The Sunni Hanafi school of law is divided into Deobandis and Barelvis school of law in South Asia. Deobandis and Barelvis are the two major groups of Muslims apart from the Shia Ithna Ashari in South Asia. The Deobandi school argues that the reason Islamic societies have fallen behind the West in all spheres of endeavor is because they have been seduced by the amoral and material accoutrements of Westernization, and have deviated from the original pristine teachings of the Prophet.

Deoband is a small town nearly 130 Kilometers north-east of New Delhi in India where the first Deobandi learning center, Dar-ul-Uloom ("House of Knowledge") was started in 1866. Darul Uloom was founded by Maulana Mohamed Qasim Nanotyi. In 1857, Muslims had joined Hindus in the Sepoy mutiny against the British. The British responded by deposing the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar ending five hundred years of Muslim rule on the South Asia. In its place the British made South Asia part of British empire. They also shut down Muslim schools and seminaries.

Darul Uloom is the world's second largest center of Islamic study, the largest being the Al Azhar University located Cairo, Egypt. By 2001, Darul Uloom had graduated 65,000 Muslim scholars from the Asian Muslim world, from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia in the south and China to the north. These graduates operated thousands of madrassas (seminaries or religious schools) in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The 'Deobandi Tradition' itself is much older than the eponymous Dar-Ul-Ulum at Deoband. The Deoband Madrasa brought together Muslims who were hostile to British colonial rule and committed to a literal and austere interpretation of Islam.

For the last 200 years, Sunnis often have looked to the example of the Deoband madrassa (religious school) near Delhi. The Deoband school has long sought to purify Islam by discarding supposedly un-Islamic accretions to the faith and reemphasizing the models established in the Koran and the customary practices of the Prophet Mohammed. Additionally, Deobandi scholars often have opposed what they perceive as Western influences.

The tack of Darul Uloom Deoband is in accordance with the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, Hanafiate practical method (Mazhab) and the disposition (Mashrab) of its founders, Maulana Mohammad Qasim Nanautavi and Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi.

The Deobandi interpretation holds that a Muslim's first loyalty is to his religion and only then to the country of which he is a citizen or a resident; secondly, that Muslims recognise only the religious frontiers of their Ummah and not the national frontiers; thirdly, that they have a sacred right and obligation to go to any country to wage holy war to protect the Muslims of that country.

The Deobandi interpretation of Islamic teachings is widely practiced in Pakistan. The Deobandi movement in Sunni Islam, was founded in response to British colonial rule in South Asia and later hardened in Pakistan into bitter opposition to what its members views as the country's neo-colonial elite.






Page last updated: Friday, November 25, 2005 22:04:51 -0500