaawat was their great pleasure. Their Salaat was such that they remained completely unaware of happenings in their houses. (Hadrat Maulana Ilyas and his Dini Dawat).

Hadrat Qazi Ziyaa’uddin Sanami (RA) a contemporary of Hadrat Khwaaja Nizaamuddin Awliya (RA) was Hadratji’s ancestor. Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf Jhanjhanawi (RA) was also one of his ancestors. He was famous for miracles (Karaamat), Ilm, fadl Taqwa and Ma’arifat. Ulama of his days acknowledged his kamal and fadl. A great aalim (Islamic scholar) Allama Abdul Hakim Sialkoti (RA) said that he did not believe in Qudusi persons but I came to know that such persons do exist in this world after having discussion with him in a meeting. On getting an unknown sign Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf went out in search of a murshid (a spiritual Sage- teacher), met such a Buzrug of the Qadiriyyah order of Tasawwuf. He was greatly impressed with what he saw and heard. He took the Bait (an oath of allegiance) and became engrossed in wird, wazaa’if, zikr, azkaar and mujaahida (various activities of divine remembrance and meditation). After two years his murshid asked him to go to another Buzrug. After some time he was sent to yet another who informed him that he (Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf) had reached the final stage (of Tasawwuf) so he was told to go back to his native place and advised that if he wished to declare his spiritual status he should take bait and give guidance to the people, but if he wished to conceal it from the people he should remain busy in teaching. He replied that he preferred to devote himself to the service of the Ilme- Shariah (knowledge of the Islamic Jurisprudence). So the Buzrug made Du’aa that the zaaheri (the publicly known) Ilm (knowledge) of Islamic Shariah would remain in his family. After getting the khilaafat (spiritual authority) he returned to his native place and busied himself in obtaining and transmitting the knowledge (Ilme-deen) of the Shariah.

Maulana Muhammad Ashraf (RA) had two sons, Maulana Muhammad Shareef (RA) and Abdul Muqtadir (RA) . The former followed the footsteps of his father in Ilm, Fadl, ma’aarif. Mulana Ihtisaamul Hasan Kandhalwi writes in his kitaab “Halat-e-Mashaa’ikh-e-khandalah”, Hadrat Maulana Ashraf was told by his Pir-murshid that Ilm of Shariah would remain in his children till the day of judgement (Qiyaamah). This was evident first of all in Maulana Muhammad Shareef (RA). Since then this bashaarat has remained in his progeny of eleven generations till this day. Insha’allah this Ilme-shariah will remain in in every generation of his family till the last day.

Maulana Hakim Muhammad Shareef (RA) had two sons. One son Maulana Muhammad Faiz (RA) lived in Jhanjhana Some great scholars like Maulana Isma’eel Khandalwi (RA), Maulana Muhammad Yahya Kandalwi (RA) and his sons Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA), his brother the pioneer (Baani) of Tabligh Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) and his son Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandalwi (RA) were born in his family. The second son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Shareef (RA) was Maulana Hakim Abdul Qadir (RA) who lived in Kandhala. Many great religious scholars were born in this family e.g. Mufti Ilaahi Bakhsh Kandhawi (RA), his nephew Maulana Mufti Muzaffar Husain Kandalwi (RA) and others. Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) is also from the same family. Jhanjhana and Kandalwi family branches get together in Maulana Muhammad Shareef (RA). Maulana Mufti Elahi Bakhsh (RA) was very famous in his family. He was one of the very great disciples of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehelvi (RA). He was a famous author, Mufti of his age. His “takmilo” on the mathnawi of Maulana Rumi (RA) is well known, his son Maulana Abul Hasan (RA) was also a great Aalim, (Islamic scholar) as well as a famous physician (Hakim). He had a high position in the matter of piety (taqwa). His son Noorul Hasan (RA) was also a great alim. Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh College was his student. His son Zahurul Hasan (RA) and his son Hakim Riyazul Hasan (RA) were great scholars and physicians. Maulana Hakim Raziyul Hasan (RA) studied the Hadith from Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (RA). His son Maulana Ikramul Hasan (RA) was the maternal nephew of Maulana Ilyaas (RA). Ikraamul Hasan (RA) got religious education, and then he obtained B.A. and L.L.B. degrees from the Aligarh University. He then for some time had law practice in the Kerana court. After giving up the lawyer’s profession, he remained in the service of Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA) whose companionship and the service of Madressah Mazaahir Uloom became the aim of his life. Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) loved him very much. He rendered a great deal of help in nursing Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) in his last illness. Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) was his son.

Hadrat In’aamul Hasan (RA) was born in the town of Kandhla., Dist Muzaffar Nagar, U.P., India on the 18th Jammadul Oola 1336 A.H. i.e. 20th February, 1918 C.E. Famous Hafez Mangtu taught him Hifzul Quraan. He learnt Persian up to Boston of Sheikh Saadi (RA) from his maternal grandfather Abdul Hamid (RA) and received Arabic based education from Mizan-Munshaeb to ShahreJami from Hadrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) at Nizaamuddin Kaashiful Uloom. When Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas went for Haj in 1451 A.H., he and Maulana Yusuf (RA) were given admission in Madressa Mazaahirul Uloom Saharanpur. He learnt Hidaya from Maulana Zakaria (RA) and Mebzi from Maulana Jameel Ahmed Thanvi. When Maulana Ilyaas returned from Haj, In’aamul Hasan went back to Basti Hadrat Nizaamuddin where he studied Mishkaat from Maulana Ilyaas (RA) and Jalaalain from Ihtisaamul Hasan Kandhalwi (RA).

He and Maulana Yusuf (RA) were companions of studies. He was admitted again in Mazzahir Uloom, Saharanpur where Maulana Abdul Latif taught him Bukhari Sharif, Maulana A. Rahmaan Kamilpuri taught him Tirmidhi Sharif, Maulana Manzoor Ahmed (RA) taught him Muslim Sharif and Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA) taught him Abu Dawood (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood are the famous Hadith literature). His companion in Hadith studies was Maulana Muhammad Yusuf (RA).

It is narrated that both of them had made an arrangement to study at night by turn. One would study till mid-night, prepare tea for the other and wake him up and then go to bed. Then the other would study till Fajr prayer and wake the one whowas still sleeping. Both of them took turns every other day (life story of Hadrat Maulana Yusuf (RA). Page 170- 171)Before he could complete his studies due to Maulana Yusuf’s (RA) illness he had to leave Mazaahir Uloom and return to Basti Hazrat Nizaamuddeen. He studied Ibn Majah, Nasa’ee, Tahawi and Mustadrake Haakim (compilations of Hadith) from Maulana Ilyaas (RA) and thus completed his religious education.

As his paternal grandfather Maulana Al-Haj Hakim Raziyul Hasan (RA) wished Hadrat In’aamul Hasan (RA) was engaged for marriage with the second daughter of Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA). During his boyhood, Maulana Yusuf (RA) was engaged with marriage to the eldest daughter of Hadrat Shaikhul Hadith (RA). On the 3rd Muharram, 1354 Hegira the annual Jalsa (gathering) of the Mazaahirul Uloom was held. At that time of the Jalsa Maulana Ilyaas (RA) expressed his wish to Shaikhul Hadith (RA) that it would be better if the Nikaah ceremony of both Yusuf and In’aamul hasan should be performed in the Jalsa though there was no preparation for it. The Shaikhul Hadith (RA) readily accepted it. When he was leaving for the jalsa he then informed his wife about it. She said politely that if she had been informed of it she would have got a pair of clothes ready for their daughters. Hearing this he remarked that if he had known that their daughters were naked (in dire need of clothes), he would have been informed earlier. (Our present day Muslim society should follow our elders as the leaders of the community and learn a lesson from this incident). Hadrat Shaikhul Islam Maulana Sayyed Hussain Ahmed Madani (RA) performed the Nikaah ceremony which was attended by the religious elders of the day. Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) went together with Hadrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) for his first Haj-pilgrimage to Mecca in 1356 hegira. Maulana Yusuf (RA) and Maulana Ihtisaamul Hasan were with them. They made the Haj journey from Karachi by steamer. During this journey they did the Tabligh. The Arabs praised their effort and promised them help. During this journey he received several good tidings (Bashaarat) about the tabligh mission. Then he returned home. For a long period Maulana In’aamul Hasan remained ill. He lived in his native place kandhla during this illness. During this period, he was engaged in meditation ( mujahidha), also in the path of Suluk(sufism). Hadrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) died on the 21st Rajab 1363A.H. on 23rd July, 1944 C.E. It was a Thursday morning. Two days before his death he named six persons from among his special people as his khalifas. Hadrat Maulana In’aamul Hasan was among these six people. After the death of Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA), the religious elders held consultation with Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri (RA), maulana Fakhruddin (RA) and Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA) and decided that Maulana Yusuf (RA) should be the successor of Hadrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) as the Amir (leader) of the Tabligh Jamaat. Hadrat Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) heartily welcomed the decision and became such a helper and advisor of Maulana Yusuf (RA) that he was called the right hand of Maulana Yusuf (RA). He was the brain of the Tabilgh jamaat. He continued it till the last moment of the life of Maulana Yusuf (RA)with complete support and he played the main role in the various activities of of the Tablighi centre (markaz) of Nizaamuddin. Besides he discharged the responsibilities of Mohtamim (Administrator) of madressah Kaashiful Uloom even during the time of Maulana Yusuf (RA) and he did the teachings as well. He taught various branches of Islamic Knowledge, for several years he taught Bukhari Sharif. He was well versed in the Ilme-Hadith (knowledge of the traditions of Nabi sw. Hadrat Shaikhul Hadith included some of his narrations in the marginal notes of his kitaab “Lami’uddarri”.Since boyhood Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) had a reserved nature. He was quiet. He avoided unnecessary talk. He remained busy with his own work. He would not see anyone unless it was necessary. He disliked meeting people and their companionship passing time in talk. He strictly observed his routine. He talked briefly and to the point. When necessary he replied to questions very effectively. He was fair skinned. He was active. He had a very active mind. He could understand intricacies very well. He dressed himself in fine and clean clothes. His food was limited as necessary. He could spare enough time for reading because he observed limit in meeting the people and perfect punctuality. He was fond of reading. He passed most of his leisure in studying books. He had an unique collection of books on various branches of knowledge in his own library.


