Deobandi & Brailwi
The politics of Pakistan’s religious parties is rooted in the efforts of Muslim scholars to preserve the teachings of their faith when the protective umbrella of the Mughal rule was blown away in 1857. The first potent symbol of that effort was the founding of a Darul ulum at Deoband (Indial) in the Hanafi legal tradition by Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. To gain recognition as an ideologue of this school in the 20th century was Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.
Through an ever-expanding network of madressahs with their long and grilling courses, Deoband emphasised the individual’s own responsibility for correct belief and practice instead of relying on the intercession of dead saints and Sufis and holding celebratory assemblies (urs) at their graves — a common practice then and now.
During the 1880s, Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan of Bareilly and his admirers claiming to be the true representatives and heirs in the subcontinent of the companions and followers (saints and sufis of the Qadri order) of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) disseminated a different message through their own seminaries. Being a good Muslim, they exhorted, was contingent on one’s personal devotion to the Holy Prophet as a guide and intercessor between Allah and the individual through a chain of pirs coming down to a living pir to whom an individual was bound by oath. Those denying intercession were deemed arrogant.
The adherence of the masses to the Brailwi creed in Pakistan is marked by the ubiquitous green and white turbans worn by youth and growing crowds at the shrines round the year. The Deobandis are fewer in number but more assertive and influential in politics and in elite circles. Close to them in belief is the Jamaat-i-Islami that was founded by Maulana Abul Ala Maududi in 1941. It projects Islam as a holistic ideology, analogous to western democracy or Marxism, which must capture political power to implement an Islamic order of its own brand.
It would be of interest to note that though the parties that are heirs to Deoband — Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI in particular and Jamaat-i-Islami — opposed Jinnah’s Muslim League and the concept of Pakistan (Hussain Ahmad Madni, a staunch Congressite, was in the vanguard of this opposition) now they count for much more in Pakistan’s politics than the Barelvi JUP and the assortment of Sunni Tehriks. But then it can be said that all factions of the Muslim League, and the PPP too, are in a way heirs to the tolerant and ritualistic Bareilly school. The graves of Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir are now a shrine while Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is a descendant of the Qadri order.
The purpose in recounting the origins of Pakistan’s religio-political parties and their creeds is to suggest that the fight against terror would be won sooner and easier if the heirs to Deoband were also to condemn the suicide bombing just as the late Allama Naeemi had done so admirably [P.S: Deoband has condemned it but who cares, Taliban are at their own]. It would surely help as the Taliban belong to their school of thought. It is amazing why all religio-political parties are not doing it unreservedly and with one voice.
[Extracted form article By Kunwar Idris, Courtesy Dawn, 21 June 2009]
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~