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Islamic revivalism – the Deoband Movement

Islamic revivalism – the Deoband Movement

  • The orthodox section among the Muslim ulema organised the Deoband Movement.
  • It was a revivalist movement whose twin objectives were: 
    • to propagate among the Muslims the pure teachings of the Koran and the Hadis and
    • to keep alive the spirit of jihad against the foreign rulers.
  • It aimed at upliftment of muslims through religious education and resussitate classical Islam.
  • The ulema under the leadership of Muhammad Qasim Wanotavi (1832-80) and Rashid Ahamad Gangohi (1828-1905) founded the school at Deoband in the Saharanpur district of the U.P. in 1866.
  • The object was to train religious leaders for the Muslim community.
    • The school curricula shut out English education and Western culture.
    • The instruction imparted was in original Islamic religion and the aim was moral and religious regeneration of the Muslim community.
    • In contrast to the Aligarh movement which aimed at welfare of the Muslim community through Western education and support of the British Government, the Deoband school did not prepare its students for government jobs or worldly careers but for preaching of Islamic faith.
  • Deoband school attracted students not only from all parts of India but from the neighburing Muslim countries also.
  • Political:
    • In politics, the Deoband School welcomed the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885.
    • In 1888 the Deoband ulema issued fatwa against Syed Ahmed Khan’s organisations:
      • the United Patriotic Association, and
      • The Muhammaden Anglo-Oriental Association.
    • Some critics observe that the Deoband ulemas’ support did not stem from any positive political philosophy or any opposition to British Government but was mainly influenced by their determination to oppose Sir Sycd Ahmed’s activities.
    • The new Deoband leader Mahmud-ul-Hasan (1851-1920) sought to impart a political and intellectual content to the religious ideas of the school.
      • He worked out a synthesis of Islamic principles and national aspirations.
    • The Jamiat-ul-Ulema gave a concrete shape to Hasan’s ideas of protection of the religious and political rights of the Muslims in the overall context of Indian unity and national objectives.
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