Quick Reference

Indo-Pakistani reformist ulama movement centered in the Dar al-Ulum of Deoband. The school was founded (1867) by scholars associated with the thought of Sayyid Ahmad Reza Khan Barelwi to preserve the teachings of the faith during non-Muslim rule. Deobandis educated Muslims in “correct practice” and emphasized individual responsibility for correct belief. The school emphasized hadith and the Hanafi legal tradition, and encouraged spiritual transformation through “sober” Sufism. Providing an alternative to an intercessory religion focused on shrines and elaborate customary celebrations, Dar al-Ulum educated imams, preachers, writers, and publishers of religious works. By 1967 Deobandis had founded 8,934 schools throughout India and Pakistan. Originally quiescent politically, the majority of Deobandis opposed the partition of India and saw Pakistan as the creation of Western forces. Since the 1920s the Deobandi apolitical stance has taken shape in the transnational movement Tablighi Jamaat, but Islamist trends such as those of Pakistan's Jamiatul Ulama-i Islam and Afghanistan's Taliban have also emerged from the ranks of the Deobandis.

See also Barelwi, Sayyid Ahmad Reza Khan

Subjects: Islam.

Reference entries