When Hadrat (RA) was writing Hayaatus-Sahaba and Amanil-Ahbar, he thought deeply about problems that would arise and search for information in the books. Even then if he could not get the necessary information he used to send Maulana Abdullah Taariq (RA) to get the necessary information from Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA). Maulana Abdullah Taariq (RA) says that it mostly happened that Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) would open a book and point out the required information exactly in its place or his active mind would give the right information for the solution to the problem. Quickly he would rise up, pick up the book from the cupboard and hand it over saying, “Go and show it to Maulana Yusuf (RA).

One of his special Khaadim’s (servants) gives the information that Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) studied the whole volume of “Fatwa Alamgiri” from the beginning to the end completely twice. From this we can get an insight into his enthusiasm and untiring efforts for the search of knowledge. Several of the Mufties of these days don’t have this honor. He has written several explanatory notes of research in the manuscript of “Tarajimul Abwab” of the Bukhari Sharif. This shows his scholarship and versatility of the traditions of the holy Prophet (SAW).

The second Amir of the Tablighi Jamaat Maulana Yusuf (RA) died on Friday 29th Zilqaad, 1384 Hegira i.e. 2nd April 1965 C.E. in Lahore, Pakistan. An important problem arose, who could be the successor? It was not only important but also delicate. It was not an easy matter. There was a great need of a person who had a great attachment for the Tablighi mission with mind and heart; and who had remained in the company of the late Amir in the markaz as well as in the journey. Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) was the most likely choice because he was the companion of Maulana Yusuf (RA) from their young days and he was also his right-hand. Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) was a great religious scholar of repute. He had a fine personality. He was trustworthy of Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA). He was the brain of the Tablighi Daawat. Maulana Yusuf (RA) relied on his advice, consultation, co-operation and affection trustfully. Hadrat Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakaria (RA) held consultations with others and thenappointed Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) as the Amir of the Tablighi jamaat as the successor of Maulana Yusuf (RA), Moulana Fakhrul Hasan (RA), an Ustaadh of the Darul Uloom and made the declaration in the assembly of thousands of people. Almost all the previous activists of the Tablighi Jamaat were ter some time resent. All of them expressed their satisfaction and relief and promised their trust and co-operation. Since that day till the last breath Maulana In’aamul Hasan (RA) for a period of 31 years discharged his responsibility as the Amir with foresight and courage. Under his leadership the great mission of Tabligh spread far and wide in all parts of the world. Until the time he became the Amir-e Tablighi Jamaat he had no great linking with oratory (takrir, Bayaan, speech). But when becoming the Amir he made good progress in the art of oratory. He talked briefly but with firmness and to the point. After some years of experience he began to deliver lengthy speeches. We should know that Dawah and Tabligh are not the names of Takrir. It is more than Takrir. He paid much more attention to other activities of the Jamaat than Takrir making. Yet if there was a big gathering (Ijtima) he would give brief but factual guidance and the Ijtima would come to an end with his Du’aa. He had a reservednature. This enabled him to achieve important activities, i.e. if someone asked about a matter, whose reply would create fitna he used to observe silence. As a result the opportunity of fitna never materialized. Mischief was thus buried in the bud. Hadrat Umar Ibne-Khattaab (RA), the second Khalifa once remarked ‘ observe silence and destroy baatil ( falsehood)”. He was an expert in the art of observing silence. As he disliked unnecessary contact, people did not try to get his companionship. It saved his and their time. They devoted their time to some useful activities instead. At the markaz and on journeys it made no difference in people’s coming and going here and there, it reduced the waste of their time. Clearly it was advantageous. He believed in the division of labor. He allocated activities. He sentpeople to the responsible man selected for a particular work. He did not interfere in the activities of others. He remained bed-ridden for the last few years continuously. So the special visits were reduced to minimum. Important activities were allocated to others who were made responsible so such visits were not necessary yet he made long journeys to attend large Ijtima’s. he supervised every activity himself and remained in close contact with all the matters of the markaz, the country and foreign lands. He kept a careful watch. He could solve the difficulties silently but pretty well. His physical built up did not become heavy till the last so he could move about cheerfully. At ten’o clock at night on the 9th June, 1995 he was taken to hospital in a wheelchair by car. Everything possible was done for his medical treatment.at last he breated his last at the age of seventy years at 1.25 p.m. on Saturday the 10th Muharram, 1416 Hijara, 10th June, 1995 C.E. Innaalillaah… He left behind in this world a son named Maulana Zubairul hasan and a daughter. The sad news of his death spread around the world like lightning. The namaaz-e-janaza was to be held at sixin the evening. There was a huge gathering in the Basti nizamuddin by that time. There was no more space for more people so all the roads leading to the basti hadrat Nizaamuddin were closed to the traffic. His funeral was attended by more than half a million people, but everyone observed perfect discipline and order. After the Magrib namaaz he was laid to rest beside Hadrat Maulana Yusuf . hadratji received the direct training and upbringing from Maulana Muhammad Ilyaas (RA) and he took part in tabligh from the beginning of the Tablighi mission till his last in all the activities. Such a wonderful personality has left us; and the golden age of tabligh has come to an end. We make Du’aa to Allah to shield him from every type of fitna and evil Aameen

:: Biography of Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi

Examplar of IslamicLiving, Exponent of Islam, Defender of Islamic Identity (1914 – 31 December, 1999)


During the twentieth century, Muslim India has produced great Islamic theologians,interpreters of the Quran, scholars of Hadith, Islamic jurists, historians, propagators of the faith, social reformers and educationists, but one cannotname another Islamic scholar whose concerns covered the entire spectrum of the collective existence of the Muslim Indians as a living community in thenational and international context, who, for decades, enjoyed universalrespect, and who was accepted by the non-Muslims, at the highest level, as the legitimate spokesman for the concerns and aspirations of the entire community.

Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi was indisputably one of the greatest exponents ofIslam in the second half of the twentieth century and because of his commandover Arabic, through his writings and speeches, he had a wide area of influenceextending far beyond the Sub-continent, particularly in the Arab World.

His exposition of Islam was marked by moderation. He was not a fanatic in any senseof the term but he believed in Islam as a blessing for mankind and as apositive and creative factor in human history. In a sense Islam was perceivedby him as a civilizational force which retained its relevance in the modern ageas a viable counterpoint to the Western civilization with all its excesses.

The Maulana’s forte was his extraordinary grasp of Islamic history. It is thishistoric sense of the rise and fall of Islam in different ages and regions,which prompted him ever to take a long-term rather than a short-term, a broadrather than a narrow, view of the problems the contemporary community faced.

The Maulana was the very anti-thesis of the media image of the fire-eating, narrow-mindedMullah. Orthodox as he was, he was far from being conservative in his approach.Umma-conscious as he was, his love for the motherland knew no bounds. He neverpreached ‘Jihad’ to restore Muslim dominance; He stood for mutual respect, forpeaceful coexistence, for human values, for establishing a social ambiencebased on tolerance and harmony in India and in the world at large.

The Maulana understood the spirit of the age. He appreciated the role of Democracyand Nationalism. With his deep insight into the Quran and his understanding ofthe personality of the Holy Prophet, he understood the implications of amulti-religious world, a global village divided into multi-religious States.

Scion of an illustrious family which has produced scholars and spiritual preceptors likeShah Alamullah Naqshbandi and Syed Ahmad Shaheed, the Maulana’s father, HakimSyed Abul Hai, was an eminent scholar of his time, immortalised by hisencyclopaedic work, Nuzhatul Khawatir, (in eight volumes) containing about5,000 biographical notes on Muslim scholars, theologians, jurists, etc. ofIndia, apart from other notable works.

Syed Abu lHasan Ali was born in 1333 A.H. (1914 A.D.). Having lost his father at the ageof nine, he was brought up by his elder brother, Dr. Syed Abul Ali Hasani whopractised medicine at Lucknow. He specialised in Arabic literature at NadwatulUlema, Lucknow, studied Hadith under Sheikh Husain Ahmed Madani at Darul Uloom,Deoband and Tafsir under Maulana Ahmad Ali of Lahore where he came in touchwith Iqbal whose poetry left an abiding impression on him. Besides literary andtheological studies, Maulana developed keen interest in Islamic history andalso learnt English in order to keep himself abreast of contemporary thought.He taught Arabic literature and Tafsir at the Nadwatul Ulema for ten years.

