What is the difference between a Sunni Jamaat and a Tablighi Jamaat?


Q.I. What is the difference between a Sunni Jamaat and a Tablighi Jamaat?

(Syed Haroon Rasheed, Bangalore)

Q. II. I have some doubts, which I would like to clarify. I belong to a Sunni family. At my home, all my relatives offer Namaz regularly and so do I, But one thing I will want to know is, what is the actual difference between Sunni Jamaat and the Tabligi Jamaat. All my friends are from Tablig Jamaat. They do not offer “Fatiha”, while I do. They say it is not necessary or not needed. Please clear this concept. Regarding Muhammad (Pbuh), they consider him as an ordinary man like us, which I do not like. Even they say that one should not go to graveyards or to ‘Mazars’ of other ‘Ambias”. They don’t offer Salaam after “Juma” Namaz. I would like to know, is it necessary, if not why? One more thing I would like to know is that, whenever we hear or say name of “Muhammad” (Pbuh), We kiss our thumbs and place them over our eyes. Why do we do so? I want the answer in detail please.

(Syed Mustafa Hussain; Pusad, Dist. Yavatmal)

Ans. Sunni Jamaat is not the name of any one Jama’at. A majority of Muslims all over the world are called Sunnis. For some years, the people of Bareilavi sect have started laying more emphasis on the word Sunni, implying thereby, their claim that only they are the true Sunnis. Consequently, in some parts of the country, Bareilavis are being called as Sunni Jama’at. Bareilavis owe their allegiance to Maulana Ahamad Raza Khan of Bareilly. Since his demise Bareilly (in state Uttar Pradesh) has been a nerve centre of propagation of the late Maulana’s thoughts. His grandson, Maulana Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari is his present successor.

Tablighi Jama’at is a group of people engaged in the reform of the Muslim community through a six-point formula introduced by Maulana Mohammad Ilyas. They recruit voluntary preachers from among Muslims by inspiring them to devote a specified number of days in the cause of Tabligh (among Muslims). The Jama’ats centre is a Mosque in Nizamuddin (N.Dlehi), from where jama’ats of volunteers are delegated to different parts of the country and abroad. These Jama’ats operate from Mosques of their influence.

Although almost all the Muslim Jama’ats throughout the world have some minor or serious differences (often at loggerheads), with each other, the conflicts among the followers of these two groups are more pronounced than among other groups. There are probably two main reasons for this. (i) Both of them wield a vast influence in this country besides many other countries and (ii) Commanding sway over masses, most of the followers of these two groups are uneducated.

Fatiha is the name commonly ascribed to Eissal-e-Sawaab. IT is neither Far’z nor Wajib. Eisal-e-Sawaab (donating its Sawaab to a deceased after doing a good deed like reciting Qur’an and Darood or feeding the hungry) is only Mustahab ( a good deed which is not obligatory), according to all scholars of repute. Those who insist upon others joining in Eisaal-e-Sawaab, convert a good deed into Bid’at (making those things obligatory in Deen which were not made compulsory by Shariah). Bid’at is a grave sin. Even an extremely virtuous act can become a Bid’at by transgression. Imam Malik never put on shoes in Madina, and he always used to go out of Madina to relieve himself. It was his gesture of respect for the land, where the holy Prophet (Pbuh) once lived. This great act of devotion and love for the Prophet (Pbuh) would become a Bid’at and a sin if a group of people start insisting that walking barefoot in Madina is a necessary sign of love for the Prophet (Pbuh). On the other hand, those who oppose Eisaal-e–Sawaab also commit transgression as a number of Sahih (authentic) Hadiths explicate its importance for the benefit of the deceased at the stage of Barzakh (the transitionary stage of the deceased before the Last Day).

