The infamous Azad Maidan violence in
Mumbai and recent arrests of some Muslim youth in Pune blast case
are once again used by a section of media, and named and unnamed
sources from Indian intelligence agencies to malign the entire
Muslim community, especially those belonging to Ahl-e-Hadees sect.
A number of reports of these unfortunate events have references of
the accused as being 'Ahl-e-Hadees' - quite surprisingly without
verifying the veracity of this claim.
In one report published by Hindustan
Times August 16, 2012 and taken by some other newspapers, it is
said: "The police suspect that the vandals at the Azad Maidan
rally on Saturday could be affiliated to the Ahle Hadees sect.
“From the CCTV grabs we have obtained, it is clear that they came
prepared for violence. They were dressed similar to Ahle Hadees
followers,” said a senior crime branch officer."
The investigating agencies
are free to probe any act of violence in all possible angles. But
it is strange that neither the police officer nor the media
thought it necessary to check validity of this particular angle.
If they had done so, they would have come to know that 'Ahl-e-Hadees'
do not have any declared or undeclared dress code.
Besides this, there are lot of
misconceptions about the term Ahl-e-Hadees - in print and
electronic media, which is freely taking round nowadays. Hence we
requested Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees Maharashtra to document the details
about their activities as well as their organizational structure.
Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees has provided us this document with a request
to publish hoping that the media and the investigating agencies
henceforth would - in the name of fairness and truth, refrain in
future from publishing or quoting any references to term 'Ahl-e-Hadees'
without proper verification.
and Historical Perspective
The word 'Ahl-e-Hadees' itself contradicts the notorious
perception of being an organization. In contrast, Ahl-e-Hadees is
one of the many sects or schools of thought obeyed by Muslims
across the globe. It is the right straight path for observance of
principal Islamic teachings.
Ahl-e-Hadees is the actual definition
of Islam as, literally, it stands for the believers who hold 'Quran
and Hadees' as the only parameter and the basic criteria for
practicing Islam. The Quran in tandem with all the sayings
including the teachings (Sunnah) of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be
Upon Him) are called as 'Hadees' when put together.
Hence the word
'Ahl-e-Hadees' automatically transforms into a definition that
explicitly states 'The firm believers in Quran and Sunnah'. That
is enough to prove that Ahl-e-Hadees existed in the time of
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or since the Quran and Hadees were first
Both the Quran and Hadees act as the pillars of the
Islamic edifice that would collapse if these two pillars tremble.
Hence the Islam practiced and taught by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
along his revered Companions (Sahaba) is the true Islam. This
version of Islam, as 'Ahl-e-Hadees believe, is permissible and all
the Muslims are bound to embrace it.
Ahl-e-Hadees' primary and basic principle is 'Monotheism'. It is
the bedrock of Islam. They believe that Allah Almighty is the sole
creator, sustainer and owner of the universe and all its
possessions. Hence Allah solely deserves to be prayed and
worshiped. There is no one like Him. No one can equal Him.
also believe in termination of Prophethood after Prophet Mohammed
(PBUH). Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), the last among the Messengers,
was descended to lead the stray hordes of humanity lurking in the
darkness. Hence it becomes a moral and religious duty of every
believer to obey him (PBUH) in every walk of life. It is only his
(PBUH) prerogative to be followed.
Origin in India
The history of Ahl-e-Hadees in India dates back to the time the
Companions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) came as tradesmen using the
sea route. They landed at the south-western coastal areas of the
huge country. These moralists were embraced and welcomed with
warmth. Their highest moral values persuaded many Indian
aboriginals to accept Islam as their way of life. These proselytes
have been archived as the followers of Quran and Hadees (Ahl-e-Hadees).
This is proved in the words of third Hijrah century tourist
Bashaar Muqaddissi. "All the Muslims I saw who inhabited Sindh
were Ahl-e-Hadees Muslims", he observed.
In the period that followed, many Muslim sects began to show up.
