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Deobandi (Pashto and Persian: دیو بندی‎‎, Urdu: دیو بندی‎, Bengali: দেওবন্দ, Hindi: देवबन्दी) is a revivalist movement within Sunni (primarily Hanafi) Islam. It is centered in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, has recently spread to the United Kingdom, and has a presence in South Africa. The name derives from Deoband, India, where the school Darul Uloom Deoband is situated. The movement was inspired by scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703–1762), and was founded in 1867 in the wake of the failed Sepoy Rebellion a decade earlier.


Deobandi Deobandi and Modi Fitna Deoband

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Deobandi Deobandi takfiri cleric arrested for 39ProTaliban39 Friday

The Deobandi movement developed as a reaction to the British colonialism which was seen by a group of Indian scholars — consisting of Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Muhammad Yaqub Nanautawi, Shah Rafi al-Din, Sayyid Muhammad Abid, Zulfiqar Ali, Fadhl al-Rahman Usmani and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi — to be corrupting Islam. The group founded an Islamic seminary known as Darul Uloom Deoband, where Islamic revivalist and anti-imperialist ideology of the Deobandis began to develop. In time, the Darul Uloom Deoband became the second largest focal point of Islamic teaching and research after the Al-Azhar University, Cairo. Through the organisations such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Tablighi Jamaat, the Deobandi ideology began to spread. Graduates of Deoband from countries such as Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia opened thousands of madrasas throughout South Asia, specifically in parts of present day Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Deobandi Deobandi terrorists supporting Transnational Salafi ISIS ShiaPAC

Towards the time of Indian independence, the Deobandis advocated a notion of composite nationalism by which Hindus and Muslims were seen as one nation who were asked to be united in the struggle against the British. In 1919, a large group of Deobandi scholars formed the political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and opposed the Pakistan Movement. A minority group joined Muhammad Ali Jinnah's Muslim League, forming the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in 1945.

In India

Deobandi Shia Sunni Unity Deobandi Fatwa on zana

The Deobandi Movement in India is controlled by the Darul Uloom Deoband and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. About 20% of the Indian Muslims identify as Deobandi. Even though a minority, the Deobandis form the dominant group among Indian Muslims due to their access to state resources and representation in Muslim bodies etc. The Deobandis are referred to as 'Wahhabis' by their opponents — the Barelvis and the Shias. In reality, they are not Wahhabis, even though they share many of their beliefs. The true Wahhabis among Indian Muslims are said to be fewer than 5 percent.

In Pakistan

Deobandi Media Discourse on Deobandi Terrorism ShiaPAC

Some 20 percent of Pakistan's Sunni Muslims consider themselves Deobandi. According to Heritage Online, nearly 65% of the total seminaries (Madrasah) in Pakistan are run by Deobandis, whereas 25% are run by Barelvis, 6% by Ahl-i Hadith and 3% by various Shia organizations. The Deobandi movement in Pakistan was a major recipient of funding from Saudi Arabia from the early 1980s up until the early 2000s, whereafter this funding was diverted to the rival Ahl al-Hadith movement. Having seen Deoband as a counterbalance to Iranian influence in the region, Saudi funding is now strictly reserved for the Ahl al-Hadith.

In the United Kingdom

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According to a 2007 investigation by The Times, about 600 of Britain's nearly 1,500 mosques were under the control of "a hardline sect", whose leading preacher loathed Western values, called on Muslims to “shed blood” for Allah and preached contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus. The same investigative report further said that 17 of the country's 26 Islamic seminaries follow the ultra-conservative Deobandi teachings which had given birth to the Taliban. According to Times almost 80% of all domestically trained Ulema were being trained in these hardline seminaries.


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The Deobandi movement sees itself as a scholastic tradition, situated within orthodox Sunni Islam. It grew out of the Islamic scholastic tradition of Medieval Transoxania and Mughal India, and it considers its visionary forefather to be Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703-1762), the celebrated Indian Islamic scholar and thinker of the eighteenth century.

