tablighi: Saudi Arabia bans Tablighi Jamaat, calls it ‘gate of terror’


In what can have significant ramifications for India, Saudi Arabia has stunned the Islamic world by banning the Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamist proselytising movement, calling it “one of the gates of terrorism”.
With the ban, the group will face a slow death in many parts of the world because Saudi’s charities have been the chief source of funds for the movement which was launched in India to “purify” Islam. Some governments may also follow Saudi, but countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have substantial Tablighi populations, may find it difficult to do so.
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Islamic affairs tweeted: “His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr.#Abdullatif Al_Alsheikh directed the mosques’ preachers and mosques that held Friday prayer temporary to allocate next Friday sermon 5/6/ 1443 H to warn against (Tablighi & Da’wah group) which is called (Al Ahbab).”
The Tablighi movement started in India 100 years ago
The government has directed mosque preachers to inform people that Saudi Arabia is banned from partnering with party groups, including the Tablighi and Da’wah group.
The Tablighi movement originated in India just over a century ago, led by Mohammed Ilyas Kandhlawi preaching a return to “pure” Islam, an objective that boiled down to exhorting converts in India to give up practices from their Hindu past they had persisted with despite switching to Islam. Mohammad Ilyas first launched his campaign in the Mewat region in northwestern India, where many Hindu converts re-embraced their original faith in response to Arya Samaj’s ‘shuddhi’ campaign, the original version of ‘ghar wapsi’.
The Tablighis acquired global footprint with the passage of time, with Saudi money, among other factors, fuelling their growth. However, in recent years, the move towards “pure” Islam has been linked to fundamentalism, and has attracted the attention of law-enforcement agencies in several countries. Their insistence on puritanism and austerity has been seen as facilitating radicalisation.
In the Saudi context, the Tablighis have been opposed by Wahhabis, the ruling sect in the desert kingdom, which accuses them of being “grave worshippers”. In 2016, Abd-al-Aziz ibn Baz, former grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa against Tablighi Jamaat, accusing them of “heresy” and “idolatry”.
The Tablighis got into trouble in April 2020 when a big congregation continued their meetings in Delhi during the first Covid lockdown, defying protocols.




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