After the demise of his elder brother, he became the Secretary of Nadwatul Ulema andsubsequently as Rector he supervised both its academic and administrativemanagement.

In 1947,the Maulana could have followed his mentor Syed Sulaiman Nadvi and migrated toPakistan but he did not.

In hisformative years, the Maulana was associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami for a fewyears after its establishment by Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi. Then he turned tothe Tablighi Jamaat founded by Maulana Ilyasi’s. But the Maulana’s geniusdemanded a wider horizon for its unfolding.

Spirituallya disciple of Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri, the Maulana belonged to the SufiSilsila Qadiriya Naqshbandia.

Apart from his long association with Nadwa (as student, teacher, Secretary andNazim), he served on the Shura of the Darul Uloom, Deoband, chaired theManaging Committee of Darul Musannefin, Azamgarh and established the Academy ofIslamic Research and Publications at Lucknow.

A prolific writer his works have been prescribed in the courses of study in anumber of Arab Universities. His notable Arabic work Maza Khasera al-Alamb’inhitat-il-Muslimeen was not only widely acclaimed but also carved out aplace for him in the literary circles of the Arab world. Several of his workshave since been translated into Arabic, English, Turkish, Bhasha Indonesia,Persian, Tamil and some other languages.

Karvaan-e-Zindagi,his autobiography in 8 volumes, and Purane-Chiragh (life sketches ofcontemporary personalities), his biography of Syed Ahmad Shaheed, his biographyof Hazrat Ali (KW) and his Tarikh-e-Dawat-o-Azimat are his permanentcontribution to Urdu literature.

He was anHonorary Member of the Academy of Arts and Letters, Damascus and Academy ofArabic Language, Amman and served as Visiting Professor in a number of Arabuniversities.

Internationally recognised, he was one of the Founder Members of the Rabita at-Alam-al-Islami,Makka, (1963), and served on the Higher Council of the Islamic University,Medina, the Executive Committee of the Federation of Islamic Universities,Rabat, and as the Chairman of the Board for the Centre of Islamic Studies ofthe Oxford University. The lectures he delivered at Indian, Arab and WesternUniversities have been highly appreciated as original contribution to the studyof Islam and on Islam’s relevance to the modern age.

In 1980,he received the Faisal International Award, followed by the Brunei Award andthe UAE Award in 1999.

A greatscholar, the Maulana was not confined to the cloister. Not involved in activepolitics, he never participated in party or electoral politics. He did not evenjoin the All India Muslim Majlis, established by his protégé Dr. A.J. Faridi in1967, as it took to electoral politics. The Maulana was one of the founders ofthe All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (1964), the All India Muslim PersonalLaw Board (1972) and the All India Dini Talimi Council. He presided over theMilli Convention in 1979. He also extended his patronage to the Islamic FiqhAcademy and the All India Milli Council when they were established.

Topromote communal harmony, the Maulana became one of the founders of FOCUS whichwas later transformed into Society for Communal Harmony. He also established amovement ‘Pyam-e-Insaniyat’ to preach the gospel of universal love andbrotherhood.

TheMaulana valued the Constitution and the secular order as a guarantor of theIslamic identity of the Muslim community and of non-discrimination against themin various spheres of life. But he clearly saw the historic process ofassimilation at work in India and the long-term objective of Hindu Nationalismto absorb the Muslim Indians into the Hindu fold. That explains his firm standon the question of Muslim Personal Law against any interference throughlegislation or through judicial pronouncement and on introduction of SaraswatiVandana in Schools in UP.

The greatpolitical battles of the Muslim community during the last decades of thecentury were fought under his guidance. The A.I. Muslim Personal Law Boardlaunched in 1985 the movement for legislative nullification of the SupremeCourt judgement in the Shah Bano Case which the Muslim Indians saw as the thinend of the wedge for interference with the Shariat and for distorting theIslamic identity of the community. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights onDivorcees) Act, 1986 was its fruit; though it had several inbuilt flaws whichhas landed the community subsequently in endless litigation.

With theMaulana’s consent in 1986, the AIMMM and the AIMPLB took up the question ofrestoration of the Babari Masjid when the unlocking of its doors in January1986 for regular darshan and puja converted it into a de-facto temple. Thoughhe did not directly involve himself in the Babari Masjid Movement (whoseCoordination Committee was later split to form the A.I. Babari Masjid ActionCommittees), he guided it at all critical points and participated innegotiations with the government as well as Hindu representatives. Subsequentto the Demolition, the AIMPLB, under his presidentship took the question in itsown hands including the direction of the proceedings in the title suit, thecriminal case and the inquiry.

In thelast decade of his life the Maulana served as the final arbiter, the last word,the Marja’, the ultimate point of reference, on any intra-communal differences,even if he did not play any active role in resolving them. He counselledcommitment with patience and wisdom, movement within the framework of democracyand rule of law, and dignity and not rhetoric in utterances.

With hisoff-repeated commitment to the principles of Democracy, Secularism andNon-violence as the only viable foundation for the Indian polity, his constantendeavour for inter-religious dialogue and for reconciliation and harmony, hecommanded universal respect for his moderation, learning and integrity, for hisinfluence in the Muslim community and for his outreach in the Islamic world,

Assiduouslysought by eminent political personalities from Indira Gandhi to Atal BehariVajpayee, the Maulana acted as the bridge between the government and thenational parties, on one hand, and Muslim community, on the other.

TheMaulana, it has been correctly observed, stood for social reform, religiousrevival and political awakening but not for Islamic Revolution. He wasrealistic enough not to chase mirages or instant solutions. He saw clearly thatthe destiny of Muslim Indians was intertwined with that of the Indian people asa whole and that, in the age of democratic pluralism, an Islamic Revolution orthe restoration of Islamic power was out of the realm of possibility but it waspossible for the Muslim Indians to lead an Islamic life and at the same time participatein managing the affairs of the country and contribute to its progress anddevelopment. This was the basis of his efforts to reduce the distance betweenthe Muslims and the Hindus, to demolish the wall of distrust between them andto create bonds of understanding and cooperation in rebuilding relations on theterms of common moral values of the society which he saw as being engulfed bydark forces of hatred and violence.

All hisactive life, with Lucknow as his base, he wandered ceaselessly, not only withinthe country but in the Arab-Islamic world and the West, in a constant search,it seems to me, for reconciliation between Islam and the West, between rivalideologies in the Arab-Islamic world, between India and Pakistan and betweenthe Hindu and Muslim Indians. Cautious in taking positions, he always lookedbeyond the turbulence of the time, through the flames of the currentcontroversy. Even when he took part, his role was that of a mediator, ofcounselling patience, of avoiding confrontation, of appealing to reason.

A man whopersonified Islamic values, soft-spoken, cultured and courteous to the core,humility and modesty, patience and tolerance, moderation and balance,generosity and compassion – all Islamic values – marked his personality. Neithera politician, nor a publicist, essentially a scholar, a man of religion, aspiritual person, a modern Dervish, a Mard-e-Momin who combined in himself thehighest values of the Shariat and the Tariqat, of orthodoxy and Sufism and whocommanded respect for his transparent sincerity, for his simple living and forhis selfless devotion to the common cause of the Community and the Nation, aman who lived for Allah alone and who wanted nothing but the good of all is nomore.

Hisdemise is the end of an era in the history of the Muslim India and has createda void impossible to fill in the foreseeable future.

May hissoul rest in eternal peace, Ameen!

:: Worldwide Tablighi Markaz Address

Worldwide Tablighi Markaz Address :
Abu Dhabi :Kaleem Razal, Al-Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. 971-2-721-..


Afghanistan :Haji Md Meer, Sarai Nelam Farrush, Shahbazar, Kabul. 155-23798

Afrika Selatan
Markaz, Bait-un-Nur, 17, 11th Avenue Mayfair, Johannesburg. 011-8392633
Kirk St Masjid, 12 Kirk St, 2001 Johannesburg. (G. M. Padia) 27-31-923-841, faks 27-11-852-4011
Dr Abdul Latif Saleh, Tirana. +355-42-25440/25438
Seshi Avni Rustemi, Tirana. +355-42-23038
Dr Skender Durresi, Tirana. +355-42-32710
Masjid An-Najah, Al-Mohammedia, Algeria. (Belqasim Merad 213-2-750)
Amerika Syarikat
Dearborn Mosque, 9945 West Vernor Highway, Dearborn, Detroit. +1-313-8429000
Markaz New York, 425, Montauk Avenue, Apt. 1, Brooklyn, New York.
Markaz, Masjid Falah, 42-12, National St., Corona, New York. (Loqman Abdul Aleem) +1-718-4767968
Abdur Raqeeb, 130, 69th St., Guttenberg, NJ 07093. +1-201-86.. , +1-718-8587168 (faks – Faqir)
Markaz, 820 Java Street, Los Angeles. (dekat Arbor Vitae St.) +1-310-4199177 (Dr Abd Rauf)
Farouq Toorawa, Los Angeles. +1-310-6755456
Masjid Al-Noor (Markaz), 1751 Mission Street, San Francisco. +1-415-5528831
Vallejo Mosque, 727 Sonoma Boulevard, Vallejo, California. +1-707-6452024
Naser Sayedi, 1777 East West Road, P.O.B. 1703, Honolulu. +1-808-735..
L/Cpl Chaudary, Hawaii. +1-808-2575721
Islamic Centre, 1935, North Eo Place, Manoa, Honolulu.
Comunidade Islamica em Angola, Caika Posta 2630, Luano.
Arab Saudi
Abdul Ghaffar Noor Wali, Jeddah. 966-2-6371607
Ghassan 6823041 Dr Ahmad Ali, P.O. Box 22310, Riyadh 11495. 966-1-6023679
Ahmad Abboud, Centro Islamico, Av. San Juan 3049/53, Buenos Aires. 54-1-973577

