Posted by: Dawud Israel | October 9, 2007

Reflecting on Tableeghi Jamaat

I used to have a certain view of Tableeghi Jamaat but that image has begun to change. I had always pictured them as being those brown uncles who were both unruly and uncultured. They knew a little about Islam and that was about it. I can recall hearing stories of their bad conduct but I won’t get into that now.

But in speaking to a brother yesterday, I learned a few things. There will always be those Muslims who search out the faults of brothers and at times this may be a good thing, often it is not. Average Muslims also always have a certain mindset–they know only their madhab and their way of practicing Islam and so they will naturally see other ways as being ‘wrong’. They will gossip and backbite over this, but rarely approach the individual in question as to his actions. This can undermine any group–how can they know what they are doing wrong if they aren’t told? This is part of how people operate and it may with good reason because incidents like this push people to their own flock–their own crowd of people who adhere to their madhab etc.

The second thing I learned was that you can rarely carry out a successful to-the-point conversation with an immigrant (or as they are popularly know as FOBS). Something that would have been said in 5 minutes may take half an hour of explaining to do, in whatever language you use, English or their own. This is obviously an issue with TJs because it hinders their Dawah right of the start. But as the second and third generation of Muslims in the West emerge there will be a complete face-lift of Tableeghi Jamaat and I think there already is one going on.

The third thing is that I grossly underestimated the work TJ does. As much as their may be brothers who do TJ simply because they have nothing else to do or have just started out so mistakes are bound to happen–there are some very hardcore brothers who do much more. In speaking to one brother, I got a sense of that. He told me, “I want to move from here but I got orders from the top. They have plans of spreading the deen here.”

TJ is not a real organization but an international hodge-podge of volunteers I realized that this was important. They were Islam’s answer to the Ismaili Jamaat Khanas and the Qadiayana ‘Khalifate’. Their dedication has translated into organization. I’ve seen TJ brothers go to communities that were long forgotten about. One brother is a second generational Muslim who has been doing TJing every weekend ever since he was in his teens and now he is a doctor. More TJs are becoming Caucasian and of African descent so it doesn’t remain strictly an Indian sub-continent based endeavor. They also have a strong importance on recruiting youth for their work which is the one thing that will keep their work going. Their latest projects have been in creating the largest masjid outside the Muslim world in London.

Aside from that their are certain things that are point of contention with the Jamaat, but these things may change over time. Many of their codes and regulations are not written in stone, but perhaps it’s because Islam is–their codes take on that impression. I personally do not think it too difficult to persuade some TJers to go and try out something new.  I can’t think of any group that is doing more than these brothers and sisters.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdik ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.


  1. Salaams:
    I commend you sharing your thoughts about the Tableegh Jama’at and I hope you keep writing more !

    Infact I come from a family, who once held this organization in high esteem, even declaring that they were the only ones who would go to Jannah.

    It was only a year ago, the my family learned the truth and came into the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
    I did try my hand in writing about it on one of my posts, O Tableegh Jamaat – know who you are !
    But I need to dig deeper before I write comprehensively about them.

    Two scholars were influential helping us come to the light: Meraj Rabbani and Tauseef ur Rahman.
    I dont know if you understand Urdu, but you can find their lectures at

    P.S. I found you on Maniac Muslim.
    P.S. You’ve made it to my RSS reader !

  2. The Ummah is in such a state that I wonder if some of the issues surrounding TJs really matter…you would have to be really really into it for a lot of that to apply…very few people will actually read the books cover to cover.

    I added RSS by the way!

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