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"Verily my solats, my ibadah, my life and my death I surrender to Almighty Allah, Creator and Lord of all the worlds. Never will I associate anything with Him. So am I commanded and I am of those who are Muslims."

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tabligh Jamaat's draw attention in the USA

Assalamualaikum. May Peace and the Blessings of Allah be upon you all. Ameen.

We are living in the Last Ages where trials and tribulations test our resolves and at times assail us with a force that takes the breath out of us and drives us almost to breaking point with all the pressures of trying to cope with the present day challenges.

Some of us who are Muslims are driven to a stage where we need to seek a sense of balance in our life's and we search for the sources of peace and tranquility in groups and jamaats that offer us some form of escapism from the daily stresses and problems that beset us.

As one who has been in similar circumstances that made me seek solace and religious knowledge from the Order of Sufism in the Tariqat Naqshabandiah of Syeikh Nazim Adil al Haqqani al Qubrusi al Naqshabandi, I too had been amongst the hundred millions of Muslims who sought refuge in such pursuits.

I can understand why to this day, there are so many of Muslims out there seeking a source of peace and serenity in the jamaats and movements of Islam. Being with the jamaats is good and if the movement sticks to the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam and the exact teachings of the Qur'an Al Kareem, such an association will be beneficial for us.

Unfortunately, some of the methodologies and practices in the Jamaats and Tariqats are not what the Holy Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam enjoined us his followers and thus have become a source of Fitnah and Khurafat.

Jamaat Tabligh have some practices in their activities that aren't in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet and do not really toe the line of the Haqq deviating from the norms of Dakwah al Islamiah.

To know what they are , I suggest you visit http://allaahuakbar.net

Each of us might see things differently and our circumstances will dictate to us what we see as being right or wrong according to the level of knowledge that we have within ourselves.

Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam advised us against going overboard in our actions in each and everything that we do.

Unfortunately, many Muslims still are adamant in following paths and movements that go astray from the Way of the Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.

No matter how you explain it to them ; no matter what proofs you show them as to the deviations that are taking place in such movements or tariqahs, they will still not want to see or choose to accept even if it hits them right smack in their face!

May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala open up our hearts and guide us towards the Truth. Ameen.

Here's an article about what the Tabligh Jamaat are causing in the USA. The cause and effect is due to the deviations in the movement's practices.

They can still be helped to get back to the path of moderation that is called for by the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.

I am not totally against the Tabligh or the Tariqats. Just sharing my thoughts and personal viewpoints that such movements can do better for the Ummah if they return to the true teachings of the Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam and not go astray with their self imposed and innovated practices that cause the Ummah to be more divided day by day.

May commonsense prevail amongst us and we get to unite as one soon. Ameen.

A Muslim Missionary Group Draws New Scrutiny in U.S. Author: Susan Sachs
Publication: The New York Times
Date: July 14, 2003

One of Al Qaeda's first assignments for Iyman Faris, the Ohio truck driver named last month in a terrorist plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, was to visit a travel agency while he was in Pakistan in late 2001 to have some old airline tickets reissued, federal investigators say.

Because the tickets were not in his name, Mr. Faris needed an explanation to validate his request. Investigators say he used one that other Qaeda recruits have relied on to disguise their intentions: he pretended to be a member of Tablighi Jamaat, a fraternity of traveling Muslim preachers that is well known in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

Founded in rural India 75 years ago, Tablighi Jamaat is one of the most widespread and conservative Islamic movements in the world. It describes itself as a nonpolitical, and nonviolent, group interested in nothing more than proselytizing and bringing wayward Muslims back to Islam.

But since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Tablighi Jamaat, once little known outside Muslim countries, has increasingly attracted the interest of federal investigators, cropping up on the margins of at least four high-profile terrorism cases.

It has been cited either as part of a cover story like Mr. Faris's, or as a springboard into militancy, as in the case of John Walker Lindh, the American serving time for aiding the Taliban.

Law enforcement officials say the group has been caught up in such cases because of its global reach and reputation for rejecting such worldly activities as politics, precisely the qualities that are exploited by terror groups like Al Qaeda.

The name Tablighi Jamaat is Arabic for the "group that propagates the faith," and its members visit mosques and college campuses in small missionary bands, preaching a return to purist Islamic values and recruiting other Muslim men - often young men searching for identity - to join them for a few days or weeks on the road.

"We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States, and we have found that Al Qaeda used them for recruiting, now and in the past," said Michael J. Heimbach, the deputy chief of the F.B.I.'s international terrorism section.

Another senior law enforcement official described the group as "a natural entree, a way of gathering people together with a common interest in Islam."

The official added, "Then extremists use that as an assessment tool to evaluate individuals with particular zealousness and interest in going beyond what's offered."

Neither the organization nor Tabligh activists have been accused of committing any crime or of supporting terrorism. Yet the authorities remain alert to what they see as the group's susceptibility to infiltration and manipulation.

