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Tabligh Jamaat clash: What is this fight all about?

  • Published at 11:01 am December 2nd, 2018
Tabligh Jamaat supporters leaving the Ijtema grounds area after the clash in Tongi Batar Gate area on December 1, 2018, afternoon. Commuters suffered as long tailbacks formed on the highway Focus Bangla

Tabligh Bangladesh chapter split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance and the visit of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi

In January, hundreds of members of the Bangladesh chapter of Islamic movement Tabligh Jamaat and some Qawmi madrasa Alems (clerics) staged a demonstration near Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, protesting the arrival of Indian preacher Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi.

In the face of stern opposition from a faction of Tabligh Jamaat, Saad Kandhalvi had to return to New Delhi last year without being able to join that years’ Biswa Ijtema, the second largest religious congregation of Muslims after Hajj.

The radical Islamic organization Hefazat-e-Islam initially tried to prevent Saad’s arrival because they were strongly opposed to his participation in the Ijtema and oppose his statements made during the last Bishwa Ijtema.

Their opposition stemmed from allegations of what Hefazat leaders claimed to be “controversial statements about the Quran and Sunnah” that Saad had made. Saad is the great-grandson of the founder of the Tabligh movement and head of its Indian chapter, though his leadership is disputed by the organization’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi followers.

Tabligh Bangladesh chapter split into two groups following disputes among its top leaders over establishing dominance and the visit of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi.

The conflict had also led to violent clashes between the factions on the premises of Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka in November last year.

Following that, the government had issued five directives to resolve the internal disputes of Tabligh Jamaat and carry out their activities in an organized manner, on September 18.

The circular said that Tabligh Jamaat activities around the world were known as a non-violent, peaceful and completely religious. However, the directives have been issued as recently a visible split in the organization has spread conflict in two factions across the country, which goes against religious customs and overall peaceful environment.

Currently, the followers of Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in the country are not allowed into Tabligh Jamaat Bangladesh chapter’s markaz (headquarters), the Kakrail Mosque in Dhaka.

The government later decided to postpone Bishwa Ijtema due to the ongoing dispute between the factions and the upcoming 11th parliamentary election, which is slated for December 30..

Held every winter in Bangladesh, the next Ijtema was supposed to be organized in the second or third week of January.

The decision to postpone the congregation was taken at a meeting between Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and leaders of the two factions of Tabligh Jamaat at the secretariat on November 13. 

Earlier, both Tabligh factions had announced the organizing of the Ijtema on separate days in January which led to a dispute between them.