Markaz, 90 Cramer Street, Preston 3074, Melbourne.
Sheikh Mo’taz El-Leissy, Melbourne. 61-3-94784515
Markaz, 765 Wangee Road, Lakemba, Sydney. 61-2-97593898
S. Hamid Latif, Lakemba Mosque, 63/65 Wangee Road, Lakemba 2195, Sydney. 61-2-759-3899, 61-3-470-2424
Markaz, 427 William Street, Perth.
Abdul Wahab, Perth. 61-9-4596826

A. Khaleque Qureshi, Masjid Belal, Diefenbachgasse 12/12, 1150 Wien. 43-1-9387615, 43-1-7366125

S. Uzair M. Ali, Orzhenigidzebskoy, Noboy Gumarbel M3/2F (?)

Jamaat ul Islam, P.O. Box 10711, Nassau.

A Aziz Baluch, P.O. Box 335, Manama. 953-256-707

Maulana A Aziz, Kakrail Masjid, P.O. Ramna, Dhaka. 88-02-239-457

Maulana Yusuf Piprawala, Kensington New Road, Bridgetown. 1-809-426-8767

Moskee Arrahman (Markaz), Van Ostade str. 393-395, 1074 Amsterdam. (Tram no. 4 dari stesen keretapi) (Al-Kabiri) 31-20-764073

Masjid Noor, Rue Massaux 6, Gemeente Schaarbeek, 1030 Brussels. (Mostafa Nooni) 32-2-219-7847
Masjid Van Slambrouck, Fortuin St. 6, B8400 Oostende.

Md Riaz, 3132 Kraal Road, Belize City.

Md Mosque, Basset Bldg Court, St. Ram, Hamilton.

Omar Osman, P.O. Box 382 (?), Biera. 23260

Biab Khalil, P.O. Box 216, La Paz. BX 5418 (teleks)

A Aziz Alinani, Imam, Centro Islamica, Ax W-5 Norte, Brazil. 55-11-278-6789

Markazi Mosque, South Street, Saville Town, Dewsbury. (Hafez M Patel) 44-924-460760, 44-924-46685? (faks)
East London Markazi Masjid, 9-11 Christian St, Off Commercial Road, London E1. (Zulfiqar) 44-71-4811294



Hj Jamili Hj Abbas, 647 Kg Lumapas. 673-8-810480, 673-2-337488.



Hj Mahadi, Bandar Sri Begawan. 332148Bulgaria
Mufti Basri Osman, Plovdiv. 359-2-233-109
Masjid-e-Noor, Share Namer, N O’Jamina. (Adam Yusuf Amin)
Dudaeb Shakmarze, Ul. Khakalskaya 90/2/42, Grozni.
Taufiq Rumie, Edwardo Castillo Valesco 1160, Nunoa, Santiago. 56-2-496-081, 56-2-294-182
Hilal D. C. Guangyun, V. C., Stand Comm, East Dist. Peoples Congress, ..
Habibullah, Sk Mohuddin, village Gubdan, Lewanshowski.
Makki Masjid, Brikegade 4 KLD, N Kobenhavn (Copenhagen). 45-43-(35)-361-513
Centre Mosque, Morbaerhaven Block 18 c/4, 2060 Albertslund. 02-454368
Shaikh Hamdan, Masjid al Kasis, Al Kasis No. 3, dekat Umm Kulsum Che..

Masjid, 7 Harringto Street, Dublin.
Dublin Islamic Centre, 163, South Circular Road, Dublin 8.
Md Shigara, 21, Wolseley Street, Dublin 3. 353-1-540-027

M. M. Kechia, Abu Bakr Masjid, Kwas Maida, Addis Ababa. 251-1-130-208, 135-823 (Ibrahim Sufra)

Abu Bakar Sulil, Masjid Odiveas, Rua Thomas de Anunciacao 30 R/C Esq, Odiveas 2675, Lisboa.

Noor Ali, Raki Raki Jama Masjid, P.O Box 15, Raki Raki, Fiji. 679-24440, 679-94002

Masjid Abu Bakar, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao.

Omar Nizamuddin, Puutarhankatu 18A, Helsinki. 358-21-513-572
Masjid, Fredrinkatu 33B, 00120 Helsinki 12. 358-0-643-579, 358-0-149-6395
Masjid, Abrahaminkatu

Abdul Wadood, Arabic Madrassa, Serekunda.

T. Osang, P.O. Box 170A, Rock of Islam Mosque, Labadi, Accra. 233-21-663-443, 665-06

Md Boye, P.O. Box 12294, Barry, Conakary.

Guinea Bissau
Abayu Bayo, Jamia Kabir, Bissau.

Azim Khan, 35, Kraig Village, East Bank, Demerara. 592-(02)-62269 (Georgetown)

Hong Kong
Masjid Ammar, 40-01 Kwon Road, Wanch.. 5-892-0720 (Md Qadeem, Zafar 852-3-5-239-975)

A. Hafez, Flat 9, 84 Linen Kurt, Budapest. 36-1-833-905, 36-1-276-0482 (Babikir)
Dr Izzedin, Estergomiut 56/VII/26, 1138 Budapest.
Ibrahim, Fortuna (hotel murah), Szolgaltaro GMk, 1073 BP, Akacf..

Banglawali Masjid, 168 W. Nizamuddin, Basti Nizamuddin, New Delhi. 91-11-494-7137 (faks: Farooq),
617-142 (..)

Masjid Jamek, 83 Jalan Hayam Waruk, Kebun Jeruk, Jakarta Barat. (Ahmad Zulfikar) 62-21-821-236, 639-5585, 682-378
Masjid Istiqlal, Jalan Yos Sudarso, Dumai, RIAU.

Al Amir A Roaf, Masjid e Tauhidi, Zahedan.

Sk Kazim, Montaga Buhimania Al Karich, Share Mar’uf, Baghdad.


El Amrani, 3231 Via Vanzetti No. 3, Cita di Sudi (Cascino Rosa), Milano. 39-10-952-20?, 39-6-802-258

Masjid, Via Bertoloni 22/24, Roma

Masjid,Via Berthollet 24, Torino

Masjid, Via de Groce 3 (Tingkat 4), Trieste

Masjid Cesemate Sq., Main Street, Gibraltar. 350-73058


Naeem A. Muta’ali, Muslim Community, 54 Wildman Street, Kingston. 1-809-9283516 (Akbar), 9286789 (Naeem)
Islamic Center of Jamaica, 134 1/2 King Street, Kingston.

Markaz Islaho Tarbiyat (Ichnowari), 1-1-6 Bingonishi, Kasukabe-Shi, Saitama-Ken, Tokyo 334.
Ibrahim Ken Okubo, Room 105, Bingo Higashi 1-22-20, Kasukabe Shi, Saitama Ken, Tokyo 344. 0487-36-2767 (tel) 04-8738-0699 (faks)
Syed Sohel 04-8736-2767
Masjid Darus Salam, 772, Oaza Sakai, Sakai Machi, Sawa-gun, Gunma Ken.
Hafiz Afzal 030-146-1419
Masjid Shin Anjo (Nagoya), Bangunan Kamimoto, Tingkat Satu, 1-11-15, Imaike-cho, Anji-Shi, Aichi Ken.
Najimuddin 030-56-32101
Nufail 030-56-50432, 056-698-9408
Masjid Takwa (Chiba), Sanbu-Machi, Sanbu-Gun, Ametsubo 65-12, Chiba Ken (dekat stesen JR Hyuga).
Lokman 043-444-5464, 030-067-9223
Shamin 010-404-4748
Makki Mosque (Narimasu, Tokyo), stesen Narimasu (Tobu line).
Asraf 010-609-2479
Markaz Hon-Atsugi (Kanagawa). 0462-27-5936
Islamic Center, 1-16-11 Ohara Setagayu ku, Tokyo 156. 03-7870916, 4606169
Islamic Center, C Hoko Mansion 4-33-10 Kitazawa, Setagaya ku, Tokyo 156.
Nerima K. K. Mati, 1-30-17 Kopsaki 205, Tokyo. 81-3-450-6820, 81-3-553-7665 (Ismail), faks 81-3-458-3967
A. Aziz Mecavale, 175 Kumitashi Cho, Tokyo. (d/a Akarim Seth)

Md. Nawaz, Masjid, Muenchener str. 21, Frankfurt. (06175)1673, (0221)550..
Md. Nawaz, Berliner str. 31, 6374 Steinbach. (06171) 75360
Barbaros Gamii (masjid), Kyffhavser str. 26 (dekat Barbarossa Platz), 5 Koeln 1 (Cologne). (Husseinbeg
Firat 467477, Zia) 0211-213870
Masjid, Lindower str. 18-19, 1000 Berlin 65. (030) 4617026
Masjid, Landwehr str. 25, Muenchen (Munich). (dekat stesen keretapi)
Masjid, Steindamm, Hamburg. (dekat stesen keretapi)
Masjid, Haupsletter str. 715, Stuttgart. 0711-6406775

Salem Ahmad, Deeday Masjid, P.O. Box 730, Djibouti. 253-762-189, 5818 FIANEA (teleks)

Md Mustafa Al Wafai, Masjid Madeenat al Hujjaj, Mukhayam Het.. 962-6-774-257

Osmany c/o Alhaj Md, P.O. Box 19, Marwah.237-291-5..

