It was founded in the late 1920s by the Deobandi cleric Maulana Muhammad
Ilyas Kandhalawi in the Mewat province of India. Maulana Ilyas put
forward the slogan, ‘Aye Musalmano! Musalman bano’ (O Muslims! Be Muslims).
It is strictly a non political movement. The Tablighis work at grass roots level
reaching out to Muslims across the economic and social spectrum.
Originally started in Delhi, India, the movement has spread to 150 countries and
has an active following estimated to be between 70 to 80 million devout
The Jamaat does not solicit or receive donations. Rather it is self funded by
its members and operates on a very efficient model where administrative expenses
are almost absent or taken care of by donations from senior members.
Ameer or Zimmadar
Ameer or Zimmadar are titles of leadership in the movement.
The first Ameer, also the founder, was Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi (Maulana
Ilyas) (RA) (1885-1944). The second was his son Maulana Muhammad Yusuf
Kandhalawi (1917-65) (RA). The third one was Maulana Inaam ul Hasan (Inamul
Hassan) (1965-95) (RA). Now there is a shura which includes two leaders: Maulana
Zubair ul Hasan and Maulana Saad Kandhalawi
Tabligh in Arabic means "to deliver (the message)" and Tablighi Jamaat strive to
revive this duty which they consider as one of the primary duties of a Muslims.
They encourage people to follow Islamic principles and the life of the prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The movement asks the Muslims at-large to spend their time and money in
spiritual journeys (called "khurooj" in Arabic) to seek religious knowledge ("Taleem")
and promote the faith. During these scheduled journeys (usually for a specified
period of 4 months, 40 days, 10 days, or 3 days), members of each travelling
group (called jama'ats) learn the basic tenets of Islam from each other. Apart
from these, a list of desired qualities of the sahaba are studied and practiced.
1.Kalima Conviction of faith - Belief in the oneness of God. This is expanded to
mean that the creation cannot do anything without the will of God, but God can
do everything without the creation. It also has the adjunct of belief that
complete success in this world and the hereafter is only achieved in following
the way of life shown by the prophet Muhammad and every other way leads to
failure in this world and the hereafter.
2.Namaz Humility & Devotion in Salah - Perfection in observance of prayers.
3.Ilm-o-Zhikar Acquiring knowledge about Islam and the Universe and remembrance of
4.Ikram-e-Muslim Good behaviour towards Muslims, and others. Sacrificing ones own
needs in order to fulfil another's needs. Includes respecting ones elders and
showing kindness to somebody younger.
5.Sa-hih-Niyyat (Also referred to as Ikhlas-e-Niyyat) Correction and Purity of
intention. Meaning that all good actions should be solely for the pleasure of
God and not for fame or materialistic gain. At the beginning, during and at the
end of a good deed, the intention should be checked and corrected.
6.Da'awat-Il-Allah Inviting to God - Spending ones time and money in the "Path of
God" (Invite towards good action e.g. charity, prayer and calling people towards
God). This task is a must for every Muslim as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the
last messenger of God and no further messengers will come to preach the message
Constitution and activities
Members of any given Jama'at usually hail from varied
backgrounds. Each Jama'at is usually constituted in a village or town mosque.
They decide upon a route and time period of the Journey by Mash'wara or group
Each Jama'at has 8 to 15 members with one leader or Amir who is usually chosen
by the members themselves before the actual journey. They stay in Masjids
(Mosques) along the way, and preach to the people who attend the Mosque. During
the day, members of the Jama'at visit Muslim houses door to door and roam the
markets of the town or village they have stayed in and exhort Muslims to lead a
pure religious life and invite them to attend a sermon in nearby Mosque after
certain prayers. Usually after the sermon, they encourage the attendees to come
forward and join them on the spiritual journeys for a number of days they can
Since they encourage other Muslims to join in their spiritual journeys, any
Muslim can easily join. There is no strict membership rules to be part of
Tablighi Jamaat. In fact there is no 'membership' at all and there is no
background check for newcomers. Almost any Muslim can join the group in a
The Jamaat as a missionary organization is popular in South Asia and has many
adherents internationally. The main headquarters for Tabligh Jamaat (known as a
Markaz) is in Nizamud-deen,India. Europe's main Markaz is in Dewsbury, England.
East Asia's main markaz is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. The main African
markaz is in Johannesburg, South Africa. The group has also given lectures in
the majority of mosques in the world.
When a "Tablighi" returns from his journey, he should try to implement what he
has learnt into his life. He should also invite others towards it so they can
also spiritually benefit from it. Daily Taalim (which means teaching and
learning) is recommended to be done at home so that the women folk and children
can also benefit from what the men have learnt. However there is a Jamat for
women called a Masturat Jamat. Unlike the men, the women stay outside the mosque
in the house of a well known tablighi worker following full sharia'h rules with
pardah and learn and also teach the women of that locality who may come to join
them. Men do not join the Masturat Jamat as they are separate and stay in nearby
Apart from preaching, followers are also encouraged to spend 2.5 hours every day
serving others. Typically this involves encouraging other Muslims to join the
effort. These 'hours' are also used to meet sick people and help the needy. In
the local mosque, there is a daily 'Taalim' (which means teaching or learning)
and one person reads from a book. 'Taalim' is also done in homes with wife and
children. This teaching is generally done with a few books, but is not limited
to (Fadail-e-Ammal or virtues of deeds by Maulana Zakaria and Riyadhus-Saleheen)
and also the book of selected Ahadith called "Muntakhaba Ahadees" and it covers
the basic tenets of Islam. Then there is a 'Mashwara' where planning for the
effort is done. They also do a weekly program called "Joula" where they go door
to door meeting people and inviting them to mosque for prayer etc
Most hamlets in the Indian subcontinent usually have a mosque called
the Markaz, or centre, where weekly meetings occur. Preachers during these
meetings urge people to go in Jama'at for as many days as their condition
permits. The recommended period (but not necessary) is four months once in a
life-time, a periodic planned tour schedule of 40 days in a year and 3 days in a
A strong grassroots support for the movement can be found in India, Pakistan,
Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Central Asian countries, East
Asian countries, North and Central African countries, South American countries
and the Gulf countries.
In Pakistan the movement is based in
Raiwind, near Lahore. The
annual Tablighi congregation in Bangladesh, the
Biswa Ijtema, attracts
over 3 million devotees from around the world. A large participation in Tabligh
efforts are also seen in Europe, North America, South Africa, North Africa and
East Asian Muslim countries.
Political & Celebrity links
The Tablighi Jamaat is a professedly non-political movement.
Despite this, due to its popular stature, many prominent politicians in Muslim
and non-Muslim countries from both the right and the left associate themselves
with the Tabligh. Many entrepreneurs in the Muslim world have been Tablighis.
Among others, former Pakistani Prime ministers
Sharif and former Pakistani President
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar have been associated with the Tablighi
movement. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency was formerly headed by
Javed Nasir, also a Tablighi.
Other than politicians, many celebrities in
Pakistan have also associated themselves with the Tablighi Jamat. Acclaimed
Junaid Jamshed reverted to Islam through the Jamat. Members of the
cricket team, including
Mohammad Yousuf (convert-formerly Yousuf Youhana),
Mushtaq Ahmed &
Shahid Afridi frequently attend the Jamat's lectures.
In Indonesia, Tabligh has also touch the life of Sakti,
a member of Sheila on 7, a famous Indonesia Pop Band. During 2006 he has
conducted a four months journey to International Markaz in Nizzamudin, New
Delhi, India. He already quit the band completely, and practices the amalan
maqaami and amalan intiqaali quite intensively.
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