To Tabligh leaders, accustomed to operating in relative obscurity, the new scrutiny is unwanted, and the government's contention that the group has served as a recruiting ground for terrorists is grossly unfair.

In interviews over the past several months, they said their beliefs were antithetical to everything espoused by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

A Renunciation of Politics

"It's a very great accusation, a total lie," said Abdul Rahman Khan, a leader of the group's North American leadership council. "Anybody who has been active in our work, who spends at least three days, will have an understanding of our peaceful nature."

Mr. Khan, who lives near New Orleans and has been involved with the group for 36 years, said the Tablighi Jamaat's refusal to discuss politics meant that people with militant views quickly moved on.

"From our experience, those people who have those intentions don't talk around us," he said. "If someone starts even one word, we cut him off. So he's going to go somewhere where he can get an audience."

Indeed, the number of core activists is quite small, and they do little to blend in. A gathering of American and Canadian Tablighi Jamaat missionaries this year drew about 200 people. It was at Al Falah mosque in Corona, Queens, a Tabligh center whose neighbors have grown accustomed to the sight of bearded men wearing robes and leather booties that are meant to replicate the dress of Islam's prophet, Muhammad.

Younger disciples who were not emirs, or leaders, of a region or city, remained outside, using the time to proselytize for Islam in the mostly Mexican immigrant neighborhood. Inside, their elders mulled the question of whether they should be held responsible for the actions of people who take part in Tabligh missions but are not dedicated to its beliefs.

"We don't prevent anyone from coming, but obviously we don't know the nature of the individual who is coming and we don't check," Mr. Khan said. "There's no way we can."

The Tablighi Jamaat is less a formal organization than a network of part-time preachers. Begun as a response to a surge of Hindu proselytizing during the waning days of British rule in India, the Tablighi Jamaat now has bases and schools in Pakistan, Britain and Canada. Its annual gatherings in India and Pakistan draw hundreds of thousands.

Traveling and Proselytizing

Generally, though, Tabligh missions are small - a few heavily bearded men, carrying sleeping bags and cooking stoves who show up at a mosque, give lectures and go door to door calling Muslims to prayer.

A central purpose of their visits is to ask other men to travel and preach with them for a time, which they say can benefit the preachers even more than their audiences.

"It's kind of a rite of passage for practicing young Muslims," said Mairaj Syed, a law student at U.C.L.A. who says he was briefly involved with the Tablighi Jamaat in high school in Arizona.

"They emphasized identity, showing outwardly that you are a Muslim," Mr. Syed said. "Also, there was the element of going out, visiting cities, sleeping in mosques. I thought it was cool."

They preach a return to the teachings and trappings of Islam's seventh-century founders, including segregation of women and rejection of activities like voting that they say distract Muslims from the worthier task of preparing for judgment day.

Their goals, the group's American leaders say, are devotion to God and promoting change in each individual, not society.

"What we're trying to do is unite the hearts of all people, and politics has a propensity to divide," said Walid-Muhammad Scott, a Philadelphia activist who is a member of the leadership council. "That's why we don't talk about it at all."

But law enforcement officials and moderate Muslim scholars say that disengagement from society is what worries them most about the Tablighi Jamaat.

"You teach people to exclude themselves, that they don't fit in, that the modern world is an aberration, an offense, some form of blasphemy," said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at U.C.L.A. "By preparing people in this fashion, you are preparing them to be in a state of warfare against this world."

Ripe for Exploitation?

Professor El Fadl said he spoke from experience, having briefly joined the group as a teenager in Cairo about 20 years ago. "I don't believe there's a sinister plot where they're in bed with Osama bin Laden but are hiding it," Professor El Fadl said. "But I think that militants exploit the alienated and withdrawn social attitude created by the Tablighis by fishing in the Tablighi pond."

Some Muslim groups have long criticized the Tablighi Jamaat for its official refusal to take a stand on the causes that have inflamed the Muslim world, from the Afghan holy war against the Soviet Union in the 1980's to the more recent wars over Kashmir, Chechnya and Bosnia.

But investigators in America and elsewhere say more violent groups have been well served by the Tablighi Jamaat's apolitical stance and ability to move missionaries around countries and across borders.

"There may be groups that do not actually profess its basic ideology and profound religiosity and yet use the cover of the Tablighi Jamaat in order to evade scrutiny of the security forces, knowing full well that the Jamaat would not take a public stance against any defectors," the Canadian intelligence service said in a recent analysis.

A turning point for the movement came in the 1990's, with the emergence of the purist Islamic rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to former members and intelligence officials.

By way of illustration, Farad Esack, a South African Islamic scholar who says he spent 12 years with the group in Pakistan, recounted a favorite Tablighi Jamaat analogy that equates individual Muslims to the electricians who work to light up a village. Each person lays wire until one day, the mayor comes to switch on the lights.

"For many people in Tablighi Jamaat," he said, "the Taliban represented God switching the lights on."

