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Saad Kandhalvi: The Indian preacher at the centre of Ijtema dispute

  • Published at 01:55 pm January 12th, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:56 pm January 12th, 2018
Saad Kandhalvi: The Indian preacher at the centre of Ijtema dispute
Indian preacher Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi will not join the 53rd Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims across the world which is scheduled to start today on the bank of Turag River in Tongi. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal ensured the matter after a meeting with Tabligh Jamaat organizers and Qawmi Alems yesterday afternoon. The minister said Maulana Kandhalvi would be staying at the city’s Kakrail Mosque until his departure from Bangladesh is confirmed at his convenient time. Police have increased security around the mosque after moving people who were protesting against the Islamic scholar’s visit. The protesters, however, have agreed to the solution. Tabligh Jamaat is the largest organization of Sunni Muslims in this subcontinent. Its headquarters, referred to as the Markaz, is based in New Delhi and operations are conducted through a 13-member Supreme Council, called the Nizamuddin.
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A faction of the organization’s Bangladesh chapter on Wednesday had blocked the busy Airport Road protesting Kandhalvi’s arrival from India to attend the Ijtema. Followers of the faction, mostly belonging to radical Islamist group Hefazat-e Islam, said they were opposing his presence over his "controversial comments on the Quran and Sunnah."

Who is Saad Kandhalvi?

Born in 1965, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi is the son of Maulana Muhammed Haroon. He completed his Alim course from Madrasa Kasiful Uloom in Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz in 1987. He recently announced himself as the sole Amir of Tabligh Jamaat, which angered the senior preachers of the Markaz and resulted into their departure from the place.

What are the controversies centring Maulana Kandhalvi?

Maulana Zubair ul Hasan, the previous Amir of Tabligh Jamaat, had established a Suru committee to lead the organization. But Maulana Kandhalvi established single leadership later on. In February last year, Darul Deoband in a decree had warned Muslims, specially those associated with Tabligh, about him, saying his knowledge in interpreting Quran and Sunnah was off-track and against the agreed upon and unanimous principles. According to media reports, Kandhalvi in his speech at the recently held Bhopal Ijtema had said Markaz was the most sacred place on earth after Mecca and Medina. He was also accused by the Darul Uloom of insulting the prophets and messengers of Allah.

Why Bangladeshi Tabligh men are in dispute over him?

Kandhalvi’s recent proclamation about being the head of Tabligh Jamaat had also created a rift among the senior members of the organization’s Bangladesh chapter. In November, a scuffle had broken out between two groups at Kakrail Mosque. To avoid such incident in future, an advisory council of senior preachers was formed. Regarding the situation, council member Abdul Quddus, who also serves as the acting secretary general of Qawmi Madrasa Education Board, said the council also wanted Kandhalvi to leave. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Secretary General of Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote Mufti Faizullah said they were also leading the anti-Kandhalvi protests because “he has misinterpreted the Quran.” The protesters said they are against Kandhalvi’s autonomous behaviour and urge to stay in power. Meanwhile, another Tabligh Jamaat faction at a press briefing on Monday also alleged that a conspiracy was afoot to move the Ijtema from here to Pakistan. Kandhalvi’s presence and the following protests were all part of that elaborate plot. Senior leader Rafiqul Islam had claimed that several foreign senior preachers had warned that they would not join the Ijtema if Kandhalvi was attending.