Monday, December 14, 2009

Mawlana Ilyas Rahimahullah and Tabligh

Many people have benefited from the work of the Tablighi Jamat. Through it, Allah has given many a slave a chance to change their life for the better, learn to pray, fast, stay clean, and be tied to the sunnahs of our Nabi, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

For those like myself, who may have had some mixed or even downright negative experience with some individuals connected with this work. There are definitely some things that can use improvement and no group is without its problems, for sure.

All that being said, I thought that this post would be a beautiful look at the pure origin of the work of Tabligh, and the purity of its founder, Mawlana Ilyas, may Allah have mercy upon him. I haven't come across any reasonable person who could look at the life and sincerity of this person and not be lost in the fragrance of his wilayah, may Allah accept it from him and us.

So whether or not you want to join this work, or no matter how much a self-styled Ameer Sahib annoys you; however shameless the dervish-like tablighi insolently and ignorantly basks in his made up maqam of fana fit-tabligh, know that the work is noble, its origin is pure, its nisbat is high, and its barakat are profuse.

For those who are actively engaged in this work, I would encourage you to read this post and ponder over some of the disparities between the work as portrayed in it, versus what actually ends up happening, and maybe discuss it with some of the `ulama'. See the spirituality and spiritual connection with the messenger of Allah, sallallahualayhi wa sallam, the `ulama', the madrasah and the khanqah.

May Allah not withhold from us any of the khayr He divides up amongst his servants.

article taken from
lightly edited and emphasis added by humza

Hazrat Maulana Ilyas (ra), Tablighi Jama'ah, and the 'Ulama

Maulana Muhammad Aslam Shaikhupuri (db)

It was an ache that it distressed him all the time; he couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. was a worry that had engulfed all other worries; it was a topic, the explanation and elucidation of which took up all energies of his tongue and pen to the extent that writing on any other subject was a trial for him. He had written to Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariyya (ra), "My heartfelt desire is that at least my brain, thought, time, and energy should be limited to nothing but this work." He used to say, "How can any other occupation be lawful for me when I see that the soul of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) is distressed (because of the weakness of the Muslims' faith and the supremacy of kufr)?" One day an attendant complained that he saw a lack of attention and affection in his behavior as previously compared. He replied, "I am very busy; I feel that Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) is in distress; I cannot pay attention to anything else."

He did not attend gatherings where there was little chance of putting forward his message; he disliked going for the sake of an obligation only. He used to say, "If you go to a place, go with your message and put it forward, keep your invitation above anything."

Once in Delhi, he had to perforce attend a wedding ceremony of an acquaintance. He addressed the gathering at the wedding thus, "Today is the happiest of days for you when even the lowliest is pleased; it is not done to displease even the sweeping woman………tell me! Do you have any concern of pleasing Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam)?" then he explained that the endeavor to revive the Deen brought by Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) was the greatest way to please him (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam).

This fine references are of the founder of the Tablighi Jamat, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (Nawwarallahu Marqadahu), who adored calling to the Faith to such extent that all other pleasures and opinions were dimmed before them; this spiritual pleasure had become sensory and natural for him.

Once, Maulana had defined Ishq (adoration) as such: "The pleasures and interests of man that are divided between so many things come out and converge at one point. This is Ishq." This definition was personified in the Maulana himself. He used to sob and cry on the departure of the Ummah from its Deen. Sometimes he used to writhe in pain, sigh, sob, and complain, "O Allah! What else should I do? I am not doing enough." Sometimes he used to turn agonizingly on his bed, then get up and pace the room. One night his wife at last asked him, "What is the matter? Can you not sleep?" he answered, "What can I tell you? If you get to know what I do then the waking ones will become two."

The result of this heart ache and dedication to his aim was that in just a few years, the ache that had bothered one breast caught fire in hundreds. The Mewatis who had become half Hindu despite being called Muslims, who celebrated many of the Hindu festivals, whose villages rarely had a mosque in them, who even used to kill their newborns; suddenly, little beacons of light sprung up in the same Mewati dwellings. Mosques were built, religious schools and Madaris mushroomed, the number of Huffaz exceeded hundreds, and there was a good number of qualified 'Ulama. The birth of the love of Iman extinguished kufr. The customs and traditions that had come to be a way of life for them began to be eradicated. An experienced Mewati explained this in a very clear manner when he was asked what was happening in his area. He said, "I don't know anything else; what I do know is some things for which we used to strive and they did not happen, are happening on their own; some things which we tried to stop with battles and great endeavor and did not stop, are being stopped on their own."

Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (ra) had a keen concern that if the 'Ulama did not overlook the preaching and this task was left to the common man alone, it would develop alot of flaws. His wish was for the educated 'Ulama to take an interest in this task and use their God-gifted talents for the propagation of this work. Because most of his life Maulana had been associated with learning, he knew intimately the pursuits of the Madaris, its teachers, and students. He wanted them to join hands with this work of calling to God but he also wanted a way out that would help those of the Madaris in their learning, yet not interfere with it. He writes, "Deen can progress and develop according to the progress and development of learning, and under the progress and development of learning. It would be the greatest of losses if my movement caused any set back to learning. I do not mean by Tabligh to prevent or hurt progress towards learning…"

He used to council the groups going in the way of Allah for Tabligh to sit and learn from the gatherings of elders with the intention of improving oneself, and never to mention their own work in their presence. If the elders asked anything of their own accord, well and good; otherwise they were to keep silent. He wrote to Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariyya (ra), "I have an old wish, that these groups benefit from the khanqahs, keeping to all the manners of khanqahs, and that the missionary work be done in particular timings in surrounding villages. (Please) make a plan concerning this after council with the coming groups. This humble person is also overwhelmed with the wish to attend with some companions; I am also thinking of Deoband and Thana Bhawan."

Hakim al-Ummah, Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali at-Thanwi (ra) was of the opinion that when 'Ulama educated for eight to ten years failed to solve some matters when on mission work, what would the ignorant Mewatis do without any formal education and training? His cautious and farsighted nature was unsatisfied and he feared some harm would come out of it. But when he received continuous news that the groups were working under supervision of the 'Ulama and getting guidance from them, and that they did not mention anything for which they were not allowed, he became satisfied.

The founder of the Jama'ah always tried to link the workers of Tabligh to the 'Ulama. He used to stress the importance of 'Ulama, the need to benefit from them, the rewards of meeting them, and used to teach the manners of talking to them. He used to educate the workers to take the best possible explanation of things they did not understand and keep their faith in the scholars. The results of this effort became apparent when those big businessmen who were against the 'Ulama started attending their gatherings with respect and reverence and invited them for discourses to their congregations. They did not have the condition that only those 'Ulama would give talks who had spent time in the Jamat; all authentic and righteous 'Ulama were invited.

The connection of Shaykh al-Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad al-Madani (ra) with politics was no secret, but he often gave discourses in gatherings although he had not spent any formal time in the Jamat. Shaykh Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi (ra), who was the heart and soul of Nadwat al-Ulama - and who was aware of the barrier between the Nadwa and the rest of the Madaris because of its special ambiance and isolation of some of its founders - his dealing with the founder of the Jamat was totally different. Hazrat Maulana Ilyas (ra) respected and loved all 'Ulama and so he did Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi (ra), and gave importance to his advice.

One day Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi (ra) said that although the Nadwa had always extended an affectionate hand towards the people of Deen, they had seldom had a positive response. "Thank God that he, Maulana Ilyas (ra), had been loving towards them." Tears ran down Maulana's face and he said, "What are you saying? Your Jamat is that of Deen; I am not in favour of leaving out even the people from Aligarh [i.e. the Muslims of secular education]."

Besides Maulana Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi (ra), Hazrat Maulana Manzoor Ahmad Nu'mani (ra) was also among Maulana's close associates. Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri (ra) was also a frequent visitor [great shaykhs of knowledge and tasawwuf].

Not even a blind person can deny the fruit born by it; the whole world seems in a stir by its blessing, millions of people have been reformed by joining it; but despite all this, there is a need for guidance from the 'Ulama at each step. God forbid, if a rift is created between the Jamtat and the 'Ulama, and the 'Ulama are made to follow the Jamat instead of the other way round, it will have grave results for the religious circles.

Original article is entitled Tablighi Jamat and the Ulama.
Courtesy of


Anonymous said...
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Ahmed said...

Thank you and jazechAllah khair for posting this article. I've had limited interaction with the tablighi jamat outside of attending some of their events and lectures. A few of these were moving and impressive, but I unfortunately find the talks given inside our local masjid repetitive. Perhaps there's something wrong with me there, and perhaps the talks are meant to be repeated. Any group/organization needs a focus to be effective, so that's understandable. Anyhow, this was an enlightening article and changed some of negative thinking about the group. JazechAllah khair!

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