Medina Masjid, 1015 Danforth Ave., Toronto. (Ismail Patel / Anjum Mohammad)1-416-465-7833.

Baba Khanov, Muslim Religious Board of Central Asia, Alma Ata.

A. Shakoor, Londi Mosque, sebelah balai polis Kamakunsi, Nairobi. 254-2-764-224, 254-2-340-965

Ahmet Cetkin, Harika Camii, Palamud Sok No. 11, Asa Marao.

Korea Selatan
Imam Qamaruddin, Masjid Annur, GPO Box 10896, Seoul. 82-2-556-…

Kosta Rika
Mostafa Md Imam, Centro Islamico, Dasamprados Casa 7-16, San Jose. 506-272-878

A Rashid Haroon, Subhan Markaz, Al Mantiga Sinaere, Kuwait.

Maulana Qamaruddin Noori, Masjid India, P.O Box 617, Vientianne. 3776

S M Azmat Subzwari, Randall Street Mosque, Monrovia. 231-225-0..

Mustafa Kuraitty, Jame al Badri, Bab bib Ghasher, Tripoli. 218-61-72138..

A Hasib Sar Hal, Imam Ali ut Tariq Jadidah, dekat Madrasah Farooq, Beirut.

Islamic Centre, Route Darlon 2, Mamar. (S. B. Khan Afridi) 352-311-695.

Yakub Patel, P.O.Box 101, Tamatave. 261-5-33202

Alhaj Ali, Masjid en Noor, Hayya Araha 61, Darul Baida, Casablanca. 212-366-483..

Ebrahim Makda, Juma Masjid, Kamuza Proc. Road, Lilongwe. 265-720216

Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. 60-3-9580515. 60-3-7595063 (Madrasah Miftahul Ulum). 60-3-7586134 (faks: Hj Khalid)
Abdul Wahid, Kota Kinabalu. 088-232994 (r), 088-225081 (o).

Ibrahim Hassan, G. Aabin, Male Island.

Ismail, Markaz Haidara, P.O. Box 1551, Bamako. 223-22-22..

Md El Sadi, Islamic Centre, Corradino Road, P.O. Box 11, Paola, Malta. 356-772-163..

Daud Ahmad, Masjid Shurfa, P.O. Box 14, Nouakchott.

Masjid Nur, Gora Issac St., Port Louis. 230-2424904
Mir AM Soorma, Shaukat Islam Mosque, P.O.Box 328, Port Louis. 230-26..

Mir Y Ali, Norte 40A, No. 3612A, Col 7 de Noviembre, Mexico DF.. 537-1138

Masjid Anas bin Malik, Madinatul Muhaddithin, Share Iraqu Giza, Cairo. 20-2-702-804, 20-2-348-6185

Md Rafiq Ahmad, Av Dazambia 305, I C Flat 4, Maputo. 258-2378..

B. A. Ground Mosque, dekat stesen keretapi Rangoon. 95-1-74436, 3100 (Bhay)

New Zealand

Abdul Samad Bhikoo, Auckland Mosque, 17 Vermont Street, Ponsonby, Auckland. 64-9-3764437
Masjid AnNur, Christchurch. 64-3-3483930
Ishan Othman, Dunedin. 64-3-4767121

Yahya Sa’ati, Sooq al Kabir, dekat Mohatta Sayarat, Niamey.

Hamza Oshodi, Central Mosque, 37 Church Road, Saban Gari, Kano. 47-2-9883..

K. M. Riaz, Bilal Masjid, Tordenskjolds Gt. 86, 3044 Drammen. 47-2-9883-..
Islamic Centre, Nosdahlbruns Gt. 22, Oslo 1.

Masud Harthi, Jame Khalid ibni Walid, Assib, Muscat. 92-21-415..


AlHaj A. Wahab, Madrassa Arabia, Raiwind, Lahore. 92-21-415.., 92-21-216..(faks)
Makki Masjid, Garden Road, Karachi.

A F Bhikoo, Jama Masjid, 3rd Street & Mexico Avenue, Panama City. 517-256-44..

Pantai Gading
Md Amin (Jallo), Masjid Ahlesunnah, P.O. Box 110, Danane. -(225)-635-320 (Boike town)

Sh. Yunus Tlili, Masjid Rahman, Ave. Paul Vaillent Couturier 52, 93200 St Denis. 33-1-,
Markaz Marseille, Rue Malaval 24, 13002 Marseille. 91908047

Naguib Atala, Casilla 3134, Lima. 51-14-294-620

Yakub, ul. Piastowska 77, Bialistok. Masjid, ul. Abrama 17A, Gdansk.
Boguslaw Zagorski, ul. Rozlogi 6 Apt. 51, Warszawa (Warsaw).

Puerto Riko
Arab Cultural Club, Km 5, KMO 65th Inf Ave, Rio Piepras, PR0092.

Abdullah Ahmad, Masjid Mantaya Sanaiya, P.O.Box 40621, Doha.

Yusuf Lockati, Masjid Nurul Islam, 97400 St Denis. 262-200..

Masjid, Ovidiu Square, Constanta.

Masjid, Prospect Mira (dekat Olympic Station), Moscow. 281-4904
Sayyid Akhtar, Moscow.




A Majid Suleman, Medina Masjid, Kegali. 250-7536
Sk Ahmad, Masjid Al Noor, P.O. Box 1955, Colobane, Dakar. 221-223-262
Siera Leon
Hassan Taravaly, 4 Rush Street, Circular Road, Freetown.
Masjid Angulia, Serangoon Road. 02-2971624
Hj Jufri, Block 210 #07-91, Tapines Street 23. 02-7832358
Hj Hassan 02-4442312
Najmuddin 02-2914742
Abdul Karim 02-4439294
S Sheraff, Masjid e Dawat, Magaiscia. 252-1-81963
Musa Taha, Mezquita Ataqua, Calle Correo Viejo – 4, Albaicine, Granada. 34-58-255-611
Sri Lanka
Tablighi Markaz, 150 Lukmanjee Sq, Grandpass Rd, Colombo. (Md Lebbe Master) 94-1-25910
Dr D H Khalili, Masjid Hamddab, Ash Shaharah, Khartoum. 249-11-222428

Mufti B Piprawala, Masjid Taedul Islam, Mutton Shop 10B, Paramaribo. 597-81394

Md Hassan, P.O. Box 201, Maikerns. 83327

Markaz, Tarsgatan 91, Stockholm. 46-8-334-490 (A Raof), 46-8-750-8511 (S Zaidi)
Dr M Piar Ali, Tarsgatan 45B, Stockholm
Tonsbergsgatan 4, 3TR, 16434 Kista. 46-8-719-3215 (P Ali) Masjid, Gamlagatan, Uppsala. 46-18-21998281

Hussain Osmani, Muslim Association, 2-A Linderain str Post F 1650, 30012 Berne. 41-31-228-396, 556-321
Masjid, Chemin Colladon 34, Petit Saconnex, Geneva. (Tram no. 12) 7987311
Islamic Center, Narstr. 19, Zurich.
Masjid, Tingkat 3, Ausstellungstr. 21, Zurich.

A M M Hosni, Razaqul-Jin-Sary, Zaid b Sabit, Merchant Modaiya, Damascus.

Ali Bhai Patel, Al Futiaim Motors, P.O. Box 5819. 971-6-548-629

A Rahim Mostafa, Masjid Shah Mansoor, ul. Wasfe, Dushanbe.

Chinese Muslim Association, 62 H’sin Shen South Rd, Sec 2, Taipeh. 886-2-522-4473
Nurrdin Hsueh Wen Ching, P.O. Box 1430, Kaohsiung. 886-7-7498749, 886-7-5215771

Sayed Mohsin, Medina Masjid, P.O. Box 5050, Dar es Salam. 255-61-26455

Hanif A. Shakur, Masjid Aslam, Bangkaoli, Bangkok. 662-235-3956..
Markaz, Minburi. (30 km dari pusat Bangkok)
Markaz, Yala.

Imam Ratib, Sk Al Hassan, Grand Mosque, Zongo, Lome.

Raziff Ghany, Monroe Road Masjid, Monroe Road, Cunupia. 809-650-1985

Mestaoui Habib, 28 Rue Ibn Khaldoun, Ben Arous, Tunis. 216-1-380-843

Umar Vanlioglu, Mescidi Salam, Sultan Ciftligi, Habibler Koyu, Istanbul. 90-1-3854053, 90-1-5951773, 90-1-5054619 (faks: C. Korkut)

Uraz Murod, Uraz Md, Haji Noor, Masjid, Ashkabad.

