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August 16, 2017

Deoband & History of Deobandi Movement

Deoband & History of Deobandi Movement

Deoband, a country town ninety miles northeast of Delhi, has given its name to ulema associated with the Indo-Pakistani reformist movement centered in the seminary founded there  in 1867. A striking dimension of Islamic religious life in colonial India was the emergence of several apolitical, inwardlooking movements, among them not only the Deobandis but the so-called “Barelwis,” the much smaller Ahl-e Hadis/Ahl-I Hadith, and the controversial Ahmadiyya. The Deobandi, Barelwi, and Ahl-e Hadis ulema not only responded to Hindu and Christian proselytizing, but engaged in public debate, polemical writings, and exchanges of fatawa among themselves.
Each fostered devotion to the prophet Muhammad as well as fidelity to his practice; each thought itself the correct interpreter of hadith, the guide to that practice. All depended on means of communication, above all print, as well as on institutional changes that came with British colonial rule. The Dar al-_Ulum at Deoband utilized the organizational model of British colonial schools. Its goal was to hold Muslims to a standard of correct individual practice in a time of considerable social change, and, to that end, to create a class of formally trained and popularly supported ulema to serve as imams, guardians, and trustees of mosques and tombs, preachers, muftis, spiritual guides, writers, and publishers of religious works. At the end of its first centenary in 1967, Deoband counted almost ten thousand graduates, including several hundred from foreign countries. Hundreds of Deobandi schools, moreover, have been founded across the Indian subcontinent and now in the West as well.

The Deobandis followed Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi (1702–1763) in their shift from emphasis on the “rational sciences” to an emphasis on the “revealed sciences” of the Qur_an and, above all, hadith. Unlike him, however, they have been staunch Hanafis in jurisprudence. They have also been Sufi guides, bound together by shared spiritual networks, especially Chishti Sabiri. Among the most influential writers was Maulana Ashraf _Ali Thanawi (1864–1943), who published scholarly works on Qur_an, hadith, and Sufism. He also wrote an encyclopedic guide for Muslim women, Bihishti Zewar, disseminating correct practice, reform of custom, and practical knowledge.
After about 1910, individual Deobandis began to be involved in politics in opposition to British rule in India and also to British intervention in the Ottoman lands. Many Deobandis supported the Khilafat movement after World War I in support of the Ottoman ruler as khalifa of all Muslims, and were also strong supporters of the Jam_iyat _Ulama-e Hind who was allied with the Indian National Congress and opposed to the creation of Pakistan. The apolitical strand within the school’s teaching has taken shape for many in the widespread, now transnational, pietist movement known since the 1920s as Tablighi Jama_at. The popular writings of Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalavi (1897–1982), associated with the second major Deobandi school in India, the Mazahir-e _Ulum in Saharanpur, are utilized extensively in the movement. In Pakistan, the Jam_iyat_Ulama-e Islam party represents Deobandi ulema. In striking contrast, the Taliban movement, which emerged in Afghanistan in the 1990s, had its origins among refugees in Deobandi schools in Pakistan and also identifies itself as Deobandi.


  1. Kashif Saleem says:

    Deo Band is a firqa / bisect as Prophet Muhammad Salallaho Alaihi wassallam said about the Place Najd.. that the group of Satan (Deo Band ) will appear from Najd.

    In the end of 18th Century and beginning of 19th Aal e saud occupied a major part of Arab and to justified their governance on muslims they decided to create a new bisect. So they hired an extreme person Abdul Wahab Najdi who was trained by a British spy Hamphray ( Read full story in the book Memoirs of Hampher). To avoid muslim gatherings Abdul wahab imposed fatwa on Shrines of Sahaba and all major Islamic events that the celebrations of it is Shirk. The saud government later bulldozed the sahaba shrines. The British govt crowned Abdul Aziz saud as a King of Najd on occupation of major arab part.

    Later British implemented the same firqa/ bisect in India at the Madrassa Deoband. So the believes of Deoband and Wahabism / wahabis are mostly same.

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