How can a Muslim say that the Prophet (Pbuh) was an ordinary man like us? There seems to be a communication gap between you and your friends. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was a human being, as were all the other Prophets. Only a human being can become a model for the other human beings. The Qur’an expounded. “Say: If there dwelt on earth, the angels, walking about in peace and quiet, We would have sent forth to them an angel from heaven as an apostle.” (17:95)

The Prophets felt pain and hunger like other human beings. They felt tiredness after hard work. They needed sleep like others. They required consolation after the disappointments and rejections. Unless informed by Allah on special occasions, they did not know about the plots and conspiracies of their tormentors. Had angels or Gods or some other creatures come as Prophets in the garb of human beings, the people could have argued that as they were other beings in the bodies of men, they could sustain the tests and hardships of life, while it was impossible for the ordinary human beings to be righteous in the wake of such trials. In all these respects and the like, the Prophet (Pbuh) was like all the other human beings. However, he was no ordinary man. He received the Almighty’s revelation. He was a model for all others in morals and righteousness. He was bestowed with extraordinary signs from the Lord so that the disbelievers could be warned. He was called to heavens to observe the realities of the transworld, which are Ghaib (concealed) to us. He could see and talk to the spiritual creatures that we cannot. He was given knowledge of a number of things that are Ghaib (hidden) for ordinary human beings. How can the tutor and educator to the humankind from the Lord Almighty be equated to ordinary men?

Your friends probably are referring to the following Qur’anic verse, when they say that he was a human being like us.

“Say I am but a ‘Bahsar’ (a mortal human) like yourselves (with a difference that) the inspiration has come to me.. “ (18:10)

Your friends may be referring to his likeness to us in aforesaid human needs. Nevertheless, the choice of words to describe this requires caution so as not to commit disregard to the status of Prophet-hood.

Visiting the graveyards, is a Sunnah and the Prophet (Pbuh) recommended it to us for our remembrance of the mortality of this world and for asking forgiveness for the dead. The graves of the all the earlier Prophets are unknown to us but visiting Prophet Muhammad’s grave and offering Darood and Salaam over there, has been strongly recommended to us in Hadiths. Similarly, visiting the Mazars of other saints is very beneficial for one’s own remembrance. You must definitely visit their graves as often as you can to offer supplication for them and to get the inspiration from their pious lives they led while they were living. What your friends must be opposing might probably be the Bid’ats committed by the ignorant on the Mazars. Circumambulation of their graves akin to Ka’abah, bowing heads in reverence to the graves or asking them to help the callers is Shirk, an unforgivable sin. Mufti Maulvi Amjad Ali Bareilavi, a famous Mufti of the Bareilavi sect, in one of his Fatwa writes. “Women are strictly forbidden to visit the graves of saints or even ordinary graves. Kissing a grave is forbidden. Circumambulation of any place except Ka’abah is not permitted in any circumstances. Prostration before a grave with the intention of paying reverence is Haram. If prostration is for worship, then the person who bows before the grave becomes ‘Kaafir’ (P.99, Vol.16, Bahaar-e-Shariat)

Maulana Ahamd Raza Khan, in his renowned work, ‘Fatawa-e-Rizvia’, has repeatedly passed the same Fatwas.

Salaam to the Prophet (Pbuh) is offered in the sermon of the Friday prayer, during the Friday prayer itself and in Dua’ after the prayer. There is no precedent of offering Salaam in congregation after the Sunnat and Nafil prayers, during the Sahaba or Taabi’een era. The Sunnah which most Sahaba followed, is to go home after the Far’z Namaz of Friday and offer Sunnat and Nafil Namaz at home. Salaam or Durood at any time is good but insisting upon others doing what the Prophet did not order or the Sahaba did not practise, amounts to a Bid’at. Please look at what Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Bareilavi himself decreed in this regard; “After the Sunnat and Nafil prayers, on Fridays, the recitation of Fatiha or offering supplication by the Imam in congregation has not been reported anywhere. Hence this practice is avoidable.” (Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, in “An-Nafaaesul-Maghoobah, P.46)

Kissing thumbs and taking them to the eyes, after the name of the Prophet (Pbuh) is spoken, is a gesture of love and respect of the highest order. But, once again, if a group of people adopts this practice, believing that it is binding on them, it becomes Bid’at, as it is not a part of Deen propagated by the Prophet (Pbuh) and practised by Sahaba. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *