Darululoom Deoband; from a Seminary to a Grand Leader

Darululoom Deoband; from a Seminary to a Grand Leader

After the defeat of the public revolution 1857 of Muslims in the Indian Sub-continent against British imperialism as well as the overthrow of Muslims’ rule in India, the British government focused on elimination of cultural, educational and intellectual institutions of Muslims.

On the other hand, Ulama, Islamic scholars and intellectuals in India examined all possible policies and solutions to protect Islamic culture, identity of Muslims and the correct Islamic tenets.

Finally, they came to the conclusion that the only solution is establishing seminaries and schools to teach Islamic sciences; in this way, the brilliant directions of the noble Qur’ān and Sunnah would be spread and Muslims would remain firm over their tenets.

Imam Muhammad Qāsim Nānotwi was the pioneer of this group of Ulamā who established Darululoom Deoband on May 30, 1866 by the support and consultations with his friends Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Maulana Dhol-Fiqār Deobandi, Hāj Sayyid Muhammad Aābid Deobandi, Maulana Yaqoub Nānotwi, Maulana Rafee-ūd-Deen and Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahmān Uthmāni Deobandi, may Allah have mercy on all of them.

Maulana Muhammad Qāsim son of Assad Ali Seddiqi Nānotwi was one of the pious leading Islamic scholars and intellectuals in the 19th century. He was born in 1833 in Nanota, a village near Saharanpur, India. The founder of Darululoom Deoband passed away in 1880 in Deoband town. The first graduate of the historic seminary of Deoband is Allāmah Mahmoud-ul-Hassan Deobandi who was born in 1851. Indian Muslims and people gave him the title of “Shaykh of India” or father of India; he is famous by this title in the Sub-continent. The reason beyond the appellation is his comprehensive plan for independence to kick out the British colonialists in 1905.

In a short period, Darululoom Deoband succeeded to gain salient achievements obtaining the trust of Muslims in the fields of cultural, social and scientific affairs. It has been the symbol of Muslims’ identity in India; tens of thousands Islamic institutions are the gleaners of Deoband; they have been established in different corners of India and many other states on the principles of Darululoom Deoband. Shaykh Rasheed Reza, an Egyptian scholar, expressed his viewpoints following the visit of Darululoom Deoband by saying, “None of the places I visitedin India made me happy as visiting Darululoom Deoband made me gleeful. I saw in Darululoom Deoband, which is known as ‘Al-Azhar of India’, a unique religious and scientific movement; I hope it would be very beneficial.”  

Today, we can claim Darululoom Deoband is an independent school of thought. An overlook to the projects of the university clearly shows the activities of Darululoom are not limited in preaching and promoting the sciences of the noble Qur’ān and Sunnah; it plays a key role to defend Islam with its all meanings and fields. Darululoom has been a strong invincible fort before the assaults of false religions and subversive sects against Islam.

One of the exclusive features of Darululoom Deoband is confronting the innovations and superstitions. Ulamā of Deoband firmly defended the dignity of the Sahābah, the companions of the Last Prophet, peace be upon him, particularly the four caliphs. They have not left any stone unturned to pull back the enemies of the Sahābah, may Allah pleased with them. Meanwhile, this movement always opposed extremism; temperance has been its motto and principle since the very first day.

Darululoom Deoband respects all pious scholars of the Ummah, jurists, Imāms and Mohaddethīn, experts of Hadīth; although scholars of Deoband imitate the juridical views of Imām Abu-Hanīfah, may Allah have mercy on him, but they respect the rest of the Imāms, too. The movement exuded great struggle to bring Muslims back to the straight path and correct Islamic beliefs, to revive the lifestyle of the beloved prophet, to strengthen the relations of Muslims with masjids and then to their Lord. As, Maulana Muhammad Elyās Kāndhlawi (1885-1943), one of the outstanding scholars of Deoband, founded the great movement of ‘Jamā’at-e-Tabligh’, a global and unexampled movement that aims to purify Muslims’ deeds and tenets.

The ‘al-Azhar of India’ is in direct contact with the Indian Muslims continuously in order to guide them in different interior matters. The scholars of Deoband strive to resolve the problems of the Indian Muslim community about their religious affairs in the ‘secular country’ they live. As, in the past, scholars of Deoband played leading role in the front of struggle against British rule, freedom and independence of India, in the same way they actively take part in the political leadership of India. Thus, different governments have been respecting the status of Darululoom Deoband and political leaders of it in India. Their points of view are very important for the Indian authorities, especially, regarding the affairs of the Indian Muslim community.

By Noor Aālam Khalil Amīni
Chief Editor of “Ad-Dāaī” magazine, Darululoom Deoband, India

Translated into Persian by: Abdul-Raūf Rakhshāni

Source: Nedaye Islam magazine; Issue 54



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