In a worrying development, a letter sent to the Tamil Nadu CM says that Islamists from the influential & radical Deobandi & Wahhabi schools of Sunni Islam have started taking over managing committees of Chennai based mosques. The letter was sent by a Muslim organization ‘Ahlus Sunnath Wal Jamaths Federation’.
According to this report by journalist Vicky Nanjappa, a leading investigative reporter on internal security matters –
“A recent letter written to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa and also the state’s police chief has warned about the infiltration of Wahabis and Deobandis into the managing committees of Chennai based Dargahs and Mosques. The brief of the letter written by the Ahlus Sunnath Wal Jamaths Federation is that Wahabism and its preachers are attempting to threaten Hindu-Muslim unity in Chennai.
The ISIS which adopts to the Wahabi style is no stranger to Tamil Nadu. Incidents of youth posing with ISIS t-shirts were reported from this state. Moreover the first alleged ISIS recruit from Bharat, Haja Fakkruddin was also from Tamil Nadu.
Infiltrating the Mosques in Chennai
The Wahabis follow the same pattern in every place they attempt to infiltrate. They infiltrate into the managing committees of the Mosques and similar incidents have been reported in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Once they make their way into the committees they promote their ideology which incidentally is followed by 34 terrorist groups across the world, the ISIS and the al-Qaeda being the main ones.
In the letter it is stated that the Madrasas and Masjids which have been constructed by followers of saints is under immense threat from Wahabis. If they continue this way then peace between the Hindus and Muslims will be under threat, the letter also notes. The Chennai police say that they are seriously looking into this letter. An intelligence bureau official posted at Chennai says that there have been attempts by Wahabis not just in Tamil Nadu but in other parts of the country as well. They attempt to change the thinking of the youth and tell them to be more radical in their approach.
The land of Wahabis, Saudi Arabia pumps in a lot of money to send these preachers across the globe. The easiest way for them to go about their business is to be part of the managing committee in Mosques. They either take over by force or by sheer money power.”
“The shrines, graves, Madrasas, Khanwahs and masjids constructed by pious followers (Murideen) of saints are under threat (from Wahhabis)”, Syed Ali Akbar, organiser, Ahlus Sunnath Wal Jamaths Federation told Deccan Chronicle newspaper.
What is Wahhabism & Salafism?
Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703 – 1792) was a Sunni Muslim preacher from Nejd in central Arabia who claimed to “purify” Islam by returning it to what, he believed, were the original principles of that religion as the salaf, that is first three generations of Muslims, understood it. He rejected certain common Muslim practices which he regarded as amounting to either religious innovation (bid‘ah) or polytheism (shirk).
Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s pact with Muhammad bin Saud helped to establish the Emirate of Diriyah, the first Saudi state, and began a dynastic alliance and power-sharing arrangement between their families which continues to the present day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Al ash-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s leading religious family, are the descendants of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, and have historically led the ulema (Islamic clergy) in the Saudi state, dominating the state’s clerical institutions.
Many scholars claim that Salafism is a term applicable to several forms of puritanical Islam in various parts of the world, while Wahhabism refers to the specific Saudi school, which is seen as a more strict form of Salafism.
What is the Deobandi movement?
Deobandi is a revivalist movement within Sunni Islam. It is centered in Bharat and the name derives from Deoband, Uttar Pradesh (just a hundred miles north of Delhi), where the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband is situated. The movement was inspired by scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703–1762), and was founded in 1867 with the avowed objective to overthrow the British rule in undivided Bharat and restore Islamic rule. Deobandi has been influenced strongly by the Wahhabi movement.
Many dreaded Islamic terror organizations in South Asia like Taliban, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Sipahe Sahaba etc. have emerged from the Sunni Deobandi school of thought. Prominent offshoots of the Deobandi movement are Jamiat Ulema-e-Hindi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Tablighi Jamaat.
Present danger posed by Wahhabism
This article shows the link between Wahhabism and dangerous Islamist terror groups like IS (formerly known as ISIS). It says –
“ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. . On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.
Wahhabism was forcefully changed by the Saudi royal family from a movement of revolutionary jihad and theological purification, to a movement of conservative social, political, theological, and religious da’wa (Islamic proselytization) and to justifying the institution that upholds loyalty to the royal Saudi family and the King’s absolute power.
Oil Wealth Spread Wahhabism
With the advent of the oil bonanza — as the French scholar, Giles Kepel writes, Saudi goals were to “reach out and spread Wahhabism across the Muslim world … to “Wahhabise” Islam, thereby reducing the “multitude of voices within the religion” to a “single creed” — a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were — and continue to be — invested in this manifestation of soft power.”
This shows that the rise of Wahhabism in mosques of Bharat should not be seen as a fringe development, rather it is a movement that is backed by the richest Muslim country in the world today – Saudi Arabia. And growth of Wahhabism/Deobandi means increased support for IS ideology. We can ignore these facts while designing our security, foreign & economic policies, only at out own, considerable, peril.