He also announced the dates of the 2018 Biswa Ijtema
The Tabligh Jamaat’s prolonged schism has exposed the ugly divide among the ranks of Bangladesh’s largest non-political Islamic organization. Indian preacher Maulana Saad Kandhalvi’s attempts to usurp the sub-continental group have been time and time again rebuffed by Tablighis who defer to tradition.
Shah Ahmad Shafi, director general of Haathazari Madrasa and the de facto leader of Hefajat-e-Islami, and a senior figure in the Bangladeshi Tabligh movement, spoke at an anti-Kandhalvi meeting in Dhaka on Saturday.
The Islamic firebrand preacher spoke firmly belying his advanced years and ailments, once again condemning Kandhalvi and his splinter faction.
He said: “We only listen to Islamic scholars. He (Kandhalvi) is no scholar, why should anyone listen to him? The scholars are the pride of this country. Do not listen to anyone else.”
The Tabligh factions have clashed in the past before. Shafi mentioned several incidents as he continued: “Do not pay heed to those who interfere in our internal matters. These upstarts have attacked our scholars. We came to Tabligh to learn manners and develop upstanding characters. But these people, they are lacking in both manners and character. They lack the substance to be part of Tabligh. All they do is split into more and more factions of Tabligh
“These new Tablighs are doomed like Jamaat-e-Islami. Just like Jamaat, they will disappear soon,” Shafi warned.
The Islamic leader conferred with other Qawmi scholars and issued six directives regarding the Kandhalvi conundrum.
1.The scholars are united:
- Against unsubstantiated interpretations of the Quran and Hadith
- In explaining the error in trying to promote Tabligh by downplaying other aspects of faith
- Ostracize and shun Saad Kandhalvi and his followers for straying from the prescribed campaign of previous eminent scholars
2. Saad Kandhalvi announced himself the amir in defiance of his predecessor Inamul Hasan’s orders. It is a further violation of shariah, hence his instructions cannot under any circumstances be followed in Bangladesh.
3. The central Tabligh leaders in Deoband are concerned Kandhalvi is attempting to form a new sect. Hence, no individuals or groups will be sent to Delhi [Kandhalvi’s base of operations] or any group or individual from Kandhalvi’s camp be allowed to preach anywhere in Bangladesh.
4. The previous leaders of the Tabligh, Maulana Ilyas Kandhlawi, Maulana Yusuf Kandhlawi, and Maulana Inamul Hasan Kandhlawi, have all earned praise around the world for their contribution. The goals and guidelines developed by them will be adhered to by all Tabligh members.
5. Kakrail Mosque affiliates who pledged themselves to Saad Kandhalvi are in violation of the shariah and disqualified from their positions in the Tabligh.
6. The 2019 Ijtema will take place from January 18-20 for the first phase and January 25-27 for its second phase in agreement with the government decision.
During the 2018 Biswa Ijtema, Saad Kandhalvi attempted to deliver a sermon at the concluding prayers. But the core Tabligh supporters in Dhaka vehemently protested. The protests shut down sections of major Dhaka roads, including the Airport Road, effectively halting traffic in crucial parts of Dhaka for hours. The home minister had to mediate and Kandhalvi went back to India in January. Earlier in April, intermittent clashes broke out at Tabligh headquarters in Kakrail Mosque which were resolved by police intervention.