Hence people living under a particular imperious ruler adopted
the sect of their master (Kings etc.) because of ignorance. That
acted as a precursor to the power imbalance. This power imbalance
resulted in hegemony of one sect (the sect of the ruler) over the
other (the sect of the nation). Despite that Ahl-e-Hadees existed
in every period, retaining their prestigious historical identity.
They also boast their glorious participation in the construction
of the nation which is preserved in the historical documentations
Role against British imperialism
If the historical documentations are to go by, Muslims were the
first to stand against the tyranny of colonial rule. Among them,
Ahl-e-Hadees were most prominent and outperformed their
co-strugglers to be a free nation. Sayyed Ahmed and Shah Ismail
Shaheed (martyr) constituted an anti-imperialist front after Shah
Abdul Aziz issued a 'Fatwa' against illegitimate British
occupation. The members of this anti-imperialist front were mostly
from this Ahl-e-Hadees sect.
Later the members, other than Ahl-e-Hadees,
gradually drifted away from the front. This front launched its
unstopping confrontation against the British rule and fought for
over one-and-a-quarter century. This front was characterized by
mass participation including Wali Mohammed Phalti, Maulana Wilayet
Ali, Maulana Inayat Ali, Maulana Naseeruddin Dehlvi, Maulana
Naseer Mangalori, Gazi Abdullah, Fazle Ilahi Wazeerabadi and Ameer
Abdul Kareem. They fought for at least fifty years before the
Mutiny 1857 erupted and sacrificed their lives and belongings for
their motherland. The contribution of Ulma-e-Sadiqpoor fighting
along with the front is unprecedented. Their sacrifices are too
enormous to be preserved in an archive.
There are records to show how
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Acknowledged Sacrifices of
Ulema-e-Sadiqpoor (Patna). One such is:
"While acknowledging the contributions of the family of
Ulma-e-Sadiqpoor, Pandit Nehru said to Maulana Abdul Khabeer, the
then President of Emaarate Ahl-e-Hadees, Sadiqpoor (Patna), "If we
compare the overall sacrifices of all the Ulema in the history of
united India with those of the family of Ulema-e-Sadiqpoor then the
latter's contributions would prevail the former's concerted
efforts in Indian freedom."
The seeds of sparkle of the Mutiny 1857 that erupted from Meerath
had been sown long back and that latter turned into a massive
flame of rebellion against the British empire. That saw huge
participation from the members of Ahl-e-Hadees sect.
of the Murdan Regiment rebelled as a result of the concerted
efforts by Maulana Wilayet Ali. Bahadur Shah Zafar handed the
reins of the army at Delhi's Red Fort to one General Bakht who was
from this Ahl-e-Hadees sect (see the preface of 'The Historical
Booklet of 1857').
During the period, a number of 'Fatwas' were
issued against the British rule that were mostly signed and
supported by the Ulema from Ahl-e-Hadees sect specially by
Shaikhul Kul Nazeer Husain Dehlvi.
Hence it can be stated that Ahl-e-Hadees
played the most prominent role and stood against the English
establishment in tandem with their compatriots.
prepared a report on the behest of British government depicting
the members of Ahl-e-Hadees sect as the real threat to the empire
and held them responsible for the 1857 rebellion. He christened
them as 'Wahabis' and recommended strict punishments for them. It
is categorically mentioned in the book 'Our Indian Muslims' by
William W. Hunter. Consequently, lakhs of Ahl-e-Hadees members
fall prey to the ire of the British government.
According to Dr.Tara Chand, half a million 'Wahabis' were massacred in united
India. Many of them were condemned to serve 'Kalapani' at Andoman
and Nikobar islands. Their assets were attached. Fifteen Ahl-e-Hadees
'Madrasas' were brought down to the ground in the Capital (Delhi)
only. The Mutineers (Wahabis) were pronounced with the most severe
and most excruciating punishments.
Even the British
parliamentarians, unbearable to hear the horrendous atrocities,
walked out of the house. Some broke down in the middle of the
session. (see 'The Other Side Of The Picture').
Husain Batalvi, another Ahl-e-Hadees, filed a writ in the court
denouncing the label of 'Wahabis'.
