New Delhi, April 1: Tablighi Jamaat's international headquarters Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi's Banglewali Masjid has come under focus after several participants of one of its events, organised in the second week of March, tested positive for coronavirus. The event was held between March 13 and March 15, days before "Janata Curfew" and nationwide lockdown were announced. However, Tablighi Jamaat became a target for many who accused the group of spreading coronavirus. Coronavirus Death Toll in India Rises to 49 After COVID-19 Patient Dies in Meerut, Second Death in Uttar Pradesh.
What is Tablighi Jamaat? Do They Covert Non-Muslims?
While Tablighi Jamaat is now a trending word, not many know about the Islamic group and its functioning. Moreover, fake news and misinformation are also being spread around Tablighi Jamaat. The word Tablighi Jamaat literally means preaching group. This is an unorganised large circle of clerics and preachers. There is a misconception that Tablighi Jamaat members preach Islam among non-Muslim and convert them. The truth is the group focuses on urging Muslims to practise true values of Islam.
Tablighi Jamaat, which is not a sect, is estimated to have between 150 million to 250 million adherents around the world. It has a presence in over 150 countries. Members of Tablighi Jamaat tries to replicate the way Muslims lived in the time of Prophet Muhammad. They dress the way Muslims did then - the men wear long kurta and pyjama, and sport beards of a certain length. They prefer to use miswak (teeth-cleaning twig) instead of a toothbrush. Nizamuddin Markaz Event: State Governments Fight to Curb Spread of Coronavirus as Several Attendees at Tablighi Jamaat Congregation Show Symptoms.
Tablighi Jamaat can be called an offshoot of the Deobandi movement which has its roots in the Darul Uloom, Deoband, Asia's largest Islamic seminary. It began among the Meo peasants in educationally and economically backwards Mewat in 1926. The Meos, who were Muslims, mostly followed non-Islamic traditions. Some Muslims decided to preach actual teachings of Islam and Tablighi Jamaat was born.
How Does the Tablighi Jamaat Function?
Tablighi Jamaat members leave the comfort of their homes for a minimum of three days or up to one year. The 40-day period is called the chilla. Every group is headed by an emir. During these self-financed trips, the members travel to different cities, villages or towns, stay at a mosque there and go from door to door reminding Muslims to study Quran and practise Islamic traditions.
They hold a meeting daily in their respective mosque for mashaura (discussion) on how to infuse Islamic values among Muslims. It is not just men who travel on missions to spread the word of Islam, but the women too, albeit on shorter trips.