Tablighi Jamaat has become a centre of controversy after nearly a quarter of 39 coronavirus deaths in India were linked to this religious gathering of Islamic preachers at Basti Nizamuddin in New Delhi. More than 2,000 people, including foreigners and Indians from across the country, attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin Markaz in violation of government's lockdown orders and exposed many to the COVID-19 threat.
The Tablighi Jamaat's chief, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, and other members of the group have been booked under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating government orders of not organising public gatherings and maintaining social distance to contain the spread of coronavirus.
What is Tablighi Jamaat?
Tablighi Jamaat is a global evangelical Muslim organisation that focuses on urging Muslims to return to practising their religion as it was practised during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, particularly in matters of ritual, dress and personal behaviour. The organisation indulges in preaching tours or Chilla across the country throughout the year.
The Amir (chief) of the Tablighi Jamaat is selected by the Central Advisory Council (Shura) and elders of the Jamaat. The first Amir of the Tablighi Jamaat was Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalvi, succeeded by his sons Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhalvi and then Maulana Inam ul Hasan. In 2015, Maulana Saad became the chief of the Tablighi Jamaat.
People associated with Tablighi Jamaat
While there is no formal process to join Tablighi Jamaat, many famous personalities of India and the world have been associated with this organisation. Former President of India Zakir Hussain was associated with the Tablighi Jamaat.
Former Chief Minister of Punjab province of Pakistan Parvez Elahi is also a supporter of Tablighi Jamaat. Maulana Tariq Jameel, who recently met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, is a prominent member of the Tablighi Jamaat and oversees the oganisation's work in Pakistan.
Pakistan singer and pop star Junaid Jamshed was also associated with Tablighi Jamaat.
Many Pakistani professional cricketers have also been associated with the Tablighi Jamaat, including Shahid Afridi, Mohammed Yusuf (formerly Yusuf Yuhana), Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Anwar and Saeed Ahmed.
By Chitranjan Kumar