The trials and arraignments of these Wahabis by the English
establishment are glorious and inseparable part of Indian
political history and independence. These trials are popularly
called as 'Wahabi Trials' that have been recorded in the
Participation in Indian National Congress
The 1885 setting up of the Indian National Congress saw a mass
participation from the members of Ahl-e-Hadees sect. They were at
the forefront of anti-British movement. They were great votaries
of Hindu Muslim unity.
Maulana Abul Klam Azad and Maulana Sayyed
Dawood Ghaznavi were two prominent members of Ahl-e-Hadees sect
who fought for independence from the Congress platform. They are
undoubtedly counted as the heroes of India's freedom struggle.
Later Maulana Abul Klam Azad was elevated as the first Education
Minister of free India. He also headed the Indian National
Congress and was hailed as a great leader. He is known as 'Imamul
Hind' (Religious leader of Indian Muslims).
He vociferously opposed the two
nation theory. His evergreen and everlasting writings and
oratories are full of patriotism and propagate Hindu Muslim unity.
His valuable thoughts act as a lantern in the darkness and guide
us to retain the national integration. They are a paradigm for
every Indian to follow. It is said that it was him who brought the
ordinance from Britain that guaranteed freedom.
Maulana Abdul Qadir Qasoori, another Ahl-e-Hadees presided the
Punjab Congress Commission for a decade from 1920 to 1930. Maulana
Waliullah Hanif, Maulana Abdullah Al-Kafi, Maulana Abdullah Al-Baqui,
Maulana Abul Qasim Saif Banarsi, Maulana Abdul Azim Rahimabadi and
Maulana Abdul Wahhab Arvi were some of the veterans members of Ahl-e-Hadees
sect who played outstanding role in India's freedom struggle.
In 1906, the Ahl-e-Hadees officially constituted its
organizational structure in order to undertake reforms among
the Muslims. It also focused to eliminate the traditions and
rituals that contrasted Islam. Those rituals included building the
replicas of the shrines of Hazrat Hasan and Hazrat Husain
(Prophet's grandsons), taking out Muharram procession, building
shrines, celebrating Prophet's (PBUH) birthday (Eid Miladunnabi)
and praying whole night on Shabe-Bra'at. The Ahl-e-Hadees
dutifully consider reforming these anti-Islamic rituals through
positive attitude. For achieving this goal they believe not to
resort to power and sabotage, and never used violent means to
prove their points.
In 1906, Ahl-e-Hadees was christened
as All India Ahl-e-Hadees Conference that later transformed into a
full-fledged 'Markazi Jamiate Ahl-e-Hadees Hind' in 1956.
One of the
founders of Jamiatul Ulma Hind
Jamiatul Ulma Hind is the integral part of political, social and
welfare programmes throughout the mainland. It also takes upon
itself the social reformations. Jamiatul Ulma Hind is always found
at the forefront of the aid and rescue during the time of natural
calamities, floods and earthquakes. It was set up as a result of
sustained efforts by Ulemae Ahl-e-Hadees.
Amratsari, another Ahl-e-Hadees, while addressing a huge
congregation in Lukhnow, proposed the idea of an organization
represented by Ulema.
Later on Jamiatul Ulema Hind came into
existence after the similar proposal was put forward at a
congregation at Delhi. At that time it was represented mostly by
Ulemae Ahl-e-Hadees. They were not only its members but also took
its reins into their hands. Maulana Abdul Wahhab Arvi, who was head
of Markazi Jamiate Ahl-e-Hadees Hind, also presided the Jamiatul
A thorough and in-depth analysis reveals that Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees
retains its non political identity. It is confined to the
religious activities. Remaining non-political despite
being fractured and rounded after the partition, Jamiat continued with
its welfare works and facilitated the development of the country.
It's totally a non-political as there is no place for slogans of
self-rule or autonomy in Prophet's (PBUH) way of life.
for its organizational purpose does not propagate any political
movement, other political means or any destructive activity.
However, its members are free to associate themselves to any
political party on their own. The members with their political
associations have played a central role in national politics.
Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees has been the main constituent at
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMILB) since
its inception. The contribution by the Jamiat in national history,
and in the educational field cannot be neglected. A number of its
members have been conferred upon many government and
semi-government medals as an acknowledgement.
Jamiat and its wings have been undertaking various welfare programs.
Whether its providing financial aid to economically backward
students, financing treatments and co-operating in various
hygienic activities, arranging meals for poverty stricken and
fixing stipend for them. For implementation of all those programs
there are Baitul-Maal based across its various wings.
that, aid, rescue and rehabilitation is dome during natural
calamites. Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees reached the affected with
relief funds and often paraphernalia. The Mumbai 26/7 deluge,
during the communal riots in
Malegaon, the Jamiat was at its forefront in aid and rescue.
In spite of being a minority in the Muslim community, the services
by Ahl-e-Hadees and its members can be found.
Stand against Terrorism
Jamiat run many educational institution and releases many
magazines and newspapers. These institutions and the magazines
like fortnightly "Tarjuman, Delhi", monthly "Islahe Samaj
(Hindi)", fortnightly "Akhbar-e-Aslaf (Urdu and Hindi)", speeches
Friday Sermons all reflect the very ideologies of the Jamiat.
Recently, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees held a convention at Delhi
with the subject as "Islamic Madaris - Centre of Humanity or Hub
of Terrorism?" on July 22 and 23, 2006. Union Home Minister Mr.
Shiv Raj Patil, Former Prime Minister Mr. V.P.Singh and Minister
of States for External Affairs Mr. E. Ahemadee attended this
Delivering his speech on this occasion, the
Home Minister acknowledged that Islamic institutions are preaching
for humanity and they are taking part in nation building with
others and they are nothing to do with the terrorism. Not long ago
Mr. Chhagan Bhujbal (Former Home Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra) had also
publicly acknowledged that Jamiat Ahle Hadees is no where indulged
in any kind of terrorism or any king of anti-national activities.
The convention unanimously deplored the acts of terrorism and
declared that Islam and terrorism are poles apart. The convention
while condemning the terrorism expressed its concern over rule of
media the way it is dragging the names of the whole Muslim
community in general and Ahle Hadees sect in particular as
responsible for the terrorism activities in the country.
Jamiat Ahle Hadees has never indulged in any king of anti national
activities, never sought destructive path of any king and doesn't
record of such kind of activities. In contrast, Jamiat always stick
to its firm belief that these things are anti Islamic and they are
against teachings of Islam. Jamiat believes in politely preaching
Islamic values i.e. "Preaching for good work and denouncing the
Raising ones hands during prayers and other things, which Ahle
Hadees do during prayers, are confirmed practices of the prophet (PBUH)
and there are many people, nowhere related to Jamiat Ahle Hadees,
who adopt this practice. But it does not in any way means just being
doing these things they are Ahle Hadees, as some section of the
media reported recently. Since Jamiat Ahle Hadees, as mentioned
again and again is not the name of any tradition but it has rock
solid ideology based on Islamic principals and does not have any
Quite possible SIMI members might be adopting these things during
their prayers, but Jamiat Ahle Hadees never agreed to the alleged
ideologies of SIMI and its former parent body Jamat-e-Islami. In
contrast Jamiat Ahle Hadees have proven ideological differences not
only with SIMI but Jamat-e-Islami as well and these differences
were as old as these organizations and traces of these differences
can be founding pre-independence era also without much effort.
Now if a person is caught doing any alleged anti national activities and
he is "raising his hands" and "saying Ameen aloud" during prayers
but is neither a member of Jamiat Ahle Hadees nor is agreeing to
its ideologies, how can he be termed as "Ahle Hadees" and how can
Jamiat be responsible for a person's individual acts?
To conclude Jamiat Ahle Hadees has separate code of conduct,
designed strictly on the Islamic principals that forbid its
followers from coddling in any unlawful activities and asserts its
members to obey these guidelines clearly depicted by the Holy
Words of Quran and practiced by the Prophet (PBUH). It is what
Islam and Muslims are meant for.