RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has banned the Tablighi Jamaat, terming it a “danger to society” and “one of the gates of terrorism”.
The country’s Minister of Islamic Affairs made an announcement on social media directing the mosques to warn people against associating with them during the Friday sermon.
“His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif Al-Alsheikh directed the mosques’ preachers and the mosques that held Friday prayer temporary to allocate the next Friday sermon 5/6/1443 H to warn against (the Tablighi and Da’wah group) which is called (Al Ahbab),” tweeted Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
The Saudi government also asked mosques to inform people about the danger that Tablighi Jamaat poses to society. Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh also directed that they should include a declaration of the “misguidance, deviation and danger of this group” and note that it is one of the “gates of terrorism, even if they claim otherwise.”
In addition, it should mention their “most prominent mistakes”, that they are a “danger to society” and issue a statement that “affiliation with partisan groups, including (the Tablighi and Da’wah Group) is prohibited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Tablighi Jamaat, a transnational Sunni Islamic missionary movement that focuses on exhorting Muslims and encouraging fellow members to follow the pure form of Sunni Islam.
Criticism in India
The decision has drawn much criticism in India from different Islamic organisations and the traditionalist movement’s ideological parent institution, Darul Uloom Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. Darul Uloom Deoband is an Islamic seminary founded by freedom fighter and Islamic scholar Muhammad Qasim Nanautvi and his colleagues.
Lashing out against the Kingdom, former board member of the All India Mualim Personal Law Board and one of the most prominent clerics of the day, Maulana Salman Hussain Nadvi released a 37-minute video criticising Saudi Arabia. He went on to reiterate that the kingdom has always been a “loyal puppet” at the hands of “zionists powers” and now it is slowly showing its real face to the world in delusion.
Maulana Salman Nadwi added that the kingdom supported and promoted the controversial Wahhabi ideology, which has often been linked with extremist groups, on the orders of the United States and that it is now burying the same on the orders of its zionist masters. He also criticised Saudi Arabia’s promotion of entertainment and dubbed it as promotion of “immorality and corruption.”
Another prominent Islamic scholar from Mumbai and founder of an online Islamic University, Al Ilm Academy, Mufti Yusuf Asad said that the hundred-year history of Tablighi Jamaat is witness to the fact that they have never harmed anyone. “This decision is proof that the Saudi Government is a slave of the west.”
He told Siasat.com that 45 years ago the Kingdom had put restrictions on people who wanted to independently give speeches or Friday sermons and dictated what people could say in religious gatherings, and now their control over religious institutions is getting worse. He alleged that the move was politically motivated.
The Darul Uloom Deoband, which is also known as the ideological parent institution of the Tablighi Jamaat, in the press note on Sunday signed by rector Maulana Abdul Qasim Noumani stated that the charges were baseless and that the Jamaat’s role was to spread deen (faith) and asked Riyad to review the decision.
The president of the Jama’at-e-Islami Hind, Syed Sadatullah Hussaini also stated that this is an attack on the universally accepted human right to preach and propagate one’s religion.
A member of the Tablighi Jamaat who didn’t want to be named told Siasat.com that in times of spiritual corruption and degeneracy, sticking to basic traditional principles is being seen as an act of rebellion against society. “This is nothing new for people who call towards good and forbid evil, this has always happened in history and will continue to happen till the end of the world. We’re taught to persevere through trials and tribulations and we are not at all bothered by this,” he remarked.