The following piece has been edited by Maulana by Abu Zaynab and taken from the inside cover of a 1984/1405 edition of a South African Muslim journal called “Awake to the Call of Islam!” The extracts were taken by the editors of the journal from a book called “History of Darul Uloom Deoband”.
Deobandiyat is neither a creed (mathab) nor a sect – terms by which its antagonists try to incite the masses against it – but it is a comprehensive picture and a complete edition of the tack of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah in which all the offshoots of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah are seen joined with their root.What a fine and succinct sentence the Poet of the East, the late Dr. Sir. Muhammad Iqbal – and, it beseemed him alone – had spoken about Deobandiyat.
When someone asked him:
‘What thing is the Deobandi, a creed or a sect?’ He replied: ‘It’s neither a creed nor a sect; Deobandi is the name of every rationalist religious man.
Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal said:
Let these madressahs be in this very condition; let the children of poor Muslims read in these madressahs. Should these mullas and Dervishes be not there, do you know what will happen? Whatever will happen I have come after seeing with mine own eyes. If the Muslims of India are deprived of the influence of these madressahs, it will happen exactly like it happened in Andalusia (Spain) after eight hundred years of Muslim rule there. Today, except the relics of the ruins of Grenada and Cordoba and Al-Hamra, no trace is found there of the followers of Islam, and the Islamic civilisation. In India, too, save the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort of Delhi, no trace of the Muslims’ 800-year rule and their civilisation will be available.
(Extracts from a “History of Darul Uloom Deoband”, Vol.1, 1980)