Tablighi Jamaat (English: Society for spreading faith) is a non-political global Sunni Islamic missionary movement that focuses on urging Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam, and particularly in matters of ritual, dress, and personal behavior. The organisation is estimated to have between 12 million and 150 million adherents (the majority living in South Asia), and a presence in somewhere between 150 and 200 countries. It has been called "one of the most influential religious movements in 20th century Islam".
- This great movement generally known as the Tablighi Jama’at has inspired a new fervour, a new zeal to serve the divine cause…Its founder surprisingly was a slight, short-statured individual rather unimpressive in personality…It was this extraordinary figure known as Maulana Ilyas who founded the Tablighi Jama‘at which was to inspire in thousands of people a religious zeal which had been unknown for centuries…
- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Tabligh Movement, Al Risala Books, The Islamic Centre, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1994, p.5.
- It was at this place that he [Ilyas] first came into contact with the Mewatis… These uncouth and illiterate people had converted to Islam on a mass scale as a result of the efforts of the well-known sufi Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and his descendants, But in practical life they were far from Islam… They kept their Hindu names,… they celebrated all the Hindu festivals and made sacrifices to the pre-Islamic gods and goddesses… In 1921 new problems arose when Arya Samaj preachers resolved to reconvert the Indian Muslim to their ancestral religion. Thanks to the religious and cultural poverty of the Meos, the large-scale activities of the Aryan missionaries met with great success. The solution of this problem was to impart to them religious education so that they did not yield to any malign influence…
The only solution to this problem, as the Maulana saw it, lay in separating them from their milieu… They changed their way of dressing and grew beards, shaking off one by one almost all their pre-Islamic customs that they had retained after their conversion…
- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Tabligh Movement, Al Risala Books, The Islamic Centre, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1994 p. 5-12
- Since the beginning of Muslim rule in India, the ulama had remained permanently allied to an elite north Indian Muslim culture, hence the orthodox forms of Islam had not penetrated deep into the daily lives of the Muslim masses, who continued to cherish the customs and practices they had inherited from their Hindu past. Since the nineteenth century Mujahideen movement of Sayyid Alimad Shaheed (1786-1831) and the Faraizi movement of Haji Shariatullah, the Tabligh movement is the most important attempt to bridge the gap between orthodox Islam and the popular syncretic religious practices that are prevalent among the Muslim masses…
- ‘Islamic Fundamentalism in South Asia: The Jamaat-i-Islami and the Tablighi Jamaat of South Asia’, by Mumtaz Ahmad in Fundamentalisms Observed edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, Chicago, 1991, p.511-524, also quoted in Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R. (1997)
- A dislike for Hinduised garments was created and people began to dress themselves according to the specifications of the Shariat. Bracelets got removed from the arms and rings from the ears of men…
- Describing the changes in the Mewat region that came as a result of the efforts of Maulana Ilyas and the Tabligh workers.
- Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Life and Mission of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, Lucknow, 1983, p. 40. Quoted in Shail Mayaram, Resisting Regimes: Myth, Memory and the Shaping of a Muslim Identity, OUP, Delhi, 1997, p.226; and in Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R. (1997).
- Another tablighi, Muhammad Abdul Shakur, was more vituperative against the prevalence of Hindu customs among the Muslims. He raved against the barbarous (wahshiana) dress of the Hindus like dhoti, ghaghra and angia and advocated wearing of “kurta, amama, kurti, pyjama and orhni (or long Chadar)”. He attacked Hindu marriage customs practised by Muslims and warned women against participating in marriages with their faces uncovered. He insisted on women observing parda and was shocked to find that even after a thousand years of their conversion during the expeditions of Mahmud of Ghazni, Indian Muslims were living like Hindus. In the end he exhorted the senior Mewati Muslims thus: “Oh Muslims, the older people of Mewat, I appeal to you in a friendly way, doing my tablighi duty, to give up all idolatrous and illegal (mushrikana) ways of the Hindus… Islam has laid down rules for all social and cultural conduct… follow them.”
- Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
- Muslim ‘community’ in India had remained sharply divided into two mutually exclusive segments throughout the centuries of Islamic invasions and rule over large parts of the country. On the one hand, there were the descendants of conquerors who came from outside or who identified themselves completely with the conquerors - the Arabs, the Turks, the Iranians, and the Afghans. They glorified themselves as the Ashrãf (high-born, noble) or Ahli-i-Daulat (ruling race) and Ahl-i-Sa‘adat (custodians of religion). On the other hand, there were converts from among the helpless Hindus who were looked down upon by the Ashrãf and described as the Ajlãf (low-born, ignoble) and Arzãl (mean, despicable) depending upon the Hindu castes from which the converts came. The converts were treated as Ahl-i-Murãd (servile people) who were expected to obey the Ahl-i-Daulat and Ahl-i-Sa‘adat abjectly. Shah Waliullah (1703-62) and his son Abdul Aziz (1746-1822) were the first to notice this situation and felt frightened that the comparatively small class of the Ashrãf was most likely to be drowned in the surrounding sea of Hindu Kafirs. ... They had to turn to the neo-Muslims. The neo-Muslims, however, had little interest in waging wars for Islam. They had, therefore, to be fully Islamized, that is, alienated completely from their ancestral society and culture. That is why the Tabligh movement was started.
- Goel, Sita Ram (1995). Muslim separatism: Causes and consequences. ISBN 9788185990262
- Most of all, these intellectuals and the like have completely diverted public view from the activities in our own day of organizations like the Tabhligi jamaat and the Church which are exerting every nerve, and deploying uncounted resources to get their adherents to discard every practice and belief which they share with their Hindu neighbours.
- Arun Shourie, Eminent Historians