Preaching Services 0f  Darul-Uloom


In the particulars of the years A. H. 1341-42 the most important event is that regrettable incident of Shuddhi (lit. purification, i.e., conversion of the Muslims to Arya Samaj) and Sangathan (Hindu solidarity), which diverting the Darul-Uloom from its own internal affairs, had drawn all its attention to itself. This unpleasant incident in the history of India was an organized movement of the Arya Samaj started with the purpose of converting simple-minded Muslims, ignorant of Islam, to Arya beliefs. This movement looks very queer in the context of the politics of that era and the Hindu-Muslim unity. To understand it properly if is necessary to know its background.

In the years 1920, 1921 and 1922, due to mutual help and co-operation between the Khilafat Movement and the Indian National Congress such strong bonds of friendship, unanimity and alliance had been forged between the Hindus and Muslims that both the communities had become very intimate with each other. The significant change that had appeared in the Hindus practice of untouchability with the Muslims was that now they had begun to take sherbet and pan (betel-leaf) unrestrainedly from the Muslims hands. Such were these conditions that had mode the future continuance of the British power in India difficult. The English, sensing the delicacy of the circumstances, made use of their old. Favorite recipe of hatred and "divide and rule", which, unfortunately for India, proved to be their sovereign remedy. The detail of this is that in 1922 the then viceroy (Lord Reading) summoned a great leader of the Non-co-operation Movement, Swami Shraddhanand, who was then in jail, and held a secret parley with him. After this talk which was to be held a guarded secret, he was released from jail. As soon as he was out of jail, Swami Shraddhanand started a movement for converting the Muslims to the Arya Samaj ideology. On the other hand, one Dr. Moonje established what is called Sangathan, a purely Hindu organisation. Kesari, a newspaper of Lahore, drew attention to the 'purification' of four and half Laces of Malkana neo-Muslim, Rajpoots of Agra. Agra, Mathura, Etah, Itawa, Kanpur, Farrukhabad, Gurganwa and Moinpuri, etc., were the main centers of this movement.

On this extremely delicate occasion the Darul-Uloom did what be seemed a religious institution. In this connection, before launching a defensive and counteractive action, the Darul-Uloom first morally appealed to the All-India National Congress that using its catholic influences it cries a halt to these aggressive activities, which were fostering sentiments of hatred and animosity between the Hindus and the Muslims. The text of the resolution was as under: -

"This council of the Darul-Uloom emphatically requests the All-India Congress Committee that, considering the tumultuous circumstances of the country, it stop for the good of the country. All those activities which appearing in the form of a strife, are provoking among the Hindus and Muslims the sentiments of hatred and antagonism and are proving to be the cause of darkening the horizon of the freedom of India. And in order to make peace and cleansed the political atmosphere which was becoming disturbed day by day, it cause those preachers who are engaged in waging a religious war of sorts to be recalled. However, no party has had the right to stop anyone from such religious preaching which, along with inter-communal tolerance, is of a reasonable and mild type".

 The following resolution was presented regarding the Sangathan: -

"Since in certain circles of the movement of the Hindu Sanghatan it has been so understood, rightly or wrongly. That it has been devised to be a powerful program vis-a-vis the Muslims in order to bring the Hindus into clash with the Muslims, such a thinking has very severely injured and made alarming the peace of the country. Hence this council proposes that the All-India Congress Committee strongly request the Hindu Maha Sabha that, assessing these delicate and dangerous conditions through which our country is passing. It postpones the present form of Hindu solidarity from which the engendering of harmful dangers is being always apprehended. However, when the atmosphere of the country becomes suitable and the conditions return to normalcy, the All-India Congress Committee is requested that it advise such plans to develop the physical strength of both Hindus and Muslims. Whereby both the communities, severally and jointly, may protect their physical powers from general debility which is being observed today, more or less, in most of the individuals of both the communities. So that the country may acquire the services of such of its sons, and the good people may be enabled to protect their life, wealth, honor and religion from the wicked ones".

It can be called nothing but ill luck of the country that at that time this conciliatory appeal of the Darul-Uloom ended up as a cry in the wilderness. On the other hand, when news arrived incessantly in the Darul-Uloom, through letters and newspapers, of the intolerable communal activities of the Arya Samaj and the apostasy of the neo-Muslims, a delegation of preachers was dispatched on 12th Jumad-e-Ukhra from the Darul-Uloom.

