The Past and Future of Deobandi Islam


Article by Luv Puri

Nov 03, 2009


History of Deobandi Islam


The Deobandi school of Islam was founded in the latter half of the 19th century. It was part of a series of revivalist movements that were sweeping British India during the time. After the 1857 revolt against the British colonialists, Muslims in British India were the primary targets during the ensuing British crackdown because the revolt was fought under the leadership of the Muslim Mughal emperor. As part of the crackdown, the British occupied religious sites in Delhi, the capital of the Mughal Empire for several centuries. Muslim clerics in Delhi enjoyed the patronage of the Mughals, but this changed once the British occupied the city. The last Mughal emperor was exiled to Rangoon, Burma, and the British occupied the mosques in Delhi. This caused many ulama (religious clerics) to migrate to various locations, such as the northern Indian town of Deoband, to preserve their religious life and culture. Deoband was a natural choice because it was a center of Muslim culture, and many families from Deoband had served in the Mughal Empire. Moreover, it was only 90 miles away from the former Mughal capital of Delhi.


In 1867, Darul Uloom was founded in the town of Deoband as one of the first major seminaries to impart training in Deobandi Islam. In addition to being close to other Muslim cultural centers in northern India, the founders of Darul Uloom believed that the decision to establish the seminary had divine sanction. By 1967, Darul Uloom had graduated 3795 students from present-day India, 3191 from Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh, and 431 from multiple other countries, such as Afghanistan, China and Malaysia. By 1967, there were 8934 Deobandi schools worldwide.


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The Past and Future of Deobandi Islam

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