Why many Islamic scholars love to hate Maulana Saad

Hated by followers of several Muslim sects, the chief of Tabligh-e-Jamaat, Maulana Saad Khandhlawi, has been a controversial figure all through his career as a preacher. Grandson of the founder of the sect Maulana Muhammed Ilyas Khandlawi, Saad is believed to have a huge body of followers in about 150 countries. The sect promotes puritanical form of Islam, much different from the political Islam followed by Wahabis. However, both of them follow a fanatical form of Islam.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police has registered a case against Saad, under sections of Epidemic Disease Act and Indian Penal Code for violating government orders and holding a huge religious gathering. “Our officers including the Station House Officer of Nizamuddin police station had repeatedly requested Maulana Sahab to disperse the crowd which has assembled in the six-storey mosque building of the Markaz…but he did not budge. It’s unfortunate that all talks failed to convince him,” said an IPS officer of Delhi Police.

Nizamuddin mosque serves as a global Markaz (centre) of Tabligh-e-Jamaat. According to some religious leaders, Maulana Saad usurped the position as the chief of the organisation violating all rules and regulations in November 2015. “He insulted the elders, scholars and the members of the Shura. The Amir is elected on the advice of the Shura but he (Maulana Saad) did not pay heed to any orders of the supreme council and decided on his own to take over the Jamaat,” said Maulana Idris of Shamli.

50-year-old Saad’s family hails from Kandhla, a place near Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh. His forefathers were converted from Hinduism. The Jamaat, an offshoot of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, aims at revival of the true Islam as perceived by the Prophet Mohammed.

The Jamaat has witnessed faction feuds ever since Saad took over reins of the institution. A faction led by Maulana Mohammad Zaihairul Hasan has been opposing Saad’s leadership. Both factions are still at loggerheads.

There are many Islamic scholars who question his preaching of Hadis and call it Taklifi Jamaat (Difficult Jamaat). Even Deoband is also not happy with Saad’s style of functioning. Darul Uloom went to the extent of issuing a fatwa against Maulana Saad for his controversial interpretation of verses of Quran. Mahmood Madani of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said Saad’s views on coronavirus were not acceptable.