Omar Mazinga, Masjid Nur, William St., P.O. Box 2046, Kampala. 256-41-246-63..

Murad, Madrassa Mir e Arab, Bukhara. 42170
Imam Mustafa Khul, Samarkand, 353268
Ziauddin, Idara Diniyat, Tashkent. 351307

Farooq A Rahman, Islamic Center, Calle-9, Urb La Paz, El Paraiso, Caracaz. 58-2-498322?

M. Zakaria, Mutawalli Mosque, 66 Tnilap Thanh, Saigon.
Masjid Annur, 12 Hang Luoc street, Hang Ma ward, Hoan Kian precinct, Hanoi.
Ustaz Muhsin, Madrasah Arabiah, 25A Lang Ha street, Hanoi.

Hamood Faki, Masjid As-Sawad, Al Habbah Annagal St, Al Harabi, Sana’a. 967-2-227-246

Jusufspabic Md., Jevremova 11, 11000 Belgrade. 38-11-642-043, 622-654

Greece Markazi Masjid Rassos, 9 Galaxia Strape (dekat Kosmos), 117/45 Athens.
Munir Mahmud, G. Papandreau 87, Goudi, Athens. 30-1-775-8155, 30-531-24863 (Hussein Mostafa)

A. M. Patel, 39 Mama Yemo, P.O. Box 155, Likasi. 243-12-28272

Ahmad Nomani, P.O. Box 510191, Chipata. 260-62-21161
Ahmad Karodia, Md Ravat, P.O. Box 30324, Lusaka. 260-1-212-023

Y. Hussain, Ridgeview Masjid, Boeing Road, Ridgeview. 263-4-292..

Wallahu a’lam

:: Travelers’ Tales in the Tablighi Jamaat


Professor of history at the University of California, DavisT July 588

The extensive Islamic missionary movement of Tablighi Jamaat, which originated in colonial India but is now worldwide, encourages participants to go out on small group tours to invite others, primarily nominal Muslims, to return to faithful adherence to Islamic teachings, above all the canonical prayer. At the conclusion of a tour, participants should report back, orally or in writing, their experiences to the mosque-based group (local, regional, or national) from which they set out. A sample of these reports, called karguzari, are the basis of this article. The reports reflect two discourses: one of jihad, in the sense of the nonmilitant “greater jihad” focused on self-discipline; and one of Sufism, embedded in the efforts of the charismatic group rather than in institutional tasawwuf.

The colonial period in South Asia witnessed far-reaching changes in religious thought and organization as well as in the domains of life that increasingly came to be signified as “religious.” No change was more momentous than the emergence of politicized religious communities in public life. This was true for all the Indian religious traditions. Two further changes, again ones that ran across religious traditions, were also significant. One represented efforts to measure current behavior and doctrine against textual norms. The effort to line up behavior with what were imagined to be pristine divine teachings was a major theme of what might be called “an improvement ethic” characteristic of socioreligious movements of the last century of colonial rule. Second, again across traditions, there was an extension in the range of those deemed authoritative in religious matters to what might be called “lay” participants outside the traditions of learning or birth that had previously determined who could claim to speak and act for fellow adherents. Both of these changes are evident in the Muslim movement popularly known as Tablighi Jamaat, the “preaching” or “inviting” society. This movement is notable, however, in that it stands apart from explicit concerns about public life and competition to secure communal interests in the larger society. It is what could be called a movement of encapsulation.

The Tablighi Jamaat traces its origins to north India in the 1920s. At that point, even though its rhetoric focused wholly on Muslim failure and the need to draw nominal Muslims to fidelity, it was in fact one of many Muslim movements stimulated to action by aggressive Hindu attempts to “reconvert” what were seen as nominal Muslims to Hinduism. The movement took on new energy after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, most importantly in Mewat, the location of the movement’s origins, where Hindus had engaged in ruthless “ethnic cleansing.” Tablighi Jama[at began a worldwide program, particularly from the 1960s, with the spread of immigrant populations to America and Europe and beyond. It now engages non–Indo-Pakistani populations as well.

It is conventional today to point to either of the annual international three-day congregations held in Raiwind in Pakistan or Tungi in Bangladesh and describe the turnout at each—of some 2 million—as the largest annual congregations of Muslims outside those who gather each year to perform the hajj at Mecca. Even in India, where there has been a preference for regional meetings rather than a single national meeting, a congregation held in Bhopal in December 2002 apparently drew about a million people.

Those who began this movement were themselves [ulama linked to the reformist seminary at Deoband. Typical of the Deobandi [ulama, they were also part of Sufi networks, devoted to their sheikhs from whom they received initiation and charismatic blessing, engaged in sufi disciplines and inner purification, cherishing the genealogy of holy men whose links passed back to the Prophet Muhammad himself. The Deobandis emerged in the brutal context of post–1857 Mutiny repression, which fell particularly hard on north Indian Muslims. They turned inward to disseminate what we might call cultural renewal through devotion to correct Islamic interpretation and practice coupled with devotion to the Prophet Muhammad. The key figures in this movement were widening circles of [ulama trained in newly formalized madrasas, supported by the outpouring of publications permitted by newly available printing presses—pamphlets, polemical literature,summaries of correct practices, advisory opinions given to individual questioners, biographies, and collections of anecdotes about the holy and learned. Religious leaders, long dependent on patronage of the wealthy and pious endowments, came to depend on popular support.

The Deobandis were only one of several Sunni Muslim reformist groups that had emerged at the turn of the century. One, popularly called “Barelvi,” while also giving a new popular role to the holy and learned [ulama, were more catholic in their acceptance of customary practices associated with veneration of saiyyids, holy men, saints, and the Prophet (Sanyal 1996). Another, the Ahl-i Hadith, in contrast, was like the ArabianWahhabis (who traced their origin to an iconoclastic lateeighteenth-century reform movement and who found renewed vigor in internal competition within Arabia in the 1920s). They broke with the use of the historic schools of legal interpretation (for the Deobandis and Barelvis and other north Indians, the Hanafi school) in favor of direct recourse to the Qur]an and the prophetic hadith. They opposed Sufi customs, and they discouraged pilgrimage to the Prophet’s grave in Madina. Theirs was a minority position. These orientations are salient today, describing not only jurisprudential positions but also categorizing mosques, voluntary organizations, and, in some contexts, political parties as well.

[T]he Tabligh movement stands in dramatic

contrast to…the Afghan Taliban, which sought

to use state institutions to achieve morality

rather than depend on invitation and

persuasion directed toward individuals.

As they emerged in the late nineteenth century, these competing groups debated to some extent with reformist Hindus, such as the Arya Samajis, who were increasingly concerned to “reconvert,” as they saw it, non-Hindus within India, and with Christian missionaries. But even in those contexts, the primary audience was other Muslims. In other words, a reason to debate Arya Samajis or Christians was less to influence them than to show oneself as the spokesman or defender of

“Islam” in public life to one’s fellow Muslims. This was a new understanding of Islam, as a corporate identity in competition with others, and it created a new role for both religious and political leaders.

A scion of several generations of [ulama associated with Deoband, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (d. 1944) is taken to be the founder of Tablighi Jama[at (Sikand 2002).2 The context for his program was the period of intense Hindu-Muslim tension that followed the dashed expectations of the FirstWorldWar and the Khilafat movement when north India in particular was rent by riots and particularly intense missionary activities by the Arya Samajis. His response was not to move into new arenas that were emerging for the [ulama, like politics, but to intensify the original Deobandi program of inner-looking grassroots reform of individual lives as a solution to the same problem of defending Islam.

Maulana Ilyas argued that what had been seen as the responsibility (farzu]lkifaya) of the [ulama, namely, teaching fidelity to correct behavior, was in fact the obligation of all Muslims (farzu]l [ain), a radical example of the move to “lay” leadership. The key to his program was to get Muslims to move out of their normal, everyday enmeshments and pressures to go out in small groups to call other Muslims to this correct practice. He felt that schools were not the way to reach people. Lived experience was. The combination of the group interactions while on a mission coupled with the powerful impact on the teacher himself or herself of teaching

others was the key to his program (Metcalf 1994).

Here is a description of the current center ofTabligh work in Pakistan in a recent autobiography of a person who began his involvement in Tablighi Jama[at in the 1940s:

Almighty Allah is most merciful. A great task of revival of the ummah is going on at Raiwind, where there is a totally different atmosphere. People remain busy with Taleem [teaching], Zikr [repetition of sacred phrases], Tilawat [Qur]anic recitation] and briefing for the Tabligh missions. They are helpful and loving, leading simple austere lives, only concerned with Akhirat [the world to come] and aloof from petty selfish concerns. . . .

They arrange ijtimas [convocations], go out to different countries for a year or seven months and remain busy in the local mosques inviting people to participate in the missionary work among Muslims, who have become Muslims in name only and abandoned all religious practices. I went frequently on Fridays to Raiwind and attended the briefing and

du]a by Haji AbdulWahab. Maulana Ihsan led the Friday prayers. I would enjoy the company of Masihuz Zaman Sahib and Bhai Matloob and also visit the enclosure for foreigners from Arab countries, Europe, Africa and Far East… Jamaats would go on foot to the remotest areas of Pakistan and suffer hardships to win the pleasure of Allah subhanahu Taala. . . . A majority of our people do not understand the meaning of Kalama [the attestation of faith]; prayers do not regulate our lives; and we fail to discharge our duties. Our rich do not pay zakat [obligatory alms] and accumulate wealth in safe deposits. [Others emphasize] education,.. industrial development,… economic prosperity. These are really offshoots; the root lies in our spiritual and moral development.Without faith and submission to the will of Allah we cannot succeed. Tabligh is a world reform movement. . . . It is mass moral education for drawing people closer and reforming their habits. . . . We have been warned. . . . Our faith is not complete unless we take up the task of da[wah [mission,“inviting”] in right earnest. (Inam-ul-Haq 1999a)

Several themes are clear in this brief, insider’s overview of the movement.Acentral theme is the absolute focus on individual moral behavior in contrast to social and economic programs. Indeed, a major complaint of opponents is precisely this failure to engage with what are seen as pressing social, economic, and political needs of the day. In this regard, the Tabligh movement stands in dramatic contrast to the ideology of a second Deobandi-related movement, in this case one that called itself Deobandi (as Tablighis do not), namely, the Afghan Taliban, which sought to use state institutions to achieve morality rather than depend on invitation and persuasion directed toward individuals (Metcalf 2002b). A second theme of the Tablighis is the priority of teaching other Muslims on the grounds that however many Muslims there may be in name, almost none are properly Muslim. It is up to a faithful few, like the first lonely Muslims of Mecca, to achieve a veritable revolution in mass behavior. Finally, the call to Tabligh is one of high seriousness. Tabligh may be inward looking in the sense of not having a political program. But it insists that the individual must be effective in the world. It is not enough to study, pray, and engage in Sufi disciplines oneself. The obligation to mission is not negotiable: on fulfilling it hinges nothing less than one’s own ultimate fate at the Day of Judgment.

Tabligh [insist] that preaching must be done

face to face, that intellectuality and argument

are irrelevant to influencing lives, and that

what counts is a meeting of hearts.

All of these themes are evident in firsthand accounts of Tabligh tours, examples of which I briefly describe in the remainder of this article. The writing up or oral recounting of one’s experiences as part of a preaching tour is part of the discipline of participation in Tabligh activities and would serve, through recollection and self examination, as part of the self-fashioning and self-education the movement ideally fosters. Accounts of tours are known by a term that is not indicative of a genre but of what it is that they communicate, namely, kaarguzaari. Kaar is simply “work,” “action,” “profession,” or “matter.” A person who is kaarguzaar is someone skilled or expeditious or accomplished in his or her work. Kaarguzaari denotes the discharge of one’s duty or business, or “good service” (Platts [1884] 1977, 799). Hence, “Eek tabliighi jama at kii kaarguzaari” might be simply translated as “the service of a tablighi jamaat.”

There is no formal bureaucratic structure to this highly decentralized, voluntary movement; there are no offices and no archives; and even if there were, they presumably would not be open to outsiders. Hence the accounts, which I feel fortunate to have seen at all, are simply a chance collection. According to a full-time Tabligh worker who resides in Raiwind, accounts once read are not kept. In contrast, Yoginder Sikand, author of a well-researched history of Tablighi Jama[at, was assured that accounts are kept in the Delhi headquarters, although he was not able to see them.

Some accounts have recently been posted on theWeb. At one point, al-Madina included a link called variously “Kar Guzari” or “karguzari,” in one frame further specified as “true stories in the path of Allah” (www.al-madina.com, links: karguzari; elderspeech; DawaLinks; 1999, 2000, 2001).5 Three printed sources, to which I will now turn, include an account of a mission conducted immediately after partition (Anonymous n.d.), accounts that appear in a collection of letters sent to the center inNewDelhi in the 1960s (Muhammad Sani Hasani n.d.), and finally, an account of a four-month tour undertaken to China in the 1980s by a group from Maharashtra (Muhammad Hanif 1997).

From Delhi to East Punjab, 1950

The earliest account I have seen (Anonymous n.d.) has presumably been preserved and informally reprinted because it is such a powerful and dramatic account of Tabligh at a time of considerable danger and difficulty. It is readily available, whether as a copy available for a few pennies, lithographed on eight folded sheets with no publication information, at an outdoor book table, as I first found it, or reprinted in more conventional pamphlet format. In 1947, the account argues, many Muslims in India apostatized to save their lives. The amir in Delhi asked Tablighis at the center in New Delhi to be willing to give their lives to bring them back to the fold of Islam.Two jama[ats set out, seen off with tears and prayers. Their extraordinary account is organized in terms of a dynamic: four successive severe tests, each met with divine aid, each followed by new resolve and ultimately success.

Other Muslims were apparently often too fearful for their own safety to offer help, but gradually the jama[ats dispersed and began to find their way to the former Muslims. A group was set on by police, beaten to unconsciousness, and jailed with no provision made for food and drink. They were forced to undertake the latrine detail for the prison. After three days, help from beyond, as they understood it, arrived in an unlikely form. A Hindu officer was jolted into memories of earlier years in Multan. Thus, he was not only a Hindu but a refugee from what had become Pakistan and, hence, a person who might have been expected to be particularly hostile toward any Muslims, let alone Muslims on a proselytizing mission. The officer, however, is reported to have said to the prisoners, “When our children had any difficulty, we would take them to Muslims who were like you. We called them ‘Tablighi Jamat people’ and you seem to be some of them. . . . They were very good people and I loved them.” This was the jama[ats’ first experience of “help from beyond.” The subsequent weeks in jail brought improved conditions and, in fact, afforded an opportunity to engage in Tabligh toward some 250 Muslim prisoners.

The second test came when refugee Sikhs arrived on the scene. They, in contrast to the Hindu officer, came “with guns and rifles ready to kill.” The Tablighis besought them for permission to pray. Their cries and prayers for help were answered, although not before “the floor was red with blood.” The guns of the Sikhs had simply jammed. The Tablighis, of course, saw this again as divine aid. The Sikhs on their part were reportedly so frightened by this event that in the end they brought a doctor who nursed the Tablighis’ wounds. One Sikh, they continued, even tried to learn their teaching and helped guide them on the next stage of their journey.

Again the Tablighis set out, and again they were imprisoned, this time when they settled at a mosque being used by the government for border control. They were put into an old haveli where the well still reeked from the bodies of Muslims killed during partition. Their captors provided them with neither food nor water. A week later, the police returned, expecting to find them dead. Finding them instead alive, they ordered the Tablighis to the mountains, where yet again the Tablighis were arrested. They were beaten, robbed, and thrown into the Ganges in flood. Divine aid this time came in the form of the roots of a tree, which saved them.

Finally a huge wave came, washing them up on shore. This was truly divine aid since had they continued down the river, the local people, as they later learned, would have followed police orders to let them drown. The final miracle was that one person still had his clothes in a bag around his waist. His turban and kurta, torn into pieces, sufficed to cover everyone’s private parts. Again a non-Muslim, a Sikh police inspector, was forced to recognize the extraordinary power, zabardast

taaqat, of those on such a mission. This exemplary tale illustrates in extreme form the seriousness and importance Tablighis give to their work, coupled with the divine blessing they confidently expect for doing it. Moreover, in particularly dramatic form, it conveys the sense that the larger world is one antagonistic to the faith of true Muslims.

Letters from Europe and America to the Center, 1960s

A chapter of the biography of Maulana Muhammad Yusuf (d. 1965), the second overall amir of Tablighi Jama[at at the center at Nizamu]d-din, New Delhi, is composed of accounts of the experience of the first generations of Tablighis who spread beyond the subcontinent, primarily to places (including, in fact, Japan) where migration and work took subcontinental Muslims beginning in the 1960s. The chapter includes extracts from letters written to “Hazratji” Maulana Yusuf. Again, the difficulty of the enterprise is underlined, not now because of physical danger but because of the moral danger posed by what are caricatured as the values of America and Europe. These values are recognized as profoundly alluring. In Maulana Yusuf’s own words,

For those going to do the work of preaching religion in the materialist-worshipping countries of Europe and America, there is need of those men of God who have purpose and conviction; who, when they see the glittering and alluring life and society of those countries, will not let their mouths water, but instead, at the sight of life contrary to Islam and practices contrary to those brought by the Prophet, on whom God’s blessing and peace, will rather, weep. (Muhammad Sani Hasani n.d., 517)

Aline of poetry opens the chapter: “O believer, come! Let us show you/A visit of the Divine, within the house of idols” (ibid., 516).

The letters again confirm the priority to be given to lapsed Muslims, not to the non-Muslim population. Yet the letters also express high hopes for what a mere handful, if truly faithful like the Prophet’s embattled followers in Mecca, can accomplish. Indeed, as a 1961 letter writes, the improvement once Tabligh is launched is virtually “without effort” (Muhammad Sani Hasani n.d., 524). Others look ahead to a larger dream:

May Allah make us the means and cause of turning this capital of infidelity and ingratitude [London] into a center of peace and faith. (Ibid., 521)

Presumably, a time would come when Muslims would not only seek out fellow Muslims.

