Tableeghi Jamaat: The Organisation At The Core Of Nizamuddin Cluster
After the sudden spike in Coronavirus cases across the country due to the Ijtemah or congregation organised by the Tableeghi Jamaat in Nizamuddin area of the national capital, all eyes have turned towards the organisation which is at the core of this cluster.
After the sudden spike in Coronavirus cases across the country due to the Ijtemah or congregation organised by the Tableeghi Jamaat in Nizamuddin area of the national capital, all eyes have turned towards the organisation which is at the core of this cluster. What is the Tableeghi Jamaat? What are its activities? These are the frequently asked questions dominating popular discourse currently.
The Tableeghi Jamaat literally stands for group of propagators in Arabic. It has its international headquarters or Markaz in Nizamuddin area of Delhi. The Tableeghi Jamaat presumably has similar international headquarters in other countries. In several cities and states across India, the Jamaat has a Markaz or Centre.
The Tableeghi Jamaat was founded in 1927 by Mohammed Ilyas, an Islamic scholar, who was earlier associated with the Deobandi school. The missionary group, one of the largest of its kind in the world today, preaches a puritanical version of Islam, keeping it free of local influences. It has a worldwide footprint.
Volunteers from the Tableeghi Jamaat, seen in trains and buses, with their long robes, beards and skull caps in groups of 5-6 people, fan out to villages to preach the principles of Islam. They also invite non-Muslims to join their faith through Dawah standing for invitation. Volunteers from the Jamaat also preach the Islamic way of life to Muslims in cities, towns and villages.
Volunteers from the Tableeghi Jamaat go about to various parts of the country to spread Islam, usually stay in mosques or at their own expense in lodges. They pay for their travel and stay and do not depend on the Jamaat.
An austere organisation, the Tableeghi Jamaat gets liberal donations from affluent patrons.
The Tableeghi Jamaat, usually conducts huge congregations known as Ijtemahs, annually. The congregation in Bangladesh is often described as the largest gathering of Muslims after the annual Haj pilgrimage.
The Tableeghi Jamaat is apolitical in nature and does not come out openly in support of any political party or leader. In India, it is seen as a benign organisation, as Najeeb Jung, former Delhi Lieutenant Governor, described it, in his conversation with a TV anchor. The Jamaat has an extensive pan-Indian network. It must be pointed out that the Jamaat in India, has not been known to express extremist views.
In other countries such as Pakistan the Tableeghi Jamaat is reported to have acquired notoriety on account of the links of its followers to terrorist outfits.
The Tableeghi Jamaat now finds itself at the heart of the current Coronavirus outbreak on account of its violation of the prohibitory orders in Delhi by organising a large-scale Ijtemah.