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Explainer: What is the Tablighi Jamaat and who are the Tablighis?

With the Nizamuddin Markaz emerging as the hotspot of the Chinese virus, it is important to know who are the Tablighis.

Explainer: What is the Tablighi Jamaat and who are the Tablighis?

Kathir WebdeskBy : Kathir Webdesk

  |  1 April 2020 1:28 PM GMT

The Tablighi Jamaat is one of the largest Islamic missionary outfits belonging to the Sunni sect that have footprints in more than 180 countries. A majority of its followers fall in the South Asian region. It was started by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in Mewat region of India who wanted to reform the Islam practiced by the Meo community who were originally Rajputs. The Meos were converted to Islam by force. Owing to their Rajput legacy their cultural practices were akin to the Hindus as they worshipped ancestral deities and celebrated Hindu festivals. He considered the Islam practiced by Meos as blasphemous and started the movement to 'correct their course'. Overnight, the Meos lost their cultural roots and turned into Sunni Islamic fanatics.

The purpose of the Tablighi Jamaat as it states is to urge Muslims to adhere to strict Sunni discipline in matters of ritual, dress, and personal conduct although they do send missionaries across to convert non-Muslims.

One of the activities of the Jamaat followers includes travelling to other mosques within and outside the country. They stay in these mosques and conduct congregations. They also visit the nearby neighbourhood and invite people for the evening prayer after which they are given a sermon on Sunni Islam.

The headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat is the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid in Nizamuddin. This place is also called as the Nizamuddin Markaz.

There are two sections among the Tablighis: those who believe that they should pursue jihad through conscience (jihad bin nafs) and those who believe in jihad through sword (jihad bin saif). But, all Tablighis subscribe to something that is indistinguishable from the radical Wahhabi-Salafi jihadist ideology that many terrorists share.

A paper published by a think-tank called Middle Eastern Forum states that the reason for the world witnessing an 'explosive growth of Islamic religious fervour' is because of the Tablighi Jamaat. Many of the terrorist attacks and plots have been carried out by Tablighi members which includes the December 1999 IC 814 hijack and the 7th July 2005 London bombings. The Tablighis have tried to carry out many other terrorist plots in the United States, UK, France and Spain. The French intelligence officers call it the "antechamber of fundamentalism".

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