Fiqh (Islamic law)

Deobandi Hindus are not Kafir says Indian Deobandi cleric But Shias are

Deobandis are strong proponents of the doctrine of taqlid. In other words, they believe that a Muslim must adhere to one of the four schools (madhhabs) of Sunni Islamic Law and generally discourage inter-school eclecticism. They themselves are predominantly followers of the Hanafi school. Students at madrasas affiliated with the Deobandi movement study the classic books of Hanafi Law such as Nur al-Idah, Mukhtasar al-Quduri, Sharh al-Wiqayah, and Kanz al-Daqa’iq, culminating their study of the madhhab with the Hidayah of al-Marghinani.

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With regard to views on Taqlid, one of their main opposing reformist groups are the Ahl-i Hadis, also known as the Ghair Muqallid, the nonconformists, because they eschewed taqlid in favor of the direct use of Quran and Hadith. They often accuse those who adhere to the rulings of one scholar or legal school of blind imitation, and frequently demand scriptural evidence for every argument and legal ruling. Almost since the very beginnings of the movement, Deobandi scholars have generated a copious amount of scholarly output in an attempt to defend their adherence to a madhhab in general. In particular, Deobandis have penned much literature in defense of their argument that the Hanafi madhhab is in complete accordance with the Quran and Hadith.

In response to this need to defend their madhhab in the light of scripture, Deobandis became particularly distinguished for their unprecedented salience to the study of Hadith in their madrasas. Their madrasa curriculum incorporates a feature unique among the global arena of Islamic scholarship, the Daura-e Hadis, the capstone year of a student's advanced madrasa training, in which all six canonical collections of the Sunni Hadith (the Sihah Sittah) are reviewed. In a Deobandi madrasa, the position of Shaykh al-Hadith, or the resident professor of Sahih Bukhari, is held in much reverence.


In tenets of faith, the Deobandis follow the Maturidi school of Islamic theology. Their schools teach a short text on beliefs by the Maturidi scholar Nasafi.


Deoband's curriculum combined the study of Islamic scriptures (Qur'an, Hadith and Law) with rational subjects (logic, philosophy and science). At the same time it was Sufi in orientation and affiliated with the Chisti order. Its Sufism however, was closely integrated with Hadith scholarship and the proper legal practice of Islam.

According to Qari Muhammad Tayyib — the 8th rector or Mohtamim of the Darul Uloom Deoband who died in 1983 — "the Ulema of Deoband ... in conduct ... are Sufis, ... in Sulook they are Chisti [a sufi order] .... They are initiates of the Chistiyyah, Naqshbandiya, Qadriyah and Suhrawardiyya Sufi orders.”

The founders of the Deobandi movement, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, studied Sufism at the feet of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki.

Not all agree that Deobandis are Sufi. They are considered by many to be anti-Sufis Whatever the case, the Darul Uloom Deoband's conservativism and fundamentalist theology has latterly led to a de facto fusion of its teachings with wahabism in Pakistan, which "has all but shattered the mystical Sufi presence" there. Recently Maulana Arshad Madani, an influential leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind rejected Sufism and said, "Sufism is no sect of Islam. It is not found in the Quran or Hadith. .... So what is Sufism in itself? Sufism is nothing."

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind is one of the leading Islamic organizations in India. It was founded in British India in 1919 by Abdul Mohasim Sajjad, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Ahmed Saeed Dehlvi, and Mufti Muhammad Naeem Ludhianvi and the most importantly Mufti Kifayatullah who was elected the first president of Jamiat and remained in this post for 20 years. The Jamiat has propounded a theological basis for its nationalistic philosophy. Their thesis is that Muslims and non-Muslims have entered upon a mutual contract in India since independence, to establish a secular state. The Constitution of India represents this contract.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) is a Deobandi organization, part of the Deobandi movement. The JUI formed when members broke from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind in 1945 after that organization backed the Indian National Congress against the Muslim League's lobby for a separate Pakistan. The first president of the JUI was Shabbir Ahmad Usmani.


Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam (Urdu: مجلس احرارلأسلام‎), also known in short as Ahrar, was a conservative Deobandi political party in the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj (prior to the independence of Pakistan) founded December 29, 1929 at Lahore. Chaudhry Afzal Haq, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, Mazhar Ali Azhar, Zafar Ali Khan and Dawood Ghaznavi were the founder's of the party. The Ahrar was composed of Indian Muslims disillusioned by the Khilafat Movement, which cleaved closer to the Congress Party. The party was associated with opposition to Muhammad Ali Jinnah and establishment of an independent Pakistan as well as persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Majlis-e-Ahrar divided in two parts. Now, Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam is working for the sake of Muhammad, nifaaz Hakomat-e-illahiyya and Khidmat-e-Khalq. In Pakistan, Ahrar secretariat is in Lahore and in India it is based in Ludhiana.

Tablighi Jamaat

Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary organisation, began as an offshoot of the Deobandi movement. Its inception is believed to be a response to Hindu reform movements, which were considered a threat to vulnerable and non-practicing Muslims. It gradually expanded from a local to a national organisation, and finally to a transnational movement with followers in over 150 countries. Although its beginnings were from the Deobandi movement, no particular interpretation of Islam has been endorsed since the beginning of the movement.


Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) (English: Army of Jhangvi) is a militant organization. Formed in 1996, it has operated in Pakistan since Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP). Riaz Basra broke away from the SSP over differences with his seniors. The group is considered a terrorist group by Pakistan and the United States, and continues to be involved in attacks on Shi'a civilians and protectors of them. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is predominantly Punjabi. The group has been labelled by intelligence officials in Pakistan as a major security threat.


The Taliban ("students"), alternative spelling Taleban, is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan. It spread into Afghanistan and formed a government, ruling as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until December 2001, with Kandahar as the capital. While in power, it enforced its strict interpretation of Sharia law. While many leading Muslims and Islamic scholars have been highly critical of the Taliban's interpretations of Islamic law, the Darul Uloom Deoband has consistently supported the Taliban in Afghanistan, including their 2001 destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and the majority of the Taliban's leaders were influenced by Deobandi fundamentalism. Pashtunwali, the Pashtun tribal code, also played a significant role in the Taliban's legislation. The Taliban were condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP), alternatively referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan. In December 2007 about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Among the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan's stated objectives are resistance against the Pakistani state, enforcement of their interpretation of sharia and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

The TTP is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar, with both groups differing greatly in their histories, strategic goals and interests although they both share a primarily Deobandi interpretation of Islam and are predominantly Pashtun.


Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) is a banned Pakistani militant organization, and a formerly registered Pakistani political party. Established in the early 1980s in Jhang by the militant leader Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, its stated goal is to primarily to deter major Shiite influence in Pakistan in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. The organization was banned by President Pervez Musharraf in 2002 as being a terrorist group under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. In October 2000 Masood Azhar, another militant leader, and founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), was quoted as saying that "Sipah-e-Sahaba stands shoulder to shoulder with Jaish-e-Muhammad in Jehad." A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable described JeM as "another SSP breakaway Deobandi organization."


  • List of Deobandi universities
  • Darul Uloom Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, India
  • Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur, India
  • Madrasa Al-Baqiyat As-Salihat, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Madrasa Kashiful Huda, Poonamallee, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Madrasa Mifthahul Uloom, Melvisharam, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Pakistan

  • Jamia Uloom ul Islamia (Binori Town), Karachi, Pakistan
  • Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak, Pakistan
  • Darul 'Uloom Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Jamia Binoria, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Ahsan-Ul-Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jamiatur Rasheed, Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Bangladesh

  • Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • Jamiah Islamiah Yunusia Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh
  • Jamiah Rahmania Arabia Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Jamia Qurania Arabia Lalbagh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • United Kingdom

  • Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah, Holcombe, Bury, UK - Popularly known as "Dar al-Uloom Bury," it is historically the first madrasa established in the UK, in 1975. Many of the newer madrasas are its branches, or founded by its graduates.
  • Jami'at Ta'lim al-Islam, Dewsbury, UK was established in 1981 by the Tablighi Jamat.
  • Jameah Uloomul Quran, Leicester UK - This madrasa was established in Leicester in 1977 by Adam DB. It has over 600 students and graduates of the Exegesis and Jurisprudence course.
  • South Africa

  • Darul Ulum Newcastle, Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal - The first Deobandi madrasa in South Africa, it was founded in 1971 by Cassim Mohammed Sema.
  • al-Madrasah al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah, Azaadville is connected with both the teachings of Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi and Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Several of its graduates are Western students especially from the UK and United States The school is also important within South Africa as a site for activities of the Tablighi Jamaat. English textbooks from this madrasa are used in English-medium Deobandi madrasas in the West to teach the Dars-e-Nizami curriculum.
  • Dar al-Ulum Zakariyya, Zakariyya Park, Lenasia was founded by disciples of Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi, the school's namesake. The school is also important within South Africa as a site for activities of the Tablighi Jama'at.
  • Madrasah In'aamiyyah, Camperdown, KwaZulu-Natal - This madrasa is recognized for its Dar al-Iftaa (Department of fatwa Research and Training) which runs the popular online fatwa service,
  • United States and Canada

  • Darul Uloom New York, New York City, United States
  • Al-Rashid Islamic Institute, Ontario, Canada
  • Darul Uloom Canada, Ontario, Canada
  • Darul Uloom Al-Madania, Buffalo, New York
  • Iran

  • Jamiah Darul Uloom Zahedan, Zahedan, Iran
  • Founding figures

  • Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi 1832-1880
  • Patrons

  • Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi 1832-1880
  • Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi 1827-1905
  • Ashraf Ali Thanwi 1863-1943
  • Muhammad Mian Mansoor Ansari 1894-1946
  • Other associated scholars

  • Mahmud al-Hasan (popularly known as "Shaykh al-Hind")
  • Husain Ahmed Madani
  • Ashraf Ali Thanwi
  • Anwar Shah Kashmiri
  • Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi (Founder of Tablighi Jamaat)
  • Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandahlawi
  • Shabbir Ahmad Usmani
  • Muhammad Shafi Usmani (First Grand Mufti of Pakistan )
  • Contemporary Deobandis

  • Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Pakistan - Vice-President of Dar al-Ulum Karachi, Former judge on the Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Deputy Chairman of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the OIC, leading scholar of Islamic Finance, and often considered to be a leading scholar and figurehead of the Deobandi movement.
  • Muhammad Rafi Usmani, Pakistan - (Current Grand Mufti of Pakistan) and President and senior lecturer of Dar al-Ulum Karachi.
  • Ebrahim Desai, South Africa - Mufti and senior lecturer at Madrasa Inaamiyyah in Camperdown, and head of the popular online fatwa website,
  • Haji Abdulwahab - current (Amir of Tablighi Jamaat Pakistan Chapter)
  • Yusuf Motala, UK - Founder and senior lecturer at Dar al-Ulum Bury, one of the oldest Deobandi Madrasas in the West; "He is a scholar's scholar - many of the United Kingdom's young Deobandi scholars have studied under his patronage."
  • Allama Khalid Mahmood, UK - He is the founder and Director of The Islamic Academy of Manchester which was established in 1974. He served formerly as a Professor at Murray College Sialkot and also at MAO College Lahore. He obtained a PhD in Comparative Religion from University of Birmingham in 1970. He has authored over 50 books, and has served as the Justice of Supreme court of Pakistan (Shariat Appellate Bench).
  • Tariq Jameel, Pakistan - Prominent scholar and preacher from the Tablighi Jama'at.
  • Associated political organizations

  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam
  • Ahrar Party (India)
  • Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
  • Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, Malaysia
  • References

    Deobandi Wikipedia