It was known from the report of the delegation that the movement of the Arya Samaj had spread in a very organized mariner and on a very wide scale, and therefore, to counter check and counter work more preachers, in sufficient numbers, were required. So, in pursuance of this suggestion, several other delegations consisting of the teachers and students of the Darul-Uloom were sent one after another. Making Agra the base of preaching activities, on office of the Ulama of Deoband was opened there under the supervision of Maulana Meerak Shah, a teacher of the Darul-Uloom, who used to dispatch preachers wherever they were needed. Thanks to Allah that as a result of the untiring efforts of the preachers countless renegades recanted and returned to the fold of Islam. The Muslims of those places where the movement of the Arya Samaj was in operation were generally simple-minded and ignorant of religion and hence they used to fact easy prey to the adversaries. The preachers, through sermons and preaching, re-acquainted the Malkana Rajpoots (who were in tact neo-Muslims) with Islam, made arrangements for their religions education and opened Madrasahs at various places. At many places the Muslim missionaries had to break lance with the Arya preachers in which the preachers of the Darul-Uloom were generally successful.

It appears from the informations, which the preachers sent from time to time that initially they had to suffer various severe harassments from the perversities and cruelties of the recusant and recalcitrant Malkanas. In the earlier stages, when the preaches reached Tasai, a village in the erstwhile Alwar state, the Malkanas refused to accommodate them; the Malkanas used to make fun of the preachers' ablution (Vuzu) and when the latter would ask for water, they would answer with brickbats. But the preachers, putting up in mosque, went on bearing with the Malkanas' vexatious behavior with fortitude and determination for a long time. When the preachers' cup of patience over brimmed and success kept evading, willy-nilly they thought of returning. But at night some of them saw in dream that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him!) was busy smilingly in putting a check on the mischief of apostasy. This great good tiding revived and bolstered up their spirits, and, on the one hand, the condition of the Malkanas, by divine destiny, took a sudden turn and their vexatious harassment changed into acts of providing comforts.

There is no denying the fact that during these delicate period many other institutions and societies besides the Darul-Uloom participated more and more in the preaching efforts. The activities of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind were also not any the less in this field, so much so that when it also opened its missionary office at Agra. Darul-Uloom, in order to maintain a joint position, thought it advisable to affiliate its own branch of preaching to the Jamiat's office. Accordingly, from Rabiul-Awwal, A.H. 1342, this decision was put into practice. But from the manner, in which the common Muslims and newspapers acknowledged the services of the Darul-Uloom, it appears that the efforts of the Darul-Uloom were much more extensive, organized and valuable. The newspaper "Siyasat" (Lahore), in its issue of June 27, 1922, had written: "As far as the protection of religion, repudiation of the antagonists and reformation of the Muslims are concerned, the part the teachers, preachers and organizers of the Darul-Uloom, Deoband, far exceeds that of the whole of India. As for Instance, if those unlimited efforts, which the Arya Samaj put in against Islam, are considered, it will be as clear as day to you that one who stood face to face with these efforts more prominently. It was the Madrasah A'liya, Deoband, only and it can be claimed that the talks of true religion, Arabic sciences, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh, by Allah's help, are existing to a great extent due to the auspicious existence of Deoband".

The news daily "Zamindar" (Lahore) had stated: "It is needless to mention how valuable services the Darul-Uloom is rendering in the prevention of the mischief of relegation. Its teachers and students are active in achieving this object with utmost concentration and it is an open fact that a real leaching institution is that which may enter the field of action in the hour of need".

 (Zamindar Lahore, June 24, 1923)

 

 ARRANGEMENT FOR MISSIONARY EDUCATION

This assault of the Arya Samaj was so severe that a mere "defensive attitude" was not sufficient to hold it at bay. Hence as an aggressive method, arrangement for the study of Sanskrit was made in the Darul-Uloom to equip the preachers with the direct knowledge of the Arya creed. Maulavi Abu Rehmat of Meerut who was well versed in Sanskrit was called and entrusted with the task of teaching the preachers. By a strange co-incidence, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad also offered his services to the Darul-Uloom. He was formerly a vigorous member of the Arya Samaj's preaching mission and a reputed scholar of Sanskrit, and, having been affected by the beauties of Islam during this very period, had entered the pale of Islam. With Dr. Ghulam Mohammedís attention and labor, in a short time a batch of such preachers was prepared from amongst the students of the Darul-Uloom who, besides polemics, had sufficient proficiency in Sanskrit also. And besides counter blasting the opponents used to compel them to be on the defensive by directly attacking their religion. The effect of all this was that before long the adversaries' activities cooled down and the unpleasant communal atmosphere which the Arya Samaj had created in the country being over, conditions reverted to the normal.