Daral-Aloom-Deoband Movement

The political downfall of Muslims gave birth to numerous intellectual, political and social movements. In history of man we read glories and destructions of different empires by the foreign invaders and in the most cases invaders try to subjugate the subject classes through their religion, social policies and political set up. The British crept in India in the name of trade but soon they succeeded in establishing their political ascendancy. Moreover, their divide and rule policy ultimately succeeded and Muslim empire that had been surviving through different crisis for last seven hundred years failed to stand against British machinations. This was very critical situation that sent alarming bells throughout the empire. Shah Waliullah through his extraordinary prowess tried to stem the tide of disintegration. The students of Madrassah Rahimia spread in the rank and file of the Muslim Society. They tried to stir Islamic spirit among the Muslim masses.

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Deoband was an off-shoot of Madrassah Rahimia.In1866, Haji Abid Hussain, Maulwi Mehtab Ali and certain others enlightened peop1e decided to start madrassah at Deoband—a village of Sharanpur. The project was started in a mosque.

The madrassah was established on 14th April 1866 with the following objectives.

  • To defend Islam — Islamic rituals and Islamic nationalism odds infusions to them.
  • To protect the general religious and national rights of the Muslims.
  • To establish good and friendly with the non-Muslims of the country to the extent permitted by the Islam
  • To fight for the freedom of the country on according to the Sharai objectives.

Haji Abid Hussain worked hard and was able to collect some money. By the end of first year the Maktab had 76 students. a considerable number of them being those who had come from distant places Gradually the Maktab became a madrassah Maulana Muhammad Yaqub son o Maulana Mamluk Ali, resigned his post of sub-Deputy Inspector of schools and joined the madrasah as its head on a small salary of Rs.15/- per mensem. The madrassah made rapid progress in 1874 it had to be shifted to a bigger mosque, which also was found to be inadequate after some time. Maulana Muhammad Qasim secured a plot of land outside the town of Deoband. In 1 the foundation of the new building of the Dear-uI-Ulum was laid. This was the period when Muslims rived of getting state encouragement. Christian, .missionaries met the students everywhere with sinister plan to bring them up as pro- not the true Christians. Muslims were suffering in evils and cultural ills. The builders of Dar-ul-Ulum were fully aware of the situation and they wanted to produce students that were asked the full match to the needs of time. They did not let financial constraints in their way to develop the Darul-Ulum. The workers of the Dar-ul-Ulum who went about collecting subscription were really popularizing the cause of Muslim religious education. This movement, however, had a political context as well. The atmosphere in the subcontinent in those days was not congeal for a purely political movement; therefore, the Dar-ul-Ulum was to provide a facade for political set up as well. Unlike other institutions of the period the management of the Dar-ul-Ulum was in the hands of a managing body and the chief executive called a Muhlam, was bound by the decision of the majority. This departure from the old tradition in Muslim schools, which were hitherto run under the patronage of an individual or a family proved highly advantageous. It gave stability to institution and introduced an element of democracy in its administration. In those days when newspapers and public meetings were rare, they adopted the policy of consulting visitors coming from different places, which proved to be an effective source of popularizing the institution and widening the circle of its sympathizers.

With the increasing popularity of the institution the volume of inquiries and demands for fatwas became large and it was considered necessary that a separate Dar-ul-Ifta should be attached to Dar-ul-Ulum. Deoband at one front challenged the Christian missionaries and on second front had faced Arya Samajists. A separate department was opened in Deoband where training was given for missionary work. The main object of Maulana Qasim was to make Deoband the center of a movement for continuing the mission of Shah Waliullah. For this purpose they opened schools in different parts of India. In the course of time Deoband gained an international status. Among the social and moral reforms on which Deoband laid emphasis were widow remarriage, women’s right of inheritance and stoppage of ceremonies on occasions of marriages and festivals, which were repugnant to the spirit of Islam. Some of these practices had become deep rooted in the life of Muslims, they spent lavishly on them and had to borrow large sums of money in order to fulfill the misguided demands of the existing social order. The controversies, in hands of some narrow minded ulema assumed wide proportions and ultimately doctrinal differences developed into bitterness and hostility, which quite naturally became a great obstacle in the path, of social and moral reform.

A critic puts about Dar-ul-Aloom Deoband was a center of conservative Islam where young men of a religious turn of mind were trained in theology, Islamic history and other old-fashioned disciplines and Western learning was prohibited. Inevitably, therefore, the Darul-Uloom produced mullas who were skillful in theological hairsplitting, competent in expounding the orthodoxies of their particular sect, but completely ignorant of modem movements and developments even in Islam. When these graduates left the school and began the round of the countryside as religious teachers, a ‘great many’ of them in the name of the spiritual guidance of the common man had lived on his blood and sweat. There they had also fought religious wars against their counterparts, of other schools, like Barelvis and Ahl-e-Hadit.

Partly to play a more important role in the Khilafat movement and partly to enter the political field in their own right, in 1919 the Deoband divines founded the, Jamiat-ul-Ulema e-Hind (Association of the Divines of India). For the first few years when party politics—within Muslims as well as the —was silenced by the exigency Khilafat campaign the Jamiat contained all varieties of divines, but once the Khilafat issue was dead the Deobandis took it over and it became the political arm of the Deoband School. Deoband also undertook the publication of literature for dissemination of religious information. Maulana Mehmood-ul-Hassan published a translation of the Quran in idiomatic Urdu, Maulana Abdul Haqqani of Delhi wrote his Tafsir-e-Haqqani and a number of books on different topics were written by Maulana Ashraif Ali of Thanah Bhawani. An indirect result of this activity was the expansion of the printing industry, which absorbed a large number of Muslims. The impact of Dar-ul-Ulum was deep and far reaching. The people who got education from the Madrassah spread deep and wide in the Muslim society and carried the reformatory zeal with• new enthusiasm. They gave awakening to Muslim society and ordered the society on sound lines.

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