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A Summary Of The Maslak Of The ‘Ulama Of Deoband

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By Qari Mawlana Muhammad Tayyib al-Qasmi
Summarised by Mawlana Moosa Kajee


Their din is Islam which incorporates ‘aqa’id (beliefs), ‘ibadah (worship), muamalat (social dealings), akhlaq (character) as well mu’asharat (social conduct).


Their group is that of Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah which is based totally on the Qur’an, Sunnah and the understanding of din in the light of the Sahabah which has reached us through a direct sanad (chain).


Their fiqhi madhhab is Hanafi since the akabir (elders) of the Dar al-’Ulum were Hanafi, but at the same time refrain from slurring or insulting any of the other imams or their madhahib since all the imams were on haqq (truth). They have preferred staunch taqlid over giving their nafs a free reign and following their whims and fancy.


Their spirituality is based on Tasawwuf which conforms totally to the Shari’ah, comprising of purification of the soul, beautification of one’s character and establishing a connection with Allah .


Their beliefs (in the field of kalam (beliefs)) are Maturidi, a part of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’ah who are on haqq, neither believing only in that which their intelligence accepts without considering the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma’, nor denying that one’s intelligence is a useful tool which clarifies the beliefs of Islam.


Their chain of Tasawwuf is mainly Chishti, but in fact a combination of all chains which are on haqq. They are generally given khilafah (permission to accept pledge of allegiance) in all four famous chains i.e. Chishti, Qadiri, Naqshbandi and Suhrwardi.


Their fikr (intellectual inclination) is according to the fikr of Shah Wali Allah which is a combination of naql (divine promptings) and aql (rational and intellectual promptings).


Their principles and ideology regarding din are according to that of Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi who had expounded on the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa ‘l-Jama’a using logical and rational proofs and reconciled the differences between the Asha’ira and the Maturidiyya.


Their ideology regarding the furu’ (subsidiary laws) of din i.e. fiqh is according to that of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi who had figured out the intricacies of the field and expounded on it.


Their nisbah (connection) is Deobandi since their starting point was the Dar al-’Ulum in Deoband.


To achieve the spread of this school of thought, the Dar al-’Ulum was founded on these objectives:


To spread the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah and to bring alive all branches of din through the system of ta’lim (teaching) and ta’allum (learning), since every facet of din is dependent upon knowledge. Thus the ‘ulama of Deoband gave greater significance to knowledge over all other branches of din.

Islah and tazkiyah nafs (spiritual reformation and purification of the soul) through the medium of Tasawwuf and spiritual training.


To protect and establish the personal and social interests of the Muslims by giving importance to fiqh (jurisprudence) and Islamic justice.


To keep alive the spirit of jihad and self-defence by continuous training.


To reform the society through the means of lectures and sermons which will aim to correct the incorrect beliefs of the masses, removing misconceptions regarding Islam and root out bid’ah (innovations).


To bring alive the Sunnah by combining fikr (concern) for the reformation of the people and ‘amal (practice) by promoting the Sunnah lifestyle.


To spread Islam and its beautiful teachings to all foreign non-Muslims by explaining to them that true wisdom lies in the way of the anbiya’ (messengers), not in their superficial wisdom and so-called progress.


To fill the vacuum void of writing and authoring by presenting Islam according to the necessity of the hour.


To keep Islamic brotherhood alive and to establish an Islāmic Khilāfah.


To maintain freedom and independence in their expression of knowledge so that their teachings remain free from the influence of strangers by avoiding any assistance from the state and sufficing upon the sincere assistance, albeit limited, of the Muslim public. Thus it is not the system of the ‘ulama of Deoband to limit din to a few aspects labouring under the misconception that this is the entire din. Rather every aspect and branch of din is firmly adhered to in a just, enveloping maslak (ideology).


(‘Ulama of Deoband. Azaadville: Madrasah Arabia Islamia. 1432H, 2011C. p. 13-6)

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