For the most part, however, at this point the letters reflect more the dangers posed by non-Muslims than the opportunity for converting them. This marks a change from the early days of the movement, which had emphasized internal Muslim failures. Either Muslims were neglectful of their religious life completely or they followed deviations in the form of false customs described not as Hindu or Western but as the influence of Sufism or of Shi[ism. At this point, however,

Tablighis in America and Europe devoted considerable energy to setting true Islam against a world of “materialism, self-absorption, and lack of modesty, kindness, and courtesy” (Muhammad Sani Hasani 1967, 516). A Pakistani in New York wrote back to the Center that “people stay out half the night. They work all day, then amuse themselves, men and women, wasting what they earn and oblivious of

the End” (ibid., 534). A Tablighi in Detroit wrote that adolescents (sayana qaum ) there were “worse than animals” (ibid., 543).

From Maligaon to China, 1986

In the mid-1980s a jama[at set out from Maligaon, a town in the state of Maharashtra of late known as one of severe communal tensions, for China. The detailed, book-length account of this four-month jama[at to China is compelling because of the close view it provides of the daily activities on tour. A particularly important dimension of this tour is that it describes interactions between peoples who shared no common language (aside from a precious scattering of contacts who knew some Arabic). The account thus provides a striking example of Tabligh insistence that preaching must be done face to face, that intellectuality and argument are irrelevant to influencing lives, and that what counts is a meeting of hearts.

The account also serves to nuance the meaning of Tabligh apoliticism. As the accounts already cited have made clear, Tabligh draws two boundaries, one between Muslims and an alien cultural world of non-Muslims and a second between the faithful and the vast majority of Muslims who, however pious they may think themselves, are Muslims only in name. Certainly the latter demarcation is important in this account. The Maharashtrians encountered what were to them shocking local practices, for example, several that reflect on ritual cleanliness. They found the Chinese Muslims using toilets with no modesty or concern for the direction of the qibla direction of Mecca; they also used toilet paper; they ate with the left hand or even with chopsticks; they were wholly oblivious of the Prophetic practice of using the miswak twig for teeth cleaning. The Tablighis found what seemed to them to be women dressed like men. Men and women, moreover, mixed freely in public life. Muslims allowed photography. They wasted their time in “boxing.” These failures, as they were seen, were interestingly attributed to the Chinese Muslims’ being “in the grip of the West” (Muhammad Hanif 1997, 38).

But however much they had gone astray, the Chinese Muslims were also seen as victims in a way that could only intensify opposition to the Chinese state, a critique perhaps easier for Muslim Indians than for Pakistanis, for example, given the alliances of their respective states. Muhammad Hanif (1997) attributed the failure of local imams to cooperate with the Tablighis to their fear of Chinese government

reprisals. He recounted stories of outright persecution on the part of the state and dedicated his book “to the oppressed Chinese Muslims.”

In Conclusion

The stories Tablighis tell about themselves can only be understood in the light of the stories they tell about the Prophet Muhammad, the Companions of the Prophet, and those who have followed them. The stories assert that the high standard set in the hadith is gone and that it is again the time of jahiliyya, a time of ignorance classically understood as the pre-Muhammad age in Arabia. In this, Tabligh thinking espouses the same interpretation of the current day as do many twentiethcentury Islamist thinkers, notably the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), who place jahiliyya not in the distant past but in the present.7 There is, thus, a particular urgency to Muslims seeking to follow prophetic example today.

The locus classicus for interpreting the early years of Tabligh work in India in a context of jahiliyya was written by Maulana Abu]l-ala Maududi (1903-79). Maududi would later become a critic of Tablighi Jama[at because, like Qutb, he favored political Islam. Indeed, he would emerge as one of the premier Islamist thinkers of the century. Nonetheless, in 1939 he was filled with admiration when he saw Tablighi activities firsthand in Mewat, the area southwest of Delhi where the movement first flourished. His story, published in a leading Urdu journal, told of the unlettered but sturdy Mewatis as the mirror of the Arab Bedouins of the pre-Islamic jahiliyya whose lives were transformed through Islam. Maududi’s description of the Mewatis, with their Hindu names, their ignorance of prayer (so that they would gape at someone praying and worry that he had a stomachache), their idols and tufts of hair, has been absorbed into Tabligh legend. “It seemed as if that very spirit, with which at the beginning of Islam the Arab Bedouin rose up for the tabligh of the straight path, now had been born in these people.” If this were the time of jahiliyya, there had to be Bedouins (Abu]l-ala Maududi [1939] 1979, 25).

If Tablighi ideology, despite its fundamentally different program, shares certain assumptions and symbols with political Islam, it also draws on a second language, evident in the accounts as in much Tabligh language. This is a Sufi idiom. Tablighis believe themselves able to receive, through divine blessings granted on account of

their work, the high spiritual state and charisma accorded to Sufis. The Sufis gain their blessings through lives devoted to disciplines, meditation, and moral purification coupled with the powerful charisma of succession transmitted through the elder to whom they pledge allegiance. These states can now to be gained by participation

in the charismatic community of the jama[at. Thus, the participant gains through his experiential states in this life the assurance that what he is doing is receiving divine blessing.

[S]ome Tablighis, in fact, will emphasize

Muslim failure to live morally as a cause

of recent Muslim suffering today.

Muhammad Hanif (1997), for example, used such terms as lutf (joy, grace), kaif (exhilaration), and sukun-i qalb (peace of heart) to describe the spiritual experience of his jama[at. The 1950 account spoke of being granted the light of insight (nur-i basiirat) and of the gnosis (maarifat) and revelations (inkishaaf) accorded those who participated. Story after story, like those described above, illustrate how a jama[at becomes a vehicle for what are essentially the karamat, or miracles, gained in classic Sufi accounts by a particular holy man who enjoys God’s favor.

The second, and more formative, discourse is the one alluded to above in relation to jahiliyya, the essentially military vocabulary that this “greater jihad” shares with the “lesser jihad” of warfare against the kuffaar. Both, for starts, are jihad, quoting a tradition invoked by one of the leading Deobandi intellectuals, Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafii[ that “the meaning of jihad is those who remove obstacles to religion; one is with the kuffaar and one with the self and Satan” (Anonymous n.d., 5). The shared idiom of jihad gives shape to the jama[at, which, like a political undertaking, is led by an amir (including an amir of each group going out) and guided by consultation (shura). Tablighi preaching tours are described as gasht/jaula, patrols, and khuruj, sorties. Anyone who is “lucky” enough, as described in a 1960s letter (Muhammad Sani Hasani n.d., 538), to die in the course of a Tabligh tour is a shahiid as much as someone is who dies in a militant jihad. Tablighis’ efforts, like those of an armed mujahid, are understood to be fisabili]llah, in the path of God. There is also the assertion that as in the lesser jihad, the participant will receive exponentially increased reward for all acts performed in the course of Tabligh so that the canonical prayer during a tour merits the equivalent of twenty lakh prayers of one at home; one rupee spent in the work of jihad is worth a karoor of rupees, and so forth (Anonymous n.d., 2-3). In both forms of jihad, the believer is enjoined to effective action in a world that needs to be changed. The 1950 account opens with a couplet that begins “from actions [which includes calling others to those actions] life is made” (Anonymous n.d., 1).

Among the karguzari on the Web site noted above are travels for preaching tours all over the earth—to Turkey, Palestine, Denmark, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Bangladesh, Central Asia, Brazil. But also listed as karguzari, discharging a duty, is a karguzari of the armed fighting in Chechnya dated April 2000. The posting describes it as “jihad for the sake of Allah”; it is “an obligatory worship of Allah

that we are performing.” “The Russian bear,” as it is called, is an immoral regime. The account calls attention to attacks on civilian targets carried out by Putin “trying to tarnish the image of the Mujahideen in Chechnya.”“We have no quarrel with the innocent Russian people,” the account continues, “our argument is with the Russian government and army, not the women, children and elderly citizens of Russia.”

Some observers assume that participation in the peaceful jihad of Tablighi Jama[at is a first stage toward militant jihad or at least toward more active political forms of organization. That assumption, like the more extreme assumption that the Tablighi Jihad serves as a cover for terrorists,9 remains to be demonstrated. It is, however, clear that for millions of participants, the injunction to disseminating individual moral reform is the movement’s only mission. If pressed to talk about political issues, some Tablighis, in fact, will emphasize Muslim failure to live morally as a cause of recent Muslim suffering today, particularly in the swathe of land that swings from Chechnya through Kashmir, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and—most important—Palestine, in contrast to those more public figures who explicitly condemn Christian, Zionist, and other oppression. One of the foundational texts of the movement, from 1945, uses in its English translation “Muslim Degeneracy” to target its primary concern.

Yet for all this crucial difference, as the accounts show, Tablighis share fundamental attitudes with the militants, not least their belief that Islam must be defended. They also are shaped by a commitment to individual action as effective in shaping the larger world, and they share the conviction that that the faithful few, who act “in the way of Allah,” can achieve far-reaching transformations. They also cultivate a cultural encapsulation that divides them starkly from a larger, evil, and threatening world.

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