Some people drawn to the Tablighi Jamaat were also drawn to the Taliban, Mr. Esack said. The Tablighi Jamaat, he said, "attracts angry people - people who need absolutes, who can't stand the grayness of life." In turn, that mentality "lends itself to being recruited by a Taliban-type project."

John Walker Lindh's path to militancy began in California, where he met Tabligh missionaries in 1999 after converting to Islam. He joined them on a proselytizing tour but soon left them behind.

"John's experience of the Tablighi is that they are what they say they are," said George Harris, one of Mr. Lindh's lawyers. "They are apolitical. And he found that an extreme position that he didn't find particularly attractive. He wanted guidance as to political and spiritual issues."

Mr. Lindh's experience, however, did play a role in his odyssey toward Afghanistan.

One year after his Tablighi Jamaat mission, casting about for a place to study Islam, Mr. Lindh contacted one of his visiting Tabligh preachers, who enrolled him in a madrassa, or religious school, in Pakistan.

It was there, Mr. Lindh has said, that he became convinced that he should help the Taliban. He then signed up for a military training camp that ultimately sent him to fight American and Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan. He was captured there and is now serving 20 years in federal prison, having pleaded guilty to charges of aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives.

Federal prosecutors have suggested that the Tablighi Jamaat was also seen as a springboard by at least one of the defendants in a Portland, Ore., terrorism case, in which six men and one woman are accused of plotting to fight with the Taliban and Al Qaeda against American forces.

The men tried to get to Afghanistan in the late fall of 2001, according to the indictment. Most came home after spending some time in China, but one defendant, Jeffrey Leon Battle, went on to Bangladesh.

Prosecutors said Mr. Battle's trip there was aimed at finding Tablighi Jamaat members who might help him get military training and join the Taliban. His trial and that of the other Portland defendants is scheduled for early January.

Six Yemeni-American men from Lackawanna, a Buffalo suburb, apparently told family and friends a similar story - that they were going to Pakistan in the spring of 2001 for religious training with the Tablighi Jamaat. But once in Pakistan, the men went on to take military training at a Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, investigators say.

The six have pleaded guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda, or otherwise aiding a terrorist organization through their attendance at the camp.

Federal investigators said the young men, before their trip, had been instructed by a recruiter from Al Qaeda to feign an interest in Tablighi Jamaat to build a believable excuse for traveling to Pakistan for their supposed religious course, rather than to an Arab country where some of them would at least have spoken the language.

In the case of Mr. Faris, who has pleaded guilty to charges of providing support for Al Qaeda, court documents did not say whether it was he or his Qaeda handlers who had the idea of using Tablighi Jamaat as a cover to organize a trip to Yemen without arousing suspicion.

Elders and Acolytes

Al Falah mosque is the main Tablighi Jamaat outpost on the East Coast and often serves as a meeting place for activists from the group's 11 regional zones and 37 local areas. They come from as far away as Canada, California and Florida to the plain-fronted mosque, almost lost on a busy street dominated by Mexican restaurants, a Buddhist temple and a Jehovah's Witness hall.

During the national gathering earlier this year, the wives of some of the members met in an apartment near the mosque. They sat cross-legged in one small room while a Tabligh elder, refusing to sit in the same room with women, shouted a lecture to them from behind a closed door.

Meanwhile, three Tabligh acolytes huddled over coffee in a Mexican restaurant across the street.

As a man from Cleveland tried to persuade the waitress to become a Muslim, one of his companions, a 19-year-old from North Carolina, talked excitedly of his own conversion just weeks before.

Sprouting a small reddish beard and dressed in a long tunic and loose trousers, he said Tablighi Jamaat had rescued him from drugs. Now, he said, his name is Ali Abdullah and his dream is to study Islam in Pakistan.

"I want to be in a Muslim environment," he explained.

Was he also interested in political causes like Chechnya, Kashmir or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

"Man, I know I'd kill anybody who killed another Muslim," he blurted, rapping a quick drumbeat with his hand on the table.

His two companions glared at him. One kicked him sharply under the table.

"We respect all people," said the man from Cleveland, who gave his name as Abdulhakim. "Tablighi Jamaat taught me that you don't need to protest, that we respect the prophets of the Christians and Jews."
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So, goes another story about the Tabligh Jamaat in this fast going crazy world of today. I hope that those who are active in the jamaat will check and recheck with the Qur'an and the Hadiths about some of the practices that they are forced to comply with and follow without objection.

Islam is beautiful and simple in it's approach to dealing with all that we go through in our life's.
We thus need to never let go of the Teachings of Islam and what Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala has delivered to us through His Last Messenger, Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.

May Islam be practiced exactly as what Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala has given us and not go 'hero worshipping' any Syeikh or Amir who is not being true to his Amanah.

In the Yaum al Akhirat, they will be brought before the Rabbul Alameen in the Supreme Court above all courts. Only then will the truth be realised by all those who are blinded by their present dilemma. Just wait and see. That's all I have to say about the Tabligh Jama'at today.

You can refute my points here and continue misleading yourselves till Qiyamat. Your call.

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