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Politicising the Tablighi Jamaat

Sumber : Pakistan News Service (http://www.paknews.org/articles/1999/jan/art1jan-15.html)


Dr Jassim Taqui
For the last ten years, there seem to be some drastic changes within the ranks of Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) in Pakistan though from behind the scenes. These changes are substantial since they pertain to the basics of the Jamaat. The TJ has vowed not to indulge in politics __one of the basic principles of the Jamaat. However, there seems to be some changes in the thinking of the leaders of this movement. It should be noted that the movement has been able to establish contacts and centres for Tabligh throughout the Muslim world. There are thousands of dedicated and disciplined workers, who would never question any order from the high-ups. What has helped the TJ to progress is a deliberate blackout on its activities. The TJ does not believe in communication through media or any other written means. They believe in the "human communication" from a person to another and from a spirit to spirit. No matter what one would write about them, the writing would not be accurate because one only feels what they do and preach and cannot possibly translate the same. Theirs is a spiritual movement of the highest order especially when one spends more time with them and acquires the tariqah. This tariqah provides the "willing" individual the doctrines and methods for spiritual elation. Once this is achieved a person can see and perceive things that ordinary people cannot. A transformation would take place in inner self and a new man/woman would be born. The tablighi would then try to correct things around him/her with the help of learnt lessons and methods and by undoing the progressive spiritual darkening of the soul and later through ascending the spirit to higher levels.
Through the phenomenon of inkishaf or revelation, the tablighi leader might be unique in foresight and wisdom. If anyone would listen to him/her, he/she would be influenced by his/her extraordinary style of discourse and spiritual interaction of uncommon nature. In the early seventies, the author spent three memorable days in the centre of Tabligh-e-Jamaat at Raiwind, Lahore. There, tablighis narrated how spies were sent by the CIA to collect information about them and how they ended embracing Islam at their hands. Said a learned tablighi, "We know them all. We read their mind. We are capable of seeing inside. But we let them stay with us and see us in action. We have nothing to conceal. We truly worship God. But the infinite mercy of God intervenes sometimes when there is a will, and transforms these. Many adversaries of our movement changed and entered into our fold."
The Tablighis have absolute faith in God. They preach while travelling from one place to another. They never accept money from the people nor they offer money to their followers. Those who would like to join them have to cover their own expenses by themselves. If they are poor, the leader of their group will arrange their food and travelling expenses from the rich members of the group on voluntary basis. Nobody is presumed to lie to or cheat the leader of the group. If he did, he would later confess when he experienced the true inner change. Tablighis ask their members to correct any misdeed they did during their life. For example, they are asked to return the dues and loans of the people. If they stole something, they have to return it to its original owner. If they consumed or sold or lost the stolen item, they are asked to contact the owner and ask for his forgiveness, if possible. After spending 40 days or six months, you would feel a total transformation and a change in thinking and perception. Some people would extend the stay to one year, three years, five years, and in some cases lifetime in search for identity, values, and spiritual elevation. Staying with them exposes your spiritual voids and vulnerability to materialism. You are asked to suppress material urges through reducing your diet to minimum and through worshipping God most of the time with full devotion so as to cross the barriers of materialism. Gradually, your soul would emerge and control things. Only then, you can feel the real delight and a glimpse of an enlightened inner self.
Recently, some prominent figures from the TJ have started taking part indirectly and directly in politics. Among them are the former ISI chief Gen. Javed Nasir and President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar. Both are members of TJ though their positions in the TJ hierarchy are not known. There could be other people involved in politics one way or another. But one thing seems to be clear. By nominating Mohammad Rafiq Tarar to the highest political position of president of Pakistan, TJ means business. It is a big entry into politics, which the TJ used to oppose earlier. It is possible that the entry of the Jamaat is having to do with the widespread corruption in the society and the urgent need to help restrain and control the corruption. Their entry could be a move to stop Qazi Hussain Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami from going to the extreme. Qazi has been speaking of "Islamic revolution" and of a movement to be launched against the government after Ramazan. The TJ does not approve any form of "revolution". It believes in evolutionary Islam based on conviction and faith and not through force or violence. The TJ does not believe in fatwas. Therefore, there is no danger that the Jamaat would declare any school of thought as kafir.
Those who are close to the inner circles believe that the tablighis were the brains who bailed out Nawaz Sharif from the constitutional crisis. Tarar is also believed to be the brain behind the Shariat Bill and the concept of "speedy justice" through military courts. However, the contacts of the tablighis had always been with Mian Mohammad Sharif and not with the son. Mian sahib is well aware of the tariqah. He has been with the Tabligh for a fairly long time. He takes part in their meetings on regular basis. He donates money to their welfare projects. As usual, the tablighis would never publicise the donors or the projects or the beneficiaries. All are committed to remain silent. Their job is merely to satisfy the Almighty and not to publicise their alms. Their social welfare programmes are strictly confidential since they don't intend to harm the feelings of the recipients.
But entering politics is a risk. It is a different ball-game altogether. Politics and spirituality are opposite with the former has the power to corrupt the latter. The entire issue depends on how prepared the tablighis are in entering politics and using it in fighting corruption and ultimately bringing an evolutionary form of Islam instead of Qazi's version of revolutionary Islam. Only time will tell.