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Is Tablighi Jamat spreading Covid-19, not faith? Know who they are

 

AK Chitransh

New Delhi: A Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi has come as a major concern at a time when coronavirus is spreading its tentacles.

The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic missionary movement with members not just in India but across the world. The term “Tablighi Jamaat” means the Society for Spreading Faith.

As per reports, Banglewali Masjid in South Delhi Nizamuddin Dargah area was sealed off, eight coronavirus deaths so far traced since Monday, 280 people showing symptoms of coronavirus infections were shifted to various hospitals in Delhi while over 700 were put under quarantine. Besides, aggressive contact tracing is being carried out across the country to track down those who may have been exposed to COVID-19

Tablighi Jamaat is a Muslim outfit with presence in about 150 countries. With its global reach, the main objective of Tablighi Jamaat is to encourage Muslims around the world to be more religiously observant. The missionary preachers in groups travel together and reach out to Muslims of all social strata and encourage them to attend mosque prayers  and listen sermons.

But this time, Tablighi Jamaat is under the scanner for organising an Islamic congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin locality, which was attended by more than 1500 of its followers from India and abroad. The religious congregation by Jamat not only allegedly defied the nationwide lockdown but also put many lives in jeopardy.

The Tablighi Jamat was founded by Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas in 1926 in Mewat, Haryana. Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi is the international headquarters of Tabilghi Jamaat

It is said that the Maulana’s father, Maulana Muhammad Ismail (1898), came from a family of Siddiqui Shaikhs of Jhanjhana in the Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. This family, which claimed being descent of Abu Bakr, the first khalifa, of the Sunnis, had for generations been renowned for its piety. Ismail is said to have been a very learned and pious Islamic scholar.

It is believed that the Jamat has millions of active members across the world. However, Ismail, the heir to a vast estate in Jhanjhana, completely renounced his wealth and took up residence in a semi-abandoned mosque the Banglewali Masjid in Delhi’s Basti Nizamuddin, which today serves as the global headquarters of the Jamat.

Tablighi Jamat’s preachers operate from mosques. They do ‘gasht’ or go around in the neighbourhood, interact with Muslims, invite them to ‘namaz’ and ‘ijtema’ or seminars at the mosque. Visitors/guests/devotees/worshippers from across the world throng the place for pre-scheduled programs lasting for not more than 3-5 days. All the programs are decided a year in advance in order to facilitate visitors from far-off places to plan their participation.

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