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Darululoom Deoband’s Role in Islamic Awakening in Balochistan

SunniOnline: When Muslims failed to pull out the East India Company in 1857 and the British colonialists occupied the Indian subcontinent, Muslim activists changed their strategy. They knew well that Muslim masses cannot defeat the strong British colonialists in the field of armed resistance; so they came to social, political and cultural resistance and activities. Establishment of Darululoom Deoband, cooperation with pro-independence parties, launching Khilafat Movement and boycotting government offices, schools and etc. were part of this strategy. When Indian Muslims were busy with peaceful resistance against the British rule on their homeland, some Iranian Baloch students traveled to the sub-continent for getting Islamic education. When these students returned home, they brought a big change in their society reforming social and religious disorders.

Recently, a book has been published in Iran which introduces the past of India and its Muslims’ anti-British colonialism. Then it goes forward to shed light on the history of Balochistan and its status before the return of Ulama graduated from Darululoom Deoband and like-minded schools. The author, Molawi Abdol-Ghafour Durani (Baloch), is a graduate from Darululoom Karachi who achieved master in history from the University of Sistan & Balochistan. The title of his thesis was “Darululoom Deoband and its effects in Iranian Balochistan”. This thesis was developed and reshaped to be a book on this topic. Here is our talk with him.

**First of all, please tell us about the book’s title “Rah-award Sharq”?
*”Rah-award” means “gift” or a present brought by a traveler. Sharq means “East”. East has a broad meaning; it comes in opposite of the western world, it can be a clue to the east of Iran where we live as well as we call the Indian sub-continent east as it is in our eastern part. Rah-award Sharq means a gift and a spiritual and scientific message that Iranian Baloch scholars brought to Iran from the Indian subcontinent.

**Why did you choose this topic as your thesis?
*This book describes Darululoom Deoband and its impact on Islamic awakening in Balochistan. I have explained the efforts of the scholars of Balochistan in this book. As those scholars are our beneficent and I owe them a lot, it was a way to pay them tribute. I chose this topic as my thesis and defended it successfully in 2011.

**Thesis has a special chart which is very different from a book. How did you change the thesis into a book?
*The thesis has a scientific title and detailed points, it cannot be published as a book with the same name and title; so while retaining the original content, and some other essential contents have been added to it.

**Did you include all discussions of thesis in the book?
*The main issues of my thesis were few, then other topics were included, some of them have been published on SunniOnline website.

**The first chapter of the book is about the struggle of Indian Muslims against the British colonialists. How did the Muslims fight against the British colonialism?
*After so many years of armed struggle, Indian Ulama changed their policy and method of fighting when they felt Muslims cannot run and lead an armed fight after the failed struggle of 1857. They preferred political activities instead military struggles, because they realized well that Muslims were not able to lunch more military war against British colonialists. After a century of struggles, they released the Indian subcontinent at the end of World War II in 1947.

**Do you think Indians got independence due to their continuous struggles or the weakened British Empire after the world wars couldn’t stay more in the subcontinent?
*They began fighting before the World War I and continued until the end of the World War II. After the World War II, the Britain and other colonialist powers realized that they were not able to manage their colonies and occupied territories. On that time, India and many other Asian and African countries were given independence. Since World War I, Muslims launched the Caliphate movement to prevent the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and then they boycotted British manufactures to weaken the colonial economy, which hit the British.

** What a gift the Ulama of Iranian Balochistan brought from India to their homeland?
*Baluchistan’s Ulama made a significant scientific effort, established an Islamic movement that paved the way for all Iranians to acquire knowledge from Balochistan. The establishment of religious schools and many social developments are the result of efforts of Baluchistan’s scholars. Now we see thousands of Islamic seminaries, Tablighi centers and mosques in Iran due to their struggle.

**”Jamaat-e-Tabligh movement” was one of the most effective efforts of Ulama of Balochistan; please tell us about the establishment of this movement, its founder, method and its success in the region?
*Jamaat-e-Tabligh movement is a movement that promotes a practical Islam in different classes of Muslims. When Muslims were so weaken in practicing the Shari’ah, late Mawlana Ilyas decided to establish such a movement. This movement is the most influential reformist movement among the common Muslims around the world. It spreads Islam among non-Muslims too.

**Whom you recommend to read this book?
*Reading this book is very important and useful for different classes of society including students, scholars, the young and whoever wants to know about the past of his homeland and the roots of present awakening. It gives good information about the history of Islamic awakening in Iranian Balochistan.