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Goals of Tablighi Jamaat

Goals of Tablighi Jamaat

How the abuse of language corrupts our thinking! Tablighi Jamaat, which organized a gathering of over than 3,000 people on March 13 at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin with foreign nationals, has been called “an Islamic reformist group.” This perverts the meaning of ‘reformist.’

The Hindu socio-religious movements, began by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and carried further by luminaries like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Swami Dayanand Saraswati, in the nineteenth century were reformist in nature; and it is because of these that Hindu society has gotten rid of the evils like suttee and child marriage—to a large extent in the latter case. Among the Muslims, Syed Ahmad Khan and others strove to bring the community out of ignorance and madrassas, though some of the offshoots acquired another trajectory.

But to term Tablighi as reformist is a crime against the English language, because they are doing just the opposite. As our mentioned earlier, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi founded the organization in the 1920s with the motto, ‘Aye Musalmano, Musalman bano’ (O Muslims, become Muslims). The idea was to purge non- and pre-Islamic practices from the community.

Two points need to be made here. First, the organization is the antithesis of what liberals adore—a syncretic, loosely defined, humanistic faith. This is what they believe Sufism is.

Second, when Tablighi Jamaat exhorts the faithful to ‘become Muslims,’ they also urge them to turn their backs on science, reason, and commonsense.

It has been pointed out that the organization, which has chapters all over the world, has not been involved in terrorist activities. It is, however, indisputable that its teachings prepare the ground for obscurantism; they keep the adherents of the second largest religion in the world away from knowledge, thus condemning it to perpetual benightedness.

It would be instructive to quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s experience in Saudi Arabia when she was a young girl. Ali is a Somali-born Dutch American public intellectual and writer who is critical of Islam. In her autobiography, Infidel, she described an incident of her childhood: “On September 16, 1978, there was an eclipse of the moon in Riyadh. Late one afternoon it became visible: a dark shadow moving slowly across the face of the pale moon in the darkening blue sky. There was a frantic knocking on the door. When I opened it, our neighbor asked if we were safe. He said it was the Day of Judgment, when the Quran says the sun will rise from the west and the seas will flood, when all the dead will rise and Allah’s angels will weigh our sins and virtue, expediting the good to Paradise and the bad to Hell. Though it was barely twilight, the muezzin suddenly called for prayer—not one mosque calling carefully after the other, as they usually did, but all the mosques clamoring all at once, all over the city. There was shouting across the neighborhood. When I looked outside I saw people praying in the street. Ma called us indoors and said, ‘Everybody is praying. We should pray.’ The sky grew dark. It was a sign! Now more neighbors came knocking, asking us to pardon past misdeeds. They told us children to pray for them, because children’s prayers are answered most. The gates of Hell yawned open before us. We were panicked.

“Finally, Abeh came home, well after nightfall. ‘Abeh!’ We ran to him. ‘It’s the Day of Judgment. You must ask Ma to forgive you!’ My father bent down till he was level with us and he hugged us. He said, slowly, ‘If you go to a Saudi and do this’—and he clapped loudly in our faces—‘it will cause the Day of Judgment, for the Saudis. They are sheep.’ ‘So it's not the Day of Judgment?’

“‘A shadow has fallen over the moon,’ he explained. ‘It is normal. It will pass’. Abeh was right. On the Day of Judgment, the sun will rise in the west, but the next morning, the sun was safely in its usual place, fat and implacable, and the world wasn’t ending after all.”

This is what ignorance does, make sheep out of human beings. Sheep can be herded. That’s what Tablighi Jamaat and other Islamic fundamentalist bodies want..